Tag Archives: East Bay Regional Park District

Police

Man commits suicide in Little Farm parking lot

Tilden Little Farm - Mary Flaherty
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A man in his late 60s killed himself in the Tilden Little Farm parking lot on Friday afternoon after leaving a note about his intentions in his El Cerrito home.

East Bay Regional Park District spokeswoman Carolyn Jones said the man, who was born in 1948, appears to have shot himself as he sat in his Subaru station wagon in the parking lot around 2:15 p.m.

Jones said no one heard the gunshot, but that a family reported the incident at 2:30 p.m. after seeing the man, who appeared to be deceased, in his vehicle.

The man was lying in the front seat, with the seat reclined, and had received a single gunshot wound to the head. The gun was found on his chest when authorities responded.

Jones said the man had been reported missing out of El Cerrito. Authorities found a suicide note at his home during the investigation.

The Berkeley Fire Department declared the man dead at 3:10 p.m. … 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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Crime

Police investigate suspicious death of Berkeley woman

Foxtails at Pt Isabel. Photo- Kathy
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The death of a Berkeley woman whose body was found floating in the water near a Richmond park last week is now believed to be suspicious, and police are investigating.

A park user at the Point Isabel Regional Shoreline found the body of Katherine Gravett at about 12:35 p.m. Thursday, July 2, said Carolyn Jones, East Bay Regional Park District spokeswoman.

Gravett’s body was found in a rocky area of the water behind an East Bay Municipal Utility District treatment plant at the park.

The 30-year-old was identified Wednesday as a transient from Berkeley who was originally from Fremont.

An autopsy was performed Sunday by the Contra Costa County coroner’s office.

Jones said the coroner found no water in Gravett’s lungs. There was, however, trauma to her head and marks on her neck. … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Christmas Fantasy at Tilden Park is less spectacular, but 103-merry go round is in better shape

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“They ruined Christmas!” starts Mike K. of Berkeley’s Yelp review of Tilden Regional Park Merry-Go-Round posted on Dec. 11.

That is how I was feeling when my children and I headed up to see Christmas Fantasy this weekend. While my daughter warned me that her friends were whispering on the playground at school that it was “lame” this year, I couldn’t forgo tradition. It was not the same, but it also not the same owners.

For the past decade, hundreds … Continue reading »

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Crime

Police search South Berkeley after Seabreeze homicide

A search warrant operation in South Berkeley woke many residents early Thursday. Photo: A citizen reporter
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Authorities conducted a warrant search in South Berkeley early Thursday that was connected to a fatal shooting last week at the Seabreeze Market.

The Berkeley Police Department put out a notice Thursday evening about the operation after receiving “several inquiries” from community members about the disturbance.

According to the statement, the operation — which had been organized and carried out by the East Bay Regional Park District Police Department — took place in the 1500 block of Harmon Street early Thursday morning.

The Seabreeze is in Berkeley but is located within Park District boundaries near University Avenue and Interstate 80, en route to the Berkeley marina. Last week’s fatal shooting took place Tuesday, Oct. 28 shortly before 8 p.m.

According to a local resident who asked to remain anonymous due to safety concerns, Thursday’s operation began shortly before 5 a.m.

“It started with 4 flash bangs in succession … then a slight pause, then one more flash bang,” he wrote, adding that he was “woken up by the noise.” (A video of those flash bangs follows.) … Continue reading »

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Crime

Man killed near Seabreeze market in West Berkeley

The killing took place in the parking lot of Seabreeze Market
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Update: Oct. 31: East Bay Regional Park District police identified the man shot and killed Tuesday night as 21-year-old Damarco J. Thomas of Stockton.

Investigators are looking for information on cars that might have been on the scene of the Tuesday shooting, according to a press release. They want information on a white Ford or Chevy style pick-up truck, extended cab, possibly a side step model. Investigators are also looking for a man spotted in the vicinity, described as a heavyset black male in his late 20s to early 30s.

Update Oct. 30: Sgt. Tyrone Davis of the EBRPD police said that video taken at the scene indicated the victim knew his assailants. “It appeared based on the interaction that prior to the event they knew each other.” Davis said it looked like there were three people at the scene at the time of the shooting. The victim was shot multiple times. Police have not yet released his name.

Original story: A man in his 20s was shot and killed Tuesday night in the parking lot of a market near the Berkeley Marina, according to East Bay Regional Park District police.

Berkeley police received a call around 8 p.m, that there had been some sort of disturbance at the Seabreeze Market, which is located at the corner of University Avenue and West Frontage Road. They arrived to find a man, whose identity was not released, lying on the ground. EBRPD police arrived as well. … Continue reading »

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

Tilden lake
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FREE PARK LIFE The East Bay Regional Park District is celebrating its 80th birthday by offering “free third Fridays” in its parks, including Tilden. From April to December, fees will be waived for a variety of park services, every third Friday of each month, which includes Friday, Aug. 15. On those days, you get free parking, free boat launching (note, boat launchers still have to pay for the required invasive mussel inspection); free entry for horses and dogs, free swimming, free fishing permits (anglers still have to possess a California state fishing license, for which there’s a fee. And there will still be fees for camping and for group picnic reservations); and there’s free entry to Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont (normally $2-$6). The Park District says Free Fridays are its way of thanking the public for eighty years of support. “A grass-roots movement provided the political momentum for establishment of the district back in 1934, and public support has been key to the district’s successes ever since.” … Continue reading »

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Tilden Little Farm, merry-go-round re-open to public

Cow Barn at Tilden's Little Farm which has reopened to the public after 10 months. Photo: EBRPD
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Nearly 10 months after it closed in order for necessary sewer work to be done, Tilden’s much-loved Little Farm has reopened to the public. The park’s vintage merry-go-round is also spinning again, after being taken over by new management.

The timeline for the sewer construction project was originally five months, but the scope of the work became increasingly large, said David Zuckermann, Supervising Naturalist at East Bay Regional Parks District.

“We originally thought we would be reopening in February,” he said. “But then we had to keep extending that month by month.”

Zuckermann said that it was only when crews began trenching the area that the scale of the job became apparent. “The sewer system is as old as the park, and Tilden, which is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year, is one of the three original East Bay parks,” he said. (The other two are Sibley and Lake Temescal.)

During the work, several areas other than the farm were also closed, including Indian Camp parking lot, picnic area, play structure and restroom, and the Big Leaf picnic area and restroom. … Continue reading »

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East Bay at high risk of wildfires: Preventive measures key

Angel Island wildfire. Photo: Chris Wage
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Allen Benitez, Chief of Protective Services at Berkeley Lab admits he’s nervous.

“With the drought this summer, there is an extraordinarily high risk of fire in the hills,” he said.

The Lab’s location in the Berkeley foothills, surrounded by trees and vegetation, makes the task of keeping that risk as low as possible daunting. The fact that there are 5,000 to 7,000 people on the campus at any one time, and that an evacuation would entail moving all of them off a fenced property through just one gate, puts the lab — as Benitez terms it — in “a tough spot.”

Benitez will be one of several fire experts speaking at a Fire Forum for the community on Monday June 2 at 7:30 p.m. at Berkeley’s Northbrae Church. He will be joined by, among others, Berkeley Fire Department Chief Gil Dong; Robert Chew, Cal Fire’s assistant chief of East Bay operations; Sal Genito, associate director of Grounds and Environmental Services at UC Berkeley; and Brad Gallup from the East Bay Regional Parks District. … Continue reading »

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Body of man found off Grizzly Peak Boulevard

Look out at Signpost 15 on Grizzly Peak Boulevard
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Update 11 a.m.: The Alameda County coroner’s office has identified the man as Lorenzo Baltazar-Trujillo, 22, of Concord.

Original story: UC Berkeley police are investigating the death of a man who may have fallen to his death Sunday while admiring a view of San Francisco Bay from Grizzly Peak Boulevard.

A hiker spotted the man’s body around 2:26 p.m. and called the police, according to Sgt. Rick Florendo of the UC Berkeley Police Department. The Oakland Fire Department pronounced the man dead at the scene.

The victim many have fallen 100 feet from a rocky outcropping that looks out at a view of San Francisco Bay. Police had put yellow police tape Sunday evening around a white car that was parked near the scene at Signpost 15 on Grizzly Peak Blvd. … Continue reading »

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After 21 years, Tilden merry-go-round to get new operator

Tilden-Merry-Go-Round
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Tilden Park’s cherished antique merry-go-round will continue spinning — but possibly in a different direction.

For the first time in 21 years, the East Bay Regional Parks District could, at its March 18 board meeting, approve new management and operation of the Tilden merry-go-round. This could spell the end of the merry-go-round’s Christmas Fantasy tradition, a month-long holiday extravaganza the current operators began 16 years ago.

Terri Oyarzùn and her family have managed and operated the 103-year-old carousel and its crew of colorful wooden animals since the previous operators retired in 1993. When her second 10-year contract expired last year, and EBRPD put the merry-go-round out to bid, Oyarzùn was among three potential operators who submitted proposals, but hers was not ultimately selected. … Continue reading »

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Dog walkers clash with park district over ‘newt road’

SPD2
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Dog walkers who use South Park Drive in Tilden Park for the five months a year when it is closed to cars say recently erected signs that instruct them to keep their dogs on leash contradict a law drafted by the park district 13 years ago. They want the signs taken down and argue that the cyclists who use the stretch of road when it is free of cars constitute a bigger threat to the newts the road’s closure is intended to protect than dogs, whether on- or off-leash.

“There is no legal support for their action. They have acted in excess of their jurisdiction,” said attorney Rena Rickles speaking about the East Bay Regional Park District’s decision to put up the signs in November. Rickles is working pro bono for a group of disgruntled dog walkers more than 50 of whom took their concerns to an EBRPD board meeting on Thursday Dec. 19. … Continue reading »

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Little Farm, Tilden Park areas to close for 5 months

Tilden-camp-1-1024x768
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Update, April 18: EBRPD tells us there have been further delays and the expected re-opening of the Little Farm is end of May. Visit their website for updates.

Update, March 24, 2014: The Little Farm is still closed due to a sewer construction project. The projected timeline was five months, but there have been delays, we are told by East Bay Regional Park District. Also still closed are the Big Leaf picnic area and restroom, and the Indian Camp parking lot, picnic areas, and restroom. Completion is estimated for April 2014. EBRPD advises people to visit their website for updates on this and any other park and trail closures.

Original story: Major sewer construction work that is set to begin next month will see the Little Farm, nearby picnic areas and a playground closed to the public between Oct. 1, 2013 and Feb. 28, 2014.

The work aims to improve safety and efficiency in the maintenance and operation of the Tilden Nature Area, according to the park which posted a news alert on its website.

For the five months that work is under way, the following areas will be closed: Tilden Little Farm; Indian Camp parking lot, picnic areas, play structure, and restroom (pedestrians will have access through the Indian Camp parking lot); and Big Leaf picnic area and restroom. The Environmental Education Center (EEC) is expected to remain open to walk-in visitors Tuesdays through Sundays, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and interpretive programs will continue during this period. … Continue reading »

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