Kevin Freeman memorial and march set for Saturday
Homeless advocates will stage a march and memorial Saturday in honor of Kevin Lee Freeman, a well-known Berkeley transient who was allegedly murdered by his cell mate at Santa Rita Jail in May.
The march will begin at noon at People’s Park on Dwight Way, south of the UC Berkeley campus, and will conclude at Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian-Universalists at 1924 Cedar St., where a 1 p.m. memorial will take place.
Freeman, 55, an alcoholic who was repeatedly picked up for public drunkeness, allegedly died at the hands of his cell mate Ryan Lee Raper, 20, who had a history of violence. The brutal murder has raised questions about Santa Rita’s decision to place an alcoholic in the same cell with a violent criminal.
Most city vehicles convert to 100 percent Biodiesel fuel
Berkeley converted to 100 percent Biodiesel fuel for almost all public works, parks, fire, and police vehicles on Tuesday. Berkeley is the first city of its size to convert its entire fleet of diesel vehicles to the cleaner fuel.
Biodiesel is made from virgin soybean oil and recycled vegetable oil from restaurants such as McDonald's, KFC, and Dunkin' Donuts. This mixture drastically reduces the emissions produced by the vehicle compared to petroleum-based diesel, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Though the city has been using 20 percent Biodiesel for several years, public works staff members began working on the switch to 100 percent Biodiesel about six months ago, due in part to encouragement from the Ecology Center, which made the switch about a year ago.
The initial cost of the fuel is 50 percent more than that of traditional diesel, though the Ecology Center says the opportunity to reduce pollution is worth the extra cost. Proponents also said that the price would end up being reduced because of the bulk quantities the city will now be buying.
As of Tuesday, the city had implemented 100 percent Biodiesel fuel systems in 180 of its 200 diesel vehicles. The remaining 20 vehicles belong to the Fire Department, which is working to find means of transporting the fuel to its fire stations.