Tag Archives: West Berkeley


Alameda man charged in West Berkeley shooting

Police responded to West Berkeley for a report of a shooting Saturday. Photo: Tom Price
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An Alameda man has been charged with eight felonies linked to four separate victims from a shooting in West Berkeley near San Pablo Park in August that sent one man to the hospital.

Jamell Tousant, 38, is being held at Santa Rita Jail with a bail of $2.37 million, and is scheduled for an attorney and plea hearing next Wednesday.

According to court papers, Tousant drove to Berkeley on Aug. 15, and stopped in the 2800 block of Mabel Street, near Oregon Street, on the border of San Pablo Park at about 6:40 p.m.

He got out and fired multiple rounds from an assault rifle at a group of four men walking along Mabel, and struck one of them in the leg. A passenger from Tousant’s vehicle also fired at the group, according to police. (The man who was shot was taken to the hospital for treatment, and later was released.)

Two homes were struck by gunfire, as was a vehicle. A witness told police that a white vehicle fled the scene, and was able to pass on the vehicle’s license plate number to authorities. … Continue reading »

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West Berkeley fire causes $100,000 in damage

The Berkeley Fire Department responded to an apartment fire Monday. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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The Berkeley Fire Department responded Monday to an apartment fire on University Avenue that caused $100,000 in damage.

Interim Berkeley Fire Chief Avery Webb said the fire department received a report just before 10:40 a.m. of a water-flow alarm from the fire suppression system at 1122 University, just east of San Pablo Avenue.

The city dispatched a single-alarm assignment for a possible structure fire.

When firefighters got to the 5-story building — four stories of residential over ground-floor commercial — they found light smoke on the fourth floor, and water flowing from under an apartment door.  … Continue reading »

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How Quirky is Berkeley? Olivia Hunter’s Butterfly House

Olivia Hunter. Photo: Colleen Neff
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Olivia Hunter is a retired hairstylist who grew up at 1140 Bancroft Way, at the corner of Curtis Street. She remembers a happy childhood filled with family (her grandparents lived next door on Bancroft), the overflowing hippie scene of Berkeley, and the excitement and fun of Black Panther Party community-based programs.

When her mother died, Olivia inherited her childhood home. She had told her mother of her dream of a purple house on the corner, an idea which did not sit well with her mother. After her mother’s death, neighbors would remind Hunter that her mother had not wanted the house painted purple. The compromise? Violet trim, pink accents and a swarm of butterflies, dragonflies, owls and peacocks on the house exterior. … Continue reading »

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Crash in West Berkeley sends pedestrian to Highland

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A male pedestrian was taken to Highland Hospital with major injuries Friday after being struck by a vehicle on the Gilman Street off-ramp from westbound Interstate 80.

The California Highway Patrol said the man’s name is not being released “due to the severity” of his injuries, and “until he is medically stable.”

According to the CHP, officers were dispatched just before 7:30 p.m. to a possible traffic collision on the off-ramp.

Officers found a vehicle and a pedestrian when they arrived.

“The pedestrian sustained major injuries to the head and was attended to by the Albany Fire Department,” then taken to Highland Hospital in Oakland for treatment.

According to the preliminary investigation, a 64-year-old Vallejo man driving a 2011 Kia Sorento was traveling on the off-ramp when, “for an unknown reason, the pedestrian walked into the … lane directly into the path of the Kia.” … Continue reading »

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Motorcyclist dies after crash on I-80 in Berkeley

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Update, Nov. 6: The motorcycle rider was identified as 44-year-old Kelly Wayne Dew of Benicia. His cause of death was blunt injuries, according to the Alameda County coroner’s office.

Original story, Oct. 23, 1:45 p.m. A man on a motorcycle died Friday morning after running into a minivan on Interstate 80 in Berkeley, the California Highway Patrol has reported.

According to the Oakland CHP, officers responded at about 9:15 a.m. for a report of a traffic collision on westbound I-80 near Ashby Avenue.

Officers found a collision involving a 2015 Ducati Diavel motorcycle and a 2010 Honda Odyssey minivan. The motorcyclist sustained major injuries and Berkeley Fire Department paramedics performed CPR on the scene, then took the motorcyclist to Highland Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The Alameda County coroner’s office said the man’s name was not yet available as of 1:30 p.m. Friday. Berkeleyside will update this post if the name becomes available. … Continue reading »

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2 stabbings on Telegraph; gunshots on Mabel

Berkeley Police cruisers on Telegraph, March 2014. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Update, Oct. 19, 3:30 p.m. Police said they later determined both stabbings on Telegraph were related to the same street fight, as reported Monday by the Daily Cal.

Original story, Oct. 17, 1:44 a.m. Berkeley Police officers had a busy night Friday, including two stabbings on Telegraph Avenue, and a call about gunshots on Mabel Street.

Berkeley Police Lt. Alyson Hart said neither of the stabbing victims appeared to have life-threatening injuries, and neither were cooperating with investigators. The stabbings did not initially appear to be related, but the investigation is ongoing.

At about 11:30 p.m., officers were called to Telegraph and Durant avenues, outside Pappy’s bar, for a report of an adult male stabbing victim. He was taken to the hospital for medical care. … Continue reading »

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Historic senior housing complex gets overhaul

Strawberry Creek Lodge. Photo: Nicholas Bruno
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A 150-unit affordable senior housing complex in West Berkeley has announced a celebration later this month to show off extensive renovations to improve its seismic safety and add environmentally friendly features, according to a statement released Wednesday.

Strawberry Creek Lodge, at 1320 Addison St. (near Acton Street), was built in 1962. The $15 million project to refinance and remodel the facility began 16 months ago. A “grand re-opening” is set for later this month, on Oct. 28.

Read more about affordable housing in Berkeley.

The facility includes a mix of 120 studio units and 30 one-bedroom apartments. Also on site are amenities such as a movie theater, library and computer lab, recreation rooms, an art room, a dining area, bike storage and a lounge.

Satellite Affordable Housing Associates (SAHA) manages the apartments, and coordinates the services on site.

Continue reading »

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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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