People

Local author Denby Montana – a.k.a. Owen Mould – is a man of adventure. Having “hitchhiked north to south in this country,” gathered experiences in a slew of different odd jobs and earned a masters degree in creative writing, he seeks to “restore a sense of humanity” in his work. In his new novel, Mule Sonata, Montana writes about the history of Alta California, intertwining the stories of three families from the beginning of time. He recently answered questions from The Alamedan about what prompted him to write the book; an edited Q&A is below. Meanwhile, Montana’s new book is available online.

In the mid-1950s, Alameda was home to the great comedienne Phyllis Diller. Fast forward to present day and meet Alameda gal, stand up comic, activist and motivational speaker Nina G.

Nielsen Tam, a longtime educator and second-term school board member hailed as a soft-spoken champion for Alameda’s youth and for equity in the Island’s schools, died Sunday night after a months-long battle with leukemia. He was 69.

“Niel helped us move forward as a school district and as a community, without looking for his own personal gain, but for the betterment of educating our children,” said Margie Sherratt, who worked with Tam both as an educator and school board member.

Joi Lin Blake knows the potential that can be unlocked by obtaining an education. She has spent her professional life helping those who need a hand obtaining the academic knowledge and training needed for success.

James Hahn had the most remarkable look on his face late Sunday, standing on the 14th green at the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles. This was the third hole of a sudden death playoff for the Northern Trust Open.

Moments earlier he was staring at the ground, looking quite a bit stunned, very much like he wondered what he had just done. He was waiting for the reprisal, and it came – a groan from the crowd.

He looked up with an expression on his face very much like that of a kid who just got caught with his hands in the cookie jar. But this was no ordinary cookie. Hahn’s life had just changed, dramatically.

Girls Inc. of the Island City has provided services to children in Alameda for over half a century. For nearly a decade, Karen Kenney has helmed the organization as its executive director, and this week, she embarks on a new adventure: retirement.

For those who have had the pleasure of knowing him, this will forever ring true: The Rev. Roger Bauer is a man you won't forget.

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Ann Beret Johnsen, a fourth generation Alamedan, watched from the Senate gallery as President Lyndon Johnson signed the act into law. At First Congregational Church of Alameda, Johnsen has created a display to commemorate the signing.

Alameda resident Mercedes Cohen is the author of “Giovanni Is Here,” a new play produced recently at Ross Valley Players as part of its RAW (Ross Alternative Works) program. The Alamedan caught up with Cohen, who answered some questions about herself and her play.

As a two-time performer at Carnegie Hall, former honors soloist for the Colorado and Stanford Suzuki Institute, and second-place winner of the 2014 American Protégé Competition for Piano and Strings, Alameda cellist Isabelle Brown-Lyden has the resume of a professional – and she’s just 12 years old.