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    Cross this lawsuit off the list, Mt. Soledad icon to stay
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Sep 23, 2016 | 8547 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    The 27-foot cross, built as a Korean War memorial in 1954, will stay on Mt. Soledad. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    The 27-foot cross, built as a Korean War memorial in 1954, will stay on Mt. Soledad. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    The back-and-forth battle over the legitimacy of a towering cross on Mount Soledad in La Jolla is finally over after a 25-year court fight. The 27-foot cross, built as a Korean War memorial in 1954, will remain as it is, where it is. An agreement has been reached to allow the sale of the cross, along with its surrounding memorial granite plaque walls, from the U.S. Department of Defense to the Mount Soledad Memorial Association Inc. The La Jolla veterans group bought the half-acre parcel containing the controversial Mount Soledad cross from the Department of Defense about a year ago. James McElroy, the attorney who represented the late Vietnam War veteran Phillip Paulson who originally challenged the cross, and then the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) who took Paulson's place, is convinced the cross' sale this time is legit. So is all said and done? “I think this is it,” concluded McElroy, adding, “We won at the Ninth Circuit Court. Faced with a court order to come up with another solution other than removing the cross, the U.S, government finally put together something that was palatable to us, that caused the transfer of the cross to a private entity.” The cross has been sold to the Soledad vets previously, but the courts invalidated that sale ruling it wasn't appropriate. “Previously, the city tried to give this property to the Mount Soledad Memorial Association, and I challenged it because it was an unconstitutional government transfer of the property," said McElroy. "It wasn't a level playing field. It wasn't fair market value for the property. It was a sham sale.” But McElroy described the most recent sale as “a constitutionally acceptable remedy.” “They sold it to the vets for $1.4 million, which I think is in the ballpark of a reasonable value, given that it's just a little postage stamp lot under the cross itself and it can only be used for parkland,” he said. MSMA president Lou Scanlon concluded all conditions for the Soledad cross' legal sale have been met. “The government required that it be transferred at fair value, and there is a restriction that it must be maintained in perpetuity as a veteran's memorial,” he said. “So we can't put anything else up there.” News that the opposition was willing to drop its case against the cross after its most recent sale was welcomed by vets. “It's a relief to be able to operate the memorial now without the cloud of litigation that has hung over us and our operations for the last 25 years,” Scanlon said, adding MSMA is now embarking on “a major fundraising campaign to replenish the money that was spent on the cross.” The legality of the Soledad cross has been in question since 1989, when U.S. Army combat veteran Philip Paulson, an atheist, became the lead plaintiff in a series of lawsuits seeking to remove the cross from the mountaintop, arguing its presence constituted an illegal public endorsement of one religion over others. Paulson died of cancer in 2006, but the legal battle continued with the ACLU replacing him. The U.S. Supreme Court has twice denied hearing arguments for and against the Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial cross being an endorsement of religion. The high court remanded the matter back to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Ninth Circuit previously ruled the cross violates the constitutional separation of church and state and must be removed. In 2000, the association expanded the memorial installing six curved walls, which have since been outfitted with black granite plaques. Was the quarter-century pitched battle over the Soledad cross worth it? “It's always worth it to stand up for principles that improve people's everyday lives,” answered McElroy arguing, “It's obvious that cross is a huge religious symbol. My client (Paulson) was right.” Why did it take so long to resolve the issues surrounding the Mount Soledad cross? “Politics got involved, and were involved the entire way,” concluded McElroy. McElroy joked that the court battle over the Mount Soledad cross went on so long that he feared “they might have to bury my ashes up there.”
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    Pacific BeachFest set for Oct. 1 with best fish taco, and craft beer contests
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Sep 23, 2016 | 741 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    BeachFest-goers sample fish tacos and take a groupie at last year's event. Will the Sandbar win the fish taco contest again this year? / Photo by Thomas Melville
    BeachFest-goers sample fish tacos and take a groupie at last year's event. Will the Sandbar win the fish taco contest again this year? / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    There will be plenty of free, fun and family friendly action on the beaches and along the boardwalk at this year’s Pacific BeachFest Saturday, Oct.1 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Action starts early with sports tournaments including 2 Man Pro-Am Volleyball Tournament, VAVi 4Sum Social Volleyball and Revolt Summer Series Surf competition on the south side of Crystal Pier. The day-long series of events also features a morning beach run, Pacific BeachFest 5K. “Pacific BeachFest is our signature event and it’s all about highlighting our great neighborhood and everything local,” said Sara Berns, executive director of Discover PB Business Improvement District (BID). “From local retailers, service providers to restaurants and action sports, it’s a celebration of all things PB with something for everyone.” Berns noted the event's Kid’s Action Alley on Thomas Avenue has been expanded, complementing a 5K run to be followed by sunset yoga. Kicking off the Beachfest will be an inaugural beer tasting competition the night before on Friday, Sept. 30 from 5 to 8 p.m. at PB Shore Club, 4343 Ocean Blvd. “Our inaugural Pacific Beachfest Beer Cup has local craft breweries competing for best in show and the public gets to vote,” said Berns. Participating Breweries include: Amplified Ale Works, Abnormal Beer Co., Karl Strauss Brewing Co., Mike Hess Brewery, Mother Earth Brewing, Belching Beaver Brewery, Coronado Brewing Co., Iron Fire Brewery, Green Flash Brewing Co., Modern Times Brewery and PB Alehouse.   Get your Beer Cup tickets now before they sell out. Each ticket provides tasters at all 11 local breweries, music, fun and a chance to vote for who should win the Best West Coast IPA. Beer Cup winners will be announced that Friday night and will also be featured as beer of the month in restaurants throughout PB in November. Berns noted the BeachFest itself is “interactive with plenty of ways to get in on the action including voting in the Best of the Beach Fish Taco Contest.”  Throughout the day, thousands of BeachFest goers can enjoy live music on three stages: the Main Stage featuring world beat dance music, the Community Stage featuring the best local talent and the Grand Stage where the hottest DJs and Reggae will be featured in the San Diego Craft Beer Garden. Guests can shop and browse among the dozens of fine arts and crafts displays and visit the many eclectic shops and popular restaurants at the PB Merchant Sidewalk Sale. The Taste of PB Food Court will provide a variety of PB’s finest restaurants serving up tasty cuisines.
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    KAABOO delights festivalgoers with 3-day ‘mix-perience’
    by NICK SPENCE
    Sep 21, 2016 | 13612 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    KAABOO festivalgoers watch Lenny Kravitz at the Sunset Cliffs stage on Saturday. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    KAABOO festivalgoers watch Lenny Kravitz at the Sunset Cliffs stage on Saturday. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    Ally and Tina from Pacific Beach have fun listening to Third Eye Blind on Saturday at KAABOO. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    Ally and Tina from Pacific Beach have fun listening to Third Eye Blind on Saturday at KAABOO. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    Lenny Kravitz performs 'Let Love Rule' during his set at KAABOO on Saturday. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    Lenny Kravitz performs 'Let Love Rule' during his set at KAABOO on Saturday. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    Fans start to gather around the Trestles stage in the paddock for the Goo Goo Dolls concert at KAABOO on Saturday. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    Fans start to gather around the Trestles stage in the paddock for the Goo Goo Dolls concert at KAABOO on Saturday. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    Situated in the heart of the Del Mar Fairgrounds, the second-coming of KAABOO came and went this past weekend, providing festivalgoers with a cornucopia of live music, interactive art, contemporary food, and comedy performances. This year’s KAABOO featured more than 100 musical and comedy acts during a three-day weekend, including Jimmy Buffet, Aerosmith, Lenny Kravitz, Goo Goo Dolls, Third-Eye Blind, Jack Johnson, Steel Pulse, The Chainsmokers and Steve Aoki, as well as comedy acts such as Dana Carvey, Sarah Silverman, and Cheech and Chong. The massive music festival is quickly becoming a staple of the eclectic San Diego entertainment scene. “I came to the event because I wanted to see some great music and comedy,” said La Jolla resident Nicole Nestojko, who was taking a break from the music and enjoying a cold brew with her husband on Saturday. “And we are also sampling some great craft beer.” The festival, which seeks to redefine the music and arts festival experience, also served up an impressive lineup of nonmusical VIP amenities like swimming pools and viewing stands, as well as infusing a combination of San Diego traditions like local craft beer, upscale dining, and a beach-life atmosphere that KAABOO dubbed its “mix-perience.” The artwork experience showcased an array of contemporary art, including dozens of international, national and regional artists, with art installations and live mural paintings during the weekend. In terms of food, KAABOO offered a slew of local and regional dishes paired with drinks from wineries, craft distilleries and local craft breweries. “It gives you something to do in your downtime,” said San Diegan Dove Kirby. “Instead of just walking around you have somewhere to go.” Although KAABOO hasn’t released official attendee numbers, sources say that on Saturday the event hosted more people than the first KAABOO received during all three days last year. Tickets for KAABOO 2017 have already gone on sale, as event organizers look to take next year’s festivities to new heights.
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    Pacific Beach Elementary students debate the gum pole
    Sep 20, 2016 | 4920 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Pacific Beach Elementary fifth-grade students at the gum pole on the corner of Bayard Street and Garnet Avenue on Tuesday, Sept. 20.
    Pacific Beach Elementary fifth-grade students at the gum pole on the corner of Bayard Street and Garnet Avenue on Tuesday, Sept. 20.
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    Teacher Dave Sandler and his fifth-grade students from Pacific Beach Elementary inspected the gum pole on the corner of Bayard Street and Garnet Avenue on Tuesday, Sept. 20. After reading a story about the gum pole in the Beach and Bay Press in Sandler's class, the fifth graders debated and wrote persuasive essays discussing whether the gum pole is a form of art or "disgusting." Eleven students decided it was disgusting, while 18 felt that it was a form of art. Sandler and his 29 students then walked to the pole at the corner of Bayard and Garnet to see for themselves. While at the pole, they inspected a section of sidewalk on Garnet Avenue, which was covered in black dots, remnants of discarded gum. After counting the dots, they estimated that there are more than 10,000 pieces of dried, dirty gum stuck to the sidewalks in just one block of Garnet Avenue. The students are now pondering solutions to the gum problem on Pacific Beach sidewalks. Ideas range from special collection receptacles outside each bar to inventions that could repurpose gum into glue or resin. "This project, prompted simply by reading an article in our local newspaper, increased awareness about our community and empowered the kids to want to make a change, " explained Sandler.
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    Veterans take flight and get dunked in Mission Bay
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Sep 20, 2016 | 2023 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    On Sept. 14, Warrior Passion teamed with Jetpack America to treat returned vets to their own customized flight lesson in Mission Bay. / Photo by Dave Schwab
    On Sept. 14, Warrior Passion teamed with Jetpack America to treat returned vets to their own customized flight lesson in Mission Bay. / Photo by Dave Schwab
    slideshow
    Military support was the order of the day as returned veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan got a lesson in hydroflight recently on Mission Bay thanks to the nonprofit Warrior Passion. The so-called first “anti-gravity sport,” hydroflight involves pumping water from a hose channeled through a jet ski to propel a jetpack-clad user into the air. Warrior Passion is a nonprofit group devoted exclusively to helping returned veterans transitioning back to civilian life. On Sept. 14, Warrior Passion teamed with Jetpack America to treat returned vets to their own customized flight lesson. “Every day of the year we're here at Mission Bay Sportscenter doing our flights,” said Dean O'Malley, president of Jetpack, which has two other locations in Newport Beach and Las Vegas. “Warrior Passion is here with us today, and it is a giving-back-to-the-community day for us.” Of hydroflight, O'Malley noted, “This is a recreational, safe activity. You don't have to be any type of special athlete or risk-taker to take this out and do it.” “We want to be a part of starting to give these guys something to be more passionate about in life again, that camaraderie they had in the military,” said Joe (Chik) Porrazzo, Warrior Passion's founder/president, a veteran and pilot who served in both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.”It's a healing process. And we're part of that process.” Porrazzo added it “feels wonderful to put a smile on these guys faces.” He noted Warrior Passion is “100 percent veteran owned and operated,” adding, it's amazing to see how shared activities, like recreational sporting in this instance, can help bring vets together and give them a renewed sense of purpose. “We've brought down veterans from the Marines, Army infantry and sailors and, guess what? When they met, they all called each other brothers right from the get-go,” Porrazzo said. “That's what it's all about.” About noon on a late-summer sunny day out on Mission Bay, soldiers tried their luck at hydroflight. An experienced hand went first, climbing 10 to 20 feet into the air, swerving and performing deft movements as if it were second nature making it look easy. Uninitiated vets, some of whom came down for the day from as far aways as Temecula, then tried their luck with decidedly less-impressive results. One initiate struggled repeatedly to get six inches off the water before losing control and deep-sixing into the bay. But it was all part of the fun — and the cause. “A veteran coming back trying to get back to a normal life is trying to figure out what is a normal life,” noted Porrazzo. “It gives you a different perspective.” But Porrazzo added that with TLC and a little fun and camaraderie, the task of reintegrating returned vets back into society is doable. “It's going to take a full effort to really get these guys back on the road to recovery,” he said. “It's a puzzle that's going to take time. We're a piece of that puzzle.” For more information, visit www.warriorpassion.org.
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    News
    Pacific Beach honors first responders at annual PAESAN picnic
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    Sep 25, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Sports
    Ken Whalen Surf Challenge set for Oct. 2
    The second annual Ken Whalen Surf Challenge is a free surf contest for beginning and first-time surfers ages 5-16. Last year’s inaugural event brought 150 young surfers together, many trying the sp...
    Sep 23, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Arts & Entertainment
    Concert Across America to End Gun Violence on Sept. 25
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    Sep 24, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Business
    Cafe 976 Felspar reopens with more charm, healthy menu
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    Sep 16, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend
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