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Archive for the ‘Green’ Category


Local Links: Romo pitches school, Aziza 2.0, plant sale, Saturday events & more

Sergio Romo speaks to students at Lafayette Elementary. Photo by Juan Pardo / SF Examiner

Here are some local updates to start your weekend. Have a good one!

  • Reminder: This Saturday the SF Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park will host its 47th annual plant sale from 10am until 2pm, featuring over 20,000 plants. This year’s theme is drought tolerance hundreds of beautiful natives, succulents, and plants perfect for SF’s many micro-climates are for sale. The event also serves as a fundraiser for the garden.
  • If pampering is more up your alley, head to outer Balboa on Saturday for an open house at Elevation Pilates and Sweet Cheeks Skincare. Sweet Cheeks will be offering free Hand Treatments demoing all of the latest and greatest skincare technology, selling some skin care items at 50% off, and selling a Mother’s Day Gift Certificate that include a free gift with purchase. Elevation Pilates will be offering free classes, special pricing on class packages, and hosting an art show. The open house runs from 11am until 3pm at 3425 Balboa Street.
  • The community garden at the Richmond District Neighborhood Center is going strong. Some students from Katherine Delmar Burke School paid a visit recently to plant some kale for the community.

Burke’s students plant kale in the community garden at the RDNC. Photo by Kinder Musings.

  • Giants pitcher Sergio Romo was at Lafayette School (4545 Anza) on Tuesday to talk to students about the importance of education. It was Romo’s fourth visit for such an event, put on by Washington High School’s Athletes in Math Succeed program, in which high school students and professional athletes cheer on students to succeed in school. “It’s more personal to me,” Romo said of visiting the school, where he high-fived kids and signed their baseball paraphernalia. “I can relate to this program.” (SF Examiner)
  • The Chronicle reported this week that Aziza owner and cookbook author Mourad Lahlou is moving ahead with a second, downtown restaurant in the former Pacific Telephone Building (140 New Montgomery). He’s looking to open the Moroccan-themed, 6,000 sq. ft. restaurant in late 2014/early 2015. No word yet on Aziza’s future.
  • A writer at SF Weekly lamented over the forgotten era of the Tiki Bar when he journeyed out to Trad’r Sam’s on Geary, one of the first in the city. After hearing Warren G. coming from the jukebox and listening to patrons order chilled vodka shots instead of Tiki-themed rum drinks, he concluded that Trad’r Sam’s is “now just another bar”.
12:15 pm | Posted under Business, Community, Golden Gate Park, Green, Schools | 7 comments

Local links: Sand art, McCoppin grant, SFBG plant sale, 911 bravery & more

Inside the art studio of Jay Mercado at 10th & California. Photo by Jay Mercado

Lots of links to catch up on – enjoy! – Sarah B.

  • This Wednesday night is the general membership meeting for the Planning Association for the Richmond, also open to the public. Agenda items include a SFPUC Presentation about a proposed 4-year increase to water and sewer rates, and discussion of the recently released Urban Forest Plan for San Francisco. 7pm-9pm at the Richmond Recreation Center, 251 18th Avenue.
  • Sand art will abound on Saturday morning at Ocean Beach when artist Andres Amador returns to create his masterpieces on the shore. He’s being filmed for a documentary from 7:30am to 9am, so grab a spot on the Cliff House overlook and watch him at work. And if you want to learn his sand art technique, Amador has a workshop class on May 5.
  • Speaking of the Cliff House… The Chronicle took a look back at the “rollicking tale of the first Cliff House – a clapboard structure built by real estate tycoon Charles Butler in 1863.” One of the early visitors was author Mark Twain, who wrote, “The wind was cold and benumbing. It came straight from the ocean, and I think there are icebergs out there somewhere. True, there was not much dust, because the wind blew it all to Oregon in two minutes.”
  • Local art lovers, mark your calendars. The next Cabrillo Art Cave will take place on May 10 & 11 from 11am to 4pm at 925 Cabrillo. The cave is a community art space (read: someone’s garage) that opens occasionally for shows featuring a collective of local artists. Find out whose work will be showcased at cabrilloart.com
  • A new study shows that the median rent in San Francisco in the first quarter of 2014 was $3,200, approximately 8% higher than this time last year. In the Richmond District, we’re below the median at $2,695, but that’s still 14.6% higher than Q1 2013.
  • Frank McCoppin Elementary School (651 6th Avenue) learned in March that they’ll be receiving a $425,000 Kellogg Foundation grant, which is awarded to schools to optimize child development. The money will be used to implement a Balanced Literacy Program for the school, which has 265 students, about half of whom speak Cantonese as their first language.
  • Dirty Trix Saloon at 408 Clement shut down but has already reopened as Side Bar, “a remodeled drinking hole with more of a lounge feel than its previous incarnation. Multiple flat-screen TVs and a revamped sound system are part of the improvements,” says EaterSF.
  • Want to start growing vegetables in your backyard? Attend the free “Growing Vegetables from Seeds” class at the Richmond Branch Library (351 9th Avenue) on Saturday, May 3 from 2:30 to 4pm. Master Gardener Michael Klein will guide attendees through soil and bed preparation, propagation, planting techniques and plant maintenance.
  • In other gardening news, the SF Botanical Garden will have its 47th annual plant sale on Saturday, May 3 from 10am until 2pm, featuring over 20,000 plants. This year’s theme is drought tolerance hundreds of beautiful natives, succulents, and plants perfect for SF’s many micro-climates are for sale. If you’ve got a green thumb, don’t miss it!
  • 10 year old Dante Parker was honored by the city for his bravery while making a 911 call from his Richmond District home earlier this year, when his mother was experiencing severe abdominal pain. His mother made a full recovery from her stomach virus, and Dante said he was just “glad I helped. If I hadn’t helped, who would take care of me?” Aww. You can listen to it below.

11:32 am | Posted under Art, Business, Classes, Events, Green, Ocean Beach, Real Estate, Schools | 1 comment

Local links: MUNIhack, Bubble tea wars, hot wings, greenbates & more

Photo by Bolditalic

Farewell Friday, hello weekend! Here are some local links to ease you into it…

  • #MUNIhack – Nope, you’re not seeing things. That is a Prius with trolley poles on its roof so it can run off the power from MUNI lines. Bolditalic got’s the story about the car’s creator, an outer Richmond District resident named Jon. “You know it, dude! 150 miles of free energy courtesy of Mr. MTA!”
  • #Springblooms – The Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park is hosting a Spring Bloom sale this Saturday from 10am to 1pm. Featuring many varieties of Grevillea, Abutilon and the garden’s native Ceanothus, Iris and assorted annual native wildflower starts.
  • #HotWings – Wings fans will be finding their way to Hot Sauce and Panko (1545 Clement) soon after a nice review in the Chronicle. “But it would be a shame not to make Hot Sauce and Panko part of the weekly routine. With a dozen varieties of the handheld chicken pieces at any given time, not to mention a couple of seriously decadent sandwiches, this place is worth a visit.”
  • #GreenBates – The SF Dept of Energy is hosting a Energy Upgrade California workshop at the Anza branch library on Saturday, April 12 from 2-3pm. Learn how to increase your home’s energy efficiency with energy upgrades such as sealing air leaks or installing insulation, a new furnace, or energy efficient window – moves that could yield you $1,000 to $4,500 in rebates. A neighborhood resident will there to talk about his experience in the program.
  • #BubbleTeaWars – Share Tea recently opened on Geary near 18th Avenue in what used to be the Samila Thai restaurant space. They have two other locations in Berkeley and San Mateo. The 5336 Geary location is open Sunday – Thursday from 12noon to 9pm, and until 10pm on Friday and Saturday nights. We may have a bubble tea war on our hands – InfiniTea is just across the street.
11:17 am | Posted under Food, Golden Gate Park, Green, Muni | 11 comments

Low cost, electric scooter rental network adds location in the Richmond District

Scoot trainer Kelly at our orientation

More and more companies are enabling San Franciscans to get around town quickly and easily. Last year, the city implemented the Bay Area Bikeshare program, enabling point to point, short-term rides at affordable rates. And companies like ZipCar and City CarShare have been around for awhile now, making car rental close to home effortless and affordable.

Now there’s a new player in the cheap, green transportation game. Scoot Networks (scootnetworks.com), which has been in business for about a year, offers affordable rentals of electric scooters in San Francisco. Riders can pick up at one location and drop off at another for short trips, or rent the scooter for up to 48 hours (longer if you have a motorcycle license).

The latest location to open up is right here in the neighborhood near the corner of 7th and Clement. Our Scoot location houses 2-3 scooters at any given time, and can be accessed 24 hours a day.

Signing up for Scoot is easy through their website. Before you can start renting, you have to attend a useful, 45 minute orientation class with a Scoot team member. We took ours on Sunday in the parking lot on 8th Avenue near Clement, covering the basics of the Scoot app and the how-to’s of the electric scooter.

Scoot’s fleet is all electric, and the app (native for iOS, mobile web for Android) does much of the heavy lifting. Log on to the app, find an available scoot on a map of the city, and reserve it. Once you get to the pickup location, simply mount your phone into the holder (charger is included), log into the app, and tap “turn on” to power on the scooter. The scooter powers up remotely via GPS and the app shows you how much charge the scooter has, how fast you’re going etc.

Driving the scooter is easy – there’s no shifting or special controls to master. During orientation, you’re shown how to reserve your scoot, get it started, control it, park it, and when you’re done with the rental, return it to an official Scoot parking location. The app shows you where there is an available spot in the Scoot network to park.

A fully charged Scoot scooter has a range of 5-10 miles depending on your terrain, and it takes 3-5 hours for a full charge.

After completing training, our instructor Kelly advised us to follow the Scoot motto – Be safe! Be seen! Be nice! – and sent us on our way. I had a 35% charge and decided to head out to the Cliff House to see how the vehicle performed on some minor hills.

Riding a scooter is just plain fun, especially on a nice, sunny day. The scooters have a max speed of 25-30 miles per hour which when you’re riding it, feels like more than enough. I was surprised by its guts on a flat block and pleasantly surprised with its hill performance. The scooter also includes a helmet (two sizes to choose from) and a storage compartment if you need to carry some items on your ride.

The app has helpful features to keep you up to date on your scooter’s health. It displays your current charge which you can tap on to see the approximate mileage you have left. When I left 8th and Clement I had about 33% charge remaining, and after out to the Cliff House and back, was at 18%.

The app texted me when I reached 25% charge, urging me to seek out a place to recharge (tip: plugshare.com – web or app – is a great directory for such things). There are a few public charging stations in Golden Gate Park, but any standard electrical outlet will do.

Pricing for using the Scoot Network varies depending on the membership plan you choose and how many hours you keep your rental. The most basic plan is $5 per month, and the first half hour of every ride is just $3. Keep it longer than 30 minutes and the rate is $1.50 per half hour for the daytime, and $.25 for the nighttime hours. Other membership plans are available for $10 and $29 per month, with varying hourly rates.

If you get really hooked, you can rent a scooter 24/7 for $185 per month.

Like many vehicle sharing programs, you’ll find the most economy with Scoot on short, point to point rides. Maybe you don’t want to take Muni home from work so you pick up a Scoot downtown for the commute home. It does take some planning though as you want to make sure you have a Scoot location to return it to near your destination.

Daniel, another student in our orientation class, lives in the Richmond and says he is thinking about using the scooter to go back and forth to school. “It ends up costing me about the same as Muni on the short rides,” he said.

When you return your scoot, you put the helmet back in the storage compartment, plug in the charging unit, and lock the front wheel in place. Then just hit “End” in the app to conclude your rental. That puts your scooter back into the available rental network, where prospective riders can see its location and available charge.

We had a lot of fun on our scoot around the neighborhood, and could see this catching on as an easy, affordable way to get around town. Where would you scoot to?

UPDATE: Scoot Networks is offering Richmond Blog readers a discount. Signup for Scoot this week (by 2/23/14), use the promo code #RICHMONDBLOG and get $10 of riding credit.

Sarah B.

Screenshots from the Scoot app showing available scooters in red,
a reserved scooter, and estimated miles remaining on your charge.

4:45 am | Posted under Green, Transportation | 8 comments

E-Waste recycling event at Washington High School, Saturday

Now that the dust of the holidays has settled, you may be in need of a clean out to make room for new electronics you received as gifts.

Stop by George Washington High School on Saturday, January 4 between 10am and 3pm to recycle your electronic items, which can include:

  • Computers
  • Laptops
  • Tablets
  • Smartphones
  • Televisions
  • Monitors
  • Printers
  • + more

The collection is being managed by All Green Recycling. The dropoff point is located at 600 32nd Avenue near Geary.

Sarah B.

12:07 pm | Posted under Green | 1 comment

Public meeting about SFPUC’s “Baker Beach Green Street” project, Oct. 17

A rendering of Baker Beach Green Street improvements on El Camino del Mar
between the Lands End trailhead and the Legion of Honor

On Thursday, October 17, the SFPUC is hosting a public meeting about their upcoming Baker Beach Green Street project, designed to manage stormwater and improve water quality at Baker Beach.

The project is focused on enhancements in two corridors: El Camino Del Mar between the Legion of Honor and the Lands End Trailhead, and on Sea Cliff Avenue between 25th and 26th Avenues.

From the project website:

During heavy rains, stormwater can overwhelm the City’s combined sewer system and contribute to neighborhood flooding and discharges into the San Francisco Bay and Pacific Ocean. Rain gardens, permeable paving, and other green infrastructure technologies are stormwater management technologies that take advantage of the natural processes of soils and plants to slow down and divert stormwater runoff so it does not overwhelm the sewer system. Green infrastructure also cleans stormwater onsite before it enters our sewer system.

The Baker Beach Green Street is one of eight green infrastructure projects the SFPUC is planning to build throughout the City in the next few years. These projects are part of the Sewer System Improvement Program (SSIP), a multi-billion dollar citywide investment to upgrade our aging sewer infrastructure now and for generations to come.

The project’s goals are to improve water quality at Baker Beach and China Beach and reduce localized flooding by integrating rain gardens into existing parkland and neighborhood, and introducing permeable concrete to reduce stormwater runoff.

The October 17 Community Open House will be the first community gathering about the project, which is in planning mode until next summer. Designs will be finalized from Summer 2014 to Spring 2015, with construction kicking off in summer 2015 and lasting until Summer 2016.

The meeting will take place from 6:30pm until 8pm at Katherine Delmar Burke School, 7070 California near 32nd Avenue.

Thanks to reader Amy for the tip.

Sarah B.

5:01 am | Posted under Events, Green | 9 comments

Go green: Celebrate Argonne Community Garden Day this Saturday

Saturday is Argonne Community Garden Day, celebrating the community garden that resides on 16th Avenue between Cabrillo and Fulton.

The Argonne Community Garden was started in 1975 when the San Francisco Unified School District issued a permit to use vacant land surrounding the Argonne Children’s Center for a garden.

Today it is the only community garden in the Richmond District where as many as fifty families maintain plots to grow flowers, vegetables and plants for the community.

Saturday’s celebration runs from 11am until 2pm and features live music, orchard & herb garden tours, delicious culinary treats and “Garden Guidance” discussions for those of you with a green thumb.

Last year, Supervisor Eric Mar stopped by the celebration to present a proclamation honoring the Argonne Community Garden as a national model for community gardens, and to Mary Ann Crandell, who founded the garden in 1975. Supervisor Mar will be there for this year’s celebration as well.

For those of you interested in a plot in the Argonne Community Garden, don’t hold your breath! The waiting list is 1 to 1.5 years at the moment. But you can add your name to the list by filling out this form on the Garden’s website.

Members with plots pay annual dues of $35, which includes access to the garden shed and garden tools, wheelbarrows and supplies, the geodesic dome greenhouse, garden reference books and planting info, orchard care guide, seed library, picnic tables, garden benches, organic compost/soil, organic mulch and green bins.

Sarah B.

Supervisor Eric Mar presents the city proclamation to garden founder, Mary Ann Crandell. Photo by @sfdpw

5:11 am | Posted under Eric Mar, Green | 4 comments

Turn your favorite old object into a creative planter, July 31

Jennie Strobel of Sloat Garden Center will lead the workshop

On Wednesday, July 31 the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park will host another “DIY Planter” workshop where you can learn how to transform your favorite objects into unique planters.

Have you ever looked at an everyday object and thought “I could plant something in that!”? An old pair of cowboy boots, a rusty bike tire, a softball mitt, a conch shell, or your grandmother’s Bundt cake mold? You’re not alone. Sloat Garden Center’s Jennie Strobel sees planter potential in all kinds of unlikely objects, and she’s coming to the Conservatory to show us how to turn our visions into reality.

The workshop costs $25 ($20 for Conservatory members) and includes instruction, one gallon of soil and three succulents or other available plants of your choosing to start your planters (you can purchase more at the workshop if you wish).

So whether it’s an old typewriter, cowboy boots, pairs of jeans, an old teapot, antique coffee tin or some other treasured object, breathe new life into it by turning it into a planter.

Space is limited so sign up online before the class fills up.

Sarah B.

5:08 am | Posted under Classes, Green | Comments Off