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San Diego Scene 9.2010

Capt. Thom W. Burke, new commanding officer of the USS Ronald Reagan, speaks to family, friends and the crew of the ship. U.S. Navy photos by Mass Communication Specialist  Seaman Benjamin C. Jernigan.

Capt. Thom Burke took command of the USS Ronald Reagan during change of command ceremonies on the ship’s flight deck, relieving Capt. Kenneth J. Norton, ship’s commander since May 2008. The ceremonies were held pierside at Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado. Burke had served as commanding officer of USS Blue Ridge, homeported in Yokosuka, Japan, prior to coming to San Diego.
Norton was recently selected for promotion to rear admiral and will be reporting to Commander, Naval Air Forces to await further assignment. “This has been, without a doubt, the defining tour of my naval career up to this point,” said Norton. “It has been a thrill beyond imagination. And I know there are more challenges ahead,” Norton said. He led the ship through two deployments and the recent Rim of the Pacific 2010 exercise.
“I do not expect perfection from any of you, but I do demand your best effort at every task,” Burke told the crew. “We must be model sailors who do our country credit, whether we be on the far side of the world, or right here at home”
Ronald Reagan was commissioned in July 2003, making it the ninth nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

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The California Administrative Office of the Courts will give a Sept. 8 public overview of the $633.9 million San Diego Central Courthouse proposed for a 1.4-acre site in Downtown San Diego. The briefing will be from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Downtown Information Center, 193 Horton Plaza, above the CVS Pharmacy. The AOC’s Office of Court Construction and Management will present project information and a brief overview of the draft environmental impact report, and interested parties may ask questions or provide verbal comments or submit written comments.

The proposed project — slated for the area bounded by West C Street, Union Street, West B Street and State Street — would replace the County Courthouse, the Family Courthouse and the Madge Bradley Courthouse — buildings that have been found to be unsafe, overcrowded, and inadequate for modern court operations. The project also includes a tunnel between the new courthouse and the Central Jail and a bridge between the new courthouse and the Hall of Justice. After completion of the new courthouse, the AOC intends to demolish the County Courthouse and Old Jail sometime in the future. The project would be funded by Senate Bill 1407, which finances critically needed courthouse construction, renovation, and repair through a portion of judicial branch fees, fines, and penalties.
For more information, visit: courtinfo.ca.gov/programs/occm/projects_sandiego.htm.
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Contractor C.W. Driver has begun a $2.4 million renovation of the University Club Atop Symphony Towers in Downtown San Diego, which will expand the club by 3,600 square feet on the 34th floor and include improvements in every area of the club. The club also will offer new programing, membership benefits and services. Delawie Wilkes Rodrigues Barker is the architect on the project, which will occur in phases and is expected to be complete by mid-October. Plans include an expansion and renovations to the bar with the addition of a casual dining area; renovations and enhancements to the lounge, dining and meeting rooms; the addition of four new private dining rooms and a member dining room; a big-screen multimedia room; office-away-from-office spaces; and enhanced state-of-the-art integration of technological conveniences. Club officials said it will offer members more services, including a variety of social events such as watch parties for sporting events, movies, and concerts throughout the week. Tommy Traus is general manager of the club.

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At the same time that it promoted Camille Sobrian from chief operating officer to president, the nonprofit CONNECT organization launched a series of initiatives aimed at stimulating the technology industry in San Diego. Sobrian had been COO since January 2007 and was responsible for running the organization’s 26 programs and 360 events each year.  CONNECT CEO Duane Roth will implement the organization’s new initiatives, which include the opening of the CONNECT Innovation Institute. The institute, headed by Peter Cowhey, dean of international relations and Pacific studies at UCSD, will make recommendations to policymakers on the expansion of what the organization calls the “innovation economy.” The institute also will connect local start-up companies with the San Francisco Bay Area, the largest source of venture capital in the country, and will launch a short-term jobs initiative to increase awareness of employment opportunities for scientists and engineers in the San Diego region.
In addition, CONNECT will launch a longer initiative that includes the formation of the Entrepreneurs for Young Innovators Program, where new innovations are presented to middle and high school students to encourage them to pursue science classes and careers. The program is funded by Biogen Idec.
Meanwhile, CONNECT will continue the development of its lobbying office in Washington, D.C., which is coordinated by policy director Tim Tardibono. CONNECT will add a new series of small business briefings for elected officials and their staff on Capitol Hill, called Innovation 101. Bill Walton, executive chairman of San Diego Sport Innovators, will headline the first of the new series on Sept. 14.

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The San Diego Paralegal Association is asking members and nonmembers to attend a Sept. 4 seminar on research, writing and investigation and then enjoy a Padres game against the Colorado Rockies afterwards. The seminar,  good for MCLE credit, and networking will be held from 3:45 to 5:15 p.m. in the Petco Park auditorium, 100 Park Blvd. Downtown. Registration begins at 3:30 p.m. The cost is $50 for members, $65 for nonmembers. A game ticket only for family or friends is $35. For more information, contact SDPA.Programs@gmail.com.

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Room at Valley View Casino hotel.

Valley View Casino & Hotel in Valley Center has begun accepting reservations for its new hotel that is scheduled to open on Nov. 19. The hotel features 96 deluxe rooms and 12 luxury suites. Deluxe rooms are 520 square feet and include a 42-inch HD TV. Luxury offer 1,050 square feet of living space, floor-to-ceiling windows, 52-inch HD TV, and a separate living room with a second 52-inch TV, fold out sofa bed, coffee table, sitting table, personal refrigerator, coffee maker and microwave and free wireless hi-speed Internet access. The hotel is a project of the San Pasqual Development Group Inc., the gaming corporation of the San Pasqual Tribe. Hotel information is available at (760) 291-5500.

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Seaport Village will host a “30 for 30 Carousel Challenge” on Oct. 8-9 in celebration of its 30th anniversary as a favorite tourist and Downtown destination site. For this event, 30 participants will be taking on the challenge of riding Seaport Village’s historic carousel for 30 hours. Chosen participants will be circling around the carousal through the night and into the next day in hopes of being the last one on the ride and the grand-prize winner. Riders will be tested not only on their will power to stay on the constantly rotating carousal, but will also face elimination through trivia questions. Spectators are invited to ride the carousel with contestants throughout the entire event, which begins at 10 a.m. on Friday and ends at 4 p.m. on Sunday.
Seaport Village was opened in 1980. Joining in the celebration are 14 of its original tenants, including Greek Islands Café, Asaggios, Village Hat Shop, Swings n’ Things and Apple Box Toys.

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The third annual Diwali Festival, the Indian Festival of Lights, will be staged Oct. 24 in Balboa Park with an exhibition of arts, a cultural program and procession, music, dancing and the traditional ceremonial lighting of lamps. Diwali celebrates the victory of good over evil. It is a major festival for Hindus, Jains and Sikhs and a public holiday in India. The 4 to 8 p.m. event is co-sponsored by the San Diego Indian American Society, Mingei International Museum and The San Diego Museum of Art in association with its Committee for the Arts of the Indian Subcontinent. The outdoor procession represents India’s culturally diverse regions — among them the states of Gujarat, Bengal, Maharashtra, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. The event will end with a cultural performance in the Spreckels Organ Pavilion culminating in the lighting of 1,008 small lamps. The festival also will have performances of regional dances and the garba, a dance in which all visitors may participate. Mingei International Museum and The San Diego Museum of Art will remain open to Diwali ticket holders until 7 p.m. with Indian musicians playing outside each museum and exhibitions and family activities inside.
The Festival of Lights presents lamp designs used in different eras, traditions and regions of India. Fashioned from brass in India especially for this event, more than 50 large lamps, many of them re-creating ancient designs, will be lighted at sunset. Admission is $10 for individuals and $15 for families (a maximum of six people). Advance tickets will be available after Oct. 1 at the Mingei. For more information, call (619) 239-0003.

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The Korean United Methodist Church of San Diego has purchased a 53,000-square-foot office property at 6701-6861 Convoy Court in San Diego for $5.4 million with the intent to construct a sanctuary, offices, a children’s center and a community center to serve members of the church. To assist with purchasing the property, the church was financed with a first-mortgage loan for $3.5million from the United Methodist Development Fund. Harry Stone of Voit Real Estate Services’ San Diego office represented the seller, Kearny II LLC. The buyer was represented by Inmook Hwang of American National Realty.

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The San Diego Ronald McDonald House will launch its first Red Shoe Day fundraiser from 6 to 9 a.m. on Sept. 21 by inviting 2,000 volunteers to gather donations at 250 designated locations throughout the county. Working in teams, the volunteers will collect donations in size 14 red boots made especially for the occasion and donated by Carlsbad’s Phoenix Footwear. The donations will benefit families in medical crisis at the Ronald McDonald House. Volunteers Volunteers will receive red t-shirts to wear for the event and be asked to attend a one hour orientation at a convenient time prior to the big day. “This is a great opportunity to give just three hours to support lodging and care programs at the new Ronald McDonald House and Family Care Center,” said Donna Evans, Red Shoe Day chair. To volunteer as an individual, business or a group, send an e-mail to redshoeday@rmhcsd.org or call the Red Shoe Day Hotline at (858) 598-2456.

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Simulation CPR with monitor.

A group of 35 newly trained nurses and a corps of veteran nurses recently spent a two-week orientation in a high-tech simulation lab inside Grossmont College’s new $35 million health and science complex. The new nurses were putting into practice what they had spend the past few years learning in nursing school. Debbie Yaddow,  the college’s associate dean of nursing, said Grossmont’s simulation labs with its half-dozen patient simulators have been used for the past year by Grossmont, Alvarado and Scripps-Memorial hospitals, but the most recent  contingent of trainees was the largest ever and the first to use the new labs. The nursing program now has a three-bed “intensive care unit,” a five-bed simulation lab and three regular labs, which also are used for classroom instruction. All have video capability. “This facility is fabulous because you can run five different (training) scenarios at one time without any disruption — at the old building, there was room only to do one and so the groups had to each wait their turn,” Yaddow said. “There is  a lot more space,  plus better  recording equipment for instructors and trainees to review how they performed in the scenarios. We even now have a wireless mannequin which, unlike the others, is not connected to a bunch cables. It can be transported and procedures such as turning patients and moving them onto gurneys can be practiced, since there’s no wiring to contend with.”
Jennifer Smith, who graduated in June from Grossmont College’s nursing program and was among the new nurses, said she was excited to return to the college to see the new facility which has its official grand opening Sept. 17.
“It’s incredible, the amount of room you have, and the equipment is great – I just wish I was still at Grossmont (College) so that I would get to be a student using this new facility,” said the 28-year-old East County native.
In addition to the nursing simulation labs, the health and sciences complex is full of simulation labs and training areas for other health professions and science-related programs the college has to offer.

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The Hilton Garden Inn and Homewood Suites, brands of Hilton Worldwide, have received high marks in the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index. Hilton Garden Inn achieved the highest ranking in the “Mid-Scale Full Service” category for the eighth time in the past nine years, totaling more awards than any other brand among its category. Homewood Suites was awarded the highest ranking “Extended Stay” brand for the seventh time in the category’s 10-year history. The awards are determined by seven measures in overall satisfaction: reservations; check-in/check-out; guest room; food and beverage; hotel services; hotel facilities; and costs and fees. Matt Seamons is general manager of the Hilton Garden Inn. Ann Marie Kimball is general manager of the Homewood Suites Del Mar. The J.D. Power and Associates study is based on responses from more than 53,000 guests who evaluated 65 different hotel.

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Rancho Santa Fe Rotary and Kids Korps USA are collaborating on the Sept. 3 “Swing for Kids” charity golf tournament at the Del Mar Country Club. The event will raise funds for organizations that support youth, teens ar risk and children of parents serving in the military. Although the goal is to help support Rancho Santa Fe Rotary, Kids Korps USA, Pro-Kids Golf Academy, Friends of San Pasqual Academy and YMCA Armed Services, the tournament also will promote Kids Korps Green Korps’ volunteer initiative to encourage the active restoration and preservation of the local environment.
“Swing for Kids” honorary event chair is Jenny Craig. The hosts are Madeline Paulson and Chris Penrod of the Del Mar Country Club. The tournament will include a 12:30 p.m. shotgun start, foursomes matching NHL players with members of the military, a hole in one prize for a new Honda Insight Hybrid provided by Hoehn Honda of Carlsbad and post-tournament reception and dinner. For more information, call (760) 452-2676.

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ArtWalk on the Bay, one of several events celebrating “Arts Month San Diego,” will be held Sept. 18-19 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Park, 1 Park Blvd. The fifth annual event is expected to attract more than 40,000 spectators. There will be more than 100 artists creating a chance to view and purchase thousands of pieces of art from oil paintings, sculpture, photography and more. Live musical performances will be held on stage throughout both days. The event was founded 26 years ago by a group of artists and art lovers to bring together all facets of the arts in San Diego and to give individuals the opportunity to own original pieces of art. In 2006, the same team that produces Mission Federal ArtWalk in Little Italy began hosting ArtWalk on the Bay at the request of both artists and art lovers.
Leaders from several arts organizations in San Diego joined together to launch Arts Month San Diego. A cross-section of arts and culture programs will be showcased throughout the month with participating galleries, artist-run initiatives, public art museums, performing arts events and festivals. Major events include Art San Diego, Contemporary Art Fair, ArtWalk on the Bay, Art of Photography Show, San Diego Film Festival and an exhibition organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego Downtown called “Viva La Revolucion,” which will feature the work of 20 street artists . For more information, visit rtsmonthsd.com.

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SkinMedica of Carlsbad has contributed $100,000 to UCSD to help launch a clinic that would provide specialized care for patients with melanoma or those with the potential for developing melanoma, a type of skin cancer. The Pigmented Lesion and Skin Cancer Clinic is directed by Richard L. Gallo, a scientist and physician. SkinMedica said it will also commit a $1 donation from the sale of every SkinMedica sunscreen product sold globally to fund skin cancer research and detection. “There is a great need for this service in San Diego and we are happy to bring this long-awaited project to our community,” said Gallo. “Melanoma, when caught early, is 90 percent curable. Dermatology is at the front line of this battle. It is our responsibility to diagnose early.”Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers and accounts for nearly half of all cancers in the United States according to the American Cancer Society. More than 1 million cases of non-melanoma skin cancer are found in this country each year. The American Academy of Dermatology said Basal Cell Carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer in the U.S. and the world and the number of cases continue to rise due in large part to unprotected exposure to the harmful rays of the sun. Melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, is the most common form of cancer in young adults (25-29) and the second most common form in adolescents and young adults (15-29) according to the American Melanoma Foundation. The facility would be the first pigmented lesion screening clinic in San Diego.

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Viejas Casino in Alpine has named an 18-year veteran of the gaming industry as its new general manager and added a new vice president of marketing and a vice president of human relations. David Williams becomes general manager after most recently being vice president of operations for Harrah’s Entertainment. His experience includes management work at U.S. and international resorts, riverboat and Native American gaming operations. He recently coauthored the Prentice Hall textbook “Casino Gaming Methods: Games, Probabilities and Controls,” and has authored a number of textbook chapters, peer-reviewed journals and articles for industry journals.
Holly O’Brien was named vice president of marketing. She was a marketing executive at Harrah’s St. Louis, where she launched two new food outlets,  a nightclub and a hotel expansion, and Harrah’s Ak-Chin in Phoenix. She had been director of marketing at Joe Boxer, where she rolled out concept shops nationwide, and has also worked at Kraft Foods in consumer promotions. Laura Brown serves as vice president of human resources. She more than 17 years of human resources experience in the high-tech and financial services industries. Her career has included responsibility for up to 3,000 employees across North and South America.

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The $54.5 million headquarters building and academic instruction building of the Marine Corps Special Operations Command at Camp Pendleton have been completed. The buildings were designed by RJC Architects in partnership with RQ Construction Co. of Carlsbad. The 89,000-square-foot headquarters building includes command offices, auditorium, medical department and a compartmentalized information facility. The academic building is 21,000 square feet. The complex sits on 33 acres of the Marine Corps base and also includes vehicle maintenance facilities, armory, paralof and a supply warehouse designed and built by RQ Construction. “This is a central place for special operations personnel to train, plan operations and maintain their equipment,” said Michael Cather, project manager for RJC.  “This new headquarters brings them closer together as a command and improves their operational effectiveness.” Earlier this year RJC Architects, in a joint-venture design/build partnership with Hansel Phelps, Soltek Pacific and Joseph Wong Design Associates, was awarded a contract for a $127 million 1,600-unit residential community on the Marine base. RJC Architects also planned and designed the $14 million lodging facility at Camp Pendleton. The new 50,662-square-foot, four-story lodge includes 69 ocean view rooms and suites, a landscaped courtyard and children’s play and picnic areas.  RQ Construction constructed the lodging facility situated atop Stuart Mesa.

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Applications are now available for the East County’s largest Business Showcase and Expo to be held Sept. 23, 2010 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the  Elk’s Lodge, 1400 E. Washington Ave.,  in El Cajon. This year’s event has added complimentary workshops on effective use of social media. The business expo is a collaborative effort of the Santee, La Mesa and San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce. The general public is encouraged to attend and admission is free. Exhibitors may apply for a booth by contacting the Santee Chamber of Commerce, the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce or the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce at (619) 440-6161,

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Rendering of San Diego Spectrum Center.

Multifamily project developer Wood Partners LLC has purchased a 5.9-acre site in the Spectrum Center business park and plans to develop a $90 million, 379-unit luxury apartment community. Construction is expected to start this month and the first units are to become available for lease in the first quarter of 2012. The project will include two separate apartment buildings over two levels of basement garage with 750 parking spaces. The property is located in the master-planned, 244-acre San Diego Spectrum business and residential community. It was owned by Sunroad Enterprises, a local real estate development firm that envisioned the apartment complex as part of its 40-acre office, residential and retail center that was stalled during the recession. Wood Partners will revive the apartment community using the original plans and building permits, which it also purchased. The apartments at  8798 Spectrum Center Blvd. will be centered on a pool area with cabanas, a spa, barbeque pits, a waterfall and trellises. Wood Partners also will build a two-acre public park on a parcel of land in front of the project that is being designed and will be owned by the city of San Diego. Funding for the acquisition was provided by a private equity real estate fund. Chase Bank is providing the debt for construction and Ed Rosen of Cushman & Wakefield’s San Diego office brokered the transaction. The general contractor for the project is Cobalt Construction.

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Jean Isaacs San Diego Dance Theater has partnered with several community organizations and venues for the 12th annual Trolley Dances from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 25-26 and Oct. 2-3. This year, the site-specific dance project travels from the County Administration Building to The New Children’s Museum to the Hilton San Diego Bayfront with stops in between for dance numbers created by Jean Isaacs, Monica Bill Barnes of New York and choreographers Isabel Beteta de Cou, Mexico City, Bradley Lundberg and Patricia Sandback. Led by volunteer guides, riders get on and off the trolley at specific stations to view the pieces, which are set in unexpected locations. Each choreographer has chosen a site along the route and will create a new piece uniquely suited to that location.
Trolley Dances ticket holders receive free all-day Trolley Passes; free admission to The New Children’s Museum for up to two children accompanied by a paying adult; half price drinks at Vela Restaurant and Odysea Bar, San Diego Hilton Bayfront. Tickets are $15 and $30. For tickets and information, visit sandiegodancetheater.org or call (619) 225-1803.

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The San Diego Woman’s Club will host an Ice Cream Social and open house Sept. 26 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the San Diego Woman’s Club. The event is free and open to the public and includes free ice cream and free tours of the clubhouse. The clubhouse is at 2557 Third Ave.  For more, call (619) 436-6777.
Greener Dawn in Solana Beach will hold four five-day Building Performance Institute (BPI) affiliate training courses in September and October in which employers can receive reimbursements for sending their employees. BPI is the nationally recognized certification and credentialing organization for residential energy efficiency and was named by the Department of Energy as the standard required for contractors in the Home Star program. Greener Dawn in conjunction with Efficiency First, a national nonprofit trade association, has gained access to the state’s Clean Energy Workforce Training Program reimbursement grant to reimburse employers $1,040 on the $1,499 BPI analyst certification course. The course entails 40 hours of training with three classroom days and two field training days along with the written and field exams. “This grant is a great opportunity for companies looking to participate in Home Star,” says Courtland Weisleder, president of Greener Dawn. “It allows employees to become BPI trained and certified while helping employers limit their expense significantly.”

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Shannon King, an entrepreneur who owns multiple companies in two states, will be the principal speaker at a Sept. 10 seminar sponsored by the National Association of Women Business Owners San Diego. The event will be held from noon to 1 p.m. at Brandman University, 7460 Mission Valley Road, San Diego. King’s presentation, “Be a Road Warrior in a Technology World,” will focus on using smart phone business applications to run a more productive business, making the most of social media and integrating the Internet with traditional marketing. Attendees will learn more than 30 free technology tools and applications to save them time and money. NAWBO San Diego members can attend at no cost, while the fee for visitors is $25. Box lunches will be provided. Online registration and more information are available at nawbo-sd.org.

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We Want Your Opinions on San Diego’s Big Issues In the coming months, Probosky Research (one of California’s leading opinion research firms) will continue its partnership with SD METRO to survey San Diego residents about topics of interest to our readers. We’d like to throw open the door for suggestions for topics. What do you want to know? What do you think you know, but aren’t sure? What are you certain you know, but want to prove it beyond doubt? Ideally, we’d like to see questions that have to do with public policy.

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