La Jolla News Nuggets

Corey Levitan and Daniel K. Lew of 'La Jolla Light' won top awards from the San Diego Press Club on Oct. 29

‘Light’ staff earns Press Club awards

La Jolla Light received seven Excellence in Journalism awards — including five for first place — from the San Diego Press Club at its 46th annual recognition dinner on Oct. 29 at the Jacobs Center at Market Creek.

The winning entries were:

Feature Serious Subject: First place, “The War Inside: The tragic tale of Vietnam vet Jeff Junkins” by Corey Levitan;

Feature Light Subject: First place, “Sperms of Endearment: 20 years after donating, Casa de Manana exec finds instant family” by Corey Levitan;

History: First place, “J. Edgars’ La Jolla: Remembering the Hotel Del Charro” by Corey Levitan;

Humor: First place, “Proving his Metal: Detectorist demonstrates the art of the beach dig” by Corey Levitan; and

Feature Layout Design: First place, “Secret La Jolla: 11 things only La Jollans know about their hometown” by Daniel K. Lew; second place, “Sacred Grounds: A coffeehouse tour of La Jolla” by Daniel K. Lew; and third place, “REALLY locally grown: Urban farming is alive and well in La Jolla” by Daniel K. Lew.

National recognition for Surf Diva

The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) has awarded La Jolla’s Surf Diva with its Trailblazer Award for being ahead of the curve in business. The ceremony was held in Carlsbad on Nov. 1.

“We are so excited to be honored by NAWBO, which is an amazing organization bringing together female business owners to empower, network and support women,” said Coco Tihanyi, who co-founded the all-women’s surf school with her twin sister, Izzy, in 1996.

“This is a very special award for us, as we continue to create new growth opportunities for our Surf Diva students and clients who support our business,” Izzy added.

Scripps gets $5M grant to study algae bloom

La Jolla’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography has been awarded a $4.9 million federal grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to find out why algae sometimes produces the deadly neurotoxin domoic acid.

In 2015, the largest toxic algae bloom ever recorded caused massive marine die-offs from central California to the Alaskan peninsula. Entire fishing industries were temporarily closed and lost millions of dollars.

Genomics experts, biological and physical oceanographers and engineers from Scripps will team up with researchers from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) and the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project for a series of month-long sea expeditions in open water to search for the dangerous blooms next fall and the following spring. MBARI will supply a long-range autonomous underwater vehicle that can be launched from a small ship into algal blooms off the coast of California.

“It’s a challenge to track algal blooms as they develop, since satellite imagery is not instantly available and doesn’t tell us what is happening below the ocean surface,” said Clarissa Anderson, a Scripps biological oceanographer. “These underwater robots will help us detect and follow subsurface blooms and better understand the conditions of the deeper ocean when they occur.”

Salk donors give record $89M

The Salk Institute received a record-breaking $89 million in private donations and grants from 1,204 donors in fiscal year 2019, the elite La Jolla biomedical facility announced. In a press release, it said the money will “help accelerate discoveries in cancer, climate change, Alzheimer’s and more.”

“The financial support we received this past year from donors and public agency partners has been impressive and critical for our mission,” says Salk president Rusty Gage. “Their investment in Salk research will assist the overall effort to advance important discoveries on some of the most challenging scientific issues of our time.”

While Salk reported receiving $93 million for the 2012 fiscal year, that included a $42 million gift pledged by the Helmsley Foundation but not delivered that year, the institute said.

Salk reported receiving $48.5 million for the 2018 fiscal year.

Country Day Athletic Hall of Fame inducts 4

Star student athletes Rashawn Allen and Ali Hawkins Pfitzenmaier were inducted into the La Jolla Country Day School (LJCDS) Athletic Hall of Fame during an Oct. 25 ceremony — alongside popular retired coaches Bill Cahoone and Rick Woods.

Rashawn competed in basketball, cross country and track from 1997 until graduating in 2001, finishing his basketball career as the school’s all-time leading scorer at the time with 2,325 points. Pfitzenmaier was a superstar on the women’s soccer team from 2003 until she graduated in 2006, serving as both team captain and team MVP for three years. Cahoone, whose LJCDS tenure spanned nearly four decades, was the head coach for men’s basketball, women’s basketball, women’s softball, men’s golf and women’s golf. From 1983 to 1995, Woods coached football, men’s and women’s track, and men’s and women’s JV basketball.

Inductions take place every other year.

Hard Court Championships coming to Beach & Tennis Club

The United States Tennis Association’s (USTA) National Hard Court Championships will take place Monday through Sunday, Dec. 2-8 at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, 2000 Spindrift Drive.

Tournament competition is slated for men and women in singles, doubles and mixed doubles events for players 40 and over. Participants will include former touring pros and the nation’s strongest players in this age group. Matches are scheduled each day of the week, with the finals scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 8.

Also on the agenda is the USTA National Father/Son and Grandfather/Grandson Hard Court Doubles Championships, Dec. 6-8.

All matches are free to spectators. Interested entrants should contact Conan Lorenzo at (619) 846-3094. Schedules and match times for individual events will be posted closer to the event at

Urey-ka! Biographer of Nobel Prize winner to read at Wills

Author Matthew Shindell will read from and discuss his new book, “The Life and Science of Harold C. Urey,” 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23 at D.G. Wills Books, 7461 Girard Ave.

Urey, who died in La Jolla in 1981 at age 87, received the Nobel Prize in 1934 for his discovery of deuterium and heavy water, participated in both the Manhattan Project and in NASA’s lunar-exploration program, and was one of the founding members of UC San Diego’s school of chemistry.

Shindell — who holds a Ph.D. from UCSD’s history department and science studies program — is the curator of planetary science and exploration at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.