The Berkeley Wire: 02.12.16

Come, sit a spell and watch the leaves fall by Nancy Rubin. Photo taken Feb. 11, 2106

Come, sit a spell and watch the leaves fall by Nancy Rubin. Photo taken Feb. 11, 2106

Can Berkeley stay Berkeley? (Inside Higher Ed)
Slanted Door restaurateur to open café inside Cal’s Wurster Hall (UCB News)
City Council work session to focus exclusively on housing (CoCo Times)
In ‘Reckonings’ podcast, people fess up to being completely wrong (California)
Ex-con faces multiple felony counts after East Bay hit-run rampage (Mercury News)
Girls’ basketball: Bishop O’Dowd beats BHS with defense (Mercury News)
FBI investigates whether Premier Cru ran a Ponzi scheme (Wine Fraud)
$150M Cal deficit raises questions about athletics (SF Gate)

We wish our readers a happy Presidents’ Day weekend! Barring any breaking news, we will see you back on Tuesday.

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Why are there helicopters over Berkeley? … and other questions Berkeleyside answers every day

A news helicopter flew over the Gill Tract Wednesday. Photo: Ira Serkes
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Where’s that smoke coming from? Why are there helicopters over Berkeley? Why are there cop cars tearing down my street? These are just a few of the types of questions Berkeleyside is asked all the time, sometimes several all at once in a day.

Take just this week — our tiny team reported on a significant fire next door to a veterinary hospital; the pursuit of a dangerous, armed suspect that ended in a dramatic arrest in a Berkeley park; and an assault with a bat that left a man with serious injuries after readers got in touch wanting to know what was going on.

We need your help to provide you with answers. Support us by becoming a Berkeleyside member!

We know you appreciate knowing what’s going on in your city. As Dorothy Hearst put it on Twitter Wednesday:

“Thx @berkeleyside 4 the excellent reporting. I knew where 2 go 4 info when I saw helicopter in the sky this morn.”

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Teen surrenders after baseball bat attack, police standoff

The Grove Park baseball diamond backstop. Image: Google Maps
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A 17-year-old male with a baseball bat who authorities say attacked another male, causing potentially life-threatening injuries, then climbed on top of the Grove Park baseball field backstop, ultimately surrendered to officers who focused on talking him down Friday afternoon.

At about 12:10 p.m., according to scanner traffic reviewed by Berkeleyside, police received a report of an assault at Grove Park, at 1730 Oregon St., in South Berkeley. The teenager had struck another male, whose injuries were severe enough to require transport by ambulance to Highland Hospital, the area’s trauma center.

Officers responded quickly to the park and set up a perimeter. They found the teen with the bat sitting on top of the backstop, at least 12 feet up in the air. He was reported over the scanner to be non-responsive, with the bat beside him.

Police called for a less-lethal weapon to be brought to the park, as well as Tasers from Albany, but made it clear over the scanner that they wanted to talk the teen down using a CIT approach — focused on crisis deescalation and intervention — and a mental health worker, who also was called to the scene.  … Continue reading »

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

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SHOTGUN’S BLAST FESTIVAL Berkeley’s Shotgun Players have launched a new festival, BLAST, with the goal of “exploding the limits of possibility in theater.” The intention is for BLAST to be an annual celebration of difference — a month-long festival of new ideas and visions. “BLAST aims to explode the boundaries of the stage with performances by local and national theater artists. We think life is dynamic, changing, ephemeral, strange, and beautiful. Theater should be too,” says the theater. On Saturday and Sunday you can see My Mind is Like an Open Meadow, by Portland’s Hand2Mouth ensemble. A mixture of lighting, pre-recorded voice, music, dance and scenery, the piece is based on one year’s worth of recordings Erin Leddy made of her fascinating grandmother, actress Sarah Braveman (watch the trailer). BLAST runs through March 6 at the Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby Ave. Free parking in the Ashby BART parking. Tickets: $15 advance/$20 door. Blast Pack tickets available for multiple performances. See full program at Shotgun Players’ website. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Antoinette, Temescal Brewing, Belotti, more

Antoinette_Dining Area-9747
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Openings, closings…

ANTOINETTE BRASSERIE AT CLAREMONT NOW OPEN Last week, we gave you an update on Antoinette, the new brasserie at the Claremont Hotel. The French restaurant, overseen by Michelin-starred Dominique Crenn, with Justin Mauz as executive chef, opened Tuesday. Eater SF has a photo gallery of the revamped former Paragon restaurant and bar. And Inside Scoop has the opening-night menu which leans traditional French — with foie gras and wine-based sauces much in evidence — and pricey. Among the starters: Warm Broccoli Velouté with Sea Urchin and Blood Orange ($18); Sweetbreads with Foie Gras, Dates, Baby Chicory, and Banyuls ($23); and Basil-fed Escargot with Champagne and Hazelnut Chartreuse ($18). Entrées include Coq au Vin with Pinot Noir Braise and Maitake ($29); Schmitz Ranch Prime Strip Steak with Celeriac Dauphinoise and Sauce Bordelaise ($60); Whole Roasted Monkfish Tail with Bouillabaisse, Cous Cous and Vadouven (serves 2-3, $95); and a whole Liberty Farms Rotisserie Duck with Abalone Mushroom, Foie Gras, Chou Rouge and Châteauneuf-du-Pape (serves 3-4, $200). A spokeswoman for the Fairmont Group, owners of the Claremont, said Thursday the team was reworking the menu, so what you see here might change. (The hotel’s other restaurant, the Meritage, offers a more down-to-earth dinner menu.) … Continue reading »

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Ryan Keberle & Catharsis: Is Berkeley Brooklyn west?

Ryan Keberle & Catharsis make their Bay Area debut Tuesday at the Berkeley Arts Festival space. L to r, Camila Meza, Jorge Roeder, Keberle, Eric Doob, Michael Rodriguez
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Scanning the February music listings it seems like Berkeley has become the western-most neighborhood of Brooklyn, with a steady stream of exceptional improvisational ensembles performing in intimate settings.

Last week, the Rez Abbasi Acoustic Quartet played a breathtaking set at the California Jazz Conservatory. On Sunday percussionist Ches Smith returns to the Bay Area with his trio featuring pianist Craig Taborn and violist Mat Maneri for a concert at the Berkeley Arts Festival space, where trombonist Ryan Keberle makes his Bay Area debut as a bandleader with Catharsis on Tuesday (as part of a double bill with Berkeley clarinetist/composer Ben Goldberg‘s group featuring alto saxophonist Kasey Knudsen and drummer Hamir Atwal).

What these three groups have in common, aside from residing in New York City, is that they’ve all forged intensely distinctive group sounds employing unorthodox instrumentation. Smith, who lived in Albany for a decade, earned a graduate degree from Mills and describes formative experiences catching concerts at the lamented downtown Berkeley venue Beanbenders, moves unpredictably between trap set, percussion and vibraphone, giving his compositions a different inflection with each performance. … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 02.11.16

Man and his friend, taken Feb. 8, 2016 from the Berkeley Marina. Photo: Mohan Ajmani

Man and his friend, taken Feb. 8, 2016 from the Berkeley Marina. Photo: Mohan Ajmani

The urgent protest art of the Berkeley political poster workshop (Hyperallergic)
A Look Back: Plane crash in the hills in 1941 (CoCo Times)
UC Berkeley students feel the Bern (Mercury News)
Berkeley enacts stricter mini-dorm regulations (Daily Democrat)
Man withdraws insanity plea in attempted murder case (CoCo Times)
Berkeley considers asking taxpayers for funds to upgrade facilities (CoCo Times)
Soda tax revenue allocation to be discussed in coming months (Daily Cal)
An intentional homeless community (Express)

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Advocates: Berkeley must extend bike lane on Fulton

The existing bike lane on Fulton Street ends at Bancroft Way. Image: Google Maps
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Cycling advocates are pleading with the city to extend a southbound bike lane on Fulton Street, near the Cal campus, following the crash last week that nearly killed a Berkeley mother and doctor.

Bike East Bay has asked the city to paint new bike lanes on two blocks of Fulton, south of Bancroft Way, by May 12, which is Bike to Work Day. Advocates say planning documents approved by officials, as well as recent changes in state law, allow for the extension of the bike lane without much further ado, as long as the political will exists to make the change.

They’ve been trying to get the new lanes painted since last year, when the street was repaved, and say Berkeley’s own bike policies support the concept of painting, or “striping,” bike lanes at the time of repaving.

City spokesman Matthai Chakko said the city is looking into what might be possible on Fulton, but said changing rules at the state level have made the requirements for traffic studies and public review somewhat unclear. He said the city takes the concerns of the advocates seriously, and is working on various efforts to improve cycling safety and infrastructure in Berkeley. … Continue reading »

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UC Berkeley

Chancellor Dirks: Expect ‘painful changes’ at UC Berkeley

A helicopter over campus. Photo: Greg Merritt
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The comprehensive strategic review announced Wednesday by UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks promises to bring significant change to the campus, including staff cuts, academic reorganization, and a more intensive effort to sweat the university’s assets, including real estate.

“Change is difficult for everyone. In universities, change is especially difficult,” Dirks said during a press conference yesterday. “There will be some changes that are painful.”

Read Chancellor Dirks’ statement on the strategic review.

The changes may also, he said, forge a path for other universities.

“We may do some things that are unprecedented,” Dirks said. “We can show the way not just for flagship public universities but many private universities on how to adjust to very different times. Berkeley has led in the past and Berkeley will lead in the future.” … Continue reading »

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Troubles mount for Premier Cru as FBI steps in

In December 2011, John Fox was all smiles as he held large scissors to cut the ribbon for the grand opening of Premier Cru's new retail store at 1011 University Ave. Photo: Premier Cru
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The troubles of John E. Fox, the co-owner of the high-end wine company, Premier Cru, are mounting.

The FBI confirmed Wednesday that it is looking into the company, which filed for bankruptcy on Jan. 8 listing assets of $7 million and liabilities of $70 million.

Read more on the Premier Cru story.

“The FBI is investigating claims of a Ponzi scheme involving the Berkeley wine company Premier Cru,” said spokeswoman Michele Ernst. “It appears there is enough evidence that the FBI has determined an investigation is warranted.”

Ernst is asking anyone with complaints, concerns, or tips to email them at a specially created email address, … Continue reading »

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Big Screen Berkeley: ‘Where to Invade Next’

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We all know what to expect from a Michael Moore film: snark. Though politically pointed and frequently hilarious, Moore’s bad attitude has been offending viewers ever since his groundbreaking boob tube series ‘TV Nation’ aired for a single season in 1994 (who can ever forget the Serbo-Croatian peace process pizza party?).

Now comes Moore’s latest feature, Where to Invade Next (opening at Landmark’s California Theatre on Friday, Feb. 12). Has the enfant terrible of documentary filmmaking toned things down since his last polemic, 2009’s Wall Street takedown Capitalism: A Love Story — or is his passive-aggressive sarcasm still in full flower?

The first five minutes of Where to Invade Next suggest that little to nothing has changed in Moore-land. Beginning with patriotic imagery, martial drumbeats, and a fictional visit to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the film seems intent on repeating themes previously examined in Fahrenheit 9/11. … Continue reading »

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402 Berkeley buildings found to need fixes after launch of inspection program spurred by balcony collapse

What appears to be rotting wood can be seen on the remains of the balcony that collapsed at the Library Gardens Apartments, in Berkeley, on Tuesday, June 16, 2015. Photo: David Yee
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Inspections performed in Berkeley since last year’s deadly balcony collapse at Library Gardens found more than 400 buildings that needed work out of nearly 2,200 with weather-exposed elements, such as balconies, stairways, decks and landings, according to a city report released Wednesday afternoon.

The inspections were part of the city’s response to the Library Gardens tragedy last June, which killed six young people and seriously injured seven others when a fifth-floor balcony broke off a downtown Berkeley apartment building during a birthday celebration.

Council voted in July to require the inspection by Jan. 15, and every following three years, of all weather-exposed exterior elements in properties with at least three units. The city also stiffened requirements about building materials, venting and access to make inspections easier to do and allow for better airflow to elements that could be impacted by water damage and other problems.

Read complete Berkeleyside coverage about the balcony collapse.

The Berkeley City Council is slated to receive an update Feb. 23 about the “Exterior Elevated Elements” (E3) program, which mandates the inspections. … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 02.10.16

Skyline by Alan Mah, taken Feb. 7, 2016

City of Berkeley by Alan Mah, taken Feb. 7, 2016

Is Niki Peters UC’s smartest student? (The Daily Clog)
Forked: Rating eateries on how they treat workers (UCB News)
Sweets shop opens on Shattuck Avenue (Daily Cal)
Inkworks Press 1974-2016 (Express)
Council refers Affordable Housing Action plan for analysis (Daily Cal)
Famed California records store hopes to sell weed as well (SF Gate)
Council discusses potential ballot measures (Daily Cal)
‘Vanishing Ice’ at Brower Center makes bid for action on climate change (KQED Arts)

Berkeleyside published its 11,000th article on Feb. 5th. Do you think we have made a difference in alerting the community to what is happening? If so, please support our site by making an automated monthly donation. 

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Winemakers pick Valentine’s sips and food pairings

Wine and food. Photo Jing:Creative Commons
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With Valentine’s Day coming up, we thought we’d ask some East Bay winemakers for suggestions on what to sip on what many would like us to believe is the most romantic day of the year. We also asked them what food they would pair with their wine selection — and, in a spirt of magnanimity, whether they could suggest a wine from another winery as well as one of their own. At NOSH, we believe every day is a good local wine day, and whether you’re paired up or flying solo Sunday, we hope you’ll take advantage of these recommendations.

Jeff Morgan, proprietor, Covenant Wines, Berkeley

What’s your choice of wine to drink on Valentine’s Day?

Bubbly is de rigueur, of course. And what would you pair it with to eat? It’s no accident that the great 18th-century Italian lover, Casanova, was partial to oysters. He ate his oysters washed down with copious amounts of l’oeil de perdrix — a salmon-hued sparkling wine.

Which one of your wines would you pick, and one from another winery? 

I would drink our Mensch White, which is a light, bright, fresh-tasting Roussane — ideally suited for culinary foreplay (aka appetizers!). If you can’t find any l’oeil de perdrix, a chilled glass of Mensch Roussane would do nicely. … Continue reading »

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