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    DAILY BRIEFING – Jetty Cats fundraiser, UC San Diego project changes name, Comic-Con chocolate bar
    Jul 08, 2020 | 56878 views | 0 0 comments | 84 84 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    One of the Jetty Cats of San Diego at sunset. PHOTO BY THOMAS MELVILLE
    One of the Jetty Cats of San Diego at sunset. PHOTO BY THOMAS MELVILLE

    A round-up of news, community, and business briefs from highlighting what’s happening in our community.

    Wednesday, July 8


    Jetty Cats of San Diego is holding a fundraiser to help buy food for the volunteers who feed the cats nightly. Donations may be made through their sponsors Feral Cat Coalition. Go to PayPal at – type “for Jetty Cats” in the payment notes. Also, donate through Venmo @FeralCatCoalitionSD and type “for Jetty Cats” in the payment notes.


    UC San Diego’s proposed Future College Living and Learning Neighborhood project has undergone a name change. It is now being referred to as the Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood. 
    It would include five buildings ranging in height from 9-21 stories to provide approximately 2,000 new beds for undergraduate students, residential life and administration offices for a new college, general assignment classrooms, a 480-seat auditorium, meeting space, restaurants, and retail space for approximately 900,000 gross square feet total.
    La Jollans living in neighborhoods surrounding the university have objected strongly to both the bulk and scale of the project, as well as its alleged negative impacts on future traffic in the area. The 11.8-acre proposed project site is at the southwestern edge of the La Jolla West Campus.


    Just days after reopening for the July Fourth weekend, the San Diego Museum of Photographic Arts has announced it will remain closed until after Labor Day. Museums were among those businesses told to halt indoor activities by the state and by local health authorities. Although the updated public health order is theoretically in place for just three weeks, a museum statement cited the "uncertainty'' of the coming weeks as the reason for the lengthy closure. The museum initially shuttered in March with other museums in Balboa Park and the rest of San Diego County.


    Mesa College president Dr. Pamela Luster has been elected president of the Chief Executive Officers of California Community Colleges Board for FY 2020-21. “I am honored to be elected president of the CEOCCC Board,” said Luster. “I look forward to working with these progressive leaders as we focus on advocacy and action for racial equity, increasing resources for colleges and students, and recovery from COVID-19. Our students are depending on us to lead the way.”
    The Community College League of California (League) is a nonprofit public benefit corporation whose voluntary membership consists of the 73 local public community college districts in California. The League supports locally elected trustees and community college CEOs who serve their students and communities by advocating on their behalf at the state and federal levels.


    Continuing its tradition of producing chocolate bars to celebrate the annual Comic-Con International event canceled this year due to the pandemic, the San Diego Convention Center is introducing a limited-edition 2020 chocolate bar to be shared with regional fans via social media contests. With a Saturday Morning Cartoons theme, the colorful treat features white chocolate, fruit-flavored cereal and freeze-dried raspberries. The bars are created in partnership with the Center’s food and beverage partner, Centerplate.
    “As their annual hosts, we are glad to join the Comic-Con team in continuing some traditions of this pop culture celebration, like our ‘Convention Confections,’” said Clifford “Rip” Rippetoe, president, and CEO of the San Diego Convention Center. "Through the series of online contests, we hope to bring together our local community to share their special memories and experiences of Comic-Con in San Diego.”
    The Saturday Morning Cartoons bars will be distributed to fans through a series of online contests held July 13-17, via the Center’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts; no chocolate bars will be available for sale. Contest details will be shared through the Center’s social media and website next week. The chocolate bar prizes must be picked up at the Center on July 20 or 21. To learn more about Comic-Con@Home, see and follow along via social media at #ComicConAtHome. The 2021 Comic-Con, International event is rescheduled to take place at the San Diego Convention Center from July 22-25, 2021.


    The Maritime Museum of San Diego announced a second temporary closure of the museum beginning July 7 to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Maritime Museum reopened to the public for six days beginning July 1 after closing temporarily due to the global pandemic for nearly four months starting March 16. The Museum is complying with state and local governance and guidelines and anticipates reopening Saturday, Aug. 1, at the approval of regional authorities.

    Tuesday, July 7

    Belmont Park, a 95-year-old historic amusement park on the oceanfront at 3146 Mission Blvd., has been hard hit by the pandemic and the latest rollback of business re-openings.
    “All our rides, including the Giant Dipper roller coaster, are now closed,” said Minh Tra, director of operations for the San Diego Coaster Co., which operates all of Belmont Park’s amusement rides. “As of July 7, all our indoor attractions, including our arcade, are closed. But all our outdoor attractions, retail and restaurant food operations as well as outdoor attractions like the rock wall, sky ropes, outdoor obstacle course and miniature golf, are open.”


    The Plunge San Diego at Fit Mission Beach in Belmont Park, a membership fitness club and public pool, is currently open 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays and 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Fridays-Sundays. The public can access the pool for $15 a day for adults, $12 a day for youth under age 18 for recreational swimming daily from 2 to 6 p.m. For more information, visit


    “It is with heavy hearts we share that the ailing bald eagle admitted to Project Wildlife on July 4 has died,” said San Diego Humane Society on July 7. “This morning the juvenile bird was having more difficulty breathing, despite receiving supplemental oxygen in the critical care unit at our Pilar & Chuck Bahde Wildlife Center. Our highly trained medical staff knew they had to find out why the bird was not able to breathe. They sedated and anesthetized the bald eagle for a thorough exam.”
    SDHS said full body X-rays revealed no obvious abnormalities for the injured bird. SeaWorld provided an endoscope to help visualize the inside of the eagle’s trachea and GI tract.
    “There were some small parasites in the bird’s throat but not likely to be the major issue,” said SDHS. “There was also evidence of slow gut movement in the GI tract. Once the diagnostic procedures were finished, the gas anesthesia was turned off but the bird never woke up from the anesthesia. Several efforts were made to resuscitate the bald eagle, but we were unsuccessful. Our staff and partners have done everything in their power to help this bald eagle, and are extremely saddened by today’s outcome.”


    Wheel of Fortune will be re-airing a week of episodes celebrating San Diego as one of its “Great American Cities” from July 13-17. These special episodes will also feature segments and scenic footage shot on location during Pat Sajak and Vanna White’s visit to San Diego in 2016, as well as a custom set decorated with iconic local sights, including the San Diego Zoo, the Hotel del Coronado and the Gaslamp Quarter. During this week of shows, which first aired in 2017, all the contestants are from the San Diego area.


    The San Diego Padres will kick-off their pandemic-delayed, 60-game season, consisting of 40 games against National League West teams and 20 against American League West teams, starting Friday, July 24 against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Petco Park. The interleague games at Petco Park will be Aug. 19-20 against the Texas Rangers; Aug. 21-23, Houston Astros; Aug. 25-27 against the Seattle Mariners; and Sept. 22-23 against the Los Angeles Angels, the final games of the season at Petco Park.
    Major League Baseball plans to celebrate Jackie Robinson Day on Aug. 28, the date of the March on Washington in 1963, as well as the date in 1945 when Brooklyn Dodgers president Branch Rickey met with Robinson to discuss his MLB future. The new date is representative of both Robinson's journey to break the color barrier and his life as a civil rights activist. Jackie Robinson Day is customarily celebrated on April 15, the anniversary of his breaking MLB's color line in 1947.


    The De Anza Cove Improvement Project, comprised of rent creditable capital improvements, including abatement and removal of 166 mobile homes remaining on-site, has been delayed by the pandemic. On June 24, 2019, the San Diego City Council approved a lease extension for Campland on the Bay and a lease for the De Anza Cove property that includes Mission Bay RV Resort.
    On Jan. 20, well ahead of the deadline, management commenced the improvement project. “Since then we have deployed certified environmental engineers who conducted asbestos and lead testing and analysis of all remaining mobile homes,” said Jacob Gelfand, vice president of operations for Terra Vista Management, which administers Campland on the Bay at 2211 Pacific Beach Drive. “On Jan. 28, management submitted a Coastal Development Permit application for the remaining components of the improvement project.”
    Added Gelfand: “Unfortunately, threatened litigation, which has since been settled, delayed the improvement project by more than two months. More recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has temporarily impeded critical path progress. To the extent possible, management will proceed with project items that can be safely and feasibly accomplished during this period of crisis, until the governor’s State of Emergency has been lifted.”
    Gelfand noted, since the commencement of the lease in July 2019, that numerous, significant improvements to resort operations at Mission Bay RV Resort, including utility system repairs, safety improvements, new recreational amenities and aesthetic enhancements, have been made. “We look forward gradually to reopening more amenities at both resorts as state and local regulations allow,” said Gelfand, noting Campland on the Bay celebrated its 50th Anniversary of providing affordable, waterfront accommodations and family-friendly recreation on Mission Bay last year.


    Monday, July 6

    San Diego Humane Society’s Project Wildlife admitted a bald eagle on July 4. It is extremely rare for SDHS to admit such a raptor. The bird was rescued and brought in by SoCal Parrots after it had been observed on the ground for a couple of days at Barrett Honor Camp.
    The bald eagle, suffering from dehydration, was given fluids and treated for mites. While the bird’s condition is guarded, it is in stable condition at the critical care unit of SDHS’s Bahde Wildlife Center and has gotten radiographs (X-rays) and a blood draw. Currently, he is breathing heavy, although slightly improved. Samples of the eagle’s blood and feces were submitted for full evaluation, including a lead test.
    Staff at the Pilar & Chuck Bahde Wildlife Center were able to successfully hand feed the bird, a juvenile, a fledgling, who has not been seen flying on his own. The objective is to rehabilitate the bird and return him to his family. The bald eagle will remain in the critical care unit where he receives extra oxygen. 

    San Diego Public libraries, following the guidance of State and County health guidelines and public health orders, will continue to remain closed. “The Library has expanded its contactless pickup service to 18 locations and has opened its book drops for returns,” said City spokesperson Jennifer McBride. “The Library's online programs are also available for patrons.” For more information, visit 

    Home Start, a San Diego nonprofit whose mission is to assure the safety and resiliency of children by strengthening families and their communities, has received a $100,000 grant from the Cushman Foundation. The grant, spread over three years, is part of the Foundation’s 2020 Making a Difference for San Diego Grant Program and will help Home Start with its Behavioral Health Services programs.
    The foundation’s grant program was established in partnership with the Jewish Community Foundation as they share the goals of respectful and responsive grantmaking, quality technical assistance, and support to strengthen the capacity and sustainability of nonprofit organizations. For more information, visit

    Padres Pedal the Cause, a nonprofit, has raised over $120,000 from the organization’s second annual A World Without Cancer Day on June 20. Over 640 people registered for the grassroots, virtual event, raising funds for collaborative cancer research in San Diego. 
    Inspired by the campaign #Do20Give20, participants committed to doing 20 minutes, miles or repetitions of movement from several participation options: cycling or run/walking on their own; attending a live, virtual class hosted by community partners, Orangetheory Fitness, YogaSix, and breast cancer fighter/spin instructor Kellie Sullivan; and even joining a Peloton class.
    Participants matched their commitment to “Do 20” with a $20 or more donation to Padres Pedal the Cause, an organization that donates 100% of fundraising dollars to cancer research. Donations can be made by visiting the Padres Pedal the Cause at   

    “Fiesta Island is currently scheduled to open to vehicle access on Monday, July 6,” said City spokesperson Jennifer McBride. “If County or State health orders are updated between now and then that could change, but right now July 6 is the date.”
    A large peninsular park within Mission Bay, manmade Fiesta Island is a popular location for charity walks and runs, bicycle races, time trials and other special events. It is also the home of the annual Over-The-Line Tournament. The Fiesta Island Youth Camp and the Aquatic Center are on the island. There are bonfire rings around the shore of the island and a park where dogs are allowed off leash. All persons on the beach at Fiesta Island are required to practice social distancing other than members of the same household, and the public shall not congregate or participate in active sport activities on beaches.

    An unusual fossil deposit containing skeletal remains of extinct mammals, including camels, oreodonts, rodents, and possibly a large carnivore, was recently unearthed at the State Route 11/Otay Mesa East Port of Entry Project, a joint venture between Caltrans and the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG). The fossils are estimated to be 16 to 28 million years old and provide new insights into the region's geologic history.
    Found by Paleo Monitors from the San Diego Natural History Museum (The Nat) fossils appear to be from a new geologic formation that has not been mapped before in the area. The deposit also contains plant fossils, as well as volcanic bombs (masses of rock ejected by a volcano). The Nat will prepare the fossils and curate and catalogue them into the paleontology collection, holding them in perpetuity for the citizens of California.
    The SR-11/Otay Mesa East Port of Entry Project will complete a direct connection to a planned new U.S. Land Port of Entry, and create a 21st century border crossing that will enhance regional mobility, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and wait times, fuel economic growth, bolster binational trade, and strengthen border security and resiliency.

    Although the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club will kick off its 2020 summer racing season with an empty grandstand, there are still a variety of ways to enjoy your fill of races and festivities throughout the summer. Del Mar Live launches on opening day, Friday, July 10, and will feature more than 20 local restaurants, hotels and casinos including Brigantine Del Mar, Pizza Port, Jimmy O’s, Pendry San Diego and more. Each “Live” location will offer TV screens to view the day’s 10-race card, Del Mar signature drink specials and Del Mar/TVG coasters. Del Mar will race every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from July 10 up to and including Labor Day Monday, Sept. 7. First post daily will be at 2 p.m.

    This year’s 26th annual Opening Day Hats Contest will strut on stage via Instagram and Twitter for all to see with a panel of local celeb judges ready to declare the 2020 winner of a fashion statement that has become one of Del Mar’s most sought-after honors. The Opening Day Hats Contest is available to all who forward pictures using the hashtag #DelMarHatsContest and tagging @DelMarRacing in the photo.

    The San Diego Unified Board of Education has unanimously approved a balanced budget for the upcoming school year. No significant layoffs or staff adjustments were required to balance the district budget this year.
    Highlights of the approved measure include a $45 million fund for COVID-19 emergency expenditures. District leaders said those funds will pave the way for reopening schools on schedule on Aug. 31, including options for on-campus and online learning.
    “The unanimous vote this evening by the Board of Education reflects our collective confidence that we can open schools in a timely manner, on schedule, on August 31, with outstanding options for students who want to be on campus, as well as those who wish to learn from home,” said superintendent Cindy Marten. “The COVID-19 crisis is the biggest adaptive challenge to public education of our lifetimes, and we are ready to meet the challenge.”
    Marten introduced the budget item by noting the numbers have improved since May when Gov. Gavin Newsom released his revised state budget. Working with the Governor and the entire San Diego Legislative delegation, school leaders successfully advocated for changes in the state budget, including:

    • Undoing a 10% cut to Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) estimated at about $100 million as proposed in the 2020-21 May Revise and instead utilizing deferrals and federal advocacy to mitigate cuts;

    • Securing learning loss funds to cover COVID-19 costs and to support reopening of schools, which totaled $91.8 million for San Diego Unified;

    • Adopting a pension buydown of employer contribution rates for 2020-21 and 2021-22, and a CalSTRS pension rate freeze for 2020-21, which amounts to an estimated savings of $17 million for San Diego Unified in the next school year;

    • Advocating for special education funding based on the moderate-to-severe disability of students, which resulted in the allocation of $100 million for the low-incidence pool add-on that provides $2.4 million for San Diego Unified.

    Members of the Board of Education also emphasized the need for continued advocacy at the federal level. They have called for the US Senate to follow the House of Representatives in passing the HEROES Act, which provides an additional $58 billion to schools nationwide.

    Beginning on July 6 and continuing for approximately one month, access to and from Scripps Health facilities via Voigt Drive will be closed while crews rebuild the driveway and adjacent roadway. Once complete, crews will restore inbound access via Voigt Drive from the west only. Outbound access will continue to be closed and vehicles will be redirected to Genesee Avenue. 

    What to expect: 

    • Full closure of Scripps Health driveway at Voigt Drive 

    • Concurrent full closure of Voigt Drive between parking lot P701 and Campus Point Drive

    • Detours to and from Scripps Health facilities will be available via Genesee Avenue

    • Traffic control measures will be in place, including temporary traffic signals, temporary wayfinding and detour signage, and roadway and sidewalk reconfigurations

    • Typical work hours will be Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    Best Western Hotels & Resorts is opening its newly renovated SureStay Hotel by Best Western San Diego/Pacific Beach at 4545 Mission Bay Drive. The 66-room hotel offers an outdoor, heated, swimming pool, complimentary hot breakfast buffet, high-speed WiFi, and free parking providing guests with the superior comfort and utmost value they want out of their stay. The hotel is closely following state guidelines and implementing safety protocols. For more information, visit

    CerasoliStafford Media Management has announced that long-time media executive Bob Bolinger joined the firm effective July 1 as a new partner. Concurrently, the firm will be changing its name to CerasoliStaffordBolinger, doing business as CSB Impact ( Bolinger’s career includes executive management roles with major San Diego radio groups, including Entercom, iHeart Media and CBS Radio. 

    Following the guidance of public health officials, San Diego County Treasurer-Tax Collector Dan McAllister will close all five branches to the public until further notice effective July 6 in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Four Treasurer-Tax Collector offices in Kearny Mesa, San Marcos, Chula Vista and Santee have remained closed to the public since March, and will do so for the foreseeable future. Unsecured tax bills can be paid now at More information is available on the Treasurer-Tax Collector’s website.
    Those who must pay in cash can obtain a cashier’s check or money order and mail their payment to 1600 Pacific Highway, Room 162, San Diego, CA 92101. Drop boxes will still be available outside all Treasurer-Tax Collector branches for those who must drop off a check payment, but cash will not be accepted in the drop boxes.

    While some residents may be isolated, La Jolla Community Center wants them to know they are not alone, and that LJCC is always there and watching out for them. Call 858-459-0831 or email if you are in need of transportation, wellness checks or any other community resources.

    San Diego International Airport has continued to adjust to the impacts of COVID-19. The airport has remained open as a critical piece of the nation’s transportation infrastructure, helping to move much-needed supplies and cargo, and assisting those with essential travel needs. As states ease restrictions and non-essential travel resumes, SAN would like to share the modifications and protocols that have been put in place to help ensure the health and safety of passengers and employees. Health and safety measures that have been implemented in the terminals include:

    • Plexiglas sneeze guards in certain public spaces.

    • Floor decals and seat separation signage to queue the six-foot social distancing consideration.

    • Increased signage throughout the terminals that serves as a reminder to practice preventive health measures.

    • Per the California Department of Public Health, facial coverings are required for all passengers, visitors, tenants, contractors and employees while on airport property, excluding those with a medical or mental health condition, or developmental disability that prevents wearing a face covering.

    • Continued increased cleaning of high touch points.

    • PA announcements throughout the terminals that remind everyone of the facial covering and social distancing requirements.

    • Per San Diego County Health, employees are required to do a personal health screening and cannot come to work if they have any of the listed CDC COVID-19 symptoms.

    Travelers may visit for information and airport updates related to COVID-19.

    Lawyers Club of San Diego applauded yesterday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision to defend the reproductive rights of women by striking down a Louisiana law that would have eliminated abortion services for many in that state. Lawyers Club of San Diego, a strong supporter of reproductive rights, signed onto the amicus brief in June, Medical v. Russo filed by the National Women’s Law Center, which joined the five abortion clinics and four abortion providers in arguing that the state law imposed an undue burden on the rights of women in Louisiana.
    “Over the last decade many states have passed hundreds of laws attempting to chip away at the protections guaranteed by Roe v. Wade,” Lawyers Club president Elvira Cortez said. “The Louisiana law at issue in this case is a prime example of the steps lawmakers have taken to severely restrict women’s reproductive choice. While we can rest assured that such a drastic reduction of services will remain unlawful for now, the fight for reproductive rights is not over.”

    San Diego Humane Society is celebrating the five-year anniversary of “Getting to Zero,” the San Diego Animal Welfare Coalition’s commitment to reaching zero euthanasia of healthy or treatable animals in San Diego County. Before July 1, 2015, treatable animals were at risk of euthanasia in shelters due to sheer numbers and limited resources.
    “Getting to Zero was truly a milestone for San Diego, because it was the first time in our region’s history that no healthy or treatable animal was at-risk for being unnecessarily euthanized,” said Dr. Gary Weitzman, president/CEO of SDHS. “San Diego is one of the safest communities in the nation for animals.”
    SDHS is proud to have not euthanized a healthy or treatable animal since 2002. When the San Diego Animal Welfare Coalition — a collaboration of area shelters, foster families, rescue groups and other lifesaving partners — was able to reach the same goal of zero euthanasia in July 2015, it meant that all healthy and treatable animals entering the San Diego animal sheltering system were safe from being euthanized. San Diego is the largest city in the nation to have accomplished this feat. For more information, visit

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    New hours to begin at Cabrillo National Monument in July
    Jul 06, 2020 | 1230 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Cabrillo National Monument. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    Cabrillo National Monument. / Photo by Thomas Melville

    Beginning Friday, July 10, Cabrillo National Monument will be open from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in July. The tidepool area will be open on those days until 7:30 p.m. The normal operating hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the tidepool area closing at 4:30 p.m., will still be in effect Mondays through Thursdays.

    Cabrillo National Monument is opening in phases. In the current phase, all outdoor areas, trails, and restrooms are open. Indoor areas, including exhibits, the Visitor Center, and the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, are temporarily closed to comply with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities.

    Junior Ranger books and badges, maps, and visitor information are available at an outdoor station located next to the Visitor Center. A ranger is on duty every day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to offer the Junior Ranger program. 

    While outdoor areas are accessible for visitors to enjoy, a return to full operations will continue to be phased and services may be limited. When recreating, the public should follow local area health orders to keep six feet away from people who are not members of your household, to have a face covering ready and wear it if you come within six feet of other people, practice Leave No Trace principles, and avoid crowded areas. 

    The CDC has offered guidance to help people recreating in parks and open spaces prevent the spread of infectious diseases. The park will continue to monitor all park functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19 and take any additional steps necessary to protect public health.  

    Updates about current conditions are available at and social media channels. Day use passes and national park passes are available for purchase in person at the park entrance.


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    Urban gardens sprout in Point Loma during quarantine
    Jun 30, 2020 | 32987 views | 0 0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Urban gardeners David Achaerandio, Bridget Cantu Wear, and Byron Wear.
    Urban gardeners David Achaerandio, Bridget Cantu Wear, and Byron Wear.

    Urban gardening has become a trend that an increasing number of San Diego residents are pursuing, especially during the pandemic. And the City is helping out, having just debuted a new website, provides information and assistance for those wishing to become successful urban farmers.

    As more people are spending time at home due to Covid-19 public health orders, urban farming has seen an uptick in popularity. And the City is making resources available to support San Diegans in turning their sod into seed.

    Dr. Julie Cramer, who lives near Sunset Cliffs and has been home gardening for years, finds her front-yard garden to be not only filling but fulfilling.

    “It’s become a conversation opener with neighbors in addition to growing good food for ourselves and contributing food to others,” said Cramer, who is involved with her son, Avery, in a venture known as Co-Harvest Foundation, a nonprofit working to help end food-insecurity in San Diego. 

    “You need the offline time to think,” said Byron Wear of the appeal of his front-yard garden in old Roseville. “You come out and work in your garden and you have nice neighbors to talk to. You just feel good.”

    Having your garden is also handy, noted Wear, who grows an assortment of lettuce, herbs and spices, beefsteak tomatoes, finger carrots, and especially beets.

    “It’s like having a refrigerator,” he joked. “You want to have a salad tonight? OK, go on down and get some romaine.”

    Avery Cramer, a 2013 Point Loma High alumni, founded his nonprofit as a way to “better serve our communities with healthy produce while helping eliminate poverty and the environmental degradation resulting from industrial agriculture.”

    He added Co-Harvest “connects all communities by accessing previously unused, arable land and establishing a new avenue for philanthropy, food sovereignty, and community building. When looking at poverty in America, it becomes all too clear that food insecurity is at the crux of this issue.

    “The food we eat is at the core of our mental/physical health, and we must promote a food system that focuses on the needs of individual communities. Our position is simple; cheap/sustainable/healthy food is not only necessary for humans but also the betterment of the world's ecosystems.”

    Julie Cramer donates a portion of her crop to Avery, who then “repurposes” it sending it the food needy.

    Starting your urban garden is simpler, and less expensive, than you might think if you’re resourceful, said Wear.

    “I got free lumber on Craig’s List and I had the pieces pressure treated so I wouldn’t have to deal with water rot,” he said.

    Concerning the origin of his urban garden, Wear said, “This plot was full of pickleweed and we said we’d be willing, at our cost, to take that out and put in a garden and have it open for the neighborhood where anybody could grab anything.”

    Julie Cramer noted urban gardening is the perfect activity to engage in during the pandemic.

    “It’s a talking point, and it helps to build community,” she said, adding it’s natural for social distancing. “You don’t have to be close to people when you’re talking to them about your garden here in the middle of the coronavirus,” she added.

    Cramer cited numerous advantages to growing your veggies.

    “Frankly, it just tastes better,” she claimed. “And there’s less wasting of food, as you don’t have to store it in the refrigerator. You just pick it as you need it, and it continues to grow.”

    If you work your garden right, said Wear, “You are going to produce more than what it was worth. It’s a wonderful thing to do. And the weather here is perfect.”

    Cramer, who is now largely working from home, noted her garden is not only an “investment,” but provides a “really nice balance” to working at home both inside and out.

    “It’s a good way to go out and relax,” she said. “And putting the garden out front contributes to neighborliness. It’s been very positive.”

    Urban farming is not only natural but progressive, concluded Avery Cramer.

    “The need to transport a majority of our food thousands of miles is outdated and lacks the 21st-century innovation that enables industries to thrive using up-to-date technology and avant-garde practices,” he said.

    “Our inability to look beyond cookie-cutter households with lawns has led to a society where people live in large homes but are unable to nutritionally sustain their families. Food insecurity should not be a problem in areas where year-round growing seasons are available.”

    For more information, visit


    There are numerous urban community gardens throughout Point Loma from which to choose. 

    Here are two:

    Ocean Beach Community Garden 

    Steven Bladen, the membership coordinator for this high-profile community garden at 2351 Soto St., is responsible for the upkeep and maintenance to qualify each year for a permit to utilize the land.

    “It’s at the end Soto near Collier Park up the hill from Nimitz Boulevard,” said Bladen, noting working guidelines for the garden’s use are at “It was founded by a group of Ocean Beach residents during the early ’70s. I believe the land used to be a parking lot for their parks' equipment.”

    Pointing out garden plots presently number 52 with an average size of 200 square feet, Bladen said most gardeners “are families or couples.”

    Regarding gardening, Bladen said, “You do a six-month agreement, several pages, including some City terminology and indemnification.”

    Is there a waiting list for plots?

    “For sure,” said Bladen who is one of a five-member governing board overseeing the community garden’s active plots.

    “It’s very much geared toward growing vegetables and flowers,” said Bladen, adding, “You’re not allowed to grow things and sell them commercially at places like a farmers market. The purpose is for residents to grow their vegetables for their use. That’s the focus here."

    Find out more information about OB Community Garden on Facebook. 

    OB Woman’s Club Garden 

    The women tending Ocean Beach Woman’s Club community garden, who are renters paying for use of the space, don’t need any help maintaining it. The garden at 2160 Bacon St. remains a community attraction and a source of local pride.

    “We have individual plots that are rented out for a six-month basis,” said Valerie Tuck, Woman’s Club garden manager. “All but one of the nine gardeners are members of the club. It's 100% organic and everyone has their own thing going on. 

    “There are strawberries, all kinds of tomatoes, lettuces. Some folks have flowers, squash, zucchini, peppers of all kinds. There are also a few birdbaths and seed out for our feathered friends. We have three massive rain tanks that see us through until summer.”

    Added Tuck: “The parrots love all the sunflowers. We take donations, in fact, a couple of months ago a few of us were gardening and a local walked by and said she has seedlings to give if we wanted. She was just bored during quarantine and didn't have anywhere to plant them. Of course, we took them.”

    Contact the Woman’s Club at or visit


    • Tomatoes

    • Cucumbers

    • Sweet peppers

    • Green beans

    • Carrots

    • Summer squash

    • Onions

    • Hot peppers






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    Quick actions from SDPD officer helped save crash victims at Sunset Cliffs
    Jun 29, 2020 | 5007 views | 0 0 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    San Diego Police officer Jonathan Wiese with Gucci. JIM GRANT/PENINSULA BEACON
    San Diego Police officer Jonathan Wiese with Gucci. JIM GRANT/PENINSULA BEACON

    It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience against one-in-a-million odds.

    That’s how San Diego Police officer Jonathan Wiese characterized his harrowing rescue on June 13 of a man who drove off Sunset Cliffs with his twin 2-year-old daughters inside his truck. All three miraculously survived thanks to Wiese’s quick thinking and herculean efforts.

    It wasn’t the first time the 43-year-old Wiese, a 22-year police veteran who works the canine unit, was involved in an emergency. He was involved in arresting the shooter at a Poway synagogue a year ago.

    A father of two young children himself, Wiese was patrolling with his dog in mid-City during the night shift about 4:30 a.m. when a call came in of a man who’d taken his toddlers in his truck and said he would drive off the Coronado Bridge.

    So Wiese broke for Coronado. “I was thinking, maybe I can talk to him, change his mind, talk him out of it,” he said, adding the man was believed to have a handgun.

    Wiese camped out at Coronado. “I don’t know if he saw me or what but he never showed up,” he said, adding he was unaware the truck driver had changed course for OB.

    Meanwhile, a police lieutenant from Western Division was patrolling down Hill Street near Sunset Cliffs and had spotted the suspect’s vehicle parked on that street with its brake lights on.

    “The truck started pulling away at a high rate of speed then goes over the cliff,” said Wiese, recalling his first thought was, ‘Please, tell me he dropped those girls off.’”

    Wiese drove his patrol car up to the cliff edge alongside the lieutenant’s car. “We looked down, 50 or 60 feet, and the truck was upside down in the water and the whole cab was submerged and I thought, ‘There’s no way they could have survived.’”

    But then he thought, “What if they’re stuck inside the truck?”

    It was high tide, with lots of rocks, making swimming out difficult. Then it occurred to Wiese that he might use his dog’s leash to rappel down the side of the cliff. Looking down, Wiese could see that the guy was out of the truck in the water with at least one of his girls. In the meantime, several other police had arrived at the scene. So Wiese took this 100-foot leash, unraveled it. wrapped it around himself underneath his armpits tethering one end to other officers on the clifftop who were securing it.

    “I’m going to do it,” said Wiese who began rappelling backward down the cliff eventually ending up on the rocks below. “I was slipping, falling and wobbling like a newborn deer,” Wiese said. “I could see that the man had both girls out of the truck and was in the water with them.”

    Wiese swam out to them noting one toddler had her arms wrapped around her dad’s neck, while the other appeared lifeless. “I needed to get all of them out,” noted Wiese, whose idea was to latch on to all three to push them all to shore.

    It was then that a firefighter, who’d shown up with an engine, stripped down to his shorts and swam out to assist Wiese with the rescue, taking the more seriously injured of the two girls from him. But, pointed out Wiese, “I still had this guy I was worried about who’d tried to commit suicide.”

    Just then a lifeguard on a paddle board showed up to take the unresponsive girl to shore while Wiese stayed with the suspect. “He (suspect) was mad and kept cursing about his wife,” he said. “I asked him where the girls were in the car and he said, ‘On my lap.’ He’d had both girls without seat belts on his lap when he drove over the cliff, which was probably the only thing that saved them because the (rest of the) cab was completely crushed and submerged and they would have been dead if they’d been (strapped) in car seats.”

    Another obstacle to be surmounted was getting both injured girls up the cliff face to the paramedics up top. One of the officers on the clifftop attached a backpack to the same leash Wiese had used to rappel down.

    “The second (less-injured) girl didn’t want to go in the backpack, what kid would want to?,” Wiese said, adding a helicopter arrived that subsequently picked up the man, who’d been in shock and was bleeding and complaining of back pain. “We put him in a harness and the helicopter transported him up to the cliff to the paramedics.”

    Wiese’s reaction when it was all over was, “Holy cow, what just happened? It was crazy.”

    He said it seemed like the whole incident had only taken five or 10 minutes, when it actually was more like 1 ½ hours.

    Reflecting back, Wiese said, “Dad mode is what put me there and pushed me over the cliff. It hits you a lot harder when something hits closer to him. This is the craziest thing I’ve ever done, and hope never to do again.”

    The Marine veteran was already scheduled to be awarded officer of the year for the role he played in arresting the Poway synagogue shooter a year ago, which has been delayed by the pandemic until July 31.

    “I guess I’m trying to live up to what they’re going to give me, make sure they had the right guy,” Wiese said.

    The suspect, Robert Brians, 47, has been charged in a 13-count criminal complaint with child abuse, making criminal threats, child abduction and burglary. He is being held without bail and is due back in court July 22 for a readiness conference. The girls were hospitalized in stable condition following the crash.




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    Majestic Torrey pines on Saratoga Avenue are dead
    Jun 20, 2020 | 8980 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    The Torrey pines at 4605 Saratoga Ave. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    The Torrey pines at 4605 Saratoga Ave. / Photo by Thomas Melville

    After a thorough investigation by City forester Brian Widener and his team, it has been concluded that the Torrey pines at 4605 Saratoga Ave. are dead. 

    “This is an extremely sad day for the Ocean Beach community,” said District 2 Councilmember Jennifer Campbell. “The history of those trees, which were planted by residents during the Great Depression to add more cover and vibrancy to an arid landscape, is part of the history of this community. To the generations of Ocean Beach residents who have enjoyed their shade and beauty over the years, you have my deepest condolences.”

    The cause of death for the two trees is unknown and currently being investigated. With the spread of invasive beetle species that are decimating tree populations in San Diego from palm trees to Torrey pines, removing these two trees as quickly as possible is vital to maintaining the overall health of Ocean Beach’s urban canopy, according to the City.

    “These two large trees provided a great deal of ecosystem benefits that will not be easily replaced, but more importantly the large historical trees represented civic pride for the OB community,” Widener said. “The San Diego Urban Forestry Program continues to plant new street trees at the community’s request.”

    Ocean Beach Town Council President Mark Winkie agreed it was a sad day for the community.

    "The Ocean Beach Town Council is saddened to learn that two of the majestic Torrey pine trees on Saratoga Avenue have died and will have to be removed,” Winkie said. “Ocean Beach has a long legacy of protecting our natural environment and these trees have been with us a long time.

    “Unfortunately there is nothing more to do and because of public safety they need to be removed. They will however, be replaced by new trees, that in time will grace Saratoga Avenue with a new canopy and a new story," Winkie said.

    City contractors are scheduled to remove the two trees by June 26.

    The Torrey pine, Pinus torreyana, is a rare pine species growing only in the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, coastal northern San Diego County and on Santa Rosa Island.

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