Tag Archives: West Berkeley

Breaking: West Berkeley Whole Foods to open Nov. 4

An architectural rendering for the West Berkeley Whole Foods. Image: Field Paoli
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Whole Foods Market has announced the opening date for its new West Berkeley location on Gilman Street.

The 47,800-square-foot complex is scheduled to open on Gilman at 10th Street on Nov. 4, the company said Tuesday.

It’s the second Whole Foods location in Berkeley, and the 41st in the region. The company’s other Berkeley store is at Telegraph and Ashby avenues.

In addition to the 31,000-square-foot grocery store, the complex is slated to include a 1,666-square foot coffee roastery and 2,000 square feet of retail offices on site, according to project documents submitted earlier this year.

The grocery store, at 1025 Gilman, is expected to bring 180 to 200 new jobs to the area, said Jen Monaco, store team leader. … Continue reading »

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Rodents, trash prompt city of Berkeley clean-up of homeless camp on Gilman; residents ‘scattered’

Police officers visit the homeless camp on Gilman Street in West Berkeley daily to provide outreach for residents. Photo: Drew Jaffe
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Citing concerns about garbage and rodents, both dead and alive, the city of Berkeley sent in a team to clean up Gilman Street beneath Interstate 80 where homeless people have been living in recent months, city staff said Friday.

At least one advocate for the homeless criticized the effort, saying no one was told in advance about the operation, which dispersed residents and will make it harder to provide important services to them, he said.

City spokesman Matthai Chakko said Friday shortly before noon that the operation to address ongoing sanitation problems on Gilman under the freeway had gone smoothly. He estimated that perhaps a dozen people were on site when the city arrived Friday morning. … Continue reading »

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New affordable housing project headed for Berkeley

This proposed four-story building on San Pablo Avenue, to include 23 units, would be built with money from Berkeley's Housing Trust Fund. Image: HKIT Architects
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A vacant lot in West Berkeley is slated to become an affordable housing complex aimed mostly at people with disabilities after a unanimous vote by the city zoning board last week.

Satellite Affordable Housing Associates (SAHA), a Berkeley-based non-profit housing developer, sought permission from the board July 10 to modify a use permit originally granted to a different property owner in 2007.

SAHA representative Jonathan Astmann told the Zoning Adjustments Board that the project at 2748 San Pablo Ave. (at Grayson Street) would provide 17 rentals for people with disabilities, including three for families with a member who has HIV/AIDS. The project had been approved previously as condominiums.

Read more local real estate and development coverage on Berkeleyside.

The four-story project would have 23 units, unchanged in number from the earlier permit, but requested a reduction in parking spaces — from 27 to 13 — to fit the needs of residents. Astmann said SAHA property residents tend to own fewer vehicles. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeley pair faces felony identity theft charges

Image via Facebook.
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A Berkeley couple facing seven felony counts related to identity theft allegations is set to appear in court Thursday for a pre-trial hearing.

Berkeley police arrested Albert Thomas and Juanita Roles at their southwest Berkeley apartment in the 1200 block of Haskell Street earlier this month after a search warrant turned up identity theft materials, illegal drugs, more than $2,000 in cash and more.

According to court papers, police served the search warrant July 2 at the couple’s home.

The search turned up fake credit cards and checks, at least one stolen check, a card embosser and card encoder, blank card stock and blank check stock, according to court papers.

Police also found crack cocaine packaged for sale, packaging materials, a digital scale and $2,575 in cash. … Continue reading »

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City of Berkeley gives Gilman Street homeless a reprieve

Police officers visit the homeless camp on Gilman Street in West Berkeley daily to provide outreach for residents. Photo: Drew Jaffe
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The city of Berkeley, which had planned to remove the personal possessions of the homeless living on Gilman Street under Interstate 80 on July 15, has backed off its insistence that the homeless encampment is a public nuisance.

City Manager Christine Daniel sent out a memo July 9 saying the city is terminating its public nuisance determination. Berkeley just learned that the East Bay Community Law Center is working with city agencies to find temporary housing for the Gilman homeless. The city wants to give everyone more time to find new arrangements, Daniel said.

Daniel emphasized, however, that the encampment is posing a health hazard and the city’s patience is limited. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Stolen car seen in Berkeley, driver arrested after chase

CHP chase. Photo: Oakland CHP
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A Berkeley man spotted driving a stolen car on the freeway near Gilman Street was arrested Tuesday morning after leading authorities on a high-speed chase, authorities said.

Officer Sean Wilkenfeld, Oakland-area California Highway Patrol spokesman, said 38-year-old Felix Blas was spotted driving a stolen Acura on eastbound Interstate 80 near Gilman Street at 9:05 a.m.

Blas fled in the Acura, which had been reported stolen out of San Pablo, said Wilkenfeld, and a CHP officer pursued him.  … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s soft scoop spot Sketch to close for good

Sketch soft serve cacao nib ice cream with olive oil and sea salt. Photo: lelseyk
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It’s the end of the road for Sketch. The popular soft-serve ice cream shop on Berkeley’s Fourth Street will close its doors for good on Sunday, July 6.

Eric Shelton, co-owner of the store with his wife Ruthie Planar-Shelton, said the reason is purely personal. “It’s a decision we have made as a family,” he said. “We don’t want to sacrifice more time spent with our daughter and any other kids we may have down the road.”

The couple, who both have a fine dining culinary background, opened the current store, their second, at 2080 Fourth St. in the Fourth & U complex two years ago. They opened the original Sketch two blocks north of their current location, also on Fourth Street, in 2004 when Planar-Shelton was pregnant with their daughter Audrey. That store, with its vintage cart outside, was open for five years before the pair closed it in 2009, citing similar reasons to the ones they expressed this week: a desire to put family first. At the time, the store was one of the first small-batch, organic ice cream purveyors in the area. … Continue reading »

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Much loved Berkeley nursery closes doors after 30 years

Dwight Way 2
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Last Saturday, the Yabusaki family shut the doors of the Dwight Way Nursery for the final time after 30 years of serving the Berkeley community. Kenneth Yabusaki made the decision to close the business following the untimely death of his sister Emi Yabusaki from cancer in late April.

The space at 1001 Dwight Way in West Berkeley has been a nursery since before World War II, according to Ken Yabusaki, who said it was owned by Italians until 1946 or 1947, when a pair of Japanese brothers took over. Yabusaki’s parents bought the business from the brothers in 1984. Then Kenneth and Emi began running the nursery together after the death of their father, Frank, from cancer in 1998.

In the last few months, after Emi’s death, Kenneth Yabusaki had been running the nursery with his mother, Tomoko Yabusaki. He has two sons aged 22 and 6 but, he said, the older one wasn’t interested in taking over the nursery. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Wanted man causes major injury wreck on I-80

Image: Google Maps
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A man wanted for weapons violations and kidnapping was arrested in Berkeley on Saturday night after crashing into several vehicles on the highway and sending two people to the hospital.

According to the California Highway Patrol, the agency received a call shortly before 7 p.m. about a “reckless driver in a small red vehicle” on Interstate 80 near Gilman Street in Berkeley.  … Continue reading »

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Berkeley asphalt plant emissions dangerous, say residents

Residents allege that the Lehigh Hanson asphalt plant at 699 Virginia St. in West Berkeley is emitting dangerous fumes. Photo: Charles Siler
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A small group of West Berkeley homeowners gathered at City Hall on Monday this week to submit a Public Record Act request, claiming the Berkeley Asphalt & Ready Mix plant on Virginia Street has been violating its use permit by emitting excessive odors and noise.

The company, owned by Texas-based Lehigh Hanson, operates an asphalt plant at 699 Virginia St. in the Oceanview area. The group of residents, who call themselves Oceanview Neighborhood Action, say the plant is constantly emitting noxious fumes, to the point that they can’t go outside or leave their windows open.

“It smells like sulfur most days, like burnt sand,” said Kate Stepanski, a resident of the neighborhood. “It’s making people sick and it’s a public hazard — it’s irresponsible.”  … Continue reading »

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Fundraiser will help artisans burned out in Berkeley fire

Sign on the outside of the building. Photo: Joshua Goldberg
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By many accounts, the Joshua Tree Artisans’ Collective was a special place to work.

Taking up two floors on a building on Second Street, the collective had individual spaces for woodworkers, metal fabricators, inventors, interior designers, furniture makers and mixed media artists to work. The craftsmen, though, were all free to use the communal hand tools and machines that had been assembled by Joshua Goldberg, some costing thousands of dollars.

“The atmosphere was very collaborative,” said Judith Garland, who runs Red Dog Woodcrafts. “I was the only female woodworker there. Sometimes being a female can be hard, especially in the traditional trades. But everybody was generous with their talent, with information. They are not hoarders. It is not a competitive environment.”

But the collaborative and creative environment created so carefully by Goldberg when he started Joshua Tree Artisans’ Collective in 2005 is no more. A massive six-alarm fire on April 12 in West Berkeley destroyed the group’s building, as well as several others. The fire started accidentally in a space on second street rented by The Wooden Duck, according to fire officials. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Radio problems hamper Berkeley shooting investigation

Police investigate a shooting at La Quinta on June 7. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Update, June 10: The Berkeley Police Department said it was aware of the radio problems Saturday and “immediately contacted the City’s Radio Shop personnel in the Public Works Department to try to identify the cause of the problem and resolve it.”

The city determined that the problems were related to the larger regional network, the East Bay Regional Communications System Authority, of which Berkeley is a part.

According to Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats: “We have learned that the system was impacted by an outside signal, which caused parts of the system to experience radio interference. We have been advised that Alameda County is investigating the situation, which appears to have corrected itself at this time.”

(Berkeley scanner feeds, which are provided by a local resident, are available to the public online.)

Original story, June 9, 10 a.m.: A radio malfunction that garbled communication attempts between Berkeley officers and dispatchers Saturday night made a complex shooting investigation even more challenging, officers said. … Continue reading »

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Crime

2 teens shot at West Berkeley hotel party

Police responded to a shooting at La Quinta on Saturday, June 7. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Update, June 8, 1 a.m. Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats confirmed that two teenage juvenile boys were shot at La Quinta on Saturday night.

She said she could not comment on their injuries due to medical privacy laws, but said the wounds did not appear to be life threatening. Both were taken to a local hospital for treatment.

Police have not located a third gunshot victim, though one initially had been reported. Authorities have asked area hospitals to alert the Berkeley Police Department if they become aware of one. … Continue reading »

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