Articles by Pete

  • New Bay Bridge opens, and a safer route to the East Bay

    It’s open: after 12 years of construction, and at a cost of $6.4 billion, the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge carried its first, eager travelers safely over the water last night, at around 10:15 p.m., just under seven hours ahead of schedule.

  • Snapshot: Grégoire Jacquet, owner of Grégoire Restaurant

    Grégoire Jacquet was born in Versailles, France. When he was young, his family moved to the village of Grazay in the Loire Valley. His father spent most of his time away working as a car salesman. A rural upbringing gave Jacquet an appreciation for cooking and food in general. At 14 he went to study cooking at the Maison Familiale et Rurale. After a brief stint at a hotel in the French Alps, Jacquet cooked in Paris for two years. On vacation in the Bay Area, he met Jacky Robert, and with Jacky’s help decided to come and work in the U.S.. He worked at Amelio’s, and at Ritz Carlton hotels in San Francisco, Boston, and Puerto Rico, after which he moved with his wife, Tara, to Berkeley. He opened Grégoire in 2002 with a two-person staff and an ever-changing, local menu. His philosophy is for a simple spot where the chef takes the orders and cooks the food in front of the customers. A second restaurant opened on Piedmont Avenue in 2007. These days, Jacquet says he has found a perfect balance between wanting to please people with his food and being a devoted husband and father of two.

  • Snapshot: Bob and Suzan, Stonemountain & Daughter

    The father/daughter team of Bob and Suzan Steinberg represent third and fourth generations of textile business knowhow. Bob was born in 1933 in Los Angeles and started working for the family textile business at the age of ten. He’s been a “fabric man” ever since. With his 9-year old daughter, in 1967 Bob opened up Bob Steinberg’s Fabric Emporium which specialized in “counter-culture alternative style hippie fabrics.” In 1976 they both moved north to the Monterey Bay area where Bob opened up a fabric store with the intention of taking a classic Jewish immigrant family business (Steinberg and Sons) and modernizing it. With that in mind Stonemountain (Steinberg literally translated from German) & Daughter was born. In 1981 they brought Stonemountain and Daughter to Berkeley. Suzan manages the store with her father, and after 31 years of being in business in Berkeley, they’ve managed to remain one of the few independent merchants in the textile business today with customers in every state of the union.

  • Snapshot: Arlene Blum, scientist, author, climber, activist

    Arlene Blum PhD, biophysical chemist, author, and mountaineer, is a Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley’s Department of Chemistry, and also Executive Director of the Green Science Policy Institute. Blum led the first American­ all-women’s ­ascent of Annapurna I, considered one of the world’s most dangerous and difficult mountains, and is the founder of the annual Berkeley Himalayan Fair. Blum’s current “mountain,” which she considers her life’s most challenging and important, is to change policy worldwide to protect global health and environment from toxic chemicals in consumer products. (For more information, visit the Green Science Policy Institute website.)

  • Snapshot: Angus Powelson, Owner, Oceanworks

    Born in Saranap the youngest of five children, Angus Powelson lived with his parents in the Walnut Creek area until he was 13, when, as he puts it, “sibs went to college, parents went crazy, I went into foster care.” Powelson lived in Richmond, where he attended Richmond High, and then in Berkeley. He dropped out of high school when he turned 18 and started working as a mechanic at his brother’s motorcycle shop, T T Motors. He attended UC Berkeley, briefly flirted with the corporate world, then decided “to do something crazy like start a small business.” Powelson runs Japanese car repair shop Oceanworks, and is active in promoting bicycles as a cleaner and healthier mode of transportation.