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Police testing possibly poisonous meatballs found near Ocean Beach

You may have already heard about the 21 poisonous meatballs that were found in the bushes and shrubs of the Twin Peaks neighborhood over the weekend.

The intent of the meatballs, which were laced with strychnine, was to harms animals and pets who ingested them. Hundreds of the meatballs first appeared in July 2013, and killed a small dachshund.

This afternoon, SFAppeal reported that the police are also testing suspicious meatballs found near 855 La Playa between Fulton and Cabrillo around 5:45pm on Sunday afternoon.

Police are warning pet owners to be especially alert when out walking their dogs, and recommending that cats not be allowed outdoors. They are treating the meatballs found near Twin Peaks and the ones found in the Richmond District as one case.

The last time this occurred in the Richmond District was in July 2011, when someone left rat poison out in Sutro Heights Park, killing a hawk and causing one woman’s dog to foam at the mouth after ingesting it.

San Francisco police are asking the public for assistance in the case. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the SFPD’s anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444.

Sarah B.

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 3:57 pm | Posted under Crime, Pets | 5 comments

Family of woman hit on 10th Ave & California is “thankful she’s alive”

Photo by @jdonnellydc

On Thursday, February 6, an elderly woman named Carmen Silva was hit by a driver at the intersection of 10th Avenue and California Streets.

On Sunday night, Carmen’s son Emiliano Lee found the above photo that we posted on Facebook and left a comment with an update on his mother’s condition, and explained what happened that day:

“She had just gotten off the 1 California (we live on 11th) and was crossing the street, in the crosswalk, with the green light. A woman driving a prius turned and drove right into her. Happened so fast my mom didn’t see her until she was being hit… She hit the hood and windshield then was thrown into the street.”

“We are all thankful she’s alive as it could have been much worse,” Emiliano added.

Carmen herself jumped into the Facebook thread to talk about her accident:

“I’ve lived on 11th & Geary 24 years so am a vigilant pedestrian, have been nearly hit too many times. I always look 4 ways and keep looking as I cross. I do not ever use my cell phone when walking. I do not jay walk. And however clichéd, I did not see the car until it was about to hit me. My head, neck, ribs and a knee were damaged. Slow but steady recovery, and I do know it might have been so much worse. Thank you to the many helpful and comforting passers-by and EMTs and SF police.”

We’re glad to hear that Carmen is doing well and on her way to recovery. Thank you to the family for the updates!

Sarah B.

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 11:15 am | Posted under Traffic | 19 comments

Photo: Beer-battered historic mural inside the Alexandria Theater

Recently, we marked the 10th anniversary of the closing of the Alexandria Theater, and its steady decline to its status as a blighted landmark.

We posted photos of the theater’s deteriorating exterior, but recently received evidence of decay on the interior as well.

A reader sent us this photo which was taken inside the theater. It shows the defacing of one of the historic art deco murals inside the Alexandria.

The mural is peppered with beer bottle caps along with paint and plaster streaks.

Since its closing in 2004, the theater has periodically been broken into and taken over by squatters and partiers.

It’s a shame to see that the owners are letting the historic aspects of the interior deteriorate as well.

Sarah B.

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 5:10 am | Posted under Art, History | 9 comments

Power outage Sunday night, disappointing Downton Abbey fans

“Massive power outage right in the middle of the Downton Abbey season finale!”
– posted on Facebook by reader Cheryl S.

Around 10:15pm on Sunday night, right in the middle of the Downton Abbey season 4 finale, we received our first report of a power outage in the outer Richmond District.

Reports via twitter came from 15th Avenue, 18th Avenue, 22nd Avenue – all the way up to 30th Avenue.

At 10:31pm, PG&E tweeted “Richmond SF outage, affecting 6700 customers. Crew on-scene, working to determine cause. Will update with ETOR when available.”

We’ve received no other news from PG&E on the cause of the outage, and the estimate we’ve seen is that power should be restored between midnight and 1am. At 11:35pm, PGE4ME tweeted:

For continuing updates, follow PGE4ME on Twitter or call their hotline at 800-743-5002.

Were you in the dark? Leave a comment to let us know where you are and for how long you were living by candlelight on Sunday night.

Sarah B.

UPDATE Monday 12:22am: We received our first report of power being restored from Supervisor Eric Mar:

UPDATE Monday 12:43am: PG&E reporting that 1,300+ customers are still out:

UPDATE Monday morning: One reader said that as of 6am, they were still without power. And at 8:20am, power was reported to be out again at 14th and California.

UPDATE Monday 8:58am: PG&E reports that two customers remain on generator power, but the rest are with power again. They attributed the cause of the outage to a “failed underground cable & failed overhead connector”:

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 11:25 pm | Posted under News, Utilities | 19 comments

Police Blotter – February 20, 2014

[Reprinted from The Richmond Police Station Newsletter of February 20, 2014. To be added to the station’s mailing list, email sfpd.richmond.station@sfgov.org.]

Each week in our newsletter, we describe some of the noteworthy crimes in the Richmond District. Lots of homes and businesses have video recording systems and many people carry smart phones with cameras, so there is a chance that one of our readers has captured video of one of these crimes. If you see that there has been an incident near you and you have a video system, please take a moment to check if you have any footage that might help us. If you do, please call the station at 415-666-8000.

Our next Community meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 18, 2014 at 6pm. It will be in the Community Room, here at Richmond Station, 461 6th Ave.

On 02/13/14 at 8:30am, a city gardener and his crew were doing clean-up in the area of the Lily Pond near MLK Drive. The gardener came across a bike that was leaning up against a tent. The gardener asked the occupants of a tent if they knew who the bike belonged to. A female voice said, “Someone else.” Another occupant of the tent, a male exited with a knife in his hand a pointed it at the gardener. The suspect told him that he was going to cut him and the victim backed away. Another male told the suspect to put away the knife and the suspect did. A Golden Gate Park Ranger came upon the scene and could hear the suspect yelling obscenities. As 911 had been called, when the suspect heard the sirens he began to walk away with the ranger following. Officers arrived and detained the suspect. The 21 year old male was charged with aggravated assault and threats.

On 02/13/14 at 10:18pm, officers stopped a male who ran a red light on a bicycle at Euclid and Spruce St. They recognized him from previous contacts and determined that he was in possession of methamphetamine. He was also in possession of credit cards and identification belonging to others. One of whom had been a victim of an auto burglary on 02/01/14. The 44 year old male was charged with possession of stolen property and narcotic violations.

On 02/15/14 at 11:45pm, officers were called to a fight at 20th and Lake St. When they arrived they observed all parties on the corner, with one male bleeding from the head. They spoke to the victim who lives on the 100 block of 20th Ave. He told the officers that he was in his home and heard loud banging from his front door. When he went to check he could see that the glass on the front door was shattered and the suspect was making his way into the home. The victim grabbed a coat rack and began to strike the suspect who continued to push his way in. The victim, a 68 year old male, continued to strike the male and was able to push the suspect out of his home and down the front steps. The victim then fell down the stairs causing injuries. The victim grabbed the suspect by the collar and was able to get him to the ground. A neighbor came out and stood by with the suspect as the victim called 911. The officers attempted to speak with the suspect, however he was extremely intoxicated, incoherent and slurring his words. The victim was treated at the scene for his injuries. The 21 year old suspect was charged with vandalism and transported to a local hospital.

On 02/17/14 at 9:50pm, on the 200 block of El Camino Del Mar, the victim had just parked her car and was getting the groceries from the trunk. The suspect came up to her right side and pushed her to the ground while trying to take her bag. As the bag was slung across her body the victim pulled it off herself and handed it to the suspect who then fled with another male. A nearby witness heard the victim screaming and saw the suspects flee to a silver SUV. US Park Police were in the area and found the SUV inside the Presidio on Wedemeyer St. Two of the occupants had fled the vehicle with the driver taken into custody in the car. An extensive search was done and the two males were located. The two males, both 21 and the female driver, 19yrs, were charged with robbery and conspiracy.

On 02/18/14 at 1:42am, officers were patrolling the area of 24th and Fulton when they observed the suspect walking along the south side of Fulton. The suspect had a flashlight and a knife in a sheath on his hip. Officers stopped to talk to the male and detained him. The suspect was in possession of shaved keys and had several warrants. The suspect also had a stay away order from the area of Golden Gate Park. The 40yr old male, who was on probation, was charged with possession of burglary tools, probation violation and the warrants.

On 02/14/14 at 8:30pm the victim left his home on the 500 block of 3rd Ave. He observed 3 Hispanic males standing in the easement/alleyway on one side of his house. He asked what they were doing and did they need any help. One said, “Keep it moving, we’re having a conversation.” The victim told them they needed to leave and they started yelling at him. One of the suspects then took what appeared to be a shotgun from his pants. He told the victim that they could settle this right now. One of the other suspects took the gun away from the other and said that there were people around and they needed to go. The suspects fled west on Anza. They were described as being 18-20yrs, one wearing a red baseball cap and a gray t-shirt, the suspect with the gun was wearing a black North Face jacket and black pants. The third was wearing all dark clothing.

On 02/16/14 at 2:20am officers responded to a report of a stabbing at 3rd and Geary. The officers located two male victims but due to their injuries were unable at that time to tell the officers what happened. A witness was only able to say that he saw an Asian male punch one of the victim’s in the face several times. The group of Asian males then ran north on 3rd Ave and possibly got into a black BMW.

Between 02/17/14, 4pm and 02/18/14, 7:15am on the 300 block of Spruce St, a suspect tried to make entry into a home under construction by prying doors and windows but was unsuccessful.

Between 02/17/14, 8:15pm and 02/18/14, 6:45am on the unit block of Lupine, two different garages were entered by an unknown suspect. It appeared that by pushing on both front gates, the gate opened and then entry was made into the garage. In each an unlocked vehicle was parked inside and entered by the suspect. There was no loss in either.

On 02/18/14 at 12am, a resident of a home on the 700 block of 17th Ave happened to look out his window. He observed a white minivan stop in front of a neighbor’s home and the passenger exited the vehicle. The male went to the front door of a home under construction and forced open the front door. The minivan left but kept driving around the block. The officers arrived on scene but the suspect had fled out a back door. The neighbor could only say that the suspect was a male wearing a dark sweatshirt.

On 02/19/14 at 2:38am, the victim was walking on Euclid towards Palm Ave. The first suspect walked past her while the second crossed the street to come over to her side. She was then grabbed from behind and forced to the ground. The suspects rummaged through her pockets and took her phone, identification and cash. The suspects fled west towards Arguello. The suspects were males, one wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt.

On 02/19/14, between 9am and 12:35pm on the 2700 block of Clement St a suspect entered an apartment via the fire escape and then through an unlocked window. The suspect took cash.

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 1:02 pm | Posted under Crime | 1 comment

Sutro Baths ruins reimagined as a “Center for the Human Spirit”

Sutro Baths reimagined as a Center for the Human Spirit by Quan Nyen Tran

In 2012, Quan Nyen Tran, a student at the Academy of Art’s Graduate School of Architecture, submitted an entry to the American Institute of Architects Center for Emerging Professionals competition. In it, he re-imagined the ruins of Sutro Baths as a transformational retreat center he calls the “Center for the Human Spirit”.

What’s interesting about Tran’s design is that rather than rebuild on top of the ruins and cover them up, the center wraps around the existing pools, and uses the varied cliffs to tucks in structures and living spaces.

Tran refers to Sutro Baths as “an evocative ruin”, writing, “The evocativeness comes from a sublime coexistence of cliff, ruin and ocean – each a potential site for discovery of the human self and for an evocative architecture to house this discovery.

The center consists of three main spaces – a exhibition space, a meditation space, and a retreat – all with the goal of encouraging its visitors to treat themselves, others and nature with compassion.

The exhibition space features an ampitheater with a connecting tunnel that leads down into a bathhouse that is tucked into the side of the cliff. The meditation center is “cantilevered from an existing ledge, with steps leading down into the ocean, and takes in the view of the infinite horizon”. And finally, the retreat area is nested in the heart of the ruins, with minimal living quarters and a transparent ceiling open to the sky.

The Center for the Human Spirit was also Tran’s Master’s thesis.

“My project was ignited by a vision borrowed from Ayn Rand’s Fountainhead and the quote: “Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision.””

And while Tran’s re-imagining of our neighborhood relic wasn’t a a finalist in the 2012 AIA CEP ompetition, we think he has a winning idea here.

Thanks to @sutrobaths for the tip.

Sarah B.

Looking out from the Exhibition area. By Quan Nyen Tran

At left, a rendering of the Retreat for the Potential Self. To the right, the Sanctuary for the Transcendental.
By Quan Nyen Tran

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 4:30 am | Posted under Art | 13 comments

Eyewitness accounts confirm canine hit and run by SFPD

Earlier this week, we wrote about an alleged hit and run of a dog by a San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) squad car that took place on Saturday, February 15 at the intersection of Balboa and 6th Avenue.

Three eyewitnesses came forward to speak with us about the incident, and confirmed that the dog, a small Chihuahua, was struck and killed by a SFPD police car.

The 8 year old dog was being cared for by Casey Massam, a friend of the owner. He brought the dog around 1pm, on leash, to Cinderella Bakery, where he tied it up outside while he went in to order.

Erin Steffen was having brunch with a friend at the bakery and recalled their arrival. “The dog was cute and caught all of our attention.”

A few minutes later, the dog wiggled out of its collar and began running back towards the intersection of 6th Avenue and Balboa. Erin ran into the bakery to alert Casey while another couple got up and tried to catch the dog.

When the dog reached the northeast corner of the intersection, it darted into the street and was run over by a SFPD vehicle that was turning right onto 6th Avenue from Balboa.

“It was a police car and the driver did not stop,” Erin said. She said that the police car did not appear to be responding to an emergency call. “There were no lights or sirens.”

Just before the dog was hit and the police car turned onto 6th Avenue, the dog’s guardian came out of Cinderella Bakery.

“It was disturbing that the officer didn’t stop,” Casey said. It was likely that the SFPD vehicle was headed back to the station house, just one block further down on 6th Avenue.

Shocked at what happened, none of the witnesses were able to take note of the vehicle’s ID or chase after it.

“We all kind of froze when we saw the dog get hit,” Erin said. “It was a police car but I could not see who was in it or get any number on the car.”

A third eyewitness, who asked to not be named, went to the Richmond District Police Station soon after and filed a report, providing contact information for Casey as well as Erin. Casey received a call later that day from an officer who took his statement over the phone.

When we spoke on Tuesday with Officer Albie Esparza, Public Information Officer for the SFPD about the incident, he indicated that aside from the initial eyewitness report that was filed, no other witnesses had come forward.

But as of Saturday evening, both an eyewitness and Casey had provided statements to the station about the hit and run. As of Wednesday afternoon, Erin had not been contacted by the SFPD even though her information was included in the first report filed.

Despite these eyewitnesses coming forward, Officer Esparza wrote in an email to us, “If anyone has any information/witnessed or have video surveillance of this, they are asked to contact Richmond Police Station.”

A confusing request considering by Tuesday morning they already had a report from an eyewitness, additional details from Casey’s statement via phone, and had also received a visit from the dog’s owner who filed her own report at the Richmond station in the wee hours of Monday morning.

During that visit, the station’s desk clerk told the dog’s owner that no report had been filed and that they were unfamiliar with the incident, despite a report being filed 36 hours earlier for which Casey had received a case number.

Casey was still very distraught about the incident when we spoke to him on Wednesday, and says the dog’s owner is “taking this really hard, the dog meant everything to her.”

Despite the disturbing hit and run behavior of the officer(s) involved, Casey said “it’s tough to really place blame and be angry for what happened. They may not have noticed that they hit anything.”

“There is room to consider that the cop had no idea what he/she did, but it is hard to believe,” Erin said. “Around four people were near the intersection at the time of the incident trying to catch the dog and then immediately in the road after.”

A makeshift memorial was placed for the dog on a pole at the intersection of 6th Avenue and Balboa over the weekend. A handmade sign with the flowers read “Police SFPD Please Slow Down!!! Don’t Kill Another Puppy”.

“It was like a scene out of a movie. The timing of it all couldn’t have been more tragic,” Erin said.

Sarah B.

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 10:00 am | Posted under Crime, Pets | 7 comments

Photo: Sunset at Sutro Baths

February 18, 2014. Photo by @cpak

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 4:21 pm | Posted under Photos | 1 comment