Home Blog

Veterans’ Garden Project Breaks Ground at Palisades Recreation Center

Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

Several years in the making, the Veterans’ Garden project broke ground at Palisades Recreation Center on Saturday morning, December 7.

“It was great—it was absolutely great,” project founder Jimmy Dunne shared with the Palisadian-Post after the ceremony.

Despite scattered showers over the weekend, Dunne said that close to 75 community members filled the park to celebrate the start of construction, which will renovate the upper picnic area at the rec center.

Several speakers, including Councilmember Mike Bonin and Co-Honorary Mayors Billy and Janice Crystal, spoke at the ceremony, sharing sentiments of how blessed residents are to live in a place like Pacific Palisades.

“[They] spoke to how this park has been such a heartbeat of the community, and everybody was just so enthusiastic about this re-imagining of the upper park,” Dunne shared.

Dunne added that instead of a few people proverbially putting shovels into the ground, everybody gathered together, including families, kids, community leaders and dogs, to mark the ground breaking.

When complete, the renovated area, financed by “generous donations,” will offer an updated picnic and barbecue area, five “living rooms in the park” (areas separated by landscaping and furniture, each commemorating a branch of military service), bocce courts, and a flagpole and monument honoring veterans.

“I’m most excited about the living rooms in the park,” Dunne shared. “These are areas that are going to be wonderful places for couples and families and get togethers or just quiet times on a Sunday morning to come to the park.”

He also envisions the bocce courts, a sport that has been gaining popularity in recent years, to be a hub for seniors, with upcoming leagues in the works.

Dunne first pitched adding bocce courts and rejuvenating the upper picnic area of the park in January 2014. The idea of creating a Veterans’ Gardens came three years later, in summer 2017, when members of American Legion Post 283 approved a $400,000 matching grant, with a condition that the community donate an additional $200,000 toward the creation of the gardens.

The Pacific Palisades Park Advisory Board unanimously recommended that the Department of Recreation and Parks approve the project in September 2017.

Dunne shared that planning the Veterans’ Gardens has been a “wonderful” partnership between public and private sectors, estimating the ribbon would be cut on the project in the beginning of April 2020.

Dunne expressed deep gratitude toward Veterans’ Gardens Board Members Bill McGregor, Bob Harter, Bob Jernigan and Jay McCann.

With construction underway, the board is looking to the community to build an endowment to cover maintenance costs to preserve the park for years to come.

For more information or to donate to the project, visit veteransgardens.net.

Holiday Ho! Ho! Ho! Celebrates 61 Years

The 2018 celebration
Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

By JENNIKA INGRAM | Reporter

New location, same community traditions: The 61st annual Holiday Ho! Ho! Ho! will take place this year on Sunday, December 15, from 12 to 4 p.m.

“Kids and adults are looking forward to when Mr. and Mrs. Claus arrive by firetruck in Pacific Palisades, kicking off this year’s annual holiday Ho! Ho! Ho! free outdoor community party,” event organizers shared in a post on Instagram.

Last year, the Holiday Hullabaloo event, spearheaded by Lisa Glantz, was organized in less than two weeks after residents learned that the 60-year-old tradition was not returning.

“In 2018, after the Chamber of Commerce decided to stop sponsoring the annual event, Palisades’ residents stepped in and continued the tradition,” shared Lou Kamer, a community organizer, in an email to the Palisadian-Post. “With the help of local organizations, businesses and neighbors, the festival has been re-imagined as a completely non-commercial celebration of our community, kids and connections to one another.”

Glantz will be awarded a Pacific Palisades Community Council Golden Sparkplug Award at its upcoming meeting for her commitment to organizing the event.

“Hats off to Lisa for combining the old and the new in this successful Palisades tradition,” PPCC representatives shared in a statement.

This year, the event has returned to its original name—and found a new location to celebrate: the YMCA Christmas Tree Lot at Simon Meadow.

Festivities will include DIY photos with Mr. and Mrs. Claus, performances by the Dana Greene Choir, Bluecat Singers and Fancy Feet Dancers, toy drive, Gerry Blanck martial arts demo, face painting, balloon man, cookie decorating, Chanukah menorah lighting, and holiday gift wrapping by local Girl Scouts.

“In the spirit of giving, the Ho Ho Ho also encourages helping those organizations and charities that make a difference in our lives,” Kamer said. “This year, we are so happy to be included alongside the YMCA Simon Meadow Christmas Tree Lot and to drive donations to The Painted Turtle, a free camp for kids with special needs.”

The event, done in partnership with the Palisades-Malibu YMCA, is entirely funded by the community. RSVPs can be made at palitown.com.

Anyone interested in helping either financially or by volunteering can email palihohoho@gmail.com.

Three Additional City Carrier Assistants Approved for Palisades Post Office

Photo by Jennika Ingram

Community Members Raise Concerns About Well-Being of Staff

By JENNIKA INGRAM | Reporter

As community members share mail delivery frustrations and concerns over the well-being of mail carriers, the Pacific Palisades Post Office “was just approved for three additional city carrier assistants,” Evelina Ramirez, a USPS corporate communications spokesperson, shared with the Palisadian-Post.

This news comes at the heels of the Riviera Estates Association annual meeting on December 2, when members found themselves discussing the Palisades Post Office and its perceived lack of manpower, according to a participant.

“They need more bodies in there, in my opinion,” said Susan Kelley, a Riviera resident, to the Post.

Since the fall, Nancy Brown has been the acting postmaster at the Palisades Post Office with 22 years of postal experience behind her. Brown became acting postmaster while Uco Johnson, originally hired in late 2018 is on another assignment, according to Ramirez.

Residents are concerned with the large number of postal errors occurring on a regular basis and the well-being of the post office staff, Kelley shared.

“The number of employees at each office is based on volume,” Ramirez responded in an email to the Post. “The Pacific Palisades Post Office has five clerks, 28 carriers, two supervisors and a postmaster.” Plus, the new assistant carriers that will join the team.

Kelley reported that she has gone outside of her Palisades home at 7:15 p.m. to collect her mail, only to find it still hasn’t arrived. When she returns early morning, she will find the mail, leaving her wondering about the safety of postal carriers working late in the evening.

“The Postal Service takes great pride in safely delivering mail to every address in America,” Ramirez responded. “While the goal is to finalize mail delivery during daylight hours, variables such a seasonally shorter days, weather, unscheduled absences, high volumes or a new employee on a route may affect delivery times.

“Darkness, in and off itself, is not unsafe, and all employees understand it is their responsibility to work safely and to report any unsafe conditions to their supervisors.”

Kelley will also find herself with five pieces of mail that’s addressed to her neighbor.

Kelley doesn’t blame the mail carrier: She said she blames the post office for being understaffed and not having enough time to sort the mail properly.

“There is a lack of manpower in the post office and in the mail carrier arena,” Kelley said prior to Ramirez’s response. “The morale is non-existent.”

One of the ideas that emerged at the Riviera meeting was for the residents to band together and write a letter to be signed by Palisadians.

Ramirez said that one new carrier assistant began working on Saturday, December 7. The start date for the additional two has not yet been determined.

Baked With Love

Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

Ivy Woolenberg Spreads ‘Love, Joy and Frosting’ Through For Goodness Cakes

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

Twelve-year-old Ivy Woolenberg, an almost-lifelong Palisadian who moved here at the age of 4, has been baking her whole life—and now, the Marquez Knolls resident is elevating her passion to give back to underprivileged youth.

“My mom is big in the kitchen, she cooks, bakes a little bit,” Woolenberg shared of how she got started.

But it was Woolenberg’s grandmother who really inspired her love of baking.

“I would always go over to her house and bake together,” she recalled. “It was always really fun, and then as I got older, I would ask her, ‘Can you teach me how to make this?’”

The first big thing Woolenberg learned how to make on her own was French macarons, which she shared she has continued to make ever since her grandmother taught her how.

At the age of 9, Woolenberg decided that baking was more of a passion than something she would do once in a while, so she began to bake more independently, starting with cookies and cupcakes.

And then, she started her journey with cake decorating.

“I really discovered cake decorating about two years ago,” she explained. “It was something that, at first, it would kind of frustrate me because it could never be perfect or how I wanted it, so I stopped for a little.”

Pausing the cake endeavors for a bit, Woolenberg’s friends at Archer School for Girls in Brentwood tried some of her cookies and they told her, “Oh, my God, Ivy, I have to order something from you.”

Woolenberg began to take orders for friends, which, at that time, were mostly for cookies and cupcakes—leading to her deciding that she wanted to give cake decorating another chance.

“I thought, ‘I can try again, it will be fun,’” Woolenberg explained.

Photo courtesy of Ivy Woolenberg

Over summer break, when she had more free time, Woolenberg practiced and practiced, and said she found a love for it. This was also the time she started her Instagram, which widened her following to more than school friends and friends of her mom.

“One of the things about cake decorating that I love is how I can get better every time,” Woolenberg explained. “It’s almost this process that so much goes into it, I feel it’s something that you can be really proud of. Every time I do it, I get better and better, which can build confidence in it, and I think about it and I will look back at pictures of when I was started and now and it’s really cool to see my progress.”

Each cake is crafted over the course of a few days. The first day, Woolenberg preps the cake layers, which she said takes about two hours to do. The next day, she decorates, including making the butter cream.

“Decorating in general can range from anywhere from two to four hours, it really depends on the style of cake that I’m doing,” she explained.

Her favorite creations are piped cakes, which include different designs throughout the whole cake. Woolenberg also adds sprinkles and white chocolates that she makes.

While Woolenberg was searching for a project to do for her upcoming bat mitzvah, she attended a school community service fair where she discovered For Goodness Cakes, a Santa Monica-based nonprofit. It was a perfect match.

“It’s an organization where you bake cakes for foster kids on their birthdays,” she explained, “and you deliver them right to the organization … it’s just a really unique and heart-warming experience.”

Woolenberg explained that there’s simple things, like celebrating your birthday, that she feels really thankful to get the privilege of doing, that not everyone gets to. For Goodness Cakes matches volunteers to make and hand-deliver the birthday cakes to foster children and at-risk youth.

“I felt like if I can do something to help foster kids just have a really special day, that sounded perfect to me,” she shared.

Woolenberg, who has made half a dozen cakes for the organization so far, has enjoyed the experience so much and connected so strongly with the message that she plans on continuing to work with them after her bat mitzvah project is over.

Her bat mitzvah will take place early next year, and then Woolenberg will take a look at what’s next, sharing that she is open to “any way that life leads” her, but that she is “definitely interested in [baking] professionally.”

To see more of Woolenberg’s work, visit her Instagram page @bakedwithlovebyivy.

Neighborhood News

PCH Rollover | Castellammare

Two people were critically injured in a vehicle rollover on Pacific Coast Highway in Pacific Palisades on Saturday, December 7.

Nicholas Prange, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Fire Department, said the collision was reported at 6:32 p.m. in the 17300 block of West Pacific Coast Highway near Sunset Boulevard.

The victims were taken to a trauma center for treatment, Prange said.          

—LILY TINOCO


Palisades Optimist Club Accepting Donations | Pacific Palisades

The Optimist Youth Homes & Family Services, a nonprofit organization that aims to provide a safe environment to children who have experienced abuse, neglect or are at risk, is currently accepting donations from those who wish to sponsor its wish list.

Donors have the opportunity to sponsor different gifts ranging from books, gift cards, extracurricular activity opportunities and tons more. Each sponsored item is also being matched dollar-for-dollar by Palisades Optimist Club member Stu Kaiser.

Checks, made out to Optimist Youth Home & Family Services, can be delivered at the club’s Tuesday meetings or mailed to: Palisades Optimist Club, P.O. Box 211, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272.

—LILY TINOCO


Comedy Night | Palisades Village

Double Diamond Productions will present a comedy night, featuring actor/comedian Matt Knudsen, at Hank’s on Thursday, December 12, at 9 p.m. The show will also include comics seen on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “Conan,” “The Late Show” and more.

Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door. For more information, visit palisadesvillageca.com/events/comedy-night-at-hanks.

—SARAH SHMERLING

Photo courtesy of Palisades Village

Gelson’s Hosts Annual Toy Drive | Via Mesa

Gelson’s customers are encouraged to participate in an annual tradition by donating a toy through December 13. The Gelson’s holiday toy drive partners with the Barbara Sinatra Center for Abused Children, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Toys for Tots and more to collect items for disadvantaged children.

In the Pacific Palisades store, there will be open, gift-wrapped boxes with lists of suggested toys, which will be personally delivered by Gelson’s employees.

“We are grateful for the generosity of our customers—to help make the holiday season brighter for families across Southern California,” Gelson’s President and CEO Rob McDougall said in a statement.            

—LILY TINOCO

TCA Annual Meeting Assesses Woolsey Fire One Year Later

Melanie Beck
Photo courtesy of TCA

By JENNIKA INGRAM | Reporter

Temescal Canyon Association gathered for its annual meeting in the historic dining room at Temescal Gateway Park on Tuesday, December 3.

Two guest speakers were featured during the meeting: Melanie Beck, outdoor recreation planner for the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, who spoke about recovery after the Woolsey fire, and Suzanne Goode, natural resources program manager, who shared experiences with the Santa Monica Mountains during her long career.

“I see heroes of mine in the audience, who I know have made such a huge difference for what we have today,” Beck said, referring to the many people who contribute to this unit of the national park system.

As the title indicated—From Devastation to Restoration—Beck shared slides to show examples of what different buildings, land areas, plants and animal populations looked before the fire, the impact and the steps to recovery.

“The good thing about this fire is that it rained after, so that allowed for amazing spring bloom,” Beck said in a moment of optimism after showing some devastating pictures of the destruction.

The Woolsey fire started on November 8, 2018, burning 75% of the fire within the first 24 hours. It was finally contained nearly two weeks later, with almost 100,000 acres burned.

One of the structures lost in the fire was the historic Paramount Ranch, located near Malibu Creek State Park.

“The interesting thing about that site is that it was actually eligible for the national register of historic places,” Beck said, but not for the famed Western town, which was featured in many films and TV shows.

Beck asked what aspect made it eligible, and members of the audience took stabs at guessing: The racetrack? The church?

It was the pavilion that marked it as a period of cultural significance, the warehouse building where picnics and events were held during the movie ranch era, Beck explained.

Beck’s presentation was followed by Goode, who shared that she was three days into her retirement after a 30-year state parks career in the CA Department of Parks and Recreation Los Angeles District.

Goode shared her passion for her profession and how she was willing to take a pay cut to participate in it. She started in 1989, with a master’s degree and 10 years of experience.

Goode also talked about the impact of the fires and what was affected. Goode shared how the destruction of the Sepulveda Adobe was “heartbreaking” after $10 million dollars had been recently spent to restore it.

The TCA meeting ended shy of its scheduled finish due to an unwell participant who is reported to be in better health now.

“We were just going to end with presenting Suzanne Goode with an honorary TCA sweatshirt to thank her for her years of service and dedication,” said TCA Secretary Susan Orenstein in an email to the Post, which they gave to her privately after the event.

“TCA was founded in 1972, in an effort to save Los Leones Park from developers,” Orenstein shared. “We have been active
ever since, protecting parkland and open spaces, in addition to providing assistance to our local Parks: Los Leones, Temescal Gateway Park, Will Rogers State Historic Park.”

Holiday Pet Photos

Hello Palisades! My name is Vanessa Masterson, better known as Vany, and I’m doing a competition with the Pali-Post! You guessed it, I’m bringing back the animal costume contest, but this time, with holiday outfits.

Vany and her costumed pet
Photos courtesy of Jessica Masterson

We want YOU to dress up your pets in outfits from a character in your favorite holiday movie, something that represents your holiday tradition (dreidel, elf), or as anything winter related. Send a picture of your dressed-up dog, cat, bird, gorilla, etc. to mypost@palipost.com by December 27 and you will be entered.

The winners will receive a feature in the paper, as well as a gift card to a local restaurant.

We hope to see all of your pets shine in some holiday costumes!

CRIME REPORT

Robbery

15200 La Cruz, December 6 at 4:30 p.m. The suspect (male white, red hair blue eyes, 5’2” 90 lb, 12/13 years, freckles) approached victim and attempted to unzip victim’s backpack. When the victim pulled away, the suspect threatened to hurt victim if he didn’t give him money. The victim fled without giving the suspect money.


Stolen Vehicle

Pacific Coast Hwy/Sunset, December 8 between 10:30 and 11:15 a.m. The suspect took victim’s vehicle from a parking lot.


Burglary

16500 Via Floresta, December 3 between 4:05 and 8:40 p.m. The suspect smashed a glass door to enter victim’s home and took jewelry.

300 Entrada, between November 29 at 12 p.m. and December 5 at 12 p.m. The suspect smashed a window to enter victim’s property. It was unknown if any property was stolen.

16600 Marquez, December 7 at 1:35 a.m. The suspect (male, 5’10” thin) smashed a window on victim’s business but was unable to get past the security gate.

600 Radcliffe, December 5 between 6:30 and 7:05 p.m. The suspect climbed onto victim’s balcony, smashed a window and fled when victim yelled.

1400 Via Cresta, between December 2 at 2 p.m. and December 5 at 8:20 a.m. The suspect smashed a glass door to enter victim’s home and attempted to remove a safe. The suspect was unable to remove the safe and fled the location.

15500 Sunset, December 5 between 9 and 11:30 a.m. The suspect entered victim’s apartment and took jewelry.


Burglary/Theft from Vehicle

700 Toyopa, between December 1 between 10 p.m. and December 2 at 9 a.m. The suspect entered victim’s vehicle and took a wallet and money.


Theft

3000 Rustic Canyon Rd, December 8 at 6 p.m. The suspect (male, 5’8” 165 lb, 30 years) took victim’s backpack and fled the area.

500 Salerno Dr, between November 26 at 9 p.m. and November 30 at 9 a.m. The suspect (possibly caregivers) took gift cards from victim’s desk.

15700 Bowdoin, between November 23 at 6 p.m. and December 2 at 1 p.m. The suspect took baseball equipment from a baseball dugout.

17300 Sunset, December 7 at 12:30 p.m. The suspect (male Hispanic, black hair, 5’7” 190 lb, 25 years) took property from victim’s business and fled without paying.

16100 Sunset, between November 21 at 8:30 p.m. and November 22 at 7 p.m. The suspect took victim’s bicycle from apartment garage.

A Literary Legacy

Theresa Capitti, Ken Kallmeyer and Principal Joan Ingle
Photo by Lily Tinoco

Late Palisadian Book Series Dedicated to Pali Elementary

By LILY TINOCO | Reporter

Claudia Harrington Kallmeyer was a mother of three, wife and actress-turned-writer (among more) before passing away in 2018 after a long, hard battle with cancer.

Claudia wrote throughout her life, penning educational picture books. In 2015, she launched a series of picture books that celebrated family diversity with Magic Wagon, a division of Abdo Publishing, an educational publisher for schools and public libraries.

After writing the “My Family” series, Claudia proposed a new idea to her publisher: the now-beloved “Hank the Pet Sitter” series.

But within the same month of proposing her new idea, Claudia was diagnosed with a brain tumor and meeting with the nearest surgeons. Ken Kallmeyer, Claudia’s husband, shared that never stopped her.

“The first words out of her mouth were, ‘I just signed a contract for four books, am I going to be able to write these?’ And they said you have no reason why not, so she cranked four of them out in the midst of chemo and radiation and surgery,” Ken said to the Palisadian-Post.

The first set sold well, and after two surgeries, Claudia was on her way to write four more to add to the series. Unfortunately, her tumor came back within two years and made this round of writing extremely difficult. She struggled, but made it through with the help of a friend who would type the stories out for her while she dictated.

Together they got the next four books to her publisher by the deadline, but Claudia passed away in January 2018 before having the chance to see them.

“She was very proud of her books, she worked very hard on them,” Ken said. “She was adamant that this was not going to stop her, and her 20 books are her legacy.”

As an effort to keep Claudia’s memory alive, Theresa Capitti and Ken reached out to Palisades Charter Elementary School and dedicated the “Hank the Pet Series” to the school in her honor on Thursday, December 5. Capitti was Harrington’s neighbor and close friend.

Capitti and Kallmeyer visited, donated a set of the series to the school and stuck around to hear laughs fill the room as the librarian read “Otis the Very Large Dog” to a group of students.

Capitti shared that Claudia was a Pali Elementary mother and would spend a lot of her time there—it would be not only appropriate to donate a set of her work, but a great way to celebrate and remember her and what she loved to do.

“I give it to her, she really fought til the absolute end,” Capitti said to the Post. “My hope is that [this] will keep Claudia in our fellow Palisadian hearts, I don’t want anyone to forget her.”

All of Claudia’s books can be found on amazon.com.

Community Invited to 31st Palisades Unity Menorah Lighting

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

Chabad of Pacific Palisades is teaming up with Caruso to present the 31st annual Palisades Unity Menorah Lighting—taking place for the second year in a row at Palisades Village.

Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

The ceremony will begin at 6 p.m. on Sunday, December 22, which is the first night of Hanukkah this year.

In addition to lighting the menorah, starting at 4 p.m., attendees will have a chance to get their faces painted, complete Hanukkah-themed crafts and snack on Kosher food. There will also be performances by local talent, including the Westside Waldorf School and Paul Revere Charter Middle School.

“This year, in highlighting the themes of gratitude, unity and education, Chabad and Caruso are showing recognition to the local public and private schools of the Palisades,” Program Coordinator Nechama Diskin shared in a statement ahead of the event. “Each school has been invited to send a member of faculty or a school family to represent their community. Public and private schools alike will join together in the celebration, reemphasizing that education and a commitment to the values of goodness and kindness is truly the best way to spread the light of this season.”

The ceremony will include remarks by community leaders, including Rabbi Zushe Cunin and Co-Honorary Mayors Janice and Billy Crystal.

Festivities will take place outside of the Bay Theatre by Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas and are free to attend. For more information, visit chabadpalisdes.com/chanukah.