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Bowling for a Cause

Photo courtesy of Michele Hunter

Palisadian Hosts Fundraiser for Brain Cancer Research in Honor of Late Son


Palisadian Michele Hunter is turning to her community to encourage youth and families to join a bowling fundraising in honor of her son, Sean, who passed away from an inoperable brain tumor in 2017 at age 22.

“I picked bowling because everyone loves it and it’s multigenerational,” Michele shared with the Palisadian-Post.

The Sean Hunter Research in Action Bowl will take place on Sunday, March 1, from 4 to 7 p.m in Santa Monica. The event, which will raise funds and awareness for brain cancer research, will include bowling, food, drinks, music, arcade games, entertainment and a silent auction.

Bowlers may join as individuals, as well as starting or joining a team.

Michele has partnered with the Uncle Kory Foundation to help host the event, allowing her to continue her mission to help others and fund Dr. Santosh Kesari’s research.

After having great success with neurologist and neuro-oncologist, Kesari, who accepted Sean as a patient when no other doctors would, she remains supportive of his work and has made it her life’s mission to help continue his research. Proceeds from the event will benefit the John Wayne Cancer Institute, under the direction of Kesari.

To date, The Sean Hunter Research in Action programs have raised over $450,000 for brain cancer research and clinical trials. So far they have raised more than $32,000, with a fundraising goal of $100,000, for the Action Bowl.

“Doctors told my son to go home to hospice,” Michele wrote on the flyer. “I couldn’t accept that for my child, so I found someone who wouldn’t either. Together, Dr. Kesari and Dr. Kelly were there to fight with us, to give Sean hope when there was none.”

Michele added that Kesari understands the urgency of improved response to therapy and is working to accelerate the development of novel therapies for brain cancer through drug innovations, immunotherapies and efficient trials.

“Let’s keep moving in Sean’s honor, and in honor of everyone affected by brain cancer,” the event website reads. “We hope you’ll support our efforts by participating, donating and helping to spread the word about this important cause. We look forward to bowling with you.”

The event will take place at Bowlmor, located at 234 Pico Blvd. in Santa Monica.

To register, fundraise or donate, visit support.unclekory.org/seanhunter.

An Educational Adventure: Palisadian-Founded KidUnity Brings Students to Iowa Caucuses

Photos courtesy of Peter Sheehy

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

For the second election year in a row, Palisadian Peter Sheehy trekked halfway across the country with students from nine different schools to witness the Iowa Presidential Caucuses firsthand.

This year, the trip included 20 high school students as well as six students in sixth grade. Most were Los Angeles-based students, with some from Detroit and two from New England: one from Connecticut and one from Massachusetts.

“We prepared the kids through a series of workshops and we use the Iowa Caucuses as the place to do experiential learning of politics and student journalism,” Sheehy explained.

Sheehy co-founded the program responsible for the trip, KidUnity, with fellow parent David Snow five years ago with the mission to “provide children with a stronger connection to their community,” which will “inspire children to solve the most demanding social problems that their generation faces.”

The program started as a conversation between two dads about a lack of fun, high-quality and readily available service learning programs. Today, programs include ULEAD – Nex Gen Women’s Leadership Program and Kindness and Community Clubs geared to students in kindergarten through third grade.

“In teaching high school in New York,” Sheehy explained, “I had a student who had attended the Iowa Caucuses and he presented to our class after returning. I thought this was a phenomenal opportunity, so in 2016 … we organized a group.”

This year, the group arrived at the Caucuses Saturday morning and left on Tuesday—and Sheehy explained that required 14- to 16-hour days.

So far, students who participated in the trip have been published in New York Magazine, Teen Vogue and Seventeen.

“The stories that the kids are publishing are really just what it’s like to be an active teenager thinking

about the future of the country and looking at the process and the candidates that appeal to them,” Sheehy explained. “It was kind of both personal reflections on that and also what was happening on the ground with the candidates.”

Sheehy shared that the group stayed at the same hotel as the Sanders’ campaign, which granted them behind-the-scenes access to the action.

“The night of the Caucuses, I was hanging out in the lobby eating pizza with his son and members of the senior campaign staff,” Sheehy said. “The next morning, he was in the elevator with some of the kids, he was in a conference room in the lobby—we could see the mood and overhear conversations.”

Other trip highlights include an off-the-record meeting with Biden’s chief of staff and his national press secretary.

Up next for Sheehy and KidUnity will be Washington, D.C., with 38 sixth-graders for a policy-based trip.

“They’re going to be researching and advocating on behalf of the environment, LGBT rights and immigration rights,” Sheehy explained. “We’re doing a civil rights history tour for Windward School and then we do after school clubs as well, all geared toward getting kids involved in service and civics.”

Sheehy shared that he hopes this type of experience motivates more kids to get involved in both national and local politics.

“Of course national politics like this are a spectacle and exciting,” Sheehy said, “but there’s so much to be done in between these every four year circuses.”

For more information, visit kidunity.us.

The Doctor is In

By Damon Raskin, M.D. | Special to the Palisadian-Post

Q:On a scale of 1 to 10, how worried do Palisadians need to be about coronavirus? Is it still safe to travel? Visit populated places like Disneyland? One day it seems that things have calmed down and the next, it’s headlining the news again.

Let us not panic! On a scale from 1 to 10, Palisadians should only be at a 1 on the “worry scale”—especially if you have not recently traveled to China.

In fact, the odds are much higher that you will be exposed to the influenza virus or run over by a speeding car down Palisades Drive than come down with the coronavirus.

As of last count, there have been 15 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in California, all of which were in persons who have either recently traveled to China or have been evacuated from a cruise ship in Japan. In total, there have only been 35 documented cases in the whole United States.

So far worldwide, there have been less than 600 deaths related to this new virus, compared to 60,000 American fatalities from the flu between 2017 and 2018.

A new viral outbreak is scary, don’t get me wrong. But we can’t let the things that are posted on Facebook or Twitter cause mass hysteria.

Infectious disease experts emphasize that this novel virus is less deadly than the SARS epidemic that raged back in 2002. The CDC is currently reporting that the immediate risk to the American public is low at this time. Isolation and quarantines have been effective measures so far for those travelers who have been in areas with high exposure risk.

The media has made many of us too apprehensive to even go to a movie theater or a restaurant. In fact, there have been many recent cases of profound xenophobia, especially against anyone who appears Asian and has a mild cough or a sneeze. This is profoundly disturbing.

The virus is spread through respiratory droplets when someone with the virus coughs or sneezes and you breathe it in. Rarely, it can be spread by touching a surface or object where the virus has been left, and then touching your mouth or eyes.

So, what can you do to protect yourself? Frequent hand washing is probably the best protective measure, and being cautious of touching your mouth or eyes unless you know your hands are clean.

Travel is still safe, but clearly avoid China at this time and listen to the travel warnings that the CDC has listed on its website for further recommendations.

Disneyland is fun for many of us and a nightmare for others … but do not let the coronavirus be the thing that stops you from going. That is like saying not to go to New York for fear of a terrorist attack. We still have to live our lives and just use common sense when it comes to protecting ourselves and our loved ones.

Although things may change on a daily or weekly basis, we are still well prepared for this type of infection. Don’t listen to everything that you see on the internet. Worry will do nothing but contribute to hair loss and insomnia.

As Frank Herbert, an American science fiction writer, once wrote: “Fear is the mind-killer.” So, relax and enjoy our beautiful town.

Have a question for Dr. Raskin? Send it in to mypost@palipost.com.

Is Your Loved One Ready for Homecare?

Signs They Might Need Extra Support

By BEN ADEL | Special to the Palisadian-Post

It’s not always easy to tell when your loved one is ready for homecare. Changes can occur gradually, and at first it may not be obvious that extra assistance is needed.

There are, however, some signs that you can look out for. Here are a number of ways you can tell if your loved one might be ready for extra professional support at home.

Missing Mealtimes: Is your loved one skipping meals? Have you noticed a change of appetite? Have they lost weight? These can all be signs of a change in their eating habits.

Mobility issues, forgetfulness and lack of access to shopping opportunities are just some of the reasons your loved one’s diet could suffer. Homecare assistance can ensure that they eat regularly and maintain healthy food habits.

Frequent Accidents: Regular accidents can be another tell-tale sign of issues. Does your loved one seem to be having regular slips, trips or falls? A caregiver can help to prevent accidents by identifying and addressing accident hazards such as clutter, unstable furniture and lack of lighting. They can also offer an extra hand to walk, move or climb stairs.

Medication Mishaps: Do they seem to be getting their medication dosage wrong? Are they missing doses or failing to take them completely?

Not taking medication or even overdosing can have serious consequences. A trained homecare worker or home health nurse can ensure that all prescriptions are filled, the correct dosage is taken and your loved one is safely accessing the drugs they need.

Problems with Day-to-Day Tasks: Is the house falling into disarray? Are there piles of unopened letters and out-of-date food in the fridge?

Common issues, such as cognitive decline and physical limitations, can make keeping a home more challenging. Homecare professionals can help reduce the stress of taking care of general tasks such as cleaning, tidying and laundry.

Changes in Personality and Appearance: If a loved one who previously took care of themselves begins looking disheveled and seems to have lost interest in how they look, it may be a sign their health may be suffering and needs added attention. Similarly, if they appear to be acting different, losing interest in socializing, becoming disconnected from family or friends, and experiencing mood swings, this may mean they are ready for some extra support.

Isolation: Mobility issues, dwindling social support and sight or hearing problems can all cause many older people to lose confidence and become isolated. Visits from a homecare professional can provide a welcomed relief from the loneliness they may feel by providing important companionship. They can take your loved one on shopping trips, play games or simply accompany them while watching TV.

Have the Homecare Talk with Your Loved One: Change may not always be welcomed with open arms. But if your senior parent or loved one is displaying signs that professional homecare may be a valuable option, remember to stay positive when you open the conversation.

Homecare and home health services can be incorporated gradually, with family as involved as they would like to be.

Homecare Helps the Entire Family: Homecare continues to help millions of seniors each year. Caregivers provide extra support not only to parents and loved ones, but to the family members who give so much of themselves to help those parents and loved ones.

Consider homecare an invaluable strategy of adding compassionate and experienced team members to the important, trusted resources that go into caring for your loved ones.

Ben Adel is cofounder of Luxe Homecare, a Pacific Palisades-based homecare and home health agency offering services in Los Angeles. They provide round-the-clock support, including registered nurses (RN and LVN) and rehabilitation services. Contact the Luxe team at 310-459-3535 or visit luxehomecare.com.

Billy Crystal’s Touching Comedy ‘Standing Up, Falling Down’ in Theaters

Photo courtesy IMDb


Palisadian and Co-Honorary Mayor Billy Crystal teamed up with Ben Schwartz and Eloise Mumford in “Standing Up, Falling Down,” released in theaters on February 21.

Shout! Studios, the production arm of Shout! Factory, garnered the North American distribution rights for what has been described as a “funny and poignant comedy feature.”

The über-talented Crystal (“When Harry Met Sally,” “City Slickers”) and fellow comedian Schwartz (“Parks and Recreation,” “Sonic the Hedgehog”) make an improbable duo in this film about facing failure.

“After four years of chasing his stand-up comedy dream in Los Angeles, 34-year-old Scott Rollins has crashed and burned,” Shout! Factory reported about Schwartz’s character.

With his career not going well and being very tight on money, Scott returns home to his parents’ house in Long Island and finds himself yearning for his ex-girlfriend, Becky (Mumford), as he tries to plot out his future.

“On a night out at the bar, Scott strikes up an unlikely friendship with an eccentric dermatologist, Marty (Crystal), who has regrets of his own,” the synopsis continued. “Marty and Scott both help each other find the courage to face the failures in their lives.”

Other cast members include David Castañeda, Nate Corddry, Kevin Dunn, Grace Gummer, Jill Hennessy, Caitlin McGee and Debra Monk.

“Standing Up, Falling Down” is film producer Matt Ratner’s directorial feature debut, according to Shout! Factory. Peter Hoare, who is quickly becoming a hot commodity in Hollywood, wrote the script.

The film, which originally premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2019, is trending at 91% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Not rated, it has a run time of 91 minutes.

Nathan Springer Shore

Nathan Springer Shore, age 92, of La Quinta, California, passed away on December 21, 2019, in Novato, California, after a brief illness, surrounded by his family.

Nate was born on March 19, 1927, to Thomas and Isabelle Shore in Long Beach, California. After graduating from Long Beach Polytechnic High School, he went on to study engineering and business at UC Berkeley. A standout athlete at Long Beach Poly, he played both football and rugby at Cal.

At Cal, he met Margaret Gleason, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. A. Lawrence Gleason of Piedmont. They were married in March of 1950 and were together for 67 years until Margie’s passing in October of 2017.

After college, Nate started out working for a large oil company, but after a short while, he became a wholesale representative for furniture manufacturers, primarily Thomasville.

Margie and Nate moved to Pacific Palisades in the early 1950s and raised a family there: Larry Shore of San Francisco (Sandy Yuen), Dave Shore of Tiburon (Zoe Sexton) and Barbara Seranella. Barbara, a successful mystery writer, passed away in 2007.

Margie and Nate moved to La Quinta in 1986 and enjoyed a wonderful retirement there, with lots of golf, time with friends and family, and many trips abroad.

Nate is survived by his two sons and three grandchildren: Cameron Yuen-Shore, Jamie Yuen-Shore and Savannah Shore, all of whom will miss the warmth and wit of “The Kahuna.” The extended family remembers him as optimistic, generous, adventurous and, in his own words, “seldom wrong, but never in doubt.”

Palisadian Poetry Corner

The following was written by Jimmy Dunne, Palisades “Co-Citizen of the Year” who is spearheading the Veterans Gardens Initiative at Palisades Recreation Center. Dunne wrote this piece following the groundbreaking in December 2019. Veterans Gardens is slated to open in mid-April.

‘Twas the Morn of the Groundbreaking

‘Twas the morn of the Groundbreaking, when all through the park
Not a creature was stirring, the clouds were quite dark
The chairs were all set—next to shovels with care
In hopes Palisadians soon would be there
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter
I put down a donut to see what was the matter
When what to my wondering eyes did appear
Palisades families started showing up here!
There were seniors, and parents, and public officials
They hugged and they chatted—hoping it wouldn’t drizzle
More rapid than eagles, Palisadians came,
And I whistled and cheered—here’s a few of their names
The team that spearheaded the project from start
Bob Harter, Bill McGregor—what talent and smart!
Rob Jernigan, too—and the gem Jay McCann
They’ve been working four years—shaping this plan
And Bob Benton was there, and his fantastic wife, Sue
And a whole bunch of people I wish that I knew
And the Volpicellis, Mark Tabit, the Carusos showed up
The Laganas were there with their cute little pup
And Collier, and Haldis—to lend a good cheer
Kevin Niles, so supportive—our new “Citizen of the Year”
Bill Bagnard, the best guy—and I love Frances Sharpe
I saw Wally and McGeah chatting under the tarp
Jim Cragg and Kurt Heit—cheering on the endeavor
Connie Murphy, Mike Tomas—I could go on forever
We heard some dear speeches from great folks in town
Ted McGinley gave cool hats to all folks around
Billy Crystal and Janice—both truly stars
They emotionally spoke to how blessed we all are
Then Councilman Bonin—what a big heart
He’s supported this project right from the start
Jere Romano—he reminded us all
Of so many veterans that answered the call
Because of the gift of Post 283
Forever we’ll celebrate what it means to be free
Mike Skinner, Joe Halper—two Palisades ‘greats’
Bocce for seniors—they just can’t wait!
But then something happened—this magic took place
You could feel it and see on everyone’s face
Maybe the thing that all of us learned
Something money can’t buy—and what you must earn
We can buy bocce courts, picnic tables and things
But the heart of the park is the people it brings
The heart of our park—just look in the mirror
You are the thing in the town that’s so dear
We all grabbed the shovels and then gathered ‘round
We took a group picture—as we dug up the ground
As the photos were snapping, I looked up above
I thought of the things—that I truly love
It’s right in this town—this is my life
My kids, and my friends, and my beautiful wife
All sounds went away—as I stood in our park
It struck me how life—is a wondrous arc
I know that our park will always be here
To remind all of us—what we all hold so dear
I thought in my car, as I drove away
Home … sweet, sweet home—in our Palisades

If you have a poem you’d like to submit, on any topic,
for consideration in future editions of the paper,
send it in to mypost@palipost.com.

Our Town


PRESENT NOW, a Palisades-based nonprofit founded by Melanie Neumann and Erica Fisher, dedicated to supporting children living in transitional domestic violence shelters, was recently recognized as the nonprofit organization of the evening at a Clippers game during half time. Members from the Teens for Teens program created their first campaign, which included a text-to-give fundraiser.      

Photo courtesy of PRESENT NOW

From January 14 to 31, the Pacific Palisades office of Coldwell Banker Realty collected 53 pairs of new and gently used shoes for Soles4Souls, a nonprofit that creates sustainable jobs and provides relief through the distribution of shoes and clothing around the world.

Photo courtesy of Miguel Covarrubias

The Pacific Heart Institute hosted the seventh annual Women’s Heart Symposium, which included Palisadian attendees and speakers, at Casa del Mar Hotel in Santa Monica. Topics this year included hormones and heart health, as well as universal health.

Photo courtesy of Pacific Heart Institute

The Optimist Club of Pacific Palisades hosted guest speaker Ramis Sadrieh, who provided a yearly summary of the Las Vegas CES convention.

Photo courtesy of Rich Wilken


Woman of Excellence

Laura Ornest
Photo courtesy of Tracy Columbus

Palisadian Laura Ornest to be Honored at Awards Luncheon

By LILY TINOCO | Reporter

Rustic Canyon resident Laura Ornest, an award-winning broadcast journalist, will be one of two individuals being celebrated at Vista Del Mar’s Women of Excellence awards luncheon on Thursday, March 12.

“So many people in the nonprofit world do such great work, I feel humbled, honestly, to be honored,” Ornest said about the recognition.

The event will be held at the Beverly Wilshire and hosted by Emmy-winning newscaster Mark Thompson.

Ornest will be receiving the Visionary Award, an award that pays tribute to “her bold and rich contributions to Vista Del Mar and her tireless commitment to destigmatizing the conversation around mental health,” according to a press release.

Vista Del Mar is a Los Angeles-based nonprofit agency that offers services and programs to children and families.

Ornest’s familiarity with Vista Del Mar dates back years, first hearing about the organization on a philanthropic front through her late father’s friend.

She then experienced the arm of Vista Del Mar’s adoption agency firsthand when she was being evaluated as a fit mother prior to adopting her son, Harrison.

“I wanted this baby more than anything,” Ornest said to the Palisadian-Post. “It was very beautiful, they weren’t just working for me … Vista Del Mar had everyone’s best interest at heart: the baby’s, the birth mother’s and mine.”

And Ornest found a way to give back to Vista Del Mar last year after honoring her late brother Maury in a commemorative art exhibition.

Ornest shared that her brother suffered through his adult life from paranoia and distorted thinking, but at the suggestion of one of his therapists, he began painting.

After he passed away from heart disease, over 1,000 paintings were found in his Beverly Hills home, which was also his studio.

“Despite his inner turmoil and suffering, he was always able to go back to the canvas and create life-affirming pieces,” Ornest said. “So we put on an art show after he died because he never really showed his art. We invited Vista Del Mar and a few other charities.”

Ornest added that there was a huge outpouring, and through the proceeds from sales, thousands were raised.

She continues to be a supporter of Vista Del Mar’s resources and an advocate for mental health.

Ornest recently co-produced a theater show about mental illness, “Mapping of the Mind,” and revealed that she is currently working on a half-hour documentary on her late brother.

“Mental health is really an issue that’s very close to my heart and I believe that there’s much less stigma now than there was 10 years ago,” Ornest said. “But in my experience, it’s still a lonely and difficult journey for the person who’s suffering from it and the family.

“I hope that by talking about mental illness, that it could help families who are dealing with it so they don’t feel alone … to keep shining light so people know there are resources even though it’s not a simple or straight path.”

For more information, visit vistadelmar.org/WOE2020.

Winning Time

Dylan Griffin starts a fast break as Graham Alphson, Caden Arnold and Anthony Spencer watch in the semifinals.
Photos by Steve Galluzzo

Pali High Basketball Squads Advance to City Section Finals 

By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor

A feeling of pride permeated the Southwest College gym  last Saturday afternoon: Palisades pride. For the first time in school history, the boys and girls basketball teams will play for City Section titles on the same day thanks to impressive semifinal wins.

The girls made sure of that, grinding out a 46-43 triumph over Granada Hills in a matchup between last year’s Open and Division I champions.

Jane Nwaba shoots over Granada Hills’ Haylee Aiden for two of her 15 points in the City Open Division semifinals.

Senior captain Jane Nwaba led the way with 15 points, 15 rebounds, seven blocks and four steals and her drive and layup gave the Dolphins their first lead, 17-15, late in the first half.

“The main thing the coaches told us going in was box out, rebound and  make smart passes,” said Nwaba, a Pepperdine commit whose five older siblings—Barbara, Alex, David, Victor and Precious—all went to University High. “Precious played against [former Pali High guard and  City MVP Chelsey Gipson] and told me to come to Pali. Being the youngest, all of my brothers and sisters push me because they know I can be better than them.”

Barbara starred in track and field at UC Santa Barbara and finished 12th in the heptathlon at the 2016 Summer Olympics and David has played for several NBA teams, making his league debut with the Lakers in 2017.

The family’s athletic prowess is safe with Jane. She was a freshman when the Dolphins lost in the City Open Division finals in 2017 in their last year under former coach Torino Johnson. She got injured halfway through her sophomore season and without her Palisades dropped its last nine games. She returned last winter as the Dolphins won the City Division I crown and made the Division III regional finals.      

Graham Alphson dunks for two of his 12 points in last Saturday’s City Division I semifinal victory over View Park.

“I wasn’t intense at the end,” Nwaba said. “I stopped hustling and rebounding and my coaches let me know. Fortunately Alexis [Pettis] played very well.”

Sammie Arnold added 10  points, six rebounds and five assists as the top-seeded Dolphins   saw an 11-point lead trimmed to four with 50 seconds left before Demonnie Lagway sank a pair of clinching free throws.

“We’ve played such a tough schedule, we’ve been in so many close games so this was nothing new,” Arnold said. “We do what we have to do to win.”

Palisades plays league rival Hamilton for the title Saturday.

     A few hours before on the same floor the boys booked their first trip to a City final since 1970 with a 44-35 upset of No. 1 seed View Park, a team that had knocked the Dolphins out of the playoffs the previous two seasons.

Graham Alphson scored six points in each half and blocked seven shots, Caden Arnold had 10 points and 11 rebounds and Anthony Spencer added eight points and three steals for the No. 5-seeded Dolphins, who won their only City title in 1969 under  their first coach Jerry Marvin.

Rose Morris secures a rebound during Palisades’ 46-43 victory over Granada Hills in the City Open Division semifinals.

Palisades opened a 22-5 lead early and the Knights never got closer than six points thereafter. “Graham’s like our wheels, once he gets moving we all get moving,” Dylan Griffin said. “A car can’t move without the wheels.”             

The victory capped a week of redemption for Palisades, which avenged two close league defeats to University with a 48-47 quarterfinal win three nights earlier. Alphson had 18 points and Griffin and Sheldon Zanders each had nine. The Dolphins survived when Uni missed a last-second jumper.     

Palisades plays Narbonne for the Division I title. The sixth-seeded Gauchos edged No. 2 Granada Hills 50-48 in the first semifinal.

“We’re not going to overlook them,” Zanders said. “We’ll watch video, come up with a gameplan and we just have to execute it.”