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Artists Open Studios in Full Swing

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This Sunday, June 8, and next weekend (June 14 and 15), a number of Alameda artists are participating in the annual Pro Arts Open Studios tour.

From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., residents can visit the studios and work spaces of 26 Island artists who create watercolor paintings, glass mosaics, textiles, digital art, clay prints, abstracts pieces, ceramics and other media.

Artists Richard Kane, Mi’Chelle Fredrick, Marcia Alpert and Deborah Griffin are showing their creations at Autobody Fine Art, 1517 Park St., while Bill Jarvis, Dorthy Rozman, and Frank D’Amico will be at Frank Bette Center, 1601 Paru St.

Other artists include Larry Wilson at Studio C, 1166 Park Avenue #A; Wanda Fudge at 1610 Minturn St.; Susan Laing and Margot White at 728 Santa Clara Ave.; Bonnie Randall Boller at 3239 Briggs Ave.; JaYing Wang at Artistic Home Studio, 1419 Park St.; Vicki Newcomer at 2990 Johnson Ave.; and Maureen Green at 1406 High St.

Earlier this month, the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., selected one of Randall Boller’s clay monotypes, “Evolving,” for its permanent collection. The piece was one of 117 original prints chosen by the prints and photographs division of the library.

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Time to Celebrate Philippine Independence Day in Alameda

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Alameda’s second-annual flag-raising and Philippine Independence Day Celebration will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 7, in front of City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Ave.

As with last year’s trailblazing event, this year’s free activities will include tributes, entertainment, food and more.

Event organizers say that there will be cultural performances by several youth groups. The national anthem of the Philippines, “Lupang Hinirang” or “Chosen Land,” will be sung by a chorus of three organizations.

Guest speakers include Hon. Marciano A. Paynor, Jr., who is the Philippine Consul General of San Francisco, as well as State Assemblyman Rob Bonta and Mayor Marie Gilmore.

Later on Saturday, Rhythmix Cultural Works will present “Lumago Lampas” starting at 7 p.m. The show will include performances by the American Center of Philippine Arts, Parangal Dance Company, Kulintronica and Kristian Kabuay.

This event will be live-streamed via Skype between Alameda and its Sister City of Dumaguete, with support from Alameda Councilmember Dr. Stewart Chen and Dumaguete Mayor Manuel Sagarbarria in the Philippines.

At last year’s Philippine Independence Day Celebration, Ellona Santiago (a former-“X Factor” finalist) sang “Lupang Hinirang” (“Chosen Land”), the national anthem of the Philippines, at City Hall.

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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.

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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.

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Gardens Galore Set for Sunday

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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.

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Print Shop Opens on Santa Clara

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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.)

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Old Chevy’s Building Is No More

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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.

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Gardening Workshop, Legos & More at Library

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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!

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Spruce Up Planned for Alameda Pt. Collaborative

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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.

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