Author Archives: Tracey Taylor

Police: Suspicious bag in downtown Berkeley proved safe; Shattuck Avenue open again

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Update, 3:05 p.m.:Update — Police report via Nixle that the suspicious bag proved to be safe. Shattuck Avenue is has now been re-opened.

Original story: Berkeley Police were investigating a suspicious bag on the 2300 block of Shattuck Ave. Friday afternoon.

The suspicious bag is in the 2300 block of Shattuck Avenue and while it is being checked out, Shattuck has been closed to all vehicle and pedestrian traffic between Bancroft Way and Durant Avenue, according to a Nixle alert sent out by BPD at 2:40 p.m..

People on the scene report that the area was evacuated by the police. … Continue reading »

Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Photo: Mid Century Møbler
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MID CENTURY MØBLER OPENS Furniture store Mid Century Møbler has opened in Berkeley (on Ashby Avenue near Orchard Hardware and Looking Glass Photo), having relocated from a small warehouse in San Francisco’s Mission district. Owned by Julian Goldklang, the store specializes in importing vintage Danish Modern and authentic 1950s and 1960s furniture. All its inventory is hand-selected on quarterly buying trips to Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany, England and Scotland. According to marketing director Tomas Hemstad, the 7,500-square-foot showroom makes the store the largest supplier of vintage furniture in Northern California. Hemstad says that, though they loved San Francisco, the four partners who run the business wanted to continue to grow the company in a location that had “a strong existing design community and more space to expand physically.” “We wanted our new location to be a space where customers could easily come and browse our huge collection. Our new shop also provides a massive space to hold events and workshops, which will be regular happenings in the coming months,” he said. Mid Century Møbler is at 1065 Ashby Ave., Berkeley 94710. Current hours are Friday through Sunday, 11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., and by appointment the rest of the week. Connect with the store on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.Continue reading »

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As drought raises fire risk, Berkeley focuses on safety

Police and firefighters will be out in the North Berkeley neighborhoods this week practicing wildfire response (file photo). Photo: Emilie Raguso
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How long does it take to evacuate a block of Berkeley homes threatened by an encroaching fire? Ten minutes, 30 minutes, more? That was a question posed by Lt. Andrew Rateaver, Area 2 Commander with the Berkeley Police Department, at a community meeting on wildfire safety convened by council members Susan Wengraf, Laurie Capitelli and Lori Droste on Oct. 1.

The gathering was prompted by several inescapable, sobering facts: the state’s ongoing four-year drought is creating the perfect conditions for wildfires; trees are drying up; wildfires are spreading faster than in 30 years; and wildfires in western states generally are lasting 78 days longer on average than in the past. All these statistics were cited by Timothy Buroughs from the City of Berkeley’s resilience office. “This is not a blip, it’s a trend,” he said. More evidence if it were needed: the state Forest Service now spends more than 50% of its budget on fighting fires — as one of its directors said recently: “We’re no longer a forest service, we’re a fire department.” … Continue reading »

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The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

The South Branch of the Berkeley Public Library opened in May 2013. Photo: Richard Friedman
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BANNED BOOKS WEEK BIKE PARTY Join the Berkeley Public Library for the second annual Banned Books Week Bike Party on Saturday Oct. 3, 10 a.m.-12 noon. This year, the event takes place at South Branch (1901 Russell St.) for a kickoff celebration featuring bike decorating, music and more. Participants will then ride as a group over to the Central Library (2090 Kittredge) via Russell, Milvia and Kittredge streets for a reading from some of the most frequently challenged books. There will be a raffle off a prize for readers at the end. The ride is about 1 mile long and is perfect for beginning cyclists and kids. Info on the BPL’s website. … Continue reading »

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Jean Cunningham: A musician who lived many melodies

Jean Cunningham, who died on
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Jean Cunningham /May 5, 1928 – August 23, 2015

Jean Zeiger Cunningham, 87, of Oakland, CA, passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, August 23, 2015. Friend, traveler, sister, musician, mother, grandmother, chemist, wife, music librarian, teacher were among the many roles Jean fulfilled with skill, humor, clarity and love.

Jean was born in Cincinnati, OH. She graduated from Walnut Hills High School and Barnard College in NYC with a degree in chemistry.

After a stint with Procter & Gamble after college, … Continue reading »

Unveiled: Full program for Uncharted Ideas Festival

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The full program for the third annual Uncharted Ideas Festival was unveiled today, and is published below. The festival takes place at the Berkeley Rep, the Freight & Salvage, and on the UC Berkeley campus in downtown Berkeley on Friday Oct. 16 and Saturday Oct. 17.

Full details of speakers and performers at
Register for a one- or two-day ticket now.

Day 1 — Friday, October 16

8:00-9:00  Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse lobby
Coffee, Berkeley Rep courtyard
Music by the Michael LaMacchia Trio

9-11:00  Roda Theatre, Berkeley Rep
Opening session
Lance Knobel, Curator, Uncharted

The adaptable mind
Tiffany Shlain in conversation with Peter Leyden

Criminal justice 2.0
Alex Kozinski in conversation with William Turner

Pop-up performance: Meklit Hadero

Liberty and drugs
Ethan Nadelmann in conversation with Frances Dinkelspiel

11:00-11:30 Berkeley Rep courtyard
Coffee break

11:30-1:00 Roda Theatre, Berkeley Rep
Morning session

What next for #BlackLivesMatter?
Pastor Michael McBride in conversation with Joshua Johnson

How I learned to stop worrying and love drones
Chris Anderson in conversation with Peter LeydenContinue reading »

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Students victims of armed robbery, assault on Grizzly Peak

A turn-out on Grizzly Peak Boulevard. Four students were victims of an attempted armed robbery and assault on Sunday Sept. 27, 2015. Photo: Google Streetview
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Four students were threatened with, and then assaulted with, a gun in an attempted robbery on Sunday at the Signpost 21 turnout on Grizzly Peak Boulevard in the Berkeley Hills.

UC Berkeley police reported that the four young men had pulled into the turnout in their car to look at the view at around 11:24 p.m Sunday night.

“They noticed three vehicles already parked at the turnout,” UCPD wrote in a release about the crime. “There were numerous people in each of the vehicles. One of the males in the group walked up to the victim’s car and pulled out a gun. The suspect struck two of the victims with the gun and demanded their property.” … Continue reading »

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Fallen tree cuts power in Tilden, sends cyclist to hospital

Golf Course Road. Photo: Art Poskanzer
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A live oak tree that fell onto a power line on Golf Course Road in Tilden Sunday prompted a power outage across the park and caused a crash that sent a cyclist to the hospital.

The tree toppled from 50 feet up a cliff onto Golf Course Road, around 200 yards south of the entrance to the golf course, at around 11 a.m., according to Carolyn Jones, spokeswoman for the East Bay Regional Park District.

The tree fell onto a power line which in turn knocked down a power pole. A cyclist on the road collided with the power line. Jones said she understood the cyclist was unable to stop in time. He was taken away by ambulance but, according to park staff, seemed to be OK, Jones said.

The incident caused power to go out at the Tilden Golf Course, the park’s corporation yard and at the facilities serving the Tilden Steam Train. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s Ashby BART station re-opens after fatality involving person under a train; expect delays

Ashby BART no credit info / do not use?
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Update, 3 p.m. Ashby BART station is now open, following its closure in the wake of a person going under a train Monday at around 12:20 p.m., according to BART spokesman Jim Allison. Passengers will likely experience delays as trains get back on schedule, Allison said in a message left on the BART media hotline at 2:45 p.m. Allison confirmed that the incident resulted in a fatality and that the Alameda County coroner’s bureau responded to the scene. The case is under investigation by BART Police.

Update, 2 p.m. Ashby BART station is still closed due to the person under the train.

Original story, 12:50 p.m. Ashby BART station was closed at around 12:30 p.m. Monday due to what BART described in a Twitter alert as a “major medical emergency.” A person was reported as being under the train at 12:24 p.m., according to a message left by BART spokesman Jim Allison on its media hotline. … Continue reading »

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‘East Side Sushi’: Gratifying food film set in East Bay

Diana Elizabeth Torres as Juana in 'East Side Sushi.' (Blue Sun Pictures/Sparklight Films)
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By Tien-Tien Jong / Eat Drink Films

East Side Sushi, the directorial debut of Anthony Lucero, belongs to a select category of “food films” that strives to capture not only an array of photogenic dishes (in this case attractively plated sushi, nigiri, and sashimi, as well as tacos, enchiladas, and fresh mangos drizzled with Valentina), but also to convey the differences and seeming incompatibilities in the two cultural traditions, and the emotions and stories, behind those dishes.

Diana Elizabeth Torres stars as Juana, a young Mexican-American woman living in East Oakland who struggles to make ends meet for herself, her father (Rodrigo Duarte Clark), and her grade-school-aged daughter, Lydia (Kaya Jade Aguirre), by taking on a number of odd jobs, including shifts as a custodian in a gym and helping with her father’s fresh fruit cart, all with little job satisfaction and underwhelming returns.

The first shot in the film, which is playing at Rialto Cinemas Elmwood, is a close-up on Juana’s alarm clock, which begins her day at 3:50 a.m.. From there we see that Juana has a special talent for preparing food quickly and efficiently, through creative shots of fruit for her father’s cart being sliced and rolled in such a way as to evoke parallels with sushi-making. Her father stresses that Juana could excel in a taqueria, but that’s a path she’s been down before, which Juana sees as a dead end when she would prefer to keep her options open for herself and her daughter. … Continue reading »

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John King: Berkeley buildings that make me happy

Photo: John King
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John King, the San Francisco Chronicle’s urban design critic, and a Berkeley dweller, writes a weekly column for the paper called Cityscapes in which, in words and photographs, he highlights an architectural slice of San Francisco life. The columns have been collected into a second book, “Cityscapes 2: Reading the Architecture of San Francisco,” published by Berkeley’s Heyday, and King will be talking about the book at Mrs Dalloway’s bookstore in Berkeley tonight, Friday, at 7:30 p.m.

In August, when writing the column, King turned his attention to his hometown. (Berkeleyside reprinted some of the pieces.) But he couldn’t include all his favorite spots. So here, without further ado, are his fascinating “outtakes.”

John King: Having lived in Berkeley for longer than I care to admit, it was a kick to finally do a month of Cityscape columns in the San Francisco Chronicle about my current home. They ran in August, a month chosen for having five Sundays; still the challenge was deciding which buildings to leave out. To give a sense of what a writer leaves on the newspaper equivalent of the cutting-room floor — and why — here are some of the buildings I considered but didn’t include. … Continue reading »

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Man charged in hammer attack during Berkeley protests

Man hit in the head with a hammer while objecting to the breaking of the windows of Radio Shack on Shattuck. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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A man has been charged with two felonies related to an attack with a hammer on a demonstrator taking part in a Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Berkeley in December.

Berkeley police arrested Jayne Waller, 20, in late August on an unrelated offense after an officer recognized him from a previously circulated physical description that included a street name. Waller was released after that violation, but was re-arrested Monday in the 2100 block of Shattuck Avenue in connection with the hammer attack.

Waller was charged Tuesday by the Alameda County district attorney’s office on two counts relating to the attack — assault with a deadly weapon and battery with serious bodily injury — and one count of second-degree commercial burglary relating to a break-in and theft at the RadioShack store on Shattuck Avenue and Dwight Way.

Berkeleyside caught the attack on video (see below). It happened around 8 p.m. Dec. 7, one of several nights that month when Berkeley and Oakland were consumed with largely peaceful Black Lives Matter protests that included property damage and were at times violent. … Continue reading »

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Where in Berkeley?

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Know where this is? Take a guess and let us know in the Comments, below.

Photo: Neil Mishalov.

Send your submissions for “Where in Berkeley?” to The more obscure the better —  just as long as the photos are taken in Berkeley. Thanks in advance.