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Tonight’s March for Safe Streets event in South Berkeley cancelled

A Family March for Safe Streets event in South Berkeley originally scheduled for tonight (Sept. 29) in response to several recent incidents of gun violence in the area, has been cancelled.

The announcement was made early this morning in an email from resident and event organizer Heather Marléne Zadig that gave the reasons behind the decision:

Dear fellow concerned community members,

I am deeply saddened to cancel this event based on new information and input from many community leaders and residents. First, it has been just now fully brought to my attention that there is a severe conflict with another, more crucial event in the neighborhood that is actively attempting to solve local community problems, and that this march was drawing needed attention away from that event, which has been planned for quite awhile. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/power-of-faith-2016-together-we-serve-tickets-26692456857

Second, I have received several messages indicating community outrage at the nature and tone of this event, specifically that the event did not overtly focus on the murder victim and other victims of violence, and that it had a focus on public safety, which was construed as being self-serving. This was completely the opposite of my intent. The updated route was chosen to weave through specific sites of recent violence and end at the site of the recent murder. My reasons for not emphasizing the victims in announcements about the event was not at all for a lack of concern, but rather only because of the intended family-and-small-children emphasis on community engagement against the violence. To be clear, I am outraged and sickened as a mother that Ignacio Francis Jr.’s mother had to bury her child, and that the other recent victims—young teenagers—were also in fact children. This is one of many reasons why I wanted to get children involved.

It has become clear from these many messages that to continue with this march would not only upset some members of the community but also cause divisions, which is completely anathema to the goals of the march. In fact, it renders the march entirely pointless. I am devastated that people have felt slighted by what was intended as a positive way to engage residents such as young families and children who may otherwise feel powerless to constructively contribute.

I appreciate the outpouring of support from others, the vast amounts of time people have spent trying to help make this happen, and I hope to achieve the goals of this march in other ways.

The Berkeley Police Department, which had planned to participate in the march, issued the following announcement:

Today’s scheduled Safer Streets March has been cancelled by its organizer, who is guiding concerned community members to consider attending another community event, entitled “Power of Faith 2016 – Together We Serve”, which will be held at the Ed Roberts Campus from 4 PM -7 PM. The march had been scheduled to begin tonight at 5:00pm from the parking lot of the Sweet Adeline Bakeshop.

The Berkeley Police Department stands in support of all efforts to build a safe and caring community. For our part,  extra patrols in the areas affected by violence will remain in place, as we work to ensure that residents are safe in their homes and on the street, and that our Department is committed to strong and safe neighborhoods. Our vigorous investigation into the two homicides and several shootings continues.

Our efforts to engage and inform our community will continue.

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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)

 

UPDATE: From Daniella Thompson of the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association:

2111-2113 University Avenue is not a designated Structure of Merit. This erroneous information, cited by consultant Frederic Knapp in his Historic Outline for the Acheson Block (June 1910), was gleaned from a City of Berkeley document, the Downtown Berkeley Design Guidelines, Appendix, List of Landmark and Significant Buildings, 1994.

Here is the complete list of designated Structures of Merit:http://berkeleyheritage.com/berkeley_landmarks/structures-of-merit.html

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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.