La Jolla news and community briefs
Published - 11/03/17 - 10:39 AM | 0 0 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print
On Friday, Oct. 27 at Tioga Hall, UC San Diego saw its 43rd annual ‘Pumpkin Drop.’ This year’s pumpkin weighed about 420 pounds, making it one of the largest pumpkins in Muir College’s Pumpkin Drop history, which is fitting, as the college is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Each year, students name the sacrificial squash and this fall it was dubbed: ‘I’m dropping hints that I’m 50 and single!’ Inside the pumpkin was an assortment of individually wrapped candy, which students scurried to claim. / PHOTO BY ERIK JEPSEN UC SAN DIEGO PUBLICATIONS AND CREATIVE SERVICES
On Friday, Oct. 27 at Tioga Hall, UC San Diego saw its 43rd annual ‘Pumpkin Drop.’ This year’s pumpkin weighed about 420 pounds, making it one of the largest pumpkins in Muir College’s Pumpkin Drop history, which is fitting, as the college is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Each year, students name the sacrificial squash and this fall it was dubbed: ‘I’m dropping hints that I’m 50 and single!’ Inside the pumpkin was an assortment of individually wrapped candy, which students scurried to claim. / PHOTO BY ERIK JEPSEN UC SAN DIEGO PUBLICATIONS AND CREATIVE SERVICES
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Vikings for Veterans at LJHS track

On Nov. 5, help the LJHS Vikings For Vets club support local veterans by running or walking in this 5K fundraiser event. All donations go to Paralyzed Veterans of America. A suggested donation of $10 per youth and $15 per adult can be paid on race day. For more information, visit www.vikingsforvets.org.

‘Natural High’ gala

America is facing an opioid epidemic and it is not going away without a fight. Today, nearly two million Americans live with opioid abuse or dependence; an estimated 46 Americans die each day from prescription opioid overdoses alone. Opioids have become more readily available and drug and alcohol use is more prevalent than in years past, impacting today’s youth the greatest. 

On Saturday, Nov. 4, San Diego-based Natural High works directly with educators, celebrity ambassadors and parents to inspire and empower our youth to find their natural high and develop the skills and courage to say no to drugs. Natural High, a nonprofit organization, uses science-based programs to inspire today’s youth to tap into their natural high and learn lifesaving principles. Natural High has inspired more than eight million teens and currently reaches more than 28,000 educators across the nation.

To recognize national advocates and ambassadors, Natural High will honor special educators, celebrity ambassadors, and youths at its annual, celebrity-studded Gala on Nov. 4 at Hilton Torrey Pines. 6:30 to 10 p.m.

MTS to improve transit choices

The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) continues its efforts to improve transit choices for the San Diego region with the grand opening of the state-of-the-art 80,000-square-foot UTC Transit Center on Friday, Oct. 27.  The agency will operate 11 bus routes out of the facility that service thousands of passengers daily in the heart of San Diego’s second largest business sector – University City. 

 The UTC Transit Center is part of the $500 million Westfield UTC mall renovation that will connect to the Mid-Coast Trolley extension platform via a sky bridge when completed in 2021. The $13.7 million transit facility was built as a public/private partnership with the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) and Westfield UTC and the City of San Diego. 

 Since June 2014, MTS, in partnership with SANDAG, has exponentially improved San Diego’s largest transit system – giving more and better choices than ever before to transit riders. Other capital investments include:

· $2 million boost in bus service as part of the Transit Optimization Plan that will add to the agency’s high frequency network and streamline routes to reduce travel times;

· $660 million complete overhaul and renewal of the Orange Line and UC San Diego Blue Line infrastructure;

· Launched a new network of high frequency, limited stop bus service called Rapid  

· Modernized the UC San Diego Blue Line to allow low-floor Trolley cars to speed up boarding and improve on-time performance on the network’s busiest line

· $38 million to build the East County Bus Operations & Maintenance Facility 

· $50.9 million to build the South Bay Operations & Maintenance Facility; and

· $21 million to modernize bus stations on the Broadway corridor in downtown San Diego that provide a premier level of comfort, security and convenience for transit riders.

The latest investment, the UTC Transit Center, will serve bus routes that have grown significantly in recent years due to increased demand from UC San Diego’s growing community.

The new 80,000-square-foottransit center will be off-street, have a bus-only entrance/exit, and avoid all the pedestrian and private auto flow from the mall. It will also include a new controlled bus-only intersection at the southwestern corner of the transit center on Genesee Avenue. Bus routes that will serve the new UTC Transit Center include:

· Route 30 (UTC/VA Medical Center/Downtown San Diego);

· Route 31 (Miramar College Transit Station/UTC Transit Center);

· Route 41 (UC San Diego/VA Medical Center/Fashion Valley Transit Center);

· Route 50  (UTC Express – Downtown Express); Route 60 (UTC via Kearny Mesa/Euclid Ave Trolley Station via Kearny Mesa)

· Route 101 (NCTD Route – Oceanside/VA Medical Center/UC San Diego/UTC);

· Route 105 (Old Town Transit Center/UTC);

· Route 150 (UTC/VA Medical Center/Downtown San Diego);

· Route 201/202 (UC San Diego Medical Center/UC San Diego/Nobel/UTC);

· Route 204 (UTC/Executive Dr./Judicial Dr./UTC;

· Route 921 (Miramar College Transit Station/UC San Diego/VA Medical Center).

UC San Diego named 16th Best University

The University of California San Diego has been named the world’s 16th best university by U.S. News and World Report. The campus was also recognized as the nation’s fifth-best public university in the fourth annual rankings, which measure factors such as research, global and regional reputation; international collaboration; as well as the number of highly-cited papers and doctorates awarded.

“UC San Diego is proud to receive this recognition and to have the academic achievements of our faculty and students commended by U.S News and World Report,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “As a top-ranked public research university, UC San Diego advances the frontiers of knowledge to find innovative, non-conventional solutions to global challenges and make the world a better place.”

The overall rankings evaluate 1,250 universities – up from 1,000 last year – across 74 countries.

“The schools that rank the highest in the Best Global Universities rankings are those that emphasize academic research, including by partnering with international scholars to produce highly cited articles,” said Robert Morse, chief data strategist at U.S. News and World Report. “This is different from the Best Colleges rankings, which measure the overall quality of undergraduate institutions.”

The university’s cutting-edge research and stellar faculty are known throughout the world. Recently, computer science professor Stefan Savage was named a 2017 MacArthur Fellow for his work in cybersecurity. Stephen Mayfield, a UC San Diego professor of biology, led a research effort which produced the world’s first algae-based, renewable flip flops, an innovation that could be revolutionary, changing the world for the better environmentally.

The U.S. News Best Global Universities 2018 edition also features subject rankings in which UC San Diego received high marks across the board in areas such as pharmacology and toxicology (3), neuroscience and behavior (8), biology and biochemistry (8), molecular biology and genetics (10) as well as psychiatry and psychology (13). 

Vision Zero

Bicycle lanes will soon be installed on Vision Zero corridor University Avenue from 5th Avenue to Park Boulevard.  On Oct. 31, San Diego City Council unanimously approved a plan to remove metered parking in order to add the bicycle lanes, making University Avenue safer for all modes of transportation. 

In 2015, SANDAG approved of the Uptown Bikeways project, which will bring protected bikeways to University Avenue, however, a gap was created in the core of Hillcrest to mollify opposition in the neighborhood. Today’s action and leadership is a major step by the City of San Diego in filling the bicycle lane gap in the Hillcrest core and will save lives on one of the most dangerous corridors in San Diego. 

Circulate San Diego and a diverse coalition of 20 organizations promoted a campaign for the last two years called Vision Zero, with the goal to end traffic deaths and serious injuries in San Diego by 2025. Mayor Faulconer and the San Diego City Council adopted a 10-year Vision Zero strategy in 2015.

“Today’s vote to shorten the gap on University is a key step toward improving safety on one of San Diego’s most dangerous Vision Zero corridors,” said Maya Rosas, Advocacy Manager with Circulate San Diego.

The concept behind Vision Zero is that traffic deaths are preventable – through safe street design, education, and enforcement. The program has been successful in other U.S. and European cities. To date, 20 cities across the U.S. have adopted a Vision Zero goal. 

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