Tag Archives: West Berkeley

Donkey & Goat workers face wine theft charges

Jared Brandt, who co-owns Donkey & Goat with his wife Tracey, stands by some empty barrels during the 2015 harvest. Three former employees of Donkey & Goat are facing charges in court connected to either the embezzlement or sale of stolen wine. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Two former employees of Donkey & Goat will face charges in court Tuesday that they allegedly embezzled as much as $70,490 worth of wine from the Berkeley winery.

Zachary Gomber and Morgan Hall have been charged with embezzlement and receiving stolen property. A third former employee, Kate Sylvan, faces charges of receiving stolen property.

Police believe the trio was involved with the theft and sale of 138 cases with 1,644 bottles over an extended period of time in 2014, according to court documents.

Gomber and Sylvan, who were boyfriend and girlfriend, were arrested Dec. 23 after Berkeley police did a stakeout and observed the pair loading three cases of wine from Gomber’s Richmond home into a car, according to court documents. Sylvan drove off with the wine and was arrested a few blocks away. Police recovered 33 bottles from her car, worth $1,320, and another seven bottles from under Gomber’s bed at a home on Santa Cruz Avenue in Richmond, according to a police affidavit. The wine was from Donkey & Goat. … Continue reading »

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Pepper spray, less-lethal rounds used in 2 recent arrests

Berkeley Police station. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Berkeley police officers used pepper spray to subdue a mentally ill man, described as belligerent and threatening, who refused to allow himself to be handcuffed, according to a document posted Friday on the city website.

In another recent case, Berkeley police used less-lethal rounds and baton strikes to detain a mentally ill man who advanced on them with a piece of wood, then later tried to escape police custody, authorities reported last week in response to a query from Berkeleyside.

The pepper spray incident took place Aug. 6 on Camelia Street west of San Pablo Avenue after an officer had stopped a man who was “acting violent and causing a disturbance” around 8:30 a.m. The welfare check involved someone possibly affected by mental health issues, and a second officer responded to the scene to assist.

The man’s name was redacted from the report posted on the city website.

According to the report, the officers tried to communicate with the man but he was belligerent and threatening, “saying he would become violent if we approached him.” The man “flexed his chest, shoulder, and arm muscles, and made fists with both his hands.”  … Continue reading »

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West Berkeley now has a coffee roasting incubator

Berkeley Co-Roasting provides everything necessary for small roasters to prepare their beans. Photo courtesy: Berkeley Co-Roasting
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Uptown Kitchen. The Berkeley KitchensPort Kitchens. Kitchener. The East Bay has a growing legion of upstart shared kitchen spaces for small food businesses, but has had little in the way of shared coffee roasting space — until now.

Berkeley Co-Roasting (BCR) is a new shared coffee roasting facility at 2322 Fifth St. Operated by the four-person team of Paul Goldstone, Tim Hansen, Michael Pappas and Floy Andrews, the facility intends to “offer specialty coffee roasters and inviting light-filled and spacious hub for creating, roasting, and processing their artisanal coffee products,” according Andrews, BCR’s business manager. Roasters can lease space by the hour, half day or full day. … Continue reading »

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Motorcycle crash in West Berkeley sends 1 to hospital

A motorcycle crash sent one person to the hospital Tuesday night. Photo: Citizen reporter
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A motorcycle rider was taken to the hospital Tuesday night after police say he collided with a vehicle on University Avenue.

According to authorities, the motorcyclist was traveling westbound on University approaching Acton Street at about 7:35 p.m. when he collided with the passenger side of a sedan that was eastbound on University attempting to turn left onto Acton.

Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats said the motorcyclist suffered serious injuries and was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, where he is still being treated. The driver of the sedan was not injured.

Coats said the department received multiple 911 calls about the crash. … Continue reading »

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How Quirky is Berkeley? A caboose on Fifth Street

Caboose. Photo: John Storey
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There is something about trains that is profoundly American. Thomas Wolfe wrote of “the great trains that cleave through gulch and gully,” of the “great trains that thunder over America.” The image and reality and lore of the railroad are deeply etched in our national cultural fabric, an icon of what Berkeley’s Greil Marcus called the old, weird America. The caboose is a special part of that fabric.

Rob Garross moved form his home in Waukegan, Illinois, to Berkeley in 1980. He bought his house on Fifth Street in 1996. He makes his living buying, rehabilitating, and selling low-priced homes from Joshua Tree to Volcano to Isleton. Berkeley has, shall we say, gotten too pricey for his business model. … Continue reading »

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Urban Adamah to break ground on new farm

Urban Adamah is set to break ground today, Sept. 11, on its new West Berkeley farm. Image: Urban Adamah
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A sustainable agriculture organization with plans for an ambitious urban farm, and a training program for the next generation of farmers, is slated to break ground over the next few days on a project set to cover more than 2 acres of vacant land in West Berkeley.

Urban Adamah, which means “city and earth,” received new permits from Berkeley’s zoning board Thursday night to expand the scope of the project by adding permanent cabins for school groups and other visitors, worker housing and a café to the project site at 1151 Sixth St. The farm is set to be open to the public weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A café and general store selling farm produce will be open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

See the staff report and applicant statement for the project.

The organization, which is open to all but inspired by Jewish beliefs, has been operating at 1050 Parker St. since 2011. The group knew its lease there would end in 2015, and began looking in fall 2012 for property to purchase to continue and expand its work.

In July 2013, Urban Adamah discovered the Sixth Street property, at Harrison Street on the Berkeley-Albany border, and felt it had found its home. … Continue reading »

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Teen charged in shooting at Berkeley party on Carleton

Police handcuffing suspects on the corner of San Pablo Avenue and Derby Street on August 22, 2015. Photo: Dan Lurie
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A Berkeley teenager arrested in August after being found by police with a loaded gun has been charged in connection with a shooting on Carleton Street two days prior to his arrest, authorities said.

Emauj Roos, 18, has been charged by the Alameda County district attorney’s office with five felonies related to the handgun, Teresa Drenick, spokeswoman for the DA’s office, confirmed Tuesday.

According to court papers, Berkeley Police Officer Donovan Edwards responded Monday, Aug. 24, at 7:15 p.m. to Seventh Street and Channing Way in West Berkeley for a report of a suspicious vehicle. Inside the vehicle were Roos, in the backseat, and three juveniles. Roos just turned 18 in August.

Edwards wrote that the vehicle’s driver consented to a search of the silver sedan. During the search, one of the juveniles told Edwards he had a loaded gun in a black backpack.  … Continue reading »

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City Council seeks to move meetings to West Berkeley

The BUSD Headquarters on Bonar Street. Photo: Kaia Diringer
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Update, Sept. 15 The neighborhood meeting has been moved to Sept. 24 because of a scheduling conflict, district spokesman Mark Coplan told Berkeleyside today. Coplan explained by email that “It is a neighborhood meeting like we conduct when there is going to be construction or something that will have an impact on the surrounding area. We are not posting it or encouraging a larger audience so that our neighbors have ample opportunity to discuss the impact.” The district will be posting fliers in the neighborhood, and inviting residents in Daryl Moore and Linda Maio’s districts around the West Campus “to come and share their questions, concerns and expectations with Daryl and Linda, facilitated by the superintendent and board president.” Added Coplan: “The impact of the city’s proposed pilot on our neighbors is the only issue that involves BUSD. Any town hall or larger discussion about the COB’s plans to move their meetings would be conducted by the city.” (See a meeting flier here.)

Original story, Sept. 2 The Berkeley City Council, set to resume its meetings later this month after summer recess, is exploring a potential move to West Berkeley to the Berkeley Unified School District’s meeting room on Bonar Street.

Last week, the School Board considered the request, and voted to hold a town hall meeting Tuesday, Sept. 15, to allow community members to give feedback about the proposal.

Council has been looking for a new meeting space since 2011. Its current meeting space at Old City Hall, the Maudelle Shirek Building at 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, is lacking in a variety of ways.

According to a June 23 staff report, “The physical condition of the building is very dilapidated and poses significant dangers. The capacity of the hall is not adequate to accommodate the public on nights when there is significant interest in agenda items. In addition, the safety of the elevator is precarious, the toilet facilities are not adequate and the sound system makes hearing the meetings very challenging for both the council and the public.” … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: It should be possible to give police the tools they need while preserving Berkeley’s values

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Late last month, Berkeley police officers responded to an armed and highly dangerous individual in South Berkeley who robbed a laundromat and later attacked an older resident near Sacramento Street. This was a high-stakes operation involving a violent and heartless criminal. While the investigation is ongoing, we’re grateful that no neighbors were hurt in the course of the crime.

Unfortunately, despite following city protocol and being transparent with the media and public, Berkeley police officers were still subjected to armchair political commentary simply … Continue reading »

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Medical helicopter lands in Berkeley’s San Pablo Park

A medical helicopter has landed in San Pablo Park to transport a patient. Photo: hfidek
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A medical helicopter landed at West Berkeley’s San Pablo Park on Thursday afternoon to take a patient to UC Davis, according to unconfirmed scanner reports, for care.

The Berkeley Fire Department picked up the patient from Alta Bates Hospital at about 3:10 p.m., and planned to meet the helicopter at the park, according to scanner traffic.

Carolyn Kemp, spokeswoman for the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, said the hospital and Berkeley Fire Department began working together around 3 p.m. “to ensure a helicopter airlift of a patient with a life-threatening and rare medical condition.”

Kemp could not provide additional information due to medical privacy laws.  … Continue reading »

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Berkeley police arrest 3 teens with loaded gun

Berkeley police cruiser (file photo). Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Update, Sept. 9: Emauj Roos has also been charged in connection with a shooting over the prior weekend on Carleton Street. Read more on Berkeleyside.

Original story, Aug. 27: Police arrested three teenagers with a loaded handgun earlier this week after receiving a report about a suspicious vehicle in West Berkeley.

Monday at 7:15 p.m., said Officer Byron White, a Berkeley Police spokesman, the department got an anonymous tip about a vehicle described as suspicious that was parked on Seventh Street near Channing Way.

According to the unknown caller, the people inside the suspicious vehicle were talking about ‘quantities and cost,'” said White in an email. 

Police responded to the scene and detained four people in the vehicle. During the detention, officers found a loaded handgun and “some burglary tools,” said White. The handgun was confiscated as evidence. … Continue reading »

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Bayer explains loud alarm in Berkeley on Monday

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A loud alarm emanating from Bayer HealthCare’s West Berkeley campus concerned many local residents Monday night who wanted to know its cause.

Residents said the alarm went off for more than five minutes Monday, beginning around 9:10 p.m. The facility is located at 800 Dwight Way, and runs along Seventh Street between Dwight Way and Grayson Street.

Local residents described the sound as a siren or air horn, and said they heard it “wailing” for an extended period of time.

Wrote one local resident on Twitter, “Those alarms are disturbing & unintelligible when they relay spoken messages…like adults in Charlie Brown movies,” adding, “I don’t know if they’re tsunami tests, hazmat alerts, or what. I’ve never been able to make out a single word.”

Another local resident said she was “used to hearing it at all hours but it went on wayyy longer than usual this evening.” … Continue reading »

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Berkeley man gets back stolen bike; second still missing

Caio Braga got his bike back about 24 hours after it was stolen. An identical bike is still missing. Photo: Berkeley Police
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A Berkeley man has been reunited with his stolen bike thanks to an alert resident who recognized it in the neighborhood — after seeing a post on social network Nextdoor — but the owner is still hoping to find a second identical bicycle that was also stolen from his home over the weekend.

The theft of both Trek bikes took place sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning in West Berkeley near Strawberry Creek Park. Owner Caio Braga reported the theft online to the Berkeley Police Department, and also posted information and photographs online, on Nextdoor and the Bike Index, a national registry for bike owners.

Monday morning, a man spotted someone cycling through Strawberry Creek Park on the bike, and recognized it from Braga’s Nextdoor post. The man called police to report it, and officers quickly responded. They were able to confirm that the bike belonged to Braga, and returned it to him.

Braga, a 28-year-old designer who moved to Berkeley with his wife four months ago, said he discovered the theft Sunday morning. The bikes had been left on the couple’s Addison Street patio Saturday. They were unlocked.

Braga said, when he first moved to town, he was vigilant about keeping the bikes locked. Over time, however, he said he got lazy about it, because the patio is not visible from the street.

“Always lock your bike,” he said Tuesday. “That’s the biggest lesson learned from that.” … Continue reading »

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