Splash Pad News – July 2021

The Short, Flamboyant Reign of Victoria the Corpse Flower
by C.J. Hirschfield – In 2017, more than 130,000 people came to see a corpse flower (Amorphophallus titanum) bloom in person at the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, DC and more than 650,000 viewers accessed the live web stream. The public’s fascination with this endangered Sumatran rainforest plant is no doubt due to its great height (up to 12 feet), powerful stink, and fleeting presence. Fewer than 1000 individuals exist in the wild, a decrease of 50 percent over the last 150 years. On June 14 and 15, some lucky residents of Oakland had the amazing opportunity to meet Victoria—a corpse flower  Continue Reading

Lakeshore BID – July 2021
by Kira Pascoe – June was a big month as the California economy re-opened on June 15th. This means that all restaurants and stores may have the regular number of customers inside again. Businesses are taking precautions, some have rules to wear masks inside, some dining establishments and bars are maximizing their outdoor space and parklets, like Heart and Dagger Saloon, The Cat House Bar (with two patios!), and Shakewell. There is a multitude of ways to celebrate and support local businesses now in-person and online. Many local businesses are still hurting and truly need our support  Continue Reading

The Bounty Boxes Just Keep on Coming
by Ken Katz -The Saturday before last, fourteen months after picking up my very first Bounty Box–as a worldwide pandemic loomed–I decided that volunteering in the Grand Lake Bounty Box booth was the very best way to get some first-hand knowledge as to what it takes to assemble a large quantity of local seasonal produce boxes week after week. It was also the perfect opportunity to interview AIM’s Community Program Manager, Vanya Goldberg, when she wasn’t otherwise occupied weighing potatoes, assembling boxes, or offering suggestions to Kanchan Armstrong…       Continue Reading

Grand Avenue Merchant News – July 2021
by Ken Katz -Things are hopping on Grand Avenue, as business is returning to normal, and we’ve got some big news to report. The other day, Anthony Bennett, the owner of Antiques Collected Four 32 and the spokesperson for the Grand Avenue Business Association, alerted us to a new shop at 474 Santa Clara called 8 am Style. We reached the owner, Meaza Haile, by phone and were delighted by what she had to say. She and her business partner design all the clothing which mostly reflects her Eritrean heritage and it’s all locally made here in Oakland.    Continue Reading

Farmers Market Updates – June 2021
by Dan Foster – Summer is in full swing. and Covid-related restrictions have mostly been lifted. Eating on site is back, tables and chairs are out, entertainers are performing, and the grassy areas are open for hangin’! Masks are no longer required for folks who have been vaccinated.Stone fruits are peaking, corn is in, tomato varietals are everywhere, and melons are just starting. This is by far my favorite time of the year for seasonal produce. Vendor Updates: Bowl’d Acai has returned from their hiatus and will be present weekly. G & S has been in for a few weeks now with corn. Continue Reading

Grand Lake Clean-Up Collaboration
by Eric Hughes – On Sunday, June 27, over fifty neighbors answered our call to help make the Grand Lake Neighborhood a cleaner, safer place to be. The cleanup was organized by representatives from Grand Lake Neighbors, The Grand Avenue Business Association, the Lakeshore Business Improvement District, The Lakeshore Homes Association, and the District 2 City Council Office. Thanks also to Starbucks, Colonial Donuts, and Ruth Stroup Insurance for providing refreshments, and to Grand Lake Ace for donating supplies! Continue Reading

The Names in Lights Have a Tale to Tell: Part 3
by Ken Katz – This is the third and last in a series of articles about the twenty-seven Names In Lights panels in the Splash Pad Plaza that were dedicated in 2004. The first two articles were limited to the six panels that specifically grouped together businesses in the Grand Lake commercial district.  This month’s News will cover the remaining  panels whose contents include a very few businesses outside the commercial district, approximately fifty names in memoriam, lots of individuals and families plus a lone panel on the freeway side of the seating wall Continue Reading

Odds and Ends – July 2021
by Ken Katz – We received the following email from Tessa Quintanilla, the Project Manager from EAH Housing about the building that houses Vegan Mob. “Thought I should reach out to you to give you a heads up about some events this weekend at 500 Lake Park, as you may have some questions after going by the site. One of Vegan Mob’s vendors hit one of the building’s ‘wings’ with its truck (not for the first time) and knocked it off its support post. The damage was so bad that it could not be repaired this time and it was in danger of falling down  Continue Reading

Lakeside Chat #8: The Mushrooms of Lake Merritt with Damon Tighe
Rotary Nature Center – Friday, July 9,  7:00 pm – 8:00 pm. 


Learn about the surprising diversity of fungi that call the Jewel of Oakland home; everything from bioluminescent fungi, to deadly toadstools, and ones that turn insects into zombies. Register here before 6 pm on the 9th. 

Opening Reception MFA Exhibition
Mills College – Thursday, July 1, 6:00 pm – Live Event

Join us in finally celebrating the opening of the 2020 Mills College MFA Exhibition! Congratulate the MFAs on their tremendous accomplishment and wish them well on their artistic journey. This virtual event will include a 360-degree virtual gallery walkthrough accompanied by commentary from the artists, followed by group discussion. Featuring Cristine Blanco, Genevieve Rae Busby, Lucciana Caselli, Crystal Gwyn, Megan Hinton, Emma Logan, Yétundé Olagbaju, H. Esmé Park, Emily Villarma, and Hannah Youngblood. Register here.

Dialogue: Dr. Keesha Middlemass and Reuben J. Miller
Tuesday, July 20, 7:00-8:00 pm.

This program is hosted in collaboration with SFPL’s Jail and Reentry Services Department. Dr. Keesha Middlemass and Reuben Jonathan Miller discuss the politics, race and policies of incarceration and reentry. Detailed author biographies are available here. Please register at this link or view it live on SFPL’s YouTube channel. 

How We Adapt: Climate Change on the West Coast
Thursday, July 29, 4:00 pm – Live Event

As the West Coast grapples with climate disruptions — from wildfires, to sea level rise — how are communities and businesses adapting? Molly Wood, host of Marketplace’s How We Survive, moderates a conversation with journalists from public radio stations up and down the West Coast about the boldest and most thoughtful solutions emerging from their regions. Register here.