Author Archives: Emilie Raguso

News

Update: PG&E outage in North Berkeley, El Cerrito, Richmond, San Pablo caused by fire

Image: PG&E
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More than 5,000 customers are without power in North Berkeley and El Cerrito, according to PG&E’s outage map.

The outage began at 12:28 a.m. and was expected to be repaired by 3:45 a.m.

According to PG&E, 5,327 homes — from the Berkeley Hills west to Interstate 80 and north almost to Moeser Lane in El Cerrito — were without power as of the latest update, at 1:28 a.m.

The cause is listed as unknown, with an investigation underway.

A PG&E crew has been assigned to assess the damage, according to PG&E’s online Electric Outage Center. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Breaking: Case dismissed in Jermaine Davis homicide

Jermaine Davis, via YouTube.
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Charges have been dropped in the case against a Pittsburg man accused of shooting a 26-year-old Berkeley man to death last summer.

Wednesday at 10 a.m., an Alameda County Superior Court judge agreed to drop the charges against 26-year-old Antiown “Twanny” York, and said he could go home.

York had been arrested by Berkeley police in January, and later charged with murder, in connection with the killing of Jermaine “Third” Davis in July 2013.

Prosecutor Autrey James, of the Alameda County district attorney’s office, asked the judge Wednesday morning to dismiss the case against York. James told the judge his office had been unable to locate a material witness in the case, and believed that witness to be outside the area. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeleyside Blotter: Crime in Berkeley, Sept. 4-10

Selected calls for service to the Berkeley Police, via CrimeMapping.com. (Scroll down for maps of burglaries, auto burglaries and auto thefts.) Click the map for the full list. See the map key here.
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This is a partial list of recent crime in Berkeley, compiled by Berkeleyside, and based on reports to the Berkeley Police Department unless otherwise noted. The following items represent a sampling of calls, and times may be approximate.

From Sept. 4-10, there were reports of 19 burglaries24 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles and 12 stolen vehicles, according to CrimeMapping.comThree robberies11 assaults, domestic violence incidents or batteries and no sexual assaults were reported. Significant incidents from the University of California Police Department included a vehicle theft, a robbery and a sexual assault. These numbers are subject to change. Click the links above for the latest numbers.

We always appreciate photographs and tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at tips@berkeleyside.com or on Facebook or Twitter; please let us know up front if you prefer to be anonymous.

Thursday, Sept. 4

There were four home burglaries: at 4 a.m. in the 2700 block of Durant Avenue; at 4:48 p.m. in the 1200 block of Parker Street; at 5 p.m. in the 2400 block of Roosevelt Avenue; and at 8:17 p.m. in the 2400 block of Roosevelt.

A robbery took place at 10:25 a.m. in the 2000 block of San Pablo Avenue.

Police responded to a disturbance at 6:30 p.m. in the 1600 block of Blake Street. … Continue reading »

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Catahoula ‘Kaffeegarten’ hits West Berkeley

Catahoula is working on its new West Berkeley location. Photo: Catahoula
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Coffee lovers rejoice: The old Sketch soft serve spot on Berkeley’s Fourth Street is now Catahoula’s Kaffeegarten.

The Richmond-based artisanal roaster is all about “high end coffee at a moderate price,” but takes its mission further: “We are about bringing people together and community. Not the ‘Third Community’ liquid culture of Starbucks, but an authentically local flavor where people from all walks of life… gather.”

Timber Manhart runs the business, and sells signature blends as well as single origin beans. He describes Catahoula as a “no char zone,” meaning roasts meant to draw out flavor are king. … Continue reading »

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Government

The lowdown: Berkeley council on crime, homeless youth, Telegraph Channing merchants, more

Outside the Breathmobile at Malcolm X Elementary School, Oct. 18, 2012. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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The Berkeley City Council meets Tuesday this week, with a special session on the mid-year crime report at 5:30 p.m., and the regular meeting at 7 p.m.

The special session

Berkeleyside covered the basics of the mid-year crime report from the Berkeley Police Department last week for our readers. Indicators were good, with police reporting a 44% reduction in violent crime over the first six months of 2014, as compared to the same period the prior year. Police officials, including Chief Michael Meehan, will walk council through the report, and answer questions on the numbers. See the agenda item here.

The action calendar

The action calendar is quite short Tuesday night, with only two items: a proposal about rental subsidies for homeless transition-age youth; and an item from Councilman Kriss Worthington about rental relief for merchants at the Telegraph Channing Mall. … Continue reading »

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Local business

Bayer HealthCare may expand in West Berkeley

Bayer HealthCare. Image: Flad Architects
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Bayer HealthCare won unanimous approval Thursday from the city of Berkeley’s zoning board to make significant changes at its West Berkeley campus, on Grayson Street, to prepare it to manufacture a new generation of the company’s recombinant DNA treatments for hemophilia.

Bayer spokeswoman Trina Ostrander said in May that the new 3-story facility would house testing operations — on an existing parking area and empty lot — “for various raw materials and final product” related to the treatments.

Berkeleyside wrote about the project, at 801 Grayson St., west of Seventh Street, in May. The project was approved as part of the consent calendar before the Zoning Adjustments Board on Thursday evening. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley to look at residential permit parking citywide

The city of Berkeley is looking at expanding its permit parking program to ease the crush in residential neighborhoods. Photo: Chris Makarsky
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The Berkeley City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to study whether permit parking might be needed in more residential neighborhoods throughout the city, and whether the cost to buy those permits should increase.

To be included, residents would have to opt in to the program by garnering the support of at least 51% of homes per block face. In addition, a parking survey would need to show that at least 75% of available street parking is occupied at mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Council will set the boundaries but it is residents themselves who will determine which blocks will participate.

Parking in West Berkeley, particularly around Fourth Street and the city Corporation Yard on Allston Way, has been an area of concern for officials, as are blocks near Sacramento Street where many city staff reportedly park.

The city hopes to learn — via a new environmental study — where it might make the most sense to expand the permit parking program. Berkeley currently has 14 permit (RPP) zones in central Berkeley, most of which are near commercial areas. Via the staff report, “The existing RPP zones are bounded roughly on the north by Rose, Hopkins and Eunice Streets; on the east by UC Berkeley; on the south by Woolsey and part of 62nd Street; and on the west by Sacramento and Chestnut Streets.”

Read more about parking and transportation issues in Berkeley.Continue reading »

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Crime

Man with crack cocaine in mouth arrested by police

Image via Facebook
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An Oakland man arrested last week by Berkeley Police officers had 20 individually wrapped pieces of what authorities believe to be crack cocaine in his mouth at the time of his detention, according to court papers.

Berkeley Police officers served a search warrant at the man’s West Oakland home Sept. 3 shortly before 11 a.m. Around the same time, they detained 46-year-old Ronald Major about 3 miles away near the MacArthur BART station in Oakland.

According to court papers, Major had more than 4 grams of cocaine, including packaging, in his mouth when he was arrested. Police said he also had a cell phone in his hand “with text messages indicating narcotics sales.”

At Major’s home, police said they recovered a digital scale and suspected cocaine residue, used and unused packaging material, $270 in cash, a stolen loaded revolver and a bottle of suspected liquid morphine with the name torn off the bottle. … Continue reading »

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City of Berkeley may consider ride-sharing rules for companies like Uber, Lyft, Sidecar

Taxis in Berkeley. Photo: Nick
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A Berkeley councilman has asked the city to require ride-sharing companies to have business licenses and safety standards, and wants protection for disabled access to be part of those new rules.

Similar discussions about regulating the ride-sharing industry — which was popularized by companies such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar — are going on around the country in San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle and Chicago, among other cities. The California legislature has also taken the matter into its own hands, and a bill that passed both the Assembly and Senate is, as of late last month, waiting for the governor’s approval.

In the meantime, Berkeley Councilman Kriss Worthington has asked the city manager to look into the regulation of ride-sharing businesses within the city. Currently, he said, no local rules exist. Worthington originally brought his proposal to the Berkeley City Council in July, but it was held over. Tuesday night, council agreed to have the city keep an eye on the state legislation and bring back the matter at the end of the month. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeleyside Blotter: Crime in Berkeley, 8/28-9/3

Selected calls for service to the Berkeley Police, via CrimeMapping.com. (Scroll down for maps of burglaries, auto burglaries and auto thefts.) Click the map for the full list. See the map key here.
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This is a partial list of recent crime in Berkeley, compiled by Berkeleyside, and based on reports to the Berkeley Police Department unless otherwise noted. The following items represent a sampling of calls, and times may be approximate.

From Aug. 28 to Sept. 3, there were reports of 21 burglaries19 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles and five stolen vehicles, according to CrimeMapping.comOne robberynine assaults, domestic violence incidents or batteries and no sexual assaults were reported. Significant incidents from the University of California Police Department included two vandalisms. These numbers are subject to change. Click the links above for the latest numbers.

We always appreciate photographs and tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at tips@berkeleyside.com or on Facebook or Twitter; please let us know up front if you prefer to be anonymous.

Thursday, Aug. 28

Three home burglaries took place: at 1:30 a.m. in the 1600 block of 62nd Street; at 3:02 p.m. in the 1400 block of Hearst Avenue; and at 9 p.m. in the 2900 block of Deakin Street.

A vehicle was reported stolen at 5 p.m. in the 2500 block of Piedmont Avenue.  … Continue reading »

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UC Berkeley

4 arrested Saturday in 2 robberies near UC Berkeley

Image: Google maps
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Four men were arrested Saturday after two robberies near the UC Berkeley campus in the early morning hours, police said.

The University of California Police Department put out statements Tuesday about the incidents and arrests, which took place within the city of Berkeley’s jurisdiction.

Just after 1:30 a.m. Saturday, police said a 19-year-old woman was walking with friends near Bowditch Street and Bancroft Way when three young men approached.

They started “verbally harassing her and her friends,” police said in a prepared statement. “The group surrounded the victim, called her names, spit on and kicked her.” … Continue reading »

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Government

The lowdown: Berkeley council on civic center overlay, cell phone safety stickers, e-cigarettes, parking, more

The Berkeley City Council is poised to set up new zoning standards in Civic Center. Image: City of Berkeley
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The Berkeley City Council is hitting the ground running Tuesday night, Sept. 9, with its first meeting since a summer recess that began in early July. There are 49 items on the consent calendar, and another 14 on the action calendar, not to mention eight information reports. On the action calendar, council is set to tackle the regulation of electronic smoking devices, the Civic Center historic district overlay, the idea of safety stickers on cell phones, the possible expansion of its residential parking permit program and much more. … Continue reading »

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Violent crime reports down 44% in Berkeley

The 2014 mid-year crime report. Image: Berkeley Police Department
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Fewer robberies, rapes and aggravated assaults led to a 44% drop in violent crime reports for serious offenses in Berkeley over the first half of the year, according to new data released by the Berkeley Police Department.

The mid-year crime report for January through June 2014 — scheduled to be presented to the Berkeley City Council later this month — shows decreases since last year in many of the crimes that tend to cause the most alarm.

It’s the first time the overall violent crime numbers have dropped since 2011. Robberies, especially, showed a steep decline. Property crimes, too, also fell, other than a 4% increase in vehicle thefts, according to the report. … Continue reading »

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