Discount store closure is sign of North Park’s changing demographics

Discount_store_closure_is_sign_of_North_Park’s_changing_demographics_-_San_Diego_Uptown_News_-_2014-12-05_08.41.36This story was reported for Uptown News on Dec. 5, 2014.

A local real estate expert said the closure of a long-time North Park discount store is a sign of the neighborhood’s growing affluence.

Discount International Fashion Company, located at 3002 University Ave., announced it will close its doors in December after more than 25 years in North Park.

“The area has changed,” said owner Rafee Zakir, who also previously owned two restaurants in the area. “Our customers have moved because they can no longer afford to live here and the new customers are not spending here.”

Zakir said when he first purchased the business in the heart of North Park, he paid $1,200 for rent. He now pays $3,500 for the 2,344-square-foot space, which includes a 400-square-foot storage area and a 550-square-foot mezzanine.

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Street Angels ask public for help in serving homeless

Street_Angels_ask_public_for_help_in_serving_homeless_-_San_Diego_Uptown_News_-_2014-12-05_08.38.26This story was reported for Uptown News on Dec. 5, 2014.

The holidays have encouraged a North Park nonprofit to ramp up its efforts of serving the homeless.

Urban Street Angels (USA), an all-volunteer nonprofit that serves an estimated 3,000 homeless young people in San Diego each month, will host its third annual North Park Christmas on Saturday, Dec. 13.

The free event, which is sponsored by Thrivent Financial, will include music, food, drinks and raffle prizes with proceeds benefiting the charity. The nonprofit is also collecting sleeping bags to distribute to the homeless in San Diego.

USA began as a program out of Mission Gathering Christian Church in 2008 and was refashioned into its own nonprofit just this year. The agenda of the nonprofit is simple: bring hot meals and goods like shoes and blankets to homeless youth six to eight times a month. And, when the recipients are ready to receive additional help getting off the street, USA will provide them with resources and a guide on how to do that.

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Encinitas resident shares story of hope, courage in new book

This story was reported for Seaside Courier on Dec. 5, 2014.

An Encinitas resident who founded a nonprofit to support burn victims has taken her mission in life one step further with the release of her first book, “Heart of Fire.”

Lesia Stockall Cartelli, who founded Angel FaEncinitas_resident_shares_story_of_hope,_courage_in_new_book_-_Seaside_Courier_News_-_2014-12-05_08.28.38ces in 2003, tells her story of surviving a fire and finding confidence in her book that was released in September.

Cartelli was 9 years old when a fire broke out in her grandparents’ Detroit home, burning more than 50 percent of her face and body. Her injuries forced her into the hospital for months but she said the “real healing” began when she was released.

“The recovery process is very, very difficult,” Cartelli said. “Your whole world shatters open. Everything that was secured in your life is now blown into pieces. The real healing happens when you are discharged because you’re back into the real world. I had to face the teasing, the rejection and the feeling that I didn’t look like anybody else.”

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Civita attracts new homeowners, families

Civita_attracts_new_homeowners,_families_-_Mission_Valley_News_-_2014-12-01_06.25.44This story was reported for Mission Valley News on Nov. 14, 2014.

As Mission Valley’s new Civita development rapidly transforms from architectural watercolor renderings into a living, breathing, brick-and-mortar reality, the neighborhood is attracting a variety of residents from all over San Diego.

The $2 billion master-planned development situated north of Friars Road will eventually offer more than 4,000 homes on 230 acres. The development, which began in 2011, will be complete in 12 years.

As of the end of September 2014, 143 homes had been sold, ranging in price from the high $400,000s to the mid-$700,000s.

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Bee business opens in North Park

Bee_business_opens_in_North_Park_-_San_Diego_Uptown_News_-_2014-12-01_06.36.04This story was reported for Uptown News on Nov. 21, 2014.

A new business has become the buzz around North Park.

Bee Happy, which opened at 2637 University Ave. this month, is home to all products related to bees and any supplies beekeepers may need.

Owner Erin Holko, 35, said she felt the need to open Bee Happy after she developed an interest in the honey-making insects.

The hobby flourished after Holko and her husband, Ben, discovered bees flocking to their Serra Mesa home about five years ago.

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