Author Archives: Emilie Raguso

Crime

Berkeleyside blotter: Crime in Berkeley, April 9-15

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. Please don’t hesitate to share photos, videos or tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at crime@berkeleyside.com 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 CrimeMapping.com. 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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Counter Culture coffee roaster arrives in Emeryville

The front room and tasting table at Counter Culture. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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National coffee wholesaler and barista training organization Counter Culture is launching its new roastery in Emeryville on Friday — just blocks from the Berkeley border — with a free tasting at 10 a.m., followed by an open house Saturday to show off the new space.

The facility is generally not open to the public, and isn’t set up for retail, but the open house, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, will feature brewing workshops, limited-edition giveaways and more. Counter Culture also has “Tasting@Ten” sessions every Friday morning, which are free and open to all.

The North Carolina-based coffee roaster celebrated its 20-year anniversary last weekend. Until now, its only roasting facility has been in Durham, North Carolina. The new Emeryville roastery will give Counter Culture a West Coast presence that will allow it to speed up shipping and deliver a fresher product to customers, which include both coffee shops and restaurants, said Nathan Brown, a company spokesman. … Continue reading »

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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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Woman charged after setting toilet paper rolls on fire

Berkeley City Hall. Photo: Google Maps
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A woman who lit two toilet paper rolls on fire at Berkeley’s City Hall while a man in a wheelchair was using the restroom has been charged with a misdemeanor by the Alameda County district attorney’s office.

Dawn Carraway, 25 — who has no listed home address — told police she did it because “after she lights the paper on fire, it smells like honey,” according to court papers.

Berkeley Police Officer David Marble wrote that Carraway entered a women’s bathroom at City Hall, 2180 Milvia St., last Wednesday, April 15, at 9:35 a.m. while another person was using the restroom.

She then lit the toilet paper rolls on fire, according to police. A man in a wheelchair was in the adjacent disabled stall while she did so, according to police. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeleyside blotter: Crime in Berkeley, April 2-8

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. Please don’t hesitate to share photos, videos or tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at crime@berkeleyside.com 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 2-8, there were reports of seven robberies13 burglaries11 assaults or batteries, no weapon-involved calls and five sexual assaults, according to CrimeMapping.com. There were also 10 stolen vehicles14 disturbances and 37 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. Reported incidents from the University of California Police Department (UCPD) did not appear to be complete. 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 2

There was a robbery at 1:41 a.m. at Center Street and Shattuck Avenue.

Police responded to a suspicious package, mid-block on the south side of Harrison between Eighth and Ninth streets, around 8 a.m. The reporting party thought it might be a homemade bomb of some sort, so police cordoned off the area. The item ended up being several batteries taped together, police said.

There was a home burglary at 11 a.m. at 2118 Channing Way.

There was a disturbance at 4:07 p.m. in the 1900 block of Shattuck.

There was a commercial burglary at 5:30 p.m. in the 2400 block of Fourth Street. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley police report first pepper spray use of 2015

Image: Google maps
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A Berkeley Police officer used pepper spray to subdue a naked man covered with blood who wielded a glass shard and charged a firefighter in late March, according to a document posted on the city website Friday.

Police must complete a brief form — which is made public — any time officers use pepper spray, as directed by a Berkeley City Council vote in 1997 (which also prohibited the use of pepper spray as a crowd control technique). The Berkeley Police Department is supposed to inform council and the city’s Police Review Commission about the use of pepper spray within seven days.

Under the department’s regulations governing use of force, “reasonable force” may be used to make an arrest, prevent an escape, overcome resistance or maintain order. Anytime pepper spray is used, officers must complete a form summarizing its use, and pass that form on to the division commander, who ultimately turns it over to the chief of police.

According to the April 15 report, a man pulled a fire alarm March 28 on Haste Street at 11:19 a.m. He also discharged a fire extinguisher, pulled a main water valve, emptied water from the sprinklers and broke out a 4-foot-by-3-foot window on the fourth floor of the building, according to the recent report. The man charged a firefighter responding to the scene, and the firefighter called for back-up. … Continue reading »

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City of Berkeley (finally) goes live on Twitter

City spokesman Matthai Chakko. Photo: Matthai Chakko
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After four years of consideration, the city of Berkeley launched its Twitter account Monday afternoon to help improve the consistency and flow of information it provides to the public.

The first tweet from the city? “Hi, Berkeley, we’re here!” was posted just after 12:20 p.m., and followed quickly by a link to a news release about the launch.

The account — @CityofBerkeley — will be a conduit of information from every department, said city spokesman Matthai Chakko, who will run the account. It already had more than 3,400 followers before posting a single tweet.

“The goal is for departments to be communicating much more,” he said. “We want to improve the amount, and the quality and consistency, of information to the public.”

Chakko said last week he was looking forward to the launch.

“What I’m most excited about is that we’ll be communicating with a voice that represents the whole city,” he said. “To have every department involved and communicating is a big step for us. It’s a good step.” … Continue reading »

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Old Berkeley animal shelter to become live-work units

A photo simulation of 2013 Second St. Image: Levy Design Partners
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A new live-work project for artists and craftspeople has been approved in West Berkeley by the zoning board, to take the place of the city’s old municipal animal shelter, which closed in 2012.

The project, at 2013 Second St., was unanimously approved April 9 by the city’s Zoning Adjustments Board, with no one speaking against the proposal.

The four-story, 26,500-square-foot building would include 19 one-bedroom live-work rental units of approximately 1,000 square feet each. It is also set to include one vehicle and one bike parking spot per unit. According to the project staff report, “A large landscaped courtyard will provide shared work/live open space for the residents.” The old animal shelter would be demolished to make way for the new project.

Read more about West Berkeley.

The building is the latest to win approval in the increasingly busy neighborhood, where the nearby Grocery Outlet, at University Avenue between Fourth and Fifth streets, is set to be demolished and replaced by a large housing complex (152 units), and plans are underway at 800 University (between Fifth and Sixth streets) for a five-story building (58 units). In recent years, new apartment developments have gone up nearby at Fourth & U (171 units) and The Avalon (99 units), which opened last May.

City staff noted last week that there aren’t very many live-work complexes in Berkeley. The West Berkeley Plan — from 1993 — put the number at about 2% of the area’s housing, but also noted that the city had no comprehensive directory of those properties.

Chris Hoff, who owns the Second Street property with his brother Greg, said theirs is the first project of its kind to come to the city in more than a decade.

“We want to run a great artist, ‘maker’ community,” he told the board. “We think it’s a great idea.” … Continue reading »

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Police

Pedestrian seriously injured after Berkeley crash

Traffic is backed up after a serious accident on Telegraph and Ashby. Image: Google Maps
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Update, 5:45 p.m. Police released additional information about the crash in a Nixle alert at 5:35 p.m.

According to police, there was a report of an injury collision at Telegraph and Ashby avenues at 3:18 p.m. that possibly involved a semi-truck and pedestrian.

According to the preliminary investigation, a driver in a Volvo station wagon heading north on Telegraph was turning right onto Ashby when he struck a female pedestrian.

“While making his turn … the driver may have hit the accelerator and not the brake, causing the vehicle to go into the intersection as a panel truck was traveling east on Ashby. The Volvo then hit the side of the truck as it passed,” police wrote. … Continue reading »

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Crime

3 men charged after Berkeley beating, stun gun assault

A crowd waiting outside 924 Gilman in 2010 (file photo). Photo: Daniel Gies
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Three men have been charged with battery, and one with assault with a stun gun, after an attack on a former friend outside a West Berkeley music club in March, according to authorities.

According to court papers, Jackson Achorn, Jack Moore and Devin Schorger assaulted their former friend outside 924 Gilman St. on March 14. Police who responded for a report of a fight found a motorcycle in the street, and the victim’s property — including a bicycle — scattered on the ground.

The victim told police that Schorger had punched and choked him, while Moore “helped during the assault.” Achorn, 20, of Berkeley reportedly joined in the assault by using a stun gun on the man’s legs. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley officials seek feedback on ‘community benefits’

2211 Harold Way is one of several tall building proposals in the pipeline that must offer "significant community benefits" under the Downtown Area Plan. Image: MVEI Architecture and Planning
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The Berkeley City Council has launched a public discussion on what sort of benefits are required by developers who hope to construct tall buildings downtown, with two meetings focused on the topic in the next few weeks.

The conversation about “significant community benefits” generally comes up before the city’s Zoning Adjustments Board, but that panel has struggled to determine whether tall building proposals it has reviewed meet current city guidelines. That’s because those guidelines, set out within Berkeley’s Downtown Area Plan, are more of a menu of suggestions, rather than concrete items that can be checked off a list.

Crafters of that plan have said the city wanted to offer flexibility to developers to work with the community to come up with the right mix of benefits. But, so far, the lack of specificity has made it difficult for various stakeholders to agree on what developers should bring to the table.

Last week, council took public comment on the topic at its regular Tuesday night meeting, but did not itself much discuss the issue. Mayor Tom Bates — whose office is spearheading the new talks in collaboration with council members Jesse Arreguín, Laurie Capitelli and Darryl Moore — announced a special council meeting May 5 at 7 p.m. for that discussion to take place.

Separately, Councilman Arreguín also has scheduled a workshop on the subject, from 7-9 p.m. this Wednesday, April 15, in Live Oak Park’s Fireside Room. The workshop will focus on the general framework of community benefits, not specific projects, and attendees will be asked to rank the categories of benefits that matter most to them.  … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Tuolumne Camp plans show several changes; public process has launched

Camp, as proposed. The city will be seeking feedback during a series of community meetings over the next few months. (Click to view the map with a key.) Image: City of Berkeley
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The city of Berkeley has announced a series of public workshops over the next few months for those interested in helping bring back Berkeley Tuolumne Camp, which was destroyed by the Rim Fire in 2013.

According to the city, much of the camp is set to be rebuilt “essentially in place,” though several significant changes will be necessary: overnight camping will not be allowed in the 100-year flood plain; use of the northern area of camp — called Sun City — will be prohibited, according to the forest service; and two new parking areas are set to be created off of Hardin Flat Road, as parking will no longer be allowed on the road itself.

The city will need to create a master plan if it hopes to get approval to rebuild the popular family camp, which opened in Groveland in 1922. The city hopes to reopen camp by 2018 under the current timeline.  … Continue reading »

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5 arrested in Berkeley after 15-20 youth fights downtown

Berkeley High police cruiser. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Update, April 13, 5 p.m. Regarding the students who were arrested Friday, the Berkeley Police Department has provided the following basic information:

  • A 16-year-old female was arrested on suspicion of participating in a riot, as well as battery on a peace officer or other sort of officer or first responder.
  • A 16-year-old male was arrested on suspicion of probation violation.
  • Two 17-year-old males were arrested on suspicion of battery.
  • An 18-year-old male was arrested on suspicion of battery, as well as either fighting in a public place or challenging another person to a fight in public. (Police identified him April 15 as Deantae Williams.)

Four of the students are listed as Berkeley residents. The 18-year-old lives in Richmond, according to Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats. Berkeley High Principal Kristen Glenchur identified all five of the youth on Friday as Berkeley Unified students: three Berkeley High students and two Berkeley Technology Academy students. She said the students also would “face additional school discipline.” … Continue reading »

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