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Katie Bernstein

Donated and forgotten: The problem with second-hand clothes

The Goodwill’s Greater East Bay headquarters on International Boulevard is a clothing reseller’s dream and a garbage system nightmare. This block-long facility is, despite its size, an inconspicuous treasure trove for resellers sifting for secondhand goods they will leave with by the cartload. The white cinderblock interior has an almost clinical feel: Clothes lie sprawled in plastic carts the size of operating tables, pushed together in a maze that only the regulars know how to navigate. This kind of retail…

Small batch composters are digging deep to find big waste solutions

At Bishop O’Dowd High School in the Oakland hills, gardener Ned Lange is making small-batch vermicompost from the school’s food scraps. He takes scraps like leafy greens, peels, and stems that won’t make it into the cooked lunch, and blends them into a smoothie that he feeds into an 8-by-4-foot corrugated steel bin that is home to 100 pounds of worms. He lifts the roof off and carefully peels back pages of damp newspaper that are beginning to disintegrate. Underneath,…

New study reveals extreme levels of microplastics in San Francisco Bay

A study carried out over three years in the San Francisco Bay revealed high levels of microplastics in stormwater, treated wastewater, surface water, and sediment. The report discovered an important previously unknown source of pollution: degrading tires. It also found that stormwater has particularly high microplastic levels, suggesting the need for better infrastructure to filter stormwater.

Homesteading organization shows Oaklanders the rewards of urban gardening

It’s chock full of collard greens. And figs. And chickens. On Saturday, visitors meandered through the bushy rows of produce in the community garden at the corner of 33rd and West Streets, in the expansive lot belonging to Hoover Elementary School. Between the vegetation, visitors could see pops of color from mosaics and decorative wooden poles with glittery streamers floating in the soft breeze. Volunteers picked at a ten-foot-high mulch pile, filling loads into a wheelbarrow before spreading them across…

Vigil in front of PG&E headquarters in Oakland protests power cuts

On the otherwise quiet and dimly-lit Clay Street, a group of roughly 50 people gathered for a candlelit vigil in front of Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s Oakland headquarters on Thursday evening. Protestors held tea light candles as they gathered around speakers, who led the crowd through moments of somber observance, followed by chanting: “PG&E is a convicted felon!” referring to a ruling by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) that PG&E was responsible for the…

New community hub aims to bring non-profit services under one roof

It was a record shop. Then it sat empty. Now it’s a community hub for non-profits. And at its housewarming party on Friday night, a crowd of roughly 250 people crammed into the space belonging to Restore Oakland, Inc. to learn about how it would be available for Fruitvale residents to use. Before making their way into the space, guests and curious onlookers watched a powerful and colorful performance from Danza Azteca Cuauhtonal, a group that practices indigenous cultural rites….

Eat Real Festival cultivates local food

The 11th annual Eat Real Festival at Jack London Square this weekend drew in thousands of people with an appetite. Food trucks, environmental advocacy booths, and stalls serving locally-sourced food and drink fed a steady crowd hungry for new flavors. Eat Real is a food festival where lines become masses, and sensory overload is, above all, driven by the nose—between the yeasty pungency of beer, smoky slow-cooked southern-style barbeque, and the thickness of frying oil. Among the dozens of vendors…

Ghost Ship jury deadlocks on Derick Almena verdict; acquits Max Harris

The jury considering allegations against two men connected with the 2016 Ghost Ship fire reached a verdict on Thursday afternoon, acquitting Max Harris, a former tenant and creative director of the Ghost Ship, of 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter. But after the jury deadlocked, Judge Trina Thompson declared a mistrial regarding identical charges against Derick Almena, the Ghost Ship’s primary leaseholder, who now faces a possible second trial.  The fire broke out on December 2, 2016, at a party at the…

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