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In Parkway Theater’s lingering absence, the fragility of an urban neighborhood

“It’s a sad memory, looking at that, especially at nighttime,” says an Oakland cafe owner whose business view takes in the padlocked, empty theater building that used to be the Parkway. A look at the loss of the popular neighborhood hub and the challenges hampering efforts to bring it back to life. by Sam Laird/Oakland North

Fading Rose Garden pruned by those who love it

Discolored rose petals piled in a corner.  Dead rose heads were bending off their stems.“Every time I come here, I get itchy fingers because I want to prune the roses,” said Carol Braves, grasping a pair of clippers as she stared at a limp-looking pink rose bush that was almost as tall as she was.  “I feel like a kid in a candy store right now.” For more than 75 years, Oakland’s famous Morcom Rose Garden has been a beautiful…

No massage parlor for the old Parkway

A neighbors’ uprising has helped kill any chance that that the old Parkway will be occupied by a woman who’d requested city permit to open a new business inside–a massage parlor. Story by Mario Furloni/Oakland North.

Oakland students give old computers a new home

On a hot day in West Oakland, children and parents sat at rows of desks in a warehouse classroom. It was dark, the fan hummed and people chattered in low voices. A sense of expectation filled the room. In three hours, every child would get a voucher for a free computer

Bread Garden (not them, too!) considers shutdown

After 33 years, the owner of the Bread Garden bakery is considering closing down his shop. The bakery that in the 1970s helped ignite the Bay Area artisan bread trend is now in danger of becoming a victim of its own success.

This year’s Labor Day picnic set amid tough times

Nearly ten percent of US workers were jobless this Labor Day. That’s a five percent increase in unemployment since December 2007, according to the Department of Labor. In the midst of global economic turmoil, the Alameda County Labor Council of the AFL-CIO held its annual barbeque at Shoreline Park in Oakland. Union officials, members and community groups gathered to celebrate and drum up support for what some say are major political battles to come: health care reform, passing a federal…

Migrants invited to church pulpits for Labor Day

Romana was seven months pregnant, she told the congregation at Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church on Sunday, when she walked for six hours from Mexico to the United States -– mostly without water, sometimes without shoes. She crossed through brush where sticks ripped at her skin, she said. Her brother and grandmother dragged her when she felt too tired to walk.  When Romana and her family arrived at a tunnel where they thought they could rest, she said, US immigration workers…

City Council May Call Emergency Meeting Over Fees

Only nine of 50 local businesses participated in Thursday’s General Strike to protest the hike in parking fees, but some 100 local business owners and residents attended the meeting Thursday night at the Grand Lake Theater and District 2 Councilmember Pat Kernighan said the City Council should meet soon to reconsider the fee hikes. Kernighan said at the meeting that she had received more than 200 e-mails during the last several weeks, complaining about the hikes in parking-related fees. “The…

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