Monthly Archives: January 2011


The Berkeley Wire: 01.31.11

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UC Berkeley

Cal alums with ‘front-row seat on the revolution’ in Egypt

Protestors in Cairo/Photo: Al Jazeera English
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The assistant dean of development at Berkeley’s Boalt Hall law school, Robert Sproul, found himself and a group of Cal alumni in the thick of protests in Cairo last week. Sproul was undeterred, he told The Wall Street Journal (link to Google News avoids the WSJ subscription firewall): “Everybody on the bus said, ‘We’re used to tear gas, we’re used to protest. We went to Berkeley in the 1960s.’”

The hotel the group was staying in, the Semiramis … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s “jazz funeral without a body”

Freight & Salvage
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On Saturday, as part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Arhoolie Records, the New Orleans-based Tremè Brass Band will lead a second line parade from Civic Center Park to the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse. One observer of New Orleans traditions calls the second line parade “a jazz funeral without a body”.

The parade will be the most public event in a three-day celebration of Arhoolie, which Freight executive director Steve Baker calls “the leading roots … Continue reading »

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Councilmember concerned about seafood sustainability

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Following our January 26 story about the difficulties many restaurants and suppliers face sourcing sustainable seafood, Anthony Sanchez, chief of staff for Berkeley city Councilmember Jesse Arreguín, wrote in to remind us that this issue has been discussed at the local government level.

“Sustainable seafood is a serious environmental issue that has luckily been brought to the public’s attention by organizations like the Monterey Bay Aquarium and good reporting,” he writes. “Also, the Berkeley City Council is interested … Continue reading »

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Critical mass: Berkeley and ancient Rome

A BBC site enables you to compare dimensions to your locality
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Berkeley’s geographic footprint has always seemed just right: big enough for diversity but small enough to be manageable. Perhaps there really is something just right about the size. A new website from the BBC allows for all sorts of intriguing comparisons. What if you transplanted China’s Great Wall to the American West? It turns out it would stretch from Minnesota to San Francisco. How big was the Colossus of Rhodes’ legspan? He’d comfortably straddle Berkeley’s city government … Continue reading »

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Berkeley exports its cannabis expertise

Mark Rhoades
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In a sign of the growing professionalization of the medical cannabis industry, Mark Rhoades and Ali Kashani, the owners of the Berkeley development company Citycentric Investments, have teamed up with Debby Goldsberry, a founder of the Berkeley Patients Group, to open a number of medical marijuana facilities around the East Bay.

Rhoades, Kashani, and Goldsberry have applied to open a cannabis dispensary in Albany and are planning to apply to open another in Oakland.

On Saturday, at the California NORML conference in Berkeley, the trio advertised their plans for a new Oakland collective they hope will combine an aesthetically appealing space with a large range of social services. They hung up a big banner on the second floor of the David Brower Center announcing the ARCH Collective, which stands for the Angel’s Retreat for Cannabis Health, to solicit prospective members.

There are only two large dispensaries in the East Bay, Harborside Health Center and BPG, and they are both over capacity, said Goldsberry. Since the rest of the dispensaries in the East Bay are small, there is an urgent need for a new large facility that can accommodate the growing number of medical cannabis patients, she said.

“There’s a war on drugs out there,” said Goldsberry, who along with Rhoades was a speaker at the conference, which looked at next steps for marijuana laws in California. “We want to make a gathering place that people feel comfortable hanging out in. We want to create a place to retreat, a place to come and get healthy, get recharged and then go out back in the world.” … Continue reading »

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Best of Berkeleyside: The week’s most popular posts

In case you didn’t have time to read every story on Berkeleyside this week, we’ve picked those that proved most popular for your leisurely weekend perusal.

Local Business Forum: a call to action — More than 250 people attended Berkeleyside’s business forum at the Freight & Salvage to talk about a vision for the city’s future and a frank discussion of the impediments to doing business now.
The future of West Berkeley (above) — After three years of planning, the City Council held a hearing on dramatic changes to the zoning of West Berkeley, an area that houses the city’s light industrial and manufacturing businesses. Advocates for changes say that more zoning flexibility is needed to bring in 21st century companies; detractors are concerned that will lead to higher rents that will squeeze out artisans.
Mitch Kapor case is not over — Those opposed to his proposed home on Rose Street vow to return to court.
The rats of Telegraph Avenue — A vacant lot on Telegraph and Haste is swarming with rats.
Dayna Macy faces her food obsession — This Yoga Journal editor traces her successful quest to shed her extra weight by eating right.

Berkeleyside is publishing more top stories all the time and attracting increasing numbers of readers. Since our launch 15 months ago, we have posted 1,951 articles, published more than 8,400 comments, and this past month alone more than 55,000 visitors came to the site to read breaking news about their city. But reporting and producing news doesn’t come free. If you believe Berkeleyside is providing you with a valuable resource, please help us continue to do so by contributing to local journalism and becoming a Berkeleyside subscriber. Thank you.

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The Berkeley Wire: 01.28.11

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New Berkeley teen center opens its doors

YMCA-PG&E Teen Center
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Teens in Berkeley will now have a new place to hang out after school.

The YMCA-PG&E Teen Center, a joint project that took an abandoned building and turned it into a new downtown center for youth, will officially open its doors today.

The  “Get Amped” open house will be held from 6:30 pm to 10 pm. at 2111 Martin Luther King Way. There will be booths scattered around the building showcasing the programs that will be offered. Some of these include after-school tutoring, college preparation classes, Youth in Government, which exposes teens to the mechanics of the state government, and Interact Club, a Rotary Club community service organization for teens. There will also be refreshments and musical performances.

“Our center is about engaging teens to take control of their own lives, to do well in school, take on leadership roles, think about career opportunities and how to get there,” said Tracy Hanna, the center’s executive director. “We want to help them become responsible adults when they leave high school.” … Continue reading »

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Councilman Max Anderson in hospital for back surgery

Max Anderson
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City councilmember Max Anderson has missed the last two council meetings because of a bad back.

Anderson had surgery early this week to repair the problem, and the operation went well, according to Councilmember Laurie Capitelli.

The operation was necessary because the pain was so bad, said Capitelli. He expects Anderson to be out of commission for another few weeks.

Anderson represents District 3, the south-central part of Berkeley.

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The rats of Telegraph Avenue

One of the most graphic moments at Berkeleyside’s inaugural Local Business Forum on Monday night was when Marc Weinstein, the co-founder 20 years ago of Amoeba Music, stood up and described a scene he encounters regularly on the vacant lot near his store on the corner of Telegraph and Haste.

“I don’t want to turn people off any more from coming down to Telegraph because it’s such a wonderful place,” he said. “But there’s millions of rats in this one lot — rats — and there’s homeless people all around that lot right now feeding the rats all this thrown-away pizza out of the garbage cans… There are no plans to do anything with that lot. That empty lot has been there for 20-plus years. It’s just blight on the street.” … Continue reading »

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People’s Park tree-sitter charged with attempted murder

Matthew Dodt, "Midnight Matthew" on his tree platform/Photo: Lance Knobel
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UC police have charged a man who has been sitting in a tree in People’s Park for the last three months with attempted murder.

Matthew Dodt, 54, was arrested around 3:15 am today after a six-hour standoff, according to Lt. Mark Decoulode of the UC Berkeley police department.

Dodt allegedly stabbed a man who had climbed up into the tree for a conversation, said Lt. Decoulode. Dodt stabbed the man’s hand, which had been resting on his neck. The man was … Continue reading »

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Ravenous: Dayna Macy faces her food obsessions

Author Dayna Macy/Photo: Victoria Yee
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For much of her life Dayna Macy has had a complicated relationship with food.

An overeater who sought comfort in cheese, chocolate, and charcuterie, Macy watched as her weight began to balloon as she aged:  she went from being a size 10 as a young adult to a size 18 in her 40s.

She felt increasingly uncomfortable in her body, began experiencing weight-related health problems such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and danced around what she refers to as the “f” word.

The communications director at Yoga Journal didn’t like what was happening to her and wanted to figure out why food had such a powerful hold over her and what she could do about it.

With her longtime background in yoga —  she started studying the discipline in 1995 — Macy searched for balance on food matters. When she began writing for Yoga Journal’s “Eating Wisely” column; the irony was not lost on her: she ate too much and weighed too much.

True to her Berkeley roots, though, Macy ate good food — just lots of it. Dry-cured Moroccan olives, triple-cream French blue cheese, well-marbled, sustainably-raised sausage, fruit-infused bonbons with dark chocolate ganache. These are Macy’s go-to foods. (Locavore alert: She has subscribed to a CSA for years.)

Two years ago she decided something had to shift. So she spent time with farmers, food artisans, butchers, a Zen chef, a forager, and a chocolatier to better understand where her food comes from, why she obsesses about certain foods, and how nostalgia and tradition impact her food choices. … Continue reading »

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