Daily Archives: July 18, 2011


The Berkeley Wire: 07.18.11

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In Berkeley: Thousands of free songs just a click away

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It may be one of Berkeley’s best-kept secrets: Residents can access 500,000 classical, blues, rockabilly, rock, world beat, opera and jazz songs through their computers or smart phones.

All anyone needs is a Berkeley Public Library card.

The library subscribes to the Music Online database, which has uploaded thousands of songs from a wide canon.

“It’s one that a lot of people don’t know about,” said Shani Leonards,  a supervising librarian at the Central Library. “It’s really nifty and … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Sketchbook: Man’s best friend awaits

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Berkeleyan Diana Howard caught the patient mien of several dogs on College Avenue yesterday as they waited for their owners to run errands or buy lunch. “I’m experimenting with magic markers for easy color,” she reports.

See more of Howard’s Berkeley sketches.


Group pickets Trader Joe’s over Florida labor practices

Demonstrators gathered outside Trader Joes. Photo: William Newton
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A group of protestors demonstrated outside Trader Joe’s on University Avenue on Saturday to encourage the chain to pressure Florida tomato growers into treating their workers more fairly.

Tomato pickers in Florida are among the poorest in the country, and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers has successfully waged campaigns against Taco Bell and McDonalds to get them to sign a “fair food agreement.” The coalition is holding actions in California this month to get Trader Joe’s to demand more … Continue reading »

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Berkeley cannabis lawsuit reveals bitter infighting

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Rebecca DeKeuster’s first job at the Berkeley Patients Group in 2004 was selling medical marijuana to patients for $14 an hour.

Within six years, DeKeuster was one of Berkeley Patients Group’s most powerful executives and visible representatives. She served on the city’s medical cannabis commission, appeared regularly at conferences around the country, and spearheaded the 2008 campaign to pass Measure JJ, an initiative to improve city regulations surrounding cannabis. By 2011, DeKeuster’s salary had shot up to $125,000 a year.

But in an unexpected turnaround, the Berkeley Patients Group has filed a lawsuit against DeKeuster – as well as a new organization she heads, the Northeast Patients Group — claiming DeKeuster breached a contract when the BPG sent her to Maine to set up a new string of medical cannabis facilities. DeKeuster stole the organization’s trade secrets, formed a secret alliance with a new financial backer, and failed to repay $632,195 in loans, according to the lawsuit.

As a result, the Berkeley Patients Group lost the inroads it had made into exporting its expertise and expanding into a new region of the country. … Continue reading »

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A Berkeley tree is evaluated, school report style

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A sign robustly attached to a tree sited near the summit of Panoramic Way in Berkeley raises all sorts of philosophical, as well as more mundane, questions.

Can a tree be responsible or affable? And, if so, how can this particular one — which, observation confirms, deserves its high score for climbability and perchability — have failed so miserably on the former but shone on the latter?

And who, we ponder, took the time to create this sign with … Continue reading »