Category Archives: Community

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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Old pipe breaks, closes Grant Street in Berkeley; 40 customers without water

Bancroft Way at Grant Street at 11 a.m. after a water main break. Photo: Kelly Dorsey
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Dozens of central Berkeley residents around Grant Street and Bancroft Way have been dealing with a water main break since Friday morning.

Grant has been closed from Allston Way to Bancroft as crews work to fix the problem. Some lanes may be reopened as the work continues.

East Bay Municipal Utility District spokeswoman Abby Figueroa said customers called to report water in the street and lower-than-normal water pressure at 11 a.m. … Continue reading »

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In Berkeley park, free boxing program inspires young men

Screen shot 2014-08-14 at 1.12.05 PM
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It started when Manuel Buendía began taking his young sons to San Pablo Park in Berkeley to teach them to box. Soon others wanted to join in, and now Buendía runs an informal, free boxing training program for any young person who shows interest.

Buendía hopes the sessions are helping some of the participants stay out of trouble. As he says in the video above, “Instead of them fighting out on the street, they should bring it here. Here in the park, right? They can take their anger out here, with boxing.”

Luis Flores, a UC Berkeley student who also attended Berkeley High School, shot the video above through Youth Radio, a non-profit based in downtown Oakland. … Continue reading »

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Vandals target César Chávez memorial, dog park markers

Solar calendar by KAP Chris
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The solar calendar installation at César Chávez Park in Berkeley is an homage to the famous activist, a peaceful waterfront vantage point and, lately, the target of multiple acts of vandalism.

Repeatedly over the last few months, stones from the installation’s retaining walls have been removed or thrown in nearby bushes, and signs with descriptions of the tribute have been smashed. … Continue reading »

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Cal mom to document her son’s life with Asperger’s

Nils Skudra poses with his dog, Beauregard. Nils has Asperger syndrome and currently attends UC Berkeley. Photo: Nils Skudra
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For teens across America, college is one of the major stepping-stones to independence, akin to getting a driver’s license or moving into your own place. Away from the constant supervision parents, young adults get their first taste of the “real world,” where they can finally take charge of their lives.

But that wasn’t the case with Nils Skudra when he entered UC Merced in 2010. His mother, Renee Skudra, went with him. And when he returned to the Bay Area to transfer to UC Berkeley, she followed. … Continue reading »

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How quirky is Berkeley? Mailboxes that resemble houses

1273 Hearst.  Photo: Tom Dalzell.
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The 2010 Census reports that there were 46,029 households in Berkeley. Some households, to be sure, get their mail in banks of mailboxes that do not permit innovation in design, but there are many thousands that do.

To an extent not seen in most cities, Berkeley residents see their mailboxes as an opportunity for creative expression. I have several hundred photographs of whimsical mailboxes, including the two presented (one above and one below) in which the mailbox mirrors the color of the house it serves: … Continue reading »

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Berkeley appoints first ‘chief resilience officer’

Timothy Burroughs
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As a city, Berkeley prides itself on being prepared. Officials hope the recent appointment of a “resilience officer” to coordinate city-wide defenses against natural disasters will be another step in that direction — this time with the help of the Rockefeller Foundation.

In mid-July, Berkeley appointed Timothy Burroughs to the position of chief resilience officer, a new post created as part of the city’s partnership with the 100 Resilient Cities project. Burroughs was formerly the city’s climate action coordinator, working on sustainability efforts in Berkeley. … Continue reading »

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Animal rights activists smash Star Grocery windows

The window that was vandalized at Star Grocery on Claremont Avenue. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Two FBI agents visited Star Grocery on Claremont Avenue on Monday to investigate a broken window the government believes was smashed by animal rights activists.

The large plate glass window of the market, which has been run by the Pappas family since 1922, was smashed around 2 a.m. on Sunday, July 27, according to Nick Pappas, the store’s owner. He wasn’t aware of the animal rights connection until the FBI contacted him a few days later, he said. … Continue reading »

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