Alameda’s Special Holiday Spirit – Part III


The City of Alameda sponsored the annual Mayor’s Hometown Holiday Weekend, December 4 and 5.


The event’s key sponsors were the Alameda Recreation and Park Department and the city’s Public Works Department.

The event’s main activities were ice skating on an artificial surface, snowball fighting, animal petting and sleigh riding.


And the venue was the parking area behind City Hall, on Oak Street between Santa Clara and Lincoln avenues.

Kids and parents lined up to participate in all the enjoyable activities. Thanks to the city and city staff for organizing such a fun, popular event.



Alameda’s Special Holiday Spirit – Part II


Many thanks to the Speisekammer Restaurant and members of the Fabulous Flugelhorns for a special Christmas Eve concert from about 6 to 7 p.m. in the patio of the popular Lincoln Avenue establishment.

The San Leandro-based Fabulous Flugelhorns include three flugelhorn players who enjoy sharing traditional carols and lots of holiday cheer with a touch of the Dickens era. (Flugelhorns are brass instruments that resemble trumpets, but have a wider, conical bore or center tube.)

At the Speisekammer, the talented musicians played Christmas favorites like “Silent Night” and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” outside, while Speisekammer staff served duck and other holiday delicacies inside.

Thanks for adding such a wonderful touch of the holidays to Alameda!


Alameda’s Special Holiday Spirit – Part I


Many thanks to Pappo Restaurant for hosting its third-annual Community Soup Kitchen on Christmas Eve from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at its Central Avenue location.

About 60 guests came to the eatery for soup, conversation and more. Most were Alameda residents, according to staff.


Pappo’s chef and owner John Thiel said about 30 volunteers helped with the event, including foreign-exchange students visiting the area from Germany and other countries. Many of his friends and family members, some from Michigan and Florida, for instance, also helped serve food.


Pappo staff and other community members donated sweaters, scarves, hats and other items for a holiday gift shop at the restaurant.

Thanks again for sharing warm meals, warm clothing and other warmth, Pappo!



One More Pre-Christmas Day for Alameda Shoppers, as Special Events Continue


Alameda Towne Centre is staging some final Christmas-themed activities for kids as part of this year’s last big holiday shopping day, Friday, December 24.

From 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., children can make balloon creations with Mr. Shaps. And from 12 to 2 p.m., they can enjoy a “Cotton Candy Express” sing-a-long.

The events will take place in Santa’s Workshop, on the west side of the mall near Kohl’s.

On the other side of town, Webster Street’s Winter Island continues through the end of the month.

The next event is set to take place on Sunday, December 26, with a lounge-music gathering starting at 6:30 p.m. at Webster and Pacific Avenue. DJ Cutso and friends will lead the fun evening, which includes a discussion about DJ work and demonstrations.

Guests with same-day receipts from Alameda businesses get in for free.

Starting at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, December 27, a swing concert is planned, featuring Stompy Jones, who is known for jumpin’ rhythm and retro style.

The opening band that night is the Hi-Rhythm Huslters, and in between bands, DJ Tanoa “Samoa Boy” will be spinning vinyl records.


Alameda Interim City Attorney Reportedly Leaving for Barstow

It began as a video-taped event on Monday, December 20, and Alameda City Attorney Teresa Highsmith’s departure for Barstow remains unconfirmed on the Island as of Thursday, December 23.

The San Francisco Chronicle posted a video clip of Highsmith accepting a job in Barstow on Monday. Blogger John Knox White also notes on the site that she is set to start her new post in Southern California on Friday, December 24.

Know White says that Barstow contracts out its City Attorney position to Colontuono and Levin, the law firm hired by the city to investigate Alameda City Councilwoman Lena Tam earlier this year.

Yvette Abich-Garcia, the outgoing city attorney for Barstow, said Highsmith would take over the position effective December 24, reported Peter Hegarty of the Alameda Journal on Thursday, December 23.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Hegarty says in his story, Highsmith had not resigned from her Island post, and her contract specifically requires that she provide the city with at least a 60-day written notice if she plans to quit or retire.

Barstow is located in San Bernadino County on I-15 (and the start of I-40), north of San Bernadino, west of the Mojave Dessert and east of Bakersfield.

Highsmith’s replacement will join a growing list of interim officials in town, including Mike Noonan, interim police chief; Mike Fisher, interim fire chief; and Anne Marie Gallant, interim city manager.

Also, Alameda may be hiring an interim economic development director next month, when Leslie Little is set to leave the position.


Possible Amelia Earhart Remains Found

The latest news on aviation legend Amelia Earhart emerged this Friday, December 17, when scientists at the Univeristy of Oklahoma revealed plans to test founds recently found in the South Pacific for DNA.

According to the Associated Press, three bone fragments were recently found on a deserted South Pacific island that lay along the course Earhart was following when she vanished on July 2, 1937.

Ric Gillespie, director of the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, a group of aviation enthusiasts in Delaware that found the pieces of bone this year while on an expedition to Nikumaroro Island, about 1,800 miles south of Hawaii, is leading the quest.

According to the news report, it could be months before scientists know for sure — and it could turn out the bones are not even human. The fragments were found near a hollowed-out turtle shell.

Students at Amelia Earhart Elementary School on Bay Farm, staff of the Alameda Naval Air Museum and other Earhart fans in Alameda will certainly follow this story closely.


West Alameda Kicks Off Winter Island


West Alameda’s series of holiday events — Winter Island — began Thursday, December 16, and continues through the end of the month.

The two-week festival for families features holiday movie classics, a holiday pet parade and market, children’s activities and performances, seasonal culinary demonstrations and wine tasting, as well as concerts and musical performances.

Events take place in a heated tent at Webster Street and Pacific Avenue sponsored by the West Alameda Business Association and the City of Alameda.

Events include:
– Friday, December 17: Evening of Appreciation, hosted by Alameda PTA Council, 5 to 9 p.m.
– Saturday, December 18: Pet Market 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Pet Parade 10:30 a.m. to noon.
– Sunday, December 19: Kids activities from 1 to 4 p.m; Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys at 7 p.m.
– Monday, December 20: Culinary Night from 6 to 9 p.m.
– Tuesday, December 21: Music Night at 6 p.m.
– Wednesday, December 22: Children’s Music Performance from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

For a full schedule, go to the event’s website.

Most events are free or half price if you can show a receipt from a local business on the day of the event.

“This is the first time we’re helping to stage this, and we’re thrilled to do it,” said Kathy Moehring, executive director of WABA. “The city wanted to do some events in different part of the Island, including some that would bring folks to Webster Street.”

An extra evening event has been added and is set to take place from 5 to 9 p.m. on December 17, organizers say. “The PTAs are asking families to come out and support local businesses, while enjoying shopping and eating on the West End. They want to thank the community for its support that night with refreshments and socializing,” said Leslie Little, the city’s economic-development director.

On December 18, kids and enjoy a pet market and visit by Santa Paws, starting at 9 a.m. And at 10:30 a.m., there will be a pet parade and holiday-costume contest during the Farmer’s Market. Categories for the contest are: best pet costume, pet and owner look-a-like, silly pet trick, and best tail wagging. Pet owners with a same-day receipt from an Alameda store or restaurant get a special doggy bag.

From 1 to 4 p.m. on December 19, there will be kids’ activities featuring holiday storytellers, arts and crafts, while from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on December 22, Winter Island showcases local children’s groups, such as choirs, orchestras and bands and more. At the same time on the evening of December 28, children’s dance groups will perform.

Adults are invited to see Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys perform at 7:30 p.m. on December 19, when tickets are $10 each (or $5 with a same-day receipt). And another swing band – Stompy Jones – is set to take the stage on December 27 for $5 (or free with a same-day Alameda receipt). A jazz group will perform at the same time on December 21, with a rock group scheduled for December 26.

Winter Island features a special culinary night with local chefs from 6 to 9 p.m. on December 20 for $5 (or free with a same-day Alameda receipt), and a wine-tasting extravaganza on December 29 from 7 to 10 p.m. for $20 (or $10 with a same-day receipt).

Major sponsors for Winter Island are NRC Environmental and Gallagher and Lindsay.


Alameda’s High Street Station Does Comedy Shows & More


High Street Station is kicking off a series of comedy shows on Tuesday nights this month, along with fund-raising and donation activities for Toy for Tots.

This Tuesday, December 7, comedian Reggie Steele will be the featured performer. On December 14, the show will be led by Sandy Stec, while on December 21, Joe Nguyen is the head-liner.

The event on December 7 starts at the coffeehouse, 1303 High Street, which is being decked out for the holidays by the Native Daughters of California, who are co-hosting the event.

Tickets are $5-$15, with some proceeds going to Toys for Tots.

Also appearing at High Street Station this month are Mr. and Mrs Santa Clause, who will stop by for photos from 1-3 p.m. every Saturday. Photo-taking proceeds will benefit Toy for Tots, as well.

And from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, December 16, the Ballena Bay Yacht Club and High Street Station (HSS) will host a dinner event and raffle for Toys for Tots at the yacht club.

For those who can’t make one of these events, please drop new unwrapped toys in the Toys for Tots bins at High Street Station, the Aeolian Yacht Club or Ballena Bay Yacht Club.

Susan Timney and other HSS staff wish the community a safe and enjoyable holiday season.


Alameda Network Group Throws Big Holiday Event

The Alameda Business Network held a popular holiday get-together and fund-raiser on Thursday, December 2, at Rhythmix Cultural Works. The group now includes about 35 members.


Several dozen members and guests were greeted by members of the Fourth Force Reconnaissance Company, which has its office on Clement Avenue, and the U. S. Coast Guard’s Electronic Support Detachment in Alameda. The servicemen were collecting unwrapped gifts for the Toys for Tots program. Guests donating a new toy got a free raffle ticket.


The event also raised funds for Operation Mom, a Castro Valley-based group that supports families of the military and sends care packages to troops worldwide, with ticket sales ($10 each), a silent auction and raffle.

Palacios Brothers Construction staff and family members cooked and donated food for the event, while local vintners and other businesses donated wine and other treats.



Alameda Power to Hold Light Exchange


This Saturday, December 4, Alameda residents can exchange an old string of holiday lights with a new energy-efficient one.

Alameda Municipal Power asks community members to meet at City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Avenue, between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m.

The exchange is taking place as part of the Mayor’s Hometown Holiday Weekend. For the exchange, residents must bring a string of old holiday lights and a copy of their electric bill; they will then receive one free string of new energy-efficient LED lights.

Also on December 4, the annual Lighted Boat Parade takes place along the estuary (near Marina Village) after sunset.