Tag Archives: Berkeley Hills

Large truck overturns in Berkeley Hills; driver extricated

A truck overturned Thursday on Glendale in Berkeley. Photo: Courtesy of Battalion Chief Paul Cavagnaro
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A large truck hauling sand in the North Berkeley Hills overturned Thursday afternoon, and bystanders had to extricate the driver, who was taken to the hospital, authorities said.

Deputy Fire Chief Donna McCracken said the truck had been hauling sand while driving down Glendale Avenue when it “lost its brakes” around 1:30 p.m.

In an emergency maneuver, the driver steered up onto a private driveway at La Loma Avenue to stop the vehicle.

McCracken said the truck struck a parked car and retaining wall, causing damage, before it rolled onto its side.  … Continue reading »

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Berkeley city worker dies in garbage truck accident

Johnny Tolliver, who worked for Berkeley's Zero Waste division, died Monday after he was hit by a city garbage truck. Photo: Tolliver family
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[Note: The family of Johnny Tolliver Sr. has released a statement about his death. Scroll to the bottom of this story to read it, along with additional updates.]

The city of Berkeley worker who was pinned by a garbage truck in the Berkeley Hills on Monday has died of his injuries.

Johnny Tolliver Sr., who had worked for Berkeley for 25 years, died Monday, according to Matthai Chakko, a city spokesman. He was 52.

“This is obviously an incredibly sad day for the staff involved and the city as a whole,” said Chakko. “We want to be a support to his family and his co-workers.”

Berkeley has lowered its flags to half-staff in Tolliver’s honor, he said.

Tolliver’s death while on duty may be the first for a city worker who is not a police officer or firefighter, or at least the first in a long, long time, said Chakko. … Continue reading »

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City worker sent to hospital after garbage truck accident

Preliminary reports indicate that a Berkeley garbage truck was involved in a traffic incident Monday. Image: Google Maps
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Update, Jan. 12, 11 a.m. The worker, identified as Johnny Tolliver, has died. Tolliver, who had worked for Berkeley for 25 years. The city lowered its flags to half-staff in his honor Tuesday. Read more on Berkeleyside.

Original story, 2:43 p.m. A city worker was taken to the hospital after a municipal garbage truck may have pinned him against a tree in the Berkeley Hills on Monday afternoon when its brakes went out, according to preliminary reports.

City spokesman Matthai Chakko said Monday at about 2 p.m. that the incident remains under investigation, and that he could only confirm that a worker was taken to the hospital. Chakko was not able to provide any additional details.

Berkeleyside reviewed scanner audio recordings to find out more. The information that follows is unconfirmed. This story will be updated if the city provides additional information.

The Berkeley Fire Department was dispatched early Monday afternoon to 90 Parnassus Road for a report of an individual who was initially pinned in place by what was later determined to be a city of Berkeley garbage truck.  … Continue reading »

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Opinionator

Op-ed: The Sierra Club’s eucalyptus management policy is the right approach for East Bay Hills

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Eucalyptus trees are magnificent and picturesque, but they are inherently dangerous and invasive, depriving native plants of the chance to thrive wherever they grow.

In some cases, exotic plants can co-exist with natives, but, in the case of blue gum eucalyptus, this is not the case. The species has evolved in the extraordinarily harsh, dry climate of Australia to grow and spread quickly to then be burned to ashes in catastrophic wildfires.

According to Jared Farmer, in his recent book … Continue reading »

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In Berkeley, protesters get naked to try to save trees

Protesters get naked in the eucalyptus grove at the Grinnell Natural Area of UC Berkeley on Saturday July 18, 2015 to show opposition to tree cutting proposal. Photo: Ted Friedman
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An estimated 50-75 people took part in a staged protest today at a eucalyptus grove on the UC Berkeley campus, many of them stripping naked in doing so, to make clear their opposition to a proposed FEMA-funded tree-clearing program in the East Bay hills.

The event was orchestrated by the Tree Spirit Project whose mission is “to raise awareness of the critical role trees play in our lives, both globally and personally.” Jack Gescheidt, who founded the project, does this partly by taking fine-art photographs of people, often naked, communing with trees and nature.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency in March allocated $5.7 million to the California Office of Emergency Services to remove eucalyptus trees as part of fire hazard abatement in Claremont Canyon — scene of a devastating wildfire in 1991 — and other nearby areas, such as Tilden Park and Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve. The funds will be distributed to UC Berkeley, the city of Oakland, and the East Bay Regional Parks District (EBRPD). … Continue reading »

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Hills group sues FEMA over plan to cut down trees

Thousands of the Berkeley hills eucalyptus trees may be removed with funding from FEMA. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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A neighborhood group has sued the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) following its decision to fund fire mitigation efforts in the East Bay hills.

Earlier this month, FEMA announced its decision to grant $5.67 million to the California Office of Emergency Services, which will distribute the funds to UC Berkeley, the city of Oakland, and the East Bay Regional Parks District (EBRPD) to remove tens of thousands of eucalyptus trees in the fire-prone hills. Immediately after, the Hills Conservation Network (HCN) filed a lawsuit against FEMA in federal court.

The HCN, a small group whose members live in Claremont Canyon, one of the areas covered by the grants, objects to the plan to “clearcut” the hills’ eucalyptus trees. … Continue reading »

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State court hears Mitch Kapor Berkeley home case

New-pic-of-Kapor-house
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The long-running saga of philanthropist and Lotus founder Mitch Kapor’s attempt to build a new home in North Berkeley landed at the California Supreme Court in Los Angeles on Tuesday this week.

At the Dec. 2 hearing, the Court heard arguments on whether the rules that exempt most proposed single-family homes from undergoing an environmental impact report (EIR) should apply to the proposal by Kapor, and his wife Freada Kapor Klein, to build a new home with a 10-car garage at 2707 Rose St.

According to Bob Egelko, the Chronicle’s courts reporter, at the one-hour hearing Susan Brandt-Hawley, a lawyer for the Berkeley Hillside Preservation group, re-iterated arguments that have been presented to Berkeley’s Zoning Adjustments Board (which originally approved the project in January 2010), and the Alameda County Superior Court, which subsequently denied an appeal on the case.

Brandt-Hawley said that building a “huge home” in a “landslide zone,” which will also require extensive work to widen the roadway, should amount to unusual circumstances requiring environmental review. She cited testimony by the group’s expert witness, engineer Lawrence Karp. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Alleged Berkeley Hills robber headed to court

Image: Google Maps
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A felon authorities say is responsible for the armed robbery of a 77-year-old woman in her North Berkeley Hills home in March is headed to court next week to face two felony charges.

According to the Alameda County district attorney’s office, Johnathan Troy Lee robbed the woman March 24. The 22-year-old is facing first-degree residential robbery and burglary charges.

According to the Berkeley Police Department, Lee and another male entered the woman’s house, in the 1100 block of Park Hills Road shortly after 2 p.m. They were able to get inside through the home’s front door, which was unlocked. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeley Hills ‘suspicious package’ rendered safe

Image: Google Maps
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Authorities shut down roads and evacuated some residents in the area of the 100 block of Tunnel Road on Wednesday afternoon after a report of a suspicious package.

Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats said “some homes” were evacuated and the department’s bomb squad was called in to investigate.

A resident told Berkeleyside that her family was told to evacuate at 3 p.m. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Police arrest mother, daughter after Berkeley Hills burglary

Police arrested two women after a burglary on Forest Lane earlier this month. Image: CrimeMapping.com
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Berkeley police arrested two El Sobrante women identified as mother and daughter after a burglary in the 200 block of Forest Lane in early October. One of the women is scheduled to appear in court today, Friday, Nov. 1.

The arrest was detailed in the latest Berkeley Police Department newsletter, which was released in late October.

On Oct. 7, officers responded to Forest Lane in the Berkeley Hills after a neighbor reported seeing a suspicious woman going into her neighbor’s home. She told police she thought it was suspicious, in part, because she knew her neighbor and did not recognize the woman.

“When the resident saw the woman carrying a bunch of items out of the house, she knew something was not right and called BPD,” wrote police in the newsletter. … Continue reading »

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News

Berkeley Hills residents may get new AT&T cell antennas

An AT&T flier from early this year on the 862 Regal Road proposal; more recent information about how this antenna might look was not available this week. This and other applications are still in negotiations. (Click the image to see the full flier and description.)
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By Kate Darby Rauch and Emilie Raguso

A handful of neighbors on Regal Road want it. A bunch more on Grizzly Peak Boulevard don’t.

So read two differing Change.org petitions on AT&T proposals to build new cell antennas on power poles in the Berkeley Hills.

Applications for 12 AT&T cell nodes are winding their way through the city’s permitting process, with no final decisions yet. (See the map below for the proposed site locations and applications.)

All the proposed sites are on existing power lines, intended for what’s called a Distributed Antenna System (DAS), which uses more, smaller antennas to cover an area, rather than one larger, macro tower.

“A DAS also allows for more widespread coverage because several sites can be deployed to more effectively cover an area of varied topography and elevation. That makes it a good match for hilly areas,” said Alex Krasov, AT&T public affairs manager. … Continue reading »

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Police investigate homicide on Grizzly Peak Boulevard

Police are investigating a homicide on Grizzly Peak Boulevard early this morning. A reader shared this photograph, just above the kids train area, and said cars are not being allowed to pass. Photo: A citizen reporter
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Update, 6:10 p.m. Lt. Alex Yao of the University of California Police Department said Grizzly Peak Boulevard has been re-opened to traffic. The victim has been identified as an adult male who was not affiliated with UC Berkeley. The Alameda County coroner’s office said information about the victim’s identity would need to come from police. Further details were not available Sunday night.

Original post, 2:53 p.m. Police are investigating the death of one person who was reportedly shot early Sunday morning on Grizzly Peak Boulevard between Centennial Drive and South Park Drive.

Earlier Sunday, the road was closed to through traffic as police continued their investigation and, as of about 2:40 p.m. it remained closed, police said. … Continue reading »

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Firefighters put out cottage blaze after reports of smoke

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A fire in an in-law unit in the Berkeley hills this week resulted in about $30,000 worth of damage, and its cause remains under investigation, authorities said Wednesday.

Multiple neighbors near Poppy Lane and Hilldale Avenue called to report an odor of smoke just after midnight Wednesday, said Interim Deputy Fire Chief Avery Webb of the Berkeley Fire Department.

Firefighters were on the scene in less than 10 minutes, but it took some time to locate and then reach the fire.

“Callers reported a strong smell of smoke; they didn’t have an immediate location,” said Webb. … Continue reading »

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