Tag Archives: King Middle School

Petition to fire Berkeley teacher garners 500 signatures

yvette felarci featured
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A petition to oust a Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School teacher who was involved with a counter-protest against a white supremacist group in Sacramento has gathered more than 500 signatures

The middle school teacher’s involvement at the protest prompted threats of violence against students at King.

Yvette Felarca — the middle school teacher and a member of the group By Any Means Necessary, which says it’s “building a new civil rights movement” — was filmed in Sacramento on June 26 taunting and hitting a neo-Nazi attending a rally led by the Traditionalist Worker Party, a white nationalist extremist group. The violent altercation made headlines across the U.S. after seven people were stabbed and 10 hospitalized during the pandemonium.

Robert Jacobsen, a former student at King Middle School, launched a petition drive on Change.org after learning about Felarca’s involvement in the Sacramento altercation. The petition demands that the Berkeley Unified School District fire Felarca. It argues that citizens of the U.S., regardless of their political views have the right to free speech. Felarca’s interference with those rights are grounds for dismissal, according to the petition. Continue reading »

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Anonymous email threatens students at Berkeley school after Sacramento rally tied to local teacher

A police cruiser was parked outside Martin Luther King. Jr. Middle School on Monday. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Local and federal authorities investigated threats Monday targeting youth at a North Berkeley middle school by a group that demanded the termination of a teacher who protested against a neo-Nazi rally in Sacramento over the weekend.

The rally Sunday made national headlines due to violent clashes between the white supremacists who took out a permit to rally at the state capitol and the counter-protesters who showed up to confront them. According to some news reports, members of the counter-protest appear to have initiated the violence. The LA Times reported that seven people were stabbed and 10 hospitalized.

Read Berkeleyside’s July update.

One of the people who took responsibility for helping organize the counter-protest was Yvette Felarca, a teacher at North Berkeley’s Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School, at 1781 Rose St. Felarca is an organizer with the activist group By Any Means Necessary, which helped lead a series of Black Lives Matter protests in Berkeley in December 2014.

Parents of day campers were told Monday morning that one of the counter-protesters from Sacramento had been linked to the Berkeley school where the camps were located. The public outing had prompted an influx of emails to the principal demanding that the teacher be fired. … Continue reading »

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King Middle School reports suspicious activity after spate of attempted child abductions in Berkeley

Two boys walking home from King Middle School on Monday April 4 reported suspicious activity from a man in parked car at Colusa Avenue near Marin Avenue. Image: Google Maps
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Two Berkeley middle schoolers escaped a possible attempted child abduction Monday after a man in a parked car beckoned them to come over and said he would drive them home.

Janet Levenson, the principal of Berkeley’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School, on Monday night emailed the school community with information on what she termed “suspicious activity reported by King students at Colusa and Marin.”

Read more about attempted child abductions in Berkeley.

“I don’t want to alarm you,” she wrote, “but a parent just shared with me that two King students were walking home after school Monday on Colusa near Marin when a man parked in an older 4-door blue car that looked “scrappy” asked them to come over and that he would give them a ride. The boys ran. They did not get a look at the man. He was parked across the street and when the boys heard him asking them to come, they quickly determined it wasn’t right and they ran without looking back. They heard him add that he would drive them home. This incident has been reported to the Berkeley Police Department.” … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Public Schools Fund reaches $1M mark

The Berkeley Schools Fund provides over $1.5 million per year in grant funding for around 300 educators that affect over 10,000 students. Photo: Berkeley Schools Fund
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For the first time, the Berkeley Public Schools Fund has reached $1 million in annual fundraising, according to the organization.

The 32-year-old organization has collected over $13 million to date for the Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD), providing classroom grants for approximately 300 teachers in the district each year that benefit over 10,000 students. Last school year, the Schools Fund provided over $750,000 in direct grants and program support to Berkeley schools. When the 1,500 volunteers the fund coordinates are included, total annual contributions amount to about $1.5 million per year in grants and in-kind donations, according to the fund.

Larger grants for collaborative projects are also allocated to educators, which according to the press release have inspired new programs to be adopted districtwide. In 2014, the Schools Fund also implemented a new grant program titled “Friends & Family Grants,” a crowdfunding site created by Blueprint, UC Berkeley’s student software club. The program offers educators an online platform to request classroom materials and generate funding for personal development workshops or class projects. … Continue reading »

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Bites: KronnerBurger, The Tap Haus, Kingfish Pub

KronnerBurger's signature burger. Photo: KronnerBurger
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Openings, closings…

KRONNERBURGER DEBUTS ON PIEDMONT Long-awaited KronnerBurger, the brick-and-mortar restaurant for Chris Kronner’s popular San Francisco burger pop-ups, is now open on Piedmont Avenue. The restaurant has been in the works for a couple of years now, and Eater has been chronicling Kronner’s search for a restaurant space. He found a home in the former J’s Mexican American, a unique triangle-shaped building at the corner of Piedmont and 41st Street. The building has been given a full revamp, with bright white walls and a modern interior. The space was designed by Wylie Price, who was also behind Rockridge’s Ramen Shop, and includes metalwork by Oakland artist Luigi Oldani. On the menu is, of course, Kronner’s signature KronnerBurger, which is made entirely from scratch (from buns to ketchup) and served with a side of bone marrow, plus a vegan burger, pork burger, and appetizers like a wedge salad and fries with beef cheek gravy. For now, the restaurant is only serving lunch, but will add brunch over the weekend and dinner service next week. KronnerBurger is at 4063 Piedmont Ave. (at 41st Street), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.Continue reading »

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An end for giant North Berkeley eucalyptus

A large eucalyptus tree at King Pool is coming down this week. Photo: Mary Flaherty
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City workers began taking down a huge eucalyptus tree at King Pool in North Berkeley on Wednesday morning after it was found to be decaying at its core.

According to local resident and Berkeleyside freelance reporter Mary Flaherty, the crew was working to remove large branches from the tree and grind them up. A worker told Flaherty the work began at 8 a.m. Wednesday and would likely last for two days.

Berkeleyside reported in February on the planned removal. The tree was found to have wood fungus and decay, said city staff, and its location next to the pool and a playground thus created a dangerous situation. 

The tree was estimated to reach 140 feet, with four massive trunks.

Thursday, Robert Collier shared this photograph of the work up to that point. City spokesman Matthai Chakko said the tree will be cut down to a depth of 16 inches below ground.

Scroll to the bottom of this post for the latest photographs.  … Continue reading »

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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

The giant eucalyptus tree near King Pool that needs to be cut down. Photo: 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 feet, 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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