News

The Berkeley Wire: 09.15.14

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Government

The lowdown: Berkeley council on crime, homeless youth, Telegraph Channing merchants, more

Outside the Breathmobile at Malcolm X Elementary School, Oct. 18, 2012. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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The Berkeley City Council meets Tuesday this week, with a special session on the mid-year crime report at 5:30 p.m., and the regular meeting at 7 p.m.

The special session

Berkeleyside covered the basics of the mid-year crime report from the Berkeley Police Department last week for our readers. Indicators were good, with police reporting a 44% reduction in violent crime over the first six months of 2014, as compared to the same period the prior year. Police officials, including Chief Michael Meehan, will walk council through the report, and answer questions on the numbers. See the agenda item here.

The action calendar

The action calendar is quite short Tuesday night, with only two items: a proposal about rental subsidies for homeless transition-age youth; and an item from Councilman Kriss Worthington about rental relief for merchants at the Telegraph Channing Mall. … Continue reading »

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Comal owners settle suit for new Berkeley restaurant

An early rendering of a new restaurant prosed for Ashby Avenue
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lawsuit brought against the City of Berkeley and the owners of Comal restaurant, who plan to open a new restaurant at 2635 Ashby Ave. in the Elmwood neighborhood, has been settled.

A group called the Elmwood Neighborhood Assocation (ENA), concerned that a new upscale restaurant in the area would make traffic and parking unbearable filed a lawsuit in April. This followed a protracted approval process for the restaurant, including a previous appeal.

According to the terms of the settlement, the city has agreed to compile a report on parking in the neighborhood within 12 months of the August settlement — parking difficulties was one of the key issues raised in the suit — and  the restaurant owners will take steps both to advise customers on where to park, and to manage their alcohol consumption. They will close the restaurant to new customers at 10:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and agreed to pay $5,000 in attorney’s fees to Stuart Flashman, who represented ENA.

John Paluska, owner with Andrew Hoffman of Comal, said he hopes to start the build-out of the new restaurant, which is likely to serve Northern Californian cuisine and will have a full bar serving craft cocktails, early next year, and be open by the summer of 2015. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s colony of spotted hyenas closes after 30 years

The colony has donated seven hyenas to the Oakland Zoo, where the animals live in a wooded ravine and enjoy splashing in water. Photo: Oakland Zoo
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Tucked away in the Berkeley Hills is a swath of land where females are in charge and always get first dibs on dinner.

It’s no feminist utopia — just UC Berkeley’s captive colony of spotted hyenas. The noisy animals, whose whoops are audible from the fire trails, have been fixtures at the Field Station for the Study of Behavior, Ecology, and Reproduction for decades. But when the researchers who study them lost their funding, the animals had to start finding new homes. In a couple weeks the colony will shutter for good.

The 30-year project was one of a kind. In 1985, UC Berkeley biologist/psychologist Stephen Glickman, and animal behaviorist Laurence Frank, brought 20 newborn spotted hyenas from the Maasai Mara region of Kenya to Berkeley. What followed was unprecedented research on hormones, reproduction, and social behavior. … Continue reading »

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Photo gallery: A great day out for all at Solano Stroll 2014

Solano Stroll 2014 drummers. Photo: gina g10
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News

8 Berkeley stories that made headlines this week

Western Grebes. Photo: Bob Lewis
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1. Berkeley to look at residential permit parking citywide
2. City of Berkeley may consider ride-sharing rules for companies like Uber, Lyft, Sidecar
3. Robert Reich: “If a soda tax can’t pass in the most progressive city in America, it can’t pass anywhere”
4. Op-ed: Soda kills — we need to vote yes on Measure D
5. Climate change spells trouble for Berkeley birds
6. UC Berkeley prof Joshua Bloom makes earthquake alert kit for … Continue reading »

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Woman jumps out 3rd story window to escape fire

A woman was injured Sept. 13 when she jumped from a third story window to escape a fire that had broken out at 3144 King St.
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A woman who jumped out of an apartment building to escape a fire Saturday morning suffered serious injuries and was transported to a local trauma center, according to officials.

The Berkeley Fire Department responded to a report of a fire at 3144 King Street, between Woolsey and Fairview streets at 9:01 a.m., according to Deputy Fire Chief Avery Webb. The fire erupted in a hallway outside a bedroom on the third floor and created a lot of black smoke, he said.

Two women were inside the bedroom when the fire started, said Webb. One apparently tried to escape by jumping from the window to a tree, but the branch sje landed on broke and she fell three stories to the ground, said Webb. The other woman was rescued by firefighters. … Continue reading »

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News

The Berkeley Wire: 09.12.14

Moonrise. Photos: Jef Poskanzer

Moonrise. Photos: Jef Poskanzer

Police seek help in solving four-year-old Berkeley murder (Co Co Times)
Op-ed: Berkeley and free speech (The Weekly Standard)
New product Nutlock may help deter bike theft in Berkeley (Daily Clog)
Berkeley seeks consultant to develop Telegraph Avenue public art plan (BANG)
Interview: Emiliana Simon-Thomas, UC Berkeley’s happiness guru (Daily Cal)
‘At Berkeley’ review: 4 hours spent studying a university (The Guardian)
Berkeley is talking about sugar and the conversation isn’t sweet (KQED)

Uncharted: The Berkeley Festival of Ideas is two days of provocative thinking, inspiring speakers, workshops, and a big party — all in downtown Berkeley on Oct. 24-25. Read all about it, be part of it, register.

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

Hummingbird. Photo: Steve Napoli
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LIVE OAK PARK’S 100TH BIRTHDAY North Berkeley’s first nature park, Live Oak Park, celebrates its 100th anniversary Saturday afternoon. The Live Oak Park Centennial Celebration and Ice Cream Social will include an old-time BYO community picnic and traditional games like croquet and three-legged races. Wavy Gravy and the Berkeley High Jazz Combo will be there. And, at 2:30 p.m., the 100 Dog March will see dogs and their companions ramble around the park’s perimeter. Everyone is encouraged to wear period costume, or at the very least a straw hat! The Berkeley Art Center is organizing outdoor art activities on the bridge that leads to the Art Center. The Live Oak Park Centennial Celebration is on Saturday Sept. 13, noon to 4 p.m., 1301 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley.
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Uncharted speakers just keep doing extraordinary things

Saru Jayaraman
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One of the thrills about putting together Uncharted: The Berkeley Festival of Ideas 2014 is that our speakers keep doing extraordinary things. It’s hard to keep up. We have Nobelists, Pulitzer winners, and Grammy recipients. And more and more is happening in the run-up to Uncharted on Oct. 24-25!

We just wrote on Berkeleyside about astronomer Josh Bloom‘s $110 earthquake early warning alarm. It’s more than a clever bit of tinkering – it could herald a new era of safety devices for all of our homes.

Tanya Holland has just published her Brown Sugar Kitchen cookbook, with a forward by Berkeley’s Michael Chabon who wrote that Holland and her Oakland restaurant are a way to “ponder the historical spirit of the city or skip straight to the fried chicken.” … Continue reading »

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Local business

Bayer HealthCare may expand in West Berkeley

Bayer HealthCare. Image: Flad Architects
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Bayer HealthCare won unanimous approval Thursday from the city of Berkeley’s zoning board to make significant changes at its West Berkeley campus, on Grayson Street, to prepare it to manufacture a new generation of the company’s recombinant DNA treatments for hemophilia.

Bayer spokeswoman Trina Ostrander said in May that the new 3-story facility would house testing operations — on an existing parking area and empty lot — “for various raw materials and final product” related to the treatments.

Berkeleyside wrote about the project, at 801 Grayson St., west of Seventh Street, in May. The project was approved as part of the consent calendar before the Zoning Adjustments Board on Thursday evening. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley to look at residential permit parking citywide

The city of Berkeley is looking at expanding its permit parking program to ease the crush in residential neighborhoods. Photo: Chris Makarsky
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The Berkeley City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to study whether permit parking might be needed in more residential neighborhoods throughout the city, and whether the cost to buy those permits should increase.

To be included, residents would have to opt in to the program by garnering the support of at least 51% of homes per block face. In addition, a parking survey would need to show that at least 75% of available street parking is occupied at mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Council will set the boundaries but it is residents themselves who will determine which blocks will participate.

Parking in West Berkeley, particularly around Fourth Street and the city Corporation Yard on Allston Way, has been an area of concern for officials, as are blocks near Sacramento Street where many city staff reportedly park.

The city hopes to learn — via a new environmental study — where it might make the most sense to expand the permit parking program. Berkeley currently has 14 permit (RPP) zones in central Berkeley, most of which are near commercial areas. Via the staff report, “The existing RPP zones are bounded roughly on the north by Rose, Hopkins and Eunice Streets; on the east by UC Berkeley; on the south by Woolsey and part of 62nd Street; and on the west by Sacramento and Chestnut Streets.”

Read more about parking and transportation issues in Berkeley.Continue reading »

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Getting old in Berkeley (Old-Time Music, that is)

The Bucking Mules: one of the many bands performing at the Berkeley Old-Time Music Convention which kicks off next Tuesday. Photo: BOTMC
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In Berkeley everyone gets to be old, at least for a few glorious days.

The 11th annual Berkeley Old Time Music Convention, which runs from Tuesday Sept. 16 to Sunday Sept. 21 at venues around the city, presents some of the countries finest folkies, including young players who are finding their own voices in American roots music. The festival opens on Tuesday at the Pacific Film Archive with a screening of the documentaries “Banjo Tails” and “Musical Holdouts,” with both followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers.

With jam sessions, workshops, panel discussions, square dances and the famous Berkeley Farmers’ Market String Band Concert (first place: one bag of rutabaga; second place: two bags of rutabaga), the BOTMC offers many opportunities to experience the music. … Continue reading »

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News

The Berkeley Wire: 09.11.14

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