LA JOLLA NEWS NUGGETS

Trolley tunnel construction at La Jolla Colony

La Jolla Colony Drive has announced closures to construct an underpass for the Mid-Coast Trolley, according to a statement from SANDAG.

Now through Thursday, March 14, and from Monday, March 18 to Thursday, March 21, the intersection will be closed from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. From 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday, March 24, southbound lanes will be closed and northbound lanes will be restriped to provide one lane of northbound and southbound travel, a situation expected to continue through late 2019.

Occasional full weeknight and weekend closures may be required during construction, according to the statement. Advanced notice will be given prior to each closure. During closures, there will be no access to La Jolla Colony Drive from east of the I-5 on- and off-ramps to Rosenda Court.

The underpass will allow the trolley to pass under La Jolla Colony Drive as it travels along the eastern side of Interstate 5.

Misfit Gallery up for closure fight

La Jolla Light’s report on the failed fundraising efforts of Misfit Pictures Gallery, 565 Pearl St., to meet an upcoming rent increase resulted in an outpouring of art purchases from local residents, according to gallery co-owners Pierce and Petra Kavanagh, as well as in art donations from local artists totaling more than $3,000.“I’m just overwhelmed by the response,” Pierce said.

The Kavanaghs are now guardedly optimistic about continuing to serve La Jolla, and their previously announced closing party, 6 p.m. Saturday, March 30, has been rebranded a “Reverse the Closure” party. Admission is $15 and includes street tacos by Josue Solis. Misfitpictures.com

UCSD cracks antibiotic resistance method

Researchers at UC San Diego have discovered an unexpected mechanism allowing bacteria to survive antibiotics.

As described in the journal Cell on March 7, Dong-yeon Lee, Maja Bialecka-Fornal and Gürol Süel of UCSD’s Division of Biological Sciences — along with several colleagues — discovered that bacteria defend themselves against antibiotics by controlling their uptake of magnesium ions. This stabilizes their ribosomes — the fundamental molecular machines of life that translate genes into proteins.

“With this discovery, we can now explore new ways to combat infections that we couldn’t have thought of before,” said Süel, a professor of molecular biology, who envisions being able to boost the potency of existing antibiotic drugs by manipulating the ability of bacteria to take up magnesium, rather than having to develop completely new drugs.

“The number of drugs coming onto the market is not keeping up with the ability of bacteria to cope with those drugs,” Süel said.

Alzheimer’s relief for caregivers

Caregivers for County residents with Alzheimer’s disease, and other types of dementia, can enroll in the Respite Voucher’s Program for some sorely needed relief. Started at the request of Board of Supervisors chair Dianne Jacob, the program provides family members and others who need a break with a voucher to cover half the cost of hiring a fill-in caregiver.

“As the number of San Diegans with Alzheimer’s disease grows, so does the strain on many families as they struggle to help their loved one deal with this devastating illness,” Jacob said. “Caring for a mother or father with dementia takes its own mental and physical toll, and this new initiative is one way we can help them recharge.”

The program is run by two local groups, Southern Caregiver Resource Center and Coast Care Partners. They provide respite services and support, with the County and each caregiver splitting the expense 50/50.

To learn more, call (858) 268-4432.

City outlaws underage weed and drug hangouts

The San Diego City Council amended on March 5 the City’s Social Host Ordinance to make it illegal to provide an environment for the underage use of cannabis and controlled substances. (Currently, it only addresses underage drinking.)

“As a mom, the safety of my children is my priority, and as City Attorney, I am committed to protecting every child,” said Mara Elliott, who co-sponsored the amendment with San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit. “The addition of marijuana and controlled substances to the Social Host Ordinance gives law enforcement a tool to deter conduct that puts our kids at risk.”

Although the amendment passed unanimously, it still must come before the Council for a second reading before becoming law.

Photo-finisher needs votes

Torrey Pines Rotary member Henri Migala is a finalist in smithsonian.com’s 16th annual photo competition.

“I’m SO EXCITED!” Migala e-mailed his fellow Rotarians with the news.

Migala’s category is “the American Experience.” His photo was taken during a search he undertook with Aguilas del Desierto (Eagles of the Desert), a group he volunteers with, for the remains of migrants in the deserts of Arizona. To vote, visit https://bit.ly/2SYbMu7

“You're allowed one vote per day until the competition is over,” Migala’s e-mail read. “It's not a democracy, it's a competition, so PLEASE VOTE OFTEN!”

UCSD pops pimple riddle

Researchers at UC San Diego School of Medicine, Cedars-Sinai and UCLA have for the first time isolated Propionibacterium acnes bacteria into strains more and less likely to cause pimples.

Described in the March 7 edition of the JCI Insight medical journal, the researchers used a novel mouse model to prove their theory, one that more closely resembles human acne due to one new factor — synthetic sebum, the waxy skin secretion that increases in human adolescence.

“Since we know exactly which genes differ between these strains, next we can pinpoint exactly what it is about the acne-associated strains that allows them to cause skin lesions,” said George Liu, professor and chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at UCSD School of Medicine.

Liu said this information could help the team better understand who is at increased risk for acne, and how to develop personalized therapies and vaccines that target the acne-promoting bacterial factors or sebum components.

They’ve got classes, just not homes

An alarming, and rising, number of students attending San Diego community colleges report dealing with homelessness, according to a recent Hope Center survey.

At San Diego City College, 21 percent of students reported lacking a stable place to live (up from 15 percent in 2017), while 18 percent of San Diego Mesa College students identified as homeless, up from 12 percent. At both San Diego Miramar College and San Diego Continuing Education, the percentage of homeless students increased from 10 percent to 17 percent. (This compares with the statewide average for community college students of 19 percent.)

Mesa College President Pamela Luster, co-chair of the statewide CEO Task Force on Affordability, Food and Housing, said that the answers “lie in more resources to students; creating better connections to city, county and state resources; providing emergency funding; and change through legislation and state restrictions on providing housing for community-college students.”

Landmark PhotoFest contest deadline is March 24

The deadline for submissions in the first Landmark PhotoFest contest is fast approaching: 5 p.m. Sunday, March 24. The focus of the project is historic preservation through photographic documentation of residential and village architecture. Learn more: lajollahistory.org/education

—Compiled by Corey Levitan

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