Judith Doner Berne

Parents Give Second Look to Claremont Middle School

Monday, December 9, 2013

Although Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) is a "Schools of Choice" district, Rockridge parents have readily sent their children to the neighborhood elementary schools and, perhaps to a lesser degree, Oakland Technical High School.

Claremont, our neighborhood middle school, has been seen as the weak link, with parents often enrolling their sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders in other public, charter, private or parochial middle schools.

Three Guys Step Up to Help Deter Crime

Saturday, November 9, 2013

All of us who have signed on to one of the private security patrols recently proposed for large areas of Rockridge fervently hope that it will help stem the muggings, robberies, burglaries and car thefts that have hit the area over the last year.

But no matter what, many feel we owe our thanks to Paul Liu, Steve Kirsh and David Groves, and those who have worked with them, for providing us with a plan of action and listening to our concerns along the way.

Meet Captain Anthony Toribio, District 2 Area Commander

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Jutting up 10 stories above 7th Street and Broadway - and hard by the Nimitz Freeway - the Oakland Police Department Administration Building, known to those who work there as the PAB, presents an indecipherable gray wall of windows and panels to the street.

Before a seismic retroft several years ago, the building was fairly easy to enter through any of the several doorways dotting the sides and front of the ground floor. Now, many have been walled off; the doors remaining are sturdier, smaller and more foreboding. Several can be opened only by coded buttons.

Delaying College for a Global Experience

Monday, October 7, 2013

She graduated Oakland Tech in June. But unlike most of her Class of 2013, Rockridge teen Kaitlyn Johnke, who lives down the street from me, will delay going to college.

Instead, Kaitlyn applied for and was accepted into Global Citizen Year, an eight-month program designed to give recent high school graduates a Peace Corps-style experience before they enter college. Her campus: a rural village in Senegal on the west coast of Africa.

That Porta-Potty in Your Yard Could Land your Kitchen on the Tour

Thursday, September 12, 2013

"She smiles when she talks about kitchens."

That's what my 18-year-old granddaughter said after she sat in on my interview with Natalie Mehta, chair of the Rockridge Community Planning Council's (RCPC) 10th Rockridge Kitchen Tour.

This year's event, to be held between 12:30 and 5:30 p.m. Sunday, September 29, is Mehta's third go-round as either chair or co-chair of the biennial event. Other years, she's been a docent, welcoming tour-goers and offering details about the kitchens they are viewing.

Checking Out the Rockridge Coffee House Culture

Saturday, July 6, 2013

I don't drink coffee. Hardly any tea. So I am only an observer of the vibrant coffee shop scene that is so much a part of Rockridge.

But it's hard not to appreciate that each has its own following, seemingly based on its location, coffee roast and vibe - not necessarily in that order.

Eyes on Rockridge

Thursday, June 13, 2013

It's two years this month since my husband and I moved to Rockridge.

In my first Rockridge News column, I spoke of the walkability, neighborliness, land/seascapes and amazing weather that definitely differentiate Rockridge from the metro-Detroit suburb we had lived in for nearly 40 years.

Local Activist Listens and Builds Community

Friday, May 3, 2013

Ever the activist, Stuart Flashman didn't wait around for dating websites to be invented. Back in the early 80s he advertised for his future wife in the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

"I said I was a politically active, liberal guy with a friendly dog," Flashman tells me as we sit at the table in his sun-lit dining room. "I got about 50 responses. I started working through them. We – Jacqueline (Jacqui) Richter, a geriatrician who know works for Kaiser Permanente in Walnut Creek – just hit it off."

When "Soup's On," a Neighborhood Gathers

Friday, April 5, 2013

I would generally make one soup, someone would bring at least one other, and the rest would chime in with salad, bread and dessert.

On moving here, going on two years ago, I've thought about hosting something similar. But, truth to tell, it's taken us that long to acquire enough friends. And winter here is mostly sunny and warm, by Midwest standards.

Recently, however, I discovered that soup parties aren't necessarily subject to old friends and weather.

Eyes on Rockridge

Saturday, March 2, 2013

It’s meaningful that as Dodie Lindsay walks her 8-year-old grandson Maceo back and forth to Peralta Elementary, she is repeating history.

It wasn’t that long ago that she did the same with her three, now-grown, children, Nina, Jacob and Peter, Maceo’s dad.

“It’s an eight-minute walk from my front door to the school,” Lindsay says. “Coming and going, I walk with neighborhood parents and several grandparents. We exchange news and on the way home arrange impromptu play dates.

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