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Updated: 4 min 34 sec ago

‘Hallow II’ nightclub-style fundraising event to be held exclusively for high schoolers

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 17:41

Calling all high school students in San Diego for a nightclub–styled charity event on Nov. 1! NL Productions presents “Hallow II,” a one–night nightclub from 7:30-11:30 p.m. at the Rancho Santa Fe Community Center, with a Halloween theme that’s exclusive to San Diego high school students. The event fosters a safe, drug- and alcohol-free environment while maintaining an exciting and energetic club-like atmosphere.

Hallow II will bring together high school students throughout San Diego. One-hundred percent of net profits will be donated to Just in Time for Foster Youth, an organization that aids foster youth transitioning into young adulthood by providing a network of caring and supportive adult role models.

Professional performances will include some of San Diego’s top club and EDM DJ’s, such as ElezD, Preston Morrill, Ayla Simone, and Mr. Dee Jay. Event sponsors include Audio Design Rentals, Rancho Santa Fe Community Center, and 2nd Street Printing.

This event is only for high school students. Attendees must present a valid school ID or drivers license to show they are ages 14 through 18. The Rancho Santa Fe Community Center is at 5970 La Sendita, Rancho Santa Fe, 92067. Enter parking lot at intersection of La Sendita and Avenida de Acacias. Parking is available right outside venue, and signs will direct where to go.

Visit; Facebook Event:
/729561497099705; Twitter Updates: @theHallowII

Home of the Week – 16862 Stagecoach Pass Rancho Santa Fe

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 09:00
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16862 Stagecoach Pass Rancho Santa Fe

“Swinging on a Star” (Bing Crosby hit song) is how you will feel in this classic Crosby Estate El Encanto home. Great floor plan with master on the main floor, 2 good sized bedrooms and baths plus  bonus room up, and attached guest casita with separate entrance. Three car attached garage tandem plus single. Travertine floors in most areas with wood floors in master and casita. Inviting firepit, BBQ area plus just enough grassy area. Located on a lovely cul de sac.

Offered at $1,357,000

Orva Harwood


CA BRE Lic #00761267

Students can have school choice and boundaries

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 08:35

I attended the recent superintendent’s forum at Canyon Crest Academy, and I think those sorts of opportunities for the district to communicate directly with parents are invaluable.

But I feel it is not necessary to characterize the school choice issue as either we have choice or we have boundaries. That limited, two-sided view is polarizing the situation and now requires a facilitator to solve. You can have both.

Students who are in the Torrey Pines boundary area, for example, can still choose to attend whatever school in the district they want. If there is no room at the school they choose, then their default is to attend the school closest to them, which is Torrey Pines.  That is all that the parents who live near San Dieguito Academy are asking for. If they don’t get into their first-choice school, let their default school be the one closest to them. If the district draws boundaries, it does not mean that every student must go to their boundary school. It does not mean the lottery or choice process has to stop.

That would be sad if it were the case, because our district prides itself on the unique school environments available to their students. I have three kids and I could very easily see them attending three different schools.

The district can draw boundaries and then proceed with the system as it is now. Keep the lottery in place and use the inter-district transfer process (as is done with the middle schools) to allow students to choose their schools. Only on the rare occasions (according to the district’s own statistics) when demand exceeds capacity will geography come into play, allowing priority for those students within the boundary of the school to attend first, and then admitting others if there is room.

I look forward to the task force examination of the issue. I believe there is a solution that will preserve the character of the district and offer true choice.

Rimga Viskanta

Patriotism is in my DNA

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 08:34

Dave Roberts

By Supervisor Dave Roberts

About a year ago, I told members of the Escondido Rotary Club that I was a 11th-generation American, a descendant of English immigrants who crossed the Atlantic in the early 1600s  in search of better lives.

After my speech, a cheerful Rotarian asked whether the name Samuel Roberts meant anything to me. He was one of my great-grandparents, I said. He lived in the colony of Connecticut in the mid-1600s and was a politically connected patriot.

The Rotarian, a community volunteer named Arlene Schuster, said she, too, was related to Samuel Roberts. Thus began a great friendship with my eighth cousin.

Among other interests, Arlene is a skilled detective of our family’s genealogy. She told me she happened to be investigating the Roberts branch of her family tree when I met her at the Rotary luncheon.

Since then, we have talked often about our common bloodlines and the latest findings of her research. Earlier this month, as part of my semi-annual trip to visit my parents, the two of us met in Connecticut for some in-person sleuthing.

We spent many hours exploring cemeteries in Windsor, Hartford and Middletown. We took notes and photographed the headstones of our forefathers.

To gain access to the Riverside Cemetery in Middletown, our first stop was at the larger Union Hill Cemetery, where the keeper sent us to a fire station to ask for the key. We did that. We then parked at a diner and walked around back to find a trail that cut through the woods to the Riverside Cemetery gates, which turned out to be open.

A groundskeeper was tending to a newly seeded lawn. Riverside Cemetery — like so many others throughout New England — is a point of pride for the community and is very well-kept, even though a railroad crosses right through it.

In short order, we confirmed that between the two of us, nine of our great-grandfathers were interred at the Riverside Cemetery.

We also confirmed that at least 20 of my direct antecedents served in the Revolutionary War. Their ranks ranged from privates to generals.

I have clear memories of my grandparents holding elected office when I was a boy. With Arlene’s help, I discovered that politics run much further through my family tree.

One of our great-grandfathers served as the first colonial governor of Connecticut. Later, a second great-grandfather held the same position.

Arlene’s earlier research proved that one of our antecedents, Oliver Walcott, signed the Declaration of Independence. Other relatives had served as cabinet members to early presidents of the republic.

Members of the Roberts line were founders of towns. They served as magistrates and held other important positions.

“Our ancestors were distinguished people all the way back,” Arlene said. “I didn’t find any murderers.”

That’s good to know!

Earlier this year, I was proud to be inducted officially as a Son of the American Revolution.

I love my country. I often feel as if patriotism is stamped into my genes. With Arlene’s help, I can now say proudly that that is the case.

Dave Roberts represents the Third District on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.

Unique Solana Beach quilt to be raffled at holiday luncheon

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 08:28

(L-R) Lenore Dale and Pam Dalton with the special quilt.

The Arts/Craft Group of the Solana Beach Civic & Historical Society has created a beautiful quilt depicting many scenes of Solana Beach. This special quilt is on display in City Hall. It will be displayed at the Solana Beach Library in late October and also at the Craft Boutique on Nov. 15.

The quilt will be a raffle item at the Civic & Historical Society holiday luncheon in December. Tickets are $5 and may be purchased at the Craft Boutique and from members before the luncheon. Call Pam Dalton at 858-755-8574.

Carmel Valley author seasons ‘Halloween Stew’ to young readers’ taste

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 01:00

Jane Meyers’ book, ‘Halloween Stew,’ got rave reviews from first-grade students at Sage Canyon School.

By Karen Billing

It started as a “teeny little” book for her five grandchildren in 2010, a story about a crabby witch who didn’t like to share. Now Carmel Valley’s Jane Meyers is hoping to serve up “Halloween Stew” to a broader group of young readers.

Meyers’ first children’s book was printed just two weeks ago by eFrog Press in Carlsbad, on the eve of this year’s holiday, but Meyers and illustrator Cecelia Blomberg are hoping to do a big marketing push for next year’s Halloween. They already have interest from Bank Street Bookstore in New York for 2015, but this year it will be the only Halloween book carried in Thinker Things in Solana Beach. It is also available   on and as an e-book.

Every Thursday for the past four years, Meyers has volunteered at Sage Canyon School in Jodi Lack’s first-grade classroom. Last week, Lack invited Meyers to read “Halloween Stew” to her students. The kids were engaged in the story as the once-stingy witch learned about friendship and how sharing can be the best treat of all.

“It was really the coolest thing ever,” Meyers said. “They loved it so much and applauded at the end. One little girl said, ‘I like how you read it,’ and they all wanted to get the book because they loved the pictures. And they really got the message, they talked about how the witch changes.

“It was just priceless. It was the best thing to happen since I started this process.”

‘Halloween Stew’ by Jane Meyers features illustrations by Cecilia Blomberg.

A retired educator, Meyers spent 30 years in education as a teacher and administrator.

She taught at Loma Portal Elementary in Point Loma for 10 years, went on to teach junior high at Bell Middle School in San Diego and then went to the San Diego County Office of Education as a language arts coordinator. She ended her career serving as the director of reading and language arts for the county.

Upon her retirement in 2006, she started working with friend Ellie Topolovac’s non-profit Books and Beyond, which provides literacy programs for families and communities. Topolovac is a retired Solana Beach School District superintendent.

The inspiration for “Halloween Stew,” her grandchildren, now range in age from 6 to 14: Owen Ruff, a first-grader at Sage Canyon School; Andrew Ricci, a third-grader at Solana Highlands; Katherine Ruff, a third-grader at Sage Canyon School; Megan Ricci, a seventh- grader at Carmel Valley Middle; and Kaelyn Ricci, a freshman at Torrey Pines High.

Meyers has lived in Carmel Valley for the past seven years and she loves being close to her grandkids — she’s able to walk to pick up Andrew from school, and she loves their walks home, where he talks nonstop about his day.

After the book’s humble original became a favorite, her family encouraged her to publish it.

“It’s in rhyme, and I’m not a poet,” Meyers said. “The revisions were in the hundreds.”

She worked with several poets to get the rhymes and rhythms just right.

Illustrator Blomberg, who lives in Seattle, is one of Meyers’ closest friends. Their husbands were fraternity brothers, and she’d always admired her talented friend’s work.

She gave Blomberg full artistic license to bring the witch to life — wild, curly hair and rolled-up jeans under her black cloak and stew-stirring apron.

“The story remained the same but some parts I put into the book because of Cecelia’s pictures,” Meyers said. “She enhanced the story with her illustrations; she just made it better.”

The witch is a loner who each Halloween cooks up some Halloween stew made with tasty ingredients like wiggly worms, mosquito wings, frog legs and apple cores. She doesn’t want to share it with anyone, so she cooks it in a secret spot — but the bubbles made from her brewing attract creatures and ghosts who want to have a taste.

She tries to fly away with her stew, but her broom breaks, and all the creatures end up eating the spoils.

All of the witch’s perceived enemies are actually such big fans of the stew that they offer to build her a new titanium broom with special hooks so she can safely fly with her brew. The witch is so happy to have finally made some friends that her whole attitude changes:

“Zibbly-zoo! What a switcheroo! … With my new broom as you can see, I am no longer Mean-Witch-Me!”

To pair with the book, Blomberg and Meyers came up with a Halloween Stew recipe that parents can have fun making with their children, with ingredients like black rice for fleas and bugs, roasted red peppers for wiggly worms, and fennel fronds for moss. The pointy ends of dark kale leaves act as lizard tails.

“It’s really fun, because it’s very good, and the kids like it,” said Meyers, who’s brewed it up multiple times to be sure.

The recipe is written so kids can dump the ingredients in, just like the witch would.

Find the recipe, as well as activities to accompany the book, on the website,

Art viewers are on display in Canyon Crest Academy’s ‘Museum’

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 01:00

Brooke Patterson with Phillip Magin in ‘Museum.’

By Diane Y. Welch

If modern art has you baffled, the play “Museum” by Tina Howe, opening Nov. 7 at the Proscenium Theatre at Canyon Crest Academy in Carmel Valley, will make it crystal clear.

But rather than gaining clarity about fine art, it’s the wacky characters viewing the art who are truly the exhibits. And the plot will make it hard not to laugh throughout the entire production, said cast member Brooke Patterson.

The comedic play takes place on the last day of a fictitious art show, “The Broken Silence,” in a New York museum. Its title represents the snippets of chatter that the audience overhears as people pass through the exhibition and make comments.

This commentary introduces “humans that we know very little about,” said Jason Maddy, the play’s director, one of CCA’s professional visiting artists. “They are much like people we pass on the street or at Starbucks, living their lives in the presence of art. And along the way, we get to laugh.”

Howe’s interpretation of this melting pot of characters, from the often-lofty aficionados who view and appreciate modern art, to the everyday person, beckons the audience to look at themselves, too.

During the exhibition’s last day the audience meets a cross-section of society: art lovers, skeptics, students, lost souls, fellow artists, museum guards and more.

Brooke, a CCA senior, plays Tink Solheim, a young woman “deeply invested in one of the artists on exhibition (who) embarks on an existential mission to uncover the secrets in her artwork.”

Howe uses well-crafted writing to portray a candid view of people in general, said Brooke. “This play is so smart and so honest … an amazing example of a great, farcical piece of writing, and it’s hard not to love each of the characters in the show.”

Twenty-seven cast members play 40 characters in ‘Museum.’ ‘The whole cast tells this story, like an ensemble,’ says one actor.

Twenty-seven cast members play 40 characters with brisk entrances and exits that require perfectly choreographed timing, yet each portrays a clear picture of their character.

Jacob Surovsky, a CCA junior, plays Bob Lamb, a patron of the modern arts who is “very full of himself.” No character is considered a lead role, said Jacob. “The whole cast tells this story, like an ensemble.”

To understand the show’s concept, cast members researched museums and works of art by acclaimed artists. “We recently got to hear a speaker discuss a prominent modern artist’s work and how his pieces are created and inspired,” said Jacob, which offered an insight into the mind of a modern artist.

There is also a theme to CCA ’s theater season this year, said Maddy, “about outsiders and their effect on society, whether positive or negative.”

“Museum” is full of outsiders “who actually want to be a part of something or think they are a part of something, but really discover they are alone,” he explained.

The show has so many different characters and opinions that each audience member will take away from the show whatever speaks to them the most, said Jacob.

“Much like modern art, this play isn’t a fixed image, but a jumbling of ideas that the observer, not the creator, gets to decide the true meaning of,” he added.

The way people are “is truly hilarious when you look at them from an outside perspective,” said Brooke. “I really hope that people will walk away (from the show) being able to laugh at themselves and laugh at how humans behave.”

For tickets, visit Tickets range from $13 for adults to $6 for students. Showtimes for  “Museum” performances are 7 p.m. on  Nov. 7, 8, 14 and 15 and 4 p.m. on  Nov. 13.

Canyon Crest Proscenium Theatre is at 5951 Village Center Loop Road, San Diego.

“Canyon Crest Academy delivers not only an outstanding education but has the unique Envision arts program supported by donation dollars. Envision utilizes working artists as instructors.  These professional artists work with the visual and performing arts students to deliver an outstanding arts experience at a professional level.  CCA’s theater program has won numerous awards and recognition. Performances are known as above and beyond a ‘high school theater show.’  The Canyon Crest Academy Foundation is a parent-led 501(c)(3) organization providing fantastic opportunities across academics, athletics, and the arts, and creating an environment where students can thrive. The mission of CCA and CCAF is to ‘enrich the experience of every student, every day.’ Your tax-deductible donation to the CCA Foundation is vitally needed to continue our support of these programs. You can donate online at”

Del Mar Powerhouse 10U champs in XDS Battle of the Bats tournament

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 01:00

Del Mar Powerhouse 10U are champs in the XDS Battle of the Bats Tournament.

Del Mar Powerhouse 10U boys earned their first tournament championship of the season last weekend in the XDS Battle of the Bats tournament played in Chula Vista.  The boys earned  the No. 1 seed after pool play and a decisive semifinal victory set them up for a hard-fought championship game.  The boys were trailing the entire game until the fourth inning, when the bats came alive and a walk-off single in the bottom of the sixth inning gave them the 5-4 championship victory.

Back row (L-R): Head Coach James Meador, Coach Austin Green.

Middle row: Kian Sanchez, Chopper Correia, Brandon Choy, Zach Isaacman, Jake Altman, Eric Van Valkenburg, Clark Caspersen, Nathan Samudio.

Front row: Nathan Lesher, Danny Eisendrath.

Canyon Crest Academy freshman girls volleyball team reaches semis

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 01:00

Canyon Crest Academy freshman girls volleyball team.

The Canyon Crest freshman girls volleyball team made the semifinals in the Wolverine Frosh Showcase 2014. Pictured, front row (L-R): Jessie Fleck, Taylor Chmelka, Jill Yamanishii, Evie Graham, Sarah Cheney.

Second row: Carissa Yamanishi, Erin McBurnett, Madeline Wallace, Chloe Mills, Hannah Musgrave, Sharon Kravzov, Jordan Klair, Samantha Skinner, Peyton Cameron and Coach Shaina Katibian.

Hard choice: Del Mar’s Eucalyptus Stoneware company closing doors

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 09:00

Eucalyptus Stoneware owner John Laver with his iconic handmade baskets. Photo by Kristina Houck

By Kristina Houck

Whether holding fruit or warming bread, baskets from Eucalyptus Stoneware have become the centerpiece of thousands of kitchens across America. But after 40 years in business, the Del Mar company is closing its doors.

“It’s comforting to know that we have made as many people happy as we have,” said founder and owner John Laver. “It’s just time to close.”

Located along the banks of the San Dieguito River Lagoon, Eucalyptus Stoneware has manufactured an estimated 1.5 million bread baskets over the past four decades.

While other manufacturers reinvent their products to stay relevant and keep up with the latest trends, the local company’s baskets have never changed. It’s the simple, open-weave design that makes Eucalyptus Stoneware baskets better, Laver said.

“I think the design is perfect,” he said. “You can put this basket in a traditional kitchen. You can put this basket in a modern kitchen. It goes everywhere.”

A Los Angeles native, Laver grew up working with his grandfather, an Italian sculptor. While majoring in psychology at San Jose State, his experience in a ceramics class prompted him to minor in the craft.

“I always enjoyed working with my hands,” Laver said. “And when I first took a class in college, the first five minutes were inspirational. I knew that it was something I was going to do.”

After a brief stint as a teacher, Laver began working for a clay supplier in the same building where his company is now. The Encinitas resident decided to open his own business a few months later in 1974.

In 1979, Laver created an open-weave stoneware planter he intended to fill with greenery. When a friend pointed out it would make a great bread basket, an industry was born.

“I remember where I was when he told me that,” Laver said. “The light bulb came on.”

At one point, Eucalyptus Stoneware baskets were sold in more than 2,400 mom-and- pop stores across the country. High-end retailers such as Macy’s, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom have also sold the handmade, ovenproof baskets, which are available in several sizes and 16 colors.

In 1990, the baskets were introduced to Williams-Sonoma’s catalog and stores. The retailer became Eucalyptus Stoneware’s biggest client.

“We started them, invented them and perfected the idea,” Laver said. “We got them out there into the world, and it’s become an iconic product.”

With the rise of big-box stores, however, Laver’s mom-and-pop clients began closing their doors. The company was hit hard during the recession and never truly bounced back.

Over the years, Laver has employed as many as 26 people at his shop at 2201 San Dieguito Drive in Del Mar. He had 11 people on staff in July, when the final baskets were produced. With just a few employees left, he is now cleaning up the shop and selling his equipment.

Although the shelves will soon be empty, Laver has no plans to abandon his craft. Once the shop closes, he intends to work at his friend’s Encinitas-based stoneware shop, The Wheel.

“It’s what I was meant to do,” Laver said. “I still enjoy it.”

His workplace is what he’ll miss.

“Del Mar has been good to me,” Laver said as he looked out at the lagoon. “This view has been wonderful. We get to watch the tide come in and go out, and come in and go out. It’s one of the reasons I stayed in this place for 40 years. More than the pottery, that’s what I’ll miss.”

Call 858-755-5656 or visit

‘The more we talk about this, the less shame there will be’

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 09:00

• Actor Joe Pantoliano shares experiences with mental illness, addiction at International Bipolar Foundation luncheon: ‘We all have our stories to tell’

By Ashley Mackin

Actor Joe Pantoliano discussed his struggles with mental health and addiction at an appearance for the International Bipolar Foundation. "I don’t know why there is so much shame in having what a lot of people have," he said. "I just don’t get it."

Joe Pantoliano, the actor known for his roles in “Risky Business,” “The Sopranos,” “The Fugitive,” “The Matrix” and “Memento,” spoke Oct. 8 in La Jolla at the International Bipolar Foundation luncheon to address the importance of open and non-judgmental dialogue when discussing mental illness.

In 2006, Pantoliano produced and starred in “Canvas” with Marcia Gay Harden, the story of a family affected by mental illness, based on a true story. Inspired by that role, he founded No Kidding, Me Too, a nonprofit dedicated to removing shame or embarrassment when talking about mental illness, and directed a documentary of the same name.

By sharing his personal struggle with lifelong depression and addiction, he said he hopes to encourage others to do the same.

“Living in secrecy and shame from the discrimination that shrouds (mental illness) has got to end,” he said. “I don’t know why there is so much shame in having what a lot of people have. I just don’t get it.”

Pantoliano explained that although his career was going strong, there was “an emptiness” inside him and a pain he didn’t want to feel. So he turned to drugs and alcohol, at one time taking 25 Vicodin a day.

“Mental disease and addiction go hand in hand, and in my case, my addictions were born out of my emotional disease and emotional unbalance,” he said. “For me, drugs and alcohol were painkillers. What I was doing was trying to avoid a pain inside of me, and I was looking for a way out.”

Pantoliano talked openly and candidly about his experiences, including his challenge with dyslexia as a child.

“When I was auditioning for a high school play, I had to have my sister read the play to me and I would memorize the part I was auditioning for, and I pretended I was reading off the page,” he said. “I did that for 15 years.”

Happy to share his story, he added, “The more we talk about this, the less shame there will be. We all have our stories to tell, and when we share our stories, we feel less alone.”

Pantoliano had the opportunity to share his story through 12-step recovery programs, where, he said, “people know what it’s like to be you and be in your head.”

Now sober, he said he believes in the power of recovery programs and “finding your tribe,” but also believes in preventing the sense of stigma in children.

“People see it as a reflection of themselves when their child is diagnosed with something. They ask themselves what they did wrong. I think (a better idea) is early prevention,” he said.

“Starting with kids as young as preschool, teach them that it’s cool to have feelings. Make it socially acceptable to have emotions.”

He contends that children need to be told it is OK to have and express their positive and negative emotions; otherwise, they might turn to drugs to avoid feeling them.

International Bipolar Foundation co-founder Lisa Weinreb, San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis (who attended, but did not speak), IBF co-founder Muffy Walker, speaker Joe Pantoliano, IBF co-founders Lynn Muto and Karen Sheffres. Photos by Ashley Mackin.

Pantoliano’s lecture, and the luncheon itself, was held the day before National Bipolar Awareness Day, and the kickoff of the Say It Forward campaign. During the campaign, which closed Oct. 12, those with mental health problems were encouraged to use social media to share their stories using the #SayItForward tag to educate their friends.

In 2012, The Say It Forward campaign reached 10,000 people, and in 2013, more than 1 million people. Numbers for the 2014 campaign are still coming in.

International Bipolar Foundation co-founder Muffy Walker announces the Make Someone Happy campaign.

International Bipolar Foundation co-founder Muffy Walker said “The concept ‘pay it forward’ means to perform a selfless good deed for someone. ‘Say It Forward’ does the same by speaking out against stigma. ‘Say It Forward’ will encourage people to bust it and show the world that mental conditions such as bipolar disorder can affect anyone, and there is no shame in it.”

In an ongoing effort, Walker also announced the Make Someone Happy campaign, and challenged each attendee to make three people happy. To help, the Bipolar Foundation distributed red clown noses, and asked guests to put the nose on and send a photo to someone who could use a laugh.

The International Bipolar Foundation provides free and globally accessible resources for mental health support. It also hosts quarterly lectures in La Jolla, and an annual “Behind the Mask” gala in May.

Last year, David Russell, writer-director of “Silver Linings Playbook” was honored. This year’s event, “Changing the Game of Stigma,” promises to be big, with Walker hinting that NBA basketball player Metta World Peace (born Ron Artest) will attend.

On the Web:

• Bipolar Foundation:

• No Kidding, Me Too:

AutoMatters+: Red Bull Global Rallycross Los Angeles

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 15:52

Ken Block flying over the jump

By Jan Wagner

I grew up in Western Canada, which is where I learned to drive. Out in the country, there was one four-lane paved highway between the two major cities, a few two-lane paved highways leading to the smaller cities and towns, and a lot of gravel and dirt roads in between.

Close racing through a turn.

There in rural Alberta, grazing cattle seemed to easily outnumber the people, and traffic was very light. Driving north, it was not uncommon to travel for long distances without seeing anyone.

Blasting along those unpaved roads at high speeds was fun, drifting around the turns and over the “whoop-de-dos” (dips and rises), leaving flying gravel and thick clouds of dust in my wake. Rallying was a popular form of motorsports there.

Marking the tire pressure.

Here in Southern California, especially these days, driving between cities is quite different. There are people and buildings almost everywhere. Gravel roads are a rarity, and the traffic is much, much heavier. It would be absolutely reckless to drift around turns and push cars to their limits of adhesion.

Red Bull Global Rallycross ( has brought the motor sport of rallying to Los Angeles. Rallycrosses are held on short, temporary courses, so that spectators can see all of the action. The course layouts typically consist of a combination of paved and dirt sections, as well as a thrilling big jump — where cars catch lots of air as they fly upwards of 70 feet, often side by side and sometimes landing hard on their noses — all of which make for exciting photo opportunities.

Rhys Millen, Tanner Foust and Tommy Kendall.

The cars, wrapped in colorful racing graphics, are small, powerful and loud, similar to what Ken Block drives in his amazing stunt-driving videos. There are two classes: Lites and Supercars.

Supercars begin life as production vehicles, but they are then heavily modified — for performance and safety. They put up to 600 horsepower to the ground through all-wheel drive. Zero to 60 takes less than two seconds. The official series manufacturers are Ford, Subaru, Volkswagen, Hyundai and Chevrolet.

The purpose-built, all-wheel drive Lites are less powerful (310 horsepower), but are nevertheless very exciting for spectators to watch race.

Nelson Piquet Jr. signs autographs.

The cars are on track for practice sessions, qualifying and racing heats. The sessions are short, so the action is intense. The cars race closely together around the turns, and even over the jumps, bumping and banging in what is most definitely a contact sport. The races sometimes resemble demolition derbies.

To ensure close competition, in each race the drivers are allowed to take what is called a Joker lap, which shortcuts the track. Strategy comes into play here, since the drivers choose when to take their Joker lap — passing fellow competitors or at least extending their lead over them in the process.

Hard racing through a turn.

Drivers may be sent to cool off for a stop-and-go penalty in the penalty box for breaking rules such as jumping the start, overly aggressive driving or taking the Joker lap more than once.

Ken Block.

For the first time, this year’s Red Bull Rallycross was held near the waterfront at the Port of Los Angeles. A lap around the main part of the track was .586 miles, with just under 75 percent of that paved. The rest was dirt.

The international lineup of drivers included Tanner Foust (TV star of the U.S. version of “Top Gear”), Nelson Piquet Jr. (former Formula One driver), Ken Block, Scott Speed (former Formula One and NASCAR driver) and Rhys Millen (from the famous rally driver family).

There were two rounds of the series held in Los Angeles on this weekend, which produced two different winners. In Supercars, the winners were Scott Speed (#77 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Polo R) on Saturday and Rhys Millen (#67 Hyundai/Rhys Millen Racing Veloster Turbo) on Sunday.

Tanner Foust, driving for team Andretti (as in Michael Andretti, of IndyCar fame), debuted the new VW Beetle rallycross car. It had some teething problems, but it still managed to put on a thrilling show for the fans.

Supercars race winner Scott Speed.

The series finale of this year’s Red Bull Global Rallycross will be held in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Nov. 5, during the same week as the SEMA Show. The location will be at The LINQ, near the landmark giant wheel. AutoMatters+ will be there to cover it for you. Four drivers remain in contention for the Supercar series title: Joni Wiman, Ken Block, Nelson Piquet Jr. and Scott Speed. It should be very exciting.

The fences are there for a good reason.

As always, please write to with your comments and suggestions.

Travis Pastrana nosing it into the ground after the jump.

Copyright © 2014 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters+ #355r1

View from Red Bull Global Rallycross Los Angeles.

Thank you, Jans Towing.

Torrey Pines High School freshmen launch sack attack on Oceanside, win 35-20

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 15:09

Cleo Baker makes the tackle for Torrey Pines. The Falcons won 35-20. Photos by Claudia Perrone.

The 5-1 Oceanside Pirates visited Torrey Pines to play the 6-0 Falcons, and Torrey Pines won 35-20.

In the first quarter, Oceanside was held to one first down and 30 yards of offense in unofficial stats. Spencer Grant, Louis Bicket and Ethan Choi each made tackles in the backfield. Beau Morgans and Connor Munoz each deflected passes. Although the Falcons made no first downs, they scored two touchdowns on a 37-yard run by Sully O’Brien and a 53-yard run by Zack Friedland.

The second quarter was a field-position duel in Oceanside territory. Oceanside had 85 yards of offense to Torrey Pines’ 50 yards. But after an Oceanside punt from their own 17, the Falcons started at the Pirate 26. After Jack Nelson ran for a first down, the Falcons came back to him with a halfback pass from Beau Morgans for the touchdown.

Torrey Pines kept defensive pressure with sacks by Bickett and Grant. But outstanding scrambling ability by Pirate quarterback Jacob Bernard yielded a 49-yard completion to set up Oceanside’s first score. A 57-yard kickoff return by O’Brien put the Falcons on Oceanside’s 24, where Chris Temby threw a touchdown pass to O’Brien, 28-6.

TPHS player Louis Bickett sacks the quarterback.

The Falcons drove 57 yards on running by Nelson, O’Brien, and Friedland to make the score 35-6. Oceanside was held to one yard of offense in the third quarter. Sacks by Grant and Michael Perrone put the Pirates into fourth and 37 from their own 11.

The Falcons drove downfield, with Morgans picking up two first downs, including one set up with a fake by Temby, whom everyone, including the Pirates, thought still had the ball.

Oceanside had to play catch-up. Evan Kim sacked Bernard on a fourth-down attempt for a turnover on downs to start Torrey Pines at the Oceanside 47 to open the fourth quarter. Falcon coach Tim Staycer moved down his depth chart, giving many players playing time against a tough Oceanside team that would not surrender.

Quarterback Ethan Deller and running back Ben Simsiman showed poise under fierce Pirate defensive pressure, not making many yards but using up the clock.

Christopher Shimek made two solid tackles, and Cole Mihalinec and DJ Younkin each deflected Pirate passes. Oceanside managed two more touchdowns for a final score of 35-20.

On Oct. 23, Oceanside plays at Carlsbad while Torrey Pines hosts El Camino.

Del Mar Powerhouse 13U champs in XDS Battle of the Bats tournament

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 14:59

The Del Mar Powerhouse 13U team are champs in the XDS Battle of the Bats tournament.

Del Mar Powerhouse 13U boys captured the championship in the XDS Battle of the Bats tournament played in Chula Vista last weekend. Behind solid pitching and exceptional defense, the offensive execution was dominant, outscoring opponents 41-6 over 4 games. The boys earned  the No. 1 seed after pool play and continued their winning ways in a decisive 12-1 victory in the championship game. Coach Quillin commented, “Every player on the team that played contributed on multiple occasions whether it was a big hit, defensive play, pitching, base running, etc. The credit for the way we played goes to the kids’ as well as (the parents’) commitment to the team.”

Bottom row (L-R): Liam Brogan, Max Isaacman, Luke Evans, Ryan Kaney, Lucas Nelson, Frankie Loretta.

Back row: Coach Bryan Knapp, Ryan Rice, Zane Atiya, Nic Baum, Alex Wallace, Brandon Angel, Brent Peluso, Coach Jason Quillin, Coach Mark Loretta.

Week in sports for Carmel Valley, Del Mar, Solana Beach and Rancho Santa Fe

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 14:43

By Gideon Rubin


• A Santa Fe Christian team that started the season slowly has broken out into a full-blown sprint.

The Eagles, who lost their first three games, extended their winning streak to four games with a 51-33 victory Oct. 18 over Horizon Christian Academy in a Coastal League game.

Benton Weeks rushed for 197 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries as the Eagles rolled up 408 of their 460 yards on the ground.

Kevin Loney rushed for 74 yards and one touchdown on eight carries, and Sam Ray gained 68 yards and scored once on six carries.

Carter Roberts completed five of six pass attempts for 52 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. Roberts also rushed for 52 yards on 11 carries.

Caleb Armendariz contributed a four-yard scoring run.

Chris Hermes had nine tackles, and Ray and Gavin Dill each had nine tackles and two sacks to lead the Eagles defensively.

The Eagles improved to 2-0 in league and 4-3 overall for the season.

• La Costa Canyon showed its resiliency, but the plucky Mavericks ran out of comebacks in a tough 27-26 overtime loss to Carlsbad in an Avocado League West game on Oct. 17.

The Mavericks overcame 20-13 deficit in the final minute of regulation when quarterback Duke Mackle’s scoring run from the 7 tied the game.

Then, after Carlsbad scored on its opening possession of overtime to make it 27-20, the Mavericks answered with a 16-yard scoring pass of their own from Mackle to Chris Cassi.

The Mavericks attempted a potential game-winning two-point conversion, but they couldn’t convert it.

The Mavericks fell to 0-2 in league and 4-3 overall for the season.

• Cathedral Catholic continued its domination of Eastern League play with a 48-0 rout of Lincoln on October 17.

The victory extended the Dons’ winning streak to seven games since opening the season on the losing end of a lopsided 55-10 loss to Folsom.

The Dons have outscored their two league opponents by a combined 111-7.

Clayton Dale threw for two touchdowns to lead the Dons.

The Dons jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead in the first quarter on scoring runs by Drew Cowell and Adam Eastwood from eight and 30 yards out, respectively.

Hogan Irwin scored on a 3-yard run to make it 21-0, and Choyce Bostian III’s 16-yard interception return gave the Dons a 28-0 lead going into the intermission.

Dale connected with Cowell and Will Lamond on scoring passes from the 12 and the 4, respectively, that made it 42-0 in a third quarter that broke the game open.

Carter Hamilton added a 24-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter.

The Dons improved to 2-0 in league and 7-1 overall for the season.

• Torrey Pines lost to Oceanside 42-21 in an Avocado League West game on Oct. 17.

The Falcons rallied from an early 14-0 deficit, scoring twice in the second quarter on scoring runs by Sandy Plashkes and Christian Gange from the 1 and the 23-yard lines, respectively, to tie the game.

But Oceanside reeled off 28 unanswered points to put the game out of reach.

Murray Kim scored on an 8-yard run in the fourth quarter to make it 42-21.

The Falcons fell to 1-1 in league and 3-4 overall for the season.


• Cathedral Catholic went 4-2 at the prestigious fifth annual Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix.

The Dons won four of their last five matches after opening with a 2-0 loss (25-20, 25-20) on Oct. 17 to O’Connor of Phoenix.

They defeated Mayfield of Pasadena twice, including 2-1 in their final game on Oct. 18, in which Lauren Woodard had 13 kills to lead the Dons and Cambria Galloway added nine kills.

Jeni Clark had 19 assists and Lexi Dorn added 12 assists.

After the O’Connor game, they defeated Catalina Foothills of Tucson (Ariz.) 2-0 (25-11, 25-21) and Mayfield 2-1 (21-25, 25-22, 15-3) later in the day.

Woodard had 11 kills to lead the Dons in the Catalina Foothills game and Dorn added five kills.

Woodard had 10 kills to lead the Dons against Mayfield. Galloway contributed six kills and Madison Linxwiler added five kills.

Woodard had 11 kills to lead the Dons in a 2-0 (25-18, 25-17) win against Pacific Ridge and seven kills in a 2-0 loss (27-25, 25-20) to Horizon of Scottsdale (Ariz.) the next day.

The 72-team tournament was hosted by Chandler High.

The Dons improved their overall record for the season to 15-12.

• San Dieguito Academy lost to Del Norte 3-0 (25-17, 25-21, 25-16) in an Avocado League East match on Oct. 17.

Karina Langli had 10 kills to lead to the Mustangs and Emily Kimball added eight kills.

Megan Scherer and Lindsey King had 16 and 14 assists, respectively.

The loss followed a 3-0 (25-17, 27-25, 25-21) league victory over Escondido two days earlier.

Sarah Hyndman had eight kills on 12 attempts with no errors to lead the Mustangs.

Langli and Sarah Colla contributed 10 and nine kills, respectively.

King and Scherer had 17 and 13 assists, respectively.

The Mustangs fell to 3-1 in league and 17-10 overall for the season.

Testimony begins in trial of man accused of killing his mother in Solana Beach

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 14:17

By City News Service

Testimony began Oct. 22 in the sanity phase of trial of a man who killed his mother and chopped up her body in her Solana Beach home after she ended his access to her money.

Bryan Chang, 33, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder for the January 2010 death of 60-year-old Sherry Chu Chang.

The defense contends, however, that Bryan Chang was insane at the time of the killing. Opening statements in the sanity phase of trial were delivered Oct. 21 in the courtroom of Vista Judge Harry Elias.

The victim’s body was found Jan. 25, 2010 at her home after she didn’t show up for work. The defendant was arrested two nights later at his home in Los Angeles.

Sherry Chu Chang suffered 75 separate wounds, including blows to her arm, back and scalp, delivered by either a claw hammer, baseball bat or some other blunt force instrument, according to previous court testimony.

At a preliminary hearing in 2012, defense attorney Kathleen Cannon said her client smashed his mother’s skull, then cut up her body, putting an arm and some broken bones in the refrigerator.

Deputy District Attorney Rachel Solov said the victim had made changes to her accounts so that her son couldn’t get access to them through credit cards or other means.

Her credit card was used after she was killed, and $2,000 was taken from her purse, according to court testimony.

Disabilities no hurdle for Del Mar family of athletes

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 11:42

Jim and Lisa Pathman of Del Mar push their 16-year-old twin sons Shane, left, and Riley, who were born with cerebral palsy, as they demonstrate the racing chairs they planned to use Oct. 19 so that all four of them could compete in a triathlon.

• Couple and their 16-year-old twins with cerebral palsy tackle San Diego Triathlon Challenge

By Pam Kragen

When Jim Pathman found out in 1998 that his wife, Lisa, was expecting twins, he bought a matching pair of Schwinn bikes so the boys could one day join their hyper-athletic parents in their shared passion for outdoor sports.

Seventeen years later, those bikes are still in their boxes, because twins Shane and Riley were born with cerebral palsy. But as Jim would say, when there’s a Pathman will, there’s a Pathman way. And on Sunday, Oct. 19, the active family of four achieved their dream of completing a triathlon in La Jolla.

“We did great and although we were some of the last finishers, we made it through as a family,” Lisa said.

Since their boys were 4 years old, the Del Mar couple have used adapted cycles and seats, walkers, braces, carts, walking sticks, skis and bodyboards to involve their now-16-year-old twins in marathons, triathlons, downhill skiing, horseback riding, swimming, long-distance biking, hang gliding and even white-water rafting.

Pathman, 50, said all it takes is a little imagination to achieve the active family lifestyle that he and Lisa, 48, describe as “the Pathman normal.”

The Pathmans after the Oct. 19 race. They finished among the last participants, but "we made it through as a family,” Lisa said.

With two teams of volunteers and some adaptations, the Pathman family swam 1 mile, ran 10 miles and cycled 44 miles in the Aspen Medical Products San Diego Triathlon Challenge. The race is expected to raise more than $1 million for the Challenged Athletes Foundation, which has worked with the family for the past 12 years to help them realize their sports goals.

Foundation marketing director Jenna Novotny said the Pathmans are an inspiration to others around the country.

“They’re a very special family who have taken it above and beyond and done so much,” she said. “Other families, who may never have envisioned what’s possible, see what they do, and how nothing stops them, and it gives them the inspiration to try.”

Jim and Lisa met in 1991 while bicycling on the boardwalk near their Mission Beach apartments. He surfed and was a competitive waterskiier. She was an all-CIF soccer player and competitive wakeboarder. They both biked every day, and couldn’t wait to bring their kids along for the ride.

But the twins arrived 14 weeks premature, each weighing just 1 pound, 9 ounces. Shane, older by 21 minutes, had bleeding in his brain that caused physical and neurological issues. Riley had a brain infection that caused physical, neurological and mental disabilities.

The twins stayed in the neonatal intensive care unit for 3 1/2 months, and when they went home, their immune systems were so compromised, they couldn’t go out in public for two years.

“We went through a lot of trauma in the first few years, first because of the birth and then the realization of how it would affect everyone’s lives,” said Lisa, who teaches elementary school.

The first glimmer of normalcy came when the boys were a year old, and a friend offered the family a three-week vacation in his villa on a tiny French resort island. To get around the car-free island, Jim devised a bicycle trailer to tow the boys around. A year later, the boys coasted down a ski slope at Big Bear on an adapted sled.

“Jim was crying when he saw the boys skiing; it was a big turning point for us,” Lisa said.

If he couldn’t find an adaptive device to get his sons outdoors, Jim made it himself at the tool bench in his garage. But almost every time the couple tried to enter bike and foot races with the boys, organizers turned them away.

“People kept telling us we couldn’t do things. It was always a fight,” said Jim, who runs an Internet hosting company.

That changed in 2002, when the family attended their first Challenged Athletes Foundation triathlon and 4-year-old Shane was able to complete a short run for athletes with disabilities.

“Nobody said, ‘No, you can’t do that.’ It was the first place where they said, ‘Yes, we will help you figure out how to make this work,’” Lisa said. “It was refreshing to meet people with the same mindset.”

Encouraged, Jim bought jogging strollers, tandem bikes and tow trailers, and the family was soon off and running. The couple created a Facebook page, “Team Pathman,” to chronicle the hundreds of sporting pursuits they’ve accomplished since then with the boys, who are now sophomores at Torrey Pines High.

Over the years, Jim and Riley have completed eight marathons together as well as more than 50 local 5K, 10K and other races. At their home, Riley proudly showed a visitor dozens of finisher medals he’d collected from various races, as well as a sign over his bed with his favorite words — “swim. bike. run.” — the three components of a triathlon.

Meanwhile, in the living room, Shane excitedly peppered the foundation’s Novotny with dozens of questions about Sunday’s race.

Virtually every year, the family has returned to the Triathlon Challenge, pushing themselves a little harder each time.

Last year, the twins did the full 10-mile run (pushed in jogging strollers by Jim and his friend, Joe Virgilio), 9 miles of the 44-mile bike ride (on tandem bikes with Jim and Lisa), and half of the 1-mile swim (pulled on bodyboards by Jim and Virgilio).

This year’s goal was to complete the full course, with help from Virgilio and volunteers from Team Hoyt San Diego and the November Project. The next big family goal is to complete the Boston Marathon after the boys turn 18.

These days, Shane is more interested in video games than outdoor sports, but Riley loves competing. At every Torrey Pines track meet, he takes part in a 100-meter dash to the enthusiastic cheers of the team, cheerleaders and fans in the stands.

Jim and Riley also spend every weekend running at least one race together with the jogging stroller. With a bit of creative thinking, Jim says it’s exactly the life he once envisioned.

“When I was growing up, my bike was my freedom and it opened up my world. That’s what I always saw for my family,” he said. “Those first few years I was shell-shocked and gave up on my dream of riding bikes together, but now we’re living the dream.”

Students take history by the hand with Solana Beach Living History program

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 10:23

Solana Vista third-graders recently learned what it was like to live in the early 1900s, thanks to Solana Beach Civic and Historical Society volunteers. Photos/Kristina Houck

By Kristina Houck

The Solana Beach Civic and Historical Society recently turned back the clock, bringing history to life for local students. From doing household chores to playing traditional games, Solana Vista Elementary School third-graders learned what it was like to live in the early 1900s during the society’s Living History program.

“Kids learn by doing,” said Jenell Strickland, a third-grade teacher at Solana Vista. “Having the opportunity to come here and live it not only brings the content to life, but leaves a bigger impression. They’ll be able to retain the information better because they got to experience it firsthand instead of just reading it in a book.”

Every year, Solana Beach third-graders visit the Solana Beach Heritage Museum at 715 Valley Ave. to tour the community’s first home, which sat for 101 years on Pepper Tree Lane, now called Del Mar Downs Road.

Solana Beach historian Jim Nelson and his wife, Kathalyn, oversee the educational program, which covers the community’s history, starting from when the area was inhabited by Native Americans.

“We’re hoping to spark an interest in history and especially in local history,” said Nelson, who said the museum houses more than 400 antiques.

During the program, the volunteer docents dress in period attire.

During the program, Nelson and other volunteer docents dress in period attire, inviting the students to pretend they are spending a week at the 10-acre Molly Glen Ranch, which used to be on the south slopes of Solana Beach in the late 1800s.

Nelson plays the role of Sen. James West Stevens, who once inhabited the original house, and shows the students around the 1900s-style parlor. Stevens teaches the children how to perform chores such as filling kerosene lamps and vacuuming. The kids later visit the kitchen, where Stevens’ wife, Susanna, demonstrates another two dozen chores.

“They really love the whole concept of going back in time,” Strickland said. “It’s such a novel experience for them. They not only get to see the antiques, but they get to touch them, use them and pretend with them. Third-graders still love to pretend.”

After touring both rooms, the students head outside for traditional games such as a sack race.

After touring both rooms, the students head outside to play traditional games such as croquet, hopscotch, jump rope and sack races. After playtime, the kids return to the museum, where time has fast-forwarded to the 1930s, when Edwin and Jennie Stevens lived in the house.

With the construction of Lake Hodges, students learn how the impact of running water helped transform Lockwood Mesa to today’s Solana Beach. They discover how chores changed and tour a more modern 1930s kitchen and living room, which feature a sink with faucets, refrigerator, gas stove, washing machine, wall phones and more. Before the end of the field trip, students help make homemade ice cream.

“Everything is hands-on, so the kids can touch anything they want,” Nelson said. “We try to make everything come alive.”

Launched a decade ago, the Living History program has served as many as 21 third-grade classes throughout the Solana Beach School District per year. With only 14 volunteers but seven docents needed for each field trip, this year’s program was offered only to Solana Vista’s third-graders.

Students tried their hands at old-fashioned games like croquet.

The Solana Beach Heritage Museum is open to the public from 1-4 p.m. every first and third Saturday. Groups can also make appointments to tour the museum by calling the Nelsons at 858-259-7657.

“It’s Solana Beach’s best-kept secret,” Nelson said.

For information about the Solana Beach Civic and Historical Society, the Solana Beach Heritage Museum and the Living History program, visit

Potential costs presented for new Del Mar city hall, civic center

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 10:15

By Kristina Houck

A new city hall and civic center would cost Del Mar at least $7.4 million and up to $15 million in net costs, according to a report presented to the City Council on Oct. 20.

After looking at industry standards and comparable developments, Carrier Johnson Architects, the city’s consultant, presented potential costs for the eight concepts it gave to the council on Oct. 6. Each of the options features a 9,250-square-foot city hall, a 3,200-square-foot town hall and a 15,000-square-foot plaza, but varying parking options. Most of the concepts also include commercial and/or residential space.

According to the report, it would cost Del Mar an estimated $7.4 million to replace the deteriorating facilities at 1050 Camino del Mar with a basic municipal program — a city hall, town hall, plaza and 60 parking spaces. The basic buildings, along with 10 townhomes and 204 parking spaces, would cost more than $15 million.

With Del Mar’s third city hall planning workshop one week away, council members used the information to narrow the options staff will present during the event. The council decided on three concepts: options B, C2 and D.

Estimated at $12.4 million, option B includes the city hall, town hall and plaza, but with 160 parking spaces (only 51 stalls are required). Option C2, which is estimated at almost $11.4 million in net costs, features the basic buildings, plus 3,400 square feet of commercial space and 160 spaces.

Option D also features the basic buildings and 3,400 square feet of commercial space, as well as four single-family residential units with garages and a total of 204 spaces. If the city leases the homes, the option would cost an estimated $13 million. That figure would decrease to $10.6 million if Del Mar sells the homes.

In addition to the three options by Carrier Johnson Architects, locals Jim Watkins and Kit Leeger will present the concept they voluntarily created during the Oct. 27 workshop.

Like the other options, the concept by the father-daughter duo proposes a 15,000-square-foot plaza. Unlike the concepts by Carrier Johnson Architects, however, the pair’s option features a smaller city hall and slightly larger town hall at 8,450 square feet and 3,788 square feet, respectively. Estimated at almost $9.3 million in net costs, their concept also features much more commercial space at 9,250 square feet, six townhomes and 168 parking stalls, with all but four of the spaces required parking.

Deputy Mayor Al Corti pointed out that other than option B, all of the concepts fall under Measure B. Enacted by Del Mar voters in 1986, Measure B requires public input and voter approval for properties in the downtown commercial district larger than 25,000 square feet in area or with more than 11,500 square feet of development area.

“In evaluating the options — which one do I like best — what is the impact of going through Measure B?” he asked.

Kathleen Garcia, the city’s planning and community development director, noted that going through the Measure B process would increase costs and extend the time frame. She estimated it would take an additional year to 18 months — or even longer — for the city to prepare a specific plan and hold an election.

After hearing this, council members briefly talked about the possibility of doing a phased project and requested staff to share additional costs and timelines for the concepts that would trigger Measure B during the workshop.

“We’ve all talked for a year that we want to give our employees a new city hall,” Mayor Lee Haydu said. “But if we’re going to add all those other factors to it, and it’s going to be another two or three years, that may be a reason to choose a different option.”

In addition, Councilman Terry Sinnott recommended staff prepare a handout that highlights the differences among the concepts for attendees. He also suggested community members fill out a comment card to share which concept is their favorite and why.

“I’m afraid we’re going to have a lot of discussion at the workshop, and then everybody gets up and leaves,” Sinnott said. “Then we’re in deep trouble because we haven’t captured the essence of what the majority of the folks were thinking.”

The Oct. 27 workshop will begin at 6 p.m. at the Del Mar Communications Center, 240 10th Street. City staff will present the workshop findings to the council on Nov. 17.

Call 858-755-9313 or visit

Carmel Valley Recreation Center celebrates 15th anniversary

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 10:10

The Carmel Valley Recreation Center during this year’s summer concert series. Photo by Jon Clark.

By Karen Billing

The Carmel Valley Community Park is celebrating its 15th anniversary with a party this Sunday, Oct. 26.

From 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. the park will host an afternoon including music from Atomic Groove, inflatable jumpers, snow cones and kettle corn, face painting and crafts, and of course, birthday cake.

“We wanted to recognize our 15 years and do something for the community for a nice and fun Sunday afternoon,” said Marilee Pacelli, Carmel Valley Recreation Council member.

Carmel Valley’s park, recreation center and pool opened to the public on Oct. 15, 1999. While she wasn’t involved in the design, Pacelli had just joined the Recreation Council the year before. Ginny Barnes chaired the design committee.

A growing community grew anxious waiting for the park space to open — there were rain and construction delays, landscaping problems and even “faulty paint,” according to a July 1999 Carmel Valley News article.

The Carmel Valley Recreation Center when it opened in 1999.

The 18-acre park is unique in that it is spread out onto three levels: the lower level off El Camino Real, the second with the recreation center, pool, amphitheater and grass area; and the top level with the basketball, tennis courts and big field, frequently filled with adult softball leagues.

“One of the benefits of the unique design is the stairs,” Pacelli said of the steps connecting the levels. “It’s kind of fun that the design lends itself to people getting in shape; people are always running the stairs.”

The community center is always buzzing with activity.

“Basketball is big in the gym, both adults and kids,” Pacelli said. “We are one of the top recreation councils in the city due to the money we’re able to raise because we have such successful programs. All of our programs pretty much sell out.”

Center Director Salome Martinez has done a great job in terms of adding programs, Pacelli said, noting such programs as Tots n Pots kids’ baking classes, Booktastic book club, art, dance, Master Sports and the always-full toddler gymnastics classes.

Because of that success, CV Rec Council is able to put money back into the fields for upkeep and into the equipment that the programs use, from upgraded scoring clocks in the gym to mats for gymnastics. The council is also able to organize movie nights and summer concert series, sponsored by Kilroy Realty and Pardee Homes.

“We want to give back to the community so it is a fun place for people to come, and to have it be a hub for Carmel Valley, a place where people can congregate,” Pacelli said.

One place the rec council’s funds will be going to work very soon is at the pool. The Carmel Valley Pool is unique in that it has two water slides, a big attraction. The slides had to be closed because they needed repairs, but come November, the pool will close for three months to repair the slides. The work is being done through council funds and matching funds from the city.

In the park’s original blueprints, there were designs for two multisport arenas on the second-level grassy area, side by side with some bleacher seating. The arenas could serve soccer, lacrosse, field hockey and even some Pop Warner football.

Although they were not incorporated into the design, Pacelli said the plans have since been approved by the city parks and recreation board — they just need the funds to build them. The council has discussed using Facilities Benefits Assessment funding for that project as well as for installing artificial turf on the fields, with the understanding that funds would need to be set aside for future maintenance and replacement as well.

Winter class registration begins Nov. 22 for Carmel Valley Recreation Center classes that run from December through March 2015. To view the brochure, visit Register for classes online at