Tag Archives: King Middle School

Religious group with cameras targets school kids

Bible van photo Jolie Gobler
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When Jolie Gobler, an eighth-grader at King Middle School in Berkeley, left school at the end of the day Wednesday last week she was surprised to see people right outside campus assertively passing out religious pamphlets to students, titled “Our Savior Jesus Christ.”

They were working from a van, parked on Grant Street by the school. Messages painted on the van read: “Seek the Lord Jesus” and “Holy Bible” in English and Spanish.

Gobler was also a little irked. She wrote Berkeleyside: “They were shoving (the pamphlets) in to students’ hands. I asked one of them what they were doing at a public school preaching about religion. They replied they were informing students about Jesus and said that if we believe in “our savior” we would be forgiven for our sins.”

Eventually, Gobler said, a vice principal came out and talked to the apparent missionaries, a response she felt was slow. “It would be great to find out… what the school administration will be doing to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again,” Gobler wrote.

Not much.

This is because passing out religious material outside a school is perfectly legal, as long as the activity isn’t on school property, said Mark Coplan, Berkeley Unified School District spokesman. … Continue reading »

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One of Berkeley’s largest trees to be cut down

Euc1 Nancy Rubin
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A giant Eucalyptus tree that presides over the swimming pool at King Middle School needs to be felled due to safety concerns, according to City of Berkeley tree experts.

The tree, which sports not one, but four massive trunks, and soars to an estimated 140 ft, is much loved by regulars at the pool, and news that it will be removed has come as a blow to many.

“There’s no outrage in this story, just sadness and admiration for a truly majestic tree that has reached its end,” said local resident Robert Collier. … Continue reading »

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Janet Napolitano launches UC food initiative in Berkeley

Alice Waters and Janet Napolitano. Photo- University of California
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UC President Janet Napolitano visited Berkeley’s Edible Schoolyard on Tuesday to launch a new initiative which aims to pull together the resources of ten UC campuses to address, and hopefully find solutions to, issues of food security, health and sustainability internationally.

The UC Global Food Initiative was conceived following a meeting held earlier this year between Napolitano and UC campus chancellors at which they agreed to work collectively to support healthy eating on the international stage. But their efforts will start at home. The project will identify best practices and share them widely within the UC system.

Yesterday morning, Napolitano was shown around the Edible Schoolyard garden at King Middle School by its founder, Chez Panisse owner Alice Waters, who is one of the members of the university’s Food Initiative Working Group. Other members of the group who attended the launch included UC Santa Cruz Professor Daniel Press, executive director of the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems at that campus, and Ann Thrupp, executive director of the Berkeley Food Institute at UC Berkeley.Continue reading »

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Despite theft, ‘best ever’ Edible Schoolyard Plant Sale

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The Edible Schoolyard Plant Sale at King Middle School on Saturday May 10 was probably the best ever in terms of raising funds for the nonprofit, according to its director, Katrina Heron.

The annual event, one of Berkeley’s favorites on the community calendar, offered a chance to stock up on herbs, perennials and flowers, enjoy oven-fired pizza, pick up some gardening advice, and take student-guided tours of the garden.

Organizers were disappointed when they showed up early on Saturday, however, to find that some plants and compost had been stolen from the garden, and some of its sunflowers had been beheaded. Fortunately, Heron said, it wasn’t a significant amount and the sale went on to be hugely successful. The tally had yet to be done at the time of writing.

Contributing photographer Nancy Rubin was there to document the day. … Continue reading »

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Construction company fined $23K after employee death

A Cal/OSHA inspector speaks with members of the Berkeley Police Department and Berkeley Unified School District during a fatality investigation involving a construction worker at King Middle School on Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 27, 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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The San Jose-based construction company that employed a man killed during a work-related accident last August in Berkeley has been fined more than $20,000 for two related safety violations authorities said led to the man’s death.

The state Division of Occupational Safety & Health, OSHA, concluded its five-month investigation into the man’s death Jan. 30, Berkeleyside learned Wednesday.

OSHA issued two citations totaling $23,200 to the Robert A. Bothman Construction in connection with the alleged safety violations, which include not keeping under “positive control” the three-axle dump truck that crushed 62-year-old Oscar Marquez of Livermore on Aug. 27 while he was working on the Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School track renovation project. … Continue reading »

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Jamie Oliver visits Edible Schoolyard with Alice Waters

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Jamie Oliver, aka the Naked Chef, who is probably best known in the U.S. for his Food Revolution TV series, visited the Edible Schoolyard at King School in Berkeley today. His host was Chez Panisse owner Alice Waters who spearheaded the creation of the internationally renowned edible program at the middle school, and founded the nonprofit Edible Schoolyard Project.

Oliver, British and originally a chef — whose empire now encompasses books, television shows, partnerships with major grocery chains, and restaurants — is also well known for his efforts to improve food education at schools. He has met Waters many times, but this was the first time he had visited the Edible Schoolyard which, he said, had inspired much of his work in schools.

“I have looked at Alice’s programs and figured out how they can translate to Britain,” he said today while observing students engaged in a cookery lesson in King’s spacious classroom kitchen.  … Continue reading »

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Authorities release name of man killed at King School

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The construction worker who died at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in Berkeley earlier this week has been identified by authorities as 62-year-old Oscar Marquez of Livermore.

Marquez, an employee of Robert A. Bothman Construction, had been laying asphalt for a school track project on Tuesday at 12:35 p.m. when a big rig parked on a slope rolled over him and killed him, authorities said.

The Alameda County coroner’s office said the cause of death was listed as extensive blunt force trauma.

Cal/OSHA spokesman Peter Melton said earlier this week that the agency will conduct the investigation into Marquez’s death, which could take up to six months to complete. The agency enforces worker safety and health standards. … Continue reading »

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Livermore man killed on construction site at King School

A Cal/OSHA inspector speaks with members of the Berkeley Police Department and Berkeley Unified School District during a fatality investigation involving a construction worker at King Middle School on Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 27, 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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By Emilie Raguso and Tracey Taylor

Update, 5:26 p.m. Brian Bothman, vice president of operations for the Robert A. Bothman Construction company, described his employee who died Tuesday as “a great guy” who had been with the company for 25 years.

“We, all of us, are really saddened by the loss of our friend and a great employee,” he said. “We don’t know any more than anybody else knows at this point. The investigation is on-going. Our thoughts and prayers are with the friends and family of the employee. We will support them in this, and we will continue to support them as long as it’s needed.”

Bothman said he learned of the fatality in a phone call from a safety officer earlier on Tuesday. He said he could not release the man’s name because not all family members have been notified.  … Continue reading »

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King Middle School to get new field, all-weather track

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Those who have tried to use the track or field at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School recently know that bulldozers have taken over the area, gates are locked, and temporary fencing is blocking the pathway coming from the school.

Shortly after King students left for summer, renovations began to replace irrigation and grass in the field and to make the track into an all-weather track. The plan laid out by the Berkeley Unified School Board in 2011 only involved improvements to the field, which has become uneven over time, but community members wanted to add track resurfacing to the project.

“There was a big push to get an all-weather track, and that’s what the top priority was,” said Lew Jones, maintenance director for the Berkeley Unified School District. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley school recycling gets back on track

A third-grade monitor at Oxford Elementary helps a classmate figure out what gets composted and what goes into the trash. Photo: Green Schools Initiative
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Berkeley schools are making a renewed commitment to recycling and composting after efforts slacked off over the past five years.

This year, a local non-profit, Green Schools Initiative, has worked with eight Berkeley schools, revitalizing recycling and composting programs. Green Schools was just awarded a grant for next year, so it can work with another eight schools in the fall.

According to Deborah Moore, executive director of Green Schools Initiative, recycling and composting are not only good for reducing landfill and greenhouse gases – they can also reduce the district’s spending.

“The Berkeley school district has potential to be saving $50,000 a year out of about $350,000 spent on trash pickup,” Moore said.  … Continue reading »

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Photo essay: Edible Schoolyard Plant Sale

Edible Schoolyard. Photo: Nancy Rubin
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The Edible Schoolyard at King Middle School held its annual Plant Sale on Saturday, May 11. The event, a big fundraiser for the Edible Schoolyard, featured food, live music, student-led tours, cooking demonstrations, and plenty of plants to snap up. Contributing photographer Nancy Rubin was there. … Continue reading »

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Man suspected of trying to abduct 2 Berkeley girls

King Middle School
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On Thursday, May 2, officials say two sixth grade girls, who were waiting to be picked up from King Middle School, were approached by a man who asked them to help him retrieve an item from his car. The case is being treated as a possible attempted abduction.

On Friday, King Principal Janet Levenson sent an email and a recorded message via phone-tree to the King community in which she outlined what happened: “Yesterday at 3:00pm two 6th grade girls were waiting to be picked up at Berryman and Josephine,” she wrote in the email. “A man approached them saying that his keys had fallen into his car and his hand was too big to retrieve them. He pointed to the car which had the door open and was a couple of cars up the street. One girl started to go help him but her friend realized the potential danger and convinced her that they should run into the garden for help. The mom arrived almost immediately but the man was no longer there.He was described as a white male, 5’10”, thin build, brown hair and eyes, and driving a silver 4-door vehicle with no trunk (possibly a small SUV). Please be aware of who is driving around campus and remind your students to wait in front of the school.”
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Learning to write, one edit at a time

Coaches from WriterCoach Connection help more than 2,000 students in 10 schools throughout the East Bay
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By Mollie Hart

Andrea didn’t make eye contact with her writing coach right away. The 8th grader from Berkeley’s King Middle School brought out her rough draft of “An Open Letter to the Adults of our Country,” and started to read out loud, but kept her face turned away from the woman sitting next to her in the school’s designated “coaching” room.

“What did you think of the assignment?” the coach asked.

“It was okay,” said Andrea, without much enthusiasm.

Despite the young girl’s shy demeanor, the coach forged on. Soon the pair was talking about Andrea’s thesis statement, her conclusion, and how the American Revolution figured into the piece. … Continue reading »

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