Monthly Archives: December 2011

A personal thank you to the Berkeley Fire Department

The remnants of Kay Trimberger's office after the fire. Photo: Kay Trimberger
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By E. Kay Trimberger

E. Kay Trimberger was eating breakfast at home on Dec. 12 when she heard a smoke alarm go off. She soon realized that a fire had broken out in her study, the place that held her computer with all her writing for her current book project. Trimberger called 911 and the Berkeley Fire Department responded within minutes. In this essay, Trimberger describes their particularly Berkeley response to the fire, and thanks them for saving her house.

We looked like a picture from a child’s book — a line of people in various stages of undress, starring up at the smoke rolling out of the top floor of my house as firemen swarmed in. I was in my exercise clothes and slippers, fortunate to have grabbed a jacket and gloves, while my neighbor, Alice, donned her long apricot down robe. Stephen, my tenant from the cottage behind my house, was barefoot.

Three fire trucks with at least ten men and one woman showed up quickly, soon joined by a fourth truck.  The fire report says I called the fire in at 9:19 a.m., that the firefighters left the station at 9:22 and arrived at my house at 9:26.  All I know is that everything happened very fast. … Continue reading »

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Where in Berkeley?

Where in Berkeley?

The mural is located on the west side of the Takara Sake building which is at 708 Addison Street. The mural is adjacent to the Union Pacific railroad tracks.Know where this is? Take a guess and let us know in the Comments.

Photo by Neil Mishalov.

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News

The Berkeley Wire: 12.27.11

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Most important Berkeley stories of 2011

Ambitious plans are in train to transform downtown Berkeley starting in 2012. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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What were the most important Berkeley stories of 2011? Not always the most read: our readers — and those of us at Berkeleyside — can get excited about the merits of pizza in Berkeley or the rights and wrongs of poop scoops on trails in the hills, but those stories don’t necessarily have enduring significance. Here’s our judgement on the stories that you should have read, and that we’ll probably be following in different ways in 2012.

The continuing challenges of Telegraph Avenue, and the potential revival of downtown. Much of our coverage of Telegraph this year concentrated on the long-vacant lot on the northeast corner of Haste. In September, the City Council voted to file for non judicial foreclosure on the property. But the devastating November 18 fire on the northwest corner — The Sequoia Building — was a bitter blow to local retailers on the brink of the holiday shopping season. Resolution of the future of both corners — and the vacant Cody’s Building on the southwest corner — will help determine the course of Telegraph for years to come. Downtown, in contrast, there has been some long-awaited good news. Downtown became a property-based improvement district (PBID), enabling it to raise funds for transformation. The Downtown Berkeley Association plans to embark on a first phase of improvements in 2012. … Continue reading »

News

Pacific Steel accused of labor violations in lawsuit

Timothy Rumberger (l) and Roberto Rodriguez (r) Photo: LA Wood
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A former worker for Pacific Steel filed a $31 million lawsuit against the foundry on Friday, accusing management of breaking labor laws by not giving workers a break after six hours of work.

Timothy P. Rumberger, a Berkeley attorney, filed the class action lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court on behalf of Roberto Rodriguez and 1,000 other workers. Rodriguez had worked at Pacific Steel for 45 years.

At a news conference in front of the foundry on Friday, Rumberger said California labor law requires companies to give employees a 30-minute break after working for six hours. Pacific Steel had negotiated a break at 11:30 am for workers who arrived at 5 am — which is longer than the law permits, said Rumberger.

When Rodriguez would complain, his managers would tell him he could always leave, he said on Friday. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Police searching for motive for double shooting

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Berkeley police still do not have a motive for Friday’s double shooting in broad daylight on Sacramento Street.

Two men – one 17, one 18 — were shot at 12:41 p.m. as they were walking on Sacramento near Woolsey. Their assailants — and there was more than one, although police declined to detail the exact number – then fled up Woolsey, prompting detectives to do a house-by-house search of that block. No suspects were apprehended.

One victim was treated and … Continue reading »

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Big Screen Berkeley: Best movies of 2011

The Smurfs: A movie John Seal managed to avoid in 2011
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This time last year I was moaning about what an Annus Horribilis it had been at the movies. This December the news is a bit better: whereas in 2010 I had a hard time scraping together a top 10, in 2011 I had a hard time whittling things down to a top 15.

Of course, any ‘best of’ list is subjective, anecdotal, and entirely based on personal opinion and whim. It could be that I missed a ton of great stuff in 2010, or perhaps this year’s sample is badly skewed: I did, after all, manage to avoid Jack and Jill, The Undefeated, The Smurfs, The Three Musketeers 3D, and Human Centipede 2 over the course of the last twelve months.

Or perhaps I totally nailed it, confirming that I am, indeed, the most astute film critic of this or any other age! Alternatively, I could be slipping into early dementia and have lost what few critical faculties I previously possessed. That’s a worrisome thought.

Whatever the case may be, here are the fifteen films I enjoyed most in 2011.

1. City of Life and Death—This powerful war film, set during Japan’s invasion of China during the late 1930s, gets the coveted number 1 spot thanks to its astonishingly realistic action sequences (eat your heart out, Steven Spielberg), skillful storytelling, and superb acting. Oh, and I’m a sucker for black and white cinematography, too.

2. Rubber—The strangest and most surreal film I’ve seen in ages. I’d be surprised if this shows up on too many other top 10 lists — it’s just as likely to get nominated for a Razzie — but I loved it. … Continue reading »

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Klezmer and latkes and Christmas

People wait to buy latkes on Christmas Day. Photo: Emanuah Hauser
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One of the more joyous street gatherings on Christmas Day happens in front of Saul’s, the Jewish deli on Shattuck Avenue near Vine.

For the last three years, Klezmer musicians have gathered to play outside the deli, their lively, upbeat music serenading the long line of people waiting to go inside the restaurant or those just wanting to hear a tune.

This year, the annual Christmas Day concert coincided with Hanukkah, and Saul’s owners’, Peter Levitt and Karen Adelman, … Continue reading »

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Happy Holidays from Berkeleyside

Decorative motorcycles. Photo: Gary Wayne
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Berkeleyside wants to wish its readers a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and festive Kwanzaa. We will see you again on December 27, In the meanwhile, we leave you with some delightful holiday photos taken by our valued photo contributors.

News

Best of Berkeleyside: This week’s most popular posts

The 2011 winter solstice occured at about 11:30 PM PST December 21. As this is unfortunately the midde of the night, here are the sunset on the 21st (lower) and the sunrise on the 22nd (upper) bracketing the solstice as seen from two different vantage points in the Berkeley Hills. Photo: DH Parks

The article on 200 Pacific Steel workers losing their jobs because they could not provide proper documentation brought in 150 comments.
The dismantling of the Occupy Berkeley encampment unfolded this week and we devoted six stories to the situation. The city posted eviction notices on Dec. 20, Mayor Tom Bates expressed hope that the eviction would be peaceful, and there were different city-protester interactions, including a street fight and a clean-up of debris. Police also released a list of crimes reported at the camp. Readers weighed in with 190 comments.
On Friday, right at the start of the Christmas holiday and on a warm, sunny day, two pedestrians were shot on Sacramento Street. 
On a lighter note, John Riegel and Nancy Rubin made a wonderful video about Christmas present regrets.

2011 is coming to an end. Berkeleyside hopes to publish lightly next week, although you can look forward to our lists of biggest stories of the year, best films of the year, best food events of the year, and more. If you think Berkeleyside has made your life a little richer, and enhanced your knowledge of this vibrant city, please consider helping up sustain the site by becoming a subscriber. It would make a great Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanza present for a loved one. 

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The Berkeley Wire: 12.23.11

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Two shot on Sacramento Street

Berkeley police confer during their investigation of two shootings on Sacramento St. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Berkeley police are looking for the suspect or suspects who shot two people walking on Sacramento Street around 12:41 pm.

911 started getting numerous calls that shots had been fired at the intersection of Sacramento and Woolsey streets but when police arrived there there were no victims or perpetrators in sight, said Lt. Andrew Greenwood of the Berkeley police department. Shortly thereafter, police learned that someone had driven two people with bullet wounds to an area hospital, he said. They … Continue reading »

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Occupy Berkeley: the day after

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Citizen reporter Robert Singer sent in this striking picture of Civic Center Park. It was taken today, a day after the Occupy Berkeley camp was dismantled. The patches of grass in the foreground are discolored from where tents sat.

Police have said tents can stay up during the day, but are prohibited between 10 pm and 6 am.

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