Richmond Roundup

Just like the real thing
The Presidio YMCA has opened a new bicycle skills area where youth can ride their bicycles and learn the rules of the road at the same time. The skills area has traffic signals and painted one- and two-way lane roads. The skills area is in the Presidio, at the end of Barnard Road, off Presidio Boulevard in the Tennessee Hollow area. For more information, contact Ben Caldwell at [email protected].

Former garage official faces prison
Greg Colley, the former chief financial officer of the nonprofit Music Community Concourse Partnership, could serve between 14 and 15 years in prison for allegedly embezzling funds from the agency while running a garage in Golden Gate Park.

Prosecutors said Colley impersonated two officers to transfer more than $3.9 million from the nonprofit's bank account to his personal bank account between 2006 and 2008.

Colley, who was fired in February and arrested in Salem, Oregon on Aug. 1, pled not guilty to embezzlement, money laundering and identity theft at his recent arraignment.

If convicted, Colley faces potential jail time, fines of $10,000 and orders to pay restitution. As of presstime, he was still in jail with bail set at $1.5 million.

Mad Hatters net $127,000 for charity
The National AIDS Memorial's spring fundraising event, the Mad Hatter's Tea Party, was held in Golden Gate Park on May 17. It featured a fashion parade of unique hats created specially for the party by millenary students at the Academy of Art University.

The hats, worn by attendees such as volunteer Dianne Boate and sponsor Wells Fargo Senior Vice President Brenda Wright, were auctioned off during a silent auction for a total of more than $127,000.

In addition, a panel of local celebrity judges, including emcee Jan Wahl, selected the event's most creative hats and awarded the creators a Macy's gift card prize.

Entertainment, music and food also added to the spirited tribute, which was created to honor the efforts of the many creative artists who have lost their fight to AIDS.

City helps pay for new solar panels
In July, San Francisco Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting joined several Sunset District residents who recently installed solar panels on their roofs to encourage homeowners and business owners to take advantage of GoSolarSF.

GoSolarSF, the nation's largest municipal solar program, provides a lump-sum cash payment to residential, commercial and non-profit property owners in San Francisco who install rooftop energy systems.

The public is urged to install solar energy systems to take advantage of the rebates and to be more environmentally conscious.

For more information about GoSolarSF and how the public can qualify for a San Francisco solar incentive, visit the Web site at or call (415) 554-3289.

Golf course report says go private
A new city report says all of the city's five golf courses should be privately run, including Golden Gate and Lincoln Park golf courses. Currently, Harding Park and Gleneagles are privately run.

The new operators would be granted 14-to-20 year leases and would be required to care for the maintenance of the courses. The City would get a percentage of the profits.

New croquet tournament
The San Francisco Croquet Club will be hosting its first annual Nine Wicket Croquet Tournament on Saturday, Sept. 6, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the San Francisco Croquet Club courts, located at Stern Grove at 19th Avenue and Wawona Street.

The inaugural event is open to the public, and organizers promise it's going to be a lot of fun. Teams of two will compete head-to-head for cash prizes.

Admission to the tournament is $30 per player and only 24 player slots are available, so advance registration is required, according to Chris Mondt, president of the SF Croquet Club.

For more information, e-mail [email protected].

World Veg. Day at Park
The San Francisco Vegetarian Society and In Defense of Animals will present the World Veg Festival, which commemorates World Vegetarian Day.

The award-winning festival celebrates its ninth year with lectures by the movers and shakers of the vegetarian movement. It will also feature creative vegan cooking demonstrations, international cuisine to sample or buy, a children's corner play area, and a variety of entertainment.

In addition, there will be plenty of booths where festival goers can purchase a diverse assortment of ethnic, vegan foods and an array of Earth and vegan-friendly merchandise.

The two-day event takes place on Saturday, Oct. 4, and Sunday, Oct. 5, at the SF County Fair Building, located in Golden Gate Park near Lincoln Way and Ninth Avenue, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Although there is a suggested $6 donation, the event is free for children, students and seniors.

The San Francisco Vegetarian Society was organized in 1968.

For more information, call (415) 273-5481, e-mail [email protected], or go to the Web site at

School needs help for playground rebuild
George Peabody Elementary School, located on Sixth Avenue between Clement and California streets, has been awarded a grant through the non-profit organization KaBoom to help build a new playground. The Home Depot and National Football League are also funding partners for the project.

The playground will be installed in one day, on Nov. 11. But, the George Peabody Parent Teacher Association (PTA) needs to raise an additional $10,000 before Oct. 11 as part of its financial contribution to the project.

According to Peabody playground co-chair Nettie Atkisson, students will also help raise money for the project.

"The children at our school will be involved through the entire process. In addition to helping with the design of the playground on Sept 10, they will conduct a coin drive to raise money and participate in beautification projects on the actual build day, which is Veterans Day," she said.

The SF Board of Education is expected to approve the playground at its meeting Sept. 9.

The total cost of the project is estimated at $80,000 to $85,000. Due to the hard work of parents, teachers, administrators, students and corporate donations, about $30,000 has been raised so far. Home Depot and the NFL are contributing the remaining $40,000.

As well, the Home Depot is helping build planter boxes so the school can create vegetable gardens on campus and is providing picnic tables and an outdoor classroom for use on good-weather days.

The students at Peabody prepare "care packages" for those currently serving in the military, decorate tiles to hang on the outside of the school, and participate in other ways to beautify and improve the school.

Donations can be made to the George Peabody PTA, 251 Sixth Ave., SF CA 94118, attn: "Kaboom." For more information, contact Atkisson at (415) 567-8976.

Zion students raise money for leukemia
For a school with less than 160 students, the children at Zion Lutheran School did a good job raising $2,003.37 for leukemia and lymphoma research.

Zion Lutheran School participated in a Pennies for Patients fundraiser that benefits The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Over the span of two months, students raided their piggy banks, parent's car floors and sofa cushions for change of any kind in order to raise money for children in the Bay Area with blood cancer.

"Being a leukemia survivor, I was very excited to be a part of this fundraiser," says Jillian Sangalli, Zion's admissions director. "I set an initial goal of $800 for our students to reach. I am blown away that our children were able to raise $2,000."

On average, schools raise about a $1,000 each during the fundraising effort.

One fourth grade student in particular went above and beyond the call of duty, Sangalli said, bringing in 8,433 pennies. No small feat for a nine year old.

"This year though, our graduating eighth grade class was the real star, bringing in $542.17. Our first grade came in second with $513.82 after a generous donation by a parent," she said.

The two classes each celebrated their outstanding fundraising efforts with an ice cream party.

Zion students are already looking forward to the next Pennies for Patients fundraiser, according to Sangalli.

"Keep an eye out for Richmond District's Zion Lions. They'll be the kids making sure to grab any penny off the ground, because they know each penny really does count," she said.

Author explores Gold Rush country in new book
Richmond District resident Lane Parker can honestly say he has not been from here to Timbuctoo. But he has collaborated with Sacramento-based researcher Kathleen Smith on "Smartsville and Timbuctoo," a new book in Arcadia Publishing's Images of America series.

In this case, Timbuctoo is not the legendary African city but rather a California town slowly disappearing into history. Through images and stories, "Smartsville and Timbuctoo" chronicles the ups and downs of two northern California Gold Rush towns. Trying to reconstruct that history was one of the most interesting challenges for Parker, who began actively researching Timbuctoo in 2005.

"I came across a mention of the town, and the name itself intrigued me," Parker said.

Parker began researching, and found just enough information about the place to keep him looking. One item had appeared in the San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin on Nov. 30, 1857 peaked his interest.

"A theatre has just been completed at the town of Timbuctoo. This place is one of the most prosperous mining towns in the country," the article said.

"For a long time I'd been interested in California history, and in the history of San Francisco. Of course, San Francisco's history is closely tied to the Gold Rush experience," he said.

Smartsville and Timbuctoo are one mile apart, located in the Sierra Nevada foothills about 15 miles west of Grass Valley. While Timbuctoo has all but faded into history, Smartsville is still making the news. On Aug. 22, KGO Channel 7 news (along with other media) reported that the United States Board on Geographic Names recently, officially returned the middle "s" to Smartsville's name. The United States Postal Service and other government agencies removed it nearly 100 years ago, calling the town Smartville, because Smartsville was deemed improper English.

A former newspaper reporter and currently a freelance editor, Parker has lived in San Francisco since 1989.

Both Parker and Smith will be reading from their new book and signing copies of "Smartsville and Timbuctoo" at the Books Inc. at Opera Plaza on Sept. 22. The book is available at Green Apple Books, Books, Inc. at Opera Plaza and online at

For more information, visit the Web site at