News in brief: SF LGBT center closer to adding restaurant
compiled by Cynthia Laird
The city's LGBT Community Center is one step closer to seeking a restaurant operator after winning approval for a zoning change from planning officials.
At its meeting last Thursday, July 22 the Planning Commission voted unanimously to create a special use district for the building at 1800 Market Street that would allow center officials to bring in an eatery and outdoor bar to its fourth floor. The city's Historic Preservation Commission also approved the zoning change last week.
Center Executive Director Rebecca Rolfe told commissioners a restaurant could provide the facility with $100,000 in revenues its first year in operation. The center has struggled financially due to the recession and is looking for new funding streams to balance its $1.85 million budget. The center loses $83,000 each year from operating the building and when its debt service is added in, its total yearly loss is $263,000.
This spring city officials lent the center $157,500 in order for it to restructure its debt payments. The center still owes $3.15 million from construction of the building.
The Board of Supervisors must now adopt the zoning change. It will first go before the board's land use and economic development committee. A hearing has yet to be scheduled; it will either be August 9 or sometime in September.
Drugs the cause of business owner's death
Popular Castro merchant Brad Villers died in March from acute polysubstance intoxication, according to the report on his death by the San Francisco Medical Examiner's office. The Bay Area Reporter viewed the report this week.
Villers, who owned the Kard Zone at 2286 Market Street, died Saturday, March 13, at the age of 53 the report says. The report, which refers to the death as accidental, indicates methamphetamine and inhaled nitrites were mainly involved.
According to the report, Villers, who lived in San Francisco's Castro neighborhood, checked into the Best Western Inn at 364 Ninth Street, Room 45, on Friday, March 12. A maid found his body the next afternoon, the report says.
Two bottles of isobutyl nitrite (often referred to as "poppers"), a straw, and a glass microwave dish with white residue were also found in the room, according to the report.
Methamphetamine and nitrate were in his blood, and gamma hydroxybutyrate (also known as GHB) was in his urine, according to the report, which also indicated Villers had atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.
East Bay church marks 10th anniversary
New Spirit Community Church in Berkeley will celebrate its 10th anniversary with several activities this weekend. The church, a gay and straight together congregation, is affiliated with the Metropolitan Community Churches, United Church of Christ, and the Disciples of Christ.
On Saturday, July 31, the church is hosting a garden party fundraiser from 2 to 5 p.m. at Easton Hall, 2451 Ridge Road (at LeConte Avenue) in Berkeley. There is no admission to attend, but contributions will be accepted. The party will feature current pastor Jim Mitulski and founding pastor Karen Foster. Entertainment will include On Q, a section of the Oakland/Bay Gay Men's Chorus, and the New Spirit choir.
On Sunday, August 1, Foster will be preaching at the church's 11 a.m. service. New Spirit is located at 1798 Scenic Avenue on the Pacific School of Religion campus. Following the service, a hot dog picnic will be held. The cost is $5 per person, although no one will be turned away for lack of funds.
For more information, visit the church's Facebook page (search for New Spirit Community Church), website (www.newspiritchurch.org), or call the church office at (510) 849-8150.
Rainbow center seeks volunteers
The Rainbow Community Center of Contra Costa County has started a program to increase the social connections of RCC's community through volunteers making home visits and phone calls to program participants. The center is seeking volunteers who can make a time commitment of five hours per month (four with clients and one in meetings and training) and regular documentation of services.
Additionally, the center is seeking home delivery volunteers on Thursday mornings and afternoons to help pick up and deliver food to its elderly and HIV-impacted clients. This program ensures that these underserved communities will continue receiving much needed basic goods. The center is especially looking for volunteers with trucks to pick up and deliver large quantities of food. Contact Wade at (925) 692-0090 or via e-mail at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Matthew S. Bajko and Seth Hemmelgarn contributed to this report.