News Nuggets: Fourth of July festivities canceled; 5 La Jolla grads earn scholarships; and more

The Bird Rock Independence Day parade, pictured in 2017, is not being held this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Bird Rock and La Jolla Cove July 4 events take the year off; parade organizers focus on charity

The traditional Bird Rock Independence Day parade and the La Jolla Cove Fourth of July fireworks show have been canceled this year amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

La Jolla Cove fireworks show organizer Jack McGrory told the Light that “we had the money [to fund the show] but decided that it wouldn’t be in the community’s best interest in light of the virus crisis.”

Russ Murfey of Murfey Co., which has coordinated and sponsored the Bird Rock parade, said via email that the Fourth of July celebration there has been “a staple of the Murfey family since its inception and we are sad to take a pause, but we also see it as an opportunity to reflect and to implement positive change. ... That being said, we want to use all of the amazing support and community love to give back to an amazing charity, Voices for Children.”

Voices for Children provides abused youths with court-appointed special advocates who work with them to ensure their needs are met.

“Our goal is to raise $10,000,” Murfey said in the email. “Every $2,500 donated is enough to fund a CASA for one year for one child. With our impact we can permanently improve people’s lives who need it most and deserve an equal shot at life.”

To donate, visit

Cox Charities awards scholarships to 5 La Jolla grads

Cox Charities awarded a total of $77,000 in scholarships to 25 students this year, five of them from La Jolla schools. Cox Charities is the philanthropic arm of Cox Communications.

Cox Charities Advisory Board members invited students to participate in video calls to learn about their post-graduation plans and what a scholarship would mean to them. The students were unaware at the start of the calls that they had already been selected as Cox Scholars and were surprised to learn that Cox would be awarding each of them a scholarship for college.

The students were selected based on their academic success, community service, leadership and commitment to education.

Local Cox Scholars include two La Jolla High School graduates — Dagmawit Assaye, who will be attending UC Riverside to major in public policy with a focus on health and population, and Luke Cepurac, who will attend Harvard University to pursue a degree in biological sciences — and three graduates of The Preuss School — Gicel Abraham, who will attend UC Davis to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering; Zundus Farah, who will attend UC San Diego to major in mathematics with a focus on scientific computation; and Kevin Vo, who did not disclose which college he will attend but intends to study engineering.

City restarting parking enforcement

The city of San Diego says enforcement of all parking regulations will resume Wednesday, July 1, beginning with a two-week grace period. Citations and fines will be issued beginning Wednesday, July 15.

The city suspended parking enforcement March 16 following stay-at-home orders issued in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. In developing a plan to restart parking enforcement, city staff consulted with several business groups representing communities across San Diego.

Starting July 1, the city will issue written warnings for vehicles parked in violation of:

  • Posted street sweeping routes
  • Metered parking restrictions
  • Curb time limits
  • Commercial zones

Street sweeping has continued during the coronavirus crisis. Notices will be distributed to residents informing them of the enforcement restart and return to regular service. To view an interactive map and street sweeping schedules, visit

To learn more about city parking rules or to pay a fine online, visit

County Office of Education launches free online suicide prevention training

The San Diego County Office of Education, along with the California Department of Education, announced a free suicide prevention training program available online to middle and high school students and staff members throughout the state.

“The COVID-19 pandemic not only disrupted the academic lives of our students and families, but it may have contributed to emotional and mental health challenges that some of our students struggle with,” said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond. “It is important that students know that they have someone to turn to within their school community when they are feeling overwhelmed. Providing this specialized training to school staff and peers can not only be utilized to support students in crisis during the critical time we are in now, but any time a student is feeling despondent, stressful and alone.”

The online training program is called LivingWorks Start and is aligned with the department’s Model Youth Suicide Prevention Policy. The department selected the San Diego County Office of Education to lead the effort and make the training available to local educational agencies.

MTS bus service increases on La Jolla route and others

The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System has started increasing service on 40 bus routes as demand grows following the coronavirus slowdown, including Route 30, which provides service among La Jolla, Pacific Beach, downtown San Diego and Old Town. Buses on the route will now come every 15 minutes as opposed to every 15 to 30 minutes.

Many of the 40 routes will return to their pre-pandemic schedules. The agency had cut frequency on bus lines by 25 percent across the system.

“Our increase in service is in response to the number of people who are returning to work and who depend on transit,” MTS Chief Executive Sharon Cooney said in a statement. “Increasing service helps our riders achieve physical distancing.”

The bus system now averages more than 52,000 trips per weekday. That’s down from about 160,000 trips a day before the pandemic, but up from less than 40,000 trips a day in April.

A full list of route changes is at

MTS is still not taking cash payments on its buses, passengers are required to wear face masks, and social distancing and hand washing are encouraged.

Compiled by La Jolla Light staff