Mission Valley News Briefs: May 18, 2018

Posted: May 18th, 2018 | Briefs, Briefs, Calendar and Opinion, News | No Comments

Civita pedestrian tunnel mural nears completion

Encinitas artist and muralist Kevin Anderson is nearing completion on a colossal 72-foot-long, 270-degree mural in the pedestrian tunnel under Via Alta that connects the main portion of Civita Park to the dog park in Mission Valley.

The mural depicts the majesty and diversity of San Diego County from the desert to the ocean and highlights “places to go and things to do” in the far-flung county, which encompasses 4,526 square miles. (The county is larger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined.)

Artist Kevin Anderson works on the ceiling of the 72-foot-long mural he is painting in the pedestrian tunnel under Via Alta in Mission Valley’s Civita Park. (Courtesy Merz Public Relations)

Anderson is illustrating dozens of famous points of interest including Cabrillo National Park, The Star of India, Hotel del Coronado, hang gliders at the Torrey Pines Gliderport, San Diego Zoo — all the way east to the Desert Bighorn Sheep in Borrego Springs. The mural also details the delights of Civita Park.

The artist said it’s not challenging for him to paint the diverse landscape of San Diego County, because “when I’m not painting murals, I’m out with an easel painting my favorite places in San Diego.”

During his decades-long career, Anderson has painted numerous murals, including ones at Navy installations in Coronado, Caesars Palace and Harrah’s in Las Vegas, restaurants and private homes.

Civita residents have been observing his progress and watching the mural take shape since Anderson is painting in the tunnel most days. Recently, he got a little help from dozens of Civita residents who added their signatures, handprints or footprints.

The tunnel is open to the public and located at the top of the stairs at the north end of Civita Park. The mural is scheduled to be complete in early June.

More of Kevin Anderson’s murals and paintings are on display at his website, and updates on the mural are posted on the Civita website and Facebook page, and

Local organization wins Eagle Spirit Award

Mission Valley-based Rehabilitation Care Coordination will be one of the recipients of an Eagle Spirit Award at the 28th annual “Victories of Spirit” celebration, held May 18, from 6 to 9 p.m., at the Manchester Grand Hyatt. This is a joint event between Sharp Rehabilitation and the Sharp HealthCare Foundation meant to pay tribute to extraordinary individuals and community organizations for their inspirational achievements and contributions to others.

According to event organizers, the Eagle Spirit Award symbolizes the Navajo sign of the most potent healing power. Rehabilitation Care Coordination will receive the award along with three individuals — Joan Embery-Pillsbury, Hydred Makabali and Steve Scott.

“The Victories of Spirit event is a celebration of former rehabilitation patients who have overcome unimaginable challenges and personal tragedy. It’s an honor to showcase their extraordinary stories of determination, strength and courage,” said David Brown, system director of rehabilitation services for Sharp HealthCare, in a press release. “In addition, they are being recognized for their kindness and compassion displayed through their unselfish commitment of giving back to others and the community. This year’s honorees are an inspiration to all of us.”

For more information or to purchase tickets, please contact Sharp Rehabilitation Services at 858-939-4468 or visit

Fashion Valley apartment complex sells

On May 1, it was announced that The Heights at Fashion Valley, a luxury residential development site in San Diego’s submarket of Mission Valley was sold for an undisclosed price to buyer, Fairfield Residential. This complex is located at 6950 Friars Road, across the street from Fashion Valley Mall.

“This fully entitled development site was a rare investment opportunity to build high-end residential in one of San Diego’s most dynamic infill markets,” said Rachel Parsons, first vice president of CBRE, the company representing the seller, Guardian Capital. “Mission Valley’s population is also forecasted to increase by 6.1 percent over the next four years. The Heights is poised to deliver multifamily units at an opportune time as San Diego is experiencing outstanding apartment investment fundamentals with occupancy levels of 96.1 percent.”

Ronald McDonald House seeks volunteers

Volunteers at last year’s Red Shoe Day fundraiser (Courtesy Ronald McDonald House)

Hundreds of enthusiastic volunteers are needed on June 21 from 6:30 to 9:30 a.m., to collect donations from morning commuters for Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego’s annual Red Shoe Day fundraiser.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego provides a range of services — including lodging, meals and emotional support — for families who have a critically ill or injured child in a local hospital.

Visit to register as a volunteer or create a personal fundraising page to help support Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego. To learn more, visit

USD coach celebrates 1,000th career win

Shane McGuire’s home run during the 11th inning was the first of his college career and resulted in Rich Hill’s 1,000th win as a USD baseball coach as the Toreros won over Gonzaga.

Only 17 active college coaches have at least 1,000 career wins, putting Hill in an elite category.

“Putting that into perspective, it’s more about what does 1,000 wins or 31 years of coaching, of teaching, of being a fireman or policeman mean?” Hill said in an interview with Times of San Diego. “That means perseverance. It means being able to manage and overcome adversity. It means flexibility. And it means a relationship-focused approach to your job.”

Hill has led the Toreros to seven West Coast Conference titles. Out of all the players he has worked with, he’s had 80 players drafted by Major League Baseball and 85 players involved with professional contracts. From 2013 to 2015, Hill has cranked out first-round draft picks from Kris Bryant, to Conner Joe and Kyle Holder.

“A number of things go into why you’re winning,” former USD baseball coach John Cunningham said. “It starts with the players. As long as he’s been coaching, he’s brought in quality kids… And I said that academically, I say that character-wise, I say that in every way.”

MTS board approves electric bus purchase

In continued efforts to reduce carbon emissions in San Diego, the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) board of directors unanimously approved the purchase of six 40-foot electric buses from New Flyer and options to purchase nine depot chargers. The total cost is estimated to be $6 million and the buses are expected to arrive in mid-summer 2019.

One of the new electric buses purchased by MTS (Courtesy MTS)

“This is a major milestone for MTS,” said MTS board chair Georgette Gómez in a press release. “These buses will serve as the benchmark of MTS’ zero-emissions bus pilot program and continue moving the agency toward operating the cleanest possible bus fleet.”

In October 2017, the MTS board directed staff to implement a zero-emission bus pilot program. As part of the pilot, MTS will purchase nine zero-emissions buses and use them on existing routes throughout San Diego for a period of two years. The pilot program will allow MTS to analyze vehicle performance, challenges and capabilities. Staff will analyze characteristics such as in route vs. depot charging, climate, route profiles, passenger loads, operator performance, battery capacity and more.

For more information, visit

University of Redlands teams with United Technologies Corp.

The University of Redlands, a private liberal arts and professional university in Southern California, has announced a collaboration with United Technologies Corporation (UTC) to expand educational opportunities for the company’s global workforce.

This collaboration will enable UTC employees to pursue graduate or undergraduate degrees offered by the University of Redlands at one of its seven campuses in California, including Mission Valley, or via the University’s online MBA program. UTC employees will receive tuition discounts and customizable schedules at Redlands through the company’s Employee Scholar Program. The agreement features University of Redlands’ School of Business offerings for UTC employees.

“We look forward to offering many UTC employees access to the high-caliber business education resources at the University of Redlands,” said Thomas Horan, dean of the School of Business in a press release. “Our programs provide a personalized education that enables students to pursue their business passions and career aspirations. When students graduate, they join more than 28,000 School of Business alumni with representation in top private, public and nonprofit organizations.”

The new, nationwide agreement builds upon an existing relationship between the University of Redlands School of Business and UTC locations in Riverside and San Diego Counties, where more than 200 employees have enrolled in undergraduate and graduate business degree programs.

In addition to UTC, the University of Redlands has partnerships with more than 400 organizations —including community colleges, public agencies such as law enforcement and city government, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The programs use a cohort-based approach with numerous one- and two-year options for graduate students and innovative pathways for undergraduate students.

“Our Employee Scholar Program is more than just a story based on numbers,” said Laurie Havanec, Corporate Vice President, Human Resources, UTC. “It is about the investment that UTC makes in its people as a way of attracting and retaining a motivated and engaged workforce.”

Since 1996, UTC employees in more than 60 countries have earned more than 39,000 degrees. Global full-time and part-time UTC employees are eligible for the program after one year of continuous service. Currently, there are more than 6,500 employees enrolled in the Employer Scholar Program.

For more information, visit

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