Feature Articles

Overdue books may now benefit Alameda Food Bank

Find a library book under the bed? Forget to bring a DVD back on time? Borrowers can now clear any and all library fines and help others at the same time by donating food instead. Starting next month, Alameda Library’s new Food for Fines program will help Alamedans in need and also erase those fines. 

Alamedans are encouraged to submit applications now for two civic engagement academies, one for adults and one for local high school juniors and seniors. Both programs are free to attend and are designed to provide insight to Alameda County’s services and operations through learning and discussing the county’s Vision 2026 core themes: healthy environment; thriving and resilient population; safe and livable communities; and a prosperous and vibrant economy.

The public is invited to help Ploughshares Nursery, 2701 Main St., weed out and plant its propagation area, transplant fruit trees and seed native plants for next year’s sales. Volunteers must bring their own work gloves and clippers and be ready to work, but also have fun. 

Ploughshares is a social enterprise of the Alameda Point Collaborative supportive housing community (APC). Ploughshares trains and employs APC residents, and 100 percent of the nursery’s sales support housing for formerly homeless families. 

Last week’s article announcing the release of Bay Farm Island: A Hidden History of Alameda (“Bay Farm History Book Released," July 4) resulted in a surprising amount of orders after just four days of being available to the public. According to author and publisher Eric J. Kos, this initial set of orders will be shipped out before the end of this week. 

Many images may come to mind when hearing the term Toastmaster. One may think it refers to lightly charred bread, but “toastmaster” actually refers to a person who gives toasts at banquets or special occasions. The role of toastmaster became the basis of public-speaking clubs led by Ralph C. Smedley during his time as the director of education at the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in Bloomington, Ill.