Splash Pad News – January 2024

Mourning Officer Tuan Le  – Early Friday morning, Officer Tuan Le was fatally shot on undercover patrol as he and his partner approached a robbery in progress in the 400 block of Embarcadero Avenue. Only 36 years old and in his 4th year of service in the Oakland Police Department, he leaves behind a loving wife and a long list of friends, fellow officers, and members of the community who’ve come to respect and admire him for his kindness and professionalism. At a time when it’s so very difficult to adequately express grief, we’re grateful to Jim Hopkins, the long-time Pastor at Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church, for sharing the following message, which he wrote for the Interfaith Council of Alameda County. We encourage readers to share their comments as well.    CONTINUE READING

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due
by Ken Katz – As we reported last month, Debra Chaplan has graciously agreed to assume responsibility for publishing and editing the Splash Pad News beginning with the February 2024 edition. Based on her previous work experience and commitment to informing and supporting our Grand Lake Neighborhood , I’m extremely optimistic about the future of this publication. Although I’m giving up my administrative role, I’ll continue to provide monthly Grand Avenue Merchant updates and possibly, in consultation with Debra, occasionally write about other subjects. Sheila McCormick’s calendar will still be featured. In this edition, I’d like to share my personal thoughts about what’s transpired over the past 23 years. If you want all the nitty-gritty details, much of that history is available on our website’s ABOUT” page, which begins with… CONTINUE READING 

Grand Avenue Merchant News
by Ken Katz – The big story on Grand this month is unfortunately bad news. Sister is closing on January 27, citing a decline in revenue due in large part to an uptick in crime, particularly car break-ins — an ongoing problem shared by a number of area businesses. Here’s what Sister posted on their Facebook page: “We are heartbroken to announce that the last service at Sister Restaurant will be January 27th. It has been a great pleasure and honor to host your dates, family gatherings, solo dinners, and coffee outings. We are grateful for the team we’ve put together here – the most hardworking and talented group of folks anywhere. Unfortunately, we have not been able to make the revenue necessary to keep our doors open, so we will…”       CONTINUE READING

Lakeshore Avenue Update – January 2024
Last week, the Beauty Center announced that they were closing due to a significant downturn in pedestrian traffic and sales — ongoing concerns on both Lakeshore and Grand Avenue, with some businesses more heavily impacted than others.  This particular shop’s closing is particularly regrettable since it has become something of an institution with loyal customers going back three or four decades. The staff has also been long-standing. Manager Arminda Gutierrez (above, left) has been employed at the Beauty Center for thirty-five years since she was nineteen and fresh out of  beauty school. Rosa Aguilar has been her co-worker for twenty-five years, and Kelvin Ching has been cutting hair in a small salon at the rear of the shop for nearly twenty years. Kelvin is planning to…         CONTINUE READING 

Remembrances of Oakland’s Past: Chapter Three
by Virginia Brown Keyder – Reading two articles in the mainstream media (one in the New York Times; the other, possibly a rework of a piece in the United Kingdom tabloid, the London Daily Mail) in a single week about crime in Oakland, I am again struck by how unrecognizable the city is from that of my childhood. Childhood: when what you see seems like nature itself, imprinted on your hard disk until something comes along. Then, delete and replace. Having grown up in a time when if someone’s front door was locked, the assumption was that they had gone on a long vacation (some people didn’t even know where the keys to the front door were), it is hard to believe the reports of Oakland today. As children, we walked…       CONTINUE READING

Splash Pad Park – January 2024
by Ken Katz – Splash Pad Park got far more attention than usual this past week thanks to a C. J. Hirschfield article in The Oaklandside that echoed some of the many concerns I’ve been sharing on this platform and elsewhere. Although the article was mainly focused on infrastructure issues that haven’t been resolved, C. J. also had some very good news to share. The Public Works Department has recently hired 17 new gardeners and 15 employees assigned to maintenance. She also shared some bad news regarding Walter Hood that I’d maintain is akin to the Raiders and A’s moving to Las Vegas — only far more consequential: “Our city is broken,” said Hood, who added that he is actually considering leaving, after 30 years of living and working here.    CONTINUE READING 

Odds and Ends  – January 2024
1. Hood Design Studio has been commissioned to design a memorial in honor of the Dearings — the black family that was forcibly driven from their home in Piedmont in 1925. We’re pleased to be able to share the video of Walter Hood’s presentation on November 7.
2. The what and why behind the planters on the Grand Avenue underpass
3. In the case of a fire or medical emergency, don’t call 911.     CONTINUE READING 

Farmers Market Update – January 2024
Sip to Live Herbal Tea Company is one of the market’s newest vendors. The company is owned and operated by Gibran McDonald, who in a “previous lifetime” worked in NASA’s space exploration program. All that changed in 2000 in Morocco when he tasted “real” tea for the first time. Six years later, he took up the study of yoga and Ayurvedic herbalism and is now a certified yoga instructor who has “taught in many environments, including schools, juvenile halls, San Quentin, and shelters for unhoused people.” The newest participants in the Incubator Program are The Queen of Vegetables in Salinas and Vasquez Organic Farm in Hollister. If you shop the market, please make a point of giving them a warm welcome and check out their offerings.  CONTINUE READING 

January 2024 Calendar
by Sheila McCormick – Sheila’s Top Picks:
January 5, Friday, 7-8pm *ZOOM* Rotary Nature Center Friends. Most Delicious Poison: The Story of Nature’s Toxins―from Spices to Vices. Professor Noah Whiteman (UC-Berkeley) will talk about his new book. 
January 20, Saturday, 10am-4:30pm (and January 21, Sunday, 10am-4:30pm) *IN PERSON* East Bay Regional Parks. Tilden Fungus Fair. Presentations, guided mushroom walks, candy cap ice cream making, arts, crafts, and mushroom displays. 
January 28, Sunday, 5pm *ON ZOOM* Bay Area Culinary Historians. The Life and Work of Abby Fisher in San Francisco. Robert Brower will introduce the life and work this African American cook and author of the 1881 cookbook What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking, Soups, Pickles, Preserves, etc.                       

For the full month’s calendar, please click on this link.