Daily news roundup for Wednesday, February 11, 2015 | KALW

Daily news roundup for Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Feb 11, 2015

Here's what's happening in the Bay Area, as curated by KALW news:

LGBT Community Holds "Die In" For SF Transgender Woman Killed in Stabbing // NBC Bay Area

"Hundreds of people came out Tuesday and staged a die-in in front of San Francisco City Hall to honor all those transgender people who have died violent deaths.

"Wearing bright clothes and makeup, many of the friends and supporters of 36-year-old Taja De Jesus, came out not only to remember the woman who was killed on Sunday in the Bayview District, but to decry violent death in general.

"'The fact is we're being killed at an alarming rate,' said Breanna Sinclair, a transgender demonstrator. 'We say the city is safe because there's a huge support of LGBT community, but now I'm starting to realize nowhere is safe.'"

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Hacienda residents to move with federally-funded vouchers // Richmond Confidential

"Nearly a year has passed since stories broke in February 2014, about disturbing living conditions in the Hacienda public housing complex. Now Hacienda residents will finally see the beginning of the end of their days at Hacienda.

"Hacienda became infamous thanks to a series of stories by the Center for Investigative Reporting, a nonprofit investigative news organization based in Berkeley, California. According to their report, the housing complex is infested with bugs, mice and mold. At resident meetings, people have complained about others urinating and spitting on the elevator buttons. Strangers and drug dealers walk in and out freely.

"Now, the building complex will be renovated completely, a process that is estimated to take 18 to 24 months, and the current residents will have to move out. Many of the 101 remaining households consist of disabled or elderly people. Almost 90 percent of the residents pay between $200 and $500 a month in rent. They can’t afford to move out on their own."

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Horse program will help at-risk students in the East Bay // Oakland North

"When she was a high school student about 20 years ago, Brandi Weintraub was falling behind. She tried three different alternative high schools within the Oakland Unified School District, but couldn’t find a way to connect with the school. When she transferred to Oakland Street Academy, an alternative high school for students who have been expelled, have dropped out, or are at risk of not graduating in a normal school setting, she felt like it could work; it was small and 'very hands on,' she said. She liked the school and the teachers.

"They asked if she wanted to help with their 'Horses On the Hill' class in Oakland, an elective course that took place in a stable nearby. The course included both classroom and hands-on activities and it gave Weintraub her first opportunity to work with horses, which had always fascinated her. She also got to build relationships with the other students, and to learn the basics of taking care of animals and the principles of horsemanship. It was the beginning of a passion and the foundation of her dream to start her own program involving horses and at-risk students—although she didn’t know that yet."

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After 12 years, music fills McClymonds High School’s halls // Oakland North

"The sounds of piano notes, falsettos, and string instruments echo through the empty hallways at McClymonds High School in West Oakland. The campus that once housed over 800 students has had a steady and rapid decline in enrollment in the past few years. Currently, one-fourth of the original population attends the school—putting the enrollment at around 250 students, the majority of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds. This school year, 2014-2015, is the first time in 12 years that a music program has been available at McClymonds.

"The head teacher, Valerie Troutt, who is a jazz and soul vocalist and musician herself, leads the piano and choir classes. Together with renowned producer and musician, Kev Choice, the two expose the high school participants to a myriad of songs and musical techniques while being strong role models. Troutt was brought in by Elevate Oakland, a non-profit organization that provides funding and access for music and arts in Oakland public schools that cannot offer regular music programs. 'My hope is to create a safe place for [students] to explore the arts, and really concept of how art is a reflection of life and vice versa,' said Troutt."

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Technology timeout: SF teens to take a break from devices // SF Examiner

"San Francisco teenager Julia-Rose Kibben turned in her math assignment Monday morning at Convent of the Sacred Heart High School as she typically does: via a Google Document on her school-issued iPad.

"Come Friday, she will not have that luxury.

"That's because the 16-year-old sophomore will be one of hundreds of students on her campus who will pledge to not use technology for three days beginning Thursday. The move is part of the Tech Timeout Academic Challenge, a nationwide initiative that tests a school's ability to avoid the devices that make life more convenient. And although the school has long implemented modern technology in its classrooms, leaders want to make sure students understand the value of unplugging."