Angela Johnston


Callie Jones is showing me how to 3-D print a tiny yellow chess piece, after designing it herself on a computer. It’s her second day in the 3-D printing club and she’s already a pro.

“So the printer’s like putting little dots on top of little dots on top of little dots, and so when the dots hit each other, they start to dry, and so it just starts to build up and up and up until you make the figure that it’s printing,” she explains.

Raja Shah

This is Part 3 of a three-part series looking at what’s happened in the five years since the NUMMI auto plant closed. Read Part 1 and Part 2, or (we recommend) listen to the whole radio show!

Angela Johnston

This is Part 2 of a three-part series looking at what’s happened in the five years since the NUMMI auto plant closed. Read Part 1 and Part 3, or (we recommend) listen to the whole radio show!

Angela Johnston

On April 1st, the lunch line at the Golden Corral Buffet in Tracy snaked out the door. It was full of people who hadn’t seen each other in over five years.

Artwork by Angela Johnston

Marco Salsiccia is a huge movie buff. He owns hundreds of DVDs. They fill his small apartment in the Sunset District. Some are piled on his dining room table, others are organized in spinning shelves in his living room.

“I have 400 movies in my collection, more than the library!” he says.

He has action films, horror films, comedy flicks, and lots of animation. Those are his favorite because animation is a big part of Salsiccia’s life.

Angela Johnston


Rosa Santos is leaning over a pile of forms and documents in the corner of the San Jose’s new DMV. I meet her along with her friend. They’re both applying for their licenses for the first time through AB 60.

Santos came prepared today. She studied for hours, pouring over YouTube tutorials and sample driver's tests. As she waits in line, she riffles through the documents she needs -  a Mexican ID, a piece of mail to confirm her address, and $33 for the processing fee.

Flickr user andreagp

Note: Prices have changed since this story was first reported in 2012.

99 Ranch’s seafood counter is enormous – and it needs to be: the store serves seafood eaters of many nationalities and income levels all over the Bay Area. The selection is huge: grouper from Peru, fish from Vietnam, China, Taiwan, and India.

Carlos Montelibano heads the fish department at the 99 Ranch in Mountain View where the prices are low.

Angela Johnston

At the breakwater bordering a yacht club in San Francisco’s Marina, Kirk Lombard is carefully balancing on two algae-covered rocks. He’s holding a homemade bamboo fishing pole, poking and wiggling it into rocky crevices. A crowd of people watch nearby, anxious to see if he will get a bite.

Lombard is fishing, or technically poke-polling, for monkeyface eel. He calls himself a sea forager, and every other week offers this walking and fishing tour: a two-hour lesson on how to catch your own seafood from the Bay’s urban waters.

Angela Johnston

Del Seymour makes sure to take everybody on his walking tours of the Tenderloin to the corner of Turk and Taylor.

“I lived on this street,” he says. “I didn’t have an address but I lived on this street if you know what I mean.”

I’m with a group of a dozen tech workers following Seymour around the neighborhood, listening to him talk about his experiences here.

Angela Johnston

The sun is just beginning to rise over the glassy water at San Francisco’s Aquatic Park. Karen Wapato is beaming as she emerges from the Bay and peels off her goggles.

“It was better than yesterday,” she says. “I keep on just telling myself, stay calm don’t panic, keep breathing, try to keep my stroke real smooth, as smooth as I can,” she says as she catches her breath.

Wapato has never swum in the ocean before, and it’s her second day swimming in the San Francisco Bay. 

“I can’t believe I am doing it! I can’t believe I am one of these people that swim in the Bay, I’ve joined this elite group.”

Angela Johnston

Skylar Crownover is walking me through the lush tree lined streets of Mills College, and through buildings with red clay roofs.

Students constantly wave hello as we make our way to the center of campus. Crownover is a junior this year, and the current student body president.

photo courtesy of

Miguel Garcia has tears in his eyes while he’s singing a an old Righteous Brothers tune. This song brings back memories. He’s wearing a red Manchester United jersey, navy blue track pants and bright green flip flops.  Sixty one year old Garcia is  used to having a microphone in front of him, so he begins belting out a medley of his favorite songs. He says that his past was at times, well, unhealthy.


Callie Jones is showing me how to 3D print a tiny yellow chess piece, after designing it herself on a computer. It’s her second day in the 3D printing club and she’s already a pro.

Flickr user --Mark--

State Democratic Senator Leland Yee has been charged with public corruption, after a series of raids this morning by the FBI and gang task force officials. Yee’s Senate office in Sacramento was searched, and he was arrested at his Sunset district home in San Francisco.

Under CC license from Flickr user Kevin Krejci

Steve Sacks is the PTA President at Alvarado Elementary School in Noe Valley. He takes a lot of pride in this small school and the education it provides to just over 500 students.

Jasmín Lopéz

Stepping inside the Taurus Bookbindery is kind of like stepping back in time. The wide open space is packed full of retro machines from the 1920s that could double as torture devices. There are electric paper cutters with long blades, sizzling hot, rusty knives, and eight-foot-tall cast iron weights. Rolls of cloth and leather line the walls, and their earthy smells mix with odors of oil, paper and hot glue.

Len Blumin


The California Clapper Rail is a bird that likes to be heard, but not seen. But today, on this windy morning at Arrowhead Marsh in Oakland, they aren’t too vocal. In order to find them, Vivian Bui scans the air with a big metal antenna, attached to a receiver, while she listens through big headphones.

Angela Johnston


In his backyard in San Francisco’s Outer Richmond neighborhood, Arne Jin An Wong coats a pink and white striped, eight-foot-long surfboard. This board is one of dozens in Wong’s quiver. They are all over his backyard: resting on fences next to tomato vines and suspended from the rafters of his garage. A few faded and yellowed boards are heaped in a pile that he is donating to children in the Philippines.

San Francisco Bay Area Curling Club

Inside a huge ice rink in San Jose, where the Sharks hockey team practices, thirty-two men and women are laughing, yelling, and taking turns sweeping and throwing heavy granite rocks down a freshly-Zambonied sheet of ice. They are curling, and on most Tuesday nights, four different curling matches are taking place on one rink.


Several years ago, the Bay Area Council Economic Institute conducted a study on the expected economic impact of the 34th America’s Cup, if San Francisco were to host the event. Past experiences from previous America’s Cup tournaments in Auckland, New Zealand and Valencia, Spain provided an early rough estimate of what might be expected. It was a lot of money: about $1.4 billion dollars in economic impact.

Thomas Hawk


For Jamaisse Payne, the grocery store is a math problem. She’s got a baby boy due in a few weeks, so she says she’s shopping and eating for two. She walks up and down the aisles of the Redwood City Grocery Outlet, adding and subtracting prices in her head. 


When you listen to the radio in your car, you’re listening -- but mostly driving. Your hands are on the wheel, eyes on the road, and you’re aware of the cars around you, your speed, and your environment.But, it’s really easy to take our eyes off the windshield, even just for a second.

On a rare, hot summer Saturday on the San Francisco Bay, a race between a pair of 10 million dollar sailboats has just begun: Team Italy against Team New Zealand. Spectators at a viewing area on San Francisco’s Embarcadero lounge on bean bag chairs. Piers 27-29 have been converted into a giant pavilion, with big screen TVs, picnic tables, a concert space, and Nespresso machines at every corner.

San Francisco’s waterfront is booming. It’s become a major destination for tourists and locals, celebrated two World Series wins, and is currently playing host to an international sailing race. There’s a new cruise ship terminal, and a re-invented Exploratorium. And now the waterfront is preparing itself for another huge makeover.

This past summer, Peet's Coffee, founded in Berkeley back in 1966, was purchased by a German Company for $1 billion. Over the last half-century, on its way to becoming a billion dollar company, Peet's helped launch the Bay Area craft coffee movement, spawning places like Four Barrel, Blue Bottle, Philz, and other independent coffee shops. Today, there's a wealth of coffee shops to be found, each with its own distinctive flavor and fans.

Courtesy of

In 1969, Stephen Barncard’s first visit to San Francisco ended with a spontaneous visit to the Fillmore West.

“I’d never seen the Grateful Dead live before,” Barncard recalls. “I thought their records really were terrible sounding. So I wasn’t necessarily a fan of the band until I heard them live. … But I never figured I’d be working with them.”

Courtesy of

I’m sitting on a brown leather couch inside Studio A at Hyde Street Recording in the Upper Tenderloin. A white baby grand piano sits to my left and a faded blue rug with pink roses lies on the hardwood floor in front of me. If you close your eyes and listen hard enough, you may be able to hear the sounds of San Francisco in the 60s.

Fifty years ago, this building was called Wally Heider Recording. And this room was used by the likes of Crosby Stills Nash and Young, the Grateful Dead, and Jefferson Starship.

Courtesy of Flikr user Sunset Parkerpix

Close to 100,000 jobless Californians will lose as many as 20 weeks of federal unemployment insurance benefits by the end of May. Improvements in California’s economy and a drop in the unemployment rate will end an extension of federal benefits. At an Employment Development Department on Franklin and Turk, KALW’s Angela Johnston spoke to Little Vila, John Saunders, Maurice Gonzales and Yvette, who wouldn’t give her last name. Here are their thoughts on being unemployed in today’s economy:

(San Jose Mercury News) // On Wednesday, the California Supreme Court agreed to hear a case determining whether the State Bar has the authority to allow an undocumented immigrant to practice law. Sergio Garcia, an undocumented immigrant who graduated from Chico State University and a Florida law school, passed the Bar exam in 2009...

(Bay Citizen) // UC Berkeley has filed a trespass lawsuit against 14 people who they claim illegally occupied a tract of land in Albany for the past two and a half weeks. The protesters are calling their movement "Occupy the Farm" and are planting vegetables on the 10-acre parcel of land. The university says the lawsuit is meant to ensure that the trespassers, rather than taxpayers, will bear the expenses of damage to the land...