Category Archives: Community

Adeline report highlights desire for affordable housing

Neighbors present their vision for the Adeline Corridor while city consultants act as scribe. Photo: Natalie Orenstein
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The city of Berkeley unveiled its preliminary existing conditions report for the Adeline Corridor planning project at a packed community meeting Saturday, Aug. 29.

The presentation was the culmination of five months spent gathering community input on the Adeline Corridor grant, a $750,000 award from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission in 2014. Money from the grant can only be used for planning purposes in the “corridor,” which covers about 100 acres stretching south from Dwight Way to the Berkeley/Oakland border.

Read past Berkeleyside coverage related to the Adeline Corridor.

Throughout the spring and summer, the city collected 1,118 surveys at “IDEA Centers” set up at neighborhood venues, online and through a youth outreach effort. The report summarizes survey respondents’ desires and concerns, and details recent demographic and economic changes in the project area.

“Clearly the number one thing that people said was their issue and challenge and something they’d like to improve in the neighborhood” was affordable housing, said Mukul Malhotra, principal at MIG, the Berkeley-based consultant hired by the city to oversee the grant.

The risk of displacement in the area is “significant and ongoing,” said Malhotra at the meeting, which reportedly brought more than 150 attendants to Harriet Tubman Terrace, at 2870 Adeline St. … Continue reading »

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Breaking: Jeff Scott resigns as Berkeley library director

Jeff Scott
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The Berkeley Public Library announced Monday that Jeff Scott has officially resigned from his position as director of library services. The move comes just 10 months after Scott took the position, in November 2014. The resignation is effective Sept. 8.  

Scott’s abrupt departure comes in the wake of a controversy over the weeding of books at Berkeley’s central library, which has put the library director on the defensive over the past few weeks. Criticism centered on his management style and his perceived honesty.

“It is with a heavy heart that I tender my resignation as the Director of Library Services of the Berkeley Public Library. I have enjoyed my work here at the library and I am proud of what we have been able to accomplish,” Scott said in a prepared statement.

The Library Board of Trustees will initiate a search to fill Scott’s position, according to the statement, released by Abigail Franklin, chair of the board, shortly after 2 p.m. Monday. In the interim, Sarah Dentan, acting deputy director, will serve as acting director.

Read more about the controversial weeding at Berkeley’s central library.

“I have appreciated the enthusiasm for library services that Jeff has brought to Berkeley and wish him well,” Franklin said. … Continue reading »

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Government

Low-flying helicopter to measure radiation in Berkeley

A low-flying helicopter is expected over the Bay Area in the next week as part of a government program to measure radiation (file photo from August 2012). Photo: Jef Poskanzer
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Berkeley residents may see and hear a low-flying helicopter overhead on Wednesday as part of a federal program focused on measuring radiation levels.

According to a statement published by the city of Berkeley, the helicopter is expected to fly over San Francisco, Pacifica, Berkeley and Oakland between Tuesday, Sept. 1, and Sunday, Sept. 6.

The helicopter is slated to be in Berkeley on Wednesday, in both the morning and afternoon.

According to the city’s statement, the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Energy, including the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, are partnering on a program “to improve the U.S. government’s ability to detect nuclear and radiological material.”  … Continue reading »

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Remembering Berkeley community activist Kitty McLean

Kitty McLean, who died on July x. Photo: Courtesy of the family
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On July 13, long-time Berkeley community activist Kitty McLean died of complications from a stroke. Kitty was an unsung heroine of many progressive causes and candidates: a volunteer par excellence.

The wife of UC Berkeley professor Hugh McLean, Kitty was very active in politics. She was always there as a committed volunteer for a variety of progressive/environmental causes, candidates and organizations, including the Sierra Club, League of Women Voters (LWV) and Citizens for an Eastshore State Park (CESP).

No job was too small for Kitty—she was willing to lick stamps, address envelopes, work to develop consensus on LWV issues, canvass door-to-door, participate in phone banks, talk to people, count votes in Sierra Club elections, keep up with elected officials and follow candidates running for office. … Continue reading »

Community

Berkeley couple takes death of fawn into own hands

Fawn. Photo: Christian Stauduhar
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Disclaimer: This article contains graphic photographs that some may find disturbing. Reader discretion is advised.

A North Berkeley couple was distraught by the death of a fawn near their home on Thursday, and took matters into their own hands after failing, they said, to get a prompt response from city of Berkeley staff or officials.

Christian and Tara Stauduhar say they are convinced an off-leash dog killed the fawn, and say it’s not the first time off-leash dogs have caused problems in the area, on their property and at adjacent Glendale La Loma Park in northeast Berkeley. 

Christian Stauduhar told Berkeleyside, by email, that he woke up just before 7 a.m. Thursday to the sounds of “an animal screaming, a dog barking, and the dog owner yelling for his dog” at the park.

I went outside to investigate, and observed the dog running around on our property before returning to its screaming owner,” Stauduhar wrote. “I was unable to catch more than a glimpse of the owner, who was in the park, about a hundred yards away.”

Stauduhar then looked around for the animal he had heard in distress, and found a fawn on his property. The fawn was “wet around the neck and hind legs, but was able to turn its head to look at me, and was standing.” Stauduhar watched the animal from about 20 feet away for approximately 5 minutes, then went inside.

“The animal had clearly been attacked, but since it looked mobile, and because it is illegal to render aid to a wild animal in California, I left her to her recovery,” he wrote.

About an hour later, he went to check on the fawn and found that it dead. … Continue reading »

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IKEA donates ‘makeover’ to shelter for homeless families

The "after" picture of a living room at BOSS furnished with Ikea furniture.
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The families living in the McKinley Family Transitional House in Berkeley now have a lovely space from which to plot their move out from homelessness.

IKEA, the Scandinavian furniture store with an outlet in Emeryville, recently donated $10,000 worth of furniture and design services to McKinley House, located at 2111 McKinley Ave. in central Berkeley. The home, which is operated by BOSS, or Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency, won the IKEA Life Improvement Challenge.

Now the living room has a comfortable blue plaid couch, lamps, a desk and shelving area, and new art on the wall. The bedrooms have wood dressers, beds and throw rugs. There is also new outdoor furniture on the lawn.

McKinley House is hosting an open house today from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. to show off the redecorated facility.  … Continue reading »

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How Quirky is Berkeley? Fairy Mural on Chaucer Street

Chaucer
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The concept of “mural” takes a new life at 1110 Chaucer St., just above San Pablo Avenue between Channing Way and Bancroft Way. Winding its way from the east end of the house westward, around the corner of the house and up to the chimney, is a celebration of fairies and California native plants.

The mural is the result of a collaboration about 15 years ago between home owner Riley and then-tenant Stefen. Two people with single-name names! Riley restores urban creeks. Stefen paints murals. … Continue reading »

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Bayer explains loud alarm in Berkeley on Monday

Bayer
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A loud alarm emanating from Bayer HealthCare’s West Berkeley campus concerned many local residents Monday night who wanted to know its cause.

Residents said the alarm went off for more than five minutes Monday, beginning around 9:10 p.m. The facility is located at 800 Dwight Way, and runs along Seventh Street between Dwight Way and Grayson Street.

Local residents described the sound as a siren or air horn, and said they heard it “wailing” for an extended period of time.

Wrote one local resident on Twitter, “Those alarms are disturbing & unintelligible when they relay spoken messages…like adults in Charlie Brown movies,” adding, “I don’t know if they’re tsunami tests, hazmat alerts, or what. I’ve never been able to make out a single word.”

Another local resident said she was “used to hearing it at all hours but it went on wayyy longer than usual this evening.” … Continue reading »

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Berkeley man gets back stolen bike; second still missing

Caio Braga got his bike back about 24 hours after it was stolen. An identical bike is still missing. Photo: Berkeley Police
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A Berkeley man has been reunited with his stolen bike thanks to an alert resident who recognized it in the neighborhood — after seeing a post on social network Nextdoor — but the owner is still hoping to find a second identical bicycle that was also stolen from his home over the weekend.

The theft of both Trek bikes took place sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning in West Berkeley near Strawberry Creek Park. Owner Caio Braga reported the theft online to the Berkeley Police Department, and also posted information and photographs online, on Nextdoor and the Bike Index, a national registry for bike owners.

Monday morning, a man spotted someone cycling through Strawberry Creek Park on the bike, and recognized it from Braga’s Nextdoor post. The man called police to report it, and officers quickly responded. They were able to confirm that the bike belonged to Braga, and returned it to him.

Braga, a 28-year-old designer who moved to Berkeley with his wife four months ago, said he discovered the theft Sunday morning. The bikes had been left on the couple’s Addison Street patio Saturday. They were unlocked.

Braga said, when he first moved to town, he was vigilant about keeping the bikes locked. Over time, however, he said he got lazy about it, because the patio is not visible from the street.

“Always lock your bike,” he said Tuesday. “That’s the biggest lesson learned from that.” … Continue reading »

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‘Stolen 911’ helps woman recover pilfered painting

 “Some people said I would never see it again," said Nellie Hill of Berkeley, seen here with her recovered oil painting, which had been stolen in January. Photo: Stolen 911
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A Berkeley woman has recovered a treasured family painting, stolen from her home in January, with the help of a website designed to get stolen goods back into the hands of their rightful owners.

North Berkeley resident Nellie Hill got a phone call last week from a Marin County man who had come into possession of the stolen oil painting, and wanted to return it.

Hill said the man had searched for the painter’s name online, and found a listing she had created on the website Stolen 911. Her post described the theft of the artwork and asked for help getting it back. The man called Hill after seeing the post, and told her he wanted to return the painting.

Hill said she had not expected the call, particularly because so much time had passed since the package containing the painting had been stolen from her home less than an hour after it had been delivered in late January. … Continue reading »

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Thousands attend Berkeley High all-class reunion

BHS Picnic 2005. Photo: Mark Coplan/BUSD
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An estimated 3,000 people attended the Berkeley High School All-Class Reunion on Saturday Aug. 22 at San Pablo Park in Berkeley. They gathered under blue skies to greet old friends, reminisce, buy commemorative T-shirts, and have a good time.

This is the third all-school picnic since 2011. The picnic is held every other year and the number of attendees keeps growing.

“I just wanted to say what a wonderful time I had at the BHS all-class reunion today,” one attendee said on the reunion’s Facebook page. “Seeing everyone enjoying themselves with family and friends brought tears to my eyes. Being from Berkeley, a resident of Berkeley, and graduating from Berkeley High (No matter the Year) is truly a unique experience.”

Mark Coplan, the public information officer for the Berkeley Unified School District, took these photos. More photos can be found here.  … Continue reading »

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How Quirky is Berkeley? The Hamm-sty on McGee

1137 McGee Street. Photo: Colleen Neff
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The home of the Hamm-sty, 1735 McGeeSt., is a small, neat house in neighborhood of small, neat houses in the northern flats. Throughout the fairly immaculate garden and on the porch there are a lot of pig figures. Rusty pigs and ceramic pigs. A little farm scene behind a fence with a miniature windmill. You don’t see them all at first. Keep looking. Pigs everywhere.

Dianne Hamm has lived in Berkeley her entire life, 60 years of which she has spent collecting pig figurines and ephemera. She got started when her grandmother gave her a stuffed Steiff pig. She has never looked back. … Continue reading »

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New speakers confirmed for Uncharted Ideas Festival

Uncharted
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The list of speakers and performers for the upcoming Uncharted Berkeley Festival of Ideas on Oct. 16-17 continues to grow. (A limited number of “2 for the price of 1” tickets are still available through Aug. 30.)

Berkeleyside is thrilled to announce our latest additions to the festival line-up:

Timothy Caulfield, author of “Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong about Everything?”

Socio-political comedian W. Kamau Bell

Laura Tyson, economics adviser to presidents Clinton and Obama

Alex Kozinski, most outspoken judge on the federal bench

Shannon Brownlee, expert on healthcare overtreatment … Continue reading »

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