Curbside electric car charging stations arrive in Berkeley

Bernhard Haux installed one of the city's first personal curbside charging stations at his McGee Street home in February. Photo: Natalie Orenstein
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Sebastian Vollering was first in line to reserve a Tesla Model 3, the more economical version of the electric car, at the Walnut Creek store this spring.

The South Berkeley resident won’t get his new car until the end of 2017, but he is already preparing for it. Vollering is the latest to be approved under a city program that allows some residents to install personal electric-vehicle charging stations in the public right of way in front of their homes.

The 2014 Residential Curbside Electric Vehicle Charging Pilot allows for up to 25 of these stations by December 2017. Applicants must not have a driveway or garage where they could otherwise place a charging station. Twenty people have qualified for curbside stations so far, though only four have completed the installation, said Sarah Moore, a planner in the city’s office of energy and sustainable development.

Vollering was relieved when his application was approved earlier this month.

“It’s very hard for us to have an electric vehicle,” he said. Vollering’s Emerson Street home has no driveway. “It becomes quite cumbersome when you go to a public charger and you have to pay for it long enough for it to charge.” Vollering also wanted the option to charge his car at home because he uses solar power. … Continue reading »

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South Berkeley residents aim to preserve history with art

By Kathleen Costanza
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Sitting in a circle on a recent Saturday afternoon, there were lots of things South Berkeley residents agreed they loved about their neighborhood: crop swaps, the farmers market, and Wat Mongkolratanaram, Berkeley’s Thai Buddhist Temple. Streets and storefronts packed with a rich history. A diversity of people and ideas.

But they also discussed a host of issues they believe are threatening the neighborhood they love, including gentrification, displacement and a lack of affordable housing.

A new mural, residents hope, will encompass the past, present and future of South Berkeley, and educate newcomers and long-timers on its history.

“We all admit we love this place,” said muralist Edythe Boone, 78, a South Berkeley resident and arts educator since 1976. “Now, what can we do to make it better?”

With residents’ help, Boone and a team of artists plan to paint a mural on a 9-foot-tall fence at Ashby Avenue and Ellis Avenue. The meeting on Aug. 20, held at South Berkeley Community Church, was the first of several the mural team is hosting to gather neighborhood history, stories, artifacts and other inspiration to weave across the mural. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Police respond to gunfire calls; teenage boy struck

Image: Google Maps
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Berkeley police are responding to reports of gunfire in South Berkeley, with a teenage boy injured as a result.

Officer Byron White, a Berkeley Police spokesman, said calls began coming in at 5:40 p.m. about gunfire at Russell and Sacramento streets.

White said two people may have been crossing Sacramento at Russell when an occupant or occupants in a truck began to shoot at them.

No victims were on the scene, but police got a call from a local hospital reporting a possible gunshot victim. White said the victim is a teenage boy who is being treated for what is believed to be non-life-threatening injuries.

Casings were also recovered at the scene. … Continue reading »

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Police

‘Suspicious package’ shuts down Public Safety Building

Berkeley Police Department. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Berkeley authorities were on alert Wednesday afternoon after a suspicious package appeared at the Public Safety Building, which houses the police and fire departments, authorities said.

The Fire Department’s Hazardous Materials Team and the Police Department’s Bomb Squad were sent to investigate the package, said Deputy Fire Chief Donna McCracken, at 2100 Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

A “shelter in place” order was put into effect for building occupants when the package was discovered shortly before 4:20 p.m.

Authorities shut down the sidewalk and a southbound traffic lane on Martin Luther King Jr. Way from Addison Street down to Allston Way during the investigation. One lane of southbound traffic remained open for vehicles.  … Continue reading »

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News

The Berkeley Wire: 09.21.16

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Berkeley council picks Amoeba, Apothecarium as new cannabis dispensaries

Supporters of The Cannabis Center line up for public comment at last night's city council meeting. Photo: Lance Knobel
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Berkeley City Council last night approved the city’s fifth and sixth cannabis dispensaries, four months after approving the fourth. A long night of public comment and testimony was followed by a relatively brief discussion by councilmembers before selecting Berkeley Compassionate Care Collective (BC3), 2465 Telegraph Ave. (led by the owners of Amoeba Music), and The Apothecarium, 2578 Shattuck Ave. (from an established San Francisco dispensary).

Proposals from Berkeley Innovative Health, 1229 San Pablo Ave., and The Cannabis Center, 1436 University Ave., failed in their bids, although each attracted some support from members of the council.

Read complete Berkeleyside coverage of medical cannabis.

The council heard nearly three hours of testimony and public comment from the four applicants for the two dispensaries. All of the applicants promoted their professionalism and operational excellence, all had long lines of community members speaking in support. A relatively small number of community members raised concerns about location of any of the dispensaries. What differences could be gleaned from the public comment were largely of tone and nuance.

That was on top of a years-long process the applicants went through to select the city’s fourth dispensary, which concluded in May when the council approved the iCann Health Center on Sacramento Street. Because of the “compelling” quality of the applicants, according to Councilman Kriss Worthington, in July the council agreed to allow a fifth and sixth dispensary. The Medical Cannabis Commission had this year exhaustively evaluated the applicants as part of the lengthy decision on a fourth dispensary.

Adding two new dispensaries could add hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual tax revenues for the city.   … Continue reading »

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‘Eat, Drink and Be Literary’ returns to SF on Oct. 9

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Litquake, the Bay Area’s annual nine-day-long literary festival that draws more than 800 writers, is bringing back its food and food writing fest, ‘Eat Drink and Be Literary,’ to San Francisco on Sunday Oct. 9.

The day will feature numerous discussions on the Bay Area food scene among local authors, chefs and food purveyors, as well as the opportunity to taste delicious food and participate in workshops. On the agenda: the latest developments in food culture, sustainability, culinary trends, and the fundamental relationship between people and food. Attendees can interact with chefs, food media, culinary organizations, TV hosts, gluten-free experts, sea foragers, artisanal craft distillers and a seven-time champion at the Grilled Cheese Invitational.

East Bay representation includes Berkeleyside co-founder Frances Dinkelspiel, who will be signing her book, Tangled Vines: Greed, Murder, Obsession, and an Arsonist in the Vineyards of California (sign up for a Good Reads giveaway of the paperback here); Novella Carpenter and Sarah Henry, both of whom will be on a panel, ‘Beyond Sustainability: Connecting with the Food We Eat More Deeply,’ moderated by Anne Schukat (The Economist), that includes Anya Fernald and Michelle McKenzie; and Dayna Macy, who is on a panel called ‘Culinary Memoirs: Why We Write about Food,’ moderated by Margo True (Sunset Magazine), with Georgeanne Brennan, Jessica Fector and Alex Prud’homme. See the full program.  … Continue reading »

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EBMUD delivers pipes to Panoramic Hill via helicopter

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The East Bay Municipal Utility District has hired a helicopter to lift about 2,500 feet of pipe into the Panoramic Way neighborhood.

The red helicopter started lifting the pipe around 10 a.m. and will complete its task around 2 p.m., according to EBMUD spokeswoman Andrea Pook.

The roads leading up Panoramic Hill are so windy that trucks could not carry the 40-foot-long lengths of pipe, she said. EBMUD has cut some of pipe in half, but even getting that length up the roads is a challenge, she said. … Continue reading »

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Police

Berkeley police chief resigns; no reason provided

Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan said the public still has ample time to offer feedback. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan has resigned following reports surfaced by Berkeleyside last month of turmoil within the department and extensive criticism by officers of the chief.

Meehan resigned after nearly seven years, and Capt. Andrew Greenwood will now take the helm of the department as acting chief, according to a memo from the city manager to the Berkeley City Council dated Wednesday, Sept. 21. Greenwood, a Berkeley native, has been at BPD for 31 years. (Scroll down to see the memo.)

No explanation has been provided as to the reason for Meehan’s departure. He lives in Berkeley with his family and has a son in Berkeley schools. Many thought he would continue in his role as chief until retirement, despite the recent criticism.

Greenwood said Wednesday the resignation “came as a complete surprise” to him, and that it had been a “whirlwind five hours of figuring out” all of the logistics of the transfer of command.

“I’m sure it was a really difficult decision for him and his family,” he said. “I was asked yesterday afternoon if I would be acting chief and I agreed to.”

It is unclear exactly when Meehan put in his resignation, but he was not present for the six-month crime report to the Berkeley City Council on Tuesday evening, and no city officials asked where he was. It’s a significant meeting that he has rarely, if ever, missed in the past.

Just after 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Meehan posted his resignation letter on Twitter.

“While there is no good time to leave an organization you have such respect and admiration for, there is a right time and I believe, after discussing with my family, the time is now,” he wrote. See the full letter below.

On Twitter, Meehan wrote, “Thank you Berkeley! It has been an honor. My family and I are grateful.” … Continue reading »

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Crime

Judge upholds death verdict in Berkeley-Oakland murders

Alaysha Carradine, 8, and Anthony "Tone" Medearis, 22, were both killed in fatal shootings in 2013. Photos: Courtesy of family
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Wednesday afternoon, an Alameda County Superior Court judge ordered convicted double murderer Darnell Williams Jr. to be executed by the state of California.

Williams, 25, of Berkeley was convicted by a jury in May, after nearly a month of testimony, of two fatal shootings in 2013. The victims were 8-year-old Alaysha Carradine, who was a guest at a sleepover when she was gunned down, and — less than two months later — 22-year-old Anthony “Tone” Medearis III, a father of two. Williams also was found guilty of the attempted murders of two children at the sleepover and their grandmother, as well as the unintentional shooting of his own nephew during the Berkeley killing.

In June, the jury recommended that Williams be sentenced to death. Judge Jeffrey Horner then undertook an extensive independent review of the case before making his ruling Wednesday about what the sentence would be.

Horner said Wednesday the “overwhelming weight” of the evidence supported the jury’s death penalty verdict from earlier this year. He also sentenced Williams to an additional 172 years to life in prison should the death sentence be taken off the table at a later date, and ordered him to pay about $35,000 in fees and fines for restitution and court costs.

Williams said nothing publicly throughout the hearing. At times, he looked around to see who was in the courtroom. But, for the most part, he kept his head down and faced forward. Williams is slated to be taken from Santa Rita Jail in Dublin to San Quentin State Prison in Marin County on Wednesday, authorities say.

“Justice has been truly served,” said Jackie Winters, aunt of Medearis, in remarks to the court before the sentencing. “I really don’t understand how one person can inflict so much pain on two different families.”

Prosecutor John Brouhard also read from a written statement by Chiquita Carradine, the mother of Alaysha, who could not attend the hearing, in part, because it “would be difficult,” Brouhard said.

“I will never see my first and only daughter graduate,” she wrote. “I will never get to see her go to prom, I will never get to see her off to college. I will never get another family photo.” … Continue reading »

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Big Screen Berkeley: Fistful of Dollars & Equinox Flower

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Summer is all but over, and it’s not quite Oscar season yet. New releases are thinner on the ground than autumn leaves in May, but fear not film fans: Pacific Film Archive has two very different but equally worthwhile motion pictures with which to tempt you this weekend.

Fistful of Dollars (Per un pugno di dollari, 1964) was the film that single-handedly kicked off the spaghetti western craze, which spawned well over 500 films before the genre petered out in the mid ’70s. Love it or hate it, it’s an important film — not least because it marked the arrival of a significant new talent (and the focus of PFA’s current series ‘Something To Do with Death’), director Sergio Leone.

Few would suggest that Fistful of Dollars (screening on Friday, Sept. 23 at 8:15 p.m.) is the equal of Leone’s classics The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly and Once Upon a Time in the West (both of which have also screened in the series). Nonetheless, it’s thoroughly entertaining, was beautifully shot in southern Spain, and (of course) includes an unforgettable original score by Ennio Morricone (actually credited on screen as the pseudonymous ‘Dan Savio’ – as with Leone, Morricone would become a household name thanks to this film).

And then there’s Clint Eastwood, who parlayed his performance as the serape’d Man With No Name into a career that still continues today. Unsurprisingly, Eastwood is pretty affectless here, but that was the gimmick: who is that masked-man-with-no-mask? What secrets lie behind the emotionless stare? When you compare his work here to that of other spaghetti stars such as Robert Woods, George Eastman, and Brad Harris, you realize how good Clint genuinely was as the man of mystery. … Continue reading »

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Where in Berkeley?

Where in Berkeley?

wib

Know where this is? Take a guess and let us know in the Comments below  — that’s where we announce the winner too!

Photo: Michael Fox.

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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News

The Berkeley Wire: 09.20.16

Shakedown Festival by William Newton

Shakedown Festival by William Newton

Cal may remove online content to avoid disability law (Inside Higher Ed)
Great food debate waxes hot in Berkeley (SF Chronicle)
Downtown fire damages UC Theatre’s poster collection (Daily Cal)
Protest planned ahead of hearing on transgender woman’s in custody death (East Bay Times)
UCSF, John Muir to open new urgent care center (East Bay Times)

Keep Berkeleyside running! Support independent local journalism by becoming a member. Follow Berkeleyside on Twitter and Facebook or get the latest news in your inbox. Email us at tips@berkeleyside.com.  

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