The Berkeley Wire: 04.24.15

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Berkeleyside blotter: Crime in Berkeley, April 9-15

Selected calls to the Berkeley Police, via Scroll down for detailed maps. Click the map above for the list. See the map key here.
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This overview of recent crime in Berkeley is based on reports to the Berkeley Police unless otherwise noted. Please don’t hesitate to share photos, videos or tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at or on Facebook or Twitter; let us know if you prefer to be anonymous. Don’t assume someone else will alert us — we value your eyes and ears, and you may be the only one to get in touch. We very much want to know about issues of neighborhood concern.

From April 9-15, there were reports of two robberies16 burglaries19 assaults or batteries, no weapon-involved calls and one sexual assault, according to There were also 13 stolen vehicles11 disturbances and 31 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. Reported incidents from the University of California Police Department (UCPD) included one burglary and four vandalism calls. These numbers are subject to change. Click the links for the latest numbers. The following items represent a sampling of calls, and times may be approximate.

Thursday, April 9

There were two home burglaries, at 11:30 a.m. in the 1700 block of Walnut Street, and at 9 p.m. in the 1700 block of Portland Avenue.

A 53-year-old Berkeley woman was hit in a crosswalk by a vehicle just after noon. She was knocked to the ground but declined transportation to the hospital, said Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats. The woman had been crossing Spruce Street at Marin Avenue when the driver turned onto Spruce from Marin and hit her. Coats said the driver, a 67-year-old Kensington man, failed to yield to the woman in the crosswalk, which was the apparent cause of the collision.

A 78-year-old Berkeley man walking on Vine Street at about 4:30 p.m. was struck in the crosswalk by a vehicle at Martin Luther King Jr. Way, according to Coats. Coats said the driver, a 73-year-old Emeryville woman, had been southbound on Martin Luther King approaching Vine when she hit the man, who had been walking east in the crosswalk. The man was taken to Highland Hospital with serious injuries. Police do not believe drugs or alcohol were a factor in the collision. The man’s injuries did not appear to be life-threatening, Coats said.

There was a felony sexual assault at 6 p.m. in the 2000 block of Shattuck Avenue.

There was a commercial burglary at 6 p.m. in the 1600 block of Bonita Avenue.

Two vehicles were stolen, at 7 p.m. in the 800 block of Bancroft Way, and at 10:49 p.m. at California and Derby streets. Police arrested Shamari Thompson, 26, in connection with the second incident. He is no longer in custody but is scheduled to return to court April 27 for a preliminary examination hearing.  … Continue reading »

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Bites: Shiba Ramen, KoJa Kitchen to Public Market

Emeryville Public Market where a new Off The Grid food truck market will launch on Aug. 23. Photo:  Public Market Emeryville
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Openings, closings

EMERYVILLE PUBLIC MARKET TO GAIN TWO NEW RESTAURANTS Emeryville’s Public Market is about to get even more interesting, food-wise. The shopping and dining center added a full line-up of food trucks earlier this year, which will soon be joined by two new restaurants in the market hall portion of the building: Shiba Ramen and KoJa Kitchen. We brought you news of the Shiba Ramen project last week; the fast-casual ramen shop is the brainchild of two ex-chemists who plan on bringing Japanese style service and noodle soups to the neighborhood. KoJa Kitchen will be the second brick-and-mortar location for the Korean-Japanese fusion food truck of the same name. (Its first location is at 2395 Telegraph Ave., at Channing Way, in Berkeley.) “We’re excited to welcome Koja Kitchen and Shiba Ramen to Public Market Emeryville,” said City Center Realty Partners’ Co-Founder Mark Stefan in a prepared statement. “They embody our vision for the new Food Hall — unique purveyors who want to be part of the community.” Shiba Ramen and KoJa Kitchen are both part of a larger renovation project. This first phase includes adding food stalls and reconditioning the existing structure. The second phase of the project, expected to wrap up by this summer, includes installing a living wall, replacing the ball-pit with a new children’s play area, upgrading the entries, and putting up local artwork. Public Market Emeryville is at 5959 Shellmound St., Emeryville. Connect with Shiba Ramen on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. Connect with KoJa Kitchen on Facebook and Twitter.Continue reading »

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

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 8.03.02 PM
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PUBLIC HEALTH BLOCK PARTY The city hopes to address “health inequities and improve outcomes” at its public health block party on Saturday, 10am-2pm near the entrance to the Frances Albrier Community Center, 2800 Park St. in South Berkeley. Come receive information and resources, such as screenings for blood pressure, glucose, bone density, and Hepatitis C. People can also get assistance with applications for Covered California, the state health insurance exchange created by the Affordable Care Act that provides federally subsidized rates. Not only that, there is free food, courtesy of Acme Bread and Phat Beets Produce, and delicious smoothies created by a “Smoothie Bike,” as well as a Kid Zone and free haircuts courtesy of stylists from South Berkeley barber shop DnD Cuts. … Continue reading »

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Op-eds: Schools, libraries, parks — and what price water?

Is it right that water costs Berkeleyans just one xx a gallon no matter how much we use, asks Neal Eckard in an op-ed published on Berkeleyside this month. Photo: Steve Johnson
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This month is not over but Berkeleyside has already published several op-eds of note in its Opinionator section.

Two tackle Berkeley’s parks and facilities. Diz Swift says it’s time for a coherent plan to maintain city facilities. “We need priorities and the realization that maybe we can’t afford to keep it all. If we just go on like this, our beautiful public spaces will gradually decay,” she writes.

Meanwhile, Isabelle Gaston questions why the increase in the amount spent on parks in Berkeley is not proportional to the increase spent on salaries, benefits and running the city. “Why are clubhouses, public swimming pools and senior centers routinely being closed in Berkeley — one of the richest cities and most highly taxed in all of California?” she asks. … Continue reading »


The Berkeley Wire: 04.23.15

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Counter Culture coffee roaster arrives in Emeryville

The front room and tasting table at Counter Culture. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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National coffee wholesaler and barista training organization Counter Culture is launching its new roastery in Emeryville on Friday — just blocks from the Berkeley border — with a free tasting at 10 a.m., followed by an open house Saturday to show off the new space.

The facility is generally not open to the public, and isn’t set up for retail, but the open house, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, will feature brewing workshops, limited-edition giveaways and more. Counter Culture also has “Tasting@Ten” sessions every Friday morning, which are free and open to all.

The North Carolina-based coffee roaster celebrated its 20-year anniversary last weekend. Until now, its only roasting facility has been in Durham, North Carolina. The new Emeryville roastery will give Counter Culture a West Coast presence that will allow it to speed up shipping and deliver a fresher product to customers, which include both coffee shops and restaurants, said Nathan Brown, a company spokesman. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley RADICAL focus of Cal Performances new season

The Simon Bolivar Orchestra of Venezuela will play Beethoven's Ninth at the Cal Performances gala in September. Photo: Nohely Oliveros
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A gala outdoors performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, a novel mixture of Olivier Messaien and Berkeley photographer Deborah O’Grady, a rare visit from Paris’ Ensemble Intercontemporain, and Twyla Tharp’s 50th anniversary tour are among the highlights for Cal Performances 2015-16 season, which was announced this week.

The season marks the launch of Berkeley RADICAL (Research and Development Initiative in Creativity, Arts, Learning), a new framework in which artists will engage with Cal Performances through commissioning, creation, presentation, documentation and dissemination; with the university’s community of scholars and students; and with the Bay Area public.

Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela kick off Berkeley RADICAL with a week-long residency centered around performances of Beethoven’s final three symphonies. The Ninth Symphony will be performed at a gala performance at the Greek Theatre on Friday, Sept. 25.

“I can’t think of a better way to launch Berkeley RADICAL than with this music, this conductor and this orchestra,” said Matías Tarnopolsky, executive and artistic director of Cal Performances. … Continue reading »

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An evening with Judy Blume, literary freedom pioneer for children and adults

Judy Blume
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Are you there, God? It’s her, Judy Blume — author of the classic Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret and 27 other books. She’s also an outspoken leader against censorship and one of America’s most beloved and bestselling authors.

Blume will appear on Saturday, June 6 at 7:00 p.m. at the Berkeley Community Theatre at a special event within the Bay Area Book Festival. Tickets are now available. Book festival organizers expect the event to sell out.

The event will celebrate the publication of Blume’s latest novel for adults, In the Unlikely Event (Penguin Random House), which will be released on June 2. … Continue reading »

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Fire at Giovanni’s restaurant causes $100K damage

Firefighters use a ladder to access the roof of Giovanni's restaurant at 2420 Shattuck Ave. today after a fire broke out around 6 a.m. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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A fire that broke out early this morning at Giovanni’s restaurant in downtown Berkeley caused an estimated $100,000 worth of damage, according to Berkeley Fire Department’s Deputy Chief Avery Webb.

The fire department had to open up walls, as well as the roof of the building at 2420 Shattuck Ave., as the fire was concentrated in concealed spaces, Webb said.

The southbound section of Shattuck Avenue between Channing and Haste was closed for about one and a half hours while the first-alarm fire was being tackled. … Continue reading »

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Poetry and jazz: Surging together in Berkeley

Raymond Nat Turner
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The unassuming apartment complex at Seventh and Allston doesn’t look much like the cradle of a creative movement, but for spoken-word artist Raymond Nat Turner the West Berkeley locale provided everything he needed to launch UpSurge!

Working as roadie, manager and all-round assistant for Donald “Duck” Bailey in the 1980s, Turner started frequenting a weekly jam session hosted by the jazz drum legend at the Wellington Hotel at Seventh and University (where La Quinta stands today). With a steady flow of young musical talent from Berkeley High attending the sessions, Turner found the personnel he needed to launch the politically charged jazz/poetry ensemble that celebrates its 25th anniversary 8 p.m. Friday at the Berkeley Art Festival performance space on University Avenue, just a mile east of where the project first came together in the fall of 1990. … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 04.22.15

Berkeley Way mini-park. Photo, taken on April 19, 2015, by Kaiboyh

Berkeley Way mini-park. Photo, taken on April 19, 2015, by Kaiboyh

Coachella comes to Berkeley! (Huffington Post)
Berkeley firefighters spray geysers of water despite drought (CBS Local)
City of Berkeley creates Twitter account, explores social media (Daily Cal)
Berkeley considers buffer zones for tobacco retailers (NACS)
UC food-sustainability research fellowship extended two years (Daily Cal)
Study finds depression among Berkeley graduate students (Inside Higher Ed)

Get the latest Berkeley news in your inbox with Berkeleyside’s free Daily Briefing. And make sure to bookmark Berkeleyside’s pages on Facebook and Twitter. You don’t need an account on those sites to view important information.

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Berkeley bike festival, cycling plan open house coming up

Get your bike on with two important events coming up in Berkeley in the next week. Photo: Bikes in Berkeley
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Berkeley cycling aficionados have two big events coming up in the next week: the city’s third annual Bikes in Berkeley Festival on Sunday, followed by an open house Monday focused on a major update to the city’s Bicycle Plan.

The Bikes in Berkeley Festival is scheduled to take place Sunday at Malcolm X Elementary School, 1731 Prince St. (between Ellis and King streets), from noon to 4 p.m. It is set to kick off with a family cycling workshop (more information and a pre-registration form is here), followed by a youth bike swap (details here) and the festival itself.

The festival, called Fiesta de la Tierra — a nod in part to this week’s Earth Day (on Wednesday) — will have a bike and helmet decoration station, a “bike rodeo” to practice rules of the road, helmet fittings, bike-blended smoothies, bicycle-inspired entertainment, a cargo bike demo station, “and a whole lot more to inspire, educate and encourage bicycle riding,” according to organizers. … Continue reading »

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Sublime (but dull) to ridiculous: Dior and I / Kung Fu Killer

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Sometimes, when the choices are limited and a deadline looms, I’m compelled to review films that just don’t appeal to me. Are you a romantic comedy? Your meet cute and final reel clinch are an insult to my intelligence. A western? This town ain’t big enough for the both of us. A biopic? I’d rather read the book.

“But wait”, you say, “I remember the time you gave biopic X an excellent review!”, and it’s true: I’ve frequently enjoyed or appreciated films I didn’t expect to enjoy or appreciate. With
Dior and I (opening at Landmark’s Shattuck Cinemas on Friday, April 23), however, I got exactly what I feared I’d get: a commercial disguised as a documentary.

Haute couturier Christian Dior was, according to the film, a revolutionary, and prior to his premature death in 1957 truly did change the world of women’s fashion. Despite the film’s best efforts to convince me otherwise, however, his life simply wasn’t very interesting: while he designed some beautiful garments, there’s simply not enough (ahem) material here to sustain a feature length documentary. … Continue reading »

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