Monthly Archives: December 2012


The Berkeley Wire: 12.31.12

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Berkeley man found dead in water at Oakland Marina

Jack London Square. Mike Linksvayer
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A Berkeley man found dead in the water near the Oakland Marina at Jack London Square appears to have died of natural causes, according to the Alameda County coroner’s office.

The body of Richard Rice, 59, was found Saturday at about 9 a.m.

Rice’s cause of death does not appear to be suspicious, a staffer at the coroner’s office said Monday. … Continue reading »

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Mimosa cupcakes: Perfect for New Year’s

Mimosa cupcakes (10)
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Whether sipping bubbly at midnight or enjoying a mimosa with brunch, many of us will celebrate the new year with champagne glasses clinking left and right. Continue reading »

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Tom Bates and Loni Hancock visit sister city in Cuba

Mayor Tom Bates visited a middle school in Berkeley's sister city, Palma Soriano in Cuba
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Bearing 13 indestructible soccer balls, toys, shampoo, conditioner, and a bunch of T-shirts, Mayor Tom Bates and his wife, State Senator Loni Hancock, recently visited Palma Soriano, Berkeley’s sister city in Cuba.

The soccer balls were the biggest hit.

As soon as Bates, Hancock and the four others in their group arrived at Haydee Tamara Bunke Bider Middle School (named after Che Guevara’s translator), they pulled out the bright blue balls made by Berkeley’s One World Futbol Project. Bates started to play with one ball and even threw a few hoops with it, prompting the students to surge down the school steps and out onto the play yard. … Continue reading »

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Best of Berkeleyside: This week’s most popular posts

Berkeley  firefighters filled over 800 bags with holiday groceries for seniors on Dec. 22 Photo: Kaia Diringer

Berkeley firefighters filled over 800 bags with holiday groceries for seniors on Dec. 22 Photo: Kaia Diringer

With Christmas falling on Tuesday, it was a slow week in Berkeley. Berkeleyside took the end of the year opportunity to take a look back. Our story on the best images of 2012 let us once again display some stellar photographs. Our story recapping the major events of 2012 had enough intrigue and deception to populate a spy novel. … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 12.28.12

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32 robberies in recent 30-day stretch in Berkeley

Source: and the Berkeley Police Department
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The past month has seen an uptick in robberies in Berkeley, with reports as of Dec. 24 at their highest level since August, according to the most recent data available from the Berkeley Police Department.

There have been 32 robberies in Berkeley over the most recent 30-day period available, from Nov. 25 through Dec. 24; numbers typically have hovered in the low 20s over similar recent time periods. (See the chart below for more detail.)

Last week, there were seven robberies over a five-day period. And it wasn’t the only time in December that this happened. Police say it’s much too soon to know whether the increase indicates a statistically significant jump, but offered to provide more context in January. … Continue reading »

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Fire chief retires after 27 years, with many ‘firsts’

Debra Pryor
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Looking back on her nearly three decades at the Berkeley Fire Department, Chief Debra Pryor said her philosophy has been to tune out her detractors, take the support that’s been offered to her, and keep the spotlight focused on her team, rather than on herself.

Pryor, 51, retires Friday, Dec. 28, from the Berkeley Fire Department. Deputy Chief Gil Dong will serve as interim chief on a temporary basis.

She’s been a trailblazer in her field, as the nation’s second black female fire chief. In Berkeley, she was the city’s first female firefighter, paramedic and paramedic supervisor, and the first woman to hold the titles of lieutenant, captain, assistant chief, deputy chief and fire chief.

Pryor said it’s an aspect of her work that, frankly, she doesn’t think much about. She describes her job as “managing my resources to get all the things accomplished that need to be accomplished.”

“I would much rather shine the light on others than myself,” she added. “It keeps me humble.” … Continue reading »

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The most important stories in Berkeley in 2012

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Berkeley in 2012 was filled with drama — a contested election, a failed nomination for a new school superintendent, a few missteps by the Chief of Police, and major changes at the University of California, among other events. Here’s a recap of the issues that had the deepest impact on Berkeley, plus a few fun ones thrown in.

City Government

The year got off to a tragic start with the untimely death of 37-year-old City Clerk Deanna Despain. She fell down the stairs of her Oakland home on Jan. 8. Her husband discovered her body when he returned from a late-night meeting. Their daughter was soundly asleep upstairs. Since then, Mark Numainville has been filling in as acting city clerk. In May, after serving as interim city manager for six months, the City Council appointed Christine Daniel permanently to the job. She replaced Phil Kamlarz, who had held the city’s top job for eight years. … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 12.27.12

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The magic of quince: A dessert recipe

Quince tart (1)
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Along with sweet almond paste, tangy cranberries and flecks of orange zest, quince becomes a toothsome tart, perfect for the season. Continue reading »

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Images of 2012: The Berkeley year in photos

Great Horned Owl, Owlet, and lunch
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Sometimes it’s all about the image. Berkeleyside has strived to track down and publish great photography since its inception more than three years ago. You know what they say about the worth of a picture …

As the year draws to a close, we have selected photographs for each month of 2012 to present a visual trip down Berkeley’s memory lane.

This is an opportune moment to thank all the wonderful photographers who contribute to the Berkeleyside Flickr pool and send us their images by other means. Berkeleyside would be a lesser site without you.


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Berkeleyside Police Blotter: Crime in Berkeley, Dec. 16-24

A Berkeley police cruiser. Photo: D.H. Parks
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This is a partial list of recent crimes in Berkeley based on reports to the Berkeley Police Department and the UC Berkeley Police Department, unless otherwise noted. [Note to readers: We’re trying out a new format, and will be experimenting in the coming weeks to get you more information, so please provide feedback in the comments section below if you notice anything new or have ideas for more coverage.] See past Crime Blotters here.

See also Local Crime News’ regularly published list of arrests of Berkeley residents. Other sources of information on crime in Berkeley include the Police Department’s CrimeView Community and

The following items represent just a sampling of calls, many of which were selected by the Berkeley Police Department. From Dec. 16-23, there were 33 burglary reports, 58 auto break-in or theft from a vehicle reports, and nine stolen vehicle reports within the city limits, according to Nine robberies and seven assaults were reported. … Continue reading »

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