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    Family Auto Service: where old is new again
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Jul 23, 2014 | 9477 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Heinz Gietz Autohaus is no longer – but its replacement, Family Auto Service, promises to continue handling European models while broadening its field to include all foreign and domestic vehicles. Family Auto Service opened its doors with a host of guests July 10 during a ribbon-cutting ceremony held at the old Heinz Gietz building, at 1027 Virginia Way. “Our employees and our clients are part of the family,” said district manager Rob Rowsell, explaining the origin of the new name of the company, which has two other branches, in East County. The facilities in La Mesa and rural Alpine have existed for 3 ½ and 11 years respectively. Not to fear, said Rowsell to Gietz clients, promising: “We’ll still be doing Mercedes repairs.” But all other vehicles are in the mix now too, said Rowsell. “We do bumper-to-bumper, all makes, all models,” he said, adding the only kind of work not done at Family Auto is body work. “We do windshields, belts, hoses, general maintenance, oil changes, timing belts, brakes and tires, engine overhauls and transmission replacements,” Rowsell said. Rowsell said his clients are a mix of tourists and locals, old Heinz Gietz patrons and new clientele. “People are very happy when they find out we do more than just Mercedes now,” he said noting many patrons have previously had to take their Hondas, Toyotas, Lexuses and Audis out of the Village to have them worked on. “Now they can come here,” noted Rowsell, pointing to his sparkling-clean open customer service room, with its children’s area. Why come to Family Auto Service? “We have a three-year, 36,000-mile national warranty that recognizes more than 17,000 locations nationwide — the best warranty in the business,” answered Rowsell. Family Auto Service in La Jolla is a fresh start for an expanding auto service. But for Rowsell, the company was a new beginning, a new life and a chance for redemption. “Fifteen years ago, I was homeless and living on the street in Arizona,” he said. “Now, I’m a recovered crystal meth and crack cocaine addict. I walked into drug rehab and, through some hard work and faith in God, have gone beyond my wildest expectations to be a multi-business owner.” Rowsell said he shares his story about his past because “everybody knows somebody who’s in a similar situation and appears to be hopeless. I was that guy. If I can change, anybody can. “We’re very excited to be here,” said Rowsell of the new opportunities the Virginia Way location presents. What he’s bringing to La Jolla, Rowsell said, “is experienced and knowledgeable technicians and support staff who are all masters in their specialities.” “Naturally, German and European is at the top of our list,” said Rowsell, adding that Family Auto also has top-of-the-line diagnostic equipment that allows technicians to do their job properly Family Auto Service also offers concierge service to pick up and deliver cars as well as a convenient shuttle service to drop clients off and pick them up at their homes or offices. For more information, call (858) 260-2000 or visit familyautoservice.com.
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    Brave New World: Sports travel clubs are a young athlete's boon
    by ED PIPER
    Jul 23, 2014 | 328 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Vikings Joe Palatella (left) and Jack Chapman (center) apply the block against Kamehameha, Hawaii, March 20. PHOTO BY ED PIPER
    Vikings Joe Palatella (left) and Jack Chapman (center) apply the block against Kamehameha, Hawaii, March 20. PHOTO BY ED PIPER
    slideshow
    Back in the day, the young athlete had it relatively simple: Play for the school sports team or play Little League baseball, Pony League and Colt League. There might be a batting cage in town, and there might not be, for organized team trips to visit. Soccer isn’t yet established and is a minor influence in the American youth sports world. Fast-forward to the modern era of heightened attention on sports in general in our culture, with its ESPN 24-hour news cycle. Young people can now get a highlight disk of their best plays custom-made for college recruiters. Parents may hire a personal trainer for their child to improve individual skills in the sport of their choice. Recruiting starts early, jet-propelled by the Internet and electronic communications. Welcome to the Brave New World that young athletes and their parents already know and have been negotiating at least since the 1990s. The Holy Grail? Landing a full-ride athletic scholarship on a Division I college team. And for the .01 of 1 percent who make it: the pros. Enter the travel team competition, pitting young athletes against visiting organizations that bring unfamiliar names and situations to the events and, with them, the opportunity to underscore success. Joe Palatella, La Jolla High School’s All-CIF volleyball hitter-blocker, sees the blue skies of travel team competition and highly skilled coaching that have accompanied his skill development by leaps and bounds since his freshman year. “Since the Mizuno 18-1’s Coast Darrel team is so talented,” Palatella texted, referring to his club team, “we would be playing on the top courts, playing the best teams and getting all those reps. It’s a lot of work, but if you love volleyball and you want to get better, then it’s the way to go.” Joe, a 6-foot, 5-inch leaper entering his senior year as a Viking, mentions USC, Texas, South Carolina, Georgia and Miami as colleges with talented volleyball teams he would love to play for next year. Surely, he would be the first as well to talk about the enjoyment and success he has experienced on the La Jolla CIF Division III championship team in 2013 and the team’s march to the Division I semifinals in the recently completed 2014 season. Across the La Jolla High campus, Riley Young, headed to LSU next month to play for the Lady Tigers, sharpened her skills playing for coach Dave Jones, who coaches both the boys and girls teams. Young savored her fleeting times with her classmates as a senior this spring and enjoyed social activities like the prom that are part of the school experience. “I love how social activities are involved with school,” says Young, who leaves August 17 for Baton Rouge. “I like on the school team how close we all are.” Regarding her club experience, she comments, “A club team is good because you can pick the coach you want to play for. The competition is much better than high school is. It’s different not having it tied to campus, because you’re playing with girls all around the county versus with the girls you go to school with.” Jurgen Klinsmann, coach of the U.S. men’s soccer team that brought cheers in the just-completed World Cup, complained that American athletes lose the opportunity for full-time concentration on their sport by attending college and combining studies with play. Athletes from his native Germany and other countries across the world can enter a sports academy at a young age, with their parents’ blessing (or pushing) and begin to receive professional coaching with an eye toward the pros. Witness Barcelona soccer and Lionel Messi, an Argentinian who transplanted himself halfway across the world and is now a three-time Ballon d’Or (Ball of Gold) winner, emblematic of the best player in the world. Coach Paul Baranowski, varsity head coach of the La Jolla High boys basketball team, sees both sides of the road. Baranowski, with 20-plus years' coaching, has also directed travel teams. “I have mixed feelings about the inherent conflict which exists for players,” the Viking coach says. Sometimes players have to choose to play for the school team or a club team only. CIF recently reaffirmed by vote its rule against an athlete playing for a club team concurrent with the high school season. Club soccer teams have ongoing competition year-round. Some travel squads don’t allow team members to play for their high school teams. Baranowski cited the value of travel teams in the interest of an individual player's improvement. But he cautioned that families should gain information about coaches before signing up. “My preference,” says the third-year La Jolla head coach, “is that high school players prioritize school team commitments ahead of club participation.” Jones, the Viking volleyball coach, is also a classroom teacher. Contacted during his teaching day in summer school, he voiced some strong opinions about travel clubs and non-teacher coaches in general. “I think there’s a huge difference between (club and school teams),” Jones said. “The biggest difference I see are the intangibles that are taught in school, versus on the club teams. When you look at attitude and leadership (being emphasized), those things come in as factors on club teams, but not as much.” Jones talked about the fact high school athletes carry out their activities in a school setting, with accompanying support and accountability. “Wherever you go or whatever you do, you’re representing La Jolla High,” he said. “On the other hand, when you’re playing for a CIF championship, you have the support of your whole school.” Baranowski and Jones agree that athletes are told they need to participate in regional and national travel competition because of exposure they will receive to college recruiters. Regarding walk-on coaches who are not classroom teachers, Jones reserved his strongest opinions. “I don’t think it’s good to have walk-on coaches in high schools,” he said. “They don’t have the pedagogy... the understanding how to work with the students. I’ll give you an example. I’m teaching summer school at Clairemont High. I looked on their website, and 80 percent of their coaches are teachers. I’d say it’s more like 15 percent at La Jolla High.” Jones said the valuable contribution club coaches bring is high-quality instruction in individual skills, a fact that he tries to take advantage of by inviting club coaches in to teach his team members.
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    Nesting seagulls halt lifeguard station construction
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Jul 23, 2014 | 413 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Nesting seagulls have caused a temporary construction halt that might delay completion of the new La Jolla Children’s Pool Lifeguard Station from this fall to next summer. Construction work on the long-awaited, three-story lifeguard tower project, which began July 8, 2013 and had been on hold during the harbor seals Dec. 15 to May 15 pupping season, was expected to resume June 1. “However, the contractor was not able to resume construction activities at the conclusion of the seal pupping season because of the discovery of several nesting seagulls in and immediately around the project site,” said Mónica Muñoz,
senior PIO for the city’s public works-engineering desk. “In order to avoid violation of federal law that protects migratory birds, the project’s biologist recommended that construction resume only after the nesting seagulls and their chick have left the area.” Muñoz said it’s uncertain exactly when the seagull chick will leave. “However, the project biologist estimates the chick may leave by the end of July,” she added, noting that federal regulations protecting wildlife require that “the chick must fly away once, and only once, before construction activities can be resumed.” Noting the unanticipated delay was an unforeseen circumstance, Muñoz said: “Because of the federal regulations protecting migratory birds, we can’t destroy a nest, so there isn’t anything we can do once a nest appears on a site. Unfortunately, it is not possible to predict the breeding habits of wildlife.” Conceding “it is possible” the city could incur additional costs to the lifeguard station construction project due to the delay caused by the nesting birds, Muñoz said the timetable for project completion may also have changed. “We estimate that the lifeguard tower will be operational next summer,” she said. The estimated $3.25 million lifeguard station project, at 850 Coast Blvd., involved demolition of the former condemned station and construction of a new, partially subterranean station in its place. The station’s existing plaza will be reconfigured to include hardscape and landscape elements, a ramp for emergency vehicles and pedestrians to the lower level and accessible restrooms and showers. Enhanced seating and viewing space, drinking fountains, adapted landscaping and water-efficient irrigation are part of improvement plans. The Children’s Pool site presents numerous advantages for lifeguards. The coast location has a 270-degree view, allowing the lifeguards stationed in the observation tower to observe and monitor a large stretch of water. Lifeguards assigned there can make numerous water rescues and respond to a wide variety of emergency situations that occur along the La Jolla Coast. A new paved ramp will provide pedestrian access to public restrooms and showers. The ramp will also serve as a path for emergency vehicles to the Children’s Pool beach.
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    Ordinance group OKs Boffo theater design plans, George's terrace expansion
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Jul 22, 2014 | 2600 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    La Jolla Planned District Ordinance (PDO) Committee gave two big thumbs up to Boffo Cinemas’ preliminary design plans for its remodel/addition of the former Jonathan’s Market site at the committee's monthly meeting July 14. The committee, which makes recommendations and rules governing commercial development to the La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA), also conditionally approved an expansion of George's Ocean View Terrace. But planners expressed concern about the restaurant’s substantial number of nonconforming uses. Earlier this year, Boffo Cinemas signed a 20-year lease with Jonathan’s Market to transform the retail space at 7611 Fay Ave. from a high-end produce market into a premium multiplex theater. “It’s pretty rundown and is also not code-compliant in many cases,” said Adolfo Fastlicht of Boffo about the old Jonathan’s building. He added the Jonathan’s space will be converted into a premium theater “with soft colors, light grays and beiges.” “We’re proposing to cover the existing wall with a vine covering that hopefully will eventually cover 100 percent of the building,” he added. Fastlicht said there will be a second-level addition in the building. He noted existing onsite surface and underground parking will be more than sufficient, providing a total of 110 parking spaces. Fastlicht said the goal is to have the new theater complex, which will have seven screens and 363 seats, operational by the first quarter of 2015. Boffo has also applied for a full liquor license. “We bought the license from Zenbu across the street,” said Fastlicht. One operating condition, he added, is that the establishment is required to be primarily a restaurant, not a bar. “I think it’s a great project and will be a wonderful addition to the Village,” said PDO committee member Deborah Marengo, who moved approval of the project’s design. The design was endorsed by a 6-0 group vote. La Jolla restaurateur George Hauer and architect Mark Steele detailed a proposal to expand the existing George’s Ocean View Terrace, at 1250 Prospect St., onto an adjacent existing roof. The proposal includes expanding the existing bar area, with additional bar and seating in an improved waiting area. “It’s like a Japanese subway — people can’t move,” Hauer joked about his existing rooftop configuration. Hauer noted he’s revamping the space not to expand it but to make it more comfortable and serviceable for customers. The restaurateur added he had to undergo a historical review because the building dates back to 1962. From the audience, longtime La Jollan Gail Forbes noted that equipment on the rooftop to which Hauer is expanding his restaurant can be seen and said it should be screened off from view as a condition of project approval. PDO chair Ione Stiegler pointed out the rules require Hauer to have a “shared use” agreement to provide sufficient parking for his expansion. George’s employs valet service but does not presently have a shared-use parking agreement. Given a suggestion that Hauer’s project ought to qualify to be “grandfathered in,” Stiegler asked, “What about all his other nonconforming uses in the building?,” to which Hauer quipped, “What’s one more?” “We need to look at a fair and equitable application of the laws with George’s, and he needs a shared-parking agreement,” Stiegler said. After debate, the PDO voted 6-0 in favor of George’s proposal pending the restaurant’s acquisition of a shared-parking agreement.
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    Kayak rentals fuel noise and congestion, Shores group says
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Jul 10, 2014 | 15834 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Commercial kayaking has grown “exponentially” at La Jolla Shores, causing congestion problems and threatening the beach community’s small-village character. That was the gist of some residents’ concerns expressed at the La Jolla Shores Association (LJSA) July 9 meeting. During an open dialogue on the upcoming Request for Proposals (RFPs) for new three-year contracts between the city and five existing Shores kayak rental franchises, residents presented a laundry list of complaints. Everything from overcrowded sidewalks, to noise, traffic congestion and “unwanted” tour buses was discussed. “That’s what we’re looking for, input from the public,” said Lt. Rich Stropky, the San Diego Lifeguards spokesman on ongoing negotiations for the third RFP agreement, which will spell out conditions concessionaires must live by during the next three years of their operation. The current kayak RFP expires this fall. Describing kayaks as a “big-ticket item” in the Shores, LJSA chair Tim Lucas has noted that kayaking “is a popular water sport that has a tremendous impact on our beach, park, business district and residential areas.” “Kayaks are here to stay,” Lucas pointed out. Stropky said RFPs are “partnerships” between the city and kayak concessionaires, noting contract agreements are designed to achieve a “balance” between the needs and rights of residents and those of kayak operators. Asked what criteria are used by the city to judge a kayak RFP, Stropky replied judging is done by a panel. “Personal safety,” he added, “is the number one thing for me.” Stropky added kayak RFPs stipulate strict operating conditions, including limiting hours of kayak concession operations and fixing the total number of kayaks that can be operated by each company at any given time. Those restrictions are especially important during the summer peak period, which is at its maximum between July 4 and the end of August, when kayak operations are likely to be maxed out. RFP applicants, it was noted, must be storefront businesses. Kayak operators are also limited by the approximately 125-foot boat launch within which all watercraft have to be launched. LJSA board member Ray Higgins said kayak proliferation has become problematic, altering the character of the Shores' small commercial strip. “Shores businesses have changed from a neighborhood, retail-oriented environment to a heavy tourist emphasis,” Higgins said. “Everyone,” he added, “has a right to have a thriving and growing business, but there needs to be some regulation. I can’t even walk down the street anymore without being absolutely mobbed (by kayak clients).” A couple Shores residents stepped forward to complain about tour buses, which they said are increasingly showing up and disgorging scores of residents at a time. LJSA board member and kayak operator Sharon Luscomb noted tour buses aren’t just dropping off kayak customers but serving a variety of groups and their needs, everything from schools and churches to youth camps. Luscomb also noted that the number of sidewalk cafes has grown further, increasing sidewalk crowding. Dennis Rush, director of operations for LJ Beach & Tennis Club, pointed out the kayak RFP is “all about sharing the neighborhood” while adding that he feels the neighborhood’s “getting smaller” due to kayak proliferation. “Somebody’s pushing the envelope,” Rush said, noting that kayaks aren’t just adding to sidewalk congestion but in some instances are actually “blocking ocean views.” Shores resident Wayne Thomas asked why paperwork for kayak businesses can’t be done on the beach rather than having clients stacking up on sidewalks outside storefronts. “You’re not allowed to do commercial business on the beach,” Thomas was told, which is also the reason kayak operators are required to have storefronts – to store equipment and transact business. After the meeting, Lucas said the kayak RFP issue will likely be revisited this fall after kayak concessionaires submit their applications to the city. Lucas said he would also post the city’s bullet points summarizing problems and issues with kayak concessions, on the advisory group’s website at ljsa.org, as soon as they are available.
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    News
    Pro-Israel, Palestine demonstrators rally in University CIty
    More than 700 people sang and cheered Sunday afternoon, July 20, during a rally at University City's Doyle Community Park aimed at strengthening support for Israel as violence escalates there. Near...
    Jul 21, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Sports
    Are you ready for some Chargers football?
    With summer flying by as usual, thoughts are quickly turning to football, specifically San Diego Chargers football. With the rest of the league, the Bolts open up training camp this week, the prelu...
    Jul 21, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Opinion
    Che Cafe is far more than an indie rock venue
    Editor's note: A preliminary-injunction hearing on the fate of UCSD's Ché Café arts/entertainment venue is scheduled for Aug. 1. If the Ché prevails, it will remain in operation until a final settl...
    Jul 23, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Arts & Entertainment
    The Agenda -- everything you could possibly do in La Jolla for the foreseeable future
    TUESDAY, July 29 • Stroller Strides exercise for moms and their children, 9:30 to 10:45 a.m., La Jolla Shores Kellogg Park lawn, 8220 Camino Del Oro. Moms meet on the grass in front of the playgrou...
    Jul 23, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Business
    Coldwell acquires boutique Middleton brokerage
    Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Southern California says it has acquired the assets of Middleton Team Inc. in La Jolla, which does business as Middleton & Associates, a boutique luxury rea...
    Jul 02, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Obituaries
    Virginia Fournier, 99, longtime OB resident and volunteer
    Virginia (Ginger) Fournier, a longtime Ocean Beach resident, passed peacefully on June 14 in Washington State after living with her daughter Suzie (Fournier) Long and husband Jay for three years. V...
    Jul 17, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend
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