Richmond Roundup

Supervisors keep Botanical Garden fee
The SF Board of Supervisors voted 6-5 in April to continue a controversial plan to charge out-of-town visitors a $7 fee to enter the SF Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park.
Some supervisors, and many San Francisco residents, wanted to abolish the fee, which was instituted last year as a way to earn money to keep gardeners at the 55-acre site. The admission fee is supposed to raise about $500,000 a year.
Management at the Garden wanted to make the fees permanent, but the supervisors decided to continue the fee for two more years before reviewing the situation again.

USF gives Upward Bound program a reprieve
The Upward Bound Program, which has been held on the University of San Francisco campus every summer for the past 45 years, will continue to serve disadvantaged youth with an opportunity to experience life in a college setting.
The program provides classes, tutoring and a dorm room for the summer for about 130 high school students. The university had hoped to relocate the program so it could accommodate its growing summer school program.
The university will support Upward Bound's application with the federal government for $1 million in funding to continue the program but some services may still be located off campus. Administrators for Upward Bound will be moved to a new location.

Rec. and Park Commission accepts gifts
The SF Recreation and Park Commission accepted a gift of $50,000 from Richard Blum to fund the purchase of materials for a new fence, corral and chute for the bison paddock in Golden Gate Park.
Additionally, a gift of $30,000 from the San Francisco Parks Trust was accepted for the purchase and installation of state-of-the-art recycling/trash containers for GG Park as well as a gift of 16 Koi fish (valued at $300-$400 each) for the Japanese Tea Garden. The trust also donated plants, materials and signage for the Strawberry Hill Restoration Project, valued at $15,500.

Visitors' center at Lands End to break ground
The National Park Service and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy will break ground on a new visitors' center at Lands End on Wednesday, May 18. Construction is slated to begin on May 23 at the parking lot just above the Cliff House Restaurant.
For more information, call Parks Conservancy project manager Jennifer Greene Ringgold at (415) 561-3054.

Housing at St. Peter's opens
A new 19-unit housing development for low-income, developmentally-disabled adults opened April 25. St. Peter's Place is located at the former site of St. Peter's Episcopal Church, which was badly damaged after the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, at 430 29th Ave.
St. Peter's teamed up with the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center to construct the $8 million project, which is built to "green" standards. Funding came from city, state and federal sources.

Kudos for music director
Stephen R. Shapiro, the executive director of the Community Music Center for the past 33 years, will be honored during this year's annual fundraiser for the non-profit organization.
The "Salute to the Joy of Making Music" will be held at Yoshi's Jazz Club, located at 1330 Fillmore St., on Monday, May 16, from 6 to 9 p.m. For more information, call (415) 647-6015 or go to the website at
The Community Music Center has two locations, one in the Mission District and the other in the Richmond, at 741 30th Ave.

Swimming for Japanese relief
More than 40 swimmers, some as young as five years old, got together April 20 to swim laps at the Rossi Pool to raise money for Japan. The fundraising effort was initiated by the Rossi swim team, the Manta Rays, after a devastating earthquake and tsunami hit the island nation earlier this year. Rossi Pool is located at Anza Street and Arguello Boulevard.

Golden Gate Park Band announces schedule for upcoming free concerts
The Golden Gate Park Band, under the direction of conductor Michael Wirgler, will perform free concerts every Sunday through Oct. 12 at the Golden Gate Park bandshell. All concerts are at 1 p.m.
The remaining schedule is:
• May 1� "Polish Constitution Day," with music, singing and dancing;
• May 8, "Armenian Independence Day;"
• May 15, "From Russia with Love," featuring Russian music;
• May 22, "Concert of Great Band Music;"
• May 29, Memorial Day Weekend concert saluting those who have sacrificed their health and lives for the greater good of the United States of America;
• June 5, "Italian-American Day" features the Simi Cantori Italian Opera Ensemble;
• June 11 and 12, Fifth annual battle of the bands features 11 different bands, both days from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.;
• June 19, Features big band music with soprano Dalyte Koziz;
• June 26, "Witches Brew" features music inspired by witches;
• July 3, The music of composer George Gershwin is featured;
• July 10, The music of composer James Fulton is featured;
• July 17, Features a salute to African-American composers and artists;
• July 24, A concert of great band music, with program to be announced;
• July 31, The music of Latin America is featured;
• Aug. 7, A salute to the "great John Philip Sousa Band;"
• Aug. 14, A concert of great band music, with program to be announced;
• Aug. 21, A concert for St. Stephen's Day features Hungarian music, singing and dancing;
• Aug. 28, "Ukrainian-American Day;"
• Sept. 4, Movies in the Park," with baritone John Minagro;
• Sept. 5 (Monday), Labor Day concert celebrates the American worker in music;
• Sept. 11, No concert this week as the band takes a vacation;
• Sept. 18, A musical tribute to Robert Emmet, featuring Irish music and dancing;
• Sept. 25, Tribute to the music of Spain with El Grupo De Espana;
• Oct. 2, The band performs its annual swing and jazz concert;
• Oct. 9, Audience appreciation day features an all-request concert.

Cabrillo Playground to get renovation
The SF Recreation and Park Department (RPD) announced in April that a renovation of the 1938-built Cabrillo Playground would begin in 2012.
In partnership with the City's Neighborhood Empowerment Network (NEN), RPD helped facilitate a series of community meetings last year to gather input from neighbors on what improvements they wanted to see at their neighborhood playground. Together, it was decided that the playground will have an ocean theme, which everyone agreed was appropriate since the neighborhood is close to the ocean.
In addition to their input on the planned $4.5 million renovation under the 2008 Clean and Safe Neighborhood Park Bond, the neighbors have been active in helping to improve the site in the interim.
Charity Bermudez, RPD's Cabrillo Playground gardener, and Steve Elder, head gardener for the Richmond District, worked with Devi Joseph to create a dahlia garden at the playground by removing the lawn bordering the playground on 39th Avenue. Together, they took out half of the lawn last year and planted dahlias, fenced it and put in drip irrigation. This year the entire area will be planted with dahlias.
"A city and neighborhood partnership is a powerful thing," said Phil Ginsburg, RPD's general manager.

Young at Art at de Young in May
The 25th-annual Young at Art Festival will be held at the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum from May 14 through May 22, from 9:30 a.m. to 8:45 p.m.
The festival features the artwork of about 2,000 students and live music performances by more than 65 students (held at the bandshell at the Music Concourse).
The de Young Museum is located at 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive in Golden Gate Park. All events are free. For more information, go to the website at

Schools win academic awards
Six SF Unified School District schools and one charter school were named winners this year in the California Department of Education's Title 1 Academic Achievement Awards.
Francis Scott Key, Sutro, Frank McCoppin, Ulloa and John Yehall Chin elementary schools, as well as KIPP Bayview Academy and Roosevelt Middle School, were among the 209 schools statewide to receive the distinction.
"This award is significant because it recognizes the schools that are helping our lowest income students make outstanding gains in achieving academic mastery," says SF Superintendent of Schools Carlos A. Garcia.
For more information about the Title I Academic Achievement Awards, go to the website at sr/aa/index.

Local artists at new exhibition
A new art exhibition entitled "A Place of Her Own," featuring three Richmond District artists, will open at SOMArts Cultural Center on May 5.
Participating in the exhibition is poet/writer Karen Llagas, who won the Filamore Tabios, Sr. Memorial Poetry Prize for her collection of poetry entitled "Archipelago Dust."
Another Richmond District resident, Choppy Oshiro, a graphic designer and fine artist, will show her art-based projects concerning advertising and publishing.
A third Richmond resident who will participate in the show is Shizue Seigel, a mixed media artist whose paintings, mixed media and photo collages explore complex intersections of history, culture and spirituality.
The SOMArts Cultural Center is located at 934 Brannan St. For more information, call (415) 863-1414 or go to the website at [email protected].