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Daily news roundup for Monday, March 9th

Brant Ward
The Chronicle
Roz Barnett (left) and Greg Fairrer have heard of the new Navigation Center and hope it will save them from their encampment a few blocks away on Shotwell Street.

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

S.F. plans to move entire homeless encampments into housing // SF Gate

"Greg Fairrer lay facedown on the sidewalk in the Mission District on Thursday while one block away San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee was trumpeting what could be Fairrer’s salvation — a homeless-aid Navigation Center designed to move entire homeless encampments from sidewalk to permanent homes in just 10 days.

"Fairrer woke up in his tent as Lee was finishing his tour at the center. And, as word rippled through the nearby street camps that this new program they’ve been hearing about for some time will open in about a week, the former trucker clapped his hands."


Bay Area a hotbed for table tennis // Contra Costa Times

"For most Americans, pingpong is the fun game played in a basement or garage, often accompanied by frosty beverages. Well, at least until some sore loser breaks the eggshell white ball.

"But in a southern corner of the Bay Area, pingpong has become serious sport. In the past decade, a cluster of competitive clubs has opened to launch a pingpong revolution. That's why, as the country's best paddlers are competing in Texas through Sunday at the 2015 U.S. World and Pan-Am Team Trials, 18 players, or one-third of the field, either live or train in Milpitas, San Jose or Fremont."


California drought: Big water rate hikes considered by Bay Area agencies // San Jose Mercury News

"During the first three years of drought, Bay Area residents have endured brown lawns, shorter showers and dirty cars. Now, as the crisis stretches into the fourth year, they are about to feel it in their wallets.

"Three of the largest Bay Area water agencies -- the Santa Clara Valley Water District, the East Bay Municipal Utility District and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which runs the HetchHetchy system -- all are considering water rate hikes of up to 30 percent this year."


HIV-positive firefighter alleges widespread harassment, discrimination // The Examiner

"After 10 years of trying, Stephen Kloster joined the Fire Department in 2001. But five years into what the San Francisco native hoped would be a long career, he fell extremely sick.

"Constantly lethargic and losing an enormous amount of weight — he dropped from 240 pounds to 140 — tests revealed the reason: Kloster was HIV-positive.

"His health and T-cell count recovered well enough for him to return to duty in 2007. That's when the other trouble began. His positive status became common knowledge with his fellow firefighters, some of whom heaped abuse on him for having HIV, he said."


Depressing San Francisco median rent map shows rents up all over the city // SF Gate

"Memes come and go these days but the phrase “The rent’s too damn high,” coined by mayoral and gubernatorial candidate Jimmy McMillan isn’t going away any time soon. Of course, he was talking about New York; turns out though that these days, nowhere in the U.S. has higher rent than San Francisco.

"Devin O’Brien, who writes for Zumper, a site that lists and analyzes rentals across the nation,  reports that  'The San Francisco rental market continued to be the most expensive rental market in the country, reaching an all-time high of $3,460 for a 1-bedroom apartment. While prices in New York City remained largely flat at $3,000 last month, SF continued upwards, increasing 1.5% month over month and 3.3% over the last quarter.'"


Rebellious Roots: The Avant-Garde Other Minds Festival Celebrates 20 Years of Making Music on the Fringe  // SF Weekly

"What do bird flight patterns, Twin Peaks, and the traditional Japanese stringed instrument called the koto have in common? This weekend, they'll all come together when Other Minds celebrates its 20th anniversary as a convergence point for the outcasts, outliers, and misfits of modern music.

"Billed enigmatically as "A Festival of Unexpected New Music," this year's event takes place from March 6 through 8 at the SF Jazz Center, and features a preposterously diverse program, including multiple world premieres. These include a microtonal string quartet by avant-garde stalwart MiyaMasaoka, a truly ambitious multimedia installation based on avian migration by Norwegian composer Maja S.K. Ratjke, and a musical interpretation of our very own Twin Peaks (the S.F. location, not the TV show) with a trio led by Bay Area new music icon and tape music pioneer, Pauline Oliveros. But according to the festival's founder and director, composer Charles Amirkhanian, this wildly eclectic programming results from the humblest intentions."