Author Archives: Tracey Taylor

Memorial garden dedicated to late Berkeley firefighter

Berkeley Fire Department dedication ceremony on Sunday Sept. 11, 2016. Photo: KLC Fotos
Print Friendly

On Sunday Sept. 11, the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Berkeley firefighters held a ceremony to dedicate the department’s memorial garden at the city’s Fire Station 6 at 999 Cedar St.

The garden, a place where Berkeley firefighters who have lost their lives in the line of duty are remembered, was dedicated on Sunday to deceased firefighter Tony Nunes. Nunes died in February 2014 in an accident on his family property in Martinez. He was 54 and had worked for the department for 28 years.

Several city leaders were in attendance, including council members Lori Droste, Linda Maio, Susan Wengraf and Kriss Worthington.

“Berkeley Firefighters gathered… to recognize lives lost in the line of duty, both here in Berkeley and across the country,” said BFD’s Colin Arnold. “They shared a moment of silence to remember the victims of 9/11, and reflected on stories of peers who had lost their lives.” … Continue reading »


Animal-rights activists disrupt Chez Panisse service

chez-panisse-photo-amanda Marsalis
Print Friendly

Berkeley police were called to world-famous restaurant Chez Panisse on Friday night after a group of animal-rights protesters stormed into the dining room and disrupted dinner service.

About 10 people carrying flowers from the group Direct Action Everywhere walked into the downstairs portion of Chez Panisse and asked for the diners’ attentions, according to a press release issued by the group. (Update: See below for a statement issued by Chez Panisse on Monday Sept. 12.)

“I come to you today with a message of compassion,” Matt Johnson, one of the activists, told those seated at tables covered with white tablecloths. “A message on behalf on the billions of animals exploited, who are tortured and killed by humans every year. We are told a lie … that animals exist as commodities for human use… Animals are living feeling individuals. They value their lives and their freedom the same as you and I do. They experience the same pain, the same joy, the same love of life and they have it have it ripped away from them and are brutally killed for the mere crime of being different than ourselves.”

The invasion into Chez Panisse is part of DxE’s “Flowers for Animals” campaign, “which encourages activists to peacefully speak out in stores and restaurants that serve products from animals killed for food about violence against animals on farms across the United States,” according to the press release.

The incident started around 10 p.m. but Chez Panisse management didn’t call the Berkeley Police Department until 11:00 p.m., according to Lt. Alyson Hart.

A Chez Panisse employee described the animal-rights activists as busting into the restaurant “screaming and yelling.”

The group, which was 10-15 strong, according to Hart, refused to leave the restaurant, which was when the restaurant decided to call police. (Update: The group involved two 18-year-olds, a man and woman, from Pleasanton. No other information was available about its members.) … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , ,

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

Print Friendly

BAY BRIDGE PHOTOGRAPHY SHOW Opening with a reception on Friday, Sept. 9, at 5 p.m. at ACCI Gallery in Berkeley is “The Bay Bridge by Air, Land, and Sea,” a show with works by Berkeley photographers David Garnick and Barrie Rokeach. The photographs feature the new Eastern span of the Bay Bridge. Garnick’s photographs, from his series “Thirty-Six Views of the Bay Bridge,” are inspired by 19th-century Japanese woodcut artists, and are printed to recall the visual style of early 20th-century hand-colored lithographs. Read more in Berkeleyside’s feature on Garnick. Rokeach’s photographs, (which have also been written about on Berkeleyside), are from his commission to document the construction of the new span from the air. His aerial photos provide a window into the complex and often delicate process of erecting the superstructure. The show runs through Sept. 27 with artist talks Sept. 11, 17 and 24. ACCI Gallery is at 1652 Shattuck Ave. For more details visit ACCI’s website.Continue reading »


Coyotes have killed at least 3 cats in North Berkeley

Charlie, one of several cats that have been killed by coyotes in recent weeks in North Berkeley. Photo: Jennifer Joy
Print Friendly

At least three cats have been killed in the past couple of weeks, most likely by a coyote, in the Northbrae neighborhood of Berkeley. Footage of one the attacks was caught on a resident’s video surveillance camera.

Residents who have lost cats are understandably upset, and those whose cats roam around outside at night are concerned for their safety.

Berkeley Animal Care Services told Berkeleyside it had picked up several dead cats in the last four months that have been attacked by coyotes. They worked to confirm that information with the Lindsay Wildlife Experience. (Scroll to the bottom to read an update with comments from an expert at the Lindsay Wildlife Experience.) … Continue reading »


Berkeley Library to host panel on homelessness Saturday

A sign set up by the Old City Hall homeless camp. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
Print Friendly

Homelessness in Berkeley has been an ongoing and controversial issue for a long time. The Berkeley Public Library Homeless Task Force is hosting a panel discussion titled “Homelessness in Berkeley” on Saturday, Sept. 10, at the Central Library at 2090 Kittredge St., from 2-4 p.m.

The panel includes experts on the subject, local service providers and case workers discussing their work in the streets, and people who have experienced homelessness sharing the reality of life on the street.

Read more about homelessness in Berkeley.

Nationally known advocate Dr. Julie Winkelstein, MLIS, PhD, will moderate the program. She will be joined by Sam Davis, UC Professor Emeritus, Department of Architecture; Gwen Austin, Development Associate/Community Builder-Organizer, Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency (BOSS); Eve Ahmed, City of Berkeley, Homeless Outreach, Berkeley Mental Health Adult Services; Joseph, advocate, Berkeley resident, formerly homeless; Sharon Alford, Coordinated Entry System/Berkeley Food and Housing Project; and Rayven Wilson (tentative), former Berkeley High student, now at SFSU. … Continue reading »

Tagged , ,

Michael Krasny to talk Jewish humor at Berkeley festival

Print Friendly

Michael Krasny, host of the award-winning KQED Forum program, will join the Uncharted Berkeley Festival of Ideas line-up next month to talk about his forthcoming book, Let There Be Laughter: A Treasury of Great Jewish Humor and What It All Means. It is the third book for Krasny, who, as well as being a broadcaster, is a scholar and Professor of English and American Literature.

Krasny will be in conversation with Berkeleyside Co-Founder Frances Dinkelspiel, author of two bestselling books: Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California, and Tangled Vines: Greed, Murder, Obsession and an Arsonist in the Vineyards of California, which comes out in paperback next month.

The news coincides with the release of the Uncharted Festival schedule. Discounted tickets (over 30% off) for the festival — for one day or two days— are available through Friday Sept. 23.

Other festival speakers include NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen, who will talk with veteran White House reporter Kathy Kiely about the media’s role during a national election; Eve Ensler, creator of The Vagina Monologues, who will be in conversation with writer and political, cultural, literary and hip-hop voice, Kevin Powell; and Google’s Aminatou Sow, founder of Tech LadyMafia and co-host of the Call Your Girlfriend podcast. See speaker/performer list. … Continue reading »


Authorities respond to burning car in Berkeley Hills

A car located near the Lawrence Hall of Science caught fire Friday causing billowing smoke to be spotted around town. Photo: Nate Miller
Print Friendly

A car that caught fire Friday morning in the Berkeley Hills caused enough smoke to be visible from around the city and to cause concern.

The Berkeley Fire Department received a 911 call about the fire at 10:20 a.m., according to Deputy Fire Chief Donna McCracken. The car was in the area of the Lawrence Hall of Science and BFD dispatched ALCO Engine 19 from the Berkeley Lab, in line with its automatic mutual aid agreement with that fire crew.

The ALCO crew tackled the fire but, around two hours later, it had to return to the car as there was more smoke, according to McCracken. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , ,

Toxic algae force closure of Lake Anza to swimmers

Lake Anza South Swim Beach photographed on Aug. 29, 2016. Photo: Hal MacLean
Print Friendly

The East Bay Regional Park District has closed Lake Anza to swimming due to high levels of toxic algae. The decision was made after tests showed the toxin Microcystin had reached dangerous levels, and the news came before the official swim season ends next Friday, Sept. 9.

It’s the second consecutive year EBRPD has been forced to close Lake Anza. It did so last September, along with several other lakes in the district, including Quarry Lakes in Fremont, Lake Temescal in Oakland. Heavy El Niño rains cleared the toxic blue-green algae from Lake Anza by late January.

EBRPD spokeswoman Carolyn Jones said, “Hydrologists test the water for toxicity a couple of times a week and once it gets over a certain threshold we have to close the lake. If the levels are just low we issue a warning.”

On Monday tests showed there were 15 parts of Microcystin per billion near the lake bridge.

Jones added: “We are not happy about having to do this. It’s a beautiful and popular lake and we hate to close it. We thank the public for their patience.” Jones said other lakes in the district were still open for swimming, including Lake Temescal and Quarry Lakes. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , ,

EBMUD: Berkeley water leak repairs will cause outage

Water leak caused by broken gate valve on EBMUD Dwight and Fulton. Photo: Ted Friedman
Print Friendly

EBMUD says it will repair a water leak today at Fulton Street and Dwight Way in Berkeley that started Friday evening. The repair work will cause some customers in the area to be without water, according to EBMUD spokeswoman Tracie Morales. She could not confirm how many will be affected, but they will be notified.

The leak was caused by a broken gate valve, according to Morales. The gate valve starts and stops the flow of water through a pipe, she said.

Water was escaping the pipe and covering the street throughout the weekend and into Tuesday. On Saturday, Berkeleyside contributing photographer David Yee described the water as “bubbling out” of a small, red cover in the street. “The water pressure isn’t so strong that it’s gushing into the air or anything, just creating a pond about a half-block long in either direction of the intersection.” On Sunday Yee said EBMUD had set up a dam of sorts Saturday with sandbags or something similar “so that the water leaking out of the red cover flows into a storm drain instead of flooding the intersection.” On Monday afternoon, Yee said there were “gallons and gallons flowing straight down the storm drain.”
Continue reading »

Tagged , ,

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

A festival on Saturday night at La Pena aims to raise funds for the creation of at least five murals on the Berkeley-Oakland border. Photo: Bill Newton
Print Friendly

MURAL FESTIVAL AND FUNDRAISER On Saturday Aug. 27, 8 p.m. to 11:55 p.m., La Peña Cultural Center will host the Bay Area Mural Festival (BAMFest 2016) whose purpose is to bring together master muralists and mural groups, and at-risk youth through a series of artist residencies and workshops culminating in the painting of five or more murals along the Berkeley-Oakland border. The theme of the festival will be focused on migration and displacement in the community. During the week of the festival, artists will give lectures and workshops at La Peña Cultural Center. Saturday night’s event includes music provided by Hip Hop for Change, live art, and food and drink for sale. Tickets are $10-$20. La Peña, 3105 Shattuck Ave. Information and tickets.Continue reading »


UC Berkeley suspends plans for Richmond ‘global campus’

Print Friendly

UC Berkeley has suspended its plans to build a second campus at Richmond Bay because of what it says is its need to address significant budgetary challenges. The decision was conveyed by Chancellor Nicholas Dirks to members of the Richmond Community Working Group in a meeting on Thursday evening, according to the university.

Dirks said UC Berkeley was indefinitely suspending plans to build the campus at Richmond Bay, but that the university would continue to explore options for the site “that reflect new priorities for the campus around enrollment growth and housing in the near future,” according to a statement by the university.

The project, known as the global campus, was designed as an alternative to UC Berkeley establishing campuses in other countries as some universities, including New York University, Johns Hopkins University and Carnegie Mellon University, have done in recent years.
Continue reading »

Tagged , ,

Scoop: Off The Grid coming to downtown Berkeley

Pelican Po'Boys at Off the Grid Emeryville. Photo: Off the Grid/Facebook
Print Friendly

Food trucks are coming to downtown Berkeley, offering a new option for Sunday lunch.

Off the Grid will launch a food-truck market in Civic Center Park starting Sunday, Sept. 11. The market will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and offer eight food trucks and live music, along with beer, wine and refreshments from San Francisco bar Lucky 13.

Off the Grid said the rotating line-up of vendors at the new Berkeley location will include Smoke’s Poutine, Canasta, Passione Pizza, Lexie’s Custard, Cupkates, Flavors of Ethiopia, Curry Up Now, Curbside Kitchen, Señor Sisig, and others.

Read more about Off The Grid markets in the East Bay.

The new market represents the fourth time Off The Grid has opened a food truck hub in Berkeley — the three former market all closed down after a couple of years.

Ben Himlan, a spokesman for Off The Grid, said he is hoping the “fourth time is a charm.” He said he felt hopeful about the prospects for the downtown market because of its location next to a park, close to transit and retail. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , ,

Eve Ensler to speak at Uncharted Festival of Ideas in Berkeley — Early-bird tickets end Aug. 25

eve ensler featured
Print Friendly

Playwright, performer, feminist and activist Eve Ensler will be joining the speaker lineup at the 2016 Uncharted Festival of Ideas in Berkeley, which is produced by Berkeleyside.

Early-bird ticket prices to this year’s festival, on Oct. 14-15 in Berkeley, end Thursday, Aug. 25 at midnight.

Early-bird tickets end Thursday Aug. 25 at midnight.

Ensler, probably most well-known for her iconic work The Vagina Monologues, will be in conversation with writer Kevin Powell, one of the most acclaimed political, cultural, literary and hip-hop voices in America today, and author of The Education of Kevin Powell: A Boy’s Journey into Manhood.

Other speakers this year include Jay Rosen who teaches journalism at New York University and is an incisive critic of the national press and its coverage of politics; Kathy Kieley, a veteran White House correspondent and commissioning editor for; Iranian American comedian Zahra Noorbakhsh; and Kenji López-Alt, James Beard Award-winning author of The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science. Kenji will host a hands-on workshop called ‘The Steak Myth;’ and Andrew Hessel, who is leading the nascent synthetic genome project. Other workshops and musical and dance performances will be announced in September. See more confirmed speakers on the Uncharted website. … Continue reading »

Tagged ,