Multicultural Event Comes to West End

The Alameda Multicultural Community Center, 1900 Third Street, is hosting a special event, Unity Day, from 12 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 1.

There will be live entertainment — such as the Halau Makana Polynesian Dance Company, along with the Bend Luis Ensemble and Cougar Cadet Corps.

Food, including barbecue, will be shared. Also, information booths for families and face-painting activities for kids will be offered.

Karen Vital, school superintendent, will speak, along with Renewed Hope President Laura Thomas.

The venue is the Woodstock Education Center, which serves kids and families in the area.


Yacht Clubs’ Diverse Activities

At the Aeolian Yacht Club, a nautical swap meet and flea market is set for Saturday, October 1, from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Club members and community members are also invited to attend one of the regular Tuesday night dinners being held at the club in cooperation with High Street Station.

Members of the Ballena Bay Yacht Club, which recently hosted the Eric Stone Band, are getting ready for special Italian feast this Saturday. The club says Jennifer and Steve Bolentini are sharing some of their family recipes with its members as part of the affair.

Over at the Oakland Yacht Club, Oktoberfest will be celebrated on Saturday in the Regatta Room. A special buffet, including Guinness bratwurst, is planned. (Across town and a few blocks from the Estuary, the Speisekammer Restaurant is hosting its Oktoberfest on Sunday afternoon with entertainment provided by the Golden Gate Bavarian Dance Club.)


Women’s Sailing Program Set for This Weekend

The Island Yacht Club is hosting the 19th annual Northern California Women’s Sailing Seminar both these days this weekend, October 1-2, to give women a special opportunity to learn about sailing from other women in and around Alameda Marina.

On the first day, students can participate in courses taught in classrooms and on the water that focus on basic and advanced sailing, including topics such as docking, anchoring, navigating and racing.

The second day gives women sailors a chance to race on the Oakland-Alameda Estuary or cruise on the Bay.

To register online on Friday, September 30, visit the event’s website.


Acrobats Come to Slip at Encinal

This weekend Encinal Yacht Club is opening its doors – or rather its slips – to a high-flying circus act performing aboard the visiting yacht La Loupiote.

The cruising family members will put on their show at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. both days this weekend in order to entertain the community and build up their “cruising kitty.”

The yacht club also says that popular junior-sailing director Mallory McCollum Bozina is moving out of the Bay Area. While the club is sorry to see her go, its members are welcoming her replacement, Andrew Nelson.

For information on future shows, see this online posting.


Frank Bette to Host En Plein Air Events

The Frank Bette Center for the Arts is hosting the final days of its En Plein Air Show through Saturday, October 1.

The fresh-air paintings are on display from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. They include the 2011 PAPo winner Sterling Hoffman for Spanish House, Sidewalk Cafe by Carol Trazier and California Views by Inna Cherney Kina.

The Frank Bette Award went to Loreta Landucci for Old Friends. And Honorable Mention Awards were given to Sergio Mendez for Put That Fire Out, Dorallen Davis for The Reader and Linda Darsow Sutton for Eckley Afternoon.

The Frank Bette Center is also hosting satellite art shows at High Street Station, Urban Island, Gallagher & Lindsey and Eyewise Optometry.

Artists are invited to come and paint al fresco for Wednesday, October 5, to Saturday, October 8.

The art center says it needs a new calendar for 2012 and is staging a special non-juried Plein Air event for this project. For more information and to register, go online to the center’s website page.

The big show and sale will be at South Shore Center on Saturday, October 8. In addition to the calendar awards, there will be cash prizes for People’s Choice, Volunteer’s Choice and Peer’s Choice.


Crown Beach Cleanup ’11: ‘Another Success’

This year’s Coastal Cleanup on Crown Beach on Saturday, Sept. 17, drew 592 people to the waterfront, and they picked up about a ton of trash, organizers say. “It was another successful year – another banner year, in fact,” said Kerry Parker of the Public Works Department.

There’s some discussion about the level of activity in 2011 vs. 2010, and Parker wants to set the record straight on this matter. Last year’s effort involved not only Crown Beach but also the waterfront area by the Encinal Boat Ramp, she says. As a result, the number of volunteers was higher and more litter, including large pieces of trash, was collected in 2010.

Across the state, the number of Coastal Cleanup volunteers has been growing in recent years, she adds, while the total quantity of trash collected has declined. “This means that our efforts are having a measurable impact,” Parker explained.

Still, she says, trash from city streets gets into the Bay when it rains via storm drains, so residents need to be sure that everything from cigarette butts to plastic-bottle caps are put into the garbage each day.

Alameda residents who want to support regular, perhaps monthly, efforts to clean up Crown Beach should contact the East Bay Regional Park District supervisor for the area, Kevin Takei, at (510) 544-3171. And feel free to contact this blog site about such efforts, so we can spread the word on how Alamedans can protect our waterfront.


Vice Mayor Bonta to Stage Town Hall

Alameda Vice Mayor Rob Bonta is hosting his third town hall meeting with residents from 6 to 8 p.m. this Thursday, September 29, according to meeting organizers.

At the meeting, which will be held at High Street Station, 1303 High Street (at Encinal Avenue), Bonta hopes to get community input on current issues facing Alameda. Bonta also will make a brief presentation, followed by a question-and-answer session.

Bonta, who was elected to the Alameda City Council in late 2010, plans to run for California State Assembly in 2012 in order to represent residents in the 16th Assembly District, which includes Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro. The current Assembly representative, Sandre Swanson, cannot run for another term because of term limits.


Coastal Cleanup Set for This Saturday

What: Coastal Cleanup Day
When: 8:30 a.m.-12 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 17
Where: Robert W. Crown Memorial State Beach, Shoreline Drive at Park Street

Last year, a record 82,500 Coastal Cleanup volunteers — including about 700 in Alameda — collected more than 1.2 million pounds of trash and recyclables across the state by working on more than 2,600 miles of coast and inland shoreline in 53 counties. Supporters of the Coastal Cleanup hope they can meet or beat these results tomorrow, September 17.

“This is a way to change things for the good of the community, for the betterment of the environment and for what we care for, right at home,” said Kevin Fox, coordinator of coastal clean-up activities and community resources, including volunteers, for the East Bay Regional Park District in Oakland.

“These efforts can support the cleaning up of our streets and neighborhoods, and that’s ultimately where we need to go,” Fox explained. “Plastic goes onto the streets and into the storm drains, it runs along into our parks and shorelines, and it’s already on a huge scale.”

Along the shoreline in Alameda and at other East Bay locations, he says, data will be collected and used to educate the community about the prevalence of plastic bottle caps, containers and cigarette butts as major sources of pollution.

“We pick up a tremendous amount of waste that day and should be doing so daily,” said Fox. “It’s critical and is becoming more and more of our focus as we work on making sure our storm drains are clear of debris.”

Plastic gets broken up and then eaten by animals, which hurts them, of course, he says.

To cut down on plastic used at the cleanup event, volunteers are asked to bring a reusable water bottle, reusable bucket or bag and their own gloves. Also, organizers suggest that volunteers wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes on Saturday.

Alameda students can receive community-service credits for participating. For such credits, students should bring the appropriate paperwork with them to the volunteer sign-up tables on Shoreline, said Kevin Takei, supervisor at Crown Beach for EBRPD. “We will have signs, tables and information about what we are doing and really hope that the community members can help us clean up in both directions along the beach as much as they are able.”


Teachers Get Extra School Supplies

Earlier this week, Alameda Education Foundation (AEF) president Bill Sonneman (left) gave teacher Michael Wong of Paden Elementary School a school-supplies gift card as part of the group’s teacher and classroom support program.

AEF presented gift cards to 54 teachers who recently joined the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) to help them purchase supplies and materials for their new classrooms.

The non-profit organization also supports teachers and classrooms with an Adopt A Classroom program, which provides $500 to teachers to be used to enhance student learning; teacher mini-grants, which provide funds for classroom projects and materials; and a school supply and instrument drive, which collects backpacks, school supplies and musical instruments to students in need.

More information on these programs and other AEF work can be found online on the group’s website.

(Photo courtesy of AEF)


Alameda Artist Part of Berkeley Show

Alameda artist Jon Kerpel is part of new art show being presented from September 16 to December 2 at Expressions Gallery, 2035 Ashby Ave., in Berkeley. The show, entitled “Animals and Pets We Cherish,” will host its opening celebration from 6 to 8 p.m., featuring music by Sallie Hannah Rhyne on keyboard and Dave Topham on trumpet.

A pet adoption will also take place in the sculpture garden, and refreshments will be served.

“Animals and Pets We Cherish ” focuses attention on what can be done to save vanishing animals and protect pets from extinction. Sales of artwork from the show will help support the gallery’s planned donation to the East Bay SPCA.

(Friday-night literature, poetry readings and open mike will take place from 7–9 p.m. On September 16, performers are Judy Bebelaar, Gail Newman and Fernando D. Castro, while Joie Cook and Richard Loranger are set to appear on October 21.)

Alameda-based Kerpel turns discarded objects into challenging mixed-media creations. And, recently, his popular green-themed works were shown at an office building in downtown Oakland for a show organized by the Oakland Museum of California.

Kerpel had his show “Earth Temples” in Alameda in October 2010, and previously his work has appeared at Autobody Fine Art and Rhythmix Cultural Works.

The artist, a native of New York, came to the Bay Area in 1982, after studying at the School of Visual Arts in Brooklyn. He’s worked for years as a handyman, which has taught him “how to make things … and how to dumpster dive,” he joked during an interview. “I see the value in many things that shouldn’t be thrown away.”

Kerpel picks up lamps, lanterns, wood signs, frames and wide assortment of objects for his creations for free or for a low price by shopping online. He also scouts out local flea markets on a regular basis.

The artist draws many of his themes from the news and civilization’s impact on the environment. The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, for example, inspired him to make “Gulf Waters.”

“My message is about the environment and what we’re doing to it. I feel intensely about what is happening, and so I make temples and shrines to memorialize what’s going on,” Kerpel explained. “This is history, and people need to know that we’re not going in the right direction when it comes to our stewardship of the planet.”