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Warriors dedicate Willie Brown Basketball Court

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A large group of kids could be seen congregating on the edge of the basketball court at the new Willie Brown Middle School in the Bay View district of San Francisco. 

 

Wearing sparkling new Golden State Warriors jerseys, the youngsters were students at Brown or members of the nearby Bay View YMCA. They were on hand to commemorate the unveiling of the new Golden State Warrior outside basketball court at the school, which had been donated by the Warriors Community Foundation.

 

“This donation was part of a larger relationship that we have with the San Francisco Unified School district,” said Jose Gordon, executive director of the Warriors Community Foundation.

 

“We support the district with grants and donations and to this date, we have resurfaced and helped build over 60 courts around the bay area,” said Gordon.

 

Some of the courts they already have refurbished include the Rainbow Recreation gym in East Oakland, East Oakland Youth Community Development Center and Center Park in East Oakland.

 

Both of the outside courts at Willie Brown Middle School were resurfaced with new backboards, with one of the courts being resurfaced with blue highlights on the court and a Warrior insignia in the middle of the court.

 

“This is a great partnership school district and the Warriors,” said Jonathan Garcia, Interim Chief Development Officer for San Francisco Unified.

 

Former Warrior player Adonal Foyal was on hand to talk to the kids, who ranged in age from 8 to 16 years old. They were given jerseys and instructed in basketball skill work for 2 hours.

 

“This is a way that we are showing our ongoing support for the community,” said Theo Ellington, the Warriors’ director of public affairs.

 

“We need to spread our wings on both sides of the bay,” he said.

 

With the Warriors impending move from East Oakland to the dog patch area of San Francisco, team has begun to assert itself with a higher profile in San Francisco.

 

The Warriors has been holding more basketball camps in various parts of San Francisco from the Sunset, Portola and the Bay View. The team has also refurbished basketball courts in the city, including one at the Potrero Hill Neighborhood house and is planning to refurbish the Nate Thurmond basketball court in Golden Gate Park next month.

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Art

Terrance Kelly, Brother Ben Lead Creative Arts Classes for Elders at West Oakland Senior Center

The Emmy Award-winning conductor and choir director Terrance Kelly leads a special choir class focused on gospel, jazz, blues and world music alongside Paul Daniels of the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir and the St. Columba Church.

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Ben Tucker, a.k.a. Brother Ben, leads “Straight Outta Oakland,” one of the new classes offered by Stagebridge and held at the West Oakland Senior Center. Photo courtesy of Stagebridge
Ben Tucker, a.k.a. Brother Ben, leads “Straight Outta Oakland,” one of the new classes offered by Stagebridge and held at the West Oakland Senior Center. Photo courtesy of Stagebridge

By Julius Rea

Stagebridge and the West Oakland Senior Center have partnered to offer two incredible classes to be held at the West Oakland Senior Center (WOSC), starting this month. Created for elders, these opportunities will bring out the joy in celebrating Black culture and Oakland history.

The Emmy Award-winning conductor and choir director Terrance Kelly leads a special choir class focused on gospel, jazz, blues and world music alongside Paul Daniels of the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir and the St. Columba Church.

Inviting both introductory singers and experienced vocalists, “The Community’s Choir” offers a special chance to work with these two Oakland-based musical voices. Also, students are not required to learn to read sheet music. This class will be held Fridays, 1 – 2 p.m. at WOSC.

In 2005, Kelly received the Local Heroes Award from KQED Television for his directorship of the Oakland Interfaith Youth Choir and was also honored at the Gospel Music Awards. In 2013, he was awarded the Dr. Edwin Hawkins Excellence Award. He currently serves as Minister of Magnification at Oakland’s Imani Community Church.

Ben Tucker, a.k.a. Brother Ben, will teach “Straight Outta Oakland,” a class inspired by the history and culture of West Oakland. He will lead students in developing a showcase of five-minute stories. Focused on telling personal narratives in a clear, concise manner, this class will be a bridge to mapping and crafting one-of-a-kind journeys. The class will be held Tuesdays, 1 – 2 p.m. at WOSC at 1724 Adeline St., Oakland, CA 94607.

A retired University of California administrator, Tucker has been a community-focused storyteller for several years while taking classes at Stagebridge. He has performed at the San Francisco and Berkeley Marsh Theaters, Oakland Main and San Francisco Bayview libraries, and many senior centers and schools. Brother Ben is also a singer and author.

Students who are registered members of the West Oakland Senior Center will be offered the classes for free. Those who are not members can register today at www.stagebridge.org. For more information on these classes, call the West Oakland Senior Center directly at (510) 238-7016.

Julius Rea is the director of marketing and communications for Stagebridge.

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Advice

Despite Recent Storms, Expect Warmer, Drier Winter Weather

The last water year, which stretched from Oct. 1, 2020, to Sept. 30, 2021, was among the driest ever recorded in California, according to the state’s Department of Water Resources. A year ago, just 12% of California was mired in extreme drought and 15% was drought free, according to data from the federal drought monitor. But as of Oct. 19, about 87% was experiencing at least extreme drought, with over 45% of the state in the most severe “exceptional” category. And no part of the Golden State is without drought.

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The winter storms across the state won’t have as much effect on long-term drought as once hoped, experts say.
The winter storms across the state won’t have as much effect on long-term drought as once hoped, experts say.

By Edward Henderson | California Black Media

In 1990, Tony! Toni! Toné!, the R&B trio from Oakland, released their hit song ‘It Never Rains in Southern California.’

For decades now, the words in the hook of that timeless R&B song have become a sort of a go-to jingle (or photo caption) for some proud Southern Californians. They use it to hype up their typically mild winter climate, playfully taunting East Coast or Midwestern family and friends — whether they are grilling outdoors for Thanksgiving or taking a selfie on a beach in the fall.

The “never rains” thing is an exaggeration for sure. On average, Southern California gets about 16 inches of rainfall each year. It is much less than the national annual average (about 38 inches), of course.

And if you were to look at the recent rain and snowstorms across the state over the last month, you would probably bet on wet, cold weather for the rest of winter.

But from now through March, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is warning that a warmer and drier winter is ahead, not just for Southern California but for the greater part of the state – from the Mexican border all the way up to just above the Bay Area.

That region includes the top 10 counties, by population, where Black Americans live.

Less rain will worsen the already-serious drought conditions in California, especially near the southern border where it has been driest. About 85% of the state was facing drought in June, reports the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

According to NOAA, La Nina, an oceanic atmospheric pattern, is the cause of the anticipated dry and warm winter conditions.

However, the sparsely populated stretch of California that reaches up to the Oregon border is expected to get wetter and colder weather winter weather.

“The Southwest will certainly remain a region of concern as we anticipate below-normal precipitation where drought conditions continue in most areas,” said Jon Gottschalk, chief Operational Prediction Branch at the NOAA.

The outlook does not project seasonal snowfall accumulations as snow forecasts are not predictable more than a week in advance.

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center updates the three-month outlook each month. Their latest seasonal precipitation outlook for the first three months of 2022 predict that Southern California will see a 40-50% chance that precipitation will be below normal. The seasonal temperature outlook remains the same.

Seasonal outlooks help communities prepare for what is likely to come in the months ahead and minimize weather’s impacts on lives and livelihoods. Their goal is to empower people with actionable forecasts and winter weather tips to build a nation that is ‘weather-ready.’

“Using the most up-to-date observing technologies and computer models, our dedicated forecasters at the Climate Prediction Center produce timely and accurate seasonal outlooks to help communities prepare for the months ahead,” said Michael Farrar, Ph.D., director of the National Centers for Environmental Prediction.

The last water year, which stretched from Oct. 1, 2020, to Sept. 30, 2021, was among the driest ever recorded in California, according to the state’s Department of Water Resources. A year ago, just 12% of California was mired in extreme drought and 15% was drought free, according to data from the federal drought monitor. But as of Oct. 19, about 87% was experiencing at least extreme drought, with over 45% of the state in the most severe “exceptional” category. And no part of the Golden State is without drought.

The Center for Disease Control has outlined resources for communities preparing for potential droughts. Visit here for more information.

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Bay Area

Final Environmental Impact Report Released for Possible New A’s Stadium Ballpark

“Releasing the final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) is a major milestone on our path to build a new waterfront ballpark district that will create up to 18 acres of beautiful public parks, more affordable housing, and good jobs for Oaklanders,” Mayor Schaaf said in a statement. “The 3,500-page document is thorough and exhaustive, and it ensures that the project is environmentally safe and sustainable,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.

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Rendering of proposed A's stadium at Howard Terminal. Image courtesy of UC Berkeley.
Rendering of proposed A's stadium at Howard Terminal. Image courtesy of UC Berkeley.

Draft Report not amended to address community concerns, short timeline means minimal public input

By Keith Burbank, Bay City News and the Post News Group staff

Oakland officials have released a final environmental impact report for the A’s proposed new stadium and development at Howard Terminal, a process with a short timeline over the holidays allowing only for minimal public comment.

The report is required by the California Environmental Quality Act and analyzes potential effects of the project on the surrounding environment.

The timing of the release of the port was of concern to many. It was released on Friday, a week before Christmas, and goes to the Planning Commission mid-January, a small window of time during a busy time of year for the public to read and comment on the report.

Further, the final report does not include any significant changes to the draft version, which means it was not amended to consider more than 400 comments made on the draft version. However, city staff did respond to each comment.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, a strong supporter of Oakland A’s owner John Fisher’s stadium deal, was enthusiastic about the report.

“Releasing the final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) is a major milestone on our path to build a new waterfront ballpark district that will create up to 18 acres of beautiful public parks, more affordable housing, and good jobs for Oaklanders,” Mayor Schaaf said in a statement. “The 3,500-page document is thorough and exhaustive, and it ensures that the project is environmentally safe and sustainable,” Schaaf said.

The mayor said the report’s timing keeps the city on track to bring about the final vote to the city council in 2022, bringing the city “one step close to keeping our beloved A’s rooted in Oakland.”

Others were less enthusiastic. The East Oakland Stadium Alliance and port business leaders are raising concerns and urging caution.

“During the Draft EIR (Environmental Impact Report) phase, our coalition and others submitted detailed comments regarding the need for the city to revise and recirculate the Draft EIR, which was inadequate on numerous fronts, but it appears the city has chosen to ignore these requests and refused to re-circulate,” Mike Jacob, Vice President and General Counsel of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association in a press release from the East Oakland Stadium Alliance.

Jacob also said that the timing of the report, released just before the holidays, reads like the city playing “hard-ball” with the community. “Port stakeholders are working around the clock to keep goods moving during an unprecedented supply chain crisis and community advocates are focusing on issues like feeding and housing those in need,” he said.

Jacobs also decried the city’s lack of progress on Seaport Compatibility Measures or a Community Benefits Agreement, despite the challenges he says the project presents for the maritime and West Oakland communities. “Until these items are presented to the public for review, in addition to a thoroughly vetted financial plan, the City and County cannot in good faith make judgments about whether this project is worth the numerous costs to our taxpayers and community,” he said.

“We ultimately anticipate the FEIR will confirm what we already know: the A’s and the City are simply not interested in funding the significant investments necessary to prevent this project’s disruption to the Port of Oakland’s supply chain or address its significant negative impacts to West Oakland and the environment.”

A’s president Dave Kaval also called the release of the report a milestone, one that is three years in the making. But the team needs a decision from the elected officials in Oakland as soon as possible, he said.

Keeping the pressure on Oakland, the A’s are also still considering moving the team to Las Vegas, paving paths for the team in both cities. He said there is momentum on both paths.

Kaval said the A’s are in the final stages of selecting a potential site in Las Vegas, which he thinks will be announced in the next month or so.

City officials will recommend to the Oakland Planning Commission that it certify the report and send it to the city council for approval.

City officials and the A’s are now negotiating the final agreements. The Planning Commission will take up the city’s recommendation on Jan. 19, and the city council may vote on the report in February, which, if approved, would complete the environmental review process.

This article is by Keith Burbank, Bay City News, and the Post News Group staff.

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