Pumpkin patch sign

In the pumpkin trade, it all comes down to stem size. To capture the ideal Jack-o-lantern aesthetic, a thick stem is key. That’s what Jon Goldstein, co-owner of the Piedmont Avenue Pumpkin Patch at 4414 Piedmont Ave., thinks. So stay away from the ones up for sale at chain stores, he says. Their stems are…

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Parents drop off their kids to Piedmont Elementary in Oakland during the first week of school.

Zarina Ahmad, principal of Piedmont Avenue Elementary in Oakland, put extra effort this year into creating a bright first day of school. She and her staff pasted a class list to the outside wall, with a photo of each teacher. Big orange cones separated children by their grades. Teachers ran a short pep rally, called the “Line Up to Learn.” Uniformed Oakland firemen welcomed kids into the school.

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The Prescott Circus Theatre started in 1984 in a second grade classroom at Prescott Elementary in West Oakland. The program has now spread to six other Oakland schools, including Piedmont Avenue Elementary in North Oakland. Kids in the program perform regularly in Oakland and the greater Bay Area. Now they are running low on funds and looking for local business sponsors to keep the juggling bats flying and the unicycles rolling.

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