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    Students create ‘Sea Change’ at Mission Beach
    by LAINIE FRASER
    May 27, 2016 | 7612 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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    Pacific Beach Middle earns state honors for civic learning projects
    by LAINIE FRASER
    May 26, 2016 | 1451 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Cathy, Jessie and Kylee with their community engagement project presentation about playing instruments for senior citizens. / Photo by Lainie Fraser
    Cathy, Jessie and Kylee with their community engagement project presentation about playing instruments for senior citizens. / Photo by Lainie Fraser
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    Emily and Hannah presenting their community service project, which raised money through a bake sale for the ASPCA. / Photo by Lainie Fraser
    Emily and Hannah presenting their community service project, which raised money through a bake sale for the ASPCA. / Photo by Lainie Fraser
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    Pacific Beach Middle School was honored this week for its students’ extensive community service work. For the better part of the school year, eighth graders at the middle school have been engaged in civic learning and community service projects and were recognized by the state with the California Civic Learning Award of Distinction. “Their work and this award is a promise of a positive future,” San Diego Unified School District Board of Education president Michael McQuary said. “Civic engagement is what it is all about for a solid foundation for an incredible future.” The Civic Learning Award is part of the Civic Learning Initiative and represents a commitment to developing complete civic literacy in students across the state of California. Pacific Beach Middle School is one of six schools in the state to receive the award. A panel of experts selected Pacific Beach Middle based on classes, clubs and programs that teach students about their role in the world and empower them to be model citizens. “We are ecstatic because these kids have worked so hard and are able to take what they have learned, apply it to the outside world and be recognized for it all,” said Jennifer Sims, coordinator of International Baccalaureate at PBMS. As individuals and as groups, the eighth grade class completed a variety of community service projects that required research, funding and action. “This recognition is fantastic for our school, but it really means more for the students,” PBMS principal Kimberly Meng said. “They didn't just learn something in class; we asked them to reflect and take what they learned into the real world.” The students were able to focus on any cause that mattered to them. They had to make a proposal, complete the activity and then present something about the experience to the school. Two students developed a cellphone app to help people navigate the Tecolote Trails safely and with minimal damage to the land. Another worked with a Holocaust survivor to organize a remembrance assembly. Other groups cleaned beaches, raised money for the ASPCA, spent time with senior citizens and coordinated a book drive. One student donated her time on Christmas to bring presents to children in the foster care system. Through research, one group learned that a majority of elementary school students learn how to use iPhones before they learn how to tie their shoes. This group designed cardboard shoes with laces and donated them to an elementary school as a tool for teaching the students how to tie their own shoes. “This is so wonderful that the kids were able to take issues that matter to them and truly make a difference and at such a young age,” said Joan Irion, associate justice on the San Diego-based Fourth District Court of Appeals. Aalaiziah Collins, a Pacific Beach Middle student, has been recognized by the school in the past for her commitment to community service. She said she learned the importance of giving back from her father, who gave back to his country for more than 20 years in the Navy. “Watching the grade come together was empowering, and I have learned how to be of service to others and spread the love,” Collins said. Eighth grader Sonja Cayetano said she was concerned with the attitude at her school and wanted to make a change through the athletic program. She spent time painting murals near the sports fields with messages addressing fairness and respect. “This all showed me how community service is not only a physical thing but it impacts the people in the area and endures time,” Cayetano said. According to Meng, these projects were designed to show that passion, commitment and hard work can make anyone a productive member of society and help students change the world. According to Irion, the award celebrates the achievements of the young and powerful people who will change the world. Irion hopes that if more schools follow the model used at Pacific Beach Middle, California can become a leader in civics education. “This democracy will not work if people don't know how this nation works,” Irion said. “These students now know what it means to be a good citizen and how to take action and use what they learned in the class room to change the world.”
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    Some shark bites are better than others; Tower Paddle Boards building a national brand
    by TERRI STANLEY
    May 25, 2016 | 15615 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 | 7678 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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    Romeo and Juliet are getting married
    by LAINIE FRASER
    May 23, 2016 | 5080 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Romeo, played by Stéphano Candreva, proposes to Juliet, Erica Alvarado, on stage after the show's last performance.
    Romeo, played by Stéphano Candreva, proposes to Juliet, Erica Alvarado, on stage after the show's last performance.
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    In 2012 City Ballet of San Diego received standing ovations and endless praise for its performance of “Romeo and Juliet.” This year, the Pacific Beach-based ballet company’s final show ended with a surprise that shocked the audience and changed two performers' lives. Throughout the performance it was the intricate costumes, set designs and acrobatics, along with the timeless love story that amazed audience members. When the show came to an end, it was an act by Romeo, played by Stéphano Candreva, that stole the show and the hearts of everyone in the room. At the end of the performance, while the performers lined up to take their final bows, Candreva ran to take a prop off stage, or so everyone thought. In reality, Candreva had left to retrieve an engagement ring for his on and off stage Juliet. Seconds later, Candreva returned and on one knee, in front of a full house, proposed to his girlfriend and dance partner of six years Erica Alvarado. According to Candreva, it was the only way he ever imagined it happening. “Romeo and Juliet is extra special to me,” Candreva said. “It is such a passionate and romantic ballet, and everything from the chemistry we share in our relationship to dancing the steps together felt so natural with Erica, the proposal too felt natural.” Alvarado said that Candreva has always been theatrical and romantic but that she did not see this coming. She said she had been engulfed in becoming Juliet for the last two hours and had not thought once that night about a proposal. “The whole company knew about the proposal the day before I popped the question,” Candreva said. “I had put that off because I didn't want word getting out to Erica, the surprise factor mattered to me.” Members of the dance company who witnessed the romantic event said his timing was thoughtful and heart warming. Managing director Jo Anne Emery said the entire dance company was impressed with how well Candreva kept his secret and how beautifully it all came together. Candreva and Alvarado met six years ago as members of the Milwaukee Ballet and a year later both coincidentally received contracts with City Ballet of San Diego. Candreva said he has always known she was the one he would marry and had planned to propose last season but chose to wait for the “Romeo and Juliet” performance. “Ballet drives both of our lives,” Candreva said. “Ballet is what brought us together and really what better play is there to propose after than ‘Romeo and Juliet’ where you two danced the roles of Romeo and Juliet?”
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    News
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    May 29, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Sports
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    May 16, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Opinion
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    May 25, 2016 | 1 1 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Arts & Entertainment
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    May 25, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Business
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    May 29, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Obituaries
    Gregory B. Anderson
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    Apr 18, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend
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