Zero Murders

The small Northern California city of San Pablo reached a milestone for 2013, zero homicides.  For a city that is completely surrounded by crime-plagued Richmond and itself not long ago claimed the fourth-highest per capita crime rate in the U.S., it’s a big step and one that the San Pablo police department takes great pride in.  Along with a new city wide surveillance system, the department of 54 officers has instituted several community outreach programs in the past few years, including parenting classes in Spanish and police-led outings for kids, increased foot and bike patrols, and assigning individual officers to “take ownership” of problems, such as drug houses, until the problems are fixed.

I got to ride along with Sgt. Humberto Alvarez for a few hours as he oversaw and covered his officers on patrol around town during his afternoon shift.

Read more here: Zero Murders in San Pablo…

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Horses Heal

Michelle Shutzer is a San Francisco woman with stage 4 colon cancer.  She has used crowdfunding site Fundly, a website whose platform makes it possible for nonprofit groups and individuals to raise money, to help pay some of her medical bills.

I met Michelle for portraits at the Flag Foundation in Sebastopol California, which connects horses and people for therapeutic benefit.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/health/article/Fundraising-to-pay-for-cancer-treatment-3881744.php#ixzz2A4KD53ip

 

Night Herons

This was a fun little assignment.  In downtown Oakland a large group of Black Crested Night Herons have taken up roost in a group of trees surrounding a public parking lot.  Seeming a little bit out of place among the office buildings, the herons are usually found in and around nearby Lake Merritt but may have been pushed out by the ongoing restoration construction along the shoreline at the lake according to Golden Gate Audubon Society volunteer Ruth Tobey, who was on hand to help the reporter and I spot the nesting birds.

Read the article here: Night herons settling down in downtown Oakland

Hiram Lawrence Jr. Funeral

I covered the Hiram Lawrence Jr. funeral service at Acts Full Gospel Church in Oakland for the SF Chronicle on December 16th.  Both myself and Jane Tyska from the Oakland Tribune were told by the church staff that we were not allowed to focus on the parents or immediate family and we were also stuck off to one side of the stage and told not to move around, so all these photos are pretty much taken from the same spot.