Makani Power’s Corwin Hardham, 38, Remembered

Some 500 family members, friends, colleagues and supporters gathered Saturday, Oct. 27, at Makani Power to honor the life of former CEO and co-founder Corwin Hardham, 38, who died unexpectedly on Oct. 23 while at work. The celebration of his life was held in the former Alameda Naval Air Station control tower, where laboratory and office work for the airborne wind turbine company is based.

After earning a Ph.D. from Stanford in mechanical engineering and working on research and development projects at Squid Labs in Emeryville, Hardham founded Makani in 2006 with Don Montague and Saul Griffith with the aim of harnessing untapped wind resources. Makani, which raised more than $20 million in the past few years, obtained its initial funding from Google and other financial support from the Department of Energy.

A native of Oregon, the late Hardham took to sports easily and competed in national windsurfing championships for five years in a row. He also excelled at snowboarding, kitesurfing, surfing and cycling, as well as dance,which he studied and practiced throughout his life.

Hardham, according to an online dedication, “learned to be broad-minded and adaptable at an early age, accompanying his parents John Hardham and Joan Chase on extensive world and national travels. As an adult he remained intensely dedicated to his work and to his friends, while ready to embrace new people and ideas.”

Many speakers at the Oct. 27 memorial explained how complex Hardham was: driven and competitive, but also incredibly generous, humble, caring and giving. Several colleagues noted that did not separate his business and personal life, which led so many Bay Area residents – such as his partner Gia Schneider, CEO of Alameda-based Natel Energy — to “love and respect him.” For instance, they said, Hardham always was ready to make and share a meal, give of his many talents, and even buy his friends sports equipment to get them more involved in his passions.

“It is not every day that you meet an engineer with that much flair. He had such an off-beat nature,” said Kenny Jensen, who worked with Hardham at Makani. “He was a perfectionist to a fault and also playful and unprofessional at times. He’d commute to work across the Bay by windsurfing or paddle boarding … And he was such a fair and humble boss that he’d clean the shop floor. He always wanted to whole team to get credit for projects. For me and others, he made Makani more of a home than a workplace.”

Many friends and colleagues pledged to keep Hardham’s dreams for the company alive. “I hope that Makani will continue,” said family friend Douglas Mahone, an energy-efficiency consultant in Sacramento who attended the memorial. “Employees here, with PhDs, do things like ride their bikes to work and grow vegetables. It’s so unusual. The community should be proud of what’s its incubating.”

“Corwin is among the great engineers of his generation, leading in a time when the world needs great engineers to find solutions to our pressing challenges,” wrote Griffith, who spoke at Hardham’s memorial, in an online eulogy. “Corwin you will be sadly missed as a 21st Century pioneer, and I’m proud to call you not just a friend, but one of my heroes. I wish for a world with more people like you, and a world where we make heroes of people like you. The world would be better. It would be the type of world that you imagined was possible, a beautiful one.”

Donations in Hardham’s memory can be given to San Francisco Baykeeper.


Holiday Craft Sale Set for Sunday

A group of artists and craft-makers is hosting its third sale of home-made items in Alameda this Sunday at the Harbor Bay Community Center. Organizers say the event aims to give Alamedans and others the chance to mingle with each other, discuss their hobbies and buy locally made holiday gifts.

The Holiday Craft Boutique Sale will take place from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 28, at Harbor Bay Community Center, 3195 McCartney Rd.

“Boutiques are back in a big way,” said Kathryn Mosher, an Alameda resident , jewelry designer and retired flight attendant. “This gives everyone a chance to enjoy one-of-a-kind items.”

Mosher formed the group with Margaret Souza, an ex-kindergarten teacher and professional pet sitter, who now enjoys making floral arrangements.

The boutiques, which feature items made by 15 Alamedans and residents of other East Bay cities, generally attract several hundred visitors, organizers say.

This Sunday’s event will feature jewelry, dolls, soaps, knitted clothing and accessories, hand-painted bags, special children’s books and floral designs. In addition, Alameda-based caterer Amy Warnick will sell some tasty food items, like sandwiches and salad, Mosher notes. “Warnick left the corporate retail world to peruse her love of cooking,” she explained.


Alameda Group’s Zombi Play On Stage In S.F.

“Zombie Vixens from Hell,” a musical being staged by the Alameda-based Virago Theatre troupe, will have five final performances this weekend and next.

The doors open at 7:30 p.m. for 8 p.m. shows on Oct. 26 and 27, as well as on Nov. 1, 2 and 3 at the Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason St., 6th Floor, in San Francisco, near the Powell Street BART station.

To buy tickets, e-mail boxoffice@viragotheatre.org, call 510-865-6237, or to to the group’s website.

The musical is written by John Byrd and directed by Robert Lundy-Paine, with musical direction by Katy Stephan. Band direction for the show is done by David Manley, with choreography by Lisa Bush-Finn



Makani Power’s Corwin Hardham Dies; Service Scheduled

Corwin Hardham, the co-founder and CEO of Alameda-based Makani Power, died unexpectedly but peacefully on Tuesday, Oct.23 at age 38.

“Corwin’s clear vision and deep commitment to transformative innovation in clean energy inspired us all. A brilliant engineer and skillful leader, as well as avid kitesurfer, dancer, and community builder, he showed boundless energy and generosity in all aspects of his life,” his colleagues from Makani Power said in a statement on the airborne wind-turbine company’s website.

This blogger and staff at the Alameda Journal also wish to express our heartfelt condolences to and full support of his family, his close companion Gia Schneider, and his many friends and co-workers.

A celebration of Hardhan’s life will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27, at 2175 Monarch St.

Donations in his honor can be made to San Francisco Baykeeper.


New Sailing-Social Group Hosts Halloween Fest

The Fairlead Society and the Encinal Yacht Club are hosting a Haunted Halloween Party from 7 p.m. to midnight on Friday, October 26.

One of the event’s sponsors, the San Francisco Bay Area Multihull Association (BAMA), will host five first place drink prizes.

There will also be rides on a luxury 38-foot catamaran managed by the Modern Sailing in Sausalito. The group says it will offer free sailboat rides throughout the evening – and “it’s going to be spooktacular.”

Among the “frighteningly delicious” cocktails being served tonight are the Black Widow; Spooky Screwdriver; DraKahlua Martini; Dragons Blood Punch; Swamp Water; Bloody Beer; and Bloody Black.

Guests are encouraged to wear costumes.

The Fairlead Society is hoping to encourage more young professionals to get into the world of sailing. Adults of any age are welcome, event organizers say.

Encinal Yacht Club is located at 1251 Pacific Marina.


Library Book Sales Ends Oct. 21

The community organization Friends of the Alameda Free Library is hosting a fund-raiser and book sale at the Al DeWitt Officer’s Club at Alameda Point, 641 West Redline, today from 12 – 4 p.m.

There is no cost for admission, and the Alameda residents and others can support the library at this clearance sale.

Thousands of books are sold each year in October by the library group, which was formed in 1973.

The organization hosted a jazz show and fund-raiser last night, as part of its Live at the Library series. The final concert of 2012 is set for Saturday, Nov. 17, and features singer Paula West.


Ballena Isle Hosts Boat-Design Talk

The Ballena Isle Marina will be hosting a discussion and boat showing with multihull designer Dick Newick from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. today.

On Sunday, Oct. 21, he will discuss design aboard the 5-foot trimaran Traveller, which just arrived to Alameda from New Zealand.

(The vessel is being presented and sold by Gary Helms of Helms Yacht Sales, located near the Marina.)

Ballena Isle made headlines in early September when the monohull Unleashed was stolen from Club Nautique, which operates out of the harbor. The man who abducted his two young children and used Unleashed for the get away was arrested off the coast of Monterrey several days later.

A delivery crew brought Unleashed back to Ballena Bay in mid-September.


Second Live at the Library Show to Be Presented

After a sold-out first show, the Live at the Library 2012 season continues with a performance by jazz singer Jonathan Poretz tonight. Poretz is known for his Las Vegas-style performances, and he specializes in tunes by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Bobby Darin and Mel Torme.

The Live at the Library shows begin at 8 p.m., Saturday,Oct. 20. Guests are invited to come to the library at 7 p.m. for refreshments. (Enter through the back parking lot.)

“We are happy to see people in Alameda so excited about these events,” said Ruth Belikove, a co-producer of the shows, which are put on by the Alameda Free Library Foundation. “So many people have been coming to them, and their reactions afterwards are fantastic!”

Poretz began singing in his teens in his home town of New York. He went on to appear in San Francisco, Las Vegas and other cities as Sinatra in “A Tribute to Frank, Sammy, Joey & Dean.”

“Seeing him sing in Alameda will be a real treat,” Belikove explained. “There is not a bad seat in the house. It’s an intimate, comfortable venue that everyone should enjoy.”

Poretz performs regularly at Bay Area spots like LJ’s Martini Club, Jazz at Shanghai 1930 and the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay. He also sings often with big bands like the Harold Jones Boss Men and Starduster Orchestra, as well as with the Joe Agro Sextet.

This is the fourth season of Live at the Library shows, and proceeds go to support Alameda’s libraries. The final 2012 event will be a performance of singer Paula West on Nov. 17.

Community sponsors of Live at the Library include Books Inc., Cairdea Design & Marketing, Dewey’s Friends Café, Friends of the Alameda Library, Alameda Free Library Foundation, the Alameda Library Board Art Committee, Piedmont Piano and R&B Cellars.


Pet Photo, Shelter Fund-Raiser Slated

Cynthia Schorle and Madison Leonesio, the owners of Alameda See Spot Run, have arranged for pet owners to take portraits of and with their furry friends today.

The photography sessions will be led by Craig Merrill, an Alameda photographer, who is set to be at the store at 2510 Santa Clara Ave., on Saturday, Oct. 20.

The special portrait-session event is being held as a fund-raising event for the Alameda Animal Shelter, according to See Spot Run staff. To reserve a slot, call 5523-7768.

(The cost is $49.99 for three 5×7 photos and one 8×20 image.)

The shop owners say these photos make great gifts or images for holiday greeting cards.