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    Sea lion strandings on San Diego beaches reach record numbers
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Mar 26, 2015 | 5435 views | 1 1 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Rescued sea lions housed at SeaWorld in Mission Bay. / Photo by Dave Schwab
    Rescued sea lions housed at SeaWorld in Mission Bay. / Photo by Dave Schwab
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    A surprising influx of malnourished and dehydrated sea lions has SeaWorld San Diego and its trainers working overtime to nurse them back to health before returning them to the wild. More than 550 marine mammals have been rescued so far in 2015, which is more than double the usual number, said SeaWorld spokesman David Koontz. “We saw sea lion pups coming in in December weaned by their mothers months earlier than normal,” Koontz said. “They were coming in very emaciated, 18 to 20 pounds as opposed to (normal) 35 pounds or more, only a few pounds above their birth weight. They’ve been very malnourished and in some cases, bags of bones.” In response, SeaWorld temporarily suspended its popular sea lion and otter show for a few weeks so trainers could assist with the park’s marine mammal rescue and rehabilitative efforts. SeaWorld has resumed its regular sea lion and otter show as of today (March 26) in Sea Lion and Otter Stadium. The informational presentations lasting 15 to 20 minutes include segments helping park guests better understand how SeaWorld rescues and rehabilitates marine mammals to give them a second chance at life. The presentations also give visitors insight into how SeaWorld cares for and trains its sea lions. On March 20, Beach & Bay Press got a behind-the-scenes peek at painstaking efforts to physically stabilize the condition of marine mammals and then build them back to health. After the sea lions receive four to eight weeks of time- and worker-intensive rehabilitation, the trainers prepare the mammals for a return to the ocean. “While we continue to rescue a record number of marine mammals this year, over the past several days, we’ve seen the average number of daily rescues decrease slightly, and we’ve hired some additional rescue staff,” said Mike Scarpuzzi, SeaWorld’s vice president of zoological operations. “Although we will continue to keep some of our sea lion and otter trainers in our Animal Rescue Center, we’ve been able to bring a few back to Sea Lion and Otter Stadium,” he said. The condition of many sea lions, particularly those rescued early on, has been so poor that they’ve had to be force fed and actually retrained to eat, Koontz said. “These pups have not eaten for a while, so their systems have kind of shut down: They can’t eat whole fish,” he said. “It’s a double-whammy because they also get much of their water from fish, so they’re also coming in dehydrated.” SeaWorld San Diego has rescued a record 570 marine mammals (with 549 of those being sea lions) so far this year. The park has also donated $25,000 to other California rescue centers to assist them with the daunting task of rescuing and rehabilitating more than 1,800 stranded sea lion pups this year along the state’s coast. During the 2:45 p.m. sea lion interim show on March 20, SeaWorld trainer Kelly Punner said, “530 marine mammals, double what we usually rescue in an entire year,” have already been recovered. She noted lack of anchovies and sardines in the ocean are causing sea lion mothers to be away from their pups longer to gather food, noting that the low food supplies are also causing mothers to wean their pups “much sooner than they usually would.” A couple of sea lions in the show, in fact, were rescued and rehabbed by SeaWorld. Efforts to repatriate them back to the ocean proved unsuccessful, so they were “recruited” and trained to join one of the park’s live marine mammal shows. SeaWorld seal lion trainer George Villa pointed out there are “many theories” as to why sea lions and other marine mammals are being stranded in such large numbers. Adding scientists are researching “the conditions that led to that,” Villa said, “We do know there’s been a shortage of the (bait) fish, sardines and anchovies, that they feed on.” In the meantime, Villa noted rehabilitating sick and dying marine mammals “is our priority right now.” Recuperating in holding pens behind the park’s seal and otter stadium, sea lions, in various stages of recovery, were being ministered to. Trainers and staff were physically restraining animals, while tubes were being inserted into their stomachs, and pumps were used to interject life-giving fluids to newly rescued marine mammals. Those “patients” were also being given vitamins and medicine to improve their health and get them back to eating whole fish. As the condition of recovering sea lions improves, they are then “upgraded” to groupings of marine mammals requiring less and less intensive care, before eventually being repatriated back to the ocean. “Sea lions that are not lethargic, that are a little more vocal, a little more feisty — we really want to see that,” said Koontz, about how trainers can read the improving condition of marine mammals under their care. Scarpuzzi said the sea lion and otter show will resume once the sea lion crisis abates. “We will assess our personnel requirements weekly, and continue to augment our rescue team with sea lion trainers until we are confident they are no longer needed to assist with our rescue efforts,” he said. “Only when we have the appropriate number of trainers back at sea lion and otter stadium will we restart our 'Sea Lions Live' show.”
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    dagobarbz
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    March 27, 2015
    Is there any point, beyond generating some good PR, for rehabbing animals and then releasing them back into the environment that couldn't sustain them in the first place?

    They're not starving because they're unskilled hunters. They're starving because there's no prey for them to hunt.

    In the 60s, there were 30,000 sea lions living on the west coast. Now there are over 300,000. It's seriously out of whack since we exterminated the sharks that feed on them, and initiated the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

    So Sea World feeds 'em up, releases them to fanfare, gets some good buzz going. Meanwhile the sea lion is right back out in the wasteland, beginning to starve again.

    How is that humane?
    Back in time: Airport exhibit fetes Balboa Park centennial
    Mar 25, 2015 | 4408 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    The so-called 'electriquettes' shuttled people around Balboa Park's 1915 exposition. PHOTO FROM SAN DIEGO METRO
    The so-called 'electriquettes' shuttled people around Balboa Park's 1915 exposition. PHOTO FROM SAN DIEGO METRO
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    Officials at San Diego International Airport on March 24 unveiled a yearlong exhibition of public art that celebrates the centennial of Balboa Park. “Balboa Park & the City: Celebrating San Diego’s Panama-California Exposition” is the largest temporary art exhibit ever at Lindbergh Field, according to airport officials. “With 30 installations spread among all three terminals, the exhibition offers a truly immersive experience that takes you back in time,” said Thella Bowens, president and CEO of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority. The exhibition includes original artwork and historic images, collectibles and artifacts from the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, which gave San Diego its first major international exposure. The display, which went up on March 23, includes historic photographs and large-format postcards that document the history, landscape and architecture of the park. Ten local artists donated original work that is representative of or inspired by Balboa Park and the city of San Diego. The exhibition’s images include historic photographs and postcards presented in large format documenting the unique history, landscape and architecture of the Park. The Art Program solicited original artwork that is representative of or inspired by Balboa Park and the city of San Diego from local artists. Ten participants were selected to exhibit their work based on their aesthetic and creative representation of the Park and unique use of media. Exhibition highlights include: • A replica of the famous wicker “Electriquette,” which transported fairgoers at the 1915 Exposition; • Lighting designs by Jim Gibson, inspired by the ornate fixtures at the 1935 Exposition; and • Original works by Guillermo Acevedo, a celebrated illustrator and documentarian of San Diego’s landmarks and historic sites. — City News Service, San Diego Metro
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    Hillside Improvement Project to improve trails at Sunset Cliffs
    by ROSAMARIA ACUNA
    Mar 21, 2015 | 2385 views | 1 1 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Sunset Cliffs Natural Park in Point Loma. / Photo by Jim Grant
    Sunset Cliffs Natural Park in Point Loma. / Photo by Jim Grant
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    Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, a 68-acre resource-based park stretching one and a half miles along the Pacific Ocean shoreline on the western edge of Point Loma, is one of San Diego County’s wondrous sites and perhaps San Diego’s best-kept secret. On the ocean side of Point Loma, the 18-acre linear park follows Sunset Cliffs Boulevard from Adair Street along the coastal bluffs past such landmarks as Cormorant Rock to Ladera Street. Along the way, there are several parking areas that allow for breathtaking ocean views, carved coastal bluffs, arches and sea caves. Flocks of pelicans soar along the bluffs and California gray whales can often be seen during their annual migration to Baja California. The spectacular sunset views give the area its name. But, the park is more than just grand vistas. Enter the main hillside park at the Ladera Street parking lot. This 50-acre section is a designated multiple-species conservation area. Just south of the lot, there is a two-acre native plant garden with more than 50 native plant species of cacti, succulents, shrubs and a number of Torrey pine trees that have been added since the restoration effort started in 2005. Sunset Cliffs resident David Kimball, a member of the Sunset Cliffs Natural Park Council, leads the native plant garden project. Kimball organizes and supervises volunteers, including students from Point Loma Nazarene University, who assist in the planting and maintenance of the native garden. Native habitat restoration is about to get a major boost as contracted work will soon begin on the Hillside Improvement Project, a California Conservancy grant project with matching funds from the city and a private donor. The project involves work on pedestrian trails, removal of incompatible elements and revegetating the site with selected plants. The two-acre native plant garden illustrates what the 50-acre Hillside Project expects to achieve. At its peak in April, many of the early flowering plants are in bloom with others that will progressively bloom into the fall. Take a stroll to see their beauty as well as observe the many birds and other small animals that flourish in the natural habitat. To learn more, visit www.sunsetcliffs.info.
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    LongboardDan
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    March 21, 2015
    I wish I could agree with Ms. Acuna here. This project has gone on so long and really has not been productive. I appreciate the fact that they enjoy the work there but a natural habitat evolves over time. Going out an manually watering the environment makes this a mere glorified garden for a select group of residents. Also if Ms. Swanson and her elitist friends cared they would not have pushed out PLNU from the softball park. They were taking care of it and it was a great place to go. Now it is just a dust field with people running there dogs. They could have at least made it legal to run your dog there off leash. So they are really using this for their own pleasure....very sad.
    Point Loma Assembly plans contest to provide free space
    Mar 21, 2015 | 978 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Mayor Kevin Faulconer presents a proclamation noting the organization’s significant contributions to Assembly President Susan Hoekenga and Dorothea Laub.
    Mayor Kevin Faulconer presents a proclamation noting the organization’s significant contributions to Assembly President Susan Hoekenga and Dorothea Laub.
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    The Point Loma Assembly, located in a historic building across from Cabrillo Elementary School at 3035 Talbot St., is dedicated to promoting civic, artistic, literary, social and philanthropic work on the Peninsula. According to board president Susan Hoekenga, in appreciation of community support the Assembly has received over the years, the organization is sponsoring a contest to identify an appropriate nonprofit group or organization looking for a location for one day in which to complete their project. “We are regularly approached by groups who want to use the building at no charge, and we can’t honor all these requests,” said house chairman Marty Smith, “even though we know there is a need for space in Point Loma.” “There are many groups in the area paying it forward with projects like tutoring kids, raising money for causes, putting on performances, and all kinds of wonderful things,” said Hoekenga. “Offering the building at no charge is our thank you to the community, and we look forward to providing space for a group that just needs a place to do that.” Interested organizations may contact Hoekenga at (619) 222-3500 or shoekenga@cox.net. This past summer, the site received upgrades. A new roof was put on, the front doors were painted, new signage noting the 100-year anniversary was added and new lighting was installed. Currently, the building is notable for another reason. A 12-foot-tall metal and glass sculpture, created for the Port District’s Urban Tree project, was installed in front of the Hall. Designed by Point Loma artist Garret Goodwin, the fanciful “tree” was erected to call attention to the Point Loma Assembly Art Show held last November. More than two-dozen juried artists participated, representing a variety of mediums including pottery, jewelry, paintings and glasswork. All artists donated a portion of their sales to the Assembly restoration fund, raising more than $3,000. The Assembly was formed by a group of 28 community-minded women in 1911. The current building was built with funds solicited by the members on land deeded to the group. The first meeting was held in September 1914. The building was formally dedicated in January 1915, and the membership held a centennial celebration commemorating this milestone in January, where Mayor Kevin Faulconer presented the group with a proclamation noting the organization’s significant contributions to the community over the years. The structure became an important community resource as the location of among other things, theater and musical performances, civil defense meetings, an election polling site and Red Cross workroom during WWII. Membership at one time was so large there was a junior and senior division, but attendance began to fall during the 1970s as more women went to work. “Several years ago the building was nearly sold to a non-profit, but a small group of women rallied to build up the membership and preserve this historic building. We are now over 100 members strong and growing,” said Dorothea Laub, hospitality chairwoman. In addition to offering monthly programs for members, the building is regularly rented for writers and actor’s workshops, concerts and performances, family celebrations, non-profit meeting space, as well as political and religious groups. Modest rental fees help maintain and restore the property. Restoration Chairman Bruce Cook identified a number of repairs that have been completed in the past two years, which include new landscaping, new paint inside and out, new windows, upgraded restrooms, improved ventilation, and the front porch was repaired and repainted. Membership is open to anyone in the community who has an interest in the Peninsula. More information on the Assembly, the art show, centennial celebration and contest rules for building use can be found at pointlomaassembly.org.
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    Six plays in 24 hours? No problem for Point Loma Playhouse
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Mar 20, 2015 | 807 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Point Loma Playhouse is pushing the envelope with 24 Experiment, wherein 24 actors and writers and a dozen directors collaborate to produce six plays in 24 hours to be performed before a live audience. / Contributed Photo
    Point Loma Playhouse is pushing the envelope with 24 Experiment, wherein 24 actors and writers and a dozen directors collaborate to produce six plays in 24 hours to be performed before a live audience. / Contributed Photo
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    Point Loma Playhouse is pushing the envelope with 24 Experiment, wherein 24 actors and writers and a dozen directors collaborate to produce six plays in 24 hours to be performed before a live audience. Producer Shelley Benoit discussed the process involved for the 24 Experiment event, which will be held Friday and Saturday, April 17 and 18. “At our kick-off meeting,” she said, “writers are given a genre — mystery, comedy, romance, anything — and they have to come up with a script that night. Then the directors show up and start casting actors, giving them their scripts about 9 a.m. The rehearsals start for the curtain (call) at 7 p.m., just 24 hours after the kick-off.” Benoit said the unorthodox theater exercise’s purpose is to “give local artists, whether they’re writers, directors or actors, an opportunity to come together with other people of similar interests and practice what it is they’ve learned how to do and what they want to do better.” Despite the funky and challenging timeline involved, the Playhouse producer said 24 Experiment is “lots of fun.” “Even though this is a 24-hour thing and really rough, with actors who may — or may not — remember their lines, we usually get full audiences,” Benoit said. Those who’ve participated directly in the 24 Experiment say it can’t be beat. "I find that working within the 24-hour time limit to write a play is an adventure in itself because you never know where your creative mind will take you during the night after lots of coffee, sugar and silly prompts,” said Jennifer Eve, who participated as a writer last year. “The next night, as you watch the actors read your lines, waiting for the audience to respond to your play is exhilarating, especially when they laugh when you hoped they would." "It's like mad libs for adults: absolutely fun and hilarious,” said Shalinda Wilkins, a two-time participant, a writer and associate producer in 2014. ”You don't need any experience or skills to write a play — just come and play with words or characters.” “The 24 Experiment is a paradox,” said Samantha Goldstein, who’s participated twice, once as a director and once as an actor. “You're tired, but you're on a nonstop adrenaline high.” “There is something so magical about seeing a play take shape and be performed in 24 hours; it's very inspiring,” added Goldstein, noting, ”It's also really fun working and creating with strangers who quickly become friends. I can't wait to do it again.” Over the last three years, producer Benoit noted the “quality of the plays has improved” with 24 Experiment, pointing out those participating are now “a seasoned group of quality players who’ve improved.” Point Loma Playhouse is a nonprofit run by an all-volunteer board. The playhouse puts on shows and workshops for actors and stand-up comedians, as well as participating in theater events around the city. For more information about the playhouse, call (619) 225-0044 or visit www.pointlomaactors.com.
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    News
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    Mar 27, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Mar 24, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Mar 23, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Arts & Entertainment
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    Mar 27, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Mar 27, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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    La Jolla Kiwanian John Talbot, 93
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    Mar 25, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend
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