Daily Archives: March 9, 2012


The Berkeley Wire: 03.09.12

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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 Music“Body Awareness” at Aurora Theatre CompanyBerkwood Hedge SchoolBernardo Lopez Garden Design & InstallationCal Youth CampsCarolyn Jones at The Grubb CompanyFive RestaurantFocal PointThe Grubb Company, Jewish Music FestivalLMi.netMarsh InteriorsMcKevitt FiatMechanics BankPhoto LaboratoryPsychotherapy InstituteSutter East Bay Medical FoundationThornwall PropertiesTom Miller & Friends Lawyers, and UC Berkeley Optometry.

We encourage our readers to … Continue reading »

Persephone makes journey to new UC Berkeley home

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Berkeleysider Greg Merritt caught sight of “a fleeting (incredibly minor) historical event” on his mobile phone yesterday morning: the move of the hand-carved wooden Persephone figurehead from the former UC Berkeley Water Resources Center Archives to her new home on the walls of the campus’ Naval Architecture building.

Merritt may think this is inconsequential, but it is also, as he points out,  about as “Berkeley local” as you can get — and therefore it’s right up our alley.

Some background information from UC Berkeley’s Water Resources Center Archives on the Persephone figurehead, dug up by Merritt, adds some context:

“Persephone languished for decades in a Yorkshire sea captain’s garden until an antique dealer in England restored her. The figurehead is believed to be the work of an Italian master craftsman who carved her from a tree trunk. Persephone was last known to have graced the prow of a ship in the 1850s, when she was the figurehead of the Barque* Zodiac. The Zodiac, built at Salcombe in South Devon, England, sailed out of Whitby on the Baltic trade.” *A barque is a sailing vessel with a square-rigged foremast, mainmast and aft-rigged mizzenmast. … Continue reading »

Fire displaces around 35 people, building a hazard

The rear of the apartment building at 2227 Dwight Way where extensive fire damage is evident. Photos: Tracey Taylor
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An estimated 30-35 people were displaced by the two-alarm fire that blazed for nearly four hours in the early hours of Thursday morning leaving the apartment building at 2227 Dwight Way gutted, and forcing the temporary evacuation of neighboring buildings. About 10-12 of those were residents of the building that burned.

On Friday morning a demolition crew was on site to take down one section of the exterior rear wall of the the 3-story, 6-unit building as it had been deemed unstable.

Preliminary investigations indicate that the fire was accidental and started in a water-heater closet. Damage is estimated to be at least $1 million according to a City of Berkeley spokesperson. … Continue reading »

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Taller buildings, open spaces on the cards for downtown

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After seven years of trying, including an approved plan that was then rescinded in 2009, a Downtown Area Plan for Berkeley (DAP) looks close to passage.

At the City Council meeting on Tuesday night, the plan was open for public comment. The council will hold a special meeting next at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday with the plan the only item of business, and, from the tenor of both public comment and councilmember remarks this week, it looks likely to pass.

The plan brought to the council (alert: the plan packet is a massive 1,204-page, 173MB PDF) follows the 64% approval by voters of the advisory Measure R in November, 2010. It includes up to seven tall buildings, open space and green building requirements, and a so-called “green pathway” to streamline the permit process (details are at the foot of this story). What the plan does not yet include are details on the Streets and Open Space Improvement Plan (SOSIP) and related impact and in-lieu fees that will be part of the DAP implementation. According to the presentation on Tuesday, those elements will come to council this spring. … Continue reading »

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Ethnic eats in Berkeley from A to Z: Part 2

Thai food abounds in Berkeley. Here a dish from Pin Toh
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Who knew there were so many ethnic restaurants around town?

Last week Berkeleyside chronicled choices from A through I, 32 picks in total, and today, in our second installment covering J through P, we bring you 33 more spots.

Careful readers noticed some omissions, including Cyprus, Dara, De Afghanan Kabob House, and Ethiopia. No doubt there are places missing in the mix here too, so feel free to add any favorites in the comments.

Not every country or region of the world is well represented in restaurants around town. East Bay Express food critic Jesse Hirsch would like to see more Polish and Balkan choices among the glut of sushi spots and curry shops. Hirsch’s two favorite local ethnic places so far — he’s relatively new to town — are featured this week. … Continue reading »

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Police blotter: Recent crime in Berkeley

Police HQ
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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 Crimemapping.com.

Between Monday, March 5, 2012 at  3:04 p.m. and Thursday, March 8, 2012 at  7:58 a.m., BPD officers responded, investigated and documented seven stolen vehicles throughout the city.

Between Monday, March 5, 2012 at 5:49 a.m. and Thursday, March 8, 2012 at 6:24 p.m., BPD officers responded to 24 complaints about possible abandoned vehicles throughout the city. The officers researched the vehicles through computer systems for status such as a stolen vehicle. The calls for service were documented and as appropriate for follow-up in 72 hours. … Continue reading »

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‘It’s the end of a generation. Fanny has grown up’

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Alice Waters came to Café Fanny Friday morning with a funeral wreath to commemorate the closing of the café she opened 28 years ago.

As a long line of people waited to get their last servings of poached eggs on toasted Acme levain bread, beignets, and steaming bowls of café au lait, an emotional Waters, the owner of Chez Panisse restaurant and edible schoolyard pioneer, expressed sadness that the café was closing. She said that the café was losing money, and, with the divorce of the other co-owners, Jim and Laura Maser, Café Fanny had ceased to be a happy place, which is a critical ingredient in the success of any restaurant endeavor.

…See a photo gallery of Café Fanny’s last day

“It seemed like the end of an era,” said Waters. “You want to have someone home at a café. You want at a restaurant to have people who love it. I can’t take care of it now the way it needs to be taken care of. I just didn’t want to disappoint people who expect a certain something when they come here, whether it is a café au lait, a poached egg or a beignet. It is very hard to change a place.” … Continue reading »

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Community gathers after murder, quizzes Berkeley police

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An estimated 150-200 people turned out on Thursday evening to Northbrae Community Church on The Alameda in north Berkeley to ask the Berkeley Police Department about their response to the Feb. 18 murder of Park Hills resident Peter Cukor.

There was a palpable sense of anxiety in the room as the meeting got under way and a significant media presence, with several TV crews as well as print and digital journalists in attendance.

When Councilmember Susan Wengraf opened by saying questions would be taken on written cards, there were shouts of dismay and hostile accusations leveled by several members of the audience.

However, once the meeting progressed, the mood became calmer and there were even moments of levity. Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan received several rounds of applause from an audience that generally skewed towards the over-50s. … Continue reading »

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