Home Blog Page 2003

Skatepark Opens at Rec Center

Susan Nash (at right, in white cap and sunglasses) smiles while local skaters participate in Sunday's ribbon-cutting ceremony to inaugurate Palisades Recreation Center's portable skatepark on the outdoor basketball courts. Her son, Michael, 14, (in white) helps wield the ceremonial scissors.
Susan Nash (at right, in white cap and sunglasses) smiles while local skaters participate in Sunday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony to inaugurate Palisades Recreation Center’s portable skatepark on the outdoor basketball courts. Her son, Michael, 14, (in white) helps wield the ceremonial scissors.
Photo by Rich Schmitt, Staff Photographer

A festive atmosphere surrounded opening ceremonies for a portable skatepark on the resurfaced outdoor basketball courts at Palisades Recreation Center Sunday afternoon, the culmination of a four-year volunteer effort spearheaded by Huntington Palisades resident Susan Nash. “I’m happy. I’m relieved,” said Nash, an attorney whose 14-year-old son, Michael, is a skater. “Just watching all these kids have so much fun makes all of our efforts worth it. It feels like this was meant to be.” The ceremony started with brief speeches by Nash and Rec Center Director Cheryl Gray, a presentation of checks by Debbie Dyner-Harris (representing City Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski) and the Palisades Rotary Club, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Then the real fun began, as dozens of local skaters and rollerbladers, clad in helmets and pads, took to the ramps. The kids also enjoyed chowing down on In-and-Out burgers, participating in a raffle for hats, T-shirts and boards donated by PaliSkate, Grind King and Slide Angle and listening to live music by Altered (a group consisting of Corpus Christi students and skaters Matt Lamb, Nick McCormack, Leo Rosetti and Sean Vinnedge). “My friends and I have been waiting for this for a few years,” said 13-year-old Corey Rasmussen, a 7th-grader at Corpus Christi. “I’ve been to Skate Street in Ventura, Vans in Orange County and a few others. This one is good because it’s so smooth.” “Yeah, it’s pretty fun,” added 8-year-old Wylie Beetley, who goes to Marquez Elementary. Gray announced that the skatepark is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays and 3:30 to 7 p.m. on Fridays. Beginning in March, it will be open from 4 to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays. Sunday’s event was free, but normal park admission will be $2 a day or $50 for a yearly pass. “This is all the work of Susan,” said Erica Simpson, owner of PaliSkate on Swarthmore. “I’ve given them advice along the way but I know the kids are totally excited about this. I think it’s pretty cool because it appeals to a lot of different ages.” Having just as much fun were the skaters’ parents and families, many of whom arrived with cameras and camcorders to catch their kids hanging ’10’ off of five-foot high birms and sliding atop narrow balance beams. “I was totally for it,” one parent said. “I have an 8-year-old and I felt the Huntington Palisades opposition was totally unfounded. This is a community of activity. To have something like this in a safe area, where parents can drop their kids off, is just great.” Nash originally lobbied for a permanent facility on the opposite end of the park in a space behind the south playing fields, but that proposal was scuttled by threatened litigation. “I was disappointed initially, but if we had ended up with that [facility] there would’ve been a lot of opposition to it. This is somewhat of a compromise but it’ll still be supervised whenever it’s in use and the equipment is state-of-the-art.” Including donations from well over 100 residents, the Palisades Skate Fund headed by Nash received large contributions on behalf of many Palisades business and service clubs, including Coldwell Banker, American Legion, Palisades Lions Club and the Palisades-Malibu YMCA. Thus far, the fund has received $60,000 to pay for the equipment and the cost of hiring a supervisor for three years. “So many people have been so supportive,” Nash said. “People like Bob [Lutz] and Mary [Elizabeth Horan] who have given their time and money. Of course, Erica from PaliSkate has been great and so has [Park Advisory Board member] Mike Skinner. He really went to bat for this the same as he did for the ball fields.” True Ride, Inc., a Minneapolis-based company that made the equipment used at the Rec Center, has built over 100 permanent skateparks and provided portable equipment and installation for numerous multi-use facilities. Coincidentally, its founders Dave and Greg Benson have a skateboarding nephew, Jack, who lives in the Palisades. At noon, Termite and PaliSkate team members did a demo of high-flying moves and stunts that drew cheers from the crowd. “This is pretty nice,” said 12-year-old Termite skater Hanna Zanzi of Westminster. “Our team manager told me about it, so I decided to come. I like grinding and this is a good park for that.”

Slope Soaring

Graham McMillan, a fifth grader at Village School, Jim Breese (center) and Kerry Feltham prepare to release their Zagi wings into the wind.
Graham McMillan, a fifth grader at Village School, Jim Breese (center) and Kerry Feltham prepare to release their Zagi wings into the wind.
Photo by Rich Schmitt, Staff Photographer

On a clear winter afternoon, swept clean by a recent rain, several flying enthusiasts are out on the Via de las Olas bluffs with remote controls in their hands. In the distance, big jets are taking off from LAX, silently soaring over the Pacific. But the men’s focus is closer by, on the model planes and flying wings that playfully chase each other through the sky, guided by the pilots’ sure hands. The wind coming up the steep hillside provides the ideal environment to keep these engineless gliders aloft, while the pilots can vicariously enjoy the pure joy of swooping through the air, catching the wind and performing acrobatic tricks with a view of the ocean stretching from Point Dume to Palos Verdes. The bluffs at the Mount Holyoke lookout are one of the few locations in Los Angeles perfect for this activity. Soaring specialists come here from all over the city, but many of the diehard are Palisadians. It’s a short trip from home to see if the wind is blowing the right way. “Everybody has a tree they like to watch to see which way the breeze is going,” says Jim Breese, who looks at the palms up the hill above his house on Las Pulgas as his own personal wind meter. The basic flying wings, 3 to 4 feet long and shaped somewhat like a thick boomerang, are made of styrofoam that easily survives frequent crashes. Fancier models, which look more like 3- to 6-ft. replicas of actual airplanes, are made of fiberglass. Palisadian Kerry Feltham, one of the regular “pilots,” even made a movie about this mostly male phenomenon, called “The California Flyboys.” Feltham, a director whose short film “Too Much Oregano” won the Jury Prize at the 1983 Cannes Film Festival, decided that the flying made “a natural subject” for a half-hour film. A teacher at Palisades High School, he stationed himself on the bluffs on and off for about a year with a digital video camera in hand, and completed the film in 2002. The “flyboys” are mostly “guys who do things with their heads all day,” says Feltham. They include a retired pilot, engineer, corporate lawyer, and chiropractor. “It really is a kind of spatial thing-you switch off the analytical part of your brain and go into the rhythm part of the brain.” “I saw Jim [Breese] flying out here and he let me fly the plane,” says Feltham recalling the first time he tried to pilot a model 10 years ago. “I put it in the tree.” But he was hooked. “Now I’m out here a couple of times a week.” “You get better at it,” says Breese. “At first it’s all you can do to keep it in the air. My wife bought me a radio-control set and it stuck. It’s the last she’s seen of me.” The hobby is social and meditative at the same time. “It’s the danger of not being in control and seeing how far you can go without being in control,” Breese says. “It gets you in touch with the wind.” Larry Seversen, a psychiatrist and one of the “flyboys” featured in Feltham’s movie, likes to watch red-tailed hawks as an inspiration for flying. The hobby also has an aerobic side to it. When the planes don’t stay aloft, or crash into one another during “combat,” they can fall down the hillside, and the pilots hike down one of two paths to get them. Yet planes that fall into a certain spot, known as the “Bermuda triangle,” are often lost forever. “Whoever goes down the mountain the fewest times wins,” Breese says. Breese, an engineer who designs hard drives for computers, taught a class at the Palisades/Malibu YMCA last year about how to put together a plane. Although none of the students got into flying regularly after building their planes, Breese maintains that it’s a great hobby for kids. The kits cost $45 and up, with the radio transmission costing $70 and up. Breese allows the young children walking on the bluffs with their parents to try his radio controls. “We encourage questions. We like to find new addicts,” he jokes. The hobby can get expensive for those who go onto fiberglass planes, which can cost $500 or more. They are best for experienced pilots because the planes can break easily when they crash to the ground. Gas-powered planes, which are noisy, are never used on the bluffs, and electric-powered models are seldom flown there, as most of the pilots prefer to use the natural wind power. Some aircraft pilots “waggle their wings” in friendly hello when they see the glider fliers on the bluffs. The best “flying” season is spring and summer, when the on-shore breezes provide just the right lift. About five to 10 people will come out on the weekend with a good wind. The informal group, known as the Palisades Soaring Club, often flies until dusk. “It’s very relaxing, being out there with the sun and fresh air, the ocean breezes blowing on you,” Breese says. “It’s an all-engrossing sort of thing.” To purchase a copy of “California Flyboys,” e-mail ae126@lafn.org. Introductory beginner kits can be found at hobby shops, such as Hobby People, 10825 Pico, 234-2425 or Evett’s Model Shop, 1636 Ocean Park, 452-2720. Fiberglass models can be found at specialty retailers such as www.nesail.com

Mesches Recasts FBI Files as Art

Writer/Artist Arnold Mesches borrows the language of medieval illuminated manuscripts-illustrations and text set off by decorative borders-and gives it a contemporary twist in the current crop of 50 paintings and collages now on view in the “FBI Files” exhibition at the Skirball Cultural Center. Just as early handwritten manuscripts recorded 13th century history, the works in this exhibition light up the darker side of recent American history during the Cold War/McCarthy era. In 1999, through the Freedom of Information Act, Mesches discovered and gained access to 760 pages of FBI files covering his political activities, personal life, teaching and artistic production between 1945 and 1972. “I had goose pimples-it was just unbelievable,” says Mesches, who was struck by both a sense of betrayal-countless former students, neighbors, colleagues and “friends” were among those who cooperated with the FBI-as well as by the alluring aesthetic quality of these typewritten documents that had large portions obscured by thick black lines in an attempt to protect the betrayers. The slashing black strokes in the documents reminded Mesches of the late Abstract Expressionist Franz Kline’s art, inspiring him to create the body of work that comprises the “FBI Files.” In these works, actual pages from the FBI files are mixed with images of popular culture, 1950s-era advertising and elements from Mesches’ own figurative paintings and drawings. Celebrities, politicians and other notables of the day-everyone from Malcolm X to Richard Nixon and Marilyn Monroe-also figure in the work, a style that seems to merge Abstract Expressionism with Pop Art, all wrapped in an illuminated manuscript-like decorative border. “Everything I’ve ever known is in my art,” says Mesches, whose animated speech, easy laughter, and quick step belie his 80 years. “I want people to wonder why things are juxtaposed in my work.” Mesches, a lifelong leftist activist, ultimately hopes to expose what he sees as the “evils and ridiculousness” of his long-term surveillance by the FBI, while addressing such broader themes as the right to privacy and freedom of expression. Born in the Bronx and now living in Florida, the artist has strong ties to Los Angeles. He lived here for more than 40 years and taught at USC, UCLA, the Art Center of Design and Otis College of Art and Design. He continues to teach at several universities and art schools. While Mesches views his current series as a summation of a certain historical time, he also sees strong parallels with what’s happening today in terms of limits placed on civil liberties. “It went on then, it will go on again,” he says, making specific reference to the controversial Homeland Security Act and Patriot Act. Surprisingly, Mesches harbors no bitterness towards those who spied on him. “It was a long time ago,” he says. “And what the hell’s the difference? Ninety percent of them are dead.” The exhibition continues at the Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd. in L.A., through March 28. Contact: 440-4500.

Homebuyers: Challenged In a Seller’s Market

With just over 50 listings on the housing market this week (not counting mobile homes, condos or townhouses), where does that leave buyers who desperately want to purchase property in the Palisades? “Scrambling!” said Anthony Marguleas, owner of A.M. Realty on Sunset, who represents buyers exclusively. “Many are not only finding themselves in multiple-offers situations but also competing against buyers who can pay all cash.” Marguleas started his company 10 years ago because he felt there was an “inherent conflict of interest” in situations where the listing agent and/or the firm also represented the buyer, “especially when it comes to negotiating.” Marguleas, 38, represents buyers not only in the Palisades but all over Los Angeles. He estimates that about a third of his clients are people moving to L.A., a third are first-time buyers, and a third are buyers ready to move up. “Anyone who has owned property here in the last five years has lots of equity, which puts them in an excellent position to buy a bigger or better house,” he said. Of the buyers he has, Marguleas said that “about 35 percent can pay all cash, and 25 percent can put 50 percent or more down.” Most of them are looking in the $2.5-million range. With currently only two houses listed under $1 million in the Palisades (a probate at 16780 Livorno and a 3 plus 2 on Jacon Way), 16 between $1 and $2 million, and 13 properties between $2 and $3 million, “the choice is limited, even for the most qualified buyer. We write a lot of offers.” Marguleas, who recalled that there were at least twice as many properties available at this time last year, said he never imagined that housing inventory would drop so low. “No one did.” He said the small number of listings on the market has forced him to “really think outside of the box.” A challenge in recent weeks involved a buyer who absolutely wanted to buy in one of the bluff areas. Marguleas sent letters to several bluff owners asking if they were willing to sell. One was, and a deal was struck. Marguleas, who now has two offices (the other is in Pasadena) and is about to open a third in Toluca Lake, also provides prospective buyers with 24-hour access to the MLS and keeps track of local probates, REOs (bank-owned properties), and FSBOs (For Sale By Owner). He said that perhaps the easiest way for someone to get into the Palisades market these days is to do a lease-option on one of the many home rentals available in the area or to buy a townhouse or condo, which have appreciated “24% faster in the last year than single-family homes, making them a great investment in this market.” A resident of the Alphabet streets where he lives with his wife Sue and their four children, Marguleas said the shortage of listings in the Palisades is leading to business practices which could create problems for both buyers and sellers. For example, sellers being solicited directly by buyers may be persuaded to do a private sale, thereby depriving themselves of getting “the best possible representation.” And anxious buyers may make offers on houses that are higher than the bank’s appraised value, resulting “in their either paying too much for the property or having to pull out of escrow because they can’t come up with the extra cash to close the deal.” Another trend that Marguleas finds disturbing is the waiving of inspections, which could lead to litigation. “What if the buyer finds the chimney is cracked within weeks of closing escrow?” Marguleas asked. “We never recommend waiving inspections, no matter how much a buyer wants the house. It’s not good for them or us.”

Charleton Dewaine Brown, 85; WW II Vet, Intrepid Volunteer

Charleton D. “Chuck” Brown died peacefully and comfortably in his sleep on February 3, after a long illness. He was 85. He died as he wished-with his family present-in the home he built with his wife Martha on Almar in Pacific Palisades 57 years ago. Chuck was born in Sioux City, Iowa, on November 3, 1918 to Genevieve and Lyle Brown, and was raised in Kenosha, Wisconsin, along with his beloved sister Peggy. It was in Kenosha that Chuck met his childhood sweetheart and wife-to-be, Martha Lane. He was well-liked in Kenosha, and had many great boyhood friendships which continued throughout his life. As a young man, Chuck was a graceful, cat-like athlete who swam the breast stroke and butterfly competitively, enjoyed horseback riding, and excelled at golf. Throughout the Depression, he worked after school and weekends in order to help support his mother and sister. After joining the Army in 1941, he served as Captain, Field Artillery in Europe for four years. He was awarded the Bronze Star for valor and selfless action during intense artillery attack. Chuck married Martha in November 1942, and in 1945 the couple moved to California and settled in the Palisades, where they raised five children: Kathryn, Peter, Robert, Jessica and Thomas. Following in his father’s footsteps, Chuck supported his family through a long career in the automobile business until his retirement in 1997. Martha was named Citizen of the Year in 1990 for her years of service in the Palisades, including being an integral force in the successful effort to save the historic Business Block building, and for spearheading the creation of the Village Green on Sunset and Swarthmore at the site of a Standard gas station. Chuck’s world revolved around his family and dear friends, the house he loved, devotion to work, daily walks to the bluffs overlooking the ocean, parties with friends, barbecues, backyard croquet and backgammon. For a number of years, he was a regular at Mort’s Deli, where he enjoyed the companionship of good friends Saturday mornings. Chuck was a decent and honest man-a true gentleman-who imparted lasting values to his children and grandchildren. There were few people who met Chuck who did not walk away touched by his integrity, dignity, courteousness, good sense and humor. He was a consummate storyteller and was informally dubbed the “Garrison Keillor of Pacific Palisades.” After his wife of 58 years passed away in December 1999, Chuck dedicated much of his time to service organizations such as the Palisades Chamber of Commerce, the Optimist Club, St. Matthew’s Thrift Store, the Village Green and the Chamber-sponsored Palisades Auto Show. Perhaps most of all, Chuck was steadfast and dependable. He was always first to volunteer for any task. He never shirked responsibility and never let down those who relied upon him. Chuck “showed up.” Throughout the last year and a half of his life, Chuck never wavered in his vision of returning to good health. His quiet and steady courage in the face of his life-threatening illness is an inspiration to us all. He took life as it came, woke every morning with a smile on his face, and often stated “how fortunate I am to live each day with the love of family and friends surrounding me.” Chuck is survived by his five children, Kathryn Park Brown, Peter Chapman Brown, Robert Cooper Brown, Jessica Stratton Brown and Thomas Benton Brown, and his nine grandchildren, Joshua Buckner Cobb, Sarah Kathryn Clanton, Neal Hibbard, Gretchen Eva Keller, Samuel Quinn Brown, Thomas Benton Brown, Jr., Marissa Mosca, Michael Mosca and Suzanna deSanz Brown. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that contributions may be made to The Village Green, P.O. Box 14, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272.

This Panther Is Still on the Prowl

Fresh off Loss in Super Bowl, Matt Willig Wants to Return to Carolina Next Season

Five days after battling New England in the Super Bowl, Matt Willig was back home in the Palisades with wife Chris and 14-month old daughter Amber.
Five days after battling New England in the Super Bowl, Matt Willig was back home in the Palisades with wife Chris and 14-month old daughter Amber.
Photo by Rich Schmitt, Staff Photographer

Years from now, even the most ardent sports fans probably won’t remember who wore No. 71 for the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII. That’s perfectly fine with the man in the jersey, 6-8, 315-lb offensive right tackle Matt Willig. Willig cares far more about helping his team win than gaining notoriety, which is but one reason why he has lasted 12 seasons in the National Football League. “This season was one of the most fun I’ve ever had in the NFL,” said Willig, who signed with Carolina as a free agent in August–about a year after moving to the Pacific Palisades bluffs with his wife Chris. “I joined the St. Louis Rams halfway through the year they won the Super Bowl. It was cool getting a ring but I sort of felt like I was along for the ride. I feel more a part of what this team accomplished because I was there from the start.” Though he played in every game for the Panthers, including their 32-29 loss to New England in the Super Bowl two weeks ago in Houston, many of Willig’s contributions went unnoticed by the media and the fans, but not by his teammates or coaches. “I’m going to be the answer to a trivia question someday,” Willig joked. “I was called for the first penalty of the game. We were lined up to block [New England kicker] Adam Vinatieri’s first field goal attempt and I got caught for delay of game because I moved my arm. It moved him five yards closer and I’d like to think that’s why he missed the kick.” Perhaps Willig’s biggest contribution to the Panthers’ success this season came off the field, not on it. He served as a mentor to Carolina’s starting right tackle, first-round draft choice Jordan Gross. “Jordan had a phenomenal year and I’d like to think I had something to do with that,” Willig said. “If it means I didn’t get to play as much, so be it. I’m just happy to say I was part of a winning team and I played in one of the best Super Bowls ever.” Willig grew up in La Mirada and played football at St. Paul High in Santa Fe Springs. He was a standout defensive end under Larry Smith at USC, where he played two seasons with current Panthers teammate, back-up quarterback Rodney Peete. Willig entered the NFL in 1992 and switched to tackle as a rookie with the New York Jets, where he spent the first three seasons of his pro career. The defensive coordinator there was current USC head coach Pete Carroll. “I haven’t been back to see a game at USC in five years, but it’s great to see them doing so well,” Willig said of his alma mater. “They had an unbelievable season just like we [the Panthers] did. We were called the ‘Cardiac Cats’ because we won so many close games, but it seemed like the Trojans were blowing everybody out.” Prior to joining the Panthers, Willig spent three years with the San Francisco 49’ers. He played the last three quarters at left tackle in one of the biggest comebacks in NFL postseason history when the 49’ers rallied to beat the Giants in overtime two years ago. Willig started a career-high 13 games at right tackle for the Atlanta Falcons in 1997, then had a short stint with the Green Bay Packers before winning a Super Bowl with the St. Louis Rams in 1999. Though he spent the majority of the season backing up Gross on the right side, Willig plays equally well at either tackle position. “That’s why I’ve lasted so long in the league, because I’ve played both sides,” he said. “The versatility I have is my biggest asset. A lot of guys are only used to playing one side or the other and that’s usually determined by whether they are right or left handed. I can play both the right or left side.” Willig said the game hasn’t changed much since his rookie season, but situational substitutions have made it harder for offensive linemen: “You used to line up against the same guy all game. Now it’s harder because the defenses have so many different schemes and formations that on one set of downs you might be matched against a different guy every play.” Life in the NFL can be stressful not only for players but also their families. “I would say it’s difficult, but worth it,” Chris said while playing with their 14-month old daughter Amber. “It’s certainly never boring but it’s not always as glamorous as it seems. You have to get used to moving around a lot, but the great thing for us is that no matter where Matt is playing we’ll be here after the season. This is home.” Even though he’s only 35, Willig is considered a dinosaur by NFL standards. He’s managed to have a successful career but at the same time stay relatively anonymous–and that’s the way Willig likes it. “I’ve never played for the money or the fame. I play because it’s what I love to do. I know I won’t be able to do this forever. The last few years I’ve had problems with my knees, but if I can play two or three more years I’ll be pretty happy with that.” As he enters the twilight of his career, Willig hopes he’s still donning a Carolina jersey when training camp starts in the spring. “I feel good about the situation I’m in and I’d definitely love to stay at Carolina and build on what we did this year,” he said. “But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in this league it’s that you have to be ready for anything.”

Palisades Baseball Ready for Alumni

New Palisades High varsity baseball coaches Tom Seyler and Kelly Loftus can’t wait for the season-opening alumni game, to be played February 28 at George Robert Field. Matching the Dolphins’ current squad against the program’s alums has become a proud tradition at Pali and this year’s game will feature an added twist: longtime coach Russ Howard, who retired last Spring after the Dolphins won the City Invitational championship at Dodger Stadium, will likely coach the alumni squad. “I want this to be the best [alumni] game ever,” Seyler said of the program’s annual fundraiser. “The field will be available all week prior to the game. For any alumni who want to come out and take some cuts, the batting cages will open at 9 a.m. I know our kids can’t wait to get a piece of the old-timers.” Included among the notable alumni Seyler hopes will play are Class of `98 standouts Jon Leicester (currently with the Chicago Cubs), Nick Browne (who played on Louis & Clark’s national championship team) and Das Jesson (a senior at Cal State Los Angeles), 2001 alum Jordan Simo (a senior at St. Mary’s College) and last year’s graduates like Nick Kaufman, Jeff Megee, Evan Reis, Dylan Forrester and Spencer Kirksey. Veteran alumni game pitcher Tim Bearer is expected to start. A 9 a.m. junior varsity intrasquad game will be followed by the alumni game at 1 p.m.

Ryan Retires

Palisades junior varsity coach Bob Ryan has retired after 12 seasons to devote more time to the American Legion, an organization that has actively supported the Pali baseball program for many years. Ryan’s teams finished first 11 times and second once. Ryan’s replacement will be David Kloser, a former relief pitcher at UC Berkeley and author of “Stepping Up to the Plate: Inspiring Interviews with Major Leaguers,” an instruction-based book expected to be published this summer. Kloser, who played a year of semi-professional baseball and was a teammate of Seyler’s on over-30 league team, has several years’ experience coaching kids’ camps.

Soccer Clinches League Title

Sophomore forward Lucy Miller one-timed a cross from winger Nicole Angrisani into the net in the 25th minute as the Palisades High women’s soccer team wrapped up the regular season with a 1-0 victory over Venice (8-7 overall, 4-6 in league) Monday afternoon at Stadium by the Sea. Despite outshooting Venice 22-2 the Dolphins managed only the one goal, but it was all they needed to clinch the Western League title and a Top-8 seed in the City Section playoffs, which will consist of a 32-team draw. Palisades (12-2-1, 9-1) generated chance after chance and kept the ball on the Gondos’ half of the field for 73 of the 80 minutes but was unable to finish plays as it had in a 12-0 rout of last-place University last Thursday. “Our touches weren’t good, it was just one of those days,” said Pali junior midfielder Alex Michael, who hit the crossbar on a turnaround shot in the 72nd minute, an example of the misfortune that plagued the Dolphins all game. With a varsity roster consisting of many freshman and sophomores, Pali coach Kim Smith’s first season began with uncertainty. And while winning has bolstered the Dolphins’ confidence, Michael said the real test of the team’s mettle will be how Pali fares in the playoffs. “This team is young but the potential is there. It’s fun to win, but we know the teams we’ll play from now on are going to be better.” A panel of coaches will meet Saturday to determine the City playoff seedings. The Dolphins will host a first-round game next Friday (Feb. 20) at 3 p.m.

Timothy Ling, 46; Unocal President and Family Man

Timothy H. Ling, president and chief operating officer of Unocal Corp., died suddenly of apparent natural causes on January 28 after an ice hockey workout in El Segundo. He was 46. “Tim Ling was a brilliant executive with boundless energy and enthusiasm,” said Charles R. Williamson, Unocal’s chairman and chief executive officer. “He lived every moment with gusto. Although his life was tragically short, it was remarkably full. The entire Unocal family is shocked and saddened by Tim’s sudden passing. We will miss him terribly.” Williamson indicated that he would assume Ling’s responsibilities as president and chief operating officer on an interim basis, effective immediately. Ling was also a member of the company’s management committee and had served as a member of Unocal’s board of directors since 2000. Previously, he was executive vice president, North American Operations. He joined Unocal in 1997 as chief financial officer. “Tim invested every ounce of his extraordinary energy in making Unocal successful,” Williamson said. “His leadership and commitment were unwavering. He embraced change and challenge like no one else I have ever worked with.” Williamson noted that, with the help of Ling’s leadership, Unocal has made a lot of difficult changes over the past few years, strengthening its profitability and future growth potential. Ling was instrumental in developing and leading many of Unocal’s key business initiatives. He also helped to assemble a multitalented, highly experienced management team. “Thanks in good part to Tim’s vision and commitment, Unocal is traveling a clear and well- marked path to future success,” Williamson added. “We owe him a legacy of continued achievement and improved performance.” Born in Philadelphia, Ling earned a degree in geology from Cornell University in 1982 and an MBA at Stanford in 1989. Prior to joining Unocal, he was a partner at McKinsey & Company in Los Angeles. He also worked as a research geologist for the United States Geological Survey at Woods Hole, Massachusetts, where his focus was on the assessment of deepwater energy and mineral resources. In 1987, Ling married Kimberly De Mello. He was a devoted family man and actively involved in his young children’s lives, including coaching his eldest son’s ice hockey team. He was also an accomplished vocalist and musician who played both the cello and the piano. Ling was a director of the American Petroleum Institute, the Domestic Petroleum Council and Maxis Communications, a cellular telephone provider in Malaysia. He also served on an advisory board for the Department of Energy and was on the management board for the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. Meanwhile, he served as an officer and board member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, where he helped raise funds to complete Walt Disney Concert Hall. In addition to his wife, Ling is survived by their three children, Hudson, 7, Tommy, 4, and Peter, 2; his parents, Gilbert and Shirley Ling of Marion, PA; his sister and her husband, Eva and Neil Monahan of Wynnewood, PA, and their children, Stephanie and Casey; and his brother and his wife, Dr. Mark and Jenny Ling of Atlanta, GA, and their children, Sydney and Graham. Funeral arrangements are pending. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to either the Tim Ling Memorial Fund at St. Matthew’s Parish Church in Pacific Palisades or to the Tim Ling Scholarship Fund, in care of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association.