Melanie Mason

“Farm to School” allies plan healthy food campaign

When it comes to food systems, there are as many definitions of “local” as there are varieties of apple. Given federal, state and local regulations, what reforms are truly feasible? Activists gathered Thursday evening in the Oakland Unified School District’s administrative hub to plan and define their healthy food campaign.

What’s your story?

Oakland North is introducing an new ongoing feature on our site called “Letters from the Community.”  Our first letter is from Jilala Foley, who writes about her son’s recent shooting at an East Oakland sideshow.  If you have an essay or letter you’d like us to consider–about any aspect of life in Oakland–send us a message at j201editors [at] gmail [dot] com.

Letter from the Community: An Oakland mother’s story

By Jilala Foley/Special to Oakland North My son was shot this week; one bullet lodged in his back, beneath his kidney, and the other went through his arm, breaking the bone as it passed. He had made the not-too-wise choice to attend a side show in East Oakland. Consistent with past events, there were gun shots and my son was this week’s unfortunate victim.

Oakland to Cuba: Obama lifts travel restrictions for family visits

By Melanie Mason/Oakland North

Delvis Fernández, like any other grandfather, wants his grandchild to know his roots, to appreciate his culture and to connect with family members. So last week, he decided to bring his 12-year-old grandson on a trip to Fernandez’s hometown of Santa Clara, Cuba, located smack dab in the center of the island.

Recessionomics: On joblessness and Snuggies

It looks like we’ve officially arrived at the “anger” stage of our economy-related grief; between AIG bailouts and takedowns of Jim Cramer, there’s a lot of rage out there.  But come on, folks, isn’t there a little room for laughter in our angry, angry hearts?  For your online reading pleasure, I submit to you: Stuff Unemployed People Like (sound familiar?)  Now our soaring unemployment rates are most definitely not funny, but even gallows humor has its place, and I have…

Anxiety and rumors at armed robbers’ apparent shopping center of choice

  About a month ago, the North Oakland branch of the San Leandro-based chain Pet Food Express was hit by an armed robber. Two weeks later, it happened again, this time at the Pet Food Express Rockridge store, located in the Safeway shopping center at 51st and Broadway. According to employees, it was the same guy. It was then that the vice president of Pet Food Express, Mark Witirol, started hearing of other armed robberies at the Rockridge shopping center….

Recessionomics: An unhappy statistic

Bad news out of California’s Employment Development Department:  the unemployment rate in the state is now officially in the double digits, clocking in at 10.1%.  This is the first time we’ve hit double digits since June 1983, and it’s a pretty staggering jump from the rate at this time last year: 6.1%.  A conspicuous milestone, to say the least…

North Oakland Now: Thursday, February 26

Howdy, North Oakland!  Here’s your news for the day.  The stimulus has been passed and now, as the money makes it way to the East Bay, the debate on where to spend it has begun.  The Tribune reports that the Metropolitan Transit Commission’s decision to use stimulus dollars on BART projects instead of buses has prompted protest from AC transit riders.  The Chronicle writes that the cost of Alzheimer’s care in California is expected to almost double over the next…

North Oakland Now: Wednesday, February 25

Good morning, North Oakland!  Lots of news this morning.  The Chron is reporting that, after our prolonged state budget debacle, some opinion leaders are hoping to scrap the rule that requires a two-thirds vote to pass state budget and taxes.  Keep an eye out for new initiatives on the 2010 ballot that would lower the required votes from two-thirds to 55 percent.   PG&E announced yesterday a plan to finance five solar plants throughout their territory.  The Chron has a nice…

Recessionomics: Buy our cars, please!

I’ve seen local restaurants and bars offer “recession specials” in the past few months—cheap eats or drinks to appeal to the spending-averse consumer (and aren’t we all pretty spending-averse right now?).  But now other types of industries are offering recession deals.  Take this new promotion from Hyundai: if you buy a car and then lose your source of income, Hyundai will pay your car payments for up to three months.  If you’re unable to find a new job or income…

North Oakland Now: Tuesday, February 24

Rise and shine, North Oakland!  Here are your headlines for the day:  Oakland City Council is mulling new ballot measures for a potential June 2 special election.  The proposals offer clues as to how the Council plans to tackle the (at least) $50 million budget gap for the 09-10 fiscal year.  And the Chronicle reminds us that all this rain is doing little to increase California water levels.  Apparently, a couple of weeks of rain are no match for a…

North Oakland Now: Monday, February 23

Good morning, North Oakland!  Here are your headlines for the day.  A man was killed in a drive-by shooting near Bushrod Park yesterday evening.  Police identified the victim as 29-year-old Charles Archille; as of this morning, there are no suspects.  The Chronicle reports that the Bay Area Toll Authority is considering charging carpools a toll to cross the Bay Bridge and other area bridges in an effort to ease budget woes.  Obama’s housing rescue plan may not provide much relief…

North Oakland Now: Sunday, February 22

It’s Oscar Sunday!  For your reading pleasure, the Chronicle takes a look today at California’s  freeze on executions–three years and counting–as well as a story on Niman Ranch, the East Bay purveyor of humanely-raised meats that has recently been bought out by a Chicago company.  Oh, and there’s the requisite piece on the economy, this time focusing on the international implications of the crisis.  The Tribune also offers an angle on the economy: the upswing of patrons at public libraries,…

North Oakland Now: Saturday, February 21

Happy Saturday! It’s a slow news day in the East Bay. A trial date has been set for the only person charged in the Chaucey Bailey homicide case. Devaughndre Broussard’s trial will start on May 18. And the Oakland A’s have stopped plans to build a new stadium and move to Fremont. The plans had run up against concerns from environmentalists that the project would harm nearby wetlands. Those are the major headlines — now go enjoy your weekend!