Tag Archives: West Berkeley

Second West Berkeley human remains discovery prompts call to re-examine shellmound boundaries

Andrew Galvan, a Cocheyno Ohlone, points to a mural on Fourth street of pre-contact natives in ceremonial dress for dances. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Workers building new stores and a beer garden at 1919 Fourth St. on April 27 found a second set of ancient human remains, leading the Peace and Justice Commission to call for a stop on construction. The discovery followed closely on the unearthing of what appeared to be “pre-contact” Indian remains in the same area on March 29 while working on the redevelopment of Spenger’s Fish Grotto and adjoining parcels.

The discovery of the remains across the street from the boundary of the West Berkeley Shellmound has also prompted Councilwoman Linda Maio to suggest that Berkeley take another look at the shellmound boundaries, which were established in 2000. Maio intends to ask the city manager to take up the matter. … Continue reading »

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Real estate

91 units over underground parking proposed on San Pablo

2100 San Pablo Ave. could one day look like this. Image: RGArchitecture
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Spirit Residential is planning to build 91 new apartments over an underground parking garage on San Pablo Avenue just south of Addison Street in West Berkeley.

A U-Haul rental outlet used to operate there but is no longer in business, according to a U-Haul rep reached by phone.

“The project will include demolition of two small existing buildings previously used as a U-Haul truck rental facility, which was forced to close after extensive City of Berkeley enforcement actions due to neighborhood impacts,” according to project materials.

See more real estate news on Berkeleyside.

The 5-story 2100 San Pablo Ave. project — just south of the Mi Tierra Foods market on Addison — was submitted to the city Feb. 16 by Mark Rhoades, who is representing San Anselmo-based Spirit Residential.

Four ground-floor live-work units and three retail and café spaces, which could be combined into one, will have four stories of apartments overhead. Rhoades said the project is unique for how far it is slated to be set back from nearby neighbors, from 40 to 60 feet away in most areas. The setback is often an area of contention during the permitting process. … Continue reading »

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How I became a docent for burrowing owls. What a hoot!

Burrowing owl in Cesar Chavez Park in Feb. 2016. Photo: Miya Lucas
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By Rubi Abrams

Newly retired from a fulfilling career as a community college librarian last year, I was ready to plunge into as many birding activities as I could schedule. Birding-related travel, classes, meetups, speaker series, feeder watch, bird counts – the more the better, and most sponsored by Golden Gate Audubon Society. But I was also eager to use my professional skills. I was itching to be a citizen scientist, to have a “conservation conversation” in my community.

Read more (and see photos) on burrowing owls.

Remembering the delightful young adult novel Hoot by Carl Hiaasen, I was inspired to get involved with the GGAS Burrowing Owl docent project. In the novel two young boys embark on a campaign to save the burrowing owl colony in their Florida town from real-estate developers. Although not threatened by local developers, our local burrowing owl populations have declined steeply, and they are currently a federally listed Species of Management Concern and Species of Special Concern in California due to habitat disruption. Though protected, there is still plenty to do in educating the public about these delightful creatures. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley preview sheds new light on Gilman roundabouts

Members of the public got a look Wednesday night at plans to build two roundabouts at Gilman and Interstate 80. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Early plans to build two large roundabouts at Interstate 80 and Gilman Street in Berkeley were on display for the public Wednesday night at the North Berkeley Senior Center.

The project — with an estimated $24 million construction cost — is slated to be complete in 2022, a representative told the dozens of attendees who perused information stations set up around the room.

“This is an area that has a lot of concerns with it,” David Early, principal at Berkeley-based community planning firm Placeworks, told the crowd. “It’s quite a ‘wild west’ kind of scene.”

Scroll down to see a simulation of the proposed circulation.

By the numbers, the problem is stark. Crash data presented Wednesday, from 2011-2013, showed significantly higher than average numbers of injury or fatal collisions, particularly on the north side of Gilman. On the west side off-ramp, those numbers were 80% higher than the state average. On the east side on-ramp, they were a whopping 177% above the state average.

South of the freeway, they were about 30% above the state average at both the on- and off-ramps.

The project involves the two roundabouts on either side of I-80, new sidewalks under the freeway, and a pedestrian and bike bridge similar to the one at Aquatic Park. Perhaps the most controversial elements of the project — in addition to the roundabouts themselves — are the location of the bike bridge, which makes a fairly large detour south before bringing users back up to Gilman, as well as plans to cut off access from Gilman to the frontage road on the east side of the freeway.  … Continue reading »

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After latest shooting, neighbors talk public safety

The corner of Delaware and San Pablo, the site of three shootings in recent years. Photo: Emily Dugdale.
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“How much is too much?”

The question lingered in the air as folding chairs were put away following what was described as an “action plan” meeting Saturday convened by Berkeley Councilwoman Linda Maio held at the Adult School in West Berkeley. Long-time residents joined young families, as well as a representative from the Berkeley Police Department, to discuss potential neighborhood changes following the March 15 shooting of a 28-year-old man on the corner of Delaware and San Pablo Avenue outside of Bing’s Liquors.

“I know you feel the same way I do,” Maio told an agitated crowd of approximately 40 neighbors who shared accounts of witnessing substance abuse, public defection and “sleaze” centered on a small strip of bustling San Pablo Avenue. “This is not new,” she said.

March’s incident marks the third shooting in the area in as many years. In February 2013, Zontee Jones, 34, was shot in broad daylight on Delaware Street and San Pablo Avenue. Six months later, on the other side of San Pablo at Delaware, Dustin Bynum, 24, was shot at close range in front of Bing’s Liquors. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Suspected DUI motorist crashes into Berkeley marina

Car into Berkeley Marina. Photo: Nancy Schimmelman
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Authorities worked to beat the tide Sunday to remove a vehicle that crashed Saturday night into the Berkeley Marina and began leaking fluids into the water.

Berkeley Police Lt. Andrew Rateaver said crews responded to the marina after a vehicle left the roadway, where University Avenue and Marina Boulevard split, shortly before midnight.

Scroll down for updates and dramatic photos.

Officers threw emergency flotation devices into the water to help the driver, a passenger and a citizen responder get off the fully submerged vehicle, he said.

All three were taken to the hospital for treatment but were expected to survive. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Police: Berkeley double stabbing was unprovoked

Police were called to the 1000 block of University Avenue, near 10th Street, for a double stabbing early Tuesday. Image: Google Maps
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The 33-year-old Berkeley man arrested after a double stabbing in a University Avenue apartment earlier this week told authorities he “should have killed everyone there,” according to court papers.

Tristan Chaix was arrested at the scene, near University and 10th Street, and charged Thursday by the Alameda County district attorney’s office with two felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon identified as a knife. He was on probation at the time of the attack for assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury following a September 2015 conviction.

According to court papers, Chaix was in a home on University “when unprovoked he went into the kitchen” and got three kitchen knives, then “began to attack the people inside that apartment.”

He stabbed two men before the victims managed “to knock the knives out of his hands,” police wrote. Two of the four people in the apartment were taken to the hospital for medical treatment.

“Chaix stated at the scene he should have killed everyone there,” according to police. Victims told police that, had they not been able to disarm Chaix “they would have been murdered.” … Continue reading »

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Crime

Man charged in Berkeley shooting faces 3rd strike

Ali Griffin. Photo: American Sex Offenders
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Update, March 31: Councilwoman Linda Maio’s office has organized a meeting Saturday, April 2, at the Berkeley Adult School to discuss the violence: “The third shooting in just a few years at San Pablo and Delaware is a third too many. It is time for more concerted action.” See the meeting flier.

Original story, March 24: The Berkeley man who surrendered to police last week after a shooting outside Bing’s liquor store has been charged with assault with a gun and is set to enter a plea Friday.

Ali Griffin, 40, is being held with a bail of $480,000 at Santa Rita Jail.

According to court papers, he was at Bing’s last week Tuesday, March 15, when he got into an argument with two other men.

“Griffin punched one of the men and brandished a firearm,” police wrote, then began to leave the area. One of the men followed him “from a distance” on Delaware Street.

Police said Griffin then fired one round at the man and hit him in the back.

Griffin fled to his home on 10th Street, authorities said. Police recovered a casing at the scene.

According to court papers, a witness identified Griffin as the man with the gun, and video shows the altercation that preceded the shooting. Police recovered a handgun and ammunition at Griffin’s home during the service of a search warrant. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Man arrested after double stabbing in West Berkeley

Police were called to the 1000 block of University Avenue, near 10th Street, for a double stabbing early Tuesday. Image: Google Maps
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A man authorities said appeared to be under the influence of alcohol is reported to have stabbed two acquaintances at a West Berkeley home early Tuesday morning, but they are expected to survive.

Both victims were taken to the hospital with what appeared to be knife wounds. The man was also taken to the hospital for evaluation, authorities said, before he was arrested.

Berkeley Police Sgt. Angela Hawk said the victims’ injuries did not appear to be life-threatening. Few details were available due to the early stage of the investigation, but she said it appeared the man and his victims knew each other. His name was not yet available as of about 4 a.m.

Shortly before 1:40 a.m police were called about the stabbing at a second-floor unit in the 1000 block of University Avenue, west of San Pablo Avenue near 10th Street. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Man, 40, turns himself in after Berkeley shooting

Berkeley police detectives arrive on the the scene of a shooting at Delaware Street and San Pablo Avenue, in Berkeley, on Tuesday, March 15, 2016. Photo: David Yee ©2016
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Update, March 31: Councilwoman Linda Maio’s office has organized a meeting Saturday, April 2, at the Berkeley Adult School to discuss the violence: “The third shooting in just a few years at San Pablo and Delaware is a third too many. It is time for more concerted action.” See the meeting flier.

Original story, March 16: A 40-year-old man walked into the Berkeley Police Department on Wednesday and turned himself in following a shooting on San Pablo Avenue on Tuesday morning that left a 28-year-old man in critical condition.

Authorities had sought a search warrant Tuesday in connection with their investigation following the shooting outside Bing’s liquor store, on Delaware Street and San Pablo, at about 11:30 a.m. They later sought a Ramey warrant — an arrest warrant signed by a judge rather than the district attorney’s office — in connection with their suspect in the case.

Police announced the arrest shortly after 5 p.m. in a Nixle alert. Authorities said the man went into the police department just before 12:45 p.m. and surrendered.

According to Alameda County sheriff’s department records online, the man has been identified as 40-year-old Ali Griffin, a copy consultant. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Update: Man arrested after Berkeley shooting

A police officer guides a family back home as police continue to search for a gunman in the area, in Berkeley, on Tuesday, March 25, 2016. Photo: David Yee
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Update, March 31: Councilwoman Linda Maio’s office has organized a meeting Saturday, April 2, at the Berkeley Adult School to discuss the violence: “The third shooting in just a few years at San Pablo and Delaware is a third too many. It is time for more concerted action.” See the meeting flier.

Original story, March 15: Berkeley police have responded to a shooting on Delaware Street and San Pablo Avenue with one confirmed victim, authorities report.

Around 11:30 a.m., police got numerous calls about shots fired in that location, said Sgt. Andrew Frankel, Berkeley Police spokesman.

Scroll down for live updates.

First responders found one man injured at the scene. His condition was unknown as of publication time.

The suspect was last seen westbound on Delaware.  … Continue reading »

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Critics question impacts of ‘Spenger’s parking lot’ project on Berkeley Fourth Street, Ohlone heritage

A rendering of what 1900 Fourth St. may one day look like. Image: TCA Architects
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Berkeley community and zoning board members had a chance Thursday to weigh in on what the environmental impact report for a large mixed-use project planned for 1900 Fourth St. should focus on.

The “Spenger’s parking lot” project has been in the works for years, with efforts ramping up in 2014 when project reps said they found no evidence at the site of a Native American shellmound created in West Berkeley by the Ohlone Indians.

Members of the public who came to share their views about the project March 10 with the city’s Zoning Adjustments Board said they were not convinced by that assertion. Some said the land where the parking lot is now should be purchased by the city and turned into a park to honor the history and culture of the Ohlone. The property at 1900 Fourth is a city landmark, dating back to 2000, within the potential boundaries of the West Berkeley shellmound. The exact location of the shellmound is unknown and has been a matter of much debate.

Other speakers Thursday questioned the scale of the project, and how it will fit in with the surrounding neighborhood, as well as traffic impacts, air quality and liquefaction. The lot is bordered by Fourth Street, Hearst Avenue, University Avenue and the railroad tracks running east of Interstate 80.

A sprawling complex is planned at 1900 Fourth, across from the historic Spenger’s restaurant, set to reach up to 5 stories, with 135 apartments and a 372-space parking garage open to both residents and the public. The project’s approximately 207,600 square feet are slated to include about 33,000 square feet of retail and restaurant uses. The property is owned by Ruegg and Ellsworth, a real estate group that co-owns the parking lot with the Spenger family, which sold its Fresh Fish Grotto years ago. Robert Ellsworth, a Berkeley native, is co-owner of Ruegg and Ellsworth. The developer of the project is BHV CenterStreet Properties based in Danville.

(A video “fly through” of the project, created by the architect and set to music, appears below.) … Continue reading »

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Police

BPD: Driver in stalled RV escaped to safety before train hit

Photo: Citizen reporter
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Authorities responded to West Berkeley on Thursday evening after an Amtrak train struck an RV that had stalled on the tracks near Bancroft Way and Fourth Street.

One person, who was able to get out of the RV before it was hit by the train, was taken to the hospital with serious injuries after being struck by debris from the crash, police said.

Scroll to the bottom to see photos of the RV on Friday.

Reports about the crash began coming into Berkeleyside at 6:12 p.m. One reader on Twitter described “Multiple police cars flying west on University.” Another described “Lots of action on Bancroft and Fourth,” including the Berkeley Police and Fire departments.

Police confirmed on Twitter at 6:35 p.m. that a train had struck a vehicle.  … Continue reading »

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