Category Archives: Community

Photo gallery: A great day out for all at Solano Stroll 2014

Solano Stroll 2014 drummers. Photo: gina g10
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Events

40th Solano Stroll, one mile of free family fun, on Sunday

Solano Stroll-1 Nancy Rubin
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The East Bay’s largest street festival is back for its fortieth year on Sunday Sept. 14, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Visitors to the Solano Stroll can look forward to a mile-long stretch of attractions, including food, music, rides and live entertainment.

The annual festival, which is hosted each year by the cities of Albany and Berkeley, will feature 500 street vendors, as well as all the businesses and organizations that line Solano Avenue’s 26 blocks, and also boasts 50 entertainers, 50 food booths, 150 government and non-profit agencies, 150 juried hand-crafters, a 75 entry parade, and state-of the-art mechanical rides.

As in previous years, the event is expected to draw 250,000 visitors,  including folks from across California and from neighboring states. … Continue reading »

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The B-Side: Has Berkeley lost its cool?

Screen The B-Side: Has Berkeley lost its cool?
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The Free Speech Movement was launched in Berkeley exactly 50 years ago. From that point on, Berkeley was a beacon for young people. But what does Berkeley have to offer adventurous youth today? “Cool” is an amorphous concept, but has Berkeley lost it?

This the question that will be addressed at the second B-Side talk presented by Berkeleyside and Impact Hub Berkeley on Tuesday Sept. 16 at 7:00 p.m.

For the “Has Berkeley Lost its Cool?” talk Jennifer Cogley, Sustainable Business Coordinator at the City of Berkeley, will go head to head with media relations, marketing and communications strategist Emunah Hauser in a discussion moderated by Berkeleyside co-founder Lance Knobel. This promises to be a lively debate, and one participants will be encouraged to join. … Continue reading »

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Michael Lewis begs people to help boy who needs donor

Baylor Fredrickson 2
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On Friday last week, best-selling author Michael Lewis posted the two photos of Baylor Fredrickson shown above on his Facebook page.

“I want for people to see two pictures of Baylor Fredrickson,” he wrote. “The first was taken before his latest round of chemotherapy, the second after — and just before he received a cord blood transplant. The transplant failed. Baylor’s mom relates below what this means for Baylor — another round of ever more dangerous chemotherapy followed by an even more experimental bid for a cure. It’s lucky that Baylor is unusually brave; it’s sad that he is being forced, at seven years old, to prove it.” … Continue reading »

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

Date night
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DATE NIGHT — WITH THE KIDS! On Saturday, Sept. 6, parents can bring their kids on a date night. Yes, you read that right. The fun evening of entertainment and cocktails being held at the Kala Art Institute will benefit CEID, an innovative local school for deaf and hard-of-hearing children. Parents get the cocktail date night where Lisa Rothman, a former producer and host for KPFA and KALW, will perform the one-woman show “Date Night at Pet Emergency,” while the kids attend the preschool’s pajama pizza party, learning sign language and meeting a service dog. Rothman says she’s doing the show as her way of saying thank you to the school which helped her son (who was born with a neurological disorder called apraxia) speak. Kala Art Institute, 2990 San Pablo Ave., 5:30-8:30 p.m. Show and cocktail reception, $60, pizza party for kids, $25. Advanced registration for childcare required. Tickets can be bought on Eventbrite. … Continue reading »

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State-mandated kindergarten program explains perceived student numbers squeeze at Berkeley schools

BUSD First Day 2014-15 0050
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When the Berkeley school district added two new kindergarten classes – one to Cragmont school and one to Malcolm X — just before school began, some parents were concerned about what impact the move would have on the schools, which, they said, were neither spacious nor overstaffed. In an opinion piece published on Berkeleyside, Joshua Room, former President of the PTA at Malcolm X, asked why the district couldn’t plan ahead better. Quite a few readers agreed with him.

In fact, this year’s incoming kindergarten class is smaller than last year’s class. The squeeze is instead coming from the fairly new – and growing — transitional kindergarten program, required by state law. And the BUSD admissions office said it was well aware of the crunch coming.

“I knew we needed more classrooms back in February,” said Francisco Martinez, district admissions director. But over the course of the spring, plans about where to put the transitional kindergarten classrooms went through several shifts. … Continue reading »

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How Quirky is Berkeley? Mark Olivier’s Colusa Avenue beach trash sculpture garden

Capodillo at 1106 Colusa Avenue.  Photo: John Storey
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Colusa Avenue between Marin and Hopkins is not well traveled, but people who have heard about Mark Olivier’s incredible — as in unbelievable — front yard at 1118 Colusa often make a point to go there.

Olivier, a carpenter who found himself as a sculptor, has created a fantastical display from found objects. He walks the Albany Bulb and other beaches to collect trash, mostly plastic, that has washed up. He takes the trash home, sorts it in boxes and bins. And then the magic happens: unexpected animals and masks and figures and machines. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s Sundays on Telegraph photo contest winners announced; fun continues through September

Sundays on Telegraph, July 2014. Photo: Edfil Dulay
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Sundays on Telegraph is going strong on Telegraph Avenue, and Berkeleyside is excited to announced the winners of the event’s first photo contest, which wrapped up in July.

Mayor Tom Bates‘ office launched the photo contest earlier this summer, in collaboration with Berkeleyside, to award the shooters who captured the best images of the event so far this year. The street festival, which started last year, closes Telegraph to vehicle traffic on Sundays from July through September.

Street performers of all stripes are part of the annual event, from the bubble man to live music to board games, jugglers and many other entertainers. … Continue reading »

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4 Berkeley buildings to get upgrades after library lawsuit

Ashkenaz will use a $27,000 grant it received from the Berkeley Preservation Trust to seismically upgrade its building and help fund a new roof. Photo: Joe Balestreri
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A bell tower constructed in 1878. A nursery school built in 1927. An import-export warehouse converted into a music venue. A prefabricated panel cottage put together in 1887.

These four Berkeley structures will soon be improved, thanks to $87,000 generated by the settlement of a lawsuit between Berkeley and Concerned Library Users, a group that protested how some Measure FF library bond funds were to be used. … Continue reading »

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In Berkeley: A bamboo tree to make wishes come true

The bamboo wishing trees on Delaware Street in Berkeley. Photo: Eve Kushner
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There’s something rather special going on at 2022 Delaware St., just west of Shattuck Avenue, in central Berkeley. Reader Eve Kushner alerted us to a cluster of bamboo plants that grow in pots along the sidewalk that have sprouted dozens and dozens of handwritten wishes.

Kushner said the family that owns the house with the bamboo trees encourages people to write their wishes on what look like large, old-fashioned price tags, and to hang them from the bamboo for all to see and read.

“Most of the wishes are sincere, heartfelt, and touching,” said Kushner. “Lots of wishes for world peace, and the odd one for a pizza with all the toppings!”

We asked Kushner if she could share some photographs of this special Berkeley place. … Continue reading »

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$750K grant may bring big changes to South Berkeley

The Adeline Street planning project is picking up steam. Image: Google maps
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The city of Berkeley is hoping to dramatically rethink many elements of South Berkeley, thanks to a $750,000 planning grant it received from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission in May.

South Shattuck Avenue and nearly 1 mile of Adeline Street in South Berkeley might see more affordable housing, pedestrian- and bike-friendly neighborhoods, more park areas, a new theater, mass transit improvements, and more.

Those are just some of the ideas that have been proposed so far. Before any plan is adopted, officials will hold community meetings and do other outreach to gather ideas from residents, businesses and local groups and institutions. The grant will also permit Berkeley to do an environmental study, the city said earlier this year. (That study would “allow streamlined CEQA review for future projects on Adeline and south Shattuck Avenue,” according to project materials.) … Continue reading »

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1 year after devastating fire, 3 events planned for Berkeley Tuolumne Family Camp

A photograph taken at the site of the Berkeley Tuolumne Family Camp on Aug. 28, three days after the Rim Fire swept through it. Photo: U.S. Forest Service
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The Friends of Berkeley Tuolumne Camp group is holding three fundraising events, starting on Friday August 22, to mark the first anniversary of the Rim Fire which effectively destroyed the much-loved, city-run family summer camp.

On Aug. 25, 2013, the largest recorded wildfire in the Sierra Nevada burned 92 of the Tuolumne camp’s 111 structures, including all of its main buildings.

The Friends of Berkeley Tuolumne Camp, the non-profit organization that supports and serves the campers of Berkeley’s Camp Tuolumne, says the goal of the events is “to bring together the families of Camp Tuolumne and to keep their camp spirit alive and well as we work together to rebuild Camp Tuolumne.” … Continue reading »

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In Berkeley program, teens learn the law, leadership

Meea Sheard spent her summer interning at the General Counsel's Office of the Peralta Community College District. Photo: Nancy Schiff
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Jay-Z and Beyoncé are working out their relationship problems. The celebrities — impersonated uncannily by two 17-year-olds — are pretty angry at each other. But eventually they restore their romance, thanks to the help of an articulate 16-year-old mediator.

Mediation role-playing is just one sliver of the Summer Legal Fellowship Program at the Center for Youth Development Through Law. Each summer, the non-profit offers 30 disadvantaged youth from Berkeley, Oakland and Richmond paid internships and training in law and leadership.

This year’s program ended with a graduation ceremony last week. The teenagers worked hard until the end, juggling their internships at various government agencies and non-profits, attending college prep and constitutional law classes, and preparing their resumes for mock job interviews. … Continue reading »

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