CARMEL VALLEY NEWS www.delmartimes.net
Volume 30 Number 11
May 22, 2014
‘Across the Universe: A Tribute to the Beatles’
■ Find out which local teams recently won championships. Pages 20-22.
■ Canyon Crest Academy is gearing up for its Student Film Festival. B1
■ For photos of social, school and community events, see pages B1-B28.
CARMEL VALLEY NEWS An Edition of 3702 Via de la Valle Suite 202W Del Mar, CA 92014 858-756-1403 www.rsfreview.com
About 380 supporters of Canyon Crest Academy attended the sold-out Canyon Crest Academy Foundation’s annual gala, “Across the Universe: A Tribute to the Beatles,” May 16 at CCA’s Proscenium Theater. The gala recognized the 10th anniversary of the school and the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ debut in the United States. (Above) Enjoying themselves at the event: Teresa Barnes, Jasmine Madjidi, Alyssa Bacheron, Emily Wang, Grace Frederico and Skyler Stewart. Photo by Jon Clark. See more photos on page B14. For photos online, visit www. delmartimes.net.
Solana Beach City Council approves $80,000 for construction of Veterans Honor Courtyard BY KRISTINA HOUCK Solana Beach is one step closer to having a special place to honor service members. In a unanimous vote, the Solana Beach City Council May 14 approved $80,000 for the construction of the Veterans Honor Courtyard at La Colonia Park. Currently in the city’s Public Improvement Grant fund, the funds come from the former Solana Beach Redevelopment Agency and were originally designated for the park.
“I thank you for the years of continuous support of veterans, by the council, the mayor and the community,” said Randy Treadway, commander of Solana Beach Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5431. Plans for the courtyard are complete, but funds are needed before construction can begin. The project is estimated to cost between $160,000 and $200,000, said City Manager David Ott. As of the May 14 See COURTYARD, page 19
Del Mar City Council hears probable construction costs for new city hall, civic center BY KRISTINA HOUCK A new city hall and civic center could cost Del Mar between $9.8 million and $17.9 million, according to a report presented to the City Council on May 19. The total project estimates include construction costs, as well as design, engineering and permitting costs, soft costs and construction contingencies, explained John Heusner, director of Cumming Corporation, a Carmel Valley-based project management and cost consulting firm. The firm looked at costs for three different city hall and civic center scenarios. In the first scenario, just the construction of a 9,250-square-foot city hall, 100-seat town hall,
15,000-square-foot plaza, 50-75 surface parking stalls and demolition of the current facilities was estimated at about $6.7 million. In the second scenario, the construction of a 10,000-squarefoot city hall, 150-seat town hall, 15,000-square-foot plaza, 150-space parking structure and demolition of the current facilities was estimated at about $12.3 million. The third scenario featured the building program of the second, but with a 75-space parking garage under the buildings and a 75-space parking lot. Construction was estimated at almost $11 million. Under the impression the project would cost less, See COSTS, page 19
New principal selected for Carmel Valley Middle School The San Dieguito Union High School District (SDUHSD) recently announced the selection of Cara Couvillion as principal of Carmel Valley Middle School, Bjorn Paige as principal of Diegueno Middle School, and Tina Peterson as the director of human resources. Couvillion currently serves SDUHSD as assistant principal at Torrey Pines
High School. Prior to joining SDUHSD in 2011, Couvillion served as principal of Julian High School from 2009-11 and was assistant principal at Julian High School prior to her appointment as principal. She taught math at both the middle and high school levels for a decade in Louisiana, Northern California, and See PRINCIPAL, Page 19
After recovering from fall, skateboarder talks about helmet safety By KRISTINA HOUCK Just seven months ago, Carmel Valley teenager Alex Hargis was in a coma. Now, he’s recovered and talking about the importance of helmet safety to help prevent others from also sustaining traumatic brain injuries (TBI). “Why should you wear your helmet? Because you don’t want to die or be a vege-
table for the rest of your life,” said Alex at a May 14 presentation to his seventh- and eighth-grade peers at Carmel Valley Middle School. He has made a similar presentation at Solana Pacific Elementary School. “If my accident and this presentation saves one person’s life, or keeps them from going through what I had to go
through and what my family had to go through, then this is all worth it.” An eighth grader at Carmel Valley Middle School, Alex, then 13, was skateboarding without a helmet in front of See HELMET, Page 19
Paige, Alex and Dave Hargis PHOTO/KRISTINA HOUCK
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PAGE A2 - MAY 22, 2014 - NORTH COAST
New parking service launches in Del Mar BY KRISTINA HOUCK A new parking service has launched in Del Mar — just in time for the busy summer season. Whether dining at a downtown restaurant or shopping at a local boutique, community members and visitors can now park at the Ranch and Coast Plastic Surgery lot in the evenings on weekdays and all day on weekends. “A lot of people are reticent to park in private lots,” said Dr. Paul Chasan, founder and medical director of Ranch and Coast Plastic Surgery, which opened at 1431 Camino del Mar in February 2011. “I thought GoSpot Parking would be perfect, because once you put a public parking sign on our lot, people will feel comfortable parking here. This is the first time we’re trying this in Del Mar.” Founded in 2013 and based in Austin, Texas, GoSpot Parking allows building owners to rent their unused parking spaces to people for a small fee. To utilize the service, users visit www.gospotparking.com, enter their license plate information and make an electronic payment. “The city gets to increase the supply of public parking, drivers get more spots to park in, and building owners get paid for letting others use their parking spaces,” said David Jaros, founder of GoSpot Parking. The GoSpot Parking program launched in late April at Ranch and Coast Plastic Surgery’s parking lot. It is the company’s first lot outside of Austin.
“Parking is so tight, especially during the beach and race season,” said Jaros, whose Del Mar friend initially expressed interest in bringing the program to the city. “It seems to be addressing a need out there.” In September 2011, the Del Mar City Council adopted an ordinance that permits public parking in the city’s central commercial zone when businesses are closed. GoSpot Parking’s permit is the first under this ordinance. “They specialize in after-hours parking,” said Matt Bator, a senior planner with the city. “The company seems to be a good fit for what the code allows.” Of the 18 spots in the lot, 14 are approved for off-hours public parking. Two spots remain reserved for Pebbles by the Beach, a clothing boutique that’s attached to Ranch and Coast Plastic Surgery and open on the weekends. The remaining two spots are handicapped accessible spaces. The lot is open for public parking for $2 from 7-9 a.m. every day, for $6 from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. Monday through Friday, and for $8 all day on Saturday and Sunday. “A lot of people don’t want to come and do business in Del Mar because of the parking issue,” Chasan said. “If we do this, maybe others will do this. All you need is a few lots doing it and people will know that they can come to Del Mar and park.” For more information about GoSpot Parking, visit www.gospotparking.com.
Community members and visitors can now park at the Ranch and Coast Plastic Surgery lot at 1431 Camino del Mar in the evenings on weekdays and all day on weekends. Courtesy photo
Solana Beach City Manager to retire in November BY KRISTINA HOUCK After serving the city for more than a decade, Solana Beach City Manager David Ott announced he plans to retire in November. “I love serving you all, I love serving the community, I love serving this organization and working with all the great employees here,” said Ott, who announced his last day with the city will be Nov. 28, during the May 14 council meeting. He informed council members about his decision to retire during a closed session prior to the meeting. “But I’ve decided it’s time to turn to the next chapter in life.” With six months left on the job, Ott said he has a lot left to accomplish. “Rest assured, I won’t slow down,” he said. He added he would make the transition to a new city manager “as seamless as possible.” Ott has worked for Solana Beach since July 2003, when he was hired as fire chief and director of public safety. He was later also named fire chief for Del Mar, a position he held until October 2009. While serving as fire chief for both cities, he became deputy city manager for Solana Beach in 2005 and city manager in 2006. In 2010, Ott announced he would retire at the end of the year but agreed in January 2011 to continue as interim city manager. In December 2011, he agreed to a two-year contract with an option for a one-year extension. “We really, truly appreciate all the time and effort,” said Mayor Tom Campbell, following Ott’s announcement. The council will begin the recruitment process for a new city manager, Campbell said, and will update the public when advised to do so by the city attorney.
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NORTH COAST - MAY 22, 2014 - PAGE A3
Foal born at Del Mar Fairgrounds during Bernardo Fire evacuations BY KRISTINA HOUCK As a wildfire blackened nearly 1,600 acres between Rancho Peñasquitos and Rancho Santa Fe last week, new life was sparked at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. A horse gave birth to her first baby — the morning after evacuating a Rancho Santa Fe farm during the Bernardo Fire, which broke out just before 11 a.m. on May 13 in northern San Diego. “If you can imagine Rancho Santa Fe on Tuesday, this whole place was chaos,” said Chase B. Casson, who owns the 5-year-old mare named Time Given and her yet-to-benamed newborn. “But it really went extremely smoothly,” added Tish Quirk, who led the foaling process and stayed with the new mom and baby until they returned home in the late evening on May 16. Time Given was the last of roughly 40 horses evacuated from Dave and Kathy Sherer’s Rancho Santa Fe farm, where Quirk runs her breeding, foaling and training business. The mare had been staying at the property as she was expected to give birth around May 6. “She had been on close watch for quite a while,” explained Quirk, a fifth-generation horsewoman who has been in the business for more than 30 years. “That morning, before any of the fires started, I looked at her and said, ‘We’re going to have a baby tonight.’” Because her facility has necessary equipment and more space, she didn’t want to leave with Time Given unless she felt they were in danger. She also didn’t want to add unnecessary stress to the pregnant mom. “If I had felt it was safe, I would have stayed here for the sake of this mare and foul,” said Quirk, whose La Costa home was later evacuated due to the Poinsettia Fire in Carlsbad, which erupted about 10:30 a.m. May 14. “Once we got the first call, I started packing immediately. But I didn’t make the final decision until I saw that black smoke start running this way,” Quirk said. “While we were loading, there was ash falling on us.” Casson, his wife Amy, and their three young daughters stayed with their horse at the fairgrounds until 2:30 a.m. At
6 a.m., Quirk called the family with news: Time Given was having a baby. Her daughter was born soon after. “It was stressful because everybody was on pins and needles for the last week and a half waiting for this racehorse to be born,” Casson said. By the time the Carlsbad family arrived to meet the new addition, a crowd had gathered around the newborn, which was helped to her feet. “We shooed the visitors away so the girls could see up close,” Quirk said. “I opened the stall door and the baby went straight to the little girls, and let each of them pat her little wet face.” Although she doesn’t have a name yet, the Casson’s daughters have been calling the foal “Ember” and “Tribal Fire,” in honor of her father, “Tribal Rule,” a leading California sire of 2-year-old progeny earnings in 2007, 2011, 2012 and 2013. He suffered a fatal heart attack May 1. Time Given’s father, Point Given, is an American Hall of Fame champion, who won the 2001 Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes, along with the Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year, when he was 3 years old. In 2010, Point Given was voted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. The Casson family hopes their newest horse continues the winning lineage. “She’s going to be an awesome racehorse,” Casson. Currently feeding and resting at Quirk’s maternity ward, the mare and foal will soon join the Casson family’s four other horses across the street at Rancho Santa Fe’s Osuna Valley Stock Farm. The couple leases the roughly 14-acre farm to board their horses. All three of their girls attend Horizon Prep in Rancho Santa Fe, and their oldest, Caroline, is a competitive hunter-jumper rider. Casson’s company, Casson Capital Inc., has hosted field trips for homeless children from the San Diego Rescue Mission at the couple’s farm three times. Children from the Rescue Mission will once again visit the farm on May 31 to groom, feed and ride the horses.
Caroline, Chase and Audrey Casson.
Time Given with her yet-to-be-named newborn. Photos by Kristina Houck
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NORTH COAST - MAY 22, 2014 - PAGE A5
Two Republicans challenge Assembly Canyon Crest Academy student wins at National Science Competition Speaker Atkins in 78th District BY JOE TASH Voters who live on San Diego County’s coast from Solana Beach south to Imperial Beach have a choice of three candidates for the 78th Assembly seat — incumbent Democrat Toni Atkins, who just took over the powerful post of Assembly speaker, and two Republican challengers, Kevin Melton and Barbara Decker. Under California’s open primary system, all voters from the sprawling district, regardless of their party affiliation, will be able to vote for any of the three candidates in the June 3 primary. The top two vote-getters will face off in the November general election. Neither Atkins, a former San Diego councilwoman and the Assembly’s first openly lesbian speaker, nor Decker, a La Jollan who owns a real estate investment business, made themselves available to be interviewed for this story. Melton, who grew up in the Los Angeles area and now calls downtown San Diego his home, worked in advertising sales, served as associate publisher of a magazine for seniors, and is also involved in his family’s real estate investment business. If elected, Melton, 52, said he would donate about half of his $95,000 annual salary to schools and senior programs. (As speaker, Atkins earns $109,584. Legislators also earn a per diem of $141 per day when in session.) “I lead by example. I want to show I’m not there to find a new career and power and move up the ladder. I’m there to help people and do what I can do to make a better life for everyone,” he said. While Melton has not previously held elective office, he has been involved in politics, running unsuccessfully for the Los Angeles City Council in 2003 and 2007, and also serving on the campaign finance committee for Kevin Faulconer’s recent successful bid for San Diego mayor. Among his key issues, said Melton, is reigning in taxes, and making sure tax dollars are spent wisely. For example, he said less money should be spent on school administra-
tors’ salaries, and more on paying for teachers and classroom supplies. In general, he said, he would ask hard questions to make sure tax money is going where it’s supposed to. As a former publisher of a magazine for seniors, Melton said he wants to protect programs for seniors, such as Meals on Wheels and transportation. “Those things can’t be cut out. We have to take care of our elderly. That’s very important to me,” See DISTRICT, page 6
Canyon Crest Academy student Yousuf M. Soliman won 1st place awards at the United States Army, Navy, and Air Forcesponsored 52nd National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS), held April 23-27 in Washington, D.C. Yousuf competed in the national symposium with a research project on “Personalized Medical Treatments Using Novel Reinforcement Learning Algorithms.” He was awarded a $12,000 undergraduate tuition scholarship in the category of mathematics and computer science. A tri-service panel of judges reviewed the students’ written papers and heard their oral presentations delivered at National JSHS. Winners were selected based upon the quality of their experimentation, understanding of the research, and contribution to the field. Yousuf progressed to the national symposium after competing in the California (Southern) Junior Science and Humanities Symposium, sponsored by University of California Irvine. Yousuf advanced to the Na-
tional JSHS competition among some 8,000 high school students nationwide and competed among the top 96 students representing each of the 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the DoD Dependents Schools of Europe and the Pacific. The National JSHS Program is a tri-service-sponsored effort aimed at encouraging and recognizing the next generation of scientific talent. Sponsors include: Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics & Technology); Office of Naval Research, Arlington, VA; and Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Washington, DC., in cooperation with higher education. The National Junior Science and Humanities Symposia (JSHS) Program is administered by the Academy of Applied Science, a nonprofit educational organization located in Concord, New Hampshire. For more information on JSHS and the Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP), visit www.jshs.org or www.aeop. com.
TPHS alumnus is USD valedictorian Jonathan Fuller of Carmel Valley is the 2014 valedictorian for the University of San Diego’s School of Business Administration. Fuller will graduate May 25 with bachelor’s degrees in finance and real estate. His grade point average is 3.99 At USD he was awarded the Daniel B. Woodruff Memorial Scholarship from the university’s Burnham-
Moores Center for Real Estate and the International Council of Shopping Centers Foundation Scholarship. He also earned Departmental Honors in Real Estate. He served for two terms as president of the university’s Real Estate Society and participated in the University of Southern California’s International Real Estate Competition and the NAIOP
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(Commercial Real Estate Development Association) University Challenge. He was also a member of the International Honor Society Beta Gamma Sigma and the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. He plans to pursue a career in commercial real estate and an MBA. Fuller graduated from Torrey Pines High School in 2010.
PAGE A6 - MAY 22, 2014 - NORTH COAST
Local students earn Del Mar/Solana Beach Optimist Club’s Vic Kops Children’s Challenge Awards BY KAREN BILLING Seven thoughtful and talented students were honored by the Del Mar/Solana Beach Optimist Club’s Vic Kops Children’s Challenge Awards at Lomas Santa Fe Country Club on May 14. One of the club’s most favorite traditions for the last 32 years, the awards aim to recognize children in a league all their own and encourage them by honoring them. The students were honored for their achievements in the categories of fellowship, science, community service, humanities and arts. Maia Espinosa, a fourth grader at Sage Canyon, was honored in the category of fellowship for bringing her community closer. Maia was nominated by neighbor Kelly Cavanaugh. Even though Maia is quite shy, she started an Art in the Park program for younger kids in her neighborhood of Palacio Del Mar last summer. Every week had a different theme and Maia led the young kids in making art projects, reading books on the theme and enjoying a snack. “The kids had a phenomenal time and the parents loved it,” Cavanaugh said. The turnout grew from 10 to 20 kids and it was so popular that Maia has continued to offer the program once a month during the school year. “I’m so proud that this shy young girl came up with such a big idea and is carrying it out on a consistent basis, that’s huge,” Cavanaugh said. “I see a future teacher.” Solana Vista second grader London Gilbert was honored in the category of science. “She’s very kind, she’s a dreamer, she’s a hard worker and in science she has a real knack for creativity and medicine,” said her father Douglas, a teacher at Canyon Crest
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Children’s Challenge Awards winners Nika Smolina, Kara Martin, Pranaya Malkani, Sofia Kone, London Gilbert, Maia Espinosa and Julia Fuchs. Photo by Karen Billing Academy. Gilbert said London is always the first to come and help her brother or sister when they get hurt and reads up on books about medicine at the library. As far as her creativity and innovation, London invented a device called “The Crumb Catcher” that attaches to a high chair to help with her little brother’s inability to keep a tidy dinner area. Kara Martin, a second grader at Sage Canyon was awarded for her community service work. Mom Julie said one day at the dinner table the family talked about how they are grateful for what they have and acknowledged that there are those in the world who are less fortunate. The next day, without any prompting, Kara said she wanted to do something to help others so she started thinking of ways she could sell the “millions” of rubber band bracelets she had made. She set up a fundraiser sale in her neighborhood and made $75. Kara donated the funds to Habitat for Humanity — the organization will honor her this month as being one of the youngest donors they have ever had. “I’m very lucky to be her mom,” Martin said. Originally, Ravi Malkani nominated his daughter, Pranaya, in the category of science. But the Children’s Challenge Awards volunteers noticed that the second grader at Torrey Hills was more of a writer and decided to honor her in the category of humanities. Pranaya has mastered various forms of technology to showcase her creativity. She publishes her stories on a computer and illustrates her work using the Paint program. She has learned to use many computer tools on her own and is very encouraged by her teacher Susie Hopper. Del Mar Hills sixth grader Sofia Kone was honored in the category of arts for her achievements in ballet and figure skating. At age 6 she was one of 20 dancers selected out of thousands who auditioned to go to the School of American Ballet at Julliard in New York. At 6, she also started figure skating and when her family moved to San Diego she started training at the UTC Ice Arena in the Future Stars Program that feeds into U.S. Figure Skating. Sofia gets up at 3:50 a.m. in the morning five times a week to practice before school. She continues to dance ballet and became student council president.
DISTRICT continued from page 5
Melton said. Melton touted his business experience, particularly in marketing and fundraising, as attributes he will bring to the table if elected. He said he has an ability to get things done, and would seek corporate sponsorships to help pay for programs, instead of relying on more taxes. “We can’t keep taking it from the people, (adding) new taxes, that’s got to stop,” he said. Melton faces a tough challenge as he goes up against an opponent who holds the top leadership position in the Assembly, and also enjoys a strong
registration advantage — according to the county Registrar of Voters office, 39 percent of district voters are registered Democrats, with 25 percent registered Republican and 29 percent declining to state a party preference. Atkins also holds a commanding lead in fundraising, reporting $252,000 in contributions from Jan. 1 through March 17, the latest reporting period on the California Secretary of State’s web site. Melton said he has raised about $8,000, and the web site does not list any fundraising activity for Decker. Atkins, who replaces Los Angeles Democrat John Perez as speaker, will have to move fast to make her mark as Assembly leader, as she must step down in 2016 due to term limits.
Her teacher, Allison Warren, said all of Sofia’s activities have taught her to be disciplined, strategic and organized. Warren said Sofia always strives to improve. “She’s such an amazing student and person and we’re so proud of her,” Warren said. Sycamore Ridge fourth grader Julia Fuchs was honored in the category of arts for her accomplishments as a pianist. Her piano teacher Debbie Moore said she has a natural skill and is one of her hardest working students — recording over 100 consecutive days of practice, on track to meet 200. Moore said at piano recitals she captures the audience with her performances and inspires younger students. A well-rounded artist, Julia is also an ice skater who is up before school for 6 a.m. practices and is also an accomplished watercolor painter, making a calendar of her works for her family every year. “Julia has a very bright future and is truly deserving of recognition,” Moore said. First grader Nika Smolina was honored for her drawing skills in the category of arts. Her teacher at Del Mar Heights, Teresa Solis, showed off one of Nika’s art pieces, which depicted Solis with purple hair. Solis said Nika has been in America for less than two years, but has already made a big impression with her artistic talents and kind personality. Nika also enjoys reading and showed off her singing and acting skills in a recent school production of “Seussical the Musical.”
Melton said he would also like to see age limits for legislators at the state and federal levels. “We need to start looking at some age limits in politics,” he said, which could be set at 75 or 80. At that point, he said, “it’s time to let someone else with different views and different ways get in there.”
Congratulate your graduate Do you know any seniors graduating from Torrey Pines High School? Make them smile by giving them a “Congratulations TPHS Grad” yard sign and balloons. “Congratulations TPHS Grad” is a 18 X 24 yard sign and gold mylar balloons. The sign and balloons will be delivered and placed in the front yard during the week before graduation. A gift card which says “GOOD LUCK AND CONGRATULATIONS” will accompany each delivered order. Deliveries will be made only to Carmel Valley, Del Mar, Rancho Santa Fe and Solana Beach. Anyone wishing to order
the yard sign without balloons and delivery must pick up the order at the school on June 10, between the hours of 2:30 and 6 p.m. All proceeds go to support the Torrey Pines High School Scholarship Fund. To place your order, please visit www. tphssf.org.
NORTH COAST - MAY 22, 2014 - PAGE A7
Venkat S. Iyer (left) with his honor and (above) as a young chess player.
CCA senior Venkat. S. Iyer achieves National Chess Master status The U.S. Chess Federation recently named Canyon Crest Academy senior Venkat S. Iyer a “U.S. National Master.” Venkat, a Torrey Hills resident, is in the 99.6th percentile of all chess players under 18 and the 98.6th percentile of all registered chess players in the United States. He is also ranked in the top 15 among 17-year-olds. Ven-
kat started playing chess for fun at age 4 and competitively at 7. He has continued to show tremendous enthusiasm and passion for the game, sacrificing many weekends and holidays to pursue this endeavor. He has won many prizes in various city, state, regional and national tournaments. Cyrus Lakdawala, an International Master based in
the San Diego, is his coach. Venkat continues to play in the weekly tournaments at the San Diego Chess Club at Balboa Park and in other regional tournaments. He said he is excited about the opportunity to play at the prestigious Marshall Chess Club when he goes to New York University this fall.
Your Local Connection…. to the International Art Market Freeman’s, a full-service auction house, is pleased to bring our expertise closer to you. Our local representative will be in the La Jolla and North County area from June 2–4 to evaluate Asian works of art for our upcoming auction. Items of interest include jades, porcelains, bronzes, textiles, furniture, and scholar’s objects as well as classical and modern paintings. For a complimentary and conﬁdential appointment or to discuss consignment options, please contact:
Scripps Foundation funds ‘new’ Torrey Pines Docent truck Thanks to a generous $6,000 grant from Ellen Browning Scripps Foundation, the volunteers of Torrey Pines Docent Society have a much-needed “gently used” truck (above) for utility use in the reserve. Primary uses for the
truck include moving materials and volunteers around the reserve — a large area that includes the “Extension” north of Carmel Valley Road, the margins of Peñasquitos Lagoon, and the main reserve. In addition to the
Scripps grant, taxes, fees, and a new windshield were provided by Torrey Pines Association, www.torreypines. org, founded in 1950 by Guy Fleming. Fleming was the reserve’s original “ranger” and naturalist, hired by Miss Ellen Browning Scripps.
Michael Larsen 818.205.3608 firstname.lastname@example.org Fine Chinese white jade gu vase qing dynasty Sold for $170,500
PAGE A8 - MAY 22, 2014 - NORTH COAST
Perfect execution: U-T cartoonist’s delightfully grim new book piques Hollywood’s interest BY PAT SHERMAN When a father draws cartoons for a living — especially when he draws, really, really good Pulitzer Prizewinning cartoons — you can bet his children are going to put in a few requests. For Steve Breen, hired in 2001 as editorial cartoonist for the San Diego UnionTribune (today U-T San Diego), his sons’ requests for zombie or superhero sketches allowed him to step outside the weighty world of politics and healthcare, and reconnect with the wideeyed doodler of his youth. “Not only is it a great way to bond with my kids, but I have a blast creating these things,” the North County resident wrote about the cartoons, caricatures and sketches he drew for his 9-, 12- and 15-year-old boys. “I feel like I’m that 12-year-old back at Saints Simon and Jude elementary school (in Huntington Beach), hunched over my desk, scribbling with a pencil, grinning like an idiot — no editors to please, no readers to offend, no deadlines to meet. ... It’s just drawing for the sheer fun of it.” The father-son collaborations formed the basis for a new collection brimming
Steve Breen with mutant monkeys, raptors and zombie eradication tips for the coming apocalypse. Breen will sign copies of his new book, “Unicorn Executions and Other Crazy Stuff My Kids Make Me Draw,” as well as limited edition prints, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 27 at Warwick’s Bookstore, 7812 Girard Ave. in La Jolla. Breen said his agent suggested he gather the grisly ’toons he’d drawn for his boys over the years for a book. “I probably had 100 or so that I had done over the years, but I needed more,”
Breen Brain Tacos: One of many suggested remedies for a potential uprising of the living dead offered in Steve Breen’s new book, “Unicorn Executions and Other Crazy Stuff My Kids Make Me Draw.” Courtesy Breen told this newspaper group. “A lot of the drawings that I had were centered on Star Wars figures or D.C. and Marvel (comic) superheroes. None of those were allowed to be in the book because of copyright and trademark issues, so I started a Twitter account called Sketch Monkey, where I would draw these whacky drawings and post them online … (which) kind of forced us to regularly produce these things. “The art just had to make my boys laugh,” he said. That was really the only requirement.” Naturally, Breen’s adolescently adult voice shines through in the book. “A lot of times it was, ‘Hey dad, let’s do something with zombies’ and then I would kind of add a twist to it,” he said. “They wanted to see a T-Rex eating someone, so instead of making it some random person, I made it Donald Trump.’’ Other illustrations depict actress Betty White punching
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out a gorilla, Disney princesses aged beyond perfection and a “Bounty” hunter aiming his riffle at a role of paper towels. Breen — also author of several decidedly tamer children’s books — has piqued Hollywood’s interest with his latest, off-kilter collection. An agent in Los Angeles was able to market the concept as a movie, with Universal Studios winning a bidding war that included four other studios. Scott Stuber, whose films include the comedies “Ted” and “Identity Thief,” will produce, Rawson Thurber (“We’re the Millers”) is slated to direct and Simon Rich (“Saturday Night Live”) will write the script. Breen said the movie as currently envisioned is influenced by the illustrations in “Unicorn Executions” and the story of his creative father-son collaborations. “The idea was to make these drawings come to life,” said Breen, a graduate of UC Riverside who landed his first job at Asbury Park Press in New Jersey. “I don’t want to reveal too much, but the movie involves live action and CGI (computer-generated imagery) mixed together — kind of like ‘Night at the Museum.’ ” Breen said he bears in mind that movie studios frequently acquire the rights to books that never make it to the screen. “We’re hopeful though,” he said. “We think it will happen.” Breen, who has three other children, including two young girls and a baby boy, said his daughters were “too sweet … and too busy watching ‘Frozen’ 900 times a week” to take part in the book. Working with his sons, he said he tried not to push the gore envelope too far. “You’re still a father at the end of the day and you don’t want to expose them to an excessive amount of human suffering,” he said. Drawing a salary As a political cartoonist for U-T San Diego, with syndication in newspapers across the country, Breen has until 6:30 p.m. each day to pore over the day’s news — or suggestions from U-T editors — that will help him come up with
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NORTH COAST - MAY 22, 2014 - PAGE A9
Local resident’s Goodsnitch app shines light on the positive BY KAREN BILLING Local resident Rob Pace is hoping his Goodsnitch app will help celebrate everyday heroes, people who go to their jobs each day often without ever being recognized for their hard work and service. Goodsnitch allows customers to quickly use the app to single out someone who is doing a great job. “Where else can you make someone’s day in 30 seconds?” Pace said. Pace said Goodsnitch is unique because often online commenting is negative — his app is trying to shine a light on the positive. “Our goal is to recognize one million people, we’re on our way,” said Pace. “Our country needs more positivity across the board, at least that’s our vision.” The Goodsnitch app launched in Apple App Store and Google Play Store in August of 2013. Pace’s past experiences helped inform his vision for Goodsnitch. In his 20 years as a senior partner at Goldman Sachs, he observed over and over how important it was for customer engagement and for the team to recognize employees — to keep great people and maintain a successful culture is an intangible asset for a business. “It always struck me how critical that was,” Pace said. After leaving Goldman Sachs, he served four years as the national chairman for The Salvation Army, where he worked with people whose sole focus was to serve 30 million Americans in need, without ever expecting recognition or thanks. “Goodsnitch was a head and a heart mission, to give new tools to encourage recognition and to give feedback that elevates people,” Pace said. In creating Goodsnitch, Pace was confident in his knowledge of good business practices but he was admittedly unsophisticated in the field of technology. He knew he needed a system that would work efficiently for some of the biggest brands in the country so he hired Pivotal Labs, a leading software development firm. Goodsnitch allows people to give feedback on any business anywhere and do so in 30 seconds. “It’s really, really fast,” Pace said.
Rob Pace Goodsnitch delivers every piece of comment back to the businesses. Most are positive and are posted in the Hall of Heroes. The comments with more constructive criticism go to the business privately. Pace said that’s how he thinks business should be handled, “celebrate publicly, fix privately.” Pace said it’s a great free product for small businesses and they can respond back to customers through the app with thanks or offers. Pace’s favorite feature of the app is the Heromaker, noting that positive feedback is relayed back to the businesses, whether they are signed up to the app or not. Pace said he is always
amazed by the stories they receive and would love to get more of them out into the world, such as the employee who helped save a lost dog or the waitress who served a homeless man a free meal with dignity. Current local heroes include Kathy, who works at the Solana Beach Amtrak station, recognized for making a daily commute more pleasant, and Sarah, who works at VG Donuts in Cardiff, who was thanked for her cheerful attitude while serving a long line of customers Pastor Miles McPhearson of the Rock Church often uses the app to recognize employees but also used it to recognize a woman who worked for US Airways. When the woman was asked how she felt about being singled out as a hero, she said she wanted to cry because her job is of-
ten a thankless one and she gets “beat up” by customers every day. “It just shows how powerful it is,” Pace said. Goodsnitch also has a product for its larger clients, such as the Dallas Cowboys, San Diego Padres and Life Technologies — they are able to purchase and plug Goodsnitch technology into their own product. Pace said having bigger companies pay for their custom products allows them to offer Goodsnitch to nonprofits free of charge. “It’s more than just a business for us,” said Pace. “My passion is to encourage people who don’t ever get the encouragement and recognition they deserve.” To check out the Hall of Heroes, visit goodsnitch.com. The app is also available in the Apple App Store and Google Play.
Solana Beach School District wellness committee names Get Movin’ winners
Solana Beach School District launched its wellness committee in September 2012 with representatives from each school site and the district office. The committee’s mission is to provide resources for employees to help them achieve lifelong total health through communication, awareness, motivation and competition. Winners of Solana Beach School District’s most recent employee wellness challenge were recently an-
nounced. The Get Movin’ Challenge ran for six weeks and encouraged employees to exercise at least 20 minutes per day. The challenge was voluntary and open to all employees. Minutes were tracked individually and by the site employees worked at. Grand prize winner: Joe McDowell, Skyline School Site Winner: District office Individual Site Win-
ners: Maureen Barney and Eve Eisenhauer, Carmel Creek School; Christopher Quigley, Child Development Center; Dawn Fairchild and Cindy Musella, district office; Jackie Lawson and Joe McDowell, Skyline School; Sherry Doolittle and Paula Turner, Solana Highlands School; Jessica Hanan and Patti Petranoff, Solana Pacific School; Peter Grogan and Kyle Stock, Solana Santa Fe School; Marci Greim and Nicole Steel, Solana Vista School
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PAGE A10 - MAY 22, 2014 - NORTH COAST
Understanding immunotherapy in cancer: Q&A with La Jolla Institute scientist Amnon Altman BY KRISTINA HOUCK Researchers from La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology and their collaborators from other institutes recently discovered a potential new target for cancer immunotherapy. Led by Dr. Amnon Altman and Dr. Kok-Fai Kong, the study revealed a new way to block the function of CTLA-4, an immune inhibitory checkpoint receptor that could help fight cancer. An antibody that blocks CTLA-4 is already in use for advanced melanoma. Altman, who serves as director of scientific affairs and head of the division of cellular biology at the Institute, recently sat down with this newspaper to talk about the study, as well as the current and emerging role of immunotherapy in cancer. What immunotherapies are currently approved to treat cancer? Altman: There are, broadly, three types of cancer therapies, which we can define as â€œimmunotherapy.â€? The first one is the use of antibodies that recognizes proteins that are expressed on the surface of cancer cells, but not â€” or at a much lower level â€” on the
Dr. Amnon Altman surface of normal cells. Those are potentially targets for these antibodies, which bind to these tumor cells and can kill them. This is an immunotherapy that targets, specifically, the tumor itself. There are two other forms of therapies that take advantage of the power of the immune system to fight cancer. Those are therapies that do not target the cancer directly, but instead target the immune system and are aimed at enhancing the immune system in order to increase its ability to fight cancer. The first one is the use of cancer vaccines. There are different types of vaccines that contain proteins or antigens that are specific to the
tumor cell. The idea is â€” just as you immunize children against infectious diseases â€” that by vaccinating a patient with proteins that are specific to their tumor cells, you wake up the immune system and allow it to better fight the cancer. The third type of cancer therapy, which currently creates a lot of excitement in the field, is immunotherapy based on engineering certain types of cells of the immune system â€” T lymphocytes (or T cells) â€” to recognize a tumor and kill it. What types of cancers have shown the greatest response to immunotherapy, so far? Altman: It depends on what type of immunotherapy, but for the type of immunotherapy that relies on transferring the patientâ€™s own T lymphocytes â€” which have been engineered to recognize and kill the cancer cells â€” the type of cancer where this has been mostly applied is certain forms of leukemia, which are cancers of the blood cells. For the type of immunotherapy that is based on blocking an inhibitor pathway in order to allow a more effective immune response against the cancer, it has been most successful with melanoma. Why do you think immunotherapy is a major approach in cancer therapy? Altman: It would be hard to define an immunotherapy strategy that
would be most effective or most successive in a global way for all cancer. Different types of cancer differ in the way they interact with the immune system. Depending on the cancer type, you would need to select the appropriate type of immunotherapy. I think that taking advantage of the immune system to fight cancer, even in the future, will probably need to be used in combination with other therapies like chemotherapy. But perhaps, if we find effective ways to use immunotherapy against cancer, we can lower the amounts and toxic side affects of traditional therapies like chemotherapy and radiation therapy. What are the key findings of your study? Altman: One way the immune system regulates itself is to put the brake on excessive undesired immune responses. This is important in order to prevent autoimmune diseases, but the price that we pay for that is this same inhibitor mechanism has the potential to inhibit a beneficial immune response against cancer cells. In this case, we would like to block this inhibitory mechanism. One major such inhibitor mechanism is carried out by a cell called â€œregulatory cell.â€? This is a type of T cell that puts the brake on an excessive immune response. Those are the kind of cells that, eventually, we would like to deplete or get rid of in cancer in order to have a more effective immune re-
sponse. One important mechanism to which these regulatory T cells inhibit a response is through a receptor that they express on the surface. That receptor is called CTLA-4, itâ€™s the CTLA-4 protein. CTLA-4 is a target for antibodies that are currently being used in the clinic to treat melanoma patients. Antibodies against CTLA-4 actually have shown some very encouraging results in melanoma patients, in terms of prolonging their survival. In this case, we are talking about blocking antibodies that block the inhibitory activity of CTLA-4 from outside the cells. These antibodies do not get inside the cells; they bind to CTLA-4 on the surface of these regulatory T cells and block these regulatory T cells from exerting their inhibitory activity. Our finding also relates to CTLA-4, but now we are talking about biochemical changes that occur inside the cells when this receptor is stimulated. We identified a novel interaction between immune cell receptor CTLA-4 and an intracellular enzyme Protein Kinase. We found that that enzyme is required for the immune suppressive activity of regulatory T cells. In the absence of this enzyme, regulatory T cells were not able to inhibit anymore. What is one thing cancer patients should take away from your study? Altman: Potentially, we have a new way of interfering with the activity of a receptor that plays a very imSee SCIENTIST, page 16
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