The Broad Brush: Your News in 60 Seconds

The Broad Brush: Your News in 60 Seconds

Michele Ellson

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

The head of Alameda’s electric company is moving on to a new job after half a dozen years at the helm. Alameda Municipal Power General Manager Girish Balchandran, who has been widely praised for extracting the utility from its failed telecom venture and for initiating efforts to pull the utility into a higher-tech future, will head Riverside Public Utilities, a much larger municipal utility.

Who are Alameda's top 10 power users? The Alamedan put the list into this handy graphic.

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.

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.

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. Proposals for new programs will be due in June, while those from schools seeking to copy existing programs are due a few months earlier, in March.

While much of the attention paid to the holiday shopping season is focused on major retailers and the deals they’re offering on “it” gifts to entice customers, holiday sales are equally critical to the small, independent retailers whose shops populate Alameda’s Park Street shopping district. And while local merchants may not be able to compete with big box retailers on price, they said they offer customers more unique gifts to put under the Christmas tree and much better service than they’ll find in chain stores.

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.

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. Specifics of the alternative plan were laid out in a letter the city Harbor Bay Isle Associates submitted to the city Monday.

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 how much it will ultimately cost.

News in brief(er): Alameda High School remained open Wednesday despite a threat graffitied on a bathroom wall … police netted 22 pounds of marijuana and $40,000 in cash during a routine traffic stop … and Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter is poised to release a strategic plan for the Alameda Animal Shelter.