La Jolla News Nuggets

John and Dina Johns bookend artist James Hubbell and Mary Coakley Munk in front of the Ocean Discovery Institute’s new Currents gate — accompanied by students of the City Heights facility.

Ocean Discovery Institute honors the late Walter Munk

A new gate, designed by artist James Hubbell, was unveiled Nov. 12 at the main entry way for the Living Lab, the latest structure opened at the Ocean Discovery Institute in City Heights. Donated by La Jolla residents John and Dina Johns, the Currents Gate honors late Scripps Institution of Oceanography legend Walter Munk.

“If Jim Hubbell and Walter Munk can navigate life’s currents and achieve so much, then our students must know that they have the prospect of doing it, too,” said John Johns at the dedication. “Jim’s artwork and Walter’s legacy — as represented in the Currents Gate — will be a daily reminder of what is possible for all who enter through it.”

Built in partnership with the San Diego Unified School District and opened in September 2018, the Living Lab enables Ocean Discovery to reach all 10,000 school-age children in City Heights, encouraging them to explore science and conservation.

“Walter was always about sharing the ocean with children of all ages — which is exactly what Ocean Discovery does,” said Munk’s widow, Mary Coakley Munk, at the dedication.

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UCSD professor protests Trump’s climate inaction

On the heels of the Trump administration’s formal withdrawal of the United States from the Paris climate accord, more than 11,000 climate scientists signed a declaration earlier this month calling climate change “an emergency” and urging new ways to measure its effects. David Victor, professor of international relations at UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy, served as an academic reviewer of the declaration.

“You see climate change policy efforts almost everywhere you look,” Victor said. “There are up to a dozen climate-change policy conferences that occur every year now. You see it in the actions of companies. Even big oil and gas has invested heavily in a range of new emission cutting strategies. Evidence of climate change policy is everywhere, except where it matters most: the data on the environment.”

City accepting pre-approved granny flat plans

The City of San Diego’s Development Services Department (DSD) is accepting permit-ready, no-cost building plans to construct new companion and junior units in existing single-family or multi-family properties.

Companion units — also called accessory dwelling units, casitas, cottages or granny flats — are detached or attached accessory structures located on residential lots, while a junior unit is contained entirely within an existing single-dwelling unit.

“We’re doing everything we can to make it easier and cheaper to build housing here in San Diego,” said Mayor Kevin Faulconer. “Granny flats are exploding in popularity thanks to our housing reforms, and now residents can build them for less with pre-approved plans that will ensure the permitting process is quick and efficient.”

Homeowners can apply for a building permit with the pre-approved granny flat plans, but additional site-specific technical plans and calculations may still be required. To be able to use the permit-ready design plans, applicants must ensure the plans for their proposed project meet the City’s submittal guidelines for a building permit and then make an appointment by calling (619) 446-5300 to review their plans and other requirements to obtain a building permit.

La Jolla Community Center adds another board member

George Coles has joined the La Jolla Community Center’s board of directors. Coles, a long-time La Jolla resident, was the president of Coles Fine Flooring for 45 years until retiring in 2013.

“I want to help La Jollans and others become aware of what the Center provides — its classes, offerings and services,” said Coles, who takes yoga classes and enjoys the diverse activities there.

The La Jolla Community Center, 6811 La Jolla Blvd., is actively seeking additional board members. If interested in applying, call Ruth Yansick at (858) 459-0831.

Orthodox Jews pitch La Jolla to New Yorkers

Representatives of La Jolla’s Congregation Adat Yeshurun, 8625 La Jolla Scenic Drive North, recently traveled to New York City for the Orthodox Union’s (OU) International Jewish Community Home & Job Relocation Fair, where they pitched fellow Orthodox Jews the benefits of relocating to La Jolla.

“For various reasons — including the high costs of tuition and housing in the New York City area — there is a growing cadre of Orthodox families exploring other locations throughout the country and Israel to establish their homes,” explained OU president Moishe Bane in a press announcement about the fair.

The congregation’s table banner read “Kosher in Paradise.”

“The enthusiasm shown by the representatives from La Jolla as they demonstrated the vibrancy of their community’s Orthodox Jewish life was truly extraordinary,” said OU executive VP Allen Fagin. “As dozens of community fair participants crowded around their table, they had an opportunity to be introduced to a welcoming community rich in the infrastructure necessary for a full and meaningful Orthodox life.”

New menus debut at Café La Rue

The La Valencia Hotel’s Café La Rue, on the sidewalk at 1132 Prospect St., has overhauled its all-day, happy hour and drink menus.

Executive chef Timothy Ralphs’ all-day menu now includes Deviled Eggs with Trout Roe, mustard and Aleppo and other comfort classics with a twist such as Oysters Sophia with shrimp, spinach and parmesan cheese and Elote Bites to start. Larger plates include his Beets & Baguette, Pork Belly Bahn Mi, Fish & Chips and Signature Mac & Cheese with bacon lardon and breadcrumbs.

Happy hour now features bites starting at $6, including Ralphs’ Chicken Cordon Bleu Bites, Andouille Risotto Balls and Brie & Raspberry En Croute.

In addition to the menu changes, Café La Rue now offers live music every Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

— Compiled by Corey Levitan from local reports.