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    DAILY BRIEFING – Kayak Cleanup of SD River, Mickelson commits to Farmers Insurance Open, La Jolla Symphony series
    Jan 17, 2021 | 77065 views | 0 0 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    A spectacular sunset filled the sky at Sunset Cliffs on Jan. 13. Photo by Thomas Melville
    A spectacular sunset filled the sky at Sunset Cliffs on Jan. 13. Photo by Thomas Melville

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

     Sunday, Jan. 17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Tuesday, Jan. 12

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

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

    • Roadway striping

    • Planting trees and groundcover

    • Irrigation improvements

    • Stormwater maintenance

    • Electrical work

    • Grading and paving

    • Installing curb, fences, and railing

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

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


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


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


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


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


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

    Thursday, Jan. 7

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


    Wednesday, Jan. 6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    BEACON YEAR IN REVIEW - An unprecedented and unforgettable year on the Peninsula
    Jan 14, 2021 | 15693 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 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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    High surf damages, closes Ocean Beach Pier
    Jan 12, 2021 | 3531 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 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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    San Diego brewer, marketer wins national award
    Jan 11, 2021 | 6121 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Megan Stone
    Megan Stone
    Megan Stone with the ‘Woman of the Year’ Craft Beer Marketing Award. / Photo by Megan Stone
    Megan Stone with the ‘Woman of the Year’ Craft Beer Marketing Award. / Photo by Megan Stone

    San Diegan Megan Stone was honored at the Craft Beer Marketing Awards as the first recipient of the “Woman of the Year” award in 2020. Industry peers selected her for the award based on her experience as a brewer, marketer, social media influencer, and “diversity, equity and inclusion” advocate.

    “I put these efforts in because it’s things that I care about and I don't necessarily sit there and think about how people think of me or how popular I am. It was just nice to know that people appreciated the work,” Stone said. “I think it's nice to have a woman of the year category because it shines the light on the different people that make up this industry.”

    Stone started in the craft brew industry as a server at Dogfish Head Brewing in Delaware and became fascinated with the process of brewing.

    “That's where my obsession with beer started. I just thought it was so interesting how unique beer can be,” said Stone, who is non-binary and uses she/her and they/them pronouns. “As a seasonal server, my orientation was a brewery tour, and after the brewery tour I was just in complete awe and in love with everything and decided that I wanted to be a brewer, so I propelled myself into that world.”

    During their breaks, they would read books on brewing and eventually entered an employee brewing contest, which they won alongside more experienced brewers. From there, Stone transitioned into brewing full-time.

    After moving to San Diego from Delaware, Stone began the Instagram profile with the @isbeeracarb handle that would launch them into social media popularity and a new career. Stone has more than 33,000 followers who view photos of her interests, including beer, fashion, travel, and colorful hair. In addition, Stone shares some of their experiences as a member of the LGBT+ community in a male-dominated industry and advocates for inclusion that helps people from all backgrounds thrive.

    "I've always been a very creative person and a very visual person so it was definitely a natural occurrence. I didn't seek out anything from Instagram. I wasn't looking to be Instagram famous or an influencer, it just sort of happened... And then from there, all these opportunities arose,” she said.

    “As a female in the craft beer industry as well, I applaud Megan Stone’s efforts,” said Craft Beer Marketing Awards co-founder Jackie DiBella in a released statement. “We’re here to support her endeavors, and equally proud to honor and celebrate the amazing efforts our industry has contributed in our new category for human rights.”

    Stone’s burgeoning popularity on Instagram led to another career pivot from solely brewing into running social media, marketing and consulting for breweries across the nation and even internationally.

    Like when she first became interested in brewing, Stone took to reading everything she could find and listening to podcasts about marketing. Despite never enjoying school and even dropping out of high school, Stone loves to learn in hands-on ways.

    “I just like to immerse myself entirely in that world. I love learning and that's one of the things about brewing is you're constantly learning and the same with marketing — trends in the industry are constantly evolving so it's really stimulating and challenging and that's something that I really enjoy,” they said.

    As she used her knowledge to help friends with small businesses, Stone found new opportunities to be a part of the beer industry as a marketing consultant and social media manager.

    Stone has worked for San Diego breweries such as Refuge, Mikkeller, Modern Times, and Societe. Stone brewed collaborations in Panama and the U.K. In 2019, she founded a diversity, equity and inclusion apprenticeship at U.K.-based Laine Brew Co.

    Beyond advancing her career, Stone used her platform to discuss problems she and others faced in the largely straight, white male industry. Stone said they always cared about equality and that they have focused on issues in the craft beer industry for the last few years because they are already so passionate about it. Advocacy was not something she initially sought out but started in response to other people making her feel she did not belong.

    "I definitely had a lot of great experiences and a lot of great people in my life and great mentors, but sometimes the people who are not so great are a lot louder," Stone said. "I try really hard to change people's perspectives... I didn't want to have a platform that was just beautiful photos. I wanted it to have some sort of impact. I realized that I had this platform and this sort of reach with an audience and that it was very useful in encouraging people to be better and to do better."

    The CBMAS recognizes 34 beer-marketing categories that celebrate the best of craft beverages. Presenting sponsor, Hillebrand supports CBMAS’ mission to honor the individuals and teams that promote beer industry growth through innovative and creative marketing.

    “I’m so glad Megan was nominated for this award. Her passion is contagious. She is a human rights warrior,” said CBMAS co-founder Jim McCune in a released statement.

    In 2020, CBMAS extended to judging hard seltzer, cider, and mead. New categories have been added and the awards competition now includes entries from all over the world to be judged by 330 industry professionals.

    Contact Kendra Sitton at [email protected].


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    LA JOLLA YEAR IN REVIEW - Village adapts to an unprecedented and unforgettable year
    Jan 07, 2021 | 6939 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Self-professed ‘hippie’ and recent high school grad Danika Zikas, 17, organized a flower march on June 12 in La Jolla to support the Black Lives Matter movement. PHOTO BY DON BALCH
    Self-professed ‘hippie’ and recent high school grad Danika Zikas, 17, organized a flower march on June 12 in La Jolla to support the Black Lives Matter movement. PHOTO BY DON BALCH
    It started with the Polar Plunge on New Year’s Day and ended with a revised annual year-end Christmas parade. In between, La Jollans adapted to the ongoing pandemic, which transformed how we all live, work, and play. While businesses closed and reopened periodically due to the coronavirus, residents and merchants moved outdoors to curbside parklets and parking lots to ply their wares and conduct daily activities. Live events were canceled. Meetings went remote. Masks were mandatory as was social distancing. Having turned the corner into 2021, La Jolla Village News gazes back in the rear-view at the once-in-a-lifetime unforgettable year that was 2020.   JANUARY Polar Plunge About 400 people attended the La Jolla Cove Swim Club’s annual Polar Bear Plunge on Jan. 1 in the chilly water off Kellogg Park at La Jolla Shores which was 57 degrees, according to swim club president Don Simonelli. “It’s a really great way to kick of the year,” he said of the event created more than 30 years ago. “Some people dip their toes in for fun, others go out and wade for a while and some regular members even do a half-mile swim.”   Looking Ahead Asked his take on the new year, La Jolla Maintenance Assessment District board president Ed Witt said, “We have a lot of work to do as a board with adding new members and establishing committees, plus all the continued ‘enhancing La Jolla.’ We’ll continue to listen to the community and to refine our processes with our vendors to improve efficiencies and the final product.”   Preservationist Passes Community activist, journalist, and historical preservationist Patricia Harriet Ravage Dahlberg, 90, died Dec. 20, 2019. Heath Fox, executive director of La Jolla Historical Society, praised the contributions of Dahlberg to La Jolla Historical Society and the community during her long and fruitful life. “Her work was instrumental to the bequest of Wisteria Cottage by the Revelle family, the designation of UCSD’s Audrey Geisel University House (chancellor’s residence) on the National Register of Historic Places, and in recognizing Pottery Canyon and its importance to the history of La Jolla,” said Fox.   ‘Golden’ Anniversary Joel D. Perlin owner of H.S. Perlin Co., Inc. of La Jolla, celebrated his 46th year on the corner at 1110 Silverado St., and 51st year in the community. Perlin remains a precious metals dealer and a financial advisor who uses tangible assets.   Steak-Out Donovan's Steak and Chop House at 1250 Prospect St. abruptly shuttered at the end of 2019 after four years in business.   Golf Fest Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and more than 150 other notable top golfers took over Torrey Pines Municipal Golf Course in La Jolla for the PGA Tour’s 2020 Farmers Insurance Open Jan. 23-26. Golfers in the $7.5 million, 72-hole tournament vyed for $1,350,000 in prize money and 500 FedExCup points. Event winner Marc Leishman picked up his fifth career PGA Tour win with a one-shot win over Jon Rahm at Torrey Pines’ South Course.   Overlooked Overlook A frequent jogger at Torrey Pines State Park warned that the Broken Hill overlook, accessed from the furthest south trail directly adjacent to the north of Torrey Pines Golf Course, was dangerous and needed remedying.   EIR Certified 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.   Controversial Proposal UC San Diego unveiled a plan to build five new multi-story buildings on a parking lot adjacent to La Jolla Playhouse. Named the Future College Living and Learning Neighborhood, the project was designed to provide residential life and administrative space for a new undergraduate college, with approximately 2,000 undergraduate beds, classrooms, an estimated 1,200 underground parking spaces, and a conference center and retail space.   Scooters Scooted The City Council voted 5-4 Jan. 28 to endorse a ban on motorized vehicles, including electric scooters, on Mission Beach, Pacific Beach and La Jolla Shores boardwalks, and along Mission Bay Park bayside path, while reducing the scooter geofencing speed limit from 8 to 3 mph in congested areas.   FEBRUARY   Space Chat La Jolla marine biologist Jessica Meir made time to video chat with 150 middle school students from the international space station. “It really means so much for me to be able to share my life up here with all of you,” said Meir at the beginning of her live stream call with Scripps Institution of Oceanography in February.   Park Use La Jolla Parks and Beaches, Inc. voted 8-7–1 against denying the issuance of new special-use permits for Scripps Park events that are for-profit and commercialize the park. It was the culmination of several months of vetting of the controversial issue of public versus private use of world-renowned Scripps Park.   Museum Grant Closed for reconstruction since January 2017, the Museum of Contemporary Art La Jolla received a $750,000 federal matching fund grant which will go toward infrastructure improvements at the La Jolla museum site.   Leap Year Being a Leap Year, 2020 offered an additional 24 hours on Saturday, Feb. 29. LJVN asked locals how they spent their time, as well as profiling nearly endless suggestions for things to do, in and around San Diego. The list included kite surfing, yoga by the ocean, whale watching, kayak tours, visiting both sides of the border wall, Temecula wine tours, riding in a hot air balloon, and skydiving.   MARCH   Drone Delivery UC San Diego Health launched a pilot project to test the use of aerial drones to transport medical samples, supplies, and documents. The university’s medical drone pilot program was being tested between Jacobs Medical Center, Moores Cancer Center, and the Center for Advanced Laboratory Medicine, all in La Jolla. The goal was to speed the delivery of services and patient care currently managed through ground transport.   Rec Center Modernization An update for the modern era to La Jolla’s century-old recreation center complex was underway by the Visioning Committee of La Jolla Recreation Center. The committee was planning long-term for bringing the facility, commissioned and completed in 1915 by La Jolla philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps, into the 2020s and beyond. That update began, in a small way, with the repaving of the basketball courts in the rear of the rec center.   Legal Challenge In March, La Jolla Shores Association voted to retain legal counsel to represent them in negotiations on a new controversial multi-story, multi-building, mixed-use project proposed on UC San Diego campus dubbed The Future College Living and Learning Neighborhood.   Tagging Tackled Tagging was a new problem Enhance La Jolla Maintenance Assessment District contended with in fulfilling its mission of cleansing and beautifying La Jolla’s downtown Village.   Eviction Moratorium Continuing to take aggressive steps to protect the health and welfare of San Diegans, the City on March 25 enacted an eviction moratorium that provided relief to residential and commercial tenants facing financial hardship related to the COVID-19 pandemic.   APRIL   Cooperating Businesses As the pandemic lockdown continued, coastal business improvement districts including La Jolla Village Merchants Association worked together along with their umbrella organization, the BID Alliance, to help small businesses in neighborhoods citywide.   Great Wait Education went online in what was described by some as the “great wait” while the lockdown continued in an attempt to stem the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. San Diego Unified, the state's second-largest school district, transitioned to online learning on April 6 due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The announcement came a few weeks after the district shut down all of its schools to prevent the spread of the virus.   Relief Partnership Continuing to take aggressive steps to deliver relief to San Diegans affected by COVID-19, Mayor Faulconer and Council President Pro Tem Barbara Bry announced on April 13 over $300,000 in private donations to kick start a new partnership to expand the City’s Small Business Relief Fund and encourage more community support for small businesses as the demand for economic relief rose.   MAY   Disabled Rights Disabled-rights attorney Ann Menasche called for the City to end its moratorium prohibiting vehicle habitation throughout most of the City, warning policies punishing people without housing and forcing them into crowded shelters or safe lots would worsen the COVID-19 pandemic. “This strategy runs counter to recommendations of public health experts asking people to shelter in place,” Menashe argued.   New Normal LJVN surveyed a representative cross-section of small businesses and individuals in the community to get their take on how the “new normal” had impacted residents and businesses. “It’s a mess, just a rat’s race to figure out what’s going on,” responded Brett Murphy of La Jolla Sports Club at 7825 Fay Ave.   Coast Walk Fundraising Despite the pandemic, nonprofit Friends of Coast Walk Trail soldiered on with fundraising to complete ongoing projects to improve the popular half-mile panoramic trail on the bluffs between the Cave Store at La Jolla Cove and La Jolla Shores beach.   Master Plan Update La Jolla Parks and Beaches, Inc. established a working group to review the City's Draft Parks Master Plan and submit comments relating to La Jolla's shorelines and parks to the City by May 25.   No Normal Allowed to reopen with strict guidelines and limited seating under the County’s plan to allow dine-in customers, local restaurateurs were happy to reopen, but also feared the pandemic had shaken customer’s confidence, which could translate into a long slow climb back to normalcy and profitability.   Tourism Turn Jonah Mechanic, owner of SeaBreeze Vacation Rentals in La Jolla and president of Share San Diego, Airbnb's San Diego arm, said the typical San Diego tourist has changed. “The client now is not your typical tourist who comes here to go to the beach and see all of San Diego’s attractions like the zoo, Balboa Park and SeaWorld, which are all closed,” he said. “People are now staying here for more extended periods of time, are coming and renting for a month or multiple weeks, so they can stay in the same house and quarantine together. It’s something we haven’t seen before.”   JUNE   Better Belvedere La Jolla Parks and Beaches, Inc. June 1 approved plans for the replacement of a historic belvedere at Windansea beach to be done by landscape architect Jim Neri who had worked on a number of coastal park improvement projects in La Jolla, including restoration of the Children’s Pool Plaza.   Outdoor Dining La Jolla civic leaders were initially frustrated in attempts to close off streets in the Village and Shores to accommodate outdoor dining to aid restaurants following the pandemic lockdown. “It’s the perfect location,” said La Jolla Shores Association president Janie Emerson of Avenida De La Playa, the neighborhood’s commercial business strip.   BLM Backed Dozens of residents and supporters came out to the ‘Paddle for Peace’ event at Windansea beach to back Black Lives Matter and protest police brutality on June 8. On June 3, several local African-American spokespeople participated in an hour-long Zoom webinar on social justice and accountability in the wake of George Floyd’s tragic murder.   Village Signage La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Committee got an update from the La Jolla Village Merchants Association on establishing a new street signage program to help people find their way more easily in the Village. “We are exploring ways to mitigate some of the traffic issues that are caused by parking, working with Ace Mobility, our parking consultant,” said Jodi Rudick, LJVMA executive director. “We’re excited about maybe introducing some electronic signage to help people understand where they might be parking.”   Flower Power Self-professed “hippie” and recent high school grad Danika Zikas, 17, organized a flower march for June 12 in La Jolla to support the Black Lives Matter movement.   JULY   Marketing Funding San Diego Tourism Marketing District awarded $32.3 million in funding for destination marketing programs for the 2021 fiscal year starting July 1. With these funds, SDTA planned to support tourism recovery by focusing on marketing campaigns targeting a leisure audience in the drive market. The campaigns, labeled as “Happiness is Calling You Back,” were meant to attract drive-in visitors using images of wide-open spaces and outdoor recreation. San Diego Tourism’s strategy also was to include a “Stay Diego” campaign encouraging residents to have staycations.   Climate Research The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration selected the University of California San Diego to host the new Cooperative Institute for Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Systems. The cooperative institute, led by Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, will conduct collaborative, multidisciplinary research on climate, oceans, and ecosystems to better understand the coupled systems and assess the physical and biological state of the oceans.   Space Race In July, La Jolla Village Merchants Association discussed numerous alternatives for freeing up outdoor space since indoor dining had been temporarily banned again, including painting curbs to shorten parking limits and setting up outdoor cafes and parklets. “COVID has changed our business model quite a bit,” said LJVMA executive director Jodi Rudick. The business improvement district was asked if it would be willing to approve or support green curbs changing 90-minute parking to 15- or 30-minutes.   AUGUST   Outdoor Approval Mayor Faulconer signed an executive order extending the growing list of allowed outdoor options to hundreds of additional businesses including gyms, worship centers, barbershops, and nail salons, which were being allowed to expand their operations into private parking lots.   Vending Vetted District 1 staffer Steve Hadley, responding to complaints from La Jollans about permissive street vending and lack of mask-wearing enforcement said, “It is legal what they’re (vendors) doing. So it’s difficult for police to enforce unless they’re obstructing ADA access or violating noise decibel ordinances. Regarding masks, Hadley said police told him it is problematic to enforce because the mask ordinance, as presently construed, requires masks to be worn within six feet of anyone who is not a member of the same household, difficult to determine on a public beach.   Outdoor Uses As part of a continued effort to help San Diegans move activities outdoors where experts say the spread of COVID-19 was reduced, Mayor Faulconer Aug. 18 signed an executive order allowing gyms and religious institutions to operate in city parks where physical distancing was made easier.   BLM Donation L a Jolla Country Day School student Elinor Amir-Lobel won an essay competition with a $2,000 cash prize and founded a nonprofit with it, selling her original sticker art and donating 100% of the profits to the Black Lives Matter organization.   Murals Guidelines Judging the content of public murals was a slippery slope, and those murals promoting commercial interests should not be allowed. That was the general consensus of La Jolla Planned District Ordinance Committee in August. The 11-member advisory group makes recommendations to the City on signage, setbacks, and other development conditions detailed in La Jolla’s PDO.   SEPTEMBER 50th Anniversary In September UC San Diego Library observed the 50th anniversary of the university’s intellectual heart of campus, Geisel Library, which first opened its doors to the UC San Diego community and the public in September 1970. The library planned a yearlong celebration aimed at recognizing the remarkable legacy of Geisel Library, UC San Diego’s most iconic architectural masterpiece.   Business Success Restaurants, and at least one La Jolla bookstore owner, benefited from moving some of their operations outdoors. Brick-and-mortar D.G. Wills Bookstore at 7461 Girard Ave. Held its own during the pandemic, offering 1,000 books in its driveway to a dollar apiece. The Cat Lounge Rescue and Adoption Center at 1006 Torrey Pines Road achieved, with the support of volunteers and the community, its goal of rescuing, rehabilitating, and adopting out 1,000 cats before celebrating its first anniversary in November.   MAD Manager Mary Montgomery took over for John Unbewust as district manager for the Village’s Maintenance Assessment District noting she was hoping to be able to focus more on long-term capital improvement projects, like refurbishing weathered wooden benches.   Dining Extended La Jolla Shores Association endorsed extending successful outdoor dining during COVID on Avenida de la Playa commercial strip until year’s end.   Community Conversation La Jolla Town Council on Sept. 10 held a public forum with police and fire officials discussing fires, health, and safety. Local community planners also vetted ongoing problematic beach fires in La Jolla Shores and Beach-Barber Tract neighborhoods.   OCTOBER   Life Support LJVN profiled Laurel McFarlane who usually promotes about 70 live San Diego events a year and was down to only five virtual events in 2020 due to COVID. She characterized her present circumstances, and those of the rest of San Diego’s small-business event industry, as “brutal” and “catastrophic.” The live events industry was lobbying the government for increased aid to help them survive the pandemic.   The Map The Map of the Grand Canyons of La Jolla, a lasting memorial to the late La Jolla oceanographer Walter Munk, was unveiled at the educational plaza at Kellogg Park in La Jolla Shores on Oct. 16. It was a fitting tribute that the man who discovered the grand canyons off the coast of La Jolla Shores should have an educational plaza honoring him and his 80-year career at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The Map features a 2,400-square-foot tile mosaic displaying all the various types of sea life in the La Jolla Canyon illustrating 123 life-sized species.   Reserve Reopens The scenic hiking trails at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve reopened on Sept. 24 after being closed since April due to the pandemic.   Peace Paddle Paddle for Peace, a community of surfers and nonsurfers united, held a paddle out at Tourmaline Surf Park on Oct. 10 to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The group raised $2,684 to fight cancer from the event.   Cottage Calamity The historic Red Rest and Red Roost turn-of-the-century cottages at La Jolla Cove caught fire in the early hours of Oct. 26 and were severely damaged.   NOVEMBER   Set Back Demoted from red to the more-restrictive purple COVID tier, La Jolla restaurants had to close indoor operations again and operate outdoors only. Restrictions were restarted on Nov. 14.   BLM Debated Black Lives Matter chalk drawings created on the popular Fay Avenue Bike Path between La Jolla Village and Bird Rock touched off a heated community controversy over the proper place of politically motivated art in public spaces.   Restaurateur Sentenced On Nov. 18, the courts confirmed that former La Jolla restaurateur Daniel Dorado would not be eligible for parole until he turns 94 years old as a result of his 40-year prison term for rape. Dorado was convicted by a jury on Dec. 20, 2019, of 20 sex crimes against four women.   Tenth Anniversary Everyday California, an eco-friendly, La Jolla Shores-based ocean adventures kayak touring and apparel shop marked its 10th year in La Jolla Shores serving locals and visitors alike.   Service Honored On Nov. 6, La Jolla parks planner Phyllis Minick presented Bill Robbins with a plaque made from the remains of a fallen “Lorax” Monterrey cedar tree from Scripps Park, along with a watercolor painting, honoring his long volunteer service to the community.   DECEMBER   Mr. Jingles In the Dec. 11 issue of LJVN, Mr. Jingles Christmas Trees, a one-stop-shop for anything and everything Christmas at 6710 La Jolla Blvd., was profiled. Every year the seasonal business offers six different tree types as well as fresh garland and wreaths anywhere from 8 to 60 inches.   Short-Term Support City Planning Commissioners Dec. 3 voted 7-0 for a proposed short-term rental ordinance calling for licensing them, capping their numbers, and penalizing violators, while creating a City office to administer the new program while making it subject to annual review.   COVID Mansion San Diego City Attorney Mara W. Elliott filed a civil enforcement action to shut down a La Jolla Farms short-term vacation rental property at 9660 Black Gold Road. The complaint alleged that defendants were maintaining a public nuisance and engaging in unfair competition, including false advertising.
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    Wonderspaces returns with a VR-focused pop-up at Liberty Station
    The Wonderspaces VR Showcase, which will run from March 1-30 at San Diego Comic Art Gallery, 2765 Truxtun Road, was created due to the overwhelming enthusiasm for virtual reality films presented in...
    Published - Friday, February 28
    full story
    Redevelopment is coming to Sports Arena Blvd., but what will it look like?
    Point Loma residents are largely taking a wait-and-see attitude toward the City’s recent issuance of a request for proposals (RFP) seeking to redevelop, rehabilitate and operate the 48-acre site co...
    Published - Friday, February 28
    full story
    Students DesignAHEAD at San Diego International Airport
    Local youth recently unveiled original artwork in San Diego International Airport’s Terminal 2. The new artwork was part of the DesignAHEAD program, in which about 75 students from three different ...
    Published - Friday, February 28
    full story
    Brain fatigue: Making your unconscious conscious for better decision-making
    Several years ago, I wrote a column on decision-making and how it is influenced by brain fatigue. As I am working today with people trying to decide whether to move to a retirement community, I hav...
    Published - Friday, February 28
    full story
    Volunteers beautify Tubman in honor of MLK
    On his Twitter account, the late basketball icon Kobe Bryant posted on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “The best way to honor the legacy of Dr Martin Luther King Jr. is to ensure kids und...
    Published - Friday, February 28
    full story
    Synergy 180 blends yoga, high-intensity fitness in Ocean Beach
    As its name implies, Synergy 180 in Ocean Beach harmoniously blends yoga, high-intensity fitness, and an in-house health bar to create a holistic exercise experience for all. Owner-operator Sofia L...
    Published - Thursday, February 27
    full story
    LJVMA hosts first Business4Breakfast of 2020
    La Jolla Village Merchants Association’s first Business4Breakfast meeting of 2020, held Feb. 18, featured representatives from La Jolla Kiwanis Club and the La Jolla Concours d’Elegance offering ti...
    Published - Thursday, February 27
    full story
    Unity Game celebration at Point Loma High
    Erik Painter, a special needs student at Point Loma High School, celebrates after scoring a basket during the recent fifth annual Unity Game at the school. For one night, special needs students bec...
    Published - Thursday, February 27
    full story
    Young wrestlers star for Vikings
    “ Caden [Kestler] feels really comfortable being on top [in a wrestling match],” said head coach Kellen Delaney of La Jolla. “He really wants to work on getting out on bottom.” Delaney, speaking du...
    Published - Thursday, February 27
    full story
    Alvarado Estates Community Association news
    In 2012, funding was approved/allocated by the City Council to move several utilities’ undergrounding projects (identified as blocks) forward. Included was Block 70, which includes Alvarado Estates.
    Published - Thursday, February 27
    full story
    Community plan report nears completion
    As many of you may have seen in the College Times Courier, in the Union-Tribune, or on Fox 5 News, the College Area Community Council board on Nov. 13 approved the draft Community Plan Update (CPU)...
    Published - Thursday, February 27
    full story
    Mumps outbreak reported in San Diego State University students
    Six San Diego State University students were diagnosed with confirmed or probable mumps in the last week, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) reported today. The six studen...
    Published - Thursday, February 27
    full story
    Community plan report nears completion
    As many of you may have seen in the College Times Courier, in the Union-Tribune, or on Fox 5 News, the College Area Community Council board on Nov. 13 approved the draft Community Plan Update (CPU)...
    Published - Thursday, February 27
    full story
    Difference Maker: Jena Olson
    Jena Olson was born and raised in Southeastern Wisconsin. She earned her bachelor of arts, double majoring in political science and women’s studies, from the University of Wisconsin in 2004. She an...
    Published - Thursday, February 27
    full story
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