Local: January 2009 Archives

Dammit. The Sharffen Berger factory in Berkeley is being shut down by new owner Hershey, with all production being moved to another facility. Scharffen Berger, our much-beloved local chocolatier, has been operating in Berkeley since 1996.

B told me about Scharffen Berger's free factory tours the first time we had dinner. Her description of chocolate dust really spoke to my inner 12 year old, and I ended up visiting myself a few weeks later, as part of a company field trip. Boy, was it cool. I'm still far from a chocolate snob, but it makes a big difference, understanding some of the hows and whys. I've taken the tour again with my family, and it was just as fun the second time. I wish I could do it one more time, but it looks like tours have been halted, to prepare for the April 3 shutdown.

Most frustratingly, according to the East Bay Express, the shutdown may not be directly linked to the economy; Hershey's Q4 earnings were 52% year over year, and the company projects 3% growth in 2009.

Scharffen Berger factory closing in the news:

I headed down to UC Berkeley's Sproul Plaza yesterday to see Obama's inauguration on a massive JumboTron. There was a huge crowd, reportedly totaling nearly 10,000 students, faculty, staff, community members, and local schoolchildren. I started getting involved in electoral politics on Sproul Plaza as a UC Berkeley undergrad, volunteering to work on local and national campaigns. Closing the loop at the same place felt very right.

The crowd was happy, electric, friendly, diverse; I loved seeing such huge numbers out to cheer on our first President of Color, a once (and future?) progressive, and someone who might stand up for some semblance of "San Francisco values."

Obama did well, though as happy as I was to see him namecheck Hindus, Muslims, and nonbelievers, it was equally irritating to see him gloss over our major environmental crises, suggesting "we will not apologize for our way of life." Damn straight, we'd better apologize, and start working toward more sustainable futures.

A new president's honeymoon period is lovely, before he's gotten a chance to disappoint us all. As I worry about how to hold Obama accountable on the environment, health care, and the war, it's nice to be able to enjoy a day or two of good thoughts.


Anirvan Chatterjee is a San Francisco Bay Area tech geek and bibliophile.


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This page is a archive of entries in the Local category from January 2009.

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