December 2013

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What were the big news stories of 2013? Here’s a month-by-month Broad Brush breakdown of the year’s Alameda news, along with links to all of 2013's big stories.

There is nothing like the pure love of a child to make one forget one's past transgressions and unworthinesses as one basks in fervent clasps and hugs and “I love you, Grandpa's.”

A multi-million dollar effort to clear the Oakland/Alameda Estuary of debris is continuing, and The Alamedan's readers caught some of the action, forwarding this video and photo of the raising of the Respect, a tug sunk in the estuary.

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Broad Brush, your 60-second news review. Here’s what happened this week.

Possibly the most ambitious dining and drinking establishment project in Island City history, Trabocco Kitchen and Cocktails opened last month at Alameda South Shore Center and has been enthusiastically embraced by the public.

Thanks to our generous donors, the holidays will be a little brighter for eleven Alameda public school teachers and their students who were recipients of November and December’s Alameda Education Foundation Adopt A Classroom (AAC) presentations.

Lan-Anh Truong was excited to learn that Alameda County had started a program to help salon owners make their workplaces safer for workers and customers alike, and on Wednesday she and her salon, Leann’s Nails, were recognized as the first in the county to earn a “Healthy Nail Salon” designation.

The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating the death of an Alameda-based seaman following a search and rescue mission in the Bering Sea, where the cutter he serves on was on a patrol assignment.

The City Council agreed Tuesday to double VF Outdoor’s existing package of tax and fee breaks, to a maximum of $2 million, in exchange for a planned expansion that could nearly double the company’s Harbor Bay Business Park campus by the end of 2020 and increase its local workforce by more than a third.

The City Council said yes to up to $1 million in tax breaks if VF Outdoor expands and no to AC Transit's plan to move a bus stop at Santa Clara and Willow. That and more in our tweet by tweet.

The Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir will perform in a Seedlings concert to raise money to send fifth graders at Ruby Bridges Elementary School to science camp. The concert is at 7 p.m.

Alameda’s public school parents have been pushing for security upgrades in the wake of a mass murder at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. and a rash of frightening incidents at schools here on the Island.

Photo courtesy of Family Radio.

Harold Camping, the preacher and radio host who convinced thousands of followers that the world would come to an end in 2011, has died. He was 92.

It is that time of year again, and this year we have the cold snap chilling our noses and toes to prove it. This is the time of year when all of us seem to have too much to do and too little time to do it in which makes for stressful days and late nights.

As Alamedans, we love our holidays – and we’re not afraid to show it. In honor of Alameda’s holiday spirit, we’ve put together a trio of short videos showcasing the Island's best holiday light displays, a locally crafted Messiah and a number from Alameda's Tap Dancing Christmas Trees.


The City Council meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday, December 17 in council chambers on the third floor of City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Avenue.

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Broad Brush, your 60-second news review. Here are your headlines for the week.

Harbor Bay Isle Associates is offering fresh details about a potential alternative to the 80 luxury homes they’d like to build at the current site of the Harbor Bay Club: A 212-room hotel and conference center, plus a restaurant offering up fine dining and a fitness center with tennis courts and a pool.

How much will it cost to provide police and fire service, parks and libraries to new residents and workers at Alameda Point? The city commissioned a study to find out.

Daisy’s owner Barbara Mooney starts buying Christmas ornaments for her Park Street boutique not too long after the New Year’s Eve ball has dropped.

“Somebody said, ‘What do you do for Thanksgiving?’ I said, ‘I enjoy my kids, because the day after, they become employees,’” Mooney quipped.

Saturday was a cold, clear night, and a pretty good breeze was blowing down the Oakland/Alameda Estuary, too. But that didn't keep the lighted boats from entertaining spectators on both the Alameda and Oakland waterfronts in this year's Lighted Yacht Parade!

The school district is accepting proposals for new magnet schools and innovative school programs that could be open for business by the fall of 2015.

Alameda's Board of Education discussed new opportunities for school choice programs, money for the Common Core rollout, did a quick seat shuffle and more. Here's the tweet by tweet.

The music department at First Congregational Church Alameda is hosting “That Perfect Light,” its annual Christmas concert, at 5 p.m. Sunday, December 15.

Why does the Alameda Fire Department send a fire engine to a medical call? And how many police officers show up to handle a car accident? The Alamedan asked local police and fire leaders how many people they deploy for a host of different incidents, and why.

We live in such different times than the olden days, no matter how long ago the olden days were. Our species clearly requires at least a tribe for an individual to exist, let alone grow and flourish and procreate.

Christine Kovach and Susan Barber have faced death for decades, Kovach as a hospice social worker and now, therapist, and Barber as a hospice volunteer coordinator who spent a decade working with people who were dying or suffering from life-threatening illnesses. When they heard about death cafés, they wanted to start one.

Who are Alameda's top 10 power users?

The Board of Education meets at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, December 10 in council chambers on the third floor of City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Avenue.

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Broad Brush, your weekly, 60-second news review. Here’s what happened this week.

The head of Alameda’s electric company is moving on to a new job after a half dozen years at the helm.

The Alameda Theatre has had many lives over its 81-year tenancy in the heart of the Island. One of them – a former dance club where Alameda’s young punks and goths once gathered – is being celebrated Saturday at the Pacific Pinball Museum.

Ellen Plotkin Mulholland lives in Alameda and teaches at Will C. Wood Middle School. The young adult fiction writer's second young adult novel, Birds on a Wire, is the saga of three close friends – Jesse, Matt, and Miguel – in the fictional Southern California town of Santa Niña.

Alameda police say people in Alameda are driving too fast - and they issued hundreds of tickets a few months back to prove it. We've complied the results of their two-week sting into a handy graphic; to check it out, click the "Read More" button.

Since I first raised the issue at the Alameda City Council meeting of an Anti-Terrorist and Contraband Enforcement Team (A-TCET) site in West Alameda, I have done some more research. What I found is somewhat alarming.

Residents and business owners in the new Alameda Landing development may pay thousands of dollars more in taxes for roads, sewers and police protection than their other Island neighbors.

Alameda's City Council will move forward on expanded state and federal lobbying efforts, performance measures for city services and a proposal that could mean thousands in additional taxes for Alameda Landing residents. Here's what happened, in tweet.

Gamelan Sekar Jaya offers the music and dance of Bali to Alameda school students. Photo courtesy of Rhythmix Cultural Works.

The Rockefeller Foundation will be helping Alameda draft plans to bounce back quickly from a natural disaster. The Island was one of 33 cities from across the world and four in the Bay Area picked to receive grant money and assistance in creating the plans through the foundation’s new 100 Resilient Cities network.

City leaders may soon be asking state and federal lawmakers for more money to develop Alameda Point, construct bike and walking trails and equip the Island’s public safety forces, and on Tuesday they’ll consider hiring a former top state legislator to help make the city’s case.

A few weeks ago, The Alamedan posted this map showing 500 locations where the city will be repairing sidewalks, through the middle of next year. The map generated a number of questions about the city's repair program - most notably, how a broken sidewalk can get on the repair list.

In the 14th century, Geoffrey Chaucer wrote: “Whan that Aprille with its flours soote...” and laid down the structure of an argument that continues to this day. Was the person widely considered the greatest poet of his age a terrible speller, poor at grammar or just uneducated?

Alameda Rotary’s Interact clubs were designed to train future Rotarians – and to provide local high schoolers with opportunities to contribute to their community.

Once women enter middle age and are aware of aging, they initially feel empty and discontent. They tell themselves they should feel fulfilled at this time in their lives. Based on prior learning and expectations, they think that their accomplishments should have led to happiness.

The City Council meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday, December 3 in council chambers on the third floor of City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Avenue.

The Alameda Food Bank's annual turkey distribution on November 26 was a smashing success. The food bank was able to distribute turkeys, fresh produce, and stuffing to over 435 needy Alamedans.