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    Ocean Beach residents upset as city cuts down Torrey pine
    by MIKE McCARTHY
    Aug 23, 2016 | 5905 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    A tree removal service cuts down the Torrey pine (right) on Saratoga Avenue in Ocean Beach. / Photo by Mike McCarthy
    A tree removal service cuts down the Torrey pine (right) on Saratoga Avenue in Ocean Beach. / Photo by Mike McCarthy
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    Emotions ran high with many Ocean Beach residents after learning that one of the oldest Torrey pines in the community was cut down on Monday, Aug. 22. The large tree on the 4600 block of Saratoga was more than 90 years old and known to many as Esperanza. For several weeks the Torrey pine has been the center of debate between residents of Ocean Beach and the City of San Diego. Many agreed, including the Friends of Peninsula Trees group, that the tree posed a public safety hazard and was not healthy enough to be saved. Neighbors and members of the community, who were for saving the tree, hired an independent arborist. He stated the Torrey pine in question was a "low-risk" to the community. Many residents agreed and felt that with just a little love, and a good trim job, that the problem would be solved.  The majority opinion, among the neighbors on Saratoga Avenue and residents of OB, was that proper ongoing maintenance was needed for this one tree, along with several other old Torrey pines that are still standing on this same block. On Aug. 11, the City of San Diego alerted the Ocean Beach community that the landmark Torrey pine would be removed on Friday, Aug. 12. Local activists quickly joined forces to temporally stop the tree removal by a public protest and sit-in. Many residents were then shocked on the early morning of Aug. 22 to hear chainsaws cutting down one of their favorite Torrey pines. The police had quickly taped off the block to prevent any interference.
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    Adventures with Helene: Travel tips for backpacking on a budget
    by HELENE GERASIMCHUK
    Aug 18, 2016 | 38853 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Helene backpacking on Makalawena Beach, Big Island Hawai'i.
    Helene backpacking on Makalawena Beach, Big Island Hawai'i.
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    Helene finding a backpack at REI in San Diego.
    Helene finding a backpack at REI in San Diego.
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    Hitchhiking in Pahoa, Big Island Hawai'i.
    Hitchhiking in Pahoa, Big Island Hawai'i.
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    Backpacking is an amazing option for the budget-conscious traveler. After backpacking through Hawaii, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand, I picked up on some travel tips that may help you prepare for your next adventure. There is a level of awe and wonder that comes with traveling to an unknown place. The more calculated and comfortable you feel in your day to day life, the more I encourage you to get out of your usual routine and take a trip somewhere random. 1) Make general plans but stay open to other possibilities. The best way to strike down opportunities for miraculous connections is by over-planning your trip. Tourist attractions are popular for a reason and some sites are admittedly must-sees, but there’s nothing like striking up conversation with a traveler or local who leads you to a secret epic spot. 2) Get familiar with plane ticket patterns. In general, ticket prices depend on the season demand. Try out skyscanner.com to get full coverage when comparing flights. Keep an open mind about travel routes, consider less popular airports, and use different modes of transportation. Also, rome2rio.com is a great resource to get you from A to B using buses, trains, and planes. The more open you and your timeline are, the more you open yourself up to the uncertainty of what you’ll do next. This is undoubtedly one of the biggest joys in traveling, which we often times lose in everyday life. Keep in mind that once you are on another continent, local flights become much cheaper. Flights within Southeast Asia start from $20 USD! In my experience, booking flights one week in advance gave me the perfect balance of keeping my travel route unpredictable while getting real-time suggestions from fellow travelers and following wherever life led me. 3) Pack efficiently. When your backpack becomes your temporary home, investing in a solid pack is essential. Understanding climate helps tremendously with planning. Online lists are the perfect resource to inform you on the must-haves depending on the nature of your trip. You will quickly become very conscious of what to bring when you consider that every item is extra weight you will carry. Opt for the headlamp over another outfit! 4) Consider cheap accommodation. Depending on the style of your trip, camping may be the perfect option. Many places offer permit-camping for a low rate. Make sure to prepare accordingly from padding to tents, hammocks, tarps, and all the gear in between. Couchsurfing.com is a common social experience in many countries, where hosts offer up short-term stays in their homes to fellow travelers. Hostels are also great options for short or long-term stays, with shared rooms and breakfast often included. Download the Hostelworld app to compare nearby options. Look into local options, as many countries in Southeast Asia offer homestays at an inexpensive rate. 5) Walk and talk! We are used to getting places quickly, but backpacking gives us a chance to slow down and experience. See where the streets take you, and chat with locals or fellow travelers. You never know where a seemingly wrong turn could lead you! 6) Link up with a travel buddy. While traveling alone is a huge opportunity for independence and growth, you can save a lot of money when you travel with another person. Split costs for housing, food, and activities. 7) Eat like the locals. Fresh markets and local vendors are a prime chance for you to experience local culture, and they are typically cheaper options than eating out at restaurants. If you have any additional questions on Backpacking on a Budget, feel free to email me at healthcoachhelene@gmail.com. Happy adventuring! Helene Gerasimchuk backpacked through seven countries in 10 months on a tight budget following her intuition over an itinerary. She is embracing life in Pacific Beach while she anticipates her next adventure. Contact her at healthcoachhelene@gmail.com for questions or inquiries.
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    Peninsula residents upset with homeless population
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Aug 18, 2016 | 1780 views | 2 2 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    A homeless man sleeps on seawall in Ocean Beach. / PHOTO BY JIM GRANT
    A homeless man sleeps on seawall in Ocean Beach. / PHOTO BY JIM GRANT
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    (The Peninsula Beacon is focusing on homeless awareness in this edition with stories on problems, myths, and solutions for homeless in the beach communities.) Peninsula community leaders offered comments – and suggestions – on problematic homelessness. Robert Goldyn, vice chair of the Peninsula Community Planning Board (PCPB), speaking for himself as a Point Loma Heights resident, noted Point Loma is “quite different than Ocean Beach.” For the most part, the homeless are not too great of a population in the Peninsula as compared to OB,” Goldyn said, noting, “It is really difficult to address and recognize the scope of the situation.” Goldyn pointed out that what people consider as the homeless population is the "chronic homeless,” people living on the streets/beach for extended periods.  “The transitional homeless are quite often not seen in this picture, and are often only temporary homeless and able to coordinate with local or regional services to help support them,” Goldyn said. “The best way to help or support the homeless would be to provide services that help keep people in homes, such as support with rent on a temporary basis to maintain people in homes versus being evicted. Or, a non-profit agency stepping in to talk to landlords and promise to help back the homeless individual for rent.” Goldyn pointed out “landlords do not want to rent an apartment to someone who has been homeless, in fear they will be shorted the rent. But if we have agencies available to take the burden of the risk, we may be able to get some of these people back in housing.” Goldyn noted Point Loma is housing “challenged.”  “Housing and rent prices are continuing to increase, preventing younger generations from being able to afford to move into the area,” he said, noting the chronically homelessness “have mental or physical conditions as well that need to be addressed.” Robert (Tripp) Jackson is immediate past president of the Point Loma Association (PLA), a community nonprofit working for beautification and civic improvement. He noted the old school homeless population is gradually being replaced by traveling kids. “These are your soul-searching, hybrid hippies,” said Jackson.“A lot of them have very bad attitudes and are very disrespectful and sometimes combative – which is disturbing.” Jackson noted high-profile, sign-carrying panhandlers work the medians at prominent community access points. He discussed a scene he witnessed once with panhandlers counting their “donations” following a dayshift of begging at a local bar-restaurant. “They (homeless) would work the Rosecrans-Nimitz corner, and they'd come into the bar-restaurant afterward and would be buying filet mignons and expensive pitchers of beer and shooting pool,” Jackson said, pointing out this group of about half a dozen panhandlers had gathered more than $800 in “donations,” and we're counting their cash. “We can do this every day,” a panhandler told Jackson, adding, “Why would we want to go to a homeless place (shelter) where you have strict rules, have a 5 p.m. curfew and are expected to go out and get a job?” Jackson said the encounter left a lasting impression on him. “If you got $850 a day standing on the corner seven days a week, you'd be doing as good (or better) than most professionals,” Jackson said. “I was kind of speechless. It was really unbelievable to see the potential of what they could really do.” The Point Loma Realtor added that Peninsula homeless are also drawn to vacant retail spaces, like the old Arby's site on Rosecrans. “There's a whole encampment of them (homeless) sleeping over there and working the medians,” Jackson said, noting he knows someone up the hill above Sabatini's Liquor Delicatessen at 1780 Rosecrans St. “He told me they have women in the mix, who have much more potential (for collecting handouts), especially if they're younger.” Cecilia Carrick is a community activist and a PLA member. Describing herself as being among the “silent majority,” Carrick noted the Peninsula homeless population is a kaleidoscope including: severely mentally ill people incapable of accepting their own need for chronic medication; those with debilitating addictions, in and out of jails, incapable of holding down jobs and resorting to petty crime to survive; a population that, through illness or loss of a job are eviction from their dwellings, are unable to re-insert themselves into the housing market; and lazy ne’er do wells that refuse to contribute, only to destroy and deface, refusing to abide by any of society’s decency rules. “Our community lives with this picture – tents, mattresses, bags of filthy clothing and litter, furniture, bottles filled with urine, outhouse stations behind our alleys, stores and homes,” she said. “Whether volunteer, homeowner or business owner, most in our beach community have been negatively impacted by the homelessness trail.” Carrick offered these possible solutions for combatting homelessness: • A pitch for the temporary, scattered site, supportive services approach. • Set up sturdy inexpensive National Park-type simple solar sanitary facilities discretely located near homeless, underpasses or other sites that can be serviced as regularly. • A trial of small groupings of movable “tiny houses” placed near public transportation in areas all over the county for basic shelter for people wishing to stay off the street with supportive site visits from social services. • Stronger temporary support for families with delinquent rents. The high bar of re-entering the housing market after an eviction makes for an insurmountable challenge, especially in beach communities. • A basic decency “homeless tax” on all of us, Carrick said. “Yes folks, the art community needs it and has it. Cap it, restrict its use and adjust for inflation. “Let’s stop giving those dollars to median panhandlers and save a lot by pitching in a little,” Carrick concluded.
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    PtLomaM
    |
    August 22, 2016
    Although I can agree that homelessness is an issue in San Diego, especially the beach communities, but I don't appreciate local community leaders fabricating facts to forward their agenda.

    Your "fact" of a homeless person making $850 a day is ludicrous, not to mention his post panhandling activities of throwing back beers and eating filet mignon. $850 a day would amount to over $200,000 a year (working 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year).

    Yes, there are reports of professional panhandlers pulling in a few hundred a day, with the rare occurrence of even more, but these are extreme instances. Plus none of these "reports" have been substantiated and let us not forget the source of this info, the homeless person themselves. Anyways, a typical person begging on the corner can make around $10 an hour. You can find out facts here "Exit Ramp: A Short Case Study of the Profitability of Panhandling."

    As we know, we will never rid our city of the homeless, all we can do is put in support systems to help those who truly need and want help. For those who don't want help or just incapable of understanding the assistance programs - we will just have to tolerate.
    Erik du Fresne
    |
    August 19, 2016
    An alternative perspective:

    SuccessManual.net/travels
    To tree or not to tree – that is the question
    Aug 17, 2016 | 3522 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    On Aug. 4, the City’s orginal date to remove the Torrey pine on Saratoga Avenue, Ocean Beach resident Crystal Rose Speros climbed up into the tree to make sure it would not be cut down. / PHOTO BY JIM GRANT
    On Aug. 4, the City’s orginal date to remove the Torrey pine on Saratoga Avenue, Ocean Beach resident Crystal Rose Speros climbed up into the tree to make sure it would not be cut down. / PHOTO BY JIM GRANT
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    On Thursday, Aug. 11, City of San Diego alerted community members that a failing Torrey pine tree would be removed from 4652 Saratoga Ave. in Ocean Beach on Friday, Aug. 12, starting at 7 a.m. But Ocean Beach residents had other ideas. Activists joined forces to call, cajole and cutoff the city before any chainsaws ever arrived on Saratoga Avenue. By Friday morning, the tree removal had been postponed again – maybe permanently or maybe not. “In light of the recent independent arborist’s analysis of Esperanza, the Torrey pine tree on Saratoga Avenue in Ocean Beach, Friends of Peninsula Trees now agrees with City’s concerns that the tree is not healthy enough to be saved,” the Friends of Peninsula Trees group posted on its Facebook page earlier this week. “The failing condition of the tree is directly as a result of the neglect, improper maintenance and the unqualified tree service that was subcontracted through the City of San Diego. The City has not adhered to its own public tree policy, which led to this unfortunate situation,” according to Friends of Peninsula Trees. But there are other voices within the community who are still against the removal of the tree – so the saga continues. The Torrey pine is 73 feet tall, more than 90 years old, and adjacent to where two other large Torrey pine trees were removed after one of this winter’s El Niño storms caused them to uplift and actively fail. “Public safety is of the utmost importance, and while our goal is to maximize the environmental benefits of trees, we must balance the risk of trees with the preservation of trees,” said Jeremy Barrick, a board-certified master arborist and the city’s Urban Forester Program Manager. Barrick has inspected the subject tree multiple times, as did another board-certified master arborist. Their reports, along with one from a biologist confirming no active nesting sites in the tree exist, can be found on the City’s website. Also, as part of its Climate Action Plan, the City is completing an assessment of its current tree inventory, and will embark on an aggressive tree planting program to increase the tree canopy in all communities. “We have monitored and reviewed this tree for several months and consensus among multiple arborists is that this tree must be removed to entirely eliminate the risk of catastrophic failure,” Barrick said. Friends of Peninsula Trees has offered to partner with and assist the City to ensure other trees and treasured wildlife are not lost in the future. “This will be the City's opportunity to partner with the community to accomplish the city's stated goal for City Urban Forest Plans as a priority,” the group said.
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    Junior Lifeguards jump off Ocean Beach Pier
    Aug 17, 2016 | 1100 views | 1 1 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Hundreds of people and parents gathered on the Ocean Beach Pier on Monday, Aug. 15 to watch as participants in the San Diego Junior Lifeguard Program’s second session (along with some moms and dads) jumped off the pier in an annual tradition. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    Hundreds of people and parents gathered on the Ocean Beach Pier on Monday, Aug. 15 to watch as participants in the San Diego Junior Lifeguard Program’s second session (along with some moms and dads) jumped off the pier in an annual tradition. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    Hundreds of people and parents gathered on the Ocean Beach Pier on Monday, Aug. 15 to watch as participants in the San Diego Junior Lifeguard Program’s second session (along with some moms and dads) jumped off the pier in an annual tradition.
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    turbo6go
    |
    August 18, 2016
    Great fun.

    Did so back in 1967
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