Aaron Mendelson

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.

The Young Ethio Jazz Band, ages 10 to 15, bring back traditional Ethiopian jazz

Sirak Tegbaru leads young members of Oakland’s Medhani Alem Ethiopian Orthodox Church in an unusual extracurricular activity: a traditional Ethiopian jazz band. The young musicians, ranging in age from 10 to 15, had their first performance on Sunday, at Rasela’s Jazz Club in San Francisco’s Filmore district.

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…

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…

Oakland’s independent Slumberland Records label fuses pop and noise

Since 1989, Mike Schulman has run Slumberland Records. His label specializes in fusing pop, like 60s girl groups and The Byrds, with “horrible noise.” The label was founded in Washington, D.C., but Schulman brought it with him when he moved to the East Bay.

Tracking the federal stimulus money: Where did Oakland’s $2 billion go?

Among the answers: an airport tower, police officer salaries, and a lot of repaved roads. This end-of-year roundup by reporter Aaron Mendelson examines the trail of the federal stimulus money that arrived three years ago in Oakland–recipient of the tenth largest stimulus grant in the country.

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.

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…

Council to consider controversial Rockridge Safeway project

Safeway wants to demolish its Rockridge store, and build on the site a new, two-story complex of about 62,000 square feet. But the proposed expansion to Safeway’s Rockridge store has pitted the company against neighborhood advocates who oppose the project.

Sound and pix: Oakland voters, at the polls, on election day

On the morning of Tuesday, November 6–election day–Oakland North reporters Aaron Mendelson and Mihir Zaveri headed to a polling location in North Oakland’s Bushrod Community Center, to hear voters talk about Obama, the issues, and what voting means for them this election.

If approved, Measure B1 could raise billions for transportation

Nearly $8 billion over the next three decades could flow to Alameda County roads, sidewalks, highways, buses and trains, if voters approve Measure B1 on November 6. The measure would double the existing half-cent sales tax for transportation, to one cent. Measure B1 requires approval from two-thirds of voters to take effect.

Despite small budget, Oakland A’s triumph in American League West

For the fourth time in the last decade, and the first since the release of the film Moneyball brought popular attention to the team’s uncanny ability to wring a playoff appearance out of a noticeably limited budget, the Oakland Athletics have once again accomplished a rarity in Major League Baseball…