La Jolla News Nuggets: Pedestrian refuge; local scientists ‘Highly Cited’; Birch Aquarium; new trees; more

This new pedestrian refuge on La Jolla Boulevard near Bonair Street was installed Oct. 29.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Pedestrian refuge added to crosswalk on La Jolla Boulevard

A new pedestrian refuge has been installed at a crosswalk on La Jolla Boulevard to provide people crossing the street with a place to stop if it is not safe to proceed.

The crosswalk, near Bonair Street and the La Jolla Community Center, has had pedestrian-activated blinking lights for years, but the pedestrian refuge — outlined by paint and markers — was installed Oct. 29.

“That was a scary crosswalk. Still is, but now with the lights, people slow down faster,” said Community Center Executive Director Nancy Walters.

San Diego city spokesman Anthony Santacroce said the refuge was installed “as an upgrade to the crossing” and is not in response to any particular event. The crossing is about a quarter-mile from where a 90-year-old man riding a seated motorized scooter was hit and killed by a car June 11 in the 6600 block of La Jolla Boulevard near Rosemont Street.

Scripps Research scientists named to ‘Highly Cited’ list

Thirteen Scripps Research scientists were named this year to Clarivate’s Highly Cited Researchers list, which features researchers in fields spanning biology and biochemistry, chemistry, immunology, microbiology, pharmacology and toxicology. The ranking, launched in 2014, identifies the top global research scientists who have demonstrated exceptional influence in their fields.

Of the 13 Scripps Research scientists who received awards, two are featured multiple times. Dennis Burton was awarded in microbiology and immunology, and Ian Wilson was named in microbiology and biology and biochemistry.

Many of this year’s Scripps recipients are featured in the ‘Cross-Field’ category, highlighting their research bridging multiple disciplines. They are Jeong Hyun Lee, Wei Liu, Ardem Patapoutian, William Schief, Eric Topol and John Yates.

Additional Scripps Research scientists named to the list include Jin-Quan Yu and Phil Baran for their foundational work in chemistry, Jean-Philippe Julien for his microbiology contributions, and Vadim Cherezov and Vsevolod Katritch for their pharmacology and toxicology research.

“The Highly Cited Researchers list identifies and celebrates exceptional individual researchers at Scripps Research who are having a significant impact on the research community as evidenced by the rate at which their work is being cited by their peers,” says David Pendlebury, head of research analysis at the Institute for Scientific Information at Clarivate, a British-American analytics company. “These individuals are helping to transform human ingenuity into our world’s greatest breakthroughs, and it is an honor to celebrate their achievements.”

Birch Aquarium launches ‘Oceans at Night’ event and sends five penguins to Cincinnati

Birch Aquarium at UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla is launching “Oceans at Night,” a first-of-its-kind event for guests 21 and older to experience an immersive blend of art, science and technology after hours.

“Oceans at Night” will kick off at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26. Events will be held on select Thursdays throughout 2023. Tickets are $27 for Birch members and $30 for non-members.

Interactive experiences will highlight ocean phenomena that occur at night, including bioluminescence and biofluorescence, while the aquarium creates an adults-only atmosphere with live music, glowing nighttime dives and a glow lounge with life-size games. Glowing cocktails and food by The French Gourmet will be available for purchase.

Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 2. For a full schedule and more information, visit

Inspired by the creatures and colors of La Jolla’s Birch Aquarium, a group of residents at senior community Vi at La Jolla Village created works of art that are on display in Vi’s gallery through Wednesday, Nov. 30.

Nov. 21, 2022

Birch also announced last week that it sent five of its little blue penguins to the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden as part of an international Species Survival Plan that aims to maintain the genetic diversity of certain species in zoos and aquariums.

This year, SSP coordinators for little blue penguins recommended that five penguins in Birch’s Beyster Family Little Blue Penguins habitat — Sheldon, Squid, Craig, Odette and Bo — become part of new breeding colonies at the Cincinnati Zoo. Over the years, Birch has exchanged a variety of marine animals with other institutions accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums as part of SSPs, including potbellied and lined seahorses.

The Birch little blue penguins habitat opened in July, bringing the world’s smallest penguins to the West Coast for the first time. Ten of the birds will remain in La Jolla, including Magic, Cornelius, Reka, Nero, Katie, Persimmon and Azulito.

The Beyster Family Little Blue Penguins exhibit is included in the cost of general admission to Birch Aquarium, which is $24.95 for adults and $19.95 for children ages 3-17. Reservations are required for all guests, including aquarium members. For more information or to make a reservation, visit

Local groups come together to plant new trees

Enhance La Jolla, the La Jolla Rotary Club, La Jolla Garden Club and La Jolla Woman’s Club partnered to plant three new Chinese elm trees Nov. 18 on Silverado Street in The Village. Enhance La Jolla will fertilize, trim and maintain the trees going forward. The other organizations each donated one.

Enhance La Jolla is a nonprofit that manages the Maintenance Assessment District in The Village with authority to enhance city-provided services, including landscape maintenance, street and sidewalk cleaning, litter and graffiti abatement and additional trash collection. It also can privately fund and complete capital improvement projects in public spaces, such as trash can upgrades, bench installation, sign augmentation, park improvements, public art and tree canopies on main thoroughfares.

La Jolla Woman’s Club representative Pat McGill said the need to replace the trees came after “the city took diseased palm trees out but left the stumps.” She said she had filed replacement requests over the past few years on the city’s Get It Done app, without success.

Children’s School fourth-graders accept the ‘Egg Drop Challenge’

Firefighters in La Jolla help fourth-graders at The Children's School with their "Egg Drop Challenge" on Nov. 17.
Crew members from San Diego Fire-Rescue Station 35 in La Jolla help fourth-graders at The Children’s School with their “Egg Drop Challenge” on Nov. 17.
(Paris Menier)

Firefighters from San Diego Fire-Rescue Station 35 in La Jolla helped fourth-grade students at The Children’s School in La Jolla with their “Egg Drop Challenge” on Nov. 17.

More than 30 students designed egg contraptions to survive an 85-foot drop from a firetruck’s ladder while their classmates cheered them on. Firefighters helped by carrying the students’ egg projects up the ladder and dropping them from the top.

Pulitzer winner Anthony Davis of UCSD is nominated for Grammy

Composer, pianist and UCSD music professor Anthony Davis is nominated for a 2023 Grammy in the Best Opera Recording category.
Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, pianist and UCSD music professor Anthony Davis is nominated for a 2023 Grammy in the Best Opera Recording category.
(Bodhi Tree Concerts)

When the 2023 Grammy Awards nominees were announced Nov. 15, they included Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and UC San Diego music professor Anthony Davis, whose “X — The Life And Times Of Malcolm X” is nominated in the Best Opera Recording category.

It is the second Grammy nomination in Davis’ 50-year career. He was first nominated in 1992 in the Best Contemporary Composition category for “X,” which debuted in 1986 as a New York City Opera production and was revived and retooled this year. Davis won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for music for his fiery opera “The Central Park Five.”

The new “X” album features the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and various guest artists, including bass-baritone Davóne Tines, who sings the role of Malcolm X.

The Grammy winners will be announced Sunday, Feb. 5, in Los Angeles. — The San Diego Union-Tribune

Deadline Nov. 30 to apply for short-term residential occupancy licenses

The deadline is Wednesday, Nov. 30, to apply for a short-term residential occupancy license to operate a short-term rental dwelling unit in San Diego. Tier 3 and 4 licenses will be required starting May 1.

The short-term rental ordinance approved by the City Council and the California Coastal Commission provides guidelines for rentals of less than a month. They include a requirement for hosts to obtain a license, and a cap is established on the number of licenses granted for whole-home rentals operating more than 20 days per year.

For more information, call (619) 615-6120 or email

La Jolla Concours d’Elegance to return in April

The La Jolla Concours d’Elegance luxury and classic car show will be back for its 17th year Friday through Sunday, April 21-23, at Ellen Browning Scripps Park.

Online registration is open to submit vehicles for competition across 13 categories.

The “honored marque” for 2023 is Duesenberg, and the Friday evening VIP party will return.

Proceeds from the event will go to the La Jolla Historical Society, and over the years the Concours has benefited additional local nonprofits.

For more information, registering a vehicle or buying tickets, visit

— Compiled by La Jolla Light staff