La Jolla News Nuggets: February 12

La Jolla homes earn design award

Two custom homes in La Jolla built by Hill Construction Company were honored for Design Excellence at the Best in American Living Awards, Jan. 21 in Las Vegas. Company president Ryan Hill accepted the awards for “Marine Lair,” a 3,200-square-foot custom project designed and built for the “Gen Y bachelor” in WindanSea and “Clean Living,” a 2,700-square-foot LEED Platinum home built and created with an eco-conscious family in mind in La Jolla Shores. The homes tied for Platinum recognition – the highest level – in the category of one-of-a-kind custom or Spec Home up to 4,000 square feet.

Memorial Association begins Soledad land transfer process

The transfer of land beneath the Mount Soledad cross from the U.S. government to the Mount Soledad Memorial Association in La Jolla appears to be moving forward, as the nonprofit association seeks an appraisal of the property.

On Dec. 19, 2014 President Barack Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act, annual legislation that funds the Defense Department, which this year included a measure introduced by Congressmember Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine), allowing for transfer of the land and 29-foot-tall cross from the government to the memorial association. The association maintains the veterans memorial there, displaying roughly 3,600 plaques dedicated to living and deceased veterans of U.S. wars throughout the decades.

Hunter’s measure stipulates that the site must be maintained as a veterans’ memorial.

Bruce Bailey, president/CEO of the memorial association, estimated the “fair appraised value of the property” would be in the ballpark of $1.2 million-$1.5 million.

“I have been working with the local Department of the Navy, and also the Secretary of Defense and the Department of Justice — they’re all involved in this,” Bailey said, noting that the association will begin an “acquisition campaign” to raise money for the land in the near future. Bailey said he is confident the association will be able to raise the funds necessary.

“I have been talking to some people and there seems to be a lot of enthusiasm for getting this done,” he said. “I’d love to see this done by June 1, but that’s in a perfect world.”

The association was scheduled to begin excavation at the site this week to run electric lines from the street to the memorial, so that it can light the U.S. flag and memorial steps, and power sound equipment for periodic memorial services there. The work is unrelated to the land transfer, Bailey said.

Two attempts at transferring the land to the association in the 1990s ran aground in the courts, which opined that the sale wasn’t open to competitive bidding and had given the veterans group a competitive advantage.

Jim McElroy, the lawyer representing an atheist who sued the government over the cross, did not return a call to La Jolla Light by press time to comment on the transfer.

More Starving Sea Lions Reported in La Jolla

The number of malnourished and dehydrated sea lion pups rescued by SeaWorld animal care workers since Jan. 1 jumped from La Jolla Light’s report of 87 last week to 138 this week — including several more rescues at La Jolla Cove, SeaWorld spokesperson Kelly Terry said.

“We are bringing in additional team members from the rest of our zoological departments (as well as SeaWorld parks outside San Diego),” Terry said. “They’re volunteering for shifts to come and help with the rescues.”

She said the park has opened a ninth quarantine pen to hold sick sea lions, which typically take six to eight weeks to recover, before being released back into the wild. Some sea lions are also suffering from hypothermia, hypoglycemia, pneumonia, parasite infections, pox virus or other illnesses the anima

Community Court program rolls out to help low-level offenders

Angie Law, the Deputy City Attorney assigned to the Northern and Eastern divisions of San Diego, reminded the Bird Rock Community Council at its Feb. 3 meeting that the Community Court program went into effect Nov. 1.

Targeting misdemeanor crimes and municipal code violations, “the idea is to get low-level offenders (charged with drug possession or petty theft) out of the court system and give these people a chance to give back to the community,” she said. Through the program, perpetrators pay a fine and engage in community service to have their case(s) dismissed. “It’s a great thing for someone without a criminal history,” Law said. Community service opportunities are citywide and based on the person’s abilities and residence.

Open house set for retiring Melville research ship

The San Diego community is invited to an open house and tours aboard the Scripps Institution of Oceanography research vessel (R/V) Melville at Broadway Pier, 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Feb. 21. It will be the ship’s farewell as it is retired from the national oceangoing fleet after 46 years of service to generations of ocean scientists.

Scripps research ships are rarely accessible to the public due to the scope of ocean research, safety concerns, and intricate instruments on board. Closed-toed shoes (no heels) are required for boarding along with a photo ID. Broadway Pier, Cruise Ship Terminal North Harbor Drive at Broadway.

UCSD/Salk Center to present ‘languauge evolves’ symposium

The UC San Diego/Salk Center for Academic Research & Training in Anthropogeny (CARTA) will host a symposium on “How Language Evolves,” 1-5:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 20 at Hall of the Americas auditorium, on campus,10111 N. Torrey Pines Road.

The symposium will address how human language evolved to its current structure, focusing on ways languages adopt a new structure not present in the language of the previous generation of speakers or signers; what differences between nascent and mature languages reveal about how language evolves; and neuroscientific investigations of functional specialization for language in the human brain and its dependence on the linguistic input the language learner gets during cognitive development.

The event will be streamed live on YouTube with a link posted on the CARTA website the day of the event. Admission is free, register at

Go Red For Women luncheon is Feb. 27 to support Heart Association

More than 25 San Diego landmarks/businesses are Going Red in February — including UC San Diego Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center, UC San Diego Medical Center, La Valencia Hotel and the US Grant — in support of the American Heart Association’s annual Go Red For Women Campaign. The program is a national call to increase awareness of heart disease in women that inspires women to take charge of their heart health, and stresses the importance of knowing their numbers (i.e. blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and body mass index).

The 2015 Go Red For Women Luncheon begins at 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 27 at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina where Dixie Unruh, Karen Cohn, Gaby Sulpizio, Sally Thornton and Ronne Froman Blue will be honored as Legendary Women of the Heart for 2015. The 2014 luncheon drew 650 people and raised almost $750,000 for heart disease and stroke research. This year’s campaign chair is Debbie Turner. Barbara-Lee Edwards of KFMB-CBS 8 will again serve as the luncheon emcee.

At the luncheon UC San Diego Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center will provide free health screenings, including Body Mass Index, hypertension (blood pressure) and cholesterol.

For more information, contact the American Heart Association at (858) 410-3850.

Blood drive comes to area, Feb. 15

The San Diego Blood Bank will accept blood donations 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 15, La Jolla Presbyterian Church, 7715 Draper Ave. Anyone age 17 or older, who weighs at least 114 pounds and is in good health may qualify to give blood. A good meal and plenty of fluids are recommended prior to donation. All donors must show picture identification. Appointments at

UC System mandates measles vaccine for incoming freshmen

Incoming students at UCSD, UC Irvine and other University of California campuses across the state will be required to be immunized against measles and other diseases beginning in 2017, the university system announced Feb. 6.

The system’s existing policy requires only vaccination against hepatitis B, although some individual campuses have additional requirements. The new policy will require incoming students to be screened for tuberculosis and be vaccinated for measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, meningococcus, tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough.

Foundation enacts student-athletes’ cardiac-arrest protocol

The Eric Paredes Save A Life Foundation partnered with the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) to enact new training and education protocol on Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) prevention. On Jan. 30, the CIF Federated Council voted unanimously to amend CIF Bylaws to include language that adds SCA training to coach certification and practice and game protocol that empowers coaches to remove from a play a student-athlete who exhibits fainting — the No. 1 warning sign of a potential heart condition.

A student-athlete who has been removed from play after displaying symptoms associated with SCA may not return to play until he or she is evaluated and cleared by a licensed health care provider. To teach parents and students about SCA warning signs, an information sheet will be signed annually by all parties.

SCA is not a heart attack. It’s an abnormality in the heart’s electrical system or structure that abruptly stops the heartbeat. It’s fatal in 92 percent of cases if not properly treated within minutes. Thousands of student-athletes die annually in the United States from undetected heart conditions. SCA is 60 percent more likely to occur during physical activity and athletes are at greater risk.

In September, the foundation held a screening at La Jolla High School to evaluate students’ risk for SCA. 972 youths were screened and four were found at risk.

Senator seeks Sally Ride statue at Capitol building

California State Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) is hoping to get a statue of the late La Jolla astronaut Sally Ride included in Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol building. Lara introduced Senate Joint Resolution 4 in the state Senate Feb. 4 to require Congress to add a statue of the late physicist and space shuttle Challenger astronaut, who would become the first woman and LGBT person to represent California in Statuary Hall.

Ride made history on June 18, 1983 when she became the first American woman and the youngest astronaut in space aboard the space shuttle Challenger. In 2013, Barack Obama honored Ride posthumously with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor bestowed.