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    Mayor calls for new law to ban vehicle habitation; also plans to expand Safe Parking Program
    Mar 25, 2019 | 5077 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer makes the announcement on March 25 in a parking lot off Mission Bay Drive. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer makes the announcement on March 25 in a parking lot off Mission Bay Drive. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer announced on March 25, while standing in a parking lot off Mission Bay Drive with the bay in the background, that he will bring forward a new ordinance to ban the proliferation of people living in vehicles on residential streets and parking lots. At the same time, the City will expand the existing Safe Parking Program to provide safe and secure places where individuals can stay at night while they work toward a permanent housing solution. In response to hundreds of complaints from residents about cleanliness and illegal activity related to people living out of vehicles, Faulconer was joined by District 2 Councilmember Jen Campbell, Police Chief David Nisleit and community leaders to outline plans to once again make vehicle habitation illegal in the City of San Diego. “I applaud the mayor’s action today, which balances the need to provide more assistance and services to San Diegans living in their vehicles in need of a helping hand with the concerns about health and safety we’ve heard from our beach communities,” Campbell said. Faulconer plans to introduce the new ordinance at the April 17 Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods committee meeting – ahead of the busiest time of year for beach communities, which are most heavily impacted by the influx of people living what some refer to as “van life.” The new law would replace a previous ordinance that the City Council repealed in response to a court ruling that deemed it too vague to enforce. The repeal left the City unable to ticket offenders. “If you are living out of your vehicle because you have nowhere else to go, we want to help you,” Faulconer said. “At the same time, residents and businesses have a right to clean and safe neighborhoods. We will not allow conduct that takes advantage of San Diego’s generosity and destroys the quality of life in our communities.” Last year, the City, in partnership with Jewish Family Service, expanded the Safe Parking Program in two parking lots in Kearny Mesa. Faulconer said he will add three additional lots in different parts of the City, with more than 100 new spaces for cars and recreational vehicles. Locations and operational specifics are being finalized. Every night, JFS operates a Safe Parking Program for unsheltered San Diegans living out of their vehicles, many of whom are experiencing homelessness for the first time. The program provides parking spaces for more than 100 cars, serving more than 200 adults and children. Services offered include basic needs assistance, employment, family wellness, school success, financial education, credit repair and housing navigation. Since the City expanded the program, more than 30 families have transitioned to long-term and permanent housing.
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    La Jolla Playhouse’s world premiere musical, ‘Diana,’ a crown jewel
    by LUCIA VITI
    Mar 23, 2019 | 10887 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Jeanna de Waal as Lady Diana, Princess of Wales, and Roe Hartrampf as Prince Charles during a scene of La Jolla Playhouse’s musical ‘Diana.’
    Jeanna de Waal as Lady Diana, Princess of Wales, and Roe Hartrampf as Prince Charles during a scene of La Jolla Playhouse’s musical ‘Diana.’
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    Electrifying. Remarkable. Exciting. Entertaining. Wow! The La Jolla Playhouse world premiere of “Diana,” the musical, delivers in leaps and bounds. Artistic director Christopher Ashley along with an incredible backdrop of superb talent, knocks the Broadway bound endeavor out of the ballpark. “Diana” touches upon the world’s fascination with the royal family by glimpsing into the austerity of her majesty’s kingdom from behind the castle walls. Sequencing events of the “People’s Princess” from the bells of London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral to the black Mercedes sedan crashing into a pillar of the Pont d’Alma tunnel in Paris, “Diana” captivates with “epic” and “sweeping” musical forays. Composer David Bryan, writer-lyricist Joe DiPietro, choreographer Kelly Devine and musical director, arranger and conductor-keyboardist Ian Eisendrath – along with his nine-piece orchestra – lead four main characters in front of a talented ensemble. Costume designer William Ivey Long exposes Diana as the ultimate fashion icon by showcasing her eye for style. Set designer David Zinn, lighting-designer Natasha Katz, and sound engineer Gareth Owen complete the nuts and bolts of staging and sound. “Diana’s” star, British actress Jeanna de Waal, leads counterparts Roe Hartrampf, as Prince Charles, Erin Davie as Camilla Parker-Bowles and Judy Kaye as Queen Elizabeth. De Waal, the first to test for the coveted role, left the powers that be a clear-cut message upon completion of her audition, “This is my role, don’t even think of anyone else.” “Diana” juxtaposes honesty with talent. Despite the makings of a fairy-tale, even she, the “Shy Di” who met with presidents, dignitaries, diplomats, religious leaders, rock stars and movie legends, was human. And ever so vulnerable. Dead at 36, the assistant kindergarten teacher who became the world’s most photographed woman, had 16 years earlier married Prince Charles, the most world’s most eligible bachelor destined to become the King of England. An estimated 750 million people watched the global television pageant while 600,000 spectators lined the streets of London. Thirteen years her senior, Prince Charles was however, in love with another woman – Camille Parker-Bowles. The married, ever-present Mrs. Parker-Bowles helped Charles – along with the Queen mother – to choose the young virgin from aristocratic blood. But unlike Diana, who devoted herself to being in love, Charles had a different agenda. When asked about loving the then 19-year old he infamously quipped, “whatever that means.” From the onset, Parker-Bowles never relinquished her role as mistress. The marriage, as Diana would famously quote years later, “became a bit crowded.” While the musical scores celebrate Diana’s life, there are no noted villains, just the perpetual angst that comes with any love triangle. The play lyrically depicts Diana’s once promised fairy tale as an existence punctuated with bouts of depression, attempted suicides, eating disorders and her own extra-marital affairs. Even her beloved sons William and Harry could not save the marriage, which ultimately ended in divorce. “Everyone, at some point during their childhood, is exposed to fairy tales – fantastical stories of dashing princes and plucky princesses overcoming curses and creatures to live happily ever after,” said Ashley. “Almost everyone, however grows to learn the difference between fiction and reality.” “Diana” elegantly segues into the Princess’s final chapter. No longer suffocating behind the castle walls, Diana reached out to those in need. Plastering her heart on her sleeve, the compassionate soul coddled infants infected with HIV/AIDS, caressed lepers and journeyed through landmines with amputee victims in Bosnia and Angola. Lady Diana, Princess of Wales, devoted herself to highlighting HIV/AIDS early in its crises when most shunned themselves away from a disease no one understood. Diana’s troubled marriage gave birth to a woman of accomplishment. Hounding paparazzi propelled the beauty into becoming a global phenomenon. Through “Diana,” we lay witness into pieces of her life, loves, charities and her untimely, tragic, death. “Having lived through the relentless media coverage of Diana’s marriage, divorce, death and remembrance, I’ve always been tremendously moved by her to power to stand up to the might of the monarchy,” said Ashley. “The institution survived – and even thrived – but it was undeniably altered by Diana. “Of course, Diana’s fairy tale didn’t end happily ever after. Perhaps that’s why, more than 20 years after her death, our culture remains fascinated by her story.” “Diana” runs through April 14 at the La Jolla Playhouse.
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    Tragedy at Torrey Pines Gliderport as two paragliders die in collision
    by EMILY BLACKWOOD
    Mar 22, 2019 | 217 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    A paraglider floats above Blacks Beach in Torrey Pines. / THOMAS MELVILLE / VILLAGE NEWS
    A paraglider floats above Blacks Beach in Torrey Pines. / THOMAS MELVILLE / VILLAGE NEWS
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    By all accounts, it was a pretty perfect day. The air was good, and there was plenty of space to fly, according to Torrey Pines Gliderport flight director Gabriel Jebb. No one could have imagined that it would be the backdrop for the Gliderport’s first death in more than 10 years, and its first midair collision to cause multiple deaths. It was a tragedy. One that, according to Jebb, "couldn’t have happened to two better guys.” On March 9, Glenn Johnny Peter Bengtsson, 43, of Carlsbad, and Raul Gonzalez Valerio, 61, of Laguna Hills, died after they crashed into each other and fell into a cliff. Both Bengtsson and Valerio were certified pilots who were well aware of rules regarding the distance to keep between each other. Valerio had fallen in love with paragliding after he retired and learned a couple of his buddies were doing it. He finished up his training at Torrey Pines a year ago, where he met Jebb.  “He had this incredible dynamic personality,” Jebb said. “The first day you met him, you liked him.” Valerio was known for being friends with everyone and could be found at Gliderport flying or even just hanging out with the pilots at least four days a week.  Bengtsson worked as a commercial pilot and was passionate about “aviation in any form.” Jebb met him back in January.  “His feeling was that once you started paragliding, flying a jet is like flying a car with more rules,” Jebb said. “Paragliding is about as close to being a bird as you can be." The San Diego Police, the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, and the Medical Examiner's Office are still investigating. what exactly caused the collision, Jebb said the deaths of their good friends has not only been a tragedy but a wake-up call. Jebb said that as pilots, they try to learn from accidents like this one so that they can do their best to prevent it from happening again. In this case, he wants to encourage paragliders to really develop their situational awareness on things like fluctuation in the wind and how close they are to terrain and other pilots.  “There are inherent risks to the sport, but it’s no more dangerous than driving a car. But it can become incredibly dangerous when you stop paying attention. And unfortunately, I think that’s what happened.” Still, it is a relatively safe sport. According to ABC 10 News San Diego, the paragliding fatality rate is one in 100,000; the same statistic as automobile fatalities in the United States.  It was also reported that the staff at Torrey Pines Gliderport might host a memorial fly-in for Bengtsson and Valerio, but that date has not been set.
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    La Jolla businesses offer fun ideas for a daycation
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Mar 17, 2019 | 20362 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Owned by Robert Mackey and Kai Koehnke, La Jolla Golf Carts started out as a promotion of their sister company, La Jolla Social, to help folks get around town. But it was such a good and workable idea, that the golf carts quickly became a hit on their own.
    Owned by Robert Mackey and Kai Koehnke, La Jolla Golf Carts started out as a promotion of their sister company, La Jolla Social, to help folks get around town. But it was such a good and workable idea, that the golf carts quickly became a hit on their own.
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    A handful of 2 1/2-hour tours at Fly Rides highlight the beauty – and history – of La Jolla.
    A handful of 2 1/2-hour tours at Fly Rides highlight the beauty – and history – of La Jolla.
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    Ever heard of a staycation? In La Jolla they have one better. It’s being referred to as a “daycation.”  And it’s something available from merchants offering tours, like San Diego Fly Rides, La Jolla Golf Carts and Pedego Electric Bikes. Max Shenk, operations manager of San Diego Fly Rides at 7444 Girard Ave., said locals and tourists alike take advantage of bicycling tours they offer daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. “When we first started out it was mostly tourist-driven,” said Shenk of Fly Rides. “But now we have a lot of locals who go themselves, or who have guests in town who want to do the tour.” Fly Rides started out small in an art studio space on Prospect, before spreading its wings and moving to Girard Avenue across from the Pannikin. The new space is filled to the rafters with pedal-assisted e-bikes of every imaginable type, both rentals and for sale. The retail space also has a full-service shop for repairs in the back. Fly Rides accommodates everyone from serious cyclists, to families to people just looking for a leisure day of exercise.  A handful of 2 1/2-hour tours at Fly Rides highlight the beauty – and history – of La Jolla. Torrey Pines Bike & Hike escorts guests through UC San Diego. Two of the most popular tours, costing $99 and $79, respectively, are SoCal Riviera and Cali Dreaming. SoCal Riviera is a loop of coastal La Jolla with a climb up Mount Soledad. Cali Dreaming is a downscaled version omitting the climb. On a recent weekend tour, native La Jollan Peter Hulburt of Fly Rides escorted Lyn Mettler, a visiting travel writer from Indiana, on the SoCal Riviera. Starting at La Jolla Cove, Hurlbert and guest took in the scenery, seals, sea lions and exquisite ocean views. The group stopped periodically for Hulbert to narrate a history of each area and its famous residents, like Ellen Browning Scripps.  At the Cove, the bike guide pointed out gnarled, leaning trees there that inspired famed children’s author Theodore “Dr. Seuss” Geisel’s work and art. Then it was south through Scripps Park to Windansea Beach, with Hulburt pointing out the high-profile surf breaks along the way. The SoCal Riviera Tour takes its name from the multimillion-dollar homes along the way in the downtown Village, at Windansea and on Mount Soledad. The tour wound through the popular La Jolla bike path between Bird Rock and La Jolla High School, with a stop to admire a huge cactus plant of the agave family from which tequila is made.  Returning to Girard, it was hard to believe 2 1/2 hours had elapsed. A similar, yet different, “daycation” experience is to be had at La Jolla Golf Carts at 7512 La Jolla Blvd. near the corner of Pearl Street.  Owned by Robert Mackey and Kai Koehnke, La Jolla Golf Carts started out as a promotion of their sister company, La Jolla Social, to help folks get around town. But it was such a good and workable idea, that the golf carts quickly became a hit on their own. “It started out with, ‘You need a ride here?,’” said Mackey, “Then it became, ‘It would be cool to drive it yourself.’ We basically turned it into a rental car company.” “We call it a self-guided tour,” said Mackey of La Jolla Golf Carts, which rents vehicles by the day, week or month. “It’s a great way to cruise around and enjoy beautiful La Jolla,” said Mackey. “We ended up helping a lot of people solve a transportation problem around the Village.” Mackey noted golf carts are especially handy for the aged, infirm or injured. Patrons at La Jolla Golf Carts have to be at least 21 years old. Families are not only welcome but are a centerpiece of the business, which offers four- and six-passenger carts for rentals, with plenty of kid space. Four-passenger carts rent for $169 a day, $189 a day for a six-passenger cart. “Our carts are street legal and have upgraded safety features,” pointed out Mackey noting carts have a 20 mph speed limit. La Jolla Golf Carts is open seven days a week, 365 days a year from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Go a bit south to Bird Rock, where Pedego Electric Bikes La Jolla has made a name for itself indulging biker’s need to proceed. “Most of our tours are custom and range from friends and family tours to corporate ‘team-building’ tours,” said Pedego spokesperson Tracy Sheffer. Pedego tours include: La Jolla Coastal/Mount Soledad National Monument Lunch Tour; Lookout Tour along the La Jolla Coastline to the La Jolla Cove, La Jolla Shores optional; Couples “Champaign Toast” Romantic Tour along the La Jolla Coastline to the La Jolla Cove; Electric Bike and Hike Torrey Pines State Park; La Jolla Shores Coastal Excursion to the Torrey Pines Glider Port and/or State Park; Southern Coastal Ride to the Historic Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach; La Jolla Shores Tour to the Birch Aquarium; and Customize Your Own Tour with the La Jolla Pedego team.  Pedego electric bikes have 250- to 500-watt motors capable of cruising distances up to 60 miles on a single battery charge. Pedego’s high-quality, innovative “pedal or not” models include cruisers, tandems, commuters, fat-tire bikes, mountain bikes, cargo bikes, a trike and a convenient electric folding bike.  Info Box:  San Diego Fly Rides 7444 Girard Ave. 888-821-6827 sandiegoflyrides.com La Jolla Golf Tours 7512 La Jolla Blvd. 858-401-6307 lajollagolfcarts.com Pedego Electric Bikes La Jolla 5702 La Jolla Blvd., Ste. 101a 858-291-8845 pedegoelectricbikes.com
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    Senior Gleaners gather surplus food in San Diego to help feed the hungry
    by LUCIA VITI
    Mar 15, 2019 | 37358 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    A crew of Senior Gleaners working the coast including the Cayetano pick in Mission Beach. / Photo by Daryush Bastani
    A crew of Senior Gleaners working the coast including the Cayetano pick in Mission Beach. / Photo by Daryush Bastani
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    Calling all active seniors in need of productivity and vegetable farmers and homeowners with backyards filled with fruit trees. San Diego’s Senior Gleaners are ready, super excited and able to glean surplus produce in an effort to feed the hungry. Celebrating 25 years as a nonprofit organization, this dedicated group of volunteers collects food that would otherwise be wasted. Members glean surplus produce from farms, fields, groves, and backyards. The group also collects damaged or outdated foods and products donated by grocers, food services, and even restaurants throughout San Diego County. Picking occurs almost every Tuesday morning, year-round. Grocery crews are scheduled four mornings a week to grocery stores the include Windmill Farms, Vons, Ralphs, Keils, even Outback Steakhouse. Crew sizes and detailed surplus varies. The coastal communities of La Jolla, Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach and Point Loma are abundant with produce. “With all of the negativity in today's world, gleaning, a tradition established by landowners who set aside portions of their harvested bounty to feed the poor, is positive and productive,” said Monte Turner, Senior Gleaner board president. “We help to feed the hungry, reduce waste and keep retirees active.” According to Turner, the Senior Gleaners collected more than 280,000 pounds of produce and distributed nearly 252 tons of food in 2018. And yet, San Diego continues to waste 500,000 tons of food annually while 500, 000 people live in poverty or are considered food insecure. “While not starving, many San Diegans don’t know where their next meal is coming from,” he said. “We don’t have a hunger problem, we have a food distribution problem. Rather than compost edible food or fill landfills with what becomes harmful methane gas, it makes more sense to support groups like ours who get food to the people who need it.” Turner spoke of the emotional satisfaction that he gets from gleaning. “I love being outside with friends picking fruit appreciated by people who frequent food pantries,” he said. “People often receive canned goods and unsold grocery food items but rarely fresh fruit. And San Diego is fruit country (oranges, tangerines, lemons, grapefruits, avocados apples, and pears are among the County’s produce surplus). “We often pass trees loaded with fruit and within a few weeks, the fruit is unsightly, rotting on the ground, attracting insects and feeding rats,” he continued. “To date, we’ve collected less than 10 percent of what’s available, leaving huge untapped resources.” Turner noted that it’s now standard practice for nationwide grocery chain stores to connect with groups like the Senior Gleaners to ensure that edible food is feeding the hungry, not landfills. “Food organizations like ours are being tapped into after a recently enacted state law that requires cities and counties to reduce the amount of organic, soon to be toxic material, to be dumped into landfills,” he said. Senior Gleaners supply small distribution groups – those not served by large food banks – which includes churches, senior centers, low-income housing units and food pantries. Volunteers are needed for gleaning and transporting at least 300 pounds of produce to Heaven's Windows, a satellite facility of the San Diego Food Bank and Feeding America. There is no minimum time requirement, however all volunteers must be 55 or older. Donors receive detailed receipts to claim tax deductions. The federal Good Samaritan Food Donation Act protects donors from liability for “damages incurred as the result of illness,” as long as the donor has not “acted with negligence or intentional misconduct.” The Senior Gleaners of San Diego County is a certified non-profit organization affiliated with the San Diego County Office of Aging and Independent Services/ Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, a nationwide program that encourages seniors to serve their community. For more information, visit seniorgleanerssdco.org.
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