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Fire Fund for Local Residents
Four families lost their homes when a house at the corner of San Jose Avenue and Elizabeth Street burned down Jan. 19. Though no one was seriously injured, the former residents are in need of help to replace items lost in the fire.
Nearby Jamestown Community Center has organized a "Fire Fund" to collect donations. The families are in immediate need of casual clothing such as tee shirts, sweatshirts, and jeans (waist sizes 32 to 36). They also need personal items such as combs and brushes, slippers, shampoo, and soap, and staples such as cereal, rice, beef, chicken, produce, and milk.
These families are also searching for new homes, preferably two- to three-bedroom apartments in Noe Valley or the Mission District. By the end of February they will need home furnishings including beds, linens, and kitchen supplies.
If you would like to help, please send or bring donations to the Jamestown Community Center, 3531 22nd St., San Francisco, CA 94114. For more information, call Jamestown's office at 647-4709.
Bethany Defends 'Holy Unions'
A "holy union ceremony of love and re-commitment" will take place on Valentine's Day weekend at Bethany United Methodist Church (UMC) in Noe Valley.
Bethany Church -- along with other United Methodist churches around the country -- is sponsoring the service in protest of the UMC's recent ban on commitment ceremonies other than marriage.
"We've been having holy unions in our church for decades," says Rev. Karen Oli-veto. "Our community expects to have their relationships affirmed, and we can't withhold that blessing from loving couples."
All couples -- straight and gay -- who would like to reaffirm their commitment are invited to attend. The service will include music, words of affirmation from the audience, and the opportunity for couples to say vows. A reception with cake and punch will follow the ceremony.
The service will take place on Sunday, Feb. 15, at 11 a.m. at the church, located at 1268 Sanchez St. (near Clipper). For more information, call 647-8393.
Friends Offer 1998 Grants
Know of a project that would benefit Noe Valley, if only the funds were available? The residents group Friends of Noe Valley has earmarked $1,000 to improve our neighborhood.
The Friends began the program last year, when they allocated $350 to fix up the garden at the Sally Brunn Noe Valley Library on Jersey Street. Another $250 went to the Jamestown Youth-in-Charge program for leadership training. Friends of the Urban Forest received $100 to plant trees in Douglass Park.
This year the money may be divided among several programs, or the Friends may give one group the whole $1,000.
Proposals should come from nonprofit groups interested in tackling a specific project in Noe Valley. Applicants should be willing to complete the project in a reasonable time frame and stay within the amount awarded. The deadline for applications is March 31. To apply, call Cecile Lozano at 584-8442.
17 Reasons for Arts and Crafts
If you'd like to do something creative to chase away the winter blues, you might want to check out the Saturday art classes that Sarah Compton, artist-owner of 17 Reasons, is holding at her shop, 3961 24th St. Each class runs from 10 a.m. to noon, and costs $25 including most materials.
On Saturday, Feb. 8, she'll teach a Valentine and birthday card workshop in which participants can use paper, ribbons, and other crafts to make "romantic, magical, or silly cards," in collage, woven, or pop-up styles. Compton says class members are welcome to bring special poems or photos to put in their cards. The following Saturday, Feb. 15, she'll lead a workshop on "Metal Nic Naks," showing how to use wire, charms, and beads to create paperclip jewelry and bookmarks. Saturday, Feb. 22, will be devoted to making paper dolls -- and the doll clothes for them -- using cardboard, fabric, and "the amazing laminating machine."
Compton, who has 15 years of teaching experience, says the two classes she taught last fall were a big success. "People really loved the fact that they could come here, where the materials were gathered together for them, and go home with a finished product."
Classes are limited to six people to ensure an intimate setting. To reserve a space, call the shop at 206-1717.
Ingleside Police Lend an Ear
Many locals don't know that part of Noe Valley is under the wing of the Ingleside Police Station. So they may also be unaware that the officers at that station-- which serves Noe Valley south of Cesar Chavez Street--hold monthly meetings where residents can air their concerns.
According to Sgt. Stephan Thorne, the meetings were started four years ago "in an effort to reach out, and to get input from the community on a regular basis. People come in with complaints and observations. And if we can, we act on them."
The officers also use the meetings to spread the word about crime trends. Recent topics included "Muni speeding on Chenery" and a charge that several stores were selling alcohol to juveniles.
The station captain usually attends the meetings or sends a lieutenant in his stead.
The meetings take place on the third Tuesday of the month from 7 to 8 p.m. at Ingleside Police Station, 1 Sgt. John V. Young Lane, off San Jose Avenue in Balboa Park. The next meeting will be held Feb. 17. The station number is 553-1603.
It's Time to Play Ball
Baseball season is coming up! The San Francisco Youth Baseball League will start its spring season the first week of April. Teams are forming now, and practice will get under way during the next couple of months. The league is looking for players ages 5 to 14 (who will be divided into six age divisions). The club also needs umpires 15 and up, and coaches 18 years or older who can pass a background check. Umpires will be paid $20 per game to start and must attend an umpire clinic given by the league.
Noe Valley kids can participate in the league through their local playgrounds. Interested players and coaches should contact Ellen Perieff at 753-7029. For information about umpiring and the clinic, call Roger Bross at 586-9600.
Tackling Telephone Pole Blight
The East & West of Castro Street Improvement Club, one of Noe Valley's oldest neighborhood associations, is making plans to stamp out those unsightly flyers that seem to spring up overnight on telephone poles.
The group will conduct a sweep of Castro Street, removing handbills and graffiti from all utility and lamp poles. Then they'll repaint the poles and affix a decal that reads: "Respect Our Neighborhood -- Post No Signs or Handbills."
The only flyers that might be spared are lost pet notices and same-day garage sales, says Paul Kantus, president of East & West. But political flyers and advertising bills will definitely be stripped.
Merchants and volunteers in the Castro District have already begun the cleanup along Castro Street from Market to 21st. East & West's job will be to cover Castro from 21st to 27th Street.
The group has voted to purchase the decals, and plans to set a date for the proj-ect later in February. For the scoop, call Kantus at 647-3753.
Nature Walks in Glen Canyon
Believe it or not, flowers are already blooming in Glen Canyon Park. And two plant-related events will take place this month, starting with the Spring Flowers Walk on Saturday, Feb. 14, at 9 a.m. "First our leader gives an introduction, and then we go off to see what's in bloom," says Jean Conner of the Friends of Glen Park Canyon. The walk will be led by a guide from the California Native Plant Society.
The following Saturday, on Feb. 21 at 9 a.m., the Friends will sponsor a Glen Canyon Plant Restoration outing. "Right now we are removing non-native plants in areas where there are a lot of native plants," says Conner, "because it helps the native plants to grow."
Helpers should come wearing work clothes and gardening gloves. The group usually works until about 11:30 and then stops for a walk through Glen Canyon Park.
For both events, use the park entrance at Elk and Chenery streets, and meet behind the Recreation Center. Jean Conner can be reached at 584-8576.
Dial 777-3399 for Youth
Kids who need advice have a new resource in San Francisco -- a telephone service called Youthline.
Callers can talk to trained "listeners" ages 16 to 22. The listeners have computerized mapping and database systems to help kids get information on places to go and things to do in San Francisco. Callers can also talk to people their own age about problems or frustrations. Though Youthline is not a crisis hotline, the staff is trained in crisis intervention and can refer callers to other agencies.
The program also functions as a paid job-training program for the all-youth staff, who gain valuable counseling and office skills. The line is open daily from noon to midnight, and is sponsored by Communities in Harmony Advocating for Learning and Kids (CHALK) and the Mayor's Office of Children, Youth, and Their Families.
The toll-free Youthline number is 888-977-3399, or call locally at 777-3399.
Are Chains Out of Control?
With more chains and franchise businesses popping up on 24th Street all the time-- and since an 18-month moratorium on coffee stores and juice bars just expired in October -- neighborhood groups are again lobbying to rein in growth along Noe Valley's commercial strip.
Over the past couple of months, members of Friends of Noe Valley have talked with San Francisco Supervisor Sue Bierman about extending the moratorium on specialty stores. Their concern is that 24th Street is so full of trendy cafes and takeouts that the high rents may force out the small-town shopkeeper.
According to Friends planning chair Claire Pilcher, the neighborhood also has too many "destination businesses" -- stores and restaurants that serve tourists rather than local residents. By putting a halt on growth, the Friends hope to preserve Noe Valley's distinct personality.
Supervisor Bierman's office says she is interested to hear the opinions of other neighborhood residents about the moratorium in Noe Valley. You can contact her at 554-6661.
Meanwhile, Friends of Noe Valley is also working with the Noe Valley Democratic Club to cosponsor a forum on chain businesses this spring. Though the two groups have not yet set a date, Dem-ocratic Club President Dave Monks says, "We're hoping to include small merchants and neighborhood people who have fought neighborhood battles. The point is to give neighborhoods more tools to control their destiny." For information about the forum, call Monks at 821-4087.
Film Seeks Unusual Families
Is your family different but everybody seems to get along fine anyway?
Maybe you'd be a good candidate for My Family Is Special, a video being produced by Women's Educational Media to introduce kids in kindergarten through third grade to different family makeups.
The producers would like to film short profiles of families that include articulate, outgoing kids of all races between the ages of 7 and 10. The kids should fit into one of the following categories: children of single or divorced parents; adopted kids; children who are being raised by a family member other than their mother or father; or children of lesbian, gay, or bisexual parents. "We are looking for a really diverse group of families," says associate producer Ariella Ben-Dov.
Some families will be selected for in-studio portraits, which will take about 40 minutes each. Five families will be featured in the final film; the producers will spend a day with these families "like a fly on the wall," Ben-Dov said.
Women's Educational Media is an Academy Award winning company. One of its films is already being used by teachers in the San Francisco public schools. The producers plan to finish filming My Family Is Special within about four months. Though there is no set deadline, Ben-Dov urges interested families to contact her as soon as possible by calling 641-4616 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
This month's Short Takes were written by Erin O'Briant and Dodie Hamblen.