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    School Board President Charlie Blanchard retires with well wishes

    December 23rd, 2008

    By Barbara Grady-Ayer

    Charlie Blanchard brings his bicycle to a stop along the BART trail to respond to a hello from a passer-by. Twenty minutes later, Blanchard – in his final days as Albany Board of Education President – is still politely answering questions about Albany schools and listening to the greeter’s ideas.

    The scene is quintessential Charlie Blanchard, repeated numerous times a week around Albany in recent years as people seek him out to ask about Board of Education decisions and speak their thoughts about issues concerning the schools. Read the rest of this entry »

    Feature: Albany’s newly-elected Vice Mayor Joanne Wile

    December 22nd, 2008

    Newly-elected Vice Mayor Joanne Wile lives with her partner Nancy, four dogs and 16 birds in a one-story house in Albany. 62-year-old Wile was a social worker for decades. She also sees herself as an environmentalist, a community activist and a lesbian who is ready to “battle any form of discrimination”. Read the rest of this entry »

    Albany city officials show support to local shops

    December 19th, 2008

    Newly-elected Mayor Marge Atkinson and outgoing Mayor Robert Lieber of Albany showed up at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at a local cafe Thursday, to welcome the newly-opened business and express support for local shops. Photos by Linda (Linjun) Fan.


    Marge Atkinson and Joanne Wile elected to Albany’s mayorship

    December 19th, 2008

    Marge Atkinson was elected to be Mayor of Albany Monday. Photo by Linda (Linjun) Fan.

    Marge Atkinson and Joanne Wile were elected as mayor and vice-mayor of Albany by a 3:2 vote Monday, at a dramatic City Council meeting where the split of the community caused by the waterfront controversy was still evident. Read the rest of this entry »

    A farewell party for the Albany Pool

    December 17th, 2008

    After serving the community for 58 years, the Albany Pool is closing its doors on December 21, Sunday to await demolition and future construction of a new pool facility.To commemorate the occasion, the AHS Swim Club and Swim Team are throwing a pool party. All members of the community are invited to join the Cougar for a final dip in the pool– have some good fun, great food, show appreciation, and say a bittersweet farewell: Sunday, Dec. 21, 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM. Read the rest of this entry »

    Reception to honor Boardmember Charlie Blanchard

    December 15th, 2008

    A reception to honor Charlie Blanchard, retiring President of the Board of Education, will be held at the Community Center, Tuesday 7:00-7:30 pm.  Newly-elected member of the board Pat Low will also be welcomed at the event.  The school board will review a budget report and interdistrict transfer policies at the meeting following the reception.

    Commentary:The value of adding instructional minutes is very questionable

    December 14th, 2008

    Boardmember Miriam Walden of the Albany Unified School District wrote a commentary on Albany Today explaining her ideas on issues related to the staggered reading program:

    There are really three issues being discussed.  First, no board member denies the value of small group reading instruction. I personally believe this program is enormously valuable. Second, the value of adding instructional minutes, which I personally believe is very questionable – more minutes does not necessarily mean more learning. We have not yet received an evaluation of the impact of the additional minutes that we added to the 1-3 grade schedules this fall. Read the rest of this entry »

    Commentary: Isn’t the change worthwhile for the sake of our children’s education?

    December 13th, 2008

    Bori Ha, a junior at Albany High School, commented on the controversy over staggered school schedule:

    If I can remember correctly, I was a late bird all throughout 1st to 3rd grade at Ocean View Elementary School. But I had two luxuries 10 years ago that some elementary students don’t have now: a stay-at-home mom and a stable economy. Read the rest of this entry »

    Albany school district in the course of changing a “core bargain”

    December 13th, 2008

    Two dozen parents and teachers rallied at Albany Community Center ahead of a school board meeting last Tuesday, chanting slogans to urge the board not to change the current staggered reading schedule . Photo by Linda (Linjun) Fan.

    Few issues have roused more controversy in the Albany Unified School District than the staggered reading schedule, which is supported by many teachers and parents as a unique blessing to Albany schools, but challenged by a considerable number of others as an arbitrary burden.

    As the majority of the school board members are likely to vote for a change on the schedule next month, teachers and parents become increasingly passionate and divided in their opinions on the issue. Read the rest of this entry »

    Albany police issues alert on house burglaries

    December 12th, 2008

    The Albany Police Department issued a community alert on burglaries Friday after a number of Albany homes were broken in recently:

    The City of Albany has recently been experiencing an increase of residential burglaries (home break-ins). Eleven Albany homes have been burglarized since October 1, 2008. The most common method of entry is through an open or unlocked rear door or window, although in a few instances, a locked window has been broken or forced open, and doors have been “kicked” open. No particular neighborhood has been the focus of these break-ins, they are happening all over town: from Pierce Street to Peralta, Marin, Spokane, Ordway, Madison, Evelyn, Washington, etc. Neighboring cities have experienced similar crimes during this time period. Read the rest of this entry »

    Video: Wonderful Choral Concert at Albany High School

    December 12th, 2008

    If you’ve missed this wonderful performance, you can still catch it by watching the video clips recorded at the concert by Albany Today. Watch first Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars. You might be amazed at how beautifully the young vocalists could sing.  

    And click to watch a few more wonderful songs by the chorus: Read the rest of this entry »

    Slideshow: Albany newly-elected officials swear into office

    December 10th, 2008

    Photos by Linda (Linjun) Fan. Click here to watch the video of the event online.

    Commentary: “What a mess we avoided here in Albany”

    December 6th, 2008

    Albany resident Bill Dann wrote an article commenting on the latest news of the possible ownership handover of the Golden Gate Fields racetrack:

    The Berkeley Daily Planet front page headline reports: “Golden Gate Fields for Sale as Magna Reorganizes.” It was only a few short weeks ago that GGF was reassuring us that the property was not up for sale.  That may or may have not been true back then, but it’s surely wrong today. Read the rest of this entry »

    Albany elected officials take oath of office

    December 4th, 2008

    The City of Albany will hold a special meeting Monday, Dec. 8 to formally announce the results of the recent election. Farid Javandel, Robert Lieber and Peggy Thomsen will take oath of office to the City Council. Patricia Low and Ron Rosenbaum will take oath to serve on the Board of Education. A resolution will also be passed to honor Jewel Okawachi for her eight years of service on the Council and decades of service for the community. Location:  Main Hall, Community Center, 1249 Marin Avenue, Albany. Click here for the agenda.

    Albany Community Art Show

    December 2nd, 2008

    The Albany Arts Committee will sponsor an art show at the Community Center Saturday, Dec. 6th, 11am – 5 pm.  Artwork on exhibition will include oil and acrylic paintings, giclee prints, photography, jewelry, etc. There will also be cards and other gift items on sale.  Location: 1249 Marin Avenue, Albany.