Daily Archives: May 1, 2012


The Berkeley Wire: 05.01.12

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On May Day, nurses and Cal staff take to Berkeley streets

Nurses strike seat
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In Berkeley and across the Bay Area employees have been taking to the streets today, May Day, to ensure their voices and grievances are heard.

Nurses from the Sutter Health system began protesting outside hospitals, including Alta Bates on Ashby Avenue, at 7:00am this morning and will continue until 7:00pm. The plan was that 4,500 registered nurses across the Sutter Health system would strike in order to protest what they term the “sweeping concessions” and “outrageous demands” made by the healthcare organization. They say the dozens of service cuts being required are endangering patient care.

It is the third strike in seven months by members of the California Nurses Association over contracts that have been under negotiation for nearly a year. At a one-day walk-out in September 2011, City Councilmember Kriss Worthington, who attended the rally, said the cuts already implemented by Sutter were “a big issue for Berkeley”. “We’re very worried people will die if they continue to move facilities out of Berkeley,” he said. … Continue reading »

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Police step up patrols on Telegraph to clear sidewalks

Berkeley and UC Police have started regular patrols of Telegraph to discourage young adults from loitering on the sidewalk. Photo by Sgt. Mary Kusmiss
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In response to complaints from merchants and shoppers about the increase in the number of people loitering on the sidewalks, the Berkeley Police Department and UC Police have started a new patrol around Telegraph Avenue.

During the afternoon and evening, six days a week, a pair of officers, one from Berkeley and one from UC, will walk or bike along the avenue and People’s Park.

“We have heard community concerns about ongoing problems and these teams are intended to address those concerns,” Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan said in a press release.

The decision to add regular patrols comes at the time when Telegraph Avenue has seen its annual uptick of young adults who camp out on the street. On Monday and Tuesday this week, for example, at least three people were stretched out in sleeping bags in front of the old Cody’s Books in the early morning hours. … Continue reading »

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Cal student makes “ridiculously automated dorm”

Screen shot 2012-05-01 at 2.05.36 PM
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UC Berkeley student Derek Low is nothing if not inventive. A few months ago Low set out to make his Berkeley dorm room as fully automated as possible. The result, as you can see in the video he uploaded to YouTube yesterday, is BRAD: the Berkeley Ridiculously Automated Dorm.

Through remote controlled lighting and curtains, Low’s room manages to wake him up, put him to sleep and provide the right ambiance for homework and even romance. Its “party mode” is particularly impressive.

Low’s tech career started early. Six years ago, the self-described computer fanatic launched an online science and technology playground with his friend Shaun in the UK. Called Laboratory Home (the “product of an overly impulsive teenager”), it documents the pair’s homespun experiments, which run the gamut from pyrotechnics through lasers and chemistry. We’re hoping that his recipe for ballistic gel doesn’t actually produce the real thing. … Continue reading »

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Sadness surrounds closing of Berkeley Patients Group

Security guards check the credentials of a patient on the last day of operations of Berkeley Patients Group. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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The mood was somber Monday at Berkeley Patients Group as the 12-and-a-half-year old cannabis dispensary got ready to shut its doors.

Like every day, patients streamed in at a steady rate, handing over a doctor’s prescription and driver’s license to get inside. But many of them were also greeted with a hug and expression of gratitude.

“I want to thank you ladies for coming on our last day,” Joshua, a supervisor in the safety department who was working the security detail at the front door said to two patients. He asked that his last name not be used. “You will always be in our hearts and minds.”

Berkeley Patients Group is closing because the federal government informed its landlord, David Mayeri, in November that it might seize his assets if cannabis operations were not stopped. The letter from U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag was part of a broad-based crackdown on cannabis operations around California, a push that has resulted in the closure of dozens of medical marijuana dispensaries. Berkeley Patients Group, which has 13,000 members, is the largest and oldest dispensary to be affected, however. … Continue reading »

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Big Screen Berkeley: The Fairy

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Apparently, there’s something about Le Havre. Previously the star of Aki Kaurismaki’s eponymous shaggy dog tale, the spotlight is once again on this French port town in The Fairy (La fée), a delightfully absurd comedy opening Friday, May 4 at Landmark’s Shattuck Cinemas.

Dom (writer-director Dominique Abel, a scrawny string-bean who could easily pass for the love child of Steve Buscemi and Roberto Benigni) is night manager at a slightly seedy harborside hotel. He commutes to work on a rickety old bike, wears plastic bags to protect himself from the rain, and spends his shift camped in front of the telly with a tasty snack. Dom enjoys the simple things and evenings, apparently, are not very busy.

This evening, however, will prove to be different. Tourist John L’anglais (John Cleese lookalike Philippe Martz), a typically clueless Englishman who communicates via phrase book, wishes to stay the night with his pooch pal Mimi. When Dom informs him that dogs aren’t allowed in the hotel, John stashes Mimi in his plaid Gladstone bag — and, this being an absurdist comedy, Dom doesn’t cotton on to the ruse. The wily John checks in successfully and his remarkably mobile luggage walks itself upstairs. … Continue reading »

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