Daily Archives: April 19, 2012

News

The Berkeley Wire: 04.19.12

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John Muir Elementary school honors its “Legends”

John Muir Elementary School. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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By Marilee Enge

A teacher whose creativity and heart in the tense early days of forced integration won her lifelong devotion from her students, and a childcare provider known for riding his BMX bike headlong through the neighborhood and for leading a treasured afterschool program, will be honored as Legends by John Muir Elementary School at a luncheon on Sunday.

Faced with budget cuts that threatened to eliminate physical education, a group of John Muir parents organized the Legends Luncheon in 2008 to raise money to pay for PE. Since then, the event has become an annual one, with the added goal of connecting with alumni as the John Muir community prepares to celebrate the school’s centennial in 2017. This year’s event, which is on Sunday April 22,  is made possible by a generous grant from The Grubb Co. … Continue reading »

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Photos: Baby owl on Berkeley trail is growing up fast

Owl 4.19.12-4
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The Great Horned Owl nest on the Claremont Canyon fire trail has been a source of great interest for hikers, birders and, yes, Berkeleyside readers.

We first reported on the nest on March 12 when we received reports of the parent owls diving down on unleashed dogs on the trail. In early April we published photos of a new arrival in the Eucalyptus tree: a fluffy white owl chick, being zealously guarded by its parents.

Now we have the privilege of sharing these wonderful photographs posted onto our Flickr pool by prettiephotos. As is clear, the young owl is developing rapidly, getting bigger by the day and sprouting grown-up feathers. And — squeamish alert — nourishment is being brought in by the ever nurturing parents. … Continue reading »

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Community

What do you think of new building proposal on Telegraph?

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Berkeley property owner and developer Ken Sarachan has unveiled a proposal for a Moorish fortress-like building to go on the vacant lot on the north-east corner of Telegraph and Haste in Berkeley. Read the details in our story published today.

What do you think of the designs, which were created by local architect Kirk Peterson? Take our (unscientific) poll and we’ll publish the results Friday afternoon.

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Telegraph Ave property owner shows plans for vacant site

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The owner of a blighted lot at Telegraph and Haste that has been vacant for more than two decades presented his plans for a fortress-like building on the property, although he said he wouldn’t build anything there as long as the city of Berkeley had a lawsuit hanging over him regarding the site.

Ken Sarachan, who bought the north-west corner lot on Telegraph and Haste in 1994, has visions for a Moorish palace-like structure inspired by Italian hill towns, Tibetan forts and the rock-cut architecture of Petra in Jordan. Architect Kirk Peterson introduced the blueprints and renderings for the project, known as “La Fortaleza” (as in “fortress” or “stronghold”), on Tuesday evening to a small group of interested parties gathered at Caffe Med a few doors down from the lot in question on Telegraph Avenue. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley police officer switching jobs in wake of scandal

Berkeley Police Officer Portrait
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Sgt. Mary Kusmiss, the public information officer who the Berkeley police chief sent to the home of a reporter around 1 am on March 9, prompting media coverage around the world, is stepping down from her post.

Sgt. Kusmiss will return to patrol duties sometime in the next few months, she announced Wednesday. She would not discuss the reasons behind the move. No new PIO has been selected yet, she said.

The last few months have been tough ones for the Berkeley Police Department, which was criticized for its response to the bludgeoning death of Peter Cukor, 67, in the Berkeley hills on Feb. 18. The spotlight on the department intensified on March 9 after Chief Michael Meehan ordered Kusmiss to go the Berkeley home of Oakland Tribune Reporter Doug Oakley at 12:45 am to ask him to change a story he had just posted online. … Continue reading »

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Marcel Khalifé: Defending causes with popular songs

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Long before the Arab Spring upended the Middle East’s calcified political order, Marcel Khalifé threw down a musical gauntlet, challenging the forces of repression and reaction with his supremely sophisticated, wildly popular songs.

An evocative vocalist and master of the oud, the pear-shaped 11-string fretless Middle Eastern lute, Khalifé was finishing his studies at Beirut’s National Higher Conservatory of Music when civil war erupted in 1975. He sought succor in the flowing verse of celebrated Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, setting his poems to music.

Recording songs such as “Jawaz al-Safr” (Passport) and “Ummi” (My Mother), Khalifé combined aesthetic innovation with a genuinely populist sensibility. The music captured the imagination of huge swath of the Arab world, and Khalifé became a star transcending the region’s religious and national fissures. … Continue reading »

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