Whole Foods store planned for Berkeley

Whole Foods Market plans to open a new store in Berkeley at the corner of 10th and Gilman streets at the end of next year, according to a company spokesman.

The 30,500-square-foot-store will be in a building that currently houses an Office Depot, according to building owner Foothill Pratt Ventures of El Dorado Hills. The Office Depot will move across Gilman Street to a smaller location, also owned by Foothill, said company spokesman Douglas Wiele.

The announcement comes five months after Whole Foods withdrew plans for a store nearby and just north of the Office Depot site on San Pablo Avenue in Albany. Whole Foods had planned to locate a store on UC Berkeley land near the University Village, but canceled after five years of planning under pressure from Albany residents who sued to stop the project.

Wiele said the development company bought all the buildings on both sides of Gilman Street between Ninth and 10th streets in late November. The new Whole Foods will be placed in the Office Depot building without tearing it down, a joint statement from Whole Foods and the developer said. And the store plans to increase parking at the site.

The store is expected to create 200 jobs in Berkeley. Dave Fogarty, a Berkeley Office of Economic Development project manager, said Whole Foods will need "very little city permitting" because it is a "retail-to-retail" move and does not involve a change in use which would trigger more city oversight.

Soroptimist series presents Elayne Savage

Dr. Elayne Savage, a marriage and family therapist, author and acclaimed speaker, will be the next guest in the "Every Woman has a Story -- Women in the Media" series presented by Soroptimist International of El Cerrito at 7 p.m. March 3 in the Parlor Room at Northbrae Community Church, 941 The Alameda in Berkeley.

Savage, known as "The Queen of Rejection," is the author of "Don't Take It Personally! The Art of Dealing with Rejection" and "Breathing Room -- Creating Space to Be a Couple (New Harbinger)."

She is a member of the National Speakers Association, has been widely quoted by national and international media outlets and is known as a skilled and compelling storyteller, as well as a veteran in relationship and workplace coaching.

Tickets to the talk are $20, available by calling Barbara Lanier at 510-527-8796.

The fourth annual Soroptimist chapter series continues on March 24 with talks by award-winning documentary and public television producer Andrea Torrice, and Paloma Pavel, president of Earth House Center and co-founder of the Breakthrough Communities Project.

Kensingtonian has role in Rosa Parks statue

A statue created in part by a Kensington resident of civil rights icon Rosa Parks was dedicated at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, according to a news release from Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez.

Rob Firmin, a sculptor and architect, helped create the first full-sized statue authorized and funded by Congress since 1873 and the first statue of an African-American woman in the U.S. Capitol, according to the National Endowment of the Arts. Parks famously refused to move to the back of the bus in Montgomery, Ala., on Dec. 1, 1955, helping to spark the civil rights movement.

"I am so proud that Dr. Rob Firmin, a constituent and an accomplished sculptor from Kensington, was an integral part of today's historic occasion," Miller said in the release. "He and his studio partner, Eugene Daub, were selected from hundreds of submissions by the Joint committee on the Library of the United States Congress and have completed a truly stunning likeness of a true civil rights and American icon."

Get information at city's Passport Day

Albany is observing "Passport Day In The USA 2013" with a free event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 9 at City Hall, 1000 San Pablo Ave.

The city's Passport Office will have information on applying for passports and will be accepting applications, an opportunity not normally available on a Saturday. Regular passport office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Mondays, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 8:30 a.m. to noon Fridays.

Information on passport costs and how to apply is available at www.travel.state.gov and on the city's information hotline at 510-528-5720.

Kids can dress for a mess at ECPC event

El Cerrito Preschool Co-op, 7200 Moeser Lane in El Cerrito, holds its free Messy Art Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 24.

Children ages 3 to 5 can dress to get messy while they "explore colors, textures and a variety of media in a safe, fun and messy environment."

-- Craig Lazzeretti, Doug Oakley and Chris Treadway