Ocean Beach Pit Ban

Ocean Beach Fire Ban

Gathering around the warm fire is a simple American pastime. Whether it is for a celebration, cooking meals or just for warmth, a burning campfire is a simple pleasure that anyone can be a part of. During the cold winter season, many residents in the Bay Area turn to their fireplaces for warmth. Due to the mass amount of fires burned, it causes a high volume of toxic air pollutants.

According to the Golden Gate National Park Recreation and Service website, on November 1, 2016, the Ocean Beach fire pits will be banned for a four-month period until the beginning of March 2017. Ocean Beach is located on the Western border of San Francisco in the Sunset district that borders Golden Gate Park.

This new ban was enacted by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District of San Francisco (BAAQMD) along with the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department (SFRPD). This monitored no-burn season is to decrease the poor air quality that is accumulated which can be unsafe during the winter season.

Nathan Sargent, public affairs representative for the Golden Gate National Park and Recreation said, “this is to help the sustainability for the future of Ocean Beach.”

Residents, frequent beach-goers and elected officials were a part of the community council that came together to discuss the future of Ocean Beach. The result after a two-year period of open city council discussions about the ban, was the unanimous decision achieved in April 2015 to enact the new Ocean Beach Fire Program.

There are only a few select beachfronts that allow pit fires in the Bay Area. Ocean Beach is known for having pit fire accessibility that bring people from all over the world to this beautiful beachfront. Although there are benefits of this new ban, many residents are unaware of this new plan that is currently in effect.

When informed about the new no-burn season for the first time, local Sunset district resident Holly Phan expressed, “I’ve been living here for years and I had no idea this was going on right in front of me.”

During alarmed “Spare the Air Alert Days,” it will be illegal in the San Francisco area to burn wood or other debris. These days are considered unsafe and unhealthy conditions to be exposed to. Many residents with respiratory conditions can be susceptible to the consequences of excessive wood burning especially during these marked days. Spare the Air Day alerts can be accessed by phone or online at sparetheair.org.

According to Spare the Air in San Francisco Bay Area, “during the winter season, wood smoke is the largest source of harmful particulate pollution.”

Through recent years, there has been an un-spoken traditional practice after the holidays to burn old Christmas trees in the fire pits. The no-burn ban will help eliminate this alternative form of disposal of the trees. The Recology centers of San Francisco offer a free pick-up of Christmas trees that are then recycled into energy fuel that give back to the environment.

Also, newly active as of November 1, 2016, no wood-burning devices will be constructed in any new homes built in the Bay Area. Only the use of EPA-certified, electrical or gas powered burning mechanisms will be permitted. If someone is caught in the act of wood-burning during these alarm air days, they will be fined.

Concerned new-resident Eric Morrow expressed, “they are getting rid of the prime time to burn fires, everyone wants to burn fires to stay warm in the winter.”

This new non-burn season helps decrease air pollutants and promote a cleaner beachfront. While in effect for a four-month period, this gives the beach a break from being polluted with trash or covered with other debris. This ban also has potential to help save the health and well-being of many residents in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Golden Gate National Park Service plans to remove the all the pits on the beach to prevent possible no-fire violations and to thoroughly clean them for the upcoming spring season. This new implementation in the San Francisco area is one of the early stages of environmental preservation that will determine the years to come.

Along with this no-burn season, there are recent major issues being addressed concerning the sustainability and future of Ocean Beach. The Ocean Beach Master Plan led by urban design policy director, Benjamin Grant, is a plan that has been active since 2010 with the help of State Coastal Conservancy and San Francisco’s Public Utilities commission.

This master plan is to help with the natural and human-made erosion that is currently occurring on the beach due to climate change. This plan is projected to stretch until 2021 to help preserve the beach and restore the coastal ecosystem. This includes construction both on and off the beach while obtaining information for future research.

Both the BAAQMD of San Francisco and the SFRPD services hope to see a great difference in air quality during this new season and bring environmental awareness to not only the locals but the larger San Francisco Bay Area. If there is a significant change recorded after this season, there could be potential to continue this no-burn season next year.

As humans we all share the world as our own space. Not everyone realizes how the use of resources in mass can take great effect on world. By educating one another on the issues as simple as not lighting a fire every night of the week, can start to help reducing pollution. Small changes now can aid the world to conserve resources for the future.

Sargent explained the entirety of the ban as, “it’s not goodbye to the fire pits at Ocean Beach, it’s just a see you later.”

For more information about this current event and regulations call (415) 561-4700 or visit http://www.nps.gov/goga/learn/management/OBfireprogram.htm.


George’s Zoo keeper

img_7075In the cold, early midst of the morning while everyone is still asleep, Phil Dudum starts his day by hand selecting the freshest ingredients to bring to his loyal customers. Preparing to open the “Zoo” at 7am, the smell doughnuts and freshly brewed coffee fills the air. The deli and cappuccino corner are all fully stocked in preparation for the animals, or in this case the customers, to stop in.
George’s Zoo Liquor and Deli, located just a stroll away from the beach on Sloat Blvd, has been one of the only local business in the Sunset district that has been able to stay open for more than 30 years. Careful customer service is what sets this laid-back corner liquor store and café apart from the others.
Making signature sandwiches of superior quality, while bringing a local, tough love feel to it, Dudum has been a major successor at this establishment. Dudum, who does not fancy first impressions, has personable and honest personality that can be relatable to (most) customers that stop by.
San Francisco natives, Dudum and his family, have spent a lot of time collectively brainstorming in order to come up with the name “George’s Zoo.” The name stems from Curious George, George of the jungle, and even his cousin being named George. All of those things helped solidify the name for the local deli.
At the age of 12, Dudum became the master custom-cappuccino barista at the deli, for the distinct regulars who soon became a part of his everyday routine.
Decorated with bright hand-painted animals and toy airplanes swinging from the ceiling, brings a fun animal theme to all different kinds of people to George’s Zoo.
Customers at the Zoo range from regulars or frequent visitors, long distance, tourist, city employees and locals.
Working hard and respecting the customers are the keys to a successful small business, explains Dudum.
With no prior college education, Dudum has become a successful multi-business owner in San Francisco and is a respected icon in the Sunset district. He is also the proud owner of Alamo Square Liquor and Deli located on Scott St. in San Francisco.
Having grown up in the company of his regulars, Dudum has not only told it like it is but really knows and genuinely cares about his customers.
During his career, Dudum has helped a few regulars kick old or bad habits before they became a serious problem.
“I’ve helped a lot of people rehab back,” Dudum said. “I stopped selling malt liquor.”
Many regulars he knew since childhood would come to the Zoo everyday drunk or high on drugs. Dudum decided to eliminate malt liquor and anything that could be used as possible drug paraphernalia.
“We (George’s Zoo) aren’t the drunk kind of corner store,” says Dudum. “I shoo away homeless and pan handlers to ensure a friendly and safe environment for our customers.”
Apart from being a husband and a father of two, Dudum takes pride in his second home at the Zoo.
Dudum has not only helped members of the community, but inspires and supports previous employees with experience they can take on their future career path.
“I like it because it is a little bit of everything, experience,” said George’s Zoo employee Dillon Fish.
One regular showed his own appreciation by creating a life-like handmade oil painting portrait of Dudum. Over the years, the San Francisco Chronicle has also featured Dudum and his family’s hard work a dedication to the Zoo.
“It’s not about the money, it’s about the well-being of our customers,” says Dudum.
George’s Zoo has been such a staple into the Sunset district, they not only sell their own signature bottle of wine but also a custom illustrated t-shirt collection. Both the wine bottles and t-shirts contain the signature gorilla that is the representing mascot for the zoo.
Dudum brings big hearted business to a small local establishment for the benefit of his loyal customers. His family and reputation is what keeps him motivated to stay open for the future.
When asked to describe Dudum, a loyal regular Larry Helseth said, “Phil is a true San Franciscan.”

History of the Sunset District Mural

History of the Sunset District MuralOutside of the West Sunset Playground located on Ortega and 39th Avenue, this colorful mural is a reflection of the community of the Sunset. The San Francisco Arts Commission, Precita Eyes Mural Center and the city’s Recreation and Parks Department came together to refurbish this work of art that has been painted for over 25 years. Photo taken on September 17, 2016 in San Francisco, Calif.

One Stop Taco Shop

Do you ever feel the urge to get out of the house or want a place to hangout on a budget? The Taco Shop at Underdogs is an ideal place to get a drink, a couple tacos and enjoy the latest game with the locals of the Sunset community.

The Taco Shop @ Underdogs, located on 19th and Irving Street, is open to families and singles in the area to enjoy a satisfying meal and create life long memories. Upon walking into what feels like an ESPN hub, this local attraction is the hot spot for any anticipated play off game.

Home to Nick Fasanella’s famous style tacos, The Taco Shop is not only a place with great food but exceptional caring service to match. Prepared with both a crunchy and soft shell, slow cooked choice of meat and fresh made guacamole and salsa, these flavorful tacos are a must have while passing through the Sunset district that will have you coming back.

During the week you can expect a quiet and intimate atmosphere with friendly attentive service and not to mention elbow room. Completely decorated with sports team flag from all over the US, the Taco Shop contains more than a handful of televisions to satisfy the viewers of any fan who decides to stop in.

The case is completely opposite when it comes time for a big game especially during the weekend. The rivalry of the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers can pack this shop up leaving only standing room. The Taco Shop slowly transitions into the local night scene serving up a full bar menu and beers on tap for the guests of age.

Rated a 4 star establishment on Yelp, the laid back and friendly Taco Shop is a great place to hangout with friends and family. Next time you are craving tacos on a Tuesday you can expect a discount and good time. Just do not forget to ask for them “Nick style”.

The Taco Shop @ Underdogs always has an open kitchen 7 days out of the week with To-Go, online and catering services.

“Here at The Taco Shop, we area a committed to using the finest ingredients available. Whenever possible, our food is sourced from local & organic family run farms. As a professional chef, I believe it is your right to be able to eat slow food fast.” -Nick Fasanella


Monday: 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Tuesday-Thursday: 11:30 a.m. – 12 a.m.

Friday: 11:30 a.m. – 12 a.m.

Saturday: 11:30 a.m. – 12 a.m.

Sunday: 9 a.m. – 10 p.m

Contact: (415) 566-8700


Irish Cultural Center Welcomes All

Picture this: You move into a big city unfamiliar with what is around unaware what kind of people live next door. Making friends in a new place can sometimes be exciting and a bit nerve-wracking. It takes time to acclimate to the new area while integrating yourself with new ideas and personalities. Public cultural community centers are a great outlet to meet new people and learn more about the cultures and ethnicity that inhabit the surrounding neighborhood.

The Sunset district of San Francisco has had a wide range of diversity and history during its course. The early immigration of the district consists of people predominantly of Asian and Irish decent. During the early 1970s there was a group of Irishmen who conspired to create a membership within their culture without any formal meeting place. This was the starting point of a legacy within the Sunset Irish community.

With the approval of mayor Joseph Alioto, a large group of volunteers constructed a cultural center. After six years of work, they would come together to maintain a community for the Irish immigrants in the area. April of 1974 was the beginning of an incorporation that welcomes not only the Irish community but anyone who is willing to enjoy the culture.

The United Irish Cultural Center Incorporated, located on 45th Avenue in the Sunset, is an outlet for the Irish community to integrate with other Irish and locals. At the start of their new location, the UICC was predominately ran by volunteers until they converted over to full-time staff due to membership increase.

“The culture here is very welcoming and we’re open to all kinds of people,” said Teresa Moore, general manager of the United Irish Cultural Center Incorporated. “We have a large Irish community here in the Sunset and are open to anyone who decides to stop in.”

A new real-estate addition to the Sunset community area raises awareness of new families and possible members for the center. A large housing development two streets away from the cultural center is currently undergoing construction on Sloat Boulevard. This area that was once a motel and parking lot, will soon be filled with 56 units of affordable condominiums. The new plethora of residents means more possible membership opportunities for the UICC.

“Presenting our bar, culture and facilities we have here,” said Donagh McKeown, social media director for the UICC, “we are open to those who are and aren’t of Irish decent.”

The Irish Center incorporation provides a variety of services that are open to the local Sunset community. The traditional Irish cuisine kitchen is available during the range of times the cultural center is open for business. Their restaurant area includes a brunch, lunch, dinner and dessert menu that bring classic Irish eats to a local level of San Francisco. The large bar area and function facility are assets in the center. These areas are all open to the public who can choose to relax with a drink or decide to host their next event.

The membership is also home to Patrick J. Dowling Library, which is the first and largest Irish library in the United States. Locals can check out and read the history of the Irish culture. The UICC also proudly hosts book club meetings for those wanting to discuss readings in the library. Residents and locals in the area can come to this establishment for a good time to meet new people and get involved in their community.

From live Irish entertainment, trivia game nights, and classic Ceili dance lessons, this is an establishment open to anyone willing to engulf themselves within Irish culture. The United Irish Cultural Center Incorporated has created an outlet where the community can come together to form professional relationships and create life long memories.

McKeown described the impression the cultural center has made in the Sunset as, “…enormous over the years, this has been a center where people meet and can celebrate.”

Sun Francisco

“Sunset City” or better known as the Sunset, is well-known for its oceanic vibe and laid back slow-down feel.  Located central southern part of San Francisco, this district is configured into three major areas; inner, outer, and central Sunset. Bordered by the California Great Highway 1, the Sunset is one of the more low-key areas of San Francisco. Mostly made up of middle-class families and young adults, this district is known for a remotely safe community and well-rounded weather. Located close to Ocean Beach and Golden Gate Park, many families are settled here for more of an easy-going environment.

“There’s nowhere else in SF where I would want to live more, everything I do is here,” says 22-year-old and SF state alumni, Madison Lindekans. Being a part-time nanny and new assistant manager at the Mollusk Surf Shop located 4500 Irving St., Lindekans finds herself at peace in the Sunset.

The Mollusk Surf Shop is an ideal place to go for the first time wave rider. Friendly staff, great selection and convenient location by the beach all play factors in the setting of the Sunset District. Surfy-mellow mood, small family businesses and great food is why Sunset is a place of its own.

San Francisco Sunset has changed since 23-year-old Michael Moody, originally from Colorado, had a calling to move and change his lifestyle. One enrolled to be a registered nurse, Moody decided that his path would no longer continue in Colorado and decided to move on to a new way of life. Moody has found his happiness in this area currently living off the land.

The Francis Scott Key Annex is one of the largest in this district. Built in the 1920s, this building was originally used as a school and now is home to Playland park located on 43rd Avenue. On May 7th 2016 the sunset community built a park where children can run around, skateboard and be surrounded by art that volunteers created during the construction of the park.

“The ocean, sunsets and skating are the reasons why I enjoy living here,” said Moody.  The Sunset district is home to many diverse families who care about their community.

Walking around Sunset you will see many beachy homes and lots of road construction. Although the beach can a beautiful site, it can also cause damage to the housing, buildings and structure in the area. Wind, mist and salt water had slowly started to show in the area. Light poles, homes and roads are in need of new construction.

Loren Peterson, a 15-year resident of this district said, “there needs to be new roads and more stop signs in the area.” The longevity of growth through the years it still does not compare to the current status of the construction going on in this district. There have been recent modifications at the San Francisco Zoo, which is also located in the Sunset District.

Sunset City sets itself apart from the stereotypical city atmosphere. Less traffic, fresh ocean air and small family owned businesses are some of the key traits this district holds. From community, construction and vibe the Sunset is its own entity in the San Francisco area.