Sunset Spotlight

Sunset Spotlight – A Neighborhood Journal

Local Athletes Going into Prep Hall of Fame

The 36th annual San Francisco Prep Hall of Fame awards banquet in May will feature top athletes from local schools.

Long-time coach, official and interim commissioner of the AAA, Fred Quinn, will take a bow for his many years of service to the student athletes of the City (1958-2003). He lives in the Sunset District, as does Gilbert Haskell, a St. Ignatius graduate who is being inducted for coaching at St. Ignatius and Archbishop Riordan (1966-1977).

From the Richmond District, Michael Gridley will be inducted. He was a football and track and field athlete at George Washington High School (1958-1961) and an all-city member of the 1960 Washington High School championship football team.

Other honorees include Levy Middlebrooks, a basketball standout at St. Ignatius (1980-1984); Helen Nazar-Bishop, a top tennis player at Lowell (1978-1982); Michael Cunnie, a football and track and field athlete at Riordan (1965-1969); and, Francois Wise, a basketball player at Balboa High School (1973-1976).

Also noteworthy is the posthumous induction of Thelma Williams, a youth baseball coach who “seemed to have mentored everyone who played baseball in their youth.”

The Prep Hall of Fame event will be held at the Patio Espanol Restaurant, located at 2850 Alemany Blvd., on Saturday, May 19, at 5:30 p.m. Tickets cost $60 per person. For more information, call Gary at (415) 260-8027.

Assemblyman Names Woman of the Year 

Joan Messing Graff has been named the “woman of the year” by Assemblyman Phil Ting. Graff is a civil rights attorney who has been fighting a”half-century-long fight for equality and economic justice in the workplace.”

“I am deeply honored to be selected for this award by Assemblymember Ting, and accept the award on behalf of my organization, Legal Aid at Work,” said Graff. “Our clients – low-wage workers from oppressed communities – are the victims of sexual harassment, disability discrimination, wage theft and threats of deportation. In these uncertain economic times, they are often working longer hours for less pay. And they are finding it harder to balance the ever-increasing demands of their jobs with their responsibilities to their loved ones at home.”

Ting-Graff copy

Assemblyman Phil Ting and Joan Messing Graff.

Graff received a law degree from Columbia Law School in 1967 and began her legal career working in the general counsel’s office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission before founding one of the first non-profit feminist law offices in the nation devoted to securing equality for women. In 1981, Graff was selected to become the executive director of Legal Aid at Work. Graff was honored at a ceremony held during Women’s History Month at the state Capitol on March 12.

Locals Involved with New Book

A new book featuring the prose and poetry of San Francisco residents of color is being released on April 8.

“Endangered Species, Enduring Values” features prose, poetry and artwork from more than 70 creative people of color, including current Poet Laureate Kim Shuck, SF Fire Commissioner Francée Covington and Chicano artist/curator Rene Yañez.

The book was edited by Richmond District resident Shizue Seigel and Ben Pease, another Richmond resident, is the publisher. Sunset resident Tony Robles is one of the artists featured in the book.

The book launches Sunday, April 8, 1-3 p.m., with a showcase of readers, artwork and videos, at the SF Main Library’s Koret Auditorium, with a reception to follow. The event is free.

“Endangered Species, Enduring Values” ($17.95) is available for purchase at Green Apple Richmond and Green Apple Sunset, and West Portal Books. For more information, go to the website at

Sunset Library to Celebrate 100th Birthday in April

The Sunset Branch Library, located at 1305 18th Ave., will be celebrating its centennial celebration on April 7.

The Sunset Library is a Carnegie building, designed by architect G. Albert Lansburgh and cost $43,955 to build. It is a two-story structure, Italianate in design, built with a concrete frame and reinforced masonry.

The library opened on March 25, 1918 and was the eighth branch in the city’s public library system. Its location, at 18th Avenue and Irving Street, was formerly the site of an old barn, which became a nuisance in the neighborhood because young boys used it for target practice with their guns.

The branch closed in 1992 for seismic retrofitting and reopened three years later with a revamped children’s area, new program room and teen area, 19 public computers and wireless Internet access.

The April 7 celebration will be held at the library from noon to 5 p.m. The event is free to the public. For more information, call (415) 355-2808.

Sunset Health and Wellness Fair

There will be a health fair in April, featuring music, refreshments, yoga, meditation, healthy eating tips, acupuncture and a family bicycle ride, led by Nancy Buffum.

The fair will be held at Playland, the converted school district space located on 43rd Avenue, between Irving and Judah streets, on Saturday, April 7, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The free fair is sponsored by Sunset Youth Services, Ortega Branch Library, Sunset Pet Supply, Other Avenues and numerous city departments.

Exhibit at Botanical Garden Looks at Mushrooms, Lichens

The Helen Crocker Russell Library of Horticulture at the Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park presents “Looking Closely: The Hidden World of Mushrooms and Lichens,” an exhibition of paintings by Lucy Martin.

The Sonoma County artist’s gouache and watercolor paintings focus on the beauty of the forest floor. Each painting begins with a walk in the forest collecting mushrooms along with the lichens, mosses, decaying leaves, cones, bark and twigs around them. Back in her studio,

Martin uses layer upon layer of dense color to create small, closely focused landscapes that are highly detailed and scientifically accurate. This solo exhibition includes many original paintings as well as archival, framed prints of a large variety of species both familiar and unexpected.

“My goal as an artist is to awaken a sense of the mystery, strangeness, and beauty of the natural world. I have always been attracted to life forms that are surprising. As a painter specializing in fungi, I have to love oddities,” Martin said.

The Botanical Garden is open daily, except Tuesdays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free for San Francisco residents. For more information, go to the website at or call (415) 661-1316.

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