Peninsula News Briefs for Point Loma, Ocean Beach and San Diego

Famed oceanographer Walter Munk speaks at Point Loma Nazarene

How do you land the internationally legendary oceanographer Walter Munk as a guest speaker for your administrative communications class at Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU)?

Easy: Be the daughter of one of the founders of the Walter Munk Foundation of the Oceans!

Professor Madeline Scarpella, who was raised and lives in La Jolla , called in the favor and it was granted big time. In addition to Munk, guest speakers included Foundation reps Mary Munk, Damien Leloup and Scarpella's mother, Julie.

"While Walter was speaking, I took a moment to pause and look up at my students," Scarpella recalled. "I have never seen them so engaged and focused. I have never seen them look at me that way when I lecture. Walter and the foundation really had a positive effect on them and they were beyond interested in hearing what he had to say. Almost mesmerized."

It was the first time Munk ever spoke at PLNU, Scarpella reported.

Mayor: City ahead of street repair promise

During his first State of the City speech in January 2015, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer promised to fix 1,000 miles of streets over the next five fiscal years — from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2020. At the current pace, he reports, the City is on target to repair nearly 1,500 miles of streets, or roughly half of the City's entire street network, by 2020.

At a press conference last month, the Mayor was joined by District 2 City Council member Lorie Zapf, who told those gathered: "Since December 2014, I have been proud to have over 110 miles of roads paved in our beach and bay communities ... the Mayor's dedication to improving our roads has made this all possible."

Residents can monitor the City's progress for themselves at the City's "Streets SD" website (streets.sandiego.gov) and report potholes and other road issues using the "Get It Done" app (sandiego.gov) via smartphone or computer.

Sleeping bags sought for the homeless

The San Diego Veterans for Peace are handing out new sleeping bag sets to the most needy homeless downtown and need financial donations. The sleeping bag sets (sleeping bag and nylon stuff sack) are $33 each, and 100 percent of the donations go toward purchasing them.

To make a donation of any amount, visit SDVFP.org or mail a check to "SDVFP," 13805 Royal Melbourne Square, San Diego, CA 92128. For more information, call (858) 342-1964.

$2 million in college scholarships available

Hundreds of scholarships, worth more than $2 million, are available for San Diego students pursuing higher education during the 2019-2020 school year from the San Diego Foundation. Applications are available online through Feb. 5.

"Investing in our students is one of the most important ways to build a strong local talent pipeline for our region," said Danielle Valenciano, director of community scholarships for the San Diego Foundation. "Today's students will be the leaders of tomorrow. By supporting them with scholarships, we are creating a more inclusive economy and workforce, and building a lifelong connection between San Diego students and the region."

The awards — generally ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 — are granted to attendees of four-year universities, two-year colleges, graduate or trade/vocational schools. To apply, visit sdfoundation.org/scholarshipapplication

Nominations open for County Women's Hall of Fame

The San Diego County Women's Hall of Fame, established in 2001, is accepting nominations in five categories:

Trailblazer: Women who have paved the way for other women, or who were first in their fields.

Empowerer: Women who have significantly improved the lives of women in San Diego.

Activist: Women who have created structural change — and shifted our way of thinking and doing — to better women's lives.

Cultural Competency: Women who are multi-culturally competent and involved in building bridges, coalitions and understanding within the communities of San Diego.

Historian: Women who have kept their culture and history alive within the community, thereby contributing to the maintenance and integrity of the community.

The public is invited nominate by completing the form at sandiegowomenshalloffame.com by Dec. 31. Honorees must be present to be inducted at the 18th annual Women's Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, March 3, 2019 at the Joe and Vi Jacobs Center, 404 Euclid Ave.

BBB issues holiday scams warning

In the spirit of smart consumerism, Better Business Bureau (BBB) offers its 12 Scams of Christmas and ways to identify and avoid them:

1. "Secret Sister" gift exchange: It sounds like a great deal — buy one gift, and get 36 in return. As harmless as it seems, this seasonal scam is a pyramid scheme and illegal.

2. Lookalike websites: When shopping online, make sure to use only legitimate sites. Watch out for URLs that use the names of well-known brands. If one receives a suspect e-mail, be sure to hover over the link without clicking on it to see where the link leads. Look for the small lock icon in the address bar that indicates the website is secure and any information entered is encrypted.

3. Fake shipping notifications: Many people expect deliveries and scammers have weaponized this by creating phishing scams using some of these announcements. The e-mails or postcard will often have a legitimate-looking business name and logo, but don't be fooled. Check the tracking numbers and be aware of any communication that asks for additional private information or payment to complete delivery.

4. Phony charities: Everyone is in a generous mood at the holidays and scammers take advantage with fake charity solicitations via e-mail, on social media sites and even by text. Always search a charity's name on give.org before making a donation.

5. Letters from Santa: Several trusted companies offer personalized letters from Santa, but fraudsters mimic them to get personal information from unsuspecting parents. Check with bbb.org to find out which ones are OK.

6. Temporary holiday jobs: Beware of e-mail or text message solicitations that require prospective employees to share personal information online, pay for a job lead or hire you without an interview. Apply in person or go to retailers' main website to find out who is truly hiring.

7. E-Cards: Some family members may be going digital with their Christmas or holiday cards. Scammers are, too. Never interact with e-cards that come from unknown senders or require additional personal information to view. If the card is presented as an attachment, do not open attachment, this is a red flag.

8. Emergency scams: Be cautious of calls from a family member or friend claiming to be in an accident, arrested or hospitalized while traveling in another country. Never send money until receiving confirmation from another family member the claim is true.

9. Free gift cards: When a pop-up or e-mail offering free gift cards appears, it can be difficult to resist. If you come across one of these offers, be sure to mark the message as SPAM or JUNK, clear browsing history, and/or turn on an ad blocker.

10. Unusual forms of payment: Any retailer asking for strange forms of payment, like prepaid debit, gift cards or wire transfers are suspect. These forms of payment are unable to be traced or undone. Use a credit card whenever possible for maximum purchase protection.

11. Travel scams: The holidays are an expensive time to travel, so scammers look to exploit consumers by providing an offer they cannot refuse. Be wary of offers from any unknown sender, never wire money to a stranger and ask for references before booking.

12. Puppy scams: Be very careful buying pets online, especially during the holidays. Reverse image search the photo of the pet – if multiple sites come up in search, it's probably a scam. Ask to meet the seller and the puppy before you agree to a purchase, never pay with a money order and remember: if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.

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