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    ‘Mermaid team’ plays siren song to lure another nautical nymph to Ocean Beach
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Aug 18, 2018 | 6223 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Marina the mermaid on Ross Rock at Sunset Cliffs in early June. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    Marina the mermaid on Ross Rock at Sunset Cliffs in early June. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    A group of Ocean Beach residents want to see the missing mermaid that suddenly appeared — before mysteriously disappearing — returned or replaced. An effort is underway to resurrect the homemade mermaid, originally manufactured in Arizona, which earlier this year sat atop towering Ross Rock at Sunset Cliffs before it was removed. Replacing the nautical nymph has become the personal mission of longtime Ocean Beach MainStreet staffer Claudia Jack. “People call me almost every day asking, ‘What’s happened to the mermaid?,’” said Jack, who playfully replies, “She’s out taking a swim.” Jack once had a 7-year-old girl call in tears saying, “I wanted to have my picture taken with her.” “There’s fantasy in everything,” says Jack, who, after thoughtful reflection, realized she could help at least one community fantasy, the return of the mermaid, come true. So Jack and a handful of others in OB whom she calls her “mermaid team,” are conspiring to bring back the mermaid, formerly called Marina. They’ve even given her a new moniker: Vera. “Vera sounds sort of funky and smooth,” said Jack. “She’s peaceful, not wild, just merry.” The latest scuttlebutt on the missing mermaid is that she’s broken beyond repair. Two different small groups of local men are responsible for first placing — then displacing — the lifelike, blue-haired mannequin-turned-mermaid. One group put her up on her 50-foot-high perch on Memorial Day. The other group took her down a few weeks later. An Obecian identifying himself as “Ray” admitted to the Beacon that one of his buddies from Arizona “created” Marina in his garage, then brought her back here because they felt “she would fit right in with the mellow beach vibe of Ocean Beach and Sunset Cliffs.” A separate group of locals, calling themselves the “Cliffs Crew,” took credit for absconding with Marina on June 13. They carried her off without warning, claiming they feared for people climbing Ross Rock to take selfies with her. Marina the mermaid has joined a pantheon of other community “symbols” that have graced the rock Sunset Cliffs. At various times, a big red crab, a tiki head, a ’60s peace sign (now at OB Hostel), a bird, even a commode, by one account, have all served as symbols for the beach community. But Marina/Vera is special. “We’re saving the mermaid,” vowed Jack, noting she launched her mermaid revival recently by sending out 250 postcards with the mermaid’s photo on them to everyone she knew in town. “My theory was to bring her back,” said Jack. “So I started talking to everybody at the Ocean Beach Farmers Market and the beach about it.” Since the original mermaid mannequin is out of commission, Jack said, “So we’ll make a new one,” adding, “This is where we’re at right now.” Without revealing all the details, Jack said she’s found a new home for the mermaid-to-be, not on Ross Rock, but somewhere on Newport Avenue. She added other community members have volunteered to help create Vera. Jack said the idea is to have Vera built in time for December’s OB Christmas parade. “My wish is to pull the tape off and unveil the new mermaid during the parade, then have children be able to have their picture taken posing with her afterward alongside the community Christmas tree,” Jack said.
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    Sunset stairs repairs – Ladera Street project causes controversy
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Aug 16, 2018 | 5951 views | 2 2 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Surfers climb up the Ladera Street stairs last Friday evening. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    Surfers climb up the Ladera Street stairs last Friday evening. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    A City decision to spend emergency funds for coastal repairs would ordinarily be celebrated.  But in the case of the Ladera Street stairs in Sunset Cliffs, it has instead stoked a public debate over government accountability, cliff erosion and beach access. On Aug. 6, the City Council allocated $1.8 million in Regional Park Improvement Funds for the Ladera Street Beach Access Stairway Emergency Project. That stairway has been closed and chained-off since a Feb. 13 cliff landslide impaired access to the beach below. However, due to its being deemed an “emergency,” the stairwell project has been fast-tracked, which hasn’t sat well with nearby Sunset Cliffs neighbors. The response from Sunset Cliffs Natural Park Council, a citizen’s advisory group for the 68-acre Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, was immediately negative. The same day, the Council voted for emergency Ladera repairs, SCNPC voted unanimously to recommend that the City do a full environmental impact review of the emergency Ladera Street stabilization proposal before moving forward. The group also recommended that the City consider moving the coastal access farther south for Garbage Beach access, instead of pursuing the emergency proposal for bluff stabilization at the Ladera Street access. Longtime SCNPC member Ann Swanson said everyone was surprised by the Council action to do emergency repairs. “I knew they had closed the stairs and were trying to figure out what should be done,” Swanson said. “But we did not know until Aug. 3 that emergency repairs were a docketed item for Aug. 6. They were calling it an emergency. But it happened in February. They were trying to bypass us.” Swanson said community planners’ ire was raised when they learned the project had already received all the necessary permitting to do stairwell repairs, and could move forward soon, because it was declared an emergency. City spokesperson Alec Phillip said repairing the Ladera Street staircase is actually not part of the present scope of work because “damage to the hand railing, not the stairs, was minor and the stairs can be reopened in the future.” “This project was triggered when portions of the bluff collapsed onto the stairs below, and once complete, it will mitigate the geologic hazard adjacent to the stairs for increased public safety, and to ensure emergency personnel have adequate access to the beach,” Phillip said. The scope of work, said Phillip, will remove any potential loose material from the vertical cliff face, and grade back only the portions of the bluff that overhang the vertical face. “A consultant is on board to evaluate the drainage in the area to determine if the drainage is affecting the bluff stability,” he said. “Should drainage issues be identified, they will be addressed as part of the emergency stabilization of the bluff,” Phillip said. “We are not proposing a reconstruction of the cliff. The project is intended to stabilize what exists currently. Only loose material and apparent hazards that appear likely to fall will be scaled from the cliff face.” Phillip noted that a geotechnical consultant will be on site during all grading and scaling work to ensure that the stability of the bluff is not further compromised. Currently closed beach access at Ladera “will cause police, fire, EMS and lifeguard personnel to experience delayed response to beach emergencies and water rescues and longer extrication times at this location,” said Phillip. Regarding alleged lack of public accountability, Phillip said: “Since this is a declared emergency, there is no time to solicit and implement public comments into design. Our goal is to rectify the emergency situation as quickly as possible.” Replying to arguments that Ladera Street stairwell doesn’t need repair, Phillip pointed out the stairs are in “fair condition structurally with normal wear and tear.” But he added: “While stairs are in good working order, there are public safety concerns related to further cliff erosion. The potential for additional bluff collapses, which may impact both the stairs and the lower landing area, are the primary reasons it was decided that the stairs should remain closed.” Phillip noted the City is considering alternate access points for this area of Sunset Cliffs with “nothing definitive at this time.” He estimated a construction duration of two to four months for the Ladera project. SCNPC member Cordelia (Dedi) Ridenour is concerned Ladera repairs will be impactful for years to come. “Younger-generation park users tell me they don't want to see the cliffs torn down, seawalls, rip-rap or other damage done under an emergency permit anywhere along the cliff,” Ridenour said. “They fear this emergency permit is setting a dangerous precedent. They wonder why we have environmental laws if we don't enforce them.”
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    nostalgic
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    1 Hour Ago
    Where did the money come from? Stairs in other locations are closed and have been for years. Cutting the slope back means that cranes will be there slicing into the cliff. The Ocean always has the last say, and when it does, the street may be endangered as well.
    Notta Grommet
    |
    August 17, 2018
    Emergency shemergency. Lies and misdirection again by the City. While the work they propose may be the best process to protect the stairway and the public the truth is that NO EMERGENCY EXISTS today warranting skirting the environmental laws.
    Junior Lifeguards jump off Ocean Beach Pier to raise funds for drowning prevention
    Aug 15, 2018 | 3536 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    On Monday, Aug. 13, members of the Junior Lifeguards, their parents, and curious residents filled the OB Pier to watch and participate in the annual jump. For a fee, family members and residents may also jump along with the Junior Lifeguards. / All photos by Thomas Melville
    On Monday, Aug. 13, members of the Junior Lifeguards, their parents, and curious residents filled the OB Pier to watch and participate in the annual jump. For a fee, family members and residents may also jump along with the Junior Lifeguards. / All photos by Thomas Melville
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    The culmination of the San Diego Junior Lifeguards two summer sessions is an annual leap of courage and confidence, which also doubles as a fundraiser for drowning prevention. Junior Lifeguards, whose ages range from 7 to 17, learn a wide variety of skills during the four-week program, such as: how to enjoy the beach safely; ocean and wave education; area familiarity; first aid and CPR; water rescue techniques; and the importance of keeping physically fit. They also prepared to take a large leap in life. On Monday, Aug. 13, members of the Junior Lifeguards, their parents, and curious residents filled the OB Pier to watch and participate in the annual jump. For a fee, family members and residents may also jump along with the Junior Lifeguards. With the commands of “Step to the edge, check to make sure it’s all clear, fins up, look straight out at the beach, now jump,” dozens of red-and-yellow-suited Junior Lifeguards stepped off the pier and plunged 30 feet to the ocean. “Monday, we celebrated this important milestone with our Junior Lifeguards as well as continuing our efforts in helping other children in San Diego who may not have the opportunity to learn how to swim,” said Buc Buchanan, president of the Prevent Drowning Foundation of San Diego. “SDJG Pier Jump is one of our biggest fundraising events each year benefiting our local foundation. This summer is especially important for us with the recent foundation name change and rebrand to better reflect our vision to teach every child in San Diego how to swim,” Buchanan said. Over the past 24-plus years, the San Diego Fire-Rescue Lifeguard Service has successfully managed more than 24,000 Junior Lifeguards jumping into the water off Ocean Beach Pier. For more information, visit preventdrowningfoundation.org. Prevent Drowning Foundation of San Diego formerly known as the San Diego Junior Lifeguard Foundation, believes drowning is preventable and it is their vision to teach every child in San Diego how to swim. Since 2009, their purpose has been simple, do everything to prevent drowning and save lives of children by targeting under-served communities that need swim lessons and aquatic water and ocean safety education. With local school, community and aquatic partners, they have impacted tens of thousands of young people in San Diego County and made their lives safer and more enjoyable.
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    New to Ocean Beach, or first-time visitor? We have you covered from sunny-side up to sunset
    by ANDREW EAKES
    Aug 15, 2018 | 1424 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Rosy Jaurena has a brew with a view at OB Brewery as the sun sets.  / THOMAS MELVILLE / PENINSULA BEACON
    Rosy Jaurena has a brew with a view at OB Brewery as the sun sets. / THOMAS MELVILLE / PENINSULA BEACON
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    The Walking on Water Café: This is an iconic eatery, due to its location in the middle of the longest pier on the West Coast, can be easily seen from the beach by its big “CAFÉ” sign on the side of the building. / Photo by Gillian Weinstein
    The Walking on Water Café: This is an iconic eatery, due to its location in the middle of the longest pier on the West Coast, can be easily seen from the beach by its big “CAFÉ” sign on the side of the building. / Photo by Gillian Weinstein
    slideshow
    The Walking on Water Café: This is an iconic eatery, due to its location in the middle of the longest pier on the West Coast, can be easily seen from the beach by its big “CAFÉ” sign on the side of the building. / Photo by Gillian Weinstein
    The Walking on Water Café: This is an iconic eatery, due to its location in the middle of the longest pier on the West Coast, can be easily seen from the beach by its big “CAFÉ” sign on the side of the building. / Photo by Gillian Weinstein
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    The Corner Store has been in operation for more than 11 years and is locally owned by Dee Cook Carlson. / Photo by Gillian Weinstein
    The Corner Store has been in operation for more than 11 years and is locally owned by Dee Cook Carlson. / Photo by Gillian Weinstein
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    The Black has everything: clothes, dresses, incense, “peace-pipes,” music, vintage posters, and more.. / Photo by Gillian Weinstein
    The Black has everything: clothes, dresses, incense, “peace-pipes,” music, vintage posters, and more.. / Photo by Gillian Weinstein
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    Gianni Buonomo Vintners (4836 Newport Ave.): The interior features oak-wood café tables and sculptures made by local artists.  / Photo by Gillian Weinstein
    Gianni Buonomo Vintners (4836 Newport Ave.): The interior features oak-wood café tables and sculptures made by local artists. / Photo by Gillian Weinstein
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    For first-time visitors – or once a year day-trippers – Ocean Beach, known for its “hippie culture,” and local etiquette, might be a bit of an assault on the senses, but perception is only an illusion. But if you’re here for a fun day of exploring, the Peninsula Beacon has put together some suggestions for must sees and experiences – starting with breakfast over the ocean, followed with browsing vintage shops, sipping award-winning wine, watching a sunset with a locally-brewed beer above Newport Avenue, then finishing the day with dancing to live music. Bring your dog as well, OB has a beach for them. Breakfast The Walking on Water Café: This is an iconic eatery, due to its location in the middle of the longest pier on the West Coast, can be easily seen from the beach by its big “CAFÉ” sign on the side of the building. Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for breakfast, lunch and dinner, this is a great, and inexpensive, place to eat, relax and watch the surf while interacting with locals. Or grab a fishing pole next door and try to catch your meal. You do not need a license to fish off the pier. Browsing The Corner Store (4873 Newport Ave.): OB is known as an area with vintage and antique stores. This place just might be the antique heaven for any level of collector. The Corner Store has been in operation for more than 11 years and is locally owned by Dee Cook Carlson. It has earned numerous awards during that time, giving it the reputation of being a great place to spruce up your home or garden. Look out for recently added vintage dressers, clocks and night stands. So, get out there and buy something memorable, just make sure you have the space to bring it home. Wine tasting Gianni Buonomo Vintners (4836 Newport Ave.): Now, OB is not all beach bums and hippies, although there is nothing wrong with that, but that lifestyle isn’t for everyone. If you are one of those people, getting to this place might be a nice getaway. They source their grapes from all along the West Coast. The interior features oak-wood café tables and sculptures made by local artists. The winery also holds yoga classes infused with wine tasting a few times a year, so keep an eye out for that. Visit San Diego’s first “beach winery” and have some wine with all that culture. Aromas of OB The Black (5017 Newport Ave.): If you are not used to the OB lifestyle, this place may throw you back. We advise you to leave the judgments at the door though, because this is a shop you won’t forget. They have everything: clothes, dresses, incense, “peace-pipes,” music, vintage posters, and more. There really are no words that can fully describe the audacity this place has. They’ve been in OB for nearly 40 years, so paying them a visit is almost necessary. Dog day afternoon Dog Beach (at the western end of Voltaire Street): This beach is a great place to let your furry friend off the leash to enjoy some sand and waves during these hot summer days. You can lay out a towel to catch some sun or explore the San Diego River estuary with your dog. Afterwards, head to Dog Beach Dog Wash (4933 Voltaire St.) to clean up pup before heading out for dinner. Sunset brews and views OB Brewery (5041 Newport Ave.): This brew pub is specific to the community with an open rooftop patio overlooking Newport with views of the beach, ocean and pier. It is three stories tall, so there is typically plenty of room to sit down and get comfortable to enjoy the sunset. They have roughly 20 beers on draft daily, featuring both their beers and other local craft brews from around the county. Try the Malicious Journalist IPA (8.4 percent ABV) with the garlicky hummus dish for a delicious pairing – and that’s not fake news. Dance the night away Winston’s (1921 Bacon St.): The bar scene in OB is much different than in Pacific Beach or downtown, which gives visitors a chance to escape the over-crowded and over-priced bars around. Winston’s is great because almost every night they have some kind of live performance to get you on the dance floor. Whether it is a band, open mic, or comedy show, Winston’s aims at entertaining the community. Check out winstonsob.com for a schedule of live performances.
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    San Diego Humane Society photo fundraiser creates calendar of testimonies
    by VICTORIA DAVIS
    Aug 08, 2018 | 14979 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Hurry and Fidget from last year's calendar.
    Hurry and Fidget from last year's calendar.
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    Lola and Nixon from last year's calendar.
    Lola and Nixon from last year's calendar.
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    Chewy from last year's calendar.
    Chewy from last year's calendar.
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    It takes about two minutes walking along the Pacific Beach Boardwalk, Sunset Cliffs, and passing the sea-side restaurants along Ocean Beach to realize San Diego is an above-average pet-friendly community. People will bring their parrots on coffee dates and their dogs to art studios. The beach communities love their animals, and San Diego Humane Society’s annual giving and corporate partnership manager, Bobbie Barnes, sees this year’s photo fundraiser as a chance for local pet owners to brag about their furry, feathered and scaled friends. “As pet-lovers, we tend to take a lot of photos of our animals,” said Barnes. “This fundraiser is a great way for us to reach out to the community and have people share photos and stories of their beloved pets with us.” For the past 25 years, the San Diego Humane Society photo fundraiser has not only helped raise money for homeless animals, but has also served as a way for the community to come together, get involved with the shelter and receive information on the nonprofit’s work. Participants go online, submit a photo of their pet with a donation, and the shelter will select photos to be featured in their annual calendar. This year, the event has already raised more than $41,000. The goal is to raise $100,000. But, for Humane Society employees, there’s a more nostalgic factor that comes with each bio submitted alongside a photo. “Part of the entry is about giving people the option to tell us their pet’s story and it’s really great to read about how our past adopters found their pet,” said Dariel Walker, communications specialist for San Diego Humane Society. “People come into our shelter every day to adopt animals and a lot of times we never hear from them again. “Our staff really loves the animals here and we get to know them so well, so I think that’s something fun about the calendar. Whether it’s an animal adopted from us or another shelter, it’s great to hear people’s stories of how this pet became a real part of their family.” Last year, there were more than 900 photo submissions, and for the 2017 calendar there were more than 1,100. While the majority of the photos are of dogs and cats dressed in hats and sunglasses riding sidecars and bicycles, there are handfuls of less-traditional pets, such as Hortense the chicken and Jackie the donkey. Previous calendars have also featured “odd couples” like Pete “the wonder cat” riding a family horse, along with a tortoise and his long-time rabbit pal. “I do spend a lot of time in the evenings after work combing through the photos, just to take a look at some of the entries,” said Barnes. “Every year, I’m equally tickled by these photos and the stories of these animals. These owners are giving us updates on the ways these animals have changed their lives and it’s super impactful and inspiring.” The fundraiser ends Friday, Aug. 31 and photos can be submitted at gogophotocontest.com/sdhumane2019. Winners will be awarded tickets to San Diego Humane Society’s annual gala, the Fur Ball, which takes place Saturday, Oct. 6. Calendars will be available for purchase by late October or early November through the SD Humane Society website, sdhumane.org.
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