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    Students create ‘Sea Change’ at Mission Beach
    by LAINIE FRASER
    May 27, 2016 | 8647 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    More than 1,000 elementary school students from around San Diego County spelled out the message ‘sea change.’           PHOTO BY HILARY MORELAND
    More than 1,000 elementary school students from around San Diego County spelled out the message ‘sea change.’ PHOTO BY HILARY MORELAND
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    More than 1,000 elementary school students from around San Diego County helped clean Mission Beach prior to spelling out 'Sea Change.'. / Photo by Lainie Fraser
    More than 1,000 elementary school students from around San Diego County helped clean Mission Beach prior to spelling out 'Sea Change.'. / Photo by Lainie Fraser
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    I Love A Clean San Diego partnered with more than 1,000 elementary school students from around San Diego County last week to create a “sea change.” On May 20, students from Title I elementary schools gathered at Mission Beach Park for Kids' Ocean Day, an annual beach clean-up. “The goal is to get these kids educated and involved,” said Sarah Buchholz, marketing manager for I Love A Clean San Diego. “We need to make a dramatic shift in everyday habits that impact the health of the environment and Pacific Ocean.” Equipped with gloves, trash bags and checklists, the students set out to pick up as much trash as they could from the sand and surrounding areas. For many of these students, it was their first experience with volunteer work; for some, it was their first trip to the beach. “I'm just glad that we get the beach all to ourselves today,” Title I elementary school student Julie Summer said. “And we get to try to make it beautiful.” The students and volunteers started collecting trash at Mission Beach Park and made their way along the water toward South Mission Beach. A record of the collected trash was compiled, and an aerial photo of living art spelling “Sea Change” was taken. Title I schools are schools serving students from high-poverty backgrounds and receiving federal assistance. “For many of these kids, their environmental impact is not something they think about every day,” Stacy Vaughn, a parent and volunteer from Florence Elementary School, said. “But it doesn't matter where a child comes from; they are leaving a footprint.” Prior to the clean-up, presentations were made at the different schools, teaching students about the power and importance of a clean ocean, what it means for their future and what they can do to help. Bringing them to the beach gave them a hands-on learning experience. “These students are reflecting that we are on the verge of a 'sea change' in how we relate to the ocean and the rest of the natural world,” California Coastal Commission Chair Steve Kinsey said. “Since the problems facing our ocean were caused by us, it is up to us to find a way to address them.” Along with the eager and energized students, a variety of other volunteers had chosen to donate their time to help lead the students and participate in the clean-up. Kohl's, Cox Communications, the San Diego County Bar Association and the Navy all had a substantial volunteer presence at the event. “My manager came last year and loved it and wanted to bring a group this year,” Kohl's associate and volunteer Elena Goleta said. “If this helps kids and helps clean up San Diego, I'm there.” According to Goleta, we live in a beautiful city that will not remain this way if we continue to neglect it. According to Buchholz, the clean-up is designed to leave kids educated and inspired to be “lifelong environmental stewards.”
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    Paddle-out for Bob-O in Ocean Beach
    May 26, 2016 | 3570 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Friends and family held a memorial paddle out at Osprey Street followed by a gathering at the Ocean Beach Women's Club on May 7. / Photo by Jim Grant
    Friends and family held a memorial paddle out at Osprey Street followed by a gathering at the Ocean Beach Women's Club on May 7. / Photo by Jim Grant
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    Robert (Bob-O) George Lockwood passed away on April 21, and friends and family held a memorial paddle out at Osprey Street followed by a gathering at the Ocean Beach Women's Club on May 7. Bob-O, as he was affectionately called by his family and friends, passed away after a valiant fight following complications from spinal cancer. Bob attended school at Stella Maris Academy in La Jolla, Sacred Heart Academy in Ocean Beach and Saint Augustine High School in San Diego and graduated from Point Loma High School. As Bob was growing up, he was an avid surfer. He was originally a member of the Sunset Cliffs Club, and the OB Longhorns. He participated in many surfing contests throughout Southern California and Hawaii. His favorite surfing spots were Osprey Street, Rincon, and Malibu, and the big waves on Oahu. Bob-O loved life and had many friends.
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    Friday night lights coming to Point Loma
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    May 26, 2016 | 1105 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Point Loma High's stadium, which has an entrance between houses, was built in 1950.
    Point Loma High's stadium, which has an entrance between houses, was built in 1950.
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    Shrugging off the implied threat of a lawsuit, San Diego Unified School District Board May 24 voted 5-0 in favor of an environmental impact report for campus and athletic facilities upgrades at Point Loma High School (PLHS), including a controversial proposal adding new stadium lights. The school board's vote followed nearly two hours of public testimony for and against multi-phase, master-planned modernization of PLHS campus and its athletic facilities. Founded in 1925, PLHS' stadium was built in 1950. A grass-roots group of neighbors surrounding the stadium have been lobbying for months against the EIR's stadium lights component. They argue it would be a community-character buster creating more traffic, parking, noise and trash problems in an already overcrowded area. A retired police officer cautioned that having more nighttime games might be an open invitation to gangs bringing more crime. One stadium lights detractor argued putting them in would contribute to “creating a ghetto high school with unrestricted sports activities.” Neighbors also expressed concern — and wanted assurances — that PLHS' field use policy would not be “commercialized.” They fear the school's proposal to restrict the number of nighttime events held annually could be changed. PLHS' open-field policy limits nighttime events to 18, not including playoff games, or the use of the lights to allow completion of games and practices that carry over into darkness. Opponents also argued that renting the stadium facility to outside interests would financially benefit SDUSD, but not PLHS students, for whom modernization is intended. “The real focus ought to be on education at PLHS, not on athletics,” argued one neighbor opposed to the EIR's approval, who noted students' tenure there is “very short lived,” while neighbors “are around for lifetimes — generations.” That remark invited a counter-response from PLHS head football coach Mike Hastings. “That football field is my classroom and it teaches life values and skills, not only to athletes, but to every kid who's ever been taught phys ed there,” Hastings said. “We do need these lights. Our school is only 90 years old, and will be around longer than we are, and will benefit our community for generations to come.” Noting any proposed change in the existing PLHS open-field policy would have to come back to the SDUSD board for approval, board vice president Richard Barrera made a successful motion requiring that PLHS neighbors be given ample notice in the future should there ever be any proposed changes to the open-field policy. “This is going to impact the quality of life of this neighborhood, creating more noise and traffic and significant, unavoidable impacts,” argued another EIR opponent. Several students claimed new stadium lighting is absolutely essential. One band member said lighting is so poor currently that parents at their practices had to shine their car lights onto the field in order for the band to finish after-school practice. The PLHS Whole-Site Modernization and Athletic Facilities Upgrade Project, of which proposed stadium lights is a part, is the first phase of planned long-range improvements at the school that also include demolition of the existing media center/classroom building; construction of a new three-story building, containing a new media center and 20 new classrooms; renovation of the current 200 and 300 buildings; construction of new security features allowing a single path of access to the campus during school hours; a new arched façade along Chatsworth Boulevard that will provide some connection to the school's beloved original Spanish design; construction of turnouts for school buses to leave more space for vehicles passing in front of the campus; construction of a 150-square-foot main distribution building for better distribution of technology; and installation of overall security improvements. Attorney Bob Ottilie, representing stadium lights opponents, said “My clients reject this proposal, which is unlawful because it violates San Diego zoning and land-use laws. The eir identifies extensive non-academic commercial uses of the athletic field.” Warning similar school projects statewide have been rejected in court, Ottilie added, “We hope to resolve this in mediation, not litigation.” “The guiding principle for me is, is this best for the students?” asked board member Sharon Whitehurst-Payne, noting she found student discussion of the safety risk from poor lighting to be “disturbing.” Board member John Lee Evans noted the EIR for the modernization has been a “very thorough process.” “This is a good compromise,” said board member Kevin Beiser. “We want to have quality schools in every neighborhood, and quality neighborhoods around every school,” concluded board president Michael McQuary. “We want to put the students and education first, as well as incorporating the needs of our community and our neighbors.”
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    Some shark bites are better than others; Tower Paddle Boards building a national brand
    by TERRI STANLEY
    May 25, 2016 | 16593 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Stephan Aarstol, founder and CEO of Tower Paddle Boards.
    Stephan Aarstol, founder and CEO of Tower Paddle Boards.
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    Stephan Aarstol, founder and CEO of Tower Paddle Boards, says he had never heard of the reality show “Shark Tank” when he got a call in 2011 from one of their producers asking if he would appear on the hit reality ABC television show to pitch his new company to the gleefully carnivorous pack of tycoons (the “sharks”) who could potentially grant his entrepreneurial wish. But Aarstol wowed the panel on national TV with his idea that he could tap into the burgeoning paddleboard industry by selling direct to consumers online, cutting production costs in half and passing the savings onto the customer, all while delivering a quality product. At the time, the company had about $35,000 in sales and he had just hired his first employee three weeks earlier. “Shark Tank” panel member Mark Cuban was so impressed he agreed to invest $150,000 into Aarstol’s new company. “Many of the entrepreneurs who have been on the show are really disgruntled. I’m going to be a millionaire now, they think, this is going to be seen by 7-8 million people, game over,” Aarstol said. “The problem is that you get this huge wave in traffic and sales but it kind of washes over you and then its back to normal and people don’t realize that unless you do something else or leverage it some other way it’s gone. “ As most entrepreneurs know, at a certain point in time in the start up of any business, the dictum “beggars can’t be choosers” is repeatedly played out. Cuban took a hefty 30 percent equity stake in the company but Aarstol, who comes from an SEO perspective, was able to leverage and maximize his fleeting fame with numerous press placements on highly trusted sites and publications as well as amp up the social media around his ecommerce company. Cuban’s initial investment in 2011 and a subsequent guaranteed line of credit for $300,000, less than what Aarstol originally asked for, but still enough to allow the fledgling company with two employees and an annual revenue of $255,000 to grow. Accepting risk while keeping an eye on opportunities within the industry is a skill that entrepreneurs must possess when trying to reach that next plateau. Aarstol convinced the media mogul that he would be able to generate revenue of $ 2 million to $3 million with three employees and could hit $5 million with four employees. Tower Paddle Boards now has nine employees and is on track to produce about $10 million in revenue for 2016. “We used some of Cuban’s money to go to inflatable paddleboards,” Aarstol said. “It’s really hard to ship a paddleboard and 15 percent of them were getting damaged. “So we looked at the inflatable boards on the market-they were inferior products and only 4 inches thick. We decided to make it thicker and redesign the ridges and made prototypes. They worked. “We ship them in a UPS box for $25, for both domestic and international markets. We can do all kinds of things on the customer service front now and you can’t damage these things, they’re indestructible-people can drive over them in their car. So we basically changed the industry.” The million dollar question for Aarstol, who has launched several companies and seen most of them fail, is how to keep growing the company now that it has cleared those first five-year hurdles and is riding its own wave of success. Tower Paddle Boards is nationwide and only occupies 3 percent of the international market so there is plenty of room to grow those numbers, but Aarstol is focusing on a bigger picture and hedging his bets. “We’re very profitable right now and paying a huge amount of taxes so we’re trying to pursue more of an Amazonian perspective of reinvesting all profits to minimize taxes,” he said. We’re creating another site called The Towermade.com, which are products made by Tower. “This is really where we feel the future of ecommerce is – a branded product where you’re buying that product directly from that brand – no distributors, no retailers – an entire category. The Tower brand is beach lifestyle, anything on the beach –sunglasses, skateboards, bikes and then apparel will follow.” With an email list of 35,000 and a magazine list of 40,000 subscribers, the idea is to grow his database to 150,000 by the end of this year and to half a million in three years. He envisions a huge media property full of lifestyle customers who will soften the blow when paddleboards go out of vogue because he and his team will be offering them the next thing. Aarstol is also pioneering a new concept in the workplace, and one he has lived by for the last 10 years. He will publish a book in July called “The Five Hour Work Day,” fivehourworkday.com, which chronicles the history of the workplace from the days of Henry Ford, who invented the eight hour work week, to the present. He describes how over the last 40 years blue and white collar workers are 80 percent more productive and should be maximizing output and minimizing input. Put simply, workers should accomplish in five hours what now takes them eight hours to complete. Aarstol believes that this system encourages you to live differently, unlock productivity and find happiness by having a more balanced lifestyle. Five-hour workdays are being implemented in his company today and he hopes that more companies will adopt its practice. “We are testing the five-hour workday at our company, we’re making it very public and proving to people that it can be done. Imagine starting your day at 8 a.m. and getting off at 1 p.m. – all the things you can do,” he said. “Go to your kids games, exercise, have the afternoon free, pursue another idea or passion. There is so much wasted time today, all of these coffee breaks, lunches and people are getting away with it,” Aarstol added. “They’re spending an hour on Facebook and the biggest ecommerce day of the year is Cyber Monday, a day when everybody is working! “We’re not only going to be the fastest growing company in San Diego and one of the fastest growing in the country but we’re going to do it with the whole company working these compressed hours,” he said. “Get in and get out – that’s what the experiment is about and it is working great.”
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    Entrepreneur Gina Champion-Cain’s secret to success? Do what you love
    by NICOLE SOURS LARSON
    May 24, 2016 | 7709 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Gina Champion-Cain
    Gina Champion-Cain
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    If you ask serial entrepreneur Gina Champion-Cain the secret to her success across an ever-evolving range of businesses, her answer is clear. "It's really simple. I just do what I love. I never would get stuck in a job I hated," she said. The daughter of a Michigan real estate developer, Champion-Cain grew up surrounded by the business she later embraced. Following graduation from the University of Michigan, she headed west to attend California Western School of Law. She chose San Diego because of two key features – proximity to the ocean and the international border. Having grown up on the water near the Canadian border, she was eager to experience Mexican border culture. Champion-Cain quickly discovered that she didn't want to practice law, yet she recognized the usefulness of a law degree in a business career. She also realized that, as a woman in a male-dominated field, she needed an extra arrow in her quiver and enrolled in the University of San Diego's MBA program. She started out in the apartment industry in the late 1980s, managing and redeveloping distressed assets spun off by the Resolution Trust Company. Her big break came in 1994 with the Irvine-based Koll Company. She joined their team tasked with redeveloping La Jolla Square Shopping Center, formerly an enclosed mall home to old May Company and I. Magnin stores. "I got a reputation for rebuilding distressed malls" and flipping them from distress to success, she explained. By 1997, Champion-Cain was ready to go out on her own, starting American National Investments. Passionate about urban areas, she bought and rehabbed a rundown Woolworth store for her first solo real estate development project, eventually bringing the House of Blues to San Diego to fill the space. No one, she explained, thought she, a rare female developer, could do it. Now in her 50s and established in her career, Champion-Cain no longer elicits doubts about the potential success of her projects, which focus increasingly on interrelated businesses in the hospitality industry. All resulted from her adaptability in pivoting when the economy tanked, her ability in recognizing a gap in the market and her agility in filling that niche. She got into the restaurant business by chance when she purchased Pacific Beach's Lamont Street Grill. Expecting to tear it down and redevelop it, she responded to community requests to retain the restaurant, reinventing it as The Patio. Three other locations, in Mission Hills, Liberty Station and Petco Park, followed, with plans for more up the coast. She acquired Saska's in Mission Beach when the founding owners retired. A beach and animal lover, Champion-Cain started her network of about 10 pet-friendly up-scale Mission Beach vacation rentals when she found no one welcomed her golden retrievers (or her elderly cat) at a beach rental. Her two Luv Surf apparel companies sprang from requests from her vacation rental guests, while The Swell, her coffee company, Andrea's Truffles, her handmade chocolatier, and Luxury Farms, two specialty gourmet markets in Mission Hills and Coronado, were natural evolutions of her restaurants. In explaining her formula for success, she returns to her roots in real estate. "It's location, location, location," she said with a laugh. "You have to be in a great location with great people around you. I always try to look at a market and ask what is missing from this market, what do you need, what works in this demographic." Champion-Cain says she loves to work and works long hours. "You have to love what you do,” she says, “and then it's not work."
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