Tuesday, June 7, 2022, San Diego Metro Magazine

As California cliffs erode, researchers work
to track and understand these changes

Advancing imaging and geotechnical technology

are powering understanding of our coastline and its hazards

By Lauren Fimbres Wood

The cliff-top parking lot was fenced off and the trail marked “Unstable Cliffs — Active Landslide Area — Stay Back,” but that didn’t stop Adam Young and City of Encinitas officials from carefully traversing the uneven landscape at the Beacon’s Beach switchback trail to get a closer look.

“There are definitely new cracks here,” said Young, a coastal geomorphologist and researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Young studies coastal erosion, overseeing coastline surveys throughout the state of California that use advanced laser imaging technology—called LiDAR, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging—to create high-resolution maps of cliffs to measure how they are eroding and changing over time.

On May 2, 2022, a landslide at the Leucadia beach damaged part of the trail, closing the popular access point. Young and a team of fellow scientists from Scripps Oceanography went into rapid response mode, working with city officials to conduct a LiDAR survey of the landslide and install advanced geophysical instruments to determine if the landslide was still moving.

At the site, a seismometer now monitors any shaking in the cliff face, a GPS monument allows for measuring ongoing changes in position of the cliff top, and wave pressure sensors measure wave impacts hitting the base of the cliff. These pressure sensors allow scientists to measure how often the waves reach the base of the cliff and potentially contribute to the movement of the slide.

Top Photo: The Coastal Process Group at Scripps Instiution of Oceanography deploys a drone to conduct a LiDAR survey. (Photo by Erik Jepsen/University Communications)

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How politics threw San Dieguito High School District into turmoil

San Dieguito Union High School District, which prides itself on being the highest-performing district in San Diego County, has fallen into a state of chaos.

In the past two years, the district has cycled through four superintendents, lost two board members to resignations, saw attempts to remove two other board members and was sued in two high-profile lawsuitsincluding one by its own teachers union.

Board meetings have lasted as long as 11 hours. The board has held 97 hours’ worth of meetings on 32 days this school year. San Diego Unified School District, by contrast, has held 64 hours’ worth of meetings on 22 days.

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Photo: Cubic’s P5 SSU delivers secure and interoperable training to Combat Air Force. (Photo: Business Wire)
Cubic awarded US Air Force contract
for P5 Combat Training Security update

Cubic Corporation has been awarded a contract from the U.S. Air Force for the P5 Combat Training System update. Cubic’s P5 SSU solution features a low-risk, flight-proven, National Security Agency (NSA)-certified Type 1 multilevel encryptor that enables or restricts the access and transfer of information between security domains on the P5CTS without modifying the current training Concept of Operations.

With P5 SSU, 4th Gen aircraft will eventually be capable of training securely with over 600 fielded 5th Gen F-35s equipped with encrypted P5 to protect the Techniques, Tactics and Procedures (TTPs) from enemy exploitation.

Gabriela Kula named first recipient of
San Diego firm’s Diversity Scholarship
Gabriela Kula

Gabriela Kula, a student at University of San Diego School of Law, has been honored as the first recipient of the USD School of Law/Stacey Curry CGS3 Diversity Scholarship, which comes with a $10,000 gift in support of her law education. The sponsoring law firm is Crosbie Gliner Schiffman Southard & Swanson LLP.

The scholarship is named named in honor of Stacey Curry, a former CGS3 employee who suffered a tragic fatal accident in 2018 – was created and funded by the partners at CGS3 to recognize a USD law student who demonstrates academic merit, financial need and an interest in increasing diversity in the legal profession. 

“We are incredibly honored to recognize Gabriela’s academic and personal achievements with this scholarship.  While we received many worthy applications, we are certain that she’s the perfect representative of CGS3’s mission to honor the memory of Stacey Curry with this well-earned award,” said Sean Southard, a CGS3 founding partner. 

Kula, who plans to graduate in 2023, is from Manhattan Beach and is interested in practicing law in a transactional field. She hopes to one day be a law professor. She is involved with the Law Students for Cross-Racial Understanding and the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association (APALSA).

Penelope Quintana, Jose Suarez reappointed
to Biomonitoring Scientific Guidance Panel
Penelope Quintana

Penelope Quintana, 63, of Solana Beach, and Jose Suarez, 43, of Encinitas, havebeen reappointed to the Biomonitoring California Scientific Guidance Panel by Gov. Gavin Newsome. Quintana has served since 2013, Suarez since 2017.

Quintana has been a professor of public health in the division of Environmental Health at the San Diego State University School of Public Health since 2014, where she has held several positions since 1995, including graduate adviser for the Master of Public Health and Global Health Doctor of Philosophy degree programs and associate and assistant professor.

Jose Suarez

Suarez has been an associate professor at the University of California, San Diego since 2020, where he was an assistant professor from 2013 to 2020. He was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Minnesota from 2010 to 2013, where he was a Research Assistant from 2006 to 2013. The positions do not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Suarez and Quintana are Democrats.

General Atomics honors USAF’s 89th Attack
Squadron as RPA Squadron of Year

The U.S. Air Force’s 89th Attack Squadron (ATKS) was recognized as the MQ-9 Squadron of the Year at an event hosted by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA-ASI) on May 20 in Rapid City, S.D. The award is given annually to the ATKS that distinguishes itself through its deployment of MQ-9A Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) in meritorious service. General Atomics is the developer of the MQ-9A and the world leader in RPA technology.

For several years, the 89th ATKS has advocated for MQ-9A Reaper relevancy in current and future conflicts. This was especially evident through their work in the past year with U.S. Europe Command and U.S. Central Command supporting U.S. Naval Forces Europe, various NATO allies, the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC), and several other Defense and Government organizations. 

“The 89 ATKS has made a significant impact on multiple areas of responsibility over the last few years, and it speaks volumes to their dedication and passion to improving MQ-9 operations and showcasing the MQ-9’s multi-role capabilities,” said GA-ASI President David R. Alexander. 

Caltrans and SANDAG open new walking and biking
trails, other improvements around San Elijo Lagoon

After nearly five years of construction, Caltrans and SANDAG joined elected officials and community leaders last week to celebrate the completion of new walking and biking trails, highway and rail improvements, and environmental features in and around the San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve as part of the Build North Coast Corridor (NCC) project. 

The project includes a $124 million investment of SANDAG TransNet environmental mitigations funds for the restoration of the San Elijo Lagoon – a substantial financial commitment to the resiliency of the local environment that preserved 155 acres of land.

The restoration of the San Elijo Lagoon is one of the largest restoration efforts in San Diego County and includes new mudflats, tidal dredging, beach sand replenishment and enhanced wetlands and uplands in the east and west basins of the lagoon. These enhancements restored wetland habitats and helped improve tidal flow for future sea-level rise.

Surfing therapy dog reaches $1 million donation milestone
Surf Dog Ricochet

Surf Dog Ricochet, the legendary first-ever canine assisted surf therapy dog and certified goal-directed therapy dog has reached the milestone of purposeful giving by raising over $1 million dollars for human and animal causes. On top of the $1 million dollars raised, she also provided 1 million bowls of food to homeless animals. Since she began fundraising in 2009, she has held 146 fundraisers that benefited 250 individuals and charities. It took her a lifetime to raise $1 million dollars, but she did it!

Ricochet is 14½ years old now and a cancer survivor. She recently had surgery to remove a soft tissue sarcoma and is now cancer free. Despite her six-week recovery, she continued to reach out to her supporters to accomplish her “Road to a Million” dollars initiative. A longtime supporter, Annie Schulhof offered to match up to $2,500 in donations which brought Ricochet to her goal.

Netradyne honored as Gold Stevie Award winner

San Diego-based Netradyne, a leader in artificial intelligence (AI) and edge computing focusing on driver and fleet safety, was named the winner of a Gold Stevie Award in the New Product & Service category for The 20th Annual American Business Awards. The American Business Awards are the U.S.A.’s premier business awards program. All organizations operating in the U.S.A. are eligible to submit nominations – public and private, for-profit and nonprofit, large and small.

More than 3,700 nominations from organizations of all sizes and in virtually every industry were submitted this year. Netradyne was nominated in the New Product & Service category for Transportation.

“Netradyne is honored to be a Gold award recipient of the 2022 Stevie Awards in the New Product & Service Transportation category,” said Avneesh Agrawal, Netradyne CEO. 

“Since our founding, Netradyne has been laser-focused on transforming the transportation ecosystem through technology and innovation, with the ultimate goal of creating safer roads for all,” said Avneesh Agrawal, Netradyne CEO.

Bluestar Genomics receives CLIA
certification for its clinical laboratory

Bluestar Genomics Inc., an early cancer detection company leading the development and commercialization of next-generation liquid biopsy tests initially focused on non-invasive detection of high-mortality cancers in high-risk patient populations, announced it has received Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certification from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The certification confirms that Bluestar Genomics’ laboratory meets the federal regulations for clinical diagnostic testing, ensuring high quality and safety for patient testing. As part of the certification process, Bluestar Genomics recently completed analytical validation evaluating the accuracy and reliability of the company’s early detection test for pancreatic cancer.