Letters to the Editor

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Delta Kappa Gamma (DKG), International Society for Key Women Educators, has honored Fern Kruger for she has been deeply touching the lives of others for 40 years through leadership roles as a nurturer of education and community service. This is Fern’s third year as president of DKG’s Zeta Phi chapter in Alameda. She has represented the chapter at area, state, regional and international conferences.

Fern received a master’s degree in educational psychology from Hofstra University in New York. She started as an elementary school teacher and advanced to a master teacher in New York City. Later Fern served as a preschool teacher for Montessori schools, as well as the facilities director and head preschool teacher for Alternatives in Action. She now works for the Alameda Unified School District as a teacher at Island High School, Alameda’s alternative high school.

Fern received the city of Alameda’s special recognition for her community service including: the Mayor’s Summer Job Program, the skate board park, Alameda Collaborative for Children, Youth and Families and the Project Youth View film festival. Even so, the recognition that moved Fern the most was Island High School students asking her to inspire them with a commencement address.

Fern makes a difference. Talking to Fern leaves one with a sense of feeling heard and appreciated and with a renewed vigor for education and community in our world. Thank you for sharing your amazing dedication, enthusiasm and love for education.

Joanne Robinson


About a month ago I observed a grayish plume of sludge-like material on the surface of San Leandro Bay. It was rounding the eastern side of Alameda and riding the tide into the Oakland Estuary under the High Street Bridge.

I got a good look at the plume’s content from the Fruitvale Bridge. By now the plume was beyond the Park Street Bridge. It was predominately grey with random oily sections and clumps of grass and various debris. This was not an oil slick.

I called 911 and the Alameda Fire Department (AFD) dispatcher said they would send someone. They did not. An hour later I called the Oakland Fire Department (OFD), whose firefighters came right out. By then it was dark, and the firefighters used flashlights to observe that the grayish-brown plume had dissipated considerably.

Four hours had passed. OFD did nothing because its firefighters could not see much and the current was too strong for effective containment. Had AFD responded, its firefighters could have taken a sample and initiated an investigation.

The next day I learned that major dredging had been underway in the Alameda lagoons. I found a dredging crew, who were just finishing. They said that they took the material they had dredged away in a truck.

Could that dredging company be the source of the mysterious bay "goo," that killed so many birds, and why didn’t AFD respond?

Monty J. Heying


A comment to my neighbor John Zugnoni on his letter ("Save the City’s Soul," Jan. 8).

On Memorial Day 2011, my husband and I were the 911 callers asking for help for the suicidal man, Raymond Zack, at Crown Beach. When Alameda Police Department (APD) and then Alameda Fire Department (AFD) arrived, my thoughts were, "Thank you, this man will be saved." And the APD and AFD took charge!

They were in charge, taking notes, making calls, looking for boats and bossing everyone around. Meanwhile, Raymond Zack kept looking back toward the beach; I suppose to see if anyone would come to help. As a former lifeguard, I considered going in and, in retrospect, I wish my inner Good Samaritan had been much better.

After about an hour, a fireman climbed to the top of his ladder on Shore Line Drive at Willow Street, looked through binoculars and said, "He’s face down." What a day!

I was recently taken to Alameda Hospital by AFD. The firemen were great … but forgiving and forgetting are hard to do.

What if Raymond Zack had been a 6-year, 12-year or 16-year old?

Sharon Brunetti