Tag Archives: North Berkeley

Mentally ill man who murdered Peter Cukor of Berkeley is sentenced to 33 years to life in Napa State Hospital

Andrea Cukor speaks after the sentencing 5/29/15 Photo: Melati Citrawireja
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Daniel DeWitt, the mentally ill man who bludgeoned Peter Cukor to death in his Berkeley Hills home in 2012, was sentenced Friday to 33 years to life at the Napa State Hospital.

Judge Paul Delucchi handed down the long sentence after listening to the impassioned testimony of Cukor’s widow, Andrea, his son Alexander, and his close friend Percival Banks. Delucchi described the case as one of the most tragic and serious he has ever seen in his court, the result of “a remarkable, almost unbelievable, sequence of events.”

“I won’t sit here and guarantee that this won’t happen again,” said Judge DeLucchi, looking at the Cukors and about 20 of their friends sitting in the courtroom. “I can guarantee Mr. Dewitt won’t do it again, but that comes at an incredible cost.”

Read more on the Peter Cukor case in Berkeleyside’s coverage.

DeWitt had been in and out of mental institutions before the killing, which happened on Feb. 18, 2012. … Continue reading »

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Court takes Berkeley’s side in Mitch Kapor home case

evoi0429kaporhouse
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The California Supreme Court has left intact a ruling limiting environmental review of large single-family homes, such as the one philanthropist and Lotus Development Corp. founder Mitch Kapor and his wife Freada Kapor-Klein applied to build at 2707 Rose St. in North Berkeley.

The decision, which was released on May 27, was the latest development in the Berkeley Hillside Preservation vs City of Berkeley case that has been in and out of court since 2010 when Kapor was given approval by the city of Berkeley to build a 6,478-square-foot home (with a 3,394-square-foot garage) on the sloping Rose Street lot.

Catch up on Berkeleyside’s full coverage of the Rose Street case.

Arguments have centered over whether Berkeley should prepare an environmental impact report (EIR) for the project — for which single family homes like this one are exempt unless unusual circumstances can be proved. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Concord man captured, after CHP chase into Berkeley, has history of erratic driving, high-profile arrests

Police officers on Hearst Avenue get a police dog ready to search for the driver of a stolen vehicle, in Berkeley, early Monday, May 18, 2015. Police began chasing the vehicle in Concord, late Sunday, at times going the wrong way on the freeway and city streets. Photo: David Yee
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A Concord man who drove the wrong way on the freeway, and fled from authorities after causing a traffic collision in Berkeley on May 18, was arrested early Wednesday morning.

The California Highway Patrol arrested Jerome Wingert, 32, at around 3:10 a.m. at a Berkeley hotel. The arrest was made by CHP officers with assistance from Berkeley police, according to CHP spokesman Officer Clayton Nett. The exact location of the arrest was not available.

Wingert was arrested on suspicion of evading arrest in a reckless manner, auto theft and driving the wrong way on a freeway, along with a warrant for violating parole.

Wingert has been involved in at least two other high-profile pursuits with Bay Area law enforcement agencies over the past seven years, according to media reports.

The recent chase began on Sunday, May 17, in Concord when police there spotted Wingert in a stolen Honda Accord at 11:30 p.m., according to Officer Sean Wilkenfeld, a CHP spokesman. The driver evaded officers, traveling in the wrong direction on the freeway for about 30 miles, before he crashed in North Berkeley, injuring Zaya Yaro, 45, from Santa Clara, the occupant of a vehicle he caused to overturn on Hearst Avenue. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Hunt in Berkeley after man in stolen car drives wrong way on freeway for 30 miles, crashes, flees

CHP officers pursued a stolen vehicle into Berkeley early Monday. Photo: David Davenport
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Update: 11:20 a.m. The California Highway Patrol is still looking for the suspect in this case. CHP Oakland spokesman Officer Sean Wilkenfeld said the agency has some leads which it is pursuing. Wilkenfeld also confirmed that the victim involved in the vehicle collision on Hearst Avenue was Zaya Yaro, 45, from Santa Clara.

Update, 4:30 a.m. A stolen vehicle pursuit that began near Concord, with the driver traveling the wrong direction on the freeway for about 30 miles, ended with a crash in Berkeley around midnight, but authorities are still trying to find the driver. … Continue reading »

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City acts after yellowjackets attack in Berkeley park

Aerial view of Codornices showing the location of the swarm of yellowjackets that attacked several people, and at least one dog, today. Photo: Carter Tomasi
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The city of Berkeley is taking action after what appears to be a swarm of yellowjackets attacked several people and at least one dog in Berkeley’s Codornices Park at around 10 a.m. today.

Local resident Mimi Abers needed to go to the hospital emergency room after what she described as a “vicious attack.”

“It was right up the hill from the playgrounds. There are a bunch of trees there and I think the yellowjackets nest in them,” she told Berkeleyside via email just before 3 p.m. “I’ve seen them before but never had as vicious an attack. I had multiple stings on my head and upper body. It must have been about 20. Anyone allergic to bees should avoid this area. It’s been five hours and I still have pain, but not as bad as the first three hours. One of the dogs I had who is black was also bitten, but not my white one.” … Continue reading »

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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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