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    America's Schooner Cup returns to San Diego in April
    Mar 22, 2017 | 20679 views | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    America's Schooner Cup 2016 winner Lively leads Rose of Sharon into San Diego Bay. / Photo by Cynthia Sinclair
    America's Schooner Cup 2016 winner Lively leads Rose of Sharon into San Diego Bay. / Photo by Cynthia Sinclair
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    Historic ships from throughout the country’s history will be showing off in San Diego Bay for the 29th running of America's Schooner Cup on Saturday, April 1. Hailing from Southern California and the Pacific Northwest, more than 12 schooners are expected to take the starting gun. The schooners range in length from 35 to 150 feet. Spectators may watch the start and finish off Shelter Island. No registration is necessary for those viewing from Shelter Island. Spectators should arrive at 11:15 a.m. Three groups of schooners will each start between 11:30 and noon. The race runs from Shelter Island, out of the bay and back and typically takes 2-3 hours. For those who want to be part of the action, three vessels will be taking a limited number of guests: - Californian – California's official state Tall Ship – a great option for those who want to participate in the race – sdmaritime.org; - Bill of Rights – a 136-foot replica of a 19th century coastal schooner – another lively option for those who want to participate in the race – schoonerbillofrights.com; - San Salvador – a replica of Juan Cabrillo's ship that first visited San Diego in 1542 – a fun option for spectators – sdmaritime.org. The race is hosted by Silver Gate Yacht Club, with all proceeds going to the Navy/Marine Corps Relief Society – a nonprofit whose mission is to help Navy and Marine families. The event will be supported by Star Clippers, a worldwide cruise ship company featuring tall ships.
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    Status of short-term vacation rentals in limbo
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Mar 20, 2017 | 14123 views | 1 1 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    The city's Smart Growth and Land Use Committee is scheduled to take up the vacation rental issue again March 24.
    The city's Smart Growth and Land Use Committee is scheduled to take up the vacation rental issue again March 24.
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    The tide in the battle by beach residents seeking to restrict – or exclude – short-term vacation rentals in single-family neighborhoods may have turned with an about-face at the city attorney's office. Immediate past City Attorney Jan Goldsmith had maintained rules and regulations governing short-term vacation rentals were vague and needed clarification. New City Attorney Mara Elliott has taken a completely different tack with her March 15 issuance of a memorandum of law advising the City Council on the housing issue. "The city has a ‘permissive zoning ordinance,’” said Elliott's memorandum. “This means that any use that is not listed in the city's zoning ordinance is prohibited.” Elliott's memo subsequently pointed out, “Short-term vacation rentals are not specifically defined, expressly permitted, or listed in any of the zone use categories, including residential or commercial." The city attorney's memo came at a key time, just before the city's Smart Growth and Land Use Committee is scheduled to take up the vacation rental issue again March 24. Last November, following five hours of public testimony, a motion by then-City Council President Sherri Lightner, which some feel would have largely banned short-term vacation rentals in single-family neighborhoods, was defeated by a 7-2 vote. Lightner’s proposal would have restricted a homeowner's ability to rent to transients for less than 30 days in most single-family zones, with renters or owners of single-family homes also not able to rent out a room or space for less than seven days without proper permitting. An alternative motion brought by then-Councilmember, now-Assemblyman Todd Gloria was subsequently passed in November by the same 7-2 margin. His counter motion requested city staff do a fiscal analysis to determine the cost of greater stvr enforcement citywide, asked staff to draft and return with a comprehensive ordinance better defining and regulating short-term vacation rentals, as well as remanding the matter back to the City Council's Smart Growth and Land Use Committee for further consideration. Reacting to Elliott's pronouncement, 1st District Councilmember Barbary Bry said: "I was pleased to read the memo issued by City Attorney Mara Elliott confirming that short-term vacation rentals do not fall under any permissible use in the municipal code and are therefore prohibited in the city of San Diego. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the council to determine the best way to allow property owners to participate in home sharing.” Pacific Beach resident Ronan Gray, a spokesperson for Save San Diego Neighborhoods, a grassroots group opposed to short-term vacation rentals in single-family neighborhoods, called Elliott's comment a “game changer” in beginning to address noise, trash and other recurrent problems with short-term rentals. “Suddenly, these mini hotels that have been popping up are now illegal,” Gray said. “We bought our homes expecting to be living in residential, not commercial areas. This type of use is clearly commercial.” Gray added: “When you turn a home into a hotel – nobody wants to live there, it's just a constant stream of strangers and tourists. That's not what our neighborhoods are for.” Gary Wonacott, president of Mission Beach Town Council, located in an area where large numbers of short-term vacation rentals are present, said the beach community has taken a centrist approach to dealing with the issue. “While the MBTC membership has, on multiple occasions, expressed concern for the increase in the number of short-term rentals in Mission Beach in the past decade, and has voted for a minimum number of days allowed for a short-term rental, the Mission Beach community has historically embraced vacation rentals,” Wonacott said. “It is now a matter of working with the city to ensure that the final ordinance implemented by the city incorporates the features in the Mission Beach plan that tailor the requirements to the culture of this unique and special community in San Diego,” Wonacott said.
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    PSJ13
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    March 22, 2017
    I love this part: "the Mission Beach community has historically embraced vacation rentals,” Wonacott said.

    What community? There is no community in Mission Beach. That's the point! It's been taken over by STVRs. I think be "community" Wonacott is referring to the companies and absentee owners who run these former residences - now turned mini-hotels. Take a walk through MB. It's trashed - a shell of a community. A blighted tourist trap that used to be a neighborhood.

    Point Loma’s robotic team wins regional, heading to world competition
    by SCOTT HOPKINS
    Mar 18, 2017 | 8493 views | 1 1 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Members of the Point Loma robotics team that went undefeated during a three-day competition against winners from 17 states last weekend include back row, left to right: Andrew Trent, JD Schrady, Ethan Cooper, Collin Nilsen, Joe Landon, Konrad Zirkle and Eric Schuster. Front row: Shanon Lee, Hailey Schmidt, Allison Trent and Casey Wilson.
    Members of the Point Loma robotics team that went undefeated during a three-day competition against winners from 17 states last weekend include back row, left to right: Andrew Trent, JD Schrady, Ethan Cooper, Collin Nilsen, Joe Landon, Konrad Zirkle and Eric Schuster. Front row: Shanon Lee, Hailey Schmidt, Allison Trent and Casey Wilson.
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    Residents in the Fleetridge section of Point Loma may have been suspicious after noticing a group of Point Loma High School students entering a home, coming and going regularly on afternoons, weeknights and weekends, some disappearing into the home for hours at a time even when the residents are away. Any neighbors who were concerned can now relax. The students are part of a robotic team and have been working tirelessly for months building a robot. And not just any robot – their electronically powered mechanical creation just won the First Tech Challenge Super Regional event, topping 74 area winning teams from 17 Western states over the three-day event in Tacoma, Wash., that will send the device – and the 11 students who have spent literally thousands of hours preparing it – to a world competition coming up in Houston April 19-22. Team captains are seniors Collin Nilsen and Allison Trent. The team, representing the Point Loma community, actually went undefeated throughout the grueling event, earning the title of "Winning Alliance Captain," which means they were the top-ranked team when choosing other teams to join in alliances for certain portions of the competition. Students in Point Loma have been working on such projects for the last eight years, but this is the first time they have qualified for the super regional, something that required them to finish among the top four of 36 teams at the local level. And work they did. By team mentor Matt Nilsen's calculation, the teens spent over 5,000 hours of time conceiving, building, testing, evaluating, rebuilding and retesting all aspects of the finished robot. A notebook which includes engineering notes and drawings, now runs more than 300 pages. To ensure fair competition, a new common challenge is announced each year. One of the challenges for this year's teams was to construct a robot that could not only recognize the difference between red and blue plastic Wiffle balls, but also scoop them up and shoot them into a raised basket in the middle of the competition area. Another challenge involved picking up large inflatable yoga balls and depositing them atop the same Wiffle ball basket. Robots built must be no larger than an 18-inch cube. Competition takes place in a 12-by-12 foot space with 12-inch high glass walls and interlocking rubber floor mats as a surface. "One of the great things is they give us no plans. Each team starts with nothing and comes up with a unique robot," said Casey Wilson, one of four sophomores on hand to explain the group's project. "There are some definite limitations," said Joe Landon. "Your robot can't shoot the Wiffle balls over a certain height and you have to be conscious and aware of other robots and be spatially aware of the battlefield. There are two teams on the field at once, each with three people, so communication is very important." "For our design process, we try to get inspiration from past designs," said Shanon Lee. "We also make lots of prototypes and this year we've also done some preview modeling of what we think could be a good design. We test our prototypes, and if they work, they go on the robot." With the challenge of shooting Wiffle balls, the group went through much testing. "We've gone through lots of different designs," Lee continued, "and we finally came up with a flexible shooter that can change the angle of the shots so we can shoot from anywhere on the field. We changed many things, but the end product has been worth it." And how are the needed changes made? "The programmer and the builders have to work closely together," said Hailey Schmidt, the team's programmer. "We need to come to an agreement about what will be most effective for each of our specialties. Over time, we've added a lot of new sensors and different ways of approaching the challenge." Some changes involved large amounts of patience during very time-consuming adjustments. "At first, we had a program so the robot could follow a wall by reading how far away it was," Schmidt explained, "but the robot was redesigned and we changed to using a gyro to detect what angle it's facing so it can drive in a straight line." When teams partner up, another set of standards becomes crucial. It's called "gracious professionalism." "On the field," said Wilson, "you want to help each other out. All the teams are friends, so you want to communicate and discuss strategy with them to earn the most points possible." Mentor Nilsen has a mechanical engineering degree from UCSD and works as a battalion chief for San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. He offers gentle suggestions and corrections as the students manipulate and adjust their robot. "My older son was interested in robotics," he said as the students checked the progress of charging batteries on his garage workbench. "When he was in eighth grade and his mentor left, I took the team on. This year's team is special to me, not only having my younger son on the team, but having them all around and seeing how much they enjoy this." Nilsen installed a lock box on his garage and provides keys to all team members, some of whom, such as Lee and Wilson, spend countless hours working even on weekends. The team named their robot "The Rise of Hephaestus" based on the Greek God "who built the first robot," according to Wilson. "The name changed from 'Sons of Hephaestus' when girls returned to the team several years ago." The competition is under the auspices of FIRST, an acronym of For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, a nonprofit organization that began in 1989 and is based in Manchester, N.H. Today it has grown to include programs for all ages from kindergarten to high school that globally involves over 460,000 students, 52,000 teams, 40,000 robots and 230,000 mentors, coaches, judges and volunteers in 85 countries. Across the world, there are 3,400 teams with 85,000 participants at the grades 9-12 level. The organization also offers $50 million in scholarships to more than 1,500 students.
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    Donna Schmidt
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    March 20, 2017
    Congratulations FTC Team 4216 "Rise of Hephaestus". What a talented and dedicated group of high school students! You have worked tirelessly to advance to the World competition. Wish you the best in Houston!
    Cabrillo National Monument looks for public input on trails
    Mar 16, 2017 | 2239 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    The statue of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, which commemorates the landing of the explorer at San Diego Bay on Sept. 28, 1542, overlooks downtown San Diego. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    The statue of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, which commemorates the landing of the explorer at San Diego Bay on Sept. 28, 1542, overlooks downtown San Diego. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    Cabrillo National Monument superintendent Andrea Compton invites the public to attend an open house meeting to solicit input on the park’s proposed Trails Management Plan. Cabrillo National Monument staff will be holding two open houses for the public (noon to 2 p.m. at the Visitor Center/ View Building, and 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium) on Tuesday, March 21. The purpose of these open houses is to collect public feedback to aid in the development of Cabrillo’s proposed Trails Management Plan. No formal program is scheduled but those interested in attending may stop by to learn and inquire about the plan. Cabrillo National Monument would like your feedback, such as: What types of opportunities should be included in the trail system? What kinds of experiences are you looking for while hiking on Cabrillo’s trails? What do you think of the proposed changes in trails at Cabrillo National Monument? Cabrillo National Monument contains an existing network of roads and recreation trails. The development of a trails plan is critical for protecting the special natural and cultural features of the park and providing quality recreational experiences for park visitors. The Trails Management Plan will help guide the future development and management of roads and trails within the park. The public comment period will be open throurgh April 16. To review the plan or to submit comments, visit parkplanning.nps.gov/cabrillotmp.
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    Smooth sailing ahead as Arts District at Liberty Station celebrates 10th anniversary
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Mar 16, 2017 | 15030 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Now through the rest of the year, the foundation is planning activities to honor the past, including an enhancement of Arts District signature events – monthly free Friday Night Liberty art walks, Salute the Season holiday events and seasonal block parties.
    Now through the rest of the year, the foundation is planning activities to honor the past, including an enhancement of Arts District signature events – monthly free Friday Night Liberty art walks, Salute the Season holiday events and seasonal block parties.
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    The 10th anniversary of Liberty Station's Arts District is being celebrated throughout 2017 with a host of programs and activities on the former Naval Training Center's 100-acre campus. Now through the rest of the year, the foundation is planning activities to honor the past, including an enhancement of Arts District signature events – monthly free Friday Night Liberty art walks, Salute the Season holiday events and seasonal block parties. New anchor events will include a free summer concert series, a Saturday night cinema series, art installations at Liberty Station and temporary art exhibits throughout the grounds. The Arts District has “unfolded” over the past decade thanks to the leadership of the NTC Foundation, a nonprofit established in 2000 by the City of San Diego. Empowered to make the proposed Arts District a reality, the group has accomplished exactly that. But it hasn't been easy, admitted the foundation's executive director, Alan Ziter. To see how far the district's come, Ziter noted you have to look back at how it all started. “What was given to the NTC Foundation by the city were 26 abandoned Navy buildings, all in various states and conditions – and no money – and they said, 'Go ahead and make an arts district out of this,' ” said Ziter. “So the NTC board in 2000 really had to assess what could fit in these first 16 buildings, what they could be used for, how much it would cost to renovate them, and who could make a home here.” Today, with 16 of 26 historic buildings completed in Liberty Station, the Arts District is home to more than 80 tenants including dance companies, galleries, creative businesses, museums, and nonprofits. More than 500,000 people visit the Arts District annually, adding $41 million of economic impact and 706 jobs to the region. Two Arts District tenants, artist Lauren LeVieux and the San Diego Dance Theater, praised the Arts District as a venue of opportunity. “For two years in Barracks 15 Studio 203, I have asked myself how to turn part of an outdoor breezeway built in the 1920s into my art,” said Lauren LeVieux. “I wanted to create art there, show art there, and I wanted my studio to be art. “Countless paintings completed, 24 First Friday Events, two tree lightings, two block parties, and two Halloween parties have brought people of all types to see my work … During my two years at Liberty Station, collaboration opportunities have come my way. Among them, a chance to work with San Diego Repertory Theater and develop custom art to complement a play,” LeVieux said. “Later I was invited to curate a series of group shows in the Command Center at Liberty Station in order to get the resident artists’ work into a common space where the variety and quality of artwork could be visible … I also had a chance to set up a table in the Public Market every Tuesday morning,” LeVieux added. “Being part of this artistic community has really evolved the programming that we offer,” said Matt Carney, executive director of San Diego Dance Theater. “In the past we would mostly just produce our own shows by our artistic director and resident choreographer. “Now we are helping to promote and produce a community of artists from San Diego and beyond. An example of this is our 10-day dance festival, Live Arts Fest, where we produce 10 evenings of dance showcasing a different group each night.” Noting that redeveloping Liberty Station has been a challenge given the architectural limitations imposed by the historically designated former Naval base, Ziter talked about Arts District changes yet to come. “Ideally we'll have a 300-seat performance venue, as well as more art installations,” he said, adding, “The key thing here is the money. Historical building are expensive to renovate.” Ziter said funding to renovate Arts District buildings comes from a number of sources, including historical tax credits, private donations, financing a mortgage and fundraising. “Going forward, we'll be looking for development partners,” said Ziter. “We would talk with any developer who has a compelling idea that aligns with our mission of creating a vibrant arts district.” Arts District activities To learn more and view a calendar of Arts District 10th anniversary season activities, visit www.ntcfoundation.org/celebrating-10-years.
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