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    Point Loma Girl Scouts get creative for contact-free cookie program
    Feb 23, 2021 | 3680 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Lilly the dinosaur helps Daisy Girl Scout Linnea Voytek jump the market for her sweet treats. COURTESY PHOTO
    Lilly the dinosaur helps Daisy Girl Scout Linnea Voytek jump the market for her sweet treats. COURTESY PHOTO
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    To ensure the safety of Girl Scouts and cookie buyers alike, troops are following the county health guidelines established to help reduce COVID-19 transmissions. They are approaching the cookie program a bit differently this year, combining time-honored sales techniques with innovative approaches in a socially distanced manner.

    Daisy Girl Scout Troop 4423 includes first-graders at the Loma Portal and High Tech elementary schools. Leader Jessica Voytek says that, while her girls miss direct interactions with customers, they have found ways to market cookies. “We created a fun sales video, called last year’s customers, and made flyers and signs with their personal QR codes and the addresses for their secure “Digital Cookie” websites.

    Troop parents reached out on social media, inviting visitors to their daughters’ online stores to shop, pay, and select either direct shipping from the baker or contact-free delivery by the girls and their parents.

    Seven-year-old Linnea Voytek has a secret marketing weapon: an eight-foot-tall dinosaur named Lilly. In addition to wearing a custom-made Daisy vest to help out during Girl Scout Cookie season, a decked-out Lilly comes out of hiding for major holidays.

    Jessica Voytek sees Linnea and her troopmates growing in confidence through Girl Scouting. Participating in the cookie program, for example, helps them learn goal-setting, decision-making, money management, people skills, and business ethics. “They get a real sense of accomplishment when they complete a cookie transaction or achieve a goal,” she says.

    Linnea has surpassed her original goal of 250 packages of cookies and wants to keep going. “Being a Girl Scout makes me feel warm inside,” she says, adding that she can’t wait to advance to the Brownie level this spring.

    Troop 4423 formed in January 2020, so most of its weekly meetings have been held online. By completing 10 units about how to be honest and fair, courageous and strong, respectful of themselves and others, and other tenets of the Girl Scout Law, the girls have earned the right to add ten colorful daisy petals to their vests.

    They are currently doing activities and discussions centered around nature and the idea that by learning how to take care of animals, Daisies also learn to take care of themselves. The girls plan to use part of their cookie money to purchase supplies to assist animals at the San Diego Humane Society.

    All net cookie proceeds stay here in San Diego to fund programs, camps, service projects, field trips, and the financial assistance that allows all girls to participate in Girl Scouting.

    How to find Girl Scout Cookies

    Cookie fans who know a Girl Scout may ask her for an invitation to her Digital Cookie site. Others may visit sdgirlscouts.org and type in their ZIP code to request cookies from a troop in their community. Recently, under guidance from the county health officials, Girl Scouts have been permitted to host “standabouts” (cookie booths) outside their residences, using the same strict safety protocols as farmers markets.

    Customers also may donate cookies to Operation Thin Mint, a local program that sends “a taste of home and a note to show we care” to deployed service members and local veterans. Since it began 20 years ago, generous San Diegans have gifted over 3.25 million packages of cookies to grateful U.S. troops serving around the world.

    New this year is the E2B (Entrepreneur-to-Business) program that helps girls hone their presentation skills and work toward their cookie goals. Corporate, civic, and social groups may invite a Girl Scout to one of their virtual meetings to deliver a five-minute marketing pitch.

    All girls ages 5-17 are welcome to join Girl Scouts at any time. For information, visit sdgirlscouts.org or email customercare@sdgirlscouts.org.

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    OB Hardware seeking new local owners
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Feb 23, 2021 | 5767 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    OB Hardware has a little bit of everything, but not a lot of anything. COURTESY PHOTO
    OB Hardware has a little bit of everything, but not a lot of anything. COURTESY PHOTO
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    Wanted: A local buyer for one of the oldest businesses in town.

    OB Hardware at 4871 Newport Ave. is on the auction block, and present co-owner Michael DeEmidio, who bought the business from the previous owners in 2018, is moving on.

    “After a lot of heavy-hearted consideration, my wife and I have decided to move out of California to be closer to family,” said DeEmidio. “We are reaching out to the community in an effort to find someone to whom we can pass the OB Hardware baton. Ideally, someone invested in the community who wants to care for this legacy and leave their mark. We will be relocating this fall, so it is pressing that any interested parties step up now.”

    DeEmedio and business partner Michael Grimes bought OB Hardware from Carl and Carolyn Weidetz, who’d owned the century-old Ocean Beach Paint and Hardware for half that time. The business, which opened in 1919, carries tools, gardening, plumbing, and electrical supplies as well as paints.
    DeEmedio’s targeted June 1 as the date by which he needs to find a buyer for his hardware business. Though his plans have changed, he said he’s never regretted his experience as a beach-town retailer.

    “When I decided to jump in, they (Weidetzs) were going out of business,” he noted. “It was worth the time and effort. I left my corporate job and I don’t regret it. We’ve managed to rebuild the store.”

    Added DeEmidio of the store, “It’s in a much better position than it was when we took over, financially speaking. It’s more functional. We’ve got a lot of inventory. We’ve been here and the community loves it. We’ve got a lot of momentum. We’re hoping we can find someone to step in and kind of do what we’ve done.”

    DeEmedio said the ideal candidate to buy his hardware business would be “someone with a retail background and a good business sense. We would prefer someone from the community that kind of knows the store at least, knows what the community is about.”

    The hardware store owner said there are many advantages to owning a mom-and-pop in a beach town like OB, adding he’s tried, as much as possible, to reciprocate the community’s goodwill.

    “People here know our employees will help them as soon as they get through the door,” he said. “It’s really a joy. I love spending time here. You come to work and learn a ton. And not just from the business side. I’ve learned the world of hardware, and it’s just invaluable for life.”

    DeEmedio talked about one big addition they’ve added in their three years of hardware store ownership.

    “Our whole backroom now is gardening,” he said. “And we’re not planning on scaling back on inventory. Gardening season is coming up and we’ve got a great garden section now.”

    Of his store inventory, DeEmidio said, “We carry everything from fasteners, screws, and nails to plumbing, electrical, and kitchen items. We do screen repairs. We make keys. We joke that ‘We have a little bit of everything, but we don’t have a lot of anything.’ We’re really a one-stop-shop.”

    Anyone interested in purchasing OB Hardware should contact broker Mitch McGinley at mitch@fcbb.com or 404-272-9108.

     

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    ‘Covid Cruisers’ land on ‘Mars’ celebrating NASA’s mission
    by KAREN SCANLON
    Feb 19, 2021 | 3883 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Some of the Covid Cruisers, Genieve, Anthony, Melinda, Frazier, Karen, Kristina, Bob, Bill, Bev, Evan, Kathy, Kelly, Paco, Amber, Mason, Meghan, and Harry, 'land on Mars' in celebration of NASA's successful mission. (Photo by Kim Fahlen.)
    Some of the Covid Cruisers, Genieve, Anthony, Melinda, Frazier, Karen, Kristina, Bob, Bill, Bev, Evan, Kathy, Kelly, Paco, Amber, Mason, Meghan, and Harry, 'land on Mars' in celebration of NASA's successful mission. (Photo by Kim Fahlen.)
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    Thursday’s successful landing of NASA’s rover, Perseverance, on the Red Planet has prompted some high-spirited behavior on Earth, too. A large, homemade paper Mars was spread across a Clairemont neighborhood street where an odd assembly of riders gathered, eating Mars bars and red rock candy. They are known as the Covid Cruisers.

    Coincidental to the arrival of the pandemic in early March last year, I began riding an adult tricycle with 36-year-old Meghan, who owns Down’s syndrome with grace.

    Those early days of the pandemic had many of us frightened to near paralysis. I stayed sheltered, while others shopped for me. But come evenings, I’d let myself out of the enclosure of the house to ride endless circles around the secluded half-mile circle of our neighborhood. Here I stole a little peace in the darkening shades of dusk.

    It wasn’t long before others joined us. Our mantra became “Hey, come and ride with us!” Today, six adult tricycles, several bicycles, and a conglomerate of other wheeled gizmos ‘ride the range’ every afternoon at 4.

    “Car!” comes a collective shout and massive ringing of bike bells and horns. Bikers quickly move aside. Our neighbors have become accustomed to our owning the street those couple of hours every evening and patiently slow or wait for the bikes to pass. “Wave to everybody,” we urge the kids.

    It is apparent that riders share a sense of absolute silliness in song and chatter. We enjoy a playful recognition of celestial and holiday occasions. There is the making up of fanciful stories about spooky trees, queens, or lost dogs.

    But something else takes place during these rides. People we didn’t know have come out of their houses in a way they hadn’t before. Genieve’s mom says, “My daughter had no friends in the neighborhood until she began circling with the bike gang.”

    I asked another young teen, Elizabeth, why she had experienced the same loneliness. “Because everybody is inside on their machines!” she said, matter-of-factly.

    On the other end of the age spectrum, we older adults have rekindled friendships of days gone by, our own children grown and gone from the neighborhood.

    Another child, of a tender 14 years, lives with cerebral palsy and rides a metal bike-like invention. In December he suffered a hefty surgery and has been in a long-leg cast for weeks. His father, Larry, contrived a chariot behind mom Kathy’s three-wheeler, until Paco is back on his own two pedals.

    The cruisers range in age from 3-month-old Juniper in a stroller to 81-year-old Bill on a trike. How is it that age or different physical abilities have no bearing upon this evolution of friendships?

    We followed Jupiter and Saturn in their chase across the sky all summer, through autumn, and celebrated their convergence at the winter solstice. Teaching, learning, playing, and loving are all part of the fun. NASA’s expensive mission ever so exciting.

    Perseverance was launched last July on an Atlas V-541 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla. (Interestingly, the Atlas missile program was developed in San Diego in the late 1950s.)

    What can you cause in your neighborhood of similar alliance? No need to sit home wishing you’d get out to exercise a little, perhaps socialize in an outside zone. The pandemic has stolen from all of us, but we cruisers out-smarted its isolation.

     

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    Pedal Ahead program promotes healthful living, less pollution
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Feb 18, 2021 | 19586 views | 0 0 comments | 37 37 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Two Pedal Ahead e-bikes, a black step-over, and storm-cloud color models, shown parked at the Law Street overlook in North PB. PHOTO BY KIM MERRILL
    Two Pedal Ahead e-bikes, a black step-over, and storm-cloud color models, shown parked at the Law Street overlook in North PB. PHOTO BY KIM MERRILL
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    A new electric bicycle emission-reducing program is designed to serve as an alternative to auto transportation.

    Dubbed Pedal Ahead, the groundbreaking new program partners Rider Safety Visibility, a nonprofit, with District 4 Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, and region-wide business and community leaders.

    “By bringing e-bikes into our communities, we are creating opportunities for environmental sustainability, healthful living, and helping people commute to work, school, and other important destinations,” said Fletcher.

    Rider Safety Visibility has partnered with Fletcher, along with community organizations to recruit e-bike riders to participate in this community-based electric bicycle program.

    "Pedal Ahead continues to define a new activism in healthy living and active lifestyles by capturing e-bike cycling data in real-time, and transforming lives,” said Rider Safety Visibility co-founder Ed Clancy. “Our program is contributing to community improvements by injecting positive lifestyle choices, providing goals, and in working with a new audience of advocates for alternative transportation.” 

    “The bicycle industry, with an emphasis on e-bikes, is also affording many opportunities for job seekers through Rider Safety Visibility’s Young Adult Education program, including mechanics, bike shop staff, and sales and marketing representatives,” said Kim Merrill, Rider Safety Visibility co-founder.

    “The opportunity to learn the ins and outs of electric bicycles is paramount, as they have become a growing transportation solution during the pandemic. In the post-coronavirus era, e-bikes will continue to have a bright future. The industry needs professionals who understand this growing category of bicycles.”

    The way Pedal Ahead works is e-bikes are made available to people ages 18 and up. Participants are required to ride a minimum average of 1,800 miles a year, for two years, in order to provide in-depth analytics for an e-bike impact study.

    As part of the Pedal Ahead program, Rider Safety Visibility provides each participant with a safety and visibility package from leading bicycle industry manufacturers that includes a helmet, high-visibility vest, front-and-rear bicycle lights, and lock for security. Each e-bike is also equipped with devices that secure front wheels and seats.

    At the conclusion of the program, and after meeting the mileage goal, the Pedal Ahead participant becomes the owner of the e-bike they’ve ridden.

    Beach residents who’ve tried Pedal Ahead give it a thumbs up.

    "Peddle Ahead has been such a game changer for me to make biking to work a feasible option,” said PB resident Kim Heinle. “It eliminates the stress of uphill climbs, especially when carting my laptop and work clothes. The best part about the e-bikes though is that I use it like a regular bike to get my cardio and exercise in, and then flip on the e-portion when I'm commuting. It's a two-for-one bike.”

    “I haven’t owned a bike in over 20 years, but during the recent pandemic I bought a mountain bike to get outside and exercise,” said Roxanne Chrestman of Ocean Beach. “I’m pretty excited to say I have ridden my bike more than 400 miles just this year.”

    “I thought it was a great idea to get an electric bike,” said 63-year-old Jo-Anna Mitrano of Bay Park, a YMCA fitness instructor. “Because of my wish to be low on the carbon footprint, I gave up my car and became all bike. It’s perfect. I can still commute to work and get the daylight in. It’s just so energizing.”

    Pedal Ahead was envisioned, designed and created by Fletcher and Rider Safety Visibility, with initial funding provided by San Diego County, The Left Coast Fund, The San Diego Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund, and SDG&E.

    La Jolla’s California Bicycle and Uptown Bicycles are the independent-owned bicycle dealers supporting the Pedal Ahead program as community centers and service providers. The e-bikes they provide for the program are available in District 4 ZIP codes, which include beach areas. 

    A total of 21 Pedal Ahead riders in the 92106, 92107, 92109, 92110, and 92037 ZIP codes, as of Feb. 1, had logged 8,858 miles through the e-bike program. Overall, year to date, those same riders have produced a 3,550 kg CO2 reduction using an e-bike versus a passenger car, according to figures compiled by Rider Safety Visibility. The 200 riders in the program’s first phase have logged nearly 52,000 miles and produced a 20,760 kg CO2 emissions reduction.

     

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    Pacific Beach school has success with in-person teaching
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Feb 18, 2021 | 3127 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Students work on a project at St. Paul's Lutheran Church and School in Pacific Beach. COURTESY PHOTO
    Students work on a project at St. Paul's Lutheran Church and School in Pacific Beach. COURTESY PHOTO
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    Talk of reopening in-class instruction in the midst of the pandemic hasn’t phased St. Paul's Lutheran Church and School in Pacific Beach. The institution at 1376 Felspar St. has been open in-person, with all the proper health and safety protocols in-place, since September 2020. “We closed our classes on March 13, 2020, and sent everyone home,” said Meredith Binnie, principal of the K-8 private, parochial school, now in its 74th year in PB. “We were up and running the next week with virtual learning and finished out the school year online. When we came back to school in September it was in-person, and our students are getting good, safe learning.” Binnie talked about what St. Paul’s did to reopen its school and keep its students safe and healthy during COVID.   “A lot of what we did was driven by the guidelines set forth by the state and county in order for us to get a waiver to reopen,” said Binnie. “They wanted physical distancing with students six-feet apart, so classrooms had to rearrange the desks to provide for maximum spacing. All the desks and chairs are separated, plus each child has their own personal plastic dividers.” Added Binnie, “The teachers all have large plexiglass shields they can teach behind. Teachers have microphones to amplify their voices. We’ve kept all the kids in nine different classes in stable groups (to decrease possible virus exposure). We limit the number of people on-campus. It’s been very doable.” Returning to in-class instruction is what families at St. Paul’s wanted. “We did a parent survey and 95% of parents wanted their kids to return in-person,” Binnie said. “Our nine teachers, one for each grade, were also all on-board.” Binnie said school parents were cooperative in doing what it took to get their children back in class. “The most important thing we stressed was that parents needed to be honest in not sending their kids to school sick,” the principal said. “And every morning at drop-off, we screened kids with temperature checks asking how they were feeling.” During the school day, Binnie said St. Paul’s required three basic things for all of its students. “They had to wear masks, we kept them in stable groups and they had to be physically distanced,” she said. And the health protocols St. Paul’s employed to keep its students safe has worked. “We have had two students test positive since we have been open,” Binnie said. “However, we were able to just send those two classes home for two weeks of virtual learning, and then they returned. No other students or teachers in the classes tested positive during that time and the positive students were asymptomatic.” Being back in the classroom has proved positive for everyone, concluded Binnie. “It’s so gratifying for me as a school leader to see how excited the kids are to be at school each day, how it’s really good for them mentally and socially,” she said. “They’re just so happy to be at play at recess with their friends. And we couldn’t do it without our wonderful teachers. They’ve worked so hard to really adapt their teaching styles. And it’s really taken a buy-in, from all the stakeholders, to make it work.”
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