Tag Archives: UC Berkeley

Human skull, bones found on Berkeley Lab property

A human skull and three bones were unearthed on Berkeley Lab property on Monday. Photo: LBL Photo: Berkeley Lab
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A human skull and three human bones were discovered on Berkeley Lab property Monday during some routine digging to clear a ditch.

According to a release put out by the Lab on Wednesday, a Lab facilities crew working to clear a drainage ditch in “very steep and brushy terrain” on Berkeley Lab’s southern perimeter discovered a skull and one bone around 1:30 p.m. Monday.

The Alameda County coroner’s office was called in and completed its search of the site on Tuesday after finding two more bones. The remains were found outside of Berkeley Lab’s fence line but on Berkeley Lab’s property. 

It is not known how long the remains were in the ditch, nor how old they are. Foul play is not suspected, according to the Lab’s statement, pending new information from the coroner’s office.

Jon Weiner, a spokesman for the Lab, said they were waiting to hear back from the coroner’s office as to any possible identification of the remains. … Continue reading »

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Photos: 100s turn up, chill out for 420 day on Cal campus

420 Day on the UC Berkeley campus, April 20, 2016. Photo: Ted Friedman
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People came out in droves to Memorial Glade on the UC Berkeley campus Wednesday to mark 420 day, an international celebration of cannabis culture. The mood was, as might be expected, mellow and the more entrepreneurial among the student body were making munchies available.

The origins of 420 day are as hazy as a cloud of marijuana smoke: urban myths include the notion that 420 is the police radio code for smoking marijuana in public; 4/20 was the day Adolf Hitler — or perhaps Jim Morrison of The Doors died; or that 420 relates to California’s penal code relating to cannabis. The most likely explanation is close to home and involves a group of San Rafael high-school students, at least according to Slate.

Contributing photographer Ted Friedman checked out the scene at Cal — at around 4:20 p.m., naturally. … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: New 783-bed, 8-story-high Stiles student housing project is too big

A rendering of how the Stiles student housing project would look on Bancroft Avenue. Photo: UC Berkeley
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The University is poised to approve what may be its largest student housing project to date, the Stiles Student Housing project, in the form of this behemoth of a structure providing 783 beds for students on one of few remaining University parking lots, on Bancroft, just west of Telegraph. Although our City needs more housing, we need to make sure that we’re building the right kinds of housing, in the right quantities for the right sites. This enormous project is too much, too high, and too dense. Perhaps more importantly, it does not account for the impacts that result from building from property line to property line and closing the heavily used parking lot.

If the University pushes this project through approval without modification, our community will be stuck with the consequences, including a prison-like façade overwhelming the neighborhood, for decades to come.

Our community must come together to persuade the University to scale down its plans to align better and less disruptively with the existing neighborhood. Public comments are due this week. … Continue reading »

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Man wanted after sexual assault arrested in Tennessee

Sheldon Johnson. Photo: NCRIC
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A 23-year-old man wanted in connection with a sexual assault on the UC Berkeley campus was arrested by authorities in Tennessee over the weekend after a report of a domestic dispute.

The Northern California Regional Intelligence Center, which had previously identified Sheldon Harley Johnson as a wanted fugitive now lists him as “captured.”

Scroll down for updates.

According to NCRIC, he had been wanted for a sexual assault on the Cal campus. No other details about that case were posted.

The University of California Police Department declined Tuesday to provide any information about that incident, but said it would be putting out a crime alert at some point.

The Daily News Journal, which is based in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, reported Tuesday morning that Johnson was arrested during a call involving a domestic dispute over the weekend.  … Continue reading »

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2 Berkeley officials call for Fulton Street bike lane

Bike East Bay says a protected bike lane like this on Fulton Street would make cyclists safer. Image: Bike East Bay
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Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates and mayoral hopeful Councilman Jesse Arreguín have teamed up to ask the city manager to move quickly to extend a bike lane two blocks south on Fulton Street by the site of a near-fatal crash involving a cyclist and vehicle in February.

In a Berkeley City Council consent calendar item scheduled for Tuesday, March 15, they ask the “City Manager and Transportation staff to prioritize and expedite the installation of a bicycle lane on Fulton Street between Bancroft Way and Channing Way.”

The council item notes that the city needs to conduct a traffic study and public hearing before a new bike lane could be installed.

“This item urges staff to prioritize completion of all steps necessary to install the bike lane by May 12, 2016, Bike to Work Day or as expeditiously as possible thereafter,” according to the brief report. There is a bike lane on Fulton Street north of Bancroft Way but it ends at that intersection.

Advocacy group Bike East Bay has been actively pushing for that extension since last year when the street was repaved, and say city bike planning documents already lay the groundwork for making it happen. They renewed calls for the lane after Megan Schwarzman, a mother, medical doctor and UC Berkeley scientist, was struck by a driver Feb. 2 at Fulton and Bancroft Way and critically injured.  … Continue reading »

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UC Berkeley assistant basketball coach fired over claims of sexual harassment

Yann Hufnagel. Photo: CalBears
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See statement from UC Berkeley at foot of story as well as a link to the redacted investigative report. 

On Sunday, the Cal men’s basketball team was celebrating its highest ever NCAA tournament seeding after securing the #4 seed in the southern region tournament. Monday morning brought different news to the program, however, with the firing of assistant coach Yann Hufnagel for violating the university’s sexual harassment policy.

No details were released on the investigation into Hufnagel by the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination (OPHD). But the swift action stands in contrast to the initial discipline meted out to former law school dean Sujit Choudhry, who resigned last week when a lawsuit made an OPHD investigation public, or astronomy professor Geoff Marcy, who resigned last October after Buzzfeed uncovered details of his OPHD investigation.

Also last week, UC President Janet Napolitano terminated an arrangement whereby former UC Berkeley vice chancellor for research Graham Fleming, who resigned last April following sexual harassment allegations, remained an ambassador for Berkeley’s planned Global Campus in Richmond. … Continue reading »

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Update: Police believe new sexual assault in Berkeley is linked to prior attacks

Image: Google Maps
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Update, 5:30 p.m. The Berkeley Police Department has announced it believes this most recent sexual assault is linked to several sexual assaults around campus in February.

Scroll down for video of the man police believe to be responsible.

According to a statement from BPD on Saturday evening, the victim in this most recent incident was a 21-year-old woman who fought back against her assailant. Unlike the victims in the prior incidents, she was not Asian.

The man was described as Hispanic, in his mid-20s to early 30s, unshaven and wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt and dark pants. Police said that, though this description differed slightly from prior descriptions, they believe the suspect could be the same person.

“We believe that the incident relates to previous assaults in the South Campus area,” police said in Saturday’s statement. “Detectives are seeking the community’s help in identifying the suspect.”

Scroll to the bottom of this story to learn how to contact police. Read more about the prior incidents.

Original story, 2:28 p.m. Police are looking for a man who sexually assaulted a UC Berkeley student early Saturday, authorities have announced. The incident took place at 12:09 a.m. in the 2500 block of Etna Street, near Dwight Way.

The female victim, whose age was not released, was “approached from behind by the male suspect who dragged her off of the sidewalk and sexually assaulted her.” Police released no further details about the nature of the attack. … Continue reading »

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From Berkeley startup incubator, a ‘smart’ vibrator is born

Liz Klinger is CEO and co-founder of Lioness. (UC Berkeley photo by Anne Brice)
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By Anne Brice / Berkeley News

These days so many of our devices are smart. Our phones are smart. Our cars are smart. Our TVs are smart. And now, even vibrators can be smart.

That’s right. Now a vibrator can provide the data a woman needs to reach her destination free of detours, traffic tie-ups and road rage.

It’s called Lioness. It’s a sleek, sophisticated vibrator that works kind of like a running app on your smartphone, but instead of mapping the distance and terrain of a route, it records a person’s sexual arousal states.

Liz Klinger is the CEO and co-founder of Lioness. She and her team work out of SkyDeck, UC Berkeley’s incubator for startups. She says her upbringing inspired her to pursue a career in sexual health. … Continue reading »

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Advocates: Berkeley must extend bike lane on Fulton

The existing bike lane on Fulton Street ends at Bancroft Way. Image: Google Maps
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Cycling advocates are pleading with the city to extend a southbound bike lane on Fulton Street, near the Cal campus, following the crash last week that nearly killed a Berkeley mother and doctor.

Bike East Bay has asked the city to paint new bike lanes on two blocks of Fulton, south of Bancroft Way, by May 12, which is Bike to Work Day. Advocates say planning documents approved by officials, as well as recent changes in state law, allow for the extension of the bike lane without much further ado, as long as the political will exists to make the change.

They’ve been trying to get the new lanes painted since last year, when the street was repaved, and say Berkeley’s own bike policies support the concept of painting, or “striping,” bike lanes at the time of repaving.

City spokesman Matthai Chakko said the city is looking into what might be possible on Fulton, but said changing rules at the state level have made the requirements for traffic studies and public review somewhat unclear. He said the city takes the concerns of the advocates seriously, and is working on various efforts to improve cycling safety and infrastructure in Berkeley. … Continue reading »

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Chancellor Dirks warns of UC Berkeley’s unsustainable structural deficit

UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks at Uncharted 2015. Photo: Kelly Sullivan
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In a message to the UC Berkeley community at 8 a.m. today, Chancellor Nicholas Dirks warned about the consequences of “a substantial and growing structural deficit,” which he termed unsustainable.

The strong statement on the deficit announced a comprehensive strategic planning process, with a detailed reexamination of all discretionary expenditures, including athletics and capital costs. Formerly sacrosanct areas, including the number of academic departments, will be included in the review.

“We are fighting to maintain our excellence against those who might equate ‘public’ with mediocrity,” Dirks said in the statement. “What we are engaged in here is a fundamental defense of the concept of the public university, a concept that we must reinvent in order to preserve.”

According to Berkeley campus sources, the deficit this fiscal year is projected to be around 6% of the operating budget, around $150 million. The sources point to Berkeley being heavily tuition-dependent, compared to some UC campuses that have medical centers with high revenues.

Student tuition and fees make up about 30% of total campus revenues — compared to state support of 13% of revenues. In the 1980s, about half of Berkeley’s funding came from the state. Undergraduate tuition rates, the focus of vehement student protests in recent years, have not risen for the past five years and under Governor Jerry Brown’s plan, will not increase until 2017-18.

“Because this deficit does not reflect a short-term dip in funding,” Dirks’ message said, “but a ‘new normal’ era of reduced state support, responding to this deficit requires that we take a long-term view. We must focus not only on the immediate challenge, but also on the deeper task of enhancing our institution’s long-term sustainability and self-reliance.”  … Continue reading »

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Hope, gratitude after near-deadly collision in Berkeley

Meg Schwarzman
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The Berkeley scientist and mother who was struck by a motorist and trapped beneath his car while cycling near campus earlier this week is expected to pull through, family members said Thursday.

“She’s critical but stable,” said Mike Wilson of his wife, Megan Schwarzman. “Every indication is that she will be coming home. But it’s going to be a long, difficult recovery.”

Schwarzman, 42, is a research scientist at the Berkeley School of Public Health, as well as a physician and an associate director at the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry on the Cal campus. The group is one of the leading academic organizations in the nation focused on chemicals policy, Wilson said.

“She somehow is able to be both a brilliant thinker and the most compassionate, spirited person I know,” he said. Added Schwarzman’s sister, Caitlin, who lives in Alameda: “She loves being a part of the community. Her friends and family are always the center for her.”

She wrote on her sister’s Facebook page earlier this week that “the surgeons are optimistic about her long term prognosis.… We expect a stay of many weeks in the hospital. We are hurting for our Meg, feeling proud of her strength, and looking forward hopefully.” … Continue reading »

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Update: Driver arrested, cyclist critical after crash

Emergency personnel work the scene of a collision involving a motorist and a bicyclist on Fulton Street and Bancroft Way. Photo: David Yee
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Update, Feb. 5, 9 a.m. Read Berkeleyside’s update on Meg Schwarzman, the cyclist who was struck. The Berkeley physician and mother is expected to survive, though the road to recovery looks to be long.

Update, Feb. 3, 11 a.m. BPD says there have been no updates to report as far as the cyclist’s condition.

Update, 10:15 p.m. Berkeley police have arrested the driver involved in the crash, 47-year-old Berwick Haynes of Sunnyvale, on suspicion of driving under the influence. In a statement released just after 10 p.m. Tuesday, BPD said it was continuing to investigate the injury collision. The bicyclist, a 42-year-old Berkeley woman, is in critical condition at a local hospital. At 10 p.m. police were still at the scene of the accident taking measurements, and the intersection remained closed.

Update, 6:28 p.m. Police have asked motorists to avoid Fulton and Bancroft due to the earlier crash. Southbound Fulton between Bancroft and Kittredge Street is closed. … Continue reading »

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A former Cal librarian’s recipe for life: bake, swim, give

Photo: Brittany Kirstin
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By Gretchen Kell / Berkeley News

Before sunrise, swimmers begin arriving at UC Berkeley’s Hearst Pool for workouts, their fins, goggles and caps in tow. Like 67-year-old David Kessler, many are diehard swimmers conditioned to slip out of bed and into the cold water without much thought. But Kessler’s morning ritual begins much earlier, around 5 a.m., in his kitchen in the Oakland hills.

There, as he has for about 40 years, he assembles assorted sandwiches on his homemade bread and packs them in brown paper lunch bags with “two cookies, that’s standard,” says Kessler. Then, he totes to the pool an average of 12 lunches, and occasionally more than twice as many, in large canvas bags.

The student lifeguards, who often struggle mightily to arrive for 6 a.m. shifts, are grateful for Kessler, who never fails to personally greet them and hand out the bags, marked with a “Made in David’s Kitchen” stamp, before he swims. He strives to know their names, who eats meat, prefers peanut butter, has food allergies or is lactose-intolerant or vegetarian. … Continue reading »

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