4 Berkeley stories you will not want to miss

The smoke from the West Berkeley warehouse fire   as seen from Delaware Street. Photo: Raph Levien

The smoke from the West Berkeley warehouse fire as seen from Delaware Street. Photo: Raph Levien

Every week, Berkeleyside publishes dozens of articles about what’s going on in Berkeley. Some of them might have passed you by. Here are four stories we think you’ll want to catch up on. 

1. The West Berkeley fire and its aftermath

A multi-alarm fire in West Berkeley last Saturday night destroyed the Wooden Duck warehouse and damaged and destroyed numerous local businesses.

2. Federal report calls to stop post office sale

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation issued a report on Thursday excoriating the U.S. Postal Service for its plan to sell dozens of historic post offices, including Berkeley’s main post office.

3. Berkeley’s long-shuttered UC Theatre to get new life

David Mayeri announced plans this week to revive the UC Theatre on University Avenue, which has been closed since 2001.

4. Renewed push to clean up Strawberry Creek Park in West Berkeley

Gang violence, graffiti and drug use have sparked plans to clean up West Berkeley’s Strawberry Creek Park.

Find all Berkeleyside’s recent articles in our “All the News” section.

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The Berkeley Wire: 04.18.14

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Bites: New cupcake shop, beer spot, fermenting help

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CUPCAKIN’ BAKE SHOP Lila Owens is in the final stretch to get her Cupcakin’ Bake Shop open on Durant Ave. in Berkeley, (we first talked to Owens  about her plans in August last year). She’s looking for a little financial help to clear the final hurdles, as a loan from the city has been delayed, she said. “We need a fridge, some working capital and other small equipment to open properly,” she reports on a GoFundMe site she launched today to garner support. Owens, a former caterer, will be selling a wide variety of cupcakes, including gluten-free, vegan, and mini-cakes. Her fundraising goal is to get 100 people to donate $100 in 14 days. But she said any amount helps. A donation of $100 or more will land you VIP status in the bake shop for a year. Cupcakin’ Bake Shop will open in the Sather Lane retail complex at 2435 Durant Ave. (just west of Telegraph). … Continue reading »

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What goes around comes around: ‘Vinyl’ at OMCA

Photo: Courtesy of Raphael Villet
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Vinyl, it’s not just for DJs anymore. The Oakland Museum of California’s new interactive exhibit Vinyl: The Sound and Culture of Records, highlights the resurgence of the LP and the enduring appeal of leafing through a bin of albums searching for unexpected aural pleasure.

Opening on Saturday, which is also international Record Store Day, the exhibition features listening stations, a newly commissioned art work by MacArthur “Genius” Fellow Walter Kitundu, hundreds of albums, and thematic playlists — dubbed “curated crates” — by an array of cultural figures, including BAM/PFA’s Steve Seid (remembrance of life as a teenager), actress and spoken word artist Aya de Leon (musical influences growing up and becoming a parent), and Berkeley-based novelist Michael Chabon (growing up as a nerd).  … Continue reading »

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New craft brewery, restaurant slated for Berkeley

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A large craft brewery capable of producing over 310,000 gallons of beer a year is set to open in West Berkeley, assuming the owners secure final planning permissions. The plan also calls for a restaurant and barrel-aging facility.

Far West Brewing already has a permit from Berkeley to manufacture beer at the 10,212-square-foot industrial building at 1150 Sixth St. (at Harrison).

In its application to the city for restaurant and retail operation permits, Far West, which was formed specifically to open this business, said it would brew six year-round beers, limited release beers, and a series of barrel-aged sour beers and American wild ales. … Continue reading »

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Federal report calls to stop sale of Berkeley post office

Post Office by DH Parks
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Local officials and preservationists are heartened by a new report that calls for the United States Postal Service to suspend the closing and sale of all historic post offices, including the Main Post Office at 2000 Allston Way.

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), an independent federal agency that advises the President, Congress, and other federal officials on how to preserve the nation’s historic resources, issued a critical report Thursday. It said the USPS had not been following the law when it ordered that dozens of historic post offices – often the core of communities – be shuttered and sold. … Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

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There’s an exciting new sports retail hub emerging in North West Berkeley around San Pablo Avenue and Gilman Street. A cycling/triathlon and a cycling bag store are moving in, both close to the emerging Gilman Crossings development which will include a soccer shop and a running store. Gilman Crossings developer Matt Holmes of Retail West says it’s all part of a plan to create a community of sports enthusiasts in the area, which is also close to the Tom Bates soccer fields, Harrison Park, Berkeley Skate Park, and bay trails.

BEYOND AERO A new store focusing on cycling and triathlon is getting ready to open at 1411 San Pablo Ave. (one block south of Gilman) in a newly renovated space. Beyond Aero will cater to cyclists and triathletes of all levels and abilities, and is scheduled to be ready mid-May. Expect to see bikes on offer from brands like Cervélo (pictured above), Boardman, and Guru (pictured left), as well as apparel, parts, and accessories. Beyond Aero will also offer a full-service bicycle repair center, and a fit center. Owner Andres Douzoglou told Berkeleyside he is very excited to be opening the store. “We’re new residents to the area (two years) and have loved every second of our time spent here and have no intentions of moving. The Bay Area has the country’s healthiest, most diverse, and inclusive cycling and triathlon communities and we’re thrilled to be in the center of it.” Douzoglou added that he is hoping to foster a retail environment in which people can find what they need while “incorporating the community feel we all enjoy while out on the road or at the races.” For more information about Beyond Aero, visit Beyond Aero online. … Continue reading »

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Gang violence, drug use, graffiti spark renewed push to clean up West Berkeley park

City maintenance workers have been cutting back and clearing out brush as part of an effort to clean up Strawberry Creek Park. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Stepped up police patrols, trimmed-back bushes and increased efforts to clean up graffiti around Strawberry Creek Park are among a slew of recent steps by the city following two troubling incidents in March, including a drive-by shooting nearby and the violent robbery of a Berkeley middle school student.

Community members around the West Berkeley park have been asking for help from the city to make changes. They cite frequent problems in the area related in part to its use as a hang-out by youth — including many who reportedly have gang ties. Drug sales and the smoking of marijuana at all hours are said to be regular sights. … Continue reading »

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At the Write Home Project, the young homeless are heard

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By Victor Casillas Valle

Nestled behind St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, on Bancroft Way in Berkeley, is one huge set of steel steps covered in rust and foliage. Walking up them, there’s a feeling of urban beauty, something that is calming with a rush of city excitement. Reaching the top, you enter a high-ceilinged auditorium with huge windows and an airy sense of natural light. Every Monday, the room is filled with conversation rising from the writing workshop, or occasional open mic, provided by the Write Home Project.

Conceived and run by two UC Berkeley alumni and working poets, Gabriel Cortez and Natasha Huey, The Write Home Project facilitates creative arts work by homeless youth (under 25). Write Home provides an outlet for its participants to be heard while they tell stories about, and create a dialogue around, the state of homelessness. … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 04.17.14

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The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

Photo: Elaine Miller Bond
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RESOURCES ROUNDTABLE California has been quite dry this year — but Friday’s roundtable on the drought will be anything but. The Berkeley Energy and Resources Collaborative is hosting its annual day of panel discussions and lectures on April 18. This year’s Resources Roundtable is titled “California’s Drought: Challenges and Opportunities.” Speakers — including several UC Berkeley professors — will trace the deep history of dryness in the state, and consider the current obstacles to, and potential for, addressing drought. The $10 tickets provide access to all events from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the David Brower Center at 2150 Allston Way. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley 8th graders raise $80K to build their own library

REALM library
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A Berkeley middle school’s successful campaign to crowd-fund the creation of its first library is one for the books.

Still in its infancy, REALM charter school was lacking a library, so its eighth grade class launched a Kickstarter campaign in March. In one month they raised the nearly $79,000 that will allow them to realize their innovative design for a room full of books and multimedia tools. Quest Foundation, a grant-making organization in Danville, contributed $30,000 in matching funds to the campaign.

The ultramodern library, called “X-Space,” is the product of months of brainstorming and building in teacher Hallie Chen’s design class, Studio H.

“Because we’re a new school, the instinct for students is to look around and say, ‘These are the things we don’t have yet,’” said REALM’s creativity director Emily Pilloton. “My response is always, ‘Okay, well, let’s go build it.’” … Continue reading »

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Berkeley police arrest alleged drug dealer with gun

The 5600 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Image: Google Maps
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An Oakland man has been charged with five felonies after a probation search led to his arrest and the recovery by Berkeley police of a loaded handgun, marijuana and two types of cocaine, all packaged for sale, according to court papers.

On April 8, the Berkeley Police Department conducted the probation search of 35-year-old Terrill Orme at his home and business in the 5600 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Way, less than half a mile from Berkeley’s southern border. … Continue reading »

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How quirky is Berkeley? The Giant Orange of Spruce St.

Giant orange at 722 Spruce St.  Photo: Colleen Neff.
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Of the thousands of examples of quirky material culture that I have seen in Berkeley, my favorite is a giant orange on Spruce Street. It has nothing to do with Roald Dahl, but everything to do with old, weird America, a brilliant phrase coined by Berkeley’s extraordinary cultural writer Greil Marcus. … Continue reading »

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