Winemakers scramble to keep up with 2015 harvest

Jared Brandt, (left) who owns Donkey and Goat with his wife Tracey Brandt, crushes grapes with two interns, Daniel Cosme (center) and Dave Gifford (right). Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Jeff Morgan of Covenant Winery in Berkeley stood in a vineyard at the top of Sonoma Mountain recently and examined the bright green cluster of grapes he was holding in one hand. He noticed there were small brown specks covering the grape globes and a smattering of raisins on nearby vines — all signs that the Chardonnay grapes were getting ready to be picked.

It was the second trip Morgan had taken to the vineyard in as many weeks, and it won’t be his last. Driving is a major part of any urban winemaker’s life. While having a winery in Berkeley, Oakland, Emeryville or other part of the East Bay means winemakers are closer to the restaurants, wine-club members and tasters that are their customers, during harvest it means driving hundreds of miles on a truck every week.

“Every other day I am driving up and sampling vineyards,” said Mike Dashe, who gets his grapes from vineyards in Sonoma County and brings them to be crushed at Dashe Cellars in Oakland. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s 16 schools welcome students back for new year, Pasarow starts as principal at BHS

New BHS principal Sam Pasarow meets with parents. Photo: Mark Coplan
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More than 9,000 students returned to Berkeley’s 11 elementary, three middle and two high schools schools today. Detailed enrollments will be announced by the school district in the coming weeks, but spokesman Mark Coplan said that district administrators believe the total will be very close to forecast.

The major change in the district is the arrival of Sam Pasarow as the new principal at Berkeley High. Pasarow, formerly principal of Edna Brewer Middle School in Oakland Unified School District, started at Berkeley High on July 1, succeeding interim principal Kristen Glenchur.

“He is a taskmaster. He will get things done,” said Superintendent Donald Evans, describing Pasarow to parents at a public meeting on Thursday last week. Evans pointed out that Berkeley High ranked in the nation’s top 200 high schools. “His job is to get Berkeley High into the top 100.”  … Continue reading »

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Where in Berkeley?

Where in Berkeley?


Know where this is? Take a guess and let us know in the Comments, below.

Photo: Andria Lo.

Send your submissions for “Where in Berkeley?” to The more obscure the better —  just as long as the photos are taken in Berkeley. Thanks in advance.

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The Berkeley Wire: 09.01.15

Warm, windy sunset at Cesar Chavez Park. Photo taken by Fred Rowe on Aug. 28, 2105

Warm, windy sunset at Cesar Chavez Park. Photo taken by Fred Rowe on Aug. 28, 2105

Theater group puts on drought-focused performance (Daily Cal)
MasterCard program provides scholarships to UC Berkeley for African students (Daily Cal)
Cal coach Sonny Dykes feeling at home in Berkeley (SF Chronicle)
Cal launches Saudi-funded online Philanthropy University (SF Business Times)

If you like the variety of news on Berkeleyside, you will like the variety of voices we present at Uncharted: The Berkeley Festival of Ideas. Early bird tickets with early bird prices are on sale now for the festival in downtown Berkeley on Oct. 16-17. Click here to see the list of speakers.  

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Berkeleyside blotter: Crime in Berkeley, Aug. 13-19

Selected calls to the Berkeley Police, via 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 share photos, videos and tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at or on Facebook or Twitter; let us know if you prefer to be anonymous. Don’t assume someone else will alert us — you may be the only one to get in touch. We very much want to know about issues of neighborhood concern and rely on our readers to help us stay informed.

From Aug. 13-19, there were reports of three robberies20 burglaries13 assaults or batteries, one weapon-involved call and three sexual assaults, according to There were also 13 stolen vehicles16 disturbances and 26 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. A burglary was reported by the University of California Police Department (UCPD). 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; incidents that took place during a range of time are listed by the beginning of that time period.

Thursday, Aug. 13

Five vehicles were stolen: at midnight in the 2500 block of Ellsworth Street; at 3 p.m. in the 2400 block of Stuart Street and also at Ninth and Harrison streets; at 5 p.m. in the 2700 block of Ridge Road; and at 11:30 p.m. in the 1300 block of Sixth Street.

There were four disturbances: at 1:21 a.m. in the 1300 block of Hearst Street; at 6:15 a.m. at Grant Street and University Avenue; at 10:20 a.m. in the 1700 block of 62nd Street; and at 6 p.m. in the 2400 block of Telegraph Avenue.

There were two felony assaults or batteries, at 2 a.m. at Channing Way and Telegraph, and at 2:45 p.m. at Alcatraz Avenue and Dover Street.

There were three home burglaries: at 9 a.m. in the 1700 block of Blake Street; at 10:10 a.m. in the 1200 block of Ordway Street; and at noon in the 1000 block of Spruce Street.

Police arrested 42-year-old Rodney Collins on suspicion of various violations including felony drug possession. He remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail with a bail of $200,000, and is scheduled for further pretrial Sept. 3.
Continue reading »

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Berkeleyside would like your feedback: Take our survey

Photo: Daniel Parks
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Berkeleyside aims to please. In an effort to better understand how we can serve you, our readers, we would love to know a little about you and about what you think. What information is important to you? Do you want more news? If so, which areas interest you the most? The arts, crime, education, business, food and restaurants, real estate?

Please take a few minutes to complete our readership survey. You can do so by clicking this link:

Take the … Continue reading »

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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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Alert: UC Berkeley student with measles rode public transportation

Electron microscope image of the virus responsible for measles (paramyxoviridae)
Photographer: Alain Grillet
Copyright Sanofi Pasteur
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Berkeley officials have put out an alert that a UC Berkeley student diagnosed with measles rode public transportation and was active in the community before he was put in isolation.

The student, who was not identified, was infectious from Aug. 24 to Aug. 29., according to a city press release. On Monday Aug. 24 he took the AC Transit line 25 around 3:30 p.m. and returned on the same line around 5:30 p.m. He also spent time in his dorm and around the UC campus before his tell-tale rash developed. … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Give Berkeley police tools they need to do the job

Police search Sacramento Street, near Dwight Way, for an armed robber who robbed a laundromat, in Berkeley, on Monday, July 27, 2015. Photo: David Yee
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In July, Berkeley police officers came under scrutiny, not least by many people writing in Berkeleyside’s comments section, for what was seen by some as a heavy-handed response to an armed suspect who robbed a laundromat in South Berkeley and attacked an older resident near Sacramento Street. The department’s use of an armored vehicle was the focus of the criticism.

In an op-ed published on Berkeleyside, Chris Stines, president of the Berkeley Police Association, says the borrowed vehicle used in the operation had a single purpose: preventing bullets from killing or severely injuring Berkeley residents.

Stines argues that the vehicle, as well as other tools such as search helicopters, a canine unit and drones should be directly available to the Berkeley Police Department. “While well-intentioned, several city council decisions over the past several decades have had the effect of tying the hands of the police in volatile operations, and are overdue for a fresh look,” he writes. “Dogs, helicopters and drones are not intended for everyday policing. But with the potential for harm to the public, we want to have as many resources at our disposal as we can and as quickly as we can.” … Continue reading »


The Berkeley Wire: 08.31.15

Pre-dawn commute in I-80 by  Kevin Schofield. Photo taken June 2015

Pre-dawn commute on I-80 by Kevin Schofield. Photo taken June 2015

UC police chief only had herself to blame for stolen gun (SF Chronicle)
Berkeley ranks as most expensive college town in country (Daily Cal)
Four Berkeley grads join White House Council of Economic Advisors (UCB News)
Fence around the chancellor’s house divides opinions (Mercury News)

If you like the variety of news on Berkeleyside, you will like the variety of voices we present at Uncharted: The Berkeley Festival of Ideas. Early bird tickets with early bird prices are on sale now for the festival in downtown Berkeley on Oct. 16-17. Click here to see the list of speakers.  

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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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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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Myth turned upside down in Shotgun’s creative ‘Eurydice’

Megan Trout as Eurydice and Kenny Toll as Orpheus in Euridyce by Shotgun Players. Photo: Pak Han
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In the oft-told Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, the musician Orpheus follows his bride, Eurydice to the underworld to lead her back to life, but he is forbidden to turn his head and look at her. Nevertheless, because he fears that she may not be following him, he glances back and loses his love for all eternity. Contemporary playwright Sarah Ruhl has creatively turned the myth upside down in Shotgun Players’ winning Eurydice.

Ruhl’s version is from the point of view of a present-day Eurydice (first-rate Megan Trout) and introduces a new character, Eurydice’s deceased father, wonderfully captured by Bay Area luminary James Carpenter.

Combining the mythic with reality, Eurydice begins with a wonderfully sensual pas de deux skillfully choreographed by director Erika Chong Shuch, with Orpheus (nicely acted by Kenny Toll) and Eurydice frolicking at the beach. Eurydice is the intellectual of the pair; Orpheus, an idealistic composer, thinks only of music.  … Continue reading »

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