Author Archives: Tracey Taylor


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

The oldest house in Elmwood Park, according to BAHA whose Spring Tour is on Sunday May 3. Photo: BAHA
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BAHA SPRING TOUR/ELMWOOD Sunday brings the always popular Spring Tour of the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association. This year, the tour is centered on the storied Elmwood Park neighborhood. A total of 11 homes will be open to the public for the $45 ticket price ($35 for BAHA members). Stroll through houses designed by Bernard Maybeck, Julia Morgan, Walter H. Ratcliff, Jr., John Hudson Thomas, Maury I. Diggs, William Porter, and Charles M. MacGregor among others. A 1905 sales brochure for the then new Elmwood Park area depicted bucolic wooded lanes and the promise of a soon-to-be-established Key Route line to the future Claremont Hotel, according to BAHA. A tour map, illustrated guidebook and refreshments are provided. Order your tickets online and collect them at Will Call (in front of John Muir School) on tour day. BAHA Sprint Tour, Sunday May 3, 1-5 p.m. Details on the BAHA website.  … Continue reading »

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Photos: Hundreds march, light candles at vigil for Nepal

People hold hands and observe a moment of silence at a candlelight vigil on the University of California campus, in Berkeley, on Wednesday, April 29, 2015, to bring attention to the victims of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25. Several hundred people participated in the vigil, sponsored by the Nepali Student Association. Photo: David Yee ©2015
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The Nepali Student Association at UC Berkeley organized a vigil Wednesday night to raise awareness and funds after the April 25 earthquake that killed thousands and has devastated many parts of the country.

People began gathering on Sproul Plaza shortly before 7:00 p.m. after which they marched in silence to the area in front of Wheeler Hall where they lit candles and arranged them to spell “Stay Strong Nepal.” The organizers then photographed the group around the candles from overhead, using a drone. They hope to use the images to bring attention to the plight of the victims of the quake.

Berkeleyside sent photographer David Yee to document the event.

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Berkeley non-profit Seva establishes relief fund for Nepal

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When Jack Blanks’ phone pinged him at 5:30 a.m. last Saturday with the news about Nepal’s devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake, it didn’t take long for him to spring into action.

The first priority for Blank, who is executive director of the Berkeley-based Seva Foundation, was to ensure the Nepal-based staff of the nonprofit were safe.

That done — fortuitously, Seva’s two Kathmandu-based employees had flown to a different part of the country the day before the quake — Blanks quickly set to work establish a relief fund for a disaster that may end up claiming an estimated 10,000 lives.

In just a few days, the fund has raised more than $270,000 — the lion’s share of which was donated in the 48 hours after it was launched. “The flood of emails and funding started almost immediately,” said Blanks.

Seva is not a relief organization — its programs focus on sight restoration and blindness prevention — but it is very well-placed to aid victims of the disaster. It has worked in Nepal for 35 years, and has close relationships with partner clinics and hospitals across the country, some of which it founded, Blanks told Berkeleyside yesterday. … Continue reading »

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Efforts to rebuild city’s Tuolumne Camp gain momentum

Berkeley Family Camp on the Tuolumne River. Photo: Sonny Abesamis/Flickr
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The effort to rebuild Berkeley’s favorite family camp is well underway and, if the optimism on display at a recent meeting of those involved in planning its Phoenix-like rising from the ashes is indicative, the goal of a new camp by 2018 may be achievable.

As we reported earlier this month, the City of Berkeley is soliciting the community’s input by holding a series of public workshops over the next few months for those interested in Berkeley Tuolumne Camp, which was destroyed by the Rim Fire in 2013. As part of that process, there’s an online survey where people can provide their thoughts (it closes on May 15). According to the city, much of the camp is set to be rebuilt “essentially in place.”

On April 14, dozens of Camp Tuolumne fans gathered at the Freight & Salvage in downtown Berkeley to hear from various parties on what has to happen for a brand new camp to be ready for summers of fun.

At the meeting, the US Forest Service discussed the steps that need to be taken to restore the natural habitat, including clearing dead and hazardous trees, planting vegetation for soil stability, and re-opening trails. Ultimately, a total of 7 million new trees will be planted over the next ten years, said the service’s Clare Long. … Continue reading »

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

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PUBLIC HEALTH BLOCK PARTY The city hopes to address “health inequities and improve outcomes” at its public health block party on Saturday, 10am-2pm near the entrance to the Frances Albrier Community Center, 2800 Park St. in South Berkeley. Come receive information and resources, such as screenings for blood pressure, glucose, bone density, and Hepatitis C. People can also get assistance with applications for Covered California, the state health insurance exchange created by the Affordable Care Act that provides federally subsidized rates. Not only that, there is free food, courtesy of Acme Bread and Phat Beets Produce, and delicious smoothies created by a “Smoothie Bike,” as well as a Kid Zone and free haircuts courtesy of stylists from South Berkeley barber shop DnD Cuts. … Continue reading »

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Fire at Giovanni’s restaurant causes $100K damage

Firefighters use a ladder to access the roof of Giovanni's restaurant at 2420 Shattuck Ave. today after a fire broke out around 6 a.m. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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A fire that broke out early this morning at Giovanni’s restaurant in downtown Berkeley caused an estimated $100,000 worth of damage, according to Berkeley Fire Department’s Deputy Chief Avery Webb.

The fire department had to open up walls, as well as the roof of the building at 2420 Shattuck Ave., as the fire was concentrated in concealed spaces, Webb said.

The southbound section of Shattuck Avenue between Channing and Haste was closed for about one and a half hours while the first-alarm fire was being tackled. … Continue reading »

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In Berkeley the Blue Glove Crew clean up — at speed

Karen Nierlich shows trash she cleared from a storm drain's grate.
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It all started with a desire to lose weight. Six years ago, Allen Cain, Executive Director of the Solano Avenue Association and Solano Stroll, decided as a New Year’s resolution to shed some pounds, set an example for his daughter, and help tidy up the North Berkeley street at the heart of his organization. How would he do this? With regular power walks/trash pick-up expeditions.

Cain spent roughly three years walking, at a feverish pace, up and then back down Solano, cleaning up en route. Eventually others joined him and, thus, the Blue Glove Crew was born.

Berkeleyside contributing photographer Pete Rosos joined the crew for several of their walks recently, and created the photo essay published here. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Police catch 2 armed robbery suspects after high-speed chase through Berkeley, Emeryville

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The high-speed chase ended in Emeryville, near Powell Street Plaza, where the two suspects were eventually apprehended, according to Officer Jennifer Coats, spokeswoman for the Berkeley Police Department.

Coats said the armed robbery happened at Arch and Virginia streets one block north of the UC Berkeley campus at 8:42 p.m. Coats said it was most likely a pedestrian robbery, although she wanted to confirm that.

A police officer saw two suspects fleeing in a vehicle and, when the officer tried to pull the car over, the suspects fled and evaded the police, according to Coats.

After several police cars had pursued the suspects for awhile, the suspect’s vehicle became disabled near the I-80 off-ramp near Powell Street, Coats said. … Continue reading »

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Photos: Cal Day draws thousands to UC Berkeley campus

Cal Day 2015. Photo: Nancy Rubin
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The UC Berkeley campus was teeming with life and a host of free celebratory events on Saturday for the annual Cal Day. At its core, Cal Day is for newly admitted students, but a majority of the activities are designed to appeal to the broader community. Among the highlights this year were performances by San Francisco-based vertical dance company Bandaloop who helped mark the centennial of the Campanile by, literally, jumping off its roof. (See Cal Day’s full program.)

And, like any Cal event, there was a bit of politics on offer. Members of the Black Student Union blocked Sather Gate in the morning to protest the university environment for Black students. The BSU redirected visitors as a way of pressuring Cal Chancellor Nicholas Dirks to respond to ten demands it submitted three months ago.

Contributing photographer Nancy Rubin captured the day for us. … Continue reading »

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Most expensive home for sale in Berkeley is private oasis

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The newly listed five-bedroom home on Tanglewood Road in Berkeley’s Claremont neighborhood has the distinction of being the most expensive home currently for sale in Berkeley (we don’t count the $21 million home for sale also in Berkeley’s 94705 zip code, as it is technically in Oakland).

While it is priced at $4.25 million, it is also worth knowing that the home’s owners spent around $2.5 million totally rebuilding the house after they bought it 13 years ago — a two-year process which has resulted in a stunning spot, one that has served the family of six who have dwelt there very well.

In fact, it was the 17-year-old son of the family, one of four children, who, on first seeing the original property at 25 Tanglewood, designed by noted local architect Hans Ostwald, exclaimed, “I don’t deserve to live in a house like this!” … Continue reading »

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Bayer invests $100M in new testing facility in Berkeley

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Bayer HealthCare on Wednesday announced an investment of $100 million to build a new product testing facility at the company’s 45-acre manufacturing site in West Berkeley. The funds will support the pharmaceutical company’s next generation of hemophilia A therapies.

Bayer said the investment represented its continued commitment to the Bay Area, which is its U.S. headquarters for research, development and biotech manufacturing.

“Building upon our legacy in hemophilia A, we are delighted to continue Bayer’s leadership in working to bring treatment options to patients around the world,” said Joerg Heidrich, a senior vice president and site head for Bayer in Berkeley, in a prepared statement. … Continue reading »

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New film will tell the story of salvaged Moe’s Books film

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First there was the remarkable salvaging from the city dump of a reel of film shot at Berkeley’s venerable bookstore Moe’s in 1965. Then the discovery that the film was shot by none other than Academy Award nominee and Bladerunner screenwriter David Peoples. Result: one happy bookstore owner, Doris Moscowitz, who has been able to relive some of the glory days of the store founded by her father, Moe. And one great story, in two parts, that was reported by Berkeleyside.

Now local film producer (and former Berkeleyside staffer) Siciliana Trevino has set out to make a short film of her own about the whole, compelling tale. Last week, Trevino launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the $8,500 that will enable her to finish shooting (she’s already done two of the three days she needs), and get the film through editing and post-production.

“It’s such a sweet, romantic story,” Trevino said recently, talking about what inspired her to take on the project. “It took throwing the film away for Doris to see it. It shows us how objects are the source of memories, how they are imbued with meaning but not necessarily valuable.” … Continue reading »

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Tangy tastes: Book highlights versatility of yogurt

Warm chickpeas with toasted pita. Photo: Reprinted with permission from Yogurt, by Janet Fletcher, copyright © 2015, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
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Janet Fletcher is probably best known as a supreme connoisseur of cheese. A longtime contributor to the San Francisco Chronicle, she is the author or co-author of more than two dozen books, including Cheese & Wine, Cheese & Beer, and The Cheese Course. Her weekly email newsletter, Planet Cheese, is read by cheese enthusiasts internationally, she is a member of the Guilde Internationale des Fromagers, and she teaches cooking and cheese-appreciation classes around the country. But with her new book, Yogurt: Sweet and Savory Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner, which comes out tomorrow, Fletcher has turned her attention to another increasingly popular milk-based food. We caught up with the Napa resident to ask about her possible change of allegiance.

You’re known as the cheese guru — why the switch to yogurt?

I haven’t switched! There’s room for both in my life — every day, in fact. I have been a yogurt eater since I was a teenager; I took it to school almost every day, frozen, in my lunchbox. I started making it as an adult and have picked up the pace in recent years because you save so much money making your own yogurt. Even so, I’m as lazy as the next person and I buy a lot of yogurt, too. I wrote Yogurt because I noticed the proliferation of brands and styles at the supermarket and saw a lot of people standing in front of that vast wall of yogurt, not knowing how to choose. I wanted to steer people to some of the better choices and also encourage them to make yogurt at home so they can control what’s in it. … Continue reading »

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