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    Hats, haute, and horses at Del Mar's Opening Day
    Jul 20, 2017 | 32316 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    La Jolla native Soha Dokainish checks out the horses in the paddock on Opening Day. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    La Jolla native Soha Dokainish checks out the horses in the paddock on Opening Day. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    Cheekaboomboom, ridden by Flavien Prat, comes from behind to win the third race on Opening Day. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    Cheekaboomboom, ridden by Flavien Prat, comes from behind to win the third race on Opening Day. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    Katherine Perez of Otay Ranch participates in the hats contest. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    Katherine Perez of Otay Ranch participates in the hats contest. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    Nikki Bella, professional wrestler and reality TV personality, speaks with jockey Rafael Bejarano, who rode Bronzino in the second race, in the paddock on Opening Day. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    Nikki Bella, professional wrestler and reality TV personality, speaks with jockey Rafael Bejarano, who rode Bronzino in the second race, in the paddock on Opening Day. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    Brie Bella, professional wrestler and reality TV personality, with friend Shawna Allan (left), check out horses in the paddock on Opening Day. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    Brie Bella, professional wrestler and reality TV personality, with friend Shawna Allan (left), check out horses in the paddock on Opening Day. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    Lindsay Cazarez, of Newport Beach, participates in the hats contest. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    Lindsay Cazarez, of Newport Beach, participates in the hats contest. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    Mariah Meerschaert, of Solana Beach, and Brooke Hasselmann, of Carmel Valley, have fun at Opening Day. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    Mariah Meerschaert, of Solana Beach, and Brooke Hasselmann, of Carmel Valley, have fun at Opening Day. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    Soha Dokainish watches the horses being loaded into the starting gate for the fifth race of Opening Day. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    Soha Dokainish watches the horses being loaded into the starting gate for the fifth race of Opening Day. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    Belinda Berry, of Walnut Creek, participates in the hats contest. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    Belinda Berry, of Walnut Creek, participates in the hats contest. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    Fans in the grandstand watch the second race of Opening Day. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    Fans in the grandstand watch the second race of Opening Day. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    Alia Ahmed (left), of Orange County, has fun at Opening Day. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    Alia Ahmed (left), of Orange County, has fun at Opening Day. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    People stream into Del Mar Racecourse for Opening Day. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    People stream into Del Mar Racecourse for Opening Day. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    A participant in the hats contest has fun posing. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    A participant in the hats contest has fun posing. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    Competitors in the third race come around the first turn on the turf course. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    Competitors in the third race come around the first turn on the turf course. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    La Jolla native Soha Dokainish at the rail during Opening Day. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    La Jolla native Soha Dokainish at the rail during Opening Day. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    From left: Aubrey Fohl, Christine Best, Lauren Donahue, Andria Elam, Lauren Jenkins, Virginia Foster, Carlene McKnight, Mollie Cameron, Belinda Berry, and Christina Stutz.
    From left: Aubrey Fohl, Christine Best, Lauren Donahue, Andria Elam, Lauren Jenkins, Virginia Foster, Carlene McKnight, Mollie Cameron, Belinda Berry, and Christina Stutz.
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    On a sweltering afternoon in mid-July, hats, haute, and horses assembled to live up to the hype of Opening Day for Del Mar Racetrack’s 78th summer season. Women in elevated heels – only surpassed by the cusp of their millinery adorned with flowers, feathers, and fillies – modeled colorful dresses with matching gloves that held the arms of suitors styled with jackets, ties, and toppers as they paraded into the racetrack on Wednesday, July 19. “It all starts with the shoes,” said Soha Dokainish, about constructing her outfit for the occasion. Her heels, a Carolina blue, led to a cerulean and white dress with a cobalt and cream hat. “It took a long time to create my look – like months,” said the La Jolla native, who checked out horses in the paddock and watched the fourth race of the day from the rail. The fashion – including the 23rd annual Opening Day Hats Contest, which drew more than 300 contestants – usually comes first, but soon after, the betting windows open and horses burst out of the gate. Del Mar presented a half-dozen stakes races during the first week, highlighted by an extraordinary running of the TVG San Diego Handicap on Saturday that saw overwhelming favorite Arrogate suffer a shocking defeat at the hands of Accelerate, in a race that drew a national buzz and added a whole new dimension to the track’s $1-million TVG Pacific Classic scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 19. Music and donuts The Summer Concert Series at Del Mar, held Fridays after the races, carries on with the Violent Femmes performance at 7 p.m. Friday, July 28. On Saturday, July 29, head to the Seaside Terrace area from 8 to 10 a.m. for free coffee, orange juice and donuts. Track announcer, Trevor Denman, will host a Q&A session with jockeys and trainers while attendees can watch horses do their morning workouts. Later that day, the Gourmet Food Truck Festival rolls into Del Mar with more than 40 vendors. On weekends, from 1 to 6 p.m. families may join the party in the infield with a variety of free activities including pony rides, face painting and an obstacle course. Children receive free racetrack admission, and for adults the cost is $6. Hats contest winners The winners of the Opening Day Hats Contest at Del Mar were announced late in the afternoon at the winners circle on the track. Categories included Most Glamorous, Best Fascinator, Best Flowers, Best Race Track Theme and Most Outrageous. Contestants competed for more than $5,000 in cash and prizes. The Grand Prize winner was Christina Stutz of San Diego who competed in the Most Outrageous category. Stutz won a Fairmont Grand Del Mar one-night stay and dinner for two at Addison Restaurant, featuring chef William Bradley's multi-course tasting menu with wine pairings valued at $1,000. She also received $300 cash and a Studio Savvy gift basket valued at $250. Stutz delighted Del Mar race fans with a grand scale presentation topped with an elegant life-sized horse enthusiast in a lovely hat of her own. The race fan topper carried an authentic 1948 vintage Del Mar racing program with betting slips. Stutz, whose hat took two months on-and-off to design, told the story about her father attending Opening Day in 1948 and was the inspiration for her clever take on the Del Mar scene. Christine Best of Carlsbad won the category of Best Flowers made of gorgeous live white orchids in an understated elegant form. Mollie Cameron of San Diego who won the Best Fascinator category wore an incredibly architected fascinator design that was stunningly simplistic and sculpted out of a single sheet of paper. The winner in the Most Glamorous category, Lauren Donahue from San Diego was dressed in a beautiful vintage lace dress and hand-made hatinator in beautiful fruit with flowers and ostrich feathers. And rounding out the field of winners in the category of Best Racing Theme, Lauren Jenkins donned a full size surfer wave, with horse race and aquarium atop a surf board themed "Where the Turf Meets The Surf." Racing at Del Mar happens Wednesday through Sunday with the exception of Closing Day on Labor Day Monday. First post daily will be at 2 p.m. First post on Fridays will be at 4 p.m. with the exceptions of Aug. 25 and Sept. 1 when the first post is 3:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.delmarracing.com.
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    Opening Week at Del Mar Racetrack: New attractions and world-class racing
    by BLAKE BUNCH
    Jul 14, 2017 | 25141 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    This year’s racing season will see Airrogate, who is favored in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, and is slated to run at Del Mar in August to race in the Pacific Classic. Also, a variety of spectator attractions will be featured for the first time. /  PHOTO CONTRIBUTED
    This year’s racing season will see Airrogate, who is favored in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, and is slated to run at Del Mar in August to race in the Pacific Classic. Also, a variety of spectator attractions will be featured for the first time. / PHOTO CONTRIBUTED
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    Wednesday, July 19 will mark 80 years of racing at Del Mar Racetrack. While the tried-and-true mainstays of social activity still bring out the masses, this year there are a few surprises in the works. From exploring different music genres, to world class horse racing and new spectator opportunities, things are going to kick off in true fashion of America’s Finest City. “This year we have a few new events that we’re really excited about,” said Craig Dado, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of the Thoroughbred Club. “On Saturday, July 22 (opening weekend), we will be hosting an event entailing Chargers players from the 1960s to modern day – thanking the fans for cheering them on all these years. During the event, the Chargers will be brought out to the winner’s circle by decade, and will sign autographs for half an hour.” Another major draw to this year’s racing season will be Arrogate, a top horse in the field, will be featured in the San Diego Handicap. Arrogate is favored in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, and Dado says they anticipate him to return to Del Mar in August to race in the Pacific Classic. “Arrogate is truly a remarkable horse,” said Dado. “He’s won over $17 million thus far, and only lost once in his career, so this is really big that he will be a part of the season.” As in years past, the live music aspect of this year’s race season will attract some of the biggest acts across various spectrums. Perhaps a first event of its kind, Del Mar Racetrack will host a country day at the track on Saturday, Aug. 5. On “country day,” spectators are encouraged to rock their best country gear (a bit different than typical attire) and will be treated to a chili cook-off. That evening, country music staple Billy Currington will take the stage. Two weekends after that, and on a polar opposite note, Ludacris will perform on Saturday, Aug. 12. “It is exciting to have such a wide array of entertainment this year,” said Dado. “From country one weekend, to hip hop shortly thereafter, there’s truly something for everyone. one of the busiest nights we should see this year, music-wise, will be local act Slightly Stoopid. They always bring a crowd.” As though the annual San Diego event did not already have mass appeal, this year’s attractions and race lineup should definitely bring out spectators in droves.
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    Crystal Pier celebrates 90 years as Pacific Beach icon
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Jul 10, 2017 | 32769 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Crystal Pier at sunset. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    Crystal Pier at sunset. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    The Crystal Pier Hotel cottages were built in 1930. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    The Crystal Pier Hotel cottages were built in 1930. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    Crystal Pier is a no-permit-necessary fishing zone. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    Crystal Pier is a no-permit-necessary fishing zone. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    This Bill Reid aerial (courtesy of John Fry) was posted on Greg May’s Vintage San Diego Facebook page. We are not sure what year it was taken. On Garnet, Maynard’s is hidden by Crystal Pier, but Miller’s West, Aljones Restaurant, Security Pacific Bank and Frazee’s Paints can be seen. Bradshaw Market and Waibel’s Restaurant are visible on Hornblend. Gulf Oil is on the corner of Grand and Mission where Taco Bell is today, and the bright red roof of Pizza Hut can be seen just beyond Parker House Bakery.
    This Bill Reid aerial (courtesy of John Fry) was posted on Greg May’s Vintage San Diego Facebook page. We are not sure what year it was taken. On Garnet, Maynard’s is hidden by Crystal Pier, but Miller’s West, Aljones Restaurant, Security Pacific Bank and Frazee’s Paints can be seen. Bradshaw Market and Waibel’s Restaurant are visible on Hornblend. Gulf Oil is on the corner of Grand and Mission where Taco Bell is today, and the bright red roof of Pizza Hut can be seen just beyond Parker House Bakery.
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    Sunset at Crystal Pier. / Photo courtesy of Willis Allen
    Sunset at Crystal Pier. / Photo courtesy of Willis Allen
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    Crystal Pier under stormy clouds. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    Crystal Pier under stormy clouds. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    This month, Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach marks its 90th anniversary. Since it was dedicated in 1927, the iconic landmark at 4500 Ocean Blvd. has had numerous owners, two names, a ballroom, a carnival, and 270 more feet. Today, it is home to a public fishing pier, as well as the private Crystal Pier Hotel, which is a collection of 32 cottages situated on the pier's front half. Current ownership has been split between Allen family members and the city of San Diego since 1961. Crystal Pier is a no-permit-necessary fishing zone, a sought-after vacation destination and one of the best places to watch San Diego sunsets. Pier hotel owner Willis Allen said his family originally acquired the pier in 1961 when his father “traded a ranch in Murrieta (Riverside County) for the pier. And it's been in our family ever since.” What Crystal Pier does for Pacific Beach and the city is easy to explain. “Hundreds of thousands of people walk on it every year,” noted Allen about the pier and its bait shop and other retail spaces. Pointing out Crystal Pier is actually “the mainstay of PB and really the center of town where things are happening,” Allen said the structure “has always been just kind of the gateway to PB.” Allen and his family are aware they are the custodians of a piece of history. “What we're most proud of is keeping the cottages up,” said Allen, who gave kudos to his hotel's longtime general manager, Jim Bostian, who's led the business' operation for nearly 50 years. “My staff is just a big family, and you wouldn't believe the postcards and letters we've gotten over the years from guests thanking [the staff] for the great time they had, and letting us know they were coming back with their families,” he said. Allen said the city benefits from transit occupancy taxes from the pier, as do nearby restaurants and businesses from the patronage of lodgers staying on the pier. “The pier is like a magnet bringing people together,” said Allen. Visitors who've stayed at Crystal Pier Hotel have raved about its vintage looks and the way the pier moves with the waves “rocking them to sleep like a baby at night.” The pier’s history began in 1924 with a local Realtor named Earl Taylor and a man named Ernest Pickering. Taylor needed an attraction to make Pacific Beach more desirable to homebuyers. Pickering owned a pier in Santa Monica. Together they managed to open Pickering’s Pleasure Pier, as it was called at the time, in July of 1927. The Cape Cod-style cottages were added in 1930. However, during the next 10 years, pier ownership was thrown around as disputes with the city continued to arise. Attempts at opening a midway, ballroom, and carnival on the pier each lasted a mere three months before closing. The reopening of Pickering’s Pleasure Pier as Crystal Pier in 1936 lessened the prior difficulties. In 1987, a total of 270 feet of the pier was destroyed during a storm. Despite the Crystal Pier’s long struggle, though, it remains known as a “beach lover’s haven.” In honor of its 90th anniversary, Randals Sandals at 955 Turquoise St. in North PB dedicated a mural on the outside of the store to the Crystal Pier and its timeless beauty. Crystal Pier Opened: July 1927 as Pickering’s Pleasure Pier. Size: 872 feet long. Worst damage: In 1987, 240 feet of pier was ripped off during a storm. Fishing: A fishing license is not required to fish at Crystal Pier (since 2009). Hotel: Guests can sleep over the ocean in the hotel’s cottages on the pier. Hours: 8 a.m. to sunset, unless staying at the hotel. Info: www.crystalpier.com.
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    San Diego lifeguards make 550 rescues during Fourth of July weekend
    Jul 05, 2017 | 36322 views | 0 0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Pacific Beach was crowded over the weekend. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    Pacific Beach was crowded over the weekend. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    More than half a million people visited San Diego city beaches over the weekend and on the Fourth of July, while city lifeguards were involved in nearly 550 rescues and medical aid operations during those three days, officials announced on July 5. On Saturday, Sunday and the July Fourth holiday Tuesday, officials estimate 572,100 people crowded San Diego's beaches, said Monica Munoz, spokeswoman for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. During those three days, lifeguards made 283 rescues and were involved in 266 medical aid operations, Munoz said. “The majority of the rescue activity occurred in Pacific and Windansea beaches,” Munoz said. SDFRD personnel also responded to a collision in Mission Bay involving two personal watercraft and provided towing assistance to a rented personal watercraft in the Sunset Cliffs area and another in the Ocean Beach area, Munoz said. Rescuers also responded late Tuesday to a call of three people trapped by high tide in the La Jolla area. Lifeguards also reported more than 8,800 preventative acts during the three days, including giving advice to beachgoers about hazardous swimming conditions, educating visitors about laws on the beach and issuing citations. “Overall it was a fantastic holiday weekend thanks to firefighters, lifeguards, (the police department) and special event traffic controllers,” Munoz said.
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    La Jolla news and community briefs
    Jul 02, 2017 | 11653 views | 1 1 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    'June gloom' has finally come to an end, though it did not go without a fight. / PHOTO BY BLAKE BUNCH
    'June gloom' has finally come to an end, though it did not go without a fight. / PHOTO BY BLAKE BUNCH
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    Osher Lifelong learning Since June 19, the summer quarter registration has been open at The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UC San Diego. The Institute offers stimulating daily lectures and seminars for individuals 50-plus years of age who become members. The first lecture begins on Wednesday, July 5 at 10 a.m. Class offerings include presentations from scholars and experts in the fields of art and music, law and society, science and engineering, among many other subjects. All lectures are held on the extension campus located at 9600 North Torrey Pines Road. Summer quarter lecture subjects include Igor Stravinsky, art history of the United States, the Supreme Court, changing oceans ecosystems and new planets.  For information on membership, visit www.olli.ucsd.edu  or call 858-534-3409. Marine Room chef named ‘Chef of the Year’ by California Restaurant Association The Marine Room recently announced its chef de cuisine, Ron Oliver, was named “Chef of the Year” by the San Diego chapter of the California Restaurant Association (CRA). The CRA held its 33rd annual Gold Medallion Awards on June 13 at the Town and Country Resort Hotel in Mission Valley, where the restaurant industry’s most prestigious honors were bestowed upon San Diego eateries and industry leaders.   For more than 18 years, chef Oliver has been instrumental in upholding the rich traditions of The Marine Room as a San Diego landmark while introducing exciting new programs and events, including the popular high tide dinners and annual cooking class series – which Oliver co-hosts with executive chef Bernard Guillas. His partnership with Guillas has also led to the publication of two highly acclaimed cookbooks and countless awards for the world-renowned restaurant. The Marine Room is located at 2000 Spindrift Drive in La Jolla and is owned and operated by the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, Inc. For more information and reservations, call 858-459-7222, or visit www.MarineRoom.com. LJ Playhouse recently announced Without Walls (WoW) festival dates La Jolla Playhouse, nationally-renowned for its commitment to the development of new work and new theatrical forms, is pleased to announced the dates and selected projects and collaborators for its third Without Walls (WoW) Festival of immersive and site-based work.  The 2017 WoW Festival will take place Oct. 19 to22 in downtown San Diego and surrounding areas, in collaboration with several major partners, including Horton Plaza Park, Westfield Corp.; The New Children’s Museum; the San Diego Public Library; Bread & Salt and Border X Brewing; as well as ArtPower. Also new to this year’s event is the appointment of Meiyin Wang as festival director. “Building on the success of our previous Without Walls Festivals, our 2017 outing will showcase works that redefine our conception of theatre, as well as the customary relationship between audience and art. In a new twist, we’re bringing this year’s festival to downtown San Diego and environs, giving the Playhouse an opportunity to expand our reach, develop new community partnerships and offer audiences even more innovative sites and experiences,” said La Jolla Playhouse artistic director and 2017 Tony Award winner Christopher Ashley. MCASD mourns the loss of devotedarts patron, Danah Fayman A dedicated philanthropist and cultural leader, Danah Fayman's involvement with the Museum of Contemporary Art began 60 years ago. After earning her bachelor's degree from San Diego State University in 1957, she immediately came to work at what was then called the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art. At the museum, she established and held the position of public relations director for three years. Both she and her late husband, Lynn, were consistent members of the museum's Collectors Circle group and each served tenures on the museum's board of trustees. Danah joined the board of trustees in 1970, and served as board president from 1976-1984. In the decades since, she remained active with the Collectors Circle and was named an honorary trustee in 2012. "Danah Fayman truly believed in the power of art," said Kathryn Kanjo, The David C. Copley director and CEO. "Through her conviction and generosity, her name became synonymous with the adventurous spirit of MCASD's program. Indeed, a gallery in La Jolla and a space downtown are named in her honor. Likewise she, often with Lynn, helped the museum acquire nearly two dozen works of art, including pieces by Bernd and Hilla Becher, Manny Farber, Faiya Fredman, Donald Judd, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg, Ed Ruscha, and others. We are honored to hold this legacy."  Bird Rock Coffee Roasters excel in recent review of women-produced coffees Bird Rock Coffee Roasters recently announced that they received a 94 point score on their Colombia La Palma Y El Tucan, a lactic processed Gesha, which also received the second spot in a review this month for the best women-produced coffees in CoffeeReview.com. Like the majority of coffees sold at Bird Rock Coffee Roasters (BRCR), the Gesha was sourced directly at origin from the La Palma Y El Tucan farm by co-owner of BRCR and PT's Coffee Roasting Co. (PT's Coffee), Jeff Taylor, on a trip to Colombia last year. In the same review, PT's Coffee received 95 points on their El Salvador Finca Kilimanjaro, a cascara-fermentation processed coffee by Aida Batlle, which secured the top spot in the U.S. review of women-produced coffees in CoffeeReview.com. “There is so much to celebrate in these outstanding reviews,” said Taylor. “Not only did both our companies excel in this review, but since women-produced coffee is rare in the coffee business, we are thrilled to support those producers who are exceeding in the face of varied pressures, including the multiple roles these women play as heads of their family and their businesses.”
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    Tony Ciani
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    July 18, 2017
    In 1957, the SDMCA was known as "The La Jolla Art Center"
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