( Kristopher Skinner )
El Cerrito holiday observance emphasizes ongoing struggle for equality

Hundreds turned out Monday for El Cerrito's King holiday activities. In its 26th year, the annual celebration is one of the oldest in the East Bay and also a time to mark the community's racial diversity, several speakers said.  
A proposed rule would expand state playoffs to allow all section champions be eligible for regional playoffs.  
The City Council had a chance to weigh in on a set of ideas to regulate tobacco sales Jan. 20 and largely endorsed a set of proposed changes to existing rules governing retailers. The rules are a follow-up to the city's Smoking Pollution Protection Ordinance passed in October and effective Jan. 1 that sets guidelines about smoking in public places, commercial areas and multifamily housing.  
School districts are required under state Prop. 39 to offer charters sites that are comparable to other schools within the district  
A special run on Feb. 1 will be geared toward those who have participated in Run Around Town the past two years, heading out from Albany along the Bay Trail to the new Bay Bridge pedestrian path and back.  
Residents on streets bordering El Cerrito Plaza have been complaining for years about traffic entering the shopping center and the City Council this week initiated steps to address the issue. The City Council on Jan. 20 approved a series of directions to staff instituting a series of traffic calming measures, while also allowing the possibility of closing off the streets in the future.  
It was thought the bubonic plague that ravaged San Francisco's Chinatown was pretty much over by 1904 and had been successfully confined. But in 1907 the plague again erupted in the city.  
Albany Beach EIR will be meeting topicThe supplemental environmental impact report for the Albany Beach Renovation Project will be considered and public comment will be taken at a special meeting of the Park and Recreation Commission at 7 p.  
Expand mental health servicesLast week the Times reported that the National Union of Healthcare Workers was striking on behalf of patients who cannot receive mental health care due to the shortage of mental health clinicians in our health-care delivery system.  
In Oakland, Jan. 31 is the date and Lake Temescal the place to learn about available jobs, meet some of the park staff and get some tips on putting your best self forward. The district will provide free transportation from BART, give you lunch and introduce you to each of the eight categories of jobs.  
(Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)
Seth Rogen sorry for 'American Sniper' comments

“The Interview” actor compared Clint Eastwood’s movie to a Nazi propaganda film depicted in “Inglourious Basterds” because both dealt with snipers, he says; but his comments were taken by many to suggest he was dismissing “American Sniper” as pro-war propaganda.