2015 Youth Appreciation day Winners – 5/26/15

Sometimes you just want to stand up and cheer!

Nine students from nine schools were selected by their teachers and principals to be recognized by the Point Loma Optimist Club at Youth Appreciation Day.  The day started with a celebratory breakfast at the San Diego Yacht Club, with family, friends and Club members.  These students were then recognized by their schools for contributing to a better school and classroom environment.  And, the Club recognized them with a framed certificate and $200 in cash for their optimism, leadership, initiative and responsibility.  We are very proud of our 2015 Youth Appreciation Day Winners!

The Point Loma Optimist Club salutes and congratulates:

Lily Eros of Warren Walker School for being a hard worker, a helper in the classroom and always having a smile on her face.

Ava Plummer of Ocean Beach Elementary for being an outstanding student, a role model and putting forth great effort with a positive attitude.

Jacqueline Riddle of Sunset View Elementary for being a volunteer, a leader, showing great effort and being an amazing student.

Max Feiler of Silver Gate Elementary for being a great helper in the classroom and excited about every challenge presented to him.

Michelle Medina of Cabrillo Elementary for expecting the best of herself, looking for the best in others and being a leader.

Madison Decker of Dewey Elementary for being a leader and role model while working hard and helping others.

Anissa Nunez of Loma Portal Elementary for being the best helper in the classroom, working through recess and lunch, and volunteering to write her own evaluation for her teacher!

Lydia Sandy of St. Charles Borromeo for her outstanding service to the school, for her artistic displays in dance and theatre, and her optimistic outlook.

Isaac Martinez of Explorer Elementary for being a friend to everyone he meets, for his sense of humor and generosity, and for his resilience and determination.


These are special young people.  They are the leaders of tomorrow, and today.  We appreciate their hard work, optimistic outlooks and responsible actions.  So, STAND UP and CHEER!

For a slideshow (with music and captions) of the event, click here.

Lt. Col. Louis M. “Dutch” Schotemeyer – 5/12/15

This morning Lt.Col. Louis M. “Dutch” Schotemeyer, USMC, Commanding Officer of 1st Recruit Training Battalion, Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, provided an overview of the training offered to new recruits and new Drill Sergeants here at MCRD and Camp Pendleton.

The Corps focuses on their recruiting efforts on high school juniors as potential recruits through a delayed entry program. This focus enhances a young man or woman’s chances of becoming a successful recruit through preparation during their high school senior year. Less than 5% of the new recruits entering basic training wash out of the school, usually for an unforeseen reason.

Basic training is a 63 day experience, detailed in its application and practices. Physical, mental and psychological training is interwoven through a series of programs designed to build the confidence, teamwork and knowledge of the new recruit. From the basic physical training programs, through
classroom and field training exercises, to close order drills and platoon activities, every Marine Recruit is trained first and foremost, to be an infantryman.

Training is split between MCRD and Camp Pendleton. Recruits are trained in self-defense, firearm usage and maintenance, field survival skills, physical conditioning, mental conditioning, first aid, teamwork and Marine Corps history and traditions. The training concludes with the Crucible Challenge. This is a 54 hour strength, conditioning, teamwork and knowledge based exercise. Recruits are allowed 3 meals and 4 hours of sleep while they complete 32 different events, during which they will cover 40 miles over the ground. The culmination event is a 3 mile hike, uphill, to the Emblem Ceremony, where they will be officially called “a Marine”. Then they get to hike 3 miles back to base.

Graduation follows for those successful recruits and their career in the US Marines begins.

Ooh Rah!

Major Neil Ruggiero – 5/5/15


Good morning, Optimists. This morning Major Neil Ruggiero, USMC, the Director of Public Affairs for
Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego presented a report on the status and mission of the Corps in
today’s post 9/11 environment. The highlights of his presentation are outlined below.

The Marine Corps was established by Congress on November 10, 1775. “We were born in a bar!”

The Marine Corps is an integrated service providing mission response from air, sea and land.

The Corps is known for “centralized planning and decentralized execution. We have the ability to respond to any crisis, anytime, anywhere in the world.” The Marines are “forward deployed and forward engaged. Whether we bring an Expeditionary Unit (2-3,000 personnel), a Brigade (15-17,000 personnel) or a Battalion (20-90,000 personnel), we are always ready to go.”

Their missions range from Peace Keeping and Disaster Response, to First Strike, and Full Engagement.

Today’s Marine Corps:

Has 174,000 personnel,
With an “All Recruited” force,
Where the average age of a Marine is 19 years,
Uses 7% of the Dept. of Defense budget, and
Has 6% female personnel.



Gil Cabrera – 4/28/15

This morning, the PL Optimist Club heard from local attorney Gil Cabrera.

As a volunteer with The Make a Wish Foundation of San Diego, Gil Cabrera has helped 35 children with life threatening diseases make their wishes come true. “Can you imagine a more rewarding sensation then that?” he asked.

As a lawyer, Mr. Cabrera seeks to make the wishes of his clients come true. He focuses his legal skills on representing small and medium size businesses. “They generally come to me because they are being sued, or they need to sue someone,” he explained. “But, after that work, I try to assist these companies as a general counsel, so they can avoid law suits in the future.”

Mr. Cabrera has extended his services to the City of San Diego as well, serving as Co-
Chair on the San Diego Police Department Use of Force Task Force, a Commissioner on the San Diego Ethics Commission and a Board Member of the San Diego Convention Center Corporation. “I believe in giving back to my community. I
believe my legal training is an asset for these groups and boards with whom I volunteer.”

Mr. Cabrera’s legal training comes by way of Boston College School of Law and the law firms of Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps and Cooley Godward Kronish LLP. After 10 years with these major firms, handling large scale litigation matters, Mr.
Cabrera opened The Cabrera Firm in 2007.

Gil Cabrera is now considering the job of City Attorney for the City of San Diego. This open seat election will be held in 2016, and if Mr. Cabrera could get his wish, he would ask for your support and your vote. Good luck Gil!

Rafael Castellanos – 4/14/15

Did you know 400,000 automobiles are delivered through the Port of San Diego every year? That is 10% of the imported automobiles which enter the United States each year!

Port Commissioner Rafael Castellanos, appointed by the City of San Diego, visited the Tuesday morning Optimists breakfast to give us an update on activities involving the Port of San Diego. The fast paced tour of San Diego Port projects included the obvious (like North Harbor Drive improvements, the Lane Field Park and hotel development and the Marriott Marquis remodel). He also discussed upcoming opportunities (like the new 535 acre Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan and the Airport Rental Car relocation).

Commissioner Castellanos then gave us an insight in the new Port Master Plan update. This process started over one year ago and has included a public and stakeholders visioning process and the creation of a Vision Statement and set of Guiding Principles to guide the Master Plan update. The goal for the update is a new Master Plan that will be fully approved by the CA Coastal Commission, while maintaining flexibility to entertain new ideas on Port land use.

An interesting item on today’s Port Commissioners Agenda is the potential acquisition of 29,000 acres of submerged lands by the Port, from the State Lands Commission. This area is also known as the “donut hole” in San Diego Bay. It includes the non-Port jurisdiction waterway and channel of San Diego Bay. The benefit to the Port is the ability to deal exclusively with Port tenants wishing to enlarge their current operations and to expand environmental mitigation lands. This process has just begun with the public and the State.

Have you noticed the Dole Banana ship in the harbor? It arrives on Sunday and leaves on Tuesday. Almost 2 billion bananas are delivered every year through San Diego. That is over 500 containers per week off-loaded, which results in 100 containers per week being trucked out of the Tenth Avenue Terminal complex. Last week, a Princess Cruise boat was closely following the Dole Banana boat out of the harbor … there’s gotta be a great caption for that picture!

Denise Vetter – 4/7/15

Have you dialed back your watering times for your landscape irrigation? Governor Brown has just called for 25% mandatory water conservation in the wake of an ongoing 4 year drought. Denise Vetter, the Sr. Public Information Officer from the San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA), shared valuable information with s this morning regarding San Diego’s water usage and the need for conservation. The good news is San Diego has been actively pursuing water conservation over the past 4 years and is in a better condition to meet this conservation requirement than many other water agencies.

“In 1990, San Diego used 641k ac-ft of water for a population of 2.4 million people,” she told us. (This equates to approximately 240 gallons per person per day.) “In 2014, San Diego used 566k ac-ft and the population grew to 3.1 million,” she continued. (This water use is equivalent to 163 gallons per person per day, a 32% reduction!) But the goal is still another 10% reduction, to get us in line with a 25% overall reduction from our 2013 water usage the Governor has mandated.

“After 17 consecutive months of above normal temperatures, our water supplies are stressed to the limits. We need new sources and more conservation,” according to Mrs. Vetter. The new desalination plant in Carlsbad will add about 56,000 ac-ft per year, when it comes on line in late 2015. This equates to about 7% of the County’s need. The City of San Diego Pure Water program could add as much as 33,000 ac-ft per year, once distribution systems and treatment facilities are upgraded by 2020. These are good additions, but they still leave us thirsting for more conservation.

So, turn off you faucet while brushing your teeth. Take shorter showers. Replace your water guzzling lawn with artificial turf or low water use, native vegetation. Remember, every drop saved is important!

Robert Dean – 3/31/15

“Vista Hill is all about serving people: the individuals; families; and communities of San Diego.” Robert Dean is the Chief Executive Officer, of this $26million community based organization providing mental health and addiction services to residents of San Diego County.

They offer over 25 different programs for children and adults. They are funded by public entities like school districts, County and State agencies. According to Mr. Dean, “94% of our budget comes from ‘fee for service’ programs, and 6% comes from public fundraising programs.” As a service provider for public agencies, Vista Hill cannot turn away a patient. “Our biggest challenge is retention of clients for services and treatments,” he told us. “Half our clients don’t return after our first encounter. That is the sad truth.”

Vista Hill is currently working with about half the school districts in the County. Their focus is on behavioral problems, addiction issues and truancy, usually related to the behavior or addiction challenge. “If we can get a child to complete 12-24 sessions with our therapists, we can reverse their truancy problems and raise their GPA by a half of a point in one semester!”

Vista Hill sees over 20,000 individuals each year. They provide comprehensive treatment programs for the individual and their family. And, their services continue beyond the initial treatment, providing follow-up and maintenance programs to assist patients with long term success.

Oratorical Contest – 3/24/15

3/24/2015 Oratorical Contest

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an Optimist sees the
opportunity in every difficulty.” Winston Churchill.

The 2015 Optimist Oratorical Contest for students from Correia Middle School was held this morning. Eight students, chosen by the school, were invited to the Tuesday morning breakfast to present their speech on the topic: “How my optimism will help me press on to greater achievements in the future.”

The judges had a tremendously difficult time in selecting a winner from the four girls and four boys presenting. The parents, family, teachers and Club members there to hear the speeches were amazed by the poise and quality public speaking of
these inspiring young people.

The first place winner for the girls was Hailey Schmidt. She spoke of here challenges in coming to terms with being adopted. She said that her optimistic view on life, being a “chosen” child, helped her overcome her anxiety and self-doubts. While the boys first place winner, Oscar Bouris, shared his optimistic philosophy of “Just be Awesome!” which helped hime deal with family strife and personal frustrations.

The other presenters for the girls, Ava Bunn, Princess Labrador and Katie Power, all provided personal insights into their lives and how staying positive and having an optimistic perspective helped them focus on seeing opportunities in their difficulties.

The other boy presenters, Caleb Kim, Geoffrey Bocaya and Andrew Garland, were equally positive and focused on their futures in the worlds of science, family health and personal development. Their motto is: believe in yourself and be happy. That is
the life of an optimist.

We also want to express special thanks to Ken Stimeling, our Master of Ceremonies and Dan Williams, the Chair of the Oratorical Committee, for providing such a wonderful and optimistic event!

Ed Harris – 3/10/15

How would you legislate? Today we got a chance to hear firsthand from one of our own, former Councilmember and current Optimist, Ed Harris. Ed recently completed a 9 month stay on the San Diego City Council. Appointed to fill the remaining term of Kevin Faulkner, after he won the special election for mayor. Ed provided an honest and frank perspective on the internal operations of the City Council.

“I think everyone should have an opportunity to spend 9 months on the San Diego City Council,” he told us. “I think it is an eye opening experience. My biggest surprise, and maybe my biggest disappointment, is that decisions are often based on how it will impact politicians’ next election.”

As Councilmember, Ed spent his time focused on issues impacting District 2. A pedestrian crossing light here, a code enforcement issue there, and then a land use issue down the street, getting things done is difficult because of bureaucracy. “In the City of San Diego, if you don’t have leverage, you don’t get anything done,” he said, shaking his head. “We really need to be dealing with taking care of the tax payer, getting the cross walk, streets and infrastructure done.”

Ed pointed to the City’s handling of their 500 ground leases. “We seem to drill down and audit to death the surf shop on the beach, while letting some of our largest lease holders go unchecked.” He believes the 500 leases should all be treated with the same consideration and scrutiny.

On his future in politics, Ed told us, “I am interested in the State Assembly. Toni Atkins seat, specifically. But, it is too soon to tell. We need to let it shake out a bit, before I will firmly commit.” The District has a40% Democratic voter registration. The most likely winner will come from the Democratic party. Who will run? Sarah Boot … Todd Gloria … Ed Harris??? Stay tuned!

Barbara Tourtellott, President of Fit to Work – 3/3/15

Are you experiencing neck and shoulder pain? Do your arms and elbows hurt? Or, are you bending over backwards at work to get things done? These are all symptoms of industrial ergonomic issues, and now we know what to do about them and who to call when we need professional help!

Barbara Tourtellott, President of Fit to Work, is right here in Point Loma. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California and has spent her entire career in occupational health. After 5 years with the Grossmont Hospital and 22 years with the Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group, Barbara took her experience and started her own business, Fit to Work. For the last 9 years she has provided ergonomic consultation services for individuals and employers.

“Our bodies were designed to be hunters and gathers,” she said. “Sitting in a chair for 8 hours a day, banging on a keyboard and pushing around a mouse can create muscle strains and repetitive injuries our bodies were not designed to endure.” Her goal is to help people create a more effective and injury preventative workplace. “Do you know the average head weighs 12 pounds? When you lean too far forward or too far backward, you can increase the force on your neck and shoulder muscles to an effective weight of 36 pounds!”

Barbara provided some helpful hints for reducing stress on our bodies while working in an office environment. She suggests:

 Sit in a proper chair. “Chairs are like shoes. They need to fit your body.”
 Sit with proper posture. “Butt to the back of your chair, feet on the floor, minimal recline.”
 Proper monitor height. “The top of the monitor should be at eye level.”
 Proper monitor placement. “It should be close enough to read clearly.”
 Proper keyboard height. “Your fingertips should be slightly below your relaxed elbow.”
 Proper keyboard placement. “A relaxed distance from your body. Don’t reach.”
 Move it. “Don’t stay seated too long. Get up and move at least once per hour.”
 Use appropriate force. “On your keyboard, with your mouse, use only the force needed.”
 Poor mouse fit. “Use the mouse or trackball that fits your hand comfortably.”
 Look up. “Keep mobile devices at a comfortable eye level to reduce strain on your neck.”

If you want more suggestions or need specific ergonomic help. Give Barbara a call at Fit to Work!