Worker dies in school construction accident

A construction crew member working on a new track at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School was run over by a truck and killed Aug. 27, a school district spokesman said.

The worker was hit about 12:30 p.m. in what Berkeley Unified School District spokesman Mark Coplan described as a tragic accident. Representatives from Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal-OSHA) were investigating the death, Coplan said.

Three charged in tax fraud scheme

Prosecutors charged three East Bay residents with multiple counts of tax theft and conspiracy among other felony charges in connection to a tax-fraud scheme, it was announced Aug. 22.

Jessika Green of Oakley; Khyber Law of Antioch and Starkisha Benson of Berkeley were charged in a 22-count indictment on in federal court in Oakland, United States Attorney Melinda Haag said.

They are accused of wire fraud, conspiracy to file false claims, filing false claims, effecting fraudulent transactions with an access device, theft of public money and aggravated identity theft, Haag said.

According to the indictment, Green, Law and Benson filed or helped others file false claims with the IRS requesting refunds in the names of other people. As part of the scheme, the defendants and their co-conspirators allegedly procured the names and identities of individuals through illegal means or by agreement with participants in the scheme. The filed returns falsely claimed wages and withholdings, Haag said.

The defendants also requested that the IRS transmit the fraudulent refunds into accounts linked to debit cards. The debit cards were used to access the proceeds derived from the conspiracy.

If convicted of the charges, the women face hefty prison time and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.

Daylong workshop on attaining peace

"Paths to Peace," a forum on how to achieve peace as an individual and through groups, organizations and nations, will be held from 1:15 to 6 p.m. Sept. 8 at Pacific School of Religion, 2401 Le Conte Ave.

Keynote speakers are Professor David McGaffey on "Swords into Plowshares, Enemies into Friends" and Rev. Ellen Grace O'Brian, on "Compassion is the Key to Peace." The event, a celebration of United Nations International Day of Peace, will include interactive workshops and breakout discussions.

The session is sponsored by the United Nations Association of the East Bay, the United Religions Initiative, Berkeley-East Bay Gray Panthers and Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center. For details and registration visit www.bayareapeaceforum.org. or send an email to markdenni@yahoo.com.

Fundraiser to assist Haiti foundation

A fundraiser for the University of Aristide Foundation in Haiti will be held by the Haiti Action Committee from 6 to 9 p.m. Sept. 15 at La Peña Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Ave. The foundation was established in 2001 by former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his wife Mildred to train future health professionals, now in urgent need since the 2010 earthquake that devastated the country.

Along with music and dance featuring Choir Vukani Mawethu, scheduled speakers will include Pierre Labossiere of the Haiti Action Committee, Walter Turner of Global Exchange, National Lawyers Guild's 2013 Champion of Justice Walter Riley, UC Hastings law Professor Richard Boswell and Leslie Fleming of UNIFA. Details: lapena.org.

Learn international folk dancing at new series

A new eight-week International Folk Dancing class from Berkeley Folk Dancers, designed for beginners and those new to folk dancing, starts on Sept. 3. The class will meet from 7:45 to 9:45 p.m. Tuesdays at Live Oak Park and the cost is $30. The group, active since 1941, cites the class as a chance for fun, exercise, socializing and mastering dancing skills. For more details visit TryDance.com.

Historical walking tours return for fall

The Berkeley Historical Society has announced its schedule of fall walking tours, which starts with "New Deal Nexus in Berkeley" at 10 a.m. Sept. 21, led by Harvey Smith.

The outing will cover downtown buildings of the New Deal era, including Berkeley High School, the Community Theater, Civic Center Park, the art in the downtown post office, the Old Farm Credit Bank Building, and a mosaic mural on the Cal campus.

On Sept. 28 Daniella Thompson of the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association will lead Architectural Tour of North-Central Berkeley, covering the area north of University Avenue between Shattuck Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

Tours start at 10 a.m., last about two hours and are limited to 30 paid participants. Prepaid reservations are required and can be made at www.berkeleyhistoricalsociety.org/walks.html.

-- Chris Treadway