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    Eater San Diego shares the top stories of the week from San Diego’s food and drink scene, including news of an acclaimed chef's plans for a rooftop restaurant in downtown’s Gaslamp Quarter.

    World Famous Chef Opening Asian Restaurant Downtown
    Chef Akira Back, who runs an empire of restaurants around the word including the Michelin-starred Dosa in Seoul, Korea, will launch Lumi by Akira Back in downtown’s Gaslamp District. The rooftop restaurant, serving modern Japanese cuisines, is a partnership with local RMD Group. 

    Korean Fried Chicken Lands in Rancho Bernardo
    A fried chicken concept from Korea will launch its first location in Rancho Bernardo next month; it’s one of three branches opening this year in the San Diego area. The fast-casual Rice Chicken specializes in extra crispy rice flour-crusted chicken, which is available with a variety of sauces and seasonings.

    North County's First Cat Café Debuts This Weekend
    Vista's new cat cafe, Cat & Craft, launches this Saturday, Jan. 12. It combines a café serving craft coffee drinks and local pastries with a foster cat lounge of adoptable cats and kittens. Visitors can pay by the hour to play with the cats, with all adoption fees going to a local non-profit.

    Hello Kitty Café Truck Stopping in Carlsbad
    Hello Kitty's cute café on wheels is scheduled to roll into The Shoppes at Carlsbad this Saturday, Jan. 12. Parked at the mall from 10 a.m to 8 p.m., the truck will be selling adorable Hello Kitty merchandise including T-shirts and treats ranging from petit fours to macaroons.

    Morrocan-Baja Eatery Coming to North Park
    Medina will open on El Cajon Boulevard next month. The refined fast-casual restaurant finds the crossroads between the cuisines of Morocco and Baja California with an interesting menu that features couscous grain bowls, Moroccan-spiced chicken asado, and merguez sausage flatbread tacos.

    Photo Credit: Rendering Courtesy of Lumi by Akira Back
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    Lumi by Akira Back is a new rooftop restaurant planned for downtown San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter.Lumi by Akira Back is a new rooftop restaurant planned for downtown San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter.

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    Pouncing on a trend that has made its way into the United States over the past few years, a new cat café will open in Vista this weekend, offering coffee and kitties all under one roof.

    On Saturday, Cat & Craft will open its doors at 3211 Business Park Drive Suite 3B. It’s only the second cat café to open in San Diego County since 2015 – and the first of its kind in San Diego’s North County.

    Eater San Diego reports that Cat & Craft is operated by Caroline and Andrew Vaught. The Vaughts love both cats and coffee and bring those passions to their Vista venture. The space features a 1,500-square-foot café, plus an 800-square-foot cage-free lounge where adoptable cats and kittens are free to roam and mingle with patrons. The spaces are separated by a glass wall.

    Eater reports that the café portion of the business features coffee, espresso and cold brew from Rancho Bernardo-based Manzanita Roasting Company, as well as menu items like avocado toast and pastries and desserts provided by local companies such as A Delight of France and Hazel and Jade.

    Patrons can pop in to play with the cats or, perhaps, take one home. The foster cats are from North County non-profit Love Your Feral Felines. Eater said the pets are fully vaccinated, spayed/neutered and microchipped. Adoption fees support the non-profit.

    Cat & Craft will be open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. It costs $12 per hour to visit and reservations are recommended. Kids age 7 and older are allowed to visit if accompanied by a parent or guardian. The café plans to eventually host special events like “cat yoga,” which is exactly what it sounds like – a yoga session surrounded by furry companions.

    Since 2016, more than 60 operating cat cafés – and counting – have opened in the United States. The trend is native to Taiwan and Japan but, over the past few years, the cat café fever caught on all over the world.

    Four years ago, The Cat Café opened on Third Avenue in downtown San Diego. The café attracted long lines of feline fans and was the first of its kind to open in the Southern California region. That location works with the San Diego Humane Society to find forever homes for adoptable cats and also offers events like cat yoga.

    To get a glimpse of cat cafés operating across the U.S., click here.

    Photo Credit: Alberto Luis Rodriguez

    Cat & Craft opens on Jan. 12, 2019, in Vista.Cat & Craft opens on Jan. 12, 2019, in Vista.

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    An investigation is underway after a body was found in a waterway on Naval Base San Diego, the Harbor Police Department said. 

    The U.S. Navy told police a man's body was discovered at about 8:20 a.m. in a waterway belonging to the base, near Harbor Drive and 8th Street in National City, HPD said. 

    HPD was handling the investigation though said the death does not seem suspicious at this time. 

    No other information was available.

    Please refresh this page for updates on this story. Details may change as more information becomes available.

    Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego

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    It’s going to be a wet weekend as a storm is expected to wallop San Diego County Saturday, the first in a series of rain in the forecast for the region over the next week or so.

    A storm moving through Northern California Friday is working its way south to San Diego, with rain expected to hit the county around 2 a.m. Saturday.

    NBC 7’s Whitney Southwick said light rain is headed for San Diego County between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. Saturday. Then, the real shower show is expected to begin.

    “After that, the heavier band is going to hit us and give us a pretty good wallop for a couple of hours – probably through 9 a.m. or 10 a.m.,” he explained.

    Scattered rain – with some moments of clearing – is likely to stick around for most of Saturday afternoon and evening. Southwick forecasted the rain will then taper off, leading to a mostly clear but partly cloudy Sunday.

    Southwick said the county can expect to see a “good amount of rain totals” in Saturday’s storm, including anywhere from a half-inch to three-quarters of an inch at the coast, and higher totals inland and in the mountains.

    A dusting of snow is also expected up at Palomar Mountain and Mount Laguna – in areas above 5,500 feet in elevation – early Sunday morning.

    Meanwhile, at the coast, San Diego’s beaches have experienced high surf throughout the week. The National Weather Service (NWS) said the big waves will continue to pummel our shorelines through at least Sunday afternoon.

    The NWS said the service’s so-called “beach hazard statement” for local beaches include the likelihood of 5 to 8-foot surf, strong rip currents, and dangerous swimming conditions, especially at beaches in southern San Diego County from Saturday afternoon through Sunday. Minor flooding at the coast, as well as beach erosion, is also possible.

    Those visiting San Diego beaches this weekend should obey all posted warnings and flags and speak with a lifeguard before attempting to swim in the rough waters.

    After the break in the rain on Sunday, Southwick said the wet weather will return by way of a second storm expected to move into the region late Monday night through early Tuesday.

    There’s also a chance of rain Wednesday as a third storm moves into the region, with showers possibly lingering into Thursday, according to NBC 7’s First Alert Forecast.

    “So, a very wet pattern setting up for this week,” Southwick said. “We could use it, we need it – this is one of our rainy months.”

    At this point, weather models show a break in the rain next Friday and Saturday, and another chance of showers on Sunday, Jan. 20, Southwick said.

    To get the latest weather updates, keep up with NBC 7’s First Alert Forecast here.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images
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    Two convicted drug traffickers are back behind bars after agents overheard them talking in a holding cell about the motel they had used to store and package a large cache of drugs.

    According to Jan. 10 federal charges, police pulled over Jesus Rodriguez and Ramon Fabela for a traffic violation in San Diego. In the cab of Rodriguez’ truck, officers found a package meant to be shipped to Alaska. Inside they found one kilogram of cocaine, one kilogram of heroin, and 12,000 pills that later tested positive for Fentanyl.

    But, according to the complaint, agents received the tip they needed to piece the operation together when, while detained, agents “overheard Fabela direct Rodriguez to take the blame and that everything should go smoothly unless the agents get the footage from the motel.”

    The statement led agents to a Motel 6 in San Ysidro. In the room, agents found plastic bags for packing the drugs, rubber gloves, as well as coffee grinds that the two had used to try and mask the smell of drugs.

    The U.S Attorney’s Office in San Diego has charged the men with Possession with Intent to Distribute Controlled Substances.

    According to federal court records, Fabela and Rodriguez are no strangers to illegal drug smuggling.

    In 2001, Fabela was arrested at the Calexico Port of Entry after trying to transport 33.78 kilograms of marijuana into the country from Mexico. 

    Fabela was again arrested in 2003 trying to pass through the same border with 43.84 kilograms of marijuana. In 2009, Fabela was charged with conspiracy to import nearly 30 pounds of cocaine into the U.S. 

    As for his accomplice in the January 9 arrest, Jesus Ernesto Rodriguez was arrested in 2015 at the Tecate Port of Entry for attempting to smuggle more than 68 pounds of marijuana into the states. 

    An arraignment hearing for the two is scheduled for Feb. 7. 

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    Two Marlyand sisters furloughed during the government shutdown are turning to a sweet side hustle to stay afloat.

    Like many of the 800,000 federal workers going without pay, Nikki Howard and sister Jaqi Wright have struggled past-due bills and other expenses. Both women also have husbands who can't work due to disabilities.

    "How do I look at my child and say, 'I can't send you back to school,'" said Howard, who works with the Food and Drug Administration.

    So they turned their love for baking into a business plan.

    "Cheesecake has been my weakness since I can remember," Howard said.

    "Our mother said, 'You know what girl, you could sell these cheesecakes' and ding ding ding ding went off in my mind. And it's like, we can sell these cheesecakes," Wright said.

    And thus, the Furlough Cheesecake was born.

    "We prepared for rain, but we got a monsoon," said Wright, who works at the Department of Justice.

    In a little more than a week, the sisters have received nearly 100 orders.

    "Atlanta, Indiana, Texas," the sisters said in unison.

    Howard and Wright said they plan to go back to their government jobs once the shutdown ends, but they'll continue to sell as many cheesecakes as they can in the meantime.

    "We need to make sure that we're securing a future for ourselves and for our families and hopefully for others as well. So we’re going to keep going," Howard said.

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    It’s the first of its kind in California: An emergency room catered to caring for seniors, minus the bright lights, absent the commotion, and without the noise associated with busy emergency rooms.

    The Gary and Mary West Senior Emergency Care Unit at UC San Diego Health in La Jolla opened its doors last week.

    The unit will treat patients over 65 years old and was designed for those seniors who so often arrive at the emergency room in a confused and fragile state.

    “Senior patients face common complications, such as being at a high risk for falls and cognitive and memory problems. All patients in the SECU are treated by a team with special training in geriatric medicine, including pharmacists to manage medications and social workers to ensure a smooth transition home upon discharge,” said Dr. Ted Chan, UCSD Health’s chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine.

    The rooms feature calibrated lighting, acoustics intended to drown out loud, alarming noises, and color schemes to help prevent falls and improve mobility.

    “Seniors have their own unique needs,” Dr, Vaishal Tolia tells NBC 7 Responds during a January 11 tour. “Our hope is that this becomes the beacon, an example of how the best senior care is delivered, both here in San Diego and also throughout the country.”

    The eleven hospital rooms, attached to the main emergency room at UC San Diego Health in La Jolla, was paid for partly through an $11.8 million grant from Gary and Mary West.

    Emergency rooms catered for senior care are likely to become more commonplace in coming years as the baby boomer demographic group continues to age. According to a government study, the number of seniors who were treated at emergency rooms increased from 16 million in 2001 to 21.3 million in 2015.

     “Seniors in San Diego now have an emergency department with processes and enhancements to provide a better and more dignified experience during an extremely vulnerable time,” said West Health’s CEO and President, Shelley Lyford. “Through our collaboration with UC San Diego Health, we are leading the way to wider adoption of geriatric emergency departments across the nation, ultimately improving outcomes and quality of life for seniors before, during and after a medical crisis.”

    Photo Credit: Bob Hansen

    Outside of UC San Diego Health's Gary and Mary West Senior Care UnitOutside of UC San Diego Health's Gary and Mary West Senior Care Unit

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    Some see stem cell therapy as the future of medicine, but not all of the treatments have been proven to work. Yet the treatments cost patients tens of thousands of dollars. 

    NBC 7 Investigates has been looking into stem cell clinics and treatments offered across San Diego County for nearly a year. On Friday, NBC’s Today show featured NBC 7’s work in a report on stem cell treatments. 

    The Food and Drug Administration confirmed to NBC News that 12 patients became seriously ill after getting injections that supposedly contained stem cells that were contaminated. That’s why some are warning about the rise in unregulated stem cell clinics and procedures popping across the country. 

    “The pitch was basically that stem cells could cure anything,” said stem cell therapy patient Tonya Woodward, speaking with Today’s Gabe Gutierrez. 

    Stem cell therapies have been used to treat a wide range of conditions, including arthritis, Parkinson's disease, and lung problems. The treatments are marketed as being able to cure or help with ailments, discomfort, and disease but there is no proof that they work or are safe. Very few treatments are FDA approved. 

    “There are now a large number of free-standing clinics that are offering stem cell therapies and these are therapies that have not been fully investigated,” said Jeffrey Cohen, M.D. with the Cleveland Clinic. “They have not yet been shown to work and they are therapies for which we don't yet know if they are safe.” 

    Tonya and Allen Woodward spent $30,000 on stem cell therapy to treat Tonya’s skeletal deformities, including scoliosis and Allen’s spine and neck pains. The therapy produced no results. 

    Allen said he even urged his elderly father to give stem cell therapy a try but after the treatment, his father became even sicker. 

    “It broke my heart,” Allen said. “Especially because I'm the one that introduced him to it.” 

    NBC 7 Investigates first went undercover in May at a seminar put on by a clinic in Carlsbad where a Chiropractor pitched stem cell treatment to potential patients. 

    During the seminar, the Chiropractor did not tell the audience that the treatments offered were not F.D.A. approved. 

    In December, the F.D.A. wrote to 20 clinics that offer unapproved stem cell treatments, encouraging the clinics to contact federal regulators by November 2020, when enforcement will tighten. The F.D.A. has not released the names of those clinics. 

    The claims made by this clinic and others got the attention of the California Medical Board, which led to the creation of a task force last year to review the practices of clinics offering stem cell treatments.

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    A man who allegedly exchanged gunfire with deputies at his home in Pauma Valley had his bail set at $1 million because of the danger his marijuana-induced paranoia presents to himself and his community, a judge said.

    Jose Nieto, 28, of Pauma Valley, is accused of firing on three San Diego County Sheriff’s Department (SDSO) deputies at his home on Adams Drive on Dec. 20, according to the sheriff's department.

    Deputy District Attorney Michael Runyon said Nieto called 911 that afternoon and requested assistance because he felt unsafe in his home. According to Runyon, Nieto gave deputies the address to a home across the street rather than his own.

    While deputies were responding to the fake address, dispatchers received another call from Nieto's ex-girlfriend in Corona.

    The girlfriend told deputies that Nieto becomes extremely paranoid when under the influence of marijuana and supplied deputies with Nieto's real address.

    As three deputies approached his front door, Nieto came to it with a handgun and opened fire.

    Runyon said Nieto fired five shots at the three deputies. Deputies returned fire as they retreated and struck Nieto once.

    An hours-long standoff followed the shootout. Deputies were unable to contact Nieto and were unsure if anyone else was in the house with the man who had opened fire.

    SDSO Lt. Rich Williams said deputies weren’t sure if the suspect was wounded, dead or even still inside the home.

    Eventually, deputies entered the house and found Nieto inside with a gunshot wound to his leg. Officials said Nieto is a Registered Nurse and had treated the wound himself during the course of the standoff.

    Deputies found a gun and several forms of marijuana inside Nieto's home, including hash oil.

    The SDSO said the deputies who exchanged gunfire with Nieto were not injured. Those deputies have not yet been identified by the department.

    Nieto pleaded not guilty to three counts of attempted murder.

    Runyon argued Nieto's bail be set at $1 million because of the danger his bouts of paranoia present to himself and those around him and the judge agreed.

    His next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 22.

    During the standoff, nearby residents were evacuated and others were told to shelter in place. After Nieto was arrested, residents were allowed back into their homes. Pauma Valley is located about 50 miles northeast of downtown San Diego.

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    In many ways, Eli Meyer is a typical first grader. He loves Play Dough, Legos, coloring and playing with his three older siblings. But it's what makes Eli different that most people see first.

    "When people look at me I think they say, what happened to me," Eli said.

    Eli has Epidermolysis Bullosa or “EB.” It’s a genetic disorder, with no cure yet, that makes his skin extremely fragile. Although his mother, Michelle, spends hours a day caring for his highly sensitive skin, he is covered in blisters and sores in various stages of healing.

    Michelle said the genetic condition means Eli lacks a specific protein that makes skin strong. She said any bump or friction can cause a blister or the skin to shear off.

    In public, the scabs, scaring and bandages that come with the disease often trigger questions, comments and hurtful stares.

    "'What's wrong with him?' I get that a lot,” Michelle said. “'Is he OK? Does he have chicken pox? Did he draw on his face with a marker?' I've had that a few times,” she said.

    Eli’s 8-year-old sister Lily said "Sometimes at the park, the kids just stop and then point and stare."

    Michelle said sometimes the reactions are enough to make them not want to leave the house.

    “I thought I would get used to it but I don’t think I’ve really gotten used to it,” she said. “I just know it’s coming every time I go out of the house.”

    Those uncomfortable situations prompted Eli's sister Lily to make a social media public service announcement encouraging people to greet little Eli instead of ostracising him.

    In it, Eli and Lily role-play a meeting.

    “This is what you do when you see someone who looks different than you," Lily says to the camera. 

    The Meyer family is hoping others will take this message to heart and realize that when you say hello, it opens a door to understanding others’ differences.

    “I think it's great,” Michelle said. “I think it is great coming from a child because it's so easy for them, even more so than adults, to just say ‘hi’ and play with a kid who looks different," she said.

    Eli was adopted from China. The Meyers were aware Eli had EB prior to his adoption. Michelle said the bathing and bandaging process takes at least two hours every day and can be painful. Eli also makes frequent trips to the hospital.

    Michelle said learning how to care for a child with EB has been harder than she ever imagined. But she said she and her family are strengthened by their Christian faith and the support they’ve found in family, friends, medical professionals and the EB community.

    The family carries special cards they made to help strangers understand EB. Eli said it helps people get to know him.

    "Some people don't know who I am and they don't know why I have these things on my face and my body,” he said.

    When you look past his fragile exterior you get a glimpse of the sweet spirit of this thoughtful young boy who brought my photographer and I drinks during the interview and even drew me a picture.


    Lily called Eli a great brother who loves to laugh.

    "Whenever he laughs everyone starts laughing because his laugh is just, like, so cute and funny,” she said.

    Lily hopes others will take the three-word phrase “Come say hi”  to heart.

    "I hope when people see people who are different than them they just stop and not stare and say hi,” she said.

    The message has inspired the “Come Say Hi to Eli” presence on social media. You can follow and share his messages on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

    Follow these links to learn more about Epidermolysis Bullosa:

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    In 2009, an Escondido Police detective accidentally shot and killed Jennifer Favreau. The tragic shooting happened after Favreau’s boyfriend reportedly aimed his car at police officers who were trying to arrest him for auto theft.  

    The District Attorney’s office reviewed that shooting, and cleared Detective Timothy Reiley of criminal liability. 

    Escondido Police also concluded that Reiley did not violate department policy and acted in self-defense, based on his statement that Favreau’s boyfriend “drove at a high rate of speed directly at him and other officers.” 

    Now, nearly ten years after the shooting, a full version of the department’s post-shooting report -- released in response to a Public Records Act request -- identifies problems with that fatal encounter. 

    The report was released this week in part because of a new state law, Senate Bill 1421, that requires law enforcement agencies to release previously secret information about officer-involved shootings, investigations into sexual misconduct by officers, and substantiated reports of officer dishonesty. 

    The seven-page report from the department’s Shooting Review Board reveals that Detective Roger Cirilo did not "clearly communicate" to fellow officers that Favreau had gotten in the car with her boyfriend, who was the target of their investigation. 

    The report also notes that Detective Reiley, who mistakenly shot Favreau, did not know Favreau was in the car when he and other officers tried to stop the vehicle. 

    The shooting review panel was also critical of the department's initial investigation of the fatal encounter. According to the report, the case agent who supervised that investigation asked "leading questions" of the officers involved, "interrupted or spoke over" them, and "at times did not allow the officers to answer questions for themselves." 

    The Shooting Review Board concluded that "...several officers were not asked some of the most basic questions, such as, 'Did you fire your weapon?' and 'Why or why not?'" 

    The Review Board also recommended specific improvements in officer training and policy reviews to prevent another tragedy, including, “additional training in [reviews of] officer-involved shootings” and more training at the department’s gun range, “regarding the dynamics of shooting at moving threats.” 

    NBC 7 Investigates asked Escondido police officials if they made any changes as a result of that internal review, but those officials but have not responded. 

    In response to our request for information, the Escondido City Clerk’s office said its initial records review found no reports of sexual assaults or other serious misconduct or dishonesty by Escondido police officers in the last ten years. 

    NBC 7 has requested the same information from every law enforcement agency in San Diego County. Though Escondido and three other departments have responded to those requests, other local law enforcement agencies said it will take them months to produce the requested documents. 

    NBC 7 will release and report on those law enforcement records as they become available.

    File footage from the Escondido Police shooting on October 15, 2009.File footage from the Escondido Police shooting on October 15, 2009.

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    A car with two people inside tumbled out of control down an embankment and landed right on top of another car parked below.

    The 19-year-old driver of a Silver Nissan 350Z told NBC 7 he lost control while turning left on Mira Mesa Boulevard, jumped the curb and tumbled down the embankment. His coupe landed on top of a Hyundai Accent parked in a lot in back of a building on Waples Street.

    A tow truck had to lift the back end of the Nissan into the air as another truck pulled the Hyundai out from underneath it.

    The driver and his 19-year-old passenger, who were carpooling home at the time of the crash, say they’re lucky they weren’t hurt. That’s because the Nissan narrowly missed two trees on its way down the hill. Also potentially saving them from injury was the Hyundai’s presence below – the Hyundai cushioned the Nissan’s landing and prevented it from falling some four or five feet off a ledge.

    The owner of the Hyundai said she experienced a little bit of luck , too. She told NBC 7 he had just returned to work from lunch five minutes before his car was crushed.

    She was seen reaching into her car to grab a prayer card she said was given to her by her mother.

    A nearby business owner was one of the first to rush out to the scene.

    “I'm sure they were in shock. I didn't get too involved in talking to them personally, but it was, they looked to be alert and it was more about keeping them in their car until paramedics came by and see what to do next,” he said.

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    Welders are important to one of San Diego's biggest industries — shipbuilding.

    At San Diego Continuing Education (SDCE), welding students are also using their skills to honor civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

    "For years this country I feel we focused on the service industry more than industrial," SDCE welding instructor Bob Pyle said. "We're seeing an upswing and a change in that now."

    As students learn the trade of welding, they'll be working in a field where the presence of semi-automated machines is a given and where being trained in the latest technologies is crucial to job security.

    "Robotics have been with us for years. They're not a threat to human being welding at this point," he said. "We still need people who are able to maneuver in tight areas and manual welding. there's still a huge need for that."

    Many of the students will go on to work at companies such as General Dynamics NASSCO in Barrio Logan. The shipbuilder is adding nearly 1,000 jobs for the first of six new ships for the U.S. Navy.

    For others, welding sparks their imagination.

    "I'd like to do industrial lighting," welding student Andrea Cook said. She also said she'd like to open her own business someday.

    "I was a theater major," she said. "I was technical theater, so I always built stage lighting and design."

    Cook is one of 16 of the 174 women enrolled at SDCE's free welding certificate program.

    This month, welding instructors and students will showcase their design for the city of San Diego's yearly parade honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

    Students built a 700-pound stainless steel statue of King over the course of two months. The 68 steel plates are stacked right next to each other, cut with a computer controlled plasma cutter.

    The students used the three basic principles of welding — MIG (Metal Inert Gas), TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) and stick — to create the statue.

    Instructors say another principle that's just as important to welding skills is project management.

    "This project has really taught them to work together," said Mike Bradbury, welding instructor at SDCE. "We have a timeline we need to meet. It's really stretching them."

    Welding skills that continually are updated can be stretched across several industries.

    Enrollment for SDCE's welding certificate is open and continuous.

    Interested students can obtain additional information on the San Diego Continuing Education website

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    An elaborate plan to connect the San Diego Airport to the city’s trolley line is gaining momentum.

    The Old Town trolley station is one of the closest stations to Lindbergh field, but there’s no fast way to get to it from the airport or vice versa.

    And that’s where a nearby Navy-owned SPAWAR building comes into play. The building sits just down the tracks between Interstate 5 and Pacific Highway.

    Mayor Kevin Faulconer and San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) Executive Director Hasan Ikhrata proposed a plan Friday that involves turning the building into San Diego’s own Grand Central Station.

    They want to connect this new transit station to the airport with a tram tunnel under the runway or around the tarmac.

    “This region must be competitive to do it right,” Mayor Faulconer said. “That’s why this opportunity is now.”

    But right now, city leaders have a plan without a price tag.

    They don’t know how much it’ll cost exactly, or what the final plan will be, or when it will start and finish. They say they’ll know by this summer how they want to connect the two transportation hubs.

    “I can tell your viewers that is not going to be cheap and it’s not going to be in the hundreds of millions, It’s going to be with a “B,” Ikhrata told NBC 7.

    That’s a “B” as in billions of dollars.

    Former San Diego Mayor and California governor Pete Wilson mentioned the same plan in his State of the City address four-and-a-half decades ago.

    “Forty-four years later, Mayor Faulconer decided, ‘OK, let’s do it,’” Ikhrata said.

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    Shiloh Betancourt had dreams of becoming an entertainment lawyer. Those dreams came to a screeching halt, she says, during her first year of law school at California Western School of Law in San Diego when she says the rampant discrimination began for her being a transgender woman.

    On Jan. 7, Betancourt filed a lawsuit in San Diego Superior Court against the law school for discrimination, harassment and retaliation by administrators including Cal Western’s assistant dean for Student and Diversity Services, Susan Finster. 

    “I did not expect to receive this type of treatment from a city that is welcoming to so much diversity,” Betancourt told NBC 7. “And, Cal Western made an impression on me that the school was an LGBTQ-friendly institution. But sadly, that was not my experience at the law school.”

    According to the lawsuit, Betancourt says the discrimination began a few days after the January 2017 semester began when during a meeting with one of her professors, the professor asked her what her name was before she transitioned from male to female.

    Referring to a person's name before they transitioned is considered "deadnaming" and highly offensive in the transgender community because it invalidates their identity.

    For Betancourt, the question was minor but was the first clue about a differential treatment she says she experienced in the coming months. She visited the school’s Diversity Services Office for help in hopes to quell what the lawsuit says was her ongoing gender dysphoria. Staff in the office, according to the lawsuit, told her they do not provide services for transgender students.

    The treatment, Betancourt says, followed her. In the following weeks, she began to feel a “dismissive” attitude from her tutor.

    “Betancourt observed how [the tutor] was very engaged and focused while helping other students but disinterested and detached to Betancourt,” reads the lawsuit.

    The discrimination soon began to come from students as well, according to Betancourt’s lawsuit. She overheard other students call her a “he-she” and the gender-specific noun “amigo” in reference to her nationality.

    According to the lawsuit, during the following semester, Betancourt’s tutor said that he “cannot stand the sight of gay people.”

    Betancourt filed a complaint, which she said was supposed to be confidential. Soon after, however, she says she discovered that her complaint had been shared with staff, resulting in additional mistreatment from other tutors as well as Finster.

    One such incident allegedly occurred in February 2018. Betancourt wore a sweater and short skirt to school. When Finster saw her, she allegedly said, according to the lawsuit, “I know how you stay warm because my son also stays warm because he has a lot of testosterone.”

    Betancourt said she finished her first year at the top 13 percent of her class but was forced to drop out due to medical conditions caused by the discrimination. She has since transferred to Arizona State University Law School.

    Commenting on her lawsuit, Betancourt told NBC 7 that it was her "impression that law school was a place where diversity was respected."

    "It was my understanding that lawyers had a more sophisticated sense of respect for diversity and inclusion," she siad. "But I was shocked to experience otherwise.”

    Betancourt said her experience mirrors what so many in the transgender community face daily.

    “When society targets us with mockery and forces us to ‘come out,’ it effectively stuns our growth, denies our humanity and way too often it ends our lives. We become disposable props.” 

    She hopes her lawsuit will help others “see that transgender people are not that much different than they are,” she said. “We are just human beings. Although we are different, we have similar dreams and needs: to be respected contributing members of society. Many of us are judges, teachers, doctors, lawyers, politicians and scientists.”

    Messages left with Cal Western School of Law were not returned in time for publication. This story will be updated if and when the school responds.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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    Search teams are on the lookout for a man with autism who was last seen at his Vista home last Saturday, Jan. 5.

    The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said Jaime Ramirez, 27, left his home at 524 Civic Center Drive at around 6 p.m. and hasn’t returned.

    Ramirez has high-functioning autism and can care for himself, but has difficulty speaking, according to deputies.

    He was last seen wearing a black jacket and blue jeans. He is described as 6 feet tall and 160 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.

    Ramirez's mother told Telemundo 20 he left the house to get food.

    Miguel Montanez, a relative of Ramirez's, said he last saw him the night before he disappeared when they ate pizza together.

    “It’s been almost a week now and we don’t exactly know when he disappeared," Montanez said.

    Deputies say Ramirez regularly uses public transportation and frequents the beach area of Oceanside. His cell phone was recently tracked to the cities of Oceanside and Escondido, the sheriff’s department said.

    Anyone who sees Ramirez is asked to call deputies at (858) 565-5200.

    Photo Credit: SDSO

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    Police are searching for two men who ran into a canyon in Clairemont after burglarizing a nearby home.

    The San Diego Police Department said the homeowner called 911 after he saw two men in his backyard through his remote surveillance system.

    The homeowner told police he heard a window break so he made some noise and scared the would-be burglars off.

    Police said the man then went outside with his gun to defend his property but was told by dispatchers over the phone to go back inside because officers were on their way.

    The homeowner cooperated but left his gun on a table in the backyard. SDPD said the weapon was found where he left it.

    Police said one of the suspects was in a grey hooded sweatshirt and the other was wearing a white hooded sweatshirt.

    Officers set up a perimeter around the canyon.

    No other information was available.

    Please refresh this page for updates on this story. Details may change as more information becomes available.

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    Two masked men bagged cash and phones at a Rancho San Diego Verizon store Friday night but were met by deputies waiting outside the store when they tried to make their escape.

    The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department (SDSO) said one of the men pointed a gun at four employees, demanded cash from the register and forced them into a back room where a safe was kept.

    A witness called 911 and told deputies they saw the suspects heading into the store on Jamacha Road with masks on.

    Deputies say the employees were instructed to fill bags the men had brought with cash and phones held in the safe. They were also told to give up the cash in their wallets.

    A delay system built into the safe made it so the safe couldn’t be opened immediately, and could be the reason the suspects were still in the store when deputies arrived.

    According to the SDSO, the suspects tried to make their escape out of the store’s back door, but deputies who had already set a perimeter were there. They ran back inside and tried to leave out of the front door, but deputies had positioned themselves there, too.

    The suspects were taken into custody with no injury and the phones, cash and a firearm were recovered.

    According to deputies, the suspects were 16 and 17-year-old. No employees were injured.

    No other information was available.

    Please refresh this page for updates on this story. Details may change as more information becomes available.

    Photo Credit: NBC 7

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    San Diego is a town known for craft beer, and now that marijuana is legal in California, it was only a matter of time before the two were merged. 

    High Style Brewing Company created ‘Pale Haze,’ the first cannabis infused non-alcoholic craft beer bottled in California. 

    Company founders thought of the idea because they loved the taste of craft beer but didn’t like the side effects.

    “Alcohol gives you a hangover and will dehydrate you,” said Lyden Henderson, Chief Operating Officer of High Style Brewing Company. “It’s not necessarily something you can do throughout the day.”

    To comply with state law, the craft beer is non-alcoholic. The company said they worked hard to make sure that fact did not impact the taste. 

    The brew contains 10 mg of THC content per bottle and less than 0.5 percent alcohol by volume. 

    “The THC molecules have to be activated first,” said Henderson. “We activate them as part of our chemistry and infusion process.”

    Henderson said it should take about 20-30 minutes to feel the effects of the beer.

    “That means by the time you finish your first beer you should know whether or not your tolerance will allow you to have a second beer,” said Henderson.  

    Consumers can currently buy Pale Haze at Mankind Dispensary in Mira Mesa and March and Ash Dispensary in Mission Valley. 

    Launched on December 31, the company said they have plans for a statewide rollout in the next few weeks.

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    A class-action lawsuit filed this week claims the city of San Diego and three companies have failed to keep city sidewalks clear from an "onslaught of unregulated dockless scooters."

    Bird, Lime, Razor and the city of San Diego are named in the lawsuit as violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by neglecting to keep the city's sidewalks clear of dockless scooters for people who are visually impaired and who use wheelchairs and walkers.

    "I've been hit a couple times. People just run into the front of my chair," said Jean Rocque, a wheelchair user. "I've actually had to pick 'em up off the sidewalk and swing em around. I can't pick 'em up but I can maneuver them out of my way."

    Rocque is not part of the suit but hopes it does something to make her life easier.

    The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Southern Court of California by Disabilities Rights California (DCA), a national non-profit disabilities rights group, on behalf of Alex Montoya, Rex Shirley, Philip Pressel, Aaron Gresson and other people with disabilities.

    The lawsuit describes times where Montoya, who was born without arms and one leg, and Gresson, who is blind, were almost struck by oncoming scooters that they could not prepare for because of their limited mobility. 

    "The dockless scooter riders often ride the Scooters on the sidewalk, turning the sidewalk into a vehicle highway rather than a space for safe pedestrian access and use," the lawsuit said. 

    Bob Frank, one of the attorneys who filed the suit, said the city is creating an environment where it is endangering disabled people.

    "Some of them don't go out," he said. "They live in fear because of the presence of scooters and the hazards they present to them." 

    People such as Shirley and Pressel, who use mobility scooters, are prevented from using the city's sidewalks, the lawsuit alleges.

    "My life is totally changed," Pressel said. "They whiz by speeds, inches away from my scooter."

    At times, both have run into the transportation devices as they lay on the sidewalk. 

    "They should not be parked on the sidewalk," Pressel said. "If they're parked on the sidewalk people who don't know assume we're going to ride on the sidewalk and that's not right." 

    In at least one instance, Shirley was unable to leave his home because of dockless scooters blocking the entrance, the lawsuit said. 

    "People with disabilities who wish to travel in the City using the City’s walkways are being forced to either put their physical safety at risk or just stay home. This is not a choice that they should have to make," the lawsuit said. 

    Frank said the goal of the lawsuit is not to take scooters away, but to make it safer for disabled people.

    "We're hoping the court agrees and can help construct a solution to this that neither the city or the scooter companies have come up with yet," he said.

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