Public Forum on Tibet Planned

Members of the Alameda Public Affairs Forum are hosting a discussion on Tibet’s struggle for freedom, led by Giovanni Vassalo, president of the Bay Area Friends of Tibet.

It will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 11, with refreshments and a potluck shared at 6:30 p.m., in the conference room of the Alameda Main Library. (The event is free, though donations are requested.)

According to the forum, there is a growing concern about the encroachment of the Chinese government projects in the Bay Area and across the nation. It stands for basic democratic rights, national self-determination and religious freedom in Tibet and other parts of China.

On Saturday, Feb. 8, the group will discuss the importance of a free press to a democratic society in an age of Internet journalism, featuring John Diaz, editorial editor of the “San Francisco Chronicle.”


Vote for Bank of Alameda Grants

The Bank of Alameda–now owned by the Bank of Marin–is sponsoring a Give Back program that will award a total of $10,000 to five Alameda non-profit organizations.

Community members get to vote for the local non-profits that will get the awards. Just go to a Bank of Alameda branch at 2130 Otis Drive or 1416 Park Street by Jan. 3.

The Frank Bette Center for the Arts is asking for community support and votes, so it can win one of the Bank of Alameda’s five $2,000 grants. The art center also is requesting gently used quality arts, crafts and collectibles for its Déjà Vu Silent Auction fundraiser, which runs from Jan.10 to 25; it is accepting contributions through Jan. 7.

The Alameda Education Foundation says that the holidays are brighter this season for several hundred school kids thanks to Jamestown Properties, the owner of South Shore Center and donor of 500 Little Ice Rink tickets.

AEF also says it has raised $58,000 this year through its Adopt a Classroom program. In addition, it’s supported a volleyball season at the city’s middle schools, scholarships for sports and after-school programs, as well as a new enrichment and counseling efforts. It aims to raise $75,000 for 150 classrooms and hopes to win a grant from the Bank of Alameda.

Enjoy the final days of 2013 and Happy New Year!


Puppet Show Set for Saturday


The Fratello Marionettes will perform a “North Pole Review” at the Bay Farm Island Library, 3221 Mecartney Road, at 2 p.m. Saturday (Dec. 28).

The free event features several Russian Trepak Dancers, the ice skater Crystal Chandelier and a group of acrobatic penguins.

The Bay Farm branch library is open from 10 a.m. to 6 pm. Monday, from 12 to 8 p.m. Tuesday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and Saturday. It is closed Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

The entire Alameda Free Library system will be closed on New Year’s, Wednesday, Jan. 1. All branches will close early — at 4 p.m. — on Tuesday, Dec. 31.

The Danville-based Fratello Marionettes have been performing since 1989. The troupe includes Kevin Menegus and Fred Riley III.
Menegus has studied with puppeteers Tony Urbano, Bob Baker, Randall Metz and Lewis Mahlmann.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of the Pacific and has performed on major cruise lines such as Crystal Cruises, Holland America and the Silverseas.

Riley began his career at Tears of Joy Theatre, where he studied hand puppets with Yang Feng. He went on work at Atlanta’s Center for Puppetry Arts as a resident puppeteer.

He had the title role in Jon Ludwig’s ground-breaking show “Wrestling Macbeth” and has produced his own works. In addition, he’s worked with Ping Chong on “Kwaidan” and “Obon.”


New Year’s Events on the Island

High Street Station Cafe will be open for New Year’s Eve dinner (filet mignon or salmon picatta), as well as a deejay and champagne celebration. Tickets are $20-$35. The venue just celebrated its fourth anniversary.

Over at the USS Hornet, Alamedans are invited to dance the last night of 2013 away on three floors of the aircraft carrier. Music will be provided by Three O’Clock Jump and the Swingin’ Blue Stars (an Andrew Sisters tribute band). There will also be dance lessons, a silent auction and midnight countdown.

There’s also a great Latin American dinner party planned at Chicha Contemporary Peruvian Bistro on Webster Street. Be sure to check out the fun menu. Call 510-522-3764 for more details.

Across town, Alameda Theatre & Cineplex is hosting Family Carnival Night on New Year’s Eve. For $15, guests can pick one of four movies being shown, enjoy games, clowns, live music, pinball and simulcast ball drops. The fun starts at 7 p.m., and movies begin at 10 p.m. Tickets are $15.

The event and its proceeds will be dedicated to the family of Alameda resident Craig Wolff, who died suddenly in April at age 40. Wolff, who was pursuing a Ph.D. in environmental health sciences at UC Berkeley, is survived by his wife and three children.


Canto Latino Night, Other Events Come to Chicha Bistro


Chicha Contemporary Peruvian Bistro on Webster Street is hosting a night of traditional Latin songs on Tuesday, Dec. 17.

Restaurant owners and staff will provide guests with song lyrics, so everyone can sing along to the live music, which will be led by Rosa Los Santos.

Los Santos has chosen songs that are popular with any lover of Latin America culture: tangos, folklore, boleros, rancheros and more, event organizers say–adding that all guests should have a great time.

On Thursday, the Peruvian-themed restaurant will host a happy hour featuring drinks made with Pisco brandy from 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 19.

The following evening, Friday, Dec. 20, there will be salsa dancing, special Pisco cocktails and more from 8 to 10 p.m.


Santa Busy with Island Visits; Pet Story Full of Activities

Alameda holiday shoppers have lots of options. Local (and even some chain) merchants are doing all they can to keep the busy crowds happy ahead of Christmas.

The Park Street Business Association has asked Santa to stop by this Saturday, Dec. 14, from noon to 4 p.m. to talk to children and take photos.

Claus will visiting with community members along Park Street. He’ll also make stops at Julie’s Coffee & Tea Garden (12:30 p.m.), Toy Safari (1:30 p.m.), Alameda Bicycle (2:30 p.m.) and McGee’s Bar & Grill (3:30 p.m.).

For those Alamedans who enjoy old-fashioned carols, drop by the Alameda Theater & Cineplex on Central Avenue, where there’s a Dickens Christmas Promenade complete with singers, musicians and other entertainers.

Santa also will be stopping by Webster Street to enjoy some tree trimming, carols, crafts and Christmas cheer. He’ll be based out of Trans Pacific National Bank from about 1 to 4 p.m. on Dec. 14.

And Mr. Claus will find his way to South Shore Center, where he will take photos with youngsters from 11 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday (and 3 to 7 p.m. on weekdays) until Christmas in Neptune Court.

Back on Park Street, Dog Bone Alley invites kids to come over from 9 to 10 a.m. on Dec. 14 to make a special gift for their favorite furry friends and help pets in need. Children can decorate three holiday dog treats for a suggested donation of $5. Proceeds will go to the Alameda Animal Shelter. (Parental supervision is requested.)

Pet Amigos will hold low-cost vaccination and micro-chipping clinics at Dog Bone Alley from 9 to 11 a.m. this Sunday, Dec. 15, and on Dec. 29. The store owners would like to thank supporters for coming to last month’s Santa Paws event, which raised $1,000 for the shelter.


Tucker’s Names ’13 ‘Nutcracker’ Flavor


The Alameda Civic Ballet will present its ninth-annual performance of “The Nutcracker” ballet at the Kofman Theater on Dec. 21 and 22.

But if you would like a taste of what the production is all about before then, head over to Tucker’s Super Creamed Ice Cream parlor on Park Street.

Each year, the ice cream shop lets patrons name a flavor in honor of the holiday show. Winners can receive a free ticket or two for their creative talents.

This year’s winning flavor is Chocovsky’s Macaretto. It was named by Michael Hauser for Tucker’s chocolate-macadamia nut-amaretto confection.

Congratulations to Hauser!

“The show has become part of the holiday traditions for lots of people,” said Abra Rudisill, who manages the troupe, choreography and production. “Many members of the audience come from Alameda, and a growing number are coming from Marin, Berkeley, San Francisco and other parts of the Bay Area.”

“The Nutcracker” tells the story of young Clara and the Nutcracker Prince. On Christmas night, they take a journey that begins with an epic battle against the Mouse King. Next, they travel through the Land of the Snowflakes and into the Kingdom of Sweets, ruled by the enchanting Sugar Plum Fairy.


Despite Graffiti Threat, Classes On at AHS

Alameda Police say that graffiti that has caused widespread concern within the community at Alameda High School is not considered a credible threat. Classes will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 11, as usual.

The police and school administration did not reveal what the graffiti said, but it was reportedly located in a bathroom on campus and brought to the attention of authorities on Dec. 5.

A second letter sent out by Alameda High Principal Robert F. Ithurburn, and obtained by the Alameda Journal, said the following:

“After a multiple-day investigation by AHS administration and Alameda Police regarding the graffiti threat found on campus, the school does not know who made the threat. In the process of questioning students, the witness statements have conflicted and been inconsistent upon re-questioning.

“As a school, we have interviewed double-digit numbers of students. We distributed the letters to staff and the community to let you know what was happening. We have asked staff to let us know of any student whose behavior may have changed recently or who may be in need of some help …

“As is our usual practice, we are continuing to comb the campus for any objects that could be out of place or left behind as is our usual practice. Finally, we are meeting with students who express concern and providing them an opportunity to process their anxiety.”

Ithurburn goes on to explain that in his 13 years of work as a principal, including time in other school districts, this is the sixth time he’s had to notify a school community about such a treat. In none of the six cases was the threat “viable or that played out.”

“We still take such threats seriously and do our due diligence in trying to determine why someone would make such a threat. We also prepared in the event that such a threat could have merit,” he added in his remarks.

While he understands families’ concerns and perceived need to keep their kids away from school, Ithurburn says his policy has always been to keep schools open—“business as usual” —to send a clear message to anyone who thinks they can “paralyze a program.”

“As for Alameda High School, we take such threat very seriously while keeping in mind that the statistics show that these threats are rarely true precursors to violence at school,” he noted. “We will be a greater presence in the halls and outside this week and will continue our daily sweeps to look for anything out of place. We will increase the adults on campus and have prepared for and reviewed our safety and lock-down procedures.”


Dog Bone Alley Hosts Open House for Pets and ‘Parents,’ Special Kids Event

doggie santa

Dog Bone Alley is hosting a holiday-themed open house for the Alameda community–and its pets–from 6 to 8 p.m. this Wednesday, Dec. 11, at 1342 Park Street.

The shop will share tasty treats and give visitors the chance to mix and mingle with other pets and “pet parents.” There also will be a holiday scavenger hunt–with the chance to win great prizes.

In addition, 10% of the evening’s proceeds will be donated to the Humane Society of Alameda.

Children are invited to visit Dog Bone Alley from 9 to 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14, for a chance to make a special gift for their favorite furry friend and help pets in need at the same time.

Kids can decorate their own holiday dog treats to take home and give away. A suggested donation of $5 will go to the Alameda Animal Shelter. Each child who participates will receive three cookies to decorate and take home. (Parental supervision is requested.)

The store owners would like to thank supporters for coming to last month’s Santa Paws event. Dog Bone Alley raised $1,000 for the Alameda Animal Shelter at the gathering.

Coming up, Pet Amigos will be conducting a low-cost vaccination and micro-chipping clinic at Dog Bone Alley from 9 to 11 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 15, and Sunday, Dec. 29.


Gardening Group to Meet, Celebrate and Discuss Sweeney Open Space

Alameda Backyard Growers invites members of the community to a special from 6:30-8:30 p.m. this Tuesday, Dec. 10, at Rhythmix Cultural Works.
2513 Blanding Ave.

Organizations working with the gardening group to create a “greener, better-fed, healthier Alameda” will make short presentations, as will some of ABG’s leaders. Partners that will be participating include:
• Alameda Food Bank
• Ploughshares Nursery
• Farm2Market
• Community Action for a Sustainable Alameda
• Alameda Backyard Chickens
• Alameda Backyard Beekeepers
• Alameda County Master Gardeners
• Project LEAF
• Alameda Parks and Recreation Department.

Parks and Rec staff will come to the meeting to discuss the Jean Sweeney Open Space and opportunities for community gardening in that area, and
The event will end with holiday treats, conversation and networking.

ABG meetings are held monthly on the second Tuesday of each month at Rhythmix Cultural Works.