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Annual YMCA Tree Lot Open for Business

Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer


For many community members, picking out the perfect Christmas tree is an annual tradition—and the YMCA Christmas Tree Lot is now open for business, with a plethora of options.

“The YMCA tree lot is where everyone in the Palisades gets their trees, we hope, because it’s an amazing cause and we have amazing trees,” said Jim Kirtley, executive director of Palisades-Malibu YMCA, to the Palisadian-Post.

The lot showcases a collection of trees, from table-top size to 15-foot, this year featuring three types of Nobles: Nordmann Fir, Vintages and Standard.

“The money stays in the Palisades,” Kirtley said. “The proceeds from the tree lot go to help fund the YMCA and allows us to do our programs. Many people don’t know that the YMCA is a nonprofit.”

This season the tree lot will also host a series of partnership events. The annual Holiday Glass Sale will take place on Sunday, December 8, from 10 a.m. to 8 pm.

Then on December 15, the 61st Annual Ho! Ho! Ho! will run alongside the YMCA Christmas Tree Lot for the first time from 12 to 4 p.m. to drive donations to Painted Turtle, a free camp for kids with special needs.

“With the help of local organizations, businesses and neighbors, the festival has been reimagined as a completely non-commercial celebration of our community, kids and connections to one another,” community member Lou Kamer wrote to the Post.

Santa will arrive via an LAFD Station 69 fire truck and be on hand for photo opportunities.

There will be hot chocolate, a bake sale and a menorah lighting.

The tree lot is located at Simon Meadow Field at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Temescal Canyon Road.

Hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 3 to 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., until the trees sell out.

Christmas Stroll Returns to the Village

Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

The Chamber Event Will Take Place December 6

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

Returning for the second year in a row, the Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce will host its annual Christmas Stroll on Friday, December 6, from 5 to 8 p.m.

“Come join in the fun, family, walkable, festive shopping experience throughout the town of Pacific Palisades,” the Chamber shared ahead of the stroll.

Similar to last year’s inaugural event—which hosted around 250 guests—each attendee will receive a map, divided into three sections with all of the participating businesses. As guests walk and shop at featured businesses, they will collect stamps.

At the end of their stroll, attendees with two stamps from each section can turn in their map to enter a drawing for $1,000 in prizes, as well as a chance to win $1,000,000 on a lottery ticket and free parking at Palisades Village.

“We recommend you visit at least two businesses in each section for a real taste of our town,” the Chamber explained. “Businesses will be serving refreshments and lots of fun.”

This year’s stroll features longtime community favorite shops, including elysewalker, Special Moments, BOCA, Collections Antiques & Accessories, Marc Michel Eyewear Studio, Pharmaca, Denise Carolyn, Gift Garden and David Tishbi Jewelry. Participating real estate businesses include Amalfi Estates, Coldwell Banker and Rodeo Realty.

Those looking for a bite to eat during the stroll can do so at Kayndaves, Hank’s, Porta Via Palisades or The Yogurt Shoppe.

And those looking to visit new arrivals in town, Elizabeth Lamont and Valentina, will have the chance at this year’s stroll.

Other participating locations include Faherty, Michele Michel International Hair Studio and U.S. Bank.

The second part of the event is each participating business will have a decorated Christmas tree outside of their location. Attendees can vote for their favorite trees, and the two winning businesses will receive a prize.

This year’s stroll is sponsored by RLB Architecture, Maria Elena Tapia, DDS & Associates, Caruso, Pepperdine University and Sarah Knauer of Amalfi Estates.

The next Chamber event will be a Holiday Mixer at The Golden Bull on Tuesday, December 10, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. with hors d’oeuvres and beverages.

Troop 223 Graduates 26 Eagle Scouts

Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

By LILY TINOCO | Reporter

Twenty-six scouts from Troop 223 were honored at this year’s Eagle Court of Honor on Tuesday, November 26, at Sprague Auditorium at St. Matthew’s Parish for earning their Eagle Scout Award.

Troop 223 has advanced over 700 Scouts to the rank of Eagle, more than any other in the nation. The rank of Eagle Scout is something that can be kept on a Scout’s resume for life— helping them get into college, advance in the military and more.

“An Eagle Court of Honor is for the sole purpose of conferring to the highest honor,” Mike Lanning, Scoutmaster of Troop 223, said to the Palisadian-Post. “These are young people leading skillfully, making good choices, serving others.”

Lanning has been a Scout since he was a kid: “I’ve always been a Boy Scout. I’ve been active since I was 9 years old and now I’m 87 years old.”

Lanning joined Troop 223 during his junior year at UCLA in 1952, and shared that his role as a leader has been, and continues to be, very rewarding.

The event began with a dinner for the families and guests of the Eagle Scouts. There were presentations and congratulatory citations from Mayor Eric Garcetti, Governor Gavin Newsom and Congressman Ted Lieu, read by first year Scouts.

To conclude the night, all of the Eagle Scouts were presented by graduated Eagle Scouts and given the chance to share what they have accomplished in their time in the troop.

The event also celebrated the Troop’s Eagle projects. Prior to the Court of Honor, the Scouts were responsible for finding a project that benefited a nonprofit organization, planning it and managing others as they collectively worked on it. These projects required a minimum of 100 hours of service.

Nick Nissen, a now graduated Eagle Scout, partnered with the American Art Association through a program called Teaching Gardens for his project. Nissen chose a school in East Los Angeles and built garden boxes for the kids, as well as tidied up the school and playground.

“It was unique for the Troop because it was the first time the American Art Association had worked with the Boy Scouts,” Nissen said. “I hope it’s something that can continue on.”

Nissen’s father, Nicholas Nissen Sr., was also an Eagle Scout as a kid and received the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award earlier this year, the highest honor presented by the National Eagle Scout Association.

“One of my own personal successes in life was the successes I had in Boy Scouts … those were successes and lessons that I took with me, and that I very much wanted my sons to experience,” Nissen Sr. said to the Post. 

These lessons are instilled in graduating Scouts for a lifetime. Andrew Yang, another Eagle Scout, shared that being a Scout has helped him with his leadership skills.

“I’m a much more confident person in public speaking and leading other people, before this I was shy,” Yang said. “I think it was a very valuable experience.”

Following the Eagles’ Court of Honor, Jack Coleman shared what becoming an Eagle Scout means to him.

“To me, it means that I am somebody who is dedicated to doing the best I can for myself and others,” Coleman said. “And the best part of it was definitely the comradery that I felt at the end of the five-year journey.”

For more photos, see Page 5.

Troop 223 is currently accepting new Scouts for the new year. For more information or questions about joining, contact Assistant Scoutmaster Greg Frost at frostfamily@frostinvestigations.com or call 310-291-4653.

New Band Director Marches Pali High to Victory

Photos courtesy of Paul Schreiber


With new Marching Band Director Tyler Farrell at the helm, Palisades Charter High School finishes the semester by reaching the championships and exceeding the band’s placement last year.

“I’m elated,” said Farrell, who has just one season as the school’s band director under his belt.

On November 2, the Pali High Marching Band attended Los Altos Field Tournament where they received the Sweepstakes Award—meaning they scored the highest out of all of the groups there that day. It was one of the band’s last shows when they were qualifying for the championships.

“It is a kind of circuit competition,” Farrell told the Palisadian-Post. 

From early October to the first two weekends of November, the band goes through a competition that assesses performance and entertainment skills.

The band received three second place and one first place award in their division this year, plus a few best overall performance awards. The band came in second place in Class 2A at the Warren High School Field Tournament, West Ranch High School Field Tournament and the Moorpark Battle of the Bands.

Farrell shared that the biggest goal of the year was to reach the championships, which the band achieved when they competed in the Southern California Band and Orchestra Association 2A Championships, placing eighth at Warren High School on November 16.

“It was very exciting as they met and surpassed their expectations,” Farrell said.

The marching band competes with 24 other schools from Southern California throughout the year. Last year, the band placed ninth.

Only 12 schools qualify for the championship, “so this is an honor,” shared Shannon Paresa, band parent volunteer.

This year’s new routine, “Effigy,” was a darker, more aggressive piece than what students at Pali High traditionally perform, “which are typically upbeat, happier, lighter themes, and a lot of classical music,” Farrell said. “And this year was a bit of a 180. It’s also a little more angular; everything is pointed, spooky and insistent.”

The band performed the first movement of Michael Kamen’s “The New Moon in the Old Moon’s Arms” and “No One Mourns the Wicked,” the overture from “Wicked.”

Farrell said there’s a unique sense of dedication from the students at Pali High, which makes it a fun and rewarding place to teach.

“It’s the kids that do the work,” he added.

Arwen Hernandez, former band leader for eight years until 2016, built the program from the ground up and instilled a lot of the traditions of success and work ethic, while building the marching band culture we have today, Farrell explained to the Post.

“We always strive to teach our kids professionalism,” Farrell said. “My job is to teach them how to be a decent human being through music. They could leave here and not have learned a single thing about music, but if they’ve learned about life and how to be a person, then I’m happy.”

Farrell has a degree in musical education from UCLA and worked at the Herb Alpert School of Music.  He was the former director of bands at Garner Magnet High School in North Carolina and a percussion instructor.

Paresa shared that her son decided to join the marching band, and it has been a wonderful experience for him.

“He thoroughly enjoyed it and made great friends,” she said. “No one is benched in marching band/colorguard. Every member participates and is equally important. There is no junior varsity, so everyone is held up to the same standard from freshmen to seniors. They work hard and practice a lot—nine hours a week.”

Jeremy Miller, their longtime percussion director, works with the drumline and is at all the marching rehearsals. In addition, there are two other percussion instructors, Mike Schlotter, who works with the front ensemble, and Melony Robinson-Williams. Allison Wyant is the colorguard director.

This is Farrell’s first year teaching at Pali High after taking over from Alex Dale, who led the band from 2016-19.

“It’s a super fun job,”  Farrell concluded.

Your Two Cents’ Worth


In a past issue, a patriotic neighbor raised the issue of the flag at the Caruso Village. What a fantastic idea to respect those who have died for our freedom with a PROPERLY LIT flag flying above our village! Caruso bills himself as a family man and a patriot, the fact that this proper illumination hasn’t been done sooner is a tragedy. Here’s to seeing those stars and stripes 24/7!! – A Palisadian who still loves America!


I love all the Post contests but, I am not sure that the First Baby of 2020 should be identified as fully as the Post usually identifies its winner. Naming the child, date of birth, the siblings, the parents and residence seems like an invitation to identity theft. Perhaps there is a better way to announce the winner.

(Editor’s note: We leave the amount of information we publish up to the discretion of the winners for all of our contests.)


I think the Halloween Candy Buy Back is a great way to teach students civic generosity in theory. I would like to point out though that dental decay is even more of a problem in children living in developing and war affected countries where they have little to no access to dental care. Many of these children don’t even have toothbrushes. I don’t see how giving candy to these children can “hopefully prevent some more cavities.” Perhaps the students here can each also donate a new toothbrush along with their candy?

(Editor’s note: The candy is sent overseas through Operation Gratitude—some of the candy is shared with children, but most is intended to be care packages for troops.)


Tests are a part of life. They are not always “fair”. SAT and ACT could help level playing field by making substantial online tutoring available for free. They do test each student’s current ability to read and think, which are key skills and abilities. Hard fact–we are not all the same. The UCs are intended to educate those with higher level academic abilities. If a person does not have them, it will not help to put them in an environment where they will fail, so though you may want to go to a UC, it may not be for you. Good fact–people succeed with educations from many different sources. Focus on what you do well, work hard to develop your talents and strive to be the best you can be. Avoid making stupid/bad decisions, and you will maximize your changes for success and happiness in your life.

Sad Flowers

The man selling flowers at PCH & Chautauqua always has a small girl in tow. She is kept there on the sidewalk for hours in heat and cold, for one purpose: to seek your sympathy. Last week she was there again, cold and shivering in rain. Please use your judgement and help protect this child.

Got something to say? Call (310) 454-1321 or email 2cents@palipost.com and get those kudos or concerns off your chest. Names will not be used.

Neighborhood News

Fire Breaks Out at Il Piccolo Ritrovo | The Village

A fire broke out at Il Piccolo Ritrovo on Wednesday night, November 27, shortly after 9:30 p.m.

“The fire … burned itself out before crews arrived,” Margaret Stewart with Los Angeles Fire Department reported.

Photo courtesy of Buddy Chancellor

Stewart shared that the fire appears to have flashed (point when the contents of room that are preheated by smoldering fire and ignite at once), burning itself out in the one-story commercial building. No injuries were reported.

According to an employee at Il Piccolo’s sister location in Playa Vista, the Palisades location remains closed, with no estimate of when it will reopen.                                    


Miracle on 34th Street | Via Mesa

For the sixth year in a row, Theatre Palisades Actors’ Troupe will be performing its annual live 1940s style Christmas radio show on Wednesday, December 11. This year’s show will be “Miracle on 34th Street.”

Photo courtesy of Martha Hunter

The performance, which is free to attend with donations happily accepted, will start at 7:30 p.m., following refreshments in the Pierson Playhouse lobby at 7 p.m.

Guests are encouraged to bring canned goods, which will be donated to Westside Food Bank.

For more information, visit theatrepalisades.com.


Rainfall Totals | Pacific Palisades

Last week’s Thanksgiving time storms produced 1.60 inches of rain in Pacific Palisades, according to local weather authority Craig Weston, who tracks rainfall from The Huntington.

Prior to Thanksgiving rain, between November 15 and 21, Pacific Palisades received .36 inches of rain, Weston reported. Of that total, .33 inches fell on November 20.

“Thus far, the yearly total for the Palisades is 2.04 inches of rain,” Weston shared, adding that the rain totals go from July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020.

As the Post went to print, more rain was expected to fall Wednesday, December 4, followed by a week with highs in the low 60s.


Fire Damages Home | El Medio Bluffs

A fire that broke out on November 27 around 8:45 a.m. damaged a single-family home in the 15900 block of West Asilomar Boulevard.

Firefighters extinguished the flames in 13 minutes, Los Angeles Fire Department reported, with no injuries reported.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.


Elevating the Holiday Blues

MaJon (left) with Salser (right) at a recent event the two coordinated.
Photos courtesy of Cathy Salser

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

The holidays are filled with all things festive and bright—but what if you are missing the cheer?

That’s where Palisadian Cathy Salser and Rev. Dr. Aliah K. MaJon come in, offering a series of classes, “Elevating the Holiday Blues.”

MaJon was inspired to create the workshops in 2004 when reflecting on her son’s death by suicide. She explained that the first year, the two-month period that surrounds the holidays for her family includes her birthday, her late son’s wife’s birthday and other milestones.

“We had this period of time when everybody around us, they were tiptoeing around us,” she shared. “People didn’t know all the details of what we were experiencing as a family.”

MaJon explained that it is very personal to her.

“I think when people are having the holiday blues—because of the time of the year and the way this season is seen by most folks—it’s almost like a secret,” she said. “You don’t want people to know that you hate when this time comes around or that it’s really challenging for you or that you’re very sad or that you’re crying more than people would want to know that you’re crying.”

This year, MaJon has teamed up with Salser—a Palisades High School graduate who continues to call the Palisades her home—to introduce an added element of healing through the arts to the series. Salser, a renowned artist and founder of A Window Between Worlds: Art Transforming Trauma, brings with her more than 25 years of experience

“For me, art has always been a way that I could touch into that deep place, a place where your reality is but it’s hidden from other people,” Salser explained. “So, art was always a way to connect into that space of the truth and to connect with others through art.”

MaJon explained that the goal is for attendees to unpack their baggage, to free up some of the congealed grief.

“They’re going to get to test new ways of thinking and see if they can arrive at a different perspective or different frame of reference for this time of year,” MaJon said. “And then they’re going to get to create new traditions, new ways of doing this time of year.”

Topics of the sessions include “How to Give Yourself Permission to Feel Bad,” “How to Give Yourself Permission to Feel Good,” “How to Be Inspired to Create New Holiday Traditions” and “What Are the Gifts That I Wish to Give Myself?”

Salser added that attendees will leave with a toolkit—complete with handmade touchstones.

“Through creating touchstones, they will have a way to hold onto these stepping stones in their life and to practice,” she said. “It’s incredibly reinforcing to actually walk away with almost like a toolkit … to carry these breakthroughs and these intentions and these wishes into presents in their life going forward.”

The annual course will take place this year in the Palisades Village Swarthmore Room on four Sundays this December (8, 15, 22 and 29) from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. The fourth and final session will take place over the phone for those who may be traveling or unable to attend the in-person sessions.

Those who are interested in attending this year’s series can find out more information at http://evite.me/6TekeawKvS. Donations are accepted on a sliding scale, so attendees (or those who do not want to attend the series but would like to support it) can contribute on an as-able basis.

World-Renowned Palisadian Architect and Innovator Ray Kappe Has Died

Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer


Ray Kappe, modernist architect and innovator, whose own Rustic Canyon home has been called one of the “finest, most inviting Modern houses in the United States,” has died at age 92.

“The world of architecture would not be what it is without him,” SCI-Arc Director Hernan Diaz Alonso said in a statement. “His legacy as an architect, city planner and educator is absolutely unparalleled.”

The longtime Palisadian died from respiratory failure due to pneumonia on November 21.

During his influential 60-year career, Kappe designed more than 100 homes, “many post-and-beam” style, inside-outside and open-plan,” according to KCRW.

Kappe was known for founding prominent architecture school SCI-Arc (Southern California Institute of Architecture) in Santa Monica in 1972—one of the top architecture schools in the United States. He believed in “learning by doing,” he shared with the Palisadian-Post during an interview in 2012.

Kappe won numerous awards, including the California Council/AIA Design Award for one of his earliest works, the National Boulevard Apartments in 1954 in West Los Angeles. He was awarded the Richard Neutra International Medal for Design Excellence, the Topaz Medal (the highest award in architectural education) and in 2013, the LA Architectural Lifetime Achievement Award.

Kappe could have sold his archives but instead chose to donate thousands of his drawings to the Getty Center to make them accessible for educating.

Kappe is survived by his wife, Shelly, and their three children: Ron, Finn and Karen. The couple was married in 1950 and moved into their Rustic Canyon home in 1968.

Born in Minneapolis on August 4, 1927, Kappe’s family moved to LA in 1940, where he attended Emerson Junior High (designed by Richard Neutra), University High and one semester at UCLA.

After being drafted into the Army in 1945, Kappe served for two years in the U.S. Corps of Engineers before completing University of California, Berkeley’s architecture program with honors in 1951. Kappe opened his own practice in 1953 in Santa Monica.

Kappe chose the site for his Palisades home in 1963 and completed it in 1967 after taking two years to install the sewer system alone.

Kappe used a system of staggering floors, creating his residence in the Palisades with seven distinct levels. Kappe raised the house above the ground, “spanning the hillside with a series of bridges and cantilevers.”

It turned out to be a 4,000-square-foot house that only touched the ground on 600 square feet. Often described as an “iconic tree house,” it’s considered a “design and engineering marvel.”

Kappe passed away surrounded by family and loved ones, according to a SCI-Arc newsletter.


Stolen Vehicle

14700 McKendree, November 27 at 7:30 p.m. The suspect took victim’s vehicle using keys left in the car.


1200 Chautauqua, between November 22 at 1:50 p.m. and November 26 at 9:30 a.m. The suspect smashed a door to enter victim’s office and took unknown property.

1200 Rimmer, November 27 between 4:30 and 7:05 p.m. The suspect smashed a window to enter victim’s home and took jewelry.

Burglary/Theft from Vehicle

40 Haldeman Rd, November 26 at 7:40 a.m. The suspect (male white, brown hair, 6’2” 250 lb, 28/38 years) entered and searched victim’s vehicle but fled the area in a red Nissan Versa after a witness attempted to detain the suspect for police.

500 Los Liones, December 1 between 2:10 and 5:05 p.m. The suspect smashed a window on victim’s vehicle, and took a purse and wallet.


800 Swarthmore, November 27 at 5:20 p.m. The suspects (#1-2 female black, black hair, 5’6” heavy set, 20/30 years) entered victim’s business, concealed shampoo and cosmetics in a bag, and fled the store without paying.

1100 Embury, November 29 between 9 and 10:30 a.m. The suspect, pretending to be a DWP employee, tricked victim into “paying her bill” with gift cards.

Assault with a Deadly Weapon

14800 Pacific Coast Hwy, November 25 at 5:10 p.m. A 46-year-old female was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon after throwing a glass bottle at victim.


100 West Channel, December 1 at 12:45 a.m. A 29-year-old male was arrested for battery after headbutting victim who advised the suspect not to exit location with an alcoholic beverage.

Pups and Cups

Jose Guerra ahead of the silent auction
Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

Collar & Leash to Host Fundraising Silent Auction

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

Something for everyone: Community members who love free coffee, their pets and Los Angeles Fire Department firefighters have an opportunity to give back this weekend.

On Saturday, December 7, Collar & Leash Palisades will host a fundraising silent auction, “Pups and Cups,” at its Highlands store, benefiting LAFD Stations 23 and 69.

“After the recent fires came very close to threatening both our store and my childhood home, we very much felt the need to give back to our local fire department for all of their hard work keeping us safe,” Collar & Leash employee Daniel White shared ahead of the event.

Store owner Jose Guerra explained that his team was inspired to put this together after seeing first-hand the gratitude residents of the Palisades wished to express to firefighters after battling recent fires in The Highlands and Brentwood, as well as learning that firefighters pay out-of-pocket for some of the items and improvements at their stations, including things like paint and coffee makers.

The silent auction will feature gifts baskets, filled with food, treats and toys, donated by various pet-centric vendors, as well as items from Collar & Leash’s neighbor, Starbucks.

“Starbucks will be providing coffee, puppuccinos for the dogs, as well as raising money alongside us to get as many supplies as we can,” White explained.

There will also be items like tickets to see the Dodgers as well as sports memorabilia, as Collar & Leash is accepting donations of items from members of the community.

Guerra added that the silent auction will also benefit local rescues and shelters for those who wish to bid on a basket and gift the items inside of it.

“Once people bid on a basket and they want to donate it, they can donate it to a local shelter or rescue,” Guerra explained. “Our local rescues here do such a good job at trying to keep pets in homes.”

The shelters and rescues would then receive the food, treats and toys that fill the baskets, helping the animals in their care.

All money raised at Saturday’s silent auction, which will take place in front of Collar & Leash, located at 518 Palisades Drive, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., will go toward LAFD and the list of items firefighters need.