A bygone world of whimsy and magic lies beyond the gate to Oakland’s Canine Circus School for dogs. The Metcalfs, masterminds behind the school, have curated their backyard with unusual trinkets, archeological artifacts and colorful collectibles, turning the space into part sculpture garden, part creative playground for man’s best friend.

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In response to what organizers at the Oakland-based Martin Luther King Freedom Center, Institute for Community Leadership say is a broken public service system in the Bay Area, at least 55 professionals from government and municipal institutions will convene this week in Oakland and explore ways to make public institutions more efficient and accessible.

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