Daily Archives: August 9, 2012


The Berkeley Wire: 08.09.12

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Berkeley Patients Group finds new home on San Pablo Ave.

A bulldozer rips up the parking lot at the new San Pablo Avenue home of Berkeley Patients Group. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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[Article is updated at the bottom.]

Three months after the federal government forced it from its long-term home on San Pablo Avenue, the Berkeley Patients Group has found a new location just a few blocks away.

Construction crews have been working to transform a small, dilapidated one-story building at 2366 San Pablo Avenue near Channing Way into BPG’s new dispensary. On Wednesday, a bulldozer was breaking up an asphalt parking lot and workers were hauling away debris.

Berkeley Patients Group declined to answer questions about its new location, but it looks like it will be many weeks or months before it can open. In a permit application submitted to the city by Sean Luse, one of BPG’s managers, the dispensary applied for permission to replace its parking lot and renovate the 1,200 square foot building, including cutting new doors to make it accessible for those in wheelchairs. The structure was built in 1964 as an A&W drive-in restaurant. … Continue reading »

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New path joins Berkeley’s network of some 140 pathways

Keith Skinner at La Loma Path. By Sandy Friedland
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On Sunday, La Loma Path was added to the network of approximately 140 walkways that meander between houses and streets in the Berkeley hills.

The network of green passageways make a perfect outing when there’s no time to head to Tilden or Wildcat Canyon. The bramble of unruly plants are refreshingly wild compared to the pruned shrubbery and disciplined yard plants that typically characterize suburban topography. August is when blackberries reign supreme, a tasty treat for the pathway adventurer.

La Loma is the latest addition to the network, which was developed at the turn of the 19th century and has been slowly expanding since 1998 with the efforts of the Berkeley Path Wanderers Association.

“We are really trying to encourage people to use them as green space,” says association president Keith Skinner.

To do so, they have been creating new paths that were penciled into original city plans but never constructed, reviving some of the moribund paths, and, in their spare time, organizing hikes through the ivy-strewn corridors. … Continue reading »

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BOSS prepares for director’s exit, plans golf fundraiser

Executive director boona cheema reviews paperwork with a member of BOSS's Community Organizing Team. Photos: Natalie Orenstein
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The multi-pronged approach to combating homelessness at Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency (BOSS) is based on the belief that society knows what works, but rarely implements it.

“Good healthcare works, good education works, getting people help the first time they struggle works,” said boona cheema [sic], the Bay Area organization’s longtime executive director. “Being kind and compassionate so people see that you really care—that works, and motivates people.”

In 1971, as a recent immigrant from India with little money in her pocket and a baby on the way, cheema knocked on six-month-old BOSS’s door to ask for help. Two years later, she became its fourth director, and is now preparing to leave her job to make time for creative pursuits.

Over the past 42 years, cheema—a self-proclaimed “builder and dreamer”—has overseen an expansion of BOSS into a network of short-term shelters, long-term transitional houses, mental health and substance abuse support systems, classes, daycares, and career training programs that serve 1,500 people. The largest facility is the Ursula Sherman Village on Harrison Street in Berkeley, which houses more than 100 individuals and families. … Continue reading »

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Demolition and building at Berkeley branch libraries

A truck pumping concrete to form a concrete slab for the South Branch. Photo: Berkeley Public Library
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Demolition began Wednesday on the West Branch of the Berkeley Public Library on University Avenue and, within a few hours, the bulldozers had knocked down much of the building.

The West Branch, which was constructed in 1923, is being torn down to make way for a larger and more modern building. When completed in 2013, it will be 9,400 square feet, almost a third larger than the old structure. It will also be zero net energy, which means it will produce more energy than it consumes through the solar panels on the roof.

Work is also progressing on the South Branch of the library on Russell Street. Last week construction crews pumped in concrete to form the new foundation. … Continue reading »

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