The Berkeley Historical Society has begun preparing for its 50th anniversary celebration of the Free Speech Movement, including an exhibit that will open with a reception at 4:30 p.m. Sept. 28 at the Berkeley History Center, 1931 Center St.

The society is now looking for people who were around at the time to share their memories and artifacts of a defining time in city history.

Linda Rosen, who is curating the exhibit, writes, "Were you around during 1964? Do you have any recollections to share? What were the local store owners' and the community's reactions to the events and to the 1964 election?

Were you involved in local civil rights or anti-war issues both before or after the Free Speech Movement? What were your feelings about the connection between civil rights, free speech, and the Multiversity? Does anyone have an FSM strike sign or banner, newsletter, or pin? "

The group is seeking stories, pictures and artifacts it can use in the exhibit, as well as pins, artifacts and pictures of other causes from the decade.

Anyone willing to share stories or materials can contact Rosen at linda44@sonic.net.

FORMER MAYOR DIES: We are sad to note the death of Ernie Del Simone, a Richmond native and former El Cerrito city councilman, who died May 27 at age 90.


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Del Simone was a World War II veteran who worked for Standard Oil of California and earned his law degree at age 41.

He served two terms on the El Cerrito council and was mayor in 1976.

His full obituary is online at bit.ly/1igWygO.

WEST COUNTY NOTES: San Pablo has been selected by the National Civic League for an All-America City Award, described as "the country's most prestigious award for outstanding, community-based civic accomplishments," and announced last week in Denver, Colo.

City representatives made presentations at the league's Denver conference on three initiatives for consideration: The Health Element and the Childhood Obesity Prevention Task Force; the San Pablo Economic Development Corporation; and the San Pablo Police Department Community Partnership Programs.

The city was 25 finalists for All-America City (www.allamericacityaward.com) consideration.

  • Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin will be the guest speaker when the Berkeley/East Bay Gray Panthers hold their monthly meeting at 1:30 p.m. June 25 at the North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst Ave. The topic will be "The Road to a Progressive Future Runs Through Richmond, Calif." and the talk is open to the public. Details: 510-595-9696.

  • The 1941 comedy "Buck Privates," starring Abbott and Costello, as well as the Andrews Sisters, is the next feature screening in the Home Front Film Festival at 7 p.m. June 26 on the SS Red Oak Victory, 1337 Canal Blvd. in Richmond.

    Attendees are invited to come dressed as a favorite character from the film. A donation will be asked at the door.

    Boarding starts at 6:30 p.m. and visitors must be able to climb the gangplank and steep steps aboard the historic cargo ship.

    For directions to the shipyard, call 510-237-2933 or visit www.ssredoakvictory.com.

  • A free screening of the 2012 documentary "Symphony of the Soil," followed by a discussion with filmmaker Deborah Koons Garcia is being hosted by El Cerrito's Environmental Quality Committee at 10 a.m. June 28 at the Rialto Cinemas Cerrito, 10070 San Pablo Ave

    The 104-minute film (www.symphonyofthesoil.com) "explores the complexity and mystery of soil. Filmed on four continents and sharing the voices of some of the world's most highly esteemed soil scientists, farmers, and activists, this film portrays soil as a protagonist of our planetary story. In a skillful mix of art and science, soil is revealed to be a living organism, the foundation of life on earth."

    For more details about the presentation call 510-215-4361 or visit www.el-cerrito.org/newgreen.

  • The Pinole Historical Society will present a free program on the people who shaped the city in the 19th and early 20th centuries at 6 p.m. June 27 at Pinole Senior Village, 2850 Estates Ave.

    Seating is limited. To RSVP for "The People Who Shaped Pinole," contact Cheryl Nickerson at Pinole Senior Village, 510-758-1122 or crdpinole@WestmontLiving.com.

  • The Berkeley Food and Housing Project has opened an office at 3905 Macdonald Ave. in Richmond that will house its ROADS Home (Regional Outreach, Advocacy, and Support) outreach program assisting "veterans and their families who are homeless or at risk of experiencing homelessness in Contra Costa, Solano, and Alameda counties." Learn more about BFHP at bfhp.org.

  • It looks like El Cerrito will be filling one of its retail vacancies later this year. A representative of Mountain Mike's Pizza says the chain plans to open a store in the El Cerrito Place center (the one with Marshall's) "hopefully by November."

    Contact Chris Treadway at 510-262-2784 or ctreadway@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/christreadway. Stay up-to-date on West Contra Costa news at IBABuzz.com/westcounty.