News in Brief: UC Hall of Famer, Olympian Dies

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Don Blessing, Olympic Gold Medalist and UC Hall of Fame member, died Tuesday. He was 94.

After leading an undefeated UC Berkeley crew team as coxswain, Blessing won a gold medal for the U.S. in the 1928 Olympics, according to his grandson, Warren Fallat.

"Cal was the only university that has had three Olympic champions (for crew)," Fallat said. "(Blessing) was good friends with all the Cal coaches."

He said Blessing was one of the eight original owners of the Oakland Raiders football team and was inducted into the National Rowers' Hall of Fame in 1967. Blessing was also a founding member of the San Francisco Grid Club, which raised money for UC Berkeley's football program.

"He was an avid sportsman," Fallat said. "It was my grandfather who showed up at all my football games. He took me hunting and fishing. He was one hell of a fisherman."

Avril Fallat, Blessing's granddaughter-in-law, said Blessing also had a knack for making people feel good.

"He really was the most energetic man, even at his advanced age," she said. "And he was ferociously loyal to Cal."

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Monday in the Travers Big Game Room in the Memorial Stadium.

Will Evans

Woman Assaulted Near BART Station

An unidentified man sexually assaulted a Berkeley woman near the North Berkeley BART station, police said yesterday.

Berkeley police Capt. Bobby Miller said the attack occurred at 6:30 a.m. on July 3, when a 31-year-old woman was jogging near the station.

He said a man snuck up and attacked the woman, taking her by surprise.

"A single suspect grabbed her from behind," Miller said. "He dragged her into a secluded area and assaulted her."

Police described the man as between 20 and 30 years old and approximately 170 pounds. He said the man's race was not known.

Although the police department is pursuing the case, Miller said they have no leads.

Sasha Talcott

Community Puts Pressure to Build Permanent Campus

City officials and residents challenged the Peralta Community College District to follow through on building a permanent home for Berkeley's Vista Community College at a community meeting Wednesday.

Nine months ago, the Board of Trustees decided to put a bond measure on the upcoming November ballot asking for $150 million to construct a building for the college on what is now a parking lot on Center Street in downtown Berkeley. The college currently leases space.

Councilmember Kriss Worthington said, however, that he would oppose the measure unless it explicitly states that the money will go toward the building. He said he supported previous efforts to construct permanent buildings that never happened.

"We want a written legally enforceable commitment before the ballot vote," he said.

He said he hopes community comment at the meeting will put more pressure on the board to present a commitment in writing. The council will meet with the board within four weeks, before the board reaches a formal agreement on the future of the college, he said.

Eddy Ramirez


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