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We are excited to launch our new Diplomas to Degrees college and career readiness center this Fall! This space in the Club will ensure our high school students receive support and resources to gain access to college. As the program grows, we will expand activities to include our middle school students.

The center is named after Don Sherratt, a longtime Board Member of our Club who passed away last month. Don's dedication to improving the lives of Alameda's youth and teens was felt throughout our Club for many years. And because of his true understanding of the needs of our community's children, Don truly helped our programs and services flourish.

Thank you so much to everyone who donated to our new center and program in honor of Don.

Teens can participate in the center's activities each day afterschool, making connections between their interests and future career paths, plan and prepare to enter their postsecondary education and developing the social-emotional skills and attributes to be successful in their educational endeavors.

Please stay tuned for the announcement of the Center's opening date.

— Alameda Boys & Girls Club

The housing shortage is fueled, in part, by resistance to building low-income or affordable housing in wealthier neighborhoods. A-Mark Foundation gathered research on how affordable housing affects home prices — and the results are not what many people might expect. The report is now available to read at www.amarkfoundation.org: “What Is the Impact of Low-Income Housing on Property Values?”

Research studies into the impact of low-income housing on neighborhood property values have generally concluded that there was either no impact or a positive impact on property values.

Even in studies where results were mixed, some positive impacts on property values were found. Of the 13 studies in A-Mark’s report, seven found that when low-income housing was built, property values in the neighborhoods increased.

Three studies in A-Mark’s report showed that building low-income properties has different impacts depending on the type of neighborhood. Two of those studies concluded that low-income housing had a negative impact on property values if built in affluent or higher-income areas, but a positive impact if built in areas with lower-income residents or a lack of existing investment. Another study, however, had the opposite conclusion.

Rob Eshman, A-Mark Foundation CEO, wrote about the report’s findings in an article for the Los Angeles Times titled, “Stop worrying, NIMBYS — affordable housing shouldn’t squash your property values.”

In his column, Eshman began with the observation that in his Venice, Calif., neighborhood, affordable housing did not impede the rise in home values. He interviewed California housing experts and developers, who spoke about challenges in getting wealthier neighborhoods to accept low-income housing even though their fears are likely unfounded.

“My family’s neighborhood may be an outlier,” Eshman wrote, “but at least for the last three decades, it has also served as vibrant proof that the notion that affordable housing lowers property values is overblown, if not flat-out wrong.”

A-Mark also created a 10-question affordable housing quiz that tests readers' knowledge on low-income housing and property values to accompany the report.

— A-Mark Foundation

Editor’s note: A-Mark Foundation is a nonprofit that provides research and information on critical issues.

The iconic yellow Victorian on the corner of Lincoln Avenue and Paru Street has spent 18 years refining its annual Plein Air event. This year, it exudes a confident excellence in the work of 40 painters who came from near and far to paint the Alameda scene.

These artists who paint outdoors, on site, seem to be a hardy breed. They smell of sunscreen, have a valise packed for all eventualities and are experts in taking whatever the weather gives them while uncomplainingly making the best of it; i.e., they rise to challenges. How do you paint water moving? How do you paint a night scene in the dark?

A certain type of image is often associated with Plein Air. Grossly simplified, it is illustrative, rich in descriptive detail and often carries a narrative. Greg Holzhauer disregarded these unspoken rules and painted “The Other Side of Crab Cove” rather than the oft recorded beach itself. His style was so loose and painterly as to be non-specific. Although he did it IN Alameda, it wasn't of her usual face. Similarly, Paul Kensinger used the giant ships at Nava; Air Station as an exercise in pure design. It was just the big, sweet arcs of their prows he loved, not their picturesque, historical tourist appeal.

In her abundance, Alameda offers color-full houses and gardens galore. Marie Massey and Randall Stauss were captivated by the blue “Jolly Jacaranda” tree on Eighth Street whose periwinkle blue blossoms played beautifully against a pink wall. Equally fascinating, however, is the complex, bobbing, undulating shadow of the branches upon the wall. The phenomenon evokes that visual puzzle of “What do you see? A vase or a woman's profile?” We the viewer look back and forth between the reality of the branches and the illusion of their shadow dancing in duet.

If these two relished the lively blue and pink sight they saw, Teresa Steinbach Garcia found her satisfaction in a greatly limited palette of neutrals. She shows very still compositions of horizontal textures receding from foreground to background at “Low Tide.” There is a hush to these elegant images.

Watercolorists seem to rejoice in Alameda. Their painting fairly sparkles with light, the result of strategically allowing the white of the paper to work for them. Carol Tarzier, Barbara Tapp, Raffi Kondy and others exercise a solid knowledge of perspective while exercising a light and exuberant touch in their paintings.

A number of paintings featured night scenes. Marti Walkers pastel sticks lent themselves to a deep, soft, velvety rendering of “Alameda Nightlights” winking and blinking in the harbor. Kristian Matthews saw a solo patron in a “Late Night Laundry” illuminated from within. The viewer is nearly a voyeur here, giving the image an uncommon intimacy riding in on the scent of lint and Downey fabric softener. Cleo Vilett noticed a house at night with only two lights on, one upstairs, one downstairs and told herself a little story about the couple who lived there seeking “Separate Bedrooms” and why.

— Karen Braun Malpas