Author Archives: Frances Dinkelspiel
Jeff Morgan of Covenant Winery in Berkeley stood in a vineyard at the top of Sonoma Mountain recently and examined the bright green cluster of grapes he was holding in one hand. He noticed there were small brown specks covering the grape globes and a smattering of raisins on nearby vines — all signs that the Chardonnay grapes were getting ready to be picked.
It was the second trip Morgan had taken to the vineyard in as many weeks, and it won’t be his last. Driving is a major part of any urban winemaker’s life. While having a winery in Berkeley, Oakland, Emeryville or other part of the East Bay means winemakers are closer to the restaurants, wine-club members and tasters that are their customers, during harvest it means driving hundreds of miles on a truck every week.
“Every other day I am driving up and sampling vineyards,” said Mike Dashe, who gets his grapes from vineyards in Sonoma County and brings them to be crushed at Dashe Cellars in Oakland. … Continue reading »
Berkeley officials have put out an alert that a UC Berkeley student diagnosed with measles rode public transportation and was active in the community before he was put in isolation.
The student, who was not identified, was infectious from Aug. 24 to Aug. 29., according to a city press release. On Monday Aug. 24 he took the AC Transit line 25 around 3:30 p.m. and returned on the same line around 5:30 p.m. He also spent time in his dorm and around the UC campus before his tell-tale rash developed. … Continue reading »
Thursday night was the premiere of New Mo’ Cut: David Peoples’ Lost Film of Moe’s Books, produced and directed by Siciliana Trevino. Dozens of people who had backed the film on Kickstarter, worked on it, or supported it in other ways, crowded into the Rialto Cinemas Elmwood for a screening. The general public got to see it at 8 p.m. … Continue reading »
More than 40 people expressed concern about the actions of the Berkeley Library director at a specially called meeting Wednesday night of the Board of Library Trustees.
Those who spoke publicly – who were supported by 40 observers – not only complained about the aggressive book weeding policy put forward by Jeff Scott, the director, but about other issues, including what they perceive as a hostile working environment and a lack of honesty and trust. They said they thought Scott had lied to the community about the number of books weeded out. (Scott initially said he thought 2,200 books had been discarded this year. He later acknowledged that the real number was 39,000). Some also said they were punished for speaking out against the collections management policy.
As Scott sat at the front of the room, his head bowed as he took notes, in what must have been an excruciatingly difficult meeting for him, a number of the speakers called for him to be either fired or suspended without pay. Others asked for an independent investigation into the weeding process: how it occurred, what might have gone wrong, and what could be learned from it. … Continue reading »
The families living in the McKinley Family Transitional House in Berkeley now have a lovely space from which to plot their move out from homelessness.
IKEA, the Scandinavian furniture store with an outlet in Emeryville, recently donated $10,000 worth of furniture and design services to McKinley House, located at 2111 McKinley Ave. in central Berkeley. The home, which is operated by BOSS, or Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency, won the IKEA Life Improvement Challenge.
Now the living room has a comfortable blue plaid couch, lamps, a desk and shelving area, and new art on the wall. The bedrooms have wood dressers, beds and throw rugs. There is also new outdoor furniture on the lawn.
McKinley House is hosting an open house today from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. to show off the redecorated facility. … Continue reading »
Two historic Berkeley homes with a combined age of 263 years have been given a complete makeover, and their doors were opened Tuesday to show off their shiny new parts.
The John Woolley House, first built on Telegraph Avenue in 1876, and the Ellen Blood House, constructed on Durant Avenue in 1891, were moved in 2014 to a new location on Regent Street and Dwight Way. John Gordon of Gordon Commercial Realty and his wife, Janis Mitchell, who bought the homes for $1 each, restored, renovated, and expanded the two houses using as much original material as possible. They also added a floor to the Woolley house. Gone are two decaying, although historic homes. In their place are five gleaming apartments with all the trappings of 21st century living: sleek appliances, gas fireplaces with marble mantles, and high-tech flooring. … Continue reading »
Nabolom Collective Bakery, which operated out of 2708 Russell St. in Berkeley’s Elmwood neighborhood for almost 40 years, shut down last Sunday because four members of the collective departed over a short period of time and the other members did not feel they could continue with such a reduced staff, according to a former collective member.
The loss of four of the 10 collective members within three months was too much to absorb at once, according to Crow Bolt, a former member who lent the business around $80,000 to stay afloat 15 years ago.
“What’s shutting it down now is not the finances, but the staffing,” said Bolt, who is now a hospital emergency room nurse in New Mexico. “Four key members [left] in too short of time to recover.” … Continue reading »
When librarians from the Berkeley Public Library were examining books that had not been checked out for three years to determine which ones to keep and which to discard, they reviewed “The Housefly: Its Natural History, Medical Importance, and Control,” written by Luther S. West in 1951. It was retained.
So was “A Guide to Shrubs for Coastal California,” by Harry Morton Butterfield, published in 1980, and the memoir “The Peacocks of Baboquivari,” by Erma J. Fisk, which came out in 1987.
But the librarians agreed that Yingxing Song’s “Chinese Technology in the Seventeenth Century,” described by its publisher as a “1637 classic on the history of traditional Chinese technology,” didn’t need to remain in circulation. Neither did “Creating Color: a Dyer’s Handbook,” by Judy Anne Walter or “Strip City: A Stripper’s Farewell Journey across America,” by Lily Burana. … Continue reading »
Nabolom Collective Bakery, which has been cooking cinnamon twists, blueberry cheese Danishes, morning buns, snicker-doodle cookies, challah and other baked delights for almost 40 years, is shutting down Sunday Aug. 2.
The bakery, at 2708 Russell St. (at College) in the Elmwood district, put up signs Thursday announcing its imminent closure.
“Thank You Berkeley!!! For love and support since 1976,” said a sign in colorful chalk. “Sunday August 2nd will be our last day in operation. Get your favorite pastries while you still can!” … Continue reading »
BART will shut down its transbay service between Oakland and San Francisco on Saturday, Aug. 1, and Sunday, Aug. 2, to repair the tracks.
“We understand the interruption in service will be a significant inconvenience for tens of thousands of people but we simply can’t avoid making these repairs,” BART Assistant General Manager for Operations Paul Oversier said on the transit service’s website. “We need to completely rebuild one of the hardest working sections of track in the entire BART system. Once the work is finished, riders can expect a faster, smoother ride between West Oakland and Embarcadero.” … Continue reading »
The developer of 2211 Harold Way and Landmark Theatres are nearing a deal to increase the number of movie theaters in the 302-unit building in downtown Berkeley to 10 — but detractors say the changes do not go far enough.
After discussions with Ted Mundorf, the CEO of Landmark, Joseph Penner of HSR Berkeley Investments has submitted a new set of plans with the 10 theaters. Previously, the number of theaters proposed had ranged from zero to nine.
The current plan, which still needs city approval, would place the box office by the sidewalk on Shattuck Avenue, much like it currently is. There would be four theaters on the street level. Patrons would take an escalator, stairs or an elevator one flight down to the six other theaters. There would also be bathrooms, a bar, a lounge and a snack bar on the bottom level. … Continue reading »
One of the Bay Area’s biggest philanthropists has given a $1.3 million matching grant to spur completion of the renovation of the UC Theatre in Berkeley.
Tad Taube, who made his millions in real estate and through his connection to Joseph Koret, a women’s clothing manufacturer, announced this week that he will back the $5.6 million project, scheduled to be completed this fall.
“Music and the arts are gifts that should be accessible to everyone,” Taube said in a press release. “David Mayeri and his innovative team at the Berkeley Music Group have developed a contemporary vision for the UC Theatre that will both enrich our community and broaden youth engagement in the arts. Supporting this project presents an opportunity for our community to engage in an endeavor that will have a broad, diverse impact on music, culture, education and quality of life in our community.” … Continue reading »
SOURCE MINI SHUTTERS UNEXPECTEDLY Source Mini, an offshoot of San Francisco’s Source restaurant, opened to great fanfare in the Gourmet Ghetto’s Epicurious Garden at 1511 Shattuck Ave. in January 2014. Owner Mitchell Fox said his vegan place was “like a Subway or McDonald’s-esque vegan fast-food menu,” with vegan burgers and sandwiches, gluten-free tacos and quesadillas and dosadillas. Fox shuttered his San Francisco locale in January because of the escalating costs associated with a higher minimum wage; the Berkeley restaurant followed suit last week, apparently because business was slow. Fox left a short note on the restaurant’s Facebook page saying the place closed July 18: “Sorry to say yesterday was our last day in Berkeley, we want to thank everyone for their support.” When fans asked why, he replied: “Wasn’t able to do enough business.” The management of Epicurious Garden has a sign up announcing that a new restaurant will be opening soon. … Continue reading »