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News Briefs — June 8, 2018

Styrofoam ban proposed

On May 31, Surfrider Foundation San Diego chair Michael Torti and 5 Gyres Institute policy advisor Roger Kube joined San Diego Councilmember Chris Ward and Council President Pro Tem Barbara Bry for a joint press conference, to announce a proposed ordinance that would ban the sale and distribution of expanded polystyrene, or EPS, (commonly referred to as Styrofoam) in the city of San Diego. San Diego would join 116 municipalities in California that have already passed a similar ordinance.

“Working with business and environmental stakeholders, I have introduced a proposal that will keep expanded polystyrene and single-use plastics out of our waterways and away from our precious coastline,” stated Ward.

The proposed measure would restrict the sale and distribution of EPS products for the use of food service ware, fish and meat trays, egg cartons, coolers, and beach toys in the city of San Diego. Under this ordinance, prepared food, such as that distributed through take-out menu items, may not be distributed, or available for purchase, in or on products that contain EPS.

“Polystyrene food take-out containers are not recyclable and pervasive within our community,” Torti said. “Surfrider Foundation volunteers collected 12,575 pieces of this type of single-use plastic waste from San Diego beaches in 2017 alone. Surfrider Foundation strongly supports the city of San Diego in banning polystyrene food take-out containers.”

The negative impacts of EPS are permanent, threatening the health of San Diegans, wildlife, and industries critical to our region. EPS does not biodegrade; rather it photodegrades — breaking down into smaller pieces which are easily mistaken for food by marine wildlife. EPS is also one of the most abundant forms of marine and terrestrial litter found along roadways and beaches.

The policy would provide consumers safe alternatives to EPS that will not cause harm to human health or our waterways, beaches, and oceans. As proposed, the city’s Environmental Services Department would provide a list of acceptable and affordable alternatives to EPS products, as well as develop a process to phase implementation of this ordinance to limit impact on small businesses.

The proposed policy will also extend to the retail sale of food ware that contains EPS, including plates, cups, and utensils. These products, along with coolers containing EPS, are frequently used at picnics in our parks and beaches and due to proximity, disposal may result in the food ware reaching our waterways.

In an effort to further reduce single-use plastics, the ordinance would require restaurants to only provide to-go utensils upon request. Surfrider Foundation and 5 Gyres Institute will also be advocating for an inclusion in the ordinance for a straws-only-upon-request as well.

In his formal memo on the proposed ordinance, Councilmember Ward has requested that the City Council’s Rules Committee consider the proposal and direct the proposal for appropriate further review.

 

Carrillo and Sons donates vehicles

Carrillo and Son’s Collision Center recently donated two vehicles to SURA, a sustainable living nonprofit organization.

The vehicles donated by Carillo and Sons (Courtesy Carillo and Sons)

The Grantville repair shop donated a 2006 Ford F-350 King Ranch 4X4 and a 2007 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4X4 with the assistance of the National Auto Body Council’s Recycled Ride Program. Other local businesses who helped refurbish or supply parts for the donated vehicles include: Mark’s Auto Glass, John’s Auto Care, West Auto Wrecker, Pacific Auto Trim, East County Diesel and Van’s Auto Service.

According to SURA’s mission statement, the organization works to demonstrate that “it is possible for a family to live in a sustainable way” by promoting the use of clean energy, building environmentally-friendly infrastructure, cultivating non-toxic food products, responsibly disposing waste and reforesting areas with native plants and trees — at a cost accessible to families with average incomes.

For more information about SURA, visit bit.ly/2LaPx0T. For more information about the National Auto Body Council’s Recycled Ride Program, visit bit.ly/2aGTr0M.

 

Visit Walkabout Australia

On May 25, Walkabout Australia opened at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

The walkabout features an immersive 3.6-acre experience featuring kangaroos, wallabies, cassowaries, wombats and other Australian animals over grassland, rainforest, wetland and desert habitats.

A wallaby at the Safari Park (Courtesy San Diego Zoo)

“Australia is an extraordinary place, and we are thrilled to provide a snapshot of some of the wonders from Down Under at the all-new Walkabout Australia experience at the Safari Park,” Lisa Peterson, director of San Diego Zoo Safari Park, said in a press release. “Not only does Walkabout Australia allow us to connect people to Australia’s fascinating wildlife, but it adds another dimension to San Diego Zoo Global’s efforts to save endangered species, such as the cassowary and Matschie’s tree kangaroo.”

For more information about the walkabout, visit sdzsafaripark.org/walkabout.

 

San Carlos resident a ‘Healthcare Hero’

The Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD), a La Mesa-based public agency that supports various health-related community programs and services, recently honored San Carlos resident Rick Doremus with a 2018 Healthcare Hero award. Now in its 12th year, the Healthcare Heroes is GHD’s annual awards program recognizing volunteers who advance the delivery of quality health services in the East County.

(l to r) Rick and Mary Doremus, Mark Klaus of Home of Guiding Hands, Greg LaDue of San Carlos United Methodist Church. (Courtesy GHD)

Doremus, a retired airline industry executive, has served since 1995 as a board member of the Home of Guiding Hands (HGH), an El Cajon-based non-profit that provides services, training and advocacy to people with developmental and intellectual disabilities and their families. On the HGH board, he has held every executive committee position, including board president, VP, treasurer and secretary, and served on several committees, including business management, facilities, investment and capital campaign. Doremus and wife of 56 years, Mary Doremus, have organized several HGH “Hand and Heart Gala” fundraisers. Doremus also played a key role in recruiting Randy Jones to become involved with HGH, a former San Diego Padres pitcher who now has an annual HGH 5k run-walk fundraiser named in his honor.

Additional recipients of a GHD 2018 Healthcare Hero award included:

  • Dee Davis of Alpine, the owner of a mechanical engineering company who volunteers to help victims of rape, sexual assault and domestic violence with the Center for Community Solutions of San Diego on its Sexual Assault Response Team;
  • Ally Kellogg, 23, who works as an emergency medical technician for a private company and a volunteer on Saturdays at Sharp Grossmont Hospital in the hospital’s Emergency Department, her role is to calm anxious visitors whose loved ones are undergoing assessment and treatment behind the darkened glass doors;
  • Shawn Kelley of El Cajon, owner of Valley Automotive, an El Cajon auto repair shop, who volunteers with Trauma Intervention Programs of San Diego, a group that responds to crisis situations to offer support to those in need;
  • Dr. Tryna Ramos, a Kaiser Permanente hospital doctor who volunteers at El Cajon’s nonprofit Volunteers in Medicine, providing medial care to patients without health insurance and mentoring college students who volunteer at the clinic;
  • Chuck and Jan Vermillion, a retired couple from Spring Valley who volunteer for the American Cancer Society’s “Road to Recovery Program,” offering free rides to medical appointments and treatments for those with cancer.

“The purpose of the Healthcare Heroes Awards is to recognize volunteers whose unsung work in healthcare might not otherwise be celebrated,” said Michael Emerson, GHD board president. “We are proud to recognize the 2018 winners and their inspiring commitment to caring for others.”

Awards were presented at a luncheon on Wednesday, May 16, at the Sycuan Golf Resort in El Cajon. For more information about GHD, visit grossmonthealthcare.org.

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