Author Archives: Emilie Raguso

Berkeley neighbors question parking, height of student-oriented housing planned on Telegraph

Patrick Kennedy hopes to build new housing on Telegraph Avenue. Image: Lowney Architecture
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A proposed retail and housing project on Telegraph Avenue that’s already proven controversial with neighbors got its first review last week from Berkeley’s zoning board.

The man behind the proposal is Patrick Kennedy, head of Berkeley-based Panoramic Interests, who is working with Lowney Architecture on the plans. The project proposes the demolition of a single-story building between Dwight Way and Parker Street and the construction of a 70-foot-tall 6-story building to include 65 rental units aimed at students, and 6,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. Six of those units would be available to very-low-income households: those making no more than 50% of the area median income.

Thursday night’s preview session was the Zoning Adjustments Board‘s first chance to provide feedback on the project. No action was scheduled or taken.

Kennedy described his project to the board as “a bold and optimistic gesture” on Telegraph, which he said is long overdue for improvements that are likely to come as higher density housing is built on the avenue. … Continue reading »

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Driver to enter plea after woman hurt in hit-and-run near Berkeley’s People’s Park

Image: Google Maps
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A Berkeley driver on probation for robbery — who reportedly fled in his car after knocking down a woman in the street, causing minor injuries, and hitting another vehicle as he tried to escape — is set to enter a plea in Alameda County Superior Court this week.

Authorities say James Jamell Watson-Dixon, 28, was driving on Dwight Way west of Hillegass Avenue on June 25 at 5:35 p.m. when he ran into a woman with his vehicle and knocked her to the ground, causing visible injuries and pain to her leg, according to court papers.

Before driving off, he stopped briefly and, as he did, a witness reached through his window and seized his wallet, which held Watson-Dixon’s driver’s license, among other documents. The witness later gave this to police. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Felons face drug, weapons charges after Berkeley arrest

Image: Google Maps
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A Berkeley man is facing five felony counts after a probation search by Berkeley Police detectives turned up illegal drugs and four shotguns at his South Berkeley home, according to court papers.

And a man identified by police as an upstairs neighbor of his is also facing a weapons charge in connection with the case. Both men, Naeem Perry and Kahn Williams, are set for a pre-trial hearing Tuesday afternoon.

Both men are convicted felons and no longer in custody, according to authorities. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeleyside Blotter: Crime in Berkeley, July 3-9

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. See recent Berkeley crime blotters here.

The following items represent just a sampling of calls, and times may be approximate. From July 3-9, there were 11 burglary reports37 auto break-in or theft from a vehicle reports, and 11 stolen vehicle reports to the Berkeley Police Department, according to CrimeMapping.comSeven robberiesfour assaults, domestic violence incidents or batteries and no sexual assaults were reported. Significant incidents from the University of California Police Department included one robbery and one assault. These numbers are subject to change. Click the previous links for the most current information.

[Editor's Note: We always appreciate photographs and tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at tips@berkeleyside.com or via Facebook or Twitter; please let us know when you write if you prefer to be anonymous.] 

Thursday, July 3

Three robberies were reported: at 4:30 a.m. in the 2500 block of Durant Avenue; at 8:31 a.m. in the 2800 block of San Pablo Avenue; and at 10:46 p.m. in the 3000 block of Adeline Street. Police arrested Cornelius Walker in connection with the 4:30 a.m. incident; he is no longer in custody and charges do not appear to have been filed, according to the Alameda County sheriff’s department.

Four home burglaries were reported: at 6:20 a.m. in the 2600 block of Benvenue Avenue; at 8 a.m. in the 1500 block of Tyler Street; at 10 a.m. in the 2400 block of Blake Street; and at 10 p.m. in the 2500 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Way.  … Continue reading »

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Domino’s wins approval to open in South Berkeley

A simulation of the façade planned for a Domino's Pizza shop that's coming to Adeline Street in South Berkeley. Image: Acute Consulting
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A new Domino’s Pizza shop promising artisan options and a place for customers to watch pizzas being crafted won approval Tuesday night from the Berkeley City Council to open in South Berkeley after a lengthy battle with some of its neighbors.

Owners of the family-run pizza franchise have been trying to open at 3264 Adeline St. since late 2013, but have faced multiple appeals by opponents. City staff initially approved the application in January, but it was appealed by Houshmand Ghaderi, who owns The Vault Cafe, nearby at 3250 Adeline.

Ghaderi took issue with a parking waiver granted by the city to Domino’s and said he didn’t think the corporate chain would be a good fit with the neighborhood, which has been on the upswing in recent years.

The city Zoning Adjustments Board approved the Domino’s application unanimously in April, but Ghaderi again appealed. His appeal was rejected by the Berkeley City Council on Tuesday night.  … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeley woman to push for stiffer outcomes in justice system after brutal stabbing murder of daughter

Jessica Kingeter
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The Berkeley man convicted in the murder of a young woman he had met only hours earlier, in December 2012, is now facing 25 years to life in prison.

A jury found 36-year-old Jamaal Anthony Prince guilty of first-degree murder just before noon Thursday in the slashing and stabbing death of Jennifer “Jessica” Kingeter on Dec. 28, 2012.

Prince is scheduled for a sentencing hearing Sept. 5 at 9 a.m. in Department 10 before Alameda County Superior Court Judge Jon R. Rolefson. … Continue reading »

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Events

Win prizes with your photos, as Sundays on Telegraph returns to Berkeley for the summer

Sundays on Telegraph 2013. Photo: William Newton
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Berkeleyside, in collaboration with Mayor Tom Bates‘ office, is launching a photography contest through July to collect reader images from Sundays on Telegraph, which begins its second season this weekend.

The weekly street fair began in 2013 as a way to draw more families and visitors to Telegraph Avenue south of the UC Berkeley campus.

As described on the event’s website: “Telegraph Avenue becomes a car-free people zone stuffed full of musicians, dancers, artists, craftsmen, vendors and poets. People from all walks of life – locals, visitors, and students alike come out to enjoy the pleasant weather and festivities. Many UC Berkeley student groups participate in the fun and visitors get a chance to experience the breadth of culture Berkeley has to offer in the radius of a few blocks.” … Continue reading »

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Crime

Jury deliberations begin in killing of Berkeley woman

Jennifer "Jessica" Kingeter would have been 28 on Jan. 15, 2014. Photo: Rebecca Tolman
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Update, July 10, 12:06 p.m.: Just before noon, the jury returned a first-degree murder verdict, according to the Alameda County district attorney’s office. A sentencing date has not been set.

Original story, July 9: The man accused of brutally stabbing and slashing to death a young Berkeley woman just after Christmas in 2012 called his mother around the time of the fatal struggle, she said Wednesday.

“He said, ‘Mama, I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe,’” said Jacqueline M. Stewart outside an Oakland courtroom Wednesday afternoon, as the jury began its deliberations about the murder charge her 36-year-old son, Jamaal Prince, is facing. The trial began July 2.

Stewart said her son — who was born and raised in Berkeley, and had worked as a security chief at a Berkeley cannabis club on San Pablo Avenue before his arrest — then hung up. She began calling his friends to try to find him: “I knew something was wrong.”

Authorities said, in the early morning hours of Dec. 28, 2012, Prince stabbed to death 26-year-old Jennifer “Jessica” Kingeter, a hairstylist and Laney College student, who grew up performing as a ballet dancer at the Julia Morgan Theatre in Berkeley.

The defense attorney and prosecutor, who made their closing arguments Wednesday before lunch, have both asked the jury to come back with a guilty verdict.

Defense attorney Al Thews argued for a voluntary manslaughter conviction, and said Prince believed he was defending himself from Kingeter during the “terrible fight in that bathroom between the two of them.” He said Prince had followed Kingeter into a bathroom, expecting to have sex — to which Kingeter had not agreed — and that she had then stabbed him with a knife. … Continue reading »

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Council weighs in on new downtown Berkeley plaza plans

For the first time last week, the Berkeley City Council weighed in on improvements planned for the downtown Berkeley plaza and BART station. (Click the image for details.) Image: BART
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Berkeley’s main downtown plaza is set for some major changes in the next few years, and the Berkeley City Council had a chance to share ideas about the project last week.

The project is driven in large part by BART, which intends to renovate its station entrances, improve travel through the plaza, at Shattuck Avenue and Center Street, repave the area and make it easier to for visitors to navigate the area.

BART announced plans for the plaza late last year, and held public meetings in February and April to collect public feedback.  … Continue reading »

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Government

The Lowdown: Berkeley council on South Berkeley pizza plans, electronic cigarettes, the water shortage and more

With California facing water shortages, cities like Sacramento have taken steps to reduce municipal water usage. Berkeley is set to form its own plans in the coming months. Photo: Kevin Cortopassi
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Summer recess is just around the corner, with Tuesday night’s Berkeley City Council meeting the final one scheduled until Sept. 9. Council will hear an appeal regarding a zoning board decision to allow a family-owned Domino’s Pizza shop to open in South Berkeley, consider the regulation of electronic smoking devices, such as e-cigarettes, and talk about water conservation. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Stolen car seen in Berkeley, driver arrested after chase

CHP chase. Photo: Oakland CHP
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A Berkeley man spotted driving a stolen car on the freeway near Gilman Street was arrested Tuesday morning after leading authorities on a high-speed chase, authorities said.

Officer Sean Wilkenfeld, Oakland-area California Highway Patrol spokesman, said 38-year-old Felix Blas was spotted driving a stolen Acura on eastbound Interstate 80 near Gilman Street at 9:05 a.m.

Blas fled in the Acura, which had been reported stolen out of San Pablo, said Wilkenfeld, and a CHP officer pursued him.  … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeleyside Blotter: Crime in Berkeley, 6/26-7/2

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. See recent Berkeley crime coverage here.

The following items represent just a sampling of calls, and times may be approximate. From June 26 to July 2, there were four burglary reports20 auto break-in or theft from a vehicle reports, and 11 stolen vehicle reports to the Berkeley Police Department, according to CrimeMapping.comSix robberiesnine assaults, domestic violence incidents or batteries and three sexual assaults were reported. Significant incidents from the University of California Police Department included one DUI offense, several incidents of vandalism and a weapons violation. These numbers are subject to change. Click the previous links for the most current information.

[Editor's Note: We always appreciate photographs and tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at tips@berkeleyside.com or via Facebook or Twitter; please let us know when you write if you prefer to be anonymous.] 

Thursday, June 26

A misdemeanor sexual assault was reported at 2 p.m. in the 2200 block of Shattuck Avenue.

Friday, June 27

Three robberies were reported: at 12:05 a.m. at Delaware and Curtis streets; at 12:30 a.m. at Franklin and Virginia streets; and at 5:30 p.m. in the 2300 block of Shattuck. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Trial begins in stabbing death of Berkeley woman

Jennifer "Jessica" Kingeter would have been 28 on Jan. 15, 2014. Photo: Rebecca Tolman
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The trial of a Berkeley man accused of stabbing to death a 26-year-old woman in late 2012 began Wednesday morning in Oakland Superior Court.

Wednesday afternoon, a key witness for the prosecution failed to appear, and Judge Jon Rolefson issued a warrant for his arrest. If Julius Johnson cannot be found, the prosecution plans to read his testimony from an earlier hearing into the record for consideration by jurors.

In brief opening statements, attorneys for both sides said they believe Jamaal Prince, 36, killed Jennifer “Jessica” Kingeter of Berkeley in the bathroom of an Oakland apartment in December 2012.

But, while Alameda County deputy district attorney Danielle Hilton told the jury Prince brutally attacked Kingeter after she refused to have sex with him, defense attorney Al Thews said Prince was high on cocaine and alcohol, and believed he was defending himself after Kingeter stabbed him in the leg. … Continue reading »

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