Carmel Valley's headline highlights

2008 in Carmel Valley was a year of stoked skateboarders, proud graduates and protesting mountain bikers. Ground was broken for a new park, firefighters got a brand new home and a school district plunged into uncertainty. Here are some of the headlines that kept Carmel Valley crowing this year.

School shake-ups

2008 was a dramatic year for the Del Mar Union School District.

In February, the Del Mar Union School District Board of Trustees bought out 10-year Superintendent Tom Bishop's contract.

Bishop's departure led to some mixed emotions with district employees and parents. Trustee Linda Crawford's emotions were not mixed. She resigned from her post after Bishop's ouster, ending her 11-year term.

Candidates were then scouted in a nationwide search, eventually finding new Superintendent Sharon McClain.

Trustee Crawford's interim replacement, Doug Perkins, would then be appointed after an unprecedented public interview session with seven candidates at Ocean Air School.

Perkins was officially appointed to his seat in September, along with new trustee Comischell Rodriguez. Rodriguez will fill the seat left vacant by Janet Lamborghini, a 16-year member of the school board.

The San Dieguito Union High School District also got a new superintendent this year. Kenneth Noah was appointed after the resignation of Peggy Lynch.

What's new?

  • The Pacific Highlands Ranch Station 47 opened for service on Jan. 28. Firefighters got private dorms, a spacious kitchen, their own gym and an outdoor patio. Three crews of four now work in the station.
  • The Hilton Garden Inn in Torrey Hills opened in early 2008. Owners Robert Rauch and Joe Simone rebounded after a June 2007 fire that completely destroyed the Inn while it was under construction. On March 6, nine months after the fire, they snipped the ribbon on their 80-room hotel, which features two restaurants and a day spa.
  • A new Carmel Valley shopping center - Torrey Corner - opened in Februaryon East Ocean Air Drive and Carmel Mountain Road. The center is home to a Bank of America, Love to Dance, Little Locks and Zip Fusion Sushi, among others.
  • Ocean Air Community Park held a groundbreaking ceremony in April, with hundreds of neighbors in attendance. Students from neighboring Ocean Air School will have joint use of the park's playing fields. The park, which features its own 16,000-square-foot recreation center, is expected to open in July 2009.
  • The long-awaited Carmel Valley Skatepark opened Nov. 22 after breaking ground in April. Pro skaters showed off their tricks in the park's bowl and streetscape elements, designed by local skater, to a crowd of skateboard enthusiasts.

High school highs

Canyon Crest Academy sent off its first graduating class in May. The 405 students left behind a school they helped build, a school that when they first started as freshmen, was just a cluster of trailers in a parking lot.

In October, the school celebrated its first ever homecoming in an original way. It was complete with a rally where teachers were crowned homecoming king and queen and their new mascot Rupert the Raven was unleashed.

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