Mid-Coast Trolley celebrates halfway point in construction
Local leaders gathered to celebrate the halfway point of the Mid-Coast Trolley’s construction by serving breakfast to construction crews working on the project on March 29. The event was held at the construction staging yard near the Voigt Drive Trolley station, where workers gather for their morning briefings.
“This is a major milestone for a major project,” Poway Mayor Steve Vaus said. “Not only is this project large in scale, but its impact on the San Diego region is bound to be monumental. This is the largest public transit project in our region’s history. It’s costing $2.1 billion. You — the women and men building walls, laying rails, and pouring concrete — are the ones making this possible.”
National City Mayor Alejandro Sotelo-Solis also addressed workers, thanking them for their hard work and drawing attention to the ways in which the trolley extension will provide her community of National City with improved access to jobs and education.
“This trolley will not only connect cities — it will connect communities. You are building a bridge — this bridge — between communities that can sometimes feel worlds apart,” Sotelo-Solis said.
After addressing the crews, the mayors, SANDAG executives, and project managers served the workers breakfast burritos and coffee.
Many workers in attendance commented on this being the largest and most significant project of their careers. Messages that were reinforced by Vaus.
“I hope you recognize the important role you play in this major moment in our region’s history,” said Vaus, “You’ll be able to brag to your children and grandchildren that you helped build this beautiful elevated trolley. Be proud —because we’re proud of you.”
At its construction halfway point, the Mid-Coast Trolley project remains on schedule and on budget. Once complete, workers are projected to have poured 4 million cubic feet of concrete, installed 27 million pounds of rebar, and laid 83 miles of railroad ties.
The Mid-Coast Trolley project will extend Blue Line Trolley service from Old Town north to the University City community, serving major activity centers such as Mission Bay Park, the VA Medical Center, UC San Diego, and University Town Center. Nine new stations will be constructed. Major construction work began in 2016, with service anticipated to begin in late 2021.
California awards $40M to help San Diego address homelessness
On March 20, California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) announced awards totaling $302 million from the No Place Like Home Program (NPLH). Enacted in 2016, NPLH dedicates up to $2 billion in bond funds to build permanent housing with supportive services for Californians who live with severe mental illness and are experiencing homelessness, chronic homelessness, or are at risk of chronic homelessness. The awards are spread among counties with 5% or more of the state’s homeless population with the bonds to be repaid by funding from California’s Mental Health Services Act.
“A home is where your life is centered, where you raise your kids, a place you open to your loved ones. We often take for granted our own support systems that have helped us all remain stable in our own homes,” said HCD Director Ben Metcalf in a press release. “This program creates that stability for our neighbors who are living with severe mental illness and experiencing homelessness, people who need extra support to remain stable once they have a home. These awards will help those most in need while promoting healthy communities of opportunity.”
California Senate President Pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) applauded the announcement.
“Homelessness is one of the greatest challenges facing San Diego — and all of California — and every dollar makes a difference as we fight this crisis,” Atkins said. “As someone who was deeply involved in establishing the No Place Like Home Program, I know that San Diego and the other counties receiving funds will put this badly needed money to good use.”
The second round of competitive NPLH funding availability is slated to be announced in fall 2019.
City Height’s first free dental clinic has waitlist
Cura Smiles — a free, nonprofit dental clinic in the City Heights community of San Diego — already has a waitlist 100 people long. The clinic opened on Saturday, March 16, at 4101 University Ave., San Diego, CA 92105.
Founder of Cura Smiles, Dr. Thomas Fitzpatrick, saw the need to expand essential dental services to the underserved community of City Heights. The average yearly income for a family of four in City Heights is between $19,393 and $24,400. Unemployment in City Heights is 20.5%, roughly twice the San Diego County average of 11%.
Cura Smiles is partnering with Point Loma Nazarene University to provide training and service opportunities to pre-health students. These future dental professionals are helping run the clinic.
The free dental clinic is open on Saturday mornings from 8 a.m. until noon.
Crisis team call volume increased
Trauma Intervention Programs of San Diego (TIP) continues its work of providing crisis intervention immediately after a tragedy in collaboration with emergency response personnel as demand for the program increases. TIP volunteers are called on to add compassionate support in the emergency response system.
Sine 2014, the volume of the crisis team calls has increased by 60%. In 2018, TIP responded to 1,199 scenes of tragedy assisting 5,288 citizens in the community.
These are specially-trained citizen volunteers who provide care and support to residents who have been traumatized by a personal tragedy or are in a state of crisis. Often survivors are alone, in shock and dismay following a sudden tragedy. TIP partners with fire, law enforcement, hospitals and medical examiners and offers crisis intervention 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Volunteers are trained to respond to a variety of tragedies to offer support: house fires, natural death, drowning, sudden infant deaths (SIDS), suicide, homicide and other community disasters.
TIP San Diego is continuing to seek skilled compassionate individuals who have an aspiration to give back to their community. Consider being a TIP volunteer today and sign up for an upcoming academy in your area. For more information, visit TIPSanDiego.org or call 855-TIPSD-HELP.
South Park resident named 2019 Rising Star
Sullivan Hill attorney Erin Kennedy Clancy has been named a 2019 Rising Star. Each year, no more than 2.5% of the lawyers in the state are selected to the Rising Stars list.
Shareholder Erin Kennedy Clancy has been selected to the Rising Stars for the second time in the areas of construction litigation, civil litigation, business/corporate, and insurance coverage. Clancy is part of the firm’s construction, insurance, real estate, and commercial and business litigation practice groups.
Super Lawyers, a Thompson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys.
Attorneys raise $20K for free legal services
More than 200 lawyers loosened their ties and opened their office doors to host bingo games, “jeans days” and competitive online fundraisers for the annual Lawyers Who Love Access to Justice fundraising competition and managed to break previous fundraising efforts. The friendly contest raised $20,000 over 11 days to benefit Casa Cornelia Law Center’s work to provide quality pro bono legal assistance to immigrants and asylum seekers in San Diego.
“By nature, we lawyers tend to be a competitive bunch,” said Carmen Chavez, executive director of Casa Cornelia. “By channeling that energy into heated rounds of games like bingo, these lawyers are putting their competitive spirit to good use to help us reach more vulnerable families with the legal services they need. I am deeply grateful to the firms’ leadership and all the participants who joined in the fun for a good cause.”
“Pillsbury is proud to partner with Casa Cornelia to help ensure those in need continue to receive access to justice,” said Brandon Randolph, director of administration at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, the lawyers who won first place. “The generosity of our teammates is a testament to the importance of Casa Cornelia’s programs and their impact in our communities.”
Casa Cornelia is the only legal services provider for all detained unaccompanied children in San Diego. The organization relies on the generous donations of the community, as well as volunteer attorneys to provide pro bono legal services to Southern California’s immigrant community.
County employees donate to feed San Diegans in need
Special Delivery, a nonprofit organization serving the nutritional needs of disadvantaged San Diegans, has received a $1,000 grant from the County Employees’ Charitable Organization (CECO) to purchase healthy foods for its food pantry. The grant was received at CECO’s annual breakfast on Tuesday, March 19.
“We are thrilled to receive this very generous award from such a wonderful San Diego organization as CECO that has supported Special Delivery for many years,” said Henricks in a press release. “This donation will be used to help us continue our work of providing nutritious food to over 9,500 unduplicated men, women and children annually from our on-site food pantry which offers a variety of canned and packaged goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, breads, and refrigerated and frozen foods. Examples of shoppers include the homeless, individuals and families out of work and others who have fallen on hard times.”
Since 1956, CECO has been the charitable arm of the County of San Diego and San Diego Superior Court. CECO is managed by county employees and distributes 100% of donations to the San Diego community by way of grants to local nonprofit programs and assistance to employees in crisis.
Since its inception in 1991, Special Delivery has served over 2 million home-delivered meals to more than 6,000 meal clients with life-threatening illnesses such as cancer, AIDS and heart disease. Meal clients receive two cold meals and one hot meal daily, groceries for the weekend, as well as access to the organization’s onsite food pantry. The free-choice food pantry is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. by appointment.