La Jolla news and community briefs
Published - 02/11/18 - 11:03 AM | 26777 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
While it may seem as though these recent lunar phenomena have become commonplace, the ‘Super Blue Blood Moon,’ as dubbed by NASA, on Jan. 31 provided contrasting hues to a crystal clear La Jolla evening. The occurrence was actually a combination of a Blue Moon, super moon and total lunar eclipse, and will not occur again until Jan. 31, 2037. / DON BALCH/VILLAGE NEWS
While it may seem as though these recent lunar phenomena have become commonplace, the ‘Super Blue Blood Moon,’ as dubbed by NASA, on Jan. 31 provided contrasting hues to a crystal clear La Jolla evening. The occurrence was actually a combination of a Blue Moon, super moon and total lunar eclipse, and will not occur again until Jan. 31, 2037. / DON BALCH/VILLAGE NEWS
Ways & Means Oyster House to add La Jolla to its worldscape

Ways & Means Oyster House, a Huntington Beach venue planning expansions into North Africa, Asia and the Middle East, will open on a spring date to be announced at 1251 Prospect, former home of Alfonso’s of La Jolla. Alfonso’s relocated to Solana Beach in 2017.

The La Jolla location will have the same menu as its Huntington Beach and Tigard, Ore. properties, including freshly shucked oysters and grilled oysters with toppings. It will also include a selection of small plates featuring crab cake sliders, fish tacos, bacon-wrapped shrimp and lobster deviled eggs. Daily specials will also be for sale.

Ways & Means has an extensive bar program, featuring private label wines and beer. Every month, two wines will be available for off-site sales through the company website ( and pick-up.

Ways & Means will serve lunch and dinner every day, along with a weekend brunch and a weekday afternoon happy hour.

Padres Pedal the Cause provides $2.4M for cancer research

Padres Pedal the Cause has donated more than $2.4 million to support cancer studies at the Salk Institute, Rady Children’s Hospital, Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health and Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute. The check was presented to representatives from the four organizations on January 24 and was the largest donation ever made by the grassroots organization.

Hundreds of cyclists participated in the fifth annual Pedal the Cause on Nov. 11 and 12 at Petco Park. The Salk Institute team featured 18 riders and raised nearly $25,000. Proceeds from the event support innovative cancer projects with a major emphasis on collaborative, translational research that offers a clear path to clinical trials. 

“Funding from Padres Pedal the Cause is already having a big impact on our ability to understand cancer and exploit its vulnerabilities,” says Reuben Shaw, who directs the Salk Institute Cancer Center. “These resources mean cancer researchers at Salk collaborate with clinicians and researchers at UC San Diego Moores on new therapies and new insights to develop treatments of the future to root out this horrific disease.” 

For the past five years, Salk has been a major partner with Pedal the Cause, on both the fundraising and research sides of the equation.

“We’re fortunate to have such a strong relationship with the Salk Institute," says Pedal the Cause executive director Anne Marchand. “In addition to the work they do every day in the lab to advance cancer research in San Diego, they lead by example in supporting Padres Pedal with a dedicated team of riders and volunteers. We look forward to continuing to partner with Team Salk for years to come.”

For researchers at Salk, and around San Diego's life sciences hub, the Torrey Pines mesa, this funding will support ongoing efforts to illuminate the basic biology that drives cancer and translate those findings into new therapies.

To date, Padres Pedal the Cause has raised more than $7 million to fund 31 cancer research projects. One of these is Salk Assistant Professor Graham McVicker’s work on acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common childhood cancer.

“The research grant has helped my lab and the Dixon lab at the Salk Institute catalyze a new collaborative project to study pediatric leukemia with Dennis Kuo at Rady Children’s Hospital,” says McVicker. “This is our first time working on a project together, and we are excited about the potential to make new discoveries.”

Sweetfin Poké to open at Westfield UTC

Founded in 2015 by fraternity brothers Seth Cohen and Brett Nestadt, Sweetfin Poké is one of LA’s most popular poke shops with seven locations now open throughout the city. This chef-driven, California inspired concept prides itself in its “Pole to Bowl” philosophy, sourcing only the highest-quality and most sustainable raw fish they can find while still maintaining a reasonable price point. Not to mention, former Top Chef contestant Dakota Weiss is its founding chef and partner.

This is their first endeavor outside fo L.A. with plans to continue growing in San Diego. Their second location will be in Del Mar at the One Paseo development. The Sweetfin team is on a clear trajectory for growth with Chef Dakota on track to be one of the most commercially successful women-owned restauranteurs in Southern California with six Sweetfin locations open and operational within six months. In 2016, they received additional funding from longtime hospitality executive and "Fast Food Architect" David Swinghamer who is a founding partner at Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality.

Grand opening on Friday, Feb. 23 at 11 a.m.: To celebrate the grand opening, they’ve partnered with local Hawaiian-style shave ice connoisseur Wailua Shave Ice to give away free shaved ice the first 200 guests who visit their UTC shop.

Music, champagne and the magic of giving will come together in a classical piano recital and elegant reception benefiting San Diego Youth Services

Hosted by the Daneshmand family, and featuring three-generations of their accomplished piano artistry, this memorable winter afternoon will showcase a musical program of beautiful classical pieces by world-renowned composers.

The campus of Congregational Church of La Jolla will offer a beautiful and inviting backdrop for the occasion, which will take place Saturday, Feb. 3, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

This year's musical celebration represents the fifth in a series of Daneshmand Family Performances, hosted for the benefit of nonprofit organizations dedicated to building stronger families and vibrant communities.

Darya, Sahra, and Ava Daneshmand are sisters and San Diego residents. The sisters will take to the stage with their cousins, Saba and Tara, sisters who reside in Los Angeles. Performances by their father, Dr. Siamak Daneshmand, a prominent urologic oncological surgeon at the University of Southern California's Norris Cancer Center, and grandfather, Dr. Hamid Daneshmand, a periodontist, who also lives in Los Angeles, will round out the recital program.

"My family is delighted to dedicate this year's recital to San Diego Youth Services, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting youth homelessness and youth in crisis," Ladan Daneshmand said. "Our performances offer us a wonderful opportunity to share our love of classical piano music, as well as the joy of playing together, with our audiences. Our family is also passionate about making a difference. Shining a spotlight on San Diego Youth Services, while raising awareness and funding for its important mission, brings our family performances full-circle." There is no cost to attend. Guests, however, are encouraged to make a financial contribution to San Diego Youth Services.To reserve seats, or make a contribution, visit

UC San Diego conference to address U.S.-Mexico 'War on Drugs'

The "War on Drugs" has been ongoing for several decades, yet its failure can be felt on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border­­­­­­­­­­­­­­. In the last 16 years, the opioid epidemic has claimed close to 125,000 lives in the U.S., whereas in Mexico the war on drugs has produced an estimated 200,000 deaths and over 30,000 disappearances in the last decade.

The Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies at the University of California San Diego's School of Global Policy and Strategy is hosting on Feb. 9  conference on “Rethinking the War on Drugs and U.S.-Mexico Security Cooperation” that will discuss transnational and local challenges and will seek to propose practical solutions for policymakers in the U.S. and Mexico.

“The cooperation of the U.S. and Mexico is more critical now than ever,” said Rafael Fernández de Castro, director of the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies. “In recent months, the U.S. has publicly embraced unilateral policies to cross-border challenges while Mexico has de-prioritized security issues. As the two countries have turned away from bilateral cooperation, the complex and region-wide factors driving and exacerbating the U.S and Mexico's most pressing security issues have continued unabated.”

From a former White House advisor to former directors of Mexico’s intelligence agencies and members of the national media, the conference participants also include top policymakers and scholars from both sides of the border. The panelists’ topics will evaluate Mexico’s many forms of victimization, examine region-wide factors for the resurgence of violence and the status of current U.S.-Mexico security cooperation.

“This conference is especially timely with the upcoming elections in Mexico and we hope the event can propose solutions for key stakeholders,” said Cecilia Farfán-Méndez, a visiting fellow at the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies. “Our goal is to propose a new framework beyond the Mérida Initiative that truly privileges cooperation and shared responsibility rather than confrontation between the U.S. and Mexico." The daylong conference is free and open to the public and will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Feb. 9 at the Village Building 2, located on the UC San Diego campus.

San Diego Unified middle schools to participate in musical theater program sponsored by La Jolla Playhouse

Middle school students in the San Diego Unified School District may be one step closer to their big break. The JumpStart Theatre Program is accepting applications from district middle schools to participate in a three-year, fully-funded musical theater program sponsored by La Jolla Playhouse and the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA).

Three district middle schools will be selected to participate in the program during the 2018-19 school year, giving non-theater teachers the skills, support and resources necessary to produce their campus’s first musical through a proven combination of hands-on mentoring and boot-camp style training.

This opportunity will expand access to the arts for many San Diego Unified students, underscoring the district’s ongoing commitment to arts education.

La Jolla Playhouse was chosen as one of two theater companies in the country to spearhead the national expansion of the highly successful JumpStart Theatre Program, established in 2014 by the Educational Theatre Association in Cincinnati. La Jolla Playhouse has long established itself as an advocate of arts education, through such programs as the Performing Outreach Program Tour and the Young Performers series of summer theater training programs.

"We are thrilled to have JumpStart Theatre come to San Diego Unified. What a terrific opportunity for our middle school students to not only have an arts experience but to develop their 21st-century skills,” said San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten. “We know JumpStart Theatre will continue our vision to transform lives through the arts. Thank you to our great local community partner, La Jolla Playhouse, and to the Educational Theatre Association."

The application is open to all San Diego Unified middle schools. Applications are due Feb. 23. Selection criteria includes the commitment of a minimum of three educators from each school who will remain dedicated to the program for the duration. Previous theater experience is not required. Schools will be mentored by La Jolla Playhouse teaching artists throughout the entire program with the goal of building a sustainable, long-term musical theatre curriculum.

"We are honored to be one of the inaugural regional partners for EdTA’s JumpStart Theatre program. La Jolla Playhouse is known for – and deeply committed to – the development of new plays and musicals, and the JumpStart Theatre Program provides a terrific proven method of empowering teachers to produce musicals in their middle schools,” said La Jolla Playhouse Managing Director Michael S. Rosenberg. “The opportunity to partner with EdTA and San Diego Unified in bringing the joy of musical theater to students and teachers in our community while building life skills through participation in the arts, could not be a better fit for La Jolla Playhouse.”

‘Your money’s no good’ at Tender Greens venues

Your paper money is no longer acceptable at Tender Greens, a fast-casual fare venue that operates in the UTC area, Liberty Station, Mission Valley and downtown San Diego. 

Company officials say the move is a response to technological advances and the need to save time. They add that the change is better for the environment amid the lack of need for paper deposit slips and for visits by armored trucks.

The credit, debit and mobile payment set-up were tested successfully at the restaurant’s El Segundo outlet. This month, the restaurant is also touting a digital gift card feature on its mobile app.

Starbucks in Seattle is considering a similar cashless program.

- Martin J. Westlin
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