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    New South Mission Beach lifeguard station open and operational
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    May 26, 2019 | 2020 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Beachgoers walk past the new South Mission Beach lifeguard station near the jetty. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    Beachgoers walk past the new South Mission Beach lifeguard station near the jetty. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    Having survived a lawsuit and construction delays, San Diego lifeguards unveiled the brand new South Mission Beach lifeguard station at a May 24 open house. “It’s an amazing, beautiful tower,” said San Diego Lifeguard Chief James Gartland. “We couldn’t be happier. It just gives us a great perspective of the beach. What we have now is a state-of-the-art building that will serve our community for the next 30 to 50 years.” The new 3,809-square-foot, three-story lifeguard station at 700 North Jetty Road replaced a temporary facility, now demolished, that was constructed in 1974.  The new facility features dual-observation areas, a ground floor with a first-aid room, storage for rescue vehicles and equipment, a second floor with an observation deck and administration area, and a third floor housing the main observation tower. The project also repaired adjacent sidewalks and curbs and installed an erosion-control barrier. It now facilitates disabled access. The project also restriped parking spaces, installed new signage, and put in a sidewalk from the ample parking lot to the station entrance. The new tower and station directly oversees an area from the South Mission Beach jetty to Ventura Place. “This is definitely an upgrade for everyone,” said Dana Vanos, president of the San Diego Lifesaving Association, during a sneak peak by the Beach & Bay Press of the new station. Touring the facility, Vanos showed off the state-of- the-art men’s and women’s locker rooms, medical room with a stretcher and shower to treat stingray victims and a rescue surfboard rack. In back of the station is a double-bay garage housing a truck, utility vehicles and rescue equipment. Lifeguard on duty Aaron Chase said the new South Mission Beach tower is part of a network of strategically placed, overlapping observation points which “mesh together like a gear.” Of working in the new facility, Chase said, “There’s a lot more space. It’s a lot cleaner.” Chase said there will be eight lifeguards on duty in the tower during the busy summer. Only two will be on duty during winter. Permanent guards work 10-hour shifts. Seasonal guards work eight hours. Noting Mission Beach is crowded from sunup to sundown when the sun is out, Chase pointed out scores of people play volleyball there every Saturday. “It’s off the charts,” he said. “It’s a very active beach.” Vanos noted South Mission Beach has “a fixed rip (current) along the jetty that is a very dangerous swim area that surfers use to get out past breaking waves. If swimmers get stuck in that, it can be a pretty hairy rescue.” Asked what advice he would give swimmers, Chase replied, “Talk to a lifeguard before you go into the water. They’ll tell you where the good – and bad – spots are.” Vanos encouraged swimmers to engage with guards. “We’re ambassadors for the city,” she said. “We welcome any questions.” Lifeguard station construction was held up for years by a legal challenge brought by Citizens For Beach Rights, a Mission Beach resident group. They contended the lifeguard tower’s site development permit was invalid because it had expired. They also argued the new facility, first proposed in 2002,  was overly large and would obstruct views. “Citizens for Beach rights always approved of a new lifeguard tower,” said CFBR spokesman Ken Giavara. “As permanent residents down here in South Mission Beach we understand more than anyone the need for a new tower. Obviously our fight was with the illegal process of permitting and increased size, the changes in location (which is practically in the water) and relying on environmental reports from 2001, which we still believe is going to be a major problem down the road.”
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    Environment Committee favors fido-friendly option for Fiesta Island
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    May 25, 2019 | 4021 views | 1 1 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Julia Gray runs with her dog Whiskers at Fiesta Island. / Photo by Kathy Miller Gray
    Julia Gray runs with her dog Whiskers at Fiesta Island. / Photo by Kathy Miller Gray
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    Dog owner’s tails were wagging as the San Diego City Council Environment Committee May 23 voted 4-0 for their preferred option in redeveloping Fiesta Island. The issue will now go to the full City Council Monday, June 17 at 2 p.m. in council chambers. It will also have to pass muster with the California Coastal Commission. Government agencies have gone back-and-forth on choosing between two alternatives: Option B favored by Fiesta Island Dog Owners, and Option A espoused by non-motorized boaters including kayakers and paddle boarders. Option A would divide the manmade island with a road and reduce access for off-leash dog park users, while providing storage and beach access for personal watercraft. Option B would keep the island intact and undivided while increasing the fenced, off-leash area, which would be bisected by a road if Option A is ultimately selected. Either option is proposed as an amendment to the Mission Bay Park Master Plan to update the land uses and vision for 470-acre, multi-use Fiesta Island. City staffer Sarah Osborne told the council committee that either option would “amend and update the Mission Bay Park master plan with a new vision and conceptual plan.” Emotions ran high on both sides during lengthy public testimony. Speaking for Option A, James Gonzalez said, “It’s about sharing, not someone winning or losing. The solution can be a win-win for all.” Added Gonzalez, “There are 17 off-leash dog parks in San Diego. … We are dog owners too. The paddling community needs a permanent home.” “The San Diego Audubon Society supports Option A,” testified Andrew Meyer.“ “Tens of thousands of people use this open space 365 days a year from dawn to dusk,” testified Kathy Parrish of FIDO for Option B. “We come from every demographic, every ethnicity and economic circumstance. Please don’t pave our paradise.” “This is not an issue of taking versus sharing,” testified FIDO president Carolyn Chase arguing if Option A is chosen, “You’ll be turning seven acres of multi-use today over to exclusive use by one group forever.” How many of you love Fiesta Island the way it is?,” asked another speaker. “I’m in support of doing everything we can to keep Fiesta Island as natural as possible,” said committee chair Dr. Jen Campbell of District 2, who moved to approve dog lover’s Option B. Committee member Councilman Scott Sherman, a dog owner, said he’s been going to Fiesta Island since he was a kid. “Being a boater and a paddler as well, I like to try and find a compromise,” Sherman said proposing an alternative for non-motorized boaters. “The nearby South Shores boat launch is both underutilized, and the best place to practice. This can be a win-win for everybody,” he said. “I appreciate that we had two options and the passion and commitment on both sides,” said committee member Barbara Bry of District 1. “This is a most opportune time to preserve Fiesta Island as a magic place to San Diegans for generations to come.” Pointing out her pooch, Luna, is frequently mentioned on her Facebook page, committee member Vivian Moreno of District 8 said, “I truly understand why so many dog owners use Fiesta Island.”
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    Ocean Beach Pier reopens for ‘unofficial start to summer’
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    May 24, 2019 | 5132 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    The first visitors on the Ocean Beach Pier in four months walk down the iconic promenade after the official reopening early Friday morning. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    The first visitors on the Ocean Beach Pier in four months walk down the iconic promenade after the official reopening early Friday morning. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    Mayor Kevin Faulconer and District 2 Councilmember Dr. Jen Campbell, along with a host of Obecians, formally reopened Ocean Bean Pier at early morning ceremony on May 24. “The unofficial start to the summer is here,” proclaimed Faulconer, while thanking City crews for “bringing the pier in on time and under budget, and for working a lot of days and evenings to get this beautiful pier open for San Diego in time for Memorial Day. I’d like to thank the community for all your help and support.” “We’re so happy to have this for our Memorial Day weekend kick-off for the summer,” said Campbell. “This pier means so much to OB. It’s a community gathering center, and we really appreciate the beauty that it provides for us.” “All the businesses are so grateful to have the pier open again,” said Denny Knox of Ocean Beach MainStreet Association. “It really does affect affect us when it’s closed. I want to thank the mayor’s office for pushing so hard to make this happen, and all the work the City and our City Council did all working together to make this happen.” OB Pier was closed in January for public safety and to make repairs after the structure was ravaged by unusually strong winter storms and king tides.  City staff determined that more than 2,200 feet of guard rail, electric, water and sewer lines needed serious repair or replacement. Renovation work began in March and was completed for about $309,000, which is $121,000 less than initially estimated.  More than 50 years old, OB Pier is still in need of permanent repair. City staff is in the process of formulating a long-term rehabilitation plan to evaluate the pier’s overall condition. San Diego Lifeguard Chief James Garland saluted City crews that worked on the pier’s restoration. “They did just a fantastic job,” he said. “It’s nice it will be open for the summer. We’re really excited to have this. It’s like having an old friend back.” Spanning more than 1,970 feet, Ocean Beach Pier is the second longest on the West Coast and the longest concrete pier in the world. The pier opened in 1966 and it receives more than 500,000 visitors every year.
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    Tidal Twister coaster opens and fireworks at SeaWorld this Memorial Day weekend
    May 23, 2019 | 5246 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    The Tidal Twister roller coaster officially opens on May 24.
    The Tidal Twister roller coaster officially opens on May 24.
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    SeaWorld will kick off summer with a bang, as the park celebrates Memorial Day with fireworks, a 75-piece marching band, and the debut of the park’s all-new, dueling coaster, Tidal Twister. Plus the Sesame Street Party Parade – featuring nine larger-than-life themed floats and iconic Sesame Street characters such as Big Bird, Elmo, Bert and Ernie and more – is back with colorful musical performances weekends through Sept. 1. All of the festivities are included with park admission. May 24: Tidal Twister roller coaster officially opens. May 25-26: Military recognition before all Orca Encounter presentations, Sesame Street Party Parade (4:45 p.m.), Memorial Day Fireworks Tribute (8:50 p.m.). May 27: Memorial Day Flag Ceremony at Explorer’s Reef (10:15 a.m.) includes 75-piece Valley Center High School Marching Band, military recognition before all Orca Encounter presentations, Valley Center High School Marching Band on lawn in front of Skytower (1 p.m.), Memorial Day Fireworks Tribute (8:50 p.m.). For more information, visit SeaWorldSanDiego.com or call 619-222-4SEA.
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    First Fridays to be amplified this summer at Liberty Station
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    May 22, 2019 | 3486 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    The launch of the inaugural First Friday quarterly event will be on June 7, starting at 6:30 p.m. It will feature live concerts on the grassy North Promenade, along with a craft beer garden and a pop-up market. 
    The launch of the inaugural First Friday quarterly event will be on June 7, starting at 6:30 p.m. It will feature live concerts on the grassy North Promenade, along with a craft beer garden and a pop-up market. 
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    First Friday amplified will feature New Reveille, a four-piece Americana band from Raleigh, N.C.
    First Friday amplified will feature New Reveille, a four-piece Americana band from Raleigh, N.C.
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    Friday Night Liberty in Liberty Station is “supersizing,” expanding along with a name change to First Friday Arts District, and First Friday Arts District (((amplified))) for quarterly concerts. The launch of the inaugural First Friday quarterly event will take place 5 to 9 p.m. on June 7, with the band starting at 6:30 p.m. It will feature live concerts on the grassy North Promenade, along with a craft beer garden and a pop-up market.  June’s First Friday amplified will feature New Reveille, a four-piece Americana band described as “twangy, truck-driving music that runs on classical gas.” Opening for New Reveille will be Nena Anderson with her  blues-tinged, Americana music, velvet voice and catchy melodies.  NTC Foundation associate director of marketing and communications Andrew Waltz said the Arts District has come a long way. “When we started in 2009, the Arts District had seven completed buildings,” Waltz said. “Ten years later, we’ve grown to 45 renovated buildings filled with more than 145 organizations and businesses including art galleries, artist studios, museums, cafés, a food market and more.” Waltz added the event’s new name, First Friday Arts District, “reflects our new approach to this signature event and puts the focus on the arts, the community and the visitor experience. Now, the First Friday Arts District name says when it is and where it is.” It’s hoped the improved First Fridays event will have broader appeal. “We wanted a different narrative to bring in a different audience, folks coming to enjoy the music as well as the art,” Waltz said. “We hope to keep people on their feet with a whole evening of danceable music. They can walk around and visit all the art galleries. We’ll also have local craft vendors, a pop-up market and a beer garden.” Other attractions: - Pop-up Craft Market: Will offer an eclectic mix of local fashion and handmade gifts with outdoor spaces showcasing a curated selection of vendors, artisans, and creative activities. The vendor mix will include jewelry designers, candle makers, vintage retailers, local boutiques, fashion and art mixed with live demonstrations and mini-workshops.  • San Diego Dance Theater: Celebrates educational and outreach programs with performances by Aging Creatively students and outreach classes. Performances at 5:30 and 6: 30 p.m. at White Box Live Arts, Building 176 – 2590 Truxtun Rd.  • DanzArts Children's Academy takes guests on a journey through Mexico and Spain through dance. Performances at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. near the North Promenade and Barracks 17 Plaza.  • Blue Pearl Art: First Anniversary Celebration: Invites guests to come celebrate their anniversary with flowers. Floral arrangements will be created live and raffled off. All visitors will receive one free entry, plus 20 percent off floral prints and deals on original floral pieces. 5 to 9 p.m. in Barracks 15. - Anneville Jewelry Lab: Stop by for live Japanese metalworking demos at 6, 7 and 8 p.m. - Martha Pace Swift Gallery’s new exhibit features Stacie Birky Greene. - Shop Mingei showcases a special trunk show with master textile artist Sarah Myriam Winston. And San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts Senior Class Art Show.
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    News
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