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Oakland North’s best people stories

on December 16, 2012

Oakland North has been up and running for about five years now, and in that time we’ve gotten to meet quite a few of our neighbors — and they’ve had some amazing personal stories to tell.

Collected here are some of our very favorite profiles of the people who make the town what it is. Some of them are pretty famous, like comic artist Daniel Clowes and radio host Glynn Washington. Some of them are people you’ve probably run into on the street, like the blue-wigged Bakesale Betty or Rick Butler, better known as the “Glad Hatter” of the MacArthur BART station. But most of them you know because of what they do, not because of their well-known name or outfits — they’re the people who in some way make this town a more beautiful, interesting or exciting place to live.

And, well, one of them is a boat.

Click through to read — and watch — their stories. Have an idea about an Oakland person whose story needs telling? Email us at staff [at] oaklandnorth [dot] net.

The bearded barbers of Temescal — by Justine Quart

Comic artist Daniel Clowes — by Marta Franco

Willie Gutierrez, Bay Bridge toll booth collector — by Amina Waheed

Gary Shields, owner of God’s Gym — by Adam Grossberg

Forensic diver Steven Day — by Gregory Thomas

The Oakland Kochavim, the city’s Jewish Orthodox ice hockey team — by Steve Fisher

Bakesale Betty — by Theresa Adams

Sign painter Derek McDonald — by Justine Quart

Sue Piper, former spokesperson for the Oakland mayor — by Charles Berkowitz

Oggie Oktyabri, leader of the Mongolian Volleyball Fellowship — by Alex Park

Kendra Scalia-Carrow, power soccer athlete — by Jamie Goldberg

Fetlework Tefferi, owner of Cafe Colluci and Brundo Culinary studio — by Ryan Phillips

Family Radio founder and Judgement Day predictor Harold Camping — by Jill Cowan

NPR’s “Snap Judgment” radio host Glynn Washington — by Ye Tian

Music teacher Giles “Bud” Cropsey — by Karmah Elmusa

Jazz Hudson, spoken word poet — by Vanessa Carr

Joseph Moreno, vintage costumer — by Catherine Traywick

Rick Butler, the “glad hatter” — by Ye Tian

Jewelry designer Laura Bruland — by Jessie Schiewe

Ayodele Nzinga, founder of the Lower Bottom Playaz — by Dylan Bergeson

Steve Sparkes, founder of the My Yute soccer camp — by Jill Replogle

Stanley Garcia, founder of the East Oakland Boxing Association — by Paula Lehman

Tara Esperanza, owner of Tara’s Organic Ice Cream — by Whitney Pennington, Terria Smith, Teresa Chin and Nicole Jones

Francisco Ballesteros, the Oakland Hills shepherd — by Dara Kerr

Bob Patenaude, the director of the Marxist Library — by Mario Furloni

Frank Snapp, the secret gardener — by Shannon Service

Bike Man Dan — by Dara Kerr

Javier Delgado Jimenez and Jim McCarthy, tombstone engravers — by Dara Kerr

The Sea-Wolf, Oakland’s fireboat — by Abby Baird

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Photo by Basil D Soufi
Oakland North

Oakland North is an online news service produced by students at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and covering Oakland, California. Our goals are to improve local coverage, innovate with digital media, and listen to you–about the issues that concern you and the reporting you’d like to see in your community. Please send news tips to:

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