Nominate instructors for 'Teacher of the Year'

The Alameda Unified School District is accepting nominations for its Teacher of the Year.

Designed to honor and recognize excellent teachers, the award has previously gone to a wide range of teachers, including Chris Hansen, an eighth-grade teacher at Lincoln Middle School who started an anti-bullying program; Tracy Corbally of the Alameda Science and Technology Institute who introduced students to innovative thinking and reading skills in the classroom; and John Nolan, an Island High School teacher who uses research-based instructional methods to help at-risk students.

After being nominated, teachers who meet state and Alameda County criteria can submit an application, including a resume, an introductory letter, and letters of support to the district office.

A selection committee then screens the applicants, watches them at work in the classroom and interviews the finalists.

District trustees will recognize the winning teacher in May. The teacher also will be honored by the Alameda County Office of Education and will be eligible for the Alameda County Teacher of the Year Award, as well as the State Teacher of the Year Award.

Nomination forms are available in the Spotlight section at www.alameda.k12.ca.us. The deadline is Feb. 7.

Feb. 12 poetry meeting to honor Mary Rudge

The regular meeting of the Alameda Island Poets in February will be dedicated to Mary Rudge, the city's first poet laureate who died on Jan. 19.

The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. Feb. 12 at Books Inc., 1344 Park St.

The open mic time will include members and guests reading from Rudge's writings and telling their own poems and stories about her.

Rudge was named the poet laureate of Alameda in 2002. The same year, she began the Alameda Island Poets, a chapter of the California Federation of Chaparral Poets, Inc. She published more than 20 books of poetry.

Alameda man killed in Oakland parking lot

A 25-year-old Alameda man died early Tuesday from gunshot wounds suffered Monday night in a Laurel District drug store parking lot, police said.

The man's name was not released pending notification of relatives.

The shooting happened about 9:06 p.m. Monday in the parking lot of the Walgreens store at 3434 High St., police said.

Officers found the man with multiple gunshot wounds. He was taken to Highland Hospital where he died at 1:35 a.m. Tuesday.

Sgt. Randy Brandwood said the man was confronted by at least one person in the parking lot who shot him and then fled in a vehicle.

Brandwood said police have not determined the motive for the shooting and don't know why the man was in the parking lot.

Even though the man was living in Alameda, police said he has lived in Oakland before and still has ties to the city.

The killing was Oakland's ninth homicide of the year. Last year, at this time there were seven homicides.

Police and Crime Stoppers of Oakland are offering up to $10,000 in reward money for information leading to the arrest of the killer. Anyone with information may call police at 510-238-3821 or Crime Stoppers at 510-777-8572.

-- Harry Harris, Staff

Relay for Life set for Encinal High School

The American Cancer Society's Relay For Life will take place June 21-22 at Encinal High School. People can learn more at the event's kick-off at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Eagles Hall, 2305 Alameda Ave., where the Sun Kings, a Beatles tribute band, will perform.

Suggested donation is $15 at the door, which open at 6 p.m. An optional dinner is available at 5 p.m. for $15. E-mail strauss.mj@gmail.com for dinner reservations.

During the 24-hour relay participants take turns walking laps around the high school track as a way to raise money and awareness for the fight against cancer. Since 1995, when Alameda was the first local city to host a relay, the event has raised $1,474,561.49 for cancer research and services.

For information, including to register a team, become a sponsor, volunteer on a committee or to donate, go to www.RelayForLife.org/AlamedaCA or call Lisa Leverton at 510-834-3800.

Don Grant Track Club holding practice times

The Don Grant Alameda Point Youth Track Club will be holding track practice times for Bay Area youth from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and Friday at the College of Alameda track.

The track club will give youth an opportunity to learn about different sports, exercise and stay healthy. The club is open to boys and girls ages three to 14 and the club is also seeking track coaches. Participants will take part in running, jumping and throwing events and compete against children from around Northern California in their age group.

For more information, contact coach Ralph Walker at 510-776-7451 or ralphwalker27@yahoo.com.

Redux to show exhibit of San Quentin artwork

An opening reception for "Inside Out: Artwork from San Quentin's Death Row" will take place 6 to 9 p.m. Feb. 14 at the Redux Studios & Gallery, 2315 Lincoln Ave.

The exhibit will feature nearly 100 works by men currently serving sentences on death row at San Quentin State Prison.

For details, call 510-865-1109.

Bank announces winners of 'Give Back'

Bank of Alameda/Bank of Marin has announced the five non-profit winners of its community "Give Back" contest. Each organization was awarded $2,000.

Voted by residents of Alameda, th five organizations that received the most votes were: Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter; Alameda Meals on Wheels; Rhythmix Cultural Works; Alameda Food Bank; and the Alameda Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

"At the heart of everything we do is giving back to the communities we serve," said Russell A. Colombo, president and chief executive officer. "With close to 700 votes cast for 80 organizations, we know that Alameda feels passionately about their nonprofits and we are proud to support the ongoing work and commitment of these five deserving winners."

Launched on Dec. 9, 2013, nonprofit organizations were chosen from votes gathered at the two branches located in Alameda through Jan. 3, 2014. To be eligible, nonprofits must be a tax exempt organization with their main office located in the City of Alameda.

Concert program set for West End Library

The West End Library will host Erica Ward and Ross Thompson, resident teaching artists of the Alameda String Academy, in Astor Piazzolla's "Histoire du Tango for Violin and Guitar," on Feb. 4.

The program, which begins at 7 p.m., explores the past and present of guitar music and features Piazzolla's "Histoire du Tango" ("History of the Tango"), a cycle of Appalachian songs by American composer Robert Beaser, and new works by Ross Thompson.

Violinist Erica Ward is the director of the Alameda String Academy. A native of Portland, Oregon, she has degrees from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the Cleveland Institute of Music.

English-born composer and guitarist Ross Thompson is on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and has graduate and post graduate degrees from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the Royal College of Music in London.

The Alameda String Academy offers lessons in violin, viola, cello and guitar for students of all ages, with a particular focus on chamber music.

The concert is part of an occasional series of community culture programs at the library at 788 Santa Clara Ave.

Call 510-747-7767 for information.

Van Sickle Scholarship application period open

Applications are now being accepted for the $5,000 Ken and Shirley Van Sickle Scholarship from graduating seniors at the city's public high schools who are also Alameda residents.

Selection is based on a combination of academic achievement, leadership ability and financial need.

The scholarship is named in honor of Ken and Shirley Van Sickle, educators who together devoted more than 50 years to the education of Alameda's students. Now in its 27th year, the scholarship was established by their son Keith, a 1976 graduate of Alameda High School who later earned degrees at Stanford and Harvard universities.

Last year, the scholarship was awarded to Naza Djelic, now a freshman at Mills College. Djelic attended Encinal High School.

Deadline for applications is Feb. 22 and the award will be made in May. Application forms are available at each high school's counseling office.