Author Archives: Lance Knobel
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Photo: James Corr.
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Since its start three years ago, the annual celebration breakfast on Martin Luther King Jr. Day has been one of the key community events on the calendar. On Monday morning, more than 350 people packed HS Lordships overlooking the bay to break bread with fellow Berkeleyans, to honor Berkeley students and to reflect on King’s legacy at a time of heightened awareness of racial disparities and injustice.
“If we ever need the legacy of Martin Luther King, we need it today,” said Michael McBride, pastor of The Way Christian Center. In a powerful talk which ranged from Ferguson, Mo. to Berkeley protests, McBride said, “We will wrestle with the question, ‘Which side are you on?'” … Continue reading »
A fire gutted the John Hinkel Park clubhouse early on Friday, Jan. 16. The Berkeley Fire Department received reports of sparks seen in the clubhouse at 6:45 a.m. on Friday, and four engines, a truck, an ambulance and a batallion chief were dispatched to the scene.
When engine 4 arrived at the park, just off the Arlington in north Berkeley, they saw the west end of the clubhouse in flames, according to Deputy Fire Chief Avery Webb. Because of pre-planning at the site, the department knew the building was not in use and the location of the nearest water supply. The fire was under control in about 30 minutes, Webb said. … Continue reading »
PALLADE MUSICA A young early music quartet from Montreal will have its West Coast debut in a series of concerts by the San Francisco Early Music Society this weekend. Pallade Musica will play instrumental works from the 17th century, including compositions by Sweelinck, Castaldi and Buxtehude. The program “journeys from the beginnings of the Stile Moderno in the breathtaking sonatas of Dario Castello to the pinnacle of the Stylus Phantasticus with Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber’s ‘Mystery Sonatas’ for violin.” Pallade Musica will perform at St. John’s Presbyterian Church, 2727 College Ave., at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 17. Call the box office for ticket availability on 510-528-1725. … Continue reading »
Berkeley is one of 50 communities across the country selected as a semifinalist for the Georgetown University Energy Prize, a national competition to reduce energy use with a $5 million prize for the winning community. Berkeley is one of six Northern California cities in the competition, with other semifinalists coming from 26 states.
“We have a legacy of innovation and leadership in energy efficiency and we’ve been making steady progress on our Climate Action Plan commitments,” said Neal De Snoo, Energy Program Officer for the City of Berkeley. “Berkeley is ready for a bit of friendly competition, and we’re ready to bring home the prize.”
The 50 cities and counties in the competition will be judged on their performance over the next two years in reducing utility-supplied energy consumption “in a manner that is likely to yield continuing improvements within their own community and replication in other communities.” … Continue reading »
The fourth annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast takes place on Monday, Jan. 19, 8-10 a.m., at Hs Lordships, on the Berkeley Marina.
The breakfast, which opens Berkeley’s celebrations of MLK Jr. Day, brings together a diverse and friendly crowd to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy and to honor the next generation of young leaders. The food isn’t half bad either.
The breakfast will be emceed by Berkeley schools superintendent Donald Evans and Pastor Anthony Hughes from St. Paul AME Church. Members of the Berkeley High Jazz Ensemble will perform, as will a youth choir from a number of Berkeley churches.
The lifetime achievement award will be presented this year to Berkeley native Thelette Bennett, a long-time Berkeley High administrator. Bennett became student activities director at BHS in 1974… and stayed for 18 years. She went on to become vice principal at Willard Middle School, Longfellow Middle School and BHS.
For five years we’ve been making New Year’s resolutions on Berkeleyside, putting down markers for 10 things we’d like to see in the year ahead for our city. Let us know in the comments what your hopes and expectations are for 2015. After our 10 for 2015, we review how our 2014 resolutions fared.
1. Turn the soda tax into something concrete
It would be too easy to take a breather after the clamorous, successful campaign for Measure D, Berkeley’s nation-leading soda tax. But now the legislation has to be shown to work, producing funds for nutrition and health programs on a rapid schedule. Applications for the Panel of Experts, which will advise the City Council on how to spend tax proceeds, are due on Jan. 17. Dithering will be seized upon by the soda industry. … Continue reading »
The proposal by Berkeley developers Hudson MacDonald to buy the downtown Berkeley Post Office has fallen through after they were unable to reach agreement with the Post Office on a deal.
Meanwhile, police from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service prompted an orderly clearance of parts of the makeshift encampment at Berkeley’s main Post Office Thursday morning. Protesters, who call themselves Berkeley Post Office Defenders, and a homeless advocacy group, First They Came for the Homeless, have been camped around the building for four weeks.
According to a spokesperson for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, officers provided protesters with a list of federal regulations and criminal statutes that prohibit the encampment. No arrests were made. … Continue reading »
Cleophus Quealy Beer Company has both an unusual name and an origin story that is decidedly different for a craft brewery.
Founders Peter Baker and Dan Watson are software developers who met while working at Google in 2005. A friendship bloomed, and when Baker and Watson were traveling together in Europe, they confirmed a joint love for beer. Five years ago they started brewing together in a garage.
“In some ways we’re trying to follow the tech path of doing a startup and iterating,” Baker explained. “Two years ago we had a showcase event to see if people liked our beer. We wanted to see how people responded to the beer and how we responded to the people.” … Continue reading »
Update, Dec. 17: UCPD spokesman Lt. Eric Tejada said the initial release that went out saying three people had been arrested in this case had been wrong, and has since been corrected. The release posted online now reads that three people were identified in the case Dec. 1.
“This investigation is ongoing, but three suspects have been identified. There is reason to believe that these suspects committed similar additional crimes in the hills above Berkeley & Oakland on the night of Wednesday, November 26th / early morning of Thursday, November 27th (Thanksgiving Day). We are asking for any additional victims or witnesses to please contact the UC Berkeley Police Department or their own local police department to make a report as soon as possible.”
UCPD sends out crime alerts by email, but never sent out a corrected news release.
The department announced Dec. 17 that arrests were made Tuesday. Read more on Berkeleyside.
The headline and story below have now been corrected to reflect the accurate information. … Continue reading »
Three men armed with handguns and a baseball bat kidnapped and robbed a man and a woman at a dirt turn-out along Grizzly Peak Boulevard at 2 a.m. today.
The two victims, a 26-year-old woman and a 23-year-old man, were sitting in their car looking out toward the bay. Three suspects, two armed with handguns and one with a baseball bat, approached them and demanded money. The victims had no money on them, so one suspect entered their car and demanded that they drive to an ATM. The other suspects followed in their car.
At the ATM, the victims provided the suspects with the money and the suspects left the area. There were no injuries during the encounter. … Continue reading »
Last night’s performance of Berkeley-based composer John Adams’ The Death of Klinghoffer at the Metropolitan Opera in New York wasn’t a typical opera opening. Protesters, many in wheelchairs, lined Columbus Avenue in front of Lincoln Center, and police were stationed inside and outside the opera house.
The New York Times reported that “a roar of cheers” greeted Adams when he took the stage at the end of the opera. Despite fears of disruption, only two small incidents marred the performance. One man who shouted, “The death of Klinghoffer will never be forgiven,” was escorted out of the opera house and arrested for disorderly conduct.
Adams’ opera has been acclaimed by critics since its debut in 1991 as a modern masterpiece. But since then, it has also attracted vehement criticism from some groups because of what they see as a glorification of terrorism. The opera is based on the hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship in 1985 by members of the Palestinian Liberation Front. Leon Klinghoffer, a wheelchair-bound American Jewish passenger, was killed by the hijackers. … Continue reading »
From our founding five years ago, we’ve had a consistent policy on Berkeleyside of not endorsing election candidates or taking sides on local measures. We are sticking to that principle.
We do this because we’re deeply committed to providing even-handed reporting on issues and candidates. We think our journalism benefits from our determination to be unbiased.
At a bigger news organization, it’s possible to have a well-constructed separation between reporting and opinion. On a small team like Berkeleyside, that’s just not possible, so the fairness of our reporting would inevitably — and rightly — be questioned. (We do welcome opinions, however. Check out our Opinionator section for a torrent of views on the 2014 election.)
We also trust our readers. We’re confident that if we report the news in as straightforward a fashion as we can manage, we will give you the tools to make your own minds up. Why should our opinion be privileged in some special way? … Continue reading »