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Top 15 Crosscurrents stories of 2015


At Crosscurrents, KALW's daily news show, we report Bay Area news that goes deeper than the headlines — stories that lends context and connection to life in our region. These are some of our favorites from 2015. 

1. Black churches opening up about mental health

Credit Alyssa Kapnik Samuel
Churchgoer at New Revelation Community Church.

Black people are 20 percent more likely to experience serious mental health problems, but less likely to seek treatment. In Oakland, an unconventional reverend preaches self-care in hopes of destigmatizing treatment: “I’m up front with them that I see a therapist.”

2. How to stake your place in line for California’s precious water

Credit Audrey Dilling
Water trough at Frog Hollow Farm in Brentwood, California, near the California Delta.

In 1901, a piece of paper nailed to a tree changed the course of San Francisco history — back then, it was enough to "call dibs" on water flowing in the Tuolumne River. As California's drought continues, reporter Audrey Dilling wonders if a hammer, a nail and a note are enough to claim water rights today. 

3. Disabled senior narrowly misses the deadline protecting her from eviction

Credit Rose Arrieta/Causa Justa
Denise Alvarado in her garden.

If Denise Alvarado had lived in her home for six more months, the 63-year-old Mission resident would have been shielded from the owner-move-in eviction that forced her to leave. Now, Alvarado says, “I have no place to go.” 

4. Competitive South Bay real estate market pits international Chinese buyers against locals

Credit Liz Mak
Lin-Lin Tsou-Otani, a real estate agent at DeLeon Realty.

Some would-be homeowners blame foreign buyers for the South Bay’s affordability crisis, but that’s not the whole story. Reporter Liz Mak tags along on a bus tour catering to Chinese people seeking a piece of the Silicon Valley real estate boom.

5. NUMMI, five years later: Inside Tesla

Credit Raja Shah
Tesla's special KUKA robots can do four different tasks.

When one of the last Bay Area auto factories closed, more than 5,000 workers lost their jobs. In a three-part series, reporter Angela Johnston follows the workers to see what came next, and visits the factory’s new owner: Tesla Motors.

6. Band of volunteers keeps an eye on SF bond projects

Bond-funded construction at Dolores Park

Who’s on the front line defending the public against the construction delays, wasted money and mismanagement that once plagued San Francisco’s bond projects? A committee of regular citizens who volunteer their time: “We get water and a pad at the meeting. I do like the pads.”

7. Audiograph: The East Bay's own "fight club"

Credit Liza Veale

An East Bay motorcycle club hosts bare-knuckle fights in a West Oakland parking lot. They claim it was happening “way before that stupid movie.”

8. How one Bay Area school district makes sure teachers aren’t priced out

Credit Angela Johnston
The entrance to Casa Del Maestro.

Meet the teacher-tenants of Santa Clara Unified School District. The district provides low-cost housing to some of its instructors to help them make rent in Silicon Valley.

9. The real history behind Mary Ellen Pleasant, San Francisco's "voodoo queen"

Credit Olivia Cueva
Performer Susheel Bibbs poses in front of an image of Mary Ellen Pleasant.

A former slave became one of the richest and most powerful people in 1880s San Francisco — but there were consequences for a black woman who challenged the city’s white elite.

10. Bay Area Beats: Antique Naked Soul

Credit Courtesy of Antique Naked Soul
Antique Naked Soul from left to right: N'gala McCoy, Tommy "Soulati" Shepherd, Jr., Candice "Antique" Wicks, Jayme Brown.

An Oakland “beatboxing soul” band delivers its message of social justice through rhythm, "...speaking to you in a way that is more than just words alone.”

11. Life after the Jungle

Credit Isabel Angell
Tami Cockrell, 27, and her boyfriend Leonard outside Sacred Heart Community Service in San Jose.

In December 2014, the city of San Jose tore down the Jungle, a homeless encampment thought to be one of the biggest in the country. Two months later, former residents share the stress of losing what little stability the camp provided. 

12. Periods are a monthly crisis for homeless women


Without supplies or a reliable bathroom, women living on the streets of San Francisco must re-learn how to cope with menstruation.

13. The problem with “sounding white”

Credit Alyssa Kapnik

Growing up, reporter Leila Day was shunned by her black peers who told her she “sounded white.” She talks with black people in the Bay Area about racism and the power of voice.

14. Life after the fire on 22nd and Mission

Credit Hannah Kingsley-Ma
The destroyed building, alongside new condos.

Sixty people lost their homes in the blaze. Reporter Hannah Kingsley-Ma visits the displaced tenants on the last night many neighbors will spend together.

15. Celebrating the commonalities at Oakland’s "sushi" mosque

Credit Hana Baba
Imrul Mazid is Shia, but his parents are Sunni.

The Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California has purposefully made itself a place where Sunni, Shia and Sufi worshippers gather.

What were your favorite stories on KALW in 2015? Send us a note and let us know. 

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