The Optimists received an excellent brief on the status of the Port of San Diego at this morning’s breakfast by Marshall Merrifield, Vice Chairman, Board of Port Commissioners.
The “Baja Chefs on the Point” was a terrific time as well as a very successful benefit event for Dewey Elementary School. Click here for photos from the event.
San Diego City Councilmember Lorie Zapf represents District 2, which includes the Point Loma communities. Councilmember Zapf visited with the PL Optimists this morning to give us an update on issues within the District.
After two decades in the process, a ribbon cutting ceremony was recently held to mark the completion of the North Harbor Drive improvements. The new roadway offers easier travel to and from downtown and the Point with expanded parking for the businesses along Fisherman’s Landing.
Other items of interest to our community include the library internet upgrade, more budget money for tree trimming, code compliance officers, a pocket park along Avenida de Portugal, improved pedestrian crossings at three local intersections and improvements for the SD Police Department including 22 new officers and an upgraded radio system. The Councilmember also told us of pending new facilities such as the Liberty Park Public Market, a new seasonal Ice Rink at Liberty Station and the ground breaking for two new hotels at Liberty Station near the airport.
A significant amount of time was spent on the homeless problem in Point Loma. Panhandling along Rosecrans, Midway and Sports Arena is getting worse. It creates problems with traffic flow, pedestrian safety and trash. Lorie told us of her work with the local churches and community groups, the San Diego Police Department and the County Health Services, all of which acknowledge the problem but have different ideas about how to deal with it. She said her office would continue to work on the issue and try to find more real life solutions. “Coordination of efforts is really the best way to manage the problem today. New solutions will need to be implemented if we are going to get ahead of the issue.”
We appreciate the Councilmember’s continued support of our community and look forward to working with her on solutions for these and other issues.
Do you know which National Monument in California get the most visitors each year? It is the Muir Woods, in Northern California, created by President Roosevelt in 1906. Just 7 years later, President Woodrow Wilson dedicated half an acre of Fort Rosecrans (a US Army Base) to construct a statue of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo. Last year, over 763,000 people visited the Cabrillo National Monument!
Eileen Martinez, Chief of Interpretation and Education for the National Park Service, visited the PL Optimist Club this morning to give us insight and history about this popular and grand national treasure. “People come from all over the world to experience the beauty, history and view from the Cabrillo National Monument,” she told us. While relatively new to her position at Cabrillo, Eileen is a 25 veteran of the National Park Service, with previous experience in Hawaii, Utah, and Arizona. A native born San Diegan, she is thrilled to be back home and working on the Point.
According to Eileen, “as the Chief of Interpretation, I speak for the things and places that can’t speak for themselves.” Her goal is to bring life to the exhibits and provide insights to the explorer Cabrillo’s discovery and Military history of the property. She will gladly tell you about the lighthouses of Cabrillo, the tide pools, flora, fauna, hiking and whale watching opportunities.
Eileen shared her passion and joy for the Cabrillo National Monument. We appreciate the fine work she is doing at our pride of the Point. Thank you, Eileen, for visiting with us and sharing your knowledge.
And so it happens again! The cordial, professional, changing of the guard. Democracy in action! The smooth transition from one leader to another, came off without any riots in the streets or fisticuffs in the Board room. Makes you proud to be an Optimist!
Dr. Thomas Fitzpatrick relinquished his title of President for the Point Loma Optimist Club during a dinner celebration tonight at the Bali Hai restaurant on Shelter Island. Assuming the new leadership role is Mr. Ken Stimeling, who has previously served in this capacity during the 2003/04 year.
The evening’s transition event was directed by Mr. Tom Gibbings. Tom thanked the outgoing Board Members; Vince Glorioso, Travis Jaedtke and Barry Rodgers. Tom also introduced the new Board Members; Chris Jacobs, Rich Garcia and Jeff Fischbeck. He welcomed back Board Members Jimmy Card, Steve Doyle and Mike Swanston. And, introduced as the Immediate Past President, Thomas Fitzpatrick and Senior Past President, Alan Holmes, as the balance of the new Board of Directors.
Tom then announced the new officers for 2015/16, Roger Storer as First VP, Bill Bramley as Second VP and Vince Glorioso as Third VP. Immediate Past President, Thomas Fitzpatrick then presented various awards to members who went above and beyond for the Club during the past year and introduced our new president for 2015/16, Ken Stimeling.
Ken took the gavel and thanked Thomas for leading the Club through a great year. “My father once told me,” Ken shared, “that there are two kinds of tires. New treads and Re-treads. He told me retreads were just as good as new treads, but they cost a lot less. I am really proud to be a retread!” While Ken may have a few miles under his belt, he is charged up and ready to jump into the Club’s business. “I look to continue the growth of the Club’s membership and strengthen our support for the youth of our community!” he told us.
The Point Loma Optimist Club is ready for a new year with strong leadership and a commitment to serve.
This morning’s guest was Captain William R. Fenick, USN (Ret). Bill is the Executive Director of the SEAL – Naval Special Warfare Family Foundation. The Mission of the Foundation is “to support individual and family readiness through an array of programs specifically targeted to assist the Naval Special Warfare community in maintaining a resilient, sustainable, and healthy force in this era of persistent conflict and frequent deployments.”According to Bill, “we want to build a resilient family, because that makes a more resilient operator.”
There are approximately 2,500 special warfare operators and about 6,500 support team members (pilots, boat captains, equipment managers, trainers, etc.) that make up the US Navy SEALs operation. The Foundation offers a number of programs designed to support the physical, mental, social and financial well-being of family members of these elite service members. Through programs like NSW Kids, The Global Spouse Sisterhood, Family Readiness Groups and Gold Star Families, “we take care of the needs of the family members, so the service operators can take care of their jobs,” Bill told us.
“Take the Global Spouse Sisterhood,” he shared. “We provide a meeting space, like a local restaurant. Then the wives of operators with more experience in deployments, offer their ‘sisterly advice’ to the newer members of their group. They take care of each other!” Other programs are more specialized and focused on the specific needs of the family members.
“We don’t like to advertise our Foundation or the activities of our members, for obvious reasons,” Bill said. But for those of you who would like more information about the SEAL – NSWFF or would like to make a donation to support their efforts, please see this link. We want to thank Bill for visiting with us this morning and sharing the special work of this Foundation.
Our guest speaker at this morning’s breakfast meeting was Alan Ziter, Executive Director of the NTC Foundation since January 2004. He oversees the restoration and use of 26 historic buildings at the former 500 acre Naval Training Center in Point Loma, as they are converted to a new civic, arts and culture district “NTC at Liberty Station.” This effort has been one of, if not the most, successful conversion of former military bases in our nation since the 1993 round of base closures. There’s been $63 million of renovations so far, with an additional $25 million expected for the 9 remaining buildings. There are 400,000 visitors to Liberty Station and NTC annually, and the entire venture has created thousands of jobs. Mr. Ziter discussed the history, the successes so far, and the vision for the future of the arts and culture district, citing that it will be around for a long time with its 55 year lease with the City of San Diego. He expressed appreciation for the Optimist Club of Point Loma’s funding contributions that enable students of Dewey Elementary School to attend Liberty School at NTC, as well as appreciation for the club’s upcoming event on October 18th to fund a much-needed math and science lab at Dewey. [Registration for this fun event is online (only) and available by clicking here. Sign up now! Further information is available here.]
Our thanks to Alan Ziter for his hard work in making NTC at Liberty Station such a success!
Our thanks also go to Thomas Fitzpatrick, who presided over his final breakfast meeting before turning over the reins to Ken Stimeling at the upcoming installation dinner on September 28th. Well done, Tom!
The PLOC welcomed SeaWorld to our breakfast meeting today. Danielle Magee, the Community Relations Manager and Jody Westberg, the Supervisor of Mammals for the Stranded Animal Program gave us an update on their activities.
SeaWorld San Diego opened in 1964 and their first animal rescue occurred in 1965. Since the beginning of the Animal Rescue Program, over 25,000 rescued animals have passed through the SeaWorld gates. In terms of rescued sea mammals, California Sea Lions, lead the list, followed by Harbor Seals and Elephant Seals. According to Jody Westberg, “Our goal is to rescue injured animals and return them to the wild once they are healthy.” Jody estimates they deal with 200-300 injured or sick marine mammals on an average year. This year is well above average! “When we return the animals to the wild, we try to track their activities. This is how we can learn more about the species and determine the success of our treatment,” she said.
A tracking device is about the size of two double A batteries. It is attached to the animals fur with a marine type glue. Within 12 months, once the animal molts its fur, the device falls off and is lost. The only way to receive data from the device is for the animal to surface and allow the radio signal to be retrieved via satellite. The data includes global positioning and information about the animals activities, like length and depth of dives. This information gives the scientists at SeaWorld a good picture of the relative health of the mammal.
Danielle Magee Shared with us the plans for SeaWorld to expand the Orca Arena. The current 5 million gallon pool will grow to almost double that size, by adding about 1.5 acres of new habitat. The new pool will also increase in depth from over 30 feet to almost 60 feet. And, the new facility will include underground viewing and a more natural habitat setting including kelp beds. “We plan to obtain our approvals from the California Coastal Commission by the end of this year,” Danielle told us. “We hope construction will begin in early 2016.”
Danielle and Jody shared stories of SeaWorld’s research and rescue missions, answered questions from our members and promised to return with further updates. We thank Danielle and Jody for sharing and look forward to hearing from them again in the future.
President Thomas Fitzpatrick opened our meeting this morning with some important announcements:
1. The 2016 Installation Dinner will be held on Monday, September 28th. The event will be held at the Bali Hai restaurant on Shelter Island, at 6:00 pm, with an Hawaiian theme. He also
announced our new officer slate with Ken Stimling stepping into the President’s role. Vice Presidents include Roger Storer, Bill Bramley and Vince Glorioso. Jim Dennison will continue as Secretary/Treasurer and Alan Holmes will take the role of Senior Past President. A reception, dinner and awards program are planned (with a minimal amount of speeches!!!).
2. October 18, 2015 will be the date for our first Annual Baja Mex Celebrity Chef Challenge. Stone Brewing in Liberty Station will be the site for this awesome event. Food and Wine (and maybe a little tequila) from the Guadalupe Region of Baja California will be featured. Specialty Chefs and Celebrity Sous Chefs will be announced shortly. This Sunday afternoon social will be the talk of the Point and tickets will be in high demand. More specifics will be announced soon. Watch this Blog for more info.
3. New Member, Jon Linney, officially joined the Point Loma Optimist Club this morning. Welcome aboard Jon!
Captain Jonathan S. Spaner, USCG, is the Commanding Officer of the Coast Guard Sector San Diego. There are 35 Sector Commands within the US Coast Guard service. Each Sector Command comes with five principal responsibilities: 1) “Captain of the Port”, 2) Maritime Inspection, 3) Search and Rescue, 4) Maritime Security, and 5)Environmental Safety. Sector San Diego is a very large region, including areas of responsibility like the lakes and dams along the Colorado River (a Federal waterway).
As Commanding Officer of the San Diego Sector, Capt. Spaner has the responsibility for dealing with all things maritime within his region. This includes commercial and recreational boating, security of the port and coastline, emergency response to boating or environmental accidents and coordination of intelligence and security activity involving drug enforcement and terrorism. As an example of his focus, Capt. Spaner noted that in the fourth quarter of 2013, there were 48 documented jet ski landings along the San Diego coastline. Whether these incursions were for transporting drugs, weapons or people is not quantified, but by the fourth quarter of 2014 that number had dropped to 12 and as of the second quarter of 2015 only 3 incursions have been noted!
Capt. Spaner comes to San Diego with an amazing resume. He holds a senior pilot rating, licensed Airline Transport Pilot and US Merchant Marine Officer credential. He has a B.S. degree from the US Merchant Marine Academy, an MBA from MIT and is a graduate of Harvard University’s US-Russian Security Program. He holds a special interest in the Arctic Ocean, Ice and Natural Resources usage. For example, did you know it is estimated that 30% of the “undiscovered” natural gas, 13% of the “undiscovered” oil and 30% of the “undiscovered” minerals of this earth lie within the Arctic Circle?
Capt. Spaner is also a “big fan and very appreciative of the flag program” along Rosecrans Street, sponsored by the Point Loma Optimist Club. “It is a great way to recognize the work of the US military,” he noted. Navy, Marine and Coast Guard personnel and their families are always made to feel welcome in San Diego and Point Loma, specifically! We thank Capt. Spaner for his service and for spending an hour with us today. Go Coast Guard!
The Point Loma Optimist Club welcomed scholarship recipient, Sarah Fogel, to our morning breakfast. Sarah, a June 2015 Point Loma High Graduate, is attending The New School, in New York City. The New School was founded nearly a century ago by a small group of prominent American intellectuals and educators, among them Charles Beard, John Dewey, James Harvey Robinson, and Thorstein Veblen. Sarah plans to study design and journalism, working within a special 5 year program that will provide her
with a Bachelor and Masters degree. Sarah is leaving for New York in six days! She has already secured an internship with Elle Magazine, working as a fashion blogger! Congratulations Sarah, we wish you continued success and good luck in your new studies.
President Thomas Fitzpatrick provided the Optimists with an update on Cura Coffee. Cura Coffee Company became an outgrowth of his work with the Foundation for Worldwide Health (FWH). Dr. Thomas Fitzpatrick, a favored local dentist, along with other dentistry professionals from Loma Linda Dental School and the FWH, have established three dental clinics in Nicaragua in association with UNICA the national medical and dentistry university of Nicaragua. These clinics provide dental hygiene and service to the rural regions of the country. Many of their clients are farmers, specifically coffee farmers. Since 2008, the FWH has seen nearly 4,500 patients and provided more than 7,700 procedures.
Within the last three years, San Diego dentist, Dr. Thomas Fitzpatrick, began developing the vision for Cura Coffee Company, combining efforts with Point Loma Nazarene University’s business students to develop a formal business plan. Cura means “care” or “cure” in Latin. In an effort to help provide the needed financial resources, Cura is teaming up with Tierra Nueva Coop to sell their highest quality, organic coffee in the United States, which will be essential to making these clinics sustainable. Cura invites coffee lovers to connect with the growers through this effort. Dr. Fitzpatrick and the rest of the Cura team wants each person who enjoys a cup of Cura Coffee to know that they are helping to sustain these dental services and improve the lives of individuals with little or no access to care. This is direct-trade coffee, with direct impact, brought directly to you, the caring consumer. Please visit http://curacoffee.com/ for more information or to place your Cura Coffee order!
The Point Loma Optimist Club is proud to announce: