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VOLUME 10 ISSUE 16

2018

Aug. 24 - Sept. 6, 2018 Follow us on Facebook and Twitter sdcnn.com

Vote for Best of Uptown on Page 18!

Old Town • Mission Hills • Bankers Hill

Hillcrest • University Heights • Normal Heights • North Park • South Park • Golden Hill • Kensington • Talmadge

What about the arts?

  FEATURE P. 5

Uptown News

B R I E FS

PLAZA DE PANAMA PROJECT MOVES FORWARD

Doggy day care in Mission Hills expands nationally

  THEATER P. 11

The Old Globe brings Shakespeare play to the stage

  FOOD AND DRINK P. 12

(l to r) Studio Door artists Dennis Sizon, Patric Stillman, Christina Ilene Thomas, Chris Smith, Crisinda Lyons, Stefan Talian and Evelyn Loss are looking for new homes. (Photo by Jess Winans)

Rising costs push galleries out of local neighborhoods By Jess Winans All seems quiet on the western front for local artists and galleries. Just this month, The Studio Door in North Park, Helmuth in Bankers Hill and Blue Dolphin in

Normal Heights-based catering venture launches

the College Area all announced their closure or relocation. “It’s just a continuing story for arts and culture in San Diego — that the artists get pushed around like a shell game,” said Patric Stillman, owner of The Studio Door.

“There’s no real organized effort by the community or by the government to support a permanent arts district or even figure out how to support commercial activities for the art.”

see Art galleries, pg 4

Uptown talent tell a dark tale

  COMMUNITY P. 15

‘Follies: In Concert’ debuts this month

By David Dixon

North Park Car Show returns on Sept. 8

Index 6

Opinion Politics

8

Puzzles

16

Business and Services

17

Calendar

19

Contact us Editorial/Letters

Stephen Sondheim may be considered one of the greatest living songwriters in musical theater, but some of his work is rarely produced in San Diego. However, Uptown residents will help bring his production of “Follies” to the local theater scene. “Follies” is a story about former performers of the fictitious Weismann’s Follies. Many of the stars — including the unhappy Sally Durant Plummer

see Follies, pg 10

(l to r) Bankers Hill resident and director Vanessa Dinning; music director and Talmadge resident William BJ Robinson (Photos courtesy of Coronado Playhouse)

On Aug. 21, Superior Court Judge Gregory W. Pollack determined that the Balboa Park’s Plaza de Panama project’s proposed funding mechanism was legal, clearing it to move forward. This ruling follows Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer’s decision in 2016 to revive the dormant project, which faced many legal challenges. It was originally proposed by former Mayor Jerry Sanders and approved by the City Council in 2012. Balboa Park, a nationally recognized landmark, attracts more than 12 million visitors every year and a majority of these visitors arrive by car. The project aims to remove traffic from Balboa Park’s center; create 6.3 acres of parkland, gardens and pedestrian-friendly plazas; and increase parking. It will be financed through a combination of paid parking revenues in the new underground garage, city funds earmarked for major capital projects, and private philanthropy led by the Plaza de Panama Committee and its chairman Dr. Irwin Jacobs. “After years of costly delays, the city can begin the work of transforming Balboa Park into the cultural center and economic driver it is meant to be,” San Diego City Attorney Mara W. Elliot said. “This project will mark the largest investment in Balboa Park in decades and transform the plaza to its original grandeur with acres of new park space for San Diegans to enjoy,” Faulconer said. City officials will lead the construction and work with the Plaza de Panama Committee on the project’s design. Contractors will be selected through a competitive bidding process with a projected groundbreaking in 2019.

see News Briefs, pg 3

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San Diego Uptown News | Aug. 24 - Sept. 6, 2018

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NEWS

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NEWS BRIEFS

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HILLCREST FIRE STATION NOW UP-AND-RUNNING

Fire Station No. 5 officially swung open its doors this week. The Hillcrest fire station is the fourth to open this year, joining the neighborhoods of City Heights, Little Italy, Mission Valley and Point Loma. The new, two-story facility is located on 3902 Ninth Ave. and replaces the original station first built in 1951. The 10,731-square-foot building includes two-and-a-half apparatus bays, nine dormitories, a kitchen, a day room, a watch room, an exercise room, and a lounge. The bays house a fire engine, a battalion chief vehicle and a utility vehicle. The dormitories sleep one battalion chief, two captains and six firefighters. The station’s crew handled more than 2,500 service calls in 2017 and responded to more than 1,600 calls from January to July 2018, according to FireRescue Chief Colin Stowell. “Fire Station 5 will provide Hillcrest and the greater Uptown community with much-needed and deserved public safety resources and personnel,” City Councilmember Chris Ward said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “With the addition of this state-of-the-art facility, residents will have access to excellent neighborhood services that will ensure the quality of life of the community as it continues grow.” Along with Stowell and Ward, Mayor Faulconer and Assembly member Todd Gloria also attended the ceremony. “This new fire station in Hillcrest is just the latest example of this surge in community projects that will benefit our neighborhoods for generations to come,” Faulconer said during the event. To view video footage of the grand opening held on Aug. 20, visit bit.ly/hillcrest-fire-station.

The new 5,000-square-foot building is located on Sims Road in the heart of the Arts District Liberty Station. “Transforming Liberty Station’s historic Building 11 (a former naval post office and quartermaster’s store), Pigment’s new outpost serves as both an experiential concept and as a haven for product launches, community events, family-centric meet-ups and more,” according to a press release. New elements include a larger plant and succulent section — including an indoor/outdoor plant lab and interactive terrarium bar — and a wraparound patio deck with picnic tables for private events. The family-friendly establishment will still host its Toddler Time series, where parents and children gather for story time and sing-alongs. Its original Uptown store opened back in 2007. For

previous coverage about Pigment and Amy Paul, visit bit.ly/uptown-pigment.

San Diego Uptown News  |  Aug. 24 - Sept. 6, 2018 of 403 hospitals and approximately 100,000 physicians and other care providers statewide.

RADY CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL PARTNERS WITH UNITEDHEALTHCARE

San Diego and UnitedHealthcare established a new network relationship, giving Californians enrolled in UnitedHealthcare Medi-Cal plans access to Rady Children’s Hospital, facilities and physicians in Southern California. Rady’s facilities, physicians and care providers share United HealthCare’s commitment to improving access to quality care, enhancing clinical outcomes, lowering the costs of care and creating an exceptional patient experience. UnitedHealthcare of California serves more than 3 million people enrolled in Medi-Cal, Medicare, and employer-sponsored and individual health plans with a network

(Courtesy of Women's Museum of California)

ANNUAL SUFFRAGE PARADE RETURNS TO BALBOA PARK

The Women’s Museum of California invites the

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community to celebrate Women’s Equality Day this Sunday in Balboa Park. The annual Suffrage Parade commemorates the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on Aug. 20, 1920. Participants are encouraged to dress up in white, wear sashes and buttons, and wave Suffrage, Equal Pay, #MeToo, Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), and feminist movement signs to celebrate the journey of women's rights from 1848 to today. The event will commence at 4 p.m. in the lawn area across from the Organ Pavilion, located at 2125 Pan American Road East. In addition to the Suffrage Parade through the Prado and Organ Pavilion areas, the day will also feature reenactments of famous women’s rights activists. For more details, visit bit.ly/WomenParade13.v

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Pigment, a North Park retail store, debuted a second location in Liberty Station on Aug. 21. The store is known for its offering of locally made goods, unique gifts, and furniture. It aims to cater to both women and men with its products.

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San Diego Uptown News | Aug. 24 - Sept. 6, 2018

FEATURE

FROM PAGE 1

ART GALLERIES  The city of San Diego does have a Commission for Arts and Culture, but only nonprofit organizations qualify for an award. Organizations eligible for an award or grant from the commission must file taxes as a nonprofit, have a three-year history of operating with its own independent governing board, be based in San Diego, and align with the purposes of the commission, as stated in their official guidelines document. The purposes of the commission are to enhance the economy, to contribute to San Diego’s national and international reputation as a cultural destination, to provide access to excellence in culture for residents and visitors, to enrich the lives of the people of San Diego, and to build healthy and vital neighborhoods. If an organization believes they fulfill those requirements, they can fill out an application available in the fall on the city’s website. However, for artists who rely on their artwork to put food on the table, it may not be possible to fit into that criteria. Local artist Helena Espinoza is president of the Broker’s Building Art Gallery board, a grassroots organization that manages the gallery and studio place in the Gaslamp building. According to Broker’s Building Art Gallery’s Facebook page, the group is a decades-old, authentic arts institute in the Gaslamp Quarter that aims to “preserve the tradition of the arts for the people and by the people.”

The Broker's Building, which houses the Broker's Building Art Gallery, is located at 402 Market St. (Photo courtesy of the gallery's Facebook page) Because many artists can’t receive money from the city, Espinoza said some rely on real estate investors. “Often, real estate investors acquire a building and let artists and counter-culturalists create some form of popularity there until the area’s value increases,” she said. “Then finally when there’s enough attention on a location’s potential, they drive up the rent and drive out the loyal, unique customers [such as the artists who use the gallery].” Espinoza said this strategy benefits market capitalists but harms artists. “You must ask investors who shun the steady lower income of self-made professionals like artists, musicians, start-ups and mom-and-pop shops,” she continued. “Sure, throwing away one penny isn’t much. But do it a thousand times? A million times? A billion? A trillion? It eventually adds up.” North Park reflects the trend of San Diego’s

colossal commercial rent prices. Formerly an old hub for the arts, the Uptown neighborhood has been taken over by bars, restaurants, thrift shops and craft breweries. In the past three years, the average median listing price for North Park real estate increased from $495,000 to $699,000, according to realtor.com. Although North Park does have commercial space available for rent, many artists and gallery owners simply cannot afford the high prices. The area has commercial space pricing ranging from around $21–$40 per square foot, per year. For example, if a retail space on University Avenue is 3,539 square feet and priced at $24 per square foot, the building would cost $84,936 to lease for a year with a rent of $7,078 per month. “Nobody can afford to be here,” local artist Crisinda Lyons said. “When prices are higher in San Diego than even in downtown LA, there’s a problem. And there’s no

sdcnn.com help for arts people. There are no avenues for assistance to stay in [North Park]. It used to be when you look at Ray Street, it was full of studios and art and that’s all gone. One by one, we’re all leaving 30th Street so the whole area is losing the art and that’s very sad to me.” So what’s causing the rising rent prices? “I think the biggest culprit for gallery futures is the pattern of gentrification,” Espinoza said. Espinoza knows the effects of the gentrification all too well. Back in the early 2000s, she said someone tried to purchase the Broker’s Building where her gallery currently resides. At the time, local artists, community members and historians looked into the matter and the sale was halted on the premise the building was historical. However, Civic San Diego approved a Process Two Gaslamp Quarter Development Permit/ Neighborhood Use Permit on Aug. 1 for the construction of 4,807 square feet of new development and a 510-square-foot sidewalk cafe for the Broker’s Building. An appeal for the project (Project File Number: GQDP / NUP No. 2018-14) was filed but a decision has not yet been made. Civic San Diego declined to comment on what building ownership plans to do with the approved permit. Local artists believe another influencing factor in the landscape overhaul is hyper-consumerism and cultural change. “There’s nothing here in North Park now for people to come and see,” said Christina Ilene Thomas, who uses The Studio Door gallery

space. “Now you go and you have beer or you have pizza and then you leave to go somewhere else, where before you could walk around. There’s a couple of shops but the only thing to do here is to come and eat and drink.” In fact, a 2017 report published by California State San Marcos, San Diego ranked as the top county in the nation with 150 craft breweries as of Aug. 31, 2017. North Park currently houses approximately six art galleries and 12 breweries, according to Google Maps. “The sleek, manufactured, outsourced obsession [our culture has] gotten much too used to is certainly leaving its mark. Every wildfire, market crash or social crisis leaves us to pick up the pieces,” Espinoza said. “But in a city with a booming craft beer industry and young people aware of their looming emptiness, we hope we can stick around as a place that creates meaningful objects as well as experiences for when your Apple becomes outdated or you must pawn something for a quick buck.” For this story, San Diego Uptown News reached out to Blue Dolphin and Helmuth for statements. Blue Dolphin declined to comment; Helmuth did not respond prior to publication deadline. [Editor’s note: This is part of ongoing coverage of gentrification’s effects on local art galleries, artists and patrons. To read our previous coverage about The Studio Door and news of its closure, visit bit.ly/a-door-closes.] —Reach Jess Winans at jess@sdcnn.com.v

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FEATURE

sdcnn.com

San Diego Uptown News | Aug. 24 - Sept. 6, 2018

5

Love of dogs expands Mission Hills business nationally Albert H. Fulcher Contributing Editor Dogs don’t sit idle here. The social atmosphere at this Mission Hills doggy day care allows the mutts to play with others to release their energy and feel a sense of belonging. And the employees who stay in the room — free of cages and full of dog beds — do not “work” overnight. Instead they relax, watch TV, work on a laptop, and settle down for the evening, just like their owners would do at home, in an effort to reduce separation anxiety. The furry guests are “people dogs.” This is Camp Run-A-Mutt (CRAM), designed by three friends with an undying passion for dogs. Founders Dennis Quaglia, Mikel Ross and Severn Crow used their friendship and dream of this “Disneyland” of doggy day care to create an unstoppable business venture at the beginning of the recession. Now, 10 years later, CRAM has seven San Diego locations, and others in Los Angeles; Phoenix, Arizona; Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada; Houston, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia and Charlotte, North Carolina. This trio of dog lovers — who are opening the 20th location soon — never thought they would have more than one. CRAM nearly doubled in size in the past year. Among an abundancy of local and national awards, Inc Magazine selected CRAM on its list of the top 5,000 fastest growing business in 2017. “It started out as just a doggy day care, but with research we found that there was nothing available for what we had in mind,” Quaglia said. “We

started to work on a doggy day care that was different, not putting a dog in a cage, not walking in as a customer and the place smelling of urine, and dogs barking. It had to be transparent and a place where the dog wants to be. Basically, it had to be a place where we would take our own dogs.” To manage to volume of dogs staying at the boarding facilities, Ross said that they (and employees) become the alpha, known as pack boarding. “One dog lays down, then the rest will follow,” Ross said. “It’s the natural way that dogs work. We try to be the alphas, we take the responsibility off the dogs, and they get to go play and just be a dog. And the other dogs teach the younger dogs.” Ross said that they launched their company in the beginning of the recession, which never hit this business model. “We grew continuously from the time we opened the door,” Ross said. “After the first year and a half, we were up to full capacity. We stopped taking new customers and we had a waiting list to get in.” At that point, the owners decided they needed to open a second location, even though they had no intention of growing past the first. All three of them were already working seven days a week, so they went to a friend who helped them with franchising. “That’s where things really began starting,” Ross said. But it was the high standards of care and passion for dogs of this dream job that made it such a success, unlike any other dog care and boarding facility. “We know that our dogs are special to us and that other

Furry guests are people dogs. (Photos courtesy of Camp Run-A- Mutt) people’s dogs are just as special to them,” Quaglia said. Quaglia said CRAM filled in a lot of the voids that are missing in most dog care facilities. “Now people come to us,” he said. “Things are happening. [Our company] moving out of state really got the ball rolling as people saw us differently than just a regional business. It’s avalanching now. People are giving up their livelihoods to become part of [the franchise].” Crow is the technology guy. He does all the artwork, website, software and mutt cams. He joined the CRAM team while he was working for USA Today and began helping with the business part-time to start. One day Crow woke up and realized he loved this job as much as he did while working for USA Today, so he joined the team on a full-time basis. As far as the recession, Crow said they knew it was a risk, but they were confident because they weren’t just pulling from one economic group. “We had doctors and lawyers. Waitresses and busboys would pay for the service using their tips. People will do without themselves to do something good for their dogs,” Crow said.

see Run-A-Mutt, pg 10

(l to r) Camp Run-A-Mutt Founders and dog lovers Severn Crow, Mikel Ross and Dennis Quaglia

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6

San Diego Uptown News | Aug. 24 - Sept. 6, 2018

OPINION

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444 Camino Del Rio South, Suite 102 (619) 519-7775 Twitter: @SD_UptownNews Instagram: @SD_UptownNews

EDITOR Sara Butler (619) 961-1968 sara@sdcnn.com CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Jeff Clemetson, x119 Albert Fulcher, x110 WEB & SOCIAL MEDIA Sara Butler, x118 Jess Winans, x102 COPY EDITOR Dustin Lothspeich CONTRIBUTORS Toni G. Atkins Susan A. Davis David Dixon Kit-Bacon Gressitt Dr. Ink Jean Lowerison Frank Sabatini Jr. Christopher Ward EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Jess Winans

SALES & MARKETING DIRECTOR Mike Rosensteel (619) 961-1958 mike@sdcnn.com ADVERTISING CONSULTANTS Heather Fine, x107 Sloan Gomez, x104 Michelle Hull, x106 Brenda Vergara, x114 SALES ASSISTANTS Erik Guerrero Eric Diaz ACCOUNTING Priscilla Umel-Martinez (619) 961-1962 accounting@sdcnn.com PUBLISHER David Mannis (619) 961-1951 david@sdcnn.com

EDITORIAL INTERN Jules Shane

OPINIONS/LETTERS: San Diego Uptown News encourages letters to the editor and guest editorials. Please email submissions to sara@sdcnn.com and include your phone number and address for verification. We reserve the right to edit letters for brevity and accuracy. Letters and guest editorials do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher or staff. SUBMISSIONS/NEWS TIPS: Send press releases, tips, photos or story ideas to sara@sdcnn.com For breaking news and investigative story ideas contact the editor by phone or email. PAID SUBSCRIPTIONS: You may read all of our newspapers online for free at sdcnn.com. You may sign up for our weekly newsletter for free at sdcnn.com where we will email you a link of our digital edition upon publication of our newspaper. We also make our newspapers available in hundreds of locations throughout the communities we serve. If you would like a hard copy of your community newspaper mailed to you first class by USPS you may pay by credit card or check. Subscription rates are $1.55 per copy. Mailed copies are mailed the day of publication by first-class mailed by USPS. 12 issues - $18.60 or 26 issues - $40.30 DISTRIBUTION: San Diego Uptown News is distributed free every other Friday. © 2018. All rights reserved.

Guest Editorial

Police work needs more transparency California News Publishers Association Governor Jerry Brown signed Penal Code 832.7 into law in 1977, making secret any information about the advancement, appraisal, or discipline of a peace officer. That means all records related to an investigation into an officer, including for serious misconduct, is confidential. Today, it is widely reported that California is among the most secret of any state with respect to police records. California also has more police shootings resulting in death annually than any other state. Recent events, like the death of Stephon Clark in Sacramento, and those seared into California’s history, like the beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles, underscore the immense public concern related to police and community interactions. But under current law, the public has little ability to access records related to police misconduct and use of force, depriving the press of the ability to fully investigate the activity of one of the most powerful public institutions. That’s why SB 1421, introduced by Senator Nancy

Skinner, should pass. The bill would make certain police records disclosable under the California Public Records Act, in three instances: 1) When there is a serious use of force which could lead to injury or death; 2) where there is a sustained finding of an act of dishonestly like perjury, falsifying evidence, or other similar act that compromises an individual’s due process rights; and 3) where there is a sustained finding of sexual misconduct. Courts have long recognized that activity of police officers is of the highest public concern, particularly when they use serious or deadly force. Law enforcement officials wield immense power. For that reason, they should be subject to the same level of scrutiny as all other public employees, whose personnel records are disclosable in cases of public concern. The same reasoning applies to the substantiated cases of sexual misconduct or incidences proven dishonestly against a police officer as this conduct represents a serious abuse of power. In the case of police shootings, the public interest in disclosure is at its zenith, even when there is no claim of misconduct and

a use of force is “within policy.” The Sacramento Bee reported that 172 people died in law enforcement custody last year. There should be a report issued on each death. The current lack of transparency results in distrust, which SB 1421 seeks to cure. The bill’s disclosure scheme, which is not opposed by the California District Attorneys Association, provides flexibility for public agencies to disclose information and gives certainty to families and the public who seek to know, “What happened?” The Los Angeles Times recently reported on the questions lingering for John Weber, whose 16-year-old son was killed by sheriff’s deputies in February. “What exactly happened in the moments before Anthony Weber was shot in a south LA apartment courtyard? Was he wounded in the back as he was running away? Did he lie on the ground struggling for life, or die instantly? Who were the deputies? How long had they been on the job? What were their records?” The Sheriff’s Department responded that it would remain silent on the case. But that’s because the law facilitates, even demands,

such silence. Peace officer personnel records are confidential and can be disclosed only in very limited circumstances. This adds insult to injury when families are left to plan funerals and mourn children without understanding the facts surrounding their death. The Sacramento Bee reported that Brigett McIntyre filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in an attempt to force disclosure of details of how and why her only child, Mikel Laney McIntyre, was fatally shot in 2017. The Bee reported that police have not contacted McIntyre since the day of her son’s death. This silence leaves McIntyre and communities across the state feeling that police are above the law and unworthy of public trust. By changing the law to ensure that the public has a right to know what police agencies are doing about the state’s record number of deaths at the hands of law enforcement, SB 1421 would bring comfort to those who are currently in the dark. —For 130 years, the California News Publishers Association has protected the interests of newspapers throughout the state, from the smallest weekly to the largest metropolitan daily.v


FEATURE

sdcnn.com

San Diego Uptown News  |  Aug. 24 - Sept. 6, 2018

Old Town festival celebrates great American literature

North Park Home

By Kit-Bacon Gressitt On Aug. 18, locals gathered at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park for TwainFest, a free and family-friendly festival. Produced by San Diego’s Write Out Loud, a live literary performance group, TwainFest offered a smorgasbord of experiences intended to introduce all ages to the joys of 19th-century literary classics and their authors. Now in its ninth year, TwainFest is named for Mark Twain, the pen name of Samuel Clemens, a U.S. literary hero with an acerbic wit often used to skewer the famous and foolish of his era. In addition to Twain, festival-goers enjoyed cleverly fun experiences with an array of works and their authors, including, Louisa May Alcott, author of “Little Woman”; Edgar Allan Poe, master of the macabre short story; beloved poet Emily Dickinson; renowned African-American poet, novelist and playwright Paul Laurence Dunbar; “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” author Lewis Carroll; and the children’s poet famously illustrated by Maxfield Parrish, Eugene Field. The festival grew from a Write Out Loud concert program of Twain works, according to the organization’s artistic director, Veronica Murphy. “We realized Twain had a big draw,” Murphy said. “We thought: Twain was from the 1800s, and we had the Old Town state park, and they were

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(l to r) A Kamishibai storyteller and an actor portraying author Mark Twain (Photos courtesy of TwainFest)

happy to help us make [the festival] happen. Chuck Ross, of Old Town’s Fiesta de Reyes, has been one of our financial sponsors from the start. We also get money from the county, the city, several small foundations, and we have partners who provide in-kind things for us. And the library helps us market it. One of the great things about its being free is it’s accessible to anybody. We want anyone — anyone — who is interested to be able to come, so it is completely free.” Festival events for readers of all ages — and those still working on the alphabet — were included local San Diego actors performing 19th-century stories and poems by Mark Twain, Emily Dickinson and others; The TwainFest Cakewalk, Needle in a Haystack game for children; Tom Sawyer’s Fence Painting and much more.

Actor Monique Gaffney tells a story

Giant puppets of 19th-century literacy roam the park

In particular, the Authors Salon provided a very special opportunity to meet a star-studded list of authors, portrayed by local actors. Visitors to the park’s Cosmopolitan Hotel were greeted by Emily Dickinson, played by Rhianna Basore; Charles Dickens, by Paul Jacques; Mark Twain, by Tim West; Helen Hunt Jackson, by Elizabeth Matthews; Henry David Thoreau, by Steve Smith; Louisa May Alcott, by Melissa Baldwin; and Walt Whitman, by David Cohen. Additionally, live period music was heard throughout the day, played by the Armory Band on vintage instruments. A Civil War Field Encampment was also featured, which replicated the roles of soldiers and nurses, and provided classes for all ages in fife and drum. Some attendees even dressed up in period attire for 19th Century Literary Costume Contest. For more information about the annual TwainFest festival or Write Out Loud, visit WriteOutLoudSD.com. —Kit-Bacon Gressitt formerly wrote for the North County Times. She now writes for her site ExcuseMeImWriting. com and she is the publisher of WritersResist.com. She also hosts Fallbrook’s monthly Writers Read author series and open mic, and teaches Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies in the Cal State system. Reach her at kbgressitt@gmail.com.v

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POLITICS

San Diego Uptown News | Aug. 24 - Sept. 6, 2018

Protecting voting rights

BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT With children heading back to school, Father Joe’s Villages’ mentoring and tutoring program, serving students whose families are homeless, moves into high gear. Parents struggling with the challenges of homelessness often don’t have time to focus on essential tasks such as homework and studying. This is where Family Literacy Coordinator Jayne Gongol and volunteers like Vinncent Nguyen come in. Now in her 20th year at Father Joe’s Villages, Gongol spearheads the nonprofit’s Family Literacy Program and coordinates volunteer mentors. The program shows students that learning can be fun and provides students with an important role-model. For each child, a literacy mentor helps with significant improvement in school grades, elevates self-esteem and builds life-long study habits. Since 2015, Vinncent Nguyen has been volunteering weekly with the program. His work has changed lives. Just a few months ago a child wrote him a note of gratitude which read, “Dear Vinncent, I want to thank you. I like you because you were there when I needed help. You will make me a good man and when I am, I will remember you.” To learn more about how Father Joe’s Villages is giving children experiencing poverty and homelessness the opportunity for a brighter future, visit neighbor.org.

District 53 Dispatch Susan A. Davis Election Day is a little over two months away, and millions of Americans will engage in our sacred civic duty of voting. Depending on what state you live in, it could be either a positive or a frustrating experience; confidence in the results may also differ from state to state. Many people do not realize that Article I, Section IV of our Constitution gives both states and Congress a role in election administration. Local control can be important, and most state and local election officials do the best job they can for their communities. However, the federal government should step up to make sure access to voting by eligible Americans is guaranteed — and that our election results are accurate — when there are fairness disparities and security issues. We are lucky in California. We benefit from early voting opportunities, plenty of polling places and no-excuse voting by mail with absentee ballots. Unfortunately, this is not always the case in other states. Some states are cutting funding for running their elections, resulting in fewer polling places. This means voters must travel farther to vote

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and usually wait in long lines when they get there. However, one simple reform could make elections cheaper and cut down on the long lines that frustrate or discourage people from voting — voting by mail. Almost half of all states place some sort of obstacle to getting an absentee ballot, such as age restrictions or requiring a doctor’s note, the details of a religious obligation, latest pregnancy status, or details of a vacation destination. My Universal Right to Vote by Mail Act would end restrictions on a person’s ability to vote absentee, thereby opening up the convenience of casting a ballot by mail to millions of Americans. In the most recent primary election in San Diego County, more than 70 percent of voters cast their votes by mail. Three states — Colorado, Oregon and Washington — conduct their elections exclusively by mail. States that made it easier to vote by mail have seen an increase in voter turnout and a decrease in election administrative costs. Garden County in Nebraska conducted its May primary election entirely by mail and saw turnout jump to 59 percent. The average turnout for other counties in Nebraska was less than half that. A Pew study of Colorado’s all-mail election noted that election-related costs decreased by 40 percent. As we consider how voting by mail has increased turnout, we must also look at strengthening the faith in our electoral process. The legitimacy of our democracy depends on the fairness and integrity of those who are running our elections. The Federal Election Integrity Act, which I introduced, would prohibit a state’s chief election official from serving on federal campaign committees. It also forbids them to engage in other political activities on behalf of federal candidates in any election over which that official has supervisory authority. Someone who has vested interest in a federal campaign should not also be supervising the election in which that candidate runs. In 2010, the House passed my Election Integrity Act on a bipartisan vote of 296-129. Unfortunately, the Senate failed to act on the bill before the end of the 111th Congress. The Universal Right to Vote by Mail Act and The Federal Election Integrity Act are two simple reforms that Congress can enact to expand the voting rights of the American

people and restore faith in the process. Not only is the federal government dropping the ball when it comes to voting rights, many states are also just as guilty. Thirty-four states require an ID card to vote, which has been shown to discourage participation. A study by the Government Accountability Office found that strict ID laws can reduce turnout by 2 or 3 percent. Voter ID laws hit low-income, minority and elderly voters the hardest. These groups are least likely to be able to afford the cost of obtaining an ID card. Removing people from voter rolls is on the rise, especially in states with histories of racial discrimination. While cleaning up voter rolls is necessary, the aggressive approach many states take is disturbing. It is even more disturbing that the Trump administration has encouraged such aggressive tactics. This is in stark contrast to the Obama administration, which fought these efforts and worked to protect voters’ rights. One area where states are doing the right thing is working to prevent meddling in our elections. Our intelligence agencies and many national security experts agree that Russia and other foreign actors are trying to influence our elections. This is another area where the federal government should be helping, but again, we are seeing the opposite. In July, House Republicans brought an appropriations bill to the floor that lacked funding for election security. I supported an amendment to restore funding meant to help states ensure their voting technology is secure. Sadly, that amendment failed on a partisan vote. Protecting the rights of the American people to vote should not be a partisan issue. Right now, the federal government is getting a failing grade when it comes to guaranteeing voting rights. This must change. The legitimacy and future of our democracy is at stake. —Congresswoman Davis represents central San Diego, including the communities of Old Town, Kensington, Mission Hills, University Heights, Hillcrest, Bankers Hill, North Park, South Park, Talmadge, Normal Heights, as well as La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Spring Valley, Bonita, and parts of El Cajon and Chula Vista.v

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POLITICS

sdcnn.com

San Diego Uptown News | Aug. 24 - Sept. 6, 2018

Addressing infrastructure and homelessness D3 Update Chris Ward Every day, my team and I are grateful for the opportunity to support and advocate for improving the neighborhoods of District 3. Every neighborhood is unique and has different priorities, but one thing is consistent — aged infrastructure in dire need of repair. From street resurfacing to new facilities, my staff has advocated to move long-awaited projects forward. From Mission Hills to Downtown, District 3 now has the most infrastructure projects than it has had in years. In June, the San Diego City Council approved the fiscal year 2019 budget. Thanks to great work by staff throughout the city, we were able to maintain neighborhood services and important priorities, which have been threatened in previous years, including support for arts and culture programming. The budget is also set to provide the largest infrastructure investment in city history.

I’m excited to see progress being made on our new Mission Hills-Hillcrest Library, with construction set to finish by early 2019. This new 15,000-square-foot facility adjacent to Florence Elementary School will serve as a hub for the diverse needs of our community. I’m also pleased to see that Fire Station No. 5 — located in Hillcrest at 3902 Ninth Ave. — officially opened on Aug. 20 and is now fully operational. Additionally, we are finally nearing completion of the long-awaited improvements to the Georgia Street Bridge. This is a significant investment that will address safety and seismic concerns while restoring the historical integrity of a century-old landmark. While I have supported this project, the construction timeline and associated neighborhood impacts have been unacceptable. I share residents’ frustrations that have come from these delays, and my office is working on ways to apply the lessons learned from these problems to ensure future projects are handled better. We have been told we can expect project completion in

September 2018. My office will continue to closely track this with city staff and push for this project completed as quickly and efficiently as possible. Meanwhile, the city is continuing efforts to address the health and safety concerns related to our ongoing homelessness crisis. Following critical emergency responses related to last year’s hepatitis A outbreak, I’m working with our partners throughout the region to keep us focused on Housing First principles to ensure our resources are effectively moving homeless San Diegans off the streets and into stable housing that addresses their needs. Last month, I introduced a resolution supporting Permanent Supportive Housing to members of the Select Committee on Homelessness. Permanent Supportive Housing is a model that combines low-barrier affordable housing, health care, and supportive services to help lift families and individuals out of homelessness and into stable, permanent housing. The resolution unanimously passed out of the committee, which speaks

Fighting fire through legislation Notes from Toni Toni G. Atkins When a brush fire broke out in July along Creek Hollow Road near Ramona, it carried a familiar crackle. Eleven years ago, one of the most devastating fires in San Diego history came roaring out of the same backcountry. Stoked by Santa Ana winds, the Witch Creek fire leaped across I-15 and didn’t stop burning until it devoured 197,990 acres and 1,125 residences. We were luckier this time. Firefighters on the ground and in the air corralled the fire before it could grow. But we would be wise to brace for the next one, and then the next one after that — because, due to conditions created by our

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changing climate, they are coming, far more rapidly than we would like. Fire season used to be limited to early summer and fall — now it’s January to December. As destructive and deadly as 2017 was, 2018 is on track to surpass last year in the number of wildfires and the number of acres burned. And as disaster-prone California turns even more perilous, we are confronted by a new reality: Not only must we come to the aid of communities that have been devastated, we must also take steps to reduce the risk of these massive fires. Governor Jerry Brown and the Legislature have responded with legislation and dollars. The state budget that took effect July 1 includes $673.3 million in new money to help communities recover from the 2017 fires and to help

reduce destructive fires going forward. Several bills are making their way through the legislative process. For example, SB 1260 would fund the removal of dead trees from high-firehazard zones and establish a cost-sharing program to assist homeowners with fire-resistant improvements. SB 824 would prohibit insurance companies from canceling or not renewing a homeowner’s policy for one year in counties with a declared state of emergency. But perhaps the most difficult task ahead of us as we enter our final month of the 2018 legislative session is figuring out who ultimately bears the burden of paying for their costs. How do we portion out blame when the acts of humans conspire with the acts of nature? We can go on pointing fingers at each other, but we

to the commitment of my colleagues to create the housing opportunities necessary to reduce homelessness. Increasing the number of Permanent Supportive Housing units will move more families and individuals off our streets and into a safer environment. I have been leading in these efforts as a council member, chair of the Select Committee on Homelessness, and vice-chair on the Regional Task Force on Homelessness. I’m encouraged by the recent unanimous support from members of the Select Committee for my new proposed Rapid Re-housing (RRH) and Employment Pilot Program. This new program aims to connect families experiencing homelessness to permanent housing through financial assistance and targeted supportive services. As we have worked to better incorporate in-depth data into our homeless responses, it’s been clear that too many people are exiting our RRH programs without stable employment income. This makes it harder for these individuals to take over the full cost of rent and increases the would be better served by acknowledging that wherever we have put down stakes, we’ve taken on risk. It’s now time to roll up our sleeves and get to work on a comprehensive plan that will better prepare us for the wildfires to come. In that spirit, we have convened a conference committee of the state Legislature to deal with the question of wildfire preparedness and response. Beginning their work on July 25, five members each of the Senate and Assembly, Democrats and Republicans, are considering potential legislation to address the problem. All of the committee’s work is being done in the open, with agendas and reports available to the public. A major issue the committee will tackle is what standard should be applied to fires caused by an investor-owned utility’s transmission lines. Should a different standard apply when a utility is prudent and manages trees and

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risk that they will fall back into homelessness. We’ve received enthusiastic support from partners in the private sector to help us connect homeless individuals in our RRH programs with stable employment that matches their skills. As the pilot program comes online, we expect it will provide employment services to at least 300 households in the city’s funded RRH programs. As neighborhood activities pick up, I hope to see you in the community. If you need any assistance with city services or have ideas you would like to share, please contact Brittany Bailey, my community representative for Uptown. Reach her at 619-236-6633 or BNBailey@sandiego.gov. [Editor’s note: This is a first installment of Councilmember Chris Ward’s new monthly column, “D3 Update,” focusing on news affecting the District 3 neighborhoods in Uptown.] —Councilmember Chris Ward serves the 13 communities in District 3, which include the Uptown neighborhoods of Old Town, Mission Hills, Hillcrest, University Heights, North Park, South Park, Normal Heights, Bankers Hill and others.v infrastructure properly verus when a utility acts negligently and fails to maintain its infrastructure to the highest of standards? Does the utility, alone, bear the costs of the property damage? If so, can the utility be allowed to pass along the costs to consumers by raising its rates? What if residents in such a high-risk zone fail to purchase adequate fire insurance? Does their loss become a public burden? Will they be subsidized to build again in the same high-risk zone? These are difficult questions fraught with emotion. They deserve nothing less than to be dealt with in an above-board manner with state legislators working collaboratively with citizens, policy experts, the utilities, and all other concerned parties. —Toni G. Atkins represents the 39th District in the California Senate. Follow her on Twitter @SenToniAtkins.v


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San Diego Uptown News  |  Aug. 24 - Sept. 6, 2018

FEATURE

FROM PAGE 1

FOLLIES (Debbie David), movie actress Carlotta Campion (Lesley Knoth Pearson) the master of ceremonies Roscoe (Ryan Deitrich) — show up for an evening to celebrate the musical revue. Several of their personal lives are explored as they say goodbye to the Weismann Theater before the building is demolished. A concert version of the dark tale — fittingly titled “Follies: In Concert” — is playing for a limited run at the Coronado Playhouse starting Aug. 31, directed by Bankers Hill resident Vanessa Dinning. Before establishing residency in San Diego approximately 11 years ago, Dinning lived in the U.K., where she performed in other Sondheim productions including “Company,” “Sweeney Todd,” and “Into the Woods.” “I’m such a Sondheim fan,” Dinning said. “I think he’s a genius.” Dinning previously worked for the San Diego Shakespeare Society as the artistic director. During her time working for

A look into the “Follies: In Concert” rehearsals in the Coronado Playhouse, which began on Aug. 22. (Photo courtesy of Coronado Playhouse) the organization, she heard about an opportunity to direct a pre-show at the Coronado Playhouse. Eventually, she became the director of artistic planning and marketing as well as a board member of the theater. Similar to most people involved with the arts, Dinning is a woman of many talents. The performer, dialect coach, cellist,

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pianist, and singer has trouble picking a favorite artistic pastime. “Whatever I’m working on is generally my favorite thing,” she said. “I love doing it all.” For her latest production, Dinning recruited many other multitalented local artists, including City Heights resident Walter DuMelle. DuMelle — the co-owner of Bodhi Tree Concerts — plays the role of Benjamin Rogers Stone, who is the husband of character Phyllis, performed by Kim Hendrix. He worked with Dinning at a collaboration event between his music company, San Diego Opera, SACRA/PROFANA, and FAB United in 2016-2017, “ALL IS CALM: The Christmas Truce of 1914.” “I’ve grown to really respect Dinning as a professional in the theater scene,” DuMelle said. “When she first told me about staging ‘Follies,’ I told her ‘I’m in if you need me.’”

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RUN-A-MUTT Quaglia agreed, adding that it takes just as much personal attention and passion for dogs in order to care for them in a professional setting. “Every decision we make across the board, it all comes down to the same thing. What’s best for the dog?” Ross said. “That makes it really easy. It allows you to take your emotions out of the decision-making process.” Ross said that they have turned down many applicants who were only in it for the money. CRAM a trust-based business. “You have to keep and maintain your customers and gain their trust and keep it,” Ross said. “When we evaluate a business [for franchise], it’s not can you write a check for a franchise fee or can they run a business, but they need to win the customer’s trust and we need the right kind of people that can do that. You have to have the passion for dogs. You can fool people for a short period of time, but you can’t fool the dogs.” Ross said that they are constantly working on updating the technology side of the business, while also

sdcnn.com Another Uptown crewmember who has no shortage of skill variety is music director William BJ Robinson. Aside from “Follies,” Robinson is a local performer, vocal instructor, and host of a program dedicated to regional events “KPBS Arts” (formally known as “KPBS Spectrum”). Robinson became involved in the arts because of his passion for music. “I was always playing instruments, singing, and dancing,” he said. “I realized in high school that that was the way to go with my life.” Previously, Robinson taught as a choreographer, music assistant, accompanist, and conductor for the music department at Southwestern College. After working on music for a few years, he decided to try performing on stage. Last year, Robinson starred in a show at the countywide San Diego International Fringe Festival, “Yellow Hell of Vincent Van Gogh,” where he portrayed the legendary painter. Other recent roles include the voice of Audrey II in Coronado Playhouse’s 2017 production of “Little Shop of Horrors” and high school music teacher Bob Ruby in the San Diego Repertory world premiere, “Beachtown.” When he’s not on stage, Robinson spends his downtime at his canyon-side home between Talmadge and Montezuma where he moved three years ago. He enjoys the calm atmosphere of the neighborhood as well as its close proximity to cafes and grocery stores. Similarly, one of the reasons Dinning appreciates living in Bankers Hill is being within walking distance to local

restaurants and the bustling — yet relaxing — Balboa Park. In addition to performing locally and living in Uptown, Robinson and Dinning have another commonality — their love of Sondheim. “Every note, rhythm, and lyric that [Sondheim] writes is so purposefully detailed,” Robinson said. Part of the reason why “Follies” was picked for the Coronado Playhouse is because Dinning wanted to work on a project with Robinson. “I know he’s a Sondheim freak and I’m a Sondheim freak,” Dinning said. “After we chatted about Sondheim musicals, we chose ‘Follies.’” They picked the narrative because the show is not produced often in the county. Although “Follies” is being presented as a concert, the musical typically features a 40 plus cast, an expansive set, and a symphony-esque orchestra. A major goal that all these local artists — especially Dinning — hope to accomplish is to do Sondheim’s songs justice. “I want to honor the work,” Dinning said. “I want to make sure that we’re doing a good job, so we don’t let Sondheim down.” “Follies: In Concert” will be performed at the Coronado Playhouse Aug. 31 through Sept. 2. For tickets or more information, visit coronadoplayhouse.com or call 619-435-4856.

maintaining a certain level of hands-on attention and direct communication with the customers. “They are not just a name or a number,” Ross said. “We know every dog’s name. We don’t always remember the parent’s name, but that’s not important to the clients. If you are Rocco’s dad, that’s the most important thing.”

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“Every decision we make across the board, it all comes down to the same thing. What’s best for the dog? That makes it really easy. It allows you to take your emotions out of the decision-making process.” —Mikel Ross CRAM trains their employees to pay close attention to the dogs and to document everything — which all comes down to knowing each dog. “You are taking care of their kids,” Quaglia said. You notice what is going on with each dog, it is all documented, so whatever happens, we let the parents know about it. We often spot medical problems with the dogs before the parents do and we let them know.

—A fan of film and theater from a very young age, David Dixon has written reviews and features for various print and online publications. You can reach him at daviddixon0202@gmail.com.v

—Albert Fulcher can be reached at albert@sdcnn.com.v


sdcnn.com

Not about ‘nothing’

Theater Review Jean Lowerison

‘Much Ado About Nothing’

h, Will, you gave us so many wonderful — and awful — stories and characters. Sometimes even in the same play. The Old Globe’s summer festival brings us what Globe artistic director Barry Edelstein calls “the first Englishlanguage romantic comedy” in a sprightly production of William (Will) Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing.” The play is primarily known for the two central characters, Beatrice and Benedick, who spend most of the play denying their mutual attraction until their friends trick them into admitting the truth. Yet it turns serious when a bad actor named Don John tries to scotch the wedding plans of two other important characters, soldier Claudio and pretty young thing Hero. Under the assured directorial hand of Kathleen Marshall, The Old Globe moves the wellknown story to the 1930s — clad with all Michael Krass’ eye-catching costumes that the era brought us, and performed on John Lee Beatty’s candy-colored set, which is complete with a crystal-look dining-room chandelier. It also tosses in

Runs through Sept. 16 The Old Globe’s Lowell Davies Festival Theatre 1363 Old Globe Way Balboa Park Aug. 24–31: Tuesday through Sunday at 8 p.m. Sept. 2–16: Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m.

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(l to r) Sara Topham as Beatrice, Larica Schnell as Ursula and Morgan Taylor as Hero

THEATER

San Diego Uptown News | Aug. 24 - Sept. 6, 2018

11

Love, and its complications, is a common theme in the production. (Photos by Jim Cox) Hayden) — roll in from a successful battle in a jaunty-looking covered buggy. Beatrice (Sara Topham) and Benedick promptly resume their “merry war” of words, while Claudio falls for Hero (Morgan Taylor), the pretty young daughter of the governor of Messina Leonato (René Thornton, Jr.). A wedding is arranged for Hero and Claudio. While they’re waiting, Benedick’s buddies decide to speed up the groom-to-be’s realization that he actually loves Beatrice instead. To convince him, they set up a hilarious scene in which they claim to have heard Beatrice swooning over him. Beatrice’s friends Hero and Ursula (Larica Schnell) later do the same thing for Beatrice. But our bad guy, Don John — played with great wickedness by Felciano — decides to ruin things for Claudio. John tells him Hero is unfaithful, and he claims he can prove it if Claudio and Hero’s father watch below her window that night, when he has set up a phony scene that gives that impression. These guys fall for the ruse and the day of the wedding

ends in great unhappiness, with Claudio denouncing Hero, as well as Hero’s father claiming it would be better if she died. But never fear, all will be well and the show will end with both couples united. Marshall has a splendid cast, most especially in Topham and Hayden as the bicker-allthe-way-to-the-bedroom lovers. Taylor is an extremely lovely and affecting Hero. AngelBarajas has the right look but seemed a bit tentative as young Claudio. Fred Applegate is hilarious as Dogberry, the malaprop-prone constable, and

Felciano, a frequent Old Globe actor, is suitably nasty as Don John. Despite the title, this play isn’t about “nothing.” It’s a pun on “noting,” and the topic is perception, misinterpretation and the ease with which people can be led to misconstrue actions or tricked into believing something that isn’t true. This “Much Ado” has a great deal to recommend it, and I do. —Jean Lowerison is a long-standing member of the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle and can be reached at infodame@cox.net.v

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San Diego Uptown News | Aug. 24 - Sept. 6, 2018

Chef and restaurateur Hanis Cavin of Carnitas Snack Shack is up and running with his latest venture, The Pioneer, a barbecue restaurant with a full bar located in San Carlos. Cavin partnered with the Cohn Restaurant Group and chef Willie DePasquale of

FOOD AND DRINK

sdcnn.com

A popular Uptown chef has opened a barbecue joint in San Carlos. (Photo by Frank Sabatini Jr.)

Moceri Produce for the project, which features a rustic-industrial tone created by local designer Philippe Beltran (BObeau kitchen + cache, Tacos

9/30/18

find your bliss at

Libertad, and Draft Republic). With its soft opening behind, lunch service was recently added to what started out as a dinner-only operation. The bill of fare throughout the day includes smoked meats such as dry-rubbed ribs, spicy cheddar sausage, pulled pork shoulder, and brisket. There are also BLT sandwiches using fried green tomatoes, short rib croquettes, burgers and more. 8622 Lake Murray Blvd., 619825-7787, thepioneerbbq.com. Everything’s coming up in twos at a popular Downtown eatery on Aug. 24 for National Waffle Day. Restaurateur Terryl Gavre, who wore a waffle on her head in a stylish billboard photograph that appeared throughout town more than a decade ago, is celebrating the “food holiday” with her signature, “golden waffle.” It will be available that day for $2.22 at Cafe 222, the long-established eatery she owns at 222 Island Ave. in Downtown San Diego. The malted waffle normally sells for $9.50. 619-236-9902, cafe222.com.

A homegrown pizzeria expands into Point Loma (Photo courtesy of Mr. Moto) Mr. Moto Pizza House in North Park and Mission Beach has opened a new location in Point Loma. The business was established several years ago by pizza master Gibran Fernandez, who invented the fictional, mustached character “Mr. Moto” as his mascot. All three locations offer the same menu, which features scratch-made pizzas, some

This malted waffle will be dramatically discounted on National Waffle Day. (Photo courtesy of Cafe 222)

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Spanish paella with California and Baja twists is the specialty of a new catering outfit based in Normal Heights called Matador Paella. The venture was launched by Bryan Taylor, a former Napa Valley winemaker, and business partner Matt Marcacci, who worked for a beverage distribution company. Both traveled throughout Spain learning to make paella before starting the business. Matador caters to small and large parties as well as private and public events. It also sells paella every other Thursday at the Oceanside Farmers Market, and sporadically at Circle 9 Brewing in Kearny Mesa and New English Brewing in Sorrento Valley. Check the website for the schedule of upcoming appearances. 619-564-7537, matadorpaella.com.

of them traditional, and others flaunting uncommon ingredients such as raspberry-chipotle sauce, sour cream, burrata cheese and garlic paste. Mr. Moto took the title of “best gourmet pizza in San Diego” at the 2016 inaugural Gourmet Pizza Fest in Liberty Station. 1166 Rosecrans St., Suite 102, 619-5018488, mrmotopizza.com.

Craft House North Park recently took residency inside Rip Current Brewing, which last housed an offshoot of Sublime restaurant from San Marcos. The new bill of fare, available at the brewery seven days a week, includes hormone-free burgers made of short rib, chuck and brisket. There are also hearty sandwiches, tacos, and assorted versions of mac n’ cheese. The Craft House kitchen is run by chef Caesar Huerta, who also owns Monster Crafts Food Truck. 4101 30th St., Suite C, 619-255-1151, monstercraftsfoodtruck.com.

Sumptuous paella is the focus of a new Uptown catering company. (Photo courtesy of Scott Basile)

—Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at fsabatini@san.rr.com.v


FOOD AND DRINK

sdcnn.com

San Diego Uptown News | Aug. 24 - Sept. 6, 2018

13

Eat and drink from the sun Restaurant Review Frank Sabatini Jr.

W

hat used to be Toma Sol Cafe, which everyone assumed was strictly a coffeehouse, is now a beer and wine bar that serves clean, affordable meals from a kitchen free of deep fryers. To my surprise, the change occurred with little hoopla about five years ago when it was purchased by Steve Burke, a former general manager of Chili’s who also owned a restaurant in Santee which specialized in New Mexico-type fare. Shortly after taking over the big-windowed space and adding “tavern” to the name, he installed a tap system for craft beer, gave the interior a thorough remodel, and bingo — a solid patronage was established. Just look at the wall plastered with nearly 500 photographs of Club 12 members. They’re the customers who purchased and drank in succession the beers from each of the 12 taps within a 12-day period. For anyone following in their sudsy steps, the rewards are a T-shirt, your photo on the wall, and the privilege of paying only $4 for whatever beer resides in tap 12. Complete the process 12 times, and you receive a mug engraved with your name, plus an extra 4 ounces of beer whenever you purchase from any tap. “The program encourages our customers to try new beers and get out of their comfort

zones,” Burke said, referring to a rotating lineup that focuses on special allocations and oneoffs from local breweries. In other words, what’s here today can be forever gone tomorrow. Burke recently introduced Sunday brunch (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), which is what drew me to the restaurant with a friend who had never heard of the place. The last time I visited was in 2012 under the former ownership, when lattes and paninis ruled the day. A decorative sun is about the only element that still remains, as Toma Sol translates to “take the sun.” The interior now features earthier tones, a spacious bar, wood tables and a small trove of popular games, thus striking a neighborhood feel that appeals to multiple types of customers. We ordered dishes from both the brunch and regular menus. Nothing left us disappointed. From the brunch list, we savored “morning enchiladas” filled with potatoes, bacon, cheddar, mozzarella and scrambled eggs. Draped in flavorful, dark-red sauce made in-house and crowned with thick wedges of avocado, it was a novel departure from the zillions of breakfast burritos I shamelessly consume. The “stuffed waffle” isn’t really stuffed with anything. Instead, it’s a complete breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, crumbled sausage and cheddar piled onto a Belgian waffle, which tastefully catches some of the ingredients in its deep, square crevices. The fun part of the experience is dressing up your waffle with embellishments from an

Breakfast enchiladas

Spicy chicken sliders

The “no meat, no cry” flatbread

The breakfast waffle is a complete meal.

Toma Sol Tavern 301 W. Washington St. (Hillcrest/Mission Hills) 619-291-1159 tomasoltavern.com Prices: Salads, appetizers and bowls, $3.50 to $11 flatbreads, $10.50 to $12.50 sandwiches $8.50 to $9 Sunday brunch entrees, $4.95 to $9.95 accompanying tray stocked with fruit-flavored cereal, chocolate chips, ground cinnamon, non-dairy whipped cream, chocolate sauce and maple syrup. Kids love it, and so did I. Even if Burke hadn’t mentioned the absence of deep fryers in his kitchen, the trio of spicy chicken sliders revealed as much — not to mention the unavailability of french fries, tater tots, jalapeno poppers and the like. Pretty much all other eateries would have used trendy, Southern-fried-style chicken in the sliders — not something I protest. But I also don’t mind when tongue-coddling grease is taken out of the equation in lieu of a nice, grilled finish and piquant seasonings. The chicken inside these mini Hawaiian-style buns offered snappy Southwestern flavors and joined forces with guacamole, cotija cheese and chipotle cream sauce.

Owner Steve Burke at the beer taps (Photos by Frank Sabatini Jr.) Locally based Sadie Rose Baking Company supplies all of the bread, including the fabulous biscuit-like crusts used for a variety of flatbreads. As far as I’m concerned, it’s one of the best wholesalers in the region that holds the coveted secret for making leavened goods that literally melt in your mouth. We chose the “no meat, no cry” flatbread, which wowed us with chunks of marinated oven-baked tofu resting in a warm mantle of pesto, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and cilantro-lime sauce. If you’re looking for a vegetarian “pie” that outshines the usual mushroom and Margherita versions — and also offers one of the airiest crusts in town — this is it. All dishes are made to order, including fresh salads and

bowls that capture everything from Granny Smith apples and brown rice to black beans and Gorgonzola and goat cheeses. The majority of dishes are priced comfortably below $12. In addition to weekday happy hour (4 to 6 p.m. and until 7 p.m. on Fridays), Toma Sol presents wine tastings once a month as well as trivia nights on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. Regardless when you drop in to this bright modern-day tavern, the community spirit is alive and well and entices you to stay awhile. —Frank Sabatini Jr. is the author of “Secret San Diego” (ECW Press), and began his local writing career more than two decades ago as a staffer for the former San Diego Tribune. Reach him at fsabatini@san.rr.com.v


14

San Diego Uptown News | Aug. 24 - Sept. 6, 2018

RATINGS Drinks:

The mai tai was strong, refreshing and not overly sweet. All of the cocktails are made with generous liquor pours.

Food:

A trio of mini quesadillas sported irresistible kaluastyle pork on top while the chili french fries were more sinful, thanks to mac n’ cheese mixed in.

Value:

You’ll save between 25 to 40 percent on certain drinks and dishes during happy hour.

Service:

The bartender and wait staff were knowledgeable about the food and drinks, as well as attentive to customers.

Atmosphere:

Skylights and lots of wood beams in the ceiling create a warm, tropical ambiance over the central bar area. Surfing videos and décor hint at the company’s humble roots.

FOOD AND DRINK

High surf, heavy pours

Come On Get Happy!

S

D r. I n k

urfer Tony DeGrazier spends his days riding the waves off Oahu. He frequents the beach-side eateries afterwards for burgers and cold drinks. Years later, nostalgia drives him to open a restaurant on the mainland that typifies the casual dining vibe he came to love in Hawaii. He names the place Islands, which opened in 1982 in Los Angeles before branching out to dozens of other locales in California, Arizona, Hawaii and Nevada. The company eventually set up headquarters in Carlsbad, where management camps and employee trainings are held. Today, Islands is a corporate chain. And it feels as such. But the restaurant shouldn’t be struck from your list of happy hour possibilities. The food and drinks are decent, and the price breaks are liberal. Known for its assorted burgers and the 2-ounce liquor pours that land in most of its cocktails, the beach theme is unmistakable. A surfboard with promotions written on it is perched near the entrance. Inside, videos of surfers maneuvering blue, curly waves play on several flat-screens while glowing sunlight shines through

skylights that are built into an angled hut-shaped ceiling. Planting my caboose at a high-top table within the central bar area in Mission Valley’s Fenton Marketplace location, it was rather easy to forget I had just stepped off the large, asphalt parking lot shared by Costco. The faux tropical atmosphere called for a mai tai, made here with 2 ounces of Castillo dark rum, pineapple and orange juices, a little grenadine, and a float of molasses-kissed Myers’s Rum. The regular price is $9.65. During happy hour, it’s $5.25. And on Tuesdays all day, you pay only $5. Filled with just the right amount of crushed ice, the drink was quenching and

delivered a fast-acting buzz — almost as potent as the mai tais at Bali Hai in Shelter Island, which don’t contain any fruit juice. This was more preferable. The happy hour offerings at the Mission Valley location were recently revised with the additions of several new wines, including a dark, red blend by Apothic in California and a few labels from Washington state. Glasses are all $3 off. A handful of new food items were introduced as well, such as a ravishing quesadilla topped with succulent kalua pork for $6. There’s also the $7 carb-loaded “chili mac,” which features a formidable pile of french fries mixed with macaroni and cheese and covered in

sdcnn.com

Islands Restaurant 2441 Fenton Parkway (Mission Valley) 619-640-2727 islandsrestaurants.com Happy Hour: 3 to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday house-made beef chili and chipotle white sauce. The company’s famous burgers are available in three different types of sliders in addition to Buffalo wings, nachos, craft beer and more. Nearly everything is priced well below $10, which puts the experience in the shrinking category of truly affordable, non-gimmicky happy hours.v

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COMMUNITY

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The poster for the 2018 North Park Car Show, which was designed by Johnathan Harrison, features a 1957 Ford Thunderbird and the community’s iconic Water Tower. (Courtesy of North Park Historical Society)

San Diego Uptown News | Aug. 24 - Sept. 6, 2018

15

The San Diego Union’s Oct. 26, 1912 issue proclaimed, “22 Racing Cars Ready for Starter's Flag — Phoenix Is Goal of Greatest Road Race Ever Known in History of West.” The route through San Diego is explained in the left box. D Street is now Broadway Street.

Highway 80 route into North Park set by 1912 race

T

he North Park Historical Society (NPHS) is busy organizing the ninth annual North Park Car Show, which will be held on Saturday, Sept. 8 from 10 a.m.–1 p.m. Once again, The Balboa Tennis Club will host the car show in its parking lot at Morley Field. Dozens of classic cars will delight attendees at this free, family-friendly event celebrating the automobile. If you have a fine classic car or vintage motorcycle to show (pre-1990 preferred), the exhibition fee is $10 for one vehicle and $20 for two or three. Visit NorthParkHistory.org for a registration form and car show information or contact NPHS at 619-294-8990 or info@northparkhistory.org. Johnathan Harrison, freelance designer and professional photographer with JHDesign Company, volunteered to design the car show poster for a second year. The summer feel of the event is reflected in his choice of a 1957 Ford

Thunderbird in the foreground and a sunny image of our community’s iconic Water Tower in the background. Why does NPHS organize an annual car show? “The very development of North Park is integrally tied to the expansion of San Diego by first the electric rail car system and eventually the personal automobile,” board member Bob Bauer explained in Uptown News’ Aug. 28, 2015 issue. In fact, a special car race from San Diego to Phoenix in October 1912 established El Cajon Boulevard as the terminus of Interstate Highway 80, placing North Park in the heart of mid-city San Diego. The race was the brainchild of prominent San Diegans — including F.B. Naylor, Col. Ed Fletcher, Rufus Choate, John Forward Jr. and Fred Jackson — to beat the time of racers from Los Angeles to Phoenix. It also hoped to prove that the southernmost interstate highway from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans should continue to San Diego — not Los Angeles — from the state border at Yuma, Arizona.

Within two weeks, the organizers established the rules, raised money for the purse, determined the route and obtained official recognition from the American Automobile Association. The first entry for the race was a six-cylinder StevensDuryea — sponsored by E.B. Harvey, secretary and treasurer of the Auto Service Company in Downtown, and driven by Dave Campbell of Campbell Machine Company, agents for Stevens-Duryea Motor Cars. The Stevens-Duryea automobile company was founded in Massachusetts by a partnership of J. Frank Duryea and the J. Stevens Arms and Tool Company in 1901. Their partnership only manufactured cars from 1901–1915 and 1919–1927. The race began at 10:15 p.m. on Oct. 26, 1912 with 22 racing car entries and two unofficial registrants in touring cars: the current mayor, James E. Wadham, and his friendly rival Percy J. Benbough. The front page of the San Diego Union’s Oct. 27, 1912 issue announced “Enormous

Crowds See Big Snorting Racers Start.” The article provided a 4 a.m. update on the cars, most of which had passed through Campo. However, the Buick sponsored by race instigator F.B. Naylor had smashed at Spring Valley, one mile from La Mesa. The Premier sponsored by North Park real estate developers McFadden and Buxton, and driven by expert driver Joe Fernando, had broken a wheel at Dulzura. Both cars were out of the race. Thankfully, all drivers were unhurt. The San Diego Union’s Oct. 30, 1912 issue reported the finisher’s times and presented a special message from racing daredevil Barney Oldfield. Fortunately for San Diego, the Stevens-Duryea clocked the best time of all racers at 16 hours and 49 minutes, beating the second-place finisher by 1 hour and 21 minutes. Second and third places went to cars racing on the Los Angeles route, but no matter. San Diego had won! “In my years of experience as a driver of racing machines I have never seen or heard of pluck and determination such

as was exhibited by San Diego, when, with only two weeks’ preparation, that city conducted an automobile road race to Phoenix which will go down in history as one of the greatest road races ever run,” Barney Oldfield said. “By promoting this race San Diego showed the world that you could not be cut off the map. The spirit San Diego exhibited in this event will be a strong argument for recognition in its fight for the ocean-to-ocean highway.” Oldfield was right. In its early years, Highway 80 included a segment on University Avenue from Euclid to Fourth avenues. In the 1930s, the designation of Highway 80 was changed to run along El Cajon Boulevard and Park Boulevard in order to route traffic past the 1935–1936 Exposition. Consequently, North Park became a key part of Highway 80’s history along both of the community’s major east-west arterials. —Katherine Hon is the secretary of the North Park Historical Society. Reach her at info@northparkhistory.org or 619-294-8990.v

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San Diego Uptown News | Aug. 24 - Sept. 6, 2018

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San Diego Uptown News  |  Aug. 24 - Sept. 6, 2018

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San Diego Uptown News | Aug. 24 - Sept. 6, 2018

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UPTOWN CALENDAR FEATURED EVENTS

FRIDAY

ONGOING EVENTS

SUNDAY

19

RECURRING EVENTS Mondays

FRIDAY Aug. Aug.

31

Sept.

Lestat’s West Open Mic Week ly open mic event hosted by Robby Robertson every Monday. 6:30 –11 p.m. at Lestat’s, 3343 Adams Ave. Visit bit.ly/LestatsWest.

2

24 Cosmic Flow Yoga Anniversary Party Cosmic Flow Yoga in Golden Hill will celebrate its two-year anniversary with free classes all day. An open market with a few vendors from the community, music and snacks will follow. Everyone in attendance will be entered into a raffle. Classes 4 a.m.¬–2:30 p.m., with the open market at 5–7 p.m. at Cosmic Flow Yoga, 1214 28th St. Visit cosmicflowyoga.com.

Film screenings at Digital Gym Digital Gym Cinema offers screenings of two films: “Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood” (documentary; 98-minute runtime) and “Leave No Trace” (drama; 109-minute runtime). Both shows run through Aug. 30. $7.50– $11. Various times at Digital Gym Cinema, 2921 El Cajon Blvd. Visit bit.ly/DigitalGymFilms.

WEDNESDAY

Aug.

29

Tuesdays

U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge The U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge, an annual Labor Day weekend tradition, continues to bring attendees and artists from all over the world to Downtown at the Broadway Pier and Pavilion. This year, the festival will be open later and the sculptures will be decoratively lit from top to bottom. Twelve world master class sculptors will compete to create museum-worthy sand sculptures. $7–$11. Active duty military, EMTs, fire and police receive free admission. Proceeds from the event support local charities. Runs through Sept. 3. Various times at 1000 North Harbor Drive. Visit ussandsculpting.com

‘Epic Tales from Ancient India at SDMA Through Sept. 3 The San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park hosts “Epic Tales from Ancient India,” an exhibit with more Lisa De Novo than 90 Edwin Binney 3rd at Lestat’s West Collection of Indian paintFolk artist performs with Sky ings. Spanning the 16th Noblezada and Dave Dersh- through 19th centuries, traam. $8. All ages. 8–11 p.m. ditional stories showcased at Lestat’s West, 3343 Ad- include the Bhagavata Puams Ave. rana, Ramayana, Ragamala Visit bit.ly/LisaDeNovo. and works of Persian literature. $8–$15; 17 and under free. Times vary. Closed on MONDAY Wednesdays. 1450 El Prado, Balboa Park. Visit bit.ly/epictalessdma.

Sept.

3

Aug.

25

San Diego Festival of Books Join thousands of local readers, writers and word lovers for the second annual literary festival. The day features panel discussions, writer appearances and more. South Parkbased The Book Catapult will participate this year, hosting author signings in its booth as well offering a pop-up shop. Free; $3 for panel tickets. 10 a.m.–5 p.m. at 2620 Truxton Road, Liberty Station. Visit sdfestivalofbooks.com.

THURSDAY

Aug.

30

Koffin Kats at Soda Bar Punk band performs with hardcore band Systematic Abuse and The Cat Chasers. The Koffin Kats are known for songs featuring real world horrors and science fiction. $15. 21 and up. 8:30 p.m. at Soda Bar, 3615 El Cajon Blvd. Visit bit.ly/KoffinKats.

Sept. Sept.

5

1

26 Los Blenders at Soda Bar Mexico City garage-punk band performs alongside Minor Gems, Los Shadows, and PoutHouse. $8. 21 and up. 8:30 p.m. at Soda Bar, 3615 El Cajon Blvd. Visit bit.ly/losblenders.

13th Annual Suffrage Parade Celebrate Women’s Equality Day with Women’s Museum of California and commemorate the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Dress up in white, wear your sashes and buttons, and wave your feminist movement signs to celebrate women’s rights. 4 p.m. at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, 2125 Pan American Road East. Visit bit.ly/WomenParade13.

Inspector at The Observatory Ska reggae band Inspector performs. $10. All ages. 8 p.m. at The Observatory North Park, 2891 University Ave. Visit bit.ly/InspectorBand.

California Rules The Southwestern Artists’ Association presents “California Rules,” an art exhibit featuring local artists Deanne Tiffany and Susanne Flowers at Gallery 23. Runs through Sept. 15. Free with gallery admission. 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. at Spanish Village Art Center, 1770 Village Place in Balboa Parl. Visit bit.ly/CaliforniaRules.

International Summer Organ Festival Through Sept. 3 Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park hosts a lineup of outdoor organ concerts every Monday this summer. Free. All ages. 7:30 p.m. at Pan American Road East. Visit bit.ly/BalboaOrgan.

‘The Sky Tonight: Changing of the Season’ The Fleet Science Center offers a monthly tour of the solar system narrated by an astronomer. Journey through the cosmos with them and explore new space-related topics. September will focus on the changing of the seasons, inspired by the Fall Equinox. Ticket prices vary. Each show is limited to 250 attendees. Early show from 7–8 p.m. and late show from 8:15–9:15 p.m. at Fleet Science Center, 1875 El Prado. Visit bit.ly/FleetSky.

North Park Thursday Market Shop more than 90 tents of locally grown produce, artisan grocery items, prepared foods and hand-crafted goods. 3 –7:30 p.m. at 3 0 0 0 Nor th Pa rk Way, stretching from 31st Street to Utah Street, North Park. Visit bit.ly/ThursMarket Thursdays at The Ken San Diego’s late-night jazz jam convenes every Thursday night. Hosted by musicians Ian Buss, Robert Dove and Hugo Suarez. $5. 10 p.m.–1:30 a.m. at The Kensington Club, 4079 Adams Ave. Visit bit.ly/ThursKen.

Saturdays

WEDNESDAY

SATURDAY

SUNDAY

Aug.

First Monday Folk Rock Jam Our Savior’s Lutheran Church will hold a jam session with lyrics and chords projected on their wall. Open to all skill levels. Artist styles featured include those of Pete Seeger, John Denver, Bob Dylan, The Beatles and Hank Williams. Free. 7 p.m. at 4011 Ohio St. Visit bit.ly/FolkRockJam.

Lestat’s West Comedy Night Weekly comedy night event hosted by Dustin Nickerson every Tuesday. 9 –11 p.m. at Lestat’s, 3343 Adams Ave. Visit bit.ly/LestatsWest.

Thursdays

SATURDAY Stand-up comedy at Whistle Stop Bar Riff City Comedy presents headliner Jak Knight from “The Comedy Lineup,” “Big Mouth” and Comedy Central. Other performers include Omid Singh, Trevor Smith, Jordan Coburn, Daniel Delgado, Myles Magallanes and Beau Hufford. $5. 21 and up. 8 p.m. at The Whistle Stop Bar, 2236 Fern St. Visit bit.ly/WSBComedy.

Trivia Night at Brew Project Here’s Johnny! Answer five to seven rounds of questions and participate in team challenges for raff les and prizes. Weekly event hosted by Johnny Grant. 7 p.m. The Brew Project, 3683 Fifth Ave., Hillcrest. Visit bit.ly/BrewTrivia.

Food Truck Fridays Through Sept. 28 K ick of f you r su mmer weekends every Friday evening at Balboa Park’s after-hours event. Visitors of all ages can enjoy live entertainment while eating dishes from a rotating selection of more than a dozen food trucks. Free. 4 – 8 p.m. at Plaza de Panama in Balboa Park. Visit bit.ly/balboafoodtruck.

Golden Hill Farmers Market Stop by the open community space to pick up California Certified Organic Produce from local farmers. 9:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. at B Street between 27th and 28th streets, Golden Hill. Visit bit.ly/GHMarket. Old Town Saturday Market The street market features work from local artists including paintings, jewelry, photography and more. Every Saturday and Sunday. 9 a.m.– 4:30 p.m. at Harney Street and San Diego Avenue, Old Town. Visit bit.ly/OTMarket.

Sundays Hillcrest Farmers Market About 175 vendors offer a variety of locally grown fruit, produce, gifts, arts and crafts, f lowers, and more. 9 a.m.–2 p.m. on Normal Street between University and Lincoln avenues. Visit bit.ly/HillcrestMarket.

‘Run619: Tour Uptown Fun’ Through Sept. 28 RUN619 is Movin Shoes coming to Mission Hills for a relatively easy cardio workout. Run through the To view a comprehensive neighborhoods of Mission calendar of events happenHills, Hillcrest, University ing throughout San Diego, Heights, and Bankers Hill. visit our online calendar at Runs are usually three to bit.ly/UTNCal. four miles. Free. All ages. 6:19 a.m. at Heartwork Cof- — C o m p i l e d b y S a r a fee Bar, 3993 Goldfinch St. Butler. Email calendar items to sara@sdcnn.com.v Visit bit.ly/Run619Heart.


20

San Diego Uptown News | Aug. 24 - Sept. 6, 2018

sdcnn.com

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San Diego Uptown News - August 24, 2018  
San Diego Uptown News - August 24, 2018