Carmel Valley News Headlines
Carmel Del Mar Elementary School held a fun-filled Ice Cream Social to welcome everyone back to school. In addition to ice cream, the event featured pizza, a DJ, hula hoops, dancing and more! Photos by McKenzie Images.
The Elizabeth Hospice hosted a charity golf tournament Sept. 9 to benefit Camp Erin San Diego, a free overnight weekend camp for children and teens who have experienced the loss of someone close to them. Camp Erin combines traditional and fun camp activities with specialized grief activities and peer support and is championed by business leaders, community partners, and individuals in support of the mission of providing comfort, hope and healing to children affected by loss.
The golf tournament was held at The Crosby at Rancho Santa Fe.
For more information, visit www.elizabethhospice.org. Photos by McKenzie Images.
A festive PTA Ice Cream Social was held at Solana Highlands Elementary School Sept. 12. The event served as an informal gathering to get to know fellow students and parents (and eat ice cream, of course!), sponsored and presented by the PTA. Photos by McKenzie Images.
Del Mar Hills Academy students, parents and staff celebrated the school’s 40th birthday with an Ice Cream Social Sept. 12. The event also featured free pizza provided by the PTA, as well as birthday cake and Del Mar Hills SurfRider spirit wear for sale. Photos by McKenzie Images.
Teen Volunteers in Action-Chapter 2 held its annual kickoff event Sept. 14 at Sage Canyon Elementary School. TVIA boys partnered with Family & Friends Community Connection (FFCC) to package meals for needy families.
TVIA is an organization of young men committed to developing community leaders through a structured program of volunteerism, philanthropy and personnel growth. For more information, visit www.tvia.org. Photos by McKenzie Images.
By Karen Billing
The Del Mar Union School District (DMUSD) Board of Trustees held a community meeting on Sept. 8 in advance of this week’s board meeting where the board plans to take action on a new $1.5 million facility Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC) at Torrey Hills Elementary School. The district is proposing to move the ECDC from its current home in 10 classrooms at Sycamore Ridge School to 12 reconfigured classrooms at Torrey Hills.
The board plans to take action at its Sept. 17 board meeting, after this paper’s press time.
DMUSD Superintendent Holly McClurg said the district has undertaken a multi-year process of getting information on how much capacity they have in the district and how much they will need in the future. Doors to every room in every district campus have been opened and every space examined, according to Jason Romero, assistant superintendent of human resources. Torrey Hills was the site that they zeroed in on as having the most available capacity in coming years.
Enrollment at Torrey Hills is projected to peak next year and then plateau at around 700 students, well under its capacity for 898 students. The school hit its peak enrollment of 784 before Ocean Air Elementary School opened — when the neighboring school accepted students its enrollment has dropped steadily and would be experiencing a major decline if not for the new developments at Torrey Gardens and Ocean Air at Torrey Hills. Romero said the school is rolling up smaller class size cohorts and losing students from the neighborhood houses.
After the classroom reconfigurations, Torrey Hills will still have capacity for all of the students and room for things such as the PTA and PE room.
“The school is not losing 12 classrooms, the ECDC would take up 12 rooms,” said Shelley Petersen, assistant superintendent.
The enhancements to Torrey Hills would be paid for through the community financing district, but the renovations of the classrooms for the new ECDC would come from the district’s fund 40 special reserve for capital outlay.
The ECDC at full capacity is 100 students and Petersen said it would not be possible to increase the size of the program.
About 20 parents attended the information meeting, representing several different schools. Torrey Hills parents expressed some reservations about the ECDC coming to its campus.
“I’m just concerned about the feel at Torrey Hills, that it will feel like two schools rather than one. Almost one-third of the campus will be used for something else,” said parent Brenda Bilstead.
Bilstead said she understands the district’s challenges and also said she feels the ECDC program is “exceptional” and only brings quality wherever it is — but it just might change the whole dynamic of the school, especially with its placement right at the center of campus.
Parent Suzanne Hall said the placement seems to be “disruptive.” She said at Sycamore Ridge the ECDC is located off to the left while the rest of campus is on the right. Especially with the staggered start times she said younger children would be arriving as the rest of the school is just starting to settle into their day.
McClurg thanked the parents for their ideas and she said the configuration is something that can be looked at to see what would work best for the community. Hall suggested that a design seminar with Torrey Hills parents might be useful.
Last month the board approved a re-boundary for the area known as East Pacific Highlands Ranch where new homes are being built and the district is expecting to see an influx of students in the 2017 school year. With the new boundary, students will attend Ashley Falls rather than Sycamore Ridge, addressing declining enrollment at Ashley Falls and a projected full campus at Sycamore Ridge.
With the new boundary, Ashley Falls is projected to grow from 395 students this school year to just at capacity with 689 students by 2020.
Without the re-boundary and without moving the ECDC out of the school, Sycamore Ridge would have been way above its current school capacity of 575 students with populations in the 600s and 700s. With more room, it will be under its adjusted capacity of 825 in future years.
Accomplished Carmel Valley theatre actor thrives on challenge of award-winning musical ‘Next to Normal’
By Samantha Tatro
Carmel Valley actor Robert J. Townsend stumbled upon musical theatre by complete accident.
One afternoon in high school, Townsend’s best friend stayed after school to audition for the school musical “Something’s Afoot.” Townsend, who usually got a ride home with his friend, decided to wait for the ride anyway.
He ended up auditioning for the school musical that year, but he had nothing to sing, so he sang “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” – and he got cast.
“I was terrible, terrible, there’s a video on Facebook. Terrible, I can’t even believe I did the show,” Townsend said. “But that was the first time, and I just sort of got bit by the bug.”
That was the start of what would become a global career in theatre, from singing with the Opera Pacific in Orange County to singing in Brazil to his current endeavor, playing the clean-cut dad Dan Goodman in San Diego Musical Theatre’s “Next to Normal.”
“I always call it my accidental career,” Townsend said, adding that he spent his college summers working on productions before eventually getting paid for his work.
“All these things kind of just kept happening and there was no moment [he knew he wanted to become an actor], until I suddenly found out I was in love with performing,” the Framingham, Mass. native said.
The actor, fresh off the Jersey Boys National Tour, has been home for less than a month and is already in rehearsal for San Diego Musical Theatre’s production of “Next to Normal,” opening Sept. 26.
The Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning musical tackles mental illness and crisis through the eyes of one family and its mother, Diana Goodman, as she struggles to cope with her bipolar disorder. Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey’s book and lyrics transform the mundanely of suburban life and the struggles of dealing with loss into a riveting powerhouse contemporary musical.
Townsend initially undertook the challenges of the musical a year and a half ago, when he and two other cast members – Bets Malone and Eddie Egan – were cast in the show together in La Mirada. The producers saw the production and “fell in love” with the show, Townsend said, and decided to bring it down to San Diego. Townsend, Malone and Egan were asked to come back and reprise their roles.
“It’s not an easy show to get through,” Townsend said. “It’s an emotional journey, it’s a physical journey. It’s a demanding show to do, but I love the piece so much. It came to me the first time at a time when I needed to be able to take that trip every day to deal with some things in my personal life, you know, some loss in my family, and I found it so helpful…It was something I needed.”
To take on the complexity of mental illness, the entire cast has been doing extensive research on the subject prior to the show. That includes watching videos of people going through electroconvulsive therapy and reading extensive documentation about mental illnesses and behavioral disorders.
Townsend said he found it daunting when he approached the musical for the first time, like many people who might read about it before seeing it.
“This isn’t a tragic, tragic musical, it’s a realistic musical – it’s about real life,” Townsend said. “People come in and they say, ‘A musical about bipolar [disorder]? That sounds like the worst idea ever.’ It’s not. It’s full of humor and you cry and it’s full of beautiful emotions and I think that, if nothing else, it makes you think.”
Townsend called the musical, and his experience with it, cathartic. The opportunity to come back and work with it, he said, allows him to revisit the material at a different point in his life after a period of personal growth.
“One of the biggest reactions from people who saw the show before was they wanted to call somebody they loved when they were done,” Townsend said. “It makes you want to reach out to people and connect.”
Though the material was daunting, he said, it is ultimately rewarding for him as an actor and for the audience.
“It’s not feel good, but it’s feel everything,” Townsend said. “I just figured this out the other day, it’s something I learned since last time. It’s not feel good but it’s feel everything. You will feel good. But you’ll also feel sad, you’ll feel confused and angry and all those things — but it’s worth it. It’s worth it to feel all those things.”
Townsend smiled over coffee.
“Just remind your readers not to be scared of it,” Townsend said with a laugh.
San Diego Musical Theatre’s production of “Next to Normal” features Bets Malone as Diana Goodman, Robert J. Townsend as Dan Goodman, Eddie Egan as Gabriel “Gabe” Goodman, Lindsay Joan as Natalie Goodman, Eric Parker as Henry, and Geno Carr as Dr. Madden. The production is directed by Nick DeGruccio and musically directed by Don Le Master.
The musical opens Sept. 26 and runs through Oct. 12. Show times will be Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Readers can purchase tickets by calling the administrative office at (858) 560-5740 or by going online at www.sdmt.org.
By Kristina Houck
Less than three weeks after last month’s Napa Valley magnitude-6.0 earthquake, community members gathered to learn about earthquake preparedness during a presentation at the start of Solana Beach’s regularly scheduled Public Safety Commission meeting on Sept. 9.
Although wildfires remain the region’s greatest threat, Kim McDermott, an emergency services coordinator at the San Diego County’s Office of Emergency Services, noted that the Rose Canyon Fault cuts right through the heart of downtown San Diego, through the center of San Diego Bay, north through La Jolla and along the coast.
“The projected largest earthquake along that fault is magnitude 6.0-plus, so it would be a significant impact to San Diego. That would be the one that affects Solana Beach,” said McDermott, who noted the largest earthquake in the region, to date, was a 5.3, which shook Old Town in 1986. The Elsinore Fault runs through the eastern part of the county, from the region between El Centro and San Diego, northwest to Chino Hills, she added.
There are a number of ways people should prepare for an earthquake or another disaster, McDermott said.
Around the home, keep heavier items on lower shelves and secure heavy picture frames and mirrors, the water heater, hazardous liquids, and “anything that might fall.”
During an earthquake, officials encourage people to “duck, cover and hold on.” Take cover under sturdy, heavy pieces of furniture.
“We recommend that you pre-identify these locations throughout your home prior to an earthquake and actually practice this twice a year,” McDermott said.
If an earthquake hits and you are located in a high-rise building, take cover near an interior wall, protect your head and use the stairs, not the elevator, McDermott said. If you’re in a stadium or a theater, duck below the rim of your seat.
“One thing you definitely don’t want to do is start running with a crowd,” she said. “You don’t want to get trampled under a stampede of people.”
If you’re in the kitchen, move away from the fridge and the stove. If you’re at a store, move away from the shelves. If you’re driving, pull over to the side of the road and wait until the shaking stops. Don’t pull over underneath an underpass, a large tree or anything else that could fall. Similarly, if you’re outdoors, stay away from trees, buildings, poles and anything else that could fall.
“Bottom line is duck, cover and hold on, and use your common sense to not be under anything that could fall on top of you,” McDermott said.
After the initial shaking, survey the area to see whether there is any major structural damage or injury to people with you. Only use the phone to call 911 for life-threatening emergencies. Be prepared for aftershocks.
The Kearny Mesa-based Office of Emergency Services coordinates the overall response to large-scale, regional emergencies such as the May wildfires, the power outages in 2011 and the wildfires in 2003 and 2007.
To prepare for emergencies, officials encourage community members to create a family disaster plan that includes an escape plan and meeting location. Families should practice their plan twice a year, said McDermott, adding that the OES office offers a template for a plan on its website at www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/oes.html.
In addition, have an out-of-area contact and assemble a disaster kit. Keep a kit at home, work and in the car.
Kits should include at least a three-day supply of food and water for each person, a radio, batteries, flashlight, medication, important documents, family pictures and other valuable items that can’t be replaced.
Remember to include your pets in your family disaster plan and emergency kits, which include food, water, medication and crates.
“Preparedness starts with you,” McDermott said. “We’re here to support the incident, but it comes down to how prepared you are as an individual and how prepared you are for your family. Take your personal preparedness into your own hands.”
For more information, including a checklist for emergency kits, visit www.readysandiego.org.
By Karen Billing
San Diego City Council President Pro Tem Sherri Lightner honored departing Carmel Valley Community Planning Board vice chair Manjeet Ranu with a commendation at the planning board’s Sept. 11 meeting.
Ranu retired from the board after six years of service. Lightner said the community of Pacific Highlands Ranch has benefited from Ranu’s work on Prop C to get Pacific Highlands Ranch development untied from the Interstate 5-SR 56 interchange.
The passage of Prop C laid the groundwork for the opening of Solana Ranch School this fall; a neighborhood Solana Ranch Park is set to open by the end of the year; The Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch currently under construction with Trader Joe’s is set to open in fall 2015; a new middle school and community park is set to open in 2015; and work is in progress on a future PHR library site.
“Thank you for your persistence over all the years,” Lightner said. “I think we got it all done, Manjeet.”
By Kristina Houck
After a decade of service to Solana Beach, the city’s council members, staff and firefighters bid farewell to Fire Battalion Chief Dismas Abelman at the start of the Sept. 10 council meeting.
“We’re certainly going to miss you, Dismas,” said Mayor Thomas Campbell. “On behalf of the entire City Council, we would like to thank you for your service and your loyalty to our fine community.”
Although an employee of Solana Beach, Abelman is based at the Leucadia station. Through a shared fire services agreement, he has served the communities of Solana Beach, Del Mar and Encinitas for 10 years.
“It’s the best career,” said Abelman, who thanked the community for its support and acknowledged Heidi, his wife of 12 years, and their three children, ages 9, 7 and 5.
“I’m just humbled and honored to be able to do it, and I’m grateful to work in such a great community.”
On behalf of the city, Solana Beach City Manager David Ott presented Abelman with a glass case, holding his badge, the department patch and pictures.
“Dis, you’ve grown so much since I’ve known you,” said Ott, who worked alongside Abelman when they both served as firefighters in Coronado.
“His value to the fire service — I have never questioned. He understands what it means to be in the fire service, what a privilege it is to be in the fire service — the ability to help people in sometimes their darkest hour. Dis has always understood that.”
Echoing Ott’s sentiment, Fire Chief Mike Daigle thanked Abelman for his service and praised him for his honesty and integrity.
“He’s been a leader, a mentor and a friend to a lot of us in this room,” Daigle said.
Abelman’s official last day as battalion chief is Sept. 19, but because he’s working a 24-hour shift, he’ll get off work the next morning. He will soon begin a new job as emergency services manager for UC San Diego.
“My goal is to leave the community and fire department a little bit better than I found it, and I hope that I did,” Abelman said. “The more you try and give, the more you get back in return. I came and I tried to do good, and it’s come back to me in spades.”
For the past 13 years, Del Mar residents have placed 3,000 flags at Powerhouse Park to remember those who died in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Envisioned by Del Mar artist Barbara Krystoff-Scott, the “Silent Tribute” takes about four hours to complete with help from students from the nearby Winston School.
Thank you Carmel Valley, for your great turnout at the Aug. 28 Carmel Valley Planning Board meeting. More than 400 of you attended to voice your opposition to this One Paseo, many of you standing for hours to add your applause as we exposed Kilroy’s many incorrect statements and exaggerations. And once again prevailed on them to propose a smaller mixed use project, reiterating the key question: Does it really serve our community to accept 1.2 million square feet of additional office towers and residential units– over 80 percent of this One Paseo proposal — just to add the new shopping, dining and entertainment choices we want?
Inside the auditorium not only did the more than 400 “NO on THIS One Paseo” badges far outnumber One Paseo’s pretty blue support ones, but it was quickly clear to all that most of theirs were worn by Kilroy employees, paid consultants, and hopeful contractors. The audience continually questioned (and often ridiculed) the credibility of Kilroy’s stream of consultants, while waves of applause accompanied Supervisor Dave Roberts and the What Price Main Street speakers. Their criticisms of Kilroy’s weak defense of the negative impacts of this proposed over-building loudly resonated with the majority. And as the meager support for this One Paseo dissipated, Kilroy supporters who submitted speaker slips disappeared into the night, name after name being called with no response, while a steady stream of opposition speakers garnered more crowd applause.
As to Kilroy’s accusations that some of What Price Main Street’s signatures are “from other states and countries,” we will gladly present our over 4,000 unique signatures from 92130 and 92014 residents and businesses for audit, and challenge you Kilroy to do the same if you really have the support you claim.
Once again, thank you Carmel Valley community for emphatically expressing your opposition to this One Paseo. Our collective goal continues to be to compel Kilroy to listen to the community, rein in their dreams of mega-profits, and come back to the Planning Board with a similar high-quality, mixed-use project in a smaller scale with far less of the elements we don’t value. One that better fits our community character and ability to absorb the increased traffic. Please attend this Thursday night’s 7 p.m. Planning Board meeting at Canyon Crest Academy to re-emphasize your feelings before the board votes!
Carmel Valley resident and retired commercial real estate executive
I was thrilled to see how many people attended the Aug. 28 Carmel Valley Planning Board meeting to express their opposition to Kilroy’s One Paseo project. County Supervisor Dave Roberts even showed up to voice his concerns. It was inspiring to see the community united against this project.
To see everyone in the community make the effort to come to out to this meeting on the Thursday before a long weekend and on a back-to-school night speaks volumes about how deeply the community would like to see something smaller on this site. I think it is safe to say that Kilroy can no longer make any credible claim that their interests reflect the will of the greater Carmel Valley community. This demonstration of opposition, from the hundreds that packed the auditorium and spilled over outside to those who spoke passionately about this project’s impacts, proves the community’s true opposition to this project. One only had to look around the auditorium and see Kilroy and its consultants, squeezed into the front of the auditorium and completely engulfed by a crowd of Carmel Valley residents wearing “No On THIS One Paseo” buttons, to know where the community stands.
I am committed to stand with my community again in opposition to the current One Paseo project at the Sept. 11 Carmel Valley Community Planning Board meeting to urge the board’s rejection of this inappropriate project. I urge others to join me.
This debate has too often become monopolized by the loud and abrasive voices of those who not only oppose One Paseo, but really oppose any change or growth within our community. In the most recent planning board meeting we heard negative comments such as residents of Carmel Valley “don’t like to walk” in their community and more residential development means more “unwanted” people would live in Carmel Valley. This sort of narrow mindedness and resistance to smart growth belongs to the voices of a small minority that are simply anti-anything.
I have read parts of the EIR, attended planning board meetings, read many letters to the editor, and talked about this project with my neighbors. It seems that Kilroy has effectively addressed all the complaints while maintaining the character of their mixed use development. The density has decreased, the traffic issues mostly mitigated, and the streetscape softened. In addition, the developers will be adding many infrastructure upgrades to the community with far-reaching benefits beyond the small foot print of One Paseo
A project like One Paseo is necessary and a good fit for our community. Carmel Valley is a highly desirable place to live and raise a family. With the influx of people looking to become a part of our community comes a need for increased dining and shopping options as well as housing options. One Paseo was designed to provide all of that while blending into the heart of our community. On the one hand, a previous proposal to put “Big Box” stores at this site was rightfully shot down. On the other hand, adding another cluster of office buildings in this prime central location adds nothing to our community. Adhering rigidly to a 30-year-old community plan is the wrong approach to our rapidly changing region. It has been a long time since Carmel Valley was farmland and it is time to recognize that it already is a densely populated, truly suburban mixed use tract.
I look forward to taking my family to a place where we can grab dinner, watch a movie, or browse a farmers market. All these amenities will be close enough to reach on foot or bike – providing options that allow people to be less dependent on their car. Residents will be less likely to leave Carmel Valley to seek their entertainment while creating jobs locally, increasing the tax base, and taking cars off our freeways.
Carmel Valley resident
Volleyball players Shane Flannery (above), age 12, from Solana Beach, and his partner from Carlsbad, Shane Graff, also 12, competed in the Cal Cup Tournament in Manhattan Beach on Labor Day as the representatives of San Diego for their age group.
“The Shanes” took 5th place, which means that they are the #5 ranked team in California for Beach Volleyball aged 12 and under. During the pool play component of the tournament they almost beat the number one seeded team, losing 22-20 in a very tight match. Considering that they only knew each other for four weeks, their combined tournament record of 8-3 is impressive.
As previously reported, “The Shanes” won the California Beach Volleyball Association 12U Tournament in Ocean Beach on Aug. 13. The boys went undefeated after being paired together by Matt Olson from the Wave Volleyball Club. As a result, they moved on to compete in the Cal Cup Tournament in Manhattan Beach.
Local soccer club Borussia Del Mar (BDM) enjoyed its first summer of competitive soccer by entering three tournaments. The three BDM teams did very well as they played for 10 wins, 11 loses and 3 ties. The most notable accomplishment was the BDM boys U-9 team winning the club’s first championship, the Crown City Classic in Coronado. The three teams are entered in the Presidio soccer competitive fall league. The teams’ home games are at Carmel Creek Elementary School in Carmel Valley. The club looks to grow and add more teams next season. To find out information on competitive tryouts, camps, and Sunday soccer clinics, please visit www.borussiadelmar.com.
BDM was established in 2012 and has held many successful camps and Sunday soccer clinics. The next scheduled event is the Fall Sunday League at Carmel Creek Elementary School starting on Sunday, Sept. 21. The fall league is ideal for players of all levels ages 5 – 12. The league is especially beneficial to players that are already signed up with clubs, there is no conflict. All players ages 5 – 12 are welcome and are eligible to participate. It is not too late to sign up online or visit www.borussiadelmar.com to download a mail in registration form.
For more information email Tommy Maurer at email@example.com.
This letter was sent to the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board and to this newspaper for publication:
Dear Chairman White and Members of the Carmel Valley Planning Board,
I’m a business owner in Carmel Valley and I love this community! My business is expanding and I looked at other areas when considering relocating but now that I am in Carmel Valley, I never want to leave it. However, there are some real challenges here. I find it very difficult to stop in to the shopping centers and restaurants in both Del Mar Highlands and Piazza Carmel. Parking is not only difficult but drivers are very aggressive. All parking lots are dangerous but these two seem to be unusually difficult. I find it too stressful to go to these centers so I avoid those areas and simply walk next door to the Marriott for client meetings or drive to Del Mar.
As a project in whole, these work/live/play communities are very appealing to Millennials. Our future as a city is dependent on what attracts and retains the best and brightest. One Paseo is amenity, community and feature rich and appeals to young singles and families alike. They don’t like to drive.
A mixed-use project naturally encourages us to be less dependent on our cars by having most of what we need in one convenient location. This means fewer trips from place to place and, therefore, fewer cars on the road. All of the amenities including over 10 acres of usable space for farmers’ markets and community functions promotes a friendly environment for all residents and enhances the character of the community.
As a county, San Diego needs this type of community in every area, not just downtown, if we want to attract the best talent.
I would like to express my support for the One Paseo project. I have watched the progress of One Paseo and have been impressed at the evolution of this project! I suspect the feedback from your board and the rest of the community has played a significant role in making this project become the project it has evolved to.
Carmel Valley is a family-oriented area and it truly lacks a central place where we can meet friends in an open and outdoor environment, much like the cafes of Europe. It will give character, a personality, a central heart to this lovely community.
Thank you for your time, dedication and consideration.
Carmel Valley Business Owner
The Surf Academy Select BU8 Boys are ready to kick off an amazing season! The Surf Boys U8 Team recently played together for the first time in the Notts Forest Soccer Tournament. The Surf U8 Boys, led by Coach Mario Mrakovic, played up in the U9 bracket, yet still dominated the competition scoring a total of 29 goals during the 5 game tournament. Of the 5 games, 3 were shut out games and only 5 goals total were shot against the team throughout the entire tournament. The Surf U8 Boys were the undisputed champions and were thrilled to take home the trophy on Labor Day weekend!
The Del Mar Powerhouse 13U baseball team reached the championship game of the USSSA Patriot tournament held in San Clemente on the weekend of Sept. 6-7. The team played a solid weekend of baseball, earning the #2 seed after impressive pool play victories, and facing the #1 seed in the Championship game.