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Their stated reason for the fence, which was to keep dogs and the homeless out of the park, was invalid, since it was proven by Berkeley city management of the adjacent Chavez Park that leash laws and curfews have been successful in keeping dogs to a restricted area and prohibiting homeless encampments.
They did allow a single fenced-in path at the edge of the land, but it has been rarely used in the past ten years since it was erected.
McLaughlin State Park is public land that should be as open to the public as Chavez Park. Its clear-cut and closure is an insult to its name.
Pete Najarian, Berkeley
The Express won four awards, including two first-place honors, in the recent Association of Alternative Newsmedia Awards for excellence in journalism. The national contest included entries from 71 alt-weeklies throughout the United States and Canada.
Senior writer Sam Levin and Arts and Culture editor Sarah Burke each won two awards. Levin won a first-place honor in the long-form news category for "When the Mind Splits" (10/29/14), an in-depth look at the controversy surrounding dissociative identity disorder, which affects millions of people.
Burke won first place in LGBT-gender equality coverage for "Moral Combat" (10/15/14), which examined the vicious harassment campaign against women in the videogame industry. Burke also won a third-place award for arts criticism.
Levin also won a second-place award in the environmental reporting category for his stories "Zoo Gone Wild" (9/3/14) and "What's Poisoning the Bees?" (6/3/14). "Zoo Gone Wild" examined plans by the Oakland Zoo to destroy endangered species habitat in the East Bay hills in order to build an exhibit in honor of endangered species. And "What's Poisoning the Bees?" investigated the toxic pesticides that are killing the nation's pollinators.
The Express' awards all came in the circulation under 45,000 division. No other Bay Area alt-weeklies won awards in this year's contest.