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    New study to evaluate airplane flight paths and noise in coastal neighborhoods
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Jan 17, 2018 | 6369 views | 1 1 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    This composite photo shows dozens of planes taking off from San Diego International Airport and headed over Point Loma. A new study will evaluate how flight paths and noise impacts Peninsula neighborhoods.   OLIVER ASIS / CONTRIBUTOR
    This composite photo shows dozens of planes taking off from San Diego International Airport and headed over Point Loma. A new study will evaluate how flight paths and noise impacts Peninsula neighborhoods. OLIVER ASIS / CONTRIBUTOR
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    A new study titled “Part 150” has been green lighted to evaluate flight-path improvements and noise reductions in and around San Diego International Airport. Noise has been a real sore spot for coastal residents from the Point to La Jolla, who allege flight-path changes the past couple years have negatively impacted their lifestyles. Recently, District 2 Councilmember Lorie Zapf spoke before the Airport Authority on the  merits of the Part 150 study. “As your council member, I have advocated for reduction in airport noise in our communities,” Zapf said. “As part of my support for the Part 150 study, I have requested the FAA be a proactive partner to improve the quality of life in surrounding communities.” Part 150, a federal aviation regulation, guides and controls planning for aviation noise compatibility on and around airports. The federal regulation establishes procedures, standards and methodologies to be used by airport operators for preparation of Airport Noise Exposure Maps.  Such exposure maps are used in the Quieter Home Program, the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority’s Residential Sound Insulation Program. The FAA has determined that residences within the 65-plus decibel-level limit around SDIA may be eligible for sound-insulation treatments to mitigate aircraft noise. The FAA has set a goal of reducing interior-noise levels for eligible residents by at least five decibels inside the home, providing a noticeable noise reduction. But not everyone is certain the Part 150 study will be a cure-all for decreasing airport noise in communities directly impacted from alleged flight-path changes. One skeptic is Gary Wonacott, Mission Beach Town Council president. “Clearly, the FAA modifications benefitted some areas of Mission Beach, mainly the north, and negatively impacted South Mission Beach,” Wonacott said. “According to responses from residents in PB and La Jolla, they were also negatively impacted by some of the flight path changes. “The key point here is that Part 150 cannot be used to assess the benefits of the procedural changes proposed for Mission Beach and La Jolla, because these communities are not in the 65-decibel area. As you know, currently, the majority of our noise complaints come outside our 65-decibel contour,” Wonacott said. Wonacott admitted, however, the FAA is showing a willingness to compromise. “The FAA has demonstrated that they are willing to look at procedural changes that reduce noise outside the 65 decibel limit,” he said. Point Loman Casey Schnoor has been a watchdog for the NextGen and airport noise situation for more than two years. A citizen’s representative on a 15-member airport subcommittee, Schnoor and his colleagues came up with 21 recommendations for “quieting” airport noise in coastal communities in the airport’s flight path, following a year of deliberations. Schnoor talked about the goal of those 21 recommendations. “The goal is to mitigate the impacts to the communities of any of those flight paths, or adjacent to those flight paths,” he said. Is the Part 150 a step in the right direction? “I am cautiously optimistic,” Schnoor replied. “Part 150 is a process. It appears to be the best vehicle to execute all those [recommended] changes.” Schnoor noted Part 150 is an 18- to 24-month process. “We don’t want to sit on our hands for two years, when a lot of these things are problems today,” Schnoor said, adding, it’s also important to continue monitoring “day-to-day issues and procedures” with airport operations. That needs to be done, he said, to hold the federal agency accountable for its operations, and to ensure the Airport Authority remains responsive to citizens’ concerns and complaints about aircraft noise. Schnoor said the airport points to noise issues remaining relatively stable the past couple years. But he’s quick to caution: “You need to look at the multi-year picture, year over year. At a quick glance (at recent data), nothing has changed. But if you go back to 2014 and see the data on missed approaches, early turns, curfew violations, etc. you’ll see where the current figures have come down from.”
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    casey schnoor
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    1 Hour Ago
    Mr. Schwab,

    Thank you for your informative reporting in this week’s Beach and Bay related publications as well as making time for our conversation last week.

    However, I would like to point out two areas of important clarification:

    1) As part of our conversation as well as the written information I provided to you last week, I was focused upon the very important community expectation that a FAA 7100.41a (“41a”) analysis is to be conducted “in conjunction with” and “in concert with” the Part 150 study. The importance of the concurrent 41a study was also emphasized by members of the SDCRAA Board of Directors during their discussion to approve the Part 150 process on December 7th. This very important link was missing from your article.

    In sum, SDCRAA has provided the community with their assurances that in their discussions with FAA, FAA has stated their willingness to do a concurrant 41a. This is most important as there is a critical nexus between the two efforts in that the 41a may be required by FAA to execute on many of the route revisions, as requested within the subcommittee list. Therefore, to avoid further delays to the study, the 41a study needs to be initiated concurrant with the Part 150 as it is a is critical componet for the timely success of the Part 150 process. Please note however that commencing the 41a process is at the sole discretion of the FAA and therefore it is a key element that the community has been and will continue to press SDCRAA to firm up with FAA, beyond their current “assurances”.

    2) In quoting me, “You need to look at the multi-year picture, year over year. At a quick glance (at recent the data), nothing has changed. But if you go back to 2014 and see the data on missed approaches, early turns, curfew violations, etc. you’ll see where the current figures have come down from.”

    The key context that is missing from this quote is that when looking at year over year data, each of the various violations tracked spiked significantly up during or after 2014 to never before reached peaks, so that “where the current figures have come down from” …. must be compared to 2014 and before to see that these violation events, while at or in some cases below their peaks, still remain well above 2014 and years prior. Further, these are “day to day” matters that are under the direct day to day control of FAA’s Air Traffic Control (“ATC”) located adjacent to Miramar Air Station and, while inclusive within the 21 subcommittee recommendations to explored within the Part 150, they can be directly addressed by ATC today, not after the lengthy Part 150 process.

    These are both very important elements of the communities poisiton. As such, your further clarifiacation and amplication of these points would be greatly appreciated.

    Should you need further clarificaiton, I would be more than happy to assist as needed to promote these key points.

    Sincerely,

    R. Casey Schnoor

    FLIPPING BACK THROUGH 2017 — Point Loma stadium lights, airplane noise and homeless among issues covered in Peninsula Beacon
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Jan 04, 2018 | 26521 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Slackliner Eric Hake performs for a crowd during a warm Wednesday evening in September in Ocean Beach last year. 							 THOMAS MELVILLE / PENINSULA BEACON
    Slackliner Eric Hake performs for a crowd during a warm Wednesday evening in September in Ocean Beach last year. THOMAS MELVILLE / PENINSULA BEACON
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    Two thousand and seventeen was a good year in the Peninsula, despite significant obstacles — over densification, homelessness, traffic congestion, etc. — to be overcome. But there was also considerable progress made on a number of important fronts. Jon Linney, chair of Peninsula Community Planning Board, weighed-in on what he felt were the major accomplishments of the city advisory group in 2017. “With overwhelming community support and involvement, we brokered the quick plugging of a loophole allowing 40-foot buildings in the 30-foot Roseville coastal zone… took significant steps toward revising our 30-year-old community plan… had a record turnout in our March election with 530 votes… saw yet another unanimous vote on the Avenida de Portugal pocket park and the beginning of actual design… and witnessed businesses such as Jensen’s, Shanghai Bun, Car’s Jars, Tech Outfitters, Cabrillo Inn and Bellamar open, creating jobs and more community services,” Linney said. The following is a month-by-month account of 2017’s major news happenings reported in the Peninsula Beacon. JANUARY - Silver Gate Elementary students returned after winter break to find a new flashing crosswalk at the intersection of Catalina Boulevard and Orchard Avenue behind the school. The new safety feature is part of the city’s Vision Zero plan to eliminate all traffic deaths by 2025. - New laws enacted: initial minimum wage hike from $10.50 to $11.50 an hour for employees also gave city employees future increases tied to the Consumer Price Index on Jan. 1, 2019; legislation made it illegal to hold and use any electronic devices, including smart phones, while driving; AB 70 broadened the definition of rape to include “all forms of nonconsensual sexual assault”; AB 2888 made sexually assaulting an unconscious person a crime with a mandatory prison sentence. Rape, sexual assault and other sex offenses were no longer subject to a statute of limitations under SB 813. - San Diego Yacht Club was ranked as the No. 2 yacht club in the country behind St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco in the Platinum Clubs of America rankings. - Cabrillo National Monument Visitors Center received a $5,000 community grant award to help it restore and enhance native habitat. - New city attorney Mara Elliott cautioned several San Diego restaurants, including a couple in the Peninsula and Liberty Station, that the practice of adding 3-percent surcharges to customers' bills without proper notice, to compensate for a minimum-wage pay increase that took effect Jan. 1, might have been illegal. - A San Diego Yoga Festival brought good vibes to OB at the end of the month. - Intent on protecting endangered birds in Mission Bay, the USDA announced plans to trap predators – skunks, raccoons, opossums, rats and cats – of endangered bird species. - OBMA held its annual Marketing Breakfast Jan. 10 as part of the association’s Business Development Series. FEBRUARY - After President Trump signed an executive order banning refugees from entering the country for 120 days and immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim nations, more than 2,000 protesters were at SDIA condemning the ban and supporting refugees and immigrants. - While new 72-foot tall light towers were being installed at Pointers stadium, neighbors opposed met with the San Diego Unified School District over a lawsuit challenging their installation. The meeting didn’t yield any immediate results and a June trial before a judge was set. - Point Loma High School students were upset about the results of the November election, so they did a 90-second public service announcement asking President Trump to apologize to minorities he offended during his presidential campaign. - OBMA held its annual awards ceremony and 45 businesses/individuals were recognized for their accomplishments. - The FAA disputed Peninsulans’ claims that SD Airport departures were causing more noise over neighborhoods, answering new noise complaints were attributable to “low-flying general aviation aircraft” largely from Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport in Kearny Mesa, and from helicopters. - A proposed condo conversion on Point Loma's Kellogg's Beach led to opposition and creation of a Facebook page listing subterranean parking, a seawall and the possible blocking of public access and bay views as major concerns. - Plans were announced for creation of a Portuguese-themed pocket park on Cañon Street in Point Loma's Roseville neighborhood. - A campaign by the Ocean Beach Community Development Corporation sought support to build a children’s playground and adult fitness station on the grassy area at the west end of Saratoga Avenue adjacent to the lifeguard station parking lot. - The winning design for James Gang Company's OB T-shirt design contest was created by Luke Brogoitti, with a stylish re-imagining of the beach community's trademark seagull logo. MARCH - Midway Community Planning Group got briefed by SANDAG on a plan to implement the Mid-Coast Trolley extension linking Santa Fe Depot downtown to Westfield UTC, serving major activity centers along the way, including Old Town. - Overriding neighbors’ concerns, Peninsula Community Planning Board voted overwhelmingly to allow Sunshine Liquor to relocate up Voltaire Street to a strip mall near a consignment shop and a music center offering children lessons. - The San Diego County Bike Coalition discussed reuse of an existing structure, the 20-by-80 foot Building 191 in Liberty Station, to be used as a future cycling hub. - The Ocean Beach Community Development Corporation kicked off its long-awaited fundraising drive to create a new-and-improved plaza honoring military veterans. - EF Education First teamed with KTU&A architecture firm to transform the parking lot of the formerly shuttered Cabrillo Hospital into its newest EF International Language Center with classrooms, residences and community spaces. - Rumors that Mission Beach’s jetty cats could become part of the annual USDA predator cull to protect endangered birds in Mission Bay led to a petition drive initiated on Forcechange.com to protect the feral felines. - An impasse between the lifeguard's union and San Diego Fire-Rescue over how water-related emergency calls are routed had lifeguards talking secession, presaging a vote later in the year to do exactly that. - The 10th anniversary of Liberty Station's Arts District was celebrated year-long with programs and activities on the former Naval Training Center's 100-acre campus. - The City Council voted 8-1 to deny an appeal by animal advocates and the Sierra Club to end the annual predator cull at Mission Bay, in place to protect endangered birds. - A new automated traffic-signal optimization system on Point Loma's Rosecrans Street was dedicated by Mayor Faulconer and Peninsula leaders. - Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman unveiled a mobile, saliva-screening device, Drager 5000, to test for illicit drugs including cocaine, marijuana, amphetamines and prescription narcotics, which was immediately implemented. APRIL - The Port of San Diego embarked on a year-long process to improve the Shelter Island Boat Launch Facility, one of the busiest boat launch ramps in California, with an estimated 50,000 launches annually. The approximately $9.5 million project was expected to be done in March 2018. - The stalled, skeletal development at the corner of Ebers and Greene streets, which some believed oversized and out of character with the neighborhood, was causing consternation in OB as the structure was deteriorating and hadn't been worked on in months. - After eight years away, the Red Bull Air Race World Championship returned to fly over San Diego Bay April 15-16. - New owners of OB Surf Lodge (formerly Shades) introduced a new theme, menu and style. “The bar is now indoor-outdoor,” said Mina Desiderio of the surf-themed restaurant at 5083 Santa Monica Ave., which had a soft reopening March 15, after six months of remodeling. - SeaWorld ended its nightly summer fireworks displays. - An area just south of Ocean Beach Pier, where crumbling cement, rocks and dirt had fallen creating a debris field, was tarped with warnings that the eroded area was unstable. - An annual homeless count revealed the San Diego region has 9,116 homeless people, a 5 percent increase from 2016. Broken down, 3,945 were sheltered, a decrease of 6 percent from 2016, while 5,621 were unsheltered, an increase of 14 percent from 2016. - An eight-woman, four-man jury deliberated 9.25 hours before finding Thomas Francis Burke, 32, not guilty of first- or second-degree murder, but guilty of voluntary manslaughter, for personal use of a gun that killed Jess Matthew Robles, who was the boyfriend of Burke’s female roommate in Ocean Beach. Burke faced a maximum term of 21 years in state prison. - Led by former San Diego City Councilman Byron Wear, an April 18 workshop at OB Rec Center was attended by about 20 Obecians who weighed-in on what they’d like to see in planning for a park at the foot of Saratoga Avenue next to the OB Lifeguard Station. - Renowned Bird’s Surf Shed opened an OB satellite branch at 1963 Abbot St. - Wonderland joined Hodad’s, both of OB, in the food and beverage lineup at Petco Park. - Liberty Public Market in Liberty Station announced plans to open up a farmers market. MAY - The popular Ocean Beach Farmers Market celebrated its 25th anniversary. - Renewed backing for a long-sought-after public pool at Liberty Station came in the form of $1.1 million in “seed” money proposed for the project from District 2 Councilmember Lorie Zapf. - May was National Bike Month and communities across San Diego, including the Peninsula, seized the opportunity to promote the pastime. The special month included Bike To Work Day May 18, when thousands of San Diego commuters cycled to and from work. - After a nearly four-year wait and a grueling remodel, the new Apple Tree Market opened for business in OB at 4978 Newport Ave. - In May, Peninsula Community Planning Board grappled with public discontent over development changing their community's character and opposed discontinuing Bus Route 84 service to the Point. - The 16-acre former post office distribution center in the Midway District was resold for $40 million with plans for a $325 million, mixed-use project called The Point. JUNE - On Sunday, May 28, the Point Loma United Methodist Church at 1984 Sunset Cliffs Blvd. held its final worship service after 88 years at the same site. - The Portuguese prayer chapel, built in 1922 at 2818 Avenida de Portugal, was named to the National Register of Historic Places. - Dorothea Laub Dance Place was dedicated in Liberty Station honoring the Point Loman for her decade-long support of the arts. - SeaWorld dedicated a new education-oriented Orca Encounter to replace its killer whale shows that ended earlier in the year. - A Moms on Maternity support group was started in OB. - The ’60s Summer of Love was the theme for the June 24 OB Street Fair & Chili cook-off. - KTU&A Planning and Landscape Architecture was chosen to lead planning on design of the proposed, Portuguese-themed Cañon Street pocket park. - Point Loma High School became the third high school in the San Diego Unified School District to designate a campus student restroom as gender neutral. JULY  - Councilmember Lorie Zapf obtained $200,000 from the city’s budget to begin the design process for a new OB Lifeguard Station. - Point Loma Summer Concerts held its 17th season of concerts at Point Loma Park. - Likely signaling the end of the mega-antique mall era in OB, the Target Corp. was negotiating to acquire the 18,000-square-foot Antique Center building in the 4800 block of Newport Avenue. - A judge suspended criminal proceedings on July 14 against Jon David Guerrero in the murders and attacks of homeless men in Ocean Beach, the Midway District, and near Mission Bay. San Diego Superior Court Judge Michael Smyth set a mental competency hearing for July 24 by another judge for Guerrero, 40, in which he could be returned to a state psychiatric facility for treatment. - OB Plaza was razed, and a new retail complex was planned in its place, but some were concerned that the new building would be modern rather than ’50s era design. - A July 26 public workshop was held to implement a new pocket park for Cañon Street in Point Loma. - Community planners were considering creating a new maintenance assessment district to achieve long-sought-after traffic and aesthetic improvements on Voltaire Street Bridge. - The Pointer football team played its first Friday night home game under new stadium lights following an unsuccessful challenge by neighbors in which a Superior Court judge ruled that the San Diego Unified School District acted properly in installing stadium lights. AUGUST - A judge committed Jon David Guerrero to a state psychiatric facility after he was found mentally incompetent to stand trial in four murders of homeless people in Mission Bay, Ocean Beach and elsewhere. - Thanks to the Point Loma Association, Taiji, a 13-foot sculpture the nonprofit commissioned, was donated to the city for public display in Point Loma on the Nimitz Boulevard median. - The Midway Community Planning Group in July debated whether or not to continue to seek a private security company to increase surveillance in the largely commercial-industrial Midway District, before opting to continue to pursue that objective. - The annual OB Pier jump raised funds for Junior Lifeguards Programs. - A project replacing two 16-inch diameter water mains installed in the ’40s and ’50s with new 16- inch polyvinyl chloride water mains to improve the area's overall drinking water system had the Peninsula torn up for awhile. SEPTEMBER  - San Diego International Airport received two grants totaling nearly $14 million to continue the airport’s Quieter Home Program, which decreases airplane noise by insulating residences  within the 65-plus decibel level surrounding the airport. - Responding to a public outcry from beach community business owners, residents and the city over boardwalk bike share stations, the city and DecoBike backed off on beach area bike-sharing, opting instead to remove and relocate the stations to more urban parts of the city. - Next Space, new owners of the dilapidated small shopping center on Voltaire Street at Las Lomas, announced plans to makeover the old Sunshine Liquor site with a 24-unit apartment complex and 9,000 square feet of retail. - Cabrillo National Monument proposed hiking entrance fees for vehicles from $10 to $15 per vehicle, $7 to $10 for motorcycles, as well as increasing from $5 to $7 entrance fees for walk-ins and cyclists, effective January 2018.  - The Midway District was one of three areas designated by Mayor Faulconer for use as a new temporary “bridge-to-housing” shelter, as part of a new public-private partnership to help homeless get off the street to be administered by Veterans Village of San Diego. - The 54th annual Cabrillo Festival celebrated and recreated the voyage of 16th-century explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who landed on the shore of San Diego Bay on Sept. 28, 1542, discovering California and all of the West Coast. OCTOBER - Obecians rallied to urge the Minnesota-based Target Corp. not to put a proposed store in the 18,000-square-foot Antique Center building at the 4800 block of Newport Ave. - An OB man and former Marine, Taylor Winston, was given a car by an Arizona auto dealer for the role he played in conveying victims of the tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas to hospitals. - The Point Loma Association handed out annual Lighthouse awards to deserving community members for their contributions at the nonprofit’s annual dinner. - Council members Barbara Bry and Lorie Zapf of District 2 offered a “coastal” proposal to curb the growing proliferation of short-term vacation rentals. - An outbreak of hepatitis A, a liver infection caused by a highly contagious virus from feces contamination, afflicted more than 500 people, killing 19,  and causing the city to vaccinate tens of thousands region wide. - The 13th annual OB Oktoberfest beachside festival Oct. 6-7 showcased numerous titillating contests, activities, and entertainment, as well as plenty of beer, with proceeds benefiting local nonprofits. NOVEMBER - An abatement notice requiring the dilapidated structure at 2269 Ebers St. in OB to be cleaned up— or torn down — was issued by the city. - Point Loma attorney Ann Lipscomb Hill was honored with the Spirit of Community award from the Junior League of San Diego for spearheading programs to end racial disparities in education and curb the drop-out rate. - One of Ocean Beach's bedrock businesses, James Gang Co. print shop and silk screening, moved from 1931 Bacon St. to 4851 Newport Ave. on the beach town's main drag where it started out years ago. - Two "Pointer Sisters" from the Class of ’66 headed a campaign to keep, restore and protect the Balboa Park carousel. - A proposal to eliminate consolidating substandard, contiguous land parcels headlined discussion by Peninsula Community Planning Board at its October meeting. - A nonprofit serving homeless youth, an entrepreneur and The Mean Green Team of the Point Loma Association were honored by The Wine Pub in its eighth anniversary salute to Peninsulans making a difference. DECEMBER - In a groundswell of discontent over rapidly escalating rents, a rent- control group known as San Diego Tenants United held a protest march in Point Loma. - Some of the year's highest tides, known as “king tides,” hit the California shoreline providing a glimpse of what the state can expect as sea levels rise in the coming years. - A recent tiff over the playing of “To the Colors” over the loudspeaker system at Naval Base Point Loma led to neighbors’ complaints and the base turning the volume down. - A boating-accident victim was the recipient of an annual yuletide hot cocoa charity fundraiser  by the Ybarra family begun nearly 20 years benefiting needy neighbors. - The annual year-end Garrison Street holiday light show drew a “major league” sponsor — the San Diego Padres.
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    Kitten Kindergarten helps felines and parents bond at San Diego Humane Society
    by LUCIA VITI
    Dec 26, 2017 | 62804 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Huckleberry
    Huckleberry
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    Kitten training.
    Kitten training.
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    Kirk
    Kirk
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    Lola and Gaga
    Lola and Gaga
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    Hail kitten graduates! The San Diego Humane Society lauds the alumnae of Kitten Kindergarten, a training course for our beloved four-legged felines. Offered to kittens between 7 and 13 weeks old by the first session, Kitten Kindergarten recently opened kitty doors in three, one-hour sessions. Classes were celebrated as a “huge success” by its two-legged and four-legged participants. And, according SDHS’s Kitten Kindergarten’s designer/trainer Allison Beaulieu, CPDT – KA, and community training coordinator, Shauna Romero, CPDT – KA, classes were “so much fun!” Kittens – and their owners – learned the nuances of kittenhood during a “critical development period when open and receptive to learning.” Exposed to everything new – environments, people, fellow felines, toys, and sounds, kittens practiced the etiquette of socializing – a.k.a kitten recess – carrier desensitization, comfort with DVM visits, leash and harness training, grooming care and tricks. “Owners are often surprised at how trainable kittens can be,” said Beaulieu. “We often see the hand to the forehead moment, ‘Of course they can do this!’ A kitten’s socialization window – that open spongy period – is short. Once that window shuts, issues can come up.” The San Diego Humane Society (SDHS) utilizes only positive methods and tools, sidestepping aversive training for all animal instruction. Clicker training and food – both kitten and baby – along with tuna and cream cheese is used to reward and entice kittens to become affable cats. According to Romero, adult cats can be finicky when introduced to a new environment, making learning difficult. Kittens adapt better. "Kittens adapt to changes and learn new environments with less stress and fear than adult cats,” she said. “Kitten Kindergarten reviewed basic handling, manners and obedience.” “Cats tend to freak out when removed from their environment,” added Beaulieu. “They lose focus. They investigate the perimeter. They often won’t eat in a new space. They’re more comfortable in a colony, a group setting of cats. Clicker training works especially well with shy cats. Even the most suspicious cats watch the action and slowly come out of hiding. The idea that cars are aloof, non-social creatures isn’t true. Cats are social.” Kittens also learned that carriers aren’t scary. Carriers cause most cats to hide. The SDHS sent “students” a video prior to class that demonstrated how to invite cats to be comfortable in carriers. Often earmarked as a trip to the vet, carriers cause stress, “something we work to change” because of the importance of using them for natural disasters. Desensitized, crates become a wonderful place to go. Romero described the training room as a novel environment for even the shy or timid cat who’s never stepped out of the house. Kittens were set up in their own x-pen or pod. “Stepping away from its environment can be scary for a cat,” she said. “But all of our kittens – even those up for adoption – do really well. Kitten Kindergarten’s shy ones explored and played with new objects by the final session. We also taught owners how to exhaust energetic cats by refocusing their energy. Every owner appreciates a peaceful night’s sleep without a cat running around.” Romero and Beaulieu both agree that cats are stigmatized for their independent nature. Often left alone, owners assume their “personality is their personality” with no understanding of how to “handle and socialize kittens and cats to experience new sights and sounds to shape a well-balanced cat.” “Shaping behavior with tiny steps, we proactively work to prevent fear, anxiety or stress in kittens,” said Beaulieu. “Classes build from each other. Through the art of positive reinforcement and clicker training, owners realize that if willing, they can train their felines to do so much more. Kitten Kindergarten also introduced cat body language. Owners learned why cats behave and react to people and stimulus. We worked to increase the bond between cats and their humans.” Training included sitting, high fives, follow the target, lie down on your mat, come, off high counters, grooming – including the brushing of teeth and the use of kitty litters, carrier comfort and no stress DVM visits. “By pairing potentially scary things with treats, kittens associate scary isn’t so scary anymore,” continued Beaulieu. “A day at the veterinarian is a perfect example. Kittens learned to become comfortable being handled for weighing, restrained for vaccines, and checked – eyes ears, and nails.” Cats were also introduced to leash and harness training to underscore that felines can be safely walked outdoors. “Kittens are adorable, just adorable,” concluded Beaulieu. “Kitten Kindergarten was the highlight of my week. It was difficult not to get sucked into playing with kittens for the hour. Those who judge cats to be anything but great fun, haven’t met enough cats!” Additional classes will be scheduled as per “public interests.” Classes are not suggested for feral kittens or kittens who growl, snap, bite, exhibit fear or severe behavioral problems. Kittens too shy or too old for class can send their humans as auditors at a discounted rate. Auditors can watch, learn, ask questions and practice at home. Kitten Kindergarten is held at the SDHS San Diego Campus located on Gaines Street. Enrollment is limited to six kittens per class. Humans are required to prove at least one set of vaccines, a deworming, plus a negative result for an FELV prior to the first class. Those kittens showing signs of diarrhea, sneezing, congestion, and missing hair will not be allowed to participate. SDHS reserves the right to turn any kittens they deem unhealthy. Class participation is based on their own risk. Animals adopted from SDH will receive a 20 percent discount. Classes will be held indoors at the Gaines Street campus.
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    Artist draws out stories and smiles of senior citizens
    by Mathilde Rousseau Bjerregaard
    Dec 24, 2017 | 14309 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    George, with artist Spence Willis, at the Golden Living Point Loma assisted living facility in the Midway District.
    George, with artist Spence Willis, at the Golden Living Point Loma assisted living facility in the Midway District.
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    Sandy at the Golden Living Point Loma assisted living facility in the Midway District.
    Sandy at the Golden Living Point Loma assisted living facility in the Midway District.
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    Don at White Sands in La Jolla.
    Don at White Sands in La Jolla.
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    Fourth generation San Diegan and artist, Spencer Willis, runs the nonprofit Draw for Smiles, which gives him the opportunity to visit community centers, senior centers, and hospitals throughout San Diego County and create caricature drawings of the residents and spread joy and happiness. “Draw for Smiles is a charity that reaches out to extend appreciation to others through fun, fast, caricatures, and improving lives through art,” said Willis. Willis went to art school when he was younger and he has been an artist for almost his whole life. Along with Draw for Smiles, he runs his own art company named “Spencer Art,” where he draws caricature drawings for birthday parties, graduations, weddings and other special event celebrations. He also works on outside art projects. “I want to make people smile through caricature art and life appreciation. It is an amazing affect it has on people to be drawn and to talk about their lives. It really brightens their day,” said Willis. Many years ago, Willis was in a bad motorcycle accident that sent him into a coma and left his dominant side paralyzed, so he became left handed. After going though a lot of therapy, he can now draw with his right hand again. But the accident inspired him to make a difference in the community, and to do something positive for the world. Willis started out doing charity work by drawing children’s cartoon books titled “Scully’s Books.” While doing that, he found out that he was better at drawing characters, and that artwork eventually turned into Draw for Smiles, which he has been running for about five years now. “I have devoted my life to Draw for Smiles and drawing caricature drawings, and the affect it has on peoples life’s is sensational,” said Willis. While Willis is drawing the caricature drawings of the residents at the senior centers, he is listening to them tell their life stories. He thinks that the fact he is taking his time to listen to their stories makes a big difference for the seniors. “The stories people share about their lives while being drawn at senior centers are simply amazing, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, but always heartwarming,” said Willis. For more information , visit spencer-willis.squarespace.com.
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    PLHS students collect 25,000 pounds of food for distribution
    by SCOTT HOPKINS
    Dec 20, 2017 | 13494 views | 0 0 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Senior members of the Point Loma High School's NJROTC unit stand behind nearly 26,000 pounds of food their unit collected over the past weeks, most of it outside three local supermarkets. The food will go to food banks in Ocean Beach and San Diego. / PHOTO BY SCOTT HOPKINS
    Senior members of the Point Loma High School's NJROTC unit stand behind nearly 26,000 pounds of food their unit collected over the past weeks, most of it outside three local supermarkets. The food will go to food banks in Ocean Beach and San Diego. / PHOTO BY SCOTT HOPKINS
    slideshow
    Last year, students in the NJROTC program at Point Loma High School collected more than 16,000 pounds of food for area families in need over the holidays. But they weren't satisfied and thought they could do better than the eight tons they helped deliver to the Ocean Beach and San Diego Food Bank. So what did the 150 teens do for an encore? "The cadet leadership really took ownership and wanted to improve on it and do a lot more than last year," said Christina Pickett, senior naval science instructor, was overjoyed at the achievement of her cadets who took it upon themselves to organize this year's big drive. With final donations arriving, the total this year is expected to soar to more than 25,000 pounds, an increase of more than 50 percent over last year. Key to the drive's success was the cooperation of Stump's Market on Voltaire Street and the Ralph's stores on Rosecrans Street and Sports Arena Boulevard. "On weekdays, they stood outside these stores in two shifts from 2:30 to 5 p.m. and 5 to 7:30 p.m. with marked donation boxes,” Pickett said. However, the cadets did not ask for donations, choosing to let shoppers approach them with questions. During the full week schools were closed for Thanksgiving, the cadets boosted their drive with shifts from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., 1 to 4 p.m. and 4 to 7 p.m. "Giving up their vacation time made a really big difference, being out there to support each other and help the cause," Pickett noted. Josephine Hart, a PLHS senior, is the commanding officer of all 13 NJROTC units in the San Diego Unified School District. Last year she was the commanding officer of the PLHS squad. "There are a lot of kids and families who don't get enough food during the holidays," she said, "and last year Point Loma High collected a little more than 40 percent of the districtwide collection." This year, although final numbers aren't in, "We are estimating we are responsible for about 70 percent of the collection." "This amazing total comes from our dedicated cadets," Hart said, "Posting themselves outside stores and the community has been extremely helpful in that. We added information of the Next Door app and Craigslist and the community responded. "Our cadets have worked extremely hard," Hart added, "Giving up parts of their break, and that's why we have the food stored here in our classroom so they can take pride knowing they did this for someone who has less than them. Even some of their peers (both cadets and other students) cannot afford to have full meals over the (current winter) break."
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