Crime

4 with Berkeley ties held to answer in alleged murder plot

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Four men with Berkeley ties have been held to answer by an Alameda County Superior Court judge on charges that they conspired to murder two rivals last fall.

The alleged victims in the investigation grew up in West Berkeley, according to court testimony. At least one of them attended Berkeley High, according to his Facebook profile.

The preliminary hearing against 27-year-old Joseph Carroll Jr., 36-year-old Emando Roos, 28-year-old Travon Wilson and 28-year-old Joseph Connors wrapped up Wednesday after more than a month of intermittent testimony and legal arguments.

According to authorities, who recorded phone calls among the men as part of an Oakland Police wiretap investigation last fall, the intended targets of the alleged murder plot had disrespected Carroll and two of his relatives in YouTube videos and photographs on Instagram. … Continue reading »

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Police call for Tasers after attempted killing of officer

The Berkeley Police Association, the union for the rank and file, has been making the case for officers to have Tasers. Photo: Creative Commons
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The president of the Berkeley Police Association is asking city officials to consider the use of Tasers by Berkeley officers after a violent attack on an officer Monday.

The police association, the union for the rank and file, has been asking publicly for Tasers since at least last year. According to association president Sgt. Chris Stines, 95% of California’s law enforcement agencies use Tasers, but Berkeley is not among them.

Last fall, after a man tried to stab himself to death in Berkeley, Stines said officers with Tasers would have been able to resolve that situation with less injury. Since then, Stines said this week, there have been at least four other incidents, including Monday’s attack, in which Tasers would have made a difference. … Continue reading »

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Caltrans fence forces homeless to find new camp

The people who used to sleep under the Gilman/I-80 underpass are trying to adjust to their new cramped sleeping situation. Photo: Natalie Orenstein
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Responding to complaints that the homeless people who camped under the Gilman/I-80 underpass were engaged in criminal activity, Caltrans has fenced off the area — pushing the encampment onto a narrow strip nearby.

Caltrans installed the fencing between Feb. 10 and March 6 at the request of the Berkeley Police Department, “in order to help curtail criminal activity in the area,” said Caltrans spokesman Robert Haus via email.

“We have had complaints regarding criminal activity associated with the encampment down there,” said police spokeswoman officer Jennifer Coats via email. “We have reached out to those camping in the area through members of our Crisis Intervention Team (CIT), Area Coordinators, and Mobile Crisis workers.” … Continue reading »

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Berkeley rolling out electric vehicle charging stations

NRG_eVgo_Freedom_Station_1
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Berkeley’s Whole Foods market unveiled two new, powerful charging stations for electric vehicles yesterday at its store at the intersection of Telegraph at Ashby. The move brings the total number of public stations in the city to four, and Berkeley is on track to gain at least a further seven stations in the not too distant future.

This will be welcome news to owners of Leafs, Volts and Teslas whose numbers are on the rise: the city has seen a 70% increase in electric vehicle registrations in the past six months, according to Sarah Moore, Assistant Planner in the city’s Office of Energy and Sustainable Development, who estimates there are around 350 electric vehicles currently registered to Berkeley residents and businesses.

The Whole Foods stations allow customers with electric cars to boost their power from zero to 80% in just 20-30 minutes if they choose their DC-Fast option.

Whole Foods is the first business to participate in a City of Berkeley pilot program to ease the permitting and installation of EV charging stations. … Continue reading »

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Faye Carol, artist and mentor, to be honored as Jazz Hero

Faye Carol
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Benny Green was a standout player in the Berkeley High jazz band in the late 1970s, but his formative education took place on the bandstand with Faye Carol, a veteran vocalist whose command of blues and jazz prepared the pianist for his career-making stints with jazz legends Betty Carter, Art Blakey and Ray Brown.

A Berkeley resident since the early 1970s, the Pittsburg-raised Carol has provided firm but loving guidance to hundreds of aspiring musicians over the years, which is why the Jazz Journalists Association is presenting her with a Jazz Hero award at Yoshi’s on Saturday afternoon (full disclosure: I’m a JJA member involved with planning the event).

Green was 16 when he started playing with Carol, and she made a point of featuring him at the beginning of every set.

“I’d open the show playing a trio number or two, and that was my first time getting my feet wet leading a band,” says Green, 51, who’s the first artist-in-residence at Berkeley’s California Jazz Conservatory (formerly known as the Jazzschool). … Continue reading »

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News

The Berkeley Wire: 04.09.14

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‘Suspicious substance’ in Berkeley turns out to be plaster

Image: Google Maps
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A report of a suspicious white substance in the 1900 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Way closed a central Berkeley block during a short investigation that caused alarm among neighbors and passers-by Monday evening.

The Berkeley Fire Department ultimately determined that the substance was actually plaster from a resident’s home, authorities said.

Monday at 5:36 p.m., dispatchers received a call from a man who had noticed “white powder in various places around his house,” said officer Byron White, a Berkeley Police spokesman. The man had seen the material in his side yard two days prior. … Continue reading »

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City of Berkeley heads to court over redistricting lines

The city has filed a lawsuit to ask a judge to decide which lines to use during November's election. (Click to learn more.)
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The city of Berkeley has filed a lawsuit against the Alameda County registrar of voters and the Berkeley city clerk to determine which district lines to use in the November 2014 election.

City officials say the lawsuit is necessary to determine district lines after a successful referendum drive by some Berkeley voters earlier this year halted the use of a new district map adopted by a 6-3 vote by the Berkeley City Council in December.

The city is required to redraw district lines every decade to rebalance the population across Berkeley’s eight council districts.

Three members of the council — Kriss Worthington (District 7), Jesse Arreguín (District 4) and Max Anderson (District 3) — have taken issue with the adopted map, primarily due to the boundaries of District 7. The district, as adopted, features a majority of student-aged voters, but detractors say it cuts out some of the most progressive members of the Cal community by failing to incorporate several blocks north and east of campus, which include co-op housing and other group living accommodations such as dorms and International House. … Continue reading »

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Free events celebrate Berkeley’s revamped libraries

Kids browse the bookshelves at the December 2014 opening of the South Branch. Photo: Richard Friedman
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Call it a “library warming.”

As a way to celebrate the completion of its branch renovation campaign – and highlight the dozens of community programs it presents each month – the Berkeley Public Library is hosting a month-long party.

The Branch Out! celebration will bring concerts, art exhibits, pop-up libraries at food truck gatherings, a sleepover party for stuffed animals, mindfulness meditation, and that beloved event – author readings – and much more to a branch near you in April. … Continue reading »

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Review: ‘The Galapagos Affair,’ a gripping documentary

Dore Strauch and Freidrich Ritter standing at home - MS uncat
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Remember that awful film version of the board game ‘Clue’ that came out in 1985? No? Despite featuring a solid cast (including Martin Mull as Colonel Mustard and Christopher Lloyd as Professor Plum!), Clue (the movie) really was pretty forgettable – but for some reason I couldn’t get it out of my mind while watching The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden, a gripping documentary about small-island intrigue opening at Landmark’s Shattuck Cinemas on Friday, April 11.

We last visited the Galapagos Islands during teen sailor Laura Dekker’s brief stopover in Maidentrip. The Galapagos in this film, however, seem quite different: seen almost exclusively in black and white via thoroughly remarkable (and almost too good to be true) footage shot during the early 1930s, the islands project an aura of bleak, ominous majesty – hardly a welcoming rest spot for ambitious young sailors. … Continue reading »

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Where in Berkeley?

Where in Berkeley?

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

Update, 5:45 p.m.: Here’s a clue — a new photo that shows the “context.” (Thanks Sandy!):

context

Update 04.10.14: OK, we have a winner for this week’s photo: susiefisch correctly identified these rocks as being on Webster Street. 2914 Webster to be exact. Congratulations, susiefisch, on being this week’s winner!

Photo: Sandy Friedland.

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News

The Berkeley Wire: 04.08.14

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Berkeley could have bike sharing program by spring 2015

Bike share
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UPDATE, 04.09.14: Bike share funds approved, as is money for Bay Trail: The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) voted to allocate the $8.7 million in bike share funding at its committee meeting today. The MTC spending plan also includes two projects to improve Bay Trail segments in Berkeley. Berkeley will receive $1 million for the third segment of the Bay Trail Extension, a spur of the Bay Trail running through the Berkeley Marina. The first two segments of the extension have been completed, and the new funding would also add a public restroom, bike racks, access improvements, parking lot upgrades and other enhancements near the two sailing clubs and windsurf rigging area. At the same time, the East Bay Regional Parks District will receive $750,000 to fill the gap in the Bay Trail between Gilman Street in North Berkeley and Buchanan Street near the Albany Bulb in Albany. The new segment will run on the shoreline side of the Golden Gate Fields racetrack.

ORIGINAL STORY: This time next year, Berkeley could have a bike sharing program in place in the city. Mayor Tom Bates, for one, thinks it won’t be soon enough.

“We’ve been lobbying for this for a long time,” Bates said on Monday.

Bates sits on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission which will vote on Wednesday to allocate $8.7 million to be spent on rolling out Bay Area Bike Share to the East Bay. The program started in San Francisco and the Peninsula last August and, in San Francisco at least, has proved successful.

If approved, the program would see 60 bike pods installed in an 8 1/2-square-mile area of the East Bay, stocked with a total of about 750 bikes, around 300 of them in Berkeley. Planning is in early stages and locations for the bike stations have not yet been decided. … Continue reading »

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