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Del Mar Little League Home Run Derby Champions

Fri, 06/06/2014 - 06:55

Congratulations to Lucas Nelson (Del Mar National) and Max Isaacman (Del Mar American) for winning the 2014 Home Run Derby Competition.

Del Mar American Crowns OWLZ AAA Division Champions

Thu, 06/05/2014 - 13:55

Congratulations to the Del Mar American AAA Owlz team members for winning their division as well as being the winner on Championship Saturday versus the Del Mar National Mudcats. Manager Bob Prag said, “I couldn’t be prouder of this group of boys. Every one of them contributed to the team this season. It was really a team effort.” The Owlz finished the season with a record of 20 wins and only 5 losses.

Bottom left: Alec Milton, Jack Kaul, Zach Isaacman, Travis Hackett, Liam Ruvane, AJ Prag, Jacob Noble; Middle: Minyoung Song, Kishan Pansuria, Junwoo Bahn, Martha Cary; Back Row: Coach Chris Cary, Coach Tony Milton, Coach Dave Peterson, Manager Bob Prag, Liam Peterson.

Teen dies after swimming accident in Encinitas

Thu, 06/05/2014 - 11:50

By City News Service

Friends and family today mourned a 17-year-old Guatemalan boy who was visiting relatives in San Diego County when he was carried out by a riptide at Moonlight Beach in an incident that also left his uncle critically injured.

The teen was found unresponsive in the ocean at the Encinitas beach on May 29, according to the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office. Lifeguards resuscitated him before paramedics took him to Scripps Memorial Hospital, where he remained in a coma until his condition declined and he was pronounced dead at 5:47 p.m. June 2, the M.E.’s Office reported late June 4.

A group of students from Santa Fe Christian in Solana Beach holding a school party at the beach first spotted the teen and his uncle in distress, pulled them from the water and alerted lifeguards.

Chris North, whose daughter was of those students, told U-T San Diego that the teen’s uncle, a legal resident who worked as a landscaper to send money to his wife and children in Guatemala, remained on life-support. His nephew arrived in town just a few days earlier and his family was hoping he would stay awhile and go to school here, North said.

The students have set up a web page to raise money to send the teen’s remains home to Guatemala and to help the family with other needs.

The students feel a lasting bond and want to “lift these people up physically and spiritually as they need it,” North said.

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

Thu, 06/05/2014 - 09:32

By Gideon Rubin


Cathedral Catholic celebrated its Division I championship with a side order of revenge.

The top-seeded Dons defeated Ramona 6-1 in the May 31 championship game.

The title game featured a rematch between the Dons and the team that sent them into the loser’s bracket after a 1-0 loss in a second-round game May 24 in which they were held to just one hit.

The Dons responded by pounding out 10 hits in the title game.

They broke open a 2-0 game in the top of the fourth inning with a four-run outburst.

Hannah Gilliland had three hits including a double and three RBI to lead the Dons.

Devyn Magnett, who was credited with the victory, pitched a four-hit complete game. She struck out three batters and allowed two walks.

Magnett struck out 10 batters and allowed one walk in a complete game five-hitter to lead the Dons to a 9-1 victory over Otay Ranch in a May 29 semifinal.

Gilliland had two hits including a home run and two RBI and Sarai Niu contributed a double and three RBI.

The Dons opened the tournament with a 3-1 victory over Scripps Ranch on May 24.

They got out of the loser’s bracket by beating Fallbrook 2-1 on May 27 and Mt. Carmel 7-4 two days later.

The Dons improved their overall record for the season to 29-3.


Torrey Pines rallied from a nine-stroke deficit to win its fifth consecutive San Diego Section title on the last round of the two-day tournament on May 29.

Jamie Cheatham fired a 6-under-par 66 score to lead the Falcons, who shot a combined 350 to beat Rancho Bernardo by two strokes at Admiral Baker Golf Course.

Kyoshiro Azumada contributed a 69 score and Otto Vanhatalo shot a 70.

Jonah Holty and Kaiwen Liu contributed 72 and 73 scores.


The Santa Fe Christian pitching staff was dominant during the regular seasom has been every bit as good so far in the playoffs.

The Eagles advanced to the San Diego Section Division II semifinals after blanking their opponents in each of the first two rounds of the double-elimination tournament.

Dillon Paulson pitched a three-hit shutout to lead the Eagles to a 3-0 victory over Bonita Vista in a second round game on May 29.

That followed a Cole Acosta’s four-hit shutout in a 1-0 victory over Scripps Ranch the previous day.

The No. 3 seeded Eagles were scheduled to play No. 1 El Camino on June 3.

The Eagles lowered their team ERA to 1.31 as they recorded their eighth and nine shutouts of the season.

Paulson struck out five batters and allowed no walks in the Bonita Vista game.

Cole Weaver led the Eagles offensively with two hits, one RBI and a run scored.

Acosta struck out nine batters and allowed one walk in the Scripps Ranch game.

Paulson had three hits including a double and drove in the game’s only run in bottom of the first inning.

Tyler Ledbetter contributed a triple.

The Eagles improved their overall record for the season to 23-5.


Cathedral Catholic moved to within one game of playing in the Open Division semifinals, but the Dons got there the hard way after falling into the loser’s bracket of the double-elimination tournament.

The No.3 seeded Dons opened the tournament with an 8-6 victory over No. 6 Vista on May 28, but dropped into the loser’s bracket after a 3-2 loss to Granite Hills on May 30 in a game that went eight innings.

The Dons bounced back with a 3-2 victory over Vista the next day. The Dons were scheduled to play Rancho Bernardo for semifinal berth on June 3.

Sean Bouchard had two hits including a home run to lead the Dons in their most recent victory over Vista.

Griffen Case, who pitched two shutout innings in relief of starter Jordan Chang, was credited with the victory.

Chang allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits and no walks in five innings.

The Dons lost to Granite Hills despite a great pitching performance from Brady Aiken, who struck out 14 batters and allowed two runs on four hits and two walks in six innings.

Reliever Ryan Johnston took the loss.

The Dons tallied just four hits in the Granite Hills game. Bouchard had a solo homer and Andrew Wilson contributed a double and one RBI.

Aiken had a double and two RBI and Bouchard contributed two hits and two runs scored in the first Vista game.

The Dons improved their overall record for the season to 25-6.


Canyon Crest Academy was eliminated from the double-elimination Division III tournament after a 4-2 loss to Mt. Carmel on May 30 and an 8-6 loss to Mount Miguel the next day.

The Ravens opened the tournament with a 10-3 victory over Coronado on May 28.

Riley Adams had two hits including a home run in defeat for the Ravens in the Mount Miguel game and Jakob Loren contributed two hits and one RBI in the Mt. Carmel game.

The Ravens combined for 12 hits in the Coronado game.

Jacob Gotta had three hits including a home run and five RBI to lead the Ravens and Brendan Kahn and Nathan Landers each added two hits.

Dylan Gargas, who was credited with the victory, allowed three runs on six hits and two walks in six innings.

The Ravens fell to 14-17 overall for the season.

San Diego Jewish Academy third grader outruns entire school and completes his 100th mile

Thu, 06/05/2014 - 09:31

Andrew Sabol

Twice a week at the Golda Meir Lower School at San Diego Jewish Academy close to 125 students meet before school to participate in Coach Scott Bucky’s Running Club. On Tuesday, May 20, third grader Andrew Sabol set a school record by completing his 100th mile.

Last year, Andrew managed to complete 50 miles – still quite an accomplishment. This year he set his mind to working harder and he doubled his last year’s miles and ran 100 miles — setting a school record. The next closest runner managed to run 80 miles.

“Last year we had 100 kids participating,” said Bucky. “This year we had 125.”

Coach Bucky, who has been with SDJA for 16 years, started the Running Club last year with students meeting two days a week and running for 20 minutes. Because of its popularity, the Running Club continued this year and over 70 percent of the lower school students have participated. The primary goal of the Running Club is to have kids buy into an active lifestyle by exercising and having fun.

Andrew has received quite a lot of support and congratulations from all over the school and via social media. “His” Facebook post was viewed by over 500 people in just a few hours. For more information about San Diego Jewish Academy, visit

Del Mar horse racing starts on Thursday this year

Thu, 06/05/2014 - 09:20

By Joe Tash

The annual summer horse racing at the Del Mar Fairgrounds will start on Thursday, July 17, this year, instead of the traditional Wednesday start.

The extra day was needed to prepare the track following the San Diego  County Fair, an official with the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club said Monday, June 2, at a meeting of the 22nd District Agricultural Association, which runs the state-owned fairgrounds.

The summer meet will end Sept. 3 and run one day shorter than usual.  A second fall meet will be held this year from Nov. 7-30.

Kudos to Solana Beach City Council for providing great leadership

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 18:35

After mentioning how unsafe it was to walk dogs from Solana Beach, north on Highway 101 to the Cardiff State Park Beach, and south to the Del Mar dog beach, our City Council did not hesitate to act.  The Council carefully studied the issues and then voted to provide a sidewalk from Ocean Street to the Cardiff State Park Beach, and to allow leashed dogs on the beach north of the Tide Park steps and south of the Del Mar Terrace.  These actions will provide safe access for dog walkers to our adjoining dog-friendly beaches.

For those who prefer a dog-free beach, they will have nearly 1.4 miles of Solana Beach’s 1.7 miles of shoreline, with no dogs.

As dog walkers, we must now hold up our end of the bargain.  Leashes must be 6’ in length or shorter.  Dogs must be kept under control at all times.  Needless to say, we must clean up after our pets; otherwise, severe fines will be levied and this new permissive law could be revoked in a year.

The Solana Beach Council deserves kudos for providing great leadership and a wonderful, pedestrian and dog-friendly community.

We thank the Councilmembers and City staff for listening, being responsive, deliberative, and acting in the best interests of all of our residents, including dogs.

Sherry, David and Hula Winkler

Solana Beach

Help for people with mental illness

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 18:34

Dave Roberts

By Supervisor Dave Roberts

May is Mental Health Month, which the County of San Diego and many of its affiliates have observed through events and screenings.

In 1949, Mental Health America – a Virginia-based advocacy group – launched the observance. This year’s theme is, “Mind Your Health.”

Increasing public recognition and understanding of mental health issues is important. During 17 months in office, I am proud to have advanced a number of mental health reforms. And I am always pleased to support our mental health partners.

At our May 20 meeting, Supervisor Greg Cox and I awarded a proclamation to local representatives of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Earlier, with the support of my colleagues, I presented a county proclamation to Jewish Family Services to recognize that organization’s strong attention to mental health issues.

Within San Diego County, the largest provider of social services is the county’s Health and Human Services Agency. Led by Alfredo Aguirre, our behavioral health program deserves kudos for its aggressive effort to strip the stigma from mental illness.

In refreshingly plain language, our “It’s Up to Us” campaign communicates that mental health challenges affect 1 in 4 adults, that help is available and that people who suffer from mental illness are not alone. Learn more at

At the policy level, I have worked with my colleagues, Mr. Aguirre and his team to advance mental health legislation.

In March 2013, Supervisor Dianne Jacob and I received a 5-0 vote to analyze Laura’s Law and how it compares with an existing county program, In Home Outreach Team. Laura’s Law allows for court-ordered outpatient treatment of severely mentally-ill people who refuse care, while IHOT employs teams to make house calls on adult patients who resist care. IHOT also supports family members dealing with mental illness of a loved one.

Three months later, Supervisors agreed with staff recommendations and voted 5-0 to expand IHOT and make the program available to anyone in the county who needs it. Our action included a $500,000 appropriation to beef up the program.

In the fall of 2013, Supervisor Ron Roberts and I brought forward disaster preparedness legislation designed to ensure the safety of people with special needs. Our proposal, which passed on a 5-0 vote, addressed the transportation and medical needs of people with physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities in the event of a disaster.

Most recently, in March, I submitted legislation requesting a staff analysis of the so-called “5270 hold,” which would provide 30 days for county authorities to care for gravely-disabled clients. Implementation of W&I Code 5270.10 is left to individual counties, and so far, Los Angeles, Orange, Sacramento and 14 others have done so. In those counties, officials rightly discarded cumbersome and expensive processes that required petitioning the court for temporary conservatorship.

Last month in San Diego, Supervisors concurred with a staff recommendation and voted 5-0 to implement the state law, which puts us in league with other “5270 counties.”

We want to help people and not complicate their lives with court papers. And with all of our programs, we strive to do our best for mentally-ill people and the taxpaying public.

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

News for high school athletes and graduating seniors

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 18:32

Marsha Sutton

By Marsha Sutton

In her fight to ensure fair and equal access for all public school students in California, Sally Smith is a champion for those without a voice and Public Enemy #1 to those who view her as a destructive force in public education.

Smith is a doggedly determined attorney who began her pursuit to eliminate improper fees in public schools in the San Diego Unified School District where her children attended school.

Since then, she has branched out and been involved in dozens of legal cases against school districts state-wide and has sponsored legislation in Sacramento to force districts to change policies that she says unfairly target poor families.

Last month, Smith set her sights on the San Dieguito Union High School District, filing a Uniform Complaint on May 2 that charges the district with illegal fees in five areas: student parking, sports physicals, athletics transportation, withholding graduation and cap-and-gown sales.

Eric Dill, SDUHSD’s associate superintendent of business services, responded May 30, writing in summary, “The district is compliant with the law, including the state constitution’s free school guarantee, in all aspects brought forth by this complaint.”

Although Dill’s response states that the district has done nothing illegal, he hedged a bit on the cap-and-gown charges for graduating seniors.

Because it was not made clear that school districts must provide caps and gowns this year at no charge, the district plans to refund money to all families that purchased caps and gowns if they don’t want to keep them or personalize them.

Families should save their receipts, since each school may have charged a different amount, with cost increases after deadlines passed. Dill said the district will contact families next week to let them know how to return their cap-and-gown attire after graduation for full refunds. More on this next week.

Sports physicals

More immediate is the issue of sports physicals, which are being offered by the district’s high school foundations for a $25 fee this week, to students wishing to participate in a high school sport for the 2014-2015 school year.

The foundations at all four San Dieguito high schools offer physicals to athletes as a service to the community, and charge $25 – which is supposed to be clearly labeled as a donation and not a fee.

But at Torrey Pines High School and Canyon Crest Academy, the initial announcements telling parents about these “physicals nights” did not say the $25 was a donation, and did not state that students could go somewhere else for their physicals.

Torrey Pines promoted it this way: “TPHS – All Sports Physicals $25 (annual physicals are a requirement to complete the athletic packet). Thursday, June 5.”

Canyon Crest’s flyer, distributed through CCA’s foundation newsletter on May 6, stated that athletes are required to pass a physical exam and students can get their physicals on June 4. Cost was given as follows: “$25 cash or check payable to ‘CCAF’ (CCA Foundation).”

Nowhere did it say the $25 is a donation or that physicals can be obtained elsewhere.

When I spoke to CCA principal Karl Mueller on May 13 about the May 6 flyer, he said he alerted the foundation to the problem and reviewed new language which he said included phrasing indicating that this was only one option and that the $25 is a donation and not a fee.

He also said a revised flyer noting the clarification would be distributed soon.

No revised flyer was ever distributed. In fact, on May 23 the same flyer once again was sent out.

“I saw the language change in the draft for approval,” Mueller said on May 24, clearly frustrated. “I thought it was done.”

Mueller said he would speak with the foundation director to learn why the corrected flyer was not distributed, but noted that other people who work with the foundation are volunteers and sometimes the right messages don’t get communicated.

“I’m going to make sure that’s corrected and I’ll have it re-sent,” he said.

It’s now June 2, 10 days later, and still no revised flyer has been distributed – although the flyer found on the district’s website, after digging around a bit, now states that “one option” for obtaining a physical is to attend the CCA Sports Physical Night. But still no clarification that the $25 is technically a donation and not a fee.

Meanwhile, the foundation never distributed a new flyer to make it clear that there are corrections, so unaware parents may easily be left with the wrong impression from the earlier flyers that they must get a physical for their kids through the foundation at a cost of $25.

Fee for service

Smith called it a fee for service when charitable nonprofit foundations charge for physicals, and said, “It is illegal for a charity to sell a service …”

She cited the Singer v. United States court case: “[I]t is well established judicially that in order to be deductible …, a contribution must qualify as a gift in the common law sense of being a voluntary transfer of property without consideration.”

Dill, in his formal response to Smith’s complaint, disavowed responsibility for the foundations’ actions, saying the district does not charge nor receive fees for student-athletes’ physicals, and does not sponsor these “physicals nights.”

Therefore, the district, he wrote, “is in compliance with the state constitution.”

“If it were something we were doing at the school, that would be one thing, but this is a foundation-run thing,” said Dill, drawing a dubious distinction between an organization that raises money on behalf of the school, and the school itself.

In his response, Dill wrote, “The fees charged are accepted by the foundation, not the school or district, and are not transferred from the foundation to the district. The district receives no money from the giving of physicals, and does not offer physicals to students.”

He said the foundations “know our prohibitions” and general guidelines are shared with them. “But we don’t always vet everything they put out,” he said.

Even though they are independent entities, are school foundations not under the direction of the school district when they violate the law? Do district employees have no control over foundations when the foundations go about raising money for schools in the name of the school?

The way the foundation presents the information is only part of Smith’s concern.

In her interpretation of the law, she believes it is illegal to force students to pay for a physical at all, to anyone, because she claims participation in athletics is integral to the overall educational experience.

In her San Dieguito complaint, Smith compared sports physicals to the requirement that students wear P.E. uniforms, which must be provided at no charge.

If the district requires physicals, then the district must pay – or the district can waive the requirement for physicals, she asserted.

She included in her complaint a sample letter from the Murrieta Valley High School athletic department, which states in part, “We do not require physicals for tryout but recommend one.”

But Dill disagreed, writing in his response, “Exams are required in order for students to be compliant with the CIF rule requiring that all athletes complete physical exams.”

Dill said the law requiring students to have physicals to play high school sports goes back decades and is clear.

Smith agreed that the California Interscholastic Federation requires physicals, but said, “While CIF may make it mandatory, CIF does not override the California state constitution which prohibits any fees to gain entry to participate in school activities.”

The correct wording

Dill said the foundations at the district’s four high schools, all of which offer a similar physical exam evening for athletes, “charge a nominal fee to generate revenue for the foundation.”

But the physical exam, he said, can be obtained anywhere, not necessarily through the school’s foundation, as long as the school’s form is signed by a doctor or recognized medical professional.

“We don’t care which doctor or physician’s assistant signs it or how you get that, but we just need it,” he said.

He noted that the foundations’ flyers only needed to include wording stating that the $25 was a donation and that the physicals through the foundation-run event were just one option.

“Then people know it’s not a requirement,” Dill said. “It’s merely an option that families have.” No one is required to go to the foundation event in order to participate in athletics, he said.

Dill rejected the pay-to-play charge, again emphasizing that having a physical is a CIF rule, not the district’s – an argument Smith refutes.

Dill said the district would not pay a co-pay or reimburse for an out-of-pocket expense if a student wanted to play a sport but could not afford the physical. But he said he might suggest to the foundation on their “physicals night” that the exam be provided to financially strapped students at no charge.

“I’m sure they would do that,” he said. “But it would take those conversations for that to happen.”

Marsha Sutton can be reached at

Next week: Reimbursing families for cap-and-gown costs for graduating seniors

Cathedral Catholic High students showcase their art

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 16:23

Art by Cathedral Catholic High School students ◄ Back Next ► Picture 1 of 19

By Kristina Houck

The Guadalupe Center at Cathedral Catholic High School was recently transformed into an art gallery for the school’s annual Student Art Show May 19-24. The school’s 375 art students all had at least one piece in the show.

“It’s an important part for any artist to show their work to the community and get a feel for how others see it,” said art teacher Silvia Wiedmann, who helped launch the show when she started at the school 15 years ago. At that time, the school was called the University of San Diego High School. The school was renamed and relocated to 5555 Del Mar Heights Road in 2005.

Inspired by Spaceship Earth, the geodesic sphere at Walt Disney World’s Epcot theme park, senior Alexander Krikes constructed a geodesic half-dome out of paper called “Age of Discovery.”

“It’s very rewarding,” Alexander said. “It’s really nice to sit back and watch people experience your piece.”

Senior Anna Horne had three pieces on display, one of which was later sent to the fairgrounds. About 50 of the pieces were entered into the Student Showcase at the San Diego County Fair.

Anna created paper flames, as well as a wire and plaster sculpture of a man playing a flute. The piece that she entered in the fair was her independent project — a wire and paper replica of the enchanted red rose from the “Beauty and the Beast.”

In her second year in the school’s art program, sophomore Belle Hilton had several drawings and paintings on display.

“It’s neat to show your parents and grandparents, as well as your friends what you’ve been working on,” Belle said.

Senior Megan Gless also had five drawings and paintings in the show.

“It’s an opportunity to express yourself,” said Megan, who has taken art classes for two years. “It gives you an opportunity to show who you are, be creative and really learn about yourself.”

Placing an emphasis on the arts, Cathedral Catholic is currently expanding its program. This year, the school launched its foundations course, an introductory visual arts class.

“It’s important because art is everywhere,” said Alyssa Vallecorsa, who specializes in 3-D art and has taught art at the school for two years. “I think everybody needs to be exposed to art. It makes for a well-rounded person.”

For more information about Cathedral Catholic, visit

Photos/Kristina Houck

Fun-filled Fiesta del Sol

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 14:58

Great weather made for a great turnout for the Solana Beach Fiesta del Sol ◄ Back Next ► Picture 1 of 31

The 35th annual Fiesta del Sol was held May 31 and June 1 at Fletcher Cove in Solana Beach. The Solana Beach Chamber of Commerce presented this free event to kick off summer in Solana Beach. Once again, the Belly Up lined up a great list of musicians to perform over the two-day event, which also included local community talent.

The event also featured arts and crafts, children’s games, great food, beer and wine gardens, shopping specials at the Cedros Design District and more.

For more information, please visit

Photos/Jon Clark

Del Mar kids connect with Friendship Games

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 14:00

◄ Back Next ► Picture 1 of 14

By Karen Billing

Del Mar Heights hosted the second annual Friendship Games on Friday, May 30, bringing together the first grade classes at Del Mar Heights and Del Mar Hills who have been pen pals for the last few months. Heights and Hills share the same school boundaries so kids that are neighbors may attend different schools—the games are a way for new friendships to be formed within the community.

On May 30, Hills students walked over to the Heights and met their pen pals for the first time, exchanging a final letter and a book. New friends smiled as they read each other’s letters.

“Dear Gianna, I have watched Frozen 21 times. Have you gone fishing? I went fishing and caught two fish before. Have you gone bowling before? I have,” read David’s note to Gianna.

“I can’t wait until Friday!” read Elena’s note to Peyton, which also included a drawing she did of the two of them together.

After meeting, the kids played some icebreaker games and then got to enjoy a picnic lunch and popsicles together, as well as parachute games and a balloon toss.

Photos by Karen Billing

Solana Beach PTA holds International Festival

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 13:20

Skyline Elementary School PTA International Festival ◄ Back Next ► Picture 1 of 9

The Solana Beach PTA held its inaugural International Festival May 30 at Skyline Elementary School in Solana Beach. This event featured international  food trucks, international entertainment, 11 country booths with various kid-friendly facts about each country and a passport trivia game for the kids. Adults and children were welcome to dress in an international costume of their choice.

Photos/Jon Clark

Open House at Solana Highlands

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 13:04

Ashleigh Ammari, Tracey Ammari ◄ Back Next ► Picture 1 of 11

Solana Highlands Elementary School held an Open House May 29. Students’ families had the opportunity to meet teachers and view creations made by students throughout the year.

Photos /Jon Clark

Torrey Pines High School students thank Carmel Valley firefighters

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 10:00

Torrey Pines senior Ashu Bhadada coordinated the firefighter appreciation project. Photo/Kristina Houck

By Kristina Houck

Firefighters at Fire Station 24 were surprised with a special treat May 31. Torrey Pines High School students dropped off handwritten thank you notes and homemade cookies to thank firefighters for protecting homes and saving lives in the recent wildfires that burned about 27,000 acres across San Diego County mid-May.

“Their work is voluntary,” said Torrey Pines senior Ashu Bhadada, who coordinated the project along with her friend Mimi Najmabadi. Both students are a part of the school’s TPHS PALS (Peer Assistant Listeners) Program. “A lot of times we overlook how much courage and how much determination it takes to risk your life to save the lives of others.”

A Carmel Valley resident, Ashu said she had a number of 4S Ranch friends who were evacuated during the Bernardo Fire, which was the first of nearly a dozen wind-whipped fires that burned across the region beginning May 13.

To show their appreciation for the firefighters, PALS students set up tables during lunchtime to collect thank you notes. They also passed out blank sheets during their classes. Bhadada estimated about 300 notes were collected throughout the week for the firefighters at Fire Station 24, which serves Carmel Valley, Del Mar Heights and the surrounding areas.

“It’s something they don’t have to do but they choose to do because they feel the need to protect us,” Ashu said.

“We should return the gesture as much as we can and show our appreciation.”

Del Mar City Council extends city manager’s contract

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 09:56

By Kristina Houck

Scott Huth will serve as Del Mar’s city manager for at least another three years.

As part of the consent calendar, the City Council on May 2 unanimously extended Huth’s contract for 36 months so that it expires Jan. 1, 2018. Council members also approved a one-time performance bonus of up to 5 percent of his salary or up to $9,500. In addition, Huth will now receive the minimum benefits afforded to all management level personnel in the city.

“We are recommending … to extend his current contract for three years based on a positive evaluation of his performance by the entire council,” said Councilman Don Mosier, who reviewed Huth’s contract as a member of the subcommittee to the city manager’s contract amendment, along with Mayor Lee Haydu.

Huth became the city manager in 2012, when the council approved a three-year contract that went into effect Jan. 1, 2012, and was set to expire Jan. 1, 2015. His current base salary is $189,998.

Under Huth’s leadership, city staff has paid off the pension side fund (which saved the city about $1 million), developed a 30-year financial forecasting tool, created a 10-year capital improvement program, finalized the settlement agreement with the 22nd District Agricultural Association on its master plan and more, according to the committee report.

“He’s been a great city manager,” said Mayor Lee Haydu following the meeting. “When we hired him, he was new at being a city manager, but he’s proved himself to really care about the city. He’s always looking at ways to make the city better.”

Solana Beach’s Casa de Amistad recognizes local youth

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 09:24

Program Director Nicole Mione-Green, Student of the Year Jessica Aguilar and County Supervisor Dave Roberts. Photos by Kristina Houck

By Kristina Houck

Jessica Aguilar first joined Casa de Amistad when she was in first grade. Now a sophomore at Canyon Crest Academy, she was recently honored as Student of the Year during the nonprofit organization’s end-of-the-year award ceremony on May 27. San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts presented her with the award.

“In elementary school, I struggled a lot,” said 15-year-old Jessica, who holds a 4.25 grade-point average. “Casa de Amistad has helped shape who I am today. I feel thankful and baffled and just overwhelmed.”

Casa de Amistad is a Solana Beach organization dedicated to fostering education and character development for local underrepresented children through an educational mentoring program for students in grades K-12.

Casa de Amistad students receive certificates and books in recognition of participating in the organization’s educational mentoring program during the school year.

This year, the organization’s 125 volunteers served 165 students who were recognized during the ceremony with participation certificates and books donated by the Del Sol Lions Club.

“With our high school students, I only have positive things to say about these students,” said Program Director Nicole Mione-Green during the ceremony, which roughly 300 parents, volunteers and community members attended. “They are all leaders here at Casa de Amistad. All of our younger students look up to these young men and young women, and I’m so proud of them.”

Mione-Green noted most of the high schoolers have been at Casa de Amistad since they were in kindergarten, first or second grade, and more than half of the 10th-grade students have participated in the program since they were in kindergarten.

“I admire your dedication to school and to improving your academics.”

More than 30 students received certificates and were recognized by their teachers for being “Rising Stars” in their classrooms. The group included a student who improved two reading levels during the school year.

Roberts also presented Julia Atempa, a sixth-grade student at Del Mar Hills Academy, with the Norma Aviles Award for Character. Julia first came to Casa de Amistad when she was in kindergarten.

Casa de Amistad also honored Volunteer of the Year Ralph Cisneros, as well as parents who participated in the organization’s “Parents in Action” program.

In addition, representatives of Casa de Amistad’s Parents Council recognized Mione-Green and Assistant Director Catalina Beltran for their hard work and presented them with flowers.

The ceremony closed with a slideshow of pictures, which was played to the tunes of Pharrell’s “Happy” and Katy Perry’s “Roar.”

“I’m really proud to live in a county like San Diego that provides a program like Casa de Amistad,” said Roberts, who also acknowledged the organization’s dedicated staff and volunteers, as well as the parents of the students.

“I have to salute, also, the parents that participate. You truly want your kids to have a better life. By coming here, and by having your children come here, you are going to give them that better life that we all hope for all of our children.”

For more information about Casa de Amistad and volunteer opportunities with the organization, visit

Former Carmel Valley pilot learned special skills to teach children to swim — and love the water

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 09:19

Carmel Valley resident John Silverman has started Triton Tykes, offering a guaranteed method of swim lessons for children.

By Karen Billing

Carmel Valley’s John Silverman is teaching children to learn to love the water with Triton Tykes, his new swimming lesson business. In business for just a few months, Silverman uses a trusted, guaranteed method based on trust, discipline and continuity.

“It’s very powerful when you get a child who was screaming and holding onto you for dear life and three days later, they’re loving swimming,” Silverman said.  “There’s going to be hollering but just give me a few days and you’ll think I’m the greatest guy you’ve ever met.”

Silverman comes to the water from the air — he is a former pilot.

He spent six-and-a-half years in the Air Force and then flew commercial airlines for US Airways for 36 years, retiring in 2013.

Growing up in South Florida, Silverman swam on his high school swim team and was a lifeguard at the ocean and at pools. He taught swim lessons when he was in his 20s but never really used or knew a proven method.

Silverman decided to get into the business of teaching swimming lessons after witnessing the remarkable progress of his then 10-month-old grandson, Owen, who lives in Atlanta. A year ago, his daughter sent video of Owen’s swimming lessons.

“On day one, Owen was screaming bloody murder. But on day three he was happier than a clam and I was amazed,” Silverman said.

The difference-maker in Owen’s love of swimming was in the teacher and his techniques — “Coach Tom” Bradbury, an instructor who is 81 years old and has been teaching for 57 years, teaching tens of thousands of other children just like Owen how to swim.

Silverman was so impressed that he asked if Coach Tom would share his skills; in March this year Silverman went to Atlanta to spend a month learning his techniques and shadowing him as they trained 90 children how to swim.

The method is not blowing bubbles and playing patty cake — Silverman said it’s 95 percent child psychology as, for whatever reason, little ones are often hesitant to get in the water.

“The child’s way of objecting or manipulating is through crying. I don’t even listen to the crying,” Silverman said. “You have to power through the objections and the resistance of the child and that’s what parents are not very good at doing.”

Silverman said when a child cries, he will ask the child to rest on his shoulder and then proceed with the lesson.

“By day three or four the crying is over and the kids are happy,” Silverman said. “It’s almost like a switch is thrown.”

Silverman’s method is seven consecutive days of short lessons taught in a warm pool, heated to 92 degrees. The last two days he gets the parents into the pool, as well, to teach them how to work in the water with their child.

He loves the success stories — of parents so happy with the results and of kids who, after five days, don’t even have to be told to swim to him, he just puts his palms up on the water’s surface and they launch. It’s a pleasure to be able to teach a child a life skill, according to Silverman.

“It’s probably the most gratifying thing I’ve ever done,” Silverman said.

Silverman gives lessons to children at a minimum age of 19 months and comes to clients’ home pools for lessons. For pricing or more information, visit

Re-hasht takes unique fashion approach to up-cycling

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 09:14

Re-hasht owners Mimi Roles and Shawn Sarquilla / Courtesy photo

By Karen Billing

Re-hasht has moved into Flower Hill Promenade’s Row Collective, a store that sells one-of-a-kind wearable art; worn fabric is up-cycled and lovingly stitched into new pieces.

The store, owned by the mother-daughter team of Mimi Roles and Shawn Sarquilla, opened two weeks ago.

“We are like old-time shopkeepers,” said Sarquilla, reflecting on how like many other Row shops, artists are not only selling their wares but using their store as a workspace too.

Inside Re-hasht, fabric scraps litter the table tops as the two work on new pieces. They share a space with Studio Penny Lane, which moved across the courtyard to make room for new record shop M-Theory Music, and, on some days, the pounding on metal inside Penny Lane is accompanied by the whirring of Re-hasht’s sewing machines.

As they launch their new store, the two split time between their shop and working in cafes — Roles is at Claire’s on Cedros and Sarquilla works at Snooze in Hillcrest.

Sarquilla had always played around with cutting and tying t-shirts but Roles has been a sewer all her life. Sarquilla said Roles is the true artist of the pair as she is also a painter.

“I’ve always been a cheerleader of artists, I didn’t realize I was one until several years ago,” Sarquilla said.

Mother and daughter got an itch to start working together on wearable art so they poured through craft books and began “scheming” about potential projects. They started with the shrug, perfect for San Diego weather — just sleeves, not too heavy like a full coat, and not too big that it covers up a cute ensemble.

“I was really impressed by Shawn because she took to it quite naturally,” Roles said of her daughter’s creativity and clever ideas on how to make garments work.

The first shrug they made was out of a dark blue cable knit sweater — Sarquilla added a flower made out of a t-shirt to the back and Roles added a trim.

The shrug became their signature piece and they started selling their looks at trunk shows and in pop-up shops, but got a tip about Flower Hill’s Row Collective from Penny Lane’s Laurie Libman-Wilson, a longtime friend of Sarquilla’s.

Sarquilla and Roles said they feel they fit in well with the Row and have already enjoyed collaborating with their neighbors — last week staying open late along with other stores as A Ship in The Woods hosted live music in the Row’s cozy plaza.

“I love the idea and the space, I’m excited for the traffic to pick up and for it to be more well-known,” Sarquilla said.

In keeping with the theme of finding new life for old things, all of the furniture within their shop is vintage and reclaimed marine wood serves as decoration on the walls, the wood naturally stained by salt.

The pair have become fabric hunters and are constantly on the lookout for materials to use. In addition to their signature shrug, they have branched out to include long “kimonos,” skirts, pants, fingerless gloves, legwarmers and pocket belts.

The pocket belts have sold very well — Re-hasht’s twist on a fanny pack, salvaged pockets affixed onto fabric that snaps or buckles around the waist.

Each garment has a quote sewn onto it that serves as Re-hasht’s tags — they use vintage t-shirts and have quotes screen-printed on.

“Always make new mistakes,” reads one quote from Esther Dyson.

Sarquilla said they hope someday to get into custom pieces with customer clothing —clothes that are loved and cherished but may not fit the way they used to or are falling apart that they can give new life to. They also hope to start working with leather.

With Re-hasht, they hope to promote an ongoing effort to recycle, upcycle and re-purpose as a way of life for everyone.

“I love the thought process,” Roles said. “I want to encourage everyone to look at things they don’t use anymore and ask ‘Are they reusable in another shape and form?’ It’s an interesting way to look at things.”

Re-hasht will have a grand opening event with Penny Lane on Saturday, June 7, at 7 p.m. Reservations are welcome at

Flower Hill Promenade is located at 2720 Via De La Valle, Del Mar, CA 92014;

Del Mar Fairgrounds craft brewery proposal moves forward

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 09:12

By Joe Tash

A proposal to convert an underused satellite wagering facility at the Del Mar Fairgrounds into a craft beer brewery with a restaurant, tasting room and other amenities moved forward on Monday, June 2.

The board of the 22nd District Agricultural Association, which runs the state-owned fairgrounds, voted 4-1 to issue a request for proposals to the brewing industry, to see if any companies are interested in bidding for the project.  Director David Watson cast the lone “no” vote, expressing concern that smaller local breweries might not have the resources to compete with larger, better-funded national brands.

In February, the board rejected a proposal by the fairgrounds’ food and beverage provider, Premier Food Services, for Blue Moon Brewery, a subsidiary of MillerCoors, to build and operate a micro-brewery at the fairgrounds.  At the time, some directors said fairground staff hadn’t done enough to solicit proposals for the project, especially from San Diego-based breweries.

The project is being considered for the Surfside Race Place, a satellite wagering facility built at the northeast corner of the fairgrounds in 1991.  Originally built to handle crowds of 5,000 people per day to bet on horse races around the country, attendance has dwindled from a high of 2,900 daily visitors to about 300 to 350 currently, according to fairgrounds officials,

The brewery project is intended to draw more visitors to the facility and increase revenue from food and beverage sales and betting, said fairgrounds general manager Tim Fennell after Monday’s board meeting.

Fennell said he hopes to issue the request for proposals within the next couple of weeks, and have a proposal to the board for final approval in September or October.  If all goes smoothly, he said, the craft brewery could be open in time for the 2015 San Diego County Fair.

“It’s optimistic but it’s a possibility,” he said.

The request for proposals states that the 22nd DAA is committed to financing up to $1 million for construction of the brewery, and bidders would have to guarantee lease payments to the agency of at least $1.5 million over five years.

Fennell said the 22nd DAA would also spend $2 million to $3 million on upgrades to the satellite wagering center’s restaurant, construction of a tasting room and a museum on the history of beer brewing in San Diego.

The agency expects to recoup those costs through increased food and beverage sales over a period of three to five years, Fennell said.  The project could also benefit North County businesses, as well as local government agencies through increased tax revenues, Fennell said.

At Monday’s meeting, Watson asked whether the board had approved spending $1 million on the brewery.  Fennell and other directors said the expenditure has been discussed and would have to be approved by the board before an agreement with a brewing company could be finalized.

Watson also objected to the wording of the request for proposals because he said smaller local breweries might not be able to compete with larger companies for the contract.

Director Stephen Shewmaker, who is leading the effort to find an alternative use for the satellite wagering  center, said it’s true that very small companies might not be able to take on such a project.  “We need someone who’s got financial backbone,” he said.

Fennell said the fairgrounds expects to sell 2,000 to 3,000 kegs of beer from the brewery each year during the fair, horse races and other events.  Beer produced in excess of the fairgrounds’ needs could be sold to outside bars, restaurants or supermarkets.

The tasting room would feature beers made by local brewers, in addition to the product produced on-site, said director Russ Penniman.