Berkeley author Marissa Moss says goodby to Amelia, a character that has delighted readers for 20 years

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By Michael Berry

After 20 years and more than 5 million copies sold, Marissa Moss‘ “Amelia’s Notebook” series has arrived at its concluding chapter.

The Berkeley writer is bringing her feisty, hand-drawn creation back to its small-press roots, publishing “Amelia’s Middle-School Graduation Yearbook” through her own children’s press, Creston Books.

Moss, 55, said she took her inspiration for Amelia’s story from a composition book she originally intended for one of her three sons. Although she had already published a number of picture books, she decided to experiment with a new combination of hand-written prose and pictures to tell the story of a fourth-grade girl trying to figure out a move to a new school. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Hunt in Berkeley after man in stolen car drives wrong way on freeway for 30 miles, crashes, flees

CHP officers pursued a stolen vehicle into Berkeley early Monday. Photo: David Davenport
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Update: 11:20 a.m. The California Highway Patrol is still looking for the suspect in this case. CHP Oakland spokesman Officer Sean Wilkenfeld said the agency has some leads which it is pursuing. Wilkenfeld also confirmed that the victim involved in the vehicle collision on Hearst Avenue was Zaya Yaro, 45, from Santa Clara.

Update, 4:30 a.m. A stolen vehicle pursuit that began near Concord, with the driver traveling the wrong direction on the freeway for about 30 miles, ended with a crash in Berkeley around midnight, but authorities are still trying to find the driver. … Continue reading »

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News

The Berkeley Wire: 05.15.15

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City acts after yellowjackets attack in Berkeley park

Aerial view of Codornices showing the location of the swarm of yellowjackets that attacked several people, and at least one dog, today. Photo: Carter Tomasi
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The city of Berkeley is taking action after what appears to be a swarm of yellowjackets attacked several people and at least one dog in Berkeley’s Codornices Park at around 10 a.m. today.

Local resident Mimi Abers needed to go to the hospital emergency room after what she described as a “vicious attack.”

“It was right up the hill from the playgrounds. There are a bunch of trees there and I think the yellowjackets nest in them,” she told Berkeleyside via email just before 3 p.m. “I’ve seen them before but never had as vicious an attack. I had multiple stings on my head and upper body. It must have been about 20. Anyone allergic to bees should avoid this area. It’s been five hours and I still have pain, but not as bad as the first three hours. One of the dogs I had who is black was also bitten, but not my white one.” … Continue reading »

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Where did NYC mayor lunch with Cal Chancellor?

UC Berkeley Chancellor Nick Dirks and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio grab lunch in Berkeley. Photo: courtesy Nick Dirks/Twitter
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New York Mayor Bill de Blasio was in Berkeley on Thursday. His schedule was no doubt full. Among other things, he and Cal professor Robert Reich joked about the disparity of their respective heights before sitting down to talk about inequality at an event co-organized by the Goldman School of Public Policy.

De Blasio also said a brief hello to Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates in the Green Room at the Freight & Salvage before the conversation with Reich. (Indeed it was a veritable Mayor-Palooza day for Bates who in the morning got on his bike with both Mayor Morten Kabell of Copenhagen and Mayor Albrecht Schröter of Jena, Germany, as part of the many Bike to Work day events in the city.)

De Blasio also found time to grab lunch with UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks, who tweeted about the get-together Friday morning. … Continue reading »

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

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JAZZ ON FOURTH Sunday marks the 20th annual Jazz on Fourth festival, which benefits Berkeley High School’s jazz program. The free festival has raised nearly $200,000 for the program over the last 19 years. In addition to the BHS Jazz Ensemble and combos, Fourth Street will be bopping with Mal Sharpe’s Big Money in Jazz Band with Kellye Gray, blues from Terrie Odabi, and salsa with Edgardo & Candela. Fourth Street merchants donate major gifts for a gigantic raffle, and the street will be lined with activities (you can visit Berkeleyside at our booth). There’s beer donated by Trumer Brauerie, and free photos courtesy of Photolab. Jazz on Fourth, Fourth Street, noon to 5 p.m., Sunday, May 17. … Continue reading »

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7-story building, no parking, proposed on Telegraph

At right: a rendering of a 7-story building proposed on Telegraph to take the place of The Village. Image: Pyatok Architects
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A quaint shopping mall on Berkeley’s Telegraph Avenue — the site of restaurants Norikonoko, Finfiné, Koryo and Fondue Fred — along with the adjacent electronics shop, have been proposed for demolition to make way for a 76-unit 7-story mixed-use building without parking.

According to the developer, “many of the tenants” that operate on the property — called “The Village” — have said they might simply close rather than try to find new locations elsewhere.

The developer said in project documents, submitted to the city April 21, that the units will be marketed to students, couples and young professionals alike. A proposed rooftop deck fronting on Telegraph will offer residents “sweeping views of the bay,” along with “a variety of seating, shading, planting and other amenities.”

The developer plans to include 11% affordable units on site for people making 50% of the area median income, or $32,550 ($37,200 for a couple). “Prominent retail storefront” is planned on Telegraph, with a lobby and lounge proposed on Blake Street for tenants of the residential units. A bike storage room is set to include one bike space for each unit, but no vehicle parking is proposed.  … Continue reading »

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Bites: OVO, Sequoia Diner, Mad Oak and more

OVO Tavern and Eatery. Photo: Kate Williams
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Openings, closings…

OVO COMES TO NORTH OAKLAND OVO, a.k.a. “Oakland’s Very Own Tavern and Eatery,” has softly opened on Martin Luther King Jr. Way in North Oakland. The new bar and restaurant is an official viewing spot for the Golden State Warriors playoff games while it continues to tweak its menu and operating hours. For now, OVO is open only from 4-9 p.m.; owner DeWayne DeGuzman aims to hold a grand opening party at the end of the month. The menu features simple bar food like tater tots, chicken wings and burgers. DeGuzman said OVO will eventually be open in the morning, with breakfast pastries from Gregory’s Gourmet Desserts and Mr. Espresso coffee. The bar has a modest selection of beers, with space for six rotating local microbrews, and a potent-sounding OVO punch (think rum and lots of fruit). OVO takes the place of Bottom of the Ninth Bar & Grill, which opened in 2013 after Looney’s BBQ closed. DeGuzman hopes the restaurant will be a lively community gathering space, and he plans on keeping the concept and menu adaptable to the changing neighborhood. “We’re going to keep it fresh, just like Oakland,” he said. Ovo is at 5319 Martin Luther King Jr. Way (between 53rd and 54th streets), Oakland. Continue reading »

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Berkeley High students allege BUSD refused access to federal investigators over sexual harassment

Students from BHS Stop Harassing put up posters in campus, alleging BUSD has been refusing OCR investigators access to students. Photo: Jaya N.S.
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After BUSD officials allegedly refused to let federal investigators interview students about sexual harassment claims at Berkeley High, students plastered posters in campus hallways last month stating, “You are being silenced,” and “Your civil rights are being violated right now.”

Students and parents of the activist group BHS Stop Harassing, who alerted the Office of Civil Rights about alleged sexual harassment at the high school, contend that the school district has obstructed OCR’s efforts to collect materials and speak to students. The district has not turned over requested papers and documentation; refused to allow OCR to distribute an anonymous survey asking about sexual harassment in classrooms; failed to alert students that investigators were there to conduct interviews; and did not send permission slips for those interviews home, according to parents of BHS students. One of the parents was Heidi Goldstein, who filed the complaint to the OCR last December. … Continue reading »

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Jazz blooms in Berkeley with a rich choice of performers

Marcus Shelby
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On any given night one can find a handful of jazz gigs in Berkeley interesting enough to coax even a casual fan out of the house. But this Sunday offers something altogether rare with a convergence of two events that auger well for the future of the scene.

From noon to 5 p.m., the Berkeley High jazz program’s 20th annual Jazz on Fourth Street fundraiser turns the shopping district into a music-filled street party. And at the David Brower Center from 2-5 p.m., Jazz in the Neighborhood celebrates its second anniversary with a fundraiser and concert featuring the lustrous vocalist Clairdee, pianist Ken French, bassist Marcus Shelby, trumpeter (and Berkeley High alum) Erik Jekabson, pianist Glen Pearson, saxophonist/flutist Mary Fettig, trombonist Wayne Wallace, and drummer Hamir Atwal. … Continue reading »

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News

The Berkeley Wire: 05.14.15

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Bill de Blasio talks inequality with Robert Reich

Robert Reich and Bill de Blasio. Phot: courtesy Goldman School of Public Policy
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“Use your stature” to show leadership on inequality Robert Reich urged New York Mayor Bill de Blasio at the conclusion of a conversation the two of them held in Berkeley today at an event partly sponsored by the UC Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy and the Economic Inequality Media Project.

It wasn’t the only joke the UC Berkeley professor and former U.S. Secretary of Labor — who, unlike de Blasio is not tall — made about the mayor’s height. When the two first appeared on stage at the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse at around 12:30 p.m. they linked arms and Reich proclaimed: “We embody inequality!” … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeleyside blotter: Crime in Berkeley, 4/30-5/6

Selected calls to the Berkeley Police, via CrimeMapping.com. 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 don’t hesitate to share photos, videos or tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at crime@berkeleyside.com or on Facebook or Twitter; let us know if you prefer to be anonymous. Don’t assume someone else will alert us — we value your eyes and ears, and you may be the only one to get in touch. We very much want to know about issues of neighborhood concern.

From April 30 to May 6, there were reports of 17 robberies20 burglaries14 assaults or batteries, three weapon-involved calls and two sexual assaults, according to CrimeMapping.com. There were also 15 stolen vehicles11 disturbances and 33 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. There were no significant reported incidents from the University of California Police Department (UCPD). These numbers are subject to change. 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 by the beginning of that time period.

Thursday, April 30

There was a commercial burglary at 3:27 a.m. in the 3000 block of Adeline Street.

Two vehicles were stolen, at 8 a.m. in the 1200 block of Campus Drive, and at 8:30 p.m. in the 1300 block of Ashby Avenue.

There were two disturbance calls, at 11:12 a.m. in the 2900 block of Garber Street, and at 8:20 p.m. in the 1900 block of San Pablo Avenue.

There were two robberies, at 11:47 a.m. at Virginia and Acton streets, and at 9:55 p.m. at Dwight Way and Milvia Street.

There was a home burglary at 11:48 a.m. in the 3000 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Way. … Continue reading »

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