Future uncertain for Berkeley community garden

The garden in the summer. Photo: Ashby Community Garden
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For the last 12 years, the Ashby Community Garden on Ashby Avenue near Acton Street has served as a place that brought neighbors together.

Residents transformed two empty plots into a verdant space with room for flowers, vegetables, chickens, bees and a greenhouse. There are now monthly public workshops on everything from fermentation to composting to making natural dyes, musical performances, and the ability to just hang out in the sun and get one’s hands dirty.

But the future of the garden is now uncertain. The owner of the parcels at 1370 Ashby Ave., who gave verbal permission in 2004 for his property to be converted into a garden, has not paid his property taxes for five years. He owes $17,460.52, and Alameda County intends to auction off his land on March 18. … Continue reading »

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New York City comes to Berkeley: Rez Abbasi’s RAAQ

The Res Abbasi Acoustic Quartet plays the California Jazz Conservatory Friday
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Born in Pakistan’s teeming commercial metropolis Karachi, and raised in the Southern California suburb of Torrance, jazz guitarist Rez Abbasi always seems to be working at the crossroads of contrasting musical realms. He performed at the SFJazz Center last year with breathtaking vocalist Kiran Ahluwalia, who draws on Punjabi folk song, love-besotted ghazels, and North African cadences. And back in 2010, he made a powerful impression at Yoshi’s with award-winning alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Indo Pak Coalition, a trio playing a singular synthesis of jazz and South Asian forms.

Long based in New York City, he returns to the Bay Area for a concert 8 p.m. Friday at the California Jazz Conservatory with the Rez Abbasi Acoustic Quartet (RAAQ), a band that bridges a very different kind of musical divide (they also teach an improvisation workshop at the CJC Saturday afternoon). Featuring powerhouse drummer Eric McPherson, who spent 15 years with alto sax great Jackie McLean, and bassist Stephan Crump, a member of pianist Vijay Iyer’s celebrated trio, the band’s latest album Intents and Purposes (Enja) recasts classic jazz/rock fusion tunes in an acoustic setting. Abbas designed the project to explore an era he had largely overlooked, when acts like Weather Report, Return to Forever, Mahavishnu Orchestra, and Tony Williams Lifetime attained the stature of rock stars. … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 02.03.16

Ketchup by David Gould, taken Jan. 30 2016

Ketchup by David Gould, taken Jan. 30 2016

Consortium led by UC Berkeley gets $25M grant (Your Nuclear News)
Heavy presence by Berkeley police outside Richmond home (Richmond Confidential)
Finalists present proposals for fourth dispensary (Daily Cal)
Wine store owner ordered to turn over computer in bankruptcy proceedings (Daily Cal)
BHS boys basketball team falls to Castro Valley (CoCo Times)
Tao brings his virtuosity to Berkeley (SF Gate)
Elmwood district offer shops, history (SF Gate)
Secret computer saved, IT tech specialist hired in Premier Cru bankruptcy (CoCo Times)
Aurora Theatre Co. to present ORIGINATE + GENERATE (Broadway World)

Follow Berkeleyside on Twitter and on Facebook where we often break news. Email us at tips@berkeleyside.com. Would you like the latest Berkeley news sent to your email inbox once a day? Click here to subscribe to Berkeleyside’s free Daily Briefing.

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End of the road for Berkeley’s Subterranean Arthouse

Subt with Maya Dorn in distance- photo: Claire Duplantier
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News that the Subterranean Arthouse is closing didn’t come as a complete surprise, but that doesn’t make the loss of the inviting downtown performance and exhibition space any less disappointing.

Founded seven years ago by Claire Duplantier and Nicole Rodriguez, the intimate storefront at 2179 Bancroft Way in the Odd Fellows Building quickly became a vital hub for a disparate array of artists, teachers and organizations. But, over the past year, as the space transitioned from focusing on evening performances to daytime classes, noise complaints from other tenants in the building and rising rent led to an impasse. As of February, the Arthouse will cease to exist, and the space will be made available for other tenants.

“It’s been seven years since we started it and so much has happened in that time,” said Duplantier, who started phasing out of running the Arthouse about a year ago when she had a baby. “It’s sad that it’s closing. So many amazing people have come through, and I’ve learned and grown so much. I want to focus on celebrating the Arthouse’s contributions more than feeling angry at the Odd Fellows. We started in 2009 and people would tell us, you’re crazy, starting a business now. It was so much fun and we made it work.” … Continue reading »

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Pappy’s owner responds to discrimination charges

Photo: Pappy's Sports Bar & Grill/Facebook
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Pappy’s Grill & Sports Bar is a magnet for Cal students and sports fans, slinging burgers, wings, and affordable draft beers for them on Berkeley’s Telegraph Avenue. It is also the subject of recent allegations of racially biased hiring practices.

On Friday, Jan. 22, Brownyn Harris took a photo of two hiring signs posted on the window of Pappy’s. One sign, written entirely in Spanish, requested applicants for a dishwashing position. A second sign, written entirely in English, requested applicants for cashiers and bartenders.

Harris posted the photo to Pappy’s Facebook page with the comment: “Took this picture today after we were walking by and my boyfriend said ‘I don’t really speak Spanish but is that incredibly racist?'” Her post caught the attention of the East Bay Express, which ran a story on Jan. 29 alleging discriminatory hiring practices on the part of Pappy’s.

While Pappy’s owner, Alex Popov, did not comment to the East Bay Express, he did talk to NOSH this week about the uproar the signs provoked. “There was a lot of irony and misunderstanding in the article,” he said, referring to the East Bay Express story. … Continue reading »

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They’re off: Candidates file campaign finance statements

Election 2014
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The Berkeley political jostling has begun, even though elections will, of course, only be held in November.

City Councilman Jesse Arreguín has raised close to $25,000 for his race for mayor, almost four times as much as City Councilman Laurie Capitelli, his strongest opponent.

Capitelli, who has been endorsed by a majority of the city council, raised $6,380 in the six months leading up to Dec. 31, 2105, according to campaign finance statements.

Read more about the 2016 Berkeley election.

There is a $250 limit for individual contributions in Berkeley candidate elections. Businesses cannot contribute.

Some of those who contributed $250 to Capitelli’s campaign are those involved with Berkeley’s current construction boom. They include Denise Pinkston, a developer and vice-chair of the Zoning Adjustments Board; David Trachtenberg, an architect who has designed a number of the multi-family apartment buildings now rising in Berkeley; Richard Millikan, who helped develop the Fourth Street shopping district; Aileen Dolby, a commercial realtor for Colliers International; and Patrick Leaper, a colleague of Capitelli’s at Red Oak Realty. Capitelli told Berkeleyside that he just started his fundraising the last two weeks of December, a holiday period, and he is “confident” he will eventually have the funds to get his message out to voters. … Continue reading »

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Tell us your picks for East Bay eating, drinking

Doughnut Dolly doughnuts are hand-rolled and filled to order. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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NOSH needs your help! We’re compiling the ultimate guide to all things food and drink in the East Bay, and we can’t do it without you.

We’d like to know where you go for brunch, a quick lunch, or a special-occasion dinner. We want your hot tips for the best dive bar or the most perfectly prepared cocktail. We’d like to hear about your neighborhood coffee shop and your number one ice cream scoop.

Take the Nosh Readers East Bay Picks survey now!

We’ve compiled a quick survey to make it easy. Remember to choose only places that are in the East Bay.

To sweeten the deal, you can be entered into a draw to win one of three Doughnut Dolly gift certificates worth $20 each — just include your email address at the end. … Continue reading »

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Where in Berkeley?

Where in Berkeley?

WIB use

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

Photo: Daniel O’Connell.

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

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Update: Driver arrested, cyclist critical after crash

Emergency personnel work the scene of a collision involving a motorist and a bicyclist on Fulton Street and Bancroft Way. Photo: David Yee
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Update, Feb. 3, 11 a.m. BPD says there have been no updates to report as far as the cyclist’s condition.

Update, 10:15 p.m. Berkeley police have arrested the driver involved in the crash, 47-year-old Berwick Haynes of Sunnyvale, on suspicion of driving under the influence. In a statement released just after 10 p.m. Tuesday, BPD said it was continuing to investigate the injury collision. The bicyclist, a 42-year-old Berkeley woman, is in critical condition at a local hospital. At 10 p.m. police were still at the scene of the accident taking measurements, and the intersection remained closed.

Update, 6:28 p.m. Police have asked motorists to avoid Fulton and Bancroft due to the earlier crash. Southbound Fulton between Bancroft and Kittredge Street is closed. … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 02.02.16

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Crime

4 teens arrested with 2 guns after Berkeley robbery

There have been at least 25 robberies in Berkeley so far this month. Image: CrimeMapping.com
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Police recovered two guns and arrested four teenage boys, including a 14-year-old, after a robbery in Berkeley’s Elmwood neighborhood Saturday night.

Lt. Alyson Hart said police received a call at 9:20 p.m. about an armed robbery that had just taken place at College Avenue and Parker Street.

Responding officers tried to stop a vehicle they believed was linked to the crime, but “it took off and shortly after crashed into a fence at Derby and Warring.” … Continue reading »

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Ex Donkey & Goat staffer to face trial for wine theft

A picture of the workers and volunteers helping out on the 2014 harvest. Morgan Hall is in front and Zach Gomber is at the top on the left. Photo: Donkey & Goat
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When Jared Brandt, co-owner of Donkey & Goat Winery, went to do inventory shortly after he fired three employees suspected of stealing wine, he discovered nine empty boxes that had been taped up to look as if they were full.

The empty boxes were hidden on the bottom rows of pallets stacked with 55 cases of wine, according to Brandt, who made the discovery in October 2014. Among the missing wines were numerous bottles of 2005 Broken Leg Pinot Noir, made from a vineyard in the Anderson Valley the year his oldest daughter was born.

“It had sentimental value because it was 12 to 17 bottles of my daughter’s birth year and it’s gone now,” said Brandt. The wine was worth about $700, he said.

Brandt’s testimony about the empty boxes came during a four-day preliminary hearing in Alameda County Superior Court from Jan. 25-29 to determine whether there was probable cause to hold three former employees over for trial. In the end, Judge C. Don Clay determined that Zachary Gomber, 29, who worked for Donkey & Goat on and off for three years, should face two felony counts of embezzlement and receiving stolen property. Clay ruled that Kate Sylvan, who worked in the tasting room once a week for just five months, should also face a felony count of receiving stolen property. But he dismissed the felony embezzlement charge against Morgan Hall, once Donkey & Goat’s tasting-room manager and part-time bookkeeper. Instead, Judge Clay determined that Hall should just face a misdemeanor count of receiving stolen property.  … Continue reading »

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Berkeley startup job fair focused on diversity draws crowd

Line around the corner for the Berkeley Startup Job Fair. Photo credit: Passion Projects Productions
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The hot ticket in downtown Berkeley on the evening of Thursday Jan. 28 was arguably the gala opening party for the new BAMPFA, but if you had seen the several-hundred strong line of people snaking down Center Street and round the corner along Shattuck between 5 and 7 p.m., waiting to get into the NextSpace building, you’d have been forgiven for thinking there was an even hotter event going on.

More than 3,000 people signed up to attend the Berkeley Startup Job Fair, according to Ben Hamlin, co-founder and CEO of Localwise, the Berkeley-based job community which organized the first-of-its kind event. And of those, more than 1,000 showed up. The fair, which was focused on promoting diversity in tech, was co-hosted by the City of Berkeley’s Office of Economic Development. Other partners included 16 nonprofits, including the Kapor Center for Social Impact, Latinas in Tech, Telegraph Academy, Lesbians who Tech, Code Berkeley and the Level Playing Field Institute. (See the full list of partners).

The overwhelming response to the fair appeared to indicate the need for more opportunities for job-seekers to meet with young companies who are recruiting. Many attendees came from nearby UC Berkeley and Berkeley City College, but others had traveled from further afield, including from more far-flung colleges. For still others, their student days were far behind them. And it was a diverse crowd who formed lines and patiently waited to speak with potential employers inside NextSpace’s ground-floor atrium. … Continue reading »

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