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    Faulconer launches Do Your Homework @ the Library plan
    Nov 18, 2014 | 10348 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Surrounded by Logan Elementary schoolchildren, Mayor Kevin Faulconer on Nov. 17 launched a citywide education program and announced a new non-profit organization, One San Diego, to promote opportunity and inclusion throughout San Diego’s diverse neighborhoods. A $30,000 contribution secured by One San Diego will fund 60 laptops for the city’s new Do Your Homework @ the Library after-school program for students from kindergarten to 8th grade. Faulconer and One San Diego board members presented laptops at the Logan Heights Branch Library. The donation is made possible by a $15,000 gift from the Walmart Foundation that was matched by the San Diego Public Library Foundation. “Your opportunity to succeed,” Faulconer said, “shouldn’t hinge on whether you live in a neighborhood north of Interstate 8 or south of it. As mayor, I’m working to bring people from all walks of life together to overcome our shared challenges, end the division and create what I’ve called One San Diego.” One San Diego is a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization designed to promote equal access to an enhanced quality of life and access to education initiatives. Its grant program give up to $2,500 to help fund these efforts. The city's 2015 budget funded the Do Your Homework @ the Library program, which provides one-on-one assistance to children for school-assigned homework at targeted kindergarten through 8th-grade schools. It adds a learning coordinator in 18 San Diego libraries where curriculum-aligned resources, technology and community partnerships work in tandem to support students. The program also capitalizes on San Diego public library equipment, staff, Wi-Fi access and digital resources, including the HelpNow! online tutoring program. The afterschool program has begun at the Central Library and four branches – Logan Heights, San Carlos, Pacific Beach/Taylor and Scripps Miramar Ranch. The program is scheduled to expand to 13 additional libraries in January. After years of service reductions, Faulconer’s inaugural One San Diego budget, passed last June, brought library hours to their highest levels in a decade.
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    Scripps researchers reveal technique behind anti-Ebola tool
    Nov 18, 2014 | 706 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Biologist Erica Ollmann Saphire says Ebola images reveal the virus' presence.
    Biologist Erica Ollmann Saphire says Ebola images reveal the virus' presence.
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    An experimental drug created in San Diego and used to treat seven Ebola victims works by binding antibodies to the top and bottom of the virus, scientists at The Scripps Research Institute reported Monday, Nov. 17. In a study published online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers using an imaging technique called electron microscopy found that two drug antibodies attach themselves to the base of the virus, apparently keeping it from entering cells. ZMapp, made by Mapp Biopharmaceuticals in Sorrento Valley, was administered to the patients under emergency procedures, even though it has not been cleared for general use by federal regulators. Five of the seven patients survived, according to Scripps. “The structural images of Ebola virus are like enemy reconnaissance,'' said Erica Ollmann Saphire, a Scripps structural biologist. “They tell us exactly where to target antibodies or drugs.'' A ZMapp antibody also places itself on the top of the virus, possibly to serve as a beacon to call attention to the body's immune system that an infection is present, Scripps reported. The new research is among studies performed by the Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Immunotherapeutic Consortium, of which Scripps is a member. The consortium, funded by the National Institutes of Health, is testing antibodies from 25 laboratories around the world to develop the best drug cocktail for neutralizing Ebola and other related hemorrhagic fever viruses. The announcement from Scripps came the same day officials at a Nebraska hospital said a surgeon who contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone died despite receiving ZMapp as part of his treatment. Dr. Martin Salia, the chief medical officer and surgeon at the Kissy United Methodist Hospital in the African nation's capital of Freetown, arrived Saturday at Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha with hardly any kidney function. His condition worsened, and he died Nov. 17, according to the medical center. Salia is the second person to die of Ebola in the United States. More than 5,000 people have died of the disease in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. Officials at Scripps said the next step for the consortium is to study antibodies from human survivors of the current outbreak. Saphire, who leads the group, hopes they can also develop a back-up cocktail in case the virus mutates and becomes resistant to treatment. The Ebola virus has already undergone more than 300 genetic changes during the current outbreak, according to Scripps. Areas targeted by ZMapp are unaffected so far. According to Scripps, ZMapp will undergo clinical trials early next year. --Staff and contribution
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    Crowd-pleaser: Fee to fund enforcement of problem-rental regs OK'd
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Nov 13, 2014 | 9646 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    With a standing-room-only crowd composed largely of vacation-rental advocates, La Jolla Community Planning Association voted 7-3-1 to establish a permit fee to exclusively fund enforcement of existing regulations regarding short-term vacation rentals. That successful motion, after substantial public testimony and trustee debate, was made at the advisory group's Nov. 6 meeting. The vote followed unsuccessful motions brought by the group, which makes land-use recommendations to the city and which asked trustees to sanction changes to vacation rental scenarios recommended by a group subcommittee after months of stakeholder meetings. The planning association's ad hoc committee on rentals recommended improving real-time police response to citizen complaints about problematic homes by: • Substantially increasing fines for the Community Assisted Party Program (CAPP), which allows troublesome party homes to be essentially placed on probation with fines for repeat offenders; • Requiring property owners of CAPP'd homes to place a substantial security deposit in escrow with the city, to be forfeited with subsequent violations; • Allowing neighbor/resident documentation of violations to be sufficient to issue/warrant a CAPP violation; • Encouraging the city to develop/implement a proactive community education/outreach program regarding CAPP; and • Requiring two violations, within 90 days, to place a property into a CAPP classification. Planning group trustee Helen Boyden, who chaired the group’s ad hoc committee on vacation rentals, said she was “sympathetic with people that live next to a noisy property which is a continual bother.” But she said anything done to curb problematic rentals “needs to be enforceable. “I support a realistic, permanent system with fees returning for enforcement,” Boyden said. Bird Rock resident Mike Costello, an outspoken proponent of greater regulation of vacation rentals, said, “We need to separate commercial from residential so we can have peace at home. “CAPP needs to be strengthened, and a permit process for short-term vacation rentals makes some sense,” Costello added. Trustee Fran Zimmerman said she felt the ad hoc committee’s recommendations were too numerous to be dealt with all at once. She said she favored the notion of establishing a formal code of conduct for renters as well as requiring rental properties to have a contact person available 24/7 to deal with neighbors’ problems or complaints. “I see both sides,” said planning association trustee and Realtor Patrick Ahern. “We do have our inalienable rights to liberty and estate. But property owners also have the right of quiet to enjoy their property, and that is incumbent upon the landlord to provide.” Association chair Joe LaCava thanked the ad hoc committee for its efforts on negotiating with stakeholders on vacation rentals. LaCava said he felt much of the problem with policing troublesome homes stemmed from “the city failing to have sufficient resources to do enforcement," adding, “We can’t enforce the rules and regulations we have on the books right now.” In other action: • A continual flap over a longstanding election dispute took an unexpected turn as architect Michael Morton turned down a compromise solution that would have established a 19th trustee seat for him to fill until April 1, 2015. In brief comments, Morton said he was unwilling to serve such an abbreviated term. Also, trustee Rob Whittemore, who had opposed the compromise solution worked out between the city and the planning association, officially resigned from the group. Whittemore’s seat will be up for election in March of 2015. • Hilary Nemchik, new representative for state Sen. Marty Block and the 39tth Senate District, introduced herself to the group. • UCSD planner Anu Delouri said the university is hosting a community open house Wednesday, Nov. 19 from 4 to 7 p.m. in Forum Hall in University Town Center about the Wells Fargo Bank.
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    Bright Idea Society seeks Science Festival applicants
    Nov 13, 2014 | 1154 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Applications are currently available for teachers and club advisors for the fourth annual Bright Idea Society – and, for students, a new design contest – as the San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering starts another year of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) educational programs for teachers and students. The Bright Idea Society is an opportunity for STEM clubs or classrooms to submit an idea for a project from concept phase to inception. The festival's education committee will evaluate submissions and select a winning group from each of the elementary, middle and high school levels. The winners will be awarded a $500 education stipend for materials and supplies to bring their project to fruition. In addition, they will receive the opportunity to present their final project at the 2015 EXPO Day, which takes place on Saturday, March 21 at PETCO Park. Deadline for submission is Dec. 12. Details and program applications are posted on the festival website, lovestemsd.org. The term STEM is typically used when addressing education policy and curriculum choices to improve competitiveness in technology development. It has implications for workforce development, national security concerns and immigration policy. The festival also announces its newest competition, STEM Design. The competition encourages children to integrate art with their love for science and engineering and allow the expression of creativity. The festival invites students from kindergarten to college to submit a STEM-related design concept for a chance to win the top graphic location on the front of the 2015 Festival Week t-shirt. The winning recipient will receive his or her artwork framed, an educational stipend and the opportunity to be seen by over 50,000 STEM enthusiasts throughout Festival Week. The just-launched Nifty Fifty program matches STEM industry professionals with San Diego County kindergarten through 12th-grade classrooms for exciting and interactive presentations. Teachers and STEM industry professionals can sign up on the festival website, and match e-mails will be sent in January 2015. Additionally, the new STEM Ambassador Pilot Program seeks two dozen college students to participate as STEM ambassadors during festival week. Ambassadors will be paired with a Nifty Fifty mentor and invited to participate in classroom presentations. “San Diego continues to be a mecca for growth in the industry of STEM,” said Sara Pagano, the festival's managing director. “As one of our core values, we advocate for investing in STEM education as one of the most effective ways to build a secure socioeconomic environment for everyone regardless of race, creed, gender or personal beliefs. We as a festival have the opportunity to showcase what it means to be a STEM professional and feel that creating these experiences for students are vital to growing their knowledge and passion for learning within the industry of STEM.” The San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering engages kids in science and engineering. By doing this, the organization expands the general public’s understanding of the relevancy of science and engineering in everyday lives, illuminates why the United States must maintain its role in science and technology and works with parents and teachers to inspire today’s students to become tomorrow’s STEM innovators. For more information, visit lovestemsd.org or call (858) 455-0300, ext. 104. – Staff and contribution
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    New fire captain followed her own advice
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Nov 13, 2014 | 879 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Capt. Maria Cabrera (middle) tends to a recent mishap involving an elderly woman's ankle injury. PHOTO BY DAVE SCHWAB
    Capt. Maria Cabrera (middle) tends to a recent mishap involving an elderly woman's ankle injury. PHOTO BY DAVE SCHWAB
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    Maria Cabrera, La Jolla Fire Station 13’s new division captain, started from the ground up — literally. “I was a civilian working for the city as a weed abatement inspector right after the (1985) Normal Heights fire,” said Cabrera, recently speaking in the converted single-family residence across from La Jolla High School that District 13 firefighters call home. Inspecting properties for fire breaks, Cabrera worked with firefighters who impressed her. “They had great stories and experiences to share,” she said, noting she tried to talk her sister into becoming a fire fighter herself. “I didn’t succeed,” she acknowledged. “But while I was trying to talk her into it, I talked myself into it.” Cabrera had some challenges to overcome. First, there weren’t many female firefighters at the time. And then she became pregnant with her daughter. That, however, didn’t dissuade her from pursuing a new career. “I started the four-month [San Diego Fire-Rescue Academy] when my daughter was just 5 months old,” she said. A boot camp for firefighters, the academy teaches prospective firefighters all the rules — and tools — of the trade, everything from emergency medical training (EMT) to how to respond to 911 calls. “We learned all the aspects of fire fighting, about the trucks, tools and ladders, as well as anything you might deal with on a 911 call: childbirth, traffic accidents, heart attacks, diabetes problems, broken limbs, extracting people trapped in vehicles, et cetera,” Cabrera said. A first-generation American whose parents had come from Mexico, where firefighting is performed largely by volunteers, Cabrera talked about the appeal of the profession. “It was a physical job, and I’ve always considered myself... athletic,” she said, adding it’s also a good way of giving back. “We’re here because we want to help people in their time of need during a crisis,” Cabrera said. During the interview, a medical call came through. Cabrera and her other three crew members hopped into a fire engine and headed a couple of blocks away to a juice bar in the Village, where an elderly woman had fallen and hurt herself. On the scene, Cabrera began taking down background medical and personal information from the woman, who was in some pain but comfortable. An ambulance came, transporting her to her hospital of choice. It was a routine call in a community that includes a large number of seniors. “About 80 percent of our calls are medical,” said Cabrera. Cabrera, who will retire in another year, said La Jolla was the perfect place for a last stop. “I’d always looked at this station and said, ‘Wow, wouldn’t it be great to have the opportunity to come to La Jolla, such a beautiful area with wonderful people and the opportunity to help a lot of people’? ” “So I decided to switch gears and move over here.” La Jolla, with its many canyons, presents some unique fire fighting challenges. Getting acquainted with La Jolla and its geography was Cabrera’s first challenge. “It’s been a real learning curve just learning the streets in the district and how to get around,” she said. Fire Station 13 serves La Jolla and its surrounding areas over 2.48 square miles. The station was originally opened in 1913 at 7877 Herschel Ave. The building was rebuilt at the same location in 1937. It was moved to its current location, 809 Nautilus St., in March of 1976 at a cost of $75,000 and was remodeled and reopened in 2007. With the ongoing drought in the middle of the peak of the fire season before winter rains, Cabrera warned residents that “there are hazards lurking everywhere in a home. “Be careful on the inside if you have candles, fireplaces or portable heaters, even leaving food heating on the stove,” said Cabrera, noting unattended food is an all-too-frequent fire starter. Cabrera said it’s also critical for homeowners to do fire prevention. “It’s important for people to have fire breaks, clear any combustibles, like wood stacked close to their houses, from their yards,” she said. “If you’ve got a drier, make sure the lint traps are cleaned. Smoking and falling asleep, either in bed or in a chair, is really dangerous. Also, don’t forget to put candles out. Pets can knock them over.” Asked if she’d recommend firefighting as a career, Cabrera didn’t hesitate to answer. “It’s been very gratifying, fulfilling,” she said. “I’ve had the honor and pleasure of working with wonderful people. It’s been a challenge. You’re constantly being trained and tested.” There is a down side. “It takes a lot of time away from your family, and you have to work weekends, holidays and birthdays lots of times,” Cabrera said. “Many times, we’re up all day and night. It can be exhausting. You can be called away for 24 hours, sometimes even longer, up to 21 days, to fight fires far away from home.” Nonetheless, it’s great to truly be in a position to be able to help people. “You don’t want anyone to suffer or have anything bad happen to them, but if it’s going to happen … we’re the ones that are trained to be there,” Cabrera said. “We hope that you never need to call us. But if and when they do, we’re always here.”
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    News
    OB businessman sentenced in University City sex ploy
    The owner of a real estate business in Ocean Beach was sentenced Monday to 10 years in federal prison for using a cell phone to arrange to have sex with a 13-year-old girl he paid on several occasi...
    Nov 21, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Sports
    For Bishop's player and her ex-coach, there's more to field hockey than the game
    Tori Tran, co-captain and leader of this year’s Bishop’s School field hockey team, could run fast, but she wasn’t “athletic” before she started playing the game in the seventh grade. Then in the ni...
    Nov 13, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Opinion
    Flu shots: No, thanks -- better safe than sorry
    Last November, little Marysue Grivna reportedly survived the prospect of a rare disease long enough to play a game of tag. Four days later, the 10-year-old Tampa girl fell ill with Acute Disseminat...
    Nov 03, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Arts & Entertainment
    Playhouse's 'Hunchback of Notre Dame' is for grown-ups
    Readers have until Sunday, Dec. 14 to hear and see the extended U.S. premiere of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” produced by La Jolla Playhouse in association with Disney Theatricals Group and the P...
    Nov 18, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Business
    Recession is a thing of the past in San Diego
    San Diego’s economy has fully recovered from the Great Recession, with a gross domestic product growing to a projected $206.4 billion by the end of this year — the highest level ever recorded, acco...
    Nov 13, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Obituaries
    Ch. 8's Larry Himmel, former Comedy Store stand-up performer, dies at 68
    Larry Himmel, longtime journalist for KMFB-TV/Ch. 8 in San Diego and a former stand-up comic at La Jolla's Comedy Store, has died of cancer, the television station announced during its 11 p.m. news...
    Nov 11, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend
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