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Updated: 2 hours 18 min ago

Carmel Valley running events kick into high gear for 2014-15

Fri, 08/29/2014 - 09:00

Carmel Valley is one of San Diego’s fastest-growing communities, and with growth comes many opportunities and possibilities for activities and community projects. The running industry has taken notice and advantage of Carmel Valley’s picturesque bike paths, roadways, and trail systems.

Over the past couple of years, Carmel Valley has seen a few events run through the area, but one of the most notable is the third annual Kaiser Permanente Carmel Valley 5K and Kids Fun Run. In 2015, the event will start and finish at the Bay Club on Carmel Country Road while using the 56 Bike Path for the run course. The Kaiser Permanente Carmel Valley 5K and Kids Fun Run also helps raise money for 22 local schools in Carmel Valley. To date, the event has raised a total of $70,000.

Seeing the continued success of the Kaiser Permanente Carmel Valley 5K and Fun Run, Seasick Marketing, a Del Mar-based sports marketing company, wanted to help continue the trend of bringing running events to Carmel Valley, especially to lesser-used areas. In the next few weeks, Seasick Marketing will bring in two new events: the Carmel Valley Trail 10K/ 5K (Sept. 20) and the San Diego Monster Run 5K (Oct. 25). Both events will support and raise money for the Challenged Athletes Foundation.

The Carmel Valley Trail 10K and 5K will use Gonzales Open Space Canyon with a start and finish at Torrey Highlands Community Park (behind Torrey Pines High School), while the San Diego Monster Run 5K (a Halloween-themed Costume Fun Run) will start and finish at the Changes Plastic Surgery Center parking lot on El Camino Real, heading onto the 56 Bike Path heading East. This will be the first time that the western side of Gonzales Open Space has been used for a trail race, and the first time that a Halloween-themed fun run will be held in Carmel Valley.

The San Diego Monster Run 5K will include costume contests, silent auctions, kids area, food trucks, and live music.

“We are excited to get these events under way, and are hoping both these events will add to the community,” said Jeff Stoner of Seasick Marketing. “Gonzales Open Space is a beautiful area for trail running and we want to show everyone in the San Diego area that it is definitely worth a visit. And since Carmel Valley is such a family friendly community, we felt a themed fun run would be the next best option in getting that demographic involved with our races.”

Seasick Marketing hopes that its fundraising efforts for the Challenged Athletes Foundation will be comparable to the success that the Kaiser Permanente Carmel Valley 5K has had in raising money for the Carmel Valley schools.

“Katie Wilsey has done an amazing job the last couple years at getting the Kaiser Permanente Carmel Valley 5K off the ground and showing support for the community,” said Stoner. “We are hoping to follow her lead. The Challenged Athletes Foundation is such a great local charity that is close to our hearts, and we wanted to make sure this was the first foundation we worked with on these events.”

In recent weeks, there had been some confusion that the Kaiser Permanente Carmel Valley 5K had changed to a trail race and moved its date, but this is not the case.  Seasick Marketing and Katie Wilsey want to assure everyone that they support each other’s races, and that their respective races are separate events.

“The last thing we wanted to do was confuse people, so after our first annual Carmel Valley Trail 10K and 5K on Sept. 20 has concluded, we will look at making an adjustment to the name in 2015, while keeping the Carmel Valley roots,” said Stoner.

For information on the Kaiser Permanente Carmel Valley 5K and Kids Fun Run or to register, visit

For information or to register for the Carmel Valley Trail 10K and 5K or the San Diego Monster Run 5K, visit or

Torrey Pines High School sailing team aims to bring more hands on board

Fri, 08/29/2014 - 09:00

Torrey Pines Sailing Team captain Trey Muschamp rigs the jib. First practice is Sept. 3 at the Southwestern Yacht Club in Point Loma.

By Marni Kaufman

Beyond its stellar academic record, Torrey Pines High School is also famous for its formidable basketball crew, Rory Mcilroy-inspired golf team, and invincible volleyball league, among others.

However, Torrey Pines also has a club that has navigated its crew through the shoals of an invigorating letter sport on the high seas every Wednesday after school — the sailing team. Torrey Pines Sailing Team has developed into a friendly yet competitive group that allows teammates to stop and smell the salty air and appreciate nature and the magnificent outdoors.

Even on the coldest and calmest of days, the team still manages to enjoy and learn the skills of sailing a CFJ (Club Flying Juniors) sailboat.

After two years on the team, I have observed the strong camaraderie and complementary skills of the two partners on the boat. Team Captain Trey Muschamp has been sailing for six years. He joined the team five years ago while in middle school.

“My position is more along the lines of teaching skippers and crew the assorted skills of sailing,” he said. “The president of the team, Robbie Johnson, takes on a more administrative role.”

Whether this year will be more competitive rather than recreational, Trey said, “depends on the number of people on the team, and since we are expecting a larger group we will try to lean towards a more advanced racing team, but still keep it fun. I want to ignite the fire in these young sailors so they will come back year after year.”

Muschamp also mentioned that sailing is an impressive passion, since it is a combination of all great sports. Not only is it physically demanding, it’s mentally challenging, like chess. “You have to continuously out-think your opponent to get ahead.”

That plan of action applies for both weekly practices and during the exhilarating regattas (sailing meets). Sept. 13 kicks off the first regatta, called a “friendly,” in Newport Beach, while in October the team heads north to Monterey for the Sea Otter regatta where Torrey Pines will compete against statewide schools.

This is just one of the many perks of sailing, over and above the intrinsic beauty of the sport: meeting students from other teams, making lifelong connections, and especially opening your eyes to fun and exciting experiences.

The team is searching for new skippers and crew members. There are no skill, height, weight, gender or age requirements. Everyone with an adventurous spirit and love of the wind and water is welcome. The first practice will be Wednesday, Sept. 3, at the Southwestern Yacht Club in Point Loma with Coach Eric Heim, who will teach dedicated sailors the finer points of tacking and gybing, along with other strategies and techniques.

For more about the Torrey Pines Sailing Club, contact Robbie Johnson at 858-442-8871 or

Marni Kaufman is a senior at Torrey Pines High School, a passionate sailor and skipper on the sailing team.

Surf Girls U12 take the chilly challenge

Fri, 08/29/2014 - 09:00

The Surf Girls Academy U12 team, coached by Steveo Leacock, accepted the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to raise funds and awareness to fight ALS.

The Surf Girls Academy U12 team, coached by Steveo Leacock, accepted the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to raise funds and awareness to fight ALS. The team was challenged by Coach Steveo’s U8 team, and in return nominated three other teams for the challenge. Coach Steveo and the girls’ parents also accepted the challenge (by donating, being doused, or both). Back row: Sophie Pilarski, Hannah Samuels, Olivia Jandreski, Alyssa Bryant, Zaylin Tsakiris, Kelly Liu, Ariana McLean. Front row: Mia Grust, Melanie Gresser, Mia Koczur, Ally Greenhalgh, Samantha Quinlan, Kata O’Hara. Not pictured: Anya Roy and Casey White.

Inspired black belt students in Solana Beach bring home the coveted gold

Fri, 08/29/2014 - 09:00

Andrew Renner and Felicia Ferris. Photo by LeAn Erimli

By Jeanne Ferris

Two area martial arts competitors brought home gold at a recent tournament, illustrating the successful methods of instructor Stephanie Zeno at American Family Martial Arts in Solana Beach.

Andrew Renner and Felicia Ferris recently competed in the AK Martial Arts & Fitness Annual Friendship Tournament. Renner won first place in forms in the Black Belt teen division. Forms are choreographed defensive and offensive moves, increase in difficulty with each rank, and require memorization and precise execution.

Ferris, a senior at Canyon Crest Academy, won first place for point sparring as the only female in the Black Belt teen division.

Renner is the leader of the AFMA Cohort 2014 and aiming for his third degree as a black belt. A nationally certified karate instructor, he teaches tae kwon do part time while studying psychology and communications at Cal State San Marcos full time. AFMA Cohort is mandatory and an arduous five-month commitment for any student choosing to earn a black belt or a higher degree.

“I’ve been studying with Ms. Zeno at AFMA for 12 years,” he said, “and she has been a great role model in teaching that if I really want something in life, I have to work hard and persevere through any and all hardships. The outcome in the end is always more satisfying when you have conquered the challenges [of] your goals.”

Ferris is also a student at AFMA and studying for her second degree in Co-hort.

Both Renner and Ferris volunteer with St. James Mission Circle, a charitable organization that serves the disadvantaged both locally and internationally.

Their instructor, Stephanie Zeno, is an example of AFMA’s tae kwon do tenets of courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and indomitable spirit. Zeno is a 5th-degree black belt and works personally with children as young as 3 years old.

“Ms. Zeno has been an amazing influence on my son, Brody,” said Estela Leidy, a Skyline Elementary kindergarten teacher. “He has been studying with her since age 4 and we just love her.”

Zeno’s motto? The words of Nelson Mandela: “The tiny seed carries the promise of the mighty tree.  You must invest in your youth.”

As sole owner of AFMA, she has sown seeds of success since 1990.

“Our program is unlike any after-school enrichment or YMCA class,” said Zeno. “Our direction is about enriching the lives of our students and their families, not only through martial arts, but by living the tenets. There are many skillful masters in martial arts, but not all of them know how to teach. We teach through positive reinforcement — very different from most martial arts schools.”

AFMA’s regional director is Master Stephen Truscott, Zeno’s teacher. AFMA is associated with Family Karate and founded by Master Charles E. Hawkins, 72, who recently earned a 10th-degree black belt, the highest rank.

His teacher was Grand Master J. Pat Burleson, also a 10th-degree black belt, director of World Martial Arts Ranking Association (which all black belts test under) and the first U.S. National Karate Champion in 1964. Burleson trained under Grand Master Jhoon Rhee, who is credited with bringing tae kwon do to the United States.

This past year, 14 black belt alumnae revisited the AFMA dojang from countries as far as Denmark and Australia — once a family karate member, always a member.

Visit or the dojang at 124 Lomas Santa Fe, Suite 106, Solana Beach.

Del Mar Library hosts drought-tolerant plant classes

Fri, 08/29/2014 - 01:00

The Del Mar Library is hosting a monthly experts’ series on growing drought-tolerant and native plants. Learn about the varieties of plants available for creating beauty in your yard that will help save water and money:

• 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 19: Mia from Cedros Gardens, Solana Beach

• 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 3:  Jim from Armstrong Nursery, Del Mar

The Del Mar Library is at 1309 Camino Del Mar. For information, call 858-755-1666. For information about the San Diego County Library and other events, visit

Torrey Pines High School football starts Aug. 29

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 09:00

The Torrey Pines varsity football team scrimmaged against San Marcos on Friday, Aug. 22.

The Torrey Pines varsity football team scrimmaged against San Marcos on Friday, Aug. 22. The team will open up the season with a game on Friday, Aug. 29, against Pleasant Grove from Utah at 7 p.m. Photo by Anna Scipione.

Del Mar doctor faces 20 years for selling prescriptions to addicts

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 08:24

By City News Service

A Del Mar osteopath who sold painkiller prescriptions to addicts and drug dealers pleaded guilty in federal court Aug. 26 to conspiracy to unlawfully dispense and distribute oxycodone.

William Joseph Watson faces up to 20 years in federal prison when he is sentenced Dec. 8, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Fred Sheppard.

The defendant — who had been indicted on 40 other counts of oxycodone distribution — pleaded guilty as jury selection was to begin in his trial.

Watson preached natural medical remedies on his website, but investigators said the doctor was writing prescriptions for hydrocodone, oxycodone and Xanax to drug dealers and addicts for up to $500 per prescription.

Watson, arrested in June 2013, was secretly recorded selling prescriptions to an undercover agent and an informant, authorities said.

Teacher thrilled to be back in Carmel Valley as new Canyon Crest Academy Envision Theatre Coordinator

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 01:00

‘I have a lot of passion and energy for theater,’ says Jeannine Marquie, who will be the theater coordinator of Canyon Crest Academy’s Envision program.

By Kristina Houck

Jeannine Marquie landed her dream teaching job when she began working at Canyon Crest Academy’s Envision in 2007. But when schools were hit by the recession and her position went from full time to part time, the actress-turned-teacher had to look elsewhere and eventually relocated to Orange County for work.

Now starting her 18th year as a teacher, Marquie is back in Carmel Valley as the new theater coordinator of Canyon Crest Academy’s Envision. Envision offers day classes and after-school programs for cinema, dance, digital and fine art, instrumental music, theater, and vocal music.

“I love San Diego,” Marquie said. “When I first started working here, it was a dream job. It was the best ever, so I am beyond thrilled to be coming back.”

A Ventura native, Marquie traveled across the country like many young actors after high school. It was her experience in the Big Apple that inspired her to become a teacher.

“I was kind of a big deal in high school,” she recalled. “Then I went there, and I was not a big deal anymore. I was ill-prepared to not be a big deal, so I wanted to come back and make sure other kids did not have that experience. I wanted to make sure that my students are prepared for what’s going to meet them in the real world of theater, so I was inspired to come back and teach.”

Marquie earned a bachelor’s in English with a minor in theater arts from Loyola Marymount University and her teaching credential from California Lutheran University. She later completed a master’s in education from Lesley University.

After college, Marquie returned to her alma mater to begin her teaching career. She helped build the theater program at Newbury Park High School, starting shortly after the school opened its 400-seat theater.

After five years at Newbury Park, Marquie relocated to San Diego to return to the stage, working with many local theaters, including North Coast Repertory Theatre, San Diego Repertory Theatre, Cygnet Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Starlight Theatre and more. She also worked briefly at Taft Middle School and Monroe Clark Middle School before joining Canyon Crest Academy.

After a two-year stint as a theater teacher at Canyon Crest Academy, Marquie worked at Chabad Hebrew Academy, Pacific View Charter School and The Preuss School before moving to Orange County, where she worked at San Clemente High School and Irvine Valley College.

“My favorite thing about teaching is watching a student make a discovery about something, where they feel like they’ve done it on their own and gained something from the experience,” Marquie said. “That’s something that’s completely unique to teenagers — that joy of learning something new. I love the energy that kids bring to the arts.”

Now that she’s back in San Diego, Marquie said she is excited to have more opportunities to return to the stage.

“It’s important for teachers to be active in their field to keep the passion alive, especially in theater,” she said. “There are so many new and exciting things happening. I find that I learn a lot, and then I can transfer that knowledge to my students.”

But her students are her focus. In fact, she already has the season planned.

With four main productions on her schedule, she will direct two of the productions and guest directors will direct the other two.

“I have a lot of passion and energy for theater,” she said. “I’m excited to bring that to the program. I have high expectations, but also a lot of heart. My students can tell that I really care about them and their experiences. I think that’s something I’m going to bring to the program.”

The season will open Oct. 24 with “Zombie Prom” at the school’s Black Box Theater, directed by Marquie. She described the off-Broadway musical as “fun and goofy.”

Guest director Jason Maddy will head the fall’s second production, “Museum,” a satirical study of people viewing a contemporary art exhibit. The play runs Nov. 6-15 at the Canyon Crest Proscenium Theater.

In the spring, Marquie has planned Woody Allen’s “Don’t Drink the Water” at the Black Box Theater, followed by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Evita” at the Proscenium Theater.

In addition, students will put on a cabaret show in the fall and hold a “Shakespeare Under the Stars” event in the spring.

“We have a lot of really talented kids who know a lot about the arts,” Marquie said. “I promise that whatever we put on at the school will be enjoyable to San Diego audiences at large. People will enjoy our plays and our musicals. Come support them.”

For information about Envision at Canyon Crest Academy, visit

Huckabee chosen as new Del Mar-Solana Beach Rotary president

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 01:00

Left, Louise Andres, District Governor for Rotary Clubs in San Diego and Imperial Valley counties, with Diane Huckabee, new president of the Del Mar-Solana Beach Rotary Club.

Diane Huckabee assumed leadership of Del Mar-Solana Beach Rotary last month after 12 years with Rotary.

She has stated two main challenges for her presidential year.  One is “keeping up with all of the Club’s projects.”  The other is “helping our community know more about what DMSB Rotary does to benefit our community and the world.”

Asked what her best moments in Rotary have been, she said, “Working to make our 2014 DMSB Rotary Bocce Tournament last March so successful that we could fund our major beneficiaries — Reality Changers and Just in Time for Foster Youth — and our many local and international service projects even more than in the past.”

In addition to Rotary activities, Diane has served on the boards of the San Diego Blood Bank, UCSD Bannister House, Balboa Park’s House of Hospitality, and others. A certified financial planner with Edward Jones, she earned her finance degree from San Diego State University and served clients for 39 years. She enjoys traveling with her CPA husband and two sons.

Del Mar-Solana Beach Rotary meets Fridays over breakfast for fellowship, planning, and informational presentations at Morgan Run Resort in Rancho Santa Fe, just east of Del Mar.  Contact Paul Butler at 619-559-3213 or, or see

Carnitas Snack Shack brings porkfest to Del Mar Highlands Town Center in Carmel Valley

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 10:42

Carnitas Snack Shack chef and co-owner Hanis Cavin, second from left, with his kitchen crew. Photo by Karen Billing

By Karen Billing

Carmel Valley’s new fast-casual porkhouse Carnitas Snack Shack has arrived.

The original-recipe North Park location has become well known in San Diego for its pork-centric menu — bacon even factors into dessert options and the fries come with a side of bacon-infused ketchup.

The Snack Shack’s new location in Del Mar Highlands Town Center opened in the afternoon on Thursday, Aug. 21, and stayed busy until 11 p.m.

“The opening was really crazy — it challenged us,” said Chef Hanis Cavin, who co-owns the restaurants with Sara Stroud.

Proof of the success of their new location came from a comment on social media that pronounced that the new Snack Shack was just like the North Park location.

“That’s the best compliment you can give a chef, that the experience was the same because of all the hard work and training that went into making sure people have the same experience in every place,” Cavin said.

Co-owners Cavin and Stroud first met when they were at Kensington Grill — Cavin was the executive chef and Stroud was the general manager.

Stroud has been working in the restaurant industry since she was 15 years old and Cavin has been a chef for 20 years. They started thinking that if anyone could start a successful restaurant, it would be the two of them.

The restaurant opened Aug. 21 in Del Mar Highlands Town Center in Carmel Valley. Photo by Karen Billing

“I’ve been working at white-tablecloth restaurants my whole career. Business in that end was slowing down,” said Cavin, a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute.

“People couldn’t afford to go out to $100 dinners twice a week, but they could do a $20 dinner. We thought we could take all we knew, make quality food and put it into a spot where it looked like fine dining but you don’t have to pay big for it.”

The North Park location opened in 2011 and has since been known not only for the food, but for the hungry lines that spill down the sidewalk. As Cavin likes to say, “The line’s the sign.” He likes it so much, in fact, that he had it put on a T-shirt that employees wear.

The North Park location, unlike Carmel Valley, only has an outdoor patio — there is no indoor seating.

“We’re growing up,” said Cavin of the funky-industrial space with roll-up windows, a showstopper wall with a wooden pig designed by Hospitality Wood Products, and a pig mural on the opposite wall by artist Jesus “Chuey” Montes of a happy pig wearing a shirt that says “Vegan gone bad.”

Hatch Design Group designed the restaurant and every detail has been thought of — a walk-up window outside lets customers order ahead and skip the line, an herb garden in the front patio doubles as decoration and source of kitchen ingredients, and there are even little pigs carved into the wood of the tables.

While customers order at the counter and there are no waiters, Cavin’s food is served up on nice white plates with silverware — paper plates or plastic utensils just wouldn’t do for the labors of love that come out of his kitchen.

“I’m a Jewish boy. My parents wanted me to be a rabbi, and I went through a lot of school,” Cavin said. “But the first time I tasted bacon … it was bacon that broke me. Every menu I’ve made for 25 years has always had a lot of pork dishes.”

The Snack Shack serves pork burgers, steak sandwiches, carnitas tacos and its famous “Triple Threat” pork sandwich piled with pork loin schnitzel, pulled pork and bacon with a pepperoncini relish.

Snack Shack’s pork belly app is another popular menu item: really slow-cooked, seared with a caramelized crust and a sweet chili glaze.

Special to the Carmel Valley location are a couple of new menu additions such as a veggie burger, a chopped market vegetable salad and an ahi nicoise salad with seared ahi, fingerling potatoes, green beans, egg and a kalamata olive vinaigrette.

The menu will change to include specials, such as pork belly hash tacos or poutine —  French fries smothered with cheddar gravy, topped with pulled pork and diced bacon.

There will always be dessert, such as a caramel apple panna cotta and a doughnut of the month. This month is the Elvis, with peanut butter glaze chocolate chips and candied bacon, topped with a plantain chip.

The Snack Shack has come a long way since 2011, and a third location will open in the Embarcadero area, on Broadway and Harbor Drive.

“People will say it’s quick, but Sara’s been in the restaurant industry for 20 years and I’ve been a chef for 20 years. Combined together, it’s all we know. We know the sacrifice, knowledge and dedication it takes,” Cavin said, stopping himself before he got too serious.

“We’re singing in the kitchen. We want to make the environment enjoyable, and that’s definitely what drives us and all our growth … It can be stressful, but you should be laughing all day long. Smiling at work is great. It’s serious, but it can’t be so serious that it’s not enjoyable.”

When you’re surrounded by that much bacon in the kitchen, what’s there not to smile about?

The Snack Shack is open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Visit

Chocolate sweetens the plot for Carmel Valley writer’s new mysteries

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 10:18

Carmel Valley author Kathleen Krevat has written "Death Is Like a Box of Chocolates," a mystery novel to be released Sept. 2.

By Samantha Tatro

Author Kathleen Krevat wakes up every day before the crack of dawn at 5 a.m., sits down at her desk, and starts writing.

“I love how quiet it is, before the neighborhood is stirring,” Krevat said. “I love the promise of a new day.”

While everyone else is finishing up a night’s sleep, Krevat, a Carmel Valley resident, is already typing away on her computer. Krevat, whose upcoming book, “Death Is Like a Box of Chocolates,” hits bookstores Sept. 2, says waking up early developed naturally and then became a habit.

“My energy is best in the morning, as well as my ability to focus and get into a rhythm,” Krevat said. “Writing at the same time makes it easier to settle down and get into the book the next day without spending too much time figuring out where I was in the story.”

In “Death Is Like a Box of Chocolates,” chocolatier Michelle Serrano and bookstore owner Erica Russell work together to discover who murdered the town photographer. Krevat wrote the book under a pen name, Kathy Aarons, and is the first in the Chocolate Covered Mystery series by Berkley Prime Crime, an imprint of Penguin Random House. The book will be available Sept. 2.

Though she’s been writing on and off for 10 years, the hardest part for Krevat was writing the book in the time her contract gave her: one year.

“Writing every day makes it a lot easier to continue writing,” she said. “Right up at deadline, I was writing for 12 to 15 hours a day.”

The best part, however, was doing all the delicious research. Krevat spent a lot of time with Isabella Knack, the owner of Dallmann Fine Chocolates, while researching. Knack gave Krevat chocolate classes and answered questions about what it was like being a chocolatier and running a chocolate shop. Annette Palmer, co-owner of the now-closed Earth Song Books and Gifts, answered questions about being a bookstore owner.

“Both of these owners feel like they are doing more than just selling,” Krevat said. “They are selling little gifts of happiness, and that’s what I tried to portray in my book.”

The newly published author received her very first copies of the book last week. When she got home one afternoon, a medium-sized box was sitting on her doorstep.

“It was thrilling,” Krevat said. “My daughter was home, so I got to share it with somebody. We saw the box on the porch and I said, ‘I know what that is!’”

But Krevat did not grow up dreaming of becoming an author. She grew up in rural Pennsylvania and read what books were around as a kid. It wasn’t until college that she considered it a potential career path.

“I liked writing, but at the time I didn’t think of it as a career,” Krevat said of her youth. “When I went to college, I had a lot of writing classes, so I knew I wanted to get into some writing.”

She went into marketing and public relations and worked in New York City after college. After several years, she moved to San Diego with her husband, where she had two daughters. Once they went to school, she immediately became involved in the arts, becoming a self-declared super-mom.

She was PTA president and the Reflections Arts chairwoman, school foundation fundraiser, student newsletter editor and more at Carmel Creek and Solana Pacific elementary schools. She handled publicity and created costumes for J*Company and the Canyon Crest Academy Envision Theater programs, in addition to assisting with the Canyon Crest Academy Writers Conference. She recently joined the board of Playwrights Project, too.

Krevat started writing as a hobby when her daughter went off to preschool, but didn’t take it seriously for many years.

She spent a lot of that time working with the San Diego chapter of Romance Writers of America, who helped motivate her. She joined the chapter back when she first started writing. The first year she joined, the chapter offered workshops on all the writing basics: plot, dialogue, outlining.

“I was writing everything down because I hadn’t heard so much of it, and I was looking around and I was the only one writing stuff down,” Krevat said. “I was like, ‘What? This is good stuff, why aren’t they writing it down?’ but it’s because once you belong for a while, you’ve heard a lot of it before.”

When she started, she would attend conferences eagerly. “Anytime I went to workshops, I would most likely buy the book,” Krevat said. “I have every writing prep book.”

She would spend years mastering those skills before taking a year or so to casually submit proposals. If she didn’t hear back, she would start “diving back into her writing hole again.”

“When I took it seriously, it paid off,” she said of the story behind her first contract. Her agent on Twitter opened up submissions for just a weekend. Krevat jumped on the opportunity and submitted to her — and the agent gave her a call.

“I haven’t had free time since the contract,” Krevat said with a warm smile. “Writing used to be my hobby, but now it’s my job.”

Krevat may be exceptionally busy at the moment — she’s writing the third book, receiving edits for her second book, working on marketing for her first book and sending her daughter off to college, all at the same time — but she shows no signs of feeling overwhelmed.

“I’m still new to all of this. I’m not tired of it yet,” Krevat said with a laugh. “I’m excited for all of the next things.”

The Mysterious Galaxy bookstore in San Diego will host a free book launch party for Krevat at 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6, where she will sign books, read an excerpt, and answer questions from the public.

Solana Beach’s North Coast Rep creates powerful lineup for 33rd season

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 10:09

A scene from ‘Fallen Angels,' opening Sept. 3 at North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach.

By Lonnie Burstein Hewitt

In numerology, No. 33 is what’s called a “master number” — a balance of powers, transforming the consciousness of many. North Coast Repertory Theatre’s 33rd season looks to be all of that.

Starting with Noel Coward’s “Fallen Angels” on Sept. 3 seems numerologically perfect: No. 3 means creativity, charm, wit and humor, and Coward’s plays have no shortage of those. This one features a pair of married BFFs anxiously awaiting a blast from their once-romantic pasts, with a passionate Frenchman, a sassy housekeeper and two clueless husbands adding to the fun.

Not as well-known as other Coward classics like “Blithe Spirit” or “Private Lives,” “Fallen Angels,” which first opened in London in 1925, has lately been making the rounds of theaters here and abroad and scoring rave reviews.

David Ellenstein

“It’s a champagne cocktail of a play, one of Noel Coward’s earliest, and it’s directed by Rosina Reynolds, who played one of the leading ladies herself in the late 1980s at the old Gaslamp Theatre,” said David Ellenstein, NCRT’s artistic director.

During the run, there will be a one-night reading on Sept. 15 of one of Coward’s last plays, “Song at Twilight.”

“The later play is much darker,” Ellenstein said. “It was written near the end of his life and reveals some of his inner demons. It will be performed on the ‘Fallen Angels’ set.”

Later in September, there will be a special event, presented in connection with the San Diego Center for Jewish Culture — an updated version of “The Rothschilds,” the 1970 Broadway musical that turned out to be the last collaboration of Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, best known for “Fiddler on the Roof.”

Composer Bock died in 2010, but lyricist Harnick and bookwriter Sherman Yellen have been reworking the play, now titled “Rothschild & Sons,” for the past few years. Local audiences can see the results in a two-nights-only workshop production Sept. 22 and 23, before the show returns to New York, and possibly, Broadway.

'Freud's Last Session' premieres Oct. 15.

Next up, on Oct. 15, is the San Diego premiere of the 2011 off-Broadway hit, “Freud’s Last Session,” with Ellenstein directing. In this imagined encounter between the aged, cancer-ridden father of psychoanalysis (a devout atheist) and the brilliant young author/professor C.S. Lewis (a former atheist turned devout Christian), their meeting on the eve of World War II turns into an intellectual duel almost to the death on the subjects of love, God, and the meaning of life.

Closing out the year is “This Wonderful Life,” a one-man tour de force based on the popular Christmas film, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

“Jim Leaming — the Narrator in our recent production of “Who Am I This Time?” — plays all the parts himself,” Ellenstein said. “He’s very charming, very Jimmy Stewart, and he’s been taking the show around the country since 2008. This is the smallest theater he’s performed in, so it should feel very intimate here.”

The new year kicks off with “Gunmetal Blues,” a musical spoof of 1940s film noir, followed by Neil Simon’s autobiographical rom-com “Chapter Two” (the first play ever produced by NCRT), and “Unnecessary Farce,” a zany escapade involving molls, cops, hit men — and bagpipes.

Harold Pinter’s powerful “Betrayal” arrives next June, followed by the musical “Side by Side by Sondheim” in July.

Response to Season 33 has already been very positive. “It’s an audience-friendly season, and our subscriptions have really gone up,” Ellenstein said. “But we’re still looking out for a new space. We have 194 seats here, and we’d like to have at least 350, plus a larger stage and more backstage facilities — a bigger and better space to do what we do.”

North Coast Repertory Theatre is at 987 Lomas Santa Fe Drive (a block east of I-5, within the Vons shopping plaza in Solana Beach. For more about Season 33 or to purchase tickets, visit or call the box office at 858-481-1055.

Bishop’s School hires new coaches for boys basketball and baseball

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 09:00

The 2014-2015 school year will see two experienced coaches joining the roster at The Bishop’s School.

Nick Levine, left, and Ron Witmeyer.

Nick Levine will join Bishop’s as the head coach of boys’ varsity basketball, taking over from Matt Niehues, who relocated to the Bay Area. A native of Philadelphia, Levine attended high school at Chestnut Hill Academy, where he became one of its all-time leading scorers in the sport, surpassing the 1,000-point career mark. He is a 2006 graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, where he competed for the “Battling Bishops” in the North Coast Athletic Conference.

Levine comes to Bishop’s from the Pacific Ridge School in Carlsbad. In 2014, he earned a master’s degree in coaching and athletic administration from Concordia University in Irvine.

In baseball, Ron Witmeyer will replace Joey Centanni as the head varsity coach. Centanni has moved on to the University of Pacific.

Witmeyer, a Carmel Valley resident, attended Stanford University where he was a three-year starter on the baseball team and a team leader on back-to-back NCAA National Championship teams (1987, 1988). After his junior year, he was drafted in the seventh round by the Oakland A’s and went on to play six years in their organization, highlighted by his time in the Major Leagues during the 1991 season. Upon completion of his professional career, he returned to Stanford to complete his undergraduate degree in sociology while also serving as an assistant coach for the school’s baseball team.

Witmeyer earned a master’s degree in health and physical education from St. Mary’s College while coaching and teaching at City College of San Francisco. He joined the Division I UC Berkeley baseball staff and served as assistant coach for six years. During his time coaching in the collegiate ranks, he helped to develop more than 70 future professional players, including 13 who went on to play in the Major Leagues.

“We were very lucky to find great coaches like Levine and Witmeyer, as their collective experience and know-how are a perfect fit for our school,” says Joel Allen, Bishop’s director of athletics. “We look forward to benefiting from their experience in developing successful and full basketball and baseball programs for the Knights.”

Former Cathedral Catholic pitching sensation Camarena fields the challenges of pro ball

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 09:00

By Gideon Rubin

Former Cathedral Catholic pitching standout Daniel Camarena had it ridiculously easy in high school.

‘It’s not fun getting beat up on the mound, but I’m learning a lot from it and that’s the big thing,’ says Daniel Camarena. Photo by Dave Schofield/Trenton Thunder.

Camarena was at the center of a Dons dynasty, making the varsity as a freshman and already making an impact his sophomore year. He culminated his distinguished prep career with a stellar senior year in 2011 in which he went 9-1 with a 0.53 ERA.

Now three years into his professional career after being drafted by the New York Yankees in the 20th round of the 2011 amateur draft, Camarena is for the first time in his career — at any level — confronting failure.

His struggles with the Double-A Trenton (N.J.) Thunder in the Eastern League this season (he’s 1-5 with a 6.62 ERA through his first seven starts since a midseason promotion from advanced Class-A), however, should be taken with a fistful of salt.

Especially if you consider that at 21, Camarena is one of the youngest players at a level in which the average player’s age is 25, according to Baseball Prospectus.

There is, if nothing else, an intimidation factor in facing hitters who had graduated from high school while Camarena was still in middle school.

“Seeing guys who are 24, 25, 26 — there’s a couple of guys who are 30 years old — it’s the first time I’ve ever done that,” Camarena said. “I talked to my older brother (former University City High player Louie Camarena) and he said, ‘Those are guys that I should  be facing.’”

That the Yankees are willing to challenge Camarena at this stage in his career, at a level where experiencing some failure is almost inevitable, reflects how much they value his prospect status.

“It’s a big honor,” said Camarena, who won’t turn 22 until November.

“I’m learning a lot. It’s not fun getting beat up on the mound, but I’m learning a lot from it and that’s the big thing.”

Camarena got a taste of it during the early part of his first full year of pro ball last season at Class-A Charleston (S.C.) in the South Atlantic League, but finished strong. He went 4-6 with a 4.42 ERA.

He started this season at advanced Class-A Tampa, where he was 5-5 with a 2.35 ERA in 16 starts before his promotion.

Learning how to deal with failure is considered one of the most important aspects of the developmental process in professional baseball.

Camarena believes it’s making him a better pitcher, noting that he’s already trying to apply what he learned at Charleston.

“I learned that every day’s not going to be a perfect day,” he said. “You’re not going to go 1-2-3 every inning, and there’s going to be obstacles, so I’m taking the same approach here. Every game’s different … I’m not panicking.”

Camarena acknowledged that he couldn’t say the same during portions of last season, when he struggled.

“I did panic,” he said. “I was kind of like, ‘What’s going on, what’s wrong with me?’ This year I’ve stuck to my routine and tried to stay focused.

“I think when things start going bad and you start trying to put all the pieces back together, sometimes you start thinking too much. I think I’ve done a better job in terms of sticking to what I’ve got to focus on and just keep pushing through. Last year in Charleston I got better and I had a really good second half. I know I can finish up strong, and that’s my goal — to finish up strong.”

Camarena has already impressed his coaches at Trenton.

“Great kid, great makeup, and he competes very well,” said Trenton pitching coach Tommy Phelps.

The left-handed Camarena features a 90-mph fastball to go along with a changeup, a slider and a cut fastball, Phelps said.

“He’s going to have to locate his pitches and be able to pitch in and out, which he’s doing, and just minimize the mistakes out over the plate. When he does that, he’s going to get a lot of outs.”

Phelps said that all indications are that Camarena is on track to deliver those outs.

“He’s a professional, he’s a hard worker and he’s got good-quality stuff. These hitters are making him realize the importance of executing his pitches and minimizing his mistakes.”

Camarena’s coaches have been impressed with how he’s handled adversity, too.

“He’s very level-headed,” Phelps said. “He stays even no matter if he gives up 10 runs or pitches six shutout innings. He’s a fair evaluator; he self-assesses very well. He doesn’t let it (failure) affect him. He realizes that all he can control is what he can do.”

SDUHSD to create committee on high school selection process

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 07:17

By Karen Billing

A new committee on San Dieguito Union High School District’s school selection process will be formed this fall, in response to frustrations expressed by parents this summer when students didn’t get into their school of choice.

The district made the decision this year to admit all freshmen on the wait lists for Canyon Crest Academy and San Dieguito High School Academy, and both schools are at capacity. But there is still much work to be done for future years, according to Michael Grove, associate superintendent.

“We want to begin work as early as we can in the fall and have a recommendation to the board by winter break,” he said.

Grove said they plan to start soliciting parent and student members soon for the committee to get to work on long-term issues. He said the committee would look at demographics and enrollment projections and discuss options for high school enrollment such as the creation of boundaries.

Grove said the committee would then be tasked to educate the community about viable options before seeking input about what options the community likes through surveys and face-to-face dialogues. The group will then make a recommendation to the board.

“We’d like to use a neutral third-party facilitator to run the group and have staff participate as members,” Grove said.

Parent Rita MacDonald spoke at the Aug. 21 meeting, asking the district to improve its communication efforts about high school selection with middle school students who are not in the district.

MacDonald, whose son attended Notre Dame Academy in Carmel Valley, said she was unaware of the procedures and requested her son be placed on the wait list for CCA on  March 10, past the March 3 filing deadline. The district could not legally fulfill her request.

“Had my son been added to the wait list, he would’ve been admitted to CCA” with all the other wait-list freshmen, MacDonald said. “I ask that the board correct this oversight … My family was treated unfairly even though we’re taxpayers living in the district.”

She said her family was discriminated against because her child did not attend a district school and didn’t receive the same notifications as district parents.

Board trustee John Salazar asked Superintendent Rick Schmitt whether something could be done to admit MacDonald’s son, since all other wait list freshmen were accepted.

“All freshmen were admitted off the wait list this year, but there are 167 students in the upper grades on the wait list who followed all the laws and have priority,” said Schmitt. “We can’t bring in someone who did not participate.”

He said that staff cannot add a student to the wait list after the deadline — it has been the district’s policy for more than 18 years that if families don’t participate in the high school selection by the deadline date, they are ineligible. Schmitt noted that six other Notre Dame students participated in the process and were accepted into their school of choice.

Grove said that parents are notified of the process on the district website, through traditional and social media, as well as an internal email system for district parents.

“There are many ways to become familiar with the system and legally apply,” Schmitt said.

High school district board opposes proposed cap on school reserves

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 07:15

By Karen Billing

The San Dieguito Union High School District board has come out against the cap on school district reserves proposed by new legislation in the state. On Aug. 21, the board approved the adoption of a resolution in opposition to the local reserves cap, part of the Proposition 98 Rainy Day Fund.

Proposition 2 will go out to voters on the November ballot. If it passes and the state’s Rainy Day Fund is established, as soon as even a dime is dropped into the fund, school districts will be required to spend down the reserves.

Eric Dill, associate superintendent of business services, said this could have a negative impact on the district.

“Boards are opposing the reserve cap up and down the state,” said Dill, who drafted the resolution approved by the board. “The education community doesn’t want to let it drop …we want school boards to have control of their own financial solvency and management in good times and bad.”

In June, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law SB 858, the education budget trailer bill that requires districts to spend reserve balances down to no more than two to three times the minimum level of statutory reserve for economic uncertainties.

In SDUHSD’s case, its reserves could not be more than 6 percent of its total general fund expenditures. The statutory minimum for school district reserves is 3 percent, less than 20 days of total cash flow.

“We wouldn’t be able to cover our payroll,” Dill said of the 3 percent level.

Dill said SDUHSD maintains a reserve of about 12 percent, and the reserve cap would severely limit the district’s ability to respond to future economic downturns.

The resolution states the district’s belief that prudently setting aside money for economic uncertainties is good financial planning.

“We built our reserve so we could be prepared if there was an economic downturn, and we had a big one in 2008,” Dill said.

Because the district had prepared and maintained its reserves, it didn’t have to lay off teachers, issue furloughs, shorten the school year or reduce salaries, as many districts were forced to do.

The reserve came into play this year when the district faced an uncertainty it hadn’t planned for when its California State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) contribution was increased.

“If we didn’t have the reserves, that would be $800,000 to $900,000 that we would’ve had to find somewhere else,” Dill said.

Supporters of the cap on reserves say that it would promote transparency, local control and accountability. The California Teachers Association has come out in support of the cap on reserves, arguing that taxpayer dollars should be spent in classrooms and not “sitting in bank accounts.”

A bill from the opposition side to repeal the reserve cap, AB 146, failed last week.

Del Mar Carmel Valley Sharks U8 Smith are finalists

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 16:29

Del Mar Carmel Valley Sharks U8 Smith are finalists.

The Del Mar Carmel Valley Sharks U8 Smith team made it to the finals in the Carlsbad Summer Classic. Pictured, back row: Assistant Coach Cami, Haydyn, Ella W., Laila, Emilia, Torrey, Coach Brian Smith. Front row: Sophia, Leya, Ella M., Audrey, Sydney, JK, Piper.

Albion SC BU11 White Team wins Futbol Classic

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 15:30

Front row (L-R) Kai Walsh, Angel Jaimes, Jackson Miller, Evan Rotundo, Isaac Powell. Middle row: Tyler Watson, Ryan Flather, John Paul Molina, Billy Cherres, Steven Ruiz, Keegan Ferreira, Andrew Mitchell, Angel Cortez, Simon Sagal. Back row: Coach Wayne Crowe

Congratulations to the Albion BU11 White team for winning the West Coast Futbol Classic over the Aug. 16-17 weekend.  Coached by Wayne Crowe, the Albion BU11 White team played five games in two days in the top flight.  Winning their bracket on goal differential after a three-way tie, Albion BU11 White team placed first by defeating Hawks Academy (5-0), Arsenal FC  (3-0), and losing only to LA Galaxy Pre-Academy (2-1). In the semifinals, Albion BU11 White team defeated West Coast FC (2-0) and won in penalty kicks against Real So Cal in the finals with a score of 3-2.

Back to School for Del Mar students

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 15:13
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Students at Del Mar Heights bid a fond farewell to summer and headed back to school Aug. 25. Photos by Jon Clark.

Back to School for Solana Beach students

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 15:07
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Students at Solana Pacific bid a fond farewell to summer and headed back to school Aug. 25. Photo by Kristina Houck.