House fire apparently sparked by seagull

Firefighters quickly contained a single-alarm house fire believed to have been sparked when a seagull landed on a 12,000-volt electrical line Tuesday morning.

The fire and the sound of an explosion heard by residents a mile away were reported at 1113 Delaware St. at about 8:14 a.m., officials said. Live electrical wires ignited grass on the side of the home, but there were no reports of injuries.

The seagull had apparently landed on an electrical line, shorting it out, and then the line broke and fell on the ground, sparking the grass fire, officials said.

A PG&E crew was called to the scene and secured the wires, but the fire had spread to the attic of the home, according to Berkeley Fire deputy Chief Gil Dong. Residents of that house and nearby homes were safely evacuated.

James Albert, a nearby resident, said after the wire sparked, "I saw a blue flash and I came out and saw a dead seagull laying on the ground and a wire sparking in the street."

Albert also saw smoke coming from the grass, and with another person tried to put out the flames with fire extinguishers. However, they saw a power line arcing and moved away from the scene.

The fire did about $75,000 in damage to the house, said Berkeley Fire Battalion Chief Bill Kehoe.

Free slideshow at Berkeley library

Award-winning photographer Joel Pickford will present a free slideshow at 2 p.m. Saturday of images from his new book "Soul Calling: A Photographic Journey Through The Hmong Diaspora."

The program in the 3rd floor Community Meeting Room of the Central Branch of the Berkeley Public Library, 2090 Kittredge St., will include "a guest presentation of HOLGA photography works by Banteay Srei, an organization dedicated to supporting young Southeast Asian women impacted by sexual exploitation."

Eastwind Books of Berkeley will have books for sale, with a portion of proceeds donated to Banteay Srei, which operates the nonprofit Asian Health Center project in Oakland.

Details: 510-981-6195.

Open Streets coming to Shattuck Avenue

A stretch of Shattuck Avenue will be closed to traffic and open to recreation and entertainment at the Open Streets event from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 14.

Shattuck Avenue from downtown to North Berkeley (Haste Street to Rose Street will be car-free.

"It will be a celebration of local businesses and organizations," say organizers. "Storefronts will be unobstructed, and business owners will be encouraged to promote commerce and visibility by setting out seating on the street, hosting activities, and otherwise inviting interest and community."

Attendees are encouraged to "cycle, stroll, skate, dance, and play in the open streets," which will have carnival games, live music and activities and community group booths.

Details: www.sundaystreetsberkeley.com.

Group holding election forum Oct. 11

The North East Berkeley Association invites the community to hear and meet the mayoral and District 5 candidates at 6 p.m. Oct. 11 at Haver Hall in Northbrae Community Church, 941 The Alameda at Los Angeles Avenue.

The meeting will include a question-and-answer period from 7 to 9:30 p.m.

Radio Hall of Fame induction gala set

The Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame will induct its Class of 2012 at a gala luncheon from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Doubletree Hotel & Executive Meeting Center, 200 Marina Blvd. at the Berkeley Marina.

This year's inductees are Stan Burford (KGO), Greg Kihn (KFOX), Bob Melrose (KCBS), Alice Potter (KRE), Ted Robinson (49ers), Tony Salvadore (KNBR/KFOG), Steven Seaweed (The Bone), Susan Leigh Taylor (KCBS) and Chuck Waltman (Clear Channel Engineering).

For details and reservations visit broadcastlegends.com/meeting.html

Arts center holding grand opening

Garden Gate Creativity Center, a space at 2911 Claremont Ave. "dedicated to providing an open forum for music, art and culture," will hold a grand opening with special events from 3 to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

An artist reception is 6 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, followed by an 8 p.m. CD release concert with Myra Joy (cello) and Diana Strong (accordion). A $15 donation is requested, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Both days there will be photography exhibitions, refreshments, music and class demonstrations.

Details: www.gardengatecreate.com.

Group hosting panel on public education

A forum on the crisis in public education, a panel discussion including East Bay educators and students, from the East Bay, will be held 2 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday at the Starry Plough Pub, 3101 Shattuck Ave.

Admission is free to the event hosted by the Alameda County Peace and Freedom Party and Movement and food and beverages will be sold by the pub.

For more details contact Gene Ruyle at 510-428-1578 or eruyle@csulb.edu.

-- Chris Treadway

Group plans mayoral, council debates

The Berkeley Neighborhood Council, described as "a recent offshoot of the long-established Council of Neighborhood Associations," is planning two debates for candidates for mayor and City Council. Mayoral candidates have been invited to a debate on Sunday and council candidates to a debate on Sunday, at the Community Campaign Center, 1551 University Ave.,

At the mayoral event an open house will be from noon to 5 p.m. and the debate will be 2 to 4 p.m.

The format for the council debate will give candidates three minutes to introduce themselves and their ambitions, followed by a question period and a closing statement.

District 2 candidates will go on at 2 p.m., District 3 at 2:50 p.m. and District 5 at 3:25 p.m. Council candidates have been given a list of questions they may be asked and the remainder will come from the floor in written form.

Details: neighbors@sufb.org.

-- Chris Treadway