Daily Archives: August 29, 2012


The Berkeley Wire: 08.29.12

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New program at REALM School gets students’ hands dirty

Studio H-1
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When students at Berkeley’s REALM Charter School started their academic year today, there was a new creative space waiting for them at their campus on 8th Street, and a challenge: how might you get your hands dirty? Shortly after the semester kicks off, the students will spend a day and a half working on projects, either for the school or the local community, which they will dream up themselves, and then make.

The class is part of a course created by Studio H, a program run by Project H Design, a nonprofit that has brought its high school design/build curriculum to Berkeley after operating in North Carolina for two years. In a school that already puts an emphasis on technology, research and action, Studio H will be getting students involved in even more hands-on assignments. The projects aim to develop areas such as critical thinking, teamwork and citizenship, as well as practical skills such as construction and design.

“It’s project-based work on steroids,” says REALM’s Principal, Victor Diaz, who adds that when he first learned about Studio H, he knew they would make an excellent partner for the school. “We like to learn through doing,” he said. … Continue reading »

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Bell 412 Helicopter Pakistan (9)

The flyovers are part of research by two federal security agencies — the Department of Homeland Security and the National Nuclear Security Administration — to compare aerial and ground based mapping of radioactivity, according to a story in the Contra Costa Times.

The National Nuclear Security Administration agency says the project will help local, state and federal authorities’measure radiation. Radioactive sources — such as uranium, radon gas and carbon-14 — have been present in the Earth’s crust since it was formed. (Read the NNSA press release.)

While the purpose may be worthy, the low-flying choppers — they need to fly at around 300 ft — are not proving popular with everyone. “It’s driving me batty,” said Berkeleysider Emily Cohen.

Update, 6 p.m.: Berkeley Police say the helicopter will be making daily flights for five days, between Aug. 27 and Sept. 1, 2012. “The helicopter will fly in a grid pattern over the locations about 300 feet above the ground,” they said in a release.

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The FBI’s secret war against Berkeley

In his book Subversives, Seth Rosenfeld details how Hoover's FBI feared Communists were controlling the Free Speech Movement and sought to sabotage it. Photo: UC Berkeley Libraries
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Seth Rosenfeld’s book on the FBI and UC Berkeley, a culmination of 30 years of work, has been out for just a week, but its revelations are already creating consternation.

It’s not just the news that FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover sent agents to spy on Berkeley professors and students starting in the 1940s and worked behind the scenes with Ronald Reagan to get UC President Clark Kerr fired. It’s not just Rosenfeld’s massive evidence that Hoover twisted the inner workings of the FBI to justify intensive spying on the Free Speech Movement and its leaders, including Mario Savio and Bettina Aptheker.  And it’s not just the news that top UC Berkeley officials, upset about unrest on campus, worked closely with federal agents to harm the reputations of students and professors they considered subversive.

What has people fired up is Rosenfeld’s revelation that Richard Aoki, a revered radical leader best known for providing the first guns to the Black Panthers, was an FBI informant. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley goes back to school amid transitions

The classroom settles in.
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School started Wednesday for more than 9,400 students in Berkeley’s 11 elementary schools, three middle schools, and two high schools.

At Emerson Elementary School, students lined up on the playground in their class configurations and gave a big cheer of E-M-E-R-S-O-N, Emerson!, before entering their new classrooms.

2012-13 will be a year of transition for the district. The administration moved into new headquarters on Bonar Street in mid-August, and saw the retirement of Superintendent Bill Huyett a few days later. The search for a replacement has taken longer than expected, and the school board last week appointed two interim superintendents, both current administrators, to temporarily oversee the district. They are Javetta Cleveland, Deputy Superintendent, and Neil Smith, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley police are investigating a carjacking that took place at 7:55 pm on Friday Aug. 24 in the 2500 block of Benvenue Avenue.

A male adult was waiting in his vehicle for a friend. He was approached by the unknown suspect, who was armed with a gun. The suspect ordered the victim out of the vehicle. Fearing for his safety, the victim got out of the car. The suspect fled the area, taking the victim’s vehicle.

The stolen vehicle is a gray, 2006, two-door Pontiac, GTO. The victim was not injured during the encounter.

The suspect is described as a black male, approximately 30 years old, 5’-10” tall, medium complexion, muscular build, and wearing all dark clothing.

If you have any information about this crime, please contact Berkeley Police Department on (510) 981-5900 (24 hours).

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Where in Berkeley?

Where in Berkeley?

Know where this is? Take a guess and let us know in the Comments.

Update, 9:47 am: TN got it! As the photographer, Neil Mishalov, puts it: This small pie shaped house is located at the intersection of Blake Street and Acton Way. The house is situated on a small sliver of land which is contiguous with the old Santa Fe Railway right-of-way. The right-of-way is the reason for the small pie shaped lot. Here is a map of the location, and this is a Google Street View image of the area. Congratulations, TN, on being this week’s winner.

Photo: Neil Mishalov.

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