Hometown hero Henderson honored by alma mater

Recently-minted Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson, the former Oakland Tech Bulldog and Oakland Athletic, returned to his old neighborhood on Saturday afternoon for a ceremony renaming a North Oakland baseball field in his honor. Story by Sam Laird/Oakland North

It’s (still) Hammertime at the Fox Theatre

Oakland native Stanley Kirk Burrell, a.k.a. MC Hammer, but now preferring simply Hammer, brought his dance and rap show to the recently reopened Fox Theatre in downtown Oakland Friday night. The scene on the street outside was atwitter with Hammer talk. Oakland North posed this question to the Hammer faithful: What makes the rapper so great? We asked the fans attending the show talk about what makes their beloved Oakland icon special.

“The Will and Willie Show” tapes in Upper Rockridge

A chocolate-brown pinstriped suit with a brown silk handkerchief folded seamlessly in the left breast pocket. Brown suede dress shoes and a gold pinkie ring that glinted in the spotlight as he strode on stage.
Willie Brown was here. Story by Laurel Moorhead.

Frank Snapp and the not-so-secret guerrilla garden

Frank Snapp walks up 40th Street, just east of Broadway, with a wheelbarrow full of plants and a plastic green garden hose slung in rounds over his shoulder. His olive sunhat shades denim blue eyes. It’s a 78-degree day in North Oakland and the heat rising off the asphalt makes it seem even hotter, but the fair-skinned, red-haired Snapp is in his element. He is a gardener like many gardeners, but three things set him apart: He has a remarkable depth…

Slain student, a taunted outsider, was fighting hard to grow up

17-year old Desiree Davis had spent her childhood excluded and taunted for never quite fitting in. “They gave her a real hard time her whole life,” said her mother, Dru Ann Davis, in an interview at her home this weekend. A Hurricane Katrina survivor, born blind in one eye, Desiree was working to find new strength and identity in Oakland before she was killed last week in a drive-by shooting. Story by S. Howard Bransford/Oakland North.

Author Gopnik on the wonders of babies’ brains

It’s not surprising that Alison Gopnik, 54, mother of three adult children and the eldest of six siblings, became fascinated at a young age by the cognitive goings-on of babies. She was around them all the time. “My first son was born when I was 23, so there’s about 5 minutes in there when I wasn’t taking care of a baby,” Gopnik said. The child psychologist and U.C. Berkeley professor arrived last night at Mrs. Dalloway’s, the College Avenue bookstore…