La Jolla News Nuggets: Ride for veterans, Munk’s birthday, walking tours, surfing contest, more

Orange Coast Harley Owners Group riders arrive at the Mount Soledad National Veterans Memorial in La Jolla last year.
Riders from the Orange Coast Harley Owners Group arrive at the Mount Soledad National Veterans Memorial in La Jolla last year during a ride to help injured veterans.

200 bikers to ride to Mount Soledad for wounded warriors

Celebrating its 10th anniversary of paying tribute to ill and wounded U.S. military veterans, the Orange Coast Harley Owners Group, or OC-HOG, will again be roaring from Irvine to the Mount Soledad National Veterans Memorial in La Jolla on Oct. 24.

Each of the 200-plus riders pays a $40 entry fee, and in the past decade, more than $675,000 has been raised and donated to the Warrior Foundation Freedom Station, a nonprofit program dedicated to helping injured veterans transition from military service to civilian life.

Learn more at

Celebration of Walter Munk’s birthday Oct. 15

A celebration of the 104th birthday of late oceanographer Walter Munk will be held at The Map of the Grand Canyons of La Jolla at Kellogg Park at 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15.

Students will have the opportunity to build a remotely operated vehicle and test their creation to see how it performs in the water. Other activities include meeting Walter the Ray, a scavenger hunt, an information area about the Walter Munk Foundation for the Oceans and more.

Historical Society walking tours to return

The La Jolla Historical Society is bringing back its guided walking tours starting this month to offer in-person looks at some of La Jolla’s unique historical and architectural sites.

Historian Carol Olten will lead the free 90-minute walks, which begin at 3 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 21, with “The History of La Jolla,” followed by “La Jolla’s Coastline” at 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20, and “Mid-Century Modern La Jolla” at 3 p.m. Friday, Dec. 17. Hats, sunglasses and comfortable shoes are encouraged.

Space is limited to 20 people; RSVPs can be emailed to with the subject “LJHS guided walking tours,” or leave your name and contact information at the Wisteria Cottage docent desk at 780 Prospect St.

La Jolla surfers win at Menehune junior contest

Two young La Jolla surfers took top spots in the 2021 Menehune junior surf contest Oct. 2 at La Jolla Shores, and many others placed high in their age categories.

The event, presented by the Windansea Surf Club, is touted as “the granddaddy of all junior surf contests.” It draws participants 17 and younger from around the world.

The La Jolla winners are Rory Engh in the girls 13-17 shortboard category and the girls 14-17 longboard category, and Jackie Fitzmaurice in the girls 12-13 longboard category. Other La Jolla surfers who placed include Tory Menke, Astrid Egan, Annabelle Tihanyi, Dean Leverton, Cortez Jernigan, Hudson Siegel, Quinn Daniels, Carter Irwin, Oliver Davis, Charlie Wilkinsin, Duke Kantner, Charlie Elliott and Charly Coulange.

The Windansea Surf Club will award educational scholarships in the top two age-group divisions for boys and girls. Learn more at

SIO marine studies building to be named for Scripps family members

The UC San Diego Marine Conservation and Technology Facility, currently under construction and expected to open in the spring, will be named the Ted and Jean Scripps Marine Conservation and Technology Facility following a $6 million gift from members of the Scripps family.

The building, designed by Safdie Rabines Architects, will serve as the northern gateway to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s campus in La Jolla. Teaching spaces at the 24,269-square-foot building will include a 100-seat lecture hall, two class laboratories and conference rooms. The building also will provide a coastal-view cafe open to the public for daily dining. Three outdoor terraces with ocean views will be accessible to students and staff.

Siblings Ellen Browning Scripps and Edward W. Scripps were the driving force behind the founding of Scripps Oceanography in 1903. Additional philanthropy has come to the university since then from several generations of Scripps family members.

Three with La Jolla connections join S.D. Youth Commission

Three people with La Jolla ties have been appointed to the recently reactivated San Diego Youth Commission. The commission is composed of San Diegans ages 14-22. It is expected to meet at least four times a year and will identify issues affecting young people locally, then advise city staff, Mayor Todd Gloria and the City Council.

The Youth Commission initially was established in 2002. It last met in 2015.

Daxton Gutekunst, a student at The Bishop’s School, has served as the school’s Science Olympiad team captain, co-founded the Machine Learning Club and founded the nonprofit Kid by Kid tutoring service. He also is a member of the UC San Diego School of Medicine Center of Community Health Youth Advisory Council, where he advocates equity in education.

Jesus Martin Gallegos-Munoz attends UC San Diego, where he takes classes in international and Latin American studies. He also is an intern for the city of San Diego’s District 8.

Beret Dernbach is a student at UCSD studying political science and has served as director of professional development for pre-law fraternity Kappa Alpha Pi. — The San Diego Union-Tribune

Community Center’s SeniorConnect fundraiser gains contributions from local banks

Kedest Berhanu of Pacific Western Bank, Nancy Walters of the La Jolla Community Center and Jeff Lenhoff of OneWest Bank
Kedest Berhanu, assistant vice president and branch operations manager at Pacific Western Bank, Nancy Walters, executive director of the La Jolla Community Center, and Jeff Lenhoff, vice president and branch manager at OneWest Bank (from left), mark the banks’ contributions toward a new computer lab at the center.
(Courtesy of La Jolla Community Center)

The La Jolla Community Center’s SeniorConnect fundraiser to build a new computer lab at the center has garnered contributions of $2,500 each from OneWest Bank and Pacific Western Bank in La Jolla. With the banks’ contributions, LJCC will begin buying equipment for the new space.

The SeniorConnect project launched earlier this year and will continue through February. All contributors will be honored at LJCC’s Health/Tech Fair slated for Feb. 11.

For more information, visit

La Jolla institute announces new managing director

Joel Martin has joined the La Jolla Institute for Immunology as managing director and chief business officer.
(Courtesy of La Jolla Institute for Immunology)

Joel Martin has joined the La Jolla Institute for Immunology as managing director and chief business officer. Martin, a biotech entrepreneur and venture capitalist, brings research and business knowledge and experience shepherding early-stage technologies and drug candidates to market, according to the institute.

Martin began his career as an assistant professor of radiology at UC San Diego in La Jolla. Most recently, he was president and chief executive of Dauntless Pharmaceuticals.

California to outlaw sale of new gas-powered yard equipment

California will outlaw the sale of new gas-powered lawn mowers, leaf blowers and chain saws as early as 2024 under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Oct. 9.

A coalition of residents and others has raised concerns in La Jolla about the use of gas-powered leaf blowers. The coalition meets biweekly to discuss actions such as educating landscapers about noise and other pollution from leaf blowers and drafting a city ordinance to ban gas-powered blowers in San Diego.

During its first in-person meeting in more than a year, the Enhance La Jolla board was given some news likely to be welcome among people complaining of being plagued by noise from gas-powered leaf blowers.

The state law will require all newly sold small-motor equipment primarily used for landscaping to be zero-emission — essentially to be battery-operated or plug-in. Reducing emissions from such equipment is pivotal to improving air quality and combating climate change, according to proponents of the law.

The state has set aside $30 million to help professional landscapers and gardeners make the transition from gas-powered equipment to zero-emission gear, but an industry representative said that’s woefully inadequate for the estimated 50,000 small businesses that will be affected by the law. — The Los Angeles Times and La Jolla Light staff

Unions, others endorse proposal to repeal S.D.’s free trash pickup for single-family homes

Environmental groups and labor unions expressed strong support Oct. 7 for repealing San Diego’s law guaranteeing free trash pickup to single-family homes, calling it outdated, unfair, too costly and a barrier to boosting recycling rates.

The groups lobbied for a ballot measure to repeal the law, called the People’s Ordinance, during a meeting of the City Council’s Environment Committee.

A majority of the panel voiced support for further analysis that could lead to such a public vote.

The law, which dates to 1919, provides free trash pickup for people living in single-family homes, but businesses and people in most condominiums and apartments in the city must pay private haulers to pick up their trash.

Critics of repealing the law said such a move would be divisive and that levying a new monthly charge of roughly $35 on low-income families living in single-family homes could worsen economic inequality in the city.

Councilman Joe LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla, said he views treating everyone the same regarding trash pickup as a move toward uniting residents, not dividing them. — The San Diego Union-Tribune

Salk teams advance efforts to treat, prevent and cure brain disorders

It takes billions of cells to make a human brain, and scientists have long struggled to map this complex network of neurons. Now, dozens of research teams around the country, led in part by scientists from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, say they have made inroads into creating an atlas of the mouse brain as a first step toward a human brain atlas.

The researchers, collaborating as part of the National Institutes of Health’s Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative Cell Census Network (BICCN), reported the new data Oct. 6 in a special issue of the journal Nature. The results describe how different cell types are organized and connected throughout the mouse brain.

“Our first goal is to use the mouse brain as a model to really understand the diversity of cells in the brain and how they’re regulated,” said Salk professor and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator Joseph Ecker. “Once we’ve established tools to do this, we can move to working on primate and human brains.”

The NIH BRAIN Initiative is a large-scale effort that seeks to deepen understanding of the inner workings of the human mind to improve treatment, prevention and cures for brain disorders. BICCN, one subset of the BRAIN Initiative, specifically focuses on creating brain atlases that describe the full plethora of cells.

— Compiled by La Jolla Light staff