La Jolla News Nuggets: Enhance La Jolla Day, spring event, paddle-out, shoe donation, code suggestions, more

Enhance La Jolla Day will be held from 7 to 11 a.m. Saturday, March 20.

Enhance La Jolla Day set for this weekend

The La Jolla Village Merchants Association is partnering with Enhance La Jolla, which administers the Maintenance Assessment District for The Village, and other community groups for Enhance La Jolla Day from 7 to 11 a.m. Saturday, March 20.

The community improvement day started as a way to get volunteers involved in ongoing projects, “but then it took on a life of its own” and is bringing together community groups such as the Village Merchants Association, Enhance La Jolla, La Jolla Community Foundation and La Jolla Town Council, said Enhance La Jolla President Ed Witt.

“We’ve invited all the groups we could think of so they could come, have a table and give the community a chance to see these people and learn what they do and at the same time help with our efforts,” he said.

As part of the event, volunteers will go up and down Girard Avenue and Wall Street and place rocks in tree wells that are empty or have gaps that pose a trip hazard, as well as plant new vegetation. “It’s going to change the way Girard looks,” Witt said.

La Jolla Rec Center to host spring holiday event

The La Jolla Recreation Center at 615 Prospect St. will host its spring holiday event from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 27, when guests will be able to see the bunny and receive a goodie bag.

It will be a pass-through, contactless event, and participants are asked to wear masks and follow social-distancing guidelines. For more information, call (858) 552-1658.

Project Clean Water to celebrate World Water Day

Project Clean Water, a forum to centralize information about water quality across San Diego and parts of Orange and Riverside counties, is encouraging people to paddle out at local beaches for World Water Day at 10:30 a.m. Monday, March 22.

The event is intended for participants to paddle out individually and socially distanced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will launch Project Clean Water’s regional water-quality protection campaign in San Diego County.

Stella Maris students collect shoes for charity

Stella Maris Academy students collected shoes for Father Joe's Villages and arranged the donation in a heart shape.
Seventh-graders at Stella Maris Academy collected more than 100 pairs of shoes for Father Joe’s Villages and arranged the donation in a heart shape.

Seventh-graders at Stella Maris Academy in La Jolla have collected more than 100 pairs of shoes to donate to homelessness charity Father Joe’s Villages. The collection was taken up as the students’ Lent outreach program in place of the usual field trips for service activities, which are limited due to the pandemic.

The donation, arranged in a heart shape, was given to Father Joe’s Villages Chief Executive Jim Vargas on March 4. The students are continuing to collect items such as jackets, blankets, towels and toiletries throughout the Lenten season.

The La Jolla Community Planning Association approved changes to San Diego development code recommended by its Development Permit Review Committee.

Among the revisions the DPR suggested is that the city edit the code to better explain that when multiple structure height measurements can be used, the lowest or most restrictive one will constitute the maximum overall height. The committee also recommended adding clarifying language on what constitutes a “separation” between buildings, which affects how overall height is measured, and tighten a loophole in what is known as the 50 percent rule, through which a developer could bypass a coastal development permit if the project retains 50 percent of the original walls.

During LJCPA’s March 4 meeting, the board extracted the discussion of the height measurement. A motion to adopt the code revisions without the height limit discussion passed, with only trustee Dan Courtney objecting. He said LJCPA trustees did not have enough time to review the proposed amendments and recommended that the matter return the following month.

Speaking to the amendment regarding height limit measurement, critics such as trustee Kathleen Neil said it doesn’t clarify the code and “just adds verbiage.”

But DPR member and LJCPA President Diane Kane said it “put everything in one area of the code, instead of across three sections, and [developers] have to comply with all of them, with the most restrictive one prevailing.”

A motion to adopt the height recommendation passed with Courtney, Neil and Ray Weiss objecting without comment.

Salk Institute introduces new microscopy method

A new method of obtaining images of cells and cellular structure developed by scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla could make the technology more accessible by taking high-resolution images and artificially degrading them.

The new tool could make it significantly easier for scientists to get detailed images of cells or cellular structures that have been difficult to observe because they require low-light conditions, including mitochondria, which can divide when stressed by lasers used to illuminate them. It also could enable scientists to capture high-resolution images even if they don’t have access to powerful microscopes. The findings were published March 8 in the journal Nature Methods.

Salk professor named first holder of Hess Chair in Plant Science

Professor Wolfgang Busch of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla has been named the first holder of the Hess Chair in Plant Science, effective April 1.

Hess Corp., a global energy company, recently donated $3 million to establish the endowed chair at Salk.

Busch is one of six Salk plant biologists driving an effort to tackle climate change through the Harnessing Plants Initiative, which aims to optimize plants to address some of the effects of climate change while providing more food, fuel and fiber for a growing population. Busch studies plants’ roots and their potential for storing possibly billions of tons of carbon per year from the atmosphere.

Online survey seeks input on new San Diego library master plan

San Diego residents can give their opinions on the future of the city’s 36-branch library system by participating in an online survey available through Saturday, April 17.

The input will help city officials create a new library master plan in the post-COVID-19 world. The plan will guide how branches operate, which services they provide and what role technology will play.

The master plan hasn’t been updated since 2002, when it was adopted based on census data from 1990.

Focus groups and other community engagement efforts also will be conducted to ensure that harder-to-reach populations can weigh
in, officials said.

Printed versions of the survey will be available at branch locations for those who cannot participate online. Once completed, they can be dropped in any library book return.

The online survey is at For details on the master plan, visit — The San Diego Union-Tribune

Organization gets over $250,000 from Champions for Youth fundraiser competition

Just in Time for Foster Youth, a San Diego nonprofit dedicated to helping foster youths achieve self-sufficiency, was awarded a total of $252,353 as a result of its participation in Champions for Youth, the core charitable program of the La Jolla-based Century Club of San Diego, which manages the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course.

JIT was one of six local nonprofit organizations participating in the annual Champions for Youth fundraiser competition. Each organization was tasked with peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns that doubled as competitions for the highest amount raised and highest number of unique donors.

JIT placed first in both categories by raising $184,620 from nearly 600 unique donors. As the overall winner, JIT earned the largest share of additional funds from the Farmers Cares Bonus pool, bringing the total award to just over a quarter of a million dollars.

— Compiled by La Jolla Light staff