Fire damages hotel on University Avenue

Crews responded June 11 to a smoky morning fire at the historic Nash Hotel building downtown.

The fire, reported at 7:45 a.m., was pushed to three alarms but quickly contained by 8:25 a.m., fire officials said.

The hotel at 2045 University Ave. was built in 1924 and is located a block from the UC Berkeley campus and the downtown shopping district. It has more than 40 rooms, many of which contain only a bed and sink.

Robert Zeidan, owner of the nearby Berkeley Shade Company, was in his office when he noticed smoke coming from the hotel.

Firefighters were quick to respond to the blaze, he said.

"These guys, they did a really good job. This whole place would have been down," Zeidan said. "I heard screaming back there and I wasn't paying attention and all of a sudden I heard the fire department and I looked up and just black smoke and fireballs everywhere."

Annie's recalls pizza; sees profits rise

Annie's shrugged off the effects of a voluntary recall of frozen pizza and posted sharply higher profits and sales for both its fourth quarter and full fiscal year on Monday.

The Berkeley-based producer of natural and organic foods earned $4.2 million on sales of $52.7 million for its fourth quarter that ended on March 31, said Annie's, which is associated with its iconic rabbit logo.

For all of fiscal 2013, Annie's earned $11.6 million on sales of $170 million.

"Our strong fourth quarter results capped off a successful year for our company," CEO John Foraker said. "Our sharp focus on execution enabled us to overcome the challenge presented by the voluntary pizza recall announced on Jan. 22."

The voluntary recall was for all brands of Annie's Homegrown Pizza. The company said a faulty screen at a flour mill left metal mesh fragments in flour and pizza dough.

On Monday, Annie's introduced microwaveable macaroni and cheese cups with organic ingredients.

Compared to the year-ago fourth quarter, profits jumped 119 percent and sales climbed 22.6 percent.

Summer Reading Program at library

The Berkeley Public Library will have free events and activities for young people in first through eighth grade who join its Summer Reading Program, which is themed "Reading is So Delicious" and runs from June 14 to Aug. 17.

The program is intended to keep students engaged during their off time from class and avoid regression in reading skills over the summer.

Participants can earn prizes by reading books they choose and visiting library branches at least three times during the program.

"In keeping with this year's theme, we will be offering a variety of food related events and other deliciously fun activities," the library announced.

Participants are also encouraged to bring donations of nonperishable food items to their local branch.

Special events will include "a cooking class; movies about food and other (somewhat) edible things; a Children's Tea with Annie Barrows, author of 'Ivy and Bean;' bilingual music from award-winning educator, author and musician Jose-Luis Orozco; Kenn Adams' interactive Adventure Theater program and; in conjunction with the Berkeley Comic Arts Festival, a visit from the author of 'Babymouse.'"

Preregistration is required for some events. For details call 510-981-6223 or visit http://berkeleypubliclibrary.libguides.com/summer.

Events will celebrate architect Maybeck

The screening of a new documentary on architect Bernard Maybeck is one of the highlights of the Maybeck Legacy Celebration Weekend from June 28 to 30.

The Paul Bockhorst documentary "Pursuing Beauty: The Architecture of Bernard Maybeck" will be presented by the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association at 7:30 p.m. June 28 at the historic Town and Gown Club, 2401 Dwight Way. Maybeck designed the club in 1899.

Tickets to the premiere screening are $30 advance or $35 at the door.

The celebration will also have free events, including a guided tour of the Faculty Club at UC Berkeley at 1 p.m. June 28; a guided tour of the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco at 10 a.m. June 29; and a guided walking tour of the neighborhood by the First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Berkeley at 1:30 p.m. June 30.

There will also be a reception at the Maybeck-designed Guy Hyde Chick House, in the Claremont neighborhood. Admission to the reception is $35, available by reservation only.

For details and reservations, visit berkeleyheritage.com, email baha@berkeleyheritage.com, or call 510-841-2242.

-- George Avalos, David DeBolt, Brittny Mejia and Chris Treadway