Carmel Valley News Headlines

Syndicate content
The Latest News from the Community of Del Mar
Updated: 1 hour 15 min ago

Arsenal FC San Diego GU11 Elite win Encinitas Rotary Cup

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 14:37

Arsenal FC San Diego GU11 are first-place champions of the Encinitas Rotary Cup Soccer Tournament, held July 11-13. Pictured, back row (L-R): Keelan Williams, Tatum O’Coyne, Deming Wyer, Avery Steele, Maddie Engblom, Carolyn Espinosa, Morgan Reyes, Katie Ellis, Lauren Grissom, Coach Toby Taitano. Front row: Grace Le, Maggie Taitano, Kayley Tung, Grace Tecca,  Maquena O’Callahan. Not pictured: Coach Adrian Ocampo, Brittany Giles, Tessa Fernandez, Ava Storgard.

AutoMatters: NASA at the Reuben H. Fleet & Apes revisited

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 14:30

Hidden Universe

By Jan Wagner

Through Sept. 2, in partnership with NASA, a multimedia exhibit called “Destination Station” at San Diego’s Reuben H. Fleet Science Center ( provides visitors with insight into life and research aboard the International Space Station — a partnership of five space agencies representing 15 countries.

Their new IMAX film is titled “Hidden Universe.” It reveals the beauty and awesome spectacle of our sun, and shows amazing telescopes that enable astronomers to look far away into the once-hidden depths of space, where stars are born and die.

Speaking at the premiere was NASA astronaut and U.S. Navy Commander Chris Cassidy. Chris has 10 years’ experience as a member of the U.S. Navy SEAL Teams. Awarded the Bronze Star with combat “V” and a Presidential Unit Citation, he has made four six-month deployments: two to Afghanistan and two to the Mediterranean.

U.S. Navy Cmdr. Christopher Cassidy, NASA astronaut

In 2006, Chris completed NASA Astronaut Candidate Training. Since then, he has served as Capsule Commander (CAPCOM) in Mission Control and worked on the ISS. He has done six spacewalks.

Chris said: “I get a lot of questions about the status of the American manned space program. We’re going to Mars. In the near to mid-term (we’ll be) getting our system and our vehicle robust. We could be going to the moon. We could be going to an asteroid. I’d like to see us go to the moon.

International Space Station

“How cool would it be with the Internet and TV and live broadcasting to see a human being walking on Mars? We’re all captivated by the Rovers that are there. To see people in addition to the Rovers, I think would just be fantastic.

“What do we set our watches to (aboard the Space Station)? There are control centers in Houston, Moscow, Germany and Japan, so we live off of Greenwich Mean Time. We wake up about 6 in the morning, start work about 7:30, work all day and go to bed around 10:30 at night.

“Re-entry on the shuttle? You feel a little buffeting as you are making your way through the atmosphere. Then you touch down very nicely, with landing gear on a runway.

“On the Soyuz, it’s a little bit different. Earlier I mentioned how small that vehicle is. Consequently you really feel every bump as you’re coming

Full moon.

through the atmosphere. The window was right by my head, so I looked out that window and there was several-thousand-degree plasma about 18 inches from my eyeballs. My eyeballs, I think, jumped out even closer than that 18 inches! Peak G-force spikes up to about four G’s. Then the parachute opens, which is another crazy wild ride. You swing around and the vehicle tries to stabilize itself, and you fall for about another 10 to 15 minutes. Then there are flashes of light that they call soft landing rocket engines, but there’s really not soft landing going on. You slam into the ground about 25 or 30 miles an hour, and then kind of roll to a stop. I remember looking down, because it’s round and it very rarely sits square. When it stopped rolling I was on the high side, hanging from my straps and looking down at Sasha. I could see through his window some grass and I thought, ‘Ah, that’s Earth, we made it!’

International Cooperation & Education

“We have really good exercise equipment up there. Muscle strength is not the key thing. The real goal of that exercise program is bone health. If you did nothing, your bones would get weaker and less dense until you basically would have osteoporosis. To combat that, we weight-lift every single day. When I got back, the first hour or so I was very wobbly. Twenty-four hours later, when I landed in Houston, I was able to walk right off the airplane. We can’t drive for a week or two.

“I’m really amazed that in the 1960s they did what they did without all of the computing power that we have at our fingertips now.”

Speaking of the 1960s and today’s computing power, “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” is in theaters. This is the

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes could be the next Hollywood blockbuster.

second film in the current series of remakes. It addresses a technological shortcoming of the original with realistic apes, and adds an eerily plausible story, a well-developed ape society and their own ways of communicating (with English subtitles, for us). This could be the next Hollywood blockbuster.

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

Copyright © 2014 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters #341

Destination Station in San Diego

Certificate from NASA to the Science Center

Local residents gather for Summit4StemCell project fundraiser to help battle Parkinson’s disease

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 10:20

Fundraising deadline is Nov. 4 to continue research for groundbreaking treatment

Tom and Beth Joyce, Sherrie Gould ◄ Back Next ► Picture 1 of 16

By Stacey Phillips

A small group of San Diego residents diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease have the opportunity to take part in a cutting-edge treatment using cell replacement therapy that could be the first of its kind worldwide and revolutionize the way other life-threatening diseases are treated.

Doctors, scientists, Parkinson’s patients and their friends and families gathered at a private residence in Solana Beach on July 9 for a fundraising event to learn more about the Summit4StemCell project and help raise the $2.5 million needed by Nov. 4 to continue the research.

Nearly $1 million was raised at the event, which was hosted by Jeffrey Strauss, the executive chef and owner of Pamplemousse Grille in Solana Beach, and Ray and Jenifer Raub. Ray said his wife Jenifer was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and the Summit4StemCell project is giving them hope.

“We believe in the project, we believe in the science. We think it works,” said Ray Raub. “We truly have hope and think this is going to work.”

The Summit4StemCell research is based on taking adult skin cells and transforming them into useful cells that could replace lost or diseased ones. This concept was discovered by Japanese scientist Shinya Yamanaka in 2007 and received the Noble Prize in Medicine in 2012.

The San Diego research team includes Dr. Jeanne Loring, director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla; Dr. Andres Bratt-Leal, the senior scientist for the project in association with the Parkinson’s Association; and Dr. Melissa Houser, director of the Movement Disorder Center at La Jolla’s Scripps Clinic.

“Every single patient I’ve seen over nine years get worse,” said Sherrie Gould, a nurse practitioner at the Movement Disorder Center who works with Dr. Houser. “We have an opportunity to change that. What we are doing is going to change history.”

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system. It is mainly due to the loss of a single cell type, dopamine-producing neurons. Dopamine is the chemical that regulates movement and concentration. Current treatments for Parkinson’s include medication and brain surgery, both of which have limitations.

Over the last couple of years scientists have developed methods to use a patient’s own skin cells to produce “pluripotent” stem cells, which are stem cells that can form any cell type in the body. These are matured into dopamine neurons, the same cells lost in Parkinson’s disease. The next step is to inject them back into Parkinson’s patients to treat their symptoms, which requires FDA approval and further clinical studies.

“We could be the first ones in the entire world to use these new types of stem cells so we can actually treat patients with their own cells, their own induced pluripotent stem cells,” said Dr. Andres Bratt-Leal, Ph.D., the senior scientist working on the project with a team of four others in Dr. Loring’s lab. Since the stem cells come from the patient’s own skin cells, there is less chance of rejection by the patient.

Rancho Santa Fe resident Chris Whitmer, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2007, is one of eight Parkinson’s patients of Dr. Houser who have volunteered for the clinical pilot trial at Scripps Clinic. All of the patients are from California and seven are from San Diego. “It’s an honor and a privilege to be one of the eight chosen for the clinical trials,” said Whitmer. “It’s scary and exciting at the same time. This is the future for treatment of Parkinson’s and many other diseases.”

He said that over the last seven years his symptoms, which include shaking of his right hand, arm, leg and foot, stiff muscles, impaired balance, as well as problems sleeping, have become worse. He said that before he learned about the Summit4StemCell project his outlook was pretty bleak. “It will give me and my family my life back free of this crippling disease.”

Scientists have already been able to successfully create the dopamine-producing neurons from eight of Dr. Houser’s patients with Parkinson’s disease and tested the neurons in the lab and in animals. Dr. Bratt-Leal said they have cured Parkinson’s disease in rats in their first preliminary study. “The exciting part is that we’ve done that with our own patients’ cells and now we can move forward and finish the studies that we need to do for the FDA,” he said.

The Summit4StemCell team is looking to raise $2.5 million in order to apply for a matching grant from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine in La Jolla. Dr. Bratt-Leal said the $5 million would be used to finish the studies to support an application for FDA approval. The institute would also provide funds for overhead costs. All donations are tax deductible and 100 percent of the money will go toward research for this project.

“The sooner we can through the FDA and get our eight patients going, the sooner that the procedure is going to be available to everybody,” said Raub.

The cell replacement therapy will also pave the way to help other untreatable disorders such as diabetes, macular degeneration, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and ALS.

Dr. Bratt-Leal said that the Summit4StemCell is a unique project because people have donated their own time, skills and money to support this research. “I think it has really become a community project that San Diego can be proud of and excited about,” he said. “This is a San Diego research project that really has a chance to change how we do medicine.”

More information about the Summit4StemCell project, upcoming fundraising events and how to make a donation can be found Summit4StemCell website:

The Curious Fork — culinary café and teaching space — opens in Solana Beach

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 10:00
Bear Goodell, Jessie Davis, Duncan Wolf, Taylor Green ◄ Back Next ► Picture 1 of 16

The Curious Fork, the new healthy café and hybrid culinary space in Solana Beach, is now open. Located in the Ocean Pointe complex at 512 Via de la Valle, the 1,800 sq. ft. venue is a haven for the health-conscious, food-curious community with a fresh quick-service café for breakfast and lunch, an educational kitchen offering cooking classes and guest speakers, and a culinary retail center, all under one roof. The Curious Fork strives to source the best organic ingredients and unique products – including the famed Oakland and Brooklyn-based Blue Bottle Coffee, marking the first time the coveted brand is offered in Southern California.

Behind The Curious Fork concept are founders and Executive Chefs Barbara McQuiston and Kai Peyrefitte. “Our mission is simple: to bring wholesome, healthy, fun gluten-free cooking into people’s lives,” said McQuiston. “We want to provide an approachable, engaging space for learning and really highlighting the importance and joy of the food we put into our bodies every day. We are focused on producing excellent cuisine along with a fun learning experience and to be a community resource – whether it be how to cook seasonal ingredients picked up from their local farmers market or figuring out what gluten-free even means, we are here to help.”

The quick-service café is currently open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

For more information, call 855-387-3675 or visit

Operation Respect Benefit Concert features singer Peter Yarrow

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 09:53
Corey and Marci Laulom, Sol Lizerbram, Peter Yarrow and Lauren Lizerbram with Rachel and Jake Laulom ◄ Back Next ► Picture 1 of 12

Congregation Beth Am-San Diego presented an Operation Respect Benefit Concert on July 13, featuring Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary folk-singing fame.

Operation Respect’s mission statement is to assure each child and youth a respectful, safe and compassionate climate of learning where their academic, social and emotional development can take place free of bullying, ridicule and violence. Photos by McKenzie Images. For photos online, visit

Pacific Sotheby’s Realty hosts Beach Block Party Open House at Historic Driver Home

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 09:50
Barbara Maguire of Pacific Sotheby’s, Lisa Wood of First American Home Buyers Protection Corp., CeCe Filter of Centennial Escrow ◄ Back Next ► Picture 1 of 18

On July 8, Pacific Sotheby’s Realty agents Patricia Kramer, Eric Iantorno, Cathleen Shera and Margaret McIntosh hosted a 1950s-themed Beach Block Party Open House at the historic Driver home in Del Mar. Over 200 guests enjoyed ‘50s music, gourmet burgers from the Bitchin’ Burgers food truck, face painting and festive Golden Cadillac cocktails.

The historic Driver home, which is located at 2938 Sandy Lane, was built in 1950 by Russell Forester. Its design is still relevant for today’s beach-style living, but also offers a unique opportunity to refresh or rebuild and create a new chapter in this rare oceanfront location. The home, which is listed at $17,000,000-$20,000,000, features a large beachside patio, three bedroom main residence, pool, cabana/guest house, private green courtyards, and ample guest parking, all just a few steps from the sand.

For more information about the property or to schedule a private showing, please contact: Patricia Kramer, Eric Iantorno, Cathleen Shera or Margaret McIntosh at (858)352-7771.

Photos by McKenzie Images.

Atomic Groove kicks off Summer Serenades concert series in Carmel Valley

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 09:47
Arlene Yang, Karen Sykes Susan Weinbach ◄ Back Next ► Picture 1 of 14

Back for its 11th appearance, Atomic Groove, with the AG Fly Girlz “rocked the house” on July 13 at the Carmel Valley Recreation Center in the first Summer Serenades concert.  The Clay Colton Band will be playing at the Carmel Valley Recreation Center on Sunday, July 20, in the amphitheater from 5-7 p.m. For more information and a line-up for this summer’s concerts, check out or call the CV Rec. Center at 858-552-1616.

Photos by Jon Clark. For photos online, visit

The Del Mar Unit of Rady Children’s Hospital Auxiliary brings back the historical event ‘Hats Off to Children’

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 09:43


The members of the Del Mar Unit of Rady Children’s Hospital Auxiliary are tipping their hats to the recent success of Hats Off to Children, held on July 9 at Cucina Enoteca in Del Mar.

Ladies gathered from near and far for Hats Off to Children, a luncheon hosted by Cucina Enoteca and a fashion show put on by TRE Boutique, at Flower Hill Promenade. Hats and fascinators designed by Jennifer Buckley were being snapped up to be worn at Opening Day of the Races to be held July 17.

Over 15 years ago, the 1st Annual Hats Off to Children was co-chaired by Andrea Naversen Wait, Karen Powell and Suzy Westphal at the former Scalini’s, located across from the polo fields. The theme for the fundraiser was centered on finding the perfect hat for Opening Day to the Races, with several hat designers at the event. High-profile ladies donated “Hats with a History,” fabulous, gently-worn designer hats which were sold at auction.

Cucina Enoteca, Cucina Urbana and Fish Public promise to continue to give back for the entire month of July through the Sip + Support program.  For every bottle of Cucina private label wine or carafe of Cucina tap wine sold, Cucina will donate $1 back to Rady Children’s Hospital Auxiliary.

Best of all, proceeds from the event benefit the “Highest and Most Urgent Needs” at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego, which means that donations help ensure that care matters over cost, and that children are not turned away because their parents cannot pay.

For more information on the Del Mar Unit of other events log on to

Rady Children’s Hospital Auxiliary is an all-volunteer organization whose mission is to support children through advocacy, community awareness, and fundraising.  Hats off to all of the patrons and vendors that continue to contribute, donate and support the lives of patients and children right here in our community.

Photos by Jon Clark; For photos online, visit

Carmel Valley student publishes first book ‘The Champions of Zairon: Cave of Mystic Dreams’

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 09:38

By Karen Billing

In her first novel, 12-year-old Sahana Kumar has created a fantasy world inhabited by shape-shifting sphinxes, orbs, enchanted candy and encounters with many things both monstrous and magical. Sahana, an imaginative incoming eighth grader at Francis Parker School just published her first novel,  “The Champions of Zairon: Cave of Mystic Dreams” about three teenagers with special powers.

To help launch her book, Sahana had a book signing at Warwick’s in La Jolla on June 15 and has one scheduled in Mendocino at the Gallery Bookshop on Aug. 23 and a couple more in San Francisco in late summer.

Carmel Valley’s Sahana Kumar just published her first book, “The Champions of Zairon: Cave of Mystic Dreams.” Coutresy photo

The book is available for purchase on and download on iTunes, Nook and Kindle. Fifty percent of the proceeds from her book sales will also go to the Association for India’s Development (AID), a non-profit that supports grassroots efforts such as setting up schools in impoverished areas.

“I always really liked making up stories in my head and telling stories to my little sister Sanjana,” said Sahana, who lives in Carmel Valley. “When I was 9 I started writing novels. Some I stopped after a few pages, some after 50 pages but with this one I felt like I could keep the plot going, there weren’t any holes and it was fun to write.”

The book tells the story of teenagers Claire, Jason and Zac who get pulled into the world of Zairon and have to go on a quest, fighting off evil to find the mystic cave. Pages are filled by monsters and magic, potions and poignant moral dilemmas, said Dr. Holly J. Bauer, a literature professor at UC San Diego, one of the book’s reviewers.

“Kumar’s first novel will impress you in its own right and even more so when you discover the author is a 12-year-old middle school student,” Bauer said. “Kumar is a natural storyteller and her richly drawn characters and intriguing setting will delight all who enter her mystical world.”

Gretchen Taylor, a fellow Francis Parker student, said the book is adventurous, funny, dark and creative.

“Kumar’s work is exciting and engaging, one relevant to the interests of middle grades readers. It also serves as the foundation for a complex and thrilling series of books to come,” Gretchen said in her review.

Sahana has always loved to read and likes to write “anywhere and everywhere,” clicking away on her laptop lounging in the family room, killing time in the car on road trips and even on the beach.

“She reads a lot,” her father Prem said. “To try and make sure she was reading the right books we would read them too and try to keep up with her, but we couldn’t keep up with her.”

Sahana’s parents, both engineers, knew that Sahana had been writing throughout the summer of 2013 but had no idea that she’d created a 228-page novel.

“We were very impressed when we read it,” Prem said. “For her to suddenly write a book was phenomenal.”

Prem immediately started researching book publishers to find the best way to get Sahana’s story before more readers. He selected Telemachus Press, a company with a lot of experience helping small authors get books published in a professional manner.

The book went through six rounds of the editing process, taking about four to five months.

“They didn’t take away the 12-year-old charm of the book,” said her mother, Vanitha, of the copy editors. “They preserved the way kids talk and took care to make sure to not alter the style.”

“It was really hard,” Sahana said of the edits, which she would tackle after finishing her homework in the evenings. The straight “A” student spent the entire year working on completing the book, crammed into a busy schedule that included Science Olympiad, taking Indian classical music lessons, and playing the violin in the New Youth Orchestra. She also maintains her blog,, which includes posts of short stories and poems.

While Sahana said the extensive editing was not as fun as the writing part, she was happy with the finished product.

“I was really excited,” Sahana said of first seeing the published, bound copy. “It’s really different seeing it on an e-reader than actually holding it.”

Sahana believes that “Cave” is just the beginning of the Zarion series and she is already pretty far along on the next book.

“I want to keep writing but not as a career because ever since I was little I’ve wanted to be a doctor,” Sahana said. “I will keep writing as a hobby.”

To learn more about “Cave of Mystical Dreams” or purchase the book, visit

Joe Harper talks racing season, Breeders’ Cup and more at Del Mar Rotary meeting

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 09:34

By Kristina Houck

Just a week before Opening Day, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club President and CEO Joe Harper talked about racing season, the Breeders’ Cup World Championships and more at the July 10 Del Mar Rotary meeting.

The racing season kicks off on July 17. From fancy hats to celebrity sightings, Opening Day is one of the area’s biggest social events. It is expected to draw more than 45,000 people, according to event organizers.

“Opening Day is the easiest day to market,” Harper said. “They just show up.”

The 36-day summer meet runs through Sept. 3. This year, the track will debut its new turf, featuring a wider racing surface that accommodates more horses. The track will replace its synthetic Polytrack with a dirt surface over the next year, Harper said.

Del Mar Thoroughbred Club President and CEO Joe Harper. Photo/Kristina Houck

There are 43 stakes races scheduled. The main event will once again be the $1 million Grade I TVG Pacific Classic, which is set for Aug. 24.

But Del Mar racing doesn’t end when school begins. For the first time, the track will also host a fall meet.

“It’s going to be completely different,” Harper said.

The 15-day fall meet begins Nov. 7 and runs through Nov. 30. The meet will have a Hollywood theme, with horses and races named after celebrities, Harper said.

“We’ve got a great brand in the summer,” Harper said. “We’ve got pretty girls and pretty guys — you don’t see any horses — in our ads. … We have to rebrand November. We can’t go with the summer dresses.”

With the Rotary meeting taking place just a couple weeks after it was announced that the Breeders’ Cup is coming to Del Mar in 2017, many members wanted to hear about the big event.

“The Breeders’ Cup is the biggest day of racing,” said Harper during the meeting at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. “It’s going to be great here.”

It will be the first time the Breeders’ Cup will be held in Del Mar in the event’s 30-year history.

The Breeders’ Cup will also be held for the first time at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky., next year. In 2016, the Breeders’ Cup will return to this year’s location, Santa Anita Park in the Los Angeles suburb of Arcadia, according to Breeders’ Cup officials.

“They [Breeders’ Cup officials] were blown away by the hotels, the restaurants, the racetrack itself,” Harper said.

The two-day event is set for Nov. 3-4. The Breeders’ Cup is expected to draw a crowd of 75,000 to 100,000 people and an estimated $70 million in event revenue.

The Del Mar track opened 77 years ago on July 3, 1937. Over the years, the track has not only established a reputation for outstanding racing, but all-around entertainment, Harper said.

“We’ve marketed Del Mar very successfully over the last 20 years,” Harper said. “You’ve got to have an enjoyable experience even if you don’t care about racing or don’t know how to make a bet.

“No one does it better than San Diego.”

For more information about the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, visit

For more information about the Rotary Club of Del Mar, visit

Solana Beach resident looks to expand programs as head of the Burn Institute

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 09:31

By Kristina Houck

Growing up can be difficult if you look different, but a local camp is giving burn survivors the chance to see beyond their scars.

Every year the Burn Institute in San Diego invites children with burn injuries to participate in Camp Beyond the Scars. About 60 campers ages 5-17 are expected to attend the Ramona-based camp during the last week of July this year.

Susan Day, executive director of the Burn Institute.

“It’s a really healthy environment for the kids to feel support, get some special attention and have the time of their life at summer camp,” said Susan Day, executive director of the Burn Institute, a nonprofit health agency dedicated to reducing the number of burn injuries and deaths in San Diego and Imperial counties through fire and burn prevention education, burn care research and treatment, and burn survivor support services.

A 23-year Solana Beach resident, Day joined the institute in January. Since then, one of her goals has been to expand the organization’s programs, including Camp Beyond the Scars.

“My hope is that I can take the Burn Institute to a new and different level,” she said. “It needs to stay relevant and it needs to stay flexible. I’m hoping to just continue to evolve the organization.”

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

For some, camp is the first time they see another child with burn scars, Day said. In 2013, more than 60 children attended the local camp.

“We try to raise their self-esteem and give them self confidence,” said Day, who noted many of the camp volunteers are former campers, adult burn survivors or off-duty firefighters. “The wonderful thing is kids naturally help support each other.”

In addition to camp, the institute educates children about fire safety and burn prevention through Fire Safe Kids, an interactive presentation that teaches kids ages 5-8 how to stop, drop and roll, crawl under smoke and have a family meeting place. In 2013, the institute reached more than 10,000 children in the classroom and sent safety information home to share with their families.

With assistance from volunteers, the Senior Smoke Alarm Installation Program brought more than 1,200 homes up to fire code with more than 5,000 smoke detectors last year.

The institute’s Juvenile Arson and Explosive Research and Intervention Center program offers mental health counseling to children. As the only court-approved and court mandated juvenile firesetter diversion program in San Diego County, the program served nearly 200 children at no cost in 2013.

The Burn Institute also partners with the UCSD Regional Burn Center. From gas cards to lodging assistance, the institute provided financial help to 50 families with loved ones in the hospital last year.

“I’m just really impressed with the unique programs that we offer,” Day said. “There’s a huge feeling of contentment knowing that you’ve helped somebody, knowing that your programs are easing their pain.”

A Michigan native, Day joined the institute after seven years as president of Combined Health Agencies where she worked with 23 local health charities, including the Burn Institute, to improve the community through individual and corporate giving.

She previously worked as the vice president of sales and marketing of the Better Business Bureau for a decade. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business with an emphasis in marketing from San Diego State University.

“I’m honored to be part of the Burn Institute team,” Day said.

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

Today, the Burn Institute outreaches to thousands of children and adults each year.

With six full-time employees and a few part-time employees, Day said the institute’s programs would not be possible without its roughly 160 volunteers, including a 29-member board, of which Solana Beach City Manager David Ott serves as president. The institute also partners with UCSD Regional Burn Center, corporate sponsors, foundations and donors.

“This is our hometown. This is our neighborhood. This is our community. I think that keeping everyone safe is so important,” Day said. “The Burn Institute provides me and others a unique opportunity to serve San Diego.”

To donate or learn about volunteer opportunities, visit

San Dieguito Union High School District Superintendent Rick Schmitt’s Monthly Update

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 11:19

Superintendent Rick Schmitt updates the greater San Dieguito Union High School District community through local media with a monthly update. Topics covered include curriculum, facilities, budget, safety, and other specific and special interest topics. Today’s update focuses on facilities, specifically related to enrollment at our high schools.

By Rick Schmitt

The San Dieguito Union High School District (SDUHSD) is proud to offer our students and families the choice of four unique and amazing high schools. Each year we strive to ensure that every student is able to attend his or her first choice in high schools, and we’ve been highly successful in this effort over many years. Recently, community members have asked the district to review current high school enrollment practices in response to concerns that some students who live nearby our two non-boundary schools (San Dieguito High School Academy and Canyon Crest Academy) were not admitted through the lottery process.

As you may know, two of our district high schools are boundary schools (La Costa Canyon HS [LCC] in the north and Torrey Pines HS [TPHS] in the south) and two of our high schools are non-boundary schools (San Dieguito HS Academy [SDHSA] and Canyon Crest Academy [CCA]) , which are open to all students in the district on an equal basis regardless of where a student may live within our district.

Each year high school students declare which high school they want to attend the following school year. While all students are guaranteed enrollment at their boundary schools as determined by their residence, they may still apply to attend any of our four outstanding comprehensive high schools. As long as there is space available, all students who apply are admitted to their first choice school. If demand for enrollment exceeds capacity at a particular school, students are admitted through a random lottery as required by California law. We are proud that under this High School Selection system over 98 percent of incoming 9th graders were admitted to their first choice school over the last eight years.

SDUHSD’s practice of allowing families choice in selecting their high school has been popular over the years. We also recognize that our community has grown and changed since we adopted our school choice practices and the demand for attendance at our two academy schools has increased over time, so a thoughtful review of our enrollment practices is appropriate at this time. As a result, we will engage with the larger SDUHSD community to inform residents about high school enrollment options and to seek input on how we should proceed with high school enrollment in the future.

To accomplish this review in a timely and constructive fashion while also ensuring input from all current and future stakeholders, we have decided to establish a district-wide task force which will include parent and student representatives from across the district, along with teachers and board members. The Task Force will:

•Examine enrollment capacity and demand at our schools

•Review short and long-term demographic and enrollment projections

•Explore short, intermediate, and long-term solutions to match demand and available space at our high schools

•Educate our community on the issues

•Discuss current high school enrollment processes

•Seek additional input from the community

•Make recommendations to the board regarding high school enrollment policies

Parent and student participation on the task force will be solicited via an email to all SDUHSD families and a subsequent application process.

For the last year SDUHSD has examined a variety of potential program modification options at LCC and TPHS which have the potential to draw enrollment to these boundary schools. These options include bell schedule revisions, increased academic and elective offerings, along with flexible scheduling choices. We will continue to examine these and other options for possible implementation in the 2015-16 school year with the knowledge that increased enrollment demand at LCC and TPHS will result in corresponding decreased enrollment demand at SDHSA and CCA.

Our district’s goal has always been, and will remain, to allow each student to attend his or her first choice in high schools. We’ve been very successful in achieving this goal since establishing SDHSA as a non-boundary school in 1996 and CCA in 2004. The issues related to enrollment practices, boundaries, and choice in schools can be complex. Any constructive solution will require a clear understanding of the issues and input from all members of our educational community. Any changes to district enrollment practices will impact each of our current and future students and revising high school enrollment boundary options will be a long-term process, as the impact on elementary and middle school boundaries remain unclear and are complicated. Making hasty changes to a popular school choice program without full consideration of implications and input from parents, students, and staff would certainly be unwise.

Our district has a history of successfully managing both our facility and enrollment needs. SDHSA’s enrollment has grown from 976 in 1996 to a current enrollment of 1,600 and CCA has grown from an enrollment of 1,200 in 2008 to a current enrollment of 1,900. None of this would have been possible without parental support for our schools and the Proposition AA facilities bond which our community recently approved. Proposition AA has allowed our district to incrementally increase enrollment at SDHSA and CCA and also includes plans for long-term capacity solutions with new buildings scheduled at each school.

With this strong foundation in place, along with our ongoing commitment to listen and respond to community input, we will arrive at appropriate short, intermediate, and long-term solutions to best meet the academic and social needs of students. I will keep our greater SDUHSD community updated as we look for enrollment balance at all four of our incredible comprehensive high schools. Updates will be available via our SDUHSD website, Facebook and Twitter accounts. We look forward to working with parents, students and staff in this endeavor.

You can follow Superintendent Schmitt on Facebook,, and Twitter,

Kaiser Permanente will again be title sponsor for Carmel Valley 5K

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 10:51

By Karen Billing

The Carmel Valley 5K and Fun Run will return for its third year on Jan. 24, 2015, again sponsored by Kaiser Permanente. This year’s race will feature a new and improved course and instead of benefiting Del Mar Union School District schools only, it will raise funds for all Carmel Valley schools.

The Carmel Valley Community Planning Board approved the new course, which starts and finishes on Carmel Country Road, almost right in front of the Bay Club Resort (formerly Pacific Athletic Club). The 5K will begin at 7:30 a.m. and will be a loop course, utilizing the SR-56 bike path. The 1K fun run will be an out and back course beginning at 8:30 a.m.

The post-race party and expo will be held inside the Bay Club in its courtyard.

This year during the registration process, runners can select from a list of schools and foundations they would like their proceeds to go toward. The sponsorship money raised will be donated to the schools as well. The list of schools and foundations to choose from includes: Del Mar Schools Education Foundation, Solana Beach Foundation, Torrey Pines High School Foundation, Canyon Crest Academy, Carmel Valley Middle School PTSA, Earl Warren PTSA, Cathedral Catholic High School, Notre Dame Academy and San Diego Jewish Academy.

For more information on the 2015 Carmel Valley 5K, visit

Solana Beach’s arts commission gets new name

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 10:22

By Kristina Houck

Solana Beach’s Public Arts Advisory Commission has officially dropped “advisory” from its name.

In January, the seven-member commission unanimously voted to request a name change. Commissioners agreed the proposed name centered on the purpose and role of the commission, which is not limited to visual arts, but encompasses all arts, including music, dance and theater.

In a 5-0 vote, the City Council on July 9 approved the commission’s request.

“I believe all of our commissions are advisory commissions, except for the VAC [View Assessment Commission], which is actually decision-making. None of the other ones have ‘advisory’ in the name, so I’m certainly supportive,” said Councilman David Zito.

Despite the name change, the Public Arts Commission remains an advisory board like the other commissions. From implementing the city’s temporary art program, to coordinating and managing community art events, the Public Arts Commission supports the development and presentation of art in the community in a variety of ways.

The commission meets at 5:30 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of each month at City Hall.

Don Diego Scholarship Foundation Dinner and Concert Gala

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 09:33
Scholars Carolyn Kravitz, Nikolina Zenovic and Ashley Therien ◄ Back Next ► Picture 1 of 22

The Don Diego Scholarship Foundation presented its annual Dinner and Concert Gala on July 1 at the San Diego County Fair. The event benefits the Foundation’s educational programs. After cocktails and a Taste of the Coast wine sampling, a gourmet dinner at the Turf Club, a presentation of Class of 2014 scholarship recipients, and other activities, the event culminated with champagne and VIP seating at the Huey Lewis & the News concert. Visit Photos by McKenzie Images. For photos online, visit

Deena Von Yokes of Studio Savvy Salon wears many hats for 20th Annual ‘Opening Day Hats Contest’

Sun, 07/13/2014 - 12:27

The flag is up… and Opening Day hat contestants are getting ready to go. This Thursday, July 17, will be the 20th year of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club’s “Opening Day Hats Contest.” This famous contest has risen to become one of the most spectacular fashion events in San Diego and gives Del Mar notoriety in West Coast fashions. Coming back again, and wearing many hats both

Kassidy Byers, hair stylist and model shows off for the camera during a recent hat shoot. © 2014 photo courtesy of Valentine Studios.

literally and figuratively is the fashion visionary and contest contributor Deena Von Yokes.

Von Yokes is the Master Stylist, colorist and owner of Studio Savvy Salon located in Ranch Santa Fe. Von Yokes is known for her contributions to San Diego fashion and will again this year be celebrated along with other contributors to the “Opening Day Hats Contest”. Von Yokes wears no less than six hats on Opening Day which include: Stylist, Hat Contest Sponsor, Prize Donor, Contest Judge, Fashion Exhibitor, Contributor and Assisting Coordinator.

Von Yokes and her entourage of incredibly talented Studio Savvy stylists and artists will be doing, hair styling, make-up, and embellishments for staff, hat models and modeling themselves during the “Opening Day Hats Contest.” Von Yokes and her crew were absolutely stunning at last year’s event, and should have spectators fawning for fashion again this year.

Deena Von Yokes is passionate about hat fashion and the two days before Opening Day, Studio Savvy Salon in Rancho Santa Fe will be hosting a hat trunk show including hats and fascinators from the acclaimed milliner, Christine A. Moore. Christine A. Moore will be making an appearance at the “Studio Savvy Designer Hats Trunk Show” from 10 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, July 15.

If you want to be part of the Opening Day fashion fête with a unique Christine A. Moore designed piece, then take the hint and go to the salon two days before Opening Day.

Invited by Von Yokes to the panel of Celebrity Judges for the “Opening Day Hats Contest” is her glamorous friend, designer, gardening educator, and pioneering super model Kelly Emberg. Emberg’s gardening passions can be followed on her blog at Kelly will bring her exquisite design flair to the judges table for this 20th year of the “Opening Day Hats Contest.”

Thanks to Von Yoke’s passion for fashion, Opening Day at Del Mar is elevated to the next level as a hat lovers fashion paradise. Be on the lookout for the gorgeous Studio Savvy Team with Deena Von Yokes. To learn more about Von Yokes, the artists and Studio Savvy Salon, then visit and make yourself an appointment.

Tickets for Opening Day at Del Mar on Thursday, July 17, are available from the Del Mar Race Track ticket office and the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club web site at The site has all the details on entering the “Opening Day Hats Contest.”

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

The Clay Colton Band joins the line-up for Summer Serenades Concerts in Carmel Valley

Sun, 07/13/2014 - 11:24

The Clay Colton Band. Courtesy photo

The Clay Colton Band has been entertaining San Diego audiences for over a decade with their own blend of country, rock and Irish music.  The band’s music has attracted a variety of fans of all backgrounds and ages throughout the music community of San Diego and beyond.  The Clay Colton Band will be playing at the Carmel Valley Recreation Center on Sunday, July 20, in the amphitheater from 5-7 p.m.

The CCB is a well-rounded, versatile entertainment package of seasoned musicians with numerous awards and special recognition to their credit. They were the winner of the Viejas Casino’s “Big Country Showdown” and placed third in Kenny Chesney’s “Next Big Star” competition.  They have opened for groups such as the Zac Brown Band and Little Texas and performed at events with Don Henley, Steely Dan and other internationally recognized artists.

“With the amazing musical talent of Clay Colton and the other band members, audiences have come to love CCB’s entertaining demeanor, rustic rock sound and energetic stage presence,” says Sharon Fornacari, organizer of the Summer Serenades concerts.  “We are excited to have them as part of our exciting lineup this summer and we are looking forward to their performance!”

The band’s music has been featured on numerous country rock radio stations and they have performed at numerous venues throughout San Diego.  They will be performing their diverse blend of classic, southern, and modern rock covers, folk and Americana favorites and rowdy country and Irish tunes for our Carmel Valley audience on Sunday, July 20.  Remember to put that date on your calendar and come out to the Carmel Valley Recreation Center amphitheater for a great family fun night.  Don’t forget to bring your picnic basket and put on your dancing shoes!

The Carmel Valley Recreation Center is located at 3777 Townsgate Drive.  The concert will start at 5 p.m. and last until 7 p.m.  For more information and a line-up for this summer’s concerts, check out or call the Rec Center at 858-552-1616.

A special thanks to the sponsors for this year’s concerts – Pardee Homes and Kilroy Realty Corporation.  The continued support of these sponsors helps make it possible to bring this great entertainment to Carmel Valley.

New plants to be added along Coastal Rail Trail in Solana Beach

Sun, 07/13/2014 - 11:11

By Kristina Houck

The Coastal Rail Trail in Solana Beach is getting a much-needed facelift — a decade after the path was completed.

In a 5-0 vote, council members on July 9 amended the city’s contract with Nissho of California, Inc. for a one-time plant replacement project along the city’s 1.7-mile segment of the trail, a path from San Diego to Oceanside. Currently, the San Diego-based company maintains the city’s landscaping, including the Coastal Rail Trail.

Construction of the Coastal Rail Trail was completed in September 2004. Since then, there has been very little plant replacement, explained City Engineer Mohammad Sammak in a presentation to the council.

“Since that time, no major planting or renovation has been done on the Coastal Rail Trail,” he said. “During these last 10 years, a large number of plant species just disappeared due to their age.”

In the spring, Deputy Mayor Lesa Heebner, Councilman Mike Nichols, city staff and representatives from Nissho surveyed the area and identified several areas with poorly growing or dead trees, missing plants, and overgrown invasive plants. Nissho submitted a proposal to remove and replace the plants.

“I think it’s a good plan, and you did a good job putting it together based on the conversation,” Nichols said.

Nissho has maintained the city’s landscaping since July 2013. With approval from the council, the company’s $195,400 citywide contract was extended for another year, plus an additional $78,000 for the Coastal Rail Trail project.

Opening Day at the races in Del Mar takes place Thursday this year

Sun, 07/13/2014 - 11:05

(Above and below) Attendees at last year’s Opening Day event. Photos by Jon Clark

By Kelley Carlson

Hold on to your hats for an extra day this year — Del Mar will open on a Thursday, instead of the traditional Wednesday.

One of the area’s biggest social events, Opening Day is set for July 17. It’s a feast for the eyes, from the colorful parade of fancy hats and jockey silks, to celebrity sightings. And parties are happening everywhere, on and off the track, all day long and well into the evening.

The centerpiece of the seaside oval’s celebration is the Opening Day Hats Contest, now in its 20th year. Officially established in 1995 by Julie Sarno as “The One and Only Truly Fabulous Hats Contest,” it brings out the most serious of hat aficionados, who spend months perfecting their headgear for prestige and prizes.

This year’s categories are Best Racing Theme, Funniest/Most Outrageous, Most Glamorous, Best Flowers/All Others and Best Fascinator. In each category, first place wins $300 and a $100 Studio Savvy gift certificate; the runner-up receives $200; and third place is awarded $100. The Bing Crosby Grand Prize recipient — selected from the winners of each category — will receive a two-night getaway at The Grand Del Mar and dinner for two, valued at $1,500, plus a $500 gift certificate to hat sponsor The Village Hat Shop.

Contestants must sign up between 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. at the large fountain in Plaza de Mexico, located inside the Stretch Run admission gates. All entrants will receive two free admission passes to the races for a future visit.

Another event to help kick off the start of the summer racing season is The Party on Opening Day. A $30 ticket will grant a person Stretch Run admission and special access to the Seaside Cabana on the west end of the grandstand, where there will be disc jockeys, a microbrew garden, gourmet food trucks, private areas for wagering, photo booths, interactive activities and prize giveaways.

“It’s a party within a party,” said Chris Bahr, director of events and promotions.

Tickets can be bought at the gate, but it’s suggested that they be purchased ahead of time at

Other traditions planned include the singing of the national anthem; “Sing With Bing,” when a special guest croons Crosby’s “Where the Turf Meets the Surf”; and the Hippity Hop Derby, consisting of Camp Del Mar participants bouncing their way down the stretch on large, inflatable balls.

The racing highlight will be the Oceanside Stakes for 3-year-olds on the newly expanded turf course. It serves as a key prep for Del Mar’s sophomore championship race, the Grade II Del Mar Derby, on Aug. 31.

Del Mar racing season ready to run with variety of engaging events

Sun, 07/13/2014 - 10:55

Game On Dude, winner of the 2013 Grade I TVG Pacific Classic, may be back to defend his title this year. Photo by Kelley Carlson

By Kelley Carlson

There’s twice as much to look forward to at the Del Mar racetrack this year.

For the first time, the seaside oval will host summer and fall meets.

“Our fall meet is drawing a lot of buzz and looking very exciting,” said Joe Harper, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club’s president and chief executive officer. “But first we’ve got a classic summer season full of big purses, good horses, and more Del Mar fun than you can shake a stick at.”

The season kicks off on July 17 — a Thursday, which is not the traditional Wednesday opening day.

Chris Bahr, director of events and promotions, explained that this is because of the San Diego County Fair running later than usual this year: Turnaround time is needed to accommodate the large Opening Day crowds and allow horses to acclimate.

Yet as much action as ever is planned during the 36-day summer meet, which runs through Sept. 3. Forty-three stakes races are scheduled, with some on the newly expanded turf course. The main event will once again be the $1 million Grade I TVG Pacific Classic, slated for Aug. 24. Among the possible entrants are the 2013 winner, Game On Dude; last year’s 2-year-old champion, the undefeated Shared Belief; and top stakes runners Imperative, Clubhouse Ride, Medal Count, Dance With Fate and Toast of New York.


Once again, Del Mar has assembled quite a concert lineup for its Four O’Clock Fridays and the occasional Saturday performances. First-timers include the Counting Crows and Electronic Dance Music (EDM) DJ Steve Aoki, along with returning favorites such as Weezer and Ziggy Marley. Concerts are free with racetrack admission, or $20 after the last race.

Microbrews and gourmet foods

Nearly every weekend will feature some kind of event related to food or drink. The fun starts with the San Diego Beer Fest on July 26, where patrons can sample from more than 100 local craft brews. A week later — on Aug. 2 — will be the Western Regional Chili Cook-off, where people can get free tastings and vote for their favorite cook to advance to the 2014 world championships. The Del Mar Grill Fest follows on Aug. 9, highlighting cuisine from more than 25 barbecue professionals. Next will be the Gourmet Food Truck Festival on Aug. 16, which will boast fare from about 50 trucks, ranging from gluten-free crab cakes to unusual grilled cheese sandwiches. Finally, there’s the International Beer Fest on Aug. 24, with a lineup that includes Irish reds, German pilsners and Belgian wheats.

Family fun

Every weekend, parents and their children can head to the infield for free fun. Among the activities: pony rides, a giant scramble slide and obstacle course, magic shows, a caricature artist, face painters and a visit by the track mascot, “Pony Boy.”

A “super-sized” Family Fun Day is set for July 20, where guests can meet jockeys and an ex-racehorse, enjoy baseball clinics with the Lake Elsinore Storm, and take part in a Webkinz plushie giveaway for kids 12 and younger.

“(Del Mar) is a low-cost alternative destination for families during the summer,” Bahr emphasized.


Besides the Webkinz giveaway, visitors can plan to take home Del Mar beach towels — with the track’s signature blue-and-gold jockey silk pattern — on July 26, and T-shirts on Aug. 24. Items are free with paid admission.

Something for everyone

Yet another event that is back this year is Donut Days, which will be held from 8 to 10 a.m. July 19 and Aug. 23. Patrons of all ages can listen to track announcer Trevor Denman quiz jockeys and trainers as they observe horses working out and savor free coffee, orange juice and doughnuts.

Similarly, there’s Daybreak at Del Mar from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. every Saturday and Sunday during the meet. Guests can enjoy a meal while viewing the thoroughbreds on the track and listening to former jockey Jeff Bloom provide behind-the-scenes info and racing tips.

And the crowd can cheer on the fastest “wiener” dog in the county Aug. 30 during the Wienerschnitzel Wiener Nationals-San Diego Finals. The victor will move on to the national competition.

Getting in on the action

Those intrigued by racehorse ownership can attend the Paddock Sale on July 20, and auction company Barretts is hoping to have as many as 40 race-ready thoroughbreds on the block. Success stories from the 2013 sale include sales topper Oscar Party ($510,000), second in the Grade II Indiana Oaks. According to Bill Baker of Barretts, this summer’s auction will include stakes runners Heir Kitty and Handsome Mike. Prospective first-time owners are encouraged to contact the Thoroughbred Owners of California ( and/or research ownership through The Jockey Club/Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (

For bettors, handicapping seminars are at 12:45 p.m. Saturdays, Sundays and Labor Day, and at 11:45 a.m. Pacific Classic Day. Newcomers seminars are held an hour before the start of the first race in the Plaza de Mexico.

Looking for a deal

To save on admission, sign up for the Diamond Club for free. And every Wednesday, club members receive free Stretch Run admission, a program and seat, along with half-price domestic beers, sodas and hot dogs. Seniors 62 and older can also get in free on Thursdays with their club card.

To avoid parking hassles, anyone can take advantage of the $11 “Pony Express” deal. It covers round-trip fare on the Coaster, Sprinter and Breeze; a shuttle from the Solana Beach North County Transit District station to the racetrack; and Stretch Run admission.

The end

As is tradition, Del Mar will close out the summer season with a Party in the Paddock on Sept. 3, with live music.

But it won’t be long until racing returns. The 15-day fall meeting will commence Nov. 7 and run through Nov. 30.

Del Mar racetrack 2014 season

Dates: July 17-Sept. 3

Location: Via de la Valle and Jimmy Durante Boulevard

Post time: 2 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays; 4 p.m. Fridays; 1 p.m. Pacific Classic Day (Aug. 24); 2 p.m. Labor Day (Sept. 1)

Admission: $6 Stretch Run ($10 Opening Day); $10 Clubhouse ($20 Opening Day); free for children 17 and younger

Parking: $10 General, $15 Preferred, $25 Valet

Information: 858-755-1141,

Del Mar concert schedule:

July 18: Jurassic 5

July 25: The Cult

Aug. 1: Neon Trees

Aug. 2: Weezer

Aug. 8: Steel Pulse

Aug. 9: Counting Crows

Aug. 15: MAGIC!

Aug. 22: The Local Showcase-Silent Comedy, Transfer and Vokab Kompany

Aug. 29: Steve Aoki

Aug. 31: Reggae Fest featuring Ziggy Marley