Coast is clearing at Princess St.

Workers from Urban Corps of San Diego have taken the first tangible step toward reopening La Jolla’s Princess Street beach access, which has sat behind a locked gate since the 1970s.

On June 10, seven Urban Corps workers entered the once-and-future trail to clear brush and debris, and cut all vegetation to six inches from the ground, facilitating a topographical survey by land-surveying company SB&O. (After that, the trail will be designed by Rana Creek Design, and then construction will begin.) The bill is being footed by a $38,000 grant given last year by the California Coastal Conservancy to the Environmental Center of San Diego.

“I feel that a dream’s come true,” said beach-access activist Melinda Merryweather as she watched the brush cleared. “This is a public right-of-way and I have known all the families that lived in this house since the ‘50s. I originally lived down the street with my mom, and we used to come down here all the time.”

Developer Ure Kretowicz, who bought the neighboring property in 1994 with his wife, Diane, was told by the California Coastal Commission in 2005 that the public access needed to be restored. The case settled a year or two later with an agreement that it would happen in 15 years or when the couple dies. Kretowicz sued the Commission again in 2012, but lost both there and on appeal in 2015.

The hope is to reopen access to the public sometime next year, Merryweather said.

National merit awards for two La Jolla students

When the first 3,500 winners of this year’s National Merit Scholarships were announced, two Bishop’s School seniors were on the list: Elizabeth Zymanski, who won a scholarship from Northwestern University, and Isabelle Kenagy, who won one from the University of Southern California.

Officials from 173 sponsor colleges selected their scholarship winners from among the finalists who planned to attend their institution. The awards provide between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study.

More than 1.6 million juniors attending more than 22,000 high schools applied for the program when they took the 2017 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

Pup stars at Paws & Pints

La Jolla Veterinary Hospital’s sixth annual Paws & Pints event was held June 6 at The LOT, raising $30,000 for the Rancho Coastal Humane Society (RCHS)’s Friends Of County Animal Shelters (FOCAS) program and the Foundation for Animal Care and Education (FACE), a non-profit that provides financial assistance for owners who cannot afford emergency veterinary care.

“We are honored to be able to support two incredible beneficiaries like RCHS and FACE in a very hyper-local way within our community,” said Stephanie Coolidge, Paws & Pints director and hospital administrator for La Jolla Veterinary Hospital. “This event is now a La Jolla tradition that is anticipated by animal-lovers all over San Diego.”

More than 600 animal-lovers, and their animals, had a reported ball.

Playhouse strikes it ‘Rich’

Longtime benefactors Bob and Mindy Rich have made what La Jolla Playhouse announced as a “major gift” to endow a new artistic-director chair at the theater.

The Playhouse announced that the gift — whose amount it would not disclose — will designate Christopher Ashley as the Rich Family Artistic Director of La Jolla Playhouse. Ashley, the Playhouse’s artistic director since 2007, has directed nine Broadway shows, including the current, Playhouse-launched hit “Come From Away,” for which he won a Tony Award in 2017.

“It’s a distinct pleasure to advance the work of La Jolla Playhouse, while recognizing the tremendous contributions that Chris has made to regional and national theater,” said Mindy Rich.

Two anti-cancer celebrations

On Thursday, June 20 — proclaimed “World Without Cancer Day” by Mayor Kevin Faulconer and City of San Diego — more than 50 San Diego businesses will fundraise for Padres Pedal the Cause, a non-profit funding arm for San Diego’s collaborative cancer research community.

In La Jolla, the participants are Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, 5627 La Jolla Blvd.; Beaumont’s, 5662 La Jolla Blvd.; and Chiltonic, 7825 Fay Ave., Suite LL-C.

Then, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 22, Scripps MD Anderson Cancer Center will host a free public celebration for local cancer survivors, families, friends and the community at large, at Farmer & The Seahorse restaurant, 10996 Torreyana Road.

Part of the 32nd annual observance of National Cancer Survivors Day, this event is open to anyone affected by cancer, including patients, caregivers and loved ones. Included will be inspirational stories of survival, complimentary lunch, entertainment by the Ka Lei Aloha O hula dancers and opportunities to connect with caregivers and fellow survivors. 800-SCRIPPS (727-4777).

Aging into a job

Shelley Lyford, president and CEO of La Jolla’s West Health Institute, is now a member of the California Commission on Aging, where she will help create the state’s first Master Plan for Aging.

“We are at a pivotal point in our history when, for the first time, seniors will soon outnumber children,” Lyford said. “We need to act now to improve our healthcare and social services to prepare for this important generational shift.”

Lyford led West Health’s development of several innovative models for senior healthcare, including launching the Gary and Mary West Senior Dental Center for low-income seniors in 2016 and opening the Gary and Mary West Senior Emergency Department at UC San Diego Health in 2019.

Pinnacle remodeling its own office

Pinnacle Remodeling has acquired a 2,028-square foot mixed-use property in Bird Rock for $1.15 million. The residential remodeling company said it plans to open its new office, at 5761-5763 La Jolla Blvd., immediately.

“The Bird Rock neighborhood has an exciting retail, culinary and boutique office environment, located just minutes from both Pacific Beach and La Jolla,” said Joe Brady of Colliers International, which represented both the buyer and the seller, the Lounsberry Family Trust. “Pinnacle Remodeling’s new office will add to the neighborhood’s unique offerings and support the company’s ability to serve clients.”

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— Compiled by Corey Levitan