Author Archives: Tracey Taylor


Breaking: Authorities raid one or more homes in Berkeley

Blake Street raid
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The photo, left, shows the scene Thursday morning at around 7:30 a.m. in the 1600 block of Blake Street in Berkeley, east of California Street.

Witnesses describe a SWAT-like team surrounding a house on that block. One said there was a military-style van behind police cars with a man on top behind a bulletproof disc telling someone to come out.

“There was a SWAT team, an armored vehicle plus about eight black and whites with at least 12 officers on the scene,” wrote one neighbor by email.

One neighbor was told by a police officer that they were there to execute a search warrant.

Another said she saw a man in a shirt that said “negotiator” on the back.

The house at 1634 Blake St. was the scene of a homicide in March 2011.

At around 9:30 a.m., Berkeleyside received several tips from readers that a separate, similar type of raid was happening in the 1500 or 1600 block of Julia Street, eight blocks south of Blake Street. Again, this information is unconfirmed. … Continue reading »

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Donald Olsen: A Berkeley architect of high modernism

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The homes designed by Donald Olsen stand out as remarkably durable achievements within the Bay Area’s post-war architectural heritage. The architect, who was a professor at UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design, was inspired by Bauhaus, and his designs are rooted in the 20th-century Modern Movement. His own striking, landmarked home, on San Diego Road in North Berkeley, is a draw for architects and architectural students.

A recently published book by local architect and writer Pierluigi Serraino, Donald Olsen: Architect of Habitable Abstractions (William Stout, 2013) – richly illustrated with drawings, plans, and photographs – celebrates Olsen’s work and documents his little-known examples of high modernism in Northern California.

Berkeleyside spoke to Serraino about the book and the process of writing it:

You are a practicing architect who has written several books about architecture, including NorCalMod: Icons of Northern California Modernism, and Julius Shulman: Modernism Rediscovered. What is your impetus for choosing your subject?

My first exposure to architecture was through my father, who was a structural engineer. He was passionate about books and made me aware of the importance of informed action. Attending the School of Architecture at the University of Rome only reinforced this approach. To operate being cognizant of your environment culturally as much as technically is a first principle in Italian education. You are not called a historian if you are learning about what has been: it is part of the job. My passion for mid-century modern and architectural photography is the result of my personal exposure to Julius Shulman, with whom I spent several years doing research in his archive and discussing the ramifications of photography. It was an extraordinary experience that made me realize how architecture, its image, and its memory are completely intertwined. … Continue reading »

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Bay Area Book Festival to launch in Berkeley in 2015

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A book festival is coming to Berkeley. Doubtless many people will say, “It’s about time.”

On Saturday June 21, a launch party was held for the Bay Area Book Festival, an ambitious literary love fest which will take place in the heart of downtown Berkeley on June 6-7, 2015.

The festival is the brainchild of Cherilyn Parsons who decided that it was time somebody started a book festival given that, in many other ways, the area is a literary mecca.

Parsons, a Southern California native who has long admired the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, and attends other literary gatherings around the world such as the Jaipur Literature Festival, was most recently the director of development and strategic initiatives at the Center for Investigative Reporting. … Continue reading »

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6 Berkeley stories you will not want to miss

Richard Nagler
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1. 21-year old arrested for felony hit and run, DUI after car wreck on Tunnel Road 2. Berkeley’s first two parklets set to open this fall in the Gourmet Ghetto 3. Berkeley adopts anti-bias policing policy to tackle alleged racial profiling 4. Murky Berkeley animal shelter budget raises concerns 5. How quirky is Berkeley? Marion Fredman’s art 6. Berkeley dismisses official who make “insensitive” racial comment during cannabis collective appeal


Find all Berkeleyside’s recent articles in our Continue reading »


For sale: Berkeley home where rocks are the stars

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The mid-century home for sale at 619 Vincente Ave. is of note for several reasons, but by far the most prominent one is the behemoth boulder which fronts the house in Berkeley’s Thousand Oaks neighborhood — as well as another one which takes pride of place inside the property’s garage.

Known as the Hellbaum House, the 3-bedroom, 2+-bathroom home, which is listed for $1.1 million, was designed and built by its original owner. One of its current owners grew up across the street and remembers as a child swinging on roller-skates from a swing in that same garage.Continue reading »

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Richard Nagler: Here’s looking at you, looking at art

Richard Nagler
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For his new collection of images, Berkeley photographer Richard Nagler spent a lot of time in museums. He also spent a lot of time waiting. Stationed in front of a work of art, he would wait for someone to come along and complete it. The serendipitous, unposed results come from both Nagler’s creative eye as well as his patience.

Looking at Art, The Art of Looking, published by Berkeley’s Heyday Press, and launching tomorrow night at Mrs Dalloway’s bookstore in Berkeley, is the culmination of all those hours spent at major art museums around the world.  … Continue reading »

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Berkeley adopts anti-bias policing policy, commits to collecting data to tackle alleged racial profiling

Police on the sidewalk at La Quinta. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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The Berkeley City Council on Tuesday adopted an anti-bias policing policy with a view to eradicating, or at least reducing, alleged cases of racial profiling by the city’s police. The policy will see the city begin to collect data on police stops to analyze whether incidents of profiling are happening.

Currently, Berkeley Police record data about vehicle stops, but data about other types of contacts — including pedestrians and bicyclists — is not collected unless there is an arrest.

The “Fair and Impartial Policing Policy” has been a year in the making, and was crafted by a committee that included representatives from the Berkeley Police Department working in collaboration with the Police Review Commission, the Peace and Justice Commission, the Coalition for a Safe Berkeley, and the East Bay ACLU. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley step closer to limiting number of large drugstores

Walgreens. Photo: Luke Chan
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Berkeley City Council last night adopted a first reading of regulations that will limit the number of large drugstores from opening in certain areas of the city.

The law, which prohibits the location of drugstores over 5,000 square feet from locating within 1,000 linear feet of each other in some commercial districts – including the Elmwood, Solano Avenue, and North Shattuck — would prevent a controversial new Walgreens from being built at 1830 Solano Ave., currently the site of a 76 gas station.

The Council was essentially approving the zoning change recommendation made by the city’s Planning Commission in March. The ordinance will likely be passed after a second hearing at the July 1 council meeting. … Continue reading »

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7-year-old cyclist in serious condition after traffic accident on Bancroft Way in Berkeley

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Update, June 25: According to the Berkeley Police Department, the young cyclist has been released from hospital and is home recovering.

Update, June 17: Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats said the boy remains in the hospital. He was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.

Original story, June 16: A 7-year-old boy sustained serious injuries after being involved in a traffic accident on Bancroft Way at Acton Street in West Berkeley. … Continue reading »

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Dr. Frances Cohen: An accomplished career and a rich life

Dr. Frances Cohen
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Dr. Frances Cohen, Professor Emeritus in Psychology, University of California School of Medicine in San Francisco (UCSF), died on May 28, 2014 after a short but valiant battle with pancreatic cancer.

Dr. Cohen, Fran to family and friends, had a rich and varied life, was devoted to her family, and had an accomplished career in the field of health psychology. She was raised in Boonton, NJ; moved to Berkeley in 1967 to pursue graduate studies in Psychology at UC, and … Continue reading »

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Michael Lewis: 7-year-old Baylor needs help to survive

Baylor Fredrickson
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Twelve days ago Berkeleyside published a post that bestselling Berkeley author Michael Lewis had put on his Facebook page. It was about Baylor Fredrickson, a 7-year-old boy who has cancer and needs a bone marrow transplant, very soon, to survive. Lewis, who coached Baylor’s Little League team, has followed up with a visit to the boy and made a short video.

Share it with as many people as you can to help this young boy with his beautiful smile. The hashtag … Continue reading »

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Bites: Captain & Corset, Perdition Smokehouse, more

Captain & Corset
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Openings, closings…

CAPTAIN & CORSET Captain & Corset, described as a new American bistro, is now up and running at 2212 Broadway in Uptown Oakland, according to Inside Scoop SF. The restaurant is a collaborative project between several Oakland restaurant veterans, including Paul Fitzpatrick and Sam Patel from the Ike’s sandwich group, Kiri Eschelle, the former owner of Levende and Levende East, and Carlos Nieto, an Oakland-based event planner. The menu has been designed by Sophina Uong, executive chef at Picán across the street. Dishes might include Coca-Cola pork conserva, Caesar salad with chopped kale, coffee-braised lamb taco, cast-iron-roasted mussels, mustard-crusted bone marrow, spicy bacon and trofie pasta, and broiled chicken paillard. Uong said: “It’s not a wine bar, that wasn’t working. It’s more of a quirky restaurant.”  … Continue reading »

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4 new principals appointed to elementary and middle schools, search continues for new head of Berkeley High

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Four new principals have been appointed to Berkeley elementary and middle schools, and the Berkeley Unified Board has decided to conduct a second-round search for a candidate to replace Pasquale Scuderi who is leaving his post as principal of Berkeley High to become Assistant Superintendent.

The board also approved last week the appointment of a new vice-principal at Berkeley High and a program supervisor for its Extended Learning Program.

There follows information on all the new appointments, provided by BUSD.

Hazelle Fortich is the new principal at Cragmont Elementary School

Hazelle Fortich has deep roots in our district community. She has served as Coordinator for Early Childhood Program, summer school principal, interim principal at Washington, literacy coach at Washington, after-school teacher at LeConte, and teacher at Malcolm X. One of her references states: “She lives and works in Berkeley and is a committed parent, teacher and community member. Those experiences mean that she will bring the importance of family and community to any school district. As a parent, she knows the value of strong ties to families and the value of fostering all forms of diversity in our schools.” … Continue reading »

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