First Friday Is Art Night

The Frank Bette Center for the Arts, 1601 Paru Street, is hosting First Friday at the Center from 7 to 9 p.m. on March 2.

Sue Lomolino and Alana Dill will demonstrate body painting techniques as an intro to their show in the Signature Gallery.
As a special added attraction, the Frank Bette Storytelling Group, led by Cathy Dana, will also hold make a presentation on Friday, and residents are invited to participate.

Frank Bette is currently presenting the exhibits “Heroes and Villains” through March 31.

Staff would like residents to know that on Sunday, March 2, from 4 to 6 p.m., local artist Paul Feinberg will open his new show at High Street Station.

Also, residents can contribute to the Bette through Lucky Supermarkets’ S.H.A.R.E.S. program, which donates 3% of purchases to the art center and other causes.


Marina Village Hosts Boat Fest

Several events focusing on watersports, waterfowl and water creatures are slated for the Island during the first weekend in March. The 4th annual Northern California Boat Fest, for instance, takes place from March 1-4 at Marina Village Yacht Harbor.

On Thursday and Friday, March 1-2, the festival is open from 12 – 5 p.m., while the program on Saturday and Sunday runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The free event includes displays with more than 100 sailboats and powerboats, as well as seminars, boat rides, music, food and product demonstrations. Guests can enjoy sailboat rides and pick up details on local sailing clubs and charter programs.

On Saturday, the following seminars are offered:
– 12:30 p.m., a talk on boat refrigeration and air-conditioning with Alan McDonnell;
– 2:00 p.m., a discussion on alternative boat ownership with Phil Albury of NauticShare; and
– 3:00 p.m., a presentation on sailing the coast of California and Mexico with Pat & Carole McIntosh.


Bonta, Russo Stage Forum on Corica Golf Complex

City Councilman Rob Bonta invites residents to a Town Hall event set for 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012, at the Washington Park Recreation Center, located at Washington Park, 740 Central Avenue (at 8th Street).

The purpose of this Town Hall is to gather more public input on the alternatives to be presented to the City Council on March 6 regarding improvements to the Chuck Corica Golf Complex.

City Manager John Russo and city staff will be present at the Town Hall to discuss the staff report outlining current options.

Residents are asked to review the staff recommendations online before the meeting.


Stranded Sailboat Gets a Tow

A sloop of about 20 feet in length ran aground on the north side of the San Leandro Channel and was pulled to safety at about 3:45 p.m. today, when the tide was up.

The sailboat, which had two persons aboard and a gold-painted hull, appeared to have lost engine power. It ended up stuck in the sand near the Elsie Rohmer Bird Sanctuary for an unknown period of time.

A tugboat, likely owned by the City of Alameda, helped right the sailboat and then pulled it into the middle of the channel with a tow line. The distressed sailboat was then tied alongside the tugboat.

It appeared that the sailboat was being taken out into the Bay and then on to a local marina or dock for repairs at about 4:15 p.m. on Monday, February 27.

The San Leandro Channel is quite narrow and very shallow at low tide in the winter months; even at high tide, it can be difficult to navigate, especially the north side (closest to Crown Beach).

The U.S. Coast Guard was contacted about the incident, and a press officer said that its tugboats typically get involved in towing distressed boats that are way offshore and not in the Bay Area.


Gold Coast Home Talk Set for March 8

At 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 8, Woody Minor will present a talk on the Bruton House, a Gold Coast landmark, on behalf of the Alameda Architectural Preservation Society. The talk will be held at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 1420 Lafayette Street.

The talk is free for members and costs $5 for non-members

Minor will discuss the significance of the Bruton House, describing its architectural elements as well as its neighborhood setting.

He will also give some tips on how to research your historic home, providing an overview of sources as Sanborn maps, assessor’s maps, deed conveyances, building permits, newspaper articles, and census data. And he will describe the process of preparing landmark nomination reports.


Activities Slated for Crab Cove, USS Hornet

For those looking for reason to enjoy the early sprint weather on the Island, the Crab Cove Visitors Center is inviting residents to participate in a Low-Tide Critter Bingo from 2 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 3, and Sunday, March 4.

Park rangers say the spring tides mean critters usually hidden underwater are now more visible. Call 510-544-3187 for more details. Crab Cove will host events focusing on sharks from 2 to 3 p.m. on March 10 and 11.

Over at the USS Hornet, new volunteer training is set for 9:30-11:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 3.

Residents interested in helping with security, tours, events, aircraft restoration or administrative assistance should sign up for the event by calling 510-521-8448, ext. 24, or send e-mail to Volunteers@uss-hornet.org.


Bird Walk Set for March 3

Bay Farm Nature Connection will host a bird walk starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday, March 3. Birders and newbie birders will (weather permitting) meet at Coffee and Tea Traders in the Harbor Bay Landing Shopping Center.

The walk will be led by resident birders Tim Molter and Don Lim, as well as by Stephanie Ellis of the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory.

Ellis and the bird observatory have supported the tracking of Alameda’s egret nesting colony on Bay Farm over the past four years.

After the walk, birders can enjoy lunch with Ellis. (Those with questions about the event should call 510-865-4934 or send e-mail to dmolter@sbcglobal.net)


Library to Stage Sold-Out Benefit Concert

The Alameda Free Library is set to get quite a boost from mezzo-soprano and Island resident Frederica von Stade, cellist Emil Miland and members of the Young Musicians Program later today, Feb. 25.

At the historic Alameda Theatre, Von Stade will sing two arias and a variety of jazz and other songs with performers in the Berkeley-based Young Musicians Program. “We’ll do a little opera, some show tunes, music played by two young pianists – kind of a fun mixed bag of music,” said the opera star, speaking about tonight’s sold-out benefit show.

According to library supporters, the event came together by some careful planning and a bit of luck. “Those of us that helped organize the Live at the Library concert series – Ruth Belikove, Luzanne Engh and myself – had talked about asking Frederica, or Flicka, to perform in town for some time,” said Eileen Savel, a co-producer of the event.

The group envisioned hosting such an event at a venue that could accommodate more people than the performance space at the Main Library. A few months ago, Savel bumped into von Stade by chance at Daisy’s on Park Street and shared the idea with the popular performer, and shortly thereafter she met up with Kyle Conner at the Alameda Theatre and got the opportunity to ask him about staging the event there.

“This is really a dream come true for the Live at the Library group, as well as for Conner and other supporters,” Savel shared. “The concert should be extraordinary. Everyone involved is putting their heart and soul into making it a tremendous evening.”

In addition to von Stade, other performers are deeply connected to Alameda, as well. Miland, for instance, grew up in Alameda, where his late father taught music for many years, according to von Stade. He has performed with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra since 1988.

The library very much needs community support at this time, says Jane Chisaki, director of the Alameda Free Library. State budget cuts have eliminated funding for libraries in the current fiscal year and should do so again in the coming year, she notes.

The literacy program, thus, has lost $20,000 in operating funds. And the budget for buying new books, magazines and other materials has been “hollowed out” by cuts of $130,000 over the past four years.

“The concert will help us bring back the materials budget, so we can purchase more materials for our community to read and enjoy,” said Chisaki. “We are really excited that our supporters are hosting a benefit concert of this magnitude. Libraries are always evolving to serve the communities that they are in, and that takes funding. We’ve heard that von Stade has promised some surprises for the event, and the buzz is just building.”

Some 700 tickets have been sold.


Toastmasters Aim to Help Community

Toastmasters of Alameda — Alameda Tongue Twisters — hosted an open house at Alameda Hospital on Tuesday, Feb. 21, to encourage community members to take advantage of its activities. The groups says it is also Toastmasters International’s newest addition and recently chartered club.

The organization strives to support community members who are nervous about public speaking or looking for a safe and friendly environment to practice. Joining a Toastmasters club, members say, can help individuals sharpen their speaking skills, boost their leadership abilities and become comfortable speaking to an audience.

“What sets Toastmasters apart from other leadership training is the encouraging support from fellow members,”
said Kellie Wood, a current member and club secretary. “The support doesn’t just come from mentors, but members who are on the same track as myself. I am no longer fearful of speaking publicly, but very comfortable with it now.”

Alameda Tongue Twisters club meets at 7 p.m. every Tuesday weekly at the Alameda Hospital, in Conference Room A, on the second floor, 2070 Clinton Ave.