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Annual Stern Lecture to Feature Author, Speaker Debie Thomas

Photo courtesy of St. Matthew’s

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

The Parish of Saint Matthew annual Stern Lecture—which will take place in three sessions on March 1 and 2—will feature lecturer Debie Thomas, an author and speaker.

“Thomas is a sought-after speaker on scripture, faith, writing and spiritual practice who holds a master’s degree in English literature from Brown University and an MFA in creative writing from the Ohio State University,” according to a press release from St. Matthew’s. “She currently serves as Minister of Lifelong Formation at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Palo Alto, California. A columnist and contributing editor for The Christian Century and author of ‘Into the Mess and Other Jesus Stories,’ Thomas has also been published in The Kenyon Review and River Teeth.”

Each year, the Stern Lecture features talks on spirituality. This year’s series will cover content from Thomas’ upcoming book, “A Faith of Many Rooms.”

The first session—“Into the Wilderness: On the Virtues of Lostness”—will take place on Friday, March 1, at 7:30 p.m. followed by the second session, March 2 at 9 a.m., on “Beyond Belief: Living a Stories Christianity.” The third session—“But What About Sin? Inhabiting a More Spacious Salvation”—will take place March 2 at 10:30 a.m.

There will be a short break between sessions two and three, as well as a light lunch offered after the sessions at 12 p.m.

“The Stern Lecture was established in 1986 by Dr. W. Eugene Stern in memory of his wife, Libby Naffziger Stern, and is dedicated to bringing international scholars to The Parish of St. Matthew for lectures and preaching opportunities,” according to the press release.

Thomas will also serve as guest preacher during the 9 and 10:30 a.m. services on March 3.

The talks are free to attend, but registering in advance at stmatthews.com is required.

Stern Lecture 2024 will take place at The Parish of St. Matthew, located at 1031 Bienveneda Avenue.

American Legion to Host ‘Challenges & Opportunities’ Women Veterans Forum

Virginia Wimmer
Photo courtesy of Ranee J. Rubio

By LILY TINOCO | Assistant Editor

American Legion Ronald Reagan-Palisades Post 283 will host a “pivotal” event dedicated to women veterans: “Challenges & Opportunities” Women Veterans Forum on Saturday, March 2.

The event will feature keynote speaker Virginia Wimmer, deputy secretary of women veterans affairs at the California Department of Veterans Affairs, and retired U.S. Army Major Ranee Rubio as emcee.

“Participants will have the opportunity to connect with professionals and get their questions answered on medical care, employment, educational opportunities and various other veteran benefits, including a one-year free membership to the American Legion for those eligible,” according to American Legion.

Slated to be a day of “empowerment, insight and community support,” community members are encouraged to attend, visit the vendor booths that support women veteran interests, win raffle prizes and enjoy an activity area designed for children by the Mindful Veteran Project.

A complimentary lunch will also be provided to all attendees. Doors will open at 10 a.m.

“Be part of this inspiring gathering that celebrates the courage, service and achievements of women veterans,” according to American Legion.

Due to limited seating, interested participants are asked to register at bit.ly/women-vets-2024.

St. Matthew’s Music Guild Season Continues With Violinist Hye-Jin Kim

Hye-Jin Kim
Photos courtesy of Music Guild

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

St. Matthew’s Music Guild’s 39th season will continue on March 8 with a concert featuring the Chamber Orchestra at St. Matthew’s and violinist Hye-Jin Kim.

“Kim will be heard in the lyrical ‘Violin Concerto’ by Gian-Carlo Menotti,” read a press release. “The world-premiere of ‘Tamit and Moar’ by New York composer and saxophonist Ethan Helm and music of Florence Price (‘Andante moderato’ from ‘String Quartet in G major’) fill out the program.”

Kim’s career includes work as a soloist, recitalist, educator and chamber musician, beginning with her First Prize win at the Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition at the age of 19. She is known for her “musical sensitivity” and “deeply engaging performances that transport audiences beyond mere technical virtuosity,” according to the press release.

Kim has performed with orchestras across the globe, including Philadelphia, BBC, Seoul, Hong Kong and Hannover Chamber orchestras.

Ethan Helm

Helm—born in Southern California—works in contemporary jazz, classical and musical theatre genres. “Tamit and Moar” was written to honor two central deities: “Grandfather Sun” and “Grandmother Moon,” central to Tongva creation myths.

“Tamit is joyful, adventurous and sunny, while Moar darkens the landscape with long shadows,” Heml wrote. “Straddling and connecting both personalities is the soprano saxophone soloist whose passages are sometimes notated, sometimes improvised—part storyteller, part wanderer. The creation myths are hundreds of years old but are inspired by the same Southern California landscape that fills my childhood memories: hills, ocean, desert critters, chaparral … ”

A free pre-concert lecture by Music Guild President Tom Neenan will begin at 7:10 p.m., followed by the concert at 8 p.m. at St. Matthew’s Church, located at 1031 Bienveneda Avenue.

Tickets start at $45 or are available as part of a season pass. For more information or to buy tickets, visit musicguildonline.org.

Deadline Approaches for 2024 Travel Tales Contest

Photo courtesy of Orest Bodnar

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

The deadline is approaching for the Palisadian-Post’s 2024 Travel Tales Contest, which will run in an upcoming edition.

Readers are encouraged to share their tales—whether they traveled near or far—in up to 600 words, plus one to four high-res images, for consideration by Friday, March 8, at 6 p.m. for a chance to be featured in print and to win a prize.

Past Travel Tales have included stories about visits to Peru, Greece, Botswana and beyond.

Submissions may be sent to mypost@palipost.com, which is also where questions can be directed.

 

‘Sow Seeds for Spring’ With UC Master Gardener Emi Carvell

Photo courtesy of Palisades Branch Library

By LILY TINOCO | Assistant Editor

Palisades Branch Library will host “Sow Seeds for Spring” on Saturday, March 2, at 12 p.m.—a health and wellness event designed for teenagers and adults.

“Come spend an afternoon learning all about sowing seeds for veggies, herbs and flowers with Emi Carvell,” read an announcement.

Carvell has spent years in the community working as a master gardener, previously hosting a Succulent Container Garden Workshop.

According to the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources department, a master gardener is a local resident who is certified by the University of California after completing a training course and passing a final examination.

“Master Gardeners help the community,” according to the University of California. “They share their UC-based knowledge with the public to promote environmentally responsible horticultural practices. Master Gardeners … attend demonstrations, publish newsletters and continue their gardening education.”

All supplies for the Sow Seeds for Spring event will be provided, but space is limited. It is suggested that interested individuals RSVP to Carvell at oneiemi3@gmail.com.

Pali High Girls Soccer Falls in Semis

By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor

When midfielder Leila Jafari scored with 12 minutes left on a perfectly struck shot from 30 yards out that caught the Cleveland goalkeeper off her line last Wednesday evening, February 21, at Stadium by the Sea, it looked as though the Palisades Charter High School girls soccer team was on its way to the City Division I finals.

However, Cavaliers defender Keira Preis booted the ball into the penalty area where it bounced high on the slick turf, over the head of goalkeeper Jacinda Hevesy-Rodriguez and into the net to tie it 2-2 in the 76th minute. Both teams were cautious for the remainder of regulation, not wanting to make a mistake that could bring an abrupt end to their season.

A 15-minute sudden death overtime period followed, and while both sides generated quality chances, neither was able to scored a golden goal—meaning the outcome would be decided in a shootout.

Palisades’ top scorer Erica Hamilton stepped to the penalty spot first and buried a shot into the lower right corner to give the Dolphins a 1-0 lead. Cleveland answered on its first kick.

Alex Digenarro had her shot blocked but the referee ruled that Cavaliers goalkeeper Adelaide Souza dove before the ball was struck. Given a second chance, Digenarro scored to make it 2-1 but again Cleveland answered.

Goalkeeper Jacinda Hevesy-Rodriguez makes a save on a corner kick in the Dolphins’ 4-3 quarterfinal triumph over Venice.

The teams traded goals in the third round but in the fourth Souza made a save and Miranda Reynoso scored to put Cleveland up 4-3. Jafari’s strike to the upper right corner pulled Palisades even, and the Cavaliers’ fifth kicker sailed her attempt over the crossbar, extending the shootout into the sixth round.

After Souza made a diving save, Natalie Grant converted her try, and the Cavaliers prevailed, 5-4.

Cleveland edged West Valley League rival El Camino Real 1-0 in the finals two nights later at Valley College. It was a heartbreaking end to a memorable season for the Dolphins, who won the Western League and finished 20-2-2.

Hamilton set a school single-season record with 33 goals in 21 games played. Jafari had 14 goals and eight assists, Fishman had 11 goals, and Digenarro had eight goals and 14 assists. Hevesy-Rodriguez made 59 saves and posted 10 shutouts, and the Dolphins allowed a total of 15 goals in 24 games.

After a bye in the first round, the second-seeded Dolphins blanked No. 15 Verdugo Hills 5-0 in the second round. Cami Fishman scored twice, and Hamilton, Ava Friedman and Mae Durkin each had a goal. Hamilton scored all of her team’s goals in a 4-3 quarterfinal victory over league rival Venice.

This is the fourth straight season Palisades has been eliminated in the semifinals. Cleveland beat the Dolphins 2-1 in overtime in 2021, and El Camino Real beat the Dolphins 3-1 in 2022 and 2-0 last year.

Girls Water Polo Makes Regional Semis

Pali High's Lilli Fox scores one of her three goals against Mt. Carmel in the Southern California Regional semifinals at Mt. SAC.
Photos by Steve Galluzzo

By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor

The Palisades Charter High School girls water polo team was a heavy underdog in February 23’s Southern California Regional Division III semifinal game against Mt. Carmel, but someone must have forgotten to tell the Dolphins, who put up a spirited fight before falling 13-9 at Mt. San Antonio College.

Lilli Fox and Kylie Lupescu each scored three goals, Taylor Gair scored twice, and Genesis Zuniga added one goal for the fourth-seeded Dolphins (17-8), who were trying to advance to their second regional final, having first done so in 2019.

Fox scored off a pass from Bailey Gair (Taylor’s younger sister) to tie it 1-1 and scored again off an assist from Zuniga to tie it 2-2 late in the first quarter. The San Diego Section Division 2 champions answered with a goal to go ahead 3-2 at the end of the first quarter and followed with three straight goals to begin the second quarter before Bailey Gair fed Lupescu for a goal that trimmed Palisades’ deficit to 6-3 at halftime.

Pali High’s Genesis Zuniga (left) looks to pass during the February 23 Southern California Regional semifinal against Mt. Carmel.

Taylor Gair opened the second half with a goal and assisted on Lupescu’s goal two minutes later to pull the Dolphins within two at 7-5 but the Sundevils (25-7) scored three consecutive goals to extend their lead to to 10-5 before Fox passed to Taylor Gair for a goal to close out the third quarter.

The teams alternated goals in the fourth quarter with Zuniga, Lupescu and Fox tallying for Palisades. Junior goalie Triana Paris made seven saves.

No. 1-seeded Mt. Carmel routed No. 2 Chaparral 23-7 in the finals the next day, making Palisades’ effort that much more impressive. Chaparral had beaten Birmingham 18-6 in February 23’s first semifinal.

Palisades rallied from a three-goal halftime deficit to defeat Birmingham 14-11 to win the City Open Division championship February 15 at Valley College.

“This was the No. 1 seed and you pushed them the whole game,” head coach Joe Vernaza said. “It shows how good we can be and gives us a lot to build on next season. It’s all about getting better.”

Palisades defeated fifth-seeded Classical Academy of Escondido 9-5 in the first round last Tuesday, February 20.

Pali High Baseball Wins Season Opener

Pitcher Briana Vasquez and the Pali High softball team hope to win the Western League after finishing second to Venice last spring.
Photo by Steve Galluzzo

By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor

Spring sports are underway and several Palisades Charter High School teams made their season debuts last week. Here are the results and a look at the upcoming schedule.

Baseball

The Dolphins opened their season in dramatic fashion, rallying for a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to beat North Hollywood 2-1 last Friday night, February 23, under the lights at George Robert Field.

Conor Greene had two hits, including the game-winning double with one out in the last frame to bring home Andres Trujillo and Alex Loos, and Palisades also got hits from Logan Bailey and Jordan Harris. Pitchers Roman Hawk, Reece Frankel and Ian Sullivan combine for 16 strikeouts.

The Huskies took a 1-0 lead in the third on an RBI double by Nick Park.

On Saturday, February 24, the Dolphins improved to 2-0 with a 12-5 victory over Kennedy in Granada Hills in the Poly Classic. Sullivan had two singles, three RBIs and two runs scored, Hawk had a single, a double and two runs scored, Bailey hit a single and a triple, Greene hit an RBI double, and Yonah Cohen had a single and two RBIs. Starting pitcher John Iacono allowed three runs on three hits with 10 strikeouts in 5.1 innings.

Palisades is back in action Friday afternoon, March 1, when it travels to East LA College to play Roosevelt in a tournament game. 

Softball

The Dolphins traveled to Clover Park in Santa Monica to take on St. Monica Catholic and gave up four runs in the sixth inning to lose 5-4. The squads traded runs in the first inning before Palisades edged ahead 2-1 in the second and added two runs in the top of the sixth to make it 4-1.

Stella Honda had a single, a double, one RBI and one run scored, Olivia Stanley had two hits and one RBI, Celia Elisha had an RBI single and scored one run, and Rikka Richardson added one RBI. Pitcher Briana Vasquez allowed seven hits and four earned runs with five strikeouts and one walk in six innings.

The Dolphins have another nonleague game at Culver City on Friday, March 1, at 3:30 p.m. 

Boys Volleyball

Palisades coach Carlos Gray scheduled two challenging opponents to start the season, beginning with Harvard-Westlake last Wednesday, February 21, and the visiting Wolverines won in four sets, 25-23, 22-25, 25-22, 25-22.

On Friday, February 23, the Dolphins hosted Royal of Simi Valley, and despite holding leads in each set, Palisades only managed to win the first as the Highlanders prevailed 24-26, 25-18, 25-13, 25-22.

The Dolphins will open Western League play at archival Venice next Wednesday, March 6. 

Boys Tennis

The reigning City Section champions rebounded from road defeats to a pair of Mission League teams (falling to Harvard-Westlake, 15-3, and Loyola, 12-6) with 14-4 victories over Marmonte League squads Newbury Park last Tuesday, February 20, and Westlake last Thursday, February 22. Palisades travels to Calabasas on Thursday, February 29, for another intersectional matchup before opening Western League action Friday, March 1, at Westchester.    

Boys Lacrosse

The Dolphins opened the season last Wednesday, February 21, with an 11-7 win at West Ranch before returning home to battle Harvard-Westlake to an 11-11 tie last Friday, February 23. Palisades hosts Agoura on Friday night, March 1.

Girls Lacrosse

Last Friday, February 23, the Dolphins dropped their first game 13-11 to host Long Beach Millikan. On Monday, February 26, the defending City champions rebounded to rout University, 13-3.

Palisades is back in action next Thursday, March 7, at 6 p.m. versus Saugus at Stadium by the Sea.

Girls Beach Volleyball

The Dolphins won two out of three matches Saturday, February 24, on their first weekend of competition, sweeping Discovery 3-0, falling to Taft 2-1 (winning the No. 1 spot) and topping Maywood CES 2-1 with wins by their No. 1 and No. 2 duos.

Pacific Palisades Community Council Meeting Includes Introductions of Area Officials, Camera Updates

LAPD Patrol Captain Alisha Jordan
Photo courtesy of PPCC

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

Pacific Palisades Community Council met virtually on Thursday, February 8—covering a wide variety of topics on the agenda, including the introduction of new area officials and updates regarding cameras in public spaces.

At Councilmember Traci Park’s office, Juan Fregoso has taken over the district director position, replacing Gabriela Medina, and Dellarose Santos has joined as a constituent services deputy.

Fregoso previously served one year as director of homelessness and housing for Park’s office, but has garnered almost a decade of experience with the city of Los Angeles under Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell (CD 13), so he said that while he was relatively new to CD 11, he is not new to city processes.

Fregoso explained during the PPCC meeting that the team at Park’s office was expanding, expecting to be fully staffed in two to three weeks. The bigger vision for the district is to bring additional resources to areas like the coastal zone, to aid in things like tourism, disaster impact and beyond.

Santos joined the office with a background at Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. In her position, she will work closely with Brentwood, Pacific Palisades and West Los Angeles Field Deputy Michael Amster on individual cases related to things like maintenance and infrastructure.

“There’s a lot of stuff that I’ve just been handling on my own,” Amster explained, “and it’s just awesome to have a partner like Dellarose who’s really well versed in dealing with very complicated issues, especially with the unsheltered population.”

Also introduced during the meeting was Los Angeles Police Department Patrol Captain Alisha Jordan, who has returned to the West Los Angeles Division with nearly 30 years of experience. She previously served West LA beginning in 2011 as a police sergeant.

“Every division has two captains,” explained LAPD Senior Lead Officer for Pacific Palisades Brian Espin. “You have an area captain that runs the whole gamut of the division, and then you have a patrol captain, which is specific to the boots on the ground—all patrol officers that are out driving around in the black and whites handling the radio calls. She is responsible for deployment, how they’re conducting their work and responsible for them.”

Jordan, who had been on the job for eight weeks at the time, said that she is looking forward to getting reacquainted with Pacific Palisades. Her time with LAPD has included patrol, detective and investigations.

“For the years I’ve been on the job, I have enjoyed every bit of it,” Jordan said. “I was born and raised in Los Angeles, and I take taking care of my community seriously. And I want to ensure that my officers are also out there doing their part.”

Jordan said she speaks with the officers daily, making sure they understand what she expects from them and that she is available for them to reach out to as well—noting the importance of “open communication” about how to best serve the community.

“What I’ve learned in the 29 years that I’ve been here is that when they have access to their command, that the officers feel more confident about going out there and doing their job and they’re typically more productive,” Jordan said. “So that has always been a part of my goal, as well as listening to my leadership team, my sergeants and my watch commanders.”

Over the next few months, Jordan planned to go out with some of the senior lead officers to meet members of the various communities in person.

PPCC Chair Maryam Zar and Vice Chair Sue Kohl provided updates regarding the placement of cameras in open spaces, including at Palisades Recreation Center—a topic that had been discussed at previous PPCC board meetings.

Zar reported that after speaking to LA Parks Foundation, she and Kohl were informed they would need to use Recreation and Parks technology for the cameras versus going through a company, like Flock Safety.

Before installing cameras, it was suggested to Zar and Kohl that Palisades Recreation Center gets an electric systems upgrade so that the park could accommodate better lights and cameras, which has been done by RAP at other parks.

Kohl reported that she spoke with RAP technician Jimmy Newsom, who said the park would need about 15 cameras and that a minimum $500,000 investment in the electric infrastructure upgrade would be needed.

It was suggested that interested parties advocate with City Council for budgeting.

“We’ll have a plan in the next couple of months and we’ll advocate for it,” Zar said.

How to Vote in the 2024 California Presidential Primary

Photo by Sarah Shmerling

By LILY TINOCO | Assistant Editor

Residents of Pacific Palisades have several options when it comes to casting a ballot in the 2024 California Presidential Primary on March 5.

“Voters in Los Angeles County have the option to cast their ballot in-person at a participating Vote Center,” according to the California Secretary of State website. “Vote Centers provide modern features to make voting safe, easy and convenient.”

In-person Vote Centers will be available beginning as early as Saturday, February 24.

The Meeting Room at Palisades Branch Library (861 Alma Real Drive), Pacific Palisades Presbyterian Church (15821 Sunset Boulevard), Rustic Canyon Recreation Center (601 Latimer Road) and Paul Revere Charter Middle School (1450 Allenford Avenue) are LA County Vote Centers, according to the LA County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk website.

They will be open March 2 through March 4 between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. On Tuesday, March 5, the hours will be 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

“Vote Centers also serve as a Vote by Mail Ballot Drop Box location—no need to wait, simply drop off your voted ballot at the front,” according to the California Secretary of State website. “There are convenient and secure Ballot Drop Box locations open and available to voters throughout their communities … Ballot Drop Boxes provide voters with a safe, accessible and contact free method to return their voted ballot.”

Votes can be dropped off through March 5 at 8 p.m.

“If your ballot is postmarked by Election Day and received within seven days … by our department, we will process, verify and count that ballot,” the California Secretary of State website read. “By mail, remember, no postage is necessary.”

Same Day Voter Registration will be available for Californians who missed the deadline to register to vote or to update their registration information. Individuals can complete this process at the county elections office, a polling place or Vote Center.

In California, the Primary Election determines who will be on the November 5, General Election ballot. Voters will see a number of candidates running for a spot on the March ballot, but—in most cases—only two will make it to the General Election.

The Primary Election ballot will include candidates for running for President, the U.S. Senate—one for the six-year term, and another for the remainder of the current term, which is slated to end in January 2025—representatives in U.S. Congress and the California State Legislature and Proposition 1, a proposed law for California.

On a hyper-local level, the ballot includes Measure HLA and Los Angeles District Attorney.

For more information or to register to vote, visit lavote.gov.