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    Entrepreneur Gina Champion-Cain’s secret to success? Do what you love
    by NICOLE SOURS LARSON
    May 24, 2016 | 2300 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Gina Champion-Cain
    Gina Champion-Cain
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    If you ask serial entrepreneur Gina Champion-Cain the secret to her success across an ever-evolving range of businesses, her answer is clear. "It's really simple. I just do what I love. I never would get stuck in a job I hated," she said. The daughter of a Michigan real estate developer, Champion-Cain grew up surrounded by the business she later embraced. Following graduation from the University of Michigan, she headed west to attend California Western School of Law. She chose San Diego because of two key features – proximity to the ocean and the international border. Having grown up on the water near the Canadian border, she was eager to experience Mexican border culture. Champion-Cain quickly discovered that she didn't want to practice law, yet she recognized the usefulness of a law degree in a business career. She also realized that, as a woman in a male-dominated field, she needed an extra arrow in her quiver and enrolled in the University of San Diego's MBA program. She started out in the apartment industry in the late 1980s, managing and redeveloping distressed assets spun off by the Resolution Trust Company. Her big break came in 1994 with the Irvine-based Koll Company. She joined their team tasked with redeveloping La Jolla Square Shopping Center, formerly an enclosed mall home to old May Company and I. Magnin stores. "I got a reputation for rebuilding distressed malls" and flipping them from distress to success, she explained. By 1997, Champion-Cain was ready to go out on her own, starting American National Investments. Passionate about urban areas, she bought and rehabbed a rundown Woolworth store for her first solo real estate development project, eventually bringing the House of Blues to San Diego to fill the space. No one, she explained, thought she, a rare female developer, could do it. Now in her 50s and established in her career, Champion-Cain no longer elicits doubts about the potential success of her projects, which focus increasingly on interrelated businesses in the hospitality industry. All resulted from her adaptability in pivoting when the economy tanked, her ability in recognizing a gap in the market and her agility in filling that niche. She got into the restaurant business by chance when she purchased Pacific Beach's Lamont Street Grill. Expecting to tear it down and redevelop it, she responded to community requests to retain the restaurant, reinventing it as The Patio. Three other locations, in Mission Hills, Liberty Station and Petco Park, followed, with plans for more up the coast. She acquired Saska's in Mission Beach when the founding owners retired. A beach and animal lover, Champion-Cain started her network of about 10 pet-friendly up-scale Mission Beach vacation rentals when she found no one welcomed her golden retrievers (or her elderly cat) at a beach rental. Her two Luv Surf apparel companies sprang from requests from her vacation rental guests, while The Swell, her coffee company, Andrea's Truffles, her handmade chocolatier, and Luxury Farms, two specialty gourmet markets in Mission Hills and Coronado, were natural evolutions of her restaurants. In explaining her formula for success, she returns to her roots in real estate. "It's location, location, location," she said with a laugh. "You have to be in a great location with great people around you. I always try to look at a market and ask what is missing from this market, what do you need, what works in this demographic." Champion-Cain says she loves to work and works long hours. "You have to love what you do,” she says, “and then it's not work."
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    Romeo and Juliet are getting married
    by LAINIE FRASER
    May 23, 2016 | 4612 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Romeo, played by Stéphano Candreva, proposes to Juliet, Erica Alvarado, on stage after the show's last performance.
    Romeo, played by Stéphano Candreva, proposes to Juliet, Erica Alvarado, on stage after the show's last performance.
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    In 2012 City Ballet of San Diego received standing ovations and endless praise for its performance of “Romeo and Juliet.” This year, the Pacific Beach-based ballet company’s final show ended with a surprise that shocked the audience and changed two performers' lives. Throughout the performance it was the intricate costumes, set designs and acrobatics, along with the timeless love story that amazed audience members. When the show came to an end, it was an act by Romeo, played by Stéphano Candreva, that stole the show and the hearts of everyone in the room. At the end of the performance, while the performers lined up to take their final bows, Candreva ran to take a prop off stage, or so everyone thought. In reality, Candreva had left to retrieve an engagement ring for his on and off stage Juliet. Seconds later, Candreva returned and on one knee, in front of a full house, proposed to his girlfriend and dance partner of six years Erica Alvarado. According to Candreva, it was the only way he ever imagined it happening. “Romeo and Juliet is extra special to me,” Candreva said. “It is such a passionate and romantic ballet, and everything from the chemistry we share in our relationship to dancing the steps together felt so natural with Erica, the proposal too felt natural.” Alvarado said that Candreva has always been theatrical and romantic but that she did not see this coming. She said she had been engulfed in becoming Juliet for the last two hours and had not thought once that night about a proposal. “The whole company knew about the proposal the day before I popped the question,” Candreva said. “I had put that off because I didn't want word getting out to Erica, the surprise factor mattered to me.” Members of the dance company who witnessed the romantic event said his timing was thoughtful and heart warming. Managing director Jo Anne Emery said the entire dance company was impressed with how well Candreva kept his secret and how beautifully it all came together. Candreva and Alvarado met six years ago as members of the Milwaukee Ballet and a year later both coincidentally received contracts with City Ballet of San Diego. Candreva said he has always known she was the one he would marry and had planned to propose last season but chose to wait for the “Romeo and Juliet” performance. “Ballet drives both of our lives,” Candreva said. “Ballet is what brought us together and really what better play is there to propose after than ‘Romeo and Juliet’ where you two danced the roles of Romeo and Juliet?”
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    Deep-fried pizza, steampunkers and an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ theme at this year’s fair
    by LAINIE FRASER
    May 23, 2016 | 2176 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Deep-fried pizza, deep-fried lemonade and just about anything that can fit in the fryer, plus steampunkers and an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ theme, should keep fairgoers Mad About the Fair, which starts June 3 in Del Mar. PHOTO BY LAINIE FRASER
    Deep-fried pizza, deep-fried lemonade and just about anything that can fit in the fryer, plus steampunkers and an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ theme, should keep fairgoers Mad About the Fair, which starts June 3 in Del Mar. PHOTO BY LAINIE FRASER
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    As the largest fair in California, attracting more than 1.5 million people last year alone, the San Diego County Fair hopes to break the attendance record with this year's theme, “Mad About the Fair,” running June 3 through July 4. Fusing the inventive and artistic movement of steampunk with the magical world of Lewis Carroll's “Alice's Adventures in Wonderland,” the Del Mar Fairgrounds have been transformed into Alice's world of wonder and amazement. Events like Tea Time in Wonderland and the Mad Hatters Dance Party are designed to transport those in attendance to a world full of characters in eclectic costumes and a variety of fried foods to go along. “We had this retro-futuristic vision for this year's fair,” Frederick Schenk, Agricultural Association Board member said. “We are grateful for how it has come together and for the outreach by the San Diego Steampunk Society.” Members of the San Diego Steampunk Society have worked diligently for months to create handcrafted costumes that are both Alice in Wonderland and steampunk inspired. Their work and adaptation of the storybook characters has been deemed a success by Schenk. According to Linda Zweig, director of media relations for the Del Mar Fairgrounds, the fair should feel like a wild tea party with food and people to match. “If you invite the steampunk community, they will make it a show,” Zweig said. With 10 festivals, daily contests, events and nightly entertainment, all 26 days of this year's fair are planned to impress from open until close. “There are magical manifestations and outlandish landscapes to highlight every single day of this fair,” Schenk said. Of the festivals planned for this year's fair, the San Diego International Beer Festival is scheduled for June 17 to 19 and is projected to attract a large crowd for the third year in a row. “Unlimited beer sampling from your backyard and around the world will make you grin like a Cheshire cat,” Schenk said. There are nine stages at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, and each is scheduled to host musical, comedic and theatrical performances all day. Acts are family friendly, and many are free with an admission ticket. Headliners include Lady Antebellum, Grand Funk Railroad and Kenny Rogers, to name a few. “We want everyone to go completely bonkers,” said Tim Fennell, CEO of the Del Mar Fairgrounds. “What matters this year is food, fun and frolic, so please sip, savor and sample.” The newest feature to the fair this year is the California Grown Exhibit. It is an attempt to honor the agricultural history of the state and recognize California as the number one farming state in the nation. The exhibit is equip with farm animals and machinery and is intended to educate people about the past- and present-day farmer as well as the impact agriculture has across the state and nation. The exhibit will have three parts depicting farming yesterday, today and tomorrow. Food that is locally sourced and served farm to table will be available at the fair. “We want everyone to travel around this wonderful state through food and drink,” Schenk said. Planning for the 2016 fair began the day the 2015 fair ended, and, according to Zweig, it has been the board's intention from the start to make it the best one yet. “We are absolutely mad about the fair, and we want to open San Diego's mind to the eclectic world of steampunk,” Schenk said. Adult tickets for the fair are $16, and group promotions and passes are available online and at the fairgrounds. For more information about this year's fair and a chance to win merchandise as well as discounted admission tickets, the San Diego County Fair Street Team will be at the Fiesta Del Sol in Solana Beach, the D6 Night Market and the Balboa Park Garden Party in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, see sdfair.com for more.
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    Bill Walton sculpture as large as his life
    May 19, 2016 | 19390 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    A life-size bronze sculpture of legendary San Diego athlete Bill Walton was unveiled Saturday, May 14 at Ski Beach Park in Mission Bay. / PHOTO BY JIM GRANT
    A life-size bronze sculpture of legendary San Diego athlete Bill Walton was unveiled Saturday, May 14 at Ski Beach Park in Mission Bay. / PHOTO BY JIM GRANT
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    A life-size bronze sculpture of legendary San Diego athlete Bill Walton was unveiled Saturday, May 14 at Ski Beach Park in Mission Bay. Walton, a lifelong cycling enthusiast, is commemorated in bronze with his bicycle. The statue stands 6 feet, 11 inches tall and weighs 1,200 pounds. Alison Brown, the bronze sculptor who created the monument, took exact measurements of Walton’s bicycle, his shoes and other personal items. These were carefully replicated in the finished work, a life-size, highly detailed replica of the man himself. ‘In clay, every fingerprint, every detail created in the sculpture is transferred into bronze. When the sculpture is ultimately cast, the finished monument reflects every tiny detail in bronze,’ said Brown. Walton led the UCLA Bruins to national championships in the early 1970s before joining the NBA and playing for the Portland Trail Blazers, San Diego Clippers, and Boston Celtics. Walton won two NBA championships and was named the NBA’s most valuable player. He was eventually inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame and named as one of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players of all time.
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    Sagan wins Stage 1 in sprint finish as Amgen Tour of California races through San Diego
    May 15, 2016 | 14501 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Peter Sagan, of team Tinkoff (in white jersey, black helmet, on right), won Stage 1 of the Amgen Tour of California with a come-from-behind sprint down Quivira Way to nip second place finisher Wouter Wippert, of Cannondale Pro Cycling Team (in green jersey, green helmet), and Dylan Groenewegen, of Team Lotto NL - Jumbo (left, in yellow and black helmet) at the finish line in Mission Bay. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    Peter Sagan, of team Tinkoff (in white jersey, black helmet, on right), won Stage 1 of the Amgen Tour of California with a come-from-behind sprint down Quivira Way to nip second place finisher Wouter Wippert, of Cannondale Pro Cycling Team (in green jersey, green helmet), and Dylan Groenewegen, of Team Lotto NL - Jumbo (left, in yellow and black helmet) at the finish line in Mission Bay. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    slideshow
    Peter Sagan, of team Tinkoff (in white jersey, black helmet, on right), won Stage 1 of the Amgen Tour of California with a come-from-behind sprint down Quivira Way to nip second place finisher Wouter Wippert, of Cannondale Pro Cycling Team (in green jersey, green helmet), and Dylan Groenewegen, of Team Lotto NL - Jumbo (left, in yellow and black helmet) at the finish line in Mission Bay. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    Peter Sagan, of team Tinkoff (in white jersey, black helmet, on right), won Stage 1 of the Amgen Tour of California with a come-from-behind sprint down Quivira Way to nip second place finisher Wouter Wippert, of Cannondale Pro Cycling Team (in green jersey, green helmet), and Dylan Groenewegen, of Team Lotto NL - Jumbo (left, in yellow and black helmet) at the finish line in Mission Bay. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    slideshow
    Peter Sagan, of team Tinkoff, receives his yellow jersey as the winner of Stage 1 of the Amgen Tour of California on Sunday, May 15 at the finish line in Mission Bay. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    Peter Sagan, of team Tinkoff, receives his yellow jersey as the winner of Stage 1 of the Amgen Tour of California on Sunday, May 15 at the finish line in Mission Bay. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    slideshow
    Reigning world champion and UCI’s top-ranked rider Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) won Stage 1 of the Amgen Tour of California with a come-from-behind sprint down Quivira Way to nip second place finisher Wouter Wippert (Cannondale Pro Cycling Team) and Dylan Groenewegen (Team Lotto NL - Jumbo) at the finish in Mission Bay. Sagan also earned the Visit California Sprint Jersey. Stage 1 kicked off the 11th annual eight-day stage race, which features some of the most accomplished riders in the sport competing across 782 miles before concluding in Sacramento on May 22. “I’m very happy to be here again, to catch a first victory here, in the first stage. Thank you to all my teammates. Today was a good day,” said Sagan of his 14th Amgen Tour of California career victory (the race’s all-time record holder for stage wins). “I came here the first time in 2010… it was a very nice race, very good organization, very nice hotels, food… Also, the level of the race is very good, and it’s also very good for preparation because it’s good weather. Now it’s the Giro and Tour of California. And I prefer to come here to train and prepare. And also I like California for the fans, and I’ve won a lot of stages here, and I’m very happy always to return here.” The picturesque 108-mile ride began with a breakaway group of seven riders who sprang out to take a 4-plus minute lead over the peloton, which they held for much of the stage. Team Katusha rode at the front of the peloton for much of the stage, with Team Sky, Tinkoff and BMC Racing Team lending a hand to chase down the leaders in the final miles. For his part in the breakaway, Jacob Rathe (USA) of San Diego-based Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis, the 24 year-old rider who is coming back from artery surgery last season, was awarded the Amgen Breakaway from Cancer Most Courageous Rider Jersey. With about two miles left in the stage, Team Lotto NL – Jumbo leapt to the front of the pack with Tinkoff jockeying for position to bring Sagan to the front. The last mile and a half saw a chaotic peloton fighting for control, with Lotto NL – Jumbo seeming to take over but Tinkoff still in the mix. Etixx – Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team’s Tom Boonen (BEL) made a move toward the final meters, which did not prove strong enough for the win, turning in an eighth place finish. Nothing could hold back the explosive world champion, with Sagan claiming the coveted Amgen Race Leader Jersey as well as the prize for Sprint points. “The fans are very nice. Every year it’s more and more fans for me, and I’m very happy for that,” said Sagan, who spoke of his love for California in the days leading to the race. The fans loved him right back, erupting into roars when he catapulted over the finish first by the length of his handlebars. American rider Oscar Clark (USA) of Holowesko | Citadel Racing Team p/b Hincapie Sportswear will ride tomorrow in the Lexus King of the Mountain (KOM) jersey, which he earned in the one KOM climb today during his time in the breakaway. Speaking of the level of competition at the Amgen Tour of California, Clark said: “It’s great for us. It’s the biggest race we do all year, so to have the world champion and past world champions, and all the big name riders, it’s awesome for what we do.” Alexander Kristoff’s (NOR) Team Katusha rode hard for him all day with the famed sprinter getting swallowed by the other teams and coming in 16th for the day. Stage 1 Podium 1. Peter Sagan (SVK), Tinkoff (RUS) 2. Wouter Wippert (NED), Cannondale Pro Cycling Team (USA) 3. Dylan Groenewegen (NED), Team Lotto NL - Jumbo (NED) Stage 1 Jersey Winners 1. Amgen Leader Jersey – Peter Sagan (SVK), Tinkoff (RUS) 2. Lexus King of the Mountain (KOM) Jersey – Oscar Clark (USA), Holowesko | Citadel Racing Team p/b Hincapie Sportswear (USA) 3. Visit California Sprint Jersey – Peter Sagan (SVK), Tinkoff (RUS) (jersey will be worn tomorrow by Wouter Wippert (NED), Cannondale Pro Cycling Team (USA) 4. SRAM Best Young Rider Jersey – Dylan Groenewegen (NED), Team Lotto NL - Jumbo (NED) 5. Breakaway from Cancer Most Courageous Rider Jersey – Jacob Rathe (USA), Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis (USA) Celebrating its 11th year, the Amgen Tour of California is the most esteemed stage race in the U.S. Amgen has been the title sponsor of the race since its first year. More information is available at amgentourofcalifornia.com.
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    News
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    May 24, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Opinion
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    May 10, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Arts & Entertainment
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    May 19, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend
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    May 24, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Obituaries
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    Apr 18, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend
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