Tag Archives: UC Berkeley

On Berkeley time? He keeps Campanile’s clocks ticking

Art Simmons has been keeping the Campanile clocks going for the past 20 years. (UC Berkeley photo by Anne Brice)
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By Anne Brice/UC Berkeley News

The Campanile clock tower is the campus’s North Star. At 100 years old and 307 feet tall, it’s a landmark everyone knows and trusts. But what happens when the clocks stop? There’s only one person to call: Art Simmons.

“Everybody in Berkeley watches those clocks,” says Simmons. “Not just the people on campus. So when the clocks stop, the whole city knows about it and it doesn’t look good.”

Read more stories about the UC Berkeley Campanile and Campanile Way

Simmons started working at Berkeley as an electrician 20 years ago. Because the person who took care of the clocks had just retired, Simmons inherited them as his responsibility. “I had no choice, it was in my zone,” he says. “They said, ‘It’s your baby, keep it going.’ So it was a lot of pressure to keep those clocks running and keep them running right.” … Continue reading »

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UC Berkeley police lay ‘bait’ for bike thieves on campus

bike reflection by pete rosos
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For over seven months, the UC Berkeley police have been surreptitiously planting bicycles equipped with tracking technology throughout campus in hopes of catching bike thieves.

The Bait Bike Program was kept confidential during the spring semester, but UCPD announced earlier this month that 31 arrests have been made since the initiative quietly went live in January. Reported bike thefts are down 45%, the department said in a press release.

“The word was starting to get out a little bit so we figured we would go ahead and let the community know we are trying to do something to impact the theft of bicycles,” said UCPD Lieutenant Marc DeCoulode. … Continue reading »

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In Berkeley, protesters get naked to try to save trees

Protesters get naked in the eucalyptus grove at the Grinnell Natural Area of UC Berkeley on Saturday July 18, 2015 to show opposition to tree cutting proposal. Photo: Ted Friedman
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An estimated 50-75 people took part in a staged protest today at a eucalyptus grove on the UC Berkeley campus, many of them stripping naked in doing so, to make clear their opposition to a proposed FEMA-funded tree-clearing program in the East Bay hills.

The event was orchestrated by the Tree Spirit Project whose mission is “to raise awareness of the critical role trees play in our lives, both globally and personally.” Jack Gescheidt, who founded the project, does this partly by taking fine-art photographs of people, often naked, communing with trees and nature.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency in March allocated $5.7 million to the California Office of Emergency Services to remove eucalyptus trees as part of fire hazard abatement in Claremont Canyon — scene of a devastating wildfire in 1991 — and other nearby areas, such as Tilden Park and Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve. The funds will be distributed to UC Berkeley, the city of Oakland, and the East Bay Regional Parks District (EBRPD). … Continue reading »

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Lower Sproul restaurants, bar opening this fall

Photo: Equator Coffee
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Cal’s Lower Sproul Plaza is scheduled to re-open in the fall after two years of construction with a new selection of food, coffee and drink purveyors, all of which will be open to the public. The choice will include a burger joint, a salad and sandwich spot, a pizza place and a Mexican restaurant.

The Lower Sproul Plaza Redevelopment program, construction for which began in early 2013, replaces the old, seismically unsound Eshleman Hall with a 50% larger (though shorter) building. It will house the MLK Jr. Student Union which has been upgraded with the addition of a new space on the sides facing Lower Sproul and Bancroft Way, among other renovations.

The new food options will include four restaurants on the plaza level, two coffee shops and a Bear’s Lair Bar and Kitchen at the west end of Eshleman. The dining commons in MLK will have a small stage for student performances and DJs. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley council to hear Campanile Way landmark appeal

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The group of Berkeley residents that lost a petition to the Landmarks Preservation Commission to landmark the view from Campanile Way is now appealing that decision before the City Council tonight. The group, led by former LPC Commissioner Steven Finacom, is concerned that a development at 2211 Harold Way would mar what they argue is a historic view.

Read more about what’s coming up at tonight’s council meeting.

The LPC voted 5-3, with one abstention, against landmarking the path and its view, though nearly everyone at the meeting agreed that the view is fantastic. The commissioners were divided about how much the 18-story development would impact the view. Even if the petition had passed, some commissioners argued, UC Berkeley is not governed by local ordinances and would not be legally required to pay attention to the ruling. … Continue reading »

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UC Berkeley’s student-run garden offers urban oasis

Kate Kaplan (left) and Sara Cate Jones are two of several SOGA garden managers. They are anxiously awaiting the first figs to ripen, which will happen in a matter of weeks. Photo: Alix Wall
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by Alix Wall/Bay Area Bites

Whenever UC Berkeley student Sara Cate Jones has felt the blues coming on, she’s relied on the same remedy: she goes to the student garden on the corner of Walnut and Virginia streets and picks herself a bouquet of flowers.

“The garden is always here for you,” said Kate Kaplan.

Jones and Kaplan are two of several student garden managers for the SOGA (Student Organic Garden Association) garden.

Established in 1971 by a group of students shortly after the first Earth Day, the garden has offered students and the community at large an urban oasis in North Berkeley for over 40 years. … Continue reading »

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At UC Berkeley: A celebration of marriage equality ruling

A group photo of the celebration rally. Photo: Ted Friedman
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After the U.S. Supreme Court decided Friday that same-sex marriage is a right guaranteed by the Constitution, members of the UC Berkeley LGBTQ community gathered on Sproul Plaza at noon to celebrate the landmark decision with music, an open mic, and each other.

The ruling, Obergefell v. Hodges, falls one day before the official Pride celebration in San Francisco in a community that has been rainbow-colored for weeks.

Alix Schwartz, a Berkeley resident, called it “a historic moment” and said the ruling will be compared to the 1968 case, Loving v. Virginia, that legalized interracial marriage. She said she was not surprised by the ruling.

“I was hopeful,” she said. … Continue reading »

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University Village, Sprouts get (final) green light

A rendering of the new University Village development. Image: courtesy the City of Albany
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The disputed UC Berkeley land next to Albany’s Gill Tract is in contention no more. Last week, the California Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the university to build a senior housing development and Sprouts Farmers Market grocery store on San Pablo Avenue in University Village.

Read more on Berkeleyside’s coverage of Occupy the Farm.

The development, on a long-vacant lot next to the Gill Tract research field, has been the site of protests since April 2012 on the part of Occupy the Farm, which has stated that UC Berkeley’s plans would “pave over a rare natural resource” and that the Gill Tract is “public farmland that belongs to the people.”

Stefanie Rawlings, of Occupy the Farm, originally filed a lawsuit against the city of Albany and UC Berkeley that alleged that the city’s approved Environmental Impact Report was deficient. When Rawlings lost the suit, she filed an appeal on the grounds that the report did not lay out appropriate alternatives for the building plan, and that the city did not appropriately consider the alternatives listed. … Continue reading »

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Quirky art wall stripped bare at request of UC Berkeley

"Quirky Berkeley in Berkeley, Calif., on May 7th,  2015."
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A striking Berkeley chain-link fence covered in found objects, including teddy bears and bras, was recently stripped bare, two days after a story about the quirky ‘art wall’ was published on Berkeleyside.

One person who complained about the fence referred to it as “creepy,” according to Christine Shaff, facilities and real-estate communications director at UC Berkeley, who said a Cal grounds manager asked the creator of the wall to strip it after a formal work order was submitted “at least a week before” Berkeleyside published its June 2 story.

The chain-link fence separates a UC parking garage from the alley running from Ridge Street to Hearst Avenue just west of Euclid Avenue. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley coding school aims to help close tech race gap

Co-founders Bianca Giandolfo and Albrey Brown from Telegraphy Academy. Photo: Melati Citrawireja
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While grinding through software coding courses at San Francisco programming school Hack Reactor, Albrey Brown, 24, often found himself as one of the few students of color in the room.

Meanwhile Bianca Gandolfo, 26 — like Brown a Hack Reactor alum and former instructor — used to view software engineering as a career path for “a white guy in a basement by himself.”

Instead of ignoring these realities, as some might, the tech-savvy duo decided to do something about it.

Enlisting Hack Reactor as a partner, the pair has launched Berkeley-based Telegraph Academy, a tech coding school that aims to teach software engineering to under-represented minorities and create a network of tech workers of color.

The first class of students, arriving at the Academy’s bustling Shattuck Avenue location from as far away as Honduras and the East Coast, will fire up their computers on June 29. … Continue reading »

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Remembering David Littlejohn, critic and UC Berkeley journalism professor

David Littlejohn. Photo: courtesy of the family
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David Littlejohn, a popular and prolific arts critic, author, former public television host, and a professor emeritus of journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, died peacefully, June 4, at his home in Kensington, California after a long physical decline. He was 78. 

Throughout his career, he wrote a sweeping array of books, novels, and essays, but regarded himself primarily as a critic and teacher.

He taught undergraduate and graduate courses at UC Berkeley from 1963-1998, … Continue reading »

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Goats swarm across road, stop traffic in Berkeley Hills

Goats still
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A herd of grass-munching goats swarmed across Cyclotron Road in the Berkeley Hills last week on the way to another plant-clearing mission below Blackberry Gate.

The goats are part of Berkeley Lab’s vegetation management plan to trim abundant grasslands and reduce fire hazards.

Read more about animals in Berkeley.

Berkeley Lab posted a video of the goats on the move to its Facebook page on June 12. The video was shot by Lab employee David Stein (while he was apparently listening to KQED radio!). It proved so popular that it has been viewed more than 2 million times on Facebook since then, helped no doubt by the fact that Berkeleyside reposted it to its Facebook page, and it was then picked up by other media, including NBC, CNN and the Huffington Post. (Watch the video below the fold.) … Continue reading »

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Mark Bittman: Berkeley has got a hold on him

Mark Bittman with Saru Jayaraman at Manifesto Café in Los Angeles. Photo: University of California
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Mark Bittman is driving around rural Massachusetts and he’s lost. Then he figures out a shortcut and our phone conversation is back on track. I assume he’s on assignment — after all he has just launched a video series shot around California precisely, he tells me, because he wanted an excuse to get out and about across the state and “talk about food” — but I am told that’s not strictly the case. “My eldest daughter is getting married,” he explains. “Why else would I be in rural Massachusetts?”

The New York Times writer and bestselling cookbook author has been on an assignment of a different nature recently — for the past semester he has been a distinguished visiting fellow at the Berkeley Food Institute at UC Berkeley.

And he has enjoyed his time teaching at Cal and living in North Berkeley so much he has decided to stick around. He says he has committed to staying another year, working at Cal, probably in a couple of different roles “that have university affiliations.” He hasn’t signed on the dotted line yet, so is reluctant to say more. … Continue reading »

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