Monthly Archives: March 2012


Best of Berkeleyside: This week’s most popular posts

Berkeley's school gardens have a reputation beyond the city's borders. Berkeleyside this week covered the threat to the budget for the edible programs in schools, such as the one at Malcolm X Elementary. Photo: Rivka Mason

It’s been a week when Berkeley’s public safety officers have been in the spotlight. There were public promotion ceremonies for both the police and fire departments (we’ll publish the fire department promotions on Monday). But the demanding side of their jobs also was evident this week, with Berkeley’s third homicide of the year on Thursday night on the corner of Sacramento and Oregon. Berkeleyside followed up the story by talking to local residents about the crime and their neighborhood.

Police handling of the murder of Peter Cukor last month and the swirl of events around Chief Michael Meehan’s dispatch of a police sergeant to a reporter’s house late at night were back in the news this week. Berkeley officials released the transcript of Cukor’s call to the police on the night he was murdered on Tuesday. Also on Tuesday, city officials released a raft of documents about the call on Oakland Tribune reporter Doug Oakley.

The killing of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida sparked two demonstrations in Berkeley this week. First, several hundred Berkeley High students held a protest on Thursday afternoon. On Friday, Longfellow Middle School held a “Hoodie Day” in honor of Martin. … Continue reading »

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Adopt a Pet: Joey, goofy ball of fun and a good student

Photo: Nancy Rubin
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By Joel Lahrman

We’re not sure we can tell you what breed of dog Joey is, but we can tell you that he is a goofy ball of fun who has managed to show he can be a serious student as well.

Joey has now been at Berkeley Animal Care Services for over a year. What’s the hold-up? Unlike many dogs who become easily stressed at a shelter, Joey is very content. He is a volunteer favorite who gets a lot of walks, and he spends most afternoons in the shelter director’s office. But it is high time for him to find a home of his own.

Joey’s long stay at the shelter has given him plenty of time to learn all of his behavioral basics. He can sit, go down, stay, and “leave it”. But Joey is also a fun-loving dog who loves his playtime most of all. He enjoys chasing after tennis balls, and playing with the many dog friends he has made at the shelter. Afterwards, he will stare at you with his baby blue eyes and wag his tail until he gets a nice belly rub. … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 03.30.12

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Berkeleyside says thank you to our advertisers

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Berkeleyside would like to express its gratitude to our current advertisers:

Amoeba MusicBerkwood Hedge SchoolBernardo Lopez Garden Design & InstallationCal Youth CampsCarolyn Jones at The Grubb Company, Church Without WallsFantasy T-ShirtsFive RestaurantFocal PointGourmet GhettoThe Grubb CompanyIra & Carol Serkes: Pacific Union/Christie’s International Real EstateJewish Music FestivalLMi.netMarsh InteriorsMcKevitt FiatMechanics BankMrs. Dalloway’s Literary and Garden Arts BookstorePhoto LaboratoryPsychotherapy InstituteSutter East Bay Medical … Continue reading »

Longfellow holds Hoodie Day in honor of Trayvon Martin

Period 3_Hoodies
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Today was Hoodie Day at Longfellow School in Berkeley. Students and teachers at the middle school wore hoodies in memory of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old who was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, a self-appointed neighborhood watch captain, in Sanford, Fla. on Feb. 26.

The class of teacher Erin Schweng also had skittles and Arizona Tea, both items Martin was carrying when he died.

“We talked about what happened, and how what we’re doing today is just a small thing but that it shows solidarity and support,” said Schweng. “Our middle school students are young people with heart, passion, and a budding activism all their own.” … Continue reading »


Southside residents contend with spate of shootings

Seal Lolis prepares his barbecues for The Bootstrapper's lunch crowd. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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It was a normal-seeming morning on Sacramento Street on Friday, 14 hours after a man had been murdered on nearby Oregon Street.

Mothers pushed children strapped in their strollers. A man bought two cans of frosty Colt 45 beer and a quarter pint of cognac at Bob’s Liquors. Two young men rapped on the metal gate leading to Perfect Plant Patient’s Group, a medical cannabis collective.

Seal Lolis, the owner of Bootstrapper, a southern style restaurant on Sacramento, lit up the charcoal in the two barbecues right outside his bright red gate. Fridays are barbecue days at the Bootstrapper, and Lolis was getting ready to cook the ribs, links and chicken his regular customers look forward to.

Lolis had been just yards away from the 7:34 pm shooting on Thursday. He was working in his restaurant and heard the shots, but stayed inside. He has been operating a business on Sacramento Street for three years, but cannot remember another time there have been so many gun battles. … Continue reading »

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Community seeks life support for school edible programs

The end of salad days for BUSD students? Photos: Rivka Mason
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This week, Berkeley parents and community members rallied to find ways to secure funds to save the gardening and cooking programs at three local elementary schools.

The programs at Malcolm XRosa Parks, and Washington, whose combined budgets are  $372,000, are threatened because, under existing guidelines, the schools no longer qualify for federal monies as they have fewer than 50% of their students enrolled in the free and reduced-lunch program.

At a meeting at Malcolm X on Monday night, about two dozen people representing the three schools and the South Berkeley community hashed out ideas to find money in the short-term — and discussed the bigger-picture concern of making these programs sustainable,  as well as available to all BUSD students over the long haul. … Continue reading »

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Allen Trachtenberg, social justice campaigner

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Allen Trachtenberg died March 11 at the age of 84 at home surrounded by his wife Mitzi, his children, their spouses and his grandchildren in Berkeley.

Having been diagnosed with cancer Allen underwent treatments that gave him four more years, outliving all expectations, during which he traveled, tutored, campaigned and savored the company of his large family and rich circle of friends.

Born in Pittsburgh in 1927, Allen’s grandparents and parents immigrated there from Poland and Russia. His life was informed by his Socialist, Jewish Orthodox grandfather who instilled values of social justice on which he acted and agitated in the Civil Rights movement and the United Farmworkers’ boycotts. … Continue reading »


Sacramento Street shooting victim dies, arrest made

Sac Oregon homicide by a citizen reporter
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A man who was shot in the area of Sacramento and Oregon streets near Bob’s Liquor store on Thursday night at around 7:30 pm was pronounced dead at Highland Hospital last night. Berkeley police have made one arrest, but no specific details of the arrestee are being released. The case is being investigated as a homicide. Berkeley Police officers were still on the scene of the incident at 4.20 am Friday morning, and are continuing to investigate.

After 7:34 pm, Berkeley Police received multiple calls of loud reports in the area of the 2800 block of Sacramento Street. Responding officers found a single gunshot victim lying in the roadway on Oregon Street west of Sacramento Street. The Berkeley Fire Department transported the victim to Highland Hospital where he was pronounced dead, according to Berkeley Police Lt. Kevin Schofield, who was the watch commander on duty at the time of the crime. … Continue reading »

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Police blotter: Recent crime in Berkeley

Police HQ
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This is a partial list of recent crimes in Berkeley based on information from the Berkeley Police Department, followed by a snapshot of BPD activity this week. The BPD’s spreadsheet of calls for service is available on Google Docs. See also the San Francisco Chronicle’s regularly published list of arrests in Berkeley. For other sources of information on crime in Berkeley see Community CrimeView and

March 25:

Drunk In Public Arrest – 1500 block of Oregon Street – #2012-16021
On Sunday, March 25, 2012 at about 9:32 p.m., a BPD patrol officer responded for a second time that night to an apartment building in the 1500 block of Oregon Street. The calls were regarding an unwanted person who was not welcome but had returned after being warned not to. During the second call for service, the BPD beat officer and a cover officer detained the man. The man displayed impairment and an inability to follow directions. The officers could smell a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath, his speech was slurred, his eyes were bloodshot and he had to lean on a pole to maintain his balance. The beat officer arrested the City of Oakland man for violation of 647 (f) PC – Drunk in Public. … Continue reading »

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Shooting on Sacramento and Oregon, victim wounded

The crime scene at Sacramento and Oregon where a shooting occurred at around 7:30 p.m. on Thursday night. Photo: A citizen reporter
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A shooting tonight in Berkeley at Sacramento and Oregon streets near Bob’s Liquor store at around 7:30pm resulted in one known male victim being transported to Highland Hospital’s trauma unit.

The condition of the victim is unknown and, at 9:00 pm, there were no further details available.

Police were on still  the scene at 9:00pm and requesting reserve units for the investigation.

A resident who lives near the crime scene reported to Berkeleyside hearing eight gunshots at around 7:40pm.

We will … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 03.29.12

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Berkeley High students hold rally for Trayvon Martin

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Several hundred Berkeley High School students left their classes Thursday afternoon to stage a rally calling for justice for Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old high schooler who was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, a self-appointed neighborhood watch captain in Sanford, Fla. on Feb. 26.

Students, some of them wearing hoodies with the hoods up and carrying packets of Skittles and cans of iced tea, as was Martin on the day he died, gathered at 2:45 pm in the main courtyard at BHS before marching off campus, down Allston Way to convene outside Old City Hall.

There, they were addressed first by Berkeley High student Nikko Butler, who was using a megaphone to organize and speak to the rally. Several representatives of the Nation of Islam also addressed the crowd. … Continue reading »

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