Daily Archives: February 14, 2013


The Berkeley Wire: 02.14.13

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Mating newts at UC Botanical Garden a stimulating sight

It’s not just us humans who get romantic around Valentine’s Day. Have you heard of newt love? UC Botanical Garden director and zoologist Paul Licht is intimately familiar with the mating habits of the two newt species – Taricha torosa (California newt) and Taricha granulosa (rough-skin newt) – that become amorous at this time of year. And it’s quite a sight (watch video, above).

According to the Botanical Garden, these small, dark-skinned amphibians hide in the underbrush and are rarely seen by humans, but, once the rains come, scores of them gravitate to the crystal-clear waters of the Japanese Pool. (Perhaps using the famous newt crossing in Tilden Park to get there.) … Continue reading »

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Firefighters put out cottage blaze after reports of smoke

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A fire in an in-law unit in the Berkeley hills this week resulted in about $30,000 worth of damage, and its cause remains under investigation, authorities said Wednesday.

Multiple neighbors near Poppy Lane and Hilldale Avenue called to report an odor of smoke just after midnight Wednesday, said Interim Deputy Fire Chief Avery Webb of the Berkeley Fire Department.

Firefighters were on the scene in less than 10 minutes, but it took some time to locate and then reach the fire.

“Callers reported a strong smell of smoke; they didn’t have an immediate location,” said Webb. … Continue reading »

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NOSH Link Love 02.14.13: Daily East Bay food news

Fresh greens
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Nosh does the work so you don’t have to: catch up with everything delicious with our daily round-up of East Bay news. Continue reading »


Benefit for Dayna Stephens, top saxophonist, BHS alumnus

Screen shot 2013-02-14 at 11.38.23 AM
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Dayna Stephens knows a thing or two about overcoming obstacles. As a standout tenor saxophonist at Alameda High in the mid-1990s, he and a friend took over the jazz ensemble when the school’s band director quit at the beginning of his junior year. Looking for more rigorous musical training, he transferred to Berkeley High his senior year, and quickly became one of the vaunted jazz program’s leading lights. These days he’s one of the most respected saxophonists on the New York scene, and he’s facing a far more daunting challenge than an AWOL teacher.

Diagnosed in with Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) at 19, he’s long depended upon dialysis and has been on a kidney transplant wait-list for four years. Beloved by his peers as a person and a player, Stephens is at the center of an ongoing campaign, including a website, Help Dayna Stephens, to raise awareness about FSGS and funds for his medical expenses, which will run some $4,000 a month for anti-rejection medications alone. … Continue reading »

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For Valentine’s Day: Berkeley love blooms at the theater

Patrick and Kimberly Dooley on their wedding day.
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By Elisabeth Woody

In honor of Valentine’s Day, Berkeleyside is celebrating love in by looking at how one Berkeley couple met and fell in love.

Kimberly and Patrick Dooley are prominent figures in the Berkeley theater world — she is a director at Berkeley Playhouse and he is the founding artistic director at Shotgun Players. Their life and love are grounded in Berkeley. They shared their first kiss on the benches of what was then Ozzie’s Soda Fountain in the Elmwood. Patrick wooed Kimberly with cherry cornbread scones from the Cheese Board, and their favorite dates include long walks around their neighborhood and up in the Berkeley hills.

Kimberly and Patrick first met in 2000, when both were working at the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts on College Avenue. Each had come to Berkeley in their early 20s in search of a vibrant, tight-knit theater community. After brief stints in larger theater cities (she in L.A., he in New York), they quickly realized that Berkeley was the perfect fit. … Continue reading »

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Police make arrests related to 2 Berkeley homicides

A small memorial was set up in West Berkeley near the site of Zontee Jones' death earlier this year. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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The Berkeley Police Department has confirmed that an arrest has been made following the fatal shooting of Zontee Jones on Feb. 4.

Details, however, were scant. Police declined to provide information about the arrest, such as the identity of the person who was arrested, or what the arrest was for.

“I can’t release anything other than (that) an arrest was made,” said Officer Stephanie Polizziani, a police spokeswoman, via email. “To maintain the integrity of their investigation, I can’t release any other details at this point.” … Continue reading »

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Berkeley couple make rillettes at artisanal start-up

Brian Johnson and Julie Gordon at the kitchen
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Just six months ago, husband and wife team Brian Johnson and Julie Gordon started Wooden Spoons – a small business conceived at their kitchen table that makes rillettes using only locally farmed meats, fish and organic produce. The couple live in Berkeley with their kids and cook at a commercial kitchen in the city. Berkeleyside NOSH sat down with the pair to get the skinny on the artisanal start-up.

When and how did Wooden Spoons get started?
In the Spring of 2012, with our older son happily settled into his first year of college and our younger son needing us less and less, we started serious kitchen-table discussions about wanting to bring cooking and food into our lives in a way that could be fun, profitable and that would allow us to spend more time together. We love to cook for friends and family and have been making rillettes for many years – it’s long been the in-demand appetizer around the house. A jar of rillettes is an exciting thing to be able to pull out of the fridge for a special treat, and when we looked around us it became clear that this was something that no one else was approaching it in the way that we had in mind. … Continue reading »

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