Sara Bernard

Volunteer Reporter
Courtesy of Sylvie Gilbert flickr.com/sylviemariephotography

If you’ve spent any time in the Bay Area, there’s a good chance you’ve 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 child’s school, or practicing their skills in a park on a sunny afternoon.

A new paper released by Princeton's 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... 

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 it's 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...

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 Oakland's Laney College to Frank Ogawa Plaza for a 5pm rally, while a rally at San Francisco's Civic Center Plaza will start at 4pm. The protests are expected to culminate in a march on the capitol building in Sacramento on Monday...

Downsizing California's 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...

Not surprisingly, the San Bruno pipeline explosion slashed PG&E's 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...

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...

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-men’s crew.”

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....

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 state’s students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. This data comes from Kidsdata.org, a program of the Lucile Packard Foundation for children’s health.