Daily Archives: February 25, 2011


The Berkeley Wire: 02.25.11

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Should The Social Network win at the Oscars?

Tanya Jo Miller decided she’d ask some Berkeleyans whether The Social Network should win Best Picture at the Oscars. What do you think?

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NCAA places Cal men’s basketball on probation

Athletic Director Sandy Barbour
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NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions today penalized the Cal men’s basketball team for infractions that had been discovered and reported by the university’s own compliance office. The infractions concerned 365 impermissible recruiting calls made by coach Mike Montgomery and his assistants shortly after Montgomery arrived at Cal in 2008. Most of the calls were made by two unnamed assistants.

The university had already imposed a number of sanctions. These included restrictions on the off-campus and recruiting efforts of the assistants involved. The NCAA committee today added to that with a two-year probationary period starting today, a public reprimand and censure, a limit of five official paid visits for the next two academic years, and a requirement that Montgomery and two assistant coaches attend the NCAA Regional Rules Seminar.

The case was considered narrow in scope, since 305 of the 365 calls were judged “documentation violations”, meaning they would have been permissible if logged in a correct and timely fashion. The other 60 calls were at fault for exceeding the number of calls allowed to a prospect in a given time period. … Continue reading »


Another twist in the KPFA tale

Protest outside KPFA in November/Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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The long-running dispute over management of local non-commercial radio station KPFA took another turn yesterday. The Pacifica Foundation, which owns and runs the station, reinstated former Morning Show co-host Brian Edwards-Tiekert with back pay and benefits. But Edwards-Tiekert will return to the station as a news reporter, not as a show host.

In a letter to supporters, Edwards-Tiekert wrote, “Legally speaking, Pacifica management is throwing in the towel… Pacifica has basically conceded it can’t win the pending arbitration … Continue reading »


From psych ward to bagel mensch

Mensch Noah Alper believes that doing good is good for business./Photo: Tom Lux
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Noah Alper started his bagel business with a single storefront on College Avenue back in the summer of 1989. Six years later the company, Noah’s Bagels, had expanded to 38 West Coast outlets and was sold to Einstein Bagel Bros. for $100 million dollars.

Talk about a rocket ride from start up to stunning success.

Truth is, though, Alper is a self-described serial entrepreneur who has launched six businesses with mixed results. Early on in his career back East he did a roaring trade selling rustic salad bowls out of the back of his VW bug. And a homewares operation he began in 1971 did well, as did a natural food store he started in 1973, Bread & Circus, now a chain owned by Whole Foods.

But Alper’s venture into the mail-order catalog market, Holy Land Gifts, which sold religious handicrafts imported from Israel to evangelical Christians, was a total bust in the mid-80s. And his kosher Italian Ristorante Raphael lasted only four years in downtown Berkeley before calling it a night in 2007.

So the 64-year-old business consultant knows a thing or two about the ups and downs of an entrepreneur’s life. He shares the lessons he’s learned in his recent book, Business Mensch: Timeless Wisdom for Today’s Entrepreneur, written with Thomas Fields-Meyer. … Continue reading »

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Feast of concerts, classes during Vienna Phil residency

Vienna Philharmonic in concert/Photo: Terry Linke
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A little over 133 years ago, Han Richter conducted the Vienna Philharmonic in the first performance of Johannes Brahms’ Second Symphony. Tomorrow night, the Vienna Phil conducted by Seymon Bychkov will play the same Brahms symphony in Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall.

The Vienna Philharmonic, one of the world’s greatest orchestras for over 150 years, takes up a three-day residency on the UC Berkeley campus today. “There’s an electricity whenever you hear them play,” said Matías Tarnopolsky, Director of Cal Performances, which is hosting the orchestra. “Over three days people have the chance to hear different personalities of the same ensemble.”

The Berkeley performances mark the start of the orchestra’s West Coast tour, its first in 24 years. After a visit to rainy Napa Valley yesterday, the orchestra gets down to work this morning with a rehearsal, open to university music students. The orchestra performs tonight at 8 p.m. in Zellerbach, with a program of Schubert, Wagner and Bartok.

On Saturday, section leaders will hold a number of masterclasses for Cal students before taking to the Zellerbach stage again with Brahms and Schumann at 8 p.m. Sunday morning,  musicians from the orchestra will give a private chamber music concert at Hertz Hall for young musicians from throughout the Bay Area. The visit ends with a 3 p.m. performance of Gustav Mahler’s Sixth Symphony. Mahler was once principal conductor of the orchestra. There are pre-performance talks before each of the concerts. At time of writing, there were still a few tickets available for all three concerts. … Continue reading »

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