Robert Rogers

Richmond native’s memories of the great Donna Summer

Donna Summer hit the music chart with the song “Love To Love You” in the mid 1970s. It was a sensuous sound that we had not heard since the late Silvia’s song “Pillow Talk.” Terry Lynn, a Richmond native, conveyed her fanship to Donna Summer as a person of unique style and class. I saw…

Richmond City Council to consider soda tax ballot measure

A version of this story first appeared in the Contra Costa Times Richmond leaders hope to reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages in the city, and they want voters to approve a fee on local businesses’ sales of those products. The city council on Tuesday will consider placing a measure on the November 6 ballot asking…

Jailhouse interview with Joe ‘Fatter’ Blacknell, who faces life in prison for ’09 slaying

How do you say hello to a convicted murderer? The thought darted through my head as I strode through the Martinez Courthouse jail facility’s winding corridors of concrete and steel. In moments I would be face-to-face—albeit divided by two-inch thick Plexiglas—with Joe Blacknell III, the young man described by police and District Attorney’s Office officials…

North Richmond man killed in drive-by shooting

A man was shot and killed Monday morning as he walked in front the North Richmond Senior Center. No suspect or motive is yet known. By 8:20 a.m., the victim’s body was covered with a yellow tarp at the southwest corner of Silver Avenue and Fifth Street. Contra Costa County Sheriff’s deputies and detectives roped…

Richmond leaders reflect on Cinco de Mayo beatings in 2002

The Cinco de Mayo celebration on the 23rd Street corridor has become one of Richmond’s grandest events But it wasn’t always that way. Ten years ago, the street and the holiday became synonymous with an incident that would become a turning point in the city’s history, ushering in a new generation of political leaders and…

Berkeley students present findings at North Richmond community meeting

North Richmond is a unique Bay Area community poised for growth and investment in the coming years. But it’s also saddled with a history of decades of poverty and violence, and a jaded outlook toward political leaders and outside forces. How well the tiny community of about 4,000 residents can reconcile those clashing realities could…

Massive sinkhole repair project hailed by Richmond leaders

The golden shovels were out, but this wasn’t a “groundbreaking” ceremony. It was a ground “filling” one. City leaders and state and county officials were joined by more than 100 people Friday to mark the start of the final phase of a project to repair a massive sinkhole that swallowed cars and blocked access to…

Guilty: Richmond teen faces life in prison in killing of Gene Deshawn Grisby-Bell

Tyris Franklin was convicted of first degree murder with special circumstances Thursday in the killing of Gene Deshawn Grisby-Bell in January 2011. Franklin, 17, showed no emotion as the clerk read the verdict in a Martinez courtroom. Wearing glasses and a gray button-up shirt, Franklin looked at a cluster of family and friends as they…

Richmond Port project on hold as council to weigh two competing sites

A divided City Council halted a grant-funded port security construction project Tuesday, opting to put plans for the site on hold while exploring the feasibility of a nearby location. The move delays a nearly $4 million project to build a security and operations center for first responders at 1411 Harbour Way South, the Richmond Port’s…

Closing arguments leave jury to decide fate of Gene Deshawn Grisby-Bell’s killer

The jury has the case. What then-16-year-old Tyris Franklin was thinking when he shot another teen four times is what they have to decide. Closing arguments concluded the trial proceedings Tuesday in the case against Franklin, now 17, accused of first-degree murder in the Jan. 10, 2011 killing of El Cerrito High School student athlete…

Accused takes stand in trial of killing of Gene Deshawn Grisby-Bell

For Tyris Franklin, the rest of his life could depend on what was going through his 16-year-old mind when he shot Gene Deshawn Grisby-Bell four times, killing the unarmed student-athlete. “I don’t remember what happened,” Franklin said Thursday, testifying on his own behalf. “Things just boiled up and boiled up to where I had no…

Local nonprofits report progress made in education and employment with Chevron support

Chevron Corp. invested $1 million in seven nonprofits focused on improving science and math education and enhancing economic development in Richmond. On Wednesday, about more than 100 people came to the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts to hear leaders from the seven organizations report on what they accomplished with the money over the…

Richmond General Plan approved

After six years, Richmond’s long-awaited General Plan update was passed by the City Council early Wednesday after a lengthy City Council meeting. The vote was 5-2, with Councilmen Corky Booze and Nat Bates dissenting. The plan was passed as recommended by city staff, with two modifications and a series of recommendations proposed by Mayor Gayle…