Zeppelin takes flight over Bay Area

By CHRISTINA SALERNO Bay Area residents may have noticed something unusual in the skies since November.  The giant, cigar-shaped air ship is the first Zeppelin to take flight in the United States in more than 70 years, since the crash of the Hindenburg in 1937. http://oaklandnorth.net/wp-content/uploads/081126zeppelin.mov http://oaklandnorth.net/wp-content/uploads/081126zeppelin.mov

Kaplan wins at-large Oakland council seat

By CHRISTINA SALERNO and MARTIN RICARD Nov. 5 – AC Transit board member Rebecca Kaplan won the race tonight for the at-large seat on the Oakland City Council, with 61 percent of the vote. Her opponent, Oakland school board member Kerry Hamill, trailed with 38 percent.

Voters approve $500 million for regional parks

By BAGASSI KOURA Nov. 5 — Measure WW, which raises up to $500 million for East Bay Regional Parks through government bonds, passed overwhelmingly with 71 percent of the vote. Measure WW was introduced by park officials in August. The money raised will replenish dwindling funds that have been levied since 1988 by Measure AA, the last bond issue aimed at East Bay parks. Measure AA raised $225 million for the park system, less than half the amount allotted for Measure WW.

Prop. 2 passes, farm animals get more room to stretch

By MAGGIE FAZELI FARD Nov. 5 — After months of debate that shoe the spotlight of controversy on the incredible, edible egg for the first time since cholesterol-free diets came into fashion, California voters passed a ballot measure to give confined chickens and other farm animals a little more breathing room. Prop. 2, known as the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, won by a margin of 63 percent to 37 percent. Prop. 2 will prohibit the “cruel confinement” of California’s…

Anxiety, candor as black students anticipate results

By MARTIN RICARD Nov. 4 — In their classrooms and offices, they might not have had the chance to say how they really felt about today’s historic election. But on Monday night, a group of black graduate students at UC Berkeley candidly spoke their minds in anticipation of possibly seeing an African-American ascend to the country’s highest post, if Sen. Barack Obama defeats Sen. John McCain for president.

Rockridge street festival draws thousands

On Sept. 28, the annual “Out and About” street fair turned central Rockridge into one giant fashion show, food fair, and babystrollers convention. Video by CHRISTINA SALERNO and HENRY JONES.

Council debates facelift for Oakland’s taxis

Read a Twitter feed of the council meeting here By ISABEL ESTERMAN and MARTIN RICARD OCT. 8 — It’s hard to know what to expect when taking a cab ride in Oakland. But in a city that operates more than 60 taxi companies, some problems have become irritatingly predictable: People left stranded in an area because a driver deemed it too dangerous, remote or unprofitable; taxis initially dressed with good tires just to pass inspection, only to have them later…

Debate-watching parties draw jeers, applause

By OAKLAND NORTH STAFF Sept. 27—They cheered, they jeered and they rolled their eyes. Some even slurped “Obama-Mama” cocktails—a special concoction of coconut rum and pineapple juice—at one of the dozens of debate-watching parties held throughout Oakland and Berkeley on Friday night. Ardent supporters of Barack Obama or John McCain gathered to watch the season’s first presidential debate at neighborhood bars, restaurants, homes and corner stores.

New cell phone service helps stranded drivers

By CHRISTINA SALERNO  audio slide show by HENRY JONES and CHRISTINA SALERNO Sept. 16 — With fewer than 200 people a month using the bright yellow call boxes that dot Bay Area freeways, transportation authorities are turning to a different device to help stranded motorists: cell phones. Drivers with a flat tire, empty gas tank or broken radiator can now dial 511 from their cell phones and ask for “freeway aid” when prompted. That connects them with a San Francisco-based operator…