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In the wee hours of the morning on Friday, hundreds of volunteers took part in the  city’s annual count of its homeless population.

“It was raining, adding yet another complication to a count that’s already fraught with hurdles in part due to San Diego’s geography,” reported our Kelly Bennett. 

We spoke with some of the other volunteers, many of whom expressed concern that the rain may have artificially depressed the numbers of homeless counted. Bill Bolstand, vice president of Father Joe’s Villages, worried about the rain from a different perspective.

“The only thing that surprised me was the lack of handmade shelters,” he said. “Most of the folks we saw were just in sleeping bags out on the street, even though the rain was starting up.

In case you missed it, Bennett and Sam Hodgson’s photo story about the count was our most popular story over the weekend.

Deadly Flu of Yesteryears

With flu season gradually making its way through San Diego, Randy Dotinga looked back at the deadly flu of 1918. In October of that year, “hundreds would die in single days in Philadelphia and Boston, and the first reported cases of the deadly flu appeared in San Diego at the Army’s Camp Kearny,” reports Dotinga.

The city was slow to respond to the epidemic at first, putting more thought into how it might affect businesses than people. “Ultimately, the city was almost entirely shut down for several days in December, with schools, theaters, dance halls, churches and many other public places ordered closed,” wrote Dotinga.

Crumbling City Gets New Committee

We’ve long been chronicling the civic tragedies that permeate the story of San Diego’s crumbling infrastructure. From potholes and crumbling streets to our current focus on shattered sidewalks, we’ve been uncovering how large issues like the city’s backlogged infrastructure repairs connect to your street and neighborhood.

Starting today, San Diego’s City Council will hold its first meeting of the newly created Infrastructure Committee, and will begin to address the city’s nearly $900 million infrastructure backlog, reports U-T San Diego. The committee will be led by the recently elected Councilman Mark Kersey.

As we explained, his first step to address the problem is to try to diagnose it.

Rescuing San Diego Hospice

Last Wednesday, we reported on an ongoing audit of San Diego Hospice, which is supposed to care for patients with fewer than six months to live, but which was still caring for hundreds of patients outside of that time frame.  San Diego Hospice is the largest hospice program in the county and one of the biggest in the nation.

KPBS reported this weekend that, after settling a recent rent dispute, San Diego Hospice will leave its current facility in Mission Valley and move back into a Hillcrest 24-bed facility that it vacated last year after it laid off hundreds of employees. The results of the audit are still unknown but Spokeswoman Melissa DelaCalzada called the retreat to the former facility “a smart financial decision.”

Big Names Interviewed

The U-T Diego published two interviews worthy of note this weekend. The first was with U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy, asking her about recent developments in the government’s crackdown on marijuana dispensaries. “What none of us wanted to target and are targeting is individual patients who, with a doctor’s recommendation are either growing or using marijuana for some debilitating illness. So those individuals were not targeted,” said Duffy.

• Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor was in San Diego yesterday as part of a book reading and signing tour. She also spoke with the U-T about her upbringing and how she would describe herself. “Stubborn,” she said.

NFL in Crisis, Can Small Stadiums Help?

The LA Times’ Sam Farmer writes that Junior Seau’s family lawsuit against the NFL is one of many major crises facing the league. And he also floats an intriguing idea from the CEO of the San Francisco 49ers: What if NFL stadiums were much much smaller?

Navy, Manchester Sued by California

The California Coastal Commission filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Navy and Manchester Pacific Gateway on Friday, reported Court House News. The Manchester in the name of the cited party refers to its owner, well-known developer Doug Manchester, current owner of the U-T.

The commission’s complaint claims the development project located downtown at the Navy Broadway Complex has changed so significantly since being approved in 1991 that it no longer complies with the law. They cite the new inclusions of three hotels and three office towers, the inland relocation of a museum and a 13-story office building on the waterfront as being changes significant enough to require another approval process.

• Scott Lewis explained last year that it wasn’t just legal hassles like this holding back Manchester’s biggest pending waterfront plan. He also needs money.

News Nibbles

• Mayor Bob Filner fired the San Diego’s lobbyists who work in Sacramento and Washington, D.C, reported the U-T. It isn’t clear if Filner informed anyone on the city council about the move. “It’s clear that the notification of the council was not handled properly,” said Council President Todd Gloria.

• Carlsbad planning commissioner Thomas K. Arnold wrote in to the U-T lamenting what he calls “the cocooning of our children.” “I wish we could go back to an earlier time, when we gave our kids much more freedom and most of them turned out all right,” he wrote.

• A year after shutting down, the U-T wonders if the nuclear power plant at San Onofre is really needed. “The nuclear plant that ordinarily provides one-fifth of San Diego County’s electricity no longer seems indispensable,” they wrote.

•The U-T notes the passing of the “Chronicler of Balboa Park,” Richard Amero.  “Every city should have a Richard Amero,” said University of San Diego historian Iris Engstrand, who edited Amero’s work for the Journal of San Diego History. Amero was most noted for having catalogued a wealth of information about the history of Balboa Park.

Tiny Cookie Temptresses Are Coming For You

You know who we’re talking about. They come to your door in uniform and demand your money. They’re packing Samoas, Tagalongs, and the very consternating Thin Mint. When they finally do leave with the entire contents of your wallet, you’re glad they came. It’s Girl Scout Cookie season, reports NBC San Diego.

“Through the Girl Scout Cookie Program, girls develop five essential skills: goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics,” says the Girl Scout’s website. Like other years, you can donate a box of Thin Mints to deployed troops via the Operation Thin Mint program.

Unlike last year, though, you can also order a new, “healthier” Mango Creme cookie, reports the OC Register. “In a twist, the vanilla and coconut cookie with mango crème filling is infused with added fruit nutrients,” they wrote.

Next year, perhaps they can release a cookie that will help us lose the weight we gained by eating their cookies. Girl Scout Rice Cakes, anyone?

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You may not republish this content without his consent. You can reach him at voice@s3th.com or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.

Disclosure: Voice of San Diego members and supporters may be mentioned or have a stake in the stories we cover. For a complete list of our contributors, click here.

Seth Hall

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can reach him at voice@s3th.com or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.

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