Fall 2011

This category contains 14 posts

Beliefs – Fall 2011 Edition

Beliefs | JMS Reports | Fall 2012 Edition Continue reading


Recovering from major injury: Attitude can be everything

By Lauren Bowen

Four years ago, just after Christmas, 15-year-old Natalie Buchoz fell during a ski trip and became paralyzed from the shoulders down, because of a spinal cord injury.

“It was overwhelming, like living a nightmare where you cannot get out of it… with zero light at the end of the tunnel, ” Natalie’s mother, Nancy Buchoz, said. “I felt like someone kicked me in the stomach. I fell to one knee, gasped for air, stood up and shook my head to say ‘no’. It was just the worst mental pain you could imagine.”

After the accident, doctors told the Buchoz family that Natalie would never recover and she would be bound to a wheelchair for the rest of her life. Instead of just accepting the doctor’s assessment, Natalie channeled her energy into her recovery. After going through traditional physical therapy and seeing little results the Buchoz’s found Project Walk, in Carlsbad.

Project Walk is a highly specialized rehabilitation center for people who have suffered from a spinal chord injury. Patients come from around the world to work with their specialists to regain the function they had previous to their accident.

Natalie concentrates while working her core muscles during a therapy session at Project Walk. Photograph by: The Huntington Beach Independent

Now, at the age of 19, just four years after her accident, Natalie has made tremendous strides in her recovery. She is now able to walk with a walker and has regained substantial function throughout her body.

“Every day it’s been hard, and it’s been a struggle, but I see other people around me who wish they could be where I’m at, I just think about how lucky I am and don’t take anything for granted,” Natalie said.

One key element in Natalie’s recovery is what her family and friends like to refer to as her “Nattitude”.

“Natalie epitomizes the saying, ‘Never say never,’” her mother said. “She has always been a pleasant, upbeat person, but now she is more compassionate, and very aware of others and their needs. She doesn’t sweat the small stuff, and always finds the silver lining, no matter what.”

Natalie’s positive attitude has not only helped to motivate her in her recovery on a daily basis, but she has helped to inspire others.

“Her personality is so full of positivity it absolutely changes those around her and helps others feel that all things are possible,” her mother said.

The power of positive thinking in recovery

“Natalie seems to find the good in almost everything, and for the even the most able bodied person that can be difficult,” Nancy said. “She has given countless others the hope and inspiration necessary to recover and live a good life.”

Research has found that having a positive attitude and strong mental awareness is essential in an individual’s recovery, whether it be from a physical or mental injury.

“An individual’s attitude and emotional state plays a crucial role in his or her rehabilitation. The mind is such a powerful thing and I believe that one’s emotions can strongly affect their road to recovery,” said Kassie Lam, a physical therapist.

While the idea, and often times the process, of rehabilitation is similar, the journey that leads to a person’s recovery can vary dramatically.

Scott’s trials in recovery

Scott Smith, now 52 years old, fell from a two-story roof and landed on his head 14 years ago. Scott lost more than half of his brain function after the fall and had to go through rehab to relearn everything he once knew. Although Scott has gone through years of mental and physical rehabilitation, he has never truly recovered.

“It’s hard. My head, it’s broken,” he said.

Not only did Smith have to learn how to mentally process information, he also had to learn how to eat, talk and walk all over again, at the age of 38. During Smith’s recovery period he suffered from multiple seizures throughout the years that set him back to a point that was even worse than after the original accident.

Scott listening to his father explain his accident

After his second seizure he became a quadriplegic, but was able to fight back to the point that he is able to walk on his own, but does not have much function in his arms.

Research has shown that individual’s who suffer from a brain injuries often have a difficult time keeping a positive attitude, and his family says that this has been the case for Scott.

“Traumatic injuries not only affect the individual, they impact the entire family and everyone involved,” Lam said.

Scott’s perspective of what happened to him has been difficult for not only him, but his family as well, ultimately hindering his efforts to get better. Smith has seen little in the way of recovery, and those around him believe that his attitude is partly responsible.

“Scott died on the day of the accident. The person he was has been taken from us, and now we have the shell of who Scott used to be,” Scott’s brother, Steven Bowen, said.

How negativity hinders recovery

Every person’s story is unique and their recoveries can vary drastically, but many cases can show just how greatly attitude has an impact on the extent of rehabilitation.

Support from family and loved ones, and a positive attitude combined with rehabilitation and therapy seems to be the best route to recovery.

Water activities enhance quality of life

Debbie Beacham

Debbie Beacham believes surfing is spiritual experience that makes its patrons more assertive and confident.

By Patricia Dwyer

For La Jolla resident Debbie Beacham, surfing is much more than a sport or hobby, it is a life-long endeavor that demands dedication and respect.

Beacham was one of the women who helped pioneer women’s professional surfing for the International Professional Surfing world tour in the 1970s. Then in 1982 she won the title of “World Champion of Women’s Surfing” she had worked so hard to justify.

“Surfing is an experience that connects you with the raw nature of the ocean,” Beacham says. “A gym or a pool or a field won’t have the natural high that surfing does because surfing gets you in the ocean.”

Beacham also believes surfing can strengthen a person’s character.

“Surfing makes you assertive,” she said. “You won’t get waves otherwise. You have to have a strong personality to be a surfer.”

It also makes you more confident,” Beacham adds. “When you walk into a room and know you are a strong surfer, it makes you feel more sure of yourself.” Continue reading

Beliefs in music culture stay strong

By Alexandra Daugherty

The culture of music is one filled with passion. Whether it be music’s effect on people, the overtaking of the iTunes company and mp3 formats making hard copies of music irrelevant or the new era of music that benefits independent bands, those with an affection for sound will endlessly explain why they feel the way they do.

The Northstar Session shares independent success

Scoring a record deal used to be what bands in garages across the world dreamed of. But now, becoming recognized and being able to tour nationally is a dream many unsigned bands have already realized.

The three members of The Northstar Session pose for a photo

Los Angeles-based band The Northstar Session has been very successful despite having no major record deal. Photo courtesy of The Northstar Session.

The Los Angeles-based trio The Northstar Session is an example of this trend. The has achieved its fair share of successes despite being completely independent of any record label. Continue reading

Border students pushing the boundaries of education

By Eli Baldrige

Juan Centeno, age 12, does not like algebra, just like many of his classmates at Our Lady’s School in downtown San Diego. He dresses in the same uniform and plays tag at recess like everyone else in his grade.

But there is one major difference between Centeno and the rest of his seventh grade class.

“I don’t even think my friends know I live in Mexico,” Centeno said.

Centeno and his younger siblings attend school across an international border every day. The family crosses the U.S.-Mexico border 10 times a week for what they believe is a better education.

“I sleep only a couple of hours at night,” Centeno said. “But maybe it is worth it to have a better education.”

But there is more to Centeno’s life than school. He also has a full time job.

Zoom out to see the places Juan spends most of his time.

Juan entering school to start his day

He helps his family run a tamale stand in Tijuana, Mexico. Every day after returning from school in San Diego to his home in Rosarito, Mexico, he works. Continue reading

Service and therapy dogs help heal physical, mental wounds

By Emily Pippin

The feeling of warm fur on skin is powerful. A bark, a nudge, a gentle, wet lick on the hand. These small gestures and movements can bring calm and confidence to a wounded veteran or person living with physical or mental disabilities or injuries.

Therapy dogs: unconditional love and assistance for veterans

Not all injuries are visible. And perhaps the invisible injuries are the most difficult to heal. The bi-coastal Paws and People Aiding Wounded Warriors program aims to do just that: heal the invisible injuries veterans often suffer through. From working with top-of-the-line breeders across the country, to training the pick of the litter puppies, to matching the dogs with a prospective wounded veteran, the PPaWWs team works to eradicate the stigma surrounding mental injuries in veterans. And their hard work is paying off.

“I cannot tell you how much my service dog has changed my life in just the past five months,” Nathan Dee, a PPaWWs therapy dog recipient said. “I have tried group therapy, individual therapy, medication and hospitalization, but nothing has helped as much as having a dog that helps me feel safe out in the world, keeps me company and loves me unconditionally.”

Dee's service dog, Alice

Dee’s therapy and service dog, Alice, during a trip to the park. Photo courtesy of PPaWWS.

Dee was severely injured while deployed in Afghanistan and now suffers from traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder and other physical ailments. He was matched with the PPaWWs program in Atlanta where he met his now-daily companion, Alice, a Great Dane. Through her training with the PPaWWs program she has been able to help Dee in a variety of ways. From giving Dee the confidence to talk in front of crowds, to physically supporting him so he doesn’t need his cane, to finding his way home if he gets lost or disoriented, Alice has made a profound difference in his life. Continue reading

Dietary beliefs become ethical for some, confusing for others

By Emily Trevisan

For Laura Brennan, an office assistant in London, the choice to be vegetarian was a moral one. She thought she should be capable of killing any animal she was eating.

“I really couldn’t kill another animal to eat it, not unless I was living on a subsistence level farm and was raising the animals myself.”

A variety of soy products sit on supermarket shelves and in health food stores.

Some research suggests that too much soy may cause osteoporosis, cancer, infertility and other health problems.

The more reading she did on the meat industry only strengthened her resolve that this was not a way of life she could support. But now some research suggests that eating too much soy, a staple in Brennan’s diet, may cause Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and infertility.

Brennan said she is not sure if she should cut soy entirely out of her diet yet. She said she still eats soy and drinks soy milk, but has also been trying almond milk.

Brennan’s choices to be vegetarian and eat soy are not the only options people agonize about these days when thinking about their diets.

From enjoying soy to eating like a caveman again

Vegan gourmet Chef J.P. Alfred does not believe in eating meat or cheese, not only because he finds it unethical to eat animals and animal products, but he also said people are not meant to use that kind of energy digesting those foods. Continue reading

Finding the last of the bookstores

By Anthony Artale

Maxwell’s House of Books is one of the few remaining small bookstores in San Diego           

The main street in downtown La Mesa is lined with tiny shops and restaurants. Most are small antiques stores, run by retirees selling porcelain plates and poorly restored furniture. Among these stores is a small business that has been slowly dwindling since the advent of the Internet.

Maxwell’s House of Books is barely the size of a one-bedroom apartment. Homemade shelves go all the way to the ceiling and are packed end to end with everything from military history to science fiction. The store might not be large, but more than 30,000 books cover the walls and rest on oddly-placed tables to accommodate the overflow. For storeowner Craig Maxwell, the business is just as much a lifestyle as it work.

“I like to call myself a book enthusiast, but if you ask my wife she says I’m a book fanatic,” Maxwell said. “I’ve always been an avid reader, even on my days off I go hunting for books.”

outside Maxwell's House of Books

Maxwell's House of Books is located on La Mesa Boulevard.

The book business has been part of his family for generations. Maxwell’s grandfather founded Wahrenbrock’s Bookstore in Downtown. The store operated for 75 years as one of the biggest bookstores in San Diego until it closed in early 2010. Maxwell has worked in different boo stores for the past 30 years, and opened Maxwell’s House of Books in 2002. Continue reading

Musicians put the “techno” in technology

House of Blues stage

DJs draw monumental crowds at music festivals.

By Tanya Huang

Disc jockeys are the new rock stars, and their mixes are the new hit singles. Digital technology is revolutionizing the way music is heard, played and produced. Producers no longer need to be instrumentally inclined to be a musician—just a little tech savvy.

Up-and-coming artists aren’t the only ones experimenting with digital music software. The big league stars are also hopping on the bandwagon, from Britney Spears to Rihanna to the Black Eyed Peas. But amateur artists simply use laptops to emulate what the stars produce in the studio.

Tim Ortiz, the founder and CEO of local promotion company eventvibe.com, became the pioneer of promoters with the advent of the interactive website, completely reinventing the nightlife industry in San Diego. He says new computer software programs have eased the barriers of entry for music producers, allowing young producers to create songs from their laptops for a fraction of the price spent by the Top 40 producers and artists.

Young dubstep revolutionary Skrillex, 33, hailed as the Metallica of electronic music, used such software and is now an international superstar in the ranks with heavyweight DJs like Deadmau5 and Benny Benassi.

Ortiz says the innovative music programs have automated the more mundane tasks of creating music, allowing for more creative focus from the artist. Continue reading

Meditation gaining notoriety in medical field

By Michael Misselwitz

Medicinal meditation; the value of mindfulness in health and lifestyle


A practice once majorly shunned by the medical community, meditation, now often referred to specifically as mindfulness-meditation, is largely accepted among the medical community as an alternative prescription for conditions ranging from anxiety to heart disease. As a preventative treatment, mindfulness-meditation is also considered an effective tool in maintaining mental clarity and relieving stress.

Medicinal meditation; the value of mindfulness in health and lifestyle

The viability of meditation as a scientific treatment has been a topic of dispute among the medical community for decades. Meditation’s many forms render its general practice too broad to be considered a tangible treatment in medicine. But, thanks to the integration of mindfulness-meditation, the practice has earned credibility among the majority of health care professionals today and now proves to be an effective tool in alternative medicine.

How meditation treatment earned its notoriety

Founding Executive Director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Jon Kabat-Zinn, developed the concept of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, or MBSR, in 1971. The practice since developed into the first form of meditation recognized by the medical community as a practical, acceptable treatment. Continue reading

San Diegans show their side of spirituality

By Tanya Castell

Spirituality is the state of being spiritual, but what does that even mean? Most people who consider themselves to be spiritual can agree that spirituality is a way to find meaning and ultimately inner peace in their lives. However, spirituality is an ambiguous term and it’s almost impossible to have one concrete definition.

Some relate spirituality with religion, which can be a way to practice spirituality but one doesn’t define the other. Others practice spirituality through different methods and don’t associate themselves with any religion.

Aurora Sosa and her family channel their spirituality through prayer. Every week they pray the rosary together which helps them feel closer to their God. Continue reading

College media help students prepare for future careers

By Joshua Hoffman

Griffin Radio is the campus radio station at Grossmont College. Evan Wirig, general manager and faculty advisor, discusses the station’s operations.

KPBS general manager Tom Karlo’s career began before it started.

As a student in the early 1970s, Karlo worked for San Diego State University’s campus radio station, KCR, broadcasting daily sports updates and football scrimmages.

“It was putting me in a position where I thought I was working the profession I wanted to go in to,” he said.

Karlo also worked part-time for KPBS, a public broadcasting organization just off campus, where he helped film documentaries.

“I had the fortunate experience of not just going to school, getting a degree and then going out and trying to get a job … I was able to see that I wanted to do this while I was going to school,” he said. Continue reading

It’s easy to believe in tourism with the sand, surf and sun of San Diego

By Jesse Delille

Downtown san diego at night from coronado

Downtown San Diego at night

There are many perks to living in San Diego, from the weather, to the beaches, to the malls, theme parks and miserable professional sports teams. But hey, it’s better than living in Cleveland where not only are the sports teams atrocious, but it’s also freezing. It’s also better than living in Virginia where there are no professional sports teams.

The point is San Diego has a lot to offer and benefits greatly from the tourism industry. According to Jesse Dixon, a professor of recreation at San Diego State University, tourism is San Diego’s third biggest industry.

From Jess Ponting, SDSU professor of recreation and sustainability:

  •  Thirty-two million visitors per year spend $7.7 billion in San Diego
  •  11.4% of total regional economic production comes from visitors
  • Visitors account for $430 million in tax revenues to San Diego city and county

Ponting says there are many reasons why tourists are attracted to San Diego.

“Great climate, great natural and man-made attractions, excellent hotels, restaurants … Perhaps the best beer city in the world,” Ponting said .

Craft Beer in San Diego

San Diego has built a reputation as a destination for beer enthusiasts from all over the globe. In fact in 2009 San Diego won more awards for its beer than Germany at the World Beer Awards. Dennis Borlek, a local home brewer since 1989, has a passion for beer and loves how the micro brewing industry in San Diego has become a tourist attraction of its own. Continue reading