El Cerrito bicyclist dies in Berkeley crash

A bicyclist died in Berkeley on Dec. 20 after crashing his bicycle while riding in the evening on the Ohlone Greenway, a path near the BART tracks, a police spokeswoman said.

The Alameda County Coroner's office identified the man as Stefano "Steve" Maranzana, 39, of El Cerrito. Maranzana worked at UC Berkeley as an assistant manager of the Health and Safety Team in the Office of Environment, Health and Safety and as a project manager of Tobacco-Free at Berkeley, according to the university.

He was riding his bike on the Ohlone Greenway near Curtis and Gilman streets about 5:15 p.m. Dec. 20 when he lost control of the bike and struck a fence on the path, said Berkeley police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats. He was taken to Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley, where he was pronounced dead at 6:27 p.m., a spokesman for the Alameda County Coroner's officer said Tuesday.

The coroner's office is treating the case as a natural death caused by a medical incident, the spokesman said.

BART rings in year with fare hike

BART fares have increased an average of 19 cents, or 5.2 percent, as of Jan. 1.

A one-way trip from Pittsburg to the San Francisco Airport, for example, increases by 60 cents from $11.05 to $11.65. The price for a trip from Walnut Creek to the Embarcadero Station in San Francisco will jump a quarter from $4.85 to $5.10.

The fare hike is part of the agency's regularly scheduled inflation-based increase program established in 2003.

The agency's nine-member elected board has earmarked the estimated $325 million in additional fare proceeds through 2020 to pay for new railcars, improvements at its Hayward maintenance yard and a new train control system.

"BART is required to come up with a portion of funding for many of our capital projects in order to qualify to receive extra money from other sources," said agency spokeswoman Alicia Trost.

Free health care information session

A Covered California certified educator will explain the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act and answer questions at a free program at 2 p.m. Jan. 10 at the Claremont Branch Library, 2940 Benvenue Ave.

"Get information on the new health insurance marketplace, Covered California, like who can enroll, which plans are in your area, and what penalties or deadlines might affect you," states the announcement.

For more details call 510-981-6195.

Program on helping young people in crisis

Author Jan Elise Sells will discuss the troubling issues teenagers can face during middle and high school -- including bullying, drug experimentation, sexual identity, abuse and depression -- and how they and their parents can navigate them at a free presentation at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 8 at the Claremont Branch Library, 2940 Benvenue Ave.

Sells, who has master's degrees in education and counseling/psychology, is the author of "Lost and Found: Healing Troubled Teens in Troubled Times." She will discuss her book and experiences, share poetry written by young people and answer audience questions about helping teenagers in crisis.

For more details call 510-981-6195.

Dance institute holding winter open house

Luna Dance Institute, 605 Addison St., is holding a free winter open house from 9 to 11 a.m. Jan. 11.

The family event will include a morning story period in the library, free dance classes for all ages, a chance to visit the studio and facilities, refreshments, prop play and prizes.

Details: jperena@lunadanceinstitute.org, 510-883-1118 or lunadanceinstitute.org.

Learn about life of Mayor J. Stitt Wilson

The life of former J. Stitt Wilson, who became the first Socialist mayor in the United States on his election in April 1911, is the topic of a free talk from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Jan. 11 in the third Floor Community Meeting Room at the Berkeley Public Library at 2090 Kittredge St.

"A former minister who preached the social gospel, his two years as mayor were only a small part in a life dedicated to creating a cooperative society in which 'every person in the world can attain to the highest development of his being,'" is the library's description of the mayor.

The speaker is author Stephen Barton, who is working on a biography about Wilson (1868-1942).

The program is presented by Friends of the Berkeley Public Library. Details: 510-982-6148.

Free presentation on historic Hearst Ranch

The history and sights of the sprawling 82,000-acre Hearst Ranch in Central California, which includes the landmark Hearst Castle, will be the topic of a free discussion and slideshow presented by the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 17.

The speaker will be Victoria Kastner, author of the book "Hearst Ranch: Family, Land, and Legacy."

Admission to the talk at the Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant Ave., is by reservation only, which can be made at landmarkheritage@att.net.

-- Chris Treadway

Winter session classes at Berkeley Rep

A winter session of 47 classes available for youths, teens, and adults interested in the stage starts this week at the Berkeley Rep School of Theatre, 2071 Addison St.

Classes are for all ages and abilities, from beginners to professionals. Financial aid is available for youths under 18.

For more details on classes or affordable outreach programs for local schools call 510-647-2972, e-mail school@berkeleyrep.org, or visit berkeleyrep.org/school.