Alexia Underwood

Child abduction cases by strangers are rare

Police said Friday that child abduction cases in some East Bay cities are “exceedingly rare.” “Ordinarily, they’re short-lived and have to do with some kind of custody battle,” said Sgt. Mary Kusmiss of the Berkeley Police. Abductions by strangers occur even more infrequently. “The harsh reality is, most abduction cases are by somebody [the child] knows,” said Anthony Gonzales of Child Quest International, a non-profit that deals with missing and exploited children in the Bay Area. The last time a…

Foster father of missing boy leaves home with police

By AYAKO MIE & ALEXIA UNDERWOOD; ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SHILANDA WOOLRIDGE AND STEVE SALDIVAR The foster father of missing five-year-old Hasanni Campbell was questioned by police today and left his home in Fremont with officers, said a prominent Oakland attorney who has been consulting with the foster parents. Attorney John Burris could not confirm where the police and Louis Ross, the foster father, were going, but said that they were in a car, driving around the area.  The home is…

Lanesplitting 2: Rockridge to Downtown

After a recent move to the area and a less-than-relaxing experience biking from Berkeley to downtown Oakland along Telegraph, I did what it seemed like any wannabe commuter (and novice biker) would: try to find a better route.  I contacted the city last week to learn about some good North Oakland/ Downtown alternatives. Jennifer Stanley, the bicycle and pedestrian facilities coordinator for Oakland, suggested the Webster-Shafter route, which runs from Rockridge to Downtown Oakland.  It’s “one of the most popular routes,”…

18 Years In, A Theater Group Continues To Surprise

By ALEXIA UNDERWOOD When the Shotgun Players staged Shakespeare’s “Richard III,” about England’s bloody War of the Roses, they did it without Elizabethan costumes, stage props, elaborate sets, or even seats for the playgoers. Makeshift propane lamps lit the stage – a windy parking lot at King Middle School in North Berkeley.  Audience members perched on plastic, five-gallon buckets or tried to get comfortable on the concrete for the nearly three-hour production. Actors wore a random assortment of street clothes,…

Halal Markets and a Mosque Draw Oakland’s Immigrant Muslim Community

At the River Nile Market in Oakland, which is slightly bigger than a city bus, the shelves are crammed with little bits of Yemen, Sudan, Egypt and Lebanon. Cans of fruit, meat and juice carry Arabic script as well as English lettering.  Glass buckets hold spices – cumin, nutmeg, cinnamon and za’atar, a mixture of herbs and spices popular in the Middle East.  Burlap bags of basmati rice spill into the aisles.  Three water pipes, or hookahs, perch on the…

The flip side at the Chandra Cerrito Contemporary

Tucked away between a Subway sandwich shop and a boarded up storefront on Grand Avenue is Mercury 20, a large, one-room art gallery. And upstairs, hovering above it all, is the Chandra Cerrito Contemporary, a small room currently showing the work of three professional art-installers, who happen to be artists themselves.

School District Resumes Local Control, But Where’s the Money?

After six years of state control, the Oakland Unified School District resumed local control last week and new Superintendent Tony Smith, an Oakland native, was inducted into office.  But what exactly does this mean for Oakland residents in terms of change? Not much, apparently.  While the OUSD Board will now be in a position to make independent decisions – versus advising a state administrator –  the looming budget crisis seems to be tying everyone’s hands. One reason why school officials…

North Oakland Now 7.07.09

Happy Tuesday, North Oakland.  Now that the budget has been voted on, the city council meetings on Tuesday may be a little less boring – or less interesting –  depending on how you look at the situation.  Either way, new topics will be raised, such as a plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions for the city.  The meeting tonight starts at 6 at City Hall  (1 Frank H. Ogawa plaza). In other news, the Oakland Unified School District just regained…

North Oakland Now 7.06.09

Welcome to the week, North Oakland.  With the Fourth of July debauchery behind us, it might be a little difficult to launch back into the swing of things.  Here’s a suggestion that might make Mondays a little easier to stomach:  Jack London Square will be hosting Musical Mondays, which means you can  play board games (chess, checkers, scrabble) with friends and significant others while being serenaded by live bands.  5:30-8, at the foot of Broadway.  Today is also a day…