An Anniversary, Three Writing Awards & COVID Part Two

SpeakEasy: The San Diego Sun's premium newsletter for August 1, 2022

Three things I didn’t see on the horizon more than a year ago all occurred in late July 2022:

  1. The San Diego Sun celebrated its one-year anniversary.
  2. This hyperlocal website got three wins in the San Diego Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists writing competition.
  3. COVID phlegm-ed up my lungs for the gawd-demic second time.

We’ll address these events in ascending order of importance/elation.

COVID, Part 2

Always an early adaptor, I first came down with COVID back in March 2020. Like most of us who respect the health of ourselves and those around us, I soon thereafter scrambled to get the earliest possible vaccine shot.

My Johnson & Johnson one-shot jab came at a CVS in Chula Vista.

When the word came down that my age group was was eligible for a booster I went back for a Moderna injection.

As I write this, my latest symptoms are mild. My doctor suggested I not take Paxlovid (Note: doctor recommendations differ for everyone). I’m only just slightly loopy at the moment due to a double-dose of Tylenol and DayQuil.

Newer strains of COVID don’t appear to be as lethal as its predecessors, folks. But we’re not out of the woods, yet.

SPJ Awards

Superior Court Judge Desiree Bruce-Lyle supervises San Diego’s Homeless Court.

The San Diego Sun was picked for a first place and two-second places in the annual San Diego Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists’ writing competition.

As founder of the site, I’m honored by the acknowledgments. I hope readers see the awards as recognition of The Sun’s dedication to being an accurate reflection of news and events that affect our community.

Here are details from the SPJ’s 2022 Nondaily Reporting and Writing Categories:

The Sun’s One-Year Anniversary

Here Comes The San Diego Sun.”

That year went fast.

After ramping up by posting stories on this site in June and July in 2021, The announcement “Here Comes the San Diego Sun!” became an introductory headline on August 17, 2021.

In that piece, I made some promises about what this site would cover. I’m proud to reprint the exact bullet points promised (all topics and stories that were delivered):

– New restaurants.

– Businesses recovering from the pandemic.

– Highlights of shows, events and venues (like the new Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, where the San Diego Symphony and guest acts will perform).

– New housing developments. There is a condo shortage in the city, but several new high-rise apartment projects are underway or planned.

– Homelessness issues. San Diego is among the top five cities in the country for people experiencing homelessness. The Sun will do pieces about outreach, service providers, and political decisions that affect homelessness.

– City Hall. Any and all civic issue.

– Tourist attractions. What’s re-opening, what’s new and what’s the new normal.

– Petco Park. The San Diego Padres are attempting to limp into postseason play. The stadium also hosts concert and other events.

– Comic-Con. This wildly popular, pop-culture convention brings 130,000 to town (excluding 2020). A mini-version of The Con is coming back in Nov. 2021.

I’d add that the site now also holds more than a dozen (and counting) “Living In The City” Q&As from downtown residents. These popular pieces are a way to get to know the city by meeting the people who live here.

And, we’ve got an amazing contributing photographer in Sal Giametta whose talents add a new dimension to our stories.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for your support. Stay tuned for another year during which we hope to help you get to know the city even better.

In Other Aggregated News…

Historic Hotel Sold

Sixth Avenue storefront for Brian’s 24 and the soon-to-be former Ramada/St. James.

When it was built in 1913, the historic, 11-story St. James Hotel was known as the tallest building in downtown San Diego. No longer the big man on campus, the 99-room property was recently sold to Dovetail + Co. for $15.4 million. The Victorian-style hotel has been operating as a Ramada since 2013. It’ll soon be called the Palihotel. The property is best known for housing the still-popular Brian’s 24 Bar & Grill (best knows as a breakfast joint). Other fun fact: The intricate wooden bar in Brian’s was purportedly once owned by actress Joan Crawford. (CoStar)

Children’s Park Getting Remade, Again

During Comic-Con, with studio activations bustling with excitement up and down Harbor Drive, something seemed amiss at Children’s Park. Had builders missed a deadline to created a pirate-themed visitor attraction during the international convention? Was it an attraction that was supposed to look like a creepy, half-finished construction site? Nope, the nuisance and eyesore that has for decades been misnamed Children’s Park was just an actual half-finished construction site. The 1.6-acre park’s third (this time’s the charm?) renovation aims to welcome children and families rather than the drug dealers and ne’er-do-wells that have called it home for the past two decades. (SD Business Journal)

Historic Hotel Sold, Part II

The historic vault door at the San Diego Courtyard Marriott in East Village.

In the late 1920s, downtown’s San Diego Courtyard Marriott hotel operated as a bank. Monetary transactions are still prevalent on property. For the second time in lest than a year (and fourth time in a decade), the hotel has been sold. This time for a reported price of $65.3 million. The 245-room property went for about a million dollars less in 2021. One priceless attraction in the hotel’s lower lever: a tourist-friendly, original 47,000-pound Mosler Safe Company vault door. (SD Union-Tribune)

Fore, Again

Nor far from where the former Harborside Golf Center once welcomed both duffers and long drivers, a new downtown spot to practice golf swings is being considered. A Topgolf driving range has got an informal blessing from the Port of San Diego Commissioners. The high-tech, three-story facility is being eyed for a 68,000-square-foot plot of land on East Harbor Island. (SD Union-Tribune)

The Long Way Home to a New Seaport Village

It’s captivating to know that some current Seaport Village tenants still hold 10-year leases. That makes it hard to get excited about revving up for version after version of long-range plans submitted for public scrutiny for the $3.5 billion Seaport San Diego mega project from developer 1HWY1. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pay attention. Just the opposite, in fact. Approval for for this vastly important San Diego Bay re-do is critical for downtown. Get yourself a case of Red Bull and buckle in for a long, slow ride. (SD Union-Tribune)

Deals & Contest

  • MUSIC MAGIC: Sofar Sounds is an international community of music fans, artists and hosts that put on semi-secret concerts every month. In San Diego, events are ramping up, with dozens of offerings in communities all over the region. Adventuresome? Want to try it out? Go to the Sofar Sounds website, select a city and pick out a show. Use the promo code: SDSUN10 and get 10 percent off the ticket price. (Note: Offer applies to one-time use per person.)
  • WALK THIS WAY. Out of the Ordinary Group Adventures has a Get Fit Walking program that’s both fun and a physical fitness boon. (Check out the story about the company’s downtown San Diego scavenger hunts.) Groups that want to participate in Out of the Ordinary’s “Hidden Gems” or “Secret Beaches” walks can go HERE for details. Use the promo code: SDSun11 and get an 11-percent discount on tickets.
  • OH SAY, CAN YOU SEE? Have trouble seeing the online print when reading insightful, hyperlocal newsletters? Check out for its vast and affordable supply of reading glasses. Use the Code: SUMMER40 and get 40 percent off your order. (Expires October 31, 2022.) SDSun


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