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The Berkeley Wire: 04.24.15

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Berkeleyside blotter: Crime in Berkeley, April 9-15

Selected calls to the Berkeley Police, via Scroll down for detailed maps. Click the map above for the list. See the map key here.
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This overview of recent crime in Berkeley is based on reports to the Berkeley Police unless otherwise noted. Please don’t hesitate to share photos, videos or tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at or on Facebook or Twitter; let us know if you prefer to be anonymous. Don’t assume someone else will alert us — we value your eyes and ears, and you may be the only one to get in touch. We very much want to know about issues of neighborhood concern.

From April 9-15, there were reports of two robberies16 burglaries19 assaults or batteries, no weapon-involved calls and one sexual assault, according to There were also 13 stolen vehicles11 disturbances and 31 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. Reported incidents from the University of California Police Department (UCPD) included one burglary and four vandalism calls. These numbers are subject to change. Click the links for the latest numbers. The following items represent a sampling of calls, and times may be approximate.

Thursday, April 9

There were two home burglaries, at 11:30 a.m. in the 1700 block of Walnut Street, and at 9 p.m. in the 1700 block of Portland Avenue.

A 53-year-old Berkeley woman was hit in a crosswalk by a vehicle just after noon. She was knocked to the ground but declined transportation to the hospital, said Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats. The woman had been crossing Spruce Street at Marin Avenue when the driver turned onto Spruce from Marin and hit her. Coats said the driver, a 67-year-old Kensington man, failed to yield to the woman in the crosswalk, which was the apparent cause of the collision.

A 78-year-old Berkeley man walking on Vine Street at about 4:30 p.m. was struck in the crosswalk by a vehicle at Martin Luther King Jr. Way, according to Coats. Coats said the driver, a 73-year-old Emeryville woman, had been southbound on Martin Luther King approaching Vine when she hit the man, who had been walking east in the crosswalk. The man was taken to Highland Hospital with serious injuries. Police do not believe drugs or alcohol were a factor in the collision. The man’s injuries did not appear to be life-threatening, Coats said.

There was a felony sexual assault at 6 p.m. in the 2000 block of Shattuck Avenue.

There was a commercial burglary at 6 p.m. in the 1600 block of Bonita Avenue.

Two vehicles were stolen, at 7 p.m. in the 800 block of Bancroft Way, and at 10:49 p.m. at California and Derby streets. Police arrested Shamari Thompson, 26, in connection with the second incident. He is no longer in custody but is scheduled to return to court April 27 for a preliminary examination hearing.  … Continue reading »

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

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PUBLIC HEALTH BLOCK PARTY The city hopes to address “health inequities and improve outcomes” at its public health block party on Saturday, 10am-2pm near the entrance to the Frances Albrier Community Center, 2800 Park St. in South Berkeley. Come receive information and resources, such as screenings for blood pressure, glucose, bone density, and Hepatitis C. People can also get assistance with applications for Covered California, the state health insurance exchange created by the Affordable Care Act that provides federally subsidized rates. Not only that, there is free food, courtesy of Acme Bread and Phat Beets Produce, and delicious smoothies created by a “Smoothie Bike,” as well as a Kid Zone and free haircuts courtesy of stylists from South Berkeley barber shop DnD Cuts. … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 04.23.15

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Op-ed: How should water be priced in Berkeley?

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What does it cost for a typical Berkeley residential customer to use 500 gallons of water a month? 5,000 gallons? 10,000 gallons?

Given the scope of the drought California is experiencing, the results may surprise you.* After you pay the service charge, water is less than a penny per gallon in Berkeley, no matter how much you use.

As you can see in the chart above, a 500-gallon customer pays about $36/month, whereas a 10,000-gallon customer pays about $140/month. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley RADICAL focus of Cal Performances new season

The Simon Bolivar Orchestra of Venezuela will play Beethoven's Ninth at the Cal Performances gala in September. Photo: Nohely Oliveros
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A gala outdoors performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, a novel mixture of Olivier Messaien and Berkeley photographer Deborah O’Grady, a rare visit from Paris’ Ensemble Intercontemporain, and Twyla Tharp’s 50th anniversary tour are among the highlights for Cal Performances 2015-16 season, which was announced this week.

The season marks the launch of Berkeley RADICAL (Research and Development Initiative in Creativity, Arts, Learning), a new framework in which artists will engage with Cal Performances through commissioning, creation, presentation, documentation and dissemination; with the university’s community of scholars and students; and with the Bay Area public.

Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela kick off Berkeley RADICAL with a week-long residency centered around performances of Beethoven’s final three symphonies. The Ninth Symphony will be performed at a gala performance at the Greek Theatre on Friday, Sept. 25.

“I can’t think of a better way to launch Berkeley RADICAL than with this music, this conductor and this orchestra,” said Matías Tarnopolsky, executive and artistic director of Cal Performances. … Continue reading »

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Poetry and jazz: Surging together in Berkeley

Raymond Nat Turner
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The unassuming apartment complex at Seventh and Allston doesn’t look much like the cradle of a creative movement, but for spoken-word artist Raymond Nat Turner the West Berkeley locale provided everything he needed to launch UpSurge!

Working as roadie, manager and all-round assistant for Donald “Duck” Bailey in the 1980s, Turner started frequenting a weekly jam session hosted by the jazz drum legend at the Wellington Hotel at Seventh and University (where La Quinta stands today). With a steady flow of young musical talent from Berkeley High attending the sessions, Turner found the personnel he needed to launch the politically charged jazz/poetry ensemble that celebrates its 25th anniversary 8 p.m. Friday at the Berkeley Art Festival performance space on University Avenue, just a mile east of where the project first came together in the fall of 1990. … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 04.22.15

Berkeley Way mini-park. Photo, taken on April 19, 2015, by Kaiboyh

Berkeley Way mini-park. Photo, taken on April 19, 2015, by Kaiboyh

Coachella comes to Berkeley! (Huffington Post)
Berkeley firefighters spray geysers of water despite drought (CBS Local)
City of Berkeley creates Twitter account, explores social media (Daily Cal)
Berkeley considers buffer zones for tobacco retailers (NACS)
UC food-sustainability research fellowship extended two years (Daily Cal)
Study finds depression among Berkeley graduate students (Inside Higher Ed)

Get the latest Berkeley news in your inbox with Berkeleyside’s free Daily Briefing. And make sure to bookmark Berkeleyside’s pages on Facebook and Twitter. You don’t need an account on those sites to view important information.

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Berkeley bike festival, cycling plan open house coming up

Get your bike on with two important events coming up in Berkeley in the next week. Photo: Bikes in Berkeley
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Berkeley cycling aficionados have two big events coming up in the next week: the city’s third annual Bikes in Berkeley Festival on Sunday, followed by an open house Monday focused on a major update to the city’s Bicycle Plan.

The Bikes in Berkeley Festival is scheduled to take place Sunday at Malcolm X Elementary School, 1731 Prince St. (between Ellis and King streets), from noon to 4 p.m. It is set to kick off with a family cycling workshop (more information and a pre-registration form is here), followed by a youth bike swap (details here) and the festival itself.

The festival, called Fiesta de la Tierra — a nod in part to this week’s Earth Day (on Wednesday) — will have a bike and helmet decoration station, a “bike rodeo” to practice rules of the road, helmet fittings, bike-blended smoothies, bicycle-inspired entertainment, a cargo bike demo station, “and a whole lot more to inspire, educate and encourage bicycle riding,” according to organizers. … Continue reading »

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In Berkeley the Blue Glove Crew clean up — at speed

Karen Nierlich shows trash she cleared from a storm drain's grate.
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It all started with a desire to lose weight. Six years ago, Allen Cain, Executive Director of the Solano Avenue Association and Solano Stroll, decided as a New Year’s resolution to shed some pounds, set an example for his daughter, and help tidy up the North Berkeley street at the heart of his organization. How would he do this? With regular power walks/trash pick-up expeditions.

Cain spent roughly three years walking, at a feverish pace, up and then back down Solano, cleaning up en route. Eventually others joined him and, thus, the Blue Glove Crew was born.

Berkeleyside contributing photographer Pete Rosos joined the crew for several of their walks recently, and created the photo essay published here. … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: The Berkeley Library should apply larger view in naming its buildings

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On Wednesday April 22 at 6:30 p.m., the Board of Library Trustees will meet at the South Branch Library at 1901 Russell St. to review its naming policy and to hear requests to rename the South Branch to honor Tarea Hall Pittman.

The Berkeley Public Library’s Naming Policy strongly favors naming branch libraries only for their geographical location — north, south etc. The Policy sets stringent requirements for naming any of the libraries after any person except “the … Continue reading »

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Where in Berkeley?

Where in Berkeley?


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

Photo: Tracey Taylor.

Send your submissions for “Where in Berkeley?” to The more obscure the better — just as long as the photos are taken in Berkeley. Thanks in advance.

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Berkeley Police catch 2 armed robbery suspects after high-speed chase through Berkeley, Emeryville

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The high-speed chase ended in Emeryville, near Powell Street Plaza, where the two suspects were eventually apprehended, according to Officer Jennifer Coats, spokeswoman for the Berkeley Police Department.

Coats said the armed robbery happened at Arch and Virginia streets one block north of the UC Berkeley campus at 8:42 p.m. Coats said it was most likely a pedestrian robbery, although she wanted to confirm that.

A police officer saw two suspects fleeing in a vehicle and, when the officer tried to pull the car over, the suspects fled and evaded the police, according to Coats.

After several police cars had pursued the suspects for awhile, the suspect’s vehicle became disabled near the I-80 off-ramp near Powell Street, Coats said. … Continue reading »

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