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    Point Loma walking group celebrates 40th anniversary
    by CYNTHIA ROBERTSON
    Feb 16, 2017 | 6013 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Dan Haslam leads a recent group walkabout around Point Loma. /  PHOTO BY STAN FOLLIS
    Dan Haslam leads a recent group walkabout around Point Loma. / PHOTO BY STAN FOLLIS
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    Currently headquartered at Liberty Station in Point Loma, Walkabout International is a walking group like no other. Started by a few folks who posted an ad in the Reader on St. Patrick’s Day in 1977, the group is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Its members have participated in more than 25,000 walks covering more than 2 million miles – the equivalent of walking around the equator 80 times. “Forty years is actually two generations,” said 2nd vice president Dan Haslam.   “Our walkers in 1977 when we started were working people, who had free time in the evenings and weekends after their working hours. Now, most of our walkers are retired and can go on day trips on week days. Our oldest walk leader is 97 years old,” Haslam said.  Ahead of its time, Walkabout International started a walking fitness craze. All that walking and talking together also forged friendships lasting decades. They explored neighborhoods new to them and discovered things they hadn’t even known existed in their own neighborhoods. The organization also offers trips to United States destinations, from California to Maine. Walkers go international on customized, behind-the-scenes walking tours to Switzerland, France, and Japan as well as Mexico and Canada. Long-time member Stan Follis, former president and vice president of Walkabout International, began walking in 1980. That is how he met his late second wife. Follis has also put together some adventurous walks throughout the years. He led a walk a few years ago starting at Sunset Cliffs and Point Loma Avenue. “We walked along the cliffs to Osprey Street and then back on the sidewalks. It did not last very long, so I picked up Pat Peterson’s walk in Mission Hills when she realized that she would not be able to continue. I believe that is one of the longest-running walks in Walkabout. “I would still like to do the Sunset Cliffs walk again sometime,” he said. Another longtime member, Teri Egenberger, who moved to San Diego in 1987, went on her first jaunt with Walkabout in 1988. “Although at that time of my life, other entertainment took preference, that original experience prodded me to join Walkabout whole heartedly just a couple of years later. And I've been walking with them ever since,” Egenberger said. “It is a fantastic way to learn one's way around San Diego, leading you into interesting areas off the beaten track.  It's also a fun way to add a little healthy exercise to your life,” she said. Since those early days, Egenberger has lead a few of her own walks. Presently, she co-leads a Tuesday evening walk. During the cooler winter months, they hike the hills of Bay Park, often rewarded with gorgeous views of the bay below. In the summer, they take the walk down to Mission Bay to enjoy the cooler air by the water. Some special walks and events are planned in the next couple of months to celebrate Walkabout International’s 40th anniversary, including a lunch and tour of some Walkabout members’ favorite stops on Feb. 25. Starting at the Dance Place building in Liberty Station, which houses the Walkabout office, walkers will be taken on a bus tour all over San Diego with stops at former Walkabout offices, favorite walking sites and important places in Walkabout’s history. On that day, long-time walk leaders will be celebrated, such as the beloved late “Downtown Sam,” who could outpace many of his younger walking companions. Other 40th-anniversary events include an open house at the Walkabout office on March 4, a tea on March 13, and a home and garden tour on April 1. “I think we're habit-forming, and it's a good habit, since it's healthy. Once you pull up the rocking chair, you're done for. I'd rather die on my feet,” he said. For more information, go to www.walkabout-int.org or call 619-231-7463.
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    Campaign under way to rename Ocean Beach Park
    by MANNY LOPEZ
    Feb 15, 2017 | 8322 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    People exercising in Saratoga Park on Wednesday morning. / PHOTO BY THOMAS MELVILLE
    People exercising in Saratoga Park on Wednesday morning. / PHOTO BY THOMAS MELVILLE
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    A campaign led by the Ocean Beach Community Development Corporation seeks support to build a children’s playground and adult fitness station on the grassy area of Ocean Beach Park, and rename that part in honor of noted historian, teacher and volunteer Ruth Varney Held. Located at the west end of Saratoga Avenue, adjacent to the lifeguard station parking lot, the area known as Saratoga Park is the largest public park in the community. “Unlike many of the other San Diego beach communities, Ocean Beach doesn’t have a place at the beach for little children to play,” said Tom Perrotti, president of the OBCDC. “People have children and grandchildren and we need a safe place for them to congregate on the beach and experience the joy.” Perotti said that a children’s park and adult fitness station would enhance the quality of life for OB residents, and attract more families and tourists to the area – a benefit for the entire community. He added that the project has the support of several local community groups, including the OB Community Foundation, OB Lifeguards and Firefighters, Ocean Beach MainStreet Association, the planning board and Ocean Beach Town Council. Currently, the OBCDC is raising funds to pay for site survey, design and permitting costs associated with constructing the children’s play area and adult fitness area on the site of Ocean Beach Park. According to Jane Gawronski, co-chairperson on the OBCDC committee formed to establish the children’s park, $10,000 has been raised and a contract awarded to LdG Landscape Architects in Point Loma for a preliminary design based on feedback from public forums. “I support honoring this park for Ruth Varney Held and creating an inviting place for children and families to enjoy Ocean Beach,” said District 2 Councilmember Lorie Zapf. In December, Zapf presented a Community Projects, Programs and Services (CPPS) funding grant of $2,500 for the endeavor. “In a coastal environment like the one we have, we need a place for children to play,” said former District 2 Councilman Byron Wear. “It’s not going to take up the entire park, and there will be plenty of green space and room for passive parking.” According to Gawronski, Wear was among the earliest supporters to push for a children’s park named after Held. Pat James, vice president of the Ocean Beach Historical Society, called Held a revered educator, historian and citizen of the Peninsula who should be honored for her many contributions to the community. “It's a brilliant idea – Ruth Varney Held documented the history of Ocean Beach. She was admired as an educator and citizen of the community. Ruth and her book were an important foundation for those of us who were at the first meeting to form the OBHS in 1994,” James said. Credited with being the founder of the OBHS, Held was well known as the author of “Beach Town: Early Days In Ocean Beach, To 1930.” First published in 1975, the book became a popular resource about the history of Ocean Beach. According to various sources, Held’s family moved to OB from Montana in 1912 when she was 6 years old. She attended Ocean Beach Elementary School, graduated from Point Loma High School and received a teaching degree from State College, which is now San Diego State University. She then taught typing at Point Loma High School for 30 years and called OB home for 84 years until her death. “Grandparents and parents love to experience watching kids do activities on swings, or any sort of children’s play area. They exude joy and that permeates into everything. Children will feel safe. It's going to be a fabulous place,” Gawronski said. More information on the Ocean Beach Community Development Corporation can be found at www.obcdc.org or by calling 619-787-1073.
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    Peninsula Youth Softball Association celebrates Opening Day
    Feb 15, 2017 | 896 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Peninsula Youth Softball Association held its Opening Day at Robb Field in Ocean Beach Saturday, Feb. 11. The program began in the morning with a color guard presentation, the national anthem, and then teams in their colorful uniforms took turns running around the bases with their coaches. The first pitch was thrown out at 9:15 a.m. The league, which has 251 players from the coastal communities, was founded in 1966 and is celebrating its 51st anniversary. / PHOTO BY KAREN AUSTIN
    Peninsula Youth Softball Association held its Opening Day at Robb Field in Ocean Beach Saturday, Feb. 11. The program began in the morning with a color guard presentation, the national anthem, and then teams in their colorful uniforms took turns running around the bases with their coaches. The first pitch was thrown out at 9:15 a.m. The league, which has 251 players from the coastal communities, was founded in 1966 and is celebrating its 51st anniversary. / PHOTO BY KAREN AUSTIN
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    Peninsula Youth Softball Association held its Opening Day at Robb Field in Ocean Beach Saturday, Feb. 11. The program began in the morning with a color guard presentation, the national anthem, and then teams in their colorful uniforms took turns running around the bases with their coaches. The first pitch was thrown out at 9:15 a.m. The league, which has 251 players from the coastal communities, was founded in 1966 and is celebrating its 51st anniversary. / PHOTO BY KAREN AUSTIN
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    Ocean Beach Elementary’s principal kisses blushing burro
    Feb 10, 2017 | 16051 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Last year, Ocean Beach Elementary School’s principal Marco Drapeau kissed a pig after the students raised more than $14,500 at their annual jogathon. This year, the student’s jogathon raised more than $18,000, which led to Drapeau kissing a donkey on the mouth Friday, Feb. 10. PHOTO BY THOMAS MELVILLE
    Last year, Ocean Beach Elementary School’s principal Marco Drapeau kissed a pig after the students raised more than $14,500 at their annual jogathon. This year, the student’s jogathon raised more than $18,000, which led to Drapeau kissing a donkey on the mouth Friday, Feb. 10. PHOTO BY THOMAS MELVILLE
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    Last year, Ocean Beach Elementary School’s principal Marco Drapeau kissed a pig after the students raised more than $14,500 at their annual jogathon. This year, the student’s jogathon raised more than $18,000, which led to Drapeau kissing a donkey on the mouth Friday, Feb. 10. PHOTO BY THOMAS MELVILLE
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    Community briefs for Ocean Beach and Point Loma
    Feb 02, 2017 | 9213 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Rainbow appears over Ocean Beach after last week's rain storms. / PHOTO BY JIM GRANT
    Rainbow appears over Ocean Beach after last week's rain storms. / PHOTO BY JIM GRANT
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    Garden Club Point Loma Garden Club meets monthly on the second Wednesday, 10 a.m. to noon. The Feb. 8 meeting will feature a Valentine Floral Design Show. Dale Rekus, member of PLGC and president of the Flower Arrangers Guild of San Diego, will create several special Valentine-themed floral designs. The meeting is free. There will be tickets available for purchase, for an opportunity drawing of the creations. www.PLGC.org. Ocean Beach Pier Surf Classic set for Feb. 4 Hodads' Burgers and AWOL Productions will present the second annual Ocean Beach Pier Surf Classic starting at 7 a.m. Saturday, Feb 4. AWOL is a local brand inspired by surf, skate and moto. Established in 2002, AWOL stands for A Way of Life. The local surf competition is for all ages young and old in the community. There will be longboard, shortboard and family divisions along with trophies, prizes and a raffle. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Ocean Beach Community Foundation. Advance registration is required at obsurfclassic.com. Republican Women The Point Loma Republican Women Federated monthly luncheon meeting will take place 10 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15 at Point Loma Cafe, 4865 Harbor Drive. Program: Chaldean Christians and refugees in San Diego County. A no-host lunch follows. Guests welcome. Call Marilyn at 619-222-9532 for additional information. Native Plant Society The SD Chapter of CA Native Plant Society will hold a community meeting 6:30 p.m. on Wednsday, Feb. 8 at OB Rec Center, 4726 Santa Monica Ave. To be discussed is a request for community input on the society's native plant garden at the north end of Sunset Cliffs Natural Park. The meeting will be preceded by a social gathering from 6 to 6:30 p.m., during which snacks and refreshments will be provided. For more information, call 858-277-3233. Ocean Beach Historical Society program Ocean Beach Historical Society will hold a presentation on the “Point Loma” book written by Eric DuVall, Kitty McDaniel and authors from La Playa Trail Association 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb.16 at Point Loma United Methodist Church, 1984 Sunset Cliffs Blvd. Point Loma is one of San Diego’s most historic neighborhoods. The newly-released book by Arcadia Publishing is packed full of lovely historical photos and information about the peninsula community. Newly elected OBHS president DuVall and newly elected OBHS board member McDaniel, along with other collaborating authors from La Playa Trail Association, will present wonderful images and stories from the book. The Ocean Beach Historical Society program on this book will cover Ballast Point and La Playa, where the first Europeans stepped ashore in California, to the Theosophical Community Lomaland, on the crest of the Point. The book explores the community’s unique neighborhoods, people, businesses, public institutions, and military bases. Nimitz Blvd. art selection The Point Loma Association’s next project is a piece of public art to be placed on the Nimitz Boulevard median, just south of West Point Loma Boulevard. Several well-known artists have submitted proposals. Now, you can help make the selection. See the possibilities and cast your vote at one of these public presentations: n Thursday, March 2, at 7 p.m., in the Family Life Center at Point Loma Community Presbyterian Church, 2128 Chatsworth Blvd. n Tuesday, March 28, at 7 p.m., in the Dick Laub NTC Command Center at 2640 Historic Decatur Road at Liberty Station. For more information, visit pointloma.org. Hanna-Blentzas named to Rising Stars list Sullivan Hill Lewin Rez and Engel recently announced that Point Loma resident Catherine Hanna-Blentzas has been named to the 2017 Rising Stars list. Each year no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers are selected to this Super Lawyers list of Rising Stars. Shareholder Hanna-Blentzas has been selected to the California Rising Stars for the first time in the areas of Insurance Coverage and Construction Litigation. Hanna-Blentzas’ construction law practice includes contract and performance disputes spanning both public works and private projects. She also represents policyholders in a variety of insurance coverage disputes primarily arising out of property damage in construction defect actions. OB attorney on board Zachariah Rowland, resident of Ocean Beach and a senior attorney with the San Diego law firm Balestreri Potocki and Holmes, has been elected to the San Diego Defense Lawyers’ 2017 board of directors. Rowland’s practice encompasses all types of commercial, employment, personal injury, and construction-related litigation. Balestreri Potocki and Holmes is a boutique law firm headquartered in San Diego. The firm provides representation to a diverse range of business clients with an emphasis in the legal advocacy and consultation of business owners and companies working in or related to the construction, transportation and hospitality industries. www.bph-law.com. Easter Sunrise Service Easter is April 16 this year and the gates to Cabrillo National Monument will open at 6 a.m. with the non-denominational service beginning at 6:30 a.m. There is seating for approximately 700 attendees and the public is encouraged to arrive early. The Kiwanis Club of Point Loma will again present an ecumenical Easter Sunrise Service at the Cabrillo National Monument. The services will be held in the lower parking lot, giving those who attend a great early morning panoramic view of San Diego Harbor and the city behind it. Club President, Matt Lemas points out that this year’s services will mark the 68th consecutive year that the Kiwanis Club of Point Loma has provided this community service for the people of San Diego. The speakers this year are Capt. Howard Warner, commanding officer, Naval Base Point Loma, Lonnie Folsom, Kiwanis Division 21, and Matt Lemas, president Point Loma Kiwanis Club. City seeks storm damage data from residents The City of San Diego is asking residents to participate in a survey to assess damage done by the recent storm that hit the area. The City is teaming up with the County of San Diego to assess damage to see if renters and homeowners may have access to federal emergency funding through the U.S. Small Business Administration. If so, the information collected will help determine if the region is eligible to receive emergency SBA funding. Renters and homeowners may borrow up to $40,000 to repair or replace clothing, furniture, cars, or appliances damaged or destroyed in the storms. Homeowners may apply for up to $200,000 to repair or replace their primary residence to its pre-disaster condition. Visit www.sdcountyrecovery.com/damages-resulting-from-disaster to fill out an initial damage survey. The City will work with the County to determine if the region meets minimum damage estimates for federal support. If the region qualifies, you will be notified and given the opportunity to submit a formal application for SBA funding. For additional information, contact the SBA Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Celebrate San Diego Rally at Petco Park’s Park at the Park Local sports teams, elected officials and community leaders are joining forces on the Celebrate San Diego Rally, to be held Saturday, Feb. 11 at Petco Park’s Park at the Park. The free public celebration will feature special appearances by athletes and leaders who call San Diego home, including Padres Hall of Famers Trevor Hoffman and Randy Jones, Padres manager Andy Green, former Chargers Nick Hardwick and Rolf Benirschke, San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman, San Diego Gulls head coach Dallas Eakins, and more. The Celebrate San Diego Rally is a collaboration between the San Diego Padres, San Diego Gulls, San Diego Sockers, San Diego State Aztecs, University of San Diego Toreros, University of California San Diego Tritons and the City of San Diego, celebrating what it means to be part of America’s Finest City. Gates to the Park at the Park (Gaslamp Gate on 7th Avenue at K Street and East Village Gate on 10th Avenue at K Street), where guests can enjoy family-friendly activities, will open at 10 a.m. Padres season ticket members will have access to a dedicated member line at each gate by showing their member card. Standard Petco Park event security measures, including walk-through metal detectors and bag checks will be in place for this event. Event activities will conclude at 3 p.m. The event will feature live music, interactive games, a kids zone and photo booths. The Park at the Park whiffle ball field will be activated and the Padres Hall of Fame will be open during event hours. Guests 21 and older can enjoy a San Diego craft beer garden. A selection of Petco Park concessions stands will be open for food and drink purchases, while standard Petco Park policies will be in place for those who wish to bring in outside food. The rally itself, which is also supported by local community colleges, will get under way at 1 p.m. Padres and Aztecs broadcaster Ted Leitner will serve as master of ceremonies. Speakers will include Hoffman, Green, Hardwick, and other local leaders. The SDSU Aztecs spirit squads, Sockers First Team Players, and local mascots including the Padres Swinging Friar, the Gulls’ Gulliver and Sunny the Socker will be on hand to engage the crowd. Parking will be free of charge in Padres-controlled lots around the ballpark, including the Lexus Premier Lot and Tailgate Lot on Imperial Avenue, as well as the Padres Parkade on 10th Avenue at J Street. Parking is expected to fill up quickly. Guests are encouraged to arrive early and take public transportation. Guests in attendance will receive a commemorative Celebrate San Diego hat compliments of Sycuan. Adult and youth hats will be available upon entry while supplies last. The Padres will be offering those in attendance the opportunity to win a suite, with food and beverage included, for a game during the Padres Opening Series April 7-9. Guests may pre-register online at www.padres.com/celebrateSD or register on-site at the rally to be entered for a chance to win a Padres suite. The winner will be announced following the rally. Event information can be found at www.padres.com/celebrateSD.
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