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    Beach lifesavers ask for budgetary boost for staff, equipment needs
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Apr 18, 2014 | 181 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    A LITTLE HELP? The city’s Lifeguard Services is looking to boost its budget over the next five years to, among other things, bolster staff, maintenance and equipment in Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach, South Mission Beach, Windansea and Mission Bay.       	Photo by Jim Grant
    A LITTLE HELP? The city’s Lifeguard Services is looking to boost its budget over the next five years to, among other things, bolster staff, maintenance and equipment in Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach, South Mission Beach, Windansea and Mission Bay. Photo by Jim Grant
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    The lifeguards responsible for the lives of 20 million-plus beachgoers along San Diego’s 17-mile coast who made more than 5,000 water rescues in 2013 are asking for a little more than $5 million over the next five years from the city during budget deliberations. “The main thing is to look ahead and have a plan ready so that, as funding is available, we know where we want to be (operationally) and can act on those opportunities,” said San Diego Lifeguard Services Chief Rick Wurts. “We recognize the city is still going through its recovery in the budget and that there are many important needs throughout other departments like police and fire. The list of needs we’ve submitted are our top priorities.” Wurts’ recent budget proposal to the city asked for about $5.28 million over the next five years. This includes $1.77 million in fiscal year 2014-15, to add personnel and address maintenance and equipment needs. Wurts said his department’s budget proposal was projected over five years “to take a comprehensive look at areas where we felt we could augment operations to be able to continue to provide even better service in all aspects of our operations.” On Monday, April 14, Mayor Kevin Faulconer released his proposed budget, which will be vetted by the public and City Council in budget deliberations over the next couple of months. The budget will be finalized sometime in June for the new fiscal year starting July 1. The lifeguard budget proposal requests 15 additional lifeguards and support staff. Faulconer’s budget calls for a $500,000 increase in the city’s current $19.2 million annual lifeguard services expenditures. “We have 97 full-time lifeguards working year-round, and in the summertime we bring in about 200 seasonal, part-time lifeguards,” Wurts said. New lifeguards would reportedly be added to La Jolla, Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, South Mission Beach, Windansea and Mission Bay for the boating-safety unit. Though the lifeguard’s flotilla of watercraft is small — totaling 11 vessels, including two fire boats and nine patrol/surf-rescue vessels — it’s integral to the department’s lifesaving mission. “We have a cliff-rescue vehicle that sorely needs replacement,” Wurts said. “That’s currently being constructed and we hope to get that delivered to us sometime in January 2015.” Wurts said another big-ticket item, replacement of a fire boat, is going through vendor selection. “We’ll hopefully get that boat about 12 months from now,” he said. “We’re setting chunks of money aside over the next 20 years or longer so when a boat comes due for replacement, there’s money that’s been set aside. “Our goal is to pre-plan for when these things start coming due,” he said. There’s also funding set aside in the lifeguards’ five-year plan to expand lifeguard headquarters at Mission Bay. “We’ve shared that facility with the Park and Recreation Department for decades,” said Wurts. “We need some additional lifeguard headquarters for things we want to do,” he added. One way lifeguards could be getting more space is through the conversion of a carpenter garage used by Park and Rec at Quivira Basin into a boating safety unit locker room and sleeping quarters. “’It’s a really big footprint (garage) and used by only one person,” Wurts said. “We’re in the process of identifying another space to relocate all that shop equipment. “We’re hoping to build out that same space into a large locker room and sleep facilities for our emergency lifeguards who work 24-hour shifts.” Wurts noted supporting lifeguards is important, not only for their rescue function but for the “preventative” work they do. “Last year, we made more than 251,000 preventative actions,” said Wurts, pointing out such actions involve activities like “lifeguards seeing people too close to a rip current and warning them to move further north or south. “There is a tremendous amount of activity that goes on along the coastline to make sure that our beaches are safe,” he said.
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    Has U-T's Papa Doug lost his appetite for print?
    Apr 18, 2014 | 147 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    In a recent editorial, we suggested U-T San Diego owner/publisher Doug “Papa” Manchester, who has been gobbling up local independent newspaper publications like corn flakes, had his own — and not print journalism’s — best interests in mind. In noting that there’s a “battle for freedom and independence going on” in the local print-journalism industry, we intimated that Manchester’s machinations were more land grab than altruistic acquisition. We suggested that what Manchester is doing in the short-term —attempting to buy out his competition — is bound to be detrimental to the print journalism industry in the long run. We think his try-and-buy approach will ultimately turn into cut-and-run. In truth, the Manchester “era” in local journalism could come to an unexpectedly quick end. In San Diego, word on the business street, now rebounding among a number of daily publishers around the country, is that the ownership of the San Diego Union-Tribune, renamed U-T San Diego, wants out. Rumor has it that “Papa Doug” wants to sell and that he’s directed U-T CEO John Lynch (who has publicly been talking about wanting to purchase more papers) to find a buyer. We know Manchester is working on plans to redevelop U-T’s existing Mission Valley headquarters site, creating an estimated $200 million, pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use project offering residential, office and retail in twin towers with 200 residences, a parking garage with a rooftop swimming pool, a gym and tennis courts and a San Diego River trail. This sounds like the “Papa Doug” Manchester we all know, not the wannabe newspaper publisher but the real estate baron credited with being the driving force behind development of the San Diego Convention Center, the man who made his fortune building some of San Diego’s tallest hotels and office buildings. Why is Papa Doug interested in acquiring print publications losing money in a troubled industry during rapidly changing times? Could it be he’s not actually interested in improving the print product or moving it forward but, rather, making a quick buck on the real-estate end before moving on? Noting that the current print journalism trend has been toward national markets with a global audience, many industry experts are now saying the print industry is due for a reversal, that increases in the next five to ten years will be local. They also are pointing out that the local digital opportunity is “real,” while cautioning that advances on that front will be a slog fit only for those in it for the long and not the short term. Something tells us Papa Doug’s not a long-termer. We think he’s already getting indigestion from the debt he’s absorbed appeasing his appetite for print. Our hunch is, once the U-T headquarters redevelopment is done and over with, Papa Doug will collect his profits, divest himself of debt (print), and move on to his next “project.” -- San Diego Community Newspaper Group
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    Long, historic chapter in La Jolla lore ends with closure of Burns Drugs
    Apr 18, 2014 | 142 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    COMMUNITY ICON SHUTTERED Burns Drugs, which shuttered on April 15, stood by the community and, in one case, may have saved lives in the process.	COURTESY PHOTO
    COMMUNITY ICON SHUTTERED Burns Drugs, which shuttered on April 15, stood by the community and, in one case, may have saved lives in the process. COURTESY PHOTO
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    Like the passing of an old friend, La Jolla residents who’ve treasured mom-and-pop Burns Drugs for the past 62 years are mourning the loss of yet another Village bedrock business. The family-owned pharmacy, at 7824 Girard Ave., announced recently it would be shuttering for good May 31 due to owner Wayne Woods’ pending retirement and declining business following the 2008 recession. April 15 was the last day of operation for the pharmacy, which will be transferring its business — and some of its employees — to CVS Pharmacy, at 7525 Eads Ave. The rest of the store will remain open to sell off inventory. “It’s a huge loss for our community, another end of an era,” said Tim Lucas, president of La Jolla Shores Association (LJSA) at the group’s April meeting. Noting Burns has been far more than just another business, Lucas added, “It’s been a huge institution, a great place in our community that started in 1952 and was so important to a lot of us, not only for getting our prescriptions filled but for (medical) advice and other things.” A colleague of Lucas' on LJSA, Janie Emerson, said it will be impossible to replace the homespun store’s “personal” touch, citing her own example. “My husband had an emergency appendectomy last summer, and he got an abscess (the doctors didn’t pay any attention), and if it hadn’t have been for Wayne (Woods) and one of the other pharmacists working with me … I don’t think he would have made it. It’s a huge loss to the community. No other pharmacy would have done what we needed last summer. I feel like people are ripping pieces of La Jolla out of me by inches. It’s so sad.” Claude-Anthony Marengo, president of La Jolla Village Merchants Association (LJVMA), the community's Business Improvement District (BID) concurred that news of Burns demise was "very sad for all of us." Marengo recalled that Burns and nearby Rexall pharmacies were part of his and others' childhoods. "We'd get candy in one, and as soon as we got kicked out, we went to the other one. Then later, we would go down to Children's Pool (for a swim)," he said. "For a long time Burns was a part of the fabric of La Jolla," Marengo said. "We're going to miss that." Cindy Greatrex, immediate past president of La Jolla Town Council, agreed that Burns was like family and, once gone, can never be replaced. "Burns Drugs was a true classic with every trace of local character,” she said, adding that the pharmacy was “personality-driven and always kind and caring to residents and visitors alike.” She said she’ll always remember the pharmacy for how its presence “flavored” the town, recalling, “It was a welcome respite on a warm day of strolling the Village, especially for pet owners, who always received such a kind welcome and a little treat. We will miss our long-term staff friends at Burns and hope to see them again.” Diver and longtime La Jollan Bill Robbins said Burns was especially good with seniors. “When my mother retired, they gook great care of her prescriptions,” he said. “It even got to the point where Burns would know when she needed a refill (they kept such good records) and faithfully deliver them to her. There’s simply no way any other pharmacy would have taken care of it like that.” Robbins also expressed concern for the future welfare of Burns’ staff of more than 30 workers, some of whom are seniors working part-time.
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    Politics, and La Jolla's love, didn't escape Bob Hildt's notice
    Apr 18, 2014 | 109 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    FOND FAREWELL A motorcycle stands among the effects that marked the April 12 remembrance for La Jollan Bob Hildt. 	PHOTO BY DAVE SCHWAB
    FOND FAREWELL A motorcycle stands among the effects that marked the April 12 remembrance for La Jollan Bob Hildt. PHOTO BY DAVE SCHWAB
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    On the solemn occasion of a community memorial for Rob Hildt, Bird Rock neighbor and friend Steve Dowdy recalled a political “battle” between the diehard conservative Republican and his liberal daughter. “I’m a professor, and I lean a little to the left. Rob was a Ronald Reagan Republican,” said Dowdy, noting Rob and his daughter, an Obama supporter, got into a campaign sign war during the McCain-Obama race in 2008. “He got McCain campaign signs for his lawn,” Dowdy said, “and she got an Obama sticker that was half an inch bigger that she easily slipped over the McCain signs. So it was solid Democrats going up his driveway. He realized, ‘This girl has to go.’ So not to be outdone, he got two more McCain signs, which she now matched with five Obama signs. Finally, they each called for a truce and agreed to go back to having just three signs each. “But she gave the other two to the next-door neighbor,” Dowdy said. “Rob was just glad the election was over—no matter who won.” Hildt’s public remembrance was held April 12 at La Jolla Community Center. He died March 25 after a long bout with cancer. He was 56. A Los Angeles native and a career banker, Hildt formed two community banks for which he served as president and CEO. He was a longtime trustee and first vice president of La Jolla Town Council and a member of the La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Committee, the La Jolla Christmas Parade Committee and the La Jolla Community Center. A Vietnam veteran, Hildt was awarded the Army commendation for meritorious service and was buried at Fort Rosecrans Cemetery. At his public memorial, Hildt’s pastor, Walt Dilge of La Jolla United Methodist Church, said, “We’re all here to celebrate the gift that Rob was to all of us, remembering how his special qualities added to our community and personal lives.” “Rob has finished his race,” said his sister. “He has fought the good fight, and he did it courageously. Rob's loving spirit moves us.” Hildt’s wife, Deborah, recalled she was “impressed by him in his suit” at their first meeting, noting “he seemed older than the other men in the room.” Deborah said Hildt tore off the end of a sheet of paper to write her phone number down. She found the memorabilia recently, while “going through his effects in a safe deposit box. “He was always the romantic, and the rest is a very happy history,” Deborah said. Hildt’s daughter, Natalie, read poignant personal cards she sent him on his birthday and on Veterans and Valentine’s days. “There aren’t enough hours in the day to express my admiration for my father,” she said. “I’m so lucky to have had such a great, supportive, loving father.” Bob Veres said that Hildt was a true friend and that they’d known each other a long time. “The most remarkable thing about Rob was that everybody he talked with — there was a connection between him and them,” he said. Ruth Yansick, La Jolla Community Center CEO, said, “Rob had a purpose in life,” adding that “every day he made it like his last day, opening up his heart to his family, his church and his community.” Yansick said Hildt was a “gentle soul” with a “great sense of humor.” La Jolla Town Council immediate past president Cindy Greatrex said she was lucky to have had Hildt as a colleague. ”How does the scenario happen where you have someone on your board who was once a CEO and a banker handling the operations of Walmart?” Greatrex asked. “Never.” Greatrex pointed out Hildt took the annual La Jolla Christmas parade to a higher level. “For 53 years, the parade was simply a parade,” she said. “Rob and Ann Kerr had the great idea of forming a foundation and turning the La Jolla Christmas parade into the La Jolla Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival.” Greatex noted that, thanks to Hildt and Kerr, the festival, at the La Jolla Recreation Center following the parade, now has a whole new dimension children's bands onstage, art and music classes and former council treasurer Sonia Olivas teaching kids the harp. “Each year, the class offerings grow,” she said. “Everything is free, paid by the foundation.” The uplifting remembrance ended with closing remarks and a toast by Hildt friend Javier Lorenzo.
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    Filmatic Festival, ArtPower!'s mini Comic-Con, is set
    by MARTIN JONES WESTLIN
    Apr 18, 2014 | 303 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Legend 3D, a Del Mar firm that produces many Hollywood 3-D movie projects, outgrew its first campus before construction was completed. Platt College, a premiere digital media design school in San Diego’s Rolando area, graduates its kids at rates well above the national average at similar places. San Diego has five video game design schools. Big brother and world film capital Los Angeles has four. As the world digitizes itself before our eyes, and amid greater demand for spectacle among moviegoers, our region holds its own as an educational and commercial industry center. It was only a matter of time before a local resource picked up on the idea of a public film event that speaks to the changing tastes that accompany the digital revolution — and Thursday, April 24, marks its opening. Give it up for the inaugural Filmatic Festival, a four-day excursion into the changing face of cinema, in which lines between artist and audience are far less distinct and thus encourage everyone’s creativity. ArtPower!, an artistic development arm at UCSD, conceived and oversees the festival, which will center at the university’s Qualcomm Institute through April 27 and features interactive screenings, karaoke jams, lectures and media workshops in charting the course. The festival is the first of its kind in the state. It’s kind of a mini Comic-Con, an immersive object lesson that curator Rebecca Webb sees as a marker in film’s next step. Audiences, she said, are looking beyond the divisions between patron and provider — standing on the sidelines isn’t enough as technology drives the masses to movies playing on items as innocuous as their cell phones. “I’m really interested,” Webb said, “in creating a relationship between spectator and spectacle. It’s this idea that the audience can be creative and artistic in the way they’re participating with the end product. It makes them artists. It’s collaborative. It’s not isolationist. [Audiences are] taking advantage of what’s going on in social media trends and bringing them to a theater space, a collective space. “There’s also this idea of taking a passive traditional moviegoing experience, which is becoming antiquated on some level. Ticket sales have gone way down. I’m really interested in creating this interactive experience.” Webb said she plans to make the Filmatic Festival an annual event. By comparison, live theater seeks its own interaction with audiences — it’s been said that anyone who’s ever seen a play is as vital a participant as the cast. Why attend Filmatic when plays (which pepper the UCSD campus to boot and incorporate their own technological advances) are just as interactive? Webb said Filmatic’s stress on physical participation is designed to address that. “Even just walking within these walls and being open to a variety of possibilities,” she explained, “leaves you open to the festival’s intent. In a live theater, you’re often not engaged with the person next to you. In the festival, you are. Both of you are manipulating and relating to the two-dimensional image in front of you. “And the technical people who are orchestrating this behind the scenes are very present,” Webb continued. “They are participating with the audience as well as the two-dimensional [film]. It’s a layered experience, even more so than live theater, because you’re playing with all these various dimensions.” The schedule features gaming museum tours (games get a museum already?), technology that captures images at several thousand frames a second, a language invention seminar and media works by students, faculty and international artists. Meanwhile, no surprise that the festival’s subtitle is “Movies of the Future.” Tickets range from single-event admission ($5-$25) to four-day passes ($50-$175). One-day passes are priced at $21 to $53. For more, call (858) 534-TIXS or see filmaticfestival.com.
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