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    Pacific Beach couple starting a movement with buckets, grabbers and Instagram
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Feb 16, 2019 | 2672 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Natalie Sollock (above) and Charley Kausen of Pacific Beach started picking up trash in the community.
    Natalie Sollock (above) and Charley Kausen of Pacific Beach started picking up trash in the community.
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    Charley Kausen and Natalie Sollock of Pacific Beach are voluntarily picking up trash in the community and urging others to follow suit by providing an incentive to “Don’t Trash PB.” For a $15 Venmo mobile pay service “loan,” they’ll provide a branded bucket and hand-controlled extension trash “grabber” for others committing to doing their own community clean-up. “We send the person $5 back each time they send us a picture of their bucket full of garbage via email or post and tag us on Instagram,” Kausen and Sollock said in an email. “If they fill the bucket three times – the bucket, and grabber, are theirs forever. If at any time they don't want to participate, they can return the bucket and grabber and get any remaining deposit back in full.” They said the Venmo deposit is merely a way to ensure people actually use both clean-up tools provided, and not just let them sit in their garages. Discussing the origin of their clean-up project named “Don’t Trash PB,” Sollock said, “Charley was obsessive picking up trash every day on our walk to the beach, picking it up with his hands. Then we wised up and picked up a bucket and grabber.” Soon, the pair were out there showing and doing by personal example. It got attention, and results. “People started shouting at us out of their (car) windows, ‘Hey, what are you guys doing?’” said Kausen, adding others expressed interest in joining once told. “It finally dawned on us that all others needed to get involved was their own bucket and grabber,” said Sollock, adding that, by buying in bulk, they were able to bring the cost for the two pick-up tools down to about $10. “We then flocked to Instagram to help spread the word about it,” she added. The pair said a dozen or more people have taken them up on their bucket-and-grabber offer. And the word is spreading. “We don’t really have a mission statement,” said Sollock. “The whole idea was just to get people actively cleaning up in their own neighborhoods. We just wanted to provide the tools for them to do that.” To get a bucket and grabber, people can reach out to Kausen and Sollock on Instagram @donttrashpb, or email donttrashpb@gmail.com.
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    Mayor proposes new regulations for scooters and bikes
    Feb 15, 2019 | 9567 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Electric scooters near the boardwalk in Mission Beach. Using geofencing technology, operators will be required to slow their devices down to eight miles per hour on the boardwalks in Mission Beach, Pacific Beach and La Jolla beach areas. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    Electric scooters near the boardwalk in Mission Beach. Using geofencing technology, operators will be required to slow their devices down to eight miles per hour on the boardwalks in Mission Beach, Pacific Beach and La Jolla beach areas. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    On Feb. 14, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer released a set of proposed regulations for dockless scooters and bicycles to address public safety concerns by slowing the devices down in heavily-trafficked public spaces, establish clear rules of the road to hold operators accountable, and charge an annual fee for each device. The proposed ordinance will be discussed at the City Council’s Feb. 20 Active Transportation and Infrastructure Committee meeting. Faulconer’s proposed regulations cover six primary areas – limiting maximum speed of motorized scooters in designated zones, vehicle staging and parking, rider education, data sharing, fees and legal indemnification for the City of San Diego. The mayor’s proposed regulations include: Permit and fees: Each company wishing to operate within City limits will be issued a six-month permit and will be required to pay $150 per device annually. Operators will only be allowed to amend or renew their permit, including increasing the size of their fleet, during the permit issuance months of January and June. Companies offering an approved equity program can receive a $15 per device reduction in their annual fee. Operators will also be required to pay a “performance bond,” which can be returned in the event they cease operation in San Diego and remove their devices.  Limiting speed: Using geofencing technology, operators will be required to slow their devices down to eight miles per hour in designated high-pedestrian traffic zones around the City, including: - Boardwalks in Mission Beach, Pacific Beach and La Jolla beach areas; - Spanish Landing; - Petco Park; - Balboa Park; - NTC Park; - Mission Bay Park. In two other areas in downtown San Diego, scooters will be required to slow to three miles per hour, with riders being notified they are in a no-ride zone. Those areas are:  - North and South Embarcadero; - Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade. Staging and parking: Operators may stage their devices in groups of up to four, and there must be 40 feet between groups of staged devices. They will also be prohibited from staging in school zones and hospital zones. Additionally, users will be prohibited from ending their rides in some areas, including the beach area boardwalks, the perimeter of Petco Park and the north and south Embarcadero walks in downtown. The City will encourage residents to report misplaced or abandoned bikes and scooters through the “Get It Done” application. Operators will be notified of the reports and will have three hours to remove the devices or face potential impound and associated fees.   City indemnification: Each operator will be required to indemnify the City from liability claims and each will need to hold a liability insurance policy. Rider education: Prior to each use, companies will be required to educate riders of local and state vehicle and traffic codes and the cost of a citation for violating those laws. Each device also will need to be clearly labeled “Riding on Sidewalks is Prohibited” and include operator age requirements. “The City of San Diego is taking a smart approach to dockless mobility,” said Colin Parent, executive director of Circulate San Diego. “San Diego is ensuring access to new transportation choices, while balancing the needs of other users of the public right-of-way.”  Data sharing: The operators will provide the City with detailed monthly reports that will be useful for Climate Action Plan monitoring and mobility planning, including but not limited to: - Deployed Device Data, including fleet size and utilization rates; - Trip information, including start/end points, routes, distances and duration; - Parking information; - Reported incidents and actions taken; - Reported obstructions/hazards and actions taken; - Maintenance activities. “We welcome more mobility options and these new regulations take a common-sense approach that will allow this emerging market to grow in a responsible way,” Faulconer said. “Scooters and e-bikes are providing an opportunity for thousands of people to get around town without a car, creating less traffic and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.” “I am pleased to see the City adopt sensible regulations for dockless scooters and bicycles that prioritizes public safety and embraces the sharing economy,” said City Councilmember Chris Cate. “Resolving this issue has been one of my top priorities, and I am appreciative that my solutions will be implemented.”
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    Do you know what to do if you find a stray kitten?
    by EMILY BLACKWOOD
    Feb 13, 2019 | 14929 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Photo courtesy of the San Diego Humane Society
    Photo courtesy of the San Diego Humane Society
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    Of course, your first instinct is to snuggle them, but that might not be the best idea. With kitten season approaching this spring, the San Diego Human Society wants local residents to be aware of the exact steps to take when you find a stray kitten.

    According to the organization’s Kitten Nursery manager Jakie Noble, nearly 3,000 0- to 8-week-old kittens were turned into the humane society last year. And there are typically two “waves” of kittens; one when the weather starts to warm up in spring and another in the fall.

    With so many kittens being born, there’s a greater chance for people to find them. So while leaving a kitten alone is probably one of the hardest things to do, it is the first step.

    “The most common mistake people make when they find kittens is they panic and remove the kittens from their environment right away,” Noble said, adding that it’s important to first assess the situation. Ask yourself if the kitten is in danger of predators, if it’s injured or if it appears to be cold or hungry.

    “If the kitten(s) are warm and quietly snuggled together, the likelihood is that the mother cat may be close by, waiting for the human to leave her nesting spot,” Noble said. “If you find a kitten alone, this could mean the mother cat is moving her litter to another nesting spot. Mom uses her mouth to pick up and move the kittens, so she can only move one kitten at a time. Be careful not to ‘steal’ a kitten she may be returning to move."

    As much as most people would love to, not everyone has enough time to sit and wait to see if the mother cat comes back. That’s when you can use what Noble calls the “flour trick.”

    “Take a small amount of flour and make a ring around the nest area. Watch from a safe distance to see if mom returns. Come back in a few hours. If you see paw prints in the flour, this is a sure sign that the mother cat is around and tending to her kittens.”

    If the mother cat does not return for her kitten(s), then it’s time to take action. If you have the availability and knowledge to take on the kittens, do so, but if you don’t, bring them to your local shelter so they can be properly evaluated and taken care of. But don’t forget about the mother cat.

    “Every effort should be made to catch/trap the mother cat too,” Noble said. “If an un-spayed cat no longer has kittens, she can immediately go back into heat and have another litter of kittens in just 60 days. The only way to break the cycle of kittens being born is to take responsibility for spaying and neutering outdoor community cats.”

    And if you do decide to take the kitten(s) in — even temporarily — Noble warns that they shouldn't be fed right away. In fact, the priority should be to get the kitten(s) warm before they eat because a cold kitten can’t successfully digest foot.

    When the kitten is warmed up, be sure you feed it the right diet, which is not cow’s milk, human food or cereal. Instead, go to your local pet supply store and buy kitten milk replacer. If you don’t have access to that, it’s important to seek assistance from our local rescue group, vet clinic or animal shelter.

    For more information about kitten care and kitten adoptions, visit sdhumane.org.

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    Ocean Beach Pier proposal
    Feb 12, 2019 | 2816 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    The Ocean Beach Pier is closed due to storm damage, but that didn’t deter Thomas Carey’s plans. With the help of friends, who decorated the pier gate with flowers, Carey proposed to Chelsea Acker on Monday, Feb. 11, exactly 962 days after their first date on the OB Pier. She said ‘Yes.’ / Photo by Jim Grant
    The Ocean Beach Pier is closed due to storm damage, but that didn’t deter Thomas Carey’s plans. With the help of friends, who decorated the pier gate with flowers, Carey proposed to Chelsea Acker on Monday, Feb. 11, exactly 962 days after their first date on the OB Pier. She said ‘Yes.’ / Photo by Jim Grant
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    The Ocean Beach Pier is closed due to storm damage, but that didn’t deter Thomas Carey’s plans. With the help of friends, who decorated the pier gate with flowers, Carey proposed to Chelsea Acker on Monday, Feb. 11, exactly 962 days after their first date on the OB Pier. She said "Yes."
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    Unity Game gives special needs students time to shine
    by SCOTT HOPKINS
    Feb 12, 2019 | 1599 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Special needs student Daniel Agosto, left, celebrates while starring in Point Loma High's fourth annual Unity Game. Cheering him on are sophomore varsity basketball players Kadence Jones, center, and Iwalani Cruz. / Photo by Cierra Gray
    Special needs student Daniel Agosto, left, celebrates while starring in Point Loma High's fourth annual Unity Game. Cheering him on are sophomore varsity basketball players Kadence Jones, center, and Iwalani Cruz. / Photo by Cierra Gray
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    Like many other nights, a basketball game was played last week in Point Loma's newly spruced up Lee Trepanier Gym. But this wasn't like any other game played there. As usual, the gym's new maroon seats were packed with cheering students. Cheerleaders danced to rocking music and players rushed up and down the court. Players hugged and high-fived each other in celebration of good plays. But this wasn't just any game. This was Point Loma’s fourth annual Unity Game, an opportunity to celebrate the high school's special needs students by making them the stars, even if for just one night. And oh, what stars they were. The two teams – called simply Maroon and White – were each composed of three varsity boys or girls basketball players and three members of the special needs population. And it wasn't just a one-night event. The varsity team members have been practicing after their regular sessions for the past two months with their soon-to-be teammates. The result? Principal Hans Becker says the game is simply "the best night of the year." The idea for the event was brought back from a CIF symposium by athletic director Alex Van Heuven. "I never expected it to become such a huge event," Van Heuven said.a When the special needs students were first approached four years ago, Van Heuven found out some were excited about becoming cheerleaders, so the school's squad was brought into the event as well. "Even though we're not playing another opponent, there's nothing the school wins, everyone comes back (for the 5:15 p.m. start) to support the students with special needs," Van Heuven said." After warmups, player introductions give the crowd an opportunity to shout as each player is introduced, accompanied by music they have chosen, "anything from rap to Telletubbies," said vice principal Kelly Lowry. "It allows each student to be in the spotlight. It's a night when everyone wins." The game is refereed by varsity basketball coaches Josh Aros and Curtis Norwood. Senior players act as coaches. While the game is played with a running clock and score is kept, it is manipulated so each special needs player scores and feels fully involved. Some varsity players have special connections with the special needs players.  "I thought it was a great experience," said senior player Wes Peterson, "especially because one of the kids named Matthew was in fourth grade with me and we've grown up together. Getting to coach him on my team was eye-opening and pretty amazing." "I think it was the best time of their lives," Peterson added. "The whole school's behind them, every one of them is a winner and we're interacting as we should." And the euphoria for the special needs participants doesn't end with the game's final whistle. "The game instills a lot of empathy in our student body," Van Heuven noted. "For weeks after, students are high-fiving the special needs kids, many of whom are still wearing their jerseys to school. They definitely have a feeling of belonging on campus."
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