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Photo: Andres Amador’s latest sand art at Ocean Beach

Photo by Bruce H.

Amador was out early on Friday morning at Kelly’s Cove at Ocean Beach to “paint” his latest sand art. We love this!

Sarah B.

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 12:56 pm | Posted under Art, Ocean Beach | 2 comments

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”.
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 12:15 pm | Posted under Business, Community, Golden Gate Park, Green, Schools | 7 comments

Photos: SUV goes wheels up at 2nd and Anza

Photo by Tom R.

A SUV driver careened into two parked cars and then flipped over at the intersection of Anza and 2nd avenue around 4 o’clock this afternoon. One witness said the SUV just missed hitting a third car.

SFFD was on the scene quickly to right the car. The driver was conscious but taken by ambulance for medical attention.

Rumor is that the driver was distracted, possibly due to texting while driving but this was not confirmed by police.

Stay safe out there, folks!

Sarah B.

Photo by @DavidGallagher

One of the clipped cars. Photo by Tom R.

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 5:23 pm | Posted under Photos, Traffic | 4 comments

Police Blotter – May 1, 2014

[Reprinted from The Richmond Police Station Newsletter of May 1, 2014. To be added to the station's mailing list, email sfpd.richmond.station@sfgov.org.]

As the SFPD increases its use of technology for communicating with the public, one thing remains constant: The best way to get the police when you need us is to call SFPD dispatch. For an emergency, call 911 and for other problems call 553-0123.

Recently, people sent e-mails or Twitter messages asking us to respond to crimes in progress. Since we don’t monitor our Twitter or e-mail accounts every minute of the day, we did not see these messages right away.

However, there are always call takers and dispatchers on duty at the City’s Department of Emergency Management. These hard working, highly trained professionals are the ones who answer whenever you call 911 or 553-0123. They run a state of the art operation designed to send first responders to emergencies quickly and efficiently. Because dispatching operations are centralized, it is much better to call dispatch for a crime in progress than it is to call the station.

I am pleased to report that the officers of Richmond Station have one of the quickest average response times to emergency calls in the City.

Our next Community meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at 6pm. It will be in the Community Room, here at Richmond Station, 461 6th Ave.

On 04/26/14 at 6:30pm, officers stopped a bicyclist for a moving violation at Washington and Presidio. It was determined that the bicyclist had an outstanding warrant for his arrest from Alameda County. The officers then searched the suspect and located methamphetamine in his pocket. When the officer showed the suspect what he had removed from his pocket, the suspect said, “What’s that? These are not my pants.” The 52 year old male was charged with the narcotic violation and the warrant.

On 04/27/14 at 11:30pm, officers were called to an injury accident at 35th and Balboa Sts. Officers determined that the driver of a vehicle, traveling west on Balboa, struck two pedestrians that were crossing Balboa, northbound in the crosswalk. Officers determined that the driver, a 47yr old male, was driving while intoxicated and booked accordingly. The two pedestrians were taken to a local hospital for minor injuries.

On 04/18/14 at 3:54pm on the 200 block of 30th Ave, a male was captured on surveillance video stealing packages from the front of the home. The suspect was identified and on 04/29/14 plainclothes officers located the male on the 5900 block of California and detained him. The 31yr old male was charged with the theft.

On 04/29/14 at 4:45am, officers responded to a call of a male possibly casing vehicles on 12th between California and Clement, carrying a flashlight. The caller provided a description but was unable to stay in the area. Officers located the male at 12th and Clement who matched the description. He told the officers that he had been looking into garbage cans. Officers determined that he had two outstanding warrants for his arrest and was booked.

On 04/30/14 at 10:40pm, officers responded to the 400 block of 28th Ave on a report of a possible auto burglary in progress. The caller was reporting that she was watching a white female with a crow bar at the rear of a vehicle. The caller saw her approach the rear of a second vehicle and could hear banging noises. At one point a male crossed the street and spoke with the female and a short argument ensued. The male then walked off south on 28th Ave and a short time later the female walked off in the same direction and the caller lost sight of her near an apartment building on the 500 block of 28th Ave. Officers located both the male and female in a stairway inside the apartment building and detained them. The caller showed the officers the vehicles that they had seen the female suspect at and both vehicles had their front license plates bent as if the suspect was trying to pry them off. As the officers walked the 400 block of 28th Ave they found an additional 7 vehicles with the plates bent. The officers were then shown an area in the garage where the suspects were located 4 license plates that had been successfully removed from different vehicles. The female, a 15yr old was charged with auto tampering. The officers attempted to contact the owners of the 4 license plates but were unsuccessful. It appears that the recovered plates were taken from vehicles parked on the 400 block of 28th Ave. If you believe that one of them may belong to you please email sfpdrichmondstation@sfgov.org. Include your license plate number and contact information.

Between 04/24/14, 7am and 04/25/14, 12pm on the 500 block of Balboa, a suspect took a bike from a multi-unit garage. There were no signs of forced entry.

Between 04/24/14, 12pm and 04/28/14, 3pm on the 3400 block of Clay St, a suspect(s) entered a multi-unit garage and took 4 bikes. There were no signs of forced entry.

On 04/26/14 between 12pm and 8pm on the 300 block of 21st Ave, a suspect entered a home by damaging the lock on the front door. The suspect took nothing from the home but took tools and a bike from the garage.

Between 04/26/14, 4:40pm and 04/27/14, 12:20pm on the 600 block of 9th Ave, a suspect removed the screen from a window and entered through an unlocked window. The suspect took robe and a stuffed animal. One of the tenant’s computers was located on the ground outside.

On 04/28/14 at 4:20pm two males got into an argument over a bottle of vodka at Fulton and the Great Highway. One of the males hit the other in the face with a baseball bat and fled the scene. The victim was transported to the hospital. The suspect was described as a white male, 25-30yrs, with brown hair and wearing a brown sweater.

On 04/29/14, between 8:45am and 4:45pm on the 2000 block of Scott St a suspect pried open the door to an apartment. The suspect took two laptops and camera equipment. It is unknown how the suspect entered the building itself.

On 04/29/14 at 4pm, officers detained a male at Divisadero and Bush St as he had crossed the street on the red light. The male was carrying a laptop in his hand. The officers determined that the male was on parole for burglary and conducted a search. When asked about the ownership of the laptop, the suspect said that he found it in a dumpster on Bush St. Officers attempted to obtain information about the owner of the laptop, but the computer was frozen. The male was given a citation for his violation and released at the scene. Once the officers were able to bring the laptop to the station, they were able to access it and found information about the owner and contacted her. She told them she had left the laptop on her bed before she left for work at 8am. She and the officers went back to her apartment on the 2000 block of Divisadero. Once inside they saw that the screen had been removed from her bedroom window which had been left ajar. The suspect climbed in and took the laptop. Nothing else seemed to be disturbed. Officers went to the address given to them by the suspect but they were not able to locate him. The search for the suspect continues.

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 1:17 pm | Posted under Crime | Add comments

Vandal breaks into Alexandria Theater; blight continues to mount

The smashed front door of the Alexandria Theater on Tuesday morning. Photo by David H.

Cub reporter David H. noticed one of the front doors was bashed in on the Alexandria Theater on Tuesday morning. Police were called to the building but did not find anyone inside. Building management later boarded over the damaged door and reinforced all the front doors against further break-ins.

This is the latest vandalism done to the former movie theater, which has become a magnet for graffiti and dumping. To date, the city has been very lax in enforcing the building owners to keep the building and grounds in good shape.

Ten weeks ago, on February 18, 2014, we filed a 311 request for “le poop” graffiti that was seen atop the theater (request #3380340). That case was only opened (assigned) nine days ago. Since it was first filed, the graffiti on the roof has increased to include additional designs on the Geary side and on the theater’s tower.

Down on ground level, the situation is equally unappealing. Trash is often dumped at the base of the large wall on the 18th Avenue side of the building, and it’s a magnet for graffiti taggers.

And even when the property managers do make an effort to paint over graffiti, they use off color paint or an entirely different color altogether like orange.

Damage to the 91 year old building is not only limited to the exterior. In late February, we posted some pictures of vandalism to the interior art deco murals, which are considered historic.

While police searched the building on Tuesday and contractors worked on the repair, cub reporter David H. was on scene and reported that the interior has been cleaned of the debris left by winter break-ins and is reasonably clean. But he also remarked, “You do not want to catch any of the smell coming out of that place.”

We recently marked the 10th anniversary of the closing of the Alexandria Theater. Over that decade, the building has deteriorated significantly and the owners have been unsuccessful in developing or selling the property.

Let’s hope the city can pressure the owners to make some improvements to building security and the grounds.

Sarah B.

The top photo shows the building’s graffiti near the roof from a 311 report on Feburary 18, 2014.
The bottom photo was taken on April 29, 2014, showing additional graffiti.

The front entry to the theater showing peeling paint, trash and broken glass.

The 18th Avenue side of the building.

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 5:02 am | Posted under Crime, Real Estate | 38 comments

Internet Archive installs 100th “archivist statue”; will rebuild building lost in fire

The archivist statues in the Internet Archive. On the far left is Rick Prelinger, with
Brewster Kahle to the right. Photo by Michael Grecco Productions

If you’ve ever been to an event in the large auditorium at the Internet Archive at Funston and Clement, you’ve likely seen the unique sculptures scattered among the old church pews. The sculptures are representations of archivists or staff members that work at the Internet Archive.

The idea came from the IA’s founder, Brewster Kahle, who on a trip to China was impressed with the Terracotta Warriors depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China in Xian. When he returned to the US, he commissioned artist Nuala Creed to start making sculptures representing individuals who had dedicated at least three years of service to the Archive.

Recently, the 100th sculpture was completed and installed in the auditorium. Among the collection is founder Brewster Kahle as well as Rick Prelinger, the man behind the “Lost Landscapes of San Francisco” films.

Artist Creed says that even after creating 100 of the sculptures, it’s still “a challenge to convey the individual”:

“I love this commission, it allows me to do what I love, to create figures in clay. The Ceramic Archivists are hand-built, each figure is unique. I work from a photograph of the person, and a brief statement as to their interests. As I build the figure it is almost as though I am getting to know that person. Many of the figures are holding something, a coffee cup, book, cell phone, plate of cookies, knitting, a laptop etc. which personalizes them,” Creed says on the project website.

In November 2013, the Internet Archive lost part of its building to an electrical fire which also badly damaged a neighboring apartment building and its restaurant tenant on the ground floor, Taishan Cafe. Demolition of the damaged office space has been completed and word on the street is that the Internet Archive does plan to rebuild. We have not heard if Taishan will reopen in the future.

Sarah B.

The burned portion of the Internet Archive building on Clement that will be rebuilt.

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 5:02 am | Posted under Art, Business | 3 comments

Police Blotter – April 25, 2014

[Reprinted from The Richmond Police Station Newsletter of April 25, 2014. To be added to the station's mailing list, email sfpd.richmond.station@sfgov.org.]

Congratulations are in order for veteran Richmond Station Officer Rosemary Castro who will be retiring next week after 32 years of service to the SFPD. Her last day on duty will be Monday the 28th. Rose started the police academy in 1982. After graduating from the academy, she completed her field training in the Mission District and was then assigned to Ingleside Station. She also spent time working at the Communications Division, Southern Station, and once more at Mission Station before coming to the Richmond District in 2001. For the last 13 years, she has served the community as a patrol officer, answering calls, making arrests and keeping the residents of the district safe. We will miss her wisdom and experience and we wish her a happy, healthy and long retirement.

Our next Community meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at 6pm. It will be in the Community Room, here at Richmond Station, 461 6th Ave.
On 04/17/14 at 7:55am, an auto burglary occurred in the area of Stow Lake. A witness called and provided a description of the suspects and the vehicle they were in including the license plate. Officers were aware of this vehicle as it had been used in an auto burglary in Stern Grove earlier in the week and prior to that incident, the occupants had been identified in a traffic stop at 7th and Judah. On 04/18/14 at 1:40pm, the vehicle and suspects were located on the 1800 block of Silver and detained. In the vehicle was property belonging to several victims. The suspects, a 32yr old male and a 25yr old female were charged with the auto burglaries, possession of stolen property and conspiracy.

On 04/18/14 at 5:15am officers were called to the 200 block of Funston regarding an auto burglary in progress. The caller described the suspect and advised that he was on a bike. The officers arrived and the suspect attempted to flee on the bike but was detained. The caller told the officers that they observed the suspect looking in the window of the vehicle and “jimmy” it open and enter the vehicle. The officers recovered 2 CD/stereo faceplates as well as numerous burglar tools. The 51yr old male was charged with auto burglary, possession of burglar tools and stolen property.

On 04/19/14 at 6:45am, officers responded to the 600 block of 36th Ave on a report of a robbery that had just occurred with the suspects firing a handgun. The victim reported that the suspects fled in a gold four door sedan. As officers were responding to the area they spotted a gold 4door sedan at 31st Ave and Cabrillo St. When the officer got behind the suspect’s vehicle it fled from the officer. The suspects intentionally hit another officer’s vehicle on 43rd at Cabrillo and continued to flee into Golden Gate Park. The suspect went west on Lincoln from 19th Ave and again stuck the officers vehicle, this time causing the suspect’s vehicle to lose control and both occupants were taken into custody. It was later determined that these suspects were not the suspects from the robbery, but fled as they were in a stolen vehicle, on probation and suspects in a burglary from the Taraval District. The driver of the stolen vehicle was charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, stolen auto, possession of stolen property and probation violation. The passenger was charged with being in possession of ammunition and probation violations.

On 04/25/14 at 6:55am, a resident of a home on the 500 block of 14th Ave awoke to a stranger sleeping on his living room couch. The resident quickly checked the doors into the building and saw that the tradesman door and iron gate were damaged and forced open. Officers were called and detained the male in the living room. The male told the officers that the front door was unlocked and acknowledged that he did not live there. The suspect, a 30yr old male was charged with burglary, vandalism and trespassing.

On 04/17/14 between 12am and 7:30pm on the 1500 block of Broderick, a suspect entered an apartment by breaking a window. The suspect took jewelry and a TV.

On 04/18/14 at 3:54pm, on the 200 block of 30th Ave, a suspect took packages that had been delivered and left on the front stoop. Surveillance video shows the suspect as a white male, wearing a white t-shirt and blue jeans. He was also wearing mirrored sunglasses. The loss was clothing.

Between 04/18/14, 11:15pm and 04/19/14, 6:30am on the 4400 block of Balboa, a suspect entered a multi-unit garage and took a bike. There were no signs of forced entry.

Between 04/19/14, 2pm and 04/20/24, 9:30am on the 400 block of 33rd Ave, a suspect entered a multi-unit garage by unknown means. One of the tenants had left their car window open and the suspect took an iPad from the vehicle.

Between 04/19/14, 7:30pm and 04/20/14, 8:15am on the 100 block of Jordan, a suspect entered a garage by prying off one of the panels in the door. The suspect took the vehicle that was parked inside.

On 04/19/14 at 9pm, on the 1000 block of the Great Highway the victim was walking back to his vehicle when he heard a loud thump coming from the area of his car. As he ran to his car he saw the suspect standing by the front passenger door and saw that the window was now smashed. As the suspect started to walk away, the victim grabbed his arm and during a brief struggle, they both fell to the ground. The suspect struck the victim in the side of his face, possibly with a handle of a screwdriver. The suspect then fled south then into the area of the soccer fields. The suspect was described as a black male, 45-50yrs, wearing a dark hat, light blue long sleeved shirt with a black vest on top and dark jeans.

On 04/19/14 at 9pm, the victim was walking north on 16th Ave towards Clement St. The victim was carrying her purse with the strap across her body. The suspect approached from behind and began to pull on the purse. The victim tried to keep a grip on it, but the suspect pulled harder and caused the victim to lose her grip and fall to the ground. The suspect fled north on 16th Ave. The suspect was a white female with dark hair past her shoulders, wearing a gray baggy sweatshirt. The victim sustained injuries but refused medical treatment.

On 04/20/14 between 4pm and 6pm, a suspect entered an office area in the garage and took a Bluetooth earpiece and a business check. The suspect also cut the wires to the mouse, keyboard and speakers to the computer. The residents were upstairs at the time and thought they heard a door slam earlier; there were no signs of forced entry.

On 04/23/14, between 3pm and 5pm a suspect entered an apartment by unknown means. The suspect took jewelry, an iPad and a Kindle.

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 12:45 pm | Posted under Crime | 13 comments

Saturdays are for Blue Herons in GGP & Science programs at Mt. Lake

A couple of nature programs came into our inbox recently…

We’re currently in the midst of the Great Blue Heron Watch at Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park. Great Blue Herons have been nesting at Stow Lake since 1993, and it’s a great opportunity to come out and watch them with their chicks.

San Francisco Nature Education is in their 22nd year of leading Heron Watch walks every Saturday through May 17th. Naturalists and interns are also stationed at an observation site with spotting scopes, ready to offer spectacular views into the Great Blue Heron nests and answer questions.

Every Saturday, the free observation site is open from 10am until 1pm. Walks run from 10:30am until 12noon and allow you to observe chicks and other nesting birds from various spots around the Lake and Strawberry Island with a naturalist. The ticket price for the walk is $10, children are free. Meet at the observation site for the tour.

On the second Saturday of every month from May 10 until October 11, 2014, the Presidio Trust is sponsoring Science Saturdays, where scientists talk about topics relating to Mountain Lake and its ecological restoration. Hear researchers from a variety of disciplines talk on topics ranging from Archaeology to Zooplankton.

The free programs run from 2pm until 3pm and meet at the lake’s edge just below the playground (entrance at 12th Avenue and Lake Street). The schedule of talks is as follows:

May 10: Reintroducing Submerged Aquatic Vegetation to Mountain Lake and the greater Bay Area
Kathy Boyer, Associate Professor of Biology, San Francisco State University

June 14: Native Fish: Restoring the Three-spined Stickleback to Mountain Lake
Darren Fong, Aquatic Ecologist, Golden Gate National Recreation Area

July 12: The History and Archaeology of Mountain Lake
Kari Jones, Archaeologist, Presidio Trust

August 9: Reintroducing the Western Pond Turtle to Mountain Lake
Nick Geist, Professor of Biology, Sonoma State University

September 13: Soils of Mountain Lake
Stephen Andrews, Soil Scientist and Lecturer, UC Berkeley

October 11: Butterflies of Mountain Lake and beyond
Liam O’Brien, Lepidopterist

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 5:05 am | Posted under Events, Golden Gate Park, Parks, Wildlife | Add comments