Tag Archives: Willard Middle School


Berkeley Police announce 2 more child abduction attempts; new vehicle description

Willard Middle School. Photo: Nancy Rubin
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Authorities have released an updated vehicle description and more information about five child abduction attempts in Berkeley over the past month, including two that had not previously been reported.

Berkeley Police Officer Byron White, a department spokesman, said investigators believe the most recent incident, on Sunday evening, involved a black full-size cargo van, without side or back windows. A man described as Hispanic, 20 to 30 years old, with dark hair and a mustache, tried to convince three girls to get into his van at about 6:10 p.m.

In the initial report about that incident, police said they believed the involved vehicle was an older model, dark green or blue mini-van with tinted windows. After additional interviews with witnesses and victims, authorities have updated the description, said White.

White said police have learned about another attempt that day, in the same location about 15 minutes prior, involving a middle-school-aged girl. The vehicle and suspect description were the same as reported by the trio a short time later.

The other three incidents all took place Sept. 18 as children walked to Willard Middle School, at 2425 Stuart St., between Telegraph Avenue and Regent Street, between 8 and 8:30 a.m. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley schools on alert after 2 abduction attempts

Willard Middle School
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Berkeley schools, and the local school community, are on alert after reports of two separate attempted abductions Friday morning as students made their way to classes at Willard Middle School on 2425 Stuart St.

This morning, just before school, two BUSD students were approached by a male individual in a dark green minivan near the corner of Telegraph Avenue and Oregon Street, very close to the school, according to Pasquale Scuderi, BUSD Deputy Superintendent. Scuderi sent an email to the school community at around 12:20 p.m. today.

The man tried to convince the two students to get into his van. The students refused, and continued walking, according to Berkeley police. The man then pulled up to them and once again told them to get into the van. The students declined and then made their way to the Willard Middle School campus, and notified staff who in turn called the Berkeley Police, according to Scuderi. … Continue reading »

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The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

The oldest house in Elmwood Park, according to BAHA whose Spring Tour is on Sunday May 3. Photo: BAHA
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BAHA SPRING TOUR/ELMWOOD Sunday brings the always popular Spring Tour of the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association. This year, the tour is centered on the storied Elmwood Park neighborhood. A total of 11 homes will be open to the public for the $45 ticket price ($35 for BAHA members). Stroll through houses designed by Bernard Maybeck, Julia Morgan, Walter H. Ratcliff, Jr., John Hudson Thomas, Maury I. Diggs, William Porter, and Charles M. MacGregor among others. A 1905 sales brochure for the then new Elmwood Park area depicted bucolic wooded lanes and the promise of a soon-to-be-established Key Route line to the future Claremont Hotel, according to BAHA. A tour map, illustrated guidebook and refreshments are provided. Order your tickets online and collect them at Will Call (in front of John Muir School) on tour day. BAHA Sprint Tour, Sunday May 3, 1-5 p.m. Details on the BAHA website.  … Continue reading »

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Berkeley police detain man after reported hammer attack

Berkeley Police on scene at Oregon Street where they detained a man who was allegedly involved in a hammer attack. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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Berkeley police detained a man after he was allegedly involved in an assault using a hammer Tuesday afternoon at around 4 p.m. in Berkeley’s Southside neighborhood.

Because the suspect fled from the original scene, officers set up a perimeter that stretched from Telegraph Avenue between Stuart and Oregon streets to Regent Street, according to police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats.

Willard Middle School on Stuart Street was put on lockdown for a short time during the incident. … Continue reading »

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At community forum in Berkeley, W. Kamau Bell and Elmwood Café launch ‘implicit bias’ training initiative

Kamau Bell Elmwood Cafe forum Photo: Pete Rosos
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At a community forum held in the wake of a well-publicized accusation of racism at a Berkeley café, a new initiative was announced to help train local businesses in handling implicit bias.

An estimated 300 people turned up to Willard Middle School Friday night to take part in the public discussion prompted by the incident which happened when comedian W. Kamau Bell and his wife, Melissa Hudson Bell, were at the Elmwood Café on Jan. 26 this year.

The comedian, who is African-American, made public on his blog how he was asked to leave the café on College Avenue while he was talking to his wife and her friends, who are all white, at an outdoor table.

After he read Bell’s blog post, Michael Pearce, the owner of the Elmwood Café and a social justice activist, reached out to the Bells and they agreed a public conversation would be a way to turn a negative experience into a teaching opportunity. Their goal was to achieve a broader understanding of racial issues, in particular the implicit bias that can explain micro-aggressions inflicted on people of color. … Continue reading »

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Jake Silverstein, new editor of New York Times Magazine: ‘The East Bay shaped my view of the world’

Jake Silverstein: the recently appointed editor of the New York Times Magazine grew up in the East Bay
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In March 2014, Jake Silverstein was tapped for one of the top jobs in journalism: the editorship of the New York Times Magazine. A 1993 graduate of Berkeley High School, Silverstein, 39, has deep roots — and a deep affinity — for Berkeley. Surprisingly, he didn’t write for the Berkeley High Jacket, but he did pen stories for the high school’s literary magazine and acted with an independent theater group. His first real professional journalism piece was an East Bay Express story on Ed Gong, the famed piano mover.

Silverstein is a poet, author of the 2010 fiction/non-fiction hybrid book, Nothing Happened and Then it Did: A Chronicle in Fact and Fiction, and a barbecue lover. His deep love of long-form narrative nonfiction took him from the Big Bend Sentinel in Marfa, Texas to the editorship of the Texas Monthly which was nominated under his stewardship for 12 National Magazine Awards. It won four, including one for general excellence.

He grew up in an intellectual family in Oakland. Silverstein’s mother, Marsha Silverstein, is a psychotherapist in Berkeley who also works with the Ann Martin Center. His father, Murray Silverstein, is a poet and an architect with the Berkeley firm JSWD Architects. He is also the co-author of numerous books, including Dorms at Berkeley: An Environmental Analysis and Patterns of Home: The Ten Essentials of Enduring Design. (Silverstein used his father’s business address to get into Berkeley High.)

Silverstein was in Berkeley recently to give the keynote address at The Latest in Longform: The Berkeley Narrative Journalism Conference 2014. For many of the journalists in the room, there was one overriding question: will Silverstein’s West Coast upbringing (and his years in Texas, another sort of western frontier) give a different spin to the Gray Lady? … Continue reading »

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Andy Samberg, Lonely Island, return to Berkeley High

Lonely Island pose next to the utility box painted with their portrait outside Berkeley High School on xxx. Photo: Mark Coplan/BUSD
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Berkeley High alumni Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer (aka, comedy group The Lonely Island) returned to Berkeley High School a week ago Sunday to shoot footage for a project that aims to chronicle their lives in Berkeley.

The three TV personalities, who met at Willard Middle School and moved on to Berkeley High in the 1990s, worked together on Saturday Night Live for eight years.

After they left SNL, Samberg made several movies and is currently starring in the award-winning show Brooklyn Nine-Nine, now in its second season. … Continue reading »

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The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

Berkeley Half Marathon organizers are expecting 10,000 runners to participate this year. Photo: berkeleyhalf.com
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HALF MARATHON Running out of ideas for things to do this weekend? Spend Sunday, Nov. 9, in your sneakers. It’s the second annual Berkeley Half Marathon, which takes racers through the Cal campus, Gourmet Ghetto, Fourth Street shopping area, and along the beautiful Bay Trail. If the 13.1-mile journey sounds daunting, participant can opt to run a more reasonable 5 kilometers instead. The race starts (8 a.m.) and ends (12:30 p.m.) at Civic Center Park at 2151 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Registration costs $25-$115, and supports Cal Athletics and the Berkeley Public Schools Fund; last year’s event brought in $30,000. Non-runners may want to check out the list of street closures. … Continue reading »

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Josephine: Creating home-cooked meals, community

Josephine founders Tal Safran (left) and Charley Wang. Photo: Julie Hotz
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On Thursday evenings, a black clapboard sign sits outside Terry Betts’ West Berkeley home. A steady trickle of people stops by to fill their own containers with Greek-style chicken cooked with honey, cinnamon, tomatoes and garbanzo beans, rice pilaf and a cucumber salad on the side.

While there, they can choose from a few add-ons, like home-made granola, fresh juices and a plum cake for dessert. Some sit around the living room and chat for awhile before leaving.

Betts is a talented home cook who is making additional income each week through Josephine, a new start-up offering home-cooked meals for sale. On another night, she offered Vietnamese tamarind chicken with rice noodles, and on another, it was Polish stuffed cabbage. … Continue reading »

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Police activity puts Willard Middle School on lockdown

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Willard Middle School in Berkeley was on temporary lockdown this afternoon due to a police search in the area.

At 1 p.m., Berkeley Police received a call about a suspicious person on a property in the 2700 block of Regent Street, police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats said.

She continued: “The initial call was suspicious persons, who appeared to be prowling or casing a residence. An officer arrived in the area and observed an attempted burglary into a residence. The officer attempted to detain them and they fled on foot.

“Officers established a perimeter and conducted a yard to yard search. … Continue reading »

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Bites: What’s new in East Bay food, XXVII

The Star, an extension of San Francisco's Little Star, is coming to Oakland. Photo: The Star
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THE STAR ON GRAND Deep-dish pizza spot Little Star — which started in San Francisco but also has a location in Albany on Solano Avenue — is opening a new outpost, The Star, at 3425 Grand Ave. in Oakland any day now. The menu will be similar to that of its other locations, but with a few twists — like its East Bay-inspired pizza, The Tilden, which combines zucchini, feta, tomato and pesto on a thin crust. Meatballs and sandwiches will be added to the menu, and owner Jon Guhl says he has discontinued the use of high fructose corn syrup and GMO products at all locations. We tipped you about The Star in January, but owners are waiting on a liquor license and have had to push back the opening date. They haven’t made any promises, but according to SF Eater, they may open as soon as this weekend.  … Continue reading »

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Willard names new principal, Thousand Oaks on hunt

Debbie Dean
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Debbie Dean has been named as the new Principal at Berkeley’s Willard Middle School. Dean replaces Robert Ithurburn who is leaving to take up a new post.

The decision was announced at the BUSD Board meeting on Wednesday night.

Dean has been Assistant Principal at Redwood Middle School in Napa for the past five years. Before that, she was an assistant principal and school social worker in the Oakland Unified School District. She lives in Berkeley and is the parent of a student at Thousand Oaks Elementary School

In a statement read by BUSD Board Chair Karen Hemphill at the board meeting, Dean was described as being “well organized” and bringing “a wealth of administrative, teaching and cultural experiences.” She “communicates well with a wide range of individuals, listens carefully, possesses an innovative mind, assumes responsibility, demonstrates a high level of energy, possesses a willingness to learn, is very approachable and knows the secondary education territory, particularly middle school, well. … Continue reading »

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Learning to write, one edit at a time

Coaches from WriterCoach Connection help more than 2,000 students in 10 schools throughout the East Bay
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By Mollie Hart

Andrea didn’t make eye contact with her writing coach right away. The 8th grader from Berkeley’s King Middle School brought out her rough draft of “An Open Letter to the Adults of our Country,” and started to read out loud, but kept her face turned away from the woman sitting next to her in the school’s designated “coaching” room.

“What did you think of the assignment?” the coach asked.

“It was okay,” said Andrea, without much enthusiasm.

Despite the young girl’s shy demeanor, the coach forged on. Soon the pair was talking about Andrea’s thesis statement, her conclusion, and how the American Revolution figured into the piece. … Continue reading »

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