Sara Bernard

Volunteer Reporter
Courtesy of Sylvie Gilbert flickr.com/sylviemariephotography

If youve spent any time in the Bay Area, theres a good chance youve met some circus performers: clowns, jugglers, fire dancers, aerialists, hula hoopers, tightrope walkers maybe you saw them in a theatrical performance, leading workshops at your childs school, or practicing their skills in a park on a sunny afternoon. Turns out, its not just Quebec City, the home of Cirque du Soleil, thats overflowing with circus arts. San Francisco is one of the top destinations in North America for...

A new paper released by Princetons Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs suggests that U.S. policies regarding immigration unintentionally encourage immigrants to stay in the country , whether or not they entered legally. Despite swelling budgets for border control and immigration security, the number of temporary workers entering the country hit 517,000 in 2010, the highest number in history... As California continues to lead the nation in numbers of immigrants, it also...

A new study issued today by San Jose State University reports that building a high-speed rail system in California is likely to create jobs and support population growth in both major and mid-size cities, but only if its done well. It will take strategic planning around station location, links to other kinds of transportation, and effective zoning and land use policies, not just a build-it-and-they-will-come approach... But voters are not yet convinced. According to a survey released...

Thousands of Californians will join in a planned protest today against cuts to public education , rising tuition fees, and police violence during past Occupy demonstrations. Protesters will march from the UC Berkeley campus, Berkeley High School, and Oaklands Laney College to Frank Ogawa Plaza for a 5pm rally, while a rally at San Franciscos Civic Center Plaza will start at 4pm. The protests are expected to culminate in a march on the capitol building in Sacramento on Monday... The capitol...

Downsizing Californias postal system could affect last-minute voters , according to Secretary of State Debra Bowen. While the U.S. Postal Service has proposed closing up to 11 processing centers across the state, that could delay thousands of mail-in ballots and compromise the integrity of the November election... The integrity of a debt collection agency has also come into question. Orange County-based American Credit Crunchers LLC and Ebeeze LLC allegedly orchestrated fraudulent calls to...

Not surprisingly, the San Bruno pipeline explosion slashed PG&Es earnings this past quarter as the company struggles to pay for system upgrades and repairs... But January saw higher home sales in the Bay Area than it has in the past five years, thanks in large part to the lower prices of foreclosed homes and distressed properties... Those properties may not have been foreclosed on legitimately, however. Over 80 percent of residential mortgage loans that have gone into foreclosure in San...

Is the Bay Area Book Smart? An annual roundup published by Central Connecticut State University offers mixed results. San Francisco scored higher than Oakland and San Jose in terms of educational degrees, number of booksellers, and newspapers per capita, but in general, the Bay Area and California did not rank as highly as one might hope. In terms of Internet access, though, the three cities tied for third place... Another report -- this one issued by the Ecological Society of America --...

Until 2002, Adrian Allen was working a good paying job in construction. I went to school for construction, she says. Graduated at the top of my class. I was the only female on an all-mens crew. But then she developed thoracic outlet syndrome , a rare condition that creates terrible pain in the neck and shoulder, and she was left unable to work. After cycling through four or five less physically-demanding positions, she was eventually forced to go on disability. Times got hard to where I...

Police in riot gear dismantled the Occupy Cal tents on the UC Berkeley campus early this morning. Two protesters were arrested, but it was otherwise calm and orderly.... When Occupy Oakland campers were evicted, again, on Sunday night, mayor Jean Quan was torn over her decision to clear the encampment. Her deputy mayor, Sharon Cornu, and legal adviser, Dan Siegel, both resigned following the action, but pressure from other officials and the murder near Occupy Oakland on November 10 urged her...

Photo courtesy of NAM

When it comes to poverty in California, it boils down to some pretty startling numbers: Last year, six million people in the state were officially living below the poverty line, two million of them children. And more than half of the states students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. This data comes from Kidsdata.org , a program of the Lucile Packard Foundation for childrens health.