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News Digest: Fair opens next week, DUSD election results, Livermore Rodeo & more

Also: Foothill alum advances on 'ANW,' Rally for Love, Rao in top 50 at National Spelling Bee & Dublin town square debate

Fair opening

The rumbling through downtown next Friday (June 14) will signal the start of the Alameda County Fair, with the final Opening Day Cattle Drive scheduled to get underway at 10:30 a.m.

The fair will feature a variety of special events, live horse racing, discount days, concerts, monster trucks, junior livestock auction, carnival games, fair food, amusement rides and much more during its run from June 14 to July 7 (excluding Mondays and Tuesdays).

Other highlights of opening weekend include extreme rodeo all three days for Western Weekend, "Celebrate Creativity" theme for youth STEAM programs, Brew Fest on Saturday, Fiesta en la Feria and Dads Free Day on Father's Day, and concerts with WAR (Friday), Ashanti (Saturday) and Ramon Ayala featuring Yolanda del Rio (Sunday).

Check out next week's Pleasanton Weekly for a full preview of the 2019 Alameda County Fair.

DUSD special election

Gabrielle Blackman finished Election Night with a significant lead over Nini Natarajan in Tuesday's special election for Dublin Unified School District Trustee Area 4.

In the race to represent neighborhoods in northeast Dublin, Blackman stood with 488 votes (69.42%) compared to Natarajan's 215 votes (30.58%) as of Tuesday night, per Alameda County election officials.

County officials still have additional vote-by-mail and provisional ballots to process, but the totals represent all early mailed-in ballots and votes cast at polling places. So far, voter turnout is reported as only 13.17% of the 5,368 residents registered to vote in Area 4.

Blackman (a longtime DUSD volunteer and former board candidate) and Natarajan (a school volunteer who served two months on the board until a petition overturned her appointment) are competing to fill the unexpired term through December 2020 left vacant when former trustee Joe Giannini resigned in October.

Livermore Rodeo

The local cowpoke community is ready this weekend for the 101st annual Livermore Rodeo, which rides into Livermore Valley Stadium at Robertson Park today through Sunday.

The event, benefiting the Livermore Rodeo Foundation, features classic rodeo performances including bull riding, bronc riding, steer wrestling, wild cow milking, barrel racing and Xtreme Bulls Tour. There will also be food vendors, arts and crafts booths and kids' activities.

For tickets and more information, visit www.livermorerodeo.com.

Rally for Love

The interfaith group, "Embracing Diversity," and Tri-Valley Interfaith Interconnect are hosting the third annual Rally for Love from 1-3 p.m. this Sunday at the Bankhead Theater Plaza in downtown Livermore.

The event is planned as a peaceful, family friendly, non-partisan gathering to honor and celebrate the community's diversity and to demonstrate solidarity with anyone who feels vulnerable.

This year's theme is "We Are Community," and the afternoon will feature music, speakers and the chance to form relationships that make the community more connected, safe and loving.

More information is on Facebook under "Rally for Love Tri-Valley" or "Embracing Diversity Tri-Valley."

FHS alum advances on 'ANW'

Pleasanton's Seth Rogers performed well during his appearance on NBC's "American Ninja Warrior" last week, and will be advancing to the Los Angeles qualifier's final round, which is tentatively scheduled to air the third week in July.

"It feels amazing to be advancing to the City Finals. As expected, there were a lot of great competitors (new and old) at the Los Angeles qualifiers and I was just excited to be a part of it," the 19-year-old Rogers told the Weekly. "Watching it back on TV was the best part. I was able to remember how I was feeling while running the course."

The Foothill alumnus was among approximately 600 people chosen out of 80,000 applicants selected to compete in the qualifying rounds, which were held in Los Angeles and aired on May 29.

Rogers has been preparing for the competition by training at APEX NorCal, a "ninja warrior gym" in Concord run by veteran contestant Alan Connealy. At APEX, Rogers has been able to train with past competitors and even compete in adult competitions.

Check back in July to follow how Rogers fares in the state finals.

Rao in top 50

A Dublin eighth-grader made the top 50 finalists at last week's historic Scripps National Spelling Bee, ultimately leaving empty handed but also having gained a slew of new experiences.

Anisha Rao, who attends Fallon Middle School and is the 2019 California State Junior High Spelling Bee champion, took another shot at the coveted national champion title after tying for 10th place at last year's national competition.

Rao advanced to the final round on May 30 but was eliminated in the eighth round after misspelling "ascidium," defined by the official competition dictionary, Merriam-Webster, as "a pitcher-shaped or flask-shaped organ or appendage of a plant."

The 13-year-old told the Associated Press that her trick for remembering how to spell some of those tongue twisters is simple: "People don't like to talk about it, but sometimes the best way is just to memorize the word."

Rao was joined by two Pleasanton youths -- Arya Reddyvari, a Hart Middle School seventh-grader, and fourth-grader Arthur Tang from Walnut Grove Elementary -- at the 92nd annual competition held May 27 to 30 in National Harbor, Md. Both Reddyvari and Tang were eliminated earlier in the preliminaries, when the field of contenders was whittled down to the top 50 finalists including Rao.

The competition grew hotter after the trio was edged out, ending after a grueling 20 rounds with a first-of-its-kind eight-way tie. Because the competition uses a finite set of words selected to challenge the finalists' skill level, and because the kids kept plowing through those words, organizers announced at one point that they would run though just three more rounds before declaring anyone left standing a co-champion.

Among the so-called "octo-champs" was Rishik Gandhasri, a San Jose middle schooler who correctly spelled his winning word, "auslaut," which means "final position" in German.

Editor's note: Information from the Bay City News Service was used in this report.

Dublin town square

Dublin city officials are working to identify a location and design concept for a new town square or public space off Dublin Boulevard to become a civic focal point and gathering spot for the community.

The city has released an online survey (open through July 31) for feedback on the three project concepts, and officials will host a public input meeting next Thursday (June 13) at 6:30 p.m. in The Wave Community Room. Design consultant Urban Field Studio will be onhand for a presentation.

The three concepts are dubbed "Dublin Square," "Central Park" or "Dublin Porch" options, to be located at northwest corner of Dublin Boulevard and Amador Plaza Road -- either within or adjacent to the Dublin Place shopping center.

For more information, visit www.DowntownDublinCA.com.

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