Pacific Beach News Briefs March 2020

Mission Bay High’s music program is holding fundraisers to support its Mambo Orchestra’s summer trip to Cuba.

Mission Bay High Mambo orchestra raising funds for trip to Cuba

Mission Bay High School’s award-winning music program will hold a series of fundraising efforts to support its Mambo Orchestra’s trip to Cuba this summer to perform and study music and culture in the birthplace of Latin Jazz.

• A Jazz in the Garden concert series will take place in the Inamori Pavilion at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park, second and fourth Thursdays, now through April, and first and third Thursdays of May. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and concerts start at 7 p.m.

Musicians set to perform include Gilbert Castellanos, Euphoria Brass Band, Peter Sprague, Leonard Patton, Holly Hofmann, Christopher Hollyday, Rob Thorsen, Allison Adams Tucker and Derek Cannon.

Beer, wine and soda will be available for purchase. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students at

• A Salsa for Students fundraiser will be held 6-8:30 p.m. Thursday, April 16 at Mission Bay High School and will include a silent auction, music and salsa dancing, salsa tasting and celebration of Mission Bay students’ achievements, school and community. The Mambo Orchestra will perform 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the auditorium. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets $10 at the door. Donations accepted through

PB Woman’s Club to mark 125 years of community service

The Pacific Beach Woman’s Club is celebrating 125 years of service to the community with a reception, 1-3 p.m. Sunday, March 15 at its historic clubhouse, 1721 Hornblend St. There will be refreshments, entertainment and a short presentation about the history of the club.

To RSVP, call Mary Lou Benzel at (858) 775-6391 or e-mail:

Historic PB home on the market for $1M

CBS8 is reporting that an historic PB home, built in 1906, is now on the market for $1 million. The two-story, three-bedroom, one-bathroom main home — though in some disrepair — cannot be torn down as it is a historical landmark, and the only pre-World War I home remaining in PB.

The 62,000-square-foot lot, at the corner of Grand Avenue and Jewell Street, is occupied by the main home and two smaller structures in the back. It has been in the Handley family since William Handley bought the land and built the home in the 1900s.

Congressional art contest open to teens

The office of U.S. Congress member Scott Peters is accepting submissions for the Congressional Art Competition, a showcase where San Diego high school students in District 52 may submit original pieces for a chance to see theirs hang in the U.S. Capitol for one year.

“As a former board member of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and a leader in the Murals of La Jolla effort, I am excited about our seventh year of providing this amazing opportunity,” Peters said. “It is a chance to celebrate the artistic talent of students in San Diego, Coronado and Poway, and also encourage students to explore their creativity in a way that will foster a lifelong love of the arts.”

Since the competition began in 1982, more than 650,000 high-school students have competed nationwide. Interested students or parents should call (858) 455-5550 or visit

Altered potassium levels in neurons may cause mood swings in bipolar disorder

People with bipolar disorder experience dramatic shifts in mood, oscillating between often debilitating periods of mania and depression. While a third of people with bipolar disorder can be successfully treated with the drug lithium, the majority of patients struggle to find treatment options that work.

Now, a sweeping new set of findings by Salk Institute researchers in La Jolla reveals previously unknown details explaining why some neurons in bipolar patients swing between being overly- or under-excited. In two papers published in the journal Biological Psychiatry in February 2020 and October 2019, Salk researchers used experimental and computational techniques to describe how variations in potassium and sodium currents in the brain cells of people with bipolar disorder may help to further explain why some patients respond to lithium and others do not.

“This is exciting progress toward understanding the cellular mechanisms that cause bipolar disorder,” said Salk Professor Rusty Gage, the study’s senior author and president of the Institute. “It also brings us one step closer to being able to develop new therapeutics to treat the disorder.”

City Council launches blog to enhance transparency

To bring a new level of public engagement and transparency to the City’s legislative process, recently hired Council Communications Director David Roland has launched a blog, called “The People’s Business,” that provides detailed previews of Council and policy committee meetings.

“Municipal policy can sometimes be complex, intimidating and dry,” said Council President Georgette Gómez. “ ‘The People’s Business’ is written in a lively, conversational, easy-to-understand style, so it’s a great entry point for residents who want to better understand what issues their city government is tackling.”

“The People’s Business“ previews meetings of the full City Council that take place on Mondays and Tuesdays, as well as its policy committees, which meet on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Residents can also sign up to have it sent directly to their e-mail inbox. The blog can be found on the City Council’s webpage:

UC San Diego study outlines pathway to leaky gut treatment

UC San Diego School of Medicine researchers have simulated leaky gut conditions for the first time, using 3D models of human intestines generated from patient cells. These small organoids, or “mini-guts,” have revealed new biomarkers that help define what a leaky gut looks like — molecular signals that could one day help clinicians better diagnose the condition, track its progression and evaluate the success or failure of treatments.

Leaky gut is most often experienced by older people, patients with cancers or other chronic ailments, and people with especially stressful lifestyles. Stressors break down the zipper-like junctions between the cells that form the gut lining. Microbes and molecules that subsequently leak out through these cell gaps can trigger an immune response, contributing to a variety of diseases driven by chronic inflammation, such as inflammatory bowel disease, dementia, atherosclerosis, liver fibrosis, cancers, diabetes and arthritis.

The UCSD researchers demonstrated that the diabetes medicine metformin strengthens the junctions of mini-guts, tightening the lining back up when stressed by bacteria, aging or tumor formation.

Audubon Society welcomes new director

Travis Kemnitz was hired as The San Diego Audubon Society’s new executive director. He took over Feb. 17 from long-time San Diego Audubon executive director Chris Redfern, who moved to Boston.

Kemnitz has served more than 17 years with the San Diego-based Ocean Discovery Institute, most recently as director of talent and culture, where he worked as an advocate for the environment, addressed inequities in access to science, conservation education and careers for underserved youth. He can be reached at

Double-Track Project Complete

An Amtrak Surfliner train heading south crosses over the San Diego river Feb. 24, the first day of use for the southbound section of the double tracking project. Passenger and freight trains can now travel continuously in each direction along the seven-mile stretch of railway that runs from Garnet Avenue/Balboa Avenue to the Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego. The San Diego River Double Track project began construction in fall 2016. The first bridge constructed for the project was completed in February 2018. Schedule for Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner:

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