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    Pacific Beach student band grows up into talented musicians
    Jan 21, 2021 | 7219 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    The Go Heads band was formed while its members were enrolled at Pacific Beach Elementary School. COURTESY PHOTO
    The Go Heads band was formed while its members were enrolled at Pacific Beach Elementary School. COURTESY PHOTO

    Pacific Beach Elementary School teacher and parent David Sandler was an aspiring musician in his youth who only took his calling so far. Now, as informal manager of his son Evan’s up-and-coming band, Go Heads, Sandler hopes to see them all go where he never went before.

    “I grew up playing piano and 30 years ago I was in a band named Cool Beans where we wrote all-original music and played at the Coaster Saloon and the Beachcomber,” said Sandler. “But we never did anything with it.

    “Thirty years later, I was teaching my son and his friends, whose band literally just started from a talent show act. I ended up hauling them all over to my house after school, and I would teach them the songs that I played, a lot of my original music. And it just started from there. Then they started writing their own music.”

    The Go Heads consist of Evan Sandler, Kory Watson, Noah Kapchinske, Drew Tolley and singer Brianna Eckenrod. The first three are now in college. The last two are still at Mission Bay High School, where Brianna sings, and Drew plays, for the school’s award-winning jazz band the Mission Bay Preservationists, under the tutelage of music instructor and MBHS alumnus J.P. Balmat.

    The five young people are all serious about their music, say it is important to their lives and figures prominently in their future plans.

    “We started off pretty much as a classroom band in third- or fourth-grade,” noted Tolley, who’s been playing drums since age 7. “I originally didn’t know what I was going to play, but my dad said, ‘Play the drums.’ My dad had a little backyard shed and he had a drum set out there and he taught me all the basic moves.”

    “Our sound has matured since then,” said Kapchinske, adding he’s been playing guitar since age 8 and has studied under popular, high-profile local blues guitarist Robin Henkel. “I was first inspired to pursue music from hearing Johnny Cash and old country and rockabilly music. Then I got turned on to roots, jazz and blues. I really appreciate a lot of genres. I’ve been into bluegrass stuff lately.”

    “Almost all of us were in Pacific Beach Elementary’s band,” pointed out Evan Sandler, discussing his musical taste. “Blues music is huge with all these amazing influences that really blends well with our style.”

    Of what her singing means to her, Eckenrod said: “It’s this great form, experience, it’s something that comes from you. It’s your voice that’s inside of you, just a way to express yourself. When I was little I would zone out and start singing. I guess I didn’t sound too bad.”

    “[Brianna] sang a capella in our Pacific Beach Elementary variety show,” David Sandler said, adding he was impressed. “I said, ‘She needs to be in these kids’ band.’ She was 9 or 10 years old.”

    “I started playing guitar in second grade,” said Watson, noting David Sandler, “asked me if I wanted to play bass. I said, ‘Sure.’ That’s how it happened.”

    “[Watson’s] also a great sax and clarinet player and plays with the Preservationists,” added David Sandler.

    Of his guitar student, Kapchinske, blues-guitarist Henkel said: “Noah is talented, humble and enthusiastic. He’s polite and considerate. That, combined with his strong aptitude for music, is probably why he’s doing so well.”

    Henkel added Noah, as a guitarist, “gets it.”

    “When we explore the interrelation of various scales and harmonic devices I’ll ask him to compose something using those ideas,” Henkel added. “Each week he shows me a new tune in music notation with a demo-recorded version. He’s not just a guy in a band moving up quickly. He’s becoming a composer and arranger.”

    David Sandler’s more than a manager to his son’s band. He added he’s not living vicariously through them, but rather delighting in guiding them down their own musical path.

    “These kids are such a part of me,” he said. “They save my life in a way. I felt so empty after my era ended. I was going to school and getting my teaching credentials and master’s degree and starting a family. That just seemed to disappear for me. These kids just brought it back for me. It just fills my whole life to have them in my life.”

    Concluded David Sandler: “Their music is such a part of me now I could never have imagined. They just went above and beyond. They’re so talented, so smart, so articulated. You always want your kids to be better than you. These kids are far better than I ever was.”

    View a clip of the Go Heads performing at



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    Residents react to ‘disgusting’ Pacific Beach protest
    Jan 21, 2021 | 3373 views | 5 5 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    San Diego police officers separate groups on Mission Boulevard during an assembly that turned violent on Jan. 9. PHOTO BY JOE ORELLANA (
    San Diego police officers separate groups on Mission Boulevard during an assembly that turned violent on Jan. 9. PHOTO BY JOE ORELLANA (
    Shock, anger, and disgust were the primary reactions of local leaders and residents to the culture clash that turned violent between supporters of former President Trump, white supremacists, Antifa, and police on Jan. 9 along Mission Boulevard. “I view this as more than a culture clash,” said Pacific Beach environmental activist Karin Zirk, who witnessed the event. “We have white supremacists emboldened by President Trump trying to overthrow governments of all sorts and create a whites-only nation. This is the largest danger to our democracy since the Civil War.” San Diego Police declared an “unlawful assembly” that Saturday around 2:30 p.m. due to acts of violence that erupted during the assembly led by supporters of former President Trump. Witnesses reported people threw rocks, glass bottles, and eggs that also hit some police officers. “There will be consequences for those who bring that kind of behavior to our city. I am asking for the public’s help in identifying anyone who was seen committing acts of violence in Pacific Beach,” said Mayor Todd Gloria. Police reportedly fired pepper balls at crowd members to counteract ensuing violence in the large gathering that spilled out onto the boardwalk. Some witnesses claimed police were largely unresponsive in reacting to the scuffle as it developed. PB resident Erin Smith, who was at the event with her 66-year-old mother, said they attended to be “In solidarity to stand up against groups that promote white supremacy and to let them know their dangerous antics will not be tolerated.” The Smiths claimed harsh treatment from both police and protesters alike during the demonstration, which led them to conclude: “The community, all of San Diego, needs to open their eyes to the very real problem we have here with neo-Nazis and domestic terrorists… San Diego can do better than this. We just need people to be aware of the severity of the issue.” Kathy Archibald of Pacific Beach was disgusted with the protest. “I found it disgusting that pro-Trump extremists would feel comfortable rallying in PB after pro-Trump extremists attempted to violently overthrow the government in Washington, D.C.,” she said. “Violence and racism must be confronted head-on, with honesty and accountability, whether in politics, law enforcement, or elsewhere. Otherwise, we will never get past this.” Marcella Bothwell, MD, president of the Pacific Beach Town Council and development chair for PB Planning Group, said: “I don’t understand why our community was chosen to have this activity from outside groups. I asked our board members to not get involved if possible.” Added Bothwell: “Our participation is like oxygen to these organizations and violence only hurts our community. Our businesses have enough to worry about keeping their livelihoods afloat and don’t need to spend time boarding up their windows. It seems that even if they (protests) start peaceful, they don’t end up peaceful. Please take your protests elsewhere.” Katie Matchett, president of nonprofit beautifulPB, pointed out the need for keeping public protests peaceful. “One of the essential roles of public spaces is to allow room for public discussion on the important topics of the day,” she said. “But for that discussion to be effective, everyone must feel safe and welcome in our public spaces. People who come to our streets with the express purpose of making others feel unsafe, or silencing particular opinions, harm our community.”  Added Zirk: “As someone who was present for parts of Saturday’s events, I felt threatened by the Trump supporters waving their flags and coming into Pacific Beach as a conquering army because, make no mistake about it, the white supremacists who drank the Kool-Aid and believe the election was rigged, view what they did on Jan. 6 as successful. And they are trying to replicate it all over the country. I also felt that the police were treating the pro-democracy protesters much more harshly than the pro-Trump [protesters].” Michelle Papalote of PB Southwest Central praised the conduct of police during the demonstration. “The San Diego Police did outstanding work,” she said. “Their response was organized, professional, and kept PB from a potential storm of chaos.” “Peaceful protests are protected by the First Amendment and the police department will always facilitate these events,” reacted San Diego Police Department PIO Lt. Shawn Takeuchi. “However, violence of any kind will not be tolerated.”  “We need to be openly and proudly anti-racist, and we need to hold our law enforcement accountable,” Smith added. “They are here to serve us and protect us.”
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    JP S
    44 Minutes Ago
    Let's be clear about the term "Antifa." That means ANTI FACIST. Which means being an American. It means being against totalitarianism and fascism. It is what any good citizen in this country should be. It is what our parents, grandparents and great grandparent were when they fought and died during WWII. So in truth this clash White Supremacist's and Nazis vs true Americans who were defending the United States Constitution.
    Robert Burns
    3 Hours Ago
    It looks like your article has been trolled. I support all proper exercises of First Amendment rights even by rightwingnuts. I like that view of not providing such people with "air"; I would have had leftists embedded throughout the rally areas in such a way as to keep watch but not create "air" or drama unless/until the rightwingnuts got out of hand.
    FactCheck the Media
    22 Hours Ago
    It seems like it was the all in black counter-protesters that were promoting violence. See video and article below.
    Kwamie Jackson
    23 Hours Ago
    What a biased one-sided report. Typical of almost all media these days. The Trump people did nothing to start this confrontation. It was white Antifa punks using pepper spray and striking people with poles and skateboards deliberately aggravating a peaceful gathering. Ask the people who were beaten what really happened. Dissapointing that Dave Schwab has sunk to reporting false propaganda garbage. Your paper should be ashamed.
    Frank J
    2 Hours Ago
    Right! Isn't any decent American against fascism? The trump humpers fascists planned the protest for 2PM. That is 'doing something'. And I'm sure your name is Kwamie Jackson.
    La Jolla filmmaker documents COVID fight in America’s hardest hit city
    Jan 20, 2021 | 10499 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Adam Raby (left, with long hair in a ponytail) is interviewing Dr. John Redd, the chief medical officer for the office of the assistant secretary of health and human services for preparedness and response. COURTESY PHOTO
    Adam Raby (left, with long hair in a ponytail) is interviewing Dr. John Redd, the chief medical officer for the office of the assistant secretary of health and human services for preparedness and response. COURTESY PHOTO

    Like a lot of filmmakers, La Jolla resident Adam Raby’s film projects in 2020 were put on hold. But on Dec. 31, Raby was offered a chance to be at ground zero in the fight against the COVID-19 panic.

    “Empowering a Billion Women contacted me and said, ‘Hey, we know you’re from California and we got this opportunity to do some filming in El Centro, are you interested?”

    Empowering a Billion Women (EBW, is an organization made up of a global network of women leaders who advocate for women’s health and prosperity. In the early months of the pandemic, EBW was tapped by the U.S. Health & Human Services (HHS) Department to use its network in procuring PPE. It’s latest role in the COVID fight — and the reason it reached out to Raby — is a public information campaign in El Centro, informing residents about the availability of monoclonal antibody treatments (MABs).

    “When President Trump got diagnosed with COVID-19, they took him to Walter Reed in a helicopter, and as soon as he landed they gave him this treatment,” Raby said. “It was only available to certain people at that point, it wasn’t available to anybody, really. Now the government wants to use this as a vehicle to lower the hospital rates because hospitals are overwhelmed. In El Centro, they got parking lots full of tents with people in them and they’re just trying to find a way to help this community.”

    The MAB program that Raby and his partner Jose Valdez filmed was started by Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Dr. Robert Kadlec and is carried out by HHS and the El Centro Regional Medical Center, a UCSD hospital. EBW’s role was to inform the public about the program, help alleviate fears and fight misinformation about the new treatment.

    Women make 80% of health care decisions in the United States, according to Department of Labor statistics, so gaining the trust of women was critical in galvanizing support for the MAB program.

    “There is a lot of messaging out there that has made this virus and this pandemic even more tragic,” Raby said. “I think using EBW to engage the women in this community and say ‘We have something that will help you, don’t be afraid to go get a test, don’t be afraid to go to the hospital, there are resources there that will help you,’ was an important part of this.”

    Raby recalled one woman his team interviewed named Laura, a general manager at electrical cooperative, who shared that one of her employees called into work because she was not feeling well. Laura encouraged her to get tested.

    “She also told her, because now she was aware of this, that she should ask her doctor if she meets the requirements for monoclonal antibody treatment. Two hours later she was getting the monoclonal antibody. So that’s the power of sharing the story.”

    Another success story was the El Centro fire chief, Cedric Cesena, who had severe symptoms from COVID.

    “Within 48 hours after the monoclonal treatment, I was at 80% back to normal,” Cesena said. “My wife’s life was also saved by the infusion. She’s got bronchitis and developed pneumonia, and without the infusion, she probably would’ve died.”

    The MAB program in El Centro utilizes infusion centers where patients at high risk of severe reaction to COVID are treated within 72 hours of symptoms or after receiving a positive test. The MAB drugs, like the COVID vaccines that are now available, are already purchased by the government and are given to qualified patients at no cost.

    The program has been so far successful. Of the first 133 patients treated with the infusion, only six later required treatment in an ICU, said El Centro Regional Medical Center CEO Dr. Adolphe Edward. Edward estimates that one ICU bed is freed up for every 10 patients treated with a MAB infusion. Pre-COVID, the El Centro Regional Medical Center had only 12 ICU beds but has now expanded to over 60 in the hospital and even in outside tents.

    As Raby and Valdez interviewed local community leaders, healthcare professionals, and citizens who shared their stories about the successes of the infusion centers, their backdrop was mostly the COVID-positive tents where the filmmakers witnessed the around-the-clock battle healthcare workers were engaged in trying to save lives.

    “It felt like we were in a war zone,” Raby said. “People weren’t shooting at us but there was the effect of the bodies that were lined up outside the hospital ward because they had nowhere to put the deceased. We had that view. And it was powerful. It was disheartening. It was tragic.”

    After Raby finished filming in El Centro, he realized he had documented more than just a government program.

    “The emotions of what I experienced over the last six days hit me and tears just started pouring down my face,” he said. “Because what we were witnessing wasn’t just something about COVID-19, it was about a community. It was about people. It was about the history of the land.

    “This was once a desert and because of water, it has turned into the fruit and vegetable basket of our country in the winter months. Along with that comes people who’ve been affected by this pandemic more than most places in the county. I think their positive rate was at 37%.”

    The high rate of infection comes from a variety of factors in El Centro, where a sizable portion of the population are migrant workers exposed to environmental pollutants like pesticides and many families live in multi-generational households with little to no ability to quarantine at home.

    “These people have been affected for a long period of time and their health is at risk. COVID-19 picks on people who have those kinds of health issues and it doesn’t allow them up,” Raby said. “And now, hopefully, the people that were there — HHS, certainly EBW, as well as the Department of Defense that is doing this Operation Warp Speed — they will see this community needs the help. And if we can help this community, we can take this program and help the entire country.”

    The immediate plan for the film Raby and Valdez captured in El Centro is to use the images on billboards, flyers to hang on doors in English and Spanish, social media and short-form, podcast-type interviews to educate community members about the MAB program.

    “The next phase is to tell this story in a documentary form, possibly a series,” Raby said.

    That documentary or series, Raby imagines, will not only show the devastation of the pandemic in one of America’s hardest hit cities, but also the hope that comes out of people helping people.

    “If we come together and put aside some of those differences, put aside those ideas and thoughts the messaging, put that aside and help each other, maybe this is an opportunity to move forward and make some changes in our community where we all help each other — even outside of healthcare.”

    “For the first time in history, we’re all focusing on the same issue,” Valdez added. “We’re all focusing on COVID-19 and that’s the comradery of what can bring us together as a society, so hopefully this can be an opportunity.”




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    111-year-old building at Naval Base Point Loma renovated for use
    Jan 20, 2021 | 5290 views | 2 2 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    At left, the 1909 Post Exchange and gymnasium building was a feel-good place for soldiers to gather at Fort Rosecrans. A few yards to its right stands the guardhouse. (U.S. Army Photograph, via Ken Glaze and the Fort Guijarros Museum Foundation Archive.) 
    At left, the 1909 Post Exchange and gymnasium building was a feel-good place for soldiers to gather at Fort Rosecrans. A few yards to its right stands the guardhouse. (U.S. Army Photograph, via Ken Glaze and the Fort Guijarros Museum Foundation Archive.) 
    By mid-1904, the construction of San Diego’s Army post was completed. Barracks buildings, hospital, officers’ quarters, bakehouse, and a guardhouse ran along the hillside in the lee of the Point Loma peninsula. But something was missing at Fort Rosecrans, and at many U.S. Army posts of the era. A feel-good place for soldiers to gather. “Before the mid-1890s, a soldier was issued his basic kit of uniform and ration, three meals a day, and a place to sleep,” says military historian Joe Janesic, Coast Defense Study Group, Los Angeles. “For anything extra, the nearest store at many posts was miles away. “The solution: A regional commander would contract a vendor called the post sutler who held exclusive privilege to provide goods and services to soldiers. These sutlers were enormously corrupt, and often soldiers became indebted to them. The post exchange grew out of the need to better serve enlisted personnel.” Construction of the Fort Rosecrans Post Exchange, a large, red-brick building, began in 1908, its architectural style unlike the Colonial Revival of other nearby structures. According to San Diego Union and Daily Bee, April 5, 1908, the Fort Rosecrans Post Commander, Major G.W. Gatchell, stated: “The post exchange is established at most army posts for the purpose of making the life of soldiers more enjoyable. The building is large enough to contain a gymnasium, library, and a lunch counter…where soldiers can buy pies and cakes…” and other non-essentials. And so it was. The building was completed with a main floor, basement, and a half second story finished as an interior balcony. Costly, up-to-date gymnastic paraphernalia, including traveling rings, horizontal bars, weight machines, vaulting horses, and two punching bags sat on hardwood platforms. Installation was such that all apparatus could be removed or suspended from the ceiling and the floor used for dancing. In the basement were two bowling lanes installed in 1909 by the Brunswick-Balke-Collender Co. The company installed billiards and pool tables elsewhere in the building. The authors contacted Brunswick to ask if photos existed of the alleys installed at former military posts, in particular, at Fort Rosecrans. Brunswick’s vice-president of capital equipment, David M. Sella, researched their archives but said nothing was available prior to the 1930s. Communications continued with Sella, and Brunswick gifted two vintage bowling pins for San Diego’s renovated building. Local craftsman, Jim Craig, constructed a handsome wooden wall mount for one of the pins, which is included in a permanent history exhibit presented to the Navy by the authors. Most of the Army’s early post exchange buildings were constructed from the same government blueprint. Furthermore, according to San Diego Union and Daily Bee, Feb. 22, 1909: “The work of installing the bowling alleys at Fort Rosecrans will begin this morning… they are the same as were recently built in the gymnasium building at Whipple Barracks near Prescott, Ariz. by Brunswick’s LA rep, S. P. Dysinger.” The authors contacted the Arizona Historical Society, which was able to provide photographs of Fort Whipple’s bowling lanes. Since no photographs of the Fort Rosecrans alley have been discovered, they can rely on the Fort Whipple replica. The Post Exchange and gymnasium served soldiers until Fort Rosecrans property was transferred to the U.S. Navy in 1959 for a submarine support facility. Soon after, a renovation scraped the sporting equipment, a second story added, and the building was employed otherwise. For the past 20 years, the handsome brick building stood empty and forlorn, until the 2020 renovation. The COVID-19 pandemic has delayed a public grand opening, but today, the Security Department at Naval Base Point Loma occupies the former Army Post Exchange building.
    Comments-icon Post a Comment
    23 Hours Ago
    We'd like to know where the building is located, (the address) and it'd be neat to see pictures of how it looks now.
    Brian J Earley
    21 Hours Ago
    I completely agree Loraine, why have a story like this and not have a current picture and street location of the "Security Department at Naval Base Point Loma" which it is now called. Do the reporters have cameras in their phones or is it too expensive process that to the article?
    DAILY BRIEFING – Kayak Cleanup of SD River, Mickelson commits to Farmers Insurance Open, La Jolla Symphony series
    Jan 17, 2021 | 100544 views | 1 1 comments | 34 34 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    A spectacular sunset filled the sky at Sunset Cliffs on Jan. 13. Photo by Thomas Melville
    A spectacular sunset filled the sky at Sunset Cliffs on Jan. 13. Photo by Thomas Melville

    A round-up of news, community, and business briefs from highlighting what’s happening in our community.

     Sunday, Jan. 17

    Any kayakers out there want to do some good? The San Diego River Park Foundation is looking for people with kayaks to help remove trash from sensitive habitat at the San Diego River Estuary at a “B.Y.O.-Kayak Cleanup” on Saturday, Jan. 30. Kayaks will be sent out in three shifts: 8:15 a.m.-9:15 a.m., 9 a.m.-10 a.m., or 9:45 a.m.-10:45 a.m. Please indicate which shift you would prefer when you RSVP. For more information and to RSVP, email [email protected]
    Space is limited and volunteers must bring their own kayak. SDRPF staff will be enforcing COVID-19 health and safety measures to provide a safe volunteer experience for participants. If you have questions or concerns, email [email protected].

    San Diego native and three-time Farmers Insurance Open winner Phil Mickelson has committed to compete in the 2021 tournament, set for Jan. 28-31 at Torrey Pines Golf Course. Mickelson joins a field that currently includes 16 of the top 50 players in the Official World Golf Rankings and 16 players among the top 30 in the 2020-21 FedExCup points standings. There are also five past Farmers Insurance Open winners committed, as well as six players who have accounted for 14 major championship victories.
    Other San Diego products committed to the Farmers Insurance Open include Rickie Fowler, Charley Hoffman, Jamie Lovemark, Kyle Mendoza, Pat Perez, Xander Schauffele and J.J. Spaun. The field is not final until the commitment deadline on Friday, Jan. 22 shortly after conclusion of play in that week’s tournament. Click here to view the current player field.

    An analysis of a large nationally representative longitudinal study by University of California San Diego Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science reportS that starting tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, before the age of 18 is a major risk factor for people becoming daily cigarette smokers. Reporting in the Jan. 11 online edition of Pediatrics, researchers found that in 2014 people age 12 to 24 who used e-cigarettes were three times as likely to become daily cigarette smokers in the future. Among those who reported using a tobacco product, daily use increased with age through age 28. Daily cigarette smoking nearly doubled between 18 to 21 year olds (12 percent) and 25 to 28 year olds (21 percent).
    “This is the first paper that actually looks at progression to dependent cigarette smoking among young adults. In these data, e-cigarettes are a gateway for those who become daily cigarette smokers,” said the study’s first author, John P. Pierce, PhD, professor emeritus at Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science and UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center. “The start product has changed from cigarettes to e-cigarettes, but the end product has stayed the same. When users become dependent on nicotine, they are converting to cigarette smoking.”

    With the COVID-19 pandemic impacting everyday life, the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus has once again re-imagined its 2020-2021 season. Titled “Stay Home With Us,” the reimagined program will combine some of the lively conversation, fascinating ideas and extraordinary music.
    The six-part monthly series will prepare a lively menu of musical encounters featuring interviews, solo performances and selected pre-recorded works from the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus archives. Join from your living room, or maybe from the kitchen, as you prepare a meal and enjoy a glass of wine or listen as you walk on the beach or on the trails.
    It will begin on Jan. 15 with a program titled “Music in Nature.” It will feature selected movements from Beethoven’s picturesque Symphony No. 8 a solo performance of John Cage’s Child of Tree by percussionist Matt LeVeque and an archived performance of L.J. White’s Community Acoustics. Productions will also be aired Feb. 19, March 19, April 16, May 14, and June 18. Series subscriptions or individual event tickets can be purchased by visiting, by phoning the Box Office at 858-534-4637.  

    Alaska Airlines will add daily nonstop service to New York via John F. Kennedy International Airport from San Diego International Airport beginning April 4. Alaska Airlines joins three other airlines that also provide nonstop service to JFK. 
    “We thank Alaska Airlines for adding new, nonstop service to JFK from SAN,” said Kimberly Becker, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority President and CEO. “This service will complement Alaska Airlines’ daily nonstop service to Newark Liberty International Airport, providing passengers with additional options to get to the New York metropolitan area. We appreciate Alaska Airlines’ investment in San Diego as a West Coast hub.”
    This is the first new route Alaska Airlines has added this year. The airline will begin nonstop service to Missoula, Mont. March 11. Tickets are already on sale at  

    During the COVID-19 crisis, California students are missing out on crucial learning time that could have long-term effects on their educational progress. Assembly Bill 104 by California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) will help disadvantaged K-12 students recover from nearly a year of lost instruction time with opportunities for grade recovery, supplemental instruction, and intervention programs designed to tackle students’ socio-emotional needs.
    Gonzalez’s AB 104, also known as the COVID-19 Student Learning Recovery Act of 2021, will provide local education agencies in the state a roadmap to hold California students harmless for lost learning time during the COVID-19 crisis. Under this legislation, students would receive academic instruction based on their individual needs, with specific supports for English learners and students with exceptional needs, in small cohorts or in the form of distance learning if public health conditions prevent schools from reopening safely.

    The award-winning San Diego Chorus of Sweet Adelines International wants you to shine in 2021. The Chorus is hosting their Winter Open House virtually on Jan. 27 from 7 to 9 p.m. The event, "New Year, New Start, New You,” will be held via Zoom. The San Diego Chorus is looking for all women and other marginalized genders from all walks of life who get joy from singing and performing.
    The night will be structured much like the weekly "ViRehearsals" and will include an educational breakout session for guests including an explanation of what a cappella singing is, and how barbershop fits in the genre; information about Sweet Adelines International and competition; questions answered regarding voice parts, and more. For more information, visit San Diego Chorus - The San Diego Chorus of Sweet Adelines International.

    Girls on the Run San Diego enters the new year with new leadership, hiring Anna Maria Gentiluomo Maybury as its new executive director. Maybury brings to Girls on the Run San Diego extensive experience in the nonprofit space, having worked previously with San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum, Project Left Behind, and Voices for Children.

    In her role as executive director, she will lead organizational development and strategic planning, optimize financial performance and cultivate existing and future charitable partnerships, manage the Girls on the Run San Diego staff, and oversee all programming in San Diego County. For more information about Girls on the Run and how to register as an individual or start a new team for the spring season, visit

    Tuesday, Jan. 12

    “This past weekend, we saw violent confrontations and destruction following the outrageous events last Wednesday in Washington, D.C., when the President used lies and disinformation to incite his followers to storm and ransack the Capitol, causing the deaths of five people,” said Mayor Todd Gloria in a release. “Violence will not be tolerated in San Diego. There will be consequences for those who bring that kind of behavior to our city. I am asking for the public’s help in identifying anyone who was seen committing acts of violence in Pacific Beach. Please report those incidents and individuals to the San Diego Police Department as soon as possible.
    “The City of San Diego will always support the people’s right to demonstrate and voice their opinions while taking measures to keep the peace and prevent violence,” added Gloria. “However, I want to remind San Diegans that COVID-19 continues to kill thousands of Americans every day, and the smartest thing all of us can do right now is stay home.”
    Anyone with information leading police investigators to those who acted violently last weekend in PB should call the San Diego Police Department’s Northern Division Substation at 858-552-1700.

    Over the past several months, SANDAG construction crews have made significant progress constructing the Rose Creek Bikeway that runs two miles along Santa Fe Street between the cul-de-sac at the north end (south of SR 52) and the new Mission Bay Drive undercrossing (north of Garnet Avenue).
    Recent construction activities included:

    • Roadway striping

    • Planting trees and groundcover

    • Irrigation improvements

    • Stormwater maintenance

    • Electrical work

    • Grading and paving

    • Installing curb, fences, and railing

    Upcoming construction activities will include building the raised median for the bikeway on Santa Fe Street, paving the path along the creek, continued planting of trees and ground cover, habitat restoration, and the installation of lighting, signage, and other finishing touches. The bikeway is expected to be completed in spring 2021.

    SeaWorld San Diego is giving fans a whole new way to enjoy the park with the first Sesame Street Parade of Lights Drive-Thru. Guests can experience the all-new drive-thru event on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from Jan. 15 through Feb. 14. With enhanced health and safety measures in place, the new drive-thru allows guests to drive under SeaWorld’s Skytower lights and through light tunnels while enjoying the only Sesame Street Parade of Lights on the West Coast. The experience features everyone’s favorite furry friends dancing along to a lively Sesame Street soundtrack.
    “This is an exciting new way for families to experience SeaWorld’s Sesame Street Party Parade and an incredible winter wonderland of lights from the safety of their own cars,” said park president Marilyn Hannes. “As we continue to promote our enhanced health and safety protocols, we are thrilled to offer this unique opportunity so our guests can enjoy SeaWorld like never before.”
    After passing through the entrance, guests will begin their journey by meandering through a winter wonderland of lights lined with their Sesame Street friends physically distanced on parade floats while listening to Sesame Street music along the way. The excitement continues as guests venture under the illuminated Skytower and watch in awe as they drive through two different tunnels of lights before cruising through the Sesame Street Village. Seasonal favorite snacks will be available to enjoy in the car with limited contact purchasing. Advance purchase of date and time-specific tickets are required and start at $49.99 per vehicle. Tickets are on sale and advance reservations are required for all visitors to manage capacity. 


    In recognition of the City of San Diego’s exemplary efforts to enforce and administer the building code, the Insurance Services Office has given the City its second-highest national rating for effectiveness and performance.
    The ISO rating recognizes the City’s Development Services Department and its dedication to comprehensive building plan reviews and field inspection services. DSD staff work with developers, residents, and businesses to ensure new buildings are code-compliant, have structural integrity and minimize catastrophe-related damage, ultimately helping lower insurance costs for property owners.
    “Through the proactive upkeep of the building code and regulating the design and construction of buildings, we are reducing vulnerabilities from the devastating effects of natural disasters,” said Mayor Todd Gloria. “DSD’s efforts help protect public welfare and provide future cost-savings on insurance premiums for homeowners and small businesses.”
    As a statistical, rating, and advisory organization, the ISO evaluated more than 14,000 building departments nationwide in 2020, providing advisory insurance underwriting and rating information to insurers. Its Building Code Effectiveness Grading Schedule is a rating system that ranks how well municipalities mitigate property damage caused by natural disasters. The system is used by individual property insurance carriers to help set rates.
    “The ISO evaluated our current staffing capabilities, the codes enforced and the quantity of permits reviewed and inspected, determining that we have achieved the second-highest rating in the industry,” said DSD deputy director and chief building official Kelly Charles. “Though we are rated among the nation’s best, we will continue to improve our training and staff development to serve the City of San Diego even better.” Visit DSD’s website to view the most requested services, make an appointment, and to find other project and permitting resources. 


    One of San Diego's more popular Italian restaurants, Cesarina has taken over the 1,100-square-foot space across the street in Point Loma and will open Angelo, a bakery and pizza shop with a full bar set to debut later this year. After relocating to San Diego from Rome, Cesarina Mezzoni and her husband Niccolò Angius started their Cesarina brand as a pasta vendor at area farmers markets before launching their first brick-and-mortar restaurant in March 2019 in Point Loma. In order to expand operations, the couple has taken over space across the street that previously housed Richard Hosker Whyte Antiques to open a compact bakery with a pizza component. 
    Angelo is expected to open later this year at 4060 Voltaire St. and Point Loma. In addition to having a small dining area with a chefs' table for intimate meals, the eatery will be used for much of the preparation at both restaurants, including making fresh pasta, pizza, sauces, and bakery items like Italian desserts and cakes. Angelo will also have a full bar thanks to the eatery obtaining the liquor license from the now-defunct Jolt N Joes La Mesa branch. For more information about Cesarina, visit


    Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, in collaboration with Dutch scientists, have found that certain metabolites — small molecules produced by the process of metabolism — may be predictive indicators for persons at risk for recurrent major depressive disorder. The findings were published in the Jan. 11 online issue of Translational Psychiatry.
    “This is evidence for a mitochondrial nexus at the heart of depression,” said senior author Robert K. Naviaux, MD, PhD, professor of medicine, pediatrics, and pathology at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “It’s a small study, but it is the first to show the potential of using metabolic markers as predictive clinical indicators of patients at greatest risk — and lower risk — for recurring bouts of major depressive symptoms.”
    Clinical depression is a mood disorder characterized by multiple symptoms in combination: feelings of sadness or hopelessness, anger or frustration, loss of interest, sleep disturbances, anxiety, slowed or difficulty thinking suicidal thoughts, and unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches.
    Major depressive disorder (MDD) is among the most common mental illnesses in the United States, with an estimated lifetime prevalence of 20.6 percent, meaning one in five Americans will suffer at least one episode during their lives. For patients who have recurrent MDD (rMDD), the five-year recurrence risk is up to 80 percent. View the full study at


    Japan Airlines has resumed nonstop flights between Tokyo, Japan via Narita International Airport and San Diego International Airport . The service will operate three times a week with the first arrival into San Diego on March 2 and the first departure from San Diego on March 3. The resumption comes after Japan Airlines suspended service in April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    “Japan Airlines provides the greater San Diego area with an important nonstop link to Asia,” said Kimberly Becker, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority president and CEO. “By providing Japan with direct access to our region, San Diego is more competitive and attractive to those individuals looking to vacation or conduct business in Southern California, which is critical to rebuilding our economy post-COVID-19. We look forward to welcoming travelers from Asia once again and thank Japan Airlines for resuming this important service.”
    Japan Airlines became the first airline to launch nonstop flights between Asia and San Diego when they inaugurated service to Tokyo in December 2012. Pre-COVID-19, the airline offered daily nonstop flights which were immensely popular. For schedule and tickets, visit


    To keep up with the ever-changing needs of the City of San Diego’s land uses, the City Council has approved an update to the code that regulates the development and use of properties. Among the 44 items in this Land Development Code Update, applicants can now turn ground floor commercial spaces into residential uses more quickly.
    Additionally, recreational amenities in the public right of way will no longer need a development permit, and adult day care facility regulations will now be defined in the City’s Municipal Code.
     “Each component of this update is a step toward fulfilling the City's goals of creating more dynamic neighborhoods that are more inclusive and sustainable," said Mayor Todd Gloria. "These updates are also about adapting to the challenges we face during this time. We are enduring a housing crisis and it's important we make it easier to build more homes for San Diegans. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it's also critical that we support local businesses and help them get through this." 
    “Land Development Code Updates are crucial to keeping the City progressing in a positive direction, adapting to new trends such as an aging population, and anticipating for what is expected to come,” said Planning Department Director Mike Hansen. “These updates remove unnecessary barriers to ensure our City’s needs, like making it easier to create housing, are met.” 

    Thursday, Jan. 7

    Starting on Monday, Jan. 11, City Ballet School in Pacific Beach will offer one-hour Ballet Barre Zoom classes. It's fun and perfect for all fitness levels. Sculpt your way to a dancer's body in the comfort of your home. Ballet Barre classes are a way to achieve a dancer’s physique without having to learn choreography.  Classes feature exercises using the ballet barre that tone your legs, lift your glutes and strengthen your upper body core. The class ends with a stretch to help you relax and to lengthen your muscles.
    Contact the City Ballet School office at 858-274-6058 weekdays between 9 a.m.-1 p.m. or 3-7 p.m. You will receive a Zoom meeting invitation to join the Ballet Barre Classes. If you are not a student currently enrolled at City Ballet School, complete the 2020-2021 Adult Registration Form and submit via email to [email protected].


    The Port of San Diego Board has selected Joe Stuyvesant as its next president/CEO. Stuyvesant, who currently serves as executive director at Navy Region Southwest, was considered the top candidate among hundreds of applicants after a vigorous nationwide search that began in September. Stuyvesant’s contract is expected to be ratified at the Jan. 19 board meeting and it’s expected he will assume his duties Feb. 1.
    Stuyvesant served in the United States Navy for 30 years. His primary assignment in the Navy was as a naval aviator. Stuyvesant will lead more than 500 employees managing the Port, a specially created state district responsible for more than 14,000 acres of tideland, bay, and beaches along 34 miles of waterfront in five cities.


    National Bagel Day is Friday, Jan. 15 and local bagel companies are offering some sweet deals to mark the occasion. To celebrate the tasty holiday, guests can receive any of the below free bagel deals simply by ordering ahead on the respective brand’s mobile app beginning Jan. 15 through the end of the month: 


    • Einstein Bros. Bagels: Receive any egg sandwich of your choice, such as crowd-favorites like the Farmhouse and Chorizo Sunrise, for free with any purchase when you order ahead through the brand’s mobile app.


    • Noah’s New York Bagels: Receive any egg sandwich of your choice on a high quality, fresh-baked New York-style bagel for free with any purchase when you Order Ahead through the brand’s mobile app. 


    • Bruegger’s Bagels: A free, fresh-baked and authentic New York-style bagel and cream cheese with any purchase when you Order Ahead through the brand’s mobile app.


    Newly elected County Supervisor Nora Vargas of Chula Vista has been appointed to the board of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority replacing former Supervisor Greg Cox. Vargas was nominated by Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher and confirmed by the full board on Jan. 5. The Airport Authority, which operates San Diego International Airport, is governed by a nine-member Board whose members are appointed by elected officials representing all areas of San Diego County.


    Through Jan.15, Circulate San Diego is working alongside the County of San Diego’s Community Action Partnership to collect input about community needs across the region. To ensure the community has a voice in the process, the County and CSD invite residents to participate in a Community Needs Assessment Survey and Community Conversations being held virtually.
    The purpose of the 2020 Needs Assessment is to identify current strengths, needs, and ideas for future services in the community. Previous Needs Assessments have identified top needs to be youth programs, housing, gang activity, community engagement, access to healthy food, infrastructure improvement, employment, education, and transportation. Take the survey by Jan. 15 and be entered to win a $100 Amazon Gift Card.


    Construction activity is continuing for the EB Scripps Park Comfort Station Replacement Project to replace outdated and deteriorating restroom-shower facilities with an attractive, sustainable pavilion honoring the beauty of the Cove and Scripps Park. Work has begun on the foundation of the north building. The crews expect to pour the walls in the early weeks of January. Work will continue on the structural elements of the buildings for the next few months. The project remains on schedule and is anticipated for completion this summer.


    The university’s lung transplant program ranks among the nation’s best. Recently, the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients announced its biannual report, released every January and July, ranking transplant programs across the United States. The SRTR evaluates the status of the nation’s solid organ transplant system and provides data analyses to transplant programs, organ procurement organizations, policymakers, transplant professionals, transplant recipients, organ donors, and donor families, as well as the general public to help improve overall recipient outcomes.
    In the latest rankings, UC San Diego Health’s lung transplant program was first in the nation for one-year patient survival outcomes among programs with a volume of 30 to 100 lung transplants performed, and second in the nation among all lung transplant programs. According to the SRTR, the probability of UC San Diego Health lung transplant recipients surviving one-year post-transplant is 98.59 percent, which is higher than the expected rate of 90.94 percent and national average rate of 89.86 percent.


    Cutwater Spirits’ First Fridge Run benefiting The San Diego Food Bank will take place virtually on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 23-24. Those interested in participating in the lighthearted competition can purchase a race kit and register at All race kit proceeds go to the San Diego Food Bank, and Cutwater will provide at least 125,000 meals to the community. Direct donations can also be made on the registration site. Actor Kevin McHale and comedian Sarah Colonna are joining Cutwater for the race-from-home challenge by posting footage of their “race day training routines” (to and from the fridge) on Instagram.
    Participants are encouraged to do the same and share training, race-prep and “most epic” weekend strides to the fridge content for a chance to win prizes like a fridge-full of Cutwater Spirits’ award-winning canned cocktails. The winners’ podium will include Best in Show, Most Creative, Most Athletic, Best Music and/or Choreography and Best Fridge/Finish Line.


    Nonprofit Point Loma Playhouse at 3035 Talbot St. is offering classes for all levels Jan. 11 through Feb. 8. Hamilton resident director Hannah Ryan will show how Trust The Text will strengthen your acting skills through text-based analysis of new works. With the goal of finding strength in truth, you will learn to approach new and developing pieces of theatre with an action-based objective. The five-week live class begins Monday, Jan. 11 at 4 p.m. For more information, visit


    Wednesday, Jan. 6

    Connect with characters and explore new stories this January with the City of San Diego Public Library’s annual Winter Reading Challenge. The program, which began Jan. 1, and the theme, Books Like Us, is a celebration of diversity and stories that reflect the unique experiences of people around the world. The Winter Reading Challenge is open to children and adults. Participants who complete the program by reading five books or logging five hours of reading are eligible for a variety of prizes including passes to San Diego’s Museum of Us, meal vouchers, puzzles and journals.
    The program runs through Jan. 31. Participants can register online and view of list of recommended books at and join the San Diego Public Library’s Virtual Hub for storytimes and book discussions. For a list of available in-person and online library services, visit the San Diego Public Library’s web page

    Three notable players have committed this week to compete in the 2021 Farmers Insurance Open, set for Jan. 28-31 at Torrey Pines Golf Course:

    • Jon Rahm – World No. 2 and 2017 Farmers Insurance Open champion;

    • Brooks Koepka – World No. 12 and four-time major championship winner;

    • Marc Leishman – World No. 28 and 2020 Famers Insurance Open champion.

     Rahm, Koepka and Leishman join a field that currently includes 15 of the top 50 players in the Official World Golf Rankings and 15 players among the top 30 in the 2020-21 FedExCup points standings. There are also three past Farmers Insurance Open winners committed, as well as five players who have accounted for nine major championship victories. San Diego products committed to the Farmers Insurance Open include Rickie Fowler, Charley Hoffman, Jamie Lovemark, Kyle Mendoza, Pat Perez, Xander Schauffele and J.J. Spaun.

    Small Businesses and nonprofits now have some extra time to apply for $500 million in State of California COVID-19 relief funds. The San Diego and Imperial Small Business Development Center, Supervisor Nathan Fletcher and The San Diego Foundation have partnered to make sure those funds get into the hands of those who have been most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Interested entities can apply at They have until 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 13.
    Gov. Gavin Newsom announced in December $500 million in grant funds for small businesses and nonprofits. This is not a first-come, first-serve grant. All applications will start to be reviewed following the closure of the application period. These grants are to cover business expenses and specifically for small businesses hit by the pandemic.

    San Diego Blood Bank is celebrating National Blood Donor Month throughout January by inviting eligible individuals to donate blood and convalescent plasma in 2021 with the goal of creating a robust supply that can meet local hospital patient needs. To be eligible to donate blood you must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 114 pounds and be in general good health. Appointments are required and available by visiting or by calling 619-400-8251.

    A guided walk around Rose Creek to learn about native plants and animals that co-exist in the estuary will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 9. There will be a 10-person maximum, masks are required and there will be no sharing of binoculars with people outside their own household. Rose Creek is a hidden treasure in Pacific Beach, a quiet, peaceful stroll under the hanging Eucalyptus trees that line the walking path on the west side and the bike path on the east side. You might see or hear the osprey family, kingfisher, great blue heron, hawk, egrets, and the mud feeders; plovers, willits, sandpipers and ducks.
    Wear sturdy shoes, bring binoculars and your camera or smart phone and a coat. Suitable for all ages. Guests will be walking on mostly flat paved and dirt trails. Meet at the Mission Bay High School Faculty parking lot off Grand Ave and next to the Creek. Here is a google map pin with the location of where to park.

    La Mesa’s newest addition, Smokey & The Brisket, is ready to ring in the new year with toothsome barbecue sure to become a staple favorite in the neighborhood’s growing culinary scene. Locals and visitors can curb cravings as they savor the smokey goodness of barbecue prepared the old-fashioned way, with custom techniques that are revved up with flavor and quality. Smokey & the Brisket is now open for lunch and dinner Tuesdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., in a 5,000-square-foot space at 5465 Lake Murray Blvd.
    Smokey & The Brisket’s seasoned owner and chef is San Diego restaurateur, Alberto Morreale, who is behind such concepts as Farmer's Table and Farmer's Bottega. The barbecue concept is Morreale’s second La Mesa eatery, and he has a real heart for the community. Call for more information at 619-439-6544.

    Semola Pasta is leaving the Little Italy Food Hall and re-opening sometime in early 2021 in La Jolla as Semola – The Ambrogio15 Pasta Bar on 7556 Fay Ave. The new establishment will feature a menu with several modern pasta dishes that will share the same philosophy of high quality, gourmet ingredients and recipes that made Ambrogio successful. There will also be some special dishes inspired by the owner’s hometown of Milano, Italy. The new location has a beautiful patio. The eatery will also always be available for take-out and delivery. Say tuned and follow at semolapastasd.

    For Lovers of the strange, unusual, and biizarre, the Oddities & Curiosities Expo is coming to San Diego Jan. 16 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. The event focuses on the weird, with local and national vendors selling all things strange and unusual. You’ll see items such as taxidermy, preserved specimens, odd antiques, horror and Halloween merchandise, original artwork, animal and human skulls/bones, jewelry made from insects/bones, clothing, antique medical equipment, vintage circus collectibles and much more. For more information, visit

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    Jack Flash Floyd
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    San Diego and Tijuana mayors reaffirm commitment to cross-border collaboration
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