Bomb Squad Drama! Mother-In-Law Finds Hand Grenade In Bernal Back Yard

bernalgrenadeTitles

48hillsbombbernal2

There was plenty of drama on Lundys Lane last night after a hand grenade (!!!) was found at a Bernal Heights home. Police were called, area streets were closed off, and the Bomb Squad arrived in a big truck to defuse the situation.

Luckily, the Bernalwood Action News Team had an embedded correspondent on the scene to cover the story. Reporting live from her own back yard, Neighbor Alison tells us about the shocking discovery:

Here’s the scoop on what happened.

My mother-in-law was working in our back yard, digging out a patch of dirt. There was a pile of rocks that she had hit with a pitchfork, and one of them seemed different than the others, so she picked it up and noticed how heavy it was. Then she realized it was a grenade, and set it down very carefully.

She came inside and told me — I was with my 7-week-old.  I’m somewhat embarrassed to say that we immediately Googled “found grenade San Francisco” for a bit to see if this is common. I found a couple of stories from the last few years where people had found grenades, and they had called the police, so we decided that’s what we should do too.

It should have occurred to me that this would trigger the Bomb Squad showing up and we would need to evacuate, but it did not. About five officers arrived about 20 minutes later, and we had to grab a few things and leave, as did all the neighbors on our side of the street. Our neighbors across the street were told they had to “shelter in place,” which meant they were allowed to stay home as long as they were inside. So they invited us to come over, and poured some wine while we waited things out.

My husband was arriving home at the time, and the police had to escort him down the street to join us at the neighbor’s house. They actually asked him if it was his grenade.

Eventually the bomb squad truck arrived. After about 90 minutes, they gave us the all clear to return home. The verdict was that it was a World War II era grenade, and that it had been emptied out. Their guess is someone brought it home from the war as a souvenir.

It was an eventful evening! We’re home now eating It’s It.

Take note, folks: After an exciting evening of explosive ordinance disposal, real San Franciscans reach for It’s It.

PHOTOS: Top, vintage grenade discovered on Lundys Lane, by Neighbor Alison. Below, Bomb Squad on Lundys, courtesy of Vivian Redmond/48hills

Your Bernal Heights Crime Report for March 2015: Burglars Burgling, Lots of Auto Break-Ins, and Shotwell Stairs Can Be Sketchy

SFPD

Once again, Neighbor Sarah, your valiant volunteer Bernal Heights crime correspondent, attended the SFPD Ingleside Community meeting this month, and she filed these summary notes on the latest Bernal Heights crime trends. Read on, read carefully, be smart, and stay safe:

Notes from Ingleside Community Meeting, March 17, 2015

I attended last week’s community meeting, as did several Bernal neighbors. The room was as packed as I’ve ever seen it. Lt. Rich Struckman, the night watch commander, filled in for Capt. McFadden.

There was a double homicide in Crocker Amazon recently. SFPD believes it was targeted/gang-related. Can’t share much because it’s a homicide investigation. No retaliation so far.

Rash of burglaries in Nov/Dec/Jan – arrested group of six people related to those. Preliminary hearings going on now. Suspects told SFPD they skipped homes with any sign of alarm/security/etc. Looked for newspapers/pamphlets piling up or other signs people were out of town. Knocked on doors to see if anyone answered. All daytime robberies in that string.

“Be a nosy neighbor.” If you see a crime in progress – even property crimes – call 911. If you see people you think are casing homes or cars, call 553-0123. Try to be detailed when calling.

If you’re calling the police after the fact in a burglary, have the police come take a report – important for investigators because it helps them tie crimes together if, say, an arrest is made in a similar crime in the future.

Lots of auto break-ins – hard to solve. Lots of desperate people in SF. Often narcotics-related (ie, drug addicts opportunistically looking for things to steal and sell).

SFPD highly recommends SFSAFE (673-SAFE) for setting up neighborhood watches and for learning crime-prevention tips.

Lt Struckman thinks Ingleside has the most and best-organized community groups in the city.

Lailah Morris, assistant DA posted at the station, was in attendance. (lailah.morris@sfgov.org)

Question about robberies on Geneva/Mission corridor – but on the back streets. Two officers always posted in that area.

Cell phone kill switch question – you have to call a hotline to get phone disabled, but it is on all new iPhones. For older phones, little cellphone stores will break phones for bad guys so they can re-sell.

Question on new lights for dark streets (often a question in Bernal as well). Very difficult to get new lights installed. PUC owns most lights on major corridors. PG&E owns most lights on residential streets. Supervisor Wiener trying to bring all under city control. For now, your best bet for getting new lights installed is to work with your supervisor and stay after the PG&E Government Relations representative. Surprisingly helpful measure is to have everyone leave on porch lights all night.

Question about Alemany condo complex — even security cameras have been stolen! Constant auto break-ins. One guy was arrested for residential burglaries in that area in Feb – those have dropped. But auto break-ins tend to be opportunistic and committed by people with drug problems.

Question about illegal gambling shacks. Major arrests at Kingston/Mission – working in conjunction with DA and City Atty to shut this and other ones down. Ingleside is kind of pioneering the approach of how to deal with these businesses, which are all over SF now. People running them seem often to be affiliated.

SFPD staffing – After years of retirements and low staffing after the recession, mayor/supervisors are really cranking through academy classes now – promised 3/year but doing 6 this year. Should be back up to full staffing (1971 officers) down the road. Police force is very young right now.

If you have an issue where you need to tell the police about your neighbors, they will work with you to make sure you are not identified as being the person who informed.

Question about Shotwell stairs in Bernal – cameras capturing illegal activity (drug drops, etc).

Question about parks – Officer Hauscarriage (former night watch) is now on parks duty.

PHOTO: Telstar Logistics

One Year After Alex Nieto’s Death, Bernal Family Is Transformed by Tragedy

nietoparents1216B

nietobernalhill

One year ago, on March 21, 2014, Bernal neighbor Alex Nieto was killed in an officer-involved shooting on Bernal Hill.

Several times during the last few months — and as recently as just last week — I have seen Alex’s parents, Elvira and Refugio Nieto, walking along the sidewalks not far from their home on Cortland. There’s nothing particularly unusual about the affect of Neighbor Alex’s parents as they walk the streets of Bernal Heights. Yet while opinions may differ on the sequence of events that transpired on the evening Alex died, there can be no doubt whatsoever about the anguish they feel after having lost their son — and that comes to the forefront for me every time I see them.

It is heartbreaking.

Mission Local captures the Nieto family’s new reality:

About to retire from her long career as a housekeeper in a downtown hotel, Bernal Heights resident Elvira Nieto looked forward to her retirement. She and her husband, Refugio, had plans to surprise their son with a trip to the town of Tarimoro, in Guanajuato, Mexico, their shared birthplace.

But then on the evening of March 21, 2014, that son, Alejandro “Alex” Nieto, died during an officer-involved shooting in Bernal Heights Park. Neighborhood and police versions of the story conflict radically, but what’s painfully clear is that the Nieto family’s course has changed drastically.

Rather than ease into retirement, Elvira and Refugio Nieto have a new job—they’ve become full-time activists against police violence. Today marks the one-year anniversary of their son’s death and, for them, the work is far from over.

“[Alex] would ask me, ‘What are your plans for when you retire?’ I told him the only plan is to rest, but instead this happened,” said Elvira Nieto this week. “It’s all that we’ve done. I never imagined that this is what we’d be doing.”

There is a crowdfunding effort underway by Neighbor Alex’s family and friends to support the Alex Nieto Memorial Fund and create a memorial bench for him on Bernal Hill.

IMAGE: Top, Video still of Bernal neighbors Elvira and Refugio Nieto, parents of Alex Nieto, on Bernal Hill, December 16, 2014

Cara and Joey Just Got Married on Bernal Hill

Carajoeywedding2

Okay, so we now know that Bernal Heights is for [all kinds of] lovers.  But rest assured: Not everyone who expresses their affections on Bernal Hill is batshit crazy.

Neighbor Abner from Alabama Street shares some lovely news about a romantic wedding that took place on Bernal Hill last weekend:

Cara is my sister-in-law, and her long time beau is Joey.  They lived in Bernal for most of the last 5 years, and the couple were married in a lovely, fairly impromptu wedding on the hill last Saturday.  As of last week, they’ve relocated to LA for a job opportunity, but they wanted to finally tie the knot — after a long engagement— with family and the great community they built here.

There was a raucous party at our place afterwards.

Big congrats and best wishes to the happy couple, and never forget

outline-bernallovers

PHOTO: The wedding of Cara and Joey on Bernal Hill, via Neighbor Abner

Cupid Blamed for Weird Car Crash on Bernal Summit

bernalcrashtopcupid

Ah, the things we do for love.

You no doubt recall that weird incident earlier this week which saw a car crash into a guard rail near the summit of Bernal Hill beyond the access road gate. And then, of course, the driver of the vehicle declared he was Steve Jobs.

Well it turns out the whole thing was a romantic interlude that went horribly, terribly, insanely, stupidly wrong. So someone at SFPD’ Ingleside station had a lot of fun writing it up in the station’s normally staid crime newsletter:

Incident Date:
Monday, March 16th, 2015

Arrests:
7:20am  Bernal Heights/Anderson Vandalism
The third time was not a charm for two young lovers who wanted to park in a spot with a view of the City. The man and woman decided to consummate their feelings by the Bernal Heights radio tower. However, the road to the tower is protected by a gate thwarting their amorous plans, but only for a short minute. The lovers decided that no gate was going to prevent a wonderful morning so the two, in their Honda Civic, rammed the gate to gain entrance. But the gate didn’t break. So, they backed up and hit the gate a second time and again the gate held tight. The third time, they backed up even farther, and successfully broke open the gate, before speeding up the access road to the top of the hill. All the noise alerted nearby residents and dog walkers who promptly called police. Ingleside Officers Wong and Chang responded and found the couple, and their severely damaged Honda, parked near the radio towers. Both were put in custody and the driver, who didn’t have a valid California license or insurance, was booked for trespassing, vandalism, malicious mischief, and other charges. Report number: 150233507

Further proof: Bernal Heights is for lovers.

PHOTO: Car crashed on Bernal Hill, March 16, 2015, by Neighbor Devon

Tonight: Grand Opening for Bernal Historical Photo Show at Pinhole Coffee

pinholephotoshowA

Neighbor Michael Nolan, team captain of the Elsie Street Glee Club, brings some cool news about a new photo exhibit opening this evening at the fabulous Pinhole Coffee on Cortland:

Why Worry About the Future When You Can Wallow in the Past is my mantra for March.

Please join me for the Grand Opening of “Through a Cortland Avenue Looking Glass (1898-1941)” photo exhibit this Friday, March 20 from 5:30pm to 8pm at Pinhole Coffee, 231 Cortland Avenue, corner of Bonview (nee Buena Vista). It’s been a delight to work with the Bernal Heights History Project in selecting the historic photos, and with Mullen Brothers Imaging who donated their printing, mounting and installation services.

Just Added!: The World Premiere of “What Ruthie Hoarded” a 2005 video portrait of the interior of 231 Cortland made by neighbors Edward & Amy Huson that shows the former owner’s amazing collection of junk.

Editor’s Note: I’ve seen that What Ruthie Hoarded video, and it is truly jaw-dropping. Don’t miss it.

PHOTO: By neighbor Jack Pitts. From left: Tim Mullen with son Marnix, JoEllen Depakakibo, Pinhole owner, Vicky Walker of the Bernal History Project, and Mike Mullen.

Saturday! Viva la Noche at the Leonard Flynn Elementary School Fundraiser

flynnelementary

Hear ye! Hear ye! Neighbor Daniella invites you to the annual PTA fundraiser bash at Leonard Flynn Elementary School on Saturday night, March 21:

On Saturday night, March 21st, the Leonard R. Flynn PTA will be hosting its 4th annual “Viva la Noche” fundraiser with music, hors d’oeuvres, wine, and a silent auction.

Bid on all manner of Bernal local favorites and food, gift certificates, vacations, wine, massages, and more!

Saturday, March 21, 2015 -


 7:00pm until 11:00pm
@ Mission Rock Resort, 817 Terry A Francois Boulevard, SF, CA 94107

Tickets are $25 in advance/ $30 at the door.

About the PTA and the School:
Flynn is the elementary school that borders on Precita Park. We serve close to 500 students from Kindergarten to 5th grade in both Spanish immersion and English language programs.

The mission of our school is to promote excellence in education and create a nurturing learning environment for our students. Over 65% of our students come from low-income families who qualify for free or reduced cost breakfast and lunch.

Donations to the PTA fund the programs that the district is not able to provide — things that many of us would consider essentials for a decent education for our kids:

* Physical Education – a program that promotes physical health and social development
* Sciences – programs in partnership with Mission High School, plus gardening, and water conservation
* Arts Enrichment – Visual arts, dance and music education

Your donation is fully tax-deductible. Leonard R. Flynn PTA is a non-profit tax-exempt organization as defined by IRS code section 501 (c)(3) and our non-profit tax I.D # is 56-2587473.

PHOTO: Neighbor Daniella