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    Pacific Beach Woman’s Club property sold, to be redeveloped
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Apr 15, 2021 | 5365 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    The 6,200-square foot lot at 1704 Grand Ave. is a pre-World War I historic home and is 95 percent rehabbed. PHOTO BY DAVE SCHWAB
    The 6,200-square foot lot at 1704 Grand Ave. is a pre-World War I historic home and is 95 percent rehabbed. PHOTO BY DAVE SCHWAB
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    Two high-profile historic structures – Pacific Beach Woman’s Club on Hornblend Street and an America Colonial-designed residence on Grand Avenue – are being rehabilitated for reuse by a local real estate investor.

    Escrow recently closed on the century-old PB Woman’s Club located on three parcels at 1721 Hornblend St. The buyer was Ramin Karimi, who also owns the historic 1,750-square foot, barn-style roofed home on the corner of Grand Avenue and Jewell Street.

    Karmi said he purchased the three Hornblend parcels for $1.4 million. “They (Woman’s Club) gave it to us for the lower price when we agreed to let them use the property for the next two years for twice-a-month care for the homeless there via RV showers, and for having their events there a couple of times a year.”

    Karimi has multiple options for adapting the Woman’s Club site. He is nearly done reconstructing the dwelling on Grand and Jewell.

    “The plan is to keep the building, and we have two plans, three really, and we don’t know which route we’re going yet,” Karimi said of his Hornblend property rehabilitation. He added, “We asked the City, and it’s OK with them if we use it as medical offices, splitting the building’s interior with temporary movable walls.”

    Added Karimi: “It’s in a multi-family zone. The City said we could use it as a single-family home or split it up. We can have up to six units on the site. We’re going to split it into three units, each 1,200- to 1,500-square-feet. We might keep the first level as parking and build something on top of that. We’re going to restore it (club building) and keep it the way it is.”

    Karimi’s unsure of the timetable for redeveloping the Woman’s Club, adding it will take months just to get all the permitting to do construction. “I have no idea how long it will take before we can start work,” he pointed out, adding he would consider renting the former building out for weddings and other events. The building has two bathrooms, a kitchen, and a stage.

    The 6,200-square foot lot at 1704 Grand Ave. is a pre-World War I historic home, with a cottage in the rear. It had been listed on the open market for $1 million. It was purchased in a dilapidated state with debris inside.

    The two-story, three-bedroom, and one-bath home was built by the Handley family back in the 1900s. It had been owned and lived in by family members until it was sold to Karimi.

    Of his Grand Avenue investment, Karimi noted: “That was in really bad shape. We’ve worked on it for almost a year, and we’re about 95% done. The architecture of the house, the framing, was amazingly solid, with no termites or bad wood. We didn’t change any of the structure inside.”

    The cottage structure in the back of the Grand Avenue property will be razed. “One plan is to build three units on the backside where the little cottage is now,” Karimi said. “The front of the house has already been fenced and we’re going to keep it the way it is. We plan to advertise it as a historic vacation rental so people all over the country can book it and come and enjoy a 1920s-era home in PB.”

    Karimi’s been active in the PB real estate market for about a decade. He said he purchases historic homes because he finds them “interesting to work on. I like to restore them like old vehicles.” Karimi added homes in his native Persia aren’t considered to be historical until they’re more than 1,500 years old.

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    City Council approves curfews at three Pacific Beach parks
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Apr 15, 2021 | 589 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Fanuel Park on Mission Bay will have a curfew from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. PHOTO BY DAVE SCHWAB
    Fanuel Park on Mission Bay will have a curfew from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. PHOTO BY DAVE SCHWAB
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    Increasing crime in parts of Pacific Beach during the evening- and early-morning hours has prompted the beach community to recommend curfews at Fanuel Park, Pacific Beach Library grounds, and Mission Bay Youth Fields.

    That recommendation was approved by an April 6 full City Council vote.

    “The park curfews will go into effect 30 days after the mayor signs the ordinance, and signage will go up by that time,” said Brian White, past president of Pacific Beach Town Council. “This initiative is the result of a nearly two-year-long process, starting with a petition circulated in July 2019 that gathered 504 signatures in two months. Over the past two years, this proposal has been heard by numerous park advisory groups, commissions, and community groups.

    “I'm glad to see the park curfews nearing the final steps toward implementation. These parks experience elevated levels of crime during nighttime hours, and these curfews will be an added tool for residents and police to make the areas safer."

    The following nighttime curfews are now designated: PB Library, 10 p.m.-5 a.m.; Mission Bay Youth Fields, 11 p.m.-6 a.m.; and Fanuel Park, 10 p.m.-5 a.m. Fanuel Park, which is heavily used during the day especially on weekends, needs further approval from the Coastal Commission, which may take longer to initiate.

    “Also due to City budget shortfalls, local volunteer nonprofit Pacific Beach Town Council is paying for signage costs,” added White, who is working with City Parks and Rec on the details.

    PB civic volunteers agree a curfew has become necessary in designated parks.

    Lee Silber, a volunteer at the Bob McEvoy Fields on Grand Avenue, offered some insight into what happens overnight at the Mission Bay Youth Sports Fields where baseball, softball, and soccer for kids is played.

    As the person who maintains the fields and facilities, Silber noted what he finds mornings when he arrives:

    – Needles, crack pipes, human waste, broken glass, and a lot of litter. 

    – Broken equipment, vandalism, graffiti, real damage to the dugouts, scoreboards, and snack shop.

    – Bike parts, shopping carts, and other stolen items left behind. 

    “What this means is I spend a great deal of time dealing with this, which means I have less time to work on the fields,” noted Silber. “Our league has spent hundreds of dollars fixing things that were broken overnight, which is money that could have been used on the kids. This is the crux of the complaint. It’s a field for kids. And it’s not safe.”

    Silber shared one example.

    “Our games often start at 8 a.m. which means the kids arrive at 7 a.m.,” he said. “I was the first one to arrive on a Saturday at 6:30 a.m. and found a man had broken the lock to the dugout and was inside ‘sleeping’ with a needle still stuck in his arm. When I woke him up he went berserk and chased me around (I led him away from where the kids were arriving). Like many of the things that have happened at the fields, it wasn’t reported to the police because the man got on his bike and rode off. But I know we have called the police many times, too.”

    Another PB volunteer, Marcella Teran, addressed her public support for a nighttime curfew at PB Library Park.

    “Our community's crime rates are growing each year,” Teran said. “We are experiencing increasing crime especially in certain areas of  Pacific Beach during the evening and early morning hours. Three parks that are particularly impacted by criminal activity are Fanuel Park, Pacific Beach Library Park, and Mission Bay Youth Fields. 

    “Many people in the nearby neighborhoods have told me they are afraid to walk, jog, or walk their dogs in or close to these parks during the evening- and early-morning hours. I know this to be true. The night-time curfew is a subtle way to help reduce crime, and help people feel safer,” Teran said.

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    SeaWorld fireworks reignite noise complaints from residents
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Apr 15, 2021 | 2019 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    A SeaWorld fireworks show over Mission Bay from earlier this month. PHOTO BY CHRIS MANNERINO
    A SeaWorld fireworks show over Mission Bay from earlier this month. PHOTO BY CHRIS MANNERINO
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    The resumption of fireworks this spring at the recently reopened SeaWorld has resurrected longtime opposition to the pyrotechnic displays, which opponents insist can be harmful to both animals (especially dogs) and people.

    SeaWorld, which reopened most rides and exhibits on April 12, restarted nightly fireworks on March 26 through April 11. The fireworks shows, which had been on a long hiatus, will continue on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through May 30.

    That action has prompted a new petition drive launched by a San Diego resident on Change.org. The petition, which was started a couple of weeks ago and has 3,105 signatures as of April 14, states: “The fireworks at SeaWorld constitute animal cruelty. Dogs, cats, and other companion animals don't understand that the terrifying loud bangs are a celebration. SeaWorld claims to be an organization based on animal conservation and education, yet it launches nightly fireworks terrifying and tormenting tens of thousands of animals in the San Diego area.”

    “Dogs, cats, and all animals live in terror every night for miles around,” continues the petition. “Can you imagine what the terrifying booming does to its own animals directly under the thunderous sounds in small tanks reverberating the noises? It is beyond irresponsible for an animal conservation group to be inflicting so much pain and trauma to animals. SeaWorld is notorious for its abuse and neglect of its own animals. It’s not surprising they are completely ignorant to this as well. It’s a disgusting display of ignorance and a complete disregard to animal welfare.”

    Reacting to the petition’s allegations, SeaWorld spokesperson Tracy Spahr answered: “We have always conducted our fireworks, which have been a San Diego spring and summer tradition for more than 25 years, in accordance with City of San Diego noise ordinance (San Diego policy 500-06) that regulates such demonstrations. We try to be mindful of our neighbors and their pets by making sure the program is concluded by 9 or 10 p.m., and always communicate the dates and times of our firework presentations.

    “We do understand that atmospheric conditions can cause sound to travel farther distances,” continued SeaWorld’s response. “But we have no way of telling if those conditions have been different now than from previous years. We’ve also used the same fireworks shells for the past decade and as part of our policy, we don't use any fireworks shells for the sole purpose of making noise (these are called salutes), but limit the shells to the smaller version that result in the colorful burst people can see. From our observations and noise studies, animals are said to be used to the various sounds and different noises in their environment, and are quite desensitized to them.”

    Regarding the impact of noise from fireworks on its marine park animals, SeaWorld previously asserted: “Our firework displays do not impact the animals in our park. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service filed a report relating to our animals and fireworks that states that ‘all animals were apparently healthy and there were no aberrant behavioral manifestations noted’ ... as a result of firework activities in the evening during summer. More than 10 years of analysis consistently demonstrate that our fireworks displays, which only last five minutes, are not having a detrimental impact on Mission Bay.”
    There are other, better alternatives to pyrotechnics, states the Change.org petition, adding: “Fireworks are available in silent options. This petition is to encourage SeaWorld to be conscientious about their animals and the tens of thousands of animals around their park that they affect on a nightly basis. Please sign this petition to make a change for their animals and ours.”

    https://www.change.org/p/seaworld-parks-and-entertainment-sea-world-fireworks

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    Couple leads tours to ‘quirky hidden spots’ in San Diego
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Apr 14, 2021 | 11562 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Riding Hydro Bikes on Mission Bay. COURTESY PHOTO
    Riding Hydro Bikes on Mission Bay. COURTESY PHOTO
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    Darlynne and Marc Menkin migrated from the East Coast to San Diego to re-establish themselves and ended up becoming tour guides, something neither of them had ever considered.

    Darlynne Reyes Menkin was working in broadcast news and her husband Marc had been busy discovering “quirky hidden spots” exploring the shores of North Pacific Beach and Bird Rock.

    “He would come home and tell me about all the really cool places he’d found,” said Darlynne. “Finally he said to me, ‘I think I want to do this tour guide thing.’ I said, ‘Ok, we’ll go for it.’ I’ll help you as much as I can.”

    The couple started doing walking tours on weekends for fun and enjoyed it so much they began to figure out how to earn a living from it.

    “Then a company called us asking if we’d be willing to help them put together a team-building project,” noted Darlynne. “That’s how it started.”

    Now the pair own two sister companies, Out Of The Ordinary Group Adventures for team building, and Where You Want To Be Tours covering guided walking and bicycling tours, which began in 2003.

    “We offer adventures for the public and also for private groups, which are often a family, a group of friends for an outdoor birthday adventure, or meet-up groups and companies looking for a fun team building day outside,” said Darlynne.

    “Our team-building company was actually started in 1996, and as time has gone on we’ve gotten more companies doing it such as Qualcomm, Kaiser, and Sharp,” noted Marc, adding both their companies are under one umbrella. “They go hand in hand,” he said adding, “We do scavenger hunts, one of our best sellers, in Balboa Park and elsewhere. We also do team Olympics, a cooking ‘iron chef’ as well as teaching outrigger racing and sailing. The list goes on, over 30 different team-building concepts for groups who want to play or bond, as well 15 to 20 different experiences for Where You Want To Be.”

    “During this COVID time, outside tours are best, you can easily physically distance in beach communities like La Jolla,” added Darlynne.

    Marc discussed their Hidden Gem Walking Tour.

    “South of La Jolla Village there are some great beaches, like WindanSea, and just some really unusual places, hidden, secret beaches near mansions,” noted Marc. He added, “It’s an easy two-hour, four-mile walking tour with no steep hills. We know all the great spots, on top of the cliffs and the tidepools. We’ve gotten good feedback on our secret beaches and canyons tours. We show people where they can go to take a walk or bike ride.”

    “We get very excited about being able to show these places to local people, or when they have their families in town,” noted Darlynne. “We get jazzed about empowering them.”

    Their clientele is diverse, said Darlynne.

    “It’s leisure family tours as well as corporate and local groups and companies, tourists visiting, birthday parties and school reunions,” she said. “People want to be outside.”

    Marc said they’re planning to begin bicycle and electric bike tours soon in North PB and Bird Rock. “It will be a 12- to 15-mile tour with stops along the way,” he said, adding similar tours are planned in Mission Beach and Sunset Cliffs.

    Darlynne pointed out people want something extraordinary in a group tour.

    “They don’t want canned tours,” she said. “They want something that really speaks to them, allows them to have some fun with their families, something that is different and unique – a new experience.”

    “We’re ourselves,” noted Darlynne of their success adding, “We also donate our time a lot to the military and faith-based groups.”

    “Right now we’re planning for adventures in the hospitality industry, encouraging people to participate who’ve been in the hard-hit hotel and hospitality industry,” noted Marc.

    The couple feeds off the reactions of guests on their guided tours. “We enjoy being in the moment, observing what people are learning,” Marc concluded.

     

    Info Box:

    What: Darlynne and Marc Menkin group team building, walking, and biking tours

    Contact: groupadventures.com, wheretours.com, 858-487-3418.

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    Most rides, exhibits, events and shows open at SeaWorld
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Apr 13, 2021 | 4457 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    The roller coaster Electric Eel – where riders drop from heights of 150 feet while getting boosted 60 mph forwards and backward through looping twists – is now open at SeaWorld. PHOTO BY THOMAS MELVILLE
    The roller coaster Electric Eel – where riders drop from heights of 150 feet while getting boosted 60 mph forwards and backward through looping twists – is now open at SeaWorld. PHOTO BY THOMAS MELVILLE
    slideshow

    Having relaunched its rides on April 12, SeaWorld has fully reopened its theme park with limited capacity featuring animal exhibits, presentations, and other entertainment experiences.

    “We’re delighted to bring back some of the best thrill and family rides that San Diego has to offer,” said park president Marilyn Hannes. “Our guests have been eager for SeaWorld to reopen rides, and we are looking forward to providing these exciting experiences to our guests.”

    “We reopened in August 2020 then again in early February as an accredited zoo and aquarium with changes to almost every aspect of our park operations to enhance our already strict health and safety standards – from food service to live animal presentations,” noted Tracy Spahr, SeaWorld spokesperson. “Now with guidelines available from the state, SeaWorld San Diego is operating as a theme park. Guests can enjoy our indoor exhibits and see penguins, sharks, belugas and our new northern sea otters; learn about dolphins and sea lions at live educational presentations, and sip and savor around the world at the Seven Seas Food Festival event on weekends.”

    Added Spahr: “Meet the Sesame Street characters at the Sesame Street Bay of Play. Watch a new live animal presentation called R is for Rescue, an exclusive show to our park that highlights rescued animals with some added fun from Elmo and Abby Cadabby, plus all the park’s rides.”

    Spahr noted SeaWorld employees, during the park’s closures, were present to properly care for animals. “In addition, our SeaWorld Rescue Team continued to be on call 24/7/365, partnering with multiple government agencies to rescue and help animals in need of our care during the pandemic, giving them a second chance at life,” she said. “Last year, we rescued 819 animals, 463 of those were while we were closed due to COVID.”

    What can park guests expect from the reopened SeaWorld?

    “We’ve added plexiglass to the rides and extra-distancing measures. In addition, hand sanitizer is available at the entrance and exit of all rides and throughout the park, and we have increased the frequency of cleaning and sanitizing and all rides are kept to a limited capacity,” replied Spahr.

    What to expect:

    PARK RIDES

    Open: The roller coaster Electric Eel – where riders drop from heights of 150 feet while getting boosted 60 mph forwards and backwards through looping twists – as well as the Tentacle Twirl, Elmo’s Flying Fish, Oscar’s Rockin’ Eel, and the Sea Dragon Drop. 

    Opening soon: Water rides Shipwreck Rapids and Journey to Atlantis, roller coaster Manta, Riptide Rescue, Octarock, and the Bayside Skyride.

    Temporarily closed: The roller coaster Tidal Twister, and the Skytower.

    Opening in 2021: The Emperor roller coaster will be the tallest and fastest floorless dive coaster in the state. Riders will dangle and drop more than 150 feet before plunging 90 degrees into exhilarating loops, a tribute to the Emperor penguins’ journey from frozen cliffs to their deep dive into the depths of the ocean. 

     

    SESAME STREET

    The laughter and learning of Sesame Street come to life at Sesame Street Bay of Play where families can participate in new experiences including the all-new R is for Rescue animal education presentation on how the park cares for animals in need, and how we can all take care of the environment to make it a safer place for animals.

     

    FOOD FEST

    For those who like to sip, savor, and sample, the Seven Seas Food Festival continues through May 2. The event runs Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, serving more than 125 flavors from around the world with live music performances stationed throughout the park. Weekend guests will experience the heart-pounding energy and beauty of the Polynesia Dance Show, complete with atmospheric Hawaiian traditional music, hula dancers, a fire dance and live musicians. 

    To prepare for the spring and summer months ahead, SeaWorld is recruiting and hiring more employees. Southern California residents can now purchase a SoCal resident pass for $9 a month, which includes unlimited visits for 12 months and 50 percent off parking. Visit seaworldsandiego.com for more details.

    Added Hannes, “Safety is our number one priority, and as we’ve been fortunate to already be open and operating as a zoo; we’ve already implemented significant safety enhancements for our guests.” To give guests ample space for a physically distanced visit, the number of date-specific tickets and reservations available each day are limited and must be purchased online and in advance of each visit to manage capacity.

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