Dog lovers to help eliminate foxtails in César Chávez Park

Foxtails at Pt Isabel. Photo- Kathy
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Dozens of dog lovers are expected to join a city of Berkeley crew in the off-leash area of César Chávez Park on Saturday, March 28, in a novel attempt to rid the area of foxtails.

Berkeley has been mowing a 2-acre patch of the 17-acre off-leash area for 15 years, but the effort has not eliminated foxtails, an invasive grass whose barbed seed heads can cause serious injury to dogs. The city has left the grass about 6 inches high so it could also act as a ground cover for squirrels and other animals in the park.

In 2014, dog owners complained to the city that the drought was making the foxtail situation worse and asked that officials step up their mowing and even consider mowing a larger area. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Newberry Market to Uptown Station, more

A rendering of Newberry Market & Deli, the first tenant to sign on to open in the renovated Sears Building in Uptown Oakland, which developers Lane Partners hope to see transformed into a foodie and tech hub for the Millennial generation. Rendering: Steelblue
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Openings, closings…

NEWBERRY MARKET & DELI TO UPTOWN STATION The first tenant to sign on to the ambitious Uptown Station project in the old Sears building above Oakland’s 19th Street BART station is upscale grocery store Newberry Market & Deli, reports Inside Scoop. The 20,000-square foot store will take its cues from artisanal markets such as Bi-Rite and Market Hall, and will offer everything from organic produce and grocery staples to hot and cold prepared items such as sandwiches, salads, rotisserie meats, and soups. Newberry Market also plans to have a a full-service butcher shop, charcuterie and cheese counter, a café, flower shop, and grab-and-go pizza by the slice. Even with all of these amenities, owners Ann Thai and Loren Goodwin hope to keep the prices “affordable and accessible.” Newberry Market, named after the old Newberry’s department store that operated next door many years ago, will be the anchor tenant in the ground floor food hall, which developers Lane Partners hope to fill with other niche food  and tech businesses and turn into a type of hip Ferry Building for the Millennial generation. Thai and Goodwin hope to open the market in fall 2016. Newberry Market will be at 1954 Telegraph Ave. (at 19th Street), Oakland.Continue reading »

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Getting Frisky with Macy Blackman & The Mighty Fines

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Maybe a Manhattan methadone clinic wasn’t an auspicious setting for encountering a musical hero, but Macy Blackman wasn’t going let an opportunity to hang out with New Orleans drummer Charles “Hungry” Williams go to waste. Looking to get clean in the bitter winter of 1978, Blackman was sitting on a couch in the lounge of the Bernstein Institute strumming a guitar when someone informed him that Fats Domino’s drummer was in the next room.

“After a while he came in and started singing Chuck Willis’ ‘You’re Still My Baby’ with me,” says Blackman, a Kensington resident for the past 13 years. He celebrates the release of his new album Friskin’ the Whiskers with his band The Mighty Fines at Ashkenaz 9 p.m. Thursday, April 2.

A pianist, cornetist, and vocalist with a gruff, rhythmically assured delivery, Blackman is one of Northern California’s leading exponents of classic New Orleans R&B, and he absorbed a good deal of the music directly from the source. He and Williams struck up a fast friendship after that first encounter, and ended up playing music together up until the drummer’s death in 1986. Blackman, who still supplements his income as a piano technician, even taught Williams his trade. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley student suspended after stabbing other student

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A Berkeley High School student was suspended after stabbing a fellow student in the back Thursday. The incident happened off campus during the lunch period. The BHS senior who was injured sustained a non-life-threatening knife wound, and was in stable condition with his family Thursday afternoon, according to an email put out by BHS Principal Kristin Glenchur at around 5 p.m.

Glenchur issued the first of two emails to the Berkeley High community just before 3 p.m. She said the incident happened near Milvia Street and University Avenue. Initially it was thought the perpetrator was not affiliated with Berkeley High but, in her second email, around two hours later, Glenchur said authorities had identified a BHS student “as the person who had the knife.”

“The altercation appears to have been personal and not random,” she wrote. … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 03.26.15

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Crime

Berkeley police arrest man wanted after brutal attack on his mother

Randy Francis. Photo: Stockton Police
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Police officers arrested a man found in a stolen truck at the Berkeley marina who authorities say tried to kill his 86-year-old mother in Stockton earlier this month in a brutal assault.

Police have been looking for the man since the March 14 attack, which left the woman unresponsive. Doctors said initially she was not expected to survive, according to media reports.

According to a statement released Thursday by Officer Joseph Silva, spokesman for the Stockton Police Department, Berkeley officers found Randy Francis in a stolen 2004 Chevrolet Silverado pickup Thursday morning. Police said he stole that truck when he fled the scene of the Stockton attack.

Thursday morning, Berkeley officers impounded the truck and took 55-year-old Francis into custody without incident.

According to Silva, Francis had been wanted by police in connection with the March 14 attempted homicide of his mother, which occurred at her home in the 7300 block of North Pacific Avenue in Stockton. … Continue reading »

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Thursday: Groundbreaking for new Dwight Way project

From left: Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, architect Richard Christiani, Dan Deibel, president of Olympic Residential Group, and Downtown Berkeley Association CEO John Caner. Photo: Ted Friedman
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A 99-unit, 6-story building planned in downtown Berkeley is kicking off construction in earnest with a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday afternoon.

Demolition began last summer at 2121 Dwight Way, at Shattuck Avenue. Since then, the project has changed hands and promises a wide range of amenities to renters, such as high-quality kitchens, pet-friendly features, shuffleboard and “the latest Wi-Fi technology” in a communal lounge. There’s also 5,100 square feet of ground floor retail space “suited for a café and neighborhood-serving specialties.”

San Carlos-based Olympic Residential Group bought the property — where furniture shop Modernaire used to be located — in February. (Modernaire moved to 1621 San Pablo Ave.) The project is scheduled to be complete by summer 2016.

Read more about real estate in Berkeley.

Olympic described the units as “Class-A luxury apartment homes,” and said in a statement released Wednesday the project, set to reach 63 feet in height, is aimed at “an eclectic mix of young professionals attracted to the transit-oriented location, empty nesters, University faculty, and UC Berkeley students looking for a high quality housing option near the campus.”  … Continue reading »

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Video: Downtown Berkeley worker assaults homeless man

Downtown Berkeley ambassador assault. Image: Bryan Hamilton
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A Downtown Berkeley Association ambassador assaulted a homeless man Thursday evening behind CVS in what appears to be a violent incident that was captured on video. That homeless man and an associate were arrested by the Berkeley Police Department before the video came to light. After reviewing the video this week, police asked the district attorney’s office to take another look at the case.

The ambassador involved, whose name has not been released, will be fired Thursday, said Downtown Berkeley Association CEO John Caner. A second ambassador, who did not intervene to stop the apparent assault, will be suspended. The video, which appears below, contains graphic language and violence that some viewers may find disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.

Lance Gorée, operations manager for the DBA, and the manager of the ambassador program for contractor Block by Block, said he received a report of the physical contact last week, but the severity of the incident was not made clear until he and Caner saw the video Thursday morning.

“I was called within the hour of it happening,” Gorée said. “I always get called right away. They didn’t fully represent what happened.”

“It’s clearly totally unacceptable,” said Caner. “We apologize to (the victim) and to the community. This is clearly so out of the realm of acceptable behavior and totally contrary to all of the training provided to ambassadors.”

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At first Bay Area Book Festival, a temple made of books

the rendition of the installation as built around the dormant foundation in Civic Center Park
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Berkeley, it’s been said, is a book town. But never before has it had an actual temple made of books.

Rising in Civic Center Park this June will be a public art installation made out of 50,000 books. The walls and ceiling will be constructed from books, the circular ceiling will be alive as pages of intact books strung upside down from guy-wire flutter in the wind like prayer flags. The walls of shelves will be permeable, the entire structure evanescent — because the purpose of this library-temple is for the books to be given away.

This installation will be one of the centerpieces of the first annual Bay Area Book Festival being held in downtown Berkeley all day Saturday and Sunday, June 6-7, 2015. The festival will bring more than 225 authors to speak on indoor stages. Downtown streets will fill with 150 literary exhibitors, a Children’s Arena, a Teen Stage, a Cooking Stage, a chalk street art contest, food trucks, and more. … Continue reading »

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How Quirky was Berkeley? Politics as Theater

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Berkeley was a crucible for New Left politics in the 1960s and 1970s. Often forgotten when we speak of the Free Speech Movement, the Vietnam Day Committee, People’s Park, and anti-war/anti-imperialism movements, are the several New Left ventures into electoral politics, three of which introduced an element of theater not typically seen in political campaigns.

The first radical venture into electoral politics was the most serious – Robert Scheer’s 1966 primary challenge of Rep.Jeffrey Cohelan, a pro-war Johnson liberal who had served in the House since 1959. Scheer campaigned on the war, poverty, and a new style of politics. … Continue reading »

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News

The Berkeley Wire: 03.25.15

Live Oak Park Leaf by KeLens. Photo taken on Sept. 30, 2015

Live Oak Park Leaf by KeLens. Photo taken on Sept. 30, 2015

An eviction nightmare at Oregon Park Senior Apartments (Express)
Love national parks? Thank UC Berkeley (UCB News)
Berkeley, A Look Back: Too much rain was issue 75 years ago (CoCo Times)
Best places to eat alone around Berkeley (Eating Berkeley)
Quantum of Solace: The Berkeley Rose Garden (Daily Clog)
UC Berkeley first university to house a center for Bangladesh center (UCB News)
Miriam Klein Stahl, illustrator of Rad American Women (City Lights Books)

Support independent local journalism by becoming a Berkeleyside member. Members enjoy lots of perks, like invitations to member-only events, and an annual party.

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Officials to relax rules for Berkeley ‘granny flats’

An accessory dwelling unit on Virginia Street. Photo: Karen Chapple
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Berkeley officials voted unanimously Tuesday night to streamline the process for homeowners who want to add secondary units — sometimes called in-law units or granny flats — to their properties.

Supporters of the draft plan say it is a sustainable approach to increasing density and will allow more local residents to age in place by cutting down on the bureaucratic hurdles tied to the construction of additions, while also making those projects cheaper.

The proposal, from Mayor Tom Bates, would allow homeowners who follow certain standards to build the units “by right,” meaning they would not need to apply for an administrative use permit prior to construction. Those permits can be costly and take a long time to make their way through the approval process. Building plans would still require review by city staff, but public hearings and neighborhood feedback would be off the table. … Continue reading »

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The Campanile at 100: The woman of the tower

Tthe Campanile and the Golden Gate Bridge across the bay, seen from the hills east of campus. Photo: UC Berkeley
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By Gretchen Kell

The Campanile is the most distinctive building of the Berkeley skyline. It turns 100 this year and in honor of its anniversary, UC Berkeley has been holding special events. Gretchen Kell, who writes for UC’s NewsService, interviewed the woman at the top of the tower.

If you’ve ever taken an elevator ride in the Jane K. Sather Campanile, you’ve probably met Lilyanne Clark. “I spend four hours in the elevator a day,” she says, matter-of-factly, “and on busy days, I can make 10 to 15 round trips an hour.” That’s up to 60 round trips daily. It’s a question she thinks she’s answered nearly as many times.

There are other questions Clark prefers to answer. Having worked at the Campanile since 1993, she enjoys sharing her colorful experiences as the tower’s keeper and as a Visitor Services staffer who helps show the public this iconic Bay Area treasure. Last year, more than 100,000 people took a tour, and the crowds grow annually. … Continue reading »

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