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La Jolla News Nuggets: Fox rescue, Innovation Center, Windansea cleanup, graffiti, more

A gray fox that had been rescued and rehabilitated was released back to Mount Soledad.
(Courtesy of San Diego Humane Society)

Gray fox pup released on Mount Soledad after rescue

A young gray fox that had been rescued on Mount Soledad is back in the La Jolla wild after being rehabilitated by the San Diego Humane Society’s Project Wildlife team.

The female gray fox is about 12 weeks old and had been found by a good Samaritan who noticed she was struggling to walk.

La Jolla residents have spotted some not so sly foxes in and around their yards recently, with some people taking to social media to post photos and videos of the creatures, both solo and in groups called skulks.

The Humane Society rescued the fox, which was taken to the Bahde Wildlife Center in San Diego. She had an abnormal gait, using both hind legs in unison and effectively bunny-hopping, said spokeswoman Nina Thompson.

Wildlife veterinarians were worried the animal was suffering from hip dysplasia or neosporosis, but results from lab work and radiographs came back normal.

The fox was transferred to the Ramona Wildlife Center for more space in a larger enclosure and additional observation.

After 10 days in Ramona, the fox had improved and was walking normally again. She was released July 9 on Mount Soledad, not far from where she had been found. — The San Diego Union-Tribune

Construction to start soon on 7-story La Jolla Innovation Center

The planned La Jolla Innovation Center is at the center of this rendering.
(Courtesy of GPI Cos.)

Construction on the $70 million La Jolla Innovation Center at the corner of La Jolla Village Drive and Villa La Jolla Drive is expected to begin next month.

The seven-story tower, which will house UC San Diego health and medical programs across the street from the main campus, represents a public-private partnership between UCSD and GPI Cos., a Los Angeles real estate investment and development firm.

The University of California Board of Regents is buying the 1-acre building site from GPI, which will design, finance, build and maintain the tower, which will have about 110,000 square feet of space, UCSD says. The campus will lease the building from GPI.

The new center will be 100 feet tall, which has sparked opposition from some La Jolla residents. Some said the building should be no taller than 30 feet to ensure that it complies with the city coastal height limit.

UCSD said in a planning document that “as a constitutionally established state entity, the university is not subject to municipal plans, policies and regulations of surrounding local governments, such as the city’s general plan or its coastal height limit overlay zone.” — The San Diego Union-Tribune

Windansea Surf Club completes July 5 beach cleanup

Windansea Surf Club members gather after their beach cleanup July 5.
(Courtesy of Melinda Merryweather)

The morning after the Fourth of July holiday, the Windansea Surf Club conducted a coastline cleanup at its namesake beach in La Jolla. Over several hours, volunteers picked up cigarette butts, cans, bottles and other discarded items, though club member Melinda Merryweather said that by and large, “the public left the beach pretty clean.”

The club conducts about five beach cleanups a year, one of them focused on the streets and gutters that feed directly to Windansea. The next cleanup will be in November, before the rainy season begins and the dirt, grime and litter on the ground gets washed into the ocean.

Learn more at windanseasurfclub.org.

Analysis shows little disparity in S.D. graffiti response times

New data indicate that the city of San Diego responds to graffiti calls equally quickly when most low-income and high-income neighborhoods are compared but that neighborhoods with the most graffiti reports tend to get faster service.

During the three-year period covering 2018 through 2020, the average time it took city crews to handle graffiti on city property and in the public right of way — which accounts for about half of all graffiti reports in the city — was eight to nine days in City Council Districts 4, 8 and 9, the three poorest.

The average also was eight or nine days in every other council district except District 1 (11 days) and District 5 (12 days). District 1 (which includes La Jolla and Carmel Valley) and District 5 (which includes Rancho Bernardo and Scripps Ranch) are among the wealthiest in San Diego. City officials said the slower responses were the result of significantly fewer graffiti reports in those districts, making it less convenient to respond.

During the three-year period studied, the urban core neighborhoods of District 3 led the city with 12,172 reports, followed by eastern urban District 9 with 8,336 and the beach communities in District 2 with 6,915. The number of reports in District 1 was 914, the fewest except District 5, which had 437.

Meanwhile, the City Council has doubled the permanent annual funding, from $150,000 to $300,000, for a program in which volunteers from the nonprofit Urban Corps remove graffiti on residential properties that request such service. — The San Diego Union-Tribune

ChalkUp event draws messages about voting rights

The ChalkUp on July 10 featured people drawing messages on the La Jolla Bike Path, billed as a celebration of voting rights.
The latest ChalkUp event July 10 featured people drawing messages on the La Jolla Bike Path, billed as a celebration of voting rights.
(Molly Bowman Styles)

The latest ChalkUp, a series of events organized by La Jolla residents to draw messages in chalk on the La Jolla Bike Path, took place July 10.

Billed as a celebration of voting rights and community diversity, the event drew about 25 people, according to La Jollan Molly Bowman Styles.

Participants added messages and filled out postcards addressed to U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla, encouraging them to support two voting access bills, the For the People Act of 2021 and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

Another ChalkUp will be held after Labor Day, Bowman Styles said.

Jack McGrory and Una Davis to be honored as Balboa Park Icons

La Jolla residents Jack McGrory and Una Davis, longtime supporters of many cultural institutions in San Diego’s Balboa Park, are this year’s winners of the Patrons of the Prado Icon Award for Arts & Culture. A plaque will be unveiled in Balboa Park on Saturday, July 17.

The Icon Award recognizes the contributions of individuals and organizations to the 10 Balboa Park institutions supported by Patrons of the Prado.

The inaugural Icon Award was presented to Sheryl and Harvey White, who also will be honored at the unveiling, as last year’s celebration was not held due to COVID-19 restrictions.

UC San Diego performs county’s first lung transplant with new approach

The lung transplant team at UC San Diego Health recently performed San Diego County’s first transplant surgery with lungs donated after cardiac death, an approach expected to help expand the pool of potential donors and shorten recipient wait times.

Two transplants using lungs from donors whose hearts stopped functioning before the organ removal have been performed, according to Dr. Eugene Golts, surgical director of UCSD Health’s lung transplant program.

On any given day, 1,300 to 3,200 people are on the waiting list for a lung transplant in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Human Health and Services. The average wait time for donor lungs is 180 days.

“Organ donation after cardiac death is one possible solution to the current organ shortage we face,” Golts said.

The standard practice for lung transplants requires that all organs, except the brain, be functional at the time of donation.

During donation after cardiac death, or DCD, the lungs are procured from patients who died because their heart stopped.

DCD transplants in the United States have been performed with other organs, including the kidneys and liver. To date in California, 63 DCD lung transplants have been performed, five of them this year.

UCSD Health is the only hospital system in San Diego County with a lung transplant program; about 40 are performed per year.

UC San Diego School of Medicine researchers say they have identified a possible link between inadequate exposure to ultraviolet-B light from the sun and an increased risk of colorectal cancer, especially as people age.

“Although this is still preliminary evidence, it may be that older individuals in particular may reduce their risk of colorectal cancer by correcting deficiencies in vitamin D,” said Raphael Cuomo, an assistant professor of anesthesiology at UCSD School of Medicine.

UVB light — one of several types of ultraviolet light that reach the Earth’s surface — interacts with a protein in the skin called 7-DHC, converting it into vitamin D.

As reported in the journal BMC Public Health, the researchers investigated global associations between levels of UVB light in 2017 and rates of colorectal cancer across several age groups in 186 countries in 2018.

Lower UVB exposure was significantly correlated with higher rates of colorectal cancer across all age groups. After other factors, such as skin pigmentation, life expectancy and smoking were considered, the association between lower UVB and risk of colorectal cancer remained significant for people 45 and older. — City News Service and La Jolla Light

Online doctor training program has 150th graduate

Physician Retraining and Reentry Inc., an online educational program presented in collaboration with the UC San Diego School of Medicine that educates and retrains physicians to practice as primary care doctors, has graduated its 150th physician.

“I am proud to see the difference PRR graduates are making by providing primary care services in a variety of much-needed places, from overcrowded cities to rural areas,” said Dr. David Bazzo, PRR’s chief medical officer, a clinical professor of family medicine and the UCSD School of Medicine’s interim chairman of the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health.

PRR’s educational program covers a wide range of subjects, such as cardiology, dermatology and medical record management. It is the only physician retraining program that focuses on preparing long-tenured physicians to return to medicine. PRR graduates fill shortages at clinics and other facilities and in underserved communities.

UC San Diego names chairwoman of obstetrics

After a nationwide search, Dr. Cynthia Gyamfi-Bannerman has been named chairwoman of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences at the UC San Diego School of Medicine and UC San Diego Health.

Gyamfi-Bannerman joins the faculty from Columbia University Irving Medical Center, where she has spent the past 16 years of her career, most recently as vice chair for faculty development in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Mount Soledad Association honors Bill Kellogg

The Mount Soledad Memorial Association honored Bill Kellogg on June 23 for his many years of service to the organization.

Pete Wilson, Honoree Bill Kellogg and Paul Pintek.
Former Governor of California Pete Wilson, Honoree Bill Kellogg and Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial trustee Paul Pintek.
(Courtesy of Regala Studio)

Kellogg was president and chairman of the association from 1989 until 2012. Under his leadership, the organization raised the money to build and operate the newest Veterans Memorial Walls at 6905 La Jolla Scenic Drive South in La Jolla.

“When I became a trustee of the Mount Soledad Memorial Association in 2011, Bill Kellogg was our president,” said Neil O’Connell, current president of the association. “It was clearly evident that a very honorable, passionate and extremely devoted man was at the helm of this fine organization. I’ve learned an immense amount from listening and observing Bill and I am blessed to have had the honor and distinct pleasure of serving with this very remarkable man.”

The Mount Soledad National Veterans Memorial honors veterans, living or deceased, from the Revolutionary War to current conflicts around the globe. More than 5,300 individual veteran tributes, embedded on black granite plaques, are mounted on 11 curved walls.

— Compiled by La Jolla Light staff