Author Archives: Tracey Taylor
A broad coalition of diverse community representatives came together before the Berkeley City Council recently to call for Council support for two very important “Healthy Berkeley” initiatives. One involves a city parks bond proposal, and the other a proposed tax on sugary drinks.
Both could provide long-term funding for healthy city improvements, including parks, playgrounds, pools, school gardens, and nutrition and physical education programs.
Recent events require action
Several recent events have galvanized community … Continue reading »
Andrei Crandall, a 14-year-old student at Longfellow Middle School in Berkeley, got the opportunity of a lifetime recently when he was invited to the White House by the President’s personal photographer, Pete Souza, and ended up snapping his own shots of Barack Obama.
Andrei and his two mothers, Kathleen Crandall and Lori Gitter, were invited to meet Souza on Sunday March 30 for a private tour of the photographer’s offices in the executive building, as well as the West Wing and the Oval Office.
The middle schooler was then invited back the following day to the White House to take photographs of the President at the ceremony on the South Lawn honoring World Series winners the Boston Red Sox.
Crandall took pictures alongside photographer Chuck Kennedy in a special area set aside for the White House photographers.
It all started over a year ago when the then 13-year-old emailed Souza asking him for advice, and Souza not only responded, but became something of a mentor for the aspiring snapper.
But the path to the White House started even further back than that, as Crandall showed promise from an early age. … Continue reading »
Berkeley resident Kyle Russell was assaulted while walking down the sidewalk in San Francisco’s Mission District on Friday last week because he was wearing Google Glass. The incident follows other similar assaults in San Francisco, which has also seen protests against Google and other tech companies for what is perceived to be their detrimental impact on the city. In January, activists also turned up at the home of a Google staffer who lives in Berkeley. Russell wrote about his experience for Business Insider where he works:
A colleague and I had just finished covering a march in protest of a Google employee who had recently evicted several tenants after buying and moving into a home in the area.
After more than an hour spent working on the story in a coffee shop, I arranged my laptop, camera, and notes in my backpack. Mindlessly, I put on Google Glass instead of squeezing it in with the rest of my things.
(In retrospect, I can see how that might not have been the best idea.)
The aforementioned colleague and I were on our way to the 16th Street BART station — I’ll note that I wasn’t using any device at the time — when a person put their hand on my face and yelled, “Glass!” … Continue reading »
Eric Gellerman, owner of The Wooden Duck furniture store, says he has nothing but thanks for the firefighters who fought the blaze that engulfed a building on Second Street in West Berkeley on Saturday night.
The store’s warehouse is “a total loss,” he said Sunday. However, The Wooden Duck’s showroom and store, which fronts Eastshore Highway, was saved. Gellerman said it turned out that the wall between the store and the warehouse was 3 to 4 feet thick and held the flames at bay.
“Even the firefighters were amazed,” he said Sunday, while he and others mopped up water at the scene. ”Apparently there were three ‘old-timers’ from Fire Station 7 in the Berkeley Hills to whom we owe a debt of gratitude,” he said. … Continue reading »
ALCHEMY BOTTLE SHOP Upscale liquor shops seem to be quite the thing right now — must be because of those craft cocktails we’re all enjoying so much — and the latest entrant into the field is Alchemy Bottle Shop at 3256 Grand Ave. (within striking distance of restaurants like Boot & Shoe Service and Grand Fare). The store — whose design is as far removed from the stereotypical seedy liquor store as you can get, with fresh white-painted cabinets, varnished wood floors and lashings of light — offers a “handpicked selection of the finest craft spirits, featuring small producers and naturally made products.” Other high-end spots to pick up your favorite tipple include the Northbrae Bottle Shop, at 1590 Hopkins St. in Berkeley, which opened last spring. And soon we will have another similar destination at 3185 College Ave. in Rockridge. As we reported last month, Future Bars, the group behind San Francisco cocktail bars Bourbon & Branch and Local Edition, as well as the forthcoming Tupper & Reed cocktail bar in the old Beckett’s space in Berkeley, has taken over College Avenue Wine Spirits & Deli and is expected to re-open as Cask in a few months. … Continue reading »
Berkeley’s Whole Foods market unveiled two new, powerful charging stations for electric vehicles yesterday at its store at the intersection of Telegraph at Ashby. The move brings the total number of public stations in the city to four, and Berkeley is on track to gain at least a further seven stations in the not too distant future.
This will be welcome news to owners of Leafs, Volts and Teslas whose numbers are on the rise: the city has seen a 70% increase in electric vehicle registrations in the past six months, according to Sarah Moore, Assistant Planner in the city’s Office of Energy and Sustainable Development, who estimates there are around 350 electric vehicles currently registered to Berkeley residents and businesses.
The Whole Foods stations allow customers with electric cars to boost their power from zero to 80% in just 20-30 minutes if they choose their DC-Fast option.
Whole Foods is the first business to participate in a City of Berkeley pilot program to ease the permitting and installation of EV charging stations. … Continue reading »
UPDATE, 04.09.14: Bike share funds approved, as is money for Bay Trail: The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) voted to allocate the $8.7 million in bike share funding at its committee meeting today. The MTC spending plan also includes two projects to improve Bay Trail segments in Berkeley. Berkeley will receive $1 million for the third segment of the Bay Trail Extension, a spur of the Bay Trail running through the Berkeley Marina. The first two segments of the extension have been completed, and the new funding would also add a public restroom, bike racks, access improvements, parking lot upgrades and other enhancements near the two sailing clubs and windsurf rigging area. At the same time, the East Bay Regional Parks District will receive $750,000 to fill the gap in the Bay Trail between Gilman Street in North Berkeley and Buchanan Street near the Albany Bulb in Albany. The new segment will run on the shoreline side of the Golden Gate Fields racetrack.
ORIGINAL STORY: This time next year, Berkeley could have a bike sharing program in place in the city. Mayor Tom Bates, for one, thinks it won’t be soon enough.
“We’ve been lobbying for this for a long time,” Bates said on Monday.
Bates sits on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission which will vote on Wednesday to allocate $8.7 million to be spent on rolling out Bay Area Bike Share to the East Bay. The program started in San Francisco and the Peninsula last August and, in San Francisco at least, has proved successful.
If approved, the program would see 60 bike pods installed in an 8 1/2-square-mile area of the East Bay, stocked with a total of about 750 bikes, around 300 of them in Berkeley. Planning is in early stages and locations for the bike stations have not yet been decided. … Continue reading »
A UC Berkeley student was confirmed to have measles on Friday, April 4.
The case, the second to affect a Cal student this year, comes in the midst of a high number of measles cases throughout the state. The California Department of Public Health reported Friday that there have been at least 51 cases this year so far, compared to four at the same time last year. The vast majority of cases involve those who traveled to, or were in contact with, known measles cases.
The student was isolated on April 3, soon after reporting a rash suspected of being measles-related.
The student landed on a domestic flight to Oakland on March 30, rode BART to Berkeley and attended classes April 1 through April 3. The university, and the City of Berkeley health department, have contacted students who might have been in class with the student on those days. … Continue reading »
A ROCK OPERA THRILLER This weekend, First Look Sonoma and ROCKIT Opera is presenting three performances of the world premiere of composer/librettist (and Berkeley local) Sheli Nan’s SAGA of the 21st Century Girl: A Rock Opera Thriller. The new opera stars Crystal Philippi as a disturbed young girl struggling to cope with her self-absorbed mother (Valentina Osinski) and gutless father (Jo Vincent Parks) and their dysfunctional home. Portraying various aspects of the predatory impulse are the Shadows, both hilarious and genuinely frightening, portrayed by Alexis Lane Jensen and John Duykers. The company says the show, with its “completely original narrative with haunting musical themes is dynamic, captivating, and humorous at times.” SAGA is recommended for mature audiences. SAGA opens tonight and there are performances Saturday and Sunday. The show is at the Osher Studio, 2055 Center St. in downtown Berkeley. Visit First Look Sonoma online for details. … Continue reading »
It may have been April Fool’s day, but there was nothing funny about the fright Berkeley resident April Gilbert got when she spotted what she thought was a giant white rat right outside her window on Monday.
“I initially thought it was a gigantic — as in 15 to 20 lbs — white rat,” said Gilbert who lives on Russell Street. “It came up very close to my office window and sat looking at me for several minutes before waddling off along my fence. I felt a bit traumatized by the experience, especially on my namesake day, but managed to take some photos of it with my phone.” … Continue reading »
THE SHOP We told you about new barber shop going into old Kids’ Dynamo space on Shattuck last month. The Shop is now open at 1481 Shattuck Ave. next to Saul’s Deli. It’s the second barber shop for owner Dustin Clark who has another location in Petaluma. The Shop offers cuts for men, women and kids. They also do color, highlights, deep conditioning, and waxing. Open 7 days a week, no appointments are needed. Just walk-in, or call ahead to get your name on the list. The Shop Cuts for Men & Women, 1481 Shattuck Ave. Tel: 510-524-1258. … Continue reading »
A clean-up operation was underway today after a giant redwood tree in North-West Berkeley exploded after being struck by lightning during a storm on Monday, sending large chunks of wood flying all over the neighborhood. Nearby homes and cars sustained damage, and some witnesses said wood debris landed as far as two blocks away from the site of the tree at 1430 Holly Street (at Buena Avenue).
Fortunately nobody was injured during the dramatic incident, although during the same storm lightning struck 31-year-old Emily Davis as she was crossing Adeline Street about two miles south of the site of the tree. … Continue reading »
Emily Davis was struck by lightning in Berkeley on Monday while crossing the road during a dramatic storm. Although she was shaken and suffered some after-effects, Davis was not seriously injured. However the experience, she said, has left her feeling lucky to be alive.
Davis, 31, was standing on the median at the intersection of Adeline and Stuart streets at around 1 p.m. when she was struck. She was heading to Berkeley Bowl to buy lunch for her boyfriend who works at the nearby Berkeley Honda.
She heard a first clap of thunder which, she said, sounded like a bomb exploding.
The first she knew of being struck was when she felt a “terrible” metallic taste in her mouth.
“Then I saw an orb of light travel down the umbrella handle I was holding in my right hand,” Davis said. … Continue reading »