When Cleveland Mitchell first learned in 2011 that Oakland’s McCullum Youth Court was losing funding and on the verge of closing its doors, he could hardly contain his disappointment. Having been involved with the court for years, first in 2005 as a 13-year-old juvenile delinquent and then throughout high school as a volunteer staff member, Mitchell had personally witnessed the nonprofit diversion program help hundreds of kids in Alameda County. In 2012, when the youth court officially shut down, Mitchell was totally dismayed and flabbergasted that one of Oakland’s most prominent youth diversion programs could have been allowed to deteriorate. “I couldn’t believe it was over,” Mitchell says. “I thought it was something that deserved to be more praised and more wanted than it was.”
Ethnic and cultural diversity prevail in Oakland. Take the Fruitvale and Dimond districts, where hip apparel store Oaklandish recently opened next to an old-fashioned butcher shop that’s been there for decades. In the same vicinity, an authentic Filipino restaurant operates near a grocery store that sells almost exclusively imported Mexican goods. That’s Oakland.
While sports fans adjust to the seemingly inevitable flight of the Golden State Warriors to San Francisco, city officials and business leaders have redoubled their efforts to keep the A’s and the Raiders in town since we wrote about Oakland’s struggles to retain its pro sports teams. But it won’t be easy.
After nearly 20 years, the Oakland Zoo is ready to break ground on a conservation exhibit in Knowland Park this fall. But it’s not even close to settling its fight with local conservationists.
On Sunday, Aug. 30, Oakland will see something new. Over 1,000 triathletes in wetsuits will jump into the water from the revitalized Estuary Park and start swimming in the newly clean inner harbor. They’ll mount their bikes and loop downtown Oakland, and then run around Lake Merritt and finish their race in Jack London Square. Expected to rival the Oakland marathon’s energy, the first-ever Oakland triathlon may become one of the West Coast’s largest urban triathlons—showcasing the city and its emerging health-and-fitness culture. And seeded among the competitors will be dozens of athletes sporting the green, yellow, and gray racing kits of the Oakland Triathlon Club: the race’s ambassador club whose rapid growth seeks to give a populist vibe to an often-expensive activity.
Whitnee Garrett is being tracked. Every step she takes in her history class at Roots International Academy is mapped. The 39 responses elicited from her students during a 20-minute span are recorded and tabulated. Her lesson plan on black history is broken down into segments, everything from the 15-minute introduction to the 15-minute class-ending group work. Just like game tape from an athletic event, every move is dissected and analyzed.
Missed amenity, Oak Knoll update, anti-vaping, and going to the dogs.
For this year’s portrait of outstanding members of the class of 2014, the graduating seniors get to have their say. We also asked them to send in their selfies (that’s mine accompanying this column, incidentally) to give them an additional chance at visual self-expression.
Tiny in stature, covered with flower tattoos, sporting her trademark two-toned blonde-over-black hairdo and a pair of very smart spectacles, Mary Howe won’t let a big problem keep her down for long.
Tora Rocha believes in bees. And butterflies, hoverflies, and wasps. Why? Because these insects are the city’s pollinators, and without them, Oakland wouldn’t have the healthy plants that produce food, fibers, spices, and even medicines.