Splash Pad News – April 2019

All the News That Fits



Last month’s News included a photograph of Dr. Natasha Bernard in her new, Alchemy Restorative Medicine office – which I noted wasn’t yet completely furnished.  After I stopped by on Saturday and took this photo of a brand new mural by San Francisco artist, Amanda Lynn, I was kicking myself for not waiting for another week.

Speaking of murals, the fundraising campaign, launched last month by neighborhood residents Lucy and Randy Glover, for a 14-by-70-foot mural to be installed at the southern end of the Grand/Walker city parking lot, is about to cross the finish line. Thanks to roughly seventy individual donations totaling  $5,072 -they’re just a bit short of their $6,000 goal. Lucy and Randy are especially grateful to major donors including Abel Guillen, the Agricultural Institute of Marin (which operates the Grand Lake Market), Marcia Lam at Lin Jia Asian Kitchen, Grand Lake Veterinary Hospital, Ruth Stroup Insurance and an anonymous donor. A link to an online donation button and a complete list of all the donors is available on the Grand/Walker Mural page.

Project Glow, which specializes in lash extensions, opened at 3265 Grand just about a month ago. While construction was still underway, I stopped by and had a brief introductory conversation with owner, Ashley Stoltz. She told me that she had leased a station at Izek Spa Salon on Lakeshore for a couple of years and, after building a loyal following, had decided it was time to have a space to call her own. On the day I visited, Ashley was in jeans and paper still covered the front windows.  I promised to return for a photo and, when I finally did so a couple of days ago, I learned that Saturday is her day off.  Fortunately, lash artist, Tina Ha, agreed to pose in her stead.

A quick peek through an open door and an equally quick photograph revealed that the construction that’s underway at the proposed CorePower Yoga studio at 3265 Grand consists largely of installation of room partitions and heating ducts.  Although it looks like they are several months away from opening, they are accepting new memberships. Improvements are also underway at 3249 Grand – the former home of Fog City Bakehouse and prior to that, La Parisienne. The people working inside said it’s going to remain a bakery but, as we go to press, that hasn’t been confirmed and we don’t have any details.

Studio Grand’s event calendar for April begins with an Oakland Freedom Jazz Society concert tonight and again, on April 8th. In addition, they have a special event scheduled for the 28th entitled, “Mike Gamble (Portland) & Scott Amendola: Duo A/V Explorations”.


by Kira Pascoe

Spring has sprung on Lakeshore Avenue! We are coming through a still relatively wet March into a celebratory spring with new products, special events, our 32nd annual Easter parade and more!
Lakeshore Events:

April 4: Spring Centerpiece Workshop at Bay Made with Rust and Flourish, 7-8:30

April 5: Hipline Writing Circle, Hipline, 1-2:30 pm

April 18: 80s Dance Party w/ DJ Daisy Van Tassel at the Cat House Bar, 9:00 pm-1:00 am

April 20: Lakeshore Easter Parade, 10:30-12:30



Courtesy of Oakland Public Library

By Sheila McCormick – Board Member of the Friends of the Oakland Public Library

Thanks to the passage of Measure D, all the Oakland Libraries will have extended hours, starting today (no fooling). For our neighborhood Lakeview Branch, that means Monday: 10 am – 5:30 pm; Tuesday: 10 am – 8 pm; Wednesday: 10 am – 8 pm; Thursday: 10 am – 5:30 pm; Friday: 12 pm– 5:30 pm and Saturday: 10 am – 5:30 pm.  Closed on Sunday, but the Main Library is open on Sundays, from 10 am –5:30 pm.

You can find out about and access many resources at the Oakland Library website. On the Events pulldown tab, you can sort for location and audience (adult, child, family, teen). For example, at the Lakeview Teen Zone, there is a DIY Crafts workshop every Tuesday from 4:30 pm –5:30 pm. As another example, using the website’s Online Services pulldown tab, you can find out how to use Kanopy (to stream movies) and hoopla (for eBooks, movies and television shows and music), download Rough Guide travel books, etc. 

Several of the Branches have Book Clubs. The Book Club at Lakeview meets on the 3rd Tuesday of every month at 6:30 pm. On April 16th they will be discussing Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, by Neil deGrasse Tyson. New members always welcome. For more information contact Xochitl at 510-238-7344.  

Interested in Oakland History?  Browse the Digital History Collection.

Did you know that you can check out:

The Friends of the Oakland Public Library raises funds to support additional library services, through both membership dues and from sales at the store they operate, The Bookmark Bookstore, at 721 Washington St. (in Old Oakland). Their Semi-Annual Sale is April 11-14. There will also be a Pre-Sale Celebration at the store on April 6, from 4 – 7 pm, to celebrate the 2018-2019 mini-grant recipients (you can read more about the mini-grant program in the April 2019 edition of the FOPL newsletter).

Many of the Branch libraries also have Friends groups, including our Lakeview Branch (http://www.lakeviewfriends.org/). New members always welcome.

If you are over 18 and are interested in volunteer opportunities (e.g. as a preschool story reader, as a computer docent), come learn more at the next Volunteer Information Session (www.oaklandlibrary.org/InfoSession), on Sunday, May 5th, from 10:15-11:30 a.m., in the Bradley C. Walters Community Room at the Main Library. There are also many volunteer opportunities for teens – ask the Teen Librarian at any branch.


The March 14 meeting of the Grand Lake Farmers Market Citizen’s Advisory Committee, chaired by Jerry Barclay, was quite productive.

Councilmember  Nikki Fortunato Bas advised that she had received input from AIM leadership and others both internal and external to the city administration and, after careful consideration, had decided that the lease negotiations should proceed subject to completion of a Grand Lake Merchants Survey focused on the Farmers Market and how it affects local businesses.

Andy Naja-Reise, AIM’s CEO, provided an overview of what they are currently doing to improve the market and expand community benefits. He noted that the Grand Lake Market’s utilization of EBT coupons ranks amongst the highest in the US but they intend to improve on that record. They are also continuing their efforts to brand the Grand Lake Market and to that end, unveiled new t-shirts and tote bags with the new GLFM logo.

Tanya Small, AIM’s Chief Operations Officer,  shared information about her recent involvement with a group of farmers market operators from throughout the state that are in the process of compiling and comparing their business practices and operations.  Tangential to those efforts,  Tanya announced that they will begin, sometime soon, to interview customers at the Saturday Farmers Market.

Speaking of Andy Naja-Riese, he was recently profiled in this article by Alix Wall, in the March 24 edition of J Magazine. Since it’s a Jewish magazine, it’s not surprising that the subject of tradition came up – as did bagels. Specifically, Andy relates that his favorite memory, while growing up in Queens, was meeting his grandparents on Saturdays for lox and bagels.  

Coincidentally, Base Camp Bakery was also the subject of this flattering article in the March issue of Oakland Magazine in which co-owner Ilya Groom recalls her favorite memory from her Brooklyn youth – the Friday night Shabbat dinners where her mother would serve whoever walked through the door.  Sometimes 25 people. Sometimes 90.  She also had a message for Andy. Namely, that he would be hard-pressed to find a better bagel than Base Camp’s.

This past Saturday, Richmond-based Simurgh Bakery made its debut at the Grand Lake Market.  According to owner Hatice Yildiz, their most popular product is baklava with Antep pistachios but, as their Facebook page and this September 2018 column in the East Bay Express makes clear – there’s much more to her story.

Oyna Natural Foods has been selling kuku (a Persian frittata) and the sauces that accompany it, at the Grand Lake Market for the past several months. This past Saturday, I learned that KQED’s Bay Area Bites featured owners Aisan Hoss and Mehdi Parnia in this March 24, 2018 article.

Summer Solace has had a space at the Grand Lake Market for quite some time but until I ended up seated next to owner Megan Are Camp, at the March 14 Advisory Committee Meeting, I hadn’t had an opportunity to say “hello” and introduce myself. In addition, prior efforts to take photographs had been hampered by the almost constant rains and, on clear days, there always seemed to be a crowd clustered in front of her booth. After reading this enlightening article on Fibershed.com, I am beginning to understand why.

Sorry to end on a sobering note, but this NPR report on farmers market notes that smaller markets nationwide are failing due to a proliferation of markets. I don’t know that any here in the East Bay are threatened but twenty years ago, when the Grand Lake Market started under the freeway, there were only three other markets. Today, there’s probably twelve to fifteen.

A list of  Grand Lake Farmers Market vendors is available at THIS LINK.


Volunteers – March 31 – Diane, David, Susan, Victoria, Jerry

Our traditional Earth Day celebration at Splash Pad Park resumes on April 14 – in collaboration with Beatie Street Preschool and Kindergarten. Volunteers of all ages and any skill level are welcome to participate – but Judy Kahn would be especially delighted to see school alumni and/or parents of alumni. Most of the focus will be on removing an abundance of weeds in the California Native plant beds, but there will be other tasks as well.

To make this a real celebration, lunch will be served at Noon thanks to donations from Happy Boy Farms and J & B Produce at the Farmers Market – as well as donations from Trader Joe’s, Noah’s, Arizmendi, Rico/Rico, Miss Saigon and Modigliani.

Hours are 9 – Noon. To ensure that we have enough water, food, gloves and tools, we are requesting that you RSVP to info@splashpad.org. Also, please avoid wearing shorts or open-toed shoes.

In order to publicize Earth Day events throughout the city and to boost Splash Pad News subscriptions, we’ll have a booth at the Farmers Market this coming Saturday. We’re happy to be sharing the space with our good friends from the Grand Lake Neighbors group.

A couple of months ago, we enumerated a laundry list of infrastructure problems at the park. I’m happy to report that Jerry Barclay and I met at the park with Martin Tovar, the new Construction and Maintenance Supervisor in the Public Works Department and one critical security issue has been resolved. The aluminum light posts that ring the park are not only illuminated, the heads have been replaced with replacements that produce substantially more light. That in combination with the increased lighting levels under the freeway have made the four light bollards that parallel the freeway redundant – and they are going to be permanently removed since they provided very little light and were terribly prone to falling over.

I’m equally happy to report that the Splash Pad fountain is back in operation and, more importantly, it’s getting the kind of maintenance that guarantees that the water is clean and safe and that also minimizes the likelihood that key components are apt to fail. All this is true thanks to the efforts of Stennis Raymond, who is making a point of servicing the fountain on Mondays and Fridays.


This month’s First Thursdays on Grand art walk takes place on April 4. Hours are 6 – 8 PM unless otherwise noted.

Alchemy Bottle Shop’s second-floor gallery has an ongoing show entitled “Where Do We Go From Here?”, featuring art with detailed line work by Oakland-based artist Kayleen Dejesus, also known as “Kayleendaa.”

Panorama Framing is featuring a show of paintings by Carol Ladewig. Complimentary wine, cheese, and small bites.

Most of the artwork filling the walls at 510 Brand is newly hung – featuring new works  by Steven Haman, Natalina Simi, Jeremy Reule, Cameron Bowman and more. Live DJ + complimentary drinks and snacks. 6 PM – 10 PM.

Jau Jou Studio has a new show of photographic collages by artist and musician Daniel Lippincott.

The Libertine is again featuring Josh Stevenson’s nudes printed on aluminum that focus on the interplay between light and shadows.

Urban Furniture and Boutique is continuing its women-centric show entitled, “Burst into Bloom” , which was an essential component of their celebration last month of International Women’s Day.


My wife would be inclined to describe what I was doing two weeks ago as the equivalent of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. My version is that, while I was diligently cleaning my basement a couple of weeks ago, I uncovered, in a back corner, a stack of badly stored posters.  Two of those posters were part of a campaign to block approval of a McDonald’s drive-thru restaurant at the Kwik Way site.  In a wonderful example of serendipity, this week marks the 15th Anniversary of the community gathering at Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church that was the high point of those efforts. The campaign arose as a spontaneous protest which gathered 2,600 signatures – mostly at the Farmers Market over the course of two weekends. Of the 500 people who showed up at the meeting in the church’s sanctuary, only two people spoke in favor of approval: Charles Hahn, the son of the property owner, and the potential franchisee.

That night, my wife had attended a play at Berkeley Rep (I think) and when she returned home, I told her that I had the pleasure of participating in a far superior show – the best example of an empowered community that I’ve ever witnessed. Success was due, in large part, to a relatively small group of neighborhood residents who leapt into the fray and took charge of various facets of the campaign. They included Kim and Augusto Cardoso, who established a GreaterGrandLake.org website for publicity. Jim Ratliff came up with the legal rationale that the Planning Department eventually used to require a Major Conditional Use Permit and prevent inclusion of a drive-thru window – effectively torpedoing the proposal. Other key players were Adam Van de Water and Amanda Brown Stevens, Mary Ellen Navas and Bob Archibald, Michele Simon and Charles Nelson.

This is what Michele Simon recollects about this experience: 

For me the fight to keep McDonald’s out was a powerful way to combine my professional work in the food movement with a local action in my own backyard. The crowning moment was speaking to an SRO crowd at the Lakeshore Baptist Church. I have given a lot of talks in my career about the politics of food, but never was a crowd so motivated and supportive. It made me proud of my neighbors.

And from Mary Ellen Navas: 

The threat McDonald’s posed by bringing in a “yesterday” fast food outlet just as the neighborhood was reaching for a “tomorrow” identity was mobilizing. As relatively new members of the community (1999) we were enchanted by the walk-ability, the small person feel of our retailers and the comfortable diversity of our neighborhood. This was a place of abundance – natural beauty, rich cultural traditions, ethnicity, food, art and economic possibility. With great affection and pride, we called our block on Walker Avenue the ‘New United Nations”. The idea that Lake Park was going to host a drive-thru with exploitative, unhealthy, terrible food was horrifying, and completely antithetical to the aspirations of our neighborhood. So we became a part of the protest, educating ourselves and others, inviting neighbors to join us, showing up at meetings, making signs and listening carefully to those in a position to know what the deal might mean for our neighborhood.  

The meeting at Lakeshore Baptist Church was memorable, hosted by our stalwart pastor, Jim Hopkins, at which the Principal of Lakeshore Elementary School spoke passionately about the challenge of educating young, primarily economically disadvantaged children, who came to school hungry…and would not be truly benefited by easy access to low quality McDonald’s food.  Her articulation of the problem provided a moral and logical basis for our argument against McDonald’s.

We were inspired by the response of our neighbors, both residents and commercial, who showed up trusting that our collective action would protect the quality of our community and the prospects we all hoped for. The active involvement of Oakland officials including our City Councilmember Danny Wan and Public Works Director Claudia Cappio gave us hope that local government and people acting in good faith could not only prevent a bad outcome, but also engage in a process that could eventually enhance the community. 

It all takes time and perseverance….and love.

The above may seem like “Ancient History” – but the impact in the ensuing years has been profound. With far less effort, the very same community has subsequently blocked, in the same location, a Fatburger restaurant and a Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins franchise. As a consequence, Lake Park will instead end up with 54 units of affordable housing with ground floor retail – as well as a link between Lakeshore and Grand that’s far more pedestrian-friendly than it would be otherwise.  

Last month, we announced a fundraising campaign launched by neighborhood residents Lucy and Randy Glover, who were the inspiration and driving force behind a 14-by-70-foot mural to be installed at the southern end of the Grand/Walker city parking lot. Thanks to contributions from at least fifty individuals, they’ve already received $4,841 – just short of their $6,000 goal.   Lucy and Randy are especially grateful to major donors including Abel Guillen, the Agricultural Institute of Marin (which operates the Grand Lake Market), Marcia Lam at Lin Jia Asian Kitchen, Grand Lake Veterinary Hospital, Ruth Stroup Insurance and an anonymous donor. A link to a donate button and a complete list of all the donors is available on the Grand/Walker Mural page.

Paschal Nnaji, the homeless individual who was the subject of this profile in the February Splash Pad News, is now being housed at the North Gate Community Village, which is operated under contract from the city by Operation Dignity. Literally and figuratively he’s in a much better space. When I last talked to him on the phone, he reported that he would be attending a class the following day that would be a prerequisite to employment and he does, in fact, already have a job offer. What he doesn’t yet have is a replacement for the bicycle that was stolen a second time. If you happen to have one stashed somewhere that’s not being used, please send an email to info@splashpad.org. I’d be delighted to pick it up and deliver it to him.

We’re honored to introduce SplashPad.org‘s March nominee for “Mother Nature’s Good Samaritan of the Month” award. Yesterday, Grand Lake resident, Misty, intercepted someone on Lakeshore Avenue headed for the nearest garbage can with a baby hummingbird in hand.

If you missed my March 19 Facebook post about Missy and the hummingbird she rescued, here’s the low-down plus a couple of updates.

We’re honored to introduce SplashPad.org‘s March nominee for “Mother Nature’s Good Samaritan of the Month” award. Yesterday, Grand Lake resident, Misty, intercepted someone on Lakeshore Avenue headed for the nearest garbage can with a baby hummingbird in hand. She took it home and nursed it through the night with sugar water and bugs she pulverized with care. This morning, Misty headed for Splash Pad Park, accompanied by her 18 month-old son, figuring that the baby “Hummer” might find the California Native Garden a culinary delight. After consulting with the Lindsay Wildlife Experience, she chose instead to drive to their wildlife hospital in Walnut Creek.

Hats off to Misty and the wildlife hospital, where I’m told they have several staff members specifically dedicated to nurturing baby hummingbirds who have gone astray.

As a follow-up, I just spoke with someone at Lindsay who checked their records and confirmed that the hummingbird Missy had rescued had, in fact, survived and was released into the wild. My Facebook post erred in one respect in that trained volunteers (not staff)  provide home care for hummingbirds as young as two days old, which require feeding every fifteen minutes. When they’re capable of flying, they’re placed in an outdoor enclosure with an abundant supply of insects and nectar. When they learn to feed for themselves, the door is opened and they fly away. According to their records, thirty-nine hummingbirds were treated and released in March.

What makes the above story sweeter still is that five days later, we learned of another Good Samaritan nominee thanks to this video of a bird rescue at Lake Merritt.


A few weeks ago, walking beneath the Grand Lake Theatre marquee, I couldn’t help but notice a woman who was distributing donuts while extolling their virtues. I put two and two together and introduced myself to Lauren Herpich, the owner and Official Tour Guide for Local Food Adventures. They were, in fact, Colonial Donuts – one of the regular stops on her Grand Lake Cultural Cuisine Tour. In an email this week, Lauren was pleased to announce that their four-stop tour has now been expanded to five with the addition of Bardo Supper Club and Lounge. In addition to Colonial Donuts and Bardo, the tour includes Cana Cuban Parlor and Cafe, Aisle 5 and Oaktown Spice Shop and to sweeten the deal, discounted Grand Lake Theatre tickets are included as part of the package.  All the details are included on THIS LINK. By the way, Diablo Magazine has named this as the “Best Walking Tour in the East Bay”.

Spring for Parks, the annual fundraiser for the Oakland Parks and Recreation Foundation, will be held on April 25 at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center. Since 1981 the Oakland Parks and Recreation Foundation has worked to support, restore and maintain Oakland’s parks, sports fields, and recreation centers. They also award youth scholarships to 400-600 kids a year from all parts of Oakland. This year’s event will honor former council members Abel Guillen and Annie Campbell Washington. Tickets are available on THIS LINK

The colorful front window at Maribel is a timely reminder that the 2919 edition of the “Beyond Trend Runway Event” is fast approaching. This is a first class event and fundraiser for Creative Growth’s art program.


  • Grand Avenue First Thursdays art walk – April 4, 6-8 PM
  • Splash Pad “Grand Crew’s” Earth Day Celebration – April 14, 9 – Noon + Lunch
  • Grand Lake Neighbors Meeting – Wednesday April 17, 7-8:30 PM, Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church Family Room
  • City of Oakland Earth Day Celebration – April 20
  • Lakeshore Easter Parade – April 20, 10:30 – 12:30
  • SPRING FOR PARKS – Oakland Parks & Recreation Foundations’ 16th Annual Fundraiser – Thursday, April 25
  • Creative Growth’s “Beyond Trend” Runway Event – Saturday, April 27
 We typically publish the Splash Pad News around the first of each month. If you’d like to receive an email announcing publication, please email us at info@splashpad.org with “SUBSCRIBE” on the subject line or click on the link at the very top of this page.
Comments are always welcome via the link below.
For a change of pace and a reminder that we live in a truly beautiful city, here’s a photo of Scott’s and Kincaid’s at Jack London Square.





10 responses to “Splash Pad News – April 2019”

  1. Not only are our public libraries offering extended hours, they also offer FREE movies (up to 4 monthly) that you can stream immediately! You need to register your Oakland Public Library Card and get the Kanopy App and you’re good to go!
    Check out this link: http://oaklandlibrary.org/blogs/library-community/introducing-kanopy


  2. Carolyn French Avatar
    Carolyn French


    As usual, your publication is top rate.

    I put a lot of energy several years ago trying to do something about the overflowing trash cans in front of Starbucks. I spoke to the head of the merchant’s association as well as the managers of Starbucks and Noah’s. In addition I took pictures and mailed them to our district’s representative. The situation improved for a bit, but I’m disappointed to see trash, cardboard and overflowing trash cans again, especially in front of Starbucks, Noah’s and the small deli.

    The small Deli next to Starbucks always puts out cardboard and empty food containers where they sit all weekend long. What’s to be done?

    1. Ken Katz Avatar
      Ken Katz


      Since both you and Greg Chan raised this issue, I’ll pass on your concerns to Carol Knight, the fairly new Co-Director of the Lakeshore Business Improvement District.

      1. Carolyn French Avatar
        Carolyn French

        The Deli I mentioned in my comment about the trash on Lakeshore is next to Greetings, not Starbucks. I’m so sorry about the mistake.

        1. Ken Katz Avatar
          Ken Katz

          You’re talking about Oakland Kosher Foods. Last year, at my suggestion, they installed a covered receptacle adjacent to their front door for temporary storage of cardboard. Someone set it on fire. Solutions to this problem are complicated.

  3. Stephanie Wong Avatar
    Stephanie Wong

    How is Norman doing?

    1. Ken Katz Avatar
      Ken Katz

      Norman seems pretty much unchanged to me over the past several years – which is amazing considering how he’s perpetually exposed to the elements and his diet appears to be atrocious. Unfortunately, any and all attempts to get him off the street have failed.

  4. Joanne Devereaux Avatar
    Joanne Devereaux

    That is good news that Paschal. I’ll ask around about a bike. Buck continues to be in our neighborhood. I’m trying to have him connect with Operation Dignity because he is a Vet.

  5. Ken Katz Avatar
    Ken Katz

    Greg, Thanks for your comment. This was an issue that Eric Hughes and I worked on in cooperation with City of Oakland staff and, like everything else, it’s more complicated than it might seem. For starters, those cans don’t belong exclusively to Noah’s and Starbuck’s. Several other businesses use that space as well. As for an enclosure, it would be like trying to put lipstick on a pig. Nobody wants it in front of their business and, for that matter, I don’t want to see it when I’m down on Lakeshore Avenue. The best solution is to insist that merchants don’t put out their trash and recycling cans until the night before they’re to be picked up. Insist that the trash and recycling companies that do the pick ups come very early in the morning. And insist that the merchants bring in the containers as soon as they’re emptied. For the record, the Starbucks Manager is probably the most conscientious of the lot and, I believe the situation is actually far better than it was a year or two ago – but it’s not perfect. If you see empty trash cans sitting in the street and can identify the owner based on the address printed on the lid, please do complain.

  6. Greg Chan Avatar
    Greg Chan


    Is any one tackling all the garbage and recycling bins in front of Starbucks. They’re a ghastly site on Lakeshore. If Ford can take sidewalk space I don’t see why Starbucks and Noah’s can rent space to enclose their bins. Greg