Author Archives: Tracey Taylor

City begins first phase of Rose Garden trellis restoration

Rose Garden. Photo: Colleen Neff
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The trellis at Berkeley’s storied Rose Garden is to be rebuilt, and on Monday afternoon a small event was held to mark the  ‘groundbreaking’ for Phase 1 of the Rose Garden Trellis Restoration Project.

This phase consists of the documentation and demolition of the existing trellis; the salvage of existing wood members; the reconstruction of the center portion of the trellis; pathway accessibility upgrades; and lighting and safety upgrades, according to the city, and is estimated to cost $391,620. It is being underwritten by the Measure F parks tax, the General Fund, and the East Bay Regional Parks District (Measure WW).

Read the city’s plan for the Rose Garden trellis restoration.

The second phase of the restoration would be to complete the trellis reconstruction and accessibility upgrades, and is tentatively scheduled for 2018, dependent on raising the necessary funds. … Continue reading »

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Green Party’s Jill Stein joins Berkeley Post Office rally

Rally at the downtown Berkeley Post Office on Friday June 3. Photo: Ted Friedman
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US Presidential Green Party candidate Jill Stein took part in a rally at the downtown Berkeley Post Office Friday whose broad stated aim was to “let voters and the Department of Justice know how to keep the public sector viable.”

The US Post Office wants to sell the Allston Way post office, but has met resistance from the city and some Berkeley residents. In the latest salvo — in a battle that dates back four years to 2012 when the intended sale was announced — the DoJ warned the city of Berkeley that a lawsuit could be coming over the city’s “interference” with USPS plans to sell the building.

Read more about the fight surrounding the downtown Berkeley post office.

Friday’s rally, which was organized by the Green Party and the Berkeley Post Office Defenders group and attended by around 50 people, aimed to raise awareness of “public resources facing privatization by high-profit corporations;” to defend union jobs; to encourage the “wise use of common space; to allow access to the so-called Berkeley Post Office Community Garden established by protesters who camped outside the building for months before they were evicted; to promote postal banking; and to take action faced with “corporate control of government and media.” … Continue reading »

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BFD responds to machinery fire in West Berkeley

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Many locals spotted the significant plume of smoke caused by a fire in a West Berkeley paint booth Monday morning. Continue reading »

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Berkeley teachers, school, honored for science teaching

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Community Resources for Science, a Berkeley-based education nonprofit that works with local schools “to bring hands-on into the classroom,” last week honored several Berkeley elementary school teachers, as well as an entire Berkeley school, for excellent science teaching.

The honorees this year were Bethany Laurie at Jefferson Elementary; Debra Hill at Malcolm X Elementary; Carrie Peters and Kristine Fowler, both at Berkeley Arts Magnet; Noelle Sedor at Oxford Elementary; and Suzanne Ingley at Rosa Parks Elementary. Cragmont Elementary was honored as a whole school for excellent science education.

The CRS Science Super Star Challenge, which in its fifth year, is designed to “inspire, support, and honor teachers who bring excellent science learning experiences to their students.” … Continue reading »

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Bites: Novel Brewing, Stay Gold Deli, dinners, more

Novel Brewing: Opening its doors Saturday at xxx
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Openings, closings…

NOVEL BREWING As reported back in October, Novel Brewing is opening up in North Oakland.  Owners Brian and Teresa Koloszyc say the goal is to throw open the doors to the new tasting room on Love Our Neighborhood DaySaturday, June 411am-4pm.  There will be a limited selection of beers on tap, “just enough to wet your whistle.” After Saturday, the brewery will continue to be open Saturdays, noon to 10pm, and Sundays, noon to 8pm. Additional hours will be added as they ramp up to full speed. Or as the couple put it: “The fermenters are full and the yeast is happy! Beer cometh!” Novel Brewing is at 6510 San Pablo Ave. (at 65th Street), Oakland. Connect with the brewery on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.Continue reading »

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Fire department praises Berkeley High mass casualty drill

Mass casualty drill at Berkeley High School on June 1, 2016. Photo: BUSD/Mark Coplan
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A mass casualty incident drill that took place at Berkeley High Wednesday, and in which students participated, was deemed a great success and earned praise from the Berkeley Fire Department. “In many respects we could not have achieved the same level of training without this opportunity and it strengthens the readiness of responders in our community,” BFD wrote to the school after the exercise was finished.

The drill, which began at 1:30 p.m., allowed Berkeley Fire Department recruits and Berkeley High fire-science students to practice responding to a situation in which there were a range of injuries, from cuts and bruises to casualties. One of the school’s student clubs, the Emergency Response Teens (ERT), also participated in the event which simulated the aftermath of a roof collapse in the Donahue Gym.

Thirty drama students took part, several of whom had makeup applied that simulated injuries. They were also asked to “act out their injuries” in an effort to “confuse and challenge” the firefighter recruits. … Continue reading »

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WWII hand grenade found in planter at Berkeley home

The grenade that was found. Photo: BPD
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On Tuesday, a World War II-era hand grenade was unearthed in the planter box of a home in the 1200 block of Spruce Street.

At 4 p.m., Berkeley Police dispatch received a report of a possible explosive device, according to a Nixle alert put out by BPD Wednesday morning. The department’s Explosive Ordinance Disposal team responded and recovered a World War II-era, French military, training hand grenade. The grenade had been dug up when some work was being done on the property, BPD said. The device was safely disposed of by the EOD Team.

The grenade was wrapped in plastic which protected it from the elements, according to Sergeant Andrew Frankel, a spokesman for BPD. This helped authorities identify it: “There were visible stamps made on the metal which can be traced back to where it originated from,” he said. … Continue reading »

Shop Talk: Bodyrok, Hana Holistic, Tea 1 Berkeley

Hana Holistic
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BODYROK Fitness studios Bodyrok had their grand opening May 21 at 1601 University Ave. (at California). The studios, which offer stationary bikes and Pilates reformer machines, offer full body sculpt classes (using a blend of Pilates, cardio and weight training), and a variety of cycle classes. Bodyrok says its approach is to “take a traditional reformer workout and turns it up a notch by adding strength training exercises and high-energy music to keep the heart rate up the entire 40-minute class. Our method includes a greater variety of exercises, longer segments and quicker transitions, resulting in a more intense, sweat fueled, fast-paced Pilates workout.” Berkeley is Bodyrok’s fourth location as it has two in San Francisco and one in Carlsbad. Bodyrok is at 1601 University Ave. (at California). Connect with Bodyrok Fitness on Facebook. … Continue reading »

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New 16-story downtown Berkeley hotel gets go-ahead

The proposed downtown hotel at Center and Shattuck. Image: JRDV Urban International
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Berkeley’s Zoning Adjustments Board on Thursday night approved plans for a 16-story, 334-room hotel, with conference center, to be built on the Bank of America site at 2129 Shattuck Ave. (at Center Street).

The vote was unanimous and ZAB commissioners universally praised the project developer, Pyramid Hotel Group, for its responsiveness throughout the approval process, and for taking into account the needs of the community and stakeholders. Commissioner Steven Donaldson said Pyramid had been a “model for how developers can work with the city.”

See city documents on the hotel plans

Read more details on the hotel project on Berkeleyside.

The proposal considered by ZAB on Thursday was essentially the same as the one the board saw the last time it was in front of them when it certified its Environment Impact Report, said city principal planner Greg Powell. Changes made to the plans in recent months included dropping the idea of condos, aesthetic revisions to the architecture including “quieting it down,” and enhancing the project’s community benefits, the principal one of which concerns the project’s labor agreements. … Continue reading »

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24/7 ballot drop box now available in downtown Berkeley

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A new ballot drop-off box has been installed in downtown for the first time. The initiative was spearheaded by the Alameda County registrar of voters, which has put similar boxes in other cities.

The secure box is for “those who want to save a stamp on their absentee ballot, hand it in themselves, or wait until election day to finish it,” according to the city of Berkeley.

All Alameda County voters can use the box to deliver their votes. No postage is necessary for ballots placed in the drop box.

The ballot box in front of the Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Building at 2180 Milvia St., a block away from BART, and is available 24 hours a day. The city said it will be in service for every election, including the June 7 presidential primary.

The Alameda County registrar of voters will retrieve vote-by-mail ballots daily, ending with a final collection at 8 p.m. on election night Nov. 8.

The vote by mail period opened May 9 and closes at 8 p.m. June 7. The registrar has an online map of other drop-off boxes elsewhere in the county.

Previously, the only way to hand in a ballot in Berkeley was during office hours. Berkeley City Clerk Mark Numainville said voting by mail is steadily increasing locally, which would explain why the registrar is rolling out more drop boxes. … Continue reading »

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The lowdown: Help for small businesses, Telegraph; more

The Berkeley City Council now meets in West Berkeley. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Two special sessions take place tonight, Tuesday, at 5:30 p.m. and 6:45 p.m., both of which are open to the public, before the regular Berkeley City Council meeting. The first session focuses on the City Council referral prioritization process. It will examine the system of “re-weighted range voting” to provide direction to city staff on which referrals are the highest priority. The session at 6:45 p.m. will consider a resolution to vote in support of district formation on the “Ballot to Reestablish the Downtown Berkeley Property-Based Business Improvement District.” Then, at the regular 7 p.m. meeting, items include a proposal to help small businesses and a request to increase development potential in the Telegraph commercial district. Scroll down to see how to follow live meeting coverage and participate from afar.  … Continue reading »

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Nature

EBMUD suspends drought restrictions as East Bay exceeds water conservation goals

2016-05-EBMUD Pardee Reservoir
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EBMUD  has suspended its 25% drought surcharge for all customers, as well as mandatory restrictions on water use, after reservoirs have filled up and efforts by East Bay residents to conserve water conservation have yielded impressive results.

Reservoir storage levels are at 93% of average, according to EBMUD and customers’ conservation levels have consistently been 24% below 2013 use.

Read more about the California drought and how it affects Berkeley.

“Our customers are doing a great job,” said EBMUD spokeswoman Andrea Polk. “We will continue to work with all customer groups to keep conservation going!”

EBMUD’s decision goes into effect on July 1. … Continue reading »

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

Trail_Crest by Christopher Woodcock 2015
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A CELEBRATION OF OUR NATIONAL PARKS Writer and historian Wallace Stegner famously called our national parks “The best idea we ever had.” The opening reception for the David Brower Center’s new juried group exhibition, Common Ground: A Celebration of our National Parks, is tonight, Friday May 20, and the exhibition runs through Sept. 8. On the 100th anniversary of the National Park System, the multimedia exhibition observes art’s crucial role in preserving our parks, as well as the notion that parks are America’s best idea, through the lens of 20 Bay Area artists. They are: Alexis Arnold, Jenny E. Balisle, Tony Bellaver, George-Ann Bowers, Mariet Braakman, Hopi Breton, Kimberley D’Adamo-Green, Marshall Elliott, Tanja Geis, J.M. Golding, Jeff Greenwald, Andras Ladai, Malcolm Lubliner, Kara Maria, Kim Miskowicz, Karen Preuss, Ansley West Rivers,Caroline Seckinger, Paul Taylor and Christopher Woodcock. The jury is composed of recognized West Coast curators Stephanie Hanor (Mills College Art Museum), Katrina Traywick (Traywick Contemporary), Sean Uyehara (Headlands Center for the Arts) and the Brower Center’s Executive Director, Laurie Rich. The Brower Center has also curated a series of public programs in conjunction with the exhibit. For full details and opening times, visit the David Brower Center. (Berkeleyside is a media sponsor of Common Ground.) … Continue reading »

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