OB Elementary Crosswalk Coming In Over Spring Break

April 4, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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UPDATE: A sign on Santa Monica Boulevard says the street will be closed through April 14 between Sunset Cliffs Boulevard and Ebers Street. So much for the project getting done by the end of spring break. Good luck to all the parents taking their kids to school this week. It should be interesting.

By Matthew Wood

It’s not all fun and games at Ocean Beach Elementary School during spring break.

Santa Monica Avenue has been closed between Sunset Cliffs Boulevard and Ebers Street all week as workers have been frantically trying to finish putting in a much-anticipated crosswalk outside the school.

The project was supposed to be finished before students came back on Monday, but as of Friday morning, there was still a big hole in the street and a construction crew working frantically to get the job done. Rain earlier in the week helped to delay the construction.

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Pioneer School Founder At Home in OB

March 21, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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By Matthew Wood

Jim Liener knew there was a better way.

Working as a special needs teacher in San Diego, mostly dealing with autistic children, he saw how the public schools system would routinely fail the kids that needed the most attention.

Then he started working with an autistic child who was being home schooled, not able to make it in a normal school environment. He turned the family’s gazebo into a one-room home schoolhouse. An epiphany hit: Why can’t we take this home-school format, which works best for kids with these needs, and make it into an actual school?

“It was kind of like I told myself, ‘Shut up and do something about it,’” Liener said.

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OB Town Council Prez Gretchen Newsom in the Running for District 2 Council Appointment

March 7, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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By Matthew Wood

If you would have told Gretchen Newsom a year ago that she would be in consideration for the District 2 seat on the City Council, she probably would have sent you home and told you to sleep it off.

After all, it was just this past year that she was elected president of the Ocean Beach Town Council. Now she is officially “campaigning” – for lack of a better word – for the position, holding a signature-gathering meet-&-greet with friends and supporters Thursday night at her home on Santa Cruz Avenue.

“It’s a bit of a whirlwind, but I’m feeling pretty positive,” Newsom said in between introducing herself to supporters on her front stoop and watching her son, Leif, play in the yard.

“I never, ever, ever foresaw this situation happening. It’s a really unique opportunity.”

In case you haven’t been following along, it more or less all started with former Mayor Bob Filner. When Filner stepped down from office in disgrace, his seat was eventually filled by former District 2 Councilman Kevin Faulconer.

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Cheswick’s Bartenders Pass the Boot in OB to Help Firefighters

March 6, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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By Matthew Wood

For years, Cheswick’s West bartenders Allie Shea and Shelly Hutchison would ring the bell behind the bar whenever one of the local fire trucks would drive by on Newport Avenue to show their love.

Now they do it with a purpose: To raise money for the Fallen Firefighters Foundation (link). That’s because every time one of the trucks drives by, the bar passes around the firefighter’s boot they have perched behind the bar for everyone to donate.

“Every time they drive by, we ring it. People love it,” Hutchison said.

The idea to raise money came about after Shea took part in the San Diego Memorial 911 Stair Climb at the Hilton Bayfront last year. More than 900 people gathered to climb 110 stairs in honor of the firefighters who died on Sept. 11, 2001.

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Ocean Beach Hit Hard by Storm – OB Pier Still Closed

March 3, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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Ocean Beach is digging out of palm fronds up to our ankles after the weekend’s big storm.

The Pier was closed Saturday morning and there’s no time table for reopening it after waves crashed over it throughout the weekend.

Things got a bit dicey during the weekend’s biggest rain and winds, but could have been worse. Most businesses stayed open as usual, despite most places on Newport putting out sandbags.

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Rain, Rain, Don’t Go Away

February 28, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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By Matthew Wood

So this is what a winter storm in SoCal is like. Who knew?

Spending my first winter in San Diego after numerous cold, barren, lifeless years in the Midwest, I was kinda getting the impression that winter was like every other season here: Warm, sunny, pretty much perfect in every way.

Except for, you know, that massive drought we’ve been having. We need this rain, real bad.

As I watched the weather reports this week that are calling for the biggest storm in Southern California in years, I have been rooting for the worst. Maybe we could even get a name out of this one! Rainmeggeden? The Gusting Ghost? Wind-zilla? OK, we’ll work on those.

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Cohn’s “OB Warehouse” Still a Few Months Away From Opening

February 21, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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We have an update on the opening date for OB Warehouse, the new spot on Newport Avenue from the Cohn Restaurant Group.

Apparently Tim Spann’s estimate of “a couple weeks” that we reported was a bit optimistic.

“We don’t have a definitive opening date,” said Kelly Brown, a publicist with the Cohn Group. “It’s going to be in the next couple of months.”

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Cohn’s New “OB Warehouse” About to Open on Newport – Old Portugalia Sign Finally Gone

February 14, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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Ding dong, the wicked sign is gone.

You know the one I’m talking about. The Portugalia sign – that garish Ed Hardy-tattoo-esque design (that yes, included a cross) painted two stories tall over the now shuttered club on Newport Avenue – has finally been removed, thanks to Tim Spann and the folks at Cohn Restaurant Group.

Spann, who is in charge of signage and some of the interior design for the new OB Warehouse, aided in taking down the old and now out-dated sign – which lorded over the upstanding exteriors of Newport Avene like an hulking gargoyle. Its reign over the village is finally over, as the new “OB Warehouse” sign went up on Wednesday.

We got a sneak peek inside the new place, …

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Vote Outcome as Foggy as Ocean Beach on Election Day

February 11, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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As San Diegans vote in the third mayoral election in two years, the outcome looks as foggy as the air in Ocean Beach this morning.

Heading around the neighborhood, most polling places are reporting slower than normal turnout.

“It’s been pretty slow,” said Destiny Paz, a Point Loma High School senior who is an election volunteer at the Beardsley Mitchell Funeral

Home polling place on Sunset Cliffs Boulevard. “I don’t know how else to describe it. Very quiet.”

Things have been a bit livelier at the Ocean Beach Rec Center, where Rose Novales volunteers with her daughter, Eleanor.

“We’ve been busy. People have been flowing in, which is nice. I don’t want to fall asleep,” she said.

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Hanging Out With the Crew of the OB Firehouse

February 6, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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Editor: A few months ago, OB Rag reporter Matt Wood had the privilege of spending the day with OB firefighters – the crew of C Division at the Ocean Beach No. 15 Firehouse. His post was part of the Rag’s continuing series of articles about the public servants who serve the people of Ocean Beach – our effort to put faces on good folks who often go unknown to the neighborhoods they serve.

Matt’s story got great feedback and he was invited back again – this time to hang out with one of the other two divisions. Here’s his account of that day with them.

By Matthew Wood

The A Division is losing its leader. Instead of mourning the loss of a tremendous firefighter, they are taking the opportunity to celebrate.

Division captain Bryon Wenger will retire later this month as he closes in on 38 years fighting fires, 27 of them in San Diego and the last few (he can’t completely remember how long) here in OB.

To celebrate, Wenger is going for a run. Specifically, on his last day he’s going to run all the way from his home in Lakeside to the station on Voltaire. That’s 24 miles, nearly the length of a marathon.

“Well, not quite a marathon,” Wenger says with a smile.

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OB Elementary School Crosswalk on Santa Monica Closer to Reality

January 27, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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OB Elementary Crosswalk Construction Begins – New Streetlight Added to Mid-Block Santa Monica Ave. Crossing

Slowly but surely, the crosswalk outside of Ocean Beach Elementary School on Santa Monica Avenue is coming together.

City workers put up a street light while students were on winter break, a necessity to follow city code. The next step is to put in the actual crosswalk. A discussion about the extent of this will be held at the OB Planning Board meeting on Feb. 5.

In the meantime, Joseph “Moondoggie” Pina and Wayne Simard still have their crew of volunteer crossing guards manning their posts every morning and afternoon.

“It’s coming,” said Pina. “Slowly, but it’s coming.”

They said the volunteers will still be out even after the crosswalk is (finally) built.

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Ocean Beach Smoking News : New Vape Store and Possibly New Pot Dispensary

January 27, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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Vape Store Opens Near Beach

OB has its first storefront dedicated solely to e-cigarettes after the recent opening of Ocean Beach Vape Shoppe and Lounge. The store opened in the beachfront center at Abbott Street and Santa Monica Avenue, tucked away behind Shades Oceanfront Bistro and Tower Two Café.

It’s the second store in San Diego for the owners. Pacific Beach Vape Shoppe, at 1477 Garnet Avenue, has already been open for a few months.

Store manager Rachel Lester said customers can purchase e-cigarette devices, also known as “vapes,” and a number of nicotine-infused flavors.

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Another business falls prey to ‘black hole’ on Voltaire Street in Ocean Beach

January 24, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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Becky Hostetter always had a dream to open her own store.

The lifelong San Diegan and longtime OB resident had been keeping tabs on potential storefront openings in the neighborhood for a while. When the location next to the ABC Liquor store at Voltaire and Ebers opened up over the summer, she jumped on it.

It seemed like a dream location.

”My mother almost bought that building 30 years ago,” Hostetter said. “She tried to get financing but it fell through. My grandmother owned a shop further down on Voltaire.”

Hostetter called her new store Urban Upcycle, which specialized in used furniture that she would refurbish.

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OB’s “Bone Appetit” Pet Store Moving from Newport to Sunset Cliffs

January 20, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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Newport Avenue pet shop Bone Appetit is packing up and moving at the end of the month – but only a couple blocks.

The store, which also serves as a cat adoption location, is moving to 1785 Sunset Cliffs Blvd., in the building previously housed by Las Brisas Fabric Care Center, across the street from Olive Tree Market.

“We’re downsizing a bit,” said owner Kelly Patri, who added they will lose about 400 square feet in the new building. “It’ll be cozy, but nice. We can operate in a smaller space.”

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Sunset Cliffs Tragedy Reminds Us to Respect Our Surroundings

January 16, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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The news of graduate student Anna Bachman falling to her death from Sunset Cliffs while apparently taking a picture on Sunday is truly tragic for all OBceans.

Who among us has not been to the cliffs and probably gone a little too far in order to get the perfect view of the sunset or perfect picture to share with our friends?

The fact that it was a woman who was living in Chicago that died hits even closer to home for me. I’m a somewhat recent transplant from the Windy City, having transplanted to our beautiful beachfront utopia in the past year.

Since moving here, we have had a number of visitors from Chicago and the Midwest. We had guests visit over the holidays and took them to see what has to be considered one of the best sunset views in the world. We couldn’t have been more than a few yards from where Bachman fell.

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Point Loma Taco Shop Part of Mayor’s Bet – But Just How Will the Burritos Get to Denver?

January 15, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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When news broke last week that Point Loma’s Ortiz’s Taco Shop would be part of Mayor Todd Gloria’s bet between San Diego and Denver over Sunday’s NFL playoff game, it was news to the Ortiz family.

“We didn’t even know about the bet,” said Juan Ortiz, who has run the restaurant with his brother and parents since 2004.

Alex Roth, a spokesman for Interim Mayor Gloria’s office, said he did some research on social media to find a worthy restaurant for the bet and even checked out the place himself.

“We just wanted to have food that represented the best Mexican food in San Diego,” he said. “We wanted to make sure it was a product worthy of making a bet. And it was.”

Ortiz said Gloria also came to eat at the place last Tuesday, which sealed the deal.

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James Gang Gets in on Chargers’ Bolo Mania

January 14, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers started Bolo Mania in San Diego. The folks at James Gang hopped on board – and did some nice business in the process.

Rivers has gained national attention for his choice of postgame attire – a bolo tie – during the Chargers five-game winning streak that included an improbable playoff win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Last week, James Gang owner Paul Bearce helped fuel the fire when the OB printing company started making T-shirts with a bolo tie design that said “Fear the Bolo.”

It started on Tuesday morning, he recalls. “We had a customer come in looking for anything Charger.” But all they had was one shirt that said “Ocean Beach” in Chargers lettering. Not good enough.

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Meet the Artist Behind the Sunset Cliffs Mural at the “Hippie House”

December 19, 2013 by Matthew Wood
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By Matthew Wood

By now, you may have seen the spectacular mural adorning the wall outside what is being called the “Hippie House” at Sunset Cliffs and Adair. Judi Curry has been writing about the newbie counter-cultural abode at Sunset Cliffs and Adair.

But do you know the artist behind the latest beacon of color welcoming people to the neighborhood?

Adelaide Marcus has been creating art from a multitude of media since moving to San Diego in 2005, and then to Ocean Beach two years later, but this is by far the largest scope of painting project she has endeavored.

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Ocean Beach Entryway Project Delayed … Again

December 16, 2013 by Matthew Wood
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By Matthew Wood

The city has given an extension to Phase II of the Ocean Beach Entryway Project, meaning the plan is to have the project done by the end of 2014.

It was originally scheduled to be finished by the end of this year, but budgeting problems threatened to entirely derail the plan.

“But hopefully it will be done much sooner than a year,” said Tom Perrotti, president of the Ocean Beach Community Development Corporation. “We’re happy that the city is pursuing it.”

“That project has been going on for many, many, years, and this is the last piece of it,” he said.

Perrotti said he was notified “within the last week” of the delay to the final phase of the project, which he says will be the end of a years-long push to improve the look of the entrance to OB.

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Neighbor Dispute In OB Over Backyard Torrey Pine Resolved

December 16, 2013 by Matthew Wood
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By Matthew Wood

A dispute between neighbors over an endangered Torrey Pine tree has apparently been resolved, at least for now.

The tree, located in the back yard of a private residence on the 4300 block of Orchard Avenue, recently had a large branch cut off, hopefully appeasing neighbors who were calling for the tree to be completely cut down.

In August we reported about the tree in the yard of Chris Caplaneris, which his neighbors to the east said was causing cracks in their driveway and patio. “We fixed it three years ago, now we gotta fix it again,” said Adelaide Dasilva at the time, who added she had to have surgery after falling while cleaning up the pine needles.

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Work set to begin on OB Elementary School crosswalk over winter break

December 12, 2013 by Matthew Wood
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By Matthew Wood

The area around Ocean Beach Elementary School is about to get a little bit safer.

Work on the proposed crosswalk on Santa Monica Avenue just outside the school is expected to begin in the next few weeks, according to John Ly, a council representative and policy adviser for Councilmember Kevin Faulconer’s office.

In an e-mail, Ly said construction on a street light – a step necessary to stay within city code for crosswalks – would begin Dec. 23, the first official day of winter break for the school. He said he expects work on the street light to be completed by the time students return on Jan. 6, at which time work can begin on cutting curbs for the crosswalk.

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Christmas Tree Shopping OB Style

December 6, 2013 by Matthew Wood
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By Matthew Wood

OBceans looking to buy a Christmas tree in the neighborhood basically have a couple options.

You can go to Rite-Aid and buy an overpriced tree that was probably shipped in before Thanksgiving – at last check they had about a half-dozen left on the lot.

Or they can go see local residents Blake Finvold and Ginnie Lynch at OB Trees in the parking lot behind James Gang.

Seems like a no-brainer. (For the record, Stumps Market has quite a few quality trees for a moderate price. But to say they are located in OB is a bit of a stretch.)

“It’s so amazing being a part of the community,” Lynch said of selling trees in the neighborhood for the past five years.

“I just love OB.”

Yes, these are the same people who have been selling out of the Apple Tree Market parking lot.

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OB Christmas Tree Up Despite Snags along the Way from Coronado Avenue

December 4, 2013 by Matthew Wood
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By Matthew Wood

It’s officially the holiday season in Ocean Beach: The OB Christmas tree has been planted in the sand.

The 60-foot-or-so star pine was cut down Tuesday morning from the yard of the Kuhn family at 4879 Coronado Ave. and transported with much fanfare to its spot near the boardwalk just off Newport Avenue and Abbott Street.

“Whenever we do a tree, we want to find one that can be donated,” said OB Town Council president Gretchen Newsom, who said the tree’s roots were coming into the house and it needed to be cut down anyway.

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Charges Dismissed Against Vince Adame – “the Felony Hedge Trimmer of OB”

December 3, 2013 by Matthew Wood
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By Matthew Wood

The nightmare that has been Vince Adame’s long shrubbery saga is finally over.

He has been battling a citation over his trimming of some bushes across the alley from his house that somehow turned into a felony vandalism charge. When the district attorney’s office finally dropped the charges Monday night, the longtime Ocean Beach resident was able to breathe a sigh of relief.

A press conference …

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Changes in North-West Ocean Beach: Vacant Lot at Voltaire and Abbott Sold, Pat’s Liquor and Cottages Up for Sale

November 27, 2013 by Matthew Wood
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Editor: There are changes afoot in north-west OB, particularly at the corner of Abbott and Voltaire. Here is Matthew Wood’s latest report.

OB Rag Confirms Pat’s Liquor Up for Sale

By Matthew Wood

The long-vacant lot at the southeast corner of Voltaire and Abbott Streets has just been recently sold, which may spark a domino effect of land sales on that corner.

Ray Adams, of Cassidy Turley Commercial Real Estate, confirmed the two lots had been sold for $635,000. The lots are 2,500 square feet each – 5,000 square feet total – and are zoned for residential housing. The Keen Family Trust was the seller.

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Riding Along With the Crew of the Ocean Beach Fire Department

November 21, 2013 by Matthew Wood
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By Matthew Wood

Growing up in the Ocean Beach area, Ryan Ybarra had a dream in life: To become a fire fighter at the OB Fire House No. 15. He waited for his opportunity, even enduring a hellacious commute from a job at a fire department the Los Angeles area back to his wife and kids in OB.

Finally, about two years ago, a position opened up at the OB station on Voltaire and Ebers and Ybarra grabbed it. Didn’t matter to him that he lost the seniority he had built up. Or that he had to go through training and the department’s probation program. He knew he was home.

“And I’ll probably finish here,” he said with a smile. “As a kid, I always wanted to work in OB. That commute (from L.A.) just about killed me. But it was definitely worth it.”

Ybarra is an engineer on the 12-man crew at OB fire house. The guys were nice enough to give me access to their daily routine, and even ride along in the fire truck to their daily workout regimen.

Here’s a bit about how it works:

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Parents Take Up Slack Around OB Elementary School Cross-Walk While Waiting on City

November 18, 2013 by Matthew Wood
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Crosswalk Coming to the Mid-Block on Santa Monica Avenue – Eventually

By Matthew Wood

The city is putting in a much-needed crosswalk on Santa Monica Avenue outside Ocean Beach Elementary School, just not as soon as teachers and parents were hoping. In the meantime, a group of concerned fathers have taken up the cause to ensure safety for kids going to and from school.

According to John Ly, a council representative and policy advisor for Councilmember Kevin Faulconer’s office, funding has been secured and the project is set to be completed by the end of the fiscal year, which is June 2014. He said part of the holdup comes from

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Ocean Beach Man Faces Felony Vandalism for Trimming and Cleaning City Bushes and Property by Pier

November 16, 2013 by Matthew Wood
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By Matthew Wood

A longtime Ocean Beach resident is facing up to 16 months in jail and $3,300 fine for a felony vandalism charge he says stems from a simple case of trimming nearby bushes. Problem is, the bushes are on City property – property on strips of land right next to and near the OB Pier.

Vince Adame, who owns three different properties near the end of Niagara Avenue – a couple of cottages from the Pier, says he has been trimming the New Zealand Christmas Bushes and cleaning up the area across the street on property along with a neighbor, who lives in New York. A lot of what Adame does is pick up the debris and garbage left by homeless people who sleep in the canopies provided by the larger bushes. [Ed.: original post erroneously cited Adame as believing property belonged to a neighbor; Adame has known it was city property.]

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OB Doctor Jeoff Gordon to Close Practice After More than 40 Years at the Beach

October 14, 2013 by Matthew Wood
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Local doc leaves OB practice, but won’t stop helping those in need

By Matthew Wood

After more than three decades with a local practice, Dr. Jeoff Gordon is getting back to his roots.

He is retiring and will be closing his Ocean Beach Medical Group on Friday, October 18, ending a run of more than 15 years in OB and more than 40 in the beach area.

“I want to live a little bit of life,” he said. “I’ve got two kids and a dog and a pile of books I want to read.”

But the good doctor is far from done helping people. He will work part-time a few days a week at the Family Health Centers, an offshoot of a group he helped organize in the 1970s.

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OB Goes All Lederhosen for Upcoming Oktoberfest

October 8, 2013 by Matthew Wood
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By Matthew Wood

Sprechen sie Dude?

Thousands will flock to OB next weekend – October 11th & 12th – to speak German – or at least drink German – at the annual Oktoberfest on the beach and in the OB Pier parking lot, presented by the Ocean Beach Mainstreet Association, Ocean Beach Community Foundation and a group called Hoy Hoy Boys.

This year’s two-day event is chock-full of contests, prizes, food and lots of beer. Hit the grassy area by the beach on Newport and Abbott for a more family-friendly atmosphere with music and games for the kids. Those who want to take it up a notch (and are of age) can head to the “beer garden” in the beach parking lot for beers, food and some rowdier times.

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