Theater benefit gala spotlights true stories

A Theater Verbatim Gala featuring students in the intermediate and advance drama programs at El Cerrito High School performing monologues and scenes based on interviews with classmates, parents and community members, will be held at 7:30 p.m. March 28.

The evening of experimental theater at the Performing Arts Center, 540 Ashbury Ave., will include a True Stories Table in the lobby before the show where the audience can share their own experiences. "Want to be prepared? Some of the questions students used for their interviews were "When and why did you move to the Bay Area? Biggest lesson you learned in high school? Biggest lesson you've learned so far in your life? Most embarrassing moment?"

The scenes and monologues are directed by the students, and produced by school theater director Carmen Bush.

A $5 donations at the door goes to the ECHS nonprofit group Supporters of the Theater Arts.

There will also be door prize tickets and bags of Gauchos Coffee and El Cerrito mugs available for sale.

Albany offering Civics Academy for residents

Albany residents can get a behind-the-scenes look at city government by signing up for this year's Civics Academy, which will meet from 6:45 to 9 p.m. Thursdays from April 17 to May 29.


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"Over the course of the program, participants will learn about how decisions are made, where funds are allocated and have an enhanced understanding of the organizational structure and operations of the various city departments that impact the quality of life in the City of Albany."

Each session will focus on one of the city's seven departments.

The course is limited to 22 Albany residents age 17 or older and there is a $10 fee. Business owners will be accepted if space permits. The "graduation ceremony" will be at the June 2 City Council meeting.

For more information about the Civics Academy and an application visit www.albanyca.org/index.aspx?page=1090

Evening walk planned for Earth Hour

El Cerrito is participating in Earth Hour from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. March 29, part of a global event when "people around the world will turn off nonessential lights and appliances to show support for curbing the pollution that causes global warming."

As part of the El Cerrito observance, a Starlight Walk will be held in the Hillside Natural Area during that time, hosted by the Environmental Quality Committee, Friends of Five Creeks, and El Cerrito Trail Trekkers.

"Besides refreshments, good company, and great views, we'll have a chance to contribute to a global citizen-science effort measuring light pollution," says the announcement. "Bring a flashlight. Wear sturdy shoes. Dress for changing weather."

To take part, meet at the entrance to the fire road between 7701 and 7703 Potrero Ave., where greeters will direct you to the evening's activities.

For more details call 510-215-4361.

Spring Fling to benefit Albany Music Fund

Dancing to music performed by award-winning student musicians and vocalists is offered at the Albany Music Fund Spring Fling from 7 to 10 p.m. March 28 at the El Cerrito Community Center, 7007 Moeser Lane.

Performing will be the Albany High School Jazz Band and Jazz Lab, Albany Middle School Jazz Band and vocalists from Albany High School's Rhythm Bound and Vocal Soul. A dance lesson will be offered at 7:30 p.m.

The evening will also feature appetizers and desserts, along with beer and wine for sale for adults,

Tickets are $20 general, $10 students available online at brownpapertickets.com or at the door as available.

Proceeds benefit the nonprofit Albany Music Fund.

Albany preparing general plan EIR

Albany last week issued a notice of preparation of a draft environmental impact report for its 2035 General Plan, the document that will guide development and other decisions for the next 30 years. The public is also invited to submit comments "regarding the scope of the EIR and issues that should be addressed as the document is prepared."

The city's current General Plan, adopted in 1992, "does not address several issues of importance to city residents, such as climate change and sustainability," according to the announcement.

A 30-day comment period for public agencies ends April 14.

Women's History event to honor Skinner

Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, will be the guest of honor at the free National Women's History Month celebration at 1 p.m. March 28 in the planetarium at Contra Costa College, 2640 Mission Bell Drive in San Pablo. A reception with refreshments will follow the program. For more details visit www.westcontracosta-ca.aauw.net.

-- Chris Treadway