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Pedestrian killed by Coaster train

Mon, 09/08/2014 - 11:58

By City News Service

Authorities released the name Sept. 8 of a 49-year-old man who was fatally struck over the weekend by a passenger train near Torrey Pines State Beach.

Michael North of Del Mar was walking between the rails south of the intersection of Carmel Valley Road and North Torrey Pines Road when the northbound Amtrak locomotive approached from behind shortly before 11:30 a.m. Sept. 7, according to sheriff’s officials and the county Medical Examiner’s Office.

“The train operator activated its horn and emergency braking system but was unable to stop before striking the victim,” Deputy Dawn Morabe said.

North died at the scene.

The train conductor told investigators North had been walking with two companions who safely moved out of the way.

Rail service in the area was delayed about two hours, according to transit officials.

Carmel Valley student publishes novel ‘Don’t Mistake the Ashes for Dust’

Mon, 09/08/2014 - 10:00

Lily Nilipour with her book, “Don’t Mistake the Ashes for Dust.” Courtesy photo

By Karen Billing

Many people spend months, even years, to write a novel. Carmel Valley teenager Lily Nilipour was able to craft a 50,000-word novel in one month last year.

Her novel, “Don’t Mistake the Ashes for Dust,” offers insights into life as an adolescent and is available online at

In the past Lily, a 15-year-old sophomore at Torrey Pines High School, wrote a lot of fantasy but this book was her first departure into a new genre. She outgrew the dragons and has gone more into reality.

Lily has been writing for as long as she can remember.

“It started out as a hobby but in sixth grade I had a really good teacher and she inspired me to continue to write — that’s when I began to have a true passion for writing,” Lily said.

That special teacher for Lily was Julia Hinton at Torrey Hills Elementary School and from that point on Lily spent every bit of her few spare moments of time writing stories and poems.

Last year a friend told her about a program as part of National Novel Writing Month. If young authors could pen 50,000 words in the month of November, as a reward they would get two free copies of their published works.

“I just wanted to see if I could reach such a big amount of pages and words,” Lily said.

The “NaNoWriMo” program helps students with support from fellow writers, track their progress and develop a schedule for work — for Lily that meant a goal to reach 2,000 words a day.

Despite a packed schedule, Lily was able to accomplish the challenge and then went through the editing process, designed a book cover and published the book through CreateSpace. The book was published in June.

“It was really rewarding when it was published and to see it in my hand,” Lily said. “It was really cool.”

Lily describes her book’s tone as “mellow and melancholy.” She left the main character ambiguous, without a name or identity — the plot follows what happens after she meets a unique girl at school, the girl who reminds her of ashes.

“The feeling that emits from her, it’s like that nostalgic feeling you get when you see the sunset over the ocean, and the light just glistens perfectly on the rippling water. It makes you feel tired, satisfied and wistful,” wrote Lily. “You feel like you could just be carried away by the lightest wind like a feather or a particle of dust. That’s what I mean when I say she reminded me of ashes.”

One review on Amazon cites the reader’s favorite paragraph of Lily’s 50,000 words:

“Because when you cannot see the light halfway into a dark tunnel, the shortest way out is behind you, where you entered,” Lily wrote. “And, though heading back to the start will grant you reassuring light and color that you are used to, that light and color will get you nowhere.”

Lily’s favorite subject in school is English and she recently joined the staff of the school’s award-winning newspaper, The Falconer. She also stays busy playing the piano and playing on the school tennis team.

“Hopefully I will find the time to work on another novel,” Lily said.

“Don’t Mistake the Ashes for Dust” is available on To learn more about this year’s National Novel Writing Month program, visit

Pedestrian hit by Coaster train

Sun, 09/07/2014 - 12:51

By City News Service

San Diego Fire-Rescue (SDFRD) reports a pedestrian was hit by the Coaster train at Torrey Pines near Carmel Valley Road and Via Aprilia earlier today, Sept. 7.

An SDFRD dispatcher said they were notified by a North County Transit District (NCTD) dispatcher that a pedestrian was hit on the tracks in Torrey Pines. Coaster and Amtrak service is currently delayed, according to NCTD.

Solana Beach Library offers citizenship course

Sun, 09/07/2014 - 01:00

An eight-week citizenship course begins at the Solana Beach Library on Wednesday, Sept. 17. Classes will meet from 4-5:30 p.m. Wednesdays, and 10-11:30 a.m. Saturdays, ending Saturday, Nov. 8.

No preregistration will be taken, but attendance at the first class is required.

Limited copies of the required text will be available through the library; other texts will be for sale at $40. Also, story time and activities will be offered for students’ children.

The course is sponsored by the North County Immigration and Citizenship Center. The library is at 157 Stevens Ave.; call 858-755-1404.

Bike MS: Bay-to-Bay Tour to cycle through Del Mar

Sun, 09/07/2014 - 01:00

By Kristina Houck

Hundreds of people are expected to bike Oct. 18-19 to benefit multiple sclerosis in the annual Bike MS: Bay-to-Bay Tour. Starting in Irvine and ending in Mission Bay, participants will be coming through Del Mar from roughly 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 19.

In a unanimous vote, the City Council on Sept. 2 opted to co-sponsor the event in order to reduce permitting fees for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, a nonprofit that mobilizes people and resources to drive research for a cure and to address the challenges of people affected by MS. The $2,000 fee was reduced to $200, which will cover the administrative costs of issuing a permit.

Cyclists were originally slated to cycle across Coast Boulevard, but now participants will take Via de la Valle to Jimmy Durante Boulevard.

Councilwoman Sherryl Parks pulled the item from the council’s consent calendar, a list of items approved with a single vote and no discussion, to suggest a different route.

Before the meeting, Del Mar resident Nancy Stoke submitted a letter to the city asking the council to consider rerouting the ride before making its decision. In her letter, Stoke referenced “the nightmare that was the Ragnar Relay,” a 200-mile overnight relay race that went through the community on April 5, as a reason why Bike MS should be rerouted.

Fall Home/Garden show returns to Del Mar Fairgrounds

Sun, 09/07/2014 - 01:00

During its three-day session at the Del Mar Fairgrounds this Sept. 12-14, the 25th annual Fall Home/Garden Show will feature interior design and garden displays, remodeling inspiration, hands-on demonstrations, educational seminars and one-stop shopping for everything pertaining to the home and garden.

Show hours: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 12, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 13, and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 14.

Admission: $8.00; children under 12 are free. Seniors (55 and older): $1 on Friday. After 3 p.m. daily, all tickets $6.

Discount tickets are $6 available at

Del Mar-Solana Beach Rotary lineup of speakers to discuss cancer, Kenya, biotech

Sat, 09/06/2014 - 01:00

Interested individuals are invited to hear these special speakers at upcoming meetings of the Rotary Club of Del Mar-Solana Beach.  The club’s meetings are held over breakfast from 7 to 8:30 a.m. at the Morgan Run Clubhouse.

Friday, Sept. 12: Dr. Dominique Verhelle of Pfizer will speak about two diverse topics:

• “Epigenetics Research in Cancer.” Epigenetic research can lead to more successful cancer treatment through its study of chemical reactions that activate and deactivate part of the genome.

• “Kenya Service Project.” On her recent trip to Kenya, she led computer training of orphans and adults (as well as teaching French).

Verhelle is a director in the Oncology Research Unit at Pfizer. She leads its effort in epigenetic research applied to cancer therapies and early drug discovery programs. She has 18 years of experience in research focusing on diabetes, obesity and oncology. Dominique earned her MBA from The Rady School of Management and holds a Ph.D. in life sciences from the University of Nice Sophia-Antipolis, France.

Friday, Sept. 19: Joe Panetta, president and CEO of BIOCOM, will focus on the challenges and accomplishments of San Diego’s biotech companies.

Panetta leads BIOCOM in its mission to accelerate life science success for Southern California by advocating for 600 local companies, service sector firms, universities and research institutes working in the biotechnology and biomedical device arena. He serves on many boards and committees, including the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee for the CA Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), which provides grant funding under the $3 billion California stem cell initiative.  He earned his bachelor of science degree in biology from LeMoyne College and a master’s degree in public health from the University of Pittsburgh.

For information or to reserve, contact Paul Butler at 619-559‑3213 or, or go to

Del Mar committee volunteers will continue to select their own officers

Sat, 09/06/2014 - 01:00

By Kristina Houck

Volunteers serving on Del Mar committees will continue to select their own officers, after the City Council decided against adopting a new policy that would have given council members the power to appoint committee leaders.

Three members of the public, including two former mayors, urged council members not to approve the policy, which was originally listed on the consent calendar during the Sept. 2 council meeting.

“For almost 30 years, that I know of, committees have always elected their own chair,” said former Del Mar Mayor Brooke Eisenberg-Pike. “For a council subcommittee to usurp that function is to undermine the committee’s independence.”

“I appreciate the work that all of you do for Del Mar, and so do many other people,” said former Del Mar Mayor Jan McMillan. “We also appreciate the service of volunteers, who lessen your own burden.

“All these volunteers are educated adults who have offered to serve their city. They are not back in kindergarten where the teacher chooses the leaders. … Please give them the respect they deserve by preserving their own right to select their own officers.”

Deputy Mayor Al Corti said the proposed policy change was added to the agenda in order to help committees improve their performance and better represent the community. As a council liaison to the Planning Commission, Corti noted he has looked at how the committees differ, from agenda preparation to officer leadership.

Corti said it wasn’t his intention to “usurp power.”

“As a responsibility to the city, I feel that it is my oversight to make sure they are being run as objective and as consistent and truly representative of the entire community,” he said.

Agreeing with the public speakers, Councilman Don Mosier said the council wants “independent advice.”

“It’s best to let the boards, commissions and committees select their chairman and be independent,” he said. “If the council appoints the chair, then the chair is more reporting to council and gains more power and potential authority.”

Councilman Terry Sinnott added that the proposal was “well-meaning.”

“We have all been working hard to try to make the time our volunteers spend as valuable as possible.”

The change in policy was among a few proposed amendments to the council’s policy book, which covers a variety of matters, from the selection of the mayor to council meeting procedures. In March, the council adopted an amended policy book. Since then, staff reviewed the book and proposed minor revisions.

Eisenberg-Pike also asked the council to consider adding a policy that would require public interviews for all committee applicants. She noted that previous councils had interviewed all applicants in the past.

The council only interviews applicants for the Design Review Board and Planning Commission. Council liaisons make recommendations for the other committees, and then the council votes on them.

“This was more efficient and took less time. That does not mean it was better,” Eisenberg-Pike said. “In fact, it weakened the committee system because it removed both the public and the entire council from the selection process. The whole council, not just the subcommittee, should be actively involved in the appointment of every committee member, and interviews should take place at the council. Your goal should be to involve the public as much as possible in the process.”

Because there are usually so few applicants, council members ultimately did not require interviews, but recommended that future applicants introduce themselves at council meetings.

Although council members eliminated the proposed policy on committee appointments, they approved a few minor policy changes regarding the use of city stationery and council meeting minutes.

Del Mar Carmel Valley Sharks Boys U11 win soccer tournament

Sat, 09/06/2014 - 01:00

After battling through six matches in Flight 1 of the North Huntington Beach Soccer Tournament held over Labor Day Weekend, the DMCV Sharks BU11 team, coached by Warren Barton, came home as champions!

After battling through six matches in Flight 1 of the North Huntington Beach Soccer Tournament held over Labor Day Weekend, the DMCV Sharks BU11 team, coached by Warren Barton, came home as champions! Pictured (L-R): top row: Warren Barton, Duncan Hawe, Colin O’Neal, Stefano Brunetto, Cody von Taube, Alex Glynn, Dylan Gleason, Nick Carlo. Bottom row: Jagger Bisharat, Mateo Pacelli, Santiago Gallego, Dean Sandler, Tye Barton, David Velediaz, Jackson Gibbons. Not pictured: Liam Kelly.

Adopt a Family Foundation to hold fundraiser at Erik Skoldberg gallery in the Del Mar Plaza

Sat, 09/06/2014 - 01:00

Adopt a Family Foundation will hold a free informal event from 5:30 p.m. – 8 p.m Sunday, Sept. 14, at the Erik Skoldberg gallery in the Del Mar Plaza.

The event will be hosted by artist Erik Skoldberg, who has also arranged for Il Fornaio to cater the food.

The gallery is two doors down from Il Fornaio. Yaron Bob, an artist from the region Eshkol, in the south of Israel, will say a few words about the situation in Israel. Over the summer this was one of the areas that was bombarded with rocket fire from Gaza.

Yaron Bob creates “beauty out of  horror” as he transforms metal from mortars and rockets into art pieces.

His art, as well as some other Israeli art pieces, and a donation from Erik Skoldberg, will be on sale to raise funds for the foundation.

Funds raised will go towards rebuilding a playground on Kibbutz Mefarsim, which was damaged during the Protection Edge Operation over the past summer.

For information, contact

San Diego surf program keeps at-risk boys from going under

Fri, 09/05/2014 - 09:00

• Boys to Men Mentoring Network connects fatherless, disadvantaged youngsters with waves — and options

By Pat Sherman

Andrew has been in the Boys to Men program for two years. The 15-year-old is training for his second 100 Wave Challenge. He surfed 140 waves in last year’s fundraising event. Courtesy photos

Although they live less than an hour from the ocean, some teen boys from single-parent, low-income households or foster homes have never been to the beach, much less set foot on a surfboard.

“A lot of their families don’t have cars, and they don’t have the mom or the dad that says, ‘Hey, let’s go to the beach today,’” said Craig McClain, executive director of San Diego-based Boys to Men Mentoring Network. “They just hang around the neighborhood — and for teenage boys with nothing to do, that’s a problem.”

Fortunately, McClain’s organization offers these young men a chance to behold the ocean’s seemingly endless expanse — and to contemplate the boundless potential in their own lives beyond the everyday obstacles and limitations they face.

As part of its outreach, Boys to Men holds regular outings for youth at beaches in La Jolla, Pacific Beach and Del Mar, where they learn to surf and connect with adult male mentors who offer a different perspective on life.

Boys to Men held its most recent twilight surf excursion and barbecue Aug. 12 in La Jolla Shores.

“We had five young men from a group foster home that had never been surfing — and had never been to La Jolla before,” McClain said of the event. “It was amazing how polite, gracious and thankful they were to be hanging out with a bunch of guys … and doing something that they wanted to learn. Each time a kid caught a wave, you could see the men’s arms go up and smiles on the boys’ faces.”

Boys to Men will be holding its fifth annual 100 Wave Challenge surf fundraiser for the organization from 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20, in Mission Beach.

Surfers — including Boys to Men mentors, youth participants and members of the public — collect pledges of $1 or more per wave. The goal is for adult participants to raise $1,000 each by getting a $1 per wave pledge from 100 people (and surfing 100 waves).

Boys to Men mentor Jason Bernardo takes part in last year’s 100 Wave Challenge Fundraiser for the organization. Bernardo said the transformation he has seen in teen boys has been miraculous, and has kept him volunteering for eight years.

South African surfing legend, author and environmentalist Shaun Tomson will be the event’s celebrity host.

“It’s a fun day, though it is a challenge,” said Boys to Men mentor Jason Bernardo, who competed in the first four 100 Wave Challenges and is soliciting pledges for the fifth event next month. “In a normal surf session, you only catch five, 10 or 20 waves on really good days. A hundred waves is a lot of work.”

However, it’s nothing compared with the effort of Boys to Men participants, said Bernardo, who got involved with the program reluctantly about seven years ago.

After being dragged to one of the event’s fundraisers by a woman he was dating at the time — and viewing a moving presentation on the organization — Bernardo volunteered his services on the spot.

“I just found myself tearing up,” he said. “It really struck a chord with me.”

Boys to Men engages middle-school boys ages 11-14 and high school boys ages 15-17 who are identified by school administration to be at risk of educational failure, dropping out of school, juvenile delinquency or gang-related offenses. Since it was founded in 1996, the nonprofit has mentored more than 6,000 boys and has trained mentors in 24 states. About 72 percent of boys in the program are growing up without a father.

Beyond surfing excursions, mentors take boys on weekend camping trips and other outings.

Bernardo said youth typically enter the program extremely bottled up and leery.

“These 13-year-old kids come in and they’re acting pretty tough, but you … realize how bad they need this, and how badly they just need someone to tell them that they’re OK. You know, they’re hearing from everybody, ‘You’re stupid,’ ‘You’re getting bad grades,’ and ‘You’re getting in trouble.’

“Some people keep reinforcing that and we just kind of go, ‘Hey look, yeah, you’re doing drugs, yeah you’ve got bad grades, yeah you’re skipping school … (but) I think you’re great, I love you, I care about you. If you want to come and show up, I’ll be here either way.’ … It really makes a big difference to know that they’re going to have somebody there to support them that’s not just telling them there’s something wrong with them all the time.”

Bernardo recalled a 13-year-old boy who entered the program several years ago. He was hanging around gangs and addicted to pills and methamphetamines.

“He pretty adamantly knew that his next step was either death or jail,” Bernardo recalled. “To me, it really felt like he was on the verge of being one of these kids that is lost and goes into a school and shoots up the school. I mean, he had access to guns, he’s on drugs and he’s got nobody in his life.”

Eventually, Bernardo witnessed a breakthrough.

“It kind of sunk in that he had a reason to keep going … and he brought in a couple other young guys that were also thinking about getting into this gang. … Fast forward three or four years, and he’s out of trouble, he’s off drugs … and looking at colleges.”

Through his participation in the program, the boy has since started mentoring other youth — an 18- to 22-year-old model of success referred to in the program as a “journeyman,” Bernardo said.

“It’s amazing to watch,” he said. “They become better mentors than we are because they are so close to the same age as some of the kids that are just coming into the program.

“There’s so many layers of transformation you see, but it’s amazing when you see these kids mentoring other kids a few years later — going from being the ones that are really going to be a burden on society to clearly the ones that are saving society, that are probably more accountable and more responsible than a lot of 30- or 35-year-old men that I know.”

Trevor Callan, a mentor of five years, said it is important to introduce boys to physically challenging outdoor activities, such as hiking and fishing, like those he experienced with his own grandfather.

“For these young men that don’t have that kind of a father figure in their lives, Boys to Men (provides) the exact same situation, but using the ocean and surfing as a mechanism to teach them the importance of not giving up, overcoming challenges and staring adversity in the eye — to keep going and ultimately overcome it,” he said.

“Surfing has the ability to do all that for them — and for me — and that’s why I’m involved.”

Del Mar council recommends outgoing Del Mar Mayor Lee Haydu for fairgrounds board seat

Fri, 09/05/2014 - 09:00

By Kristina Houck

Although Del Mar Mayor Lee Haydu may be leaving the dais in December, she could soon be sitting in a new administrative seat.

The Del Mar City Council on Sept. 2 recommended Haydu to serve on the board of the 22nd District Agricultural Association, which runs the state-owned Del Mar Fairgrounds.

“Mayor Haydu possesses the background, qualifications, and needed insight to represent the local communities and the broader San Diego region as a whole,” said Deputy Mayor Al Corti on behalf of the council in a letter the council agreed to send to Sacramento.

“As a city council member since 2010, and a resident of Del Mar for 28 years, Mayor Haydu has been actively involved in city and regional issues. She understands the importance of effectively managing this important regional asset.”

Before the unanimous vote, Councilman Terry Sinnott pulled the item from the consent calendar, questioning whether the council should recommend others in addition to Haydu.

“I think Lee’s name is absolutely one that we should forward on, but I want to make sure that if the council has an opportunity to make any other suggestions, we do it at this time,” he said.

Noting that Del Mar recommended two candidates last year, Councilman Don Mosier disagreed.

“This is an important time to support one candidate, not a bunch of candidates,” he said.

In 2013, he and former Councilman Richard Earnest applied to fill a vacant seat on the governor-appointed board of directors. In his case, Mosier said he learned he had a “conflict of interest” because he was an elected official in Del Mar.

“So I think it’s important to get behind one candidate at a time. With the support that Lee has gotten from our elected officials and from the fair board — that’s an unusual circumstance.”

Haydu, along with Councilman Don Mosier, serves as a council liaison to the 22nd District Agricultural Association Community Relations Committee. Besides the letter of support from her fellow council members, she has also obtained support from State Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) and Sen. Marty Block (D-San Diego).

Del Mar’s Free Flight hosts Tropical Sunset gala Oct. 11

Fri, 09/05/2014 - 09:00

Free Flight, a nonprofit in Del Mar that shelters tropical birds, is holding a fundraiser on Oct. 11.

Free Flight, Del Mar’s one-of-a kind exotic bird sanctuary, will be having its fifth annual Tropical Sunset Fundraiser on Saturday, Oct. 11. Dagmar Midcap from NBC Channel 7 will emcee the event in support of Free Flight’s mission to maintain a sanctuary to care for orphaned parrots and promote avian education.

There will be unique silent auction items, an opportunity drawing, dinner, cocktails, beer and wine, live music performed by Jerry McCann and the Blues Birds of Happiness, and free valet parking. Some of Free Flight’s resident and adoptable birds will be out visiting with the attendees, who are also welcome to bring their own companion parrots.

The event will be held from 6:30-9:30 p.m. at Free Flight, 2132 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar. Tickets are $40 each and can be ordered online via Tickets may also be purchased at the door at $50 each.

Free Flight Exotic Bird Sanctuary is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation dedicated to sheltering, nurturing and re-socialization of orphaned parrots while educating the public to inspire a lasting concern for the well-being of exotic birds. Established in 1981 by the late veterinarian Dr. Robert Stonebreaker, Free Flight has helped numerous birds have a chance at a new life by finding them a new home. Free Flight also has educated and delighted countless visitors to the sanctuary and members of the community through its outreach programs. Visit

Golfing greats get together at The Grand Del Mar

Fri, 09/05/2014 - 07:44

Two golfing greats recently came together at the Grand Golf Club at The Grand Del Mar. After Gunn Yang, a Korean-born San Diego State golfer recently won the U.S. Amateur Championship, he was inevitably compared to legendary San Diego golfer Gene Littler, who was the first SDSU alum  to win the U.S. Am 61 years ago.

Yang’s coach, Glen Daugherty, set up a golf summit between Yang and Littler  — who is in the World Golf Hall of Fame with 29 PGA Tour victories — at The Grand Del Mar recently. Together Yang, 20 (right), and Littler, 84 (left), tested their considerable talents, with Littler holding his own on the resort’s challenging course. It was a milestone in the 114-year history of the U.S. Am: a game between winners from the same college who won their titles more than six decades apart!

No longer ‘Invisible’: Actor depicts stories of 10 homeless people Sept. 13-14 at Rancho Bernardo theater

Fri, 09/05/2014 - 01:00

Jerry Hager describing a character from his show, as he holds up the mask for that character.

By Joe Tash

The man’s hands shook from alcohol withdrawal when he approached Jerry Hager one evening to ask for a handout.

Hager was so moved by the man’s honesty — he candidly admitted he would use the money to buy liquor — that Hager gave him some cash and chatted with him for a few minutes, as his family waited nearby.

That experience resulted in a vignette Hager will perform on Sept. 13 and 14 at the Vine Theater in Rancho Bernardo as part of “Invisible,” a one-man show depicting the lives of 10 different homeless people.

The performance marks the final weekend of the theater’s annual summer series, now in its seventh year.  Artistic Director Faith Jensen-Ismay uses the summer event to bring a variety of different dance troupes to the intimte theater on the grounds of the Bernardo Winery.

“Jerry’s work involves body language and how the body moves.  It complements what we do,” said Jensen-Ismay, who also oversees the Mojalet Dance Collective, a school and dance company.

Hager, a mime, performance artist and story-teller who has entertained for decades around San Diego County, including work with schools and a long-running engagement as a roving performer at the San Diego County Fair, is returning to the Vine summer series for the fourth time.

Jerry Hager and Vine Theater Artistic Director Faith Jensen-Ismay.

In “Invisible,” Hager uses masks, costumes, voice, movement and music to tell stories of his characters, some of which are based on real people, and others who are purely fictional.

“It’s a subject that had been lingering in my heart and my spirit for some time,” said Hager of the upcoming one-man show.  “Sometimes we will walk past people and we don’t see them … because of ideas that we think they are.”

While many homeless people do suffer from mental or physical disabilities, or drug addiction, their stories actually go much deeper and defy stereotypes, Hager said.

“I’m not really doing a show to address the homeless issue.  I don’t have the answers to that.  I’m doing a show about 10 people and who they are. I’m trying to take the cover off the book and get into the pages.”

The hour-long show centers on a developer who leaves his cellphone and keys on a rock while examining a potential building site, only to come back and find they’ve disappeared.  A homeless person approaches and offers to lead him back to his belongings. Hager said the story is based on an incident that a family member experienced.

The characters include Penny, a 15-year-old runaway; Mitch, a man with cerebral palsy; George, who is mentally ill and possibly dangerous; and Jimmy, a paranoid thief.  The show also includes an older woman who lives in a homeless encampment and acts as a motherly figure for Mitch.

Using a collection of half-masks and his skills of vocal impression, Hager will transform himself into each of the characters.

“I can give each one a personality, their own voice in words, their own sound and their own look through the mask,” he said. “They are real people for me.”

The theater seats 48, and Hager will perform the show three times — at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, and at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Hager ordered the masks for this show from a Chicago mask-maker.

“There’s a power of mystery and magic that goes with masked theater.  It really gets the juices flowing for me,” he said.

He and Jensen-Ismay, the theater’s artistic director, have known each other since the late 1980s, when they worked together on an artistic program for local schools.  They have since collaborated on a number of shows.

“It’s something about the simplicity and authenticity that makes Jerry’s work so great,” she said.

General admission tickets for “Invisible” are $16, and tickets for seniors or students are $11.  Call 858-243-1402 for reservations, or buy tickets online at

Del Mar Union School District to consider Torrey Hills early childhood center in September

Fri, 09/05/2014 - 01:00

By Karen Billing

The Del Mar Union School District board will consider approving the $1.5 million design and construction of an early Childhood Development Center at Torrey Hills Elementary School at its Sept. 17 board meeting. Under the plan, no buildings would be constructed on the Torrey Hills campus, but existing classrooms would be repurposed.

A community information meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 8, at Del Mar Hills Academy to discuss the proposal, which includes moving the center from 10 classrooms at Sycamore Ridge School to 12 reconfigured classrooms at Torrey Hills.

The district has said the CDC must be moved out of Sycamore Ridge to make room for projected enrollment increases from the build-out of Pacific Highlands Ranch. According to Jason Romero, assistant superintendent of human resources, there will be space at Torrey Hills.

“We’re projecting empty classrooms at Torrey Hills for the next 12 years,” Romero said. “The plan is to maximize use of the campus while we’re seeing a decrease in enrollment.”

Kate Mraw, a designer with LPA Architects, presented the design and cost plans for the project at the board’s Aug. 27 meeting.

Mraw said the district will have to comply with certain requirements for child care facilities, such as having toilet and hand-washing stations for every 15 children. The rooms in two buildings at Torrey Hills will need to be reconfigured to add the restrooms, as well as some cabinetry and furnishings. In a third building, rooms will be reconfigured for needs such as a quiet room, speech therapy room, administrative offices, workroom and conference room.

Four play spaces and fixtures will also have to be modified for the younger age group they will serve.

Some other Torrey Hills improvements, identified by the Facilities Master Plan, could be attached to this project, such as relocating lunch structures, adding shade structures and bumping up the parking lot by 30 or 60 spaces. The totals of the extra work would be $687,000 with 60 spaces, or $547,000 for the 30-space alternative.

The project will be paid for by the Community Facilities District fund, which local residents pay into through their property taxes.

If approved at the September meeting, the construction document phase could begin, aiming to reach the Division of State Architect for approval by December. Construction could begin after winter break and be complete by December 2015 or January 2016.

DMUSD Superintendent Holly McClurg said they are likely to need to occupy the new space by fall 2016.

The goal would be for noisy demolition and construction work to be completed during the summer, with the rest of the construction able to be isolated during the school year.

DMUSD Board President Doug Rafner reminded the board and the architects that a big issue with the Torrey Hills community is entry and exit into the school.

Romero said while there would be twice as many staff members because of the student-teacher ratio of the Childhood Development Center, there wouldn’t be as many students in the general population. He said the district would take advantage of a staggered start time, which will help with morning and afternoon traffic patterns.

Rafner and the board requested more information about traffic solutions before any plan is approved.

Sharks Girls U11 White Team wins United Cup

Fri, 09/05/2014 - 01:00

Front row (L-R): Maddie Cramer, Kaileigh Bolden, Paige Parker, Lexi Greene, Leonie Glaesner, Carolina Nelson and Maggie Watts. Middle row: Phoebe Lemon, Karina Parikh, Jaelyn Nelson, Andie Gately, Brenda Bakhit, Victoria Smitham and Asha Gidwani. Back row: Coach Armando Gutierrez. Not pictured: Olivia Crosbie, Mila Kennedy and Ava Salami.

Congratulations to the Sharks U11 White Team for winning the United Cup over Labor Day Weekend in Orange County. The girls played six games over three days in the Premier flight, placing second in their bracket after scoring 21 goals and allowing 3. Armando Gutierrez coaches the team.

In the semifinals, the girls defeated Heat FC from Nevada (0-0), winning in penalty kicks, 3-2.  The final against Legends FC Black was a tough game ending in 0-0. The Sharks girls won the trophy after playing overtime and keeping their composure by scoring all 5 penalty kicks, and an outstanding save by their goalie.

Community workshop focuses on making Solana Beach more pedestrian- and bike-friendly

Fri, 09/05/2014 - 01:00

By Kristina Houck

Solana Beach pedestrians and bicyclists gathered Aug. 28 at City Hall to share their thoughts on how the community can be more pedestrian- and bike-friendly.

Solana Beach pedestrians and bicyclists gathered Aug. 28 at City Hall to discuss how the community can be more pedestrian- and bike-friendly. Photo by Kristina Houck

It was the city’s second and final workshop for its active transportation master plan process. “Active transportation” is defined as any self-propelled mode of travel, such as walking or cycling.

Solana Beach received a grant from the San Diego Association of Governments last year to prepare its first Comprehensive Active Transportation Strategy, or CATS, which will identify opportunities to improve bicycle and pedestrian networks by increasing connectivity and enhancing safety for walkers and riders.

The city hired Chen Ryan Associates, a transportation planning and engineering firm, which kicked off the master plan process in February with the first community workshop.

The goal of CATS is to make active transportation an easier and more attractive way to travel.

During the workshop, Chen Ryan Associates presented two maps proposing a variety of walking and biking paths, including a one-way cycle track from Pacific Highway to Lomas Santa Fe Drive and a two-way cycle track along Stevens Avenue.

The firm also presented two additional maps with suggested prioritization for the projects.

Community members were asked for their feedback.

“Prioritization is important because we want to, as part of this planning process, identify a set of projects that we will prepare concept drawings for, preliminary engineering drawings and cost estimates. That set of projects becomes the action plan for the city,” said Sherry Ryan, principal of Chen Ryan Associates. “Your input on the prioritization is pretty important because we want to know what would you like to see first.”

Taking into consideration the public’s feedback, Chen Ryan Associates will prepare the implementation plan, with a draft expected in September. After environmental review and a public hearing, a final plan is scheduled for December.

For details, visit

Del Mar veteran Pete Glaser among those recognized at ‘Spirit of ’45 Day’

Fri, 09/05/2014 - 01:00

By Kristina Houck

Although World War II ended 69 years ago, veterans remember the day the war ended like it was yesterday.

San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman with World War II veteran Pete Glaser. Courtesy photo

Hundreds of veterans, military members and other San Diegans gathered Aug. 10 in Balboa Park to celebrate the victory and remember the sacrifices during the annual Spirit of ’45 Day, which coincides with the anniversary of the U.S. victory over Japan, or V-J Day.

Pete Glaser of Del Mar was among the dozens of WWII veterans who attended the event.

Glaser was drafted into the military in 1944, shortly after he turned 18. Originally based in Honolulu, he served as an electronic technician in the Navy, also working on a ship off the coast of the Philippines, Okinawa and Japan during his three years in the military.

“It was great,” said Glaser about the event. “There were a lot of old veterans and young military who participated.”

Various city officials, including San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, and former Mayor Jerry Sanders introduced Glaser and his fellow veterans during the Balboa Park event. Although Congress unanimously approved Spirit of ’45 Day as a new National Day of Remembrance in 2010, Glaser said it was his first time participating in an event that marked the occasion.

“It’s nice to be recognized,” he said.

After the war, Glaser went to college and then worked in the computer industry for about 45 years.

Born on the East Coast, Glaser grew up in Los Angeles. He moved to Del Mar nearly 30 years ago, where he has been active in the community ever since. He helped re-launch the Del Mar Television Foundation in 1999. He is also a volunteer with the Friends of the Del Mar Library, Del Mar Historical Society and Del Mar Community Connections.

About two years ago, Glaser had the opportunity to visit the national memorial built to honor him and his fellow veterans.

He was among dozens of other WWII veterans who traveled to Washington, D.C., to visit the WWII Memorial and other war memorials dedicated to their service and sacrifice. The all-expense paid trip was made possible by Honor Flight San Diego, a nonprofit that honors America’s veterans by helping them visit their memorials on the other side of the country.

“It was a wonderful experience,” Glaser said.

Honor Flight also arranged for WWII veterans to attend the Spirit of ’45 Day event.

“I just wanted to support them because it’s a really good organization,” he added.

For more about Honor Flight San Diego, visit

Surf Girls Academy U12 reaches finals at Cup

Thu, 09/04/2014 - 09:00

The Surf Girls Academy U12, coached by Steveo Leacock, were finalists at the Notts Forest Labor Day Cup.

The Surf Girls Academy U12, coached by Steveo Leacock, were finalists at the Notts Forest Labor Day Cup.  The team gave up 2 goals on the weekend, both to the champion team Notts Forest FC. Back row (L-R): Coach Steveo, Hannah Samuels, Anya Roy, Sophie Pilarski, Olivia Jandreski, Casey White, Ally Greenhalgh, Kelly Liu, Ariana McLean. Front row: Mia Grust, Alyssa Bryant, Melanie Gresser, Zaylin Tsakiris, Samantha Quinlan, Mia Koczur. Not pictured: Kate O’Hara.