Splash Pad News – April 2020

by Ken Katz

For the past two weeks, this has been my window to the world, as my wife and I (both in our seventies) have sheltered in place. Although inconvenienced and more than a bit anxious, we are grateful for so much, particularly in comparison to the homeless population here in Oakland and throughout the U.S. – not to mention the tens of millions more throughout the world who have so little to begin with and now have to deal with a pandemic for which their medical systems are far less prepared than our own, despite its shortcomings.

  • We are also grateful for our good health and for having a roof over our heads and food on our table.
  • We are grateful to concerned neighbors and equally so for living in a city where that seems to be par for the course.
  • We are grateful to (and awed by) the First Responders – especially the EMTs and doctors and nurses who are courageously putting their own lives on the line to save others. In FDR’s words, not due to “the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important.”
  • We have always been grateful for having neighborhood shops, restaurants, grocers, and the farmers market that provide us with sustenance and our other needs, but we are especially grateful now for those businesses that are managing to stay open and without whom we’d be in desperate straits.
  • We are grateful as well to the mostly anonymous individuals who reliably deliver our mail, our packages, as well as pizzas or Chinese take-out for that night’s dinner.
  • And lastly, we are grateful to everyone who has volunteered to assist those in need during this time of crisis – as neighbors to neighbors or in community-wide efforts. We offer a special tip of our hat to Paige Fleury who has kids at home and a full-time job but still managed to cofound and manage the Oakland at Risk Match program that has already signed up more than a thousand volunteers. According to Paige, what they’re actually lacking currently are individuals in Oakland in need of an appropriate match. You can do your part by sharing their flyer via social media, your listserv, on bulletin boards and shop windows, or by directly contacting seniors or other home-bound individuals to whom this could be a life-saver.

We can only wish that the very worst projections for this COVID-19 tragedy turn out to be unfounded so that we can soon return not just to normal but hopefully to a better, more equitable, more caring world. Meanwhile, stay healthy! Stay safe!

EDITORS NOTE: As a major addition to my list of what I’m grateful for, Kira Pascoe is deserving of an extra special mention. As a co-administrator of the Lakeshore BID, she’s paid for working one day a week which, for the BID, is already stretching an extremely limited budget. Nonetheless, over the past several weeks she’s been working multiple days each week including at least one all-nighter. She’s doing so because she really does care and is doing her damndest to help promote neighborhood businesses, including those on Grand, in this time of need. A thank you note posted in our comment box at the bottom of the page or email to Kira would be much appreciated.

by Kira Pascoe

I am consistently inspired and awed by the innovation and creativity of entrepreneurs. Oakland is often rightfully lauded for being a community that cares – cares about its neighbors, businesses, and community. As we navigate our way through these unprecedented times, our local businesses are also facing unprecedented challenges. Yet, even in these times, our local businesses are continuing to be innovative, caring, and serving their community.

* As part of East Bay FeedER, Miri Levy, owner of Holy Land, made dozens of meals for Highland Hospital ER staff and, when Hospital Feed ER had car issues, loaded and helped deliver the food in her own truck.

* Need more activities for your family during at during Shelter-in-Place? Retailers are reinventing ways to reach their local customers and will (safely) deliver to your home! Silver Moon Kids is offering 20% off and free local delivery. Adventure Toys has delivery options, too.

Shakewell is helping the community access fresh vegetables by being a drop-off point for Star Route Farm’s CSA. Customers can order veggie boxes online and get their boxes at Shakewell on Wednesdays, 11:30 am – 7:00 pm) AND Shakewell is still making amazing food and cocktails for pickup and delivery during Shelter-in-Place.

* Hipline has created a FOR MY SIS program in order to serve participants who may be in financial distress due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The way this works is that they are matching them with Hipliners that have expressed interest in supporting their sister Hipliners by paying for their classes. If you would like to participate in the FOR MY SIS program either as a donor or as a recipient, please go to  https://linktr.ee/hiplineoakland or email community@myhipline.com. As Hipline says, “Here’s our opportunity to put our hands out, grab one another, lean in, and celebrate sisterhood!”


As consumers and a community that loves our local businesses, now is a good time to remember the power of local spending. When you support a local business, the money you spend has a large economic return for the local community. Each dollar spent locally has a direct impact when a local business hires employees; an indirect impact (for example, when businesses spend locally-earned money at other businesses); and an induced impact when money spent at local businesses recirculates locally (for example, their employees support other community businesses). On average, 48% of each purchase at local independent businesses was recirculated locally (Source: AMIBA). All of these impacts are in danger during our public health crisis, as are the local businesses that thrive on our support. While we are in crisis, this can be buffered, at least somewhat, by supporting the local businesses with the creative options they have provided. Please remember that when you order takeout, delivery, goods, gift cards, or give to an urgent Employee Relief Fund, your dollar is supporting that business and all the positive exponential local economic ramifications beyond it.

We are fortunate to have creative businesses to help make this fun! If you can spare a dime, you will be rewarded with not only knowing the awesome local impact of your dollar, but also enjoy wine, chocolate, books, spices, toys, and more to enjoy during Shelter-in-Place and gift cards to celebrate with the businesses when this crisis subsides.

Looking for more ways to support local businesses? Here is a Bingo Game from Ellwood City Area Chamber of Commerce with fabulous ideas. Ready – Set – Go!


The Lakeshore Business Improvement District and the Splash Pad News are doing what we can to direct you to currently available  resources while also assisting the locally-owned, Grand Lake neighborhood businesses we value so highly. Please note that the two lists that are linked below include the following information:

  • Restaurants, cafes, and bakeries that are offering takeout and/or delivery services
  • Retail shops offering online ordering and delivery services
  • Gift cards for friends, family or for yourself that will help individual businesses survive

These lists are being updated regularly. For corrections and additions please email:
info@splashpad.org or  kira@lakeshoreavenue.com.
Please follow us on social media:
Lakeshore BID Facebook; Splash Pad Facebook; Lakeshore BID Instagram.

The abbreviated Cliff Notes spreadsheet version created and maintained by Kira is on THIS LINK.  All the nitty-gritty details are HERE.

Rick Wise Farmers Market Image #3


EDITORS NOTE: Last Friday AIM’s CEO, Andy Naja-Riese, emailed the following message regarding the changes they implemented on Saturday to maximize safety for staff, vendors, and customers. Kudos to everyone involved but especially deserving of credit is Lead Market Manager Dan Foster, who pulled this off with aplomb with only a few days’ notice.

Dear Grand Lake Shoppers:

We are writing to share a number of updates regarding our operations of farmers markets as critical and essential services for community food security during COVID-19.

We have made significant modifications to our farmers markets to ensure compliance with CDPH guidelines for social distancing while ensuring our community members can buy essential groceries in an open-air environment from local farmers.

Market modifications: 

  • Only farmers, ranchers, fishers, food makers, and essential household producers are participating at markets currently.
  • All market booths are spaced further apart, and producers may have new temporary locations to maximize space.
  • No music, entertainment, or kids activities are allowed.
  • No tables and chairs are provided on-site to keep everyone in transit, and all prepared food is served to go.

Market Safety and Hygiene:

  • Hand washing and hand sanitizing stations are located through the market.
  • All sampling is suspended.
  • Shoppers may not touch produce or other products prior to purchase. Farmers or producers will hand shoppers the product, or drop it into your shopping bag.
  • If a producer accepts credit cards, please pay with this option. For cash transactions, please try to pay with exact change. If change is needed, please exchange currency on the table or counter.
  • To protect others, stay home if you are sick. If you are sick and in public, please wear a facemask when you are around others.

Maintaining Safe Distance:

  • Producers and shoppers are directed to maintain 6-foot distancing at all times.
    • Note: We recommend only 1 person per household attend the market; however, families and immediate household members shopping together can be closer than 6 feet. Parents should keep children closer than 6 feet.
  • Please limit your visit to no more than 30 minutes.
  • If at any time AIM Managers believe the market has too many shoppers on site to maintain social distancing, market entry and exit will be limited and tracked.
  • Please watch AIM’s new safety video with guidance on shopping the farmers market for essential groceries: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPx8yXLuzwI.

Additional Notifications: 

  • AIM is requesting additional volunteers to help with monitoring social distance. If you are under age 65 and able to volunteer, please contact Will Finnie via THIS LINK.
  • AIM continues to accept CalFresh/EBT, offers a $10 Market Match for fruits and vegetables, and redeems Senior Bonus Bucks distributed by Mercy Housing.


These photos, taken earlier in the week in Splash Pad’s California Native Plant Garden, are included to help brighten your day – especially for everyone sticking close to home and feeling a bit claustrophobic. In the interest of full disclosure, we did our best to avoid including weeds in these images but be assured that, like these flowers, they’re thriving. In keeping with the shelter in place order, the Grand Crew’s regular 4th Sunday volunteer work day this past weekend was cancelled, but three of the most dedicated volunteers showed up yesterday on the premise that weeding ought to be on the approved list of essential activities – especially since it’s good exercise and they were careful to maintain the required social distance.

A Good Days Work

One of those volunteers was Mary Jo Sutton who joined a very sparse volunteer crew about seven years ago. It quickly became apparent that, as an expert in California native plants and wildlife, a gifted gardener, and someone who is great with people, she was the run-away choice for a new Crew Leader. Under her tutelage, the number of highly-skilled, dedicated volunteers has doubled, as has the overall size of the California Native Garden. Mary Jo also introduced spring-blooming perennials to the garden, three of which are pictured here.

The second volunteer was Claire Wing, the newest addition to the Grand Crew. After retiring from Kaiser Hospital, she became a Master Gardener who usually works a veggie plot in the Lakeside Park Community Garden, which is currently closed due to the pandemic.

In response to an email inquiry as to how many hours she volunteers in the park, the third volunteer (who prefers to stay anonymous) replied with an explanation as to why she’s there weeding and pruning an average of five hours per week:

I love getting my hands in the dirt, I love witnessing how the plants thrive, and I always get thanks and appreciation from those who happen to walk through the garden while I’m there! Truly, it is a labor of love. It’s an activity for which I absolutely do not seek recognition; my small contribution to the community.

It looks like it’s going to be awhile before the Grand Crew can resume their 4th Sunday work days, but if you’re interested, send an email to info@splashpad.org and you’ll be be added to their email list.


Elsa Cardona, who is doing a fabulous job managing Urban Furniture and Boutique sent us an email a couple of days ago alerting us to a virtual happy hour art show they’re hosting tomorrow (Thursday) featuring photographs by Kevin Mapp. It’s their way of carrying on their First Thursday art walk tradition, albeit via Instagram and Facebook Live, and also an opportunity to raise awareness regarding an ongoing GoFundMe campaign that helps sustain their Single Moms at Work program. Please click on THIS LINK to make a donation. 

We especially appreciated Elsa’s email since it was a timely reminder of the extent to which Oakland is home to a wealth of artists and craftspeople whose livelihood is severely impacted by the ongoing shelter-in-place order, as is the case with all the area restaurants and shops whether they are open or closed. Unlike the Splash Pad flowers which are outdoors in a public venue, all the artwork we featured in the May edition of the Splash Pad News is mostly hidden from sight behind locked doors. As a reminder of what you’re missing, we’re posting some gallery photos below and simultaneously issuing this open invitation:

If you’re a Grand Lake area artist or craftsperson with an online presence, send an email to the Splash Pad News with “Art Gallery” as the subject along with a photo of one of your works plus a link to a website or Facebook page that includes photographs, with or without pricing. You do that and we’ll assemble a suitable gallery that will be featured in next month’s edition. 





11 responses to “Splash Pad News – April 2020”

  1. C.J. Hirschfield Avatar
    C.J. Hirschfield

    Ken, you are an amazing community institution– and inspiration.
    The newsletter made my day; so many wonderful folks in our neighborhood.

    1. Ken Katz Avatar
      Ken Katz

      C.J. I’m flattered beyond words given all that you accomplished as Fairyland’s long-time director – not to mention all your other endeavors past, present and future.

  2. Jerry Barclay Avatar
    Jerry Barclay

    Kira & Ken,
    I’m grateful for you. The importance of what you so generously and expertly do to enhance and support this community cannot be adequately stated. Thank you. Thank you.

    1. Ken Katz Avatar
      Ken Katz

      Jerry, Let me return the compliment by thanking you for chairing the Farmers Market Advisory Committee.

  3. MARCIA Avatar

    Thank you Ken and Kira! Great newsletter.

  4. Peggy + Helen Avatar
    Peggy + Helen

    Thanks Ken, for writing such a timely and compassionate piece. We feel grateful for Splashpad News and appreciate all that you do to create it.

  5. caroldru knight Avatar
    caroldru knight

    Thank you for your love of the area..

  6. Thank you! Love the updates and inspiration

  7. annette wood Avatar
    annette wood

    Thank you ,Ken, for continuing to keep us so well informed

  8. Special thank you to Ken and Kira, and to all the other volunteers in our neighborhood who help make us a community of caring, compassionate people.

  9. gREAT WORK. It keeps us sane – “Well sort of” ..