Rachel Witte

Women veterans find peace in Alameda community group

When former Staff Sergeant Starlyn Lara joined the Army fresh out of high school in Roswell, New Mexico, it was a time of peace for those who were serving in the military. Then came September 11. Suddenly, for many who joined the armed forces in search of serving their country—what Lara calls a desire to…

Richmond hosts annual summit for children and youth

Contra Costa County child advocates, teachers, nonprofit groups, medical professionals and community members gathered at the Richmond Civic Center Auditorium on Wednesday and Thursday to talk about the status of children’s health at the state and county levels. The fourth annual California Summit on Children and Youth is “an annual opportunity for the best minds…

Doctor’s Medical Center celebrates cancer survivors

At an event organized by Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo last Wednesday; former breast cancer patients celebrated their survival of cancer. The survivors received special treatments like free beauty makeovers and make-up gift bags, which donated by Bare Escentuals, a company based in San Francisco. For the women who were there, it was a…

Lavender Seniors group provides community, education for LGBT elders

In 1994, Marvin Burrows and a few of his friends placed an ad in the newspaper inviting gay and lesbian seniors in the Bay Area to join Burrows and his friends for a meeting at the Bayfair Mall in San Leandro. They called themselves the “Lavender Seniors.” “The thought was to have a social group…

Richmond leaders and educators gather to discuss future of education in the school district

When Jose Irizarry took his Richmond High School class to visit San Francisco General Hospital recently, it was not your typical field trip. The students donned scrubs and spent time with hospital surgeons learning how to tie sutures and practice with arthroscopic surgical machines. They even got to study a human cadaver. For Irizarry, the…

Homes in need: A look at foster care in the East Bay

Every holiday season Nancy DeWeese and her husband, Gary, host a Christmas party. But it’s not your average family gathering, because this is not your average family. At these parties, three dozen children from all walks of life, including the couple’s four biological kids, gather to share in a common experience: Each child has spent…

County Board of Supervisors approves $4 million to invest in jail alternatives

Step foot into the Reach Fellowship for Women in North Richmond, and Dr. Edwina Perez Santiago will greet you like an excited aunt hosting a holiday dinner party. “Come on in baby,” she says to the women as they enter through the front door, a welcome accompanied by a warm smile and a handshake. There…

Police seek to bridge gap between foster youth and officers

The Richmond Police Department held its first annual Foster Youth Conference on Saturday at the LaVonya Dejean Middle School on Macdonald Avenue. About 100 foster youth, foster parents, Richmond police officers, staff from West County Children and Family Services and community members filled the multipurpose room early in the morning for a day full of…

Romeo and Juliet in Richmond

Students from Richmond are putting a new spin on Shakespeare’s classic tale of forbidden love, making it meaningful to life on the streets.

Council looks forward after election

The City Council returned to business – with the meeting going into the next morning and the occasional spat between councilmembers — at its first post-election meeting Tuesday night. Before the meeting started, audience members were told to wait outside while fire and police officials responded to a carbon monoxide leak in the council chambers…

Bates, Butt and Bell win council race

In a hotly contested City Council election, with millions of dollars at play and a recent push into the national spotlight, Richmond voters have elected Nat Bates, Tom Butt and Gary Bell to the three open seats on the council dais. The two RPA candidates, Eduardo Martinez and Marilyn Langlois, finished just outside the top…

Formerly incarcerated men encourage others to vote

Johnny Valdepena, a 46-year-old Richmond resident who has spent more of his life in prison than out of it, will vote for the first time next week. It wouldn’t have happened, he says, without a lot of help and encouragement – and now he and his fellow Safe Return Project members want to spread that…