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    Safe and relaxed: USDA program not targeting jetty cats
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Feb 23, 2017 | 21801 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 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 | 7450 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 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 | 13555 views | 2 2 comments | 18 18 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!
    Albion Pros soccer ready to kickoff season at Mission Bay High
    by DAVE THOMAS
    Feb 09, 2017 | 14025 views | 0 0 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Albion Pros supporters, called The Deep End, at Mission Bay High School. / PHOTO BY THOMAS MELVILLE
    Albion Pros supporters, called The Deep End, at Mission Bay High School. / PHOTO BY THOMAS MELVILLE
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    Are you ready for some exciting soccer action in your neighborhood? If so, you don’t have to go too far. The Albion Pros will return to Mission Bay High School Stadium for their home games this season. Finishing 16-4-1 last season, Albion will lean on a roster this season that includes the talents of of Jose Merlo, Ricky Mckenzie, David Luquen, and many others. Albion looks to continue to set the standard in the league, moving its training facility to the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista as well as bringing in UFC Gym as its sports performance partner. The 2017 team consists of the foundation that was responsible for the success in 2016, as well as several additions in key positions, that will be prepared for the pre-season home opener (5 p.m. Feb. 11, Mission Bay Stadium) vs. East Bay FC Stompers. Albion’s first league game is March 11 vs. Oxnard; and the U.S. Open Cup is in May. In late January, the team hosted its 2017 launch party at Primos Public Corner near Qualcomm Stadium. The event was held to allow returning fans (and new ones to the team) to learn more about the upcoming season. This Saturday’s pre-season home opener will provide fans the opportunity to learn more about the team, its coaching staff, and check out the team’s new uniforms. According to Albion director of operations, Tim Reintgen, “This pre-season’s schedule is full of high-caliber matches, with our NPSL playoff rival East Bay FC Stompers on Feb. 11, and Phoenix Rising from the USL on Feb. 25, all leading up to our league home opener March 11. Those two matches will set the tone for the new season, with a commitment to success and a style of play that will entertain the fans.” As Reintgen also pointed out, Albion’s commitment to success involves myriad of things. “We will continue to set the standard in the NPSL, with state-of-the-art facilities, sports performance, and the integration of our youth academy, providing a pathway for them to play professional soccer,” Reintgen added. “Everyone, from players, to coaches and front end, is 120 percent committed to excellence, and together, we are aiming for a run for the national championship and the U.S. Open Cup. We play for San Diego, we play to be champions.” 
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    Pacific Beach has No. 3 most dangerous intersection in San Diego
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Feb 07, 2017 | 9874 views | 0 0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    The problematic intersection at Mission Boulevard and Garnet Avenue was No. 3 on the list and has been the site of 16 total collisions with 17 serious injuries recorded between 2001-2015, according to Circulate San Diego. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    The problematic intersection at Mission Boulevard and Garnet Avenue was No. 3 on the list and has been the site of 16 total collisions with 17 serious injuries recorded between 2001-2015, according to Circulate San Diego. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    Pacific Beach made Circulate San Diego's “The Fatal Fifteen” list of most dangerous intersections for pedestrians. The problematic intersection at Mission Boulevard and Garnet Avenue was No. 3 on the list and has been the site of 16 total collisions with 17 serious injuries recorded between 2001-2015, according to Circulate San Diego. The only two intersections ranked more deadly on the list – University Avenue and Marlborough Avenue, and University Avenue and 52nd Street. City spokesperson Anthony Santacroce said plans are in the works to improve Pacific Beach's busy intersection at Mission Boulevard and Garnet Avenue. “We'll be installing accessible pedestrian push buttons there, which are audible signals to go along with the visual signals already there to warn pedestrians and tell them what to do,” Santacroce said. “That adds another layer of instruction and safety to the already visual signals you find in your normal crosswalk.” Santacroce noted, in addition to the new high-tech pedestrian push buttons, that the city will also be “upgrading street lighting to LED lighting at that intersection,” which, he added, will give brighter and more clear lighting to that part of the street. Santacroce was uncertain exactly how soon improvements at the intersection will be made, other than to say it's a “high priority.” Pacific Beach civic leaders and residents reacted to the news that their beach community has one of the city's top three most lethal intersections. Sara Berns, executive director of Discover Pacific Beach, noted the community's business improvement district, as well as other community leaders, have been working with the efforts of Vision Zero to address pedestrian safety on Garnet Avenue, one of the six most dangerous corridors in San Diego regarding pedestrian vs. vehicle fatalities. “Vision Zero is a collaborative citywide effort to bring that fatality number down to zero,” Berns said. “Local efforts include a vision for Garnet Avenue to include a consistent visual crosswalk plan along the entire street that includes the scramble crossing at Mission Boulevard and Garnet Avenue. Unfortunately, that effort has been denied by the City because of the impediment to traffic. “We believe we need to start looking at Garnet Avenue as less car-centric, and more of a complete street, which gives equal opportunity for safety and travel to the pedestrian, bicyclist and car. We have a great community of diverse mobility here in Pacific Beach already with bikes, skateboards, walkers and cars and that needs to be recognized,” Berns said. Long-time Pacific Beach Planning Board member Chris Olson said he would like to see San Diego successfully implement a “pedestrian scramble” like the one done by Vision Zero in Los Angeles. Information on that is available at visionzero.lacity.org. Mike Beltran, chair of Pacific Beach Planning Group's Traffic, Parking and Streets Subcommittee, gave his take on why Mission Boulevard and Garnet Avenue is so bad. Beltran noted that “at Garnett and Mission you have pedestrians wanting to go west to the beach, east to the shopping on Garnett and all directions for food and beverages. The lights going east and west have no turn signals, so vehicles have to wait for pedestrians to cross before making those turns, and by the time the cross walks are clear, the lights start to turn causing drivers to speed through the intersection.” Beltran offered a possible solution previously tried successfully elsewhere. “My idea to fix this intersection is to create a pedestrian scramble similar to the one found in downtown San Diego at the intersection of Market and 5th,” he said. “This allows pedestrians to cross diagonally as well so the intersection can be cleared more quickly and vehicle traffic can carry on. It is my goal as the chair of the Traffic, Parking and Streets Subcommittee to bring this issue up and run it through the main board at our next meeting (Feb. 22).” Noting that 60 percent of pedestrian crashes in San Diego occur at intersections, often the same ones time and again, a report released last year by the Office of the City Auditor found that, “Many intersections with the highest rates of crashes, injuries and fatalities have not been modernized to improve pedestrian safety and generally continue to experience crashes.” In response, Circulate San Diego and its coalition of partner organizations is launching “The Fatal Fifteen,” an initiative to urge the city to fund safe and affordable infrastructure at the 15 most dangerous intersections in the city. Circulate San Diego is a regional grassroots organization formed through the merger of Move San Diego and WalkSanDiego, leading organizations dedicated to advancing mobility and making the region a better place to live, work, learn and play. Circulate's work focuses on creating great mobility choices, more walkable and bike able neighborhoods and land uses that promote sustainable growth.
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