Development may come to Spenger’s lot in Berkeley

Archeologists from Archeo-Tek, Inc. of Oakland excavated a site at 1900 Fourth St. in the winter of 2014 to look for evidence of the Berkeley shellmound's existence. Photo: Archeo-Tek, Inc.
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After months of poking, prodding, sifting and examining soil, an archeological dig beneath the parking lot across from Spenger’s restaurant on Fourth Street found no evidence it had ever been home to a Native American shellmound.

The findings that the site was not historically important means the owners will seek to develop it.

“Investigators found no historically significant remnants of the West Berkeley Shellmound within the parking lot grounds and have concluded to near certainty that none exist within the property,” says a report on the findings by archeologist Allen Pastron and his team from Archeo-Tec Inc., an Oakland-based firm. The dig team included an Ohlone Indian observer, Andrew Galvan. … Continue reading »

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Soccer mania hits Berkeley, as do crowds, traffic

Around 62,000 people watched Inter Milan beat Real Madrid at Memorial Stadium on Saturday. Photo: Julia Flynn Siler
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Soccer mania hit Berkeley on Saturday when Real Madrid played Inter Milan at Cal Memorial Stadium, in a game that drew more than 62,000 spectators. Inter Milan and Real Madrid tied 1-1. Then, after regulation time, Inter Milan won 3-2 in a penalty shootout.

The game practically paralyzed the streets of Berkeley as fans tried to make their way to the stadium. Traffic came to a standstill all over town on major arteries like College, Claremont, Ashby and University avenues. … Continue reading »

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6 Berkeley stories you won’t want to miss

Photo: Elaine Miller Bond
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1. Butterflies galore in the East Bay hills
2. All you ever wanted to know about the Berkeley downtown initiative 
3. Park advocates disappointed there won’t be bond measure on November ballot
4. ‘Paleo Diet’ restaurant to open in North Berkeley
5. Whole Foods to open in West Berkeley in November
6. Popular beer garden poses challenges for neighbors

Do you rely on Berkeleyside for your local news? You can support … Continue reading »

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News

The Berkeley Wire: 07.25.14

Way Back by Ned Fielden. Taken on July 14, 2014

Way Back by Ned Fielden. Taken on July 14, 2014

Homeless encampment along railroad tracks prompts concerns (Daily Cal)
Filmmaker’s look at apartheid premiers at Jewish Film Festival (SF Chronicle)
Family keeps searching for Cal student 6 weeks after he goes missing (Sacto Bee)
SF Mime Troupe plays Live Oak Park this weekend (SFMT)
UCPD enforces illegal lodging, curfew rules on campus (Daily Cal)

Get the latest Berkeley news in your inbox with Berkeleyside’s free Daily Briefing. And make sure to bookmark Berkeleyside’s pages on Facebook and Twitter. You don’t need an account on those sites to view important information.

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Nature’s Express closed; may re-open next week

Nature's Express on Solano Avenue is set to re-open Saturday. Photo: Nature's Express
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Popular North Berkeley restaurant Nature’s Express closed this week unexpectedly, with promises to re-open soon, leaving many nearby residents wondering what had taken place.

According to management, the vegan and vegetarian eatery at 1823 Solano Ave. has faced “abysmal” financial struggles and had to make changes, including staff reductions, to survive.

But former employees — many of whom quit in solidarity after several other staffers were let go — have launched a campaign to raise money as they look for new jobs, and to raise alarm bells about what they say are the negative business practices of new management. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley parks advocates push back after council drops bond from November ballot

The Berkeley rose garden pergola needs major repairs and has been closed to park visitors since April. Photo: Daniel Parks
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The public dismay was palpable last month when the Berkeley City Council decided, in a surprise move, to put a parks tax before voters this fall without a related bond measure that would have infused parks and pools around the city with much-needed cash, reversing an earlier vote on the items.

The $1.7 million parks tax, if approved by voters, would essentially maintain the status quo for maintenance and staffing needs, and cost the owner of an average-size home an additional $43 a year. (That same homeowner already pays about $240 a year for the existing parks tax.)

Had it gone to voters, the proposed $20 million parks bond could have helped re-open Willard Pool, improve the King and West Campus pools, put millions toward Aquatic Park, James Kenney Park and the much-loved rose garden, and repair tennis courts and ballfields around the city, in addition to addressing other significant needs. (See a financial breakdown of several possible iterations of the bond and tax proposal.)

The city estimated that the joint bond and tax measure would have added just $15 more than the tax alone to the bill for owners of an average Berkeley home, defined by the city as 1,900 square feet. … Continue reading »

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Events

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

Octopus kites at the Berkeley Kite Festival. Photo:
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KITE FESTIVAL The 29th annual Berkeley Kite Fest will take place Saturday and Sunday in César Chavez Park. The free festival will feature kite making and flying lessons, as well as food and craft activities. A traditional Japanese kite-flying team will also be there to showcase their technique. The festival begins at 10 a.m. each day and continues until 6 p.m. Parking in the Berkeley Marina will cost $15. Parking space is limited and the Berkeley Police Department encourages you to take public transit to the event. … Continue reading »

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In Memoriam: Ron Cauble, founder of The Bone Room

Ron Cauble in The Bone Room. Photo: Kaia Diringer
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Ron Cauble, who founded two iconic stores, The Bone Room and Vivarium, died unexpectedly July 19.

Cauble, who also went by the nickname “Old Bones,” was a brilliant scientist and natural historian, with a doctorate in chemistry, experience with rocket science, and 23 years in the study of herpetology. He was a treasure in the Bay Area community. He is survived by many of his loyal customers and friends, his devoted employees, and his loving long-time partner Diana. Read a … Continue reading »

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Traffic delays in Berkeley expected with soccer game

Photo: Courtesy of Real Madrid
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Berkeley police are warning residents to expect road closures, traffic, and major delays on Saturday when two international teams play a soccer match at Cal’s Memorial Stadium.

Real Madrid will play Inter Milan in a 3 p.m. game. The teams are playing in the Guinness International Champions Cup, which brings eight great European squads for a round of so-called friendly matches in the U.S. Organizers expect to sell out the 60,000-seat stadium for the match, which will also be broadcast on television. … Continue reading »

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News

The Berkeley Wire: 07.24.14

Leucadendron on Craymont Avenue. Photo: cTomassi. Taken July 19, 2014

Leucadendron on Craymont Avenue. Photo: cTomassi. Taken July 19, 2014

The Academy, a private school, struggles to keep open  (Tribune)
Cal creates position of vice chancellor for undergrad education (Daily Cal)
“Cummunications” typo on Cal diploma goes viral (Fox2 News)
Strange war with Telegraph Ave. street kids (Berkeley Reporter)
Tom Bates: Building a resilient city (Republic 3.0)
Berkeley: A look back 1939-40 (CoCo Times)
The food police trying to arrest big soda, again (Washington Times)
Street closures expected during big soccer game Saturday (CoCo Times)

Get the latest Berkeley news in your inbox with Berkeleyside’s free Daily Briefing. And make sure to bookmark Berkeleyside’s pages on Facebook and Twitter. You don’t need an account on those sites to view important information.

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Avotcja Jiltonilro: Soul on Soul

Avotcja
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rd birthday bash. As a poet, radio producer, playwright, multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, and invaluable DJ on KPOO (89.5) and KPFA (94.1FM), she’s connected with a vast and varied array of artists, many of whom will be on hand at the party to read their work, tell their tales, sing their songs, and play their tunes.

“It’s not about me, the show is the star,” says Avotcja, who goes by the single moniker pronounced Avacha. “You wind up hearing from lots of different people, and you have a whole different way of looking at the universe.” … Continue reading »

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All aflutter: Berkeley insect lovers celebrate 40th year counting butterflies

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A hummingbird whirrs by, as a squirrel flicks its tail, flirting. A robin fluffs its feathers after bathing in the stream. Leopard lilies, columbines, even the cacti are in full summery bloom. But today, at the Regional Parks Botanic Garden in Tilden Park, we’re here for the butterflies.

Alan Kaplan, an entomologist, educator, and retired Tilden Park ranger, meets me at the garden’s gate, where, already, I have spotted maybe five different types of butterfly, from a teensy so-called “blue” to a glamorous pipevine swallowtail.

Still, there are rules for counting butterflies in nature. So Kaplan gives me the rundown of the day’s event — the Fourth of July Butterfly Count (currently run by the North American Butterfly Association (NABA) — held for its fortieth continuous year in Berkeley. … Continue reading »

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5-story building approved, again, on University Avenue

A rendering of a new mixed-use project underway at 1698 University Ave. in Berkeley. Image: Syncopated Architecture
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A proposal to construct a five-story mixed-use building in central Berkeley was approved by the zoning board earlier this month after a request to increase the number of units from 25 to 36 while reducing the on-site parking.

The project, at 1698 University Ave. (at McGee Avenue), originally was approved by the city in 2005, and modified in 2008. Since then the property has changed hands. The new owner, San Francisco-based Realtex Apartments, asked the city Zoning Adjustments Board July 10 to increase the number of units and decrease the parking requirements from the earlier proposal.

The new project, designed by Syncopated Architecture — also of San Francisco — would take the place of a vacant automotive repair station. It is set to include approximately 2,000 square feet of commercial space and nearly 25,400 square feet of residential. … Continue reading »

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