The dramatic central staircase in the Helios Building, which will open next month. We previewed the building earlier this week. Photo: Tracey Taylor

A still-unexplained scare evacuated much of Berkeley’s Public Safety Building yesterday, after an envelope was opened containing a white powder. Berkeley and Alameda County firefighters with hazmat training established that the powder was food paste, and not deadly anthrax. Berkeley’s police department was one of four in the East Bay to receive the anonymous envelopes yesterday. Police and the FBI have launched a criminal investigation.

Berkeley City Council was unanimous in opposition to plans for an expanded Safeway at the intersection of Claremont and College — in Oakland. The issue came up at Tuesday’s City Council because of Safeway’s offer of funds to mitigate potential traffic impacts of the development. The Safeway project will be considered by Oakland’s Planning Commission on July 25. The staff report has just been issued.

The tragic death of Israeli neuroscientist Shlomo Bentin in a bicycle accident highlighted once again the quality of Berkeley’s street pavements. Two measures on November’s ballot will provide funds for improving streets.

Want a classic Berkeley brown shingle house for $1? Two are for sale — strings attached.

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Lance Knobel (Berkeleyside co-founder) has been a journalist for nearly 40 years. Much of his career was in business journalism. He was editor-in-chief of both Management Today, the leading business magazine...