Uptown Briefs March 15

Bankers Hill business group schedules first 2013 festival

Formed in 2011, the Bankers Hill Business Group has scheduled their first festival of 2013 to bring attention to the businesses and community in Bankers Hill. Called the Bankers Hill Art & Craft Beer Festival, the event will take place Friday, March 22 from 5 – 9 p.m. at The Abbey, 2825 Fifth Ave. The festival is being presented by a partnership with the Business Group, San Diego Brewers Guild and Metro CDC. Local artists will be showing their work and Bankers Hills restaurants will be offering food, along with 10, four-ounce beer tastings for $20. Tickets can be purchased at For more information visit


Normal Heights artists receives watercolor award

Susan Weinberg-Harter received the Best Miniature award for her painting at the San Diego Watercolor Society’s March show, “California Gold.” The painting, titled “California Oranges,” received compliments from one juror on Weinberg-Harter’s “expert use of a difficult medium and her clear colors in an excellent composition.” Weinberg-Harter grew up in London and moved to San Diego in 1970. She studied calligraphy and began incorporating watercolor illustrations in her work. She currently resides in Normal Heights. The SDWS’s gallery show, located in Point Loma’s Liberty Station, is free and open to the public Wednesdays through Sundays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. until March 29.


Steven Snyder announced as new executive director of Science Center

After an extensive, nationwide search, Stephen Snyder will become the new executive director of the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center starting July 1. Snyder is currently vice president of Exhibit and Program Development at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, where he oversaw the redesign of more than 80,000 square feet of exhibits and theaters as well as helped to create an“innovative and forward-looking staff,” a release stated. His previous work includes opening the 65,000-square-foot Kansas City Museum/Science City. Snyder replaces Dr. Jeffrey Kirsch, who will be retiring after 30 years of service to the Balboa Park museum and learning institution. Kirsch, who joined the Science Center in 1983, will remain as executive director through June 30. Following, he will remain active in the Science Center’s IMAX film productions, including an upcoming film about the Panama Canal that is scheduled to coincide with Balboa Park’s centennial celebration. Kirsch is former chair of the Giant Screen Cinema Association, and is recognized as a pioneer in bringing IMAX films to science centers across the United States.


Normal Heights Community Planning Group elects new representatives

At the March 5 meeting of the Normal Heights Community Planning Group, eight new people were added to the board through the organization’s annual elections. The newly elected full-term board members are Judy Elliot, Art Harrison, Scott Kessler, Caroline McKeown, Rick Rios, Mark Rowland and Dan Soderberg.  They were elected to two-year positions. Earlene Thom, who reached her current term limit, received two-thirds of the vote and was elected to a second, one-year term. The newly elected board members are residents of the area, except for Kessler, who is president of the Adams Avenue Business Association. Also at the meeting, the community group discussed the June 2 Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, which will route through Normal Heights. The group meets monthly at the Normal Heights Community Center, 4649 Hawley Blvd.


South Park Scene to stage first walkabout of 2013

South Park Scene, the neighborhood’s business group and organizer of the quarterly South Park Walkabouts, has been prepping for this year’s premiere event, scheduled for March 23 from 6 – 10 p.m. Called the Wild West Walkabout, neighborhood merchants will be open late for residents and visitors to spend the evening exploring and browsing, while enjoying food from restaurants, art and live music. Alchemy, Grant’s Marketplace and Hamilton’s Tavern will be serving “sidewalk specials,” said Marsha Smelkinson, South Park Business Group marketing director, and the Beech Street Buckaroo BBQ will highlight the theme. There will be free trolley service between Juniper, Grape and Beech streets, as well as a free Urban Safaris walking tour. Other walkabouts are scheduled for July 20, Oct. 5 and Dec. 7. South Park Scene also runs the Old House Fair, scheduled this year for June 15. For more information visit


Albert Einstein Academies host Day of Innovation for students

Bordering South Park and Golden Hill at 3035 Ash St., Albert Einstein Academies (AEA) hosted their first Albert Einstein Day of Innovation on Thursday, March 14. The daylong event featured presentations from the Los Angeles German Consulate Consul General Bernd Fischer, American Council on Germany San Diego Director Eberhard Roehm and San Diego Germany Honorary Consul Stephan Hollmann. In its first year, the special event offered students the opportunity to connect with local German businesses BOSCH, Bilstein and Carl Zeiss to learn about German innovations and the role they played in each company’s success. “As STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] fields remain at the center of innovation, we want to ensure that all of our students are exposed to the vast possibilities that exist in STEM, and they know that they can all be innovators,” said Principal David Sciarretta in a press release. AEA’s elementary school German immersion program is the only one of its kind in the region, and the middle school offers German language courses and a Germany exchange program.


Bonnie Dumanis launches ‘Save Lives, Don’t DUI’

District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis announced in a press release that her office is launching a radio and online campaign to reduce the number of San Diegans who drive under the influence. Holiday weekends like St. Patrick’s Day typically have a higher occurrence of drunk driving. ‘Save Lives, Don’t DUI’ uses two local radio stations, Channel 933 and Star 94.1, to reach San Diego residents and visitors celebrating the holiday. “By partnering with two popular radio stations, we’re targeting our message through on-air personalities who relate to their listeners,” Dumanis said in the release. “Our office prosecutes about 10,000 cases of driving under the influence every year. I hope this campaign will get people’s attention, cause them to think twice, take a cab or arrange for a designated driver, and maybe even save a life.” In 2011, 32 percent of fatalities from motor vehicle crashes were connected to drunk driving on St. Patrick’s Day.


Kensington resident joins Voices for Children

Karen Van Riper, a Kensington resident, recently graduated from Advocate University and is now a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for Voices for Children (VFC). Advocate University, VFC’s training program, is free to San Diego residents who want to serve the community’s more than 5,000 foster children. CASAs are volunteers recruited and trained by VFC to help the Juvenile Dependency Court judges determine and implement decisions that are in the best interests of the children in the courtroom, classroom and community. Van Riper said she approached VFC after learning from a friend the plight of abused and neglected foster children in the region. Volunteers go through 35 hours of free classroom and online training that includes topics such as child development, dependency law, relationship building, court report writing and foster child education.


St. Paul’s Senior Homes & Services receives five-star services

U.S. News & World Report’s annual Best Nursing Homes list recognized San Diego-based St. Paul’s Senior Homes & Services as one of 3,036 nursing homes across the country to receive a five-star rating. St. Paul’s runs several homes in Bankers Hill. The ranking is based on data from Nursing Home Compare, a consumer website run by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Health Rankings Editor Avery Comarow said there will be an estimated 3.3 million Americans living in 16,000 nursing homes throughout the country in 2013.  Homes earn an overall rating of one to five stars based on standards set and enforced by government agencies. Underlying categories that are included in the rating are health inspections, nursing staff and quality of care.


Council approves resolution to strengthen bicycle safety

Andy Hanshaw, executive director of the San Diego Bicycle Coalition, said in a released statement he is in full support of the San Diego City Council’s resolution on bicycle infrastructure improvements, and called for action on implementing cycling projects in the city. The Council passed the resolution March 5 after initial work between BikeSD and Councilmember Lorie Zapf’s office, and paves the way for the City to develop infrastructure projects making cycling safer, including supporting grants to fund the projects. “The resolution says all of the right things, and we appreciate BikeSD taking the lead on getting it through the City Council, but safety, sustainability and connectivity will only come with an implementation plan,” Hanshaw said in the release. In addition to other safety measures, the resolution suggested well-marked commuter bike paths, road improvements and the expansion of the 2002 Bicycle Master Plan. Left off from the approved resolution was one of BikeSD’s original concerns: bicycle right-of-way near freeway interchanges. While thankful for the resolution and continuing conversation with the council, BikeSD representatives said on their website the “resolution by and large missed the point” they initially raised. “The progress happening now is amazing, and speedy implementation of the City’s flagship cycling planning document can move San Diego even further forward in making transportation better holistically,” Hanshaw said. “We have multimodal roads and we’d like to see the action plan on how the city will improve roadways for all users.”


The Old Globe Theatre postpones 2013-14 season opener

Announced March 7, representatives from The Old Globe Theatre have postponed the upcoming production of “The Honeymooner” due to schedule conflicts with the artists. The musical was scheduled for its world premiere at The Old Globe from Sept. 8 – Oct. 27 under the direction of Jerry Mitchell. It was previously announced to be the first production in the company’s 2013-14 season. “We are disappointed that we will not produce ‘The Honeymooners’ this season, but we hope that San Diego audiences will be able to enjoy this delightful musical in the future,” said Artistic Director Barry Edelstein in the announcement. “We are hard at work seeking an exciting replacement for the show that we will announce shortly with the rest of our wonderful 2013-14 season.” Dusty Kay and Bill Nuss wrote the book for the musical, and Stephen Weiner wrote music while Peter Mills wrote lyrics. Actor Michael McGrath was set to make his Old Globe debut in the lead role, based on the popular TV sitcom.


Rep. Susan Davis supports minimum wage increase

Along with 131 of her colleagues in the United States House of Representative, Congressmember Susan Davis introduced legislation to give minimum-wage workers an increase in pay. The Fair Minimum Wage Act (H.R. 1010) would increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour over three years, increase the wage for workers who rely on tips for income and tie future annual increases to the inflation rate. “Earning minimum wage salary should not mean living in poverty or struggling to pay the bills,” Davis said in a press release. “A minimum wage increase would enhance the economic security of our families by putting more money in the pockets of those who need it most. Let’s honor and respect our hard work minimum-wage earners by giving them a much-deserved raised.” Also in the release, representatives from Davis’ office said the federal minimum wage has not kept up with cost of living increases over the last four years, leading some individuals to rely on government aid. Since the minimum wage was established in 1938 at 25 cents an hour, it has been increased 22 times, with the last increase occurring in 2009. Currently the federal minimum is $7.25 per hour for non-tipped employees. In California, the current minimum wage is $8.00 per hour.


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