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La Jolla News Nuggets: May 21-27

‘Local Hero’ recipients Virginia Gordon and Azim Khamisa. Courtesy
‘Local Hero’ recipients Virginia Gordon and Azim Khamisa. Courtesy

Short-term vacation rental debate will continus May 29 at City Hall and other brief news

Two La Jollans selected as ‘local heroes’

Two La Jolla residents were honored this month as “Local Heroes” by Union Bank and KPBS, as part of their ongoing commitment to cultural diversity. The program pays tribute to those making a difference and enriching the lives of others by improving their community, region and the world at large.

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Virginia Gordon, outreach coordinator for J Street San Diego is an honoree for Jewish American Heritage Month. Her work helped build a new, 1,500-member chapter with 40 activists. She has 40 years of experience in grassroots community and labor organizing, and has held leadership positions on foundation boards and raised over $2 million for health care, education, peace building and advocacy. Her Middle East activism began in 1983 when she developed philanthropic campaigns in New York and Boston to support Israeli-Palestinian peace projects.

Social activist and investment banker Azim Khamisa was honored as part of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. He is the founder of the Tariq Khamisa Foundation (TKF), which works to stop youth violence through education, mentorship and restorative practice programs. Since 1995, TKF’s message and programs have reached more than 500,000 youth.

Short-term vacation rentals meeting May 29

The San Diego City Council’s Smart Growth & Land Use Committee will continue its public discussion of vacation rentals Friday, May 29 at City Hall, 202 C Street in downtown San Diego. To address complaints about excessive noise and trash from short-term home rentals, the committee is expected to offer direction to city staff for amending the municipal code to better regulate the industry.

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Lifeguard tower update

The new lifeguard tower at La Jolla Cove should be open to the public by July 4, and construction on the new tower at Children’s Pool beach will resume June 1, said Justin Garver, a representative for District 1 City Councilmember Sherri Lightner.

SeaWorld denies presence of bacterial disease at Cove

As the sea lion presence continues to expand at La Jolla Cove prompting community leaders to meet with NOAA for a solution that addresses both public safety and the infamous odor, a concern regarding the bacterial disease, leptospirosis (which sea lions carry) has also been raised.

Marine mammal biologist Monica DeAngelis, with NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region, explained that leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease (people can get infected from animals and vice versa), although there has been no confirmed case of a person or pet being infected from a sea lion.

“The bacteria are mostly concentrated in urine and other body fluids, and transmission usually occurs through skin abrasions,” she said.

In humans, according to the Center for Disease Control, the time between a person’s exposure to a contaminated source and becoming sick is two days to four weeks. Illness usually begins abruptly with fever and other symptoms.

Leptospirosis may occur in two phases. After the first phase (symptoms include fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, vomiting or diarrhea), the patient may recover for a time but become ill again. If a second phase occurs, the person may have kidney or liver failure or meningitis.

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However, SeaWorld communications director David Koontz said any sea lion brought into SeaWorld’s rehabilitative care undergoes a full physical exam and SeaWorld has not had a positive test for leptospirosis in a sea lion retrieved from La Jolla Cove or the surrounding area.

He said leptospirosis is more common in sea lions that live Northern California and that SeaWorld veterinarians have not seen a case in a Southern California sea lion in at least 10 years.

Surfrider art auction nets $34,000 for seas

The Surfrider Foundation San Diego County Chapter’s 15th annual Art Gala raised $34,000 to help protect the region’s oceans, waves and beaches.

The event was held May 8 at Paradise Point Resort & Spa and celebrated ocean advocacy while showcasing local artists and raising funds for Surfrider programs. Highlights from the event, emceed by FM 102.1KPRi’s Tommy Hough, included real-time painting from Jared Lazer and musical sets by Aja Lee and the Mattson 2. More information at sandiego.surfrider.org

Big Brothers Big Sisters to honor Peter Farrell

Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County named La Jollan Peter Farrell as its “Person of the Year” for 2015. Farrell, founder and chairman of ResMed, will receive his award at Big Brothers Big Sisters 53rd annual Gourmet Dinner, Oct. 29, at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine.

“I am delighted to be named Person of the Year by Big Brothers Big Sisters,” Farrell said. “It is an important organization doing an extremely important job in the lives of local children in need of professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationships. In particular, it is difficult to think of an activity more worthy than helping the children of those serving in the Armed Forces who protect our freedom. I am humbled to be so honored.”

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Senior Women end tourney at La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club

Consolation singles finals wrapped up the final day of play as the USTA National Senior Women’s Hard Court Championships came to a close at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, May 17.

Fourth-seeded Sherri Bronson of Scottsdale, Arizona defeated fifth-seeded Leslie Airola Murveit of Portola Valley, California, 6-2, 6-1, to win the 60 and over singles consolation championship.

In the 80 and over singles consolation final, Claire Zoeller of Santa Fe, New Mexico outlasted Irene Bretzel of Fircrest, Washington, 6-4, 6-2.

“It was a fantastic week of national senior women’s tennis,” said Tournament Director Bill Kellogg. “After watching players competing in age divisions from 50 to 90, it is easy to see why tennis continues to be the sport of a lifetime.” For complete scores and results, click here.