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Friday News Roundup: Omicron Touches Down in SF & Outer Sunset Starship House ‘Under Attack’

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Hey there, San Francisco. 

Happy Friday. This week the first omicron case in the United States was identified right here in San Francisco. And, we received news that the Outer Sunset Starship House was “under attack.” Lots to dig into. 

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For now… onto the news…

Omicron touches down in SF, first confirmed US case

On Wednesday, national and local health officials confirmed that the first case of the omicron coronavirus in the US was detected in a San Francisco resident who returned from a trip to South Africa in late November. White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said the person only had mild symptoms and that those symptoms “appear to be improving.”

“The individual is self-quarantining, and all close contacts have been contacted and…thus far, have tested negative,” Fauci said. 

According to officials, the individual had received two doses of the Moderna vaccine, but no booster shot. 

On the steps of City Hall on Wednesday, San Francisco Public Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax said: “This is not a surprise. We knew that omicron was going to be here…This is cause for concern. It’s not cause for us to panic. We are prepared in the city for this.” (Chronicle / CNBC)

Mayor Breed goes maskless, again

In a video shared on Twitter over the weekend, Mayor London Breed appeared maskless while singing and dancing in a San Francisco nightclub. Current guidelines require patrons to wear masks inside businesses, nightclubs included, unless they are actively eating or drinking. 

On Tuesday, Breed refuted any issues with her behavior and told reporters: “Yes, I was dancing and yes, I was drinking and having fun. And at the end of the day, I am doing everything I can to follow the existing protocols. And I think sadly, sometimes these videos are taken out of perspective.” 

Two months ago, a maskless Mayor Breed was spotted at the Tenderloin jazz club Black Cat, which sparked controversy across national media outlets. (Chronicle

Ritual Coffee to be employee-owned

Ritual Coffee owner Eileen Rinaldi recently told her roughly 50 staff members that she’s working to turn the company into one that’s employee-owned. By late next year, Rinaldi says she plans to offer shares to workers who have been with Ritual for at least 12 months through an Employee Stock Ownership Program, or ESOP.  “I would love for Ritual to operate for another 80 years,” Rinaldi told Mission Local. “To me, ESOP is the answer.” (Mission Local

Balboa High wins city football title

At Kezar Stadium last Thursday, the Balboa Buccaneers defeated the Lincoln Mustangs 21-0 to capture the 2021 San Francisco high school football championship. The win gave Balboa High its first football city title since 1984. 

“It hasn’t hit me yet,” Balboa coach Fred Velasquez said during last week’s trophy presentation. “It hasn’t hit our alumni or kids, either. But it will soon and it’s gonna be great.”

The Bucs will now move on to play Taft High School (the LA Section champs) for the CIF State 7-A title. That game will be played on December 11 at 1 pm at Balboa High School. (Chronicle

91-year-old opens new sushi restaurant

Ninety-one-year-old Japantown restaurateur Lena Turner opened a new omakase sushi restaurant last Friday called Sushi Aoba. The cost: $165 per person. (KQED

Lowell High to keep lottery system for next year

Lowell High will not return to its merit-based application process for the 2022-2023 school year after Superintendent Vince Matthews said Tuesday that doing so would be “logistically impossible” at this time. Still, following a judge’s ruling earlier this month, it is yet to be determined whether entrance into Lowell will be lottery or performance-based in the years to come. (Chronicle

Starship House ‘under attack’

Have you ever seen the “Starship House” located in the Outer Sunset? It looks like a pretty eclectic place, equipped with a Star Wars “rebel base,” a swimming pool-sized ping pong table, and a “batmobile” that’s usually parked out front. 

Apparently though, according to a Sunset Beacon report on Tuesday, the man behind 2334 46th Avenue, James T. Kirk, is in a legal battle to keep the house and has set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for “attorneys fees and loan costs.”

“The rebel base is under attack,” the Sunset Beacon writes. “Repeat: The rebel base is under attack.” (Sunset Beacon

Weed shop opens in Westfield Mall, kind of

A cannabis dispensary opened inside the downtown Westfield Mall earlier this month. Well, sort of. As a work-around to Westfield’s no-weed-shop policy, Joy Reserve lets customers browse its product options in-store via empty boxes and fake buds. Customers then can place an order on the shop’s app and have it delivered to them curbside, right outside of Bloomingdale’s. (SFist

Rossi Pool to reopen early next year

The Angelo J. Rossi Pool, located on Arguello Street and named after San Francisco’s mayor during the Great Depression, has been a fixture in the Inner Richmond neighborhood since first opening in the 1950s. 

Now, after pouring two years and some $15 million into renovations, the six-lane, 100-foot long pool is scheduled to reopen within the first few months of next year. 

“We are in the home stretch,” Rec and Parks spokesperson Tamara Aparton told me on Monday. 

Alright, that’s all for this week. Thanks y’all for reading and again, if you want to receive these news updates daily, I’d love for you to subscribe to The SF Minute.

Have a great weekend and I’ll see you back here next Friday! – Nick B.

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Nick Bastone

Nick Bastone

Nick Bastone is the founder of the San Francisco-based newsletter, The SF Minute. Previously, he worked as a tech reporter for The Information and Business Insider.

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