Author Archives: Emilie Raguso

Crime

Teen surrenders after baseball bat attack, police standoff

The Grove Park baseball diamond backstop. Image: Google Maps
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A 17-year-old male with a baseball bat who authorities say attacked another male, causing potentially life-threatening injuries, then climbed on top of the Grove Park baseball field backstop, ultimately surrendered to officers who focused on talking him down Friday afternoon.

At about 12:10 p.m., according to scanner traffic reviewed by Berkeleyside, police received a report of an assault at Grove Park, at 1730 Oregon St., in South Berkeley. The teenager had struck another male, whose injuries were severe enough to require transport by ambulance to Highland Hospital, the area’s trauma center.

Officers responded quickly to the park and set up a perimeter. They found the teen with the bat sitting on top of the backstop, at least 12 feet up in the air. He was reported over the scanner to be non-responsive, with the bat beside him.

Police called for a less-lethal weapon to be brought to the park, as well as Tasers from Albany, but made it clear over the scanner that they wanted to talk the teen down using a CIT approach — focused on crisis deescalation and intervention — and a mental health worker, who also was called to the scene.  … Continue reading »

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Advocates: Berkeley must extend bike lane on Fulton

The existing bike lane on Fulton Street ends at Bancroft Way. Image: Google Maps
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Cycling advocates are pleading with the city to extend a southbound bike lane on Fulton Street, near the Cal campus, following the crash last week that nearly killed a Berkeley mother and doctor.

Bike East Bay has asked the city to paint new bike lanes on two blocks of Fulton, south of Bancroft Way, by May 12, which is Bike to Work Day. Advocates say planning documents approved by officials, as well as recent changes in state law, allow for the extension of the bike lane without much further ado, as long as the political will exists to make the change.

They’ve been trying to get the new lanes painted since last year, when the street was repaved, and say Berkeley’s own bike policies support the concept of painting, or “striping,” bike lanes at the time of repaving.

City spokesman Matthai Chakko said the city is looking into what might be possible on Fulton, but said changing rules at the state level have made the requirements for traffic studies and public review somewhat unclear. He said the city takes the concerns of the advocates seriously, and is working on various efforts to improve cycling safety and infrastructure in Berkeley. … Continue reading »

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402 Berkeley buildings found to need fixes after launch of inspection program spurred by balcony collapse

What appears to be rotting wood can be seen on the remains of the balcony that collapsed at the Library Gardens Apartments, in Berkeley, on Tuesday, June 16, 2015. Photo: David Yee
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Inspections performed in Berkeley since last year’s deadly balcony collapse at Library Gardens found more than 400 buildings that needed work out of nearly 2,200 with weather-exposed elements, such as balconies, stairways, decks and landings, according to a city report released Wednesday afternoon.

The inspections were part of the city’s response to the Library Gardens tragedy last June, which killed six young people and seriously injured seven others when a fifth-floor balcony broke off a downtown Berkeley apartment building during a birthday celebration.

Council voted in July to require the inspection by Jan. 15, and every following three years, of all weather-exposed exterior elements in properties with at least three units. The city also stiffened requirements about building materials, venting and access to make inspections easier to do and allow for better airflow to elements that could be impacted by water damage and other problems.

Read complete Berkeleyside coverage about the balcony collapse.

The Berkeley City Council is slated to receive an update Feb. 23 about the “Exterior Elevated Elements” (E3) program, which mandates the inspections. … Continue reading »

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The lowdown: Berkeley council on minimum wage, ballot measures, homelessness, street paving, more

Old City Hall. Photo by Melati Citrawireja
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Election season is already heating up, with a special session tonight, before the regular Berkeley City Council meeting, on possible ballot measures for November. Then, at the regular Feb. 9 meeting: the latest minimum wage proposal; a zoning permit appeal for a project approved on Blake Street; the paving plan update; a proposal to restrict parking in the Berkeley Hills; several items related to homelessness and housing; and a living wage for city employees. Could be a long night, with 16 items on the action calendar alone. Scroll down to see how to follow live meeting coverage and participate from afar. … Continue reading »

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2-alarm fire strikes Berkeley home by animal hospital

There's a house fire on Haste in Berkeley between Shattuck and Ellsworth. Photo: mburkhartsmeyer
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Authorities are responding to a house fire on Haste Street in Berkeley, between Fulton Street and Shattuck Avenue.

The Berkeley Police Department has closed the road between Ellsworth Street and Shattuck and is asking people to avoid the area.

Scroll down for dramatic photos and video from the scene, and updates.

Berkeleyside began getting reports about the fire at 11:22 a.m. We have called the Fire Department and will update this post when additional information becomes available.

Update, 11:53 a.m. Interim Deputy Fire Chief Donna McCracken said the fire, in the 2100 block of Haste, is still in progress and has been upgraded to a second-alarm assignment.

No one was reported to be in the building, a single-family home, when the fire broke out, she said. Firefighters were dispatched at 11:15 a.m.

McCracken noted that there is a veterinary hospital next door: “We’re working with them to make sure conditions in their building stay safe.”

Haste is closed between Fulton and Shattuck, and Fulton is closed up to Channing Way.

Update, 4:30 p.m. McCracken said the home appeared to be unoccupied at the time of the fire, which was declared under control at 12:20 p.m. No injuries to firefighters or civilians were reported.  … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeleyside blotter: Crime in Berkeley, Jan. 21-27

Selected calls to the Berkeley Police, via CrimeMapping.com. 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. Share photos, videos and tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at crime@berkeleyside.com or on Facebook or TwitterDon’t assume someone else will alert us. We want to know about issues of concern and rely on readers to help us stay informed.

From Jan. 21-27, there were reports of six robberies20 burglaries18 assaults or batteriesfour weapon-involved calls and one sexual assault, according to CrimeMapping.com. There were also 19 stolen vehicles21 disturbances and 46 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. A sex crime, and a burglary were reported to the University of California Police Department (UCPD). The following items represent a sampling of calls; incidents that took place during a range of time are listed unless otherwise noted by the beginning of that time period. Arrested individuals listed in this blotter are presumed innocent.

Thursday, Jan. 21

Two vehicles were stolen, at midnight in the 1900 block of Haste Street, and at 9 a.m. in the 2200 block of Blake Street.

Police responded to a business in the 3000 block of Adeline Street at about 3:20 p.m. after getting a call about someone “chasing two males with a machete,” said Officer Jennifer Coats, BPD spokeswoman, in response to a question from Berkeleyside. Officers determined that the males had tried to steal something from the store. “When the store owner demanded his property back, the two aggressively approached the owner. He grabbed the machete in order to protect himself and chased the two suspects out of the store.”

There was a home burglary at 4 p.m. in the 1400 block of Hawthorne Terrace.

Police were able to disarm a 19-year-old Berkeley man with a knife after responding to a report of a disturbance near Addison and 10th streets at about 5:05 p.m. Said Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats, the initial call indicated a vehicle may have been shot. Witnesses directed officers to a man who may have been involved, and he was seen walking behind a home in the 1000 block of Allston Way: “As the officers attempted to locate the subject, they saw him walking towards them holding a knife in his hand, with the blade displayed. Officers gave him orders to drop the knife, he refused several times, saying he wasn’t going back to jail. The officers continued to talk with the subject and eventually convinced him to put down the knife.” Coats said officers saw that the teen appeared to be having a medical problem and were able to get him to the ground and call for help from the Berkeley Fire Department. The man was taken to the hospital for evaluation and treatment. … Continue reading »

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Sports

Draymond Green serves coffee at Berkeley Peet’s

Photo: Lance Knobel
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Warriors basketball star Draymond Green came to Berkeley today to serve up coffee at Peet’s on Shattuck Avenue, and the line was already stretching down the block long before his arrival at around 1:45 p.m. A TV helicopter hovered overhead to catch footage of the event.

The line from Shattuck extended onto Kittredge almost to the Touchless car wash at Oxford. Traffic in the area appeared slow, according to Google Maps.

Follow our live tweets from inside Peet’s!

Berkeleyside’s Lance Knobel reports that it was a “mob scene” outside 2255 Shattuck before Green’s arrival at around 1:45 p.m. His shift behind the counter was slated to begin at 1:30 p.m. and run through to 3 p.m.

Green is helping promote the release of Peet’s limited edition “Warriors Grounds” blend. Peet’s will donate 5% of each purchase of “Warriors Grounds”, up to $10,000, to the Warriors Community Foundation.
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Police

Update: Man dies after being struck by train in Berkeley

Authorities are responding to West Berkeley for a report of a person who was hit by a train. Image: Google Maps
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Update, Feb. 9, 1:50 p.m. A representative from the Alameda County coroner’s office confirmed that the man who died has been identified, but next of kin has not been notified, so the name is not yet available for public release.

Update, Feb. 8, 3:30 p.m. An Amtrak representative said there were no injuries to the train’s 101 passengers or crew.

Update, 1:50 p.m. Union Pacific spokesman Francisco Castillo confirmed that the train struck a man near Bancroft and Fourth Street shortly before noon. Castillo described the pedestrian as “an adult male trespasser” who was trying to cross the tracks when he was hit. The train was going approximately 20-30 mph. The incident is under investigation.

“The safety message here is that pedestrians, bicycles and cars need to be very aware of the hazards associated with trains and should never be on the train tracks or attempt to cross one without following the proper signs,” Castillo said by email. He said Amtrak might have additional information.

Update, 1:05 p.m. According to the Berkeley Fire Department, a man has died after being hit by a southbound Amtrak train near Bancroft Way and Second Street in West Berkeley. He was declared dead at the scene by fire personnel, said Donna McCracken, Berkeley’s interim deputy fire chief. The incident is now under investigation by railroad authorities.

Original 12:54 p.m. Authorities are responding to West Berkeley following a report that a person was struck by a Union Pacific train between Allston Way and Bancroft Way. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeleyside blotter: Crime in Berkeley, Jan. 14-20

Selected calls to the Berkeley Police, via CrimeMapping.com. 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. Share photos, videos and tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at crime@berkeleyside.com or on Facebook or TwitterDon’t assume someone else will alert us. We want to know about issues of concern and rely on readers to help us stay informed.

From Jan. 14-20, there were reports of seven robberies18 burglaries17 assaults or batteriesseven weapon-involved calls and two sexual assaults, according to CrimeMapping.com. There were also 12 stolen vehicles10 disturbances and 26 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. Three burglaries and a stolen vehicle were reported to the University of California Police Department (UCPD). The following items represent a sampling of calls; incidents that took place during a range of time are listed unless otherwise noted by the beginning of that time period. Arrested individuals listed in this blotter are presumed innocent.

Thursday, Jan. 14

A vehicle was stolen at 6 p.m. from Curtis Street and University Avenue.

There was a felony assault or battery at 6 p.m. in the 3300 block of King Street.

There was a robbery at 8:47 p.m. in the 2300 block of Shattuck Avenue.

There was a commercial burglary at 10:15 p.m. in the 2400 block of Sacramento Street. … Continue reading »

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Hope, gratitude after near-deadly collision in Berkeley

Meg Schwarzman
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The Berkeley scientist and mother who was struck by a motorist and trapped beneath his car while cycling near campus earlier this week is expected to pull through, family members said Thursday.

“She’s critical but stable,” said Mike Wilson of his wife, Megan Schwarzman. “Every indication is that she will be coming home. But it’s going to be a long, difficult recovery.”

Schwarzman, 42, is a research scientist at the Berkeley School of Public Health, as well as a physician and an associate director at the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry on the Cal campus. The group is one of the leading academic organizations in the nation focused on chemicals policy, Wilson said.

“She somehow is able to be both a brilliant thinker and the most compassionate, spirited person I know,” he said. Added Schwarzman’s sister, Caitlin, who lives in Alameda: “She loves being a part of the community. Her friends and family are always the center for her.”

She wrote on her sister’s Facebook page earlier this week that “the surgeons are optimistic about her long term prognosis.… We expect a stay of many weeks in the hospital. We are hurting for our Meg, feeling proud of her strength, and looking forward hopefully.” … Continue reading »

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Update: Driver arrested, cyclist critical after crash

Emergency personnel work the scene of a collision involving a motorist and a bicyclist on Fulton Street and Bancroft Way. Photo: David Yee
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Update, Feb. 5, 9 a.m. Read Berkeleyside’s update on Meg Schwarzman, the cyclist who was struck. The Berkeley physician and mother is expected to survive, though the road to recovery looks to be long.

Update, Feb. 3, 11 a.m. BPD says there have been no updates to report as far as the cyclist’s condition.

Update, 10:15 p.m. Berkeley police have arrested the driver involved in the crash, 47-year-old Berwick Haynes of Sunnyvale, on suspicion of driving under the influence. In a statement released just after 10 p.m. Tuesday, BPD said it was continuing to investigate the injury collision. The bicyclist, a 42-year-old Berkeley woman, is in critical condition at a local hospital. At 10 p.m. police were still at the scene of the accident taking measurements, and the intersection remained closed.

Update, 6:28 p.m. Police have asked motorists to avoid Fulton and Bancroft due to the earlier crash. Southbound Fulton between Bancroft and Kittredge Street is closed. … Continue reading »

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Crime

4 teens arrested with 2 guns after Berkeley robbery

There have been at least 25 robberies in Berkeley so far this month. Image: CrimeMapping.com
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Police recovered two guns and arrested four teenage boys, including a 14-year-old, after a robbery in Berkeley’s Elmwood neighborhood Saturday night.

Lt. Alyson Hart said police received a call at 9:20 p.m. about an armed robbery that had just taken place at College Avenue and Parker Street.

Responding officers tried to stop a vehicle they believed was linked to the crime, but “it took off and shortly after crashed into a fence at Derby and Warring.” … Continue reading »

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After rains, some East Bay lakes now free of toxic algae

Lake Anza. Photo: Josh S. Jackson
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Recent rains have cleared toxic algae from several East Bay lakes, including Tilden’s Lake Anza, East Bay Regional Park District officials have announced.

That means, unless the algae returns, some popular swimming spots will re-open come April.

“Thanks to heavy rains from El Niño, toxic blue-green algae has cleared from Quarry Lakes in Fremont, Lake Temescal in Oakland and Lake Anza in Berkeley,” park officials announced Thursday. “These popular swim destinations were all closed … due to toxic algae blooms, and we’re thrilled to report that the algae has cleared.”

Lake Anza in Tilden Regional Park closed in September, following the earlier closures of Quarry and Temescal lakes. Carolyn Jones, park district spokeswoman, said the lakes first tested clear for the algae about a month ago, in December, but workers continued to test the waters to make sure no toxins were present.

“They’ve been super cautious,” she said. “Let’s hope that this is it for the algae.” … Continue reading »

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