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    Pacific Beach artist turns seasoned surfboards into precious paintings
    by VICTORIA DAVIS
    Nov 16, 2019 | 2487 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Pacific Beach native JohnMichael Becker is a surfboard street artist.
    Pacific Beach native JohnMichael Becker is a surfboard street artist.
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    The kitchen, an art studio. The street, a gallery. At least, that’s the case for JohnMichael (Mike) Becker, a Pacific Beach native, and surfboard street artist. “It’s a lot more intimate working outside where people can watch,” said Mike, who makes a business out of taking old, unusable surfboards and turning them into works of art. “People are more likely to come up to you and ask about what you’re working on and why.” While his most common workspace is on the north side, anyone cruising along La Jolla Cove will likely catch a glimpse of Mike hard at work, taking acrylic paints to board and creating scenes of sailboats in the sunset, sharks coasting near the shores and sea turtles gliding above coral reefs. Mike often takes requests on the spot from passerby-turned-customers, as well as lets his younger audiences help with painting the coral reefs. “I’ll let the kids grab the brush and dab a little on the reefs and they get super excited,” said Mike, who was also recruited last year to paint the mural on the side of Ohana Café on Pearl Street. “My nephews and nieces have done parts of my paintings as well.” Mike, who typically charges between $500 and $700 for his boards depending on size, has also been brought a handful of snapped boards. For one, he turned the board’s break into a massive shark bite. “The great whites have been out here since I was a kid,” said Mike. “They’re residents. That’s why I paint them as well.” Mike, age 59, also paints more abstract and unconventional scenes on boards, such as Eddie Van Halen with his Frankenstrat above an exploding a volcano. Mike’s artistic inspirations stem not only from growing up in Pacific Beach during the ’60s and ’70s – swimming with the bat rays in Mission Bay at Crown Point – but also derives from Mike and his wife Julie Becker living in the Hawaii countryside for 20 years, “embraced by the islands, the people and the ‘Aloha’ culture.” “He has always looked for different things to paint on, like shells and old picture frames,” said Julie. “When Mike started doing surfboards, that’s when things went crazy. Everyone wanted one. But I can’t say I’m surprised because he’s been an amazing artist from the beginning.” Mike, who has been “doodling in the books” since Crown Point Jr. Elementary, added, “I used to give everything I made away as gifts to people. It was Julie who inspired me to turn this into a business.” When Mike and Julie moved back to Pacific Beach four years ago to be closer to family, Mike was quick to turn his home on Pacific Beach Drive into both an art studio and a place friends, family and perfect strangers could come to purchase painted boards, shells, motorcycle helmets, and picture frames. Mike puts his painted surfboards out on the front lawn with a window sign that reads, ‘Surf art for sale.’” Anyone is also welcome to walk through the house and into the back yard where mike sands and primes the boards before painting. “We live right next to a stop sign and so people have to stop their cars anyway,” said Julie, an artist herself who creates leather purses made from cowboy boots and denim pockets, all hand-sewn with dental floss. “I’ve seen people just sitting in their cars looking over here. We’ve even gotten visits from park rangers who just want to watch Mike work.” Mike added, “If I can create a little window that people can look in for a few seconds a day, if not longer, and the painting eases whoever is looking at it, then I’m doing my job. If you look at my work and it makes your heart smile, I’m doing what I’m supposed to do here.”
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    Rickaroons are naturally delicious energy bars made in Pacific Beach
    by VICTORIA DAVIS
    Nov 15, 2019 | 6590 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Chocolate Blonde, with dark chocolate and coconut, is Rickaroons’ bestseller.
    Chocolate Blonde, with dark chocolate and coconut, is Rickaroons’ bestseller.
    slideshow
    Rickaroons were created by Rick LeBeau.
    Rickaroons were created by Rick LeBeau.
    slideshow
    From whole-wheat to gluten-free, to totally flourless, Pacific Beach’s energy bar company Rickaroons has spent six years trying to perfect an all-natural macaroon recipe that still tastes all good. “You don’t have to convince someone to eat an apple because it’s gluten-free,” said Grant LeBeau, son of Rickaroons creator Rick LeBeau, and co-founder of the company. “It’s the same for us. Rickaroons have ingredients that happen to be gluten-free. “We’re not an imitation of another product. We didn’t try to reverse engineer bread by putting in 50 filler ingredients to get to a bread-like product. Rickaroons are just naturally gluten-free and naturally delicious.” Rickaroons officially began business in 2013 when Grant and Rick began selling their energy bars — made with shredded coconut, coconut palm nectar, cocoa beans, dark chocolate chips, sunflower lecithin, and blended almonds — at local farmers markets. But the original “Rickaroon” was created 12 years before when Rick set out to make a gluten-free cookie for his girlfriend, who at the time was battling multiple sclerosis. “This was back before we had all these gluten-free options and the doctor said she had to cut out gluten from her diet,” said Grant, who was in middle school at the time. “She told my dad, ‘If you love me, you’ll make me a chocolate chip cookie that I can eat.’” Rick — who was also a vegan triathlete — had a cookie business with his girlfriend called “Ultimate Naturals.” The two shared a love for baked goods and his girlfriend’s request for a wheatless cookie became the foundation of Rick’s Rickaroons. Though Ultimate Naturals was not able to be sustained through the 2008 recession, Rick says he, “never stopped improving the recipe for Rickaroons.” “I would make them as often as I would run out, which was usually every couple of weeks,” said Rick. “And I always had the intention of starting up the cookie company again.” In 2012, Rick and Grant joined forces after Grant graduated from college and collaborated with Grant’s sisters, Stevie and Christina Schweighart to help oversee sales, marketing, graphic design, and accounting. Rick, the team’s only baker, began coming up with new flavors like Megaroons, with chia seeds and cacao nibs, Mocha, with dark chocolate espresso, Peanut Butter Protein with peanut butter, pumpkin seed protein and dark chocolate, as well as Mint To Be. “That one’s my favorite,” said Grant. “It’s our answer to a Thin Mint Girl Scout cookie. But our Chocolate Blonde with dark chocolate and coconut, that’s been the best seller since day one.” “I love them all,” added Rick. “Whichever one I’m eating is my favorite.” The Chocolate Blonde, originally called “The Origaroon” was the prototype Rick gave to his girlfriend as her own, custom-made chocolate chip cookie. While she was able to see Rickaroons gain speed up until 2015, Rick’s girlfriend eventually passed away. Rick and Grant make sure Rickaroons stays connected to its roots, participating in fundraisers such as the Susan G. Koman: Race for the Cure, San Diego County Credit Union Walk MS, and Walk MS: San Diego. Rickaroons is also available at more locations than just on Amazon or the company website. Megaroons, Mint To Bes, and Mochas can all be found at Jimbo’s Naturally!, Ocean Beach People’s Organic Food Market, Juice Kaboose, and Cardiff Seaside Market. Each box of Rickaroons holds 12 cookies and is priced at $25. Currently, Rickaroons is also working on a nut-free and chocolate-free line of cookies. “It’s funny how there are so many different groups of people that end up gravitating naturally towards Rickaroons,” said Grant. “We’ve had women tell us that we were their food-of-choice during pregnancy and for breast-feeding because our cookies are higher in plant fat and lower in sugar. So, it’s fun hearing who we end up being supported by and who we end up working for.” Grant added: “Like it says on our site, this all starting for ‘love for a strong woman and a healthy lifestyle.’ We’re excited to continue to share our family’s recipe and mission to feed the world in a way that’s good for the planet, good for their bodies and good for their taste buds.” Are Rickaroons a dessert or a healthy snack? Both. Rickaroons were created by Rick LeBeau as a clean-burning energy food for pre or post workouts. Since LeBeau is both a lifelong health-conscious athlete and a lifelong dessert connoisseur, Rickaroons turned out to be a delicious dessert as well. So eat Rickaroons any time of day and feel good about the dietary choice you've made. For more information, visit rickaroons.com.
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    Mission Bay girls tennis nets first league title
    Nov 14, 2019 | 2907 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    The Mission Bay High School girls tennis team.
    The Mission Bay High School girls tennis team.
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    Mission Bay High School girls tennis team won league for the first time in school history on Oct. 15 with the help of coach Trong Tong. Standouts are singles player Ryan Stone who remains undefeated and the doubles team of Amanda Edmunds and Sonja Cayetano, who came in second place.
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    Veterans gather on Mount Soledad to celebrate Veterans Day
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Nov 13, 2019 | 23905 views | 1 1 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    The San Diego Salute Formation Team airplanes performed a “fleur de lis” flight maneuver at the event for the first time. DON BALCH / VILLAGE NEWS
    The San Diego Salute Formation Team airplanes performed a “fleur de lis” flight maneuver at the event for the first time. DON BALCH / VILLAGE NEWS
    slideshow

    Military planes painted the sky overhead, the Marine Band San Diego played patriotic tunes, the Marine Corps Recruit Depot presented the colors and a true American hero was honored at the traditional Mount Soledad Veterans Day ceremony Monday, Nov. 11.

    Hosted by the Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial Association (MSNVM), this year’s ceremony’s special plaque honoree was senior chief petty officer Kenton Stacy and his family. A U.S. Navy volunteer, Kenton chose to be in one of the military’s most dangerous occupational specialties, an explosive ordinance disposal technician. After more than 50 combat missions, Stacy was severely injured when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated in 2017 in Syria. 

    Kenton has received numerous awards for his distinguished valor, including a Purple Heart, two Bronze Star medals and three Navy Achievement medals. In 2010, he was named USO Sailor of the Year.

    Veterans Day on Nov. 11 traces its roots back to World War I, which ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the armistice with Germany went into effect ending the war to end all wars. Originally known as Armistice Day, the U.S. federal holiday was renamed Veterans Day in 1954. 

    Distinct from Memorial Day, a U.S. public holiday in May honoring those who’ve died in military service, Veterans Day honors all who’ve served, living and deceased, in all U.S. armed services.

    Stacy’s plaque will join more than 5,200 others enshrined on the walls surrounding the Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial at 6905 La Jolla Scenic Drive South. Honorees include U.S. presidents, 12 Medal of Honor recipients, generals and celebrity veterans.

    Congress members Scott Peters and Susan Davis presented a proclamation honoring Stacy. Mayor Kevin Faulconer also spoke, noting “the military is in San Diego’s DNA. Today is about coming together as a community to honor these heroes for their lifetime of patriotism and courage serving our nation.” 

    Of the Mt. Soledad memorial, Faulconer said, “It is a special place for all San Diegans. It’s the only memorial in the United States that honors veterans both living and deceased from the Revolutionary War to the war on terror.” 

    Of memorial plaques, Faulconer said, “They put a face to the names of our heroes and captures a moment in time for that veteran, reminding us of their great commitment to our country.”

    Master of ceremonies Marc Bailey quoted immediate past San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman in noting, “Leadership is a shared responsibility. That’s what you have represented up here on every single one of these plaques, and every one of our veterans who’ve ever served this nation. Each and every one is a leader.”

    Sgt. Neil O’Connell, USMC Ret. and president of MSNVM, thanked those assembled for “supporting us in every endeavor.”

    “We should especially thank those who made the ultimate sacrifice,” said O’Connell, who added Wi-Fi is now available at the memorial, “for eventually having a virtual tour created here to give stories about each and every veteran. We also have created an endowment so that this memorial will remain funded  … to teach our youngsters and our citizens about the sacrifices of our veterans preserving their legacy.”

    Keynote speaker was Capt. Oscar Rojas, Commodore Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group One. 

    The ceremony was capped by a performance by the San Diego Salute Formation Team.

    Asked what it means to be a vet and the significance of Veterans Day, Brian T. Grana said, "Vets are thanked profusely for our service on Veterans Day. For me, and in reality, I like thanking the citizens who allowed me to serve and wear the cloth of our great nation. 

    "When thanked, I typically respond with: 'Thank you for paying my salary and being the type of American citizen worth fighting for.' The first part often elicits a chuckle; the second part, a pregnant pause and an 'I will try harder.'"

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    Juliet Gallus
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    November 15, 2019
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    Bonita Cove to be 'Maruta-ized' – mayor, community leaders break ground for playground makeover
    Nov 12, 2019 | 4384 views | 1 1 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer embraces William Gardner during the morning ceremony on Nov. 12 announcing the renovation of the Bonita Cove playground, which will be named after William’s late wife, Maruta Gardner, who was a Mission Beach community leader. 	THOMAS MELVILLE / BEACH & BAY PRESS
    Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer embraces William Gardner during the morning ceremony on Nov. 12 announcing the renovation of the Bonita Cove playground, which will be named after William’s late wife, Maruta Gardner, who was a Mission Beach community leader. THOMAS MELVILLE / BEACH & BAY PRESS
    slideshow
    On Nov. 12, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer joined community leaders, along with William Gardner, to break ground on a much-needed makeover for the playground at Bonita Cove. The Bonita Cove playground replacement effort was initially started as a private initiative launched by the Mission Beach Women’s Club and longtime resident and active community member of Mission Beach, Maruta Gardner. Following the development of projects funded under the Mission Bay Park plan, the replacement was folded into the larger plan to incorporate both the Bonita Cove West comfort station and playground.  Once complete the playground will be renamed after Maruta Gardner, who was tragically struck and killed by an impaired driver three years ago while she was painting out graffiti in South Mission. When she passed, Faulconer pledged the City’s full support in naming the park in her honor. Improvements to the park include renovation of the half-acre playground, replacement of the comfort station, a new shade structure, sidewalks, and pedestrian curb ramps to meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards and enhanced security lighting. Construction costs total $3.4 million.  “Thanks to the voters the revenue generated by hotels and other leaseholds on Mission Bay’s public parklands is now being spent to improve Mission Bay Park,” Faulconer said. “The Bonita Cove project, in particular, holds a special meaning for this community who have pushed to ensure it will be named after a beloved San Diegan who spent her entire life in service of her city.” Cordelia Mendoza, president of Mission Beach Women’s Club, spoke after the mayor and said that Maruta’s spirit will live on at the new park. “Bonita Cove will be Maruta-ized, just like Mission Beach and the rest of us were,” she added. Last year, Faulconer announced the over $40 million in projects planned over the next few years for Mission Bay Park that are the direct result of two voter-approved ballot initiatives to dedicate millions of dollars to improve regional parks. Faulconer helped author Proposition C in 2008 and Measure J in 2016. Over the next six years, City upgrades to Mission Bay Park call for environmental protection and infrastructure projects, including new and improved playgrounds, comfort stations and other public amenities. Projects include: - Bay dredging – More than $10 million has been spent to restore navigational safety to the bay, which is a top priority for Mission Bay Park. - Parking lots – More than $5 million for parking lot resurfacing at Crown Point North, De Anza North, De Anza South, Dog Beach, North Cove, Old Sea World Drive, Santa Clara, Dusty Rhodes, Hospitality Point, Mission Point, Ocean Beach Dog Beach Walkway, Quivira Road, Playa Pacifica North, Robb Field, Rose Marie Starns South Shores, Sunset Point, Tecolote North and Tecolote South. - Playgrounds – Nearly $8 million to replace playground equipment at Bonita Cove West, Crown Point, Santa Clara, Tecolote North, Tecolote South, Bonita Cove East, Dusty Rhodes, Mission Point, Playa Pacifica and Robb Field. - Comfort stations – More than $7 million to replace and upgrade comfort stations at Bonita Cove West, El Carmel, Mission Bay Athletic Area, North Cove, Santa Clara, Tecolote North, Tecolote South, Bonita Cove East, Dusty Rhodes, Hospitality Point, Mission Point, Playa Pacifica, Robb Field, Sunset Point and Ventura. - Fitness and recreation facilities – More than $3 million to replace and upgrade the adult fitness course on East Mission Bay and the recreation center at Robb Field.
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    November 13, 2019
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