October 2013

Beth Murray has lived and worked on the island of Alameda for most of the last decade. As a certified classical homeopath, she has practiced at Back to Life Wellness Center on Webster Street for several years and has also maintained a practice in Marin County.

Banjo player Bill Evans will perform at the Perforce Foundation's Breakfast for Dinner event. Photo from Evans' website.

School districts across the nation are implementing new Common Core State Standards intended to bring schools’ college and career readiness efforts into the 21st century, and exercises like Lee’s offer a glimpse of what parents and students can expect to see more of when the effort is fully rolled out next year.

The city is hosting a special meeting to gather input on an East Bay Regional Park District request to extend their work hours on the Robert W. Crown State Beach sand restoration project.

“It’s always great when Tim brings a new project to fill the chambers,” City Planner Andrew Thomas joked Monday of C. Timothy Hoppen, president of Harbor Bay Isle Associates.

San Francisco has disappeared! This morning the marine layer - that cloud without lift - hugged the ground and hid the bay, hid the city beyond the bay and hid the mountains beyond the city.

I have been told many times that the Alameda police have a reputation for being awful, but had never experienced it until now.

Contributed photo.

A former Alameda fire chief owes the city more than a quarter million dollars in legal costs after agreeing to drop the last standing claim in a lawsuit claiming he had been wrongly fired.

Alameda’s schools leaders are facing a fresh teacher contract issue this fall: Whether to approve a fresh raise for teachers that would take effect next July – or face the possibility that the contract could end up back in the hands of a mediator.

Relationships take on new meaning during midlife. In the past, friendships were maintained for historical reasons or expediency. Friendships from school that had been maintained are questioned as values and lifestyles change.

For the week of October 28, 2013


The Pension Board meets at 4:30 p.m. Monday, October 28 in Conference Room 391 on the third floor of City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Avenue.

Crews clean up the Oakland/Alameda Estuary. Photo by Jeff Heyman.

Anyone who has spent time touring Alameda, whether by car, bike or foot, will notice a series of red signs with black trim placed around the city depicting a group of people standing next to a steam engine.

Alameda’s Transportation Commission gave its blessing to a list of changes meant to improve service along AC Transit’s Line 51A route but withheld it for controversial proposed stops in front of a Santa Clara Avenue church, a hair salon and also, Maya Lin School.

Updated at 8:57 a.m. Thursday, October 24

The three legs of the Baja Ha-Ha.


Denise Langowski is excited to be a participant in the school lunch revolution. On Monday, she dished out 100 orders of chili cheese fries for students at Will C. Wood Middle School, and during a visit to the district’s central kitchen at Wood on Tuesday she proudly displayed cartons packed with beef teriyaki, perfectly browned baked chicken and a neat tray of lovingly crafted and quartered chicken salad sandwiches.

The district rolled out new school menus this year that feature a broader range of meal choices, created using more fruit, vegetables and whole grains.

Updated at 11:18 a.m. Wednesday, October 23

An Alameda County Superior Court judge has elected to bar AC Transit workers from striking for the next 60 days.

Here's what the Board of Education did on Tuesday, and what you had to say about it.

Bike Walk Alameda’s Haunt Your Ride and Haunt Your Stride will be held Tuesday, October 29.

Monday’s fact-finding hearing on a threatened AC Transit strike offered a stark contrast between the East Bay bus system’s labor dispute and the one that has raged between BART workers and the regional rail line’s managers.

I didn't realize it was Saturday morning when I set out on my daily walk.

Leaders at BART's two biggest unions and its top manager announced tentative contract accords Monday night as the fourth day of workers' most recent strike drew to a close.

Veteran Seaman Fred Joyce said he goes to the Oakland Yacht Club to share sailing and racing stories with friends like Jim Jessie, a club member for more than 50 years, and Christa Schreiber. All three agreed there’s something special about the Oakland Yacht Club, which this year is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

The Transportation Commission will hold its regular meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, October 23 in council chambers on the third floor of City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Avenue.

The BART strike is entering its fourth day on Monday. Here's the latest on who's involved, what's happening and what you can do to get around.

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Broad Brush, our two-sentence news review. Here are your headlines for the week.

Video by Donna Eyestone.

Caltrans is preparing to make some fixes to the Posey Tube that could make commuting it a little easier for pedestrians and cyclists. But cyclists here said the work is only a small start on what needs to be done.

Alamedans faced long ferry lines and packed buses on their morning commute Friday as BART workers went on strike.

Updated at 11:52 a.m. Friday, October 18

BART workers went on strike Friday, shutting down the rail line after a week of late-night sessions overseen by a federal mediator failed to produce new contracts.

I come by my devotion to Eastern European soul food honestly. My grandparents were ethnic Poles and there are similarities in dishes prepared in the Baltic nations. (My maiden name is Luczaj, and even I can't pronounce it properly.) So it was with great anticipation that I awaited the opening of what is touted to be the only Lithuanian restaurant in the western United States.

If you’re a regular reader of The Alamedan, you may have noticed a change a few months back in the way we handle reader comments: We no longer require you to register to comment on the site. We made the change to better facilitate conversations about the issues we’re tackling, and so far, it looks like we’re achieving that goal.

Governor Jerry Brown put AC Transit workers' strike plans on hold Wednesday, notifying the East Bay bus service that he's assembling a three-person panel to examine both sides' position in the contract impasse. As a result, buses will roll for the next seven days.

The City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to extend its agreement to jointly use and operate the school district’s high school pools through September 2014 as council members sought to assure Alameda’s swimmers that they’re working to secure a long-term fix for the aging pools.

The Alameda Firefighters Association is holding its 14th Annual Halloween Pumpkin Patch from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Here's what the City Council talked about Tuesday - and what you had to say about it.

Representatives with one of the unions representing BART workers and the federal mediator in charge of trying to broker contract deals are saying they won't be going on strike Wednesday, and that they will continue to work toward a deal through Tuesday night.

Jackie JacksonDaley’s 12-year-old son, Lucas, made his first real friend at the Ala Costa after school program, which serves developmentally disabled youths. Lucas, who is autistic, had traveled to Berkeley and back after school each day to attend the program, but last year, the nonprofit struck a deal with the Alameda Recreation and Park Department to expand into Littlejohn Park.

BART trains will continue to run on normal schedules Tuesday as talks over new contracts continue, the head of the federal mediation service attempting to broker a contract deal announced early Tuesday morning.

There was a chill in the air this morning, aptly so for the first day of fall, but the rising sun held promise of another warm day.

BART's unions say they're holding off from striking for one more day in a last-ditch attempt to negotiate contracts with management. But they say a strike will come Tuesday if deals aren't reached by midnight.

The City Council meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday, October 15 in council chambers on the third floor of City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Avenue.

Welcome to the latest edition of The Broad Brush, our two-sentence news review. Here’s what happened this week.

"The Song of the Nightingale," with music, lyrics, and book by Alameda resident Min Kahng, expands upon Hans Christian Andersen's classic tale of how the Emperor of China learns the value of inner beauty and how this revelation ultimately benefits his people. The show opens tonight at Altarena Playhouse, 1409 High Street.

BART management and the rail service's unions will continue to negotiate toward new contracts today, though union leaders could strike Monday if deals aren't reached.

On Tuesday, the City Council will hold a closed-door discussion to consider proposals to purchase chunks of Alameda Point.

Every day, as I walk to and from the boat through the marina, I'm struck by the imagination of the names people put on their boats.

The state’s labor commissioner is ordering the owners of Toomie’s Thai Cuisine on Park Street to pay nearly a half million dollars in fines and wages the state claims 13 of the restaurant’s workers are owed. But the restaurant’s owner is denying the state’s claims and says he plans to appeal.

Alamedans have been known to be less than enthusiastic about the idea of chain stores on the Island. But people who stopped and shopped at Alameda’s new Target store Tuesday night were quick to declare their excitement that the discount retailer had opened an outlet in town.

Alameda’s Board of Education has selected an architect to craft a master facilities plan for the school district – its first major facilities plan in half a century.

Here's what Alameda's Board of Education discussed Tuesday night, and what you had to say about it.

The Wicked Witch of the West falls prey to Little House Cafe. Photo by Ken Carvalho.

Opponents of a proposal to build 80 luxury homes where the Harbor Bay Club now stands are saying the club was offered long ago in lieu of planned recreation space and that residents would lose their primary recreational space if the club is moved into the Harbor Bay Business Park.

When I started out on my walk Saturday morning, I was immediately struck by the fineness of the atmosphere. The air was unusually clean after the day of smoke we had Friday, and there was the faintest hint of warmth carried on the breeze.

I was warned. This is what kept echoing in my mind as I pressed the refresh button yet again on the Covered California website in my hopes of enrolling in an affordable health insurance plan on opening day. I started my application around 1 p.m., and by 3:15, I wasn’t even halfway through.

There is no doubt that the midlife transition is disconcerting. It is a time for evaluation, refocusing, looking backward and forward at the same time, and creating or enhancing values.


The Board of Education meets at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 8 in council chambers on the third floor of City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Avenue.

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Broad Brush, our weekly headline review. Here’s your news for this week.

The Bay Area Circus Arts Festival is being held this weekend at Alameda High School, and The Alamedan got a sneak peek.

A massive fire in Solano County are the likely sources of smoke Island residents are seeing and smelling today, the Alameda Fire Department has confirmed.

Alameda musicians Mark Showalter and Pat Potter played together in bands as teenagers, and they’re still playing music together today as part of the Pink Floyd cover band House of Floyd.

The City Council will consider extending its joint use agreement for Alameda’s two high school swim centers to allow more time to work out a deal to renovate Encinal Swim Center.

At Encinal High School, Dexter Moore Jr. doesn’t just talk about change – he lives it, daily. As the school’s educational equity and family engagement coordinator, Moore’s goal is to ensure that all of its students have an equal opportunity to succeed in the classroom and job market.

PICYA's 2012 Margo Brown Wheelchair Regatta. Photo by Dave Boitano.

I started last week's Maritime Report with the question, "Is it really over?"

Rush-hour traffic congestion on Alameda’s bridges and through the Webster- and Posey tubes is a constant concern.

An audience of mostly swimmers packs Alameda's City Hall on Tuesday.

Alameda's City Council talked about automated license plate readers, the high school pools and more Tuesday. Here's the tweet by tweet.

A decades-old conflict festering thousands of miles away took root on the steps of Alameda City Hall on Tuesday when more than a dozen protesters with an assortment of pro-Tibet groups forced the cancellation of a planned raising of China’s flag.

What new developments are being built in Alameda, and what others are being considered by city leaders?

The Park Street site that once served as home to Good Chevrolet will soon host a Walgreens and other retail shops – a hopeful sign to city leaders who want to see their plans to revitalize the city’s former Auto Row come to fruition.

On Wednesday I read a story in the San Francisco Chronicle that caught my attention for several reasons.