Driver in stolen vehicle strikes cyclist while fleeing police

Photo: Kester Allen
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Berkeley Police officers took two women into custody Monday night after they struck a cyclist with their stolen vehicle while fleeing from police after an earlier traffic collision.

Police got the initial call at 8:36 p.m., said Officer Byron White, a Berkeley Police spokesman.

Initially the call came in about a suspicious circumstance involving a traffic collision between two vehicles that were driving erratically near Adeline and Fairview streets in South Berkeley.

When an officer was arriving to contact those drivers, they fled. One of the vehicles, which at one point drove the wrong way while fleeing police, struck a cyclist at Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Prince Street. The crash occurred northbound in the southbound lanes.  … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 11.23.15

Sunset Bay Walk. Photo, taken on Nov. 21, 2015, by Kathy

Sunset Bay Walk. Photo, taken Nov. 21, 2015, by Kathy

Berkeley’s homeless feel squeezed as neighbors clamp down (SF Chronicle)
Homeless community sets up ‘permanent’ camp on lawn of Old City Hall (Daily Cal)
Cal football falls to Stanford in 118th Big Game (Daily Cal)
Janet Rudolph wins mystery award for her contributions to the genre (Mystery Fanfare)
Dozens displaced after Berkeley apartment fire (NBC)
Sneak peek at new Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive (UCB News)

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Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates has surgery following injury

Mayor Tom Bates. Photo- Frances Dinkelspiel
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The mayor of Berkeley, Tom Bates, had surgery Sunday following a sports-related injury sustained Saturday.

The mayor fractured his hip while playing basketball with his grandson, according to Charles Burress, the mayor’s communications director. The mayor had surgery Sunday, “which went very well,” Burress said. “He began physical therapy today and expects to return home tomorrow,” Burress said via email Monday.

Mayor Bates had been scheduled to hand out the medals to the winners of the third annual Berkeley Half Marathon which took place Sunday. Vice Mayor Linda Maio stepped in to fulfill the role. … Continue reading »

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‘Unconstitutional police attacks’ in December Berkeley protests spur civil rights lawsuit

Lawyers Rachel Lederman and James Chanin (left) and plaintiffs xx, xx, xx and xx during the Monday press conference. Photo: Lance Knobel
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Eleven demonstrators and journalists have filed a civil rights complaint against the city of Berkeley, the city of Hayward, former Berkeley City Manager Christine Daniel, Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan, and 13 other named police officers in federal court seeking changes in how Berkeley polices demonstrations and damages for what they term “unconstitutional police attacks” during the Black Lives Matter protests on Dec. 6, 2014.

“The Berkeley police treated all the demonstrators as if they were violent and lawless,” James Chanin, a Berkeley-based civil rights attorney representing the plaintiffs, said at a press conference in front of Berkeley Police headquarters Monday morning. “The results were predictable, and that is why we’re here today. Non-violent protesters were injured, massive amounts of gas were used on non-violent protesters as well as people who had little if anything to do with the demonstrations, and those who did commit property damage got away while non-violent, innocent people were injured and/or prevented from exercising their First Amendment rights.”

Moni Law, a Berkeley Rent Board counselor, is one of the plaintiffs. Law said she was clubbed in the back from behind by a Berkeley police officer when she was urging other demonstrators to step back from the police line. At the press conference, Law described herself as a “reluctant plaintiff.”

“I want my own police department to protect and to serve,” Law said. “Let’s keep our city free of violence, and that includes police violence.”

Read past Berkeleyside coverage of the Berkeley protests.

Rachel Lederman, co-counsel for the plaintiffs and head of the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, said it was “somewhat surprising” that Berkeley police had received the most complaints and reports during the protests last December, even though there were demonstrations in Oakland and San Francisco, as well as other Bay Area cities.  … Continue reading »

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First time observed: Hundreds of monarch butterflies cluster in Berkeley’s Aquatic Park


CAPTION: Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) in an ash tree in Aquatic Park. Photo: Elaine Miller Bond [LINK:]]
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In late October, Berkeleyside received a tip that thousands of tiny fish were jumping in the waters of Aquatic Park.

Less than three weeks later, we received another “scoop” about the park that throngs of monarch butterflies were clustering in the trees.

I’d seen groups of monarchs in well-known gathering places, called “roosts” or “bivouacs,” in Pacific Grove and Santa Cruz. But I’d never heard of such a spectacle in Berkeley.

So I rushed the next morning to Aquatic Park, to the trees just east of the 14th hole of the disc-golf course, the site where the butterflies had purportedly been spotted. … Continue reading »

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Good showing for Berkeley in city’s third Half Marathon

One of the top five finishers in the Berkeley Half Marathon 2015. Photo: Ted Friedman
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On Sunday, Anna Bretan of Berkeley took first place in the women’s race of the 2015 Berkeley Half Marathon for the third consecutive year. Bretan, whose time was 1:18:34, has also finished first in the San Francisco Marathon for the past three consecutive years.

There was also a Berkeley connection for Oakland resident Sam Robinson, who placed first in the men’s race, with a time of 1:12:22. Robinson is a student at UC Berkeley, finishing his Ph.D. in history.

And Holly McIlvaine, also of of Berkeley, took second place in the women’s half marathon with a time of 1:21:12. (See full results on the Berkeley Half Marathon’s website.)Continue reading »

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Two fires hit West Berkeley and Southside

Firefighters transfer a victim to a gurney during a two-alarm fire on Dwight Way, near Telegraph Avenue. Photo: David Yee
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By Frances Dinkelspiel and Emilie Raguso

Update: Nov. 23, 8:55 a.m. About 30 people were displaced from their apartments Sunday night after a fire ripped through the Chandler apartment complex at 2449 Dwight Way.

The fire was one of two that struck Berkeley within 15 minutes, prompting the Berkeley Fire Department to call in mutual aid from Oakland, Albany, El Cerrito and the Alameda County Fire Department, according to Avery Webb, Berkeley’s interim fire chief.

Both fires went to two alarms – something that Webb said he had never remembered happening before.

“We were stretched pretty thin trying to manage both incidents at the same time,” said Webb. “To have two second-alarm fires at the same time is extremely rare. It’s pretty unusual.” … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 11.20.15

On 7th Street by William Newton. Photo taken Nov. 17, 2015

On 7th Street by William Newton. Photo taken Nov. 17, 2015

Biographer in the Bancroft Library (California)
Sleuthing rare manuscript’s history leads to prestigious award for Carla Shapreau (UCB News)
UC Berkeley’s “Big Give” day in photos (UCB News)
The history and future of North Atlantic Books (North Atlantic)
“Custer’s Trials” by T.J. Stiles (New York Times)
“Nabokov in America,” by Robert Roper (New York Times)
“Disgraced” brings Islamaphobia to the dinner table (Express)

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UCPD investigates abduction, sexual assault in Berkeley

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The victim told UCPD she was “abducted from Central Campus and driven to an unknown location where she was sexually assaulted.”

Police found the victim after she was released on the morning of Nov. 20, “and are conducting an investigation.”

Police said no suspect information was provided.

UCPD released the statement at about 1:10 p.m. Friday by email.  … Continue reading »

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Berkeleyside blotter: Crime in Berkeley, Nov. 5-11

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 anonymity. Don’t assume someone else will alert us — you may be the only one to get in touch. We want to know about issues of concern and rely on readers to help us stay informed.

From Nov. 5-11, there were reports of five robberies20 burglaries10 assaults or batteries, one weapon-involved calls and one sexual assault, according to There were also 11 stolen vehicles12 disturbances and 22 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. A robbery, a sex crime and a weapons call were reported by the University of California Police Department (UCPD). 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 unless otherwise noted by the beginning of that time period.

Thursday, Nov. 5

Three vehicles were stolen: at 1:45 a.m. in the 900 block of University Avenue; at 2 a.m. at Sixth and Harrison streets; and at 7 p.m. at Seventh Street. and Allston Way.

There was a disturbance at 7 a.m. in the 1500 block of Bancroft Way.

There were three home burglaries: at 8:45 a.m. in the 2700 block of Regent Street; at 12:15 p.m. in the 1400 block of Ordway Street; and at 1:52 p.m. in the 1200 block of Rose Street.

In the Regent Street incident, police responded at about 9:32 a.m., for a report of a “hot prowl” burglary, which had been interrupted by a resident coming home, said Officer Byron White, a Berkeley Police spokesman. The suspect was described as a black man in his 40s wearing dark clothing, and carrying a television and a guitar. Officers responding to the area noticed a blue sedan driven by a man with a similar description, whose trunk was hanging open, eastbound on Derby Street. The officer tried to pull the man over, but he sped off southbound on College Avenue. One witness told Berkeleyside the driver “drove straight at bus, jumped curb, plowed through yards!” Officers lost sight of the vehicle after Ashby Avenue. The case remains under investigation.

During a large rally and march by Berkeley High students in response to a racist statement found at the library, there were multiple reports of phone thefts downtown, community members told Berkeleyside. The crowd was estimated to include more than 700 students and the event was described as well-organized, focused and peaceful. However, police later confirmed that one Cal student was walking near Shattuck and Allston when an unidentified suspect approached her from behind and stole her iPhone from her hand. The suspect was last seen fleeing down into the BART station, said BPD. A female BHS student also had her phone stolen from her hand by a fellow student, according to a report from a BHS mom who said she heard of “up to 10 phones” stolen on walkout day. BPD Officer Stephanie Polizziani checked the calls for service that day and noticed nothing “out of the ordinary,” she told Berkeleyside. “Looks like no robberies, a few thefts, and a few grand thefts.”

UCPD cited a 43-year-old man for possession of a knife, with a blade longer than 3 inches, in People’s Park at 3:33 p.m.

There was a commercial burglary at 5 p.m. in the 3000 block of Telegraph Avenue.  … Continue reading »

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

Berkeley Half Marathon organizers are expecting 10,000 runners to participate this year. Photo:
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BERKELEY HALF MARATHON The third annual Berkeley Half Marathon is closed in terms of signing up to participate, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take part by cheering on the runners. It takes place Sunday, Nov. 22, and features new race options, challenges and post-race festivities that are open to the public. In addition to the 13.1-mile half marathon, runners there is a half marathon relay (two participants), 10K race or 5K race. A Finish Line Festival that is open to the public will be held following the race at Civic Center Plaza, featuring a Lagunitas beer garden and various local food vendors. And there’s a free bike valet service. The half marathon course starts and ends at Civic Center Park, taking racers through the UC Berkeley campus, the Gourmet Ghetto, Telegraph Avenue and along the scenic Bay Trail. Funds raised through the Berkeley Half Marathon helped the Berkeley Public Schools Fund reach its record $1million fundraising goal last year. For more details, visit … Continue reading »

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Bites: Nick and Aron’s closes, Craft Beer Cellar, more

Photo: Nick and Aron's
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Openings, closings

NICK AND ARON’S IS NO MORE After being open for only seven months, Nick and Aron’s has closed. The Temescal restaurant announced the closure on Facebook, and its last day of service was Nov. 16. Nick and Aron’s was the second restaurant from Aron Ford and Nick Yapor-Cox, who also own Nick’s Pizza on Shattuck Avenue. The full-service restaurant built upon Nick’s pizza menu, serving dishes like wood-roasted chicken and meatballs in addition to Nick’s signature “Oakland-style” pies. Nick and Aron’s also served a killer breakfast and baked goods menu, and will surely be missed by the neighborhood. According to the Facebook post, the restaurant was “no longer able to pay the high costs of running a large operation.” Ford and Yapor-Cox did say that they have “been so welcomed by the neighborhood, and it breaks our hearts to stop service.” Nick’s Pizza will remain open. Nick and Aron’s was at 4316 Telegraph Ave. (at 44th Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook. Nick’s Pizza is at 6211 Shattuck Ave. (at 62nd Street), Oakland. Connect with Nick’s Pizza on Facebook.Continue reading »

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Spinal cord rehabilitation program opens in Berkeley

Ahmed Al-kubaisi works out at the SCI-FIT center. Photo: Hanna Miller
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Berkeley’s SCI-FIT gym isn’t a conventional workout space. Along with the usual exercise balls and aerobic step boards, it boasts a five-part integrative exercise program, including a functional electric stimulation bike that activates nerves connecting the spinal cord to muscles in the body.

The specialized equipment and high-tech approach are designed to help people with spinal cord injuries or neurological disorders stay conditioned — and in some cases relearn movements like walking. The trainers aren’t issuing standard pep talks, either: They literally give clients physical support as they stand or move.

SCI stands for “spinal cord injury,” and FIT is short for “functional integrated therapy,” an intensive specialized program developed to restore lost function. Co-founder Dan Dumas opened the first SCI-FIT facility in Pleasanton in 2007. In July, a satellite campus opened in Berkeley at the Ed Roberts Campus at 3075 Adeline St., a center that brings together a number of disability programs accessible to transit riders near the BART’s Ashby station. … Continue reading »

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