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AutoMatters: C-MAX Solar Energi Concept & “Planes: Fire & Rescue”

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 12:00

Ford Motor Company graphic shows an energy price comparison from 1930.

By Jan Wagner

Recently Mike Tinskey, Ford’s Global Director of Vehicle Electrification and Infrastructure, shared some important information about the history of vehicle electrification, where things stand today and the C-MAX Solar Energi Concept.

Ford's C-Max Energi Solar Concept.

Solar panels on roof of Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept.

Back in 1930, electricity cost 8 cents/kWh and gasoline cost 10 cents/gallon. In today’s dollars, that was roughly equivalent to a little over $1/gallon for gas and $8/gallon for an equivalent amount of electricity. Electricity was much more expensive than gasoline back then. The average home used only 500 kWh of electricity per year.

The cost of electricity has gone down significantly over time, and the price of gas has risen. In the 1950s, their prices crossed, and that trend has continued. While today’s price for gasoline at the pumps hovers at $4/gallon and is likely to rise, the equivalent amount of electricity (in eGallons) costs about $1/gallon.

Today the average home uses 12,500 kWh of electricity annually. As more electric vehicles are added to our roads, that number will continue to increase.

Utilities are beginning to change how they charge for electricity, setting variable rates that depend on time of use. The price difference can be dramatic. Using timers to recharge electric vehicles in off-peak hours (late at night) saves money.

Equivalent cost per gallon (eGallon)

It stands to reason that if we could get some of that electrical energy from solar, we would save even more money – and not be as reliant on non-renewable, less environmentally friendly and foreign-sourced energy resources.

The energy alternatives get especially interesting when comparing a fuel-efficient gas-powered vehicle, an all-electric vehicle that gets its power from the grid and a vehicle that can be charged by solar power. At 40 MPG, it would take about two gallons of gas costing about $8 to make an 80-mile trip. In comparison, and depending upon the time of day that it was charged, an all-electric vehicle (like Nissan’s Leaf) that gets its power from the grid might use somewhere between $1.25 to $2 worth of electricity. Better yet, the solar energy used to charge the “Focus Electric Plus Solar” for the $80 trip would be free.

An energy-efficient solar electric vehicle uses a combination of modern technologies and strategies to maximize its range and efficiency. These typically include improved electric motor efficiency, engine start/stop technology (with all accessories, including air conditioning, re-engineered to run on electricity alone), regenerative braking, hybrid (CVT) transmissions and reduced electricity costs. Over time, the efficiency of solar cells has been steadily improving and the prices have dropped by 60 percent in the last three years.

Parking the C-MAX Solar Energi Concept in the sun is sufficient to produce a only small charge of electricity, but by focusing and concentrating the sun’s energy using a carport-like structure under which the car is parked, the amount of electrical charge increases significantly. In this way, the vehicle can be fully recharged.

Concentrator canopy over the C Max Solar Energi.

The position of the sun constantly changes in the sky, but the sun’s energy must be kept concentrated on top of the vehicle. There are ways to overcome this challenge. Automatically moving the collector structure to track with the sun is expensive. Instead, Ford moves the vehicle autonomously. In places where the sun is stronger, the concentrating structure can be downsized.

For buyers of electric vehicles, there are financial and other incentives from government, such as single-driver car-pool lane stickers.

In theaters now, “Planes: Fire & Rescue” in 3D is a delightful, family-friendly film in the tradition of “Cars” and “Planes.” The story is fresh. The flying scenes are quite breathtaking. The various planes, along with a strong supporting cast of cars and trucks, have distinct personalities. (Speaking of the cars in this film, I noticed a Datsun 240-Z. No doubt that particular sports car, and other cars from our youth, put smiles on the faces of people my age.)

The planes face challenges to overcome, including one caused by a misguided car.

Technically, the film is quite accurate in terms of the firefighting techniques and the types of planes that are used to fight fires. “Planes: Fire & Rescue” conveys the very real dangers that fires can and do present.

Be sure to stick around after the credits for a little extra something.

I wonder whether we will see a “Planes” attraction added to the Disney California Adventure theme park? That would be fun.

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

Copyright © 2014 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters #342

Torrey Pines High School players help water polo team to first place

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 11:29

Several water polo players from Torrey Pines High School, representing San Diego Shores Water Polo Club 18U Team, played in the John Hale Tournament this weekend and won first place in the final championship game.

Torrey Pines High School players were Harrison Miller, Alex Stromitis, Mike Epstein, Nick Wilcox, Jacob Roll, Tony Moore, “John-Jack” Lloyd and Zach Lang.

Also on the team were Raymond Medrano, Aaron Cardoza and Jacob Niskey.

Under Coach Mike Pilgrim’s guidance and with great teamwork, they won every game during the tournament. Way to go!!

Former Solana Beach resident to represent U.S. in inaugural European Peace Walk

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 09:49

Ruthi Solari will represent the U.S. in an international peace walk across Europe marking the 100th anniversary of World War I. Courtesy photo

By Kristina Houck

A former Solana Beach resident has been selected to represent the United States in an international peace walk to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I.

As the U.S. ambassador in the inaugural European Peace Walk, Ruthi Solari will join more than 100 individuals representing other countries in a 23-day, 341-mile trek across Europe.

“I’m tremendously honored to represent the U.S. in the walk,” said Solari, founder and executive director of SuperFood Drive, a nonprofit that works to make healthy food accessible to all. “It’s recognition for what I’ve done so far, promoting equality and peace. But it’s also an invitation to really keep paving the way.”

Kicking off July 28, the European Peace Walk goes through six European countries, starting in Vienna, Austria, and then passing through Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia before ending at the Mediterranean Sea in Trieste, Italy. The walk is also open to the public, with participants starting every day for two weeks.

“I’m looking forward to connecting with people along the way. All these people have stories of their families being torn apart and what it felt like to live through the World Wars,” said Solari, who added that her grandparents fled Germany during World War II.

The Europeans “are so excited this peace initiative is coming through their land. They want to share their stories.”

During the walk, Solari hopes to raise $5,000 for Women for Women International, a nonprofit humanitarian organization that provides financial aid, job training, rights awareness and leadership education to female survivors of war.

Promoting peace and female empowerment has always been important to Solari, just like promoting health, she said.

A nutritionist, she launched SuperFood Drive in 2009. The San Diego-based nonprofit supports hunger relief organizations by sourcing and providing healthy food for people in need.

Originally from Northern California, Solari moved to San Diego to study international studies at UC San Diego. She later studied at the Natural Healing Institute in Encinitas, becoming a certified nutritionist. She has since earned her master’s in mind-body medicine from Saybrook University in San Francisco.

She now lives with her husband in Switzerland, and learned about the European Peace Walk while attending an event hosted by the Future of Human Rights Forum in Geneva. After further research, she decided to volunteer and was eventually chosen as the U.S. ambassador for the walk.

“Most of the changes I’ve seen have all come from grass-roots initiatives,” Solari said. “So when I saw that that’s what this was, it spoke to my soul. Not only is it an opportunity for a personal journey, but it’s an opportunity to really raise awareness.”

The European Peace Walk is a cross-border initiative set on creating a walkway along the borders of Central Europe to celebrate the present European culture of peace.

After its inaugural year, walk organizers plan to open the route annually, in hopes it will become a popular destination for hikers globally.

“I hope people walk it for generations to come,” Solari said. “I also hope it increases dialogue, not just about the past, but about what peace looks like today and how it should look in the future.”

For more about the European Peace Walk, visit To support Solari in the walk, visit

For more about SuperFood Drive, visit

For more about Women for Women International, visit

Del Mar City Council authorizes specific plan process for Watermark Del Mar

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 09:43

By Kristina Houck

Community members will have multiple opportunities to share their thoughts on a proposed housing project, after the Del Mar City Council’s authorization of a specific plan process for Watermark Del Mar.

Unveiled during an open house last July, the one- and two-story multi-unit residential project is proposed for the vacant property on the southwest corner of Jimmy Durante Boulevard and San Dieguito Road — an area that lies in the commercial zone.

Although Del Mar has not yet received an application from the property owners, city staff recommended the council authorize the specific plan process so San Dieguito Land Partners, the potential applicant, could move forward with it.

The specific plan process sets special development standards that apply to a specific geographical area.

In a 4-0 vote, council members on July 21 approved the specific plan process, including an outreach program, for Watermark Del Mar. Deputy Mayor Al Corti recused himself from the issue because he lives within 500 feet from the project site.

Besides creating a land use designation and zone for the property, the specific plan requires opportunities for community participation throughout the process.

“I think the process has multiple opportunities for public input, which is good,” said Councilman Don Mosier.

Added Councilman Terry Sinnott, “I think the specific plan process is the way to go because it gives the community the maximum amount of opportunity to comment, to influence and to have an impact on what the developer is proposing.”

The early design concept for Watermark Del Mar featured 54 one- to four-bedroom apartments and townhomes on the 2.3-acre site. Early plans also included seven affordable housing units, four of which would be deeded free to Del Mar Community Connections, a local volunteer organization.

To encourage community involvement in the process, San Dieguito Land Partners plans to launch an interactive website, use a listserv, meet with neighbors and stakeholders, establish an internal advisory group, and meet with California Coastal Commission staff.

In addition, the applicant plans to establish a Citizens’ Participation Program, hold three community workshops, conduct a California Environmental Quality Act scoping meeting, give presentations to the city’s Planning Commission and Design Review Board, and hold formal hearings with the Planning Commission, Design Review Board and City Council.

“We’re trying to create a very, very transparent process,” said Marco Gonzalez, co-founder and managing partner of Coast Law Group, on behalf of the potential applicant. “Because this is such an important project at such an important location in this community, we want to give this added level of transparency and vision to this.”

Still, three speakers urged the council to send the issue to the ballot.

“I think it’s important that the majority of the people, if this development is to be developed, should at least accept it,” said resident Hershell Price. “It shouldn’t be a burden on the community or the property.”

Resident Arnold Wiesel, who previously noted he lives about 300 feet away from the project site, also asked the council to let the voters decide.

In November, Wiesel organized a meeting to assemble opponents of the project. Nearly 40 people attended the meeting at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, most against the project.

“When something is this contentious and this problematic and there are so many issues, it often makes sense to go to a vote,” he said.

Sinnott said he wasn’t opposed to a public vote, but that discussing it was “a little bit premature” because the city hasn’t yet received a project application and the community hasn’t had the opportunity to provide input.

“I’m concerned, as many residents would be, that it be done right, it be done well and it be done in a way that we could all be proud of,” Sinnott said.

“I can promise, at least as one council member, if the project comes forward and there’s a lot of controversy or a lot of disagreement, and it’s not a clear benefit to the community, then, sure, we’re going to have to struggle with it at the council level,” he added.

“I’m confident this council will only reflect the attitude of the community — it has done that pretty well — but that does not preclude a decision around a public vote. But I think that’s not necessary now, and I assume it won’t be necessary because the specific plan process will be done so well.”

Patriot Profiles: ‘Experiences good or bad, you’re never going to forget them’

Tue, 07/22/2014 - 16:42

U.S. Marine Cpl. Jervis Hettrick. Photo by Jeanne McKinney

This column presents “Patriot Profiles” to provide readers insight into the lives of our country’s heroes.

By Jeanne McKinney

Mobility across natural obstacles can save lives in war. The capture of the Ludendorff Bridge that spanned the Rhine River at Remagen, Germany, infuriated Hitler, as it allowed Allied troops to drive to the heart of Germany. When a tactical need arises and a bridge doesn’t already exist, combat engineers can build them, providing a distinct strategic advantage on the battlefield.

Cpl. Jervis Hettrick, a combat engineer with the 7th Engineer Support Battalion, now serving at Camp Pendleton, is dubbed “a jack of all trades.” He joined the Marine Corps with some roofing background, a year of college and a fascination with everything going on in the war after 9/11 hit close to home in Union Beach, N.J.

As soon as his recruiter read him the job description he knew it was right for him, saying, “I like getting my hands dirty … yes, this is what I wanted to do.”

Three and a half months of Engineer School in Camp Lejeune, N.C., taught Hettrick the basics of route clearance, demolition, vertical and horizontal construction, survivability and bridging. He joined the fleet in Okinawa, Japan, and was put in a bridge platoon.

“They told me, ‘Get ready, you’re deploying to Afghanistan,’” said Hettrick. During a pre-deployment work-up, they built bridge after bridge. “You learn as you go from your staff noncommissioned officers — people who have been there, done that.”

In 2012, Hettrick was sent to a hotbed of Taliban in Mirmandab, Helmand Valley, Afghanistan, who were raining down bullets, grenades and mortars on Alpha Company 9th ESB.

He was part of engineering operations that supported Special Operations Task Force West, part of Marine Corps Special Operations Command. The gamut of Hettrick’s training came into play.

The task was clear: Enable force vehicle mobility (then limited to foot traffic) and establish a new patrol base and support platform, enabling SOTF-West to push further north to eliminate pockets of  insurgents causing havoc.

Hettrick, left, works with Lance Cpl. Christopher De Casanova, combat engineer, to move a roller beam that will support a bridge for the Camp Pendleton Mud Run. Photo by Lance Cpl. Keenan Zelazoski.

Bridge building outside the concertina wire is stepping out in no-man’s-land where, according to Hettrick, “Anything can happen at any time. Obviously, improvised explosive devices are always a threat.

“If the enemy sees you re-conning a bridge site — getting measurements and everything, they know what you’re doing and go place IEDS there. We had guys designated in our platoon to do the sweeping.”

Despite careful efforts, “Three weeks into our deployment, one of my corporals, Sgt. Nick Kimmel, stepped on an IED — lost his legs and one arm. When you deploy with an Engineer Support Battalion, everyone’s saying, ‘You’re not going to see combat — you’re not going to see this or that.’…”

Hettrick responds to the assertion, “It is combat,” with “Yeah.”

“We had about 30-40 guys on a bridge crew, but everybody is building the bridge. Gunners would provide security. One (bridge) was over just a little gap. We replaced that with a culvert two months later. One was an 11-bay double-story medium-girder bridge over a river. There was another small one we replaced with a non-standard (wooden) bridge — a more permanent structure.”

“Man-size Legos” is what Hettrick and fellow engineers call bridge parts. “Medium-girder bridges are worth a lot of money,” he explains. “It’s magnesium zinc alloy — really strong. If we’re pulling out of Afghanistan, we’re going to want to take those bridges with us.

“Our job the entire deployment was taking the medium bridges out and replacing them with non-standard bridges,” which he described as “concrete footers on each side of the gap with a steel I-beam running across. Then, you deck it.”

Demolition is Hettrick’s favorite part of his job. When they found IEDs while building a bridge, he had fun shooting off MCLCs — “That’s a mine-clearing line charge. It is 1,750 pounds of C-4 (explosive) connected to a rocket.

“It’s crucial. If you’re trying to get from point A to point B and you’ve got a river there, instead of going out of your way for a few hours or days, we can come in and build a bridge in a couple hours. We were constantly working, whether we were outside the wire or inside the wire — always preparing the next bridge,” said Hettrick.

The Germans didn’t see success when they launched a massive counter attack against the Ludendorff bridgehead. American troops had built pontoon and treadway bridges adjacent to the span — a tenacious assurance the Allied advance would continue, even when the Ludendorff suddenly collapsed.

The nine-plus bridges still left in the Helmand Valley by 9th ESB are a tenacious reminder of Marines finding solutions. These engineering feats, pounded by armored tracks, tires, and boot steps, also give local villagers reliable routes to connect socially and economically.

Hettrick says, “That bridge is going to stay there even after the war — those Afghan people are going to use that bridge every day.”

In addition to bridges, four new patrol bases with berms, concertina wire, guard towers, and berthing areas offer Marines refuge in no-man’s-land, thanks to the laboring hands of Hettrick and his platoon. “We even built two patrol bases for the Georgians.”

He explained that along with the Georgians and Jordanians, “there were a whole bunch of people over there.”

Philippine Navy Seabee Petty Officer Second Class Alfredo Mendoza, right, from the 3rd Naval Construction Battalion, helps Hettrick smooth a concrete pad at the Rabanes Elementary School in 2013. Photo by Staff Sgt. Robert Dea

When a school in the Philippines was damaged by a volcano in 2013, Hettrick’s platoon helped rebuild, first having to dig out 3 feet of ash. “Hundreds of kids from now until that school is not there anymore know that we built it. It’s a pretty cool feeling.”

Support from his family, friends, and people he works with inspire Hettrick. “I have brothers here in the Marine Corps — these are my brothers.”

Seeing how Sgt. Kimmel has overcome tragedy with no legs and no left arm fills Hettrick with perspective: “He golfs, races trucks off-road, snowboards, works for the Padres … He lives a happier and more fulfilling life than most of the people I know.

“If I wake up and I’m tired and I’ve got to put my boots on, I think back to that day and realize, some people have to wake up and put their legs on. I’m happy to put my boots on every day. Experiences good or bad, you’re never going to forget them when you’re a Marine.”

At Camp Pendleton, Cpl. Jervis Hettrick is a Bridge Master, equivalent to a civilian construction foreman. As commander of a bridge crew, he adamantly assures, “I still get my hands dirty.”

Del Mar Carmel Valley Sharks Team Dustin are GU10 champs at Hotspurs tournament

Tue, 07/22/2014 - 15:19

Del Mar Carmel Valley Sharks Team Dustin

Del Mar Carmel Valley Sharks Team Dustin won the championship game to become GU10 champs at the Hotspurs USA Cup tournament July 19-20!

This new team, made up almost entirely of girls who have never played at the competitive level before, demonstrated great teamwork, and scored a total of 13 goals in their four games.  Well done, ladies!

Pictured are: (front, L-R) Alannah Gallagher, Carly Marks, Angela Liu, Lillian Paul-Fisher, Morgan Johnson; (back, L-R) Nora Hall, Gianna Pusateri, Rebecca Kim, Irelynd Lorenzen, Bryn Pallia, Brinda Srinivasan and Coach Dustin Hammond.

SDJA volleyball group ‘ties’ winning, caring for others

Tue, 07/22/2014 - 15:11

Shannon Saffer, left, and Savanna Lurie.

Shannon Saffer has been involved in community service and volunteering for years. She is the Jewish Community Center’s incoming Community Service Board’s Executive Leader.

Savanna Lurie designed T-shirts for last year’s annual “Dig Pink” breast cancer awareness events.

The San Diego Jewish Academy girls’ volleyball standouts, both incoming seniors, are like many athletes throughout the nation involved in community involvement at some level.

But to hear them tell it, caring for others isn’t just something that’s encouraged by the program — it’s the essence of the program.

“Through that,” Saffer said, “I learned how to be a leader, which I’ve brought back to the court.”

Saffer and Lurie’s commitment to community involvement was instilled by SDJA coach Melissa Maxwell-Junge since both were in sixth grade. That was in 2008, Maxwell-Junge’s first year running the program.

Maxwell-Junge, a social worker, has made helping others — on and off the court  — an integral part of the team’s culture.

And at SDJA, caring for others and winning have gone hand in hand.

The Lions have made the playoffs all six seasons since Maxwell-Junge took over what was a downtrodden program.

“There’s some teams where you just play to win, and they put all their effort into improving their skills,” Lurie said.

“We put a lot of effort into improving our skills, too, but we do a lot of team bonding. Everything is based on helping the team, so if  you get  subbed out, or if you’re put in a position that you’re not extremely comfortable in, you know you’re doing it for the team, so that’s kind of a big thing.

“We want everyone to feel comfortable at all times so that they’ll play their best.”

Lurie and Saffer are among the key returnees on a Lions team that Maxwell-Junge projects to be perhaps one of the best in program history.

Lurie was a first-team All-Coastal League North selection last season and Saffer an honorable mention.

Others to watch include standout outside hitter Sara Chitlik, an incoming junior, who’s among the team’s most talented returnees. Incoming freshman Sophia Flores, a 6-foot middle blocker, is a potential impact player with great raw ability, Maxwell-Junge said, but it has not yet been determined whether she’ll start the season on the varsity team.

Lurie and Saffer have played on the varsity team since they were freshmen. Both have the potential to play at four-year colleges, Maxwell-Junge said.

And both bring more to the Lions than just physical talents.

“They bring unity, they bring leadership and they bring enthusiasm,” Maxwell-Junge said.

Lurie and Saffer exemplify what Maxwell-Junge has nurtured in the program, with both players going all-in on the Lions’ unselfish credo.

“The biggest thing (Maxwell-Junge) has taught me is how to be a team player, putting the team before yourself,” Saffer said.

But team unity starts with taking time to address whatever is on the minds of her players.

At the start of practices, Maxwell-Junge asks players not about their game-readiness, but how their days went.

Before home matches, the team gathers in a circle, with players discussing anything that might be bothering them in a ritual that looks more like group therapy than adrenaline-pumping pre-game rallying. The Lions call it their “shoe-tying” ritual.

“We talk about things outside volleyball,” Saffer said. “We get it all out and we kind of communicate with each other, and then we all tie our shoes.

“Then we leave all that other stuff behind.”

Does it help?

“I think so,” Saffer said. “You get (your problems) out of your system and it sets the mood for the rest of the game.”

This approach to coaching results in more caring, more trust, and more communication between players, Saffer said.

And she believes it improves performance, too.

“I think it helps when the team has a bunch of good players that are really nice to each other and are friendly,” Saffer said.

“You can’t just have a team with a bunch of good players that don’t actually connect at all. (Volleyball) is a sport where you actually need to connect on the court, so having the nicer people and being able to communicate with each other and making like a family bond makes a really big difference, because then you know how you’re connecting with the players and it’s just a better game.

“And it’s more fun that way.”

3 North Shore Girls Softball players to join teams at ASA Western Nationals

Tue, 07/22/2014 - 15:02

Katie W.

Three North Shore Girls Softball athletes have been selected by other teams in the county to compete in the ASA Western Nationals starting Monday, July 28, in Roseville. 10U Gold pitcher Katie W. will play for PQ Lightning, the All-Star team from Rancho Penasquitos. 10U Gold catcher

Anna H.

Jessie R. will play for Navajo, the softball league based in the La Mesa area. 10U Gold pitcher Anna H. will also play for Navajo. Rules of the Amateur Softball Association allow teams to add players to their roster since North Shore’s 10U team did not qualify for Nationals. “It was quite an honor for these girls to get the opportunity to play in Nationals,”  said Randy Rechs, president of the North Shore Girls Softball League. “We also appreciate that these teams recognized the talent of our players, and we hope they help in any way they can.” North Shore teams faced Navajo and PQ several times during the All-Star season.

Jessie R.

The athletes practiced with their respective teams over the past week. Their parents said the girls have been welcomed as friends and teammates. The trio will join North Shore’s 12U Gold team, which qualified for Nationals with strong wins at the state tournament in Lancaster earlier this month.  For updates on their progress at the tournament, go or find North Shore Girls Softball League on Facebook.

Surf Cup returns to Polo Fields for weekend fun

Tue, 07/22/2014 - 14:50

The soccerloco San Diego Surf Cup presented by Nike will fill up 18 soccer fields spread out across 50 acres of the San Diego Polo Club turf from July 26-July 28 and Aug. 2-4.

The soccerloco San Diego Surf Cup presented by Nike will fill up 18 soccer fields spread out across 50 acres of the San Diego Polo Club turf from Saturday, July 26 through Monday, July 28 and Aug. 2-4.

The 34th annual tournament continues to be the top summer showcase for youth soccer — last year the tournament attracted more than 400 college coaches and scouts.

The tournament’s first weekend features under-16 to under-18 boys and girls teams; the second features under-10 to under-15 boys and girls teams. Most age groups play in divisions of 16 teams, and each team is guaranteed three matches.

The tournament draws competitive squads from all over the country. Teams this year hail from Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Massachusetts, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Mexico.

Local teams competing include squads from San Diego Surf and one from Rancho Santa Fe Attack. For game schedules or more information, visit

Ice Cream Social and benefit at Muttropolis

Tue, 07/22/2014 - 11:10
Kelsey with Diamond ◄ Back Next ► Picture 1 of 7

The ninth annual Ice Cream Social for pets and their owners was held at Muttropolis on S. Cedros in Solana Beach on July 20.  Sydnee’s Grooming was on hand to launch its inaugural Pooch Party to benefit Furry Fosters. The event also featured a fun art exhibit with paw-pieces created by dogs available for adoption, to benefit Furry Friends.  Visit Photos by Jon Clark.

Motorcyclist killed in accident near Del Mar Fairgrounds

Mon, 07/21/2014 - 11:29

By City News Service

The motorcyclist killed in a two-vehicle crash near the Del Mar Fairgrounds over the weekend was identified July 21 as a 22-year-old Escondido man.

Alexander Mackenzie Williams was headed west on Via de la Valle near Jimmy Durante Boulevard at a high rate of speed shortly before 6:30 p.m. Sunday, July 20, when he lost control and swerved into oncoming traffic, according to the Medical Examiner’s Office and the sheriff’s department.

Sheriff’s officials said it is possible that Williams had been riding in tandem with another rider or racing another rider just before the crash. He could have struck a cone being used for traffic control near the Del Mar Racetrack, they added.

Williams was thrown from the motorcycle and landed under the front end of a stopped Hyundai, sheriff’s Sgt. Joe Tomaiko said. Williams’ motorcycle then crashed into an eastbound Toyota sedan, then two other vehicles.

Williams died at the scene, authorities said.

Tomaiko said none of the other vehicles’ occupants were injured and that alcohol was not believed to have been a factor in the crash.

Bestselling author Jojo Moyes discusses her novels with fans at Del Mar Country Club luncheon

Mon, 07/21/2014 - 11:17

At the luncheon: (L-R) Marci Laulom, Jojo Moyes, Debbie Sigal, Veronica Leff. Photo by Lois Alter Mark

By Lois Alter Mark

“On my last book tour, I had a day off in Portland and it was very nice,” said bestselling novelist Jojo Moyes at a luncheon recently held at the Del Mar Country Club. Then she paused, looked around and added, “But I can tell you a day off in La Jolla is better.”

The British author definitely knows how to please an audience – as evidenced not just by the warm welcome her comment received from the dozens of fans who came to hear her speak at the Warwick’s-sponsored event at the Del Mar Country Club, or by the fact that this is her third visit to San Diego in as many years, but, most tellingly, by the millions of books she’s sold.

At the age of 45, Moyes has already written 11 novels, including the beloved “Me Before You,” an emotional roller coaster of a novel responsible for passionate book club discussions and plenty of tears all around the globe.

But she was here to talk about her latest novel, “One Plus One,” and she started out by explaining the inspiration behind it.

“I wanted to write a book about a mum,” she said. “I feel that mums get quite the raw deal in literature. In fairy tales, they’re usually dead. ‘Harry Potter?’ Dead. Oh, one of my favorite books, ‘The Goldfinch’ – chapter one? Dead.

“So I wanted to represent the mothers I know who are really kind of heroic. They’re just getting on with life, they’re putting food on the table, they’re cheerful, they get a multitude of stuff done. I also wanted to write a book about a family that was not necessarily a conventional family. Because, while my husband and I might be a conventional family – there’s me, him and our three kids – my own family is, I think the modern term is, blended. So I have stepbrothers and half sisters. We have relationships in our family that we can’t even work out what the word is.”

In “One Plus One,” Jess is basically a single mother although she’s still married. Her husband went off to find himself a couple of years ago, and she’s working two jobs to try to get her math whiz daughter into private school and keep her mascara-wearing son away from the neighborhood bullies.

“She just wants to keep her kids on the straight and narrow,” explained Moyes, “and she’s faced with the same problem all mums face, which is how do you give enough time to your kids when you’re busy working?”

Moyes credits her husband for helping to provide that balance in their own lives. “I wake up at six, and he wakes up at five to six,” she said. “He makes the coffee, brings it upstairs with my laptop, moves my head, puts a pillow behind me, puts my laptop on my lap, opens it up, hands me the coffee and says, ‘Go.’”

Once the stunned audience finished picturing their own husbands doing all that, the questions came flying. Many were about Moyes’ writing process. She usually writes at least 500 words a day. A former journalist, she never saw herself becoming a novelist but always loved telling stories. Her best advice for aspiring writers? “Just do it. Don’t think of the big picture. Just sit down and say to yourself, ‘I’m going to write one page today.’ By the end of the year, you’ll have a 365-page book. Even if it’s rubbish.”

And, of course, her fans wanted to talk about “Me Before You.”

The plot revolves around a news story Moyes heard back in 2008 when she was driving her kids home from school. After several years of living as a quadriplegic, a young man had persuaded his parents to take him to a Dignitas – a center for assisted suicide.

“I was just profoundly shocked because I couldn’t believe that any parent would agree to help a child end their life,” said Moyes. “So I did more research and realized that, as much as I wanted this to be a black and white issue, with a right and a wrong, I just couldn’t make it work. It was a big gray area.”

Although her publisher was underwhelmed by the idea, the story felt important to Moyes, who was compelled to write it anyway. Three million copies and thousands of grateful emails later, the book has changed Moyes’ life and she is currently writing the screenplay for MGM.

So what’s next for the prolific writer?

“I’m writing another book but I can’t talk about it,” she apologized. “I’m really superstitious and, although I’ve written about 30,000 words, I’ve deleted about another 60,000.”

She did admit that she had figured out a key plot point since she’d been in San Diego, so who knows? Maybe her next book will be titled, just like the blog post she just wrote on, “The Joys of La Jolla.”

Solana Beach employee featured at City Hall Gallery

Mon, 07/21/2014 - 11:08

Photographer David Kloz. Photo by Kristina Houck

By Kristina Houck

From Monday through Friday, David Kloz works as a management analyst for the city of Solana Beach. When he’s not at work, Kloz is often outside with a camera.

A collection of his photos is currently on exhibit at his workplace, the Solana Beach City Hall. It’s the amateur photographer’s first ever show.

“I’m curious to see what the response is going to be,” Kloz said. “We all see the world in a different light.”

From surfers to sunsets, “Stills of Solana Beach” features about 70 photos of the community. Installed July 9, the free exhibit is open through Aug. 15 at the City Hall Gallery.

Kloz shot many of the photos while riding his bike or taking the train to and from work.

“There are so many great subjects and objects around here,” said Kloz, who started with the city seven years ago, initially as an accountant.

Originally from the Czech Republic, Kloz recalled playing with a camera when he was 8 years old. His interest stemmed from his grandfather, a professional artist, who specialized in photography and pencil drawings. His hobby didn’t become serious until about 10 years ago, however.

“Sometimes you don’t realize the things you truly enjoy until later,” he said.

Kloz relocated to the United States when he was 21 years old. He studied at Point Loma Nazarene University before finishing his bachelor’s degree in accounting at Cal State San Marcos. He worked as an accountant for the city of San Diego for about five years before coming to Solana Beach, where he now works in the city’s Human Resources Department.

The Oceanside resident spends much of his free time as a freelance photographer. His work has been featured in a variety of publications.

Whether art along the Coastal Rail Trail, or the sea cliffs along the shoreline, Kloz said he enjoys capturing the beauty of the community that some pass by every day.

“There is something beyond us in this world. It’s just nice to see it from a different angle,” Kloz said. “My dream is to capture things so people can also see things in a different way.”

The exhibit is open through Aug. 15 at the Solana Beach City Hall, located at 635 South Highway 101. A reception is set for Aug. 1. The free event will take place from 6-8 p.m.

For more information about Kloz and his work, visit

For more information about the City Hall Gallery, visit

Carmel Valley family to host orphaned child from Colombia this summer

Mon, 07/21/2014 - 10:50

Suzanne Bacon and Jared Jacobsen will host a child from Colombia this summer as part of the Kidsave Summer Miracles program that seeks to connect children with potential families. Courtesy photo

By Karen Billing

A Carmel Valley couple is hoping to give an orphaned Colombian child a chance to find an adoptive family this summer. Suzanne Bacon and Jared Jacobsen are participating as a host family in the Summer Miracles program of Kidsave, an organization that brings older orphanage and foster kids to the United States to give them an opportunity to become a part of a loving family.

Bacon and Jacobsen will host 12-year-old Sebastian for a month starting Aug. 1.

Sebastian is just one of 31 Columbian children who are coming to the country with Kidsave this summer. The number of children who come are determined by the families who volunteer to host them so every spot truly counts.

“I do feel like we’re making a difference,” Jacobsen said. “We’re looking forward to giving someone that opportunity. It was especially attractive to me because they’re older kids who are getting to the end of their childhood; it’s a last chance to have a family.”

There are just seven children coming to California and only three to Southern California — Jacobsen and Bacon are the only San Diego family participating as a host this summer. The biggest group of children (16) will be in the Washington DC metro area and the rest dispersed throughout the country, according to Delta Kirkland, the Summer Miracles program assistant manager.

While the children are in the U.S. they will be attending weekend advocacy events and families interested in meeting the kids are invited to attend and get to know them.

Kidsave, with offices in DC and Los Angeles, was officially founded in 1997 and the first program year was 1999. This is Kidsave’s 16th summer presenting the Summer Miracles program. The program has brought children from Russia and Kazakhstan in the past, but now focuses its efforts on Colombia.

Many children live in orphanages in Colombia, as they have lost parents due to civil conflict and HIV/AIDS. Others are abandoned due to extreme poverty, parental drug abuse or arrest, or are left without homes after serving time as child combatants.

“We saw a need in Colombia, especially for ‘older’ children,” Kirkland said. “It’s challenging in any country to find adoptable families for older children…The kids in our program go up to age 14, so this is really the last opportunity they have to find a family.”

In Colombia, orphans are emancipated from the child welfare system at age 18 and many leave orphanages without an education, unable to support themselves and with no caring adult to guide them.

Kidsave is not an adoption agency, but it coordinates with highly accredited agencies as well as the Colombian government to work as advocates for people who are looking to complete the adoption journey, Kirkland said.

Kirkland said there have been many happy success stories over the years.

“Seventy-five to 80 percent [of the kids in the program] have found families so it’s a very effective family visit model,” Kirkland said.

One host participant last year, Adam in New York, adopted 13-year-old Cristian in November 2013 after his one-month stay in the summer. He said Kidsave was an extremely powerful volunteer opportunity, the process was amazing and there was no doubt that Cristian was the son he was meant to have.

“My heart melted the first time that I was called father,” Adam said on the Kidsave website.

Another success story, Galina from Kazakhstan, lived in horrible conditions in an orphanage after her father overdosed and her mother was not fit to take care of her.

“No child should have to live this way. Not when there are other options. Not when there is hope,” Galina wrote. “Kidsave was my hope.”

Galina visited the U.S. in 2003 with Summer Miracles and was adopted as a 9-year-old. She said that, for the first time, she felt love unconditionally. Today she is a freshman at Pepperdine University.

Jacobsen and Bacon do not have any children of their own and have lived in Carmel Valley since 2002.

Bacon works at UC San Diego in the alumni and community engagement department. She has been involved in nonprofit organizations such as the Friends of the Carmel Valley Library and Survivors of Torture International. Jacobsen is a former teacher and filmmaker, who also does statistical educational research.

The couple also lived in Mexico for a year in 2003-04 on a sabbatical where they taught English and worked on improving their Spanish.

Jacobsen found Kidsave as he was researching adoption and different programs and told his wife that if they didn’t do this, it was one less kid that would get to come tot he U.S.

“We’re both fluent in Spanish and have always felt connected to that part of the world. I thought it would be a great fit,” Jacobsen said.

Bacon had never heard of a program like Kidsave before, but was open to the experience of being on a life-changing journey right along with Sebastian.

“It was another adventure for us to do while staying here in Carmel Valley and a great way to help someone,” Bacon said.

The couple knows Sebastian’s personal story but are not allowed to share it with the media. They’ve been told he loves soccer and he takes piano lessons.

“He is doing well in school but he struggles with English so we’ll be able to help him with that,” said Jacobsen, who is also a big soccer fan.

Sebastian will celebrate his 13th birthday at the end of August while he is in San Diego.

“It will be our first children’s birthday party that we’re planning,” Bacon said.

While San Diego has plenty of attractions and things to do, they don’t want to overload his schedule and aim to make him feel as comfortable and “at home” as possible.

“We want to make sure we don’t over-stimulate him, we want him to see what everyday life is like,” said Bacon, noting there will probably be some time spent at the library and in a summer camp.

Kidsave will host advocacy events for the Southern California children for interested families to meet them; one is scheduled for Aug. 16. Find out more by visiting the web site at

The organization is always looking for more volunteer families like the Bacons so they can bring the opportunity of family to more children. With Summer Miracles, the host application can take some time so Kirkland said she’d love for any interested host families to get started with the application process in the fall. Visit

Crime cases and arrests/citations in the Carmel Valley, Del Mar, Solana Beach area in June 2014

Sun, 07/20/2014 - 08:42

The numbers of crime cases by type, where type is defined by the most serious crime that occurred, and arrests/citations with valid addresses that were reported to the San Diego County’s Automated Regional Justice Information System (ARJIS) by July 8 for the month of June 2014 in the San Diego City neighborhoods of Del Mar Heights, Carmel Valley, North City, and Torrey Highlands, and the Cities of Del Mar and Solana Beach are shown below:

Del Mar Heights

•10 Cases involving property: 2 residential burglaries, 2 financial, 1 malicious mischief/vandalism, 2 theft other than of or from vehicles, and 3 vehicle break-ins

•1 Case involving less serious crimes

•29 Arrests/Citations: 4 DUI, 1 narcotics, 3 speeding, 19 traffic other than DUI and speeding, and 2 other

Carmel Valley

•10 Cases involving persons: 1 aggravated and 9 simple assaults

•35 Cases involving property: 6 commercial burglaries, 10 financial, 4 malicious mischief/vandalism, 7 theft other than of or from vehicles, 7 vehicle break-ins, and 1 vehicle theft

•1 Case involving less serious crimes

•169 Arrests/Citations: 8 assault, 5 curfew violation, 2 DUI, 8 narcotics, 36 speeding, 98 traffic other than DUI and speeding, 1 vehicle theft, and 11 other

North City

•2 Cases involving persons: 2 simple assaults

•10 Cases involving property: 2 residential burglaries, 1 malicious mischief/vandalism, 3 theft other than of or from vehicles, and 4 vehicle break-ins

•15 Arrests/Citations: 1 narcotics, 1 speeding, 10 traffic other than DUI and speeding, and 3 other

Torrey Highlands

•4 Cases involving property: 1 financial, 1 malicious mischief/vandalism, and 2 vehicle break-ins

•12 Arrests/Citations: 1 DUI and 11 traffic other than DUI and speeding

City of Del Mar

•15 Cases involving persons: 2 aggravated and 11 simple assaults, 1 exhibiting a deadly weapon, and 1 sex other than rape

•17 Cases involving property: 3 commercial and 1 residential burglary, 3 financial, 3 malicious mischief/vandalism, 3 thefts other of or from vehicles, 3 vehicle break-ins, and 1 vehicle theft

•27 Cases involving less serious crimes

•218 Arrests/Citations: 8 assault, 1 deadly weapons, 24 drunk in public, 1 sex other than rape, 7 narcotics, 1 speeding, 128 traffic other than DUI and speeding, and 48 other

City of Solana Beach

•6 Cases involving persons: 5 simple assaults and 1 street robbery

•19 Cases involving property: 3 commercial and 1 residential burglary, 3 financial, 3 malicious mischief/vandalism, 3 thefts other than of or from vehicles, and 6 vehicle break-ins

•21 Cases involving less serious crimes

•154 Arrests/Citations: 2 assault, 1 burglary, 9 drunk in public, 2 DUI,  4 narcotics, 11 speeding, 82  traffic other than DUI and speeding, and 43 other

You can get a map that shows the hundred-block location of 15 types of crime cases in the past 180 days from  First click on California and then on San Diego Police for Del Mar Heights, Carmel Valley, North City, and Torrey Highlands locations, or San Diego County Sheriff for Del Mar and Solana Beach locations.  Then select from up to 15 types of crime cases, a date range, and enter an address.  And then click on Search to get a map and select a search radius.  You can also generate a report that lists all the mapped crime cases.

And for crime prevention tips and other information on safety and security, go to the Crime Prevention and Education section of the San Diego Police Department’s website at or the Crime Prevention page in the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department website at

— Tracey Williams, SDPD Northwestern Division Community Relations Officer

It’s ‘Hullabaloo’ time at Solana Beach Library

Sun, 07/20/2014 - 08:40

Steve Denyes brings Hullabaloo to the Solana Beach Library July 31.

Hullabaloo returns to the Solana Beach Library at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, July 31.

It’s commotion in motion and giggles galore for all ages with the bouncy, playful music of Steve Denyes.

Over the course of 10 years, Hullabaloo has won twelve national awards, and landed on three national “Top 10 Best Children’s Music” lists. It is summer fun at its best!

The library is at 157 Stevens Ave. Call 858-755-1404.

M-Theory Music celebrates vinyl in Flower Hill’s Row

Sun, 07/20/2014 - 08:33

M-Theory Music general manager Rick Tyner in Flower Hill Promenade’s new record store in the Row Collective.

By Karen Billing

A new vinyl record shop has spun into Del Mar with M-Theory Music in Flower Hill Promenade.

The store officially opened on June 14, but held a grand opening party on July 12 with live performances from the bands Island Boy and Ditches in Flower Hill’s lively Row Collective courtyard. Saturday’s scene included outdoor ping-pong matches, and the Row’s first Makers Market was held on Sunday with homemade goods and do-it-yourself crafts.

“The Collective down here has a lot of great people,” said Rick Tyner, general manager of M-Theory. “It’s fun to be a part of something up and coming.”

The space definitely stands out in the Row Collective, as local artist Celeste Byers painted the exterior and interior of the store with her uniquely bright designs. On Saturday night, the store teemed with people flipping through new and used vinyl records of everything from new rock to the very rare. M-Theory’s collection of cassette tapes also evoked plenty of nostalgia from browsers.

M-Theory also sells turntables and other audio equipment, music books, posters and artwork. This is the record shop’s second location; the first is in Mission Hills.

The store is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. For information, visit

Flower Hill Promenade is at 2720 Via de la Valle, Del Mar.

artist Celeste Byers painted the exterior and interiors of the record store. Photos by Karen Billing

a customer examines a record jacket at M-Theory’s grand opening party

20 Nail Lounge opens in Del Mar Highlands Town Center

Sun, 07/20/2014 - 08:27

20 Nail Lounge opened July 11 in Carmel Valley, offering manicures and pedicures in a fun and clean environment.

By Karen Billing

The new boutique mani-pedi spot 20 Nail Lounge opened Friday, July 11, in Del Mar Highlands Town Center.  General manager Shani Smith was busy at work ensuring that the first customers felt pampered and wonderful in an ultra-clean and cool environment, the experience that is the company’s brand.

The company is undergoing a transition, combining the 20 Nail Lounge brand with Marilyn Monroe Spas. The Del Mar Highlands location is one of two in California; the other is in Cardiff. The brand also has two nail boutiques in Scottsdale, Ariz., one in Miami and one in Orlando, Fla., as well as two Marilyn Monroe “glamour rooms” in Florida that do hair and makeup as well as nails, and three Marilyn Monroe resort spas at the Hyatt Times Square in New York, the Hyatt Maui and the Hyatt Monterey.

The crisp-looking, clean space sports wood floors and white all over — including a long white nail bar in front where customers perch in high-backed white leather chairs, and a pedicure area in the back where toes are treated while guests kick back on padded benches with red blankets and pillows for their comfort.

“We want to be fun and flirty, but sanitation is the key,” said Dan Shackleton-Jones, the chief operating officer of Marilyn Monroe 20 Nail Lounge.

Shackleton-Jones said they use hospital-grade sterilizing equipment and everything they have is for  one-time use: Guests take home any nail file, buffing block or foot file that is used during a treatment.

Cleanliness is important, Shackleton-Jones said, as it is one of the top concerns that people have about visiting nail salons.

The lounge offers $20 manicures and $30 pedicures that can be “pumped up” for extra with glitter, exfoliation, hand or foot rubs, hot towels, luxury masks and a popular paraffin treatment that is done using single-use gloves and booties.

“Little loungers,” kids 8 and under, can get a manicure for $10 and pedicures for $15. 20 Nail also offers waxing. To book an appointment or learn more, call 858-720-0020.

20 Nail Lounge opened July 11 in Carmel Valley, offering manicures and pedicures in a fun and clean environment.

Girl Scout Troop 3892 earns Bronze award — one heart at a time

Sat, 07/19/2014 - 15:51

From top left: Tara Eshraghi, Sophia Zilberman, Beth Sullivan. Middle: Lauren Despres, Victoria Chachas, Mollie Waters, Mona Alamar, Lana Kabakibi. Front: Katie Chwalowski, Emma Ostrow, Lia Cociorva

Junior Girl Scout Troop 3892 members have earned their Bronze Award by working with CPR instructor Beth Sullivan to raise awareness in the community of the importance of becoming certified in CPR, AED (defibrillator) and first aid. In the past year the girls have spent several hours putting together skits and performing for local schools to spread the word on the importance of becoming CPR certified.

Last month, they took part in demonstrating hands-only CPR at Del Mar’s Powerhouse Park as part of National CPR Awareness Week.

“Hands-only CPR has proven to be safe and effective and it’s quick and easy to learn,” says the troop’s leader, Cheryl Sulpizio Chachas. “Nationally, sudden cardiac arrest affects nearly 400,000 people every year, so our troop is committed to raising awareness to get as many people CPR, AED and first-aid certified every two years, if possible.”

The troop completed the aMuse Journey concurrently while earning their Bronze and bridged to Cadettes on the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco.

Del Mar Carmel Valley Sharks Girls U8 Smith Win Encinitas Rotary Cup

Sat, 07/19/2014 - 14:56

Del Mar Carmel Valley Sharks Girls U8 Smith

The Del Mar Carmel Valley Sharks Girls U8 Smith won their flight at the Encinitas Rotary Cup recently. Pictured (L-R): back row, Jordan Shadeed (filling in for Coach Brian Smith), Ella W., Audrey D., J.K., Torrey B., Sydney S., Haydn L., Cami I. Front row: Laila K., Ella M., Piper R., Emelia C., Leya L, Sophia B.