Post image for Ocean Beach: Support Your Community Plan – Go Vote on Tuesday, March 10

Early next week, OBceans have a chance to show their support for the Ocean Beach Community Plan, a document that represents the blueprint for development and public facilities in OB, a plan that has been in existence for nearly 40 years, recently updated – and that has weathered an attack by the influential San Diego Planning Commission.

If you’ve followed the the twists and turns of the Community Plan Update process of last year, then you know of what I speak.

If you’re not certain of what all this means, a brief background is in order.

In 1976, the OB community plan was finally established and voted in by the San Diego City Council after years of the community battling the bureaucracy and wealthy elite who wished to turn OB into a tourist mecca. The new plan established the very first democratically-elected planning committee for a community in the history of San Diego. Today there are over fifty different planning committees throughout the city.

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Post image for OB Rag Sponsors “OB Gothic” Contest

Contest Runs Until April 1st – Winner Gets Dinner for Two at Nico’s – (just kidding – it will be at one of OB’s named dinner restaurants.)

Tom and Jane Gawronski started it all. When we saw their version of the “OB Gothic” recently in a photo as part of PR for their recent presentation on OB’s historic cottages with Kathy Blavatt, a idea struck.

The Gawronskis were posing in front of one of their OB cottages with its pointed roof top in the background, with Tom holding a pitchfork and Jane in an old school apron in a simulated version of the original and totally iconic “American Gothic” by Grant Wood.

We asked ourselves – what a great pic! So, why not have the OB Rag sponsor a contest of everybody’s different versions of the original – but for Ocean Beach, – the “OB Gothic”.

The contest is on – starting today –

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Stanford researchers say human-driven global warming behind increasingly frequent and severe droughts, including current one

A dried up area of the Folsom Lake reservoir in northern California. (Photo: Mr.Morgan.Murphy/cc/flickr)

By Sarah Lazare /Common Dreams

The increasingly frequent and severe droughts that have punished California over the past two decades—including the current record-breaking one—are primarily the result of human-caused climate change and will likely grow even worse, scientists at Stanford University warn.

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Post image for Three Groups Vying to Buy U-T San Diego

By Doug Porter

A report by media analyst Ken Doctor in Capital New York’s media column says U-T San Diego owner “Papa” Doug Manchester has been actively looking to sell for six months now.

The story indicates the Tribune Publishing, parent company for the Los Angeles Times, is close to making a deal with an estimated $80-90 million price tag, which will not include the company’s real estate assets. Questions surrounding U-T San Diego’s $60 million in pension obligations prevented the company from completing the sale during a short-term exclusivity agreement.

Two other groups are reported to be putting together financing to buy San Diego’s daily. A group led by philanthropist Malin Burnham and former Cox executive Bill Geppert told Doctor they’d raised about half the money needed to buy the company, which they’re proposing be run as a non-profit entity.

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The worst has happened. The 7-month baby girl injured early Monday when she and her father were hit in a crosswalk in Point Loma has died. Her name was released: Juniper Aavang.

Juniper’s family was visiting San Diego and from Woodstock, Illinois. She was being pushed in a stroller by her father as the mother was walking in front. They entered a crosswalk on a side street off of Catalina Boulevard that goes to Canon Street.

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OB Planners: Pipeline from Pacific Beach and Candidate Forum

March 5, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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At last night’s Ocean Beach Planning Board meeting, Wed., March 4th, the planners got an earful about a new pipeline project coming from Pacific Beach. Plus candidates running in the upcoming election on March 10th got to give a mouthful about why they’re running.

The monthly meeting got off to a slow start, with Board chair Pete Ruscitti wondering out loud whether there would even be a quorum. But the members dribbled in, the meeting began, and more slipped in during the course of the meeting until there was only one absence.

Before the Board took up the sparse agenda in front of a sparse crowd, Board member Tom Gawronski made a short speech criticizing the recent passage of the One Paseo Project by a majority of the City Council – including OB’s rep on the Council. The Council voted for the huge project in North City over the objections of 4 planning groups, Tom said. It was a very bad precedence, he reiterated. The Board considered sending letters to Councilwoman Zapf as well as to the Committee of Community Planners.

Next, Julie Quinn, head of the Peninsula Community Planning Board, made a plea for the OB Board to look at a dangerous crosswalk in south OB.

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Stabbing in 4900 Saratoga Alley at 2:30 a.m.

March 5, 2015 by Staff

OCEAN BEACH: There was a stabbing of a man walking with his girlfriend early Thursday morning in an alley north of the 4900 block of Saratoga Avenue in OB, according to local CBS8. It took place reportedly around 2:30 a.m.

The 40 year old’s injuries to his abdomen were not life-threatening and he is recovering. The woman was not injured.

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The Ocean Beach and Point Loma Peninsula Was Once an Island

March 5, 2015 by Source
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Sunset Cliffs Natural Park Advisory Committee Gets the Low-Down at March 2nd Meeting – Meanwhile Native Plants in Park Near Full Flower

By Lois Lane

No OB Rag reader doubts that we live in the most beautiful place in the world. Almost springtime is one of the most beautiful times of year, and within the next two weeks the native plants in Sunset Cliffs Natural Park will be in full flower.

Native plants were a hot topic at the Advisory Committee meeting on March 2nd, and the 25 people in attendance were gifted with spectacular presentation on the Unique Paleontology and Geology of Sunset Cliffs byDr. Tom Deméré, Curator of Paleontology, San Diego Natural History Museum.

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Obama Task Force Calls for Significant Changes to Policing in America

March 5, 2015 by Source

Report recommends that law enforcement report shootings and other incidents of police brutality to federal government


By Lauren McCauley/ Common Dreams

Rights groups and others are welcoming the release of a report by the president’s policing task force on Monday, saying that the policy recommendations are the best chance the White House has for improving the relationship between law enforcement agencies and the communities they are meant to protect and serve.

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Darren Wilson Cleared While Racial Bias Found in Ferguson Police Traffic Stops

March 4, 2015 by Source
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Darren Wilson Is Cleared of Rights Violations in Ferguson Shooting

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has cleared a Ferguson, Mo., police officer of civil rights violations in the shooting of Michael Brown, a black teenager whose death set off racially charged and sometimes violent protests last year. The decision, which was announced on Wednesday, ends a lengthy investigation into the shooting last August, in which Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Mr. Brown in the street. Many witnesses said Mr. Brown had his hands up in surrender when he died, leading to nationwide protest chants of “Hands up, don’t shoot.” … MORE INSIDE …

Justice Department to Fault Ferguson Police, Seeing Racial Bias in Traffic Stops

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has nearly completed a highly critical report accusing the police in Ferguson, Mo., of making discriminatory traffic stops of African-Americans that created years of racial animosity leading up to an officer’s shooting of a black teenager last summer, law enforcement officials said. … MORE INSIDE …

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Faulconer’s First Year: Mostly Doing Nothing, But Looking Good While Doing It

March 4, 2015 by Doug Porter
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By Doug Porter

Unlike the women performing on the field at Chargers’ games, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer is getting paid for his cheer-leading efforts.

The local daily paper ran a puff piece on Sunday, celebrating Faulconer’s first year in office, reporting on the “nearly unanimous praise” for making San Diego a “vastly different place than it was under the tumultuous tenure” of he-who-cannot-be-named-without-contempt.

Largely airbrushed out of history was former interim mayor Todd Gloria, whose reward for leadership following the fall of Filner was to get booted out of the position of City Council President, lest he actually accomplish any items proposed during his tenure.

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Oil Trains: Death and Destruction on the Rails

March 4, 2015 by John Lawrence

Department of Transportation Predicts Oil Train Derailments Will Become Increasingly Common

train derailmentBy John Lawrence

On Monday Feb 16, 2015 an oil train carrying millions of pounds of crude oil derailed in Boomer, West Virginia. The accident was the latest in a spate of fiery derailments in Canada and the U.S. as vast quantities of oil are being moved across these nations through sensitive environments and large population centers.

A couple days earlier on Feb. 14, there was a crude oil train derailment south of Timmins, Ontario. It took almost a week in subzero temperatures for the fires to burn out. Both the West Virginia accident and the oil train derailment and fire in Ontario involved recently built tank cars that were supposed to be an improvement over a decades-old model in wide use that has proven susceptible to spills, fires and explosions – the Dot-111.

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Father and Baby Injured in Cross-walk In Critical Condition – City Removes Palm Tree Blocking Drivers’ View

March 4, 2015 by Staff

The father and baby injured in Point Loma early Monday morning while out walking are still in critical condition, reported 10News. They were hit while in a cross-walk and taken to hospitals with apparently life-threatening injuries. The baby was in a stroller – and the mother accompanied them but was not injured. The driver had stopped and attempted to give assistance to the injured.

And meanwhile, city crews on Tuesday tore out a small palm tree that blocked drivers’ views of the crosswalk on Canon while they’re driving east on that section of Catalina. Neighbors had complained to the media that they believe the crosswalk’s position is very dangerous. Some have complained to the city about the dangers.

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Ocean Beach Planning Board Agenda for Wed., March 4th

March 3, 2015 by Staff
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Here is the agenda for the Ocean Beach Planning Board’s March 4th monthly meeting. They meet at 6pm sharp in the OB Recreation Center, 4726 Santa Monica Avenue.

The Board will receive an update on the Pacific Beach pipeline project – which will replace water and sewer main lines near OB.

The Friends of the OB Library will give a presentation to the Board which will include an update on the library expansion status, and current plans for fundraising.

A Candidate Forum will then be held during the meeting, where those seeking election or re-election will have an opportunity to address the community.

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The Viral Video of LA Cops Shooting Homeless Man

March 3, 2015 by Source
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Here’s the video that has gone viral of Los Angeles police officers firing 5 shots at a homeless man. It definitely has gone viral. When we first watched it on Sunday afternoon, it had 2 million viewers already after being posted only about an hour and a half. Anthony Blackburn originally posted the video on youtube.


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Snow in Lagunas From Lakeside

March 3, 2015 by Patty Jones
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Check out this fabulous view of snow in Mt Lagunas – taken from the parking lot of where Patty Jones – the tech girl for the OB Rag – works in Lakeside.

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Restaurant Review: Little Lion in South Ocean Beach

March 3, 2015 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for Restaurant Review:  Little Lion in South Ocean Beach

Restaurant Review

Little Lion
1424 Sunset Cliffs Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92107

I have been anticipating my first meal at the “Little Lion” ever since I heard it was getting ready to open. (The old “Belgian Lion” was always one of my favorite restaurants and I was sorry to see it close. ) … We went on a Friday morning, around 10:45am, and it was not crowded at all. There were three tables being used, and because of the cold breeze no one was eating outside.

I have reviewed three separate restaurants at this location. It is a very small eatery; very limited room, but charming at the same time. I was prepared to rave about the restaurant to everyone. Let me start by saying that the food was excellent. …

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The Lobbyists at Your Dinner Party

March 3, 2015 by Source

Every purveyor of food and drink wants the government to advise Americans to consume more of what they produce

new_food_pyramid_2012By Jill Richardson /Other Words

Remember the old food pyramid?

Until “MyPlate” replaced it a few years ago, the U.S. government’s official dietary advice for Americans fit neatly into that triangle.

The government recently moved toward updating those standards again. And the result isn’t nearly as digestible. In classic bureaucratic form, the Department of Health and Human Services cooked up a 571-page draft report for Americans to comment on.

The actual updated dietary guidelines will come later. Here’s what we know about the draft

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Peninsula Community Planners: City Puts the Kibosh on Cañon Pocket Park

March 2, 2015 by Source
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City Planner Defends Carleton Row Homes and Condemns Cañon Pocket Park

By Tony de Garate / Special to the OB Rag

City Planner Addresses hot-button issues

Yes, there are structures in Point Loma taller than 30 feet. However, those buildings were properly approved by the city’s Development Services Department and do not violate the landmark height limit initiative approved by San Diego voters in 1972.

Similarly, there was nothing irregular about the city’s approval of Carleton Row Homes, a four-unit condo project at 3015-21 Carleton St. blasted by its detractors as a deceitful proposal and currently under appeal to the San Diego Planning Commission

But recent grassroots improvements to a vacant lot supporters call Cañon Pocket Park, on the other hand, were improper. And the city’s Park and Recreation Department will fence off that quarter-acre space west of the Avenida de Portugal cul-de-sac if anyone organizes a similar activity in the future.

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Midway Planners – Hampton Inn to Be Renovated to 4 Points Sheraton

March 2, 2015 by Source
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By Tony de Garate / Special to the OB Rag

Driving down Camino Del Rio West, the northern edge of the Midway community dominated by a hodge-podge of low-cost eateries, auto repair shops and adult entertainment venues, you may not even know the Hampton Inn, with its 208 rooms, meeting facilities and business center, is there.

That may change this fall when the Hampton emerges from a three-year renovation re-branded as a Four Points Sheraton.

Every room will be renovated, but the hotel will remain open because only 30 percent of the rooms will be removed from inventory at any time, said Victor Ravago, the hotel’s general manager and board member of the Midway Community Planning Group.

The project includes the addition of a bar and full-service restaurant. It’ll be the first cocktail service at the lodging since the 1980s, when it was known as the Lexington Hotel, Ravago said at the planning group’s monthly February meeting.

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Joining Spirit with the Billions of Us Human Beings

March 2, 2015 by Ernie McCray
[caption id="attachment_123238" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Lao Tzu humanity quote (Image: Flickr – Hartwig HKD)[/caption]

By Ernie McCray

I was driving and turned my radio to 89.5, KPBS, and there was a conversation going on about “7 Billion Others,” an exhibit that’s opening in the U.S. for the first time – at San Diego’s Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA): February 21 to September 13.

I liked what I was hearing and googled around and found, on the MOPA website, 45 questions written for visitors to the exhibit to answer so that they can find in themselves that spark that resides in us all and connects us to the journey of human beings featured in the video project.

My answer to the first question was: Ernest Charles McCray; age 76; retired school principal; widower; American as in United States of America.

Here are my replies to the other questions, based on what first came to my mind:

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Why hundreds of starving sea lion pups are washing ashore in California.

March 2, 2015 by Source
Thumbnail image for Why hundreds of starving sea lion pups are washing ashore in California.

By Nick Kirkpatrick / Washington Post / February 26, 2015

Sick, starving and dying sea lion pups are washing up on the shores of California in record numbers this year. In 2015, 940 young sea lions have turned up, officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said last week — four times the number California would normally see. But why?

Experts say it’s the warm water. Scientists believe warmer coastal waters force the prey of sea lions — squid and sardines, for example — deeper beneath the ocean’s surface. Then nursing sea lion mothers must look further afield for food, leaving their pups for longer than normal. Deprived of sustenance and weakened, the pups limply wash ashore.

“The prey source is just too far away for the mothers to go out, get food and come back and wean the pups,” Jim Milbury of the National Marine Fisheries Service told Yahoo News. Peter Wallerstein, director of Marine Animal Rescue in Los Angeles County, said the pups are unable to dive down to get food for themselves.

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Golden Hill’s 25th Street Nightmare Gives the Lie to Faulconer’s Infrastructure Fantasy

March 2, 2015 by Jim Miller

IMG_0452By Jim Miller

A little over a week ago I was amused to see the Turko Files run a couple of segments “exposing” a disastrous Golden Hill renovation project on 25th Street that I had covered nearly six months earlier in late August of 2014. The KUSI angle was, appropriately, how bad the endless construction has been for local small businesses who have suffered through the scatter-shot planning and surreal whack-a-mole approach to getting the job done more“efficiently.”

Neighborhood residents might recall how Mayor Kevin Faulconer claimed his administration would change the game back in April of 2014 when he opined, “It’s a mindset that’s changing, and it says do it all at once. It’s taken awhile and it’s been frustrating for us, it takes more planning. So now, we do all of the projects at once – pipes, streets – so you don’t have to come back six months, two years later.”

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Father and 5-Month Baby Hit by Vehicle at Cañon and Catalina in Point Loma

March 2, 2015 by Staff

Father Has Serious Head Trauma, Baby Knocked Unconscious

About 6:25 a.m. Monday – this morning – , a father and mother were walking with their 5-month old baby at Cañon Street and Catalina Boulevard when the father and child were hit by a SUV.

The father suffered serious head trauma and the baby was knocked unconscious. The mother was unhurt.

The dad, in his mid-30s was pushing the baby in a stroller when the vehicle hit them in the intersection – it was going east. He was taken to Sharp Hospital and the baby – breathing but unconscious – was taken to Rady Children’s Hospital.

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Avoiding Contaminated Ocean Waters After Storm Has Special Meaning for OB and Pt Loma Surfers

March 2, 2015 by Staff

The word is getting out – don’t go in the water for 3 days after these current storms. And this warning has special meaning for Ocean Beach and Pt Loma surfers. For it wasn’t 2 and a half months ago that long-time surfer, Barry Ault, died from a bacterial infection he obtained while surfing in local waters after a storm.

Urban runoff has polluted coastal waters and the San Diego County Department of Environmental Health has issued a general advisory telling beachgoers to avoid swimming, surfing and diving in all coastal waters for 72 hours following rain. This is due to increased levels of bacteria, that is especially prevalent near rivers and outlets that discharge urban runoff, which can include animal waste, soil, and decomposing vegetation.

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Officer Surwilo Gives ‘the Other Side of the Story’ About Jimmy Maroutis and the Police

February 27, 2015 by Source

By Lois Lane

On Wednesday February 25, Community Relations Officer David Surwilo made his usual presentation of “what’s new” at the OB Town Council meeting.

Always charming and disarming, this time he had a complaint instead of answering them:

The OB Rag had not fairly represented what happened on February 14 when it announced that a well- known-Ocean beach local (Jimmy Maroutis) had been arrested for stabbing a woman in Point Loma.

According to the police, two witnesses had identified Mr. Maroutis as the perpetrator, which precipitated the contact. The assailant had a baby stroller for his possessions, something Maroudis occasionally also uses, and this may have caused what seems to be now a condition of confusion.

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Public Safety and Pie Time at the OB Town Council

February 27, 2015 by Source
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By Lois Lane

A Report of the OB Town Council Meeting: Wednesday, February 25

A hundred OBceans turned out to help celebrate the birthday of Gretchen Newsom, the OB Town Council President, with what we all hope will turn out to be an annual pie spectacular. In addition, there was a more serious program topic:

Safety in Ocean Beach.

Stephen Grosch provided the PowerPoint presentation outlining the OB Mainstreet Association’s efforts to turn slogans into action: “Respect OB”.

As a result, two bicycling security guards form a patrol to enhance public safety through a variety of activities. These guards are armed only with the items we all have available as private citizens: a knowledge of the law and how to report through the channels.

They deal with nuisance and quality of life issues such as drug dealing, loitering on private property, illegal lodging (sleeping in business doorways), graffiti and illegal dumping. They also interface with services for the homeless, and have been known to call the paramedics for medical emergencies.

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OB Hostel Termite Tent Merely Precautionary

February 27, 2015 by Matthew Wood
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Those who walk by the OB Hostel this week and think the place is either wrought with bugs or hosting a perverse carnival need not worry. The owners are tenting the place as a precautionary measure to protect against termites.

“Who doesn’t have termites in San Diego?” said Maria Argyropoulos-Minos, Chief Operating Officer of USA Hostels.

“That’s pretty much the way it works. Anytime you have a house, you tent it.”

The tent has been on the iconic building for much of the week, but should be down by mid-morning on Friday.

“We just want to make sure it’s safe and secure from the little buggers and this seemed like a good time,” she said.

Argyropoulos-Minos said it is part of a number of upgrades the company is making to the place since purchasing it late last year.

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The Origins of Institutionalized Racism – a System to Control Blacks … and Whites

February 27, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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100 Years Before Lexington and Concord, Bacon’s Armed Rebellion of Whites and Blacks Forced Plantation Elite to Create System of Racial Slavery

By Frank Gormlie

Since the turmoil last year in Ferguson, Missouri, swept in a new civil rights movement, once again America is faced with the reality of its system of institutionalized racism. For Americans with conscience, understanding this system is key to changing it, and it cannot be understood without understanding its origins which trail back, of course, to colonial America.

Confronting a system that predates the very formation of the Republic itself necessitates understanding its raison d’etre – its reason for being. Why is there such a system that has a solid foundation and that has existed all this time, and is so deeply ingrained? Why is there institutionalized racism? If one accepts such a premise, that there is such a thing, then the most obvious answer is that it exists to control blacks, African-Americans. And to control other minorities, Mexican-Americans, Native Americans.

Yet this system is not meant to only control blacks – and other peoples of color – but it also is meant to control white people.

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News and Notices for Ocean Beach and the Peninsula

February 26, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Mission Beach to Get New Lifeguard Station and Ocean Beach Doesn’t

South Mission Beach is about to get a new lifeguard station. And meanwhile, Ocean Beach continues with its own aging lifeguard tower and deteriorating restrooms. The Mission Beach Precise Planning Board was briefed on the new development at their meeting on Feb. 17. City engineer Jihad Sleiman told the group:

“The lifeguard tower was constructed in 1974 as a temporary facility. It is deteriorated, small, old and no longer serves the needs of the city lifeguards and the beach going public on this mile-long section of beach.”

He explained that the new station will have a rescue vehicle facility to store rescue craft, trucks and first-aid kits, and will also have separate men’s and women’s restrooms and a main observation tower on the third level. He called the new tower “an orientation landmark on the beach.” The total lifeguard tower replacement cost: $4.9 million. Construction is expected to start within the next few weeks and be completed by summer 2016.

The main lifeguard tower in OB is from the 1980s but is in very bad condition. The restrooms are an embarrassment. Various groups have been lobbying for its replacement for a while now. Perhaps with a new city councilperson, the efforts can be rejoined.

Robb Field Skate Park Now Is 15 years Old

The OB Robb Field Skate Park turned 15 a week ago on Thursday, Feb. 19. On Feb. 19, 2000, the park opened with a celebration with more than $25,000 in prize giveaways. And it was a dedicated group of volunteers who did the fundraising and development of the iconic skate park.They worked with then-Councilman Byron Wear and his staff. Some of the key volunteers were

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