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Alameda 2023 in Review – Part 2

Interesting and popular stories from the second quarter of 2023

As 2023 draws to a close, we are looking back at some of the stories we published about Alameda this year. We will be publishing a roundup for each quarter in the coming days. Read Part 1Part 3Part 4 (once they’re published).

We wish you and your family a healthy, happy, and joyous new year, and we hope you’ll stay with us for our coverage of Alameda in 2024!

April 2023

Alameda Post - A Dublin PD officer assists Alameda Police search for a suspect with a drone.
An officer from the Dublin Police Department supporting APD by operating a drone during their search for a car theft suspect on April 4, 2023. Photo APD / Facebook.

After newly installed Automated License Plate Readers (ALPRs) notified Alameda police that a stolen vehicle that entered the city near South Shore, police engaged in a two-and-a-half hour pursuit—mostly on foot—and a shelter in place when the suspect, who was said to be armed, ran into backyards of nearby homes. A drone and a helicopter helped to locate the suspect, a 25-year-old resident of Oakland who peacefully surrendered, and the stolen car was returned to its owner.

Shortly thereafter, as Karin K. Jensen reported, the City Council voted unanimously to provide new military equipment to the Alameda Police Department, including AR-15 rifles for each officer. APD already owned a remote-controlled avatar robot, an emergency response vehicle built to withstand bullet strikes, specialized firearms and ammunition, tear gas munitions, kinetic energy weapons and munitions, and noise flash diversionary devices.

Alameda Post - Bear's-Eye View of Alameda for April 2, 2023 – FAAS kennels before and after
The old chain-link cages are gone and have been replaced with beautiful, shiny stainless-steel grids, amongst many other improvements. Photos Jeff Cambra (left) and Adam Gillitt (right).

In more cheerful news, FAAS reopened its renovated shelter with a ribbon-cutting and adoption fair that had many happy dogs wagging their tails and cats purring. Our roving canine reporter, Mouf, checked out the upgraded facility beforehand and made sure the new kennels were up to his standards, complete with thick blankets, water bowls, and even outdoor doggie patios in some cases.

Baseball fans were happy when the San Francisco Ferry system announced direct ferry service from Alameda’s Main Street Terminal to Oracle Park to all San Francisco Giants night games in 2023.

Richard Bangert shared about the master plan for De-Pave Park, in advance of the first public meeting on the new wetlands ecological park on Alameda Point.

Alameda Post - a rendering of what De-Pave Park could look like, with a tour guide leading a group of children near the marsh
One of the first renderings of what De-Pave Park could look like as a space for recreation and education. Image CMG Landscape Architecture.

Alameda Unified School District named Jessica Kerber its 2023 Teacher of the Year. Kerber, an English teacher at Encinal Jr. & Sr. High School since 2005, was recognized for her high professional standards, ability to engage and connect with students, and her leadership and collaboration skills. And the Kiwanis Foundation celebrated 100 years of service in Alameda by announcing that it would award $100,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors at Alameda high schools.

Ken Der reported that AC Transit’s Board of Directors voted to discontinue Line 78, a pilot program that took riders to the ferry at Seaplane Lagoon. After August, the closest stop to the ferry would be almost a half-mile away. EBMUD completed the new Inner Harbor Crossing, which replaced cast iron pipes from the 1940s with a modern water transmission line 160 feet under the Estuary.

Adam Gillitt attended the vigil that family members, friends, and supporters held on the second anniversary of the death of Mario Gonzalez while he was in APD custody.

Alameda Post - dancers and musicians perform at the vigil for Mario Gonzelez
Dancers and musicians perform at the vigil marking the second anniversary of Mario Gonzalez’s death. Photo Adam Gillitt.

Denise Lum reported on the great pickleball controversy during the resurfacing project at the Krusi Park tennis courts. The pickleball community wanted pickleball lines to be added to the tennis courts, but nearby residents strongly opposed the modification, citing noise concerns.

After reports by SFGate and the Mercury News that a huge earthquake is coming and will turn Alameda into liquefaction soup, Liz Barrett sifted through the facts in “Yes, the Big One is Coming. No, It Doesn’t Mean the End of the World.” Being informed and prepared is key.

Alameda Post - Two Birds from Alameda for April 27, 2023. Title: “Two Birds For You.” Only Panel: Two colorful birds stand on a perch in an enclosure. One of them says “People get daily local news online now.” The other responds, “Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer the strength and absorbency of print journalism.”Lee Hsu Callaham shared a review of Karin K. Jensen’s new book, The Strength of Water, which follows Jensen’s mother and her extraordinary life. Born to struggling immigrant parents at a time and from a culture that valued women only as child bearers and caretakers, everything was stacked against her.

Alameda Post Historian Dennis Evanosky explained the history of oyster farming on Bay Farm Island, including Jack London’s transformation from oyster pirate to guard, the connection to Washington state, and what ended the industry during our history walking tour of Bay Farm Island, on Sunday, April 16, 2023.

And we met a couple of new bird friends from Brice who had some opinions about print vs online news.

May 2023

Alameda Post - a blue house, 2 or 3 stories tall with white trim. The Brutons lived here
1630 Lincoln Avenue, the first home of the Bruton family in Alameda. This Eastlake/Stick/Modern style residence was built in approximately 1886. The architect and builder are unknown. Photo Steve Gorman.

May held a few surprises. One of them came when Steve Gorman wrote about a historic house at 1630 Lincoln Avenue, the first home of the Bruton family in Alameda—he had no idea that it would lead to an intriguing 13-part series that would follow the family from Lincoln Avenue to their home at 1240 St. Charles Street. The story featured Irish immigrant and businessman Daniel Bruton, who with his wife Helen raised three girls who grew up to be the “famous Bruton sisters,” known for their variety of artistic talents and accomplishments.

Encinal radio broadcasting students Christopher Setera and Luke Beales landed coveted spots on KQED’s Youth Takeover Week. The two students were selected to record in the professional studio on topics close to their hearts.

Alameda Post - the two students who got to go on KQED's Youth Takeover sit at their high school radio studio
Christopher Setera (left) and Luke Beales at 96.1 KJTZ, the student-run radio station at Encinal. Photo AUSD.

Meanwhile, the outdoors called us to check out the great blue herons and snowy egrets nesting in trees around the island of Alameda and Bay Farm Island. Marjorie Powell highlighted those species, with photos of the babies and nests by Rick Lewis.

Dignity Village celebrated its grand opening just over a year after the project was approved. Adam Gillitt reported on the new complex, which features 47 units of interim supportive housing that will serve up to 61 unhoused individuals, including five units for transitional-age youth.

Alameda Post - Mayor Ashcraft cuts a ribbon at Dignity Village, surrounded by smiling and clapping people
Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft cutting the ribbon for Dignity Village’s grand opening in May, 2023. Photo Adam Gillitt.

A new exhibit, “Overflowing with Hope: The Hidden History of Japanese Americans in Alameda” opened at the Alameda Free Library 81 years after Japanese immigrants in Alameda were forcibly removed from their homes and incarcerated in internment camps as “enemy aliens.” There was standing room only for the opening.

The City’s Planning Board unanimously approved a development plan for the RESHAP–Rebuilding Existing Supportive Housing at Alameda Point project. Karin K. Jensen reported that the project would include 309 housing units for low-income, very low-income, and extremely low-income residents. Later in the month, the Planning Board approved the West Midway Development Plan, which includes 478 housing units to help Alameda meet requirements for affordable housing. Jensen reported that the project will also include 40 units for moderate income households at Alameda Point.

Alameda has six drawbridges and most people don’t realize that they are still operated manually. Bridgetender Robert Silva talked with Liz Barrett about the strange series of events during the February 2023 power outage that left multiple drawbridges stuck open. Back on land, Barrett researched what constitutes affordable housing in Alameda, sharing details on requirements, market influences and rates, and why reasonable home costs are seemingly out of reach for many of us.

Alameda Post - Bridgetender Robert Silva wears a high visibility yellow shirt and holds a hand on a crank that raises a drawbridge
Alameda’s drawbridges are operated manually by bridgetenders like Robert Silva. Photos Liz Barrett.

City Council approved a moratorium against passing along Capital Improvement Plan costs to tenants after pushback from South Shore Apartments tenants. Ken Der reported that the ordinance would come back to Council for a second reading in June.

Adam Gillitt reported that the Alameda Chamber and Economic Alliance Foundation awarded scholarships to 14 graduating seniors from local public high schools. Each scholarship was $1,500.

Richard Bangert reported that Chevron would be cleaning up residual petroleum at a former refinery site it once owned at Alameda Point. Bangert noted, “The problem of the buried tarry material from the old refinery has been a can kicked down the road since the 1940s…”

Alameda Post - a black and white image of the Pacific Coast Oil Company
Lithograph depicting the Pacific Coast Oil Refinery in Alameda and the wharf extending into San Francisco Bay. Image Chevron.

The Estuary Water Shuttle summertime pilot between West Alameda and Jack London Square was cancelled after “a lack of clear communication,” but the program will run in 2024, Ken Der reported.

The A’s are leaving town, but we can root for our island home team while enjoying hot dogs, hamburgers, and the sights and sounds of summer baseball. Liz Barrett highlighted the season opener of the Alameda Anchors, our local collegiate baseball team.

Alameda’s own Faction Brewing brought home the gold at the World Beer Cup for small and independent brewers. Scott Piehler shared why Faction’s International Pale Ale and German Style Schwarzbier wowed the judges.

Alameda Post - Rhythmix Cultural Works API Festival at Bohol Circle Immigrant Park, May 20, 2023
Rhythmix Cultural Works’ Asian and Pacific Islander (API) Festival. Photo Maurice Ramirez.

Photographer Maurice Ramirez shared the splendor of Rhythmix’ API festival and Studio 23 celebrated their 10th anniversary.

June 2023

Alameda Police Chief Nishant Joshi aims for Alameda to be the “safest city in Alameda County” and is using data-driven policing to get there. Adam Gillitt interviewed Chief Joshi to learn more about this shift in preventing and solving crime.

Alameda Post - APD chief in uniform talks into a microphone in front of a projector screen
Chief Nishant Joshi speaks on the USS Hornet. Photo Maurice Ramirez.

Meanwhile, Chief Joshi and members of APD carried the “Flame of Hope” through the City of Alameda in support of Northern California Special Olympic Athletes. APD raised more than $1,500 to support 14 athletes for a whole sports season.

After an Oakland woman was arrested in May in connection to at least 21 catalytic converter thefts, several shooting, and multiple vehicle thefts, reported thefts decreased by 14%.

Alameda Post - a child with a cochlear implant adjusts the cochlear implant transmitter on a teddy bear designed by Fab Lab
Fab Lab toy cochlear implants. Photo AUSD.

Island High Fab Lab students created cochlear implants for kids’ toys. Thanks to their continued efforts, more children from the Deaf/Hard of Hearing Program received personalized teddy bears with cochlear implant transmitters.

The Kiwanis Club awarded a total of $100,000 in scholarships to seven stellar Alameda graduating high school seniors. The exceptionally competitive scholarships were based on academics, leadership, financial need, community service, and extracurricular activities.

Alameda Post - five Kiwanis Club scholarship winners stand with their awards in between two Kiwanis members
Scholarship winners receive their awards. (L to R) President Henry Ching, Jian Pei Liang, Yuwei Fong, Isabelle Tandradinata, Antonio Arevalo, Scarlet Deveno, Scholarship Chair Laila Grassley. Not pictured are students Kelly Quach and Mianna Pena. Photo Kiwanis Club of Alameda.

Stanford-bound Alameda High School graduate Paul Gontard was awarded the Lester Marks eQuality Scholarship for his service to the LGBTQ+ community. Vice Mayor and long-time City Councilmember Tony Daysog announced he would be a candidate to replace Barbara Lee for US Congressional District 12.

Steve Gorman shared photos of the winners of Alameda Recreation and Parks’ 55th Sand Castle and Sand Sculpture Contest at Crown Beach. More than 400 participants created whimsical, wild, and impressive castles and sculptures.

Alameda Post – 55th ARPD Sand Castle and Sculpture Contest at Crown Beach, Alameda. June 10, 2023
55th ARPD Sand Castle and Sculpture Contest. Photo Steve Gorman.

Richard Bangert shared photos of the bees and birds at the shoreline landscaping project next to the Encinal Boat Ramp. The area which was enhanced by the East Bay Regional Park District in 2020 and became a hotspot for the winged ones.

For Juneteenth, Shanti Lair-Croom shared “Sea of Souls,” a poem dedicated to African ancestors who lost their lives during the Transatlantic slave trade and to those who survived, but lives were permanently altered on those ships.

As a community service, the Post featured Dine & Connect, which has provided hot meals and vital services to unhoused people in Alameda since 2018, thanks to Alameda Food Bank and Alameda All Faiths Coalition. The Alameda County Mobile Health is Immanuel Lutheran Church on the last Monday of each month. The van works with the Alameda Health System and provides urgent care, care coordination, and referrals to community resources. Services are provided free of charge to people experiencing homelessness.

Alameda Post - winners and participants in the 2023 Business Excellence Awards stand and smile for a photo
Development Manager Liz Ordway, Communications Manager Maria Goodavage, and Gus (who is a good boy!) of Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter (FAAS), Rhythmix Cultural Works Executive Director Jennifer Radakovich, FAAS Executive Director John Lipp, Alameda Post Publisher Adam Gillitt, and Dr. Cindy Acker, Madlen Saddik, and Kelly Lux of the Alameda Chamber pose as the Post was awarded Best Community Partner. Post Staff photo.

The 2023 Alameda Chamber and Economic Alliance presented the 2023 Business Excellence awards to honor “extraordinary contributions to our community.” Publisher Adam Gillitt reported from the event and shared that the Alameda Post was named Best Community Partner.

The Public Art Master Plan will guide the City’s efforts to support public art, aiming to ensure that it is meaningfully integrated into the community. Karin K. Jensen reported on the Plan’s progress, details, and next steps. Alameda’s proposed project, “Rising Tides,” was selected as a finalist in the Bloomberg Public Art Challenge to possibly earn up to a $1 million grant.

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