LEAVING THEIR MARK: Six East Bay youths had an honored place on stage at last month's dedication of the new Caldecott Tunnel fourth bore. That's because they designed a very visible part of the $417 million project.
The students won an art competition to design architectural medallions built into the portal entrances of the bore.
With their parents proudly watching, the six students were introduced at the dedication ceremony to loud applause.
"It's an honor to introduce these young designers," said Randy Iwasaki, a former Caltrans director and current executive director of the Contra Costa Transportation Authority. "They have created art that will be there forever."
The three winning designers from Contra Costa County were Daniell McCann from Acalanes High School in Lafayette, Penelope Watson from Pleasant Hill Middle School and Chaya Tong of Springhill Elementary School in Lafayette.
The three winners from Alameda County were Aoife Gorshow and Nuala Gorshow, both from Thornhill Elementary School in Oakland, and Ellina Bartholomew Couts from Frank Otis Elementary School in Alameda.
Just look up as you drive in or out of the fourth bore, and you will see the work of these young artists.
WATCHING FROM AFAR: Jeff Wisniewski, the man behind (Hercules) Waterfront Watch, is still watching the waterfront -- but not in Hercules, at least for the next few years.
The publisher of the political watchdog website and his family are living in Brooklyn, N.Y. About two months ago, he became lead engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Superstorm Sandy recovery program in New York City, he told The Eye. The October 2012 storm brought massive destruction to the coastline in parts of New Jersey, New York City and Long Island.
Waterfront Watch, which Wisniewski started in 2007, helped expose the financial shenanigans at Hercules City Hall that culminated in a makeover of the City Council.
The New York gig is supposed to last three to five years, said Wisniewski, who previously was lead engineer for the Folsom Dam Project with the Corps' Sacramento district. He said he has rented out his Hercules waterfront-area home.
His future plans are unclear, but he wants to return to California eventually. In the meantime, as for Waterfront Watch, "I plan to read the news, skim the city manager reports, and potentially post articles/commentary as I see fit," he wrote in an email. "It may naturally result in a hiatus -- permanent or temporary. I remain invested in the city's future regardless, though."
CALL IN THE BAND: Two UC Berkeley football fans exhibited both despair and whimsy in the closing minutes of the Bears' 63-13 Big Game loss against Stanford last month.
Fan number 1: "There's nine minutes of agony left in this game."
Fan number 2: "The only chance we have of winning is if the Stanford band is on the field for the rest of the game."
The Stanford band, of course, played a memorable role with its premature appearance on the field in the most famous Big Game ever, Cal's miraculous win on "The Play" in 1982.
FROM TORONTO TO RICHMOND: Rob Ford, Toronto's corpulent, crack-smoking, binge-drinking mayor, has achieved global infamy in recent weeks thanks to a spate of outlandish behavior.
Not only has Ford become a punch line, he's also cast fresh light on the topic of general intemperance of political leaders on all levels.
Enter Richmond, which has a well-deserved reputation as a municipal petri dish that nourishes wacky political behavior.
The latest avatar is Corky Boozé, a 69-year-old former race car driver known for street brawls, legal tussles and earthy language. To be clear, the clean-living Boozé (at a recent City Council meeting, he declared that he never smokes pot because he "can't stand the smell!") isn't close to being in Ford's disreputable league. However, Boozé is boisterous and aggressive, and he shows little regard for the tethers of decorum that might restrain a more cautious man.
Police Chief Chris Magnus, who has clashed repeatedly with Boozé, posted a New York Times story about Ford on his Facebook page Nov. 18, adding his own commentary: "Hmm. (Ford) reminds me of someone closer to home. Do I need to name a name, because I won't do that -- but is there anyone from 'around these parts' that can't guess who I'm talking about?"
The Eye can guess, but it would be just a guess. The chief shrewdly maintained plausible deniability.
THAT'S ONE BIG DOG: The Eye was reminded of Brentwood's rural roots during a recent trip to a neighborhood dog park, when Debbie and Danny Hergenroether took their pets for a walk.
At first glance, The Eye thought the couple had a pair of huge dogs. It turns out, they are Shetland ponies.
The Hergenroethers said they live in an old farmhouse at Fairview and San Jose avenues, which is surrounded by newer subdivisions, and they walk horses Vicky and Snickers through King Park on occasion.
The ponies created quite a stir among the dogs in the park, who barked their heads off at the large animals on a recent Sunday morning. A couple of excited children at the park eagerly came up to pet the brown horses, while a few adults took pictures with their phones.
Staff writers Denis Cuff, Tom Lochner, Robert Rogers and Paul Burgarino contributed to this report.