Month: November 2015

George Kelham’s Castles

Contribution by Peter Garland. When one day I realized that many of my favorite buildings in the Bay Area were designed by the same architect, George W. Kelham (1871-1936), I sought his story and found no one had ever written it.  Nor had he left any papers or memoirs from which to put such a story together.  However, with the help of the staff of the San Francisco History Room at our Main Library (Kelham designed the old Main), who guided me to the San Francisco Chronicle’s on-line historical files (1865-1922) as well as further guidance from the staff of the Environmental Library of U.C. Berkeley, I was able to piece the jigsaw puzzle together. I found an astonishing story of an American Renaissance prince and his princess-like wife who lived a life of such incredible success and polish that they seem the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers of the architectural world. On May 15, 1871, George W. Kelham was born in Manchester, Massachusetts, the son and grandson of furniture merchants. He graduated from Harvard and …

Open Heart, Open Table in Tri-Valley

Food connects us, especially at this time of year. In Contra Costa County, food links hundreds of organizations and businesses bringing free nourishment to those who need it most.   Through word of mouth, I’ve come to know a number of groups helping to feed the community. I first reported on Loaves and Fishes of Contra Costa who referred me to White Pony Express with its hundreds of volunteers crisscrossing the county delivering fresh quality food seven days a week.  White Pony Express next referred me to their fresh fruit supplier, The Urban Farmers. The Urban Farmers spoke highly of Open Heart Kitchen that serves their fruit with free hot meals every weekday and packs it in their weekend bagged lunches for kids to eat when in school. I met with Linda McKeever, executive director of Open Heart Kitchen at Vineyard Christian Fellowship to learn more about the organization. We sat in the dining room in front of a window where clients were picking up Thanksgiving parcels, including donated turkeys for their holiday meals. The Kitchen rotates …

foster youth oakland body work tattoos

Foster Youth Tattoos – Marking Life

In the photograph, a young man in a white tank top sits atop a toilet tank. The photo pulled me in, its inscription stopped me still. “Russell is a survivor of commercial sexual exploitation, a father to his daughter and son, a student at Cal Berkeley double majoring in Anthropology and South and Southeast Asian Studies. Collectively, Russell’s tattoos signify his search for permanency…” – from Tribute, an exhibit of the Foster Youth Museum running through Friday at Pro Arts Gallery in Oakland. Earlier this year, we covered the launch of the Foster Youth Museum and its inaugural exhibit, Lost Childhoods. Museum founder Jamie Lee Evans met me at Pro Arts Gallery to talk about Tribute: Foster Youth and Tattoos, its third exhibit. At first reluctant to bring in a non-foster youth to take portraits for Lost Childhoods, Jamie found herself won over by photographer Ray Bussolari’s approach. “He took time, he conducts interviews with the youth to really find out who they are…his photographs told the story so well.” The black and white photographs …

Verlocal – Where the Experience Begins

As I was browsing the web in hopes of treating myself to an arts and crafts class for my birthday, I not only found an interesting class, but also discovered a great website –Verlocal. Verlocal provides hundreds of classes and workshops offered by local hosts, people who have expertise in various fields and happen to love teaching others. It’s like seeing something handmade on Etsy,  getting to meet the maker and learning how to do it. Impressed with their concept of an open platform for artists and makers to offer classes, I contacted the founders for an interview. The team who started Verlocal are Will Lee (CEO and Founder), Minsoo Kim (Co-Founder and Head of Business Development) and Hannah Chan (Co-Founder, Head of Design). Hannah, born and raised in Hong Kong, came to study in the US five years ago and is a UC Berkeley graduate. She met Will at a networking event: “If you meet Will, you’ll see how passionate he is about his ideas. That’s actually the reason I joined the company and …

HIV/AIDS AIDS public health alameda county

Ending HIV/AIDS in Alameda County

For Rosetta Randall, diagnosed with HIV four years ago, consistent and personal health care has improved her life. “Considering the lifestyle I led, now I can be here for my kids and my grand kids.” At a gathering in Berkeley on Tuesday, patients and community health providers marked 25 years of the Ryan White CARE Act that brought affordable health care to people living with HIV/AIDS. The legislation, passed in 1990, was named after Ryan White, a 13-year-old boy diagnosed with HIV. In Alameda County, the HIV ACCESS network of community health centers and the Alameda Health Systems public hospital deliver these services. It operates within the broader Alameda Health Consortium that supports the network by boosting collaboration, advocacy and analysis. Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson spoke of the power of a network. “We have to ensure that our community-based network… not only treats individuals who have HIV and AIDS, but is also out there helping to deal with prevention. It’s not alone, it’s connected to our school system, it’s connected to our senior centers, …

pleasan hill library reading

Nonstop Learning at the Public Library

Learning rocks and never stops at the public library. Libraries have evolved from being book warehouses to learning labs and one-stop-shop community centers for all ages. Patrick Remer, Senior Community Library Manager at the Pleasant Hill Library, grew up in Pleasant Hill. “As someone who used this library when I was a kid in the eighties, for me it was this awesome edifice filled with books. Now it’s an explosion of resources. Kids come to talk to authors, they come for hands-on learning, our Lego Club, our Maker events.” I’m here for a virtual author event for the library’s Citywide Read program. The library is “Skyping in” children’s author and comedian Chris Grabenstein from his apartment in New York City. His book Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library takes us on an adventure through the radically high-tech, old school universe of a fantasy library. At first, I feel weird sitting among tweens and teens, their parents and an array of yellow balloons. Soon, though, the room’s enthusiastic discussion about books and writing and the kids’ bottomless …

A Foundation for Life – Habitat for Humanity

A friend of mine got lost in Martinez recently and stopped at a building site off Pacheco Boulevard to get his bearings. “Man, I want to come back here and shoot pictures of this place,” he told me. I stole his idea. This is what we call story development at BayMozaic.  I contacted Erin Spaulding at Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley (EBSV) to ask about the Muir Ridge development. She told me the project matched a natural need for affordable housing in the far reaches of the East Bay, as housing costs have gone up across Alameda, Contra Costa and Santa Clara Counties. In an area where land is hard to come by, Habitat for Humanity EBSV was able to take over an existing development site in unincorporated Martinez. They broke ground a year ago and will complete the second phase of building twenty homes in late May 2016. Most of us have heard about Habitat for Humanity, and I was curious about Erin’s personal and emotional connection with the organization. Erin Spaulding: I …

Bay Housing Roundup: Organize for Change

In the last three weeks I’ve made my way around the bay attending discussions on the housing crisis here. It’s a topic we keep raising on BayMozaic, a topic that won’t disappear until solutions take root. Here’s a roundup based on my latest road trip of citizen advocate, expert and government views from Richmond, Concord/Walnut Creek and San Francisco. (Also making headlines in the last few weeks, Oakland made affordable housing part of its deal to bring Uber to town and it also passed its Housing Equity Roadmap.) Concord/Walnut Creek: Push the Municipalities “Land use is a local decision,” said Mariko Yamada, former California Assemblywoman at a recent meeting of the Diablo Valley Democratic Club. The housing crisis, in large part, gets solved at home by showing up and voicing opinions at local councils. It’s about organizing. Yamada was filling in for a canceled speaker. As a past member of the Assembly’s Housing and Community Development Committee and Chair of the Assembly Aging and Long Term Care Committee, she made a formative stand-in. With maps …