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    Home for the holidays – Dewey Elementary students reunite with their mom
    by THOMAS MELVILLE
    Dec 11, 2017 | 4045 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Yeoman-2nd Class Melissa Hall gets a good look at her daughter Jordan Hall, a third-grader at Dewey Elementary in Point Loma. Hall surprised her daughters, who she had not seen in six months, on Monday, Dec. 11. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    Yeoman-2nd Class Melissa Hall gets a good look at her daughter Jordan Hall, a third-grader at Dewey Elementary in Point Loma. Hall surprised her daughters, who she had not seen in six months, on Monday, Dec. 11. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    Yeoman-2nd Class Melissa Hall gets a a hug from her daughter Taylor Hall, a kindergartner at Dewey Elementary in Point Loma. Hall surprised her daughters, who she had not seen in six months, on Monday, Dec. 11. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    Yeoman-2nd Class Melissa Hall gets a a hug from her daughter Taylor Hall, a kindergartner at Dewey Elementary in Point Loma. Hall surprised her daughters, who she had not seen in six months, on Monday, Dec. 11. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    Yeoman-2nd Class Melissa Hall hugs her daughters Taylor and Jordan Hall, students at Dewey Elementary in Point Loma. Hall surprised her daughters, who she had not seen in six months, on Monday, Dec. 11. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    Yeoman-2nd Class Melissa Hall hugs her daughters Taylor and Jordan Hall, students at Dewey Elementary in Point Loma. Hall surprised her daughters, who she had not seen in six months, on Monday, Dec. 11. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    In an effort to thank those who serve the country year round, the San Diego Unified School District launched the inaugural “Military Holiday Card Drive” this week and held a holiday homecoming for two students at Dewey Elementary who were surprised by their mom returning from a Navy deployment. The school also held the San Diego Unified True Blue Buddies “Military Student Bike Giveaway” where Santa flew in on a helicopter and surprised students with new bicycles. But prior to St. Nick’s arrival, third-grader Jordan Hall and kindergartner Taylor Hall received their Christmas present early, as their mom, Melissa Hall, walked out of a classroom and into the courtyard where the students were gathered for the bike raffle ruse. Deployed on the U.S.S Pinckney since June, and not expected back until after the holidays, Yeoman-2nd Class Hall stepped into the sunlight and then sunk to her knees to envelope her daughters in hugs, kisses and joy. “It was a rush of emotions,” Hall said. “I haven’t seen them in six months. I don’t always get to connect with them while deployed.” Hall, who found out about the plan in August, worried she would ruin the surprise. “But everything went great. It’s so exciting to be home for the holidays; I guess we’re going to go decorate the house for Christmas,” said Hall, who lives at Naval Base Point Loma. Throughout the year, San Diego Unified assures military families that their children with receive an education by providing them with a variety of resources and services catered to their unique needs. Almost every school within the district services a child whose parent or guardian is serving or has served in the armed forces. The district offers military families services that help match them with similar educational programs they were enrolled in previously, as well as introductions to local military liaisons that can help with any issues or resources they may need. All district schools have military-friendly environments with programs, teachers and counselors trained to aid in the transition and adaptation of their incoming and outgoing military families. San Diego Unified services the largest number of military connected students in the state of California. Overall, San Diego Unified serves more than 13,000 military connected children and six military bases within district boundaries. To participate in the Military Holiday Card Drive, drop off signed holiday cards at San Diego Unified’s Central office (main lobby) at 4100 Normal St. from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Friday, Dec. 15 (before noon). As a thank you, those who donate a holiday card on Wednesday, Dec. 13 will receive a free ticket to the San Diego symphony’s holiday concert “Noel, Noel” on Dec. 22, at 8 p.m. at Copley Symphony Hall (while supplies last).
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    Seeing red in Pacific Beach as Santas take over
    Dec 09, 2017 | 8751 views | 1 1 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Thousands of Santas ran through Pacific Beach the morning of Saturday, Dec. 9 for the annual Santa Run. / All photos by Thomas Melville
    Thousands of Santas ran through Pacific Beach the morning of Saturday, Dec. 9 for the annual Santa Run. / All photos by Thomas Melville
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    A continuous red streak ran through Garnet Avenue and Cass Street in Pacific Beach on the morning Saturday, Dec. 9, as thousands of Santas took over the beach community for the fifth annual San Diego Santa Run. Hosted by High Performance Movement, the event consisted of a series of waves, including a 5K Fun Run and one-mile runs that feature the Santa’s Little Helper Mile (for the pup), the Santa’s Elves Mile (for kids) and the Speedy Mile (for competitive Santas). Throughout the course, runners donning “Sunny Santa Suits" — complete with white beards, Santa hats and sunglasses — got into the spirit as holiday music was performed live on corners along the route. Following the Santa Run, participants filled local restaurants and pubs and watched the 38th annual Pacific Beach Holiday Parade, down Garnet Avenue. The parade is funded, in part, by revenue generated through the Santa Run and other events put on by High Performance Movement. For more information, visit sandiegosantarun.com.
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    December 10, 2017
    Awesome, Red Delicious!
    Hot Cocoa for a Cure to benefit boating accident victim
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Dec 09, 2017 | 5091 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    The Ybarra family's charity fundraiser started out small with their two daughters setting up a card table in front of their house.
    The Ybarra family's charity fundraiser started out small with their two daughters setting up a card table in front of their house.
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    A boating-accident victim will be the recipient this year of a yuletide hot cocoa charity fundraiser begun nearly 20 years ago by a Point Loma family benefiting needy neighbors. The 18th annual charity fundraiser Hot Cocoa for a Cure will take place 5 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 16 at the Freitas residence, 3616 Garrison St. More than 1,000 cups of hot chocolates and scrumptious baked goodies will be sold and dispensed. “This year’s event is to help Ron Schoors, who lost his arm in a boating accident this summer, and is now in need of a prosthesis,” said Kyle Ybarra who, along with wife Carrie, are continuing their family's annual giving tradition begun by their now-grown daughter almost 20 years ago. After several surgeries, Schoors continues to recover from his boating accident. He was out in San Diego Bay when a wave rocked his boat and knocked him into the water. The empty boat started to spin out of control and ran him over while he was underwater. The boat's propeller caught his arm, leaving it seriously injured. He also broke his leg. The Coast Guard rescued Schoors out of the water. They got the boat under control after Schoors' friend hit it with his own boat to stop its momentum. The Schoors' family has set up a Go Fund Me page to help defray Ron's medical expenses. Past hot chocolate fundraiser recipients have included a victim of domestic violence, a child with brain cancer, a boy who was shot and survived, a juvenile diabetes sufferer and many others in need. Kyle Ybarra noted Schoors is unquestionably deserving of being this year's fundraiser recipient. “His leg was severely broken in multiple places, and his right arm was so damaged, he ended up losing it,” Ybarra said, noting it's hoped proceeds from the annual charitable fundraiser “will be enough to get him his prosthetic arm.” Of the origin of the hot cocoa fundraiser, Kyle Ybarra, said: “When my daughter, now 24, was 6 years old, she and her three best friends set up a small little hot chocolate stand to benefit a young girl in Tijuana they knew who was going to have surgery. They raised about $80 and took that money and bought the girl a Barbie doll and took it to her hospital room. It's (fundraiser's) grown larger and larger ever since.” Carrie Ybarra said her family's charity fundraiser started out small with her two daughters setting up a card table in front of their house, adding, “Now it's turned into a community event where people not only donate, but help run it. It’s amazing.” Carrie Ybarra noted there will be something else special, too, about this year's chocolate fundraiser.  “This year, the San Diego Padres have generously offered to help support this cause,” she said. Kyle Ybarra added there have now been 18 different fundraiser recipients over the years, as an institution, Rady Children's Hospital, was a recipient one year. He added some recipients have benefitted more than once. The public is encouraged to come out for hot cocoa, delicious treats, music and an appearance by Santa, as well as the San Diego Padres Pad Squad and Friar. To donate directly to Ron, a fundraiser page was set up for him: http://bit.ly/2A3Inu4. Hot Cocoa for a Cure Where: 3616 Garrison St. When: 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16. Donate: To donate directly to Ron Schoors, visit http://bit.ly/2A3Inu4.
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    Grab a dog and a view at The Surf Check at Sunset Cliffs
    by Mathilde Rousseau Bjerregaard
    Dec 07, 2017 | 6092 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Mathilde Rousseau Bjerregaard eats a hot dog at The Surf Check snack shack. / PHOTO BY THOMAS MELVILLE
    Mathilde Rousseau Bjerregaard eats a hot dog at The Surf Check snack shack. / PHOTO BY THOMAS MELVILLE
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    The Surf Check at 1404 Sunset Cliffs Blvd.
    The Surf Check at 1404 Sunset Cliffs Blvd.
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    How does enjoying a cup of Bird Rock Coffee and an acai bowl sound while taking in the morning view at Sunset Cliffs? Maybe a hot dog and an orange Fanta to go along with watching the sun set at the cliffs? Driving down Sunset Cliffs Boulevard, south from the crowds on Newport and at the intersection with Point Loma Avenue, you will see a blue-and-white trailer with yellow surfboard on top and a couple turquoise tables out front. You’ve arrived at The Surf Check, a snack shack serving the Sunset Cliffs neighborhood, surfers and sightseers. The menu is scrawled in bright colors on a fish surfboard that leans against the trailer. Bird Rock Coffee, smoothies, hot dogs and Coke, or a grilled cheese special are available. The Surf Check is owned by Richard Aguirre, a well-kown local who is also the president of “Save Sunset Cliffs.” Aguirre has lived in Sunset Cliffs for many years and is dedicated about the area. “I wanted to give people a place to go at the end of the day to get food because there wasn’t anything here except the gas station. I wanted to make something for the community who lives here,” said Aguirre. Aguirre opened The Surf Check in November 2016 and it fits in perfectly with the laid-back surfer vibe, but also complements the morning and evening walkers and tourists who visit Sunset Cliffs. “We are going to make it a lot nicer because the goal was not really to make a coffee shop, but more to make a small restaurant down here because we really need some good food in this end of the Sunset Cliffs,” Aguirre said. Aguirre plans to expand The Surf Check with a bigger trailer and make the area around it more welcoming and cozy for people to hang around, have conversations while sipping a hot cup of coffee or cool refreshing smoothie. ”So far, it’s proven to be a popular place for people to stop,” he said. ”I think it has way more potential.” The Surf Check Where: 1404 Sunset Cliffs Blvd. Hours: Snack shack that serves with Bird Rock Coffee, smoothies, acai bowls, hot dogs and Fanta sodas. Info: 619-961-8676.
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    King tides make a splash – show shoreline susceptible to sea level rise
    Dec 06, 2017 | 23259 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    A photographer gets splashed as a huge wave crashes over the stairs to Garbage Beach during a king tide on Tuesday, Dec. 5. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    A photographer gets splashed as a huge wave crashes over the stairs to Garbage Beach during a king tide on Tuesday, Dec. 5. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    Ocean Beach resident Maddie Drinkward looks on as a huge wave heads toward her during the king tide on Tuesday morning. / PHOTO BY THOMAS MELVILLE
    Ocean Beach resident Maddie Drinkward looks on as a huge wave heads toward her during the king tide on Tuesday morning. / PHOTO BY THOMAS MELVILLE
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    Some of the year's highest tides, known as “king tides,” hit the California shoreline this week, providing a glimpse of what the state can expect as sea levels rise in the coming years. This winter, the largest tides took place on Dec. 3, 4, and 5, and will take place again Jan. 1 and 2. The California King Tides Project is asking the public to go outside and photograph these ultra-high tides to illustrate how homes, harbors, beaches, wetlands, seawalls, and public access to the coast will be affected by future sea level rise. During king tides, nearly all of the Kendall Frost Marsh Reserve in Mission Bay is flooded with water, giving researchers insight into what the new normal will be for this remnant wetland under rising seas. Endangered Light-footed Ridgway's Rails live and nest in this 40-acre habitat, the only piece remaining of what was once 4,000 acres of wetlands in Mission Bay. The king tides push the birds to the margins of the salt marsh to stay out of the water and researchers use this opportunity to count this otherwise hard-to-spot secretive marsh bird.  Mission Bay’s wetlands supply habitat for hundreds of local wildlife species, protect San Diego from climate change impacts such as flooding, and improve water quality. In addition to using the high tides as a chance to document the number of Ridgway’s Rails in Mission Bay, San Diego Audubon encourages residents to use this as a visual opportunity to understand why the region must ensure protection and restoration of its wetlands so that they can continue to create cleaner water, buffer communities from sea level rise, provide habitat for wildlife, and get people into nature.  State and local officials and climate change researchers use the images taken during the king tides season to validate sea level rise models and better assess local flood vulnerabilities for planning purposes. Recent advances in the science of sea level rise and climate modeling have brought increased attention to the importance of these planning efforts. This includes the California Ocean Protection Council’s updated Sea Level Rice Guidance, which is open for public comment through Dec. 15.
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