Until organs go silent

Bob Schleicher has been repairing Hammond organs and Leslie speakers in Oakland for nearly five decades–and he’s one of the best at what he does. Something magical happens when you plug in a Leslie speaker to a Hammond organ, he says.

Oakland Zoo receives surprise $1 million gift from anonymous donor

In December, staffers at the Oakland Zoo opened the mail to find an unexpected gift: a $1 million anonymous donation. The gift, which came from a donor or donors with the San Francisco Foundation’s Serendipity Fund, will go into the zoo’s general fund. Emma Lee Twitchell, who oversees fundraising at the zoo, says she was “absolutely surprised and delighted” with the unexpected donation. She said she was out touring the zoo with visitors when zoo president and CEO Dr. Joel…

Oakland company rolls out Rockbot, a social jukebox app for deejaying in-store music

A few years ago, developers Garrett Dodge and Ketu Patel were working on a mobile app called Fido Factor, which helps dog lovers find canine-friendly parks and stores. But then one night at a bar Patel realized there was a bigger problem that needed solving. “One of the things that Ketu had noticed was that when you’re using a jukebox, it’s kind of a pain in the ass to walk across the bar and go use that while your friends…

Tenants rally against eviction of church, nonprofits from Garvey Building in West Oakland

A coalition of tenants and concerned community members seeking to stave off the eviction a church and its programs from a historic West Oakland building held a press conference Tuesday morning at which speakers called the property an important neighborhood gathering point, and urged the city to help the Jack London Square Chapel Church and its media education and community outreach programs remain in the building.

Parks, taller buildings and bike-friendly streets planned for Lake Merritt BART area redevelopment

The area around Lake Merritt BART, including Chinatown and Laney College, could see taller buildings, new park area, and more pedestrian and bike-friendly streets in the next 25 years as part of a development effort presented on Saturday. The plan, four years in the making, was developed by the City of Oakland, BART, and the Peralta Community College District.

Oakland vegetarians and vegans celebrate Thanksgiving meat-free

Some meat-free Oaklanders will be eating veggie “meat” on Thursday, others will focus on traditionally vegetarian side dishes, and others are just looking forward to sitting down with friends and family, no matter what’s on the table. “A rainbow on the table” is how Breakroom customer Tiana Trutma describes her Thanksgiving meal.

AC Transit takes BRT shelter designs to the public

Inside the gym of the Rainbow Recreation Center, on 58th Avenue in East Oakland, the lights dim and a PowerPoint begins. Thirteen people are in attendance—another six will filter in during the presentation—for AC Transit’s presentation about the stations for its $174 million Bus Rapid Transit project, which will run from downtown San Leandro to downtown Oakland beginning in 2016. It’s another round in a series of neighborhood meetings this month, in which the rapid transit planners are inviting East…

Oakland businesses prepare for Halloween rush

This Halloween, Oakland North asked a few local businesses—Powell’s Sweet Shoppe, the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse, Piedmont Grocery and Piedmont Fabric—what they did to prepare for the holiday this year. Business owners said they began preparing for Halloween at least a month ago, and have seen their biggest rush of customers this week.