Good showing for Berkeley in city’s third Half Marathon

One of the top five finishers in the Berkeley Half Marathon 2015. Photo: Ted Friedman
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On Sunday, Anna Bretan of Berkeley took first place in the women’s race of the 2015 Berkeley Half Marathon for the third consecutive year. Bretan, whose time was 1:18:34, has also finished first in the San Francisco Marathon for the past three consecutive years.

There was also a Berkeley connection for Oakland resident Sam Robinson, who placed first in the men’s race, with a time of 1:12:22. Robinson is a student at UC Berkeley, finishing his Ph.D. in history.

And Holly McIlvaine, also of of Berkeley, took second place in the women’s half marathon with a time of 1:21:12. (See full results on the Berkeley Half Marathon’s website.)Continue reading »

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Two fires hit West Berkeley and Southside

Firefighters transfer a victim to a gurney during a two-alarm fire on Dwight Way, near Telegraph Avenue. Photo: David Yee
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By Frances Dinkelspiel and Emilie Raguso

Update: Nov. 23, 8:55 a.m. About 30 people were displaced from their apartments Sunday night after a fire ripped through the Chandler apartment complex at 2449 Dwight Way.

The fire was one of two that struck Berkeley within 15 minutes, prompting the Berkeley Fire Department to call in mutual aid from Oakland, Albany, El Cerrito and the Alameda County Fire Department, according to Avery Webb, Berkeley’s interim fire chief.

Both fires went to two alarms – something that Webb said he had never remembered happening before.

“We were stretched pretty thin trying to manage both incidents at the same time,” said Webb. “To have two second-alarm fires at the same time is extremely rare. It’s pretty unusual.” … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 11.20.15

On 7th Street by William Newton. Photo taken Nov. 17, 2015

On 7th Street by William Newton. Photo taken Nov. 17, 2015

Biographer in the Bancroft Library (California)
Sleuthing rare manuscript’s history leads to prestigious award for Carla Shapreau (UCB News)
UC Berkeley’s “Big Give” day in photos (UCB News)
The history and future of North Atlantic Books (North Atlantic)
“Custer’s Trials” by T.J. Stiles (New York Times)
“Nabokov in America,” by Robert Roper (New York Times)
“Disgraced” brings Islamaphobia to the dinner table (Express)

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UC Berkeley

UCPD investigates abduction, sexual assault in Berkeley

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The victim told UCPD she was “abducted from Central Campus and driven to an unknown location where she was sexually assaulted.”

Police found the victim after she was released on the morning of Nov. 20, “and are conducting an investigation.”

Police said no suspect information was provided.

UCPD released the statement at about 1:10 p.m. Friday by email.  … Continue reading »

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Berkeleyside blotter: Crime in Berkeley, Nov. 5-11

Selected calls to the Berkeley Police, via 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 or on Facebook or Twitter; let us know if you prefer anonymity. Don’t assume someone else will alert us — you may be the only one to get in touch. We want to know about issues of concern and rely on readers to help us stay informed.

From Nov. 5-11, there were reports of five robberies20 burglaries10 assaults or batteries, one weapon-involved call and one sexual assault, according to There were also 11 stolen vehicles12 disturbances and 22 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. A robbery, a sex crime and a weapons call were reported by the University of California Police Department (UCPD). 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 unless otherwise noted by the beginning of that time period.

Thursday, Nov. 5

Three vehicles were stolen: at 1:45 a.m. in the 900 block of University Avenue; at 2 a.m. at Sixth and Harrison streets; and at 7 p.m. at Seventh Street. and Allston Way.

There was a disturbance at 7 a.m. in the 1500 block of Bancroft Way.

There were three home burglaries: at 8:45 a.m. in the 2700 block of Regent Street; at 12:15 p.m. in the 1400 block of Ordway Street; and at 1:52 p.m. in the 1200 block of Rose Street.

In the Regent Street incident, police responded at about 9:32 a.m., for a report of a “hot prowl” burglary, which had been interrupted by a resident coming home, said Officer Byron White, a Berkeley Police spokesman. The suspect was described as a black man in his 40s wearing dark clothing, and carrying a television and a guitar. Officers responding to the area noticed a blue sedan driven by a man with a similar description, whose trunk was hanging open, eastbound on Derby Street. The officer tried to pull the man over, but he sped off southbound on College Avenue. One witness told Berkeleyside the driver “drove straight at bus, jumped curb, plowed through yards!” Officers lost sight of the vehicle after Ashby Avenue. The case remains under investigation.

During a large rally and march by Berkeley High students in response to a racist statement found at the library, there were multiple reports of phone thefts downtown, community members told Berkeleyside. The crowd was estimated to include more than 700 students and the event was described as well-organized, focused and peaceful. However, police later confirmed that one Cal student was walking near Shattuck and Allston when an unidentified suspect approached her from behind and stole her iPhone from her hand. The suspect was last seen fleeing down into the BART station, said BPD. A female BHS student also had her phone stolen from her hand by a fellow student, according to a report from a BHS mom who said she heard of “up to 10 phones” stolen on walkout day. BPD Officer Stephanie Polizziani checked the calls for service that day and noticed nothing “out of the ordinary,” she told Berkeleyside. “Looks like no robberies, a few thefts, and a few grand thefts.”

UCPD cited a 43-year-old man for possession of a knife, with a blade longer than 3 inches, in People’s Park at 3:33 p.m.

There was a commercial burglary at 5 p.m. in the 3000 block of Telegraph Avenue.  … Continue reading »

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

Berkeley Half Marathon organizers are expecting 10,000 runners to participate this year. Photo:
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BERKELEY HALF MARATHON The third annual Berkeley Half Marathon is closed in terms of signing up to participate, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take part by cheering on the runners. It takes place Sunday, Nov. 22, and features new race options, challenges and post-race festivities that are open to the public. In addition to the 13.1-mile half marathon, runners there is a half marathon relay (two participants), 10K race or 5K race. A Finish Line Festival that is open to the public will be held following the race at Civic Center Plaza, featuring a Lagunitas beer garden and various local food vendors. And there’s a free bike valet service. The half marathon course starts and ends at Civic Center Park, taking racers through the UC Berkeley campus, the Gourmet Ghetto, Telegraph Avenue and along the scenic Bay Trail. Funds raised through the Berkeley Half Marathon helped the Berkeley Public Schools Fund reach its record $1million fundraising goal last year. For more details, visit … Continue reading »

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Bites: Nick and Aron’s closes, Craft Beer Cellar, more

Photo: Nick and Aron's
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Openings, closings

NICK AND ARON’S IS NO MORE After being open for only seven months, Nick and Aron’s has closed. The Temescal restaurant announced the closure on Facebook, and its last day of service was Nov. 16. Nick and Aron’s was the second restaurant from Aron Ford and Nick Yapor-Cox, who also own Nick’s Pizza on Shattuck Avenue. The full-service restaurant built upon Nick’s pizza menu, serving dishes like wood-roasted chicken and meatballs in addition to Nick’s signature “Oakland-style” pies. Nick and Aron’s also served a killer breakfast and baked goods menu, and will surely be missed by the neighborhood. According to the Facebook post, the restaurant was “no longer able to pay the high costs of running a large operation.” Ford and Yapor-Cox did say that they have “been so welcomed by the neighborhood, and it breaks our hearts to stop service.” Nick’s Pizza will remain open. Nick and Aron’s was at 4316 Telegraph Ave. (at 44th Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook. Nick’s Pizza is at 6211 Shattuck Ave. (at 62nd Street), Oakland. Connect with Nick’s Pizza on Facebook.Continue reading »

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Spinal cord rehabilitation program opens in Berkeley

Ahmed Al-kubaisi works out at the SCI-FIT center. Photo: Hanna Miller
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Berkeley’s SCI-FIT gym isn’t a conventional workout space. Along with the usual exercise balls and aerobic step boards, it boasts a five-part integrative exercise program, including a functional electric stimulation bike that activates nerves connecting the spinal cord to muscles in the body.

The specialized equipment and high-tech approach are designed to help people with spinal cord injuries or neurological disorders stay conditioned — and in some cases relearn movements like walking. The trainers aren’t issuing standard pep talks, either: They literally give clients physical support as they stand or move.

SCI stands for “spinal cord injury,” and FIT is short for “functional integrated therapy,” an intensive specialized program developed to restore lost function. Co-founder Dan Dumas opened the first SCI-FIT facility in Pleasanton in 2007. In July, a satellite campus opened in Berkeley at the Ed Roberts Campus at 3075 Adeline St., a center that brings together a number of disability programs accessible to transit riders near the BART’s Ashby station. … Continue reading »

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Wine, wine everywhere, and not a drop to drink

Tangled Vines
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Mal Warwick, who regularly contributes book reviews to Berkeleyside, calls Frances Dinkelspiel’s ‘Tangled Vines’ “a great read,” and “crammed with fascinating characters.” He gives it five stars. 

☆☆☆☆☆ (five out of five)

In Tangled Vines, journalist Frances Dinkelspiel [co-founder of Berkeleyside] tells the colorful story of California’s wine industry, enriching our understanding of the state’s history — and she makes it read like a thriller.

Tangled Vines recounts the 18th-century origins of the state’s wine industry in the rising demand for sacramental wine for use in the Catholic missions that were the first centers of European settlement in California. For two centuries, Californios (Spanish-speaking settlers) dominated the field until the Gold Rush brought tens of thousands of English-speakers to the state, newcomers who gained the ascendancy through hard work, shrewd investment, as well as fraud and even murder. … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 11.19.15

Moonset over the bridge by David G. Photo taken Nov. 17, 2015

Moonset over the bridge by David G. Photo taken Nov. 17, 2015

‘A murder of crows’: A birds-eye view of a heedless world (UCB News)
Studies: Soda taxes affect prices (CoCo Times)
U.S. attorney charges former Cal employee with embezzling $300K (Daily Cal)
Cal student holds protest against former students she accused of rape (ABC 7)
2 people arrested after pursuit by Contra Costa County deputies (Mercury News)
Berkeley soda tax: What convenience store owners think (Tribune)

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Fred Randolph: Tales from a busy bassist

A bassist for all occasions (photo by Ruby Ray)
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A consummate musician who can be found playing jazz, salsa, samba, rock, fusion and any number of other styles, Fred Randolph is one of the busiest bassists in the Bay Area. The story of how he attained that enviable status is full of unlikely twists, with several instrumental detours along the way.

Though usually employed as a sideman, he’s released several engaging albums under his own name, most recently Song Without Singing (Creative Spirit Records), a project that showcases his rhythmic range and melodically charged compositional vision. Featuring Berkeley-raised trumpeter Erik Jekabson, pianist Matt Clark, saxophonist Sheldon Brown, and drummer Greg Wyser-Pratte, the Fred Randolph Band celebrates the album’s release 8 p.m. Friday Nov. 20 at the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists as part of Jazz in the Neighborhood program (pianist Ian McArdle, a former student of Randolph’s, opens the show). He’s joined by the same exceptional cast at the California Jazz Conservatory on January 15. … Continue reading »

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Recipe: Beautiful, flavorful, versatile cranberry curd

Cranberry Curd (10)
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It’s happening again this year. Beautiful cranberries have emerged at the markets, and they’re calling to me with their signature tartness and never-ending dessert potential. Over time, I’ve repeatedly given into this lure, adding cranberries to numerous recipes and even using holiday cranberry sauce in some of my best-loved cookies. But it didn’t take long before I began craving cranberries in a creamy form — one I could incorporate into an array of desserts and menus.

“Curd” is a rather ugly abbreviation for “custard” — but since it denotes a specific type of custard and is well known for its luscious lemon variety, I’ve adopted it into both my vocabulary and my baking repertoire. I think of curd as, essentially, an indulgent and versatile dessert condiment. … Continue reading »

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New museum gets ready to open in the heart of Berkeley

BAMPFA DSR 15-09 5655
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The staff moved in to their offices in September, planning for its inaugural exhibition is well underway, and construction is almost complete on the new Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA), which is set to open in January 2016.

Anyone who passes through downtown regularly will have, over the past months, had the chance to observe the gradual transformation of the Deco Moderne former UC Berkeley printing plant into a striking structure sporting a gleaming silver roof, a cantilevered section that juts out over what will be the museum’s entrance on Center Street, and a gaping rectangular space on the Addison Street side that will soon be a giant canvas for screening images and films.

Read more about the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

The inside of the new museum offers a mix of large white exhibition spaces, several enticing open-plan areas for public events or where visitors can simply hang out, and stairwells and a womb-like café painted a deep shade of chili red. The new building is 20% smaller than it predecessor, the Mario Ciampi-designed concrete structure on Bancroft Way, but it has more usable space. The new building totals 83,000 square feet, with 25,000 square feet of gallery space. The $112 million project was funded through a philanthropic capital campaign and private sources.

Aside from some difficulties with the installation of the distinctive stainless-steel roof (see below), there have been no significant delays on the museum’s timeline, according to the museum’s owners, UC Berkeley. … Continue reading »

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