Bill Gaebler, BHS swimming and water polo coach, stands next to the freshmen girl’s water polo team at a meet. Photo: Marilee Enge
Bill Gaebler, BHS swimming and water polo coach, stands next to the freshmen girl’s water polo team at a meet. Photo: Marilee Enge

This was another newsy week with stories about a serious issue with the Berkeley High pool, somber revelations about a spate of killings across Berkeley and Oakland, and news that Berkeley confiscated and threw away the possessions of eight homeless people.

Berkeleyside broke the news in September that the city’s Health Department shut the Berkeley High School pool because of a chemical imbalance — the second time the pool had been shuttered in two years. Student swimmers and water polo players lost body hair and felt irritation to their eyes because of an out-of -whack pH balance. Berkeleyside filed a Public Records Request with the Berkeley Unified School District and discovered a long history of problems and lax maintenance. Now the district plans to take responsibility of the pool away from the high school.

The deadly rivalries between Oakland and Berkeley men were revealed in an Alameda County courtroom this week during the testimony of a number of witnesses who discussed the anger and callousness behind a number  of murders. Oakland resident Darnell Williams Jr has been charged with murdering two people in separate incidents: Anthony “Lil Tone” Medearis during a dice game in Berkeley on Sept. 8 and 8-year-old Alaysha Carradine at a slumber party in Oakland on July 17. Williams’ seven-year old nephew testified against him during a preliminary hearing and revealed that both his mother and uncle allegedly told him not to talk to police. The woman who drove Williams from the scene of the shooting, Laquana Nuño, who has also been charged with Medearis’ murder, testitifed that Medearis was killed because William’s believed he was a snitch. Williams and a second defendant, Joseph Carroll Jr., allegedly shot Carradine because they were looking for Antiown Ramon York, 25, of Pittsburg , whom they believed had killed their friend and relative Jermaine Davis in Berkeley in July. Police on Tuesday arrested York on suspicion of the murder of Davis.

On Dec 26, the city of Berkeley picked up and tossed the belongings of at least eight homeless people who had left about 13 shopping carts on Eastshore Freeway and Gilman.

Lots of breaking news this week too: British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver visited Alice Waters and the Edible Schoolyard, a fire on Shattuck displaced eight people, and LeConte Elementary School was briefly locked down after a gun was fired nearby during an attempted robbery.

Berkeleyside also introduced a dedicated obituaries page.

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Frances Dinkelspiel, Berkeleyside and CItyside co-founder, is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman...