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    Colorful new maritime mural debuts at Liberty Station Arts District
    Jan 14, 2021 | 2522 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    James Armenta paints his new mural at Liberty Station Arts District. COURTESY PHOTO
    James Armenta paints his new mural at Liberty Station Arts District. COURTESY PHOTO

    A computer software engineer by trade and a muralist by avocation, one of James Armenta’s impressionistic works now graces a wall in Liberty Station Arts District.

    The untitled piece, in the walkway between Moniker General and The Presley restaurant, merges classic nautical iconography. It uses maritime signal flags flanked by dazzle camouflage to communicate a message to viewers.

    “They (NTC Foundation) did not give me any strict guidelines,” said Armenta of his latest mural. “They just said, ‘Our slogan this year is anchored in hope.’ Let us know how your concept ties into this.”

    The graphic artist took it from there.

    “I developed some 100 variations in design and colors, different permutations, dozens of designs,” Armenta said. “Then I whittled it down to five and sent them the proposal. They allowed all the stakeholders to put in their opinions before choosing one design.”

    For many years maritime signal flags have been used as a system of communication amongst vessels. Dazzle camouflage was a pattern used by ships in both world wars. The bold, staggered stripes conceal a ship’s direction and speed from enemies.

    “James has as longtime history in Liberty Station having attended High Tech High through his middle and high school years,” said Lisa Johnson, president/CEO of NTC Foundation. “This mural serves as a symbol of hope to the arts community and we are thrilled to feature this mural alongside our many other public art installations located throughout Arts District Liberty Station.”

    Artist Armenta, an employee with Intuit, created the mural as part of Intuit’s “We Care and Give Back” program, which encourages employees to donate up to 40 hours of community service per year. James generously donated his time and talent to Arts District Liberty Station.

    Asked if painting the mural was a homecoming for him, Armenta replied, “Absolutely. I spent so much time at Liberty Station. I grew up there in a way. I felt such a direct connection.”

    Armenta felt privileged to tackle doing a “message” mural in such a historic place, creating something both “meaningful” and “symbolic” on a blank wall.

    “I wanted to do something that looked really nice,” he said. “There was a lot of historical context I could play with, not only with the formal Naval Training Center, but about Point Loma in general.”

    Of how he articulated his nautical concept, Armenta noted: “It was old versus new. This old abandoned area that has now been revitalized with all these new businesses, people and a community.”

    Armenta said the symbolism he came up with for his mural “used really bold, geometric kind of simplified forms.”

    The artist took about four days to paint his mural, varying the color tones used in standard nautical design. “Nautical flags generally are red, blue, yellow, black and white,” Armenta said. “I didn’t want to do the traditional colors. So I adapted them, made them a little more modern. They’re a little bit richer, much more vibrant and energetic, updated for the times and the context.”

    Added Armenta of his mural painting: “It’s a long, drawn-out process. I do my art digitally, then I translate it. It’s really gratifying to see something I made on a tiny little laptop screen, then see it blown up to the size of a building. It’s not often you get to do something so large in the real world.”

    To learn more about the artist and see some of his work, visit

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    BEACON YEAR IN REVIEW - An unprecedented and unforgettable year on the Peninsula
    Jan 14, 2021 | 5188 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Beachgoers used their feet to spell out ‘Love’ in the sand on No Surf beach at Sunset Cliffs before the beaches were closed by the City in April. THOMAS MELVILLE/PENINSULA BEACON
    Beachgoers used their feet to spell out ‘Love’ in the sand on No Surf beach at Sunset Cliffs before the beaches were closed by the City in April. THOMAS MELVILLE/PENINSULA BEACON
    It was a hardscrabble year in 2020 as residents and businesses struggled to hold their own during the pandemic, finding ways to adapt to a constantly shifting business landscape where uncertainty ruled Turning the corner in 2021, with an approved outlook as the first COVID vaccines were being distributed, the Peninsula Beacon takes a long look back at the unprecedented, unforgettable year that was in 2020.     JANUARY Legendary Larsen Baseball legend and Point Loma High alumnus Don Larsen, 90, who threw a perfect game in 1956 with the New York Yankees taking only 97 pitches to complete the feat for the only World Series-history no-hitter, died New Year’s Day.   North Chapel Plans by 828 Venue Management to turn the 8,777-square-foot North Chapel property in Liberty Station into an event center continued to run into stiff opposition from Point Lomans objecting to the historic Naval Training Center chapel built in 1942 being repurposed for uses other than worship. “We want to create a more inclusive space that’ll give more people the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of this historic building,” said Tim Wirick, 828’s CEO, “We simply want them to abide by the historical guidelines on the federal registry, which say, ‘You may not touch the interior (of the building),’” argued Ron Slayen, a former Liberty Station Arts District tenant leading the opposition to the chapel’s repurposing.   New Laws Legislation signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom that took effect in 2020 addressed everything from the minimum wage to taxes on diapers and gun violence. Rent increases were limited to 5 percent per year plus inflation and never more than 10 percent total. The hourly minimum wage increased from $12 to $13. Diapers became tax-free. California became the first state to offer Medicaid coverage for low-income adults 19 to 25 years old regardless of immigration status under SB 104. Anyone prohibited from buying a firearm in another state was no longer allowed to purchase a firearm in California.   YMCA Renamed The Peninsula Family YMCA serving the Point Loma and surrounding areas for nearly 50 years was renamed the T. Claude and Gladys B. Ryan Family YMCA (affectionately referred to as the Ryan Family YMCA).     Airport EIR The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority Board certified the final environmental impact report for the Airport Development Plan, which envisions replacement of the 53-year-old Terminal 1 at San Diego International Airport. The Airport Development Plan would also include numerous roadway and transportation improvements enhancing airport access. A proposed on-airport entry road would remove an estimated 45,000 cars per day from Harbor Drive. Critics argued the project was much more than needed.   Street Stewards The volunteer street steward program, begun in Ocean Beach, spread out to include Pacific Beach and Point Loma. The program was started by Obecian Aaron Null who created a Facebook page asking residents to fill the gaps in beautifying OB by adopting a street/block to clean every week.   Loma Club Management at Liberty Station’s historic golf venue The Loma Club changed hands, with new operators Laura Johnson and Luke Mahoney, co-founders of East Village’s You & Yours Distilling Co., replacing Good Time Design, which had operated the course since 2014. No immediate changes were made to the iconic Liberty Station nine-hole walking course and clubhouse.   School Start Later starting times for local high schools gave growing teens more critical sleep time but created some new problems for athletic programs. Senate Bill 328 was signed into law mandating start times no earlier than 8:30 a.m. (high school) and 8 a.m. (middle schools). But that posed a definite problem for 800 students participating in athletic programs at Point Loma High School, which was already hard-pressed finding space and time for teams to fit in needed practice hours.   North Chapel Supported In January, the Peninsula Community Planning Board voted to oppose altering the interior of North Chapel in Liberty Station to repurpose it as an event venue. Referring to the chapel as a “shrine,” PCPB board member David Dick noted chapel operators were asking for changes that he contended may violate terms of repurposing a historical building, as well as being unpalatable to some Peninsulans.   PCPB Resignations Peninsula Community Planning Board chair Robert Goldyn, and vice-chairman Scott Deschenes, resigned from the group citing ongoing dissension among the board’s 15 members over hot-button issues such as affordable housing proposed for Famosa Canyon versus leaving it as open/park space.     OBMA AWARDS During its annual awards dinner on Jan. 23, Ocean Beach MainStreet Association was surprised by a $10,000 donation from entrepreneur Steve Yeng. Each year the OBMA committees award individuals and businesses for their contributions to public improvements, public safety, design, promotion, revitalization, and expansion within the community. “We are thrilled, to say the least,” said OBMA executive director Denny Knox of Yeng’s contribution. “Steve has always given generously to this community’s schools and various local organizations.”   FEBRUARY   OB Library Expansion Years in the making and spearheaded by Friends of the Ocean Beach Library along with the support of District 2 Councilmember Dr. Jen Campbell, plans and fundraising were finally underway for Ocean Beach Library’s expansion. “We feel that concrete progress is being made,” said Friends’ Expansion Committee in a joint release. “The expansion will be from the existing historical part of the library onto the adjacent property next door at 4817 Santa Monica Ave.”    Sports Arena RFP The City issued a request for proposals from qualified firms and interested parties to redevelop, rehabilitate, operate, maintain and manage a 48-acre site comprised of six contiguous parcels of land, commonly known as the Sports Arena. Being sought for the aging sports center was extensive revitalization turning it into a leading commercial center with diverse retail and affordable housing opportunities.   Library Retrofit Point Loma Hervey Library was among three City libraries refitted to achieve zero net energy-generating as much renewable energy onsite as they use annually. California law now calls for 50% of existing commercial buildings to be retrofitted to ZNE by 2030. “As one of the first City buildings to be converted to ZNE, we’re excited to be a model for sustainability and the move toward 100% renewable energy,” said Christine Gonzalez, library branch manager.   Marketing Breakfast Forward-thinking Ocean Beach MainStreet Association’s annual breakfast Feb. 4 focused on promoting successful marketing strategies with a “Vision 2020” theme. “It was a fun and informative event,” noted OBMA executive director Denny Knox. “It dealt with all the platforms where people derive their information and disseminate their marketing efforts.”   Peninsula Pizzas Pizzerias serving up every imaginable style of pie from New York-style thin to Chicago-inspired deep-dish were profiled by the Beacon. Featured eateries included Mr. Moto, Ulivo, Pizza Port, Newport Pizza & Ale House, Officine Buona Forchetta, Landini’s, Alfredo’s, and Old Venice.   Sports Complex Dedicated After a lengthy delay, the Correia Middle School Sports Complex was finally substantially completed. The field was dedicated Feb. 15 with the introduction of 2020 teams along with a second alumni game. Also on hand was the Peckham family who donated the previous on-campus softball field, as well as people who played a role in the vision and construction of the new field.   Airport Expansion Vetted In February, the Peninsula Community Planning Board debated the environmental impacts of San Diego International Airport’s Terminal 1 expansion. PCPB board member Fred Kosmo on a PCPB airport committee said Terminal 1’s expansion “will lead to 38% more flights over Point Loma and environs in the next five years, adding to a significant amount of increased noise and pollution negatively impacting the quality of people’s lives and their health.” Kosmo noted a lawsuit has been filed by an ad hoc group of community activists, known as Quiet Skies San Diego, challenging the adequacy of environmental documents out for a public review on the airport’s planned terminal expansion.   Centenarian Longtime Obecian Betty Morse turned 100 on Feb. 20. As part of the birthday occasion, Mayor Kevin Faulconer dropped by with a special gift and proclaimed the date as “Betty Morse Day” in the City of San Diego. The mayor was joined by over a dozen members of Betty’s family and friends.   Airport Artwork Local youth unveiled original artwork in San Diego International Airport’s Terminal 2. The new artwork was part of the Design AHEAD program, in which about 75 students from three different San Diego-based educational institutions participated. Student conceptual projects ranged from inventive monument signs welcoming travelers to SAN to imaginative architectural models for a new terminal.   MARCH   Girls Sports The Point Loma High Girls Basketball Team celebrated its Div. IV CIF championship victory after a thrilling 56-55 overtime win against Madison High.   Ballot Height Limit Councilmember Dr. Jen Campbell and colleague Chris Cate advocated for a November election ballot initiative to remove the Midway District and Pechanga Arena area from the 30-foot coastal height limit building restriction. That voter-sanctioned limit had been in effect north of downtown and west of Interstate 5 in the Midway, Pacific Highway, and sports arena communities since 1972. In a memo, both council members argued maintaining Midway’s 30-foot height-limit would impede ongoing plans to redevelop the city-owned former sports arena complex, built in 1966.   Weed Killer Both the City and County of San Diego were moving to ultimately ban the use of weed-killers suspected of causing cancer in public parks in favor of using safer, organic alternatives. A case in point is glyphosate, the primary ingredient in Monsanto’s popular weed killer Roundup, which has been linked to liver disease in animals. In a February memo, City Parks and Recreation director Andrew Field announced a 150-day phase-out that began Sept. 1, 2019, was in effect in the parks department for use of Roundup and other glyphosate-based materials in all park locations, including Liberty Station.   Midway Psychiatric San Diego Psychiatric Hospital in the Midway District became the first such institution in the County to co-locate mental-health and substance-abuse treatment, bucking standard industry trends. “We are taking bold action and changing how we operate to ensure better outcomes for the patients who visit our psychiatric hospital,” said County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher. “By taking the unprecedented step of co-locating mental health and substance abuse treatment, we are better equipped to provide vital services to a hard-to-reach group, many of whom are experiencing chronic homelessness.”   Kaiserhof Makeover Kaiserhof in Ocean Beach got a Food Network makeover, with a grand re-opening of the high-profile German restaurant on March 18. The makeover was done by “Restaurant: Impossible” hosted by chef Robert Irvine. “We are filming an episode at Kaiserhof in San Diego on March 17-18,” said “Restaurant: Impossible” producer Allyson Kircher. “One of the special aspects of our show is community involvement. We have written two press releases (two different scenes) inviting the local community to be a part of the episode.”   Arts Grant The NTC Foundation announced the second round of Arts District Collaborative Grants designed to encourage collaboration among the district’s 93 resident arts and culture groups. A total of $20,000 was awarded to four new projects to advance the work of the groups, engage the community, and continue the transformation of the historic 100-acre former Naval Training Center into a thriving arts and culture destination for the region.   Cabrillo Monument The National Park Service planned to improve the Ballast View Rest Area, a site near the Visitor Center at Cabrillo National Monument in Point Loma. The Rest Area provides views of Ballast Point, where Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo's expedition dropped anchor in 1542, becoming the first European expedition to sail to what is now California. This project will provide expanded accessibility for all people to the Rest Area and create an enhanced space for interpretive programs and demonstrations.   Beach Closures On March 23 Mayor Faulconer was joined by Police Chief David Nisleit, Fire-Rescue Chief Colin Stowell, and Lifeguard Division Chief James Gartland to announce the closure of City-run parks, beaches, trails, boardwalks, and bays to further limit public gatherings and slow the spread of the COVID pandemic.   APRIL   COVID Adaptation  “Open houses are going virtual because we’re not allowed to have an open house,” said Ocean Beach Realtor Catrina Russell. “So you’re going to be seeing different open-house virtual tours where people can actually log in, and we can walk them through the entire house answering questions.” Point Loma’s Rosamaria Acuna of Berkshire Hathaway, said her top priority was to “educate clients on what’s happening and how everyone involved needs to be safe. We give the buyers all the information up-front with photos, emails, and everything online before scheduling an appointment."   Stewards Repurposed The Street Stewards, who were doing community beautification in Ocean and Pacific beaches, Point Loma and University City, were re-purposed during the pandemic crisis to aid homebound seniors. “Many of our neighbors are at-risk for coronavirus and must self-isolate at home, specifically seniors and immunocompromised individuals,” said Aaron Null, founder of the volunteer, nonprofit. “It's vitally important we check in on them to make sure their basic needs are getting met during this pandemic.”   Parks Reopened On April 20 the City reopened some neighborhood and community parks the next day for passive individual use only. On April 21, residents ventured out to the open parks to enjoy the sunny-and-70 weather after being cooped up for a month. On the first day of a reopened Sunset Cliffs, where parking lots were still closed, hundreds of people walked, ran, and strolled the linear park.   Measure Endorsed In April, Midway-Pacific Highway Community Planning Group unanimously endorsed a proposal from City Council members Dr. Jennifer Campbell and Chris Cate to place the eradication of the 30-foot height requirement for the Midway District and Pechanga Arena San Diego on the November general election ballot.   Skateboard Advance It started as a pact among seven Point Loma High School skateboarding enthusiasts: They were going to produce their own signature board. A generation later, it finally came to fruition. Josh Utley, an Ocean Beach web designer, graphic artist, and entrepreneur, teamed with high school chum Nick Coleman to release a model skateboard deck with custom artwork by renowned artist Steve Nazar.   Peninsula Prose Obecian A. Lee Brown, a retired professor emeritus, added something new to his portfolio: A World War II-era fictional novel titled “The Varsity: America’s Underage Warriors, from End Zones to Kill Zones During World War II.” “It’s such an outstanding story what all these kids went through and the travails they faced, even after they came home,” said Brown. “It was just a story that needed to be told.”   Motocross Star Motocross champion and Point Loma High School alumnus Marty Smith, 63, and his wife Nancy died in a rollover dune buggy accident in the Glamis sand dunes in Imperial County on April 27.   MAY   Red Tide Bioluminescent waves washed the quarantine blues away in Ocean Beach. Bioluminescence expert Michael Latz of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego said the April red tide was due to aggregations of the dinoflagellate Lingulodinium polyedra, giving the ocean a reddish-brown tinge. On sunny days, the organisms swim toward the surface where they concentrate, resulting in the intensified “ red tide” water coloration. At night, when the phytoplankton are agitated by waves or other water movements, they emit a dazzling neon blue glow.   Sunset Cliffs After reopening COVID-closed Sunset Cliffs Natural Park on April 27, neighbors claimed the park had become unmanageable and called upon the City to close the state park down and block access to it at night. “It has now been about 10 days since the city opened up Sunset Cliffs Natural Park for walking,” said neighbor Glen Volk. “Since then we. have seen enormous crowds that have never ever been seen here before. Please consider making an emergency order to temporarily close the Sunset Cliffs area after dark or place a curfew on the area.”   Lucy’s Sold Husband-and-wife team Mary and Bobby Cooper, who opened Lucy’s on the corner of the crossroads at 4906 Voltaire St. in 1994, sold the tavern to local industry investors Todd Brown, Sean Green, Patrick Gallahue, and Ryan Dhu. The new owners were connected to Good Time Design (The Blind Burro, Moonshine Flats) restaurant group. The Coopers have since retired and moved to Las Vegas.   Healthcare Help Covid-19 pressured healthcare workers like nurses, who continually engaged patients individually in hospitals and out in the field. The Peninsula Beacon caught up with four of them for a Q&A discussing how the battle on the frontlines against the pandemic was going. The impact on nurses was far-ranging -- from little or no impact to a great deal – and suddenly.   Fair Farewell The 41st annual OB Street Fair & Chili Cook-Off, originally scheduled for June 27, was postponed until Saturday, June 26, 2021. “We had to make the call,” said Denny Knox, executive director of Ocean Beach MainStreet Association which sponsors the event. “We just couldn’t commit to signing a contract. The risk was too great.”   Virtual Graduation? Life in the changed lane due to the pandemic made for some unusual choices, like with 2020 senior graduation at Point Loma High School. Pointers’ student body spoke out. “Based on consultations with the student body, we do not want a virtual graduation, so a lot of work has gone into alternative options to avoid that,” said Ila Jade Komasa, ASB president at PLHS. “We are not currently planning a virtual graduation.”   PLHS Principal Principal Hans Becker left to accept a new position as principal of Rancho Bernardo High School in the Poway Unified School District, setting in motion a search for his replacement.   Cliffs Crackdown Reacting to Sunset Cliffs’ residents' continued complaints about increasingly large and unruly crowds leaving garbage, noise, and traffic behind, District 2 Councilmember Dr. Jennifer Campbell called for considering temporarily closing the park. “Since our parks and beaches have been opened San Diegans have, for the most part, done an excellent job following public health orders while returning to public spaces for passive use,” said Campbell. “Unfortunately, this has not been the case in Sunset Cliffs Natural Park or in the greater Sunset Cliffs community.”   Kobey’s Reboot Kobey’s Swap Meet, operating out of the parking lot of Pechanga Arena San Diego on Sports Arena Boulevard since 1980, reopened May 29-31 after being closed several weeks during the pandemic.   JUNE   Cops Curbed Following ongoing dialogue between City officials and community leaders, Mayor Faulconer was joined on June 1 by City Council President Georgette Gómez, Councilmember Monica Montgomery, Police Chief David Nisleit, and community leaders to announce the San Diego Police Department would stop using a carotid restraint as a use-of-force procedure effective immediately.   Mariner’s Cove Midway-Pacific Highway Community Planning Group vetted a large-scale proposed multi-family redo of Mariners Cove Apartments at 4392 W. Point Loma Blvd. “We want to take that complex with ’80s construction and build a brand new community increasing market-rate affordable housing stock in San Diego. The goal is to create a community that’s respectful to the OB and Midway community plans,” said Patti Shwayder of developer AIMCO.   Sand Replenishment As part of the Port of San Diego’s continued efforts to keep San Diego Bay a treasured destination, the Port will be replenishing sand at Kellogg Beach. Located along the southwestern shoreline of the Shelter Island Yacht Basin in the Point Loma area of northern San Diego Bay, approximately 2,000 cubic yards of natural sand were added to the beach. Replenishing the sand will enhance the experience for visitors and help protect the coastline from high levels of natural erosion.   Mother’s Closes After failed negotiations with their expiring lease, the operators of Mother’s Saloon in Ocean Beach, Colin and Shelby Wickersheim, bid adieu to the restaurant-bar industry. “We’ve closed after 10 years,” said Colin of the crossroads establishment at 2228 Bacon St. “It just didn’t pan out.”   Farmers Returns The Wednesday OB Farmers Market, on hiatus due to the pandemic, returned June 10. “It’s going to look a little different and be smaller," said OBMA executive director Denny Knox of the market’s revival. "The entrance will be on Cable Street entering in the middle of Newport Avenue and we will be enforcing the need for 6 feet of space between customers. Everyone will need to wear a mask.”     Complete Communities A battle was brewing in Ocean Beach over the mayor’s “Complete Communities” plan, which some local planners were convinced is a density-enhancer and community-plan buster. “This does feel like, out of all the coastal communities, that OB is being targeted, even though we’re all zoned for medium- to low-density,” said OB Planning Board chair Andrea Schlageter. “This is a big deal and it's not getting the attention and scrutiny it deserves,” said Kevin Hastings, OB Plan Board vice-chair. “It’s amazing to me that people are not more aware of it: This is a massive change potentially.”   Slow Recovery Point Loma Nazarene University economist Dr. Lynn Reaser predicted the economy would rebound, though slowly, because of the “deep hole” to be dug out from due to the pandemic lockdowns.   Grad Parade Members of the Point Loma High School Class of 2020 picked up their caps and gowns without knowing if they would ever get to wear them. But that opportunity came June 9 when graduates climbed into and atop cars and trucks to celebrate their achievements during a smile-filled parade along Shelter Island that stretched for two miles. Many parents suggested the parade become an annual event.   Illegal Dumping In June, Midway-Pacific Highway Community Planning Group vetted a recurring and worsening problem: RV dwellers living out of their vehicles disposing of waste in the area. “People are not only living here, but they’re also dumping their emergency holding tanks and oil and cleaning agents into the street, even into Channel Way, a new street just redone, which is completely illegal,” said board member Tod Howarth.  "It’s almost like a biohazard as well as a blight.”   JULY   Urban Gardening The Beacon profiled urban gardening which has become a trend that an increasing number of San Diegans are pursuing, especially during the pandemic. And the City was helping out, debuting a new website,, that provides information and assistance for those wishing to become successful urban farmers. The newspaper took a closer look at the urban gardens of Dr. Julie Cramer of Sunset Cliffs in OB and the Byron Wear family in Old Roseville in Point Loma.   Perishable Pines After a thorough investigation by City forester Brian Widener, it was concluded that the Torrey pines at 4605 Saratoga Ave. in OB were dead. “This is an extremely sad day for the Ocean Beach community,” said District 2 Councilmember Jennifer Campbell. “The history of those trees, which were planted by residents during the Great Depression to add more cover and vibrancy to an arid landscape, is part of the history of this community. To the generations of Ocean Beach residents who have enjoyed their shade and beauty over the years, you have my deepest condolences.”   Courageous Cop Quick actions from SDPD Police officer Jonathan Wiese helped save crash victims. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience against one-in-a-million odds. That’s how Wiese characterized his harrowing rescue on June 13 of a man who drove off Sunset Cliffs with his twin 2-year-old daughters inside his truck. All three miraculously survived thanks to Wiese’s quick thinking and herculean efforts. A father of two young children himself, Wiese said that gave him extra motivation to rappel down the cliffs to save the distraught man and his toddlers.   Force Reduction Mayor Faulconer announced on June 24 that the San Diego Police Department had created standalone policies to help officers reduce the use of force and increase community trust. The department’s new standalone de-escalation policy now requires officers to exercise techniques that seek to resolve situations through voluntary compliance or with lower levels of force. A second policy was added to require officers to intervene if another officer uses unreasonable force and reports the incident to a supervisor.   Masks Required A statewide order on June 17 required Californians to wear face coverings in public spaces including while taking public transportation, seeking medical care, shopping, and in most work scenarios. Mandating masks proved to be one of the pandemic's more partisan issues which some objected to. There was even a bogus card circulating online claiming its holder was lawfully exempt from wearing a mask.   COVID Relief Mayor Faulconer signed an executive order on July 7 providing regulatory relief to restaurants and other establishments offering dining making it safer by encouraging outdoor operations. The order waived permitting and parking requirements for the use of sidewalks and private parking lots as outdoor dining venues. On July 14, San Diego City Council approved an ordinance to encourage eateries and retail to recover lost revenue by transforming into “streateries” and “streetail” by allowing businesses to expand into on-street parking spaces, sidewalks, and parking lots.   PLHS Principal Following a lengthy round of applications and interviews, vice principal Kelly Lowry was selected to succeed Hans Becker as Point Loma High School's new principal. Lowry's first day on the job was July 1.   Online RFP The City July 10-20 opened an online virtual open house tour showing the public competing for proposals on the area’s redevelopment and asking residents to weigh-in on them. “This is an opportunity to redevelop and reshape the Sports Arena area for the next generation, and we want to hear what San Diegans think of the proposals under consideration,” said Mayor Faulconer. “Revitalizing the Sports Arena is key to our future growth as a City and ensures that it remains one of San Diego’s most popular destinations for decades to come.”   Distance Learning While the Point Loma Cluster was designated to be online-only when school resumed Aug. 31, some cluster parents surveyed by The Peninsula Beacon preferred classroom instruction for their children over remote learning from home. And though parents agreed tutoring would be a viable option to supplement their children’s education, many thought the time and cost involved would be prohibitive.   Ballot Endorsement Midway community planners and City Council members Dr. Jennifer Campbell and Chris Cate joined July 22 to launch a campaign to revitalize the community through a November ballot measure to remove the 30-foot height limit in the neighborhood. The press conference was held in a blighted area of the Midway District the day after the City Council’s 7-2 vote favoring placing removal of the 30-foot coastal height restriction on the Nov. 3 ballot,   AUGUST   Grim Reaper The Grim Reaper, aka Michael, an Ocean Beach resident, handed out masks to the public at Veterans Plaza and the beach on Aug. 12. City officials and OB residents were increasingly concerned about the large gatherings at Veterans Plaza after the Farmers Market on Wednesday evenings where people did not wear masks or practiced social distancing.   Mothers Returns Mother’s Saloon returned under new ownership and likely with a new name and other fine-tuning changes. Real estate agent Tom North joined with local bartenders Sabrina Sutphin and Jason Micozzi from Lucy’s to reopen the pub at 2228 Bacon St. Mother’s closed two months earlier after a lease extension between previous owners Colin and Shelby Wickersheim, who’d owned the pub for a decade, fell through.   Lighthouse Lit At sunset each night Aug. 21-23 and Aug. 26, the Old Point Loma Lighthouse at Cabrillo National Monument was illuminated with purple and gold lights to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote. The park was open each of those nights for visitors to enjoy the lights, learn about women’s history, and take photos.   COVID Research The Peninsula Beacon caught up with 1990 Point Loma High School graduates Dale Rose, Ph.D., and Kari Sapsis, MPH, for a Q&A about their ongoing work battling the pandemic doing lab research for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.   Pop-Up Sundays Given that The Loma Club has plenty of outdoor, socially-distanced seating, the Liberty Station golf course extended an open invitation to help out San Diego restaurants allowing them to apply for upcoming “Community Popup” Sundays. Launching on Sunday, Aug. 30, this once-monthly, last-Sunday series welcomed restaurants to take over The Loma Club’s kitchen and well-appointed outdoor patio from noon to 6 p.m. at the golf course at 2960 Truxtun Road.   Pet Prose Ocean Beach resident, veterinarian, and San Diego Humane Society president/CEO Dr. Gary Weitzman authored two new children’s books on best practices for dog and cat training. The companion titles are “Fetch! A How to Speak Dog Training Guide” and “Pounce! A How To Speak Cat Training Guide” (National Geographic Kids Books, ages 8-12).   Rocking On The Peninsula Beacon profiled Midway resident and professional rock musician Tod Howarth. The Point Loma High School alum was currently working on a string of eight solo albums, of which he’d completed five. During his 40-year performing career, Howarth has played and toured with such notable hard rockers as Ted Nugent, Cheap Trick (twice), 707, and Frehley’s Comet (led by Ace Frehley, formerly of Kiss).   SEPTEMBER   Brookfield/ASM Picked A City selection committee chose Brookfield Properties and ASM Global for the monumental task of redeveloping the City-owned Sports Arena area property. Brookfield/ASM must now deliver on redeveloping, leasing, operating, and maintaining the 48-acre site, currently home to the Pechanga Arena, retail businesses, Kobey’s Swap Meet and a parking lot.   Historic Jeweler A.L. Jacobs and Sons, an 83-year-old family-owned Point Loma jewelry shop, held a liquidation sale. Third-generation jeweler Chris Jacobs, the last remaining family member in the jewelry line, decided to call it a career. “I am retiring and closing the business,” said Jacobs whose grandfather, Alocious Leo Jacobs, started the business in downtown San Diego in 1937.   Hostel Reopens OB Hostel with its iconic rooftop ’60s peace sign emerged from the pandemic pause under new ownership. “We were closed from the end of March up until the end of August, but are so happy to be able to open our doors safely to guests,” said new hostel general manager Julie Jamgochian with Samesun Ocean Beach, which now operates the facility at 4961 Newport Ave.   Home Improvements Peninsula home-improvement businesses large and small ended up faring better than most during the ongoing pandemic. That proved true for OB Hardware at 4871 Newport Ave., Dixieline Lumber and Home Centers at 3250 Sports Arena Blvd., and The Home Depot at 3555 Sports Arena Blvd.   Seniors Showcased Point Loma seniors were uniquely showcased in a photography display titled “Your Life Is a Work of Art: A Celebration of People in Their 80s and 90s,” during an August display at the Presbyterian Church at 2128 Chatsworth Blvd. The exhibition of bios and portrait photos of area seniors was compiled by Elaine Fotinos Burrell, director of senior adult ministry at the church. “I would hear their wonderful life stories and learned so much from them. I felt that their stories needed to be told, and their beauty celebrated through a portrait,” Fotinos Burrell said.   Close Call State officials on Sept. 22 stopped just short of ordering San Diego County back into the most restrictive “purple” tier for economic reopening. But state health secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly warned that escalating coronavirus numbers continued to keep San Diego on the brink of being moved out of the less-restrictive “red” tier.   Seat At The Table In September Midway-Pacific Highway Community Planning Group contended they deserve – and expect – a say in determining how the Sports Arena site is redeveloped, as well as input into the prospective conversion of Old Town into a central mobility hub.   Life Support With the live-event industry on life support due to COVID cancellations, Peninsula Beacon profiled three promoters: Laurel McFarlane who organizes annual Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day events downtown, Liberty Station Art Walk promoter Sandi Cottrell and Michelle Metter. All three joined a local movement, The San Diego Events Coalition, part of a national movement found at They had a message to deliver: Live events in San Diego are barely alive, and won’t be for much longer without immediate governmental aid and federal financial assistance.   Clean-Up Crew Unsheltered individuals David Hendon and Marc Gervais were voluntarily cleaning up Ocean Beach Pier parking lot in the wee hours every morning. The two friends, who met at the beach walking their dogs before becoming unsheltered, were on another mission: to change the public’s perception getting them to see the homeless as caring individuals.   Friends Of OB A new “Friends of OB” campaign rolled out on Sept. 25 encouraging donations to continue to enhance the eclectic beach community. The initial goal was to raise $10,000 by the end of the year. Donations funded efforts for a cleaner, safer, and beautified Ocean Beach. “This campaign will serve as a catalyst to continue to revitalize our already vibrant community of Ocean Beach,” said Dave Martin, Ocean Beach MainStreet Association board member. “The new project will support beautification efforts in the area, and we hope many will contribute and become a ‘Friend of OB.’”   OCTOBER   NAVWAR Redevelopment Then-Assemblymember Todd Gloria joined San Diego Association of Governments and a Navy spokesperson on Oct. 1 to announce Gov. Gavin Newsom had signed AB 2731 laying the groundwork for potential redevelopment of Naval Information Warfare Systems Command in the Midway District. Co-authored by Gloria and Senate president pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins, the new legislation paved the way for collaboration on potential major redevelopment of the NAVWAR site straddling Old Town Transit Center. Being explored is the possibility of creating a central mobility hub connecting transit to the San Diego International Airport, along with the development of a newly modernized cybersecurity facility for the Navy plus new regional housing.   Library Reopens Point Loma/Hervey Library joined 11 others citywide in partially reopening at 25% capacity on Oct. 3. But Christine Gonzalez, branch manager of the library at 3701 Voltaire St., cautioned patrons to expect a few changes, including the children’s area on the lower level remaining temporarily closed. “We basically wiped every single book in this library,” said Gonzalez of the long pandemic closure since mid-March. “Our priority, first and foremost, is the safety of the public and our staff. We are following all the state and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention protocols.”   Redevelopment Board Following selection by the City of Brookfield Properties/ASM Global to redevelop the sports arena, a Community Advisory Board overseeing that was formed. That group is comprised of 19 members representing the business, transportation, neighborhood, climate action, military, and higher education communities. The group will actively provide input to help shape the future of the Sports Arena property. “Community participation is a key principle for all projects that we engage with,” said Zach Adams of Brookfield Properties. “We are excited to collaborate and work in close partnership with the Sports Arena Community Advisory Board throughout the entire process to re-imagine the current Sports Arena property into a special, mixed-use destination.”   Sunset Cliffs Tome OB Historical Society board member and author Kathy Blavatt released her seventh book titled “San Diego’s Sunset Cliffs Park: A History,” in October. Her book was so heavily researched it could just as easily have been named “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About OB (But Were Afraid to Ask).   Exceptional Senior She has had five careers, speaks four languages, has a genius IQ, was a dancer, and was also a professional musician who performed in the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. She is witty, irreverent, and outspoken. She is Elithe Belofsky, 93, a feminist before her time who was featured in a Beacon profile.   Sunset Enforcement In October, Peninsula Community Planning Board approved drafting a letter supporting enhancing safety and law enforcement at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park. PCPB board member Mandy Havlik presented photos depicting ongoing problems including trash, illegal gathering, and noise disturbances at the popular oceanside park.   Step Back The City Planning Commission on Oct. 8 voted 4-3 to send a short-term rental compromise proposal by District 2 Councilmember Jennifer Campbell back for further review. In carrying the matter over, the seven-member commission presented a long list of questions to be answered. Those included a request for more details of the council member’s plan including information on fees and a lottery to include short-term rental operators under a proposed rental unit cap.   PLNU COVID Growing COVID-19 cases on Point Loma Nazarene campus prompted the university to respond with a dorm lockdown and tightened health protocols for students, faculty, and staff.     New Apple Tree Apple Tree Supermarket in Ocean Beach changed hands, giving way to Krisp Beverages + Natural Foods. But not to worry. The business was staying in the Hirmez family, which owns the building at 4976 Newport Ave. and has operated the market for many years since its previous location at 4949 Santa Monica Ave., now a CVS Pharmacy. "Our relatives, our first cousins, have bought the business and we are retaining a percentage of the ownership,” said Apple Tree owner Saad Hirmez. “We’re retiring. It was time to scale back, so we took on partners. We’ve been in business for close to 55 years. It’s just time.”   Postal Demolition The former Midway Post Office structure was demolished to be replaced by a mixed residential and commercial project known as The Post. Dog Beach Fence A project to enhance and extend existing beach fencing – separating humans and canines from environmentally sensitive areas – was proposed at Dog Beach. Known as the Ocean Beach Estuary Project, the idea was pitched by City park ranger Araceli Dominguez to Ocean Beach Town Council at the group’s October meeting.   NOVEMBER Election Blues The morning after the Nov. 3 General Election San Diego had the “blues,” with a Democrat elected mayor and five new faces on the nine-member City Council, all of whom turned out to be Democrats except for one Republican, board incumbent Chris Cate in District 6.   Port Master Revision A revised draft for the Port Master Plan Update concentrated future hotel rooms on Harbor Island while preserving both La Playa piers and the Marlin Club sportfishing on Shelter Island. The Port’s objective for the PMPU is to create a thoughtful and balanced approach to future water and land uses on and around San Diego Bay for future generations.   Restaurant Reborn One truly authentic Mexican eatery replaced another at the corner of Bacon Street and Niagara Avenue in Ocean Beach, as La Doña debuted in the space where Nati’s Mexican Restaurant was for nearly 60 years. Nati’s closed in June 2018. La Doña co-owners Brendan Huffman and Hoffman Leung are with the Social Syndicate, a San Diego-based restaurant development group founded in 2014. The business duo has teamed with chef and Tijuana native Gabby Lopez to bring homespun Mexican cuisine to 1852 Bacon St.   Restaurant Walk Given the ongoing pandemic, Ocean Beach’s Restaurant Walk 2020 featured a new twist last year: A take-out only edition. The fundraising event sponsored by the Ocean Beach Town Council with the assistance of Ocean Beach MainStreet Association took place Nov. 9-12.   Lawsuit Challenge Voter-approved Measure E, which removed the decades-old 30-foot height limit from the Midway District and Pechanga Arena, had another hurdle to clear: an environmental lawsuit. Ballot Measure E was an exception to Prop. D passed in 1972 to preserve coastal views and prevent the proliferation of high rises. An environmental challenge to Measure E was filed by Save Our Access, a nonprofit corporation opposing Measure E. Save Our Access claimed E was a thinly veiled attempt by developers to grab land and erode Prop. D height limit protections citywide.   Complete Communities Approved The City Council on Nov. 9 voted overwhelmingly in favor of Complete Communities, a package of initiatives and planning strategies to provide incentives for housing development near transit while promoting and investing in active transportation as an alternative to cars. Complete Communities prioritizes the City’s resources channeling them to where the needs are greatest, in underrepresented lower-income neighborhoods referred to in the plan as “Communities of Concern.”   Famosa Canyon The San Diego Housing Commission’s board voted Nov. 13 to enter into exclusive negotiations with Bridge Housing Corporation to further study the proposed development of affordable housing on a five-acre parcel at Famosa and Nimitz boulevards. SDHC Board’s vote followed the reading of nearly 200 letters opposing the project. “We ask the City to reconsider the San Diego Housing Commission's sale of the Famosa Canyon parcel to an out-of-town organization for $800,000 and explore other options for the site,” wrote affordable housing project opponents in a Nov. 12 letter to the City. “We voted unanimously to request that the City negotiate the sale of the Famosa Canyon to Park and Recreation so that Famosa Canyon remains a passive park and open space.”   DECEMBER   COVID Christmas The “crooked” Christmas tree, as usual, was firmly planted in OB’s oceanfront sand. But social distancing required OB parade floats to be stationary in the Dog Beach parking lot, with families driving through the lot to check them out. Crooked Tree Holiday Ale was available at OB Brewery and the community’s food and toy drive took place too.   Remote Learning In a letter to families, San Diego Unified School District said, due to ongoing health concerns related to COVID-19 and the safety of its students, staff, and community, that the district had decided to continue with online learning for the majority of students through the first part of the new year. However, the district said appointment-based, in-person instruction would still be available on campus for students with the greatest needs through Phase 1.   Catch The Wave What started as a way for Ocean Beach Elementary to connect with distance-learning students off-campus morphed into a full-fledged weekly broadcast series. Called Catch the Wave TV and named after the school’s motto, “Catch the Wave to Success,” the Friday broadcast spots replaced in-person morning assemblies on hiatus due to COVID-19. The broadcasts are all about ongoing attempts by the school to adapt during the epidemic by creating a shared experience for students, teachers, and families.   Sweet Holidays Liberty Station in Point Loma did something extraordinary for the year-end holidays, hosting a re-imagined, Gingerbread City on Dec. 12. Sponsored by The Epilepsy Foundation of San D Diego County, the drive-thru event showcased the theme “Holidays Around the World,” featuring more than 20 world-class gingerbread structures.   Surf Instruction Point Loma Nazarene University debuted a new course, LIT/HIS4090 – Surfing History and Culture. The course was co-developed and co-taught by Drs. Ben Cater and James Wicks, both surfers, were stoked about the program’s future. “Surf culture and history is an established field that is as rich as any tradition,” noted Wicks, a Taiwanese native with a Ph.D. in literature.   Campbell Recall A petition drive was begun to attempt to unseat District 2 Councilmember Dr. Jennifer Campbell. Campbell was to be served with a notice of intent to recall in early January 2021. Petition proponents will then have 99 days to collect a minimum of 13,553 signatures to qualify the recall effort for an election ballot.   Rental Plan Supported The City Planning Commission Dec. 3 voted 7-0 for a proposed short-term rental ordinance calling for licensing short-term rentals, capping their numbers, and penalizing violators, while creating a City office to administer the new program and making it subject to annual review.   Cycling Hub Christmas came early for bicycling enthusiasts as Santa, in the form of the City Council, gave them the gift they most wanted: reuse of Building 191 at Naval Training Center Park in Liberty Station. Cyclists intend to convert the long-vacant building with private funding, transforming it into a regional bicycling hub.  
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    DAILY BRIEFING – Mayor Gloria on Pacific Beach protest, Rose Creek Bikeway update, Sesame Street Parade of Lights at SeaWorld
    Jan 12, 2021 | 59639 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    President Trump supporters, Black Lives Matter supporters, and Antifa clashed at a protest in Pacific Beach last weekend. / Photo by John Cocozza
    President Trump supporters, Black Lives Matter supporters, and Antifa clashed at a protest in Pacific Beach last weekend. / Photo by John Cocozza

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


    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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    High surf damages, closes Ocean Beach Pier
    Jan 12, 2021 | 3082 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Photographer Jim Grant captured huge waves pounding the Ocean Beach Pier on Monday, Jan. 11. / Photo by Jim Grant
    Photographer Jim Grant captured huge waves pounding the Ocean Beach Pier on Monday, Jan. 11. / Photo by Jim Grant

    San Diego lifeguards closed the OB Pier as of 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 10 because of high surf and the forecast of an extremely high tide, according to San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. The tweets noted the pier would likely remain closed until at least through Tuesday, Jan. 12.

    However, the pier could be closed longer.

    "We don’t know when it (pier) will re-open,” said SDFD media services manager Monica Munoz. “City crews won’t even be able to assess the damage until the high surf and tide abate.” 

    It was also reported in SDFD tweets that OB Pier had suffered some damage to the south side of the railing in the outermost “T” area.

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    In 2021, consider a San Diego Humane Society virtual training class for your dog (or cat)
    by Juliette Nash
    Jan 06, 2021 | 12005 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Uploaded 121120
    Uploaded 121120

    Whether you’ve just adopted a puppy during the pandemic or you’re a longtime pet owner, positive reinforcement-based behavioral training is key to a happy, healthy human-animal relationship, especially while everyone is spending more time at home.

    But with most traditional in-person training classes on hold in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, you may feel your options are limited. That is not the case, though — and trainers at San Diego Humane Society (SDHS) have moved many of their training classes online. They have found online training classes, conducted via Zoom or other video chat platforms, can bring tremendous results to pets and families alike.

    The Importance of Training Your Pet
    Training, when done right, is about more than just preventing accidents in the house or keeping your pet from chewing on the furniture. Positive reinforcement training, which focuses on rewarding good behavior with toys, treats and positive attention while ignoring undesirable behaviors, has many benefits. These include better communication, mental stimulation for your pet, and involving everyone in the house, all of which strengthens your bond with your furry friend, leading to better behavior. Plus, it’s just more fun for everyone.
    Multiple scientific studies over the past two decades have demonstrated that dogs trained using positive reinforcement methods show higher levels of obedience; are less likely to show aggression or fear; learn new skills more quickly, and are more interactive with their owners. Positive reinforcement training isn’t just good for dogs, either — you can even use the same methods to train cats in behaviors like using a scratching post, using the litter box, walking on a leash or even doing tricks!

    Getting Started with Virtual Training Classes
    If the pandemic has brought a new animal companion into your life, it’s important to start training right away. Don’t worry if you can’t attend a traditional, in-person training class. All-online virtual training classes, whether in small groups or one-on-one, are an excellent way to train your dog or cat right at home in their usual environment, with fewer distractions — and they’re incredibly affordable.
    January is National Dog Training Month, which makes now the perfect time to take advantage of the many free and low-cost training resources available through SDHS.
    The certified Behavior & Training Team at SDHS offers more than 50 different classes year-round, and most are currently available online. In addition to basic behaviors, addressed in classes like our popular Marvelous Manners course, SDHS offers specialty classes that address different aspects of high arousal behavior in dogs (Shy Dog, Fabulous Focus for Impulse Control, Reactive Rover and Feisty Fido), enrichment-based classes such as nose work and living room friendly dog sports — and of course, several classes for cats.
    If there has been a silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been an increase in shelter pet fosters and adoptions or more time at home with their pets for many people now working remotely. Training classes, whether in basic obedience or fun new tricks, will make this uncertain time something memorable for everyone. They can also resolve many behavioral challenges that may be straining your life at home.
    San Diego Humane Society is here as a resource for all pet families in San Diego County that need help. All animals are trainable, and believe it or not, they all learn in the same way.


    Juliette Nash, MS, is the community training coordinator for San Diego Humane Society. Nash helps the SDHS community address their behavior and training concerns through organizing, developing, and curating content for our extensive range of training classes for dogs and cats, community outreach projects, and responding to inquiries to our behavioral helplines. She holds a master’s degree from the University of San Diego in Marine Science and has spent more than a decade researching the social and vocal learning behaviors of killer whales. Nash grew up training a wide variety of animals and has been professionally training dogs for the past 10 years. When she’s not at work, Nash is being trained regularly by her three cats: Kitty (15) Ginny (4) and Poe (2).


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    Local brother and sister team open gourmet sub shop in La Jolla
    For some, working with your younger brother or older sister might sound more annoying than fun. But for Kris Shea and Kathy Sandler, it was an opportunity to spend some much-needed quality time.   ...
    Published - Friday, June 07
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    The Black Crowes Revival to debut at Winston’s on June 11
    Southern rock may not have the same visibility it once did, but there can be no doubt that it remains immensely popular. One of the more modern practitioners, ’90s-era rockers The Black Crowes, is ...
    Published - Friday, June 07
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    Midway planners hear proposal on NAVWAR site
    Midway-Pacific Highway Community Planning Group in May vetted a controversial proposal to turn part of the Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR) site into a regional transportation “gr...
    Published - Friday, June 07
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    UC San Diego wins Commissioner's Cup
    Following one of its most successful years in the institution's athletics history, the University of California San Diego has claimed the 2018-19 California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) R...
    Published - Thursday, June 06
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    Top Point Loma grads to lead 94th commencement
    The valedictorian and salutatorian of Point Loma High's Class of 2019 agree on their view of the high school they are about to leave. "Point Loma is a well-rounded school," said valedictorian Clara...
    Published - Thursday, June 06
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    San Diego International Boat Show returns to Spanish Landing June 6-9
    Expect to see motoryachts, sailboats, trailer boats, cruisers, pontoon boats, sportboats and luxury superyachts and megayachts as the annual summer San Diego International Boat Show splashes into t...
    Published - Thursday, June 06
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    Bike advocate Andy Hanshaw to lead City’s new Mobility Board
    The City of San Diego recently appointed San Diego Bike Coalition executive director Andy Hanshaw to chair its new Mobility Board. As a local biking expert, Hanshaw plans to lead San Diego into a f...
    Published - Thursday, June 06
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    Jury acquits man in gasoline splashing at Fiesta Island
    After deliberating five hours over two days, a jury acquitted a man on June 5 of attempted murder and attempted manslaughter in the splashing of gasoline on a woman at Fiesta Island. The jury also ...
    Published - Thursday, June 06
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    New vice principal joins Point Loma High School
    After decades of six-month-long Chicago winters, Dana Tolomeo is thrilled to be in San Diego. A veteran educator, Tolomeo was recently named to a vacant vice principal position at Point Loma High S...
    Published - Wednesday, June 05
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    Students go behind the scenes at Scripps Pier to learn about marine protected areas
    Even in California, there are children who still have yet to see the ocean. That’s something Wildcoast — an international nonprofit environmental organization located in Imperial Beach — aims to ch...
    Published - Wednesday, June 05
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    Tyga, Miguel, Slightly Stoopid, X Ambassadors and more announced in Wonderfront Festival lineup
    Some of the 80 artists performing at the inaugural Wonderfront Music & Arts Festival held Nov. 22-24 in downtown San Diego were finally announced on June 3.    Festival founders Paul Thornton and E...
    Published - Wednesday, June 05
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    Quintet of Pointer athletes earn honors
    Five PLHS athletes were recognized on all-CIF teams announced last weekend. Leading the pack is senior track star Altan Mitchell, who won two events at the league championship meet and one event at...
    Published - Wednesday, June 05
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    Father's Day car show, LOL Comedy Show and other briefs
    BELMONT PARK FATHER’S DAY CAR SHOW Belmont Park will host its sixth-annual Cruise to Belmont Father’s Day Fest and Car Show from 10 a.m. to 5   p.m., June 16. The event includes nearly 200 classic ...
    Published - Tuesday, June 04
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    USTA National Father-Daughter & Mother-Son Hard Court Championships begin June 7 in Point Loma
    The United States Tennis Association National Father-Daughter & Mother-Son Hard Court Championships, featuring some of the top doubles teams in the country, will be played Friday, June 7 through Su...
    Published - Tuesday, June 04
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