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‘America’s Finest Film Festival’ returns Aug. 2 to San Diego

Wed, 07/30/2014 - 13:04

Camaraderie developed at The 1to1 Movement events like the Film Festival help connect people to conservation. Courtesy photo

By Kristina Houck

San Diego likes to think of itself as America’s finest city. During the second America’s Finest Film Festival on Aug. 2, it will certainly be the most featured city, with the focus on films created by San Diegans, filmed in San Diego or about San Diego. And held in San Diego.

“We’re getting people excited about living in San Diego by showcasing the beauty and diversity of our region,” said Jonathan Zaidman, executive director of The 1to1 Movement, which hosts the festival.

Launched in 2012, the 1to1 Movement aims to connect people to conservation through education, campaigns and community engagement. Zaidman co-founded the San Diego-based organization with Amanda Tatum, the nonprofit’s director of education.

In the past 2 1/2 years, the organization has reached more than 12,000 students in San Diego County through its educational programs, Zaidman said. From classroom presentations to after-school programs, the nonprofit visits K-12 students across the region to promote environmental sustainability.

The 1to1 Movement also leads campaigns to promote positive change in the community. The Last Straw Campaign encourages bars and restaurants to provide straws only upon request. It also encourages consumers not to use straws.

“This is a really simple introduction into conservation that anyone can take part in,” Zaidman said. “We’re really adopting comprehensive conservation measures that people can jump into right away.”

Last, the nonprofit engages the community through its annual events. In addition to Film Fest, The 1to1 Movement hosts an annual art show that features artists who use repurposed materials.

“Our key focus is to create the cleanest, greenest, healthiest and most vibrant community,” Zaidman said.

Nearly 500 people attended the inaugural Film Fest last August.

This year’s festival will showcase 20 short films, as well as a Maker’s Fair, featuring jewelry, clothes, furniture and more crafted by San Diego artisans. A reception will be held between screenings, featuring Karl Strauss beer, wine, cocktails and local food.

The 1to1 Movement’s America’s Finest Film Festival will take place from 5-8 p.m. Aug. 2 at the Irwin M. Jacobs Qualcomm Hall, 5775 Morehouse Drive in San Diego. Tickets cost $14 in advance and $18 at the door.


New principal sought for Carmel Del Mar School

Wed, 07/30/2014 - 10:20

By Karen Billing

The Del Mar Union School District is in the process of hiring a new principal for Carmel Del Mar School. Former principal Eileen Delaney announced on July 15 that she has accepted a position in the Tustin Unified School District. Delaney had been the principal at the school since 2011.

“I have had a wonderful experience during my years at Carmel Del Mar School,” wrote Delaney in a letter to the school community. “I have made strong relationships and I have enjoyed seeing children be so successful. I wish you continued success for your children in the future.”

Jason Romero, assistant superintendent of human resources, said the district hopes to have a new principal in the position by the beginning of August.

Del Mar Village Association joins National Main Street list

Wed, 07/30/2014 - 10:16

Board member Man Lai Tam (L-R), Executive Director Jen Grove, Board President Richard Earnest, and Board Secretary and VP Promotions Karen Powell celebrate the Del Mar Village Association’s national accreditation at Hotel Indigo in Del Mar. Photo by Kristina Houck

By Kristina Houck

Less than a year after being designated as a California Main Street community, the Del Mar Village Association has now been designated as an accredited National Main Street Program.

Each year, the National Main Street Center and its partners announce the list of accredited Main Street programs in recognition of their commitment to historic preservation and community revitalization through the Main Street Four Point Approach. Only 700 programs nationally have attained this accreditation.

“We’re very proud of Del Mar,” said Carolyn Dellutri, senior director of programs and services of the National Main Street Center. “Nationally accredited Main Street programs are dedicated to revitalizing their districts. It’s an honor to have Del Mar as part of our program.”

For the past 34 years, the Main Street Four Point Approach has been used in roughly 2,000 communities, producing $59.6 billion in investment, creating 502,728 jobs and resulting in the rehabilitation of more than 246,158 buildings, according to the National Main Street Center’s website.

The Del Mar Village Association has followed the Main Street Four Point Approach for nearly 10 years, which includes building a Main Street framework, promoting the commercial district, evaluating the attractiveness of the business district and revitalizing the local economy.

For the first time, however, the association recently applied for accreditation, which was approved in less than a year. In November, the California Main Street Alliance designated the Del Mar Village Association as a California Main Street community.

“To be designated as a California Main Street community, and now to achieve this national recognition, is truly wonderful,” said Del Mar Village Association Executive Director Jen Grove, who headed the lengthy application process. “National accreditation is another tool in our toolbox to help Del Mar Village stay economically vital, bringing in both residents and visitors to compete with the ever-increasing Southern California growth of mega-malls and stores.”

The California Main Street Alliance, which works in partnership with the National Main Street Center, evaluates the association’s performance annually to make sure it meets 10 performance standards, which include fostering strong public-private partnerships, securing an operating budget, tracking programmatic progress, and actively preserving historic buildings.

One benchmark for the success of a Main Street program is reinvestment in the community’s downtown. In total, the public and private sector reinvestment in the downtown village of Del Mar for 2013 exceeded $3.5 million, according to officials.

“A lot of residents think of downtown as their front yard. It’s where you shop, it’s where you meet people, it’s where you bring visitors,” said Grove, a Del Mar native who has headed the association for eight years. “A strong town needs backing. We help market downtown and coordinate special events.”

Established as a merchants association about 12 years ago, the organization expanded and became a Main Street association four years later so commercial property owners, businesses and residents could work together to revitalize downtown Del Mar.

For more about the Del Mar Village Association, visit

For more about the National Main Street Center, visit

Del Mar designer Zandra Rhodes named a ‘Dame of the British Empire’

Wed, 07/30/2014 - 10:04

Marion Ross, Zandra Rhodes, Rachel York (host), Chetna Bhatt ◄ Back Next ► Picture 1 of 12

By Diane Y. Welch

Damehood — the female equivalent of knighthood — has been awarded to fashion and textile designer Zandra Rhodes, a resident of Del Mar and London. Britain’s Queen Elizabeth bestowed the Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) status upon Rhodes as part of her annual Birthday Honors list.

The award recognizes Rhodes’ contributions to the fashion industry, specifically for founding Britain’s Fashion and Textile Museum in London in 2003; for her charitable work as breast cancer ambassador for London’s Mayor Boris Johnson; and for her role as Chancellor of the University for the Creative Arts, which has campuses in Kent and Surrey, England.

Rhodes received a letter from Britain’s Prime Minister’s office informing her of the award and inquiring whether she would accept it, “which of course, I did,” said Rhodes. “Then I filled out a form asking what I’d like to be known as, so I chose Dame Zandra Rhodes.”

Although Rhodes knew on May 19, the news was kept under wraps until the official release that coincides with the recognition of the birthday of Queen Elizabeth, which is a Saturday in June. (Her actual birthday is April 21, 1926.)

The official title will be given to Rhodes, with the DBE medal, at a formal luncheon at Buckingham Palace with a choice of three dates later this summer. “I do hope it will be the Queen giving the honors,” said Rhodes, “but it might be Prince Charles.”

Rhodes has designed for the late Diana, Princess of Wales, and continues to dress celebrities, including Kylie Minogue, Sarah Jessica Parker and Paris Hilton. She is renowned in California for her dramatic opera set and costume designs, and is now on the board of the San Diego Opera.

She has helped raise $40 million for the Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center in La Jolla, including donating artwork for the past 18 years of fundraisers. She has also done numerous charity fashion shows, such as “Go Red For Women,” which raises awareness to help prevent heart disease in women, and more.

Some of Rhodes’ closest American friends feted her at a luncheon at La Jolla’s Herringbone Restaurant when the Dameship was made public. Organized by Dixie Unruh and Rachel York, the group of women — Iris Strauss, Erika Torri, Joyce Butler, Sally Stiegler, Marion Ross, Fiona Tudor, Chetna Bhatt and Valerie Cooper — sported pink wigs in homage to Rhodes’ signature cotton candy-colored bob.

“I got there a little early and the waitress complimented me on my hair,” said Unruh, “I explained that it wasn’t my own hair, but a wig. Then Zandra arrived and the same waitress complimented her on her wig, and she said, ‘It’s not a wig, it’s my own hair.’ So we all laughed about that.”

Each person around the table mentioned something about Zandra that was special and how she had touched their lives. “To me, she deserves this honor so much, because she not only designs fabulous opera sets and costumes and incredible outfits and dresses, she is so kind to everyone she meets and she is a fabulous cook, despite all the stress and pressure,” said Unruh.

On the other side of the pond, Rhodes said that she will have a celebratory dinner in the penthouse suite of the Fashion and Textile Museum. Her friend Andrew Logan will probably hold a ball in his London glass-house studio, “and probably compulsory crowns will be worn by all,” she added.

Rhodes’ fashion collections were the subject of a short documentary that was included in the La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival, held July 24-26. The film was nominated for best costume and best art direction.

Despite her fame, Rhodes remains humble and pokes fun at her situation, “Now I’ve got the problem of thinking of a hat and an outfit. It might sound simple, but it’s not,” she joked. “I’ll have to do something very chic, probably a suit rather than a dress.”

One Paseo community meeting to be held in Carmel Valley

Wed, 07/30/2014 - 09:29

By Karen Billing

The Carmel Valley Community Planning Board will hold a special meeting to address the proposed One Paseo mixed-use development on Thursday, Aug. 28. The meeting will be at 7 p.m. at Canyon Crest Academy.

According to planning board chair Frisco White, the meeting will be a chance for the board to hear input from the community. The board will then make a recommendation on the project at a special meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 11, also at Canyon Crest Academy.

As the planning board is an advisory board, its position on One Paseo will be forwarded to San Diego City Council, which will have the final say.

One Paseo is planned for the vacant corner on El Camino Real and Del Mar Heights Road. One Paseo’s plans for the project are 1.4 million square feet, more than the 500,000 square feet of office space that is entitled.

Plans include 246,500 square feet of retail, 484,000 square feet of office space, as well as 608 residential units and a “Main Street” feature. The developers, Kilroy Realty, have also promised more than $5 million in community benefits, such as an adapted control system for the traffic lights, landscaped medians and walkways, public plazas and spaces, protected bikeways, trail connections and more.

Confirmed One Paseo tenants include Pinstripes, a bistro restaurant with a bowling and bocce ball facility; and restaurants True Food Kitchen, North Italia Restaurant and Puesto Mexican Street Food.

Opponents have expressed concerns about the project’s size and potential traffic increases, and say that the project does not match the community character.

The project’s Draft Environmental Impact Report will be discussed at the meeting. The report includes the city’s request for a study of a project alternative that ranges from 600,000 to 800,000 square feet.

During public comment at the board’s July 24 meeting, Carmel Valley resident Ken Farinsky encouraged board members to get out before the August meeting and talk to as many of their constituents as possible about how they view the project.

Chair White reminded the members that when speaking to the public, they should be  clear that the board has taken no official position yet on the project.

Leave no one behind in Alzheimer’s research

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 19:22

Michael S. Rafii, MD, PhD

By Michael S. Rafii, MD, PhD

UC San Diego

Today in the U.S., more than 5 million people are living with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.  According to a 2009 study by the Alzheimer’s Association, of those 5 million people, more than 500,000 live in California.  As we live longer, rates of Alzheimer’s disease have grown dramatically, and the disease is now cited as the third leading cause of death in the United States and the sixth leading cause of death in California.

As researchers gather this month in Copenhagen to discuss exciting developments in the field at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, media will rightly be focused on the encouraging strides being made toward early intervention and preventive therapies.

At the same time, AD clinical researchers cannot — and will not — leave anyone behind as the research progresses. We are well aware that new therapies are desperately needed for people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. No new drug has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of Alzheimer’s since 2003 and advances in treatment options for patients already living with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s remain a critical need.

Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia, develops when nerve cells in the brain no longer function normally, causing a change in memory. Mild to moderate Alzheimer’s signals the stage at which the decline in cognitive function becomes apparent to friends and family. Symptoms of mild to moderate Alzheimer’s include everything from increased difficulty performing simple tasks such as paying bills, to forgetfulness about one’s personal history and becoming moody and withdrawn in social situations.

For those who have ever loved or cared for someone with Alzheimer’s disease, it becomes apparent that caring for patients often becomes a full-time job, affecting quality of life not only for the patient but for the caregiver. For caregivers, the gradual but permanent decline in their loved one’s mental and physical capabilities often takes a deep emotional and psychological toll.

In the San Diego region, researchers at UCSD and other clinical research organizations are committed to providing patients with access to studies that will help advance research on Alzheimer’s at all stages of the disease.

To push this initiative forward, UCSD is participating in the NOBLE Study, a clinical trial of a medication that uses a neuroprotectant approach that has been successful in many central nervous system disorders, including stroke and Parkinson’s disease. The study will focus on evaluating a medication specifically for those with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.

The NOBLE study is one example of how patients and their families can play a critical role in helping researchers find new treatments to improve the lives of those affected by Alzheimer’s, and we look forward to  working with the San Diego community to meet this pressing healthcare challenge.

Those interested in learning more should contact the Comprehensive Alzheimer’s Program — UC San Diego (CAP) at 858-246-1300.

Participants will be screened for eligibility and must:

•Be 55-85 years old, with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease

•Be receiving donepezil (Aricept) treatment for at least 6 months

•Live in the community (not a nursing home)

•Have a study partner who has regular contact and who will attend study visits

•Weigh no more than 220 pounds

Find more on the NOBLE Study at


B. D. James, S. E. Leurgans, L. E. Hebert, P. A. Scherr, K. Yaffe, D. A. Bennett. Contribution of Alzheimer disease to mortality in the United States. Neurology, 2014; DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000000240.

San Diego Foundation announces $47M in grants, names new board members

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 16:29

New BOG members Ileana Ovalle Engel, Elisabeth Eisner Forbes, and Hal Dunning

The San Diego Foundation today announced it granted $47 million to nonprofit organizations in fiscal year 2014. Since its inception, the foundation has granted $880 million to serve and improve the San Diego region.

A celebration of the year’s success and the introduction of five new members of the board of governors took place at The San Diego Foundation’s 39th annual meeting July 24 at Paradise Point resort. This year, 140 new funds were opened, including 55 endowments, with contributions and partial investment gains of $48.5 million. In July, The Foundation established its 1,000th endowment fund, a significant donor investment in San Diego. Assets total $660 million.

In July 2014, Hal Dunning, Elisabeth Eisner Forbes, Ileana Ovalle Engel, Donna Marie Robinson and Yolanda S. Walther-Meade joined a board of governors composed of 30 volunteers with diverse professional backgrounds who are involved in many community and charitable activities. The board oversees the foundation by establishing policy, setting priorities, and making final decisions to approve awards and grants.

“As we come together for our annual event,  we are honored to announce that

Malin Burnham, Bob Kelly and Pete Ellsworth

these dynamic, community-minded individuals have accepted the call to serve on the board,” said Steven R. Smith, chairman of The San Diego Foundation’s Board of Governors. “Yolanda, Ileana, Donna Marie, Elisabeth and Hal all care deeply about our community and their distinguished characteristics and years of experience will help further the foundation mission.”

Hal Dunning is the principal, chief operating officer and chief financial officer at Barney & Barney. In addition to overseeing the accounting department, Hal has overall responsibility for human resources, facilities, information technology, corporate communications and legal affairs. In 2009, he was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the San Diego Business Journal’s CFO of the Year awards and was previously recognized as a “CFO of the Year.” He is a LEAD San Diego graduate and was presented with its Herb Klein Visionary Leadership Award.

Active in the community, he served for 11 years as the president of the Board of Walden Family service, is a member of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, serves on the Board of Directors of the Barney & Barney Foundation, and has volunteered weekly at Scripps Memorial Hospital, La Jolla, for the past 19 years.

Steve R. Smith and Kathlyn Mead

Elisabeth Eisner Forbes is a seasoned attorney in private practice with broad corporate, finance and real estate experience. She has developed a strong specialty in federal and state laws applicable to nonprofit organizations. As such, she has represented numerous hospitals, major medical centers, universities, retirement facilities and research facilities.

Forbes’ volunteer experience includes serving as the past director of the YMCA Corporate Board of Directors and as a member of the San Diego Women’s Foundation, the KPBS Producer’s Club, the UCSD Chancellor’s Associates and The San Diego Foundation’s Finance Committee.

• Ileana Ovalle Engel is the state director of government affairs for Cox California, leading a dynamic team that builds and maintains positive relations with local, state and federal government officials to cultivate an optimal environment for the third largest cable and telecommunications company in the United States. In addition to government affairs, land use and public policy, Ileana successfully promotes Cox’s community involvement and charitable giving.

A native San Diegan and avid volunteer, Engel was named a 2014 Metro Mover by San Diego Metropolitan Magazine and is a recipient of the U-T San Diego’s Emerging Leader Award. She served on the board of Junior Achievement San Diego and is the past board chairwoman and current capital campaign chairwoman of Ocean Discovery Institute.

• Donna Marie Robinson is a retired vice president/client manager for Bank of America, bringing years of experience in managing commercial lending portfolios for diverse industries including utilities, healthcare, finance, insurance and banking.

She was a member of the San Diego Women’s Foundation, serves on the board for the Community Resource Center, has belonged to the Encinitas Coastal Rotary Club for nine years, is a LEAD San Diego graduate and is a member of the LEAD San Diego Alumni Association Council.

• Yolanda Selene Walther-Meade is a media expert specializing in marketing, public relations and community outreach. In her former role as Voice of the Border, she interpreted for presidents, Pulitzer Prize winners and Nobel laureates, including four Mexican presidential administrations, the prime minister of Spain, Carlos Fuentes, and Octavio Paz on every issue under the bilateral agenda pertaining to sustainable development.

A second-generation catalyst of civic engagement and philanthropy, she is a board member or past board member for organizations such as San Diego Museum of Art, Club de Ninos y Ninas de Tijuana, International Community Foundation, LEAD San Diego, San Diego Natural History Museum, and is a member of The San Diego Foundation’s Center for Civic Engagement Leadership Council. She has been recognized with the KPBS and Union Bank Heritage Heroes Award as well as with the San Diego Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business Award.

SD Surf Academy Condliffe GU11 win Albion Cup

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 15:41

San Diego Surf Academy Condliffe GU11 won the Albion National Soccer Cup championship, held July 18-21 in San Diego.

San Diego Surf Academy Condliffe GU11 won the Albion National Soccer Cup championship, held July 18-21 in San Diego. The girls went undefeated in 5 games and held a tough team from Washington State scoreless in the final match to win 2-0.  Back row (L-R): Amanda Kramer, Grace Hughes, Olivia Mehran, Lizzy Hood, Abby Beamer, Coach Gary Condliffe, Presley McDeavitt, Olivia Becker, Corinne Wilson. Front row (L-R): Allison Luo, Haley Miller, Stormy Wallace, Grace Tecca, Mia Myers, Kelsey Branson, Caitlin Wilson. Not pictured: Emma Beckwith, Riana Kitchen.

San Diego Surf Academy Select GU8 win soccer showcase

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 15:37

Back row (L-R): Isabella Tassara, Maya Paeske, Ellie Dorfman, Coach Steve Leacock, Presley Marvil, Lylah Mitchell, Lainie Beamer. Middle row: Lyla Beamer, Melanie Barcenas, Maddie Zapien, Jayla Miller, Ashlyn Puerta. Front: Amelia Dunbar

The San Diego Surf Academy Select GU8 team won the Albion Cup National Soccer Showcase in San Diego over July 18-21.  The girls were undefeated in four games, racking up 18 goals and allowing only 2 against to bring home the trophy.

Surf GU12 Academy team wins Albion Cup

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 15:25

Top row, L-R: Annabelle Mitchell, Desiree Foster, Jennai Dugger, Amy Flather, Libby Fleming, Caroline Fincher, Ainsley Gibson and Coach Beto Villela. Bottom row: Bianca Aikens, Liana Ahyuen, Ashlin Thomsen-Marr, Raquel dos Santos, Isabella Ortiz, Maya Ebel and Emma Stacy. Not pictured: Nicole Fernandez

Congratulations to the Surf GU12 Academy team, coached by Beto Villela, for winning Albion Cup over the July 19-21 weekend.

The girls defeated San Diego United Futbal Black (8-1) and Oranje OVC (3-0) and tied LA Premier Black (0-0) in their bracket play.

In the semifinals, Surf GU12 Academy defeated Carlsbad United Gold (2-0), and in the finals, Surf defeated Hawks Academy with a score of 3-1.

Del Mar Carmel Valley Sharks GU 17 Elite take 2nd national soccer title

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 15:21

The Del Mar Carmel Valley GU 17 Elite champs take a victory photo.

The Del Mar Carmel Valley Girls U 17 Elite soccer team traveled to Germantown, Md., for a week of National Championship Series games among the top eight teams in their age group in the United States.

“The best way to describe this year,” said Coach Felicia Kappes, “is that we have enjoyed a fantastic journey together chasing an incredible and very challenging goal of repeating as National Champions.”

This was the last season for this complete team, as six seniors go on to play college soccer in the fall.

“Some of these girls have been with me since U12, so every competition was very emotional along the way, knowing this was their last time with us. We had a theme every trip for them — have fun and create even more team memories. Our motto was to ‘Dream Big’ and ‘Believe.’”

The Sharks were able to skip the U.S. Regional Championships, having already qualified for the National Championship Series.

Coach Felicia decided to have the girls in for an intense week of training camp that included all aspects — classroom for the mental toughness course with AST, strength and conditioning with TCTC, and field training.

“We had four days with Darcy Lyons from AST in the classroom and completed the mental toughness course,” she said. “Jim Madrid, founder of AST, then came in and completed it with a very special team exercise that U.S. Youth soccer filmed and reported on. It was an incredible week, but probably the most significant change in our preparation was that we felt mentally stronger to handle anything thrown our way at the end of the week.”

Monday’s kickoff was a wonderful player’s luncheon and video highlights of the Road to MD for all 96 teams from each of seven age groups of boys and girls.

Bracket play began Tuesday. The Sharks opened with a rematch of last year’s Championship game against Kings Hammer. Their mental toughness was challenged in this game with two last-minute goals to tie the game.  The other team celebrated as if it were the Championship game, and the Sharks had to watch that. Right then, they could have put their heads down and been defeated.

“We regrouped, focused on the positive that we played really well for 89 minutes, went through a visualization exercise that evening and went on to win the next 4 games,” said Coach Felicia.

In the next two days, the Maryland heat and humidity showed up and challenged all the teams’ fitness. The Sharks showed the depth of their bench through different combinations of girls in different positions to win 2-1 and 2-0 respectively over VSA Heat (Virginia) and Maitland Krush (Florida).

With each game, the Sharks became stronger and stronger. Each morning they visualized and worked on their affirmations.  It was an incredible experience to see the girls developing on a whole body/mind level.

“Each game I said, ‘Have fun and put on a show for everyone to see,’” said Coach Felicia. “Well, they did, and we laughed at how they were turning my hair gray because each game was so intense and close.  They just smiled at me and said, ‘You said to put on a show for all to enjoy.’”

The Sharks’ 2-0-1 record earned the bracket top spot and a place in the semifinals against neighboring club Carlsbad Elite.  In the 90th minute, goalie Sydney Wootten came out of her box to thwart a certain game-ending goal by Carlsbad and received a red card, ending her play in the tournament.

Play resumed with Melissa Lowder returned in goal and playing one man down as the whistle blew, sending the game into overtime.  During two 15-minute periods of overtime in this already very physical game, the Sharks turned to their mental toughness training, digging deep within to finish. Hannah Keogh took the free kick on a penalty.  She placed it in the area for Huli De Armas to put the ball in the back of the net.  Sharks win 1-0.

The Sharks faced VSA Heat in the finals, and they were committed to raising the National Trophy once again.

In the first half, the Sharks moved the ball well, connecting passes and showing their skill, but could not find an opening to the net. The Heat defenders were unwilling to allow anything to get through.

In the second half, the Heat pressured the defense, but the skilled Sharks repeatedly stole possession of the ball to move in to scoring opportunities.  In the 75th minute, Huli De Armas took a corner kick and with a line drive placed the ball perfectly for Gianna Montini to get her head on the ball, and “GOOOOOAL” 1-0.

This sparked the Sharks! They became ferocious in their attack and wore the Heat team down.

History was made for the Sharks team as they prevailed as National Champions for the second year in a row. They were the only defending champions in the 2014 tournament.

“The key to it all is that we never focused on the result,” said Coach Felicia. “We focused on our team, personal goals and each other.

“I have always told them that as long as they perform to the best of their ability that day, that we all could live with whatever the result was, win or lose. I am thrilled they did win, but it was never about that — it was always about having fun and enjoying every precious moment together. The soccer part, their competitive nature, their extreme talent was always going to shine, and so many teams have those same special components.

“I believe what makes us so special as a team and club is that we also focus on different values other than just winning.  We are family, they love each other like sisters, our parents are extremely close, and we believe this game offers so many important life lessons. In the end, this team is bonded with lifelong memories, and our seniors are leaving on top as back-to-back National Champions and they have made history. It doesn’t get any better than that.

“Finally,” she continued, ”coming home to an incredible cheering crowd with banners and noisemakers at the airport that consisted of Shannon McMillian, our board, our families and tons of Sharks players of every age level was the icing on the cake and truly represented everything we are about as a Club and team.  It was a very emotional moment for all of us, lots of tears and laughter.  To be able to demonstrate who we are on the national level is a blessing, but this group of girls is so deserving because they represent the best of what youth soccer is all about.”

Find stories, photos and videos at

Torrey Pines High School baseball alum Taylor Murphy excelling in pro ball

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 15:17

In his first two months with the Class-A Mahoning Valley (Niles, Ohio) Scrappers in the New York-Penn League, Taylor Murphy is putting up big numbers. Mahoning Valley Scrappers

By Gideon Rubin

It was during a breakout senior year at Torrey Pines High that Taylor Murphy first popped up on the radar of professional scouts.

Shortly after graduation, Murphy was selected by the hometown San Diego Padres in the 40th round of the June 2011 amateur draft.

He declined, honoring a commitment to the University of the Pacific in Stockton.

Three years later, Murphy, who earlier this year completed his junior year at Pacific, got another shot at professional baseball.

And this time, he pounced.

Murphy was selected by the Cleveland Indians in the 18th round of the amateur draft. He was the 548th overall pick in this year’s draft.

His improved draft status makes reaching the majors more realistic.

“This time it was more feasible that I was actually going to commit to it and go do it,” Murphy said. “I was going to give pro ball a shot.”

Murphy’s draft stock skyrocketed during his junior year at Pacific. The Tigers’ right fielder was named to the All-West Coast Conference honorable mention team after batting .315 with five homers and 34 RBI in 53 games.

His junior campaign followed two seasons that did not go well from a baseball standpoint. He batted just .232 his freshman year and .211 as a sophomore.

Murphy underwent surgery for health problems that helped get his career back on track.

“Things started clicking for me this year, I started playing the way I should be playing,” he said.

“I struggled at first, but this year I found my potential again, and I definitely feel that I’m on the upswing now.”

Murphy has carried that upswing into the early portion of his professional career.

In his first two months since being assigned to the Class-A Mahoning Valley (Niles, Ohio) Scrappers in the New York-Penn League, Murphy is putting up big numbers.

Through his first 26 games, he was batting .315 with three homers and 14 RBI.

“I’m just trying to carry over what I was doing at Pacific this year, keeping it loose and not taking myself too seriously and just having fun with the game,” Murphy said.

Baseball hasn’t always been fun for him, though.

He credits a solid support system, which includes his family and the coaching staff at Pacific, with helping him get through a difficult first two years of college ball in which his health issues and subpar performance weighed on him.

“Using ‘the village’ to make it through that whole experience without having to rely exclusively on myself helped me a lot,” Murphy said.

Among those he turned to was cousin Geoff Blum, a former major league infielder who has mentored Murphy practically since he was a toddler.

“When I started playing Pony League he’d always be there for me when I had questions about the game,” Murphy said. “He’s always been there to text or call or meet up with at all the family events (so I can) just pick his brain.”

Murphy credits Blum with helping the transition to pro ball seem less daunting.

“Just having somebody that close to the game in the pros made it feel accessible and not so far away,” he said.

Murphy acknowledged experiencing adversity from a baseball standpoint even before he went to college.

He didn’t distinguish himself until winning the starting shortstop job his senior year. He batted .345 (45 for 155) that year in 37 games as an everyday player.

As a junior, he batted .286 (16 for 56) in 26 games.

Unlike most of his college peers who were standouts at their programs, Murphy came out of a Torrey Pines program in which standing out was no easy task — even for a player who would soon go on to join the professional ranks.

“It was definitely a competitive team,” Murphy said. “Getting to play shortstop for that team (senior year) was great.”

He believes his high school experience helped prepare him for future challenges.

“The adversity and the failure I went through at Torrey Pines definitely helped prepare me for endeavors at Pacific and now in pro ball,” he said.

Murphy said he never regretted walking away from an opportunity to play professionally right out of high school.

He majored in business administration at Pacific.

“I knew I made the right decision,” he said. “Being a late-round draft pick out of high school, that wasn’t going to be enough to pull me away from a good scholarship.”

Albion SC BU11 White Team wins Albion Cup

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 15:08

Top row (L-R): Angel Cortez, Ryan Flather, John Paul Molina, Keegan Ferreira, Cameron Brown, Abraham Ramirez, Billy Cherres, Andrew Mitchell, Tyler Watson and Simon Sagal. Bottom row: Tommy Musto, Angel Jaimes, Isaac, Evan Rotundo, Noah Dougher, Kai Walsh and Jackson Miller. Not pictured: Coach Wayne Crowe

Congratulations to the Albion BU11 White team for winning Albion Cup over the July 19 – 21, 2014 weekend.  Coached by Wayne Crowe, the Albion BU11 White team played in the Showcase or top flight and defeated Paso Del Norte Barcelona Texas (5-0), Arsenal FC San Diego Elite (4-0), and tied United FC Black (1-1) in their bracket play.

In the semi-finals, Albion BU11 White team defeated Irvine Slammers (3-1) and won over Nomads Academy in the finals with a score of 3-0.

The Heroes perform at Del Mar Twilight Concert

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 11:31

Attendees enjoyed the music of The Heroes at the Summer Twilight Concert in Del Mar on July 22 at Powerhouse Park. The opening act featured Michael LeClerc. The next Summer Twilight Concert will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 12, featuring Haute Chile (7 p.m.) and Lee Coulter (6 p.m.).


Solana Beach Triathlon & Duathlon

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 11:09
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Koz Events held its annual triathlon event, the ActiveX Solana Beach Triathlon & Duathlon on July 27 in Solana Beach. Participants could also choose to “fundrace” for KIDS in the GAME, the race’s 501c3 charity partner.

KIDS in the GAME ( focuses “on inspiring kids to thrive in life through sports.” The organization provides financial assistance to help youth from low-income families of all abilities gain access to after-school sports programs and physical education programs in schools.

Photos/Jon Clark. For photos online, visit For more information, visit

VA System Working with Local Providers to Reduce Wait Times

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 16:07

By Joseph Franz

Wait times at the VA has been a common headline lately. The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs has come under fire as tens of thousands of veterans nationwide have been waiting three months or more to get their first VA medical appointment. This has caused dozens of investigations and led Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign.

But how bad is it here in San Diego County? While the VASDHS is not under investigation and officials say that existing patients see a doctor within two weeks, the average wait time for a new patient in San Diego is still 44 days (as compared to 56 days in Los Angeles and 30 in San Francisco).  And the call center in Mission Valley, which handles all appointments has lately received more than 10,000 calls a week.

So even though staff and resources are strained, there is good news, and things are being done:

– The VA system is opening a new clinic in Sorrento Valley this summer which  will initially have capacity for 4,800 patients and eventually 7,200 patients.

– Seven new Nurse Practioners are being hired along with additional staff and  added mental health providers.

– Recently, the VA Central Office has given VASDHS an additional $11 million.

– Clinic hours have increased to include evenings and weekends.

Quite possibly the biggest aid, however, is coming from local healthcare providers outside the VA system. In fact, all veterans with an appointment beyond 90 days are being contacted and offered to see a provider in the community at the VA expense. Last year, the San Diego VA spent more than $35 million of its $622 million budget on non-VA care. And according to Jeff Gering, director of the VA medical system in San Diego, this number is expected to be well-exceeded this year.

San Diego is not the only area, however, looking for outside help to ensure that veterans receive the care they need in an appropriate time. Many in Congress have been pushing for legislation that would allow veterans to get private care if they have been waiting 30 days or more to see a doctor within the VA system.

Sen. John McCain, who has been a proponent of this action, said, “We need to allow flexibility for the veteran[s] to go to the place where they can get health care in the most efficient way possible, rather than these unconscionable delays.”

At Encinitas Nursing and Rehabilitation Center we pride ourselves in working with the community to make certain that the people of San Diego County are getting the care they need. If you or a loved one has questions about skilled nursing and rehabilitation care, please contact us at or call us at (760) 753-6423.

Local camp shapes Solana Beach youth into community leaders

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 09:54

Campers bond during a team building exercise.

By Kristina Houck

After attending the inaugural La Colonia de Eden Gardens Youth Leadership Camp last year, Edgar Vergara was inspired to make positive change in Solana Beach’s Eden Gardens community. Along with other local teens, the 15-year-old co-founded the youth group La Colonia Changers and recently hosted a town hall forum on underage drinking.

Passionate about making an impact on his hometown, Edgar jumped at the chance to return to the camp this year as a youth leader.

“I was very motivated after last year’s camp,” said Edgar, a junior at Torrey Pines High School. “I wanted to come back, help out other kids and give back.”

Edgar was one of 50 youth ages 12-17 who gathered July 14-17 at the Whispering Winds Catholic Conference Center in Julian for the second annual camp. Organized by La Colonia de Eden Gardens Foundation and funded by numerous local supporters, the camp offered attendees four days and three nights of fun and educational activities for only $30 per camper — with a fee waiver for those who opted for volunteer work.

“It’s important to have a camp like this for kids in the community so instead of going out and doing something bad, we can be at camp, having fun and meeting new people,” said 17-year-old Selenne Olivares, a junior at Torrey Pines High School. “It’s an experience like no other.”

Establishing a youth camp was one of the goals of La Colonia de Eden Gardens Foundation, an organization founded by community members nearly four years ago to suppress escalating drug and gang violence, as well as encourage local youth to make positive choices and improve resources for residents. Since then, the foundation has held community forums, created a community garden and launched the camp, among other accomplishments.

Campers take a break from their nature hike for a group photo. Courtesy photos

“A few years back, there weren’t many summer programs. There were kids falling through the cracks,” said Manny Aguilar, president and board chairman of the foundation. “The purpose of the camp is to help these kids grow outside of their comfort zone, try new things, make new friends, and be exposed to a combination of academic, motivational, recreational and family-oriented activities.”

A total of 35 local kids attended last year’s camp. This year’s camp attracted 50 campers, most from Eden Gardens and others from families who have since moved to Encinitas, Carlsbad, San Marcos, Oceanside and other neighboring communities.

Campers talked about their education and career goals, and listened to motivational speeches, including a presentation by “Rain of Gold” novelist Victor Villaseñor. They also worked on arts projects, played sports, rode zip lines and more.

“At some point, my goal is that they take over the organization and continue the efforts moving forward so the people running the board now can sit back and help support them,” Aguilar said. “I don’t want to be here in 20 years doing the same thing because I think that ultimately we have a lot of capable people. My goal is to create leaders.”

Just two years into the camp, Aguilar is well on his way of reaching his goal.

Re-energized, Edgar is looking forward to making even more positive change in the community.

“Camp was fun and very inspiring,” Edgar said. “We’re excited and want to improve our community. We have to give back and say ‘thank you’ to those who have helped us.”

To learn more about La Colonia de Eden Gardens Foundation, visit

Del Mar Union School District approves new contract for superintendent

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 09:47

By Karen Billing

The Del Mar Union School District Board July 23 approved the new contract for Superintendent Holly McClurg through June 30, 2018.

Per the contract, McClurg’s annual salary will be $185,000 with an annual doctoral stipend of $10,000.  She will receive a car allowance of $400 a month, 25 vacation days, health benefits and a retirement contribution of $700 a month.

“Hiring and evaluating the superintendent is the biggest responsibility we have as a board,” said trustee Kristin Gibson, speaking via a Skype connection from London. “It’s a very thorough and cohesive process.”

Trustee Alan Kholos said he takes this board responsibility very seriously and said a lot of research was done to ensure they have a good, competitive contract. He said the new contract represents McClurg’s education, experience and leadership that has produced great results.

“It’s not just an employment agreement, it’s an agreement that really recognizes the outstanding results that we’ve had and hope will continue throughout the years,” Kholos said.

The new contract also includes a goal-oriented bonus compensation, which Kholos said is standard for many community businesses.

Per the contract, the superintendent will be eligible to receive two bonuses if significant progress is made on set goals and objectives. The determination of eligibility for the first bonus of $5,000 shall be made no later than Nov. 30 of each year of her contract. The second $5,000 bonus will be determined by June 30 of each year.

McClurg last received a raise in 2013, a bump in salary from $158,000 a year to $170,000.

Carmel Valley 5K and 10K to hit Gonzales Canyon trails in September

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 09:45

By Karen Billing

A new trail running race is coming to Carmel Valley this fall.

Jeff Stoner of Del Mar’s Seasick Marketing visited the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board to update the board on the plans for the Carmel Valley Trail 5K and 10K Run, set to take place on Sept. 20. A portion of race proceeds will go toward the Challenged Athletes Foundation.

The race will start and finish at Torrey Highlands Park behind Torrey Pines High School, taking racers on a single-track, loop course into Gonzales Canyon.

The race will begin at 8 a.m. and Stoner said they expect about 125 to 150 participants. Parking spaces will be made available for participants at Torrey Pines High School.

The planning board gave the race a thumbs-up, save for a warning about a lot of poison oak in the canyon. Stoner said he has been working with the rangers about the course and they have made him aware of the poisonous plants. The areas with poison oak will be clearly marked for runners.

Del Mar Thoroughbred Club releases statement concerning turf course

Sun, 07/27/2014 - 13:46

The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club recently released the following statement:

“Del Mar is deeply saddened by the loss of Thoroughbred lives we have experienced at the track since the start of our season.  Four of those losses have come on our new turf course. Despite that, we continue to have the utmost confidence in the course, as do our partners in this race meet — the Thoroughbred Owners of California, the California Thoroughbred Trainers, the Jockeys’ Guild and the California Horse Racing Board – all of whom have expressed that confidence to us today.

“Nonetheless, as a precautionary measure, Del Mar will shift the two turf races scheduled for Sunday’s card off the course and run them instead on our main track. Additionally, we will move up scheduled maintenance on the turf course to Saturday evening instead of the Sunday evening schedule that had been planned. The entire course will be aerated and watered starting on Sunday. Track crews will work on it for the next three days and, in the end, reposition the inner rail at the 18-foot position.

“Track officials feel that they are adjusting on the side of caution with these moves. They are meant to give all parties involved – riders, trainers, owners and fans – assurance that everything possible is being done to ensure the track’s first priority, which is safety of horses and riders. Those same officials feel strongly that when racing resumes on Wednesday, the turf course will perform in a positive fashion.”