News in Brief: Viagra Belonging to Landlord Found in Apartment



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Berkeley police confirmed yesterday the discovery of a bottle of the prescription drug Viagra made out to Berkeley landlord Lakireddy Bali Reddy.

Reddy, 62, has been charged with illegally importing three Indian girls into the United States, whom authorities allege he sexually molested.

The Viagra bottle was found in an apartment at 2020 Bancroft Way where the three girls lived, Berkeley police Capt. Bobby Miller said yesterday.

"It was part of the property of the apartment," Miller said.

One of the girls who lived in the Bancroft Way apartment was 17-year-old Sitha Vemireddy, who died from carbon monoxide poisoning in November. Vemireddy's death prompted authorities to begin investigating Reddy.

Law enforcement officials have alleged that a man who looked like Reddy was seen transporting Vemireddy's body into a car.

Miller said police are still investigating the incident.

He also added that Reddy has not yet been charged with molestation.

"I don't know when the district attorney is going to decide he's going to issue state charges," Miller said.

-Gregory Wesley

Superintendent Withdraws From Selection Process

Berkeley Superintendent of Schools Jack McLaughlin announced yesterday that he did not want to be considered for the position of superintendent of the Oakland School District.

McLaughlin's name had been mentioned as a possible candidate for the troubled school district's top position.

But McLaughlin said in a statement that he could not provide the district with the attention it needs at this time.

"Oakland needs someone immediately to begin dealing with a number of pressing issues," he said.

v McLaughlin expressed his support for another East Bay superintendent who is being considered for the position - Dennis Chaconas, who currently heads the Alameda Unified School District.

McLaughlin has served as Berkeley's superintendent since 1994.

Community

Members Confront Transportation

Concerns

City and university representatives met with community members yesterday evening to discuss the future of transportation in two of the city's most-trafficked areas.

The meeting, held on Bancroft Way, was the first information-gathering session of the Transportation Demand Management Study, which is conducted jointly by the city and UC Berkeley. The study will focus on downtown Berkeley and Southside.

"This is not about ‘Do this to this street and that to that street,' it's about what to achieve overall," Berkeley Transportation Planner Nathan Landau said yesterday.

Some of the specific concerns addressed included reducing the negative visual impact of parking structures and planning long-term parking for commuters.

"We're going to propose some broad goals and objectives for transportation in the study area and get people's feedback," he said.

The ultimate aims of the study include considering the quality of life in Southside as well as the impact of education and retail on transportation plans, Landau added.

The study assumes that measures passed in the City Council calling for the increased bicycle network will be implemented. It will consider what the design tools might be and what a bicycle boulevard should look like, Landau said.

-Russell Feldman

Benefactors Donate Artworks to Museum

The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive was selected to receive a major gift of contemporary artwork from the renowned collection of Peter and Eileen Norton, the museum announced last week.

The Nortons are donating nearly 1,000 works of art to 29 museums, consisting mostly of college and university galleries. The art museum will receive 41 of these works.

"It's a great honor to have been included in this generous gift from the Norton collection," museum director Kevin Consey said in a statement. "The UC Berkeley Art Museum is renowned for its strong commitment to contemporary art, and to the exhibition of artists who might not otherwise be exhibited in major art museums."

The majority of the donations are the work of younger artists whom the Nortons feel embody socially meaningful ideas in visually exciting forms, according to the statement. Among the artworks donated to the university museum are pieces by Chris Finley, Paul McCarthy, Melissa Pokorny, Linda Hudson and Meg Cranston.

"(The gift) broadens our collection of contemporary California artists," spokesperson Rod Macneil said yesterday.

-Jon Krauss

Program to Help Train Future Teachers

The Principal Leadership Institute at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Education began accepting applications yesterday for the program's first summer class.

The program, created in response to Gov. Gray Davis's education initiative, is designed to place graduates with previous teaching experience in urban K-5 schools in administrative positions, according to a university statement.

Eugene Garcia, dean of the Graduate School of Education, said teachers must have taught full time for three years to qualify for the program. Participants will receive a master's degree in education and a recommendation for a California Tier I Administrative Services Credential.

Those accepted need to commit to work four years in an urban district and will receive a full scholarship covering UC Berkeley fees for the program.

"This program gives teachers the chance to earn their credential to become educational leaders, and they can do this while going to school in the evenings and in the summer," Garcia said in the statement.

Intruder Steals Clothing From Dorm

Several articles of clothing were taken from a residence hall Saturday evening, police said yesterday.

The intruder went into a room in building 12 of the Clark Kerr dormitory sometime between 7 and 9 p.m., and the items were discovered missing later that night.

"Someone entered through an unlocked window on the ground floor," said UC police Capt. Bill Cooper.

Items from a bag of clothing were taken but nothing else appears to be missing, Cooper said. At the time the report was filed the exact value of the missing items was not known.

Police do not have any leads in the case.

-Renada Rutmanis

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