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    Plenty of pyrotechnics to see in San Diego on the Fourth
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Jun 30, 2015 | 7114 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Fireworks from SeaWorld over Mission Bay as seen from Crown Point Park. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    Fireworks from SeaWorld over Mission Bay as seen from Crown Point Park. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    Fourth of July is all about fireworks, and residents and visitors alike to Mission and Pacific beaches are fortunate in that they have their choice being situated at the “epicenter” of three dazzling local displays: off Ocean Beach Pier, in La Jolla Cove and at SeaWorld San Diego. San Diego beaches are packed with people on the three key summer holiday weekends — Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day — with July 4th typically being the busiest of all with nearly one million people expected to hit the beaches. But after a day of fun in the sun, once the waves have been conquered and the barbecues dinners have been devoured, it’s time for pyrotechnics. At which time, coastal residents and guests can please their patriotic palates with pyrotechnics from Point Loma to La Jolla. PB, MB SeaWorld San Diego has nightly fireworks on numerous evenings throughout the summer. But July 4 is special, as the theme park hosts its “Independence Day Fireworks Spectacular,” offering an extended pyrotechnic display over Mission Bay set to patriotic music commencing at 10:10 p.m. with fireworks set to go off at 10:30 p.m. and last approximately 17 minutes. The best places to watch are Crown Point Park, Ski Beach, and Fiesta Island. Ocean Beach Ocean Beach’s spectacular fireworks display at 9 p.m. is the community’s official kick-off to summer. Free parking is offered at both the main beach and pier parking lots. Spend the day picnicking with family and friends, swimming in the ocean, walking and playing in the sand and shopping along Newport Avenue. Then bundle up as the sun sets and pull up a chair for a spectacular fireworks show from the OB Pier. And don't forget your radio so you can hear the fireworks soundtrack being broadcast simultaneously during the show. Gone from OB Fourth fireworks in 2015 is the unregulated tradition of the “marshmallow war,” which had been fought after the fireworks show on the beach and streets leaving the community a sticky mess. In 2014, Ocean Beach Town Council, answering an overwhelming call from residents and merchants, responded with its successful “Mallow Out” campaign discouraging the marshmallow war, which led to a 90 percent reduction in the goo. La Jolla There’s no question that the 30th annual Fourth of July fireworks show in La Jolla Cove is a go this year. But there almost wasn’t a 29th annual celebration, as the display was cancelled — then saved — at the 11th hour in 2014. Subject to on-again, off-again flaps over donations and environmental concerns the past several years, all of that is in the rear-view mirror now as La Jolla Village Merchants Association (LJVMA), the community’s Business Improvement District (BID), has taken the special event under its wing. “David Marino of Hughes Marino, a La Jollan who’s been a supporter for years, stepped in and helped me get annual commitments, around $45,000 or $46,000, to cover costs,” said Deborah Marengo, who’s organized and promoted the event since restaurateur George Hauer, who originated the display, stepped down a few years ago. “Now any extra money raised for the fireworks will be rolled over into the next year.” Marengo said the 25-minute Cove fireworks display will start at 9 p.m. Supporting sponsors for the La Jolla Cove Fireworks Display are Hughes Marino, George's at the Cove, La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, La Jolla Cove Suites, La Valencia Hotel, Willis Allen, Leo Loves Fireworks, J. Todd Figi, John Barbey and Steven Black. A few other choices for fireworks on Independence Day: • Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is hosting a free, old-fashioned Fourth of July celebration from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 Guests are encouraged to participate in the parade around the plaza reminiscent of the July 4th parades of early San Diego with music, animals, banners and people in historical costumes. There will be crafts, games, contests and informational demonstrations that represent the activities enjoyed in the 1800s. The stage will be filled with free entertainment such as historic dancing and early American music. Pie-eating contests begin at 3 pm. The event will end with a boom — literally. All of the museums will be open and, as always, free to the public. • What better place is there to spend Independence Day than at the San Diego County Fair at 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd. in Del Mar? Highlighting the day will be the traditional fireworks display at 9 p.m., which is visible throughout the Fairgrounds. The Grandstand schedule: 9:30 a.m. patriotic opening ceremony outside O’Brian Gate; 6:45 p.m., World Memorial Tribute to 9/11; 7 p.m., Hometown Heroes Parade; 7:30 p.m., Navy Band Southwest; and 9 p.m. fireworks; 9:30 p.m., Dana Carvey performs on the Grandstand Stage. • Another prime spot to celebrate the Fourth of July will be at the Maritime Museum of San Diego again this year. The observation deck of the museum’s historic 1898 steam ferry Berkeley provides a spectacular view of the fireworks show over San Diego Bay. A delicious BBQ dinner will be provided at two seatings from 5-6:30 p.m. and 7-8:30 p.m. Fireworks viewing are included with museum admission. For more information and reservations call 619-234-9153 ext. 101 or visit www.sdmaritime.org. • The annual Big Bay Boom launches fireworks from four barges and can be seen from multiple locations along San Diego Bay, including Harbor Island, Shelter Island, the Embarcadero area, and the Seaport Village/Coronado landing starting at 9 p.m. • Oscar- and Emmy Award-winning conductor Bill Conti will lead the Star Spangled Pops in a San Diego Symphony concert of all-American hits, followed by a military tribute and a fireworks display at Embarcadero Marina Park South
 starting at 7:30 p.m.
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    Pacific Beach may say adeus to Brazilian Day
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Jun 29, 2015 | 5600 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    The eighth annual Brazil Day in Pacific Beach scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 13 was nixed this year by the PB Special Events Committee.
    The eighth annual Brazil Day in Pacific Beach scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 13 was nixed this year by the PB Special Events Committee.
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    Nearly turned down a year ago because of problems with size, noise and accountability, the eighth annual Brazilian Day Festival in Pacific Beach scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 13 was nixed this year by the PB Special Events Committee. That decision has been appealed to the city, which will have the final say on whether or not the carnival-style parade with vibrant floats, extravagant costumes and energetic music, will be a go in PB or not this year. The popular four-hour Sunday festival features non-stop entertainment on two stages, including musical bands, dance ensembles, a food court, a vendor’s exhibition and a kids’ zone. “The Pacific Beach Special Events Committee is solely an advisory group,” noted committee chair Debbie Conca.  “Groups wanting to have an event in Pacific Beach are asked by the city to come to this group and present the logistics and details. This group denied the Brazilian Day Festival 5-2. The city can still approve or deny a permit with or without the endorsement of the Pacific Beach Special Events Committee.”    Brazilian Day spokesman Paulo Batuta was taken aback by the special events committee’s denial of the event, insisting his group has played by the rules and taken the community’s concerns about noise and other issues to heart. “We have documentation that shows we’ve addressed all issues and fixed pretty much everything,” Batuta said, noting parade organizers, in a partnership with PB Middle School, have also secured use of the school’s huge parking lot to handle event parking needs. Batuta said concerns about noise from live bands on stage was addressed by “pointing speakers down and turning them toward the street” to muffle noise. Previously, residents near the event had complained there was no one available to contact to register concerns that could be addressed on event day. “This time we have two phone numbers available to them,” Batuta said, adding private security, as well as police, will be on hand for crowd control. “We didn’t get any phone calls last year,” Batuta said. “Nobody complained about the noise.” Batuta said a survey was sent out recently that showed 25 percent of those attending Brazilian Day live in PB. “PB is our community, our little Brazil, we are home,” Batuta said. “That’s why it’s held in PB.” Pointing out Brazilian Day is alcohol-free and family friendly, Batuta argued that the event serves the community by “bringing business to PB, not just on this one day but all year.” “We’re part of this community,” said Batuta. “So there’s no reason to kick us out.” PB Special Events Committee member Michael Wagner noted several reasons why Brazil Day was not supported this year: • It’s grown in size from 5,000 to 50,000-plus and their website notes 60,000 are expected this year, even though at the committee meeting it was stated that “30,000” were expected. • The noise/bands have been a sore point for many years. Although they allege they have a "complaint phone number,” it has either no one to answer or no one to actually follow up on the complaints. • Streets for several blocks on each side of Garnet Avenue are packed and everything from churches to businesses have complained about parking. • Several businesses have alleged trash is left everywhere in front of their stores, people have blocked the businesses, and the event has more than 100 vendors, none of which are from PB. Several bars have complained that the day of the event is the first day of football, and they expect people coming into their places, but the event takes up the sidewalk and parking. • The committee expects some profit returned to the community. This event supports some group that has its office outside of PB and gives the proceeds to Brazilian groups outside of PB. No PB school/community group is in the parade or has a spot in the event. PB is not benefiting in anyway. Eve Anderson of the Pacific Beach Planning Group, noted the community has been having problems with events, like Brazilian Day, outgrowing the capacity of the community to deal with noise, parking and other problems associated with them. She said it dates back to the old PB “block party,” which simply got to be too big and unwieldy to cope with any longer. “A lot of us live here, a lot of us support businesses all over PB – but we all don’t take over the street,” Anderson said, noting the event itself, “if it were half the size and put on by a group affiliated with PB, then it might be OK.” But she noted the Brazilian group has been reluctant to move it off Garnet Avenue (the heart of town) or to a non-warm weather time of year (to reduce crowds). “It’s just time for it (Brazilian Day) to move,” Anderson concluded.
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    Pacific Beach residents say new Law Street beach bathrooms dangerous
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Jun 25, 2015 | 6944 views | 1 1 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    The new Law Street beach bathrooms in Pacific Beach. / Photo by Dave Schwab
    The new Law Street beach bathrooms in Pacific Beach. / Photo by Dave Schwab
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    Be careful what you wish for. Many Pacific Beach residents waited a long time for new restrooms at Law Street. Now that they’re here, some neighbors are finding they can be more bane than boon. “We thought they were going to be a nightmare — and that’s exactly what’s happened,” Doris Penman, who lives near the restrooms, told Pacific Beach Planning Group (PBPG) on Wednesday, June 24. “Transients are sleeping in them. Someone actually overdosed recently sitting on the toilet. There was drug paraphernalia all around.” The County Medical Examiner confirmed that the body of Daniel Marlowe, 37, was recovered in the early morning of Tuesday, June 9 from the Law Street restrooms. An autopsy on his cause of death has not been completed. No other information was made available. “This restroom is a significant upgrade from the old ones, and they’re more convenient for the general public during daytime hours,” testified another neighbor, Lynn Crossley, who warned, “This facility has become dangerous with transients using it at night as sleeping quarters.” Crossley added the situation is complicated because the Law Street restrooms can be locked from the inside. Other Pacific Beach community members are weighing-in about the problematic Law Street restrooms on the Next Door website. “The city seems to be ignoring the problem,” said resident Paula Ryan. “It's not just the normal homeless population down there anymore. It's meth addicts and serious crime issues…The city doesn't lock the bathroom doors at night because of some ADA regulations. If that was a private property, the city would have been all over them with fines and legal actions to get them to clean up their mess.” “My husband has found used needles there in the mornings (our toddler was steps away from them once),” said Sophie Hanna, of PB North Shore Highlands South. “I have noticed that there is much more bum activity there now that the bathrooms are open again. I wouldn't say I am afraid, but every time I open the doors I really worry about what I will find.” “Action needs to be taken to keep this particular area clean and safe,” said Jenny Nichols of North PB. “I was so excited to see the bathrooms being rebuilt, only to have to stand right next to a girl drugged out of her mind to get a sip of water while out on a run. Why must every 'kid' friendly area in PB (library, Fanuel Park, Law Street beach/bathrooms) become overrun by homeless people?” Larry Hesselgesser, San Diego Police Department’s community liaison officer for the beaches, said police have been alerted to the situation. “We’re researching what’s going on with this to see if we need to lock them (restrooms) at night,” Hesselgesser said, noting the final decision on whether — and when — to lock the restrooms will fall to the city’s Park and Recreation Department. “We’ll have to have (city) employees lock it (restrooms) at night, but then they’ll have to reopen them at a certain time, say 5 a.m.” The Law Street bathroom issue is expected to be placed on the agenda of PBPG’s next meeting 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 22 in the community room of Pacific Beach Taylor Library, 4275 Cass St.
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    pacbeach2
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    June 28, 2015
    If the restroom facility was under control of a private business, this issue would be addressed and solved in an hour. That not being the case, I suppose the city could publish a request for applicants for a "Key Handler I" position for $65K year to lock and unlock the restroom doors.

    Here's a thought: This place obviously needs some law enforcement attention. How about giving the police officer(s) who patrol the area a key, and let them lock and unlock the door and maybe take a look around in the process to make it less inviting to unwanted visitors?

    Cost to the city would be minimal and my bet is the success rate would be high. I'm sure the police dept. will insist they don't have the "manpower" to handle this, though.
    Crown Point Junior Music Academy in Pacific Beach earns national award
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Jun 18, 2015 | 20096 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Crown Point Junior Music Academy recently earned the SupportMusic Merit Award from The National Association of Music Merchants Foundation.
    Crown Point Junior Music Academy recently earned the SupportMusic Merit Award from The National Association of Music Merchants Foundation.
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    Crown Point Junior Music Academy recently earned the SupportMusic Merit Award from The National Association of Music Merchants Foundation. That should come as no surprise to those familiar with the Pacific Beach neighborhood music magnet school, which is working its way toward loftier goals. The SupportMusic Merit Award is given to individual schools that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students. Crown Point is one of 120 schools nationwide and 18 schools in California being recognized by the foundation for their school-based music education programs. This is the first time Crown Point has received this award. Crown Point is known for its focus on strong academics through music education. Following their motto, "Music Opens Minds," teachers at Crown Point focus on integrating music into their entire curriculum, which helps improve students' intellectual development and musical skill. "Crown Point is a small school with a big vision," said Principal Muriel Bartolini. "All stakeholders involved in the school believe music to be a vital part of a child's education, and because of that, our teachers work hard at incorporating music in all they do within the students' day. Receiving this award has honored our vision." The music almost ended at Crown Point with the 2008 recession and school district budget cuts that curtailed several of the school’s programs, which are now, slowly, returning. “I’ve always been a supporter of the arts because I know there are so many children, if given the opportunity with different mediums, that they would be able to bring out that gift,” said Bartolini. “So when I came here last year as the new principal, I had a sidewalk painted with notes and had music murals put in on school walls to show the community what we are in here.” Bartolini said her goal is to turn Crown Point into “a state-of-the-art music academy.” “That’s my vision,” she said, adding, “There’s a ways to go.” Elementary school assistant Catalina Valenzuela noted Crown Point’s music program starts out with the school’s transitional kindergarten class and culminates with its Suzuki violin program, wherein both parents and students learn to play the violin together. “The Suzuki method is a big parent-involvement program,” said Valenzuela, noting the parent becomes the child’s “coach.” Kristen Churchill, a Crown Point parent, said the school’s music program is wonderfully involving for families. She added performances by young people can “take your breath away,” with songs performed by children making you want to “tap your feet and get goosebumps.” Noting Crown Point was “a very small school before the music program,” Valenzuela pointed out the school’s population has more than doubled, from about 150 students a few years ago to 390 today. Valenzuela added music is even a major part of after-school and student club programs. “We have a lot of after-school clubs provided free,” Valenzuela said. “Kids learn how to play guitar and other instruments. They go out and perform at the Pacific Beach Library and at events like PB Beachfest and the annual Gator By the Bay festival.” For more information, visit www.sandi.net/crownpoint.
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    Spreading the love with flowers in Pacific Beach
    by JENNIFER GREEN
    Jun 18, 2015 | 3693 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    April Thorp's shop is where Hornblend Street ends at the boardwalk in Pacific Beach. / Photo by Jennifer Green
    April Thorp's shop is where Hornblend Street ends at the boardwalk in Pacific Beach. / Photo by Jennifer Green
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    Nicknamed “April Flowers” or “Flower Girl” by her clients, April Thorp is spreading more than just love with her new open-air flower shop on the boardwalk called Spreading the Love PB. She believes that everyone has love in them; her mission is to bring it to the surface, in part with flowers and floral arrangements.  Thorp grew up on a farm in upstate New York. Her dad grew flowers, and when a local woman in her town of New Woodstock taught she and her sister flower arranging, she was hooked. Thorp got a degree in something called ornamental horticulture floriculture merchandising and worked for a New York florist for seven years before relocating in California to follow her two passions: flowers and running. “In New York, there’s lots of snow. In San Diego, I can run outside and play with flowers,” she said. Her favorite run is the 100-miler in the hills or mountains. She says it’s a way for her to connect with nature and to ground herself. But back to the flowers. Thorp credits her former boss, Kim Kittinger, of Impulsive Flowers, and Peter Dingsdale, owner of property Pacific Sands Motel, with her ability to strike out on her own. Kittinger donated supplies when Impulsive moved to Mammoth; Dingsdale allowed Thorp to set up shop outside the Pacific Sands Motel. Being a former tenant, Thorp was the perfect choice when Dingsdale wanted to get some color outside his quirky beachfront apartment building. Now, flowers and her original artwork adorn the building’s exterior.  Thorp has an infectious smile and kind words for everyone who walks by her tiny storefront. “Thanks for looking at the flowers!” or “Have a beautiful day” is her response to her store’s admirers. She recalled that a mentor of hers once said that if a day ever passed that a flower “doesn’t take your breath away,” then it’s time to get out. “Every day, even when it’s busy-busy like on Valentine’s Day, I’ll stop and look down at what I have in my hands and I remember that advice,” Thorp said.  When asked how long she plans to stay, it’s obvious she’s here to stay. “There’s something about the community of Pacific Beach that preserves one’s youth and really brings out the goodness in people. I love it here.” Spreading the Love PB Where: 4449 Ocean Blvd. (where Hornblend Street ends at the boardwalk) in Pacific Beach. Hours: 2 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays to Fridays, noon to 9 p.m. Saturdays, noon to 4 p.m. Sundays, closed Mondays. Info: (858) 263-8814 or spreadingthelovepb.handcraftedweb.com.
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    News
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    Jun 30, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Jun 29, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Arts & Entertainment
    Marco Renteria and his Jazz Quartet at Dizzy’s
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    Jul 01, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Jul 01, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Jun 15, 2015 | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend
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