UC Berkeley’s Campanile celebrates its 100th birthday

Campanile by D.H. Parks
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By Gretchen Kell

It may look like the strong, silent type, but the Jane K. Sather Campanile will be the lively center of attention in 2015 at UC Berkeley. The more than 300-foot-tall bell tower, a famous landmark with a colorful history, is 100 years old.

A Campanile 100th website, carillon concerts, an essay contest, classroom projects, a University Archives/Bancroft Library exhibit, special banners flying throughout campus and Campanile-shaped lapel pins for 2015 graduates all are part of the yearlong celebration. … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 01.26.15

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Grumpy Cat comes to Berkeley Humane in style, fanfare

Grumpy Cat, held by her owner Tabatha Bundesen, poses with City Councilmember Linda Maio and Berkeley Chamber of Commerce CEO Polly Armstrong before the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Photo: Seung Y. Lee
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With a police-escorted motorcade fit for a foreign ambassador or an A-list Hollywood star, viral internet star Grumpy Cat rolled into Berkeley in style Saturday afternoon.

Hundreds of fans waited outside Berkeley Humane at 2700 9th St. to catch a glimpse of Grumpy Cat, who has a permanent scowl on her face and millions of fans on social media. Tucked in the arms of her owner, Tabatha Bundesen, Grumpy Cat oversaw the ribbon-cutting ceremony of Berkeley Humane’s new mobile adoption center.

Following the ceremony, Grumpy Cat held a private photo session with her fans. Tickets for an up close and personal were reserved long before Saturday. The opportunity to take a photo of Grumpy Cat — or with, for the lucky fans who registered for the photo session in time — drew residents from beyond the Bay Area. … Continue reading »

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Downtown hotel to feature condos, conference center

A 16-story hotel has been proposed on Center Street at Shattuck Avenue.  Image: JRDV Urban International
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The developer of the proposed 16-story hotel on Center Street and Shattuck Avenue in downtown Berkeley has nixed the idea of having office space in the building, but will instead include a conference center and condominiums, along with hotel rooms.

Read more about tall building projects in Berkeley.

Jim Didion of Center Street Partners LLC is also bringing in the Pyramid Hotel Group as a financial backer for the project at 2129 Shattuck Ave., according to a recent press release. Pyramid, which currently runs the Berkeley Marina Hotel (officially known as Doubletree by Hilton Berkeley Marina) and formerly operated the Claremont Hotel, will work with Center Street Partners through the entitlement process and to develop the hotel. Didion will stay on as managing partner, according to the press release. … Continue reading »

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Black Cal students repaint The Big C to reflect African flag

The students from Black Student Union who painted Cal’s “C” the colors of the Pan African flag. Back row: Isis Dillard, Eniola Abioye, Blake Simons.
Front row: Alana Banks, Gabrielle Shuman, Lauren Butler. Photo: Mara Van Ells
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Six UC Berkeley students woke up before dawn to climb into the Berkeley Hills to paint a school symbol red, black and green.

The students, members of the Black Student Union, lugged cans of paint and other supplies up the hill in darkness to paint the formerly golden giant letter C the colors of the Pan African Flag.

The Big C is a large concrete block that was built into a hill overlooking campus in 1908. Since then, it’s become tradition for opposing teams, such as Stanford University, to paint the Cal symbol their own school colors and for Berkeley students to repaint the structure gold. … Continue reading »

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Dollar Tree pulls soda off shelves after soda tax

The Dollar Tree chain pulled sodas and sugary drinks from its shelves following the passage of Measure D in November. Photo: Seung Y. Lee
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Shoppers at the two Dollar Tree stores in Berkeley will no longer find sodas and sugary drinks on their shelves following the passage of the soda tax last November.

In the Dollar Tree discount store on 2440 Shattuck Ave., the refrigerators once full of soda bottles are now stocked with water. The other Dollar Tree store in Berkeley, on 1284 San Pablo Ave., has also removed its sugary drinks.

Dollar Tree — which sells a variety of products for $1 or less and has more than 5,200 stores in North America — decided to pull out sodas in its Berkeley stores when the soda tax went into effect on Jan. 1, according to Randy Guiler, vice president of investor relations. … Continue reading »

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After ordering pizza with stolen card, teen charged with 4 armed robberies in Berkeley

Image: Google maps
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An 18-year-old man arrested in November — after authorities found him by tracking a stolen debit card used to order pizza — has been charged with four armed robberies near the North Berkeley BART station that took place last fall.

Police arrested Berkeley resident Marcell Stargetti along with two juveniles Nov. 24 after an armed robbery at Acton and Delaware streets at about 1 a.m. Police said they located the robbers after they used one of the debit cards they had stolen to order pizza. Officers intercepted the order and pretended to deliver the pizza to make the arrests.

According to court papers, police linked Stargetti to three other armed robberies in the area — on Sept. 13, Sept. 19 and Nov. 23 — using items found during a subsequent search of a home nearby, also in the 1300 block of Delaware Street. Police said they found an unloaded firearm, as well as “various stolen items … in the toilet tank.” Police also reported the discovery of ID cards, credit or debit cards and other suspected stolen items. … Continue reading »

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Photos: Hollywood comes to Berkeley for Steve Jobs movie with Seth Rogen, Kate Winslet, Michael Fassbender

The film set at La Méditerranée on College Avenue Friday night. Photo: Ted Friedman
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The 2900 block of College Avenue in Berkeley’s Elmwood neighborhood was transformed into a mid-1980s scene on Friday night, as director Danny Boyle filmed a scene for a new Steve Jobs biopic at La Méditerranée.

Period cars from the 1980s were parked on the street, and the producers had put out a casting call for men with long hair and facial hair, and women with “natural hair colors” to match the 1980s to 1990s time period.

While scores of curious onlookers hung out on College, sightings of the film’s stars — Michael Fassbender (who plays Steve Jobs), Seth Rogen (Steve Wozniak), Jeff Daniels (John Sculley), and Kate Winslet (Joanna Hoffman), were fleeting, at best. … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 01.23.15

Berkeley murals by William Newton. Photo taken Jan. 16, 2015

Berkeley murals by William Newton. Photo taken Jan. 16, 2015

BART board may ban e-cigarettes at stations (East Bay Citizen)
The high-flying job of fundraising for UC Berkeley (Daily Cal)
West Berkeley asphalt place to face permit re-examination (Daily Cal)
Gov. Brown said “normal” Californians can’t get into UC Berkeley (Inside Higher Ed)

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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Thinking about jaywalking in Berkeley? Think again

Police ticked pedestrians last fall during a pedestrian operation similar to the one planned in Berkeley on Saturday. Photo: Eric Panzer
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Berkeley Police traffic officers will be out for a special enforcement effort Saturday to educate — and potentially ticket — pedestrians who violate traffic laws.

The Berkeley Police Department will be in the downtown area Saturday, Jan. 24, on the lookout for pedestrians who flout signal lights and fail to use crosswalks, along with other safety issues.

A similar operation in Berkeley in September prompted waves of comment on the Berkeleyside Facebook page and on a subsequent story on Berkeleyside itself.

Police said this week that, according to 2013 data, most of the city’s injury collisions with pedestrians involved pedestrians downtown. That year, 24% of all collisions with injuries involved pedestrians, according to a statement released Thursday by the department. … Continue reading »

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

Mobile InTent: Alta California + parts close by
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ALTA CALIFORNIA In October 2014, a group of artists from Oakland, Berlin and Guadalajara began to travel, pushing against walls and borders from the permeable walls of a tent. Departing from the mythical island known as Alta California, they have been mapping geography and possibility for the last three months. The last segment of this body of work will arrive at Berkeley Art Center, as the Mobile Office for Applications for Passport and Visas to a Borderless Country. “On bicycles, towing balloons, wooden appendages, desks and signs, they ask the progressive city of Berkeley to recognize hidden work and dreams while cultivating the borderless imaginary.” Alta California is a project of Ann Schnake/MobileInTent with Victor Figueroa Infante, Marlet Torres Martínez/la compañia de artes vivas Alariete, with creative input from Ursula Maria Berzborn, Theater Grotest Maru and Kunsthaus KuLe, Berlin. Admission free, 3 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 24, Berkeley Art Center, 1275 Walnut St., Berkeley.  … Continue reading »

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Update: Cyclist hurt, 5 elevator rescues in Berkeley power outage caused by PG&E equipment failure

Traffic stopped in all directions before proceeding at the intersection of University Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Way because of a power outage in the area affecting thousands of customers in Berkeley. Photo: David Yee
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Update, 3:30 p.m. PG&E spokeswoman Tamar Sarkissian said Friday afternoon that the company has identified the cause of Tuesday’s power outage as an equipment failure during testing at an East Bay substation.

Sarkissian said she learned Friday that the outage actually originated at a substation in El Cerrito, not in Berkeley as had previously been reported by PG&E. She was not able to provide the exact location of the station.

Sarkissian said the testing had been planned, but that additional details about the nature of the equipment failure are still under investigation. She stressed that PG&E is focused on ensuring that its system is safe and reliable, and said she will release additional information when it is available.

Original story, 1:30 p.m. Tuesday’s widespread power outage in Berkeley and nearby cities kept first responders busy with one accident that sent a cyclist to the hospital, five elevator rescues and a handful of other calls, authorities said. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Haven re-opens, Kingston 11 shines, more

The newly designed interior of Daniel Patterson's Haven. Photo: Alanna Hale
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Openings, closings…

HAVEN REOPENS TONIGHT Haven, in Oakland’s Jack London Square, is reopening with a new concept tonight. The 3-year-old restaurant, part of the Daniel Patterson Group, gave Nosh and other food media a sneak peek last night, showing off its new décor in the form of greenery and glass votives hanging from the ceiling, and a new family-style menu. While previously diners had the option to order a tasting menu from Chef Charlie Parker (and Kim Alter before him), now that’s all they can order. It comes mostly family-style, with the exception of the entrée. … Continue reading »

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