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Annual Palisades-Malibu YMCA Pumpkin Patch Set to Open

Photo courtesy of Van Groningen & Sons, Inc.

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

There are a few things that mean it’s fall in Pacific Palisades: cooler weather, festive events—and the arrival of two truckloads of pumpkins to be sold at the annual Palisades-Malibu YMCA Pumpkin Patch at Simon Meadow.

This year’s patch will feature “very cool new things,” Palisades-Malibu YMCA Executive Director Jim Kirtley explained to the Palisadian-Post. The delivery will include pumpkins, corn and more, equating to 275 pallets.

Part of the assortment will be knucklehead pumpkins, warty minion pumpkins, “show stopper” Big Mac pumpkins, and, for the first time, white pie pumpkins. There will be corn stalks, along with ornamental corn.

The patch will officially open with a pumpkin carving ceremony on Sunday, October 1, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., with a special guest on hand to help kick off festivities. Resilient Palisades will be there with composting stations and activities for kids, Kirtley said. In 2022, the event was attended by Senator Ben Allen, who helped with the first carving.

The lot will once again be supplied with its fall selection by Van Groningen & Sons, Inc., which, according to its website, is a farming business, based in California, with roots dating back to 1922 that has been passed down through generations of the Von Groningen family.

“For the past 99 years, we have worked to maintain our reputation for producing high-quality produce while operating with integrity, honesty and responsibility,” the website continued.

A select number of pumpkins will be sold that were grown at Simon Meadow: Some of the pumpkins that had rotted last year melted into the ground, Kirtley explained, and because of the rains, the seeds started to grow.

“Summer day campers made it a project where they would water them as part of the camp,” Kirtley continued.

The patch serves as one of YMCA’s biggest annual fundraisers, alongside the tree lot, which will return this year as well. In part, the fundraisers support the day camp.

“This goes to help all kinds of programs,” Kirtley said of the fundraising efforts. “It helps provide financial assistance for [Youth & Government], it goes to senior memberships … everybody and anybody who is in need.”

Funds also help YMCA host events at Simon Meadow for other area organizations throughout the year, like Pacific Palisades Community Council, which will host a Jubilee & Community Celebration on Saturday, September 30, and Council District 11, which previously hosted a safety fair. Malibu-Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce also hosted a Health & Wellness Day at Simon Meadow in August.

There will also be an annual glass sale, with Santa Monica College, which will take place on October 8 between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. and a forthcoming display at Winding Way, which is designed each year by Cindy Simon and Tracey Price.

Before the kick-off event on October 1, the patch will be open on Friday, September 29, from 3 to 6 p.m. For the rest of the season, the patch will be open from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, until the pumpkins are sold out.

“[The patch] allows us to be able to do the impactful programming we have,” Kirtley concluded.

PPCC to Host 50th Anniversary Jubilee & Community Celebration

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

Pacific Palisades Community Council will commemorate its 50th anniversary alongside dozens of area officials and organizations during a Jubilee & Community Celebration on Saturday, September 30, from 12 to 4 p.m. at Simon Meadow.

“Public officials and elected representatives and Palisades community leaders from almost every local organizations will be present for a wonderful day of community and a celebration of the volunteer spirit that helps make the Palisades wonderful,” read an email from PPCC.

Festivities will include music, food, specialty coffees and desserts, which have been underwritten by members of the community and local organizations. The day will be emceed by Sam Laganà, a longtime Palisadian and stadium voice of the LA Rams.

PPCC will share its anniversary with other community entities, including Palisades Village Green (50 years), Pacific Palisades Historical Society (50 years), Theatre Palisades (60 years), Palisades Fourth of July Parade (75 years) and more.

“It is impressive to see how many organizations are active in this town,” PPCC Chair Maryam Zar said to the Palisadian-Post, “and how together, we make up the tapestry of this wonderful community.”

In addition to entities celebrating anniversaries, dozens of other area organizations will also be participating in the event, including Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness, Palisades Gift Shop, Malibu-Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce, Pacific Palisades Baseball Association and more.

“It is exciting and infinitely gratifying that what began as plans for a 50th anniversary celebration for PPCC has grown to a Community Jubilee that is truly all encompassing,” Zar said. “As of right now, we have 30 community organizations joining the celebration with booths, and a dozen that will give volunteer awards on this spectacular day of celebrating community.”

The program will begin with a presentation from PPCC, remarks from elected and other area officials, a brief history of the Palisades, and recap of the community council from long-standing members and founders, according to the PPCC website. There will also be a “procession of awards” given out by participating organizations to local volunteers.

Local elected officials who are expected to attend and participate include Councilmember Traci Park, Senator Ben Allen and Congressmember Brad Sherman. Los Angeles Fire and Police department officials also have plans to be at the event.

There will be a display of poems, art, photographs and other writings from students who live or go to school in the Palisades, organized by Palisades Charter High School and Pacific Palisades Library Association, with prizes to be awarded in various categories.

Founded in 1973, PPCC operates with a mission of protecting and improving the quality of life in Pacific Palisades.

“The PPCC is a forum for the consideration of community issues,” according to its mission statement. “[It] is an advocate for Pacific Palisades to government and private agencies upon issues where there is broad community agreement as reflected by two-thirds of the board members voting on any one of those issues at a PPCC meeting, and assists other organizations in Pacific Palisades which want help in accomplishing their objectives or projects, which the PPCC determines to support.”

For more information, or to donate to support PPCC’s efforts, visit pacpalicc.org.

‘Resort-Style Retirement Community’ to Open in the Highlands

Photo courtesy of Ciela

By LILY TINOCO | Assistant Editor

Several years in the making, Ciela—located at 17310 West Vereda De La Montura in the Highlands—will soon welcome residents to begin moving into its “modern resort-style retirement community” starting October 23.

“We believe in providing seniors with an environment that fosters joy and rejuvenation as they age,” Ciela Founder and President Rony Shram said in a statement. “Our location overlooks the beautiful Santa Monica Mountains from every corner of the property, providing a connection to nature that’s vital for residents’ well-being.”

When open, Ciela will offer independent living, assisted living, memory care and short-term stays. Individuals can choose from a studio, or one- or two-bedroom apartment.

Included in the monthly rent will be a variety of services, including all food and beverage, housekeeping and laundry, transportation and more. Ciela will also be a pet-friendly community, with residents able to bring their dogs, cats, birds and fish.

Ciela will offer a number of living amenities and programming, according to its website. Residents can expect guest speakers and educators, a calendar of cultural programming, local excursions, arts, and entertainment.

There will also be a spa and Vitality Center, full-service nail and hair salon, physical therapy, fitness classes, and personal training. There will be a rooftop terrace, dedicated walking paths and gardens.

“Our approach to wellness is data-driven and integrative … ” Shram’s statement continued. “We want our residents to enjoy life to the fullest.”

The history of the project includes a legal battle with Pacific Palisades Residents Association, which dates back to 2018. The association fought aspects of the development, trying to appeal exemptions and approvals by the city and California Coastal Commission.

Most recently, on March 8, the Second District Court of Appeal rejected its appeal, with the court affirming its previous decision that the project was consistent with the Los Angeles Zoning Code, CCC and others.

The Malibu-Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce will celebrate the project’s completion with a Sunset Mixer and Ribbon Cutting ceremony on Tuesday, October 3, from 5 to 7 p.m.

“Ciela, a pioneering community dedicated to holistic well-being and luxury, is thrilled to announce the upcoming grand opening of its first location in Pacific Palisades,” according to the event flyer. “Founded by President Rony Shram, Ciela represents a seven-year labor of love, aimed at revolutionizing the way seniors experience their golden years.”

The chamber event will include “sips and bites,” and is free to attend. The Chamber requested attendees RSVP, so the “chef knows how much to prepare.”

“This eagerly awaited event marks a significant milestone in redefining aging and creating an extraordinary lifestyle for seniors,” the flyer concluded

Ciela will also host a “Wellness Journey” event on October 21 at 2 p.m. Those who wish to attend are asked to RSVP, as limited spots are available.

To RSVP to the Chamber event, visit palibu.org. For more information on Ciela, visit liveciela.com or call 310-310-8218.

Collections Antiques and Books to Close on Antioch Street

The store on Monday, September 25
Photo by Steve Galluzzo

By LILY TINOCO | Assistant Editor

Collections Antiques and Books, located at 15326 Antioch Street, is closing at the end of September, according to signs placed on the storefront.

The original Collections Antiques & Accessories store reopened as Collections Antiques and Books under a new owner.

Originally owned by Martha Strang since 1991, her longtime associate Jeff Ridgway took over the space on December 1, 2021, and introduced a collection of books to the antique shop.

“I met Martha when I would visit her in the store to sell advertising for the local papers,” Ridgway previously told the Palisadian-Post. “A few years ago … she told me she was looking for someone to work part-time, and I promised to find her someone. When I failed to do so, I thought maybe I should just jump in and help out.”

Ridgway said he very quickly realized that an antique store was the perfect venue for also selling books.

“There is a nice harmony between the amazing hand-crafted pieces of all sorts and books in general,” he said, “but especially the classics, which I love.”

From artwork and clocks, to furniture and unique gifts, Ridgway’s store offered an assortment of books, giving the Palisades a new place to purchase classic and contemporary works.

A longtime Palisadian, Ridgway has worked at multiple stores that furthered his knowledge, and love, of vintage items and books. Prior to taking over Collections Antiques, he worked at Crown Books on Sunset Boulevard and acted as manager shortly after. He also helped Katie O’Laughlin open Village Books.

With his own shop, he set out to sell the “best-of-the-best” books from his personal collection over the past 40 years.

“Certainly the book world has changed, and absolutely the retail experience has changed,” Ridgway said. “But there is a unique and enduring value to holding a physical volume and reading and re-reading as a personal act rather than on an impersonal screen showing computer-generated text.

“A bookstore allows someone to actually see the titles of what is available. To touch and browse and explore, and to see the connections, which are all important.”

Signs now placed across the storefront read, “Sadly we are closing this month.” The shop has announced a 50% discount on all books through the month of September.

“Dear friends … I thank you for your wonderful support [these] past two years,” a note signed by Ridgway read. “I will miss you.”

The closure comes about a year and a half after Amazon Books closed at Palisades Village in March 2022. Saint Laurent is anticipated to open soon in the space, which is at Swarthmore Avenue and Sunset Boulevard.

Magnolia Lafleur contributed to this report.

Paul Revere Welcomes Dr. Shuntell Anthony as Principal

Photo by Rich Schmitt

By LILY TINOCO | Assistant Editor

Paul Revere Charter Middle School started the 2023-24 academic year with a new principal: Dr. Shuntell Anthony.

A familiar face, Anthony previously acted as the school’s assistant principal for six years before stepping into the new role. She succeeded Thomas Iannucci, who served as principal since 2015.

“It is with great pleasure and enthusiasm that I introduce myself as the new principal of Paul Revere Charter Middle School and Magnet Center,” Anthony wrote to students, families, teachers and staff in a letter dated August 9. “I bring with me a deep passion for education, a steadfast commitment to student achievement and a collaborative approach to leadership … I am honored and thrilled to join this extraordinary community and embark on a journey of growth, learning and success alongside each and every one of you.”

Anthony told the Palisadian-Post she grew up in South Los Angeles, attending Los Angeles Unified School District schools, including 52nd Street Elementary School, Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies and Westchester Enriched Sciences Magnets.

She started her career in education as a high school teacher of special education and taught biology for nearly 16 years. She also worked for the special education charter office as a least restrictive environment—or LRE—specialist.

When asked what drew her to Revere, Anthony said her eldest child graduated from the school and her younger children attend school in the neighboring areas, so she was familiar with the community.

“From the moment I stepped foot on campus, I was captivated by the warm and welcoming atmosphere that permeates every corner of our school,” Anthony wrote in the letter. “The dedication of our exceptional teachers, the boundless potential of our talented students, and the unwavering support from our engaged parents and community are the foundation upon which we will build our collective success.”

So far, Anthony told the Post she has enjoyed working with her parent group and learning about the support provided to the school, as well as talking to students and building a positive rapport.

“Additionally, I enjoy having a collaborative and cohesive team,” Anthony said. “Paul Revere Charter Middle School and Magnet Center’s wonderful staff—administrators, teachers, clerical, campus aids, cafeteria and custodial—are dedicated to providing a positive educational experience for our students and families. I look forward to working with my staff to improve academic outcomes for our students and providing students with enriching experiences that extend outside of the classroom.”

Community Matters

Photo courtesy of Resilient Palisades
The Palisadian-Post has partnered with locally founded environmental organization Resilient Palisades to deliver a “green tip” to our readers in each newspaper. This edition’s tip was written Lisa Kaas Boyle, an environmental attorney and member of the Zero Waste Team.

Feeling overwhelmed by the bad news about the state of our environment and climate? Welcome to the club. I mean it, please join our club!

Resilient Palisades is a neighbor-led community group working to respond to the climate and ecological crisis of our time. We believe that local action is key to a better future for life on our planet.

What makes Resilient Palisades special is that we put an equal emphasis on the social aspect of our environmental mission. Our community building is equal parts activism and friendship.

In isolation, we may feel that the ecological problems are so vast that we surrender to inaction and sorrow. But the solution is as simple as joining hands with other caring folks of good will for good times as we make measurable progress toward environmental goals.

As an environmental attorney, I know the formidable challenges we face as the dominant species on a planet that we have altered to the point of system breakdown. My work can be very depressing, as there can be so much resistance to the smallest change.

Resilient Palisades is a strong support group for people who want to both protect our endangered resources for the next generations and to enjoy our time together in this beautiful community between the mountains and the ocean.

Raising a glass of organic wine together can be fuel for the next educational project we tackle. A walking meeting through Potrero Canyon can help us get in our steps as we plan a meeting with our representatives on environmental legislation.

Having lived in the Palisades since I graduated from law school in 1990, I can truly say that the relationships I have forged through Resilient Palisades have been some of the most rewarding.

Resilient Palisades is made up of teams working on specific campaigns, and there is bound to be a group that speaks your interests. From the Clean Energy Team, who is leading the charge for a solar energy microgrid in our town, to the Gas Free Gardens Team helping switch our landscaping to quiet and emission-free methods to the Composting Team, Zero Waste, Green Banking, Clean Water Team and Plant Based Solutions, there are just so many ways to get involved with neighbors who will become friends.

Visit resilientpalisades.org and click on “Join Us” to receive our monthly e-newsletter and occasional updates about upcoming events and activities. Then come out and meet with us. It’s free to join, and the friendships are priceless.

‘Jimmy Dunne Says’

Bill McGregor
Photo by Jimmy Dunne

Dreams Coming True at Dolphin Fountain

The Palisadian-Post presents an homage to Will Rogers’ column, “Will Rogers Says,” with a column by Palisadian Jimmy Dunne—on life in the “greatest town in America.”

I’ve bumped into so many fabulous Palisadians sharing amazing stories after publishing the “Legend of Annabella & the Dolphins” in the September 14 edition of the Post. Palisadians of all ages told me about when they walked on the bricks of the Dolphin Fountain at Palisades Village Green over the years‚ bringing them astoundingly good luck in the next seven days.

If you’ve got kids, you may want to have them walk the bricks on the Dolphin Fountain. Here are a few of these stories I’ve heard …

Bill McGregor

I remember it like it was yesterday.

My wife, Tanis, and I had always wanted to live in Pacific Palisades because it had become our community over the 20 years we had raised our family. We didn’t live here—but it was the home of our school, our church and all of our friends.

The Village Green, where the Dolphin Fountain is, it’s been known that you could make a wish there and your dream could come true.

I went there to make my wish—a wish for me and my family.

I walked around the bricks. To the left, to the right and then to the left. I whispered the last two lines of the “Palisades Song” three times in a row—“I live in the greatest town, Pacific Palisades.”

And as I stood there on those bricks—sure enough, I heard the faint, sweet sound of those two dolphins.

The very next day, my wife and I were hiking up the trail at the end of Casale Road, and at the end of the last house, there was a “for sale” sign. My wife said she would give anything if we could ever live there. We always thought it was the beginning of the public land, that someone must have put the sign up there as a joke.

I called the Realtor. It wasn’t a joke. We made an offer and, after years and years, that was the beginning of Pacific Palisades becoming our home.

Dreams can come true.

Julie Seltzer

I was a senior at Pali High. I walked on the bricks to the left, to the right, to the left. I whispered the last two lines of our town song. And, no doubt about it, I heard those happy dolphins.

Four days later, I got the lead role in the Pali High school play, “Guys and Dolls!”

On top of that, I had the biggest crush on Paul, the first violinist in our orchestra pit. And when I sang, “If I Were a Bell,” let’s just say he went “ding, dong, ding!”

Julie Seltzer
Photo courtesy of Julie Seltzer

Brent Wood

Brent lives in the next town over, married to Bella Aire. They have two delightful kids, Holly and Wood.

Whatever you do, don’t walk to the right, to the left and then to the right. I made the horrible mistake and walked the wrong way. I heard thunder. Five days later, I got dolphin morbillivirus—a rare disease only dolphins get.

You do not want to get morbillivirus. Trust me.

You may find Brent walking around town. He’s always scratching himself.

Palisadian families, please send me your stories of how your dreams came true after walking on the bricks of the Dolphin Fountain. You can check out the “Legend of Annabella & the Dolphins” at palipost.com.

Jimmy Dunne is a modern-day Renaissance Man; a hit songwriter (28 million hit records), screenwriter/producer of hit television series, award-winning author, an entrepreneur—and a Palisadian “Citizen of the Year.” You can reach him at j@jimmydunne.com or jimmydunne.substack.com.

Your Two Cents’ Worth

Naturella Beauty

Since the closing of Pharmaca and Denise Carolyn I’ve been wondering where to find nice gifts for birthdays, etc. The answer is Naturella Beauty on Sunset. It is a wonderful beauty supply store but also has jewelry, purses, hats, fragrance and many other reasonably priced goodies for men and women, even kids—and they do gift wrap. Check them out—it’s a treat just browsing but you will find many gift options.


As I was waiting in a long line to fill my prescription at CVS, I thought it lovely that Saint Laurent is opening in the Palisades, but I would rather have Pharmaca back.

ROCA Pizza

The Palisadian-Post asked community members, “What do you want to see take the place of ROCA Pizza at Palisades Village?” Here are some of the responses: “Sweetgreen or another salad and sandwich cafe,” “Barry’s Bootcamp,” “Bay Cities Deli,” “a cheap smoothie place,” and “Ramen.”

Quiet and Quaint

YSL and other expensive shops bring armed guards to the Village. I miss our quiet, quaint Pali.


We are so excited to see the Marquez Halloween Festival is back! Looking forward to it!


It was so cool to read about the success of the Pacific Palisades Woman’s Club’s recent fundraising art show/auction night. Thousands of dollars were raised, which will go right back into the community via grants. That is awesome to see!


Reading through the calendar, one thing that stands out to me is that 2023/2024 is shaping up to be a time when all of the events that were canceled/put on hiatus are really back. It’s so nice to see things return that our community was missing for a few years.

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.


Traffic Blockage

I completely agree with the Letter to the Editor by Peter Friedman in the September 14 print edition about the unprecedented traffic blockage on Tuesday, August 29.

Pacific Coast Highway southbound was completely closed at the Chautauqua, Entrada exits, causing all traffic to be rerouted onto Sunset Boulevard, where it hardly moved. After three hours of trying to commute for an important medical procedure, I had to give up and reschedule it. Fortunately, it was not for an urgent or an emergent condition. But, what if it had been an emergency, or what if the problem was a wind-whipped wildfire advancing on our neighborhoods?

As Peter recommended, our political leaders should establish a traffic control system and evacuation signage capacity for traffic problems and disasters. In addition, there should be some way to alert the Palisades area residents of serious traffic problems, and the best plans for commuting or for evacuation.

The Palisadian-Post accepts letters to the editor via email at mypost@palipost.com or mail/hand- delivered at 881 Alma Real Drive, Suite 213, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272. To be considered for publication, letters must be signed, and are subject to editing for length and clarity. Opinions expressed in letters do not necessarily reflect the views of opinions of the Palisadian-Post.

Palisades Neighborhood News

‘Support the Sibs’ Fundraiser | Palisades Recreation Center

Support the Sibs and Reachability Foundation are partnering to host an event at Palisades Recreation Center to raise funds on Saturday, September 30, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“Visit our fundraiser in-person or online,” read a flyer. “One-hundred percent of the proceeds will go toward curating gift baskets for the siblings of kids with special needs.”

The baskets will be gifted on National Siblings Day, which is April 10, 2024.

Support the Sibs is a project created by Avery Zemlak, a Palisades Charter High School student whose brother was diagnosed with Smith-Magenis syndrome 11 years ago.

“Since I was little I have wanted something to connect with other siblings in my position and have wanted a support system for all of us,” Zemlak wrote on Instagram. “I have looked and looked but I haven’t found the support system that I have hoped to find, so I decided to create something to fulfill that need for me and so many other kids and teens out there like me.”


Corpus Christi Open House | The Village

Corpus Christi School will host its annual Open House for prospective families on October 10 from 8:30 to 10 a.m.

“Our academic approach develops engaged minds, cultivates work ethic and fosters a lifelong love of learning,” according to the school—which is a co-ed Catholic school offering kindergarten through eighth grade. “We encourage curiosity, critical thinking and rigorous analysis. Not only do our students master subject matter but they graduate possessing the skills to succeed in high school and beyond.”

The school is located at 890 Toyopa Drive. For more information, call 310-454-9411.


Oktoberfest 5K Charity Run & Walk | Pacific Palisades

Palisades Lutheran Church will host its third annual Oktoberfest 5K Charity Run & Walk on Saturday, October 14, and race registration is now open.

PLC is raising funds for an AV sound system and community charities. Those who would like to donate can include an amount and the charity of their choice with their registration fee.

The three charities with the highest number of runners/walkers listing it as their “charity of choice” will receive a share of the 5K Oktoberfest proceeds: first place will get 20% of proceeds, 15% to second place and 10% to third place.

In addition, there will be a Random Drawing Award. All runners/walkers listing a “charity of choice” recipient on their registration form will participate in a drawing. If selected, their charity will receive 5% of the proceeds.

Check-in on race day will begin at 8 a.m. and the run/walk starts at 9 a.m. Register online at plc.cc or call 310-459-2358.


Havana Nights | Rustic Canyon

Rustic Canyon Recreation Center will host Rustic Nights Havana Nights on September 30 from 6 to 10 p.m., which raises funds for the park.

“Join us for a night of food, drinks, music, dancing and community,” according to a post about the event. A space in a new time capsule that will be placed next year is also being auctioned off.

The event is for attendees 21 years and older, with pastel cocktail attire encouraged. Tickets start at $200 per person, $350 for a couple and $1,750 for a table.

Tickets are available at laparksfoundation.org. For more information, email rusticcanyon.rc@lacity.org.


Blood Drive | The Village

Corpus Christi Parish will host the second annual Dr. Martini Blood Drive for American Red Cross on Sunday, October 1, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Parish Hall, located at 880 Toyopa Drive.

“Roll up your sleeves and think of our beloved Dr. [Mike] Martini,” read an email about the drive. “Please consider giving blood this week to assist those in need.”

Every donor will receive a $15 Amazon gift card via email for donating. To make an appointment, visit redcrossblood.org and enter sponsor code CorpusChristi, or call 818-200-3445.