San Diego

San Diego's Feel-Good Stories of 2018

Let's take a look back at the stories that made us smile in 2018

We love a feel-good story and, in 2018, we saw plenty of them in San Diego. We can’t forget the police officer trying to land skateboarding tricks in Ocean Beach, the 105-year-old SDSU graduate who finally received his printed diploma, the return of “Top Gun” to San Diego and the happy, local couple who tied the knot at Costco in Mission Valley.

Here’s a look back at the stories that made us smile this year.

Balboa Park Welcomes New Civic Organist
The year began with the addition of a new San Diego Civic Organist at Balboa Park’s iconic Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Raul Prieto Ramirez, a musician from Spain, took on the noteworthy role, playing his first concert at the Organ Pavilion on Jan. 7, 2018. Known for his showmanship, Ramirez became the eighth person in history to hold the esteemed position. He can often be seen performing at those free 2 p.m. Sunday concerts at the Pavilion, wearing custom-made shoes for the job.

Spanish organist Raul Prieto Ramirez is San Diego's new Civic Organist. You can see him perform on the historic Spreckels Organ at Balboa Park. Here, he shows NBC 7 some of his fancy footwork.

San Diego’s Sam the Cooking Guy to Open Taco Spot at New Little Italy Food Hall

In early February, foodies got some deliciously good news: San Diego-based cooking aficionado Sam Zien – better known as “Sam the Cooking Guy” – planned to open a taco-centric spot within the Little Italy Food Hall, a new dining hub in Little Italy. In the summer, Zien made good on that promise, debuting a small eatery called Not Not Tacos. The restaurant, specializing in elevated tacos boasting unique ingredients, is a fixture at the Little Italy Food Hall at the Piazza della Famiglia.

NBC 7's Danielle Radin talks to a man who captured a rare moment on his smart phone.

Ocean Beach Skateboarders Think They’re Busted, Officer Surprises Them
Skateboarders in Ocean Beach shared a very cool moment with a San Diego Police Department officer – and a witness was there to capture it on video. The skaters were busting out some tricks near Bacon Street when an officer approached them. Instead of telling them to move along, the officer hopped on a skateboard and attempted to do a kick-flip as the skateboarders cheered him on.

Maverick Returns: ‘Top Gun’ Sequel Begins Filming in Coronado
It’s been three decades since “Top Gun” was released and, this past May, Maverick returned to film the sequel, right here in San Diego. “Top Gun 2” filmed for a week straight at Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado. Tom Cruise tweeted a photo of himself in his famous lead role, in a flight suit, looking at a fighter jet. And guess what? The caption, of course, included the words, “feel the need.”

California’s Best Beer Named at State Fair
San Diego’s craft beer culture is alive and well. Over the summer, 10 local breweries brought home first-place honors from a statewide beer competition. Among those in the winner’s circle: Eppig Brewing; Rip Current Brewing; Karl Strauss Brewing Company; Owl Farm Unique. Cheers to that.

NBC 7's Danielle Radin speaks with this incredible veteran who has been waiting over 80 years to receive his diploma.

105-Year-old SDSU Graduate Receives College Diploma
In 1935, La Mesa native Bill Vogt graduated from San Diego State University but, after a credit dispute with a professor, did not receive his printed diploma. More than eight decades later, Vogt – now 105 years old – finally got his hands on that special piece of paper thanks to a little bit of help from the university’s Alumni Center. “I never thought I would see that document anywhere,” he told NBC 7.

Residents of Little Italy say a man who's been there since 1967 is their very own "Godfather." NBC 7's Megan Tevrizian has more.

The Story of Little Italy’s ‘Godfather’
In October, we met Nick Pecoraro, a longtime Little Italy resident lovingly referred to by some locals as “The Godfather.” Pecoraro has lived in his gilded, yellow house in Little Italy for the past 51 years and can often be seen sitting on his front porch, watching passers-by. Time and time again, he has refused to sell the house that he loves, even as the community around him has grown from a tiny immigrant village to a booming destination.

NBC 7's Dave Summers went to the lucky Chevron off Del Cerro Boulevard where employees were pondering the value of that ticket.

Lucky Mega Millions Ticket Sold in Del Cerro
Talk about the luck of the draw. In October, a Mega Millions ticket matching five out of six winning numbers was purchased at a Chevron gas station in Del Cerro. The lucky ticket was one of seven sold in California that matched five out of six numbers and, before taxes, was worth a whopping $562,472.

[NATL-SD-G] Wedding Album: San Diego Couple Marries at Costco in Mission Valley

Couple Gets Married Inside Costco in Mission Valley
They say you can find anything at Costco but one couple scored the ultimate gem: true love. In late November, San Diego couple Julian Parris and Margot Schein tied the knot at the warehouse retailer in Mission Valley – the very place where they had shared their first date exactly three years earlier. The couple got married in front of a small group of friends, family and Costco employees. At the end of their sweet ceremony, they were gifted with personalized Costco nametags as a wedding day keepsake.

The shop was targeted with hateful messages but the community proves that love wins. NBC 7's Danny Freeman has more.

Clients, Locals Support North Park Barbershop After Racial Slur Vandalism
A story that began with hate blossomed into love at a barbershop on 30th Street in North Park owned by married couple, Melissa and Christopher Cage. The Cages arrived at their small business, Originality Barber and Salon, on Dec. 12 to find an ugly racial slur painted on the sidewalk in front of their shop. Instead of being angry, the couple pressed on, saying that if they came face-to-face with the vandal, they would offer that person a hug.

Neighboring business owners came together to help the Cages wash away the hateful words and locals dropped by the barbershop to show their support. They Cages told NBC 7 they felt the love and would not let the unfortunate incident stop them from achieving success and providing haircuts to everyone – regardless of their sex, race, religion or sexual orientation. Love wins.

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