Drought

Water conservation gets serious with restrictions, fines

EBMUD employee Mark Bolton at Camanche. Photo: EBMUD
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Hosing down your driveway, watering your yard more than twice a week, or washing your car with a hose without a shutoff nozzle are forbidden in Berkeley, as the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) faces its worst water supply in nearly 40 years.

These are a few of the new mandatory conservation restrictions announced last week by the utility district, which is seeking a 20% water reduction for all of its 1.3 million customers, compared to 2013.

The yard watering must be before 9 a.m. or after 6 p.m. and not within 48 hours of a measurable rainfall, and sidewalks can’t be washed either. … Continue reading »

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How Quirky is Berkeley? Doug Heine’s Gate 13 art

Gate 13
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When telling someone how to find Doug Heine’s studio at 813 Page St., it seems logical to mention the airplane tail protruding from the roof; that seems to me to be a significant marker of a quirky nature. When Doug Heine is telling people how to find his studio, he mentions the bougainvillea.

Heine graduated from high school in Vallejo in 1953. He has lived on Page Street since 1983. Over the years, he has held a wide range of day jobs – as a pipe-fitter at the nuclear reactor station at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, as a technician on the Cosmic Background Explorer, and in various roles at the University of California working in the astrophysics department, the art department, the metal shop, the foundry, and the wood shop.

Only a few pieces of Heine’s work are visible from the street. … Continue reading »

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News

The Berkeley Wire: 05.01.15

Berkeley Fire truck. Photo: William Newton

E7. Photo, taken on April 28, 2015, by William Newton

Former Cal football coach Jeff Tedford talks Berkeley (SFGate)
Citizen scientists help predict spread of sudden oak death (UCB NewsCenter)
Review: Mozart’s Requiem at Berkeley Symphony (Mercury News)
Bay Area rapper Lil B says $10,000 missing after ejection from Oakland hotel (Mercury News)
Data breach hits UC Berkeley (The Hill)
Berkeley resident seeks legal action against campus fraternities (Daily Cal)

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Crime

Berkeleyside blotter: Crime in Berkeley, April 16-22

Selected calls to the Berkeley Police, via CrimeMapping.com. Scroll down for detailed maps. Click the map above for the list. See the map key here.
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This overview of recent crime in Berkeley is based on reports to the Berkeley Police unless otherwise noted. Please don’t hesitate to share photos, videos or tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at crime@berkeleyside.com or on Facebook or Twitter; let us know if you prefer to be anonymous. Don’t assume someone else will alert us — we value your eyes and ears, and you may be the only one to get in touch. We very much want to know about issues of neighborhood concern.

From April 16-22, there were reports of seven robberies16 burglariesseven assaults or batteries, four weapon-involved calls and four sexual assaults, according to CrimeMapping.com. There were also eight stolen vehicleseight disturbances and 39 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. Reported incidents from the University of California Police Department (UCPD) included one call involving a weapon. These numbers are subject to change. Click the links for the latest numbers. The following items represent a sampling of calls, and times may be approximate.

Thursday, April 16

There were two home burglaries, at 1:50 p.m. in the 1600 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Way, and at 9:30 p.m. in the 600 block of Spruce Street.

There was a robbery at 2:45 p.m. at Grant Street and Channing Way.

There was a report of an injury collision at Telegraph and Ashby avenues at 3:18 p.m. that possibly involved a semi-truck and pedestrian. According to the preliminary investigation, a driver in a Volvo station wagon heading north on Telegraph was turning right onto Ashby when he struck a female pedestrian. The pedestrian’s injuries were classified as serious, but she was expected to survive, said Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats.

There was a misdemeanor sexual assault at 5 p.m. in the 2600 block of Shattuck Avenue.

A vehicle was stolen at 10 p.m. at Le Roy Avenue and Cedar Street. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Starline Social Club, Hella Vegan, Pho Ao Sen

Starline Social Club. Photo: Starline Social Club
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Openings, closings…

STARLINE SOCIAL CLUB REOPENS Oakland’s historic Starline Social Club is once again in operation. The building, on the corner of MLK Jr. Way and West Grand, originally opened as an Odd Fellows Club in 1893; over the past century it has housed a saloon, a dance club, and a social club for the deaf. Until recently, it stood empty. Over the last year, Ramen Shop‘s Sam White and local artists Adam Hatch, Eric Siemens and Drew Bennet, have renovated the space. They finally opened the doors on Wednesday, reports Inside Scoop. This newest iteration of Starline will showcase top-notch food from former Boot & Shoe Service cook Austin Holey, a “creative cocktail” program, and events such as monthly dance parties and live performances. The performance space has been enhanced with a state-of-the-art Meyer Sound system. (The Berkeley acoustics company has most recently re-designed the sound for restaurants Comal and Oliveto.) The club will only be open five days a week, but it will serve food as late as midnight. Starline Social Club is at 2236 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way (at West Grand Avenue), Oakland. Connect with the club on Facebook and Instagram.Continue reading »

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Events

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

The oldest house in Elmwood Park, according to BAHA whose Spring Tour is on Sunday May 3. Photo: BAHA
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BAHA SPRING TOUR/ELMWOOD Sunday brings the always popular Spring Tour of the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association. This year, the tour is centered on the storied Elmwood Park neighborhood. A total of 11 homes will be open to the public for the $45 ticket price ($35 for BAHA members). Stroll through houses designed by Bernard Maybeck, Julia Morgan, Walter H. Ratcliff, Jr., John Hudson Thomas, Maury I. Diggs, William Porter, and Charles M. MacGregor among others. A 1905 sales brochure for the then new Elmwood Park area depicted bucolic wooded lanes and the promise of a soon-to-be-established Key Route line to the future Claremont Hotel, according to BAHA. A tour map, illustrated guidebook and refreshments are provided. Order your tickets online and collect them at Will Call (in front of John Muir School) on tour day. BAHA Sprint Tour, Sunday May 3, 1-5 p.m. Details on the BAHA website.  … Continue reading »

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Nonprofit accuses city of Berkeley of ‘unethical contracting practices’ for new homeless center

Berkeley's new approach to homeless services. Image: City of Berkeley
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The city of Berkeley says it will change its commission recommendation process after a community agency brought allegations of serious conflicts of interest during a recent bid for municipal funding.

Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency (BOSS) raised these concerns in an April 16 letter to city officials after bidding to run a new one-stop homelessness services center for which the city plans to issue a contract next month.

Read more about homelessness in Berkeley.

BOSS and one other agency, the Berkeley Food and Housing Project (BFHP), put in bids in December to run the new center. Both service organizations are based in Berkeley, and have worked in the city since the early 1970s. BOSS requested $450,145 to run the center, and the BFHP requested $996,899 for the job. The city’s Homelessness Commission and city manager have recommended that the contract go to the BFHP, and council is slated to make its decision next month.

The commission report said only that the BOSS application did “not contain all of the necessary functions” required by the city in its request for proposals.

BOSS challenged the commission recommendation in April, saying two Homeless Commission members affiliated with the BFHP and another group, YEAH, should not have taken part in the discussions. BOSS wrote that their “organizations will gain financial resources as a result of their participation in the funding discussions and eventual funding recommendations” made by the commission and the city. … Continue reading »

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Crime

5 charged after Telegraph Avenue fight leaves 3 victims

An officer keeps watch outside Pappy's on Telegraph in 2013 (file photo). Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Five men were charged this week after a dispute that began over a spurned dance invitation inside Pappy’s Grill & Sports Bar on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, police said.

According to court papers, the men “had possibly ‘thrown up’ gang signs and yelled that they were affiliated with a gang” before the attack. The victims told police they had no gang affiliation and had not met their assailants before that night.

Police responded Sunday at about 1:50 a.m. to reports of a large fight on the corner of Telegraph and Durant Avenue, said Officer Jennifer Coats, Berkeley Police spokeswoman.

Coats said one group of people had been inside Pappy’s, at 2367 Telegraph, when members of another group approached and asked some women to dance. The women refused. According to court papers, the first group had been celebrating a birthday.

“The suspects left and there were no other issues inside the business,” Coats said.

The birthday group left and was standing on the corner when violence struck. … Continue reading »

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News

The Berkeley Wire: 04.30.15

At the mast. Photo: Louis Benainous

At the mast. Photo: Louis Benainous

UC Berkeley video gaming team wins tournament, tuition money (Daily Cal)
UC Berkeley students raising money for Nepal quake victims (NBC Bay Area)
Berkeley teams up with financial industry to apply data tools to financial risk (UCB)
Brawl avoided at Berkeley High School (CBS Local)
Al Gore at UC Berkeley: Democracy has been hacked (UCB)
UC Berkeley announces data breach (UCB)

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Forty Acres’ new cannabis site is illegal says Berkeley

Forty Acres Ashby Avenue. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Three months after the city council ordered the Forty Acres Medical Marijuana Growers Collective to shut its doors at 1820-1828 San Pablo Ave. because it was a public nuisance, the medical marijuana organization has relocated to 1510 Ashby Ave. – and is once again operating illegally, according to city officials.

Chris Smith, the co-founder of Forty Acres, opened up the Chris Smith House of Compassion/Forty Acres (he uses both names) on April 11 at his home on Ashby Avenue near Sacramento Street. Berkeley ordered Smith to shut operations on April 16. … Continue reading »

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Rent Romus, and past and future Finns of West Berkeley

Rent Romus
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The determination to explore his Finnish ancestry didn’t come to Rent Romus in a sudden epiphany or a burst of inspiration. Rather, the Richmond saxophonist and composer spent years painstakingly parsing The Kalevala, a compendium of epic poetry, folklore and mythology that played an essential role in sparking Finnish national identity in the mid-19th century.

Eventually, he created a singular synthesis of postmodern jazz and traditional Finnish music in The Otherworld Cycle, an expansive suite he presents 4 p.m. Saturday as part of the Annual Vappu Spring Festival at Berkeley’s Finnish Kaleva Hall. The event, which also includes a buffet supper, a silent auction and a performance by Heikki Koskinen’s Kaleva All Stars, harkens back to a time when West Berkeley was commonly known as Finntown (more on that later). … Continue reading »

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Photos: Hundreds march, light candles at vigil for Nepal

People hold hands and observe a moment of silence at a candlelight vigil on the University of California campus, in Berkeley, on Wednesday, April 29, 2015, to bring attention to the victims of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25. Several hundred people participated in the vigil, sponsored by the Nepali Student Association. Photo: David Yee ©2015
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The Nepali Student Association at UC Berkeley organized a vigil Wednesday night to raise awareness and funds after the April 25 earthquake that killed thousands and has devastated many parts of the country.

People began gathering on Sproul Plaza shortly before 7:00 p.m. after which they marched in silence to the area in front of Wheeler Hall where they lit candles and arranged them to spell “Stay Strong Nepal.” The organizers then photographed the group around the candles from overhead, using a drone. They hope to use the images to bring attention to the plight of the victims of the quake.

Berkeleyside sent photographer David Yee to document the event.

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Big Screen Berkeley: Félix and Meira

87_felix-et-meira1
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Is it better to live a life of quiet desperation and stifling stability, or roll the dice and risk coming up snake eyes in the ‘life’s a gamble’ sweepstakes? That’s the big question posed by Félix and Meira, a well-acted if underdeveloped Canadian drama opening at Landmark’s Shattuck Cinemas on Friday, May 1.

Malka (Hadas Yaron) is married to observant Hasid Shulem (Luzer Twersky); together they live in Montreal with their infant daughter Elisheva. To date, she’s only given her husband the one child – an oversight that hasn’t gone unnoticed by the other women in the city’s tightly knit Hasidic community.

That’s not the only piece of evidence suggesting our heroine is less than happy with her lot in life: Malka openly voices her disgust when the lights inconveniently turn off during Shabbat, and when Shulem leaves the house for morning prayers one day her first instinct is to put the baby down for a nap and play a forbidden record (Wendy Rene’s maudlin deep soul ballad, ‘After Laughter Comes Tears‘). … Continue reading »

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