Richmond Roundup

Arboretum admission plan beaten back
The SF Board of Supervisors rejected a plan proposed by the SF Recreation and Park Department to charge a $7 admission fee at the Strybing Arboretum at Golden Gate Park.

On May 28, more than 350 attended a meeting at the County Fair Building in the park to voice their displeasure over the proposed fee. Jim Lazarus, president of the SF Recreation and Park Commission, managed to calm the crowd and let them voice their concerns during the meeting.

Originally, the plan was to break the audience into small groups to discuss the plan, but that idea was shouted down by the vocal crowd.

The supervisors voted unanimously June 23 to reject the fee for the Arboretum, which was projected to raise about $100,000.

The board continued debate about numerous other proposals, including increasing the cost of latch key services for children from $8.50 to $18.50 a week, which would raise about $850,000 for a department facing a $14 million budget shortfall.

Grubbing for grease
Richmond District Supervisor Eric Mar and members of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (PUC) walked door-to-door on Geary Boulevard June 10 to encourage businesses to participate in SFGreasecycle, the City's free grease-to-biofuel recycling program.

SFGreasecycle is a program launched in 2007 by the PUC to keep grease out of the sewers. Used cooking oil from city restaurants is collected for free and recycled into biodiesel for use in vehicles, including some Muni buses. To date, 600 restaurants throughout the City have signed up for the program, including 112 out of 340 food service establishments in the Richmond.

Used cooking oils are a serious problem for San Francisco's wastewater system. Oil clogs the sewers and costs a lot of money, more than $3.5 million each year, to fix. The PUC will pick up used oil for free to recycle it as a renewable fuel.

For more information about the program or to sign up, call (415) 695-7366 or go to the Web site at www.SFGreasecycle.org.

Search for missing alumni
World famous entertainers, NASA educators and mystery novel-writing nuns are just a few of the illustrious graduates of Star of the Sea School, the Inner Richmond District school celebrating its 100th anniversary. But, famous or not, all those who attended the school are being sought to participate in the institution's birthday.

"Star alumni are part of a lifelong community, and we welcome them back with open arms," said Terry Hanley, principal at Star of the Sea. "I'm proud of the incredible alumni Star of the Sea has turned out."

The centennial will celebrate the Star of the Sea grammar school, educating kindergarten through eighth grade from 1909 to the present, and the Star of the Sea Academy, the high school open from 1910 to 1985.

A Centennial Mass, celebrated by San Francisco Archbishop George Neiderauer, and school rededication will take place on Sept. 6.

Alumni are encouraged to contact the school to learn more about centennial activities, volunteer to help organize events, or simply reconnect with the school. There will be an Alumni Reunion Weekend and Gala April 30 through May 2, 2010.

Alumni can contact Star of the Sea at (415) 221-3399 (Centennial Hotline for information and messages) or by e-mailing [email protected]. There is additional information on the Web site at www.staroftheseasf. com/centennial.

'New and improved' intra-park shuttle rolls on weekends and holidays
In late June, visitors to Golden Gate Park began enjoying expanded year-round shuttle service throughout the park on weekends and major holidays.

"The park shuttle service is an excellent amenity that reduces parking congestion and enhances the visitor experience in Golden Gate Park," said Jared Blumenfeld, general manager of the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department. "The shuttles help provide a cleaner, greener, more serene experience as visitors explore our 1,017 park acres."

Three 24-seat, ADA-accessible alternative energy (compressed natural gas) shuttles provide easier access to popular park attractions, including the California Academy of Sciences and the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, every Saturday and Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The shuttle will also operate on major holidays and public school vacation breaks, including the winter and spring breaks.

Shuttle service costs $2 for an all-day round-trip fare. Visitors with disabilities and children under three years of age ride free.

There are a total of 15 shuttle stops throughout the park, including the Great Highway and the University of California, San Francisco garage on Parnassus Avenue. Detailed route maps are available online at www.parks.sfgov.org.

The holiday shuttle schedule includes the Fourth of July, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veteran's Day, New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President's Day, Memorial Day, and the SF Unified School District's Winter Break (Dec. 19-31) and Spring Break (April 5 8, 2010).