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“All Steam Power” model boat Regatta in Golden Gate Park, August 8

This Sunday, the San Francisco Model Yacht Club will host Steam Up 2010, its second annual “All Steam Power” Model Boat Regatta at Spreckels Lake at 36th Avenue and Fulton in Golden Gate Park. Stop by between 10am and 4pm to watch these little boats steam their way around the lake.

The SFMYC’s website has some interesting history on what powers model boats:

In the late 1800’s power boats began to appear on our lakes and ponds. They were powered by steam, our first source of model boat power long before gasoline and electric. Early models featured “hand crafted” engines and boilers fired by dry fuel tablets kerosene or coal. By the mid 1920’s model steam engines were offered as “raw castings”, and the art of steam boating required extensive skill in machining, woodworking and model engineering. By the 1940’s, pre-built engines and boilers came on the market. The 90’s was the development of the smaller more powerful reliable units fired by propane and butane.

The Steam Up event showcases both vintage and modern day boats such as tugs, work boats, and open launches. Anyone with a steam powered vessel is welcome to participate in the regatta. Works in progress, and all forms of steam plants and boilers, are encouraged to display. Many of the models will be run on the pond throughout the day.

Read more about 2009’s Steam Up event (pdf)

Sarah B.

The Luisa C. Pulls SFMYC Member Bob Trickey around Spreckels Lake. Photo by Ken Valk

Visitors take a look at the model boats on display. Photo by Ken Valk

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 6:38 am | Posted under Events, Golden Gate Park | 4 comments

Lands End: USS San Francisco Memorial parking area closed until December

To accommodate some construction and renovation to the USS San Francisco Memorial parking area at Lands End, the lot will be closed starting tomorrow, August 3, until the work is complete in December.

The improvements will include resurfacing the lot, new native plantings, improved drainage, and a new overlook including new benches. No changes will be made to the actual USS San Francisco Memorial.

If you’re visiting Lands End, you can still park at the Point Lobos lot above Sutro Baths. Full pedestrian access along the coastal trail will also remain open.

Sarah B.

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 9:53 am | Posted under Recreation, Traffic | 1 comment

Local pet store mounting campaign against new Petco location

While picking up some kitty grass at Cal’s Pet Supply this weekend, I learned about plans for a new Petco location at 5411 Geary near 18th Avenue, formerly a Walgreens.

Cal’s has been operating as a boutique pet store at California and 22nd Avenue since 1986. Owner Roy Schmall is concerned about the effect that a big box pet retailer would have on his own business, as well as its potential to “diminish the friendly, small town atmosphere of the neighborhood.”

So much so that after hearing the large retailer was looking over the nearby Geary location, Schmall began gathering signatures on a petition and reaching out to other neighborhood pet-related stores. So far he has about 150 signatures from customers and supporters; the petition can also be signed online.

Petco has not yet applied for their conditional use permit, though they filed and were approved in late July for one building permit to install new flooring and sheetrock (application #201007207013). Their lawyers have also been in touch with neighborhood groups to feel out the climate for Petco to move in.

It’s unknown what range of products and services this new Petco would offer, but it could pose stiff competition to a variety of small, pet-related businesses in the Richmond including groomers (Barking Lot at 3239 Balboa Street, Groom at 938 Clement Street), aquarium stores (6th Ave. Aquarium at 425 Clement Street, Lucky Ocean Aquarium at 109 Balboa Street) and other pet supply stores (B&B Pet Supplies at 4820 Geary Street). Schmall has reached out to many of them for support.

A similar campaign was launched to fight a Pet Food Express at the former Hollywood Video location at California Street near Presidio. But despite gathering 500 signatures, Pet Food Express was recently approved for their conditional use permit and should be opening its doors later this year.

However it’s been proven that neighbors and small businesses can prevent a large retailer from coming into a neighborhood. Pet Food Express first tried, unsuccessfully, to open in the Marina District at a former Blockbuster location. Neighbors and small business owners in the area argued that seven smaller, independently owned pet stores in the neighborhood would be put out of business by the large retail store. Their conditional use permit for that location was denied in November 2009, leading them to the Laurel Heights location.

Petco currently has two locations in San Francisco at 2300 16th Street near Potrero and 1591 Sloat Boulevard. Both of these stores are part of larger malls with ample parking. Some neighbors who have signed the petition against Petco are concerned about the new Petco contributing to the Richmond’s parking woes.

What do you think? Are you concerned about Petco moving in? Or would you continue to shop at the smaller pet stores even if Petco moved in on Geary?

Sarah B.

The location Petco is considering at 5411 Geary, formerly a Walgreens.

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 6:13 am | Posted under Business, Pets | 23 comments

Presidio Landmark public meeting on Monday night

This Monday night from 6:30pm to 8:30pm, the Presidio Trust is holding a tour and update meeting at the new Presidio Landmark apartments inside the 15th Avenue gate.

The event will include a building tour and an introduction to the Landmark’s new management team. There also will be a tour of the Wyman Avenue historic homes and the District’s grounds. The meeting begins in the lobby of the Presidio Landmark at 6:30pm.

At the meeting, organizers will address some recent issues that have arisen from the construction and re-opening of the building:

– A remedy for the recent drainage issues outside the 15th Avenue gate
– Reopening the 14th Avenue Gate
– Options under consideration for the regulation of Battery Caulfield Road and traffic reduction along 15th Avenue. Neighbors also plan to ask the Trust to share the cost of speed humps on 15th Avenue between Lake and California streets.

If you are unable to attend tomorrow’s meeting, but would like to stay involved in the dialogue and learn about future meetings, please send an email to dick.keenan@gmail.com or jeff.rhodes@gmail.com.

For more information on the Public Health Service District, which includes the Presidio Landmark, the historic homes along Wyman Avenue (which are nearly ready to be re-opened), and various businesses in the district, visit http://www.presidio.gov/trust/projects/phsh/.

Special thanks to RichmondSFBlog reader Beth for sending this in.

Sarah B.

The recently restored Wyman Avenue homes on the east side of the District.

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 11:15 am | Posted under Events, Traffic | 1 comment

Richmond rent scam victims pile up; scammer skips town after posting bail

The story continues to develop about a woman who was running a rent deposit scam on an outer Richmond District apartment rental at 5631 California.

As more victims come forward, it appears that Rachel Smith may have stolen rent deposits from over 20 people. Smith would show potential renters the apartment, have them sign a lease and then take a deposit for as much as $5,600. Smith would then create an excuse shortly thereafter as to why she couldn’t let them move in right away. Then, she would disappear, not returning phone calls or emails. Authorities estimate she stole nearly $100,000 from her victims.

A new website has popped up, scammedbysmith.com, in an effort to organize victims for a meetup next week. It is being run by two of her victims, known only as Mat and Harper. Mat notes on the website that the building owner was also scammed by Smith – she skipped out without paying her July rent.

Anyone who believes they may be a victim of Smith’s rent deposit scam is instructed to call Inspector John Monroe at 553-1936.

Smith was arrested this week but after posting bail, skipped town with a U-HAUL in tow according to SFist. Police have released her photo and are asking anyone with information on Smith’s whereabouts to call the SFPD at 553-1521.

Why this woman was allowed to post bail and not considered a flight risk is a total mystery to me.

Sarah B.

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 10:58 am | Posted under Crime | 3 comments

Highlights from the Bicycle Music Festival (video)

The 4th annual Bicycle Music Festival kicked off at Marx Meadow in Golden Gate Park yesterday, and K9Video was on the scene to capture some of the live music and mechanics behind this 100%, bike-powered event. Enjoy!

Sarah B.

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 10:35 am | Posted under Golden Gate Park, Live Music | Comments Off

Police Blotter – July 23, 2010: “The chase was on!”

[Reprinted from The Richmond Police Station Newsletter of July 23, 2010. To be added to the station's mailing list, email sfpd.richmond.station@sfgov.org.]

On August 3, 2010 between 6:00 PM and 8:00 PM Richmond Station will participate in National Night Out by offering tours of the Station. Please stop by for a tour, light refreshments, and meet the Officers.

During the past week, there were 15 traffic accidents 4 involving injuries. There were 4 citations issued for driving without a license or driving on a suspended license. There were 2 arrests for driving under the influence.

On 07/18/10 at 6:45 pm, an officer was at the intersection of Washington and Divisidero conducting traffic enforcement. The officer witnessed a traffic collision in which a motorized scooter was stopped at the intersection and was rear-ended by a passenger vehicle. The officer approached both parties to see if they were in need of any medical attention. Upon doing so, both parties involved denied injury, however, the officer noticed the smell of alcohol coming from the driver of the passenger car. Upon further investigation, the driver of the car was found to be driving with a suspended license and driving under the influence of alcohol. The driver was charged with both offenses.

On 07/20/10 at 7:30 am, an off-duty officer noticed a male subject riding a bicycle in the area of Edward Street and Arguello Boulevard. The subject got off of the bicycle and locked it to a street sign on Edward Street. Moments later, the off-duty officer saw the subject enter an open garage on the 600 block of Arguello and exit with a different bicycle. Recognizing the activity as suspicious, the off-duty officer notified Richmond patrol units who responded to the scene to investigate. Once officers arrived at the scene and located the subject, the chase was on! The subject fled on foot through Rossi Park, making it as far as the 900 block of Anza before officers apprehended him. The bicycle was recovered and identified by the owner as stolen. Along with the bicycle, officers recovered numerous other items later identified as stolen property. The suspect was arrested for burglary.

On 07/19/10 at 9:30 am the owner of a vehicle parked on the 5300 block of Geary found his car’s windshield shattered. The car had been parked there since 8:00 am the previous day. Lying next to the vehicle was a brick, believed to be the object used to damage the vehicle’s windshield.

On 07/18/10, a woman reported that her purse stolen while grocery shopping. She had placed her purse in her cart and covered it with her coat. The victim left her cart for a moment while shopping and returned to find that her purse had been stolen.

On 07/21/10 at 2:15 am a man was awakened inside his home on Pacific Avenue when he heard the sound of a door opening. Seconds later, a light turned on and footsteps were heard. As the resident called 911, he heard the garage door open and then close. The suspect appeared to have gained entrance into the home by prying open a side door. No items were discovered missing following the incident.

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 7:17 am | Posted under Crime | 1 comment

Richmond District woman arrested for rent deposit scam

SFAppeal reports this morning that a woman has been arrested recently for allegedly scamming $20,000 from potential apartment renters.

Rachel Marie Smith was placing ads to rent her Richmond District apartment on Craigslist. After seeing the apartment, located in a building on the 5300 block of California, victims would sign the lease and leave a deposit for the apartment – as much as $5,600.

Shortly thereafter, Smith would inform the renters that she learned her mother had cancer, so she would not be vacating the apartment for at least another month. It was at that point that Smith would disappear, not returning calls or the hefty deposits.

The latest victim, a 22 year old woman, reported the incident to police on July 19 after learning a co-worker had signed a lease and provided a deposit down for the exact same apartment.

Prosecutors have charged Smith with eight counts each of grand theft and obtaining money under false pretenses, in connection with four alleged victims, according to district attorney’s office spokeswoman Erica Derryck.

Sarah B.

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 8:06 am | Posted under Crime | 7 comments