Local leaders and construction crews gather on March 27 to celebrate the halfway point in the Mid-Coast Trolley’s construction.

Mid-Coast trolley project hits midpoint

On March 29, local leaders gathered to celebrate the halfway point in the Mid-Coast Trolley’s construction by serving breakfast to construction crews in a staging yard near the future Voigt Drive Trolley station.

“This is a major milestone for a major project,” said San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) board chair and Poway mayor Steve Vaus. “Not only is this project large in scale, but its impact on the San Diego region is bound to be monumental. This is the largest public transit project in our region’s history.”

The $2.1 billion Mid-Coast Trolley project will extend Blue Line Trolley service from Old Town north to the University City community, serving the VA Medical Center, UC San Diego and University Town Center.

Originally scheduled to open sometime between July and December 2021, the opening date is now being reported as “late 2021.”

By the project’s completion, workers are projected to have poured 4 million cubic feet of concrete, installed 27 million pounds of rebar, and laid 83 miles of railroad ties.

Free day of music at The Conrad

The La Jolla Music Society (LJMS), operator of the Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center, invites the public to a free, family-friendly open house featuring performances by harpist Chiara Capobianco, Drummers Without Borders and LJMS’s education partners including the San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, San Diego Youth Symphony & Conservatory and San Diego School of Creative & Performing Arts.

The bill concludes with headlining performances by Grammy-winning trumpeter Curtis Taylor at The JAI theater, and a program of dance and live music in the Baker-Baum Concert Hall with the PGK Dance Project.

The event will take place 2-6:30 p.m. Saturday, April 27 at the Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center, 7600 Fay Ave.

Vaxx action

Last week’s La Jolla Light story about potentially illegitimate vaccine medical exemptions issued to La Jolla public-school students went to press just as State Senator Richard Pan and Assembly member Lorena Gonzalez jointly introduced state measure SB 276, transferring the power to decide which cases merit vaccine exemptions from local doctors to public-health officials.

“Three years ago, we stepped up our state’s vaccination laws to protect students and the entire public from being exposed to potential diseases,” said Gonzalez, who represents San Diego. “Now, we’re seeing ant-vaccination parents and a few doctors get around that law by loosely seeking and issuing medical exemptions when families are willing to pay. The real cost is a threat to herd immunity and public health.”

The Light story found that 28 of 487 district-wide medical exemptions from vaccines were issued to La Jolla public school students between July 2015 and January 2019. One doctor excused four students, one excused three, and three others excused two each.

First UCSD cancer patient receives stem cells

As part of a clinical trial at UC San Diego Health’s Moores Cancer Center, the world’s first human patient was treated for cancer with FT500, a human-induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived cell therapy, in February.

“This is a landmark accomplishment for the field of stem cell-based medicine and cancer immunotherapy,” said Dan Kaufman, director of cell therapy at UCSD School of Medicine. “Together with Fate Therapeutics, we’ve been able to show in preclinical research that this new strategy, to produce pluripotent stem cell-derived natural killer cells, can effectively kill cancer cells in cell culture and in mouse models.”

The patient, Derek Ruff, found that his cancer had returned after 10 years of remission — this time as Stage IV colon. Despite aggressive rounds of chemotherapy, palliative radiotherapy and immunotherapy, his disease progressed. Ruff and his doctors now patiently wait to see if the progression of his cancer has slowed.

“Everyone is excited and optimistic about this trial and it spilled over to us,” Ruff said. “My options aren’t otherwise good. Some people may not opt for a clinical trial, but for me, I want a chance at a cure.”

Art & Wine Fest OK on wine, needs art

The La Jolla Art & Wine Festival, scheduled for Oct. 12-13 along Girard Avenue, still needs oil painters, photographers, watercolorists, sculptors, jewelers and artists in mixed-media, ceramics and glass to show and sell their work.

Applicants must have a free profile account on Zapp (, then pay a non-refundable application fee of $35. For more info, visit or e-mail

Taxman cometh to Kiwanis

San Diego County Treasurer-Tax Collector Dan McAllister will speak at the next Kiwanis Club of La Jolla meeting, noon Friday, April 5 at Chateau La Jolla, 233 Prospect St. Admission for the public is $15, and includes lunch. Questions? Call (858) 945-2280.

Jersey Mikes donates to Rady

The Jersey Mike’s sub shop in La Jolla joined its 42 other San Diego franchises by donating 100 percent of the proceeds of sales on March 27 to the Rady Children’s Hospital’s 3D Innovations Lab. In the past eight years, Jersey Mike’s said it has helped raise more than $1 million for Rady Children’s.

— Compiled by Corey Levitan from local reports.