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Lafayette Carnival, Burke’s Fall Festival this Saturday

This Saturday, October 25, two elementary schools in the neighborhood will be holding their annual fall festival fundraisers.

4545 Anza Street
Enjoy a huge inflatable bouncer for the kids, different classes selling food (pizza, baked goods, hot dogs, ice cream, spam masubi, and more), old school carnival games, a dj doing music, and a cake walk. Admission is free but there are tickets that will be on sale to play the carnival games ($0.25 each or $5.00 for 25 tickets).

7070 California Street
Stop by for games, bouncy houses, shopping, a giant slide, festival treats, food trucks and much more. Admission is $5 per person and certain activities require tickets which can be purchased on-site. Note that dogs are not welcome at the festival and there is no parking along 32nd Avenue during the event.

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 2:02 pm | Posted under Events, Schools | Add comments

Getty’s Playgroup preschool to open new campus inside Presidio 15th Ave gate

The Playschool Preschool Education campus, currently under construction. Photo by Miller Company

Back in 2011, the New York Times published a piece on the Getty family’s private preschool, or as their lawyer liked to refer to it at the time, “a private recreation group”.

“For the past 14 years, Ann and Gordon Getty have run an invitation-only, free preschool for the offspring of some of San Francisco’s most powerful families, including their own grandchildren. Families cannot apply for admission. They are chosen, in sort of a toddler’s version of being tapped for Skull and Bones at Yale,” the article begins.

On top of the blue blood practices it revealed, the article also brought to light some of the concerning issues around the private organization, which hosts their two dozen wee attendees inside the Getty’s own mansion on Broadway.

At the time, the Playgroup had no official licenses for operating a preschool, and had never even been inspected by the fire department.

Concerns were also raised about The Playgroup’s director, Lonna Corder, who had informed some parents that their children had autism or some other developmental disorder – despite having no medical training or certification as a therapist.

Upset parents were hesitant to speak out for fear of offending their hospitable Playgroup hosts, the Getty’s, and risk being asked to leave the group which included perks like a Chez-Panisse trained chef on staff that prepared organic, multicourse lunches for their children.

Fast forward three years and The Playgroup is on its way to becoming a more visible preschool with an open admissions policy.

Just inside the 15th Avenue Presidio gate, on Battery Caulfield Road, sit two historic buildings where the new Playgroup Preschool Education will be located. Building 1818 and 1819, once the location of the Infectious Disease Research Laboratory and Offices of the old Marine Hospital, were built in 1932. The buildings have sat unused for 30 years and were magnets for graffiti and vandalism.

The Playgroup Preschool Education school is designed by architect Zack DeVito, who also designed the Lone Mountain Preschool, just a stone’s throw down the road from The Playgroup Education’s location.

Also part of the team is landscape architecture firm The Miller Company, whose design “features a new arrangement for student pick up and drop off, accessibility upgrades, and secure outdoor play and learning areas set within native plantings adapted to the soil, climate, and orientation of the site.”

The layout of the Playgroup Preschool Education campus by Miller Company. Enlarge

The buildings are relatively small – 6,000 square feet for 1818 and 1,600 for 1819 – but large enough for 60 students.

According to the Presidio Trust projects website, the scope of work for the construction of the school includes hazardous materials abatement, seismic upgrades, ADA improvements (including a limited use/limited application lift to service the basement of building 1818), a new deck to connect the two buildings, a new glazed entry vestibule at the rear of 1818, restoration of historic windows, and select tenant improvements necessary for preschool use (new floor finishes, paint, lighting, ceilings, bathroom fixtures, etc.).

The school will also have a fenced, outdoor play area and when completed, the buildings will be LEED Silver certified.

The Playgroup will also be lifting the veil on its private admissions process by offering the general public the chance to apply for admission. It has contracted with website KidAmit to accept, review and manage applications. The school already held their first informational meeting about the new campus on May 1st.

The school’s location and admissions process is changing, but the leadership is not. The new Playgroup Preschool Education will continue to be directed by Lonna Corder, who is listed as a co-founder along with Ann Getty.

According to the listing for Playgroup on KidAdmit, the school will be employing the Montessori approach with an emphasis on “a teacher directed experience in the year before Kindergarten in order to prepare them for the most competitive Kindergarten programs.”

Annual tuition for the Playgroup, which still lists its current 2880 Broadway location on KidAdmit, ranges from $13,000 up to $19,000 per year depending on the age of the child, how many days per week and hours of attendance. The school’s listing indicates that financial aid is available.

Just down the road, Lone Mountain Preschool’s annual tuition ranges from $8,250 up to $17,500 for pre-kindergarten class. Both offer a September to June school year.

We were unable to find the planned opening date for the Playgroup’s new Presidio campus, but most likely it will be September 2015 when the next school year begins.

Thanks to reader Jason S. for help with researching this story.

Sarah B.

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 4:10 am | Posted under Schools | 8 comments

Photos: Signage for new restaurants on Geary is, er, creatively challenged

The “You Are Here” style signage on the new Kobe BBQ. Photo by Derek

Last week, BoldItalic published a photo of what was once Quan Bac, a popular Vietnamese restaurant located at 4116 Geary between 5th and 6th Avenues. The photo showed what one might call a “poor man’s restaurant sign” which looked like a spastic graffiti artist had come through (photo below) – and even spelled one of the restaurant names wrong.

It appears the restaurant space is being divided into two eateries – Kobe Korean BBQ and Infiniti Sushi.

Thankfully, the graffiti was quickly painted over within a day or so with dark paint. But today, we received new photos of the facades which are, well, still pretty bad.

The Kobe BBQ storefront on the left side has spray-painted letters with an arrow pointing down at the front door (just in case you don’t know where to go in). It’s a little reminiscent of the “You Are Here” notations on venue maps.

Next door, they seem undecided on how they want to sign the place. “Infiniti Sushi” is lettered on a small wood board that runs across the front, but “Infin” is still spray-painted haphazardly above the windows (and S-U-S-H-I remains spray-painted on the window coverings).

We don’t know anything about these restaurants or when they plan to open their doors. We’ll hope these signs are works in progress because if they’re permanent, we can only assume the quality of the food will be top-notch. ;)

Oh and Brothers Korean BBQ is right next door so let the games begin.

Sarah B.

The current signage for Infiniti Sushi, opening next door. Photo by Derek

How the graffiti’d facade looked last week. Photo by Bolditalic

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 2:06 pm | Posted under Business | 8 comments

It’s a monster mash! 2014 Halloween events in the Richmond District

There’s no shortage of Halloween events in the neighborhood this year! So put on those costumes and get out there to grab your share of ghoulish fun. Happy Halloween to all!

YMCA HALLOWEEN PARTY – Friday, October 24 | 5:30pm – 8:30pm
Richmond District YMCA, 360 18th Avenue
The Richmond District YMCA will have bounce houses, healthier s’mores, arts and crafts, pumpkin carving, a photo booth, and more. Admission is $5 per child 2 and over, chaperones and children under 2 are free.

SUPERNATURAL HALLOWEEN PARTY – Friday, October 24 | 5pm – 9pm
California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park
Have yourself a ghoulishly great time trick-or-treating your way through the Academy at night, among spooky skulls and spine-tingling specimens. Trick-or-Treating, Dancing, Face Painting, Magic Shows, Scientists and Specimens, Live Animal Shows, Giant Pumpkin Carving, Crafts, a Photo Booth and more. Tickets start at $30 for children. More info

Clement Street Farmer’s Market (3rd Avenue & Clement)
Stop by the Clement Farmer’s Market on Sunday for the Kids Costume Parade. Meet at the musical acts section near 3rd & Clement for a singalong, then parade over to Toy Boat Dessert Cafe for free scoops of ice cream! Sponsored by the Clement St. Merchants Association.

12:30pm – 3pm | 741 30th Avenue
Children and families are invited to come in costume and explore the Richmond District Neighborhood Center, transformed into a haunted wonderland complete with a Haunted Room, Dr Funnybone Laboratory, Ghosts and Globins Hangout, and Madame Katrinka, Fortune Teller. There’s also arts and crafts, costume contest, bake sales, games and prizes. Costume contest at 2:30pm.

Meet at the Velo Rouge Cage on Arguello near Fulton to bike to work with Supervisor Mar (costumes optional). More info and RSVP available on Facebook.

Look for the special Halloween stencils outside the stores of participating merchants. Then pop inside if you dare for a trick or a treat! Sponsored by the Clement St. Merchants Association.

22ND & CALIFORNIA HAUNTED HOUSE – October 31 | 6pm – 9pm
Don’t miss this neighborhood tradition when the basement of Appel & Dietrich market is transformed into a haunted house. Start your adventure with a slide ride that descends you into the depths of scary! This year’s theme is “The L.A.B.” so be prepared for some interesting experiments. Free admission, all ages welcome but be prepared for a long line!

HEARTBAKER HAUNTED HOUSE – October 31 | 6pm – 9pm
Enjoy holiday fun watching your little ones making their way down haunted hallway and discovering a witch preparing her magic potion in a boiling caldron! Of course the night is not complete without treats. Heartbaker will provide free treats and refreshments at the end. Find out more

Get a ticket to the spookiest show in the neighborhood. The Western Neighborhoods Project presents a special screening of Trina Lopez’ documentary “A Second Final Rest: The History of San Francisco’s Lost Cemeteries” along with short films and other surprises. Tickets are available online – $10 for general admission, $7.50 for seniors and children.

Stop by Anthem Screen Printing at 6138 Geary and get a special “Dia de Skeeter” screen print on a t-shirt (Skeeter is the store’s mascot). Bring libations, a costume, and friends! If you’d like to print your own shirt make sure to bring one or you can purchase a blank for $10. They will have a few Anthem designs on the press and a special design chosen by Facebook followers from their Dia De Skeeter album. RSVP on Facebook

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 4:54 am | Posted under Events, Golden Gate Park | 5 comments

Photos: Cock-a-doodle do! Roosters living in Golden Gate Park

Neighbors living near the west end of Golden Gate Park have been hearing an unusual sound in the mornings – crowing roosters.

Readers tell us that two roosters have been living in the park for the past couple of months near a lake. How they took up residence in the park is a mystery. Perhaps they escaped a home coop or were abandoned there?

Even more mysterious is how they’re surviving, considering the coyotes and raccoons that wander Golden Gate Park.

A reader snapped these pics of the handsome devils. Cock-a-doodle-doo!

Sarah B.

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 4:30 am | Posted under Golden Gate Park, Wildlife | 5 comments

Video: Drone’s eye view over Golden Gate Park and Ocean Beach

It’s like someone made this video just for us… :) Nice views over Golden Gate Park including the Murphy Windmill, and some gorgeous shots of Ocean Beach at sunset with camp fires aglow.

Thanks to Rico for the tip.

Sarah B.

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 4:15 am | Posted under Golden Gate Park, Ocean Beach, Video | 1 comment

Police Blotter – October 17, 2014 | Your guide to common scams & cons

[Reprinted from The Richmond Police Station Newsletter of October 17, 2014. To be added to the station’s mailing list, email sfpdrichmondstation@sfgov.org.]

Don’t Get Taken by Con ArtIsts
Con Artists are persuasive and persistent. The schemes described here have many variations, but they all have the same goal:

This information is provided to help you identify fraudulent schemes; ways to avoid becoming a victim and whom to call if you believe you have been swindled by a con artist.

Earthquake Relief Fund:
This scam involves receiving a phone call from the suspect who identifies himself as calling from an official government office in San Francisco. The caller solicits donations for the “Earthquake Relief Fund”. There has been a recent reporting in these crimes occurring in the Asian community.

Grandparent Scam:
This scam involves receiving a phone call from a suspect pretending to be a “grandchild” in distress. The suspect says that they are in Mexico (or another country) and in trouble. They ask the elder to wire them money, often through Western Union. Although employees at Western Union have tried to dissuade the seniors from sending the money, these employees are rarely believed.

Pigeon Drop:
This scam usually involves 2-3 suspects working together to con you into believing they have found money, diamonds, gold bars, etc. They want to share it with you, but someone must hold the found item for a while before splitting it. You are convinced to withdraw ‘good faith’ money from your bank account to be combined with the suspect’s good faith money in a bag or handkerchief. The suspects switch the bag or handkerchief and disappear. They leave you with nothing but torn paper.

Charity Switch:
Very similar to Pigeon Drop, but with a slight variation: You are approached by suspect-one who claims to have recently come to America with a large amount of cash to be delivered to a church or a charity. Suspect-one then says he must leave the country soon and asks you & suspect-two to deliver the money for him. You are asked to put up ‘good faith’ money to show you are honest. Suspects switch the money and disappear.

Bank Examiner­:
This suspect approaches you or may call you on the phone claiming to be a police officer that is investigating a bank employee for embezzlement. You are asked to go to your bank and withdraw cash so the officer can watch the bank employee. You are told to give the money to a “detective” who will return it to the bank for you. The suspects disappear with your money.

Sweetheart Swindle:
This scam often involves an elderly man (70+) who is befriended by a young woman. She convinces him that she truly cares about him and implies a romantic interest. She tells him she needs money for rent, food, furniture, and her business or that she needs surgery. She may swindle him out of his life savings, often causing him to file bankruptcy.

Fortune-Telling/Psychic Fraud:
You may be approached at stores, hotels, restaurants, etc. or when you go to a ‘psychic reader.’ The psychic convinces you that you have an evil curse or evil spirits that must be ‘cleansed.’ Cleansing is an ongoing process that requires you to pay thousands of dollars in cash, jewelry, clothing, vehicles, etc.

Lost Pet or Lost Property:
You place an ad in a local paper about a lost pet or lost property. You then receive a call from a long-haul truck driver who found your missing item but he is now hundreds of miles away. He will return your property (or advise of the location of your pet) after you send a “reward” by Western Union.

Lost/Stolen Purse:
A ‘police officer’ calls you to advise he found your purse (often before you realize it is missing or have reported it). The ‘officer’ needs your personal information for his report. You, believing a police report is being taken, provide your information and take no further action.

Mail Theft:
Both incoming and outgoing mail may be taken from your mailbox. Your checks are ‘washed’ to remove payee and amount and altered so the suspect can cash them for more money. Your ATM and credit card numbers are picked up from your bills and used for purchases. Your credit card applications are taken and altered so the suspect receives a credit card in your name.

Home Repair:
These suspects go door-to-door offering you a great deal on yard work, roof repair, chimney sweeping, house painting, etc. They may have ‘extra’ supplies left over from their last job so they can save you money. At the completion of the work they claim they used more supplies or there was more work than anticipated so they demand more money from you. They can be very intimidating.

Distraction/Imposter Burglary:
These suspects can include women with children. A suspect comes to your home and engages you in conversation while other (unseen) suspects enter your house through another door and take cash and property.
A suspect comes to your house claiming to be from a City or County agency or a utility company employee. He needs to come into your house to check for problems. Once inside your house, the suspect distracts you and takes cash and valuables.

Canadian Sweepstakes:
You receive a call from someone who says you have won a Canadian sweepstakes, but you must pay Canadian taxes before the winnings can be claimed. You are told to send a cashier’s check or wire money via Western Union to them in Canada.

Purchase of Lottery Tickets:
You receive mail or calls from a company ‘representative’ who will purchase lottery tickets in another state for you (usually Florida) and send you photo copies of your tickets. (They keep the originals so they can collect for you if you win.) You may write them monthly checks, allow them to debit your checking account or provide them with credit card numbers so they can purchase lottery tickets for you on a weekly basis.

One of the biggest problems facing law enforcement in identifying and apprehending con artists is that the victims are reluctant to report the crime because of embarrassment. This is what the con artists count on. Don’t help them get away with their crime.

The only way we can stop these criminals is if you report it. You weren’t their first victim and you won’t be their last!

San Francisco Police Department: Emergency 9-1-1; Non-Emergency (415) 553-0123
Postal Inspector (Mail Theft): (415) 778-5900
Contractor’s License Board – Home Repair Fraud: (800) 321-2752
Find out more at: www.scambusters.org | www.fraud.org | www.truthorfiction.com | www.urbanlegends.miningco.com

Do-Not-Call: You can register your telephone number at www.donotcall.gov or (888) 382-1222 for the Do Not Call list. This should stop telemarketers and telephone solicitations.
Financial Crimes Unit: 415-553-1521
Officer Juan Gomez: 415-553-7311

On 10/09/14, at 4:00 am, Officers responded to the area of Washington St. and Divisadero St. regarding a reported fire. On arrival at the scene SFFD was able to determine that the fire was arson and not an accident. The SFPD arson unit was notified and the investigation continues…

On 10/09/2014, at 8:57 am, Officers responded to the area of 2nd and California St. regarding multiple complaints of a male being a problem. On arrival at the scene the officers contacted the male, who when asked was unable to provide identification. The male told the officers that when he had last been released from jail his identification was not returned. The male told the officers that there was probably a warrant for his arrest somewhere. The officers conducted a computer query and confirmed the outstanding warrant.

On 10/10/2014, at 8:15 am, Officers responded to the area of 9th Ave and Geary regarding a report of an auto burglary. Officers who responded found the husband of the victim in this incident had detained the culprit prior to their arrival. The victim had earlier exited her house and observed the male sitting in her truck going through the cab. When the female victim started to scream, the suspect was alerted and fled on foot. The husband chased the suspect down after hearing his wife scream. A computer check revealed that the suspect was on active probation for burglary. The suspect was booked at county jail.

On 10/12/2014, at 9:45 am, a male walking in the area of 5th and Geary was approached by a suspect with a handgun who demanded he empty his pockets. The victim in this incident was compiling when the suspect reached into his pocket and removed in excess of $1600.00 in U.S. Currency. The suspect fled towards a waiting motorcycle which was being driven by a second suspect who sped away west on Geary Blvd. The victim in this incident was not injured. The investigation continues…

On 10/13/2014, at 4:37 pm, Officers on patrol in the area of Spruce and Geary observed a vehicle with an expired registration. The officers initiated a traffic stop and contacted the driver. A computer query revealed that the driver was driving while never having had a license issued to him. The driver was cited for both violations.

On 10/13/2014, at 10:51 pm, Officers on patrol in the area of Fulton and Arguello observed a vehicle with an expired registration. The officers initiated a traffic stop and contacted the driver. A computer query revealed that the driver was suspended/revoked. The driver was cited for both violations.

On 10/13/2014, at 2:11 pm, Officers responded to the area of Anza and 32nd Ave. regarding a reported robbery in the area. The victim was on her way home from school when she was approached by two females who attempted to grab her phone. In the struggle to retain her phone the victim was pushed to the ground. At this time on of the females produced a knife and said “give it up bitch.” The victim complied and released her phone. The victim in this incident was not injured and refused any medical attention. The investigation into this incident continues…

On 10/13/2014, at 11:06 pm, Officers on patrol in the area of US101 and the Park Presidio transition ramp observed a vehicle driving with no headlights activated. The Officers followed the vehicle and initiated a traffic stop in the area of Park Presidio and 14th Ave. The officers contacted the female driver who was showing the objective signs of driving under the influence. The officers conducted standard a battery of standard field sobriety tests which resulted in the female driver being arrested. The driver was booked into the county jail for DUI.

On 10/14/2014, at 1:14 pm, Officers on patrol in the area of Anza and Arguello observed a vehicle which was displaying expired registration. The officers initiated a traffic stop regarding the violation and contacted the driver. A computer check revealed that the driver was suspended from driving and was also unable to produce any proof of insurance. The driver was cited for multiple violations.

On 10/15/2014, at 10:59 am, Officers on patrol in the area of Geary and 11th Ave. contacted a male who was known to them through numerous prior contacts. The Male started yelling at the officers and was in possession of a variety of items which he claimed were not his. A computer check revealed that the male had multiple outstanding warrants for his arrest. The male was taken into custody without further incident and booked in to county jail on the warrants.

On 10/15/2014, at 5:29 pm, Officers on patrol in Golden Gate Park observed a vehicle fail to stop at a posted stop sign. The officers initiated a traffic stop and contacted the driver. A computer check revealed that the driver was suspended from driving. The driver was also unable to produce any current insurance and was then cite4d for multiple violations.

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 5:40 pm | Posted under Crime | 2 comments

Academy of Sciences opens “The Terrace” cafe for garden dining

Today, the Academy of Sciences opens a new restaurant called The Terrace, located in the west garden of the museum.

The Terrace features a menu of small, shareable plates that range in price from $6 to $18. Some of the menu items we sampled at the media preview included a delicious orange elderberry mock tail, a toasted farro, wild rice, roasted beet and fennel salad, and a local goat cheese, red pepper and artichoke bruschetta. We didn’t get to try it but heard others cooing over the prosciutto, arugula, and fig jam sandwich.

The Terrace’s setting is lovely, designed for al fresco dining in the garden. But any restaurateur in San Francisco knows outdoor dining is a mixed bag, so the cafe’s retractable, floor to ceiling window panels can be closed when it gets chilly. The cafe also has radiant, in-floor heating.

The space used to be occupied by a bird aviary, and some of its concrete and fencing was re-purposed for the Terrace’s construction.

The opening of the Terrace also marks the start of a new food partnership the Academy established with Sodexo, who will also manage the Academy Cafe. The Moss Room has closed for renovation and will reopen in spring 2015 as a dedicated space for special events.

The Terrace cafe is open during regular museum hours, as well as during the Academy’s Nightlife events on Thursday nights.

Sarah B.

Would you like a mock-tini?

The retractable glass panels

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 8:57 am | Posted under Food, Golden Gate Park | 12 comments