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10 North County People to Watch 2011

From a museum director and an outdoor filmmaker to winemakers and scientists mapping the DNA of beer (yes, beer), check out what these North County power players have planned for 2011.


Andy Bass & Dean Sauer

Former biotech researcher Bass and his part­ner Sauer, a scientific consultant, are blending art, pop culture and DNA in one-of-a-kind artistic renderings that depict an individual’s genetic makeup. Now that their Yonder Biology DNA portraits have taken off with requests flying in from celebs, high-profile athletes and Fortune 500 executives, the Encinitas-based company is expanding in the new year. Their Duet and Quad DNA portraits express multiple DNAs on a single canvas — perfect for couples, families and friends who want to compare the beauty of their DNA strands. In homage to San Diego’s craft beer culture, Yondery is debuting “The DNA of Beer,” artwork reflecting the beer yeast DNA, with a show appropriately at local Churchill’s Pub in March 2011.

Chris Del Moro

This artist, activist and surfer from Cardiff works with Surfers 4 Cetaceans (S4C), a nonprofit dedicated to the conservation and protection of whales, dolphins and marine life. Del Moro travels the world painting giant underwater murals of sea life to create awareness, along with making documentary films like his latest project, Minds in the Water. He and S4C founder, surfer Dave Rastovich, Howie Cooke and photographer Hilton Dawe have organized another Transparent Sea trip — their second after a 500-mile sailing voyage off Australia in 2010. They will travel on special sea kayaks with sails along the California coast from Point Conception to the border of Mexico, then head farther south into Baja, reaching Scammonds Lagoon, a gray whale birthing cove. They hope the journey will help highlight the dangerous plight of the California gray whale, along with environmental issues like underwater drilling, coastal debris and runoff. “We, as surfers, are custodians for the sea,” says Del Moro. “We all have the power to help these creatures.”

Adam Carruth & Anne Milliken

The most exciting thing to descend upon the Cedros Design District recently is Carruth Cellars, where you’ll find dedicated winemaker Carruth and affable Milliken hosting Cellar Club members and passersby for tastings of their impressive wines. Using grapes trucked in from Napa, Sonoma, Lake, Mendocino and Paso Robles, they crush, ferment, press and barrel-age on site. Locals are invited to join the fun; mark your calendars for the September 2011 crush. We can’t wait to taste their special dedication blend, the Solana Beach “Red Tape” Table Wine, to be released this year. Meanwhile, stop by for a sampling, post – gallery hopping, and become members so you can attend their monthly release parties or the new “Kill a Barrel” program, for which Carruth chooses a barrel to share exclusively with members each quarter.

Leslee Gaul

This dedicated Oceanside denizen is out to rebrand her hometown as a top destination. President and CEO of Visit Oceanside, Gaul wants the world to know that Oceanside, with its classic Southern California beach culture and action-sports lifestyle, provides the perfect backdrop for vacations and sporting events. It’s already home to Ironman, Race Across America, The Beach Soccer Championships, Bike the Coast – Taste the Coast and major surfing events. She recently launched the Visit Oceanside Conference & Visitors Bureau with a shiny new Web site she’s touting as proof of the city’s mini-renaissance. In 2011, Gaul will lead the charge on myriad future developments, including a makeover of downtown’s Mission Avenue and a new four-star beachfront hotel. “While the beach is our number-one attraction, Oceanside is extremely rich in cultural offerings from historic landmarks and buildings to contemporary art,” she says. “The city is poised for tremendous growth and change as a travel destination.” And she’s going to make sure you know all about it.

Matt Hall

Recently elected mayor of Carlsbad, this lifelong North County resident campaigned on a platform of continued fiscal responsibility and community partnership. Hall says his 16 years of experience on the city council and his role as a small-business owner have helped him guide the city through the recent economic storm, during which Carlsbad saw no major service cuts. His biggest challenge for 2011? Protecting the city’s enviable quality of life and core city services in the face of ever-dwindling resources, while preserving Carlsbad’s small-town feel. We are excited to see what Hall has planned to follow the 40-year reign of former mayor Bud Lewis.

Jeff Church

Rancho Santa Fe resident and entrepreneur Church had a life-altering experience on a trip to Africa with his family, where he witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of the global water crisis. Motivated by this cruel reality, he created a sustainable social business that produces eco-friendly bottled water Nika (meaning “to give” in Zulu), with 100 percent of the profits dedicated to addressing this issue. Besides raising hundreds of thousands of dollars, his company recently created a well in Nicaragua to deliver safe water to more than 600 people, homes, schools and clinics. In June 2011, Church and the Nika team are taking 33 people to Kenya to help build a school and find more holistic solutions to alleviate poverty. “We are excited that we’ve brought clean water to more than 4,500 people,” says Church. “It only costs $20 to provide a lifetime of clean water for one person, and we’d like to expand our reach in 2011. It would be great to sell enough to have $1 million in profits. We could then save 50,000 lives.”

Reesey Shaw

Whether she’s discovering the next great South African sculptor or raising capital for educational programs, Lux Art Institute director Shaw has been the driving force behind this innovative institution of contemporary art since its inception in 1998. The vision began with a “museum without walls” in the form of permanent installations on the grounds, followed by an artist pavilion — a residence and working studio space — which became a reality in 2007. She curates unique shows in this Leed-certified interactive art destination, featuring the artists at work and their completed projects while in residence at Lux,  a compelling experience meant to inspire, transform and educate viewers as they watch the creative process live. Shaw draws internationally renowned, cutting-edge artists to Lux, which means “light” — and this Encinitas gem has truly illuminated the North County art scene. “Our initial goal was to share the behind-the-scenes art experience with our audience,” she says. “But now that we’ve become skilled at presenting museum-quality work in all genres, created on site, we realize we’re actually doing something much more profound: We’re modeling creativity, the critical competency of our future.” In April, Shaw will kick off the capital campaign for phase II, with plans to build an education pavilion on Lux grounds with more classrooms, galleries and event space.

Rob Machado

This Cardiff surfing ambassador stands as one of the most recognized names in the sport — but we love him for his laid-back soul surfing and elevated consciousness. Through his Rob Machado Foundation, he raises awareness and funds for environmental programs in Southern California. As a father to two young girls, his focus has shifted to educating children about keeping the planet healthy and greening his hometown elementary school. In 2011, look for the ASP Rob Machado Pro Junior Experience in Seaside, California, April 21 and 22. On tour with his new documentary Melali, The Drifter Sessions, Machado and his band perform a live rock score for the film.

Brandon Sieminsk

Born and raised in North County, this young home-brewer is the talk of Vista. At 21, he’s taking a run at the San Diego craft-beer scene, with seven styles already under his belt. The family-owned Iron Fist Brewing Company produces about 62,000 gallons of the labor-intensive beer, 100 percent unfiltered and bottled flat with a small amount of sugar to form its own natural carbonation. Sieminski has ambitious plans for 2011: He’s determined to create a new beer each month and expand his barrel-aging program. “I currently have two exciting beers: a brandy barrel-aged imperial stout called Dark Days and a white-wine barrel-aged Wild Ale named The Resistance, slated to be released in April or May,” he says. Bottoms up!

Jon Cohen

One of North Country’s more prolific and erudite scribes, Cohen has penned stories for The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly and The New York Times, along with writing three books. His most recent, Almost Chimpanzee: Searching for What Makes Us Human, in Rainforests, Labs, Sanctuaries, and Zoos, focuses on the differences, not the similarities, between humans and our evolutionary cousins. As longtime correspondent for Science Magazine, Cohen has covered myriad topics, and his compelling stories on HIV/AIDS have garnered fellowships, awards and an inspiring documentary. He’s traveled to three dozen countries reporting on the epidemic; in 2011, he and his photographer will start an in-depth examination of HIV/AIDS in the United States. “There’s an intensifying interest in the topic,” relays Cohen. “For the first time it’s become feasible to address the question of a cure seriously.” Another recent project close to his heart as a Cardiff surfer is his digital magazine, Wave Lines, an intelligent surfing chronicle written by surfers that explores the sport and lifestyle way beyond covering the elite group who make a living riding waves.


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