News in Brief: Professor Chosen to Judge Martin Luther King Jr. Contest



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A UC Berkeley professor has been selected to help judge a design contest for a memorial honoring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Randy Hester Jr., a landscape architecture professor, was one of nine experts in design and architecture selected by leaders of the MLK Project to decide which entry in an international competition will serve as the Washington, D.C. memorial to the slain civil rights leader.

The contest to design the monument, which will be situated just across from the Jefferson Memorial, has already drawn 1,000 entries, far more than the contest to design the Vietnam War Memorial. The deadline to enter is May 1, and the panel will announce the winner on June 15.

Hester, the son of a poor farmer, grew up on a farm in rural North Carolina. At 20, he moved into a predominantly black community, which he says inspired him to embark on several urban renewal projects during his career.

After several years on the Raleigh City Council, Hester wrote a book arguing that neighborhoods were designed primarily for upper-class whites.

In a statement, Hester said he was honored to serve on the committee, calling it "one of the most flattering honors of my career."

He also said he had been inspired by many of King's writings, particularly his letter from the Birmingham jail.

King was one of the most influential leaders of the U.S. civil rights movement. He was assassinated in Memphis on Jan. 17, 1968.

Animal Shelter Needs Volunteers

The Berkeley Animal Shelter is seeking volunteers to help run a more efficient operation.

The shelter rescues pets who have been abandoned and mistreated, and finds new homes for them.

Several volunteer positions are currently available, including dog-walkers, cat-cuddlers and groomers.

Docents are also needed to provide tours of the shelter, and lost and found volunteers are sought to match up stray animals with their owners.

Additional help is needed for pet adoption interviews, adoption follow-ups and education outreach to teach children how to properly care for their furry friends.

The shelter's volunteer program originated in 1995.

Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and willing to commit a minimum of eight hours a month, and often one day a week.

Interested parties should contact Berkeley's Animal Care Services.

Julia Morgan Center Hosts Concerts

Berkeley's Julia Morgan Center for the Arts is running a concert "marathon of melody," promising one concert for every night in January.

The concerts feature the classical music of Beethoven, Gershwin, Copland and Brahms.

For fans of more contemporary music, musical theater and jazz tunes are also scheduled.

The performers include pianists from as far as England and Spain, and as close as local high schools and universities.

The Julia Morgan Center for the Arts, located on College Avenue, was built in 1908 as the St. John's Presbyterian Church. The 440-seat theatre is noted for its redwood walls.

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