La Jolla News Nuggets: Youth World Series, La Jolla teacher, Scripps Coastal Reserve, outdoor dining, more

The La Jolla Youth Baseball Shetland team
The La Jolla Youth Baseball Shetland team: (back row) coach Matt McNutt, coach Jeff Pinto, Reeve McNutt, Parker Gotfredson, Colton Burton, Blake Schaffran, head coach Rob Robinson, coach Mike Gotfredson; (front row) Zach Pinto, James Braverman, Luke Newman, Ryder Martin, Ben Blumenthal, Robbie Robinson.
(Courtesy of Rob Robinson)

La Jolla Youth Baseball Shetland team makes it to World Series semifinals

La Jolla Youth Baseball’s Shetland all-star team of players 6 and younger made it further this season than any other team in the La Jolla league’s history before its run ended in the West Zone World Series semifinals.

Affectionately known as the “Bomb Squad” for its hitting skills, the team went undefeated during the recent Pony Baseball Southwest Regional Tournament at La Jolla’s Cliffridge Park.

In the World Series in Simi Valley, Shetland went 3-0 in pool play with wins over Irvine (14-5), Santa Ana (20-19) and Lancaster (10-6). Coach Rob Robinson said the Santa Ana game was “the most epic game I’ve ever been a part of” in that the La Jolla team was down 19-9 going into the last half of the last inning and stormed back with 11 runs to win.

In the quarterfinals, La Jolla “made maybe their best showing yet” in a 19-7 victory over a team from Santa Clarita. In the semifinals, La Jolla was finally outscored, 14-9 by West Covina.

“These boys came together as a team and brought the community together as well,” Robinson said. “Just an all-around incredible performance.”

La Jolla’s two Pinto teams (8 and younger) also made it to the World Series but did not advance as far as their Shetland counterparts.

La Jolla teacher and Essbee founder who needed rare blood type dies

Stacie Buechel, a La Jolla teacher and mother of three who founded Essbee Learning Center in La Jolla, died July 13.

Stacie Buechel, a La Jolla teacher and mother of three who fought bone cancer as the San Diego Blood Bank conducted a well-publicized search for a rare blood type for transfusions as part of her treatment, died July 13, according to a post on her family’s Meal Train web page.

Buechel was a Montessori teacher and the founder of Essbee Learning Center in La Jolla. She required about a pint per week of Type A+, O- or O+ blood that does not have a protein called Kpb. Less than 1 percent of the U.S. population has that type of blood, the blood bank said.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help her family as well as the Essbee school.

Scripps Coastal Reserve remains closed

Scripps Coastal Reserve, part of the University of California’s Natural Reserve System, remains closed, with no reopening date in sight.

“The university is considering reopening options, but I don’t have any other updates to share,” said Leslie Sepuka, UC San Diego’s associate communications director.

Scripps Coastal Reserve encompasses nearly 1,000 acres adjacent to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, including an upland area called the “Knoll” or “Cliffs” and the shoreline and marine protected area below the cliffs.

The reserve has been closed since March 2020 at the onset of restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

San Diego may make outdoor dining permanent for restaurants that pay fees

Restaurants across San Diego soon may be allowed to make their pandemic-born outdoor dining areas permanent in exchange for paying the city a fee to help make streets and sidewalks more inviting places to hang out.

Some revenue from the new fee would be spent on sidewalk widening, street trees and other upgrades to make streets more appealing to walkers and cyclists. Money from the fee also would help boost outdoor dining in low-income areas.

The proposal, called “Spaces as Places,” was unveiled by San Diego officials July 26. It essentially would make permanent the emergency outdoor dining permits the city issued to restaurants across the city shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic began.

But in exchange for allowing restaurants to permanently expand into outdoor spaces such as sidewalks and on-street parking spots, the city would collect a fee to cover recreational amenities that would aim to make streets more like public promenades.

The size of the fee would be based on the amount of public right-of-way land a restaurant takes over. The fee would be lower if the right-of-way land would be open to the public during hours the restaurant is closed. — The San Diego Union-Tribune

Shores PRC asks Spindrift Drive home project to return

The La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee did not vote July 19 on a project planned for Spindrift Drive and asked applicant representative Haley Duke of Island Architects to return at a future meeting.

The project requires coastal development and site development permits to demolish a single-family residence and garage and build a new 2,924-square-foot house with a 500-square-foot garage and 302-square-foot accessory dwelling unit at 1851 Spindrift.

The project was early enough in its planning that the board voted to have the item return when more information is available. There also were questions about whether and how the ADU would be attached to the main house, the setbacks of surrounding property and more.

The La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee meets the third Monday of each month, currently online. The next meeting is at 4 p.m. Aug. 16. Learn more at

YAAANA fundraiser set for July 31

The La Jolla-based Yiddish Arts and Academics Association of North America, or YAAANA, will hold its annual fundraiser at 6 p.m. Saturday, July 31, at Pan’s Garden, 506 21st St., San Diego.

The event will include a screening (subtitled in English) of YAAANA’s contemporary Yiddish production “Korone un der Nayer Normal” (“Corona and the New Normal”).

The cost is $36. For more information, email

Recreation centers expand hours

Recreation centers in San Diego have extended their hours to allow the public more access to parks and rec programs.

Hours at the La Jolla Recreation Center at 615 Prospect St. are noon to 8 p.m. Mondays, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. For more information, call (858) 552-1658.

The updated hours offer an extension of available services and more in-person programming. Before July 19, the public was allowed to go to recreation centers only if they registered for a specific program, said Tim Graham, a city spokesman. — The San Diego Union-Tribune and La Jolla Light

Promises2Kids names La Jollan to CEO Advisory Council

La Jolla resident Ann Dynes, an Enhance La Jolla member and past president of the La Jolla Parks & Beaches board, has joined the CEO Advisory Council of Promises2Kids, a nonprofit that assists foster children. The council is made up of 16 members who will provide expertise and counsel to Chief Executive Tonya Torosian on various issues.

Promises2Kids’ programs include Camp Connect, Guardian Scholars, Foster Funds, and the A.B. and Jessie Polinsky Children’s Center.

— Compiled by La Jolla Light staff