La Jolla News Nuggets: Mural painted on boarded-up Ascot Shop, concours canceled and more

Volunteers paint a mural on the Ascot Shop on Girard Avenue.

Mural painted on boarded-up Village storefront

To brighten up some of the “depressing” storefronts covered with plywood in The Village, members of the community have taken to painting murals. The first was on plywood covering the Ascot Shop, a men’s clothing store at 7750 Girard Ave.

Several La Jolla businesses boarded up as a precaution after looting occurred amid some of the recent protests in San Diego County and some La Jolla businesses were hit by vandalism last week.

Some of the painters are members of the women’s philanthropy group Las Patronas, but it wasn’t a Las Patronas project.

“Some of the current and retired Las Patronas women got together with an idea to address the depressing sight of plywood on our Village shop windows,” advisory member Julie Matibag said. “The Ascot Shop was the first to take us up on our idea of painting a more hopeful future for our community. Though we are hopeful that plywood will soon be coming down and our shops reopening, we are extending our offer of free mural painting to all merchants and closed businesses with boarded-up windows.

“Several mural artists approached us as we were painting at the Ascot Shop on Sunday with a desire to team up on future projects. We are using paint and supplies out of our garages and will work with shop owners to implement any design they like.”

2020 Concours d’Elegance canceled

Organizers of the 16th annual La Jolla Concours d’Elegance car show announced the 2020 event has been canceled, citing “uncertainty over how the [corona]virus will be impacting life this fall.”

A statement by MacFarlane Promotions reads: “After a lengthy period of consideration with our planning committee, event production team and city officials, we must prioritize the safety and health of all attendees, entrants, sponsors, vendors, staff and volunteers. … It is with a heavy heart that we must formally announce that the 16th annual La Jolla Concours d’Elegance, currently scheduled for September 2020, will be moved to April 16-18, 2021.”

The event doubles as a fundraiser for the La Jolla Historical Society, and supporters are encouraged to contribute via

“When we meet again on the coastal shores of La Jolla to celebrate automotive excellence, you will find an amplified version of the signature event you have come to know and love,” the statement says.

La Jolla water polo MVP receives local award

La Jolla residents Dave and Joyce Abrams have given this year’s Matthew Abrams Memorial Award to La Jolla High School junior and water polo goalie Levi Lentin, who was voted MVP by his teammates. He earned his own plaque, his name on the award plaque at the Coggan Family Aquatic Complex and a $1,000 scholarship.

Joyce and Dave Abrams with La Jolla High water polo goalie Levi Lentin, recipient of the Matthew Abrams Memorial Award.
Joyce and Dave Abrams congratulate La Jolla High School water polo goalie Levi Lentin for receiving this year’s Matthew Abrams Memorial Award.

The Abramses began the memorial award in 2019 after their son Matthew died of cancer in 2018 at age 37. Matthew was water polo MVP at LJHS in 1999.

“Water polo was very important to [Matthew],” Dave Abrams said. “We thought it was most appropriate to memorialize him in that fashion.”

The Abramses normally would have presented Levi with his award at the traditional LJHS awards ceremony but this year opted for a smaller poolside ceremony at the Coggan complex in light of coronavirus-related restrictions against large gatherings.

The Abramses, water polo coach Tom Atwell, Levi and his parents and grandfather attended.

“Levi is really a good player,” Joyce Abrams said. “Our son is helping someone so deserving.”

UCSD receives $350,000 for COVID-19 screening research

UC San Diego has received a $350,000 donation from Jean and Gary Shekhter to help fund the San Diego Epidemiology and Research for COVID-19 Health study, which is aimed at helping local businesses and employees return to work safely by screening community members for presence of the coronavirus.

The study is co-led by UC San Diego, Scripps Research and Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego.

“Based on my understanding about COVID-19, the most efficient way of opening the economy is to screen more people,” Gary Shekhter said. “Screening gives us an understanding of what’s going on in the community, such as seeing a particular situation in an area ignite, then isolating and dealing with the contact area.”

Other research partners include the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and Biocom.

La Jollans are valedictorians at University of San Diego

Two students from La Jolla graduated from the University of San Diego for the 2019-20 school year as valedictorians.

Ava Bellizzi is valedictorian for the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering. She earned a 3.99 grade-point average and graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.

Nikta Shahbaz is valedictorian for the College of Arts and Sciences, earning a 4.0 GPA and graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary humanities. ◆