Tag Archives: North Berkeley

In Berkeley the Blue Glove Crew clean up — at speed

Karen Nierlich shows trash she cleared from a storm drain's grate.
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It all started with a desire to lose weight. Six years ago, Allen Cain, Executive Director of the Solano Avenue Association and Solano Stroll, decided as a New Year’s resolution to shed some pounds, set an example for his daughter, and help tidy up the North Berkeley street at the heart of his organization. How would he do this? With regular power walks/trash pick-up expeditions.

Cain spent roughly three years walking, at a feverish pace, up and then back down Solano, cleaning up en route. Eventually others joined him and, thus, the Blue Glove Crew was born.

Berkeleyside contributing photographer Pete Rosos joined the crew for several of their walks recently, and created the photo essay published here. … 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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Camel milk and kava: 2 new Berkeley spots mix it up

The patio at Mission Heirloom. Photo: Shelby Pope
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By Shelby Pope/Bay Area Bites

There is no shortage of non-alcoholic drinks in Berkeley. The first, second and third waves of coffee are all sufficiently represented. There are many spots for tea of every variety, including bubble.There’s even more than one place to get an avocado smoothie.

But two new Berkeley cafes have found something new to offer. In the Gourmet Ghetto, the Bay Area’s first dedicated grain-free restaurant, Mission: Heirloom, serves coffee with everything from camel’s milk to butter. Down on University, MeloMelo Kava Bar is introducing customers to drinks made with kava.

The two cafés are very similar. Both are beautiful spaces, filled with little details like Mission Heirloom’s elegant Heath Ceramic dishes and MeloMelo’s lighting system, which changes colors if they’re mentioned on Twitter or Instagram. Both inspire evangelical devotion among their respective fans. And both are expensive, with drinks hovering around the $6-7 range. Your impression of them will likely depend on your tolerance for both acquired tastes and alternative health. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley-based college becomes first Muslim accredited college in U.S., plans to move to Northside

Zaytuna College, the first Muslim accredited college in the United States, is moving to 1712 Euclid Ave. this year. Photo: Seung Y. Lee
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Amid preparations to move its campus to a new location north of UC Berkeley, Zaytuna College recently became the first Muslim college in the United States to receive accreditation.

March 4, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, a regional accrediting agency in California, Hawaii and the Pacific, sent an approval letter of accreditation to Zaytuna College President Hamza Yusuf.

Zaytuna College students are now eligible for federal financial aid. However, most of the 50-plus students attending Zaytuna College are financially covered by private donations, according to campus spokesman Safir Ahmed. … Continue reading »

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BART Police tower in North Berkeley prompts questions

Photo: Heidi Sachs
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When a slightly wonky-looking tower with a look-out cab on the top recently appeared in the parking lot of the North Berkeley BART station, local residents started asking questions. What was it for? How did anyone get into that cab anyway? Was it about to fall over?

It all began when Heidi Sachs sent us the above photo which we posted on Berkeleyside’s Facebook page. It prompted some enlightening comments.

We also checked in with BART who gave us the lowdown: the tower is called a SkyWatch trailer. … Continue reading »

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East Bay’s OCHO offers organic twist on candy bars

Scott Kucirek, left, and Denis Ring, of OCHO. Photo: Alix Wall
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When North Berkeley resident Denis Ring was consulting with Whole Foods to launch and oversee the retailer’s 365 label, he spent a lot of time in its stores. Astute businessman that he is, he noticed a gap when hanging out in the candy department.

“I could see all the organic confections and saw that while there was a cup or a molded bar like a chocolate bar, no one was making anything like traditional candy bars,” he said.

So he set out to create one. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Oakland raises minimum wage, more news

Coffee. Brunch at Camino in February 2015. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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OAKLAND RAISES MINIMUM WAGE Oakland’s minimum wage went up to $12.25 on Monday. Many local restaurants are in support of the wage hike, and have been actively informing customers that prices will rise as a result. Restaurant owners and their staff have joined in on a hashtag campaign, #oaklandlivingwage, to garner city-wide support for small businesses. Piedmont Avenue’s Homestead and Dopo, as well as Camino on Grand Avenue, have made the most drastic changes to their pay structure: all have eliminated tips and increased prices to accommodate the increased wage for employees. Aunt Mary’s Café and Toast have added 15% service charges to their bills to be divided up among the entire staff. Guests may tip in addition to the service charge. Other restaurants will simply raise prices to make up for the wage increase. Actual Café‘s Sal Bednarz has been an active supporter of the wage hike, despite the challenges he and other business owners are facing. In a press conference on Wednesday with Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf, he said: “It was a difficult thing for me to do as a business owner, and I’m still unsure what the ongoing customer impact will be of having done that. We’re here today to remind all of Oakland that we’re doing this for good reasons. Spend your dollar where your vote was. Support the minimum wage increase by supporting small businesses in Oakland.”  … Continue reading »

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Crime

Police serve search warrants, make arrests in Berkeley

Police activity at Sixth and Cedar streets on Thursday. Photo: Citizen reporter
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Scroll to the bottom of this story for a statement from the Oakland Police Department about Thursday’s investigation.

Local police officers made at least three arrests at undisclosed locations around Berkeley on Thursday morning. Those operations were reportedly part of a broader sweep by the Oakland Police Department to crack down on gang activities tied to East Oakland.

Police have not released the names of the people who were arrested, where the arrests took place, or the potential charges faced by those taken into custody.

But, beginning in the early morning hours Thursday, residents around the city took to Twitter to ask Berkeleyside to find out about police actions that included what appeared to be SWAT teams, officers who looked to be heavily armed and hovering helicopters. … Continue reading »

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Mother–daughter duo makes Vanessa’s Bistro soar

Vanessa's duo
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Vanessa Dang briskly chops a pile of red and yellow peppers, speedily stir-fries chicken slices in a steaming wok, and tosses a tangle of rice noodles into a bowl in the compact kitchen of her Berkeley restaurant, Vanessa’s Bistro. Meanwhile, her daughter, Vi Nguyen, greets and seats customers, takes orders and shakes up a mojito while chatting with the regulars sitting at the bar. Both mother and daughter operate in a blur of continual motion, like two speeding comets whose orbits occasionally intersect. … Continue reading »

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State Supreme Court upholds Berkeley’s decision in Mitch Kapor’s bid to build a home in the city

New-pic-of-Kapor-house
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Update, 3.19.15: The Berkeley Hillside Preservation Group is asking the Supreme Court for a rehearing of its case. It filed its petition on March 18. The Supreme Court recently appointed two new justices, following two retirements, and the group is hoping a reconsideration of their arguments might bring a different result. The vote was 5-2 for the defendant at the first hearing. A decision on whether the court will grant or deny a rehearing will be known by May 29. Read the Petition for Rehearing.

Original story: The California Supreme Court today ruled in favor of the city of Berkeley and philanthropist and Lotus founder Mitch Kapor, and against a group of preservationists who have been fighting for five years a proposal from Kapor and his wife, Freada Kapor Klein, to build a new home at 2707 Rose St.

In a ruling issued Monday morning, the court said it was reversing a Court of Appeal’s decision that had effectively said the 6,478-square-foot home (with a 3,394-square-foot garage) should be subject to an environmental impact report (EIR). Single-family homes are normally exempt from EIRs, which fall under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). … Continue reading »

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Crime

Interrupted burglar grabs woman in Berkeley home

Image: Google maps
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Police are asking for the community’s help after a startled burglar grabbed a North Berkeley resident who found him inside her home.

The Live Oak/Codornices Creek Neighborhood Association email list was abuzz Thursday about the incident, in the 2300 block of Eunice Street (between Spruce Street and Glen Avenue) shortly before 10 a.m. (Berkeleyside first reported the incident on Facebook.)

According to one local resident, who shared the news with her neighborhood over email, the woman “heard a noise around 10am and went to investigate and turned around and was assaulted by a tall man dressed in all black who attacked her.” … Continue reading »

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Community effort may see Berkeley’s Oaks Theatre reopen with Bakesale Betty on board

The Oaks Theater at xxxx Solano Ave. has been empty for several years. New plans may see it reopen if a deal can ben reached. Photo: Ian Ransley
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The Oaks Theatre on Solano Avenue may have a future after all, after five years of sitting vacant. Jim Whitty, a Berkeley local and his non-profit group, From Little Acorns Grow, is working with Gordon Commercial Real Estate Services to lease and re-open the theater in what will be a true community effort if it succeeds.

Speaking at the Thousand Oaks Neighborhood Association (TONA) meeting Thursday night at the Thousand Oaks Baptist Church Auditorim, Whitty, a veteran Oakland firefighter and Secretary Treasurer of the Oakland Firefighters’ Union for the past ten years, said he was well down the path of negotiations with John and Kevin Gordon who were being very supportive of the initiative.

“The rental negotiations are up in the air, but we are not too far apart,” said Whitty who said he was well used to negotiating as a union leader. He is at the “letter of intent” stage, he said. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Police find empty house after reported hostage call

Two police vehicles at Tacoma and  Colusa. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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Update, 11:45 p.m. Berkeley Police Lt. Jennifer Louis confirmed that police have cleared a home in the 1800 block of Tacoma Avenue, and found no one inside despite an earlier report of a dangerous situation there.

Louis said a caller phoned dispatch at 9:26 p.m. to report a domestic violence incident at the North Berkeley home.

Officers responded and searched the home, but ultimately found it to be empty.

Louis said the caller provided “very limited information” while speaking with dispatch, and that there was a possibility the call had been a hoax.

Update, 11:30 p.m. Officers have swept the house and determined that the interior is clear. Perimeter units have been released from the area.

Original post, 10:52 p.m. Berkeley police officers are on the scene in the 1800 block of Tacoma Avenue, between Colusa Avenue and The Alameda, after a man called police and told them he had stabbed his girlfriend, had tied up her lover and was threatening to shoot him. … Continue reading »

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