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TBT: The scene of last weekend’s downtown Berkeley fire as it looked in the 1940s

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A downtown fire in Berkeley last weekend damaged a city-designated “structure of merit” at 2111-13 University Ave.

As the photos above, from 1948, and below, from 1946, show, the building (built in in 1911) was once the Varsity Market.

“I’m very glad there are no reported injuries and the fire appeared to be controlled before it spread too extensively on this extremely important historic block,” said Berkeley Voice columnist Steven Finacom of the Berkeley Historical Society and the Berkeley Architectural Association. “As a historic preservationist, I’m concerned that the damaged building not be demolished as a result of this fire. The City of Berkeley has approved a plan to renovate this building and other structures on the block, with restored historic commercial facades, and new apartments built behind. It’s extremely important that this facade be retained and incorporated into that project.”

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Finacom provided the photos of the weekend fire below, as well as the information on the building from the historical designation of the Acheson block.

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(Courtesy Steven Finacom)
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(Courtesy Steven Finacom)
building history. 2111-13 University Avenue
(Courtesy Steven Finacom)

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Four injured in five-vehicle crash on San Pablo Avenue in El Cerrito

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The scene Tuesday afternoon after a multi-vehicle collision on San Pablo Avenue at Moeser Lane in El Cerrito. (Photo courtesy of John Stashik.)

Four people were injured in a multiple-car collision between 4:15 and 4:30 p.m. Aug. 30 on San Pablo Avenue at Moeser Lane in El Cerrito, with one taken by helicopter to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek.

Michael Pigoni, Battalion Chief/Operations for the El Cerrito Fire Department, issued the following statement:

This evening at approximately 4:30 pm, Engine 71, Engine 72 and Battalion 71 were dispatched to a multi-vehicle accident on San Pablo Avenue at Moeser Lane. Initial reports were that there were 5 to 6 cars involved and possible two people trapped. Engine 71 arrived on scene to find multiple cars (5 total) in the south bound lane that were involved. Drivers were still in three of the cars.

A total of five patients were found at the scene, four adults and one infant. Four ambulances and two helicopters were ordered due to the apparent injuries with a landing zone set at Cerrito Vista Park. Engine 72 used their “Jaws of Life” to open the driver’s door of one of the vehicles to extricate the patient. The first patient was removed from the vehicle and transported to Cerrito Vista Park where REACH 3 had landed and was flown to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek. The three other patients were all treated and transported by ground to John Muir Medical Center with serious to critical injuries. The infant was checked out at the scene and was not injured and was released to their family.

At this point in time, the updated condition of the patients is not known.

The photographs below of the accident scene are courtesy of the El Cerrito Fire Department.

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Hercules school invites community to annual flag raising ceremony

The community is invited to watch the annual Hanna Ranch Elementary School flag raising ceremony Sept. 14.
Classes will assemble at 8:45 a.m. in front of the school, 2480 Refugio Valley Road.
The ceremony will open with the “Reveille” bugle call and music to greet attendees, followed by the entrance of the Hercules Police Explorer honor guard and Boy and Girl Scout troop members from the school, the Pledge of Allegiance and singing of “The Star Spangled Banner.”
Presentations will be made by Principal Greg Santiago, student speakers, dignitaries and special guests before the raising of California Gold Ribbon School flag and more bugle calls and ceremonial and patriotic music.

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Berkeley seeking nominees for annual Outstanding Women of Berkeley recognition

Berkeley is seeking nominees for its annual Outstanding Women of Berkeley honors. Nominations are due by Aug. 31. The full announcement from the city:

 

 

NOMINEES SOUGHT FOR ‘2016 OUTSTANDING WOMEN OF BERKELEY’
 
City’s Commission on the Status of Women Seeking Candidates for Annual Honor
 
3 Awards for Individuals, 1 for Organization
Nominations can be submitted in two ways:
1) Visit http://bit.ly/BerkeleyCOSOWAwards to complete an online nomination form on or
before Wednesday, August 31st, or
2) Complete this nomination form, scan and submit electronically to Maritessa Bravo Ares,
Chair at BerkeleyCOSOWAwards@gmail.com on or before Wednesday, August 31,
or mail nomination form to Eric Brennan postmarked by August 31.
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Similar scenario to 1991 Oakland firestorm played out in 1913

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An October fire fanned by high winds and fueled by abundant eucalyptus trees and tall grass sweeps through the Oakland-Berkeley hills and threatens the landmark Claremont Hotel. That describes the events of the disaster known as the Oakland Firestorm of Oct. 19, 1991 that is coming up on its 25th anniversary.

It also sums up a fire that broke out on Oct. 6, 1913 in the Berkeley hills that overwhelmed the young city’s firefighting capability. The Claremont residential district in Berkeley had been established for less than a decade and was still developing. The hotel itself had been under construction for a number of years, stalled at points by financial issues.

“Following an architectural competition, ground was broken in 1906 for the Claremont
Hotel, designed by Charles W. Dickey,” the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association writes on its website. “It was not only to be a glorious destination site, seen from all vistas around the Bay, but it was also to be a large garden park enhancing the environment for the building of beautiful homes.”

According to Historic Hotels of America, “construction was held up — first by the earthquake of 1906 and then subsequently, the Panic of 1907.”

The fire was reported by a resident around noon, the San Francisco Call reported, and Berkeley soon had to seek assistance from Oakland in battling the blaze. (Berkeley’s department had been a full-tme professional company for less than a decade, formed in 1904 after City Hall burned down.) Also assisting were “hundreds of residents.”
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Coverage from the San Francisco Call
of the Oct. 6, 1913 fire that swept
through the hills, a scenario similar
to what happened on Oct. 19, 1991.

The blaze threatened not only the hotel, described by the Call as “one of the largest framed hostelries of the west,” but homes in the fashionable Claremont neighborhood. The fire did not claim the hotel, but did spread unchecked along Tunnel Road through the largely unpopulated hills, “fanned by a high wind” and burning down “trees set out by the People’s Water Company (a forerunner of EBMUD) five years ago.”

The fire burned several hundred acres in the hills, according to the Call account, but no property damage or injuries were reported other than the loss of the trees.

The hills would be much more developed by the time of the 1991 firestorm that claimed 25 lives and destroyed 3,642 homes, with damages estimated at $1.68 billion. Some claimed at the time that resources were diverted to from fighting that fire to prevent its spreading to the Claremont Hotel. Others say that if the fire had reached the Claremont, it would have more easily spread into lower Berkeley and possibly reached the UC Berkeley campus.

The Claremont finally did open in May of 1915, in time to serve tourists to the Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco.

claremont opening 05 03 1915

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San Pablo: Overnight closure on Interstate 80 at San Pablo Dam Road this weekend

damroad closure

Interstate 80 will be closed in both directions from 11 p.m. Aug. 20 to 7 a.m. Aug. 21 for work on the San Pablo Dam Road interchange improvement project.
Temporary detours will be in effect (see the detour map above).
“Now that the roadway deck has been poured for a new pedestrian overcrossing at Riverside
Avenue, which will replace the current overcrossing, these closures will enable crews to remove
the falsework (support structures) that were previously constructed. When complete
later this year, the new overcrossing will extend across Amador Street, enhancing safety for
Riverside Elementary School students and the community.”
Motorists should follow instructions posted on all on-site signage during the closure.
For more details on the closure and the project visit www.ccta.net/sanpablodamroad or call the project hotline at 510-277-0444. Construction updates will be available on Twitter at @i80spdr.

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Berkeley sculptor Tyler James Hoare to give free talk on Sunday

D. Ross Cameron STAFF 9/17/06 Tribune News Local artist Tyler Hoare with his Sopwith Camel biplane sculpture at the Emeryville mud flats Sunday.

D. Ross Cameron STAFF 9/17/06 Tribune News
Local artist Tyler Hoare with his Sopwith Camel biplane sculpture at the Emeryville mud flats Sunday.

Berkeley artist Tyler Hoare will give a talk and show a selection of his sculptures at a free program at 4 p.m. Aug. 14 in the Fabrefaction Gallery at the Compound Gallery, 1145 and 1167 65 St. in Oakland.

Join us for an Artist Talk with Tyler on Sunday, August 14th at 4pm sharp. Snacks and libations will be served 3-6pm. The talk is free and open to the public.

The Compound Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition featuring the work of the esteemed Emeryville mudflat artist, Tyler James Hoare. A collection of masks, sculptures, and historical documentation will be exhibited in our more intimate Fabrefaction Gallery located at 1145 65th st. Oakland, CA. This show is in conjunction with our show Laserbeam Technomania in our Main Gallery next door. Gallery Hours will be Wed-Sun 12-7pm (please go to our Main Gallery at 1167 for entry).

Missouri-born Hoare has been placing sculptures along the Emeryville and Berkeley shoreline for more than half his life. He moved to Berkeley in the 1960s, and was driving past the remains of a pier in 1975 when his artistic muse struck. –SFGate.com

b. 1940. Sculptor and printmaker, Born in Joplin Mo. attended the University of Colorado, the Sculpture Center in New York, the University of Kansas (BFA 1963), and CCAC. He assembled figures in often humorous combinations of found and tooled objects, primarily of wood, coupling a basically cubist style with overtones of Surrealism. Some of Hoare’s pieces occupied the anonymous, grassroots sculpture garden that began to flourish in the mid-1960’s on the mudflats of Emeryville. In the 1970’s he was one of the earliest Bay Area artists to experiment with color xerox as a medium for printmaking. -From Art in The San Francisco Bay Area 1945-1980 by Thomas Albright.

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Richmond police offer ice cream and conversation at downtown event

chill

The Richmond Police Department invites the community to Chill with a Cop from 11am to 1pm Aug. 13 at the Community Green Space downtown at Harbour Way and Macdonald Avenue.
“No agenda, just a delicious scoop of free ice cream (while supplies last) and great conversation with your neighborhood beat officers.”
Beat officers will have crime prevention tips and there will even be free books to take home.
“Already have plans to go to the Rosie Rally? Do that first, then come downtown to celebrate, treat yourself, and Chill with a Cop,” say organizers.

The event is sponsored by Richmond Main Street Initiative, the Richmond Police Department and Lappert’s Ice Cream.

For more details call 510-236-4049 email admin@richmondmainstreet.org or visit www.RichmondMainStreet.org.

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Pacific Coast League baseball reunion event returns Aug. 20

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Opening day ceremony at Oakland Oaks Ball Park in Emeryville during World War II.

The late Dick Dobbins, a Berkeley native and later a high school principal in Contra Costa who died in 1999, was among the foremost collectors and compilers of artifacts from the golden age of baseball’s Pacific Coast League from 1903 until the arrival of Major League Baseball on the West Coast in 1958.
Dobbins, then attending Berkeley High School, rescued records, trophies and other items of the Oakland Oaks after the team departed and its Emeryville ballpark was being torn down in 1956. It became a lifelong passion for Dobbins, and that love is carried on at an annual event named in his honor.
The 22nd annual Northern California Dick Dobbins PCL Player and Family Reunion will be held 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Aug. 20 at Ryan O’Connell Hall, 575 West Estudillo Ave. at San Leandro Boulevard in San Leandro.
The day always includes players and PCL enthusiasts and a program about the history of a league that was good enough that many considered it “the third major league” at its height.
Admission is $25 with lunch (RSVP by Aug. 15) or $8 without.
To reserve a seat send a check made out to PCLHS to PCLHS, 420 Robinson Circle, Placentia, CA 92870. Or call Mark Macrae at 510-538-6245 for more details.

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Pitcher Charlie Gassaway of the Oakland Oaks.

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El Cerrito High grad Ernie Broglio, who pitched for the Oakland Oaks before advancing to the major leagues, is one of the organizers of the annual PCL reunion.