Uptown Briefs March 29

Vegan culinary event scheduled for March 30 in Uptown

The Joyce Beers Community Center in Hillcrest will host the A Taste of Vegan festival on Saturday, May 30 from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. The free event will include food tastings, informative speakers, activities for children and discounted merchandise. “Come explore the benefits of veganism for the animals, your health and the planet,” organizers said in a press release. The San Diego chapter of Last Chance for Animals, a national nonprofit dedicated to educating the public about animal rights, is producing the event. Local businesses will be participating, including Evolution Fast Food of Bankers Hill and Viva Pops of Normal Heights. Guest speakers include Rev. Dr. Beth Johnson of the Palomar Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Barb Gates, and Janice Stanger, author of “The Perfect Formula Diet.” Organizers will present the film “Vegucated,” and are asking participants to take public transit or park in the underground lot. Joyce Beers is located at 3900 Vermont St. For more information visit


Old Globe to tour San Diego County schools

Announced Monday, March 25, The Old Globe Theatre will make available a special hour-long production of William Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” to San Diego County middle and high schools. One aspect of the theater’s education programs designed to “enrich the lives of San Diego students,” organizers said in the announcement, the production is part of the National Endowment for the Arts Shakespeare for a New Generation initiative. The Balboa Park company is one of 42 professional theater companies selected for the national program, which is in its 10th year. “Twelfth Night” will tour from April 22 through May 17. Cost for the schools is $500 for one performance and $400 for a second performance at the same school on the same day. Organizers are asking those interested in booking a visit to their school to contact them at


San Diego Diplomacy Council appoints new executive director

Jill M. Secard was appointed executive director of the San Diego Diplomacy Council, a North Park-based nonprofit working with the public and private sector to bring world leaders to the region for several professional and cultural exchanges. Announced Wednesday, March 27, Secard brings more than 10 years experience in nonprofit management, fundraising and development, public relations, and special events production. “I am very happy to be serving as the San Diego Diplomacy Council’s executive director,” Secard said in the announcement. “I had been searching for an organization that would be the right match for my passion of international business and public diplomacy.” Secard said she heard of the global impact of the Diplomacy Council through hosting a youth leader from Egypt in 2012. “Over the last year, our group of citizen diplomats has brought more than 500 visitors and interpreters from over 125 countries to San Diego. We are building global networks one handshake at a time.” Secard has a master’s in business administration in international business from the University of San Diego, and formerly served as a Foreign Service officer. She has been associated with Project Concern International, Just Like My Child Foundation and A Reason to Survive, Inc. (ARTS). For more information on the Diplomacy Council, visit


Susan Davis re-introduces bill to help struggling homeowners

Rep. Susan Davis re-introduced legislation to give individuals and families another tool to avoid foreclosure. Called the Short Sale Transparency Act, it would require Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to disclose the minimum asking price they are willing to accept for a short sale if the first offer is rejected. “People deserve a real chance to avoid foreclosure,” Davis said in a press release. “It is unfair to expect someone to complete a short sale instead of abandoning their home to foreclosure, if the banks don’t meet them half way.” A short sale, or selling a home below its value, is often a last chance to avoid foreclosure, the release said. Often, homeowners are misled because loan servicers can repeatedly deny sale offers without giving guidance. The process can end in foreclosure, and would potentially damage an individual’s credit rating. “Many homeowners are willing, even eager, to work with banks to get out from under the mortgage and protect their credit rating,” Davis said. “But far too often, they find themselves in a guessing game as to what dollar amount will complete the sale.”


Michael Kimmel, California Men’s Gatherings to host relationship workshops

Psychotherapist and writer Michael Kimmel is partnering with the California Men’s Gatherings to offer a two-part workshop titled “Monogamy or Open Relationship?” that addresses monogamous relationships within the gay, bisexual and transgender men community. “Here in California, same-sex couples had the ability to get married and hope to have it again. But let’s not assume that everyone in the LGBT world wants to get married,” Kimmel said in a release. For some people, the marriage question is secondary to this question: … Do we believe we can be happy with only one person for the rest of our lives?” The workshops occur April 10 and 12 at The LGBT Center, 3909 Centre St. Cost is $15 at the door for each night, or $25 for both. Kimmel said participants could attend either or both workshops. For more information contact Kimmel at or 619-955-3311.


United Way creates Health Vision Council to enhance, expand programs

United Way of San Diego County recruited 24 members to a new Health Vision Council with the sole purpose of making recommendations to the nonprofit on ways it can collaborate, develop and lead health initiatives. The aim is to expand and enhance the programs already working in the San Diego health field, a release stated. Chairing the council is Thomas Bumol, vice president of biotechnology and autoimmunity research, and president of applied molecular evolution at Eli Lilly Biotechnology Center. “Through the council, United Way brings the right people and resources together to introduce innovative ideas and solve tough problems in health and human services throughout the county,” organizers said in the release. The council will first assist the organization with an assessment of the local health landscape, which was conducted over the last year and included several community conversations as well as data and research collection. Representatives on the council are from a vast number of fields in San Diego County and in part include Ben Avey of Family Health Centers of San Diego, Kim Bond of Mental Health Systems, Michael Brunker of Jackie Robinson YMCA, Margarita Holguin of Chula Vista Collaborative, Erica Bouris of International Rescue Committee, Larissa Roman of American Diabetes Association and Nick Yphantides of San Diego County Health and Human Services.


Golden Hill Farmers Market to host ‘go local’ event

Organized by Brian’s Farmers’ Markets, the Golden Hill Certified Farmers Market will host a Go Local Day at the Market on Saturday, April 6 from 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Organizers are inviting the community for the free events that will include cooking demos, hot food vendors and local, fresh produce. Families are especially encouraged to attend, as they will also be providing face painting, balloon artists, inflatable bouncy toys and free prize drawings. To help with the go local theme, KPBS will be at the market with a “pop-up” garden and to discuss their upcoming nature and gardening TV series “A Growing Passion.” The local show has been in production since January at locations throughout the region. It is scheduled to be a weekly show focusing on gardening, horticulture and agriculture, and is hosted by Nan Sterman. It is set to air in May. “There are so many ways that San Diego grows and so many wonderful stories to tell,” Sterman said in a press release. “I’m sure viewers will be amazed and inspired to discover what is going on right under noses. Our goal is to tell these stories in ways that help viewers to gain the skills they need to go out and ‘grow’ themselves.” Located on B Street between 27th and 28th streets, the Golden Hill Market is open each Saturday.


Assembly Majority Leader enrolls in cancer study

Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins publicly enrolled in a medical study March 16 at the San Diego LGBT Center. Called the Cancer Prevention Study-3, the national research study is being conducted by the American Cancer society and is intended to enable cancer researchers to better understand the genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors that cause or prevent cancer. “Everyone dreads hearing the words, ‘You have cancer’ from their doctor,” Atkins said in a press release. “This study can help that be a rare event by identifying who gets cancer, why and how to prevent it. Enrolling in this study is a simple way to save lives.” For more information about the study or other enrollment events visit


Mama’s Kitchen plans 22nd annual culinary fundraiser

More than 45 restaurants are expected to participate in this year’s Mama’s Day fundraiser on May 10 at the Hyatt Regency, La Jolla. The event will benefit Mama’s Kitchen, a local non-profit organization that cooks and delivers hot, nutritious meals to residents in San Diego County who are affected by AIDS or cancer. “Mama’s Day is our largest fundraiser of the year and the original food tasting event in San Diego,” said Alberto Cortés, Mama’s Kitchen executive director, in a press release. “Each year we welcome the best of the best of this region’s culinary professionals from the finest restaurants, hotels and catering companies, and their commitment to our organization enables us to continue to serve meals to critically ill clients throughout San Diego County at no charge.” For the fifth consecutive year, Sam “the Cooking Guy” Zien returns as the event’s culinary host. He will be joined by AJ Machado from “AJ in the Mornings” on Energy 103.7 as the emcee for the evening. Other festivities include a VIP reception, silent auction and a drawing for a chance to win more than $1,000 worth of premium wines. General admission tickets are $125 per person and a limited number of VIP tickets are available for $250 per person. For more information about Mama’s Day visit


Being Alive seeks volunteers

Being Alive San Diego is looking for volunteers for their programs and services they provide people living with HIV/AIDS in San Diego. Being Alive is the longest running AIDS service organization in San Diego, serving more than 10,000 people each year. Most of the programs require a four-hour commitment, and a few positions are peer advocacy, special event volunteers, cleaning persons and receptionists. For more information visit or call 619-291-1400.


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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