Skip to content

News & Events

May 2023

Coming Events . . .May 19 General Meeting

Solana Beach City Manager Greg Wade Reports on the City’s Many Initiatives

Join us starting at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 19 at La Colonia Community Center for Solana Beach City Manager Greg Wade’s update on City projects. It is always impressive to learn just how busy our public servants are with initiatives that don’t always make local headlines.

Also during this general meeting, we will ask members to vote on your 2023-24 Society Executive Board. Nominees are:

  • JoJo Dodson Bogard, President
  • Michele Stribling, Vice President
  • Holly Smith Jones, Treasurer
  • Karen Grossman, Recording Secretary
  • Cindi Clemons, Corresponding Secretary

We’ll also salute our outgoing Vice President, Judy Hegenauer, who is looking forward to taking a break from her many years of service on the Society’s Executive Board and as a City Council member.

In early June, Education Chair Pat Coad will assemble a committee to review applications for three $2,500 scholarships to be awarded this Spring. If you would like to help with the review and selection of our awardees, please email

On June 9, you are invited to join your new Executive Board at our installation dinner, 5 p.m. at Tony’s Jacal. During the June meeting, we will also introduce our 2023-24 scholarship winners. Our June newsletter will include a reservation form with menu. Or, you can click below to RSVP and pre-pay by credit card or PayPal.

RSVP for June 9 Dinner. $30 fixed price. Select the number in your party:
April 2023

Backyard Beekeeping with Katie Pelisek

[Click here to view her presentation]

Katie started keeping bees on her property 10 years ago, but only got brave enough to be hands-on during the Covid lockdown. (What else was there to do?)

It started with honey harvesting but quickly progressed to bee colony rescue. Katie brought props and photos to share her sweet and sometimes painful learning-curve to becoming an apiarist at our April 21 General Meeting. Click above to learn about her experiences.

March 2023

Lagerraum Quartet Debut Recorded for You

[Click here to enjoy]

The quartet is precocious group, averaging 14-and-a-half years of age. They performed works by Bocherinni, Mendelssohn, Elgar, Mozart together, as well as solo pieces. These musicians are Advance Orchestra members of the Mainly Mozart Youth Orchestra. The Orchestra was established as the San Diego Young Artists Symphony in February 1995 by the late Maestro Louis Campiglia. In 2013, San Diego young Artists Symphony merged with Mainly Mozart and was renamed the Mainly Mozart Youth Orchestra. It has a rich history of talented and devoted Music Directors dating back nearly 30 years.

Why “Lagerraum” Quartet? Look up the translation. They rehearse in a storeroom. Enjoy the results!

February 2023

Catch up with the Nature Collective

Kevin Anderson shared his latest painting of the San Elijo Lagoon and Jennifer Bright, Associate Director of the Nature Collective, provided an overview of the organization’s many projects at our February 10 General Meeting. Highlights of the organization’s work include:

  • Award-winning restoration work on the Cardiff dunes and in San Elijo Lagoon.
  • Habitat restoration and protection of wildlife corridors along the Escondido Creek Watershed and beyond.
  • A nursery that grows 3,000 plants indigenous to the area from seed to maturity for planting each year.
  • Weekly water quality monitoring, so they can perform emergency tidal circulation projects if there’s insufficient oxygen for the lagoon ecosystem to thrive.

Click here to catch up on the impressive history of the Nature Collective, which often intertwines with our Society’s and our legacy Women’s Civic Club.

December 2022

Holiday Luncheon Honored Marion Dodson

Marion Dodson with grandaughters Melody (L) and Amanda (R)

“Friend, colleague, mentor” and “fighter” were among the words used to describe long-time Society member, inaugural City Council member, three-time Mayor, former Solana Beach School Board member and educator Marion Dodson during our December 9 Holiday Luncheon.
“I’ve known her for more than 45 years and I always called her the ‘energizer bunny,’” added fellow former Councilmember and Mayor Joe Kellijian, one of several past and incoming Councilmembers in attendence. “Her accomplishments are numerous.”
Among them are some “firsts” that put Solana Beach on the state and national map after the City was incorporated in 1986. After successfully campaigning for cityhood, Marion was elected to the first City Council, whose members slyly took their oaths of office at 7 a.m. so they could block further development in Solana Beach before County of San Diego offices opened to dole out building permits to drooling developers.
During her 14-year tenure on Council and three rotations as Mayor, according to Kellijian, the City became the first in California to ban smoking in restaurants and first in the contiguous U.S. to ban smoking on our beaches. Solana Beach also was first among area coastal cities to tackle the “big dig” required to lower our rail tracks below street level, a $25 million project that Marion championed while also serving on SANDAG for eight years. Completion of that project not only improved traffic and safety through town, but also provided for sewer and drainage improvements to end previously chronic flooding on Cedros Avenue during the rainy season.
Another huge infrastructure project she championed was the widening of Interstate 5 and creation of the cloverleaf exchange at Lomas Santa Fe Drive. Marion influenced planning of that project to ensure that no properties were encroached on the freeway’s east side. In addition, and among her proudest accomplishments, Marion was instrumental in the campaign to create a permanent home for the Solana Beach Library, which previously had bounced from one leased space to another. “Finally, it has a home,” she commented during the luncheon.
After “retiring” from public service, Marion joined the Board of Directors of North Coast Repertory Theater (NCRT), where she has served for more than 20 years and still chairs the “new venue” committee. “I don’t know where NC Rep would be without you,” said Julie Sarno of the NCRT’s President’s Advisory Council.
Marion’s daughter JoJo Dodson Bogard emceed the event and remembered growing up in the public eye. “Mom always stressed the importance of giving back to your community,” said JoJo, who founded Solana Beach Community Theater and also serves as Nominations Chair for the SBC&HS.
“You continue to inspire me,” said Marion’s grandaughter Amanda, a teacher who also sang for luncheon entertainment.
“I’m grateful to have lived here and raised my family here in Solana Beach,” Marion told attendees. “There are wonderful people who serve our City. . . people who are willing to make things better.” “They all take team efforts,” she continued. “We need things for our community, and sometimes you need to fight for them. So you better be in for the fight!”

June 2022

Society Awards Two $2,000 Scholarships

Torrey Pines baseball team captain Eric Van Valkenburg and Kelly Drummond, an adult returning to San Diego for graduate school, each were awarded $2,000 scholarships during the Society’s June 10 dinner at Tony’s Jacal Restaurant. More than 40 members joined the party to help celebrate the awards and Tony’s 75th anniversary of serving great meals in our great community.

Eric will attend the University of Oklahoma on a baseball scholarship and plans to study physical therapy. Eric graduated from Torrey Pines High School, where he participated all four years in the school baseball program and played a variety of positions, including pitcher. He said he learned and honed his baseball skills with the Solana Beach Little League on teams from “T-Ball to the Majors.”

Eric said his family “emphasized how important it was to appreciate our life and also give back to those less fortunate.”

“My favorite memories of giving are when a group of my Solana Beach Little League buddies and I got to teach newly arrived refugee kids how to play baseball. Even though language was a barrier, we all laughed and played together for hours. I also loved to volunteer at Miracle League in San Dieguito Park as an umpire,” Eric recalled in his scholarship application.

Eric on the field

“On the field,” according to his former English teacher Greg Williams, “he has combined ability with the purity of intent that inspires others. I have often marveled at how such a kind, considerate person can be so competitive and relentless while competing athletically.” His scholarship was awarded in honor and memory of Bruce Berend.

Kelly and Dylan

Kelly attended San Dieguito High School and then the University of Puget Sound, graduating in 2010 with Bachelor of Arts degrees in Comparative Sociology and Art. 

After college, Kelly moved to St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where she learned SCUBA diving, guided kayak tours, and worked as an artist. Returning to San Diego, Kelly earned a Montessori teaching credential and taught in San Diego, and in Oaxaca, Mexico. From there she moved to Alaska and lived and worked at a wilderness retreat and artist residency in Lake Clark National Park. 

After a decade of working as an early-childhood, art and environmental educator, Kelly went back to school through community college programs to study natural resource management and marine science. In February, she was accepted to the Master of Advanced Studies in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation program at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The one-year program started in June.

Kelly is the first to receive a SBC&HS scholarship for adult, returning students since the award criteria was expanded a few years ago. Her award was made possible by a generous donation from Civic & Historical Society member Asli Carome to honor her daughter Selin Everrett’s hard work to succeed in college. 

“The Society is proud of these two young people and happy to be able to help financially as they begin — and continue — their college educations,” said SBC&HS Education Committee Chair Pat Coad. “We wish them will as they pursue their academic endeavors.”

Since the program’s inception in 2014, the Society has awarded $24,000 in scholarships. In addition to these awards, the Society annually contributes $1,000 to the Mexican American Educational Assistance Guidance Association (MAEGA), now in it’s 50th year of awarding college scholarships to students of Latino heritage in the San Dieguito Union High School District. In 2022, the Society’s contribution was increased by MAEGA to $1,300 and awarded in honor of Suellen Lodge.

April 2022

Part of our ‘Zoom at noon’ program

Learn about the amazing diversity and importance of our native bees

[ click here to view the presentation ]

Photo by Dillon Travis

Did you know that there are more than 600 native bee species in San Diego County?  And that most nest underground? Can you guess what might be the biggest threat to their health and existence?

The answer might surprise you! Pollination Ecologist Dillon Travis took a break from his field studies to share his expertise on the diversity and importance of native bees to our ecosystem — and our food! Also learn how you can support healthy habitat for our native bees and a healthy attitude toward “bee-washing” public relations schemes.

Dillon is a Ph.D. candidate with the Kohn Lab, Section of Ecology, Behavior and Evolution, Division of Biological Sciences at the University of California, San Diego. This spring, Dillon has been studying bees in remote SoCal areas (where MAS*H and Planet of the Apes once were filmed). “I am conducting field research in the Santa Monica Mountains, where honey bees are present, and on Santa Cruz Island, where honey bees were eradicated 20 years ago. This allows us to study how the presence or absence of honey bees impacts native bee diversity and abundance.”

 March 2022

Part of our ‘Zoom at noon’ program

The Pre-history of Our Community, with Historian Richard Carrico

[ click here to view the presentation ]

Historian Richard Carrico

The Kumeyaay people of San Diego County are often portrayed as relying on acorns, deer, and rabbits as their primary food sources. These foods were important, but the Kumeyaay were also masters of the bays and oceans —they were maritime peoples thousands of years before arrival of the Spaniards.
Click here to learn more about the Kumeyaay and the pre-history of our area from historian, writer and educator Richard L. Carrico. Prof. Carrico peeled back more than 5,000 years of history to give us a picture of the Kumeyaay that has been largely ignored. Did you know, for example, that the Spaniards rarely ventured more than a few miles from our coasts, while the Kumkeyaay had established communities well into what is now East County San Diego and our mountain regions.
Prof. Carrico talked about the techniques used by the Kumeyaay to procure a large variety of fish, shellfish and other maritime food sources, as well as the boats and canoes they used to explore and harvest fish and other resources from the deep ocean, offshore islands, and in our local lagoons. The presentation also also places Kumeyaay fishing and maritime activities within the context of their overall cosmology, including the many native maritime place names and constellations that help guide the Kumeyaay.
Mr. Carrico is a lecturer in the Department of American Indian Studies at San Diego State University and has made significant contributions to our understanding of the local indigenous cultures and early Spanish colonization. He has conducted or supervised more than 200 archaeological excavations and has received several awards for academic excellence, including the Norman Neurburg Award for outstanding research presented by the California Missions Foundation in 2019.

February 2022

Part of our ‘Zoom at noon’ program

Current affairs in Solana Beach, with City Manager Greg Wade

[ click here to view the presentation ]

Thanks to all who attended this informative meeting to learn about the many, many initiatives our City Council and staff are undertaking.

January 2022

Part of our ‘Zoom at noon’ program

A virtual tour of Artist Jim and Anne Hubbell’s Magical Home and Studio

[ click here to view the presentation ]

Marianne Gerdes, Executive Director of the Ilan-Lael Foundation, which sustains the property, took us on a tour through the remarkable history and magical presence of the Hubbell’s home and studio — the Jewel near Julian. The Hubbells established the Ilan-Lael Foundation in 1982 to help sponsor public art projects, lectures, seminars and exhibitions in San Diego and Tijuana. Among the programs the foundation has inspired Some include ArtWalk San Diego, KidzArt and an award-winning newsletter about San Diego’s downtown development called Hidden Leaves.

Ilan-Lael translates from Hebrew to “a tree that unites the physical and the spiritual,” integrating art, nature and community in a dynamic setting. The name was given by the artists to the structures they designed and built, largely by hand, over the past 60 years on 10 acres near Santa Ysabel. The property received historic designation in 2008.

Today Ilan-Lael serves as the home of the Ilan-Lael Foundation: an art education and nature center, a retreat space, and a place for all those seeking inspiration in beauty, art and natural surroundings. During the past year, the foundation sponsored “Healing the Healers,” providing Covid workers a day of rest, reflection and renewal, as well as a Harvest Moon dinner at the home/studio.

December 2021

Hybrid online/outdoor Boutique beat 2020 revenue

Holiday Boutique and Poinsettia Sales Success!

Our incredible Crafts Group and the SeaWeeders have done it again! The 2021 Holiday Boutique and Poinsettia sales netted a record $10,000 for our scholarship, education and beautification programs in November.

Thanks to all of you shoppers! You flocked to the online Boutique shortly after it opened, buying more than $3,500 in handmade goods, plants and books on the first day of business. Online sales continued for four more days and crescendoed at the outdoor shop set up in the patio area of La Colonia Community Center on Saturday, November 13. Poinsettia sales continued through November 24 and during “pick-up day” on November 27.

Thanks to all who sewed, knitted, wove, carved, and cleverly created our handmade craft-sale treasures, including this Americana quilt. Thanks, too, to the many volunteers who made our 2021 Boutique and Poinsettia sales such a success.

2021 Holiday Luncheon and General Meeting

It was a delight to reconnect during our 2021 Holiday Luncheon. More than 50 members attended the event on December 10 at Lomas Santa Fe Country Club. In addition to enjoying hearty meals and music of the season, members passed several changes to our bylaws:

  • Addition of a calendar/fiscal-year provision
  • Addition of “paid lifetime” membership category
  • Authorizing the board to determine dues payment schedules
  • Provision for in-person or electronic meetings/voting
Fran and Richard Moore

During the event, Society president Michele Stribling and guests paid tribute to long-time members Fran and Richard Moore, noting their many contributions to our community. Fran and Richard were instrumental in preventing widespread development of additional apartment complexes on the southern section of the city.

Rena Monge held the winning ticket for the Americana quilt, pictured above, which was created by several members of our industrious Crafts Group.

September 2021

Centennial Celebration exceeded expectations

[ click here to view photos and coverage ]

Close to 160 guests joined our September 10th celebration of the 100th “birthday” of Solana Beach’s first neighborhood. The outdoor festivities included entertainment by the colorful dancers of Eden Garden’s own Folklorico Jalisience Academy to music provided by the Mariachi Estado de Oro.

Scouts and leaders from troop #782, founded in the 1970s, served a buffet of authentic Mexican enchiladas and turkey tacos provided by Tony’s Jacal Restaurant.

The Scouts, along with volunteers from Teen Volunteers in Action, also assisted in set-up and clean-up for the event. Many thanks to them and our many other hardworking volunteers.  

Completion of Lake Hodges Dam in 1919 allowed — for the first time — for fresh water to be piped to about 10 acres along what is now Ida Avenue.  Some of the earliest residents not only built their own homes there, but also worked on the irrigation that brought water to the neighborhood.

“The roots of the La Colonia settlement lie in some prefab cabins and a small number of rental houses . . . clustered around a shower/laundry facility,” wrote author and historian Jim Nelson in his 2010 book La Colonia & Solana Beach, available for purchase here.

During the evening, local historians and long-time residents of La Colonia shared insights on Eden Gardens’ history and the founding families who shaped and preserve its culture. Read more and view participants’ testimonials, as well as a 20-minute slideshow created from family photos that were shared with our organizers. Proceeds support ongoing historical research and education about our first neighborhood.

July 2021

Meet our 2021 Scholarship winners

Three Torrey Pines High School students from Solana Beach were selected by the Board of Directors of the Solana Beach Civic & Historical Society to receive college scholarships for the 2021-22 school year.

Josselyn Calixto Alavez, Juancarlos (JC) Cigarrero and Maribel Hernandez Condes all demonstrated the determination and resilience to log three-point-plus grade point averages (GPAs) during senior years warped by Covid-19 restrictions.  Each applicant was supported by hearty letters of recommendation from school counselors, teachers and others. “The Historical Society is pleased and proud to support these students as they embark on their college educations,” noted SBC&HS Education Committee Chairperson Pat Coad.  “Our selection committee was particularly impressed by the gratitude each awardee indicated for their parents’ hard work and their teachers’ encouragement during the past, very trying, year.

Josselyn Calixto Alavez

Josselyn Calixto Alavez plans to attend Mira Costa Community College as the first step toward her plan to become an English teacher. “Learning English as a second language was tough. My English teachers never gave up on me,” she wrote in her application essay.  Josselyn participated in the Study Buddies program, where high school students help elementary school students with assignments. One family, recently arrived from South Korea, sought asker her to help their student adjust to English.  “Although I don’t speak Korean, I tried my best to work with my student and her younger brother up until the pandemic hit and this student will always have a place in my heart,” she said.

Joselyn will be the first in her family to attend college.

Juancarlos (JC) Cigarrero

Juancarlos (JC) Cigarrero plans to attend San Diego State University to study sociology and business.  He played both club and varsity soccer at Torrey Pines, while also holding down a restaurant job, participating in numerous community volunteer events, and coaching the Earl Warren Middle School soccer team. “The coaching experience is a particular favorite of mine because I was able to give back to a team that I was once part of and guide the next generation of players,” he wrote in his application.  Juancarlos attributed his drive to “make something meaningful out of myself” to the “selflessness and tenacity my parents exude every day” tackling their service-sector jobs —particularly during the pandemic. 

“My life has been impacted by the assistance of many generous individuals and I find a sense of pride in being able to pay it forward as well, especially in the community that raised me,” he said.

Maribel Hernandez Conde

Maribel Hernandez Conde plans to study political science at California State University San Marcos, on her way to becoming an immigration lawyer. Born in Santa Ana Chiautempan Tlaxcala, Mexico, she understands first-hand the challenges of leaving one country to embrace another. Her parents made the “life changing” decisions to move to Solana Beach in 2006.  “We have lived here for fifteen years and have made amazing memories together as a family,” she reported in her application essay. While in high school, Maribel stayed involved with the youth group at Saint James/St. Leo’s church, volunteered with the Boys and Girls Club — where she once was tutored, and worked as a restaurant hostess. All while maintaining close to a 4.0 GPA.

“I am glad to have grown up in a community that respects others and values helping each other out in times of need,” she said. She, too, will be the first in her family to attend college.

May 2021

Part of our ‘Zoom at Noon’ program

Local efforts to support our Western Monarch population and other pollinators

[ click here to view the presentation ]

Access Passcode: &VA08tVg

Ann Baldridge, Community Programs Director of the Resource Conservation District of San Diego County* presented at our May 20 Zoom meeting about how local groups are coordinating to support our Western monarch population.  Ann explained the monarch life cycle, the San Diego Pollinator Alliance and its native milkweed project, as well as the overall threats to monarchs and why this effort has become imperative.  Click below and enter the passcode to replay a full recording of this informative session.

*In partnership with the Fire Safe Council of San Diego County and Wild Willow Farm and Education Center

April 2021

Milkweed giveaway exceeded expectations

More than 90 Solana Beach families collected 350 free, native milkweed plants and 1,430 milkweed seeds on April 24, joining a pledge to help make Solana Beach friendly to Western monarchs and other pollinators.

On April 23, the City’s landscapers transformed the parking-area garden at La Colonia Community Center into our first public pollinator park, with more than 100 native milkweed and nectar plants. 

Milkweed is the only plant where female monarchs lay their eggs; it’s the only food monarch caterpillars eat. Nearby nectar plants provide food for the adult butterflies and shelter for the caterpillars and chrysalides after they pupate.

April 2021

Solana Beach took the pledge to support our Western Monarchs

City Council in March agreed to take the “Mayors’ Monarch Pledge,” a challenge sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation to promote the development of pollinator habitats and eliminate practices that are harmful to endangered monarch butterflies.  

Among the steps we all can take to support the Western monarch population, starting by providing the habitat they need to lay eggs, feed caterpillars, and protect chrysalises. Your SeaWeeders, teamed with the City’s Climate Action Commission (CAC), are here to help! Here’s how: 

  • Plant NATIVE milkweed*
  • Plant lots of native nectar flowers, too, so your butterflies have food to sip. Consider Yarrows, California lilac (Ceanothus), Salvias, and Monkeyflower (Mimulus). 
  • Don’t use pesticides or herbicides. They are toxic to caterpillars; the aphids that might flock to your milkweed aren’t. 

* Asclepias Albicans – Whitestem Milkweed, Asclepias Californic – California Milkweed, Asclepias Eriocarpa – Indian/Woollypod Milkweed, Asclepias Erosa – Desert Milkweed, Asclepias Fascicularis – Narrowleaf Milkweed, Asclepias Subulata – Rush Milkweed

March 2021

How about cooking without gas?

[ click here to view the presentation ]

The City of Solana Beach’s Electrification Workshop reviewed several options for replacing aging gas-fueled home appliances with more efficient, all-electric heaters/air conditioners, water heaters, and cooktops.  The goal is to reduce related greenhouse gas emissions and advance the achievement of the City’s Climate Action goals for 2035: 

  • Reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by 50% from the 2010 baseline
  • Ensure 100% of electricity used in city comes from renewable sources.

Society Civic Affairs Chair and Corresponding Secretary Cindi Clemons attended and decided to experiment with an induction cooktop, taking advantage of a free loaner program offered to residents. Here’s her report: 

Induction cooktops and ranges heat cooking vessels — your pots, pans, and other cookware – through electrical induction. How does induction work? Instead of using thermal conduction, such as the open flame from a gas stove or a coiled electric heating element, induction uses an electronically controlled coil of metal inside a glass cooktop.  When you turn an induction stove on, current flows through the coil, creating a magnetic field directly around it, and heat is generated within the cooking vessel itself.  This is why you must use cookware with magnetic, induction-ready materials, such as stainless steel, with an induction cooktop.

I plugged the borrowed unit into a 120v electric outlet near my range and cooked a variety of meals — soups, omelets, scrambled eggs, halibut in a lemon sauce, and pot roast in a red wine sauce. Each of the dishes turned out better than any of the same I have prepared over the years on gas or electric ranges. 

Raising and lowering the temperature was fast and precise. The on-and-off response of the unit was instant according to whether I was placing the pot on or taking it off.  Everything I prepared cooked more evenly and quickly, I think because of the transfer of heat to cookware. There was also a timer that turned the unit off when the cooking time was up. The cooktop is ceramic glass, making it very easy to clean with just a damp cloth and a bit of detergent. The controls are all digital and flush to the unit for added easy clean-up. 

I also learned that induction cooking is healthier and safer than other methods. You may not know it, but gas stoves emit nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide into your house. Not good for you and not good for the environment. Also, because there is no open flame the unit cools very quickly. There is no possibility of a gas leak or line leakage. 

March 2021

Part of our ‘Zoom at Noon’ program

“Lunch and Learn”:
Organics Recycling

[ click here to view the presentation ]

  • Is it really OK to toss a half-eaten hamburger and fries in my green waste bin? I would never add meat or oil to my compost pile! Yes, EDCO’s Anaerobic Digestion Facility is designed to break down food waste, including even bacon grease.
  • Why can’t I put unbagged pet poop in my green bin? Mostly out of respect for EDCO waste handlers  who sort out inappropriate green bin contents
  • Should all newspaper and paper bags now go into the green bin?  No, clean newsprint and paper bags should still go into the blue recycling bin. Soiled newspapers or paper bags used to collect kitchen scraps, as well as parchment paper, paper towels, and unwaxed fast-food take-out wrappers should go into the green bin. Please do NOT put plastic bags, wax paper, or coated cardboard into the green bin.
  • What’s wrong with ‘biodegradable’ plastic bags?  They don’t really degrade in a timely manner
  • What is EDCO going to do with all of that biogas and digestate it will generate in it’s fancy new Anaerobic Digestion Facility? Can customers get free fertilizer?  Biogas will be refined into fuel for EDCO’s fleet.  Digestate will be distributed for agricultural purposes. Some of this output may, in the future, be available for residential gardening.

We got answers to these and many more questions about the City of Solana Beach and EDCO’s adoption of organics recycling in a virtual meeting on March 18.  EDCO General Manager Jim Ambroso and Chris Spielmaker, Director of Market Development, joined veteran composters Irina Grongborg and Kristine Schindler of the SeaWeeders to explain new green waste-bin expectations and offer some practical tips for sorting kitchen scraps. 

February 2021

Part of our ‘Zoom at Noon’ program

Latino Historian Maria E. Garcia, author of “We Made San Diego”

[ click here to view the presentation ]

Maria Garcia is a retired school principal and has been an activist in the Chicano movement since 1968. She is the recipient of the 2015 SOHO Cultural Heritage Award for her “Neighborhood House” series about life in Logan Heights. She was inducted in the San Diego County Women’s Hall of Fame in 2016 and has been honored by the San Diego Union-Tribune as a Latino Champion.

Maria’s current book tells various stories about Latinos who contributed to the history of San Diego, including community activists who have worked to affect social issues.  It also chronicles the experiences of several Latino veterans of the war in Vietnam.

Maria said her interest in La Colonia, Solana Beach’s original neighborhood, started with the street names.  “So many were in Spanish,” she noted. Local resident Gina Gonzales set up a meeting where she and eight other women shared stories about growing up in La Colonia.  Maria also met with Ray and Theresa Rincon of  Tony’s Jacal restaurant and its long presence, as well as Simona Gonzales, who started the first Girl Scout troop in Eden Garden and who, with her husband Frank, coached a 1959 Little League World Series playoff team.     

The book took five years to write, after compiling dozens of oral histories. “We Made San Diego” also includes a contribution by Society Historian and Heritage Museum Curator Lisa Montes. 

“The men and women in this community worked as house keepers, gardeners and raised their children. They united to save a church. They sent their sons to fight in WWII, Korea, Vietnam and every war since then.  In the 1980s, when the whole country faces a drug problem, La Colonia faced the same problem. The [San Diego County] Fair and the race track contributed to the financial growth  of business in La Colonia. People such as Lucy and Desi Arnaz, J. Edgar Hoover and sports figures and jockeys were all part of the community,” she notes.

Maria Garcia

Maria was born in Yuma, Arizona and moved to San Diego at age 3, growing up in Encanto. Following are insights to her background and activism excerpted from a 2017 interview with the San Diego Union- Tribune:  

My biggest challenges have been the racism I faced as a young child. It affects the way you see yourself for years. . . My first year of school I learned that eating tortillas was wrong since my poor mother received a call asking that she not pack tortillas in my lunch so that the other students would not make fun of me.”

“That negative self-image I experienced as a child stayed with me for the next 12 years of my life. I guess that’s why I experienced such interest in the Chicano movement. It gave me a place to belong. The Chicano movement gave me pride in who I am.”

After attending San Diego State University and and joining the Chicano Movement, “I believed that we would change the world. I honestly thought by being educated and teaching future generations not to be racist, we would have a different world by the year 2000. I was so naïve. I thought by fighting for equality and teaching the history of our accomplishments in this country we would be respected. The movement taught me so much about working together. I loved the unity experienced in a picket line. I loved learning about people and historical events which came via the Chicano Studies classes I took at SDSU.”

While going to college as a business major,  Maria worked as a teacher’s aide, which convinced her to change her major and become an educator — based in Southeast San Diego, rising through the ranks to become a vice principal and principal.  After retiring, she worked as a teacher at the Ronald MacDonald House.  “I worked with the children whose siblings were at Children’s Hospital. My goal was to give these kids attention and some form of  ‘fun.’ In some cases, they were watching their sibling dying and needed that special attention.”

Lately my motivations have been to make sure that others know about our contributions to this country and especially to San Diego . . . I think we have so much untapped power in our community we just have to move it forward to gain the respect and recognition we deserve.”

“We Made San Diego” is available for purchase through Amazon Books.
December 2020

Year-end food drive surpassed our goals

The Solana Beach Civic and Historical Society and the La Colonia Community Foundation would like to thank everyone in Solana Beach who made donations and volunteered to help with our food giveaway at La Colonia Community Center on December 19-20. It was extremely successful.   

We were able to provide food for  193 Solana Beach families, impacting 955 individuals — more than double the goal for the event.

Food Drive leader Lisa Montes and other volunteers verified recipients’ local addresses and asked for their number of family members to size donations to needs.

The Wounded Warrior Homes organization provided us with 2,000 pounds of non-perishables and 450 pounds of fresh vegetables picked up and delivered to us by several volunteers. The Community Resource Center in Encinitas and the ProduceGood organization donated additional food. On Saturday,  Dec. 19, generous community members lined up for two hours giving us food, toiletries and more than $2,000 in gift cards to local grocery stores.  In all, an estimated three tons of food was collected, along with toys and clothes.

Council-member Jewel Edson helped sort foods into nutritional categories and came up with bagging scheme to ensure each family received a balance of proteins, grains, legumes, vegetables and fruit, as well as snacks and sundries.

Volunteers from Teen Volunteers in Action and their parents helped sort food and move it to the distribution site. Thank you to CVS in Solana Beach who let use their shopping carts to help with the transfer of food. Thank you to Danny Hernandez for delivering the shopping carts.

Jewel Edson and Dave Zito helped us from The Solana Beach City Council. Dan King from the City came on the weekend to lock and unlock the Community Center for us. Tina and Joe Zucker represented the Women’s March, Solana Beach and were generous with their time.

Thank you, too, to all of the others who helped us in some way; if you saw the continuous line of cars picking up food you would have been proud of your efforts. In addition to families who walked to get their food, cars were parked on the side of the road from Genevieve down Valley to the park entrance beginning at 3:30 for our event, which didn’t begin until 4:00.

Thank you Solana Beach for all of your care and love for members of our community.
Solana Beach has heart!
Solana Beach tiene CORAZON!

Pat Coad, Communications Chair