Noe Valley Voice July-August 2000

Short Takes

Music on Holy Grounds

Holy Grounds Coffeehouse, a live performance venue "committed to the life and ministry of the church through music and social gathering," will be opening this summer in the sanctuary of Bethany United Methodist Church. The new venue will host at least one performance a month from August through December, and will showcase a variety of musical entertainment.

An East Bay bluegrass gospel group called Fret Not will kick off the season on Sunday, Aug. 13, at 1 p.m. The coffeehouse is asking a $10 donation at the door, or patrons can buy a season pass for $60. Coffee and tea will be available as well.

Bethany is located at 1268 Sanchez Street at the corner of Clipper. For a schedule of Holy Grounds performances, stop by the church or call 647-8393.

Muni Chief Stops Here

Attention, Muni riders! Here's your chance to lobby for more bus routes. Michael Burns, Muni's new general manager, will address the Noe Valley Democratic Club on Wednesday, July 12, at 7:30 p.m., at the Noe Valley Ministry, 1021 Sanchez Street.

Prior to his appointment as head of Muni, Burns was the chief operations officer of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), a five-county, multimodal (buses, trolleys, light rail, subway, and commuter rail) system serving the Philadelphia area.

Burns will talk about his experiences in Philadelphia and compare them with the challenges he faces at our own favorite transit system, Muni. In addition, he'll outline Muni's goals and objectives for the next five years, including improved service, higher safety standards, and better training for drivers. Then he'll take your questions and comments.

All are welcome to attend. For more information, call Dave Monks at 821-4087.

Artists Defend Eucalyptus

Three Noe Valley artists are joining 12 others in an art show to raise awareness of threatened eucalyptus trees in Marin County. Works by Susan Sternau, a watercolorist featured in the September '98 Voice, photographer Jim Patton, and painter Theophilus Brown will be part of "Celebrating the Eucalyptus," running now through Aug. 5 at Commonweal, an alternative medical center near Bolinas.

The show is the artists' response to the controversy surrounding 600 acres of eucalyptus groves in the Golden Gate Recreation Area. The National Park Service is planning to remove the trees because they are considered nonnative vegetation and a fire hazard. The water district in Bolinas appointed a panel of residents to create a plan for managing the eucalyptus trees on its land, but the panel has split between those who argue the trees are a safety hazard from falling limbs and fire, and those who say the trees serve as a wind block and provide habitat for migrating Monarch butterflies. Some of the trees are over 100 years old.

Photographs, paintings, and collages featuring eucalyptus will be displayed and available for sale Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the gallery space at Commonweal, located at 451 Mesa Road in Bolinas. For more information, call the gallery at 868-0970. Or email Susan Sternau at

Citizens' Police Academy

Want to know what it's like to be a police officer? The San Francisco Police Department is launching a program called the Citizens' Academy to teach interested citizens the ins and outs of policing. The SFPD hopes the classes will increase community awareness and build better working relationships between local residents and police.

Topics include patrol procedures, investigations, juvenile and domestic violence, firearms, and there's even a police car ride-along session. Most of the 15 sessions are held at the San Francisco Police Academy, located at 350 Amber Drive (in Diamond Heights), on Monday nights, 7 to 10 p.m., from July 10 to Oct. 30.

To qualify, you must be at least 15 years old (15- to 18-year-olds need parental permission), live or work in San Francisco, be in school or have a high school diploma or G.E.D, and be free of any felony convictions (as well as free of misdemeanor convictions for at least one year). If you'd like an application or more information, call Officer Rose Melendez at 695-6913 or 695-6900.

Host a French Teenager

Loisirs Culturels a L'Étranger (LEC), a nonprofit organization, is looking for host families to provide room and board for English-speaking French exchange students, ages 14 to 18, for one month, in August. The students are interested in learning about the United States in a family environment, and are carefully screened by LEC. If you host a student, you can create a lasting impression of American home life and no doubt learn a thing or two yourself.

Each student pays for his or her own activities and is fully insured by LEC, and there will be a French chaperone staying in the area. To get more information, call [contact information removed].

New Veterans Handbook

If you're a veteran, or you have a family member who is a veteran, you might want to check out a new handbook put out by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Federal Benefits for Veterans and Dependents gives an update on the rates for certain federal payments, outlines veterans' programs and benefits, and lists the 800 numbers you need to get those benefits, plus all the locations of VA facilities. Everything from health care programs to home loans to burial in a national cemetery is covered. There's also information about potential environmental exposures during the Gulf War or in Vietnam.

The entire text of the handbook -- in English and in Spanish -- is available free on VA's web site at But if you prefer a hard copy, call the U.S. Government Printing Office at 202-512-1800 to order one for $5 by credit card. You can also request one by mail at the Government Printing Office, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954 (reference stock #051-000-00220-2).