Author Archives: Tracey Taylor

Big rig spill in Berkeley closes westbound lane of I-80

Big rig spill 1 Photo Greg Merritt
Print Friendly

Drivers are being advised to avoid I-80 in the Berkeley area after a big rig spilled its load of wood pallets by the pedestrian overpass near the University Avenue exit of the freeway at around 5:45 a.m. this morning.

At least one westbound lane was closed by authorities west of University Avenue near Frontage Road, and traffic was still severely backed up several hours after the incident. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , ,

Date set for public forum with W. Kamau Bell and Elmwood Café in wake of racism accusation

Kamau Bell. Photo by Matthias Clamer Courtesy of FX
Print Friendly

A date has been set for a public conversation between comedian W. Kamau Bell and the owner of a Berkeley café where Bell says he was the victim of racial abuse.

The forum will be held on Friday, March 13 at 7:00-8:30 p.m. at Willard Middle School at 2425 Stuart St. after Berkeley Unified offered to provide a venue.

The event hopes to tackle “implicit bias and micro-aggression experiences in the East Bay.”

The need for a public conversation became apparent to Bell and Michael Pearce, the owner of the Elmwood Café on College Avenue, after the comedian, who is African-American, made public on his blog how he was asked to leave the café on Jan. 26. while he was talking to his wife and her friends, who are white, at an outdoor table.  … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Update: Measles exposure at Berkeley library is ruled out

Electron microscope image of the virus responsible for measles (paramyxoviridae)
Photographer: Alain Grillet
Copyright Sanofi Pasteur
Print Friendly

UPDATE, 3.9.15: The City of Berkeley’s public health department has ruled out a recent suspected case of measles at branches of the Berkeley Public Library. In a release issued today, the city wrote:

The individual suspected of possibly exposing people at the West Branch and Central Libraries last week to measles has been found to not have the virus, meaning that employees and visitors during those times were not at increased risk.

“The finding that the person was not infected with measles was confirmed through testing by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, one of several partner agencies that City of Berkeley Public Health works with to combat infectious diseases.

“California and the Bay Area continue to experience a measles outbreak, so individuals who are not sure whether they are immune to measles should check with their health care provider.” … Continue reading »

Tagged , ,

Berkeley’s Black Pine Circle school aims to set Guinness world record for largest gathering of Einstein lookalikes

Einstein record at Black Pine Circle. Photo: Ted Friedman
Print Friendly

Students at Black Pine Circle — as well as parents, and really anyone else who could be roped in — yesterday attempted to set the record for world’s largest gathering of Albert Einstein lookalikes.

The Black Pine community gathered on the school’s athletic field at 2 p.m. sporting jackets and ties, as well as fluffy white wigs and mustaches.

They achieved a record with 319 people dressed to look like Einstein. While it looks promising — to set the record the school needed to field a minimum of 250 participants — the final decision as to whether they make it into the Guinness Book of World Records will be made by judges representing Guinness after they have reviewed all the evidence. That includes statements from stewards and witnesses, video footage, as well as aerial footage from a drone that was hovering overhead.  … Continue reading »

Tagged , ,

Rae Dunn: A Berkeley potter, a dog, and a way with words

Rae Dunn featured pic
Print Friendly

Take one very photogenic dog who poses for the camera, the creative eye of an accomplished potter whose life has been shaped by a series of serendipitous events, and you have the newly published book “Wilma’s World: Good Advice From a Good Dog” by Rae Dunn, a ceramist with a studio in West Berkeley.

Just as she didn’t plan to publish a book, Dunn didn’t set out to make clay the foundation of her career. A graphic designer for many years, she was riding the merry-go-round in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park one day when she happened upon the Sharon Art Studio on Bowling Green Drive. Loving the space, she decided she would take a class there and flipped a coin as to whether to learn how to make stained glass or how to throw clay. … Continue reading »

Tagged ,

TargetExpress opens in downtown Berkeley with very local customers in mind

Target Express downtown Berkeley. Photo: Tracey Taylor
Print Friendly

Veteran Berkeley dwellers are wont to say that there is nowhere to buy underwear downtown. It’s a complaint that has historically underscored the lack of broad-based retail options in the heart of the city. With the opening of TargetExpress at the corner of  Shattuck and Allston Way today, that is less of a problem, however. One aisle of the 12,000-square-foot store — only the third TargetExpress in the country — offers a selection of men’s briefs and women’s undergarments.

With nearby Cal students in mind, the store also stocks hangers, ironing boards and sheets in its Home section, printer cartridges and legal pads in its Stationery aisle, ready-made margaritas and frozen pizza in the Food section, and — in its gleaming Tech section — wireless routers, speakers and iPads. There is even a small selection of Cal hats and T-shirts for sale.

This should be welcome news for UC Berkeley students, 86.9% of whom, in a 2011 study, expressed a desire for an “all-purpose” store that sold general items — like a Target. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , ,

State Supreme Court upholds Berkeley’s decision in Mitch Kapor’s bid to build a home in the city

New-pic-of-Kapor-house
Print Friendly

Update, 3.19.15: The Berkeley Hillside Preservation Group is asking the Supreme Court for a rehearing of its case. It filed its petition on March 18. The Supreme Court recently appointed two new justices, following two retirements, and the group is hoping a reconsideration of their arguments might bring a different result. The vote was 5-2 for the defendant at the first hearing. A decision on whether the court will grant or deny a rehearing will be known by May 29. Read the Petition for Rehearing.

Original story: The California Supreme Court today ruled in favor of the city of Berkeley and philanthropist and Lotus founder Mitch Kapor, and against a group of preservationists who have been fighting for five years a proposal from Kapor and his wife, Freada Kapor Klein, to build a new home at 2707 Rose St.

In a ruling issued Monday morning, the court said it was reversing a Court of Appeal’s decision that had effectively said the 6,478-square-foot home (with a 3,394-square-foot garage) should be subject to an environmental impact report (EIR). Single-family homes are normally exempt from EIRs, which fall under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , ,

Berkeley reports possible case of measles exposure

Electron microscope image of the virus responsible for measles (paramyxoviridae)
Photographer: Alain Grillet
Copyright Sanofi Pasteur
Print Friendly

The City of Berkeley has issued an alert after an adult with measles visited La Mediterranée restaurant in Berkeley on the evening of Friday February 20.

The city is advising that patrons at the Elmwood neighborhood restaurant during that time should monitor themselves for symptoms until March 13.

The person, a San Mateo County resident, was at the restaurant on 2936 College Ave. from approximately 6:45 to 8 p.m. that Friday, the city said in a release about the incident issued at around 8 p.m. on Thursday Feb. 26.

“The measles virus can linger in the air for up to two hours, so those at the restaurant until 10 p.m. could have been exposed. The risk is very slight for those who have received the recommended two doses of the vaccine,” read the statement. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , ,

New cookbook heralds renaissance in Jewish dining

Jodie and Jeff Morgan, founders of Covenant Winery, now located in Berkeley
Print Friendly

Jodie and Jeff Morgan are co-owners of Covenant Winery, which moved its operation from Napa to West Berkeley in the spring of 2014. “The Covenant Kitchen: Food and Wine for the New Jewish Table” features more than 100 mouth-watering kosher recipes and detailed suggested wine pairings, including for some of Covenant’s own kosher pours. A launch party for the book takes place at the winery on Sixth Street on Sunday (see details below). We spoke with Jeff about the inspiration for the book, and also why he thinks Jewish dining is having its moment in the spotlight.

Congratulations on your first Covenant cookbook. What was your journey both to this book and to the opening of your West Berkeley winery last year?

When we started making kosher wine (almost on a dare) a little more than a decade ago, Jodie and I were not particularly connected to our Jewish roots. With time, and while working with more observant Jewish winemakers in the cellar and throughout the world, we discovered a Jewish community that appealed to us and our sense of belonging. The book chronicles the evolution of our longstanding wine country perspective on daily dining and how we’ve integrated it into a Jewish lifestyle.

Our move to Berkeley was inspired by our desire to live closer to a larger Jewish community than the one that exists in Napa and Sonoma. Plus, I think after more than 25 years in the wine country, we were ready to come back to the city with all its hustle and bustle. It’s great to be able to make our wines in our new urban winery! … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , ,

Highwire buys Local 123 café and coffee trailer

Interior Local 123.#2_JDelaney
Print Friendly

Highwire Coffee is buying Local 123, the popular West Berkeley café opened by Frieda Hoffman and Katy Wafle six years ago at 2049 San Pablo Ave. (at University). The deal, which also includes Local 123’s coffee trailer at Flowerland Nursery in Albany, closes on Saturday.

Hoffman said she is excited about the sale as she believes she has found the perfect people to take Local 123 to its full potential.

“They will honor what we’ve been doing, with our focus on quality coffee,” she said, speaking of Highwire’s three founders: Rich Avella, Robert Myers and Eric Hashimoto. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

AC Transit piloting double-deckers in Berkeley, locally

DoubleDecker bus. Photo: AC Transit/ klynch
Print Friendly

AC Transit will begin piloting double-decker buses on several routes in the East Bay, including in Berkeley, and on some transbay routes today.

The test-run, which will last three weeks through March 15, will use an 80-seat bus on loan from the manufacturer Alexander Dennis. And anyone who gets on the bus will get a free ride during the pilot period as no fares will be charged.

Over the course of the test period, the bus will operate on selected trips on several transbay and local lines, including lines FS, J, L, NX, NX1, NX2, U, and the 51B. It will also be on display at AC Transit’s general offices in downtown Oakland and mid-day at the Transbay Temporary Terminal in San Francisco. (See links below for the full schedule.) … Continue reading »

Tagged ,

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

3. America's favorite comic strip characters Charlie Brown, Lucy Van Pelt, Schroeder, and Sally Brown (L-R Zac Schuman, Ashley Cowl, Danny Quezada, and Harmony Livingston) go off to play America's favorite pastime in Berkeley Playhouse's production of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown directed by Christina Lazo. Performed at the Julia Morgan Theater February 19 - March 15, 2015. Photo by Ben Krantz Studio.
Print Friendly

YOU’RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN Charlie Brown is coming to town with the opening on Saturday of Berkeley Playhouse’s production of the two-time Tony Award-winning musical You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown at the Julia Morgan Theater. The play, which is, of course, based on the famous comic strip “Peanuts,” by Charles M. Schulz, is directed and choreographed by Christina Lazo and music and lyrics are by Clark Gesner. In an innovative move, the theater group is partnering with Berkeley Humane with onsite pet adoptions during the production. “Snoopy was rescued from the puppy farm by Charlie Brown and we know that a number of puppies will be saved during the run of the show. We think Charlie Brown, Snoopy and all the Peanuts gang would be proud of that,” said Berkeley Playhouse Producing Artistic Director Daren A.C. Carollo. The show runs from Feb. 21 to March 15. Tickets are available through the by calling (510) 845-8542 Ext: 351, or visiting berkeleyplayhouse.org. Select “Pay What You Can” nights will be announced where tickets are sold on a sliding scale from $5-$20. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Update: Missing man found safe in Oakland

Missing Berkeley
Print Friendly

Update, 10:22 p.m. Police announced shortly after 10 p.m. that the missing man has been found safe in Oakland.

Original post, 8:46 p.m. Berkeley police are asking the community for help in locating a missing “at risk” person.

Willie Maxie Powell, an 86-year-old man, is described as being 5 feet 4 inches tall and 162 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.

He was last seen in the 2600 block of Shattuck Avenue (between Carleton and Parker) on Tuesday, Feb. 17, at 6:20 p.m.

At that time Powell was wearing a yellow short-sleeved polo shirt and blue jeans.

Powell suffers from dementia and other medical conditions.

Police ask anyone who has seen, or sees, Willie Powell,  to call the Berkeley Police Department at 911. … Continue reading »

Tagged ,