Local View: For the Birds in Berkeley, Still Going Strong in Sonoma, and More

Every Friday, Pacific Union International takes a look at what’s new and notable in our Bay Area neighborhoods. Here’s what we’ve got for the week ending April 20, 2012:

San Francisco Bay Center International Bird Rescue
Bird Rescue’s motto: “Every bird counts.”

EAST BAY (ALAMEDA AND CONTRA COSTA COUNTY)
It’s for the birds – in a good way!  Celebrating 40 years, International Bird Rescue was founded by a retired Berkeley nurse when thousands of birds died after an oil spill in San Francisco Bay. It has since grown to become the first to respond to oil spill emergencies across the globe. The organization celebrates its 40th with a birthday party fundraiser this evening in Berkeley. Director emeritus Jay Holcomb’s birthday wish?  To be put out of business.

WINE COUNTRY (NAPA AND SONOMA COUNTY)
133 years and still going strong:  We know it today as the Sonoma Index-Tribune, but on April 17, 1879, the first issue of the Sonoma Index featured an advertisement for the Blacksmith and Wagon Shop on Broadway, a crime report of a man who went to jail for an illegal gambling house, and an advice column on “Choosing a Wife.”  Although times have changed, the publication maintains that its original ideals have not: “Chief Organ for Sonoma Valley. Politics but no party. Religion but no Sect. Education all the time. Our local interests first, last and forever.”

SAN FRANCISCO
It’s lights out for a legendary restaurant.  Reportedly more than 100 years old, Chinatown’s Sam Wo restaurant is set to serve its last meals this evening.  Citing issues with the fire department, as well an aging facility, the current owners are closing the doors for good. Famous for being a 1950s Beat favorite – and home of “the world’s rudest waiter,” Edsel Ford Fong – the San Francisco institution will be missed. If you haven’t been there lately, or at all, you still might have enough time to get a seat.  True to tradition, the final dinner service is expected to last until 3 a.m.

Mill Valley Records, Part of What Makes Mill Valley One of the 20 Best Small Towns
Nothing says small town like vintage vinyl.

MARIN COUNTY
One of our favorite small towns is making a big splash! Smithsonian Magazine has listed our own Mill Valley among its 20 Best Small Towns in America.  Criteria used in the search for superior small towns included high concentrations of museums, botanical gardens, art galleries and other cultural points of interest amid populations of less than 25,000.  Criteria aside, we can’t say we’re surprised that mighty little Mill Valley made the cut.

(Bird Rescue image courtesy of contracostatimes.com, Mill Valley image courtesy of smithsonianmag.com)

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