Tech girls, Castlemont boys bring home OAL hoops titles

First it was chants of “O-T, O-T” that echoed throughout the Laney College gym Saturday. The happy players and coaches of Oakland Tech were celebrating their Oakland Athletic League girls basketball championship, a 72-42 win over Skyline High. A couple hours later, that scene was repeated. This time, it was chants of “Cas-tle, Cas-tle,” as the Castlemont High boys team celebrated its 67-65 win over Oakland High.

VIDEO: What’s in your box? CSA members look forward to spring

by Elise Craig and Brittney Johnson/Oakland North Community Supported Agriculture or CSAs are programs that allow consumers to skip the grocery store and buy their produce directly from farmers. Every week, subscribers get a box full of the fresh fruit and veggies of the season delivered to a pick up spot near their homes. Some CSAs even deliver free range eggs, farm-fresh cheese and flowers.

Mail thieves suspected in missing deliveries

story and video by MARTIN RICARD One week last August, Carlos Martinez, a civil engineer who lives in the Temescal district, was expecting a special envelope in the mail. It was his 37th birthday, and his sister from Dallas had told him she was sending him a gift card. She said she was going to send it through the postal service, as most people do. Only the gift card never arrived.

O.N. opines! On politics, on creepy comedy, on Xma$…

In these commentaries, Oakland North writers weigh in on 1) keeping Black Friday in perspective; 2) keeping certain kinds of humor in the back room, where maybe it ought to stay; and 3) how the new secretary of state selection looks through the eyes of a journalist raised in West Africa.

Local merchants: Black Friday slid by sort of gray

by MELANIE MASON and HENRY JONES Dec. 1–While retail sales the day after Thanksgiving exceeded expectations, most independent retailers here in North Oakland were removed from the spending frenzy of Black Friday. It wasn’t because of the economic troubles, necessarily—they typically miss out on the action. “Everyone gets drawn away to the big stores,” said Carlo Busby, president of the Temescal Merchants Association and owner of Sagrada boutique, of Black Friday. “As an independent business, we can’t do the deep…

A fragrant shop helps Ethiopians far from home

by ISABEL ESTERMAN Inside Oakland’s Albo African Gift shop, at the corner of Alcatraz and Telegraph, a deep herbal aroma wafts from a row of colorful bottles labeled ‘frankincense.’  Ethiopian Singer Hamelmal Abate’s mournful vibrato pours out of the stereo, crooning over an incongruously lively beat, while the store’s owner, Genet Asrat, sits behind the counter, her black sweater brightened by a bold patterned scarf with a yellow border.  The phone rings nearly continuously, and Asrat switches back and forth…

Newly-elected Kaplan: “I know we can do it”

By MARTIN RICARD The 100 people who funneled last Thursday into the former downtown campaign office of newly elected at-large city councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan were welcomed by jazz music, food, and a number of familiar faces. They chatted, exchanged hugs and shared laughter during a post-election celebration of her victory. And then about half an hour into the event, here came Kaplan—striding toward a makeshift podium in the darkened room, blowing one long blast toward the ceiling with her signature…