La Jolla News Nuggets: New Kellogg Park trees, shade sail donations, UCSD gets $15M in cryptocurrency; more

Some beetle-infested trees in Kellogg Park replaced

The city of San Diego has replaced four Torrey pine trees one year after those planted in La Jolla’s Kellogg Park with funding from a local group died because of a beetle infestation.

The La Jolla Shores Association bought nine trees in 2021 for the city to plant as replacements for trees lost to infestation or other reasons. The La Jolla Sunrise Rotary Club gave a $3,000 grant for the project in 2019. The tree planting was initially delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic and waiting on city approval for the requisition.

Four of the trees were Torrey pines and were planted in January 2022. But they were lost several months later due to an infestation of the Ips beetle, an insect that tunnels through tree bark, causing damage and death to pine and spruce trees.

City spokesman Benny Cartwright said that “if these newly planted trees end up succumbing to the beetle as well, city crews will have to plant some other species.”

The five other trees were not the correct species — Australian tea trees — and the right species had to be acquired, Cartwright said.

He said city crews’ schedule “has been severely impacted by the winter storms, and tree safety issues have taken precedence over tree planting.”

Donations sought for new shade sail at Kellogg playground

The shade sail over the playground at Kellogg Park is planned to be replaced.

The shade sail over the playground at Kellogg Park is planned to be replaced.

(Mary Coakley Munk)

The Walter Munk Foundation for the Oceans is seeking donations for a new shade sail over the playground at Kellogg Park in La Jolla.

The shade sail, installed in 2012, has been damaged and removed.

Donors will be recognized on a panel that will tell the story of J.J. the Orphaned Baby Gray Whale, a lifesize statue of which sits at the playground for children to climb and play on.

To donate, email or call (619) 840-0250.

UCSD receives $15M in cryptocurrency for research of airborne pathogens

UC San Diego has received a $15 million gift made in USD coin cryptocurrency by the Balvi Filantropic Fund, directed by Vitalik Buterin, founder of Ethereum, one of the world’s leading blockchain networks.

The gift establishes the Meta-Institute for Airborne Disease in a Changing Climate at UCSD.

The institute will be housed in the School of Biological Sciences, with researchers from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the School of Physical Sciences leading the effort.

Co-directors of the institute are Kim Prather, a professor of atmospheric chemistry, and Rommie Amaro, a professor of theoretical and computational chemistry.

Prather also is the founding director of the National Science Foundation-funded Center for Aerosol Impacts on Chemistry of the Environment, which is focused on improving understanding of how aerosol particles affect the environment, air quality and climate.

Buterin’s donation is one of the largest cryptocurrency gifts made to a U.S. university and a University of California campus. It is the largest to date to fund open-source research on aerosols.

Scripps Research is awarded $10M grant for alcohol abuse study

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has awarded scientists at Scripps Research in La Jolla a $10 million grant to study the cellular and molecular changes in the brain that underlie alcohol use disorder. The grant will fund the Scripps Research Alcohol Research Center for five years.

The grant will fund five separate research components led by Marisa Roberto, a Ph.D. in neurophysiology, and associate professors Candice Contet, Olivier George, Rémi Martin-Fardon and Eric Zorrilla, plus two resource cores led by senior scientific director Amanda Roberts and professor John Yates III.

According to the NIAAA, about 29.5 million people in the United States have alcohol use disorder, a chronic brain condition characterized by compulsive drinking, loss of control over alcohol use and negative emotions when not drinking. Nearly 100,000 people die from alcohol-related causes annually, the institute says.

LJCPA holds off on vote on Fay Avenue and Vista del Mar projects

Amid confusion about subcommittee findings, two items were removed from the consent agenda of the La Jolla Community Planning Association’s March 2 meeting for full review at a future meeting.

One of the proposals — to change the hourly parking limit on Fay Avenue — was pulled because the agenda said the La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board had approved the change Feb. 15, while some at the LJCPA meeting noted that T&T actually had decided to withhold a vote pending more information.

The proposal would extend the time limit for parking spaces along Fay Avenue between Silverado and Kline streets to two hours from one.

The other item that was pulled was for a development planned for 7056 Vista del Mar, which received an unusual vote when heard by the La Jolla Development Permit Review Committee on Feb. 21.

The project would remodel a 3,479-square-foot two-story residence on the property and build a 749-square-foot attached accessory dwelling unit and a 333-square-foot deck.

The DPR board passed a motion to endorse the design of the project but postpone final action until the California Coastal Commission acts on a code revision that integrates the terms of Senate Bill 9, which would make it easier to construct ADUs on a property.

Demand from freshmen for admission to UCSD drops for first time in 20 years

After 20 years of explosive growth, the number of students seeking to enroll as freshmen this fall at UC San Diego has taken a slight dip for reasons not fully understood by the university.

The campus said it received 130,830 applications, a decline of 396 from the previous year. The change was especially noticeable because last year’s figure was almost 13,000 higher than for fall 2021.

The number of California residents seeking a spot for this fall increased by 584, to 84,910. And the number of out-of-state applicants rose by 173, to 23,951. But the number of international students fell by 1,153, to 21,969.

“There could be a number of reasons for this decline,” said Jim Rawlins, associate vice chancellor for enrollment management, “and without speaking with students on why they may have decided not to apply to UC San Diego, we speculate there may be growing interest in attending colleges and universities in their home countries, geopolitical considerations, some ongoing COVID-19 travel restrictions, etc. Again, this is speculation.”

The decline wasn’t entirely unexpected.

The number of international students enrolling in U.S. schools dropped by 15 percent in 2020-21 due to COVID-19 and political tensions between the U.S. and other countries, particularly China. Enrollment is now starting to recover.

And in 2021, the California Legislature told UCSD, UCLA and UC Berkeley to reduce the number of undergraduates they accept from outside California to make more room for students who live here. Some lawmakers accused the schools of favoring international students because they paid much higher tuition. — The San Diego Union-Tribune

La Jolla Playhouse’s Without Walls Festival at Rady Shell to be free of charge

La Jolla Playhouse’s popular Without Walls Festival, which will be presented April 27-30 at The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park in San Diego, will be entirely free of charge this year.

The annual festival of site-specific theater, dance, visual art and music has always offered a lot of free programming as part of its lineup. But this year, in association with the San Diego Symphony, all events at the Rady Shell are free, though reservations will be recommended for select performances with limited capacity.

An offsite WOW event being produced at the downtown location of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego will require paid tickets.

The playhouse last week announced an initial lineup of acts booked to appear at the four-day event. It includes “A Shared Space,” an interactive performance presented by the San Diego Symphony; “Las Cuatro Milpas,” an immersive play inspired by one of San Diego’s oldest Mexican restaurants, Las Cuatro Milpas in Barrio Logan; and “Birdmen” from Close-Act Theatre Co., a theatrical stilt-walking troupe from the Netherlands.

The full lineup and schedule will be posted at — The San Diego Union-Tribune

Stand Up to Cancer fund established to honor late La Jolla native

The family of the late Ashley Nissenberg Joffe, who grew up in La Jolla and attended La Jolla Elementary and La Jolla High schools, has established a Stand Up to Cancer fund in her memory.

Nissenberg Joffe, who was an entertainment lawyer in Century City with three young children, died in May due to late-stage triple-negative breast cancer.

The Ashley Nissenberg Joffe Fund will finance research on triple-negative breast cancer and an awareness campaign with the hope that patients will receive better, more detailed family medical history forms and that women will advise their doctors about their family history and request genetic testing when appropriate.

Triple-negative breast cancer occurs in 10 percent to 15 percent of all breast cancers, and many cases are connected to a genetic mutation that requires early identification.

To donate, visit or send a check with “Ashley Nissenberg Joffe Fund” in the memo line to Stand Up to Cancer, P.O. Box 84372, Los Angeles, CA 90084-3721.

The La Jolla Community Center is celebrating a decade of its Fourth Friday Jazz Series.

The La Jolla Community Center is celebrating a decade of its Fourth Friday Jazz Series.

( La Jolla Community Center)

The La Jolla Community Center is celebrating a decade of its 2023 Fourth Friday Jazz Series.

The next performance in the monthly series will be “The Voice Above the Crowd” with Marshall Hawkins featuring Joshua White on Friday, March 24.

The 2023 Fourth Friday Jazz Series will run through Friday, Oct. 27.

The series was started a decade ago with a concept from board chairman Glen Rasmussen to bring more jazz to the community in collaboration with Lori Bell as the artist-in-residence for the series. After a couple of years, the series expanded to a longer season and began inviting different artists to headline.

Concerts are held at 7 p.m. at 6811 La Jolla Blvd. Tickets are $25 for Community Center members and $30 for non-members in advance and $35 at the door.

For more information, visit

La Jolla United Methodist Church rummage sale is this weekend

La Jolla United Methodist Church will hold its 60th annual rummage sale from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 11, at 6063 La Jolla Blvd.

Items will sell for half-price after 1 p.m.

Proceeds from the sale will benefit several charities supported by the church, including missions for women and children and the La Jolla United Methodist Church Nursery School scholarship fund.

Among the items for sale will be furniture, housewares, clothing, Christmas items, books, toys, jewelry and more.

The sale doubles as a community event and includes hamburgers and homemade cakes on the patio.

For more information, visit

Nominations being accepted for People in Preservation Awards

To recognize individuals, groups, firms, artisans, architects and others who have made significant contributions to historic preservation in San Diego County and beyond, nominations for the Save Our Heritage Organisation’s People in Preservation Awards are being accepted through Wednesday, March 15.

“We want to hear about the people who are working tirelessly and conscientiously on buildings, sites or projects to preserve our shared heritage,” according to SOHO.

Learn more at

— Compiled by La Jolla Light staff

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