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    Albany schools will look for ways to cut $2.2 million

    January 21st, 2009

     

    By Barbara Grady-Ayer

    California’s huge budget deficit, the dithering of state legislators whose inaction allowed the deficit to climb, the Governor’s disrespect for laws about funding education, and the deep national recession have come to roost in Albany.

    These big problems created by adults will soon be placed at the feet of school children trying to learn to read and do algebra.

    The Albany Unified School District needs to cut its budget by 15 percent or about $2.2 million dollars this school year, Albany Superintendent of Schools Marla Stephenson told the board of education Tuesday night. Read the rest of this entry »


    Albany schools may face cuts this school year

    January 18th, 2009

    The Albany board of education plans to discuss how it might cut school spending in the current academic year when it meets Tuesday night.

    Among agenda items listed for the Board of Education’s January 20th meeting is “approve 2008-09 mid-year cuts.” This agenda item is listed for “review and discussion,” signaling that no votes or final decisions will be made. 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 »


    Sorg admits sexual relationship with former student; charges are dropped

    November 20th, 2008

    Kay Sorg, a veteran teacher at Albany Middle School, admitted she had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a former student in a court statement Thursday.

    She agreed to resign from her job and surrendered her teaching credential, according to Danielle Hilton, District Attorney of Alameda County. Read the rest of this entry »


    City of Albany suffers sharp revenue loss from recession

    November 18th, 2008

    The City of Albany is losing significant amounts of revenue under the current worldwide economic recession. City officials decided to cut budget to deal with the problem Monday.

    Housing sales in the city are declining rapidly. 25 housing properties were sold in July, 12 were sold in August, and only 6 were sold in September. The City used to gain an average of $100,000 each month in property transfer tax in previous years. But it got less than $40,000 in September.

    The City’s total property transfer tax went down by more than 60 percent during the first quarter of the 2008-2009 fiscal year (from July to September), compared with the same period of the previous fiscal year. Read the rest of this entry »


    Fire hits Albany Hill

    November 17th, 2008

    Fire hit the Albany Hill  Friday afternoon. It  burned 20 Eucalyptus trees on the west side of the hill but damaged no houses.

    The fire was reported by a resident at around 5 pm Friday, and was put out by firefighters half an hour later. Read the rest of this entry »


    Albany pumpkin vendor encounters sharp sales downfall

    October 28th, 2008

    Few customers showed up at Ray’s Pumpkin Patch on Solano Avenue Tuesday, whose business is suffering a sharp decline. Photo by Linda (Linjun) Fan.

    You might have noticed that not as many pumpkins are smiling at porches in Albany right now, although the Halloween is only three days away. At least several hundred Albany families have cut back on buying pumpkins this year, in the gloom and uncertainty of economic recession. Read the rest of this entry »


    Hearing of Sorg’s sexual offense case centers on letters

    October 22nd, 2008

    By Linda (Linjun) Fan

    A preliminary hearing of Kay Sorg‘s case, which had originally been scheduled for last week, was postponed to Nov. 20.

    The upcoming hearing will center on several letters Sorg wrote to the accuser, who was a former student in her science class at Albany Middle School, in the early 1990s.

    Three people have said they had seen the letters in interview with Albany Police. Two are the accuser’s friends back in school years. The other is her father, Mr. Doe. Read the rest of this entry »


    Albany local businesses feel chill of recession

    May 16th, 2008

    p5162938.jpg

    Cafe Raj, a popular Indian food restaurant on Solano Avenue of Albany, suffered a 30 per cent drop in sales revenue in recent months due to ongoing recession. Photo by Linda (Linjun) Fan.

    The chill of a nationwide recession has struck businesses in Albany. Restaurants, retail shops, and hair salons in the city are losing profits significantly.

    “People are really hurting, ” said Rosemarie Eichner-Raja, owner of Cafe Raj restaurant. Read the rest of this entry »


    Tree removal at the Gill Tract completed

    March 11th, 2008

    green spray 2

    A green layer of spray covers the land where 184 Monterey pines grew at the Gill Tract of Albany. Wildflowers and grass are expected to grow out of the mixture of seeds and mulch. The controversial tree-removal, started in late January, has been completed by workers contracted by the University of California. Read the rest of this entry »


    Neighbors urge city to act on “haunted house”

    March 8th, 2008

    house 1

    Garbage covers the backyard of a vacant house at Talbot Avenue, Albany. Photo by Linda (Linjun) Fan.  

    Nearly 100 Albany residents signed a petition letter recently to urge city administrators to take action on a decaying house in their neighborhood .

    The house, located at 1075 Talbot Avenue, has been left vacant by its owner for more than two decades. Besides deteriorating windows and walls, neighbors say that it is now frequented by rats and homeless people.

    “The property has become a garbage dump, a crash pad for vagrants, a haven for illegal activities and a dangerous enticement to curious children, ” said the petition letter, which has been signed by 94 residents in the neighborhood. Read the rest of this entry »


    Issues of Concern: Garbage piles up on the Albany Beach

    January 12th, 2008

    garbage piles up at beach

    The Albany Beach is now clear of oil spill, but full of garbage washed ashore by recent tides. The caution tape that prohibited visitors from entering the beach during the oil spill disappeared, but a few brackets remain abandoned there.  Read the rest of this entry »


    Albany falls short of block captains

    November 30th, 2007

    By Linjun Fan

    Less than a third of Albany’s 200-plus blocks have a person who can organize neighbors to evacuate in case of emergency, even though the city’s Fire Department has been trying to get people interested in playing the role for more than a year.

    A block captain is a trained volunteer who is able to coordinate neighbors to evacuate before outside help comes. A neighborhood can better deal with a disaster if they have someone ready for organizing a timely evacuation. Albany started its block captain program after the 1989 earthquake, and once had nearly 200 residents registered as block captains.

    But less than 10 percent of them remained active in 2006. Sandy Weeks, the disaster preparedness assistant of Albany Fire Department, sent out 200 letters to the block captains on her list but just got about 20 replies saying that they were still doing the job.

    “The others said they are too old, or no longer interested, or they don’t have time anymore, or they have moved, ” Weeks said. Read the rest of this entry »


    Albany’s biggest controversy: Waterfront Planning

    September 26th, 2007

    albany-070916-050.jpg 

    A statue made out of scrape iron and sticks by amateur artists on Albany Bulb, the tip of a former landfill stretching half-a-mile into the San Francisco Bay. Photo by Linjun Fan.

    Waterfront planning is a major issue for the city of Albany. A majority of residents are against extensive commericial development of the 160-acre land by the San Francisco Bay, but their opinions vary on the kind of development they want to be carried out. Most of the land is now occupied by Golden Gate Fields racetrack, while several dozen acres of land were accumulated as a former landfill. Should the area be largely preserved as a park, or  some constructions for urban use be allowed? How to cooperate with the racetrack’s parent parent company Magna Entertainment Corp., who owns a large portion of the waterfront, if at all? And how to fund the projects? Or should the waterfront just be kept the way it is now? These are the questions that have faced the city for decades, and no consensus has been reached up until now. The city recently hired an independent consultant to prepare a framework report for the planning. The report was releaesd in early September, which summarized the issue and described four senarios for its development. (Click for details: Neuwirth & Associates Preliminary Report.) An revised version Neuwirth & Associates Final Report of the report was submitted to the City Council for approval in October. It’s important that the public voice their opinions and get involved in the planning process. Please follow the latest development of the issue and share your ideas here.


    Albany’s biggest controversy: Waterfront Planning

    September 26th, 2007

    albany-070916-050.jpg 

    A statue made out of scrape iron and sticks by amateur artists on Albany Bulb, the tip of a former landfill stretching half-a-mile into the San Francisco Bay. Photo by Linjun Fan.

    Waterfront planning is a major issue for the city of Albany. A majority of residents are against extensive commericial development of the 160-acre land by the San Francisco Bay, but their opinions vary on the kind of development they want to be carried out. Most of the land is now occupied by Golden Gate Fields racetrack, while several dozen acres of land were accumulated as a former landfill. Should the area be largely preserved as a park, or  some constructions for urban use be allowed? How to cooperate with the racetrack’s parent parent company Magna Entertainment Corp., who owns a large portion of the waterfront, if at all? And how to fund the projects? Or should the waterfront just be kept the way it is now? These are the questions that have faced the city for decades, and no consensus has been reached up until now. The city recently hired an independent consultant to prepare a framework report for the planning. The report was releaesd in early September, which summarized the issue and described four senarios for its development. (Click for details: Neuwirth & Associates Preliminary Report.) An revised version Neuwirth & Associates Final Report of the report was submitted to the City Council for approval in October. It’s important that the public voice their opinions and get involved in the planning process. Please follow the latest development of the issue and share your ideas here.