Tag Archives: UC Berkeley

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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Partying at UC Berkeley may have just gotten harder

A large crowd of Halloween revelers gathered on Channing Way, near Piedmont Avenue, in Berkeley, late Saturday. Photo: David Yee
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Citing a riot on Halloween and three alcohol-related deaths near the UC Berkeley campus in recent years, Berkeley officials approved new rules Tuesday night to address rowdy parties and other problems associated with group housing widely used by students.

About 15 Cal students, including representatives from governance group the Associated Students of the University of California, asked the Berkeley City Council to amend or vote down the proposal. They said it unfairly targets students, could lead to more evictions, and was unnecessary because they can regulate themselves.

Read past Berkeleyside coverage about drinking at Cal.

Miranda Hernandez, director of Greek affairs for an ASUC senator, told council the new rules would inappropriately micromanage students in their bedrooms, and would put students “at greater risk” because they would no longer want to call police and fire services for help, for “fear that they will be labeled a public nuisance.” She said there could be fewer reports and more deaths “because we will be afraid to call.”

About as many older Southside neighbors — some of whom described themselves as “year-round residents” — pleaded with council to adopt the new rules, citing frequent issues with noise, trash, loud music and the heavy use of the city’s first responders who are called to address those problems.

“Our community pays the price night after night, week after week, endangering our citizens and using precious public safety resources,” longtime resident Phil Bokovoy told council. “There is no will for the university to solve the problem.” … Continue reading »

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Mooyah burger franchise eyes Berkeley expansion

A double Mooyah burger with blue cheese and fries. Photo courtesy: Mooyah Burgers, Fries & Shakes
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The fast-casual burger trend is showing little sign of slowing down. In the East Bay alone, small and mid-sized burger chains — Farm Burger, TrueBurger, Umami Burger, Smashburger and Habit Burger Grill, to name a few — have all opened in the last few years, replacing more traditional fast food burger joints like Oscar’s.

Now Texas-based burger brand Mooyah Burgers, Fries & Shakes has made plans to expand into Berkeley.

Mooyah’s Northern California locations currently include Walnut Creek, Rocklin, Los Gatos and Morgan Hill, and Loren Katzmann, a Mooyah development agent and Walnut Creek franchise owner, thinks that the region has lots of room for growth.

“I think just Alameda County alone can support eight to nine Mooyah Burgers,” she said. While she’s looking at growing into locations like Dublin, Pleasanton, Livermore and Hayward, Berkeley is getting top priority. … Continue reading »

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Amazon opens new store on UC Berkeley campus

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Amazon opened a sleek, modern, brick-and-mortar store on the UC Berkeley campus Thursday and it promises to ease package delivery and return for students, faculty, staff and the community.

But Amazon hopes the store, located in the refurbished Martin Luther King Jr. building facing Sproul Plaza, will be more than that. There are couches and chairs scattered around the 3,500-square-foot space, as well as a large television screen for students to watch movies or play video games. A large table holds Kindle e-readers, Fire Tablets and Fire TV devices, creating “an interactive Amazon device experience,” according to a press release.

The idea is to be such an inviting environment that students “turn into lifelong customers,” said Ripley MacDonald, Amazon’s director of student programs. … Continue reading »

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Master craftsman, Zen priest Paul Discoe puts his touch on new Berkeley Art Museum

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By Kathleen Maclay / Berkeley News

When the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive reopens at its new downtown location on Jan. 31, the University of California, Berkeley, visual arts center will feature wooden furnishings revived from a previous life by a local master craftsman, ordained Zen Buddhist priest and designer of Buddhist temples.

“I like trees of all kinds. I like to grow them, trim them, chop them and make wonderful new things with them,” says Paul Discoe, an artisan and student of Japanese culture. Before his meditative work at BAMPFA, he designed the famed Zen centers in Tassajara and Green Gulch, California, as well as temples and even a temple-inspired home for tech mogul and Oracle chief Larry Ellison. … Continue reading »

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Alcohol, fall from height likely contributed to Berkeley fraternity death

A young man was found dead Saturday at Pi Kappa Phi. Image: Google Maps
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The Berkeley Police Department has released the identity of the young man who was found dead at the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity house on Channing Way on Dec. 19. They also revealed that he likely fell from a “significant” height before his death, and that alcohol appears to have been a contributing factor.

The deceased was Jeffrey Thomas Engler, 22, from San Leandro. Engler, who was enrolled at Laney College, and had formerly attended UC Berkeley, was a member of Pi Kappa Phi, but did not live at the fraternity, according to a statement released by BPD at around 4:15 p.m. Monday. Engler was at the house attending a small holiday party, they said.

The release continues: “Based on the preliminary investigation it appears he fell from a significant height prior to his death. There are no indications of foul play, and alcohol appears to have played a factor in his death. The cause of death will be determined by the Alameda County Coroner’s Bureau.” The police investigation is ongoing. … Continue reading »

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UC Berkeley

Young man found dead at Berkeley fraternity

A young man was found dead Saturday at Pi Kappa Phi. Image: Google Maps
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Police responded to a Berkeley fraternity Saturday morning after receiving a report of a young man found unresponsive there.

Berkeley Police Lt. Andrew Rateaver said police were called to the 2900 block of Channing Way, between Prospect and Warring streets, just before 7:30 a.m., to investigate the death. … Continue reading »

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UC Berkeley students transform themselves into packaged meat for anti-meat consumption protest

Anti meat eating protest on Thursday Dec. 3. Photo: Ted Friedman
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Activists with the UC Berkeley student group Berkeley Organization for Animal Advocacy (BOAA) staged a protest on the Cal campus Thursday to protest the consumption of meat. Spokeswoman Kitty Jones said two more similarly dramatic protests are planned in the next few days at locations in the city of Berkeley.

At around 10 a.m. Thursday two students, a man and a woman, stripped to their underwear and lay down on large white trays. Bright red fake blood was poured over them before they were covered in clear plastic to simulate trays of cellophane-wrapped meat.

“We want to raise awareness of animal liberation issues,” said Jones, co-president of the BOAA, an organization sponsored by UC Berkeley’s ASUC student governance body. Jones said they were protesting the consumption of animals that were not born to be eaten, in particular cows, pigs and chickens — as well as humans. … Continue reading »

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Homeless man arrested after daytime robbery, attempted rape of UC Berkeley student

Image: Google Maps
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Police arrested a 51-year-old homeless man after the robbery and attempted rape of a UC Berkeley student Monday, authorities said.

The incident took place at 11:30 a.m., said Officer Jennifer Coats, Berkeley Police spokeswoman, when the female Cal student was walking near Arch and Virginia streets, not far from the northern border of campus.

Coats said the man, later identified as Wilfred Allen, “approached the victim from behind and pushed her off a public walkway into a secluded grassy area. The suspect pinned the victim on the ground and when the victim attempted to scream he covered her mouth and attempted to sexually assault her.”Continue reading »

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