Daily Archives: May 18, 2012


The Berkeley Wire: 05.18.12

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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:

Actors Ensemble of BerkeleyAmoeba MusicBerkeley Chamber of CommerceBerkeley PlayhouseBerkeley World Music FestivalBerkwood Hedge SchoolBernardo Lopez Garden Design & InstallationCarolyn Jones: The Grubb CompanyChocolate & Chalk Art FestivalDowntown Berkeley Association, Ecology CenterFive RestaurantFocal PointThe Grubb CompanyIra & Carol Serkes: Pacific Union/Christie’s International Real EstateLMi.netMarsh InteriorsMcKevitt Fiat, Mechanics BankMrs. Dalloway’s Literary and … Continue reading »

Bay Area icon Belva Davis recalls a different Berkeley

Belva Davis -Tefari Casas
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Belva Davis is a Bay Area icon. The first black female TV journalist in the West and Berkeley High graduate (’51), spoke Thursday at the Jewish Community Center East Bay on Walnut Street.

A familiar face on TV for many Bay Area residents, Davis has covered stories from the People’s Park protests of the late 1960s to the terrorists attacks on the U.S. embassies in Kenya in 1998 — and she has risked her life for these two stories, along with many others.

Davis spoke with Bill Schechner, a former KPIX reporter and contemporary of Davis, about her childhood in Monroe, Louisiana and her time growing up in a very different Berkeley than the one she sees today. The entire auditorium gasped in disgust as she recalled an old custom at Trader Vic’s: smashing the glasses that African-American people had used at the store restaurant. … Continue reading »

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New restaurant opening in Café Fanny space in Berkeley

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Update, May 24: Because many readers have expressed an interest, Berkeleyside made inquiries about whether the Café Fanny staff who lost their jobs after the restaurant closed down received severance pay. A Chez Panisse spokesperson said that Alice Waters personally ensured all of the staff were looked after.  “Alice Waters paid the severance of all Café Fanny employees,” he said. (Separately, look out for our feature to be published tomorrow on Bartavelle!)

Two months after the sudden closure of the Alice Waters-related Café Fanny, a new coffee and wine spot is set to open in the west Berkeley space that is sandwiched between two Berkeley institutions: Acme Bread and Kermit Lynch Wines.

Details are sketchy, but Bartavelle Coffee & Wine Bar should be opening in about eight weeks at 1603 San Pablo Avenue, in part of the building that is owned by Kermit Lynch, according to a source close to the business.

Chef Suzanne Drexhage and coffee guru Sam Sobolewski are believed to be involved in the new venture, and it is rumored Suzanne Fuoco will be offering up her Pink Slip jams there. … Continue reading »

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On Saturday: Berkeley practices for a major earthquake

The bright red line shows the Hayward Fault running through Berkeley
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Tomorrow morning, a (simulated) 6.9 earthquake on the Hayward Fault hits Berkeley. Do you know what to do in a major disaster?

Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) from across the city will be participating in a live exercise both to test their skills and to spread the word about effective disaster preparedness.

“This is the first time Berkeley has done this kind of citywide exercise,” said Deputy Fire Chief Gil Dong. “It’s designed to get people prepared and aware about supporting themselves during a disaster.”

Dong said that 150 people representing 66 groups and many individuals had signed up for the exercise. “Getting this type of response the first time and on a Saturday in May is fantastic,” he said. Last year, the city did a more limited emergency exercise focused on radio communications. … Continue reading »

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The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

Kenny Endo
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LET WORDS INSPIRE  For more than 10 years the WriterCoach Connection has brought one-on-one writing support to thousands of middle school and high school students in Berkeley and beyond. The organization is hosting its annual Read-and-Write-a-thon at King Middle School on Saturday to raise funds for operations and to expand to Richmond next year. For 10 hours, an ever-changing cast of teachers and students will read poetry, prose, drama and fiction. Go listen to their amazing work. If you can’t go, you can donate here.

HEAR THE DRUMS  Taiko master Kenny Endo and jazz drummer Akira Tana are among the musicians performing this weekend at the 63rd annual Satsuki Bazaar and Arts Festival at the the Berkeley Buddhist Temple, 2121 Channing Way. The bazaar will feature a variety of Japanese, Hawaiian and Asian foods, including sushi, udon noodles, loco moco, kalua pork, curry rice, shave ice and American fare such as hot dogs, hamburgers and Portobello mushroom burgers. The festival runs from 3:00 to 9:00 pm on Saturday, May 19 and from noon to 7:00 pm on Sunday May 20. … Continue reading »

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Cal: No GM crops at Gill Tract, research work is under way

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UC Berkeley has released an open letter to update the community on the state of play at Gill Tract, which, until May 14, was being occupied by a group of farm activists known as the Gill Tract Farmers Collective. The letter says that preparations for agricultural research are now under way at the university-owned site, which is just over the Berkeley border in Albany on San Pablo Avenue, and sets out to dispel what it calls several “myths and misunderstandings” that have appeared in the media, in blogs and in online forums.

Meanwhile, Occupy the Farm is organizing a Planter Box Rally at Gill Tract on Saturday May 19, followed by a Community Forum on Visions for Food Sovereignty and Food Justice. It is also collecting signatures on a petition that aims to “tell the university that farm land is for farming.” … Continue reading »

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Police Blotter: Recent crime in Berkeley

Police HQ
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May 13:

Solo Car Collision – DUI Arrest – University Avenue and Walnut Street #2012- 25261
On Sunday, May 13, 2012 at about 2:17 a.m., a BPD officer was on a traffic enforcement stop at Oxford and Addison Streets when he heard a car coming north on Oxford in his direction. The officer watched as a Volkswagen collided into the center median and the front tires exploded due to the impact. The driver of the Volkswagen continued west onto University Avenue and came to rest near Walnut Street. The BPD officer went to check on the driver and saw that there were three occupants in the car. None of them complained of any injuries. The BPD officer immediately noted that the driver showed signs of impairment. BPD officers then did Field Sobriety tests which the driver did not complete successfully. The driver agreed to a PAS test (Preliminary Alcohol Screening Device) which resulted in a Blood Alcohol Content of .125% and .127%. The BPD officer arrested the 24 year old Hercules woman for violations of CVC 23152(a) – Driving under the influence of alcohol and CVC 23152 (b)- Driving under the influence of an alcohol with a B.A.C of .08 or more. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley will spend up to $50K after police chief blunder

BPD Chief Michael Meehan: two outside agencies have been hired by the city after a mistake he made on March 9
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The city of Berkeley has hired a public relations firm at a cost of $24,000 to review the police department’s media policies, bringing the price tag to $49,000 for Police Chief Michael Meehan’s decision to send a sergeant to a reporter’s home in the middle of the night to ask for a change to a story.

Cornerstone Communications, located in Irvine, will audit the police department’s policies on the release of information, make recommendations to ensure the department is following “best practices,” media guidelines, and train police personnel on changing media dynamics, on understanding social media, and media culture.

The firm will talk to police management and reporters who cover the police department, and assess the police department’s reputation in recent news coverage and social media space. The contract was signed on May 1. … Continue reading »

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Screen shot 2012-05-18 at 8.03.46 AM

Update, 11:32 am: All three of the occupants of the Cadillac are currently Berkeley residents, according to new information released by BPD.

The male driver and the child remain in the hospital.

Very preliminary evidence suggests the Cadillac was travelling northbound on California Street when it struck the roundabout in the intersection of Allston Way, then collided with the tree on the eastside of California Street, just north of Allston Way. BDP writes: “These turnabouts, roundabouts, traffic circles are intended to be traffic calming features. There have been collisions periodically at these features around the City of Berkeley and yet, the number is not remarkable enough to suggest that they are the significant issue in this collision. Impairment of the driver is always a part of these types of investigations.” See City Report on fatal accidents in Berkeley since 1984.

Update, 8:55 am: A young woman in her 20s died in the crash. She was a passenger in the car that was being driven by a man, also believed to be in his 20s, and there was a child in the back seat, according to media reports. The car, a Cadillac with a Compton registration is believed to have been traveling at high speed before its careered into a tree on California. The car was severely mangled and it proved hard to extricate the people inside, according to BPD spokesperson Sgt Mary Kusmiss. “It was a challenge for both patrol officers and the fire department to get the individuals out of the car. The officers and fire department did some heroic work to get them out,” she told KTVU who published a photograph of the wreck.

Original story: On Friday May 18, at about 1:13 a.m, a car with one driver and two passengers struck a tree at California Street and Allston Way. One of the occupants of the car was pronounced dead at the scene, while two other occupants were transported to local hospital trauma units with serious injuries.

City of Berkeley Police Department patrol officers responded to a collision on California Street and Allston Way and found the car on California Street just north of Allston Way. City of Berkeley Fire Department personnel responded as well.

The BPD FAIT (Fatal Accident Collision Team) was on scene has started its investigation.

BPD is not releasing the names or ages of the occupants of the car out of respect for their families.

This is the second fatal collision of 2012. On January 30, 2012, a car struck a young man on a skateboard at Marin and Tulare in North Berkeley. The skateboarder dies as a result of his injuries.

Want to get breaking news like this even more quickly? Follow Berkeleyside on Twitter and download the free Berkeleyside iPhone app.

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Take it to the street: Jazz on 4th benefits Berkeley High

Jazz 4th 1
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For the impressive cast of young jazz musicians at Berkeley High, the road to Cuba runs right through Fourth Street. On Sunday from noon to 5:00 p.m., the 17th Annual Jazz on Fourth Street Festival transforms the upscale commercial district into a welcoming street fair with food booths, and two music stages. Funds raised at the event through raffle tickets and sale of beer and sake go directly to Berkeley High Jazz Program, funding travel to festivals, scholarships, and this year, the band’s first trip to Cuba.

“The band has toured Europe and Japan many times, but this is especially cool because it’s not something the ensemble has done before,” says drummer Lev Facher, a senior. “There’s also something of a community-service aspect, as we’ve also been raising money to bring various musical, medical and household supplies to families in Havana. It’s a little more fulfilling in that way. The band is definitely buzzing.” … Continue reading »

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