Splash Pad News – March 2017

Editor’s Note:   This edition of the “Splash Pad News” has a new look thanks to recent assistance from Raul Audelo, the Senior Web Manager for Earthjustice, who kindly built our website several years ago.   Raul has just installed a newer version of WordPress that makes it much easier to adjust the size and placement of images – plus the font is much more legible.  The other equally welcome improvement to today’s “Splash Pad News” is the unprecedented number of articles we’re featuring from our contributors  including:

  • The fourth in a series of neighborhood walks posted by Sheila McCormick, along with her article about the “Feet on the Street” program in Cleveland Heights – as well as a brief report on plans for the large empty lot on the corner of MacArthur and Wesley Avenues.
  • The first two blogs by Kathleen Boergers, an attorney and Rose Garden neighbor,  about Aisle 5, the newly-opened pub on Grand Avenue and about the Astro Tot Lot, which should open just in time for the arrival of Spring weather.
  • LZ’s “Grand Avenue West of 580” blog about the new X-Core (fitness) Studio.

And, to start things off, here’s Keila Diehl’s Valentine’s Day tribute to our Grand Lake District merchants:

On Valentine’s Day, let’s pause to say
How much we love the shops we frequent every day.
Our neighborhood merchants bring us gifts, coffee, flowers, and bread,
Shoes, books, smoothies, yoga, and hipster threads.
Thanks for everything you do.
Merchants of Grand and Lakeshore Avenues
We love you! xxx

On a related note, Randolph Belle shared a Valentine’s Day photo taken on Lake Park Avenue. According to Randolph, this young woman, accompanied by two small children, was passing out flowers up and down the commercial district. I’d love to give them some well-deserved recognition. Anybody know her name?


New York Times Photo of Michel

There are two significant stories on Lakeshore. The one that came as a bit of a shock was the announcement that Michel Bistro had been sold. As just about everybody is aware, Michel has been hugely successful but, as the note affixed to the front window explains, the current owner/operator hated the commute to San Francisco and, between their three restaurants and wine business, he desperately needed fewer responsibilities and more free time to spend with his family.

The new owners are Seth and Jennifer Bregman, who are long-time Trestle Glen area residents. As their note in the front window indicates, they’re thrilled to take ownership of a restaurant that they themselves frequented on a regular basis. The menu and restaurant staff will remain largely unchanged but, as owner of Bardo Cocktails, Seth’s focus over the years has been on perfecting the mixed drink. Accordingly, over time, look for a larger and likely more creative cocktail selection at Michel.

The other major story is that Dressed Best for Less has announced the opening date for their new Lakeshore location – Saturday, April 1.   As reported last month, the very popular second-hand shop lost its lease on Piedmont Avenue and they’re delighted to have found a new location on Lakeshore.


  • Falafel Stop has a banner hung and, according to Abebe (the Lakeshore security guard), they should be open fairly soon.
  • Shakewell has just jazzed up their restaurant “shingle” – which was definitely a bit understated in its original incarnation.
  • The miracle that we were hoping for after publication of Keila Diehl’s article about Collage Clothing, isn’t to be judging by the “For Lease” sign in their front window.


Adrian Arias

Easily the biggest news on Grand Avenue is Aisle 5’s opening – the subject of Kathleen Boerger’s debut blog, which you’ll find on the next “page”.

Elsewhere, Studio Grand’s event calendar for March isn’t yet complete but they’re getting things rolling this Sunday, March 5 with a concert entitled “Something Borrowed, Something New” – featuring half a dozen musicians performing a new song they’ve written and one they’ve “borrowed” from another composer.

When you’re inside Studio Grand for a concert or during the First Thursdays on Grand event, be sure to check out the artwork by Adrian Arias – a talented artist and poet who has previously exhibited and performed at this venue.

In other Grand Avenue news, Russell Hill and Eric Hughes are organizing a clean-up campaign for Grand Avenue from Mandana down to 580 on Saturday, March 11 from 9 to noon. They will be picking up trash, trimming some street trees, removing graffiti, and sprucing up some planters. If you’d like to volunteer, email Eric at hughesearthur@gmail.com .

For an always up-to-date business directory, click and save the…



Aisle 5 Opens on Grand

“Aisle 5 Oakland, a welcome spot for the neighborhood on Grand Avenue, right next to Walden Pond Books, is now open for business.  A visit Saturday afternoon showed the potential for the space to be a popular community spot, with over half of the tables filled with young families. The bar and high top tables were also populated by friends and couples relaxing and enjoying the live music. A talented duo played folk rock favorites, with harmonica, guitar and a hand drum, that patrons young and old enjoyed.”   READ MORE

Revitalized Astro Tot Lot Nears Completion

“The Astro Tot Lot Revitalization began to take shape in early December, thanks to a large group of volunteers coordinated by Abel Guillen’s office and with assistance from the Parks and Recreation Department, PG&E and KaBOOM.  Since then, the community has awaited the finishing touches that need to be completed before the fences can come down.”  READ MORE

by LZ

We welcome X-Core Studio, Oakland’s first Lagree fitness studio, where you can get a full body workout in 40 minutes. Newbie special: Try your first class now for $15 and get a free pair of grippy socks to wear during your workouts. Opening celebration: March 19.

In mid-January, Cora Wo and her business partner and co-instructor, Elaine Ko, quietly opened Oakland’s first facility to use the Lagree Fitness (LF) method to enhance health and fitness. Both women are certified LF trainers who worked in San Francisco before bringing this program to Oakland. Cora and Elaine were attracted to our neighborhood specifically because of our community spirit, diversity, and residential density.”


Feet on the Street  

Starting about seven years ago, a small but dedicated group of neighbors has been walking the Cleveland Heights Neighborhood to encourage better lighting of properties. Weather permitting, the “Feet on the Street” group meets the first Wednesday of the month, from September until May. The walks, which last an hour or so, begin around 7:30 p.m. in front of the pizza parlor Leaning Tower of Haddon Hill, at 498 Wesley Avenue. READ MORE

Condos at 601 MacArthur

On February 9, Lake House Development Team LLC (LHD) held an informational meeting at St. Vartan’s Armenian Church on Spruce Street to update interested neighbors about their plans for 601 MacArthur, the long vacant lot at the corner of MacArthur and Wesley Avenue. About twenty neighbors attended the meeting, as well as District 2 Council Member Abel Guillen and his Chief of Staff, Richard Raya. LHD was represented by Public Affairs Director Valerie Camarda, Planning Advisor Gerald Green, and Architect Tony Pantaleoni. READ MORE



We’ve been talking for the last couple of months about the Agricultural Institute of Marin’s efforts to obtain a five-year lease to continue use of Splash Pad Park as the site for the Saturday Farmers Market.  Currently, that decision seems to be on hold, and the proposal isn’t yet on a committee schedule. Nonetheless, we’re beginning to feel more and more optimistic about our prospects. If the City Council does ultimately agree to issue a request for proposals from other market operators, I’m hoping to see tons of community involvement. Those of us who live in the neighborhood and/or shop at the market know the score and are best qualified to talk about what features should be preserved and what issues need to be resolved. While the clock is continuing to tick, please start thinking about how you can contribute to this discussion.

New at the market: Oakland-based Broth Baby – made with bones sourced from Marin Sun Farms.


For the past six months or so, the Splash Pad Grand Crew has been benefiting tremendously from an influx of high school volunteers who need to meet community service requirements. If you were assuming that they are coming begrudgingly and doing as little work as possible, you’d be totally off base. They are almost, without exception, hard-working and, under Mary Jo Sutton’s tutelage, quickly absorbing why we’re planting California Natives and what it takes for them to thrive and, when they do, how they support native wildlife.

Speaking of Mary Jo, one of the additional benefits that helps explain why these students are so grateful for the opportunity to serve is that we serve lunch and, more often than not, Mary Jo provides home-baked breads.  This past Sunday, it was Rosemary… and… plus her lemonade. My contribution: a romaine lettuce salad with apples, carrots, dried cranberries and hard-boiled eggs topped with a Sriracha Ranch dressing that was too hot for my senior citizen taste buds – but everybody else seemed pleased.

We also highly value Mary Jo’s for her creativity and, since we’re on an extremely budget, for her frugality.  The most recent example of the latter are the two highly stylish kneeling pads that Mary Jo made from laptop computer covers, purchased for $3 each at the White Elephant sale.

The March work day at Splash Pad is going to be scheduled for the 19th (a week early) to accommodate a sizable group of student volunteers from San Francisco State University. Our April work day is tentatively scheduled for even earlier in the month – April 16th.  This will be our annual Earth Day event that we celebrate in partnership with Judy Kahn’s Beattie Street preschool. This event always draws a big crowd.  In addition to weeding and general clean-up, I’m hoping we can either scrub the Names in Lights Panels (as mentioned two weeks ago) or finish installation of  decomposed granite walkways adjacent to the plaza wall.


by Sheila McCormick

This is the fourth in a series of neighborhood walks posted by Sheila McCormick – a UCB Professor and long-time resident near the Cleveland Cascade. This and the prior walks are also available on the Splash Pad Facebook page.

“​Another neighborhood walk, this time in the Cleveland Heights Neighborhood (sometimes also called Haddon Hill). The walk is 3 miles, with a 206 ft. gain in elevation. Start on Lakeshore and tackle the 139 steps of the Cleveland Cascade, walk up Merritt to Haddon, to the Henry J. Kaiser mansion (recently sold to the Kaiser Foundation), then past Cleveland Elementary School (where they were celebrating Soup Day), and then down to Aloha Plaza (mini-park at Athol and Newton).”       READ MORE



Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate (next to Camino) is hosting an Opening Night Reception for a show of photographs by L. Slapar.  FYI: the good folks at Better Homes and Gardens always put out a great spread with beer, wine, and lots of edibles.

Studio Grand: “Angels in Times of a Dictatorship,” a solo show with Adrian Arias.

Lou Grantham will be giving a free, hands-on demonstration of tapestry weaving at San Francisco Fiber, 3711 Grand.

Ruth Stroup Insurance will be hosting an Artists Reception for a show of mixed-media abstract paintings by Raymond L. Haywood.

Panorama Framing will be hosting an Opening Night Reception for a show of original watercolors by Michelle Provenzano entitled, “Miniature Tribal Rugs and Meditation.”

In connection with this month’s First Thursdays event, I’m offering a free guided tour of Grand Avenue that will start at 6:00 PM, with a glass of wine and a few nibbles at Panorama. The full tour will include stops at all the art venues plus some ongoing commentary on the commercial district’s evolution over the past forty years. If you’d like to join the tour, please RSVP to info@splashpad.sitedistrict.com.


Jau Jou Studio is showing abstracts by Berkeley resident, Micah Liedeker.

Alchemy Bottle Shop‘s second-floor gallery is hosting a new show entitled, “Feminine Architecture” featuring photography by local artists Nora Lowinsky and Haley Golden through early March.

Baraka Gallery is continuing to feature tiny beadwork masterfully handcrafted. The teapot is always on.

Alyce on Grand is continuing its show of spectacular photographs by Ella Sophie Bessette plus leather accessories handcrafted in Oakland by Timmy Mays.

The Libertine is featuring local artists.

510 Brand is featuring painting by store employees, including Culling Cahayag, Nina Simi, and Natasha Reh.

A complete list of all participating businesses including those offering special discounts is posted at:  www.grandavenuefirstthursdays.com

Nominations for Oakland Magazine’s “Best of” issue will be accepted until March 15. This is distinct from the opportunity later in the year to vote on those included in the list of nominees. Click on this link to access the Nomination Form. 

Since the neighborhoods around Lake Merritt are the Splash Pad News’ intended beat, it’s most appropriate that we share this East Bay Express article by Darwin BondGraham about the weird and stinky legacy of what we now recognize as Oakland’s “crown jewel.”

As part of the planning process for the revamped Splash Pad News, we’ve agreed that the content should, for the most part, reflect our readership. To get a better handle on our geographic reach, I checked site statistics and came up with this screen shot showing that we have up to five readers in India.   Regrettably, under the present circumstances, they’re very unlikely to be traveling to the US anytime soon – but, when they do, we can promise them a very warm Oakland welcome and a good home-cooked meal at High Peaks on Grand or Flavors of India on Lakeshore.


From Eric Hughes, Co-Chair of the Grand Lake Neighbors Council:

“At the March 15 Grand Lake Neighbors meeting (7-8:30 PM at Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church), our guest will be Marguerite Young, a member of the East Bay Municipal Utility District Board of Directors for Ward 3. She will be talking about EBMUD infrastructure issues and directions, and will field questions as well. If you have questions or issues you want us to submit in advance, email eric@grandlakeneighbors.org no later than Wednesday, March 8. Grand Lake Neighbors is the Neighborhood Council for the Grand Lake (beat 14Y) and Crocker (beat 16x) neighborhoods and meets monthly on the 3rd Wednesday. Representatives from our District 2 Council office and from OPD will also be in attendance to provide reports and answer questions.  

David Sturdevant’s “Medicine Ball Band” is celebrating its 46th Anniversary with a concert, featuring vocalists Terrie Odabi and Lady Bianca, at “The Sound Room” on Friday, March 10.  Advance tickets are available online from Brown Paper Tickets.


  • Thursday, March 2:  Grand Avenue First Thursdays
  • Thursday, March 2,  6 – 8 PM: FREE Grand Avenue Tour begins at Panorama Framing.   Email info@splashpad.sitedistrict.com for reservations.
  • Saturday, March 4, 10 – 4 PM: FREE Oakland Museum White Elephant Sale
  • Sunday, March 5, 10 – 4 PM: FREE Oakland Museum White Elephant Sale
  • Wednesday, March 15, 7 – 8:30 PM: Grand Lake Neighbors meeting – Lakeshore Baptist Church Family Room
  • Sunday, March 19, 9 AM – Noon: Splash Pad Park Volunteer Work Day
  • Saturday, March 25, Noon – 4 PM: The Plant Exchange, 4500 Lincoln Avenue
  • Sunday, April 16, Noon – 4 PM: Tentatively, Earth Day Celebration at Splash Pad Park
  • Saturday, April 23, 9 AM – Noon:  Oakland City-wide Earth Day Celebration

To subscribe, email: info@splashpad.sitedistrict.com with “Subscribe” on the subject line.

All newsletters are archived HERE.



4 responses to “Splash Pad News – March 2017”

  1. […] you’re one of the hundreds of subscribers who gave up on the March Newsletter, I’d urge you to, at a minimum, check out these highlights from last month: The […]

  2. Matthew Lifschiz Avatar
    Matthew Lifschiz

    This is a terrific news letter. The only problem is many of the pictures are missing.

  3. […] can find all the Splash Pad Newsletters here! The March, 2017 edition is now […]

    1. Ken Katz Avatar
      Ken Katz

      Matthew, Sorry about the missing photos and slow download speed. Apparently, we’re suffering growing pains which caused two total crashes and we’ve now exceeded our memory storage limits. Hope to have this resolved soon.