Science program energizes Barnard Elementary students
For a second year, Barnard Mandarin Magnet Elementary School, 2445 Fogg St., partnered with San Diego Youth Science to give students in grades four and five an expanded science program.
In mid-April, the students explored food webs and energy flow in biological systems to learn that energy flows from the sun, into plants, and ultimately into animals. In order to understand how energy flows to fish, they inspected a typical marine life diet by dissecting mackerel fish and spiny dogfish sharks, focusing on the stomachs and what was inside.
The students also investigated the physical adaptations on their fish, such as the structure of the fins, mouths and bodies, to consider the impact on species survival.
The lessons extended beyond the dissection tables and classroom walls when the fifth-graders took a field trip to the Marine Science Floating Lab and fourth-graders visited the Cabrillo tidepools. For these students and their teachers, science is not about answers; it is about a process of discovery. — sandiegounified.org/barnard
Goodbye flies! Mayor sets $70,000 for extra trash pickup in Mission Beach this summer
Mayor Kevin Faulconer ‘s proposed budget includes $70,000 for a second weekly trash pick-up in Mission Beach during summer months to avoid a return of the buzzing flies that have swarmed the tourist community in recent years.
The second trash pick-up was eliminated during budget cuts in 2010, leading to six consecutive summers in which the fly problem persisted, with damage to the tourism economy, demand for vacation rentals and business at outdoor restaurants.
Community leaders and City Council member Lorie Zapf managed to revive the second trash pick-up for summer 2016 by lobbying the Council to add money for it as a last-minute change to the budget. The same thing happened in spring 2017, but last-minute lobbying won’t be necessary during budget debates this month, because Faulconer chose to include the money from the beginning this year.
A scientist hired by the City said in 2013 that Mission Beach struggles with flies more than other parts of San Diego because it has high-density housing, relatively little open space and scavengers who pry open trash cans and rip into bags searching for recyclable items, which allows flies to enter and lay eggs.
The winter population of Mission Beach is less than 6,000, but tourists increase that number to an estimated 20,000 in the more fly-friendly summer.
City adjusts dozens of fees, no more library fines!
The San Diego City Council’s Budget & Government Efficiency Committee on April 18 unanimously approved a proposal to increase — and decrease — dozens of City fees and fines, including the elimination of library fines for overdue materials.
Fees that would decrease include residential parking permits, overnight parking permits and rentals of library branch community meeting rooms.
Fees that would increase include pedicab permits, liquor license applications and live entertainment venue permits.
Every three years, the City reviews the more than 300 fees and fines it charges to ensure they are fair and to comply with a voter-approved state law that limits what governments can charge to the actual cost of the services they provide. The proposal, which is scheduled for approval by the full Council on May 21, would increase 97 individual types of fees or fines, decrease 57 others and leave 109 the same.
In addition, 25 types of fines and fees would be eliminated entirely, while 12 new types would be created.
Andrea Tevlin, the City’s independent budget analyst, said she is comfortable with the proposed changes, which would take effect with the new budget year that begins July 1. They are projected, overall, to increase annual city revenue nearly $136,000.
One of the new fees would be for lead testing by the City’s Public Utilities Department, which was conducted for local schools at no charge last year after a national outcry over lead in drinking water.
Head librarian Misty Jones said overdue fines are being eliminated to avoid cutting the poor off from a vital service and to boost recovery of overdue items. Further, fees for meeting rooms would be eliminated at the 35 branches to encourage more people to use them. But fees for rooms at the Central Library would be increased.
Fees for residential parking permits and overnight parking permits would decrease primarily because the City found a new vendor that reduces its costs.
Bonita Cove community cleanup, slated for May 12
I Love A Clean San Diego will team up with City Council member Lorie Zapf for a community cleanup, 9-11 a.m., Saturday, May 12 at Bonita Cove in Mission Beach, 1100 W. Mission Bay Drive. Volunteers will remove litter and debris and paint over graffiti.
There will be cleanup supplies, snacks and water. I Love A Clean San Diego will provide community service hours and letters of appreciation for volunteers.
Volunteers should bring their own reusable items such as water bottles, work gloves, and buckets to promote zero-waste practices. All volunteers are required to fill out a waiver form to participate and anyone under age 18 needs a waiver signed by their parent or guardian. To register or see more details, visit ilacsd.org
PB leaders ask MTS to allow for Farmers Market relocation
A group of community leaders from Pacific Beach attended the April 12 Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) Board of Directors meeting to request that it agendize a formal action item at its next meeting to discuss the relocation of the PB’s Farmers Market from Bayard Street to Garnet Avenue. The market is open noon to 8 p.m. Tuesdays.
When the relocation was first proposed about a year ago, MTS and the San Diego Police Department both agreed the move could be a costly problem in terms of altering bus routes and ensuring public safety.
However, PB resident and business owner Laura Ambrose stated: “This (MTS) is last impediment to actually get this done.”
The response from MTS board chair and District 9 City Council member Georgette Gomez was: “We’re going to be connecting with MTS staff as well as City staff to figure out just where things are at, I’m not sure if this item will be agendize for next month.”
District 2 City Council member (and MTS board member) Lorie Zapf added: “I would like to see a robust information or possible action item on all of the logistics, all of the various alternatives and all of the information that has been discussed with staff.”
City Council term-limit rules could change ...
San Diego officials may ask voters to eliminate a term limits loophole that allows some City Council members to serve longer than the eight-year maximum that voters approved in 1992.
If the proposed change was already in place, Council member Lorie Zapf would not be eligible for the third consecutive four-year council term she is seeking this year. The loophole made Zapf eligible for a third term because the geographic district she represented shifted while she was in office, starting the term limits clock over.
The Rules Committee voted last month to have the City Attorney write an amendment to the City Charter that the full Council could decide this summer to place on the November ballot for voter approval.
The first election affected by the change would be in 2020.
District 1 Council member Barbara Bry said it’s clear the loophole contradicts what voters intended when they approved term limits 26 years ago. “The language, for whatever reason, was unclear at that time, and it is just our intent to clear it up,” she said.
Zapf is eligible for a third term this year because her Bay Ho home shifted from District 6 to District 2 during her first term in office in 2011, when boundary lines were re-drawn — something that happens every 10 years with a new census.
Zapf served four years in District 6, is now serving her fourth year in District 2 and is seeking another four-year term in District 2.
Term limits have created opportunities for the emergence of new leaders. No incumbent Council member has lost a re-election bid in the City in more than 25 years.
Alehouse benefit helps retired greyhounds
Iron Pig Alehouse, partnered with Second Chance Beer Company on April 30 to host a fundraiser for Operation Greyhound, a nonprofit dedicated to the rescue and adoption of retired racing Greyhounds from Tijuana racetrack kennels. Iron Pig donated a portion of every Second Chance beer sold and companies from around San Diego donated prizes for a drawing.
A greyhound’s racing career ends when the dog is between two to five years old, but they need someone to care for them for the rest of their 12-to-14-year average lifespan. Over the past 27 years, Operation Greyhound has placed more than 3,500 greyhounds in loving homes — more than 100 per year. Learn more at operationgreyhound.com
Poll workers needed to staff June 5 primary election
Poll workers, especially those who are bilingual in any one of six specific languages, are needed for the June 5 Gubernatorial Primary Election.
The Registrar’s office is required by federal law to provide bilingual speakers and voting materials to voters who speak Spanish, Filipino, Vietnamese and Chinese.
In addition, a survey conducted by the UC Berkeley showed a need for speakers of Arabic and Korean at just under 90 precincts across the county so the Registrar’s office is also recruiting poll workers who are bilingual in those languages.
To become a poll worker, applicants must be a U.S citizen and registered to vote in California, or lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States. Poll workers must have transportation to their assigned polling location, access to the internet to take an online training and attend a two-hour class in person.
Poll workers receive a stipend ranging from $100 to $175 depending on the assignment, and those who are bilingual receive an additional $15 if they are assigned to provide language assistance to voters.
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