Uptown Briefs July 19

Upcoming concert to benefit struggling veterans

The San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus (SDGMC) is partnering with the Veteran’s Village of San Diego (VVSD) for the chorus’ summer show, a press release from SDGMC said. Called “Feelin’ Groovy – Songs of the ‘60s”, the show will feature songs of peace and protest from the Vietnam era. Three concerts will be held at the Birch North Park Theatre, at which the SDGMC will collect cash donations. Show times are July 27 at 8 p.m., and July 28 at 2 and 7:30 p.m. In addition, chorus members are holding a two-week men’s clothing drive to support the VVSD’s annual “Stand Down” program. Stand Down provides a number of services and necessities to veterans who are homeless in mid-July, including meals, medical care, haircuts and employment counseling. “Given that our upcoming concert’s music is from the Vietnam War era, we wanted to team with the Veterans Village because of their great work helping veterans in need,” SDGMC Director of Outreach Marc Mangiantini said in the release. To purchase tickets to “Feeling Groovy,” visit or call 877-296-7664. Tickets range from $25 to $40. Discounts are available for seniors, students, military and groups of 10 or more.


Normal Heights Soda & Swine raises $1,800 for YMCA

Soda & Swine restaurant in Normal Heights held five days of “Dine & Donate” in order to raise money for the new Copley-Price Family YMCA, located in City Heights. Diners at the restaurant helped owners donate $1,807, as the restaurant pledged 50 percent of food sales to construction and renovation of the YMCA. The new facility breaks ground this fall. “Facilitating the development of community has always been ingrained in our core vales,” said co-owner Arsalun Tafazoli in a press release. “The development of institutions like the YMCA are a crucial part of the foundation of any community so we are really excited to have this opportunity to contribute to their efforts to develop this project in our neighborhood.” Soda & Swine is located at 2943 Adams Ave. and the fundraising event took place July 1 – 5.


Online resource created for formerly incarcerated

Announced July 9, County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, County Sheriff William Gore and County Supervisor Ron Roberts launched a web resource for formerly incarcerated individuals and their families. In collaboration with 2-1-1 San Diego, the Post-Incarceration Re-Entry Resources website directory – called HOPE, or Helping Others Pursue Excellence – will be combined with the County Public Health Re-Entry Toolkit to offer an extensive resource for individuals released from local jail or state prisons that are faced with reentry. “This page is an important resource for those being released from custody as they work toward becoming sober, productive, law abiding members of our community,” Dumanis said in the announcement. Top reentry needs identified on the website include housing and shelter, mental health, substance abuse, physical health, employment and education, and state and federal document links. “Former inmates and their families can now locate all of these resources in one place, helping them stabilize their lives and not reoffend,” she said. 2-1-1 San Diego connects the entire population with community, health and disaster services through free, 24-hour phone service and searchable online databases. Roberts said service providers, churches and community groups told the Re-Entry Roundtable they needed a more extensive resource for ex-offenders, and the group created a hard copy informational pamphlet as a result. “The Re-Entry Roundtable’s work to put this information online makes it easier to get the information to those who need it most,” Roberts said. For more information and to visit the website, see


Council President calls attention to gaps in handling harassment

In light of the allegations against Mayor Bob Filner, Council President Todd Gloria is requesting that the City make changes to how harassment in the workplace is approached, a press release from Gloria’s office said. City staff needs better education on how to report any harassment or other improper behavior, Gloria said in the memo. In addition, he recommended that employees should be able to report harassment by the Mayor to an organization that is outside his supervision. Gloria also asked the City to provide safe, alternative workspace options for employees remaining in the Mayor’s office. Lastly, all documents that may relate to the allegations of harassment by the Mayor should be retained and preserved, Gloria requested. Gloria said he feels it is critical to support City employees and provide service to San Diegans at this point in time. “The best way to restore trust in the City is to continue to protect the interests of our citizens. Though we are working with an incapacitated Mayor’s office, the City Council is dedicated to doing its part in running an efficient and effective municipal government,” Gloria said in the release.


HBA open house will discuss creation of Main Street organization

The Hillcrest Business Association (HBA) will be holding a quarterly open house meeting on Thursday, July 25 at 5:30 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Champion Ballroom Academy at 3580 Fifth Ave., and will include drinks and light appetizers, during which members can network. The meeting will focus on the possibility of creating a Main Street organization and will familiarize members on how that would affect Hillcrest businesses and HBA projects. In addition, a construction project that will begin later this year along University Avenue will be introduced by an official from the City. For more information, visit


Family Health Centers hosts tamale fundraiser

Council President Todd Gloria joins several other elected officials at the Spirit of the Barrio Family Health Centers of San Diego fundraiser, squaring off in a tamale-making contest Friday, July 19. Held at the Logan Heights Family Health Center, Gloria will compete against San Diego Councilmember David Alvarez, Santee Councilmember Jack Dale, Unified Port of San Diego board chair Ann Moore, Lemon Grove Mayor Mary Sessom, Chula Vista Councilmember Mary Salas and Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez. For more than 25 years, the Spirit of the Barrios brings more than 500 supporters for Family Health Centers, a non-profit organization providing affordable health care and services, with a commitment to uninsured, low-income and underserved populations. The tamale contest at 5 p.m. serves as a special “happy hour fundraiser” that will also include entertainment, organizers said. The Spirit of the Barrio is from 4 – 6 p.m. For more information call 619-515-2562.


Local comedy-music duo seeks funding for CD

San Diego transplants Nicki Walker and Melanie Peters, aka Nick & Mel – a local music and comedy duo who have also been called the “lesbian Smothers Brothers” – are preparing to lay tracks for their upcoming CD “Songs in the Key of Divorce.” Full of songs described as “robust, gay-centric acoustic rock/blues with comedy, parody and soul,” the CD was written while the musicians were going through separate breakups at the same time. To help finance “Songs in the Key of Divorce,” Nick & Mel have launched a Kickstarter campaign, a crowdfunding method designed for creative outlets. Those who wish to donate to the project will receive a variety of swag in return, based upon the specific amount pledged. Deadline for the campaign is 1:30 p.m. on Aug.1, when at least $4,500 must be pledged or no funding will take place. Nick & Mel was recently named as the “special guests” opening for Poppy Champlin’s “Queer Queens of Qomedy” show to be held Sept. 7 at Birch North Park Theatre, and the local-based duo hopes to have their CD released prior to that date. For more info or to link to their Kickstarter campaign, visit


Taste Baja planned for Whole Foods Hillcrest

Whole Foods Market Hillcrest at 711 University Ave. will be hosting a “cross-border food and wine explosion” event Friday, July 26 – 28, organizers said. Called Taste ¡Baja!, attendees will have the opportunity to taste food and drink from Mexico’s Guadalupe Valley, Ensenada and Tijuana. “The event offers a unique opportunity to see, hear and taste why Northern Baja has become a hot new destination for wine and food lovers,” organizers said. Food, wine and beer tastings will take place at the store’s patio area near the parking lot. The Friday schedule from 3 – 7 p.m. includes participating wineries, breweries and food carts, as well as a chef cook off at 6 p.m. On Saturday from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., additional wineries, breweries and chefs will be on hand, including students from the Culinary Art School, Tijuana. The final day, Sunday from 12 – 5 p.m., the wineries and food venders will be joined by La Guerrerense, “The best food cart in the world,” per culinary celebrity Anthony Bourdain. Organizers said space will be limited, and are asking attendees to use alternative transportation. For the complete schedule and participating vendors, call 619-294-2800.


Hospital receives national ranking, plans to expand

UC San Diego Health System ranked as one of the 2013-2014 “America’s Best Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report, a press release from the medical center stated. Placing as the number one hospital in the San Diego metropolitan area, the medical center received 10 national ranked specialties. The national rankings are in cancer (#42), cardiology & heart surgery (#42), diabetes & endocrinology (#29), ear, nose & throat (#48), gastroenterology & G.I. surgery (#31), geriatrics (#20), nephrology (#17), neurology & neurosurgery (#42), pulmonology (#9), and urology (#22). This includes them in the three percent that earn a national ranking in any specialty, out of approximately 5,000 hospitals evaluated, Avery Comarow, U.S. News Health Rankings editor said. “A hospital that emerges from our analysis as one of the best has much to be proud of,” Comarow said. The hospital also received high-performance rankings in gynecology, orthopedics, psychiatry and rheumatology and placed as the fifth best hospital in California. “As the region’s only academic health system, we are devoted to offering an unparalleled quality of care and demonstrably superior clinical results based on a philosophy of care that puts patients first,” said Paul Viviano, CEO of UC San Diego Health System. Reflecting that goal, UC San Diego Health System plans to open the Jacobs Medical Center in 2016. The new center is the largest new hospital project in southern California and will specialize in cancer care, advanced surgery and women and infants, the release stated.


University of California San Diego welcomes new UC president

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano will serve as the 20th President of the University of California, a UC San Diego press release stated. UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla expressed his delight at Napolitano’s acceptance of the position. “Her vision, leadership and commitment to public service are perfect for addressing the challenges we face and capitalizing on the opportunities that exist. She has a proven record of support for education and understands higher education as a force to change society for the better,” Khosla said. Napolitano will lead the 10-campus university system, which also includes five medical centers, three affiliated national laboratories and a statewide agriculture and natural resources program. Napolitano has served as Secretary of Homeland Security since 2009 and previously was the governor of Arizona, attorney general of Arizona and U.S. attorney for the district of Arizona.


Still time to nominate local philanthropists for award

The deadline for nominees for the National Philanthropy Day awards has been extended to July 23 at 5 p.m., a press release for the organization said. The Association of Fundraising Professionals San Diego Chapter will honor the eight finalists at their 41st annual philanthropy awards luncheon on Nov. 7. The organization is looking for San Diego philanthropists, volunteers and non-profit organizations to fulfill the categories of Outstanding Organizational Volunteer, Outstanding Development-Fundraising Volunteer, Outstanding Philanthropic Organization, Outstanding Philanthropic Corporation, Outstanding Celebrity Volunteer, Outstanding Youth-Student Volunteer, Outstanding Philanthropist, and Outstanding Development Professional. For more information and to make a nomination, visit

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