your Miraloma Life … online – November 2006

  • MPIC Fall Social Event: A Walk Down the Local Memory Lane
  • Annual Holiday Party – Dec 3, 2006
  • Legal Ease
  • The People’s Watchdog Needs You!
  • From the President…
  • Urgent Call to Seniors (and other helpful neighbors)
  • Jacquie Proctor Interview
  • Profile: Ron Machado, Our New Principal
  • Design Matters
  • Miraloma Parents Network
  • Miraloma Park Block Party
  • Wanted Delivery Person
  • Speak, History: A Congress of Voices on San Bruno Mountain
  • Performances, Student Tours at SOTA
  • On Shaky Ground: NERT NOTES

MPIC Fall Social Event: A Walk Down the Local Memory Lane

 by Jim O’Donnell

Since the Miraloma Park Improvement Club is dedicated to the maintenance of the quality of life of this neighborhood, it follows that it would be important to also showcase the background as well. Therefore, the MPIC 2006 Fall Social Event rather than being just a mixer, featured Jacquie Proctor and her recently published book, San Francisco’s West of Twin Peaks, a pictorial history of the area.

The clubhouse had filled to capacity when Jacquie proceeded to show off photos from the book and narrate the neighborhood’s history in a slide presentation. Unlike many such presentations, we also had live musical accompaniment in the form of Dave Bisho and the Ridge Runners, schoolyard chums who have been performing together since seventh grade at St. Brendan’s. Their music is reminiscent of the folk song days of the early 60’s.

Not surprising, since they learned every song of the Kingston Trio attempting to walk in their footsteps. The band also appeared in midweek jazz concerts during the later 60’s, sometimes sandwiched between rock groups like the Sons of Champlin and the Steve Miller Band (when Boz Scaggs as still a member).

After Jacquie finished, several local residents shared stories of growing up in the neighborhood. Cassandra Mettling-Davis whose mother Elizabeth Mettling is featured in the book and a former president of the MPIC, remembered when people had cows on Mt.Davidson when she came to visit her aunt who lived in the area at the time. Ken Hoegger, a local real estate agent, was featured in the slide presentation and shared his experiences as a local resident. The list goes on and on, and each story was greeted with applause.

All-in-all, the event was well received by the truly multi-generational audience. Jacquie Proctor and her book moved the social into a historical event.

Add the Ridge Runners’ great musical accompaniment as well as the usual cheese, bread, crackers, wine and other drinks for refreshment, and the success of the event was assured.

Thanks to everyone who participated either with stories or by just being there. See you in December for the annual holiday party, always the first Sunday! See article below for remaining interview from last month and for party picturesby Newton Don.

 

Annual Holiday Party
Sunday, December 3, 5 to 8 PM

Once again it is time to fire-up the oven and get out your favorite recipe to prepare for the MPIC Holiday Party and Bake-Off. This has always been the highlight of the year, as neighbors join together to share the warmth of the fire, the tastes of many wonderful dishes, and the merriment of the entertainment.

Music will be provided by the very talented Laura Lee Brown and Company. An encore appearance was requested after they performed so well at last year’s party. Also, to the delight of young and old, Boswick Turnstyle, Jr., clown extraordinaire and veteran of Ringling Brothers/Barnum & Bailey Circus, will perform his holiday magic from 6 to 7 PM.

The banquet will be hosted by the MPIC, who will provide roast turkey, ham, and a variety of hot and cold beverages including our famous champagne punch. Everyone attending is encouraged to bring a dish to share. Please bring enough for at least twelve people. Remember, the more you bring, the more people can sample, and the more votes you’ll have and a better chance to win one of the spectacular prizes. The Holiday Pot Luck has had an international flavor in past years with such favorites as Taco Mix, Stilton Cheese, Moroccan Pasta, Chicken Mogul and a host of other treats. Categories include Appetizers, Salads/Soups, Entrees and Desserts.

Winners of the each category, will choose from among gift certificates and gift items from our local merchants. Past donors have included Tower Market, Round Table Pizza, Bird and Beckett Book & Music Store, Creighton’s, Miraloma Cleaners, Tower Burger, Chenery Park Restaurant and many others.

Those not able to bring a dish to share will be asked for a small donation or to volunteer for set-up or clean-up duties.

If you have questions, please call 281-0892 and leave a message

 

Legal Ease

by Steven Solomon

Q: I discovered a written contract in my son’s room last week (he’s 16 yrs. old) where he agreed to pay a certain amount of money each month for illegal drugs. Can this agreement be enforced by the drug dealer?

A: Your question raised two important legal issues: first, since your son is NOT of legal age, HE cannot enter into a valid contract. Secondly, ANY contract that has as its purpose something illegal CANNOT be enforced by any court. I’d have a talk with your son about drugs, too.

Did you know dept: As the holiday season approaches, remember that it is UNLAWFUL for a business to sell a gift certificate with an expiration date, with some exceptions (awards, promotions, food products).

Steve Solomon is an 18 year resident of Miraloma Park. He just relocated his law office to West Portal where he continutes to represent consumers and business groups in a variety of legal issues.

 

The People’s Watchdog Needs You!

The San Francisco Civil Grand Jury needs intelligent, informed, curious San Francisco residents/US citizens over 18 years old to serve a year’s term, starting July 1, 2007. If you are passionate about clean government and willing to spend 10 or more hours a week, you’ll learn a lot, meet interesting people and make a contribution to your community. Jurors are selected randomly from a pool of minimally qualified applicants. More information and applications: 400 McAllister, Room 008 (lower level), 415-551-3605 or online at http://www.sfgov.org/site/courts_page.asp?id-3680.

Applications are due April 9, 2007.

 

From the President…

by Phil Laird

West-coast residents all know that the signs of autumn can be hard to discern, but one indicator that fall is indeed upon us is a sudden eruption of street fairs, garage sales, and other community events. Miraloma Park is no exception: calendars in October and November are brimming with local events. Besides alerting us to the changing season, such neighborhood events help to foster a sense of common purpose and remind everyone that community means more than just people living in close proximity.

On October 14 Miraloma Community Church organized a block party that drew hundreds of people for food, games, and information. This was just the latest event sponsored by the church and its pastor, Beryl Banks. Their activities have ranged from ice cream socials to yard sales. M.C.C. deserves to be commended for their contributions to the community.

October 14 was also the semi-annual NERT drill, when NERT-trained responders practice their skills responding to a disaster. Since each neighborhood will have to organize and care for itself for three days or more following a major disaster, it is crucial that we maintain a well-trained and organized NERT team in our neighborhood. Gary Isaacson and Jed Lane co-coordinate this effort in Miraloma Park. We also have an active ham radio team working on the radio technology that we’ll need for communicating when phones are knocked out.

After years of work by the neighbors, the city has finally broken ground on a major renovation of Sunnyside Park, one of the most dramatic park settings in the city. Just down the street is the Sunnyside Conservatory, a San Francisco landmark where work is scheduled to begin in November. The comparatively drab Miraloma Playground is also slated for improvements by the city, but the neighbors leading the effort are having difficulty finding out from the Department of Recreation and Parks just when that work is supposed to begin. Residents along the Sequoia and Bella Vista sides of the playground are planning to turn the weed-infested patch just outside the park into a community landscaping project, but they need to coordinate with the Rec. and Parks before they can proceed.

In the forties and fifties Miraloma Park had an active garden club. (The hand-painted garden club sign from that period was recently restored by MPIC board member Mike Naughton.) Recently residents have revived this club, starting with a well-attended initial meeting at the Miraloma Park Clubhouse. Among the projects the club plans to take on is the installation and maintenance of a showpiece native plant garden along O’Shaughnessy at Del Vale. The existing native plant garden needs revitalization, so on November 11 volunteers will be installing plants for a new design created mainly by local landscape designer Connie Freeman. The number of new plants is daunting, so any persons able and willing to help out are definitely welcome.

By the time you read this, the MPIC will have sponsored its annual fall social event: a remembrance of things past in the West-of-Twin-Peaks neighborhoods of San Francisco. The occasion is the recent publication of the publication of Images of America: San Francisco’s West of Twin Peaks by long-time Miraloma Park resident Jacquie Proctor. With a slide show by the author of images from the book, reminiscences of long-time residents, sixties music performed on period instruments by period musicians, food and drink: who could ask for more? In recent years the MPIC has had the pleasure of honoring Club members whose memberships extend back more than fifty years. We love hearing from long-time residents and encourage them to come share their experiences with us.

These events not only herald the arrival of autumn but also enrich our community immeasurably. Hours of planning and work go into making each of them successful. We owe these persons, groups, and organizations a huge round of thanks for providing so many reasons to leave the house, meet the neighbors, and experience the glories of the season.

 

Urgent Call to Seniors (and other helpful neighbors)

by Karen Hensley

Remember the thrill of reading your first book and how the world opened up so many new opportunities to explore? Now is your chance to give that gift to a youngster right here in our own neighborhood. Miraloma Elementary School, 175 Omar Way, is looking for a few good tutors. It is a weekly commitment for the school year and beyond. You will help inspire a young mind and feel better about yourself in the process, by reliving your own childhood memories and bringing them to life again!

The coordinator of this program is Stacy Moore (415-824-6189). She works with Principal Ron Machado doing the initial interview for this program. You didn’t think this was a lifetime chance without strings, did you? The next step is an orientation with the San Francisco School Volunteers. A rather small price to pay for a great reward, right?

It is your time to become a local laureate. Get yourself out of the house and onto wonderful new relationships. There is no better feeling than helping someone. This fervor will be magnified many times over when your talents bolster a child’s future. It’s a terrific way to be involved in our community. If you have been wondering what you can do to make a difference, this is it; you can unleash a child’s destiny. Call now.

 

Jacquie Proctor Interview

(continued from October)

What will readers find interesting about the book?
This is the first book ever published exclusively devoted to the West of Twin Peaks district, home to 69,000 residents. These historic “residence park” neighborhoods inspired by Daniel Burnham’s 1905 City Beautiful Plan for San Francisco, were built with innovative open space amenities to stem the tide of residents leaving San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake devastation. The neighborhood builders and business owners lived alongside their customers in these family-friendly communities. Active neighborhood associations have since maintained their longtime livability. Miraloma Park, for example, was rated one of the 26 best places to live in the San Francisco Bay Area by San Francisco Magazine in 2004 for its city without the gritty.

Vintage photographs, including many from the famous Gabriel Moulin Studio, of the Sunnyside, Miraloma Park, Balboa and Ingleside Terraces, Westwood Park, Westwood Highlands, Sherwood Forest, Mount Davidson Manor, and Monterey Heights neighborhoods captioned with quotes from historical documents and family stories illustrate San Francisco’s history from the view of those who came here in pursuit of the American dream. The book also includes rare photographs of unique homes nestled along the winding streets and historic forest planted in the 1800s by the Comstock Lode millionaire, Adolph Sutro. Among them are homes designed by San Francisco architect, Timothy Pflueger and his brother, Milton Pflueger; Arts and Crafts bungalows by the female architects, Ida McCain, as well as, beautiful homes by Strothoff and Harold Stoner.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors and historians?
Write about what inspires you and pursue answers to your questions. History is happening every day and before we know it, the chance to learn from the past can be missed. Arcadia Publishing provides a unique opportunity for aspiring authors and historians to get their work published and widely distributed.

What lasting impact do you hope your book will leave?
I dedicated the book to Madie Brown with the words from a plaque that once honored her atop Mount Davidson, as a tribute to her efforts and those of other San Franciscans who not only dared to dream, but also worked to make them come true from the city’s heart, West of Twin Peaks. I hope the book’s lasting impact is for current and future generations of San Franciscans to appreciate why these historic urban communities continue to be so beautiful and family-friendly.

 

Profile: Ron Machado, Our New Principal

by Jeff Kaliss, Miraloma Elementary School parent

On his first day at what will be his new workplace, Ron Machado scored—literally. “He’s real good at basketball,” fourth-grader Natalie Kaliss reported at the new principal’s meet-and-greet in the library, last Wednesday afternoon. “He made a three-pointer!”

But in an earlier one-on-one chat, the former fourth-grade teacher at Visitacion Valley Elementary School, who’s also a veteran skateboarder, revealed that the “principal track” in his career has come to him as “kind of a curve ball.” When he’d stepped up to the interview process for new principals a couple of months back, Mr. Machado (he prefers to be addressed with the Portuguese pronunciation of ‘Ma-sha-doe’) had no idea if or where he’d be placed, and he was ready to return to his previous assignment as a reform facilitator at Malcolm X Academy. But after examining Miraloma’s fact sheet and being interviewed by its principal selection team, “I said to myself, ‘I’m having a lot of fun here.’ I wanted Miraloma, I was crossing my fingers, so when I got the call, I was very excited.”

Mr. Machado’s own early education took place in the Sierra foothills. He went on to community college and Chico State, where he met his wife, Lauren, a San Francisco native who was then studying business. After their marriage, they traveled the world for ten months, in the process learning both about his roots in Portugal and about different approaches to education.

After his welcome to the new world of Miraloma by outgoing principal Marcia Parrott at morning circle last week, Mr. Machado soon realized that “I have some big shoes to fill,” including keeping in step with a level of parent involvement he’s not found elsewhere. He looks forward to “relationship-building” with both parents and teachers, not to mention his youngest charges. “I’m a people person,” he assures, “and if there’s a disagreement, it will always be what’s best for the children.” Among his varied goals for the school are engaging mural artist Josef Norris, whacking weeds, and improving test scores, not necessarily in that order.

Then there’s his other prime directive, helping Lauren and their two dogs tend to three-month-old daughter Brooklyn Paige Machado, at their home near Dolores Park. “I cannot believe what’s going to happen when she starts walking and crawling,” says the new dad. “And then, what elementary school?” He hopes it’ll be Miraloma.

 

Design Matters

Peter A. Zepponi, AIA – Architect

This is a monthly column addressing basic residential design and home improvement topics of interest to Miraloma Park residents. If you have a question or topic you’d like considered for a future article please send an email to: pazdesignmatters@aol.com or call 415.334.2868. www.zepponi-architects.com

Q: My center patio leaks, but I can’t find where?

A: Start the repairs at the top and work down.

Center patios and light wells are a constant source of frustration and leaks for almost everyone at one point or another. One of the most frustrating factors is that even looking at the spot where you notice water doesn’t mean you’ll be able to determine what is leaking. Water is a very tricky thing because it can cling to the bottom of barely sloping framing members and travel several feet away from the source of the leak. Recently I was on my own roof with a hose and spray nozzle trying to track down a leak. Of course the leak in my house didn’t show up until about 4 hours after I stopped soaking the roof. I started by running water just down the roof drain to see if the pipes were leaking, and then expanded to a larger and larger area eventually leaving a sprinkler on. It turned out the water was soaking through a small roof pond away from the drain and location of the drips in the house. I drew a chalk line around the pond, cleared the water and built up that area to eliminate the pond and the leak stopped.

A logical course to take would be to start your repairs at the highest point and work down. For example, patch the roof, parapets and penetrations and see if that stops the leak. If not, then you know that it has to be something below that because of gravity. Then repair the next possible culprit below the roof, such as wall cracks and window trim. At least with this method you’re eliminating possible sources of leaks until you fix the problem. Check all your roof and wall penetrations. Often the seals around those get old, dry and cracked which allows water to drip down a pipe and under the roof member. Once between the roof member and plywood it will travel until it finds a crack, and then drip into your attic, across your ceiling and over to a wall and down the studs inside the wall.

Roof ponding is a common source of leaks and a situation that should be fixed. Ponding, or standing water, is caused by a low spot in your roof that isn’t properly sloped to the drain which can cause premature wear on the roofing membrane. This should be looked at by a roofer and be corrected. Windows are another major source of leaks, especially if they are not flashed properly or are old and wearing out. If they’ve been leaking for a while you will most likely have some dry rot that needs repairing. The next source of leaks can be cracked stucco or siding. Most of these leaks can usually be patched, caulked and painted fairly easily. Working your way down the wall, you get to the connection where the wall meets the floor. Transitions like these are always a potential source of leaks. Here the metal flashing, caulking or membrane attachment needs to be inspected, but I doubt you will find anyone who will guarantee they visually located a leak unless it is very obvious. Then there is the deck membrane, deck surface and drain to consider. If one of these is leaking, it’ll be hard to locate the source and you should probably tear it out and replace it. In some cases, you can go over it with a new elastomeric pedestrian deck coating, but you’d have to follow the specific manufacturer’s recommendations for preparation.

Unless you’re handy, I’d recommend hiring a general contractor because they can handle whatever unforeseen conditions arise. Someone who can replace a window, flash it properly and repair any rot, siding, plaster or roofing. If the repair becomes a bigger job than they can do themselves, then they can bring in the sub-trade to do that piece.

For example, if they take out the window and a huge section of wall is rotted out and needs new stucco they can call a stucco sub-contractor. Start your repairs with the simple and obvious items and go from there. Repair the window, patch the cracks, re-caulk old joints and see if the leak stops. If it doesn’t, then it’s somewhere else. If there is water damaged interior plaster that needs to be replaced anyway, one option is to remove it before the next big rain to see if you can actually see where the water is coming from, or do like I did and use a hose and sprinkler to try to isolate and fix your leaks before it rains.

* This column and its content are intended to be a source of general information. Applicability to your specific project should be verified. Peter A. Zepponi, AIA – Architects, is an architectural firm in San Francisco specializing in residential and commercial architecture.

 

Miraloma Parents Network

The Miraloma Parents Network is an online group for families in Miraloma Park. Our goal is to establish a neighborhood network for the growing number of families in our community. We sponsor a playgroup every Tuesday from 10—11:30 at the Miraloma Community Church on Teresita and an afternoon playgroup on Mondays from 4-6 at Miraloma Playground. We also sponsor monthly Fun Days and provide a variety of online resources. To learn more about the group and/or future events, please join us at any of the upcoming events in November. You can email miralomapn@yahoo.com.

Events in November (sponsored by the Miraloma Parent Network and/or members of MPN)

Mondays 4 – 6:00 Playgroup at the Miraloma Playground

Tuesdays 10 -11:30 Playgroup at the Miraloma Community Church

Saturday, November 28th 10 – 12:00 Monthly SF Playground Day—location will be announced to members via e-mail and noted on the website.

Other events:
Meet the author/ book readings by Miraloma Park author Oliver Chin: 11/2/ Desert to Dream, FotoGraphix Books, 7 pm.; 11/15: Early Childhood Education,: San Francisco State University,10:00 am.; 11/10 Create Your Own Comic Book, Portola Branch Library, 3:30 pm.

 

Miraloma Park Block Party

by Jed Lane

What a glorious day we had for the first annual Miraloma Park Block Party. Sunny, no wind, lots of good food, a jump house (courtesy of our neighborhood church and Pastor Beryl Banks) for the little ones and hundreds of our neighbors. Information booths provided useful information for all of us about activities that are going on in our neighborhood. We raised money for causes near and far, our local school and Darfur. The generosity and good will was really fun to experience.

All the participants would like to thank the core organizers; Norman Nager, Rolyn Acosta-Parker, Beryl Banks and Carol Lei for providing the spark and time to start what we hope will bloom into a yearly event.

A special thank-you to Miraloma Park neighbor and native, Supervisor Sean Elsbernd for taking time to stop by and saying hello to us. Two candidates for the SF school board, Hydra Mendoza and Bob Twomey, also came by to meet constituents and have some food. The most important THANK YOU is to all the people that came by, it made all the work done by the volunteers very worthwhile.

If anyone wants to become involved in the planning and organizing of next years event, send an e-mail to Jed@JedLane.com and we will welcome your help.

 

Wanted Delivery Person

The Miraloma Park Improvement Club is looking for someone to deliver Miraloma Life once monthly from November to June starting iimmediately. The person delivers approximately 550 papers and is paid $50.00 a month and $10.00 extra for inserts. Usually, high school students take this job but there is no age limit. For more details and to apply, call the Miraloma Park Clubhouse at 281-0892 and leave a message for Gary Isaacson.

 

Speak, History: A Congress of Voices on San Bruno Mountain

by Geoffrey Coffey

Not far from the concrete jungle of San Francisco, San Bruno Mountain shelters a pocket of pre-Colombian life largely unchanged by modern times. Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson ranks this rural island in an urban sea among the world’s most endangered “biodiversity hot spots,” along with Madagascar, Borneo, and the forests of Tanzania. These 3,000-plus acres of open space support more than 250 species of native plants, approximately 40 varieties of butterfly (including four federally endangered species), and multiple robust interdependent communities of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and birds. Such fertile associations give voice to an ancient and fundamental story, an epic neither silenced by the drone of traffic on nearby freeways 101 and 280 nor intimidated by the bustle of moat-like burgs Daly City, Colma, Brisbane, and South San Francisco (self-proclaimed “The Industrial City” on the mountain’s southern flank).

Much of the landscape is dry grassland, sun-scorched, appearing (misleadingly) drab to passing carloads of commuters. A closer exploration by foot reveals a hidden world of texture and color, subtleties and complexities. The onset of November rain awakens the landscape with a whisper of green, a slow murmur that builds through the winter to a lusty huzzah of early spring wildflowers. Enthusiasts hail SBM as the earliest bloomer in the Bay Area, and our most important native plant site. Even now, delicate fragrant blue-green shoots of California sagebrush (Artemisia californica) have appeared beneath the deadheads of last season, while plucky lizard tail (Eriophyllum staechadifolium) is resprouting everywhere.

But a wild west wind howls across these sandstone peaks, killing any plant that dares to grow too tall. This gives the evolutionary edge to those species best able to hunker down and hug the slope: many ordinarily-large shrubs grow flat like carpets, while oaks such as Quercus chrysolepsis and Q. wislizenii – which can reach 40-70 feet tall when growing inland – go “bonsai” here at seven to eight feet.

A favorite with butterflies, the local coyote mint (Monardella villosa var. franciscana) survives the gales by growing here in association with coyote brush, tucking its lower stems under the spreading branches of the more dominant shrub and thereby supporting its slender flower stalks peeking out just above. Other nectar and larval food plants of the endangered Mission Blue and Callippe Silverspot butterflies include brodiaea (B. californica), coast wild buckwheat (Eriogonum latifolium), horkelia (H. californica), johnny jump-up (Viola pendunculata), and three species of lupine (Lupinus albifrons, L. formosus, and L. variicolor).

Manzanitas bloom in December, with their clusters of delicate urn-shaped blossoms draped among trembling, upright leaves, and this mountain claims three noteworthy specimens. The Eastwood manzanita (Arctostaphylos glandulosa) grows four to eight feet tall, with a gnarled trunk of deep red wood and an exquisite white flower. The bearberry (A. uva-ursi) grows prostrate, with trailing branches that form roots at the nodes, forming an attractive groundcover. SBM’s proudest manzanita is Arctostaphylos imbricata, a rare and endangered species found nowhere else on earth, whose many-branched, creeping habit and bristled, clasping leaves are prized by discerning horticulturalists.

Also endemic to the Bay Area, the rare coast rock cress (Arabis blepharophylla) clings to rocky outcroppings and grassy slopes of SBM, with a basal rosette of leaves and a showy purple flower from mid-winter through May.

VOICES FROM THE PAST

Six known middens or shell mounds on the lower slopes of SBM attest to the Ohlone Indians who lived here for at least five thousand years. These middens, the deep-piled offscourings of ancient villages, reveal themselves after heavy rains when fast-responding vegetation turns these organically rich sites an emerald green literally overnight. The Ohlone located their middens based on proximity to fresh water, shelter from the wind, ease of access to the shore, and the presence of the California buckeye, Aesculus californica, a tree they revered despite the toxicity of its fruit to humans. Tall, deciduous buckeyes cut handsome figures in the winter, with their thick denuded branches silhouetted in the mist like slow, graceful calendars marking time until the leafy return of spring.

Gusts of wind moan in the gullies and canyons of SBM, carrying voices from the past. Can you hear them? Listen for snippets of Spanish, the tongue of missionaries and rancheros whose early assessments of the land concerned only its suitability for grazing cattle. Eavesdrop on the words of James Roof, the Daly City-born native plant champion whose spellbinding oration to the San Mateo County board of supervisors helped spare the  mountain from annihilation in the 1970s. Heed the furtive whispers of Besh and Thelma, the homeless couple who built their dwelling here in an Owl Canyon oak tree, practicing good stewardship by removing invasive weeds and trash from the canyon and helping to repair trails, yet who were ultimately uprooted in 2002 by police and county officials under a blaze of public outcry and media coverage.

Remember the bombast of industrialists with their inscrutable plans, like the 1965 proposal to blast 200 million cubic yards of rock and earth from the summit ridge and use the rubble as bay-fill to expand the airport. Hark the reason of David Schooley, author and educator, poet and polemic, infamous eschewer of shoes and motorized vehicles, the driving force and creative voice of San Bruno Mountain Watch (www.mountainwatch.org). And listen closely for the faint pulse of the ancient Ohlone, like the myth of the bear who brought medicine to the people by showing us the curative properties of a prized local plant: in the native language, chaw-ree-sheem; in Spanish, yerba buena; in botanical Latin, Satureja douglasii.

Geoffrey Coffey is the founder of the Madroño landscape design studio and a freelance writer for the San Francisco Chronicle.

 

Performances, Student Tours at SOTA

San Francisco School of the Arts (SOTA) at Portola and O’Shaughnessy offers a series of varied performances in November. SOTA also offers two open house/guided tour dates in November for eighth-graders considering applying to SOTA for fall 2007 and their families.

SOTA is a San Francisco Unified School District high school that admits students by audition or judging in specific arts disciplines. The disciplines are: Creative Writing, Dance, Instrumental Music, Media, Piano, Theatre, Theatre Tech, Visual Arts and Vocal. SOTA students focus on their specific discipline along with a full course of academic studies.

Open houses will be held Friday, Nov. 3, and Friday, Nov. 17, both at 1 p.m. The first round of auditions is held in January, and applications must be filed in December for the first audition date. For more information, go to the website at www.sfsota.org .
The public is invited to all SOTA performances. Wednesday, Nov. 1, and Friday, Nov. 3, the Orchestra Department presents a chamber music concert, at noon both days.

The Theatre Department presents staged readings of intermediate playwrights’ works-in-progress in “Emotional Baggage,” performed Friday, Nov. 3, and Saturday, Nov. 4, both evenings at 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Nov. 5, at 2 p.m. The Theatre Department presents “In Counters,” staged readings of advanced playwrights’ works-in-progress, performed Friday, Nov. 17, and Saturday, Nov. 18, both evenings at 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Nov. 19, at 2 p.m.

For tickets, information and a complete calendar, go to www.sfsota-ptsa.org . SOTA is located at 555 Portola at O’Shaughnessy on the former McAteer High School campus.

 

On Shaky Ground: NERT NOTES

The Miraloma/ Mt. Davidson NERT Team will have a neighborhood meeting in mid November. Look for an email detailing the exact time and place. This will be an opportunity to meet our new co-coordinator Jed Lane, discuss the events and drills of the past year and plan the direction of the team for the coming year. New NERTs, old NERTs, aspiring NERTs and everyone else are encouraged to attend. News from the West of Twin Peaks Ham Team will also be presented. New wrinkles in search & rescue procedures and in the Incident Command System post-Katrina will also be discussed.

The last NERT Training of the year will be held by the SFFD on two Saturdays, November 11 & 18, from 8 am to 5 pm in Bernal Heights at St. Kevin’s Church Hall, Anderson & Cortland Streets. To register online: www.sfgov.org/sffdnert or RSVP to sffdnert@sfgov.org or 970-2024.

There will be a HAM CRAM on Sunday, November 5, starting at 8:45 am at the Hall of Flowers in Golden Gate Park, 9th & Lincoln Streets. Bring $20, two pencils, and two ID’s, one with a picture.

Gary Isaacson, Miraloma Park NERT co-coordinator
garyi6n@aol.com 585-9729