Rent increase may force Poetry Flash to move

Richard Silberg and Joyce Jenkins stand in the offices of Poetry Flash on Fourth Street. The 43-year old publication may have to find a new home because the landlord wants to raise the rent more than 70%. Photo: Francesca Paris
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Poetry Flash, a Berkeley-based poetry magazine established in 1972, faces a threat to its existence from a rent hike that could be as high as 27%.

According to editor and publisher Joyce Jenkins, the landlord has sent her a letter stating that he intends to charge “market rate” and increase rent as much as $600 per month. Jenkins has not yet received final details about what the rent will be. … Continue reading »

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Trudy the corpse flower blooms at UC Botanical Gardens

The Corpse Flower in full bloom. Photo: Colleen Neff
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Trudy, the corpse flower at UC Botanical Gardens, is blooming.

The Sumatran plant, officially called Amorphophallus titanum or titan arum, started to open around 8 p.m. Saturday July 25, according to the UC Botanical Garden’s Facebook page.Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 07.24.15

Rose Garden volunteers by Sylvia Rubin. Photo taken July 14, 2015

Rose Garden volunteers Bill (l) and Gary (r) by Sylvia Rubin. Photo taken July 14, 2015

Police Review Commission adopts policies regarding police in protests (Daily Cal)
City law warns about radiation that probably won’t kill you (KQED)
UC Berkeley appoints new vice-chancellor for Equity and Inclusion (Daily Cal)
BART adventures: Downtown Berkeley (The Daily Clog)
Obituary: David Allen Baker, urban environmentalist  (Daily Planet)
Aurora Theater to present “Mud Blue Sky” (Broadway World)

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Berkeley neighbors say affordability will be key to proposed Adeline Street project

Conceptual plans for 2902 Adeline, which the developer says will likely change as the project goes through the entitlement process. Image: Trachtenberg Architects
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About 40 people crammed into the community room at the South Branch of the Berkeley Public Library on Wednesday night to hear about a new project proposed at Adeline and Russell streets, and offer feedback to the developer.

The project — which would replace AW Pottery at 2908 Adeline — is in its very early stages, and has not yet been submitted to the city of Berkeley, said developer Cody Fornari of San Francisco-based real estate firm Realtex. Fornari said the South Berkeley property, at 2902 Adeline St., is currently in escrow and has not officially changed hands.

Realtex is also working on a proposal to construct a 7-story building on Telegraph Avenue — where restaurants including Norikonoko and Finfiné have been in operation for more than two decades. The company also won approval last year for a 5-story building at University and McGee avenues, but has not yet broken ground.

Throughout the info session, many in attendance expressed concern about the project — still in the “conceptual phase” —  which is currently set to include 47 residential units, eight live-work units and 18 parking spaces. The building is proposed to reach 6 stories, or 65 feet tall. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Grand Lake Kitchen expansion, Trouble Coffee

Grand Lake Kitchen, Name that nosh. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Openings, closings…

GRAND LAKE KITCHEN BEGINS EXPANSION Business has been good for Grand Lake Kitchen, the sandwich-slinging neighborhood deli on Oakland’s Grand Avenue. Co-owner May Seto Wasem tells us  that they have just begun construction on the previously vacant storefront next-door. The expansion will double the seating capacity of the restaurant and allow for larger groups (and reservations). Plus, the larger Grand Lake Kitchen will have a full bar — a big plus for anyone stopping in for dinner. Wasem said that the new space needs “quite a bit of work” as far as seismic retrofitting and the sewer system are concerned. She hopes to open in the larger space at some point this fall. Grand Lake Kitchen is at 576 Grand Ave. (between MacArthur Boulevard and Euclid Avenue), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.Continue reading »

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

Berkeley Kite Festival July 25-26: one of many fun events for kids this summer in Berkeley. Photo: Whitney Moss
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KITE FESTIVAL This family-friendly event will celebrate its 30th anniversary this Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in César Chavez Park. Every year, hundreds of people flock to the Berkeley Kite Festival to watch masters fly kites or to fly their own. The free festival will feature kite making and flying lessons, as well as food and craft activities. The festival begins at 10 a.m. each day and continues until 6 p.m. Parking in the Berkeley Marina and at Golden Gate Fields costs $15, although the shuttles to the festival are free. Parking space is limited and the Berkeley Police Department encourages you to take public transit to the event. There will be free valet bike parking.Continue reading »

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Big Screen Berkeley: ‘3 1/2 Minutes 10 Bullets’

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For a brief period in late 2012, it was front page news from coast to coast: on ‘Black Friday’, the biggest shopping day of the year, a white man had fired ten shots at four African-American teenagers in a Florida parking lot. Before long, of course, the story was eclipsed by other tales of America’s festering racism problem – but for a little while it was unavoidable.

Now the case is reexamined in 3 ½ Minutes, 10 Bullets, a new documentary opening at Rialto Cinemas Elmwood on Friday, July 24. Directed by Marc Silver and featuring extensive courtroom footage, it’s a wrenching examination of perception, truth, and a culture steeped in frequently invisible but unavoidable discrimination and a nation awash in guns, guns, guns. … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 07.23.15

A bee on a blossom beside the creek by TJ Gehling. Photo taken July 16, 2015

A bee on a blossom beside the creek by TJ Gehling. Photo taken July 16, 2015

Cellphone ordinance puts Berkeley at forefront of radiation debate (NYT)
Berkeley building puts secrets of quake safety front and center (SF Chronicle)
The movie “Paper Towns” is big step for native Jake Schreier (Mercury News)
Police department celebrates promotions (CoCo Times)
A Look Back: Berkeley’s “little old lady of the hills” dies (CoCo Times)
Pioneering Berkeley astronomer Vera Rubin is 87 (Brain Pickings)
Mumbai by the Bay – A Berkeley shopping extravaganza (Your Berkeley)

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Community

Citing structural problems, Berkeley closes historic pier

The historic Berkeley pier has been closed to the public due to structural problems. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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The city of Berkeley has announced the closure of its historic municipal fishing pier due to “considerable structural damage” that has made the popular walkway unsafe for the public.

Damage to the concrete decking and support system of the pier was found during an assessment earlier this summer. Signage and fencing have been posted in the area to cut off access pending the repairs, but where the money will come from to fix the problem remains an open question. The city did not respond Thursday to a request for additional information.

The announcement, in a memo from the city manager to the Berkeley City Council, was posted online Thursday. It comes after a decision earlier in the month to prohibit heavy trucks on the pier due to the structural issues. As a result, the city paid $7,900 to set off its Fourth of July fireworks from a barge rather than using the historic walkway, which juts out into the San Francisco Bay at the end of University Avenue.

The city discovered the structural damage prior to July 4 when it began looking into proposed repairs that would have made the pier smoother for wheelchairs, a city staffer told the Parks and Waterfront Commission earlier this month. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeleyside blotter: Crime in Berkeley, July 2-8

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 share photos, videos and 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 and rely on our readers to help us stay informed.

From July 2-8, there were reports of five robberies12 burglarieseight assaults or batteries, one weapon-involved call and one sexual assault, according to CrimeMapping.com. There were also 17 stolen vehicles14 disturbances and 28 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. Significant incidents reported by the University of California Police Department (UCPD) included two burglaries and a sex crime. 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, July 2

Five vehicles were stolen: at 3:20 a.m. in the 900 block of Page Street; at 6:30 a.m. in the 2600 block of California Street; at 7 a.m. in the 800 block of Bolivar Drive; at 3:30 p.m. in the 1400 block of Shattuck Avenue; and at 9 p.m. in the 1700 block of La Loma Avenue.

According to UCPD, a burglar broke into a locker at the Golden Bear Restaurant sometime before 10 a.m. and stole a diamond ring and two bottles of cologne. The items had a total estimated value of $1,090, according to UCPD. The incident is still under investigation.

There were two disturbance calls, at 12:15 p.m. in the 2000 block of University Avenue, and at 4:18 p.m. at Park Hills Road and Muir Way.

Police arrested Pierre Jolivette, 42, at 2:15 p.m. in connection with a Ramey warrant for robbery. (No additional information about the incident or arrest was readily available.) Jolivette remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail and was scheduled to enter a plea Thursday morning at the Hayward Hall of Justice.

There was a misdemeanor sexual assault at 2:30 p.m. in the 1400 block of University.

There was a robbery at 3:18 p.m. in the 2100 block of Oxford Street.

There was a commercial burglary at 11:03 p.m. in the 1200 block of San Pablo Avenue.  … Continue reading »

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UC Berkeley police lay ‘bait’ for bike thieves on campus

bike reflection by pete rosos
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For over seven months, the UC Berkeley police have been surreptitiously planting bicycles equipped with tracking technology throughout campus in hopes of catching bike thieves.

The Bait Bike Program was kept confidential during the spring semester, but UCPD announced earlier this month that 31 arrests have been made since the initiative quietly went live in January. Reported bike thefts are down 45%, the department said in a press release.

“The word was starting to get out a little bit so we figured we would go ahead and let the community know we are trying to do something to impact the theft of bicycles,” said UCPD Lieutenant Marc DeCoulode. … Continue reading »

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Op:ed: Mayor Bates accuses former Mayor Shirley Dean of abusing the Public Records Act

Berkeley City Council, Jan. 27, 2015. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Most government records are subject to California’s Public Records Act, which means cities like Berkeley have to turn over internal documents when asked. The California Public Records Act defines public records as “any writing containing information relating to the conduct of the public’s business prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state or local agency regardless of physical form or characteristics.”

In an Opinionator piece in Berkeleyside, Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates lambasts former Mayor Shirley Dean for a public records request she made that he says is far-reaching and will take up so much time that it will render the city government ineffective. … Continue reading »

The Berkeley Wire: 07.22.15

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