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Regional Roundup



Coronado: It’s a Dog’s Life for Loews Guests

Visitors are lapping up a special tour package that includes surfing lessons for their dogs.

“It’s been our most successful package,” said Anne Stephany, public relations manager of Loews Coronado Bay Resort & Spa.

The Su’ruff Camp package includes lessons with the Coronado Surfing Academy at the city’s Dog Beach. Surf apparel is also included (either doggie board shorts or a surfer bandanna from the Lucky Dog Pet Boutique in the Gaslamp Quarter). And of course, accommodations have a view of the water.

The package starts at $300.

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, Brad Graves

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Lemon Grove: City Looks To Retain Legal Counsel

The city of Lemon Grove is seeking to retain legal counsel in environmental law and hazardous substance liability. Proposals are due by 4 p.m. Nov. 28.

The Lemon Grove Community Development Agency is looking to employ a firm on an ongoing basis to assist with the retention of environmental consultants, to determine the extent of contamination and recommendations for cleanup of contaminated properties, work with the Regional Water Quality Control Board of the county of San Diego Hazardous Materials Unit, advise the city regarding all relevant statutes, institute legal actions as approved, and work with appropriate regulatory and health agencies on behalf of Lemon Grove.

This position comes shortly after the approval of controversial residential development at a public hearing Oct. 3. The project, which was recommended for approval by the city Planning Commission, will be built on property that formerly covered asbestos covered pipelines.

Citrus Heights will include 78 single-family homes on almost 17 acres and is located on the most southerly edge of Lemon Grove and bordered on three sides by San Diego.

The site was previously used by San Diego Gas & Electric Co. as a natural gas storage facility consisting of 9.23 miles of underground pipe that served as a natural gas reservoir. The underground pipe was wrapped in a material that included a layer of asbestos-containing material. A cleanup program was conducted in 2000 and 2001 and is the subject of current litigation.

, Michelle Mowad

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Chula Vista: E-Zoning to Lighten Planners’ Load

Chula Vista has launched an online program aimed at providing quicker and easier information for planned construction projects.

Called E-Zoning, the service accessible on the city’s Web site, www.chulavistaca.gov, allows users to virtually enter the city’s planning and building department to obtain information about a property’s size, leasing data, existing zoning codes, and forms needed to apply for changes.

Launched Nov. 1, the site is expected to reduce traffic and phone calls to the department by 25 percent in the next year, said Nancy Lytle, the process improvement manager for the building department.

“The goal is to put information about a property at people’s fingertips so they can get a head start on the process and reduce the amount of time they have to spend at the planning department,” Lytle said.

The site was built by a group of four interns from San Diego State University and UC San Diego, headed by Debra Lieter.

, Mike Allen

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Escondido: Eatery’s New Owner Has Grand Plans

A downtown Escondido restaurant, 150 Grand Caf & #233;, has begun offering weekend brunch service and weekday happy hour specials.

This month, restaurateur Mark Missler debuted a New Orleans style jazz brunch Saturday and Sunday, and happy hour Monday through Friday. Neither was offered before Missler’s recent purchase of the restaurant.

Missler purchased 150 Grand Caf & #233; from Carlton and Stephanie Greenwalt for an undisclosed sum. The restaurant has been in downtown Escondido at 150 Grand Ave. since 1993 and offers contemporary American cuisine.

Missler, who previously taught in the culinary management program at the Art Institute of San Diego, is also planning to refurbish the restaurant’s back dining room to better lure banquets and other special events.

“We want to create an intimate and theatrical d & #233;cor in what we plan to call our Prelude room,” Missler told the Downtown Business Association of Escondido.

He also said he is exploring options to offer dinner-and-a-show packages through the California Center for the Arts, Escondido, which is within walking distance of 150 Grand Caf & #233;.

, Jessica Long

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Ramona: Seven Land Coveted Chamber Seats

The Ramona Chamber of Commerce recently announced seven new directors elected to its board.

According to Executive Director Mac Williams, a record 13 people ran for the seats.

Two incumbents , Dan Vengler and Sharon Davis , were elected with five new members , Sean Leahy, Patrick Osio, Lee Dickman, Jeanne Wood and former Executive Director Carol Fowler.

The chamber has 15 seats and chamber directors serve three-year terms. Directorships are staggered so that five seats come up for re-election each year. This year, there were seven, with two members of the board resigning before the end of their term.

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National City: Enterprising Opportunities May Abound

Portions of the cities of San Diego, Chula Vista and National City were conditionally designated as an enterprise zone by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Nov. 3, one of 23 named statewide.

The zones, which will be in effect for 15 years, target economically distressed areas, and offer state and local incentives to promote business investment and job creation. The actual boundaries within each city still have to be negotiated, according to Richard Friedman, deputy director of the division of financial assistance for the state Department of Housing and Community Development. Chula Vista and National City will be new designations.

Collectively, there are 8,640 businesses located within the newly designated San Diego County zone, with 2,500 new hires expected during the first year of its designation.

Businesses within the zones are eligible for substantial tax credits and benefits. Among them: Firms can earn $31,234 or more in state tax credits for each qualified employee hired; corporations can earn sales tax credits on purchases of $20 million a year of qualified machinery and machinery parts; lenders to zone businesses may receive a net interest deduction; unused tax credits can be applied to future tax years, stretching out the benefit of the initial investment; zone companies can earn preference points on state contracts; and up to 100 percent net operating loss may be carried forward 15 years.

The governor’s office released a report this year evaluating the success of the zones, finding that poverty rates declined 7.3 percent; unemployment rates declined 1.2 percent; household incomes increased 7.1 percent; and wages and salaries rose 3.5 percent more than in the rest of the state.

The next step in the process will be for the department to issue conditional designation letters to each new zone, outlining conditions for a final designation. These include preparation of an environmental impact report, and a signed memorandum of understanding, which includes performance measures and benchmarks.

There is no set time for the designations to take effect, according to Friedman. “But we hope it will be within the next year,” he said.

, Pat Broderick

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Poway: Palomar Pomerado, Blue Cross Sign Contract

Palomar Pomerado Health in Poway and Blue Cross of California signed a provider agreement on a three-year contract Nov. 1.

The contract was also signed with Palomar Medical Center in Escondido. The agreement comes after nine months of negotiations. Details of the contract have not been disclosed.

The new agreement did not disrupt any health care services at the hospital as it was to expire Nov. 1.

“This new contract reflects the commitment both Blue Cross and Palomar Pomerado Health have for continuing the high-quality care provided to our enrollees in northeastern San Diego County,” said Brian A. Sassi, president of Blue Cross of California.

Blue Cross does not release enrollee figures by region, but said its state enrollee number is 7.6 million.

, Stacey Bengtson

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El Cajon: Surgery Center Awaits Word on Expansion

The Center for Oral and Facial Surgery wants to expand and renovate its El Cajon facility.

The existing building, on Madison Avenue between North Magnolia and North Johnson avenues, was built in 1967.

The owners, including Dentists William Hendrix and Frank Pavel, obtained approval from the El Cajon Planning Commission late last month to expand the center by 1,021 square feet. After the expansion, the office would be 4,721 square feet. The City Council is expected to consider the project for final approval at an upcoming meeting.

The cost of the project and projected completion date were unavailable, as the owners could not be reached for comment.

, Katie Weeks

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