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Wednesday, Aug 7 1996
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Phone Book of Revelations
The Jesuits at the University of San Francisco have finally exorcised their telephone prefix, which for more than a decade has been the slightly unseemly 666. "It was the weirdest thing in the world for us to have that number, but it was physically impossible to change it," explains USF spokesman Mel Taylor. The Mark of the Beast was cast out in favor of 422 when Pacific Bell added prefixes earlier this year. Satanists take heart, however: St. Peter & Paul Catholic Church is still at 666 Filbert St.

Gordon Young

Cart Ahead of the Source
Juvenile Court Judge Ina Gyemant is so upended over a press leak about a probe into a Youth Guidance Center suicide that she's asked the city attorney to uncover the unidentified source of the leak. In June, the source told SF Weekly that the state Juvenile Justice Commission had found serious misconduct on the part of YGC Director Ed Flowers and the Juvenile Probation Commission (which is separate from the Justice Commission) following an attempt and subsequent suicide by Aldo Mallorga, a minor drug offender (see "Political Suicide,"June 5). YGC officials allegedly failed to investigate the events leading up to the suicide. Now, Gyemant has put on hold the question of how the system failed Mallorga while she tries to flush out a press source. Great priorities.

George Cothran

Horse of a Different Color
Last week, the Chronicle's Laura Evenson and Sam Whiting sifted through pop culture anecdotes for "Hip, Chic and Lethal," an overwrought report on heroin as resurgent scourge. The Chron's Chicken Littles should have consulted SF Weekly Editor Emeritus Jack Shafer's "Smack Happy" posted July 19 in the on-line journal Slate.

As Shafer points out, it's not "a growing segment of the population" that's addicted to heroin, as the Chron staffers suggest, but the media itself. Shafer cites studies from the DEA and the National Drug Control Study that say the addict population not only remains stable, but that heroin actually has become less pure in recent years.

If heroin chic is sexier than heroin data, Evenson and Whiting at least could have gotten their facts right. As the duo dredged the predictable list of celebrity casualties, they stumbled at least twice. After missing the date on River Phoenix's death (Oct. 31, 1993, not November 1993), they compared his overdose to John Belushi's. Yes, Phoenix had the makings of a "speedball" in his cooling blood, but the L.A. coroner's report said that marijuana was also present. And ephedrine. And Valium. (Read: Phoenix was a novice junkie.)

Then there's Kurt Cobain, who the writers say killed himself because he was "despondent after failing to kick heroin." Cobain's depression was far more complicated. If he was despondent over any one thing, it was the press.

Jeff Stark

Dosing Grandma
Another Chron-ic flub came last week in a report that an annual study of California nursing homes rated 12 Bay Area facilities among those with the highest number of violations, which resulted in 19 deaths last year. What the paper stopped short of reporting was equally frightening: More than 375 nursing homes in California -- twice the national average, per capita -- received "deficiencies" for improperly physically and chemically restraining patients. According to the report, released by the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, the use of chemical restraint on those spending their golden years in the Golden State's nursing homes jumped 12 percent in 1995 (physical restraints increased by 2.4 percent).

Lisa Davis

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George Cothran

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Jeff Stark

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Lisa Davis

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Gordon Young

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Slideshows

  • Nevada City and the South Yuba River: A gold country getaway

    Nestled in the green pine-covered hills of the Northern Sierra Nevada is the Gold Rush town of Nevada City. Beautiful Victorian houses line the streets, keeping the old-time charm alive, and a vibrant downtown is home to world-class art, theater and music. The nearby South Yuba River State Park is known for its emerald swimming holes during the summer and radiant leaf colors during autumn. These days the gold panning is more for tourists than prospectors, but the gold miner spirit is still in the air.

    South Yuba River State Park and Swimming Holes:
    The park runs along and below 20 miles of the South Yuba River, offering hiking, mountain biking, gold panning and swimming. The Highway 49 bridge swimming hole is seven-miles northwest of Nevada City where Highway 49 crosses the South Yuba River. Parking is readily available and it is a short, steep hike to a stunning swimming hole beneath a footbridge. For the more intrepid, trails extend along the river with access to secluded swim spots. The Bridgeport swimming hole has calm waters and a sandy beach -- good for families and cookouts -- and is located 14 miles northwest of Nevada City. Be sure to write down directions before heading out, GPS may not be available. Most swimming holes on the South Yuba River are best from July to September, while winter and spring can bring dangerous rapids. Always know the current before jumping in!

    Downtown Nevada City
    The welcoming, walkable downtown of Nevada City is laid back, yet full of life. Start your day at the cozy South Pine Cafe (110 S Pine St.) with a lobster benedict or a spicy Jamaican tofu scramble. Then stroll the streets and stop into the shop Kitkitdizzi (423 Broad St.) for handcrafted goods unique to the region, vintage wears and local art “all with California gold rush swagger,” as stated by owners Carrie Hawthorne and Kira Westly. Surrounded by Gold Rush history, modern gold jewelry is made from locally found nuggets and is found at Utopian Stone Custom Jewelers (301 Broad St.). For a coffee shop with Victorian charm try The Curly Wolf (217 Broad St.), an espresso house and music venue with German pastries and light fare. A perfect way to cool down during the hot summer months can be found at Treats (110 York St.) , an artisan ice cream shop with flavors like pear ginger sorbet or vegan chai coconut. Nightlife is aplenty with music halls, alehouses or dive bars like the Mine Shaft Saloon (222 Broad St.).

    The Willo Steakhouse (16898 State Hwy 49, Nevada City)
    Along Highway 49, just west of Nevada City, is The Willo, a classic roadhouse and bar where you’re welcomed by the smell of steak and a dining room full of locals. In 1947 a Quonset hut (a semi-cylindrical building) was purchased from the US Army and transported to its current location, and opened as a bar, which became popular with lumberjacks and miners. The bar was passed down through the decades and a covered structure was added to enlarge the bar and create a dining area. The original Quonset beams are still visible in the bar and current owners Mike Byrne and Nancy Wilson keep the roadhouse tradition going with carefully aged New York steaks and house made ingredients. Pair your steak or fish with a local wine, such as the Rough and Ready Red, or bring your own for a small corkage fee. Check the website for specials, such as rib-eye on Fridays.

    Outside Inn (575 E Broad St.)
    A 16-room motel a short walk from downtown, each room features a unique décor, such as the Paddlers’ Suite or the Wildflower Room. A friendly staff and an office full of information about local trails, swimming and biking gets you started on your outdoor exploration. Amenities include an outdoor shower, a summer swimming pool and picnic tables and barbeques. Don’t miss the free vegetable cart just outside the motel in the mornings.

    Written and photographed by Beth LaBerge for the SF Weekly.

  • Arcade Fire at Shoreline
    Arcade Fire opened their US tour at Shoreline Amphitheater to a full house who was there in support of their album "Reflector," which was released last fall. Dan Deacon opened the show to a happily surprised early audience and got the crowd actively dancing and warmed up. DEVO was originally on the bill to support Arcade Fire but a kayak accident last week had sidelined lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh and the duration of the west coast leg of the tour. Win Butler did a homage to DEVO by performing Uncontrollable Urge.

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