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    Mission Bay High School opens its 'field of dreams'
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Apr 20, 2015 | 1781 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    With a new regulation field and track, MBHS may now host CIF-level games and the new lights allow for night home games. / Photo by Ronan Gray
    With a new regulation field and track, MBHS may now host CIF-level games and the new lights allow for night home games. / Photo by Ronan Gray
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    MBHS principal Ernie Remillard at the ceremony. / Photo by Dave Schwab
    MBHS principal Ernie Remillard at the ceremony. / Photo by Dave Schwab
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    A new era was ushered in at Mission Bay High School on April 16 as more than 1,400 black-and-gold clad students joined the principal, athletes, alumni, parents and community VIPs in dedicating the school’s new stadium, softball field, upgraded baseball field and athletic facilities. The Navy Color Guard from Naval Medical Center kicked-off the stadium dedication ceremony during which MBHS principal Ernie Remillard commented, “I’m honored to welcome everyone to celebrate the grand opening of the stadium, softball and baseball fields.” As a student athlete himself, Remillard said he’d “never played in a venue as beautiful as what I’m standing in today. “I look forward to seeing the continued success of MBHS athletics and having student athletes of Mission Bay carry on this tradition that has been established by alumni,” Remillard added. Stadium project construction, which started in December 2013 and finished in March 2015, was funded by Proposition Z and State Schools Facilities Funds. It represents an investment of nearly $11 million into Mission Bay High School and the Mission Bay and Pacific Beach communities. The new athletic facilities include raised-level seating for disabled spectators, a safer rubberized running track, and a smooth-surface playing field for a variety of sports for all-year play. With a new regulation field and track, MBHS may now host CIF-level games and the new lights allow for night home games. Pam Deitz, president of the MBHS Alumni Association, noted community volunteers have been working with San Diego Unified School District for more than a decade to acquire new athletic facilities for MBHS. "We started focusing on the MBHS field when my son was starting sixth grade at PBMS,” said Deitz. "He will be graduating from college this June." Major stadium upgrades were needed. "With the new facilities, we no longer have to sell concessions out of a metal storage container," noted Kim Schoettle, president of Friends of Pacific Beach Secondary Schools. "Finally after nearly a decade of SDUSD board of education meetings, phone calls, district visits, emails, letters, countless presentations, and a year of construction, the Mission Bay High School athletic field renovations are complete,” said Kathy Miller Gray. “It is gratifying to know that the work and support of the school community helped bring our ‘field of dreams’ into reality. “We have to thank Lee Dulgeroff and his team at SDUSD for constructing the amazing facilities,” she said. “The deserving students of Mission Bay High School now proudly have athletic facilities that are safe and beautiful." Board Trustee Mike McQuary acknowledged the support of local voters whom, he said, “decided we need (phys ed) facilities and technology improvements” when they “passed a $2 billion bond at 68 percent approval: That’s incredible during a time in which we were (financially) challenged. This community trusted this board and provided the funds to make the difference.” Lee Dulgeroff, chief facilities planning and construction officer of SDUSD, thanked MBHS parents for stepping forward a few years ago in bringing to the school district’s attention that the old stadium, which opened in 1953, was “old and antiquated” and that the track was “in poor shape” while noting its patchy field had been “taken over by gophers.” Dulgeroff pointed out the new-and-improved stadium facility now has bleacher seating for 2,400 spectators — 1,600 on the home side and 800 on the visitors, as well as a new press box, a concession stand and new stadium lights. “It took a lot to make this dream a reality,” Dulgeroff concluded
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    San Diego and its post-bombing sympathies were well-represented at Boston Marathon
    by TERRI STANLEY
    Apr 17, 2015 | 17772 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    The winters in Boston and San Diego couldn't be more disparate, but as the Boston Marathon approaches, four local runners couldn't have cared less. COURTESY PHOTO
    The winters in Boston and San Diego couldn't be more disparate, but as the Boston Marathon approaches, four local runners couldn't have cared less. COURTESY PHOTO
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    Boston is coming off the worst winter on record – accordingly, training for the 119tth Boston Marathon, set for Monday, April 20, has been no small feat for many East Coast runners. But arriving in Boston from the West are several marathoners who have been training in what is probably some of the best weather in the country. Sunny and warm but not too hot, and with much less humidity, San Diego is an ideal climate – and with all those miles under their belts, these San Diegans are pretty confident they’ll finish the race and hit their time goals. But this is the Boston Marathon, and anything can happen here, as the world witnessed two years ago. The already storied event has risen to a new prominence since the bombings that lead to four deaths and the injuries to hundreds during the race in 2013. And in a twist that rivals that of a novel, the surviving bomber is awaiting sentencing after being convicted of all 30 counts of murder and conspiracy on April 8 in a Boston federal court. San Diego was one of many cities that rallied behind Boston after the tragedy, raising funds and awareness. Events like The Boston Strong San Diego run, organized by Vavi, the San Diego running club (where thousands of runners came out to show their support or The Last Run To Boston, organized by boom RUNNING owner Mike Daly) were commonplace. Jenni Ceglowski grew up in Arizona and has been a San Diego transplant for about five years. Her husband got her into running about a year after moving to San Diego as a way to explore, meet people and enjoy the legendary good weather. “It was really incredible to see the community come together here in San Diego after the Boston bombings,” Ceglowski said. “I attended various events and runs, and the sense of support was unreal — just about everyone had a connection to the Boston Marathon. People came together to support their homes, friends and families, remember their pasts, defend their dreams and honor their country in what we did best—run. The Boston Marathon has come to symbolize our strength as a community and as a nation, our ability to stand up and push on, our empathy to reach out and support those around us, our drive, our courage and our determination to put one foot in front of the other even when we are faced with obstacles.” For most of the runners, there are competitive and emotional reasons for running Boston. San Diego has a large running community, and there are many people with ties to Boston. A Road Runner Sports marketing manager who has been running for 20 years, Garrett Sheehan has lived in San Diego for 10 years. “I think people around the world will tell you it’s ‘the’ marathon, the one that you have to do, a box you have to check as a runner,” said Sheehan, 32, originally from Kingston, R.I. “There are amazing runners out here, and the Boston Marathon is a goal for everybody. We’re 3,000 miles away, but for people training for marathons, Boston is on the top of the list.” Sheehan said there is an added importance to running Boston this year. “I qualified last year, and I’ve been training the last six months to get ready for this. I’ve been working my butt off… and with the bomber trial happening, I think all runners took that personally, so I am excited to get out there, be a part of it, embrace it and take it back.” Lauren Padula is a running coach, who received a doctorate in physical therapy from Northeastern University and has been living — and training — in the San Diego warmth for the last six years. “I ran Boston in 2007,” Padula said, “and actually went to school at Northeastern. I honestly think that the large number of people who live out here are connected to Boston. So many of us either went to college in Boston or are from the East Coast or have run Boston before, so it really affected us too when the bombings happened. It was on my college bucket list to run Boston. After the bombings, I said I want to run Boston again, I need to run Boston again.” Runners often talk about the electric energy the spectators bring to this race, and it is unlike any other marathon, with the possible exception of the New York City Marathon, that traverses that city every fall. Eric Marenburg was born and raised in Peabody, Mass., where he was a competitive runner, running cross-country and track and field in high school. He went on to run competitively at the University of Maryland as a walk-on and has completed six marathons, including Boston three times. His personal best was 2:39:53, and he expects to finish this year at about 2:45. “As a runner,” Marenburg said, “the best thing about Boston is you don’t have to know anyone to be cheered on because it’s such a celebration — you feel like a rock star running down the street, especially Boylston. In some ways, the Boston experience ruins you, because once you do that, nothing rivals the energy.” He too, cites the added inspiration of running the Boston Marathon this year. “My motivation to be here this year were the events in 2013. It was certainly a huge influence in wanting to qualify so I could get back out there. Since the bombings happened, a lot of the people who are running it this year were motivated by this.” Terri Stanley, former editor of Boston Common magazine, is a writer, television program developer and producer who saw her "styleboston" magazine-format program win two regional Emmy Awards, including in the Outstanding Magazine Program category in 2013.
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    World's oldest cat purr-fectly at home in Point Loma
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Apr 16, 2015 | 3527 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Tiffany Two
    Tiffany Two
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    Retired Point Loma attorney Sharron Voorhees, 73, has owned two tortoiseshell cats named Tiffany. Tiffany One died of cancer after less than a year of ownership. Tiffany Two, whom Voorhees bought years later and named after Tiffany One (whom she strongly resembles), just turned 27 this March 13. That makes Tiffany Two the world’s oldest living cat, the equivalent of more than 125 human years, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Proud to be the owner of such a prestigious pussy, Voorhees, who also owns two dogs and two other cats, recounted how she first acquired Tiffany Two. “I stopped at a pet shop in Miramar to buy some food,” she explained, “and there was a big sign that said, ‘We’re going out of business at 5 p.m.’ It was 4 p.m. There was this tortoiseshell cat that was almost identical to my first Tiffany, and I thought, ‘I wonder what will happen if nobody buys her.’” Voorhees then drove home, which took about 20 minutes. “I had to turn around,” Voorhees said. “I got back to the pet shop at five minutes to 5 p.m., and I plunked down $10, and that’s how Tiffany came to live with me. That was 27 years ago, and I’ve always said, ‘That’s the best $10 I’ve ever spent.’” Voorhees claims she hasn’t done anything special with her kitty, whom she noted has “eaten Whiskas all her life, mostly the dry, but in recent years, the moist, too.” “She’s a good eater,” added Voorhees. “I had to laugh. She still crunches the dry food, which means her teeth are still good.” Tiffany Two has always been an outdoor cat but is kept indoors now due to her age. But she still gets out, much to Voorhees’ surprise. “She got out about four months ago,” Voorhees said, “and I was desperate to find her, which I did in my next-door neighbor’s yard. She had scaled a six-foot fence. She jumped back over the fence and looked at me like I had lost my mind. I was astonished.” When she learned she was the owner of the world’s oldest known cat, Voorhees' only response was to reply, “I never thought my 15 minutes of fame would come through like that.” Noting Tiffany Two would fit right in at Hogwarts Academy of the Harry Potter book series because her colors are “Halloweeny,” Voorhees noted her elderly cat gets along just fine with her other animals as long as they respect her “space.” “She has her special spot, which right now is the very exact middle of the staircase,” said Voorhees. “She’s the matriarch. The other animals just walk around or jump over her. She’s OK with that.” Voorhees said she feels lucky because both Tiffanys, and all the other cats she’s had, “have all been very affectionate and loving. “I’ve never had a snooty cat,” Voorhees said, adding, “I don’t believe all that stuff about cats being hard to get along with.”
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    Sunday Sunset Cleanup brightens Ocean Beach
    by THOMAS MELVILLE
    Apr 15, 2015 | 3921 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    James Lazaro, Robert Cusworth, Adra Miller, Sarah Windy, Brian Hollingshed, Heather Staruski, and Ann Miller were some of the Sunday Sunset Cleanup crew picking up litter on Sunday, April 12. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    James Lazaro, Robert Cusworth, Adra Miller, Sarah Windy, Brian Hollingshed, Heather Staruski, and Ann Miller were some of the Sunday Sunset Cleanup crew picking up litter on Sunday, April 12. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    Standing behind a table covered with bags, work gloves, and trash grabber sticks at the end of Niagara Avenue and the beginning of the pier, Sarah Windy gestures over her left shoulder toward the beach. “We'll start there in the pier parking lot and move down Newport to Bacon and then the alleys. Ready? Let's go.” Windy picks up her five-gallon bucket and starts walking down the pier with her 13-year-old son Brian Hollingshed. The other 15 or so volunteers are still meandering around until they spot her and start to follow. Windy's down the steps and picking up litter before the rest of the pack catches up. She leads, they follow, and soon their crew, made up of young and old, tall and short, Ocean Beach natives and the recently arrived, are filling their buckets with bottles, bags and butts – lots and lots of cigarette butts. In fact, it all goes back to butts. One Sunday in January, Windy parked her car on Newport Avenue and noticed a cigarette butt, and then another, and more, and then other pieces of litter. Soon she had a plastic bag filled with trash, and she hadn't ventured more than 10 feet from her car. “We're always complaining about things that we don't like so I thought it was important to not just complain but to take action,” she said. Inspired “to make a difference and do something positive for our community, which I love so much,” Windy started the weekly Sunday Sunset Cleanup. With a hearty endorsement and help from CSI-OB (Cleaner Streets Initiative Ocean Beach) chairman Greg Crowley, the Sunday Sunset Cleanup events started in February and have been growing ever since. “I felt that this was something that I could do and, by being out there as a group, maybe show visitors that it's not OK to litter,” Windy said. The group meets at 6:15 p.m. (or usually one hour before sunset) on Sundays at the end of Niagara Avenue where buckets, gloves and grabbers will be available. From there, Windy usually has a plan of where they will concentrate their efforts. One week they went down the cliffs to Santa Cruz beach, on Easter Sunday they took on the San Diego River estuary, but it's most often in the areas that receive the most visitors. “On Easter people were leaving messages on the group's Facebook page (BTW: Sunday Sunset Cleanup) saying they were in town and wanted to help out,” Windy said. “We ended up filling a pickup truck with garbage collected from around the river.” Last Sunday the crew got down and dirty in the pier parking lot, Newport Avenue, and several alleys on the way to Bacon Street. Near the pier, a man in a Padres jersey, who was using a selfie stick, noticed the commotion and asked what was happening. After learning about the cleanup, he put down the selfie stick, put on some gloves and decided to join the crew. “It really makes me happy when different people come out and take the time out of their day to put some effort toward making Ocean Beach a better community for all of us,” Windy said. “The great thing is, it's just a little effort from each person, and the result is huge.”
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    A half-century of Italian classics at The Venetian Restaurant
    by FRANK SABATINI JR.
    Apr 10, 2015 | 19096 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Vince Giacolone, founder of The Venetian, is flanked by sons Frank (left) and Joey, who after 50 years in business qualify as local institutions. COURTESY PHOTO
    Vince Giacolone, founder of The Venetian, is flanked by sons Frank (left) and Joey, who after 50 years in business qualify as local institutions. COURTESY PHOTO
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    Few family-owned restaurants in San Diego can claim they’ve been around since before man walked on the moon. The Venetian Restaurant in Point Loma is among them, opening four years prior, in 1965, when the kitchen served plates of spaghetti for 85 cents and baked up whole pizzas for $1.25. Fifty years later, founder Vince Giacalone still drops in regularly to dine with his wife Carmella, usually after 5:30 p.m. Mass on Saturdays. Since retiring, he’s passed the torch to his sons Joey and Frank, who have ushered the restaurant into the 21st century with new dishes, a full redesign and brisk delivery service. The longstanding recipes for pizza dough and red sauces, however, haven’t changed. “Those are my father’s, the untouchables,” says Joey, adding that dishes such as chicken cacciatore and veal Parmesan have also remained firmly planted on the menu for the past five decades. The Venetian was originally located at 2910 Canon St. before moving in 1973 to its current location at 3663 Voltaire St., where it continued blossoming as a destination Italian restaurant. Through the years, both dining rooms have seen the likes of singers Frankie Laine and Barry White as well as famed author Joseph Wambaugh and players from the San Diego Chargers. “More so,” says Joey, “we’ve witnessed so many families come in with their kids over the past decades, and now those children are calling us up saying they’d like to have their wedding rehearsal dinners at the restaurant.” Vince, a first-generation American of Sicilian parents, served as an Army cook in the Korean War and first tried his hands at opening a bakery in San Diego. “But he was miserable,” says Joey. “It wasn’t for him.” The Venetian proved a much better fit, allowing him to develop dishes from his family background while continuing to cook them until Joey and Frank were old enough to work the kitchen and bring some of their own recipes into the mix. Among the most recent additions to the menu are Mediterranean scallops bathed in butter, olive oil, basil, tomatoes and lemon juice. Topped with bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese, the scallops are sourced fresh from Pacific shellfish and appear in several other dishes. Another top seller is the brothers’ version of shrimp puttanesca tossed with olives, garlic and chili flakes and served over linguini. Equally memorable is the chicken piccata constructed with a perfected glaze of lemon, butter and white wine that comes together in the pan upon order. “Our red sauces are the only things we keep in steam tables,” says Joey, adding that the kitchen goes through up to 10 gallons on Friday nights. The menu extends to numerous pasta dishes such as baked cannelloni and lasagna using housemade pasta, plus fettuccine Alfredo, farfalle with prosciutto and peas and traditional spaghetti with meat or marinara sauce. Basically, there isn’t a classic Italian dish that goes missing. Two years ago, the brothers gutted the restaurant to give it a full interior makeover, which resulted in what Joey calls “a clean, Tuscan-style look,” with modern high-back booths and a redesigned patio. The intent was to maintain the look and feel of a heritage, neighborhood restaurant rather than turning it into something showy and overly modern. The Venetian’s 50th birthday occurs officially in June. “We have things up our sleeves for celebrating it,” adds Joey, hinting that commemorative T-shirts featuring his father’s profile might be made. “We are very lucky,” Joey concluded, “that my father built a foundation that is un-crackable. It’s not an easy business, but at the end of a working shift, when you see people who have been enjoying our restaurant for years, it’s all worth it.” The venetian is open for lunch Mondays through Fridays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner every day from 4 to 9 p.m. For more, please visit venetian1965.com or call (619) 223-8197.
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