Alameda’s New Zealander Pub: Closed

Friends and neighbors of the New Zealander Restaurant and Pub say the popular West Alameda spot closed its doors in late January.

The New Zealander had been open for several years at 1400 Webster Street, next to Croll’s Pizza in the Croll’s Building.

 The proprietors were Clive and Donna Hitchens. The pub’s website explains that Clive was named New Zealand’s Chef of the Year in 1988.

Bands like “The Lost Cats” played there regularly on Fridays.

We are looking into what factors, like the weak economy, may have contributed to its closure.


Alameda’s Rooster Roadhouse: Teen Bands Take Stage

Rooster’s Roadhouse at the corner of Clement and Grand will be hopping tomorrow, January 30, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Bands that include Alameda High School students will be taking the stage: A Conorted Smile, ThatJustHappened, Finish Ticket and DJ Madizon.

Tickets are $6-$10.

The bar features a big band every Wednesday night, which has some community members celebrating.

There’s quite a lot of talk online about the place, not all of it positive, but much of it coloful (like the place itself, or at least it’s reputation.) 

Let us know what you think of the bands and the scene there.


Alameda High Showcases Talent

Students at Alameda High School are bring lots of talent — and fun to the Kofman Auditorium, 2201 Encinal Ave., at 7:30 p.m. this Friday, January 29.

They will present the Peter Pan Talent Show — which will feature many of the most talented students performing songs, dances and instrumental music from around the world.

The cost is $7-$10, and all the proceeds will benefit the school’s next show, “Peter Pan.”

Please come out to support this group of talented teens and the high school’s next musical.


Alameda Coffeehouse Expands Hours, Events and More

The managers and owners of High Street Station coffeehouse say they have expanded hours to 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

The group has also applied for a liquor license with the city, so it can serve beer and wine.

In addition, its grand opening this weekend — from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday — will include live entertainment, as well as music on its recently added jukebox and two pianos.

The group hopes to draw a community crowd next weekend as well, when it hosts a ’50s-’60s musicians, the  Jukebox Band from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on February 6.


Alameda’s Pinata Restaurant Supports Haiti Relief Effort

Three cheers for Alameda’s La Pinata Mexican Restaurant on Park Street.

Today, the restaurant planned to give part of its earnings to the Red Cross’ Haiti Relief Effort to help victims of that island’s recent earthquake.

The traffic at La Pinata today, Monday, wasn’t as busy as it can be on Fridays and Saturday. But, hopefully, the steady crowd was enough for the restaurant to be able to make a generous contribution.

The Guzman family know how to treat its local and global communities right, often donating funds, food and drink for charities.

Just a few months ago, for instance, the owners shared a large supply of margaritas to the Dance for the Cure breast-cancer benefit.

Gracias, amigos.


Alameda Hosts Children’s Film Fest This Weekend

The second-annual Bay Area International Children’s Film Festival is going on this weekend (January 23-24) at Michaan’s Auction, 2700 Saratoga Street, at Alameda Point.

Festival tickets are $10-$20, and the event includes short films, feature films, animated shorts and live-action films.

Kids (and parents) can also enjoy food and drinks at the Reel Cafe, as well as animation workshops and street games with Pixas artists and filmmakers attending the event.

The subject matter of the films ranges from Leonardo da Vinci to kart racing.  

Go to the event’s website for more details.


Alameda’s Midway Shelter Needs Coats & More

Some local runners and Alamedans are set to collect coats for women and children staying at the Midway Shelter.

The collection will take place this Saturday night, January 23, at the Speisekammer, 2424 Lincoln Ave., when members of the East Bay Front Runners & Walkers will meet at the German pub and restaurant for a membership meeting.

Michael Collier, an Alameda native, says the group’s board is meeting there and also will be collecting coats, jackets, scarves, hats, sweaters, gloves, mittens and other winter items for women and their family members staying at Alameda’s Midway Shelter.

The EBFRW has been working with One Warm Coat to donate to the organization.

If you can’t drop off items on Saturday, the group will try and leave a box for donations to be dropped off over the weekend.

EBFRW is a group of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgenders and friends who get together to run and walk in scenic locations on the east side of San Francisco Bay every Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m. On the first Saturday of the month, the group meets at Veterans Court on the Bay Farm side of the Bay Farm Island Bridge.

As for Saturday’s event, close to 50 people have RSVP’d; so the gathering should be a lot of fun, and the coat drive should be quite successful.

Also of note, EBFRW also donates athletic shoes to give to homeless shelters and hospitals.


To follow up on yesterday’s news: The Alameda County Coroner’s Office released the name of the young adult who was found in the estuary off Grand Street early Wednesday and died several hours later at Alameda Hospital – Ryan Kevin Devine, 24.


Alameda Hit By Storms, as Other News Unfolds

It’s been a week of wild weather — and wild news — and it’s only Wednesday!

As a series of storms (shown above in a recent image from the National Weather Service) brought lots of rain to the Island, ferry service on the Oakland-Alameda Ferry service was disrupted this morning. It did resume this afternoon.

Service to and from Harboy Bay was not interrupted.  But it’s good to check the latest news for both ferries during the winter.

Early morning on January 20, reports Michelle Ellson of The Island, members of the Coast Guard responded to cries for help from a 25-year-old man in the water near Grand Marina. He later died at Alameda Hospital, possibly due to hypothermia.

A day earlier, the Alameda Journal’s Peter Hegarty reported the recent arrest of  a woman who’d stolen property from Alameda resident and opera star Frederica van Stade. The alleged thief had sold some items through Michaan’s Auctions, on the former Alameda Naval Station, which has been cooperating with police in reuniting von Stade’s family with the stolen items.

For those looking to pick up some interesting items at below-auction prices, namely driftwood, here’s your chance. During the afternoon of January 19 (when it was high tide and a few kiteboarders were out), Crown Beach was littered with with driftwood, including one large light-colored curved piece shaped like a beached sea lion.

Just watch your step.  At least one fish that measuring about 40 inches had washed up on the beach, too.

To check the wind and other conditions on Crown Beach at any time, go the website of the Kite Wind Surf shop on the beach. The wind camera is taking a winter break; but the wind readings (speed, direction and gust) as well as the weather updates are live.


Alameda Says Its Pruning Time

The city is hosting a neighborhood meeting to discuss the maintenance pruning of 126 Liquidamber trees on Gibbons Drive — from Central Avenue to High Street — at 7 p.m., Thursday, January 28, at Edison School, 2700 Buena Vista Ave., in the Multi-Purpose Room.

The pruning takes place every five years for the long-term health of the trees; it also helps reduce the chance that limbs will break during heavy winds and storms. Before the work begins, a Certified Registered Consulting Arborist must inspect each tree to determine what pruning should be done.

The work, set to start in early February, will be performed by A-Plus Tree Service, a licensed tree trimming contractor. The city says staff from the Public Works Department will monitor these activities. Depending on the weather, the pruning should take two to four weeks.

For more information, contact Todd Williams of Public Works at 747-7900.



Alameda Celebrates Poetry

Saint Joseph Notre Dame High School senior Sarah Su has been honored as Alameda’s first high school poet laureate. She was recognized and read some of her poems on January 16 at the Alameda Museum.

According to her high school, Su was not outspoken as a child, “finding it difficult sometimes to show the world who she really was. She began to write poetry and slowly, over time, she gained confidence and self assurance.”

“Face it,” she wrote in a poem with the same name in 2008:  “A mirror is a piece of glass. Nothing that can tell the past. Nothing that can make people see what it is like to be you or me.”

The Alameda Island Poets recognized her work, as have faculty at her school.

“Her themes are reflective,” says Elizabeth Norris, a teacher and faculty advisor for Prisms, the literary and art magazine at SJND. “Her work celebrates who she is.”

Mary Rudge, the poet laureate for Alameda, introduced Sarah at the museum event, which was held to honor local writing legend Jack London on his birthday and featured poetry, dance and art. “Your school and your poet laureate will be making history in Alameda as the 2010 High School Poet Laureate and will be first high school student to hold this title in the city,” Rudge says.

 Alameda Island Poets hold different events during the year. They also host special workshops at the Main Library on the second Wednesday of the month, from 6 p.m. to about 8 p.m.

Poets should bring 10 copies of an unfinished work.