VOL. 102, ISSUE 15 • APRIL 10, 2014
Tuesday, April 15
IRS Tax Filing Deadline 2014
ENLIGHTENING LA JOLLA SINCE 1913
ONLINE DAILY AT lajollalight.com
Burns Drugs to close after 62 years in La Jolla
Two La Jollans honored as Women of the Year, A1
Burns Drugs will close its door next month, after more than six decades in business on Girard Avenue in the Village.
PHOTOS BY PAT SHERMAN
■ Some former Burns employees
to join CVS staff on Eads Avenue BY PAT SHERMAN ustomers of one of La Jolla’s oldest independently owned retail stores, Burns Drugs at 7824 Girard Ave., are devastated to learn that the pharmacy their families have relied upon for more than six decades is going out of business. Burns Drugs co-owner Wayne Woods said the pharmacy counter will fill its last prescription on April 15. The store will stay open until sometime next month to sell off its remaining inventory. “It saddens my heart that this is happening, because this has been one of the cornerstones of the La Jolla shopping experience,” Woods said, noting that many high-profile La Jollans preferred the anonymity of a small community pharmacy. Burns’ clientele has included everyone from Costco founder Sol Price to Helen and David Copley, Theodor Geisel (a.k.a. Dr. Suess), famed French sculptor Niki de Saint Phalle and baseball legend and announcer Jerry Coleman. “I’ve been here 23 years, and I’ve watched families grow up, watched their children grow up,” Woods said. “The same people have been coming in day-in and day-out. I know them by their first name. They know me.”
C Golfer scores two holes-in-one within three months, A10 ■ Calendar, A1 ■ Obituaries, A8 ■ Business, A9 ■ Opinion, A18 ■ Sports, A20
San Diego Airport debuts public-art collection, B1
SEE BURNS DRUGS, AA2
UTC residents ask SANDAG to reassess trolley alignment Cape La Jolla Gardens homeowner Will Cooper tells SANDAG’s board of directors its 360-foot southward shift of a bridge that will move the trolley across I-5 was ‘sprung upon’ UTC residents without notice or chance for feedback. PAT SHERMAN
Birch Aquarium to host SpringFest concert, B6 ■ 10 Questions, B1 ■ Let Inga Tell You, B3 ■ On The Menu, B4 ■ Best Bets, B6 ■ Social Life, B12 ■ Classifieds, B18 ■ Real Estate, B21
565 Pearl St., Suite 300 La Jolla, CA 92037 (858) 459-4201 lajollalight.com
Burns Drugs employee Liz Nelander, owner Wayne Woods, and employees Liz Rogers and Nicole Caulfield share memories of their time working at the beloved, dog-friendly community pharmacy.
■ Proposed track location moved away from
Mormon temple but closer to condo complex BY PAT SHERMAN During the public comment portion of the San Diego Association of Governments’ (SANDAG) March 28 board meeting, UTC residents voiced frustration with the most recent realignment of a bridge that will take the trolley from the east side of Interstate 5 to the west, as it makes its way north through UTC. Though UTC residents were by-and-large pleased with the alignment proposed in a subsequent environmental report (SEIR) that was presented to them in a series of
workshops in late spring and early summer of 2013, last November the bridge was shifted 360 feet south, placing the elevated track within about 120 feet of the Cape La Jolla Gardens (CLJG) condo complex, on the east side of I-5. SANDAG representatives said the southward shift was made mostly at the behest of Mormon temple officials, despite the fact that the alignment presented to the community earlier that year in the SEIR
SEE TROLLEY ALIGNMENT, AA3
Friends of Coast Walk trail seek help with projects BY ASHLEY MACKIN In keeping with the tradition of La Jolla residents rallying together to get things done — think Mary Coakley-Munk renovating the restroom at Kellogg Park and Phyllis Minick’s Children’s Pool Walk beautification project — the Friends of Coast Walk are looking for new members to help preserve, restore and enhance the Coast Walk Trail. The group’s goals for the area that spans from Coast Walk to Cave Street parallel to Torrey Pines Road are to protect the environmentally sensitive bluffs, improve trail safety and appearance, and create an ongoing maintenance plan for the vegetation. The group has raised money to implement some enhancements to the ocean-side trail, but would like to garner more cash to finish their plans. Their immediate tasks include stabilizing the soil erosion along the walking path and planting new shrubbery to delineate it; providing general repair to the stairs and bridge; and restoring the hillside to prevent erosion and reduce fire hazard. Annual membership dues start at $350 and founding member Barbara Fake said all of it goes directly to trail projects. SEE COAST WALK, AA2
Friends of Coast Walk founders Brenda Fake and Linda Fisler (foreground) point out planned improvements. ASHLEY MACKIN
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FROM BURNS DRUGS, AA1 Woods’ wife, Linda, also a pharmacist, worked in the store for 10 years, as did his daughters, Lindsay and Kaitlin, learning how to ring up sales, answer phones and interact with customers. In a letter to customers, Woods said his impending retirement and the financial viability of an independent drug store on Girard Avenue were the driving forces behind his decision. Prescription records for Burns customers will be transferred to CVS Pharmacy at 7525 Eads Ave. Woods said CVS management has promised to provide the same high level of personalized care, including Burns’ house charge program and local delivery service. Through an agreement with CVS, many of the Burns’ 38 full-time and part-time employees have been offered jobs at CVS. “You will continue to hear familiar voices on the phone and see familiar faces at the prescription counter (there),” Woods assured his customers, adding that serving the community has been “a dream come true.” “You are a small town full of great people,” he wrote to customers. “My family will miss your family. When we meet on the sidewalks of La Jolla, I hope to embrace you as you have embraced the Burns Drugs family for so many years. During a recent visit to the shop on Friday, April 4, plush Easter bunnies and other seasonal gifts lined shelves as customers wandered in and out, many yet unaware of the impending closure. “This is really sad news — sadder than sad,” said longtime customer Charlotte Baum. Woods said insurance companies are driving business away from independent pharmacies. Despite the robust business last Friday, Woods stated, “In recent years insurance companies have narrowed the profit margins such that the pharmacy is no longer a profitable business. When the pharmacy was purchased in 1991, there
The building housing Burns Drugs as it appeared circa 1910, as a freestanding building with no neighbors. COURTESY OF LA JOLLA HISTORICAL SOCIETY
were five independent pharmacies in the La Jolla area. Since then, mail order pharmacy and insurance reimbursement have taken its toll such that it is no longer a viable business model. We were the last independent pharmacy in La Jolla. “We as a group have decided that it’s time to go out on top,” Woods told La Jolla Light. “This is an expensive piece of real estate to have a drug store in. There just comes a time when it doesn’t make sense anymore.” The fact that Woods and his partners owned the building made it possible for them to stay open as long as they did, he said.
Lineage of a La Jolla legacy Robert Burns and Strother Kay founded Burns Drugs in 1952 in a two-story building constructed in the early 1900s that once served as a grocery store, Masonic lodge and U.S. post office. Woods and his partners bought the store from Orrin Gabsch and Art Keever in 1991, with Woods becoming its managing partner. The store has sold everything from
Photographed in 1991 are former Burns Drugs owners Orrin Gabsch and Art Keever, founders Bob Burns and Strother Kay, current owner Wayne Woods and Jack Novak. COURTESY
cards, gifts and cosmetics to wheelchairs and walkers, specializing in pharmaceutical compounding services, immunizations and travel vaccines. Woods noted Burns’ long-standing, symbiotic relationship with adjacent Warwick’s Bookstore, another La Jolla institution, founded in 1896 and believed to be the oldest continuously operated, family-owned bookstore in the country. Warwick’s owner Nancy Warwick called Burns’ closure “a tremendously sad loss for the community.” “The direct impact will be felt by many of us, as some of our basic routines will have to change” she said. “I’m not only losing the pharmacy that I’ve frequented most of my life, but I’m also losing a wonderful neighbor. Warwick’s and Burns have been joined at the hip since Burns opened in 1952. How fortunate we have all been to have had Burns as our neighborhood pharmacy, where the regulars are greeted by name, and the staff is always kind and caring.” Employee Nicole Caulfield said Burns was
FROM COAST WALK, AA1 The group’s wish list also includes an improved safety barrier along the trail at its entrance, and a redesign of the stairs for emergency access only, in the hope that will encourage pedestrians to use the trail instead of Coast Walk, a small street that runs alongside it at the trail’s beginning. Founding member Linda Fisler added that in a best-case scenario, she’d like to see the bridge replaced. Fake explained that three years ago, Coast Walk residents started noticing the trail was deteriorating and the invasive species Arundo had overgrown in the canyon. They formed a 501(c)(3) and reached out to the city of San Diego for guidance on how to alleviate the problems. “This could not be done without the support and guidance of city management,” she said. “They get (criticized), but that has not been the experience we’ve had with city managers from the departments of Streets, Stormwater, and Parks and Recreation, who have been guiding us through this and helping us.”
The cliffs formerly overgrown with invasive Arundo plant are in the process of being replanted. ASHLEY MACKIN The city started by suggesting the firm, Black Sage Environmental (BSE), for the Arundo removal and canyon replanting. BSE removed the Arundo in 2011 and is continuing to stabilize the cliffs and replant them with native species conducive to erosion control. Fisler said
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as popular with its canine clientele as it was with humans. The establishment’s staff made it a habit to welcome four-legged visitors with biscuits and other nibbles. “The dogs themselves have become part of our entourage,” Caulfield said. “They come in first with their leashes pulling their owners. Some owners bring in special diet biscuits. We’d save them (at the counter) with the dog’s name on it.” Woods, who lives in La Costa and has made the 50-mile, round-trip trek to La Jolla for 28 years (previous working at University City Pharmacy), said he’ll continue to work a few days as a pharmacist closer to home, and use his semi-retirement to play golf and spend time with his wife. Woods said the new owners retained the rights to use the Burns name in the future if they choose, to highlight the building as a landmark or for any other purpose. “We don’t know what it’s going to be yet,” he said. “The buyer hasn’t come up with their plans, but they’ll probably do a lot of tenant improvements and make it another, glowing nice symbol of La Jolla.” ◆
native species are ideal because once they are established, they do not need to be watered regularly. Additionally, the Friends of Coast Walk called on BSE to renovate a portion of the trail that had eroded to the point people felt it was not safe to walk upon. The city was quick to approve the renovation because the trail is classified as a “street,” not a “park.” “It’s worked to our advantage because the city is more willing to grant permits when the project is paid for,” Fake said. “They just don’t have the resources to help, so they’ve welcomed our assistance.” To get these improvements done, Friends of Coast Walk (after securing the appropriate permits) would contract the repairs and split the bill among members. Fake noted that there are nine residences that are a part of the Friends of Coast Walk, and because they belong to couples, that makes 18 members. Though hoping for more members, Fake said the group would happily take one-time donations. To join the Coast Walk effort and for more details, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org ◆
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LA JOLLA LIGHT - APRIL 10, 2014 - AA3
S.W. GILLEN PAINTING
hereâ€™s nothing like a fresh coat of paint to spruce up a worn and weathered surface. Thatâ€™s why we say â€œkudosâ€? and â€œthank youâ€? to the S.W. Gillen Painting company for painting the stair handrails at the end of Westbourne Street, at no cost, as a gift to the Friends of WindanSea. Their next planned paint job is on the handrails and benches by the staircase at the end of Nautilus Street, and should be completed soon. â—† â€” Ashley Mackin
S.W. Gillen Painting of La Jolla donated its services to repaint the stair handrails at the end of Westbourne Street at WindanSea.
Benches and staircase handrails at the end of Nautilus Street will soon also be repainted by S.W. Gillen Painting.
FROM TROLLEY ALIGNMENT, AA1 was still farther from the temple than it was from CLJG or other area residences. During the SANDAG board meeting, a visibly incensed District 1 City Councilmember Sherri Lightner (whose district includes La Jolla) voiced her opposition to the change. â€œThe environmental analysis that was circulated last year never considered the southern (currently proposed) alignment as approved November 15, 2013 (by SANDAGâ€™s board),â€? Lightner said, reading from her March 25 letter to SANDAG Executive Director Gary Gallegos, who, along with County Supervisor and SANDAG board member Ron Roberts, met with Mormon temple officials months prior to the release of the community approved environmental report. Lightner noted that the SANDAG board voted Nov. 15 to â€œsignificantly modify the alignment over I-5 without considering the impacts of this change to the community.â€? The vote occurred just two days after CLJG HOA President Mike Krupp was first notified of the change in a meeting with SANDAG representatives. â€œSince this significant shift in alignment was rushed through the approval process without any community input and available environmental analysis, I request this item be immediately brought back to the board of directors for reconsideration,â€? Lightner said. â€œOnce this item is docketed for reconsideration, the board should move to rescind the I-5 southern alignment â€Ś and revert back to the northern alignment ... community members accepted after attending numerous neighborhood forums on this subject.â€? Encinitas City Councilmember and SANDAG board member Lisa Shaffer said
SANDAG Board members (and County Supervisors) Dianne Jacob and Ron Roberts listen as Cape La Jolla Gardens residents voice frustration over an 11th-hour trolley bridge repositioning that would impact their condominium complex. PAT SHERMAN she will e-mail board chair Jack Dale to request that the item be placed on the executive committeeâ€™s agenda. (The executive committee decides whether items are docketed for SANDAGâ€™s regular board meetings.) On March 13, SANDAG officials met with more than 100 CLJG and UTC residents to answer concerns about the southward bridge shift, at which time the only justification SANDAG offered as to why Mormon temple officials requested such a wide berth between their facility and the trolley bridge was a concern with the bridgeâ€™s visual impact. Temple representatives have not
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attended SANDAGâ€™s meetings with CLJG residents, and did not respond to requests for comment from La Jolla Light. A representative for Ron Roberts referred the Lightâ€™s questions about his meeting with temple representatives to SANDAG. At press time, SANDAGâ€™s Gallegos was out of town and unavailable for further comment. CLJG HOA president Michael Krupp attended last yearâ€™s UTC area workshops, where the alignment least impacting residents was presented. He said overall he is very supportive of public transportation and the trolley extension. â€œI told many people at the time I thought this was something we all should support
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and be behind,â€? Krupp said during SANDAGâ€™s March 28 board meeting. â€œNone of our (residents) â€Ś sent in any comments. In fact, I said to people, â€˜everythingâ€™s fine.â€™ â€? At Kruppâ€™s request, SANDAG representatives offered a presentation on the new alignment to CLJG residents in January 2014 that â€œraised more questions than it settled, and that led to the larger meeting on March 13,â€? he said. â€œThat meeting at times got a little raucous,â€? Krupp said, adding residents still have a â€œtremendous number of questions.â€? County Supervisor and SANDAG board member Dianne Jacob requested a report on statements made by SANDAG staff regarding the realignment. â€œPeople are concerned that they didnâ€™t get a chance to adequately weigh in or comment,â€? said Jacob, who did not serve on the SANDAG board last year. â€œIf thatâ€™s true, that concerns me. â€Ś If the trolley is running right next to or within 100 feet of someoneâ€™s bedroom, that would concern me if I lived in this complex, so I would really appreciate knowing more about this issue and the process and what occurred.â€? During the meeting Gallegos responded, â€œThis is a complicated line that goes through several communities. â€Ś We were trying to balance a lot of comments we were getting. ... People were worried about sound, people were worried about views and so staff was trying to balance all the impacts to get a project that works and (provides) the greatest public good and the least public harm.â€? Without referencing his meeting with Gallegos and temple officials, Supervisor Roberts said it would be â€œhelpful to develop a chronologyâ€? of the two days prior to the Nov. 15 SANDAG vote, and what the Nov. 13 meeting between Krupp and SANDAG representatives entailed. â—†
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