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Preview: SFGate: John King

John King





 



As Wine Country fires slow, firefighters take a more strategic tack

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 04:32:33 UT

As wildfires flared to life throughout Northern California last week, firefighters had little time to do anything other than to race to get people out of danger. The scene is less urgent now — still potentially lethal, but one where firefighters can ponder strategies to contain the danger and allow people to return to their homes. In some areas, this means sending in bulldozers to create “containment lines” to stop the fire’s spread. In others, it means positioning nimble crews of firefighters so that they can — in an instant — be deployed to put out spot fires with each shift of the wind.



Wine Country fire claims life of couple who loved to help others

Sat, 14 Oct 2017 04:45:15 UT

Roy Howard Bowman, 87, and Irma Elsie Bowman, 88, were the type of people who settled into their community and did good without making a fuss. “Anybody who needed a second chance, the Bowmans were their advocate,” said Felice Lechuga-Armadillo, who first met the couple when she was a child at the Assembly of God church in Ukiah. “Anyone who needed help, they stepped forward — but quietly.” The Bowmans were among the victims of the fires that ravaged remote Redwood Valley in Mendocino County early Monday. They were found in the burned remnants of their home on Fisher Lake Drive, where they had lived for as long as anyone could remember. Mr. Bowman served in the U.S.



McCarty’s Bar becomes friendly Mendocino County refuge for evacuated community

Fri, 13 Oct 2017 05:47:16 UT

REDWOOD VALLEY, Mendocino County — On a typical evening, McCarty’s Bar in this small community north of Ukiah could be doing anything from serving a handful of regular customers to hosting a reggae concert or ’80s night. But on Thursday, the watering hole served another function: informal evacuation center for people displaced by the Mendocino County fires, with donations pouring in from locals. “It’s bringing people together through tragedy,” said bartender Crystal Maples, who opened the doors at 2:30 a.m. Monday after sprinting away from the flames that had erupted in Potter Valley.



Geyserville enjoys reprieve from flames — for now

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 22:18:51 UT

Smoke still cloaked the ridges east of Geyserville in northern Sonoma County Thursday, but there was something else in the air: the welcome smell of grapes on the vine. The Pocket Fire that had burned more than 8,000 acres since Monday morning, prompting evacuation orders for much of Geyserville, was now the backdrop for a crisp fall day with blue skies overhead. In the cluster of shops and eateries at the center of town, there was a communal sigh of relief — for the moment. “I feel better today,” said Dino Bugica, owner of Diavola Pizzeria, located in the historic Geyserville Odd Fellows Hall.



Second annual Bay Day celebrates the region’s vital resource

Wed, 4 Oct 2017 20:53:51 UT

If anything unites residents of this far-flung region, it’s the beguiling body of water that touches all nine Bay Area counties, and that’s what the second annual Bay Day aims to celebrate. There will be an REI-hosted “beach party” on Angel Island, and family-friendly activities at Jack London Square in Oakland. Or boat rides and walking tours at the Port of Redwood City. But the list of events — many of which are free — extends from there, along the shores from Alviso to San Pablo Bay. There’s even a 7:30 a.m. swim from Alcatraz to Aquatic Park.



‘Designing​ ​San​ ​Francisco,’ by​ ​Alison​ ​Isenberg

Thu, 28 Sep 2017 21:07:16 UT

Summer of Love hype aside, much of San Francisco’s recent history seems impossibly remote. That’s why there’s an exotic feel to “Designing San Francisco: Art, Land, and Urban Renewal in the City by the Bay,” Alison Isenberg’s exploration of how the northeast corner of the city changed — and resisted change — in the 1960s. As the thorough title suggests, this is an academic book, full of methodical prose and half-page paragraphs. Some of its conclusions reach too far to grasp an overarching theme.



Student group must pay needed fees for ‘Free Speech Week,’ UC officials say

Sun, 17 Sep 2017 04:26:43 UT

The student group seeking to hold a four-day series of conservative speakers and provocateurs at UC Berkeley has failed to pay required deposits, university officials said Saturday. Although the Berkeley Patriot student organization turned in a contract late Friday afternoon, after missing two earlier deadlines, it did not include money to rent the facilities, according to a campus spokesman. “At the very last minute they signed the contract, but the contract made clear they would also provide payment,” said Dan Mogulof, who heads UC Berkeley’s communications office. That did not occur. This doesn’t necessarily scuttle the event.




AIDS Grove dedicates new section to hemophiliacs killed by the disease

Sat, 16 Sep 2017 22:17:58 UT

There’s a new place of solace within the National AIDS Memorial Grove: a memorial circle devoted to victims of the disease who were hemophiliacs. About 300 people attended a ceremony Saturday morning in Golden Gate Park to dedicate the space, which has several benches inscribed with the names of victims, most of whom died between 1983 and the mid-’90s. Shrubs were planted along the circle and then family members read the names of victims, each name accompanied by the ringing of a Tibetan bell. The victims had been infected in the early 1980s by the injection of blood-clotting products for hemophiliacs that were contaminated by plasma tainted with HIV.






Teams selected in competition to remake Castro’s Harvey Milk Plaza

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 01:11:04 UT

Three local design teams are finalists in a competition that could lead to a makeover of San Francisco’s busy but barren Harvey Milk Plaza. The plaza runs alongside the Muni station at Market and Castro streets, a major point of entry to the Castro District. It holds the giant rainbow flag that has been a visual landmark of the internationally known gay neighborhood since 1997. But it’s also a sunken space out of sight of Castro Street, a passageway where few people linger. The nonprofit Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza this year put $160,000 into a design competition that seeks to change that dynamic along with the landscape.



10 teams selected to map Bay Area’s response to rising sea levels

Mon, 11 Sep 2017 00:00:00 UT

With sea level rise expected to become a pressing threat here within decades, 10 design teams have been selected to map how the Bay Area can respond. Each team will receive up to $250,000 for its work, which begins this week and will conclude in May with adaptation strategies for 10 distinct locations along the edge of the bay. There’s no guarantee they will be built — but the high-visibility competition could make it easier to attract large-scale grants and funding. “We want a balance between innovative designs and things that can be done,” said Amanda Brown-Stevens, managing director of the program, called Resilient by Design.



SF hospital starts umbilical cord blood donation effort

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 03:25:41 UT

New parents in San Francisco can now donate their infant’s umbilical cord blood for use in transplants or medical research. Usable blood is sent to the Cleveland Cord Blood Center in Ohio, where it is stored and placed in a registry that is available free for public use and can be drawn on by doctors in the United States and 17 other countries. Doctors use it as an alternative for bone marrow transplants in treating cancer patients. The state Legislature voted in 2010 to increase birth certificate fees by $2 as a way to fund a statewide effort, the Umbilical Cord Blood Collection Program, which is managed by UC Davis.



Salesforce gets naming rights to new SF transit center

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 18:10:09 UT

The Transbay Joint Powers Authority board voted Thursday to let Salesforce put its name on the transit center opening next year in downtown San Francisco, but balked at letting the software firm control when the rooftop park is open or closed. The 25-year, $110 million sponsorship agreement will change the name of the facility to the Salesforce Transit Center and place the company’s name or logo on as many as 177 signs throughout the structure, including digital kiosks and way-finding pylons. “Unfortunately, we are in a situation where we have to rely on naming rights,” said board member Ed Reiskin, director of the Municipal Transportation Agency. Though the board members present praised authority staff for the financial side of the deal with Salesforce, Jane Kim objected to a clause in the agreement stating that the rooftop park’s closing hours could be changed only with written permission from the San Francisco-based tech firm. A compromise was arranged to vote to approve the sponsorship agreement — but with the stipulation that the language would be revised so that Salesforce doesn’t have veto power if there’s a desire to extend park hours in future years.



Fireworks overcome SF’s fog to brighten sky, spirits for Fourth

Wed, 5 Jul 2017 05:52:02 UT

San Francisco marked the Fourth of July in classic (local) summer fashion — with cold fog and stiff winds but double-barreled fireworks nonetheless. The chilly, overcast evening didn’t keep people from spending their holiday on the waterfront. By 7:30, the lawn at Aquatic Park was comfortably full with families, couples and groups of friends who showed up early to stake out space. Many were tourists who decided to make the fireworks — and the gathering fog — part of their itineraries. “I looked it up, saw fireworks on the bay, and we thought it would be fun,” said Sarah Franz, who had arrived Monday from the Dallas-Fort Worth area with her brother, Jonathan. On a bench nearby, the Gama family of Riverside was huddled tight after polishing off a takeout pizza for warmth. [...] the Fourth of July is more than fireworks, and crowds across the Bay Area gathered Tuesday for music, picnics and parades. In Redwood City, the view from Melissa Magallón’s pink beach chair showed a crowd of thousands gathered for the city’s annual Fourth of July parade, which featured college marching bands, unicycle riders and local businesses puttering down Arguello Street in flatbed trucks. Nearby on Broadway, a classic car exhibit featured gleaming Chevrolet Impalas, boxy Plymouths and Mustangs with their hoods open to expose exquisite vintage engines. Melissa, 6, wore patriotic colors to celebrate the occasion: a puffy red and blue bow and flip-flop sandals with red straps, revealing her red-and-blue polished toenails. By 11 a.m. she was clinging to her mother, Maribel Magallón, and craning her neck to see the dancing tree mascot from Stanford University. “The chile pepper, that’s kind of new,” she said, pointing to a truck blasting cumbia music, with a large sign advertising the Redwood City Salsa Festival in September.




Antioch police seek man who shot and killed gas station cashier

Wed, 5 Jul 2017 00:02:39 UT

A cashier at an Antioch gas station was shot and killed Monday evening in an incident that also involved an officer firing shots. Antioch police did not return several calls on Tuesday regarding the crime, but the victim was identified as Jawad Ataie, 57, by workers at the Valero station at Hillside Avenue and East 18th Street. According to a GoFundMe page set up by the family on Tuesday, Ataie was on duty when a gunman pistol-whipped him and then shot him in the back, twice.