Category Archives: Community
Firefighters, friends and family gathered on Sunday at the Haas Pavilion on the UC Berkeley campus to remember Tony Nunes, a veteran firefighter who died on Feb. 23 in an off-duty accident.
Nunes, who would have celebrated his 28th year with the Berkeley Fire Department last month, was killed when the tractor he was driving on his family property in Martinez overturned and rolled down a steep hill.
Berkeley Fire Chief Gil Dong described Nunes as having a personality that would always light up a room. He always had a smile on his face, he said.
Contributing photographer Ted Friedman was at the ceremony to capture the event for Berkeleyside. … Continue reading »
A woman who went missing from the North Berkeley Senior Center on Friday, whose whereabouts were unknown for approximately seven hours, was reunited with her family Friday night after being spotted by an observant passer-by who was on her way home from work, authorities said.
Seventy-year-old Frances Green, who has Stage 4 Alzheimer’s, walked out of the senior center, at 1901 Hearst Ave., and disappeared just before 1 p.m. Friday.
Authorities were alerted to her absence and began keeping watch for her around Berkeley. Police printed fliers with information about Green and distributed them to nearby agencies, and informed community members in the area what to watch out for.
When Green remained missing despite initial efforts, the Berkeley Police Department also sent out an alert via the California Highway Patrol’s “Silver” network — similar to the Amber alert system but for seniors — and activated an alert network connected to the medical response system.
Some residents in the area were also notified by phone via the city’s emergency notification network, BENS. Several tips about possible sightings of Green came in to dispatchers, as well as calls from residents who were annoyed or confused about what the notification meant, and whether it was authentic.
In addition to those efforts, police called in four search dogs from the volunteer Alameda County Search and Rescue team to help try to find Green. Many of her family members responded to the area too, walking nearby Berkeley streets to try to find Green throughout the evening. … Continue reading »
The Berkeley City Council has taken steps to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products within 500 feet of schools, including menthol cigarettes, popular as a sweet-smoke with a slight tingle; flavored roll-your-own tobacco, which comes in such tastes as mint, black cherry and vanilla; and cigars.
Berkeley’s menthol move came the week before the launch of major statewide public health campaign on the marketing and availability of tobacco products and junk food.
“The tobacco industry continues to find cheap, new ways to entice our youth. Flavored products that appeal to youth are often marketed just a few blocks from schools,” said Dr. Janet Berreman, director of Berkeley’s public health division. … Continue reading »
Berkeley residents who participate in community crime prevention efforts met with police this week to share concerns and learn about recent crime trends.
Block captains and members of the Berkeley Safe Neighborhoods Committee shared updates on everything from break-ins and vehicle thefts to thoughts about a recent homicide.
Aggressive door knockers, a new approach underway by police to deal with residential alarms, recurring auto burglaries and tips about surveillance cameras were among the issues discussed by neighbors Monday night. … Continue reading »
The city of Berkeley has brought back its popular “free dumpster” program to turn a neighborhood desire for free garbage hauling into a passion for disaster preparedness activities.
To increase community participation in disaster planning and public safety, neighborhoods that regularly collaborate with the city’s emergency planning programs will be eligible to reserve a 16-cubic-yard dumpster without a fee. … Continue reading »
Tilden Park’s cherished antique merry-go-round will continue spinning — but possibly in a different direction.
For the first time in 21 years, the East Bay Regional Parks District could, at its March 18 board meeting, approve new management and operation of the Tilden merry-go-round. This could spell the end of the merry-go-round’s Christmas Fantasy tradition, a month-long holiday extravaganza the current operators began 16 years ago.
Terri Oyarzùn and her family have managed and operated the 103-year-old carousel and its crew of colorful wooden animals since the previous operators retired in 1993. When her second 10-year contract expired last year, and EBRPD put the merry-go-round out to bid, Oyarzùn was among three potential operators who submitted proposals, but hers was not ultimately selected. … Continue reading »
A 10-year-old musical theater company serving local youth is one step closer to creating its first permanent home in West Berkeley’s Aquatic Park.
The Youth Musical Theater Company won preliminary approval Thursday night from Berkeley’s Zoning Adjustments Board to create a new base for its operations on Bolivar Drive at the southern end of Aquatic Park.
City staff members have been working with the theater group to come up with a deal that would work for both parties. But, for the agreement to move forward, the Berkeley City Council will also have to approve the use permit and sign off on the lease. … Continue reading »
For 38 years, Lifelong Medical Care has been been providing high-quality medical, dental, and other services to Berkeley’s most vulnerable residents. Started by the Gray Panthers as the Over 60 Health Clinic in 1976, LifeLong has now grown into nine different facilities around the Bay Area, with most centered in northern Alameda County.
Lifelong just renovated and expanded its health center at 2031 Sixth Street in West Berkeley and will be holding a grand opening celebration Sunday, March 2, 3-5 p.m. to which the public is invited.
To recognize the work Lifelong does in the community, Berkeleyside commissioned contributing photographer Pete Rosos to create a photo essay on Lifelong Medical Care. Rosos spent several weeks on the assignment, photographing patients taking part in several Lifelong programs, including its Healthy Kids group, the Men’s Health group, a Power Yoga class and a Parenting class. Take a minute to view the slideshow above to see his beautiful images. (Hover over a photograph to see captions and to pause the slideshow.) … Continue reading »
A fresh hole in the middle of the street. Sadness. Disappointment. Anger. Such is the story of a small street in far north Berkeley.
On Thursday Feb. 20, city workers removed an injured Coast Live Oak from Menlo Place in the city’s Thousand Oaks district, between Colusa Avenue and the Alameda. The tree, at least five decades old, and probably more, grew from the center of the street near the intersection with Santa Rosa Avenue, with traffic navigating around it.
Or trying to.
After a truck hit the tree in December, severing a major limb, city officials deemed it too sick and weak for salvation, and a public hazard. This, in spite of an impassioned campaign by neighbors to save the oak. … Continue reading »
Neighbors to a proposed new UC Berkeley building say its modern design, and the need to remove several trees in the area in order to build it, are threats to the aesthetic and value of the historic Northside neighborhood. And the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association (BAHA) agrees.
The Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation, a new College of Engineering design facility, is set to replace the volleyball court at Le Roy Avenue and Ridge Road. The 20,000 gross sq ft building, funded by a $20 million gift from the Paul and Stacey Jacobs Foundation, will have three stories, with the first story being partially underground.
BAHA sent a letter to UC Berkeley in October objecting to the proposed building’s “alienating institutional look,” and suggested the planners consider a design that bears more “relation to the surrounding historic resources.” … Continue reading »
Kelly Ross and Alyssa Journey were married in downtown Berkeley on Friday Feb. 14, but it was fluke that it happened at all. The couple, from Little Rock, Ark., was traveling to New York with plans to get married when their flight was cancelled. They rerouted to San Francisco and happened to see on Facebook that Berkeley was holding a mass wedding on Valentine’s Day. They decided to head here to tie the knot.
Ross and Journey were one of several couples, straight and gay, who were wed or who renewed their vows at a mass celebration at BART Plaza in downtown on Friday.
After two failures to secure a pools bond measure, advocates for the reopening of Willard Pool turned out in force at Tuesday night’s Berkeley City Council meeting. Pool supporters called for including Willard in a likely parks bond measure on the November ballot.
“This is a winning coalition,” said Robert Collier, one of the leaders of the Berkeley Pools Campaign, at the council meeting. “This is our time to win not just for the pools, but for the parks as well.” … Continue reading »
One year after Kayla Moore died during a police investigation into a disturbance at her downtown Berkeley home, family members and supporters are still fighting for what they say are needed changes in how local authorities handle mental health crises throughout the city.
A rally and vigil for Moore are planned Wednesday, Feb. 12, at 6 p.m. at the Gaia Apartments, at 2116 Allston Way, where Moore had lived in the months preceding her death. That event will be followed at 7 p.m. by a “speakout” before the city’s Police Review Commission at the South Berkeley Senior Center, 2939 Ellis St.
Next week, a two-day commission hearing on the circumstances surrounding Moore’s death is expected to conclude with a vote, or votes, related to what happened after police responded to Moore’s home just before midnight Feb. 12, 2013, when a friend of Moore’s, concerned about her mental and physical state, called police for help. Neither the hearing nor its outcome is open to the public because it’s considered a personnel matter, which is protected by confidentiality laws. … Continue reading »