Ninety-four and still writing: Think you’ll still be working at your job by the time you’re approaching retirement age? How about by the time you’re 94? For one journalist, age is just a number - nothing gets between him and his beat.
The San Francisco Chronicle’s David Perlman churned out 111 stories last year and is still going strong. Not bad for someone born before the discovery of penicillin and Pluto.
Drug users’ union in San Francisco part of growing movement: Some members are clean, but most are not. They have joined together to work for decriminalization and battle disease, injury and death among users.
Photo: Lydia Blumberg said she felt a weight lift the minute she walked into her first union meeting of the San Francisco Drug Users Union. Credit: David Elliott Lewis
Standing by the wooden ladder: San Francisco is the only fire department in the country to still make all of its own ladders. A look at the singular woodshop in this famously fire-phobic city.
“A wood ladder,” Braun said, “does not conduct electricity. In case you have a ladder up and you were to strike a live wire, you won’t get electrocuted.”
It’s a danger that retired Battalion Chief William C. Peters of the Jersey City (N.J.) Fire Department understands all too well.
In the 1990s, Jersey City firefighters were called to a blazing tenement. People were trapped on the third floor, screaming for help. As two rescuers struggled to hoist an aluminum ladder in the snow, a third firefighter jumped in to help. When they swung the apparatus toward the building, it struck a 4,800-volt primary power line.
All three firefighters were hit with a jolt of electricity, Peters recalled. One of the men died. Another lost toes and a finger. The third was blown clear. “His heart rhythm was screwed up for a while,” Peters said.
Photo: Craftsman Jerry Lee is shown in the city’s public works building, where the city Fire Department continues to make and repair its own wood fire ladders. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times
In a San Francisco neighborhood, another way to pay: Insular Bernal Heights — “this weird little borderline utopia,” as one resident calls it — has updated “complementary currency” in the form of a debit card.
This sounds like a fascinating experiment!
Designed by two neighborhood loyalists versed in technology and banking, the Bernal Bucks card allows residents to pay for their purchases while earning credits every time they swipe it at any of the two dozen area businesses that have signed on since June.
Accrued as frequent-flier miles are, the bucks can be printed as coupons and used toward future purchases. Cardholders also can donate their accrued “wealth” to neighborhood nonprofits.
… Branded with a cheerful image of Bernal’s iconic hill, their Visa debit card is issued by the local Community Trust Credit Union and aims to make patronizing neighborhood stores simpler: Residents can earn rewards or make charitable donations without having to keep track of stickers on their bills or carry a passel of buy-nine-and-get-the-10th-free punch cards.
Photo: The Bernal Bucks card allows residents to pay for their purchases while earning credits every time they swipe it at any of the two dozen area businesses that have signed on since June. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times
Hard times for a tower and its murals: Faced with complaints from neighborhood groups, docents and even one of the artists’ descendants, San Francisco has stepped up efforts to restore the landmark Coit Tower and its historical Depression-era frescoes.
Photo: USC professor Kevin Starr and UC San Diego professor Bram Dijkstra view the mural “Department Store” at Coit Tower in San Francisco. Credit: Dave Getzschman / For The Times
Upscale culture and gang violence share a small space: In San Francisco’s Mission District, gang violence is layered atop the flourishing restaurant and club scene that has grown up in recent years.
Photo: Recent shootings are reminders that half of the one-square-mile Mission District in San Francisco is gang territory. Credit: Robert Galbraith / Reuters
SFMOMA is our pick for Tumblr Tuesday. Who are you recommending today?
San Francisco literary festival Litquake just keeps growing: Now in its 12th year, Litquake spans nine days and features 848 authors.
Photo: A crowd gathers in a Mission District laundry mat for Loads of Prose, a Lit Crawl event. Credit: Shelley Eades
Tiny parks are on a roll in San Francisco: Two dumpsters full of greenery, with four more to come, add a bit of nature to the streets of a paved-over downtown neighborhood. Some scoff, but others are willing to give the “parkmobiles” a go.
Photo: Dave Vetrano takes a coffee break at a parkmobile in San Francisco’s South of Market district. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times
The FCC is probing BART’s shutdown of cellphone service.
Late Monday, FCC spokesman Neil Grace said in a statement that the matter was under investigation.
“Any time communications services are interrupted, we seek to assess the situation,” he said, adding that the commission is gathering information “about the important issues those actions raised, including protecting public safety and ensuring the availability of communications networks.”
Photo: Masked protesters at the Civic Center station. View photos of the protests that closed four San Francisco BART stations at rush hour Monday. Credit: Maria L. La Ganga / Los Angeles Times
A San Francisco plant once thought extinct is still hanging on: The Franciscan manzanita occupies a patch of hillside in the Presidio. Secrecy and a nursery rich with seeds and cuttings are part of the plan to reintroduce it to the wild. Some worry that federal park rules are not enough to protect the species.
Photo: Crews remove a Franciscan manzanita plant from a traffic island near the Golden Gate Bridge. For more than 60 years, scientists believed the species was extinct. Credit: Daniel Gluesenkamp