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Sun halo at Fulton & 41st Avenue

Photo by Larf

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 5:02 am | Posted under Photos | 2 comments

Video from 48 years ago: Sutro Baths burns to the ground

Yesterday, the Western Neighborhoods Project posted video from the final moments of Sutro Baths when it burned down on June 26, 1966. The old 8mm film was transfered to DVD and provided to WNP by one of their members, Mark Adams. Joel Springer, who shot the footage, was known for chasing and filming many fires in San Francisco.

Sutro Baths was no longer in operation in 1966, and its swimming days were long behind it. Before its closure to the public in 1964, it had morphed into an ice-skating rink.

At the time of the fire, the buildings were in the process of being demolished in anticipation of the development of high-rise apartments and. After the fire, the city abandoned those plans.

Sarah B.

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 11:21 am | Posted under History | 5 comments

Richmond Station handled back-to-back bomb scares this week

The bomb squad outside the 6th Avenue SFPD station on Thursday afternoon. Photo by Derek

Bomb scares seem to be our summer thang here in the Richmond District…

After the 7th Avenue Safeway was shut down for a few hours last month due to a suspicious package found in the parking lot (and eventually cleared), the Richmond District station was tasked with two more similar incidents this week.

On Wednesday evening, police were called to a home on Beaumont near Mel’s Diner on Geary. Someone reported seeing what they thought might be a pipe bomb. Residents in surrounding homes were evacuated and the bomb squad was called to the scene.

The object was eventually deemed safe, and the Richmond station later tweeted “SFPD bomb squad checked and it was just a pipe. Better safe than sorry”.

On Thursday around 2pm, a scare developed much closer to home when someone walked into the Richmond District police station on 6th Avenue with a suspicious object.

The block where the station is located was closed off to traffic, and once again the bomb squad was called to the scene to inspect the object. Around 3:19pm, the all clear was given.

The station later tweeted an explanation about the incident: “Resident brought a suspicious package to the station. Bomb squad checked – it was perfume.”

[Insert cheap perfume joke here.]

And in that same tweet, they offered some sage advice: “For a suspicious package don’t touch – call 911.”

Sarah B.

A bomb squad officer in his protective gear on 6th Avenue on Thursday. Photo by Derek

The bomb squad’s robot was on the scene at the 6th Avenue scare on Thursday. Photo by Derek

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 5:02 am | Posted under News | 1 comment

NRDC grades the health of our beach waters; Baker Beach ranks lowest

The Natural Resources Defense Council released their annual report this week, entitled “Testing the Waters 2014: A Guide To Water Quality At Vacation Beaches”. In it, they detail water quality conditions at beaches in 30 states along the shores of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Great Lakes, using water samples taken in 2013.

We took a look at our nearby beaches – Baker Beach, China Beach, and Ocean Beach – to see how they ranked.

The key indicator that the report looks at is the Beach Action Value (BAV) safety threshold, and what percent of samples from a given beach exceed the threshold due to higher than acceptable levels of bacteria.

Ocean Beach offers the cleanest waters, with 0% of samples exceeding the BAV safety threshold. China Beach is just slightly behind with 2% of samples exceeding the BAV.

Baker Beach has the most alarming statistics, with numbers as high as 28% of samples exceeding the BAV threshold, specifically those taken from the Lobos Creek dumpout near the lower parking lot of Baker Beach. Two other spots at Baker Beach came in much lower at 3% and 7%.

According to the NRDC, “the largest known contributor to beach closings or health advisory days has historically been stormwater pollution. Untreated sewage spills and overflows are also frequently to blame.”

Baker Beach is no stranger to low ratings. In 2011, Heal the Bay listed Baker on its “Beach Bummer” list, which ranked the most polluted shorelines in the state. Lobos Creek empties onto Baker Beach which apparently creates opportunity for bacteria to congregate. That portion of Baker Beach is on the list for an official cleanup effort, but research and recommendations won’t be completed until 2019.

Year over year, our beaches fared about the same. The NRDC changed their methodology a bit but click here if you want to see a synopsis of their findings in 2013.

Sarah B.

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 5:13 am | Posted under Recreation | 13 comments

Rock on! Summer music documentary festival at the Balboa Theater

Every Thursday this summer, the Balboa Theater will be showing a different music documentary / rockumentary.

First up this week is Holding on to Jah, which details the history of Jamaica, Reggae music, and the Rasta movement.

Other highlights in the series include the Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense (August 14), Oscar winning film Twenty Feet from Stardom (August 7) about the history of backup singers in the music industry, The White Stripes: Under Great White Northern Lights (July 24), and Jonathan Demme’s Neil Young Trunk Show (August 28).

The full festival schedule:

June 26: Holding on to Jah
July 3: The Klezmatics: On Holy Ground
July 10: Rage: 20 years of Punk Rock
July 17: The Swell Season
July 24: The White Stripes: Under Great White Northern Lights
July 31: You See Me Laughin’
August 7: Twenty Feet from Stardom
August 14: Stop Making Sense
August 21: Anvil: The Story of Anvil
August 28: Neil Young Trunk Show

All movies begin at 7:30pm and the festival runs through August 28. Tickets can be purchased in advance on the Balboa Theater website, or at the box office.

Sarah B.

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 9:33 am | Posted under Movies | Add comments

Laugh your a** off at the YMCA Comedy for a Cause event, June 26

The Richmond District YMCA is back with their annual Comedy for a Cause fundraiser this Thursday night, where local comedians come out to donate their time (and make you laugh). The event takes place at Neck of the Woods at 406 Clement Street from 7pm until 10pm.

This year’s comic lineup includes:

Sammy Obeid (as seen on the Conan O’Brien show)
Ronn Vigh
Matt Morales (as seen on the Late Late Show)
Lydia Popovich
Trevor Hill (atheist comedy)

Check out videos of each comedian below. Tickets to the fundraiser are $20 and are available online. Proceeds from the event benefit community programs of the Richmond District YMCA through their Annual Giving Campaign.

Sarah B.

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 5:12 am | Posted under Events | 2 comments

Local links: Beach Chalet, Marla Bakery opens, Sushi Wako, tree planting & more

Inside the new Marla Bakery on outer Balboa

Happy Friday to everyone! Here are some local links to dance you into the weekend…

  • Marla Bakery is finally open at 3619 Balboa near 37th Avenue. The Chronicle says it “will be open as a cafe all day and serve breakfast, lunch and dinner most weeknights, and brunch weekends, along with a Sunday supper that will happen at one long table, with a prix-fixe menu and wine pairings.” Stop in and welcome them to the neighborhood!
  • Just when you thought the debate over the artificial turf fields at Beach Chalet was done… In the upcoming November election, it’s likely that voters will be faced with two dueling ballot measures. One from a group of environmentalists, neighbors and others that want to prohibit artificial turf and field lights at Beach Chalet, and another measure from the city that is designed to override the opponents’ measure. The opponents of the fields have until July 7 to get the 9,702 valid signatures they need to qualify for the ballot.
  • Friends of the Urban Forest are planning another tree planting event in the Richmond District in August. If you’re interested in planting a tree in front of your property, the deadline to apply is July 16. Get all the details here
  • A new sushi spot is open at 211 Clement Street called Sushi Wako. They remodeled a former sushi spot and expanded into the space next door, resulting in a lovely rebuild. According to their website, Wako, which means “Japanese Fragrance” was started by two chef buddies. Reviews on Yelp so far are very good with one reviewer writing, “I have a feeling this place is going to be packed once the word gets out. So shhh…keep it down.” Oops, sorry. :)
  • Into Playland history? Author James Smith, whose latest book “San Francisco’s Playland at the Beach: The Golden Years” recently came out, will be speaking at the Sunset Branch Library (1305 18th Avenue) next Tuesday, June 24 at 7pm. Smith will speak and show photos from his latest book which is an illustrated history of the much-loved park from 1940 until its closing in 1972. We’ve got the book, it’s snazzy.
  • There’s a poignant piece about a duck needing a mate at Mountain Lake Park. “But duck does not live by bread alone. Duck should not, in fact and in the natural state of things, live alone. And Musco is all alone. I am on a one-woman campaign to find him a Muscovy mate.”
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 5:03 am | Posted under Food, Golden Gate Park, History, Politics, Shopping | Add comments

Police Blotter – June 19, 2014 | Blotter author Office Brophy is retiring

[Reprinted from The Richmond Police Station Newsletter of June 19, 2014. To be added to the station’s mailing list, email sfpd.richmond.station@sfgov.org.]

Although the captain of Richmond Station often writes a short message at the top of each weekly newsletter, for many years the actual author of everything else in the newsletter has been Officer Lorie Brophy. Officer Brophy is about to begin her much deserved retirement from the SFPD. Since this is her final newsletter, it is my honor to publicly thank her for 32 years of dedicated service to the community.

Officer Brophy graduated from the police academy in the fall of 1982 and was assigned to Mission Station for field training. After completing her training, she came to Richmond Station in the spring of 1983. In the mid 80s, she spent a year at Narcotics/Vice, but otherwise she has spent her entire career serving the Richmond District. For many years she was a school officer, and the walls of her office are still decorated with artwork and thank you notes from generations of the Richmond District’s school children.

Because Officer Brophy has been at Richmond Station longer than any other person, she has an encyclopedic knowledge of the district. She possesses a keen intelligence and the finely honed instincts that come from years of police work. Using these talents, she frequently solves cases by making connections between seemingly unrelated information that others would miss.

The SFPD and the Richmond District have been fortunate to have Officer Brophy in our family these past three decades. Even though she won’t be coming to work here each day, her influence and her presence will be strongly felt for many years to come. She will forever be in the heart and the soul of Richmond Station and we wish her a long, happy and healthy retirement.

On June 25th at 6:00 pm the Police Commission will hold a public meeting in the Richmond District at Presidio Middle School (450 30th Ave). This is an opportunity for the commissioners to hear directly from residents of the district. I will also give a brief report about Richmond Station. This takes the place of our regular monthly community meeting, so we will not meet on June 17th as we usually would.

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On 06/15/14 at 8:27pm, a non-injury accident occurred on the 400 block of Clement. The party who was not at fault in the accident, attempted to leave the scene, but only made it one block. The other driver approached the male and believed he was under the influence and called the police. When officers arrived they observed obvious signs of intoxication and in performing initial tests, the driver was over 3 times the legal limit. The 34yr old male was charged with driving under the influence and hit and run.

On 06/17/14 at 1:18am, officers patrolling the area of Post and Scott Sts observed a male walking along the curb line, looking into car windows with a flashlight. Officers detained the male and asked him several times for his identification. When he finally provided it the officers found that he had two outstanding warrants for his arrest. When the officers went to place him into handcuffs, the suspect began to resist and pull away. The suspect kept yelling “Shoot me!” and “Hurt me!” The officers were able to get him to the ground and place him into handcuffs after a struggle. A backup officer arrived and they began to walk him to the patrol vehicle when he lunged towards the officer, again yelling to “Shoot me!” and “Kick me!” He started spitting at the officers and kicked his legs and flailed his body. They were finally able to search the suspect and located pepper spray, a stethoscope and two Laryngoscopes in his coat pocket. The suspect told the officers that he wanted an ambulance as his arm hurt. When the ambulance arrived he refused to answer any of the paramedics question and told them his medical complaint was one of “hurt pride.” The suspect, a 29yr old male was charged with the possession of pepper spray and warrants. One of the pieces of medical equipment had a name engraved on it and in searching report records discovered that an auto burglary report had been made on May 27th. Officers went to the victims home to make contact but were told by neighbors that he had just moved out of state within the last week.

On 06/18/14 at 3:24am, officers were called to a burglary in progress on the 400 block of 27th Ave. The caller was witnessing this from across the street and observed two suspects prying open the front door of an apartment building. The caller then observed the males enter the lobby and go into the garage. Prior to officers arriving, the suspects had fled south on 27th Ave but the witness kept an eye on their direction of travel and pointed out one of the suspects to the officers. The male was detained and identified by the witness. The second suspect was not located. Officers found the front door damaged with pry marks. The suspect, a 35yr old male was charged with burglary. It is unknown at this time what the loss is if any.

Between 06/12/14, 9am and 06/14/14, 11:40am on the 6100 block of Geary, a suspect entered a multi-unit garage and took a bike. There were no signs of forced entry.

On 06/12/14 at 8:10pm, the victim was on Sutter and Baker when she was approached by two suspects. One of the suspects forced her to the ground and took her purse. Both suspects fled south on Baker. They were described as black males, 20-25yr, with one wearing a tan jacket with a hood and blue jeans. The victim was uninjured.

On 06/13/14 at 8:45pm officers were traveling west on Fulton at 17th Ave. One of the officers observed a flash of light coming from behind a van that was parked on the south side of Fulton. The light was coming from the sidewalk side. The officers were aware that Fulton St is an area where auto burglaries occur and turned around to investigate. The officers saw the suspect standing next to the van and when he saw the patrol car, he ran to a Honda that was parked and began to drive off. The officers attempted a traffic stop and initially the suspect stopped the vehicle. As the officer approached, the driver suddenly accelerated and fled west bound Fulton at a high rate of speed. The occupant was driving in complete disregard for any ones safety and was traveling at such a speed that the officers lost visual contact with the vehicle. The suspect was described as a black male, 25-30yrs wearing a white t-shirt, dark pants and had tattoos on his arms. The vehicle was a 4 door green Honda.

Between 06/13/14, 11:30pm and 06/14/14, 7:50am on the 800 block of Balboa, a suspect entered a storage area of a garage and took several boxes of paperwork, bicycle parts and an outdoor rug. There was no sign of forced entry.

On 06/14/14 at 1:20am the victim was walking on California St approaching Spruce. The two suspects approached him from behind and demanded his backpack. The victim struggled with the suspect for several moments over the bag and eventually the suspect took it. They then fled to a vehicle that was only described as black in color and fled south. The backpack contained a laptop and textbooks. The suspects were two black males, 25-30yrs, one wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and dark jeans. The other had on a black beanie and a dark long sleeved shirt.

On 06/16/14 between 6am and 3pm on the 2200 block of Divisadero St, a suspect pried open a rear door to a residence. The suspect took an iPad and credit cards.

Between 06/16/14, 5pm and 06/17/14, 8am on the 1700 block of Lake St, a home under construction was broken into. The suspect pried open a lock box which contained the key to the residence and took tools.

On 06/17/14 at 8:15am, an officer was called to a burglary on the 2400 block of Clement St. At some point during the night the suspects had forced entry through the front door of a business. The suspects then forced open the office door inside and took cash. The incident was caught on video; however the suspects had completely covered their faces and were wearing gloves. The suspects then fled in a light colored Toyota.

On 06/17/14 at 10:22pm, the victim was walking to his car parked on Sutter and Baker St. As he entered his vehicle and closed the door, the suspects ran up to the car and opened the driver’s side door. One of the suspects was armed with a handgun and demanded the victim’s cash and began to pat the victim’s pockets. The suspect then removed his wallet and struck him in the head with the butt of the gun. Both suspects fled in an unknown direction. The victim stated that the suspects were wearing some type of ski mask and all dark clothing. The victim refused medical treatment.

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 2:35 pm | Posted under Crime | 1 comment