Alameda Municipal Power to give light bulbs

Alameda Municipal Power will celebrate Public Power Week by giving away free energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs to Alameda residents between Oct. 7-11.

The giveaways will take place at the utility's service center 2000 Grand St. during regular business hours, or from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday.

The bulbs are limited to two per person while supplies last and residents should bring a copy of their most recent bill.

The aim of the giveaway is to encourage residents to replace their old incandescent light bulbs with the more energy-efficient bulbs, which use roughly 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs and last for up to seven years.

Replacing just one incandescent bulb keeps 450 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere over the life of the bulb, according to the utility.

More information about the giveaway can be found at www.alamedamp.com.

Trustee McMahon to seek re-election

Mike McMahon, a trustee of the Alameda Unified School District, has announced that he plans to seek re-election in November next year.

McMahon has served on the five member board since 2003.

The term of trustee Margie Sherratt, who was elected in 2010, also will expire next year. McMahon is the first person to announce that he will be running in next year's school board race.


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Circus Arts Festival at AHS this weekend

A free Circus Arts Festival will be held at Alameda High this weekend.

The festival hours are from 5 p.m. to midnight Friday; 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, and an Art in Motion show

beginning at 7:30 p.m.; and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. The festival will feature jugglers, unicyclists, aerialists, slack liners, hoopers, whip crackers, poi, diablo, trick knots, rope spinning, knife throwing, levitation, acroyoga, dancers and more.

Special training sessions will be available every day and the juggling training pit will be open.

For more information, go to www.berkeleyjuggling.org/festival2013/.

All proceeds will go to support arts in AUSD and Medical Circus in Alameda, which brings performers to medical and senior care facilities.

Business Association to host pumpkin patch

The West Alameda Business Association will host a pumpkin patch with student and business volunteers Oct. 19-30 in the fenced lot at Pacific Avenue and Webster Street.

The patch will be open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends and from 3:30 to 7 p.m. on weekdays.

Local school groups, paired with local businesses, will take turns hosting nights between Oct. 19 and Oct. 29.

Hiroko Donovan, the business association's director and events committee chair, said the pumpkin patch was a way to "foster a stronger relationship between our community, schools and the businesses at Alameda's West End, and get to know each other and nurture our small-town atmosphere."

Pumpkins will be for sale and family-friendly Halloween-related activities and crafts will be available. A pumpkin-carving class and pumpkin-carving contest will also take place, plus a pumpkin pie contest will be held for the first 25 people who sign up.

Alameda schools and school groups can also offer baked goods and other items to raise funds on the night they volunteer.

The Pacific Pinball Museum will offer two hours of playtime, with a Haunted Halloween theme, for a $5 admission fee 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 26-27. Under One Woof and the museum will host a pet-costume contest at the fenced lot Oct. 27.

Awards, including for the pie contest, will be presented Oct. 30.

For sponsorship and volunteer opportunities, contact Patricia Young at west_alameda@yahoo.com.

For information, go to: http://www.westalamedabusiness.com/.

Standard and Poor's gives city AA+ rating

The financial rating agency of Standard and Poor's, or S&P, has upgraded the city's General Obligation bond rating from AA to AA+, citing the city's strong financial management and an improving Bay Area economy.

"This is an objective reality check on City Hall's recent fiscal performance," Mayor Marie Gilmore said. "It shows that the steps we have taken together with our employees, having them assume more responsibility for their benefits, are making a difference and are recognized by the financial markets."

City Treasurer Kevin Kennedy said, "given the recent history of the municipal bond market and the difficulties of Detroit, Vallejo and Stockton, it's noteworthy that the rating agencies rewarded Alameda for its fiscally sound policies. I attribute this to the city's strong reserves."

Fred Marsh, the city's finance director added, "This strong rating should result in the city realizing significant savings in the future, as it looks to obtain financing for needed infrastructure at Alameda Point."

For information, call Assistant City Manager Elizabeth Warmerdam at 510-747-4709.

Harbor Bay documents available for review

City officials have released a Notice of Preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Report and an Initial Study on the proposal to build 80 single-family homes on the site of the Harbor Bay Athletic Club and build a new club on North Loop Road.

Documents that are available for review includes the application for the redevelopment; a proposed tentative map showing the arrangement of the homes; the application to build a new fitness club at a currently vacant site; and a proposed site plan showing the arrangement of new buildings, parking areas, and recreational facilities for the new club.

The material can be viewed at http://alamedaca.gov/community-development/planning/development-activity.

Annual sidewalk repairs to begin this month

The annual sidewalk repair program will begin this month and should be completed in six months, according to city officials.

The project will remove and replace sidewalks that have been damaged by trees.

During construction, motorists may experience minor disruptions in traffic, the temporary loss of parking spaces and an increase in noise and dust. Bus stop access will be maintained throughout the project. Construction hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Before work begins, nearby property owners will be advised by door hangers 72 hours in advance.

"No Parking" signs also will be posted 72 hours in advance where parking spaces will be impacted by the work.

The work is funded by Measure B, the half-cent sales tax approved by Alameda County voters. No General Fund monies will be used.

For information, call Shilpa Patel at 510-747-7945.

School officials continue to seek money for pools

The school board has told Superintendent Kirsten Vital to continue working with city officials to seek funding for needed upgrades at the swim centers at Encinal and Alameda high schools. The board's decision came during a closed session Sept. 24.

The decision follows the City Council approving a $1.15 million loan to the Alameda Unified School District on Sept. 17 for work at Encinal's swim center. But the council also gave the district 30 days to accept the terms, which call for a 10-year loan with a 4 percent interest rate, or for the district to pay $142,000 annually.

The terms also called for the district to put up security.

Vital had offered different terms, including an annual interest rate of between 1 percent and 2 percent, and for the district to face a financial penalty if it fails to make a payment instead of having to put up collateral.

Vital also asked for a Memorandum of Understanding instead of a loan to help protect the district's credit rating.

About $1.9 million is needed to renovate Encinal's swim center. Much of the work would consist of removing the diving pool and creating a joint competition and diving pool.

City and district officials have been working to find a way to make needed upgrades at the swim centers for about two years.