Community Stress Day at Ballena Bay

If you have stress reduction on your mind, body or other areas, you might want to head over to Ballena Bay.

A group in the area is offering massages and other treatments as part of a Community Stress Day event set for 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., on Sunday, Sept. 29.

The venue is 1120 Ballena Blvd., and there is a suggested donation of $25.

Call 510-523-1316 to reserve a spot (and see the group’s website). The event includes entertainment, refreshments, stress-relief clinics — and even a walk on the nearby beach, organizers say.


Last Day for Plein Air Exhibit

The Frank Bette Center for the Arts is hosting the final showing and sale of art from the Alameda En Plein Air Exhibit, today, Saturday, Sept. 29.

The art center says this year’s 2012 Frank Bette Plein Air Paintout (PAPo) event was the seventh such gathering and exhibition. “Residents and local artists anxiously await the exhibition showcasing the City’s strong visual character as seen through the eyes of forty specially selected plein air [outdoor] artists,” according to the group’s website.

The participating artists were: Edwin Bertolet; Victoria Brooks; Gabriele Bungardt;Terry Burris; Inna Cherneykina; Alan Chou; MaryLou Correia; Garr Crookston; Nancy Crookston; Suzanne D’Arcy; Catherine Fasciato; Lissa Friedman; Debbie Gualco; Susan Lea Hackett; Sterling Hoffmann; Sibyl Johnson; Sara Kahn; Rui Liang; Suzi Long; Sergio Lopez; Markus Lui; Micaela Marsden; Ann McGill; Samantha McNally; Patris Miller; Mark Monsarrat; Michelle Murphy–Ferguson; Dana Phillips; Idris Sabre; Matias Salas; David Savellano; Julia Seelos; Carol Sideman; Sandra Smith–Dugan; Marti Walker; Vincent Walsh; Beth Winfield; and Lu Yu

On Saturday, Sept. 29, the Frank Bette Center — at 1601 Paru St. — is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.


Oktoberfest Alive on the Island

For those that missed the big Oktoberfest celebration at the Encinal Yacht Club on Sept. 22, there are lots of opportunities on tap at Speisekammer Restaurant, 2424 Lincoln Ave.

The German pub is having live music for Oktoberfest lovers from 1-6 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 23, Sept. 30, Oct. 7 and Oct. 14. There is no cover charge — but there is a big kids’ area.

The group playing on Sept. 23 and Oct. 7 is Big Lou’s Dance Party. On Sept. 30 and Oct. 14, Bayern Maiden treats the Alameda-based crowd to lots of German-inspired tunes.

All celebrations include dance performances throughout the day put on by the Golden Gate Bavarian Dance Club.


Sale at Urban Island to Help Animal Shelter

Urban Island Home Furnishings, at 1901 Clement Ave. (at Broadway), has been hosting a special sale to benefit Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter. The event ends at 5 p.m. today, Sunday, Sept. 23.

The special sale included items donated by the company that owns 8 Orchids condos in Oakland’s Chinatown district. The building owners expect to donate more items to Urban Island as they get rid of furnishings in several of their model units.

For those who can’t make the sale, a benefit — After the Ball — will be held for the Animal Shelter on Thursday, Oct. 18, at Rock Wall Wine Company on Alameda Point.

And stay tuned for an update on other benefit sales at Urban Island.


The Legacy Home Tour Is Set for Today

Today, Alameda residents, friends and family members have the chance to take a walk through time, while supporting two good causes, the Alameda Architectural Preservation Society and Alameda Museum. The annual Alameda Legacy Home Tour — set for 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 23 — features seven houses built from 1884-1947 , a period that extends from the years of Queen Victoria’s reign to Truman’ presidency.

Tickets for the home tour are $35 and can be purchased at Franklin Park (San Antonio Avenue at Morton Street) and at the Alameda Museum, 2324 Alameda Ave.

“This year’s tour is special in that the homes are from seven different decades — quite a diverse display of styles. I don’t believe that has happened on the home tour before,” said Valerie Turpen, vice president of Alameda Architectural Preservation Society.

The impressive residences also span a variety of styles, including 19th-Century Stick and Queen Anne to 20th-Century Revival and Ranch. Many of the houses included in the tour are located in the city’s East End, while one is a Julia Morgan-designed home in the central part of the Island.

“Alameda’s legacy is our historic collection of homes and business districts. This year’s extraordinary mix of seven styles over several decades includes a work-in-progress house, especially exciting to old-house enthusiasts — proving restoration can be done and is worth the effort,” explained Robbie Dileo, president of Alameda Museum.

With the great weather, it’s a fine day to our some of the Island’s loveliest homes.


Beaches, Estuary Need Alamedans on Saturday

As part of California Coastal Cleanup Day 2012, organizations around town are asking for volunteers to come pick up garbage at Crown Beach, along the Alameda-Oakland Estuary and on other parts of the Island.

The cleanup at Crown Beach runs from 8:30 a.m. to noon on September 15, while the estuary event is set for 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“This is part of a nationwide effort to clean up waterways and shorelines,” said David Marshburn, of the Oakland Yacht Club in Alameda. “And it’s being staged along with efforts in other parts of the island.”

This includes cleanup projects near the Aeolian Yacht Club (by the Bay Farm Island Bridge), Ballena Isle Marina and Grand Marina.

Volunteers coming to the estuary should wear boots in case they need to go into wet, muddy areas, event organizers said. “We hope to cover the full area, from cove by Wind River to the Marina Village area docks,” he said.

Those attending any of the cleanup projects should bring gloves if possible and wear a hat.

“It’s really great to see all the people that turn out and walk up and down an area until it is clean,” said Kevin Fox, a recreation supervisor for East Bay Regional Park District. “It’s also a great way to introduce kids to the culture of volunteerism while getting them outside.”

Since the cleanup began in 1985, more than one million Californians have removed more than 18 million pounds of trash and recyclables from the state’s coast and waterways. In 2011, about 71,700 volunteers picked up 1.3 million pounds of trash and recyclables from the state’s beaches, lakes, creeks and waterways.

“This year, there’s the potential for participants to encounter debris that washes up in California as a result of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan,” Fox noted.

The park district will have more than 30 coordinators in the Crown Beach area, and the city of Alameda will also have staff on hand to support this effort, which drew approximately 655 volunteers last year. They collected enough trash to fill two 20-square-yard containers and also picked up several pounds of recyclables, according to Fox.

It’s especially important that volunteers collect plastic refuse, which can hurt wildlife. Thus, volunteers are asked to bring plastic buckets rather than plastic bags to the event. “We want to get away from creating waste at the event,” Fox explained.


Kids, Stolen Yacht Recovered Safely

The San Mateo County Times/Bay Area News Group and other news sources are reporting that the children — ages 2 and 3 –allegedly abducted by a man on a boat taken from Club Nautique in Alameda’s Ballena Bay yacht harbor were recovered safely late Friday.

The 41-foot boat was taken on Tuesday and spotted on Wednesday near Mare Island. On Friday, it was spotted by a fisherman off the coast of Half Moon Bay. It’s hull number is HUN41366C707.

Authorities said Christopher Maffei gave up without incident about 8 p.m. “after a brief exchange” with the crew on the cutter, and the kids were found safe on the 40-foot sailing yacht.

“They’re safe back on shore now,” Coast Guard Spokesman Thomas McKenzie told the reporters yesterday. “They were checked out by (medics) as a precaution. They’ll be sent back to their mother tonight.”

McKenzie said the Coast Guard spotted the boat, named “Unleashed,” about 10 a.m. and had been watching it from afar all day, because they didn’t want to “spook him and send him out to sea.”

Maffei seemed to be having troubles with his ex-girlfriend and the mother of the kids, Jennifer Hipon, in South San Francisco. She had recently filed a restraining order that had a hearing date of Sept. 21 and requests no visitation rights for Maffei with Brooklynn, 3, and Devin, 2.

The document, first obtained by KGO-7, states that Maffei “threatens to take the children from me, and says that he does not need a passport to leave the country with them.” It also notes that Maffei, who has been living in Thailand, was kicked out of a friend’s apartment the day before the children were abducted on Tuesday.

Now, maybe Alameda marinas will put some new safety plans in place, along with local authorities. While reporting on the case of the stolen boat, Alameda and other reporters uncovered news that — in addition to the missing Club Nautique vessel — several motors had been stolen from local marinas.

We will update these developments soon.


Missing Boat with Kids Spotted Off Coast; Coast Guard En Route

The San Jose Mercury News/Bay Area News Group is reporting that the boat stolen from Club Nautique in Alameda by a man who allegedly abducted his children from South San Francisco was spotted by a commercial fisherman early this morning about 50 miles offshore of Pillar Point (near Half Moon Bay), according to police.

The news story says that the fisherman identified suspect Christopher Maffei as the man on the vessel, a 41-foot Hunter sailboat with the name Unleashed, and that he saw the older of Maffei’s two children on the sailboat, .

Earlier today, the Coast Guard and law enforcement agencies were searching for the vessel by sea and air and had not made contact with the boat.

NBC News-Bay Area, though, reported this afternoon that by 11 a.m., “a C-130 helicopter was hovering around the yacht, and a U.S. Coast Guard cutter from Treasure Island was en route to the family. Officials expected the cutter to approach the yacht by 4 p.m.”

The boat was taken late Tuesday and spotted on Wednesday near Mare Island. It’s hull number is HUN41366C707.

Contact reporter Mark Gomez at 408-920-5869 or local police if you have any new information on the missing vessel and those on board.


Missing Boat Has Two Young Kids Aboard; Follows String of Alameda Boat-Motor Thefts

According to the latest news from Alameda Journal staff writer Peter Hegarty and colleague Eric Kurhi, police believe “a 43-year-old man took his two young children from their mother’s South San Francisco home on Tuesday and fled to an Alameda yacht harbor, where he ditched a rental car and sailed away in a stolen 40-foot boat.”

South San Francisco police said Christopher Maffei took 3-year-old Brooklynn and 2-year-old Devin away from the docks at Club Nautique harbor on Ballena Boulevard. He had been to the harbor two weeks before with the kids to ask about purchasing a boat.

The stolen sailboat is a white Hunter 41 with blue canvas, christened “Unleashed.” It has a hull number of HUN41366C707. Despite an extensive air and ground search Thursday, Maffei and children are still missing.

This development follows police receiving 16 reports of motors stolen from boats at local marinas over about the past two months, according to Alameda police Lt. Ted Horlbeck. One theft was reported Aug. 26 at the Alameda Marina on Clement Avenue.

Investigators arrested Desmond Treymayne Hutson, 38, on Aug. 28 in connection with the case at his home in Oakland.

South San Francisco police ask anyone with information about the sailboat or Maffei’s whereabouts contact them at 650-877-8900. Alameda police ask anyone with information about the “Unleashed,” the missing sailboat, or the boat motor thefts to call 510-337-8340.


Stolen Boat & Missing Kids

Yesterday, the sailing website Latitude 38 reported that a yacht had been stolen from Club Nautique’s Ballena Isle location between about 5-9 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 4.

Today, Marianne Armand of Club Nautique says that the boat — the Hunter 41 Unleashed — was apparently taken by a man with two children, whose mother (of South San Francisco) had not given permission for the kids to be traveling with their father.

The boat and its three passengers, Armand said, were reportedly sighted at around 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 5, near Mare Island.

Alameda Police and other law-enforcement officers are working on the case. If you have seen the boat of have any information, please contact APD immediately, and call Club Nautique directly at (510) 865-4700.