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    Albany hires new consultant for waterfront planning

    April 25th, 2008

    Trees in blossom at the Albany’s waterfront, whose future is being fiercely debated in the community. Photo by Linda (Linjun) Fan.

    The City Council of Albany voted 3-2 to hire a consulting firm Monday, aiming to build community consensus on the future use of the city’s waterfront, an issue that has sparked off fierce debates among Albany residents in recent years.

    Fern Tiger Associates was hired to gather information, hold public meetings, and conduct surveys on the issue in the following 18 months, and eventually develop a “vision for the future of Albany’s waterfront “. The City of Albany will pay about $600,000 to the company for the service. Read the rest of this entry »

    Controversy arises as Albany steps up smoking ban

    April 24th, 2008

    By Linda (Linjun) Fan

    Controversy rises among residents as the City Council of Albany puts forward an ordinance Monday to ban smoking on Albany’s major commercial street and other outdoor places.

    The ordinance, called Smoking Pollution Control, bans smoking on sidewalks of Solano Avenue, Albany’s primary business area. It also  bans smoking on sidewalks adjacent to schools, parks, ball fields, and other public recreational areas in the city.

    Several speakers at the Council meeting denounced the ban as unnecessary.

    “It’s a divisive and expensive solution to a problem that has not demonstrated to exist, ” said Albany resident Joseph Foscone. Read the rest of this entry »

    Osha Neumann: creating art out of waste at the Albany Bulb

    April 18th, 2008

    On weekdays, 69-year-old Osha Neumann works as a defense attorney for homeless people at a Berkeley law center.  On weekends, he changes into his torn jacket and builds brilliant sculptures at the Albany Bulb, a former landfill that pokes a mile into the San Francisco Bay.

    Neumann has created a number of impressive sculptures at the Bulb in the past ten years, using styrofoam, driftwood and scrap metal collected at the waterfront. One of them, a female statue called the Water Lady, was once promoted as an Albany landmark. Read the rest of this entry »

    City of Albany inspects Talbot house for health and safety violations

    April 17th, 2008

    City staff of Albany inspected the house located at 1075 Talbot Avenue Wednesday, which neighbors complained to have serious health and safety problems.

    The City got a court warrant, hired a locksmith, and scheduled to enter the house at 1:00 p.m. Wednesday, after the owner of the house Fumi Iwata ignored their request of inspection earlier this month. Read the rest of this entry »

    Lawsuit over Cougar Field settled between Albany school district and City of El Cerrito

    April 17th, 2008

    By Linda (Linjun) Fan

    The Albany Unified School District settled a lawsuit with the City of El Cerrito last week, after it agreed to take a series of measures to reduce environmental impacts of the Cougar Field renovation project over El Cerrito residents.

    The 7.6-acre Cougar Field, the major sports field for various Albany teams, belongs to the Albany school district but is located within the boundary of the City of El Cerrito. Read the rest of this entry »

    Community Event: Storytelling workshop

    April 10th, 2008

    Liz Mangual, a dedicated storyteller and teacher, will host a storytelling workshop Saturday, April 19,  at the Albany Community Center. Participants will learn about and practice this age-old craft in a supportive atmosphere at the workshop. All members of the community are welcome. Read the rest of this entry »

    City staff fail to enter Talbot house

    April 2nd, 2008

    By Linda (Linjun) Fan

    City staff of Albany failed to enter the house at 1075 Talbot Avenue Wednesday, as the owners of the house didn’t show up for an inspection scheduled by the city.

    About a hundred neighbors have signed a petition letter recently urging the city to act on the house, which they regard as a nuisance property. Read the rest of this entry »

    Albany’s first community garden opens with laughters

    April 1st, 2008

    Community garden opens

    Jennifer Carlson (right) joked that she would get back the communal life she missed in the 60s at the opening event of Ocean View Community Garden Saturday, arousing laughters among the families at the event. Photo by Linda (Linjun) Fan.

    There were waves of laughters, story sharing and a strong sense of community at the opening event of Ocean View Community Garden, Albany’s first community garden.

    Although a lottery was drawn to assign the 12 available plots to 17 applicants, even those who lost the lottery were happy — because they were invited by the others to share the plots. Read the rest of this entry »