Community

Despite rain, Lincoln Elementary students keep walking toward $45,000 goal

Kid-friendly covers of today’s hits echoed through Oakland Chinatown Sunday morning as students walked laps around Lincoln Elementary to raise money for school activities.  “Good job, dragons,” teachers and volunteers chanted, as the children splashed through the rain. “Keep on walking!” The goal was to raise $45,000 in Lincoln Elementary’s 14th annual Walk-a-Thon.  Each student found sponsors who pledged a certain amount per lap of the city-block circuit they completed.  Mukta Sambrani, Lincoln principal, said the fundraiser was started by the…

No tricks but lots of treats at DogFest Bay Area

Dogs and their owners dressed in colorful and unique Halloween costumes at Jack London Square on Saturday for the sixth annual DogFest Bay Area. Organized by Canine Companions, the event raises funds to provide people with disabilities with trained assistance dogs, free of charge.   The event featured two costume contests, where about 60 dogs and their owners competed in three categories: best duo or group, funniest and most creative. Throughout the afternoon there were vendor booths, raffles, food and assistance dog…

How painting your life story can promote healing

Every Sunday for the last six weeks, Craig Morris has walked through Oakland streets populated by drug users to St. Mary’s Center, the shelter, soup kitchen and transitional housing provider that pulled him from the brink. There, Morris, who is 60 years old, painted a canvas as part of the Sacred Storytelling Art Project, a program created by St. Mary’s and the Center for ArtEsteem to uplift older Oaklanders. Morris and 11 others worked on self-portraits depicting some difficult aspect…

‘A change coming’: Environmental group vows to keep eye on gravel facility coming to Oakland’s Port

The Oakland Board of Port Commissioners on Thursday approved an agreement for construction of a sand and gravel facility. After reaching a settlement with the port last week, the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project has vowed to monitor the development.  The resident-led environmental justice organization filed a lawsuit last year to block the 18-acre Eagle Rock Aggregates Terminal. The lawsuit argued the dust and pollution from the site, constructed less than a mile from West Oakland neighborhoods, would “expose an…

More than 100 residents join city officials to tackle Oakland’s biggest problems

An event on Saturday that was intended to build community in East Oakland started with discord.  “You don’t live here!” yelled Johnny Williams, interrupting Mayor Sheng Thao’s introduction to her second “Talking Transition” event. She was in the middle of discussing city investments in deep East Oakland.  “You keep saying deep East Oakland,” continued Williams, “but we’re one Oakland.” Williams was referencing Thao’s slideshow, which projected her social media slogan “#OneOakland.” According to Sean Maher, Oakland’s acting communications and engagement…

Oakland sharply increases trash pickup but can’t keep up with illegal dumping, especially in Chinatown

Oakland Chinatown is one of the communities deeply bothered by illegal dumping, even though the city has seen a nearly six-fold increase in the quantity of trash cleared from its streets in the past seven years.  Liao Shen, an employee at D&K Market in Chinatown, said the store pays about $800 a month for trash services and then has to deal with trash overflow from illegal dumpers.  “It is very frequent,” said Shen. “It happens all the time.” Businesses in…

Community raises money for Street Spirit, hoping to save paper that aids unhoused people

Over 100 people gathered at Tamarack in downtown Oakland on Saturday for a “Comeback Party and Fundraiser” for Street Spirit,  a newspaper that has focused on homelessness in the East Bay since 1995 and lost its funding in May.  The loss was a major blow for about 40 vendors, many of them unhoused, who sell the paper in Berkeley and Oakland for $2, keeping 100% of what they collect, including donations beyond the paper’s cost.  Editor-in-chief Alastair Boone is working…

VIDEO: To no avail, residents use OAK311 app to clean up Lafayette Square Park

Many Oakland residents are using the OAK311 app to report the poor conditions of their community parks, where debris is dumped, benches are splintered and children are playing on rusted equipment. The city says it hears the complaints but does not have the budget or manpower to address all the issues. That frustrates residents like Meredith Triplet, who lives near Lafayette Square Park downtown, where trash cans are overflowing, grass is overgrown and the playground equipment is chipped, peeling or…

New seed-sharing program opens at Oakland Public Library branches

Pam Glassoff wiped a scatter of fresh soil from her hands, basking in the warm afternoon sun in front of the Montclair Branch of the Oakland Public Library. Smiling, she talked about her love of gardening and the excitement of the Earth Day event she was attending. “I’ve never grown from seed, so this would be a whole new experiment for me.” Glassoff has been gardening for 25 years, and has a fondness for tomatoes, rhubarb, and asparagus. With the…