News

Friends of Ohlone Park (FOOP)

General Membership Meeting Notes

September 23, 2017

  1. Introductions
  2. Proposed Permanent restroom: FOOP presented slides outlining the topic, showing existing conditions and examples of different types of park restrooms.  The goal of this meeting was to discuss the issue and provide a Statement of Guidance to the City to proactively represent neighbors’ concerns and requests.

The last communication from the City indicated the following:

– If constructed, it would be done concurrently with the planned renovation of the basketball court, which is funded for 2019.

– The City is “staffing up” to handle the plethora of new projects planned due to new bond funding.

– The City won’t be ready to present potential designs to the community until January, 2018.

We discussed ideas for locations and types of bathrooms, as well as mitigations that we could request as part of the project, including improved lighting, streamlined landscaping, better fencing at nearby residences, hours of operation, and a designated parking spot for maintenance and law enforcement vehicles in the area. There was no quorum present at the meeting to write a statement, and as a next step we agreed that we need more concrete information from City representatives to inform our recommendations.

Next step: FOOP will contact City Officials to get more concrete information on range of options they could consider for the restroom.

3. Fertilizer Use in Ohlone Park:  Concerns about a recent change in the type of fertilizer being used on the grass in the park from a composted grass, Bay-friendly technique, to synthetic fertilizers.  Synthetic fertilizers are carcinogenic and synthetic fertilizers can contribute to greenhouse gas production.

Next step: FOOP wrote a personal email to the relevant City official asking for more detailed information on this issue.

4. Review of membership requirements from the FOOP By-laws:  Voting members must have attended at least 2 meetings in the last year (can vote on 2nd meeting within 12 months), and to have paid $5 dues in current calendar year.  (For more detail, see the By-laws at the FOOP website).  Attendees were encouraged to pay the membership fee.

  1. Outstanding items not addressed due to time constraints and limited attendance:

– Update on the Native plant garden at the Ohlone Mural near Bonita St.

– Discussion of idea for a Memorial Bench in Honor of Martha Nicoloff.

– Plans for a Park clean-up and social event

– FOOP has a website! http://ohlone.transbay.net/ Please consult our website for regular updates and please share our url with neighbors.

 

 

 

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Police warn about ‘potential threat’ to kids after tot lot incidents

by Emilie Raguso – – -Sept. 18, 2017

Berkeley police have asked the community to be on the lookout for a man linked to several bizarre run-ins with local children earlier this year.

Police identified that man as William Nicholas Turner, who authorities previously said tried to give three kids, including a 1-year-old baby, a mystery drink at North Berkeley’s Ohlone Park in June. Turner was charged with annoying or harassing a child in that case. When police first spoke with him, they “became immediately concerned with his unnatural focus on children,” said BPD on Monday. “He definitely fixated on younger kids,” the mother of the baby told Berkeleyside in an exclusive interview earlier this year.

“The Berkeley Police Department shares this information in the hopes that families who visit our parks will remain vigilant for William Turner or any other person who may pose a threat to our community,” said BPD in a prepared statement Monday afternoon. Police said they put out the alert following Turner’s release to warn the public about the “potential threat to children.”

In court papers, Berkeley Police Officer Jesse Grant documented several incidents involving 36-year-old Turner that raised community concerns. In May, a witness said Turner removed nearly all his clothes in front of a preschool before police were called to take him for a psychological evaluation. Several weeks later, there was the incident at the Ohlone Park tot lot where Turner reportedly tried to convince several children to drink from a bottle he claimed held water and honey. After speaking with police, he was placed on an emergency psychiatric detention and was later taken to jail.

Then, at the end of June, Grant said in court documents that Turner “stripped down to black underwear” and got on a playground swing at Ohlone Park after approaching children there and confessing to their mother that he had been sent to prison and “wrongfully accused for child molestation.”

According to court records online, Turner was found guilty Aug. 16 of one misdemeanor charge of engaging in lewd conduct after entering a plea of no contest. He was sentenced to three years of probation, which includes a “stay away order” from all parks and schools in Alameda County.

After Turner’s arrest, the city worked to post signage around town in numerous tot lots to make it clear that adults without children are not allowed.

Turner was most recently arrested in Berkeley on Sept. 1. He was charged with resisting arrest and disobeying a court order, according to records online. Both are misdemeanors. Minimal detail was available about what took place during that incident. The BPD log indicates it was related to a disturbance — disorderly conduct — reported at Center and Oxford streets at 4:45 a.m. BPD described the location as “near Berkeley High School, and Berkeley City College.”

That case appears to have been dismissed Sept. 8, and Turner is no longer in custody.