News

The Berkeley Wire: 08.26.16

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Bites: Saha, Lucia’s, Farley’s on 65th, Fred’s, more

"Green hummus" made with fresh herbs at Saha restaurant, which will soon open in downtown Berkeley. Photo: Saha/Facebook
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Openings, closings

SF’S SAHA RESTAURANT HEADED TO FORMER HERBIVORE LOCATION That didn’t take long. Last week, we broke the news that the Berkeley location of Herbivore had closed; we’ve learned from SFist this week that a Yemenese restaurant from San Francisco, Saha, will be moving into the space. Saha operated for close to 12 years in Lower Nob Hill, gaining acclaim from the San Francisco Chronicle, Zagat and The Examiner, as well as a loyal following on Yelp. According to a post on the restaurant’s Facebook page, the move was prompted by a need for more space: “We promise not to abandon what is important to you, but realize the limitations of the space we have been been in. We have been blessed with the best of landlords and support staff of the Hotel Carlton for the past 12 years. However, it is time for Saha to soar!” The restaurant serves what it describes as Arabic fusion cuisine — dishes from co-owners Mohamed and Marmee Aboghanem’s home of Yemen prepared with a California ethos. Much of the menu is vegetarian and/or vegan, a fact that will likely appeal to those mourning the loss of Herbivore. A note on Saha’s website lists an opening date of October 2016. Saha will be at 2451 Shattuck Ave. (at Haste Street), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook.Continue reading »

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

A festival on Saturday night at La Pena aims to raise funds for the creation of at least five murals on the Berkeley-Oakland border. Photo: Bill Newton
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MURAL FESTIVAL AND FUNDRAISER On Saturday Aug. 27, 8 p.m. to 11:55 p.m., La Peña Cultural Center will host the Bay Area Mural Festival (BAMFest 2016) whose purpose is to bring together master muralists and mural groups, and at-risk youth through a series of artist residencies and workshops culminating in the painting of five or more murals along the Berkeley-Oakland border. The theme of the festival will be focused on migration and displacement in the community. During the week of the festival, artists will give lectures and workshops at La Peña Cultural Center. Saturday night’s event includes music provided by Hip Hop for Change, live art, and food and drink for sale. Tickets are $10-$20. La Peña, 3105 Shattuck Ave. Information and tickets.Continue reading »

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Council passes minimum wage law for $15 in 2018

A Friday morning special council meeting with low attendance. Photo: Lance Knobel
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Berkeley City Council unanimously approved a new law Friday that will see the city’s minimum wage increase to $15 in 2018.

The vote came during an unusual Friday morning special session of the council, after weeks of negotiation to resolve a battle between two competing minimum wage ballot measures. One of those, the council-approved Measure BB, would reach $15 by 2019; the other, labor-supported Measure CC, would reach $15 in 2017.

Read more about the minimum wage on Berkeleyside.

“This is a consensus document,” said Councilman Laurie Capitelli, who said it involved 40 or 50 hours of meetings over the last few weeks. “I don’t consider it a compromise document.”

The new law will make Berkeley one of the first jurisdictions in the country to reach a $15 an hour minimum wage. San Francisco will reach the $15 mark on July 1, 2018. Berkeley’s $15 wage starts on October 1, 2018. … Continue reading »

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UC Berkeley suspends plans for Richmond ‘global campus’

Berkeley-Richmond-Campus
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UC Berkeley has suspended its plans to build a second campus at Richmond Bay because of what it says is its need to address significant budgetary challenges. The decision was conveyed by Chancellor Nicholas Dirks to members of the Richmond Community Working Group in a meeting on Thursday evening, according to the university.

Dirks said UC Berkeley was indefinitely suspending plans to build the campus at Richmond Bay, but that the university would continue to explore options for the site “that reflect new priorities for the campus around enrollment growth and housing in the near future,” according to a statement by the university.

The project, known as the global campus, was designed as an alternative to UC Berkeley establishing campuses in other countries as some universities, including New York University, Johns Hopkins University and Carnegie Mellon University, have done in recent years.
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Crime

Crime log: Police raid and drug bust, Northside prowler, library vandals sought, mail thieves spotted, RIP ‘AyeGee’

There was a crash at Ashby and Acton. Photo: William Fertman
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This overview of recent crime in Berkeley is based on reports to the Berkeley Police unless otherwise noted. Share photos, videos and tips by emailing crime@berkeleyside.com or on Facebook and TwitterDon’t assume someone else will alert us. We rely on readers to help us stay informed.

SNAPSHOT From Aug. 12-18, there were reports of five robberiessix burglariesnine assaults or batteriestwo weapon-involved calls and no sexual assaults, according to CrimeMapping.com. There were also seven stolen vehiclesnine disturbances and 25 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. Two weapons calls, a vehicle theft and two vandalisms, among other crimes, were reported on CrimeMapping to the University of California Police Department (UCPD). Arrested or charged individuals are presumed innocent. Find the Aug. 12-18 round-up below.

[NB: The CrimeMapping dataset for Aug. 12-18 is incomplete. Berkeleyside has asked BPD for a fix. The Alameda County sheriff’s office is also having trouble with its Inmate Locator and online case tracking systems; a fix is expected by the end of the month, the agency has reported.]

Recent public safety news: Hot off the presses

ARMED ROBBERY NEAR CAMPUS Early Wednesday morning at 1:50, BPD reports there was an armed robbery at Blake and Dana: “Two suspects walked up behind the two victims and demanded their property while pointing handguns at them. The victims gave the suspects a wallet and cell phone,” and the robbers fled northbound on foot on Dana. The robbers were described as 25-year-old black men with thin builds, 5 foot 9 to 5 foot 11. They wore black hooded sweatshirts and jeans and were armed with handguns. (Berkeleyside first reported this incident on Facebook for timeliness.)

SOUTHSIDE BURGLARY ARREST On Wednesday afternoon, a reader asked Berkeleyside: “What’s going on with all of the cops on Bancroft and Telegraph?” UCPD Sgt. Sabrina Reich said, at about 1 p.m., staff in the Unit 3 student housing complex, at 2400 Durant, “reported a suspicious person who was seen in multiple residence halls.” UCPD officers tried to speak with the man but he ran into a nearby apartment complex where UCPD was able to detain him. Police identified the man as 25-year-old Wilford Hooper of Hercules. Reich said Hooper was found to be in possession of property stolen from Unit 3, and was arrested on suspicion of burglary, probation violation and a warrant out of Contra Costa County. He was taken to Berkeley Jail. He is being held in connection with misdemeanor indecent exposure, in addition to the other violations. Hooper’s next court appearance was not listed online.

PROWLER IN NORTH BERKELEY On Friday, Aug. 19, at about 9:30 a.m., BPD got reports of a prowler in the 2400 block of Virginia, followed by a similar report in the 1600 block of Euclid a short time later. A reader described to Berkeleyside “8 cop cars on Euclid between Virginia and Hilgard. With their guns out.” According to BPD, citizens helped police track the prowler’s flight path through the block and nearby backyards. Two people were detained but ultimately no one was arrested. BPD said, according to one report, a man had been masturbating in a common area of an apartment building. The case remains under investigation. “The citizens were helpful,” said watch commander Lt. Andrew Rateaver. “It is important for residents to know what is going on in their area.” (Berkeleyside first reported this incident on Facebook for timeliness.) … Continue reading »

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UC Berkeley’s Bowles Hall is back after $45M renovation

Bowles Hall, which opened in 1929, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1989. (UC Berkeley photos by Brittany Hosea-Small)
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By Gretchen Kell / UC Berkeley

Berkeley’s Bowles Hall reopens this weekend as a residential college after an 11-year effort by alumni who raised $45 million to restore the aging, castle-like building and return it to its roots as a live-learn community for undergraduates.

Believed to be the nation’s first residential college, Bowles Hall opened in 1929 to male students who for four years would live, eat, study and be mentored there. But by the 1970s, Bowles was a conventional dorm for men. Meal service was cut in 2001, and in 2005 the hall housed only male freshmen. Over the decades, upkeep of Bowles, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, grew too costly for the campus.

“Our life-changing Bowles Hall experience barely existed — the guaranteed four-year residency, sense of community, on-site dining, regular contact with graduate students, alumni and faculty,” says Bob Sayles, a 1952 Berkeley and Bowles Hall alumnus. The ambitious restoration campaign he led culminates Saturday, Aug. 27, in a daylong celebration.

This weekend, Bowles Hall Residential College will greet 183 new undergraduates — half of them women. Until they graduate, they’ll share the iconic hall on Stadium Rim Way with three Berkeley academics, an archaeologist who is a Bowles Hall alumnus, and five graduate students. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley club partners with youth group for bowling fun

BLBC Coach Erwin Vista points to the good form and concentration of the BYA camper rolling “the real thing.” Photo- Jim Corr
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Lawn bowling is often (mistakenly) seen as a sport of ‘the older set.’ This summer, the Berkeley Lawn Bowling Club (BLBC) set out to counter that myth, joining forces with Berkeley Youth Alternatives (BYA) to offer coaching on the basics of lawn bowling as a summer camp activity for BYA participants.

BYA is a local community organization that seeks to provide a secure and nurturing environment for children, youth, and their families. Through sports, counseling, educational support and other means, BYA places special emphasis on shifting ‘children at risk’ into ‘individuals with potential.’ Its 2016 Summer Jam Day Camp provided spaces for 40 children and teens ages 6-14 from diverse backgrounds to enjoy exciting and fun activities. For the first time in several years, lawn bowling was one of those activities.

Spearheaded by Erwin Vista, a Bowls USA-certified coach (and a grade school and music teacher off the green), the weekly program put the fun back in the fundamentals of lawn bowling, initially by using tennis balls as substitutes for actual lawn bowls and beach balls as substitutes for jacks (the target ball in lawn bowling) — and later graduating to use of actual lawn bowls and a real jack.

The young bowlers were first asked to select blue and gold team names, which happen to be the colors of the two sets of mats BLBC owns, as well as the colors of Berkeley. One week, for example, the Blue Tornados competed against the Golden Hurricanes. … Continue reading »

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News

The Berkeley Wire: 08.25.16

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Scoop: Off The Grid coming to downtown Berkeley

Pelican Po'Boys at Off the Grid Emeryville. Photo: Off the Grid/Facebook
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Food trucks are coming to downtown Berkeley, offering a new option for Sunday lunch.

Off the Grid will launch a food-truck market in Civic Center Park starting Sunday, Sept. 11. The market will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and offer eight food trucks and live music, along with beer, wine and refreshments from San Francisco bar Lucky 13.

Off the Grid said the rotating line-up of vendors at the new Berkeley location will include Smoke’s Poutine, Canasta, Passione Pizza, Lexie’s Custard, Cupkates, Flavors of Ethiopia, Curry Up Now, Curbside Kitchen, Señor Sisig, and others.

Read more about Off The Grid markets in the East Bay.

The new market represents the fourth time Off The Grid has opened a food truck hub in Berkeley — the three former market all closed down after a couple of years.

Ben Himlan, a spokesman for Off The Grid, said he is hoping the “fourth time is a charm.” He said he felt hopeful about the prospects for the downtown market because of its location next to a park, close to transit and retail. … Continue reading »

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Council plans special meeting on minimum wage (again)

Berkeley City Council, Jan. 27, 2015. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Remember the special Berkeley City Council meeting on the minimum wage that didn’t happen?

On Aug. 10, the City Council hurriedly announced a special meeting for the following day. The two often-divided wings of the council had seemingly agreed wording for a new, accelerated raise in the minimum wage that would remove the need for dueling ballot measures in November. But in the 24 hours between announcing and holding the meeting, the council failed to summon a quorum. Only council members Kriss Worthington, Jesse Arreguín and Darryl Moore showed up.

The council is trying again, with a special meeting called for the unusual time of 11:30 a.m. Friday, Aug. 26, in the council chambers in Old City Hall. In this second effort, four council members — Laurie Capitelli, Lori Droste, Linda Maio and Susan Wengraf — have jointly submitted a new ordinance that would raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 on Oct. 1, 2018, one year earlier than the council-approved ballot measure and one year later than the union-supported measure.  … Continue reading »

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Schools

Students improve in literacy, lose ground in math

Community theater at Berkeley High School. Photos: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Berkeley students are showing gains in college preparedness and literacy, but math test scores are down, especially for black students, according to data presented Wednesday night to the Berkeley School Board at its first meeting of the school year.

Classes for Berkeley Unified students begin Tuesday, Aug. 30.

Wednesday night, School Board members got a report about the most recent assessment results, and reflected on the five Berkeley High graduates who died tragically this summer: four from fatal shootings in August, and one who drowned in June.

The board also voted to increase the budget, now officially at more than $3 million, for the John Muir Elementary modernization project, where the discovery of dry rot and structural issues with the foundation has required a $100,000 bump in the contract.

A major project to renovate Building A at Berkeley High — which includes the Berkeley Community Theater, the Florence Schwimley Little Theater, and the east classroom wing (primarily visual and performing arts classes) — can also begin now that the board has approved roughly $352,000 for design services that will serve to guide construction work down the line.  … Continue reading »

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Neighbors express frustration with cannabis club

The Cannabis Buyers Club of Berkeley sits on the edge of a residential neighborhood and neighbors complain that is some clients are not respectful. Photo: Google Street Maps
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Outside the Cannabis Buyers Club of Berkeley at Shattuck Avenue and Essex Street, the scene is busy.

A black-clad security guard mindfully scans the street, making notes, while a colleague collects trash with a mechanical scoop from the sidewalks. After a few minutes, a black Hyundai Sonata rolls up, booming a track from Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). The noise prompts the manager of Café La Renaissance across the street to close the door in apparent frustration.

CBCB,  at 3033 Shattuck Ave., is a popular medical cannabis dispensary, at least judging from the amount of foot traffic on a weekday afternoon. Its supporters and customers praise it, and dispensary employees make an earnest attempt to monitor the immediate vicinity of the operation — at least when reporters are lurking. But the occasionally loud and frenetic activity outside its doors has riled some in the neighborhood.

Read more about Berkeley’s medical cannabis clubs.

More than a dozen neighbors, many of whom would speak only on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal, expressed displeasure with a host of issues they say those hanging around outside the dispensary bring to the neighborhood. High on that list are double parking, driveway blocking and smoking pot in vehicles prior to driving off — all of which the residents Berkeleyside spoke with pointed out are illegal.

“It’s not a drug issue, it’s the people,” one neighbor told Berkeleyside outside his home. He added that he didn’t think the dispensary’s security guards spend enough time making sure CBCB’s customers leave the neighborhood after they acquire cannabis. … Continue reading »

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Reeling in the tears at the Starry Plough with Crying Time

Myles Boisen, Jill Randall, Tim Rowe and Peter Garellick play heartbreaking music in Crying Time, Saturday at the Starry Plough. Photo by Jenya Chernoff.
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Sometimes a band’s name tells you everything you need to know. With a moniker cadged from Buck Owens’s oft-covered 1966 country standard, Crying Time is an East Bay combo devoted to the gloriously rhinestoned collision between Nashville country and Los Angeles pop. The band celebrates the release of its second album, Linda, 9 p.m. Saturday at the Starry Plough as part of a triple bill with Bear Flag Trio and Danny Allen’s High Diving Horses.

Featuring North Oakland vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Jill Rogers, her younger Berkeley-based brother Peter Garellick on bass and vocal harmonies, drummer Tim Rowe, and Myles Boisen on guitar, lap steel and vocals, the quartet has honed a lachrymose repertoire of Glen Campbell, Freddy Fender, and George Jones and Tammy Wynette, along with excellent originals that powerfully evoke the same era. Pedal steel guitar legend Bobby Black contributes to a few tracks on the album, but won’t be joining them at the Starry Plough.

The band released its debut album Ten Golden Hits, last year on vinyl and for download. Like that project, Linda was recorded at Boisen’s Guerilla Studio with analog sound akin to the classic country music from which Crying Time draws inspiration. The title can be understood in several ways, referring to Linda Ronstadt and in Spanish it means“pretty,” which “definitely applies to these beautiful sad songs,” Boisen says. … Continue reading »

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