News briefs 3/25/10
Published - 03/24/10 - 01:53 PM | 6139 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sunset View tops schools in fundraising drive

Officials from the Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market chain said 70 schools in San Diego — including those in Ocean Beach and Point Loma — raised more than $121,400 through the market’s recently-concluded “Shop for Schools” program. 

In fact, according to Fresh & Easy officials, Point Loma’s Sunset View Elementary School raised nearly $6,000, making it the top fundraising school and earning an additional $5,000 bonus for doing so.

Schools participated in the fundraiser through the local San Diego Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets, with a total of 643 schools actively participating throughout California.

Kindergarten through eighth-grade schools located within a three-mile radius of any Fresh & Easy store were eligible to participate in the program. Shop for Schools allowed schools that registered to receive a $1 cash donation for every $20 spent at a local Fresh & Easy store from Sept. 15 through Dec. 31.  Fresh & Easy officials said the schools are now free to use the money they raised for whatever they need most.

 “At a time when school districts across the state are faced with difficult budget choices, it is important for companies like Fresh & Easy to step in and help,” said Bonnie Reiss, California Secretary of Education. “We are ecstatic that Fresh & Easy is contributing more than $450,000 to California schools as part of their Shop for Schools program this year.”

Fresh & Easy officials say they plan to bring the program back again this fall 2010 and will soon start accepting registration forms from local schools.  For more information, visit

Tourist dies hours after being hit by bus

A 29-year-old woman visiting San Diego with her family died March 18 hours after being hit by a commercial bus near the intersection of W. Harbor Drive and Pacific Highway in Point Loma.

According to police reports, Virginia Ortega of Glendale, Ariz. stepped into the street where there was no pedestrian crossing and into the path of the bus. She was struck at about 4:40 p.m.

According to the county’s Office of the Medical Examiner, Ortega was taken to the University of California, San Diego Medical Center for treatment, where she died hours later despite medical intervention.

Rock ’n’ roll academy opens doors in OB

Electric Music Studios has opened for business inside Ocean Beach’s famed Electric Chair Salon. The new rock ’n’ roll academy, designed for children ages 6-18, will be performance-based with private lessons and weekend band rehearsals with students who will also perform live concerts.

“With the economy the way it is, our massage, facial and waxing business is not what it used to be, so we decided to convert our Suite D into an affordable rock music academy for kids,” said owner Paul Bolton. “We’re also very fortunate to have some extremely talented teachers on board.”

The list of teachers includes Ocean Beach resident Mike Handforth, music director from High Tech High International. When not teaching, Handforth plays bass in The Queen’s Guard, Ocean Jazz Ensemble, the Brothers Gundersson and Barefoot Hockey Goalie.

Another teacher is Omar Lopez, who is currently studying music at San Diego Stae University and is a member of the B-Side Players.

Ocean Beach resident Israel Maldonado is also an SDSU graduate who volunteers his time teaching music at Ocean Beach Elementary School. Maldonado is also a 2009 Point Loma Association Banner recipient, and former guitarist with Sol E Mar and Aqua Dulce. He now fronts his own band, The Israel Maldonado band.

Teaching keyboards is Kris Korsgaden, another SDSU student who is in the SDSU jazz studies program. Korsgaden is a pianist who has been playing piano since the age of 3.

The vocal teacher for the new rock ’n’ roll academy is Esjay Jones, who has just returned from the national touring band Stealing Love Jones. Jones has toured and worked with Evanescence, 3 Doors Down, Hoobastank, Fall Out Boy, The Violent Femmes and Jimmy Eat World.

For more information, call (619) 222-0836, or visit

Rose garden dedicated to tireless volunteer

On March 19, Mayor Jerry Sanders, District 2 City Councilman Kevin Faulconer and San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox joined community and family members to celebrate the dedication of the Hugh Story Memorial Rose Garden.

Known as “Point Loma’s Johnny Appleseed,” Story worked tirelessly to bring trees and flowers to the Point Loma community. Through the Point Loma Association’s Beautification Committee and “Mean Green Team,” which he created, Hugh took city properties that were often trash-filled and weedy, and planted more than 700 trees.

Story spent hundreds of hours meeting with officials and community members to get the permits and funds required for a variety of projects. A true “submariner,” Story secured the submarine periscope for the Point Loma Branch Library, volunteered his time with the Maritime Museum and contributed memorabilia to the local submarine base.

Story passed away Aug. 17, 2006. Since then, the Point Loma Association’s Hugh Story Memorial Committee has worked to honor him with a memorial in the community. The committee found the perfect site – the grounds of the World War II Submarine Memorial at NTC Park, located along the channel. The memorial commemorates the 52 submarines lost during WWII.

Dennis Otsuji of ONA Landscape Architecture developed the rose garden plan to flow into the overall landscape design on the NTC Phase II site, which was then constructed by Corky McMillin Cos. with oversight by the city’s Park and Recreation Department.

PLNU commuters help Haiti, environment

Point Loma Nazarene University’s (PLNU) bicycle commuters put their physically and environmentally healthy habit to philanthropic use March 19.

As a result of on-campus supporters and event sponsor Moment Cycle Sport, every mile ridden by a PLNU commuter student, faculty or staff person drew 50 cents that will now be donated to Plant With Purpose’s Haiti earthquake relief efforts.

The event, dubbed Bike 4 Haiti, ended with riders arriving to a banquet of vitamin water, bagels, fair trade coffee, tea and energy bars.

“Plant With Purpose was so established in Haiti that their current relief efforts are managed completely by local Haitian staff,” said PLNU sustainability coordinator Alexandria Bennett. “Initially after the earthquake, they were focused specifically on emergency food, but now through their short-term employment and soil conservation project, they are providing 70,000 pounds of seed for the 2,700 farmers just west of the earthquake epicenter. As the seeds grow, it is estimated to provide food supply for 20,000 individuals.”

Each month, PLNU’s sustainability department hosts a “Bike the (Traffic) Jam” event for which commuters are encouraged to make their way to campus by bicycle, rather than car. University officials said the Bike the (Traffic) Jam was inspired by San Diego’s Bike to Work Day, which is held each May.

Bike 4 Haiti marked the first time the event was used to support a nonprofit organization, in addition to promoting environmentally friendly commuting and better health, officials said.

Big Brothers Big Sisters seek volunteers

Operation Bigs, a program of Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County, is currently looking for civilian and military adult volunteers to serve military children who have a deployable parent.

“Big” volunteers meet with their “Littles” at sites in Coronado and Point Loma to play sports, board games or share mutual interests.

Volunteers meet at the same time each week at a partnering school or community center. Organizers say one hour, once a week can make a difference.

For more information, call the Operation Bigs Hotline at (619) 218-3532.

Library supporters honor student essay winners

Ocean Beach Friends of the Library recently honored student essay contest winners during awards assemblies at three area schools.

Ocean Beach Elementary School winners were honored Feb. 19. First place went to Skylar Kurth, second place to Aislyn Ramirez and third place to Isabel Clark. The students are fourth-graders in Mrs. Quinn’s class.

Sacred Heart Academy winners were honored on Feb. 26. The fourth-graders from Mr. Cohick’s class were: Reese Turner (first place), Irwin Lam (second place) and Nicolas Fithen (third). Eighth-grade winners from Ms. Valenti-Turskey’s class were: Meghan McKenzie (first place), Karlie Burford (second place) and Veronica Wilson (third).

At Sunset View, the fourth-grade winners from Ms. Reid’s class were: Devon Donlon (first place), Julian Roel (second place) and Jonathan Omens (third). Donlon and McKenzie will now advance to the citywide contest with other winners announced in April.

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