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Melina Tupa

A world of hope: Treating international patients with rare diseases at Children’s Hospital Oakland

Meet Nomin Gambat, a 5-year-old girl who traveled all the way from Mongolia to Children’s Hospital Oakland to seek a clinical treatment for a disease so rare it strikes only 1 in a million people. But coming to the United States for medical treatment is difficult, requiring a special visa and proof that there is no cure for the person’s disease in their home country, and it is a stressful experience for families who must sometimes be separated for long periods while…

For Tiny Desk Concert winners Fantastic Negrito, the journey began in Oakland

The New Parish in Downtown Oakland is packed. About 300 attendees wave their hands and clap as five purple stage lights illuminate the silhouette of a guy wearing a plaid suit, a red vest, a tie and shiny black shoes. The band—drums, piano, bass and guitar—starts playing a blues tune with a catchy guitar riff. Finally, the front man grabs the microphone with conviction and sings in a gritty voice: I’m packing up and leaving tomorrow I need a new…

Blue Bottle Coffee’s W.C. Morse Cafe becomes a concert hall for a night

Blue Bottle Coffee’s historic W.C. Morse Cafe on Broadway became a casual and intimate concert hall Thursday night as three members of the Oakland East Bay Symphony performed selections from Vivaldi, Debussy and more. Called “Cup of Classical,” the event was the latest in the Oakland East Bay Symphony’s efforts to bring classical music into the community by performing it in non-traditional venues. The symphony hosted a similar event, called “Bach & Brew,” last May that brought together beer aficionados…

“The Run and Only” basketball league gives the NBA a run for its money

Two years ago, Jake Anderson took three friends from India to an NBA basketball game. To his surprise, his friends weren’t very impressed with what they saw. “We thought basketball games were fast and entertaining. This was the opposite,” one of them said. That was when Anderson realized he had to do something to save the sport he loved. One year later he created a community-based league called “The Run and Only.” “We take players that are terrifically talented and…

Meet the new superhero on the block: Super Sikh

In early January, Eileen Alden and Supreet Singh Manchanda sat in front of a computer, opened a Kickstarter account and wrote: “Have you ever asked yourself why there are no Sikh superheroes? Isn’t it time to see a hero in a turban for a change?” They set an ambitious goal for their project: to raise $5,000 to produce a comic book with a Sikh hero. The campaign took off and was even selected as a KickStarter staff pick. In 27…

Oakland North spotlight: Sacred Wheel

Sacred Wheel, an unpretentious cheese shop in Temescal, offers a funky menu featuring Pabst Blue Ribbon tomato soup, pickled eggs, and a Sriracha-infused sloppy Joe on what the menu calls “the trashiest bun we could find.” The eclectic menu is mirrored in the décor (a toy dinosaur with a chunk of cheese in its jaws presides over the cheese counter), and the staff (nearly all employees have a caricature of themselves on the wall, and the staff are decorated with…

Black Girls Code teaches girls digital technology skills

Black Girls Code runs after-school programs where they teach programming and game design. At the event held on Saturday at DeVry University in downtown Oakland, 100 girls between the ages of 7 and 17, their parents, and 50 volunteers listened carefully as Kimberly Bryant, the founder of Black Girls Code, addressed the crowd.

Teens turn tech skills learned from nonprofit into a first job

Kemish Rosales spent the summer of 2012, the one between his junior and senior year of high school, learning how to remove hard drives and disk drives safely, rebooting computers, installing software, cleaning mice and speakers, and attending a computer lab every Thursday. Angel Yañez also spent that summer fixing and refurbishing computers, setting them up in labs at schools and non-profit organizations. Both of them were 16 years old, and students at the Media Academy at Fremont High School….

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