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ESCONDIDO, SAN MARCOS, VISTA
JAN. 21, 2022
SMUSD tackles COVID-19 surge, staff shortages
Council ousts mayor from SANDAG seat
By Stephen Wyer
SAN MARCOS — The San Marcos Unified School District is pushing ahead with in-person classes for the upcoming semester, even as COVID-19 cases have surged across San Diego County, leaving some parents concerned about school safety and staffing shortages. In an email sent out to SMUSD families on Jan. 7, the district announced that it would remain in-person for the foreseeable future despite the “increase in COVID cases locally and across the nation.” While COVID-19 precautions such as mandatory masking, social distancing and vaccination/testing requirements for district staff and teachers will continue to be utilized, administrators said that there are no plans in place to revert to hybrid learning even should cases continue to rise. As of Friday, Jan. 14, the county was experiencing over 13,000 new cases per day — a 448% increase in the daily case average from two weeks ago, per data analysis by the New York Times. The city of San Marcos has totaled 14,475 TURN TO SMUSD ON 6
By Stephen Wyer
LET’S GOGH BEYOND VAN GOGH is an immersive, walk-through art exhibit featuring state-of-the-art projection technology illuminating entire rooms with the paintings of world famous Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh. The exhibit will be at the Del Mar Fairgrounds through March 6. Story on Page 7. Courtesy photo
ESCONDIDO — The mayor of Escondido was removed from his role as the city’s representative on the SANDAG board of directors after council members expressed frustration with the mayor’s recent vote in favor of the metropolitan planning agency's 2021 Regional Transportation Plan. Mayor Paul McNamara, who was elected to the Escondido City Council in 2018, was removed from the position by a 3-2 vote at the body’s m e e t i n g We d ne s d ay, Jan. 12. The MCNAMARA vote means that Escondido currently has no sitting member on the SANDAG board, as the council did not vote to confirm any member in McNamara's place. Councilmembers Tina Inscoe, Joe Garcia and Michael Morasco, all Republicans, voted in favor of the resolution to remove the mayor as the city’s SANDAG representative, while Councilmember Consuelo TURN TO SANDAG ON 3
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JAN. 21, 2022
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T he C oast News - I nland E dition
Former Merchants pleased as Grand Ave. project gets underway supervisor Eckert dies By Stephen Wyer
By Stephen Wyer
VISTA — Longtime president of the Vista Historical Society and former San Diego County Supervisor Paul Eckert passed away at his home on Jan. 4 in Vista. He was 88. Dubbed a “community icon” by former Vista City Councilman Frank Lopez, Eckert was elected to the Board of Supervisors in 1978 and served for eight years. Following his local political career, Eckert was president of the Vista Historical Society from 2009 to 2014 and remained a member until his death, serving for many years ECKERT a longside Diane, his late wife. “You can’t find people who did what he did for this town,” Lopez said. “Vista has lost a person who cared so deeply for this community.” Eckert was “instrumental” in turning the historical society into the reputable organization that it is today, negotiating with the city to secure the museum its current building today in Rancho Minerva, according to Jack Larimer, a member of the society. Eckert, who ran a van and storage company in Vista for decades in addition to being a real estate developer, also assisted the organization's museum by allowing the society to store a considerable amount of its artifacts on his properties, Larimer added. Eckert was devoted to the historical society, applying his time and resources to ensuring that the museum’s quality and strength as an organization was kept up, according to Lopez. Perhaps no charitable cause was closer to Eckert’s heart than the Boys & Girls Club of Vista, of which he was a founding member, according to club president Matt Koumaras, who spoke of the former supervisor’s exceptional commitment and financial support for the organization. Koumaras and Lopez spoke both of Eckert’s generosity and his people-oriented demeanor, with Koumaras calling Eckert a “father figure” to himself and others. Eckert grew up in Lawndale in Los Angeles County and moved to Vista after graduating from high school. He met his wife Diane in 1954 and the couple had two children, Robert and Paula. Eckert is survived by his children, six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
ESCONDIDO — Escondido business owners are expressing optimism over the city’s Grand Avenue Vision Project after initial construction on the project kicked off last week in the downtown area. Construction on the multimillion dollar proposal started Jan. 10, and the first phase of the project is expected to be wrapped up in March, per the city website. “We’re super excited by this, it’s going to bring some well-needed improvements to the downtown area, and yes it’ll be inconvenient for a while but you have to look at the big picture which is going to be improvements to downtown that’ll help the businesses here,” said Louisa Magoon, owner of The Grand Tea Room on Grand Avenue. Phase I of the plan will see the city install new string lighting and light posts on the block of Grand Avenue stretching from Maple to Kalmia streets, with additional plans to widen the sidewalks on the north side of the road from Maple to Broadway, according to Jonathan Schauble, a principal city engineer helping oversee the construction. Other improvements in Phase I will include re-striping diagonal parking spaces between Maple and Kalmia and conducting pavement resurfacing from Escondido Boulevard to Juniper Street. The city will also remove the dividing median on
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Martinez and McNamara himself, both Democrats, voted against. The mayor’s removal from the position was in part a symbolic rebuke to the SANDAG board’s vote last month to approve its controversial transportation plan, which is aimed at overhauling San Diego County’s transit networks as well as helping the county achieve state-mandated climate goals. McNamara was removed not only because he voted in favor of SANDAG’s plan but also because the City Council wanted to signal its displeasure with the direction the organization is headed overall, Morasco said. “This vote was a part of a broader picture, it has to do with what SANDAG has done historically…how Escondido for many years has experienced broken promises one after another, and that’s impacted our frustration with the direction that SANDAG is going,” Morasco said. Morasco added that he felt McNamara’s votes as a SANDAG board member demonstrated the mayor’s views were not in line with those of a majority of Escondido citizens, whom Morasco said are frustrated over repeated SANDAG policies that have hurt the interests of North County residents. “The mayor’s [removal] was not specifically only
Grand Avenue between Maple and Kalmia and Maple and Broadway, permanently transforming that section of the thoroughfare from a four-lane to a two-lane road. The project’s Phase II does not have a set start date but will not be completed until 2023, Schauble said. The second phase will see the city vastly expand the sidewalk widening for three blocks on both sides of the street between Maple and Juniper and will also see a roundabout traffic circle at the intersection of Grand Avenue and Broadway. Phase I will cost the city approximately $2.5 million, while Phase II, the concept of which is still being developed by city engineers, is expected to cost around $5
million, Schauble said. Both phases of the project are aimed at making the downtown corridor more aesthetically pleasing, while also expanding parking access on Grand Avenue as well as making the corridor more pedestrian accessible, the engineer said. Dan Forester, owner of Design Moe on Grand Avenue and vice president of the Escondido Downtown Business Association, said that the project will benefit downtown businesses by facilitating more consumer foot traffic in the area. “The downtown business support of this has been great, the association supports it…we’re thrilled with it and the impacts that it’s going to have,” Forest-
er said. “The idea of this plan is to encourage walkability…making this area more walkable and more attractive hopefully means that more of our downtown storefronts will benefit from that and see more customers coming in and out.” The permanent widening of the sidewalks along Grand Avenue will be crucial for many merchants, especially outdoor restaurants, many of which came to rely on expanded outdoor spaces that were allowed by the city during the pandemic, Magoon said. Re-striping the parking spots along Grand Avenue to diagonally shaped spaces will take up more room but will facilitate a vastly expanded number of parking
spots in the downtown corridor, Schauble said, increasing convenience for residents and making the area more attractive to shoppers. “Having more parking spaces and keeping the ones we have is a great improvement—I’m all for more parking, it’s what downtown really needs,” said Diana Gill, general manager at Filippi’s Pizza Grotto. The temporary closing of the sidewalk between Maple and Broadway for improvements will be a temporary annoyance to pedestrians traversing the area, and the construction will likely cause a significant amount of noise for surrounding establishments, Magoon said. The city has also worked to minimize the impact that the construction will have on the surrounding downtown area, Forester said, doing a significant amount of the project’s work at night to avoid daytime disruptions to business activities. While the Vision Project is not the only “piece of the puzzle” needed to revitalize the corridor, it’s an important step forward, said James Rowten, president of the Escondido Chamber of Commerce. “When you look at the Grand Avenue project and what’s going on…Grand Avenue is really a very unique piece of real estate for Escondido…and we are all in favor of doing whatever can be done to make this a vibrant business community,” said Rowten.
because of his most recent vote, but that was the icing on the cake,” Morasco said. “We felt as though the sitting SANDAG rep [McNamara] did not have the same philosophical perspective and outlook as the majority of those… with the city.” McNamara said he was disappointed in the council’s decision, which he called a “partisan maneuver,” arguing that his removal was a futile gesture that would have no meaningful policy impact. “The decision was disappointing…I felt like even if the council disagreed with our [SANDAG’s] decision matrix about what’s best for the city, we’re basically inserting a partisan element into our decision making with the vote which isn’t good,” McNamara said. “In the grand scheme of things, with me not being on SANDAG…I wonder why the council thought this was necessary, like what did this accomplish?” Inscoe expressed that the vote was intended as a wake-up call to SANDAG leadership that it cannot continue ignoring the frustrations of Escondido residents, a majority of whom she said oppose the regional transportation plan. “This has nothing to do with the mayor and the service that he provides…it’s about a philosophical difference in how SANDAG is going about raising taxes and finding ways to raise huge amounts of money to create
this transportation corridor in San Diego but doing nothing for North County,” Inscoe said. Since being approved by the board last month, SANDAG’S plan has come under fire from local elected officials all over the county. Critics have argued that one of the plan’s main funding mechanisms — a proposed mileage fee for every driver — would impose a heavy cost on county residents. In November 2021, the council adopted a resolution declaring its opposition to SANDAG's proposed road-user fee, or mileage tax. While the mileage tax was eventually taken out of the approved proposal, it is unclear what funding stratagem will replace it. Many have also taken issue with the plan’s proposal to install over 800 miles of managed lanes on county freeways, where drivers would be charged a toll for access to special lanes available to buses. In addition to echoing these concerns at the Jan. 12 meeting, council members also criticized the transportation plan for allocating the vast majority of its funding towards transit projects outside of North County. “I have looked at the plan and I see a majority of the investment of tax dollars in more urban areas…it certainly seems like Escondido, which is one of the high-revenue producing cities in our county, is not receiving anything close to cover for the amount of the investment
that the city would be making into the plan,” said Garcia. “It doesn’t seem like North County and Escondido is going improve through this plan…I believe that it’s time that we have a new advocate from our council to represent Escondido and raise the voices of our constituency.” The regional transportation proposal will cost $162.5 billion, per county estimates, and will be implemented in stages over the course of 30 years. According to Morasco and Inscoe, SANDAG has also demonstrated its lack of concern for the interests of Escondido residents through its allocation of funds provided by TransNet, a countywide tax implemented in 1987 and renewed in 2004 that funds various transportation projects all over San Diego. SANDAG has repeatedly promised to use TransNet dollars to fund projects that would benefit Escondido, such as an expansion of freeways throughout the North County, but has failed to deliver on such promises, the council members said. “The situation with the TransNet dollars has just been more of the same…it’s been this is what it is, take it or leave it, well we don’t want to take it anymore,” Morasco said. Noting the regional plan would not begin implementation until 2030, McNamara said many of the his fellow council members' arguments against the
SANDAG plan were moot, as there would be ample opportunities to amend the proposal through the input of county residents. McNamara also disputed the idea that his removal from the SANDAG board was in line with the wishes of Escondido residents, instead arguing that the council had “silenced the voice of the majority” in adopting the resolution. “I say this with respect but I have more votes than the three of you combined,” McNamara said to the other council members at the meeting, referencing his total vote share in the 2018 election. “I represent the community, I am the voice of the community as the mayor.” In addition to voting to remove McNamara, the council majority also voted to reject the mayor’s motion to nominate Martinez — who was one of McNamara’s alternates for the position — as his replacement on the SANDAG board. McNamara adamantly condemned the decision not to confirm Martinez, arguing that she was the only councilmember qualified to serve as his replacement. “Why was Conseulo, my alternate not allowed to step into my place — was it because she’s a Democrat? What kind of partisan insertion is this? She’s more than qualified,” McNamara said. McNamara refused to nominate another replacement following the council’s vote.
CONSTRUCTION ON Phase I of the Grand Avenue Vision Project got underway on Jan. 10 and is expected to be completed by March. Photo via Facebook/City of Escondido
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Newsom goes all-in on utility favoritism
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JAN. 21, 2022
Don’t get scammed into buying phony COVID tests
By Summer Stephan
s California continues to set records for the number of people testing positive for the omicron variant of the coronavirus, you may find yourself becoming desperate to find an at-home test to avoid long lines at testing sites. By now, we know unscrupulous scammers are always waiting for their next opportunity and the shortage of COVID-19 tests is no different. Bad actors may quickly use the omicron crisis to dupe the public into buying counterfeit tests. So, before you click the add-to-cart button on that website claiming to sell self-testing kits, know how to spot red flags so you don’t become a different kind of COVID-19 statistic. Here’s a list of tips from the Federal Trade Commission on how to vet at-home tests: • Only buy tests authorized by the FDA. • Check the FDA’s lists of antigen diagnostic tests and molecular diagnostic tests before buying, to find the tests authorized for home use. (EUA is “emergency use authorization.”) • Do a background check on a seller before you buy, especially if you’re buying from a site you don’t know. • Search online for the website, company, or seller’s name plus words like “scam,” “complaint” or “review.” • Compare online reviews from a wide variety of websites. You can get a good idea about a company, product, or service from reading
user reviews on various retail or shopping comparison sites. • Think about the source of the review. Consider whether the review is coming from an expert organization or an individual customer. • When buying online, pay by credit card. If you’re charged for an order you never got, or for a product that is not as advertised, you can dispute the charge with your credit card company.
(sandiegocounty.gov). Finally, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order this month proclaiming a state of emergency through March 31, aimed at preventing price gouging on COVID-19 at-home test kits. The order prohibits sellers from increasing prices on test kits by more than 10% if they had been selling them as of Dec. 1, 2021, unless they can prove their costs have increased. Anyone who began sell-
Bad actors may quickly use the omicron crisis to dupe the public into buying counterfeit tests. • If you have been scammed, report it directly the FTC or contact the DA’s consumer protection team at email@example.com. If you are looking for an in-person test site, beware of pop-up COVID test sites as they are currently unregulated, and some may not be legitimate. Red flags related to pop-up COVID testing sites include: • Sites that do not have logos or information identifying who is providing the service. • Sites that will not provide information about the lab that is providing the results. • Sites that collect non-relevant personal identifying information such as Social Security numbers. San Diego County provides a list of authorized free test sites on its website
ing tests after Dec. 1, 2021, may not charge 50% greater than what they paid for the kit themselves. As your District Attorney, I’m committed to increasing communication and accessibility between the DA’s Office and the public. I hope these consumer and public safety tips have been helpful. The Consumer Protection Unit is comprised of deputy district attorneys, investigators and paralegals dedicated to protecting consumers and law-abiding businesses from fraudulent or unfair business practices. To report a consumer complaint, you can call (619) 531-3507 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Summer Stephan is the district attorney for San Diego County.
alifornia Gov. Gavin Newsom last month had a golden opportunity to turn around the state Public Utility Commission and make it into the consumer-friendly agency it was designed to be. He blew it, and badly. Newsom’s latest utility regulation move turns out to be almost a carbon copy of what he did three years ago, when he made one of his anonymous aides California’s top supervisor of utility companies like Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric. The result of that first move was several years of unfettered favoritism of electric and natural gas companies over their customers. The new move looks equally predictable in the same direction. In his earlier move, Newsom replaced the scandal-prone former president of the utilities commission (PUC) with Marybel Batjer, one of his top energy aides. Batjer first designed the 2019 state bailout of then-bankrupt PG&E, and then as PUC president rubber-stamped her own work. Batjer’s plan, created to benefit one of Newsom’s longest-term political donors — PG&E — is called the state’s Wildfire Fund. It now sees customers of all the big electric companies donating $13.5 billion over 15 years, to be deployed when the utilities cause high-damage fires. Now Batjer has left the PUC, having dunned utility customers tens of billions of dollars, and Newsom seeks to replace her with someone who seems almost like her clone. This time the appointee is Alice Reynolds, Newsom’s senior energy advisor. The governor, who has received well over $1 million in campaign donations over the last two decades from PG&E, called Reynolds his “lead energy policy expert.” In his press release encomium to Reynolds, like Batjer a longtime state bureaucrat, Newsom says she helped “navigate the bankruptcy of the state’s largest investor-owned utility (PG&E) and accelerate progress toward meeting our…energy goals.” Essentially, then, he was saying Reynolds helped him push the Wildfire Fund plan through the Legislature even as Batjer guaranteed it would get needed approval from the PUC. One of Reynolds’ first tasks will be to ensure the utilities toughen up their power line inspections and beef up programs to cut back trees and other vegetation that can ignite big fires when they are
hit by sparks from power lines arcing unpredictably during dry-weather windstorms. Showing just how lenient the PUC has been with utilities, the Reynolds appointment came mere days after the commission gave PG&E a very mild slap on the wrist with a $7.5 million fine for safety problems with its equipment. About $5 million of the fine was for deficiencies on a high-voltage line in Marin County just north of San Francisco, home to several large stands of coast redwood trees. While about one-fifth of all California’s (and the world’s) giant Sequoias were killed in last year’s hotter-than-ever fires, so far coast redwoods have been largely spared, except a few stands near San Jose. But the latest fine included a charge for inadequate inspections of 55,000 power poles everywhere in PG&E’s vast service area. Just such dereliction of its inspection duties led to most of the PG&Ecaused fires of the past few years. The $7.5 million fine is so small PG&E will not feel it, and as usual, no individual was held responsible for any of the myriad failings cited. It’s highly likely that the state Senate’s standing committee on energy, utilities and communications will, as usual, rubber stamp the Reynolds appointment to a job where she cannot be fired even by the governor who appointed her. But there is at least an off-chance the committee will actually ask some tough questions this time and force Reynolds into committing herself to at least some pro-consumer moves during the four years left in her term. That’s never happened before, as senators usually take little interest in anything having to do with utilities, perhaps because the subject is more complicated than most things they deal with. But wildfires and the gigantic damages from them focused more attention than ever on the PUC, so perhaps there is some hope this time that promises for saving consumer dollars can be elicited, even if there is no means ever to enforce any of them. Email Thomas Elias at email@example.com.
JAN. 21, 2022
T he C oast News - I nland E dition
Vista’s Hyde takes game to new level Tenant vacancies rise By Stephen Wyer
VISTA — Vista High School junior Cyprian Hyde is having a standout season on the court, drawing interest from NCAA schools and scouts, as well as receiving praise from his coaches and teammates. Hyde, 17, a 6-foot-10 center from Oceanside now in his third year playing for the Panthers, currently leads the Coastal North County League in both rebounds and blocks and is second in scoring. On the season, Hyde is averaging a double-double with 16.5 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game. Panthers head coach Anthony Bolton said that Hyde has been an exceptionally physical presence on the court, citing both the junior’s talent and athleticism as well as his singular work ethic as contributing to his breakout year. “He’s a big man that not everyone has on their roster, people have to game-plan and look out for him,” Bolton said. “You see him getting triple-doubles out there and people really see the value he brings to our team, he’s just such a huge part of what we’re doing.” On and off the court, no one on the Panthers has worked harder than Hyde, the coach said, emphasizing the tremendous growth and development that he’s seen in the junior compared to previous seasons. Bolton said that as his talent and raw abilities have taken off, Hyde has led the locker room in pushing himself and others toward excellence. “He just continues to work and work, making progress and growth towards his development. … I always tell him that if he just focuses on the work he’s got to put in and if he’s inspired and motivated like that, the
Business news and special achievements for North San Diego County. Send information via email to community@ coastnewsgroup.com. STUDENT LOAN REPRIEVE
Borrowers who were able to pause their federal student loan repayment will see their repayments postponed until May 1, according to Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority. The federal government had intended to have borrowers resume payments in February but will now wait until May because of the spread of the omicron coronavirus variant. KHEAA advises borrowers to make sure their loan servicer has their current contact information. Visit studentaid.gov. The information will be under the “My Loan Servicers” section.
• Cora Wailana Johnson-Woessner of Encinitas made the fall 2021 dean’s list at Central Methodist
CYPRIAN HYDE, 17, shown here competing as a member of the Gamepoint Basketball club program, is averaging a double-double for the Vista High School team this season. Courtesy photo
points and the rebounds will take care of themselves, and he’s very mature in that regard.” Working closely with coaches, communicating better with teammates, and stepping up as a leader on the squad have all been pivotal to his success in games, Hyde said. “I’ve improved a lot this year, dominating with the rebounds and points and I’ve gotten better on defense, I’ve been talking more with the team, and just learning continually,” he said. “I feel like I’ve been stepping up to the challenge, just staying positive and building up
teammates more than anything else.” Both Bolton and Hyde said that the past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic have been difficult for the Panthers squad, but the junior said that he’s been able to look past these challenges and push himself to be the best teammate and player he can possibly be. When athletic activities have been suspended due to pandemic concerns, Hyde says that he’s met up with coaches and teammates and worked out outside of practice, working to stay in the best physical shape possible to be ready for this season.
University. • Michael Knorr, a sociology major from Carlsbad, was named to the Coastal Carolina University dean’s list for the fall 2021 semester. • Isaac Nguyen of Oceanside was named to the Wartburg College fall term dean’s list. • Wyoming Seminary congratulates Jace Phillips of Carlsbad and Ford Boock of Oceanside, named to the 2021 fall term dean’s list. • Jonathon Kosek and Keyon Barnes, both of Oceanside, were named to the fall 2021 dean’s list at Southern New Hampshire University. • Noah Berkebile, a biology/health major from San Diego, has been named to the dean’s list with distinction for the fall 2021 semester at Grove City College. • Named to the Wheaton College dean’s list with honors were Morgan Brown of Rancho Santa Fe, Talya Byrd of Oceanside, Carsten Castaneda of Carlsbad, Grace Cleveland of Solana Beach, Isaiah Love of San Diego, Katherine Papatheofanis of Rancho Santa Fe and Destiny Rogers of Vista.
NEW PARK FUNDING
The California Department of Parks and Recreation awarded the city of Vista $1.12 million to create the new Avenida De Benito Juarez Park. The grant award is part of the Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Program which provides Proposition 68 (2018 Bond Act) funding to local agencies and non-profit organizations. Eligible projects involve the construction of new parks, or expansion or renovation of existing parks for the health and wellness of Californians.
CHANGES AT PALOMAR
Next fall, when Palomar College students resume their path toward an associate of arts degree, they will face a new requirement that educators say represents a major step toward aligning Palomar’s standards with state universities, while furthering Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. The college’s Multicultural Studies requirement will be replaced by an Ethnic Studies requirement, in alignment with new state standards. The change follows the statewide imple-
“During the shutdowns I’ve met up with Coach Bolton to lift weights, go running, and just block out the distractions. … You can’t focus on the negatives with these situations, you have to keep on pushing forward and control what you can control, and for me that’s staying positive and playing hard.” Hyde’s hard work has already paid off — he told The Coast News that he’s received interest from numerous NCAA scouts and has already garnered scholarship offers from Eastern Washington and the University of Portland, both NCAA Division I schools. The 17-yearold said that he hopes to develop further as a player in the NCAA after he graduates from Vista High and said that he has aspirations of playing professionally. San Diego basketball scout Aaron Burgin, who watched a recent matchup in which the Panthers bested Canyon Crest Academy, 5847, said that Hyde’s domination on the court could lead to very favorable NCAA considerations for the junior. “If he continues to give these types of efforts, it won’t be a stretch to call him one of the top big men prospects in the state in his class,” Burgin said. It’s exactly because of Hyde’s standout talent and extraordinary potential that Bolton said he and the other Panthers coaches work to push Hyde even harder in games, practices and team workouts. “I challenge him constantly because I see a lot of potential in what he could be. … It takes coaches to push him beyond his comfortability, it’s our job to push, push and push until there’s no more — you don’t know how high that ceiling is until you push for it.” mentation of CA Assembly Bill 1460, which established an Ethnic Studies graduation requirement for students in the California State University system who will graduate in 2024–2025. NEW CHAMBER MEMBERS
Vista Chamber of Commerce hosted ribbon-cuttings for BioLife Plasma Services, Jan. 19; Direct Professional Cleaning Jan. 19, 410 S. Santa Fe Ave., Ste. 201, Vista and will welcome Frontline Careers at 3 p.m. Jan. 26 at 170 Eucalyptus Ave., Vista and Minuteman Press of Oceanside at 1 p.m. Jan. 28 at 4065 Oceanside Blvd. Ste. D, Oceanside.
PORTRAIT OF A GRADUATE
San Marcos Unified School District is engaging the community in developing a Portrait of a Graduate, a collective vision that articulates the community’s aspirations for all San Marcos Unified students. The district has recruited a Portrait of a Graduate Design Team, a working group of nearly 100 business and community leaders, local elected officials, parents, students and alumni.
at mall in Escondido By Stephen Wyer
ESCONDIDO — Store closures are increasing at Westfield North County in Escondido, with business owners citing the pandemic, departure of major retailers and mall ownership's poor management as contributing factors. “It’s terrible, it’s just been devastating to watch,” said Cynthia, a storeowner who requested The Coast News not share her full name. “It just breaks my heart, it’s a beautiful mall and it’s really well done but…the outlook right now is pretty bleak.” Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, regional economic experts say that the mall has suffered from a marked increase in tenant vacancies, along with a substantial reduction in foot traffic at the shopping center. From larger department store chains to smaller retailers and singular establishments such as Wyatt’s toy store, a sizable number of the mall’s businesses are being forced to close or are on the brink of shutting down, according to Erik Bruvold, CEO of the San Diego North Economic Development Council. “What’s happening with the North County fair is that it’s clear to me that it’s not going back to the way it was,” Bruvold said, noting that the mall was already seeing these unfavorable patterns even before the onset of the coronavirus in 2020. “The mall really is in a challenged space right now…the pandemic accelerated these challenges by a number of years or even decades.” Westfield North County’s troubles stem not only from the economic impacts of the pandemic but also from a number of other factors, including the shopping center losing some of its big-name retailers that had drawn shoppers and benefited the mall’s other businesses, Bruvold said. “With the loss of places like Nordstrom’s and Sears, the smaller retailers suffer from not seeing the foot traffic spillover from these larger department stores,” Bruvold said. “With the way consumer behavior is, people come into the anchor department stores and then they see these other businesses and want to shop there too, but now instead you have this unvirtuous cycle, with the big chains leaving, the smaller places suffering, and then, in turn, more businesses leaving.” Sears and Nordstrom both closed in mid-2020. Other businesses at Escondido’s Westfield that have closed recently or are preparing to shut their doors include Abercrombie & Fitch, Starbucks, Souplantation, Hallmark and Yankee Candle. “Nordstrom was a big loss, there’s no question about it…they really brought in some of the quality buyers,” said Cynthia,
who has operated her store at the mall since 1992. “The thing is that these large anchor stores generate destination traffic, those shoppers are coming into the mall and those places gave them a reason to stay and shop.” The regional shopping center has also been hit hard by both labor and supply shortages that are creating difficulties for businesses nationwide, according to James Rowten, president of the Escondido Chamber of Commerce, who said that these challenges have been further exacerbated by the onset of the omnicron variant of the coronavirus. “We’re seeing quite a few more vacancies in the mall…this latest hit from the pandemic has really impacted so many of our businesses — it’s tough to get staffing, supplies, and to just keep the doors open,” Rowten said. JC Penney Hair Salon, which operates on Westfield's first floor, has been overwhelmed by a combination of staffing issues, supply shortages and other problems related to the pandemic, according to store manager Amy Bailey. The salon operated with 33 fewer staff members than a typical holiday season and ran critically low on key supplies, including hairstyling essentials such as coloring, and fabric materials for the store’s shoe department, Bailey said. According to Cynthia, the mall’s decline also has to do with a lack of proper administration as well as Westfield managers’ poor marketing strategy. Heavy rent increases for tenants have pushed several smaller establishments in the mall out of business altogether, Cynthia said. The store owner added that the complex’s managers have not been strategic about leasing space to tenants in a way that keeps the shopping center vibrant and attractive as a whole to customers, instead of leasing out vacant units without regard for the impact on the mall’s overall composition. “They’re not leasing it the right way, they’re not looking at what they can do to bring the vibrancy of this place back and have a good mix of tenants…they rent units just to get them rented and not to make healthy choices of tenants, they just want the first person willing to pay,” Cynthia said. Westfield declined to comment for this story. To address these challenges, Rowten said the Escondido Chamber of Commerce has been actively working with Westfield to improve the mall’s promotion strategies. To this end, Rowten said that the chamber has been working with Westfield on a new mobile app unique to the mall that will streamline the online shopping experience for customers.
CALENDAR Know something that’s going on? Send it to calendar@ coastnewsgroup.com
DINOSAURS ARE BACK
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genealogists. Free but registration is required at nsdcgs. org. For questions e-mail The Escondido Public firstname.lastname@example.org. Library will celebrate the Lunar New Year from 7 to 8 TORAH STUDIES p.m. Jan. 25 at 239 S. Kalmia Join Rabbi Greenberg St., Escondido. Learn about for an in-depth view of the the history and cultural sigweekly Torah portion at the nificance of lion dancing as Chabad Jewish Center, 1930 the Three Treasures CulturSunset Drive, Vista. The sesal Arts Society Lion Dance sion will also be on ZOOM at team performs a traditional JewishOceanside.com/zoom. dance celebrating the Lunar Zoom ID: 381367140 PassNew Year. word: Chabad.
LUNAR NEW YEAR
The Jurassic Quest dinosaur exhibit heads indoors at the Wyland Center, Del Mar Fairgrounds Jan. 2123 at 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar. Tickets start at $19 at jurassicquest.com DEMAIO VISITS GOP CLUB or on-site. Walk through the Carlsbad Republican exhibit at your own pace; Women welcome Carl Destrollers permitted. Maio, Chairman Reform CA and KOGO radio host at 11 a.m. Jan. 25 at the Holiday Inn, 2725 Palomar Airport STATE OF CITY RESCHEDULED Road, Carlsbad. Cost is $32 The Vista “State of the per person. RSVP and pay Community” luncheon set online at CarlsbadRepubfor Jan. 24 has been resched- licans.com by noon, Jan. uled to Feb. 28. For more de- 21. No payment at the door. tails and to purchase tickets, For more information, convisit vistachamber.org. tact Kris at (760) 707-7777 or email@example.com. NEW SCHOLARSHIP Check us out on Facebook as The city of Vista is offer- Carlsbad Republican Woming a new youth scholarship en Federated. program for income qualifying Vista families interested GENEALOGY WEBINAR in registering their child in A live webinar, “One a city recreation program. Step Forward: Two Steps The scholarships will fund Back: Genealogy or Charegistration for city of Vista Cha?” presented by Sara youth classes, recreational Cochran to North San Diego sports, early education, and County Genealogical Sosummer camp for families ciety, will take place 10 to that have been dispropor- 11:30 a.m. Feb. 25. Cochran tionately impacted by the will discuss the pitfalls and pandemic. common errors of beginning
Manufacturing facility in Vista sells for $18.5M By Staff
VISTA — A single-tenant, manufacturing facility in Vista sold for $18.5 million on Dec. 29, 2021, Commercial Asset Advisors announced. The 75,149-square-foot industrial manufacturing building is at 2065 Thibodo Road. Both the buyer, AGLC 2065 Thibodo Owner, L.L.C., and the seller, 10 Plus LLC, were represented by Mike Conger and Brian Jenkins of Commercial Asset Advisors and Joe Anderson of Jones Lang LaSalle. The property was co-listed and strategically marketed using JLL’s international platform and industrial expertise, while leveraging CAA’s local, private-client relationships and experience managing complex, tax-advantaged 1031 exchange transactions. “Industrial space in San Diego continues to be one of the most desired product types,” said Conger. “We are pleased we were able to structure a transaction that was truly a win-win for both parties, allowing the seller to achieve their strategic retirement goals while giving the buyer the ability to add value to the project with additional investments and repositioning.” The team from CAA and JLL were able to capitalize on high demand for industrial space, driven by e-commerce and life science users in the San Diego region.
the store 50% off marked price (25¢ minimum). Purchases made in the Friends Book Shop help support the Library and its programs.
Beginning Jan. 29, the Escondido Public Library will introduce a Puzzle Exchange next to the Information Desk at 239 S. Kalmia St., Escondido. Stop by during open hours to swap puzzles with others in your community. How it works: Take one, leave one. If piecCATHOLIC FRIENDS Catholic Widows and es are missing, don’t bring it Widowers of North County back. Donations accepted. will meet for happy hour Kids’ puzzles, too. and dinner at Brigantine, Escondido Jan. 26 and have BEST OF HORROR lunch at the Corner Bakery, The Escondido Public Carlsbad Jan. 31. For addi- Library presents via Zoom, tional information call (760) a Virtual Pop Culture Panel 696-3502. Series: “Horror” from 4 to 5 p.m. Jan. 29. The expert panelists will discuss all THE TOURNAMENT The Farmer’s Insur- things macabre in books, ance Open is coming Jan. 26 shorts stories, poetry, art, through Jan. 29 at the Tor- and film. This program is rey Pines Golf Club. Tickets in partnership with The are available at farmersin- San Diego Chapter of the Horror Writers Associasuranceopen.com/. tion and Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore. Registration at smartbooking.escondido. HALF-PRICE BOOK SALE org/Events/EventInfo?EvenThe Friends of the Es- t I D =798 & mc _cid = 3f93fcondido Public Library are 802b5&mc_eid=df3f329a08. hosting a half-price sale in the Friends Book Shop Jan. HANOHANO CHALLENGE 28 and Jan. 29 All items in The 27th annual Hano-
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coronavirus cases so far, according to county numbers. The district’s announcement acknowledged that since December, positive COVID-19 cases among staff, students and families had risen noticeably. Nonetheless, administrators expressed confidence in their ability to keep schools both safe and open for the upcoming semester. “The number one goal is to keep students in class so that in-person learning can continue, and there’s no option for us to back to virtual learning…instead we’re going to have in place the same safety mitigation methods we’ve used from the start of this year,” said Steve Baum, the district’s director of secondary education. Such precautions include mandatory masking on campus, robust air filtration systems in all school buildings, deep cleaning protocols for facilities, distributing free test kits to families, and a comprehensive contact-tracing program, Baum said. Baum pointed out that the district has been spared any overwhelming surge in cases so far, noting that the case positivity rate in the SMUSD community so far is hovering around just 1%. However, he also acknowledged that the rise in positive cases has created staffing challenges, with the district increasingly having to rely on substitute teachers or staff to take the place of full-time faculty members who have tested positive for the virus. Lauren Holman is a San Marcos resident with two children, both of whom attend Twin Oaks Elementary.
A SMUSD STUDENT wears a mask in the veterinary assistant program at Twin Oaks High School. Photo via Facebook
While she praised the work of district officials to keep schools in-person, Holman said that numerous schools in the district are desperately struggling to keep teachers in the classrooms due to the staffing shortages. “It’s very challenging… in some schools I’ve heard about half of the teachers are out with COVID…the substitute pool is extremely low already,” Holman said. Holman added that she personally knows some stayat-home mothers who have gotten their emergency substitute credentials and gone to teach for schools in the district, due to the shortages. Teachers or staff members who test positive must subsequently quarantine for at least five days in accordance with federal health guidelines. All district staff members are required to either be vaccinated against COVID-19 or be tested on a weekly basis, Baum said. Katie Wade, parent of second grader at Discovery Elementary School, said that she’s been frustrated by a lack of transparency from the district in terms of the
staffing challenges. Administrators should clearly communicate to families when a substitute teacher will be taking over a class or when classes are coupled due to staffing issues, Wade said, as knowing this may affect whether a parent decides to send their kid to school for the day. “I would love more communication about teachers being out, like if our child’s teacher is going to be out and they put him into a gym with 100 other kids adding more risk with COVID…it’d be nice to know if the teacher will be out for the day so that you can make a more informed about the risk you’ll be taking,” Wade said. “Having substitute teachers and combining classes isn’t an ideal learning environment, and if we’re going to be taking the risk of having him in class we want him to be learning.” Gabrielle Lieberg, whose son goes to Mission Hills High School, said that while district staff are doing their best under difficult circumstances, she already has doubts about whether the return to in-person learning this semester was the best
JAN. 21, 2022 hano Ocean Challenge by West Coast Paddlesports, Koloa Surf Co. and Ocean Flight is in Mission Bay on Jan. 29. Register at paddleguru.com/races/HanohanoOceanChallenge2022.
65+ FREE AT SAFARI PARK
The San Diego Zoo Safari, 15500 San Pasqual Valley Road, Escondido, invites guests 65 and older to visit for free throughout the month of February. During Seniors Free month, seniors may present their valid photo ID upon arrival and gain free admission to the Safari Park. For more information, visit sdzsafaripark.org.
VISTA GARDEN CLUB
Improving your soil, water retention, and plant usage will be the topic of a presentation at 1:45 p.m. Feb. 4 in the Azalea Room at the Gloria McClellan Senior Center, 1400 Vale Terrace Drive, Vista. The speaker is Barry Martin, specialist for Home-Garden Consultations for Armstrong Gardens. Fingertip lunch is at noon followed by business meeting at 12:30 and program at 1:45 p.m. Visit californiagardenclubs.com/vistagardenclub/ or e-mail Vistagardenclub@ gmail.com. decision given the evolving nature of the pandemic. “While I think the best place for our kids is in school, we also have to be mindful of this ever-changing pandemic,” Lieberg said. “I wouldn’t have a problem when there aren’t enough staff to cover classrooms, just going back to virtually learning for a couple of weeks.” Both Wade and Lieberg said they knew of numerous instances where teachers at their children’s schools had been unable to prep for their next class because they had to cover the shift of a teacher who was out due to testing positive. In other cases, the mothers said they had heard of administrative staff having to fill in for teachers because there were no substitutes available. “The whole system seems stressed, there’s a huge lack of resources for everybody, even though it isn’t necessarily anybody’s fault…they’re just trying the best with the hand they’ve been dealt,” Wade said. “When you have these kinds of things happening, I don’t think it’s unreasonable…just to take a couple weeks off at least before going back to in-person,” Lieberg said. But district administrators said that for all intents and purposes, a return to virtual learning is off the table, regardless of how the pandemic develops. “We don’t really have a threshold of cases where we’d close down…we’re operating under the thought that we will continue to remain open and do everything we can to stay open while offering safety mitigation methods to continue our in-person learning,” Baum said.
small talk jean gillette
A librarian’s tips for kids, adult books
eing regularly awash in books, I occasionally take a minute to share some of the best of my recent reads. Since I work as a school librarian, I include kindergarten through sixth-grade books as well as stuff for we big kids. Starting at the elementary school level, if you haven’t heard of Ryan T. Higgins, reading his books is a must-do. The Maine author is hilarious to kids and adults, with wildly clever characters and storylines. I especially recommend “Mother Bruce” and “We Don’t Eat Our Classmates.” I laugh just thinking about them and loved reading them aloud. For the upper grades, I recommend “Amari and the Night Brothers” by B.B. Alston. My fellow librarians are accurately calling it an “urban Harry Potter.” It deals with the invisible world of the supernatural but does so in a fresh, captivating way. I’m looking forward to the release of the second in the series. For the grown-ups, I just finished “West with Giraffes,” by Lynda Rutledge. It is based on a true story of two giraffes who survive a stormy voyage to New York, then must be transported across the country to the San Diego Zoo, during the Dust Bowl years of the early 1930s. It takes turns you will never expect. I also loved “In Polite Company,” by Gervais Hagerty. It is delightful Southern fiction that takes you behind the scenes of the elite class in Charleston, South Carolina, through the eyes of a rebellious daughter. And for those who crave something off the beaten path, I recommend “Cyberweird Stories,” a book of short stories written by my local GP, D.C. Lozar. They are masterfully written and very different. I did my chores early like a good girl, so the rest of the day will find me lying abed with my nose in a book. “So many books, so little time” will surely be my epitaph. Jean Gillette is a freelance writer who takes her staycations by stepping into the pages of another world. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
JAN. 21, 2022
T he C oast News - I nland E dition
A rts &Entertainment
arts ‘Hedwig’ cult musical at Patio Playhouse CALENDAR Know something that’s going on? Send it to calendar@ coastnewsgroup.com
Performances of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” continue through Feb. 6 on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. at Patio Playhouse Theater, 116 S. Kalmia, Escondido. Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, military, and students, and $12 for youth 16 and under. Group rates are available for groups of 10 or more. For reservations, contact the Patio Playhouse box office at (760) 746-6669, via e-mail, or at patioplayhouse.com.
NEW VILLAGE THEATER
New Village Arts Theater debuts “Desert Rock Garden” Jan. 21 at Sunshine Brooks Theatre, 217 N. Coast Highway, Oceanside. Subscriptions and tickets at newvillagearts.org.
Oceanside Museum Of Art is opening three new exhibitions, includTURN TO ARTS CALENDAR ON 14
By Jean Gillette
ESCONDIDO — Patio Playhouse last weekend kicked off its production of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” an award-winning cult rock musical starring a genderqueer East German rock ‘n’ roll star touring the United States with her band. The theater will perform the musical on Friday, Saturdays and Sundays for several weeks. The musical is based on a book by John Cameron Mitchell and features music and lyrics by Stephen Trask. The story of Hedwig, played PATIO PLAYHOUSE Community Theatre’s “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” stars Amanda Blair, by both Amanda Blair and Shaun Lim in alternating above, and Shaun Lim, who alternate as the title character. Photo by Brooke Aliceon
performances, takes place in East Berlin. Hedwig decides to leave the communist stronghold with her love interest Luther Robinson, an American soldier, who eventually convinces Hedwig to undergo a sex-change operation. When the procedure is unfortunately bungled, leaving Hedwig with just “an angry inch,” Hedwig finds herself abandoned at a trailer park in Kansas, where she meets Tommy, the musician who steals her heart — and her songs. Tommy achieves rock star status and embarks on TURN TO ‘HEDWIG’ ON 14
Van Gogh exhibit comes to Fairgrounds By Tigist Layne
DEL MAR — An internationally acclaimed three-dimensional art exhibition featuring the works of Vincent Van Gogh is coming to the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience is an immersive art experience that allows visitors to see some of the world’s most famous pieces of art in one place. The show runs through March 6 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds Wyland Cen-
ter and showcases more than 300 of Van Gogh’s iconic pieces including “The Starry Night,” “Sunflowers” and ‘Café Terrace at Night.” The concept was created by French-Canadian Creative Director Mathieu St-Arnaud in collaboration with Normal Studio. “An imaginative and fully-immersive adventure, Beyond Van Gogh takes on the challenge of breathing new life into Van Gogh’s vast body of work. Through the use of cutting-edge 3D
projection technology and music to illuminate all of his genius, guests can experience the artist with all their senses,” said St-Arnaud in a statement. Montreal-based art historian Fanny Curtat, a consultant on the project, described the experience as magical and fantasy that allows visitors to “go beyond the frame.” “I think everybody needed this type of project where you're just surroundTURN TO VAN GOGH ON 14
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JAN. 21, 2022
T he C oast News - I nland E dition
Peterson family sells Escondido donut shop after 40 years By Stephen Wyer
ESCONDIDO — After 40 years of serving customers in Escondido, local landmark and community favorite Peterson’s Donut Corner is being sold to new ownership. In a post on the businesses’s official Facebook page, the Peterson family announced they had decided to sell the iconic shop, which will officially change hands at the end of the month. “With the new year comes new beginnings. It is with a heavy heart that after 40+ years, the Peterson Family has sold the donut shop,” the post read. “We thank you for all the years we were able to serve you and that you have made our little Mom and Pop shop one of your favorite landmarks in San Diego County. Maureen Peterson, who currently helps run the shop alongside her brother Ralph Peterson Jr., said that the family ultimately decided it was time to pass the business on and retire, in part due to the death of the sibling’s parents and the former owners of the donut shop, Ralph and Vera Peterson. “My mom and dad started this shop in 1981 and they’re both deceased now.. my brother and I have been running the shop and managing this business but it’s just time to retire, it’s time to say goodbye, even though that’s really hard,” Maureen said. Ralph Peterson Sr. passed away in 2011, Vera Peterson passed away in 2016. The donut shop’s new owner is 50-year-old San Diego resident Anthony Deeb,
LOURDES MORENO, an employee at Peterson’s Donut Corner in Escondido, displays a variety of donuts. After four decades, the family-owned store has been sold to a new owner, who plans to carry on the “Peterson name and tradition.” Photo by Samantha Nelson
who said that he’s excited for the opportunity and feels blessed to be able to carry on the Peterson family’s legacy in continuing the business. “When you look at the history of Peterson’s donuts, it’s pretty awesome, the family started this 40 years ago in the Escondido area… with as much tradition as this place has, I’m blessed and fortunate to have this opportunity, and I want to
carry on the Peterson name in whatever way I can,” Deeb said. Deeb has an extensive background in the medical device sales industry, and currently works at a company that develops medication and treatments for patients with psychiatric disorders. Maureen said that she’s confident in the future of the shop in Deeb’s hands. “We’re working with him and training him to
take over right now…he’s jumping in and really trying to learn everything from the managing to the baking and the frosting—he really wants to keep everything the same and maintain the same quality, that’s how we run our business and that’s what I expect he’ll do to keep the business continuing,” she said. Customers may notice a new owner around but won’t be seeing any substantial
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changes to the store or the service, Deeb said, emphasizing that he wants to keep the same feel and flavor that has earned the shop its stellar reputation in Escondido. “People shouldn’t expect any changes to the menu, the building, or anything really. For me this is about carrying on the Peterson name and tradition and not changing things—if anything, I want to try and make our service even better,” he said. The new storeowner said that beyond just running a business, he hopes to maintain and expand Peterson’s role as contributing and assisting in local community causes. Under the Peterson family, the donut shop has been active in supporting various charitable organizations and ventures in Escondido, holding fundraisers for the Escondido American Little League, Meals on Wheels, the Escondido veterans center, and numerous local churches, among other groups. “I’m a passionate person myself and I truly want to make this place better, like let’s support the community even more, let’s do more outreach, let’s connect with the medical community where I have connections, maybe we can go to the children’s hospital and do some
things to benefit everyone,” Deeb said. Both Maureen and Deeb spoke of Peterson’s exceptional legacy within Escondido, emphasizing the role that the shop’s especially loyal customer base has played in keeping the business afloat for so long. “The community really supports Peterson’s donuts…it’s a very rare opportunity to get to take over a five-star business with such an impeccable history behind it,” Deeb said, also noting the loyalty of the store’s longtime employees who will be staying on under the new ownership. “It starts with this wonderful community, and it also starts with these amazing employees, many of whom have been here for 20 years.” For the Peterson siblings, Maureen said that the the shop will always hold “special” value to them as a reminder of their parents legacy as well as the community’s extraordinary devotion to their family. “Owning this store has meant everything to us,” she said. “My mom and my dad put their heart and soul into this…they put their best product out there, they were perfectionists, and always good to their employees, this was their everything… and for us this was our home away from home.”
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JAN. 21, 2022
Sets Kitchen & Bar a dazzling addition to San Elijo lick the plate david boylan
o be honest I never really knew much about San Elijo Hills other than driving through it a few times on my way to San Marcos. A little research got me educated on this master-planned community with stellar views that was designed to offer small-town charm along with all of the conveniences and amenities that come with living near a city. The dining options were what I was interested in and those are plentiful as well, with over a dozen options including Sets Kitchen & Bar, which was my destination. Given the name, I immediately associated it with surfing given the “sets” we desire as surfers. It could also apply to the killer sunsets visible from most of San Elijo Hills. Alas, “Sets” actually stands for “San Elijo Town Square,” but given the surfing-themed décor of the restaurant, I think they are going with that version for
SETS KITCHEN & BAR owners and husband and wife team Kevin and Lan Egan. The eclectic menu features a full list of salads, burgers and sandwiches, plus creative cocktails and an extensive wine selection. Courtesy photo
now. Sets offers a nicely designed space with an open, airy feel with a spacious outdoor patio and it’s tastefully decorated. It feels like the place that locals would gravitate to, where adults can feel at home with or without kids in tow. Owner Kevin Egan is a Carlsbad native who started as a dishwasher at 15 and
has owned a similar concept for the past 15 years in Vail, Colorado. “I wanted to create a place where families are comfortable going multiple times a week,” Kevin said. “I have a wonderful wife and two beautiful daughters, so I created an environment that we as a family would go to and enjoy regularly. Sets is a family focused, locals
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driven, sports influenced concept.” Egan described the menu as “Americana Eclectic,” which is a new one for me but it really opens up a kitchen’s creativity … a little bit of everything. I’m totally fine with that as long as the quality is there. And under Executive Chef Chris McLane, Sets more than meets my expectations for
quality cuisine. Before I got into the food I noticed the very creative cocktail menu. Sets is the only full-service restaurant and bar in San Elijo, so they have made it diverse and well rounded. These specialty cocktails give you plenty of options. The R & R with vodka and lavender syrup is their most popular drink but the Smokey Marg with mezcal, Aperol Spritz and one I will be back for, the Ranch Water with Corralejo Reposado Tequila, fresh lime juice, Topo Chico and lime wedge, all sound super refreshing. The wine list was equally impressive, and I went with an A to Z dry Riesling from Oregon that is a great example of them stepping out of the chardonnay and sauvignon blanc box. Not that there is anything wrong with those wines, but if you have an eclectic menu, your wine list should have a bit of that going as well, and it does. Kevin gave me a long list of recommendations, so I opted for the Mussels Madness that features a tasty broth and plenty of bread to soak it up with. I also almost never order chicken at restaurants, but he suggested their Golden Piccata, a Sets’ twist on the traditional dish with
airline chicken, angel hair pasta, caper butter sauce, artichoke, broccoli, cherry tomato and garlic toast and it was fabulous. On the savory side of the menu, Kevin also mentioned their homemade pretzels, Bison Burger, and Braised Short Rib as favorites. As I mentioned, it’s an eclectic menu, which translates into something for everyone. There is a kids menu and a full list of salads, burgers and sandwiches. Brunch on weekends is now happening. I was told to leave room for dessert, specifically their B and T’s Sweet Treats, named after Kevin’s daughters. These are like churros with cinnamon sugar, crème anglaise vanilla ice cream and strawberries — and they are amazing. And while Sets Kitchen & Bar caters to San Elijo Hill residents, it should definitely be on the list of folks who live in surrounding communities. Check it out for sunsets, cocktails and fabulous food. And keep an eye on their website and social media for seasonal menu and hours of operation changes. Find them at www. setskitchenandbar.com or 1612 San Elijo Road, San Marcos. 442.515.3327
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ARIES (March 21 to April 19) You’re eager to take on that new opportunity opening up as January gives way to February. Now all you need to do is resist quitting too early. Do your best to stay with it. TAURUS (April 20 to May 20) Doff a bit of that careful, conservative outlook and let your brave Bovine self take a chance on meeting that new challenge. You could be surprised at how well you do. GEMINI (May 21 to June 20) You might not want to return to the more serious tasks facing you. But you know it’s what you must do. Cheer up. Something more pleasant will soon occupy your time. CANCER (June 21 to July 22) As you dutifully tidy your end-of-themonth tasks, your fun self emerges to urge you to do something special: A trip (or a cruise, maybe?) could be just what you need. LEO (July 23 to August 22) Your achievements are admirable as you close out the month with a roar. Now you can treat yourself to some wellearned time off for fun with family or friends. (Or both!) VIRGO (August 23 to September 22) Be sure you know the facts before you assume someone is holding back on your project. Try to open your mind before you give someone a piece of it.
LIBRA (September 23 to October 22) You might feel comfortable in your familiar surroundings, but it might be time to venture into something new. There’s a challenge out there that’s just right for you. SCORPIO (October 23 to November 21) Your love of things that are new gets a big boost as you encounter a situation that opens up new and exciting vistas. How far you go with it depends on you. SAGITTARIUS (November 22 to December 21) That recent workplace shift might not seem to be paying off as you expected. But be patient. There are changes coming that could make a big difference. CAPRICORN (December 22 to January 19) While few can match the Goat’s fiscal wizardry, you still need to be wary in your dealings. There might be a problem you should know about sooner rather than later. AQUARIUS (January 20 to February 18) Easy does it when it comes to love and all the other good things in life. Don’t try to force them to develop on your schedule. Best to let it happen naturally. PISCES (February 19 to March 20) A surprise decision by someone you trust causes some stormy moments. But a frank discussion explains everything, and helps save a cherished relationship. BORN THIS WEEK: Sometimes you forget to take care of yourself, because you’re so busy caring for others. But you wouldn’t have it any other way. © 2022 King Features Synd., Inc.
TRIVIA TEST ANSWERS 1. Rice 2. Complete loss of voice 3. A snail 4. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 5. Restricted 6. 5 years old 7. James Earl Jones 8. Ganymede 9. Reagan 10. Vermont
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Police under fire for sharing license plate data By Steve Puterski
REGION — Three North County police departments have been allegedly violating state law by sharing information from license plate readers, according to an investigation by inewsource. The publication reported on Jan. 6 the police departments in the cities of Carlsbad, Escondido and Oceanside have been sharing data with law enforcement agencies nationwide, although state law only allows for agencies in California to share with each other. Police in La Mesa and Coronado also were found to allegedly have violated state laws, according to inewsource. In 2017, Carlsbad approved license plate readers by a 4-1 vote, with former Councilwoman Cori Schumacher voting no, but
received pushback from the public on potential impacts and privacy concerns. Since then, the city has spent more than $1.3 million on license plate readers. After being questioned by inewsource, the Carlsbad Police Department changed its policy, as did Coronado, to share only with other in-state agencies. Oceanside police told inewsource it stopped sharing, but did not provide proof, according to reporter Cody Dulaney. In Escondido and La Mesa, the police department refused to answer questions from inewsource about sharing data and claimed they did nothing wrong. All signed an agreement with Vigilant Solutions to house data, and
the agreement included a memorandum of understanding, which CPD said prevents it from sharing data with federal agencies according to a 2018 story in The Coast News. Also, the auditor found in 2020 police agencies are keeping data longer than necessary and sharing it with others who don’t need or have a right to access it, inewsource found. Senate Bills 34 and 54 prevent state agencies from sharing data with ICE and Customs Border Patrol and coordinating with federal immigration officials. Carlsbad approved 51 license plate readers in 2017 and added 35 in 2018. In the first half of 2018, the city recorded more than 48 million license plates with 267 reports of stolen or wanted vehicles. By utilizing license
plate readers, Carlsbad police were able to recover 65 stolen vehicles and 10 stolen license plates. In addition, 63 arrests were made using license-plate reading technology during the same time period, including three people linked in separate cases of attempted murder in Carlsbad, San Diego County and Arizona. Most of the arrests were related to auto theft and have led to the recovery of other stolen property including an AR-15 rifle. Forty-four of the arrestees also had a criminal history or were on parole or probation. Escondido’s hit rate — the number of vehicles of interest detected as a percentage of the total number of scans — is just 0.9%, with more than 8 million license plate scans yielding 82,000 results.
Palomar board begins redistricting of Trustee Areas By Staff
SAN MARCOS — The Palomar College Governing Board will seek public comment regarding the redistricting of its Trustee Areas during a series of virtual meetings Jan. 29. Following the publication of 2020 census data, the Palomar Community College District is legally required to adjust the boundaries of its Trustee Areas to ensure an “reasonably equal” distribution of voters in each district. “This process will allow us to ensure that the District’s Governing Board elections remain fair and our voters in every community are adequately rep-
resented,” said Palomar College Superintendent/ President Dr. Star Rivera-Lacey. The District will host four virtual meetings to receive public comment on Jan. 29 — one for those living near the main San Marcos campus and one for each of the three education centers in Escondido, Rancho Bernardo and Fallbrook. Most notably, the 2020 census revealed an 18% variance between the most populous and least populous Trustee Areas, with the population in Trustee Area 1 growing by 22% since the previous census. The PCCD held its first trustee-area election
in November 2020. Currently: • Trustee Mark Evilsizer represents Area 1, including most of the district south of Highway 78 and west of I-15; • Trustee Christian Garcia represents Area 2, encompassing most of Escondido and the eastern third of the Highway 78 corridor; • Vice President Roberto Rodriguez represents Area 3, which includes much of Vista, stretches across unincorporated land north of Escondido and extends along the eastern side of Interstate 15 as far south as Poway; • Board Secretary Kar-
tik Raju represents Area 4, a sprawling district extending from I-15 east to near the Salton Sea; • and Board President Norma Miyamoto represents Trustee Area 5, including Fallbrook, Bonsall, east Oceanside and Camp Pendleton. The board established criteria to guide the redistricting process consistent with legal requirements with the unanimous approval of Resolution 2121615 on Dec. 7, 2021. More information about the PCCD’s Trustee Areas and the redistricting process can be accessed at palomar.edu /governingboard /trustee-area-elections/.
Allen Brothers Family
JAN. 21, 2022
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a world tour while Hedwig finds herself again shoved aside. Unwilling to rest with this fate, she begins stalking Tommy’s tour and performing at TGI Fridays restaurants adjacent to Tommy’s performance venues. The show follows Hedwig and her husband, Yitzhak, a Jewish drag queen, and is an exploration of identity and personal power. “‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’ is something I’ve wanted to do for years,” said Matt FitzGerald, artistic director at Patio Playhouse. “There was always a question of whether our audience would be ready for it. As it has become a topic of national discussion, I thought it was important to shine a light on the work of early genderqueer artists and activists. “The topics in Hedwig seem so ‘of the moment’ that it’s easy to forget that the writers were creating and performing this show more than 20 years ago. We
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ed by Vincent’s vision of the world, which was filled with joy, filled with color, filled with movement, and that he himself thought as a sort of remedy for his own ailments,” Curtat said. “To see children running around and just following the brushstrokes and the colors. It’s been truly incredible,” Curtat continued. “People are moved and I think they get to connect with Vincent in a very different way.” The show takes about an hour to go through and includes an introduction hall with panels showcasing snippets of Van Gogh’s own words; the Waterfall Room; and the Immersive Expe-
couldn’t be more excited to finally have the opportunity to produce this show.” The playhouse’s production of the musical stars dual casts on alternating weekends, along with band members Jerrica Ignacio as Skszp (piano), Matt FitzGerald as Jacek (bass), Andrew Snyder as Krzyzhtoff (guitar), and Chris Potente as Schlatko (drums). The play is directed by Juztine Tuazon, produced by Tim Arends and Matt FitzGerald, with music direction by Jerrica Ignacio and choreography by Audrey Ward. Performances of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” continue through Feb. 6 at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and at 2 p.m. on Sundays at Patio Playhouse Theater in Escondido. Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, military, and students, and $12 for youth 16 and under. Group rates are available for groups of 10 or more. For reservations, contact the Patio Playhouse box office at (760) 746-6669, via e-mail, or at patioplayhouse. com. rience room, where Van Gogh’s art is projected onto large panels accompanied by the artist’s own dreams, thoughts and words set to music. “The music plays a super important role because it’s from very different eras. It includes music from different periods and times, and that also allows to sort of bridge this gap between the 21st-century audience and the 19th-century artist. It really adds to the experience and allows us to connect with Vincent’s life and with everything that we can still learn from him and his art,” Curtat said. She added that another goal for this show is to encourage visitors to continue their art journey well after they leave.
features a talkback with Holocaust scholar Michael CONTINUED.93 FROM 7 Berenbaum. Tickets $100 at ing the4.17 “2022 Artist Al- northcoastrep.org. liance 4.28 Biennial” through May 1; “Don Bartletti: Elusive Moments–Enduring JAN. 26 Stories,” Jan. 22 through BELLY UP SHOW Si n ge r- s on g w r ite r May 1 and “Oceanside Unfiltered,” Feb. 12 through Anaïs Mitchell will be makMay 29 at 704 Pier View ing a stop in Solana Beach at Belly Up Tavern on Jan. 26, Way, Oceanside. joined by her Bonny Light Horseman band. Mitchell is NEXT AT NCRT The North Coast Reper- releasing solo music Jan. 28 tory Theatre opens the musi- via BMG. cal “Desperate Measures,” a West Coast premiere, running through Feb. 6. Tickets JAN. 28 at northcoastrep.com or call ‘IMPERMANENCE’ (858) 481-1055. The PHES Gallery offers its newest exhibition, “Impermanence,” at 2633 JAN. 24 State St., Carlsbad, through DREYFUSS ON STAGE Feb. 13. The show highlights Richard Dreyfuss will the work of four featured host a benefit reading of artists; landscape artist An“The Soap Myth” by Jeff dres Amador, glass sculptor Cohen for North Coast Rep- Michelle Kurtis Cole, woodertory Theatre at 7:30 p.m. worker and designer Wendy Jan. 24 and Jan. 25 at 987 Maruyama and printmakLomas Santa Fe Drive, Suite er, illustrator Kathi McD Solana Beach. There will Cord. PHES Gallery is open be talkbacks after each Thursday through Saturperformance. The Jan. 24 day, 2 to 7 p.m.
ARTS .93 CALENDAR Kimberly Ann Allison, 60 Carlsbad January 1, 2022
Donald Dee Brehm, 74 Oceanside December 29, 2021
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AARON YUNG, MD Interventional Cardiology
SIXTY YEARS OF TREATING EV E RY CAS E L I K E IT ’S TH E
F I G H T O F YO U R L I F E .
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