Melissa Batchelor Warnke

Sixty, sober, and starting over

Text by Melissa Batchelor Warnke. Photos by Luisa Conlon. It’s 6 am on a Sunday, and a group of men are sitting in a parking lot in the dark. They’re half of the Teen Challenge Choir—two dozen men and women in treatment for “life controlling issues.” They’re about to get in a big white van and head to the Cavalry Temple Church in Concord, California, about an hour north of the men’s home base in Oakland. It’s always cold this…

East Bay Astronomical Society mobilizes to repair the Zeiss Universarium

Now, thanks to the efforts of the East Bay Astronomical Society, the Zeiss might illuminate Chabot’s planetarium again. The volunteer-run astronomy group recently launched the first phase of a fundraising campaign to save the Zeiss. They hope to collect $25,000 in donations via YouCaring, a crowd-funding site designed to help charitable projects raise money.

Girls Inc. empowers Oakland girls with self-defense

Leah Goldstein is bobbing and weaving her way through a dozen girls poised to punch. Their tiny fists are held high, ready to strike. “Show me your fighting stance,” Goldstein says. “See how powerful you are? That’s enough to knock someone out if you hit them in the right spot.” The girls lunge at an invisible opponent. Sharp breaths cut through a chorus of giggles. Goldstein is leading a group of middle school girls in a self-defense course. The class…