Author Archives: Tracey Taylor

Real weather in Berkeley – time to go storm chasing

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Jody Radzik is really into weather. Although a Berkeley resident now, he used to live in New Mexico where, as he puts it, “the weather is more interesting.”

Like a number of people living in “tornado alley” states, Radzik used to do a lot of storm chasing — tracking the weather on a radar while driving in the hope of seeing a tornado up close. He said he loved marveling at the drama of nature with other storm chasers. … Continue reading »

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Black Lives Matter protest by hundreds of Berkeley High students ‘shows how it’s done’

Berkeley High students stage a 'die-in" observing a 4.5 minute silence at the Campanile on the UC Berkeley campus on Dec. 10, 2014. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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Until yesterday, UC Berkeley junior Franchesca Cavagnaro had never been to a protest. While walking on the Cal campus Wednesday afternoon, she came across a crowd, many hundreds-strong, of demonstrators gathered on the steps of Sproul Hall. She liked what she saw and knew she wanted to be part of it. She joined the group as they marched to the Campanile.

Despite the location, the protesters were not Cal students. They were all Berkeley High students who, as part of an event, carefully organized by the school’s Black Student Union, had walked off their downtown campus at 2:30 p.m., skipping the last class of the day, in order to make their voices heard in the uproar over the recent police-related deaths of young black men. … Continue reading »

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Photo Gallery: Third night of Berkeley protests, trains halted, a freeway brought to a standstill

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The images in this gallery were taken on Monday Dec. 8 on the third day protests against police-related deaths around the country erupted in Berkeley. While the demonstration was largely peaceful (unlike on Sunday night), it did culminate in the dramatic take-over by some of the protesters of the I-80 freeway. Hundreds of drivers were left stranded for more than an hour and CHP ended up arresting 150 people.

We want to take this opportunity to thank the talented photographers who generously share their work with Berkeleyside. The work of Kelly Owen, Gael McKeon, Nathan Phillips, Dan Lurie, Kim Aronson, William Newton and Ted Friedman is featured here, but there are many more — including Pete Rosos, Nancy Rubin, Ira Serkes and Daniel Parks — who offer us their images throughout the year, and for that we are supremely grateful. Please look up their work if you are looking to hire someone for a photography assignment.

And our thanks too go out to the many people who have sent us tips, photos and videos from the heart of the protests these past few days. Again we are deeply grateful. Citizen reporting of this nature makes Berkeleyside a better community resource. … Continue reading »

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Did you appreciate Berkeleyside’s protest coverage? Then please support us

Photo, taken on Sunday Dec. 7, 2014 in Berkeley, by Pete Rosos
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Last night, Berkeleyside reporter Emilie Raguso spent ten hours on the ground reporting minute-to-minute on the riots that consumed downtown Berkeley. She didn’t stop to eat or take a bathroom break. She was swatted at with a baton by a police officer, nearly hit by flying glass bottles, and was threatened by rioting activists.

The Berkeleyside team also live-blogged last night’s protests until the early hours, just as we did the previous night. More than 80,000 people turned to Berkeleyside.com to find out what was happening. Our Facebook posts reached 52,900 people, and there are more than 650 comments on our two protest stories — and counting.

Please support Berkeleyside by becoming a member now.

On Monday morning, Raguso was interviewed by Michael Krasny on KQED Forum, and local and national media, including CNN and Reuters, came calling asking for interviews and to reproduce our photos and videos.

At Berkeleyside, we care little about the media around the country that want to pick off our reporting. We do care deeply about providing timely and accurate information to the Berkeley community. There are more protests slated for tonight and Tuesday night. And we’ll be on the case. And we’ll continue to be on the case long after national interest has moved to other stories.  … Continue reading »

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Photo Gallery: Two nights of protests, riots in Berkeley

Photo, taken on Sunday Dec. 7, 2014, by Kelly Owen
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Berkeleyside is continuing its coverage of the protests and riots that took place in Berkeley this past weekend. Read our minute-by minute reporting of Saturday’s protests, and Sunday’s protests, which includes photos and videos. Watch videos on our YouTube channel. Catch up with our live coverage on Twitter.

Look out for more reporting in the hours to come.

Here we present some of the many dramatic photographs taken of the events that unfolded on Saturday Dec. 6 and Sunday Dec. 7, and into the early hours of Monday Dec. 8. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Alameda boom time, Homeroom To Go, more

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Openings, closings…

CINEMA GRILL It’s Alameda’s moment, given the number of new food businesses that have launched there recently, or are about to. First up is Cinema Grill which opened last month within the Alameda Theatres Cineplex complex. Cinema Grill features “eclectic comfort food and a craft-cocktail program inspired by Hollywood’s golden age.” On the menu: CLT sliders, sweet potato fries, Ahi tuna poke, burgers, pizzas, tacos, land and sea gumbo, as well as ice cream sundaes. Patrons can imbibe and eat at the restaurant or while movie watching. Start by grabbing a beer, glass of wine or cocktail and take it with you into the auditorium through the “backstage pass,” a private corridor connecting the restaurant with the cinema. If you reserve a seat in a designated area of the theatre, you can order food and drinks to be delivered to your seat from the restaurant through a mobile paypal app. Cinema Grill is at the Alameda Theatres Cineplex at 2301 Central Ave. Connect with them on Facebook.Continue reading »

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State court hears Mitch Kapor Berkeley home case

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The long-running saga of philanthropist and Lotus founder Mitch Kapor’s attempt to build a new home in North Berkeley landed at the California Supreme Court in Los Angeles on Tuesday this week.

At the Dec. 2 hearing, the Court heard arguments on whether the rules that exempt most proposed single-family homes from undergoing an environmental impact report (EIR) should apply to the proposal by Kapor, and his wife Freada Kapor Klein, to build a new home with a 10-car garage at 2707 Rose St.

According to Bob Egelko, the Chronicle’s courts reporter, at the one-hour hearing Susan Brandt-Hawley, a lawyer for the Berkeley Hillside Preservation group, re-iterated arguments that have been presented to Berkeley’s Zoning Adjustments Board (which originally approved the project in January 2010), and the Alameda County Superior Court, which subsequently denied an appeal on the case.

Brandt-Hawley said that building a “huge home” in a “landslide zone,” which will also require extensive work to widen the roadway, should amount to unusual circumstances requiring environmental review. She cited testimony by the group’s expert witness, engineer Lawrence Karp. … Continue reading »

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Man found dead in Berkeley’s Aquatic Park identified; birdwatchers discovered his body

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The man found deceased in the southern end of Aquatic Park on Sunday Nov. 30 has been identified as Gary Baker.

An Alameda County Coroner spokeswoman said Baker was 51. The cause of his death is unknown, pending investigation, she said. She did not know his former place of residence.

Berkeley Police Officer Byron White said said the death was “unattended,” and the incident is being investigated as suspicious.

An Oakland resident discovered Baker in the park on Sunday afternoon and reported it to the police who received a call at 4:12 p.m.

The resident, who asked not to be named, was birdwatching around the park with her wife and a friend and they headed to the southernmost of the park’s three lakes as their last stop. … Continue reading »

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Flood advisory for Alameda County, Bay Area, power outage in West Berkeley

Berkeley woke up to heavy rain on Tuesday Dec. 2. Photo: Colleen Neff
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The National Weather Service issued a flood advisory Tuesday for much of the Bay Area, including Alameda County, while around 700 Berkeley residents are without power in West Berkeley.

The “urban and small stream” flood advisory was issued at at 7:39 a.m. and is in place until 7:30 p.m.

Automated rainage and doppler radar indicated “excessive amounts of rainfall in the impacted areas,” the alert issued this morning read. “Runoff from heavy rainfall is expected to cause ponding or flooding on some roadways… poor drainage areas and low-lying spots,” the release continued.

The release said there had been reports of roadway flooding and rock/mud slides Tuesday morning, as well as “numerous reports of accidents due to wet roadways.” … Continue reading »

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Police: Man found dead in Berkeley’s Aquatic Park

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The body of a man was found Sunday afternoon in South Aquatic Park in Berkeley.

Berkeley police said it is too soon to determine whether foul play is involved. The incident is being investigated as a suspicious death.

Read the update on this story.

Berkeley police responded Sunday, Nov. 30, to a call at 4:12 p.m. to check on the welfare of a man reportedly lying on his back, motionless, to the south side of Aquatic Park, according to a Nixle alert put out by the Berkeley Police Department at around 7 p.m. Sunday. … Continue reading »

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Ferguson decision prompts thoughts written in chalk at Berkeley elementary school

Chalk writing outside Malcolm X School in Berkeley. Photo: Ben Hardy
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The Ferguson-related protests that have consumed Oakland for the past two nights, and spread to Emeryville last night, have not, so far, directly affected Berkeley, although BPD has been on alert and has called for mutual aid in case it was needed.

That’s not to say many in Berkeley weren’t thinking about the decision announced Monday not to indict the police officer who killed 18-year-old Michael Brown on Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Missouri.

Someone, or perhaps several people, maybe children, took time to write their thoughts down with chalk in front of the recently installed mosaic walls at Malcolm X Elementary School in Berkeley.

Ben Hardy was on his way to work Wednesday morning when he noticed the writing. He took the photos shown here. Among the sentiments expressed: “Black Lives Matter,” “Don’t Hurt or Kill Anyone,” and “We Stand with Ferguson.” … Continue reading »

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Downtown Berkeley BART reopens after fatality

MacArthur BART station at around 7:15 p.m. after the downtown Berkeley BART station was closed due to a person under a train. Photo: Mori Yagi
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Update, Dec. 5: The person who died after being struck by a train at the downtown Berkeley BART station was Selam Sekuar, according to the Daily Cal. Sekuar, a UC Berkeley freshman and international student from Ethiopia, was 19. Read more about Sekuar.

Original story:

Update, 10:24 p.m.: The downtown Berkeley BART station reopened at 10:10 p.m. Tuesday. A BART spokesperson said service is running normally on the Richmond line although there would be “residual delays.”

To recap: BART received a report at 6:47 p.m. of a person under a train. At 7 p.m., BART confirmed that was the case. At around 7:15 p.m. BART confirmed the person had died. The station was closed from 7-10:10 p.m. while the case was investigated.

Update, 9:40 p.m.: The downtown Berkeley BART station remains closed due to a person who went under a train shortly before 7 p.m. and was pronounced dead. Trains are running through the station but not stopping. BART says to expect 15-20 minute delays. Embarcadero station in San Francisco is also closed due a person under a train. … Continue reading »

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Time-lapse video: A Berkeley school gets new classrooms

The new portables are on Washington’s annex campus on McKinley St., across from the school’s main campus
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Over the summer, Washington Elementary School in Berkeley got a new set of portable classrooms. The new classrooms replaced a group of portables which dated back to the 1960s, even though they were installed originally as a temporary measure. The new ones come from Berkeley High School. They were removed from there in order to complete the high school’s $46 million new construction project.

The decision to replace very old portables with seven less-old portables on Washington’s annex campus on McKinley St., across from the school’s main campus, was not popular with many Washington parents who say an underlying problem not being addressed by the district is overcrowding at the elementary school. … Continue reading »

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