Author Archives: Tracey Taylor

Photos: Sports Basement preparing to open Nov. 11

Those are not stained glass windows, simply the sunset as seen from the interior of the new Sports Basement opening on Tuesday next week. Photo: courtesy Sports Basement
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Sports Basement will open in the former Berkeley Iceland location on Tuesday next week, 10 days later than originally forecast. It will follow with a “Grandish Snowpening” on Saturday, Nov.15, when Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates will officially cut the ribbon on the new retail store in the 71,862-square-foot building at 2727 Milvia St.

The historic ice­ skating rink has been renovated with the intent of preserving the look and feel of the original Berkeley Iceland. Structural updates include a new roof and floor, new walls on the north and south sides of the building, and the addition of 44 off­-street parking spaces and 64 off-­street bike parking spaces.

Read more about the work done to transform Berkeley Iceland into Sports Basement and the store’s plans for the community. … Continue reading »

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BUSD superintendent: ‘We have much more work to do’

berkeley high
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In response to unruly behavior on the Berkeley High campus Oct. 24, and the current absence of top leadership at the school, Berkeley Unified School District Superintendent Donald Evans has asked the school’s former principal to take a more active role in the day-to-day running of the school, and has committed to having a new principal in place by July 1, 2015.

In an email sent to the Berkeley High community Tuesday, Evans said the problems that occurred on Rally Day at Berkeley High demonstrated that the district had “much more work to do.”

A Berkeley High staffer was sent to the hospital with a head injury sustained during what the school described as a mob scene involving an estimated 500 mostly junior and senior students “participating in hazing and bullying behavior,” chanting and throwing objects, including glass bottles after school let out on Friday Oct. 24. While trying to break up the mob, two additional staff members were hit. Fifteen students were found to be intoxicated and were suspended. … Continue reading »

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Exclusive: Local developer Hudson McDonald in contract to buy downtown Berkeley Post Office

Post Office by Darius Wekwerth
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After weeks of silence, Berkeley developer Hudson McDonald has acknowledged that it is the company that is negotiating with the USPS to buy the main Berkeley Post Office at 2000 Allston Way.

If successful, Hudson McDonald, which is best known for the construction of the Trader Joe’s building on University and MKL Jr. Way, said it plans to restore the 1914 building and develop the back for retail operations while offering the Post Office the opportunity of continuing to use the front lobby for postal services.

“There is a lot to be determined,” Chris Hudson, co-principal with Evan McDonald of the developer, said Tuesday. “But we want to preserve and restore the building, including retrofitting it, and we are having a conversation with the post office about them being tenant in the front part.” Currently about 80% of the building is empty.

Hudson said the Post Office had received several offers for the building but that Hudson McDonald was the only bidder in negotiation with USPS. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Cat Town Café, Boss Burgers, Zella’s soul food

Cat Town Cafe
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Openings, closings…

CAT TOWN CAFE A new café where cats reign has opened in Oakland in in the heart of the city’s historic Auto Row. Co-founded by Ann Dunn and Adam Myatt, Cat Town Café gives cat lovers the chance to grab a coffee and a bite in the company of feline friends, and also acts as a cat adoption center. “The café part is going to be completely self-contained within the larger property. You’ll walk in, get your goodies, then go in to the Cat Zone,” said Dunn, also the founder of Cat Town, a non-profit that has been rescuing at-risk shelter cats in partnership with Oakland Animal Services since 2011. The menu includes bagels from the Authentic Bagel Co., sandwiches from S+M Vegan, and coffee from Bicycle Coffee Company, as well as catnip tea, for people and cats. There’s also Cat Macaroons from Shades of Sugar and other treats from Oakland’s Kitchener Collective. Once in the Cat Zone, patrons can purchase dehydrated treats from RAWR, an Oakland-based raw cat food purveyor. Guests are welcome to walk-in to the Cat Zone for a free visit limited to 60 minutes, or, for a small donation, be able to guarantee entry via an online reservation system. It’s believed Cat Town Café is America’s first permanent cat café. The Cat Town Café is at 2869 Broadway, at 29th St. Opening hours are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Wednesday to Sunday; the Cat Zone is open from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday. More information can be found at Cat Town Café’s website. … Continue reading »

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An ideas festival in Berkeley unfolds over social media

Tanya Holland and Twilight Greenaway by Pete Rosos
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[View the story “Uncharted The Berkeley Festival of Ideas 2014: As it happened” on Storify]

Note: the Storify above does not necessarily reflect the chronological order of the festival program.

Uncharted: The Berkeley Festival of Ideas, which launched in 2013, is organized by Berkeleyside as a community event to expand horizons, bring Berkeley to the fore, and help sustain Berkeleyside in the long run. If you were at Uncharted 2014, take a quick survey so we have your … Continue reading »

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Photo Gallery: Uncharted 2014 — a festival fit for Berkeley

Ken Goldberg with Quentin Hardy by Pete Rosos
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How do you sum up the essence of a two-day festival of ideas like Uncharted?

Festivalgoers were exposed to, and engaged in, such a wide range of conversations, covering the gamut from robotics to food movements, from aging to cloning, from technology to language, and from race to equality… that capturing the spirit of the event, which also included many inspiring musical performances, as well as dazzling bay views from the Uncharted party deck, is near-on impossible.

KQED Arts did a good job in a story published Wednesday, writing: “Uncharted gave … ideas … an ecumenical airing. In the parlance of [Uncharted speaker] Brian Christian, it was full duplex — open channel cross talk like in a bar — not the reductive half duplex talk of one-at-a-time messaging, which is what a robot can handle. In such as atmosphere, easy problems may still be hard … But hard problems are at least easy to talk about.”

One festivalgoer said simply that the experience of Uncharted reminded her why she loved to live in Berkeley, a city known for people who are curious, hungry for knowledge, and not afraid to challenge the status quo.

Here we present a visual record of the event, with stunning photographs by Pete Rosos and Nancy Rubin, two photographers whose work we are always honored to publish on Berkeleyside. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley High staffer injured, 15 students suspended, due to 500-strong student mob involving bullying, drinking

Rally Day in 2012, the last one to happen after it was canceled due to what the district said was
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A Berkeley High staffer was sent to the hospital Friday with a head injury sustained during what the school describes as a mob scene involving an estimated 500 students “participating in hazing and bullying behavior,” chanting and throwing objects, including glass bottles.

Berkeley police were called to help BHS administration and safety staff control the crowd of mostly juniors and seniors that gathered on the campus quad at around 3:45 p.m. While trying to break up the mob, two additional staff members were hit, according to Jorge Melgoza, vice principal of Berkeley High, who sent an email to the school community about the incident that was delivered on Saturday.

Fifteen students were found to be intoxicated and were suspended Friday. None were injured and no arrests were made. … Continue reading »

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Allegro Coffee to open at new Berkeley Whole Foods

Jeremy Allegro
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Allegro Coffee Roasters is set to open a craft coffee shop in the Whole Foods Market store at 10th and Gilman in West Berkeley which is slated to open on Nov. 4. It is Allegro’s second location after Brooklyn where it also has a shop within Whole Foods.

Allegro Coffee Company was founded in 1977 in Boulder, CO, and was one of the first certified organic roasters in the country. It was bought by Whole Foods in 1997 and, since then, Whole Foods has offered Allegro’s coffee as its signature house roast. Allegro continues to operates as its own business entity from its Boulder HQ.

At the new Berkeley store, Allegro will be roasting and grinding beans on-site. The coffee shop will be at one end of the store with a separate roll-up door for those who want to drop by for coffee and aren’t necessarily shopping for groceries. Whole Foods spokesperson Beth Krauss said there will be “a nice breezy seating area outside the venue too.” … Continue reading »

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Uncharted Ideas festival: You’ve heard enough from us

View from the University Club where the Uncharted Party will take place on the evening of October 24, 2014. Photo: UCB
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Uncharted: The Berkeley Festival of Ideas kicks off tomorrow, Friday, at 9:00 a.m. in downtown Berkeley. If you haven’t got your ticket yet, there is still time to do so.

Berkeleyside is organizing Uncharted for the second year running. Not only is the festival going to be an amazing two days — ask anyone who attended last year — it’s also one way Berkeleyside, which delivers oodles of free, original news reporting every day to the Berkeley community, aims to become a sustainable business in the long term.

But you’ve probably heard enough from Berkeleyside about Uncharted. Here’s a sample of what others are saying:

San Francisco Magazine: Go Do This: Berkeleyside’s Festival of Ideas

Thinking is — how do we put this? — hard. So you can imagine the difficulty in pulling off something billed as a “Festival of Ideas,” especially in a place like Berkeley, where every day is kind of a festival of deep thoughts. But that’s just what Berkeleyside is attempting with its second annual Uncharted festival this weekend. “A dinner party is a good metaphor,” says Lance Knobel, the site’s co-founder. “There’s no science to it — it’s an art” … Unlike TED talks — Uncharted is programmed as a series of conversations, rather than lectures. Read the full story at San Francisco Magazine. … Continue reading »

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Op-eds: Measures R and D, cell phones, dental mercury

The iPhone 4
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Berkeleyside’s Opinionator section has recently welcomed five new op-eds.

On Oct. 16 we published an op-ed by Mal Warwick who argues that Big Oil and Big Tobacco have no place in Berkeley politics.

Two measures on the November ballot come under scrutiny. Dorothy Walker, a member of the Downtown Area Plan Advisory Committee, describes Measure R, the downtown initiative, as “misleading, inflexible and destructive.” And Peter Barglow, a clinical professor of medicine and psychiatry at UC Davis, takes issue with claims made by two previous op-ed authors when addressing Measure D, the so-called soda tax proposal. … Continue reading »

There’s more to Berkeley’s Uncharted festival than ideas

There's more to Uncharted pic
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Discussion, debate, insights, revelations, laughter and inspiration — all of these are a given at Uncharted: The Berkeley Festival of Ideas which is happening on Friday Oct. 24 and Saturday Oct. 25 in downtown Berkeley. You wouldn’t expect anything less when participants engage with speakers like these.

But Uncharted is a festival. So there is much else to enjoy. Here’s the ‘beyond ideas’ line-up:

Continue reading »

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To improve the food system, start with the words

Russell Moore (second from left), owner of Camino restaurant in Oakland, at Monterey Fish Market at Pier 33 in San Francisco, with owner Paul Johnson (second from right). Image by Douglas Gayeton, published in his new book LOCAL. Click image to enlarge it
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Douglas Gayeton spent five years working on his new book LOCAL: The New Face of Food and Farming in America, a collection of beautiful information artworks accompanied by short essays chronicling the constituents of our country’s sustainable food system. The writer and photographer traveled all over the country, and he says he always knew almost immediately when a photo shoot wasn’t going to work out. If he was approaching a group of animals with a rancher, for instance, and they all began to walk away from them, he knew the gig was a bust.

“There are certain principles of animal husbandry, and if the animals demonstrate with their behavior they believe they have something to fear, it tells you a lot about the relationship,” Gayeton said.

Similarly, if he couldn’t spot a single weed in a field of produce, Gayeton would move on to the next project. “Everything is about the practice,” he said. “The farmer has been using pesticides. It’s not humanly possible to get rid of every weed.” … Continue reading »

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Noose at Berkeley High raised concerns over past suicide

Noose at BHS. Photo: anonymous
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Berkeley High administrators considered whether a noose found hanging in a tree earlier this month might have been in some way related to the suicide in February of a 21-year-old man on the BHS campus, according to Berkeley Unified Assistant Superintendent Pasquale Scuderi.

On Oct. 1 at around 2 p.m., a thin rope tied in the form of a noose was found in a tree on the campus green at Berkeley High School.

Berkeley police were called to investigate the incident, and worked with school safety officers.

Eight days after the discovery, on Oct. 9., Berkeley High Vice Principal Jorge Melgoza sent an email to the BHS community detailing what actions the school was taking in the wake of the noose’s discovery.

Melgoza described the noose as an “act of hate” and said it was “a clear and stark reminder that racism is alive and well in this country.”

Administrators also wondered whether the noose might be in some way related to the suicide on Feb. 17 on the campus of Michael B. Hamilton, who was not affiliated with the school, according to Scuderi, who, until last year, was principal of Berkeley High. … Continue reading »

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