The Coast News Group

Past Columns

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Kelp forests are one of the most productive ecosystems

  You see it when you gaze out over the ocean from one of our sublime coastal bluffs. It looks like an oil slick in the water about half-a-mile from shore.

Local beaches to get sand

  Over the past two months, a 315-foot boat named Liberty Island has been stalking close to our coastline. This vessel is the dredge doing much of the work to complete the 2012 Regional Beach Sand Project. This $28 million undertaking is a joint venture of the San Diego Association of Governments, the State Department of Boating and Waterways, and the coastal cities involved.

Journey of the Torrey pine

It is the rarest pine tree in North America and it only grows on a small stretch of San Diego coastline.

Politicians don’t really deserve deference

So Hank Williams Jr. did the unthinkable. He bluntly spoke his mind while being interviewed on a television program, and has since lost a job he’s had for 20 years. Good ol’ Hank made an analogy about describing a round of golf between President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner last summer as “Hitler playing golf with Netanyahu”…who just happens to be Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. The cherry on his crap sundae was his vitriolic soapbox rant calling Obama and Vice President Joe Biden “the enemy.” Now why do people think Fox News tends to incite people into making horrifically inappropriate and divisive comments? But who’s Hank Williams Jr. you ask? And why should we care? (We shouldn’t.) For that info, let’s back up a tad. Hank Williams Jr. is a country/southern rock/“outlaw” southern musician. His song titled “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight” had been used by Monday night football since 1989 to give it that down-home, hillbilly feel that apparently really resonates with professional football fans. The annoying catchphrase, “Are You Ready for Some Football?” has been bastardized and co-opted by too many groups and dullards to even begin to discuss. But let’s look at this fake debacle with a bit of rationality and reason.   First, the fact that he made this comment on the Fox Morning Show makes me think that he felt like he was in his element and only being watched by geriatrics who’d been up since their 4 a.m. whiz. He made a couple silly, off-the-cuff remarks because he knows very well that’s why people have him on Fox News. You make an uninformed, blanketed reactionist statement, and it gets pushed along the 24-hour blah-gosphere, selling records and pushing ratings for those pukes at Fox. But here’s where I do that whole flip flopping thing: Since when does ESPN give two flying pucks about political rhetoric or something that a hayseed musician said on a completely different network? Granted he compared the president to Hitler, but I know I’ve used the term Hitler on numerous occasions. I think I’ve even written about it right here. Immature and lazy, yes, but its fairly common and making a dumb analogy about Hitler doesn’t have quite the same sting that it did almost 70 years ago. When his Jack Daniel’s-inspired morning dialogue had ended, Hank realized that he’d stepped in a huge pile of oops, and he quickly posted an apology-without-apologizing, saying that he knew the comment was extreme but it was simply to illustrate a point. Which, I agree with. He made a dumb comparison. He didn’t say that Obama orchestrated the Holocaust and was directly responsible for the murder of 11 to 14 million people. The fact that those two d-bags were golfing instead of working just proves the gigantic disconnect between people who have real jobs and politicians. Yep, I called the president and the speaker of the house d-bags. And I’m not apologizing. Granted, ESPN was well within their right to stop using that (dumb) song and not associate with Hank Williams. What I’m guessing happened was they were looking to find something less late ‘80s and smelling of old garbage and whiskey, and Mr. Williams Jr. ran his mouth at just the wrong time. Problem solved. In conclusion, a celebrity said something stupid, made a contrite apology, and all is well with the world. ESPN and hordes of liberal twits got their feelings hurt by a pointless comment, said celebrity is “fired,” ouchy feelings assuaged, and the hippies douse themselves in patchouli in celebration. P.S. No one should really care about this. It’s a non-story. With all that’s going on in the world, this shouldn’t captivate us like it does. Have we really gotten this bored and apathetic? And yet, here I am, throwing six hundred words at it. Hey, who knows, maybe Obama will invite Hank Williams Jr to the White House for a beer. Which makes for another boorish high gloss story. And I guarantee I’d write about that too.

Diary entry No. 9.16.2011: Blackout

TIMESTAMP: 3:38 p.m., Thursday Sept. 8, 2011 …I hope I have enough of a charge left in my laptop for this missive to make its way out to the rest of the world. They have to know what’s going on here. The sun is still out but we have precious few hours left to try and fortify our home. Is that BBQ I smell? Have we turned on each other already? TIMESTAMP: 4:19 p.m.  …My neighbor crashed through my door, handgun and pitchfork at the ready, clamoring for ice and batteries. A handful of Cs and Ds appeased her for the meantime but what about the next time? To be fair, that handgun looked a lot like a cell phone and the pitchfork may have just been a fork. I can’t be blamed. There are no lights. TIMESTAMP: 7:07 p.m. …it’s here. The sun has dipped and we’re only seeing what the moon and our convenience store flashlights allow. Stylish LED candles surround my living room and line my stairs. It looks like a Bed, Bath and Beyond sponsored séance is about to start.   It’s so dark, I can barely make out my wife’s features. She feels so cold and stiff in my arms. That was a coat rack. Sorry honey. I can hear the ramblings on neighboring radios. The resistance is strong but I can hear people outside my house, very obviously plotting and planning. THEY WILL NOT TAKE MY XBOX!!! Or my family. TIMESTAMP: 8:49 p.m. After spending two hours scavenging for any food left in our home,  I found an old can of beans that I had to cut open with an dull utility knife..using my shoe as a hammer. I’m kind of miffed to see my family cheerily chomping down PB&J with Cheez-its and lemonade. TIMESTAMP: 10:17PM LIGHTS! Let there be light! How did I ever manage to survive without my precious illumination? The whir of technology and flashing digital readouts shine back to life. Oh DVR, wherefore art thou, DVR? Do you know what this blackout actually did? It made families spend time with each other. It forced neighbors to talk to each other in their fronts yards, small animals were sacrificed (in the form of BBQ’d chicken and burgers), dads and sons played catch, and pick up games of Wiffleball were found on both ends of the cul-de-sac. Wives and daughters chatted and giggled too-loudly about their husbands not knowing where spare batteries were located. It was like the blackout forced a impromptu block party on my street. Maybe we need to have an electrical Armageddon a little bit more often. But something is still puzzling me and a simple question still lingers: How did one maintenance workers mistake in Arizona manage to turn out the lights for around four million people? Discuss.

No one makes it out of life alive

As another year slowly creeps across the calendar, life and death usually pop their silly heads up and beg another conversation. The final breath that walks us through our last steps towards what will continually be the original enigma: What happens after we die? That’s the ultimate question. The quintessential quandary that we all dance around on a daily basis. Our hesitating pulse about what comes after we let go of our last breath. I’m guessing the Christians who are holding this are going to expect me to spew some wonderfully angelic missive about divine acceptance, bright lights, relatives, St. Pete, and Pearly Gates. Unfortunately, that’s Hollywood filling your heads with antiquated nuggets of pride and pompous declarations from an old book that still doesn’t make a whole lot sense. Being an agnostic on good days, and an atheist on the rest, I’m guessing death is more like a long journey down a hollow black tunnel ending in a nice long nap. Also known as simply losing your consciousness. Unless you croak in some horrific accident or something. So, yeah, try and avoid that. Regardless of what every religious group wants you to think, we’re all just a breathing bag of blood and bones. Sentient tissue that for some reason thousands of years ago, became aware of itself. Now we fear death. And the worst part is we waste hours or days of our life worrying about how it’ll eventually end. Or even worse we spend time worrying about how our sack of flesh is going to be presented to our grieving loved ones. Personally, I don’t care what you do with my body. But after watching CSI enough, I’d rather be torched and just dumped somewhere that I might have liked. Drop me off at BevMo, the pitcher’s mound, Stockholm, into my Mesa Boogie, or anywhere that isn’t going to creep my family out too much. And people are so distraught at funerals. I’d rather just have everyone show up at my house and have a good time. I’ll come back and haunt all you jerks if you have some sappy memorial that involves sob stories and tears. Enjoy the fact that we were all alive at the same time and got to revel in sharing our space on earth. Tip your glass and have a good time. That’s my idea of a send off. As dreadfully a cliche as it is to mention enjoying every day and telling those around you how much they mean to you, I’ll do it anyway. We’re only on this muddy rock for a short time. It’s up to you how you spend your consistently dwindling time here. Work, bills, and stress will always be there for us to wear throughout life. Shed those gremlins and grab a smile occasionally. And try not to take yourself too seriously, because no one makes it out of life alive.

How to collect after judgment: Part 2

At some point my client and his wife realized that the money given to the decorator was not being used for its intended purpose — furniture, accessories, etc.

Post judgment recovery: How to collect?

This column is the first of a two-part column on how to collect on a judgment you have obtained from the courts. Look for the conclusion in the next issue.

Luck helps in missing persons cases

Missing person cases are seemingly a common assignment for P.I.’s, but truthfully, they’re not. In fact, I’d be surprised if half of the P.I.’s even knew where to start, unless they had law-enforcement training, particularly with the F.B.I.

Inside Oceanside: One step forward, two steps back

It’s time to do-si-do and do that good old Oceanside square dance where you put one step in and one step out: let’s move ahead while we also slip back.

Inside Oceanside: Make your voice heard

Would you believe it if I told you that we have a world famous rock star buried in Oceanside?

Inside Oceanside: Make your voice heard

If you ever felt guilty about not participating in your own city government, please let me humbly suggest that this Tuesday you can make up for all those missed city council meetings by showing up at the South Oceanside Elementary auditorium.

Shooting at transit center raises questions

When the district attorney declined to bring charges last February in the fatal shooting of a 21-year-old Oceanside man by a security guard during a fight at the Vista transit center, there were many questions left unanswered. We do know that sheriff’s deputies are reported at the time to have said the guard fired twice on the night of Sept. 11, 2009, one bullet glancing off his hand. A witness, the victim’s girlfriend, said that the guard hurled insults at her relating to her weight. At the district attorney’s office, there was no elaboration on why charges weren’t filed. A spokesman said that’s the “usual” practice when a decision is made not to act. Public records act watchdogs tell me it tilts more than way too far toward windmills to try and pry anything about the incident from the district attorney. Mum has pretty much been the word at the sheriff’s since the shooting, too. The ubiquitous cameras in and around the transit centers are likely to have caught a lot of it on tape, probably from more than one angle. I’m sure it would be a legal arm and a leg, futile at that, to get a viewing of that footage, too, unless it became evidence in a formal trial. The premise here is that we have a legitimate interest in how business is conducted at public spaces such as the transit centers in Vista, a key Sprinter stop and depot for a spoke of bus runs. It wouldn’t hurt, either, to get a decent idea of just what behavior would be so out of bounds as to elicit a response involving force from armed security personnel. If it gets to trial, a civil case filed last May on behalf of the estate of the deceased, Anthony G. Wacker, may yield an answer or two. Might it lead to a strengthening of the screening and training a potential officer must undergo before donning the shield and the uniform of the North County Transit District security force? Would that the incident itself set off such re-examination. The complaint, filed in Superior Court in Vista, states that the guard, Sam Tavallodi Jr., who is named as a defendant along with the NCTD itself and the security contractor, Heritage Security Services, “ … pressed a firearm against Anthony G. Wacker’s back and threatened to shoot him. Tavallodi then shot Wacker twice in the back, thereby causing his death.” In the back? The jockeying in this case continues in January. A case management conference is scheduled for Jan. 7 at the Vista courthouse and the next of a series of hearings on motions a week later. If there’s anything to poet John Donne’s indelible line that each man’s death diminishes me, I’m asking if we can gain something by Anthony G. Wacker’s death. Are procedures and practices in place that would mitigate, if not prevent, a shooting death under these circumstances for a 21-year-old? Department of Clarification: In the rush to publication last week, it turned out not to be clear in this column just who wrote the article I drew so heavily on (“What Good Is Wall Street?”) and where it appeared. The author is John Cassidy and it appears in the Nov. 29, 2010, issue of the New Yorker magazine. The Coast News regrets any confusion or frustration this editing glitch may have caused.

Something feels a little familiar …

These headlines lately about how Wall Street movers and shakers are throwing lavish parties for the holiday season, one featuring a performance by the hip-hop star Lil’ Kim dressed up as a black cat, reminded me to look for article I’d heard about called “What Good is Wall Street?” The hosts are reported not to be celebrating as much about extravagant year-end bonuses, but instead about a mood of rosy optimism in the financial world that happy days, if not here again already, are surely close to returning again for the long term. To Wall Street, the late summer-early fall of 2008, when the system folded in on itself only to be rescued by government intervention, is a long time ago. Now what about the rest of us? The stories of bonhomie at the Battery also brought to mind something that has stuck since I read it more than a year ago in a column by the economist Paul Krugman, published in July 2009. The column came out just as investment banker Goldman Sachs reported record quarterly profits and gave out bonus money comparable to the heady pre-crash days of the run-up of the real estate market, hefty hedge fund profits and the lucky streaks in general of the high rollers. Adding it all up, Krugman writes that it means Goldman is good at what it does. It also means that the compensation system there that helped put us in the dog house in the first place remains pretty much intact. Further, as he notes, “ … by rescuing the financial system without reforming it, Washington has done nothing to protect us from a new crisis, and, in fact, has made another crisis more likely.” I sure hope not, but what’s that got to do with anything? In the Cassidy article, a full-length magazine feature, the suggestion is strong that it’s business as usual once more by the pared-down big players like Goldman and the investment arms of institutions such as Bank of America, Citibank and JP Morgan Chase, whose bank branches dot the North County landscape like so many In-N-Out Burger places and Jack in the Boxes. The article also gets you to wondering about the inherent worth of this brokerage and investment banking function; or, in other words, why are these Street people are so highly paid? One leading economist tells Cassidy that they’re basically a utility that moves capital through pipelines and channels much as a water district moves H20 around and delivers it to the customers. Someone said toll takers. At best, that makes these financial folks middle men and middle women. Here comes the money train. Switchman, hit the button and send it into credit-default swaps. Now someone has to be the go-between and send out the chits that come in to wherever, granted. But what social purpose beyond that is being served here by the high financiers who apparently are willing to spend as much as $400,000 to rent a big place in the Hamptons for the summer? Here’s a sample of some of the factoids generated by the New Yorker article: — The chairman of Britain’s financial watchdog, the Financial Services Authority, says a lot that happens on Wall Street, and in other financial centers around the world, is a “socially useless activity.” He says activities are engaged in that add no real economic value even though they generate revenue and profit. This is called extracting “rent” from the real economy. — Look at all the profits produced by businesses in the U.S. as a big cake. Twenty-five years, the slice cut for the financial firms, was around one-seventh. Last year, it was more than a quarter. — In 2006, pay in the financial sector was some 60 percent higher than in other sectors. At Goldman Sachs, average pay jumped last year by 27 percent, or to $340,000. — A top senior officer at the Bank of England says it’s in the interest of bank managers to “make mirages look like miracles.” — An anonymous blogger cum Wall Street insider with the handle “The Epicurean Dealmaker,” asks his colleagues to question whether their work is “worth more to society” than that of, say, an elementary school teacher, a firefighter, or an infantry soldier in Afghanistan. “Good luck with that,” he blogs. As for me, I guess it’s caveat emptor, let the buyer beware, ratcheted up another notch.

What was behind the Escondido bomb house?

Was it a dispute over severance pay that led a man to turn his rented Escondido house into a manufacturing plant where accidents happen? Did he think his best source of start-up capital would be a big bank, like the Bank of America? He had an account there into which the telecom company that fired him made a direct deposit of his pay. Was it severance pay, the $3,000 that his employer directly deposited in his account shortly after firing him three years ago this month? Or was it an overpayment, as the ex-employer alleged in a lawsuit that resulted in a judgment against the dismissed worker? Whatever it was, George Jacubek, the occupant of what prosecutors called a bomb factory near Nordahl Road and El Norte Parkway, is said to have signed and dated photographs of three different heists — one netting only $1,480 — at branch offices of Bank of America. The last job, which netted $10,400, took place this past July at a branch just down the street from his former employer’s place of business in Carmel Valley. The alleged total take was just shy of $55,000. How many grenades could you fabricate with that kind of money? Do we have here a disgruntled ex-employee, now none too gainfully self-employed, fuming, steaming and planning over the nearly three years since his firing to make a statement and make things right? Does he assuage his feelings of disgruntlement by showing a thing or two to his ex-employer, a company called Via Telecom, and anyone who gets in the way? It’s a theory to be entertained. Real and present danger is a different matter altogether. On Nov. 18, a landscaper at the Jacubek property stepped on what would look to us like a patch of granulated sugar that exploded and sent him to the hospital with severe injuries. The next day, authorities shut down Interstate 15 for three hours to detonate a half-dozen canisters of chemicals in the backyard. Over the next two days, it became more and more apparent that the place was far too dangerous to be in and around, no matter how savvy the most elite bomb squad would be. Then, 12 days later, on Nov. 30, Sheriff Bill Gore declared that the only way to neutralize the threat was to torch the place. Nine days later, on Dec. 9, by remote control, it was. By all available accounts, the planned burn leveled only the Jacubek residence, leaving but a fireplace and chimney behind, and damaged nothing else. The night before the big burn, I drove over to Escondido and joined the television crews and sheriff’s deputies at the corner of Via Alexandria and Nutmeg Street. (Nordahl changes names to Nutmeg north of El Norte). We were escorted a couple of football fields down the way to the edge of Via Scott. A “for sale” sign hung from a post. A thick stand of trees and large shrubbery a few hundred feet away hid the house from view. We could see the top of a section of a 16-foot wall built to keep the fire from jumping onto the closest neighbor’s house. Banks of lights bright enough for night baseball lit up the scene. Teams of deputies went door to door through the neighborhood to ensure that households had evacuated or planned to leave. I went back there again after the burn to see that the shrubbery in the yard was intact and still camouflaged the house, or what was left of it. A neighbor across the way on Via Alexandria was settling back into her house, her friends who’d presumably put her up saying goodbye and driving away in a black SUV. A generator was on, humming and rumbling, powering the bank of blazing lights. A mobile command center was parked along the curb. The wall still stood and the house it shielded was dark, just as it had been those four nights earlier. Motive? Who knows what might lurk in the dark corners of the souls of men who, however misguided, feel wronged?

The world’s latest super hero: my husband

I enlisted my nephew to help me with my annual, absolutely-must, summer garage clean-out. Since my children had the bad grace to grow up and leave home, I now turn to the next generation, as my back gets dicier. It was glorious to have a big, strong, bright 16-year-old willing to lend me a hand. OK, fine. He did more than lend a hand. He did it all. But I directed. As utterly delightful it was having him do all the heavy lifting, his company had additional and unexpected bonuses, as well. First of all, he had his iPod at the ready and swiftly figured out how to plug it into one of the old TVs. It was great to have “music to clean by” and to our mutual amazement, I liked most of his playlist. We were happily bopping and hopping as the garage got sorted. The only glitches were his techno selections. I kept asking him if they were stuck in a loop (or “Is the needle stuck?” in my generation’s terms). He kept laughing at the question. I am also beyond fortunate that I have a 16-year-old nephew who isn’t mortified when his 61-year-old auntie starts dancing in public. I kept it to a minimum, but still … Then, to make it more than a pleasant chore, this manchild kept me laughing for four hours. You sort of had to be there, but the basic theme was his uncle, my husband. He has quietly observed my taciturn, bright, eccentric spouse for years and has created a hilarious alter ego for him. I think it all began when he found out his uncle was a Green Beret during Vietnam. My husband joined the Special Forces so he could be a political advisor who used words rather than guns, and spent a fascinating but fairly uneventful year as a liaison with a mountain tribe village. However, my nephew prefers to put forth the premise that my husband is some sort of super secret spy brain who actually keeps the world safe for freedom — and it is hilarious. “Uncle Lon isn’t magic. He’s a scientist. It’s just a science that we are not familiar with,” he explained with a grin. As we sifted through the junk (mostly collected by said husband), my nephew created various heroic scenarios for his mysterious uncle. “Uncle Lon,” he began, as he picked up a tangled fishing rod, “defeated the Nazis from an alternate dimension, with just this.” Throughout the afternoon, he ad-libbed with each new, odd item we unearthed. “See this paint roller?” he grinned. “Uncle Lon brought on the final defeat of Genghis Khan with just this roller and a can of indoor/outdoor acrylic gloss.” Observations included the fact that Uncle Lon had beaten Sun Tzu at chess, several centuries ago. In addition, he defeated a clan of ninjas with nothing but a hangnail. His uncle had, it seems, dethroned the pharaohs with just a bamboo pole and a pipe wrench. He had also overthrown several South American dictators with nothing but a Ka-bar knife and the half-used roll of duct tape we found. By now I was crying from laughing so hard, waiting to hear what my mythic husband had done with the brass hinges or the box of sprinkler pieces we just found. When we got to the gardening detritus, it seems that the uncle was actually raising a super-strain of acid-resistant trees in our backyard (this is where my nephew generally encounters his uncle). When asked why the nation might need acid-resistant plants, he retorted, “Well, there’s a reason but we, of course, are not privy to it.” He finished by noting that his uncle also had a private line at the DMV. Now that’s a super power.

Hanging backstage with Lemmy at The Belly Up

Back in 2000, Motorhead frontman and cult icon Lemmy Kilmister, along with rockabilly guitarist Danny B Harvey (Lonesome Spurs), and former Stray Cat Slim Jim Phantom, met by pure chance while recording parts for an Elvis tribute album. Afterward, the guys were all hanging out at the studio when they struck up a kinship for their love of playing oldies like Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran and Johnny Cash. They decided it’d be fun to start a band where they could cover some of their favorite 50s songs and add a bit of their own rock ‘n’ roll twist at the same time. The result of this became known as The Head Cat, a band little-known outside their loyal circle of fans, which tours sporadically around the U.S. playing smaller venues, giving their fans a great opportunity to see them play in such an intimate setting. I’ve now been to two Head Cat shows and each time they get better and better. It’s something that both fans of Motorhead can appreciate as well as their parents. Anyway, I was really excited to see that they were coming to The Belly Up because its one of my favorite places in North County to see bands. A friend and I actually headed over to the venue a few hours before the show to do a little Q&A with Lemmy and it was by far one of the coolest experiences in my life so far. When we arrived, much to my surprise, it was actually Lemmy (and not a tour manager or PR rep) that greeted us and led us backstage into the greenroom where we could sit and talk. All three of us sat at a small wood table atop of which sat nothing more than a bottle of Jack Daniels, a pack of Marlboro reds, and a half-empty shot glass of whiskey and cigarette butts. I can’t tell you how cool this was. Lemmy is a fascinating character. We spoke for about an hour, talking about everything from life, philosophy, Elvis, capitalism, corporate greed, pretty much anything you can imagine, even long after the interview was over. At one point he even started very sincerely asking me about my own life and what I did for work (aside from writing), and not only did he listen to me wholeheartedly, he actually offered his advice. That led him to talk about how he feels corporations are using the “bad economy” as a scare tactic to force less wages on its employees just to increase their bottom line. In that thick, heavy English accent and gruff, gravely voice he said, “It’s bulls—-. The economy isn’t as bad as they say but corporations will tell you that so they can cut your pay and tell you you’re lucky to be working while they line their pockets with more money. Do you think any of the CEO’s are hurting like you are? No they’re not. Its complete rubbish.” It was so surreal. Here’s a guy who’s going down in history as one of the greats — a legend, cult icon, someone I grew up listening and partying to, someone I totally idolize and adore, and here he was actually sympathizing with me. When we first arrived I was on the verge of throwing myself down at his feet bowing while crying, “We’re not worthy!” and now, here’s he is offering me smokes and intelligent, thoughtful conversation over whiskey. Truly unbelievable. Since it’s been so long since The Head Cat released their one full-length album, “Fools Paradise” (2006), I had to ask about new material. He told me they just recorded their entire second release in less than four hours and plan on releasing it sometime later this year. Once we finally wrapped up, we went home grabbed our friends, and mobbed back down there and had one of the best nights I can remember. The show was great, the band was amazing, and I got to watch one of my idols prove he’s the real deal when it comes to rock n roll. Be sure next time you see The Head Cat coming through that you check them out; it’ll go down in history as one of the best times ever, even if you don’t get to hang out with Lemmy.

Accidental singer/songwriter on her way up

It takes more than talent to make it as a successful artist (or anything for that matter). You have to be strong, ambitious, determined and undeterred by everyone else’s doubt or else you won’t make it. More than anything, you’ve got to believe that what you’re doing is something truly great, and that you yourself are great, otherwise no one else will believe it either. I can think of no better example than San Diego’s own rising star Alyssa Jacey. Jacey, 28, a San Diego native and aspiring singer/songwriter, is a double threat because she is as determined and as talented as they come. Her story got its unusual start several years ago when Jacey moved from San Diego to Los Angeles in pursuit of a career in professional dancing, and was encouraged one night to sing karaoke in a club. Although it was her first time singing in front of a crowd, once she finished, people came up to her complimenting her voice and asking where they could buy her CD. It wasn’t long after that Jacey found herself with an overwhelming desire to sing and write songs, and in 2005 she moved back to San Diego, enrolled in college and began pursuing music. “October 2005 was actually the first time I picked up a guitar,” said Jacey. However this guitar was a gift from the classical guitar virtuoso Pepe Ramero, who also happens to be a good friend of her father’s. Jacey wasted no time teaching herself how to play and immediately began writing songs. Today Jacey has more than 200 songs and more than 400 shows under her belt. In the less than five years since she started singing and writing, she has accomplished more than most musicians do in twice as long. She’s self-released four recordings including her first full-length album “Here’s to Change,” which just dropped Jan 2. One of the first gigs she got was an eight show/two-hour set for the Del Mar Fair back in 2005, and she even sang the National Anthem during a Padres game. 2009 however proved to be Jacey’s most accomplished year so far when she set some 60 goals for herself and reached nearly all of them. “I am so proud of 2009!” gushed a bubbly Jacey. “It was such a gigantic leap for me from ‘05, ‘06, ‘07 and ‘08.” Indeed, one of the singer/songwriter’s main goals last year was to open for some bigger acts. She ended up opening up for artists like Bushwalla, Paula Cole, Scott Russo (of Unwritten Law) and many others. It’s not surprising to hear how successful she’s been in such a short amount of time once you realize how determined and professional she really is. She’s always subscribed to a DIY policy, acting as her own promoter, publicist, booking agent and manager. And once you hear Jacey’s songs you’re instantly pulled into them; each one offering another story and sincere emotion. And even though she has more than 200 of them, each one is like a little piece of her, each significant in its own way, yet still very different from another. “I try to touch on as many subjects as I can because I like to diversify and not be held to just one genre,” she said. Her new album, “Here’s to Change,” is a great example of her genre-defying sound. Her major female influences still shine through clearly (she lists Colbie Caillat, Ingrid Michaelson, and Sarah McLachlan as her favorites) on the tracks, although her own personal twist and style makes it all her own. The album’s first single “Fall Out of Love” is already getting airplay on local radio stations although she confesses her personal favorite off the album is an emotional song called “Feel Like This.” “I wrote that song when I was up crying one night and that emotion really comes through in the song,” she said. “I still get choked up when I play it live even now.” Her top priority right now is to find a manager, someone who can use their connections to take her to the next level she wants to reach. And with her fearless and unrelenting attitude combined with her natural ability, she is no doubt bound for a major breakthrough. Although she’s had her share of hard lessons and bad experiences along the way, Jacey still insists it’s all worth it. “It’s not something that’s easier said that done. You have to work for it and believe in yourself and no matter how hard it gets, you can’t let it stop you. You have to have a take-no-prisoners attitude but most importantly, don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you can’t.“ Watch her open with a solo acoustic set for Shawn Colvin at the Coachouse Feb. 13 and on March 25 at Lestat’s (both are all-age sshows). Tickets, tour info, CDs and more can be purchased on her Web site at www.alyssajacey.com. You can also find her on Facebook, MySpace, and iTunes.

Opening day, crowds and Nanook

I don’t recall when or why the term “opening day” was coined, but it was an agreed upon day when Swami’s broke, and the beach breaks closed out, and were left unridden until May. If memory serves, one criterion for opening day was that the waves needed to be ridden from outside Swami’s at least to the lifeguard tower.

Facing sun, wind & sea

If you spend much time outdoors, the largest organ in your body will take a beating. Each day sun and wind combine with stress and free radicals to conspire against your exterior in a never-ending war that hammers a surfer’s pliable skin into brittle shoe leather, or worse, cancerous scabs. Add surfers to a list of those who visit a region once considered the exclusive domain of mad dogs and Englishmen.

Crowds, kooks and sea creatures

I never thought I’d see the day when I was among the best surfers in the water. Of course I don’t mean when the waves are pumping and North County’s finest are out, but during the summer doldrums when the surf rarely exceeds three feet and turns are required to avoid the masses of drug store surfboards that clog the lineup. Even then, there are those who exceed my average ability. But I am not a kook, nor have I been for quite a few decades.

Mall snacks: A lighter wallet, a heavier you

A day at the mall could leave your wallet lighter but the rest of you heavier, says Consumer Reports.

CAN GOOD BACTERIA FIGHT A GROWING MEDICAL THREAT?

A serious infection that has been on the rise in hospital patients is now being increasingly reported among people who work or spend time in health care settings, such as a doctor’s office or clinic, Consumer Reports On Health warns.

The truth about Angie’s List, Yelp and other online ratings

Need to find a good plumber, hairdresser or auto mechanic?

Del Mar as SoCal horse racing center?

Some folks favor it Back stretch banter is that horsemen would like to see racing at the Surfside course the year-round. Among them is Del Mar Councilman Carl Hilliard, who owns a stable and races were the Turf Meets the Surf. The scenario goes likes this. Fairplex at Los Angeles County Fairgrounds is ready to give up its short meet that immediately follows Del Mar. It desires to become a year-round training facility. Oak Tree that follows Fairplex has already indicated it will race at Del Mar in 2012. Santa Anita that operates during the winter would yield to Del Mar. It and Hollywood Park that runs in the late spring have from time to time indicated they would rather be investing in commercial and residential development. Except for Del Mar, horse racing is waning in popularity and is no longer considered a crown jewel in sports. If the Surfside City purchases the fairgrounds, considered a 100 to 1 long shot, it would have to retain professionals to operate racing and they don’t come for free. Scout project Olivenhain Boy Scout troop 2000 made the 125-year-old Germania Hotel its Halloween project and created the scenes and were the spooky actors. The very nominal admission charged will be used for activities and scholarships. Kudos for a highly successful endeavor. Fireworks displays Relentless effort by San Diego Regional Water Quality Board to place stringent regs on Fourth of July fireworks shows could deprive families from watching them in a safe environment. They are synonymous with hot dogs and watermelons and haven’t harmed anyone or anything for a century. Gang rules continued A Superior Court judge has continued a ban on O’side gang activities that is reported to have curtailed crime. Prohibitions include no wearing of gang colors or hanging together by members. Cardiff native Services were held Oct. 16 for Herb Lux who was born in Cardiff in 1925 and whose family was a native of the Olivenhain area. Lux Canyon bears the family’s name. Torrey pines growing in local parks and streets were grown and planted from seedlings by the family. Holiday parking A 50-cent parking rate is in effect in the L’Auberge Surfside City operated basement. Object of the reduced rate is to attract holiday shoppers to the commercial area. Annual parking permits are also available. Trash revenue to sand O’side electeds are planning to use a portion of the revenue from its new Waste Management contract for sand replenishment. Beaches in the harbor and pier areas are reported to be in crummy state because of recent storms and said to be the worst since the 1970s. Solbeach appointment Solbeach resident Arnie Bertram has been appointed to the board of SCORE, an organization that assists small business in operations of all kinds. Bertram has 45 years of management experience and was highly successful. Events & news San Diego County Fairgrounds now has an hour-long program on Internet radio www.wsradio.com. It features timely happenings and news. Media relationships pro Linda Zweig is behind the mic. Catch the program on Thursdays from 2 to 3 p.m. Redistricting panel With elections now history a panel will begin the task of redistricting the county. Voters in a previous election took redistricting out of the mitts of electeds who formed districts to assure they could be elected in perpetuity. One-liners Senior citizens who have not received a cost of living increase in two years may be getting a $250 check as a token from congressional electeds of their concern for their well-being … Race fans can catch all the Breeder’s Cup excitement from Churchill Downs Friday and Saturday Nov. 5 and Nov. 6, at Surfside Race Place at the fairgrounds. It will feature the final appearance of Zenyatta, the undisputed crown lady of racing … Del Mar School District is looking at a location on El Camino Real for its future administration operations when it vacates its Shores site on Ninth Street … Solbeach Chamber will have its annual Holiday Sundowner at Union Bank on Dec. 1 … Lynne Friedman of Solbeach has received the San Diego Press Club prestigious award for contribution in public relations as a science writer. It’s a wrap In 2000, “Eye on the Coast” was created. Its principal object was to briefly report about folks and events in the North Coast, San Marcos and Vista. Never to intentionally offend anyone. Well, every once in a while an elected landed in the frying pan. If it was offensive it was not intended. Words and expressions were treated differently and sometimes a reader would call the editor to suggest the writer go back to elementary skool and learn to spell. So now it’s time to put the vintage Royal typewriter on the shelf along with a half-dozen others. It really is responsible for all the misspellings. Oh and if readers don’t know what a typewriter is, it came before the electric typing machines and while computers were in the design stages. So now we bid our contributors and loyal readers adieu, aloha and thanx. It’s been a great ride due to the great The Coast News staff and publisher Jim Kydd. Hasta la Vista

Politicos have been on the stump

Now it’s voters’ turn Politicians have been telling folks how well they have represented them while on their junkets to faraway places. Now voters can tell them on Tuesday whether they agree. Locally, there is a mixed bag of choices. No contests for city councils in Surfside and SolBeach communities. There were two seats open in each and only two contestants in each. Spirited campaign, however, for school board in the Surfside City where recent meetings have been ugly and the former supe is suing. In the Flower Capital there are two incumbents and two newcomers in the race. The mayor, seeking a third term, has been under intense fire for past actions. In C’bad the office of mayor is open for the first time in almost a coppla decades and there is a spirited contest for council persons. No surprise in O’side where elections are always battled to the final bell. A councilman who easily warded off a recall vote a coppla months ago is on the ballot and is expected to coast in. In the county supe’s race the North County rep. always seems to be in hot water but has managed to survive. Will he this time? When you vote you have a ticket to democracy, if you don’t use it you have no cause to complain. Hall of famers A half-dozen names have been added to O’side High School Hall of Fame. The distinguished includes Ben Aguillon (1936) arts; Louann Brizendine, (1971) academics; Fred Hilton (1936) business; Roberta Thill, (1946) community service; Junior Seau (1986) athletics; and Glen Stettler, (1970) public service. Congrats all. Bike the Coast A day of family-oriented events is scheduled Nov. 6 aimed at encouraging bike safety in O’side. Event is with the cooperation and support of San Diego Bicycle Coalition. Activities will be in the vicinity of the pier. Lottsa money for scholarships Fran Fenical, chair of Mexican American Educational Guidance Association, or MAEGA, sez it has given out 339 scholarships totaling $335,700 in the last five years. Wow! This includes 236 new grants and 103 renewals. Prez. Anna Vallez was a recipient when there was less money in the till. Funds come mostly from dinners, tamale sales and memorial gifts. Racing OK Friday night horse racing at Hollywood Park followed by a music concert is OK but not overwhelming. Concerts were added in an effort to attract a younger crowd. Also reduced prices on food and beverages. In 2012 Hollywood’s fall dates are expected to be presented at Del Mar. Photo enforcement The Governator has vetoed a bill that would have cut in half the fee for making a right hand turn without stopping against a red light where there are photo enforcement cameras. Currently there is a $500 fine that violators complain is a money grab to enhance state and city coffers. Tea party success A recent tea party event held at the O’side beach amphitheater is reported to have drawn partiers from everywhere. Theme was for less government and less taxes and fees. No estimate on the crowd. Beach group volunteers Two board member volunteers are needed for each of Friends of Cardiff and C’bad State Beaches. Bill Mahoney at [email protected] has the skinny. The organization’s website is fccsg.org. Lawyer wants payment C’bad lawyer Ron Cozad has asked the superior court to direct MiraCosta College to pay him 420 thousand bux for service he provided in a settlement suit. Hailed as heroes Too often folks who see a crime in progress just stand on the sidelines. Not so with three construction workers. Mario Contreras, Carlos Partida and Stephen Kane brought down a suspect who was shooting at kids at Kelly Elementary School in C’bad. He wounded two children before the trio pinned him to the ground until the gendarmes took him into custody. Welcome grant San Dieguito River Park has received a $1,409,368 grant from Cal Natural Resources Agency. Certainly welcomed at this time. Park JPA has been on the shorts due to funding cutbacks. One-liners Surfside City residents who allow underage boozing in their homes are now subject to prosecution … Nan Sterman, the Flower Capital’s celebrated garden guru, is now appearing on radio and TV and is lecturing and holding classes all over the place … C’bad volunteer Dorrie Ritchie has been crowned Citizen of the Year … State budget that has been approved is chock full of financial assumptions that have little chance of coming to fruition meaning budget is still a mess … Postal brochure warns of mail fraud and how to prevent it … Kudos to crews in C’bad who repaired a busted sewer pipe line in record time and prevented a crisis … All signs point to increased water rates the first of the year … Recent sale by Friends of C’bad Library was reported to be a bang up success…Rancho Coastal Humane Society has celebrated a half-century of caring for animals … With elections concluding smear merchants will be looking for something to do … Work is reported to be progressing well at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station which is undergoing massive overhaul … San Dieguito Heritage Museum is peddling See’s holiday candies as a fundraiser … Jean Moreno, who was a MiraCosta College trustee for many years, sez C’bad retiring mayor Bud Lewis is supporting Ron Rudd, Joanne Shannon and Bill Fischer without reservation as candidates for MCC trustees. Hasta la Vista

Messing with political signs is a crime

Considered personal property Removing legal political signs, defacing them, or just messing with them is a crime that can be prosecuted. In 2008 a Parks and Rec employee in C’bad was found guilty and suffered dire consequences. In addition to a fine and probation, the devoted volunteer subsequently resigned. Helps to take a pic of someone in the act. Consider the consequences if you are inclined to tamper with a candidate’s sign. Calendars a plenty For the time being folks are finding lottsa calendars in their mail that are outnumbering personal address labels. Of course it’s suggested that you pony up a contribution for the calendar. I-5 mania With interest on the future I-5 expansion plans, a coppla cities have decided their interests should be researched by professionals who have the moxy to understand what it’s really all about. Solbeach was the first to set aside funds for this purpose. O’side most recently has budgeted 80 grand to hire a consultant. Solbeach has invited other cities to co-partner but so far no takers. Business network announces awards New Encinitas Business Network that was formed a year ago has announced its first business and community leaders awards. Among them are Erik and Reece Jenson, of Contrast & PRN Physical Rehabilitation Network; Joe Steidl, Ad Zoo; Black Whale Lighting; Headlines for Hair; Fashion Swirl Boutique; Computer Troubleshooters; CFS Lending; and Discover Chiropractic & Wellness Center. Maureen Muir was named Educator of the Year. Surfside City OK’s bingo Electronic bingo will soon be legal at Surfside Race Place and other city locations like Powerhouse Community Center but not at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, which is in a residential zoned area. Only bona fide no-profit organizations can apply for an operating permit. It will be on a two-year trial basis. C’bad park Alga Norte Park in C’bad that has been in the planning stage for a coppla years may finally move forward. Funding has been the principal development block. When completed it will include a skate park, competition and therapy pools, a dog park, a water slide, ball fields and playgrounds. Paid holidays A superior court judge has ruled the state can’t eliminate two paid holidays on the state employee schedule. These are Columbus Day and Lincoln’s Birthday. The judge ruled elimination of these holidays violated collective bargaining laws. More than 100,000 state workers represented by unions are affected. They will be paid for these days if they worked on those days last year. Sign spinners Folks who spin signs in Vista are exempt from a sign ordinance. The spinners were the subject of quite a ruckus in the business community when the city attempted to prohibit them. First Amendment right was one of the issues. Some merchants said they were good for their bizzness. Build or lease? To build their own administration building, lease or purchase one has been on the agenda of Del Mar Union School District agenda. It must vacate its current offices in the Ninth Street Shores parcel now that the city will be completing purchase of it to develop it into a community park. However, the Winston School has a long-term agreement to remain. Revenue from the sale of the Balboa Avenue parcel by the city is sufficient to retire a $3.5 million mortgage it has with the district. Roller derby There’s a growing interest in women’s roller derby competition throughout the country. Derby Dolls, now based at the fairgrounds, has been competing nationwide for several years and now plays on a banked track. It’s a rough and tumble sport. None of the above In Nevada “None of the Above” appears on the ballot as an option according to a published report by McClatchy Tribune. One-liners Solbeach is continuing with its program to redo 101 for more walkability and ease of biking … Sale of the fairgrounds no done deal in spite of the closed door capers by Sen. Christine Kehoe … Sales tax gains have been reported by Vista and Escondido … Violent crime in the county shows a decline … Olivenhain Arts & Crafts Fair is slated on Nov. 13 … Chuck Newton from Del Mar who died Sept. 30 was without peer in Cal’s water industry … Rady Children’s Hospital in the Harbor City has opened a $260 million acute care pavilion … Olivenhain Muni-Water District has been recognized for excellence in financial reporting … Supreme Court has ruled state’s furlough program for state workers is OK … Solbeach Chamber has available for the asking city maps and is selling a passel of promotional stuff … Ivan Gayler of Del Mar has received the San Diego Zoo’s Conservation medal for safeguarding 9 million acres of animal habitat and valuable plants in South American countries and Mexico. Hasta la Vista

Commission was formed to protect horse racing

DEL MAR — In the late 1950s there was a press party held at the Del Mar Hotel to announce that John Alessio and a Harbor City group was taking over operation of Surfside summer horse racing. This created a firestorm that was heard from here to Sacramento. The takeover never happened but it later gave birth to a racetrack in Bonsall now known as San Luis Rey Downs. A mile track and a grandstand to seat an anticipated 7,500 racing fans was built. Object was to swipe the Del Mar franchise or create a new one. That turned out to be a pipe dream. To prevent any such future hank panky the Race Track Leasing Commission was formed. It remains in effect and major matters concerning Del Mar racing must have its approval. The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club was formed and conditions have been tranquil and highly successful since. San Luis Rey Downs now is operating as a year-round training facility.

Harness horse industry was important to village

DEL MAR — In the early 1960s, villagers held a communitywide beach party to celebrate that the race trackers and tourist had gone elsewhere and things were quiet again. On the other hand merchants counted their revenue and hoped there was enough left in the till to carry them through the lean winter months. The president of the Chamber of Commerce, Doc Wheelock, saw a solution to the doldrums by convincing Western Harness Racing Association to establish winter quarters at the track. After a lot of talking and off the record dinner negotiations the chamber succeeded and it meant more than 500 harness racing horsemen would be living in and around the village from November through March when racing started again. Ever alert to making money for a charity, Wheelock convinced the association to present an afternoon of “tune up” races with proceeds going to the cancer chapter based at Scripps hospital in La Jolla. The event attracted thousands of visitors. Harness horses, some 750 head, continued to quarter at the track for several years until the sport waned. However, some residents living in the village and in Rancho Santa Fe have their beginnings rooted in the industry.

Saturday dump runs

DEL MAR — Before incorporation there was an independent rubbish collector who was reliable and only charged a pittance for his service. Nevertheless Joe Rafferty and Ken Reiley did their own hauling Saturday afternoons. They enlisted a neighbor whose name is not important. He had a small pickup truck that was in mint condition but sometimes needed pushing to save running down the battery. It was no problem getting to the dump located in the vicinity of what is now a golf course and residential area in Solbeach. The return trip home mandated a stop at the Blue Bird pool hall in Eden Gardens to quaff a few cervezas. Snacks included fresh tasty tortillas that Ramona Rincon had just rolled. There were no televised football games but you could always hear them on radio at the bar. The housemates would have preferred the rubbish being picked up but then there wouldn’t be anything for the men to do on Saturday afternoons.

The dirt on soil

One great thing about working with plants of all types, irrigation systems and landscapes on a regular basis is that you can get great hands-on experience and learn oftentimes much more from doing and solving problems than you would by attending a lecture or a class.

Oleander under attack

One of my favorite plants here in Encinitas and California for that matter is now under attack and will cost us tax payers millions of dollars in the future because of dead or dying plants.

The history of the pumpkin

October is finally here and the weather has begun to change ever so slightly. This is my favorite month of the year. The Santa Ana winds come now, blowing back great plumes of offshore spray as they course up the faces of late summer swells creating giant arching rainbows of seawater.

Out & About: Keeping it classy — A guide to the Cardiff dive bars

Cardiff-by-the-Sea has gone through some major changes in the last few decades. Just 20 years ago, it was nothing more than a laid-back surf town with no sign of sidewalk lighting or manicured landscaping.

Out & About: The JSD (Just Started Dating) Valentine Dilemma

Valentine’s Day can be tough for any couple whether you’ve been together a month, a year or a lifetime, but there are few things more uncomfortable than having a Valentine you hardly know. If you happen to end up on a great first date in the first few weeks of February, the inevitable question, “What are you doing for Valentine’s Day?”, will come up. And if you haven’t sufficiently prepared yourself with a pre-planned singles only “Anti-Valentine’s Day” celebration, you could be stuck as the unfortunate second date Valentine. If you do end up in this sufficiently awkward situation, it’s time to throw your hands in the air and embrace the experience. After all, there are worse things than being wined and dined by a complete stranger in North County. So, for all you locals facing the dreaded “I don’t even know you’re last name” Valentine, here’s your guide to making the most of the situation: Don’t Worry About a Pricey Gift: Guys, I would suggest buying flowers. Nothing overly romantic. Keep it simple, classy and fun. Tulips are always a great choice. They don’t say, “I’ve already started saving for the ring,” but they still show that you are excited about the date and spending more time together. Keep it Casual: You barely know each other and there is no way your date is going to feel comfortable with an overly romantic evening. So, keep it mellow. If you’re date is an outdoorsy type, take them on a hike through Torrey Pines or San Elijo Lagoon and catch the sunset. It’s just the right amount of romance without over doing it. If you’re feeling brave, bring a blanket to sit on and some snacks for the occasion, that way if you run out of things to say to each other, you can shovel brie and crackers in your mouth rather than focus on the deafening silence. Make it a Social Event: If dinner is on the itinerary, try to make it a double date or full-blown group event. If it’s not possible to pawn your awkward date off on your friends, make a reservation at a trendy restaurant with a cool and social environment. One that I love is the patio at Masuo’s in Solana Beach or Le Papagayo in Leucadia. Focus on Fun: It’s hard to carry on a 2-hour conversation with someone you’ve known your entire life, let alone someone you met at The Union a few days earlier, so plan a date that’s full of fun and distraction. If your date is a dive bar type, take them for a game of pool at The Shanty or if you want to step it up a bit, head over to Belly Up for a fun show, dancing and drinks. That takes all the pressure off of being a “Valentine” and makes for a fun evening no matter who you’re with. Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be some big romantic production. It’s all about spending time with the person you want to most and having a great time. So, if you find yourself stuck in the JSD Valentine predicament, forget the fuss and romance, and keep it casual while enjoying all our little San Diego bubble has to offer. Carli Leavitt is a Cardiff native who spends her free time surfing, blogging, and enjoying all San Diego has to offer. Follow her on Twitter @CarliLeavitt.  

Rules of Surfing 101

As a female surfer in San Diego I get a lot of attention in the water. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, but every time I hit the surf it seems like all eyes are on me — and my pack of beautiful female surf buddies.

Scripps Health opens comprehensive rehab services center in Encinitas

ENCINITAS — Scripps Health has opened a comprehensive rehabilitation services center, offering a range of therapies — including physical, occupational and speech — on an outpatient basis for those recovering from orthopedic, brain and spinal cord injuries, stroke, amputation or other physical disorders and surgeries, it was announced today. The center, located in Encinitas Ranch Town Center at 1092 N. El Camino Real, is about five miles from Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas and replaces facilities that were previously located at the hospital. “Scripps has created a premier center to produce the best possible results for patients, thanks to the dedication of a highly skilled and experienced team of therapists and other staff members, and state-of-the-art programs and technologies,” said Johan Otter, Scripps assistant vice president of ancillary services. The 20,000-square-foot center features: — A ceiling-mounted, 100-foot-long body-weight support system that lets patients progress in their ability to walk, perform balance activities and navigate stairs without the fear of falling; — A computerized vestibular balance system with virtual reality stimulation for evaluating and treating dizziness, vertigo, balance problems and other motion sensitivities; — A driving simulator using an array of three screens, steering wheel and pedals to measure sensory, cognitive and motor responses for evaluating a patient’s ability to return to the road; and — A full-scale kitchen and studio apartment where patients can practice basic tasks related to meal planning and preparation, dressing, toilet use and moving in and out-of-bed safely. “Scripps has long been an essential resource in the community for the care of patients whose injuries or illnesses, no matter how severe, have affected their ability to walk, communicate, perform daily activities or function at normal levels of strength and endurance,” said Dr. Gregory Sahagian, medical director of the Scripps Health neuroscience service line. “This new center continues that high level of care for everyone from teenage surfers and construction workers to weekend athletes and Triple Crown champion jockeys.” The center offers a driver assessment program for those whose ability to drive is affected by impairments such as stroke, brain injury and advanced age. The program begins with an in-clinic evaluation and testing on the simulator and progresses to an on-the-road test in a dual-controlled vehicle in coordination with California Department of Motor Vehicles requirements. An amputee clinic, staffed by a team including a prosthetist, offers services for patients being fitted with a prosthesis for the first time or returning for follow-up revisions and training. Following rehabilitation, patients have access to a range of classes, such as balance, Parkinson’s, bone health and general exercise, focused on maintaining functional gains achieved during therapy. Financial support for the new center included a gift from the La Verne and Blaine Briggs Rehabilitation Program — a fund established by the couple in 2004 to benefit Scripps’ rehabilitation services.

Scripps Encinitas adds innovative tools to improve lung diagnoses

ENCINITAS – Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas recently introduced an innovative robotic technology with significant promise for patients requiring biopsies of lung nodules to diagnose respiratory issues, including lung cancer. The goal of the new robotic bronchoscopy platform is to give patients an earlier, more accurate and less invasive approach to the diagnosis of lung diseases, greatly improving patient survival rates. According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States and early diagnosis is an important factor in patient outcomes. “We view robotic bronchoscopy, in conjunction with intraoperative CT imaging, as a quantum leap forward for our ability to deliver early and less invasive diagnoses for our patients,” said Dr. Samir Makani, director of interventional pulmonary medicine at Scripps. “It gives us two new and very important capabilities – first, the ability to reach into the most challenging parts of the lungs to get to nodules we couldn’t reach before. And second, to see the precise location of the nodule and our instruments throughout the entire procedure in real-time.” Bronchoscopy is a procedure frequently used to confirm or rule out lung cancer and explores a variety of respiratory issues, including breathing problems, infections, lesions and nodules. The only way to confirm if a nodule is cancerous is to obtain and examine a small piece of tissue. The current conventional approach to bronchoscopy involves the physician advancing a scope by hand into the patient’s lungs, which offers less control and stability. With robotic bronchoscopy, the physician remotely guides the scope into the patient’s lungs using a video game-style controller, directing it through twists and turns of the patient’s airways. The technology also offers a built-in navigation system that shows doctors the exact location of the scope and nodules in real-time throughout the procedure. The technology was recently cleared by the Food and Drug Administration and integrates the latest advancements in robotics, software, data science and endoscopy, according to Scripps. “Conventional navigational bronchoscopy can help the doctor get to the general neighborhood of the nodule, but robotic bronchoscopy, in conjunction with intraoperative CT imaging, takes the doctor all the way to the nodule’s front doorstep with a higher degree of accuracy,” said Dr. Scott Eisman, physician chief operating executive at Scripps Encinitas. “Having the confidence of knowing we are taking the sample from the precise spot we want is absolutely critical to our ability to give patients the answers they need.” Scripps Encinitas is the only hospital west of the Mississippi performing bronchoscopy with the combination of a robotic bronchoscopy system and a portable CT scanner. Robotic bronchoscopy is available to patients as part of the Scripps MD Anderson partnership and through the Scripps Encinitas interventional pulmonary medicine program. Additionally, the technology will be a part of the new Lusardi Pulmonary Institute located in Lusardi Tower, a project funded in part by a $25 million donation from Rancho Santa Fe philanthropists Warner and Debbie Lusardi. [wpedon id=”143538″ align=”left”]

Scripps Encinitas turns 50 in April – and still growing

Fifty years ago this month, the doors opened to Encinitas’ first hospital. And what began as a small facility providing long-term convalescent care has grown into a busy, full-service medical facility that cares for more than 80,000 patients a year in North County.

Column: Navigating the void

K-5 closed its doors this year. The Poway and Oceanside locations shut in February, but their flagship Encinitas branch remained open through March 1.

Column: Pulling a complete 180

Kenzie Kessler chose surfing over school, now she’s back in class, fully committed

Jack McCoy’s newest film spans the full scope of surfing’s history

Surfers like to tinker. They’re constantly reworking and perfecting their art.