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Mountain Lake Park Family Festival, January 11

There are lots of changes going on at Mountain Lake Park, and Saturday’s Family Festival is a great chance to learn more about them, and have some fun.

Come out between 10am and 12:30pm to learn more about the lake remediation / restoration project that is underway, and see the designs for the new children’s playground which will begin construction this Fall.

Join the Presidio education staff for a morning of place-based learning and exploration. There will be a variety of family-friendly activities, from water investigations to birding on the beach to artistic walks, all about Mountain Lake.

Members of the Friends of Mountain Lake Park Playground will be on hand to share the playground designs.

The festival also coincides with the Presidio Trust’s regularly scheduled drop-in restoration program, so you’ll also see people hard at work restoring Presidio native habitats.

Come take the pledge and receive your “Love Mountain Lake” water bottle sticker featuring the cute-as-a-button western pond turtle.

If it is raining on Saturday, the event will not take place.

Sarah B.

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 10:45 am | Posted under Events, Parks | Comments Off

Video: Tightrope walkers at Lands End

SF Citizen turned us onto this cool video of some highline walkers who set up at Lands End – “right underneath the noses of one of the most popular parks in the city”. Epic indeed…

Sarah B.

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 10:31 am | Posted under Lands End, Video | 3 comments

Photo: Dolphin double-take

Photo by Franco Folini. Ocean Beach, January 5, 2014.

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 5:12 am | Posted under Ocean Beach, Photos | 4 comments

City’s first batting cages, INField, open on Clement Street

“Build it and they will come” was the prophetic declaration from James Earl Jones’ character to Ray Kinsella, played by Kevin Costner, in the film The Field of Dreams.

Michael Falzone’s reason for opening INField Batting Cages on Clement near 20th Avenue was not inspired by Hollywood, but instead by complaints from his Little League players and parents about not having easy access to a practice facility.

Falzone coaches his own sons in SF Little League, and decided he would try opening his own batting cages. His full-time job is as a park police officer in the Presidio, where he also lives. He initially tried to open INField in the Presidio, but could not get approval for a space from the Presidio Trust.

So instead he leased a former restaurant space at 1888 Clement that had been vacant for two years. It’s a deep space with high ceilings in the back, which was perfect for two side by side batting cages. There’s also a tee-ball hitting station in the front of the space for younger players.

For now, INField operating hours align with after school and weekend schedules, welcoming swingers in from 4pm to 7pm Tuesday through Thursday, and until 9pm on Fridays. Saturday hours are 12noon until 9pm, and Sundays til 5pm. They are closed Mondays.

You can call in advance for reservations (699-3670) or just drop in. Additional hours can also be arranged by email.

Each cage features a variable speed pitching machine for baseballs. Falzone says the machines have a softball accessory but for now, he’s just offering baseball hitting.

Prices are $25 for a half-hour of pitching machine time for batters age 7 and up ($40 for a full hour). Under 7 can hit off the tee for $10 for a bucket of balls. Special rates are also available for teams.

Each machine offers up a variety of pitches, allowing hitters to refine their swing on just a specific pitch, or get some swings in on all the pitches (fastball, left and right hand curveballs, knuckleball, slider and sinker). Available pitch speeds range from 40 to 90 miles per hour.

If you’re a frequent hitter, INField also offers memberships ranging from $100 per month to $1,000 for the year, which includes five half-hour sessions per month plus discounts on merchandise, clinics and camps.

For now, INField is the only batting cage facility in the city of San Francisco. Falzone says that previously, he was taking his players to Treasure Island or South San Francisco for batting practice.

Blog reader Grace stopped by INField last weekend and said she “had a blast – made me feel like I was in Little League all over again.”

Batter up!

Sarah B.

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 5:03 am | Posted under Business, Sports | 13 comments

Police Blotter – January 3, 2014

[Reprinted from The Richmond Police Station Newsletter of January 3, 2014. To be added to the station's mailing list, email sfpd.richmond.station@sfgov.org.]

Happy New Year! We accomplished a lot in 2013 and look forward to accomplishing even more in 2014. Officer Steve Zukor retired and we thank him for his years of service. We welcome 6 officers, some new and some seasoned officers who have been waiting for years to come to Richmond Station. New is exciting and I have great plans for our officers and we certainly welcome the help. You will see similar themes in our 2014 priorities. While your safety and well being is paramount we will continue to focus on pedestrian, bike and vehicle safety, robbery abatement and burglaries of homes and autos to name a few.

On 12/30/2013, at 8:30 am, officers responded to Anza and Blake St. regarding an altercation between a male and female. During the fracas, threats were made and the tires of a vehicle were slashed. When officers arrived at the scene they were given a description of the male suspect who had fled the area. Officers conducted a search and were able to find the male who was also discovered to have an outstanding warrant for his arrest.

ON 12/27/2013, at 2:50 pm, officers responded to the Bank of America regarding a male trying to cash fraudulent checks. Officers were able to detain the male who claimed the check was for work he had completed elsewhere. The responding officers contacted the owner of the checks and were able to verify did they not know the male and had never issued checks to anyone by that name. The suspect was arrested for numerous felony charges.

On 12/28/2013, at 7:56 pm, officers responded to a call of an incident on the 5900 block of California St. On arrival at the scene, officers detained a male who admitted he was a party to the incident. Officers were able to determine that there was sufficient cause to arrest the male for criminal threats. While conducting a search of the male the officers recovered a quantity of suspected methamphetamine. The male was booked for multiple felony violations at the county jail.

On 01/01/2014, at 10:47 pm, officers responded to the area of 3100 Sacramento St. regarding a burglary which had just occurred. The victim in this incident had returned home with groceries and was in the process of unloading the vehicle. The victim had left the garage door open and on his return to the garage discovered the suspect inside his car. The suspect fled and the victim called the police. When officers arrived they placed the victim in the patrol vehicle and were able to locate and identify the suspect. The suspect was pointed out by the victim while driving along the street. Items recovered by the officers were identified by the victim. The suspect was charged and booked on multiple felony violations.

On 12/29/2013, 12:40 am, Officers were conducting traffic enforcement in the area of 10th Ave. and Anza St. The patrol officer observed a vehicle fail to stop at the limit line of the intersection and conducted a traffic stop regarding the violation. While conducting the investigation it was discovered that the driver did not possess a California Drivers License, The driver was cited for the above violations.

On 12/31/2013, at 5:28 am, Officers were patrolling in the area of the 600 block of 6th Ave. The officers observed a suspicious female in an area known for to officers regarding auto burglaries. The female was identified as having an outstanding felony warrant for her arrest. During a search the female was discovered to be in possession of a quantity of Cocaine. The female was booked at the county jail on the above felony charges.

On 12/29/2013, at 1:30 am, officers responded to Kaiser Hospital regarding an assault which occurred on two males and female in the area 3rd and Geary. The three victims stated that they were walking in the area when they were accosted by two males. The suspects started to shout profanities at the trio and then assault them physically. There were minor injuries sustained by the victims and the investigation continues…

On12/28/2013, at 11:00 pm, officers responded to the 6700 block of Fulton St. regarding an aggravated assault. On arrival at the scene the officers contacted a male who stated that while sitting in his parked car a large group of juveniles approached and started banging on his windows. One of the suspects managed to shatter the side window of the vehicle which caused minor facial injuries to the victim inside. The suspect group fled on foot northbound on La Playa St. and the investigation continues.

On 12/29/2013, at 10:10 pm, officers responded to the area of California and Pierce St. regarding a street robbery which had just occurred. Officers contacted the victims who stated they were approached by a male who produced a black handgun. The suspect demanded the victim’s phone and the victim complied. The suspect fled west on California St. turning in an unknown direction. There were no injuries in this incident and the investigation continues…

On 12/24/2013, at 06:00 am, officers responded to the 400 block of 22nd Ave. regarding a report of a burglary. One of the residents of the building had been on vacation and when they got back home discovered that someone had made entry to the garage area and removed a bicycle. The resident believes they may have entered through an unlocked door. The investigation continues…

On 12/14/2013, at 6:30 pm, officers responded to the 3200 block of Geary Blvd regarding a robbery from the store. The suspect in this incident entered the store and told the clerk he was “Christmas Shopping.” The suspect took a backpack as he was walking around the store and started loading it with items. When the suspect started to leave the building without paying, the clerk was grabbed by the arm and shoved backwards causing minor injuries. Medical assistance was declined at the scene. Officers conducted a search of the area but the suspect had fled prior to their arrival. The investigation continues…

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 11:05 pm | Posted under Crime | 1 comment

Local links: Food news, gardening classes, stargazing, jazz concert & more

Photo by David Young

Happy New Year, readers! Here are some local links we collected over the holidays. Now go off and have a great start to your 2014! – Sarah B.

  • New biz alert: Bay Chinese Medicine Clinic opened up on the corner of California and 22nd Avenue. Website says owner Heather Shields offers “holistic care and customized treatments for adults and children using acupuncture, Chinese herbal formulas and massage.”
  • News from La Playa… Reader Gabriel tells us that the old Burger King has been bought by a couple who are putting in their own ovens and intend to make it an American-food cafe, with early morning bakery items.
  • Stargazers unite: The SF Amateur Astronomers Club will host a free City Star Party & Telescope Night at Lands End on Saturday, January 11 starting at 5:30pm. Check their website for details on where to meet up.
  • The Richmond District branch library is hosting a free series of Saturday Gardener Workshops starting January 11, taught by San Mateo and San Francisco County Master Gardeners and local arborists. Topics include Growing Healthy Vegetables, Fruit Tree Selection, Life in the Soil, Ornamental Trees and Shrubs, and Growing Vegetables from Seeds.
  • Michael Reddig of the Inner Richmond wrote to the Chron editors about an incident on the 38 Geary that reinforced his “belief in the goodness of people and highlights a part of our Muni system that really does work”. It’s the little things in life, right?
  • Jazz it up: The West Side Jazz Club will play a free concert at The WestSide Art House (540 Balboa) on January 18th from 8pm to 10pm. The quartet “maintains an expansive, ever-changing book of jazz standards, focusing on challenging modern compositions and freshly-updated classics from Monk to Shorter, through Ellington, Rollins and Coltrane.” Concert is free, kids and dogs are welcome.
  • Vegan? There’s a few spots in the Richmond District for you, including Enjoy Vegetarian, Burma Superstar, and Hong Kong Lounge, according to a “100 Vegan Dishes to Try in San Francisco” article we found. Don’t miss the faux fish Sea Bass Eggplant at Enjoy Vegetarian or the infamous Tea Leaf Salad at Burma Superstar.
  • Have some storage or display space challenges in your apartment? These Richmond District apartment inspired shelves made by Carlysle Manufacturing Company are pretty cool. “…After moving into a cramped Outer Richmond studio, [creator John Pemberton] adapted the dated peg concept for San Francisco renters.”
  • Food critic Patricia Unterman revisits Shanghai House (3641 Balboa): “When I walked in I saw my last review, written in 2007, facing me on a cardboard stand. I took it from the counter and used it to order–and sure enough, everything that I had raved about back then pleased me just as much now. I was captivated all over again by a place I had not visited for six years.”
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 11:39 am | Posted under Business, Classes, Events, Food, Muni | Comments Off

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.

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 12:07 pm | Posted under Green | 1 comment

Top 10 Richmond District stories of 2013

It’s time to take a trip down memory lane and check out the most popular stories from this past year. From faery doors to farmer’s markets to sinkholes to human remains – our readers have a wide range of interests! It’s been our pleasure to cover it all.

Thanks for coming along for the ride in 2013! We can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store…

Sarah B.

The original miniature faery door installed near the concourse in Golden Gate Park, filled with offerings from visitors. Photos by Erica Reh

1. The Mysterious Mini-Door in Golden Gate Park
This delightful story captured the hearts and imagination of readers not only in the neighborhood, but around the world. The story was full of whimsy, wishes and even shady politics when Rec & Park decided to remove the door without even serving the faeries an eviction notice. Undeterred, the father and son team behind its creation fashioned another bureaucrat-approved door that they installed in another spot in the park. The faeries even answer their mail from time to time…

2. De Place restaurant on Geary closes after only three weeks
After licking the wounds of Video Cafe closing, neighbors eagerly awaited the new restaurant that would open on the corner of 21st and Geary. It was under construction for months and when it finally opened with the underwhelming name of “De Place”, it sported tv screens, fountains, ample seating and a giant crawfish statue that greeted diners at the door. But after just three weeks, a sign on the door said they were closed, with the vague explanation of “we are not able to enlist the staffs than can assist us with our operation”. Things that make you go hmm.

3. Clement Street Farmer’s Market makes it debut
It took several years to come together but the Richmond District finally made it onto the Farmer’s Market map, debuting the Sunday market on Clement Street between 2nd and 4th Avenues on June 23. The market was an instant hit with shoppers and vendors, and has been approved to run weekly through June of 2014 (and will likely be extended after that).

4. Large HUGE sinkole opens up on Lake and 2nd Avenue
This story brought us one of our best photo ops of the year… Around 5:30pm on a weekday afternoon in May, the road gave way to a huge sinkhole on Lake Street and bungled up traffic for several hours, even attracting news helicopters overhead. The rupture of a 19 inch sewer drain was responsible for the fiasco.

5. Fresh & Easy to close all stores; what will happen to the Richmond District location?
In April, Fresh & Easy’s parent company, Tesco, announced they were planning to close all of the nearly 200 stores in the chain. The Richmond District location on 32nd Avenue and Clement hadn’t even been open two years. In September, we got the news that billionaire investor Ron Burkle was buying the Fresh & Easy chain and that only 50 of the stores would be shuttered – and the Richmon District location is not one of them. Phew!

6. Shooting at 29th & Geary
Thankfully, we don’t see a lot of violent crime in the neighborhood, so when gunshots rang out at 7pm on a Sunday night on Geary near 29th Avenue, it sent a ripple through the neighborhood. A few eyewitnesses left their comments about what happened, and to date, we haven’t heard any news of an arrest of more information about the crime.

7. Bicycle lane on JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park cause for concern
We reprinted an article from the Richmond Review (because we agreed with it) about the new, questionable configuration of the bike lanes on JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park. Like most cycling stories, this set off a debate in the comments, which had both bikers and non-bikers taking both sides of the arguments. SFMTA, what say you?

8. What (or whom?) lies beneath the Legion of Honor?
Readers seemed to enjoy our Halloween photo special of human remains underneath the Legion of Honor Museum. They were discovered during the 1993 renovation and were photographed extensively by Richard Barnes. And yes, they’re still there.

Photo by Richard Barnes

9. Neighborhood’s first traffic circle installed at 23rd & Anza
Heads were being scratched after this roundabout was installed in January. It’s the only one in the Richmond District and it’s unusual/non-standard because it has stop signs on all sides, making it more decorative than calming. So it was hardly surprising when KRON TV’s Stanley Roberts provided video proof of how badly people navigated the circle. SFMTA is supposedly planning more for the neighborhood, ugh.

10. Haig’s Delicacies closing after 57 years
We do love our businesses here in the Richmond District, so many readers were saddened when Haig’s on Clement Street announced they were closing their doors after a half century. Beloved for the selection of spices and hard to find foods, commenters lamented the loss. A new spot (Local’s Cafe?) is under construction in the space, and it’s from one of the owners of Chomp & Swig. We’ll keep you posted.

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 4:30 am | Posted under Business, Crime, Golden Gate Park, Traffic | 1 comment