Deli Pub Clean-Out Leaves a Bocana-Sized Mess

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It’s not clear at this point who now controls the space formerly occupied by the lost, lamented Deli Pub. But over the weekend several neighbors grumbled to Bernalwood about the huge mess left on the street during the current Deli Pub clean-out.

Neighbor Jean, who shared the photo above, writes:

In this day and age of public airing – we neighbors on Bocana are disgusted. Since the new owners took over the Deli Pub, they have been leaving garbage out for hours at a time. But this last dump from clearing out was over 24 hours, and during the night folks added to it and broken glass and old food – a real health hazard in so many ways. The worst part of it is actually behind those bins. It finally got cleaned up mid- morning (Saturday) after being there since Friday.

Rent a dumpster like everyone else and do it the right way.

May your pastrami sandwiches NEVER taste as good as Imad’s.

Karma is a B&^#H!

Bernal Heights Man Found After 18 Days Lost in Forests of Mendocino

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The story of the 72 year-old San Francisco hunter who was found on Saturday after spending 18 days lost in a Mendocino forest is generating worldwide interest, with write ups in the NY Daily News, the Washington PostCNN, and the Melbourne Herald-Sun.

He is one of our own: Bernalwood has learned that the hunter, Gene Penaflor, is a long-time resident of Andover Street in Bernal Heights. Here’s NBC Bay Area’s retelling of the tale:

A San Francisco man who was feared dead after going missing in the Mendocino National Forest for nearly three weeks survived alone in the wilderness on a diet of squirrels, lizards, frogs and snakes, his family said.

Gene Penaflor, 72, was found alive by a group of hunters Saturday morning at the bottom of a canyon about three miles from where he first disappeared while hunting.

“Basically, he ate whatever he needed to survive,” his son, Jeremey Penaflor, 31, said.

The elderly hunter was reported missing on Sept. 24, when he didn’t show up for a planned meeting with his hunting partner for lunch. On the first day of the hunt, Penaflor split up from his partner and fell, hitting his head and was knocked unconscious. When he woke up, he was disoriented and a thick bank of fog had made its way to where he was. After some time spent walking around the area, Penaflor was unable to determine which direction to travel and stopped moving.

After he was found and given a clean bill of health at the hospital in Ukiah, Penaflor returned to his family, where he watched the 49ers game on Sunday in his Bernal Heights home in San Francisco.

Woa. Welcome home, Neighbor Gene!

PHOTOS: KTVU and CNN

Hat tip: Neighbor Linda

UPDATED: Mother Killed by City-Owned Truck in Holly Park Hit-and-Run Identified; Driver Arrested

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An unimaginable tragedy has transpired in Holly Park.

This is what we know: [UPDATED] During a warm and sunny afternoon on Thursday Sept 5, 2013 in Bernal Heights, Christine Svanemyr, 35, her infant daughter Isa, and her dog Ponyo were relaxing under a tree on the south side of Holly Park. Shortly after 2 pm, a green Ford pickup operated by the San Francisco Department of Parks and Recreation and driven by Rec and Park employee Thomas Burnoski, 57, ran over Svanemyr as she lay on the grass. Burnoski fled the scene of the incident, and despite valiant efforts by first-responders, the gravely injured mom later died at SF General. Her infant and dog were unharmed. Police quickly located Burnoski near St. Mary’s Park, and took him into custody. A Rec and Park employee since 2006,  Burnoski has been charged with vehicular manslaughter and felony hit and run, and remains in jail with bail set at $315,000.

Reporters Nanette Asimov and Vivian Ho from SFGate describe what happened:

The 35-year-old woman was lying with her baby and a dog in the grass at Holly Park when the driver struck her at about 2:20 p.m., said police spokesman Officer Tracy Turner.

The woman was taken to a hospital, where she died. The baby girl was not injured and is now in the custody of her father. The dog is with Animal Care and Control.

The driver left the park after running over the woman, but was detained by police several blocks away, Turner said. He was taken to Ingleside Station for questioning, and police plan to book him on suspicion of felony hit and run.

His name was not released because he has not been officially arrested.

The driver has been an employee of the Recreation and Park Department since 2009, parks spokeswoman Sarah Ballard said. Neighbors said there is a gardener known for driving recklessly on both the grass and paved pathways.

Neighbors report that streets around Holly Park were closed by the SFPD after the accident, with multiple TV news vehicles onsite.

KCBS says this was the Park & Rec vehicle involved in the incident:

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ABC7 News details how and where the driver was located:

A witness tells ABC7 News that the truck was driving across the grass, which was very busy at the time, and then ran over the woman who was sunbathing with her child and dog nearby.

The woman was transported to San Francisco General Hospital with life-threatening injuries where she later died. The child and dog were not hurt.

The driver of a green parks department vehicle took off after the incident but was later found and detained by police at Crescent and Agnon avenues.

Neighbors say that parks vehicles are always here and it’s a big problem with people driving on the grass.

KTVU carried aerial footage of the scene, which clearly showed both the vehicle tire tracks and the white blanket where the victim had been sitting:

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The San Francisco Examiner has a view of the same scene from street level:

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Horrific.

Bernalwood will provide updates as additional details become available. We will also provide guidance about memorial and neighborhood assistance efforts as soon as possible. In the meantime, please keep the victim and her family in your thoughts.

UPDATE Sept 6, 9:30am: The San Francisco Appeal has an update on the victim’s identity. She was Christine Svanemyr, 35, from Daly City.

A woman who was fatally struck by a San Francisco Recreation and Park maintenance truck at a park in the city’s Bernal Heights neighborhood on Thursday has been identified by the medical examiner’s office as 35-year-old Christine Svanemyr.

Svanemyr, a Daly City resident, was struck by the Rec and Park vehicle shortly after 2:20 p.m. in a grassy area on the south end of Holly Park.

She was taken to San Francisco General Hospital where she was pronounced dead, police said.

Bernalwood has located a biography for Christy Svanemyr, Director of Development for New Ventures West:

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UDPATE: 10:55am The driver of the Park & Rec pickup has been identified as Thomas Burnoski, 46. He has been arrested and charged. From SFWeekly:

Police say it was 46-year-old Thomas Burnoski was driving the city truck when he ran over Christine Svanemyr, killing her. He was arrested and booked into San Francisco County Jail on charges of vehicular manslaughter and felony hit and run.

Added tragedy: It appears that Mr. Burnoski’s daughter died in April 2013 at age 20. The SF Chronicle wrote about the car accident that took Tiffany Burnoski’s life at the time.

UPDATE Sept 7 8:50 am: The SFPD released this photo of Mr. Burnoski after his arrest.

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In today’s front-page story, the SFChronicle brings details of the Rec and Park Department’s policy on staff driving in public parks:

Sarah Ballard, a spokeswoman for the Recreation and Park Department, said she couldn’t comment on an open investigation, but said the department’s vehicle policy is that workers are never allowed to drive on park pathways, sidewalks, closed roads or the actual park area “merely for convenience purposes.”

“If work requirements necessitate operating a city vehicle on a park-scape or other surface not designed for vehicle operation, utilize a staff person outside the vehicle to serve as a safety watch or otherwise guide vehicle movement,” the policy reads.

No spotter was in place, according to police reports, and the site of the collision was well off any roadway.

“It was definitely on the grassy areas. It didn’t have a sidewalk near it or a pathway,” said police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza. Svanemyr was on the southeast end of the park when she was hit.

Ballard said employees who operate Rec and Park’s 707 vehicles, which include mowers, cars and trucks, must complete training every two years. The department’s vehicles include 312 road vehicles that travel more than 1 million miles a year.

The Chronicle also reports that of the four official complaints filed with Rec and Park by citizens over the past two years about poor driving by employees, two were filed about Rec and Park driving in Holly Park.

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UPDATE: 2:15pm, Sept 6: D9 Supervisor David Campos just released a statement about the death of Christine Svanemyr:

 “I was shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the killing of Christine Svanemyr yesterday in Holly Park. I, like the rest of the City, am dismayed and upset that a new mother was taken from her family in such a senseless way.

I have been in conversations with the General Manager of Rec and Parks and law enforcement for answers as to how this horrific event could have happened in a place where families and children expect to be safe and protected. I assure you that my office will do everything we can to get to the bottom of what happened and to ensure that there is accountability and transparency about this tragedy.

Any residents who may have witnessed the tragedy or who have surveillance video of the area should contact the Ingleside Police Station to help further the investigation.

UPDATE: 11:50 pm Sept 5: Via NBC Bay Area, we learn that Park & Rec General Manager Phil Ginsburg issued a statement Thursday night:

“On behalf of the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, I would like to express my deepest condolences to the family and friends of the victim of a tragic accident that occurred at Holly Park this afternoon. This is a devastating day for all. The Recreation and Park Department is cooperating fully with the San Francisco Police Department as they investigate this accident.”

NBC Bay Area also reports that Bernal neighbor have already started leaving flowers on the patch of grass where the mother had been sitting.

Friday, 6 September 7:30 am: Neighbor Sarah sends this photo of the scene at Holly Park this morning. It’s a preview of what will follow in the days ahead; sad memorials and intense media scrutiny:

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IMAGES: Top, screengrab via NBCBayArea. Map via GoogleEarth. Pickup truck via KCBS; Aerial of scene via KTVU; Street-level view by SF Examiner; Flowers, Neighbor Sarah.

Stop! Runaway Car Collides with Wild Side West

It’s been a bad week for vehicular control here in Bernalwood. Last Saturday we had a car flip over on Precita, while on Wednesday a runaway car bonked into the sidewalk bench at Wild Side West on Cortland. Neighbor Teri tells it:

My friend took the shot. All I heard was that a runaway ghost car parked in front of BofA just slowly rolled across the street and hit that bench. Through the crosswalk!! It was Wednesday around 5:30.

Looks like damage was light and no creatures were injured, but… WHEW!

PHOTO: Neighbor Teri’s anonymous friend

Precita Neighbors Gather to Remember Stephen

On Sunday morning, a group of Bernal Heights neighbors gathered to participate in a memorial service for Stephen, the gracious resident of Precita Park who died on January 20.

It was a simple but warm affair. There were some cookies, and some coffee, and a modest shrine set up on the table where Stephen often passed the days. There were grey-haired old-timers on hand, along with families with kids, dogs with their owners, and a few Precita Park merchants. I overheard one young attendee say, “When my mother came to visit, I took her to meet him.”

Stephen died of complications from alcoholism, but he made a strong impression during the many years he spent living in the park. He’d apparently lost track of his real family, but he’d adopted the people of the neighborhood as surrogates. “Over and over I’d ask him, ‘Why don’t you get a room somewhere?'” one neighbor recalled. “Every time he’d say the same thing: ‘It’s the people. I look out for them, and they look out for me.”

One man said, “some people may have had a problem with his being here, but his presence made this a safer and more family-friendly place.”

Then someone pulled out a guitar, and everyone sang “Knocking on Heaven’s Door.”

Stephen is also remembered via an eerily modern memorial: During a late stage of Stephen’s illness, while he was confined to a wheelchair, the Google Maps car apparently drove up Folsom Street on a sunny and pleasant day. As the car passed the intersection with Bessie Street, its cameras captured Stephen resting in the sun, in the very spot where his many friends and neighbors would gather to remember and appreciate him months later, after he was gone: