Environment

Volunteers solar-panel 16 new houses in one day

Most people would probably find the early-morning sound effects at Marie Henderson’s new place in Sobrante Park yesterday– hammers pounding on a roof, construction voices calling out to each other, and the whirring of power drills—a bit of a nuisance. But to Henderson, they were music to the ears:  she was helping build her own home. “My house is progressing very well,” she said happily, brushing off her hands and adjusting the red bandana tied to her head beneath a…

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

Schools urge calm, planning for swine flu

As tens of thousands of children in North Oakland returned to school this week, local health officials and school districts were already bracing for the upcoming flu season, said Alameda County Public Health Department spokesperson Sherri Willis. “For the first time ever, we have two strains of flu and two vaccines to deal with. That would be a tall order even if one of those wasn’t a pandemic,” Willis said, referring to the swine flu virus, which since the school…

Oakland Tech kicks off new Green Academy

Five years ago, Oakland Technical High School  teacher Deirdre Snyder wrote some notes at a teacher meeting where the teachers were imagining a new kind of academy within Tech–a program that might help teach students how to make careers out of protecting the environment. At the kickoff celebration last night for Tech’s new Green Technology Academy, Snyder–who teaches Spanish and Environmental Studies, and who will now help head the new Tech program–said, “We need to do this, because without it…

Parks fire prevention plan makes headway

As flames continued to rage elsewhere in the state, a local voter-approved wildfire prevention project for the East Bay hills moved toward implementation in Oakland last night.  In the fifth in a series of six public hearings on the brush-clearing, wood-chopping Wildfire Hazard Reduction and Resource Management Plan, three dozen citizens listened without major objection as a draft plan of the project and an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) draft were discussed. Voters in western Alameda and Contra Costa counties originally…

Lanesplitting 2: Rockridge to Downtown

After a recent move to the area and a less-than-relaxing experience biking from Berkeley to downtown Oakland along Telegraph, I did what it seemed like any wannabe commuter (and novice biker) would: try to find a better route.  I contacted the city last week to learn about some good North Oakland/ Downtown alternatives. Jennifer Stanley, the bicycle and pedestrian facilities coordinator for Oakland, suggested the Webster-Shafter route, which runs from Rockridge to Downtown Oakland.  It’s “one of the most popular routes,”…

Council unanimously passes Oakland Energy, Climate Action Plan

The Oakland Council members unanimously passed an Energy and Climate Action Plan late Tuesday night. The approval by the eight-member council now sends the city to preliminary planning to see how it can reduce greenhouse gasses to 36 percent below the 2005 level by 2020. Targets listed in the plan would meet international standards of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a unit put on partly by the United Nations Environment Program. “We are unlikely allies,” said Ian Kim, member…