La Jolla News Nuggets: Fooz Fighters make finals; blessing for veterans; ‘Hanukkah Happening’; pie sale; more

The Fooz Fighters, relatives and friends attend a screening of the band's Nov. 10 appearance on "Clash of the Cover Bands."
The Fooz Fighters, relatives and friends attend a private screening at The Lot La Jolla of the band’s Nov. 10 appearance on the TV show “Clash of the Cover Bands.”
(Leah Horstman)

Local Foo Fighters tribute band advances to finals on ‘Clash of the Cover Bands’

Foo Fighters tribute band the Fooz Fighters, founded by La Jolla resident Brent Wright, has advanced to the finals of E! Entertainment’s TV show “Clash of the Cover Bands.”

The finals will be broadcast Wednesday, Dec. 15. The winning act will receive $25,000 and an appearance on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”

During the episode that aired Nov. 10, the Fooz Fighters won their battle against Chicago-based Blank-281, a Blink-182 tribute band.

“We are so thrilled to be moving on in the competition,” Wright said. The band’s private screening of the Nov. 10 episode at The Lot La Jolla was a “magical night … celebrating with family, friends and industry people.”

Mary, Star of the Sea holds blessing in honor of military veterans

Family of Adm. William Walsh and staff of Mary, Star of the Sea church attend the dedication of a monument to St. Michael.
Family of Adm. William Walsh and staff of Mary, Star of the Sea Catholic Church in La Jolla attend the dedication of a monument to St. Michael.
(Fran Vargas)

Mary, Star of the Sea Catholic Church in La Jolla held a blessing to honor military veterans and first responders after its 10:30 a.m. service Nov. 14.

The event included a dedication of a monument to St. Michael the archangel built by David West. St. Michael is the patron saint of officers, firefighters, military personnel and lifeguards.

The bronze statue was donated by the family of Adm. William Walsh in his memory.

‘Hanukkah Happening’ returns to Jewish Community Center Nov. 21

The Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center Jacobs Family Campus will present a “Hanukkah Happening” event Sunday, Nov. 21, at 4126 Executive Drive, La Jolla.

The celebration, scheduled for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., will feature an interactive concert by Josh and the Jamtones, followed by a shuk, or market, in Nierman Preschool, including shopping, crafts and game booths.

Concert tickets are $15 per family for JCC members and members of the military and $18 for non-members. Entrance to the shuk is free; food and other items will be available for purchase. Registration and COVID-19 vaccinations are required.

For more information, visit

Mama’s Kitchen volunteers prepare 3,000 pie boxes for Thanksgiving bake sale

Volunteers for Mama's Kitchen assembled pie boxes Nov. 13 in La Jolla for the nonprofit's annual Thanksgiving pie sale.
(Courtesy of Mama’s Kitchen)

Volunteers for the nonprofit Mama’s Kitchen assembled and labeled 3,000 pie boxes Nov. 13 at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine hotel. The boxes will be delivered to local bakers donating their time to bake pies for the annual Mama’s Pies Thanksgiving Bake Sale.

Proceeds from the pie sale support Mama’s Kitchen’s efforts to cook, prepare and deliver meals to people vulnerable to hunger due to critical illnesses.

Pies cost $30 each. Online sales will continue through Saturday, Nov. 20, at

Jewish Community Center swim coach wins at masters competition

Sergii Kukharskyi, head swim coach for the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center in La Jolla
Sergii Kukharskyi, head swim coach for the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center in La Jolla, won four events at the National Masters Swim Competition in Cleveland.
(Courtesy of Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center)

Sergii Kukharskyi, head swim coach for the Barracudas of the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center Jacobs Family Campus in La Jolla, won the 50-, 100- and 200-meter breaststroke and 200-meter individual medley in the 30-34 age group at the National Masters Swim Competition in Cleveland in October.

Kukharskyi grew up in Kurakhove, Ukraine, where he played basketball, volleyball and soccer. He began swim training as a teenager and came close to qualifying for the Ukrainian Olympic swim team in 2008 and 2012. Afterward, he decided to become a children’s swimming coach.

“Swimming is my whole life and I want to help kids. I love kids and there’s so much I can teach them about swimming, hard work and still having fun,” he said.

After leaving his home country for New York and later San Diego, Kukharskyi started as the Barracudas’ assistant coach in 2018 and within a year became the full-time head coach.

He said his accomplishments in Cleveland make him “motivated not to stop and keep doing what I love to motivate all my students and give them the best I can to become great swimmers in the future.”

His next big goal, he said, is to compete in the 2022 FINA World Masters Championships next spring in Japan.

Salk professor is honored with DeLano Award

Professor Tatyana Sharpee of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla has been given the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s 2022 DeLano Award for computational biosciences. The award is given for innovative development or application of computer technology that can enhance molecular research.

Salk Institute professor Tatyana Sharpee
Salk Institute professor Tatyana Sharpee won the DeLano Award for computational biosciences.
(Courtesy of Salk Institute)

The award includes a plaque, a $3,000 prize and paid travel for Sharpee to present a lecture at the annual ASBMB meeting in Philadelphia in April.

Sharpee studies how the brain and other biological systems work. In one area of research, she seeks to determine how features are organized within parts of the brain that are responsible for conveying our senses, including vision, hearing and smell. Revealing the workings of these core senses could help lead to new treatments for patients with disruptions to the systems, which can happen as a result of stroke, dementia or schizophrenia.

Women’s Hall of Fame accepting nominations

The San Diego County Women’s Hall of Fame, a program of the Women’s Museum of California, is accepting nominations through Dec. 31 for 2022 Hall of Fame inductees.

To be considered for the Women’s Hall of Fame, a nominee must be a woman who currently lives in San Diego County or did during many of her accomplishments.

Nominations are accepted in five categories: Trailblazer, Empowerer, Activist, Cultural Bridge Builder and Historian.

To learn more or get the nomination form, visit

Israel Philharmonic quartet performance set for gala in La Jolla

The Israel Philharmonic string quartet will play at its inaugural San Diego gala at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 8, at the Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center, 7600 Fay Ave., La Jolla.

The concert is part of a seven-city series marking the philharmonic’s return to international performances after the shutdowns caused by COVID-19.

The string quartet is composed of Israel Philharmonic concertmaster David Radzynski, violinist Polina Yehudin, violist Yoni Gertner and principal cellist Haran Meltzer.

Tickets are $20 and up and can be purchased at

Stephanie Coolidge leaves La Jolla Veterinary Hospital for FACE Foundation

After nearly 17 years as director of La Jolla Veterinary Hospital, Stephanie Coolidge has moved on to the role of executive director of the FACE Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides financial support for families struggling to afford pet care.

Coolidge also founded Paws and Pints La Jolla and raised more than $150,000 for homeless animals across San Diego County. She helped facilitate the installation of dog waste stations throughout The Village with the help of Enhance La Jolla and marched in the La Jolla Christmas Parade with Friends of County Animal Shelters.

Pacific Regent La Jolla celebrates 30 years

Pacific Regent La Jolla at 3890 Nobel Drive celebrated 30 years last month as the only independently owned, resident-managed active senior community in San Diego.

Pacific Regent is a luxury condominium development with 148 units ranging from one to three bedrooms, many with ocean views. The community currently has about 175 residents.

For more information, visit

Women’s Foundation launches A.J. Frank Fund in honor of late La Jollan

The San Diego Women’s Foundation is launching the A.J. Frank Fund in recognition of recently deceased member A.J. Frank of La Jolla.

Frank was a past foundation president, chairwoman of the collaboration committee and a Legacy Circle member.

She was working on a partnership with the Latina Giving Circle to support racial equity work in the San Diego area. That experience inspired her to consider offering a one-year San Diego Women’s Foundation membership to a representative of each organization that receives grant funds to help build relationships in the community and with nonprofit leaders.

The first project of the A.J. Frank Fund will be to extend an SDWF membership to each organization that gets a foundation grant.

For more information about the A.J. Frank Fund and SDWF, visit

Graduate students at LJI win ARCS San Diego awards

UC San Diego graduate students Gabriel Antonio Ascui Gac and Sonya Haupt of the La Jolla Institute for Immunology have been named 2021-22 Achievement Rewards for College Scientists scholars by ARCS San Diego. The award recognizes their research achievements and comes with $10,000 to support their careers.

Ascui Gac is a member of the Kronenberg Lab, where he studies how T-cells respond to threats in the body’s mucus membranes, such as the linings of the respiratory system and the intestines. Once he earns his doctorate, Ascui Gac hopes to work toward a faculty position in his native Chile.

Haupt is a third-year graduate student in the Crotty Lab, where she investigates the immune response to novel HIV vaccine strategies. She has a background as a researcher in the biomedical industry but hasn’t decided yet whether to pursue a career in academia or industry.

— Compiled by La Jolla Light staff