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Earth Day-Themed Events to Take Place at Will Rogers State Beach, Pali High

Photo by Alix Levy

By LILY TINOCO | Assistant Editor

For those looking to celebrate Earth Day—which is Monday, April 22—Palisadians have several local options this weekend, including beach cleanups and a soirée.

The office of Councilmember Traci Park will host an Earth Day Clean Up at Will Rogers State Beach on Saturday, April 20, from 9 to 11 a.m.

“In honor of Earth Day, volunteers will help remove trash and debris from our shoreline to help mitigate the harmful impact of pollution on marine life and to protect coastal habitats,” according to a description of the event.

This cleanup is in partnership with Pacific Palisades Community Council and the office of Supervisor Lindsey Horvath.

Participants are asked to wear active and comfortable attire, and to bring their own reusable water bottle. The group is set to meet at Lifeguard Tower 15 (17000 Pacific Coast Highway).

For additional information, contact Field Deputy Michael Amster or 310-568-8772.

The next day—Sunday, April 21—Rif Care will present an Earth Day Soirée from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m., free and open to all ages.

Founded by Palisades Charter High School alumni Valerie Emanuel, Rif Care is a “wellness company,” which makes “period care out of hemp fiber,” according to its website.

The day will begin at the Pali High campus, with a 1 p.m. dance class led by celebrity trainer Jason Wimberly.

The class was described as a “new adult jazz dance class” meant to make participants “sweat, stretch and dance [their] heart out.”

“Designed to be accessible for both dancers and non-dancers alike, this is a real dance class that will go through a rigorous warm-up before practicing skills like turns, across the floor and choreography,” according to an event announcement.

Attendees will then walk down to the beach at 2 p.m. and enjoy snacks by Sambazon Acai, before embarking on a beach cleanup from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. with Rif Care and Compostic. Drinks will also be supplied by Bear’s Fruit.

For more information, RSVP at partiful.com/e/3xLifXtSbdNabvJSkcTX.

Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation Seeks ‘Howling Heroes’ Contest Entries

Photo courtesy of LAFD Foundation

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

Entries are now open for Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation’s fourth annual Howling Heroes contest—a call to find the next official LAFD mascot while raising funds for the department’s canine program and beyond.

Funds raised through the contest support LAFD Foundation, which is the nonprofit arm of LA City Fire Department, established in 2010 to “bridge critical funding gaps for essential tools, equipment and programs.”

“Approximately 97% of the city’s fire budget is allocated toward personnel costs,” according to the LAFD Foundation website, “leaving just 3% to cover all other life-safety costs.”

Entries for the contest—which is “easy and free”—will be accepted through Wednesday, April 24, at 8 p.m. Those who want to enter can visit supportlafd.org to upload a photo of the dog with a brief description of what makes them a hero.

“Friends, family and members of the community can vote an unlimited number of times for their favorite pets,” read a story published by LAFD Foundation. Votes are $1.

A panel of judges, including LAFD Fire Chief Kristin Crowley, Lori Greiner of “Shark Tank” and more, will evaluate the top 10 contestants and select the winning dog on Friday, April 26.

“Dogs have several important roles across the department, from the Canine Therapy Program to the Arson Counter-Terrorism Section and Urban Search and Rescue teams,” the story read. “All proceeds from Howling Heroes will benefit these canine programs and others that help our firefighters create more resilient communities.”

This year’s Howling Hero will take over for Sampson El Calafate, the 2023 winner—a therapy dog and sheepadoodle entered by Amy Yee.

“It changed our lives completely,” Yee said of Sampson’s contest win in the story. Some of the events they were able to attend as LAFD’s official mascot included a Chinese New Year parade in Chintatown, LAFD’s Valor Awards at Dodger Stadium, and carnivals and festivals.

“While Sampson loves all the events and crowds, his favorite place to be is at local LAFD fire stations with his favorite firefighters,” according to the story. “Over Halloween, Sampson helped pass out candy at a station.”

Sampson has visited stations as far north as Sunland and as far south as San Pedro with his family, with a goal of one day visiting every LAFD station in the city.

This year’s first-place winner will take home an LAFD gift basket for the owner and winning pup, an opportunity to be featured in a KTLA News segment, recognition on LAFD and LAFD Foundation social media platforms, invitations to appear at LAFD events throughout the year, and a pet portrait photography session by Charlie Nunn Photography and custom framed print.

Second- and third-place winners will also take home an LAFD apparel gift basket.

Villa Aurora to Present ‘Artist Talk’ With Janet Sternburg

Photo courtesy of Villa Aurora

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

Villa Aurora will present Artist Talk: Janet Sternburg in Conversation with Lorenz Kienzle on Thursday, April 25, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

“In a conversation with Villa Aurora Fellow Lorenz Kienzle, author and photographer Janet Sternburg will present her newest publication “‘LOOKING AT MEXICO / Mexico Looks Back,’” read a synopsis of the event.

The two are slated to “discuss the exploration of unfamiliar territories through photography and an awareness of foreignness juxtaposed with the ‘assumption of ownership foreigners can bring to adopted places.’”

“In the book’s introduction, Sternburg explains how, having no high-quality camera, she took her first photographs in Mexico, more than 20 years ago, using a simple, ‘disposable,’ single-use camera, and how this led everything in the frame, including reflections, to appear in a single ‘interpenetrating’ plane,” read the Villa Aurora website. “For Sternburg, this was an innovation. Many of the photos here are imbued with a similar planar elision, often to breathtaking effect.”

Sternburg captured people and places around her adopted home of San Miguel de Allende, in Guanajuato, Mexico, as well as Mexico City and Mérida, with an iPhone 10, without manipulation.

Sternburg is a writer of memoirs, essays, poetry and plays, and also a fine art photographer. Kienzle studied photography in Rome and Berlin. He is a Villa Aurora Fellow of the Senate Department for Culture and Europe, Berlin.

General admission is free, and tickets can be reserved via Eventbrite.

“Villa Aurora maintains and cultivates the historic landmark home of exiled German-Jewish writer Lion Feuchtwanger and his wife Marta as a residence for an international body of artists,” read a bio provided by Villa Aurora. “We are a transatlantic bridge-builder, promoting intercultural exchange and enabling dialogue between the arts community in Los Angeles and our resident artists.”

There is a variety of arts and cultural programming that takes place at Villa Aurora throughout the year, including public lectures, concerts, screenings, performances and more.

The event will take place at Villa Aurora, located at 520 Paseo Miramar in Pacific Palisades.

Chamber Music Palisades to Conclude 27th Season

A previous Chamber Music Palisades concert
Photo courtesy of Chamber Music Palisades

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

Chamber Music Palisades will finish its 27th season with a concert on Wednesday, April 24, beginning at 8 p.m. at St. Matthew’s Parish.

“Our program comes from around the world, with music by American, German, French, Italian and Romanian composers,” read a statement from Chamber Music Palisades ahead of the concert. “The adaptability and skill of our musicians will be on display in different configurations, featuring piano four hands, trios, woodwind quintet and piano sextets.”

Musicians set to perform include Bernadene Blaha (piano), Kevin Fitz-Gerald (piano), Susan Greenberg (flute), Jonathan Davis (oboe), Sergio Coelho (clarinet), Judith Farmer (bassoon) and Amy Jo Rhine (horn). The evening will be hosted by Alan Chapman.

“Enjoy an evening of varied chamber music with talented players from Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Opera, San Diego Symphony and Santa Monica Symphony,” read the statement.

The program includes Theodor Blumer “Sextet, op. 45,” Antonín Dvořák “Slavonic Dances,” Gernot Wolfgang “Ghost Train,” Gioachino Rossini “Overture to Barber of Seville,” György Sándor Ligeti “Musica Ricercata” and “Six Bagatelles,” Emmanuel Chabrier “España,” and Manuel de Falla “Ritual Fire Dance.”

Tickets for the concert—which is sponsored by the Sidney Stern Memorial Trust—are available for $35. Students with current ID can attend for free.

St. Matthew’s Parish is located at 1031 Bienveneda Avenue.

Palisadian ‘Luxury Headwear Company’ to Appear on ‘Shark Tank’

Photo courtesy of Disney/Christopher Willard

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

Those who tune into “Shark Tank” on Friday, April 19, may see a familiar face.

The episode is set to feature luxury headwear company HOOD, which was founded by Palisadian Max Nelson.

“HOOD was founded in 2018 with the intent of not just making another hat but creating a distinguished category in fashion that did not exist prior,” read a statement ahead of the show. “HOOD presents elevated, timeless headwear that is meticulously crafted to create an unmatched fit, feel and finish.”

Nelson lives in El Medio Bluffs with his wife, Carly, and two children, Rivers and Violet.

“It was important for me to start HOOD because I wanted headwear customers to have more elevated options as far as materials and the customization experience went,” he said to the Palisadian-Post. “I also wanted to empower people to tell their story from a geographical point of view through customization.”

The collection is available in a range of materials, including merino wool, wale corduroy, velvet, cashmere, Japanese twill, denim and canvas. A variety of style options is available as well, like snapback, snapback curved, fitted, dad hat and five panel.

“With more than 30 colors and a variety of fonts,” the statement continued, “HOOD has a style for everyone.”

But, according to the statement, “there is so much more to HOOD than just flawless construction.”

“HOOD represents stick ball games at the schoolyard, runs on the blacktop at dusk and mix tapes on the front porch on a summer night,” the statement read. “In other words, HOOD encompasses the essence of every neighborhood’s culture, something the brand believes is an instrumental piece to understanding who we are and the foundation of the brand.”

There are several different collections to shop from, including college and professional sports, U.S. and international cities (including the Palisades), ski spots, musicians, and more. There is also a hat customizer, so customers can “create the lid that best represents” them.

HOOD also donates 5% of sales to The Anti-Recidivism Coalition, which is working to “end mass incarceration in California.”

“Shark Tank,” which is on its 15th season, is an American business reality television series, where entrepreneurs present about their companies to a panel of venture capitalists who decide whether or not to invest.

“‘Shark Tank’ was a very enjoyable experience,” Nelson said. “I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

Nelson’s episode is set to air on ABC from 8 to 9 p.m. on April 19.

‘Santa Baby’ Composer Receives Webby Award Nomination

Photo courtesy of Tamar Springer

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

Longtime Palisadian and composer Philip Springer has been nominated for a Webby Award—“the internet’s highest honor”—for Best Individual Performance for his rendition of “Moonlight Sonata.”

The performance is now up for two awards: The Webby Award (selected by the Academy) and The Webby People’s Voice Award (which is voted on by the public).

“The Webby Awards is the leading international award honoring excellence on the internet,” read its website. “Established in 1996 during the Web’s infancy, The Webbys is presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS)—a 3,000-plus member judging body.”

Other nominated works in the category include “The Daily Show | Desi Lydic Foxsplains: Trump’s Indictment,” “EDEKA ‘Merry Easter,’” “Uber One | Uber Eats ‘Best Friends’” and “Olivia Rodrigo – vampire (live piano performance).”

With a career spanning more than seven decades, Springer, who will turn 98 soon, has been credited for over 500 works, including “Santa Baby.”

Voting will remain open through Thursday, April 18, at 11:59 p.m.

All Webby and Webby People’s Voice Awards will be announced on Tuesday, April 23, and then honored at the 28th annual Webby Awards—hosted by Amber Ruffin on Monday, May 13.

Allied Artists to Present 11th Annual Art Show, Sale at King Gillette Ranch

A previous show
Photo courtesy of Allied Artists

By LILY TINOCO | Assistant Editor

Allied Artists of the Santa Monica Mountains and Seashore will return to King Gillette Ranch for its 11th annual art show and sale, which will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 21, at the visitor center. The sale and show is set to feature 20 area artists, including Palisadians.

Allied Artists is a 20-year-old organization comprised of local artists who paint representational art of the Santa Monica Mountains and beaches, present art shows, and raise funds in support of conservation and environmental organizations. The group collaborates with organizations like National Wildlife Federation, #SaveLACougars, Mountains Restoration Trust and others.

“The group will present their annual art exhibit and sale event featuring many local artists displaying original representational landscape and seascape paintings of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and national, state, regional and county parks within the 10 counties comprising Southern California,” according to an announcement.

A portion of the proceeds from sales will go toward supporting conservation and environmental organizations, including Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, National Park Service and Western National Park Association.

King Gillette Ranch is located at 26876 Mulholland Highway in Calabasas.

For more information, contact the King Gillette Ranch Visitor Center at 805-370-2301 or Allied Artists at allied-artists.com.

Pali High Football Schedule Set

Pali High will kick off the 2024 football season versus Dymally on Friday, August 23, at Stadium by the Sea.
Photo by Steve Galluzzo

By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor

Coming off a season in which his team exceeded expectations by winning the Western League title and making the City Open Division playoffs, Palisades Charter High School football coach Dylen Smith is optimistic his second year at the helm will be even more successful.

The 2024 schedule has been finalized and the Dolphins will be tested throughout, with three rivalry games in the mix and two opponents Palisades did not face last fall on its way to a 7-3 record.

The season kicks off Friday, August 23, against Dymally at Stadium by the Sea (JV at 4 p.m. followed by varsity at 7 p.m.). The schools’ only prior meeting was two years ago in the City Division I quarterfinals when the host Dolphins prevailed, 42-14. The Challengers returned to the Div. I playoffs last year, losing in the semifinals to Banning to finish 9-4. 

 In Week 1, Palisades travels to Boyle Heights for a Thursday night game at Roosevelt, which finished fourth in the Eastern League last season and lost in the quarterfinals of the Division II playoffs. The Rough Riders will try to reverse a 42-14 loss at Palisades last August.

Palisades is back on the road Friday, September 6, to take on Granada Hills in the schools’ annual Charter Bowl. The Highlanders won last year’s contest 26-10 to snap a nine-game losing streak in a series that started in 2006.

A week later the Dolphins return home for an intersectional matchup with Brentwood. It will be the sixth “Sunset Showdown,” and the Eagles hold a 3-2 edge after rallying from a 10-point half-time deficit to win 43-24 at home last year. It was an emotional night for Smith, who coached against his former team and mentor Jake Ford for the first time.

Another Southern Section opponent awaits the Dolphins in Week 4 when they travel to Studio City to take on Harvard-Westlake. The teams have not played since they split a home-and-home set in 2013 and 2014 when Tim Hyde was Palisades’ coach.

Palisades’ bye is after the nonleague portion of its schedule—giving the Dolphins two weeks to prepare for their Western League opener at Fairfax, which Palisades beat by 23 points last fall. Back-to-back home games follow against Westchester and Venice—teams the Dolphins defeated last year—before a final road trip to University. The last regular season game is at home versus Hamilton on November 1.


Assemblymember Irwin Presents Wildfire & Disaster Insurance Town Hall

Photo courtesy of the office of Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

The office of Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin—who represents AD 42, which includes Pacific Palisades—hosted a Wildfire & Disaster Insurance Online Town Hall on April 4.

The town hall was co-hosted by Irwin, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara and Las Virgenes-Malibu Council of Governments. Guests that took part included Calabasas Mayor Alicia Weintraub, Agoura Hills Mayor Pro Tem Penny Sylvester, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, and United Policyholders.

The town hall came on the heels of news that State Farm General Insurance Company would “non-renew” approximately 30,000 homeowners, rental dwelling and other property insurance policies (residential association and business owners) across California, including in the Palisades. The non-renewals will occur on a rolling basis, State Farm said in a statement, beginning July 3.

“Throughout the past year, the insurance industry has been in a state of flux,” Irwin said at the start of the town hall. “Many constituents have contacted my office, worried and upset about this issue.”

“Major companies” are “refusing” to write new homeowner policies in California, Irwin continued, and non-renewal notices are being issued—affecting homes in very high fire zones and beyond. Homeowners have turned to “non-admitted” insurers and the California FAIR Plan, which was “supposed to be the insurer of last resort,” providing “less coverage for more money.”

“While insurance companies are private businesses and they’re not obligated to write policies, the commissioner, along with our governor, have put together a plan for a sustainable insurance strategy that they will now implement,” Irwin explained.

Lara spoke next, explaining California Department of Insurance’s goal is to “safeguard the integrity of the state’s insurance market.”

“As the insurance commissioner,” Lara explained, “I hold insurance companies accountable, and make sure that they’re financially solvent and that they meet the needs of the consumers.”

Lara assured attendees that if a non-renewal notice is issued, consumers would not be dropped from policies immediately and left without coverage, which is against consumer protection laws. Customers must be given time to explore options and find alternate coverage, Lara said, and the department has “experts ready to assist” consumers find that coverage, whether that is through the FAIR Plan or competitive market.

He addressed the fact that prices have “increased nationally” and that “we need to get back to a point where insurance companies are competing for your business to drive down the cost.” California prices are “way lower” than Texas and Florida, but as “the risk continues to increase,” “insurance is becoming unaffordable for many Californians.”

The department’s goal, Lara explained, is to create a “modern, sustainable insurance market,” which “incentivizes safety and reduces risks,” that “does not retreat from high risk areas,” but instead “utilizes long-term strategies to continue to provide coverage to consumers.”

This approach includes three components, according to Lara: streamlining the rate application process (the insurance department reviews rates to make sure consumers are “getting the best value” for their money), introducing risk management tools (including catastrophe modeling instead of historical data, and factoring in discounts for home hardening efforts), and strengthening and depopulating the FAIR Plan.

“The way we’re going to get availability and increased access to coverage is by finally addressing these tools that we keep talking about that the insurance companies need to be able to better assess the risk that currently they don’t have access to,” Lara said.

Lara said later in the meeting that he committed to the legislature and to the governor that the department would get these regulations done by December 2024, which means they will “hopefully [be] fully implementable by the end of the year.”

There will be public hearings on the regulations in the coming months. He encouraged residents to “join the conversation” and share their insurance experiences.

“Under this really historic agreement, working with the insurance companies, they have committed that if we get these regulations done, they are going to write 85% of their business in areas like your communities,” Lara said. “We are currently mapping that out per zip code, so that if your community has a penetration rate of 15% of the FAIR Plan, you are a priority zip code.”

Amy Bach, director of United Policyholders (uphelp.org)—a “consumer advocacy nonprofit”—spoke next.

“We offer trustworthy plain language info and expertise on buying home insurance and navigating claims after a loss,” Bach explained. The group “closely monitors the property insurance marketplace.”

“A lot of my goal here is to try to help stave off panic, I hope you got that vibe as well from the commissioner,” Bach said. “We’re not here with a smiling face, but we’re here to say that you do have options. His sustainable insurance strategy aims to increase those options.”

Bach said United Policyholder’s advice when it comes to securing an insurance policy is to work with a “good agent or broker,” someone who is “hustling, finding options and staying on the case.”

“The market has little pockets here and there of availability,” Bach explained, “it’s just a matter of figuring out what’s a match for you.”

For those who are being dropped from their policies, Bach explained that insurers are required to give at least 75 days notice. The insurance company also must tell consumers their risk score as well as offer an appeal process for improving the score.

“Start shopping right away is probably one of the most important things I can say about what to do when you get non-renewed,” Bach said. “If the FAIR Plan is your only option, then you can put the policy in place but keep shopping because the market has still got some play in it.”

There are four types of insurance companies: admitted/licensed (name brand, like State Farm), non-admitted/surplus/excess, government sponsored (the California FAIR plan), and forced/lender-placed.

“This is always, of course, your best option if you can,” Bach said of admitted/licensed insurers.

Non-admitted insurers do not participate in the CA Insolvency Guaranty Fund (so there is a risk of them running out of funds), and their rates and policy forms are not regulated by California Department of Insurance.

“For a lot of people, it’s the best of the worst option right now,” Bach explained.

Lender-placed policies are used when residents have a mortgage and their insurance lapses. Bach explained these policies are “very expensive for the coverage” and they typically only cover the amount of the loan.

Bach then touched on different things homeowners could do, including reducing/eliminating non-essential coverages while staying properly insured, creating a home inventory and helping make communities Firewise/fire safe.

“I think there’s better skies ahead,” Bach said of the future of insurance in California, “but there is no question that we are going to be paying more for home insurance going forward. The question is we need to keep it fair and reasonable.”

A recording of the April 4 town hall will be available on Irwin’s website: a42.asmdc.org. Irwin’s website also has a list of non-renewal resources and tips: a42.asmdc.org/non-renewal-homeowner-insurance. Additional information can be found at insurance.ca.gov, or by calling 800-927-4357 or emailing crob@insurance.ca.gov.

PPCC Meeting Agenda Includes Officer Election Schedule, Crime Updates

By LILY TINOCO | Assistant Editor

Though a number of familiar faces were out on spring break, Pacific Palisades Community Council met on Thursday, March 28, to cover a variety of topics—including officer election and crime updates.

PPCC Vice President Sue Kohl spearheaded the March 28 meeting and gave attendees a rundown of what would be expected in the coming months.

Regarding PPCC officer elections, April 11 marked the appointment of the nominating committee. On May 9, the committee nominations are slated to be announced and nominations will be open for board members. Board nominations will remain open until 15 minutes before the end the PPCC meeting on May 23.

A candidates forum—if needed—will take place during the PPCC meeting on June 13, as well as the election of officers. The new officers will officially begin their term July 1.

Though PPCC President Maryam Zar was not in attendance, she sent a message for attendees, reporting that she has continued to work with the city of LA Department of Recreation and Parks, in hopes of engaging their technology team to come out to Palisades Recreation Center, and reassess existing buildings and electrical infrastructure for cameras, which would “assist park staff, LAPD, and monitoring deterrence and law enforcement.” PPCC first discussed camera installation to boost security in the Palisades in January.

“We’re working on … trying to get cameras on the buildings that we already have,” Kohl explained. PPCC is also considering obtaining foot patrols for the rec center through a RAP-certified vendor.

“While I’ve received a quote for a monthly service for two patrolmen, I do not have the specific parameters of service and hope to bring that to PPCC when I do,” Kohl said on behalf of Zar. “I have a call scheduled now with the RAP GM on April 9 and hope to report back at our first April meeting. I must admit that it [has] been difficult getting the city’s attention on this manner and having them work with us towards … doable solutions.”

Los Angeles Police Department Senior Lead Officer for Pacific Palisades Brian Espin then spoke, thanking attendees who were present for the March 20 communitywide virtual town hall, which had almost 300 people in attendance.

The meeting addressed several community concerns regarding behavior of juveniles in the Village and park areas, including fights, fireworks and riding of e-bikes.

“It was pretty successful,” Espin reported. “Being able to relay a lot of info to the community, offsetting … the rumor mill that was going on.”

He reminded attendees that if they are a victim of a crime to file a police report.

Espin also spoke on burglaries in the Palisades, reporting that this year’s count-to-date was 16, versus 15 at this point in 2023.

“In the beginning of the year, I thought our burglary numbers were going to be much higher, based on the crews that were hitting the area,” Espin said.

He also explained that theft is up in the community. He said this may be due to an online reporting system, which allows individuals to report items lost or stolen.

“Our theft numbers are higher than they were last year, we’re about 10 more than last year,” Espin concluded.