Archive for February, 2010

Vote online for the new Teen Center and help the Berkeley / Albany YMCA make dreams come true!

Posted in BERKELEY on February 23, 2010 by Julie Nachtwey, the Claremont Hills Real Estate Expert

Vote online for the new Teen Center and help the Berkeley / Albany YMCA make dreams come true!  Your vote is tallied each day by the Pepsi Challenge Million $ campaign to “fund good ideas.”  Voting continues through the end of February.  Just six more days…you can do it!  Please Vote everyday… It’s so easy! Thank you.
The new Teen Center in downtown Berkeley will give the YMCA room to expand their programs for teens.  Perhaps their most successful program has been “Y-Scholars.” The vast majority of participants are from low-income families.  Often these students are the first in their family to graduate from high school and go on to college.
My friends Diana Meckfessel and Tom Ratcliff are among members of the Teen Task Force, which includes six adults and eight high school students. So far the Berkeley-Albany YMCA has raised more than $3.5 million towards their goal of $5 million.  Since the task force was formed, more than two years ago, at least 14 teens have worked with city officials, architects, contractors and engineers, to move the project forward. The teens themselves have raised more than $1 million by making presentations to various funds and foundations, as well as individual donors.
The Teen Center is located in Downtown Berkeley, on the corner of MLK and Center, across from the Police Station and Berkeley High. The vacant building was donated to the YMCA by PG&E.  
Gordon Wozniak, City Councilman for District 8, has urged the community in his recent newsletter: “vote” a click a day during Pepsi’s campaign to “fund good ideas.”  Read more by opening the links below or simply vote! Each day through the month of February.  Let’s go for the GOLD!


Posted in NEIGHBORHOOD on February 17, 2010 by Julie Nachtwey, the Claremont Hills Real Estate Expert

Joan Mikkelsen  
Pictures are worth a 1000 words, they say.  This is certainly true of the pictures taken by my creative neighbor Joan Mikkelsen  Joan is a member of our neighborhood cooperative Alvarado Artists.  She also does “family story albums,” photos of a day in the life of a family” placed in a hard-cover album. From one of their art shows, I purchased several of her photographs, now on display in our home.  Joan has a solo collection of her work for sale this month at her favorite bakery!  Stop by Sweet Adeline Bake Shop at corner of Adeline and 63rd  Enjoy!

“I hope my photographs take the viewer to places they long to visit. After visiting and living in Europe and South America, pictures of towers and seasides, lighthouses, cafes and walkways tumble through my head all the time. If I can’t transport myself to those spots at the drop of a hat, at least I can surround myself with beautiful and joy-filled images of them. That is a little bit of romance.” – Joan Mikkelsen

GO BEARS! Men’s Basketball

Posted in BERKELEY on February 16, 2010 by Julie Nachtwey, the Claremont Hills Real Estate Expert

GO BEARS! Men’s Basketball  
“They have a chance of a Pac-10 Championship for the first time in 50 years,” said Richard Scheffler, UC Berkeley Professor of Public Health and CAL Basketball fanatic.



(PHOTO: Fred Nachtwey & Chris Woodward at Squaw Valley, USA)

Two home games remain:

Thurs  Feb 25   6 pm vs. University Arizona Haas Pavilion 
Sat  Feb 27   12 noon vs. Arizona State   Haas Pavilion. “This is key game for CAL,” said Scheffler.
Visit for more information about the away games coming up this Thurs Feb 18 at Oregon State, Corvallis, or Saturday March 6 at Stanford.

Stop and Go

Posted in NEIGHBORHOOD on February 11, 2010 by Julie Nachtwey, the Claremont Hills Real Estate Expert

Life in the Fast Lane

Ann Smulka “talked traffic” at a recent meeting of CENA —

Claremont Elmwood Neighborhood Association 

CENA held its monthly meeting at St. John’s Church on College Avenue in Berkeley. Ann discussed the improvements negotiated as part of the Fourth Bore Tunnel Road / Ashby Avenue settlement.  It is estimated that thousands of cars travel up and down Tunnel Road each day.  This month, some work on the Fourth Bore project has begun but drilling is scheduled after a sound wall is built.  Construction is scheduled to take five years. 

In 2005 Ann helped pull together the Caldecott Tunnel Fourth Bore Coalition with her neighbor, John Eastman, and a half dozen neighborhood groups. Theirs was a joint effort by civic and community groups to promote respect for the environment  These groups included CENA as well as the following:

NHPA North Hills Phoenix Assn


Parkwoods Condos                                                                      

East Bay Bike Coalition

 and Frog Park

Eventually Ann was named District Appointee to the Berkeley Transportation Commission by Gordon Wozniak, City Council Representative for District 8.  Wozniak (center) talks with Berkeley residents after the CENA meeting:  Martha Jones (left), former CENA president and community organizer, and David Morris, owner of Bread Garden Bakery for more than 30 years, now struggling to stay in business

Most people are not aware that there are 44 different commissions and boards in the City of Berkeley.  These are staffed by approximately 350 citizen volunteers, who advise the Berkeley City Council on matters of policy.

Years ago Ann and her husband bought one of my listings, near my own home on Alvarado.  We have been good friends ever since.  I’ve been grateful how much Ann contributes to the community.  She brought to my attention several other immediate neighbors on Alvarado and Vicente who also serve on Berkeley commissions:

     Matt Mitchell – Emergency and Fire Preparedness Commission
     Ann Wagley – Landmark Preservation and Citizen’s Humane Commissions
     Jonathan Wornick – Peace & Justice Commission
     David Joseph-Goteiner – Youth Commission

Here’s the link to the Berkeley commissions web page:  Ann said there are frequent membership changes.   So interested citizens are encouraged to check with the Office of the City Clerk for current information regarding vacancies through the Office of the  City Clerk.  Citizens may submit at any time an application for any commission.  It’s a great way to get involved and make a difference.  General information on the role of each commission, when and where meetings are held, and contact information for the staff secretary may be found by selecting a name from  from the Boards & Commissions page.

What’s in a blanket?

Posted in ROCKRIDGE on February 4, 2010 by Julie Nachtwey, the Claremont Hills Real Estate Expert

What’s in a blanket?  Warmth? Protection? Safety?  Love?  All of the above are woven into blankets by Hiroko Kurihara.  I was fortunate enough to meet Hiroko at a holiday trunk show several years ago.  The blanket cloak I purchased from her has been a favorite of mine ever since.