October 2007

An earthquake struck the bay area at 8:04 p.m. Tuesday night.

It had a magnitude of 5.6 on the Richter scale, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The epicenter was 5 miles north of the Alum Rock area of San Jose.

The shaking in the Oakland area and surroundings was categorized by the survey as “weak” to “light.”

“There have been no reports of any casualties or damage,” said Carieann Bedwell, a geophysicist at the geological survey.

She said that the temblor was felt as far north as Fresno.

Although Oakland is vulnerable, as the largest city on the Hayward fault, only 20 percent of Oaklanders are prepared for a disaster, according to Renee Domingo, director of emergency services for the City of Oakland.

But earthquakes like Tuesdays do motivate people to get trained, she said.

“Anytime there’s anything close to home, people call. It definitely raises the level of awareness,” she said.

For more information on how to prepare for an earthquake or other emergency, contact C.O.R.E. 


OAKLAND – A suspected member of the East Oakland gang the Hyfee Boyz was charged Friday in connection with the Oct. 13  murder of San Leandro High School student and football player, Greg Ballard Jr., 17.

Oakland police used photos from the gang’s MySpace page to identify Dwayne M. Stancill, 19 who was arrested on Wednesday.

The Hyfee Boyz MySpace account has a dozen small photos that primarily feature young men throwing up hand signs to the camera.

Stancill is the son of San Leandro police Det. DeWayne Stancill. He was  arraigned at 2 p.m. at the Wiley Manuel Courthouse in Oakland.

The new Trader Joe’s on College Ave. opened its doors today to locals hungry for inexpensive brie and discounted pinot noir.

The store, which replaced an Albertson’s supermarket, had some local opposition because of fears of traffic congestion. But generally residents are happy about the opening.

The store, part of a privately held, nation-wide chain based in Southern California, is 11,000 square feet.

This Saturday at 10 a.m. students, staff and volunteers at Castlemont High School will have a work party to restore the school’s garden, which has lain dormant for a number of years.

The workers will restore the greenhouse and knock down weeds that have overtaken the garden’s 37 raised beds and 16 fruit trees.

Malcolm Hoover, director of the Castlemont’s after school program has big plans for the garden which include a pond and several benches.

“We’ll turn it into an organic garden that kids can feed their families from. Hopefully, some of the food will be used in the school salad bar. Eventually, we’ll have an organic farm stand,” Hoover said.

The school recently won a $2500 grant from UC Davis that will fund the project.

The  Metropolitan Transportation Commission recommended a route Wednesday for a planned high-speed rail line linking Northern and Southern California.

The selection of the Pacheco Pass route is controversial, and has been publicly opposed by several environmental groups.

“I have to believe politics was involved, and specifically a coalition of folks that want very much to have San Jose be the hub of the high speed rail system,” said Stuart Flashman[cq], an Oakland-based attorney representing the coalition of environmental groups, which includes the Sierra Club.


By Maya Mirsky

The future rezoning of North Oakland was the topic of a neighborhood meeting Thursday night, hosted by the Rockridge Community Planning Council. Among the speakers were District 1 councilwoman Jane Brunner and city planning manager Eric Angstadt.

Neighbors think the current system is too lenient for developers, but are still concerned that when the area is rezoned, the city will allow more density and higher buildings than residents want on busy streets like Telegraph Avenue.


OAKLAND – Robert Antonio Romero, 29, of Oakland put his face in his hand as he was sentenced Friday to 31 years and eight months in the state penitentiary for carjacking and assault.

Four people, all family and friends, spoke on his behalf, but their pleas for leniency were not enough to soften the sentence of Alameda County Superior Court Judge Jean Cartwright who was unsympathetic to their claims that the trial and the mandatory sentences for his crimes were unfair.

Cartwright interrupted Belinda Romero’s  assertion that Romero deserved leniency because she was not a good mother to him.

“Lots of people have hard lives,” Cartwright said.

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