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San Francisco maker nonprofit Humanmade working to bounce back from fire to continue serving innovators

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San Francisco maker nonprofit Humanmade working to bounce back from fire to continue serving innovators


A first-of-its-kind San Francisco program that trains the next generation of makers is closed temporarily because of a fire, but Its founder is working to safely reopen as soon as possible.

Ryan Spurlock’s nonprofit, Humanmade, empowers hundreds of people with skills and tools they need to launch or get a job in design and maker businesses.

But a recent fire casts a shadow over the program he founded.

“It’s pretty tough. It’s hard enough given the cost of launching a business here and tooling a shop,” said Spurlock.

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The fire apparently started in a surge protector under the table and the sprinkler system couldn’t put out the flames before fire crews arrived so there’s considerable smoke and water damage.

That includes about $50,000 in losses to equipment like 3D printers and computers.

“About 80% of computers are lost because they were on the floor,” Spurlock said.

His goal is to restore the 15,000-square-foot maker space we first visited two years ago. A lot of people are counting on it. Humanmade is home to San Francisco’s first community-based training center for advanced manufacturing. At any given time, dozens of underserved adults take a free 12-week training course to gain skills for jobs of the future.

But because of the fire, that valuable hands-on learning had to go virtual. Program graduate Jody Roane teaches students online while he sharpens his own skills, but he admits that he gets discouraged..

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“It’s given me a sense of trepidation,” Roane said. “I finally figured out what I want to be in life and what I want to do, and then I reach another roadblock.”

The fire is also a setback for entrepreneurs from diverse communities who rely on Humanmade’s discounted access to equipment and mentoring to build their first tangible prototypes in sectors like robotics.

Those startups are scrambling for space.

“We’ve had some folks resort to using their home or garage,” explained Spurlock. “We’re doing our best to get things back up and running.”

And in the process, he’s taken a second look at his commitment to the maker community.

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It helped to solidify why we do this – how important the work we do is, that there are very few of these spaces left in San Francisco,” Spurlock said.

The space is covered by fire insurance, but that takes time, so he has started a GoFundMe account for $50,000 with hopes of reopening in a few weeks after the fire investigation is done and the space is professionally cleaned.

As he crafts a comeback for his six-year-old nonprofit, some days are tougher than others, but the founder and executive director says he draws light and strength from his wife and family  – though not all of them are “human made.”

“The dog has been my saving grace in the last two weeks,” he laughed.

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San Francisco, CA

Travel rush begins for Memorial Day weekend

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Travel rush begins for Memorial Day weekend


Travel rush begins for Memorial Day weekend – CBS San Francisco

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CBS News Senior Transportation Correspondent Kris Van Cleave provides insight on the high travel numbers for the holiday weekend. (05-24-2024)

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San Francisco's Aquarium of the Bay to get new leadership after scandal

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San Francisco's Aquarium of the Bay to get new leadership after scandal


The Aquarium of the Bay, a fixture on San Francisco’s Pier 39 for almost three decades, finds itself in a financial mess due to a scandal embroiling its now-departed CEO who served for almost a decade.  

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Last month, then-CEO George Jacob told KTVU about a massive transformation of the facility where everything but the aquatic tunnels would be removed and replaced by a much bigger building at warp speed.

“We’re excited about its amazing future where we would transform the aquarium into a climate and ocean conservation living museum. The exhibit area would quadruple. We plan to execute, from the date of permits, in 24 months. That level of transition has never happened before and this is going to be something to behold,” said Jacob.

But at the insistence of the Board Chairman Jon Fisher, Jacob resigned over issues of unpaid bills, financial improprieties, excessive spending on travel, dining, personal spending, and holding overseas events to the tune of almost $750,000, as well as a transition the aquarium could not afford. 

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“There will be no proliferating, there will be no events of any kind until the organization is in much better shape,” said Fisher.

Not only are these the longest aquarium tunnels in the United States, they are unique because they are concentrated on Bay life, and you can rarely see Bay life in the murky waters of San Francisco Bay.

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 The top priority for Fisher: the health and safety of aquatic life. 

“The sharks and the fish…they deserve our very best and this was not it. This is a charitable organization for the public good and, unfortunately, I don’t think the previous plans served the public good, served the animals,” said Fisher.

Another priority: empowering employees through a whistleblower policy. The aquarium survived the recession and COVID-19. Will it survive this? 

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“I absolutely think it has a life going forward and I absolutely think our best days are ahead of us,” said Fisher. 

In the short term, a busy summer season will bolster its finances, but new leadership and major operational changes are coming. 
 



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Police shooting shuts down streets in SF's Bayview neighborhood

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Police shooting shuts down streets in SF's Bayview neighborhood


SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — Police activity has shut down streets in San Francisco’s Bayview neighborhood Thursday afternoon.

Police say an officer shot a person, but the individual did not sustain any gunshot wounds.

There is an active scene at Ingalls Street and Armstrong Avenue.

Police are asking the public to avoid the area.

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Stay with ABC7 News for the latest details on this developing story.

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