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    Ho Ho Ho-ing for a good cause – Pacific Beach SantaCon donates to Toys for Tots
    by THOMAS MELVILLE
    Dec 09, 2018 | 4534 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    SantaCon participants walk south the The Local on Mission Boulevard on Saturday, Dec. 8. / ALL PHOTOS BY THOMAS MELVILLE
    SantaCon participants walk south the The Local on Mission Boulevard on Saturday, Dec. 8. / ALL PHOTOS BY THOMAS MELVILLE
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    Rachel Boles (left), who organized the Pacific Beach SantaCon, with her friend Molly.
    Rachel Boles (left), who organized the Pacific Beach SantaCon, with her friend Molly.
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    Pacific Beach SantaCon
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    Hundreds of Santas, elves, reindeer – and a few trees – pub-crawled through Pacific Beach on Saturday, Dec. 8 to spread holiday cheer and spirits while donating gifts and raising funds for Toys for Tots. “It has been an amazing turnout,” said Rachel Boles, who organized this year’s SantaCon, after restarting the tradition in Pacific Beach in 2017. “Last year, we had about 100 people. This year we had more than 400 come out.” All those somewhat-sauced Santas donated more than 200 toys and raised more than $2,000 for the Toy for Tots program. “I’m going to be buying a lot of toys for children,” Boles said. “I’m really happy about that.” They also filled restaurants and bars – Tavern at the Beach, Mavericks Beach Club, The Local PB, and Sandbox Pizza – spreading more green around for service workers during a normally slow Saturday. “These places are packed on what is usually a dead Saturday because people are busy with the holidays and college football’s not on,” said Boles, who works for US Foods and has many contacts in the service industry. Boles, who’s originally from south New Jersey, said she was surprised there wasn’t an active SantaCon in Pacific Beach when she moved to San Diego. “It’s huge on the East Coast and in other West Coast cities like San Francisco and LA. I know it gets a bad rap at times, but last year we had no incidents. Hopefully, this year everything goes well.” Boles said that most people she meets are also San Diego transplants with no family here, so they rely on friends during the holidays. “This event is a big deal for me because I can’t always go back east to visit family at Christmas. A lot of these people here can’t either, which is why spending time with your friends is so important – we become family. And today, we’re also helping out other families so they can have a wonderful Christmas,” Boles said.
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    Holidays in Pacific Beach start with Christmas on Crystal Pier, Holiday Parade and Santa Run
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Nov 27, 2018 | 19143 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    The sun sets on the Christmas tree at the end of Crystal Pier. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    The sun sets on the Christmas tree at the end of Crystal Pier. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    The holidays hit the ground running early in Pacific Beach kicking off with Christmas on Crystal Pier Dec. 1, followed by two other events, the San Diego Santa Run and the Holiday Parade, both on Dec.15. “The holiday events create a sense of community, lively action in our streets and storefronts and build community pride,” said Sara Berns, executive director of Discover PB, which is hosting the Christmas 2018 celebration. “Not only does it help create the festive feel of the holidays when the weather here says different, but it is a day to get the entire community connected to our businesses, neighbors, schools and organizations,” Berns said. “Who knows, standing out waiting for the floats to go by or running past in the 5K, you may notice a business you never noticed before from your car.” Held from 2 to 5 p.m. on Dec. 1, Christmas on Crystal Pier highlights feature a sunset tree lighting and photos with Santa.  The pier is also festooned each year with wreaths hung by local businesses and community groups. Wreaths being sold by Discover PB will adorn Crystal Pier through Jan. 1. Wreaths are high visibility given the thousands of visitors who check out the pier each month.  Santa photos will cast $10 or $5 if a donation is made for school supplies benefitting PB schools. Needed school supplies include: Hand sanitizer (big family size bottles), sanitizing wipes, Kleenex boxes, color copy paper 8 by 11 ½ (any color), and white copy paper 8 by 11 1/2, staplers and staples, adult scissors, Post its, white cardstock paper, spiral notebooks, glue sticks and colored pencils and markers. Pictures are first-come, first-served. There is no guarantee your picture will be taken if you arrive after 3:45 p.m. The Holiday Parade starting at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 15 is the centerpiece of the beach community’s annual holiday fest.  This year’s parade theme is “Jingle Bell Rock,” so rock out to your favorite holiday tunes. Replete with community floats, local school bands and Santa wrapping things up, join everyone on Garnet Avenue for a fabulous friends and family event to rejoice in the holidays. Easily PB’s most colorful holiday event, nothing compares with 5,000 red-clad St. Nicks converging in the annual Santa Run preceding the parade on Dec. 15. The run is actually three races, with the 5K Santa Run starting at 10 a.m. There is also a competitive Speedy Santa Mile Race and a Santa’s Little Helper Mile (Dog Run) race for kids age 12 and under. Parents are welcome to join their children. All 5K adult participants receive a Santa suit, hat, short- sleeve jacket, shorts, belt and beard as well as one drink ticket and a pair of San Diego Santa Run sunglasses. Adults in the one-mile races will also receive a Santa hat, sunglasses and complimentary drink ticket. Plan to spend the day participating in the events, just spectating, or knock off some of that holiday shopping at local neighborhood businesses. There is also a PB window decorating contest to the theme of Jingle Bell Rock highlighting everyone’s favorite holiday numbers. The winning window will be featured in the Beach & Bay Press. For more information visit pacificbeach.org, drop in at Discover PB’s office at 1503 Garnet Ave., or email ann@pacificbeach.org. San Diego Santa Run When: 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 15. 10 a.m. 5K Santa Run 11:30 a.m. Santa’s Little Helper Wave 1 Mile (dog/owner) 12 p.m. Santa’s Elves Wave 1 Mile (Kids) 12:30 p.m. Speedy Santa Wave 1 Mile (Competitive) 12:50 p.m. Awards (competitive 1 Mile wave only) Where: Start: Garnet Avenue and Bayard Street. Info: sandiegosantarun.com Holiday Parade When: 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15. Where: Start: Garnet Avenue and Haines Street. End: Garnet Avenue and Bayard Street. Christmas on Crystal Pier When: 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1. Where: Crystal Pier. What: Take your pictures with Santa on Crystal Pier. Tree lighting at sunset and decorated wreaths hung along the pier. Cost: $10 or $5 with a donation of school supplies.
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    Star of India sails for first time in five years
    Nov 21, 2018 | 26307 views | 0 0 comments | 38 38 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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    Ecotourism expert shares vision for reinvigorating Mission Bay Park
    Nov 16, 2018 | 6224 views | 0 0 comments | 39 39 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 | 6255 views | 0 0 comments | 35 35 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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