The Berkeley Wire: 04.29.16

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Bites: Genova Deli, People’s Café, The Wolf, more

Genova Delicatessen. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Openings, closings…

GENOVA DELI’S LAST DAY IS SATURDAY Get in for your Italian combo fix while you can, because Genova Delicatessen‘s last day will be April 30. “We are humbled by all the good wishes and love from the community and want to thank you for so many years of support,” wrote the deli’s owners on its website. The 90-year-old Italian deli in Oakland’s Temescal district had announced in February that it may be forced to close due to a rent dispute with its landlord. However, in a story in the San Jose Mercury News, co-owner David DeVincenzi’s wife Patti said that other rising costs were a bigger contributor in the decision to close. They didn’t want to be forced to raise prices. “The cost of doing business is to the point now where it became uncomfortable,” she said. David DeVincenzi told the San Francisco Chronicle that the family is working on finding a new location in Oakland, but was unwilling to hint at where that location may be. In the meantime, the Genova factory on Broadway, the Napa store, and the two Genova Deli locations in Walnut Creek (owned by another branch of the family) remain open. And, according to the Mercury News, the property owners at Temescal Plaza are looking for a new local deli operator to open in the space; property representative John Dobrovich said he hopes the new tenant will hire some of the former Genova employees. Genova Delicatessen is at 5095 Telegraph Ave. (between 49th and 51st streets), Oakland. Connect with the deli on Facebook.Continue reading »

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

Photo by Patti Meuer
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IBD.squarespace.com_INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORE DAY Books and Berkeley: never did two words fit more easily together. Saturday, April 30, is a day to celebrate independent bookstores as 420 bookstores around the country, including many in Berkeley, will host authors and readings and other events. Famed and funny science writer Mary Roach will appear at 3 p.m. at Pegasus Downtown at 2349 Shattuck Ave. Roach will do an AMA (based on Reddit’s “Ask Me Anything” series). “Science quandary keeping you up at night? Want to know what happens when you place a chameleon on a mirror?… Mary Roach can answer your non-pertinent questions. “You can get homemade dog treats at Mrs. Dalloway’s all day, become your favorite literary character by dressing up in costume (provided) and taking your picture at Books, Inc., at 1491 Shattuck Ave., or join in the unveiling of the large transportation collection at Moe’s Books on Telegraph Avenue — and hear songs about trains. Check the website of your local bookstore for more details. … Continue reading »

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Outdoor library of 50,000 free books is coming back to Berkeley. (And you can take part.)

Bay Area Book Festival 2015. Photo: Richard Friedman
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2016 BABF logoThis article is brought to you by the Bay Area Book Festival.

What the heck is a lacuna? Its Latin root means “lake” or “pool.” Today it’s defined as an unfilled space or gap, with a secondary definition as “a missing portion in a book or manuscript.”

Which brings us to Lacuna, the participatory art installation constructed out of 50,000 books that the public can take for free. Lacuna was built in MLK Civic Center Park for the inaugural Bay Area Book Festival last June. The installation, which appeared as a giant circlet of alcoves made of shelves and was topped with flying books, stole the hearts of Berkeley residents (and was talked about as far away as Korea, Singapore, and France).

It’s coming back. And the book festival, which runs June 4-5, is inviting the public on some interesting literary adventures via Lacuna — whether that’s helping to actually sort the books in preparation for the installation, or participating in a sort of “literary note in a bottle” program for small donors. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Crime in Berkeley: Jaywalkers beware, flyaway drone damage, pilfered postage stamps, found ammo, more

Police say this Ford was used in Monday's robbery. Photo: BPD
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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.

From April 7-13, there were reports of eight robberies10 burglaries20 assaults or batteriesno weapon-involved calls and no sexual assaults, according to CrimeMapping.com. There were also 12 stolen vehicles16 disturbances and 29 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. Two sex crimes were reported to the University of California Police Department (UCPD). Arrested or charged individuals in this blotter are presumed innocent. Find our April 7-13 round-up below.

Recent public safety news

2 BOTCHED CAR THEFT ATTEMPTS AT BART A thief tried to steal a maroon 1994 Toyota Corolla while it was parked at the North Berkeley BART station between 4:15 a.m. and 9:45 p.m. April 14. The driver’s door lock and ignition were damaged. The same day, someone tried to steal another 1994 Toyota Corolla from the station between 8 a.m. and 6:40 p.m. The ignition wires were cut and the ignition switch was damaged.

STOLEN CROSS Someone stole a 12-inch brass crucifix worth $40 from 2223 Fulton, room H, sometime between March 10 and April 15, UCPD reported. It’s under investigation.

DRONE DAMAGE A security officer at the Doe Library on the UC Berkeley campus reported “damage to roof tiles caused by a fly away drone” April 20 at 5 p.m. The drone owner is listed as a 22-year-old male student. It’s under investigation, UCPD reports.

COFFEE COMMOTION? A female student reported being the victim of “battery via coffee” at about 10:50 a.m. Tuesday, April 26, at the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union building on campus. A man in his 60s wearing brown clothing was reported to be the culprit. No further information was provided.

STEPPED UP TRAFFIC SAFETY ENFORCEMENT BPD plans to “step up pedestrian safety enforcement operations” Friday, April 29, with a focus on “pedestrian safety and collision causing factors involving motorists and pedestrians,” the department reported earlier this week. Police also said there will be more motorcycle officers on duty through June 31 “conducting enforcement and educational efforts based on data from prior collisions.” … Continue reading »

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UC Berkeley student arrested after fraternity rape report

The Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house on Piedmont Avenue
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Update, 4 p.m. The district attorney’s office declined to file charges in the case. According to office spokeswoman Teresa Drenick, “Based upon a review of the evidence presented by the Berkeley Police Department, we have declined to file criminal charges.” Berkeleyside removed the student’s name, and several identifying details, in light of this new information.

Original story, 7 a.m. Authorities have arrested a 20-year-old UC Berkeley student on suspicion of rape in connection with a case from earlier this year reported to have taken place at a fraternity party near campus.

The Berkeley Police Department arrested the young man at 7 a.m. Thursday after serving a search warrant at his fraternity house at 2395 Piedmont Ave., at Channing Way, authorities said.

UCPD identifies that location as Phi Gamma Delta, a fraternity that is not officially recognized by the CalGreeks organization.

Sgt. Andrew Frankel, BPD spokesman, said the arrest was in connection with “an on-going sexual assault investigation.”

According to a statement released by UCPD on Feb. 22, the victim had attended a party at a fraternity house in the 2300 block of Piedmont three days earlier, on Friday, Feb. 19. The sexual assault took place between midnight and 12:45 a.m. Saturday in a room at the fraternity, which was not named.

According to the UCPD statement, “a report was made to a Campus Security Authority who is required under the Federal Clery Act to report it to the campus Clery Compliance Officer. UCPD is in turn required to alert our community of the crime.” … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 04.28.16

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More breweries to East Bay’s booming beer scene

At Beer Revolution in Oakland. Photo: Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr
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Brian Koloszyc started beer brewing on a whim. He had just moved to San Francisco and met Teresa Tamburello, his future wife and business partner. “In the spirit of taking on a new project together, we decided to head to the local homebrew shop to buy supplies for making beer,” he writes on his blog, Novel Brewing.

“It was on, like, our second date,” said Tamburello.

Their first beer, an IPA, was “somewhat eh, but the experience was life-changing,” he said.

Read more about beer and breweries in the East Bay.

Koloszyc is not alone. He is part of a sizable group of home brewers-turned-pros who are all getting ready to open their first breweries in the East Bay. Starting later this year, at least four new breweries are headed to Berkeley and Oakland, bringing even more life into an already booming beer scene. Each brings something different — we’ll soon see more fresh, sessional beers for outdoor drinking; inspired British-style ales to quaff alongside a favorite book; and funky Belgians paired with casual dining fare.
Continue reading »

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Berkeley preview sheds new light on Gilman roundabouts

Members of the public got a look Wednesday night at plans to build two roundabouts at Gilman and Interstate 80. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Early plans to build two large roundabouts at Interstate 80 and Gilman Street in Berkeley were on display for the public Wednesday night at the North Berkeley Senior Center.

The project — with an estimated $24 million construction cost — is slated to be complete in 2022, a representative told the dozens of attendees who perused information stations set up around the room.

“This is an area that has a lot of concerns with it,” David Early, principal at Berkeley-based community planning firm Placeworks, told the crowd. “It’s quite a ‘wild west’ kind of scene.”

Scroll down to see a simulation of the proposed circulation.

By the numbers, the problem is stark. Crash data presented Wednesday, from 2011-2013, showed significantly higher than average numbers of injury or fatal collisions, particularly on the north side of Gilman. On the west side off-ramp, those numbers were 80% higher than the state average. On the east side on-ramp, they were a whopping 177% above the state average.

South of the freeway, they were about 30% above the state average at both the on- and off-ramps.

The project involves the two roundabouts on either side of I-80, new sidewalks under the freeway, and a pedestrian and bike bridge similar to the one at Aquatic Park. Perhaps the most controversial elements of the project — in addition to the roundabouts themselves — are the location of the bike bridge, which makes a fairly large detour south before bringing users back up to Gilman, as well as plans to cut off access from Gilman to the frontage road on the east side of the freeway.  … Continue reading »

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Police arrest 3 after armed, masked restaurant robbery series, 9 in Berkeley

Approximate, block-level, locations of seven of the nine restaurant robberies in March and April. Source: CrimeMapping/Berkeleyside
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Police arrested three men Friday after an investigation into a series of robberies that saw armed, masked perpetrators holding up a total of 23 restaurants in the Bay Area, nine of which were in Berkeley.

The “take-over-style” robberies began at the beginning of March, according to a Nixle alert sent out by BPD at around 10:45 a.m. Thursday.

Sgt. Andrew Frankel, spokesman for BPD, said the suspects were masked and had guns. He described a “take-over-style” robbery as those using  “force and fear.”

The three men arrested were Kristoffer Jones, 18, of Albany; Shawan Spragans, 40, of Oakland; and Merl Simpson, 46, also of Oakland.

The 23 restaurants — primarily in Berkeley, San Francisco, San Leandro, Albany, Oakland and Hayward — were being targeted shortly before, or just after, closing time by the same suspects, according to the BPD statement.

The break in the case came just after midnight Friday, April 22, when the men attempted to rob a bar in San Francisco that was under surveillance by the San Francisco Police Department. … Continue reading »

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Junior Reggae bring sleek sounds of Jamaica to Jupiter

Junior Reggae (Rob Ewing, Jason Levis, and Steven Blum) play Jupiter Tuesdays in May. Photo by Eric Vogler.
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When Caribbean rhythms seduce a jazz musician, Cuba is usually the alluring culprit. But for multi-instrumentalist Rob Ewing the loping grooves of Jamaica have proven irresistible. An accomplished drummer and skilled trombonist who performs every Sunday with the Electric Squeezebox Orchestra at Doc’s Lab in North Beach, Ewing holds down the bass chair in three reggae combos, including the 10-piece Pavlov’s Band, the five-piece Reggae On the Radio, and the trio Junior Reggae, which plays Jupiter every week in May as part of the pub’s Tuesday Jazzidency series.

Featuring Steven Blum on keyboards and drummer Jason Levis, Junior Reggae is an instrumental ensemble that was born in Berkeley. Ewing and Levis have been making music together since their undergrad days in Boulder at Naropa University (where they both studied with piano legend Art Lande). Since arriving in the Bay Area in the early aughts, they’ve played in a variety of settings together, but it was reggae that forged their connection as a rhythm-section tandem. As the director of the Jazzschool Community Music School, Ewing was on hand when Levis, an associate professor at the California Jazz Conservatory, needed a bassist for a reggae class. … Continue reading »

The Berkeley Wire: 04.27.16

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Big Screen double bill: ‘Dough’ and ‘Pali Road’

Dough, starring
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One of the doughtiest of British film genres is the ‘eccentric Brit’ comedy-drama. From The Full Monty to Kinky Boots, UK filmmakers have long been drawn to tales featuring starchy, conservative Britons trapped in uncomfortable or awkward situations that force them to, well, become a little less starchy and conservative.

Dough (opening at Landmark Theatres Albany Twin Cinema on Friday, April 29) is the latest example of the style. Directed by television veteran John Goldschmidt, the film stars Jonathan Pryce as Nat Dayan, an orthodox Jewish baker clinging to an ailing family business in London’s rapidly gentrifying East End.

The awkward situation comes in the form of Sudanese immigrant Ayyash (Jerome Holder). A Muslim refugee from Darfur, young Ayyash is employed by big time pot dealer Victor (Ian Hart) to sell wacky tobacky – but only if he has a ‘cover job’ to serve as a front. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley council votes to put minimum wage on ballot

The turnout was sparse for Tuesday night's council meeting, which included a vote on the minimum wage. Photo: Mark Coplan
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A Berkeley City Council majority voted Tuesday night to put an alternative minimum wage proposal on the November 2016 ballot they say will be more moderate than a community measure announced last week.

Councilman Laurie Capitelli — mayoral hopeful — put forward the alternative proposal and asked city staff to come back with a resolution city officials could put on the ballot. Council had been slated to vote to revise the city’s minimum wage ordinance Tuesday night, but instead voted in favor of the substitute motion from Capitelli.

Read more on the minimum wage from Berkeleyside.

The Capitelli proposal would take the minimum wage for all businesses in Berkeley to $15 an hour by October 2019. It is already slated to increase to $12.53 in October of this year. Under the proposed resolution put forward Tuesday night, this would be followed by annual increases each October to $13.25 in 2017 and $14.05 in 2018.

The initiative put forward last week would raise Berkeley’s minimum wage to $15 by October 2017.

Unlike many prior Berkeley council meetings focused on the minimum wage, the turnout Tuesday night was sparse. A handful of speakers asked council to move faster to help workers, while others asked for more time for small businesses to weigh in and adjust. … Continue reading »

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