Author Archives: Tracey Taylor

City wants to move North Berkeley farmers market

Farmers Market
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Citing safety concerns, the city of Berkeley wants to move Thursday’s North Berkeley farmers market to a location a few hundred feet south-east of its current site on the stretch of Shattuck Avenue that runs between Shattuck Place and Rose Street. The Ecology Center, which runs all of Berkeley’s farmers markets, is resisting the move, saying the proposed new site, on the service road in front of businesses such as Saul’s Deli and Masse’s bakery, presents problems of its own.

Visitors to the market in recent weeks have been asked to sign petitions to lobby to keep the local food stalls where they are.

Discussions about the location and safety of the 11-year old Gourmet Ghetto market, which attracts an average of 1,800 people a week, have been ongoing for many months, according to both the city and the Ecology Center. The talks appear to have reached something of a stalemate, however. … Continue reading »

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New details in W. Kamau Bell/Elmwood Café storm

Kamau Bell. Photo by Matthias Clamer Courtesy of FX
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UPDATE, 7.07 p.m.: W. Kamau Bell says he is committed to attending the open meeting on race, and happy that BUSD stepped up to organize it. “I will be there. And my wife and kids will be there. This is about our families,” he said. Bell, who was out of town working when he spoke to Berkeleyside, said that as “a black comedian who talks about race,” his schedule is very busy this month, but that he is determined to be present at the forum. He added: “We never called for anyone to be fired.” He said he was aware of many of the new details reported by Berkeleyside today, and had talked to Elmwood Café owner Michael Pearce today to stress that he would be at the forum.

ORIGINAL STORY: The Elmwood Café employee who was fired after making a remark that was construed as racist did not just tell the comedian W. Kamau Bell to “scram,” or words to that effect. A customer had approached her to report that a man outside was harassing customers, which prompted her to tap on the window and indicate to Bell to “stop selling.”

But even though her words, which were likely not heard by Bell, were less inflammatory than the comedian recounted on his website, the employee was fired because she did not try to solve the problem or report it to management, according to Michael Pearce, the owner of the café.

The new details of the Jan. 26 encounter between Bell and the Elmwood Café employee came to light just as Pearce was making arrangements for a community forum on race in response to the incident. … Continue reading »

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A love for Cesar Chavez Park spawns website, book

Photo: Martin Nicolaus
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Berkeley resident Martin Nicolaus is passionate about Cesar Chavez Park. So much so that he has started the Friends of Cesar Chavez Park website and published a new photo book about the park titled “From Trash to Treasure, the Splendors of Berkeley’s Cesar Chavez Park.” Berkeleyside caught up with Nicolaus to hear more about his love affair with our park by the bay.

How long have you had an interest in Cesar Chavez Park? 

Eleven years now. In 2004 I bought a big DSLR camera and started taking pictures in the park. Three years later I became co-parent of a wonderful dog who wanted daily walks. Going to the park became like a religious ritual. It’s the same park but the view is always different, every day. … Continue reading »

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One of Berkeley’s largest trees to be cut down

Euc1 Nancy Rubin
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A giant Eucalyptus tree that presides over the swimming pool at King Middle School needs to be felled due to safety concerns, according to City of Berkeley tree experts.

The tree, which sports not one, but four massive trunks, and soars to an estimated 140 ft, is much loved by regulars at the pool, and news that it will be removed has come as a blow to many.

“There’s no outrage in this story, just sadness and admiration for a truly majestic tree that has reached its end,” said local resident Robert Collier. … Continue reading »

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WeWork opens office space to downtown Berkeley

WeWork's office building in downtown Berkeley with newly painted murals by xxx. Photo: William Newton
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WeWork, which has been called the country’s leading co-working company and is expanding globally at a rapid rate, according to the business press, has opened in downtown Berkeley.

Monday, Feb. 2, the company opened a new raft of offices on the seventh floor of the building at 2120 University Ave. (at Shattuck Avenue). This followed the launch of two other floors, on the fifth and sixth stories, in early January. And passers-by won’t have failed to notice the vibrant murals that have appeared on two façades of the structure. They were created by New York-based artist Jason Woodside.

WeWork plans to roll out three more floors of space by June 1, at which point there will be 45,000 square feet of office space potentially housing about 600 people in the six-story building, said Aja Anderson, WeWork Berkeley‘s community manager. As a result, it has fast become the city’s largest co-working facility. … Continue reading »

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Update: Man found dead in Berkeley was Gary Skupa, 70

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Update, Feb. 2, 12:25 p.m. The man found deceased on West Street was 70-year-old Gary Skupa, according to a close friend of his who asked to remain anonymous. Skupa was a native of Colorado, a long-time Berkeley resident and activist, and a volunteer and board member of Ashkenaz Music & Dance Community Center on San Pablo Avenue. Authorities said they were unable to confirm the identity at this point. Asked why the case was first described as “suspicious,” Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats said: “Initially, the investigation was classified as suspicious because it appears the victim passed away, unattended in a public area. We have to gather as much information as possible to try and determine what may have occurred.  It appears the victim may have been riding his bicycle and collapsed.  This is not a ‘murder’ investigation, it is a death investigation.”

Original story: The body of a man was found on West Street near Delaware on Sunday afternoon. Berkeley Police are classifying it as a suspicious death.

“We received a call of a person down, BFD responded and the male victim was pronounced deceased,” Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats told Berkeleyside.

The call came in around 4:30 p.m., Officer Coats said. There did not appear to be any sign of foul play. … Continue reading »

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Cali-Indo-Asian spot Tigerlily opens in Berkeley

Photo: Tigerlily
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Tigerlily, a new restaurant that puts an Indo-Asian twist on Californian cuisine, has opened in the former Mint Leaf space at 1513 Shattuck Ave. in the heart of the Gourmet Ghetto.

Currently in soft-open mode, the warm, low-lit restaurant was buzzing on Friday night with a greeter escorting curious walk-ins to their tables (the restaurant doesn’t take reservations). As a pre-official opening gesture, wait-staff offered complementary platters of Kabocha Squash and Turmeric Fry Bread to guests waiting for their main courses.

Chef Joel Lamica is running the kitchen. Formerly of Bix and Nojo in San Francisco, and, more recently, the Ramen Shop in Rockridge, Lamica’s menu is described as being inspired by produce from the local farmers market and from the restaurant’s own organic farm in Sonoma County, as well as whole spices sourced from Tigerlily owner Deepak Aggarwal’s spice-farm network in northern India. … Continue reading »

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New Steve Jobs movie starring Michael Fassbender, Seth Rogen, Kate Winslet, shooting in Berkeley

The new movie about Steve Jobs is based on the biography by Walter Isaacson
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A new movie about Steve Jobs, starring Michael Fassbender (as Jobs), Seth Rogen (as Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak), Kate Winslet and Katherine Waterston, is coming to Berkeley on Friday for some location shooting.

Filming will take place in and around La Méditerranée restaurant at 2936 College Ave., and will be concentrated during nighttime hours — Friday, Jan. 23, from 6 p.m. through Saturday, Jan. 24, at 6 a.m. — to mitigate the impact on the neighborhood, according to an email put out by District 8 Councilwoman Lori Droste.

The new movie, not to be confused with the 2013 movie Jobs, featuring Ashton Kutcher, is dripping with A-list credentials. As well as the starry actor line-up, the film is being directed by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionnaire), according to IMDB, with a screenplay by Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing, The Social Network, The Newsroom), based on the biography of Jobs written by bestselling author Walter Isaacson.
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Where in Berkeley?

Where in Berkeley?

rabbit

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

Photo: Neil Mishalov.

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

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Berkeley first responders rescue woman from marina

A woman was rescued from the water near the Berkeley Pier on Sunday, Jan. 11, 2014. Photo: Dogen Frost
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Berkeley emergency responders rescued a woman from the water at the Berkeley Marina early in the morning on Sunday, Jan. 11.

At 5:32 a.m., Berkeley’s emergency communication center received a report of someone in the water at the Berkeley Pier yelling for help, according to Berkeley Deputy Fire Chief Avery Webb. Both Berkeley police and firefighters responded. … Continue reading »

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Dee Williams-Ridley named Berkeley’s deputy city manager

Dee Williams-Ridley
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Dee Williams-Ridley, currently the deputy city manager for the City of Modesto, has been named as the new deputy city manager for the City of Berkeley.

For the past four years at Modesto Williams-Ridley oversaw human resources, public information, information technology, public works, and the community and economic development departments, in addition to working closely with the Modesto City Council on city-wide strategic planning.

“Dee’s commitment to public service, community engagement, and cultivating strong team environments made her a clear choice to help manage this dynamic city,” said Berkeley City Manager Christine Daniel, who made the selection after a nationwide search.

Williams-Ridley replaces William Rogers, the former deputy city manager, who left in September 2014 to become COO for Goodwill Enterprises in San Francisco. Beth Pollard, the former city manager of Albany, has been acting deputy since Rogers’ departure, and will continue to serve under Daniel until Williams-Ridley comes on board on Feb. 9.Continue reading »

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New BHS principal: School district seeks community input

bhs
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The Berkeley school district is seeking the community’s input as it ramps up its search for a new principal for Berkeley High School.

The high school is inviting parents and stakeholders to attend a meeting in the BHS Library on Tuesday Jan. 13 to share their thoughts about the leadership skills they believe are needed for the school.

The high school has been without a permanent principal since Pasquale Scuderi stepped down at the end of the last academic year, and took up the position of Berkeley Unified’s assistant superintendent for educational services. Scuderi was principal of Berkeley High for four years. … Continue reading »

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Arrested anti-police protesters may wait up to a year to find out if they will be charged

Protesters have taken over freeways and local streets during recent demonstrations in Berkeley. Interstate 80 is shown here on Dec. 8. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Hundreds of protesters who took part in anti-police and Black Lives Matter demonstrations in the East Bay in December will need to wait, possibly up to a year, to find out if they have been charged after they were arrested during the protests, some of which turned violent.

A group of protesters and their supporters gathered at Oakland’s Wiley Manuel Courthouse on Tuesday morning expecting to hear whether the Alameda County district attorney’s office would take action.

Catch up on Berkeleyside’s coverage of the Berkeley protests.

But no charges have been filed, said Dennis Cunningham of the National Lawyers Guild, who was there to help the protesters. The group — a mix of students and community members — learned that, for many of the arrests, police reports have not been filed, leaving the possibility of charges an open question. … Continue reading »

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