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    Star of India sails for first time in five years
    Nov 21, 2018 | 2696 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    The Star of India heads back into San Diego Bay on Saturday afternoon after sailing around the Point. /  PHOTO BY CHRIS MANNERINO
    The Star of India heads back into San Diego Bay on Saturday afternoon after sailing around the Point. / PHOTO BY CHRIS MANNERINO
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    The San Salvador replica fires its canon as it and the Star of India sail back into San Diego Bay on Saturday. / PHOTO BY CHRIS MANNERINO
    The San Salvador replica fires its canon as it and the Star of India sail back into San Diego Bay on Saturday. / PHOTO BY CHRIS MANNERINO
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    Star of India set sail from its berth at Maritime Museum of San Diego last weekend to cruise out around the Point and into the Pacific Ocean. Hundreds of onlookers lined Shelter Island, Harbor Island and Cabrillo National Monument to watch the world’s oldest active sailing ship maneuver through the Bay. Star of India, built in 1863, has circumnavigated the globe 21 times, but last weekend, it set sail for the first time in five years. Last Saturday and Sunday, with cooperating winds, San Diegans and visitors gathered on the shorelines of Shelter and Harbor islands to watch Star of India move through San Diego Bay until reaching a position two to three miles west of Point Loma. At that juncture, Star of India proceeded under sail and performed maneuvers. To add to the onlooker’s excitement (and photo opportunities), the Californian, America, and San Salvador sailed in close company with Star of India as it cruised back into San Diego Bay both days. Star of India first came to the City of San Diego in 1927. It was not until 1951 when Maritime Museum of San Diego made long-awaited historical renovations to the vessel, originally named Euterpe, after the Greek goddess of music and poetry. Star of India relies on Maritime Museum of San Diego volunteers and staff for her upkeep. Star of India is the oldest iron-hulled merchant ship still afloat. She was launched as the fully-rigged ship Euterpe at Ramsey Shipyard on the Isle of Man in 1863. Euterpe began her working life with two near-disastrous voyages to India. On her first trip, she suffered a collision and a mutiny. On her second, a cyclone caught Euterpe in the Bay of Bengal, and with her topmasts cut away, she barely made port. Shortly afterward, her first captain died on board and was buried at sea. After such misfortunes, Euterpe would eventually make four more voyages to India as a cargo ship. In 1871 she was purchased by the Shaw Savill line of London and for the next quarter century she transported hundreds of emigrants to New Zealand and Australia. During this period, she made twenty-one circumnavigations. It was rugged voyaging, with the little iron ship battling through terrific gales, “laboring and rolling in a most distressing manner,” according to her log. With the opening of the Suez Canal, and sail giving way to steam power, Euterpe would eventually be sold to the Alaska Packers Association. In 1901, her new owners changed her rig to that of a bark (her present configuration). By the time of her retirement in 1923, she had made 22 voyages from San Francisco to Alaska, returning each year with her hold laden with canned salmon. In 1926, Star of India was sold to the Zoological Society of San Diego as the projected centerpiece for an aquarium and museum. The Great Depression and World War II saw these proposals languish from lack of funding. Eventually in the late 1950s and early 1960s, thanks to a groundswell of support from local San Diegans, Star of India was restored to sailing condition. In 1976, she set sail once again. Her preservation continues as a living reminder of the great Age of Sail, thanks to the tireless efforts of curators and volunteers at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
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    Shop local: Small Business Saturday in Pacific Beach on Nov. 24
    Nov 18, 2018 | 7426 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Pacific Beach is observing Small Business Saturday on Nov. 24 this year in a big way. “Here at Discover PB we use Shop Small Saturday to launch our Shop Small for the Holidays Campaign to promote all of the great retailers and businesses we have right here in Pacific Beach,” said Sara Berns, executive director of Discover PB. “Our Shop Small for the Holidays campaign includes an intense marketing campaign via our social media and a variety of events.” Small Business Saturday is an American shopping holiday, which is part of a national campaign sponsored by American Express that takes place every year the Saturday following Thanksgiving.  The special day was first observed in the United States on Nov. 27, 2010. It is a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which feature big box retail and e-commerce stores, respectively. By contrast, Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick-and-mortar businesses that are small and local. Berns said Small Business Saturday is important for a variety of reasons. “It is so important all year, but especially this time of year before we head into our traditionally slow season to support local retailers in order for them to survive and thrive,” Berns said. “We have great gift ideas at places like Gallery at Land’s End hand crafted by local artisans, and Pangea for unique items, but also thinking outside the box. “What about a gift card for an oil change from a local mechanic or pay in advance at a loved ones hair salon? There are so many ideas for thoughtful gifts right here in our own community. It is estimated that for every $100 spent at a local business, $68 stays in the local economy, as opposed to $43 if spent at a non-local business,” Berns said. According to the federal Small Business Administration, small businesses, so-called “mom and pops,” defined in the United States as having fewer than 25 full-time employees with annual wages below $50,000, employ more than half our nation's working class. Berns said Discover PB will also have opportunities for businesses to promote themselves by purchasing a wreath at the their offices at 1503 Garnet Ave. to decorate/brand, which will hang on Crystal Pier throughout December. Discover PB will also be printing Shop Small Discount cards with local deals around the neighborhood.   For information on all Discover PB holiday events, check out pacificbeach.org.
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    Ecotourism expert shares vision for reinvigorating Mission Bay Park
    Nov 16, 2018 | 5973 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Boaters, standup paddle boarders and bicyclists take advantage of a beautiful fall day at Mission Bay.
THOMAS MELVILLE / BEACH & BAY PRESS
    Boaters, standup paddle boarders and bicyclists take advantage of a beautiful fall day at Mission Bay. THOMAS MELVILLE / BEACH & BAY PRESS
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    Ecotourism specialist Andy Drumm says San Diego’s Mission Bay Park has stagnated. At a recent Citizens Coordinate for Century 3 (C-3) breakfast event, he presented a case for turning to an ecotourism model to reinvigorate it. Ecotourism is defined by the International Ecotourism Society as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserve the environment and improve the well-being of local people.” “The biggest growth segment in tourism is the nature-focused category,” says Drumm, Drumm referenced Butler’s Tourism Area Life Cycle to explain the evolution of a nature-based tourist destination, which includes exploration, involvement, development, consolidation and then stagnation. At this point, the quality and popularity of a destination will decline without a sustainable, ecotourism makeover. In addition to maintaining and nurturing natural resources, Drumm says ecotourism is better for the economy. Lowering volume and density, monitoring and managing impacts and encouraging more local input leads to a higher income multiplier, higher tourist spending and a higher ratio of jobs per tourist. Simply put, ecotourists spend more than conventional tourists. To capture this segment of the tourism market, however, Mission Bay Park needs help. “Failing to capture the economic value of ecosystem services often leads to the degradation of natural resources,” says Drumm. He warned the audience against letting Mission Bay Park go the way of a small fishing village in India’s Kerala State, where tourism collapsed after environmental degradation took hold, as was the case for Italy’s Adriatic coast and Germany’s Black Forest. Perhaps the most serious danger, he says, is a lack of understanding of the benefits of biodiversity. Among his many suggestions for Mission Bay Park were to protect and restore areas of biodiversity (resilience, shoreline protection, water purification, ecotourism value, etc.) and improve the quality of the visitor experience to include environmental interpretation and monitoring. “Bringing about rejuvenation for Mission Bay Park also requires the public and private sectors working together,” says Drumm.    Among his directives for the private sector were improving relations with park management to ensure fulfillment of environmental values; participating in the design, construction and operational phases of development; and developing strategic alliances and business partnerships among recreational businesses and nature-focused, sustainable-ecosystem-model organizations. It is up to the public sector, he says, to promote awareness of the critical role of biodiversity and ecosystem services in maintaining and enlarging tourism’s contribution to economic development; create zones to distinguish between natural areas and more traditional recreational areas; and to develop a comprehensive park tourism plan with multi-stakeholder involvement, among many other crucial tasks. C-3 organized a lunch with Mission Bay stakeholders as a follow up to the breakfast and plans to continue promoting ecotourism and comprehensive planning in the area. Founded in 1961, C-3’s mission is to advocate, educate and develop solutions for maintaining high standards of environmental quality, physical design, economic benefit and social progress. C-3 gathers and disseminates information, facilitates civic dialogue and encourages well-thought-out opinions. Its founders said the overall goal is to make San Diego a “handsome community.”  
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    City’s preliminary plans underway to improve Capehart Dog Park in PB
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Nov 15, 2018 | 5580 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    The off-leash Capehart Dog Park at 4747 Soledad Mountain Road needs a lot of improvements. / DAVE SCHWAB / BEACH & BAY PRESS
    The off-leash Capehart Dog Park at 4747 Soledad Mountain Road needs a lot of improvements. / DAVE SCHWAB / BEACH & BAY PRESS
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    Dog lovers in Pacific Beach take heart. Long sought-after repairs to Capehart Dog Park are being reconsidered. But it could take time – and considerable dollars.   A recently released preliminary estimate of costs for improving both the large- and small-dog areas of Capehart at 4747 Soledad Mountain Road were pegged by the City at about $612,000. “The City is in the preliminary stages of developing a potential project scope for improvements to Capehart Dog Park,” said City spokesman Tim Graham. “The community is very interested in having the area improved, and we’ve been working with Marcella Bothwell to find a design that will meet the community’s wishes.” Bothwell, a physician, community volunteer and San Diego Park and Recreation Board member who owns four dogs, said improvements to the popular dog park near the PB-La Jolla border are long overdue.  “The community recognizes the need for creating more dog parks, and for maintenance of the dog parks that we have,” said Bothwell, noting the City’s preliminary plan is “reasonable, but very expensive.” Bothwell said improving Capehart must go through the Public Works Department. “It’s a capital improvement project,” she said. “The plan is currently unfunded,” pointed out Graham, adding, “Unfortunately, at this particular time, it’s a little early to provide an update that has concrete next steps.” It's been a dozen years since Capehart won out over Kate Sessions to become Pacific Beach’s only off-leash dog park. But due to continuing drought conditions and watering restrictions, as well as heavy usage by dogs large and small, Capehart's two separate fenced-in areas have both been almost completely denuded of turf. And the dog park suffers from erosion and other issues. “The major problem is the large dog park,” said Bothwell. “It was never graded properly. So now, when it rains, water runoff goes down and you lose all the topsoil in the large dog area which has a huge drainage problem.” There is another big problem. “It’s going to cost as much to repair [Capehart] as it cost to put it in in the first place in 2006,” said Bothwell, who has stepped up to guide Capehart improvements. Preliminary work for dog-park improvements was originally spearheaded by beach-area residents Ron McChesney and Chris Cott, who formed Friends of Capehart Off-Leash Small Dog Park, as well as starting a GoFundMe fundraiser to re-sod Capehart. A new plan overview prepared for Capehart improvements points out updates are necessary for dog health and safety, ADA improvements and the safety and comfort of residents who use the park. “The goal is to have an approved ‘Master Improvement Plan’ containing a list of ‘agreed to projects’ that can be finalized as there is funding and resources available,” the new Capehart preliminary plan states, adding, “The plan will be posted at the park, linked to the Pacific Beach Town Council website and a Capehart Dog Park ‘email list.’”  Bothwell added a GoFundMe account will be put in place for donations toward City-approved projects listed.  “This effort is being coordinated through the Pacific Beach Town Council, and they have provided us with guidance, connections, and a non-profit/tax-deductible fundraising vehicle on their website to perform some of the work,” said Bothwell. “It is planned that this will be a public/private partnership between the City of San Diego, San Diego Parks and Recreation, the Capehart Dog Park (a subcommittee within the Pacific Beach Town Council) and patrons of the park,” Bothwell said. Bothwell added recognition signage will be evaluated for large Capehart Park-improvement donors. The Capehart link to the town council is at pbtowncouncil.org/about/capehart-dog-park/.
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    How will Community Choice Energy work in San Diego?
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Nov 14, 2018 | 16469 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    How Community Choice Energy works.
    How Community Choice Energy works.
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    Now that Mayor Kevin Faulconer has sanctioned forming a new joint-powers entity to purchase electrical power to achieve 100 percent renewable energy citywide by 2035, the question becomes: How will that be implemented, and what are the risks? After three years of research and analysis, Faulconer selected Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) as the preferred pathway to reach the 100 percent renewable energy goal in the City’s landmark Climate Action Plan. The proposed new CCA entity, which must first be approved by the City Council, is expected to create healthy competition benefiting San Diegans. Forming a new CCA entity is expected to lower energy costs by 5 percent or more for ratepayers, plus help the City reach its renewable energy goal by 2035 – a decade ahead of the state’s goal. “I want San Diego to lead this region into a cleaner future,” Faulconer said. “This gives consumers a real choice, lowers energy costs for all San Diegans, and keeps our city on the cutting edge of environmental protection. We are a city where our environment is central to our quality of life and Community Choice will ensure we leave behind a better and cleaner San Diego than the one we inherited. What is Community Choice Energy? Community Choice Energy or Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) envisions bringing local control and freedom of choice and competition into the electricity marketplace. Currently, San Diego has only one electricity provider, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E).  Community Choice allows cities and counties to purchase power on behalf of their residents and businesses to provide cleaner power options at a competitive price. Under community choice, SDG&E would continue to deliver the power over their power lines, provide customer service and handle the billing.   A local community choice program is designed to offer a choice of providers to create competition encouraging innovation and improved pricing. But not everyone is sold on CCAs, like the Clear the Air Coalition, a group of business, environmental and taxpayer leaders, who advocate a cautious approach to changing San Diego’s existing electrical power distribution system.  Contacted by Beach & Bay Press, SDG&E spokesperson Tony Manolatos referenced the following story “San Diego Should Carefully Weigh the Costs and Benefits of Government-Controlled Energy” published at clearair.us, which he said “covers all the main points.” “The City of San Diego should carefully weigh the costs and benefits of government-controlled energy before flipping the switch and moving residents and businesses into such a program,” states the story. “If the city decides to form a CCA, would it actually help San Diego reach its clean air goals faster and cheaper than current state laws require? … To date, CCAs have been reluctant to purchase long-term contracts for renewable energy, or build new facilities. As a result, CCAs mostly buy and sell existing green energy, a practice that does not create new local jobs or clean our air any faster. … The evidence indicates a San Diego CCA would not meet the city’s goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2035, or create many new jobs, but it would create risk for taxpayers, who are ultimately the backstop of any government-controlled energy program.” Community choice proponent Tyson Siegele represents But It Just Might work.com, a clean energy advocacy group. Noting SDG&E under law is, “not allowed to oppose community choice energy,” Siegele pointed out SDG&E’s parent company, Sempra, “is not a regulated utility” and therefore is allowed to oppose community choice. Nonetheless, Siegele noted that, “In theory, SDG&E shouldn’t lose any money if community choice happens, or doesn’t.” But Siegele was quick to point out San Diego pays some of the highest per-kilowat per-unit rates for electricity in the state adding, “Californians have, on average, a 50 percent higher electricity cost than the nationwide average.” Argued Siegele, “We’ve had a massive ramp-up in the number of community choice energy programs in the past five years statewide. It just makes sense to give our communities more control over where their energy comes from, and what it costs.” But even if successful, a transition to community choice by San Diego will take some time, said Siegele. “In all likelihood, the entire process will take a little more than two years, and the shortest time it could be effect would be January of 2021,” he said.   Community Choice Energy Timeline December 2018: Resolution of intent available for docketing at City Council. Spring 2019: Begin formal meetings with potential JPA partners to negotiate structure and guiding principles. Summer 2019: City Council action to officially form new JPA. Fall 2019: JPA begins hiring staff, including CEO and CFO. Staff develops implementation plan for submittal to CPUC. 2020: JPA continues to establish operations. CPUC approval expected. 2021: CCA begins service to customers with phased-in approach throughout the year.
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