News in Brief

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North Berkeley Man Finds Suspicious Gift Bag

Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.

A North Berkeley resident may have wished he remembered the adage. The resident called police after finding a gift bag near his home on the 1300 block of Neilson Street at 1:30 a.m.

The bag contained nothing more than a ceramic candle stick, said Berkeley police Sgt. Steve Odem.

Nate Tabak covers crime. E-mail him at [email protected]

Nate Tabak

Disability Rights Activist Dies

Cecilia Weeks, longtime disability rights activist, died of bladder cancer on Friday, Nov. 8 at Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley. She was 47.

Weeks, who was quadrapalegic, advocated for disability rights since her move to Berkeley in 1977. She founded Easy Does It Disability Assistance in 1995, an organization that provides emergency health services for the disabled.

She served as the organization's executive director from 1995-98.

"(Weeks) was a premier activist," said City Councilmember Dona Spring, who worked with Weeks since 1976. "She never took 'no' for an answer and dedicated her life to being one of the pioneers in the disability rights movement."

Easy Does It offers services to the disabled, ranging from wheelchair repair, in-home assistance and emergency transportation.

This year, its client base grew to 375 clients.

Weeks' work as an activist catapulted her into national attention during the 1970s.

She participated in a protest against ACT I & II theaters on Center Street for their lack of wheelchair accessibility. More theaters adopted accessible features as a result of her efforts, according to Spring.

Ed O'Neill, Weeks' roommate of 27 years, said Weeks extended her activism beyond disability rights to battle racism and prejudice in all forms.

"She was a fighter," O'Neill said. "She was an artist, a writer and a poet, and she did all this from her wheelchair. She was a shining star."

Weeks is survived by her brother Steven. Her memorial service will be held on Nov. 24 at her Spaldling Street home.

Mahin Ibrahim

Study Places UCSD Above UC Berkeley in Research Impact

UC Berkeley may have some competition for its coveted spot as the nation's premier public research institution.

A recent study has ranked UC San Diego fourth among the nation's universities-two places ahead of UC Berkeley.

Released by the Institute for Scientific Information, the study ranked universities based on the scientific impact made by publications produced at each of the respective schools.

Excellence in clinical medicine, pharmacology and molecular biology propelled UCSD above UC Berkeley.

UCSD's recognition as a scientific powerhouse looks to be a sign of things of to come. The university recently broke ground on a 270,000-square-foot cancer research center.

Harvard University was ranked first. No other UC campus made it into the top 10.

R. Tyler Hillman

New Theme Program Will Join UC Berkeley's Environment

UC Berkeley freshmen will have a chance to immerse themselves in environmental policy issues with the arrival of a new residence hall program next fall, officials said yesterday.

The 20 students expected to enroll in the Global Environmental Theme House program will live at Foothill Student Housing, working closely with faculty from the College of Natural Resources.

"We're trying to train environmental leaders," said John Battles, a professor of forest community ecology, policy and management who will help run the program.

The freshmen will interact with faculty in a variety of settings that range from small seminars to dinners, which will help build stronger relationships, said program chair Allen Goldstein, a biochemistry professor.

"I'm excited about the program because it will integrate faculty with students," Goldstein said.

The program also includes guest speakers, weekend field trips for hands-on experience on environmental issues and specialized advising.

Students in the program will have to enroll in the Global Environmental Theme House freshman seminar each semester and attend weekly meetings and events to fulfill a two- to four-hour weekly commitment to the program.

Global Environmental Theme House is one of six academic theme programs at UC Berkeley.

Sara Zaidi

Memorial Service to Be Held Today for Former Chancellor Tien

A memorial service for the internationally renowned scholar and former UC Berkeley Chancellor Chang-Lin Tien will be held today on campus.

The event will be held from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall. Limited seating is available and will made be available to the public on a first come, first serve basis.

The nation's first Asian American to head a major university, Tien passed away on Oct. 29. He was 67.

In lieu of flowers, the Tien family asks donations be given to the Chang-Lin Tien Center for East Asian Studies.


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