Blog Archives

Children Matter: Join the Richmond Read-Aloud Volunteer Program

September 9, 2011
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Are you looking for a good place to volunteer and help children develop a love for books and reading?  Our neighbor to the north offers just the thing.  For 15 years, volunteers like me have been reading to kindergarten and first and second grade students, one-on-one, in Richmond elementary schools—six of them at present count.  Teachers select the students who participate.  We readers meet with two students once a week for half-hour sessions right through the school year.  Every two weeks, the students get a gift book of their choosing, the building blocks for personal libraries. The program is simplicity itself: a caring adult reads to a young person and they talk about what’s read and what the reading suggests to them about the world.  You don’t have to be an expert to do it, just an enthusiastic book and reading person yourself.  And don’t think of it as just feel-good work—although you certainly will be doing something worth feeling good about.  It’s also great fun, and, for me, brought back memories of reading to my own daughters.  I’m glad Marilyn Nye, my one-time colleague at Cal State East Bay, who created the program, talked me into joining the cadre

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The Osher Life-Long Learning Institute

August 13, 2011
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The Osher Life-Long Learning Institute

  I’ve been taking courses and attending lectures for seniors offered by Cal State East Bay’s OLLI (Osher Life-Long Learning Institute) for several years.  It’s been a mind expanding experience and great fun.  OLLI offers lectures (free to members), courses (usually four weeks in length and reasonably priced), and a variety of field trips. History, science, and literature are my own favorite topics, but the range of subjects offered is broad and the skills of the presenters impressive.  OLLI offers this rich trove at seven sites.  The two closest to Emeryville are the Lake Park Retirement Residence in Oakland and the Mastick Senior Center in Alameda.  The Baywood Retirement Residence in Castro Valley, the Danville Town Meeting Hall, the Reutlinger Community for Jewish Living, and Rossmoor in Walnut Creek aren’t all that far away.  The events at Cal State East Bay’s Concord Campus are a bit of a stretch for us but still inviting given the varied mix of offerings there.  If you would like to know more about OLLI, call 925-602-6776 or e-mail Kathleen Bryant, the Program Coordinator at kathleen.bryant@csueastbay.edu.  OLLI is also on line at www.scholarolli.com.  Give OLLI a try: no homework, no tests, no papers to write

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Emeryville: A Retrospective

May 9, 2011
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Emeryville: A Retrospective

COMMENTARY ~~ My favorite phase of the tide of change reshaping the city was the flourishing of artists’ studios and co-ops. Relatively low costs, empty buildings, and a critical mass of creative people lent the town an enviable, almost bohemian air. Peter Voulkos, the great sculptor, dined at Bucci’s, and the walls of a variety of businesses were graced with Emeryville-produced art. The residue of this flourishing still exists despite the rise of rental costs and other challenges. Whatever else happens, I hope Emeryville keeps giving artists breathing room. _______________________________________________________ I came to Emeryville in 1979 expecting to stay a few years.  Thirty-one years on, I’m still here.  Not surprisingly, things are different.  The great shift from a blue collar town of foundries and industrial shops to one featuring high-tech fabricating, office buildings, and retail shopping centers was already under way in the later 70’s.  The trend would accelerate. Politics was undergoing a sea-change, too.  When I arrived, then Chief-of-Police John Lacoste ran the town, some say from his favorite bar stool at the Town House, a hub of live music performances: Zideco, jazz, country and western, rock.  Whether old timers had it right about that bar stool, Lacoste was

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