The Berkeley Wire: 05.28.15

Paul and Suggah by William Newton. Photo taken May 22, 2105.

Paul and Suggah by William Newton. Photo taken May 22, 2105.

Hidden homeless: A quiet search for refuge among Berkeley youth (Daily Cal)
Maurice Tani perfects storytelling in alt-country songs (Examiner)
City holds town hall meeting on racial inequalities in public health (Daily Cal)
Oakland/Berkeley street party returns on Saturday (Mercury News)
A Look Back: Famed planner assesses Berkeley and Oakland in 1915 (IBA)
Court sides with Kapor again on building large home in north Berkeley (SF Gate)

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Berkeley poised to adopt tougher school enrollment policy

Photo by Melati Citrawireja
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Berkeley school board officials are considering tougher enrollment requirements to curb illegal enrollment in the district, following the initial success of new registration requirements.

Stricter enforcement implemented this year led the BUSD admissions office to reject 11% of applicants from private middle schools to Berkeley High School for 2015-2016 after it was determined they did not actually reside in Berkeley, according to Francisco Martinez, the BUSD admissions manager. About 150 students applied. Thirty-seven students were flagged for follow-up and officials found that 17 of them did not reside in Berkeley, he said.

Read Berkeleyside’s 2014 story on fraudulent enrollment in Berkeley schools

BUSD, for the first time, also required all currently enrolled fifth graders to prove their Berkeley residency before being accepted into sixth grade. About 8% of the 684 students did not reapply for admission, despite an aggressive campaign to inform families of new requirements, said Martinez. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley rental rates skyrocket, causing headaches for students and those on middle incomes

An apartment for rent on Spruce Street. Photo by Melati Citrawireja
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This is the second in a Berkeleyside series on housing. Read our first story on short term rentals.

The heated economy has pushed Berkeley rental rates significantly higher this past year, a jump of anywhere from 10% to 30.9%, depending on which study you look at, forcing some students to double and triple up in mini-dorm-like situations, and middle-class workers to stretch to meet their rents.

At the same time, technology workers and those in finance or other well-paying professions are snapping up luxury apartments that can cost from $2,500 a month for a studio to $5,400 for a three-bedroom, two-bath pad.

“The problem is that we are an extremely desirable community,” said Mayor Tom Bates. “With high rents in San Francisco a lot of people choose to be here. As a consequence we have huge demand.” … Continue reading »

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Crime

Man tried to shield fiancée during fatal Berkeley shooting

Kamahl Middleton
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Moments before being struck by a fatal shotgun blast, a Pinole man killed in Berkeley in December used his body to try to shield his fiancée from the gunman, she testified in court Wednesday.

Rebekah Cleberg of Pinole described the Dec. 29, 2014, shooting in West Berkeley as a medical marijuana exchange that quickly became an armed robbery in the parking lot by the 99 Cents store on San Pablo and University avenues.

Cleberg, 29, said she and her fiancé, 36-year-old Kamahl Middleton, drove to Berkeley from Pinole after arranging to trade about 1½ pounds of a strain of medical marijuana called “Girl Scout Cookies,” for a donation of $3,200, to a man who had provided a verified medical cannabis card and state ID card.

“We told him we were going to give him all the nicest ones,” she said. … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 05.27.15

Day 146: Kaboom by Quinn Dombrowski. Photo taken May 26, 2015

Day 146: Kaboom by Quinn Dombrowski. Photo taken May 26, 2015

South Berkeley community agencies face funding cuts (CoCo Times)
On the menu: Backyard bounty (Edible East Bay)
City Council postpones vote on tall building proposal (CoCo Times)
Salad days approach as Sweetgreen announces Berkeley outpost (Eater SF)
Solano tunnel to close May 28 for maintenance work (Mercury News)
Berkeley film curator honored by nations of France and Georgia (UCB News)
8-year old author will lead workshop at Bay Area Book Festival (Mercury News)

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Himalayan Handicraft
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ALCATRAZ ALLEY GRAND OPENING Nine shops on Alcatraz Avenue are coming together for a Grand Opening on May 28 from 3-6 p.m. Many of the businesses, found along the stretch of Alcatraz west of Adeline Street, are new or have revamped their style. “We thought it was time for a Grand Opening – a big get-together to celebrate the diverse businesses,” said Jess McCarter, co-founder of the Easy Creole restaurant. To facilitate the event, the block of Ellis Street between Harmon and Alcatraz will be closed to traffic, and an array of artists, performers, and activities will take over the alley. Passersby will find discounts on food and wares from Empress Vintage, Easy Creole, Ankara StyleGalleria, the Hoi Polloi Brewpub, and Alchemy Collective, as well as bike repairs from the Biketopia Community Workshop. To top it all off, Beats Antique, an experimental fusion and electronic band, will perform at the event. The Grand Opening will be held on Ellis Street between Alcatraz Avenue and Harmon Street on Thursday, May 28 from 3-6 p.m. Read more about the event on its Facebook page.Continue reading »

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Crime

Concord man captured, after CHP chase into Berkeley, has history of erratic driving, high-profile arrests

Police officers on Hearst Avenue get a police dog ready to search for the driver of a stolen vehicle, in Berkeley, early Monday, May 18, 2015. Police began chasing the vehicle in Concord, late Sunday, at times going the wrong way on the freeway and city streets. Photo: David Yee
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A Concord man who drove the wrong way on the freeway, and fled from authorities after causing a traffic collision in Berkeley on May 18, was arrested early Wednesday morning.

The California Highway Patrol arrested Jerome Wingert, 33, at around 3:10 a.m. at a Berkeley hotel. The arrest was made by CHP officers with assistance from Berkeley police, according to CHP spokesman Officer Clayton Nett.

Wingert has been involved in at least two other high-profile pursuits with Bay Area law enforcement agencies over the past seven years, according to media reports.

The recent chase began on Sunday, May 17, in Concord when police there spotted Wingert in a stolen Honda Accord at 11:30 p.m., according to Officer Sean Wilkenfeld, a CHP spokesman. The driver evaded officers, traveling in the wrong direction on the freeway for about 30 miles, before he crashed in North Berkeley, injuring Zaya Yaro, 45, from Santa Clara, the occupant of a vehicle he caused to overturn on Hearst Avenue. … Continue reading »

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Sponsored post

Hot property: 2500 Prince Street, Berkeley

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In the heart of the Elmwood, tucked into the quaint Bateman neighborhood, this three-bedroom, two-bathroom quintessential Craftsman home is a perfect blend of the old and new.

The home’s period features, beamed ceilings, built-ins and abundance of architectural charm represent a rare piece of Berkeley history, while the light-filled kitchen and master suite are more modern additions.

Scroll through a photo slideshow of the home, below, to take a tour:
Continue reading »

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Kids

10 kid-friendly outings for summertime in Berkeley

Berkeley Kite Festival July 25-26: one of many fun events for kids this summer in Berkeley. Photo: Whitney Moss
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Now that Memorial Day is behind us and all thoughts turn to summer, we bring you, via our friends at 510 Families, ten kid-friendly outings that suit the season.

1. Get lost among the stacks at the Bay Area Book Festival the weekend of June 6 and 7 at Civic Center Park. There will be a free book for every child, dance performances, pony rides and a meet-and-greet with Judy Blume among many other literary wonders.

2. Swing from the life-size hammocks and bounce on the trampolines at We Rock the Spectrum Kids Gym. We love Berkeley’s all-abilities playspace for its drop-in fun, last minute camps, and birthday parties. Did you know they also provide “break time” for parents (meaning YOU CAN LEAVE THE KIDS THERE)? Just thought you should know. … Continue reading »

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Where in Berkeley?

Where in Berkeley?

WIB

Know where this is? Take a guess and let us know in the Comments, below.

Photo: Nick Mastick

Send your submissions for “Where in Berkeley?” to tips@berkeleyside.com. The more obscure the better — just as long as the photos are taken in Berkeley. Thanks in advance.

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The Berkeley Wire: 05.26.15

Headed downwind  Racing downwind with the U.C. Berkeley Campanile just visible in a gap between boats at the J24 Nationals hosted by the Berkeley Yacht Club. Photo by Steve Crawford, taken on May 23, 2015

Headed downwind. Racing downwind with the UC Berkeley Campanile just visible in a gap between boats at the J24 Nationals hosted by the Berkeley Yacht Club. Photo by Steve Crawford, taken on May 23, 2015

Voluminous structure to be book festival’s centerpiece (Mercury News)
New technique enables robots to learn through trial and error (UCB News)
Missy Franklin leaves Berkeley to train in Colorado (CoCo Times)
Norwegian student with muscular disease endeavors to attend Cal (Daily Cal)
Mud, plastic and colorful clutter at UC Berkeley’s MFA show (KQED)
Commissioners discuss redistricting, public financing proposals (Daily Cal)
Berkeley Lab unveils new solar energy center aimed at producing fuel (Mercury News)

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Government

The lowdown: Berkeley council on community benefits, short-term rentals, fee schedule, the budget

Photo by Melati Citrawireja
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Tuesday night’s Berkeley City Council meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. with a worksession on the economics of the city’s food and beverage sector. At its regular 7 p.m. meeting, council plans to look at the community benefits required of the developers of tall buildings downtown; the potential regulation of short-term rentals, like Airbnb units, in Berkeley; the annual fee increase for city services, and proposed creation of new fees; and more. … Continue reading »

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Oscar’s to close after 65 years in Berkeley

Oscar's. Photo Tracey Taylor
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By Kate Williams and Tracey Taylor

Oscar’s, the iconic Shattuck Avenue restaurant, is not long for this world. The restaurant, a Berkeley institution since 1950, will close in the next month or two, reports Eater SF. In its place will be the first Northern California outpost of Washington, D.C.-based Sweetgreen, a “seasonal fast-food chain.”

Oscar’s has primarily been a burgers and fries destination for Cal students and others looking for a no-frills carb fix for the past 65 years. Owned by the same family for many years, the corner restaurant, at 1890 Shattuck Ave. at Hearst, feels much as it probably did when it opened, with its scalloped roof overhang, vintage signage, laminate-topped tables and white globe lights. Berkeleyside spoke to owner Scott on Tuesday, but he was reluctant to comment on the news, saying just that he was not the forthcoming type. “I’m not a warm and fuzzy guy,” he said.

Sweetgreen was founded in 2007 by three Georgetown students and now has 30 locations on the East Coast and one in Los Angeles. The restaurant chain has plans to continue opening more spots across the West Coast using its recent $18.5 million investment from, among others, New York restaurateurs Daniel Boulud, David Chang and Danny Meyer. … Continue reading »

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Short-term rentals are squeezing out Berkeley renters

The owners of this rent-controlled apartment complex at 3100 College Ave. are renting out three of its apartments on Airbnb. Berkeley law does not allow rentals shorter than 14 days. Photo: Melati
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In late January, Daniel Moore came home to his apartment in a 12-unit complex on College Avenue to find there was a new keypad lock on the front gate.

Moore, who had been living at 3100 College for 12 years, didn’t have the combination to the keypad. He was locked out of his own building.

That was just the first of a series of mysterious changes to the apartment complex, alterations that his landlords never told him about. Suddenly, washer and dryer units were installed on every landing. New couches appeared in the hallways.

Then Moore started hearing loud noises from the unit above him. It appeared as if a family of five had moved in suddenly and the kids were stomping on the new stone kitchen floor. That family moved out, but was replaced by others, people who stayed up until 3 a.m.

It turns out that three units in Moore’s rent-controlled building had been converted into short-term rentals through online rental company Airbnb.

“Airbnb has replaced our quiet environment with noise, anxiety and the nuisance of a steady flow of transients who have no investment in living here,” Moore wrote in a letter he sent to the City Council and the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board.” … Continue reading »

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