Local View: A Good Reason to Have a Martini, a Look at Vintage Airplanes, and More

Each Friday, Pacific Union International takes a look at the people, places, and things we’re talking about in our Bay Area neighborhoods. Here’s what caught our eye this week:

Photo of a "Sunburned Russian" martini

A “Sunburned Russian” martini awaits.

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY

As fundraisers go, the 13th annual Best Martini in the East Bay contest was an easy one to swallow. For a $25 donation, guests got two martini drink tickets and the warm feeling inside that goes with helping people learn to read. The contest Monday night at the Lafayette Park Hotel was a fundraiser for Project Second Chance, the Contra Costa County Library‘s adult literacy program. The People’s Choice Award winner was a Lemon Meringue Pie martini, from Moresi’s Chophouse in Clayton; the judges’ favorite was a “Sunburned Russian,” from American Oak in Alameda.

MARIN COUNTY

A picture is worth a thousand words, as the saying goes, but the breathtaking vistas of Marin County might also get you a night’s stay in a luxurious cabin on Tomales Bay. The Marin County Parks and Open Space District invites amateur photographers to enter a digital photo competition showcasing county parkland in any of three categories: landscapes and vistas; plants and wildlife; and people enjoying nature. The grand prize is one night at Nick’s Cove on Tomales Bay.

ALAMEDA COUNTY

Efforts to spur development at the former Oakland Army Base are finally starting to move forward. The Oakland City Council on Tuesday approved plans to transform the 366-acre property, which adjoins the Port of Oakland, into a state-of-the-art shipping, packaging, and distribution center. The property was abandoned by the Army 13 years ago, and Oakland was on the verge of losing a $242 million state grant before the City Council took action. The city’s largest development in decades will create 2,800 construction jobs and another 2,000 permanent jobs.

A propeller from a vintage plane at Napa County Airport

Vintage planes were on display this past weekend at Napa County Airport.

NAPA COUNTY

A sunny day gives a perfect excuse to go exploring, and the third weekend of every month offers a chance to enjoy a fascinating display of vintage and experimental aircraft at the Napa County Airport. Last Saturday and Sunday was one such weekend. Among the planes on view: a 1929 Fleet Navy training biplane that once took flight from a Moffett Field dirigible, and a 1941 Beech staggerwing that was the fastest plane in the world in its time.

SAN FRANCISCO

The historic Castro Theatre was taken over this week by the 36th annual Frameline international festival of lesbian and gay films, with more than 200 movies screened there and at three other local theaters. Among the groundbreaking films to have their U.S. premiere was “Facing Mirrors,” the first film from Iran with a transgender main character. Frameline ends Sunday with San Francisco’s annual Gay Pride parade and festival.

SONOMA COUNTY

The Sonoma County Youth Ecology Corps put more than 200 young people to work this week removing invasive plants and clearing trails at a Santa Rosa park. The summertime jobs program offers a paycheck and hands-on lessons on caring for the environment for people ages 14 to 24. Six nonprofit agencies hire and train the workers, whose jobs will continue through July.

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