La Jolla News Nuggets: Dry trees, parkway repaving, coastal cleanup, Sunset Pier Walks, awards, more

Trees along Girard Avenue outside La Jolla Elementary School appear to be dying.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

Trees outside La Jolla Elementary School to receive more water

Trees outside La Jolla Elementary School will receive more water and attention after local residents expressed concern that the trees appear to be dying.

The trees, which line Girard Avenue just south of Genter Street, are the property of the city of San Diego, according to San Diego Unified School District representative Jamie Ries (LJES is part of San Diego Unified).

However, synthetic turf donated and installed by the nonprofit Friends of La Jolla Elementary School appears to be preventing water from getting to the roots of the trees, Ries said.

“We are waiting for an arborist assessment of the seven trees,” Ries said. “In the meantime, our landscapers will thoroughly water the trees.”

Going forward, Ries said, the district will work with the city and Friends of La Jolla Elementary to ensure the trees are well-maintained.

La Jolla Parkway repaving to be done in phases, beginning in fall

Repaving of La Jolla Parkway, planned and funded as part of San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria’s “Sexy Streets” initiative, should begin in the fall, according to Steve Hadley, field representative for City Councilman Joe LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla.

The first phase of the repaving will be between Hidden Valley Road and La Jolla Scenic Drive North, Hadley told the La Jolla Shores Association during its meeting Sept. 14.

The second phase, between La Jolla Scenic Drive North and Interstate 5 and State Route 52, will be done before next summer, Hadley said.

LaCava also is looking for ways “to get some regular trash pickup on the parkway,” Hadley said.

Coastal Cleanup Day volunteers pick up over 35,000 pounds of litter

Thousands of volunteers took to San Diego-area shoreline parks and waterways on Sept. 17 as part of I Love a Clean San Diego’s annual Coastal Cleanup Day. With most sites reporting, more than 35,000 pounds of litter and debris were collected, organizers said. Final totals were not immediately available.

San Diego City Councilman Joe LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla, presented a proclamation at Scripps Park in La Jolla celebrating 38 years of Coastal Cleanup Day. Many elected officials helped kick off Coastal Cleanup Day at a site within their district.

Joe LaCava with I Love a Clean San Diego board member Denise Price, Coastal Cleanup Day captains and Sierra Club docents
San Diego City Councilman Joe LaCava holds a proclamation as he stands with I Love a Clean San Diego board member Denise Price, Coastal Cleanup Day captains and Sierra Club docents.
(Courtesy of Councilman Joe LaCava’s office)

“As San Diegans, we know the value of protecting our coast and keeping our waters clean,” LaCava said. “I am grateful for the thousands of volunteers who came out ... and donated their time in support of this vital effort.”

The event is a major part of International Coastal Cleanup Day and includes many U.S. states and territories and more than 90 countries. Each year the event attracts nearly 1 million volunteers globally and about 6,000 throughout San Diego County.

In La Jolla, cleanups were held on the Fay Avenue Bike Path, Windansea Beach, Scripps Park and others.

Sunset Pier Walks to return

Starting this fall, outdoor enthusiasts again will have the opportunity to stroll La Jolla’s iconic Scripps Pier as part of the Sunset Pier Walks at Birch Aquarium at UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

During Sunset Pier Walks — which will return on select weekends from Sept. 25 to Nov. 5 — Birch Aquarium naturalists will lead exclusive walking tours of Scripps Pier, which is usually closed to the public, and discuss fieldwork being conducted by Scripps Oceanography researchers. The 90-minute tours will feature hands-on science stations where guests can scoop up plankton, examine samples under a microscope, dissect a squid and learn about local shark research.

Tour times will vary depending on the time of sunset. The cost is $25 for aquarium members and $30 for non-members. For a complete list of dates and times, visit

La Jolla Music Society artistic director wins leadership award

La Jolla Music Society Artistic Director Leah Rosenthal won the Western Arts Alliance 2022 Leadership Award.
(Courtesy of La Jolla Music Society)

La Jolla Music Society Artistic Director Leah Rosenthal was honored with the Western Arts Alliance 2022 Leadership Award at the group’s annual conference last month.

“I am so honored to be recognized. … This award is a testament to the strength of our organization‘s commitment to artistic excellence, the support I have received from the board and, above all, the extraordinary talent and commitment of the staff,” Rosenthal said.

The Western Arts Alliance is a membership association of professionals who promote and present performing arts throughout the West.

“No one is more deserving of this award than Leah,” said La Jolla Music Society President and Chief Executive Todd Schultz. “Largely working behind the scenes, Leah has dedicated her career to artists and audiences, working tirelessly to create inspiring seasons that feature some of the greatest artists in the world, as well as up-and-coming artists on the brink of stardom.”

2022 Nierenberg Prize going to environmental scientist

Environmental scientist Jesse Ausubel will be honored by UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography with the 2022 Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest.

His presentation “Peak Human? Thoughts on the Evolution of the Enhancement of Human Performance” will be given at the awards ceremony Thursday, Oct. 13, at the Scripps Forum for Science, Society and the Environment on the Scripps Oceanography campus. It will examine whether humans can continue to improve — much like cars, computers or other technology — or whether our species has reached its peak.

In a career spanning more than four decades, Ausubel has conceived and led many projects designed to observe and better understand the environment, including several major programs to survey and catalog the planet’s biodiversity, including the Census of Marine Life and International Barcode of Life initiative.

Learn more or RSVP for the ceremony at

Joe LaCava and UCSD win Momentum Awards

A leader and a location linked to La Jolla earned top honors at the Circulate San Diego Momentum Awards, which highlight leaders who have made meaningful progress in improving public transit and street safety and promoting sustainable growth across San Diego County.

The Mid-Coast Award went to the UC San Diego Better Bikeways Initiative, which “reimagines transportation uses” by introducing traffic-calming measures and upgraded bike facilities, emphasizing Class 4 bike lanes.

San Diego City Councilman Joe LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla, was recognized for his effort to reform community planning groups. “His vision and leadership culminated in [this month’s] City Council 6-1 vote to make meaningful and critical changes to how community planning groups are run,” according to Circulate San Diego, a regional nonprofit think tank on mobility.

The San Diego City Council approved sweeping changes Sept. 13 to the city’s 42 neighborhood planning groups in an effort to diversify their membership and make them better organized, but critics call the changes a developer-driven effort to squelch public opposition to dense housing projects.

Local students named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists

Students at La Jolla High School, The Bishop’s School and La Jolla Country Day School have been named semifinalists in the 68th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

They are:

• La Jolla High School seniors Isaac Chu, Aiden Kleinman, William MacDonald, Nicole Nunes, Arianna Roberts and Richard Yoon

• La Jolla Country Day School seniors Kyle Huo, Jialin Li, Erik Yang and Zitao Yoon

• Bishop’s School seniors Audrey An, Alexander Berger, Eli Browne, Annalise Chang, Michelle Chen, Daxton Gutekunst, Jasper Jain, Ashir Kashyap, William Keefe, Kasie Leung, Abigail Lin, Niamh Malhotra, Henry Nelson, Oliver Price, Nancy Waldman, Katelyn Wang, Daniel Xu, Shirley Xu, Dorien Zhang and Emily Zhu

The students will have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,250 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $28 million that will be offered next spring.

— Compiled by La Jolla Light staff