Berkeleyside will focus on homelessness Wednesday

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On Wednesday, Berkeleyside will devote the entire day to stories about the homeless. We are joining 70 media organizations around the Bay Area to do a “deep dive” into the complex issue.

The group of newspapers, TV and radio stations, websites and community newspapers is calling the endeavor the San Francisco Homeless Project (since it was spearheaded by the San Francisco Chronicle). Through a series of articles, newscasts, photos, videos and opinion pieces, the project will explore the roots of homelessness, who the homeless are, how they survive, and what can be done to end homelessness.

Many of the stories will be published on a Chronicle page and one that Medium has set up.

Berkeleyside has a number of articles planned, including an overview of the issue, statistics about the homeless, a timeline of homelessness in Berkeley, a photo essay, and feature stories about homeless people and the agencies that serve them. We will also include responses to a questionnaire we posted. … Continue reading »

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How Quirky is Berkeley? Kingman Hall’s quirky murals

Kingman Hall, 1730 La Loma Avenue. Photo: John Storey
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I went to Kingman Co-Op at 1730 La Loma Ave. on graduation weekend to photograph the front door for a post-in-progress about painted doors. On the way to the door, I found this wonderful toad mural on the garage door.

Read more from Tom Dalzell on Berkeleyside.

The door I wanted to photograph, though, was blocked by a chalkboard with the history of Kingman Hall on it.

Daniella Thompson has written a detailed history of Kingman Hall,  The brief history is: built in 1914 for Theta Xi fraternity, fraternity disbands in 1964, functions as “Toad Hall” rooming house 1964-1969, rooming house with new owner 1969-1973, Ken Keyes Jr. and his Berkeley Living Love Center 1973-1977, and since 1977, the Berkeley Student Cooperative.  It’s all on the chalkboard. … Continue reading »

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Rubicon Bakers rebuilds lives, bakes cakes

A worker with cake at Rubicon Bakers. Photo: Clara Rice
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It was the busiest month of the year when Andrew Stoloff bought Rubicon Bakers. The Richmond bakery was producing pumpkin tarts for a local chain of markets, and as Thanksgiving neared, the number of orders climbed from 200 per day to 500 to 1000.

“The bakery racks were lined up and down the hallway for three days and we had two ovens running 24 hours a day. We couldn’t bake enough to keep up and we had to short their order,” Stoloff said. “It was not a good introduction to the business. I lost a lot of sleep over it.”

Meanwhile, his wife Leslie Crary didn’t fully get it. “Throughout my law career, I felt this constant stress, with briefs and court appearances and deadlines,” she said. “And he’s worrying about pie.”

What a difference six years makes. … Continue reading »

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Anonymous email threatens students at Berkeley school after Sacramento rally tied to local teacher

A police cruiser was parked outside Martin Luther King. Jr. Middle School on Monday. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Local and federal authorities investigated threats Monday targeting youth at a North Berkeley middle school by a group that demanded the termination of a teacher who protested against a neo-Nazi rally in Sacramento over the weekend.

The rally Sunday made national headlines due to violent clashes between the white supremacists who took out a permit to rally at the state capitol and the counter-protesters who showed up to confront them. According to some news reports, members of the counter-protest appear to have initiated the violence. The LA Times reported that seven people were stabbed and 10 hospitalized.

One of the people who took responsibility for helping organize the counter-protest was Yvette Felarca, a teacher at North Berkeley’s Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School, at 1781 Rose St. Felarca is an organizer with the activist group By Any Means Necessary, which helped lead a series of Black Lives Matter protests in Berkeley in December 2014.

Parents of day campers were told Monday morning that one of the counter-protesters from Sacramento had been linked to the Berkeley school where the camps were located. The public outing had prompted an influx of emails to the principal demanding that the teacher be fired. … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 06.27.16

Sunrise at Tilden by @yy

Sunrise at Tilden by @yy

How Berkeley voted: June 2016 primary (Citizens’ Action)
UC Berkeley spends big on renovations to chancellor’s home (SF Chronicle)
Mixed use hotel tower gets approval in Berkeley (SF Business Times)
Two UC Berkeley basketball players picked in first NBA draft (Daily Cal)
Peggy Orenstein discovers pain of girls’ hook-up culture (SF Chronicle)
Downtown parklet creates community space (Daily Cal)
Three injured in two days on Grizzly Peak (KRON)
BAMPFA present exhibits of graduate and Cecilia Edefalk (Examiner)

To see a gallery of great photos submitted by our contributors, click here.

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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Blondies’ coming-of-age album addresses sexual assault

The Blondies lead singer Simon Lunche and lead guitarist Isaac Roth. Photo: Natalie Orenstein
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Bay Area rock band The Blondies have grown up together, working their way up from summer camp stages to venues like the Stork Club in Oakland and Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco. The members, some freshly graduated from high school, are navigating the adult world, and it’s reflected in their music.

The Blondies released “Just Another Evening,” a self-described “coming of age album,” earlier this month. The title track is a comment on rape culture and the pervasiveness of sexual assault and harassment.

“Unfortunately, I see that kind of stuff going on around me all the time and I was really fed up with it,” said lead singer and songwriter Simon Lunche, who graduated from Berkeley High School this month.

The band members who are already in college were disturbed by the level of sexual assault and harassment on their campuses as well. The five members of The Blondies, all male, felt compelled to make a statement about it. … Continue reading »

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Aurora’s remarkable ”Master Harold’ … and the boys’

Sam (l, L. Peter Callender) and Willie (r, Adrian Roberts), pretend to spar as Hally (Andrew Humann) calls the shots in Aurora Theatre Company’s Master Harold…and the boys. Photo: David Allen
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Aurora’s new production of “Master Harold” … and the boys is a brilliant evening of theater. Its playwright is South Africa’s Athol Fugard, whose internationally respected anti-apartheid works include Blood Knot, Boesman and Lena, and My Children! My Africa!Master Harold’s” cast of three, L. Peter Callender, Andrew Humann and Adrian Roberts, are all superb in their roles. And Timothy Near’s discerning direction perfects the production.

The powerful, award-winning “Master Harold,” a 90-minute autobiographically-based drama set in one rainy afternoon in 1950, is about Hally (aka Master Harold), a 17-year-old Afrikaner white boy, and Sam and Willy, two middle-aged black servants employed by Hally’s family. … Continue reading »

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Male assaulted by group on Grizzly Peak Boulevard

Look out at Signpost 15 on Grizzly Peak Boulevard
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A man sought treatment at the hospital after being assaulted on Grizzly Peak Boulevard about 24 hours after a robbery in the same vicinity, police have reported.

No one has been arrested.

According to a statement released Sunday evening by the University of California Police Department, the agency received a report earlier in the day about an aggravated assault at either Signpost 15 or 16 on Grizzly Peak.

The male victim, whose age was not disclosed, had been at the turnout with some friends when a fight broke out between his group and another group between 3:39 and 4:09 a.m. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley police search area after report of man with rifle; no one found

Police searched a home in Southside Berkeley after a report of a man with a rifle Saturday but found no one matching that description. Photo: David Yee
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Berkeley police officers conducted what was described as an extensive search Saturday evening after receiving a report of a man in the area witnesses believed to have been carrying a rifle.

Ultimately, officers found no one matching that description, said Lt. Alyson Hart of the Berkeley Police Department.

“It’s a call that we take extremely seriously,” she said. “It’s an unusual call, but you never know.”

Hart said it’s possible that what the witnesses saw was a BB gun, or something else altogether. Sometimes, police get calls that turn out to be hoaxes too, though Hart said she didn’t think that had been the case in this instance. Without having found the man, it’s impossible to know for sure.

Initially, BPD got a report at about 6:45 p.m. that a white man in dark clothes, about 6 feet tall and 20-25 years old, was walking northbound in the 2400 block of Warring Street while carrying what the caller believed to be a rifle. He had short hair and a black jacket, with a slim to medium build.  … Continue reading »

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Hundreds hold vigil in Berkeley to remember Efe Ustenci

Saturday's vigil for Efe Ustenci drew hundreds of people. Photo: Ted Friedman
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Several hundred community members came together at Berkeley High School on Saturday evening to remember 17-year-old Efejon Ustenci, who drowned Wednesday in Placer County less than a week after he graduated from BHS.

The theme of the vigil, said photographer Ted Friedman, who attended the event on behalf of Berkeleyside, “was to ‘live Efe’s legacy.'”

One friend told Friedman that Efejon, known to many as Efe, would be remembered as someone who was nurturing, humorous and fair-minded. Others have described him as a natural leader looked up to by many, a talented athlete, and a kind and loving young man.

A fundraiser to help collect money for burial costs has raised more than $16,000 since it was created Friday evening.

Wrote Chris Young on the memorial page, “In my work with BIHS [Berkeley International High School] I see students names a lot and meet most of them as seniors. After visiting me once, I noted that Efe carried himself with maturity and kindness. At graduation he thanked me, though I hadn’t done much to directly serve him. Efejon Ustenci! His name jumps off my list of graduates. Yes, Efejon Ustenci. That’s that humble young man who stands out as a beautiful example of strong character for his peers and teachers. Surely, he will inspire us into the future.”

Several photographs from the memorial appear below. … Continue reading »

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Armed men rob trio on Grizzly Peak Boulevard

The view from Grizzly Peak Boulevard near Signpost 15. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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Two men were injured during an armed robbery early Saturday near Signpost 15 on Grizzly Peak Boulevard, police report.

The University of California Police Department said three men in their 20s approached the men and a woman, who were near their car on Grizzly Peak at about 3:30 a.m.

The 23-year-old woman and both men, age 25, were enjoying the view, said UCPD, when three men walked up to them.

“Two of the males pointed guns at the victims and demanded their property,” said UCPD in a prepared statement released Saturday evening. “The victims complied and suspects fled the scene on foot towards Signpost 16.” … Continue reading »

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Fundraiser, vigil planned for drowned Berkeley student

Efe is remembered as a talented athlete. Photo: Ustenci family
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The Berkeley Unified School District has announced a vigil and fundraiser for Efe Ustenci, who drowned earlier this week in Placer County while on a trip with friends.

The fundraiser to help pay for the 17-year-old’s burial costs has already raised more than $3,600 in approximately an hour. Its goal is $10,000.

A vigil at Berkeley High School has been planned for Saturday, June 25, from 5-6-30 p.m. in the courtyard. The school district had counselors on campus Friday to help offer support.

Wrote BHS Principal Sam Pasarow in the email about the vigil and fundraiser, sent Friday at 9 p.m.: “Please join us as we mourn the loss of Efejon Ustenci, and also celebrate his life.” … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 06.24.16

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