Berkeley 8th graders raise $80K to build their own library

REALM library
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A Berkeley middle school’s successful campaign to crowd-fund the creation of its first library is one for the books.

Still in its infancy, REALM charter school was lacking a library, so its eighth grade class launched a Kickstarter campaign in March. In one month they raised the nearly $79,000 that will allow them to realize their innovative design for a room full of books and multimedia tools. Quest Foundation, a grant-making organization in Danville, contributed $30,000 in matching funds to the campaign.

The ultramodern library, called “X-Space,” is the product of months of brainstorming and building in teacher Hallie Chen’s design class, Studio H.

“Because we’re a new school, the instinct for students is to look around and say, ‘These are the things we don’t have yet,’” said REALM’s creativity director Emily Pilloton. “My response is always, ‘Okay, well, let’s go build it.’” … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeley police arrest alleged drug dealer with gun

The 5600 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Image: Google Maps
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An Oakland man has been charged with five felonies after a probation search led to his arrest and the recovery by Berkeley police of a loaded handgun, marijuana and two types of cocaine, all packaged for sale, according to court papers.

On April 8, the Berkeley Police Department conducted the probation search of 35-year-old Terrill Orme at his home and business in the 5600 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Way, less than half a mile from Berkeley’s southern border. … Continue reading »

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How quirky is Berkeley? The Giant Orange of Spruce St.

Giant orange at 722 Spruce St.  Photo: Colleen Neff.
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Of the thousands of examples of quirky material culture that I have seen in Berkeley, my favorite is a giant orange on Spruce Street. It has nothing to do with Roald Dahl, but everything to do with old, weird America, a brilliant phrase coined by Berkeley’s extraordinary cultural writer Greil Marcus. … Continue reading »

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‘Wittenberg,’ a comedy with an historical undertow

Hamlet (c. Jeremy Kahn*) is torn between Faustus (l. Michael Stevenson*) and Martin Luther (r. Dan Hiatt*) in Wittenberg. Photo: David Allen
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Wittenbergat the Aurora in Berkeley, is written by contemporary American playwright David Davalos. It’s an historical comedy that employs an ingenious contrivance as the basis for the play’s plot. The scene is in Saxony, at the University of Wittenberg in 1517.

Prince Hamlet (yes, that Hamlet) is a senior there, studying under his favorite professors, Martin Luther and the fictional Doctor Faustus. Part of the play’s cleverness is that its basis is somewhat historically correct. Martin Luther, a Wittenberg university lecturer, posted his “95 Theses on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences” on the door of the Castle Church of Wittenberg in 1517. The author of Doctor Faustus, Christopher Marlowe, created his character as a teacher at Wittenberg in the early 1500s. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the Danish Prince attended Wittenberg; however the school was founded in 1502, and Hamlet is supposed to take place centuries earlier. But the timing is close enough to make for an entertaining thesis. … Continue reading »

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News

The Berkeley Wire: 04.16.14

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Drone battle to come before Berkeley City Council

Two quadricopter drones, typical of the designs popular with hobbyists. Photo: Gregor Hartl/Ars Electronica
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More than a year after the Berkeley City Council asked three city panels to take a look at the use of drones around town, two starkly different recommendations are slated to come before officials in a special work session later this month.

The city’s Disaster and Fire Safety Commission has made a recommendation to allow the police and fire departments to use drones “for specific enumerated purposes in emergency situations.” Usage would have to approved by the city manager, police chief or fire chief.

But two other city bodies, the Peace & Justice Commission and the Police Review Commission, have asked council to declare Berkeley a “no drone zone,” citing concerns related to safety and privacy, among other issues. … Continue reading »

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Parking lot war at 1414 University in Berkeley heats up; owner attempts to fence off competing businesses

The owner of this parking lot at 1414 University Ave. does not want adjacent businesses using it. She sent a construction crew to erect a fence on Wednesday. Photo: Natalie Orenstein
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The owner of the building at 1414 University Ave. attempted to install a fence Tuesday along the parking lot that she gained exclusive rights to in a contentious lawsuit last year. The fence would have blocked off access from the lot into a string of businesses known as Strawberry Walk.

Employees of Strawberry Walk, which borders the parking lot, arrived at work to find a contractor drilling holes in front of their sidewalk in preparation to install a 5-foot diamond-link fence. A Strawberry Walk tenant alerted the building’s landlord, Cecile Isaacs, who came to the site and asked the worker to show her his construction permit. When he said he didn’t have a building permit, Isaacs asked him to stop construction and called the city. … Continue reading »

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Comment

Op-Ed: Could Box have been Berkeley’s first $1 billion IPO?

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The cloud content management company Box was founded in Berkeley in 2005, but quickly moved to Palo Alto to attract senior talent. It is about to go public in a $1 billion IPO.

In an Opinionator piece published on Berkeleyside, David McIntosh, a UC Berkeley graduate and the founder of Redux, a Berkeley-based software company that pulls together shareable online videos, laments (somewhat) the big fish that got away.

But a lot has changed in Berkeley in nine years. … Continue reading »

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16-year-old girl found naked, pepper-sprayed in Elmwood

A 16-year old girl was found at Ashby and Piedmont Avenues this morning. She was naked and may have been sexually assaulted. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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Update, April 17: The San Francisco Police Department has taken over this case. According to KTVU, “The girl initially told authorities she had been kidnapped and robbed in Oakland and then dropped off in Berkeley. Oakland Police said the case could be related to human sex trafficking. Then they turned the case over the SFPD after the girl changed her story.” SFPD will investigate the case as a kidnapping and robbery, but not a sexual assault.

Update, 7:25 p.m. The Oakland Police Department released the following statement at 4:45 p.m.: “Investigators have learned this incident occurred in another jurisdiction. The victim is a juvenile. This case may be associated with human sex trafficking.” Any instance in which a minor is induced to engage in prostitution or other commercial sex acts is considered sex trafficking; the Alameda County district attorney’s office has made the reduction of these activities a priority.

Original post: A teenage girl who may have been sexually assaulted was found naked and suffering from pepper spray in the Elmwood district early Wednesday morning, according to Berkeley Police scanner traffic, authorities and media reports.

Residents in the 2900 block of Piedmont Avenue, near Ashby Avenue, were awoken shortly after 5 a.m. to the sound of the girl screaming, “Help me,” according to scanner traffic recordings reviewed by Berkeleyside. 

The 16-year-old girl told authorities she had been raped. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley warehouse fire started accidentally; Wooden Duck not insured for content loss

The remains of the Import Tile warehouse that burned on April 12. Photo: Evelyn Larsen
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The fire that erupted in a West Berkeley warehouse on Saturday, seriously damaging or destroying numerous businesses, started accidentally, according to fire officials.

“There didn’t seem to be any indication this was a malicious fire,” said Berkeley Fire Department Deputy Chief Avery Webb. “The investigation is ongoing but they have ruled out a malicious origin.” … Continue reading »

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Where in Berkeley?

Where in Berkeley?

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

Photo: Tracey Taylor

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News

The Berkeley Wire: 04.15.14

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Councilmen: Time is now to discuss Tasers in Berkeley

Councilman Laurie Capitelli. March 5, 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Three Berkeley City Council members are bringing the issue of Taser use by local police to the forefront with a proposed council agenda item currently set for consideration in early May.

Councilman Laurie Capitelli has drafted an item to request a report from the city manager about the possible use of Tasers by police in Berkeley, along with consideration of the idea by the city’s Police Review Commission.

Capitelli said it was last week’s violent attack on a Berkeley Police officer at Aquatic Park that brought about the current proposal. A man has been charged with attempted murder in that case. … Continue reading »

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