20-year-old man found dead in Southside Berkeley

The young dead man was found in the 2500 block of Piedmont Avenue south of the UC Berkeley campus. Image: Google Maps

The young dead man was found in the 2500 block of Piedmont Avenue south of the UC Berkeley campus. Image: Google Maps

A 20-year-old man was found dead on the street in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Berkeley Police said they responded to a report of an unresponsive male in the 2500 block of Piedmont Avenue in Southside Berkeley at approximately 3:59 a.m. on Dec. 20. 

Berkeley Police and Fire personnel arrived within minutes and discovered a 20-year-old male, deceased, just outside his residence.

BPD said it is investigating the case as a suspicious death, although it does not appear that foul play was involved. Alcohol may have been a factor, the police reported in a release issued at around 2:30 p.m. Saturday. … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 12.19.14

Ruins in Berkeley? Photo by Ron Rothbart. Taken on Dec. 16, 2014

Ruins in Berkeley? Photo by Ron Rothbart. Taken on Dec. 16, 2014

Janet Napolitano joins faculty of UC Berkeley public policy school (Goldman School)
Effigies’ powerful racial message was hurt by unclear intent (LA Times)
East Bay leaders hold forum on police accountability (Daily Cal)
50 UC Berkeley students from 50 states (Daily Clog)
Opponents of post office sale will hold Christmas celebration (Tribune)

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Exclusive: Man died after Berkeley protests delayed help

A resident of this building died after a paramedics were delayed from responding to his medical crisis on the second night of Berkeley's recent protests. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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A man who collapsed while waiting for Berkeley paramedics to arrive later died at the hospital, city employees have told Berkeleyside, after large protests that wracked the city earlier this month delayed first responders.

Berkeley Fire Chief Gil Dong has declined to comment on the incident, saying he is prohibited from doing so because of medical privacy laws.

“Anytime there is a delay it causes us concern,” he said, speaking generally. “Our objective is to get there rapidly so we can start treating the patient.”

Several city staffers — who asked not to be named because they are not authorized to speak with the media — confirmed that paramedics were delayed in their response to help the man who collapsed, and said he later died at the hospital.

See complete Berkeleyside coverage of the recent Berkeley protests.

There were near-daily protests in Berkeley from Saturday, Dec. 6, through Sunday, Dec. 14, in connection with police-involved killings in Ferguson, Missouri, and Staten Island, New York. The most disruptive incidents took place Dec. 6 and Dec. 7.

The first night, police used tear gas and projectiles to disperse a Telegraph Avenue crowd that earlier in the night had attacked officers by hurling bottles, an ice pick and a sandbag, among other items, authorities said. The following night, officers kept their distance from the crowd which, though largely peaceful, included more than a dozen people who smashed the windows of Berkeley businesses and set debris fires as they marched through the city.

The second night, there was also a small group of people who police believe may have been responsible for attacking a man with a hammer downtown during the looting of Radio Shack, an armed robbery on Fulton and Ward streets, and shooting through the door of a Berkeley homeowner, in the 1800 block of Carleton Street, who confronted them about items they had stolen earlier in the night at Radio Shack. Those suspects — described as four young black men who at times wore white medical masks and rode BMX bicycles — remain at large. … Continue reading »

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Ms Barstool: 5 cocktails to warm your heart

Haitian Toddy at Box and Bells
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As the rain lashes the window-panes, gusts of wind bring down tree limbs, and the power goes out… again… what better way to mark the turn of the season and the holidays than to head to a cozy bar and order up a warming winter cocktail? Ms Barstool has tried five and recommends them all. Cheers!

Haitian Toddy at Box and Bells

Served in a teacup and garnished with orange peel and a stick of cinnamon, this drink is made with aged Haitian dark rum, Benedictine, house-made honey syrup, and seasoned with cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice (pictured above). Served at Box and Bells in Oakland’s Rockridge neighborhood: 5912 College Ave., Oakland. … Continue reading »

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

Screen shot 2014-12-18 at 5.54.11 PM
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GOODBYE TO THE OLD BERKELEY ART MUSEUM For 44 years, the Berkeley Art Museum at 2626 Bancroft Ave. has been a galvanizing force for culture in Berkeley and beyond. Many of the world’s greatest artists have performed or displayed their work there. But the Brutalist building designed by Mario Ciampi, and opened in 1970, is not seismically safe. It will close at the end of 2014 as BAM prepares for its move in early 2016 into a new 82,000-square foot home on Center Street designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro. To celebrate the transition, BAM/PFA is throwing itself a goodbye party on Sunday called Let’s Go! A Farewell Revel. Starting at 11 a.m. and lasting until 5 p.m., the free celebration includes a create-your-own-museum art workshop, a dance battle by TURFinc, “vibrant vocals” from the women’s group, Kitka, a performance by pianist/composer Sarah Cahill of Gyorgy Ligeti’s 1962 composition “Poème symphonique” for 100 metronomes, and more. (Be sure to check out the Kickstarter campaign in progress to record the acoustics of the building.) The day will end with a procession from the Bancroft building through the campus to the new structure at 2155 Center St. Luckily, the forecast calls for a mix of sun and clouds. During the year it is closed, BAM/PFA will put on mobile exhibits around town. The PFA will continue to show films at its current site on Bancroft, across the street from the art museum. … Continue reading »

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Chiura Obata: A story of resilience, a passion for Yosemite

A026066_DeathsGrave – Chiura Obata (1885–1975), Death's Grave Pass and Tenaya Peak, High Sierra, USA, 1930, Color woodcut, Private collection.
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When Kimi Hill was in her teens, just turning the corner on self-absorption and curious about her family’s history, her aging grandfather, artist/educator Chiura Obata, resorted to communicating exclusively in his native Japanese, a language she didn’t speak.

Cut off from Chiura Obata, the then 20-year-old Berkeley resident had little idea of the important role he played in art history, and particularly in the history of Japanese Americans in the Bay Area. Fortunately, Hill became the primary caretaker of her grandmother, Haruko Obata, for the nine years after Obata died in 1975.

Gradually, Hill got to know her grandfather through her grandmother’s stories and through his paintings, drawings, photographs, letters and documents. Seeking ever more intimate insights, she visited abstract connections: the memories of people who were strangers to her but had known her grandfather; reference materials in libraries and archives relating to his years as a respected, influential professor of art at UC Berkeley. She found the most profound answers and clues to her grandfather’s legacy in the beauty of natural settings Obata had cherished, like Yosemite National Park.

An exhibit, Yosemite: A Storied Landscape, running now through Jan. 25, 2015, at the California Historical Society in San Francisco, offers Bay Area residents the same opportunity. … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 12.18.14

Raindrops guilty of gilding the lily by NRubin8 Photo taken on Dec. 15, 2014

Raindrops guilty of gilding the lily. Photo, taken on Dec. 15, 2014, by Nancy Rubin

Police historical collection shows off “father of modern law enforcement” (CoCo Times)
Holiday lights on display on Fourth Street (Mercury News)
Controversial highrise promises big downtown changes (CoCo Times)
Berkeley professor on ‘Becoming Richard Pryor’ (UCB News)
Goodbye to Berkeley’s Brutalist building (NY Observer)
Berkeley Rep brings back ‘Pianist of Willesden Lane’ (Napa Valley Register)
City of Berkeley salaries cost each resident $1,588 in 2013 (Transparent California)
6 places to check out near Shattuck Avenue (SFGate)
A permanent home for a collection of art ephemera (NYT)

Berkeleyside publishes many articles every day. To see all our stories in chronological order, and read ones you may have missed, check out All the News.

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Berkeleyside

Berkeleyside hits a milestone: 1 million pageviews

Berkeley protests, Alcatraz and Telegraph Photo- Tyurin Alexander
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Berkeleyside’s coverage of the Berkeley protests since Dec. 6, as well as the recent rainstorms, has pushed monthly pageviews — a common metric for websites — to 1,171,831. In the past 30 days, we had 327,683 unique visitors.

By comparison, one year ago over the same period we served 475,000 pageviews to 141,000 unique visitors. Last month, before the protests, 214,000 unique users accessed 681,000 pages. … Continue reading »

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After Berkeley protests: Local merchants react to damage, looting at their businesses

Boarded up McDonald's Kim Aronson
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Berkeley’s major commercial districts are awash with plywood — some of it covers broken glass, some has been erected as a preventive measure to protect vulnerable windows.

Many of the protests that have taken over Berkeley streets this month, in response to police-involved killings of unarmed black men, have remained peaceful. Others have culminated in smashed storefronts and blazing trashcans.

Merchants’ reactions to the destruction run the gamut from patience and praise of the peaceful majority, to criticism of the hands-off approach taken by the Berkeley police Sunday, Dec. 7, the night local businesses sustained the most significant damage. … Continue reading »

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At 2014 Christmas Bird Count — no rain, much fun

Varied Thrush at Albany Hill / Photo by Alan Krakauer
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The Bay Area’s welcome rainstorms let up for 24 hours on Sunday Dec. 14… just long enough for more than 200 birders to have a fabulous Oakland Christmas Bird Count.

Both novice and experienced birders fanned out over a 15-mile-wide circle including Oakland, Berkeley, Albany and neighboring cities, as part of Audubon’s 115th annual Christmas Bird Count.

Advance registration came to 287 people, a new record for the Oakland count, which was organized by the Golden Gate Audubon Society. Last year the Oakland count was the fourth largest in North America, and this year’s count is likely to be in the top five again. … Continue reading »

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How Quirky is Berkeley? From Lucky’s to Amoeba at 2455 Telegraph Avenue

1990 postcard from the collection of Tom Dalzell
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The quirky-looking building on the southeast corner of Telegraph and Haste, now Amoeba Music, has a colorful history that illustrates several chapters in Berkeley’s proud, independent history.

The building at 2455 Telegraph started life as Lucky’s Store No. 18.

It served the south campus neighborhood for several decades. In February 1964, the campus chapter of CORE (the Congress on Racial Equality) took action against Lucky Store 18 in an effort to pressure Lucky into hiring African-Americans. The actions included picketing and the “shop-in,” in which nicely dressed CORE members filled shopping carts with groceries but then refused to pay for the groceries until Lucky ended its discriminatory practices.

After ten days of picketing and shop-ins, Lucky signed an agreement covering its Bay Area stores, promising to end racial discrimination in its hiring practices. Shortly after that, it closed Store No. 18 on Telegraph. They blamed a high degree of shoplifting on the decision to close, but it is difficult to believe that there wasn’t some degree of retaliation for the shop-ins.

The next business to open at 2455 Telegraph was the Espresso Forum, one of the first two espresso shops on Telegraph. … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 12.17.14

Gnarly mossy oaks, Strawberry Canyon by Andrew  Aldrich. Photo taken Dec. 13, 2014

Gnarly mossy oaks, Strawberry Canyon by Andrew Aldrich. Photo taken Dec. 13, 2014

Holiday gifts with a UC Berkeley twist (UCB News)
Time has left Berkeley Art Museum’s bold design behind (SF Chronicle)
A public lynching in Sproul Plaza (Pacific Standard magazine)
Ticket sales slow for Bill Maher at UC Berkeley (Breitbart News)
Berkeley Copwatch: Make police obsolete (Baywatch)
A 4-year-old reviews Chez Panisse (The Bold Italic)
Berkeley Journalism School has a pretty great Christmas card (Poynter)
Ligeti’s ‘Poème Symphonique’ for 100 metronomes at BAMPFA (SF Chronicle)
LeDuc takes Berkeley Arts Center to new heights (SF Chronicle)
Public defenders hold #BlackLivesMatter rally (NBC)

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Determined crowd demands fast action from Berkeley council; officials set meeting on protests for January

The crowd at Tuesday night's Berkeley council meeting listened closely to public testimony. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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An emotional crowd nearly shut down the Berkeley City Council multiple times Tuesday night during a public comment period that lasted the better part of four hours.

About 50 people spoke to council — and many more were in attendance — to share concerns about racial profiling as well as the actions of police on Saturday, Dec. 6, when officers used tear gas, projectiles and baton hits to control and clear a crowd that refused to disperse from Telegraph Avenue after several hours of demonstrations around the city.

Council members considered but rejected the possibility of scheduling a special meeting this month to discuss the events of Dec. 6, and how police should interact with protesters going forward.

See complete Berkeleyside coverage of the recent Berkeley protests.

Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates announced that council will hold a special meeting Jan. 17 that’s set to include a panel of experts as well as workshops for more interactive discussion of critical issues. … Continue reading »

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Crime

3 teens arrested after Grizzly Peak kidnapping

The view from Grizzly Peak Boulevard near Signpost 15. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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Police have arrested three Concord teenagers in connection with the Thanksgiving Day kidnapping, carjacking and armed robbery of two people on Grizzly Peak Boulevard, authorities have announced.

Taken into custody Tuesday were 18-year-olds Jose Avila and Brenton Holtzclaw. A 17-year-old male from Concord linked to the case was already in custody for a different matter, and will be prosecuted as an adult, police said. His name was not released, however, because he is a minor.

Said University of California Police Department spokesman Lt. Eric Tejada in a prepared statement: “This investigation was successful thanks to assistance from several law enforcement agencies including the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office and police departments of the City of Concord, City of Pleasant Hill and City of Oakland.” … Continue reading »

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