<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - San Diego News - [SAN DIEGO] Breakfast Buzz]]>Copyright 2018http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/localen-usWed, 19 Dec 2018 05:48:13 -0800Wed, 19 Dec 2018 05:48:13 -0800NBC Local Integrated Media<![CDATA[No Fish on a Plane: San Diego Student's Travel Story]]>Tue, 18 Dec 2018 14:49:52 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/vlcsnap-2018-12-18-14h30m31s803.png

A San Diego woman was traveling home from college in Colorado when an airline employee told her she could not bring her pet on the plane with her. In this case, the pet was a fish.

Lanice Powless is a University of Colorado student at Colorado Springs and was traveling through Denver International Airport with her pet Betta fish "Cassie."

Powless had traveled with the fish before and even checked the website for the TSA to see if she could fly home with the pet over the holiday break.

“Typically I would just check in and then go through TSA and walked right on with it,” Powless told KUSA-TV. “No one’s ever stopped me.”

TSA policy allows live fish in carry-on bags after inspection by a TSA officer.

However, Southwest does not. An employee told Powless her fish could not go on the plane with her.

Southwest’s pet policy is stricter, allowing only small dogs and crates in crates stowed under the customer’s seat.

In the end, she handed Cassie over to another traveler going on a different airline.

The two got separated at the airport before they could exchange contact information.

“I don't know where my fish is at. I don't know if they allowed her to take it.” 

Southwest Airlines offered a statement on Monday.

“A Customer attempted to bring a pet fish onboard their flight from Denver to San Diego. Our Customer Service Agents informed the Customer about Southwest’s pets policy which does not allow for live fish to travel in the passenger cabin. Our Team offered to re-book the Customer for a later flight to allow them to make arrangements for their pet but the Customer refused that option. The Customer eventually traveled on their originally scheduled flight.”

Powless told KUSA she wasn't given the option to book a different flight.  

“I would have gladly taken another flight. I was in no rush to get home, I’m on break,” she said. “If they offered me a later flight to drop off my fish, that would have been totally fine with me.”

She advises anyone else in a similar situation to check with the individual airline, not just the TSA site.

<![CDATA[$5.6M Bike, Pedestrian Pathway Approved for CV Bayfront]]>Tue, 18 Dec 2018 23:12:03 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Sweetwater+Path+Conceptual+Rendering+1218.jpg

A multi-use pathway worth millions will be coming to the Chula Vista Bayfront, according to the Port of San Diego.

Permits were recently approved for a bicycle and pedestrian pathway in the 535-acre renovation project, the Port announced on Dec. 13.

The project entitled the Sweetwater Bicycle Path and Promenade, or Sweetwater Pathway, will cost $5.63 million, according to the Port.

The pathway will be built in the northern portion of the bayfront project.

Adjacent to the Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, the trail will start at G Street and wind northeast of Bay Boulevard.

This will link the existing Bayshore Bikeway to the new Chula Vista Bayfront, as well as connect the future Sweetwater Park and Harbor Park.

“The Sweetwater Pathway will bring the public to areas of the Chula Vista Bayfront that have never before been accessible while also protecting the bayfront’s natural resources and environment,” said Ann Moore with the Port’s Board of Port Commissioners.

The Port was awarded a $4.8 million Urban Greening Grant from the California Natural Resources Agency for the project.

The grant aims to create alternative methods to driving and discourage the production of greenhouse gases, according to the Port.

The Port’s Capital Improvement Program will fund $794,000 of the project. The City of Chula Vista will provide $33,000.

Construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2019 and should be completed by the spring of 2020, the Port said.

Photo Credit: KTU&A]]>
<![CDATA[San Diego Minimum Wage Increases on Jan. 1]]>Tue, 18 Dec 2018 11:59:41 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Minimum_Wage_GettyImages-51481255.jpg

The minimum wage for workers within the city of San Diego will increase to $12 an hour under a city ordinance approved three years ago.

The third and final phase of the minimum wage increase takes effect on Jan. 1.

In June 2016, voters approved a measure increasing the minimum wage to a level that was higher than the state's minimum wage requirement at the time. 

A month later, the minimum wage for workers at small businesses in the city of San Diego officially increased to $10.50 an hour. 

In January 2017, the minimum wage increased to $11.50 an hour. 

Tips and gratuities are not included in the calculation of minimum wage. 

California’s minimum wage laws can be confusing.

As of Jan. 1, 2019, the minimum wage in California is $11 an hour for businesses with 25 employees or less and $12 an hour for employers with 26 employees or more.

Under the schedule for minimum wage increases, the rates will reach $14 and $15 respectively by Jan. 1, 2022.

However, cities and counties can establish higher minimums and have done so.

To check if your business or workplace resides within the boundaries of the city of San Diego, click here for an interactive map. 

If you or someone you know believes their rights under the city's ordinance have been violated, a complaint can be filed here.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Griffith Observatory: Winter Solstice + Apollo 8 Day]]>Mon, 17 Dec 2018 14:17:29 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/equinoxGettyImages1-72370592.jpg

Sharing our own special day with another notable event, one that just happens to coincide with our birthday or anniversary or graduation?

It's not unheard of.

In fact, it's so not unheard of, you've probably experienced it multiple times, over the course of your life. For making way for something else to share your spotlight is part of the larger life experience, due to the finite nature of the annual calendar.

And there just happen to be two things sharing the spotlight at Griffith Observatory on Friday, Dec. 21, two things that might be described as sun-bright, moon-big, and as interesting as astronomy itself.

No pressure there, what with all of the hyperbole we're trucking out, but let us argue our case: Dec. 21 is the winter solstice, a mighty big day for this planet, and, as is tradition, observatory staffers will give informative and free talks on the topic, both at local noon and sunset.

Local noon, on Dec. 21, 2018, will happen at 11:51 a.m., by the by, so just be at the Gottlieb Transit Corridor well ahead of noon-noon, as in the hour on the clock.

The sunset talk will take place on the observatory's West Terrace.

And at 7:30 that night, in the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater? Look for a special presentation devoted to the 50th anniversary of Apollo 8, which "... launched on Dec. 21, 1968... the first to take humans beyond Earth to another world."

Indeed, the famous "Earth Rise" photograph was snapped during this mission, on Dec. 24. Also? "The mission set the stage for the first Moon landing in July, 1969," observes the observatory. 

Major. Beyond. Epic. And all of the super-hyperbolic words, which are well-earned in this case.

The Apollo 8 celebration is also free, do note. And one more bonus: If you can't make it, it will be streamed live.

Do you like some moon with your solstice or some sun with your Apollo 8? Dec. 21 is the day to head up the hill for history, astronomy, community, and deep-sky'd wonder.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[After Delays, Behemoth Rocket Set for Wednesday Launch]]>Wed, 19 Dec 2018 05:34:34 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/197*120/GettyImages-1015503676.jpg

Tuesday was supposed to bring a holiday-season light show powered by four rocket launches, including one at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County.

Instead, all four launches were scrubbed.

The United Launch Alliance launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base was called off due to high winds. SpaceX, Blue Origin and Arianespace also had missions scrubbed.

The twice-delayed launch of the Delta IV Heavy rocket is now scheduled for 5:44 p.m. California time on Wednesday. 

Rocket launches from Vandenberg, particularly those around sundown, have  created spectacular light shows in the skies over Southern California and the southwestern United States. Depending on cloud cover, the rocket might be visible over a widespread part of the region, according to a statement Vandenberg Air Force Base.

The United Launch Alliance mission was scrubbed Dec. 8 just seconds before its scheduled liftoff due to a technical glitch. An operational problem had caused a delay in the launch one day prior to that.

ULA has carried out 27 launches for the National Reconnaissance Office over the past 12 years. ULA is a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

According to the company, the Delta IV Heavy rocket includes three Rocketdyne liquid hydrogen-liquid oxygen engines that can produce a combined 2.1 million pounds of thrust. A Delta IV Heavy rocket rumbled into the sky in August 2013 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, drawing spectators who wanted to witness its considerable power. 

It was to be the last of four launches scheduled for Tuesday. The Arianespace mission carrying a satellite for the French military into space was scrubbed due to poor weather conditions. Elon Musk's SpaceX was set to send a GPS satellite into space from Cape Canaveral in Florida, but that launch was delayed until Wednesday due to a reading on a first-stage sensor. Blue Origin's reusable space vehicle was scheduled for launch from a site in West Texas, but that mission was scrubbed for Tuesday due to what the company called a ground infrastructure issue. 

Photo Credit: NASA via Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Board Approves Sweetwater Union HS District Retirement Plan]]>Tue, 18 Dec 2018 06:18:03 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/sweetwater+union+high+school.JPG

The Sweetwater Union High School District Board of Trustees approved the cash-strapped district's plan to offer early retirement incentives to hundreds of teachers despite the County Office of Education pressing for more information gathering.

The SUHSD recently made cuts to fill a $30 million budget gap. Along with adding two work furlough days for employees, the district offered eligible employees incentives to retire early.

The teachers union told NBC 7 last week that nearly 100 teachers agreed to retire mid-school year with an additional 50 agreeing to retire at the end of the 2018-2019 school year.

The County Office of Education, which is in charge of making sure school districts can pay their bills, approved the district’s revised budget that was submitted last month and also sent in a financial advisor to oversee finances.

However, on Monday, the county suggested the board not approve the early retirements without submitting a detailed reduction plan for their office to review. 

"A decision to approve nearly $19 million in payouts to 308 individuals is fiscally irresponsible when considering the District's current financial crisis," Michael L. Simonson, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services with the San Diego County Office of Education said in a letter sent to school board President Kevin Pike. 

The letter also suggests payouts may not be necessary and that the district could save the same amount of money in the long run, without spending any now, through natural attrition.

Read the full letter here.

On Monday, the board approved the district's plan unanimously.

A total of 300 district employees agreed to take the early retirement offer. Those include certified and classified employees. 

Sweetwater Education Association President Gene Chavira said 144 certified employees including teachers and counselors have taken the option for early retirement.  Of those, 94 will leave at the end of 2018. The remaining 50 will leave at the end of the 2018-2019 school year, Chavira said. 

Sweetwater Union High School District spokesperson Manny Rubio said last week that the district is working with an outside company to determine the real-time cost savings of the move to decide if it's worthwhile. 

Lakeside resident Bob Crowley says one question still needs to be answered.

"It's the ends to a bad situation, but still, where did the $30 million go? Yea, that's a short-term solution, but they still have to find the $30 million. Where is it?" he said.

The state-funded Fiscal Crisis Management Assistance Team (FCMAT) has been investigating the district's finances and presented its report at Monday's meeting.

According to the county, the report found discrepancies in the district's budget compared to actual expenditures.

A statement from the county in response to the FCMAT's findings read in part:

"FCMAT’s concerns about SUHSD 'include but are not limited to deficit spending; inadequate fund balance; insufficient reserve levels; approval of bargaining agreements that exceed the district’s ability to support them; lack of position control; no reconciliation of payroll with budget or human resources records; inadequate internal controls over cash and other vital operational areas; … financial and operating systems that are not integrated with one another and rely on a single programmer to troubleshoot and clear monthly payroll tables; and millions of dollars of county-office-processed payroll left unposted for months in the district’s financial system.'”

You can read the full report here.

The county said FCMAT would begin a "extraordinary audit" to determine if any fraud or misappropriation occurred.

There are more than 2,000 teachers in the district, according to the SUHSD spokesperson. 

The district serves an estimated 40,000 students in 28 schools including 11 middle schools, 13 high schools and four alternative education sites.

Photo Credit: Steven Luke]]>
<![CDATA[Rady Children's Ice Rink Returns to Liberty Station]]>Thu, 15 Nov 2018 08:17:37 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Rady-Ice-Rink-2018.jpg

Bust out those skates and get ready to hit the ice: the Rady Children’s Ice Rink returns to Liberty Station this Saturday, offering a chance to ice skate for a great cause.

The rink opens on Nov. 17 and, while it's one of many ice rinks opening across San Diego County this season, this one stands out because its proceeds will support children fighting cancer.

Net proceeds will benefit the Thriving After Cancer (TAC) program in the Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Rady Children’s Hospital.

TAC and its program coordinators work with children and their families to help link them to services and provide education about healthy lifestyle choices, ensuring the best possible outcome for each child.

According to Rady Children's Hospital, 75 percent of kids treated for cancer will become long-term survivors.

Tickets to the rink start at $15 for adults and $13 for children; this price includes a pair of rental skates and a helmet. Discounts are offered for military service members with a military I.D., Rady Children's Hospital employees and groups of 10 people or more. Tickets are good for in-and-out access throughout the day.

The rink will open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. throughout the holiday season until Jan. 6, 2019. The only days it will be closed will be on Thanksgiving and Christmas Days.

Rady’s Children Hospital is able to present the ice skating rink with the support from SENTRE Inc., NBC 7 San Diego, the ARTS DISTRICT at Liberty Station and many sponsors. To donate to the Rady Children's Ice Rink, click here.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA['Fresh Prince' Star Sues 'Fortnite' Maker Over Dance Emote]]>Tue, 18 Dec 2018 03:20:42 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ribiero.jpg

"The Fresh Prince of Bel Air" star Alfonso Ribeiro is suing the makers of the popular battle royale video game "Fortnite" for allegedly stealing the dance that made him famous.

Attorneys for Ribeiro said that Epic Games ripped off the dance his character Carlton Banks did in the hit NBC sitcom and used the moves in an animated dance -- also known as an emote -- that players could buy and download in the game under the moniker "Fresh."

"Epic has earned record profits off of downloadable content in the game, including emotes like "Fresh.," attorney David Hecht said in a statement. "Yet Epic has failed to compensate or even ask permission from Mr. Ribeiro for the use of his likeness and iconic intellectual property."

He added, "Therefore, Mr. Ribeiro is seeking his fair and reasonable share of profits Epic has earned by use of his iconic intellectual property in Fortnite and as a result is requesting through the courts that Epic cease all use of Mr. Ribeiro’s signature dance."

Hecht added that Ribeiro has also filed a similar suit against Take Two Interactive and Visual Concepts for adding a similar emote to the NBA 2K games.

Ribeiro's copyright infringement suits seek unspecified damages. 

He's not the first famous dancer to file suit against the makers of the hugely popular game. Earlier this month rapper 2 Milly sued Epic for creating an emote that resembled the "Milly Rock" dance. 

Hecht said he is also preparing an additional suit for Russell Horning -- also known as "Backpack Kid" -- over Epic's use of the teen's iconic "flossing" dance.

NBC 4 New York has reached out to Epic games seeking comment. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA['Tonight Show' to Air Episode in Puerto Rico With 'Hamilton']]>Tue, 18 Dec 2018 03:43:15 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/tonightAP_18352043571872.jpg

Jimmy Fallon's "Tonight Show" will air an episode next year from Puerto Rico including an exclusive performance with Lin-Manuel Miranda reprising his role in "Hamilton."

NBC announced Monday evening that Miranda and the new touring cast will appear in the episode Jan. 15. The telecast will focus on Puerto Rico's recovery efforts to rebuild and raise awareness after Hurricane Maria massively struck the island in 2017.

"It's going to be a very special episode,"  Fallon said during Monday night's episode of the "Tonight Show," where Miranda was a guest. 

"It's going to be a celebration of the life, the light, the spirit of Puerto Rico and its people and its culture," he added. "Puerto Rico is back and open for business and we're going to show you a taste of how beautiful and fun Puerto Rico can be." 

The episode will also delve into how the deadly hurricane devastated Puerto Rico through widespread damage. 

Miranda will reprise his lead role in "Hamilton" at the University of Puerto Rico from Jan. 8 to 27. The performances look to raise money for the Flamboyan Arts Fund to benefit the art, artists and arts institutions.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 7 San Diego

Photo Credit: AP, File ]]>
<![CDATA['Tis the Season to Ask: Is 'Die Hard' a Christmas Movie?]]>Mon, 17 Dec 2018 18:00:26 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/die-hard.jpg

Plenty of films, from the Bruce Willis action flick "Die Hard" to the 1980s horror comedy "Gremlins," take place during the Christmas holiday season. But do the festive backdrops qualify these movies as "Christmas movies?"

Debating whether "Die Hard" falls into the same category as "It's a Wonderful Life," "White Christmas" and "Elf" has become a holiday tradition itself. Some, including "Die Hard" screenwriter Steven de Souza, argue that the movie's holiday motif definitely qualifies it for the holiday film genre.

But there are some film fans, as NBC News reports, who insist that there's more to a Christmas movie than a tinsel-covered set and a big Christmas tree "rigged to collapse when an explosion blows through the windows" of a hotel lobby.

Photo Credit: 20th Century-Fox/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[ICYMI: California Regulators Drop Plan to Tax Text Messaging]]>Mon, 17 Dec 2018 12:37:46 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-764786083.jpg

California regulators have canceled a plan to charge a fee for text messaging on mobile phones.

The California Public Utilities Commission reversed course after a Federal Communications Commission ruling last week classified text messaging as an information service and not a telecommunications service. The federal Telecommunications Act limits state authority over information services.

Regulators announced Friday that CPUC commissioner Carla Peterman withdrew the text proposal "in light of the FCC's action" on Dec. 12. State officials said the tax was intended to help support programs that make phone service accessible to the poor.

The wireless industry and business groups had been working to defeat the plan and calculated the new charges for wireless consumers could total about $44.5 million a year.

They said that under the regulators' proposal the charge could be applied retroactively for five years -- and could amount to a bill of more than $220 million for California consumers.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 7 San Diego

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Maskot, File]]>
<![CDATA[OB Pier Closes Amid Potentially Dangerous High Surf]]>Mon, 17 Dec 2018 21:00:24 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/OB+Pier+Closed+High+Surf+2.jpg

The Ocean Beach Pier was closed Monday as large swells created potentially dangerous swim conditions at San Diego County beaches.

The National Weather Service issued a high surf advisory from 8 a.m. Monday to 10 p.m. Tuesday that warned of waves averaging 7 to 11 feet.

A strong swell from a southwest wind moved into coastal waters early Monday, creating high surf and strong rip currents in San Diego.

NBC 7 Meteorologist Sheena Parveen said coastal areas south of Del Mar could see waves up to 13 feet. High surf will peak late Monday and early Tuesday. 

"We have a storm system that's moving through the state of California and that's really churning up our seas," Parveen said. 

Amid high surf conditions, San Diego Fire-Rescue lifeguards closed the Ocean Beach Pier to foot traffic. 

"Waves are spraying into public areas of the pier, and for safety reasons, it will remain closed until the high surf event is over and lifeguards deem it safe," SDFD spokesperson Monica Munoz said. 

The waves had not caused damage to the pier. 

Minor coastal flooding and beach erosion are possible during early morning high tides because of the swell.

The high surf and strong rip currents could create a high risk of drowning at the beaches, the NWS said.

<![CDATA[San Diegans Honor Buried Vets With Christmas Wreaths]]>Sat, 15 Dec 2018 18:40:04 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Miramar+National+Cemetery+Gathering+1215.jpg

Thousands of San Diegans helped lay wreaths at five local cemeteries Saturday in part of a nationwide day of remembrance.

Wreaths Across America started as a way to honor fallen soldiers during the holiday season and bring grieving family members comfort, but has grown to include any veteran gravesite with a cross, indicating the Christian faith.

More than 3,000 people attended the event at Miramar National Cemetery where parking spots ran out by 9 a.m., forcing many guests to walk more than a mile or catch a shuttle.

"You place a rock if there's a Star of David for people of Jewish faith, you set a stone on the top of the headstone. And for Christians... you place the wreath which celebrates Christmas which is very appropriate," said Jim Bradford, a Cub Scout leader from Pack 594 in the Del Sur area.

Some of the participating cemeteries include Fort Rosecrans, Miramar National Cemetery, and Greenwood Memorial Park.

Since 2006 the Worcester Wreath Company has donated all of the wreaths.

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<![CDATA[Children's Pool Beach Closed for Seals Pupping Season]]>Sat, 15 Dec 2018 22:31:47 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/lajollageneric.jpg

The annual closure of Children's Pool Beach for harbor seals pupping season started Saturday.

The beach and the surrounding area will remain closed until May 15.

The rope that serves to keep the public at a safe distance will also be removed since the entire beach is closed.

Children's Pool Beach was opened in 1932 after Ellen Browning Scripps paid for a seawall to built so that inexperienced swimmers can enjoy the beach. Seals started to use the relatively calm water of the beach to rear their pups in the 1990s.

The city started closing the beach in 2014 after environmentalists complained that beachgoers were disturbing the marine mammals. The California Coastal Commission issued a permit allowing the beach to close to protect the seals.

A group advocating for beach access called Friends of the Children's Pool sued the city arguing that the closure violated the California Coastal Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act.

A lower court sided with the group but the issued was resolved in the city's favor earlier this year when an appeals court reversed the decision, allowing the city to close the beach for 5 1/2 months each year.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Mission Valley Staple, InCahoots, Closing Its Doors]]>Mon, 17 Dec 2018 10:43:37 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/InCahoots+closing.png

A popular country music bar that’s become a gathering place for survivors of the Las Vegas Massacre is closing its doors.

InCahoots Dancehall and Saloon in Mission Valley will shut down at the end of the year, according to General Manager Gary Martin. 

The country music bar has been a staple in Mission Valley for the past 26 years and has become a second home to regular Frank Quinores.

"We meet here every Monday night,” he said. “It created a big family.”

Quinores is a survivor of the Las Vegas Massacre and a part of the Route 91 support group that regularly meet at InCahoots.

The group formed and met for therapy sessions shortly after the tragedy.

“(It’s) our safe haven what we all went through to spend time together," he told NBC 7.

The owners of InCahoots say the bar it will closing after Dec. 31. The building and the land had been sold and the lease was not extended.

In statement, general manager Gary Martin said they are planning to relocate the bar.

"We're thankful for 26 years we'd had and look forward to finding a new location,” the statement read. “It's sad time for our amazing employees and incredible customers."

Shive Ghaed, a clinical psychologist who leads the therapy sessions at the saloon.

"This is a strong hold InCahoots, hoots is home,” she said.

She's also a part of the route 91 survivors. Ghaed said the loss building has felt like another emotion hit for the group.

“On top of the borderline shooting and everything, for us in the survivor community, and what we’ve been going through over the last year,” she said.

A gathering place Quinores said will be hard to replace.

“There's a lot of memories in this building and there's a lot of emptiness," he said.

The group planned a final gathering at the saloon on Friday, Dec. 12.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[It Does Happen! Firefighters Rescue Cat from Tree]]>Sun, 16 Dec 2018 23:01:11 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Cat+in+Tree+Lakeside.jpg

It's a cliché that firefighters rescue cats from trees, but it really does happen as demonstrated by the Lakeside firefighters Sunday morning.

The Lakeside Fire Protection District crews were dispatched shortly before noon to save a cat who let its curiosity get the best of it.

Of course, to make it more of a cliché, the feline was stuck on top of a palm tree.

Firefighters had to use the fire engine's ladder to rescue the calico cat.

"It doesn't happen often," the department wrote on its Twitter page. "An example of firefighters out doing what needs to be done!"

The cat is now safely on the ground and thankful it still has its nine lives (we presume).

Photo Credit: Lakeside Fire District
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<![CDATA[Why Online Shoppers May See More Sales Tax This Season]]>Wed, 28 Nov 2018 08:02:49 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-880487300+%281%29.jpg

Shoppers heading online to purchase holiday gifts will find they're being charged sales tax at some websites where they weren't before. The reason: the Supreme Court.

A June ruling gave states the go-ahead to require more companies to collect sales tax on online purchases. Now, more than two dozen have moved to take advantage of the ruling, many ahead of the busy holiday shopping season.

"Will your shopping bill look any different? ... The answer right now is it depends," said Jason Brewer, a spokesman for the Retail Industry Leaders Association, which represents more than 70 major retailers.

Whether shoppers get charged sales tax on their online purchases comes down to where they live and where they're shopping.

Before the Supreme Court's recent decision, the rule was that businesses selling online had to collect sales tax only in states where they had stores, warehouses or another physical presence. That meant that major retailers such as Apple, Best Buy, Macy's and Target, which have brick-and-mortar stores nationwide, were generally collecting sales tax from online customers. But that wasn't the case for businesses with a big online presence but few physical locations.

Now, states can force out-of-state sellers to collect sales tax if they're doing a fair amount of business in the state. That means retailers such as Overstock.com, home goods company Wayfair and electronics retailer Newegg can be required to collect tax in more states. Those companies were involved in the case before the Supreme Court, but a wide range of businesses from jewelry website Blue Nile to clothing and outdoor company L.L. Bean and electronics retailer B&H Photo-Video are also affected.

Before the Supreme Court's decision, Overstock was collecting sales tax in eight states. Now, it's collecting sales tax nationwide. Jonathan Johnson, a member of Overstock's board of directors, said a small number of customers reached out to ask about the change when it happened but the company now hasn't had a question about it in months. Wayfair, for its part, was collecting sales tax in 25 states before the decision. Now it's collecting sales tax in 36 of the 45 states with a sales tax.

Where online shoppers live also can affect whether they're being charged sales tax.

States had a strong interest in taking advantage of the Supreme Court's decision by passing laws or publishing regulations prior to this holiday shopping season if at all possible, said Richard Cram of the Multistate Tax Commission, which works with states on tax issues. Those that did have generally been following the lead of South Dakota, which brought the issue to the Supreme Court. South Dakota requires sellers who don't have a physical presence in the state to collect sales tax on online purchases if they do more than $100,000 in business in South Dakota or more than 200 transactions annually with state residents.

A host of states — Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, Washington and Wisconsin — began enforcing their own requirements starting Oct. 1. And about another half a dozen states will start in the next two months.

But a number of big states, including California, Texas, New York and Florida, do not yet have similar collection requirements in place. As a result, consumers shopping online from those states and others that have yet to act may not be charged sales tax on some websites for a little longer. Online shoppers in those states — particularly those making expensive holiday purchases like televisions, computers and luxury goods — may be motivated to try to purchase from a website that isn't charging them sales tax. While that may look like a sweet tax savings, shoppers are generally supposed to pay the tax to the state themselves, but few do.

Still, it's getting harder to find sellers that aren't collecting sales tax online, said lawyer Eric Citron, who was involved in the Supreme Court case. And Citron said it will become even harder in 2019, with more states putting in place expanded sales tax collection requirements. States also have websites such as eBay, Etsy and Amazon in their sights.

Amazon collects sales tax when customers purchase goods it sells, but third-party retailers selling products on Amazon make their own sales tax collection decisions. Sellers on eBay and Etsy also make their own decisions. Now states are working to require those large marketplaces to collect taxes on behalf of sellers using their platform.

"States tend to use the powers that the Supreme Court gives them, especially when it comes to collecting taxes," Citron said.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 7 San Diego

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Weird Holiday Gifts of 2018]]>Tue, 11 Dec 2018 14:37:13 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Weird-Holiday-Gifts-2018.jpg

NBC 7's Monica Garske speaks with David Moye, Weird News Correspondent for HuffPost, about the oddest and wackiest holiday gifts on the market this season. From a William Shakespeare-themed tissue box holder to a "Breaking Bad" incense burner, it's a weird, weird world.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Vitaminwater Offering $100K if You Stay Off Phone for Year]]>Thu, 13 Dec 2018 20:36:45 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP_18303489448134.jpg

Could you actually ditch your smartphone for a year? Vitaminwater wants to find out, and it's willing to part with $100,000 if someone can rise to the challenge.

To enter the contest, you need to submit a post on Twitter or Instagram (so, yes, perhaps using a smartphone), including the hashtags #nophoneforayear and #contest, and outlining what you'd do if you couldn't swipe or scroll for a year. The deadline to enter is January 8, 2019.

The company will select a contestant around Jan. 22, according to the contest rules, and give them a 1996-era cell phone. For the next year, if you get chosen, you can't use any smartphones or tablets at all, even those belonging to other people, but you can use laptops and desktop computers. Devices like Google Home and Amazon Echo are OK too.

If you can go a full year carrying around something like what Cher used in the iconic teen comedy "Clueless, " you'll win $100,000. If you last six months, you get $10,000.

Oh, and Vitaminwater will be verifying your honesty. Before receiving the money, the contestant will need to submit to a lie-detector test.

Vitaminwater likes challenging monotony, Natalia Suarez, the company's associate brand manager, tells CNBC Make It. "We don't think there's anything more boring than mindlessly scrolling through your phone, and this is an opportunity to take that stance against routine and give someone $100,000 to do something uniquely awesome with their time," she says.

Sadly, the deck seems stacked against millennials. Over 92 percent of them own a smartphone, according to the latest Pew Research Center data. Even overwhelming majorities of Gen-Xers and baby boomers carry one at this point (85 percent and 67 percent, respectively). Smartphones play an out-sized role in millennials' daily lives, according to Gallup polling. About eight in 10 of them use them to accomplish everyday tasks, such as managing their finances, paying bills, shopping online, and watching or listening to online content.

Those between the ages of 18 and 34 spend over two and a half hours a day just consuming entertainment content on their smartphones, according to the latest 2018 Nielsen Total Audience Report. And a poll earlier this year found that 43 percent of millennials say they check their phone at least every 20 minutes. Making it even more unlikely that a millennial could win is this caveat from vitaminwater: "You cannot be required to use a smartphone for work or other commitments." Overall, 63 percent of workers use their cell phones on a daily basis for work calls, according to last year's workplace connectivity survey by Zinwave. Almost half of millennials specifically report using their cell phones now much more than a year ago.

And if a millennial's chances of winning are slim, Gen-Z may have no chance at all. This generation is so hooked to its devices that a recent Atlantic article asked, "Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? " Jean M. Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University, found that Gen-Z used their smartphones for so much of their daily interaction that they are "on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades." Anyway, the rules specify that you need to be 18 or older to enter.

So it seems to be down the members of Gen-X and Baby Boomers. At least they'll know how to use a mid-90s cell phone.

This story first appeared on CNBC.com. More from CNBC.com:

Photo Credit: Stephan Savoia/AP, File
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Tony Hawk Returns to Gaming with Mobile Download]]>Thu, 13 Dec 2018 17:03:41 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/tony_hawk_skate_jam_cover.jpg

Skateboarding pioneer Tony Hawk is updating his presence in the gaming world with the release of Tony Hawk's Skate Jam for mobile.

The free download launched Thursday. It is available on iOS and Android devices.

Hawk said he released a video game every year from 1999 to 2015, and the mobile game is a logical extension of the franchise.

"The significance is doing it on a mobile platform," the 50-year-old Hawk said in a phone interview. "The technology has come so far in the last five years, even less, that we are able to do a console-quality game on a mobile platform. I'm really excited to bring skateboarding and my flavor to something along those lines."

Gamers can drop into a skate session from wherever they are. They can play through for free, or make in-app purchases to accelerate their progress.

Hawk said the beauty of having the game on mobile is it can be updated every day.

"You can push better levels, updates, equipment, things like that," he said.

Players can compete in global online tournaments known as "skate jams," or explore more than 15 different skate parks across five regions in "career mode."

In all game modes, players will experience what it's like to skate like Hawk in the "Hawk Mode."

Hawk said he is the only real-world character in the game, one of the perks of his status.

"Or one of the demands of having a game with my name on it," he said.

"I feel it will be met with great scrutiny, but I feel the fun factor is there, and fans of our previous series will find a lot of similar controls and similar fun," said Hawk, who worked on the game in conjunction with Maple Media of Los Angeles.

"It's been a while and people expect a lot from a title with my name on it based on our previous success," Hawk said. "I'm thankful for the opportunity and excited to finally have a game on your phone."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 7 San Diego

Photo Credit: Maple Media]]>
<![CDATA[New Luxury Movie Theater to Open in San Diego's Gaslamp]]>Fri, 14 Dec 2018 08:07:07 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/181*120/theatre+box+1.jpg

Standing two stories tall and spanning an entire city block, the newly-erected Theatre Box entertainment complex has garnered curious glances during its months-long construction in the Gaslamp Quarter.

Those inquisitive eyes will for the first time get the chance to look inside the ornate theater, dining and entertainment complex when the Theatre Box makes its debut Friday on Fifth Avenue and G Street, with a grand opening party featuring the likes of Pitbull, Nick Cannon and local influencers.

The 73,000 square-foot entertainment complex brings the glamour of Hollywood's famed TCL Chinese Theatre to San Diego with a dine-in cinema, the entertainment complex's focal point.

Housed at the same location will be a Sugar Factory American Brasserie restaurant and the Chocolate Lounge dance venue. Nick Cannon's Wild 'N Out Sports Bar and Arcade and a rooftop beer garden are set to open in the Theatre Box’s second phase. 

The Theatre Box, the brain-child of TCL Chinese Theatre President Alwyn Hight Kushner and Sugar Factory founder Charissa Davidovici, is meant to give San Diegans an "innovative movie-going experience that is modern, fun and luxurious," Hight Kushner said.  

The entertainment complex sits at 701 Fifth Ave., the location of the former Reading Cinema, which suddenly shuttered in 2016. The cinema was the location of several local film fests and movie-themed events. Theatre Box representatives say their venue will continue the tradition of hosting movie premieres and other cinema-centric events. 

Upon entering the Theatre Box, guests will be greeted by a towering 45-foot tall entryway with the TCL's iconic handprint and footprint flooring. On Friday, Armando Christian Perez, known commonly as Pitbull, will be the first to receive a traditional "hand and footprint" ceremony at the San Diego TCL Chinese Theatre location.

Before making their way into one of eight theaters, guests can pick out sweet treats — from more than 500 classic movie-going candies to baked pastries, gelato and more — popcorn concoctions and signature cocktails, according to the Theatre Box.

The theaters themselves feature reclining seats that will already have guests' pre-ordered items ready to go. Late-comers will still be able to order menu items from their seat at the touch of a button. 

Many of the cinema's dishes will come from the Sugar Factory American Brasserie restaurant, which will be accessible to theatre-goers and the general public. The restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, featuring lavish concoctions like the Sugar Factory’s famous candy goblets and "Insane Milkshakes" topped with candy pieces and, in one case, a slice of cheesecake. 

The mood inside the Theatre Box was jovial on Thursday as the long-awaited project inched closer to becoming a reality. The Theatre Box was scheduled to open in October and faced delays as owners tried to turn the historic theatre into a modern, up to code, venue, according to a representative. With just over a day until their grand opening, crews were still putting finishing touches on the venue. 

Films screening at the Theatre Box this week, at $15 for adults and $12 for kids under 12 and seniors, include: "Bohemian Rhapsody," "Creed II," "The Grinch," "Mortal Engines," "Green Book" and "Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse." 

Tickets can be purchased through the Theatre Box website and mobile app, or on Fandango, all of which will go live this week. Guests with questions can call (619) 814-2225.

Reservations to the Sugar Factory and the Chocolate Lounge can be made through the Theatre Box website.  

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Things to Do This Weekend: Dec. 13 - Dec. 16 ]]>Tue, 11 Dec 2018 08:41:23 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Christmas+Lights+Show+182.JPG

TGI Weekend! With the holiday season in full swing, there are plenty of festive ways to celebrate in San Diego. From a fun outdoor movie and ice skating to a visit from Santa, twinkling lights and The Grinch. Enjoy the holiday magic in America's Finest City. Get up. Get out. Play!

Thursday, Dec. 13

Salvador Dali: The Argillet Collection
11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Meyer Fine Art
Meyer Fine Art, a fine art gallery located at 2400 Kettner Blvd., Suite 104, has extended its presentation of “Salvador Dali: The Argillet Collection,” through Dec. 29. The exhibition is free to the public. The gallery partnered with Madame Christine Argillet, daughter of Dali’s legendary publisher and confidante, Pierre Argillet, to present the artwork and sculptures, which are available for purchase.

North Park Thursday Market
3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., North Park Way & Granada Avenue (North Park)
Shop local produce at this year-round farmers market located on the corner of North Park Way and 29th Street. Farm-fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, eggs, sauces, bread and even handcrafted gifts will be available for purchase from local small businesses. The free festival also features live music and is surrounded by gourmet dining options in the heart of North Park.

Hillcrest Taste ‘n’ Tinis 2018
4 p.m. to 9 p.m., Hillcrest
Hillcrest hosts its annual “cocktail party” with this self-guided food, drink and shopping tour of the buzzy little community. Participating eateries will offer samples of signature dishes, specialty appetizers and desserts while some retail locations mix up festive martinis and cocktails. Tickets cost $25.

Family-Friendly Christmas Nights
5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Westin Carlsbad Resort & Spa
Rides on the “Holly Trolley,” the roasting of s’mores and letters to Santa are a few of the festive activities going down at these “Family-Friendly Christmas Nights” at the Westin Carlsbad Resort & Spa. The event has plenty for adults to enjoy too, including warming up with spiked hot chocolate flights and Christmas karaoke. It’s free and open to the public, and returns on Dec. 20, too.

Oceanside Sunset Market
5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Main Street Oceanside (Canceled due to rain)
As if anyone needed another excuse to head to the beach for a sunset over the Pacific Ocean, the Main Street Oceanside business association is giving you one anyway. The Oceanside Sunset Market is taking over four city blocks of the downtown area so that about 200 local merchants can feature homemade crafts and tasty grub as live music wafts through the sea breeze-driven air. The free market is located on Pier View Way between Pacific Coast Highway and the Ocean every Thursday.

San Diego County Bike Coalition’s Holiday Joyride
5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Balboa Park and Surrounding Areas
Hop on your bike and join the San Diego County Bike Coalition for its “Holiday Joyride” through Balboa Park, downtown and Hillcrest. The group will meet at Panama 66 in Balboa Park. The ride begins at 6:15 p.m. and will be followed by a light parade, food and drinks. It costs $25 to join the event.

Two Scientists Walk Into a Bar
5:30 p.m., Different Locations Across San Diego County
The Fleet Science Center brings back another round of “Two Scientists Walk Into a Bar,” an event that brings local scientists to about two dozen bars across San Diego County for one night. The concept is simple: scientists visit watering holes and patrons are encouraged to ask them questions. The scientists will be sitting near a sign that reads, “We are scientists. Ask us anything!” This edition of the fun mingling session brings scientists to breweries and bars including Ballast Point on India Street in Little Italy, Culture Brewing in both Ocean Beach and Solana Beach, North Park Beer Co., and Panama 66 at Balboa Park, to name a few spots.

Wild Night Out
5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., San Diego Zoo
Need a wild night out without the kids? This 21+, kid-free event at the San Diego Zoo features music, socializing, animal friends, talks with keepers and a preview of Jungle Bells, the zoo’s seasonal affair. Tickets are $40 and include evening zoo admission, plus a drink (beer, anyone?). More food and beverages will be available for purchase at the event. Reservations are required; you can buy tickets online or by calling (619) 718-3000.

Friday, Dec. 14

Jungle Bells
9 a.m. to 8 p.m., San Diego Zoo
Each year during the holiday season, the San Diego Zoo transforms into a wild wonderland of twinkling lights, festive food and seasonal entertainment dubbed “Jungle Bells.” This year’s festive fun runs from Dec. 14 through Jan. 6 and includes daily performances from Jingle Brass, a jazzy caroling group (on the Front Street Stage) and The Tinseltones, a holiday harmonizing bunch (Africa Rocks Stage). Visitors can also enjoy the Celebration of Lights show every half-hour, from 4:55 p.m. to 7:55 p.m., on Front Street and “Dr. Zoolittle’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” a zany retelling of the classic poem (at Koalafornia Boardwalk). All Jungle Bells activities are included with paid admission into the zoo. Daily zoo hours are extended for this event until 8 p.m.

Rady Children’s Ice Rink
10 a.m to 10 p.m., Liberty Station
Grab your skates and take a spin on the ice while supporting a good cause this holiday season. NBC 7 and Telemundo 20 are partnering with Rady Children’s Hospital for this festive ice rink in the heart of Liberty Station. All proceeds benefit the hospital’s Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders. The Rady Children’s Ice Rink is open every day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. through Jan. 6 at Liberty Station, except Christmas Day. Tickets are $15 for adults and $13 for children. Discounts are available for military personnel.

Shop + Hops Holiday Market
4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Bread & Salt in Barrio Logan
San Diego Made – an organization that supports local artists and makers – will host this fun holiday shopping market Friday night, with the help of Alta Brewing. “Shop + Hops,” taking over Bread & Salt (1955 Julian Ave.) in Barrio Logan, will feature about 50 local makers, beer and wine tasting, food vendors, live music, a free kids activity station and more. If you purchase $40+ worth of goodies from one of the makers, you’ll receive a free, handmade gift and will be entered into a live raffle that starts at 8:30 p.m. It costs $5 to enter the market, which includes all beer and wine tastings. Kids age 10 and under get in free. This event will also serve as a fundraiser for the San Diego Made Factory, a workspace for local creative and small businesses set to open in Logan Heights next year.

Garden of Lights
5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., San Diego Botanic Garden
After the sun goes down, more than 125,000 sparkling lights will illuminate the San Diego Botanic Garden, turning the grounds into a festive, winter wonderland. The Garden of Lights celebration is included with admission into the Botanic Garden, which costs $25 for adults, $10 for seniors and active duty military, and $5 for kids ages 3 to 17.

Film & Float: “Elf”
6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., The Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows
The Lafayette’s “Dive In” – outdoor movies at the hotel’s pool – presents this free, all ages screening of “Elf.” Attendees can purchase $5 food and drinks during the movie. Reservations are not required but for the best seating, arrive early.

Dr. Seuss's ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas!’
7 p.m., The Old Globe
The Grinch can't stop Christmas from coming this year but he can bring his shenanigans to The Old Globe. For the 21st year, the theater in Balboa Park is showcasing "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" the classic musical with catchy tunes like, "You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch," and "Welcome, Christmas (Fah Who Doraze)." See the show on the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage with tickets starting at $54.

Saturday, Dec. 15

Vet Pet Wag
10 a.m. to 6 p.m., San Diego Convention Center
This pet-centric expo takes over the San Diego Convention Center Saturday (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and Sunday (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) showcasing the latest in products and services for furry friends. Pet parents and families will be able to learn about pet behavior, nutrition, enrichment, allergy management and senior care, all from veterinary experts, and check out new pet foods, treats, toys and more. Tickets cost $15 for adults, $5 for military, and $5 kids ages 6 to 12. Pets and kids age 5 and younger get in free.

Council Brewing Co. Closing Party
11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Council Brewing’s Kearny Mesa Tasting Room
Council Brewing Co. is closing its doors after five years in business. On Saturday, the Kearny Mesa tasting room on Convoy Court will host a farewell party with discounted brews and archive kegs on tap. Council Brewing owners Curtis and Liz Chism say they will miss their patrons and creating small-batch brews but in San Diego’s highly-saturated craft beer industry, their business can’t stay afloat.

Polar Express Family Day
11 a.m. to 3 p.m., San Diego Model Railroad Museum
Round up the family and wear your pajamas to this cozy screening of “The Polar Express” at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum in Balboa Park. After the movie, kids will be able to craft a special keepsake and enjoy a visit from someone special at the museum. The jolly event is included with paid admission into the museum, which costs $11.50 for adults and $6 for kids ages 6 to 14. Children age 5 and under get in free. The movie will start at 11:30 a.m.

Holiday Petting Zoo
11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Liberty Public Market
This free, holiday-themed petting zoo presented by the Berry Good Food Foundation and Farmer Jack will set up its little paddock on the patio at Liberty Public Market. Bring the kids and take family selfies with baby goats, donkeys and other fuzzy friends.

San Diego Creative Stitchery Guild Presents: Works Inspired by Laurel Burch
1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Bazaar del Mundo (Old Town San Diego)
The San Diego Creative Stitchery Guild is curating a display of fanciful, textile handiworks inspired by late artist Laurel Burch and created by local art guild members. The works – which commemorate Burch’s mythical animals, bright blooms, moons and hearts – will be on display at Diane Powers’ Bazaar del Mundo in Old Town San Diego this Saturday. The free event includes a meet-and-greet with Burch’s daughter, Aarin Burch, who will share stories about her mother’s life and legacy. Free Mexican hot chocolate and other seasonal treats will be served at the event.

Skate With Tara Lipinski
4 p.m. to 5 p.m., Hotel del Coronado
Olympic Gold Medalist Tara Lipinski hits the ice at Hotel del Coronado’s Skating by the Sea rink for this epic skating session. Up to 50 children of all skill levels (age 18 and under) are invited to skate with Lipinski to a playlist custom-picked by her. After ice time, the kids will enjoy cookies, hot chocolate and photos with the star skater. At $150, the tickets to this event are pricey but if you’ve got an avid ice skater in your life, this could make a great early Christmas present.

Holiday by the Bay
5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Hilton San Diego Bayfront
Looking for a little more excitement this holiday season? New this year, the Hilton Bayfront is opening a holiday adventure park along San Diego Bay. Holiday by the Bay features reimagined traditions -- like a two-story ice tubing slide, “iceberg” bumper cars and a dynamic light show centered around a Christmas tree, to name a few. For adults, festive cocktails will be doled out at the Yule Lodge cocktail bar. The adventure park is open through Jan. 5, 2019, to those with a ticket, starting at $20 or $15 for those under 12. Some activities cost extra. 

San Diego Gull vs. San Jose Barracuda
7 p.m., Valley View Casino Center
The San Diego Gulls hits the ice against the San Jose Barracuda at this Saturday night home game. Tickets start at $25; the pucks drops at 7 p.m.

Noel Noel: A City Lights Presentation
8 p.m., Copley Symphony Hall
The San Diego Symphony performs its annual “Noel Noel” holiday concert boasting the powerhouse vocal talents of Broadway star Bryonha Marie Parham, led by conductor Sameer Patel. The San Diego Master Chorale and San Diego Children’s Choir will also fill the hall with festive songs including “Silent Night” and “Sleigh Ride.” Tickets range from $28 balcony seats to $72 main front center seats. “Noel Noel” returns to the stage on Dec. 21 and Dec. 22.

Sunday, Dec. 16

San Diego Vintage Flea Market: For the Holidays
9 a.m. to 3 p.m., The Observatory in North Park
This intimate, holiday-themed flea market invites shoppers to the back lot of The Observatory North Park in search of special gifts. Admission is free; bring some cash to buy some goodies.

Guided Nature Walk
9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., Mission Trails Regional Park
Start your Sunday with a little nature walk at Mission Trails Regional Park. A trail guide will take visitors through one of three trails -- the Oak Grove Loop, the Visitor Center Loop or the Riverside Grinding Rocks -- while talking about the plants, animals, geology, history, and ecology of the park. These weekly guided walks are free and open to the public and begin at the Visitor Center. Wear sturdy shoes and bring water, a hat and sunscreen. Rain cancels the walk.

Holidays at Legoland
10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Legoland California Resort
Legoland California Resort is decked out in festive décor now through Dec. 31 as the theme park celebrates the holiday season. One highlight: an impressive 30-foot-tall Christmas tree made of Lego bricks and outfitted with twinkling Lego ornaments, which comes to life with light and music each night. Guests will be able to meet their favorite Lego characters dressed in seasonal attire – plus Santa Claus himself – and enjoy live entertainment throughout the park, including a new holiday light show. The park will also be dishing out exclusive seasonal treats, like peppermint shakes and Nutella and peppermint crepes, to name a few. The holiday bells and whistles are included with regular paid admission into Legoland, which starts at $75 for ages 3 and up.

Santa Visits the Little Italy Food Hall
12 p.m. to 2 p.m., Little Italy Food Hall
Santa makes his way to the Little Italy Food Hall for festive photos and merrymaking in front of the Piazza della Famiglia fountain, just outside the entrance to the food hall. If you buy something that day from a Little Italy Food Hall vendor, keep your receipt because if you show it at the fountain, you’ll get a free photo with Santa.

Viejas Outlet Center Ice Rink
Times vary, Viejas Casino and Resort
Hit the ice skating rink at Viejas Casino & Resort – one of the largest rinks of its kind in sunny Southern California. A $16 ticket for adults or $14 ticket for kids (12 and under) gets you 90 minutes on the ice, or you can buy a season pass if you plan to visit several times this season. The rink is typically open from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. during the week and 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. on the weekends. Check the schedule here before you go. 

A Very Carnitas’ Christmas
4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Carnitas’ Snack Shack
The Snack Shack along the Embarcadero will have live entertainment during the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights, should this be your preferred parade-viewing location. The Shack will offer festive treats during the event including hot chocolate, peppermint soft-serve and holiday-inspired cocktails. Visitors can also partake in fun, free activities like ornament decorating, lawn games and a photo station.

Skating by the Sea
Times Vary, Hotel Del Coronado
There are few places in the world where you can glide on an ice rink just feet from the ocean. The Hotel Del Coronado offers just that at their annual Skating by the Sea event. Through Jan 1, 2019, guests can take a spin on this beachside rink and enjoy sweeping views of the San Diego Bay with the purchase of a $35 ticket. Times vary by day so be sure to check the schedule here before you go.

47th Annual San Diego Parade of Lights
5 p.m., San Diego Bay
A Christmas tradition in San Diego, the Parade of Lights returns for its 47th year to the beautiful bayfront. The local boating community will deck out vessels in lights and festive decorations and float along San Diego Bay, illuminating the water for spectators. This year, the theme of the holiday boat parade is “Tropical Island Christmas,” so expect a few palm trees and pineapples. The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights typically attracts more than 100,000 spectators to the shores of San Diego Bay. The parade starts at Shelter Island, then heads to Harbor Island, the Embarcadero, Seaport Village, the Pier at Cesar Chavez Park and ends at the Coronado Ferry Landing. The procession takes about an hour to pass any given point and there are many viewpoints for spectators. The waterfront will get crowded, so spectators might want to plan ahead and take the trolley.

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

Looking to save some cash, but still enjoy the city? 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.

Do you love the weekend in San Diego? Are you looking for things to do? Join our Facebook group, Your San Diego Weekend. We're sharing weekend events, things to do with the whole family, weather, the newest restaurant openings and more! Click here

Photo Credit: Monica Garske]]>
<![CDATA[Here's How to Catch the Geminid Meteor Shower ]]>Thu, 13 Dec 2018 16:32:39 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/geminids.jpg

The Geminid meteor shower lights up the night sky each December, and this week it will be at its most visible, according to a NASA blog post

The Geminid meteors become active when Earth passes through a particularly massive trail of rocky space debris. When this debris enters Earth's atmosphere, it burns up and lights up the sky with "shooting stars." 

The debris comes from a strange rocky object named 3200 Phaethon.

To catch a peek of the fiery rocks, you'll have to find the darkest place you can, as many of the fainter meteors will be invisible due to light pollution. Still, NASA predicts that those in suburbs may see 30-40 meteors per hour, with varying changes depending on how close you are to a city. 

NASA recommends looking for them after 10:30 p.m. local time. The peak of this year's shower is expected on Thursday and Friday, around 2 a.m. local time. 

You can look out for when the meteors will be visible in your neighborhood at this link.

Photo Credit: Dr. Scott M. Lieberman/AP, File ]]>
<![CDATA[Apple Eyes UTC Area for New Campus in San Diego]]>Thu, 13 Dec 2018 18:54:53 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/UTC-Area-generic-skyranger-7.jpg

Apple plans to open an office in San Diego, California along with several other cities, company officials announced Thursday.

"We know that it's going to be in the UTC area in the middle of the prominent tech cluster already," said Matt Sanford, Director of Economic Development, SD Regional EDC.

Apple plans to build a $1 billion campus in Austin, Texas, that will create at least 5,000 jobs ranging from engineers to call-center agents while adding more luster to a Southwestern city that has already become a bustling tech hub.

The decision, announced Thursday, comes 11 months after Apple CEO Tim Cook disclosed plans to open a major office outside California on the heels of a massive tax cut on overseas profits, which prompted the company to bring about $250 billion back to the U.S.

"Ultimately having a big name like Apple is good for San Diego. Similar to Google being here, Teradata being here, Walmart labs and Amazon, it draws exposure to talent that San Diego is the place to be," Sanford said.

The company said it will also open offices in Seattle, and Culver City, California, each employing at least 1,000 workers over the next three years. Apple also pledged to add hundreds of jobs each in New York; Pittsburgh; Boston; Boulder, Colorado; and Portland, Oregon.

UC San Diego engineering student Samir Damle believes it would be great to work in an environment a company like Apple provides. 

"You don't have to relocate to the Bay Area after you graduate and have to leave San Diego to find a job," Damle said. "That's fantastic."

Mayunk Kurkrna, another engineering student at UC San Diego, is also interested in working for the company. 

"They just make products so superior compared to others and I want to experience how the product development happens," Kurkrna said.

Read more about the company's overall announcement here.

The area near UC San Diego between the coast and Interstate 805 is known as the Golden Triangle. In the next four years, there will be at least 50 major public and private construction projects in this area, according to SANDAG. 

You can view the current and future projects using this interactive map. 

Photo Credit: SkyRanger 7]]>
<![CDATA[Save These Dates: 2018 Holiday Shipping Deadlines]]>Tue, 18 Dec 2018 08:47:18 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-632514382.jpg

Want to make sure your holiday cards and gifts arrive in time for Christmas? Save these dates, and keep in mind there may be extra surcharges for rush delivery during the holiday season.

United States Postal Service

The United States Postal Service said cards and packages need to be mailed no later than these dates for an expected delivery by Dec. 25:

Dec. 4: Air/Army Post Office/Fleet Post Office/Diplomatic Post Office (ZIP Code 093 only) Priority Mail and First-Class Mail

Dec. 11: APO/FPO/DPO (all other ZIP Codes) Priority Mail and First-Class Mail

Dec. 14: USPS Retail Ground

Dec. 18: APO/FPO/DPO (except ZIP Code 093) USPS Priority Mail Express

Dec. 20: First-Class Mail (including greeting cards)

Dec. 20: First-Class packages (up to 15.99 ounces)

Dec. 20: Hawaii to mainland Priority Mail and First-Class Mail

Dec. 20: Priority Mail

Dec. 20: Alaska to mainland Priority Mail and First-Class Mail

Dec. 22: Alaska to mainland Priority Mail Express

Dec. 22: Hawaii to mainland Priority Mail Express

Dec. 22: Priority Mail Express


For more information on UPS schedules and pricing, click here.

Dec. 18: UPS 3 Day Select

Dec. 20: UPS 2nd Day Air

Dec. 21: UPS Next Day Air


These services and dates are based on shipping from one U.S. location to another, excluding Puerto Rico. For more information and details on international shipments, click here.

Dec. 10: FedEx SmartPost

Dec. 17: FedEx Home Delivery and FedEx Ground

Dec. 19: FedEx Express Saver from one U.S. location to another

Dec. 20: FedEx 2Day and FedEx 2Day A.M. from one U.S. location to another

Dec 21: FedEx Standard Overnight, FedEx Priority Overnight and FedEx First Overnight from one U.S. location to another


These services and dates apply only to the contiguous U.S. states and varies by item. Learn more about Amazon's holiday delivery calendar here

Dec. 19: Amazon announced Tuesday it was extending the last day for free standard shipping for all customers to Wednesday. 

Dec. 19: Last day for standard shipping, free for Prime members on qualifying orders.

Dec. 22: Last day for two-day shipping, free for Prime members.

Dec. 23: Last day for one-day shipping, free for Prime members in eligible areas.

Dec. 24: Last day for same-day delivery, free for Prime members in eligible areas (order by 9:30 a.m. local time or earlier). Last day for Prime Now offers free two-hour delivery windows, reserved exclusively for Prime members in eligible areas (order by 9:15 p.m. local time or earlier. Find out if free same-day delivery is available in your city at amazon.com/sameday.

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NYC for the Holidays with Marianne Kushi]]>Thu, 13 Dec 2018 10:48:18 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/vlcsnap-2018-12-13-10h27m15s317.png]]><![CDATA[Local Woman Competes in Adaptive Surfing Championships]]>Wed, 12 Dec 2018 17:34:30 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Local_Woman_Competes_in_Adaptive_Surfing_Championships.jpg

A San Diego woman is one of 140 people from 37 countries competing in the World Adaptive Surfing Championships. NBC 7's Joe Little has more.]]>
<![CDATA[Local Wineries Try to Become Profitable as Industry Grows]]>Wed, 12 Dec 2018 19:29:41 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/Wine-Generic-Getty.jpg

For the first time ever, California legislators recently gathered in downtown San Diego to talk about the state's wine industry.

Their visit signified the increasing importance of local wineries to the state’s overall production.

“The recognition that they want to listen is really important to us as an industry,” said Ed Embly, president of the San Diego County Vintners Association and owner of Hungry Hawk Vineyards and Winery in Escondido.

San Diego County is now home to about 115 wineries, including about 30 urban wineries.

“We'll never be on the scale of Napa, but we'd like to be recognized. We have some great winemakers down here that really care about their craft,” Embly said.

The wine industry is showing tremendous growth in the county with 26 million dollars in sales in 2017.

Yet most wineries are still in the red.

“There are probably are a few that are making a profit, but in most cases, we're still grasping for that,” said Embly.

The initial cost needed to start a winery business can also be prohibitive.

Embly and his wife Jeannine planted their first grapevines at Hungry Hawk Vineyards and Winery in 2009. They opened a wine tasting room in 2014.

“If you're very lucky, a seven year rule after getting into the business might be where you can expect some profits,” he added. “But you might never be profitable.”

While San Diego's craft beer industry has developed into an economic powerhouse, the boutique wine industry is still in its infancy.

“[Brewers] have a turnaround of three to six months on their product,” explained Embly. “Our product is eight months to three years, and so we have a huge cost of inventory.”

And with their proximity to neighbors, boutique wineries face strict county regulations, which include limits on the size of the tasting room, patios, tables and chairs.

“We would like a little bit of leeway so we can do things that suit the area, that suit the situation and just have some flexibility,” said Embly.

Most winery owners in San Diego generate revenue through wine tastings and wine clubs.

Embly explains that while they want to maintain the one-on-one interaction with customers, many of them would like to expand by also hosting small business events that do not disturb their neighbors.

Currently, expanding upon the county's boutique winery ordinance means applying for an administrative permit.

“The big hurdle there is cost,” added Embly. “We're looking at probably a $75,000 up-front fee to go through that process, and you never really know if you're going to succeed or not and most of the winery owners, we really can't afford that.

Many local wineries produce less than one thousand cases of wine a year.

But vintners have a wide range of grapes to choose from to create their unique blends. About 45 varietals are grown in the area.

“We're a very passionate group of winemaker and entrepreneurs and we know the whole basis of our industry is quality,” said Embly.

Embly said there's a misconception that San Diego's climate is too hot to grow the grapes needed for white wine. However, those grapes can thrive depending on how they're cultivated.

“There are many micro-climates in the county that lend itself to a great variety of types of wine,” he added.

But it's cultivating customers that'll fortify the success of local wineries.

“You mention the name Napa and the first thing that's going to pop in your mind is wine,” said Embly. “San Diego, you mention that to somebody outside the area and it's probably the climate. We want them to say, ‘Well the climate is just great for wine.’”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Child With Autism Meets Santa for First Time]]>Thu, 13 Dec 2018 09:19:06 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/santa-boy-for-web.jpg

A North Texas family is opening up about a trip to see Santa they say they’ll never forget.

"You appreciate it so much because he wasn’t supposed to do it, he wasn’t supposed to be here, he wasn’t even supposed to survive," Misty Wolf said.

Wolf’s 6-year-old son Matthew was born 24-weeks premature and is both blind and autistic. Matthew has had a growing interest in Santa, and went with his family to see Santa earlier this month at the Fort Worth Cabela’s.

"I kind of ran up to Santa and was like 'He is blind and autistic and very interested in Santa,' and Santa raised up his hands and said 'Say no more,'" Wolf said.

What happened next has since gone viral: Matthew touched Santa’s beard and jacket and interacted with the man he’d heard so much about.

"He’s never seen a reindeer, he’s never seen a picture of a reindeer so the thing is let him feel one," said "Santa."

Wolf said it was a moment that meant more to her than any present and one she knows Matthew will forever appreciate.

"I stood there with my eyes all glassy from tears welling up inside because I was just excited for him to put that together," she said.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA['Small-Format' Target Store Planned for Spring Valley]]>Wed, 12 Dec 2018 09:00:56 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Spring-Valley-Target-Store-Rendering.jpg

The community of Spring Valley in San Diego’s East County will soon be home a new, small Target store.

The retail giant announced plans Tuesday to open a “small-format” store at 935 Sweetwater Road, near the Jamacha Road intersection, in 2020.

This will be the company’s fourth small-format location in the San Diego area, part of the company’s master plan to open these smaller-scale stores in dense urban neighborhoods – namely places where a full-size Target store may not fit. These smaller stores aim to offer an assortment of products that cater specifically to the community in which the store stands.

Small-format Target locations in San Diego County include an existing one in South Park and locations in North Park and Ocean Beach, which will open next year.

In addition to household necessities, the 48,000-square-foot Spring Valley store will offer in-store pick-up for customers who order their things online. Target said it plans to hire approximately 75 employees to staff the location.

These Target store openings have stirred some controversy in San Diego County communities, as some locals worry about competition from the big box retailer impacting small businesses. Residents who support the openings have said they're happy to add a quick, convenient shopping option to their communities.

Photo Credit: Rendering Courtesy of Target
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[County Recognizes Gene Cubbison's Legacy as Journalist]]>Wed, 12 Dec 2018 19:30:45 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Gene-Cubbison-1.jpg

NBC 7’s Gene Cubbison has been telling other people’s stories for more than four decades but, on Wednesday, the retired reporter gets to add another page to his own story.

The County of San Diego recognized Cubbison’s long career as a local journalist with a proclamation in his honor at the San Diego County Board of Supervisor’s morning meeting.

"Gene Cubbison is a giant in professional journalism," said San Diego Supervisor Greg Cox at the meeting. "Gene has been somebody that is an institution in San Diego; he's been around a long time."

Before retiring on Nov. 9, Cubbison had worked as a reporter for more than 45 years, spending 35 of those years at NBC 7. Cubbison was also the host of “Politically Speaking” on NBC 7 and had a knack for explaining local politics in ways anyone could understand.

"He's a tough questioner," said Cox, referring to Cubbison's role on the public affairs show. "He doesn't mince his words. He doesn't let us get away with just kind of glib answers."

According to Cubbison, he worked on an average of 200 stories per year.

“There are a lot of tears that have been shed in front of me; some on my shoulder,” said Cubbison, recalling interviews that accompanied those stories.

Over his career as a newsman, Cubbison interviewed three U.S. presidents: the late George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. He also interviewed governors, senators, member of Congress, celebrities and athletes.

But, while reflecting on his career last month, he told NBC 7 his most memorable story was one that he dubbed “Bus Boy.”

In February 1997, Cubbison was assigned to cover a breaking news story in San Diego’s East County, where a man had hijacked an empty transit bus, forced the driver out and was joyriding 67 miles around town.

The man was driving near Fletcher Parkway when he spotted Cubbison, his photographer and the lights as Cubbison was live on the air with NBC 7.

“And, at one point, he stopped in front of us, and I said, ‘What’s going on here?’” Cubbison recounted. “The door opened, and he stumbled out the stairs and came lying at my feet, spread eagle like this.”

A crowd had gathered to watch the police pursuit of the man in the bus and watched him surrender right in front of Cubbison and the rolling cameras. To this day, Cubbison chuckles at how that story ended.

Cubbison will now enjoy his retirement, which will include coffee, plenty of reading and many (winning) rounds of golf.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA['Sesame Street' Muppet to Teach Kids About Homelessness]]>Wed, 12 Dec 2018 22:21:26 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/sesame-streetGettyImages-479133534.jpg

"Sesame Street" is tackling yet another important issue with the help of one of their muppets: homelessness. 

Through recent "Sesame Street in Communities" videos shared online, "Sesame Street" introduced a new storyline for muppet Lily, who first joined the show nearly a decade ago.

"I miss our apartment and now we don't have our own place to live," she says in one video as the rest of her schoolmates leave. "And sometimes I wonder if we'll ever have our own home again."

As she tells her friend Elmo and Sofia in a separate clip, her family no longer has an apartment and she misses her bedroom as they stay in different places.

After connecting "the dots of love" in one segment, Lily learns to think of home as where the love is.

"Just remember all of the love that made this heart is the love that lives in [your] heart," Sofia tells her. "Whenever youre feeling worried or scared about home just think home is where the love lives."

Stars on Sesame Street

According to Sherrie Westin, president of global impact and philanthropy for Sesame Workshop, Lily is their first character to face homelessness.

"Lily is the first Muppet we've created whose storyline includes that she is experiencing homelessness," she confirmed to CNN. "When Lily was first launched, she came out as part of the food insecurity initiative. So she's not brand new, but this seemed like a really perfect extension of her story, so that we could use her to help children identify with."

Westin continued, "With any of our initiatives, our hope is that we're not only reaching the children who can identify with that Muppet but that we're also helping others to have greater empathy and understanding of the issue."

Instead of playing out on TV, Lily's story will be featured in online videos.

"The goal is really to give service providers, parents, teachers tools in order to address homelessness with children, in order to talk about it and raise awareness of the issue from a child's perspective and also to help children experiencing homelessness feel less alone," Westin said.

Last year, the show introduced Julia, "Sesame Street's" first Muppet with autism. In 2016, Zari, a female Afghan Muppet, joined Baghch-e Simsim, Afghanistan's version of "Sesame Street."

Photo Credit: Kris Connor/Getty Images, File ]]>
<![CDATA[Mass. Lights Display Rivals 'Christmas Vacation']]>Thu, 13 Dec 2018 00:49:58 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Wilmington+Christmas+Lights.JPG

The movie "Christmas Vacation" is a holiday favorite. And now, there's a real-life Clark Griswold in Wilmington, Massachusetts.

"Each nail is spaced two and a half inches apart on every single board," said 21-year-old Charles Fiore.

He's a bricklayer by day and a light aficionado by night.

"I don't know why I do it, but I do, and I like doing it," he said. "Everybody calls me crazy, but that's what I do."

The 70,000 lights he put up on his home, and the 60,000 more lining the driveway, are magical to those who come out.

"I'm just picking up my mom. She came from dialysis. And I want to show what a wonderful job they did," said Fernando Goncalves.

"What I like most about it is when people come down and enjoy it and tell me how it brings a smile to their face," said Fiore.

Fiore lives in the Concord Street home with his mom and dad. He says he started decorating in September, sometimes getting help from friends.

"We work until about 1-2 in the morning," he said.

Neighbors Tiffany and Gabe Cabral love the display.

"We are the neighbors and I feel like my house does not even compare to this," Tiffany said. "But it's amazing. It's beautiful, and we're glad they did it."

Unlike Clark Griswold, Fiore says he couldn't staple into the roof, so every string of lights is on a board anchored by nails. The boards are then tied to the roof.

"Every single light on this house is about two and a half inches apart," he said. "We haven't had any accidents yet. Hopefully, we won't have any next year, now that I said that."

And the question everyone wants answered —- he expects the electric bill to be about $600 this month.

Photo Credit: NBC10 Boston]]>
<![CDATA[Lawsuit Against Oakland Raiders May Pave Way for NFL's Return to San Diego]]>Wed, 12 Dec 2018 06:21:49 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/coliseuminteriorusatsi.jpg

The city of Oakland has filed a federal antitrust lawsuit trying to recover damages for the Oakland Raiders' upcoming move to Las Vegas.

This legal maneuver has led to speculation that the Raiders could be playing next season in San Diego.  Let’s slow our jets on that one, but there continues to be a path towards the Silver and Black in San Diego in 2019.

First, let’s go over the facts of the lawsuit, then we’ll tackle the speculation of the Raiders football future.

The suit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against the Raiders, the NFL and the other 31 clubs seeks lost revenue, money Oakland taxpayers invested in the Raiders and other costs. The suit does not ask the court to prevent the Raiders' move to Las Vegas but asks for damages that will help pay off the approximately $80 million in debt remaining from renovations on the Coliseum.

The city says the defendants violated federal antitrust laws and the league violated its own relocation policies when the teams voted in March 2017 to approve the Raiders' decision to move to Las Vegas.

The Raiders will not move into their new stadium in Las Vegas until the 2020 NFL season, so the suit puts into question where the Raiders will play in 2019. 

The Raiders do not have a lease for a home next year and team owner Mark Davis has previously  said he will not play in Oakland if a lawsuit were filed by the city against the team.

So if the Raiders don’t play in Oakland next season, what are the Raiders options?

San Diego has long been rumored as a potential temporary home. As have San Antonio, Reno, Santa Clara, Fresno and Las Vegas.

San Diego has a strong Raiders fan base and an empty NFL ready stadium.  Although bringing San Diego Consumer Credit Union Stadium up to NFL standards will take a little work, but not much. However, the NFL adding another team to a crowded southern California market, the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers are still trying to gain traction in their new locations, seems like a long shot.

As for Santa Clara, the idea is that the Raiders will play in the 49ers Levi Stadium. While that is geographically close, Mark Davis and 49ers officials are reportedly against the idea of sharing the stadium.

Other options include an earlier than expected move to Las Vegas to play in UNLV's Sam Boyd Stadium, or a move to  Reno's Mackay Stadium on the University of Nevada Reno campus.

San Antonio has experience as a temporary NFL home, hosting the New Orleans Saints after Hurricane Katrina.  San Antonio has previously been tied to Raiders relocation plans and has the 64,000 seat Alamodome.

So, San Diego’s NFL future is very much like its recent past,  we’re just playing the waiting  game, waiting for an NFL team to decide if they want to play in San Diego and waiting for the league to decide our football fate

Photo Credit: NBC Sports Bay Area staff]]>
<![CDATA[U by Kotex Sleek Tampons Recalled in US, Canada]]>Wed, 12 Dec 2018 06:20:19 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Screen+Shot+2018-12-12+at+9.08.02+AM+%283%29.png

Kimberly-Clark has issued a recall for U by Kotex Sleek Tampons, regular absorbency, for a quality-related defect, the company said Tuesday. 

Consumers have reported tampons unraveling and/or coming apart upon removal, leading some users to seek medical attention to remove tampon pieces left in the body. Additionally, some consumers have reported infections, vaginal irritation, localized vaginal injury and other symptoms, the company said. 

The affected products were manufactured between Oct. 7, 2016 and Oct. 16, 2018. A list of lot numbers of the affected products can be found on the Kimberly-Clark website. Additionally, consumers can check lot numbers on the U by Kotex website

No other U by Kotex brands are associated with the recall, the company said. 

Anyone with the affected products is urged to stop using them and to contact the Kimberly-Clark Consumer Service Team at 1-888-255-3499. Consumers who experience any vaginal infection, irritation or injury, or symptoms such as hot flashes, abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting are urged to seek medical assistance. 

Photo Credit: Kotex]]>
<![CDATA[Trashed Trash Cans Frustrate San Diego Residents]]>Wed, 12 Dec 2018 14:50:13 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Trash+Can+Replacement-1.jpg

If you live in the City of San Diego, chances are your black city-issued trash container is past its life expectancy.

According to Renee Robertson, program manager for San Diego’s Environmental Services Department, the average trash container in San Diego is over 13 years old. Robertson told NBC 7 Responds, that’s three years over what the warranty covers.

“A lot of the cans are getting to the point where they are showing signs of major wear and tear,” said Robertson.

And while cracks and normal wear and tear on a trash can may not be upsetting to many residents, there are ramifications to sticking with trashed trash cans.

One problem: damaged cans are prone to ending up inside the trash truck. Robertson told NBC 7 Responds that approximately 600 trash cans get dumped inside the trash truck every year, that’s an average of 50 cans every month throughout the city.

It’s a relatively small number, said Robertson, when considering there are over 190,000 households citywide.

“Typically when the container falls into the trash truck it’s because it was damaged,” said Robertson. “We really encourage you to replace the container before it gets to this level.”

When cans are dropped inside the trash truck crews are instructed to leave them there.

“It’s not worth someone getting injured while trying to pull out a container that is wrapped in duct tape,” said Robertson.

And, if your can is older than 10 years, or if city trash workers put a sticker on your can noting major damage, then you are responsible for placing the trash cans.

Robertson suggests homeowners replace old cans and any with significant cracks in order to avoid losing them inside the back of a trash truck. Homeowners can buy a new can for $70 dollars at the Environmental Services Department's operations Yard in Kearny Mesa, or have them delivered for an additional $25.

“It comes out to seven dollars a year for the ten years,” said Robertson. “That’s a reasonable cost especially considering that we don’t charge for the overall cost of service.”

As for the blue recycling cans and the green yard waste receptacles, replacements are free but delivery charges do apply if you are unable to pick them up.

Click here for the city’s website for information on how to replace the trash containers.

Photo Credit: Bob Hansen]]>
<![CDATA[I-5 Lanes Close Thursday, Friday Nights for Overpass Work]]>Tue, 11 Dec 2018 12:39:20 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Gilman-Bridge-file.jpg

Interstate 5 will have nightly closures as construction on the Voigt Drive overpass continues, according to Transnet.

On Thursday and Friday, all northbound I-5 lanes from La Jolla Village Drive to Genesee Avenue will close from 10:30 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Transnet crews will set falsework to temporarily support the new bridge during this time.

Southbound traffic from the junction of I-805 to La Jolla Village Drive will close from 9:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. hours, according to the California Department of Transportation. This closure began Monday and will last through Friday.

The overpass will connect Voigt Drive to Medical Center Drive. It has been under construction since Oct. 2016.

The bridge was built through a partnership between the San Diego Association of Governments, Caltrans, and the University of California, San Diego.

This comes in the middle of further I-5 construction to extend carpool lanes.

Photo Credit: SANDAG]]>
<![CDATA[Carlsbad Desalination Plant Purifies 40 Billionth Gallon of Ocean Water]]>Tue, 11 Dec 2018 20:52:22 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Carlsbad_Desalination_Plant_Hits_40B_Gallons_of_Water.jpg

The newest source of drinking water in our county just reached a major milestone.

Around 100 million gallons of seawater are pumped through the filters at the Carlsbad desalination plant every day. Within about three hours that water is purified and sent to the taps.

After three strong years, the plant just produced its 40 billionth gallon of drinking water. That's enough water to fill a billion bathtubs, or fill every floor of the empire state building, 145 times.

“We have a ticker in the control room that just spins away as gallons of water go out the door,” said Jessica Jones, a spokesperson for Poseidon, the company that operates the plant.

Jones says the thought of producing a new water supply is exciting, and says this supply won’t run out if the state experiences another drought.

Not everyone is lining the plant's parade route. Environmental groups like San Diego Coastkeeper and the Surfrider Foundation have opposed the plant from the beginning. A Coastkeeper spokesman told NBC 7 the plant uses too much energy and the county should rely on water conservation and wastewater recycling.

A Surfrider spokeswoman says the plant has also been hit with numerous toxicity violations.

“You have bugs that you work out,” Jones said. “So, we've gotten through that and improved our technology.

Jones adds the plant is the first major infrastructure project in California to eliminate its carbon footprint.

Poseidon says it expects to break ground on another plant in Huntington Beach in the next year.

<![CDATA[Kathie Lee Gifford Departing 'Today' in April]]>Tue, 11 Dec 2018 08:15:59 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/kathie+lee+and+hoda1.jpg

It's the end of an era.

NBC News chief Noah Oppenheim announced Tuesday that Kathie Lee Gifford will be departing the "Today" show in April, where she has hosted the final hour of the broadcast alongside Hoda Kotb since 2008.

Gifford shared the news on the broadcast Tuesday morning. 

"Everything good that has happened in my life has happened because you came,” Kotb said to Gifford.

"Our show is about catching each other when you fall down, that’s it," Kotb added. "Which is daily for us," Lee said. "I cannot believe that we’re on TV and this is happening," Kotb said.

"We started out as a nothingburger … we’re going to be friends for the rest of our lives. I’m grateful to God for you," Lee said to Kotb. "I know somebody wonderful will be sitting in this seat afterwards."

In a memo to staff, Oppenheim called the 65-year-old Gifford "one of the most enduring and endearing talents in morning television. In short — she is a legend." He said she will focus on her film, music and book projects.

In the memo, Oppenheim said Gifford said she was leaving "with a grateful heart but I'm truly excited for this new creative season in my life."

There has been no announcement on a replacement for Gifford.

The move comes as NBC News struggles to remake its sprawling four-hour morning show following the cancellation earlier this year of Megyn Kelly's hour-long slot.

Before landing the NBC gig, Gifford co-hosted "Live" opposite Regis Philbin for 11 years. She left that show in 2000 and joined "Today" in 2008.

Away from TV, Gifford has supplied the book, lyrics and some of the music for the off-Broadway "Under the Bridge," an adaptation of a children's book about a hobo who befriends a homeless family in Paris.

She has released albums, including the poppy "The Heart of a Woman" in 2000 and the religious "Gentle Grace" in 2004. Gifford also has appeared onstage in the Broadway musical revue "Putting it Together" and supplied book and lyrics for the 2012 Broadway flop "Scandalous: The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 7 San Diego

Photo Credit: NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Energy 'Flowers' Crop Up to Power Communities]]>Thu, 13 Dec 2018 08:13:37 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/primo+wind+turbines+2.jpg

A San Diego company has found a way to harness the power of the sun and the wind on the small scale to provide energy to schools, parks and, in some cases, entire communities. 

Miramar-based Primo Wind’s EnergiPlant is a miniature solar wind turbine that can be installed virtually anywhere. 

"This is a system that can provide usable electricity without digging any trenches or connecting to grid power for small power items,” said Primo Wind Director of Operations Hayden Van Zanten. 

The EnergiPlant looks like a large flower. The "leaves" collect solar power and a the wind turbine "bloom" captures energy day and night.

Inside a bench at the base of the EnergiPlant is a bank of batteries where locals can plug in and charge electronic devices. 

An EnergiPlant is installed outside the University of San Diego’s Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, as an example of functional art. Another is powering an "Earth Bench" created by students at Mater Dei Catholic High School in Chula Vista. 

The technology is also being used to provide power to parts of the world where there is no access to electricity, or where power has been knocked out by natural disasters. 

After Hurricane Irma, CEO Ned McMahon took one of the company’s larger EnergiTrees to Barbuda. It was the only power they had on the island. Units have also been deployed with U.S. Marines and Navy in the Arctic. 

Each EnergyTree can provide lighting to 25 houses. They can also provide power to a water pump sourcing water from a nearby stream. The turbine can also be used as a security system of surveillance cameras are installed beneath the leaves. 

"We’re able to go in and provide security camera footage where this isn’t a lot of coverage. Say, parts of a University [Avenue], darker areas in a city park, areas like that," Van Zanten said. 

Primo Wind is now working to get these systems to the areas that need them most. 

They’ve created a philanthropic arm, called Primo Seeds, to raise money for equipment donation. Their first project will help Cornwall College in Montego Bay, Jamaica. 

"It is a project that would send two of our systems to a school that needs security camera coverage, needs a portable power source that really doesn’t have a lot of power in. So we’re really excited about that," Van Zanten said. 

It has taken Primo Wind six years and 11 different iterations of the EnergiPlant to get to this point. Van Zanten said it’s worth it. 

"It’s been a long road and we’re continuing to improve but we feel like a lot of our hard work’s paid off."

Photo Credit: Arunas Astramskas]]>
<![CDATA[Must-See Holiday Light Displays in San Diego Neighborhoods]]>Tue, 11 Dec 2018 15:36:24 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Starlight-Circle-1.jpg

There's nothing quite like twinkling holiday lights to make you feel the spirit of the season. In San Diego County, there are many neighborhoods that go all out for the holidays, creating dazzling displays for all to enjoy. Here's a look at a few of those must-see neighborhoods.

Belardo Lights
"Belardo Lights," tucked in Tierrasanta at 5306 Belardo Dr., between Camino Playa Catalina and Callejon Quintana, boasts a dazzling computerized Christmas lights display. This year, the lights are up through Dec. 27, from 6 p.m. 10 p.m. nightly, synchronized to festive music played on 106.1FM. This display, running since 2006, is hosted by Randy Schimka. It was inspired by his son, Brandon, who has Autism and, as a youngster, was very interested in the lights and decorations around the neighborhood. The father and son duo work on the lights display together year after year.

Jingle Bell Hill
El Cajon
"Jingle Bell Hill," also known as "Pepper Drive Lights," features dozens of homes decked out for the holidays. This El Cajon neighborhood is nestled off State Route 67 and Pepper Drive and can be accessed from two areas: Pepper and Rockview drives (west entrance) or Pepper and Lindenwood drives (east entrance). If you can't physically make it to Jingle Bell Hill this year, here's the next best thing: a livestream of the neighborhood lights can be seen here. 

Tinsel Town
Located just off State Route 67 at 10248 Paseo Palmas Dr., Lakeside's "Tinsel Town" will be going strong this year with lights galore. Stars and strings of lights connect the rooftops of this neighborhood to one another making this little community quite unified. The lights are on from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. nightly.

Starlight Circle
In Santee, this massive lights display known as “Starlight Circle” draws crowds year after year. Located on East and West Glendon circles off Magnolia Avenue, visitors can see elaborate, handmade Christmas displays spanning dozens of homes. Many of the displays follow a theme – from “Star Wars” and superheroes to “Toy Story” and “Sesame Street.” Sometimes, the residents will sell hot cocoa, kettle corn, cookies and other holiday treats, for visitors to enjoy as they stroll the neighborhood. The lights are usually on from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. nightly.

DB Christmas
Roe Drive in Santee
Also in Santee is “DB Christmas,” a dazzling display created by Michael Balazs each year at his home at 9773 Roe Dr. The lights – in honor of Balazs’ late father, who died from cancer in 2009 – include thousands of multi-colored strings, spiraling Christmas trees, lawn displays that read “HOPE” and “CURE,” and even holograms of Santa Claus projected on the windows of the home. Balazs’ display is synced to holiday music played on 98.5FM; he collects donations from spectators to support charities such as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital on behalf of his father. Balazs said he gets his holiday cheer from his dad, who loved Christmas. These lights are on nightly from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Christmas Card Lane
Rancho Penasquitos
A San Diego favorite, Christmas Card Lane in Rancho Penasquitos typically runs nightly from dusk to 10 p.m., through New Year’s Eve. The holiday lights can be seen lining homes on Ellingham, Oviedo and Renato streets off Black Mountain Road. This is a neighborhood where you’ll want to take your time admiring the lights.

Candy Cane Lane
Boasting lights aplenty, this jolly display in Poway runs down part of Stoutwood Street, near Brookstone Drive. Some homeowners set up bonfires and little stands on their driveways selling hot cocoa, cookies and popcorn as visitors stroll through the area.

Christmas Circle
Chula Vista
Over in the South Bay, the must-see holiday attraction is Christmas Circle. For six decades, residents on Whitney and Manakato streets, between First and Second avenues and south of H Street, have decked out their homes in bright lights and pretty decorations. The free displays are powered up nightly from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and usually stay put until a day or two after Christmas.

Fairway Village
Carmel Mountain Ranch
Each year, Carmel Mountain Ranch also spreads holiday magic of its own via Fairway Village, a neighborhood located on the east and west sides of Stoney Gate Place. There, around 80 homes are decked out in Christmas lights through New Year's Day. Visitors will sometimes find residents playing holiday movies outside, carolers and dancers. On the Saturday evening before Christmas, this neighborhood typically holds a block party featuring hot chocolate, cider, music, lights, cookies, snacks and more. Santa has also been known to make an appearance -- depending on the workload at the North Pole, of course.

Christmas on Knob Hill
San Marcos
This display, located at 1639 Knob Hill Rd. in San Marcos, has been lighting up the North County neighborhood since 1988. Over the decades, it has grown to more than 85,000 lights, powered up nightly through Dec. 30 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Visitors will also see 100 plastic holiday figures, 80 snowmen and 100 candy canes, to name a few of the bells and whistles. Santa Claus visits Knob Hill each year and, this season, he’ll be there from Dec. 14 through Dec. 23, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., listening to Christmas wishes and spreading cheer.

The Forward House
Bankers Hill
Built in 1905 for Mayor John Forward Sr., The Forward House in Bankers Hill houses a business called American Security Mortgage Company. Each holiday season, the large home located at First Avenue and Ivy Street turns into a Christmas bonanza, decked out in endless lights and decorations. The magic shines through New Year’s Eve.

Garrison Street Lights
Point Loma
Over in Point Loma, off Rosecrans and Garrison streets, locals will find the Garrison Street Lights display. Filling a block with festive décor, the display typically runs nightly through New Year’s Eve.

There you have it: a small sampling of some holiday displays lighting up San Diego County this season. Did your favorite festive neighborhood make the list? Share details of your favorite spots for these types of displays in the comments thread below. Happy Holidays!

Photo Credit: Monica Garske
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<![CDATA[Sierra Snowpack Well Above Average After Storms]]>Mon, 10 Dec 2018 05:42:08 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/2018-12-02_MM_CP_ActionPowder_0100.JPG

Back-to-back California storms blanket the Sierra Nevada in snow, more than twice the snowpack level compared to this time last year, with winter still nearly two weeks away.

At the same time last year, the Sierra snowpack was 47 percent of average, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Friday.

A series of systems starting around Thanksgiving dropped several feet (meters) of fresh powder in some mountain areas.

In the southern Sierra, Mammoth Mountain has recorded nearly 6 feet (1.8 meters) since Oct. 1. The ski resort claims to have the deepest snowpack in the country right now.

The newspaper says mountain snowpack provides about 30 percent of the yearly fresh water supply for California, which has struggled with drought in recent years.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 7 San Diego

Photo Credit: Christian Pondella]]>
<![CDATA[CV School Theater Floods, Damages Costumes]]>Tue, 11 Dec 2018 16:49:22 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/BVHS+water+damage+collage+1210.jpg

A Chula Vista high school is trying to raise money after last week’s heavy rain flooded its theater, damaging much of the department’s costumes.

Students and parents found Bonita Vista High School’s Bolles Theater covered in water Friday morning.

Dozens of costumes were soaked and boxes full of supplies were drenched through. The dry cleaning bill for the school’s outfits was $600 alone, according to its Facebook page.

Other accessories, like some hats, couldn’t be saved and the department will have to buy new ones.

Although the damages are unusual, this isn't the first time something like has happened, said Amy Mudd, a booster and parent of a student in the school's vocal music department.

The roof over the stage tends to leak after it rains, Mudd told NBC 7. And then there is a "water intrusion problem" whenever it "rains hard," possibly with a rooftop water drain, she said.

“The amount of water in the building was substantially more than any other time,” said Mudd. “It’s like a bomb went off, everything had to be removed from the closet.”

This is the third or fourth time a leak has resulted in a major clean up since Mudd's kids have gone to the Chula Vista school.

“The students sweep up the water, get it out the door, mop up with towels,” Mudd said. The group worked with the custodial staff.

Dehumidifiers and fans scattered the area to dry everything.

The department’s boosters will purchase waterproof bins, racks, and other storage items to better keep their costumes safe in the future.

"The work orders have been filed, and we just haven't seen follow-through to make repairs in the past [by the district]," Mudd said, though she noted the district has started to help in this particular case.

The vocal music department is made up of The Music Machine, Sound Unlimited, Lady Tones, and Baron Concert Choir. Its director is Gail Kennedy.

“Our biggest concern is being displaced,” Mudd said.

The competition season gets started in February, but the students have already begun learning choreography and more.

While the students always perform off-campus, at other schools like Lincoln High School or East Lake High School, they still need the room to practice.

“Bonita Vista is an older school, they just don’t have access to a room large enough to hold them,” Mudd said.

While the flooding can be frustrating, Mudd said the Bonita Vista High School has been more than helpful throughout the process.

“Our school administration has been super supportive and has done everything to help us in the moment,” said Mudd.

An insurance representative for the city is set to tour the school Tuesday to assess the damages, Mudd told NBC 7.

Donations can be made on the department’s website or checks can be mailed to BV VMD Boosters, P.O. Box 212366, Chula Vista, CA, 91921.

BVHS said any additional funds raised will be used to “offset costs for wardrobe, storage, or festival needs.”

Photo Credit: Amy Mudd]]>
<![CDATA[The Dos and Don'ts of Giving Marijuana as a Holiday Gift]]>Tue, 11 Dec 2018 13:23:20 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/cvbdddhe646.jpg

Let's talk about weed.

With Christmas around the corner giving weed as a gift has now legally opened up as an option. 

This will be the first holiday season when recreational use is legal in the state of California. So, if you’re thinking of gifting weed this holiday season, we got the do's and don'ts.


  • Buy from a licensed retailer.

“The most important thing is to make sure when buying cannabis you’re buying it from a licensed retailer," said Alex Traverso with the Bureau of Cannabis Control in California. "Make sure that the product is safe and tested.”

  • Make sure the person receiving the gift meets the age requirements.

In the state of California, you must be 21 or older to consume cannabis legally. You can also use cannabis if you’re 18 or older and have a qualifying physician’s recommendation or a valid county-issued medical marijuana identification card.


  • Gift over the legal amount.

A person can carry up to one ounce (28.5 grams) of marijuana and up to eight grams of concentrated marijuana.

  • Mail weed.

Traverso warns that a person cannot mail weed anywhere in the state or outside of the state.

It's also illegal to take marijuana across state lines, even if you're traveling to another state where marijuana is legal for recreational use like Nevada or Colorado.

“The main thing is to make sure your buying legal product and gifting it to people of age,” Traverso told NBC 7. “And keeping that gifting only in our state.”

There are severe penalties for violating marijuana laws including, fines, jail, community service or drug education.

Visit Let’s Talk Cannabis' website to learn more about marijuana laws.

Photo Credit: https://www.maxpixel.net/]]>
<![CDATA[Are Your Holiday Lights Safe?]]>Tue, 11 Dec 2018 06:43:13 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Bob+Xmas+Lights+Recut.jpg

For many, a big part of getting into the holiday spirit means stringing up lights - either inside or outside of the home. But some lights can be hazardous.

Consumer Reports has some advice this holiday season.  

If you’re still using the same holiday lights from years ago, they’re probably incandescent. And that means it’s a good idea to check them for safety.

You should check the wires and see if there is anything frayed. Make sure the plug is in good condition and make sure the wire is pliable, not brittle.

If some bulbs are out, Consumer Reports says it’s safe to replace them. 

But what if the lights just don’t work? CR says you can’t repair them. They can cause a fire.

Throw them away and consider LED lights for your holiday display. You can’t beat their efficiency. And, CR says they can last for a long time.

<![CDATA[Are Your Holiday Gift Cards Secure?]]>Tue, 11 Dec 2018 06:44:42 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/gift+cards+target+image.jpg

In past years, holiday gift card purchases have topped some $27 billion, as about 6 in 10 people prefer to shop for themselves with a gift card.

But Consumer Reports says those physical cards for specific stores and vendors that you buy off a rack can be an easy mark for criminals.

Scammers copy the gift card codes and then they scratch off the strip on the back of the card to steal the PIN. And then once you load money into the card, they can steal from you.

Consumer Reports says always check the packaging of any gift card for physical tampering. Make sure the protective stickers or coatings are intact. And never buy any card if its PIN is revealed. 

Consumer Reports thinks a more attractive option is to get a reloadable, prepaid card from a credit card company like Visa or American Express.

These issuers will limit your liability to $50 and sometimes zero if you report the theft within two days. An additional benefit of those cards -- they’re more widely accepted as a form of payment. 

And what about e-gift cards, the kind you purchase and send by text, email or on social media? They’re convenient and fast, but are they safe?

First of all, make sure you’re sending the e-gift card to the right person.  Before you send it, depending on where you’re sending it, get the right email address, phone number or social media account.

Since you’ll be revealing personal information about yourself and the recipient like email addresses and credit card numbers, buy e-gift cards only from trusted merchants.

<![CDATA[Christmas Tree Farmers Combat Popularity of Artificial Trees]]>Mon, 10 Dec 2018 22:57:57 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/christmastreeAP_18344720456488.jpg

Rosa Villarreal's three young sons jumped and ran around the field of Christmas trees like jackrabbits, their excitement palpable as they raced from evergreen to evergreen. The boys, ages 2, 4 and 6, were picking out a real tree this year — a new tradition their young parents hope will create lasting memories.

"I saw this video where the big tree, the mom decorates it, and the little tree, the kids get to decorate it," she said, as her husband, Jason Jimenez, snapped a photo of their toddler posing with a tiny tree just his size.

Christmas tree farmers across the U.S. worry families like Villarreal's are slowly dwindling. Artificial trees, once crude imitations of an evergreen, are now so realistic that it's hard to tell they are fakes even though many are conveniently pre-strung with lights and can fold up for storage at the push of a button.

Between 75 and 80 percent of Americans who have a Christmas tree now have an artificial one, and the $1 billion market for fake trees is growing at about 4 percent a year — even though they can be reused again and again.

To combat this trend, Christmas tree farmers have joined forces as the Christmas Tree Promotion Board and are running a social media ad campaign this holiday season to tout the benefits of a real evergreen. The campaign, called "It's Christmas. Keep It Real!," is funded by a 15-cent fee that tree farmers pay for each tree they harvest.

It's a modern-day attempt at such famous agricultural ad campaigns as "Got Milk?" and "Beef. It's What's For Dinner."

A series of short movies on Instagram and Facebook follow real families as they hunt for the perfect tree, cut it down and decorate it. The target audience is the "millennial mom" because tree farmers are increasingly worried that young adults starting their own family traditions will opt for an artificial tree, costing farmers a generation of customers, said Marsha Gray, executive director of the Christmas Tree Promotion Board, based in Michigan.

"The target we're talking about right now is millennials: first house, first baby. That's kind of the decision-making time," she said, adding that the videos show families cutting their own trees and buying pre-cut trees from lots.

"We realize they may have never done this before. And we need to help them discover it and figure out how to include it in their holiday."

It's impossible to know exactly how many real Christmas trees are sold each year because there is no central clearinghouse or agency collecting that information. But the National Christmas Tree Association estimates about 25 million evergreens are harvested each year — and presumably, most of those are sold.

Americans buy about 10 million artificial trees each year, said Thomas "Mac" Harman, CEO of Balsam Hill, the leading retailer of artificial Christmas trees. Harman is also the president of the American Christmas Tree Association, which does not disclose its membership but raised $70,000 in donations in 2016 for its work, which includes touting artificial trees.

Most people buying artificial trees cite convenience, allergens and fire safety, he said.

"We're seeing a trend where consumers want to set their tree up over Thanksgiving weekend and leave it up all the way until after New Year's." That's safer with an artificial tree, Harman said.

Denise Shackleton got a real tree each season before switching to an artificial one. On a recent day, she was at an artificial tree outlet store in Burlingame, California, shopping for a new tree for herself and one for her daughter.

"No one got as excited about a real tree as me, but it was just too much work to put the real tree on my car, get it into the house — all of that," she said. "It's totally for convenience."

Harman says Christmas tree farmers are overestimating the threat to their industry from artificial trees.

Many families now have both a real tree and an artificial tree, and small mom-and-pop tree farms that allow families to cut their own evergreen remain extremely popular, Harman said.

"I think it's the farms in the middle that are really seeing their business shrink because more people are either getting their tree from Home Depot — which is supporting the big farms — or they're going out to these small farms," he said. "I think a lot of the angst about 'artificial trees are taking over' is coming from these mid-sized farms."

To fourth-generation tree farmer Casey Grogan, that angst is as real as the towering noble and Nordmann firs he grows at Silver Bells Tree Farm in Silverton, Oregon. Oregon is the nation's No. 1 producer of Christmas trees, yet Grogan says he has watched about half the fellow tree farmers around him go out of business in the past decade.

A seedling takes eight to 10 years to grow to maturity, and it's difficult to predict demand years out, he said. He harvested about half as many trees this year as he did a decade ago, and with every new seedling he plants this season, he knows he's taking a gamble that the demand will still be there in 2028.

"We're an industry that would like to remain here and be around — and if everybody buys an artificial tree, we're not going to be here," said Grogan, who is also president of the Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association.

"It may be a little difficult, but not everything is easy," he added of buying a real tree. "It's worth the extra effort."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 7 San Diego

Photo Credit: Gillian Flaccus/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Once-Homeless Mother Overcame, Now She’s Paying It Forward]]>Fri, 07 Dec 2018 17:17:14 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/nelly+velez+lead.jpg

Nelly Velez knows the meaning of perseverance and generosity.

The grandmother of nine has survived some of life’s greatest challenges, including homelessness, breast cancer and the loss of her husband. She says God’s grace helped her through affliction, so now she’s paying it forward.

There was a time in the early 1980s when Velez was a young wife and mother without a home. She remembers cold East Coast winters, huddled with her husband in a van doing everything they could to care for their infant son.

“When he was a baby, I would open up my shirt and hold him close to keep him warm at night,” she said.

The couple eventually escaped homelessness, but found themselves bouncing between rental apartments and working hard to try and shelter their family.

The hardship continued for decades until 2004 when a miracle happened that changed the course of her family’s lives.

That was the year Habitat For Humanity in Connecticut selected her family to receive a home there.

"That is a blessing because you work hard for it, it’s not given to you,” she said.

Velez had the opportunity to make choices she'd never had before, like picking out cabinets and carpet.

"It was amazing,” she said. “It was like, oh my God, you get to go to this lottery store and you pick whatever you want and it's really exciting."

Velez says she and her husband put hours of “sweat equity” into their new home.

Ten years later, in 2014, Velez beat breast cancer. In the spring of that year she nearly lost her life during a medical procedure and just months after that, she lost her passed away.

She said she made a promise to honor her late husband's dying request.

"We didn't have much. He said, ‘Whatever you do, you keep this house. We worked hard for it,” Velez said.

Velez's daughter and several of her grandchildren now live in that home in Connecticut. Between her son and daughter, she's a grandmother to nine kids.

In 2017 Velez moved from Connecticut to San Diego with her grown son and went back to school at Concorde Career College and graduated a year later.

Bill Kilby with Concorde Career College said Velez is proof you can be a star student at any age.

"She has a unique blend of being tender and tough," he said. “I mean, it's so cliché to say, but she's really an inspiration. And her story, you don't even have to hear it in great detail to be affected."

Realizing what the gift of a home did for her and her family, Velez decided to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity’s San Diego chapter this year. She’s currently working on a home for a family in Sherman Heights.

"The joy that I had received was a blessing and an honor to receive,” she said. “I wanted to pay it forward.”

Lori Pfeiler, CEO for San Diego Habitat for Humanity, said Velez is living the Habitat for Humanity mission.

"Nelly is absolutely the essence of what we believe safe and decent housing brings to people,” Pfeiler said. “When you have a home that you can call your own, you can take care of everything else.”

Velez said now she often comes to a specific spot in Imperial Beach overlooking the marina to reflect and pray.

“The only reason why I'm here today, breathing here today, is because of God. Because of his love," she said.

Velez started her new job shortly after her graduation and says she's still grateful to this day for how the gift of a home changed her life early on. She’s hoping to inspire the same sense of hope and purpose in another family.

“You just keep doing the best that you can. You know there's always stumbling blocks but when you keep getting back up you keep going," she said.

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<![CDATA[NBC 7 Viewer Donates $1,000 to Tool Theft Victim]]>Sun, 09 Dec 2018 16:58:20 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/212*120/tool+theft.jpg

Days after a man had his toolbox stolen on a job site in broad daylight, an NBC 7 viewer's generosity is helping him get back to work.

"There's no words to describe how I feel. I'm happy," Alfredo Medina said Friday after he received $1,000 in cash from an anonymous donor.

The donor saw his story on NBC 7 and decided to help him replace his tools, which Medina valued at between $600 and $800.

The story first aired on Wednesday after NBC 7 obtained home surveillance video of the thief walking up to the driveway, grabbing the toolbox, and fleeing in an SUV while Medina was inside working on a kitchen remodel.

“I was really, really sad and mad at the same time,” Medina told NBC 7 after the theft. “I was trying to keep calm, because, you know, you can’t give a bad expression with the clients, the owners of the house, at the place that you’re working on.”

Medina said the man who took his tools looked Hispanic, which made him feel even worse about the crime.

“What makes me more sad is that it’s a Hispanic, you know? And all these things that is happening now, and, you know, it’s a really bad image for us,” Medina said.

The man in the surveillance video still hasn't been caught. At least now Medina doesn't have to worry about his tools veer being recovered.

"I wasn't expecting my tools to be stolen and I wasn't expecting somebody to help me out and buy them again," he said.

With the $1,000 Medina will be able to replace essential tools, like grinders, a Skil saw, batteries, and more.

Holding back tears, Medina thanked the donor for their unexpected kindness and generosity.

"First things first, thank you. I really appreciate it. If you were here I'd give you a big hug," he said.

<![CDATA[See the 'Tropical Island' Boats of the 2018 Parade of Lights]]>Mon, 10 Dec 2018 06:26:26 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/TZ+BOAT+PARADE+OF+LIGHTS+3.jpgThe 47th annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights saw a dazzlingly display of boats decked (the halls) out for this year’s theme: Tropical Island Christmas.]]><![CDATA[Surfer Caught Carving Coast Highway Quickly Goes Viral]]>Sat, 08 Dec 2018 10:06:44 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/oceanside+street+surfer+2.gif

Video of a man surfing a flooded Oceanside street in tow behind a friend’s SUV during Thursday’s rainstorm has gone viral.

The street surfer, Oceanside native Lukas Soelberg, said that turning chaos into fun was the motivation behind his decision to carve Coast Highway.

“I was just hitting the tail,” he said. “It was grinding on the ground the whole time. Oh, no keep moving but it ended up pretty good.”

It's safe to say that Soelberg and his dad are a pair of daredevils. “He's a crazy guy. Paragliding, surfing, he does it all, dirt biking,” his dad said.

But Thursday's heavy rain presented a rare opportunity for the duo.

The 19-year-old says they jumped into the family beach cruiser and decided to try out an extreme sport of their own.

"Jumped in the Suburban, grabbed some rope and the paddle board. It was all clogged up all the roads, the back streets, everything, so we popped out the back, grabbed the board -- Go go go!"

This video of Solberg surfing the streets quickly went viral. NBC 7 posted the video on the station’s Instagram account and it had close to 40,000 views in 24 hours. It’s probably impossible to count how many other accounts posted a similar video across all the social media platforms.

Soelberg told NBC 7 the family beach cruiser has also gained some new found fame.

Soelberg says he never thought what was only meant to be a little fun would be caught on camera.

“No one tried to stop us. We waved by the lifeguards, they were like yay, and we were like yay, no one's stopping us,” he said.

No one was hurt or injured during the stunt.

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<![CDATA[Borrego Springs Debuts New Sheriff’s Office, Library, Park]]>Sat, 08 Dec 2018 12:54:39 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Borrego+Park+Swings-11-2018.jpg

The small community of Borrego Springs in northeast San Diego County is welcoming big additions to better serve its residents: a new library, park and sheriff’s office.

The amenities share space on a 19-acre property along County Club Road in the unincorporated community, which is located about 90 miles northeast of downtown San Diego near Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Saturday to introduce the new facilities.

At 14,000-square-feet, the new library is three times the size of the prior facility and now includes community meeting space, a conference room, a children’s area, a teen area with two private study rooms and a computer room.

The 16.1-acre park features shaded playgrounds, an off-leash dog park, walking trails, picnic areas, sports courts, a meditation area, and the community’s first-ever outdoor amphitheater, with seating for 100. Drought-tolerant, native plants surround the park.

Meanwhile, the 1,600-square-foot San Diego County Sheriff’s Department office shares the property with the park and library. The updated, more functional facility will be used by sheriff’s deputies and the Senior Volunteer Patrol as they serve the communities of Borrego Springs and Ocotillo Wells.

Construction on this project began in October 2017 and was officially completed this past Wednesday, at just under $14 million.

Photo Credit: San Diego County Communications Office
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<![CDATA[Eater SD: Fanciful New Brunch Spot Coming to Little Italy]]>Sat, 08 Dec 2018 15:41:30 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Pastry+Bar+1.JPG

Eater San Diego shares the top stories of the week from San Diego’s food and drink scene, including news about a fresh, fanciful daytime eatery and other openings around town.

Morning Glory Will Rise in Little Italy
CH Projects, the local hospitality group behind hotspots including Born & Raised, Ironside, and Raised by Wolves, will open a brunch-focused spot called Morning Glory in Little Italy. The 4,000-square-foot, second-story eatery, part of India Street's Piazza della Famiglia, will feature a pastry and coffee bar as well as custom cocktail carts.  

Announcing the 2018 Eater Awards
With categories ranging from restaurant and chef of the year to top design, Eater announces the best in food and drink from 2018. With both editor's choice and reader's choice awards at stake, this year's winners include a Southeast Asian restaurant in Oceanside and a taco spot in the East Village.

LA's The Bungalow Headed for Westfield UTC
A buzzy, beach-style lounge and bar with locations in Santa Monica and Huntington Beach will open a sprawling 10,000-square-foot space as part of the mall's ongoing expansion. The San Diego outpost, due next summer, will have a menu created by celebrity chef Michael Mina.

Where to Eat Ramen in San Diego
The county has an abundance of eateries featuring the Japanese delicacy, but Eater's latest map helps sort through the pack to highlight 13 local ramen purveyors. From shops making fresh noodles to spots offering vegetarian and vegan varieties, find San Diego's top bowls of the tasty noodle soup. 

Korean Soup Specialist Coming to Kearny Mesa
Convoy's newest entry is Woomiok, which will focus on Korean seolleongtang, a classic soup made with a long-simmered beef bone broth. Scheduled to open next month, the will offer a few other Korean soups as well as homemade kimchi and side dishes. 

Photo Credit: Morning Glory
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<![CDATA[San Diego Leads State in Whooping Cough Cases]]>Sun, 09 Dec 2018 09:23:05 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/whooping+cough+1.jpg

For the past three years, San Diego County has had the highest occurrence of whooping cough, or pertussis, than any other county in the state, according to data from the California Department of Public Health.

In a snapshot report published Oct. 21, 2018, San Diego had 526 confirmed cases of pertussis so far this year.

Los Angeles County, which has three times of the population of San Diego, had 251 and Orange County, which has a comparable population to San Diego, had 138.

The higher number doesn’t necessarily mean San Diego is more susceptible to the disease than the rest of the state, the county's public health officer, Dr. Wilma Wooten, said.

“San Diego has great collaboration with and reporting from local providers, so I feel that has contributed to our higher numbers,” she said.

Last year, San Diego had 1,163 confirmed whooping cough cases, while Los Angeles had 558 and Orange County had 198.

In 2016, San Diego also led the state with 395 cases, ahead of L.A.'s 309 and Orange County's 69.

One of the possible reasons that San Diego has a higher occurrence is because the county has a higher number of unvaccinated and under-vaccinated children or children who are behind on their vaccination schedule.

For the last two school years, the percentage of students entering kindergarten in San Diego County with all the required vaccines lag below the state average.

Around 93.2 percent of children entering kindergarten in the 2017-18 school year in San Diego are fully vaccinated, according to the CDPH’s Kindergarten Immunization Assessment report. The state average is 95 percent.

San Diego was also below the state’s average in the 2016-17 school year at 94.7. Both L.A. and Orange County were at or above the state average for the last two school years.

“If you're trying to look at what's driving the outbreak and then if you look at what parts of the county have higher rates, you'll see that it's the parts of the county that historically have higher exemption rates for school for vaccines,” said Eric McDonald, San Diego deputy public health officer. “That's also true of other counties in California … [outbreaks are] higher in places with higher [exemption] rates.”

In California, all children are required to have pertussis, tetanus and diphtheria vaccines before entering kindergarten, though some children are conditionally allowed to attend school if they are behind on their vaccines. Children are also required to receive a booster vaccine before entering the seventh grade.

Over the past two decades, there has been an anti-vaccine movement based on the faulty and discredited research of Dr. Andrew Wakefield, who linked vaccine to autism. His claim has been debunked by numerous studies and recent studies suggest that there is a genetic component to autism.

That, however, did not stop parents from requesting personal belief exceptions to not vaccinate their children. In 2016, the state of California banned such exemptions for children entering school. The effect of the law was almost immediate.

In San Diego, the number of personal belief exemptions dropped to nearly zero for the 2017-18 school year after there were 655 the year before.

The same pattern arose in Orange County. In the 2017-18 school year, Los Angeles, however, had two personal belief exemptions.

The number of permanent medical exemptions, however, rose. Between the 2016-17 school year and the 2017-18 school year, San Diego saw a 0.3 percent increase, Los Angeles a 0.4 percent increase and Orange County a 0.1 percent increase.

It was unclear if the increase was because parents whose children can’t get vaccinated because of medical reasons are now requesting permanent medical exemptions because the personal belief exemption was easier to get.

The concern for McDonald though is the number of pre-teens and teenagers with pertussis.

While whooping cough is a bad cough for older children, it is deadly for infants. So far this year, there have been 233 cases in children ages 10-17, according to the San Diego County Pertussis Case Reports published Nov. 29, 2018.

At the same time, 120 children between 6 months old and 3 years old were diagnosed with whooping cough.

“What's driving the numbers of cases are actually middle school and high school students who have persistent cough,” McDonald said. Because pertussis is highly infectious, it’s passed on to younger siblings, he said.

A San Bernardino infant in July became the first baby to die from whooping cough in California since 2016. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends vaccinating children at two months of age. Pregnant women in their third trimester are also encouraged to get vaccinated against pertussis.

“What's contributing to the numbers of cases under the age of six months is that it's been challenging for us to get all pregnant women to be immunized in every pregnancy in the third trimester,” McDonald said. “Every pregnant woman in every pregnancy [should] get a vaccination in a third trimester in order to prevent bad outcomes, for infant pertussis in particular.”

From 1965 to 2002, the number of whooping cough cases in the U.S. dropped below 10,000, but since 2003, that number has risen, according to the CDC.

There were nearly 18,000 cases of the disease reported in 2016, the most recent year of the data available from the CDC. The number was actually a decrease from the preceding years.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[$94K and 11,000 Toys Donated at Toys for Tots Drive Kick-Off Event]]>Fri, 07 Dec 2018 23:35:11 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/toys+for+tots+drive+2.jpg

Generous San Diegans donated nearly $95,000 and more than 11,000 toys in one day at NBC 7 and Telemundo 20's Toys for Tots Program collection site.

Thank you, San Diego!

The annual toy drive kicked off Friday morning with drop-off sites opening across San Diego County including the studios of NBC 7 and Telemundo 20. 

From 7 a.m. - 7 p.m., both stations helped collect new and unwrapped toys in the Walmart parking lot located at 3382 Murphy Canyon Road.

At the end of the day, at this location alone, the two stations took in $94,538 and 11,020 toys.

NBC 7 and Telemundo 20 were only collecting toys and donations at Walmart for one day, but you can still make donations through Dec. 20 at drop locations throughout the county.

The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program was founded in California in 1947. The first toy donated was a handmade doll. 

Over the years, the organization has donated 548 million toys to 251 million children. 

On Friday, the bins were emptied and in need of new toys and San Diego delivered.

The event kicked off with a generous $30,000 donation from Delkin Devices. 

If you want to participate, please make sure you are not donating a realistic looking toy weapon or food item as those are not accepted. 

Also, if you can, consider donating a toy or item for a pre-teen or teenager as they are groups in need of donated items. Some ideas for this age group range from hand-held electronics to board games, bath gift sets, backpacks, sporting equipment or hair dryers/straighteners.

If you're interested in helping but aren't interested in doing the shopping, you can also donate online.

<![CDATA[Where to See the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights]]>Tue, 11 Dec 2018 07:38:43 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ParadeofLIghts20161211_5.jpg

Ahoy, matey! Boats decked out in glimmering, festive lights cruising the San Diego Bay can only mean one thing: a beloved holiday parade is back, continuing a longtime tradition started by the local boating community.

The 47th annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights will bring dozens of vessels covered in twinkling lights and holiday decorations to the San Diego Bay to delight thousands of onlookers this Sunday, Dec. 16.

Presented by the Port of San Diego, the waterfront procession features approximately 80 lavishly decked out boats illuminating the bay. 

Usually, the parade takes about an hour to pass at any given point.

It begins at Shelter Island at 5 p.m. and, by about 5:30 p.m., will be making its way through Harbor Island. A half-hour later, the procession moves to the Embarcadero, passing the Berkeley Ferry and Star of India near the Maritime Museum of San Diego. 

By about 6:30 p.m., the boat parade should be visible from Seaport Village and the San Diego Marriott Hotel and Marina.

For the third year, the route will then move on to the pier at Cesar Chavez Park before making the turn to Coronado where it can be seen from the Ferry Landing at around 7 p.m. The parade finishes at buoy 22A.

As each boat passes the viewing points, announcers will deliver a brief history of the vessels.

The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights typically draws about 100,000 spectators.

Two popular areas to perch during the parade are the Maritime Museum of San Diego on the Embarcadero and the Ferry Landing in Coronado.

The Maritime Museum will host its Parade of Lights Viewing Dinner during the event, an annual fundraiser aboard the Berkeley steam ferry where the judging and awards for the parade take place. The party includes a seasonal dinner and a cozy, prime spot from which to watch the parade. Tickets to this viewing dinner cost $50 for adults and $25 for kids. The parade is scheduled to reach this viewing area at around 5:30 p.m.

Spectators also tend to flock to Harbor Island, as well as the north and south ends of the Embarcadero. Parade organizers say another prime viewing spot is the park behind Seaport Village and the new pier at Cesar Chavez Park.

Boaters wishing to watch the parade can view from the water; organizers say the area where the parade turns west for Coronado – near the 10th Street Terminal – is a good point for spectators in boats.

As always, parking along the waterfront will be at a premium for this large-scale event.

These are some free or paid parking lots in the area:

  • Metered spaces along Harbor Drive (paid until 8 p.m., but these fill up quickly)
  • Allright Parking (paid) at Broadway and Harbor Drive
  • Seaport Village (paid), which is free for two hours with a purchase
  • Metered parking lot in front of the Fish Market Restaurant north of Seaport Village (paid)
  • Harbor Island (mostly metered; free after 8 p.m.)
  • Shelter Island (free)
  • Navy Pier parking lot (paid)
  • ABM Parking Lot (paid) 

Attendees can opt for public transit, as all three MTS trolley lines and several bus lines serve stations with parking lots where spectators can leave their cars – Fashion Valley, Old Town, American Plaza – and then take the trolley to the North Embarcadero area.

The Green Line can be taken to Santa Fe Depot and the Orange and Blue lines to the American Plaza station. Both stations are within walking distance from Harbor Drive – another solid spot from which to view the procession. You can check the MTS website for trolley schedules and updates.

This year, the theme is "Tropical Island Christmas," so decorations will likely include some pineapples and palm trees.

As San Diegans know, the décor for this unique parade is always festive and always flashy, a big part of what makes the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights a true local tradition.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[County Braces for Second Wave of Storm]]>Wed, 05 Dec 2018 23:36:12 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/sandiegorainpuddle.gif

A cold Pacific storm to the north pushed its way into San Diego County Wednesday, bringing with it some rain.

Heavy, widespread showers and the possibility of thunderstorms and lightning along the coast were expected as the storm moved south from the Los Angeles area, according to NBC 7 Meteorologist Sheena Parveen.

First Alert Doppler 7 offers viewers real-time data on the location of rain.

Precipitation which began just before lunchtime became heavier and more widespread as the day progressed.

Rainfall led to flooding and closures of several county roads. It forced the closure of Sorrento Valley Road near the Interstate 5/I-805 interchange, a road that has seen its share of flooding.

The city of San Marcos tweeted at around 7:15 p.m. that Bent Avenue and Via Vera Cruz between Discovery Street and San Marcos Boulevard were closed due to flooding, adding, "San Marcos, you know the drill."

In Lakeside, an olive tree split in half and crashed onto the sidewalk of Ashwood Street, feet away from where a couple was walking their dog.

Jean Paul said he heard cracking noises, then he "turned around and whop, saw it come down. I thought, 'Oh, man, a tree just came down.'"

In Fallbrook at the Rancho Monserate Country Club, where nearly 70 mobile home units were destroyed in last fall’s Lilac Fire, sandbags were stacked along the nearby bare hillside to protect the community from mudslides.

SDPD said a small sinkhole opened up in the College Area but officers were able to block it off before anyone drove into it.

SeaWorld San Diego announced it would be closed Thursday because of the heavy rain.

Over the course of two days, areas from the coast to the inland valleys could see up to two inches of rain while the mountains may see more than that. Desert areas could see a half inch to three-quarters of an inch.

NBC 7 meteorologist Dagmar Midcap said there was an atmospheric river moving through the county during the early evening that would eventually dip south of the border.

Behind it, a low-pressure system was making its way into the county overnight Wednesday.

No weather watches or advisories are in effect for the county.

By 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Encinitas had seen .86 inches of rain, and La Jolla, Chula Vista, Escondido, and Palomar had all seen between a third and two-thirds of an inch of rain.

Midcap said Wednesday evening's slow and steady rain would give way to more spotty showers overnight.

The heaviest downpours, which were expected on Thursday, may be confined to southern San Diego County. Thunderstorms could be possible Thursday, Midcap said.

The storm could bring snow to San Diego's mountains at elevations above 6,000 feet, Parveen said.

Some lingering storm clouds may bring light rainfall on Friday before San the storm moves east towards Arizona. 

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<![CDATA[New Proposals to Make Community College Free]]>Wed, 05 Dec 2018 09:13:57 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/207*120/college-tuition-generic1.PNG

California lawmakers announced a proposal on Tuesday to make community colleges completely free.

It was just last year that California lawmakers passed the law that allowed the first year of study at community colleges to be free for new and full-time students. Now they seek to do the same with the second year.

The AB2 proposal was introduced by legislators in Sacramento this morning.

“We started two years of free community college because we know that’s the promise we want to give to our students,” said Democratic lawmaker Miguel Santiago, co-author of the proposal.

According to legislators, AB2 will benefit any full-time student, from any college across the state, but it will especially help those going through economic hardships.

The measure is supported by the president of community colleges and many officials.

The proposal will be analyzed and discussed in March 2019.

<![CDATA[Council Brewing Co. Set to Shutter]]>Wed, 05 Dec 2018 12:13:46 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Council-Brewing-Co.jpg

A small craft brewery with locations in Kearny Mesa and Santee will shutter after five years in business, the company announced Wednesday.

Council Brewing Co. – founded by husband and wife team Curtis and Liz Chism – posted a message on Facebook alerting patrons of the brewery’s impending closure.

Council Brewing currently operates two locations: a brewery and tasting room on Convoy Court in Kearny Mesa and a brewery and tasting room in on Prospect Avenue in Santee, which opened earlier this year.

In the post, Curtis said that while they have been blessed to expand their business over the past few years, there “have been many ups and downs” as well. He said he and his wife knew 2018 would be a “make it or break it year” for the craft brewery.

Citing significant operational cost increases and “much lower tasting room/distribution sales due to over-saturation of the brewery market,” Curtis said Council Brewing Co. has taken too many losses.

“As a result, we’ve had too long of a stretch of declining sales that we can’t sustain any longer,” the post said.

According to the announcement, Council Brewing Co.’s Kearny Mesa location will close on Dec. 15 with a farewell party from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The Santee tasting room will shutter a day earlier, on Dec. 14, with the Chisms there until 5 p.m. to say goodbye to their patrons. From now until closing, the brewery will sell all to-go bottles and cans for a minimum of $5 – cash only – with proceeds supporting the San Diego Food Bank.

Council Brewing Co. launched in May 2014 and has grown into a staff of 16, plus the Chisms’ little “brewery baby,” Olivia.

Liz brews the beer alongside three other brewers and handles the recipe design for all brews. Curtis runs the legal, financial and sales parts of the business.

The brewery’s website says the name Council was inspired by a town council, where people come together to make decisions, adding: "We view beer in much the same way - it brings folks together over the commonality of beer and we wanted to craft a beverage and create tasting rooms that help foster this sense of community."

Photo Credit: Council Brewing Co./Twitter
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<![CDATA[NBC 7 Responds Answers The Call For Help With Robocalls]]>Wed, 05 Dec 2018 19:22:15 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/consumer+bob+robocall.jpg

Is your cell phone ringing? If so, there’s a 40 percent chance it’s a “robocall.” 

Robocalls are phone calls made by automated dialers, call centers whose sole purpose is to scam or spam your phone. 

According to Irvine-based tech firm, YouMail, Americans received more than 5 billion robocalls last month alone. And, the calls aren’t stopping anytime soon. 

“Less than a year ago the number of calls was just over two billion robocalls,” said YouMail CEO Alex Quilici. “That means the number of automated spam calls doubled over the course of just eight months.” 

In San Diego County, Quilici said there were approximately 60 million robocalls. To put that in perspective, that averages out to 12 to 13 automated calls per person in 30 days. 

“It’s easier and easier for automated call centers to get off the ground,” said Quilici. “They log on to a website that allows them to spoof their numbers, pay a few hundred dollars, hit a button, and boom, I have just annoyed San Diego.” 

Quilici tells NBC 7 Responds that scams are driving the surge of robocalls. That one victim out of millions of automated calls makes it worth their while.  

Some San Diego County residents are among the victims of those scams. One such scam targeted customers of USAA Bank. One Carlsbad couple, as first reported by NBC 7 Responds, was among those victims. Krystal Cook and her husband received a call from what appeared to be a USAA number, known as a “spoofed” number. The person on the other line said the bank detected fraudulent transactions on their debit card. The bank needed to send a new debit card. The caller then asked for the couple’s bank information. They even sent a text with a verification code and provided another spoofed USAA number to call. 

A few days later the couple noticed nearly $10,000 had disappeared from their account. 

So what is being done to stop those calls and the scams associated with them? 

Quilici says the U.S. Government is allowing phone carriers to be more aggressive in blocking calls and spoofed numbers. The government, says Quilici, has also levied fines on some offenders and seems more willing to prosecute. 

Some phone carriers are also answering the call to cut down on automated dialers. Some carriers are improving caller identification in hopes of identifying spoofed phone numbers. 

“But while that will improve things, it will not stop them,” Quilici said. 

So what can stop them? 

NBC 7 Responds has some tips. 

First and foremost: don’t answer the phone if the number is from a strange area code or is not from one of your contacts. That means regularly updating your contacts. 

Second, if it looks like your bank is calling, double-check the number. Call the bank yourself instead of trusting that everything is correct. 

Lastly, install a robocall blocking app for your phone such as those offered by YouMail. Those apps recognize the spoof numbers and blocks the numbers by playing an out-of-service message on your phone, meaning your number is removed from the list. 

“The average person trusts the phone number. They trust the caller name and they trust the person on the other end of the line,” said Quilici. “You just can’t do that anymore.”

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<![CDATA[Empty Toy Bin, 12 Teddy Bears Inspired SD Holiday Tradition]]>Tue, 04 Dec 2018 13:24:55 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Brian-Hardy-1204.jpg

An empty toy donation bin and a trip to a department store in 1990 led a former Coronado police officer to bring law enforcement together – year after year – to deliver soft, cuddly companions to the little patients at Rady Children’s Hospital.

Twenty-eight years ago, just days before Christmas, former Coronado Police Department Officer Brian Hardy was walking through the halls of Rady Children’s Hospital. He got lost and stumbled upon a toy donation bin.

He looked inside but the bin was nearly empty.

Hardy asked a nurse why there were only a few toys in the bin and she told him toy donations for patients had really decreased that year.

That night, he went holiday shopping at Montgomery Ward. When he walked into the retailer, he noticed a stand filled with teddy bears, all on sale.

“A little light went on,” Hardy told NBC 7 on Tuesday. “I went in and bought 12 bears.”

With permission from his boss, Hardy put the teddy bears in his police car and drove the toys to the children’s hospital.

“I just thought it would be kind of neat to bring teddy bears in a police car, and let the kids see that,” he explained. “And everybody followed since then.”

Nearly three decades later, the San Diego Regional Law Enforcement Teddy Bear Drive has grown into an annual tradition at Rady Children’s Hospital. Today, local, state and federal law enforcement officers take part in the event.

On Tuesday, a sleigh carrying teddy bears and Santa Claus arrived at Rady Children’s Hospital. More than 100 officers lined up outside the facility, bears in hand, to distribute the toys.

Hardy was there. 

He said he felt “just as inspired” as he did 28 years ago.

The retired police officer said he believes the teddy bears bring a source of comfort to young patients as they navigate the difficulties that come with being hospitalized.

“They’re not feeling well; there’s a number of things going on at the hospital. To a child, that’s scary stuff,” said Hardy. “To walk in and be able to give them a little friend to hold on to through the worst of it, it really brings me back every year for the past 28 years.”

And, as happy as that toy might make a child, Hardy said the feeling of giving a teddy bear to a little one is just as magical for him.

“It’s as close to being a superhero as you can be in a mortal body,” he said, smiling. “It’s unreal, surreal – to see the child’s face light up.”

Mia Gonzalez, 9, had a smile on her face Tuesday after receiving a small, brown plush from a police officer.

“Merry Christmas,” the officer told the girl as she happily accepted the gift.

“That’s never happened to me before,” Gonzalez told NBC 7. “It feels good.”

Gonzalez said she thinks the Teddy Bear Drive is a nice holiday tradition.

“It’s good that they do that because some kids are really sick and I think what they’re doing is really good for them, and for us,” she said. “Thank you for helping us sick kids.”

This year’s Teddy Bear Drive was hosted by the Oceanside Police Department.

Rady Children’s Hospital said the facility is typically unable to accept plush toys as donations for safety and infection control reasons, but the bears donated to the hospital through the event have been specially packaged by the manufacturer to protect patients.

Since the Teddy Bear Drive began, more than one million stuffed toys have been given to patients.

Hardy takes no credit, though.

“I was in the right place at the right time, and I’d like to give divine intervention credit completely,” he told NBC 7. “I believe all of these people you see here, in law enforcement, are all here to help people. It’s what they’re bred to do; what they’re born to do. It’s absolutely from their hearts.” 

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[December Nights Returns to Balboa Park]]>Thu, 06 Dec 2018 11:56:44 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/balboa+park+lights+1201+11.JPG

Mark your calendar: Balboa Park's beloved holiday tradition, December Nights, returns this Friday and Saturday.

December Nights has it all - from holiday lights and seasonal music to dancers and tasty winter treats. 

The free weekend festival returns for its 41st year with free admission to museums on Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

This year, The Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA) will introduce a new activity at the event: a photo scavenger hunt throughout the park that ends at the museum. To join, participants should follow the museum on Instagram (@MOPASD), take photos on their smartphones and post and tag those pictures. The list of photos to take include a dog in a costume, something sweet, festive lights and your family or friends doing something festive, to name a few. After completing the scavenger hunt list, participants can stop by the MOPA gift shop to collect a prize.

December Nights started in 1978 as part of "Christmas on the Prado" in Balboa Park, a small holiday celebration put together by a dozen institutions along El Prado. The crowds and event grew over the decades and, in 2002, it was renamed December Nights.

Each year, it signals the start of the festive season in San Diego, drawing families from all over the county to the heart of the city. It continues to be the largest free community event in San Diego. 

If you drive, be prepared to wait for a parking space, as lots fill up quickly. The only free parking lot is at the San Diego Zoo. Otherwise, paid parking options will be offered at the Natural History Museum lot ($25 per car), the South Carousel lot ($25 per car) and the Inspiration Point parking lot ($20 per car).

Free shuttle rides to December Nights will also be offered.

The shuttle location will be in downtown on Ash Street between 5th and 6th avenues. There are parking lots around this area and street parking is free after 6 p.m.

The shuttle for Friday will run from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. and on Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. The last shuttle to the park will leave at 8:30 p.m. for both nights.

You could also opt to take public transit to the event. The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System will offer its trolley and bus services around Balboa Park. You can purchase and store a $5 trolley and bus ticket on your smartphone using the MTS Compass Cloud app. MTS recommends taking the trolley to the Fifth Avenue Station and from there, take bus routes 3 or 120 to Balboa Park.

For more information on how to get to the parks using the MTS system, visit their website.

For more information on December Nights 2018, visit the event website.

Photo Credit: NBC 7
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<![CDATA[Missing Teddy Bear Floats Away on Balloons, May Land in SD]]>Wed, 05 Dec 2018 04:42:21 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/FindHerbert+Kid+1204.jpg

A high-flying lost teddy bear caused the National Weather Service to launch an investigation of sorts to reunite a Southern California kid with his stuffed animal.

NWS Los Angeles said in a tweet Tuesday afternoon that a user asked for help in "tracking down an important missing teddy bear."

The organization said the bear floated away in a cluster of balloons Sunday morning in Westchester, a neighborhood in Los Angeles.

The stuffed animal is a small black bear with a brown snout and paws.

Due to the winds, the flying stuffed animal could have landed anywhere in San Diego or Orange County, NWS Los Angeles said.

NWS Los Angeles coined the phrase #FindHerbertBear to encourage users to spread the word and find the beloved bear.

Message NBC 7 San Diego on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram if you have any information. Users can also message NWS Los Angeles on Twitter.

Photo Credit: NWS Los Angeles
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<![CDATA[Paul McCartney Announces 2019 Petco Park Show]]>Tue, 04 Dec 2018 23:32:48 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/mccartney-primera-ministra.jpg

Apparently "the long and winding road" leads back to San Diego: Sir Paul McCartney has just announced additional dates to his world-spanning "Freshen Up Tour" -- including a show at Petco Park on June 22, 2019.

You might not be able to buy love (jury's still out on that) but, if you're quick and on the ball, you may be able to buy tickets to see the famed Beatle live and in person. General admission tickets to the June 22 show go on sale to the public Thursday, Dec. 13 at 10 a.m. PST. According to McCartney's website, presale information will be "coming soon."

Macca, who dropped his latest studio album "Egypt Station" on Sept. 7 (his first since 2013's "New"), is certainly no stranger to the road but his stops in San Diego have been few and very far between: His last show in town was Sept. 28, 2014, also at Petco Park. Prior to that though? Wings at San Diego Sports Arena in 1976! Aren't you glad you don't have to wait nearly four decades in-between shows this time around? (Fun fact: He played a small, private Rancho Santa Fe gig a few years back but that doesn't really count, does it?)

If his upcoming concert is anything like his 2014 performance, fans are in for a treat. According to 91x radio host and SoundDiego contributor Tim Pyles (who wrote up a review of McCartney's 2014 show for us), the rock & roll legend played for nearly three hours and included 39 songs in his set, which covered selections from his solo career, along with songs from the Beatles and Wings.

"The sound was amazing, which is tough in large outdoor settings," Pyles said of the 2014 Petco Park show, "but I could hear every nuance and was over-the-top excited when McCartney played 'Helter Skelter,' which freakin' rocked! The selection of songs was perfect and offered something for everyone. A favorite moment was when he took off his jacket early in the show and said that would be his only costume change. Also: He shouted out the San Diego Chargers."

While we doubt he'll be showering any love on that team-who-shall-not-be-named next year, you can count on Macca being in fine form yet again. Even with Petco Park's capacity of more than 45,000 guests, the show will surely sell out extremely quick, so get your browsers ready, exercise those clicking fingers -- and good luck landing those "ticket(s) to ride."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[SDG&E Files to End High Usage Charge ]]>Tue, 04 Dec 2018 14:36:15 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/People+in+Heat.jpg

San Diego Gas & Electric has filed a request with the California Public Utilities Commission to end the practice of high-usage charges after thousands of customers received high electric bills over the summer.

Cate Helm of Chula Vista told NBC 7 that an average monthly bill was between $60 and $90. In the middle of last summer, her monthly bill was $455.

"I thought, ‘Maybe there was a mistake,’" Helm said to us in October. "Then once I called the company and they explained that everything was correct, I was pretty much outraged."

More than 105,000 customers were impacted by the high-usage charge, SDG&E officials said.

Customers who used more than 400 percent of their baseline allowance were charged for high-usage under a mandate by the state of California.

When the so-called “super-user” surcharge was instituted, the CPUC said it would affect fewer than 10 percent of utility customers.

The idea was to penalize customers who are trying using much more electricity than what is necessary and avoid energy waste.

NBC 7 reached out to the CPUC media team to get reaction to the motion but did not receive a response.

<![CDATA[Booms Due to Yearly Camp Pendleton Training Exercise]]>Mon, 03 Dec 2018 22:50:49 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/camp+pendleton+steel+knight+training+exercise.jpg

Loud booms may be heard in North County through Friday as the U.S. Marine Corps conducts training exercises at Camp Pendleton.

Steel Knight 19 is an annual drill that spans the California coast led by 1st Marine Division. The exercise allows U.S. Marines and sailors to get realistic combat experience, according to base officials.

Video from Camp Pendleton’s Facebook page shows large explosions at the coastal military base.

Depending on atmospheric conditions, loud booms may be heard up to 50 miles away while the training exercise is being conducted through Friday, USMC said.

Starting Tuesday, the noise may happen at any time of day. 

USMC said the training may affect the cities of Oceanside, San Clemente, Fallbrook and other North County cities as well as camping areas along the coast.

<![CDATA[Students Get 'Super' Surprise for Good Attendance Records]]>Mon, 03 Dec 2018 14:51:35 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/superhero+attendance+school+2.jpg

Students at Franklin Elementary School STEAM Magnet in the Kensington neighborhood of San Diego were treated to a super surprise Monday for having good attendance records.

The school's assembly was interrupted by more than a dozen superheroes who announced Franklin Elementary's students had the best attendance record across more than a dozen schools within a program aimed at getting fewer students to miss school. 

Students were first greeted to high-fives from the superheroes, dressed-up volunteers from neighboring businesses, as they walked into school on Monday. 

The initiative called "Every Student, Every Day" is a partnership between United Way of San Diego County and 16 schools within the San Diego Unified and Lemon Grove school districts.

A tenth of San Diego County students missed a month or more of school during the 2017-18 school year, which leads to higher drop out rates,  according to United Way.

The initiative, which began in 2015, targets at-risk kindergarten to third graders and provides support to their families to get students to school regularly. It also hosts school-wide awareness activities like the one at Franklin Elementary. 

The non-profit United Way focuses on three factors to target chronic absenteeism: flagging students with early warning signs, pairing young students with a support staff, and creating school-wide events that engage young students. 

Support staff are typically college interns who connect at-risk students with community services like counseling, housing assistance, food pantries, healthcare providers and transportation. 

The initiative last year reduced truant students absences by 6 to 7 days, according to United Way.

<![CDATA[Panic at 'Christmas Vacation' Display at Texas House]]>Tue, 04 Dec 2018 00:42:46 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/vlcsnap-2018-12-03-17h26m03s975.jpg

A holiday display meant to re-create a scene from "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" looked a little too real and caused a veteran to spring into action.

The Heerlein family placed a dummy representing Clark Griswold dangling from the gutter of their Austin home, with a ladder tipping beneath him.

A veteran passing by thought it was the real thing and wrestled the ladder up while shouting, "Can you reach it?"

The man called police, who arrived and advised the family they were getting calls about the display.

They have since put up a sign that says "Clark G is part of our Christmas display please do not call 911."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 7 San Diego

Photo Credit: KXAN]]>
<![CDATA[9-Year-Old Gets Colorado Town to End Ban on Snowball Fights]]>Tue, 04 Dec 2018 03:55:57 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/snowballGettyImages-76529714.jpg

A 9-year-old boy has convinced the leaders of a small northern Colorado town to overturn a nearly century-old ban on snowball fights, and he already knows who his first target will be — his little brother.

Dane Best, who lives in the often snow-swept town of Severance, presented his arguments at a town board meeting Monday night, and members voted unanimously to lift the ban.

"I think it's an outdated law," Dane said in the lead-up to the meeting. "I want to be able to throw a snowball without getting in trouble."

Dane's mother, Brooke Best, told The Greeley Tribune her son had been talking about snowballs since he found out about a month and a half ago that it was illegal to throw them within town limits. The last time it snowed, Dane said he and his friends looked around for police and joked about breaking the law.

Kyle Rietkerk, assistant to the Severance town administrator, said the rule was part of a larger ordinance that made it illegal to throw or shoot stones or missiles at people, animals, buildings, trees, any other public or private property or vehicles. Snowballs fell under the town's definition of "missiles."

"All of the kids always get blown away that it's illegal to have snowball fights in Severance," Rietkerk said before the meeting. "So, what ends up happening is (town leaders) always encourage the kids with, 'You have the power you can change the law.' No one has."

Then Dane took up the cause, writing letters with his classmates in support of overturning the ban.

And after Monday night's success, his 4-year-old brother Dax had better watch out. When board members asked Dane during a meeting in November who he wants to hit, he pointed directly at his little brother.

Dane and his family have researched other Severance ordinances, including one that defines pets only as cats and dogs.

Dane has a guinea pig, which is illegal in Severance, too.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 7 San Diego

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Uppercut RF, File ]]>
<![CDATA[Octopus Floats Along OB Dog Beach Shoreline]]>Mon, 03 Dec 2018 08:49:16 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/Dana+Walker+Octopus+in+Ocean+Beach.png

The dog-friendly seaside park in Ocean Beach welcomed more than two- and four-legged friends over the weekend.

An octopus was spotted in shallow waters along the beach Sunday. A dog owner captured video of the cephalopod feet from the water’s edge.

In the video shared by Dana Walker, a curious dog approaches the octopus but someone stops the pooch from getting too close. 

A San Diego Fire-Rescue lifeguard said octopi sightings are common at San Diego beaches but typically they gather in tide pools. It’s a rare sight to see octopi along the shore.

Photo Credit: Dana Walker]]>
<![CDATA[Take a Look at Old Globe's 'How The Grinch Stole Christmas']]>Mon, 19 Nov 2018 17:13:39 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/grinch18-13-web.jpgThe Old Globe production of Dr. Seuss' "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" runs through December 29. Here's a look at the beloved musical, back for its 21st year.

Photo Credit: Jim Cox]]>
<![CDATA[Sidewalks, 'Tripping Hazards' Cost City Millions]]>Mon, 03 Dec 2018 08:53:20 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/LMX___T5PF+VO+SIDEWALK+FALL.jpg

The City of San Diego is asking for your input on how to fix its crumbling sidewalks.

A sidewalk assessment in 2015 identified over 85,000 locations that need repairs. There is more than 5,000 miles of sidewalks throughout the city.

“Sometimes you can trip,” said Otto Stock from National City. “There’s tripping hazards that aren’t cool.”

These tripping hazards have cost the city millions of dollars in payouts from sidewalk injuries over the years, which is prompting it to come up with a solution.

The city is responsible for sidewalk damage caused by car crashes, water main breaks, or city-owned trees, according to the city's website. However, normal wear-and-tear of an aging sidewalk is the homeowner’s responsibility.

“I did not know this,” said Chasea Navedo from Mira Mesa. “I’m sure a lot of people didn’t know this.”

The city currently has a 50/50 Cost Sharing Program, where it and the homeowner share the repair costs of damaged sidewalks.

The city is looking for other ways to expedite the repair process, some ideas include: having the homeowner pay or putting a lien on a property with adjacent sidewalks that are damaged.

NBC 7 reached out to local representatives who said they are open to suggestions on how to fix the problem.

<![CDATA[Chula Vista H.S. Alums Host Fundraisers to Help Former Classmates in Camp Fire]]>Sun, 02 Dec 2018 23:59:16 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/11PY+SOT+CV+FIREFIGHTER_KNSD73IT.jpg

“Everything is catching fire around us,” Cynthia Santana said. “We finally start moving and found the fire had crossed the road nobody could get out.”

Santana was reliving the frantic escape from a deadly wildfire in Northern California. She grew up in the South Bay and lost almost everything in the fire.

On Sunday, her high school classmates came together to help her and six other families to recover from the worst fire in California’s history.

Almost 14,000 homes were destroyed in the Camp Fire in Paradise; seven of those homes belong to graduates of Chula Vista High School.

Rhys Ahrenstein, the student body president class of ’88, organized the fundraiser that was held at Diamond Jim’s Nightclub. He was hoping to raise $30,000 to help former classmates with the devastating losses.

“My hope is that with the money each family will just have a great Christmas,” he said. “If they want to get out of town go on vacation because things were tough — go on vacation. Just use that money to make themselves feel a little happier, especially during the holiday times.”

Santana, the class of ’87, said she’s grateful for the outpouring of hometown support.

“I am feeling completely overwhelmed, loved, blessed that so many people that I grew up can still be involved in my life,” she said. “I’m ecstatic about it.”

Touched by the support, Santana said the day the Camp Fire broke out, she thought she smelled smoke. Her husband went outside to check it out, rushed back in and said the house next door was on fire.

They packed their animals and a few belongings into their two cars but Santana lost track of her husband in the chaos and everything around her was catching fire.

“I was getting embers falling all over my car and I kept using windshield wipers to get my car wet,” she said. “And we just kept driving as fast as we can because it was so smoky we couldn’t see anything. We finally saw daylight after 20 minutes of driving and knew that we were safe.”

Santana found her husband a little later. He had a woman and five dogs in his car who needed help getting out.

There were two other classmates who lost their homes to the conflagration. Rick Kane, class of '86, raced home just in time to rescue his son and his in-laws but lost everything, including the family dog.

Andy Nodzak, class of '85, was able to save his nine pets but little else.

Ahrenstein has also set up a GoFundMe to help his former classmates.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Eater SD: Inside Convoy's Swanky New Speakeasy]]>Tue, 04 Dec 2018 08:21:28 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Realm52Convoy-HaleyHillPhotography.jpg

We’ve got a secret for you: there’s a new, opulent speakeasy on Convoy pouring unique cocktails. Eater San Diego shares details on that spot plus other top stories of the week from San Diego’s food and drink scene. Cheers!

Immersive Cocktail Experience Coming to Convoy
Realm of the 52 Remedies opens on Dec. 5 in Kearny Mesa, a stunning speakeasy hidden inside Common Theory beer bar. Asian themes and ingredients influence the intimate space, where the cocktail list incorporates teas, Japanese citrus, and Chinese spirits. 

SuperNatural Sandwiches Expands to Little Italy
The popular sandwich shop, which has locations in Miramar and Pacific Beach, has launched on Kettner Boulevard. On the menu: signature seafood-stuffed sandwiches, including a lobster grilled cheese, plus a few new, exclusive items created just for the Little Italy location. 

Playful Hotel Bar Debuts Downtown
Bar Moxy is the centerpiece of the Gaslamp's new Moxy San Diego, a boutique hotel geared towards the Instagram crowd. The all-day bar features cocktails, food, and late-night service, with entertainment ranging from arcade games and swings to DJs.

Where to Eat Poke in San Diego
With the plethora of poke spots in town, it's tough to navigate which shops are serving quality seafood. Eater's here with a guide to 10 local poke joints that make an effort to source sustainably and offer tasty renditions of the classic Hawaiian dish.

Fast-Casual Fried Chicken Flies Into Pacific Beach
Country Boy Fried Chicken arrives on Garnet Avenue early next year with fried-to-order chicken tenders that will be available in combos alongside homemade Texas-style rolls, fries, and special sauce. The eatery will offer late-night service and plans to eventually expand throughout San Diego.

Photo Credit: Haley Hill Photography
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<![CDATA[ 'Breaking and Entering' to Spread Holiday Cheers]]>Sat, 01 Dec 2018 21:37:48 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/_Breaking_and_Entering__for_a_Good_Cause.jpg

Dozens of homes were broken into Friday in the North County, but it wasn’t for any nefarious reasons.

It’s the annual "Breaking and Entering" event at Solutions for Change where strangers “break in" to apartments of families who were once homeless to make sure they have a merry Christmas.

“It’s really about families helping families,” Solutions for Change president Chris Megison said. “There’s no better feeling in the world than to be a part of this.”

The agency has been helping nearly 1,000 families — more than 3,400 children — homeless families get back on their feet for almost 20 years, he said.

On Friday, Jill Alcorn and Jennifer Sutton broke into Angye Guille’s apartment in Vista to spread a little holiday joy. They decorated the apartment, put up a tree and some presents underneath.

“It feels amazing, yeah, absolutely, it feels amazing,” Alcorn said.

Guille was speechless when she saw all the holiday decorations.

“I think this is … I’m blessed. Super blessed. Beyond blessed,” she said. “Thank you guys, whoever did this. Thank you so much. A big surprise.”

Guille and her three daughters were homeless for more than a year. This was the first Christmas in her home since she was a child. Now she can make new Christmas memories with her girls, thanks to someone she doesn’t even know.

Solutions for Change hopes to break into more apartments in the next few years. The city of Vista gave the agency more than $2 million to expand, which means there will be more holiday meals, presents and more cheer for families who otherwise wouldn’t have it.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Crossing Guard Dances Into Poway Community's Heart]]>Fri, 30 Nov 2018 13:50:02 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/dancing+crossing+guard+3.jpg

A crossing guard in Poway is a local celebrity, of sorts, to the students and parents who are greeted by her infectious dance moves in the morning. 

Weekday mornings are busy outside of Twin Peaks Middle School on Tierra Bonita Road but Sherri Chandler wants to make sure kids get to school safely, and with a smile.

Chandler is well-known to the community of Poway; she's been the school's crossing guard off and on for the past 20 years.

But she told NBC 7, she serves another special purpose.

"I’m the first person that the kids get to see in the morning that’s associated with the school," Chandler said. "I want to put a smile on their face. I want them to have a good day."

Chandler does her duties in style, with signature dance moves matched up to her favorite songs. Some selections are for the kids, but others give her the opportunity to bust a move.

"This is just so much fun and when you have fun at your job, that’s all that matters,” Chandler said.

The kids love her and parents can’t get enough.

One parent said, "The kids are dancing with her, and she takes care of us." Another added, "Every day I love seeing her dance and the kids like it, too," showing that something so little can bring so much joy to someone’s day.

Chandler is also a noon duty supervisor at the school but told NBC 7 her passion is making sure kids get to school safely by helping out as the crossing guard.

<![CDATA[Sierra Nevada Brews 'Resilience IPA' to Help Fire Victims]]>Fri, 30 Nov 2018 15:40:03 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/199*120/Resilience_IPA.png

The Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico launched the Sierra Nevada Camp Fire Relief Fund to help those affected by California’s deadliest and most destructive wildfire.

In a statement, the brewery said they were contributing $100,000 to the fund and put out a call to other breweries to participate in the collaborative brewing process on Tuesday.

“Today is a special day for our brewery,” Sierra Nevada posted on its Facebook page. “Today, we're brewing Resilience Butte County Proud IPA, and we are absolutely blown away to report that more than 1,000 breweries around the world are brewing it with us. 100% of the sales of this beer will be donated to the Camp Fire Relief Fund. Thank you to our employees, thank you to our community, and thank you to our incredible brewing industry. Humbled and grateful doesn't begin to describe it.”

Breweries from San Diego, Portland, Ontario, Canada and other countries responded and pledged their support to brew the beer. Find the full list here

The Russian River Brewing Company from Santa Rosa organized a similar fundraiser after the Tubbs Fire last year.

Photo Credit: Sierra Nevada Brewing]]>
<![CDATA[Another Storm Sweeps San Diego]]>Fri, 07 Dec 2018 08:13:42 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/19TH-AND-COMMERCIAL.jpgAnother storm swept San Diego County Thursday, just one week after the county's first major storm of the season. Here's a look at that rain around San Diego.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Pounding Wind and Rain Destroy Coronado's First and Only Tree Lot]]>Thu, 29 Nov 2018 23:47:35 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/212*120/CORONADO+TREE+FARM.jpg

The owners of the Coronado Tree Farm, the city's first ever Christmas tree lot, were crushed to find out that the first wave of this weekend's storm destroyed their lot before the end of its inaugural season.

"I woke up this morning to a text from multiple people that showed some of the initial damage that happened," Steve Albert said. Steve and his wife Shanel also own the Coronado Flower Lady, a flower stand on Orange Avenue, which was recently damaged by a drunk driver.

The Albert family had high hopes for success with their one-of-a-kind lot. There isn't a place in the county selling Christmas trees that offers views of the downtown San Diego skyline and the sweet serenade of crashing waves.

"It looked really good and the city was really excited and it was going to be a great weekend for us," Steve said.

The first day of the season's first storm brought pounding rain and aggressive winds that toppled the Albert's trees and destroyed their decorations. The damage is so bad, the tree lot won't reopen.

"It was just so far gone, the tents and everything was destroyed and we're just going to have to cut our losses on this one," he said.

Steve says he'll be selling the decorations and the trees at a discount. If you would like to buy a tree at a discounted rate, the Alberts will be at the lot on First Street near the ferry landing Friday morning.

Thankfully, the Alberts still have their flower stand. It has been rebuilt since it was run into and Shanel says business is back to normal there.

<![CDATA[Couple Gets Married Inside San Diego Costco]]>Fri, 30 Nov 2018 03:56:10 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/177*120/costcowedding2.PNG

You can buy the cake, wedding rings and flowers in Costco for a wedding, but now add the ceremony to the list. A couple was married in San Diego's Mission Valley Costco Thursday morning. 

It's a special place for bride Margot Schein and groom Julian Parris: The two went on their first date at that Costco. 

"It was three years ago to the day today," said Schein in her wedding dress while holding her bouquet. "We technically met online, but I only messaged him because he had Costco in his profile." 

The couple said their vows in front of an intimate gathering of their friends and family at the checkout cash registers in the store. Dozens of Costco employees watched from behind the family, some filming and some holding back tears. 

"We have so much in common, but Costco is the first thing," the bride said and laughed. 

The couple, also fans of Harry Potter, wore their respective house colors. Schein had a scarlet dress with gold flowers (made from pages of the books) for Gryffindor. The groom had a blue and bronze tie for Ravenclaw. 

After the ceremony, a one-layer white Costco cake was cut, and the couple was presented with a decorated champagne bottle fresh off the shelves as a congratulations from employees. The two also received Costco nametags. 

The couple then browsed the aisles together for the first time as man and wife. 

"On our first date, we got pizza and hot dogs and then spent an hour walking around," Schein said. "It was just such a good date." 

The groom holds a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of California, San Diego. The two moved to North Carolina a few years ago so that Schein could pursue her master's degree. 

<![CDATA[NorCal Coffee Giant to Open in San Diego]]>Thu, 15 Nov 2018 10:38:32 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Blue-Bottle-Coffee-FB.jpg

Java enthusiasts, we’ve got some buzz for you: a popular coffee company from Northern California is setting up shop in San Diego.

Blue Bottle Coffee, founded in Oakland, California, will open at the highly-anticipated One Paseo complex in Carmel Valley in spring 2019, Eater San Diego confirmed. The location will feature both indoor and outdoor seating and will also serve as a training lab for baristas who will teach coffee education classes.

But that’s not the only Blue Bottle coming to town.

According to Eater, the company will open a second location later next year in downtown San Diego as part of the Tower 180 development on First Street and Broadway.

The cafés will offer Blue Bottle’s full drinks menu – from espresso creations to News Orleans-style iced coffee – plus pastries and toasts topped with fresh, seasonally-driven ingredients.

Blue Bottle opened in 2002. Last year, it sold a majority stake to Nestlé but remains independently operated. The company has really picked up steam over the past 16 years, opening dozens of shops across the globe, from the Bay Area to New York and Japan. A location in Seoul, South Korea, is also in the works.

Photo Credit: Blue Bottle Coffee/Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Shark Attack Survivor, Good Samaritans Honored by Encinitas Mayor]]>Wed, 28 Nov 2018 23:42:20 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/212*120/Keane+Webre+Hayes.jpg

Keane Webre-Hayes, the teenager who survived a shark attack in September, and three Good Samaritans whose quick action likely saved his life were honored Wednesday by the Mayor and City Council of Encinitas.

Keane, 13, was given the Mayor's Certificate of Bravery for displaying "bravery in the face of danger," in the Sept. 29 attack at Beacon's Beach.

The teenager was diving for lobster at when an 11-foot-long great white shark bit him, injuring his arm, face, ear, shoulder and back. Scars were visible on his left cheek Wednesday as he accepted his award.

His mother Ellie Hayes was watching her son from a parking lot on the bluffs above the beach and could hear her son's screams.

Keane called for help and swam to a nearby kayak where three men, two with first responder training, applied immediate first aid and brought him to shore.

“He had the good sense to think ‘I probably can’t make it all the way to the shore because I might pass out,' and he swam away from the shore to the boat which was nearby and they were able to help him right away," Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear said.

Keane was rushed to Rady Children's Hospital in Linda Vista in critical condition and stayed there for several days.

At a press conference a few days after the attack, Rady Children's Hospital Chief of Pediatric Surgery, Dr. Tim Fairbanks, said the men in the kayak and other Good Samaritans who helped apply pressure to Keane's wounds on the beach before paramedics arrived deserve partial credit for saving his life.

More than that, though, Fairbanks said Keane was alive because "He made a decision to survive and got help.”

Mayor Blakespear said that Keane participated in the city's Junior Lifeguard program where kids are taught to remain calm in high-pressure situations.

"He was demonstrating a clear-headedness that is important, particularly for someone his age, but also probably rare," she said.

After receiving his certificate from the mayor, Keane wasted no time thanking the three men and the rest of the first responders who helped him that day, all of whom were present for the ceremony.

“Thank you, Matthew, Andrew, and Chad for just being there and talking me through it," he said. "Also, I want to thank Andrew for being in the water when there was an 11-foot great white shark swimming around."

He also thanked first responders worldwide who weren't didn't respond to the attack for their selflessness.

"They chose their job. They said ‘I want to help people,’ it didn’t choose them. It really means a lot to know that people want to do good," he said.

Mayor Blakespear proclaimed Nov. 28 in honor of Matthew, Andrew and Chad and their "quick thinking, bravery and selfless action."

"They did everything they could to get him to safety and to make sure that he was well, and that is something that we need to recognize," Blakespear said about the men.

In the days and weeks following the attack, the Encinitas community rallied for Keane in a way that inspired many.

A Go Fund Me page was created to help with medical bills, his youth flag football team fundraised, he was given a lifetime fishing license by the California Wildlife Officers Foundation, and "Good Morning America" even followed him to school on his first day back following the attack.

<![CDATA[North Park Rallies to Save Toyland Parade]]>Thu, 29 Nov 2018 05:44:43 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/North-Park-Toyland-Parade-FB.jpg

North Park residents and businesses have joined forces to save a beloved holiday parade after it was abruptly canceled by organizers this week.

The annual North Park Toyland Parade will go on – as planned – this Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., along University Avenue, between Utah and Iowa streets.

North Park Main Street, an organization that supports arts, culture, entertainment and small businesses in North Park, told NBC 7 Wednesday that the organizer of the annual holiday parade, Victoria House Corporation, ran out of funds and canceled the event Tuesday.

With just a few days until the big parade, North Park Main Street knew something had to be done to save the holiday tradition. The organization put out a call to local businesses and volunteers, and the community banded together.

North Park Main Street held a meeting Wednesday morning at Urban Solace restaurant to figure out the logistics and organize volunteers who will be helping with the parade route and other responsibilities.

The group is also in the process of getting the word out to parade participants to let them know the parade is back on. The parade typically features local marching bands, dance groups, vintage cars and city officials, as well as an appearance by Santa Claus riding atop a red fire engine.

Angela Landsberg, executive director of North Park Main Street, said those participants can reach out to her via email at angela@northparkmainstreet.com to get the most current details.

"We want them to show up at the same time as they were told to show up in the first place. The show will go on," Landsberg said. "We'll try to make this as seamless as possible."

Earlier this year, on the Toyland Parade website, the Victoria House Corporation announced that the festival that usually follows the parade would be canceled, but the procession would still take place.

A visit to the parade website Wednesday was met with this message against a bright green backdrop: “Dear North Park: The 2018 North Park Toyland Parade has been canceled. The Parade will resume next year, Saturday, December 7th, 2019.”

NBC 7 reached out to the Victoria House Corporation Wednesday to ask why the parade had been canceled and a representative said she had no comment on the matter.

When asked what would happen to the entry fees that participants paid to be part of the parade, the woman again said the organization had no comment. Entry fees for this year ranged from $25 to $150, depending on the group participating in the parade, from schools and community organizations to local businesses or national corporations. The fee form states, “donation fees are non-refundable.”

The Toyland Parade is attended by thousands of locals. Parking is available for only $1 that day at the North Park Parking Garage on 29th Street, or attendees can take the 2 bus line that runs along 30th Street to get to the event.

The Toyland Parade has seen many incarnations over the decades, even dating as far back as 1936. The event was canceled for more than 20 years between the late 1960s and late 1980s but ultimately returned to the community. In 2007, the parade was canceled due to rain.

This year's parade is particularly exciting for the children at Jefferson Elementary School who will display a float they've been working on for the past six weeks. The kids started an after-school club at their school to build floats and make costumes for the community parade and they're eager to present their masterpieces.

Andy Hinds, a parent and the president of the school foundation at Jefferson Elementary, said he didn't want to think of the disappointment on the kids' faces had the parade been canceled. They've been looking forward to marching for weeks.

Landsberg said community involvement like this is why North Park Main Street had to step in and save the parade.

"It's a big part of the community. The kids in the community make floats, the firemen come out. We have people from all over San Diego bring their low-riders, we've got bands from high schools that prepare all year long to be in these parades," said Landsberg. "It's a tradition."

Landsberg said her organization also has the support of San Diego City Councilman Chris Ward and Mayor Kevin Faulconer's office.

"A lot of volunteers in this community don't want the parade to go away."

Photo Credit: North Park Toyland Parade/Facebook
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<![CDATA[Masterpieces Debut at the Gingerbread City Gala 2018]]>Wed, 28 Nov 2018 13:40:50 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/A+Magical+Dream.jpgUp to 20 gingerbread structures will be on display for the annual competition benefiting the Epilepsy Foundation. Here are nine of those featured gingerbread structures.

Photo Credit: Brenda Gregorio-Nieto]]>
<![CDATA[Christmas in NY: Rockefeller Center Lights Christmas Tree]]>Fri, 14 Dec 2018 05:56:42 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Top-of-Tree-lit.jpg

A massive Norway spruce has been lit up in a tradition that ushers in Christmastime in New York City.

Mayor Bill de Blasio flipped the switch Wednesday night to light the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree following a televised extravaganza that featured performances by Diana Ross and Tony Bennett.

The 72-foot-tall tree is decorated with 5 miles of multicolored LED lights and a 900-pound Swarovski crystal star. Rockefeller Center has hosted the ceremony since 1931.

Police officers flooded the area and spectators were funneled through security.

The 75-year-old tree was donated by a couple in Wallkill, 60 miles north of the city.

It will remain on display until Jan. 7. Then it will be given to Habitat for Humanity to help build homes.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 7 San Diego

Photo Credit: Mary Altaffer/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Some Fore, Others Against Plan to Turn Golf Course Into Sand Mine]]>Wed, 28 Nov 2018 23:36:27 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/cottonwood+gol.png

Cottonwood Golf Club’s owner has applied for a permit to turn three golf greens in Rancho San Diego into a sand mine for 10 years.

“This isn’t the place! This isn’t the place,” Barbara Oberndorfer said at a Wednesday night meeting, shaking her head.

If approved, an estimated eight or nine trucks per hour would roll in and out of the mine off Willow Glen Drive, according to the developer's environmental study.

Oberndorfer lives about a mile from the course.

“It doesn’t matter what time of the day they want to start. It's too much. It's just too much. We’re already bottlenecked up here as it is when it's school time or work time.”

To help with traffic congestion, one possibility is the trucks would run during off-peak times, between 4 and 6 a.m., then start back up again between 9:30 a.m and 3 p.m.

There will be a traffic impact report done that will determine what, if any, mitigation can be done.

John Cloud of New West Development the company working with the property owner, said additional lanes or more traffic signals could be added.

Some residents signed petitions opposing the mine that's expected to generate 570,000 tons of sand per year.

That sand will be used to make concrete and asphalt for roads and building homes.

Two years after the plan starts the land would begin to be filled-in until the project ends.

“Nothing in the plan is in the best interest of the community," shouted one person in the crowd.

Bill Folsom doesn’t agree. He’s in favor of the sand mine, considering it could shorten transportation times for construction materials in the area.

“It does make it safer and get the pollution. The greenies should be happy to make the trucks drive a shorter distance,” he said.

The permitting process could take years before mining is allowed to begin.

The County Board of Supervisors will have the final say.

<![CDATA['It's Been a While:' 1st Major Fall Storm Dumps Rain on SD]]>Thu, 29 Nov 2018 20:58:54 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/Rain-1129-4.jpeg

The first major storm of the fall season slammed San Diego County Thursday, bringing at times torrential downpours across the region and choppy, high surf to beaches.

More than a quarter-inch of rain an hour was dumped on most parts of San Diego County while some areas were receiving nearly an inch of rain an hour through the afternoon hours, according to NBC 7 Meteorologist Sheena Parveen. 

The first wave of the storm hit from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the second round of rain, not as heavy as the first, was expected to peak at around 1 or 2 a.m. Friday. The NWS flood advisory was set to expire at noon, though flooding risk remained as showers persist through the day.


Some light rain began falling in North County San Diego at about 10 p.m. on Wednesday but downpours really picked up across the county early Thursday morning. The storm briefly let up before dumping rain on the county again at 10 a.m.

By that time, San Onofre had already received more than a half-inch of rain, Mt. Woodson received about .35 inches and most of Central San Diego received anywhere from .30 to .45 inches of rain, according to the NWS. More than an inch of rain had come down in mountain areas like Palomar and Birch Hill. 

By the end of Friday, Pine Valley and Julian were expected to get more than an inch of rain, Fallbrook and Oceanside were expected to see about a half inch, and San Diego and Chula Vista were expected to see less than a tenth of an inch, according to meteorologist Dagmar Midcap.

With that much rain, flooding was possible in dry creeks and low-lying areas and roadways. At about 11 a.m., the California Highway Patrol had reports of dozens of crashes and some spinouts on San Diego roadways.

While it was not clear if all the crashes were caused because of the rain, CHP said drivers should use caution and slow down. 

CHP reminded drivers Wednesday that, since there hasn’t been significant rainfall in San Diego in several months, the highways would be slick.

The agency also advised drivers to leave early to allow plenty of time to reach their destination, check their windshield wipers and tire tread before taking off for the day, and remember to use their headlights if their windshield wipers are in use.

Ocean Beach resident Martin Peace worried about the slick roads and possible car accidents.

He told NBC 7 he does not enjoy driving in the rain and hoped drivers would be alert and keep distractions at a minimum behind the wheel.

“The roads are slick; it’s been a while [since we had rain],” he said. “The main thing is, put the phone down. Don’t stare at the screen, stare at the road. Watch for bikes, motorcycles and pedestrians. And everybody please turn on your headlights.”

Local Tara Gramenz said she had walked to get her morning coffee just to avoid getting on the wet roads.

“We’re on foot today – trying to stay out of accidents,” she added.

On San Diego's coast, strong waves slammed beaches as the storm rolled in and continued to elevate through the afternoon.

high surf advisory is in effect for all of San Diego County's beaches through 10 p.m. Friday. The advisory warns of sneaker waves, sets measuring 6 to 10 feet and minor coastal flooding during the morning high tide. 

The County Department of Environmental Health issued water contact closures at the Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge and Border Field State Park due to sewage-contaminated runoff from the Tijuana River.

San Diego Fire-Rescue lifeguards shut down the Ocean Beach Pier Wednesday morning due to the high surf but it was reopened Thursday morning, during a break in the rain. Lifeguards said the pier could be closed again at a moment's notice if surf conditions worsen. 

Lifeguards added additional staffing and for Thursday to deal with any rescues that may be necessary due to the high surf. SDFD warned beachgoers to stay away from cliffs that can become unstable and collapse and out of the water amid dangerous waves. 

Their swift water rescue team was ready for any inland flooding-related rescues that may be necessary, SDFD Lifeguards said. 

The big surf was also quite the sight for Ocean Beach residents.

Tareq Asfour said that despite warnings from lifeguards, the waves were calling to him. He was thinking about going surfing Thursday morning.

“I’ve never seen this type of wave in San Diego. This is tempting, actually,” Asfour said. “This is Mother Nature.”

“The waves are insane today,” Gramenz agreed. “I would call today ominous. That was the word I thought of today when I woke up.”

The coastal SeaWorld San Diego amusement park shuttered its doors Thursday because of the storm, stating that the safety of their guests and employees was their top priority. The park would reopen on Friday. 

The storm could cause flash flooding in areas scarred by recent wildfires, including last December's Lilac Fire in Fallbrook and this summer's West Fire in Alpine, the NWS said. The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch through early Friday.

San Diego County has designated free sandbag stations for residents who need to protect their property from flooding. Free bags and sand will be provided at more than two dozen locations but residents must bring their own shovels. Several bag-only locations will also be available. 

There's also the possibility of snow in the mountains across Southern California with more than six inches of snow forecasted for areas above 6,000 feet.

Snow accumulations in the Sierra could range from 2-4 feet. 

During the storm, winds will average 15 to 25 miles per hour in the mountains and some gusts could reach 35 mph. The NWS has issued a wind advisory in the region for 24 hours starting at 6 a.m. Thursday. 

Ocean Beach resident Jorie Corush, bundled up in a coat, said she was shocked to see such heavy rainfall and strong, chilly wind in her neighborhood.

“It surprised me when I came out the front door. I’m a little cold!” she told NBC 7.

The storm also caused several crashes overnight, some involving semi-trucks on San Diego County freeways. 

Northbound lanes of Interstate 15 just south of I-8 in Mission Valley were shut down at about 3:30 a.m. Thursday after a flatbed truck crashed into the center divider and a semi-truck, in an attempt to avoid the first disabled vehicle, drove off the roadway and landed in an embankment. 

Less than 15 minutes later, a Fed-Ex delivery semi-truck crashed into the center divide, just feet from the stalled flatbed truck. 

In National City, a third semi-truck drifted off the roadway on northbound I-805 at 47th Street just after midnight. The truck remained jack-knifed until crews could pull it off the roadway. 

No major injuries were reported in any of the crashes but CHP said drivers should heed the warning and slow down on the freeways during Thursday's storm. 

"You just have to realize that when it’s raining you do need to slow down, even more so than normal," a California Highway Patrol Officer told NBC 7. 

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 7 San Diego

Photo Credit: Monica Garske
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<![CDATA[Justin Timberlake Announces San Diego Show]]>Tue, 27 Nov 2018 09:55:34 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/201*120/GettyImages-1038231616.jpg

'What goes around...comes around': Multi-Grammy-winning artist Justin Timberlake finally brings his globe-spanning “Man of the Woods” tour through San Diego next year with a stop at Valley View Casino Center on Feb. 21, 2019.

The tour, which wrapped up its European leg over the summer, has been racking up impressive reviews with its 360-degree multi-stage layout, cutting edge lasers, 3-D projections and fresh takes on some of multi-platinum-selling artist’s hit songs.

Tickets for the Valley View Casino Center show start at $49.50 (plus service fees) and go on sale to the general public starting Monday, Dec. 3, at 10 a.m. PST at LiveNation.com.

Of course, there are pre-sales too: American Express cardmembers can purchase tickets starting on Wednesday, Nov. 28, at 10 a.m. PST through Sunday, Dec. 2, at 5 p.m. Members of Timberlake’s official fan club are also eligible for a separate pre-sale. For more information, head to JustinTimberlake.com.

Timberlake, who headlined the Super Bowl LII halftime show this past February, hasn’t performed in San Diego since his Jan. 8, 2007 tour stop at the then-named iPayOne Center (aka Sports Arena). And my, hasn’t the time just flown by?

The chart-topping actor/musician has sold more than 32 million albums throughout his solo career (of course, he was also a member of NSYNC from 1995-2002, one of the best-selling boy bands of all time), and has won 10 Grammy Awards, four Emmy Awards, three Brit Awards and nine Billboard Music Awards since 2002.

Most recently, his four-times-platinum single “Can’t Stop the Feeling” (from the soundtrack to the 2016 animated film “Trolls”) became his fifth Billboard Hot 100 No. 1, and in addition to winning the Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media, earned him nominations for both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award.

This year’s “Man of the Woods,” Timberlake's latest studio full-length, was also his fourth album to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard charts.

Justin Timberlake’s Man of the Woods Tour Dates

  • Nov. 27: Los Angeles, CA – Staples Center
  • Nov. 29: Phoenix, AZ – Talking Stick Resort Arena
  • Dec. 1: Las Vegas, NV – T-Mobile Arena
  • Dec. 3: Fresno, CA – Save Mart Center
  • Dec. 5: Oakland, CA – Oracle Arena
  • Dec. 8: Omaha, NE – CenturyLink Center
  • Dec. 10: Kansas City, MO – Sprint Center
  • Dec. 13: St. Louis, MO – Enterprise Center
  • Dec. 14: Indianapolis, IN – Bankers Life Fieldhouse
  • Dec. 17: Philadelphia, PA – Wells Fargo Center
  • Dec. 19: Buffalo, NY – KeyBank Center
  • Dec. 21: Uncasville, CT – Mohegan Sun Arena
  • Dec. 22: Uncasville, CT – Mohegan Sun Arena
  • Jan. 4, 2019: Washington, DC – Capital One Arena
  • Jan. 6, 2019: Raleigh, NC – PNC Arena
  • Jan. 8, 2019: Charlotte, NC – Spectrum Center
  • Jan. 10, 2019: Atlanta, GA – State Farm Arena
  • Jan. 12, 2019: Memphis, TN – FedEx Forum
  • Jan. 15, 2019: New Orleans, LA – Smoothie King Center
  • Jan. 17, 2019: Little Rock, AR – Verizon Arena
  • Jan. 19, 2019: San Antonio, TX – AT&T Center
  • Jan. 22, 2019: Houston, TX – Toyota Center
  • Jan. 24, 2019: Dallas, TX – American Airlines Center
  • Jan. 26, 2019: Oklahoma City, OK – Chesapeake Energy Arena
  • Jan. 28, 2019: Denver, CO – Pepsi Center
  • Jan. 31, 2019: New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
  • Feb. 4, 2019: Winnipeg, MB – Bell MTS Place
  • Feb. 6, 2019: Edmonton, AB – Rogers Place
  • Feb. 7, 2019: Edmonton, AB – Rogers Place
  • Feb. 10, 2019: Tacoma, WA – Tacoma Dome
  • Feb. 11, 2019: Tacoma, WA – Tacoma Dome
  • Feb. 14, 2019: Vancouver, BC – Rogers Arena
  • Feb. 15, 2019: Vancouver, BC – Rogers Arena
  • Feb. 18, 2019: Portland, OR – MODA Center
  • Feb. 21, 2019: San Diego, CA – Valley View Casino Center Arena
  • Feb. 22, 2019: Anaheim, CA – Honda Center
  • Feb. 24, 2019: Sacramento, CA – Golden 1 Center

Photo Credit: Getty Images for iHeartMedia]]>
<![CDATA[120+ Mezcal Varieties Featured at New Old Town Bar, Tahona]]>Wed, 28 Nov 2018 10:50:19 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/tahona+mezcal+bar+2.jpg

Dozens of mezcal bottles line the walls of a trendy new bar in the heart of Old Town, one of the first dedicated spots where San Diegans can sip on the Mexican liquor.

Tahona Bar and Tasting Room, located next to the historic Campo Santo Cemetery in Old Town, opened in mid-November with the aura of a Mexican hacienda.

The 2,000 square-foot bar features pieces of art and furniture created by local or Mexican crafters, like their rope seats and hand-painted tiles, but the highlight is Tahona's stock of more than 120 varieties of mezcal.

Mezcal is an agave-based liquor similar to tequila with a more intense, earthy flavor. The spirit became popular in Oaxaca before spreading to other parts of Mexico and, more recently, the United States, according to Mexico tourism officials

Tahona’s founder, Amar Harrag, a French native and University of San Diego graduate who co-owns four local Mediterranean bistros, was inspired to bring a Mezcal tasting room to San Diego after visiting a similar establishment on one of his many trips to Mexico. 

"When I first became intrigued by the mezcal industry I decided to visit Oaxaca, which is the epicenter of the mezcal world," Harrag said. "I loved the experience and I decided to bring that same level of experience to the United States."

He wants Tahona to be a hub for mezcal education as well as a place for visitors to revel in the agave-based drink.

The bar plans to host spirit-based events, like mezcal meditations, and even plans to coordinate group trips to Baja California and Oaxaca so guests can learn about the liquor first-hand. Steven Sadri will lead mezcal tasting events at Tahona. 

"While there are many mezcal aficionados in town, they have not had a lot of places to experience and drink really good mezcals," Sadri said. 

For more modest experiences, the bar’s tasting room allows guests to explore the dozens of unique spirits through flights featuring four or five agave spirits each. Tasting flights range in price from $25 to $45 and individual samplings are also available. 

There are more than 300 types of agave, according to Mexico tourism officials, meaning the possibilities for various types of mezcal liquor are virtually endless.

Sadri said that mezcal's unique flavor takes some getting used to at first.

"Our main advice is to give it more than one chance and try a few different kinds," he said. "The diversity in the flavor profiles is astonishing and once you’ve found your favorite agave you'll know what you like."

While bars that carry mezcal are not hard to find in San Diego — several local tequila bars have at least one bottle of the liquor – Tahona’s bar is stocked with more than 120 varieties.

Like Old Town itself, Tahona’s specialty cocktails are a fusion of both Mexican culture and San Diego lifestyle. For example, the Whaley House Punch, named after Old Town’s very own haunted house, is a combination of mezcal, lime, pineapple, salted watermelon and other liquors.

The cocktails were concocted by beverage directors Carlo Bracci Devoti and Blair Marano who bring international flair to their beverages. 

Tahona's menu also features Oaxacan-influenced cuisine with local flair. Pair mezcal cocktails with Pork Belly Quemado, a seared pork belly covered in mole negro and topped with habanero-pickled vegetables or with Chicken Tinga, a chipotle chicken with green onions, queso fresco and cilantro crema, just to name a few. 

Harrag said Tahona aims to be a socially-responsible business and will complete "social impact projects" along the way, the first of which will be to help open an art center at an orphanage in Mexico's Valla de Guadalupe. 

Tahona is located at 2414 San Diego Ave. and is open daily from 5 p.m. to midnight. To book a reservation for Tahona’s tasting room, call (619)255-2090. For more information, visit here

Photo Credit: Haley Hill Photography
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<![CDATA[High Surf Closes OB Pier Hours Before Storm Set to Arrive]]>Wed, 28 Nov 2018 23:40:10 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/OB+Pier+High+Surf.jpg

The Ocean Beach Pier was shut down on Wednesday due to high surf, hours before a storm was set to arrive in San Diego, bringing a major shift to the weather. 

The storm was expected to make landfall in North County San Diego Wednesday evening, bringing some light rain before the brunt of the storm reaches the county on Thursday morning, according to NBC 7 Meteorologist Sheena Parveen.

By 11 p.m. Wednesday only a few spot showers were showing on NBC 7's weather radar. NBC 7 Meteorologist Dagmar Midcap said she expected showers to remain light through the night, and said moderate to heavy rains could make landfall as early as 6 a.m. Thursday.

The NBC 7 First Alert Weather forecast calls for the potential for an inch of rain across much of the area by the end of Thursday, Parveen said.

Forecasters say there's a risk of heavy rainfall in virtually all of the coastal ranges and some interior sections of the state through Wednesday.

By late Thursday morning, storm clouds would start to dump heavy rain on the parts of the county, Parveen projected.

The storm could cause flash flooding in areas scarred by recent wildfires, including last December's Lilac Fire in Fallbrook and this summer's West Fire in Alpine, the NWS said. 

San Diego County has designated free sandbag stations for residents who need to protect their property from flooding. Free bags and sand will be provided at more than two dozen locations but residents must bring their own shovels. Several bag-only locations will also be available. 

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for areas where wildfires have left scorched land in San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange counties. 

A high surf advisory is in effect for all of San Diego County's beaches through 10 p.m. Friday. The advisory warns of sneaker waves, sets measuring 6 to 10 feet and minor coastal flooding during the morning high tide. 

Midcap said wind gusts could reach 20 to 30 mph throughout the county, and could reach as high as 70 mph in the mountains and deserts.

San Diego Fire-Rescue lifeguards shut down the Ocean Beach Pier Wednesday morning due to the high surf. 

"It may re-open this afternoon when the surf settles down," the agency said in a tweet. 

There's also the possibility of snow in the mountains across Southern California with more than six inches of snow forecasted for areas above 7,000 feet.

Snow accumulations in the Sierra could range from 2-4 feet. 

During the storm, winds will average 15 to 25 miles per hour in the mountains and some gusts could reach 35 mph. The NWS has issued a wind advisory for 24 hours starting at 6 a.m. Thursday. 

The City of San Diego was busy Wednesday clearing out storm drains ahead of the rain. At Kenwood Drive and Barbic Court in Spring Valley, road crew supervisor Tony Ariosta was hard at work clearing an outlet where debris tends to build up.

“We want to collect the debris so that it doesn’t plug stuff up further down the system,” Ariosta explained. “It’s very important to the big picture: it reduces flooding and reduces impact to the environment as well.”

Ariosta said the city plans to have public works employees work 12-hour shifts throughout the storm to make sure the storm channels are manned all day.

“There will be 24-hour coverage throughout the county through any events that could come up so that we can keep the streets and the thoroughfares safe for the traveling public,” he added.

Meanwhile, the California Highway Patrol reminded drivers Wednesday that, since there hasn’t been significant rainfall in San Diego in several months, the highways will be slick once the storm rolls in.

CHP said the most important thing for drivers to remember during a storm is to slow down. Drivers should also leave early to allow plenty of time to reach their destination, check their windshield wipers and tire tread before taking off for the day, and remember to use their headlights if their windshield wipers are in use.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 7 San Diego

<![CDATA[County Offers Free Sandbags]]>Wed, 28 Nov 2018 05:06:18 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/sandbags+lilac+fire+area.jpgFree sand and sandbags are available to residents and business throughout San Diego County.]]><![CDATA[Giving Tuesday Local Donations Surpass $100K]]>Tue, 27 Nov 2018 22:59:34 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/20136291+California+Wildfire+Relief+Telethon+2018.jpg

NBC and Telemundo are hosting a day-long telethon on Giving Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018, to help provide relief to thousands of families devastated by recent California wildfires. 

At the end of the telethon, $107,855.87 was raised by 813 very generous San Diegans.

Proceeds from the California Wildfire Relief Telethon will go towards the American Red Cross, which provides relief to disaster victims in the form of emergency shelter and supplies as well as long-term support. 

You can make a contribution online here. All donations are tax deductible. 

For other ways to help victims of California wildfires, visit here, and for ways to help survivors of natural disasters around the world, click here

<![CDATA[San Diego Man Writes Checks for Students, Staff of Paradise High School]]>Fri, 23 Nov 2018 20:33:54 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/bob+wilson.png

A San Diego man has decided to pass out checks to students and staff from Paradise High School in an effort to lift their spirits as they recover from the ravaging Camp Fire.

The blaze has scorched more than 150,000 acres and all but decimated the entire Paradise community. As of Friday evening, it had taken 84 lives and was 95-percent contained.

Bob Wilson, 89, has been following coverage of the fire from his Rancho Santa Fe home since it sparked on Nov. 8. He heard horror stories from survivors who not only lost their homes and property, but their entire town.

When he thinks back on his years at Escondido High School, he reminisces about “idyllic” times -- idyllic times that Paradise High School students are missing out on.

Moved to do something to help heal their pain, Wilson decided to write $1,000 checks to the 980 students and 105 staff members the school.

“If I can just raise their spirits, I don’t want anything more than that. That would be compensation enough,” he said.

The money comes with no strings attached. Wilson doesn’t care what it’s spent on, he just hopes it brings them positivity during a disastrous time.

“I don't care. They can buy a bicycle if they want, have video games, I don't care. I just want them to have the freedom to this, and as I said, just lift their spirits. That's all I want out of this,” he said.

Wilson remembers the help he received when a fire broke out at one of the fish market restaurants he co-owns. People stepped up to help him even though he didn’t ask, almost as if it were human instinct.

He hopes his donation to the Paradise High community will inspire others to give, too.

“If you have a good intention to do something and you don't do it, it’s just a good intention. It doesn't go any further than that,” Wilson said. “So, I hope they go beyond saying, ‘Gee, I want to help out,’ and then not do something about it.”

Wilson plans to pass the checks out at the school on Tuesday.

<![CDATA[Bailiff's First Responder Training Saves Juror's Life]]>Wed, 28 Nov 2018 05:46:27 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/dan+deguld.png

Two men hugged each other in a courtroom Monday. One was a bailiff and the other was a man whose life he helped save.

Community Service Officer Tom Neal has been patrolled Judge Kevin Enright’s courtroom for years, but he does more than just protect and manage the courtroom, jurors, staff, plaintiffs, and defendants.

“I do a lot of observation,” Officer Neal said.

On September 7, he observed jury foreman Dan Geduld, an NBC 7 Story Producer, was limping. He asked Geduld if he was OK, and Geduld told Neal it was “an old injury that he had sustained some time ago.”

“I didn’t think it was anything that serious,” Geduld said. “And like a complete idiot, I actually walked to lunch.”

Geduld walked down two flights of stairs, around the corner, and back up again.

“I should have died on these steps on the way back from lunch,” he said.

Officer Neal immediately said he noticed Geduld looked worse upon his return.

“He looked at me and I knew he was seeing something I wasn’t seeing,” said Geduld, who said the pain had moved from his leg into his chest and his vision had become fuzzy. Geduld convinced the court to recess an hour early so he could go to his doctor, but Officer Neal wasn’t going to let him wait that long.

Just as the bailiff was going to tell Geduld he was calling an ambulance, Geduld asked for one himself.

Neal, a 17-year veteran and trained first responder, relayed all the warning signs and symptoms to the paramedics including the pain in Geduld’s leg, which turned out to be an important detail.

Geduld said the paramedics might have thought he was having a heart attack if the pain was only in his chest.

“It was not a heart attack,” said the jury foreman. “This was called an aortic dissection… I’m told that the aorta has ripped one or two layers and in my case it ripped from the heart down to the knee, the entire length… I should have died a hundred times over before I made it over to the hospital but I didn’t.”

Monday, a much healthier Dan Geduld embraced Officer Neal and thanked him personally. Geduld said he may have considered going home to rest if it wasn’t for Officer Neal’s persistence.

“That’s what saved my life.”

Two-and-a-half months after Sharp doctors repaired his aortic dissection, Geduld returned to work. Welcome back, Dan!

<![CDATA[Coronado is Home to the World's Prettiest Christmas Tree Lot]]>Sat, 24 Nov 2018 07:22:09 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/San_Diego_s_Most_Unique_Tree_Farm_Sprouted_After_Tragedy.jpg

While some San Diegans were out shopping for presents Friday, others were out looking for the perfect tree to set their gifts under.

If you went looking for the perfect Douglas fir in Coronado, you probably stepped foot in one of the most unique and picturesque tree lots in the country.

With the sound of the San Diego Bay waters crashing ashore under views of the downtown San Diego skyline, Shanel Albert’s tree lot is truly one of a kind. The tree-buying experience at Albert’s Coronado Tree Farm is so magical, it makes you wonder how this year it became the city’s first-ever tree lot.

Locals might recognize Albert and her family. She also owns the Coronado Flower Lady, a flower stand on Orange Avenue. Her famous street-corner flower shop was recently destroyed by a drunk driver.

The bad luck knocked her out of business, but with a little sunshine and water it regrew and is now stronger than ever.

“Maybe that’s what led me to think of this,” she said of her lot. “We did it because we love Christmas.”

<![CDATA[Fa, La, Yum: Mmm Over Disneyland's 2018 Holiday Treats]]>Mon, 05 Nov 2018 08:16:49 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/sdDisneylandPark_Holidays2018_MarketHouse_HolidayLinzerCookie_101118DN-1.jpgSpecialty churros, festive linzer cookies, and a host of heartier favorites make up the resort's seasonal line-up.

Photo Credit: Disneyland Resort]]>
<![CDATA[Watch: SD Zoo's Gao Gao Takes Bite Out of Life in China]]>Mon, 26 Nov 2018 13:05:03 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/gao+gao+carrot.png

The San Diego Zoo's beloved giant panda, Gao Gao, appears content to be back in his native China, according to video posted by zoo officials over the weekend. 

In the video, Gao Gao, who helped lead conservation efforts for the species while living at the San Diego Zoo for 15 years, sits upright and chomps on an oversized carrot, stopping only momentarily as he looks at the camera. 

"We're happy to report this papa bear is in good health and thriving in China," the San Diego Zoo said in a tweet. 

The panda left the San Diego Zoo on Oct. 30 and arrived safely at his new outdoor habitat at the Chinese Center for Research and Conservation for the Giant Panda (CCRCGP) in Dujiangyan, China in early November.

Gao Gao – a father of five cubs, all born at the San Diego Zoo – had been living at the facility for the past 15 years as part of a long-term loan agreement with the People’s Republic of China.

As one can imagine, transporting a panda to the other side of the world is not a simple undertaking. Zoo officials said Gao Gao traveled accompanied by some members from his animal care team.

Kathy Hawk, senior keeper at the San Diego Zoo, said Gao Gao’s diet was adjusted for the trip and was monitored carefully to ensure his return to his homeland would be “seamless.” Animal care specialists from both the CCRCGP and San Diego Zoo Global were helping Gao Gao get acclimated to his new habitat.

And, back in San Diego, though Gao Gao may be gone, zoo visitors can still marvel at pandas daily. The Panda Canyon exhibit at the San Diego Zoo continues to be home to two giant pandasBai-Yun, 27, and her son, Xiao Liwu, 6.

Photo Credit: San Diego Zoo
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<![CDATA[Lions, Tigers, and Bears 'Hunt' for Thanksgiving Turkey]]>Fri, 23 Nov 2018 19:45:16 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Lions+Tigers+Bears+Turkey+1123.jpg

Lions, tigers, bears – and turkeys?

Animals at an Alpine sanctuary celebrated Thanksgiving like many across the country -- with a turkey dinner.

The special meal was part of the Thanksgiving Turkey Bash held Friday.

The entire turkeys were placed in strategic areas in each animal’s den so they were able to “hunt.”

“The animals love to search for their food. It gives them enrichment, and it keeps them from getting bored,” said Bobbi Brink, founder of the Lions, Tigers, and Bears sanctuary.

Many of the animals at the East County sanctuary were once used for movies or roadside exhibits.

“I love that they are rescuing the animals from the circuses and people that have smuggled them into their yards and they got too big,” Brink said. “People don't even know the exotic animal trade is second to weapons in our country.”

The sanctuary is the first time that many of the animals have so much space after being rescued.

Another holiday event to help them will be held on Dec. 1.

The Christmas Festival Fundraiser lets visitors watch lions, tigers, and bears open their presents.

The event will have a silent auction, raffles, food trucks, and even a special appearance by Santa.

Visitors can make donations to the Lions, Tigers, and Bears sanctuary during the holiday festivities.

“We always need to raise funds because running this place – we do it entirely on donations,” Brink said.

Donations can also be made on its website.

The sanctuary is open from Wednesdays to Saturdays.

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<![CDATA[Oceanside Artist Colors City Heights Beautiful ]]>Sat, 24 Nov 2018 18:59:20 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/TZ+ART+UTILITY+BOX+CITY+HEIGHTS%2834%29.jpg

Giving thanks is not just a once a year event. An artist is trying to leave something in City Heights that will bring thanks the whole calendar year.

A utility box at the corner of Winona and University avenues may look like an average utility box in a typical neighborhood, but in the hands of Oceanside-based artist Melissa Ferguson, it was transformed into a work of art.

Ferguson was commissioned by the City Heights Business Association to paint a mural on this box in particular. More than 300 have been painted around the country — and for good reason.

“Utility boxes are everywhere and there are a lot of them,” Ferguson said. “It gives artists the opportunity to create something beautiful on them and have artwork displayed everywhere.”

The goal of the project is to spread a feeling of community pride. The murals are part of a widespread effort to beautify urban areas by reflecting the multicultural aspects of each neighborhood

This particular one on the 4900 block of University Avenue highlights the Ethiopian and Somalian communities of City Heights.

“It’s beautiful color and picture,” a Somalian woman who did not wish to reveal her name said. “You feeling this area belong to us.”

The painting is already part of the community. In just one weekend, it's already getting big thanks from all sizes.

“I've been wanting to catch her so he could meet her because he's been so excited,” another City Heights woman said of her 4-year-old nephew. “I can’t believe how much that painting has got him.”

City Heights Business Association is still accepting submission until Dec. 1 from those wanting to lend their artistic hands to the beautification project. You will need to submit three images of your most recent artwork.

To submit your work or for more information, visit visualshopsd.com.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Imperial Beach Prepping for Effects of Climate Change]]>Sat, 24 Nov 2018 23:37:51 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Imperial+Beach+Wetlands.png

Climate change may soon have more devastating effects on our health, safety, and economy, according to a dire warning from Congress’ latest report released Friday.

The report was just another sobering look at the drastic effects of climate change, Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina said.

His city has been working diligently to try and stay one step ahead of a natural disaster, such as the Bayfront, where water levels there can get dangerously high.

“We've seen the actually bay shore bikeway flood during king tides, or really high tides, something that we never use to see that has really started to happen more recently," Dedina said.

In addition to being the mayor of the seaside town, he is also the executive director at Wildcoast, a non-profit organization specializing in coastal conservation.

Dedina said flood concerns in Imperial Beach are strongly tied to climate change.

“We found that we could have about 30 percent of town impacts by coastal flooding," he said.

That is why the city has focused its efforts on off-setting some of climate change’s effects, such as wetlands restoration.

The South San Diego Bay Wetland Restoration Project has restored more than 250 acres of coastal wetlands in the southwest corner of San Diego Bay, including Imperial Beach.

“This is really big wetland restoration project for the Fish and Wildlife Service,” Dedina said. “So things like this help but we have a lot more to do."

The trickle-down effect of climate change can be seen across the state with the recent wildfires and warmer summers, he said. The way to combat climate change is to off-set some of the damage humans have done to the environment, Dedina said.

“Climate change is here it's happening it's up to us to figure out to deal with it and the more effective way is to work with nature not against it," he said.

Click here, to read the entire climate change report.

<![CDATA[The 'Ripple Effect' of Small Business Saturday ]]>Sat, 24 Nov 2018 09:32:24 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/North-Park-Small-Business-Saturday-FB.jpg

When consumers shop small this Saturday, it’s a big deal for locally-owned businesses that thrive from the support on this day and, really, year-round.

Just ask Brian Beevers, the owner of Simply Local on University Avenue in North Park.

“Shopping local has a ripple effect across everything,” he told NBC 7. “First off, you’re supporting a local artist that spends a lot of hours and time on each product. Not only do you have a product that’s built with so much more love than a manufactured item, you have a product that’s supporting a family, directly. You have a product that is only locally-found; you have a product that is actually creating shops like this that support many artists.”

Beevers’ store is one of many small shops taking part in Small Business Saturday on Nov. 24 – the Saturday after Black Friday that urges consumers to spend their money shopping for holiday gifts at local, independently-owned shops rather than big box retailers.

In North Park, stores like Simply Local, Pigment, Paw Pleasers and The Girl Can’t Help It are among those offering deals to draw customers on the big day.

At Beevers’ shop, the selection of unique goods runs the gamut – from handmade jewelry, leather goods, food and home décor to candles, essential oils, stationery and books written by local authors.

He said the money local artists earn from the sales of their products goes right back into the local economy, helping the whole community thrive.

“They take the money they earn and spend it at another business here locally,” Beevers explained. “That’s our mission, to support small, local businesses as opposed to putting that money into some big box store that you’re just never going to see that money in your local economy.”

North Park Main Street Association spokesperson Angela Landsberg said the point of shopping small is quite simple: “Shopping local keeps your money local.”

“For every $1 you spend, 68-cents of that will stay local within the economy of North Park,” Landsberg told NBC 7.

And, she said, the benefits are far-reaching.

“North Park businesses employ local and it’s better for the environment to shop local. There are so many why shopping local is where it’s at,” she added.

As part of the nationwide Small Business Saturday movement, shoppers who visit North Park on Saturday may be rewarded with prizes including free shirts and pet care items. Shoppers are invited to bring their receipts to The Explore North Park book on Ray Street at University Avenue in search of possible freebies from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Small Business Saturday doesn’t just happen in North Park. Communities across San Diego County will highlight their local businesses including Little Italy, Hillcrest, South Park and Liberty Station.

In Paradise Hills, the 2nd Annual Paradise Hills Night Market, from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Penn Athletic Field, will showcase local restaurants and shops.

The 4th Annual Adams Avenue Spirit Stroll along Adams Avenue in Normal Heights, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., will highlight 32 independently-owned businesses in that neighborhood.

Happy (small) shopping, San Diego.

Photo Credit: North Park Main Street/Facebook
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<![CDATA[How to Watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade]]>Thu, 22 Nov 2018 08:47:21 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-877926306.jpg

Big balloons, colorful floats and famous stars are filling the streets of New York City Thursday for the 92nd annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Hosted on the national holiday by Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker, the three-hour event will air at 9 a.m. in all time zones. An encore presentation will air at 2 p.m.

Watch the parade live on your browser by clicking here, or tapping the "Live TV" button on your mobile app, and logging in with your TV provider. 

Special musical guests are expected to include Barenaked Ladies, John Legend, Leona Lewis, Martina McBride, Rita Ora, Pentatonix, the cast and muppets of "Sesame Street" and Diana Ross and her family.

Also watch for an expected performance by the Radio City Rockettes, as well as appearances from beloved balloons including Charlie Brown, Olaf, the Pillsbury Doughboy and the Elf on the Shelf.

Photo Credit: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Grocery Stores Hustle to Serve Last-Minute Shoppers]]>Wed, 21 Nov 2018 20:01:37 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Grocery_Stores_Hustle_to_Serve_Last-Minute_Shoppers.jpg

NBC 7's Llarisa Abreu reports from a La Jolla supermarket where for some reason, turkey and fresh produce were among the most sought after items.]]>
<![CDATA['1K Points of Light:’ Purple Heart Vet Preps Feast for Vets]]>Thu, 22 Nov 2018 07:42:07 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ES_RAW+VETERANS+THANKSGIVING+PREPS.jpg

Volunteers spent Wednesday night prepping all the fixings for a big Thanksgiving feast for North County veterans, but for one volunteer it’s about more than just providing food.

His name is Scott Spiering. He’s a two-time Purple Heart recipient who remembers a time when Americans like himself weren’t celebrated.

“We walked into a Vietcong trap in the morning and it managed to take out quite a few of the people that were with me. I got a few shots to the leg,” Spiering said.

Spiering said he’s giving his time to make sure homeless, retired and active-duty vets coming to the North County Thanksgiving Feast get their bellies filled while surrounded by good company.

“When I came back from Vietnam, we weren't very much appreciated,” he said. “To see the outpour for veterans today is heartwarming.”

Spiering said the volunteer effort is what America is all about.

“You know George H.W. Bush talked about a thousand points of light. Now I know what that means -- all these great volunteers,” he said.

Inspired by the kindness he sees among his fellow volunteers, Spiering hopes veterans walk away from the table Thursday knowing their compatriots care.

Homeless Veterans of San Diego founder Kelly Luisi told NBC 7 she started putting on the holiday dinner last year. Her involvement with veterans is motivated by the loss of her brother who was killed by an IED during his second tour in Iraq.

Her organization spared no details for the special meal. Centerpieces, linen, sides both sweet and savory, and the most important component of all -- Love.

After hours of work, deserving veterans will be served at 11:30 a.m. Veterans looking for a table to sit at on Thanksgiving can RSVP through the Homeless Veterans of San Diego’s Facebook page

Luisi says Homeless Veterans of San Diego has been able to take more than 40 veterans off the streets in the past year. They offer help to veterans across San Diego County.

<![CDATA[Local Co. Adds 5th Ingredient to Beer: Data]]>Wed, 21 Nov 2018 12:57:03 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/193*120/5thIngredient-SDBJ.jpg

Water, hops, grain and yeast.

Pulkit Agrawal became familiar with beer’s four main components while working for San Diego’s largest brewery, Ballast Point. Serving as a process engineer for just over two years, he helped Ballast point manage its packaging and canning systems.

Agrawal took his experience with Ballast Point in October of 2017 to create a new company, the 5th Ingredient. He contends data is a key part of the equation for a good brew.

“We’re helping breweries track data from grain to glass,” he said. “If all of a sudden between two batches another flavor comes out, something more buttery or apple-y, you can now start pinpointing it because you’re looking at the entire story with the push of a button.”

Paper Logs

Right now, many microbreweries use an old-fashioned system of paper logs attached to tanks and excel sheets to track the process. A few software competitors exist, including OrchestratedBeer and Ekos Brewmaster, but Agrawal said their systems were more accounting-based, where the 5th Ingredient is more focused on the brewing process.

“It’s very much chemistry- and physics-based. You can input the recipe into the system,” Agrawal said. “That’s what appealed to our clientele.”

Agrawal’s system tracks more than 100 data points across the brewing, packaging, warehousing and inventory processes. For example, a brewer could track the amount of grain that went into a particular beer, or detect if it is taking longer than usual to brew.

Efficiencies Count

In a city with more than 150 breweries, those efficiencies count.

“If you don’t make good beer, it’s really easy to go next door and get somebody else’s beer,” Agrawal said. “If you are not maintaining costs and increasing efficiency, you’re going to go out of business.”

The 5th Ingredient’s software is sold as a service, with the price scaled depending on the size of the brewer. So far, all of its customers are craft breweries in Southern California, producing between 200 and 7,000 barrels per year. They include San Diego-based Protector Brewery and Latchkey Brewing Co., and Smog City Brewing Co. in Los Angeles.

Protector, an organic microbrewery, was one of the 5th Ingredient’s first customers. Co-founder Sean Haggerty said the software allows him to track information about each batch of beer on his phone, including how many batches of beer they can brew in one day, how much grain is in inventory after a shipment, and IBU levels (International Bitterness Units).

“Last year they were starting up this idea. There are a lot of competitors out there like Ekos, but I believe in Pulkit,” Haggerty said. “When you brew a beer, consistency is the number one priority. We get to see the batch history and make sure we’re brewing the best beer possible.”

First Hire

Agrawal’s work with Protector Brewing led to his first hire. Protector co-founder Ryan Allis joined the software company as its chief operating officer in June.

With his background in sales, distribution and engineering, Allis helped redesign the front end of Agrawal’s application to make it more user-friendly.

Next, the 5th Ingredient hopes to scale to breweries between 40,000 and 100,000 barrels per year. For context, Ballast Point brews about 375,000 barrels per year, while Green Flash brews about 91,000. The 5th Ingredient is considering raising funds in early 2019, likely a friends and family round, to hire another software developer. But Agrawal said the goal has always been to grow the company organically.

“I’m excited to see where they go,” Haggerty said. “As an entrepreneur, when someone has a spark in their eye and want to do something big, those guys at the 5th Ingredient are hungry for success.”

Photo Credit: 5th Ingredient
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<![CDATA[Once Homeless Family Has Apartment Renovated]]>Wed, 21 Nov 2018 21:00:45 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Moving_Into_a_New_Life.jpg

A once homeless family had their bare-bones apartment furnished by a local non-profit, and as you can imagine, the reveal was amazing. NBC 7's Joe Little has the story.]]>
<![CDATA[These Tips Will Help You Conquer Black Friday]]>Wed, 21 Nov 2018 09:44:06 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/SAMPLE+TIMELINE.00_00_19_11.Still002.jpg

These tips will help you maximize your Black Friday shopping.]]>
<![CDATA[Eater SD: Award-Winning East Coast Eatery Opens in Encinitas]]>Wed, 21 Nov 2018 11:52:20 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/chiko.jpg

Eater San Diego shares the top stories of the week from San Diego’s food and drink scene, including a look at a buzzy new North County restaurant and big coffee news.

Popular DC-Based Asian Restaurant Opens in Encinitas
Chiko, a breakout hit from Washington, D.C., has debuted on Highway 101 in Encinitas. The casual eatery serves a menu rooted in Chinese and Korean cuisine cooked with creative license; signature dishes include "orange-ish chicken" and soy-glazed chopped brisket.

Blue Bottle Coffee Launching in San Diego
Industry giant Blue Bottle is coming to San Diego as part of its continuing global expansion. The Northern California-based company will be bringing a café to the new One Paseo development in Carmel Valley and has plans to also open a branch in downtown San Diego.

Little Italy's Harumama Expands to Carlsbad
Harumama's Instagram-worthy steamed buns, shaped like adorable animals and cute movie characters, are now available in Carlsbad. An outlet of the Little Italy eatery just opened next to Blue Ocean Robata & Sushi Bar and is also serving ramen, sushi, and other Asian-inspired dishes.

LA's Zinqué’ Heads for Little Italy
Zinqué Restaurant & Wine Bar, which has locations in Venice, West Hollywood, and Newport Beach, is opening an outpost in Little Italy's new AV8 building. The European-style eatery will share the ground-floor with SuperNatural Sandwiches and Bobboi Gelato.

Holiday Pop-Ups Coming to Local Bars
Hospitality group CH Projects is giving a festive makeover to some of its well-known bars. Starting this weekend, Polite Provisions will become a winter wonderland while Craft & Commerce and False Idol get Dr. Seuss-themed decorations, and Soda & Swine in Liberty Station preps to host Santa. 

Photo Credit: Haley Hill
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<![CDATA[Holiday Guide: Thanksgiving Staples That Can Sicken Pets]]>Wed, 21 Nov 2018 08:56:01 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/pets+thanksgiving+food.png

Delicious dishes are plentiful during the holidays but while they may delight humans, they can make pets sick. 

The Chula Vista Animal Care Facility shared some important tips with NBC 7 about common holiday foods that pose a hazard for animals. 

Dangerous Dishes

One of the most common side dishes this Thanksgiving will be stuffing but it's main ingredient is not safe for pets, according to Linda Septon, the Chula Vista shelter's adoption counselor and rescue coordinator.

"Croutons are bread. Yeast can react with sugars and actually cause bloat, and if they don't have immediate emergency surgery, they will die," she warned. 

Similarly, mashed potatoes may be a favorite for humans but owners should keep it out of their pets' mouths. 

"Potatoes are high in fat just like turkey skins and those things can cause Pancreatitis in animals, which is life-threatening," said Tianna Torres, Chula Vista Animal Shelter animal care specialist. 

They can also contain onions and garlic which are not good for pets. 

It's not always the food itself, but the salt, sugar and spices added during preparation that can cause diarrhea and vomiting.

Alcoholic drinks, nuts, chocolate and the shiny foil they're often wrapped in are toxic to pets.

"(Candy) wrappers, if ingested... gets stuck in the intestinal track and the animal cannot use the bathroom," she warned. 

Some foods should be kept away from pets altogether.

"Raisins and grapes can cause kidney failure in dogs," warned Septon. "When you're cooking and you're using raisins in your stuffing, make sure you're not giving your pets any leftovers, make sure you don't drop them on the ground."

A Simple Fix

Animal care workers said the one Thanksgiving staple that can work wonders all year long is 100 percent pumpkin puree.

"This is what every pet owner, especially dog owner, should have in their cabinet," said Septon. "If you have a dog that has diarrhea or constipation, give them a little scoop of pumpkin puree and a lot of times, it helps clear it up."

Stressed Pets

Animals can also get stressed during the holidays, so it's important for them to have their own quiet place where they feel safe.

Something else that can soothe pets -- restraining jackets. The fabric constricts their bodies like swaddling a baby, which allows pets to feel more at ease. Less stress also means a happier holiday for everyone.

If you think your pet ate something potentially poisonous, contact your veterinarian immediately and call the ASPCA animal poison control center at 888-426-4435.

<![CDATA[SoCal Thanksgiving Travel Will Be at 13-Year High: AAA]]>Wed, 21 Nov 2018 10:59:29 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/traffic_timelapse_for_web_1200x675_1376533571648.jpg

Thanksgiving is a time for family, which for some means a lot of time will be spent getting to them. 

There will be more Thanksgiving travelers on the road this year than in the last 13 years, AAA reports. 

"4.2 million southern California residents will be taking a trip of more than 50 miles from home Wednesday to Sunday of this week," said Doug Shupe, a spokesperson for AAA. 

That's the most travelers in this area since 2005.

About 5 million travelers will be taking to the skies. San Diego International Airport (SAN) expects 65 thousand travelers a day between arrivals and departures. 

The busiest airport day is expected to be Wednesday followed by Sunday when most travelers will be returning home, according to SAN officials. 

AAA attributes it to the booming economy, which is making more people feel like they have expendable income for things like gas and vacation. 

"The increase is going to be about 5.1 percent more travel volume this year compared to last year," added Shupe. 

Despite higher gas prices, more people will be driving. There will also be many taking planes, trains and other means of transportation. 

Shupe stresses it is important to inspect your car ahead of time so that you don't end up on the side of the road. 

"Check the tire tread and inflation to prevent blow outs," said Shupe. "Check the battery, and do the oil change as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer." 

What are your holiday travel plans? 

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<![CDATA[Here Are All the Foods Recalled Ahead of Thanksgiving]]>Wed, 21 Nov 2018 16:00:49 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/thanksgivingGettyImages-1030383984.jpg

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and nothing rings in the holiday spirit more than...food recalls?

Here is the list of foods that have recently been recalled ahead of this year’s festivities.

Romaine lettuce:
Health officials are warning people to stay away from romaine lettuce entirely after it was connected to an E. coli outbreak that hospitalized 13 people, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.

Nearly 100,000 pounds of beef have been recalled after the U.S. Department of Agriculture said it may be contaminated with traces of E. coli. Brands including Swift Ground Beef and Blue Ribbon Ground Beef are not safe to eat, officials announced Saturday.

Ground Turkey:
Jennie-O recalled almost 100,000 pounds of raw turkey products in an ongoing salmonella outbreak. The outbreak resulted in one death and 164 reported illnesses.

Cake Mix:
Several Duncan Hines cake mixes were recalled in early November after a sample of the brand’s Classic White mix tested a positive finding of salmonella. The recall includes Classic White, Classic Yellow, Butter Golden and Confetti cake mixes.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File ]]>
<![CDATA[Delivery Apps Bring Fresh Challenges to Dining Scene]]>Tue, 20 Nov 2018 10:32:16 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Puesto-1.jpg

The boom in food delivery apps available in San Diego has mushroomed exponentially the last several years. And, data shows they aren’t going away anytime soon.

The demand and subsequent growth of food delivery apps have spawned a number of developments in the food and restaurant industry. First, despite delivery companies charging up to a 30 percent commission, the number of San Diego-based restaurants contracting the mobile services continues to grow as more eateries are jumping on the bandwagon in hopes of reaching a broader customer base. Secondly, ghost restaurants, which don’t have brick-and-mortar retail locations and solely function through delivery apps, have been popping up.

Profit margins can be high for ghost restaurants as compared with a sit-down location since there isn’t a storefront and front-of-the-house employees to account for financially. Although most of these ghost restaurants came online recently, some in the industry believe the business model can be successful.

Food Delivery Sales Increased

According to a report on food trends by NPD Group, a market research firm, despite the restaurant industry traffic in the U.S. plateauing in recent years, food delivery sales grew by 20 percent between 2012 and 2017, with individual orders increasing by 10 percent over the five-year period. Overall, the accumulation of deliveries in those years accounted for 1.75 billion orders and $16.9 billion in sales with mobile food delivery companies representing 13 percent of the traffic. One local example is Doordash, which launched with less than 100 restaurants in San Diego in 2015, and now has over 3,000 restaurants it delivers for.

Lucien Conner, director of operations at San Diego-based Puesto Mexican restaurants, with six locations, says the properties began using food delivery apps two years ago, including Postmates, Doordash and UberEats, but now work exclusively with Doordash.

Additional Revenue Stream

“We experimented with different ones, since the segment is so new, and we wanted to see who will emerge as the leader,” said Conner. “In terms of striking exclusive deals, it was just negotiating the best terms. Plus, from a streamlining perspective, it made sense to use one platform and one system.”

Conner said while the brick and mortars have great volume already, he plans to continue to use the delivery apps for additional revenue stream.

“It seems like a no-brainer as long as you can maintain margins that make sense and don’t damage the experience of the customers in store and don’t send a subpar representation of yourself in a box to your off-site customers,” he said.

Conner says the company has seen the most volume with its downtown location since working exclusively with Doordash. He adds the company’s reason for using a delivery format is to be able to connect with stay-at-home guests, as well, while not compromising the experience of the in-dining guests.

A Necessary Evil

Mike Spilky, president of San Diego-based Location Matters, a commercial real estate company, says delivery apps are actually a necessary evil for restaurants.

“It makes it difficult to make any money from the revenue you are getting from deliveries because of the percentage of sales they charge,” he said, adding that traditional restaurants are not built for the amount of volume that goes into also having a delivery extension, thus, it can wreak havoc on the operation side of things.

Believing in Ghosts

To that point, though few and far in between, a number of ghost restaurants have popped up in San Diego bred from the delivery apps craze. The idea is a restaurant that doesn’t have a storefront and sometimes not even an actual venue (it might rent an already-existing commercial kitchen to work out of where it creates food that it sells solely through door-to-door delivery purchases).

Adam Lowe, owner of Sundara Indian restaurant in Point Loma, launched Dabbawala, a sister ghost restaurant functioning out of a licensed prep kitchen in Balboa Park in April.

“We were already at the Museum of Natural History renting space from them for about a year, so we decided to test the waters,” he said. “It was odd: no storefront, online orders only, pre-pay in advance.”

Although Lowe shut down the ghost restaurant two months later due to logistical issues — mostly because of its location, which added anywhere between 10-20 minutes to each delivery — he says he’s convinced it’s a system that can indeed work.

“If we didn’t have to run this stuff down from the roof of a five-floor building that was lodged in the center of Balboa Park, we would’ve stuck with it,” he said, adding that if he could work out of a ground-level location and in a dense neighborhood, he would consider giving ghosting another shot.

Lowe adds that at Sundara, he recently begrudgingly began using delivery apps, mostly because the platforms reach so many customers, although he does agree the margins can be high.

Customer Convenience

Morgan Poor, assistant professor of marketing at San Diego State University, says delivery apps are important to today’s time-starved society.

“We live in a world where we want convenience and variety at our fingertips,” she said. “We don’t necessarily have the opportunity to go to the grocery store all of the time and think of what to cook every night, but, we like trying new foods and new cuisines and sometimes ethnic foods that we can’t make. With delivery apps, we have access to all kinds of foods right at home.”

Spilky, of Location Matters, agrees.

“There is a demand for it,” he said. “If you don’t deliver, you kind of disappear.” 

Photo Credit: Puesto
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<![CDATA[Michael Jordan Returns Home, Meets With Hurricane Victims]]>Tue, 20 Nov 2018 22:58:03 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/jordanAP_18324797734770.jpg

Stephanie Parker isn't quite sure how her family of six would have managed the last two months without the help of Michael Jordan and the American Red Cross following Hurricane Florence.

So when Parker met Jordan on Tuesday she couldn't hold back giving the owner of the NBA's Charlotte Hornets a big hug and a thank you.

"It means he hasn't forgotten," Parker told The Associated Press about Jordan's visit to Wilmington, North Carolina. "It means we are important."

Jordan returned to his hometown wearing North Carolina Tar Heels blue and met with some hurricane victims, many of whom have benefited from his $2 million donation in September. Jordan gave $1 million each to the Red Cross and the Foundation for the Carolinas Hurricane Florence Response Fund.

"I can give money all day long, but at some point you want them to understand you're human," Jordan told AP.

Jordan handed out Thanksgiving dinners at a home improvement store and gave away Jordan Brand shoes at a Boys & Girls Club Tuesday where he once played as a child.

Parker has lived the nightmare that's become all too familiar for hurricane victims around the country.

She, her husband, and their four children ages 3 to 8 heeded the warnings to evacuate the area. They took refuge in a Red Cross shelter, but when they returned, their apartment was flooded with two feet of water and their minivan crushed by a fallen tree. They spent nearly two months in shelters until recently being placed in a hotel while they await permanent housing.

"It's been stressful," she said, taking a long, deep breath. "At first it was really, really hard to realize that you lost everything. But people like Michael Jordan donating to the Red Cross and donating to people who have gone through what we've gone through is an incredible blessing. We are so very, very thankful."

Jordan broke into a wide smile when asked about his meeting with Parker.

"You really want to trust that money goes to the right people," Jordan said. "And when you see it goes to the right people, it makes me feel good that I did the right thing."

Jordan said he'll continue to monitor the hurricane recovery efforts and would consider partnering with others to continue to help improve living conditions.

American Red Cross executive director James Jarvis, who is based out of Wilmington, said that the organization set aside a $50 million budget to help people affected by Hurricane Florence.

Jarvis said at the height of the storm the Red Cross sheltered more than 20,000 people in 172 locations. They provided 1.3 million meals and snacks. They've also distributed money to more than 6,500 families, doling out more than $3.8 million to help families get on the road to recovery.

"I wanted to be an igniter to the process," Jordan said of his initial donation. "But it's going to take a long time before things get back to normal. Whatever way I can contribute I will."

He also hopes that Charlotte hosting the All-Star game in February will provide an impetus for more financial aid to the region.

"I am pretty sure that the league will have some support systems that will reach out to this community," Jordan said. "And we are going to do a lot in Charlotte, too. But the overall game is about helping other people, so I can see it reaching all the way down to this area."

Natalie English, the president and CEO of the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, said it's still too early to estimate the financial damage to the area.

But she said Jordan's donations resonated in the community.

"I think it means a lot to people here that Michael remembers his home and that he cares about where he was for his formative years and he is giving back to help restore the community," English said.

This is not a one-time deal for Jordan.

Fred Lynch coached Jordan when he was 15-year-old freshman playing on the junior high school basketball team at Laney High School in Wilmington. He sustained minor damage to his nearby home, but said several neighbors only a block away suffered total destruction as a result of flooding and wind damage to Hurricane Florence.

Lynch said Jordan has visited Wilmington periodically since leaving to play college basketball at North Carolina and embarking on an NBA career that included six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls, five league MVP honors and 14 All-Star game appearances.

The 55-year-old Jordan still has an aunt, cousins and friends here and his nephew who attends college at UNC Wilmington. Jordan was most recently here in April at his high school filming a Gatorade commercial.

Lynch said he wasn't surprised when Jordan stepped up to help the people of Wilmington and the surrounding areas — donating money and his time.

"From the time I coached him as a ninth grade, he was always looking out for people," Lynch said. "He's always trying to do the right thing and always trying to better himself and his community. That's pretty much what he's been about his entire career."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 7 San Diego

Photo Credit: Gerry Broome/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Safety Group Releases 'Worst Toys' List for 2018 Holidays]]>Wed, 14 Nov 2018 07:54:54 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/219*120/111318+pillow+pet+thumb.jpg

Cabbage Patch Kids dolls, Pillow Pets and Nerf guns may seem like good holiday gifts for children, but one group is warning otherwise.

World Against Toys Causing Harm, also known as WATCH, released its 2018 top 10 list of "worst" holiday toys and featured all of the above. The nonprofit organization says the toys included in its list pose choking hazards, risk blunt injuries and have the potential to cause facial injuries.

For more than four decades, WATCH has released these lists to warn parents of the potential dangers that come with their children’s selection of toys on their holiday wish lists.

This year’s list includes:

  • Nickelodeon Nella Princess Knight Pillow Pets Sleeptime Lites for its "potential for ingestion and battery-related injuries"
  • Nerf Vortex VTX Praxis Blaster for its "potential for eye injuries"
  • Marvel Black Panther Slash Claw for its "potential for eye and facial injuries"
  • Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel Superstar Blade for its "potential for blunt force and eye injuries"
  • Cabbage Patch Kids Dance Time Doll for its "potential for choking injuries"
  • Zoo Jamz Xylophone for its "potential for ingestion and choking injuries"
  • Nici Wonderland Doll: Miniclara the Ballerina for its "potential for choking injuries"
  • Stomp Rocket Ultra Rocket for its "potential for eye, face and other impact injuries"
  • Cutting Fruit for its "potential for puncture and blunt force injuries"
  • Chien Á Promener Pull Along Dog for its "potential for entanglement and strangulation injuries"

WATCH presented its list on Tuesday at Franciscan Children’s Hospital in Boston.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports an estimated 240,000 toy-related injuries happened in the U.S. in 2016. Between January 2017 and October 2018, an estimated 3.5 million units of toys were recalled in the U.S. and in Canada, according to WATCH.

The Toy Association disagrees with the non-profit's claims.

"Each year, WATCH's dangerous toys list needlessly frightens parents and caregivers," the Toy Association said in a statement. "By law, all toys sold in the United States must meet 100+ rigorous safety tests and standards."

Wicked Cool Toys, which manufactures the Cabbage Patch doll that was named in WATCH's list, said safety is their priority.

"We take safety very seriously, and all of the products we bring to market have been through and passed all required safety testing," their statement said. 

The manufacturer reminds consumers that all toys sold in the U.S. are required to exceed safety testing before hitting store shelves.

Hasbro, which manufactures the Nerf Vortex and the Black Panther claw, also said their top priority is safety.

"Our products comply with all applicable global safety laws, regulations and standards, including those enforced by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission," Hasbro said in a statement. 

PlayMonster manufactures the Cutting Fruit set and also said they take consumer safety seriously and that it is their priority.

As for the Miniclara the Ballerina doll, a NICI representative said the toy is safe for children.

"This plush kitten is fixed to a plush bag with a 5mm polyester woven tape," a NICI representative said in a statement. "Because the product passed the physical tests necessary to receive the allowance to be sold to consumers we are confident that the product is safe."

Vtech says WATCH's list unnecessarily inflicts concern onto guardians.

"This dangerous toys list, released annually before the holiday shopping season, is biased, inaccurate and greatly misinforms the public, needlessly frightening parents and caregivers," a Vtech spokesperson said in a statement.

"Toymakers and The Toy Association are committed to toy safety year-round," the Toy Association said. "These efforts include providing useful tips for families and caregivers to help them choose age-appropriate toys and ensure safe play."

Toy manufacturers CJ Products, D & L Company and Janod; Juratoys did not immediately comment on the list.

Toys that were featured in 2017’s list included a Wonder Woman sword, fidget spinners, a Spider-Man drone and more.

Photo Credit: World Against Toys Causing Harm]]>
<![CDATA[San Diego Braces for Expected Record-Setting Travel Week]]>Mon, 19 Nov 2018 20:42:03 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-545709149-san-diego-international-airport-generic.jpg

Long lines. Traffic jams. Stress. It must be the holidays.

It was fairly calm at Lindbergh Field Monday afternoon, but in the next few days it’s going to get much worse. Experts say Thanksgiving week 2018 could be one of the busiest for travelers in years.

For many, the holidays don’t truly begin until you hit curbside at the airport. It begins on the drive there. Stop and go, stop and go, and then wade through the triple-parked cars.

Folks like Joannie Appling and her husband Al dread the process. They’re headed to Colorado for Turkey Day and to see their grandkids, which they admit is better than traveling with their grandkids.

“I don’t want to lose them,” Joannie said. “I would lose them in security.”

The American Auto Association (AAA) expects more than 4 million people will join the Applings in the skies this week. The auto club giant also expects more than 54 million on the roadways, the most since 2005.

They’re even expecting trains, buses, and cruise ships to see almost 1.5 million travelers. According to AAA, your trip could take four-times longer than it would any other time of year.

The Transportation Security Association (TSA) it will be fully staffed to make sure it can process the passengers coming through airport security this week.

To help speed up your security check experience, the TSA offered a few tips:

• The busiest times at SAN checkpoints are usually 4 to 6:30 a.m., 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and from 7 to 9 p.m., and there’s often a mid-day rush of international travelers at Terminal 2.

• Arrive at the airport two hours before your flight departs during peak holiday travel.

• Dress for security screening by avoiding bulky jewelry, accessories, and large belts.

• Remove travel-size liquids, gels and aerosols from your carry-on so they can be easily accessed.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/File]]>
<![CDATA[Trees for Troops Donates Christmas Trees to Military Bases]]>Tue, 20 Nov 2018 08:12:59 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/217*120/xmastrees.jpg

A Wisconsin Christmas tree farm is participating in "Trees For Troops," a national organization that donates Christmas trees to servicemembers.]]>
<![CDATA[Local Hospitals See Improvements from New Leapfrog Ranking]]>Mon, 19 Nov 2018 14:44:56 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/UC-San-Diego-Hospital-gener.jpg

A national hospital safety review saw seven San Diego hospitals improve over the year, according to a newly released ranking by the Leapfrog Group.

Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades are assigned to more than 2,600 hospitals across the nation, according to its website. It reviews them twice a year.

Grades are given out as A, B, C, D, or F.

Roughly a third of all hospitals graded received an A in the fall of 2018. Only one percent of its recorded hospitals were given an F.

UCSD Hillcrest, Sharp Memorial San Diego, and Scripps Memorial La Jolla were among some of the local hospitals that were given the highest score.

Scripps Mercy in Chula Vista and San Diego were among the few given a C.

See all grades from the last three years listed below.

Specific items like good communication, hand washing, bed sores received, and problems with surgery are also separately rated.

To see these ratings, search for a hospital on the organization’s website.

Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades said it examines 28 different measures of hospital safety data and weighs each item by evidence, opportunity for improvement, and impact.

To learn more about the how grades are determined, go to its website.

California was ranked 23rd for number of hospitals given an A, with 32.4 percent. New Jersey was first with 56.7 percent and Nebraska rounded out the bottom of the list with 6.7 percent.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego
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<![CDATA[Del Mar City Council Opposes NCTD's Plan for Fencing Along Train Tracks]]>Tue, 20 Nov 2018 14:36:14 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/09-06-16+Del+Mar+railroad+tracks.JPG

Nearly 2,000 Del Mar residents have signed a petition to stop the North County Transit District (NCTD) from building a fence along the Del Mar Bluffs that would prevent people from walking across the railroad tracks.

The issue for residents of the waterfront community is beach access. The only legal railway crossing in Del Mar is on 15th Street.

Camilla Rang, has lived on 10th Street for 20 years. She says the beach below the bluffs has been her family’s happy place for years, but understands there are safety concerns the NCTD wants to alleviate.

“You can see the suicide signs here. Suicide watch. Yes, there have been some suicides and there have been two accidents,” she said.

Crossing the railway is illegal and it can cost you up to $500 if you are cited.

The Del Mar City Council has been dealing with this issue for more than 20 years. On Monday, the Council voted 4-0 in favor of opposing the fence. It also approved a safety study that will look into adding three more legal railway crossings in the area.

One of the crossings would be at the end of 11th Street near Rang’s home.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Padres, San Diego Food Bank Hand Out Turkeys at Petco Park]]>Mon, 19 Nov 2018 11:28:17 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP_RAW+PADRES+TURKEY+GIVEAWAY.jpg

Hundreds of turkeys were passed out to underserved families by San Diego Padres pitchers of the past Monday morning in preparation for Thanksgiving.

Randy Jones and Brett Tomko, alongside other volunteers, handed out food at Home Plate Gate at Petco Park.

“We’re distributing a bunch of turkeys and holiday meals to people in need in our community,” said James Floros, president and CEO of the Jacobs and Cushman San Diego Food Bank. “We’re going to help about 800 families today.”

The Miramar-based food bank and the local baseball team came together for the three-hour event that started at 9 a.m.

“A few years ago, we started talking about what we can do for families in need during the holidays, and the Padres stepped up and said, ‘Hey, let’s distribute turkeys, let’s partner with you guys, and let’s make a difference,’” Floros told NBC 7.

Jones, who has been doing drives for years, said no matter how it started, “It makes all the difference in the world to these families. It feels good to be out here and giving back.”

One in eight adults and one in five children face food insecurity throughout the county, according to Jacobs and Cushman San Diego Food Bank’s website.

“We have half a million people in our community who don’t know where their next meal is coming from,” Floros said. “To have something like this that helps lift their family up, help them have a better holiday, and put food on the table – it doesn’t get any better than that.”

Floros said local food banks’ budgets are stretched thin during the holidays, so events like this one can make a big impact.

“To have a special day on Thanksgiving,” Jones said. “We can make a difference one family at a time.”

Jones and Tomko were seen high-fiving kids and laughing with families as they passed out food.

The local food bank serves 370,000 people every month, according to its website. The Jacobs and Cushman San Diego Food Bank distributed 28 million pounds of food, during the previous fiscal year.

Its distribution partners include King Chavez Elementary School, Sherman Elementary School, and Mariner's Park on Naval Base San Diego.

To donate to the local food bank, go to its website. There are also more ways to give listed.

<![CDATA[Homes Reserved for Homeless Vets in Search of Tenants]]>Fri, 16 Nov 2018 23:22:14 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/New_Homes_Need_Tenants.jpg

A brand new apartment complex reserved for homeless veteran families is having a hard time finding people to move in.

Fifty-two new homes at the Vista del Puente apartment complex in Southcrest is set to have people move in beginning Thanksgiving week. However, 20 of those apartments are vacant.

Vista del Puente was built by the non-profit group, Townspeople. The group's projects regularly focus on homeless military veterans with disabilities, HIV or AIDS. The 20 vacancies at Vista del Puente are reserved specifically for homeless families of veterans with disabilities.

“That’s a fantastic, awesome idea,” said Jeanette Bell, who feeds and clothes the homeless with other Skyline Church volunteers in downtown San Diego.

The apartments in the complex have one, two, or three bedrooms and cost roughly $700 to $1,100 a month. Townspeople executive director Jon Derryberry told NBC 7 there are roughly 1,200 people on a waitlist but few of them qualify as a homeless family of a veteran with disabilities.

“The problem is there is over 10,000 units needed and they’re not being built [today],” Derryberry said.

Instead, Townspeople started with the next 52 apartments.

“I’m frustrated most of the time,” He said. “I think we can do more.”

Anyone who qualifies or knows someone who does was urged to contact Townspeople directly.

<![CDATA[Thousands Unleash Their Inner Wonder Woman in Local Run]]>Mon, 19 Nov 2018 08:38:50 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/wonder+woman+race+mission+valley.jpg

Thousands of superhero-clad racers ran in San Diego’s inaugural DC Wonder Woman Run Series in Mission Valley Sunday.

The 5K and 10K races are meant to empower runners of all backgrounds to channel their inner superheroes.

About 3,500 people came out, some running enthusiasts, others to have fun in their superhero gear.

The course goes through Mission Valley, including Friars Road and Camino del Rio along the San Diego River.

Lynda Carter, known for her portrayal of Wonder Woman in the 70s, virtually started the race via video.

Alberto Valenzuela and Jaime Wooten were the first to finish the 5K race in their divisions, according to the run series’ website. They ran the 3-mile-plus track in a little over 20 minutes.

The shorter race saw about 2,200 runners with an average time of about 47 minutes.

Mark Knutson and Susan Brooker came out on top for the 10K, finishing just over 40 minutes.

The longer race saw about 680 runners with an average time of about one hour and 16 minutes.

All racers received a special Wonder Woman Run Series medal.

Other inaugural races popped up throughout the state, including ones in L.A., Oakland, San Jose, and Sacramento.

Virtual runs of the Sunday race are available on the Wonder Woman Run Series’ website.

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<![CDATA[Coronado FD Crew Returns After Assisting in Woolsey, Hill Fire Fights]]>Fri, 16 Nov 2018 23:34:23 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/coronado+FD+woolsey+fire+crew.png

Some San Diego-area firefighters who joined the fight against destructive fires burning across Southern California returned home Friday.

Among the local firefighters helping our neighbors to the north was a crew from Coronado that was deployed in Los Angeles and Ventura counties for more than a week.

"It was very emotional; I saw a lot of tragedy and loss,” Coronado Fire Department firefighter Nathaniel Diaz said. He’s only been with the department for seven months.

"We did mop up, taking care of hot spots, making sure there was no rekindles with fire, making sure there were no flare-ups as well,” he said, explaining his crew’s duties while fighting the Woolsey and Hill fires.

"It hit very close to home for me, because it's very sad, seeing them dig through old pictures, find whatever they can out of basically nothing,” he said.

Fellow firefighter Nate Ramos tells said his crew had to be re-routed several times during the firefight because flames advanced and cut them off.

"The fire behavior we saw the first day was some of the more active fire behavior I've ever seen in my career and I was on the Witch Creek fire back in 2007,” Ramos said.

The firefighters said one of the worst parts about their time up north was seeing so many homes destroyed.

"A lot of the days we were there we were just offering support,” Ramos said. “If we were driving around and saw someone digging through their house, we stopped and offered assistance."

Ramos and Diaz’ strike team was part of a larger crew made up of 22 members from all over San Diego County, including San Diego, Lakeside and Chula Vista.

<![CDATA[Goodwill Industries’ 12th Annual Little Black Dress Sale]]>Thu, 15 Nov 2018 18:01:54 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Little+Black+Dress+Bob+2017-1.jpg

The holiday season is upon us and so too is the season for holiday work parties and other formal functions. For so many, that means it’s time to shop for little black dresses. Goodwill Industries of San Diego County has you covered.

It is time for Goodwill’s 12th annual Little Black Dress sale. Goodwill stores throughout San Diego have collected and gathered up all the black dresses and will put them up for sale at 9 a.m. on Nov. 16.

“I think every woman needs a little black dress in their wardrobe,” said Darlene Cossio who works for Goodwill in San Diego County. “You don’t want to wear a dress again, so here’s the opportunity to pick up three, four, five dresses and wear them for every occasion.”

Consumer Bob has teamed up with Goodwill San Diego to launch the annual Little Black Dress sale.

Many of the dresses have never been worn and still have the tags to prove it.

“They come in all shapes and sizes, from size zero to size 22,” said Cossio.

Prices for the dresses range from $14 to $75, she said.

Be sure to head over to the Goodwill Store located at 706 Broadway in Chula Vista to get the little black dress you need.

Photo Credit: Sergio Flores]]>
<![CDATA[Dozens of Foster Children Adopted on National Adoption Day]]>Sat, 17 Nov 2018 17:26:34 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Adoption_Finalized_for_Dozens_of_Local_Foster_Children.jpg

November is National Adoption Month and to mark the occasion, 22 boys and girls from around the county were adopted Friday as part of National Adoption Day.

This year, the County is celebrating 70 years of adoption services.

San Diego's foster-care system struggles with finding homes for teens, children from minority backgrounds and siblings who want to stay together.

But that didn’t take away from the joy felt in the San Diego County Juvenile Courthouse on Friday.

Isis Aranda was among the 18 other families who participated in National Adoption Day.

Her family of four is now a family of five.

The newest member of the family is 10-year-old Hector.

He's been staying with them for three years but Friday made it all official.

A decision that wasn't hard for Aranda and her family since Hector is her cousin's son.

“I’m happy that the day is finally here,” she said. “Hector woke up today at 3 a.m. and again at 5 because of how excited he was.”

The same excitement echoed when Bob Hanley and Aaron Omlor signed the dotted line to officially adopt Eric Hanley Omlor. He had been in the foster system for two years. Friday was a dream come true for the little guy two days shy of his 10th birthday.

“I feel special, my hopes went up when I met Bob and Aaron and they said they would sign the papers,” Hanley Omlor said. 

<![CDATA[Good News: Bar, Community Supports Fire Victims; Dog Rescued]]>Sun, 18 Nov 2018 16:33:44 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/San-Diego-Bay-Skyline-Garske.jpg

To help make sure you stay informed on the most shared and talked about stories in San Diego County, each Sunday we'll revisit five positive or uplifting stories from the previous week and capsulize them in this digest with the most recent updates.

El Cajon Boy Injured in Hit-and-Run Crash Returns to School

Hassan Haidar, 10, was riding his bike to school on Oct. 4 when a driver hit him, leaving him in the road. Just over a month since the crash, and 27 days in the hospital, Haidar is back at school part-time and on the road to recovery. The one thing doctors said saved his life was the helmet his mother always reminded him to wear.

Former Gulls Star Willie O'Ree Enters Hockey Hall of Fame

On Monday, Willie O'Ree was finally inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame. In 1958, O'Ree broke hockey's color barrier 11 years after Jackie Robinson did the same thing for Major League Baseball. At the end of his induction speech, O'Ree said the game has grown significantly but the NHL still has issues with inclusion. Then he reminded us all of the opportunity that he received and asked us all a simple favor. "I leave this with you," said O'Ree. "When you return to your communities take a look around. Find a young boy or girl who needs the opportunity to play hockey and give it to them. You never know; they may make history."

An Outpouring of Support Gives Ramona Family Hope After Fire Takes Everything

Patrice and Patrick Doona had their lives flipped upside down Monday when their Ramona home went up in flames and they lost their belongings. Patrice said the community’s response has been completely overwhelming and amazing as people step up and offer replacement items and even cash donations. “Just seeing the love that’s still out there, the goodness that’s still in people, it’s just unbelievable,” she said.

East County Bar Raises Money for Shooting and Fire Victims

An East County bar is doing what it can to lend support to victims of both natural disasters and senseless violence in Southern California. Renegade Country in El Cajon held an event Thursday to fundraise for victims of the fires in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, and the victims of the Borderline Bar and Grill Shooting in Thousand Oaks. The bar's owner plans to drive the donations up north herself and drop them off to organizations already helping the victims in both tragedies.

Chula Vista Firefighters Rescue Dog Trapped for Days in Storm Drain

The family of Sammy, a small dog that appears to be a Pomerania mix, believed the pup had somehow fallen into a storm drain but couldn't find him. They called firefighters who used their equipment and training to retrieve the little guy on Thursday. Firefighters say the dog was healthy and the family thrilled to have him back home after four days.

<![CDATA[San Diego Group Collecting Items to Help Migrant Caravan]]>Sun, 18 Nov 2018 15:08:26 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/CaravanDonation.png

As more migrants are continuing to pour into Tijuana just across the border, a group of volunteers from San Diego are collecting necessary supplies to help the migrants.

An estimated 7,000 people are expected to arrive in the coming days. Shelters in the Tijuana were already full, and spaces were running out at a sports complex housing hundreds of families.

"Right now, the people in Parque Benito Juárez don’t have a lot of access to the food, the blankets that they need while they’re there," said Brendan Cassidy, a volunteer for the Otay Mesa Detention Resistance.

While all of this was happening, the group of San Diegans stated a donation drive to help those south of the border.

"The response has been absolutely amazing,” said Steven Neider, another member of the Otay Mesa Detention Resistance. “It was only going to go for a few days but then people kept bringing and kept bringing, so we let it run and we have filled this place up pretty much to capacity."

The group started the donation drive because the wait for asylum is expected to be a long one. The group crossed the border and handed out the donated items Sunday.

"We’re bringing things down for people who need it the most," Cassidy told NBC 7.

Neider said the response has been overwhelming. People have donated new tents, blankets, clothes, food and diapers. These things are necessary because people are camping out at a sports complex and sleeping on a dirt field.

"It's uplifting, it's amazing to see the community come together, pull together and help people in need," he said. "We have a lot of people on the ground there already and we have three different locations set up to bring them down and are distributing out of to caravan members."

Nieder said when the distribution happens, people are so happy because they have so little.

”They're usually extremely thankful and it brings a smile and lets them know people care," he said.

Cassidy said those who have the privilege to cross have a "responsibility to help the people who are most in need right now."

Esetela Jimenez, another volunteer, said her experiences made her want to give back.

"I feel a big connection, and I feel the empathy," Jimenez told NBC 7. "When I came to the united states, I came to Tijuana, I had people who welcomed me and I want to do the same thing for them. I want to welcome them."

Click here for more information on where to drop off donated items. Or sign up to volunteer with the Otay Mesa Detention Resistance.

Photo Credit: NBC7]]>
<![CDATA[Dog Trapped for Days in Storm Drain]]>Fri, 16 Nov 2018 04:51:01 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Storm-Drain-Dog-Rescue-Chula-Vista.jpg

A dog trapped in a Chula Vista storm drain for several days was rescued Thursday.

Sammy, a small dog that appeared to be a Pomeranian mix, had been missing from his home in Eastlake since Monday, his owners said.

They thought he was in the storm drain and looked for him until they could pinpoint his exact location.

Then, they called the Chula Vista Fire Department for help. 

Firefighters brought out their heavy equipment to North Creekside Drive and pinpointed the location of Sammy through his barks.

They found the dog inside an 18-inch pipe underground. 

"The dog was healthy. He was a little bit scared," said Battalion Chief Sean Lowery.

The rescuers were able to push Sammy through the pipe to a secondary point in order to get the dog to the surface, he said. 

“The owners were ecstatic,” he added. 

Chula Vista police were also called to help with traffic control. 

The crew is specifically trained to access something in a confined space.

The neighborhood is located south of Otay Lakes Road and east of Hunte Parkway. 

No other information was available.

Photo Credit: Chula Vista Fire IAFF Local 2180 Instagram
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<![CDATA[East County Bar Raises Money for Borderline Shooting and Fire Victims]]>Thu, 15 Nov 2018 23:29:32 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/renegade+country.png

An East County bar is doing what it can to lend support to victims of both natural disasters and senseless violence in Southern California

Renegade Country in El Cajon held an event Thursday to fundraise for victims of the fires in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, and the victims of the Borderline Bar and Grill Shooting in Thousand Oaks.

Jackie Krebs, a friend of shooting victim Justin Meek, said the event was a way to continue sending love to her longtime friends that are hurting.

"While they're up there, they're trying to deal with this tragedy and emotionally deal with that. Meanwhile, they have to pack up their house and be protected from the fires and they've lost a lot in the fires. So, it's a double tragedy for a lot of these families,” Krebs said.

Meek was a Coronado High School graduate who was working as a bouncer at the bar when the deadly shooting took place. His sister was also at the bar for a college night event but was not hurt. Krebs is close with both siblings.

The owner of Renegade Country told NBC 7 a portion of the proceeds raised Thursday will go to fire victims. The bar also accepted monetary donations for the shooting victims, which it vowed to match.

She said she plans to drive the donations up north herself and drop them off to organizations already helping victims of the tragedies.

<![CDATA[Outpouring of Support Gives Ramona Family Hope After Fire Takes Everything]]>Fri, 16 Nov 2018 11:05:56 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Ramona_Family_Whose_Home_Burned_Thankful_for_Kindness_of_Str.jpg

Days after a fire consumed their home and left them with only the clothes on their backs, a Ramona family is starting to see hope thanks to their caring friend and generous community.

Patrice and Patrick Doona had their lives flipped upside down Monday when their home went up in flames. Patrice’s mother and the couple’s 1-year-old child were the only ones home.

Patrice told NBC 7 her mother tried to put the fire out with a garden hose, but before she knew it flames had engulfed the structure.

Just minutes after getting back to her home and seeing that everything her family had worked for was gone, Patrice was brave enough to speak with NBC 7 on camera.

“We lost everything. We only have these clothes, that’s all we have. We don’t have anything for our baby, but I’m still so thankful because even though we’ve lost everything, we’re people of faith and I know God is good. He’s never failed me and I know he won’t fail me this time either.”

She went on to express how thankful she was that her family wasn’t hurt, and for the hard work of the firefighters who kept the fire from turning into an inferno in nearby open brush.

The Doona’s tragic story aired multiple times on NBC 7’s evening newscasts and prompted multiple phone calls and emails to the station from generous people wondering how they could help.

Meanwhile, Patrice’s friend Aimee Sandoval had a GoFundMe page up and running to try and help the family survive the tragedy.

“You know, I wanted them to be able to visually see that there was support, that there were people there for them,” Sandoval said.

She was hoping to raise $1,000 and thought anything upwards of that would be a bonus. Well, it climbed well past that mark, and as of Thursday evening it sits just under $13,000.

Patrice said the community’s response has been completely overwhelming and amazing.

“Just seeing the love that’s still out there, the goodness that’s still in people, it’s just unbelievable,” she said.

Message after message from donors on the fundraising site wished the Doona family good luck in their recovery and let them know they were with them in prayer. Some donors even said they’d never met the family and just wanted to help them bounce back any way they could.

“It’s hard to put into words the feeling you get when you see the messages on there and the things that people say,” Sandoval said. “It definitely helps to restore my faith in humanity. You know, there is still good in people.”

So though the Doona family lost everything they had inside their home, they still have each other, friends and the kindness of strangers to help them see it through.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[SD Symphony Inches Closer to Permanent Bayside Venue]]>Thu, 15 Nov 2018 10:51:14 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Bayside-Performance-Park-Rendering1.jpg

The San Diego Symphony is one step closer to developing a permanent venue for performances featuring a top-notch stage located in a familiar, scenic spot overlooking the bay.

The project, called “Bayside Performance Park,” includes an outdoor stage in Embarcadero Marina Park South, behind the San Diego Convention Center – the same site where the Symphony has hosted its popular "Bayside Summer Nights" concert series since 2004.

Through this plan, the stage will become a permanent fixture.

On Nov. 8, the California Coastal Commission voted to unanimously approve the development. Senator Toni Atkins expressed excitement over the decision on Twitter.

“This will enrich our city’s cultural experience and further activate an underused space!” Atkins posted on her social media account.

According to the San Diego Symphony, the estimated cost of the project is $45 million – all of which will be funded by the non-profit organization. So far, the Symphony has raised $6 million and expects to raise the remainder without a hitch.

The Symphony’s vision for Bayside Performance Park is two-fold: to serve as an “acoustically superior stage” for Symphony performances and to become a year-round community gathering space for a wider range of other performances when not in use by the Symphony.

According to the nonprofit's proposal, the venue will take up about 3.5 acres of the existing nearly-11-acre park space. It would be open to the public during non-event hours, approximately 85 percent of the year.

The covered stage – set to be designed by SoundForms, a company based in London, England – will boast a technologically-advanced sound system. It’ll include 13,000-square-feet of performance space and a fabric-wrapped shell design acoustically-engineered to minimize the “bleeding” of sound.

All seating would be temporary, with an adjustable capacity of up to 10,000 seats. When not in use, the lawns surrounding the stage will be clear and open to the public.

The Symphony estimates that average attendance at Bayside Performance Park would be 3,131 people per event but more could be accommodated, with the maximum capacity of 10,000 seats only utilized up to six times per year.

The development would also add a new "bay viewing deck" at the back of the stage for public use during non-event hours. Also included in the project: 66 new, permanent restrooms, new lighting, park enhancements and a "reconfigured" parking lot. A public promenade around the venue would be widened by an additional 4 feet and would also be open to the public at all times.

Currently, the Symphony assembles and disassembles its stage every year for its summer concert series, along with bleachers, seating, ticketing booths, food stands and portable bathrooms. This project would replace all of that in the form what the Symphony refers to as the “park inside the park.”

The Symphony hopes the stage – with its dramatic, shell-like look – will eventually become a landmark along the famous San Diego waterfront and a place that the nonprofit can present as a gift to the region.

On Jan. 9, the Port of San Diego approved several items to advance the project, including approval of a Port Master Plan Amendment (PMPA) and authorization of a binding letter of intent with the San Diego Symphony Orchestra.

Now that the project has been voted on by the Coastal Commission, a media relations representative for the Symphony told NBC 7 that the next step is for the Port to adopt the certified PMPA and amended South Embarcadero Public Access Plan. The Port staff expects to take this to the Port Board for consideration on Dec. 11.

After that, in early 2019, the Port Board is expected to approve a real estate agreement with the Symphony. Then, in February 2019, the Coastal Commission is expected to approve the final acceptance of the adopted PMPA.

If all approvals go according to plan, construction of Bayside Performance Park could begin any time after fall 2019.

To learn more about the Bayside Performance Park proposal, click here.

The San Diego Symphony performed its first concert in December 1910. Today, the Orchestra performs more than 140 concerts annually, offering a wide range of musical experiences that add to San Diego’s arts culture.

Photo Credit: Tucker Sadler Architects
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<![CDATA[Poway Community Swim Center Officially Reopens]]>Wed, 14 Nov 2018 12:56:07 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/poway+opening+pool+swim+center.jpg

A small gathering reopened the Poway Community Swim Center Wednesday, marked by the first tossing of the beach ball.

The soft opening at 11 a.m. heard from Poway Mayor Steve Vaus.

“It’s great to finally have it back online,” Vaus said.

The remodeling project was delayed five months, missing its initial June opening date. The swim center closed in January to start work.

“Our attitude is better to have to it right than right now,” Vaus said. “And here we are on a beautiful summer day in November.”

The concrete deck was replaced, the pool was retiled, and code-required renovations were competed on the locker rooms and family changing areas, according to the Poway Community Swim Center.

The city council approved $3.8 million for the update, but the total cost spent is not available at this time.

After a few remarks from the mayor, the new splash pad was turned on for the first time and a water aerobics class jumped right in.

“I think we outta have our city council meetings here,” Vaus joked.

The City of Poway is planning a larger celebration in the spring as part of the swim center’s 30th anniversary.

Wednesday’s hours were limited for the soft opening, but starting Thursday the pool will begin its normal winter hours.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Dr. Pepper Throw Contest Promises $100K at Holiday Bowl]]>Wed, 14 Nov 2018 14:39:37 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Dr+Pepper+Throw+Contest+2.jpg

Go long for a chance at thousands of dollars in tuition at the San Diego County Credit Union 2018 Holiday Bowl.

Three contestants will compete to throw the most footballs into giant Dr. Pepper cans on the Mission Valley field, as part of the pop’s Tuition Giveaway.

The event will take place between the third and fourth quarters of the Holiday Bowl set for Dec. 31.

San Diegans can enter to take to the field on Dr. Pepper’s website.

A total of 10 grand prizes will be awarded, each of which will include two VIP pre-game party passes and two game tickets to the SDCCU 2018 Holiday Bowl.

From these winners, three will be selected to compete in the passing challenge.

The winner of the throwing contest will receive $10,000 in tuition and the ability to test their luck in an additional throw to skyrocket their total school winnings to $100,000.

The two runners-up will each get $2,000 in tuition.

Entries will be accepted until Nov. 28. Players must be at least 18 years old.

The contest is part of the Holiday Bowl festivities. The game features two of the nation's top college football teams from the Pac-12 and Big 10 conferences.

The 41st annual game will kick off at 4 p.m.

Photo Credit: Dr. Pepper/Seven Up, Inc.]]>
<![CDATA[Meet the 2 Local Actresses Playing 'Lulu' in Waitress]]>Wed, 14 Nov 2018 14:19:31 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Local_Girls_Join_Waitress_Musicals_Stop_in_San_Diego.jpg

When audiences see the national tour of "Waitress" the musical at the San Diego Civic Theater at the end of the month, they'll be seeing two young actresses make their debut on the big stage.

Meet Kensley Dibble, 5, of Temecula, and Sloane Viora, 5, of Point Loma.

The two locals will take on the role of Lulu, the daughter of protagonist Jenna, during the musical's run in San Diego from Nov. 27 to Dec. 2. The musical tells the story of Jenna, who bakes delicious pies at a local diner and longs to get out of her loveless marriage.

Both Kensley and Sloane have been dancing and performing for years. Kensley started competitive dancing at two and is now a national tap dance champion and trains in jazz.

Sloane, a fourth-generation San Diegan, has been dancing with San Diego Danceworks since she was just three years old. She enjoys tap and ballet and has been involved with San Diego Junior Theater.

It's a big debut for the two young actresses, and they feel completely different about the nerves. Kensley says she isn't nervous, and Sloane admits she is a little nervous. 

What are they most looking forward to?

"Playing Lulu," Sloane said. 

And the two little ladies are soaking it all in. 

"It's a lot of fun," Sloane said. 

Dibble and Viora were selected after a day of auditions in San Diego. Dozens of young actresses participated in the auditions. "Waitress" company members and Broadway San Diego officials presided over the auditions.

"Waitress" officials cast the role of "Lulu" in each city the tour visits. Two girls share the role; in this case, each actress will play four performances. The actresses start rehearsing for the role before the show arrives and play the character while the show is in town.

To get tickets for "Waitress," click here

<![CDATA[UC Extends Application Deadline for People Affected By Fires]]>Thu, 15 Nov 2018 02:50:59 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/182*120/AP_18314198236694.jpg

Mirroring an action by the California State University system, the University of California announced Wednesday it will extend the undergraduate application deadline and waive fees for prospective students impacted by the state's wildfires.

The deadline to apply for the fall 2019 term is Nov. 30. Prospective students who want to apply but are being impacted by fires in northern or southern California can request to push the deadline to Dec. 15.

To request the extension, students must create an application account on the university's website, then send an email to ucinfo@applyucsupport.net with the subject line "Extension Request -- Weather/Fire Event." The email should include the applicant's name and the reason for the request.

Students should receive an email confirmation within a week, and the application fee waiver will be automatically applied to the student's account, covering the application cost for up to four UC campuses.

The CSU system announced a similar offer Tuesday.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Strong Winds Sweep County, Topple Trees]]>Tue, 13 Nov 2018 15:48:00 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Wind-Rancho-Bernardo-1113-1.jpgStrong winds swept San Diego County amid an extended red flag warning that brought unrelenting gusts and low humidity from the mountains to the coast. The winds toppled trees in some parts of the county and kept crews busy clearing debris.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Mayor's Plan for Homeless Navigation Center Approved]]>Tue, 13 Nov 2018 20:40:06 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Homeless_Navigation_Center_Hits_Snag.jpg

The San Diego City Council narrowly approved a plan to turn an abandoned indoor skydiving facility in East Village into a housing navigation center for the homeless.

The housing navigation center proposal was pushed heavily by Mayor Kevin Faulconer before the City Council voted unanimously in January to purchase the building at the corner of Imperial Avenue and 14th Street for $7 million.

The mayor has described the future center as a place with several community departments under one roof that could be a one-stop shop for homeless people looking for housing, job training, and veteran services.

The non-profit Family Health Centers of San Diego will run the navigation center.

“Imagine having no income, no car, no home, and being told that you have to visit multiple government offices throughout the region to get your life back on track. That happens every day in San Diego,” Mayor Faulconer said Tuesday.

District 3 City Councilmember Chris Ward, who represents the area, said the mayor’s plan missed the mark.

“There's no housing at the other end of the pipeline. There's nowhere to put individuals, and much of the services are proposed through this contract are duplicative,” Ward said.

The plan will cost the city over $1.5 million per year for the next five years.

One of the biggest concerns for the city's independent budget analyst and some councilmembers is the lack of commitment from other partnering agencies in San Diego to help with the housing navigation center.

<![CDATA[Gene-Edited Food Is Coming, Regulatory Questions Remain]]>Tue, 13 Nov 2018 22:16:14 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/geneeditedfoodAP_18317727243007.jpg

The next generation of biotech food is headed for the grocery aisles, and first up may be salad dressings or granola bars made with soybean oil genetically tweaked to be good for your heart.

By early next year, the first foods from plants or animals that had their DNA "edited" are expected to begin selling. It's a different technology than today's controversial "genetically modified" foods, more like faster breeding that promises to boost nutrition, spur crop growth, and make farm animals hardier and fruits and vegetables last longer.

The U.S. National Academy of Sciences has declared gene editing one of the breakthroughs needed to improve food production so the world can feed billions more people amid a changing climate. Yet governments are wrestling with how to regulate this powerful new tool. And after years of confusion and rancor, will shoppers accept gene-edited foods or view them as GMOs in disguise?

"If the consumer sees the benefit, I think they'll embrace the products and worry less about the technology," said Dan Voytas, a University of Minnesota professor and chief science officer for Calyxt Inc., which edited soybeans to make the oil heart-healthy.

Researchers are pursuing more ambitious changes: Wheat with triple the usual fiber, or that's low in gluten. Mushrooms that don't brown, and better-producing tomatoes. Drought-tolerant corn, and rice that no longer absorbs soil pollution as it grows. Dairy cows that don't need to undergo painful de-horning, and pigs immune to a dangerous virus that can sweep through herds.

Scientists even hope gene editing eventually could save species from being wiped out by devastating diseases like citrus greening, a so far unstoppable infection that's destroying Florida's famed oranges.

First they must find genes that could make a new generation of trees immune.

"If we can go in and edit the gene, change the DNA sequence ever so slightly by one or two letters, potentially we'd have a way to defeat this disease," said Fred Gmitter, a geneticist at the University of Florida Citrus Research and Education Center, as he examined diseased trees in a grove near Fort Meade.

Farmers have long genetically manipulated crops and animals by selectively breeding to get offspring with certain traits. It's time-consuming and can bring trade-offs. Modern tomatoes, for example, are larger than their pea-sized wild ancestor, but the generations of cross-breeding made them more fragile and altered their nutrients.

GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, are plants or animals that were mixed with another species' DNA to introduce a specific trait they're "transgenic." Best known are corn and soybeans mixed with bacterial genes for built-in resistance to pests or weed killers.

Despite international scientific consensus that GMOs are safe to eat, some people remain wary and there is concern they could spur herbicide-resistant weeds.

Now gene-editing tools, with names like CRISPR and TALENs, promise to alter foods more precisely, and cheaply without necessarily adding foreign DNA. Instead, they act like molecular scissors to alter the letters of an organism's own genetic alphabet.

The technology can insert new DNA, but most products in development so far switch off a gene, according to University of Missouri professor Nicholas Kalaitzandonakes.

Those new Calyxt soybeans? Voytas' team inactivated two genes so the beans produce oil with no heart-damaging trans fat and that shares the famed health profile of olive oil without its distinct taste.

The hornless calves? Most dairy Holsteins grow horns that are removed for the safety of farmers and other cows. Recombinetics Inc. swapped part of the gene that makes dairy cows grow horns with the DNA instructions from naturally hornless Angus beef cattle.

"Precision breeding," is how animal geneticist Alison Van Eenennaam of the University of California, Davis, explains it. "This isn't going to replace traditional breeding," but make it easier to add one more trait.

The Agriculture Department says extra rules aren't needed for "plants that could otherwise have been developed through traditional breeding," clearing the way for development of about two dozen gene-edited crops so far.

In contrast, the Food and Drug Administration in 2017 proposed tighter, drug-like restrictions on gene-edited animals. It promises guidance sometime next year on exactly how it will proceed.

Because of trade, international regulations are "the most important factor in whether genome editing technologies are commercialized," USDA's Paul Spencer told a meeting of agriculture economists.

Europe's highest court ruled last summer that existing European curbs on the sale of transgenic GMOs should apply to gene-edited foods, too.

But at the World Trade Organization this month, the U.S. joined 12 nations including Australia, Canada, Argentina and Brazil in urging other countries to adopt internationally consistent, science-based rules for gene-edited agriculture.

The biggest concern is what are called off-target edits, unintended changes to DNA that could affect a crop's nutritional value or an animal's health, said Jennifer Kuzma of the Genetic Engineering and Society Center at North Carolina State University.

Scientists are looking for any signs of problems. Take the hornless calves munching in a UC-Davis field. One is female and once it begins producing milk, Van Eenennaam will test how similar that milk's fat and protein composition is to milk from unaltered cows.

"We're kind of being overly cautious," she said, noting that if eating beef from naturally hornless Angus cattle is fine, milk from edited Holsteins should be, too.

But to Kuzma, companies will have to be up-front about how these new foods were made and the evidence that they're healthy. She wants regulators to decide case-by-case which changes are no big deal, and which might need more scrutiny.

"Most gene edited plants and animals are probably going to be just fine to eat. But you're only going to do yourself a disservice in the long run if you hide behind the terminology," Kuzma said.

Uncertainty about regulatory and consumer reaction is creating some strange bedfellows. An industry-backed group of food makers and farmers asked university researchers and consumer advocates to help craft guidelines for "responsible use" of gene editing in the food supply.

"Clearly this coalition is in existence because of some of the battle scars from the GMO debates, there's no question about that," said Greg Jaffe of the food-safety watchdog Center for Science in the Public Interest, who agreed to join the Center for Food Integrity's guidelines group. "There's clearly going to be questions raised about this technology."

Gene-editing can't do everything, cautioned Calyxt's Voytas. There are limitations to how much foods could be changed. Sure, scientists made wheat containing less gluten, but it's unlikely to ever be totally gluten-free for people who can't digest that protein, for example — or to make, say, allergy-free peanuts.

Nor is it clear how easily companies will be able to edit different kinds of food, key to their profit.

Despite her concerns about adequate regulation, Kuzma expects about 20 gene-edited crops to hit the U.S. market over five years — and she notes that scientists also are exploring changes to crops like cassava that important in the poorest countries.

"We think it's going to really revolutionize the industry," she said.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 7 San Diego

Photo Credit: Federica Narancio/AP]]>
<![CDATA['Late Night’: A Statue of Jeff Goldblum Was Put Up in London]]>Wed, 14 Nov 2018 01:23:04 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/myr_hlt_s6e022_758_jeffgoldblum_portrait_20181113-154218071368800002.jpg

Jeff Goldblum talks to Seth Meyers about what it was like to find out that a statue of him was put up near the London Bridge in England.]]>
<![CDATA[Scripps Ranch HS Senior Holds Own on Teen 'Jeopardy!']]>Thu, 15 Nov 2018 20:57:41 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Jack-Izzo-SRHS-Teen-Jeopardy-1112.jpg

A senior from Scripps Ranch High School – who, turns out, can solve the Rubik’s Cube while blindfolded – represented the region well in the semi-final “Jeopardy!” Teen Tournament Thursday, but was eliminated from competition Thursday night.

Jack Izzo was among 15 teenagers competing in the 2018teen tournament airing through Nov. 20 on NBC. There will only be one winner as the teens vie for a $100,000 prize.

Izzo was $6,600 behind fellow teen challenger Maya, and several thousand dollars ahead of Caleb, when a Daily Double gave him an opportunity to put pressure on the leader.

He wagered $6,000 on this question: "As parties choose a nominee for president, the two main contest types are primaries and these, where voter give support openly."

If you had "What are caucuses?" on your mind, you're right. Unfortunately, Izzo didn't and fell to last place. He wasn't able to make up the lost ground, but at least he got to share a little bit about his hometown before bowing out.

While introducing Izzo, host Alex Trebek mentioned how Izzo competes on the swim team at his high school which, oddly enough, doesn't have a pool on campus.

Izzo explained the dilemma and shared how a generous local community college saved the day, but not without a tablet of advice.

Izzo made his debut on Monday in the quarterfinals of the tournament.

As host Alex Trebek was getting to know Izzo, the teen shared that, for fun, he is able to solve the challenging Rubik’s Cube puzzle while blindfolded.

“Aw, come on!” Trebek quipped, as the audience laughed.

“It’s a different method,” said Izzo, smiling. “The blindfolded time involves solving the cube and memorizing the cube beforehand, so it obviously takes a lot longer because you have to figure out which pieces need to swap where, but it’s something that I really enjoy doing.”

“That’s amazing,” Trebek added.

Back home in Scripps Ranch, fans held a viewing party at Yanni’s Bar & Grill in support of the standout hometown student.

Izzo was up against Tim Cho, of Champaign, Illinois, and Rhea Sinha, of Chatham, New Jersey. The competition was fast and fierce, and Izzo fared well.

In the category of “Classic Literature,” Izzo won $2,000 answering this: “This 1958 Chinua Achebe novel depicts the struggles of the Igbo people in Nigeria before independence.”

“What is 'Things Fall Apart,'” said Izzo.

About half-way through the episode, Izzo took the lead with $9,600 in his bank by knowing that the rupee is “the main currency unit of India.”

He also won $1,600 in the “Theme Parks” category.

“'Harley Quinn Spinsanity' is the newest ride at this park 'over Texas,'” Trebek said.

“What is Six Flags,” Izzo answered correctly. 

After a half-hour of rapid-fire trivia, it was time for “Final Jeopardy!” in the category of "International Groups."

Izzo was in second place as he went into the final round with a bank of $16,800. Cho, holding onto first place, had earned $17,400, while Sinha had earned $11,800.

“The 'economic bloc' known as the G8 became the G7 in 2014 upon the expulsion of this country,” the trivia statement read.

The teenagers had 30 seconds to answer. Sinha was knocked out of the game with a wrong answer.

Izza answered correctly, “What is Russia.”

He wagered a conservative sum of $1,200, which left him with $18,000.

Cho also answered correctly but risked far more of his earnings, $16,201, plumping his bank up to $33,601 and securing his spot as a semi-finalist.

Fans can keep an eye on the results on the Jeopardy! website. 

Izzo said he's enjoyed his time on the show and having a lot in common with his fellow contestants.

“All of the other contestants were really, really awesome and it was just really fun to sit and talk about literally anything,” Izzo said in a video previewing the show.

Photo Credit: Jeopardy!/NBC]]>
<![CDATA[Amazon Will Split HQ2 Between 2 Cities: Reports]]>Tue, 06 Nov 2018 15:44:37 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/bezosAP_18275537899991.jpg

Amazon will split its new headquarters, dubbed HQ2, between two cities, according to reports by NBC News and The Wall Street Journal.

The update follows a pair of weekend reports naming the Crystal City area of Arlington, Va., and other cities as front runners in the tightening race for Amazon’s second headquarters. It’s been more than a year since the company issued a call for proposals.

In addition to confirming that a deal is in the works with Crystal City, The New York Times on Monday reported that the Long Island City neighborhood of New York City is nearing an agreement with the tech giant. The paper cited two people briefed on the discussions about the Queens neighborhood.

Amazon originally said it would invest $5 billion and employ 50,000 workers in the winning area. It whittled down an initial list of 238 cities and metropolitan regions, naming 20 finalists in January. The selection process has seen an increasing number of leaks in recent weeks, as Amazon nears a decision.

CNBC’s Brian Sullivan earlier reported Amazon could split the proposed workforce and investments between Austin and Northern Virginia.

Sullivan also tweeted on Monday that, “Folks I’m speaking with believe a split between two cities may be increasingly likely.”

The Wall Street Journal, which first reported Amazon had locked in the two-city plan, said the company has not yet chosen the two cities.

Amazon’s current headquarters in Seattle has ballooned to a massive footprint, causing congestion and raising housing costs. Local officials and residents of many of the finalist cities have raised concerns that similar problems would follow wherever Amazon moves next.

Amazon declined to comment. Shares of the company ended trading 2.8 percent down on Monday, amid a generally down day for tech stocks.

This story first appeared on CNBC.com More from CNBC:

Top 5 trending destinations for New Year's 2019

Supreme Court declines to take on net neutrality challenges

Trump's border deployments could cost $220 million

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[California Wildfires: Prevention, Safety Tips]]>Mon, 12 Nov 2018 07:20:06 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/07-24-2016-fire-sand-wildfire-clarita-1.JPG

Red flag warnings are issued in California when weather conditions increase the risk of wildfires, but there are fire prevention and home protection steps that can be taken well in advance of hot, dry and windy conditions.

Cal Fire, the state's firefighting agency, provided the following advice to help Californian's prevent a small spark from becoming a devastating wildfire. These safety tips, including how to prepare your property and family for wildfires, can save property and lives. 

Below, you'll find a printable evacuation plan and homeowner's checklist, emergency supply kit details and tips to reduce the risk of wildfires in the first place.

Before the Fire

When fires threaten homes, local fire and law enforcement agencies may order evacuations to save lives. That means residents should be prepared by following these pre-evacuation tips.

Protecting Your Home: Defensible Space

Cal Fire inspects homes in fire-prone areas for defensible space -- a barrier around the home designed to prevent fires from spreading to buildings. Defensible space is considered the area 100 feet around the home, divided into two zones.

  • Zone 1: This area extends to 30 feet from the home. It should be clear of dead plants, grass and weeds, dry leaves and pine needles. Tree branches should be 10 feet apart.
  • Zone 2: This area is 30 to 100 feet from the home. Grass should be kept to a maximum of 4 inches high. The lowest branches of trees should be trimmed to provide at least 6 feet of clearance from the ground to avoid a "fire ladder" that allows flames to spread up trees. 

When to Evacuate

When fire officials recommend evacuations, it's time to go. Remember that neighbors will be evacuating, too, so roads that firefighters use to do their jobs will likely be congested. A few things to keep in mind.

  • Authorities will outline evacuation routes after studying fire behavior, winds, terrain and the weather forecast
  • Law enforcement agencies, such as sheriff and police departments, are charged with enforcing evacuations. They also will provide updates on evacuations and shelter for evacuated residents
  • If it's too late to evacuate, fire officials suggest staying inside and calling 911. Fill sinks and tubs with water, close windows and doors, but make sure they're not locked in case rescuers need to enter the home

Wildfire Prevention

About 95 percent of California's wildfires are caused by people who fail to follow a few safety steps when using equipment outdoors, camping, burning debris and even driving a car.

Outdoor Equipment Use

Lawn mowers and other types of outdoor equipment need to be used with caution, especially during red flag conditions when a spark can quickly grow into a brush fire.

  • Mow before 10 a.m.
  • Avoid mowing when conditions are windy and dry
  • Watch for rocks and other objects than can generate sparks when struck by metal blades
  • Keep a phone nearby. If you need to call 911 to report a fire, do it right away

Vehicle Maintenance

Hundreds of brush fires start alongside California's roads each year. The cause is often sparks produced by a vehicle that land in dry brush on the roadside.

  • Don't let chains dangle from a vehicle and drag on the road. Safety pins should be used to keep chains in place
  • Check under your car to make sure no parts, such as the muffler or other parts of the exhaust system, are coming into contact with the road
  • Have a fire extinguisher in your car
  • Avoid driving onto dry grass, such as parking areas in fields and narrow shoulders on the side of the road. The brush can burn when ignited by a hot car part
  • Check your brakes. Worn pads can mean metal-to-metal contact, which can produce sparks that fly into dry brush on the side of the road


Campfires on public land require a permit from Cal Fire, the U.S. Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management.

  • Build the fire on level ground away from brush or anything else that could catch fire. You'll need at least 10 feet of diameter space
  • Make sure the fire is out using the "drown, stir and feel" method. Douse the fire with water, stir the area with a shovel and then put dirt on the site to smother coals and embers. Use the back of your hand to "feel" whether the area is still hot

Debris Burning Safety

It's best to check with the fire department before burning debris, which might require a permit.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV
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<![CDATA[100 Years After WWI Armistice at Mt. Soledad]]>Mon, 12 Nov 2018 18:03:44 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/mt+soledad+veterans+day+1112.jpg

World War I ended 100 years ago Sunday, and the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association held special dedications for the cease fire anniversary.

The main event began at 2 p.m. Monday at the Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial.

A handful of speakers from different service backgrounds spoke.

One of the speakers, Marc Bailey, an El Cajon Police Reserve Sergeant, told a story of a text message exchange between his friend and her father, a major in the army.

The father texted he was in South Korea “just doing army stuff.”

“There’s folks all over the world doing ‘stuff’ for us today,” Bailey said. “We want to make sure that we honor them, and we remember them while we’re up here on this Veterans Day.”

Bailey also spoke to the history of San Diego’s military presence.

“Bring somebody up on Mt. Soledad for the first time,” he said. “Wander the walls, look at some of the stories up here, and soak all that in, because there’s such a rich, wonderful history here in San Diego.”

President of the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Association CDR Louis J. Scanlon, USN Ret. spoke about a special honor the organization was giving to a WWI war hero.

Sergeant Major Daniel Daly fought and led in WWI, and Monday, a plaque in his name was added alongside thousands of other veterans at Mt. Soledad.

“Today, we will dedicate a plaque to Sergeant Major Daniel Daly,” Scanlon said. “Dan Daly’s plaque will join over 5,000 plaques here at the memorial of both living and deceased veterans from the revolutionary war through today’s current wars and conflicts.”

Daly was one of only 19 people to receive two Medals of Honor, and one of only seven marines, said Colonel Charles Dockery. He is the Commanding Officer of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

“He was a seasoned veteran leading young enlistees in combat,” Dockery said. He then quoted Daly’s famous expression, “Do you want to live forever?”

This “grizzly” attitude, Dockery said, was a key component in leading the young enlistees to victory.

Mayor of San Diego Kevin Faulconer spoke later about the evolution of Veterans Day.

“While the original observance of Veterans Day was established as a day of recognition of the brave veterans of that great war [WWI], we now have many other battles,” Faulconer said. “We remember their patriotism when they faced insurmountable challenges.”

Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day in 1954 as a reminder to honor all U.S. veterans, the mayor said.

“This Veterans Day promises to be a special day observing one of the most important days of the twentieth century,” said Phil Kendro, chairman of the Mt. Soledad Veterans Day Committee.

The Marine Band San Diego played at the event.

Four vintage planes from the San Diego Performance Formation Team flew overhead of the hilltop memorial near the end of the event.

“It’s an atmosphere of celebration. It’s an atmosphere of honor,” said Dockery.

The hour-long event is part of an annual tradition at the Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial.

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<![CDATA[Navy Sailors Serve Meals to 102-Year-Old Marine Veteran]]>Mon, 12 Nov 2018 13:38:03 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/102+yo+veteran+meals+on+wheels+1112.jpg

Monday may be a special holiday for military service members but Mondays for U.S. Navy Private First Class Corey Sharp mean he's out delivering meals to San Diego seniors.

"We do this all throughout the year, every Monday we have a scheduled time to do it, and this is just another Monday for us," Sharp said. 

On this Veterans Day, though, his round of meal drop-offs with the charity group Meals on Wheels San Diego County included a special stop -- to U.S. Marine veteran Ruth Gallivan.

Gallivan, who is 102 years old, joined the military in 1945 and worked as a civil servant for 30 years in Miramar. 

She is one of several military veterans who receive two meals every day through Meals on Wheels. 

"Actually, I could do it myself but I’m lazy," she said jokingly. 

Meals on Wheels serves more than 3,000 San Diego seniors who often live along and are considered low-income. 

Gallivan's son told NBC 7 the service allows Gallivan to live independently and gives them the confidence to know she is taken care of when they cannot be there.

<![CDATA[LAFD Says Thanks, But No Thanks to Random Donations]]>Tue, 13 Nov 2018 10:13:24 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-1059684922.jpg

As residents look for ways to help Southern California firefighters by donating water, energy drinks, blankets, and more, resulting in an extra 5,000 pounds of goods for the fire department to handle, the Los Angeles Fire Department is giving the public a big thank you -- but no thanks.

"There are rumors that Los Angeles Firefighters are in need of donated food or supplies, such as blankets, wipes, water, energy beverages, snack bars, toothpaste or eyedrops during current wildfires. Nothing could be further from the truth," LAFD said Sunday in a Facebook post.

While LA City firefighters said they were touched, the extra goods had provided an extra challenge for firefighters. 

"We're touched to the point of tears by your kindness, but truly are not in need of anything more than a wave or a smile," the post reads.

Some of the confusion may have been further perpetuated by a tweet from reality TV mom Kris Jenner, who said her daughter Kylie Jenner was imploring the public to help by donating Chapstick, face wipes, beef jerky, granola bars, sunscreen and more. 

While LAFD did not credit the Jenners specifically with the outpouring of support, the post clarified that stations do not need donated goods at this time. 

At one time, firefighters returned from a long firefight to find "600 unsolicited gallons of bottled water (that's a 5,000 lbs surprise we have to move and cannot safely store on site)" or "200 cubic feet of perishable food we can't refrigerate."

They did make it very clear that the donated goods touched their hearts, and were overwhelmed to know how much the community cares. 

"We deeply sense your appreciation, and want you to know that nothing could mean more to us than seeing you and your family safely in front of your undamaged home. Your smile, a friendly wave or a simple hand-scrawled 'Thank You' sign means more than words could ever describe," the post said. 

They also noted that if you must donate, they have a page set up to accept donations here. 

LAFD also said the Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation needed help to fund hydration backpacks, which can be found here. Anyone who wants to donate to the Red Cross to help fire victims can text "CAWILDFIRES" to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

They also advised that giving to the following organiztions:

Widows, Orphans, and Disabled Firemen's Fund

Fire Family Foundation

See more information on how to help here

See how to avoid firefighter charity scams here.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Here's How to Win $25 Tickets to 'Wicked' the Musical]]>Thu, 01 Nov 2018 09:51:13 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Jackie+Burns+as+Elphaba+in+Defying+Gravity+Photo+by+Joan+Marcus+-+CROP.jpg

The hit musical "Wicked" is back in San Diego, and if you still don't have your ticket - don't worry! 

Broadway San Diego and "Wicked" are holding a lottery for a limited number of $25 orchestra seats. 

The musical, based off the novel by Gregory Maguire, follows the story of the "Wicked" witch Elphaba and her bubbly friend Glinda the "Good" in the Land of Oz, years before Dorothy arrives. "Wicked" just celebrated 15 years on Broadway, too, with a special on NBC featuring special guests and original cast members.

The in-person lottery starts two and a half hours before every performance. If you want to enter, you'll have to head to the San Diego Civic Theater's Ticket Office in Downtown San Diego. There, you can put your name in a lottery drum. 

Thirty minutes later, theater staffers will draw names. A limited number of winners will win $25 orchestra seats. You must pay for the tickets in cash. 

Each person can only win a limit of two tickets. Anyone who wants to enter must also have a valid photo ID when submitting the entry form and when purchasing tickets if you are selected as a winner. 

"Wicked" runs from Oct. 31 to Nov. 25 at the San Diego Civic Theater. To learn more, click here. If you'd like to buy tickets, click here

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
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<![CDATA[San Diegans Celebrate Veterans Day with Parade, Salute to Service]]>Sat, 10 Nov 2018 22:35:10 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/San_Diegans_Celebrate_Veterans_Day_with_Parade.jpg

The annual San Diego Veterans Day Parade on Saturday kicked off a weekend-long celebration of the men and women who proudly served our country.

Generations of service members have entered the service in San Diego or have been based here and supporters from all walks of life came out to celebrate. 

All branches of the military, as well as civilians big and small, all took part in the parade. For some, such as Pearl Harbor survivor, Stuart Hedley, this wasn't their first parade.

He is just one of many generations of service members at the parade. For many, it was a moving experience almost beyond words.

"This is ... I get emotional every time I come to one of these," Vietnam veteran Mark Burach said, choking back tears. Even so, Veterans Day celebration in San Diego seems to stand out.

"This is unbelievable," he said. "This is our first Veterans Day here. We just moved here and I've never seen anything like this before."

Part of the celebration was aboard the USS Midway Museum with NBC 7's eight annual "Salute to Service." More than 4,000 veterans came aboard the ship, as well as others, for free entertainment and festivities.

One of the highlights for many was signing NBC 7's "Thank You," which is going to be shipped Monday to an operation based in Afghanistan. 

The entire day was a special one, with gratitude and respect. 

<![CDATA[Fishermen Honored for Saving People from Burning Boat]]>Sun, 11 Nov 2018 08:14:13 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Fishermen+Honored.png

A San Diego sportfishing crew received a big honor during the San Diego State Aztecs football game Saturday night at SDCCU Stadium.

The crew of the Time Machine rescued 15 people when their boat exploded off the coast of Coronado last month. On Saturday, the Coast Guard honored them with a special thank you during the third quarter of SDSU's game.

It was a big deal for the crew that went out of their way save people from the damaged boat.

"It's honoring, it feels good," Capt. Mike Koesterer said.

He, his son Reeve and their crewman Andy Vo went out to the middle of the field with members of the U.S. Coast Guard who also helped with the rescue.

The Coast Guard thanked the crew for saving 15 people on the night of Oct. 20. Koesterer said he saw a boat burst into flames near Coronado. The crew headed over to where the damaged boat was and heard screams for help.

All the people were in the water and the Time Machine crew said they pulled them out of the ocean. Three people, however, were never found.

Koesterer said while it's nice to be called a hero, it's also hard because the people he helped rescued did have serious injuries from the explosion.

"I kind of try to forget about it," he said. "It was difficult later and still is. The families of the ones lost have been contacting us saying, 'Thank you.'"

The Time Machine crew is now trying to help the victims and their families. They started a GoFundMe page to help with medical expenses.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[What's Open, Closed for Veterans Day in San Diego]]>Sat, 10 Nov 2018 23:18:41 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Veterans-Day-generic.jpg

Government offices in the city, state and the federal level will be closed Monday in observance of the Veterans Day holiday.

In the city of San Diego, all administrative offices, libraries, recreation centers and city pools will be closed. Tecolote Nature Center will also be closed.

City-run facilities that will remain open Monday include Miramar Landfill, Chollas Vicente Reservoir, golf courses, Mission Trails Park and all skate parks.

Parking meters, parking restrictions and yellow zones won’t be enforced.

County offices, libraries and animal shelters will also be closed Monday. Essential services, including sheriff’s and emergency animal control services, will be opened and staffed.

The city of Vista offices will remain open and operating under normal hours.

All county parks and campgrounds will remain open during normal business hours, except for Lakeside Community Center, Fallbrook Community Center and Spring Valley Community Center. The 4S Ranch recreation center office will be closed but the park will remain open.

Metropolitan Transit System and North County Transit System buses, trains and trolleys will operate on a normal weekday schedule.

Photo Credit: Photo by Senior Airman Donald Hudson]]>
<![CDATA[DOD Grants UCSD $3M to Study Binge Eating in Veterans]]>Sun, 11 Nov 2018 14:50:30 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Vets+Binge+Eating+Study+1111.jpg

For the first time, the Department of Defense will fund researchers to study binge eating in veterans.

UC San Diego was given $3 million by the DOD to study the disorder. It was one of three institutions awarded.

The purpose of the grant is to research binge eating disorder (BED) and test treatments in veterans and active duty military.

“Binge eating and obesity cost the DOD a significant amount of money in health care costs and absenteeism,” said Kerri Boutelle, principal investigator of the study and professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

Absenteeism is the habit of regularly staying away from work, according to the study.

“It costs the DOD over a million dollars in absenteeism and over a million dollars in medical costs per year,” Boutelle said.

BED is characterized when someone experiences a pattern of eating large amounts of food, often to the point of discomfort, according to the study. It is a complex condition that affects the brain and the body.

The rates of BED in the military are high; approximately 19 percent of women and 14 percent of active duty military suffer from the disorder, according to UC San Diego.

“Veterans and active duty service members may be at increased risk for BED due to conditions during military service that encourage eating food quickly with increased stress and pressure and periods of deprivation,” said Boutelle.

One of the most common treatments for BED is cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) that helps change or manage thoughts about harmful acts, according to the study.

While this therapy can have up to 60 percent of participants enter remission, it “fails to produce significant weight loss,” which may play a part in participants relapsing.

Boutelle and her team will study regulation of cues (ROC), in addition to CBT. This treatment targets cravings and trains participants to stop when they’re full, according to the study.

“We believe ROC can potentially provide a more effective and durable treatment for both BED and obesity for veterans,” Boutelle said.

UC San Diego’s trial will be made up of roughly 120 veterans diagnosed with BED.

The nearly year-long experiment, funded by the DOD grant, “has the potential to substantially change the treatment model for BED,” said Boutelle.

<![CDATA[Bruno Mars to Provide Thanksgiving Meals for 24K in Hawaii]]>Mon, 12 Nov 2018 01:21:54 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/brunomarsAP_18315619128556.jpg

Bruno Mars will mark the end of his massive "24K Magic World Tour" by providing meals to 24,000 Hawaii residents in need for the Thanksgiving holiday.

The Hawaiian-born singer announced Sunday he has donated money for the food to the Salvation Army's Hawaiian and Pacific Islands Division, which hosts an annual Thanksgiving meal program to help those in need.

Mars was set to perform the final show of his 200-date tour at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu on Sunday. It is his third consecutive night at the 50,000-seat venue.

The performer's tour is in support of his multi-platinum 2016 album, "24K Magic." It won six Grammy Awards earlier this year, including album, song and record of the year. The album includes the hits "That's What I Like," ''Finesse" and "24K Magic."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 7 San Diego

Photo Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File ]]>
<![CDATA[New Bridge Unveiled After Months of Construction]]>Thu, 08 Nov 2018 13:25:55 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Gilman-Bridge-file.jpg

Commuters will have a new connection between La Jolla and UC San Diego west of Interstate 5 and Medical Center Drive on the east side of the highway.

The Gilman Drive Bridge was unveiled Thursday as crews continue to put finishing touches on the route across the busy I-5 corridor. 

The bridge was built through a partnership between the San Diego Association of Governments, Caltrans, and the University of California, San Diego.

“It’s a very unique arch bridge,” John Haggerty, Director of Rail at SANDAG said. “The university wanted a signature bridge for their campus connection.”

Haggerty said the graceful bridge is an enhancement to the area and will serve as the second on-campus crossing over I-5. It will open to pedestrian and vehicle traffic in January. 

Construction on the bridge began two years ago and has required the closure of I-5 in recent weeks.

Next steps in the Mid-Coast Trolley Expansion will be two other bridges to serve the trolley over I-5. Those will soon begin construction at Voigt and Nobel drives.

When construction began, the approximate cost was estimated at $20.6 million. An estimated $15.3 million was expected to come from TransNet, the regional half-cent sales tax for transportation administered by SANDAG. 

Photo Credit: SANDAG]]>
<![CDATA[Some San Diegans Wait Hours to Register and Vote]]>Wed, 07 Nov 2018 06:22:28 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Lines-San-Diego-Voting-2018.jpg

San Diegans faced an estimated three-hour wait Tuesday at the San Diego County Registrar’s Office in Kearny Mesa.

“Most of us haven’t registered yet so that’s kind of why this line is so long. Because we’re really last-minute voting,” said one woman standing in the long line.

Other polling places in San Diego County are not experiencing this type of delay.

The registrar is the only place in the county offering conditional voting – where an individual can register to vote and then vote on the same day.

This is the second statewide election where conditional voter registration (CVR) is being offered. In June, the first time San Diego offered the process, 43 voters registered and voted on the same day.

“Our voice should be heard,” another woman said. “And I feel my voice matters.”

County officials said this has been the longest line ever at that location off of Ruffin Road.

Registrar of Voters Michael Vu said the county expects a 64 to 68 percent voter turnout. With 1.77 million voters registered in the county, 64 percent would be 1.13 million votes. 

As of 5 p.m., the registrar's office said it had received 482,492 mail-in ballots returned including early voting. 

Polls close at 8 p.m. in San Diego County. Anyone standing in the line as of 8 p.m. will be able to vote even if it takes several hours to process all of those people in line, registrar officials said.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Live Election Results]]>Wed, 07 Nov 2018 06:21:57 -0800]]><![CDATA[2018 Salute to Service Festival]]>Mon, 05 Nov 2018 14:58:16 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/722x406+CMS_2018.jpg]]><![CDATA[UPS Foundation Awards $15K to VVSD]]>Mon, 05 Nov 2018 12:45:22 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/VVSD+UPS+Award+11051.jpg

A local non-profit that provides care to veterans was awarded a $15,000 grant from the United Parcel Service Foundation.

Veterans Village of San Diego (VVSD) aims to create “life-changing programs and services addressing the challenges of transition and reintegration for our service members,” said Kimberly Mitchell, VVSD CEO and President.

The grant will go toward the non-profit’s Veterans Rehabilitation Center program.

This includes providing resources like housing, food, clothing, substance recovery, employment, legal services and more.

The program costs around $200 per day per person. The village is partially funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs, which only covers around $47 of that cost.

VVSD’s program also embraces healing activities like pottery, gardening, and yoga.

“The UPS Foundation is honored to support Veterans Village of San Diego’s efforts to support America’s veterans in reclaiming their lives,” said Eduardo Martinez, President of the UPS Foundation.

The UPS Foundation’s mission is to “build stronger, safer and, more resilient communities,” according to its website. It was created more than 60 years ago.

Additionally, VVSD hosts an annual event called “Stand Down.” It supplies hundreds of homeless San Diego veterans with essentials. It also helped create temporary shelters across the county.

The non-profit helps around 2,000 veterans overcoming homelessness and related challenges, according to its website.

The number of homeless veterans in the nation decreased by more than 5 percent in the past year.

Photo Credit: Google Maps]]>
<![CDATA[Olympian's Beloved BMX Bike Stolen Weeks Ahead of Title Race]]>Mon, 05 Nov 2018 18:18:31 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/Olympians_Bike_Stolen_Outside_In_N_Out.jpg

While a two-time Olympic BMX racer was grabbing a hamburger with friends, someone made off with her custom bike.

Now, just three weeks ahead of the biggest race of the year, she’s pedaling to get back what’s hers.

Alice Post won silver at the 2016 Rio Olympics and has had gold in her sights since. The 27-year-old trains at the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center.

She stopped by a nearby In-N-Out with some friends and when she came back to her truck, her prized possession was gone.

“I just wanted to enjoy a little In-N-Out burger with my friends, but here we are,” Post said.

She’s ridden the one-of-a-kind bike to several victories. In fact, she hasn’t been beaten on it yet this year. Post says it’s not hard to tell who it belongs to.

“It's very noticeable, and everything on it is very noticeable,” she said. “My name is written all over it.”

The bike’s sentimental value goes deeper than the on-track accomplishments she’s achieved with it, making the theft all the more heartbreaking.

“It's got a lot of meaningful stuff to me between my husband's accident and my mom's passing away and just custom little things that mean a lot to me,” she said.

Her husband, an Australian Olympian and world champion, broke his neck shortly after the 2016 Rio Olympics. He's now her coach, and they're rallying to put together a new bike, just in case this one doesn't come back before she competes for yet another professional title at Grand Nationals in Oklahoma.

Post’s sponsors are offering a $1,000 reward for the bike's safe return.

<![CDATA[Adorable Bear Cub Keeps Sliding Down Slope, Doesn't Give Up]]>Mon, 05 Nov 2018 18:17:06 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/DIT_NAT_BEAR_CUB_MAMA_110518-154146717092300002.jpg

Drone footage from Russia shows a bear cub trying to follow a bear to the top of a snowy slope but the cub can't seem to make it. After sliding down the slope many times, the adorable cub perseveres and joins the grown bear atop the slope.]]>
<![CDATA[Scientists Say 'Oumuamua' Object Could Be Alien Spacecraft]]>Tue, 06 Nov 2018 15:58:52 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-1025375430.jpg

Maybe it's an alien spacecraft.

Scientists have been puzzling over Oumuamua ever since the mysterious space object was observed tumbling past the sun in late 2017, NBC News reported. Given its high speed and its unusual trajectory, the reddish, stadium-sized whatever-it-is had clearly come from outside our solar system. But its flattened, elongated shape and the way it accelerated on its way through the solar system set it apart from conventional asteroids and comets.

Now a pair of Harvard researchers are raising the possibility that Oumuamua is an alien spacecraft.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[People Magazine Names Idris Elba 2018's Sexiest Man Alive]]>Tue, 06 Nov 2018 03:28:46 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/idriselbaAP_18309860081301.jpg

People magazine has named Idris Elba as 2018's Sexiest Man Alive, and the British actor says the honor has given him a boost of self-confidence.

Elba, who starred in "The Wire" and "Luther," was surprised after being crowned this year's winner, the magazine said.

"I was like, 'Come on, no way. Really?'" he told the magazine. "Looked in the mirror, I checked myself out. I was like, 'Yeah, you are kind of sexy today.' But to be honest, it was just a nice feeling. It was a nice surprise — an ego boost for sure."

Elba's selection was revealed on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," with the actor appearing via satellite from London. Fallon had Elba perform poses to match the magazine's cover description of him as a "sweet, smoldering superstar." Elba said of his selection, "My mom is going to be very, very proud."

The actor has also starred in Marvel's "Thor" franchise and as Nelson Mandela in the film "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom."

Elba, 46, also performs on the side under the deejay name DJ Big Driis and has his own clothing line. He is also planning a wedding with his fiancée Sabrina Dhowre.

The actor has a 16-year-old daughter, Isan, and a 4-year-old son, Winston, from previous relationships.

Elba told People about his upbringing as an only child of African immigrants growing up in East London. The actor said his parents were strict and he got picked on often while attending an all-boys school despite playing an array of sports including football, basketball, cricket, hockey and rugby.

"I was very tall and skinny," recalled Elba, who stands at 6-foot-3. "And my name was Idrissa Akuna Elba, OK? I got picked on a little bit. But again, as soon as I could grow a mustache, I was the coolest kid on the block. Grew a mustache, had some muscles, bonkers."

Past winners include Dwayne Johnson, David Beckham, Chris Hemsworth, Adam Levine, Channing Tatum and last year's honoree, country star Blake Shelton.

Elba will be featured in a special double issue that will hit newsstands Friday. The actor said he tries to live life without few regrets.

"Life isn't about thinking about what you should have done," he said. "I think everyone should adopt the philosophy that tomorrow is not promised so just go for it today. You might as well do it to your heart's content."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 7 San Diego

Photo Credit: Taylor Jewell/Invision/AP, File ]]>
<![CDATA[List of Deals This Veterans Day]]>Mon, 12 Nov 2018 14:44:11 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/flags+veterans+day+2017.jpg

Veterans Day is reserved for veterans and people who have served in the U.S armed forces, and on the holiday restaurants and other establishments like to offer special discounted -- or even free -- deals to those who've served. We found great deals around San Diego County offering great freebies and discounts to our military in honor of Veterans Day.

Little Caesars

The third-largest pizza chain, Little Caesars is giving away free $5 Hot-N-Ready Lunch combos from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The meal includes four slices of DEEP!DEEP! Dish pepperoni pizza and a 20-ounce fountain drink. Only available at participating locations.


Chipotle is offering buy-one-get-one (BOGO) for all active duty military, reserves, national guard, military spouses and retired military with valid ID, at all restaurants in the U.S. from open to close on Veterans Day. The offer is valid on burritos, bowls, salads and taco orders. To find a location near you click here.

Dunkin’ Donuts

America’s favorite Coffee shop is offering a free donut at participating locations, no purchase necessary. It is limited one per customer and open to veterans and active duty military personnel.

California Pizza Kitchen

California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) salutes our nation’s armed forces by offering them a complimentary entrée from CPK’s special Veterans Day menu at all participating CPK locations nationwide. Participating guests will also receive a card to redeem a BOGO offer on pizza, pasta, or salad during a return visit Nov. 12-18.


Chili’s is offering complimentary meals as a way to say thank you. They are offering a free entrée from the list below:

  • Chicken Crispers
  • Margarita Grilled Chicken
  • Bowl of Chili or Soup & Salad
  • Chicken Bacon Ranch Quesadillas
  • Just Bacon Burger
  • Oldtimer with Cheese
  • Cajun Chicken Pasta 

It will be offered at all locations nationwide. Visit their website for more.

Fogo De Chão

Fogo De Chão is thanking veterans by offering them 50 percent off their meal starting on Nov. 9. In addition, up to three of their guests can also receive 10 percent off their meal. Don’t forget to make reservations at their locations.  

Red Robin

The burger chain is honoring all veterans and active duty military guests with a free Red’s Tavern double burger served with bottomless steak fries at participating restaurants nationwide.


On Nov. 12, America's Diner is offering free build your own Grand Slams for dine-in guests only from 5 a.m. to noon at participating restaurants. Call the location near you to make sure they are participating in this offer. 

Red Lobster

In honor of Veterans Day, Red Lobster is offering a free appetizer or a dessert to veterans, active-duty military and reservists on Nov. 11 and Nov. 12. Guests will be able to choose from the following special menu:


  • Sweet Chili Shrimp
  •  Mozzarella Cheesesticks
  •  Parrot Isle Jumbo Coconut Shrimp
  •  Seafood-Stuffed Mushrooms
  •  Lobster and Langostino Pizza
  •  Signature Shrimp Cocktail


    • Vanilla Bean Cheesecake
    • Key Lime Pie
    • Warm Apple Crostada
    • Chocolate Wave
    • Brownie Overboard

    Hotel del Coronado 

    The iconic Hotel del Coronado is offering military a last-minute deal for a stay at their resort. Guests can book a resort view room for $169 per night and a partial ocean view room for $229 per night when they use the code BRAVE. Stays must be booked from Nov. 7 to Dec. 21, and blackout dates apply. 

    Soapy Joe's

    Soapy Joe's will provide all active duty military and veterans with free Magic Potion car washes ($20 value) at all 11 Soapy Joe's locations in San Diego. Fill out an online form to receive the free car wash deal by email. Also, from Nov.4-11, Soapy Joe's will provide the public with exclusive camouflage themed car fresheners.  

    AvaCare Medical

    AvaCare Medical, which provides medical supplies and equipment online, is offering 10% discount for all veterans and their families members. To get the discount enter promo code VT10 at checkout on any order placed between Nov. 10-12.

    The establishments above require a valid military ID to redeem offers. Click on their links for more information. 

    <![CDATA[Eat, Drink & Be Merry: 2018 SD Bay Food & Wine Fest Returns]]>Tue, 06 Nov 2018 04:59:26 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/181*120/wine+picture.JPG

    Foodies and winos rejoice because Southern California’s largest food and wine festival is making its way to San Diego's Embarcadero this weekend.

    The 15th annual San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival arrives on Nov. 11 to treat locals and visitors to eight-days of wine tasting seminars, cooking classes, bites from award-winning chefs and unforgettable celebrity chef dinners.

    The star-studded event this year features famous tastemakers such as TV personality and author Graham Elliot, host and food blogger Alex Thomopoulos and winner of the sixth season of MasterChef Claudia Sandoval, just to name a few.

    Here's a sample into what you could be enjoying during this grand event:

    Pitmaster’s Veterans Day Barbecue
    Nov. 11, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Coronado Island Marriott Resort & Spa
    Join Graham Elliot, celebrity chef, author and MasterChef television personality, And Coronado Island Marriott Resort & Spa chefs Micheal Poompan and Aaron Obregon for a Veterans Day Barbecue by the beach. Tickets are $65 or $35 for children ages 6-13. VIP tickets are available for $125 and include early event access, meet and greet and photo opp with Graham Elliot, plus a specialty cocktail as well as charcuterie and cheese board.

    Raised by Wolves
    Nov. 12, 7 to 10 p.m., Raised by Wolves
    If you’ve never been to a speakeasy brace yourself for a unique experience. Raised by Wolves (4301 La Jolla Village Drive) is located inside what looks like a liquor store and is accessed only through a hidden fireplace entrance. Once inside you’ll find a cocktail and spirits apothecary. You can join Graham Elliot and Jason McLeod at this secret opening party event with a $95 ticket.

    Nolita Hall
    Nov. 13, 6 to 9:00 p.m.,Nolita Hall
    Enjoy a movie with a sip of wine at Nolita Hall (2305 India St). SOMM, the acclaimed documentary series, continues with a third installment to follow the initial film’s subjects on their wine journey. There will be select wines and canapés with a guided blind tasting and Q & A with featured sommeliers, all for $85.

    Food Tank Summit
    Nov. 14, 9 a.m.- 5 p.m., The Alexandria at Torrey Pines
    Food Tank and the Berry Good Food Foundation will host the inaugural San Diego Food Tank Summit. The theme will be "Growing the Food Movement." This event will feature more than 30 different speakers from the food and agriculture industry and includes a delicious breakfast, snacks, and lunch. Tickets start at $199. Guests can receive a $50 discount on the ticket price by entering the code SDFWF upon checkout.

    Argentine Asado and Wine Pairings: A Coasterra Cookout
    Nov. 15, 12-2p.m., Harbor Float at Coasterra
    For $75, Guests can join renowned chef’s Deborah Scott from Cohn Restaurant Group, Coasterra’s Chef de Cucine, Aaron Allen, and guest chef Travis Swikard for a fire-fueled Argentine cookout out on the water at Coasterra’s Harbor Float (880 Harbor Island Dr).

    The Grand Decant
    Nov. 16, 4- 7p.m., Marriot Marquis San Diego Marina
    The Grand Decant is a great way guest can kick off the Wine and Food Festival's final weekend. Join the top sommeliers, wineries and winemakers to taste more than 200 domestic and international wineries representing more than 500 wines with tickets starting at $75. VIP tickets are available for $125 and upgrades your wine tasting at The Grand Decant with exclusive access to rare and high end wines curated by the San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival Event Producers.

    Grand Tasting
    Nov. 17, 12-3p.m. Embarcadero Marina Park North
    The culminating part of it all, the Grand Tasting. This is what the whole week has prepared you for. For $135, taste from more than 60 celebrity chefs and restaurants, hundreds of domestic and international wine, beer and spirit purveyors and gourmet food companies. VIP packages are available at $225 and include early event access and a VIP tent that includes hours of entertainment with live musical acts, exclusive tastings by celebrity chefs and luxury winemakers.

    To view more information about this event, visit their website.

    Photo Credit: Getty Image]]>
    <![CDATA[SR-56 Bike Trail May Be Extended]]>Mon, 05 Nov 2018 07:05:46 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/bike+trail+extension+1104.jpg

    The east and west sides of the county may finally be connected for San Diego bikers thanks to a new project making its way through the city council.

    A proposal aims to expand the State Route 56 Bike Trail.

    The trail currently spans alongside SR-56’s ten mile stretch of road from Carmel Mountain Ranch to Carmel Valley. If the project is approved, the path could be expanded underneath Interstate 5, where it ends now.

    Karen Matingou took up biking after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in January. She quickly appreciated what the SR-56 Bike Trail could offer.

    “If I were ever to have to ride by myself that’s the only path I would choose, because it’s the only path in my area that’s protected from traffic,” Matingou told NBC 7. “And today, with distracted drivers, being on a protected bike path means everything.”

    She said she took up biking to challenge herself both mentally and physically now that she has MS.

    “It’s kept me focused on, mentally, on the positives, instead of worrying about my diagnosis,” Matingou said.

    Matingou also began raising money with Bike MS, where she’s raised more than $8,000, according to the company’s website.

    The new path is expected to increase trips by 14 percent by 2030, according to Hailey Bossert with the San Diego County Bike Coalition.

    Bossert also claimed the project would address increased greenhouse gas emissions and childhood obesity.

    The bike trail extension would be a collaborative effort between the city and Caltrans.

    The new path will cost the city $2.25 million, according to the council’s staff report.

    The San Diego City Council’s Infrastructure Committee approved the new project in October.

    The proposal will now go to the full city council in early 2019.

    <![CDATA[Cheers! San Diego Beer Week Celebrates 10 Years]]>Fri, 02 Nov 2018 09:54:12 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/San_Diego_Beer_Week_Celebrates_Brewers_and_Their_Craft.jpg

    San Diego's craft brew scene is marking an accomplishment this month: 10 years of San Diego Beer Week (SDBW), a special county-wide celebration filled with hundreds of beer-centric events. 

    SDBW runs from Nov. 2 to Nov. 11 this year with more than 500 events at local breweries and restaurants across the county. From beer-themed scavenger hunts to food-and-beer pairings, homebrewing workshops and suds-inspired music festivals, there are a wide array of events for locals to chose from during SDBW's 10-day run. 

    A limited edition beer celebrating the local beer industry will be offered at several of these events. "Capital of Craft IPA" was a collaborative effort between Guild-member breweries. The hoppy brew features a 2-row pale malt and white wheat malt and is made with agave syrup. 

    While events begin on Friday, SDBW officially kicks off with its main event, Guild Fest. More than 60 independent breweries will gather in one place, San Diego Embarcadero South, to offer sips of their creations. 

    Guests with a $50 general admission ticket will get a commemorative tasting cup and unlimited samples at the annual festival, which runs from 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday. 

    The event closes on Sunday, Nov. 11 with another tentpole event, the SDBW Beer Garden. The Lodge at Torrey Pines will be home to dozens of local brewers and chefs from 12 bto 3 p.m. for this food and beer pairing event. An admission ticket for $85 gets guests unlimited bites and sips. 

    SDBW The event is hosted by the San Diego Brewers Guild (SDBG), who represents more than 130 brewers across the county -- from titans like Stone Brewing to fan favorites like Belching Beaver and newbies like Thunderhawk Alements

    For a list of all the sudsy offerings during this year's SDBW, visit here

    No one has (yet) given San Diego County a crown for its contribution to the beer industry but the sheer amount of awards given to local craft breweries -- which for the most part are not more than three-decades old -- has given San Diego a special place in the hearts of beer lovers across the country.

    The city has been unofficially called the "Craft Beer Capital of America." 

    San Diego's beer scene contributed about $1.1 billion to the local economy and generated about $802 million in revenue in 2017, according to the SDBG.

    <![CDATA[Earth's Ozone Layer Is Healing, UN Report Says]]>Mon, 05 Nov 2018 04:48:33 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ozone.jpg

    Earth's protective ozone layer is finally healing from damage caused by aerosol sprays and coolants, a new United Nations report said.

    The ozone layer had been thinning since the late 1970s. Scientist raised the alarm and ozone-depleting chemicals were phased out worldwide.

    As a result, the upper ozone layer above the Northern Hemisphere should be completely repaired in the 2030s and the gaping Antarctic ozone hole should disappear in the 2060s, according to a scientific assessment released Monday at a conference in Quito, Ecuador. The Southern Hemisphere lags a bit and its ozone layer should be healed by mid-century.

    "It's really good news," said report co-chairman Paul Newman, chief Earth scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. "If ozone-depleting substances had continued to increase, we would have seen huge effects. We stopped that."

    High in the atmosphere, ozone shields Earth from ultraviolet rays that cause skin cancer, crop damage and other problems. Use of man-made chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which release chlorine and bromine, began eating away at the ozone. In 1987, countries around the world agreed in the Montreal Protocol to phase out CFCs and businesses came up with replacements for spray cans and other uses.

    At its worst in the late 1990s, about 10 percent of the upper ozone layer was depleted, said Newman. Since 2000, it has increased by about 1 to 3 percent per decade, the report said.

    This year, the ozone hole over the South Pole peaked at nearly 9.6 million square miles (24.8 million square kilometers). That's about 16 percent smaller than the biggest hole recorded — 11.4 million square miles (29.6 million square kilometers) in 2006.

    The hole reaches its peak in September and October and disappears by late December until the next Southern Hemisphere spring, Newman said.

    The ozone layer starts at about 6 miles (10 kilometers) above Earth and stretches for nearly 25 miles (40 kilometers); ozone is a colorless combination of three oxygen atoms.

    If nothing had been done to stop the thinning, the world would have destroyed two-thirds of its ozone layer by 2065, Newman said.

    But it's not a complete success yet, said University of Colorado's Brian Toon, who wasn't part of the report.

    "We are only at a point where recovery may have started," Toon said, pointing to some ozone measurements that haven't increased yet.

    Another problem is that new technology has found an increase in emissions of a banned CFC out of East Asia, the report noted.

    And the replacements now being used to cool cars and refrigerators need to be replaced themselves with chemicals that don't worsen global warming, Newman said. An amendment to the Montreal Protocol that goes into effect next year would cut use of some of those gases.

    "I don't think we can do a victory lap until 2060," Newman said. "That will be for our grandchildren to do."


    The Associated Press Health & Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

    Copyright Associated Press / NBC 7 San Diego

    Photo Credit: AP]]>
    <![CDATA[Customers Make Sweet Gesture to Help Donut Owner]]>Sat, 03 Nov 2018 14:56:32 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/donutshopScreen-Shot-2018-11-03-at-6.41.04-PM.jpg

    Doughnuts are flying off the shelves at a small business near Los Angeles as customers try to help the owner make time to visit his ailing wife.

    John Chhan has greeted customers at Donut City in Seal Beach every day for the last 30 years. But last month, Chhan's wife, Stella, suffered a brain aneurysm. She's recovering in a nursing facility.

    Chhan, who starts work at 4:30 a.m., was at the shop for long hours so customers decided they wanted to give him more time to visit his wife.

    Customers have been coming in and snatching up doughnuts by the dozens. On Thursday, the trays were cleaned out by 10:30 a.m., allowing Chhan to close the shop.

    Chhan says he's grateful beyond words.

    Copyright Associated Press / NBC 7 San Diego

    Photo Credit: FeedLoader]]>
    <![CDATA[Some Lime Scooters in SoCal Recalled Over Fire Risk]]>Mon, 05 Nov 2018 00:35:01 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/lime-s-scooter-dallas.jpg

    The e-scooter company Lime pulled some of its scooters from the Los Angeles and San Diego markets due to a battery defect that could lead to the scooters catching fire, the company announced.

    Lime posted a community update on Tuesday saying it had removed certain scooters that used a battery manufactured by the company Segway Ninebot. In several instances, a manufacturing defect could lead to the battery smoldering or catching fire. Segway Ninebot batteries were only used in some versions of Lime's scooters, the company said.

    Lime said it became aware of the issue in August and pulled the scooters from SoCal markets, as well as Lake Tahoe, in response. The Washington Post reports a scooter burst into flames at the company's facility in Lake Tahoe in August, prompting the fire department to respond. Lime did not confirm this report or mention the reported fire in its statement on the battery recall.

    In its statement, the company said all vulnerable scooters had been removed from circulation, though it is investigating a new report of battery issues in a different scooter model.

    Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
    <![CDATA[Overnight I-5 Closure Planned in La Jolla for 2 Weeks ]]>Fri, 02 Nov 2018 10:50:27 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Gilman_Street_Bridge_Rendering.jpg

    Construction on the Gilman Drive Bridge in La Jolla will shut down overnight traffic on Interstate 5 for two more weekends before the bridge is officially unveiled.

    The bridge has been covered by wooden support beams for more than a year as crews construct a bridge that will span I-5, connecting Gilman Drive to Medical Center Drive.

    The wooden structure will need to be removed over the next two weekends, forcing a closure on the roadway beginning Sunday. 

    From Nov. 4 to Nov. 8 and again on Nov. 13 to 15, northbound lanes of I-5 will be fully closed from La Jolla Village Drive to Genessee Avenue from 10:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. 

    Motorists are encouraged to plan ahead and find alternative routes. 

    The bridge was created through a partnership by the San Diego Association of Governments, Caltrans, and the University of California, San Diego.

    It will be the second on-campus crossing over I-5, according to SANDAG.

    Construction on the bridge began in November 2016.

    Photo Credit: SANDAG]]>
    <![CDATA[Veterans Take 'Dream Flight' in WWII Plane]]>Fri, 02 Nov 2018 10:06:55 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Veterans_Take__Dream_Flight__in_WWII_Plane.jpg

    Eight veterans got to live out a dream today. NBC 7's LLarisa Abreu has the story.]]>
    <![CDATA[First Stats in 2018-2019 Flu Season Released by San Diego County]]>Thu, 01 Nov 2018 13:41:10 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/KNSD_San_Diego_Scrambles_to_Prep_for_110209_17_mezzn_640x480.jpg

    As we begin the flu season, San Diego County health officials report the number of influenza cases in the region is down 60 percent from this time last year. 

    A total of 129 flu cases have been reported in San Diego County through Oct. 27, officials said Thursday. 

    The region is seeing 60 percent less than the 318 cases reported at the same time last year. 

    Even so, officials said now is the time to get a flu vaccine. 

    “People should not become complacent. It’s too early to determine what impact this year’s flu season is going to have,” Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer said in a written news release.

    In San Diego County, the 342 residents who died of flu-related causes during the 2017 to 2018 flu season represent a nearly 300 percent increase over the city's 87 deaths during the 2016 to 2017 flu season.

    There have been no deaths in San Diego County in the 2018-2019 flu season. 

    There are a number of clinic locations throughout San Diego County offering the influenza vaccine. Click here for the most updated list from the county. For more information, call (866) 358-2966.

    Officials say you can avoid getting sick by following these steps: 


    • Wash hands thoroughly and often
    • Use hand sanitizers
    • Stay away from sick people
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
    • Clean commonly touched surfaces
    • If you are sick, stay home and avoid contact with others

    <![CDATA[Kids Replace Candy in Bowl Swiped by Other Trick-or-Treaters]]>Fri, 02 Nov 2018 04:55:32 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Halloween+Trick+Or+Treat+stolen+candy.png

    A Chula Vista homeowner checked his security camera to see how trick-or-treaters handled the bowl they left on the front porch Wednesday.

    “I would hear the security camera go off every now and then and I just happened to say, 'You know what, let's take a look at the camera,' Laurence Lector told NBC 7.

    Lector and his wife left the bowl full of candy at their home on Baywood Circle so they could go trick-or-treating with their own children.

    What he saw on the video was a group of older children tackling the bowl.

    “Just brutal really,” Lector said laughing. “I was like, 'Wow, you guys really wiped it out!'

    The couple wasn’t as angry as they were disappointed. They had expected the candy to be gone when they returned home.

    “But the way they did it is what really shocked me,” Lector said.

    “I think what struck me the most was the little kids that were with them,” he said.

    However, they kept watching and saw additional footage that showed there are still good kids out there.

    An hour later, the couple watching the video via their mobile phone saw another group of children approach the home.

    “We thought, 'Okay, so what are they going to do about it? Are they going to walk away?” Cherryl Castro-Lector said.

    On the video, one child can be heard calling for a parent.

    “Let's leave them a little bit of candy,” a woman tells the children.

    “I was really touched by that,” Laurence said.

    The children go to the Lectors’ next-door neighbor and get more candy to put into the once-empty bowl.

    “Oh my God, we felt like humanity had been restored,” Cherryl said.

    “There are kids in our community in Eastlake who are just good and kind-hearted.”

    The couple said they posted the videos to Facebook not to shame the children who took the candy but to show how there are children who will do the right thing. 

    Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Lector Family]]>
    <![CDATA[LEGOLAND to Offer Free Birthday Admission to Kids in 2019]]>Sat, 08 Dec 2018 10:09:00 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Legoland-20th-Anniversary-1.jpg

    Parents, you might want to take the kids to LEGOLAND next year for their birthday: the colorful theme park in San Diego’s North County plans to offer children 12 and under free admission in 2019 on their birthday. 

    The freebie is part of the park’s own birthday celebration as it turns the big 2-0 next year. The yearlong party will also boast new attractions and entertainment as LEGOLAND California Resort reflects on how far it’s come in just two decades.

    When the park opened in 1999, it featured 12 rides and a miniature town built entirely of LEGOs known as “Miniland USA.”

    Today, the LEGOLAND brand has grown to include the Sea Life Aquarium, LEGOLAND Water Park, LEGOLAND Hotel and the LEGOLAND Castle Hotel that opened earlier this year. Now, the Resort is home to more than 60 rides, shows and attractions, all geared for families with children ages two to 12.

    In addition to the free admission offer, LEGOLAND plans to kick off its big birthday with something dubbed “The LEGO Movie Days” on Feb. 16 and Feb. 17 and Feb. 23 and Feb. 24, 2019. During those dates, visitors can enjoy taking photos with characters from the movie, plus activities like scavenger hunts, LEGO building and a yet-to-be-announced attraction that will open as “The LEGO Movie 2” hits theaters.

    In the spring, the park will debut a new short film at the LEGO Showplace Theater called “LEGO City 4D: Officer in Pursuit,” which follows LEGO characters as they try to save the city.

    For its littlest fans, LEGOLAND will recreate the DUPLO Playtown, an interactive zone where tots can slide, hide, play and even hop on a mini express train.

    Finally, LEGOLAND will introduce a new show, “LEGO Friends Live Show and Character Dance Party” at the new Miniland Stage, where guests can keep the party moving with lots of singing and dancing.

    The free birthday admission offer begins in January 2019 and lasts all year long. For more information on LEGOLAND’s 20th birthday celebration, click here.

    Photo Credit: LEGOLAND California Resort
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    <![CDATA[San Diego-Based Navy Ship Helps NASA in Recovery Mission]]>Wed, 07 Nov 2018 19:06:33 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/nasa+orion+recovery+san+diego+2.jpg

    We have lift-off! A San Diego-based Navy vessel deployed this week for a mission with NASA that will set the groundwork for the agency to recover its Orion space exploration vehicle on its return from space. 

    Amphibious transport dock USS John P. Murtha left Naval Base San Diego on Tuesday to join the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to test the recovery process of a replica Orion spacecraft, designed to carry astronauts on missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond. 

    Orion is preparing to power the "most powerful rocket in the world" into space and travel about 280,000 miles during Exploration Mission-1, the longest and fastest space exploration mission ever conducted -- more than 1.3 million miles in about three weeks, according to NASA. 

    Navy amphibious specialists, Navy divers and Air Force weather specialists make up NASA's Landing and Recovery Team, which will retrieve the capsule and the crew after splashdown and return them both to land, according to NASA.

    During training, Navy divers will practice inspecting the spacecraft for hazards, and hook up tow lines. Then, NASA engineers will tow the capsule into the recovery ship and transport Orion back to Naval Base San Diego. 

    The Navy in partnership with NASA's Exploration Ground Systems launched training in January to begin prepping Orion for space travel. So far, their tests have been conducted on a replica spacecraft. 

    Ultimately, Orion will launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida and be recovered off the coast of Baja, California.

    The agency said Orion will enter the atmosphere traveling at 25,000 mph. As it re-enters, Orion will slow to 300 mph. Then, parachutes will deploy, slowing the spacecraft to approximately 20 mph before it splashes down in the Pacific Ocean, about 60 miles off California’s coast.

    The mission, slated for sometime next year, will pave the way for flights with astronauts beginning in the early 2020s, according to the space agency. 

    Photo Credit: NASA
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
    <![CDATA[Balboa Park's California Tower to Temporarily Close in 2019]]>Thu, 01 Nov 2018 06:57:46 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/2017-04-06+11.52.55.jpg

    The iconic California Tower at the San Diego Museum of Man in Balboa Park will be closed to the public for much of 2019 due to construction, the museum announced this week.

    The City of San Diego will start a seismic retrofit of the historic structure that will last between seven to 10 months. A seismic retrofit is when a building is reinforced to protect against any potential earthquake damages, the museum said.

    The museum and many of its exhibits, including "Cannibals: Myth & Reality" and "PostSecret," will remain open daily to the public during construction, operating during its regular of 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    In addition, the museum will offer discounted ticket prices for museum general admission both online and at the door during the retrofitting project.

    The tower’s electronic carillon, a 100-chime instrument that plays those recognizable chimes that ring throughout Balboa Park every day, with concerts at noon, will be temporarily moved to keep it safe during construction.

    The museum said the construction will be "virtually unnoticeable" but there may be occasional noise.

    The California Tower was officially opened in 1915 as part of the Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park. The tower closed to the public in 1935, shortly after the California Pacific International Exposition.

    Eighty years later, the California Tower re-opened to the public for tours, offering visitors a chance to climb its seven floors of stairs to the top, where a panoramic view of San Diego awaits. The tours cost between $16 and $23 per person but will be on hiatus while the tower is closed during the retrofitting project.

    Photo Credit: Monica Garske]]>
    <![CDATA[Mission Bay Park to Get $40M Makeover]]>Wed, 31 Oct 2018 19:02:51 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/TZ1+MISSION+BAY+PARK+IN_KNSD6UGS.jpg

    One of San Diego's crown jewels will soon be getting a makeover.

    Mayor Kevin Faulconer officially announced big plans for Mission Bay Park.

    More than $40 million in upgrades are coming to the area.

    The improvements include resurfacing parking lots, replacing equipment at 10 different playgrounds within the park, and improving restrooms and biking and walking trails.

    Bay dredging will also be done to keep the water as safe as possible.

    About $7 million is also reserved for a master environmental report that will guide the city on the environmental impacts of any proposed projects for the park.

    For those who use Mission Bay Park on a regular basis, they couldn't be happier to hear about the improvements headed to the area.

    "There's just something sacred out here,” said San Diego resident Ian Angel. “Every time you come out here no matter what's going on in your day, you just come out here and it just feels like you can just shut your mind off.”

    Much of the immediate work was made possible by the passage of Measure J in 2016. The city said it wouldn't have been able to tackle the playground, restroom, and parking lot projects without it.

    Mission Bay Park is the largest aquatic park of its kind in the country.

    About 15 million people visit the park each year.

    <![CDATA[Celebrating Dia de los Muertos in San Diego]]>Thu, 18 Oct 2018 11:39:39 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-458305570%281%29.jpg

    Día de los Muertos, one of the most important holidays in Mexico and many South American countries, has become an annual tradition here in San Diego.

    It's one of many traditions that have crossed the U.S.-Mexico border and is practiced by families throughout the Southwest.

    Also known as "Day of the Dead," the holiday is marked by a multi-day festival celebrated primarily in Mexico or by persons of Mexican heritage to honor loved ones who have passed on to the afterworld.

    In Old Town San Diego, there will be a three-day festival beginning Nov. 1.

    Altars created in honor of the departed are decorated in Aztec Marigolds, the favorite foods and music.

    There are a number of local events planned to mark the holiday.

    La Vista Historical Foundation is hosting its 10th annual Día de los Muertos Celebration on Sat., Oct. 20 from 2 p.m.- 10 p.m. This event draws about 10,000 visitors to La Vista Memorial Park in National City.

    The Día de los Muertos event will be filled with performances, artisan demonstrations, face painting, traditional rituals and more.

    They will have Aztec dancers, Mariachi and ballet folklorico performances. In addition, a performance by the Colombian music group La Sonora Dinamita.

    La Vista Historical Foundation will host dozens of artists and artisans who’ve traveled from various countries to showcase their one of a kind works to sell at the art walk.

    David Linares, nephew of the Linares family in the book Great Masters of Mexican Folk Art, will be visiting from Mexico City to showcase his art of alebrijes.

    Alebrijes are brightly colored Mexican folk art sculptures of fantastical creatures that often adorn altars.

    International visual artist Antonio Escalante will unveil this year’s community altar, named the Tree of Life, where guests are welcomed to decorate it with a picture of their loved ones who have passed away.

    “For all those people that are not able to go to their hometown Mexico or those who have never traveled to Mexico this is an opportunity to see culture at its highest level of art, and respect,” Luisa McCarthy, CEO of La Vista Historical Foundation said.

    “It's going to be a mosaic of art for anyone who attends.”

    There are other Día de los Muertos events planned around San Diego. Here's our list: 

    Saturday, Oct. 27

    Día de los Muertos Celebration

    The 24th Annual Sherman Heights Day of the Dead Celebration will be held at the Sherman Heights Community Center. They will have altars, vendors, food and workshops for the whole family. Admission is free.

    Encinitas Día de los Muertos Celebration

    Come and celebrate life up north at the Encinitas Día de los Muertos celebration. With live performances, art-making workshops, a student, artist demos, live mariachi and more. This free event is for the whole family.

    Day of the Dead Festival- North Park

    An array of Mexican themed artisanal crafts from throughout the US will be on display along Ray Street in the heart of North Park. This free family event will have sugar skull decorating, face painting, a community altar and more.

    Sunday, Oct. 28

    Día de los Muertos, Oceanside

    Mission San Luis Rey will have an all-day community event with diverse cultural traditions from Mexico. It will be their 17th annual Día de los Muertos with food, shopping and entertainment. Plus, enter to win a stay at the Mission for you and a guest by completing a survey with one of their teams in purple shirts. This event is free for the whole family.

    Nov. 1-4

    Old Town San Diego’s Dia de los Muertos

    The annual Día de los Muertos event held at Old Town draws over 75,000 visitors. There will be face painting, live entertainment, artists, vendors, kid's area and more. This family event will be free for the whole family to enjoy.

    Here's more information on the National City event: 

    In addition, the Foundation will host their annual altar contest and Catrina contest. The altars will be judged in three categories, $1,000 to the most traditional, $500 to the most original and $250 to the most creative. The Catrina contest winner will receive $500. Click here to enter the contests. 

    Tickets start at $5 for general admission and $50 for VIP. Tickets can be purchased online, at Westfield Plaza Bonita or at La Vista Memorial Park. Admission is free to children five and under and to seniors 65 and up. They will have a free shuttle service at Westfield Plaza Bonita near Broken Yolk Café from 2 p.m.-11 p.m. 

    To view more information or to buy tickets visit their website.

    Share your family's traditions for this holiday with us on our Facebook page. 

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[Whoa! Headless Girl Costume Will Creep You Out]]>Wed, 31 Oct 2018 13:35:58 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/headless-girl-costume-2-2018.jpg

    A toddler's headless girl costume is creeping out people across the globe for Halloween.

    Maya, just 2 years old, is enjoying her new-found fame after the costume her mother made is circulating around the world on social media.

    Krystel Hwang, who lives in Manila, Philippines, said she made her 2-year-old's creepy costume using a $3 dress she purchased. 

    "I wanted to do something different and unique for my girls this year. Charlie, my 6-year-old, was a zombie bride last year," Hwang told NBC4. Maya was Chucky last year!

    She said she's gotten reqeusts from all over the world to share her video, including from Ireland, Poland, Spain, Japan, Vietnam, and Poland.

    "Everyone seems so amazed, like, 'How is that even possible?'" she said.

    She also has quite a talent for costume-making -- she hand-made Supergirl and Wonderwoman costumes for her girls two years ago.

    Photo Credit: Krystel Hwang/ Instagram @kryshteta
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
    <![CDATA[Halloween Treat: Superheroes Wash Windows at Rady Children’s]]>Wed, 31 Oct 2018 12:09:20 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Superheroes_Wash_Windows_at_Rady_Childrens_Hospital.jpg

    Young patients at Rady Children’s Hospital had a brush with some familiar superheroes Wednesday including Captain America, The Hulk and Spider-Man as part of a memorable Halloween treat spearheaded by a local business.

    The superheroes weren’t there to fight bad guys; they were there to clean the windows at the hospital.

    For the past four years, Dennis Dwyer, owner of A Plus Window Cleaning in San Diego, has rounded up his employees and headed to Rady Children’s Hospital decked out in superhero costumes.

    Dwyer said they do this as a way to cheer up tiny patients on a day when most kids get to put on costumes and go trick-or-treating.

    “We just do it so these kids can have a day of laughter and fun,” said Dwyer.

    Two-year-old Rady Children’s patient Zachariah came outside to see the superheroes in action. His face lit up at the sight of them. Zachariah was scheduled to undergo surgery Wednesday to remove a mass in his throat.

    His parents were worried their toddler would not get to celebrate Halloween at all but all of that changed when Dwyer – dressed as Captain America – and his crew rolled in.

    “That made his day to see the superheroes,” said Jessica Hernandez, Zachariah’s mom. “We’re so thankful for Rady’s.”

    And, although he was dressed tough-as-nails Captain America for the occasion, Dwyer told NBC 7 he still gets choked up when he sees the reaction from children at the hospital. Those happy faces keep him coming back year after year.

    <![CDATA[Boo! Chipotle is Having $4 Entrees for Those Who Dare Rock Their Unique Costume on Halloween]]>Wed, 31 Oct 2018 08:44:56 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/218*120/Chipotle-boorito.JPG

    As if you needed a better excuse to dress up today; Chipotle Mexican Grill is having $4 burritos, bowls, salads and taco orders for those who stop by from 3 p.m. to close wearing their Halloween costume.

    Need more? If you submit your photo on Instagram and tag Chipotle, you get a chance to win free burritos for a year.

    So how does The Chipotle Boorito Contest work? You have to be 13 years or older, take a photo at a current Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant with your unique costume and post it on Instagram via a post or Instagram story from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. local time.

    Eight finalists will be chosen based on originality, creativity and quality of the submission. The eight photos will then be posted and the finalist with most votes will be declared the winner, which will be announced at approximately 6 p.m. on Nov. 1.

    For more information, go to their website here.

    Let’s boo this thing!

    Photo Credit: Chipotle Mexican Grill Facebook ]]>
    <![CDATA[The Best Celebrity Halloween Costumes of 2018]]>Thu, 01 Nov 2018 06:18:57 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-1055858608t.jpgStars bought out their best wacky, sexy or outright weird costumes for the Halloween weekend this year.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images for Heidi Klum]]>
    <![CDATA[Goodbye, Gao Gao: SD Zoo's Giant Panda Returns to China]]>Tue, 30 Oct 2018 14:14:10 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GaoGao-103018.jpg

    Goodbye, Gao Gao. The San Diego Zoo said farewell Tuesday to one of its most recognizable fuzzy residents: Gao Gao, a giant panda who has long helped lead conservation efforts for the species.

    Gao Gao – a father of five cubs, all born at the San Diego Zoo – had been living at the facility for the past 15 years as part of a long-term loan agreement with the People’s Republic of China.

    With his work in San Diego now completed, the patriarch is returning to the Chinese Center for Research and Conservation for the Giant Panda (CCRCGP) in Dujiangyan, China, zoo officials said.

    The panda’s departure comes as the San Diego Zoo’s giant panda conservation program enters a new phase. When the program began more than two decades ago, extinction threatened the species. Today, the giant panda population is on the rise, with about 2,000 giant pandas living in the wild, according to the zoo.

    Two years ago, the increase in the panda population also led the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species to down-list pandas from endangered to vulnerable. While threats to the survival of the species remain high, the zoo said conservation efforts are working and pandas are in less danger of extinction than before.

    Now, conservationists are creating a plan to continue protecting the panda for many years to come.

    “We must look to the future with a new set of objectives and, along with our collaborators in China, build on current conservation successes while attaining a deeper understanding of the panda,” Carmi Penny, director of Collections Husbandry Science at the San Diego Zoo, said in a press release.

    As one can imagine, transporting a panda to the other side of the world is not a simple undertaking. Zoo officials said Gao Gao traveled accompanied by some members from his animal care team.

    Kathy Hawk, senior keeper at the San Diego Zoo, said Gao Gao’s diet was adjusted for the trip and he would be monitored carefully to ensure his return to his homeland would be “seamless.” Once he arrives in China, animal care specialists from both the CCRCGP and San Diego Zoo Global will help him get acclimated.

    And, back in San Diego, though Gao Gao may be gone, zoo visitors can still marvel at pandas daily. The Panda Canyon exhibit at the San Diego Zoo continues to be home to two giant pandasBai-Yun, 27, and her son, Xiao Liwu, 6.

    Photo Credit: Photo taken on October 25, 2018 ]]>
    <![CDATA[Chargers Departure Forces Blood Bank to Forgo Annual Drive]]>Wed, 31 Oct 2018 05:17:59 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/Historic_Chargers_Blood_Drive_Forced_to_Reinvent_Itself.jpg

    The impact of the Chargers' departure continues to be felt in San Diego.

    The latest fallout? The iconic Chargers Blood Drive.

    Since its start in 1979, the single-day blood drive collected more than 2,000 pints of blood on average but after the Chargers departure to Los Angeles in 2017, numbers dwindled.

    San Diego Blood Bank Chief Executive Officer David Wellis said the 38-year relationship with the Chargers was productive.

    "Over the 38 years, we partnered with the Chargers on this drive we’ve collected over 70,000 pints of blood. If you quickly do the math, one pint can save three lives, we saved over 200,000 lives during the course of that blood drive," Wellis said.

    After the Chargers left, numerous San Diego sports teams partnered to host a one-day drive and keep the event going but on average they collected less than 600 pints of blood.

    Due to the shortfall, the San Diego Blood Bank has decided to end the sports-themed blood drive and rebrand it as "San Diego Cares, A Season of Giving.”

    "Our job is to keep enough blood in the San Diego community for those patients in need, so we had to evolve and think of new ways to cover that gap by missing that one big drive," Wellis said.

    The rebranded blood drive will be a multi-day effort that will take place at various sporting events, community events, and businesses from late November through early January.

    Wellis thinks this could make it easier for the donors.

    "It’s not a single day or single place that they have to go, they can go all over San Diego County,' he said. "It will be happening all over, geographically, and happening over the course of a month."

    After 38 years of a strong union, Wellis admits the Chargers departure has stung and forced them to rethink ways to keep San Diego stocked with blood.

    "Yes it’s a challenge, but I couldn’t think of a better place to actually have that challenge because the community around is so collaborative and wanting to help," he said.

    More information about San Diego Cares, A Season of Giving can be found here

    <![CDATA[The Haunted History of the Whaley House ]]>Sun, 14 Oct 2018 17:56:03 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/whaley+house.jpg

    Want to visit a real haunted house this Halloween? Stroll on over to the unassuming Whaley House, a 19th century Greek Revival that sits in the center of San Diego Avenue in Old Town. The small two-story home may seem unimposing, but it has garnered its share of ghost stories.

    The house was built by businessman Thomas Whaley in 1856 and was the first two-story brick edifice in San Diego. It also served as a general store, San Diego’s second county courthouse and the first commercial theatre in San Diego.

    Whaley and his wife Anna lived there with their five children until the last resident, Corinne Whaley, left the house for a nursing home in 1953. 

    The house remained in disrepair throughout much of the twentieth century until it became a historic site in 1956.

    Since then, the home has been at the center of ghostly stories with staff and visitors telling accounts of seeing or hearing strange things.

    In 2005, Life Magazine named the Whaley House “the most haunted house in America.”

    Even when the Whaley family lived there, they believed the home was haunted by the ghost of Yankee Jim Robinson, who was hanged on the property for stealing a boat in 1852. The family heard footsteps, Anna Whaley felt a presence she said she couldn’t shake off and the community widely regarded the house as haunted.

    In the years since, people have reported chairs rocking, chandeliers swinging, playing of a piano that no longer exists in the house, the smell of fresh baked bread and pies during the holidays and the scent of fine Cuban tobacco and French perfume. The disembodied pounding of a gavel has also been reported in the courtroom, according to the Whaley House’s website.

    Even Regis Philbin claims to have seen the ghost of Anna Whaley in 1964. "All of a sudden I noticed something on the wall," Philbin reported. "There was something filmy white, it looked like an apparition of some kind, I got so excited I couldn't restrain myself! I flipped on the [flash]light and nothing was there but a portrait of Anna Whaley, the long-dead mistress of the house."

    Added in, children’s cries, the sounds of music and laughter in the theatre and a phantom dog chasing a ghostly cat make a trip to the San Diego landmark just a bit unsettling.

    That’s why the Whaley House Museum will be open late this October – because the sound of disembodied laughter is always creepier after dark.

    The museum will stay open for evening tours Wednesday, Oct. 24 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Thursday, Oct. 25 until 9:30 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 26 and Saturday, Oct. 27 until midnight; Oct. 29-30 until 9:30 p.m. and on Halloween until midnight.

    Photo Credit: tbadillo79/Instagram]]>
    <![CDATA[Trick or Theft: Halloween Sees Rise in Stolen Cars]]>Wed, 31 Oct 2018 04:49:39 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/T5P+TZ2+6PM+++HOLIDAY+V_KNSD6U7V.jpg

    A warning comes this Halloween to pay attention to your car while trick-or-treating as it’s one of the top holidays for car thefts.

    California has the most holiday vehicle thefts in the country, according to a new report by the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

    In 2017, there were over 2,300 vehicle thefts in California on Halloween alone.

    The most popular cars for thieves are older models of the Honda Civic and Honda Accord, said the Regional Auto Theft Task force (RATT).

    RATT says most car thefts are preventable. Car thieves prey on people making careless mistakes like leaving valuables visible in their car.

    One of the most common ways thieves steal cars is simply checking for unlocked doors.

    Many people who have push-start vehicles will mistakenly leave their key in the car, making it fairly effortless for thieves to drive off with someone else’s car.

    <![CDATA[Carlsbad Strawberry Farm's Haunted Maze Delivers Frights]]>Fri, 12 Oct 2018 19:19:46 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/JG_RAW+drone+CARLSBAD+CORN+MAZE.jpg

    There may be something to get hung about if you're going to this strawberry field in Carlsbad this fall. 

    The family-owned Carlsbad Strawberry Company off Interstate 5 and Cannon Road has opened a frightful maze in 11-foot corn stalks that is sure to thrill. 

    "We started doing the nighttime maze last year and people liked it and people were asking for it to be haunted," Jimmy Ukegawa the strawberry field's owner said.

    As guests explore "Field of Screams," their nighttime maze open Fridays and Saturdays only until 11 p.m., they will be met with haunts right out of your favorite horror movies. 

    Ukegawa didn't want to give away any of the surprises but said the maze was scary enough that one couple chose to turn around after being met by a popular scene from a 2017 horror film (you guess which one). 

    "The haunters are enjoying it just as much as the hauntees," he said.

    He doesn't recommend the maze for those under 10 years old but Carlsbad Strawberry Company does offer alternatives for those that need less fear and more cheer in their fall-time activities. 

    A second maze without the haunts, which is in its fifth year, is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Guests can also take a hayride tour around the strawberry farm or pick out the perfect pumpkin at the farm's patch. 

    This year, the Carlsbad Strawberry Company has teamed up with the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation to fund conservation efforts of the watershed down the road from their farm. Half of all proceeds from the mazes will be donated to the foundation. 

    All the corn from the maze and any leftover pumpkins are donated to local animals farms, Ukegawa said.

    Carlsbad Strawberry Company started as a family business more than a half-century ago and has taken a more community-first approach to their business after struggling to compete with global produce production. 

    "We felt the effects for a long time; we even tried growing our tomatoes in Mexico for a while," Ukegawa said. "It just got to be where the pressure from the imports, we couldn’t afford it anymore." 

    The farm, which has been with the Ukegawa family for three generations, offers pick-your-own strawberries in the summer and music and food-oriented events throughout the year. 

    "There’s music, there’s vendors, there’s food -- it's really becoming a community thing. We’re really happy with it," Ukegawa said. 

    Field of Screams costs $22 per person while Carlsbad Strawberry Company's main maze costs $9 for adults and $7 for children. Kids three and under are free. 

    <![CDATA['An Honor': Longest-Running Elphaba Returns to Emerald City]]>Mon, 29 Oct 2018 17:24:36 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Jackie+Burns+as+Elphaba+in+Defying+Gravity+Photo+by+Joan+Marcus+-+CROP.jpg

    Actress Jackie Burns has worn green make-up on stage, belting the hit Defying Gravity, as the green witch Elphaba more than 1,300 times over the years. 

    As the longest-running Elphaba on Broadway, Burns has had the chance to grow familiar with the character. "Wicked" takes a look at what happened in Oz, from a different angle, long before Dorothy arrived.

    This week, Burns returns to the role of Elphaba on the "Wicked" tour in San Diego. She will be joined by Kara Lindsey, returning to the role of Glinda, and Michael Wartella, returning to the role of Boq.

    It's a dream role, Burns said, and she has enjoyed every minute of it. 

    "Being a part of a blockbuster musical that features two women playing truly iconic roles has been and continues to be a huge honor," Burns said. "To play this role is pretty much every actress's dream."

    Burns' return to the musical on tour coincides with the 15th anniversary of the show on Broadway, marked by an NBC special airing at 10 p.m. on NBC 7 San Diego: "A Very Wicked Halloween." The musical special will feature the original Elphaba and Glinda, Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth, as well as a series of other special guests. 

    The green make-up, which takes about 30 minutes to put on before the show and 15 minutes to take off, feels more like a second skin to the leading lady this time around. 

    "When I first started playing the role I was much younger and it was a bit intimidating. However, every single time I perform as Elphaba I learn more about the character," Burns said. "Her idiosyncrasies, her strengths and weakness and overall the specific nuisances of the role."  

    "Wicked" runs at the San Diego Civic Theater in Downtown San Diego from Oct. 31 to Nov. 25. Tickets available here.

    Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
    <![CDATA[Kids ‘Treat’ Dogs at SD Humane Society Reverse Trick-or-Treating]]>Tue, 30 Oct 2018 04:36:10 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/TLMD+20+mascotas+microchips+san+diego+GettyImages-864737308.jpgKids won’t be the only ones getting treats this Halloween. So will pets! The San Diego Human Society is hosting its reverse trick-or-treat event for the adoptable animals. Children will make treats for the animals and then deliver them throughout the adoption gallery. It’s happening Tuesday at 4 p.m. at the humane society on Gaines Street.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[Apple Unveils New iPad Pro, MacBook Air and Mac Mini]]>Tue, 30 Oct 2018 20:59:17 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP_18303557595381.jpg

    Apple's new iPads will more closely resemble its latest iPhones as they ditch a home button and fingerprint sensor to make more room for the screen.

    As with the latest iPhone models — the XR and XS —the new iPad Pro will use facial-recognition technology to unlock the device and to authorize app and Apple Pay purchases.

    Apple also unveiled new Mac computers, including an overdue refresh of the MacBook Air laptop, now with a high-resolution screen.

    Better screens come with price increases for both iPads and Macs.

    Tuesday's announcements took place at an opera house in New York, where the company emphasized its products' ability to create music, video and sketches. Neither the Mac nor the iPad generates as much revenue for Apple as iPhones.

    Tablet sales have been declining overall, though Apple saw a 3 percent increase in iPad sales last year to nearly 44 million, commanding a 27 percent market share, according to research firm IDC. Apple has been promoting its high-end iPad Pro as ideal for artists, photographers and other creators.

    D.A. Davidson Co. analyst Tom Forte said Apple did "a nice job of rolling out next-generation devices with features customers want to sustain momentum" in iPad sales growth.

    The smaller of the two new Pros will have a wider display than before when held horizontally. Its screen is 11 inches rather than 10.5 inches, measured diagonally. It starts at about $800, or $150 more than the 10.5-inch version.

    For the larger, 12.9-inch model, Apple is fitting the same-size display into a smaller device — about the size of a standard sheet of paper. That starts at about $1,000, a price hike of $200.

    The new iPads will have an LCD screen similar to the iPhone XR rather than the more vibrant one found in the top-of-the-line iPhone XS models. The displays on the new iPads don't run to the edges as much as they do on iPhones.

    An updated pencil, still at $99, will attach magnetically to the iPad for storage and charging.

    Apple is bringing a high-resolution display to its low-end MacBook Air, something until now limited to pricier models such as the MacBook Pro products. But the starting price goes up $200 to about $1,200.

    The Air also joins higher-end Pros in sporting a fingerprint sensor, something the iPad just lost.

    Apple also announced an updated desktop computer, the Mac Mini, starting at about $800.

    The company said both Macs will use aluminum left over from producing iPads and other products.

    The new MacBook Air and iPad Pros will now use a standard, oval-shaped connector called USB-C. That means accessories using the iPad's old Lightning port will need adapters, sold separately. The change will allow people to charge their iPhones through the iPad.

    The Air also loses the slot for camera memory cards. An adapter costs $39.

    Patrick Moorhead, founder of Moor Insights & Strategy, said the refreshed products are likely to please Apple fans and users.

    "The company hadn't updated the Mac Mini for years, and the MacBook Air for a while, so these are very welcome changes," he said. But he said the new Mac features aren't significant enough to draw many people away from Windows computers.

    "Overall some nice improvements, but I don't think these are game changers," he said.

    All the new products come out Nov. 7.

    Apple also is releasing a free software update for iPhones and iPads on Tuesday with previously announced features such as group video chats on FaceTime. 

    Copyright Associated Press / NBC 7 San Diego

    Photo Credit: Bebeto Matthews/AP]]>
    <![CDATA[Rockefeller Christmas Tree Has Been Chosen]]>Mon, 29 Oct 2018 17:02:33 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/screenshot+%281%29.jpg

    The new Rockefeller Center Christmas tree will be lit on November 28th.]]>
    <![CDATA[#OMG Twitter May Be Removing Its Like Button]]>Mon, 29 Oct 2018 09:18:29 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/twitterlike213.jpg

    Are Twitter likes about to become a thing of the past? That's what the social network's founder, Jack Dorsey, reportedly suggested during a Twitter event last week.

    According to The Telegraph, Dorsey admitted he wasn't a fan of the button and pledged to get rid of the heart-shaped icon "soon." The newspaper claimed the move "aims to improve the quality of debate on the social network."

    The company tweeted a response to the outlet's reporting but neither confirmed nor denied the claim. The organization merely said it was "rethinking" several aspects of its platform, including the like button.

    "As we've been saying for a while, we are rethinking everything about the service to ensure we are incentivizing healthy conversation, that includes the like button," Twitter's statement read. "We are in the early stages of the work and have no plans to share right now."

    Think Before You Tweet: Celebs' Controversial Twitter Posts

    Twitter introduced the like button in 2015 as a replacement to the favorite button, which was shaped like a star.

    "We want to make Twitter easier and more rewarding to use, and we know that at times the star could be confusing, especially to newcomers," Twitter's then product manager Akarshan Kumar told TechCrunch at the time. "You might like a lot of things, but not everything can be your favorite. The heart, in contrast, is a universal symbol that resonates across languages, cultures, and time zones. The heart is more expressive, enabling you to convey a range of emotions and easily connect with people. And in our tests, we found that people loved it."

    The switch seemed to perform well, with Kevin Weil, then SVP of product at Twitter, telling the media outlet it drove a six percent increase in favorites for existing users and 9% for new users.

    However, it looks like the company may be losing love for the heart button. According to The Telegraph, getting endorsements, such as in the form of likes, can be an addictive behavior for some users and cause them to delete their posts if they don't get enough signs of approval.

    Dorsey talked about his feelings toward the button's incentives at the WIRED25 Summit earlier this month.

    "Right now we have a big like button with a heart on it and we're incentivizing people to want it to go up" he said, per the magazine. "Is that the right thing? Versus contributing to the public conversation or a healthy conversation? How do we incentive healthy conversation?"

    This wouldn't be the only recent change to the social platform. Earlier this year, Twitter introduced bookmarks, which allows users to "save tweets for quick access later."

    Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[Annual Baja Ha Ha Regatta Brings Hundreds of Ships to SD]]>Mon, 29 Oct 2018 05:34:23 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Annual_Baja_Ha_Ha_Regatta_Brings_Hundreds_of_Ships_to_SD.jpg

    The annual Baja Ha Ha Regatta is known as the largest sailing regatta on the West Coast. NBC 7 Nicole Gomez shares more.]]>
    <![CDATA[Del Mar Food Fair Showcases Newest Trends in Hispanic Cuisine]]>Sat, 27 Oct 2018 11:14:22 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/215*120/mexicanbeer234.JPG

    NBC 7 stopped by a Hispanic-food trade show in North County to find out about the newest trends in Southern California cuisine. 

    The Comida Expo in the Bing Crosby Hall at the Del Mar Fairgrounds is happening Friday and Saturday. Food and beverage companies shared the hottest fads in their industries. 

    San Diego is known as the craft beer capital of the United States. The newest trend in craft beer is to infuse it with Mexican flavors. 

    "Mexico is our direct neighbor to the south, so we're seeing a lot of breweries, us included, experimenting with special Mexican ingredients, adding this to the beer and making them very flavorful and interesting," said Eric Zuazo, marketing coordinator of South Norte Beer Company in San Diego. 

    From agave to mango chili flavors, the influence of Mexico is beginning to make its way to the Southern California beer scene starting right here in San Diego. 

    "Especially in San Diego, beer drinkers are always looking for something new to drink," said Zuazo. "Mexican ingredients add that interesting twist to a beer." 

    There were a total of 65 vendors at the trade show. It is not open to the public, but rather a networking opportunity for vendors, food distributors, and foodservice operators to share ideas and stay on top of the newest trends in their fields. 

    A 10x10 booth starts at $1,600. The trade show will be on October 26 from 11am-5pm and October 27 from 11am-4pm. 

    <![CDATA[Where to Find the Perfect Pumpkin for Fall]]>Thu, 04 Oct 2018 14:54:12 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Mountain+Valley+Ranch+Pumpkin+Patch+1.jpg

    It’s not Halloween without a jack-o-lantern and what’s fall without the traditional brisk (OK in San Diego it may be hot) walk through the pumpkin patch with a cup of cider looking for the perfect one to place on the porch? From North County to the South Bay and the mountains to the beach there’s more than enough hayrides, corn mazes and, of course, pumpkins to put a smile on anyone’s face. Here are the top locations to find the perfect pumpkin.

    Bates Nut Farm

    15954 Woods Valley Rd., Valley Center; (760) 749-3333

    Five generations of the Bates family have been taking care of the 5,000-acre farm in Valley Center for nearly 90 years, and their pumpkin patch has become somewhat of a tradition for many families over the last 50 years. The farm includes 5,000 square feet of retail space where you can buy nuts, fudge, candies, dried fruits and chocolates, hayrides, straw maze, petting zoo and pony rides. Weekend activities include rock climbing, face painting and food trucks. The pumpkin patch is open every day in October and parking is $5 on weekends. The farm is open weekdays from 9 to 5:30 p.m., weekends from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and the last three Fridays in October from 3 to 8 p.m.

    Mountain Valley Ranch Pumpkin Patch

    842 Highway 78, Ramona; (760) 788-8703

    Nestled in the rural serenity of Ramona is the Mountain Valley Ranch pumpkin patch, which also has a corn maze, corn cannon, petting zoo and hay and pony rides. The patch, which is celebrating 21 years, is open all day on weekends and 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Admission is free.

    Oma’s Pumpkin Patch

    14950 El Monte Rd., Lakeside; (619) 390-2929

    Oma’s Pumpkin Patch in Lakeside is guaranteed fun for your little one. A child admission includes a Jack Patch Pumpkin, a bottle of water, playground equipment, a climb on Cottonseed Mountain, sand pile with toys trucks, covered hayrides around the farm, hay bale maze, petting corral and the pedal cart/tricycle race track. Admission is $12 per child and the farm is open Tuesdays through Saturdays 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

    Pumpkin Stations

    Various locations; (858) 566-7466

    The pumpkin stations in Del Mar, Mission Valley, National City and El Cajon all have rides and some locations have petting zoos for family fun. The Rancho Bernardo Farm and the Bonita Pumpkin Farm both have farm animals, hayrides and a corn maze.

    Great Annual Pumpkin Festival

    5178 Japatul Spur Alpine, CA 91901; (619) 320-4942

    The Great Annual Pumpkin Festival in Alpine is at the Children’s Nature Retreat located on 20 acres harboring farm and exotic animals from around the world. There is a 6-foot hay maze and kids can “rock the hunt” to win a prize. The retreat is $15 for children and $25 for adults and is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

    Farm Stand West

    2115 Miller Ave. & 1980 Summit Dr., Escondido; (760) 738-9014

    Farm Stand West and Fran’s Original Farm Stand both have a you-pick pumpkin patch. The patches are open daily and admission is free.

    PB Pumpkin Patch

    870 Garnet Ave. San Diego, CA 92109; (858) 483-0329

    With your free cup of cider, you can stroll through the pumpkin patch and also look for Halloween decorations. There’s also a free pumpkin carving and painting area. The patch is open daily and is free of charge.

    Mr. Jack ‘O’ Lantern’s Pumpkin Patch

    6710 La Jolla Blvd. San Diego, CA 92037; (844) 452-2567

    Mr. Jack ‘O’ Lantern’s Pumpkin Patch in La Jolla is an entire carnival. There’s a photo station, tumbling tombstones, ping pong toss, “animal kingdom,” candy corn hole, pumpkin bowling and many more games. An all-day pass is $15 or tickets for games are $1 each. The patch is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

    Julian Mining Company

    4444 State Hwy 78, Wynola/Julian; (951) 313-0166

    At the Julian Mining Company, you can get a pumpkin, pick apples and mine for gold all while enjoying the seasonal briskness of the mountains.

    Summers Past Farms

    15602 Olde Highway 80, El Cajon; (619) 390-1523

    Just off historic Old Highway 80, Summers Past Farms not only has pumpkins but flower gardens and a certified wildlife habitat. The farm is family owned and open Thursday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.

    Photo Credit: Mountain Valley Ranch ]]>
    <![CDATA[Eater San Diego: Modern Times Beer and Buona Forchetta Open in North County]]>Fri, 26 Oct 2018 14:13:38 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*200/Black+Tap_The+Texan+Burger_Credit+Black+Tap.jpg

    Eater San Diego shares the top stories of the week from San Diego’s food and drink scene, including a look at the new locations of a popular local brewery and Italian eatery.

    Inside Little Italy's Handsome New Restaurant and Bar 
    The just-opened Nolita Hall is India Street's newest hangout, with a shuffleboard court, communal tables, and an expansive bar. The stunning spot offers a menu of salads and woodfired pizza as well as 24 beer taps and craft cocktails. 

    Modern Times Beer Launches Encinitas Outpost
    Downtown Encinitas is the latest landing point for the Point Loma-based brewery. It's Modern Times' first full-fledged eatery in San Diego, serving a vegan comfort food menu and over 30 house beers in a retro space that includes a mini-mart selling coffee, beer, and more.

    Buona Forchetta Adds North County Branch
    South Park's long-established Italian restaurant has opened an outpost on Highway 101 in Encinitas. The cozy space, which includes an outdoor patio, is serving all the eatery's most popular dishes ranging from pasta to wood-fired pizza.

    Indian Eatery Lands in South Park 
    Curryosity has arrived in South Park. Opened by the owner of Pacific Beach's Spice Lounge, the new restaurant serves classics of Indian cuisines, including curry and biriyani as well as fusion dishes ranging from naan bread with cheese and curry mussels

    20 Essential San Diego Burgers
    Eater explores the booming local burger scene with a guide to 20 of San Diego's top burgers. From no-frills burgers to gourmet varieties, learn about where to find the tastiest patties in town.

    The Hottest Cocktail Bars in San Diego 
    The latest update of Eater's cocktail heatmap, aka where to drink right now, has 17 of the top cocktail dens in San Diego that range from newly-opened hotspots to established bars that have recently rolled out fresh cocktail menus. 

    Photo Credit: Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
    <![CDATA[Halloween at the White House 2018]]>Sun, 28 Oct 2018 16:10:20 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/egyptiansnakeGettyImages-1054767852.jpgThe White House South Lawn was filled with little ghosts and goblins, witches, dragons and other imaginative costumes Sunday as President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump celebrated Halloween.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[Hulu Agrees to Provide Audio Service For Blind Customers]]>Fri, 26 Oct 2018 09:53:04 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/hulu-logo-lawsuit.jpg

    Hulu will make its subscription streaming service more accessible to blind and visually impaired customers.

    That's according to a settlement agreement between Hulu and advocacy groups, who sued Los Angeles-based Hulu last year.

    Disability Rights Advocates, which brought the case, says Hulu will provide a separate audio track that give descriptions of scenes and facial expressions, where possible. Hulu will also update its website and software applications to ensure people can use screen readers if they need them.

    The lawsuit filed in Boston in November accused Hulu of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    Netflix already provides audio description for most its original titles and some other TV shows and movies.

    Hulu officials didn't immediately respond to emails seeking comment.

    Copyright Associated Press / NBC 7 San Diego

    Photo Credit: Dan Goodman/AP Photo, File]]>
    <![CDATA[Local Vets Win Big on 'Wheel of Fortune' Veterans Week]]>Sun, 28 Oct 2018 17:59:19 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Local_Vets_Compete_on_Wheel_of_Fortune.jpg

    Two San Diego veterans win big on "Wheel of Fortune" during the popular game show’s Veterans Week.

    NBC7 spoke with Mark Carpowich and Coast Guard Veteran Michael Dougherty about their wins at Sony Studios in Los Angeles where "Wheel of Fortune" is taped.

    Mark Carpowich who served in navy intelligence tells NBC7 he has been preparing for this since he was a kid.

    “This has been a nightly ritual for me forever since the days back in the 80s when you had to pick out prizes and stuff,” he said.

    He won a trip to Fiji and a new car along with cash on the fast-paced show. 

    “The best part of this is that I got married less than a year ago and my wife and I didn’t have the opportunity to take a honeymoon so this will be our honeymoon,” Carpowich said.

    Dougherty also came away with a win, taking home cash and a trip.

    “[It's] still a little surreal I get to go home and kind of take it all in tonight," he said. "I think when I’m in the Caribbean is really when it’s going to kick in.”

    <![CDATA[Water District Says Fall Season is the Best Time to Landcape]]>Thu, 25 Oct 2018 18:21:46 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/fall+landscaping.jpg

    Local water districts are offering rebates to homeowners that replace their grass with sustainable landscape, as many do all year, but a local water district says fall may be the perfect season to jump on the offers. 

    "You've got cooler temperatures, shorter days so it gives a chance for the plants that you plant in the fall to take root before the heat of summer kicks in," Michelle Curtis with the Helix Water District said.

    The water district is a co-founding partner of the Water Conservation Garden in El Cajon, a five-acre lot designed to show visitors what they can do to save water.

    "You see a lot of front yards that people never actually step foot in," Curtis said. "If you have a need for grass, just consider how much you need. You might be able to make it a smaller patch."

    One demonstration area shows a typical California backyard, which requires 28-thousand gallons of water each year. An adjacent area showcases a landscape filled with colorful, drought tolerant plants, which needs six-thousand gallons of water each year.

    In a typical California home, 75 percent of the water used goes to watering the yard, Curtis said.

    Curtis offered tips to homeowners considering taking advantage of rebates, which include turf replacement, high-efficiency sprinkler upgrades, and rain barrel purchases, and making the switch to more drought-tolerant landscaping this fall. 

    Homeowners "can also take advantage of any rainfall we get in fall and winter and that gives (the plants) that much more of a head start before the heat comes," she said.

    Another way to save water is with rain barrels, which attach to gutters on the roof.

    "It also helps reduce stormwater pollution because the more water you can retain on site, the less water is going out into the stormwater system," added Curtis.

    If you do decide to put drought-friendly plants in your yard, remember to install high-efficiency irrigation as well, Curtis explained. Smart controllers can adjust water output automatically in response to weather conditions. Distribution components can also be tailored to fit the needs of various plants in a landscape.

    "No matter how low-water your plants are, if you're still watering them with traditional overhead sprinklers, you're losing water to evaporation, you've got water running off into your sidewalks and hitting your fences, you're not going to see the water savings," said Curtis.

    The Helix Water District is offering a water-smart landscape makeover workshop for homeowners on November 7.

    Homeowners should check eligibility and apply for any of the regional rebate programs online. Individual water districts may also have additional incentives.

    <![CDATA[Fleet Week SD 2018: Honoring San Diego's Military Community]]>Mon, 22 Oct 2018 07:57:08 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/San+Diego+Navy+3.jpg

    From golf tournaments in El Cajon to luncheons at SeaWorld, San Diego is honoring its military community with a weeks-worth of activities to support and celebrate those who serve. 

    Fleet Week San Diego 2018 runs from Oct. 20 to Oct. 28 with a myriad of events for active duty military, veterans and the general public.

    The military tradition honors and celebrates the men and women who serve through events that entertain and alliances that support San Diego's heroes.

    The first Fleet Week was celebrated in San Diego, California, during the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition.

    This year's Fleet Week kicked off Saturday with a military family tailgate at Qualcomm Stadium ahead of San Diego State's matchup against San Jose State. 

    Events are open to the public and include:

    Fleet Week Enlisted Golf Tournament 
    Oct. 22, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sycuan Resort 
    Teams of four will compete head-to-head for the annual Fleet Week Inter-Service Trophy. The event is exclusively for enlisted servicemembers. After the golf tournament, guests can enjoy dinner, prizes and giveaways at Sycuan Resort. 

    Enlisted Recognition Luncheon
    Oct. 23, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., SeaWorld San Diego
    More than 250 enlisted service members and their guests will be treated to lunch at SeaWorld San Diego. The military members were chosen because of their distinguished service within their respective commands. Then, they will enjoy a day at the park. 

    Fleet Week / SDMAC Breakfast
    Oct. 25, 7:30 a.m., Admiral Kidd Club San Diego
    Each month, the San Diego Military Advisory Council hosts a breakfast featuring prominent civilian and military speakers. This month's breakfast coincides with Fleet Week and features Vice Admiral John D. Alexander with the U.S. Navy's Third Fleet. 

    Innovation Zone
    Oct. 26-28, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Broadway Pier
    The Fleet Week Innovation Zone is opening up its doors to students to learn about the STEM and high-tech jobs in the military. Students can explore high-tech displays focused on new and emerging technologies. The goal is to encourage students' participation in STEM education programs. 

    Military Ship Tours
    Oct. 26-28, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Broadway Pier
    Next to the Innovation Zone, guests can tour U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard ships, which will be on display to visitors 5 years old and over. The Navy ship that will be on display has not yet been announced but the coast guard will have USCGC Mellon open for tours. 

    Navy Midshipmen v. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
    Oct. 27, 4:30 to 10 p.m., Broadway Pier
    Cheer on U.S. Navy as they take on Notre Dame at a viewing party on Broadway Pier. The night will be filled with barbecue, beverages and more as the game is screened on a large screen.  During halftime, enjoy special performances. 

    Military Family Day
    Oct 28, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Broadway Pier
    To close out Fleet Week San Diego 2018, a special event for military families will be held at Broadway Pier. The event will feature an array of activities for kids, raffles, lunch and other surprises. 

    The San Diego Fleet Week Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that produces Fleet Week San Diego.

    <![CDATA[Mayor Endorses Energy Choices for San Diego Ratepayers]]>Fri, 26 Oct 2018 04:22:15 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/clean+renewable+energy+solar+panels.png

    More energy options for San Diego ratepayers could soon be available if Mayor Kevin Faulconer's proposal for a community choice program moves forward. 

    The mayor announced his proposal on Thursday, and touted the push towards a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) plan as a pathway to clean energy by 2035.

    San Diego Gas & Electric currently provides all energy sources in the city of San Diego but CCA would offer San Diegans alternative utility options. 

    CCA would essentially allow for smaller public-owned utilities to take over the buying power of private utility companies -- SDG&E in San Diego's case -- on behalf of consumers. SDG&E would continue to operate power lines.

    Solana Beach is currently the only city within SDG&E's service territory to operate under CCA, which began this year, though San Diego and other cities have been considering the move for years. 

    Proponents say the move allows for fewer monopolies and cheaper energy costs for consumers as well as providing more opportunity for renewable energy sources. 

    Matthew Vasiliki, with Climate Action Campaign, said 19 CCAs across the state have already proven the idea.

    "All of them are more affordable than the monopoly utilities so it's a really important way for us to bring real relief to ratepayers right now, especially in San Diego right now where we have such ridiculous rates."

    NBC 7's media partner, Voice of San Diego, conducted a fact check of similar claims made in 2015 and determined a CCA does allow for lower prices for ratepayers and more renewable sources. 

    The move to CCAs would be a huge step towards completing Mayor Faulconer's Climate Action Plan, advocates say, which set a goal in 2015 for San Diego to become a city that relies 100 percent on renewable energy sources by 2035.

    But opponents like the Clear the Air Coalition, which includes members of SDG&E, argue creating CCAs are not necessary since functioning systems that offer renewable sources already exist.

    They also argue that it won't tackle the biggest greenhouse gas emission offenders and say it would create government bureaucracy that could negatively affect taxpayers.

    SDG&E said in a statement released Thursday that it would continue to work with the city during the transition to CCA, if it moves forward. 

    "SDG&E respects the City of San Diego’s right to create a procurement program that best fits its needs. SDG&E has a long history of partnership with the City, and is committed to continuing a productive, cooperative relationship. As the City charts this new course for purchasing electricity, SDG&E will help enable the transition," the statement read. 

    Exact numbers on what bills may look like under this new program are not yet known, but if the proposal is passed, consumers will be automatically opted into CCA and have a choice to opt out.

    Climate Action Campaign organizers said if the mayor's proposal is approved, it could still take at least two years for a viable plan to be put in place and for other energy sources to be available for consumers. 

    <![CDATA[Pier 70 Revitalization Project Moves 153-Ton Building 200 Ft]]>Thu, 25 Oct 2018 06:52:21 -0800https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/waterfront4.JPG

    Witness the engineering marvel of a 153-ton building structure being moved as part of the new waterfront neighborhood construction at Pier 70 in San Francisco.

    The structure is longer than a 767 airplane and heavier than 150 Volkswagens and it's to be moved 200 feet in one piece.

    Building 15 sat on a historic World War II shipyard and workers stripped it down to its frame, lifted it in one piece and wheeled it about 200 feet away Wednesday.

    The building was moved because of the rising sea level and eventually a new waterfront neighborhood will be built in its spot.

    "This is going to be the site of one of the most exciting new, dramatic waterfront parks in all of San Francisco," former San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos said in 2014.

    Agnos served as a major voice speaking out in favor of the Prop B campaign which required any waterfront project seeking an exemption to the 40-foot height limits to go on the ballot.

    The Pier 70 Waterfront Site will feature new affordable housing, waterfront parks, space for artists and local manufacturing, and rehabilitated historic buildings, officials said.

    Resident Alison Sullivan was excited at the prospect of having public access to the area's waterfront for the first time in over a century.

    "I'm raising children in this neighborhood," Sullivan said. "I would like nothing more than for them to get in touch with the history of where they’re growing up."

    The city of San Francisco approved the project last November and workers broke ground in May.

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