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    Pacific Beach Woman’s Club celebrating milestones; open house in March
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Feb 27, 2015 | 1070 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    The Pacific Beach Woman’s Club is located at 100-year-old Hornblend Hall.
    The Pacific Beach Woman’s Club is located at 100-year-old Hornblend Hall.
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    Nonprofit Pacific Beach Woman’s Club wants everyone to know this year that it’s marking significant milestones in both its own history and its longtime location at historic Hornblend Hall. “The building is 100 and we’re 120, having begun in 1895,” said PB Woman’s Club’s first vice president Mary Lou Benzel. She noted that PB Woman’s Club is the second-oldest club behind only San Diego in the region. The service and social club is inviting the public to join them at an open house, to be held at their hall at 1721 Hornblend St. from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 15. It will be a historic occasion. “We’ll have light hors d’oeuvres, an accompanying pianist and Mission Beach High School’s jazz band will be performing,” said club member Dianne Brittingham. “We’ll have some important people here,” added Benzel. “I can’t say for sure, but someone from City Council has been invited.” Both women pointed out the club is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit volunteer group and that all donations supporting it and its causes are tax deductible. PB Woman's Club’s goal is to continue to make a difference in the beach community. And it does exactly that. With the help of donations from supporters and members, the club continues to support local charities through contributions of both time and money. Such local events as BeachFest, the Kids Fishing Derby, Crystal Pier Tree Lighting are annual recipients of the club’s largesse. The organization is also steadfast in standing behind local schools. “We support Mission Bay High, Kate Sessions Elementary and Pacific Beach Middle schools,” said Brittingham, noting PB’s club is part of a Washington, D.C.-based federation of women’s clubs that pay state and district dues to belong. But what the organization relies on to make itself self supporting is its historic hall, originally located in a lemon grove, which is available for private rental. “We have to rely on our rentals,” said Brittingham. “That’s why we want to get the word out that our hall is available for rentals and meetings.” “We do a lot of fundraisers,” said Benzel of other ways the club supports itself. “We have a wine tasting coming in May that we do every year. Last year we did a casino night that was a big success and that we’re planning to do again this year.” Benzel, one of the current club’s members of longest standing, having joined in 2000, said club membership peaked over the years at about 200. It declined for several years before gradually building back up again in recent times. “We have about 70 members now,” Benzel said, pointing out times are different now. “I was 55 when I first joined, and most of the members were older,” she said. “We’ve done a really good job of attracting younger women. But they can’t always come to meetings because they have families and husbands and jobs,” she added. The Pacific Beach Woman’s Club has a long and distinguished history. Established on March 22, 1895, the “Pacific Beach Reading Club” was born as a “society for mutual improvement” by six local women. Dues then were 5 cents a month and there was a 25-cent initiation fee. The club was incorporated in 1911, became a branch city library in 1913, changed to its current name in 1929, held first-aid classes during World War II and has been a solid fixture supporting the beach community ever since.
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    March 1 open house planned as region's Prebys heart unit unveiled
    Feb 26, 2015 | 6280 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    The new Prebys Cardiovascular Institute features six operating rooms for Scripps Health's 166 heart specialists. PHOTO FROM KPBS
    The new Prebys Cardiovascular Institute features six operating rooms for Scripps Health's 166 heart specialists. PHOTO FROM KPBS
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    Scripps Health, recognized as a leader in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease, will hold an open house Sunday, March 1, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at its newly opened Prebys Cardiovascular Institute on the campus of Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla. The $456 million facility, which opened Feb. 26, brings together researchers, physicians, staff and technologies in the largest heart program in the region. “We designed this institute,” said Scripps president and CEO Chris van Gorder at the opening ceremonies, “to be centered around our patients and their needs, creating an innovative environment for collaboration among some of the nation’s most brilliant physicians, for ground-breaking research by world-class scientists and for the diagnosis and treatment of the most challenging heart conditions.” Scripps Hospital La Jolla is located at 9888 Genesee Avenue. The grand opening event included medical staff, volunteers, patients, donors and community leaders. “As one of San Diego County’s largest employers and a top innovative health system in the country, Scripps has long provided opportunities to countless San Diegans,” said San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. “With the Prebys Cardiovascular Institute, Scripps has taken it a step further by building the most sophisticated heart hospital on the West Coast – right here in San Diego.” The 383,000-square-foot tower of glass, brick and steel, rising seven stories above Genesee Avenue, is named for Conrad Prebys, a real estate developer, philanthropist and Scripps donor whose $45 million gift helped create an institution designed to foster medical breakthroughs for decades to come. The new tower features 108 inpatient beds in private rooms, 59 intensive care beds, six state-of-the-art operating rooms and three advanced technology cardiac catheterization labs, with space to add three more. Work also has begun on a state-of-the-art emergency department on the ground floor of the hospital. The emergency unit is scheduled to open in June of 2016. “In business, and in philanthropy, I want to be involved in projects that make me want to jump up and down with enthusiasm,” said Prebys, whose $45 million donation to the institute was the largest he has ever made and the largest ever received by Scripps. “I’m overwhelmingly enthusiastic about this building because it symbolizes the caliber of expertise, technological advancement and care that patients receive throughout the Scripps system.” Each year, more than 76,000 patients receive cardiovascular care from Scripps, making it San Diego County’s, and California’s, largest heart care provider. For more than 30 years, Kaiser Permanente cardiologists have partnered with Scripps cardiovascular surgeons to care for Kaiser Permanente heart patients. “Building on a long history of working together, Kaiser Permanente and Scripps cardiac specialists will continue to offer the best heart care available to patients throughout the region through the Prebys Cardiovascular Institute,” said Kaiser Permanente Senior Vice President and Executive Director Jane Finley. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, claiming about 600,000 lives each year and accounting for one in every four deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In San Diego County, nearly 4,000 people die of heart disease each year, according to the county Health and Human Services Agency. With 166 cardiovascular specialists, Scripps is the only heart care provider in the region consistently recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the best in the country. In 2014, US News ranked Scripps 18 in the nation, the highest rated program in San Diego County.
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    Mission Bay High School athletic complex nears completion
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Feb 25, 2015 | 2682 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    MBHS principal Ernest Remillard shows off the new football stadium, which will be completed in March. / Photo by Dave Schwab
    MBHS principal Ernest Remillard shows off the new football stadium, which will be completed in March. / Photo by Dave Schwab
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    More than a year in the making, the new $13 million Mission Bay High School athletic facilities, which broke ground Feb. 12 last year, will be finished soon. “The progress of the new Mission Bay Stadium is right on track for a March 27 completion,” said MBHS principal Ernest Remillard. “At this point, the football/soccer field and track are completed, as well as the new softball field.” Remillard said the construction crew is currently finishing up the bleachers and handling some smaller items within each of the new buildings. “Those include putting in final plumbing fixtures, tying in the fire alarms and other smaller-polish items,” he said. “The remaining bigger project is the landscaping and some final fencing, including the main entrance gate.” The high school’s principal said a formal opening is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Thursday, April 16. “This event is open to the community, and they are encouraged to park in the large parking lot along Grand Avenue and Lee Street,” Remillard said. “Following the ceremony, we will have a home track meet and varsity baseball game.” The principal added the community is encouraged to remain after the new athletic facilities have been dedicated, as the high school will then be hosting its annual Spring Open House. Teachers and students will be displaying work from throughout the year in the school’s gymnasium from 3 to 6 p.m. “We will have food trucks at the event,” Remillard said. The field opening ceremony will be sponsored by the Mission Bay Alumni Association. MBAA spokesperson Pam Deitz said, “We just launched a new engraved brick fundraiser in celebration of the new stadium — and you don't have to be an alumni to purchase a brick. PB residents and businesses are also welcome to be a part of history.” More information about the brick fundraiser can be found at https://brickorder.com/form/view.php?id=80477. The athletic complex project includes a complete renovation of the football field and running track. Other features include: the existing football field and track have been replaced with new synthetic turf field and all-weather track; new handicap-accessible bleachers; a new press box with an elevator to comply with ADA accessibility; new athletic facilities (handicap-accessible ticket booth, restrooms and concession stand for home and visitors); storage area for athletic equipment; new football stadium lighting and sound system; new scoreboard and goal posts; new home and visitor entrance gates; the existing softball field relocated and reconstructed with new synthetic turf; and new ADA-accessible dugouts, bleachers, concession stand and announcer’s booth. Due to the renovations, MBHS will join the ranks of “Friday Night Lights” to host football games at night for the first time. in its 60-year history.
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    New ice age begins as Gulls come back to roost in San Diego
    by SCOTT HOPKINS
    Feb 24, 2015 | 3339 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    More than 8,500 fans showed up at Valley View Casino Center on Sunday, Feb. 22, for the San Diego Gulls' HockeyFest. / Photo by Lori Neshovska
    More than 8,500 fans showed up at Valley View Casino Center on Sunday, Feb. 22, for the San Diego Gulls' HockeyFest. / Photo by Lori Neshovska
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    The new San Diego Gulls logo.
    The new San Diego Gulls logo.
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    If a recent HockeyFest at the Valley View Casino Center is any indication, the people of San Diego are passionate about the return of professional ice action after a nine-year absence. "We were thinking a turnout of 500 people would be good and 1,000 would be great," said Ari Segal, president of business operations for San Diego's new entry in the American Hockey League (AHL). The local team will serve as the top minor league team of the National Hockey League (NHL) Anaheim Mighty Ducks. But when people began lining up at 7 a.m., Segal and other Ducks' officials began to realize the extent of San Diego's excitement. By the time fans waiting in lines, which stretched around the Midway district arena and down a nearby street, were able to enter the building a 30-minute delay in the ceremony had been announced. An eventual crowd of 8,500 erupted in ear-splitting cheers as Mighty Ducks owners Henry and (observing) Susan Samueli and team CEO Michael Schulman, wielding sledgehammers, broke down an ice wall to reveal the name and familiar logo of the newest edition of the San Diego Gulls. As a mass of orange and blue streamers fell from arena rafters, fans saw the new logo features lettering in the Ducks' windswept style and subtle color additions that will reflect the team's new colors of black, orange and blue. The logo unveiling was such a well-kept secret that even fresh new team merchandise at stands was shielded from view until the two executives completed their task. The Samuelis realized the community's love for the Gulls name. “While we initially considered several options, it quickly became clear that the obvious affinity and affection the fans have for the Gulls name," the couple said in a release. "We enthusiastically embrace the history and tradition of hockey in this market and plan on adding to its legacy with a community-first organization and winning product.” That community-first approach will include expansion of the team's hugely successful High School Hockey League, which currently boasts two local teams and its "Learn to Play" program that provides free hockey equipment to put kids on the ice for lessons from Ducks players. "We plan to become more than just San Diego's hockey team, but rather a part of the city's DNA and fabric," Henry Samueli told the crowd. The Samuelis acknowledged that when discussions began three years ago about creating a Pacific Division of the AHL, they immediately focused on San Diego and its colorful hockey history. Another attraction is San Diego's proximity to the Honda Center in Anaheim, where the Mighty Ducks play, allowing players to be quickly moved between teams. "San Diego has been clamoring for professional hockey since it left nine years ago," Segal said recently. "We've been exploring ways to bring our affiliate here for seven years." That effort is already paying off, as over 1,500 deposits on season tickets were received before the HockeyFest event. HockeyFest marked the beginning of San Diego's newest "ice age." The sport first appeared locally at a downtown rink known as Glacier Gardens in 1941. Since that time, San Diego has been home to eight professional teams in at least nine different leagues. Most recently, the Gulls played from 2003-2006 in the East Coast Hockey League. On hand for the festivities were former Gulls Martin St. Amour, Brad Belland and hockey legend Willie O'Ree, a member of the Western Hockey League team when the Gulls name and sports arena both made 1966 debuts. O'Ree, who turns 80 in October, made sports history as the first black player in the NHL, and continues to serve the league as an ambassador. The 27-year resident of La Mesa was clearly the choice of autograph hounds. The event also served as a homecoming for the son of O'Ree's coach. David McNab, an original Ducks player and now senior vice president of hockey operations, is the son of Max McNab, who moved his young family from Vancouver, B.C. to Point Loma when he was named the first Gulls' head coach in 1966. The younger McNab recalled how his older brother, Peter, served as the original "Sandy Gull" team mascot who led the team onto the ice at each home game. Peter, a 1970 alumni of Point Loma High School, went on to a lengthy NHL career in which he scored 895 points on 405 goals and 490 assists. David, who was 8 years old when the family arrived, described his family's love for the area and what it was like to come back to the former San Diego Sports Arena. "I know my father would be proud to know hockey is back in San Diego," McNab told a cheering crowd. "For my family, these were the best years of our lives as far as hockey was concerned. Walking through the building today was like going back to 1973 in a time machine. This is fantastic!" Other California members of the Gulls' new Pacific Division (with parent clubs) are Stockton (Calgary Flames), Bakersfield (Edmonton Oilers), Ontario (Los Angeles Kings) and San Jose (San Jose Sharks). The 34-game home season begins in October. For season and individual game ticket prices, go to sandiegoahl.com.
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    Building to begin on new lifeguard station for South Mission Beach
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Feb 23, 2015 | 3654 views | 1 1 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    An artist's rendering of the new lifeguard station in South Mission Beach.
    An artist's rendering of the new lifeguard station in South Mission Beach.
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    Mission Beach Precise Planning Board was briefed Feb. 17 on the new South Mission Beach Lifeguard Station and about Belmont Park’s ongoing redevelopment. “The lifeguard tower was constructed in 1974 as a temporary facility,” said city engineer Jihad Sleiman. “It is deteriorated, small, old and no longer serves the needs of the city lifeguards and the beach going public on this mile-long section of beach.” Sleiman gave a slideshow presentation showing floor plans for the new tower. “The project is going to have a rescue vehicle facility to store rescue craft, trucks and first-aid kits,” he said, adding the facility will also have separate men’s and women’s restrooms and a main observation tower on the third level, which he noted is “less than 150 square feet.” Sleiman said the new tower would be “an orientation landmark on the beach.” Not everyone however was pleased with the lifeguard tower’s design. Ken and Lindsay Giavara, who live near the project at 2703 Ocean Front Walk, said their neighbors hadn’t been properly noticed by the city about the project. They also contended that the new tower is too close to existing residences and ought to be moved. “We’ll be looking right at a 4,000-square-foot structure,” said Ken Giavara. “We feel that if you moved it further south, it would be a much better location for this landmark. It would be at a higher elevation off the beach and allow easier access to the parking lot.” Lifeguard chief Rick Wurts answered that the reason why a more northerly location for the new lifeguard station was chosen is because it’s “more centrally located” on the beach affording lifeguards better views of the area they’re protecting. Giavara pointed out the 13 years the lifeguard tower has been in development is an exceptionally long time. He noted much has changed, including residents living nearby, adding that should have prompted additional public review. Board chair Debbie Watkins suggested the Giavaras contact Second District Councilmember Lorie Zapf and the mayor’s office to register their comments and concerns. Sleiman said the total lifeguard tower replacement cost is $4.9 million. He added construction is expected to start within the next few weeks and be completed by summer 2016. The old structure will be razed. Belmont Park lease Dan Hayden with Pacifica Enterprises Inc., a partner in Belmont Park’s redevelopment, said further City Council consideration of the proposed controversial lease extension for Belmont has been delayed to allow the city more time to review the existing lease agreement. He said renovation of existing park retail spaces is nearing completion for both Sun Diego and Wings. He added final remodeling will be complete in six to eight weeks for Cannonball, a 6,000-square-foot rooftop restaurant bar overlooking Mission Beach, which is bringing Pacific Rim-inspired cuisine to the complex. Belmont Park is now jointly operated by hospitality company eat. drink. sleep (EDS) and Pacifica Real Estate Services. “Our goal is to have this park be one of the top six in San Diego, along with Petco Park, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld and Legoland,” said Brett Miller, Belmont Park’s managing partner in a previous article in the Beach & Bay Press. Current owners redeveloping Belmont Park say they’re not trying to reinvent Mission Beach’s seven-acre, 88-year-old oceanside amusement complex. Rather, they said, they are just trying to “localize it.” Mission Beach Precise Planning Board meets the third Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. in Belmont Park Community Room, 3146 Mission Blvd. on the second floor on the north side of the park above the arcade.
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    cabodiego
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    February 26, 2015
    The tower was built in 1981 not 74. Hey transplant residents, you should not move the tower south to improve your view when you are sacrificing safety. The swimming area is to the north and has 10 times the water population than the surfing area in the summer. The beach is at its widest since the jetties were built. This tower would be 5 times the distance from structures than any other tower is SD. At $4.9 million can you please put in a working water fountain. SMC '78
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