Uptown Briefs Aug 16

Benjamin Nicholls to leave HBA

It was announced that Hillcrest Business Association (HBA) Executive Director Benjamin Nicholls will be leaving his position with the nonprofit at the organization’s regular monthly board meeting, held Tuesday, Aug. 13. Nicholls has been with the HBA for 5 years, after managing the Pacific Beach Business Association for six years. The New Zealand native also served as the Program Manager for the Pioneer Square Community Association, a neighborhood business group in Seattle, Wash., for six years prior to that role. One of the most recent initiatives Nicholls announced for the HBA was the desire to create a Hillcrest Community Development Corporation in order to jointly, with the HBA, seek California Main Street Certification. Nicholls plans to remain at the helm until mid October, in order to help steward the organization through a search for his successor, facilitate the annual Hillcrest Hoedown, and oversee the HBA’s annual meeting and corresponding election of new board members. Nicholls was unavailable for comment.


Goodwill begins donation collection in Hillcrest

In preparation for opening a retail store in Hillcrest, Goodwill Industries of San Diego County began collecting donations July 27 at 1219 University Ave. The retail store will open in the same location in the fall. “We are so lucky to have found space in a neighborhood that is accessible to so many people,” said Mike Rowan, CEO of Goodwill Industries of San Diego County. “We know that the community will embrace our presence and welcome the ease of our donation process.” Currently, residents can drive through the ally to the back of the store to drop off donations of clean, reusable clothing and household items seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Staff will provide a receipt for tax purposes. For more information visit


Media Arts Center to stage first summer Latino festival

Called “Exitos del Cine Latino,” North Park’s Media Arts Center San Diego will be staging their first “summer celebration of Latino film, music and art” from Friday, Aug. 23 – 29, a press release said. The nonprofit organizes the annual Latino Film Festival, held each spring. Films for the summer celebration will screen at both the Digiplex Mission Valley Cinemas located at 7510 Hazard Center Dr. and the Media Arts Digital Gym Cinema, located at 2921 El Cajon Blvd. Thirteen films will screen in total, including “Viola,” “Ciudadano Buelna” and “Tabu.” For the Aug. 27 screening of “Suave Patria,” actors Adrián Uribe and Omar Chaparro, and director Francisco Padilla will attend, and for the Aug. 25 screening of “Sleeping with the Fishes,” actor Gina Rodriguez will attend. Both screening will include a Q&A. Additionally, musicians Aro di Santi, Saul Silva, Anthony Mendez and Lilian Rey, among others will be performing for the seven-day festival. An all-access pass is $100, and individual tickets are $10.50 for general admission and $8.50 for students, seniors and Media Arts Center members. For a complete lineup and tickets, visit or call 619-230-1938.


Rev. Brent Ross selected to lead Normal Heights church

Announced July 23, Rev. Brent Ross has been appointed to lead the Normal Heights United Methodist Church, the oldest church in the neighborhood. Located at 4650 Mansfield St., the church will celebrate its 100th anniversary this fall. “I am thrilled to be in Normal Heights and to keep working on ways that we as a church can be a part of this incredible neighborhood,” Ross said in the announcement. A Florida native, Ross previously served as associate pastor at the San Carlos, Calif. United Methodist Church. He received his master’s degree in theological studies at Vanderbilt University and is involved with the Southern California Methodist District Planning and Strategy Committee and their Episcopacy Committee. He, his wife, who is a philosophy professor at Point Loma University, and two children currently live in North Park. “Together as neighbors, residents, business owners, educators and churches, we point the way to a hopeful future,” Ross said. There are events planned to honor the centennial anniversary, including a celebratory lunch on Nov. 3 and a community picnic on Nov. 9.


Contractor named for Cabrillo Bridge project

Caltrans announced Disney Construction of San Francisco as awardee of the Laurel Street Overcrossing Project, also known as the Cabrillo Bridge project. The Bridge extends over state Route 163 in Balboa Park. The $16.5 million project will see Disney Construction retrofit the bridge for seismic strength and “improve its structural integrity,” the announcement said. The intention is to extend the life of the bridge for another 50 years, and construction is expected to begin in fall of this year and end in summer of 2014. Pedestrians and vehicles will have “full access” to the bridge, Caltrans said, except for four months: from January to April 2014. During this time, pedestrian access will be uninterrupted, and SR 163 will be “minimally impacted,” they said.


SOHO seeks architectural artifacts for Santa Ysabel Store

After the successful restoration and 2012 reopening of the Santa Ysabel Store and Backcountry Visitor Center in Santa Ysabel, Calif., Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO) is expanding its reach to include antique and vintage architectural artifacts for resale in the upcoming Feed Store, on the same property as the general store. The 1,000-square-foot space is set to open Sept. 21. “The reception to our [general] store and visitor center has been so positive and supportive that SOHO is expanding with a new specialty that’s a natural for us: salvaged architectural elements along with vintage, antique and reproduction home and garden furnishing, including lighting, pottery, china and more,” said Alana Coons, SOHO education and communications director, in a press release. To help stock the store, Coons said SOHO was actively seeking donations from the community. Once opened, all purchases will benefit SOHO’s programs, and donations are tax-deductible. “We so appreciate the generosity of people who support the work that SOHO does,” she said. Donations are accepted at the Santa Ysabel general store during open hours Friday through Sunday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. The store is located at 30275 Highway 78, where state routes 78 and 79 meet. For more information on items they can accept, visit or call 760-765-1270 or 619-297-9327.


Uptown artist Ann Slater wins top awards

Hillcrest resident and artist Ann Slater won two awards at San Diego Watercolor Society’s July show, “Creative Independence.” She was awarded First Place, Miniatures for her work “Fetch,” and Second Place for “Flight II.” In a press release, juror Frank Eber said he was drawn to both paintings for their compositional unity, and liked the “abstraction in ‘Flight II,’ which invites one’s imagination.” Slater and her husband are frequent travelers to New Zealand, the release said, and both paintings were inspired by past trips. “Fetch” is a painting of a dog playing catch, and Slater said she “blurred the edges of the dog to represent movement and attempted to show joy and excitement in his facial expressions.” Alternately, “Flight II” was inspired by a large bird sculpture in a New Zealand fountain. “The play of light on faces of the birds gave the sculpture movement and a feeling of release,” Slater said. All entries, including Slater’s work, were on display at the Watercolor Society’s gallery, located at 2825 Dewey Rd. at Point Loma’s Liberty Station. For more information visit


Latino Film Festival poster contest announced

North Park’s Media Arts Center San Diego is now accepting submission for their fifth annual Film Festival Poster competition. Individuals, collaborative teams or firms are asked to submit their designs for next year’s 21st annual San Diego Latino Film Festival, which will take place March 13 – 23, 2014. The competition is open to all artists and graphic designers, with no cost to submit. Multiple submissions will be accepted through Oct. 31. “We are looking for images that depict Latin American Cinema in an interesting, relevant and visually innovative way that avoids stereotypes and clichés,” organizers said. Criteria include overall impact for eye-catching appeal, clarity in the message, appropriateness of the graphics and creativity. Entries may be in the form of photography, painting, graphic art and illustration, in color or black and white, organizers said. For the complete guidelines, including images of previous submissions, visit or email


Art Walk on the Bay changes name, venue and dates

Mission Federal’s Art Walk on the Bay, which for the last seven years has been held in September on the grass straddling the Convention Center and the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Downtown, has found a new home. Now called ArtWalk @NTC, the popular art and music festival has moved to Liberty Station and will take place Aug. 24 and 25 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. A “sister” event to the annual Mission Federal ArtWalk held in Little Italy each spring, ArtWalk @NTC will remain free to all ages but promises “an even higher caliber of artists in a more intimate setting,” said a press release. Attendees can expect more than 100 local and internationally known visual artists, a dozen musicians performing more than16 hours of live music, and a variety of interactive art exhibitions all converging upon the new NTC Art & Culture district located at 2645 Historic Decatur Rd. at Liberty Station in Point Loma. KidsWalk will also return, as well as a large variety of unique cuisine and parking will also be free. For more information, visit

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