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    Castro Street Sidewalks to be Widened

    Funding has been secured and planning is starting for the long-discussed widening of pedestrian sidewalks in the 400 and 500 blocks of Castro Street (between Market and 19th Streets), according to Supervisor Scott Wiener. A community process, including public meetings to develop a streetscape design, will begin in early 2013. That process will be led by planners from the S.F. Planning and Public Works Departments and SFMTA, which oversees MUNI and parking issues. Business owners are encouraged to sign up for the project’s mailing list at

    Also in the Castro, Cliff’s Variety recently had a successful weekend with the fifth annual “Save Money Save the School” fundraiser sale. It raised over $2,000 for the Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy.

    The tree-lighting ceremony in our hood was a festive event hosted by Donna Sachet. Guests were treated to holiday music from members of the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco and the Metropolitan Community Church Choir. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence blessed the ceremony and its guests.

    City Asks: Can GLBT Museum Donors Meet the Challenge?

    The City of San Francisco has issued a challenge to the GLBT Historical Society in the form of a $17,000 matching grant to support the stand-alone museum that the society operates in the city’s Castro District. To qualify for the funds, the Society must raise an equal amount of money from new individual donors or increased donations from past donors.

    “Now is the time for friends of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender history to become a member or make a donation,” noted Paul Boneberg, executive director of the GLBT Historical Society. “Through the city’s challenge grant, every dollar new donors give will be doubled. If they give $10, the city will turn it into $20; and if they give $500, the city will make it $1,000.” Boneberg added, “Plus there’s another way to help the Historical Society benefit from this great opportunity. People can simply ask their friends and colleagues to make a donation, and let them know that the City will match what they give dollar for dollar. This will help us not only reach new supporters, but also secure funds for new exhibitions and other museum initiatives.”

    In addition to the challenge grant from the City, a group of Historical Society supporters has agreed to independently match all individual donations up to a total of $13,000 through the end of December. As a result, all donations to the society will be doubled, and gifts from those who have not previously donated will be tripled.

    Tax-deductible donations are welcome by credit card, PayPal or check and made online ( or by mail, 4127 18th Street SF 94114.

    Story by Dennis McMillan