Report of armed, barricaded person shuts down Valencia (updated)

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UPDATE 3/13/17: The incident involving an armed and barricaded suspect that shut down parts of Valencia Street for hours Friday started with a visit from a pest control company, police said.

Shortly before 2 p.m., an exterminator and the manager of the building, on the 500 block of Valencia Street, went  to Samantha Helstrom’s second floor unit, and she opened the door and pointed a handgun at them, said San Francisco Police Sgt. Michael Andraychak.

As negotiators communicated with Helstrom, 57, from the street, she stepped out of her apartment at around 6:45 p.m., confronting officers in the hallway and stating several times, “kill me,” Andraychak said. When Helstrom advanced, the officers fired less-than-lethal weapons, striking her with foam batons, he said.

Helstrom went back into her apartment where she remained until just after 9 p.m. when she stepped out and surrendered, Andraychak said. She was booked on suspicion of criminal threats, a felony, and brandishing a weapon, a misdemeanor.

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Samantha Helstrom (Photo courtesy of the San Francisco Police Department)

ORIGINAL POST: An armed person has been barricaded for hours this afternoon in a building near 16th and Valencia streets, according to police, who have shut surrounding blocks down.

As of about 5 p.m., Valencia Street remained taped off between 15th and 18th streets. A hostage negotiating team began attempting to contact the armed suspect, who is barricaded in a building between 16th and 17th streets, sometime before 3 p.m., police said.

According to Mission Local, which spoke with neighbors, the subject is a woman and she is inside the Crown Hotel, at 528 Valencia. Below is a video from a patron of nearby Thanh Tam II who said the Vietnamese restaurant was on lockdown until police told people to run out.

Gorillas in our midst

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Ape-utation at 21st and Folsom streets.

[Photo by Renata]

Stump speech

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No Trump? That wood be nice.

[Photo by keyohso/Instagram]

It’s no hamster wheel but …

OMG, you guys, a BART escalator was actually working!

Have Mission deliveries hit rock BOTtom?

Capp Street Crap friend Jeff captured this footage of one of the new delivery robots currently being tested out in the Mission. (Mission Local has more details here.)

I have so many questions here … What if someone runs into it or kicks it? Will it stop at red lights? Can I ride it? Will it recruit my Roomba for some sort of a robot uprising or romance? And, most importantly, how is this better than actually getting out and engaging with real people in your neighborhood?

[Video by Jeff]

Bright idea: Roxie Theater’s marquee restored

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Things are looking brighter for San Francisco’s oldest cinema.

On Sunday, the Roxie Theater turned on its newly restored neon marquee and riser, the culmination of an effort that dates back to 2015.

Operations Director Lex Sloan said that while the neon portions of the marquee that read “Roxie” have held out over the years, various other parts of the sign have been on the fritz at times.

Fully restoring the sign included fixing the bars under the horizontal letters reading “Roxie,” and the neon borders and jewels at the top and bottom of the vertical marquee, she said. The repairs cost $3,000, and were paid for with money from a 2015 fundraiser.

“When I started at the Roxie a little over year and a half ago, the white neon that lights the entry under the marquee started to go on the fritz and that is when our executive director Dave Cowen and I decided our goal was to restore the marquee to 100 percent,” Sloan wrote in an email.

Finishing the work proved logistically tricky, requiring, among other things, navigating around phone wires, a tree and delicate neon, Sloan said.

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“The final push, which happened on this past Sunday, required the rental of a boom lift to reach the top outermost side at about 37 feet in the air,” she wrote. “It took us a while to work out the logistics for replacing the uppermost red border.”

The Roxie, which first opened in 1909, has been getting a lot of love in recent years. In the summer of 2015, the 238-seat movie house and the Little Roxie theater two doors down shuttered for a week so staff and volunteer could paint and do an extensive cleaning. The theater also welcomed new management that year, obtained a state-of-the-art projector theater and increased its efforts to court donors.

[Photos courtesy of the Roxie Theater]

You’ll heart this

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Check out the recently unveiled “Poet Tree,” on Valencia Street near Clarion Alley. Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

[Photos by Jeff]

Gentrification Lake’s newest residents? Frogs.

Hottest hangout in the hood is the sweet new frog sanctuary at 22nd and Mission.

A video posted by Jessica Benner (@jessicabenner) on

The now empty lot  at 22nd and Mission, the site of a massive 2015 fire, has been looking a little wild these days, but this is kind of ridiculous. Ribbit … Ribbit.

[H/t @EamesEra]

But Valentine’s Day isn’t for two weeks!

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Love, Capp Street style.

Starboard gone, now home to Asian popup

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Open less than a year, Mission hofbrau Starboard is apparently no more. The restaurant’s old space on 16th Street is now home to a popup serving Asian fusion cuisine.

It is unclear what happened with Starboard. Emails sent through the restaurant’s website and to its sister business Slate, next door, were not returned.

Adrian Pham, one of the partners with the popup, Cross Hatch Eatery, said they officially opened Jan. 12, and began cleaning the space, at 2919 16th St.,  about six days prior. Pham said he didn’t know what the story with Starboard was but agreed to pass along my phone number.

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Cross Hatch is currently on a month-to-month lease and serving food three days a week, he said. Though this is its first popup, the business debuted in 2015, initially as a farmer’s market food stand, before moving on to catering. Here’s what else Pham had to say about the business and its food:

Our name simply represents the melting pot that we are – Crossing two or more culture’s comfort foods and having something unique hatch.

The company began on the foundation of wanting to join the two ideals we believe drive us, passion & purpose. We plan on using CrossHatch to create a home where passion meets purpose. Ultimately we’d like to become a platform where small businesses, local artists, foodies & entrepreneurs are able to come together and share what keeps us passionate whilst giving back to the community in form of time, money & an attempt to enrich our culture.

Cross Hatch is currently open from 5 to 10 p.m. on Thursday and from 5 p.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday.

[Bottom photo via Cross Hatch’s Facebook page]