Spenger’s Fish Grotto ‘Prop’ Revealed To Be Rare Japanese Vase

BERKELEY (KPIX) — Among the many unique items in the Spenger family collection is a large vase.

It’s a bit of an oddity but, after an investigation, it was determined that it’s actually a valuable piece of international art which, scholars say, has been missing for more than a century.

At a height of 8 feet, 8 inches, it is one of a three-piece set representing the largest examples of Japanese cloisonné enamel ever made and it was exhibited at the Chicago World Fair in 1893.

One vase went to Oxford University, the second is on display at the Japanese National Museum in Tokyo.

Up until a couple days ago, the third vase was thought lost forever but, it turns out, it was hiding in plain sight at Spenger’s Fish Grotto in Berkeley.

Deric Torres, vice president of Clars Auction Gallery, explains “It was just sitting in the restaurant for all these years and the Spenger family didn’t even know or realize its importance.”

The Spengers considered it a nice prop for the restaurant.

Generations of customers dined inches from the blue Meiji-period cloisonné vase. Alicia Spenger said that, a hundred years ago, her great grandfather Frank Spenger bought it for his wife.

“When it first came, my great grandfather gave it to her and put it up in the penthouse where they lived above the restaurant. He brought it up there, put it up there without her knowing and she walked in and she was like, ‘Wow!’ Get it out! Put it downstairs!”

And there it remained until the restaurant closed.

101-Year-Old Believes Secret To Longevity Is Daily Coors Light

GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4)– You know what they say, it’s five o’clock somewhere, but for Andrew Slavonic, five is one hour too late. He likes to have his beer at four.

“Every day at four o’clock, yes,” said Andrew.

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Andrew Slavonic (credit: CBS)

Thursday, he was right on time to get his daily Coors Light, but he admits four isn’t a strict deadline.

“Oh, we may miss it by a half an hour or so but we still get that four o’clock beer in,” he said.

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What better place to get it than straight from the source, Bill’s Pub inside the Coors Brewery in Golden.

Andrew says he liked the way it tasted there, “It’s a good flavor I really enjoyed it. I loved it.”

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Andrew is 101 years old. He was an Air Force gunner in World War II. He’s a family man but one his favorite things in the world these days is his four o’clock Coors Light.

“I just love to drink it… that’s all.”

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He says he’s been drinking his daily beer for too many years to count. It all started when he was much younger.

“I was mowing my lawn at about four o’clock. When I was finished with the lawn, I’d have my Coors Light. That’s when it hit the spot.”

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Andrew thinks it might just be the secret to his longevity, “I can sit here and drink this all day it’s like a medicine.”

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When the Coors family heard about Andrew, they decided to fly him from his home near Pittsburgh to Colorado and show him around. He enjoyed lunch with them and got a private tour of the brewery.

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“It’s quite a facility!”

Andrew likes Colorado just fine, but what he really enjoyed is having a freshly poured Coors Light with his family in the place where it all began.

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Oakland School District Officials Grapple With Budget Shortfall, Declining Enrollment

OAKLAND (KPIX) — Oakland Unified School District is looking at consolidating, reconfiguring or even closing some schools. The district says they have to make some tough decisions to bridge budget deficits in the coming years.

OUSD has not said exactly how many schools and which schools will be affected. They will release a report in February which will name many of the schools affected.

So far, the district has only confirmed that Roots Middle School in East Oakland is facing closure. Many students there are upset that this will likely be their final school year there.

“A little disrespectful because from what I’ve seen, they have not been inside our classrooms to see our study sessions or what we’ve been learning about,” said 8th grader Roberto Gutierrez. He says district educators should have talked to students and parents first before recommending Roots for closure.

Gutierrez says he really likes the school and credits his teachers for helping him improve his grades, “when I was in 5th grade, my SRI reading score was, like, under 600. This school really helped me get over 1,000.”

His brother, 4th grader Jesus Gutierrez, is also disappointed with the potential closure. The elementary student was hoping eventually to attend Roots.

“If I go somewhere further, it’s probably going to be more difficult ’cause it’s going to take longer,” said Jesus Gutierrez.

OUSD currently runs 86 schools. The district says it’s looking to merge and possibly close some of them due to declining enrollment.

“While we have too many schools for not enough students, we have a budget deficit we have to deal with. So we have to right-size the district,” said OUSD spokesman John Sasaki.

Sasaki said that, in the past 15 years, enrollment has dropped from roughly 51,000 to 37,000 students. The district lost a lot of students to charter schools. Also, housing prices pushed many families out of Oakland.

“It’s not just about saving money, it’s about consolidating resources so that we can produce better results.”

But parents say the changes will cause big disruptions. Many parents fear kids will be transferred to schools farther away. Many students in Oakland come from low-income families. They say any additional transportation costs to get to- and from school will be a burden.

“It’s going to be heartbreaking and a headache all the way around. Like I said, for me, I have to find another school,” said parent Ricky Hackett, whose daughter is a 7th grader at Roots.

District educators say the downsizing process will last for quite a few years. The OUSD school board plans to vote and make a final decision on this latest round of school mergers and closures in May.

Scott Oberg, Rockies Agree To $1.3M, 1-Year Contract

DENVER (AP) — Right-handed reliever Scott Oberg and the Colorado Rockies have agreed to a $1.3 million, one-year contract to avoid salary arbitration.

The 28-year-old Oberg made $555,000 in 2018 as he emerged as one of Colorado’s more reliable relievers. He was 8-1 with a 2.45 ERA and 57 strikeouts over 58 2/3 innings.

Oberg appeared in all four of Colorado’s postseason games last season, posting a 1-0 record with a 4.91 ERA.

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DENVER, CO – SEPTEMBER 29: Pitcher Scott Oberg #45 of the Colorado Rockies throws in the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field on September 29, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

He spent some time on the disabled list last June with a strained back. He also was on the paternity list from Aug. 14-17.

Oberg was taken by Colorado in the 15th round of the 2012 amateur draft.

Six Rockies remain eligible to swap proposed salaries with the team Friday, including third baseman Nolan Arenado and shortstop Trevor Story.

(© Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Gov. Jared Polis Outlines Big Plans In First State Of The State Address

DENVER (CBS4)– Colorado’s new governor is calling for full-day kindergarten by this fall, lowering the state income tax and cutting costs for health care. Jared Polis outlined his plans in his first State of the State address to lawmakers on Thursday.

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Gov. Jared Polis (credit: CBS)

“Now it’s time for us to finally cross the finish line. Free, full-day kindergarten by fall of 2019. Let’s get it done!”

Polis told the General Assembly where he wanted to take the state but he didn’t say much about how he planned to get there, take his new “Office of Saving People Money on Health Care.”

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“’The Office of Saving People Money on Health Care’ will form the beating heart of our efforts to reduce patient costs for hospital stays and expenses, improve price transparency, lower the price of prescription drugs, and make health insurance more affordable.”

How it plans to do all those things is unclear.

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The governor’s path to all renewable energy also wanting for detail, “We will lead with policies that support, enable, and accelerate market investment. We will work with stakeholders across Colorado on outcomes-based approaches that promote innovation, and that deliver emissions reductions from all sources, reductions in consumer costs, and sustainable economic growth for communities across Colorado.”

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Gov. Jared Polis (credit: CBS)

He promised to help energy workers whose jobs will be displaced but also communities opposed to fracking, “It’s time for us to take meaningful action to address the conflicts between oil-and-gas drilling operations and the neighborhoods they impact, and to make sure that all of our communities have clean air and water.”

Time, too, he says to close corporate tax loopholes and lower the income tax rate, “We need a tax code that reflects today’s realities rather than yesterday’s distortions. Let people keep more of their hard-earned money rather than give it away to special interests.”

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The governor barely touched on transportation, saying only that lawmakers need to come up with a funding mechanism voters will accept.

Republican Leader of the House Rep. Patrick Neville says the governor needs to explain how he plans to pay for his ambitious agenda.

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Patrick Neville (credit: CBS)

“He used term “free” quite a bit. As we know nothing in life is free. If you use the term, you’ve got to decide who is paying for all this free stuff,” said Neville.

Democratic Leader of the House Alec Garnett said he was confident they could accomplish many of the governor’s priorities while balancing the budget.

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Alec Garnett (credit: CBS)

“When it comes to full-day kindergarten, we’ve been working hard with districts and teachers and trying to move forward on that,” said Garnett. “We’ll have to wait for another economic forecast and we need to work with the Joint Budget Committee to see where our resources are.”

The governor reached out to Republicans saying he plans to put problem solving over partisanship. A couple big issues noticeably missing from his address were gun control and affordable housing.

Governor Newsom Says He’s Not Looking For Fight With Trump

SACRAMENTO (KPIX 5) – New California Governor Gavin Newsom told KPIX 5 anchor Ken Bastida about his priorities for the state during an interview Thursday and insisted he is not trying to pick fights with President Donald Trump.

That statement came as something of a surprise in the wake of previous statements. The new governor immediately drew sharp battle lines with the President during his inauguration earlier this week, pledging to enact “progressive, principled” policies as the antidote to the White House’s “corruption and incompetence.”

“People’s lives, freedom, security, the water we drink, the air we breathe — they all hang in the balance,” Newsom declared during his inauguration speech in a large tent outside the Capitol Monday.

During his talk with Bastida, Newsom took a much more conciliatory tone, talking specifically about his encounter with the President when he visited parts of Butte County devastated by the Camp Fire.

“I complimented President Trump. I actually defended his raking comment — which, I can assure you, was not an easy one to defend — by saying that I think he was conflating the issue of defensible spaces, which is important,” Newsom explained.

This only a day after Newsom found himself locking horns with Trump over FEMA wildfire relief funding and the state’s forest management policies.

Trump once again suggested in a posting on Twitter that poor forest management is to blame for California’s deadly wildfires and said he’s ordered the Federal Emergency Management Agency to stop giving the state money “unless they get their act together.”

Newsom fired back, telling Trump in a tweet — “We have been put in office by the voters to get things done, not to play games with lives.”

Despite the recent public clashes, Newsom insisted he was not trying to be combative with the President.

“I complimented him on the seven hours he spent meeting the victims and the commitment he made personally, not just to me but to them, to have their back long term, in terms of the recovery. So we weren’t picking fights; quite the contrary,” said Newsom. “We were actually complimenting the President before he came out with the tweet. And that’s what makes this whole thing a bit curious. And frankly, just exclusively and unsurprisingly political.”

When Bastida pointed out that the President’s latest announcement seemed to indicate he wanted to take some FEMA money to build the wall along the border with Mexico, Newsom was dismissive of the idea.

“The answer is unequivocally, absolutely, he cannot, Newsom said. “That tweet has a form and substance of something that San Franciscans know well: fog. It means absolutely nothing. He has no legal authority to redirect or take away that FEMA assistance.”

During the interview, Newsom also pledged immediate assistance for federal workers who are on furlough during the partial shutdown.

“Tens of thousands that will be impacted by the furlough, they now will be afforded the opportunity to get unemployment benefits, which should significantly reduce the stress of being able to make those rent payments or help support their children, said Newsom. “So we just want folks to know that.”

As far as the state budget that was announced on Thursday, the Governor said — despite the projected $21 billion surplus — he and his administration are prepared for an economic downturn, which he called “inevitable.”