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    Safe and relaxed: USDA program not targeting jetty cats
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Feb 23, 2017 | 6211 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Jetty cat Tiggs relaxes on a rock as the sun sets. / PHOTO BY THOMAS MELVILLE
    Jetty cat Tiggs relaxes on a rock as the sun sets. / PHOTO BY THOMAS MELVILLE
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    One of the jetty cats cleans up after a late afternoon meal. / PHOTO BY THOMAS MELVILLE
    One of the jetty cats cleans up after a late afternoon meal. / PHOTO BY THOMAS MELVILLE
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    Rumors that Mission Beach’s jetty cats may become part of the annual United States Department of Agriculture predator cull to protect endangered birds in Mission Bay has residents riled, leading to a petition drive initiated on Forcechange.com to protect the feral felines. But the outrage about the predator program removing members of the well-known cat colony may be misguided. In December 2016, the City of San Diego posted a notice about the federal predator management program noting its purpose is to “protect the endangered California least terns and their nests from predatory animals at nesting sites through Mission Bay.” The notice said actions against potential predators – skunks, raccoons and opossums including feral cats – may include monitoring, trapping, dispersal and shooting. That statement led to the rumors that the jetty cats could be targeted by the USDA program. But according to a statement on the Jetty Cats - San Diego Facebook page: "We have received a lot of messages and posts regarding the issue with the USDA. They are not trapping near our colony and any cats trapped in other areas will be taken into animal control. “We have been working with several other groups regarding the safety of our cats and we have found that this is already an active project that the USDA has been doing for 10 years now. The sad news is any wildlife (predators to the protected birds) will be killed. The methods are not humane and this should not be tolerated in such a modern society. San Diego Humane Society is actively working to fight this.” The Jetty Cats - San Diego Facebook page is run by volunteers who control the jetty cats population by using the trap-neuter-return program. The dedicated volunteers also feed and look out for the health and safety of the jetty cats. The annual Mission Bay predator cull is conducted by USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Wildlife Services, which noted previously: “Our predator management activities are meant to boost the survival rate of these endangered birds and increase their population numbers.” “Our devices are adjusted to minimize non-target take, and if non-target animals are captured, they are released or taken to local shelters,” said a USDA spokesman. “We have captured five cats since 2014 while doing this type of work. All were unharmed and taken to local shelters. “Wildlife Services posts signs and issues warnings to alert pet owners when wildlife traps or other devices are being used in an area for wildlife damage management,” the spokesman said. “These devices are only set at the request of and with permission from property owners or managers.” A nonprofit dedicated to animal welfare providing adoption and veterinarian services, San Diego Humane Society acknowleged it opposes the USDA's predator management program. “Suggesting we trap and kill one group of wildlife to save another is contrary to the mission of San Diego’s oldest nonprofit, and not the answer,” said San Diego Humane Society spokesperson Kelli Schry. “For 136 years, SDHS has forged common ground in our community for working together on humane and effective solutions for companion and wild animals. No one denies that the problems caused by outdoor cats are real. “We believe that trap-neuter-return programs, matched with effective public education campaigns to reduce the number of owned cats outdoors, will produce measurable results in the years ahead. Studies have shown that TNR is the most successful method we have of controlling healthy feral cat colonies. And it’s the most humane,” Schry said. Noting San Diegans “have the power and responsibility to speak up for the voiceless,” Schry added, “TNR and the other humane strategies for outdoor cats and wildlife represent a forward-thinking approach that is in tune with both ecological sensibility and the practical realities of protecting our animals and preserving our ecosystem. We don’t need to war with animals so much as we need to work together to make sure our pets and wildlife are safe now and in the future.” Asked their views on the jetty cat issue by Beach & Bay Press on NextDoor.com, several Pacific Beach residents responded. “My point of view is based solely on my opposition to the notion of culling anything … cruel and avoidable,” said Sara Jouin-Nah of PB. “Killing any animal, especially a cat, is never a 'good idea,' ” said Art Morris of PB. “Now, for the previous owners of abandoned cats … don't get me started.” “These poor cats need a chance to go to a good home rather than ending their lives because of humans who don't care for them,” said Susan Srouse of Pacific Beach. “Please help these feral cats.” Addressed to San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, a preamble to the Forcechange.com petition to save the jetty cats reads: “A proposed roundup in the Mission Bay area of San Diego could result in the barbaric killing of stray cats by nearly any means deemed appropriate, including the shooting of cats ... The intended proposal will involve the placement of traps throughout the Mission Bay area, and could threaten a well-maintained and beloved feral cat colony ... The laying out of traps to capture these semi-tame cats, only to have them euthanized or possibly shot offsite, is cruel and unnecessary.” The jetty cat petition in its entirety is at forcechange.com/164591/stop-the-brutal-killing-of-feral-cats. Want to help? Each volunteer pays for food on their own. If you would like to make a donation, contact hpjettycats1@gmail.com. All donations will go for the cost of care for cats.
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    Flamenco Festival to debut in Pacific Beach on Feb. 26
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Feb 21, 2017 | 7230 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    The event, on Sunday, Feb. 26 from 5:30 p.m. to midnight, at 3567 Del Rey St., will feature Basile and other professional flamenco performers from Spain, where flamenco was born. Also included will be an internationally acclaimed gypsy troupe.
    The event, on Sunday, Feb. 26 from 5:30 p.m. to midnight, at 3567 Del Rey St., will feature Basile and other professional flamenco performers from Spain, where flamenco was born. Also included will be an internationally acclaimed gypsy troupe.
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    Lakshmi Basile, who's returned to San Diego as an ambassador for her craft, is spearheading the city's first Flamenco Festival in Pacific Beach. The event, on Sunday, Feb. 26 from 5:30 p.m. to midnight, at 3567 Del Rey St., will feature Basile and other professional flamenco performers from Spain, where flamenco was born. Also included will be an internationally acclaimed gypsy troupe. Created, organized and produced by private flamenco instructor Basile, the festival celebrates Spanish and gypsy cultural arts through a memorable evening of music, dance and song. Showcased at the inaugural fest will be young talent, as well as internationally acclaimed flamenco performers and dancers accompanied by live authentic gypsy music. It will be an inspiring evening of entertainment with Mediterranean cuisine, refreshments, artesian crafts, a cash bar, a silent auction and gifts from supporting donors. Lakshmi Basile La Chimi, a native San Diegan and the daughter of musicians who honed her flamenco art while residing in Spain for several years, made history there. She was the first non-Spanish artist to win an award in the central flamenco contest in Spain in 2011. She discussed the new festival's significance. “We want to have a strong community out here for flamenco,” she said. “The idea is to bring together the flamenco community, bring the cultural art to San Diego. We want people to get interested in the art form, or interested in supporting the cause of the nonprofit.” A portion of proceeds from the festival will support a culture group providing flamenco and other dance instruction to more than 1,000 children throughout San Diego. “I work alongside a nonprofit organization, Roots Performing Arts Youth Company, that gives free and low-cost classes,” Basile said. “They will be present for the show, and a portion of the proceeds (10 percent) will go to them to help that organization thrive.” What to expect from the flamenco cultural event? “People will see me dancing and three other artists from Spain for this show,” Basile said. “It's not going to be watered-down flamenco. There will be authentic dance, song and guitar playing by authentic gypsies from there.” Basile said the flamenco performance will last about 90 minutes, to be followed by a buffet dinner with an opportunity later for the audience to mix with performers. Discussing the dance style's appeal, Basile noted professional flamenco dancers get into a “meditative state,” something she herself is familiar with. “Flamenco is one of the few art forms that allows me to do that,” she said. “It touches me, speaks to me. It's really rewarding. You get to really transmit it to other people. Many times, people have come up to me and they cried or were touched in some way or other. It's a gift, a very special state of being.” Flamenco performing artists direct from Spain will include: • Pepe Del Morao, a guitarist from Jerez, is from one of the most important flamenco guitar dynasties in history. • Manuel Tane, who started performing at age 16, has gained national and international acclaim from his performances in theaters worldwide. • Luis De La Tota, is a beloved teacher known for his ability to share the secrets of flamenco with endless energy, humor and grace. Flamenco Festival When: Sunday, Feb. 26 from 5:30 p.m. to midnight. Where: 3567 Del Rey St. Tickets: $35 online, $40 at the door. Info: Visit www.lakshmibasile.com or email lachimi.basile@gmail.com.
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    Saska’s, an iconic Mission Beach steakhouse, reopens Feb. 23
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Feb 17, 2017 | 13367 views | 2 2 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    'The Original' entree featuring filet mignon and lobster tail.
    'The Original' entree featuring filet mignon and lobster tail.
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    Sold in summer of 2015 and closed for renovations since last fall, Saska's Steak & Seafood is returning with an updated design and menu – but the same classic feel. Now called Saska’s, the popular family-run Mission Beach eatery, which opened in 1951, is set to reopen Feb. 23. Saska's has been meticulously restored by The Patio Restaurant Group, which also owns The Patio on Lamont, The Patio on Goldfinch, Fireside by The Patio, The Swell Cafe, Surf Rider Pizza Co. and Bao Beach. One of San Diego’s oldest steakhouses, the game plan in revitalizing Saska's was for it “to remain a staunchly traditional, unflinchingly classical steakhouse of yore,” according to The Patio Group. With Saska’s grand reopening, The Patio Group aims to “move forward by looking back to the past.” Branded as “San Diego’s Original Steakhouse,” Saska's will showcase a sleek, refined interior with an intimate setting that harkens back to the good ole days, embracing originality over novelty, and timelessness over fleeting fads. “Saska’s is one of my favorite restaurants in San Diego. I’ve been a regular for more than 20 years,” said Patio Restaurant Group owner/CEO Gina Champion-Cain. “Restoring the long-standing restaurant to its former glory is a dream come true, and a passion project brought to life.” Champion-Cain also operates Luv San Diego Surf and is CEO of Luv Surf Brands, LLC, a San Diego-based lifestyle brand for real estate, hospitality and branded merchandise. Saska’s new menu is a take-off from the classic menu of the ’60s and ’70s. It includes Shrimp Louie salad, creamed spinach, various cuts of steak, and a wide variety of seafood including grilled salmon and Alaskan king crab legs. Customers will also be able to choose from a number of other traditional menu favorites such as a half-pound cheeseburger, fettucine alfredo, briased short rib and teriyaki marinated chicken breast. Sides and desserts showcase ice cream, cheesecake, mud pies, chocolate cake and seasonal pies. “We’re not trying to emulate a classic American steakhouse,” said restaurant general manager Ryan Rohrbacker. “We are a classic American steakhouse that’s going back to our roots and sticking to what we do best.” By highlighting their protein-centric dishes, including signature cuts such as “The Duke” sirloin and “The Original” filet mignon, Rohrbacker noted Saska’s is aiming to put the “steak” back in “steakhouse.” Executive chef Michael Ground is enhancing Saska’s storied meat program. “A steakhouse isn’t rocket science,” Ground noted. “It’s really about taking the best cuts of a cow and preparing them simply to elevate their quality.” The chef said all of Saska's steaks are hand-cut daily to ensure consistent quality and grilled over an open flame for an optimal sear. Saska’s drinks program too is classically -inspired, offering crowd pleasers such as the Old-Fashioned, the Whiskey Sour, and the Last Word. Joe Saska and his wife opened the family owned and operated the restaurant at 3768 Mission Blvd. in 1951. When Saska died, the business was handed down to son Mike. After Mike died of a heart condition, the business was transferred to brothers and sisters Tommy, Mary and Jimmy. Saska’s transferred ownership on Aug. 10, 2015 to The Patio Group. At that time, Champion-Cain noted Saska's fit into her company's plans on “expanding our brand and our neighborhood-centric eateries along with our coffee and surf shops and our gourmet food store.” Champion-Cain said Saska's fit into her plans incorporating “a hospitality theme catering to the local neighbors.” Saska’s will provide dinner service daily, with brunch offered during the weekends.
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    So Happy You're Back
    |
    February 22, 2017
    Met my wife of 41 years in 1973. Our first meal ever was that night after the party. We went to Saska's because it was open past midnight.

    It must have been a wonderful meal, because we are still deeply in love.

    So glad to have you back!!
    Hockeyjockey
    |
    February 18, 2017
    This was where I had my very first Lobster meal back in the day. My parents were from the East Coast and they were so Happy to eat at a place that reminded them of home.

    Wonderful news that the Owners see the value in restoring to the Past.

    On my to do list the next time I am in

    San Diego!
    Campaign under way to rename Ocean Beach Park
    by MANNY LOPEZ
    Feb 15, 2017 | 8438 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    People exercising in Saratoga Park on Wednesday morning. / PHOTO BY THOMAS MELVILLE
    People exercising in Saratoga Park on Wednesday morning. / PHOTO BY THOMAS MELVILLE
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    A campaign led by the Ocean Beach Community Development Corporation seeks support to build a children’s playground and adult fitness station on the grassy area of Ocean Beach Park, and rename that part in honor of noted historian, teacher and volunteer Ruth Varney Held. Located at the west end of Saratoga Avenue, adjacent to the lifeguard station parking lot, the area known as Saratoga Park is the largest public park in the community. “Unlike many of the other San Diego beach communities, Ocean Beach doesn’t have a place at the beach for little children to play,” said Tom Perrotti, president of the OBCDC. “People have children and grandchildren and we need a safe place for them to congregate on the beach and experience the joy.” Perotti said that a children’s park and adult fitness station would enhance the quality of life for OB residents, and attract more families and tourists to the area – a benefit for the entire community. He added that the project has the support of several local community groups, including the OB Community Foundation, OB Lifeguards and Firefighters, Ocean Beach MainStreet Association, the planning board and Ocean Beach Town Council. Currently, the OBCDC is raising funds to pay for site survey, design and permitting costs associated with constructing the children’s play area and adult fitness area on the site of Ocean Beach Park. According to Jane Gawronski, co-chairperson on the OBCDC committee formed to establish the children’s park, $10,000 has been raised and a contract awarded to LdG Landscape Architects in Point Loma for a preliminary design based on feedback from public forums. “I support honoring this park for Ruth Varney Held and creating an inviting place for children and families to enjoy Ocean Beach,” said District 2 Councilmember Lorie Zapf. In December, Zapf presented a Community Projects, Programs and Services (CPPS) funding grant of $2,500 for the endeavor. “In a coastal environment like the one we have, we need a place for children to play,” said former District 2 Councilman Byron Wear. “It’s not going to take up the entire park, and there will be plenty of green space and room for passive parking.” According to Gawronski, Wear was among the earliest supporters to push for a children’s park named after Held. Pat James, vice president of the Ocean Beach Historical Society, called Held a revered educator, historian and citizen of the Peninsula who should be honored for her many contributions to the community. “It's a brilliant idea – Ruth Varney Held documented the history of Ocean Beach. She was admired as an educator and citizen of the community. Ruth and her book were an important foundation for those of us who were at the first meeting to form the OBHS in 1994,” James said. Credited with being the founder of the OBHS, Held was well known as the author of “Beach Town: Early Days In Ocean Beach, To 1930.” First published in 1975, the book became a popular resource about the history of Ocean Beach. According to various sources, Held’s family moved to OB from Montana in 1912 when she was 6 years old. She attended Ocean Beach Elementary School, graduated from Point Loma High School and received a teaching degree from State College, which is now San Diego State University. She then taught typing at Point Loma High School for 30 years and called OB home for 84 years until her death. “Grandparents and parents love to experience watching kids do activities on swings, or any sort of children’s play area. They exude joy and that permeates into everything. Children will feel safe. It's going to be a fabulous place,” Gawronski said. More information on the Ocean Beach Community Development Corporation can be found at www.obcdc.org or by calling 619-787-1073.
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    Peninsula Youth Softball Association celebrates Opening Day
    Feb 15, 2017 | 916 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Peninsula Youth Softball Association held its Opening Day at Robb Field in Ocean Beach Saturday, Feb. 11. The program began in the morning with a color guard presentation, the national anthem, and then teams in their colorful uniforms took turns running around the bases with their coaches. The first pitch was thrown out at 9:15 a.m. The league, which has 251 players from the coastal communities, was founded in 1966 and is celebrating its 51st anniversary. / PHOTO BY KAREN AUSTIN
    Peninsula Youth Softball Association held its Opening Day at Robb Field in Ocean Beach Saturday, Feb. 11. The program began in the morning with a color guard presentation, the national anthem, and then teams in their colorful uniforms took turns running around the bases with their coaches. The first pitch was thrown out at 9:15 a.m. The league, which has 251 players from the coastal communities, was founded in 1966 and is celebrating its 51st anniversary. / PHOTO BY KAREN AUSTIN
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    Peninsula Youth Softball Association held its Opening Day at Robb Field in Ocean Beach Saturday, Feb. 11. The program began in the morning with a color guard presentation, the national anthem, and then teams in their colorful uniforms took turns running around the bases with their coaches. The first pitch was thrown out at 9:15 a.m. The league, which has 251 players from the coastal communities, was founded in 1966 and is celebrating its 51st anniversary. / PHOTO BY KAREN AUSTIN
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