Berkeley Briefs

David Scharfenberg
Tuesday July 22, 2003

Public Hearing Set  

For 3045 Shattuck 


A lengthy battle over a Shattuck Avenue house that has been jacked up two stories to allow a pair of new floors below may come to a resolution Thursday night in a public hearing before the Zoning Adjustments Board. 

Neighbors say the 3045 Shattuck Ave. project, which would include both housing and commercial uses, is out of character with the area. They have also taken developer Christina Sun to task for providing “incomplete information” on a building permit application—an error that led the city’s Planning Department to halt construction on the project weeks ago. 

The board will decide whether Sun violated the zoning code by placing false information on the application. If the board rules against Sun, it could declare the project a public nuisance and order the developer to start from scratch with a full public hearing on the matter. 

The meeting will start at 7 p.m. at Old City Hall, 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. 


—David Scharfenberg 



Media Scholarships 

For Latino Students 


Bay Area Latino students interested in journalism will now have the chance to make their aspirations a reality in this year’s La Raza Media Education Fund scholarship contest. 

The La Raza Fund will award $1,000 and $2,000 scholarships to Latino students who demonstrate financial need, potential for success, scholastic achievement, community involvement and commitment to increasing Latino access to the media. The fund will also offer a variety of paid internships 

that will allow qualified students to work with media professionals. 

The La Raza Media Scholarship Committee was formed in 1975 to increase the number of Latinos in broadcast and print media. In 1996, the committee became the La Raza Media Educational Fund, a donor-advised, nonprofit philanthropic organization based in San Francisco. 

Interested students can download an application from www.hccac.com/laraza or call (510) 881-0757. Deadline for applications is August 22. 

—Megan Greenwell 



Girls’ Basketball  

Succeeds in Nationals 


The East Bay Xplosion, a 14-year-old girls’ basketball team, took third place in the national finals last week in Clarksville, Tenn. 

The team is made up of girls from around the East Bay, including four from St. Mary’s College High School in Berkeley. They won four of their six warm-up tournaments prior to the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) National Championships in Tennessee, with both defeats coming against older teams. The Xplosion ranked 13th nationally in their division going into the championships. They beat all but two of a field of 85 teams to finish third in the country on Friday night. Xplosion beat the fourth-ranked Connecticut Shamrocks 70-63 on Friday to earn a trip to the tournament’s Final Four. 

In that evening’s game, Xplosion was beaten by Georgia Magic, 81-60, which earned them the third place award. Georgia Magic went on to win the competition. 

“Georgia was a great team,” said parent Bradley Johnson. “We’re thrilled with this result.” 

With this year’s third place win, Xplosion coach Sean Dulan is showing the beginning of a dynasty for the East Bay team. Last year, the 14-year-olds won the AAU Championships, and many of those players are now stars at high schools around the area. 

A younger group of Xplosion players, the 12-and-unders, finished their season last week with a seventh-place award at the AAU Championships. 


—Megan Greenwell 



Berkeley Canines  

Set World Record 


The Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society now boasts the world’s greatest number of well-trained dogs—or at least, the best coordinated group of canines. 

Earlier this month, at the annual Bay to Barkers dog walk and festival at the Berkeley Marina, 87 dogs managed to stay in a down position for two full minutes, earning the event the designation of the World’s Largest Simultaneous Dog Down-Stay, smashing the previous record of 76 dogs held by the Waltham Center for Pet Nutrition in Great Britain. 

The record attempt, which required participants to sit or lie on the ground for two minutes, was the brainchild of Humane Society training manager Nancy Frensly, who organized much of the Bay to Barkers event.  

After trying a smaller down-stay at a previous year’s Bay to Barkers, Frensly decided to aim for 100 dogs this year. She fielded a group of 103 dogs to attempt the feat. Out of that group, 87 dogs made it. 

“One dog failing did not make the effort fail,” Frensly said. “They count the number of dogs who stay. It was amazing that with the huge number of distractions the dogs were so well-trained that they would stay in position.” 

Frensly plans to submit the results of the event to the Guinness Book of World Records for certification, a process that requires witness affidavits, photographs and the presence of a licensed veterinarian. Assuming Guinness deems the process legal, the Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society will go into the record books—until someone manages to get an 88th dog to stay in a down position. 

“This may become a yearly thing,” Frensly said with a laugh. “In a few years we may be going for 1,000 dogs.”  


—Megan Greenwell 



Meeting Held On 

Community Policing 


More than 100 residents turned out Thursday night for the first of four town meetings on community policing, Odom said. 

After an apparent border feud erupted last month between drug dealers in North Oakland and South Berkeley, some neighbors criticized police for what they deemed inadequate community policing. 

Odom said the department has remained committed to community policing in recent years, but has seen large turnover in the department and in the neighborhood.  

“We have younger officers, we have new people in the community,” he said. “So some are starting from ground zero.” 

The “town hall” meetings, he said, are part of an effort to re-energize community policing. 

The department has not yet finalized dates, times and locations for the next three forums, but Odom said the next session will probably take place in West Berkeley or North Berkeley. 

—David Scharfenberg