Odds and Ends

Odds and Ends – February 2021

Like lots of folks all across this country, many of us were transfixed as we listened to Amanda Gorman recite her fabulous poem at the Biden inauguration. Her performance brought to mind Oakland’s annual Youth Poet Laureate contest, which we’ve been extolling for the past couple of years. The substance of the poetry and the poise of the participants is always astonishing. The deadline to apply for this year’s contest is TODAY, February 1. See details and apply here: oaklandlibrary.org/youthpoets.

On a closely related topic, Pamela Erickson told us last week about an HBO series titled, We Are the Dream: The Kids of the Oakland MLK Oratorical Fest, available on demand through February 12. Click on the above link and you’ll find half a dozen trailers from the film, all well worth watching in their entirety. One of them, Things We Carry to the Sea, provided the perfect postscript to this month’s We Are a Nation of Immigrants post. 

This Friday, February 5, from 7:00–8:00 pm, the Rotary Nature Center Friends will be hosting LAKESIDE CHAT #3 featuring two eminent speakers, whose professional and scholarly careers focus on urbanism, environmental stewardship, and racial justice. 

Carl Anthony is the former President of Earth Island Institute and the co-founder and former executive director of its Urban Habitat Program. He is also the author of The Earth, The City, and the Hidden Narrative of Race (New Village Press, 2017). Anthony’s work supports a new worldview and inclusive vision of our shared planetary future. 

Dr. Paloma Pavel is the founder of Earth House Center (Oakland), a Fulbright Scholar, and a current member of the Regional Advisory Council at UC Davis. Her publications include the co-authored volume, Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty (New Village Press, 2017) with a foreword by Desmond Tutu.

Links to the two previous “Chats” are archived on the Rotary Nature Center Friends home page

In addition to being a regular contributor to the Splash Pad News, C. J. Hirschfield also writes regularly for Eat Drink Films and, more recently, for The Oaklandside. Her most recent article for the last of those was a January 28 report on a $20,000 donation from the Kamala Harris campaign to Bananas, the Berkeley-based non-profit that’s been providing child-care resources since the early 1970s. As C. J. points out, although no one is certain as to Harris’s motivation, one of the two bibles on which she wore her oath as Vice President belonged to “the late Regina Shelton, a Berkeley resident who ran a daycare center out of her home that Harris and her sister attended after school while their single mother worked evenings in a UC Berkeley science lab.”

The new Starbucks that’s going into the KFC building should be opening in the next couple of weeks. When we first reported on Starbucks’ plans in our August 2020 edition, we expressed some serious reservations, but the responses from our readership were mixed. Subsequently, the Grand Lake Neighbors group facilitated an informal poll of residents on Walker between Lake Park and Mandana. The overwhelming consensus was that Starbucks would be a more desirable tenant than KFC had been and far superior to the graffiti-covered building it had become. At this point, it appears that the huge roof-stop sign that was in the original plans and in violation of code has been abandoned. As a big plus, Starbucks chose Alex Bowman to paint a very attractive mural on the Walker side of the building. Can’t wait until the fencing comes down so we can appreciate it more fully. 

P.S. Alex, we’re hoping that you don’t find the above photo “offenceive.” Sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves. 

Earlier this month, I dropped off some hazardous materials (including some muriatic acid that was eating away its plastic container) at the Alameda County Household Hazardous Waste facility. Even before the onset of the COVID epidemic, you had to pop your trunk and weren’t allowed out of your car. The service is still as efficient and safe as before, the only difference being that everybody is masked. Here’s a copy of the email they sent later that week:

Thanks to residents like you, participation in the Household Hazardous Waste Program has nearly doubled since 2012, which helps keep our communities and environment toxic-free.

PS — Please encourage your friends and family members to use this free service to rid their house of toxics. They can find all of the details at www.stopwaste.org/hhw or by calling 800-606-6606.