Police report possible mountain lion sighting in Berkeley

Mountain lion by princecody:CC

Cougar sightings are not uncommon in the Berkeley hills. A Berkeley Lab staffer reported seeing one on Lab property recently. Photo: princecody

UC Berkeley Police have issued an alert about a possible mountain lion sighting on Berkeley Lab property.

The department said it received a report from a Lab employee who said they had seen a mountain lion near Building 90 on Thursday Nov. 20.

Over the weekend, workers also found a small deer carcass that may have been killed by a mountain lion, UCPD said in a press release. The carcass was located on a foot trail near Parking Lot D. … Continue reading »

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‘Pizza delivery’ police nab armed robbers in Berkeley

Authorities say the robbers used a stolen credit card to order pizza, which tipped police to their location, and ultimately led to their arrest and the recovery of a handgun. Photo: Kris Vera-Phillips
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Police officers pretending to be pizza deliverers captured three people linked to an armed robbery early Monday morning in North Berkeley.

Authorities say the robbers used a stolen credit card to order pizza, which tipped police to their location, and ultimately led to their arrest and the recovery of a handgun.

According to Officer Byron White, a Berkeley Police spokesman, the robbery took place just after 1 a.m. when two people with a gun robbed a pedestrian of his backpack at Acton and Delaware streets near the North Berkeley BART station. … Continue reading »

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Students march through Berkeley to protest tuition hikes

UC tuition protests. Photo: Siciliana Trevino
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Several hundred UC Berkeley students staged a walkout Monday, Nov. 24, to protest proposed tuition increases across the UC system.

As part of the walkout, a group around 200-strong took the protest to the streets of downtown Berkeley, starting at Civic Center Park and walking up Center Street toward the campus at around 1 p.m.

Police had stopped traffic at the corner of Center and Shattuck Avenue, and traffic was disrupted by the demonstration, said Siciliana Trevino who was on the scene and shot the video below.

The University of California’s Board of Regents voted Nov. 20 to authorize systemwide tuition increases of up to 5% per year through 2019-20 over the objections of Gov. Jerry Brown, who offered to increase state funding by 4% per year over the next two years only if tuition was frozen at the current rate.  … Continue reading »

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Chefs, Chez Panisse alums, enjoy sourcing by barter

Russell Moore
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When Russell Moore and Allison Hopelain say their produce at Camino Restaurant is locally grown, not many diners realize how literally they mean it.

While many of the vegetables and fruit used at the popular Oakland restaurant come from local farmers markets, some of the herbs and produce on Camino’s plates and in its cocktails are grown just half a mile away, in a garden by a couple who don’t farm for a living, but do it as a hobby. Their payment: eating regularly at the restaurant.

And, while it is unusual for Tim Drew and Christine Hwang to grow what Moore asks them to — both in the nature of the relationship and in its scope — for many East Bay residents the barter system seems to be alive and well. A side benefit? The goodwill that ensues from an exchange without money, and the friendships it forges. … Continue reading »

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How Quirky is Berkeley? The city’s hidden murals

Osha Newmann mural, Trinity Methodist Church; photo John Storey
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Murals are usually front and center, loud and clear, impossible to miss. In my systematic wandering of Berkeley, I have come across several hidden murals. Murals in and of themselves are quirky, and the fact that a mural is not easily seen makes it even more quirky.

In addition to the previously published Jane Norling mural that was originally painted in San Francisco and now can be seen if you peek over her Berkeley fence, I have found three (or four, depending how you count) hidden murals.

The first, “Winds of Change,” appears on what used to be the eastern wall of the Co-Op Credit Union on University Avenue. The Consumers Cooperative of Berkeley, which we knew simply as the Co-Op, operated from 1939 until 1988. In its prime, it was the largest cooperative of its kind in the United States or Canada. The University Avenue store was opened in 1937 by the Berkeley Buyers’ Club, an organization founded by members of the Upton Sinclair-inspired End Poverty in California. The Co-Op closed in 1988 as a result of financial and internal governance disputes. … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 11.21.14

Berkeley Marine, evening. Photo, taken on Nov. 19, 2014, by Louis Benainous

Berkeley Marina, evening. Photo, taken on Nov. 19, 2014, by Louis Benainous

Day 3: Cal students continue protests against tuition hikes (KTVU)
To find a sense of place in Jewish history, keep moving (J Weekly)
At Tilden Park, newt rules take affect (Mercury News)
Cal spirit: the road toward the Big Game (Daily Clog)
School board members approve recess restriction (Daily Cal)
Possible new fuel additive at Berkeley pumps: guilt (CoCo Times)
A Berkeley shopping district is born (SFGate)
All the things that are quirky in Berkeley (The New Yorker)

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Bites: Iron Pan, The Branch Line, La Marcha, more

Gather Restaurant is celebrating its fifth birthday with a special menu that will benefit . Photo- Gather
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Openings, closings…

ÑORA SPANISH CUISINE TO BERKELEY A popular pop-up and catering operation featuring Spanish food looks like it’s aiming to open a new shop in Berkeley at San Pablo and University avenues. The folks behind Ñora Spanish Cuisine, which has previously popped up at La Peña Cultural Center for special events, are seeking an on-sale beer and wine license in the former Tomo’s Japanese location at 2026 San Pablo under the name of La Marcha. (Tomo’s closed earlier this year.) Sergio Monleon and Emily Sarlatte are listed as La Marcha’s officers, as per the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, or ABC. Berkeleyside will find out more and report back. La Marcha is set to open at 2026 San Pablo Ave., in Berkeley. Connect with Ñora on Facebook and on its website.Continue reading »

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Big rig fire on I-80 west in Berkeley snarls traffic

Fire on westbound Interstate-80. Photo: Deborah Durant
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Update, 2:10 p.m. Authorities say multiple lanes of westbound Interstate 80 will remain closed for at least one more hour after a big rig trailer caught fire shortly before 1 p.m.

According to a statement issued by CHP spokesman Officer Sean Wilkenfeld, the CHP began to receive numerous 911 calls at 12:45 p.m. that a big rig was on fire on I-80 westbound near Gilman Street in Berkeley.

Wilkenfeld said, initially, the driver of the big rig was unaware of the fire, “until other motorists began honking and getting the driver’s attention.” … Continue reading »

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Students target sexual harassment at Berkeley High School

The students will encourage their classmates to wear the shirts and pins on Dec. 1. Photo: Facebook
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Earlier this year, some male students at Berkeley High School created “slut accounts” on Instagram. The accounts included photos of female students with misogynistic, sexual captions. A number of the instigators were suspended as a result. However, a group of students who have launched an anti-sexual harassment campaign on campus say the punishment doesn’t help curb the culture that set the stage for the incident in the first place.

Similarly, the student campaigners, mostly juniors and seniors, say the policy and preventive actions finally being taken in the wake of sexual assaults on college campuses nationwide are happening too late in students’ lives.

The group has launched “BHS Stop Harassing” with a goal to educate its peers about inappropriate behavior and where they can seek help — and to eventually improve what it perceives to be the vastly inadequate sexual harassment policy and preventive education at Berkeley High. … Continue reading »

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

BAHA will trace its 40-year history at a public anniversary celebration on Sunday.
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BAHA’S 40TH ANNIVERSARY For four decades the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association has advocated for the preservation of Berkeley’s buildings and educated us about our city’s rich architectural history. The public is invited to join BAHA in a free celebration of its 40th anniversary on Sunday, Nov. 23. Members of BAHA and special guests will train their historical lens on their own organization for an afternoon, tracking their origins, roadblocks, and accomplishments. RSVP for the free event by calling (510) 841-2242. The celebration lasts from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. at the First Church of Christ at 2619 Dwight Way. There will be cake. For those who can’t make it to the event, BAHA’s past is illuminated in an anniversary web series BAHA History, Year by Year.Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 11.20.14

Goal achieved by Ira Serkes. Photo taken Oct. 24, 2014

Goal achieved. Photo, taken on Oct. 24, 2014 at the Uncharted 2014 party, by Ira Serkes

UC students stage sleep-in over tuition hike, regents vote today (LA Times)
More than 200 occupy Wheeler Hall at height of protests (Daily Cal)
Residents worry about housing affordability amid rapid rise in rents (CoCo Times)
A Look Back: Dining options abound for Thanksgiving in 1939 (Mercury News)
Cal professor Barbara White dies at 64 (Daily Cal)
What happens in Berkeley … goes national (Huffington Post)
What happens if you wave Isis flag at Cal?  (Christian Science Monitor)
Berkeley man with parrot looking for a lift (SF Chronicle)
Award, plaudits for Hebrew after-school program in Berkeley (J-Weekly)
Surprisingly few Cal students voted in midterm election (CBS)

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San Leandro man to face murder, gang charges after 2013 Berkeley killing

Photo: Krishna Ferreira, via Facebook
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A 24-year-old San Leandro man has been ordered by a judge to face charges in the murder case against him for a fatal shooting in Berkeley last year.

According to evidence presented by authorities this month in the case against Krishna Ferreira, the victim had been a member of the West Side Berkeley gang who had fallen out of favor with his comrades — and been “green lit” for punishment — when he failed to comply with the gang’s rules while he was incarcerated at Santa Rita Jail in 2012.

The victim, 24-year-old Dustin Bynum of Berkeley, was shot to death outside Bing’s Liquors in West Berkeley in August 2013.

This month, beginning Nov. 4, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Vernon Nakahara considered the case against Ferreira to determine whether the district attorney’s office had enough evidence against him for the prosecution to move forward to trial. The preliminary hearing — where authorities present their evidence and the defense has a chance to question it — ended Tuesday afternoon with a ruling from Nakahara in favor of the prosecution.

Berkeley Police Officer Stephanie Polizziani — an area coordinator, former jailer and one of the department’s two gang experts — testified over the past week that Ferreira is an active member of the West Side Berkeley gang, which is affiliated with, and answers to, the Norteño prison gang. According to Polizziani, the Norteños have handed down orders to its affiliates to “take care of their trash” — in reference to former gang members who had been “jumped out” or dropped out of active gang activities.

Polizziani said Bynum — who was known as “phatboy” on the streets — fell into this category after he failed to comply with the gang’s rules while locked up at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin in 2012. Three members of the gang attacked him, and “jumped him out” of the gang. He was then removed from the housing area where other Norteños are incarcerated and moved into an area where those seeking protective custody or who are cooperating with law enforcement are placed. He was also, according to Polizziani, put on the gang’s “bad news list,” or BNL. … Continue reading »

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Swinging through Venezuela with the VNote in Berkeley

Screen shot 2014-11-20 at 4.47.42 PM
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The music of Venezuela is one of the great cultural treasures of the Americas, a fabulously verdant tradition in which the intermingling of indigenous, European and African influences has yielded a vivid array of musical forms. No-one has done more to spread awareness of these riches than Jackeline Rago, a percussion expert and master of the diminutive four-string cuatro, Venezuela’s national instrument. Her longtime band, the VNote Ensemble, celebrates the release of a beautiful new album Urbano at the California Jazz Conservatory on Friday.

A quartet featuring Donna Viscuso on flute and harmonica, bassist Sam Bevan, and percussionist Michaelle Goerlitz, VNote has honed a sumptuously syncopated body of work integrating modern jazz with folkloric Venezuelan forms such as joropo and merengue (not to be confused with the popular Dominican dance style). One reason that Venezuelan songs and grooves haven’t gotten much traction outside the country is that until recently the nation’s musicians tended to stay home.

“Venezuela is a country where people consume what they produce, including music,” Rago says. “Our artists are famous within the country, and we’re really proud of our musical roots. It’s something like Brazil or Cuba on a smaller scale. But meeting a Venezuelan musician outside of the country is rare, because there are few of us here.” … Continue reading »

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The Charlie Cart: A little kitchen for every classroom

Charlie Cart
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Designed with reference to the cowboy Chuck Wagon, the Charlie Cart sports two burners, an oven, drawers filled with 10 sets of utensils, dishes, pots and pans, a manual-water-pump, and a drought-wise grey-water waste bucket for returning all water to the garden.

The Charlie Cart Project launched on Nov. 7 on Kickstarter. The $40,000 it aims to raise will fund three pilot cooking and nutrition programs in California, where lessons and a mobile kitchen will be tested and refined before rolling out nationwide in 2015. … Continue reading »

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