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    Ecotourism expert shares vision for reinvigorating Mission Bay Park
    Nov 16, 2018 | 1953 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Boaters, standup paddle boarders and bicyclists take advantage of a beautiful fall day at Mission Bay.
THOMAS MELVILLE / BEACH & BAY PRESS
    Boaters, standup paddle boarders and bicyclists take advantage of a beautiful fall day at Mission Bay. THOMAS MELVILLE / BEACH & BAY PRESS
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    Ecotourism specialist Andy Drumm says San Diego’s Mission Bay Park has stagnated. At a recent Citizens Coordinate for Century 3 (C-3) breakfast event, he presented a case for turning to an ecotourism model to reinvigorate it. Ecotourism is defined by the International Ecotourism Society as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserve the environment and improve the well-being of local people.” “The biggest growth segment in tourism is the nature-focused category,” says Drumm, Drumm referenced Butler’s Tourism Area Life Cycle to explain the evolution of a nature-based tourist destination, which includes exploration, involvement, development, consolidation and then stagnation. At this point, the quality and popularity of a destination will decline without a sustainable, ecotourism makeover. In addition to maintaining and nurturing natural resources, Drumm says ecotourism is better for the economy. Lowering volume and density, monitoring and managing impacts and encouraging more local input leads to a higher income multiplier, higher tourist spending and a higher ratio of jobs per tourist. Simply put, ecotourists spend more than conventional tourists. To capture this segment of the tourism market, however, Mission Bay Park needs help. “Failing to capture the economic value of ecosystem services often leads to the degradation of natural resources,” says Drumm. He warned the audience against letting Mission Bay Park go the way of a small fishing village in India’s Kerala State, where tourism collapsed after environmental degradation took hold, as was the case for Italy’s Adriatic coast and Germany’s Black Forest. Perhaps the most serious danger, he says, is a lack of understanding of the benefits of biodiversity. Among his many suggestions for Mission Bay Park were to protect and restore areas of biodiversity (resilience, shoreline protection, water purification, ecotourism value, etc.) and improve the quality of the visitor experience to include environmental interpretation and monitoring. “Bringing about rejuvenation for Mission Bay Park also requires the public and private sectors working together,” says Drumm.    Among his directives for the private sector were improving relations with park management to ensure fulfillment of environmental values; participating in the design, construction and operational phases of development; and developing strategic alliances and business partnerships among recreational businesses and nature-focused, sustainable-ecosystem-model organizations. It is up to the public sector, he says, to promote awareness of the critical role of biodiversity and ecosystem services in maintaining and enlarging tourism’s contribution to economic development; create zones to distinguish between natural areas and more traditional recreational areas; and to develop a comprehensive park tourism plan with multi-stakeholder involvement, among many other crucial tasks. C-3 organized a lunch with Mission Bay stakeholders as a follow up to the breakfast and plans to continue promoting ecotourism and comprehensive planning in the area. Founded in 1961, C-3’s mission is to advocate, educate and develop solutions for maintaining high standards of environmental quality, physical design, economic benefit and social progress. C-3 gathers and disseminates information, facilitates civic dialogue and encourages well-thought-out opinions. Its founders said the overall goal is to make San Diego a “handsome community.”  
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    City’s preliminary plans underway to improve Capehart Dog Park in PB
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Nov 15, 2018 | 4646 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    The off-leash Capehart Dog Park at 4747 Soledad Mountain Road needs a lot of improvements. / DAVE SCHWAB / BEACH & BAY PRESS
    The off-leash Capehart Dog Park at 4747 Soledad Mountain Road needs a lot of improvements. / DAVE SCHWAB / BEACH & BAY PRESS
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    Dog lovers in Pacific Beach take heart. Long sought-after repairs to Capehart Dog Park are being reconsidered. But it could take time – and considerable dollars.   A recently released preliminary estimate of costs for improving both the large- and small-dog areas of Capehart at 4747 Soledad Mountain Road were pegged by the City at about $612,000. “The City is in the preliminary stages of developing a potential project scope for improvements to Capehart Dog Park,” said City spokesman Tim Graham. “The community is very interested in having the area improved, and we’ve been working with Marcella Bothwell to find a design that will meet the community’s wishes.” Bothwell, a physician, community volunteer and San Diego Park and Recreation Board member who owns four dogs, said improvements to the popular dog park near the PB-La Jolla border are long overdue.  “The community recognizes the need for creating more dog parks, and for maintenance of the dog parks that we have,” said Bothwell, noting the City’s preliminary plan is “reasonable, but very expensive.” Bothwell said improving Capehart must go through the Public Works Department. “It’s a capital improvement project,” she said. “The plan is currently unfunded,” pointed out Graham, adding, “Unfortunately, at this particular time, it’s a little early to provide an update that has concrete next steps.” It's been a dozen years since Capehart won out over Kate Sessions to become Pacific Beach’s only off-leash dog park. But due to continuing drought conditions and watering restrictions, as well as heavy usage by dogs large and small, Capehart's two separate fenced-in areas have both been almost completely denuded of turf. And the dog park suffers from erosion and other issues. “The major problem is the large dog park,” said Bothwell. “It was never graded properly. So now, when it rains, water runoff goes down and you lose all the topsoil in the large dog area which has a huge drainage problem.” There is another big problem. “It’s going to cost as much to repair [Capehart] as it cost to put it in in the first place in 2006,” said Bothwell, who has stepped up to guide Capehart improvements. Preliminary work for dog-park improvements was originally spearheaded by beach-area residents Ron McChesney and Chris Cott, who formed Friends of Capehart Off-Leash Small Dog Park, as well as starting a GoFundMe fundraiser to re-sod Capehart. A new plan overview prepared for Capehart improvements points out updates are necessary for dog health and safety, ADA improvements and the safety and comfort of residents who use the park. “The goal is to have an approved ‘Master Improvement Plan’ containing a list of ‘agreed to projects’ that can be finalized as there is funding and resources available,” the new Capehart preliminary plan states, adding, “The plan will be posted at the park, linked to the Pacific Beach Town Council website and a Capehart Dog Park ‘email list.’”  Bothwell added a GoFundMe account will be put in place for donations toward City-approved projects listed.  “This effort is being coordinated through the Pacific Beach Town Council, and they have provided us with guidance, connections, and a non-profit/tax-deductible fundraising vehicle on their website to perform some of the work,” said Bothwell. “It is planned that this will be a public/private partnership between the City of San Diego, San Diego Parks and Recreation, the Capehart Dog Park (a subcommittee within the Pacific Beach Town Council) and patrons of the park,” Bothwell said. Bothwell added recognition signage will be evaluated for large Capehart Park-improvement donors. The Capehart link to the town council is at pbtowncouncil.org/about/capehart-dog-park/.
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    How will Community Choice Energy work in San Diego?
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Nov 14, 2018 | 13785 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    How Community Choice Energy works.
    How Community Choice Energy works.
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    Now that Mayor Kevin Faulconer has sanctioned forming a new joint-powers entity to purchase electrical power to achieve 100 percent renewable energy citywide by 2035, the question becomes: How will that be implemented, and what are the risks? After three years of research and analysis, Faulconer selected Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) as the preferred pathway to reach the 100 percent renewable energy goal in the City’s landmark Climate Action Plan. The proposed new CCA entity, which must first be approved by the City Council, is expected to create healthy competition benefiting San Diegans. Forming a new CCA entity is expected to lower energy costs by 5 percent or more for ratepayers, plus help the City reach its renewable energy goal by 2035 – a decade ahead of the state’s goal. “I want San Diego to lead this region into a cleaner future,” Faulconer said. “This gives consumers a real choice, lowers energy costs for all San Diegans, and keeps our city on the cutting edge of environmental protection. We are a city where our environment is central to our quality of life and Community Choice will ensure we leave behind a better and cleaner San Diego than the one we inherited. What is Community Choice Energy? Community Choice Energy or Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) envisions bringing local control and freedom of choice and competition into the electricity marketplace. Currently, San Diego has only one electricity provider, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E).  Community Choice allows cities and counties to purchase power on behalf of their residents and businesses to provide cleaner power options at a competitive price. Under community choice, SDG&E would continue to deliver the power over their power lines, provide customer service and handle the billing.   A local community choice program is designed to offer a choice of providers to create competition encouraging innovation and improved pricing. But not everyone is sold on CCAs, like the Clear the Air Coalition, a group of business, environmental and taxpayer leaders, who advocate a cautious approach to changing San Diego’s existing electrical power distribution system.  Contacted by Beach & Bay Press, SDG&E spokesperson Tony Manolatos referenced the following story “San Diego Should Carefully Weigh the Costs and Benefits of Government-Controlled Energy” published at clearair.us, which he said “covers all the main points.” “The City of San Diego should carefully weigh the costs and benefits of government-controlled energy before flipping the switch and moving residents and businesses into such a program,” states the story. “If the city decides to form a CCA, would it actually help San Diego reach its clean air goals faster and cheaper than current state laws require? … To date, CCAs have been reluctant to purchase long-term contracts for renewable energy, or build new facilities. As a result, CCAs mostly buy and sell existing green energy, a practice that does not create new local jobs or clean our air any faster. … The evidence indicates a San Diego CCA would not meet the city’s goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2035, or create many new jobs, but it would create risk for taxpayers, who are ultimately the backstop of any government-controlled energy program.” Community choice proponent Tyson Siegele represents But It Just Might work.com, a clean energy advocacy group. Noting SDG&E under law is, “not allowed to oppose community choice energy,” Siegele pointed out SDG&E’s parent company, Sempra, “is not a regulated utility” and therefore is allowed to oppose community choice. Nonetheless, Siegele noted that, “In theory, SDG&E shouldn’t lose any money if community choice happens, or doesn’t.” But Siegele was quick to point out San Diego pays some of the highest per-kilowat per-unit rates for electricity in the state adding, “Californians have, on average, a 50 percent higher electricity cost than the nationwide average.” Argued Siegele, “We’ve had a massive ramp-up in the number of community choice energy programs in the past five years statewide. It just makes sense to give our communities more control over where their energy comes from, and what it costs.” But even if successful, a transition to community choice by San Diego will take some time, said Siegele. “In all likelihood, the entire process will take a little more than two years, and the shortest time it could be effect would be January of 2021,” he said.   Community Choice Energy Timeline December 2018: Resolution of intent available for docketing at City Council. Spring 2019: Begin formal meetings with potential JPA partners to negotiate structure and guiding principles. Summer 2019: City Council action to officially form new JPA. Fall 2019: JPA begins hiring staff, including CEO and CFO. Staff develops implementation plan for submittal to CPUC. 2020: JPA continues to establish operations. CPUC approval expected. 2021: CCA begins service to customers with phased-in approach throughout the year.
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    Mission Bay’s Boogie Ellis commits to play at Duke
    Nov 12, 2018 | 11423 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    At the signing ceremony are Justin Moore, a former point guard for MBHS who played for Georgia Tech, Boogie Ellis, and Mission Bay boys basketball coach Marshawn Cherry. 
    At the signing ceremony are Justin Moore, a former point guard for MBHS who played for Georgia Tech, Boogie Ellis, and Mission Bay boys basketball coach Marshawn Cherry. 
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    Mission Bay High School boys basketball combo guard Rejean (Boogie) Ellis announced that he has committed to play basketball for Duke University. During the ceremony at the MBHS gym on Friday Nov. 9, Ellis said, "After talking with God, my family, coach Marshawn Cherry, and my trainer, I decided to go to Duke University."  Ranked as one of the 30 best players in the class of 2019, Ellis received scholarship offers from several schools including Duke, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Southern California, San Diego State University, and University of Memphis. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, and UNC-Chapel Hill coach Roy Williams, visited Mission Bay to actively recruit Ellis. Mission Bay boys basketball coach Cherry said: “Ellis has a great work ethic and love for the game. He had the drive and determination to be the best player to come out of San Diego."
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    Community briefs for Pacific Beach and Mission Beach
    Nov 03, 2018 | 19097 views | 2 2 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Tap Fever Studios, at 2180 Garnet Ave., held several flash mob performances of the iconic zombie-themed dance in Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ music video at Crystal Pier (above), Belmont Park, Old Town, and UTC throughout October. Community members rehearsed at the nonprofit dance studio in Pacific Beach before becoming ‘zombies’ to give unsuspecting people a ‘scary’ dance on the boardwalk.
    Tap Fever Studios, at 2180 Garnet Ave., held several flash mob performances of the iconic zombie-themed dance in Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ music video at Crystal Pier (above), Belmont Park, Old Town, and UTC throughout October. Community members rehearsed at the nonprofit dance studio in Pacific Beach before becoming ‘zombies’ to give unsuspecting people a ‘scary’ dance on the boardwalk.
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    Pacific Beach banner program Discover PB is offering merchants an opportunity to advertise their businesses and beautify the community at the same time via banners. Banners will be placed in high-traffic corridors on Garnet Avenue, Mission Boulevard and other prime locations throughout the beach community.  “The PB banner program is a community beautification program with the intent of promoting local businesses, events and community gatherings of general public interest on the streets and public rights-of -way,” said Sara Berns, Discover PB’s executive director. “It is also a way to promote neighborhood pride and identity.” Banners costing $350 include a business logo on the merchant’s choice of a Shop, Play, Eat or Farmers' Market banner to promote shopping small while encouraging tourists and locals alike to shop, eat and stay local.  Banner sponsorships are open to all PB small businesses and local organizations. Proceeds from banner sales will go directly back to neighborhoods, helping to fund ongoing community improvements. “We also have a renewal discount for anyone renewing their banner from last year,” said Berns. Día de los Muertos at Old Town In honor of one of Mexico’s most vibrant holidays, Old Town icons Bazaar del Mundo and Casa Guadalajara will team up to celebrate Día de los Muertos, Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 1-3. The entrance to Casa Guadalajara will become a marketplace of artisans and merchandise from Bazaar del Mundo, face painting, and a life-size Catrina sitting in an Instagrammable 1800s carriage. Throughout the weekend, performances from lively Ballet Folklorico dancers and Casa Guadalajara’s world-class Mariachi band – all in painted skeleton faces – plus Chinelos dancers, will take place. Popular in Mexico but rarely seen in the United States, Chinelos dancers dress in vibrant, traditional costumes designed to mock Europeans and European mannerisms from the colonial period to the end of the 19th century.   Arrest made in in the Point Loma Heights homicide On Tuesday, Oct. 9, at about 11:42 p.m., the San Diego Police Department Communication Center received a 911 call regarding a person in the parking lot of 4013 W. Point Loma Blvd, who had been shot. The first police units to arrive found a black female with a gunshot wound to the upper body. Paramedics arrived and transported the victim to a local hospital. Unfortunately, the victim was pronounced dead at the hospital. The preliminary investigation revealed that the victim and the suspect were standing next to a vehicle inside the parking lot at 4013 W. Point Loma Blvd. talking. At some point the two began to argue and one gunshot was heard. The victim was seen laying on the ground in the parking lot and a dark sedan was seen leaving the area at a high rate of speed east on W. Point Loma Blvd. The suspect was described as a black male in his mid to late 30s wearing dark clothing. The victim has been identified as 20-year old Octavia Williams from Phoenix. San Diego Police Department Homicide Detectives determined that 41-year old Joe Bennette Conway shot the victim and then fled the area before police arrived. A warrant was issued for Conway’s arrest for murder. On Oct. 30, Conway was located and arrested in Tempe, Ariz. with the help of the Phoenix Police Department. Conway is being held pending extradition for the murder of Williams. Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the Homicide Unit at 619-531-2293 or Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477. Hookah lounge stabber sentenced to 4 years A man who stabbed an employee of a Pacific Beach hookah lounge was sentenced on Oct. 23 to four years in state prison. Simone Myjel Carter, 26, was given credit for already serving 93 days in jail by San Diego Superior Court Judge Polly Shamoon, which includes good conduct credits. No restitution was ordered for the Sept. 6 incident at the Pharaoh Hookah Lounge at 976 Garnet Ave. A 21-year-old employee was injured at 11:40 p.m. when he tried to eject Carter after he caused some problems in the lounge. Carter pulled a knife and stabbed the employee twice. The worker was taken to a hospital but the injuries were not life threatening. Shamoon denied probation and imposed four years in prison which Carter had agreed to accept when he pleaded guilty Sept. 20 to assault with a deadly weapon. The maximum sentence was eight years. Other charges were dismissed including two assault counts of a woman and another man and vandalism. Arrest made in Midway District homicide On Oct. 29 at 1:45 p.m., the San Diego Police Department Communication Center received a 911 call regarding a subject who was injured and possibly deceased inside the X-Spot adult bookstore located at 3600 Midway Drive. Fire personnel arrived on scene and found a 65-year-old white female with trauma to her upper body who was deceased. Fire personnel exited the business and police officers entered the location to ensure no one else was inside. San Diego Police homicide detectives were called to the scene to investigate the incident. Based on information developed during their investigation, 39-year-old Shaun Ward was identified as the suspect. Ward was arrested in the City of San Diego on Oct. 29 and was booked into jail for the murder. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Nov. 1 at 1:30 p.m. The victim was identified as 65- year-old Diane Spagnuolo of El Cajon. Dogs from Florida now available for adoption Some of the dogs transferred to San Diego from shelters in Florida are ready to find loving homes. On Oct. 18, 93 dogs were flown to San Diego to create space at shelters in the Florida Panhandle for animals who have been displaced by Hurricane Michael. The Florida dogs are available for adoption at San Diego Humane Society’s San Diego Campus (5500 Gaines St.). These pets are not direct victims of Hurricane Michael. They are dogs who were transported to San Diego to create room for pets who have been lost, strayed or abandoned due to the hurricane. These pets do not have owners who will be searching for them when the conditions improve. All of the dogs will be spayed/neutered, current on vaccinations and microchipped. The available dogs can be found at sdhumane.org/pet and can be identified by the tag “#hm.” Adoptions are on a first-come, first-served basis. Drop-off locations open for mail ballot voters Mail-ballot voters have options when it comes to turning in their ballots for the Nov. 6 Gubernatorial General Election. They can send in their ballot by mail, drop it off at the Registrar of Voters Office in Kearny Mesa or drop it off at any one of 59 additional sites (including the Pacific Beach Library on Cass Street) throughout the county before Election Day. The drop-off sites will be open during each location’s regular business hours from Monday, Oct. 29 through Election Day. The high number of contests in the Nov. 6 election means San Diego County voters will be getting a two-card ballot, with races listed on the front and back of each card. The quicker that ballots are returned to the Registrar’s Office, the quicker they can be prepared for counting Election Night, saving time and taxpayer dollars. Fall Fest at Belmont Park Belmont Park’s Fall Fest continues during November, Fridays through Sundays, 5 p.m. to close. In the spirit of giving, Belmont Park has partnered with the San Diego Food Bank by hosting a free-ride food drive with a donation of five canned food items Fridays through Sundays, 5 p.m. to close. On Saturday nights in November, guests (18 and older) may sign up to compete in free pie eating contests to win a family four-pack of combo wristbands. Free entertainment will also be offered on select dates. The park will hold a military and veterans’ weekend 5 p.m. to close November 9-12, including all day on Nov. 12. Wristbands will be half off for veterans, military and dependents with valid I.D. On Monday, Nov. 12 at Beach House, veterans can enjoy a free burger and beer with I.D. 100 Wave Challenge raises $325,000 Team Surf Dogs – comprised of Turbo, a wave-dancing Golden Retriever, Koa, a gregarious, goofy-footed Chocolate Lab, and Tristan, a tenacious surfing Westie – were among the surfers who recently caught 100 waves in one day in Mission Beach. The trio of surfing canines raised $4,164, while capturing the hearts of their fellow surfers and spectators gathered on the beach to watch the 100 Wave Challenge unfold. Surfers representing the United States Coast Guard Sector, San Diego raised $5,864, narrowly edging out the San Diego Fire Department Surf Club as the winner of the inaugural First Responders Cup. Degree 33 Surfboards topped the leader board of surf teams at $36,406, earning them a weekend surfing adventure in Las Gaviotas, Mexico. Surfing world champion and Boys to Men Mentoring Network surf legend Shaun Tomson earned the title as Top Individual Surfer, bringing in $32,000. It costs $25,000 to bring a Boys to Men mentorship program to a new school campus. Thanks to the passion and commitment of 100 Wave Challenge Surfers and Surf Angels, and the organization's sponsors. a handful of new mentoring programs will be launched on regional middle and high school campuses in the coming months.
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