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Updated: 5 hours 36 min ago

Carmel Valley Library closed Oct. 10 for Staff Development Day

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 10:24

All San Diego public libraries will be closed Friday, Oct. 10, for Staff Development Day. This includes the Carmel Valley Branch Library, 3919 Townsgate Drive, San Diego.

Solana Beach City Council approves modified cell tower structure on top of local pharmacy

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 10:19

By Kristina Houck

In an effort to increase wireless coverage for AT&T customers, the Solana Beach City Council on Sept. 24 approved a cell tower structure on top of a local pharmacy — but not at the cost of the community’s character. Council members approved a modified version of the project, cutting the total height by two feet.

“Obviously, we want to have good coverage for our community,” said Councilman Mike Nichols, who noted that, as an AT&T customer, he has experienced dropped calls in the area.

“But this is our only opportunity to have any input on this,” he added. “Once a facility has been established, by federal law, we have no ability to talk about the aesthetics on it, whatsoever. So this is a precedent-setting situation.”

Located at CVS at 305 South Highway 101, the structure will feature a 22-foot-long by 20-foot-wide antenna enclosure, containing 12 antennas, 24 remote radio units and four surge protectors. As originally proposed, the structure would have stood 10 to 13 feet high as measured from the top of the existing roof, with a total height of 35 feet above the existing grade and with the highest point of the antennas at 34.6 feet above the existing grade. With the council’s vote, the height of the structure and antennas were reduced by two feet.

“Our staff has put in a great deal of work into this project in trying to fit it into the community character in Solana Beach, find the right location, and still, do what we can to achieve our coverage objectives,” said John Osborne, director of external affairs at AT&T, prior to the council’s vote.

He noted the proposed structure would cost roughly $500,000.

“If we didn’t need it, we wouldn’t be doing it,” Osborne said. “We’re trying to fill a coverage gap and we’re trying to address that in a way that our customers will be able to use the service in their home, in their car and wherever they are. … The only way that we can provide the best coverage for your residents and for the people who pass through Solana Beach is if we have that 34-and-a-half-foot height limit.”

AT&T representative Doug Munson, who serves as vice president of M&M Telecom, added that the company would need structures at two different sites if council members approved a modified version of the project.

“What is less intrusive: one site that covers the whole objective … or something that degrades it to where we have to have at least two sites?” he asked.

But after further questioning from the council, Munson acknowledged the company hasn’t yet investigated other sites in the city and whether they would need to build a second structure.

AT&T originally presented the project to the council on March 12, but the item was continued to the council’s May 14 meeting so the applicant could provide a design alternative. On May 14, AT&T requested the project be continued to the July 9 meeting because they needed more time to provide an alternative design.

After looking into alternative designs, the applicant said they were unable to develop a design that would both provide the necessary radio frequency toward Cedros Avenue and be acceptable to the property owners. On June 24, the applicant requested via email that the council make a determination on the originally proposed design.

At the July 9 council meeting, the council asked the applicant to provide evidence that the structure was needed to address a significant gap in coverage. Therefore, the item was continued to the Aug. 27 meeting, but again, the applicant requested a continuance.

Since then, AT&T submitted additional documents, which were analyzed by the city’s third-party consultant.

“AT&T has demonstrated there is a gap in their service capacity,” said the city’s consultant Tripp May during the meeting. “I think that AT&T has provided you with a good range of options. In my professional opinion, the 32.6 tip height that was proposed strikes a reasonable balance.”

With council members acknowledging the need for better coverage but concerned about the height of the structure, City Attorney Johanna Canlas noted the applicant didn’t “have a right to the ideal coverage.”

“It doesn’t have to be the least expensive proposal and it doesn’t have to be the most efficient facility,” she said.

Therefore, the council unanimously approved a modified version of the project.

“The aesthetics is a serious issues in a town where we have pride in our community character and the character of our neighborhoods,” said Councilman Peter Zahn.

Del Mar Library to host book discussion on the veteran experience

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 01:00

The Del Mar Library will host a discussion of the book “What It’s Like to Go to War” by Karl Marlantes at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 18, as part of San Diego County Library’s participation in the California Reads program.

Local Marine Corps veteran Eric McElvenny will share his perspectives and insights relating to experiences discussed in the book.

Written nearly 40 years after his own tour of duty in Vietnam, “What It Is Like to Go to War” recounts Marlantes’ experience of going to war and coming home through the lens of time and memory, illuminated by insights drawn from his study of history, literature, psychology, and philosophy.

This program is being offered through a California Reads grant, which invites Californians from all walks of life to participate in reading and discussion programs and related activities hosted by libraries, schools, colleges, bookstores and other community institutions. Visit to see a full list of programs offered at San Diego County Library branches.

The Del Mar Branch Library is at 1309 Camino Del Mar. Call 858-755-1666.

Del Mar philanthropist strives to make the rewards of giving also creative and innovative

Sun, 09/28/2014 - 13:47

Jim Benedict

Jim Benedict, a Del Mar resident and an active volunteer, created Innovative Giving ( to help individuals better enjoy their philanthropic giving.

Benedict spent his career in marketing and advertising and wanted to combine that experience by bringing creativity to giving. “Not just by writing a check, but creating greater meaning to the gifting,” he said. “Giving is very rewarding in itself, and by implementing some extra steps in creative giving, it can be even more gratifying.”

Benedict spent over 20 years on the Ecke Family YMCA, and has served on numerous other community boards over his career.

Benedict is currently on the City of Del Mar finance committee, and he is a board member of the R.C. Baker Foundation and UCSD Triton’s Athletic Board of Advisors.

Honors Benedict has received include the Red Triangle Award and Humanitarian of the Year award, and he was honored by the San Diego County Metro YMCA with the Golden Triangle award – the highest award for service in the county.

Married for 24 years to Tina, he has two children: Kelly, a graduate of Chapman University and Eric, a graduate of NYU. Both attended Santa Fe Christian High School in Solana Beach.

What brought you to Del Mar?

Fresh out of college, I moved back from Seattle to open a wine and cheese store in Del Mar called the Cork & Cheddar.  I ran it for two years and I got to know everyone in town (who drank wine!)

Why be creative in giving instead of just writing a check?

For many reasons.  The gift may be more impactful and memorable. The charity may get increased publicity which they always need. The personal satisfaction can and will significantly increase. Conceivably involving other organizations may also increase the gifting value as an added benefit.

Can you give an example?

The Community Resource Center, in Encinitas, presents their Holiday Baskets event every December at the fairgrounds where they serve over 1,600 less fortunate North County families.  They give out about 300 bikes to very happy recipients, but have over 1,300 requests each year. I approached a foundation and asked them to fund an additional 100 bikes as a donation to the CRC. They teamed up with a local bike shop to help.  This became a win – win – win for CRC, the foundation, and the bike shop.  CRC will get their additional bikes and a great deal of much needed publicity; the foundation will be proud of this innovative donation, and the bike shop will enjoy the obvious benefits of giving within their community.

Is vetting really that difficult?

Difficult, maybe not, but critical – yes.  You do not want to “invest” your hard-earned philanthropic funds without fully understanding the mission and use of funds. Paying close attention to the leadership of the foundation or organization is also very important. Passion starts at the top. Gaining a comfort zone for any foundation starts with proper vetting.

How do you really select a foundation or cause to give to?

This is a personal choice.  What is your passion?  What is your family background regarding giving or particular issues?  You may want to focus on a particular gifting category – health, military, the less fortunate, educational, etc.  That’s when the vetting begins, for there are many more options in each category than gifting may allow.

What do you like best about your work?

Exceeding expectations.  By using creativity and imagination, your  gift can grow into a much more memorable experience.  The satisfaction of giving has just grown exponentially.

Who or what inspires you?

Two people greatly influenced my adult life – Paul Ecke, Jr., whom I got to befriend  during my many years on the Ecke YMCA Board, and Alfred JaCoby, a co-founder, with me,  of the Chateau Del Mar Winery and former editor at the San Diego U/T.  They were my mentors and great friends.  They both had a passion for living life to its fullest. Miss them both

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.  Would love to ask them how they would like our constitution interpreted today.  Jesus Christ and Mickey Mantle. I would like them to sit next to each other and swap stories.  Robin Williams to really mess with George and Tom’s minds.  Elvis Presley if he sings “hound dog” and, of course, my wife and myself.

What is your favorite movie and favorite travel destination?

Call me old fashioned but I love the Sound of Music.  My favorite travel location is the next place I go. But if you nail me down – anywhere in Italy, anywhere.

What is your motto or philosophy of life?

If you can’t have fun doing it – don’t do it.

City of Del Mar temporarily discontinues use of body camera program

Sun, 09/28/2014 - 12:20

The City of Del Mar issued the following statement Sept. 27:

“Following a recent California Public Records Act request for a copy of a video of an incident that was captured on the City’s Park Ranger’s body camera, the City of Del Mar has temporarily discontinued use of the body camera program.

“The City began use of the body camera in 2012 in an effort to enhance transparency between the Park Ranger program and the community. While the body camera has been a useful tool for the City’s Park Ranger, the City is currently reviewing the body camera program and procedures for all of its applications. In the interim, the City has discontinued use of the body camera until this review is completed.

“The City employs a Park Ranger to supplement public safety services in Del Mar. The Park Ranger is responsible for enforcing Del Mar Municipal Code regulations and State laws in the City’s parks and beaches. The City’s Park Ranger works cooperatively with the San Diego County Sheriff to protect and serve Del Mar residents, businesses, and visitors.”

City of Del Mar releases statement on traffic incident

Sun, 09/28/2014 - 12:16

The City of Del Mar issued the following press release Sept. 27  in response to a traffic incident between a  Park Ranger and Sheriff’s Reserve Deputy:

“On March 10, 2014, while driving to and from City of Del Mar parks, the City’s Park Ranger observed an individual using a handheld cell phone while driving. In an effort to ensure public safety, the individual, (who later turned out to be an off-duty Sheriff Reserve Deputy), was pulled over by the Park Ranger. During the incident, the volunteer Reserve Deputy was visibly frustrated, rude, and inappropriately challenged the Ranger’s authority. The City commends Park Ranger Adam Chase for his professional and calm response to the individual’s allegations and statements. The individual was provided a warning and no citation was given to the individual.

“This traffic stop was captured by the Ranger’s body camera on his uniform. Ranger Chase brought this situation to City Manager Scott Huth’s attention. Upon review of the incident, City Manager Huth immediately contacted the Sheriff’s Department and requested immediate review and follow up. The Sheriff’s Department responded immediately by taking appropriate action with the volunteer Reserve Deputy. The Captain of the Encinitas Sheriff Station (which covers Del Mar) communicated to all Sheriff Station personnel to reinforce the importance of supporting and cooperating with the Del Mar Park Ranger and clearly describing the authority of the Del Mar Ranger.

“The comments and statements made by the individual involved in the traffic stop, although unacceptable, highlighted the need for both the City of Del Mar and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department to continue to look at ways to improve our relationship, communications and to work cooperatively to provide a high level of service to the community we serve. Finally, the City commends Ranger Chase for his service and professionalism in handling this manner.”

For a UT San Diego story on the incident, visit:

Carmel Valley resident among nine to be honored for philanthropy

Sun, 09/28/2014 - 01:00

Sam Zien, ‘The Cooking Guy,’ will be honored at the National Philanthropy Day Awards Luncheon.

Nine outstanding community leaders, including Carmel Valley resident Sam “The Cooking Guy” Zien, have been chosen as honorees at the upcoming National Philanthropy Day Awards Luncheon. The event, presented by Sharp HealthCare, will take place Oct. 28 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel. National Philanthropy Day is in its 42nd year and is organized by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, San Diego Chapter (AFPSD). This year’s theme is “Celebrating Philanthropy: Gifts of Time, Talent and Treasure.” Committed to celebrating the rich diversity in the region, National Philanthropy Day recognizes the critical role philanthropy plays in our community and honors those who do it best. Sam “The Cooking Guy” Zien has been named Outstanding Celebrity Philanthropist. As a committed supporter of Mama’s Kitchen, Zien has helped build its annual event, Mama’s Day, into an extraordinary culinary evening and one of San Diego’s premier philanthropic events. Since 2009, he has participated in countless promotions through television, radio, print, and online media to reach his massive audience of “foodies” to help increase ticket sales and raise the visibility of Mama’s Kitchen and its signature events. Zien has also been a steadfast supporter of Noah Homes, a nonprofit that provides independent living to adults with developmental disabilities. For the past six years, he has dedicated time by putting on shows to benefit Noah Homes residents, serving as auctioneer for their golf tournament, and most recently acting as master of ceremonies for their 30th anniversary celebration. Zien is a winner of 14 Emmy Awards for his show “Sam The Cooking Guy,” has been a frequent guest on the “Today” show, is the host of “The Sam Livecast” with more than 450 online episodes, and has published three cookbooks. “More than 100 nominations were submitted this year for review by the National Philanthropy Honorary Committee, which comprises a diverse group of community leaders, including past honorees with a demonstrated commitment to philanthropy,” says Linda Katz of Del Mar, the event’s honorary committee chairwoman. The other honorees are: Outstanding Philanthropists: Ernest and Evelyn Rady Outstanding Development/Fundraising Volunteer: Lori M. Walton Outstanding Philanthropic Corporation: Cymer, LLC Outstanding Philanthropic Organization: Barney & Barney Foundation Outstanding Organizational Volunteer: Dr. Elizabeth Jones Outstanding Development Professional: Kristin Bertell, M.A., CFRE Outstanding Youth Volunteers: Daisy Aguilar and Rosa Olascoaga The event takes place from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Oct. 28 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront, 1 Park Boulevard, San Diego. Tickets are $85 (includes parking). Visit

Scream Zone now open at Del Mar Fairgrounds

Sun, 09/28/2014 - 01:00

The 17th annual Scream Zone, San Diego County’s largest haunted experience, opened Sept. 26 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Now in its 17th year, Scream Zone is more terrifying and bloodcurdling than ever before! Every “body” is sure to be thrilled to the bone in four “spooktacular” attractions featuring: The House of Horror; The Chamber, The Haunted Hayride and returning this year, “Zombie Paint Ball!”

What’s new this year? Try:

• The Dusk Till Dawn Bar: Hold on to your head and prepare yourself for the kill of the day and a bloody good wrestle, where Vampires rule and definitely don’t suck.

• There is no escaping The Walking Dead Prison. You can yell and you can scream, but you can’t hide. You are barred from the rest of the world inside an impenetrable tomb of terror.

“The Exorcist” will levitate you to extreme demonic trepidation that will have you petrified to open your eyes — in the dark. There’s heads a-spinnin’ and pea soup a-spittin’ when Regan greets you. The Devil, you say? Well, it’s an excellent day — for an exorcism!

Stephen King’s Pennywise the dancing clown, aka “It,” brings us back to fun and frolic and memories of our youth, when life was a circus filled with music and dreams and running and jumping and playing — and night terrors! To quote Lon Chaney, “Clowns aren’t funny in the moonlight.”

Scream Zone Dates and Hours:

7-11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and 7 p.m.-midnight Fridays and Saturdays. Dates are Sept. 26-27; Oct. 3-5; Oct. 9-12; Oct. 16-19; and nightly from Oct. 22-Nov. 1.

2014 Admission Prices:

Triple (Combo) Haunt: House of Horror, Haunted Hayride & The Chamber — $32

Double Haunt: The Chamber plus House of Horror or Haunted Hayride — $23

Single Haunt: House of Horror or Hayride — $18

Zombie Paintball: $25

Zombie with purchase of Triple Haunt: $20

Additional Paintball Pellets: $5

Opening Triple Haunt night half-price special on Sept. 26!

For information and for ticket pricing go to Not recommended for children under 10 years old.

New county program to help at-risk youth

Sat, 09/27/2014 - 14:51

Dave Roberts

By Supervisor Dave Roberts

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

That’s the adage, coined by none other than Benjamin Franklin. Considering that he lived until age 84 and he lived at a time when few effective medicines were available to fight all manner of disease, he must have known what he was talking about.

It’s not 1706 to 1790 anymore, but at the County of San Diego we like to apply this Founding Father’s adage into workable programs aimed at prevention.

That’s why recently the San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved a new demonstration program, the California Well-Being Project, which will be a collaboration between the county’s Director of Child Welfare Services and our Chief Probation Officer. In plain English, with this action, our county was granted a Title IV-E waiver and new funding so that the county’s Child Welfare Services staff will be able to expand recruitment efforts to find more adoptive families for children who may be the most challenging to place in forever families.

Partnering with Supervisor Greg Cox, and garnering the unanimous support of the Board of Supervisors, we had established the Exceptional Families program and the Quality Parenting Initiative. Because of this Title IV-E waiver, we will be able to implement greater services to a broader group of at-risk youth.

Since joining this Board in 2013, I have passionately supported critical initiatives that would strengthen our county’s Child Welfare families.

To be frank, a kid living in a caring home has a better chance of making it than a kid living in a home where the parents don’t care. Maybe it does take a village to raise a child, but I’m a firm believer that first and foremost, it takes parents who care.

This waiver can also be used by the county’s Health and Human Services Agency to strengthen the relationship among foster parents and Child Welfare Social Workers. We will do this by providing more comprehensive training and reaching out to better support more quality foster homes for children in the foster care system because every child deserves a loving and permanent home.

How did this new program happen so quickly? This past January, I joined Supervisor Cox, Health and Human Services Agency Director Nick Macchione and Child Welfare Services Director Debra Zanders-Willis on a critical trip to Washington, D.C., to persuade federal officials to grant us a waiver and new funding.

We met with the entire leadership team of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Administration for Children and Families, who oversee all child welfare programs and funding in our nation. We presented our “Live Well, San Diego!” initiative and showcased how we could help our foster children and adoptive families if we were granted more flexibility. In other words, we pitched the idea of why a waiver would substantially help us improve our outcomes.

We also discussed how the Title IV-E program would further support our efforts to help at-risk families and children throughout all of San Diego County.

As taxpayers like you — who open their laptops or the newspaper each morning to read the sobering news — we sometimes wonder whether Washington ever listens. This time they did listen. And the results will be astounding here in San Diego County.

I am so encouraged by today’s Board action. This Title IV-E waiver represents a new, powerful tool for our county staff to help improve the lives of kids and families in our county. We can now etter help children heal from trauma they may have experienced from neglect or by living in an abusive home, and we can better support the well-being of our local families.

These foster kids will have a better chance to grow up to be productive, happy adults.

Prevention is a powerful tool. Dave Roberts represents the Third District on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.

Rant with Randi: Domestic violence is real

Sat, 09/27/2014 - 14:48

Randi Crawford

By Randi Crawford

Do you remember Richard Sherman’s infamous interview with Erin Andrews after the Seahawks NFC Championship win? Sherman set up the interception that sent his team to the Super Bowl, and after the play, he went ballistic in an interview with Erin Andrews, dissing San Francisco 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree. And before you knew it, everyone was calling Richard Sherman a thug.

I want to talk about a real thug and a real issue that needs national attention. Ray Rice beating up his fiancée, and then dragging her out of an elevator, unconscious, like a sack of potatoes. I hope this video is going to help victims of domestic violence gain credibility. We see these men play football, large companies sponsor some, and then we hear about various charges made against them — rape, violence, and even murder.  We (the public) never know when it’s real, or whether it’s false accusations. How could we know? We aren’t there!

But this video is very clear.  What validates a victim’s mentality is what his wife said on Twitter: “To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret every day is a horrible thing. To take something away from the man I love that he has worked his ass (off) for all his life just to gain ratings is horrific.” She even went so far as to accept some of the blame and “her role” in what took place that night. I watched a group of NFL wives discussing the incident, and every single one of them said that they understand why Janay (Ray’s wife) would stay with him. They said they understood her reasoning and that NFL wives have an image to uphold. None of these women, including his wife, blame Ray. In fact, they have all turned Ray into the victim. But what really bothers me is that everyone is interested in when Roger Goodell and the NFL initially saw the footage, and how they handled it. We should be focusing on domestic violence, and how we can break the cycle.

They showed footage of the Ravens game last night and several fans, women, were still sporting their “Ray Rice” jerseys. One woman was interviewed and said, “Janay threw the first punch. Any woman that can throw a punch can take a punch.” I actually got sick when I heard this. Ray Rice is a 230-pound professional athlete in peak physical condition; I’m not sure many men could take a punch from him.

Unfortunately, a lot of domestic violence victims, especially those who are married to professional athletes or famous men, hear that kind of backwards thinking all the time. I hope that the footage in the elevator will prove that these women are not making it up for publicity’s sake. How many of you remember the infamous Robin Givens interview? She was sitting next to Mike Tyson, and telling the world that he beat the living daylights out of her, and Mike Tyson just sat there and didn’t say a word. It was awkward, to say the least, and you had no idea what was true and what wasn’t. As a viewer, you thought to yourself, “If he beats you all the time, why do you stay?”  The victim is turned into the villain, and we, as a society, feel badly for the abuser?  This attitude needs a serious facelift.

When Richard Sherman was asked, after the incident, why he went off, he replied, “It was loud, it was in the moment, and it was just a small part of the person I am.” I get that —he was in the moment, he wasn’t media-trained, and he had just made an insane game-saving play. Richard Sherman didn’t beat a woman, fight dogs, commit murder, get drunk and kill another teammate or rape anyone; he had a “moment” where he sounded like a thug.

This should not be about the commissioner of the NFL; it should be about helping abused women and bringing to light the horror and the reality of domestic violence. I hope this story gets back on track and they use it to help women and stop pointing fingers about who knew what and when.  What say you?

Winning streak continues for TPHS freshman football team

Sat, 09/27/2014 - 14:44

Torrey Pines’ Sully O’Brien ran for one TD and received another TD. Photo byClaudia Perrone

By Walter Bays

Torrey Pines freshman Falcons extended their winning streak to 4-0 with a 35-14 win over the Westview Wolverines. Both teams entered the game undefeated, Torrey Pines having beaten Sweetwater 41-0, Mission Hills 56-21, and Cathedral Catholic 10-0. Westview had bested Rancho Buena Vista 28-20, and Del Norte 28-7.

The Wolverines led 8-7 at the end of a first half in which the Falcons turned the ball over on downs once, fumbled, and were intercepted twice, while Westview turned over on downs twice. For such a defensive struggle, there were plenty of fireworks, including a touchdown pass by Wolverine #1 Beau Nelson to #44 Joe Bennett and a 61 yard touchdown run by Falcon #34 Gaston Schenk. Zach Friedland #42 thought he had put the Falcons’ first points on the board when he returned a kickoff 75 yards into the end zone, but a penalty brought it back.

Not to be denied, Friedland took the opening kickoff of the second half back 75 yards and this time the points stayed up, Falcons 14-8. Westview surged back with a long drive capped with a 47-yard touchdown pass to Bennett to tie the game. The Falcons #11 Sully O’Brien struck back quickly with a 33-yard pass reception and a 35-yard run to put Torrey Pines up 21-14.

Westview stopped Torrey Pines next drive with an interception by #2 Tyler Slaton, but Friedland took it right back with an interception of his own on the Falcons’ own 43, and on the next offensive series he took the handoff all the way to make it 28-14 as the third quarter ended. Short on time deep at their own 13, the Wolverines tried to go to the air where they had success earlier, but Falcon #22 Beau Morgans denied them with back-to-back interceptions on Westview’s next two possessions. One turnover was converted to points with a run by #24 Matthew Goena to put the Falcons on top, 35-14.

The final drama of the game came after a Westview punt pinned Torrey Pines on its own 4-yard line. An 11-yard run by #16 Cole Mihalinec picked up a first down that allowed the Falcons to run out the clock to seal their victory.

On Sept. 25, Westview faces San Marcos on the road while Torrey Pines plays Poway at home.

Del Mar annual flu shot clinic set for Oct. 1

Sat, 09/27/2014 - 09:00

Mix juice, cookies, conversation with neighbors and medical aid, and what do you get? In Del Mar, it’s the annual flu shot clinic sponsored by Del Mar Community Connections.

The clinic is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 1, at the Del Mar City Annex, 1050 Camino del Mar. No reservations are needed. There is no charge for Medicare Part B holders (bring your cards); cost is $30 otherwise.

Call 858-792-7565.

County Supervisor Dave Roberts of Solana Beach believes in turf talk

Sat, 09/27/2014 - 01:00

County Supervisor Dave Roberts and Turf Evolutions owner Shannon Beck.

By Kristina Houck To set an example during the statewide drought, San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts has replaced his lawn with artificial turf. “We’re in a drought, and I think everybody should do their part,” said Roberts, who sits on the board of the San Diego County Water Authority. “This was our next step in reducing our water usage.” Roberts and his partner, Wally Oliver, kicked off the five-day project Sept. 15 when workers began tearing up the 6,000-square-foot lawn at their Solana Beach home and replacing it with artificial turf. Because artificial turf reduces water use by about 44 gallons per square foot, Roberts and Oliver expect to save about 264,000 gallons of water each year. The couple used government financing and rebate programs to fund the $45,000 project and expect a return on their investment in less than nine years. Roberts and Oliver will recover some of their costs through a rebate program from the Metropolitan Water District. They are eligible to receive about $2 per square foot of grass that is replaced. The remaining $33,000 is being financed through an assessment on their property tax bill under the Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE, program. PACE is administered in California through the Home Energy Renovation Opportunity, or HERO, program ( Property owners must live in a city that participates in the HERO program, which Solana Beach adopted late 2013. “We’re trying to show that this is something people can easily do,” Roberts said. “You don’t have to have the money. As long as you can qualify for the program, you can get the money.” Turf Evolutions was hired to install the artificial turf, which is guaranteed to last 25 years. With the drought and available rebates, the Orange County-based company has seen an increase in business, said owner Shannon Beck. “We’ve never been busier,” said Beck, who noted the company has about 14 projects per day. “We’re up about 85 percent over the last year.” Many of Roberts’ neighbors have already replaced their grass with artificial turf or drought-tolerant plants. About five years ago, Solana Beach residents Roger and Mary Jane Boyd replaced the grass in their roughly 1,500-square-foot front yard with native and drought-tolerant plants. The project cost about $1,000, but Roger designed the landscape plans and handled most of the labor. Now, the Boyds — who have lived in Solana Beach for more than 30 years — are hoping to take advantage of the water district’s rebates to replace the grass in their 2,000-square-foot back yard. The couple are still deciding on whether to install artificial turf or drought-tolerant plants. “It’s the right thing to do for our future,” said Boyd, who has four children and nine grandchildren. “I’m a believer, and I work hard to try to convince other people to pay attention to our responsibility.”

San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy wins $150,000 program award from county

Sat, 09/27/2014 - 01:00

The San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy has received a $150,000 Neighborhood Reinvestment Program award from the county of San Diego, proposed by Third District County Supervisor Dave Roberts. The conservancy has previously received $46,500 from major donors and the California 10/20 to match this award.

The funds will pay for the design and environmental review needed to build a portion of Del Mar’s River Path from Jimmy Durante Boulevard to the Old Grand Avenue Bridge, providing scenic vistas of the lagoon wetlands, and interpretive information for flora and fauna. The total project cost is estimated at $470,000.

“Recreational trails are an important part of our local environment,” said Roberts. “They give us a chance to walk, exercise and enjoy nature. I am pleased to work with the Conservancy and the city of Del Mar to build this trail.”

The balance of $253,500 will be secured by the city of Del Mar, which has already committed $20,000, in partnership with the Conservancy, through a combination of city funds, grants, mitigation funds and other private donations.

The trail of the Del Mar River Path runs west from Jimmy Durante Boulevard to the coast and parallels the south edge of the San Dieguito River. Users of the River Path are treated to beautiful water views and information regarding this important wetland and natural resource.

The proposed path extension will continue on the east side of Jimmy Durante Boulevard to the Old Grande Avenue Bridge. The city has secured the long-term lease of a parcel from the North County Transit District at Jimmy Durante Boulevard and San Dieguito Drive specifically for the purpose of providing parking for the River Path Del Mar extension.

“The conservancy is excited about another opportunity to connect people with nature in addition to the new Birdwing Open Air Classroom at the lagoon,” said Peter Shapiro, president of the conservancy’s Board of Directors.

The San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy is celebrating 28 years of conservation, recreating and education and recreation at this year’s River Valley Fest, “Connecting With Nature,” from 2 p.m. to sunset Oct. 12 at the Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa. The conservancy will be honoring Richard Louv, best-selling author of “The Nature Principle” and “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature Deficit Disorder.” The event includes food, wine and craft beers, music and a silent and live auction. Reserve at

The San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy is a citizen-based nonprofit helping to implement the San Dieguito River Park and its Coast to Crest Trail stretching 70 miles from Volcan Mountain near Julian to the ocean between Del Mar and Solana Beach. Visit

Del Mar Kiwanis installs new officers

Sat, 09/27/2014 - 01:00

Participants in the installation of new officers were (L-R) outgoing Lt. Governor Pat Bell, new president Steve Gardella, vice president Dr. Bob Siggins, incoming Lt. Governor Carl Ames, treasurer Nancy Wasko, and front, secretary Sherrie Pantalon.

The Del Mar Kiwanis Club had its 2014-2015 officers installed recently by the Kiwanis Division 37 Lieutenant Governor. The ceremony was held at the Fish House on Via de la Valle in Solana Beach. The participants were outgoing Lt. Governor Pat Bell, new president Steve Gardella, vice president Dr. Bob Siggins, incoming Lt. Governor Carl Ames, treasurer Nancy Wasko, and secretary Sherrie Pantalon. Ames discussed his goals for Division 37 and the role that the Del Mar Kiwanis would play during his tenure. Kiwanis is a 100-year-old service club whose goal is helping the less-fortunate children of the world. Through Kiwanis International, mental retardation due to iodine deficiency has been eliminated in Third World countries. Kiwanis International is now directing its efforts toward eliminating neonatal tetanus, which is a major cause of death in the Third World. Locally, the Del Mar Kiwanis Club supports Children’s Hospital, La Classe Majica, the Solana Beach Head Start program and the Wounded Warriors program at the Naval Hospital in San Diego. The Del Mar Kiwanis club meets twice a month at the Fish House in Solana Beach. Anyone interested in attending and learning more about Kiwanis should contact Chuck Phillips at 858-354-6536 or Steve Gardella at 858-864-8586.

‘Rising Star’ chef to appear at special Sea & Smoke dinner in Del Mar

Sat, 09/27/2014 - 01:00

Sea & Smoke chef Matt Gordon says he is ecstatic to have James Beard Award-winning chef Nate Appleman in his restaurant for a collaboration dinner to welcome Appleman to San Diego, his new home. The special dinner will be at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 9 at Sea & Smoke in Del Mar.

The chefs will be working with local artisan producers of food and beverages to craft a menu that helps introduce Appleman to the bounty of San Diego. Providers include Sonrise Ranch, Butcher’s Brewing Company, Malahat Spirits, Mikolich Honey, Eben Haezer Egg Ranch. A portion of the proceeds from this dinner will be donated to the Kawasaki Disease Foundation, a cause close to Appleman’s heart as the parent of child with KD.

A Food and Wine Magazine “Rising Star” chef, Appleman is the honorary Chef Chair for the annual Kawasaki Disease foundation gala that takes place in San Diego each autumn, which Chef Matt Gordon has also participated in each year.

The multi-course dinner will be $65, with local beverage pairings available at an additional cost. Reserve to or call Sea & Smoke at 858-925-8212.

Technology leader MediaTek opens San Diego office

Fri, 09/26/2014 - 11:21

The smartphone chip business is growing in San Diego.

Expanding its U.S. footprint, Taiwanese-based MediaTek unveiled its San Diego office during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Sept. 24.

“North America is a very important market for MediaTek,” said Kristin Taylor, the company’s vice president of public and analyst relations. “Because of that importance, we need to be here to serve clients and operators, the American people, to make sure that they have the technology that we engineer.”

Kristin Taylor, MediaTek vice president of public and analyst relations; Congressman Scott Peters (D-San Diego); Mohit Bhushan, GM and VP of US Business Development; Dr. Lawrence Loh, MediaTek U.S. president, CT Chuang, MediaTek corporate senior vice president; Ganning Yang, Senior Director, Communication System Design; Finbarr Moynihan, GM and VP of International Sales; Jim Farley, MediaTek U.S. facilities director; HC Hwang, MediaTek general manager communication system design; and George Chien, GM of RF Design. Courtesy photo

Specializing in providing low-cost radios and apps processors to phone makers primarily in China, MediaTek is now working on “advanced and next generation technologies.”

With 22 locations worldwide, MediaTek has already established its presence in the U.S. in Austin, Boston, Irvine and San Jose.

“We think there’s a lot of engineering talent here and we know we’ll be tapping into that talent by creating the office here,” said Taylor, who added the company has hired and is still recruiting engineers, as well as talent in finance, marketing and other departments. “There are some wonderful universities in town that can be feeders for us.”

Since its founding in 1997, MediaTek has grown to become a market leader and pioneer in cutting-edge system-on-chip solutions for wireless communications, high-definition television, optical storage, and DVD and Blu-ray products.

The company’s newest U.S. branch is located on the fifth floor of 10188 Telesis Court in Sorrento Valley — near the headquarters of rival Qualcomm.

“We’re not on anybody’s heels,” Taylor said. “We’re on our own path and we’re working to serve and support the people that use our technologies. It’s really, really important to MediaTek to stay close to the customers to understand what they want.”

For more information about MediaTek, visit

Business spotlights are developed through this newspaper’s advertising department in support of our advertisers.

Gala in Del Mar, golf classic put focus on Burn Institute’s vital programs

Fri, 09/26/2014 - 10:17

Funds from the Chiefs’ Gala and Golf Classic will benefit the Burn Institute’s programs such as Camp Beyond the Scars, a free camp for burn-injured children. Courtesy photo

By Kristina Houck

From hosting camps for burn-injured children to installing smoke detectors for senior citizens, the Burn Institute reaches out to thousands of children and adults each year.

To raise funds for the institute’s programs, the San Diego County Fire Chiefs’ Association and the Burn Institute Auxiliary have organized the Chiefs’ Gala and Golf Classic for four years. This year’s gala is slated for Saturday, Oct. 4, at the Paddock at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, followed by a day of golf Monday, Oct. 6, at Maderas Golf Club in Poway.

“This year we’ve invigorated the event with the California Dreamin’ theme,” said Susan Day, executive director of the Burn Institute. “It allows our guests to have fun and relax while raising funds for our programs.”

Founded in 1972, the Burn Institute helped open the area’s only regional burn center at University Hospital the next year. During its first year of operation, the burn unit treated 89 patients, including 22 children.

Dedicated to reducing the number of burn injuries and deaths in San Diego and Imperial counties, today the nonprofit health agency affects thousands of people across the region through its education, research and treatment programs, and support services.

Some of the institute’s programs include the Senior Smoke Alarm Installation Program — which brought more than 1,200 homes up to fire code with more than 5,000 smoke detectors last year — and the Juvenile Arson and Explosive Research and Intervention Center program. As the only court-approved and court-mandated juvenile firesetter diversion program in the county, the program served nearly 200 children at no cost in 2013.

Camp Beyond the Scars is the institute’s most notable burn-survivor support program. The camp was established in 1987, and San Diego’s local Camp Beyond the Scars launched in 1994.

The weeklong camp, which is free for burn-injured children, emphasizes building self-esteem and coping skills, and fellowship with other burn survivors.

“Come and help support us,” Day said. “We appreciate the generosity of our community because it allows us to continue to provide important safety programs and other services for burn survivors.”

The fourth annual gala begins at 6 p.m. with a reception, followed by a live auction and live music from Aloha Radio. The gala will feature a variety of items to bid on, including a chance to join the Chula Vista Police Department SWAT team for a day, a Corum watch valued at $10,000 and a trip to Hawaii.

The golf classic kicks off with a shotgun start at noon and culminates with a reception and awards ceremony. All players will receive lunch courtesy of Phil’s BBQ, snacks, drinks and entrance to the cocktail awards reception.

Gala tickets start at $250. The golf player entry fee is $425. Proceeds from both events benefit the Burn Institute.

For tickets to the gala or golf classic, call the Burn Institute at 858-541-2277 or visit

For more about the Burn Institute, visit

Musical ‘Zombie Prom’ lurches onto Canyon Crest Academy stage in Carmel Valley

Fri, 09/26/2014 - 10:07

‘Zombie Prom’ will be performed at Canyon Crest Aca-demy’s Envision Theatre on Oct. 24-25, 30-31 and Nov. 1.

Canyon Crest Academy Envision Theatre presents the musical “Zombie Prom” over the Halloween season at the school’s Black Box Theatre.

This girl-loves-ghoul rock-and-roll Off-Broadway musical by Dana Rowe and John Dempsey is set in the atomic 1950s at Enrico Fermi High. A teen’s encounter with the local atomic waste dump causes him to return “transformed” — but he still has the All-American dream of taking a pretty senior to the prom. History comes to his rescue while a selection of original ’50s-style songs keeps the action rocking across the stage.

The show will be performed Oct. 24, 25, 30, 31 and Nov. 1. It’s directed by CCA Envision Theatre Coordinator Jeannine Marquie, with guest musical direction by Leigh Scarritt and guest choreography by Max Gidaley. CCA Student Stage Manager is Yarden Abed and Assistant Stage Manager is Taylor Olsen.

The “Zombie Prom” cast, in alphabetical order:

Riley Cavanaugh; Cameron Chang; Alyxandra Charfauros; Michelle Cohen; Julian Coker; Alyssa DeVries; Madi Rae DiPietro; Tyler Faison; Emmy Farese; Kion Heidari; Halle Hoffman; Sammy Lurie; Steve Macario; Constantine Mickens; Avery-Claire Nugent; Adam Sussman; Alyson Tharp; Julia Vandeweil.

On the production team: Technical Director/Set Designer: Jeremy Sewell; Costume Designer: Janet Pitcher; Envision Theatre & Show Lead Parent: Nancy Coker; Publicity Lead Parent: Susan Farese; Lobby Lead Parent: Trish Faison.

CCA students at rehearsals for ‘Zombie Prom,’ an off-Broadway musical with a perfect theme for Halloween. Photos by Susan Farese

Tickets are available for online purchase starting Oct. 1 at

Canyon Crest Academy’s Envision arts program is supported by donation dollars and uses working artists as instructors to deliver an outstanding arts experience at a professional level. Performances are known as above and beyond a “high school theater show.”

Call 858-350-0253, ext. 4075 or email

Solana Beach moving forward with seawall mitigation study

Fri, 09/26/2014 - 09:59

By Kristina Houck

After a four-year delay, Solana Beach is moving forward with a study that will determine how much private property owners have to compensate the public for lost sand and recreational opportunities because of the construction of a seawall.

“The seawalls are in place, but the mitigation is not in place,” said Jim Jaffee, of the Surfrider Foundation during the first community meeting for the mitigation fee study update project Sept. 23 at City Hall.

He noted that he and others of the city’s citizens committee initially proclaimed the study would be completed in 2006.

“It’s kind of a travesty that it’s taken us 10 years to get this far.”

In 2008, Solana Beach launched a study to establish mitigation fees for seawalls by evaluating the potential impacts on sand supply and loss of recreational use of the public beach.

The draft fee study was made available to the public in April 2010 for review and comments. A corrected draft was issued in July 2010 and the public comment period closed in October 2010.

The 2010 draft fee study recommended a land lease and recreation fee. The report concluded that the appropriate fee was $3,100 per linear foot. Applicants could pay one-third of the cost up front, with the remaining balance due by 2081.

The 2010 report is still available and on the city’s website, but it remains a draft. The report was never finalized and put on hold for the last four years while the city worked to finalize its Land Use Plan, which was adopted by the Solana Beach City Council and California Coastal Commission in February 2013.

In the interim, the city has assessed land lease and recreation fees at $1,000 per linear foot.

At the start of 2014, Solana Beach received a $120,000 grant from the California Coastal Commission so the city could update its 2010 study.

Initiated in June, the study update process will incorporate and reflect certified LUP policies, as well as review and address public comments on the 2010 report.

Public review should begin in March 2015, followed by a second public meeting in April. The council is expected to hear the report next September. The report will be submitted to the California Coastal Commission after the council adopts it. The update process is expected to be completed by April 2016.