Bay Area Briefs

Wednesday September 25, 2002

School promotes peace with Guinness record handshake 

SANTA CLARA – A Santa Clara elementary school hopes to change the world tuesday with one big handshake, or at least break a world record. 

Montague Elementary School will host family, friends, public officials and local professional athletes in an attempt to make the Guinness Book of Records for the largest group handshake and, in the process, promote world peace. 

After lunch this afternoon, the crowd will gather in a circle on the school's outdoor playing field, join hands as they say a peace pledge, and then shake on it. 

When Montague officially sets the record, they will challenge schools in the local area and abroad to take their pledge and shake on it, hopefully breaking the record again and perpetuating the pledge of peace. 

“The goal of all of this is more meaningful than just a record pledge and handshake,” said Mark Austin, a parent involved in the event. 

Initially, the school wanted to host a group hug, but later found that a theme park on the East Coast had recently set that record. 

The event will take place at 1 p.m. at the elementary school, located at 750 Laurie Ave. in Santa Clara. 

SF most expensive  

rental market in country 

SANTA CRUZ — Four of the nation’s six least affordable rental markets are in Northern California, and the smallest on the list is Santa Cruz. 

A study from the National Low Income Housing Coalition in Washington, D.C., said you would have to earn at least $24.96 an hour to afford the median two-bedroom apartment. 

The study, titled “Out of Reach: Rental Housing for America’s Poor Families,” also found a minimum wage earner would have to work 145 hours a week to afford the same apartment. That leaves a generous 23 hours a week to eat, sleep and commute. 

The No. 1 least affordable community was San Francisco, where the study said it would take an hourly wage of $37.31 to afford the median two-bedroom apartment. 

San Jose is second on the list, with Oakland at No. 4. 

The Stamford-Norwalk, Conn., area was third and Boston was fifth. 

Woman charged in car death  

of 8-week-old grandson  

SAN LEANDRO – A 48-year-old woman whose infant grandson died last month after spending eight hours inside her parked car in San Leandro has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, police said. 

Bretta Kendall of Oakland was charged Monday and is scheduled to be arraigned at the Hayward Hall of Justice on Wednesday. 

“It appears to have been an unfortunate accident but still it resulted in the death of an 8-week-old,”San Leandro police Lt. Steve Pricco said tuesday. “She had responsibility for the care and welfare of that child.'' 

Pricco said that on Aug. 22, Kendall apparently forgot to drop the boy off at a baby sitter before going to work at the Albertsons distribution headquarters on Marina Boulevard. Kendall had only had custody of 8-week-old Marcello Alfonso Kendall for about two weeks at the time. 

Kendall arrived at work at 8:30 a.m., and because she brought her lunch, did not leave until 4:30 p.m., police said. 

When she emerged at the end of the day and approached her car, which was locked and had the windows rolled up, she noticed the car seat sitting directly behind the driver's seat and then saw Marcello, who had lost consciousness, police said. She brought the baby inside, but resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful. 

The Alameda County Coroner's Bureau has not yet determined the cause of death, though Pricco said Marcello probably died of heat or dehydration. 

Pricco said Kendall has been cooperating with investigators and is “very remorseful” over her grandson's death. 

Over the last year, two other cases of children dying after being forgotten in locked cars have been reported in the Bay Area. 

In July, San Martin father Brian Gilbert was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the July 24, 2001, death of his 5-month-old son, Kyle, who was forgotten inside a locked car. Gilbert, 25, faces a possible sentence of four years.