Daily Archives: January 9, 2012


The Berkeley Wire: 01.09.12

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Court date moved in next stage of Mitch Kapor home saga

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Update, 01.31.12: Both parties in the 2707 Rose Street case, which went to appeal and was heard in the First Appellate District, Division 4, California Court of Appeal in San Francisco on January 24th, are now waiting to hear the outcome. In the meantime Berkeley Hills Preservation group alerts us to its website which contains full details of its case.

Original storyMitch Kapor is no closer to being able to begin construction on his new home in the north Berkeley hills after a court date set for tomorrow, January 10th, at which opponents to his plans were to have appealed a December 2010 ruling against them, has been moved back 14 days.

Meanwhile, Kapor, the philanthropist and founder of Lotus, and his wife Freada Kapor Klein — who received approval approved use permits from the City of Berkeley City of Berkeley’s Zoning Adjustments Board two years ago this month to build a new for a 6,478 sq ft home with 10-car garage at 2707 Rose Street — have voluntarily agreed not to undertake any construction activities at the site.

The lot has, however, been cleared in anticipation of a possible build. The original home at the location, a 2-story 2,477 sq ft 1925 house, abandoned for many years, has been removed, as well as a garage at street level, leaving merely foundations in their place.

The Berkeley Hills Preservation Group’s appeal rests on the argument that the build will have “a significant effect on the environment due to unusual circumstances” (California Environmental Quality Act Guidelines [14 Cal.Code Regs.]), and therefore warrants a CEQA environmental review — something not normally required for the construction of single family homes. … Continue reading »

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City clerk Deanna Despain found dead in Oakland

The City Council currently meets in the Maudelle Shirek building but is looking for new meeting space.
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Update 2:35 p.m. The Associated Press is reporting that Deanna Despain’s death was apparently because of a fall down a staircase in her home. She was found by her husband. There were no signs of foul play.

Deanna Despain, Berkeley’s city clerk, was found dead in her home on the 4100 block of Lyman Road in Oakland at 2 a.m. on Saturday morning. The Oakland police are treating the death as suspicious.

The coroner’s office is not yet releasing … Continue reading »

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UC professor Howard Bern, pioneer in endocrinology, dies

Howard Bern
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By Alan Bern

Howard A. Bern, a professor emeritus of integrative biology and research at UC Berkeley, and an endocrinologist at the Cancer Research Laboratory, died Jan. 3 at his Berkeley home after a nine-month bout with cancer. He was 91.

With his colleague and friend Aubrey Gorbman, former zoology professor and department chairman at the University of Washington, Bern co-authored the definitive volume, A Textbook of Comparative Endocrinology, in 1962. It “contained concepts that were key to the development of the emerging field of comparative endocrinology and guided the thinking and careers of a vast number of scientists around the world,” according to colleague and friend Stacia A. Sower, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of New Hampshire. … Continue reading »

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What, pray tell, is that big “thing” in downtown Berkeley?

Another popular post: What is this mysterious "thing" outside the Helios Building?
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Here’s a Monday morning mystery for you.

Does anyone know, or care to take a guess, as to what this large “thing” is that is on the site of the new Helios building at at 2151 Berkeley Way at Shattuck? The photo was snapped by Ira Serkes on January 5th. Perhaps whatever it is has been revealed by now. Perhaps not.

Whichever way you look at it, we’re intrigued. Readers: over to you.