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    Leaving 2017 by leaps and bounds – Beach & Bay Press looks back at last year's top stories for Pacific and Mission beaches
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Jan 11, 2018 | 18012 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    City Ballet dancer Kimberly Green executes a grand jeté on the Law Street beach as the sun sets on 2017.                 THOMAS MELVILLE / BEACH & BAY PRESS
    City Ballet dancer Kimberly Green executes a grand jeté on the Law Street beach as the sun sets on 2017. THOMAS MELVILLE / BEACH & BAY PRESS
    slideshow
    It was an eventful year in 2017 for Pacific and Mission beaches, which grappled with a number of vexing issues. Coastal communities tackled everything from community beautification to sea-level rise and wetlands protection. Beach residents groped to cope with growing homelessness issues, as well as a proliferation of short-term vacation rentals, and crime. The area also celebrated the 90th anniversary of Crystal Pier, plans to substantially upgrade Mission Bay Park, and the opening of exciting new businesses. The following is a month-by-month chronicle of what the Beach & Bay Press covered in Pacific Beach, Mission Beach, and Mission Bay throughout 2017. JANUARY - Planned Parenthood completed plans to modernize and double its Mission Bay Health Center. - County officials were working with “feral cat folks” to save, rather than exterminate, felines trapped in a federal program to preserve endangered coastal bird species by culling their predators. - A series of storms roared through beach areas Jan. 19 - Jan. 24, depositing about 2.4 inches of rain and causing some flooding, downed trees and power outages.  - City Attorney Mara Elliott alleged several San Diego restaurants, including some along the beachfront, were adding questionably legal, 3 percent surcharges to customers' bills without proper notice to compensate for a minimum-wage pay increase. - San Diego lifeguard “legend” Bill Bender retired after 35 years service with “countless” rescues to his credit. - Volunteers created a “peace garden” at Mission Bay High. - The rebuild of the historic Plunge Pool at Belmont Park was ushered in at a Jan. 30 public tearing-down ceremony with Mayor Faulconer. The event included a plaque unveiling dedicated to Maruta Gardner, a Mission Beach educator tragically killed in 2016 by an intoxicated driver while painting out graffiti near the Mission Beach jetty. - Pacific Beach Planning Group sent a letter asking that the beach community be considered as one of 10 proving grounds being sought nationwide for so-called driverless vehicles. A “driverless” car, also known as an autonomous, self-driving or robotic car, is a vehicle capable of sensing its environment and navigating without human input. FEBRUARY - Public officials, businesses and residents collectively launched a “clean and safe program” to remove trash in Pacific Beach and make the community safer, while offering the homeless a hand up. - PB made Circulate San Diego's ignominious “The Fatal Fifteen” list of most dangerous intersections for pedestrians, with its problematic intersection at Mission Boulevard and Garnet Avenue. That crossing, No. 3 on the list, had 16 total collisions, with 17 serious injuries recorded between 2001-2015. - Two Mission Beach businessmen pled guilty to conspiracy to sink a 57-foot boat used for charter sport-fishing trips in order to collect insurance money. A judge later placed them on 18 months federal probation after they paid the U.S. Coast Guard $18,000 for rescuing them. - A motorist pled guilty to committing attempted murder and two assaults in hitting three pedestrians in Pacific Beach in which one suffered brain damage and was in a coma. - Family-run Saska’s steakhouse in MB reopened Feb. 23 with an updated design and feel as Saska’s Steak & Seafood. The popular eatery first opened in 1951. - Sprouts natural and organic grocery enlarged its space from 19,000 to 23,000 square feet adding a new salad bar, deli and juice bar. - A flamenco festival debuted in PB showcasing internationally acclaimed and local performers. - PB planners heard distressing news that the beach community ranked second to East Village, out of 125 city of San Diego communities, in violent crimes, with 216 reported the year before in the beach community. Then-PBPG chair Brian Curry characterized statistics as “simply unacceptable,” describing the status quo as “Apocalypse now.” MARCH - Approximately 245 trailers were removed from the former De Anza Cove mobile home park while the city was midway through the De Anza Revitalization Plan, a three-year comprehensive outreach and planning program to re-imagine, re-purpose and revitalize De Anza Special Study area within Mission Bay Park. - MBHS girls soccer had a record-setting season finishing with 23-4-1 mark (15-0 at home), ending as champions of the City League. - Cornerstone PB business Crest Liquor celebrated its 70th anniversary. The liquor store, deli and convenience store at 3787 Ingraham St. started as a dozen vacant lots in Crown Point in 1947. - New City Attorney Mara Elliott issued a March 15 memo opining that short-term vacation rentals were “not specifically defined, expressly permitted, or listed in any of the zone use categories … essentially making them illegal in residential areas.” Her memo buttressed arguments by a growing tide of detractors seeking more restrictions on, and enforcement of, short-term rentals.  - PB breweries Karl Strauss Brewing Co. and Amplified Ale Works teamed to help raise funding for the PB Pathways project to make PB more cycling- and pedestrian-friendly.  - San Diego Fire Chief Brian Fennessy refuted allegations by the life- guards’ union that a change to how water-related emergency calls was being handled slowed down lifeguard response times jeopardizing public safety. APRIL - In a complete reversal of the Lower Superior Court, the Fourth Appellate District Court of Appeal ruled construction of a long-delayed new lifeguard tower for South Mission Beach was valid and had not expired, as project opponents had claimed. A lawsuit by tower opponents contended the project was outdated and needed to start over. - A proposed Mission Beach MAD was placed on indefinite hold following push back from community residents questioning its specifics, most notably its costs and purview.  - Transforming its decades-old business model, SeaWorld San Diego, after rebranding its killer whale shows, announced it would end its nightly summer fireworks displays. - The Red Bull Air Race over San Diego bay thrilled huge crowds. - An informal meeting by PB residents outside PB Taylor Branch Library discussed “taking the park back.” - Campland on the Bay upgraded and renamed its full-service restaurant appointing Clare McKevitt as restaurant manager. - Stakeholders heard what's going on with baseline studies of existing fish and other marine species in Marine Protected Areas, including La Jolla and Pacific Beach, at a public meeting at Marina Village Conference Center. - PB Planning Group April 26 voted in favor of moving the weekly farmers market from Bayard to Garnet in the heart of the beach community's business district. - Beach residents got their last chance on April 25 to weigh-in on proposed alternatives for reclaiming marshland in Mission Bay at a fourth public workshop hosted by ReWild Mission Bay at MBHS. MAY - Fifteen years in state prison was the sentence handed down to the motorist who ran down three people in PB, causing severe brain damage to one of them.  - St. Andrews by-the Sea Episcopal Church converted part of its front lawn for garden space bolstering community gardening efforts. - Plans were announced to convert the long-dormant Mission Bay Visitor Information Center into a waterfront restaurant/event center while preserving the existing building's marine theme. The $3 million redevelopment project was dubbed Shoreline Mission Bay. - The site recently inhabited by Guy Hill Cadillac and San Diego Jet Ski Rental at 4275 Mission Bay Drive was demolished to be replaced by a three-level, mixed-use project with one level of retail/parking and 172 residential units. - The fourth annual Taste of Mission Beach progressive dinner fundraising event May 11, sponsored by Mission Beach Women’s Club, raised funds benefitting Shelter to Soldier, a non-profit that adopts dogs from rescues and trains them to be psychiatric service dogs for post-9/11 combat veterans suffering from PTSD. - The city kickstarted its long-delayed public planning process for the future of Fiesta Island, presenting two different options for a road bisecting the manmade island. Fiesta Island dog owners favored “Option B,” which keeps the fenced-in dog park intact, while Option A would put a road down the dog area. - May was National Hamburger Month and May 28 was National Hamburger Day. BBP profiled some of the best spots to grab a burger at the beach. - The less redevelopment the better was the takeaway from dog owners packing a May 23 scoping meeting at MBHS to hound the city about what they'd like — and not like — to see with long-range planning on Fiesta Island. JUNE - The Pacific Beach Parking Advisory Board sought public input on what visitors and residents thought about the community's parking and traffic situation via an online survey. - The city approved funding for a roundabout at troublesome Foothill Boulevard and Loring Street intersection. - MB activists lobbied to get more money in the city budget for additional summer trash pickup to combat fly infestation during the busy tourist season. - SeaWorld debuted its new education-oriented “Orca Encounter” show replacing the old Shamu shows lobbied against successfully by animal-rights activists. - PB residents began fighting back against bicycle thievery, documenting the growing illicit repurposing and resale of stolen bikes. - MBHS’s Class of 2017's graduation ceremony June 14 was an ending – and a beginning — a familiar theme cutting across speeches in the commencement program. - The iconic Coaster Saloon in MB was sold for an undisclosed sum to Davies LLC, led by David Cohn of the Cohn Restaurant Group. - Following Coastal Commission review, the City Council approved zoning changes to a slightly downscaled project, with somewhat larger park space, that would redevelop the former Mission Beach Elementary School into condominiums. - The iconic building on the corner of Garnet Avenue and Fanuel Street in PB was named The Rose Center after the late Dr. Nathaniel Rose. - Thieves were warned by SDPD during a June 29 press conference that the bait bike program was in “full effect,” and that criminals caught stealing would face certain punishment. JULY - Crystal Pier celebrated its 90th anniversary. Since it was dedicated in 1927, the landmark at 4500 Ocean Blvd. has had numerous owners, two names, a ballroom, a carnival and 270 more feet. - The public weighed-in on an environmental impact report for a Balboa Avenue trolley stop, one of nine planned for the Mid-Coast Trolley project extending trolley service 11 miles from Sante Fe Depot downtown to University City, ending at UTC and serving major activity centers including Old Town and two stops at UC San Diego. - San Diego Audubon, spearheading a wetlands reclamation effort in the city’s ongoing De Anza Revitalization Plan, credited the city for backing habitat restoration — but claimed it wasn’t enough. “What is missing is the long-term view to ensure wetlands can continue to create cleaner water, buffer communities from sea-level rise, provide habitat for wildlife and get people out in nature,” said Audubon’s Rebecca Schwartz Lesberg. AUGUST - Some PB residents near Kate Sessions Park were upset about the city's plans to sell the old 4.76-acre reservoir site in north PB, one of the beach community's last remaining developable open spaces offering views to the west. - The city and DecoBike both backed off on boardwalk bike-sharing, a sore spot with MB and PB small businesses complaining bikeshare was directly competing with them by taking away business. SEPTEMBER - Catherine Jolley, former PB Town Council president, was named Citizen of the Year for Pacific Beach. Jolley received the honor for the continued support she has provided and for the season-opening breakfast she organized for all lifeguard divisions together. - A Pacific Beach man, Matt Phillips, launched a petition drive on change.org calling for coastal churches to end homeless “feeds,” a practice rekindling public debate over whether homeless need a hand out — or a hand up. - PB Town Council held its annual heartfelt salute to local emergency workers who make a difference in the community during the Police and Emergency Services Appreciation Night (PAESAN) Sept. 27. OCTOBER - Miller's Field in PB, which celebrated its 10th anniversary earlier in the year, announced the prime retail space on Mission Boulevard was sold to Breakfast Republic, a fast-growing chain. - The annual Pacific BeachFest marked 20 years of celebration with music, beer and fish tacos along the boardwalk. - Responding to a petition drive by a PB man asking churches to stop feeding the homeless, local church leaders said the free meals are part of their mission, and a convenient way to provide outreach services to the needy. - An ongoing City of San Diego project to replace and rehabilitate aging water and sewer infrastructure led to road closures throughout PB – specifically Ingraham Street and bridge, along with other side streets in Crown Point. - Larissa Miller created Balinese-inspired PI Yoga Pants, the newest sensation in namaste apparel. - The first meeting between church leaders and concerned neighbors over problems surrounding churches feeding the homeless in PB was described by both parties as encouraging, though no action was taken. Stakeholders agreed to meet regularly. - Gordon Walker, one of San Diego's new homeless “czars,” was on the receiving end of some community angst surrounding the complex social issue during an Oct. 18 Q&A session at PB Town Council. NOVEMBER - In a tribute to late educator Maruta Garder, nonprofit beautifulPB held a multi-project, community-service day Nov. 3 cleaning throughout the beach community. - A hepatitis A outbreak had 16 cases reported in Pacific and Mission beaches, 11 in OB and Point Loma and three in La Jolla. - The City Attorney’s Office Nov. 2 defeated a lawsuit that sought to invalidate the City of San Diego’s lease of Belmont Park in Mission Beach to a company that has invested more than $20 million in improvements to the oceanfront amusement park. - A plan nearly two decades in the making to replace the decrepit West Mission Bay Drive bridge over the San Diego River was unanimously approved Nov. 14 by the City Council. The $155 million project will replace the 1950s-era four-lane bridge that connects the Midway area and Mission Bay Park with two three-lane bridges. DECEMBER - PB resident Mildred (Millie) Stuart celebrated her 100th birthday at St. Brigid Parish Hall. She has resided in the same home she and her husband built in the early ’60s. - Officials unveiled plans to spend $117 million during the next decade upgrading Mission Bay Park providing new amenities, restoring marshland and creating additional habitat for endangered species. - After more than five hours of public testimony, and an impasse among its nine members, City Council failed to approve new regulations to regulate short-term vacation rentals. - Signaling it may be time for a change, the San Diego Lifeguard Union voted overwhelmingly Dec. 6 to split from the San Diego Fire Department and become its own separate “Marine Safety Department.” - Mission Bay Park Committee voted Dec. 6 for a preferred alternative for the De Anza Revitalization Plan that pleased recreationalists but few others, especially not environmentalists who decried the decision as “token,” claiming it doesn’t do nearly enough to preserve, protect and expand native wetlands habitat.
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    Bahia Hotel’s plan to expand upsets kayakers – Mission Bay Park Committee approved the proposal Jan. 2
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Jan 10, 2018 | 3695 views | 3 3 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Some neighbors and Mission Bay enthusiasts are crying foul over expansion plans by Evans Hotels to increase its footprint at Bahia Resort Hotel, which opponents claim would eliminate 170 of 270 parking spaces while decreasing public beach access. Hotelier Bill Evans said parking changes being proposed as part of Bahia’s redevelopment will reconfigure — not eliminate — existing onsite parking. San Diego Park and Recreation Board’s Mission Bay Park Committee voted near-unanimously Jan. 2 to affirm Evans Hotels’ proposed expansion and parking changes on its existing site at 998 W. Mission Bay Drive. The board concurred with the hotelier’s view that that action would be consistent with the Mission Bay Park Master Plan. “Parking will be put in approximately three, 100-space parking lots replacing the 270 spaces on Gleeson Road with 273 spaces,” Evans said. “The Mission Bay Master Plan, which guides development in the park, calls for removal of waterfront parking, and having concentrated areas of parking off Gleeson Road put in.” The Jan. 2 park board meeting drew a crowd of about 200 water users of every type. Users argued the hotel’s expansion was a commercial land grab inconsistent with the park master plan which ignores the needs of countless aquatic recreationalists. Bahia resort wants to nearly double its capacity expanding from 315 rooms to 600 rooms, while adding a 10-foot walkway and 20-foot grass area around Bahia Point park. That would necessitate shifting current public parking along Gleeson Road on the Bahia’s peninsula to other locations further from the shoreline. Opponents claimed the hotel expansion would deny public access to Bahia Point, a popular launching spot for small sailboats, kayaks and other watercraft. They argued proposed replacement parking further away from the shoreline would be a hardship on, and inconvenience for, boat owners. Those contemplated moves upset neighbors and bay users alike, three of whom — Greg Knight, Mike Waters and Scott Andrews — representing boating enthusiasts, met with Beach & Bay Press to explain their displeasure with the hotel’s plans.  “When the parks committee voted yes, it literally was like a sucker punch to the stomach,” said Mission Beach resident Knight, a kayaker. “I think they were a little surprised to see how many people showed up in opposition.” “I’m a sailor and a very large amount of the shoreline is rip-rap (rocks), which you can’t carry your boat across without at least risking a nasty fall,” said Waters, a sailboat owner. “[Evans] has purposely blocked both ends of the cove so you cannot access it,” claimed Andrews. “He sees [Bahia Point Park] as his domain. Now he’s making the power play to get it all.” “We want parking and traffic studies done,” added Andrews. Evans said he has offered to put parking in on the existing Bahia Hotel site to accommodate boating users’ needs, adding he, and his hotel’s role are being misrepresented. “I’m being depicted as a bad guy by people who haven’t read the park master plan, and that these changes have been generated by me and the hotel as part of some land grab,” Evans said. “Really, all of the proposed changes are in the park master plan document that was ratified by both the City Council and Coastal Commission (in the ’90s). Those are now legal documents guiding development in Mission Bay Park.” Andrews insists the Mission Bay Master plan is dated, arguing it is an advisory document and “not the law.” In response to the hotel’s recently announced expansion plans, Knight started a Facebook page to rally against the hotel’s expansion as proposed. “We got 500 positive responses within two days of setting up the Facebook page,” said Nelson, noting there are literally tens of thousands of local and visiting boating enthusiasts who are supportive of the opposition.
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    StefanieMG
    |
    January 11, 2018
    #KeepMissionBayPublic! Don't let it become a private beach for Bahia. Paddlers, parents, anyone who wants access to this PUBLIC beach should be allowed to get there easily.
    Greg Knight
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    January 11, 2018
    This is a bad plan for all of San Diego. This plan takes away park land from Bahia Point, Ventura Point, and Bonita Cove. You can visit the facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/People.Against.Bahia.Land.grab/

    Please get involved to save this park. You never know what you got until it's gone.
    Gary Wonacott
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    January 14, 2018
    Please send me an email to discuss potential attendance at our MBTC board meeting.
    History, culture converge in a positively magnificent ‘Hamilton’ 
    by MARTIN JONES WESTLIN
    Jan 10, 2018 | 1024 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Chris De'Sean Lee, Jose Ramos, Wallace Smith, Miguel Cervantes of the Chicago Company of 'Hamilton.' / Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
    Chris De'Sean Lee, Jose Ramos, Wallace Smith, Miguel Cervantes of the Chicago Company of 'Hamilton.' / Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
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    It isn’t like Lin-Manuel Miranda, playwright/composer of “Hamilton: An American Musical,“ stumbled into international acclaim last week. At 27, he wrote the music and lyrics to 2008’s Tony- and Grammy-winning “In the Heights” and was nominated for that show’s Best Actor Tony.  His pedigree stretches from here to Mars, peppered with Emmys, Pulitzers, fellowships and honorary degrees more befitting a head of state than a guy of letters. In the case of “Hamilton,” the Broadway San Diego entry running through Jan. 28 at downtown’s Civic Theatre, he’s both – such is his brilliant portrayal of a newborn United States and his unparalleled command of modern culture in informing it. This rap- and street-infused story of America’s tempestuous founding, centering on Alexander Hamilton’s rebellion against British rule and his installment as the country’s first secretary of the Treasury, is absolutely everything everybody’s been raving about since its Broadway opening in 2015.  Calling this a history play is like calling Washington National Cathedral a neighborhood parish. And calling it musical theater doesn’t quite describe its place as a legitimate treatise on nation-building, especially when the builders are set adrift in a country without a world.  The U.S. is an immigrant nation in the extreme here, with twentysomething West Indies native Hamilton emerging as a great Revolutionary military leader and capturing George Washington’s attention in 1777. Four years later, victory over England brought its own hardships as the fledgling nation flailed about in its attempt to assuage its leaders’ egos – chiefly those of Hamilton and Vice President Aaron Burr, whose views on the new country’s direction morphed into a bitter litany of personal attacks. In fact, Al is a bit of a cad here, whose arrogance and headstrong demeanor color a chronic overachiever – precisely the dominant traits of the nation to come. The music and lyrics cartwheel and bodyslam off the stage accordingly, rife with the urgency feted by at least one standardbearer of the national mien.     “In this telling,” Barack Obama declared in welcoming the Broadway cast to the White House in May of 2016, “rap is the language of revolution. Hip-hop is the backbeat. In each brilliantly crafted song, we hear the debates that shaped our nation, and we hear the debates that are still shaping our nation. We feel the fierce, youthful energy that animated the men and women of Hamilton’s generation. . . with a cast as diverse as America itself . . .” “Raise a glass to the four of us; tomorrow, there’ll be more of us.” “These are wise words; enterprising men quote ‘em; don’t act surprised, you guys, ‘cuz I wrote ‘em.” The lyrics seamlessly and relentlessly bend and reassemble amid Austin Scott’s Hamilton, Ryan Vasquez’s Burr, Rory O’Malley’s putzy King George and Jordan Donica’s outstanding Thomas Jefferson, sanctioning Julian Reeve’s music direction and Andy Blankenbuehler’s torrid choreography.  Meanwhile, director Thomas Kail and scene designer David Korins have everything to work with amid Broadway San Diego’s outstanding technical traditions. It took Miranda about seven years to write this script and its 34 tunes, inspired by Ron Chernow’s biography “Alexander Hamilton.” What followed is a colossal, stark-raving miracle. Not since “Wicked” has one show galvanized the public behind an issues-driven message; and arguably, not since the country’s founding has the theater embraced a retrospective in so consummately definitive a light.  This country is the most successful multiracial experiment in human history – with “Hamilton,” it boasts a work of art whose ferocity marks the character of its inheritors and, ideally, their successors.   Martin Jones Westlin is a theater critic at San Diego Story and a San Diego Community Newspaper Group editor emeritus. This review is based on the Jan. 9 press opening performance. “Hamilton” runs through Jan. 28 at Civic Theatre, 1100 Third Ave. $340-$800. broadwaysd.com, 619-564-3000.
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    FLIPPING BACK THROUGH 2017 — Point Loma stadium lights, airplane noise and homeless among issues covered in Peninsula Beacon
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Jan 04, 2018 | 25703 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Slackliner Eric Hake performs for a crowd during a warm Wednesday evening in September in Ocean Beach last year. 							 THOMAS MELVILLE / PENINSULA BEACON
    Slackliner Eric Hake performs for a crowd during a warm Wednesday evening in September in Ocean Beach last year. THOMAS MELVILLE / PENINSULA BEACON
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    Two thousand and seventeen was a good year in the Peninsula, despite significant obstacles — over densification, homelessness, traffic congestion, etc. — to be overcome. But there was also considerable progress made on a number of important fronts. Jon Linney, chair of Peninsula Community Planning Board, weighed-in on what he felt were the major accomplishments of the city advisory group in 2017. “With overwhelming community support and involvement, we brokered the quick plugging of a loophole allowing 40-foot buildings in the 30-foot Roseville coastal zone… took significant steps toward revising our 30-year-old community plan… had a record turnout in our March election with 530 votes… saw yet another unanimous vote on the Avenida de Portugal pocket park and the beginning of actual design… and witnessed businesses such as Jensen’s, Shanghai Bun, Car’s Jars, Tech Outfitters, Cabrillo Inn and Bellamar open, creating jobs and more community services,” Linney said. The following is a month-by-month account of 2017’s major news happenings reported in the Peninsula Beacon. JANUARY - Silver Gate Elementary students returned after winter break to find a new flashing crosswalk at the intersection of Catalina Boulevard and Orchard Avenue behind the school. The new safety feature is part of the city’s Vision Zero plan to eliminate all traffic deaths by 2025. - New laws enacted: initial minimum wage hike from $10.50 to $11.50 an hour for employees also gave city employees future increases tied to the Consumer Price Index on Jan. 1, 2019; legislation made it illegal to hold and use any electronic devices, including smart phones, while driving; AB 70 broadened the definition of rape to include “all forms of nonconsensual sexual assault”; AB 2888 made sexually assaulting an unconscious person a crime with a mandatory prison sentence. Rape, sexual assault and other sex offenses were no longer subject to a statute of limitations under SB 813. - San Diego Yacht Club was ranked as the No. 2 yacht club in the country behind St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco in the Platinum Clubs of America rankings. - Cabrillo National Monument Visitors Center received a $5,000 community grant award to help it restore and enhance native habitat. - New city attorney Mara Elliott cautioned several San Diego restaurants, including a couple in the Peninsula and Liberty Station, that the practice of adding 3-percent surcharges to customers' bills without proper notice, to compensate for a minimum-wage pay increase that took effect Jan. 1, might have been illegal. - A San Diego Yoga Festival brought good vibes to OB at the end of the month. - Intent on protecting endangered birds in Mission Bay, the USDA announced plans to trap predators – skunks, raccoons, opossums, rats and cats – of endangered bird species. - OBMA held its annual Marketing Breakfast Jan. 10 as part of the association’s Business Development Series. FEBRUARY - After President Trump signed an executive order banning refugees from entering the country for 120 days and immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim nations, more than 2,000 protesters were at SDIA condemning the ban and supporting refugees and immigrants. - While new 72-foot tall light towers were being installed at Pointers stadium, neighbors opposed met with the San Diego Unified School District over a lawsuit challenging their installation. The meeting didn’t yield any immediate results and a June trial before a judge was set. - Point Loma High School students were upset about the results of the November election, so they did a 90-second public service announcement asking President Trump to apologize to minorities he offended during his presidential campaign. - OBMA held its annual awards ceremony and 45 businesses/individuals were recognized for their accomplishments. - The FAA disputed Peninsulans’ claims that SD Airport departures were causing more noise over neighborhoods, answering new noise complaints were attributable to “low-flying general aviation aircraft” largely from Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport in Kearny Mesa, and from helicopters. - A proposed condo conversion on Point Loma's Kellogg's Beach led to opposition and creation of a Facebook page listing subterranean parking, a seawall and the possible blocking of public access and bay views as major concerns. - Plans were announced for creation of a Portuguese-themed pocket park on Cañon Street in Point Loma's Roseville neighborhood. - A campaign by the Ocean Beach Community Development Corporation sought support to build a children’s playground and adult fitness station on the grassy area at the west end of Saratoga Avenue adjacent to the lifeguard station parking lot. - The winning design for James Gang Company's OB T-shirt design contest was created by Luke Brogoitti, with a stylish re-imagining of the beach community's trademark seagull logo. MARCH - Midway Community Planning Group got briefed by SANDAG on a plan to implement the Mid-Coast Trolley extension linking Santa Fe Depot downtown to Westfield UTC, serving major activity centers along the way, including Old Town. - Overriding neighbors’ concerns, Peninsula Community Planning Board voted overwhelmingly to allow Sunshine Liquor to relocate up Voltaire Street to a strip mall near a consignment shop and a music center offering children lessons. - The San Diego County Bike Coalition discussed reuse of an existing structure, the 20-by-80 foot Building 191 in Liberty Station, to be used as a future cycling hub. - The Ocean Beach Community Development Corporation kicked off its long-awaited fundraising drive to create a new-and-improved plaza honoring military veterans. - EF Education First teamed with KTU&A architecture firm to transform the parking lot of the formerly shuttered Cabrillo Hospital into its newest EF International Language Center with classrooms, residences and community spaces. - Rumors that Mission Beach’s jetty cats could become part of the annual USDA predator cull to protect endangered birds in Mission Bay led to a petition drive initiated on Forcechange.com to protect the feral felines. - An impasse between the lifeguard's union and San Diego Fire-Rescue over how water-related emergency calls are routed had lifeguards talking secession, presaging a vote later in the year to do exactly that. - The 10th anniversary of Liberty Station's Arts District was celebrated year-long with programs and activities on the former Naval Training Center's 100-acre campus. - The City Council voted 8-1 to deny an appeal by animal advocates and the Sierra Club to end the annual predator cull at Mission Bay, in place to protect endangered birds. - A new automated traffic-signal optimization system on Point Loma's Rosecrans Street was dedicated by Mayor Faulconer and Peninsula leaders. - Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman unveiled a mobile, saliva-screening device, Drager 5000, to test for illicit drugs including cocaine, marijuana, amphetamines and prescription narcotics, which was immediately implemented. APRIL - The Port of San Diego embarked on a year-long process to improve the Shelter Island Boat Launch Facility, one of the busiest boat launch ramps in California, with an estimated 50,000 launches annually. The approximately $9.5 million project was expected to be done in March 2018. - The stalled, skeletal development at the corner of Ebers and Greene streets, which some believed oversized and out of character with the neighborhood, was causing consternation in OB as the structure was deteriorating and hadn't been worked on in months. - After eight years away, the Red Bull Air Race World Championship returned to fly over San Diego Bay April 15-16. - New owners of OB Surf Lodge (formerly Shades) introduced a new theme, menu and style. “The bar is now indoor-outdoor,” said Mina Desiderio of the surf-themed restaurant at 5083 Santa Monica Ave., which had a soft reopening March 15, after six months of remodeling. - SeaWorld ended its nightly summer fireworks displays. - An area just south of Ocean Beach Pier, where crumbling cement, rocks and dirt had fallen creating a debris field, was tarped with warnings that the eroded area was unstable. - An annual homeless count revealed the San Diego region has 9,116 homeless people, a 5 percent increase from 2016. Broken down, 3,945 were sheltered, a decrease of 6 percent from 2016, while 5,621 were unsheltered, an increase of 14 percent from 2016. - An eight-woman, four-man jury deliberated 9.25 hours before finding Thomas Francis Burke, 32, not guilty of first- or second-degree murder, but guilty of voluntary manslaughter, for personal use of a gun that killed Jess Matthew Robles, who was the boyfriend of Burke’s female roommate in Ocean Beach. Burke faced a maximum term of 21 years in state prison. - Led by former San Diego City Councilman Byron Wear, an April 18 workshop at OB Rec Center was attended by about 20 Obecians who weighed-in on what they’d like to see in planning for a park at the foot of Saratoga Avenue next to the OB Lifeguard Station. - Renowned Bird’s Surf Shed opened an OB satellite branch at 1963 Abbot St. - Wonderland joined Hodad’s, both of OB, in the food and beverage lineup at Petco Park. - Liberty Public Market in Liberty Station announced plans to open up a farmers market. MAY - The popular Ocean Beach Farmers Market celebrated its 25th anniversary. - Renewed backing for a long-sought-after public pool at Liberty Station came in the form of $1.1 million in “seed” money proposed for the project from District 2 Councilmember Lorie Zapf. - May was National Bike Month and communities across San Diego, including the Peninsula, seized the opportunity to promote the pastime. The special month included Bike To Work Day May 18, when thousands of San Diego commuters cycled to and from work. - After a nearly four-year wait and a grueling remodel, the new Apple Tree Market opened for business in OB at 4978 Newport Ave. - In May, Peninsula Community Planning Board grappled with public discontent over development changing their community's character and opposed discontinuing Bus Route 84 service to the Point. - The 16-acre former post office distribution center in the Midway District was resold for $40 million with plans for a $325 million, mixed-use project called The Point. JUNE - On Sunday, May 28, the Point Loma United Methodist Church at 1984 Sunset Cliffs Blvd. held its final worship service after 88 years at the same site. - The Portuguese prayer chapel, built in 1922 at 2818 Avenida de Portugal, was named to the National Register of Historic Places. - Dorothea Laub Dance Place was dedicated in Liberty Station honoring the Point Loman for her decade-long support of the arts. - SeaWorld dedicated a new education-oriented Orca Encounter to replace its killer whale shows that ended earlier in the year. - A Moms on Maternity support group was started in OB. - The ’60s Summer of Love was the theme for the June 24 OB Street Fair & Chili cook-off. - KTU&A Planning and Landscape Architecture was chosen to lead planning on design of the proposed, Portuguese-themed Cañon Street pocket park. - Point Loma High School became the third high school in the San Diego Unified School District to designate a campus student restroom as gender neutral. JULY  - Councilmember Lorie Zapf obtained $200,000 from the city’s budget to begin the design process for a new OB Lifeguard Station. - Point Loma Summer Concerts held its 17th season of concerts at Point Loma Park. - Likely signaling the end of the mega-antique mall era in OB, the Target Corp. was negotiating to acquire the 18,000-square-foot Antique Center building in the 4800 block of Newport Avenue. - A judge suspended criminal proceedings on July 14 against Jon David Guerrero in the murders and attacks of homeless men in Ocean Beach, the Midway District, and near Mission Bay. San Diego Superior Court Judge Michael Smyth set a mental competency hearing for July 24 by another judge for Guerrero, 40, in which he could be returned to a state psychiatric facility for treatment. - OB Plaza was razed, and a new retail complex was planned in its place, but some were concerned that the new building would be modern rather than ’50s era design. - A July 26 public workshop was held to implement a new pocket park for Cañon Street in Point Loma. - Community planners were considering creating a new maintenance assessment district to achieve long-sought-after traffic and aesthetic improvements on Voltaire Street Bridge. - The Pointer football team played its first Friday night home game under new stadium lights following an unsuccessful challenge by neighbors in which a Superior Court judge ruled that the San Diego Unified School District acted properly in installing stadium lights. AUGUST - A judge committed Jon David Guerrero to a state psychiatric facility after he was found mentally incompetent to stand trial in four murders of homeless people in Mission Bay, Ocean Beach and elsewhere. - Thanks to the Point Loma Association, Taiji, a 13-foot sculpture the nonprofit commissioned, was donated to the city for public display in Point Loma on the Nimitz Boulevard median. - The Midway Community Planning Group in July debated whether or not to continue to seek a private security company to increase surveillance in the largely commercial-industrial Midway District, before opting to continue to pursue that objective. - The annual OB Pier jump raised funds for Junior Lifeguards Programs. - A project replacing two 16-inch diameter water mains installed in the ’40s and ’50s with new 16- inch polyvinyl chloride water mains to improve the area's overall drinking water system had the Peninsula torn up for awhile. SEPTEMBER  - San Diego International Airport received two grants totaling nearly $14 million to continue the airport’s Quieter Home Program, which decreases airplane noise by insulating residences  within the 65-plus decibel level surrounding the airport. - Responding to a public outcry from beach community business owners, residents and the city over boardwalk bike share stations, the city and DecoBike backed off on beach area bike-sharing, opting instead to remove and relocate the stations to more urban parts of the city. - Next Space, new owners of the dilapidated small shopping center on Voltaire Street at Las Lomas, announced plans to makeover the old Sunshine Liquor site with a 24-unit apartment complex and 9,000 square feet of retail. - Cabrillo National Monument proposed hiking entrance fees for vehicles from $10 to $15 per vehicle, $7 to $10 for motorcycles, as well as increasing from $5 to $7 entrance fees for walk-ins and cyclists, effective January 2018.  - The Midway District was one of three areas designated by Mayor Faulconer for use as a new temporary “bridge-to-housing” shelter, as part of a new public-private partnership to help homeless get off the street to be administered by Veterans Village of San Diego. - The 54th annual Cabrillo Festival celebrated and recreated the voyage of 16th-century explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who landed on the shore of San Diego Bay on Sept. 28, 1542, discovering California and all of the West Coast. OCTOBER - Obecians rallied to urge the Minnesota-based Target Corp. not to put a proposed store in the 18,000-square-foot Antique Center building at the 4800 block of Newport Ave. - An OB man and former Marine, Taylor Winston, was given a car by an Arizona auto dealer for the role he played in conveying victims of the tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas to hospitals. - The Point Loma Association handed out annual Lighthouse awards to deserving community members for their contributions at the nonprofit’s annual dinner. - Council members Barbara Bry and Lorie Zapf of District 2 offered a “coastal” proposal to curb the growing proliferation of short-term vacation rentals. - An outbreak of hepatitis A, a liver infection caused by a highly contagious virus from feces contamination, afflicted more than 500 people, killing 19,  and causing the city to vaccinate tens of thousands region wide. - The 13th annual OB Oktoberfest beachside festival Oct. 6-7 showcased numerous titillating contests, activities, and entertainment, as well as plenty of beer, with proceeds benefiting local nonprofits. NOVEMBER - An abatement notice requiring the dilapidated structure at 2269 Ebers St. in OB to be cleaned up— or torn down — was issued by the city. - Point Loma attorney Ann Lipscomb Hill was honored with the Spirit of Community award from the Junior League of San Diego for spearheading programs to end racial disparities in education and curb the drop-out rate. - One of Ocean Beach's bedrock businesses, James Gang Co. print shop and silk screening, moved from 1931 Bacon St. to 4851 Newport Ave. on the beach town's main drag where it started out years ago. - Two "Pointer Sisters" from the Class of ’66 headed a campaign to keep, restore and protect the Balboa Park carousel. - A proposal to eliminate consolidating substandard, contiguous land parcels headlined discussion by Peninsula Community Planning Board at its October meeting. - A nonprofit serving homeless youth, an entrepreneur and The Mean Green Team of the Point Loma Association were honored by The Wine Pub in its eighth anniversary salute to Peninsulans making a difference. DECEMBER - In a groundswell of discontent over rapidly escalating rents, a rent- control group known as San Diego Tenants United held a protest march in Point Loma. - Some of the year's highest tides, known as “king tides,” hit the California shoreline providing a glimpse of what the state can expect as sea levels rise in the coming years. - A recent tiff over the playing of “To the Colors” over the loudspeaker system at Naval Base Point Loma led to neighbors’ complaints and the base turning the volume down. - A boating-accident victim was the recipient of an annual yuletide hot cocoa charity fundraiser  by the Ybarra family begun nearly 20 years benefiting needy neighbors. - The annual year-end Garrison Street holiday light show drew a “major league” sponsor — the San Diego Padres.
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    Kitten Kindergarten helps felines and parents bond at San Diego Humane Society
    by LUCIA VITI
    Dec 26, 2017 | 62744 views | 1 1 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Huckleberry
    Huckleberry
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    Kitten training.
    Kitten training.
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    Kirk
    Kirk
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    Lola and Gaga
    Lola and Gaga
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    Hail kitten graduates! The San Diego Humane Society lauds the alumnae of Kitten Kindergarten, a training course for our beloved four-legged felines. Offered to kittens between 7 and 13 weeks old by the first session, Kitten Kindergarten recently opened kitty doors in three, one-hour sessions. Classes were celebrated as a “huge success” by its two-legged and four-legged participants. And, according SDHS’s Kitten Kindergarten’s designer/trainer Allison Beaulieu, CPDT – KA, and community training coordinator, Shauna Romero, CPDT – KA, classes were “so much fun!” Kittens – and their owners – learned the nuances of kittenhood during a “critical development period when open and receptive to learning.” Exposed to everything new – environments, people, fellow felines, toys, and sounds, kittens practiced the etiquette of socializing – a.k.a kitten recess – carrier desensitization, comfort with DVM visits, leash and harness training, grooming care and tricks. “Owners are often surprised at how trainable kittens can be,” said Beaulieu. “We often see the hand to the forehead moment, ‘Of course they can do this!’ A kitten’s socialization window – that open spongy period – is short. Once that window shuts, issues can come up.” The San Diego Humane Society (SDHS) utilizes only positive methods and tools, sidestepping aversive training for all animal instruction. Clicker training and food – both kitten and baby – along with tuna and cream cheese is used to reward and entice kittens to become affable cats. According to Romero, adult cats can be finicky when introduced to a new environment, making learning difficult. Kittens adapt better. "Kittens adapt to changes and learn new environments with less stress and fear than adult cats,” she said. “Kitten Kindergarten reviewed basic handling, manners and obedience.” “Cats tend to freak out when removed from their environment,” added Beaulieu. “They lose focus. They investigate the perimeter. They often won’t eat in a new space. They’re more comfortable in a colony, a group setting of cats. Clicker training works especially well with shy cats. Even the most suspicious cats watch the action and slowly come out of hiding. The idea that cars are aloof, non-social creatures isn’t true. Cats are social.” Kittens also learned that carriers aren’t scary. Carriers cause most cats to hide. The SDHS sent “students” a video prior to class that demonstrated how to invite cats to be comfortable in carriers. Often earmarked as a trip to the vet, carriers cause stress, “something we work to change” because of the importance of using them for natural disasters. Desensitized, crates become a wonderful place to go. Romero described the training room as a novel environment for even the shy or timid cat who’s never stepped out of the house. Kittens were set up in their own x-pen or pod. “Stepping away from its environment can be scary for a cat,” she said. “But all of our kittens – even those up for adoption – do really well. Kitten Kindergarten’s shy ones explored and played with new objects by the final session. We also taught owners how to exhaust energetic cats by refocusing their energy. Every owner appreciates a peaceful night’s sleep without a cat running around.” Romero and Beaulieu both agree that cats are stigmatized for their independent nature. Often left alone, owners assume their “personality is their personality” with no understanding of how to “handle and socialize kittens and cats to experience new sights and sounds to shape a well-balanced cat.” “Shaping behavior with tiny steps, we proactively work to prevent fear, anxiety or stress in kittens,” said Beaulieu. “Classes build from each other. Through the art of positive reinforcement and clicker training, owners realize that if willing, they can train their felines to do so much more. Kitten Kindergarten also introduced cat body language. Owners learned why cats behave and react to people and stimulus. We worked to increase the bond between cats and their humans.” Training included sitting, high fives, follow the target, lie down on your mat, come, off high counters, grooming – including the brushing of teeth and the use of kitty litters, carrier comfort and no stress DVM visits. “By pairing potentially scary things with treats, kittens associate scary isn’t so scary anymore,” continued Beaulieu. “A day at the veterinarian is a perfect example. Kittens learned to become comfortable being handled for weighing, restrained for vaccines, and checked – eyes ears, and nails.” Cats were also introduced to leash and harness training to underscore that felines can be safely walked outdoors. “Kittens are adorable, just adorable,” concluded Beaulieu. “Kitten Kindergarten was the highlight of my week. It was difficult not to get sucked into playing with kittens for the hour. Those who judge cats to be anything but great fun, haven’t met enough cats!” Additional classes will be scheduled as per “public interests.” Classes are not suggested for feral kittens or kittens who growl, snap, bite, exhibit fear or severe behavioral problems. Kittens too shy or too old for class can send their humans as auditors at a discounted rate. Auditors can watch, learn, ask questions and practice at home. Kitten Kindergarten is held at the SDHS San Diego Campus located on Gaines Street. Enrollment is limited to six kittens per class. Humans are required to prove at least one set of vaccines, a deworming, plus a negative result for an FELV prior to the first class. Those kittens showing signs of diarrhea, sneezing, congestion, and missing hair will not be allowed to participate. SDHS reserves the right to turn any kittens they deem unhealthy. Class participation is based on their own risk. Animals adopted from SDH will receive a 20 percent discount. Classes will be held indoors at the Gaines Street campus.
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    Brian Laura
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    20 Hours Ago
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