Monthly Archives: February 2012

News

The Berkeley Wire: 02.29.12

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Two-alarm fire in West Berkeley caused by arsonists

Fires caused by arsonists were extinguished early this morning by BFD in a vacant building at the corner of Bancroft Way and 6th St. Photo via Google StreetView
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A two-alarm fire that broke out at 4:02 am this morning in a vacant, mixed use building at 833 Bancroft Way was set intentionally, according to Berkeley Deputy Fire Chief Gil Dong,

There were multiple fires in the building which caused an estimated $15,000 worth of damage.

The fires were extinguished by 4:59 am, and there were no injuries to firefighers or civilians.

Because the fire department determined that the cause of the fire was arson, it has been referred … Continue reading »

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Frederick Wiseman behind the scenes at Crazy Horse

crazy horse paris
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Frederick Wiseman has made 37 award-winning documentaries, beginning with Titicut Follies (1967), a stark graphic portrayal of the conditions at the Massachusetts State Prison for the Criminally Insane. Now, after a long career of hard-hitting exposés, Wiseman has gone from one kind of crazy house to another – the Crazy Horse.

The legendary Paris exotic dance show, the Crazy Horse, is famous worldwide as the premier venue for sophisticated and sensual female nudity. Crazy Horse’s uniqueness is based upon gorgeous, classically trained dancers bathed in richly colored and textured lighting designs. Its luxurious setting in a group of aged wine cellars on avenue George V adds to its allure of nude chic. … Continue reading »

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Greenerprinter: Growing a sustainable business

Greenerprinter
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The growth of Greenerprinter, West Berkeley’s eco-friendly printer, serves as an object lesson in the risks, twists and turns entrepreneurial businesses need to navigate.

When Mario Assadi, founder and CEO of Greenerprinter, started the company in 1987, he had a freshly minted degree in mechanical engineering but was impatient to do something on his own. Desktop publishing — fuelled by the Apple Macintosh and Adobe PageMaker — was burgeoning, and he started a pre-press company, then called Tulip Graphics, on University Avenue.

He handled the changing technology and demand sufficiently to open another office in San Francisco in 1993, to be close to the ad agencies that were big purchasers of his services. And, like so many other businesses at the time, he found himself in the middle of the dotcom boom. … Continue reading »

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Councilmember calls meeting after Berkeley murder

Park Gate, scene of the Feb. 18 murder of Peter Cukor
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Councilmember Susan Wengraf (District 6) has called a town hall meeting to discuss public safety in the wake of the Feb. 18 murder of Peter Cukor outside his home in north Berkeley. Police Chief Michael Meehan and City Manager Christine Daniel will both be in attendance, as will a supervising dispatcher, and BPD Area Coordinator Officer Byron White.

In a communication to her constituents, Wengraf wrote that she was saddened and disturbed by the murder. “The circumstances surrounding the incident have raised many concerns about safety and police protection. I have talked to some of you personally and others by email. However, given the nature of the incident, I think that a public meeting where you all have an opportunity to voice your concerns and get answers to your questions directly from the Police Chief would be in the best interests of our community.” … Continue reading »

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Where in Berkeley?

Where in Berkeley?

Know where this is? Take a guess and let us know in the Comments.

Update, 9:42 am: Reader “Tired” identified this sign as being on the Veteran’s Building at 1931 Center Street. Congratulations, Tired, on being this week’s winner — and hope you get some sleep soon!

Photo: Sandy Friedland.

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News

The Berkeley Wire: 02.28.12

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

New neighborhood eatery Divino
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NEW GRILL Bye bye Ironwood BBQ, hello Suya African-Caribbean Grill at 2130 Oxford Street opposite the campus. Think skewers of meat, fish and vegetables made with a savory custom spice rub called suya pepper ($4.95 to $8.95), served with flatbread. Also: jerk chicken, roasted plantain, roasted corn on the cob, sweet potato fries, French fries, and salad. Mainly take-out with a few seating options. Opening any day now. Phone 510 981 8028. [Hat-tip: Ruth Gebreyesus]

FULL ON Summer Kitchen Bake Shop, at 2944 College Avenue, will be getting more seats (up to 33), serve beer and wine, and build a restroom after the city’s Zoning Adjustments Board gave it the go-ahead last Thursday to change from a carry-out food service store to a quick-service restaurant. The popular eatery collected more than 1,500 signatures on a petition campaigning for the change. … Continue reading »

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BHS head of security allegedly stole from teacher

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The Berkeley High School Safety Committee is scheduled to meet today at 4:30 to discuss its school safety plan, but with the recent arrest of Billy Keys, the head of security, there is uncertainty about how to proceed.

Keys, who chaired the committee for years until this fall, was completing a statistical analysis about the number of truants, detentions, altercations, and crimes that happened in the 2010-2011 school year, information that was critical for the annual report required by the state.

“We’re kind of in a tizzy since he was putting all the data together,” said Dave Peattie, a former BHS parent who serves on the safety committee.

The arrest of Keys, 41, a fixture around Berkeley High, has caused anguish and confusion among parents and staff, even those who were critical of him. … Continue reading »

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Film noir “Shockproof” is the real deal

10244proof
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It’s hard to imagine Sam Fuller and Douglas Sirk sharing much common artistic ground: the former was a one-time journalist whose films were notable for their gritty and sometimes shocking realism; the latter, a German romantic whose florid melodramas seem to exist in an alternate Technicolor reality.

Believe it or not, however, the two did once work together — and the fruit of that collaboration, the black and white thriller Shockproof, will be screening at 8:40 pm on Thursday, March 1st at Pacific Film Archive as part of the series, “Dark Past: Noir Films by German Emigrés“. … Continue reading »

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In Berkeley, a campaign against graffiti, waged solo

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Once upon a time, Jane Tierney went to art school, but now she tackles art of a different nature.

Tierney is a one-woman graffiti fighting army. She regularly cleans fences and buildings around the Thousand Oaks neighborhood in Berkeley where she lives, and also patrols the shops and mailboxes in the retail corridor of Solano Avenue looking for graffiti and tags to remove.

Once a week, Tierney, who is the president of the Thousand Oaks Neighborhood Association, loads up her supplies and walks her neighborhood. Armed with spray paint and cleaners, she’s on the look-out for graffiti and tags which, she says, have escalated in the area over the past few years.

“I started collecting different colors of paint and cleaners — the kind that you have to wear gloves to use. They smell really awful. Sometimes I have get businesses to close their doors while I’m working,” Tierney said. … Continue reading »

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News

The Berkeley Wire: 02.27.12

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Student who fell from frat house in serious condition

The Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house on Piedmont Avenue
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A 20-year old Cal student who fell almost three stories Saturday night after climbing down a drainpipe on the side of a fraternity suffered serious head injuries and blood loss, according to police.

The young man, whom police have not identified, fell from the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house at 2395 Piedmont Avenue around 11:34 pm when the drainpipe detached from the building. He landed in a pathway below, hitting his head and suffering other injuries, according to police.

The student showed signs of drunkenness, said police. … Continue reading »

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