<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - San Diego News]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego http://www.nbcsandiego.comen-usMon, 20 Feb 2017 14:19:25 -0800Mon, 20 Feb 2017 14:19:25 -0800NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Stadium, Shopping, Soccer: The Proposed New Look of MV]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 13:45:19 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/200*120/Stadium+street+view.jpg

The investment group that wants to redevelop the Mission Valley land where Qualcomm Stadium sits has big plans.

"We're starting with the largest parking lot west of the Mississippi and if we follow this plan within three years you will start to see construction on that," said FS Investors partner Nick Stone as he pointed at a new artist's rendering of the grand plan.

Stone was joined by former Qualcomm executive Steve Altman in a series of press briefings on Monday in La Jolla. The group outlined what it wants to do to the 166-acre plot of land where Qualcomm Stadium sits.

"We're trying to do something that makes sense for the community, a much more valuable asset for the City," said Stone.

In addition to a brand new stadium to house an MLS expansion team and the San Diego State football program and a 55-acre River Park, here is what their big picture development plan looks like:

- 3,520 market rate residential units
- 800 units of student-focused housing
- 480 residential units designed as affordable housing
- 2.4 million square feet of office space
- 740,000 square feet of commercial space
- 2 hotels with potential for 450 rooms

Stone says the park plan is something that meets almost all the criteria for the River Park Foundation and construction on it MUST be in at the same time they start to build the stadium. He also reiterated this entire proposal, which would cost an estimated $2.5 billion when it's all said and done, would be privately financed.

"We are not seeking a single dollar if tax payer subsidy," said Stone.

Part of that $2.5 billion dollar price tag includes $50 million to go towards traffic mitigation which Stone says is not just for what they want to build but also easing traffic flow in the area in general. It also will take care of destruction of Qualcomm Stadium.

The FS Investors-led group also touts the site’s public transit as a major positive. The current stadium site has a trolley stop and is scheduled to be part of the new Purple line that would connect Mission Valley to the South Bay.

“We are THE transit hub in Mission Valley corridor,” said Stone.

This is a unique opportunity for any land developer. Parcels of land like this, 166 acres with very little already on it, are hard to come by in major cities in today’s real estate world. There will very likely be other developers interested in the land that put of a fight for it. This investment group is prepared for the opposition.

“I think we're a rising tide that's going to lift a lot boats here. There will be people who view us as competition,” said Stone.

One of the main challenges from other developers could come in the way the land is acquired by the FS Investors group. On Monday they re-iterated they plan on leasing the full site on a land-use basis and buying less than 80 acres, in effect acting as a master developer for the entire plot of land.

The proposal was presented to City Hall and City Councilmembers on Monday.

"This concept offers exciting opportunities for major league soccer, more parkland and Aztecs football without public subsidy,” said Mayor Kevin Faulconer in a statement to NBC 7. “Now it's time to examine the plan in detail to make sure it makes sense for taxpayers. I look forward to reviewing the proposal presented to the public today, as well as the public discussion to come."

The proposal will be formed as a citizens’ initiative. Later this week they plan to launch a new website, www.goalsd.com, that will outline all of the technical data. Then 22 days after that, they plan to start gathering signatures (the same process the Chargers went through with Measure C).

If the group is able to collect enough signatures and have those signatures verified they will ask the City Council to make a decision on direct-adopting the proposal in June, hoping to avoid the delay of a public vote on the plan which would come in November, likely after Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber makes an announcement on which cities will receive expansion teams.

A citizens’ initiative does not require environmental impact information to be included but Stone says the group will include “thousands of pages” of documents similar to what would be found in an Environmental Impact Report will be included anyway. Since the land is older and mostly a parking lot the group does not foresee many environmental obstacles.

"There is very little that we could do so make the environmental situation worse,” said Stone.

As for the National Football League, Stone says their group has not received any calls from groups interested in building a new facility for an NFL team on the site but they are still earmarking 16 acres to be left alone for five years in case professional American football decides to return to America’s Finest City.

“We hope that at some point somebody will pick up the phone and call us but it hasn’t happened,” said Stone.

A possible sticking point here is the size of the stadium. SDSU needs a new home and would like something expandable to 40,000 seats. The current stadium proposal, according to Stone, would be expandable to 32,000 seats. After seeing the latest round of plans SDSU issued the following statement:

"We have reviewed the renderings and descriptions presented by FS Investors and we wish to clarify two critical issues: First, given the proposed density of development in the stadium area, there is no prospect for future expansion to 40,000 seats. Second, while the proposed gift of stadium ownership may convey tax advantages to FS Investors, it conveys no revenue or rights of ownership normally associated with a gift. We look forward to working with the Mayor, the City Council and the San Diego community to construct a mixed-use stadium that will serve the needs of SDSU's top 25-football program."

The MLS investment group has spoken about “gifting” their portion of the stadium to the University and the school is looking for clarification on what exactly they mean by that. The Aztecs are being asked to kick in $100 million to the construction cost and would be hesitant to do so if they are not happy with the capacity.

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<![CDATA[Rep. Scott Peters to Hold Town Hall in San Diego]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 14:15:32 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/peters.jpg

U.S. Representative Scott Peters (D-52) will hold a town hall at the Islamic Center of San Diego Monday. 

The town hall will take place at 5 p.m. at the center, located at 7050 Eckstrom Avenue in San Diego.

According to Peters' staff, the event is at capacity. If you did not make the deadline to RSVP to the eventby would like to attend, you will be seated on a first-come, first-serve basis as seats become available. 

The new administration and the direction of the administration is expected to be among one of the conversation topics this evening. 

"This town hall is a WIN for Indivisible! Peters decided to host the event because of repeated inquiries from groups like ours. We have filled the venue with our members and then some. We will continue to work with elected officials to make positive change in our community," read a post on the event's Facebook page.

Peters plans to host another town hall in March at a larger venue. 



Photo Credit: Roll Call/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[SWAT Standoff Underway With Armed Man Inside Santee Home]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 13:17:15 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/SWATSanteeStandoff0220.JPG

A SWAT standoff is underway with an armed man holed up in a Santee home Monday morning, who is believed to have violated a restraining order, confirmed sheriff's deputies.

Deputies were called to the home after receiving a report of a disturbance just after 9 a.m. The man, who appears to be in his early 20s, is by himself, inside the house located on the 8500 block of Massery Lane, said a San Diego County Sheriff's department (SDSO) official.

He is reportedly carrying a gun, according to the SDSO. The Sheriff's Crisis Negotiation Team is at the scene trying to negotiate with him.

Deputies from the Santee Sheriff's Station, Lakeside Sheriff's Substation, Alpine Station, Special Enforcement Detail (SED/SWAT) are all at the scene, attempting to peacefully resolve the situation.

Sheriff's deputies have issued an alert asking residents in the neighborhood to stay inside their homes for their safety.

A Sheriff's helicopter (ASTREA) is flying over the house to surveil the area. Deputies said patrol cars may make announcements urging the suspect to surrender.

No other information was immediately available.

Check back for updates on this breaking news.



Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Artistic Renderings of MLS Stadium in San Diego Unveiled]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 12:49:02 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/MLS+new+stadium+1.jpg The group vying to bring Major League Soccer to San Diego in a new, privately-financed stadium in Mission Valley rolled out a series of artistic renderings of their plans for a MLS stadium.

Photo Credit: Artie Ojeda]]>
<![CDATA[Woman With Medical Issue Rescued on Cruise Ship to Mexico]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 11:47:59 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/CoastGuardHelicopterPIC-PIC_0.jpg

The U.S. Coast Guard rescued a 74-year-old woman who was headed to Mexico on a cruise ship, about 86 miles southwest of San Diego Monday.

At about 5:15 p.m. Sunday, watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector San Diego received a call about a woman having severe abdominal pain on the cruise ship called Star Princess, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

A duty flight surgeon with the U.S. Coast Guard asked for the patient to be medically evacuated and taken to a hospital for emergency care, said a U.S. Coast Guard official. When they got the report, the ship was located more than 400 miles southwest of San Diego en route to Ensenada, Mexico.

It was so far away that the ship was asked to return slightly closer to San Diego, at a carefully selected position, said U.S. Coast Guard officials.

A Jayhawk helicopter crew from the Coast Guard Sector San Diego was launched at 6 a.m. Monday and safely hoisted the woman from the ship at about 7:20 a.m.

"While most people are enjoying a long President's Day Weekend, we can't forget illness and injury don't take holidays," said Lt. Tim Nicolet, aircraft commander and pilot of the Jayhawk, in a statement.

"Fortunately for this patient, neither do we. Protecting lives at sea is paramount to what we do and I'm proud to have been a part of this exceptional crew and this rescue effort," said Lt. Nicolet.

The patient was returned to Sector San Diego at 8 a.m. and taken to the UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest. There were no further details available yet on her condition.



Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[What's Closed on Presidents Day Across San Diego County?]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 10:45:29 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/presidents-day-generic.jpg

Many local agencies across San Diego County are closed on Monday in observance of Presidents day.

All of the administrative offices for the City of San Diego are closed, along with most of the city's recreation centers and its pools and libraries, according to the city website.

The County of San Diego's offices, library branches and animal shelters are also closed, said county officials.

Plenty of parks remain open for the holiday including San Diego County parks, campgrounds and neighborhood day-use parks. The Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center is open, according to the city.

Skate parks remain open in the following locations: Robb Field, Rancho Penasquitos, Carmel Valley, Bill and Maxine Wilson, and the Charles L. Lewis III Memorial.

As for parking, the meters, street time restrictions and yellow zones are not enforced within the City of San Diego, except for red, white and blue zones which continue to be enforced still.

Some community centers and gymnasiums are closed.

That includes the Fallbrook, Lakeside and Spring Valley Community Center, as well as the Lakeside Teen Center, and the Spring Valley Gymnasium and Teen Center, according to County officials. The 4S Ranch Sports Park recreation office and the Tecolote Nature Center is also closed. Open Space and Maintenance Assessment District offices are closed.

Emergency services continue operating throughout the holiday, including law enforcement and emergency animal control response, according to San Diego County and City officials. San Diego Police and San Diego Fire-Rescue crews are not impacted by the holiday. Station 38, the Citywide emergency dispatch center is on duty.

Anyone in need of help for domestic violence can call 9-1-1 and/or the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-888-385-4657.

The Testing, Employment Information Center and Background/Fingerprinting offices within the Personnel Department are closed, and the Family Justice Center is closed.

Trash collection is not affected by the holiday for residents in the City of San Diego. The Miramar Landfill is operating on its normal schedule from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Chollas Lake is open from 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and the San Vicente Reservoir is open until sunset, according to city officials. Golf courses and start booths are open.

Normal business hours for all County and City offices will resume on Tuesday, after the holiday.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[1 Month in, San Diegans Eat, Drink and Talk Politics]]> Sun, 19 Feb 2017 23:28:14 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/635658762-Trump-fine-tuned-machine1.jpg

One month into President Donald Trump’s presidency, NBC 7 sat down at D.Z. Akins in La Mesa and Waypoint Public in North Park for a sandwich, a beer and a little political conversation.

“I’m feeling great!” D.Z. Akins diner Mike Stafford said enthusiastically when asked what he thinks about the new administration.

While finishing his grilled cheese, Stafford explained, in his view that Trump is doing everything he said he would do. “The thing that strikes me immediately is he's preformed as he said he was going to perform,” he said.

At the booth around the corner Joyce Camiel and her dinner date Bryce Westphall had differing opinions.

“It’s a disaster,” she answered after a little prodding. Westphall, who joked about getting kicked by Camiel under the table, said Trump has the will to grow a strong, successful country. “If he's able to accomplish 40 percent of [what he said he would do] without getting us in a war, he's done okay.”

At the bar Waypoint Public the craft beer was flowing as was the political conversation.

Ninth grade teacher Leslie Diaz-Burns says she didn’t vote for Trump, but she was hoping for the best.

“I'm feeling a little disappointed with how things are going because I feel that the president has missed opportunities to bring people together,” she said. She’s less hopeful now. “I guess he's going to institute another executive order even though the other has been struck down by the court. So I don't know. I guess the answer is I don't feel like he's really accomplished anything.”

It’s still early in the president’s first term and only time will tell if Trump’s presidency is successful or not. But one thing is certain - pastrami on rye, a pint and political opinions will continue to mix until the next election.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Weekly San Diego Sports Preview]]> Sun, 19 Feb 2017 21:44:24 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/177*120/GettyImages-610458314.jpg

Here is a look at what’s going on in San Diego sports for the week for February 20th-26th.

PADRES: After a week of workouts the Padres play the Mariners Saturday and Sunday in Peoria. First pitch is 12:10 p.m. both days.

GULLS: It’s a double dose of hockey at the Valley View Casino Center. Friday the Gulls host the Texas Stars before the Rockford Ice Hogs come to San Diego. Puck drops 7 p.m. both nights.

SOCKERS: Saturday the Sockers play in Sonora against the Coyotes before Baja Atletico comes to the Valley View Casino Center Sunday at 5:05 p.m.

UNIVERSITY OF SAN DIEGO TOREROS:

-MEN’S GOLF: Monday-Wednesday at The Prestige in La Quinta, California.

-BASEBALL: Tuesday KT Wiz 6 p.m. Friday vs. Notre Dame 6 p.m., Saturday USD vs. Oregon/UC Irvine 5 p.m. and Sunday Championship game 10 a.m. all at Fowler Park.

-WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Thursday at Gonzaga 6 p.m. and Saturday at Portland 2 p.m.

-MEN’S BASKETBALL: Thursday vs. Gonzaga 7 p.m. and Saturday vs. Portland 6 p.m.

-MEN’S CREW: Saturday at the City Championships 7 a.m. at Mission Bay.

-MEN’S TENNIS: Saturday vs. UC Irvine 10 a.m. and Saint Mary’s 2 p.m.

-WOMEN’S TENNIS: Sunday vs. Arizona State 12 p.m.

SAN DIEGO STATE UNIVERSITY AZTECS:

-MEN’S GOLF: Monday-Wednesday at The Prestige in La Quinta.

-BASEBALL: Tuesday at UC Irvine 6 p.m., Wednesday at Cal State Fullerton, Friday vs. Tennessee 6 p.m., Saturday vs. Seton Hall 1 p.m. and Sunday vs. TBA.

-SOFTBALL: Tuesday vs. Siena 6 p.m., Friday vs. Oklahoma State 6 p.m. and Florida State 8:30 p.m. in Cathedral City. Saturday vs. Stanford 5:30 p.m. and Sunday vs. New Mexico State 9 a.m. and Utah 11:30 a.m. in Cathedral City.

-MEN’S BASKETBALL: Wednesday vs. Fresno State 8 p.m. and Saturday at Colorado State 5 p.m.

-WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Wednesday at Fresno State 7 p.m. and Saturday vs. Colorado State 2 p.m.

-WOMEN’S TENNIS: Wednesday vs. Eastern Michigan 2 p.m. and Saturday vs. Arizona State 12 p.m. both at the Aztec Tennis Center.

-WOMEN’S TRACK: Thursday-Saturday at the Mountain West Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

-WOMEN’S LACROSSE: Friday at Michigan and Sunday at Detroit Mercy.

-WOMEN’S WATER POLO: Friday-Sunday vs TBD in Irvine.

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SAN DIEGO TRITONS:

-WOMEN’S TENNIS: Tuesday vs. Eastern Michigan 2 p.m. at UCSD and Saturday at Cal State L.A. 11 a.m.

-WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Thursday at Cal State San Bernardino 5:30 p.m.

-MEN’S BASKETBALL: Thursday at Cal State San Bernardino 7:30 p.m.

-WOMEN’S WATER POLO: Friday-Sunday TBD in Irvine.

-MEN’S GOLF: Friday and Saturday at the Pioneer Shootout in Vallejo.

-SOFTBALL: Friday and Saturday at Cal State San Bernardino 12 p.m. and 2 p.m.

-MEN’S TENNIS: Friday vs. Holy Names 3 p.m. at UCSD.

-BASEBALL: Friday vs. Cal State San Marcos 6 p.m. and Saturday at Cal State San Marcos 12 p.m.

-MEN’S VOLLEYBALL: Friday vs. UC Santa Barbara 7 p.m. and Saturday vs. UCLA 7 p.m. both at UCSD.

-MEN’S ROWING: Saturday San Diego City Championships 7 a.m. at Mission Bay.

-TRACK & FIELD: Saturday at the Mangrum Invitational 10 a.m. in San Marcos.

POINT LOMA NAZARENE UNIVERSITY SEA LIONS:

-WOMEN’S GOLF: Monday and Tuesday vs. Cal Baptist Women’s Invitational in Riverside 8 a.m.

-MEN’S BASKETBALL: Monday at BYU-Hawaii 9:30 p.m. and Saturday at California Baptist 8 p.m.

-WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Monday at BYU-Hawaii 7 p.m. and Saturday at California Baptist 5 p.m.

-WOMEN’S TENNIS: Wednesday at Concordia 2 p.m. and Friday vs. Western New Mexico 11 a.m.

-MEN’S TENNIS: Wednesday at Concordia 2 p.m., Friday vs. Western New Mexico 2 p.m. and Saturday vs. Sonoma State 11 a.m.

-TRACK: Saturday at Mangrum Invitational in San Marcos 10 a.m.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Vehicle Reportedly Slams into Escondido House]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 06:57:32 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/EscondidoCarCrash0220.JPG

A vehicle reportedly slammed into a house at 9th Avenue and La Terraza Blvd. around 9:15 p.m. Sunday, according to Escondido police.

One person has major injuries and was taken to the hospital. It is not clear if it is the driver or someone else. 

The Escondido Police Department is investigating. 

No other information was available.

Check back for updates on this breaking news.



Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[MLS Stadium Group Reveals More MV Redevelopment Details]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 07:50:20 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/206*120/MLS+Park+Rendering.JPG

The group vying to bring Major League Soccer to San Diego in a new, privately-financed stadium in Mission Valley said it was going to reveal more details of its plan in due time and they are making good on that.

On Sunday the group led by FS Investors founder Mike Stone and former Qualcomm Executive Steve Altman released an artist’s rendering of what they think the proposed 55-acre River Park would look like.

Along with that photo comes the promise of more information to be shared in a Monday morning press conference where a detailed concept plan for the site is expected to be presented. That plan includes a new stadium to be used by a MLS expansion team and the San Diego State football program … a 55-acre River Park … and a sports and entertainment area with shops and restaurants, kind of like the Gaslamp Quarter in Downtown San Diego.

The investment group says it has new renderings of the land to illustrate in better detail the various features of the proposed Mission Valley redevelopment project, which would still include an untouched parcel of land that would be set aside for the possibility of building a new NFL stadium.

NBC 7 will have full coverage of the unveiling on www.nbc7.com and NBC 7 News.

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<![CDATA[Padres Try A Strange New Experiment]]> Sun, 19 Feb 2017 17:39:10 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/183*120/Christian+Bethancourt+Pitching+2016.JPG

In baseball you have utility players. Those are guys who can man multiple positions effectively. Usually those players specialize in being around the infield and dabbling in the outfield.

The Padres are turning Christian Bethancourt in to a completely different kind of utility player.

He is a catcher by trade … an outfielder by necessity … and now a relief pitcher by curiosity. Last year Bethancourt made his big league pitching debut, going 1.2 innings over two appearances and not allowing a run.

The Friars were encouraged enough that when the season ended they asked him to focus more on throwing off a mound.

“I did work a lot on it, especially when I was in Panama,” said Bethancourt, who played winter ball in his native country during the off-season. “I was playing left field every day and pitching three times a week. I put a lot of emphasis on my mechanics and watching a lot of videos comparing myself to other pitchers just to get a feeling and see how it goes. I feel like I’m in a pretty good position right now.”

Bethancourt arrived in Peoria, AZ, for Spring Training expecting to work with the pitchers but he’s not trading in his catcher’s mask or outfield glove fully quite yet. He is still a viable offensive threat. Despite a high strikeout rate Bethancourt packs 20-home run potential at the plate.

But it is awfully hard to ignore a mid-to-high-90’s heater so San Diego is exploring this incredibly unique opportunity.

“Obviously my fastball is my best pitch,” said Bethancourt. “My changeup will be my second-best pitch; slider is still a work in progress.”

Bethancourt is trying to slow down his slider to give it more depth. Right now he throws it so hard it doesn’t have much bite to it, coming off more like a cut fastball. But velocity is something that comes natural to the 25-year-old.

“My expectation is he just has a nice, relatively easy side (session),” said manager Andy Green. “His expectation, probably, is he throws 95 MPH so we’re going to try and dial that back a little bit and make sure his body is in a good position.”

That’s how the Padres will handle Bethancourt for the beginning of Spring Training when it comes to his pitching workload. In Panama his fastball is routinely in the mind-90’s and he can probably reach back for a little more if he needs to, but the Friars want to make sure he’s doing it safely so nothing will be rushed.

“I think just get him off the mound, see where the mechanics have changed from when we first put him on the mound last year,” said Green about what he would like to see from Bethancourt in the early going. “That’s about it. He’ll go through PFP’s (Pitchers Fielding Practice) and stuff that he’s not normally accustomed to doing so that will be different for him as well.”

Last season Bethancourt spent 322 innings at catcher, 42 innings in left field and 31 innings in right field … but it’s those 1.2 innings atop a 10-inch mound of dirt that could have unlocked his true baseball future.

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<![CDATA[USS Carl Vinson Begins Operations in South China Sea]]> Sun, 19 Feb 2017 23:01:19 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/uss+carl+vinson2.jpg

The USS Carl Vinson, which is homeported at North Island in San Diego, began routine operations in the South China Sea on February 18.

The aircraft carrier previously conducted operations off the coast of Hawaii and Guam and in the Philippine Sea along with guided missile destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer and aircraft from Carrier Air Wing 2.

"The training completed over the past few weeks has really brought the team together and improved our effectiveness and readiness as a strike group," said Rear Adm. James Kilby, commander, Carrier Strike Group 1. "We are looking forward to demonstrating those capabilities while building upon existing strong relationships with our allies, partners and friends in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region."

Carl Vinson last deployed to the Western-Pacific in 2015 where they conducted a bilateral exercise with the Royal Malaysian Navy and Air Force.

The aircraft carrier left San Diego on January 5 with 7,500 Marines and sailors.



Photo Credit: U.S. Navy]]>
<![CDATA[SDUSD Superintendent on Budget, What Parents Can Expect]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 12:46:04 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/2-19-17-Cindy+Marten.JPG

The San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) is facing a big budget deficit, and on Tuesday the Board will look at what to cut to make ends meet. 

NBC 7 has learned ahead of Tuesday's meeting that the Superintendent Cindy Marten and the Board will take salary cuts in order to help balance the District's budget. 

Marten told NBC 7 that in addition, there will likely be layoffs to teachers and employees in non-teaching positions. Marten stressed the cuts will not impact class size limits. 

In the week prior to the meeting, parents have been receiving emails from principals at their children's schools about those budget cuts, asking for feedback about how parents want the school to spent discretionary money the district gives to schools. 

In her exclusive interview, Marten expanded on parent’s concerns with budget cuts going forward, and offered a better look at what to expect. Read Marten's full, transcribed interview with NBC 7's Megan Tevrizian below. 

Question: "The first thing on the minds of most parents is what’s on the chopping block?"
Marten: "We made our recommendations making sure our core class size limits are not going to be increasing. That’s an important message for folks to understand that where we’re going to address this budget deficit and the solutions that we’ve developed started at the top first. So what you’re seeing is that the majority of cuts will be at the central office, and central office administrators. Making sure that those with teaching credentials will remain inside the classroom, teaching students next year. And I also have to say I’m really proud of our Board of Education, when you ask what’s being cut the Board is taking action on Tuesday to reduce their own salaries, which I want to give them credit for and I’m doing the same thing. I’m asking the Board to have them reduce my salary as well. So you’re seeing cuts as far away from the classroom as possible. Core class size limits are not going to be increasing so kids will have the same kinds of experiences that are producing the same great results San Diego Unified is currently getting today, that we’re able to mitigate financial deficit in ways that we brought solutions forward that will least impact students in the classrooms."

Question: "Will there be teacher lay-offs? If so, how many?"
Marten: "Yes, there will be teacher lay-offs and that’s the part where parents go ‘if there are layoffs, what happens to my kid’s class size’ – no the class sizes will be OK, the layoffs will be because some teachers that were not in the classroom will be going back in the classroom which creates the domino effect; so there is going to be some bumping that takes place when that happens and this is a long, complex process so when you say (how many is it going to be?), we’re just getting the conversation started now in advance of the March 15 notices, but we’re also bringing forward this week an early retirement package so teachers will have a chance to elect early retirement with the process that’s coming forward. Once the layoff process begins, lots more moving pieces will happen. We don’t know how many retirements we have, we have some vice principals that will be returning to the classroom, resource teachers that will be returning to the classrooms. All those get put together to see the final layoff notices that will happen later in the year. But we’re just starting the process now and all the moving pieces will be put together in the next several months."

Question: "The district gave teachers a raise in spite of the fact the district knew it was going to be in a budget deficit. The Board has said it did that to stay competitive, to be able to attract the best teachers, but really – was that responsible?"
Marten: "We’re looking at the labor market and we’re wanting to be a district that can attract and can retain the highest quality educators in the State of California and we want to make sure we’re paying teachers exactly what we believe they deserve to live in this market. We’re addressing the long term structural deficit and being able to address that with the type of integrity and thoughtfulness that we’re doing right now to create a long term solution, so we can continue to pay all of our employees what we know they need to be paid to live in this labor market."

Question: "What will happen to classified employees, or those who work in non-teaching positions?"
Marten: "This is a district with 17,000 employees and as we’re finding solutions for a $124 million deficit that’s 10 percent of our overall budget, 92 percent of our budget pays for people. There are people outside of the classroom, we call them the classified staff that we’re going to be making adjustments there as well. It is across the system, and we’re making the same theory of action when we’re making decisions about where we’re going to find our solutions. How do we find solutions that least impact the overall instructional program for our students. We want to stay invested in the things that are producing our 92 percent graduation rate, our increase in test scores, our attendance rates. Frankly, teachers are part of that but so are bus drivers, cafeteria workers, health assistants, all across the system we have non-teaching staff that contribute to the outcomes that we get for kids. So when we make the decisions of non-teaching staff and our school communities are looking at how do we adjust and find solutions to address and adjust this deficit to stability once and for all, all members will be impacted to some degree but at the end of the day we’ve got solutions that work for kids, we have programs that are working for kids, and we’re going to come out of this with stability, continue with achievement even though we have employees across the system being effected."

Question: "What will happen to the arts programs?"
Marten: "I want parents to understand we are very proud of our arts programs, our international baccalaureate programs, our duel language programs, those programs we consider to be essential to the core mission of our district and that’s the key message that, although we’re figuring out solutions to address this deficit, we’re holding true and staying steady with the programs that have produced the results that we know. We have a five year strategic plan for our arts that we’ve used a broad based community, strategic advisory arts council that we’re going to stay on our plan. We might have to adjust the timing of things but we have not walked away from our commitment to the arts. We know that a broad and challenging curriculum with focuses on world languages and our focus on the arts and having a robust approach that we call unlocking the genius for each and every student, we are not walking away from those things. We can actually bring forward a set of budget solutions and keep the core, the core. We know what our families expect for our kids and we’re able to do that."



Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[1 Trapped, 2 Climb Out After Car Crashes, Wraps Around Tree]]> Sun, 19 Feb 2017 13:19:37 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/2-19-17-Rancho+Santa+fe+crash.jpg

One victim was found trapped after their car crashed and wrapped around a tree in Rancho Santa Fe. 

The crash happened at approximately 11:22 a.m. Sunday at El Montevideo and Via De Fortuna, according to California Highway Patrol (CHP) officials. 

The impact of the single-car crash left the vehicle wrapped around a tree. 

Two of the people in the car were okay and climbed out of the car after the crash. 

The third, a passenger, was left trapped. Officers say man is in good condition. 

CHP officers said they believe the crash was caused by high speed and wet conditions. 

No other information was available.



Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Neighbor Rams Mustang Into Apartment]]> Sun, 19 Feb 2017 14:05:36 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/exterior+house+ram.jpg

A North Park resident backed her Mustang into a neighbor’s apartment building Sunday Morning, San Diego Police said. 

The incident occurred shortly before 9 a.m. Sunday at an apartment complex on Texas Street.

San Diego Police said the woman may have accidentally hit the gas instead of the brake.

The vehicle broke through the living room of Benjamin Bulanadi, the man living in the apartment. Bulanadi was not home when the incident occurred.

“Luckily I stayed over at a friend’s house last night,” Bulandi said. “It was pretty intense to come home to that.”

Bulanadi said if he was in his living room, he could have been hit by his dresser or TV.

Bulanadi rents the apartment through Airbnb. The owner was on the scene Sunday morning and exchanged information with the Mustang driver. Bulanadi is looking for another place to stay.



Photo Credit: Liberty Zabala
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<![CDATA[Baby Unharmed, Suspect in Custody After SWAT Standoff Ends]]> Sun, 19 Feb 2017 23:21:45 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/2-17-17-SWAT+Standoff+San+Ysidro+2.JPG

A suspect wielding a loaded .45-caliber handgun was taken into custody and a baby inside was reunited with its mother after an hours-long standoff in San Ysidro Sunday, San Diego Police (SDPD) said.

The standoff began at approximately 8:16 a.m. Sunday when Nicholas Schaefer, 25, showed his girlfriend a gun and acted in a threatening manner, SDPD officers said.

"He pulled out a handgun, waved it in a threatening manner so the female ended up leaving the apartment, went down the street and called police and that’s when we responded," said SDPD Capt. Alberto Leos.

The pair were inside an apartment near Camino De La Plaza and Willow in San Ysidro, officers said. The location is across a popular outlet mall. 

Police responded to the scene to talk to Chaffer; the SWAT team responded shortly after. 

"Because of the threats with the handgun and the acts that the suspect was displaying, we ended up calling our swat team out to contain and de-escalate the situation," Leos said.

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For several hours, Chaffer refused to come outside, police said. The incident prompted officials to evacuate nearby apartments as they worked. 

However, shortly before 12 p.m., Chaffer surrendered to police. 

No one was injured in the incident; the child was reunited with its mother, police said. A loaded .45 handgun was recovered as well, police said. 

"It’s a win win situation here," said Leos. "These are the type of missions that we all want to see. No one is harmed, no one is injured and the suspect gives up peacefully and we can just move forward."

SDPD's Domestic Violence Unit is investigating. Schaefer is in jail and faces domestic violence charges.

No other information was available.



Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego
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<![CDATA[Car Fatally Hits Man on Interstate 5]]> Sun, 19 Feb 2017 19:19:40 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/2-19-17-Mission+Bay+Body+Freeway+CHP.JPG

A man was fatally hit by a car shorty after 3 a.m. Sunday morning, the California Highway Patrol Confirms. 

The pedestrian was struck on I-5 Southbound near the Sea World Drive exit, in San Diego's Mission Bay neighborhood. 

All lanes of the freeway were closed for a while as officers investigated and until the medical examiner was able to remove the body. Since then, all lanes have reopened. 

California Highway Patrol officials are investigating. They are trying to determine whether the man jumped from one freeway to the other before getting hit, or if he was just walking on the freeway.

The driver stayed at the scene and has not been charged at this time.

No further details were available. 



Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Celebration of Life Held for Formerly Kidnapped Grandmother ]]> Sat, 18 Feb 2017 23:30:55 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/vinge_1_1200x675_681813571765.jpg

Sandy Vinge may have gained notoriety from her 2008 kidnapping, but listening to friends and family speak about her at her funeral Saturday, you quickly realize the octogenarian's whole life has been captivating.

“I don't know how much time you have. I could spend all evening telling you about her,” one of her friends tells NBC 7.

Vinge’s best friend describes what a great personality she had.

“She says ‘we're not going to lunch today, we're going to Costco’. I says ‘why’? She says ‘because everybody there knows me and they'll give us doubles and triples.’”

In 2008, Vinge was choked unconscious by a door-to-door salesman. Her hands were tied with duct tape and she was thrown into the back of her own station wagon. Over the next 26 hours her captors beat her badly and used her stolen credit cards. She was finally rescued by a deputy who stopped them for a traffic violation.

One of the officers who rescued her, who she called “her hero,” and the prosecutor who represented Vinge both spoke at her funeral. The prosecutor flew in from Tennessee for the event. 

“Look how many lives she's touched. You guys are all here,” Marc Snelling said at the reception.

Her son, Dan Allen, says she hated funerals. “And she made it clear she wanted no one to mourn for her at her death.”

Vinge didn't like the taste of champagne so they toasted her with chocolate truffles, and then to honor the former swing dance club president - they danced. 

Her other son Wayne says he'd try to catch up with her and plan a time to see her. “She'd go ‘okay, wait a minute hon’. And grabs a calendar and she'd turn looking into the calendar and every day was filled. And she goes, ‘what are you doing a month from Wednesday?’”

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<![CDATA[Padres Add Another Veteran Starter]]> Sun, 19 Feb 2017 15:19:07 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/188*120/Jered+Weaver+Angels+Good-Bye.JPG

As if the San Diego Padres did not have enough question marks in their starting rotation, another veteran arm is joining the quagmire on the mound.

Jered Weaver, who has spent his entire 11-year career with the Angels, agreed to a one-year, $3 million deal to join the Padres. The signing was made official on Sunday.

Weaver was drafted by the Angels in 2004 and made his MLB debut two years later. From that first start through 2014 Weaver was one of the better pitchers in baseball, a 3-time All-Star who was extremely durable, making at least 24 starts every season.

But in 2015 he suffered his first losing season and watched his ERA balloon more than a run to 4.64. He continued to struggle in 2016, giving up a league-leading 37 home runs.

One thing Weaver does have, though, is moxie. He’s known as one of the game’s fiercest competitors. The Padres are hoping his bulldog persona can set the tone for the pitching staff and rub off on the younger guys in camp. They’re also hoping he can show a little of his old form and eat a lot of innings.

Weaver joins the extended mix of players going after five starting spots. He already knows Jhoulys Chacin, who pitched with him in Anaheim last year. Fellow veterans Trevor Cahill and Clayton Richard are also viewed as frontrunners for a starting role.

After that the list of guys in the competition for a starting spot includes Luis Perdomo (last year’s leader in wins), Christian Friedrich, Jarred Cosart, Paul Clemens, Tyrell Jenkins and Dinelson Limet … plus anyone else who might be added in the coming days.

To make room on the 40-man roster the Padres moved starting pitcher Colin Rea, who is recovering from elbow reconstruction surgery, to the 60-day disabled list.

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<![CDATA['In Shock': Family Mourns Daughter Killed in I-15 Crash ]]> Sun, 19 Feb 2017 18:37:30 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/mabel+bahena.PNG

The two people who were killed while driving on Interstate 15 during Friday night’s rain storm have been identified by the medical examiner, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Mabel Bahena, 19, was in the passenger seat of a Volkswagen Jetta Friday night when the driver lost control and slammed into a truck parked on the shoulder of northbound I-15 just south of University Avenue.

Gustavo Bahena, Mabel's father, tells NBC 7 he hasn’t slept or eaten since police came to his door to tell him of his daughter’s death. He says the pain is something he won’t be able to overcome.

“Yo quiero irme con ella”, he repeats over and over. He wants to see his daughter one more time.

Bahena’s father was watching the news Friday night, and when he saw there was a crash by their house he knew it had to be her.

“I just got home over here, and everybody with their head down, I was expecting the worst,” Bahena’s brother says. “I still didn't believe it until we got the knock at the door from the officer. He walked in with her bag.

“I was just in shock, I still didn't believe,” her brother says. “He told us that, yeah, unfortunately … she didn’t make it in the crash.” He says he was in shock and just looked at the ceiling trying to “zone it all out.”

"She was my little sister … She was everybody's friend,” he adds. “Everything is different now.”

Bahena was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver was taken to the hospital, and the owner of the truck suffered minor injuries. 

Rogelio Colchero, 68, was killed in another crash on southbound I-15 when a car lost control crashing into his car. His vehicle was then struck a second time by a minivan.

Colchero, who was a passenger in the car, was pronounced dead at the scene just south of Mira Mesa Blvd. The extent of the other victims’ injuries is unclear.

Both crashes happened between 5 and 6 p.m. at the height of the storm. 

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<![CDATA[Woman Killed Crossing Street Thursday in Mira Mesa ID'd]]> Sun, 19 Feb 2017 23:11:51 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Mira-Mesa-Crash-0216_helo.jpg

A driver failed to stop at a red light and collided with two people crossing Mira Mesa Boulevard Thursday, San Diego Police said.

San Diego Police and San Diego Fire-Rescue crews were called to Marbury Avenue and Mira Mesa Boulevard just after 6 a.m.

One of the pedestrians, 59-year-old Lilian Sta Romana Ramos of San Diego, died in the collision. Ramos was a married Filipino woman living with her husband and step-daughter in Mira Mesa, according to the Medical Examiner's office.

Her husband, 64, was rushed to a nearby hospital with a broken bone and head injuries, police said. He is recovering. 

A 2011 Honda Sedan traveling eastbound on Mira Mesa Boulevard failed to stop for a red light at Marbury Avenue, investigators said.

The driver, identified only as a 26-year-old man, stayed at the scene.

Traffic investigators say the couple was crossing the street southbound in the west crosswalk.

Family members say Ramos worked for Flagship Cruises and her husband worked for San Diego State. They say the couple parked near the location where they were hit everyday and took the bus to work.

The location is near the U.S. Post Office, west of Interstate 15. Mira Mesa Boulevard was closed to traffic from Greenford to Black Mtn. roads. The section of road reopened before noon, according to police.

A nurse who was driving in the area at the time stopped to help. She spoke with NBC 7 but asked not to be identified.

The nurse was on her way to work when she stopped.

The female victim wasn't moving, she said, so she began CPR.

An officer with the academy stopped by to help as well, she said.

It's unclear if the driver will be charged. 

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<![CDATA[Surfer Rescued from Rocks Beneath Sunset Cliffs]]> Sat, 18 Feb 2017 17:03:23 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/sunset+cliffs+rescue+1+0218.jpg

A surfer was rescued from rocks beneath Sunset Cliffs Saturday morning.

San Diego Fire-Rescue (SDFD) received the initial emergency call at 12:13 p.m. and responded to the 1100 block of Sunset Cliffs Boulevard.

The man recovered in the rescue suffered a lower-leg fracture, according to SDFD Lt. Rick Romero.

Ocean Beach resident Steven Farmer came to Sunset Cliffs to check out the waves and saw the surfer fighting to hold his own against the strong surf.

"I got out of my car because I saw him struggling," Farmer said. "He seemed out of breath. He kept looking out to sea then back at the rocks behind him."

Farmer says the surfer was forced into a cove and onto a rocky area by northward currents. He then handed his surfboard up to Farmer and other spectators and attempted to climb up a rock face to the surface of the cliff.

The surfer was unable to negotiate the rock face and fell backwards onto the rocks below, which is when the leg injury occurred.



Photo Credit: NBC 7
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<![CDATA[Historic California Floods in Photos]]> Sat, 18 Feb 2017 12:32:49 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/190*120/BM_Oroville_Flood_2438-2_Color_12_23_1964.jpg From the Great Flood of 1862 to this winter's soaking rains in Northern California, take a look back at some of the state's major floods.

Photo Credit: California Department of Water Resources]]>
<![CDATA[6 UCSD Professors Recognized as Leaders in Science and Tech]]> Sat, 18 Feb 2017 12:24:47 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/UCSD-Geisel-Library.jpg

Six professors from UC San Diego have been named Sloan Research Fellows for 2017 -- recognized as being among the nation's future leaders in the fields of science and technology.

The chosen professors were among 126 researchers from 60 colleges recognized by the foundation. Their backgrounds range from the biological and physical sciences, as well as engineering fields.

The recipients from UC San Diego are: Kamil Godula, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry; Tarun Grover, assistant professor of physics; Daniel M. Kane, assistant professor of computer science and engineering; Sergey Kryazhimskiy, assistant professor of biology; Siavash Miarab, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering; Jérémie Palacci, assistant professor of physics.

Each of the professors will receive $60,000 from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to further assist their research.

Previous Sloan Research Fellows include famed game theorist John Nash, whose life inspired the film, "A Beautiful Mind," as well as physicists Richard Feynman and Murray Gell-Mann. Forty-three former fellow recipients have received a Nobel Prize in their respective fields.



Photo Credit: NBCSanDiego]]>
<![CDATA[Electrical Short Sparks Fire at Duplex in Oceanside]]> Sat, 18 Feb 2017 18:38:58 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/oceanside+duplex+fire+0218.jpg

The Oceanside Fire Department (OFD) is responded to reports of a fire at a duplex in Oceanside just before 11:30 Saturday morning.

The fire sparked at a single-story property at 4435 Via La Jolla off Avenida Del Gado near Old Grove Road and Mission Avenue, south of State Route 76.

OFD investigators confirmed that the fire was caused by an electrical short outside on the back patio of the home and spread inside and to the attached property.

No humans or animals were injured in the fire but seven adults were displaced, according to the OFD. The Red Cross stepped in and provided temporary housing for the displaced residents.

OFD says that crews were able to extinguish the fire within 30 minutes.



Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[USD Students Heading to Ghana to Provide Free Medical Aid]]> Sat, 18 Feb 2017 22:26:51 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/vlcsnap-2017-02-18-11h01m20s188.png

A group of close to 40 students at the University of San Diego is preparing for a humanitarian mission to the West African nation of Ghana this summer.

Since the Ebola crisis spawned in West Africa in late 2013, the Medical Brigade chapter of USD and other factions like it across the continent were kept out of the country for a considerable amount of time.

Now, USD’s Medical Brigade chapter is one of eight chapters under the Global Brigade umbrella cleared to return to Ghana where they will provide free medical aid and supplies to thousands throughout the country.

The group traveled to Panama last June, and a few weeks ago returned stateside from a trip to Honduras. They met once again on Saturday in an on-campus apartment to begin planning their summer trip to Africa.

“It’s very important to me because I really like working in this fluid machine and being able to help give care to hundreds of people,” said Bryce Olbert, a USD student on the leadership team for the chapter. “We’re going to possibly be seeing 1,000 people per day in Ghana just because there’s so much back-up from not having any brigades go for several years.”

While in Africa, students will provide various healthcare services to people in need and will hand out free hygiene products like shampoo and toothbrushes. They’ll even lead education efforts focusing on hygiene and personal healthcare for adults and children.

Although the Ebola crisis has calmed considerably since the World Health Organization declared the disease a world health emergency in August of 2014, concern over contracting the disease while visiting Ghana is a legitimate concern.

Olbert, though, says that he isn’t really worried.

“No, because I haven’t heard of anything recently,” He said. “And the only thing we actually have to get done is get a yellow fever vaccine because they have a lot of problems with mosquitos.”

The chapter works throughout the semester to raise money for their trip and for medication and equipment for patients.

You can learn more about the USD Medical Brigade and donate to their cause here.



Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Eastlake Flocks to Donut Bar's Surprise Pop-up]]> Sat, 18 Feb 2017 10:34:29 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Donut-Bar-FB-2.jpg Famed San Diego dougnnut shop, Donut Bar, surprised Eastlake residents with a pop-up shop Saturday -- and sold out of sweet treats within 40 minutes. surprise pop-up shop in Eastlake sold out in 40 minutes.

Photo Credit: Donut Bar San Diego/Facebook]]>
<![CDATA['We Are Here to Stay': Pro-Immigration March in San Diego]]> Sat, 18 Feb 2017 15:32:21 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ImmigrantsMakeAmericaGreat-0218.jpg

After some San Diego businesses closed their doors on Thursday to participate in the nationwide “Day without Immigrants” strike, another pro-immigrant movement took place locally on Saturday.

At 11 a.m., a group gathered at Waterfront Park in downtown San Diego for a rally ahead of the "Immigrants Make America Great March," a demonstration in support of immigrants and refugees.

The event began with a rally at Waterfront Park, followed by a march to the Edward J. Schwartz Federal Office Building. Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher and San Diego City Councilman David Alvarez gave speeches at the event and then the march continued through downtown San Diego.

Demonstrators held signs with phrases such as, "No Ban, No Wall, Sanctuary For All," and "We Love Refugees."

One of the organizers of the march, Mohamed Abdallah, told NBC 7 that by marching he felt like he was sending a message to President Donald Trump.

“I’m a Muslim immigrant in this country; I’ve been here for many years. Seeing what’s happening right now is really taking a toll on all of us -- on me, the Muslim [community], the country, all over,” he said.

“We really have to make a difference, we have to stand together to tell Trump that we are here to stay, we are welcomed here, and that is what makes our country great,” Abdallah added.

The same sentiment was echoed in Monica Morelli, a mother who brought her two little ones to the march. She told NBC 7 that even though she is not personally being affected by Trump’s executive orders, she still believes in supporting other families.

“When I see families torn apart, that’s very hard because I imagine how it would be to be taken away from my children. So, I think it’s important to stand up even though we are not personally affected,” Morelli told NBC 7. “I would love to see San Diego become a sanctuary city. I would love to see Trump’s actions be stopped.”

The march brought out people from all backgrounds, including Army veteran Robert Andrews.

“I’m a California veteran. Thirty-seven years in the Army flying helicopters, and fought for my country in Vietnam,” Andrews told NBC 7. “Now, I feel like I am fighting for my country for the freedom to be fought for.”

“I feel like I should get out and protest, instead of staying at home and watching other people do it,” he added. “It’s my responsibility to stand up for our country, and this president is not standing up for our country.”

Another Immigrants Make America Great March was also held in Los Angeles.



Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Killed After Car Slams into Truck on Side of NB I-15]]> Sat, 18 Feb 2017 11:26:04 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/NB+i15+crash+0217.jpg

A woman in the passenger seat of a Volkswagen Jetta was killed in a two-car crash on northbound Interstate 15 north of Interstate 805 Friday evening, the California Highway Patrol confirms. The collision happened around 5:50 p.m.

"This is somebody's mother somebody's sister," Officer Jake Sanchez tells NBC 7.

Aldair Gomez, whose friend survived the accident, was on the road as soon as he heard his coworker was in a crash. His coworker was parked on the side of I-15 near the 805 freeway ramp trying to fix a tarp on his truck when the Jetta slammed into the back of his vehicle.

"He called us telling us that he was nervous and everything. He was in shock," Gomez says. 

The driver of the Jetta was taken to the hospital. The man parked on the side of the freeway had minor injuries. The Jetta was ripped apart, according to authorities. 

The CHP says the Jetta was traveling at a high speed and lost control. Neither the woman nor the driver have been identified pending notification of family. 

 Another person was also killed on southbound I-15 in a multi-car crash



Photo Credit: Astrid Solorzano
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<![CDATA[Live Wire Sparks on Street After Tree Knocks Down Power Line]]> Fri, 17 Feb 2017 18:58:24 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/down+power+line+pacific+beach+0217.jpg

If you listen closely, you can hear the hum of electricity as the live power line sparks. NBC 7's Megan Tevrizian is on Dawes Street in Pacific Beach with more information.



Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Vet Killed in Campo DUI Crash Laid to Rest at Fort Rosecrans]]> Fri, 17 Feb 2017 18:57:45 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Dillon+Wiltfong.jpg

NBC 7's Alex Presha spoke with the family of Dillon Wiltfong, a decorated Army veteran, on the day of his funeral.

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<![CDATA[1 Killed in Multiple Car Crash on SB I-15]]> Fri, 17 Feb 2017 22:01:36 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/I15+fatal+crash+0217.jpg

A passenger in a Geo Prism died Friday evening after being involved in a four-vehicle crash on southbound Interstate 15, according to the California Highway Patrol. 

The cars involved included the Prism, a Tacoma truck, a van and another car.

One of the drivers who, according to an official, was likely driving too fast for conditions, hydroplaned setting off the crash. 

The crash happened around 5:15 p.m. All lanes were blocked south of Mira Mesa Blvd. but have since reopened. 

Traffic was backed up for miles.

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No other information was available.

Check back for updates on this breaking news.



Photo Credit: NBC 7
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<![CDATA[U.S. Coast Guard Seizes 13 Tons of Cocaine from East Pacific]]> Sat, 18 Feb 2017 22:28:53 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/coast+guard+cocaine+seizure.jpg

The U.S. Coast Guard crew from the Cutter Midgett vessel unloaded 13 tons of seized cocaine at Naval Base San Diego on Thursday.

The cocaine was taken during 21 interdictions with suspected drug smuggling vessels by U.S. Coast Guard cutters in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, from November 2016 to January 2017, according to the U.S. Coast Guard 11th District.

“Combating transnational organized crime networks, from which the illegal drug trade stems, is of paramount importance to the national security of the U.S.,” said the U.S. Coast Guard Department of Homeland Security.

Several Coast Guard cutters from across the U.S. routinely patrol the Eastern Pacific Ocean to prevent drug smuggling vessels from entering the U.S., according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

“It’s one of the main routes they use to get drugs into the U.S., so it’s very important that we’re out there patrolling,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Joe Guzman, a Coast Guard public affairs specialist in San Diego.

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Sherman from Hawaii seized 9,600 pounds. The Tahoma from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, seized 6,800 pounds. Midgett, from Seattle seized 5,900 pounds, and Mellon, also from Seattle seized 1,100 pounds. Diligence, from Wilmington, North Carolina, seized 2,900 pounds.

Over 416,600 pounds of cocaine was seized from the Eastern Pacific during the 2016 fiscal year, and 585 suspected smugglers were taken into custody.



Photo Credit: Petty Officer 3rd Class Joel Guzman ]]>
<![CDATA[Bank Robber Strikes San Diego Again]]> Fri, 17 Feb 2017 18:30:37 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/wells+fargo3.jpg

The San Diego County Crime Stoppers and FBI are searching for a robber dubbed the “deposit slip bandit” after a series of bank robberies in the San Diego and Chula Vista area.

Since Nov. 28, the deposit slip bandit has robbed or attempted to rob four banks, with the most recent one at the Banner Bank, off F Street in Chula Vista on Feb. 16.

The other robbery locations include a Wells Fargo on Garnet Avenue on Nov. 28, a US Bank on Federal Boulevard on Jan. 3, and a Wells Fargo on Scripps Ranch Boulevard on Jan. 11.

In each instance the man slips a note to a bank attendant stating he has a gun and demanding the money in the cash drawers, according to the San Diego Crime Stoppers.

The suspect has worn a jacket or sweatshirt, dark sunglasses and a hat during each robbery, and was seen fleeing the scene on foot each time. He is described as 23 to 27 years old, with a medium build and approximately 120 to 140 lbs.

Anyone who can help identify the suspect or the suspect’s location is asked to call Crime Stoppers Anonymous at 248-580-8477 or the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force at 858-580-8477.

Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward to anyone with information that leads to an arrest in this case. Anonymous texts and emails may also be sent to www.sdcrimstoppers.org, according to San Diego Crime Stoppers.

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<![CDATA[Tracking the Storm: Interactive Radar]]> //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/interactive-radar9.jpg
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<![CDATA[Trees Toppled, Homes Damaged in Powerful Storm]]> Sat, 18 Feb 2017 16:42:29 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Rain-Damage-0218.jpg A powerful storm system arrived in San Diego on Feb. 17, with heavy rain, strong wind and high surf expected to last through the weekend.

Photo Credit: Erica Byers/NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[City Crews Prep for Heavy Rain]]> Fri, 17 Feb 2017 07:11:57 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Rain-Garske-0211.JPG

With a major winter storm forecasted for Friday and lasting into the weekend, City of San Diego crews have been busy clearing drain pipe in zones known to get backed up during heavy rain.

According to the City of San Diego, over the past three weeks, city crews have been cleaning drain pipe to prepare San Diego’s storm water infrastructure for more heavy rain. The City of San Diego said Thursday that during this time, crews have also inspected 24 channel locations and removed loose debris that could cause clogging.

Urgent repairs and checks were completed at pump stations as well, and, according to a press release from the city, “Crews performed spot repairs and replaced deteriorated pipe to improve drainage in problematic areas.”

At the Vactor work site located on the 3200 block of F Street in San Diego, City Public Information Officer Anthony Santacroce said crews were working to clear debris. 

"This is an issue area for us. What happens is large debris comes off the highway or is left there…clothes, cardboard, bits of furniture, things like that clog that big 42 inch diameter site," he said. "We’re here weekly making sure it is unclogged."

As the storm approaches, City officials say they are also checking pump stations and placing 'No Parking' signs in streets prone to flooding. 

"We have a big checklist of areas throughout the City we know to pay special attention to and make sure they're in optimal working condition to handle the storm," Santacroce said. 

Santacroce also shared tips on how residents can prepare their properties for the looming storm. 

"Citizens can do small scale what the city does large scale," he explained.

That includes sweeping up debris on their property to avoid clogging drains, inspecting their property for trees or branches that may become an issue during the rain or wind, and securing objects that may blow away or fall over. 

NBC 7 spoke to some residents Thursday who said they aren't looking forward to the storm but will take precautions.

“I'm going to stay inside. I'm glad my daughters aren't going to school because of President's Day,” Melissa Gamboa said.

If residents see anything life-threatening, they are asked to call 911. 

Otherwise, when the storm hits, San Diegans are asked to report flooding and downed trees by using the Get It Done app. 

NBC 7 meteorologist Jodi Kodesh said light rain and a breeze early Friday will be replaced by intense rain and winds by 4 p.m.

“This is one of the most powerful storm systems we’ve seen in a really long time,” she said. “Please heed these warnings.”

Get First Alert weather updates from NBC 7 here.



Photo Credit: Monica Garske]]>
<![CDATA[Winter Weather Driving Checklist]]> Fri, 17 Feb 2017 14:07:56 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/rain_cars_generic.jpg

The California Highway Patrol offers the following advice when the weather turns wet and snowy.

Rain

  • The first 10 minutes after the rain begins can be the most dangerous because the rain mixes with oil from motor vehicles and oil from new asphalt resulting in a slippery roadway.
  • If you start to hydroplane, ease off the accelerator and steer straight until you gain control.
  • Drive with headlights on.
  • Apply brakes more slowly.
  • Leave extra distance between your vehicle and the one ahead of you.

Fog

  • Drive with lights on low beam.
  • Watch for CHP pace vehicles to guide you through fog.
  • Avoid crossing traffic lanes.
  • Do not stop on highways except in emergencies.
  • Move away from stalled or disabled vehicle.

Snow

  • Carry chains in snow conditions, even if vehicle has four-wheel drive.
  • Observe speed limit in chain control areas.
  • Check owner's manual for operating tips on your vehicle's braking system.
  • Watch for paddle-shaped markers. They show the edge of the road.
  • Studded pneumatic tires may only be used between Nov. 1 and April 31 unless studs are retracted.
  • Stay with your vehicle if it breaks down.

Winter Weather Checklist

  • Tires with plenty of tread
  • Windshield wipers in good condition
  • Washer full of fluid.
  • Gas tank full
  • Defroster working
  • Muffler and exhaust in good condition
  • Antifreeze in radiator

What to Carry

  • Tire chains and tighteners
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Flares
  • Small shovel
  • Windshield scraper
  • Warm, waterproof clothing
  • Blankets, snacks, and drinking water

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<![CDATA[Chula Vista Closes Parks Due to Powerful Winter Storm]]> Fri, 17 Feb 2017 14:12:19 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Chula-Vista-Trees-Damage-Storm.jpg

The City of Chula Vista has closed all parks due to the winds and rain anticipated with a powerful winter storm moving ashore Friday evening.

The most recent winter storm in January caused an estimated millions of dollars in damage. Crews worked for days clearing downed trees and repairing other damaged infrastructure.

All City of Chula Vista parks closed at 2 p.m. Friday "to ensure citizen safety" according to a news release.

Officials were also providing sandbags at the Public Works Yard, 1800 Maxwell Rd, Chula Vista, CA 91911 until 9:30 p.m. Friday. Identification and proof of Chula Vista residency will be required. Limit 10 per household.

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<![CDATA[CHP, SDPD,Sheriff Will Not Enforce Immigration Law]]> Fri, 17 Feb 2017 13:37:25 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/police-lights-generic-0311.jpg

As the Department of Homeland Security announced 680 arrests in roundups last week targeting immigrants living illegally in the United States, local immigration attorneys are uncertain about the role local law enforcement agencies will play in the enforcement of federal immigration laws.

However, in statements to NBC 7, the California Highway Patrol, the San Diego Police Department and the San Diego County Sheriff's Department have said their officers and deputies will not stop and arrest individuals based on immigration law.

Details of who was arrested in last week's federal raids were not made available, but the arrests and rumors about other raids sparked fear and confusion among immigrants.

President Donald J. Trump issued an executive order on Jan. 25 authorizing local law enforcement agencies to deport undocumented immigrants who have criminal records.

Weeks later, while addressing law enforcement chiefs and sheriffs at a national meeting, the president directed them to identify the "bad ones" to DHS for deportation.

NBC 7 asked the San Diego County Sheriff's Department if its policy regarding undocumented immigrants would change in light of the new executive order.

Being in the country without documentation is not a criminal act the sheriff's department will actively enforce, according to an official statement.

"Deputies will not stop or detain a subject to check their documentation or immigration status based on the appearance of foreign ancestry alone," the statement reads. "Whether they are a victim or a witness to a crime, we do not want our immigrant residents to be afraid to call the Sheriff’s Department."

However, deputies will continue to cooperate with federal authorities and with regards to undocumented immigrants with criminal records. Read the full statement at the bottom of the article. 

Maricela Amezola, an immigration rights lawyer with Amezola Legal Group, said that going forward, the situation will be "a clash of laws."

“It’s going to be really interesting to see how we have the federal law coming in and we have the state law saying we’re going to protect individuals already here, what’s going to trump what,” Amezola said.

On Friday, DHS Secretary John Kelly visited the San Ysidro Port of Entry and met with federal and local law enforcement officers to discuss security along the border.  San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman and Sheriff Bill Gore attended the briefing. 

At one point, the new DHS Secretary said he couldn't define a sanctuary city, which the president has targeted for withdrawal of federal funding for refusing to cooperate with immigration authorities.

"I don't have a clue," Kelly told Chief Zimmerman when she asked for a definition.

The blunt-spoken, retired four-star general went on to say it was inconceivable why any jurisdiction wouldn't want criminals removed from their communities. "I'm stunned when people say, 'Well, we're not going to cooperate with you even in the event of convicted criminals," he said.

Kelly said it would be difficult to justify immigration enforcement grants to cities that refuse to cooperate.

"I promise you we'll work with you and will make no Draconian moves until I fully understand what a given locale might be doing or not doing," he told Zimmerman and other local police chiefs and sheriffs.

Both Zimmerman and Gore have said their officers and deputies would not act as federal agents when investigating crimes. 

"It is important that all residents in our jurisdiction, whether here legally or not, feel safe when they report crime and that there is a clear separation between our duties and those of immigration authorities," the sheriff's department statement reads.

Esther Valdes, an attorney specializing in immigration with Valdes and Associates, says the executive order and its enforcement could lead to confusion. 

“Sheriffs don’t know if they’re going to be sued for civil rights violations in light of the new executive order asking them to, in effect, be deputized and assist immigration officers," Valdes said. "Sheriffs don’t know if they should comply, and if they comply, will they be sued?”

She and Amezola differ on whether the presidential order creates a moral dilemma for law eforcement officers and agencies.

“It’s never a moral judgment when you put on the badge, when you put on the badge and the uniform you represent all of us, you vow to protect and serve all of us, whether documented or undocumented," Valdes said. 

Through spokesperson Lt. Scott Wahl, the San Diego Police Department said its policy regarding immigration enforcement has not changed.

The SDPD "recognizes and values diversity of the community it serves. The department focuses primarily on crime prevention and enforcing local laws," Wahl said in a written statement.

"Once a suspect is arrested and booked into the San Diego County Jail, the primary responsibility for the enforcement of federal immigration laws rests with the United States Customs and Border Protection Services," the statement continued. "The San Diego Police Department does not check the immigration status of victims and witnesses of crimes to encourage all people to come forward, confident in the knowledge their report will be investigated thoroughly and professionally."

A spokesperson for the California Highway Patrol told NBC 7 Friday the agency "does not stop motorists or take enforcement actions based on someone’s immigration status.”

Amezola said that in light of the president's executive order, she has seen humanitarian factors involved diminish. 

“What we’ve seen is that the humanitarian factor has been lifted, taken away from a lot of these agencies that they had before," she said. "Which is a contrast between the Obama administration and the new administration; the law is still the same, it hasn’t changed, but there were more humanitarian factors that were allowed to weed out the good from the bad.”

So what does all this mean for undocumented immigrants with and without criminal records in San Diego?

Amezola explained that when people are apprehended by immigration officials, they have rights, like asking for some type of relief in immigration court. 

“Other people have the ability to adjust their status and they might not even know it," said Amezola. "At this point it’s no longer feasible for people to stand by and wait to see what happens, they have to more proactive."

“Criminal illegal aliens wreak havoc in some of our communities, we have to balance that with the need to have victims and community members cooperate with law enforcement agencies," Valdes said. "I think America functions best when we all perform jobs and our duties correctly to maintain and uphold our laws.”

Both Valdes and Amezola come from immigrant families, and both are experts on the law, but in this uncertain time, they are not sure how local law enforcement will proceed.

Both attorneys have very different views on what may be ahead in enforcing the president's order.

“There was some type of discretion allowed to say yes to these immigrants and no to these -- that is (now) gone,” said Amezola.

Valdes said immigrants “come here because we want to be safe."

"I come from an immigrant family myself, I came here when I was 5 years old, we come here because the nations we come from don’t uphold the laws and we like law and order just like anybody else,” she said. 

Read the full statement from the SDSO: 

"On January 25, 2017, President Trump signed two Executive Orders dealing with the issue of immigration enforcement. Those orders discussed a number of actions including one directing the Secretary of Homeland Security, with the consent of State or local officials, to authorize State and local law enforcement to perform the functions of immigration officers in relation to the investigation, apprehension, or detention of aliens in the United States.

"Federal immigration law governs legal and illegal immigration into the United States, including how long a person can stay, and when they must leave. Federal immigration agencies and officials have primary jurisdiction and responsibility for the enforcement of immigration laws in San Diego County.

"The Sheriff’s Department has a long history of working in cooperation with Federal authorities both in our law enforcement practices and in our jails. Sheriff’s Department personnel work hand in hand in Task Force settings with Federal agencies including Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Border Patrol. For a number of years we have also shared information related to criminal immigrants in our jails.

"Task Force operations in San Diego combine Federal agents and local law enforcement officers in the same work space with the same mission and goals. This cooperation and coordination is a highly effective way to share resources and information which has proven to be the best way to fight gangs, drugs, violence, human trafficking, cyber-crime and a number of other sophisticated operations.

"In a similar way, agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Detention and Removal (ICE/DRO) are assigned to Sheriff’s booking facilities for the purpose of conducting screenings and interviews of those suspected of violating Federal Immigration laws. These are criminal aliens who have committed serious crimes.

"When agents from ICE/DRO identify a Sheriff’s inmate that they would like to deport for violations of Federal Immigration law; they notify our detentions staff. By law the Sheriff’s Department cannot hold an inmate past the time that their State crime violation permits without a court order or warrant. However, we do notify ICE/DRO of release information in order for that agency to take custody of the person. That inmate is also notified of the Sheriff’s intent to comply with the ICE/DRO request.

"The Sheriff’s Department is not responsible nor do we have the authority or manpower to enforce immigration law. It is important that all residents in our jurisdiction, whether here legally or not, feel safe when they report crime and that there is a clear separation between our duties and those of immigration authorities. Sheriff’s deputies will not stop or detain a subject to check their documentation or immigration status based on the appearance of foreign ancestry alone. Whether they are a victim or a witness to a crime, we do not want our immigrant residents to be afraid to call the Sheriff’s Department.

"The Sheriff’s Department will continue to cooperate and collaborate in regional task forces operations and by allowing Federal authorities into our jails as it complies with existing state and federal law. We will also continue to separate ourselves from immigration enforcement which in the larger picture helps to keep our communities safer by allowing victims and witnesses to come forward without fear of deportation.


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<![CDATA[Jurors Found No Retaliation in SDPD Cartoon Lawsuit]]> Fri, 17 Feb 2017 13:22:01 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Arthur-Scott-SDPD-suit-0122.jpg

Jurors returned with a verdict in the controversial retaliation lawsuit filed by a San Diego police sergeant.

SDPD Sgt. Arthur Scott claimed the city and police department retaliated against him, after he complained about a cartoon shown in training.

The cartoon was included in the complaint and shows an ape dressed in a San Diego police uniform walking on patrol. In the cartoon, the officer is labeled "Cop McCarter", a reference to Officer Frank McCarter, the first African American police officer in the city.

Scott said he saw the cartoon with other officers in an August 2014 training session.

He claimed in the lawsuit that when he complained about the cartoon he was reassigned and passed up for promotion.

On Thursday, jurors found in favor of the police department. They said they found no proof of retaliation.

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<![CDATA[Things to Do This Weekend: Feb. 23-26]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 14:09:24 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/MTRP-Garske-Entrance.JPG

Hello, sweet weekend. It’s time to get out and make memories in San Diego, and this list of events should help you do just that. From delicious eats to live music, pencil these items into your social calendar this weekend and enjoy.

Thursday, Feb. 23

Tai Chi Class
10 a.m. to 11 a.m., Linda Vista Branch Library
Improve those balance skills and mobility with this slow-paced Tai Chi exercise class Thursday morning at the Linda Vista Branch Library (2160 Ulric St.). The class is designed for adults and seniors.

Cookie on Tap: Girl Scout Cookie & AleSmith Beer Pairing
11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Friday through Sunday), AleSmith Brewing Company
AleSmith Brewing Company plans to honor National Girl Scout Weekend with this sweet event: a Girl Scout Cookie and Beer Pairing, happening at the tasting room (9990 AleSmith Ct.) Friday through Sunday. For $15 per person, the brewery will pair five AleSmith beers with five Girl Scout Cookies for mouthwatering match-ups like these: Tagalongs and Nut Brown, Samoas and Speedway Stout and Thin Mints and Robust Porter. Food trucks will also be at the brewery this weekend, including Crabcakes 911 and Ye Olde Grilled Cheese & Tater Tot Shoppe on Friday.

The End of the Trail: Completing the Pacific Crest Trail
12:45 p.m., College Avenue Center
Jewish Family Service hosts this event at its College Avenue Center Thursday highlighting stories and photographs from avid backpacker Dana Law, who recently finished hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. The event is free.

Walkabout Wine Dinner Series
5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Decoy Dockside Dining
Decoy Dockside Dining, a new(ish) waterfront restaurant at the Lakehouse Hotel & Resort in San Marcos will launch its “Walkabout Wine Dinner Series” on Thursday with a wine-centric feast. The dinners – happening once a month through July 27 – will feature sips from California’s top wineries expertly paired with dishes created by Decoy’s Executive Chef David Warner. As the evening unfolds, patrons have a chance to chat with both Warner and a rep from the featured winery; for the first dinner in this series, sommelier Alyssa Kitchens will be on-hand. Tickets are $65 per person; guests can make reservations at any time within the 4-hour window at communal or private tables by calling (760) 744-0120.

Mardi Gras Soiree
6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Mission Beach Women’s Club
Colorful masks and all, the Mission Beach Women’s Club will host this 2nd annual Hearts for San Diego fundraiser in support of local charities. The fundraiser will come in the form of a lively Mardi Gras Soiree, with live jazz music, New Orleans-inspired food, cocktails, beer and wine and a coffee and dessert bar. Activities include a photo booth, prize wheel, raffle and silent auction, too. Tickets range from $30 to $50 per person.

Trivia & Tacos
6 p.m. to 9 p.m., 32 North Brewing Co.
Tap into that endless bounty of random facts inside your brain and head over to 32 North Brewing Co. to test your knowledge during this Trivia & Tacos event. A $12 fee gets you three tacos from San Diego Taco Company, one beer and trivia games. After that, patrons can enjoy $1 off all of 32 North’s core brews. Trivia goes down from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.; tacos are served from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Cuisine for Kids
6 p.m., Boys and Girls Clubs of Oceanside
The Boys and Girls Clubs of Oceanside will hold the second-annual Cuisine for Kids dinner, a kick-off to the clubs’ annual giving campaign. The tasting event includes food, wine and beer samples, plus live music. Tickets are $40 per person; all proceeds support building the Center for Innovation, which includes a culinary arts teaching kitchen, performing arts center and a STEAM lab for kids.

Celebrating African American Women in the Arts
6 p.m. Women’s Museum of California
Amid Black History Month, the Women’s Museum of California will recognize three African American arts pioneers in San Diego at this special event Thursday night: Musician and author Jeannie Cheatham; Moxie Theatre Executive Director Delicia Turner-Sonnenberg; and Sculptor Manuelita Brown of UC San Diego’s Sojourner Truth. Admission is free.

Circus Vargas
7 p.m., Westfield Plaza Bonita
Circus Vargas continues its San Diego run, currently at National City’s Westfield Plaza Bonita, bringing under its big top its newest show, “Steam Cirque,” inspired by the worlds of steampunk and science-fiction. The show runs at this venue through Feb. 27 before packing up and heading to Escondido’s Westfield North County (March 2-13) and after, that, Promenade Temecula (March 16-27). Tickets start at $22; arrive 45 minutes before show time and the kids can partake in an interactive pre-show where they can practice hands-on circus skills like juggling and balancing alongside the pros.

Taco Fights
7 p.m. to 9 p.m., The Blind Burro
The Blind Burro presents the final showdown in its 5th installment of “Taco Fights,” a battle between San Diego’s top chefs showcasing their best taco creations. After several weeks of competition among the best of the best chefs, Thursday’s showdown is the championship round. Patrons can order from a special menu which includes a Taco Fiight Plate for $9 and drink specials like the $7 Espolon Cadillac Margarita, to name a few items.

SDSU School of Theatre, Television, and Film: The Matsuyama Mirror
7:30 p.m., SDSU Experimental Theatre
Award-winning playwright Velina Hasu Houston brings this Japanese folktale to SDSU’s Experimental Theatre. Tickets for the student show start at $15.

Suicidal Tendencies with Crowbar and Havok
8 p.m., Observatory North Park
Rock group Sucidal Tendencies, with Crowbar and Havok, will take the stage at The Observatory North Park Thursday night. Guests under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets start at $25.

Friday, Feb. 24

14th Annual Go Red for Women Luncheon
10 a.m., Fairmont Grand Del Mar
Support the American Heart Association’s fight against heart disease and stroke with the 14th Annual Go Red for Women Luncheon. Tickets for the fundraiser cost $150 per person.

San Diego Gulls vs. Texas Stars
7 p.m., Valley View Casino Center
Celebrate Hockey Weekend Across America by rooting for San Diego’s team at the Valley View Casino Center Friday night as the Gulls take on the Texas Stars. Tickets start at $19.

Robin Henkel
7 p.m., House of Blues Voodoo Room
Robin Henkel, three-time “Best Blues” winner of the San Diego Music Awards, takes center stage at the House of Blues’ restaurant lounge, the Voodoo Room. The show is free.

Stargazing at West Sycamore
7 p.m. to 10 p.m., Mission Trails Regional Park
Weather permitting, the San Diego Astronomy Association (SDAA) will host another one of its free stargazing sessions at Mission Trails Regional Park (MTRP). The group meets every fourth Friday of the month at the MTRP West Sycamore Staging Area located at the east end of Stonebridge Parkway in Scripps Ranch.

Eurydice
7:30 p.m., The Brooks Theatre
This retelling of the classic Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice takes the stage at The Brooks Theatre in Oceanside through Feb. 26. Tickets range from $15 to $25 per person.

Vince Staples with Kilo Kish
8 p.m., Observatory North Park
Long Beach native Vince Staples brings hip-hop to the Observatory North Park with an 8 p.m. show Friday night. The doors open at 7 p.m.; the concert is for the 18+ crowd.

Good People
8 p.m., Scripps Ranch Theatre
Scripps Ranch Theatre presents “Good People,” a production set in a Boston neighborhood where characters struggle through life’s hardships including figuring out how to pay the bills. Tickets start at $28.

Saturday, Feb. 25

San Diego Gulls vs. Rockford IceHogs
7 p.m., Valley View Casino Center
Hockey season continues as the San Diego Gulls take on the Rockford IceHogs at the Valley View Casino Center on Sports Arena Blvd. Tickets start at $18 per person.

25th Annual Brazilian Carnival
9 p.m., Park6 near Balboa Park
There’s nothing in the world like a Brazilian Carnival…But if you can’t be in Brazil for the real thing, why not stop by Park6 on Fir Street for a good alternative? Pulsating drums will be one of the many sounds that draw you into a night of non-stop dancing and fun. Tickets start at $25.

Trash Bash
9 a.m., Dixon Lake (Escondido)
Some of the trash we generate can and does live on for weeks and years after we throw it away. But it can take just a moment for a fish to get tangled up in litter or a Coyote to ingest a candy wrapper. Help prevent some of the negative impact of our waste by helping clean up trash around Escondido’s Dixon Lake this Saturday. Bags, trash pickers, vests and water will be provided. Wear long sleeves, pants and closed-toe shoes to help out. The event is free.

Guided Nature Walk: Emerald Greenery
8:30 a.m., Mission Trails Regional Park – Kumeyaay Lake Campground
Wake up early this Saturday and come explore some of the beautiful Mission Trails Regional Park. This week, take a fun and informative morning walk through the park. The event is free.

Sunday, Feb. 26

San Diego Bird Festival: Family Day
10 a.m., Marina Village Conference Center
Birds, wildlife and diverse natural habitats are at the center of this unique Bird Festival in San Diego. Rain or shine, bring the whole family out to this fun event, where you will get the chance to build your own birdhouse, participate in nature walks and learn to bird call. The event is free.

Tidepooling Adventure with the Birch Aquarium
2:30 p.m., Birch Aquarium (La Jolla), though the tour outside
Explore some of La Jolla’s most interesting tide pools on this exploratory tour with the Birch Aquarium. Trained naturalists will show participants how creatures survive between rocks and in difficult slots, and how to protect the natural wonders during your visit. Attendees must be older than two years old, and anyone under the age of 15 must be accompanied by a paid adult. You must pre-register. Tickets cost $13.

San Diego Sockers vs. Atletico Baja
7:05 p.m., Valley View Casino Center
Come out and support San Diego’s 14-time indoor soccer champions at their game against the Atletico Baja. General admission tickets start at $12.

Disney’s Freaky Friday The Musical
2 p.m. or 7 p.m., La Jolla Playhouse
Don’t miss the West Coast premiere of Disney’s "Freaky Friday”, based on the hit Disney movie. With a book by Bridget Carpenter ("Parenthood", "Friday Night Lights") and music by Tom Kitt ("Next to Normal", "If/Then") and lyrics by Brian Yorkey ("Next to Normal", "If/Then"), recipients of multiple Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize, the show promises to be a delightful and polished production with two close friends playing the lead mother-daughter duo. It runs through March 19. You can buy tickets here.

Free or Cheap Things to Do in San Diego
Times and locations vary

Is your wallet hurting from the holidays? In San Diego, there are still plenty of activities to enjoy for free or on the cheap. Go for a hike at Torrey Pines State Park or Cowles Mountain, stroll Balboa Park, try a new craft brewery, admire the murals of Chicano Park or read a book at a downtown park. Get out there and explore America’s Finest City.

Picasso At The Lapin Agile
2 p.m. or 7 p.m., The Old Globe
Don't miss the third piece in comedian and playwright Steve Martin's collaboration with San Diego's iconic Old Globe Theatre. The play, written by Martin and directed by Barry Edelstein, opens on The Lapin Agile in Paris 1904, where struggling artists (Pablo Picasso, for one) and one-day geniuses (picture: young Albert Einstein) come together for an extraordinary, witty night. The show runs from Feb. 4 to March 12.  If you’re looking for other theater shows in San Diego this year, check out this roundup of new and upcoming local productions

9 to 5: The Musical
2 p.m., Spreckels Theater
Don't miss the closing night of “9 to 5”, the hilarious musical adaptation of the 1980 film of the same name (which starred the trio of Jane Honda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton). The jubilant musical follows three female co-workers who are pushed to the brink with their sexist and egotistical boss. The country music musical features songs from legendary composer, lyricist and the original film’s star, Dolly Parton. Tickets start at $32.



Photo Credit: Monica Garske]]>
<![CDATA[Russia, Trump, and Nukes: San Diego’s Expert on Russia Weighs In]]> Fri, 17 Feb 2017 13:03:59 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Ron-Bee-Russia-Expert-San-Diego.jpg

At a campaign-style event Friday, President Donald Trump denounced what he described as criminal leaks that took down his top national security adviser and revived questions about his own ties to Russia.

On Monday, the president demanded the resignation of national security adviser Michael Flynn following revelations that Flynn had misled Vice President Mike Pence about Flynn's contacts with Russia.

Is President Donald Trump too close to Russia? Is this just politics? How concerned about Russia should the average American really be?

These are just a few of the questions at the center of the internet this week surrounding Russia and the president.

If you’re looking for a San Diego expert on the relations between the United States and Russia, you’ll eventually find Ron Bee.

Bee worked on the issue of nuclear weapons at the Pentagon during the Cold War.

His expertise in the nuclear arms race made him an expert in Russia and a frequent lecturer on local college campuses.

Bee is currently the Managing Director of the Hansen Summer Institute on Leadership and International Cooperation at the University of San Diego. Here are his thoughts.

NBC 7: “How concerned are you about what you're seeing in the last week and the last month out of Russia and the administration?"

Bee: "I think the National Security Advisor Flynn controversy was more about trust between him and the vice president, but what's behind it all? the Russians have been involved in messing with our elections. Not good. The Russians have invaded Ukraine. Not good. The Russians preside over a mass slaughter in Syria. Not good. Fifty percent of Western Europe’s energy is provided by Vladimir Putin. So what we're seeing is a realignment of Russia as a player, almost another Cold War I'd say. But if you start taking a look at our interests versus their interests, the one thing we have in common is counter terrorism, everything else doesn't look so good. They have client states in the middle east, they've kept Syria going for another 3 to 4 years by their intervention. Iran is a big client state, as soon as we lifted sanctions they started making deals, nuclear service deals with Iran. Ukraine, that has not improved. We just deployed more troops to Romania and Poland to reassure the eastern flank of NATO about Russia. Let's just say I'm very concerned about the trend, not just the last couple weeks or months, but the last couple of years"

NBC 7: “Is the Trump Administration too close to Russia or is this all politics?"

Bee: "I think it is mostly politics as the president has a learning curve as a business man coming into the most powerful office in the world. You've seen some appointments that suggest they're friendly to the Russia Federation, the secretary of state in particular who has helped Russia do some drilling for oil. But, if you look on the other side, if you look at the United Nations, Ambassador Haley has come out saying we really need to reinforce the sanctions against Russia for what they're doing in Ukraine. And we've just sent troops to Poland and to Romania to bolster the eastern flank right to the west of Ukraine. I'd say a lot of it is politics, but it does speak to what degree is Russia on the radar screen for this administration. We're going to have to give them some more time before that policy comes out. And frankly they don't have everybody in place yet to be able to judge whether or not this is a more pro-Russian administration."

NBC 7: “We've heard the President say having a good relationship with Russia is better. Would you agree with that principle?"

Bee: "It is a good principle, but let's not forget our national interests at the same time. There was a Russian reset that was planned by the Obama administration and the reset turned out to be a mistake and ended up in sanctions against Russia for Ukraine. It's very important to have good relations with Russia because they are after all a nuclear weapons state, in fact the largest one after us, so that's important. But, let’s not kid ourselves they're in it for their national interests and we need to be in it for ours too"

NBC 7: “What do you make of Russian fighter jets buzzing America ships and the spy ship off the east coast?"

Bee: "Well the things that are really concerning are the planes flying without their transponders on so an air traffic controller can't tell they're even there. That's part of a deal we've had all the way back to the cold war. What you see is a reemergence of Russia projecting its power, such that it is, and I think it's overblown, along the ways of the cold war. I've heard many in the business say this reminds me of about 30 years ago when this was commonplace and now it's coming back. Let’s remember Vladimir Putin was in the KGB in east Germany, he was in an area where they use the same sorts of things they're using now in terms of messing with elections, with casting doubts on governments and how they run by messing with them, by spying on anyone and everyone who has an interest for the Russian Federation. I do see Russia becoming more belligerent. They invaded Ukraine. They sent planes and ships to Syria. Now they're selling things to Iran that could help them get a nuclear weapon. Yes they're becoming more belligerent, not quite at the cold war level where we had 80,000 nuclear weapons. We only have a fraction of those now, but one nuclear weapon can sure mess up your day. They have mentioned modernizing their nuclear weapons and possibly even using them, that's something that should raise concern anywhere."

NBC 7: “What do you like, if anything, about what President Trump is doing with Russia?

Bee: "He has already stood up at the United Nations through his ambassador to suggest sanctions are necessary. Last week troops and tanks were deployed to Romania, which would suggest we're reassuring our NATO allies there. He has put in charge a grown up as secretary of state who I believe will represent the country well, regardless of his oil background. He is still working through his confirmation process and dealing with the press in a way he probably didn't think he'd have to. I'd give him some time and his administration some time to see how this all plays out. Takes about 200 days for an administration to plant themselves firmly, we're not quite there yet, we're not even at a hundred days. Some of this is politics, let’s see what he does over the next hundred days or so."

NBC 7: “What is the thing about Russia you feel is overblown and what is the thing people aren't talking about that they should be?"

Bee: "I think what's overblown is that Russia is on the same wave length or power as the United States. They're not. Their economy sucks. They're not diversified. Their economy is overly dependent on oil and with oil prices down they can't even meet their budget. They need oil prices to be 110 a barrel, it's about 50 now, so you do the math. They're overblown, they're a paper tiger. We shouldn't be worried as much about them because their economy is so bad. Outside Moscow and St Petersburg high unemployment."

"in terms of what I think we need to worry about, is we need to worry about more our own national interests with Russia and not just good relations. Good relations are important, but our own national interests, economically, politically, and militarily. We don't want another arms race, nuclear weapons are only good if you don't use them and they cost a lot of money. Economically we should build up our trade with Europe and start selling natural gas to Europe instead of Russia selling natural gas to Europe. Politically we have to reassure our alliances and the main one being NATO, which right now is engaged in deterring Russia from doing more damage in Ukraine. Overtime Ukraine is going to cost Russia a lot of money and will cost political capital back home, as I think Syria will as well. I think we're making Russia more important than it is, but let’s also treat it in our own national interest"



Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Eater SD: Iconic Steakhouse Sizzles Again in Mission Beach]]> Fri, 17 Feb 2017 12:21:34 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Saska-Steakhouse-EaterSD.jpg

A longtime steakhouse in Mission Beach is firing up the grill again, reopening soon with a fresh new look. Eater San Diego shares the sizzling scoop, plus other top stories of the week from San Diego’s food and drink scene. 

Saska's Landmark Steakhouse Reopens After Revamp in Mission Beach
Saska’s, the iconic restaurant that operated for more than 60 years on Mission Boulevard, is gearing up for a grand reopening next week after a refresh by its new proprietors, The Patio Group. The freshly revamped restaurant will feature a menu of throwback steakhouse dishes and classic cocktails. Cheers. 

San Diego's Essential Brunch Spots
Our local brunch game is strong. Eater's Brunch Heatmap is a monthly lineup of the hottest weekend brunches, from revitalizing comfort food favorites to drink deals including bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys. Check out a dozen suggestions for daytime indulgence. 

The Cheese Store of San Diego Winds Down in Little Italy
After two years, The Cheese Store of San Diego in Little Italy announced it will shutter on Feb. 26 The popular farmer's market vendor turned brick-and-mortar cited small business challenges as the reason behind the closure of the gourmet cheese shop and bistro. A new eatery is scheduled to launch at that site in April.

Bibigo Brings Build-Your-Own Korean Bibimbap to UTC
A global company with a retail food line and several eateries in the Los Angeles area will open its first San Diego location this spring in Westfield UTC's food court. Bibigo's quick-service concept revolves around customizable bibimbap, a traditional Korean dish which features rice topped with meat, vegetables, egg and sauce in its most classic rendition. 

Waypoint Public Preps Expansion From North Park to North County
Craft beer-centric eatery Waypoint Public will grow from its flagship North Park spot on 30th Street to a second location in Del Sur Town Center. Scheduled to open in early April, the family-friendly space will include a play area for kids and an open kitchen, plus a bar with 30 beer taps and a new cocktail program. 



Photo Credit: Saska's
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<![CDATA[White House Denies Nat'l Guard in Immigration Enforcement]]> Fri, 17 Feb 2017 08:56:03 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-95592185-ng.jpg

The White House and the Department of Homeland Security denied a report from The Associated Press Friday that the Trump administration is considering a proposal to mobilize as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to enforce immigration law. 

An 11-page draft memo obtained by the AP calls for the unprecedented militarization of immigration enforcement as far north as Portland, Oregon, and as far east as New Orleans, Louisiana. 

The AP said Friday that its requests to the White House and the Department of Homeland Security for comment and a status report on the proposal were not answered. After the AP published the report, a spokeswoman for the DHS told NBC News the "AP story about the National Guard is incorrect. It's not true." 

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer also told reporters the report is "100 percent not true." 

DHS said it will be issuing guidance later Friday on how Donald Trump's executive orders on immigration, signed last month, will be implemented. 

Four states that border on Mexico are included in the draft proposal — California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas — but it also encompasses seven states contiguous to those four — Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana. 

Governors in the 11 states would have a choice whether to have their guard troops participate, according to the memo, written by U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, a retired four-star Marine general. 

While National Guard personnel have been used to assist with immigration-related missions on the U.S.-Mexico border before, they have never been used as broadly or as far north. 

The memo is addressed to the then-acting heads of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It would serve as guidance to implement the wide-ranging executive order on immigration and border security that Trump signed Jan. 25. Such memos are routinely issued to supplement executive orders. 

Also dated Jan. 25, the draft memo says participating troops would be authorized "to perform the functions of an immigration officer in relation to the investigation, apprehension and detention of aliens in the United States." It describes how the troops would be activated under a revived state-federal partnership program, and states that personnel would be authorized to conduct searches and identify and arrest any unauthorized immigrants. 

The draft document has circulated among DHS staff over the last two weeks. As recently as Friday, staffers in several different offices reported discussions were underway. 

If implemented, the impact could be significant. Nearly one-half of the 11.1 million people residing in the U.S. without authorization live in the 11 states, according to Pew Research Center estimates based on 2014 Census data. 

Use of National Guard troops would greatly increase the number of immigrants targeted in one of Trump's executive orders last month, which expanded the definition of who could be considered a criminal and therefore a potential target for deportation. That order also allows immigration agents to prioritize removing anyone who has "committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense." 

Under current rules, even if the proposal is implemented, there would not be immediate mass deportations. Those with existing deportation orders could be sent back to their countries of origin without additional court proceedings. But deportation orders generally would be needed for most other unauthorized immigrants. 

The troops would not be nationalized, remaining under state control. 

Spokespeople for the governors of Arizona, Utah, Nevada, California, Colorado, Oklahoma, Oregon and New Mexico said they were unaware of the proposal, and either declined to comment or said it was premature to discuss whether they would participate. The other three states did not immediately respond to the AP. 

The proposal would extend the federal-local partnership program that President Barack Obama's administration began scaling back in 2012 to address complaints that it promoted racial profiling. 

The 287(g) program, which Trump included in his immigration executive order, gives local police, sheriff's deputies and state troopers the authority to assist in the detection of immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally as a regular part of their law enforcement duties on the streets and in jails. 

The draft memo also mentions other items included in Trump's executive order, including the hiring of an additional 5,000 border agents, which needs financing from Congress, and his campaign promise to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. 

The signed order contained no mention of the possible use of state National Guard troops. 

According to the draft memo, the militarization effort would be proactive, specifically empowering Guard troops to solely carry out immigration enforcement, not as an add-on the way local law enforcement is used in the program. 

Allowing Guard troops to operate inside non-border states also would go far beyond past deployments. 

In addition to responding to natural or man-made disasters or for military protection of the population or critical infrastructure, state Guard forces have been used to assist with immigration-related tasks on the U.S.-Mexico border, including the construction of fences. 

In the mid-2000s, President George W. Bush twice deployed Guard troops on the border to focus on non-law enforcement duties to help augment the Border Patrol as it bolstered its ranks. And in 2010, then-Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer announced a border security plan that included Guard reconnaissance, aerial patrolling and military exercises. 

In July 2014, then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry ordered 1,000 National Guard troops to the border when the surge of migrant children fleeing violence in Central America overwhelmed U.S. officials responsible for their care. The Guard troops' stated role on the border at the time was to provide extra sets of eyes but not make arrests. 

Bush initiated the federal 287(g) program — named for a section of a 1996 immigration law — to allow specially trained local law enforcement officials to participate in immigration enforcement on the streets and check whether people held in local jails were in the country illegally. ICE trained and certified roughly 1,600 officers to carry out those checks from 2006 to 2015. 

The memo describes the program as a "highly successful force multiplier" that identified more than 402,000 "removable aliens." 

But federal watchdogs were critical of how DHS ran the program, saying it was poorly supervised and provided insufficient training to officers, including on civil rights law. Obama phased out all the arrest power agreements in 2013 to instead focus on deporting recent border crossers and immigrants in the country illegally who posed a safety or national security threat. 

Trump's immigration strategy emerges as detentions at the nation's southern border are down significantly from levels seen in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Last year, the arrest tally was the fifth-lowest since 1972. Deportations of people living in the U.S. illegally also increased under the Obama administration, though Republicans criticized Obama for setting prosecution guidelines that spared some groups from the threat of deportation, including those brought to the U.S. illegally as children. 

Last week, ICE officers arrested more than 680 people around the country in what Kelly said were routine, targeted operations; advocates called the actions stepped-up enforcement under Trump.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Tourism Authority: Nearly 35M Visited San Diego in 2016]]> Fri, 17 Feb 2017 08:47:45 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/sandiegogeneric_san_diego_generic.jpg

San Diego hosted a record 34.9 million visitors who spent $10.4 billion in the region during calendar year 2016, according to the latest annual data from the San Diego Tourism Authority.

Officials of the nonprofit agency said local governments collected a record $267 million in hotel tax revenue in fiscal year 2016, which ran from July 2015 to June 2016. San Diego County’s tourism industry now employs 183,000.

The region has 60,611 hotel rooms and saw 17.1 million room nights sold during the past year. A statement from the tourism authority said visitor traffic during the 2016 calendar year was fueled by events including Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game, bicycling’s AMGEN Tour of California, and the annual pop-culture fest Comic-Con International.

The tourism authority during January 2017 launched a $12.4 million advertising campaign, including television, print and digital advertising placements. The strategy includes updates of the region’s previously successful “Happiness is Calling” ad campaign, marketing the San Diego region in San Francisco, Sacramento, Seattle, Dallas, Chicago and New York City.

The campaign also includes placements in magazines such as Conde Nast Traveler and Bon Appetit, and travel websites including TripAdvisor, Expedia and Priceline.

During the first quarter, the tourism authority will also be running digital advertising in Canada and the United Kingdom, along with advertising supporting new upcoming international flights to San Diego recently announced by Condor Airlines and Edelweiss Air.

The international efforts will be in partnership with Brand USA, a nationwide tourism promotion organization geared to international travel to the United States.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[After Years Apart, Family Is Reunited at Lindbergh Field]]> Fri, 17 Feb 2017 08:33:09 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/FamilyReunion0216.jpg

After spending years apart, a San Diego family was reunited late Thursday

Abdirah-man Ahmad Adam has been separated from his family for the past six years.

The Somali refugee has been working as a translator and mechanic in Saudi Arabia and waiting for his chance to come to the United States.

His family was granted asylum four years ago. One of his daughters is a nano-technology engineer. The other is a student at UC San Diego.

They were at Lindbergh Field Thursday night to welcome their father to the United States for the first time.

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<![CDATA[Backyard Beekeeping Growing in San Diego]]> Fri, 17 Feb 2017 08:16:28 -0800 //media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Beekeeping-Hilary-Kearney.jpg

As San Diego native Hilary Kearney zips up her white mesh bee suit, she says this moment is never where she saw herself.

"If you'd told me 10 years ago this is what I would've been doing, I don't know what I would've thought," she says. "I studied art."

She's not complaining.

"I just think they're cool," she adds.

She's talking about bees, or her roughly 60,000 colleagues in the Golden Hill backyard where we caught up with her.

It's just one of the homes where Kearney has setup a backyard beehive, or apiary, for a customer.  She regularly checks on and maintains the apiaries, and over the past few years, business is booming for her business, Girl Next Door Honey.

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She's also been stung more times than she can count.

In the county of San Diego, there are now 160 registered beekeepers, and more than 400 apiary locations. That's more than triple the number of locations from back in 2012, before the city and county changed rules making it easier to become a backyard beekeeper. Per regulations, apiaries have to be at least 15 feet from a property line.

Kearney says the average colony she maintains can produce about 100 pounds of honey a year, but she believes there's another reason people are so interested in what she's doing lately.

"I think it's because it's in the headlines with the bees dying.  People just want to learn more what it's about," she says.

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She's talking about the mysterious die-off of the world's honey bees. There are a lot of theories about why it's happening. Kearney believes it's linked to pesticides.

Whatever the reason, the consequences are potentially devastating to commercial beekeepers, and all the rest of us as well.

"They're losing 40 percent of their bees every year," says Kearney. "One in every three bites of food that you eat is pollinated by a bee. And so, these beekeepers have to work really hard to keep their bees alive. They're losing money. This could drive up the cost of food."

In San Diego county, commercial bee keeping is a $4 million per year industry. And nationally, the USDA reports the value of honey at more than $315 million a year, and bees' impact on crop production at $14.6 billion a year.

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Travis Elder with the County Department of Agriculture says the department investigates bee die-offs when they're reported and that they regularly inspect hives to check for pests and dieseases.

Kearney says her biggest concern is not the commercialized honey bees, or even the bees in those small, backyard apiaries. It's the native bee species.

"They really keep the whole ecosystem up and running," she says. "So, the best thing people can do to help bees is not to get a beehive, but to plant flowers.  And that's a much easier thing to do."

For anyone interested in learning more about hosting apiaries, the county offers free online introductory classes on its website.



Photo Credit: Hilary Kearney/Girl Next Door Honey
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