Tag Archives: Downtown Berkeley

Fire at Giovanni’s restaurant causes $100K damage

Firefighters use a ladder to access the roof of Giovanni's restaurant at 2420 Shattuck Ave. today after a fire broke out around 6 a.m. Photo: Tracey Taylor
Print Friendly

A fire that broke out early this morning at Giovanni’s restaurant in downtown Berkeley caused an estimated $100,000 worth of damage, according to Berkeley Fire Department’s Deputy Chief Avery Webb.

The fire department had to open up walls, as well as the roof of the building at 2420 Shattuck Ave., as the fire was concentrated in concealed spaces, Webb said.

The southbound section of Shattuck Avenue between Channing and Haste was closed for about one and a half hours while the first-alarm fire was being tackled. … Continue reading »

Tagged , ,

Woman charged after setting toilet paper rolls on fire

Berkeley City Hall. Photo: Google Maps
Print Friendly

A woman who lit two toilet paper rolls on fire at Berkeley’s City Hall while a man in a wheelchair was using the restroom has been charged with a misdemeanor by the Alameda County district attorney’s office.

Dawn Carraway, 25 — who has no listed home address — told police she did it because “after she lights the paper on fire, it smells like honey,” according to court papers.

Berkeley Police Officer David Marble wrote that Carraway entered a women’s bathroom at City Hall, 2180 Milvia St., last Wednesday, April 15, at 9:35 a.m. while another person was using the restroom.

She then lit the toilet paper rolls on fire, according to police. A man in a wheelchair was in the adjacent disabled stall while she did so, according to police. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , ,

Ambitious and dramatic: ‘Head of Passes’ at Berkeley Rep

l to r) Cheryl Lynn Bruce (Shelah) and Michael A. Shepperd (Creaker) perform in Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Head of Passes, a poignant and poetic new play about the journey of family and faith, trial and tribulation at Berkeley Rep.

Photo courtesy of kevinberne.com
Print Friendly

We often wonder why tragedies occur, particularly when they affect good people. It’s a question as old as the story of Job or Jesus’s cry, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” In Head of Passes, playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney, a 2013 MacArthur “genius” grantee, presents us with the deeply religious widow Shelah, who, when faced with personal tragedy, prays, pleads, and confronts her God with a biblical fervor worthy of Job.

Shelah (great performance by Cheryl Lynn Bruce) lives in a remote marshy area of Louisiana where the Mississippi River divides and meets the Gulf of Mexico, known as the Head of Passes. Before the play begins, we see a man (Sullivan Jones) in a tuxedo sitting on the stage. From the cast list, we glean that he may be the Angel. He didn’t add much to the drama, except perhaps a misplaced sense of the supernatural. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , ,

Berkeley police report first pepper spray use of 2015

Image: Google maps
Print Friendly

A Berkeley Police officer used pepper spray to subdue a naked man covered with blood who wielded a glass shard and charged a firefighter in late March, according to a document posted on the city website Friday.

Police must complete a brief form — which is made public — any time officers use pepper spray, as directed by a Berkeley City Council vote in 1997 (which also prohibited the use of pepper spray as a crowd control technique). The Berkeley Police Department is supposed to inform council and the city’s Police Review Commission about the use of pepper spray within seven days.

Under the department’s regulations governing use of force, “reasonable force” may be used to make an arrest, prevent an escape, overcome resistance or maintain order. Anytime pepper spray is used, officers must complete a form summarizing its use, and pass that form on to the division commander, who ultimately turns it over to the chief of police.

According to the April 15 report, a man pulled a fire alarm March 28 on Haste Street at 11:19 a.m. He also discharged a fire extinguisher, pulled a main water valve, emptied water from the sprinklers and broke out a 4-foot-by-3-foot window on the fourth floor of the building, according to the recent report. The man charged a firefighter responding to the scene, and the firefighter called for back-up. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , ,

Bites: The Libertine to open, BUILD Pizzeria closed

The Libertine bar is replacing Kingman's Lucky Lounge on Grand Avenue. Photo: The Libertine
Print Friendly

Openings, closings…

THE LIBERTINE BAR HEADED TO GRAND LAKE A new bar, The Libertine, is set to take the place of Kingman’s Lucky Lounge at 3332 Grand Ave. New owner Aric Yeverino purchased the bar earlier this year, but Kingman’s continued operating until April 12. As of this week, Yeverino has taken down the Lucky sign and begun renovations to change bring the bar up to code. He has posted images on his Instagram feed indicating that the new liquor license is active, so the switch should be fairly speedy. Yeverino is also the owner of the popular Hayward dive bar The Dirty Bird. The Libertine will be at 3332 Grand Ave. (near Mandana Boulevard), Oakland. Connect with the bar on Facebook.Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Berkeley looks at public art fee for private developers

Caption here
Print Friendly

The city of Berkeley is crafting a new law to require private developers of many buildings to spend 1% of their construction costs on public art.

Under a recommendation put forth by Mayor Tom Bates and approved in concept by the Berkeley City Council at its March 17 meeting, the “private percent for public art” legislation would apply to all new commercial and industrial buildings, and residential buildings with at least five units, except for projects in downtown Berkeley. The one-time fee would pay for publicly accessible art on-site, or the developer could instead pay into a new city pot for public art.

At the same meeting, council expanded the city’s definition of art to include installations, performance and social practice works, and other types of original displays. Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Imm Thai a welcome addition to University Avenue

Duck Noodle Soup from Imm Thai. Photo: Kate Williams
Print Friendly

It’s all about the fish sauce.

The fermented, salty sauce seems almost ubiquitous now, but it wasn’t so long ago that one had to hunt through the aisles of Asian supermarkets to find a bottle. Ocean-rich umami and unapologetically funky, it is today the secret ingredient, not only in Southeast Asian cuisine, but in trendy restaurant dishes and blogger recipes alike.

There are several Thai and Southeast Asian restaurants across the Bay embracing the call of fish sauce funk, but these restaurants typically fall into two camps: trendy chef-focused spots looking for their next James Beard Award or a nondescript restaurant with two menus, one for Americans and one for Thais. You likely can’t bring your great aunt Mildred to either one.

These restaurants stand in distinct contrast to those generic, take-out-centric joints that populate student-heavy areas like Downtown Berkeley and serve overly sweet bowls of curry without a whiff of fermented fish. There hasn’t, until recently, been a restaurant that successfully bridges the gap between the funky and the generic. Enter Imm Thai. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Judge dismisses Berkeley’s bid to stop sale of post office

Tents on the front of the building were not being taken down at lunchtime on Thursday. Photo: Lance Knobel
Print Friendly

A U.S. Federal Court judge on April 14 dismissed the city of Berkeley’s lawsuit to stop the sale and relocation of the city’s main post office on Allston Way. However, from the city’s perspective the news is not all bad.

In deciding that the city’s case was moot, Judge William Alsup ruled that the United States Postal Service “had to formally rescind its decision to relocate the post office from 2000 Allston Way,” according to a summary prepared by Berkeley city attorneys.

That means, for now, the Main Post Office is not officially for sale. … Continue reading »

Tagged , ,

Over 300 authors sign up for first Bay Area Book Festival

Photo: Paulo Slachevsky
Print Friendly

The Bay Area Book Festival, a free weekend, walkable book festival to be held in Berkeley, is on schedule to launch the weekend of June 6-7. More than 300 authors have signed up to participate in around 100 sessions, and the center of the city will be alive with an estimated 125 exhibitors, from independent bookstores to literary magazines, nonprofits, and writing programs.

The festival, which hopes to attract an estimated 100,000 people to the downtown over one weekend, will be spread over a 14-block area and venues for talks include the Freight & Salvage, the Marsh Theatre, the Brower Center, the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art & Life, the Berkeley Public Library, the Berkeley Shambhala Center, and the East Bay Media Center.

Sponsors, exhibitors and authors continue to sign up, according to founder and executive director, Cherilyn Parsons, who said there is about $100,000 left to raise. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , ,

5 arrested in Berkeley after 15-20 youth fights downtown

Berkeley High police cruiser. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Print Friendly

Update, April 13, 5 p.m. Regarding the students who were arrested Friday, the Berkeley Police Department has provided the following basic information:

  • A 16-year-old female was arrested on suspicion of participating in a riot, as well as battery on a peace officer or other sort of officer or first responder.
  • A 16-year-old male was arrested on suspicion of probation violation.
  • Two 17-year-old males were arrested on suspicion of battery.
  • An 18-year-old male was arrested on suspicion of battery, as well as either fighting in a public place or challenging another person to a fight in public. (Police identified him April 15 as Deantae Williams.)

Four of the students are listed as Berkeley residents. The 18-year-old lives in Richmond, according to Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats. Berkeley High Principal Kristen Glenchur identified all five of the youth on Friday as Berkeley Unified students: three Berkeley High students and two Berkeley Technology Academy students. She said the students also would “face additional school discipline.” … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Prayers, songs and lie-in during faith group protest against proposed Berkeley homeless laws

Protesters from various faith groups join hands at the start of the protest against proposed new laws on street behavior. Photo: Ted Friedman
Print Friendly

An estimated 60 members of faith groups gathered at the Downtown Berkeley BART Plaza Thursday night to protest proposed new laws that they claimed would “criminalize the homeless.” Prayers and speeches were followed by a small number of the protesters lying down to spend the night sleeping in the plaza.

“Jesus probably would be criminalized by these law if he lived in the City of Berkeley,” said Pastor Michael McBride, founder of The Way Christian Center, who gave the opening prayer at the protest. “The era of criminalizing people need to end. We’re still using old tactics to deal with modern problems.”  … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , ,
Crime

Berkeley man charged with rape of sleeping woman

Image via Facebook
Print Friendly

A woman whose car got locked inside a Berkeley parking garage, and accepted an offer of a place to sleep from a man she knew, woke up in the morning to find him raping her, according to police.

The incident took place Wednesday, April 8, according to court papers requested by Berkeleyside after learning of the man’s arrest.

According to those documents, just after midnight April 8, a woman realized her car had been locked inside a Berkeley parking garage.

A 22-year-old man described as an acquaintance, William Joseph Ryan III, offered to let her sleep at his apartment until the garage opened.

The woman accepted the offer and they went to Ryan’s apartment in the 1900 block of Oxford Street, Berkeley Police Officer Dave Marble wrote in papers related to Ryan’s subsequent arrest. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , ,

Faith groups to sleep on street to support city’s homeless

BART and the city of Berkeley plan to overall the downtown Berkeley plaza. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Print Friendly

A group representing more than 40 Berkeley religious congregations will gather tonight to show its support for the city’s homeless population in the wake of proposed new laws that they say would criminalize the homeless, as well as an incident, caught on video, in which a downtown “ambassador”  assaulted a homeless man last month.

Some participants plan to sleep overnight on BART Plaza alongside homeless people. The “Interfaith Actions in Solidarity with Homeless People” protest includes the blessing of a meal and an interfaith service. The event starts at 5 p.m. at BART Plaza at the intersection of Shattuck Avenue and Center Street.

“We are deeply concerned at the way the city is handling the homeless,” said Sally Hindman, Executive Director of Youth Spirit Artworks, a Quaker, and one of the organizers of the protest. “This is not in the spirit of [Berkeley’s] traditions. We are one of the richest countries in the world and it’s appalling that we have dozens of people sleeping in doorways.” … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,