Alameda Family Rides Today for Ataxia NorCal

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This weekend, an Alameda family is joining a fund-raiser in the Davis area to raise money for research and awareness of Friedreich’s Ataxia, a degenerative neuro-muscular disorder that currently lacks treatment.

George Penston and daughter Izzy, 13, will be biking in Ride Ataxia NorCal on May 31. For the event, Izzy has been training at the Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Adaptive Cycling Center in Berkeley.

“Izzy was tested at age 9, when things were not quite right,” said mother Zoe. “The illness is so rare.” It affects about one out of every 50,000 people worldwide.

“Of course, when Izzy was diagnosed, we were devastated and in shock. We had no idea what to do. But she asked how they were going to fix her and how she could help.

Her daughter started raising money within the first month of her diagnosis, Zoe says. “We had a bake sale in the front yard and made a couple hundred dollars. It’s really because of her saying this is what we should do.”

She estimates that the family has raised $45,000 so far for the cause. “We will just keep doing it until they there’s no need to,” Zoe said, adding that Izzy’s brother Owen also has the disease.

Alamedans have been “very supportive of the family’s fund-raising efforts,” Zoe adds. “It’s been extremely important to us, and we are really grateful for everyone’s support. Just this month, kids and parents organized a bake sale at Edison to raise money, as they do every year.”

To donate in support of the Penston family’s cause, go to the Ride Ataxia website and click on Team Zowie. The Alameda community wishes Izzy and Owen’s family the best of luck today with their participation in the fundraiser.

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Harvey Milk Celebrations Come to Library

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Community members are invited to the Alameda Main Library from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 31, to celebrate the winners of the student poster and poetry contests.

Guests can also create art, watch the awarding of a scholarship winner and take a look at the books recently donated to the Alameda Free Library as part of the city’s annual Harvey Milk Day events.

All posters submissions will be on display, event organizers say.

This event will follow the show set for 7 p.m. Friday, May 30, put on by the Oakland East Bay Men’s Chorus Concert at First Congregational Church of Alameda, 1912 Central Ave.

A reception hosted by Alameda Faith Communities will follow the concert.

Milk, a gay-rights activist and member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, was assassinated in 1978. In 2009, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger established Harvey Milk Day on May 22 as a statewide day of remembrance.

“Alameda’s Harvey Milk Day celebration has become one of the larger events in North California,” said Gene Kahane of Encinal High School, who helped start the poetry and poster contest last year in cooperation with event co-chair Olivia Higgins, an educator and activist for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning rights.

Harvey Milk Day activities have taken place at many different schools over the past few years, including the College of Alameda, Lincoln Middle School, Wood Middle School and Encinal High. “There’s a really important school connection,” said Kahane, “thanks to the work of the school district’s LGBTQ Roundtable.”

The poster and poetry contest, he says, aim “to help the community celebrate Harvey Milk and encourage kids to learn both about him and his social-justice efforts.” There were over 30 entries in each category last year, and Kahane hopes a similar or greater number of students will participate this year.


Fashion Show Set for Saturday

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Girls Inc. of the Island City and other local organizations present the second-annual Ethical Fashion Show from 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 31, at South Shore Center.

The colorful event includes a DJ, as well as live music, food, drinks and fun.

The Ethical Fashion Show is a youth-led, all-ages, family-friendly event that features the work of teenage designers who chose to “upcycle,” organizers say.

The event aims to encourage teens to support their local thrift stores, show teens that where and how they shop affects the world and to prove that it is possible to be stylish on a budget.

Celebrity judges for the special show include Charleston Pierce, Teresa Igaz, Melissa Stearns an Shae Lynn, CEO of VIP Socialites.

Tickets are $15-$20.

For more details, go online to Brown Paper Tickets.


Gardens Galore Set for Sunday


The 20th-annual event Gardens Galore will take place on Sunday, May 18, and includes six gardens, as well as a crafts boutique near Saint Joseph Basilica, which hosts the annual affair.

The church’s Garden Club was formed in 1992, and two years late, its members organized a garden tour.

“The gardens are always beautiful, and there’s something for everyone with small and large gardens, as well as cozy and opulent gardens, too,” shared Kitty Long, publicity chair for the event. “This year, there is one on the lagoon that is very different and was part of our original tour!”

“It’s become a spring-time tradition in Alameda,” said Long. “People going on the self-guided tour get a box lunch and really enjoy themselves.”

A garden-tour boutique will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. near the church. Hand-crafted items for sale include jewelry, glassware and linens. In addition, there will be jams and jellies, as well as food items made by Bay Area chef Narsai Michael David.

Many community members who join the tour are looking for ideas on how to spruce up their own garden, according to Long. “People love to see pretty gardens, and the flowers are just gorgeous at this time of year.”

Some gardens have fountains, many include trees, shrubs and native plants, and all have colorful flowers, she adds.

The parish aims to sell over 400 tickets, which can be bought in advance at Daisy’s, 1347 Park St., and Thomsen’s Garden Center, 1113 Lincoln Ave. On Sunday, tickets can be bought at St. Joseph Notre Dame High School, 1011 Chestnut St.

“It’s a fun event and proceeds go to scholarship funds at St. Joseph Elementary and St. Joseph Notre Dame High School, so children can attend these schools,” Long explained.

If You Go: St. Joseph Garden Tour & Boutique; 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday, May 18; 1011 Chestnut St.; $20-$25 for tour; $10 for lunch.



Print Shop Opens on Santa Clara


Island Print Express, owned by Joe Dalipem had its grand opening on Thursday, May 8, at 2534 Santa Clara Ave.

The new Alameda business–also known as IPX–is located in the retail space that used to house Olympic Florist at the corner of Santa Clara Avenue and Broadway (next to the Lemon Tree).

According to one community member’s post on social media, the store owner has already donated services and supplies to support the Ethical Fashion Show 2014 (set to take place at 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 31, at South Shore Center as a benefit for Girls Inc. of the Island City).

The floral shop was in business at the site for 34 years, before it closed in June 2013. Pam Earl ran it for many years with her late husband Gary Earl.

Pam a military kid, has lived in Alameda since 1968 and graduated from Alameda High School. Gary, who died of cancer in late 2011, came to the Bay Area from Utah.

“He was a florist all his life,” she said at the time of the store’s closing. He learned the trade from the father of his best friend, who had a flower shop. “And that’s how it all got started,” she explained.

(Thanks to Trish Herrera Spencer for posting this photo of the Grand Opening on social media.)


Old Chevy’s Building Is No More


Cardinal Point, the assisted living community on Mariner Square Drive, has broken ground on a sister facility where the old Chevy’s Fresh Mex restaurant used to be on the Oakland-Alameda Estuary.

Now that the restaurant has been torn down, construction will begin at the site on a new three-story building to house about 50 seniors coping with memory loss.

Cardinal Point was given the green light in September 2013 for a 43,000-square-foot building with 52 individual living units, cafe and activity rooms, as well as a 450-foot deck.

The former Chevys building was built in 1975, but was vacant since 2006.

Cardinal Point is owned by Santa Rosa, Calif.-based Oakmont Senior Living, which has developed more than 30 retirement communities in the West.



Gardening Workshop, Legos & More at Library


The Alameda Free Library has lots of activities on tap over the next few days, including a workshop focusing on water-wise gardening from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 10, at the Main Library.

The workshop will be led by Lori Caldwell, who will discuss perma-culture and sustainable-gardening techniques.

She’ll also explain sheet-mulching, composting, bio-intensive edible gardening, hydrozoning and caring for native plants.

On Saturday from 12 to 3 p.m., the Alameda Free Library’s Writers Group will meet at the Main Library.

Kids activities at the Oak Street Facility include Mama Goose Storytime at 10 a.m. and We Love Legos at 2 p.m.

On Monday, May 12, at 5:30 p.m., the Main Library will host a free screening of the 1930s film “Diplomaniacs,” starring Wheeler and Woolsey.

There will also be a discussion about the Intimate Impressionism exhibit (in San Francisco) at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 14.

Mark you calendars accordingly!


Spruce Up Planned for Alameda Pt. Collaborative


Alameda Point Collaborative, 677 West Ranger Ave., will be getting some TLC from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 10.

That’s when members of the Yale Club of San Francisco and other parts of the East Bay will rehabilitate a native-plant garden.

Up to 50 volunteers are expected as part of the national Yale Day of Service.

Alameda Point Collaborative maintains 34 acres of land and has transformed the housing community into an inviting area for residents to flourish.

This is a family-friendly event, and volunteers are asked to wear clothing appropriate for gardening, such as closed-toe shoes/boots, loose pants, hat and/or sunscreen for skin protection.

Tools will be provided, and APC will have water and first aid kits on site.

The site coordinator for the event is Jen Leybovich, a 2013 graduate of the Yale School of Management.



Fund-Raiser for Encinal Student a ‘Success’

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Encinal High School student Annika Mulling, who is recovering from a major episode of bleeding in the brain, has received over $3,000 from the community thanks to a May 2 talent show.

“On behalf of the students and staff at Encinal, I want to thank everyone who helped make our fundraiser for Annika Mullings a beautiful success,” Gene Kahane, an English teacher at the school, told the Alameda Journal. We raised over $3,000, and all those who performed, baked a snack, bought a ticket and made a contribution should feel proud for doing something special for someone so deserving.”

The health condition that affected Mullings is known as a brain arteriovenous malformation or AVN, an abnormal connection between arteries and veins that is congenital. Mullings was hospitalized from October to December, when her family had to relocate to accommodate her need for a wheelchair.

The family has raised about two-thirds of Mulling’s $30,000 of health-related expenses.

Community members who were not able to attend the May 2 event, may donate online to support the student.


Discussion on Haiti Set for Saturday


Alameda Public Affairs Forum will host a talk on by Pierre Labossiere, a founding member of the Haiti Action Committee, at 7 p.m. this Saturday, May 10, at the Main Library.

Labossiere also is a board member of the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund.

Before his speach, folk artist Daniel Zwickel will sing songs from the movement for Haitian freedom and play his guitar.

Guests are invited to arrive (via the Main Library’s back door) at 6:30 p.m. to share refreshments.

Admission is free, but donations are welcome.

On June 13, Helen Grieco — a Northern California organizer for Common Cause — will discuss the issue of whether a 28th Amendment to the Constitution is needed to reverse Supreme Court decisions awarding corporations unlimited financial power over the American political process.