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    5-year ban on Children's Pool access during pupping season endorsed
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Aug 16, 2014 | 9636 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    La Jolla's Children's Pool figures in the relationship between marine life and recreational users – again. COURTESY PHOTO
    La Jolla's Children's Pool figures in the relationship between marine life and recreational users – again. COURTESY PHOTO
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    Overriding objections by beach-access proponents, the California Coastal Commission Aug. 14 unanimously endorsed a five-year ban on people accessing La Jolla’s Children’s Pool from Dec. 15 to May 15 to afford greater protection to harbor seals during their pupping season. It was the latest twist in a series of back-and-forth developments over several years defining the relationship between seals and human recreational users — swimmers, fisherman, divers, et cetera — who access the ocean via the protected pocket beach. Paid for by La Jolla philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps and created as a safe wading area for children, the pool was deeded to the city in 1931. During the 1990s, the manmade breakwater became increasingly overrun by seals, who turned the pool into a haul-out site and a rookery. In 1997, the pool was closed to human contact by the county health department because of high bacteria counts from seal waste buildup in its shallow waters. Signs there continue to warn that water contact could pose a serious health risk. In rendering their decision, coastal commissioners argued the city of San Diego’s shared-use policy allowing both species year-round access at the pool has failed. “It hasn’t worked out in terms of what we’ve seen in the videos and the testimony (of seal harassment) we’ve heard,” said Commissioner Dayna Bochco, who added, “If more people acted reasonably, we wouldn’t be here again today.” Noting she couldn’t imagine Scripps being happy with seal harassment at her pool, Bochco said “this isn’t a permanent closure of a beach, just five months out of the year.” Bochco added some might misinterpret the commission’s mission to promote “maximum” beach access as promoting “absolute” access. “We are not mandated to do that,” Bochco said. “We’re allowed to control the access to the beach in a reasonable way.” First District Councilwoman and Council president pro tem Sherri Lightner spoke out against Children’s Pool's seasonal closure. “The community has never supported a seasonal beach closure and is not in favor of this one,” said Lightner, adding, “It’s premature to permanently close this beach.” Pointing out seals are not “threatened or endangered,” Lightner characterized seasonally closing Children’s Pool as “a very dangerous and unusual precedent.” The councilwoman said the ideal solution “is one of shared use, with no unnecessary restrictions placed on the beach or ocean users.” Describing the proposed seasonal beach closure as “regulation overkill,” and declaring that arguments in favor of beach closure were not “fact-based” or “data-driven,” Lightner concluded, “There’s been no consideration for what long-term, unintended consequences might result from this proposal.” Spokespersons for groups on both sides of the issue offered testimony for and against seasonal beach closure. “A civilization is judged by the way it treats its animals,” testified former County Supervisor Pam Slater-Price, who previously represented La Jolla, quoting Indian nationalist leader Mohandas Gandhi. She added a five-month restriction on human contact at the beach “isn’t going to be too impactful, reduces seal harassment and maintains the viewing experience for locals and tourists alike.” Others saw the seasonal beach closure as an infringement on rights guaranteed by the state Constitution. “The city’s been a bad steward for the Children’s Pool, breaking their promises to the people of San Diego in letting this pool go to ruin,” argued Ken Hunrichs of Friends of the Children’s Pool. “A (public) trust and a coastal resource has been ruined in the name of so-called wildlife protection.” Hunrichs said shared use at the pool hasn’t worked “because it is not being allowed to work.” Describing the pool as “a children’s playground,” Hunrichs argued that Children’s Pool beach “ought to remain open year-round.” Free-diver Ryan Sweeney characterized the decadelong battle over shared use at Children’s Pool as a “long and tortured soap opera.” Insisting that the Marine Life Protection Act has closed 70 percent of La Jolla to fishing, Sweeney said the pool is “smack-dab in the middle of the remaining 30 percent left open. “Why isn’t there a pinniped management plan?” Sweeney asked. “When will this problem end? When will the city take responsibility and do something about it?” In its unanimously passed motion, coastal commissioners attached conditions to seasonal beach closure. When the measure sunsets in five years, the city of San Diego was directed to return with updates on the feasibility of providing Americans With Disabilities (ADA) access at the pool's beach and the evaluation of possible methods for cleansing the pool’s seal waste-contaminated sand and water.
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    Robin Williams: La Jolla, like everywhere else, held a special place in his heart
    by MARTIN JONES WESTLIN
    Aug 13, 2014 | 6845 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Robin Williams buddies up with Rudy Garcia-Tolson from the San Diego Challenged Athletes Foundation, which Williams supported with his time and talent for 11 years.    COURTESY PHOTO
    Robin Williams buddies up with Rudy Garcia-Tolson from the San Diego Challenged Athletes Foundation, which Williams supported with his time and talent for 11 years. COURTESY PHOTO
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    Everything everybody's said and continues to say about the late Robin Williams is true: He was a comedic genius, and his performance acumen is possibly unmatched in the annals of modern entertainment. Arguably, the late Jonathan Winters could only scratch his head at the news that he was Williams' idol – while Winters' cacophonous routines were hilarious, Williams took 'em into his corner of outer space, turning thousands of itinerant characters on a dime and challenging audiences to keep up, often within an inch of their lives. Too, too seriously damn funny. Williams, 63, died Aug. 11 in his Marin County home with a belt around his neck and a colossal open sore on his heart. Acquaintances had said he was in a funk about what appeared to be a sagging career (TV series canceled, movie straight to DVD); his wife has since revealed that he was recently diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, and the turns of events could well have weighed into the depths of his obsessions. The unimaginable death of a centuries-old soul like his can't help but have touched millions around the world, notably those at the San Diego Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF), which supports the physically compromised in their pursuit of active lifestyles through physical fitness and athletics. The group's message wasn't lost on the philanthropic Williams, an inveterate cyclist who attended every one of the CAF's triathlon challenges at La Jolla Cove between 1998 and 2008 (and who many years before had cut some of his comedic teeth at La Jolla's The Comedy Store). His introduction to the group came unceremoniously enough at an Escape from Alcatraz triathlon in San Francisco, where he met triathlete Scott Tinley and his wife Virginia, now CAF executive director. “Absolutely,” he reportedly said amid the Tinleys' invitation to the La Jolla event, where he would meet and participate with then 8-year-old Rudy Garcia-Tolson, a double above-knee amputee. Garcia-Tolson swam his portion of the event; Scott Tinley ran, and Williams biked. “One thing Robin always said,” according to CAF marketing manager Jenna Novotny, “was that Rudy was not a challenged athlete. 'Rudy,' he said, 'will kick anybody's butt out there. Now, a 300-pound man trying to squeeze into Spandex: That's a challenged athlete!' “That was Robin's personality,” Novotny explained. “A lot of times, people don't know how to react to someone with a disability. But he put everyone at comfort and everyone at ease. He was there to make everyone laugh, and he was as inspired by the athletes and bystanders as everyone at the event was of him.” Williams would later invite comics Will Ferrell and Jim Carrey to the event, thus breaking out some star-power PR. “He was very important,” Novotny said, “in bringing light to our organization and what we do.” (For more on the group, see challengedathletes.org.) The Cove and La Jolla, Novotny added, are in no danger of losing the event, notable in this era of budget cuts and the fractiousness that can accompany them (La Jolla came within hours of postponing its fireworks display this year amid just such a flap). This year's gathering is set for Sunday, Oct. 19, with Irvine-based Aspen Medical Products its sponsor. If the unthinkable were to happen, Williams would likely have scrambled for his life to save the day – but not as a token celeb whose millions could conceivably evaporate the red tape. His colossal performance style betrays a man who felt life's twists and turns with every fiber of his being, and the triathlon was surely worth the effort. The public mind is that much more aware of itself for having embraced his essence, and La Jolla is that much better a community for having experienced his decency. Godspeed, Robin, and thanks for everything.
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    Rady donates $120 million to namesake hospital for childhood disease studies institution
    Aug 04, 2014 | 15354 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    The 449-bed Rady Children's hospital is the largest children's hospital in the state.
    The 449-bed Rady Children's hospital is the largest children's hospital in the state.
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    Ernest Rady, whose namesake hospital is the largest pediatric facility in the state and has a satellite location in La Jolla, has donated $120 million toward establishment of a genomics institute at the hospital, declaring tongue in cheek that he'd had more fun earning the money than earmarking it. The Rady Pediatric Genomics and Systems Medicine Institute will assemble scientists, researchers and physicians to work on treatments for childhood diseases based on each patient's genetic profile. The bulk of the clinical personnel will come from the UCSD Health System. “This is the beginning,” Rady said in a statement, asking others to establish grants and endowments toward the goal. The donation announcement was made by hospital board chairman David Hale at a news conference, wit Rady attending. In a related development, Rady's board of trustees pledged $40 million to help fund the center. “The commitment Ernest Rady and the board has made is truly transformative,” said Dr. Donald Kearns, president of the hospital, in a statement. “This Institute and gift will secure Rady Children’s' place at the leading edge of research, discovery and innovation into childhood disease and injury.” Kearns added that the hopes the facility sets “national and international standards for pediatric care.” The institute will be housed in two facilities, one on Frost Street adjacent to the 449-bed hospital and the other in the Torrey Pines area among other research institutes. The genome, or the genetic material of an organism, determines the characteristics of a parented offspring. Certain alterations in the genomic sequence result is superficial attributes such as eye color and hair density; others are linked to predictors of disorders such as cystic fibrosis, Down syndrome, hemophilia, muscular dystrophy and sickle-cell disease. Without adequate treatment, many people with the bleeding disorder hemophilia die before they reach adulthood. The average IQ of a child with the chromosomal disorder Down syndrome is 50. Rady, one of San Diego's most widely known philanthropists, is a self-made billionaire, a financial services director and a developer of commercial and residential real estate. His company American Assets, which he founded in 1967, gave $60 million in a $220 million campaign for new construction and patient programs at Rady Children's, which ended in 2011. He also donated $30 million to programs at UCSD in 2003. The Winnipeg, Manitoba native, 77, holds a law degree from the University of Manitoba. He and his wife Evelyne have three children. Rady's donation matches the non-bequest record $120 million that Irwin and Joan Jacobs gave the San Diego Symphony in February of 2002 – and at Monday's announcement, Rady quipped that he'd “had a hell of a lot more fun making it than I am giving it away.” Gabriel Haddad, Rady hospital physician in chief, pointed out that he hopes $120 million is only the start of donations and bequests. "I think we want to build something that will be self-sustaining, ultimately,” Haddad said, “but at the beginning we need a boost like the one that we have today.” – Staff and contribution
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    School district OKs pact allowing choice of curriculum and hiring practices at five La Jolla schools
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Aug 04, 2014 | 2342 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    La Jolla High School is one of five public schools in the neighborhood.
    La Jolla High School is one of five public schools in the neighborhood.
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    A partnership agreement unanimously approved by San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) trustees July 29 will give La Jolla Cluster Association’s (LJCA’s) five schools greater flexibility and autonomy over their hiring practices, student selection and academics. A geographic-based school "cluster" includes a high school and the middle and elementary schools feeding into them. The La Jolla cluster includes La Jolla High, Muirlands Middle and Bird Rock and La Jolla and Torrey Pines Elementary schools. The partnership agreement was the culmination of three years' negotiation between La Jolla Elementary School principal Donna Tripi, Muirlands Middle School teachers Julie Latta and Rob Tindall and parent Fran Shimp with SDUSD superintendent Cindy Marten. The final agreement hammered out between the La Jolla Schools’ governance teams and SDUSD includes a number of changes: • La Jolla schools will be able to seek new teachers from among all qualified applicants rather than the traditional “post-and-bid” hiring policy, which limits job openings to the five most senior applicants. Teacher union approval will be required for anyone hired under the new system, which breaks fresh ground in union-based hiring practices. • La Jolla schools are allowed more freedom in structuring their curriculums and choosing textbooks. • The new agreement fits with SDUSD’s neighborhood-centered educational approach embodied in its Vision 2020 plan. Any changes proposed by any of the five La Jolla schools in the partnership agreement must be put in writing to an SDUSD official to be approved or rejected within 10 business days. “It was gratifying to hear our superintendent and school board members praise the inclusive process,” said LJCA in a press release. “What we have created can truly be called community-based education reform. We look forward to working alongside the district with a new level of mutual respect and transparency through our new partnership agreement.” La Jolla Cluster is held in high esteem at San Diego Unified, as its student test scores are historically among the highest in the district. The cluster also has a tradition of independence. Previously, La Jolla High won some academic autonomy from SDUSD after threatening to become an independent charter school. For more information, visit lajollacluster.com.
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    To the rescue
    Aug 01, 2014 | 6078 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    La Jolla Cove's tricky waters were no match for two SeaWorld San Diego rescue team members, who with the help of local lifeguards came to the aid of a malnourished and dehydrated northern elephant seal pup on July 31. The 133-pound animal was transported to SeaWorld's Animal Rescue Center, where it was rehydrated and tube-fed; SeaWorld's animal care specialists say the pup should be fit enough to return to the ocean in six to eight weeks. SeaWorld has rescued more than 185 ill, injured and stranded marine mammals this year.
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    News
    Defeated motion on revenue producers refuels old debate at LJVMA meeting
    A proposal to explore revenue-producing alternatives, including the installation of parking meters in the Village, resurrected a simmering community debate at La Jolla Village Merchants Association...
    Aug 20, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Sports
    In the saddle
    The sobering news from the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club has subsided a bit, with Enterprising (pictured) winning the La Jolla Handicap for three-year-olds as turf racing resumed at the Del Mar Thoroug...
    Aug 16, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Opinion
    Bird's Surf Scoop: assessing the value, demand for your board
    Quite often, I get requests to appraise a surfboard, either from a historical standpoint or a monetary one. Although just about all surfboards are different in a wide variety of ways, the same basi...
    Aug 06, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Arts & Entertainment
    The Agenda -- everything you could possibly do in La Jolla for the foreseeable future
    WEDNESDAY, Aug. 20 • Green Flash Concert Series, Marc Broussard and Tyrone Wells, 5:30 to 9 p.m., Birch Aquarium, 2300 Expedition Way. Ages 21 and up. The concerts pair live music with panoramic oc...
    Jul 23, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Business
    One for the ages: New company offering free meditation classes
    The negative health effects of stress, worry, fear and anxiety have for many years concerned modern society. Many say this is the fastest paced, most stressed period that humanity has ever experien...
    Aug 16, 2014 | 2 2 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Obituaries
    Stephen F. Heinemann, Salk pioneer in brain disease research
    Stephen F. Heinemann, a Salk Research Institute professor whose pioneering work on neurotransmitter receptors in the brain helped lay the groundwork for understanding brain diseases, died Aug. 6 of...
    Aug 14, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend
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