After being closed for several months, Palisades Charter High School’s Maggie Gilbert Aquatic Center reopened to the public for lap swimming on Thursday, October 15.
This marks the most recent progress toward reopening since the pool’s mandatory closure in mid-March due to COVID-19.
The school’s Board of Trustees took the first steps at an August 25 meeting when they voted to have Principal Dr. Pamela Magee sign a waiver and indemnify LAUSD for the purpose of reopening the Maggie Gilbert Aquatic Center.
Updated Los Angeles County Department of Public Health guidance for public pools has been incorporated into Pali High’s reopening plan. Personal protective equipment, supplies and signage are procured and in place.
“The pool is a very unique situation for Pali,” Director of Operations Don Parcell explained in August.
Although LAUSD owns the ground and the land, the physical improvements at MGAC are owned by Pali High. These improvements were built and paid for largely by donations from the late Maggie Gilbert.
“We own those improvements,” Parcell said. “The pool is ours and therefore, it’s a little bit unique compared to the gym or the baseball field or the football field or any other areas or buildings around the campus.”
The center and pool will be open for limited hours Monday through Saturday for reservation-only lap swimming, according to information shared by the school. Reservations can be made online, and attendees are asked to arrive five minutes prior to their allotted start time.
Individuals are allowed five minutes for entry, 40 minutes to swim and another five minutes to exit. The 50-minute allotted time slot costs $11.
All swimmers must pass a health screening prior to entering the facility. Temperatures will be taken, and swimmers with a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher will not be granted access.
Masks must also be worn when entering and removed only when getting into the water. When entering, swimmers are asked to follow arrows on the deck and must adhere to their assigned lanes—there will be only one person assigned per lane.
If a swimmer is over 10 minutes late for their session, they will lose their lane and will not be eligible for future credit or a refund. Repeated no-shows may result in revocation of the reservation system in the future.
Parcell said no other athletic or community facilities at the school are allowed to be open at this time, “as per our landlord LAUSD.”
Parcell previously told the Palisadian-Post the pool cannot be used for any Pali High’s sports teams or for competitions at this time.
The Pacific Palisades Design Review Board met again virtually on Wednesday, October 14, to discuss proposed changes to the historic Business Block Building—located on Sunset Boulevard and a centerpiece structure in the Palisades since 1924.
The brief meeting called for final review of new awnings, lighting, paint and a sign program for the commercial building. Applicant Mary Faria requested continuation to the October 28 meeting.
“Per the board’s request at the last meeting, we have done some paint mock-ups at the site,” Faria explained. “Those were reviewed by the owner this week and are ready for the board to review as well. We’re requesting continuation … so you have the opportunity to look at the materials and the mock-up.”
Faria explained that there are three paint samples on the north and south sides of the building, the building is painted white in a section and the three colors are painted right above. The materials have already been sent to the city for review.
The October 14 meeting marked the third time the Pacific Palisades Design Review Board has met to discuss the proposed changes, with previous meetings held in July and September.
During the July meeting, design elements for white paint and black awnings were initially proposed. The cosmetic design suggestions received pressback from the community, social media and the board.
Mark Lagola, an architectural designer for Gensler, led a presentation in September to discuss how the designs have adapted to the feedback to the “refresh,” and that plans now include a landscape update.
Two of the main features discussed at length during the second meeting were changes in the “distinctive” pink color and the striped awnings.
“Our approach is to emphasize and bring the property closer to its historical foundations,” Lagola shared at the time. “Through this lens, we feel we can showcase both the architecture of the building, while providing an attractive space for future tenants.”
The property has been owned by TOPA since the early 1980s, Lagola explained, and it hasn’t been updated much since that time.
“We look forward to looking at this and I would like to remind the board that when you’re there, not to communicate with other people about the color or discuss it until we can discuss it all together at the meeting on the 28,” DRB Chair Donna Vaccarino said at the October 14 meeting.
No one in attendance raised the board’s attention for public comment, and the board unanimously passed a motion for continuation of review.
“I think this goes down in record as being the fastest meeting we’ve had in all the years,” Board Member Barbara Kohn said.
The next DRB meeting is slated for Wednesday, October 28, and will take place via Zoom, due to COVID-19 regulations.
The latest Palisades Charter High School Board of Trustees meeting was held virtually on Tuesday, October 13, offering a number of updates and a glimpse of what is to come as distance learning continues.
The board discussed a proposed eLearning grading policy that was included in the meeting’s agenda. Policies were submitted by each of the school’s departments, with the hopes of “moving in the direction of having that all together and looking at the board for the next steps,” Principal Dr. Pamela Magee said.
Board members suggested more advisory and direction before posting the formalized grading policy.
“We need to define what is fair, what is consistent, so that way there’s some objective criteria that we’re looking at as we analyze this information,” social science teacher John Rauschuber said.
Teacher Brenda Clarke said she thinks the eLearning environment should be a reflection of the school’s mission statement and Smart Goals that are already in place, “so students are feeling equally or more successful as they ever have.”
The goal at large is to provide fair and equitable grading policies, “particularly in the environment that we’re in now,” Community Chair Leslie Wooley said.
The Memorandum of Understanding states that grading policies must be approved by the BOT with stakeholder input. The Academic Accountability Committee currently has stakeholders who will provide input on the policies.
The board then reviewed a 15-page reopening protocol plan, which was rolled out by Los Angeles County Public Health as of September 7.
“We are still, and have been, in the purple stage, which is the highest level of risk in LA County, and yet we are asked to develop these protocols,” Mary Bush, assistant principal and director of Student Support Services, said.
Currently the only students who have been approved to return to campus are specialized groups, including students with IEPs andEnglish Language Learners.
The plan requirements state there can be a maximum of 12 students and two adults per cohort that is formed, and cohorts cannot ever mix.
There must also be a School Exposure Management Plan: If somebody on-site seems contagious, there must be a contamination or isolation room available, as well as access to testing. The school is also responsible for developing a Contingency Plan for full or partial closure based on the possibility of an outbreak.
The requirements also call for employee and student screenings. Bush said screenings are already in place—anybody who visits campus is temperature and symptom screened prior to entering. Social distancing and mandatory face coverings are in place as well.
If meals are served, they must be eaten in the classroom or outside with supervision to ensure social distancing is maintained.
Bush explained the school is still looking at employee COVID-19 testing, and the district is encouraging all students and staff to be tested.
Pali High’s next steps include exploring ways to provide equitable access and transportation support to its commuter students.
“Would these students use public transportation?” Bush posed. “Would we set up transportation, school to school? Those are all things that we still need to look at. This is a moving target, but this is where we are now.”
The board’s next meeting is currently scheduled for Tuesday, November 17.
In lieu of its annual festival, Marquez Charter Elementary School is preparing for the school’s first-ever Halloween Car Parade and Pumpkin Patch drive-through, which will take place on Saturday, October 24.
Each year, the school typically hosts “one of the most festive Halloween events in the Palisades,” Holly Moss-Naim, a Marquez mom of three, wrote. The annual event is open to the community, serving as a local tradition for school kids of all ages to attend.
The school got creative in 2020, finding a way to adhere to regulations in place across California and Los Angeles County, while not entirely canceling Halloween at Marquez.
“I am looking forward to celebrating and creating special memories with Marquez families,” Principal Lauren Park Mulder wrote to the Palisadian-Post. “We weren’t sure what the turn out will be given the COVID situation, but we believe that the community-building event will be encouraging for our students.”
Community members were invited to order a pumpkin ahead of Saturday, with options available for $10 (a medium, basketball-sized pumpkin) or $15 (large, bigger than a basketball).
“Put on your costume, decorate your car and drive through the carpool lane to say trick-or-treat to teachers at the school,” the Marquez website read ahead of the event.
A car parade is slated to take place between 12 and 1 p.m. with pumpkin pickup starting at 1 p.m. in the lower yard or teacher parking lot.
“Decorate your car any way you like and please feel free to wear your costume,” the flyer encourages. “Winners will be picked by the principal and teachers present.”
The pumpkins will be brought in from Moorpark-based Underwood Farms, with all proceeds raised at the patch supporting the Marquez Enrichment Fund.
“The Marquez Enrichment Fund annual direct giving campaign is our biggest and single most important fundraising program,” according to the school’s website. “Each year, we seek 100% participation from Marquez families. From $10 to $10,000, our families and community sponsors contribute through The Fund approximately 70% of the total amount FOM fundraises each year.
“Starting with a Fall Fundraising Challenge, our campaign launches in September and continues through the entire school year.”
The Enrichment Fund is run by Friends of Marquez, a nonprofit organization with parents at the helm that works to “fund supplemental education programs to enrich the curriculum of basic education offered to students at Marquez,” according to the website.
Funded enrichment programs include class reduction size, instructional aides, digital edge tech, media lounge, physical education, science, music and an edible garden.
Those who attend the Pumpkin Patch and Car Parade are asked to remain in their cars at all times and to wear a mask. Cones placed will keep cars six feet from the curb.
Pumpkins will be placed in the rear trunk or hatch of the car to maintain social distancing measures.
“We want the community to know that we are very proud of our students who have displayed resilience and are productively learning during these times,” Park Mulder concluded.
I had no idea NBA owner Jeanie Buss was tied to Pali High, very cool!
Baby squirrels picture was too cute. Kudos to the woman that helped them out. Makes me happy to know there are many animal lovers like myself out there.
GO DODGERS! Though we’re rooting from home this year, we’re still rooting hard.
Please call natural disasters for what they really are: climate disasters. Scientists warned decades ago that climate change would cause more extreme and frequent adverse weather events. The fires in the West, the repeated hurricanes hitting our coasts, and the droughts across the country are not random occurrences: they are the direct result of global warming.
I’ve seen that a lot of people are growing restless and angry that schools aren’t reopening, but we’re still unfortunately at a high level of community-based transmission of this awful virus. Please let’s just all be patient.
Make sure to get your flu shot! Flu season is right around the corner Palisades.
I keep reading information from Public Health that COVID infections in younger people are going up and also requiring more hospitalization. If we are going to get through winter, we need to reup our efforts to stay home and stay distant.
Loving the Halloween decorations!!! So fun and they really brighten my day, I love this spooky season and what it brings to our neighborhoods.
I saw that a Caruso property in Thousand Oaks is getting an Amazon Fresh. I wonder if eventually we’ll get one here in the Palisades too.
Got something to say? Call (310) 454-1321 or email email@example.com and get those kudos or concerns off your chest. Names will not be used.
Veronica Beard Gives Back Program | Palisades Village
Palisades Village clothing store Veronica Beard will donate a portion of sales from every online transaction to the Lung Cancer Research Foundation through the end of the year as part of the brand’s Gives Back program.
This year’s quarterly partnership, in place from October through December, is between Veronica Beard and Reina Honts and the Lung Cancer Research Foundation, which “has been on the forefront of funding groundbreaking research in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer, with the ultimate goal of a cure,” according to a statement about the partnership.
“We are proud to partner with LCRF this quarter for VB gives back,” Veronica Miele Beard and Veronica Swanson Beard shared in the statement. “The reality that twice as many women die from lung cancer than breast cancer is staggering. As women with family members or friends who have suffered at the hands of this disease, we are committed to helping find a cure.”
In addition to a portion of sales being donated, for every one of the brand’s new, non-medical gingham face masks purchased in stores and online, Veronica Beard will donate one mask to LCRF.
‘Topanga Canyon Studio Tour Reimagined’ | Topanga
Topanga Canyon Art Gallery presents “Topanga Canyon Studio Tour Reimagined,” which opened on Saturday, October 17, and runs through November 8.
Each year, the gallery presents the tour, featuring 40-plus artists, according to a press release about the exhibit. In a typical year, half are members of the gallery and the other half is comprised of local artists that participate in the event to present their work once per year.
In 2020, the focus will be on the “guest artists of the Studio Tour.”
“The challenges of this year have asked us to separate the important from the disposable,” the press release continues. “It’s not just prioritizing—it’s what are we keeping and what we are letting go. The artists of Topanga don’t even need to ask the question. Art is staying—and specifically, the annual Topanga Artist Studio Tour is staying.”
Artists will present their pieces online and in-person, with viewing hours of 12 to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The gallery is located at 120 N Topanga Canyon Blvd. in Suite 109.
For more information, visit topangacanyongallery.com.
Photo Contest | Pacific Palisades
Palisadians are invited to participate in Inglewood Park Cemetery’s Photo Contest, which is now seeking submissions.
The theme of the contest, open to anyone 18 years and over, is “Soul of the City of Angels” with two subcategories: “Pure Photography” and “Creative Eye.”
“Throughout the grounds of Inglewood Park Cemetery, elegant and historic stone angels of all shapes and sizes grace our beautiful cemetery,” the website reads. “Show us how you capture their spirit and your prize photo could win $500.”
The contest entry period opened September 15 and will run through November 30. First, second and third place winners will be selected in both categories, with cash prizes being awarded for $500, $250 and $100, respectively.
For a full list of rules or to enter, visit IPC-PhotoContest.com.
Q:With options limited for working out at the moment, I’ve been doing more and more cardio activities, like hikes, biking and runs. Is there such a thing as too much cardio?
The question of whether you can do too much cardio reminds me of the other age-old questions: “Can you be too rich or too thin?”
The answer to all three questions is YES! Although I will not be tackling the issues related to financial status or eating disorders in today’s column, I will give you several reasons why too much cardio can be counterproductive to your health-related goals.
Cardiovascular activities such as hiking, brisk walking, running and biking are vital for both excellent physical and mental health. These activities can strengthen our heart, increase oxygen supply to our muscles and boost cognitive performance.
Although every individual is different, the average American adult will greatly benefit from 150 to 300 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity. What is moderate intensity? It is moving with a purpose, keeping the ability to speak in full sentences but having to take more breaths in between.
There is a misconception that if you starve yourself and do two to three hours of cardio per day, that you will have fat just melting off your body. The truth is that too much cardio can put your body in a catabolic state, and you will be burning muscle instead of fat.
This loss of muscle can then reduce strength and further slow down your metabolism, thus making it more difficult to lose that pesky fat that may be your goal in the first place.
So what are some signs that you are doing too much cardio? Well, it is important to listen to your body. If you are always feeling muscle or joint soreness, you are doing too much. I am talking about more than just some soreness related to using muscles that you have not used in a while. Overtraining will lead to discomfort that continues to stay with you.
Another way to identify that you are doing too much cardio is when your “easy days” start to feel like “hard days.” All of us need to have some rest between sessions for our bodies to heal and recover.
When you used to really enjoy your workouts and now you do not look forward to them, that is another sign that you need a break or it’s time to mix things up. Adding in some strength training and yoga during the week can be very helpful. Even having a day or two off from exercise during the week is OK.
Too much cardio can also negatively affect sleep and your immune system. Although exercise can often help sleep in general, too much cardio (especially late in the day) can elevate body temperature and increase cortisol levels, which are great for arousal, but not so good for falling asleep. Too much cortisol can also suppress our immune system, which can be problematic during these times of a pandemic.
Eating well and doing cardio are very important to achieve your health and fitness goals. But it is just as important to listen to how your body is responding to the exercise and adjust accordingly.
Working out is supposed to be fun and not a long arduous chore. More is not always better … with anything in life.
Have a question for Dr. Raskin you’d like to see answered in a future column? Send it in to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
Each year, loved ones in our vulnerable senior communities fall victim to financial scams that prey on trusting natures, welcoming spirits and potential knowledge gaps regarding new technologies.
A report released by AARP notes that, “Older Americans who were exploited by family, fraudsters and others in recent years suffered an average loss of $34,200.”
Identifying and combating the most common sources of elderly fraud has never been more important than now.
The Most Common Elderly Fraud Scams
The U.S. Department of Justice, FBI, National Council on Aging (NEOA) and other prominent organizations note a consistent rise in elderly schemes depriving our seniors of hard-earned income and savings. Below are the most popular scams targeting our elderly communities, how they work and what to do about them.
The Grandparent Scam
This scam involves someone posing as a loved one, typically a grandchild, who makes an urgent plea for financial help and requests not to contact the parents because of embarrassment. It’s quite common on both email exchanges and phone calls.
A fake caller may open a phone call with, “Hi Grandpa, guess who?” When the grandparent guesses with a family name, the caller has established a fake identity and will build on this. The goal: Get “grandpa” to discreetly send money via bank transfer.
Steps to Help:
Consider an internet firewall, anti-virus and anti-spy software. Then keep that software updated.
Be cautious with all email attachments.
Generate your own “security questions” like banks do and ask, “just verify it’s you, what’s your mother’s birthday and the name of your new puppy?”
The Medicare Scam
Seniors over 65 qualify for Medicare. Scammers will pose as fake health insurance reps from Medicare. They may ask you to verify account info, pay a balance that does not exist or even set up fake mobile clinics, book you for services that do not exist, and bill Medicare with the information they’ve stolen.
Steps to Help:
Never share your Medicare number when someone calls you. When this happens, tell them you will call them back. Then dial the exact phone number on your Medicare card.
Do not accept offers for gifts, money or medical care. Scammers will ask for your Medicare number in order to process your gift.
Keep accurate records of all healthcare appointments and double check your statements.
Contest Giveaway Fraud
If you’ve received an email or phone call about a sweepstakes or lottery win, be on guard when they ask for “fees and taxes,” common to lottery winnings. They’ll claim that once you send payment for fees, you’ll receive your prize.
Criminals may also send seniors an award check to be deposited. The funds from the check will indeed appear temporarily in the online bank statement, but they will not have cleared yet. It’s during this time gap you’ll receive a phone call asking you to pay the clearance fee for your funds to be released.
Steps to Help:
Create an additional email address used exclusively for sweepstakes entries.
You’ll need to verify tax information before claiming a prize of more than $600 in the U.S. If they skip that step, it’s undoubtedly fraud. And of course, verify the legitimacy of the organization before handing over your tax info.
The Funeral and Cemetery Scam
This scam involves someone reviewing recent obituaries, then posing as a debt collector for the deceased, even using extortion to demand payment of fake debts.
In another scheme, less than reputable funeral homes may use aggressive language to require services not needed, at extraordinary prices. One example involved the purchase of a top-tier casket for a cremation.
Steps to Help:
Fully navigate the finances of your deceased loved one before making any payments.
Become educated with family about the funeral process before paying for services.
If you believe you or a loved one may be the victim of an elderly scam, it’s important to report the incident. Start by contacting your local FBI field office, and keep in mind that systems exist for you to submit a tip online about a person or organization you suspect of fraudulent activity.
Above all, remain vigilant with every financial conversation, especially when you have not yet verified the source of the email or identity of the caller.
Ben Adel is founder of Luxe Homecare, a Pacific Palisades-based homecare agency offering services in Los Angeles, Orange County and Riverside. They offer round-the-clock support, including registered nurses (RN and LVN) and rehabilitation services. We require background checks for all of our staff to protect your loved ones from fraud. Contact the Luxe team at 310-459-3535 or visit luxehomecare.com.
Palisadian Bruce Lurie Opens Sunset Boulevard Gallery
By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
Bruce Lurie has recently introduced a new addition to the heart of Pacific Palisades: a fine art gallery.
A Palisadian for 10 years, Lurie has amassed years of background and experience in art—dating back to when he was a college student in New York and he would visit office buildings, walking door to door with a portfolio in-hand to sell prints.
He would bounce between buildings, sometimes even the World Trade Center.
“I’d go to one office and see someone on the 36th floor and they’d say, ‘Go see my buddy in the next tower or the 97th floor,’” Lurie said to the Palisadian-Post. “I’d spend a lot of time and sold a lot of artwork in those buildings, and that’s how I started.”
Eventually Lurie found himself visiting artists’ studios and acquiring better artwork. Shortly after college, he opened his first gallery in East Village, New York, in 1983.
Lurie recalled encounters with some of the most influential and defining artists of the 20th century, from Andy Warhol to Jean-Michel Basquiat.
“That was when the big art scene was going on, I would get visits by Warhol and Keith Haring,” Lurie said. “I had a group showing where I actually was able to get a couple of Basquiat pieces … and I sold those for like $1,500 a piece.
“It was just that time before Basquiat really took off to another planet, at the time he was living on a park bench in East Village.”
Lurie said that his gallery was one of the first to host Basquiat’s work.
When too many galleries began crowding East Village, Lurie moved to Chelsea, New York, in 1987 and opened one of the first galleries there.
“I’ve never been one who follows the galleries, follows the crowd,” he said. “I always seem to set my own trend.”
Lurie’s life then took a number of turns, leading him to several new places. From pursuing acting and opening his first gallery in Los Angeles in 1993, to moving to Florida and opening galleries in Boca Raton and Miami—Lurie really knew where to take the show.
Years later, he found himself back in LA and opened a gallery in Culver City where he spent eight years. The gallery’s recent closure drew him to a space closer to home.
“I thought it would be a cool thing to open up in the Palisades,” Lurie said. “Now I’m here and I’m perfectly happy being the only gallery, it’s a pleasure to be here. I love the Palisades … it’s a great community.”
Located at 15117 Sunset Boulevard, the Bruce Lurie Gallery focuses on “establishing emerging to mid-career artists specializing in cutting-edge pop art, street art, abstract minimalism, photography and a wide range of monumental sculptors,” according to its website.
“I try not to have anything that other art galleries have,” Lurie said. “I handpick every single artist I have … I work with some of the biggest artists in the country, I work with some amazing photographers.
“My art is always very contemporary, all the artwork I have is really good work … I stand by everything I sell.”
Current artists on display include Takashi Murakami, Gary John, Nick Veasey, Plastic Jesus, Todd Gray and Daniele Matalon.
Lurie said business is being done differently due to the pandemic. In normal times, he would travel to exhibit at different art fairs like Art Market Hamptons and Art Basel Miami—about 10 art fairs per year. Now, he reported 90% of business is being done online.
The gallery is also open to visitors, and people have already purchased art straight off the walls.
“We have sold more things to people walking in the two months we’ve been open than the last two years … in Culver City,” Lurie said. “It’s been a really good move.”
Lurie said one of his goals is to bring more public art to Los Angeles and the Palisades.
“LA is the second largest art capital of the country and one of the top in the world, and yet it has really bad public art,” Lurie said. “I want to try to create something and put some sculptures in various areas … that’s my hope in talking to the people at Caruso.”
You can also catch director Lan Guan at the gallery, who has worked with Lurie for over two years and is responsible not only for day-to-day operations, but client relationship management, art sales and curating exhibitions.
“I heard the first group of people who resided here were writers and other creatives,” Guan said to the Post. “I hope our gallery can bring art, culture and joy to this beautiful neighborhood. I look forward to connecting with the community.
“I feel very fortunate to fully immerse myself in this environment, to learn and discover new talents, while building relationships with art lovers and collectors.”
Lurie said this isn’t an easy business but it can be fun. He has also had the opportunity to share it with his brothers.
Lurie and his brothers have successfully opened galleries all over the country, and helped create and launch art districts in areas like Indiana, contributing to the emergence of Carmel’s Arts and Design District.
“Four brothers in the art business, I think that’s also what makes us really successful,” Lurie said. “People see the family business and the comradery and the love we have for each other as brothers … we work together and we’ve been doing it for a long time.”
The brothers are in the midst of launching their next project in Park City, Utah, and hope to open their gallery in the coming weeks.