Category Archives: News

News

The Berkeley Wire: 06.23.15

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News

The Berkeley Wire: 06.22.15

Windy day by William Newton. Photo taken on June 21, 2015

Windy day by William Newton. Photo taken on June 21, 2015

Aspiring U.S. Paralympians to gather at UC Berkeley (UCB News)
More than $200k raised for victims of balcony collapse (Daily Cal)
Balcony collapse survivors remain in hospital (Belfast Telegraph)
Whoopi Goldberg lists Berkeley Victorian for sale for $1.275m (LA Times)
Berkeley passenger arrested after disrupting European flight (NBC)
#Berkeley: Reflections on the balcony collapse (Quirkeley)

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Berkeley coding school aims to help close tech race gap

Co-founders Bianca Giandolfo and Albrey Brown from Telegraphy Academy. Photo: Melati Citrawireja
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While grinding through software coding courses at San Francisco programming school Hack Reactor, Albrey Brown, 24, often found himself as one of the few students of color in the room.

Meanwhile Bianca Gandolfo, 26 — like Brown a Hack Reactor alum and former instructor — used to view software engineering as a career path for “a white guy in a basement by himself.”

Instead of ignoring these realities, as some might, the tech-savvy duo decided to do something about it.

Enlisting Hack Reactor as a partner, the pair has launched Berkeley-based Telegraph Academy, a tech coding school that aims to teach software engineering to under-represented minorities and create a network of tech workers of color.

The first class of students, arriving at the Academy’s bustling Shattuck Avenue location from as far away as Honduras and the East Coast, will fire up their computers on June 29. … Continue reading »

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Church services held for balcony collapse victims

People comfort each other at a vigil at St. Columba Catholic Church in Oakland, on Friday, June 19, 2015, for the victims of Tuesday's balcony collapse in Berkeley. Photo: David Yee ©2015
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By Tracey Taylor and Francesca Paris

The Consul General of Ireland coordinated a church service Friday evening in collaboration with a local priest to remember four of the young college students who lost their lives as a result of a balcony collapse on June 16 in Berkeley.

The service was held at Saint Columba Catholic Church on San Pablo Avenue in Oakland, just south of the Berkeley border. It was presided over by Father Aidan McAleenan, who has been working tirelessly over the past few days to provide support for the families of the six students who died, as well as the seven who were injured in the accident.

Read complete balcony collapse coverage on Berkeleyside.

Friday’s service was for the families and friends of Eimear Walsh, Eoghan Culligan, Niccolai Schuster and Lorcán Miller. Services for the other two victims, cousins Ashley Donohoe and Olivia Burke, were being held Saturday in Sonoma County, where Donohoe lived and attended college. … Continue reading »

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News

The Berkeley Wire: 06.19.15

June morning light. Photo: Carter Tomassi

June morning light. Photo: Carter Tomassi

Heartbreak in Berkeley (The hue you make me feel)
Berkeley police respond again to PRC on December protests (Mercury)
Rising Bear disaster shakes things up (UCB News)
Social media campaigns launched to help balcony victims (Mercury)
UC black students hold vigil for Charleston victims (Daily Cal)
UC Berkeley lecturer John Shoptaw releases first poetry collection (Daily Cal)
Managers to inspect units at Berkeley apartment building after deadly collapse (LA Times)
2nd town hall on public health brings community participants (Daily Cal)
Balcony design solid but flaws may have allowed dry rot (SF Chronicle)
Berkeley tragedy: The six who died have become ‘the children of Ireland’ (Irish Times)
Quiz: Which independent bookstore are you? (Daily Clog)
Student overcomes drug-ravaged home, absent parents to graduate from Cal (CBS)
Hancock adjourns state senate in memory of 6 who died (Loni Hancock)
Stars announced for Berkeley Rep’s production of Amelie (Broadway World)
Two students injured in Berkeley expected to make full recovery (Irish Times)
Berkeley Police respond to review panel on December protests (BANG)
Experts: Berkeley balcony should not have collapsed if built to designs (CoCo Times)
Sonoma State student among the dead in Berkeley balcony collapse (USA Today)
Black Student Union at Cal holds vigil for Charleston victims (Daily Cal)

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Protesters demand halt on new construction in Berkeley

Anti building protesters. Photo Tracey Taylor
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In the wake of a balcony collapse that killed six Irish students in Berkeley this week, a small group gathered on the steps of City Hall today to ask that the city put a moratorium on commercial construction in Berkeley until it is clear that buildings are being inspected correctly and that codes are being enforced.

Holding placards that read “Safety 1st! No new bldgs,” “Inspections now” and “Berkeley is in mourning,” the seven protesters say that all new construction should be halted until the city can “review its procedures,” according to spokeswoman Margot Smith.

Read complete balcony collapse coverage on Berkeleyside.

“Given the level of this tragedy, we have to go forward beyond a perfunctory investigation,” she said. “It’s the city’s responsibility to see that buildings are safe and that they remain safe. We need to see if codes are being enforced.”Continue reading »

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No ‘smoking gun’ in Berkeley balcony design

Reporters from the Associated Press, Bay Area News Group and the San Francisco Chronicle pour over the architectural drawings for Library Gardens in the Berkeley Planning Department on June 18, 2015. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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City of Berkeley officials on Thursday released the architectural and structural renderings used to construct Library Gardens at 2020 Kittredge St., and there was no “smoking gun” that revealed a design flaw that might have led to Tuesday’s balcony collapse that killed six people and injured seven others.

The design for the balconies and their connection to the building appear to have been done correctly, according to Gene St. Onge, a civil and structural engineer in Oakland who reviewed the drawings.

“There is no question in my mind it was designed properly,” said St. Onge.

Read complete balcony collapse coverage on Berkeleyside.

The expert hired by the San Francisco Chronicle to review the documents said the balcony that collapsed was designed to hold near two tons – much more than the weight of the 13 people who crowded on it before its collapse. … Continue reading »

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As students recover in hospitals, support grows for survivors and victims of Berkeley balcony collapse

A note and flowers left in memory of the victims of a deadly balcony collapse at the Library Gardens Apartments lie on the sidewalk on Kittredge Street, near Miliva Street, in Berkeley, on Wednesday, June 17, 2015. Six people died and seven were seriously injured in the early Tuesday morning accident. Photo: David Yee ©2015
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By Francesca Paris and Eden Teller

As the bodies of the Irish students killed in the recent balcony collapse accident in Berkeley were being prepared for repatriation back to Ireland, the seven students injured in the accident continued to recover in several Bay Area hospitals.

Aoife Beary, Clodagh Cogley, Sean Fahey, Conor Flynn, Jack Halpin, Niall Murray and Hannah Waters are being treated at Highland Hospital in Oakland, Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley and John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek for injuries sustained when they plummeted from the fifth-floor balcony that snapped off the Library Gardens apartment building at 2020 Kittredge St.

Read complete balcony collapse coverage on Berkeleyside.

The victims were celebrating Beary’s 21st birthday when the accident happened at around 12:40 a.m. Tuesday.

Father Aidan McAleenan, an Irish pastor at Oakland’s Saint Columba Catholic Church, has been providing support for the families of the victims and has visited the injured students in the hospital. … Continue reading »

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News

The Berkeley Wire: 06.18.15

A moment of silence by Sylvia Rubin. Photo taken June 17, 2015

A moment of silence by Sylvia Rubin. Photo taken June 17, 2015

Berkeley landlords plan coalition to challenge rent board (CoCo Times)
Professor finds he is lead character in “The Savage Professor” (California)
Berkeley man to perform at College World Series (Daily Cal)
Lawyers go zen with few objections (WSJ)
Campus builds new pool in Tang lot (UCB News)

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Coroner releases autopsy results on balcony victims; first responders sought help for shock, stress

Irish Consul General Philip Grant praised the first responders for their compassion. Photo: David Yee
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The six young people who fell to their deaths Tuesday when a balcony snapped off the fifth floor of Library Gardens in downtown Berkeley died of multiple blunt injuries, the Alameda County coroner’s office said Thursday.

Four of the youth died from “multiple blunt injuries,” one died of “blunt trauma to the head and brain,” and one died of “multiple blunt traumatic injuries,” according to a coroner’s spokeswoman. But the varied designations are just the way the different coroners described the injuries, she said.

Read complete balcony collapse coverage on Berkeleyside.

The six students who died, and the seven who were seriously injured in the collapse, fell about 48 feet to the street below. Four were pronounced dead at the scene and two died later. They were Ashley Donohoe, 22, from Rohnert Park; and Olivia Burke, Eimear Walsh, Eoghan Culligan, Niccolai Schuster and Lorcán Miller, all 21 years old and from Ireland. … Continue reading »

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City posts documents from balcony collapse property

Remnants of beams from removed balconies show contrast between the condition of the wood from the collapsed balcony and the balcony it fell upon at the Library Gardens Apartments, in Berkeley, on Thursday, June 18, 2015. Six people died and seven were seriously injured in the early Tuesday morning accident. Photo: David Yee ©2015
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By Emilie Raguso and Frances Dinkelspiel

Two days after a deadly balcony collapse in downtown Berkeley killed six and injured seven others, city officials have released a slew of planning documents related to the apartment complex where the tragedy took place.

The city of Berkeley has been doing its own investigation into what went wrong at 2020 Kittredge St., where a fifth floor balcony broke off a top-floor unit at Library Gardens, an apartment building that was completed less than a decade ago. That inquiry most likely won’t be completed in the next few days, said Matthai Chakko, city spokesman. Building officials are examining the plans for Library Gardens, how those plans were executed and what has happened since the building was completed, he said.

“What were the factors that went into the failure?” said Chakko. “We don’t know what happened at what point that led to failure.”

Read complete balcony collapse coverage on Berkeleyside.

Experts who have reviewed photographs and documents from the accident have said wood rot appears likely to have played a significant role in the collapse. Segue Construction Inc., the company that built Library Gardens, has been sued multiple times in recent years in relation to problems with waterproofing and the resulting property damage.

As part of the city of Berkeley’s investigation, officials have been working to make planning documents related to the Kittredge Street property accessible to those who are interested. … Continue reading »

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At park vigil, cathedral mass, people gather to remember victims of Berkeley balcony collapse

Vigil. Photo: Stephen Hughes/Instagram
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By Emily Dugdale and Tracey Taylor

On Wednesday evening, friends, family members and others who simply wanted to show their respect gathered in a park in Berkeley and a cathedral in Oakland to mourn the deaths of six young students who died after a balcony collapsed at Berkeley’s Library Gardens apartment building in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

At the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland, Reverend Jay Matthews, rector of the cathedral, led an hour-long service that included a homily by Father Aidan McAleenan, an Irish pastor at the Saint Columba Catholic Church in Oakland.

Read complete balcony collapse coverage on Berkeleyside.

Guests filed slowly into the large cathedral, dipping their fingers into the holy water and crossing themselves with eyes cast down. Most sat quietly, or hugged fellow churchgoers, both Irish and American, as they reflected on the tragedy that unfolded early Tuesday morning. … Continue reading »

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Firm that built Berkeley complex has been fined, sued

Two balconies were removed from Library Gardens after a deadly accident Tuesday. Photo: Emily Dugdale
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In a series of stories, Berkeleyside examines the building where six people died and seven were seriously injured Tuesday after a balcony collapsed. Part 1 looks at a history of complaints by residents, Part 2 examines potential issues surrounding the balcony construction, and Part 3, below, looks at some of the issues faced by the company that built the apartment complex where Tuesday’s tragedy took place.

The construction company that built the apartment complex in downtown Berkeley where a fifth-floor balcony collapsed Tuesday during a birthday party, killing six and injuring seven, has been fined and sued in connection with its work in other locations, according to documents reviewed by Berkeleyside.

But Sam Singer, a spokesman for Pleasanton-based Segue Construction Inc., said Wednesday that the company has a long track record of safety and quality, and that lawsuits are “commonplace” in the construction industry.

Read complete balcony collapse coverage on Berkeleyside.

Singer also said safety-related fines assessed of Segue have been minimal, and that the company has been sued just once in relation to balcony work and water issues. That lawsuit, which related to a San Jose apartment complex, involved balconies Singer described as very different in design from the Berkeley balcony, at the 176-unit Library Gardens apartment complex, that collapsed Tuesday, with deadly consequences. Segue reportedly settled that case for $3 million.

As it turns out, however, there was also a $3.5 million settlement after a neighborhood association filed a lawsuit in Millbrae in 2013 related to waterproofing and wood rot. And, that same year, Trestle Glen Associates, in Colma, filed a breach of contract lawsuit, still underway, against Segue related to “water intrusion causing tangible property damage.” … Continue reading »

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