News Briefs – March 17, 2017

Posted: March 17th, 2017 | Briefs, Calendar, Opinion & News Briefs, News | No Comments

RSVP seeks volunteers

San Diego Police Department’s Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol (RSVP) is seeking individuals to volunteer to assist the department in providing neighborhood safety and crime prevention.

(Photo by Bob Perry, via Flickr)

These volunteers help the officers by performing tasks that allow the police to focus on crime fighting. Some of the work that RSVP officers do include:

  • Patrol neighborhood streets in a patrol car.
  • Search for lost children and Alzheimer’s patients.
  • Perform business security checks.
  • Help with graffiti abatement.
  • Check on homes of vacationing neighbors.
  • Issue citations for disabled parking violations.
  • Visit homebound seniors.
  • Traffic control.
  • Participate in special events.

Volunteers must be at least 50 years of age and able to commit a minimum of three and a half days per month. For more information, call 858-495-7990.

Magnolia’s winning teams to host STEAM Expo

Magnolia Science Academy will host its fourth annual STEAM Expo at Grossmont College on Saturday, March 18. The Expo is free and will feature the school’s Future City and Robotics teams and also offer hands-on, interactive science demonstrations, drones, a Mad Science performance and more.

Magnolia Science Academy’s seventh- and eighth-grade teams took part in the Future City Southern California Regional Competition in January. Future City is a national engineering competition where students imagine, research, design and build cities of the future. Magnolia selected the Qualcomm Stadium site as their location.

(l to r) the Magnolia Academy Robotics team: parent Alex Chisholm, Rachel Zhang, Gabe Reed, Miguel Talamantez, Sean Walsh, Julia Providell-Appenfelder and coach Deniz Kocoglu (Courtesy of Magnolia Science Academy)

There were a total of 45 teams that submitted their “future cities” with a focus on public spaces to the regional competition for a chance to represent Southern California at the national finals in Washington, D.C. The eighth-grade team almost made that trip to D.C. They missed the top spot by just 10 points, winning second place overall, the People’s Choice Award (chosen by the other competitors) and the Best Model.

This is the fifth year the school has competed in the competition, winning third overall last year and winning the Best Model Award. Three years ago, the team won the regional competition and represented Southern California at the finals in D.C.

The strong showing by the Future City team follows another strong showing by Magnolia Science Academy’s robotics team, MagnoBricks, which won first place in robot design at the Southern California First Lego League Championship Tournament at Legoland in December.

NCPI elections bring new members

The Navajo Community Planners, Inc. (NCPI) held its annual board elections at the group’s March 8 meeting.

Three seats were up for election in Allied Gardens. Incumbents Terry Cords and Marilyn Reed were reelected, and Stephen Dahms won the third seat.

Two seats were up for election for Del Cerro. Steve Grimes won another term, but Jay Wilson lost his bid to serve because the NCPI bylaws requires a higher percentage of votes for board members seeking a third term. A special election will be held at a future meeting to fill Wilson’s seat.

Grantville had two seats up for election. John La Raia was reelected and David Smith, son of Dan Smith who already serves on the NCPI board representing Grantville, won the other seat.

NCPI chairman Matt Adams and board member Richard Burg were reelected to represent San Carlos.

For more information about NCPI and the special election to fill the Del Cerro seat, visit 

Hirshman leaving San Diego State University

On March 8, San Diego State University President Elliot Hirshman announced that he has accepted the presidency of Stevenson University in Maryland. His last day at SDSU will be June 30. Hirshman has served as the president of SDSU since 2011.

“The last six years have been the most extraordinary period of my and Jeri’s professional lives,” Hirshman said in a press statement. “The opportunity to work with the dedicated and talented students, faculty, staff, alumni and community supporters of San Diego State has inspired us, and it has been a privilege to contribute to the growth and development of this great university.”

During Hirshman’s time as SDSU’s eighth president, SDSU has raised its profile as a major public research university. SDSU ranks in the top 10 for students studying abroad and for ethnic and economic diversity; Forbes, Fortune and U.S. News & World Report all rank it in the top 25 for entrepreneurship; and the university has produced 85 Fulbright student scholars in the past decade. SDSU researchers bring in $130 million annually in external research funding.

SDSU President Elliott Hirshman (Courtesy SDSU)

The university is recognized nationally for increasing retention and graduation rates — rates that are nearly equal across ethnic and racial groups — and during Hirshman’s tenure it has moved up 37 spots in the U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of America’s best colleges.

“Elliot has made an incredible impact on San Diego State University,” California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White said. “His focus on academic excellence and on life-changing educational opportunities for students from all backgrounds has contributed to SDSU’s emergence as a top public research university.”

Under Hirshman’s leadership, SDSU has implemented an integrated budget and financial strategy, created a new strategic plan, raised more than $785 million in private philanthropy for scholarships and new initiatives, established and endowed the Susan and Stephen Weber Honors College and built and remodeled facilities across campus.

Chancellor White will visit the SDSU campus as soon as arrangements can be made in order to discuss with the university community the skills and experiences desirable for an interim presidential appointment. The CSU plans to conduct a national search for Hirshman’s successor.

Laptop scholarship contest

High school students in San Diego County will have an opportunity to earn new laptop computers as part of the annual Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) & Coca-Cola Laptop Scholarship Contest.

Completed applications and submissions are being accepted through Friday, April 14.

The laptop scholarship contest is a partnership involving MTS, Coca-Cola Refreshments of San Diego and the San Diego County Office of Education. Dell-Inspiron two-in-one 13.3-inch touchscreen laptop computers will be awarded to the top 40 student submissions from San Diego County.

Winners of the 2016 MTS & Coca-Cola Laptop Scholarship Contest. (Courtesy MTS)

To be eligible to win, students must submit an application form and an advertising campaign summary aimed at attracting new MTS Trolley and bus riders. Additionally, students must be San Diego County residents and enrolled in a San Diego County high school.

To enter, students should:

  • Brainstorm an advertising campaign to promote MTS to potential bus and/or trolley riders.
  • Write a one-to-two-page summary identifying your target audience, message strategy and design inspiration.
  • Create an original poster ad design (must be 8.5-by-11-inch). Hand-drawn and digital submissions will be accepted.
  • Complete theapplication form and submit with the summary and art by the deadline.

Entries will be scored on creativity, strategy and clarity. One lucky student will have his or her artwork displayed on an MTS bus shelter.

Applications, rules and guidelines, and submission instructions are available at Completed applications and essays can be submitted via email to, or via mail addressed to MTS Scholarship, 1255 Imperial Ave., Suite 1000, San Diego, CA 92101.

Questions about the contest can be directed to MTS marketing coordinator Stacie Bishop at or 619-557-4546.

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