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    Point Loma High grad sailing to Rio as an Olympian
    by LAINIE FRASER
    Jul 19, 2016 | 33181 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Briana Provancha (right) will be representing the United States and San Diego while sailing in the 2016 Summer Olympic games in Brazil with her long time teammate and friend Annie Haeger. / Photo by Onne van der Wal
    Briana Provancha (right) will be representing the United States and San Diego while sailing in the 2016 Summer Olympic games in Brazil with her long time teammate and friend Annie Haeger. / Photo by Onne van der Wal
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    Briana Provancha (left) with her long time teammate and friend Annie Haeger. / Photo by Will Ricketson
    Briana Provancha (left) with her long time teammate and friend Annie Haeger. / Photo by Will Ricketson
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    Team Haeger Provancha is bringing a little Point Loma to Rio de Janeiro for the Olympic Games this summer. Briana Provancha will be representing the United States and San Diego while sailing in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil with her long time teammate and friend Annie Haeger. Provancha started sailing at the age of 8 when a family friend introduced her to the sport, an opportunity she says she is forever thankful for. “My dad, my sister and I went to the Mission Bay Yacht Club a lot with a family friend,” Provancha said. “They had bay races every Sunday and one day the crew didn’t show up. They asked if I would race and then asked me back every Sunday after that.” Born and raised in San Diego, Provancha sailed competitively through high school at the Southwestern Yacht Club in Point Loma. According to Provancha, the more time she spent involved in the sport the deeper her love for it grew. “When sailing there is this feeling of being in control of your own destiny,” she said. “Very few 8-year-olds get that awesome feeling.” While attending Point Loma High, Provancha started to make a name for herself in the competitive sailing world. She won four national high school sailing championships and qualified for the ISAF Youth World team in 2005, 2006 and 2007. By the time she was 16, Provancha had successfully competed in races around the world. The Point Loma High graduate then went on to Boston College where she sailed for five years and officially partnered with her current teammate Haeger. At Boston College, team Haeger Provancha proved to be a force to be reckoned with. “When sailing with a teammate, communication is everything and that comes with its challenges but it has been wonderful sharing this experience with someone,” said Provancha. “I am so thankful for Annie.” Provancha lead the Boston College sailing team to seven national titles and she received numerous awards from the school including Women’s MVP and Outstanding Senior. “There were people at BC that believed in me from the moment my freshman year started,” Provancha said. “I and they believed this was my path and we made sure I was prepared for the Olympic process.” In 2012, Provancha graduated from Boston College with a bachelor of science in marketing and the Olympics in her sights. In April, she and Haeger qualified for the Summer Games, a reality Provancha said she doesn’t think she will ever get used to. “Every kid watches the opening ceremonies and wonders what that experience must be like,” Provancha said. “I can’t wait to walk in next to Annie and I am excited to share this moment with those in my life who have made sacrifices, particularly my family.” Team Haeger Provancha will sail for gold in August. They both can be easily spotted by the white zinc they wear on their faces. “My dad was a stickler for sunscreen growing up, but after a while you can’t tell if it’s still on,” she said, “When you spend three to six hours out on the water you need to be protected and zinc works perfectly because you can see it. Now it is just part of our routine and you’ll definitely see it in Rio.” Provancha is excited for what the United States team as a whole has to offer at this year’s games and said the vibe across the board is great. “It’s all about the path and where you come from,” Provancha said. “San Diego is one of the best sailing communities and one of the best overall communities and I am honored to represent the United States and San Diego in the games. It would be great to bring a medal home.”
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    Free, fun and early workouts inspire November Project SD
    by JENNY WERTH
    Jul 18, 2016 | 6931 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    One of the recent locations November Project SD worked out at was Sunset Cliffs.
    One of the recent locations November Project SD worked out at was Sunset Cliffs.
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    November Project SD tribe members workout near Sunset Cliffs.
    November Project SD tribe members workout near Sunset Cliffs.
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    As the sun rises across the United States the tribes of the November Project can be found greeting the day with sweat, smiles and silliness. This is not your typical workout group. First off, locating a consistently free (yes, free) guided workout is next to impossible; finding one that meets with a reliability that parallels that of a military boot-camp is remarkable. Enter November Project to alter the culture of working out and the entire concept behind it. The November Project guarantees that at 6:29 a.m. an enthusiastic tribe (group) of extremely motivated people will be geared up and ready to follow one of their tribe member’s lead to the next hour-long class (rain or shine). In San Diego, one of the three leaders is Ashleigh Voychick. This is a woman who could easily be cast in a reality show such as “American Ninja Warrior” or even “Survivor,” but for now, she is one of the leaders along with Eugene Kim and Angelo Neroni. Voychick, a Pacific Beach resident, said she never knew how being a tribe leader would dramatically influence her life. “It blows my mind that all I am doing is dishing out a gnarly workout, acting crazy and having a great time, but somehow making a world of a difference to so many people in my community.” Really, this kind of “buzz” about the November Project is a common theme among enthusiasts nationwide – just read their blogs. Co-founder of November Project and current La Jolla resident Brogan Graham said the movement’s success only confirmed his belief that “the world needs more kindness and more free outdoor classes. It’s not surprising (to me). The better we get on our smartphones, the worse we get at communication.” Although the free fitness movement started in Boston, it has already traveled to 20 other cities in the United States, seven in Canada and two in Europe. Voychick said many participants become part of an “extended family” and create lifelong friendships and even unexpected romances. “The people at November Project don’t come because it’s an obligation or because they feel guilty that they spent money on it. They come for the good vibes, the hugs, and the workout. So when you #justshowup and it is free for everyone, there is a different feel to it all.” However, just because there’s a bunch of active folks gathering at the crack of dawn to workout doesn’t mean one should feel intimidated to try out the group. It’s not just for people who are already in great shape or happen to be extroverts. It’s a group for everyone. And everyone, literally, from the 99-year-old to the baby (and even the dog), are invited. “It’s (for) adults who still want to play. There are two rules: (you) have to be kind and you have to work your butt out,” Graham explained. Voychick seconds Graham’s thoughts. “I would tell people not to feel nervous and to trust me – if they regret coming, I will buy them breakfast.” Plus, she added that the group “has been the most positive influence in my life and my family’s life.” In fact, it seems no one can say enough about the life-changing results found in the November Project. Everyone can just show up. It’s that simple. Arrive and be ready to go at 6:29 a.m. and plan to leave at 7:29 a.m. The group meets every Wednesday at Balboa Park at the Bea Evenson Fountain and on Mondays for the rest of July they’ll be meeting at the Ocean Beach Pier. In August, the group will meet on Mondays at Tourmaline Beach in Pacific Beach. The group changes their Monday locations every month, however Wednesdays are always in Balboa Park. Voychick is a trooper and Graham knows it. “The success of the November Project has to do with the leaders… look at Ashleigh… she’s a powerhouse person and no matter where she is, people gravitate to her.” Voychick has been with the San Diego tribe since its inception in September 2013. The tribe was among the first seven groups to form. Visit www.november-project.com for more information and to read their hilarious blogs.
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    Glamour, film and celebs to descend on La Jolla for International Fashion Film Festival
    by TERRI STANLEY
    Jul 18, 2016 | 2162 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    When the 2016 La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival gets rolling in a few weeks it promises to be the most glamorous, well attended, artistic, and important edition of the annual gathering to date. Filmmakers, media and film festival jurors will fly in from across the globe for the three-day event, which runs from July 28 through 30, to meet and connect in this burgeoning art genre called the “fashion film.” The festival shows only short films, usually less than five minutes in length, in which fashion plays an important part or has some significance and are meant to emotionally connect the viewer to the fashion brand that creates the film. Several of the films that will screen this year will be world premieres and the first time the public will be able to see them. Known as the “Cannes of the fashion film world,” the festival has two films that previewed at Cannes this year, highlighting the creativity and talent this festival attracts. Because the LJIFFF has completed its seventh year, it is now eligible to become an Academy Award-qualifying film festival, which means more recognition for the filmmakers and more importantly, if they win one of the International Fashion Film Awards, known as the IFFA’s, at the festival, those films are then eligible for an Academy Award nomination and possible Oscar. The brainchild of Fred Sweet, a longtime La Jolla resident and owner of San Diego Model Management, the largest SAG/AFTRA model and talent agency south of LA, the LJIFFF will feature many events that include screenings, seminars and a Red Carpet award night at the Museum of Contemporary Art on Prospect Street. “It’s a world-class festival and our people are fabulous,” says Sweet. “La Jolla is an exotic location with great energy and I am very proud of it. People come from all over the world to meet and there are many collaborations that have resulted over the years, which is extremely satisfying to me.” Installations created by artists from Mexico, Paris, New York and Italy will be on display at the ultra-sophisticated restaurant The Lot, which will also host the after-parties. Sweet describes the drive that fueled the project from the beginning as something bordering on obsession, but in reality he has taken the LJIFFF from an insider industry celebration of editorial fashion shoots brought to life through video online to the recognized premier fashion film festival in the world. When asked about the surging popularity of this budding art genre among filmmakers, Sweet explains the rise and importance of the fashion film. “As power in Hollywood has swung to the creative class, the demand for quality content has exploded,” he said. “Most fashion films are sponsored by fashion brands, however many are made to showcase the creative and production skills of their directors. “La Jolla has emerged as the proving ground for cutting-edge creatives worldwide to have their work seen by the new global content distributors. It is a wide-open industry at the beginning of its life.” With more than 11,000 submissions this year, the jurors narrowed the field down to 100 short films vying for 19 coveted awards. The LJIFFF is a global event and artists and filmmakers from Russia, China, South America, Sweden, New York and Hollywood will be among the several representing their work and vying to leave with an IFFA. Two screenings will be held at the Museum of Contemporary Art and are free and open to the public, as well as a red carpet event prior to Saturday night’s award ceremony, which is invitation only. The communities of La Jolla and San Diego are invited to attend the red carpet event and meet the directors, actors, artists and industry people who will be available to discuss their work. Sweet describes the red carpet as more beautiful than most and one that can rival any red carpet in Hollywood on any given night. “We’re not at the stage where you’re going to see Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt but we like to say we’re the red carpet for everyone else,” says Sweet. “We attract so many people from all over the world who deserve recognition for their amazing work.” While all of the nominated submissions are undoubtedly artistic, visionary and inspirational, a few of them stand out for their originality and sheer beauty. Nominated for eight awards, Dutch director Ester Dorhaut Mees’ film “Nubivagant” brings stunning imagery through movement to the screen using animalistic illusion as silhouettes. The film “Sulpher” by award-winning Hollywood director Michael Sanchez provides a vivid stylistic contrast as his film explores a forbidden virtual love story between two avatars as they escape their own reality into the next. The fusion of art and fashion lends itself to provocative, sensual images combined with a creative narrative that should appeal to anyone with an interest in art, film and fashion. The LJIFFF is unique in that it is privately funded by a small group Sweet put together as well as a few anonymous donors in the community, who appreciate what he and his team are doing. He says he is acutely aware of the authenticity and purity of the LJIFFF and at this point is not entertaining the idea of bringing sponsors on board to absorb some of the costs and potentially profit on the event, though he has been approached many times. Sweet’s emphasis is on maintaining its credibility and is most interested in the quality of the people attending. “Everyone gets one go-round in their life and I wanted to create a festival that is unique in the world and uncommercialized,” Sweet says, “but who knows what the future holds? Our goal is to support independent, creative professionals around the globe and if a potential sponsor is aligned with those core values then I would say sure, let’s talk.” Many elements of the festival are free and open to the public. For a full event schedule go to www.ljfff.com/interactive-event-schedule-ljifff-2016/.
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    City Council approves plan to enhance Mission Bay, Balboa parks
    Jul 12, 2016 | 18405 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    A woman runs on the path around Mission Bay in Pacific Beach. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    A woman runs on the path around Mission Bay in Pacific Beach. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    With the goal of enhancing and preserving San Diego’s regional parks for generations to come, July 12 the City Council unanimously approved Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer’s plan for a grand restoration of the city’s major parks that would make available hundreds of millions of more dollars for Mission Bay Park and regional parks, including Balboa Park. The measure for the November 2016 ballot would extend 2008’s Proposition C – co-authored by then-Councilmember Faulconer – to direct a portion of Mission Bay lease revenue toward capital investment in Mission Bay Park and regional parks for an additional 30 years. This will result in continued annual revenue for Mission Bay Park and regional parks, including funds that can be used to revitalize historic buildings and structures in Balboa Park. The measure also expedites high-priority infrastructure projects for Mission Bay Park, such as lighting, bicycle trails, public restrooms and playgrounds. “The money generated in our parks should be used to improve our parks,” Faulconer said. “This measure will help us invest hundreds of millions of dollars in Mission Bay Park, Balboa Park and other regional parks, leaving our generation’s mark on San Diego’s historic and recreational treasures to ensure their preservation for future San Diegans.”  The ballot measure needs a simple majority of voters for approval.
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    Doing the Lord’s work in Pacific Beach, ‘Minister’ Dance-Cellah spreads love
    by MARSHA KAY SEFF
    Jul 11, 2016 | 3493 views | 1 1 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Dance-Cellah inside her van. / Photo by Marsha Kay Seff
    Dance-Cellah inside her van. / Photo by Marsha Kay Seff
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    She lives in a bright-turquoise van parked around Pacific Beach that proclaims “Yeshua /Jesus Saves,” relies on a wheelchair after losing a leg, showers at a local gym – and “ministers” to the beach’s homeless. For all that, the woman who calls herself “Dance-Cellah” believes she’s “blessed.” Sure, the septuagenarian with three grandchildren admits, her two children think she’s kooky. “I am kind of kooky.” And confined to a “funny farm” for “alcohol-induced psychosis” three decades ago, she admits she had lost her way. But she says she’s been sober since she was 40, graduated from college after that and then was “called by God” to live among the homeless and “minister” to them. With three marriages behind her, the woman, who says her real name is Nancel Lauffer and was once both a secretary and dancer, lives on a $1,700 a month Social Security check from her “best husband.” “People may think I have a screw loose, but whatever Jesus did, people thought he was crazy. Doing what is right can make you look crazy.” Crazy or not, the woman, who dresses in long, peasant skirts and a choice of a half-dozen big hats, believes, “God allowed me to lose a leg (in a freak van accident)” for good reasons. For one thing, after recuperating in a convalescent home where she claims patients were abused, she has been on a mission for more oversight, including cameras, in skilled-nursing facilities. Meanwhile, “I thought I was supposed to make money, but the Lord sent me to the boardwalk.” Dance-Cellah says the homeless come to the driver’s-side window of her van and she prays for them. Sometimes, she offers them bananas and sandwiches. “I do not try to change them. I accept them as they are. I love them unconditionally.” She does discuss their options and says some of the people in her prayers have started feeling better about themselves, sobered up and found jobs. Of her life on the streets, Dance-Cellah assures people, “It’s not lonely because I’m not alone. I’m married to the Lord.”
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    Jrthiel1985
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    July 12, 2016
    I used to be on the streets along time ago and it wasnt pleasant but i had to walk this path for a reason. At the time i was struggling with my gf and children on the road in pacific beach and me being the social person I am ran into Nancel she was in her van and she asked if I need a prayer and I said yes and we became very close friends over the years and without her I don't believe I would be where I am today with a job with beautiful children. Best man I used to be really heavy on drugs and she kept me on the right path and to this day I've been clean and sober for over 5 years he is a very important lady and I support her in every single way she will always be my rock and I hope she knows this I love you Nancel you thank you for all the blessings all of the comfort that you've ever shown me just know it means the world to me and you were like a mother to me on the street and now you always be my friend God bless you.
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