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In Alameda: Life on the Bay

I was off-grid a bit more than I expected last week. Colorado! Home of high mountains and lots of greenery. But I’m back, and ready to live, once again, the Island life. The weekly column I write for our home-town press the Alameda Journal is up online line. This week it’s “Soaking up life on the Bay.”


Past “Life on the Island” columns
June 24, 2008: Alamedans get back to basics to save environment
June 17, 2008: Fear can limit the joys of childhood
June 10, 2008: Never underestimate the power of one
June 3, 2008: Paying the price to have good schools
May 27, 2008: A civil rights issue in our time
May 20, 2008: What’s cooking in the hot weather?
May 12, 2008: When a man needs a cave
May 5, 2008: Enjoying that small-town feel
April 28, 2008: Support of tax teaches lesson
April 21, 2008: New garage can be a good habit
April 14, 2008: When the earth shakes, duck
April 7, 2008: Snails, ants, lice and light brown apple moths

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In Alameda: Friendly on the wallet, friendly on the planet

The weekly column I write for the Alameda Journal is up online. This one is about the growing understanding of the importance of making environmentally-sustainable choices and, too, the rising cost of basic goods and services. It cost me over $75 dollars to fill up my gas tank last week!


Past “Life on the Island” columns

June 17, 2008: Fear can limit the joys of childhood
June 10, 2008: Never underestimate the power of one
June 3, 2008: Paying the price to have good schools
May 27, 2008: A civil rights issue in our time
May 20, 2008: What’s cooking in the hot weather?
May 12, 2008: When a man needs a cave
May 5, 2008: Enjoying that small-town feel
April 28, 2008: Support of tax teaches lesson
April 21, 2008: New garage can be a good habit
April 14, 2008: When the earth shakes, duck
April 7, 2008: Snails, ants, lice and light brown apple moths

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A teary wave to Alameda’s Karlyn Taylor

KarlynTaylorEach and every time I go into a classroom filled with small children and spend more than a few moments there I come away with renewed gratitude and respect for those among us, elementary school teachers I mean, who have the intestinal fortitude and whatever other strength of character it takes to spend days with young children, in sets of 20, helping them grow and learn.

Children are loud! They don’t always have complete control of their body fluids! And they need to learn all sorts of things, from the difference between to, two and too, to how to listen to a peer talking while they, too, have something to say (many adults, by the way, never master either of these two skills).

In any case, my oldest child was lucky enough to have Karlyn Taylor, who was profiled two weeks back in the Alameda Journal. What I found most remarkable about Mrs. Taylor (aside from the fact that she was teaching in the classroom in which she herself attended kindergarten decades back) was that she created, in a classroom of high readers and low readers, socially gifted and socially awkward, native English speakers and ESL students, the warmest and friendliest social environment. Those children cared for one another, and learned how to show it. As my daughter said, “I love Mrs. Taylor.” So happy retirement Mrs. T, and thanks for all your love.

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California’s plan to spray light brown apple moth suspended

As many of you may recall, back in April there was a big to-do about the the State of California’s plan to spray synthetic pheromones in plastic microcapsules over Alameda (and other Bay Area cities) in an effort to eradicate the light brown apple moth. The news today is that the state has halted their controversial strategy. You can read the Contra Costa Times story about it here. And Michele Ellson over at The Island has more detail as well.

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No bikes, scooters, skateboards in Alameda parks?

Thanks are due to John Knox White who attended Tuesday night’s Alameda City Council meeting and reported on a municipal code change to ban ‘muscle-powered’ vehicles in city parks. In his post about the meeting (which I urge you to read in its entirety) he wrote:

The council must have been in quite a hurry to get to the budget last night because that’s the only excuse I can come up with for how the council could get into a discussion on banning skateboarding in a parking garage (not a terrible idea) and vote unanimously to ban bikes, skateboards, scooters and ALL muscular powered vehicles from all city parks unless the city puts up signs saying it’s “permitted.”

AND:

In the spirit of children’s entertainment, I’ll suggest the council call for a “do over” and bring this back whether a second reading is called for or not.

It would be hard not to think that this action was taken with undue haste. And it sounds like, procedure-wise, the law needs to come up for consideration a second time before it is finalized. Councilmember Frank Matarrese acknowledged flaws in the process. “The discussion around this first reading of the proposed ordinance missed some obvious points,” he wrote in an email. “So I think we have to focus back on the goal of putting safety rules into effect for our parking lots and the parking structure.” You can always email your city council.

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Oil comes ashore at Alameda’s Crown Beach

We did not go to the beach today—the kids had cooking camp in the morning and then my daughter had ballet this afternoon—but from this just posted Oakland Tribune story (the Tribune is part of the sisterhood of newspapers that includes our hometown Alameda Journal) it sounds like there were tar balls and oil sheen that forced the closing of Robert Crown Memorial State Beach this afternoon. My guess is that tomorrow will not be a good beach day, either. KRON 4 has the story, too.

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The Island connection: “Barack Obama-sistible”

The news making the Alameda email rounds is that Clifford Lane, a Brooklyn resident and the husband of Alameda High School graduate Megan Fenstermaker (’88), will be appearing on Conan O’Brian tonight. He’ll be performing, with his band Detroit Octane, their song, “Barack Obama-sistible.” (The song was also featured on a CNN newscast in April.) According to Island resident Amy Fenstermaker (Clifford’s sister-in-law) we can catch the performance at 12 or 12:30 a.m. Or you can watch the song below (Clifford is the bass player).


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Life on the Island: Where do the children play?

This week’s column, “Fear can limit the joys of childhood,” is now up. You can find all Alameda Journal stories online, too.


Past “Life on the Island” columns

June 10, 2008: Never underestimate the power of one
June 3, 2008: Paying the price to have good schools
May 27, 2008: A civil rights issue in our time
May 20, 2008: What’s cooking in the hot weather?
May 12, 2008: When a man needs a cave
May 5, 2008: Enjoying that small-town feel
April 28, 2008: Support of tax teaches lesson
April 21, 2008: New garage can be a good habit
April 14, 2008: When the earth shakes, duck
April 7, 2008: Snails, ants, lice and light brown apple moths

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Google’s ‘Street View’ comes to Alameda

I admit I had not heard of Google Street View until yesterday (thanks goes, yet again, to my research assistant for the heads up). The street-by-street 360 degree view service, launched by Google in five cities in May of 2007, has expanded and is now here in Alameda. What does it mean? It means you can go online and enter an address and move, in a virtual way, at street level through Alameda. You can start here in front of the new theatre (the pictures were obviously taken before construction was complete—and, too, before the Pepsi truck hit the theater sign). It’s pretty cool, actually, in an-oh-my-gosh-my-front-door-is-open kind of way (ours was ajar at the time the pictures were taken).