Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Global Exchange logoGLOBAL EXCHANGE REORGANIZED The Global Exchange on the corner of Russell Street and College Avenue recently reorganized its interior to make the store feel more open and better showcase the artwork on sale. The bulky display pieces were taken out to open up floor and wall space, according to lead sales associate Lauren Matley. While it used to feel “cozy, like a marketplace,” the space is now “happy and light,” said Matley. The inventory is also more modern, with less emphasis on tribal crafts. Global Exchange, an international human rights organization “dedicated to promoting social, economic and environmental justice around the world,” has two stores in the Bay Area. The San Francisco store opened in 1989 and the College Avenue store opened in 1991. Both places sell crafts made by artisans from around the world. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Asphalt: New technology will reduce odors

Berkeley Asphalt plant on Virginia St. Photo: Mary Flaherty
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Berkeley Asphalt plans to invest in a new manufacturing process designed to reduce emissions and odors in its West Berkeley neighborhood starting in January, officials announced recently.

Its neighbors have complained about the noise, odors, and pollution from the plant for at least 20 years, most recently in June when a group questioned whether the plant has been violating its use permit with excess odors and noise.

What the company has decided to do is convert to a new technology called “warm-mix” asphalt, which produces paving material at a lower temperature than traditional asphalt, yet performs as well on the road and releases fewer pollutants into the air, according to company officials. The decision was the result of negotiations between the company and city staff that began last year.

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West Berkeley Philz Coffee: Now officially open

West Berkeley Philz on Gilman Street. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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West Berkeley’s Gilman Street commercial corridor is getting busy, with Whole Foods Market set to open in November, and a new Philz Coffee outlet officially opening today, July 29.

Philz, at 1313 Ninth St., held a soft opening celebration Monday, and gave away free cookies and coffee to attendees from noon to 4 p.m. It’s the second Philz location in Berkeley, joining the Shattuck Avenue Philz in the Gourmet Ghetto, which opened in 2010.

Philz founder Phil Jaber was in attendance Monday, along with his son, Philz CEO Jacob Jaber, and many other members of the Philz team. Dozens of friends, supporters and other community members stopped by for a sip and a bite, and to check out the new shop throughout the afternoon. … Continue reading »

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CHP offers free safe driving course for teens

The California Highway Patrol wants to teach young drivers how to be safer on the road. Photo: Carissa Rogers
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For teenagers in America, getting a driver’s license is a crucial rite of passage into young adulthood. But for their parents, it is yet another source of anxiety, and for good reason. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, traffic accidents are the leading cause of death among teenagers. That is why the California Highway Patrol offers Start Smart, a free program providing lessons on safe driving for teens.

Sean Wilkenfeld is the Oakland-area CHP spokesman and a local Start Smart instructor. Once a month, he invites teenagers and their parents to come into the CHP’s Oakland office for a two-hour session on safe driving.

The list of topics he covers is extensive and includes instruction on collision avoidance, the dangers of distracted driving, seatbelt use, how to check tire pressure and the differences between parent and teenage licenses. Most important about the course, though, is the dialogue it creates between teens and police officers, according to Wilkenfeld.

“What it boils down to is the chance for teens to interact with a police officer, ask questions that they may have heard theories about, and get the real answers,” Wilkenfeld said. … Continue reading »

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The Berkeley Wire: 07.28.14

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Tuolumne Camp vs Echo Lake camp: veterans compare

Photo: Mary Flaherty
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After the Berkeley Tuolumne Camp was destroyed in the August 2013 Rim Fire, the city created a “new” family camp at its Echo Lake camp. Families who had spent summers up near Yosemite have had to adjust to the new camp high in the Sierra Nevada mountains. How do the camps compare?

Berkeleyside contributor Mary Flaherty returned recently, and, for the most part, liked the new location.

“I really wasn’t sure whether I wanted to go to Berkeley’s Echo Lake Camp when I signed up,” said Flaherty. “My family had attended Tuolumne Camp for seven years and loved it more every year. We were heartbroken when it burned. Our experience at Echo Lake Camp was very different from Tuolumne – and yet the same in so many ways. “Out of body experience” my daughter called it, as we arrived in camp. I did miss the Tuolumne River a lot – but the incredible view helped make up for that. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeleyside Blotter: Crime in Berkeley, July 17-23

Selected calls for service to the Berkeley Police, via CrimeMapping.com. (Scroll down for maps of burglaries, auto burglaries and auto thefts.) Click the map for the full list. See the map key here.
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This is a partial list of recent crime in Berkeley, compiled by Berkeleyside, and based on reports to the Berkeley Police Department unless otherwise noted. See recent Berkeley crime blotters here.

The following items represent just a sampling of calls, and times may be approximate. From July 17-23, there were 12 burglary reports29 auto break-in or theft from a vehicle reports, and 14 stolen vehicle reports to the Berkeley Police Department, according to CrimeMapping.comThree robberies10 assaults, domestic violence incidents or batteries and two felony sexual assaults were reported. Significant incidents from the University of California Police Department included two burglaries and two vehicle thefts. These numbers are subject to change. Click the previous links for the most current information.

[Editor's Note: We always appreciate photographs and tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at tips@berkeleyside.com or via Facebook or Twitter; please let us know when you write if you prefer to be anonymous.] 

Thursday, July 17

A robbery was reported at 4 a.m. at University Avenue and Bonar Street.

Someone reportedly brandished a weapon at 4:20 p.m. in the 1900 block of San Pablo Avenue.  … Continue reading »

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Development may come to Spenger’s lot in Berkeley

Archeologists from Archeo-Tek, Inc. of Oakland excavated a site at 1900 Fourth St. in the winter of 2014 to look for evidence of the Berkeley shellmound's existence. Photo: Archeo-Tek, Inc.
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After months of poking, prodding, sifting and examining soil, an archeological dig beneath the parking lot across from Spenger’s restaurant on Fourth Street found no evidence it had ever been home to a Native American shellmound.

The findings that the site was not historically important means the owners will seek to develop it.

“Investigators found no historically significant remnants of the West Berkeley Shellmound within the parking lot grounds and have concluded to near certainty that none exist within the property,” says a report on the findings by archeologist Allen Pastron and his team from Archeo-Tec Inc., an Oakland-based firm. The dig team included an Ohlone Indian observer, Andrew Galvan. … Continue reading »

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Soccer mania hits Berkeley, as do crowds, traffic

Around 62,000 people watched Inter Milan beat Real Madrid at Memorial Stadium on Saturday. Photo: Julia Flynn Siler
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Soccer mania hit Berkeley on Saturday when Real Madrid played Inter Milan at Cal Memorial Stadium, in a game that drew more than 62,000 spectators. Inter Milan and Real Madrid tied 1-1. Then, after regulation time, Inter Milan won 3-2 in a penalty shootout.

The game practically paralyzed the streets of Berkeley as fans tried to make their way to the stadium. Traffic came to a standstill all over town on major arteries like College, Claremont, Ashby and University avenues. … Continue reading »

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6 Berkeley stories you won’t want to miss

Photo: Elaine Miller Bond
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1. Butterflies galore in the East Bay hills
2. All you ever wanted to know about the Berkeley downtown initiative 
3. Park advocates disappointed there won’t be bond measure on November ballot
4. ‘Paleo Diet’ restaurant to open in North Berkeley
5. Whole Foods to open in West Berkeley in November
6. Popular beer garden poses challenges for neighbors

Do you rely on Berkeleyside for your local news? You can support … Continue reading »

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News

The Berkeley Wire: 07.25.14

Way Back by Ned Fielden. Taken on July 14, 2014

Way Back by Ned Fielden. Taken on July 14, 2014

Homeless encampment along railroad tracks prompts concerns (Daily Cal)
Filmmaker’s look at apartheid premiers at Jewish Film Festival (SF Chronicle)
Family keeps searching for Cal student 6 weeks after he goes missing (Sacto Bee)
SF Mime Troupe plays Live Oak Park this weekend (SFMT)
UCPD enforces illegal lodging, curfew rules on campus (Daily Cal)

Get the latest Berkeley news in your inbox with Berkeleyside’s free Daily Briefing. And make sure to bookmark Berkeleyside’s pages on Facebook and Twitter. You don’t need an account on those sites to view important information.

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Nature’s Express closed; may re-open next week

Nature's Express on Solano Avenue is set to re-open Saturday. Photo: Nature's Express
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Popular North Berkeley restaurant Nature’s Express closed this week unexpectedly, with promises to re-open soon, leaving many nearby residents wondering what had taken place.

According to management, the vegan and vegetarian eatery at 1823 Solano Ave. has faced “abysmal” financial struggles and had to make changes, including staff reductions, to survive.

But former employees — many of whom quit in solidarity after several other staffers were let go — have launched a campaign to raise money as they look for new jobs, and to raise alarm bells about what they say are the negative business practices of new management. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley parks advocates push back after council drops bond from November ballot

The Berkeley rose garden pergola needs major repairs and has been closed to park visitors since April. Photo: Daniel Parks
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The public dismay was palpable last month when the Berkeley City Council decided, in a surprise move, to put a parks tax before voters this fall without a related bond measure that would have infused parks and pools around the city with much-needed cash, reversing an earlier vote on the items.

The $1.7 million parks tax, if approved by voters, would essentially maintain the status quo for maintenance and staffing needs, and cost the owner of an average-size home an additional $43 a year. (That same homeowner already pays about $240 a year for the existing parks tax.)

Had it gone to voters, the proposed $20 million parks bond could have helped re-open Willard Pool, improve the King and West Campus pools, put millions toward Aquatic Park, James Kenney Park and the much-loved rose garden, and repair tennis courts and ballfields around the city, in addition to addressing other significant needs. (See a financial breakdown of several possible iterations of the bond and tax proposal.)

The city estimated that the joint bond and tax measure would have added just $15 more than the tax alone to the bill for owners of an average Berkeley home, defined by the city as 1,900 square feet. … Continue reading »

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Events

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

Octopus kites at the Berkeley Kite Festival. Photo:
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KITE FESTIVAL The 29th annual Berkeley Kite Fest will take place Saturday and Sunday in César Chavez Park. The free festival will feature kite making and flying lessons, as well as food and craft activities. A traditional Japanese kite-flying team will also be there to showcase their technique. The festival begins at 10 a.m. each day and continues until 6 p.m. Parking in the Berkeley Marina will cost $15. Parking space is limited and the Berkeley Police Department encourages you to take public transit to the event. … Continue reading »

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