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    Families, fun and fireworks for Fourth of July
    by LAINIE FRASER
    Jun 27, 2016 | 2074 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    The Big Bay Boom fireworks show goes off as seen from La Jolla Scenic Drive last year. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    The Big Bay Boom fireworks show goes off as seen from La Jolla Scenic Drive last year. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    The beaches, bays and parks will be packed with thousands of visitors and residents grillin’ and chillin’ on Independence Day this Monday. But the culmination of a great Fourth of July weekend is finding a great spot to watch the tremendous fireworks shows. In San Diego, there are at least three major fireworks shows that can be seen from certain points in the area. Fireworks At 9 p.m. the annual Big Bay Boom July Fourth Fireworks Show kicks off. The fireworks are launched from barges around north San Diego Bay. The largest fireworks display in the county can be seen from various locations on the bay, Shelter Island, Harbor Island, Embarcadero and even down at Seaport Village. At 9:30 p.m. SeaWorld starts their Sea to Shining Sea Fourth of July Fireworks Show. The SeaWorld show and the Big Bay Boom can be seen from a variety of spots around the beach and bay. In Ocean Beach, at 9 p.m., fireworks will be launched off of the pier. Grab a blanket, find a spot and watch from the shore. As usual, picnics and beach days are always a good choice in San Diego and would be smart for Sunday in order to stakeout a spot for the fireworks displays. On the water, the Maritime Museum is offering dinner and fireworks on the bay this year. The observation deck from the historic Berkeley ferry provides a fantastic view of the Big Bay Boom fireworks show. Dinner will be provided and children are welcome. The Maritime Museum is also offering a separate experience aboard the Californian for those looking to get closer to the show. Tickets to both events include admission to the museum and exhibits. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.sdmaritime.org. For a beautiful sunset and a panoramic view of most of the fireworks shows Mount Soledad is a great option. Be sure to head up there early to find parking. Phantom fireworks would like to remind anyone using consumer fireworks that the explosions can scare both pets and veterans and to be aware and considerate. Beach & bikinis Throughout the holiday weekend there is plenty to do on and around the beach. At Miller’s Field in Pacific Beach there will be the first Queen of the Beach bikini contest. Miller’s Field is not known for traditional bar events so the bikini contest on July 3 starting at noon is sure to be fun. The winner will receive $500 cash and a beach cruiser. The second and third place finishers will also receive prizes. Email jon@millersfield.com to enter. At SeaWorld, the park will have extended hours throughout the holiday weekend. This is part of the Summer Nights at SeaWorld event and means the fun can last just a little bit longer. Visitors who spend the Fourth at the park are able to stick around for the fireworks show that night. Whether you spend the day on the beach, bar hopping, at a park or exploring the city, San Diego has plenty to offer for the Fourth of July weekend and extravagant fireworks shows planned to top it all off. Morning cleanup The morning after thousands of residents and visitors played and relaxed on San Diego beaches there will be a mess to clean up. With this in mind, the Surfrider Foundation San Diego County Chapter will be leading the cleanup efforts and they’re asking the community to join them. On Tuesday, July 5, the Surfrider Foundation invites beachlovers of all ages to join in the Morning After Mess cleanup from 8 to 11 a.m. at one of the four hosted locations: Ocean Beach Pier and Oceanside Pier sites and partner organizations I Love A Clean San Diego and San Diego Coastkeeper at the Belmont Park and Crystal Pier sites. There is no need to pre-register, any participants under the age of 18 will need a parent or legal guardian present to sign for them. There will be snacks and the first 50 volunteers at each location will be offered a free hat. Last year, more than 650 volunteers removed 1,410 pounds of trash and 362 pounds of recycling from four local beaches in three hours. The trash included 489 plastic bags, 983 pieces of Styrofoam, and 14,796 cigarette butts.
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    Class of 2016 graduates from La Jolla High
    by LAINIE FRASER
    Jun 24, 2016 | 9644 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Nearly 300 La Jolla High seniors sat in cap and gown at UCSD on June 21. / Photo by Sharon Hinckley
    Nearly 300 La Jolla High seniors sat in cap and gown at UCSD on June 21. / Photo by Sharon Hinckley
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    La Jolla High principal Chuck Podhorsky receives a hug from a student. / Photo by Sharon Hinckley
    La Jolla High principal Chuck Podhorsky receives a hug from a student. / Photo by Sharon Hinckley
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    Co-valedictorian Sophia Elaine Eliopulos with her diploma. / Photo by Sharon Hinckley
    Co-valedictorian Sophia Elaine Eliopulos with her diploma. / Photo by Sharon Hinckley
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    The University of California San Diego was the host for the commencement ceremony of La Jolla High’s Class of 2016 on Tuesday, June 21. The RIMAC Arena was packed with hundreds of family members with their hands full with signs, air horns and flowers. The feeling of excitement and pride filled the room as the graduates walked to their seats. Nearly 300 La Jolla High seniors sat in cap and gown eagerly awaiting their chance to walk across the stage with diploma in hand. “I don’t think I have ever been more proud of her,” said Maria Valdez, a La Jolla High parent. “I’ve always known she was going make it but today is about her recognizing her own accomplishments.” Following musical performances by students, a few graduating Vikings gave speeches. Many of them touched upon their common struggles and achievements over the past four years and the journey they had been on as a class. “I am scared of going out and leaving the pods and friends I have made here,” said student Maya Golderman. “Leaving that sense of security is really scary but I am so excited for what the future has to hold for each and every one of us.” “Whether it was failing that bio test or making a varsity team, we all experienced failure and success in the walls of La Jolla High,” senior class president Simon Hirschfield said. “We have all managed to navigate the complex and challenging world of high school and come out on top. Congrats guys.” After the “Go Vikes” chants ended, La Jolla High principal Chuck Podhorsky got up to speak. He focused on the hard work the students have put in over the past four years that got them to the seats they were sitting in and the caps and gowns they were wearing. His comments resulted in cheers and claps by many of the families in the stands. “You should all be very proud of yourselves and excited for the amazing experiences that lie before you,” Podhorsky said. “I know you are all going to be great.” Podhorsky went on to congratulate not only the students but the faculty and parents. “I want to take a moment to acknowledge the outstanding teachers, counselors and coaches you guys have and to remind you to share this day with your parents because they have helped get you here,” Podhorsky said. “Maybe there was a push, big or small, but they helped get you here too.” Podhorsky then introduced the San Diego Unified School District board president Dr. Michael McQuary. “This school has produced people who have gone on to become talented, influential and well-known professionals,” McQuary said. “I see nothing but promise in the faces before me and I hope you recognize that in yourselves.” Once the speeches ended, students rose row by row and walked across the stage to Podhorsky, who gave them their diplomas and a hand shake. As the names were called, parents cheered and students stomped on the ground; cameras flashed and air horns were blasted in celebration. Soon after, caps were tossed in the air and the students flooded out onto the nearby softball field to find their families and celebrate.
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    9 things to do while in Ocean Beach
    by LAINIE FRASER
    Jun 23, 2016 | 10904 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Ocean Beach sunset as seen from the intersection of Newport Avenue and Guizot Street. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    Ocean Beach sunset as seen from the intersection of Newport Avenue and Guizot Street. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    Visiting Ocean Beach this weekend for the annual Street Fair and Chili Cook-Off? If this is your annual trip to the eclectic beach community (or if you rarely make it out here), there are many unique things to do before, during and after the Street Fair. We decided to give you a glimpse of some fun experiences available in Ocean Beach. Pier fishing The Walking on Water Cafe is located on the longest concrete structure of its kind on the West Coast, Ocean Beach Pier, and is serving up delicious and fresh snacks daily. Next to the restaurant is a fully stocked bait and tackle shop where customers can rent or buy all of their fishing needs. The pier itself is lined with benches, lights and fish-cleaning stations making it easy and simple to fish throughout the day and then watch the sun set. Retro glam styles Temptress is a rock ’n’ roll inspired clothing boutique located on Bacon Street. The small store is lined with clothes that allow customers to find and embrace their inner Hollywood-inspired glamorous looks. Temptress offers pin-up-style clothing for women and what can only be described as retro looks for men. Everything about Temptress is wild and fun from the people working there to the clothing sold. Retro cocktails Pacific Shores opened in 1941 and is one of the oldest bars in San Diego. The bar opened the day before Pearl Harbor and has remained a landmark of Newport Avenue serving strong and cheap drinks ever since. With an under the sea theme, traditional cocktails, an authentic jukebox and an overall dimly lit room, Pacific Shores will take you back in time. Bird watch Next to Dog Beach is the San Diego River estuary where all types of birds gather to eat, mate and nest. It’s a birder’s paradise. The San Diego Audubon Society offers classes of varying skill level that allow people to enjoy and interact with the birds in the area, learn about their habitats and current conditions and also learn what they can do to help them. More information and how to register for a birdwatching class may be found at sandiegoaudubon.org. Beer tasting - The rustic open-air design of the Culture Brewery tasting room in Ocean Beach is made to mimic the style of the flagship location in Solana Beach. This is the second satellite tasting room for the company, it opened nearly two years ago on Newport Avenue. The Culture tasting room has 18 beers on tap and hopes to tie the community into their success by displaying local artwork and talent. The tasting room offers tastings, full pours and growler fills. - Helm’s Brewery has recently joined the collection of craft beer tasting rooms in OB on Newport Avenue. Helm’s hopes to be able to offer a large variety of beer and continue their community-first philosophy. The company has a promise to service and the tasting room staff will participate in numerous local community safety events. The tasting room has 16 beers on tap and has designed the space in line with their original nautical theme. - The Mike Hess tasting room in Ocean Beach prides itself on serving great beer and being pet and family friendly. Each Mike Hess location is uniquely different providing a different experience and representing a different part of the brewery’s story. With more than 20 beers on tap, and a vibrant fun environment, Mike Hess on Voltaire Street is both a social scene and tasting room. Unique gifts The Black Bead on Newport Avenue is a boutique filled with a wide selection of materials for jewelry making from an array of beads down to the necessary tools to complete any crafting project. The store is fully stocked with charms, beads and pendants that can add a special touch to any piece or serve as stand-alone gifts. It is easy to get lost in the rows and rows of beautifully unique gems hidden away at The Black Bead. The staff is prepared to help customers learn the basics, solve any problem and find the perfect one-of-a-kind gift. Walk the cliffs The cliffs south of Ocean Beach Pier are the perfect spot to walk, check out tide pools, and watch the waves splash against the rocks. There are a couple hidden beaches and plenty of nooks and crannies to explore. Others looking for something more calm may lay out blankets to enjoy the view and watch the sky change as the daylight fades away. Change perspectives A different way to take in the scope of the Street Fair, Ocean Beach and the pier is from above. Walk up the hill to the intersections of Newport Avenue and Guizot Street or Niagara Avenue and Guizot Street to check out the view of OB, the pier and the ocean. Go there for sunset and get a whole new perspective on the horizon. Jump off the Pier Six years ago the San Diego Junior Lifeguard Foundation started the Pier Jump. The event involves jumping off the side of the Ocean Beach Pier 35 feet into the ocean below. Initially the jump was only open to the children who were members of the Junior Lifeguard Foundation, but today it is open to the public. Find the Junior Lifeguard Foundation’s booth at the Street Fair and for $75 sign up to jump. The money helps the San Diego Junior Lifeguard Foundation fund educational programs for kids. There are two jumps this year – in July and in August. More information can be found at www.sdjgfoundation.org.
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    Sea Gods come back to bless Ocean Beach
    by MARK-ELLIOTT LUGO
    Jun 22, 2016 | 3469 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Thomas Marine employees Jody Lofton and Marcos Biard apply finishing touches to the Sea Gods sculpture on Newport Avenue. / PHOTO BY MARK-ELLIOTT LUGO
    Thomas Marine employees Jody Lofton and Marcos Biard apply finishing touches to the Sea Gods sculpture on Newport Avenue. / PHOTO BY MARK-ELLIOTT LUGO
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    Sea Gods, a colorful-but-aging sculpture that vanished months ago from its site at the foot of Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach, returned home this week after receiving a major facelift. Conceived in the mid-1990s by San Diego-based artists Matthew Welsh and the late Jill Moon as part of the San Diego’s effort to enhance neighborhoods with original art, Sea Gods depicted a colorful and whimsical array of mythical sea creatures. The 28-foot-long painted steel sculpture became an instant landmark when it was installed on a landscaping strip bordering the OB Pier parking lot. Over the years, the stylized figures representing King Neptune and Queen Mermaid, surrounded by their court of imaginative beings, offered beach visitors a light-hearted visual distraction from the drabness of the parking lot and provided a backdrop for countless snapshots and selfies. Children, especially, were attracted to the sculpture’s bright colors and Seuss-like forms. Climbing it (not recommended) was irresistible. While gods may be immortal, the sculpture was not. As time passed, the corrosive effects of salt air, harsh sunlight, vandalism, and everyday wear and tear devastated the art. Rust was literally eating away parts of Sea Gods and its vibrant, inventive color scheme was fading badly, as well. To the distress of locals, the sculpture was becoming an eyesore. Restoring Sea Gods was no easy task, requiring five months of labor by specialists from several local companies, including Thomas Marine, a custom metal fabricator based in Point Loma, and RW Little, noted for its expertise in epoxy and urethane coatings. Coincidentally, Brian Thomas, owner of Thomas Marine, and Jody Lofton, a foreman with the firm, were members of the original crew that manufactured the sculpture in 1995. “Giving Sea Gods life again is an amazing feeling,” Thomas said. Lofton, who recreated several of the sculpture’s disintegrating steel components, expects the restoration to last another generation. “Paint, anti-graffiti coatings, and welding technologies have improved substantially since the 1990s,” he explained. “The restored art should be much more durable than the original.” The $39,000 cost of the project was funded by the City of San Diego’s Commission for Arts and Culture, the same agency that commissioned Sea Gods two decades ago. According to senior public art manager Christine Jones, the commission’s responsibilities include maintaining public works of art that, like Sea Gods, are part of San Diego’s vast Civic Art Collection. Locals agree that the restoration was masterfully done and improves the neighborhood. Michael Amaya, an amateur photographer, praises the sculpture as he views it at various angles through his lens. “It’s representative of OB and the merging of the land and the water. It reflects the quirkiness of Ocean Beach,” Amaya said. Art Raya, seated on the sea wall and accompanied by his sunglasses-wearing Chihuahua, echoes Amaya’s sentiments. Sea Gods “embodies the goofy, serendipitous nature of OB,” he says. “It’s great that the sculpture has lasted as long as it has.”
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    New sign for cafe on Ocean Beach Pier
    by LAINIE FRASER
    Jun 22, 2016 | 862 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Walking on Water Cafe operator Chuck Fisher next to the new sign. / Photo by Jim Grant
    Walking on Water Cafe operator Chuck Fisher next to the new sign. / Photo by Jim Grant
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    The Walking on Water Cafe on the Ocean Beach Pier has a brand new sign thanks to the local community. The original completely blue sign on the cafe was installed in 1993. The plan was to put the sign up and have it changed not long after. That never happened. “The old cafe sign was installed ‘temporarily’ and was in much need of replacement,” said Walking on Water Cafe operator Chuck Fisher. Twenty-three years later, Johnny Fisher, a server at the Walking on Water Cafe, designed the new sign to be red, white and blue in time for the Fourth of July. There are plans to return the sign to the original blue letters at some point. Pastor Carter Moss with the Newbreak Church in Ocean Beach helped bring the volunteers together who built and painted the sign in one day. Fisher and his crew then used a plank hung off the side of the pier to hang the sign in time for the 50th anniversary of the pier. “Everyone just absolutely loves the new sign,” Fisher said.
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