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    World-class science, community support fuel Birch Aquarium
    May 03, 2016 | 845 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    A researcher plays David to a seagoing Goliath at Birch Aquarium at Scripps. The Birch, which operates with no state or city support, received a $6 million endowment last year in the interest of the aquarium’s plans for programming. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED
    A researcher plays David to a seagoing Goliath at Birch Aquarium at Scripps. The Birch, which operates with no state or city support, received a $6 million endowment last year in the interest of the aquarium’s plans for programming. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED
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    Imagine you are walking into a 12-foot cube with reflective mirrors on all sides and a music score begins, transporting you underwater, where you are surrounded by light radiating off the tiny organisms, and you can imagine what it looks and feels like to be a deep-sea diver who weaves in and out of its radiance. At Birch Aquarium at Scripps in San Diego, part of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography and UCSD, this cube will soon exist. The installation is called the Infiniti Cube and is being created by a Scripps scientist who studies bioluminescence, a renowned London artist in residence at Scripps and a New York musician and composer who teaches math. Scheduled to open soon, the Infiniti Cube is just one example of how Birch Director Harry Helling is adapting to the times. The priorities for public engagement at the aquarium have changed along with the urgency of understanding and protecting the planet, so his focus is on education, conservation and engagement in the community, which Birch has served for the last 100-plus years. Birch, located at 2300 Expedition Way, is a fusion of a world-class research institute and a world-class university, and it’s also blessed with having a great location: situated on the bluffs of La Jolla above the Pacific. This alliance gives access to discoveries happening all over the world, some in real time, with hundreds of scientists who are our modern-day explorers. Under Helling’s directorship, these treasured resources will be brought to the community through new installations and galleries in the planning stages for debuts November and next summer. A new development at the aquarium “enabled us to look differently at our educational programs,” says Helling, “so we can start thinking more deeply about how we can use this aquarium as an adjunct to the top research facility in the world, to help our area become more environmentally literate. Protecting the planet is a new initiative, so how do you take all that knowledge about how the planet works and turn that into how we create a better planet for our next generation? That’s where our new work lies.” The installations and galleries will make up a new exhibit called The Expedition, which will be located in the Climate Change space, currently occupying 4,500 square feet. But the work that Helling and his staff are carefully planning is in large part because of that “new development” – a $6 million endowment from Robert and Allison Price and Price Philanthropies last year. The Birch, like many other aquariums, receives no state or city support and relies solely on gifts and its revenue streams, so this gift was the catalyst for many of the programs and installations open to the public within the next year. In the educational space, Birch Aquarium is going to be expanding, with more access to the Scripps scientists; this will create a more dynamic and better fact-finding experience for the community. Schools, grades K-12, feature prominently in Helling’s plans, which focus on programs for underserved kids as a way to help them to understand and love science. “This is our first year, and the program… went from one hour to almost a whole year of engagement for students. We visit them in their classroom; they’re doing research with Scripps scientists on the beach; they’re here with us at the aquarium and then we’re back in the classroom with them,” Helling says from his office overlooking the ocean. “We are taking the processes of science and understanding science into schools so we can engage our students, in particular our underserved students. This program has a very strong focus on underserved kids, so you can see the trajectory of our programs go from the types of traditional aquarium programs to a much deeper penetration into the schools.” Helling is building this roster of programs on what has already been done largely by his predecessor, Nigella Hilgarth, director of the New England Aquarium in Boston since 2014. Hilgarth brought with her an emphasis on science and education as well, and both Hilgarth and Helling extoll the benefits of being able to work so closely with the scientists at Scripps. “Aquariums of the future are beginning to look much more outward than in the past,” says Hilgarth. “We call it engagement – we engage in order to educate. Just as Harry has these initiatives of incorporating more research into the aquarium and getting the public to look outward and find out what’s happening in the oceans and on the planet, it’s the same here in Boston. We’re trying to get the public to love the aquarium and in so doing love the oceans and want to help the oceans. We have a very important role to play in disseminating trusted information to the public; the public trusts aquariums over any other science source, and we are in a unique position to impart knowledge that they really need to know.” Amid 1,500 Scripps people, a fleet of ships, field stations on the North and South poles, satellites, people in airplanes and robots exploring the ocean floor, the information from Scripps that comes to the aquarium will be vast and ever changing. This is good news to Helling, who sees the continued support of San Diego residents as a key factor in being able to bring it all back to the community. “We’re part of Scripps, and we’re part of UCSD,” says Helling, “and a lot of people don’t know that. We’re a different model than the university; we don’t utilize state funds to run this place. We are considered a unit that is self-supporting, and we run like many nonprofits. We have the most committed and supportive community that one could ever hope for and was one of the things that convinced me as a director to take this job six months ago. It’s one of the first things you look for — how committed is your community? This community loves this aquarium, and we get a lot of support and help.”
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    From the Stranger Than Fiction Department: Mother's Day founder was once arrested for disturbing the peace
    by MARTIN JONES WESTLIN
    May 02, 2016 | 6065 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Anna Jarvis, acknowledged founder of Mother's Day, about flipped when she saw the post office's 1934 holiday tribute. She thought its carnations amounted to a shameless capitalist plug for the floral industry.
    Anna Jarvis, acknowledged founder of Mother's Day, about flipped when she saw the post office's 1934 holiday tribute. She thought its carnations amounted to a shameless capitalist plug for the floral industry.
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    The nation's heart was probably in the right place, but one interested party couldn't find a pulse. The year was 1934, and the U.S. Post Office had just issued a pretty carnation-laden stamp in honor of Mother's Day, 20 years after President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation establishing the recognition of mothers and motherhood. So far, so good – but one person suspiciously close to the issue wasn't having it. Anna Jarvis, the holiday's acknowledged founder, let fly at the sight of the flowers, recalling her brushes with the law over the exact same subject: money. In New York in 1925, she'd crashed an American War Mothers gathering wherein white carnations – the flower most associated with Mother's Day – were being sold to raise funds. She was arrested for disturbing the peace, a hair's breadth away from jail. Florists were Beelzebub on wheels, she'd declare amid the capitalistic degradation of the sentiment behind her lifelong project. Card manufacturers and chocolatiers and vintners weren't any better, she'd sizz, sitting atop a mountain of process papers and lawsuit records in defiance of the enemy and its devotion to the evil behind the American dollar bill. The country's fabled vast right-wing conspiracy had come to call a few decades before its time, and it wasn't going away. Jarvis, who in 1948 died blind and penniless at 84 in a Philadelphia-area sanitarium, spent half her life fighting to abolish the holiday she'd started solely on the strength of her love for her mom. If she were alive today, she'd be cut to the quick to learn that Mother's Day commands around $22 billion in spending every year, the most of any nonwinter holiday. More than that, the day is celebrated in more than 60 countries, meaning that America by no means has a corner on the floral, card or chocolate markets. Nevertheless, Anna needed to get out more and kick up her heels. While Mother's Day price tags are clearly obscene, the thought behind them surely is not. To draw a parallel between the two is like saying the cashiers at the gas station are a bunch of greedy bozos because their prices are so high. For better or worse, there are innumerable forces at work inside the American economy, and there's plenty of blame to go around amid its pesky inertia and wholesale inequalities. Anna could have rested easy on her efforts at launching the holiday in 1908 and letting the chips fall the way they did. Thanks to her, we have a Mother's Day at all; anything less, even at sky-high prices, would have meant a serious blow to the cultural landscape. (Full disclosure: Anna's final sanitarium expenses were paid by a group of Philadelphia florists.)
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    Two UC women embrace Mother’s Day in the best sense
    by SANDY LIPPE
    May 02, 2016 | 784 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Debby Knight (left), Friends of Rose Canyon executive director, accompanies two charges on a hike through the canyon, while Jemma Samala reflects on her 271 commitments in the interest of a better community. PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED
    Debby Knight (left), Friends of Rose Canyon executive director, accompanies two charges on a hike through the canyon, while Jemma Samala reflects on her 271 commitments in the interest of a better community. PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED
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    When Debby Knight and Jemma Samala adopted University City as home in back-to-back years (1998 and 1999 respectively), they evolved into moms on a mission. Never did either woman set out to blaze their respective trails, but they jumped in with both feet where they saw a need. On this Mother's Day nearly 20 years later, UC residents should thank these two for sharing their talent, time and treasure in making UC more than a neighborhood, the theme on UC street banners. Knight, a transplant from Bethany, Conn. by way of Cambridge, Mass., is a Radcliffe grad and had four grown children and stepchildren, and a career in anything involving social justice and magazine writing, when she moved here with husband Charlie Pratt in 1998. Try these careers: women's movement, Greenpeace CEO, Urban Planning Aid (a voice for low-income minorities run over by urban renewal), travel to Europe with Bread and Puppet Street Theater on a shoestring budget, three months hitchhiking across Europe at age 18 with her 16-year old brother, harvesting sugar cane in Cuba, having to leave from Canada on a cattle freighter to travel seven days each way (this was no Viking cruise), meeting her future husband at a Vermont commune that made and sold maple syrup. She is a poster child for underdog causes and unblemished nature. As Friends of Rose Canyon executive director, she nurses a passion that centers on saving Rose Canyon from a Regents Road bridge that would destroy the escape to nature. She has help – Mayor Kevin Faulconer and City Council President Sherri Lightner endorse taking both the bridge and widening of Genesee Avenue out of the community plan. Knight's early childhood was spent outdoors on 12 acres in rural Bethany. Her parents bought that plot of land and built a house and gave Knight and her siblings a giant playground in nature. “When we were little,” Knight said, “we went off for hours. I'm that same kid when I go into Rose Canyon. Kids don’t get that these days.” Accordingly, Friends of Rose Canyon offers local schools trips to the canyon. "If kids have no experience in nature,” she said, “why are they going to feel anything for it? It is life changing when some kids enter the canyon. Rose Canyon is my baby, in a way. When someone messes with your baby, you get angry. It is amazing the city has this nature (canyons) braided through it. Look at LA. It is a platter of flat concrete." Samala, a USC grad, grew up in Orange County and has a background as a paralegal and a writer. She was married and had two little children in tow when she moved here in 1999 – Brad, 2, and newborn Grant. She followed a more traditional path to community leadership: Little League, PTA at Spreckels, University City High School, Grad Nite, Centurion Foundation, EdUCate and its Taste of the Triangle food fair, editor of the University City Community Association newsletter. She's been a president of several organizations (including her high school senior class) and is the poster child for happy, successful multitaskers. Samala worked as a paralegal in LA and San Diego and fell in love with UC. She worked outside the home before having her second child and then tried the role of stay-at-home mom, doing a little freelance writing. Familiar with her sister's graphic art talents, she and her sister launched a children's magazine called kidsLA with the help of the Orange Coast magazine publisher. It was a great magazine. However, timing was everything. In 2008, print magazines ceased to attract ads, and that nasty financial crash closed businesses. "We spent our own money to keep it afloat for a while,” she said. “By 2011, we closed down the magazine. I went to work at Consor in La Jolla, an intellectual property management company, where I can combine my legal experience and writing skills. Attorneys are our clients. I enjoy the challenges." Now, she balances so many commitments that would scare off the bravest of us, and she is joyful about them. These are her babies too. Knight and Samala deserve special Mother's Day salutes from their children and from their community. The Taste of the Triangle food fair is on Friday, May 6, at UCSD Faculty Club from 7 to 10:30 p.m., with Jemma Samala as chair. Check out the website, uc-educate.org/taste-of-the-triangle. A Friends of Rose Canyon spring bird walk is set for Saturday, May 7, from 8 until 10 a.m. for children ages 9 to 90-plus. Visit rosecanyon@san.rr.com.
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    Mount Soledad cross undergoing facelift as Memorial Day fete nears
    Apr 25, 2016 | 16577 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    La Jolla's Mount Soledad cross is getting spruced up in time for Memorial Day with the help of several local volunteers and companies that have donated their services. The 29-foot cross is in need of a good scrubbing and some fresh paint after years of wear and weathering, said Bob Mulrooney, executive director of Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial Association. The iconic symbol and its base, which anchors the Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial and has stood since 1954, will be water and sand blasted, patched and sanded before it is painted. The cross is currently covered with scaffolding in preparation for the work. “The memorial has become such an important part of the San Diego community, and we’re just delighted it will have a new shine to it for our annual Memorial Day event,” said Mulrooney. This year’s celebration, scheduled for May 20 at 2 p.m., will honor President Theodore Roosevelt, Keynote speaker will be Capt. Craig Clapperton, commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, which now calls San Diego its home. At least seven local companies have donated their services and expertise for the renovation. “This is just another example of the tremendous public support we have gotten,” Mulrooney said. The memorial honors 4,200 service members living and deceased from the Revolutionary War to the present and draws 70,000 visitors a year. The cross has been the subject of a decadeslong lawsuit between those who want to keep it at its current location and others who argued that a religious symbol on public land violated the separation between church and state. Last year, the federal government, which owned the land the cross sits on, sold the plot to the nonprofit Mt. Soledad Memorial Association. The deal is still under scrutiny.
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    Guillas steers the 75-year-old Marine Room into the next decade
    by TERRI STANLEY
    Apr 13, 2016 | 14431 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    The peripatetic Bernard Guillas (left) and partner Ron Oliver have scoured the world in search of the tastes you enjoy. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED
    The peripatetic Bernard Guillas (left) and partner Ron Oliver have scoured the world in search of the tastes you enjoy. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED
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    In his book “So You Wanna Be a Chef,” Anthony Bourdain wrote that “If you’re 22, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel — as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them — wherever you go.” As executive chef at La Jolla’s Beach & Tennis Club, La Jolla Shores Hotel and Restaurant and the storied Marine Room for the last 21 years, Bernard Guillas is not 22, may argue that he is not so physically fit and probably hasn’t slept on a floor in years. But he is definitely still hungry to learn. He agrees with Bourdain—to be good, you have to travel. As in a long marriage, the secret sauce that makes his relationship with his clientele work is continued growth through new experiences. At the venerable Marine Room, celebrating its 75th anniversary this year with several events on Wednesday, April 27, that relationship has flourished because Guillas and his partner Ron Oliver have been traversing the globe for years to bring new ideas and variations of old ideas to the guests. Part of the Guillas strategy is to be multi-faceted, and he achieves this through teaching, writing and media appearances. He belongs to that group of chefs who have achieved a certain celebrity status, and he counts among his friends New York’s Daniel Boulud and Mario Bateli, who recently opened Babbo Pizzeria on Boston’s waterfront, and Boston chefs Lydia Shire, Jamie Bissonette, Andy Husbands and Jacky Robert, who, like Guillas, is a graduate of Maitres Cuisiniers de France. When Guillas found out that this writer recently moved to San Diego from Boston, his first question was, “How is my good friend Michael [Schlow] doing?” Like many of the leading chefs across the country, Guillas and Oliver have taken up the pen and written two books together, “Flying Pans, Two Chefs, One World” and more recently “Flying Pans, Two Chefs, One Sea.” Guillas laughs when he recounts the story of how the first book was published. “This book, ‘Flying Pans, Two Chefs, One World,’ nobody wanted to publish. Publishers were looking for chefs with syndicated shows. So my thought was I’ll publish it myself. Ron was concerned about the money, but I was not — we only live once; let’s share the love. The book won The People’s Choice Award: Best Cookbook in America. And after that, we had the publishers' attention, and they came calling for the next book.” Guillas is putting the finishing touches on his third project, a three-book series being handled by Simon & Schuster, geared toward teenagers. He is very closed-lipped about the subject matter, but he does let a few small details slip, such as that the stories involve saving the world, current events, travel, culture, magic and cuisine. The pace of the series is fast, and there are recipes after every chapter — all gluten and nut free — and, according to Guillas, very easy make. All the traveling, writing, teaching and media appearances feed into an important part of keeping his food ideas fresh, and Guillas believes that everything he does comes full circle. “When you look at it,” says Guillas, “all those things are connected — anything that brings attention to me brings attention to this property itself. The Marine Room is a restaurant that is always in motion. As Ron and I travel, we are always learning about new techniques and new ingredients. We incorporate them into the menus for our diners. In Korea, for example, there are a lot of similar ingredients, but they approach it very differently. There is a lot of pickling, so we tried that out, and now we do pickling in our kitchen because people love the pickling.” Guillas talks a lot about the evolution of food, but he also touches on the expansion of the Marine Room clientele, where that demographic is changing and how it will transfigure over the next 10 years. He still considers the Marine Room a local restaurant but sees the adventurous elements that he creates within the food going beyond local. Without a hint of boastfulness, Guillas sees himself as leading the charge in marketing the region, which he says benefits everyone. “Going forward,” says Guillas, “we are becoming much more global. The next ten years is going to be about the international clientele. You will find that 65 percent of our clientele is going to be Asian — we are continuing to develop strong relationships with Korea, China and Japan. Do you know why we will be successful? We have passion, and we work in our restaurants. We look outside the box because I have learned so much by traveling and Ron has done the same. It’s my passion. I still have three restaurants to run, but I am here — I am on the line.” For more on the Marine Room diamond jubilee, see marineroom.com.
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    News
    Empty Bowls slated for May 7 as charity reaches decade mark
    A favorite annual local charity has reached the 10-year mark, and with it, decade of compassion has come full circle. Empty Bowls San Diego, an event benefiting the community’s hungry and homeless,...
    May 03, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Sports
    Ocean Beach Pier Surf Classic on April 30
    The inaugural Ocean Beach Pier Surf Classic, sponsored by Hodad’s OB, AWOL Productions and Revolt Surf, a local surf contest for ages young and old, will take place 7 a.m. Saturday, April 30. The e...
    Apr 14, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Opinion
    Younger boomers will pay dearly amid Congress' surreptitious act
    (Editor's note: David Reyes is founder of Reyes Financial Architecture of La Jolla, a registered investment advisory firm that acts as a fiduciary and specializes in portfolio risk management strat...
    Mar 18, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Arts & Entertainment
    Here are a few dining tips for No Socks Day
    May 8 is Mother's Day in the United States, and this year's bash looks to be a good time as always, because so many of us have moms, living or dead. If you're one of the few who didn't get one, nev...
    May 02, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Business
    Community Foundation seeks beautification grant applicants
    La Jolla Community Foundation, an affiliate of The San Diego Foundation, has announced its annual call for nonprofit grant applications. This year, the foundation invites nonprofit organizations an...
    May 03, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Obituaries
    Gregory B. Anderson
    Greg Anderson passed away peacefully at home of congestive heart failure on March 17, 2016, just days shy of his 85th birthday, surrounded by his wife Eve and his children. Greg was born on March 2...
    Apr 18, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend
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