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    Western-themed fair offers something for all, and also octopus on a stick
    by SAVANAH DUFFY
    May 27, 2017 | 15716 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    The fair will run from 4 p.m. on June 2 through July 4, with countless entertainment options, delicious and unique food creations, engaging craft areas, contests and exhibits. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    The fair will run from 4 p.m. on June 2 through July 4, with countless entertainment options, delicious and unique food creations, engaging craft areas, contests and exhibits. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    Chicken Charlie's famous Krispy Kreme donut chicken sandwich with vanilla ice cream and Fruity Pebbles sprinkled on top. / Photo by Savanah Duffy
    Chicken Charlie's famous Krispy Kreme donut chicken sandwich with vanilla ice cream and Fruity Pebbles sprinkled on top. / Photo by Savanah Duffy
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    The burger is the Maui Cowboy from Tasti Burgers. / Photo by Savanah Duffy
    The burger is the Maui Cowboy from Tasti Burgers. / Photo by Savanah Duffy
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    A horse-shaped sculpture formed out of succulents, part of the Garden Show. / Photo by Savanah Duffy
    A horse-shaped sculpture formed out of succulents, part of the Garden Show. / Photo by Savanah Duffy
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    Whether you grew up on a farm and you can ride a horse like Hopalong Cassidy, or you don’t know the difference between a Clydesdale and a Shetland pony, San Diego County Fair’s “Where the West is Fun” promises a wide variety of fun and food that is guaranteed to appeal to all visitors. Presented by Albertsons and Vons, the fair will run from 4 p.m. on June 2 through July 4, with countless entertainment options, delicious and unique food creations, engaging craft areas, contests and exhibits. For a distinctly western feel, this year’s fair will include a speakeasy decorated as an opium den. To get in, hunt down a Jade Peacock card at one of the three bars on the fairgrounds and follow instructions from there, says the speakeasy bartender Tracy Brighouse. But anyone who has ever been to the San Diego County Fair knows that eating is just as important as drinking, if not more so. Tasti Burgers and Tasti Chips are back with their newest burger, the Maui Cowboy: A delicious combination of all-natural beef and spam (to add a Hawaiian flair, says owner Lori Southerlend), with veggies, jalapeños and chipotle mayo to add an extra kick to this cowboy burger. Reno’s Fish and Chips and Pignotti’s Pasta are trying out some new things this year as well. Both are family businesses owned by Ken McKnight, his wife Cathy and their son Taylor. Reno’s Fish and Chips will be featuring octopus on a stick, which McKnight assures customers has been gutted and cleaned. McKnight credits the idea of octopus on a stick to Cathy. According to McKnight, this latest seafood addition has been receiving positive feedback. “It looks kind of weird,” McKnight says, but adds, “It’s [about] how it tastes, and everyone seems to like it.” In addition to octopus on a stick, Reno’s will still be serving their classic fish and chips, shark tacos and shrimp tacos. The Pignotti’s Pasta stand is switching things up by adding fried ravioli to their menu, the first time the business has ever sold fried food. Customers can choose between cheese ravioli on a stick or buffalo chicken on a stick, with marinara, alfredo or ranch sauce. In addition to keeping visitors well-fed, the fair’s Whole Life Festival will occur on July 1 to promote healthy lifestyles and natural living. Included in this festival is The Expert in Life Program, which according to volunteer staff member Pam Reed, includes lessons on the art of deep meditation and self-empowerment, taught by Erhard Vogel, Ph.D., one of the most highly-acclaimed meditation teachers in the world, according to the Nataraja Meditation and Yoga Center. Also included is the San Diego-based company Organifi, which is best known for selling their green juice made of 11 different gently dehydrated superfoods that supplies the body with a natural energy and contributes to good health all throughout the body, says Kori-ann Kobayashi, director of events and expo. As always, the fair welcomes everyone with open arms with various multicultural festivals. The Asian Festival will be composed of cultures from China, India, Hawaii and more. The new addition to the Asian Festival is an Asian art exhibit at 17 Hands Restaurant and Bar, along with Sake flights at the Paddock Tavern. The Mariachi Festival takes place on June 11, newly featuring tequila sampling and a piñata for the public to take a swing at. Another trek through the fair starts off with the Flower Show in O’Brien Hall, one of the fair’s most eye-catching exhibits. Here you’ll find yourself in Pauline’s Prairie Home, based on The “Little House on the Prairie” series, put together by Flower Show coordinator Betty Patterson-del Sol. The hall will exhibit flowers, floral arrangement and specimen contests. There will even be Ikebana floral design for the Asian Fair on June 3, and the master from Japan will be giving a demonstration on the outdoor stage on June 4 to instruct guests on the art of flower arrangements. A sensory garden is a new addition to the O’Brien flower exhibit this year, allowing guests a hands-on experience with the plants. “You can feel it, you can rub it, you can smash it, you can see how those flower act,” says Patterson-del Sol. If you’re in the VIP section on Father’s Day June 18, you can stop at the Charity Wings Art and Craft Center to make beer box visors and other beer bottle crafts with your son or daughter. If you’re not in the VIP section, check out some of the other crafts. Food, drink, music, exhibits, festivals and competitions are just the start of what this year’s San Diego Fair has to offer. For more information, visit sdfair.com. San Diego County Fair Where: Del Mar Fairgrounds. When: 4 p.m. on June 2 through July 4. Info: sdfair.com
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    National Burger Day is May 28 – We're binging on beef, bacon and buns
    by SAVANAH DUFFY and JONATHAN LO
    May 25, 2017 | 5714 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Beaumont’s Burger is the main burger attraction on this menu. A half-pound, three meat blend of veal, pork and beef contributes to a thick, juicy patty. / Photo by Savanah Duffy
    Beaumont’s Burger is the main burger attraction on this menu. A half-pound, three meat blend of veal, pork and beef contributes to a thick, juicy patty. / Photo by Savanah Duffy
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    The Draft burger had a juicy patty with the standard lettuce, tomato, onion, cheddar cheese, and mayonnaise, and because we ordered it Draft-style, with sunny-side egg, bacon, crispy onions, and beer cheese were added in. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    The Draft burger had a juicy patty with the standard lettuce, tomato, onion, cheddar cheese, and mayonnaise, and because we ordered it Draft-style, with sunny-side egg, bacon, crispy onions, and beer cheese were added in. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    The BOOM burger at Stuffed! is topped with spicy mac ’n’ cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and sauce, and served with tater tots. / PHOTO BY SAVANAH DUFFY
    The BOOM burger at Stuffed! is topped with spicy mac ’n’ cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and sauce, and served with tater tots. / PHOTO BY SAVANAH DUFFY
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    Burgers are on the menu at every beach bar, and the coastal region offers plenty of popular burger joints. And since May is National Hamburger Month and May 28 is National Hamburger Day, the La Jolla Village News decided to sample and highlight burgers in Ocean Beach, Point Loma, Pacific and Mission beaches, and La Jolla. La Jolla - Beaumont’s might offer only two burgers, but it’s well worth your time and appetite. The Char-Burger is your basic burger, made with 100 percent angus beef, house aioli, lettuce, tomato and onion. But Beaumont’s Burger is the main burger attraction on this menu. A half-pound, three meat blend of veal, pork and beef contributes to a thick, juicy patty with a more flavorful taste than your average beef burger. The burger is topped off with sun dried tomatoes, feta, basil aioli, and balsamic glazed onions for a mildly sweet and tangy finish. Eat this Beaumont masterpiece inside at one of their high tables, or sit outside and enjoy people-watching while lounging on their plush sofa seats in the patio area. - Relax at The Lodge at Torrey Pines and enjoy The Grill’s famous Drugstore Hamburger, a classic burger with mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles. The outdoor patio area makes The Grill a nice seating area for the day, and the fire pits contribute to a cozy feeling in the evening. Don’t forget to order a local craft beer to add the finishing touch to your meal. - La Jolla Brewing Co. has more than just quality craft beers; they’ve got a great bar food menu as well. Try their Rogue Wave Burger (a classic burger with horseradish mayo), or their LJBC House Burger. The LJBC House Burger is made with premium beef, bleu cheese, Portobello mushrooms, buffalo wing sauce, tomato and green leaf lettuce on a pretzel bun. Ocean Beach - If you’ve ever been in Ocean Beach for more than five minutes, odds are you’ve heard about the burgers at Hodad’s – and for good reason. Hodad’s’ burgers are hearty and satisfying, and that unique OB-community atmosphere just adds to its appeal. Hodad’s menu includes hamburgers, cheeseburgers, bacon hamburgers, bacon cheeseburgers (each in a mini, single or double size), among other options, such as the chicken burger or veggie burger, for the non-red meat eaters. - Raglan Public House, on the corner of Niagara and Bacon, offers a variety of burgers that are sure to appeal to whatever mood your taste buds are in, whether you’re feeling tropical (Maui Waui – includes grilled pineapple and bacon), spicy (Kiwilango – includes sliced jalapeños, hot sauce) or classic (Average Joe – includes American cheese, ketchup, mayo and mustard). But if you want to experience the best of Raglan, try the Bare Lil Lamb. The mint dressing gives it a refreshing taste, while beetroot adds a burst of sweet flavor, complemented by tomato chutney and garlic aioli. Don’t forget to add a sunny-side egg. Vegetarian or not a red-meat lover? Try the Cluck & Squeal (chicken, bacon, avocado), the Chica Bunga (chicken, jalapeños, coconut raita, mango chutney, garlic aioli), the Wake & Bake (swordfish, coleslaw, avocado), or the Holy Roller (tofu, avocado, garlic aioli, coconut riatta, spicy peanut dressing). - The Tilted Stick on Voltaire Street promotes its drink menu of hard alcohol, mixed drinks and beers, but its food menu deserves a shout out as well. Along with tacos and wings, this bar and grill offers its Bac-N-Cheezeburger, a quarter-pound burger and the BBQ Stick (double-cheeseburger with BBQ). The casual pub atmosphere and pool tables makes this the perfect place to have a fun evening. Point Loma - Nestled neatly in Liberty Public Market and only offering outrageously overloaded options, Stuffed!, like the name suggests, will leave you full with their cheese-filled patties. In similar style to the name of the joint, Stuffed!’s burgers also have quirky names. Here, the management challenged us with the BANG and BOOM. The BANG offers a blue cheese-stuffed patty, peppered smoked bacon, fried onion straws, pickles, and BBQ sauce while the BOOM puts forward American cheese-stuffed patty, topped with spicy mac ’n’ cheese, peppered smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and Stuffed! sauce. And indeed, they left a BANG and a BOOM in our mouths. To say the least, we were completely stuffed after the meal. - Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern features a beautiful view of the marina as well as a cozy outdoor patio. Inside, they offer the ridiculously huge Cowboy Burger. The burger offers onion fritters, BBQ sauce, Anaheim chiles, bacon, cheddar, and a 100 percent New York sirloin patty stacked into a formidable beast of a burger. - When you talk about burgers in Point Loma, there is no way you can leave out Slater's 50/50. A classic, Slater’s regular burgers have patties made with a 50/50 blend of beef and bacon. The Original 50/50 has a standard 50/50 patty accompanied by bacon, pepper jack, a sunny-side-up egg, avocado mash, chipotle adobo mayo, and brioche. One word describes this burger: juicy, make sure you have plenty of napkins when you try to tackle the 50/50. Pacific Beach - Rocky’s Crown Pub at Ingraham and La Playa is home to some of the best burgers in San Diego, but don’t be fooled by the bar’s simple menu – hamburgers, cheeseburgers, and fries. There’s a reason why the place is always busy, and that is simply because these burgers require nothing outside of the basics to be phenomenal. Beef patties that are thick, juicy and perfectly seasoned are balanced out with just lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles and mayonnaise. In this no-frills wood-paneled pub – with a no-nonsense attitude – don’t bother trying to order trendy sandwiches with avocado options, just belly-up to the bar with a beer and tasty burger. - Bare Back Grill on Mission Boulevard has just what you want if you’re looking for above-average bar food, particularly when it comes to their burgers. Burgers such as the Bare, Big & Dirty (includes two huge 100 percent organic beef patties, two fried eggs, bacon and more) are the perfect meal after a long walk on the boardwalk. Or, if you’ve had your fill from their drink menu, try the Lil Bitties (two “hobbit-sized” 100 percent organic beef burgers). Sit inside for their bar atmosphere or outside to enjoy their outdoor patio. - The Slider Brigade at Crushed on Garnet Avenue has a few different delicious slider options, including PB BBQ (three homemade beef and bacon burgers with red jalapeños, mozzarella, crispy onion rings and BBQ sauce), and the Bifteki (three lamb burgers with tomatoes, onions and romaine, cucumbers, tzatziki sauce and feta cheese), with a chicken parmesan slider option as well. If you showed up for the relaxed atmosphere and drinks, make sure you stay for the sliders. Mission Beach - Draft, on Ocean Front Walk in front of Belmont Park, allows patrons to enjoy their food on a boardwalk patio while basking in the sun and people-watching. The Draft burger had a juicy patty with the standard lettuce, tomato, onion, cheddar cheese, and mayonnaise, and because we ordered it Draft-style, with sunny-side egg, bacon, crispy onions, and beer cheese were added in. Right after the first bite, yolk and burger juices oozed out. The bison burger had a thick patty with poblano pepper, grilled onions, muenster cheese, and cumin mayonnaise. Surprisingly, with so many strong individual flavors, nothing in the bison burger overpowers the others; the flavors blend together perfectly and yet you can still distinctly taste each ingredient. For the vegetarians out there, the veggie burger has tofu bacon, fried green tomato, pickled pepper, chipotle mayo. - Guava Beach on Mission Boulevard is the epitome of a beach bar out of a brochure. Pool tables, sports on the TVs, beer on tap on full display, and wooden tables and counters. Their Diablo Burger, which has the Guava’s Famous Burger in it, is accompanied with pepper jack, serrano peppers, and Sriracha aioli drizzle for a delicious kick for those who like spicy food. - At Miss B’s Coconut Club on Mission Boulevard, there is only one burger on the menu, but there only needs to be one burger on that menu. The Coconut Club Burger sports an all-natural angus beef patty with the usual lettuce, tomato, red onions, mustard, and pickles, as well as roasted garlic, cilantro aioli, kolache roll, and your choice of cheese. It seems a little much, but they all combine into a nice blend of flavor. Have a happy and fulfilling National Hamburger Day everyone!
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    Traveling is TranscenDANCE at San Diego Airport
    by MANNY LOPEZ
    May 08, 2017 | 66847 views | 0 0 comments | 38 38 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Members of TranscenDANCE perform at San Diego International Airport. / Photo by Kevin Walsh
    Members of TranscenDANCE perform at San Diego International Airport. / Photo by Kevin Walsh
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    Members of TranscenDANCE perform at San Diego International Airport. / Photo by Kevin Walsh
    Members of TranscenDANCE perform at San Diego International Airport. / Photo by Kevin Walsh
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    Members of TranscenDANCE perform at San Diego International Airport. / Photo by Kevin Walsh
    Members of TranscenDANCE perform at San Diego International Airport. / Photo by Kevin Walsh
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    Airports, by nature, tend to be chaotic places existing in a world of perpetual motion. To some commuters, commercial airline travel has become similar to facing a riot. But along comes a one-of-a kind arts program, developed at San Diego International Airport, designed to enrich the airline traveler’s experience, while simultaneously cultivating the regional performing arts community. Currently in its second year of operation, San Diego International Airport’s Performing Arts Residency Program brings residency acts to the airport, which includes dance, music and theater groups, for a 12 month period. “The phrase that we use a lot around the airport is gateway,” said Christopher Chalupsky, senior manager of arts and community partnerships at San Diego International Airport (SAN). “The airport is a representation of what the region is all about and this program gives people a taste of what San Diego has to offer in terms of performing arts.” TranscenDANCE Youth Arts Project, an 11 year old organization based in National City that serves young people between the ages of 13 and 23 through holistic dance and performing arts programs, was selected after a public call for applications was put out by the San Diego Airport Authority in the fall of 2016. “It was an interesting thought to be charged with the idea of doing community building through the arts with a transient community in a place like the airport,” said Cat Corral, co-founder of TranscenDANCE. “What really intrigued me was how our young people would create workshops and performances with the idea of building a temporary community space that both uplifts and inspires staff and travelers for that brief period that they're going to be in the airport.” The group has already begun performing for travelers around the airport environment in such places as the pedestrian bridge, escalators and baggage claim area. Corral explained how the group had to be site sensitive to the permanent and temporary art installations, physical space, people and energy within the environment. “We’ve done some work with dancers suddenly coming down the curbside and catching people by surprise as they’re getting picked up or dropped off. It’s a real pleasure to see the delight in people’s eyes as they’re experiencing dance in an unexpected time and place. There’s a feeling of taking the street and bringing the joy, beauty and energy of dance to all of the people along the way,” Corral said. As part of the SAN’s Public Art Program, which includes public artwork, temporary exhibitions and performing arts, TranscenDANCE will perform monthly at the airport until December. “The reflection of art and culture from San Diego can really have a positive impact on the traveling experience,” Chalupsky said. “The residency program is a way to offer something even more unique to the airport patrons and also for the arts groups around town.” More information on the San Diego International Airport’s Art Program can be found at www.art.san.org. More information on Transcendance can be found at www.tdarts.org or by calling 619-255-3812.
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    La Jolla news and community briefs
    May 05, 2017 | 9376 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Students during the Vita Coco plant manager 'interview.'
    Students during the Vita Coco plant manager 'interview.'
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    Sliding into Summer Vita Coco, an international health drink company, came to UC San Diego on April 29 as part of a national tour to give students the chance to be their next plant manager. Not the typical job application, students were asked why they would make the perfect plant manager while riding down a three-story-high, 300-foot-long waterslide.  Four winners will get to spend three days in New York at headquarters and then travel to Sri Lanka for one week, embracing the duties of a true company plant manager.  New Chiller Plant at Grossmont College to reduce energy costs by nearly 70 percent The just-completed air-conditioning plant built to serve new structures in Grossmont College's near future is being hailed not only for its good looks but its nearly 70 percent reduction in energy costs. The $8 million, 2,700-square-foot chiller plant that serves the cooling needs of the entire campus marks a milestone for Proposition V, the $398 million bond measure approved by East County voters in 2012. The chiller is the first structure to be built using Prop. V funds, although numerous other projects have been completed at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges, including renovations at the Cuyamaca College Exercise Science Building and track, and upgrades to the electrical system at Grossmont College. Those who pass by the chiller plant may never know its true function, but college officials are OK with that. The new plant, which houses a 21,000-ton high-efficiency chiller, massive pipes, and three stainless steel cooling towers, could be mistaken at first glance for a classroom building. Contractors faced the challenge of transforming an aging, water-wasting central plant into a modern, more efficient facility to meet the demands of more buildings, but at substantially less cost, while making the structure in the center of campus aesthetically pleasing. The cooling towers provide chilled water for air-conditioning while reducing demand on the power grid, but their visual impact was an issue. "From the start, it was made clear that the college didn't want something that looked like a mechanical building in the middle of the campus," said Ken Emmons, senior director of districtwide facilities. To shield the cooling towers from full view, the chiller plant's exterior walls are 27 feet tall, about 2.5 stories in height. Large windows with obscure glass hide the towers even further. To break up the mass of the building's exterior, plant screens were installed that will allow greenery to partially cover the block walls. UC San Diego health conducts first large-scale population analysis, reinforces Ketamine's reputation as antidepressant Better known as an anesthetic or as an illicit hallucinogenic drug, ketamine has also long been noted for alleviating depression. But ketamine has not been tested in a large clinical trial, and all evidence of its antidepressant effects has come from anecdotes and small studies of fewer than 100 patients. Now, in the largest study of its kind, researchers at Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of California San Diego mined the FDA Adverse Effect Reporting System (FAERS) database for depression symptoms in patients taking ketamine for pain. They found that depression was reported half as often among the more than 41,000 patients who took ketamine, as compared to patients who took any other drug or drug combination for pain. The study, published May 3 in Scientific Reports, also uncovered antidepressant effects for three other drugs typically used for other purposes — Botox, the pain reliever diclofenac and the antibiotic minocycline. “Current FDA-approved treatments for depression fail for millions of people because they don’t work or don’t work fast enough,” said senior author Ruben Abagyan, PhD, professor of pharmacy at UC San Diego. “This study extends small-scale clinical evidence that ketamine can be used to alleviate depression, and provides needed solid statistical support for wider clinical applications and possibly larger scale clinical trials.” The University of California San Diego men's rowing team had its Varsity 8 and Second Varsity 8 boats finish second in their respective Grand Finals Sunday at the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association (WIRA) Championships. University of California San Diego men's rowing team leaves WIRA championships with two second-place finishes In the V8 Grand Final, UC San Diego (5:42.762) was a mere 0.508 seconds behind UC Santa Barbara, which finished first with a time of 5:42.254. Santa Clara took third and was followed by Orange Coast College, UC Irvine, UC Davis and UCLA in fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh. UC San Diego also took second in the 2V8 event, tallying a time of 5:51.806. UC Santa Barbara again took first with a 5:48.272. The Tritons' "B" boat finished in third with a time of 5:57.272. Orange Coast and UCLA took fourth and fifth. In the Varsity 4 Grand Final, UC San Diego placed fifth, recording a time of 6:43.659. UC Irvine crossed the finish line first at 6:26.911. Up next, the Tritons return to Rancho Cordova for the Western Sprints Championships on May 13. UC San Diego women's water polo takes down Sonoma State The top-seeded and 18th-ranked University of California San Diego women's water polo team took down third-seeded Sonoma State in a dominating performance to capture the 2017 Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) Tournament title game by a final score of 15-4, Sunday at the SPIRE Institute. The result marks the fifth straight conference crown for UC San Diego, and sixth in the last seven years under head coach Brad Kreutzkamp, who has led his squad to the WWPA final in all eight of his seasons at the helm. UC San Diego earns the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Championship in Indianapolis, Indiana. The bracket will be announced during the NCAA selection show, which can be viewed at NCAA.com on Monday, May 1, at 5 p.m. PT. The Tritons won their fifth consecutive game and improve to 19-14 overall. The Seawolves finish their season 11-18. Senior center Lauren Boyer led UCSD with a game-high six goals to complete her 13th hat trick of the season while senior two-meter defender Alexis Wieseler added four. Sophomore Chanel Schilling tallied two goals and freshman Jessee Ransone, senior Connie Wu, and junior Kayla Fedler added one apiece. As a team, the Tritons grabbed 11 steals with Wieseler notching a team-best four. In goal, freshman Reilly Gallagher made seven saves and had one steal. Celebrate Pups at Paws and Pints The La Jolla Veterinary Hospital will present its fourth annual “Paws and Pints” fundraiser at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 18 at The Lot. The event will be held in support of the FOCAS program at the Rancho Coastal Humane Society and the FACE foundation. FOCAS is the foster program at The Rancho Coastal Humane Society and is responsible for finding homes for thousands of animals in shelters all around San Diego County. FACE is a non-profit that provides financial assistance for San Diego animal owners who are unable to afford the cost of their pet’s life-saving emergency veterinary care. “This event is in our community, for the community, and it has evolved into something that La Jollans look forward to year after year,” said event founder Stephanie Coolidge, of La Jolla Veterinary Hospital. The fundraiser features an auction with autographed items from San Diego sports teams, VIP tickets to Padres games, surfboards, art from local artists, and countless restaurant, hotel, wine, museum and brewery packages. Other small businesses including Ark Antiques, Brick and Bell, MyOwnSpace and many others, have donated items and/or gift cards that will be auctioned off. The Lot will also donate a portion of the food and beverage sales from the night’s party to the beneficiaries. This year, there will be a new "wine grab" featured at the event and a photo contest on the red carpet. For more details about “Paws & Pints La Jolla,” visit pawsandpintslajolla.com, or call La Jolla Veterinary Hospital at 858-454-6155. You can also e-mail Stephanie Coolidge of La Jolla Veterinary Hospital at steph@lajollavet.com
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    Mastodon discovery in San Diego shows evidence that humans lived here 130,000 years ago
    Apr 27, 2017 | 51514 views | 1 1 comments | 51 51 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Brett Agenbroad (top left), Larry Agenbroad (left), James Mead (bottom left), and Dr. Tom Deméré excavating fossils found at the Cerutti Mastodon site. / Photo courtesy of San Diego Natural History Museum
    Brett Agenbroad (top left), Larry Agenbroad (left), James Mead (bottom left), and Dr. Tom Deméré excavating fossils found at the Cerutti Mastodon site. / Photo courtesy of San Diego Natural History Museum
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    Retired San Diego Natural History Museum paleontologist Richard Cerutti (left) and curator of paleontology and director of PaleoServices Dr. Tom Deméré (right) looking at mastodon bones salvaged at the Cerutti Mastodon site. / Photo by Kate Johnson, San Diego Natural History Museum
    Retired San Diego Natural History Museum paleontologist Richard Cerutti (left) and curator of paleontology and director of PaleoServices Dr. Tom Deméré (right) looking at mastodon bones salvaged at the Cerutti Mastodon site. / Photo by Kate Johnson, San Diego Natural History Museum
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    An Ice Age paleontological-turned-archaeological site in San Diego preserves 130,000-year-old bones and teeth of a mastodon that show evidence of modification by early humans. Analysis of these finds dramatically revises the timeline for when humans first reached North America, according to a paper to be published in the April 27 issue of the prestigious science journal Nature. The fossil remains were discovered by San Diego Natural History Museum paleontologists during routine paleontological mitigation work at a freeway expansion project site managed by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). The bones, tusks, and molars, many of which are sharply broken, were found deeply buried alongside large stones that appeared to have been used as hammers and anvils, making this the oldest in situ, well-documented archaeological site in the Americas. “This discovery is rewriting our understanding of when humans reached the New World. The evidence we found at this site indicates that some hominin species was living in North America 115,000 years earlier than previously thought,” said Judy Gradwohl, president and CEO of the San Diego Natural History Museum, whose paleontology team discovered the fossils, managed the excavation, and incorporated the specimens into the museum’s research collection. “This raises intriguing questions about how these early humans arrived here and who they were.” Until recently, the oldest records of human sites in North America generally accepted by archaeologists were about 14,000 years old. But the fossils from the Cerutti Mastodon site (as the site was named in recognition of field paleontologist Richard Cerutti who discovered the site and led the excavation), were found embedded in fine-grained sediments that had been deposited much earlier, during a period long before humans were thought to have arrived on the continent. “When we first discovered the site, there was strong physical evidence that placed humans alongside extinct Ice Age megafauna. This was significant in and of itself and a ‘first’ in San Diego County,” said Dr. Tom Deméré, curator of paleontology and director of PaleoServices at the San Diego Natural History Museum and corresponding author on the paper. “Since the original discovery, dating technology has advanced to enable us to confirm with further certainty that early humans were here significantly earlier than commonly accepted.” Since its initial discovery in late 1992, this site has been the subject of research by top scientists to date the fossils accurately and evaluate microscopic damage on bones and rocks that authors now consider indicative of human activity. In 2014, Dr. James Paces, a research geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, used state-of-the-art radiometric dating methods to determine that the mastodon bones – which were still fresh when they were broken by strategically-placed blows from hammerstones – were 130,000 years old, with a conservative error of plus or minus 9,400 years. “The distributions of natural uranium and its decay products both within and among these bone specimens show remarkably reliable behavior, allowing us to derive an age that is well within the wheelhouse of the dating system,” explained Paces, a co-author of the paper. The finding poses a lot more questions than answers: Who were these people? Are they part of an early – but failed – colonization attempt? Or is there a long, but as of yet, scarcely recognized presence of humans in this hemisphere? “There’s no doubt in my mind this is an archaeological site,” said Dr. Steve Holen, director of research at the Center for American Paleolithic Research, former curator of archaeology at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, and the lead author of the paper. “The bones and several teeth show clear signs of having been deliberately broken by humans with manual dexterity and experiential knowledge. This breakage pattern has also been observed at mammoth fossil sites in Kansas and Nebraska, where alternative explanations such as geological forces or gnawing by carnivores have been ruled out,” Holen said. The specimens recovered from the Cerutti mastodon site will be on display on Level 2 of the museum beginning April 26, and a public lecture featuring several of the Nature article authors will take place on 7 p.m. Saturday, April 29. Digital 3D models of a selection of specimens pointing toward human association at this site can be viewed interactively at the University of Michigan Online Repository of Fossils. Animations featuring these models are also presented as supplementary information associated with the published version of this research. Eleven authors contributed to the manuscript that is scheduled to be published in Nature: Dr. Steve Holen, director of research at the Center for American Paleolithic Research; Dr. Tom Deméré, curator of paleontology and director of PaleoServices at the San Diego Natural History Museum; Dr. Daniel Fisher, professor of paleontology and director and curator of the Museum of Paleontology at the University of Michigan; Dr. Richard Fullagar, professorial research fellow at the Centre for Archaeological Science at the University of Wollongong, Australia; Dr. James Paces, research geologist at the U.S. Geological Survey; Kathleen Maule Holen, administrative director at the Center for American Paleolithic Research; Dr. Jared Beeton, professor of physical geography at Adams State University; Dr. Adam Rountrey, collection manager in the Museum of Paleontology at the University of Michigan; George T. Jefferson, district staff paleontologist at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park; Dr. Lawrence Vescera, volunteer paleontologist at the California State Parks Colorado Desert District Stout Research Center in Borrego Springs; and Richard Cerutti, former paleontological monitor at the San Diego Natural History Museum. Recovery of the fossils was supported by Caltrans District 11. Major funding for research and display of the artifacts was provided by the National Geographic Society, the Walton Family Fund, Pat Boyce and Debbie Fritsch, the James Hervey Johnson Charitable Educational Trust, and the Downing Family Foundation. The San Diego Natural History Museum (theNAT) is the second oldest scientific institution in California and the third oldest west of the Mississippi. Founded in 1874 by a small group of citizen scientists, the Museum’s mission is to interpret the natural world through research, education, and exhibits; to promote understanding of the evolution and diversity of southern California and the peninsula of Baja California, Mexico; and to inspire in all people respect for the environment. The Museum is located at 1788 El Prado, San Diego, in Balboa Park. For more information, call 877-946-7797 or visit sdnat.org.
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    fredtully
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    April 28, 2017
    that would suggest that "man" were Neanderthals, or the teeth were exposed and harvested in the last 20000 years. San Diego is not far from 19800 year old Channel island remains.
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