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adams avenueHot Blocks

4000 Adams Ave., Kensington

For at least a decade, Normal Heights has been transitioning from blue-collar grit to urban chic, and while the term “yuppies” is no longer in vogue, that’s precisely who’s behind it. Here in the heart of Normal Heights’ business district are a handful of cool little shops and boutiques right out of Soho, including Nickelodeon Out of Print Records, with a healthy selection of rare and off-the-wall vinyl; Budget Books, a labyrinth of used hardbacks and paperbacks where collectors have been known to pick up a rare first edition for a song; and Pilgrimage of the Heart, a New Age gift shop that also offers meditation classes. Cocina D. Sanchez Fine Mexican & Seafood Restaurant more than lives up to its name. And Lestat’s Coffee House is the de facto town square, a popular meeting ground for local movers and shakers that’s famous for its potent java and live folk music in the evenings.

THIS MONTH in San Diego History

Rebel Yell

The nascent Civil War came to San Diego in June 1861. Southern California was rife with Southern sympathizers, and there was even secession talk in Los Angeles. Union loyalists in San Francisco were concerned; they feared an invasion from lower California.

Brigadier General Edwin V. Sumner, commander of the army’s Department of the Pacific, promptly sent two 24-pounder guns to “New San Diego.” They were shipped from Benicia Arsenal and arrived June 2 to control the harbor and strengthen the military garrison.

Two weeks later, on June 17, a second company of troops arrived in San Diego. The 52 enlisted men and one officer had marched from Fort Mojave and crossed the hot desert, a trek of 387 miles, in 18 days.

But the only conflict the troops saw was a legal battle over a wrecked wharf. Heavy flooding the following winter washed out roads; with no way to get fuel, soldiers demolished a wharf and used the lumber for firewood. The owner submitted a claim to Congress and, after years of legal wrangling, settled for $6,000.

a woman with a dog Puppy Love

Randy was dying of complications from HIV. His two German shepherds were all he had left. Had it not been for PAWS (Pets Are Wonderful Support), a nonprofit San Diego organization that helps care for the pets of the chronically ill, the retired dentist and Air Force veteran would have died alone. But PAWS not only helped feed and exercise his beloved pets when he became too ill to care for them, the organization also placed them with a “foster family” when he entered the hospital to die. And when Randy didn’t die and instead was able to return home, PAWS found him another canine companion that stayed with him until he did succumb a year later.

Stories such as these are not uncommon. PAWS was established in 1993, initially to provide care for the pets of stricken HIV sufferers. But after a grant from ARK Antiques in La Jolla, the organization has broadened its scope and is now offering its services to anyone who needs it, from the elderly to the disabled.

“We have many guide dogs,” says Dan Downs, PAWS’ executive director. The grant, he says, “enabled us to create a database to better manage clients, as well as money to help provide veterinary services.”

PAWS currently has more than 250 clients, 60 of them added in the last two months. Funding comes from Petco and other donors and fund-raisers like the annual Fiesta del PAWS dinner and auction, which this year takes place June 13 at the historic Nuestra Casa Adobe in Escondido. Actress Tippi Hedren (The Birds), an animal activist, will receive the organization’s Companion for Life Award. For more information call 619-222-7297 or visit www.pawssdcounty.org.

Hooray for Hollywood!

What’s in and what’s out from San Diego’s heritage? Here’s a list of some San Diego collectibles, and recent prices they brought on eBay, the on-line auction house:
Stereoview image of Julian from the 1880s, taken by San Diego landscape and portrait photographer J.C. Parker: six bids $360
1930s San Diego Floral Association rose trophy: seven bids $195
Souvenir San Diego sugar bowl, Nippon china, from 1915 Panama-California Exposition: four bids 193.61
Commemorative half-dollar, 1935 California-Pacific International Exposition: four bids $187
Makers Mark Whiskey, commemorative Chargers bottle: eight bids $175
Invitation and ticket to President Roosevelt’s appearance at the 1935 California-Pacific International Exposition: three bids $172.50
San Diego Hard Rock Café Zippo Lighter: seven bids $71
San Diego Zoo giant panda T-shirt: one bid $3
San Diego Chicken bobblehead: two bids $2.99
Vintage postcard of Chargers game at San Diego Stadium: one bid 30 cents


By the Number

89: Biotechnology firms in the 92121 ZIP code, the most densely packed cluster of biotechs in the country, according to Forbes.
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