Uptown News Briefs: Sept. 8–21, 2017

Posted: September 8th, 2017 | News, Opinion & News, Uptown Briefs | No Comments

Taste of South Park will be on Sept. 16

The third annual Taste of South Park on Saturday, Sept. 16, is a food lover’s chance to enjoy delicious bites from participating restaurants in the neighborhood.

From featured dishes to popular appetizers, entrees or desserts, the Taste of South Park will give each passport holder the opportunity to walk and taste their way through South Park.

Hours are noon to 4 p.m.

Participating restaurants for this year’s event include:

Buona Forchetta
Cafe Madeleine
Captain Kirk’s Coffee
Del Sur
Eclipse Chocolate
Grant’s Marketplace
Hamilton’s Tavern
Mazara Trattoria
Piacere Mio
Station Tavern
South Park Brewing Co
The Big Kitchen
The Daily Scoop
The Rose

Tickets are $35 online pre-sale at or $40 day of event. Only 350 tickets will be sold.

Illuminating stories about homelessness

On Wednesday, Sept. 20, three artists will join Father Joe’s Villages at Media Arts Center San Diego’s Digital Gym Cinema in North Park to share a creative look at compassion. Before the screenings of films focused on homelessness, artists will guide attendees through a gallery of their work and discuss how art inspires action to solve social issues — particularly San Diego’s homelessness crisis.

As an artist who struggles with homelessness himself, Allan Ostermann knows the connection between human struggle and creativity first-hand. He will display a collection of portraits and share how art offers healing and opportunity as he works with Father Joe’s Villages to get back on his feet.

Two acclaimed artists will join Ostermann to share their award-winning portrait series on individuals who are homeless. Neil Shigley’s striking “Invisible People” display captures the faces of people living on the streets of Downtown, using large-scale portraits to bring expressions of vulnerability and strength out of the shadows. Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Steve Breen will speak about his “Street Art: Portraits of San Diego’s Homeless” series in the San Diego Union-Tribune, which sheds light on the stories of local people affected by homelessness.

“It can be so easy to see our homelessness crisis as a list of statistics, or tents we pass on our way to work,” Breen said. “But art awakens our humanity and reminds us that homelessness is about people whose stories are as full of potential as they are of struggle.”

Deacon Jim Vargas, Father Joe’s Villages president and CEO, will present a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of “Shine,” a three-minute animated film that tells a story of hope intended to shift public perceptions of homelessness and inspire people to take action.

“We created ‘Shine’ to shed light on the struggles thousands of our neighbors face every day,” Vargas said. “By working with local integrated marketing agency i.d.e.a. and Golden Globe-nominated animation studio Reel FX, we created a film that shows the power of compassion and targeted support to end homelessness.”

After exploring the connection between art and social justice, attendees will view “Shine” and “Time Out of Mind,” the powerful story of a man who discovers friendship and redemption at a Manhattan intake center for the homeless.

“The Art of Ending Homelessness” is part of Father Joe’s Villages’ Good Neighbor Month, a monthlong celebration of the power of giving and kindness to our neighbors in need. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Digital Gym Cinema, 2921 El Cajon Blvd. Tickets are available online at for $11, with discounts available for students, seniors and Media Arts Center San Diego members.

Kensington attorney named among the best 

Kensington resident James R. Lance, a founding partner of NoonanLance and a high profile trial attorney, has been named to the 2018 Edition of Best Lawyers, the oldest and most respected peer review publication in the legal profession.

Complex commercial litigation is the focus of Lance’s practice. He has tried cases in federal and state courts for both plaintiffs and defendants. He often represents clients in “bet the company” litigation. When representing plaintiffs, Lance has obtained numerous verdicts, judgments and settlements in excess of $1 million each for his clients.

For the past six years, Lance has been awarded the Best Lawyers designation for Commercial Litigation. In 2013, Lance accepted admission to the American Board of Trial Advocates, an organization which required completion of 20 jury trials to verdict as lead counsel before membership consideration.

NoonanLance law firm is based in East Village in Downtown.

Neighborhood park opens in Mid-City

Continuing his pledge to create One San Diego where every neighborhood is safe and thriving, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer was joined Aug. 29 by community leaders and residents to celebrate the completion of Wightman Street Park — a project that transformed a once vacant and crime-ridden lot into a modern and family-friendly gathering space for Mid-City and City Heights residents to enjoy.

“Every San Diegan deserves the opportunity to create lasting memories at a park,” Faulconer said. “That’s why we are investing in parks and recreational programs throughout the city. Wightman Street Park is a game-changer and will serve as a source of pride for residents in this historically underserved community for generations to come.”

The $3.4 million project marks the 11th park completed since 2016 when the mayor pledged to break ground or improve 50 parks in five years.

The ribbon-cutting celebration memorializes the completion of a long-awaited transformation for the site, which was plagued for years by crime, environmental issues and lawsuits. City Heights community activists and residents organized and worked to turn the lot into a park for more than a decade.

“Wightman Park is a great addition to the City Heights community and a welcomed resource to activate the surrounding neighborhood which has historically been underserved,” said City Councilmember Georgette Gomez, who represents the district.

Located near the intersection of Wightman and 50th streets, the roughly 1-acre park includes a new children’s playground area, basketball court, turfed areas with accessible walkways to meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards, a shaded picnic area and a walking trail with drought-tolerant landscaping. The project also improves drainage flow in the Auburn Creek and features the creek as a natural amenity for the public.

Wightman Street Park is neatly tucked into the neighborhood and offers a welcoming aesthetic for residents in City Heights and surrounding communities. The park is decorated with cobblestones, native plants, interpretive exhibits, natural materials and a bridge to accentuate the park’s integration with Auburn Creek.

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