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Top 10 Stories of 2003


1. Rec Center’s “Field of Dreams” No sporting event in the Palisades in 2003 was more important or carried as much long-term impact as the completion of the “Field of Dreams” renovation project at the Palisades Recreation Center. The new fields were inaugurated by AYSO soccer teams in November, culminating a three-month long, community-funded project that was several years in the making. The $950,000 project was spearheaded by Mike Skinner, a longtime Palisades resident and youth coach. It included new bleachers, new turf and new dugouts and installing fences around the baseball diamonds. The entire town will benefit, as the fields are used practically year-round by youth organizations like AYSO, flag football and the Palisades Pony Baseball Association. Skinner’s committee hopes to hold an official grand opening of the fields at the PPBA’s annual pancake breakfast in March.

2. PaliHi Swim Teams Sweep City The dynasty continued in 2003 for the Dolphins, who swept the City Section swimming championships for the second year in a row. Longtime head coach Merle Duckett retired shortly after, making Pali’s victory all the more sweet. Sophomore Sean McDevitt led the boys, winning the 50 Freestyle and anchoring two relays. Pali’s victory was convincing, as the team accumulated 253 points to outdistance San Pedro (189) and Cleveland (138). Pali’s depth was evident by the results of the 500 Freestyle race, where the Dolphins qualified three swimmers. Senior captain Greg Walther finished third in 5:12.01, David Nonberg was fourth in 5:24.70 and Daniel Fox was sixth in 5:31.86. Other standout performances included Brian Johnson’s second-place finish in the 100 Backstroke and Nonberg’s third-place finish in the 100 Butterfly. The 200 Freestyle Relay team, consisting of Gavin Jones, Nonberg, Walther and McDevitt, won in 1:34.14 and the 400 Freestyle Relay team finished second in 3:28.25. Pali’s girls won just as easily, racking up 277 points to finish ahead of Cleveland (240), El Camino Real (182), Taft (118) and Marine League rival Venice (117). Cara Davidoff, a junior, led the way with All-American times in the 50 Freestyle (24.10) and 100 Freestyle (52.31) events. The Dolphins’ 200 Freestyle Relay team of Laura Johnson, Shira Frankel, Sheri Dunner and Davidoff took first place by over two seconds in 1:45.29. The 400 Freestyle Relay team finished third and Johnson was second in the 100 Breaststroke in 1:11.22. Luiza Campos won the 100 Backstroke and Frankel was fourth. Senior Stephanie Powers was third in the 500 Freestyle. Caitlin Owens was third in the 200 Freestyle and fourth in the 100 Butterfly. Georgia Hamilburg won the consolation finals in the 200 Individual Medley and Wishan was fourth in the 100 Butterfly.

3. Palisadians Win Will Rogers 5K Undeterred by scorching conditions, Peter Gilmore set a new Palisades- Will Rogers 5K course record for the second straight year, crossing the finish line in 14:10-eight seconds better than his previous record. It was Gilmore’s sixth 5K victory and he has set the course record on four occasions. “My goal is to break 14 minutes,” said Gilmore, who grew up in the Palisades but now lives in Menlo Park, where he trains with the Nike Farm team. “The heat isn’t really a factor in a short race like this. I figured I had to run the first two miles in nine minutes to have a chance. I ran them in 9:07, so I knew at that point it would be tough to break 14. I’ll probably try it one more time next year, then switch to the 10K.” Gilmore won the Post Cup Award as outstanding senior athlete at PaliHi in 1995 and went on to run cross country and track at UC Berkeley. He ran his first-ever marathon in Chicago last year, finishing in 2:21:48. Fellow Palisadian Kara Barnard won the women’s 5K for the fifth time, finishing 11th overall in 17:02. She won the 5K four straight times from 1997 through 2000, when she ran her best time of 16:50. Barnard switched to the 10K in 2001 and 2002 and won it both times, but the heat convinced her to stick to the 5K this year. “It was fun-it’s the fourth of July, I couldn’t miss this,” Barnard said. “What would the Fourth of July be like without the race?” Besides Gilmore and Barnard, several local runners won their age divisions in the 5K, including Peter’s mom, 63-year-old Rita Gilmore, who ran the 3.1 miles in 27:13. Gregory Myerson, 12, won the youngest men’s division in 22:37 while 16-year-old Ryan Gordon won his age division and finished fifth overall in 16:17. John Holcomb placed atop the 45-49 category in 17:03, finishing one second behind Barnard. Palisades’ kickboxing champion, Baxter Humby, placed 17th in the 5K in 17:33. Elizabeth Farnan finished first in the 30-34 age division in 19:57. The Riley family once again pulled off a trifecta in the 5K. John Riley finished first in the men’s 55-59 division in 20:15 while his wife, Bev Lowe, did the same in the women’s 45-49 division in 20:49. Daughter Ali, a standout in soccer and track at Harvard-Westlake, was first in the women’s 13-15 age group in 19:48. Kimberly Selby, 30, was the first Palisadian to finish the 10K, placing fifth overall in 42:27. Palisadian Maria Marrone placed first in the 45-49 division of the 10K with a time of 46:12. Three local runners won their age divisions in the men’s 10K. Ethan Meyers was first in the 13-15 division with a time of 38:04. Mervyn Cooper, 65, who has qualified for the Boston Marathon in April and will run the New York Marathon in November 2004, won his division in 54:18. In the 70-74 age group, Palisadian Andrew Martin won the 70-74 took first in 53:58. Palisades Bike Shop owner Ted Mackie, who has run almost every race since 1978, finished fourth in the 70-74 division of the 10K, completing the course in 1:00:43.

4. PaliHi Volleyball Wins 22nd Title Hanging in the gym at Palisades High are the banners of all the schools’ City championships. The girls volleyball team has accounted for 22 of those titles, including the one it captured in November at Occidental College in Eagle Rock. The Lady Dolphins won their first City title since 1999 by besting Granada Hills 25-19, 25-13, 18-25, 25-19 in head coach John Caravella’s first season. Palisades had reached the finals two seasons before, but lost in five games to Van Nuys. This time, Pali finished the job. “I’ve been wanting this for two years and now I’ve finally got it. It feels great,” said PaliHi senior defensive specialist Tracy Takemura, who finished with 20 digs and two aces. The match was the culmination of a season’s worth of hard work for the third-seeded Dolphins (16-1), who won 16 consecutive matches after losing their season opener to Sylmar in five games. Setter Diana Grubb ran the offense expertly en route to 28 assists, three kills and two aces. Senior Allison Houpt led the Dolphins with 13 kills while Ann Marie Barrette and Natasha Vokhshoori each had six kills and junior Stephanie Vaughan added five kills and an ace.

5. Nissan Open Playoff at Riviera Mike Weir shot a five-under-par 66 on the final day of the Nissan Open to overcome a seven-stroke deficit and beat Charles Howell III in a playoff in one of the most exciting finishes ever at Riviera Country Club’s famed golf course. “Everything went right for me today. I made some key putts on difficult holes,” said Weir, who walked away with the winners’ check of $810,000 and his second PGA title of the year. “Charles is a great player and he’ll have plenty of chances, as good as he is.” What made Weir’s effort improbable was the fact that he had failed to make the cut in four previous tries at Riviera. Like so many of his peers, Weir considers Riviera one of the best stops on the PGA Tour and said the course was as challenging as it’s ever been. “It says something when a course this old is still one of the hardest we have on tour. It’s a tremendous golf course and, in my opinion, the prototype of how a course should be designed.” After both players made par on the first playoff hole-the par-four 18th-Howell III hooked his drive on the 10th tee into a bunker. Weir hit the fairway. Howell III recovered by chipping his second shot within six feet and Weir’s second shot rolled to a halt eight feet from the hole. Weir calmly sank his birdie putt and when Howell III tapped his try left of the hole, he had to settle for the runner-up prize of $486,000. Lost amid the excitement of the playoff was Tiger Woods’ final round 65-the lowest score of the tournament and equal to Woods’ best round ever at Riviera. After shooting a 73 on Saturday, the world’s No. 1 player found himself in an unfamiliar position-11 strokes back and out of contention on Sunday. He finished tied for fifth with K.J. Choi with a four day total of 278-three strokes behind the leaders. Fred Funk, who held the lead after Thursday’s first round, tied for third with Nick Price at seven-under-par, Fred Couples finished at five-under-par and defending champion Len Mattiace tied Chad Campbell at four-under par. The playoff was the first at the Nissan Open since 1998, when Woods lost to Billy Mayfair at Valencia Country Club in Santa Clarita.

6. PaliHi Baseball Takes City Invitational The “feel good” story of the year may have been the Palisades High baseball team’s improbable run to the City Invitational championship in coach Russ Howard’s final season. The seventh-seeded Dolphins routed fourth-seeded Granada Hills 10-0 in five innings in the finals at Dodger Stadium behind a one-hitter from senior left-hander Dylan Forrester and a near home run to left field by sophomore shortstop Dylan Cohen. “The feeling I have is indescribable,” senior outfielder Jeff Megee said afterward. “It’s been a dream of mine since I was three years old to play at Dodger Stadium. When we got on the bus [assistant coach] Kelly Loftus said ‘Let’s win this one for Howard’ and we went out there and did it.” A questionable decision by the official scorer on a hard ground ball to third base in the fourth inning was all that separated Forrester from a no-hitter. He pitched with poise, striking out four, walking two and allowing three fly balls to the outfield. Palisades (21-9) got stellar defensive play from Cohen, second baseman Matt Skolnick and right fielder Byron Brooks. Evan Reis, Spencer Kirksey, Adam Franks, Niles Cook and Ron Michel all had key hits in the final. “Yeah, it’s cool to be able to end it like this,” said Howard, who announced before the playoffs that he was stepping down after 18 seasons to spend more time with his family. “We finished the season playing great baseball. Through the ups and downs, we never gave up. That’s the mark of a good team.” Howard leaves several lasting legacies at Palisades. He was responsible for having the Dolphins’ field named after George Robert, a former PaliHi teacher and longtime athletics supporter who died of a heart attack in May 2002 at the age of 86. Howard also initiated the program’s chief fundraiser, the annual alumni game, which he started when he took over for Jerry Marvin in 1987.

7. Palisadian-Post Tennis Open The third annual Palisadian-Post Tennis Open in September and October was the biggest and best yet. Palisades Tennis Center pro Eric Horine organized a stellar event, which featured local players in 16 age divisions. Played exclusively on courts throughout the Palisades, the tournament’s men’s Open final featured a rematch between last year’s champion and finalist. This time, PTC pro Francisco Franceschini beat defending champion Ross Loel in three thrilling sets. Other winners included Alex Baettig (boys’ 10s), Brian Alle (boys’ 12s), Chase Pekar (boys’ 14s), Matt Dubin (boys’ 14s), Arden Shore (girls’ 10s), Emily Keating (girls’ 12s), Yasmir Navas (girls’ 16s), Alan Greenburg (men’s 3.5), Danny Sembello (men’s 4.5) and Heidi Wessels (women’s 3.5).

8. Falcon Volleyball Squads Repeat St. Matthew’s eighth-grade boys and girls’ volleyball teams both won the Junior Delphic League championship for the second consecutive year. In June, the Falcon boys’ squad rallied to defeat Calvary Christian, 10-15, 15-3, 15-13 in the final. Seeded third, St. Matthew’s beat second-seeded Chaminade in the semifinals. “Knowing Calvary was going to come out tough and give us a solid match and also knowing it was the finals, I think the guys came out a little tentative,” said Falcons coach Lyndsey Banks, who celebrated her fourth championship in three years at the school. “But after the first game the guys were really supportive of each other and hung in there as a team.” The Falcons opened the championship match with a serving run by setter Matt Kremer to build a 6-2 lead before succumbing. St. Matthew’s led from the start in Game 2, with Jonathan Sebastian serving nine straight points, including three aces. In Game 3, St. Matthew’s built a 9-3 lead on the serving of Kremer, Sebastian and Blaine O’Neill. Calvary, however, held the Falcons scoreless for 10 rotations and took a 12-10 lead. But inspired play by Sean Dennis, Clark Porter and Daniel Auten allowed St. Matthew’s to turn the tide again and close out the match. In November, the girls wrapped up an undefeated season with an 11-15, 15-12, 15-12 victory over Harvard-Westlake in the finals. The Falcons beat Calvary Christian 15-3, 15-1 in the semifinals, with Katherine Sebastian serving seven straight points in Game 1 (including three aces). Cathryn Quinn and Sarah McMahon were dominant at net. Alexa Bagnard, Quinn and Chelsie Root each had four-point serving runs. In the finals, Quinn served four aces in the first game and Bagnard served three as the Falcons overcame a 7-1 deficit in the second game. Alexis Dunne and Nora Mardirossian also contributed from the outside. Quinn had a seven-point serving run in the decisive game. St. Matthew’s girls’ tennis team also enjoyed a successful season, winning its first-ever league championship.

9. AYSO Rattlers Rack Up Victories The Rattlers, a local boys U-12 AYSO team, enjoyed one of the winningest seasons ever by a Palisades-based youth soccer team. The team posted a 51-1-4 record and won 10 tournaments. Its only loss, at the Spring Break Classic in Pasadena, came to Hacienda Heights after 44 games, an overtime and 10 penalty kicks. The Rattlers shook off that loss by winning the Armed Forces Day Invitational in Torrance and the Irvine Memorial Classic, a CYSA tournament consisting of both AYSO and club teams. Coached by Chuck Davis, Glen Grimditch and Bill Barnum, the Rattlers consisted of Jared Davis, Charlie James, Zack Piehl, Alex Pack, Patrick O’Donnell, Michael Ray, Sean Grimditch, Alex Silverman, Jackson Liguori, Grimditch, Jimmy Carter, Greg Myerson and Spencer Koo, and Etaih van Herwerden.

10. Bryant & Grubb Win Post Cup Football player Damian Bryant and soccer/volleyball player Charlotte Grubb won the Palisadian-Post Cup Award as outstanding senior athletes at Palisades High. At 5-9 and 175 pounds, Bryant was hardly an imposing figure. But set him up behind the line of scrimmage, give him a running start and it’s amazing how intimidating he became. The Dolphin tailback scored 17 touchdowns and rushed for 1,470 yards in 2002, second-most in school history, and finished his final season third in yards gained amongst running backs in the City Section. He averaged 5.64 yards per carry, scored three touchdowns in a game three times and accounted for nearly half of the Dolphins’ points. More impressive to first-year coach Jason Blatt were that Bryant never missed a practice and did not fumble once in nearly 1,100 carries. Bryant rushed for 287 yards and three touchdowns in Pali’s opener against Cleveland, but his best performance came in the season finale at Westchester. He rushed for 121 yards and two scores and his electrifying 77-yard kick-off return clinched a 24-14 victory-Pali’s first victory over the Comets since 1991. Bryant played at El Camino College this fall but sat out much of the season due to injury. , Grubb, meanwhile, was the backbone of both the soccer and volleyball programs. She was a four-year varsity player in both sports and earned the Western League most valuable player in soccer as a junior and twice made the All-League team in volleyball. In addition to Pali, Grubb played for coach Hugh Donald on the Pacific Coast Soccer Club’s U-19 Premiere team, called “The Rage.” Respected by her teammates, Grubb led more by example than through words. That trait made her a calming influence in the heat of battle. Her biggest thrill in volleyball came in November of 2001, when she and the Dolphins played Van Nuys in the City championship match at Occidental College. Her favorite year in soccer was her sophomore season because “we had a good team and we all just loved to play.” Grubb accepted an academic scholarship to George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where she hopes to graduate with a degree in international affairs and/or minor in human services. Her younger sister, Diana, also plays soccer and volleyball at Pali.

Coaches of the Year

Palisades High tennis coach Bud Kling and Marymount High volleyball coach were equally deserving of coach of the year honors in 2003 after leading their teams to the finals in their sports. When the Dolphins’ girls squad defeated Crossroads 15-3 in September, Kling joined an elite group by notching his 700th career victory. Kling has coached the Pali boys program since 1980 and the girls every year but one since 1984, posting a 712-69 record-a winning percentage of 91 percent. “I’m not the first tennis coach to reach this milestone,” Kling said. “But I might be the first from the City Section. We generally don’t play as many matches as Southern Section schools, so I guess this is a big accomplishment from that standpoint.” Kling led both the Pali boys and girls teams to the City finals in 2003, though neither won the championship. In all, he has coached the Dolphins to 24 titles and his teams have averaged almost 17 wins a season. Kling was voted state coach of the year in 1998 by the National Federation of Interscholastic Coach’s Association. In just six seasons, fellow Palisadian Cari Klein has built the Marymount High volleyball program into a national power. And the 2003 team may just be her best yet, winning 35 out of 36 matches on its way to a fourth straight CIF Division IV state championship-the most consecutive state titles in one division by any school. Sure, Klein’s teams are loaded with talent, but she deserves credit for scheduling the Sailors against the toughest competition year in and year out. That a private all-girls campus like Marymount (with an enrollment of 400 students) can compete-and routinely beat-schools five times its size is as telling as Klein’s remarkable 174-18 record. The key to her success is not getting complacent, even after winning 91 percent of the matches she has coached at Marymount. “Every year is unique and every team you play wants to knock you off,” Klein says. “This particular team responded to every challenge and it was a really easy team to coach. These players were self-motivated. They wanted to win as much as I wanted them to win.” Marymount became the first Southern California school to win the Durango, Torrey Pines and Archbishop Mitty tournaments-three of the toughest on the West Coast-in the same season.

A Tree Falls on Earlham

David Stafford, a graduate student in Santa Barbara, was visiting his parents on Christmas day when a towering eucalyptus tree at the corner of Earlham and Mt. Holyoke (left), was knocked down in the high winds and rain at 2:30 p.m., pulling up the grassy area of the parkway and a bit of the sidewalk. The tree narrowly missed Stafford’s parked car, and did not cause any damage. A city crew came out at about 3 a.m. and cut off the edge of the tree so that one car at a time could get by. Two days later, a chainsaw crew came out and cut the tree into little pieces. Then the chipper crew came Monday to discard the wood. As of Tuesday, residents were still waiting for crews to take away the stump and repair the sidewalk. On Tuesday morning, the stump of the tree and several logs were still in the street, surrounded by orange-and-white barriers and some yellow police tape. A platform used as a tree fort, that Stafford and other neighborhood children had played in over a decade ago, was lying next to the stump. Photo: David Stafford

Man Robbed at Gunpoint along Haverford Sunday

Last Sunday, December 28, Daniel Leff was interrupted from his carwashing business by two men in their 20s, who accosted him while he was walking from a customer’s house in the 700 block of Haverford. According to the LAPD report, the armed robbery occurred at 3 p.m. Leff has several customers in the 600 to 700 blocks of Haverford. He washed cars at their homes and was walking from one house to another, carrying his bucket of tools, when two African-American men accosted him two doors north of Carthage on the west side of Haverford. One of the suspects asked Leff for the time and then told him that he was robbing him. The other suspect produced what appeared to be the barrel of a gun from under his clothing. Leff handed over $125 in cash and the suspects fled on foot. According to Haverford resident Warren Cereghino, Leff lamented that “what really hurts is that I’m poor.” The remark inspired Cereghino to go door to door to raise money to help out. Nine Haverford residents collected $140 to cover Leff’s loss. An LAPD car from Hollywood Division arrived an hour after the incident to complete the report,” said Senior Lead Officer Chris Ragsdale, adding that the car assigned to Pacific Palisades and Brentwood was unavailable. “We believe it is an isolated, random incident,” said Ragsdale, who added that the incident had no connection to the armed robbery in the lower El Medio area last month, nor any other reported street crimes.

Community Council to Discuss Crime In the Palisades: Is It on the Rise?

Crime and the proposed gate across Asilomar highlight the Pacific Palisades Community Council meeting on Thursday, January 8 at 7 p.m. in the Palisades Branch Library community room, 861 Alma Real. The public is invited. Senior lead officer Chris Ragsdale will give a report on a neighborhood meeting held at Palisades High on December 15 where over 100 concerned residents showed up. Moderated by the town’s official honorary sheriff Rich Wilken, the meeting was called in direct response to an attempted armed robbery on December 9 of Palisades resident Kevin Bird. Bird told the crowd how two suspects (whom he described as male, Hispanic, approximately 5’6″ to 5’7″ in height, weighing 165 to 175 lbs.) approached him while he was walking his two-and-a-half-year-old son on Miami Way, between Erskine and El Medio, at around 5:25 p.m. “I was taking my son Alex, who was on my shoulders, for a walk, like I do every night after work,” said Bird. Next thing he knew there was a gun pointed at his stomach and the perpetrators were demanding money. They ran away when a car happened to approach, but not before hitting Bird in the face. He told the crowd that since the incident several neighbors had reported other problems in the neighborhood and he argued that the LAPD provides “zero protection” in the Palisades. Bird’s outburst came after Ragsdale gave a summary of crime and police protection, or more specifically, the lack of it, in the Palisades. “There are approximately 30 crimes committed every month in the Palisades, which is about one per day,” Ragsdale noted. “A serious crime includes burglaries, robberies, battery, car theft and rape. Believe it or not, you [the Palisades) experience an extremely low crime rate compared with most of the rest of L.A. County.” Also scheduled to speak at next week’s council meeting is Dr. Mark Kelly, who wants to install a gate across Asilomar at El Medio that would block access to the cul-de-sac on the bluffs. For several months Kelly has been meeting with neighbors to discuss the viability of installing an electronically-controlled gate that would restrict vehicle entry from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. He wants the gate because he believes it will deter crime in the area. “The five families east of El Medio, on Asilomar, have to deal with a constant onslaught of illegal, disrespectful and lewd behavior,” Kelly wrote in a letter to the Palisadian-Post in December. “Arrests have been made for sales of “crystal meth,” a highly addictive and destructive drug now available in the Palisades. Public drinking is commonplace most weekend evenings. Trash is strewn along the park and over the bluffs. Condoms and beer bottles are tossed out of departing vehicles.” Crucial to Kelly’s application for the gate is a recommendation by the LAPD detailing known crime activity in the area. The Post discussed Kelly’s concerns with Senior Lead Officer Ragsdale. “As part of the proposed gate project for the Asilomar Blvd and El Medio bluffs area, the Los Angeles Police Department conducted a crime analysis search for all crimes related to the bluffs and the surrounding area,” Ragsdale reported to the Post. “After conducting a search covering a period of the last six months, the crime search indicated no crimes for the bluffs and surrounding areas. The search was then expanded to a year prior and no crimes relating to the bluffs and surrounding areas was shown. “The reality is there is not a crime problem on the bluffs. There is a nuisance and quality-of-life problem there. Because of the nature of the overlook and park area, it attracts many people from all over the Los Angeles region. Some of those people may be drinking, using narcotics and may not respect the park or neighborhood while using the park or looking at the ocean view.” Other agenda items: 1. An update on the YMCA’s parcel-split application processes in Temescal Canyon. 2. Update from PaliDog, the ad hoc committee exploring a dog park location in Pacific Palisades and a possible dog beach at Will Rogers State Beach. 3. Guardrails on Palisades Drive (see Opinion piece, P.3) 4. Continued consideration of a motion (by Norm Kulla) and update from the LA. Department of Transportation regarding the proposed reversible lane improvement on Sepulveda, vicinity of Getty Center Dr. to Skirball Dr. For additional information about the Community Council, please visit www.pp90272.org.

2003: Businesses on the Move in Palisades Districts

There were ownership changes in all five business districts in Pacific Palisades this past year. Stores closed, new ones opened. Some simply changed hands, other changed locations. In the lower Highlands Plaza, veterinarian Dr. Henry Pasternak moved his office to a facility he had especially built on Sepulveda in West L.A. Opening soon in his old location is the Heat Boutique, the town’s first sunless tanning salon. Mogan’s Cafe, which serves breakfast and lunch and is owned by David Williams (who also owns the nearby Misto Cafe which serves dinner), opened in June. In Santa Monica Canyon, Patrick’s Roadhouse reopened in April after an electrical fire destroyed part of the kitchen and the counter area, while the Beach House has been closed since November after a car rammed into the unoccupied dining room and caused structural damage. Now occupying the space at 138 Entrada (formerly the Surf Shop) is Amazing Grace, a special events planner (weddings, bar mitzvahs, parties). And on W. Channel Road, there are two new interior design shops: West Channel Road which also sells wall hangings and furniture, and MLK Studio (formerly Brown Architecture) which also sells collectibles. The biggest news at Sunset and PCH is the almost $1-million renovation planned by Spectrum Clubs, Inc, which bought out the Pacific Athletic Club in early November. Improvements will take full advantage of the outstanding beach location to benefit the 3,000 members. New in the area on Sunset is The Guild, the town’s first tattoo and body-piercing salon. In June, the Dance and Twirl Studio opened in the Marquez Avenue business area and recently subleased some of its space in the alley to Palisades Electric. The latter was evicted from the storefront it occupied for 18 years facing the parking lot off Swarthmore (beside Amazing Music). Also evicted after 18 years was Westlan Construction, whose offices are now located in the 881 Alma Real building. Both businesses were given notice to make room for an office and storage area needed by a new kitchen retail store and cooking school scheduled to open in the spring at 872 Via de la Paz, the former site of Sheila May. She plans to relocate her permanent makeup studio somewhere in the village. Also new on Via de la Paz is Pink Pineapple, which manufactures and sells women’s and children’s clothes., but also manufacturers them. Changes in the Palisades village included the November opening of The Cottage consignment shop in the space formerly occupied by The Enchanted Cottage gift store. Also on Swarthmore, Palisadian Patti Black split with partner Cindy Ellis of The Nest Egg to open Black Ink, a stationary store, in the site formerly occupied by Casa Boca. Ellis brought in a new partner, Palisadian Megan Kaufman, at her Sunset location, which she renovated and reopened after Labor Day. In December, the village lost a restaurant, Il Sogno, bringing to seven the number of storefronts that shuttered in 2003 (The Enchanted Cottage, Casa Boca, Kids’ Universe, Inscriptions, and Video 2010-plus food take-out Cloud 9, soon to be replaced by Pinocchio, a family-style Italian deli. As of this week, the floor tiles have been laid and the fan in the open kitchen has been installed. Palisadian Theresa Whitworth, who also owns the highly successful restaurant La Luna in Larchmont Village with her husband, plans a spring opening. Other new businesses opening in the village last year included Village Arts and Enrichment Center in the Washington Mutual building and Onassis Jewelry on Antioch. Also on Antioch is Teraine, a “lifestyle” store owned by Palisadian Janet Greenblatt. Set to open tomorrow is Jiva on Sunset, the Palisades’ first dedicated yoga studio which will not only offer classes seven days a week but sell clothing and jewelry. Body Aligned, a Pilates studio, will open above Starbucks later this month. Scheduled to close later this month or in February is the venerable Yamato Nursery (corner of La Cruz and Alma Real), which will be razed to make way for a Village School performing arts/gymnasium/playground annex. Construction is expected to begin in April. On that same corner, Vassie Naidoo sold his Palisades Garden Cafe last January to pastry chef Okyo Pyon so he could concentrate on his karate school. Meanwhile, Emerson LaMay dry cleaners moved from its Swarthmore location to Sunset. And Elyse Walker Accessoire, the only ladies shoe store in the Palisades and voted Best New Business of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce, moved down the block on Antioch, adjacent to Walker’s clothing boutique. What does 2004 hold? What new businesses will occupy the three prime storefronts on Swarthmore vacated by Emerson LaMay, Video 2010 and Il Sogno? There are already 22 eateries in town, as well as 14 hair salons and seven gift shops. Will the village finally get a music store, a hobby store or a See’s Candy, as Palisadian-Post readers suggested last spring? Let us know your latest ideas, given all that transpired in the town’s various business districts in 2003. The e-mail address is: editor@palipost.com.

William Costin III; Family Man, Athlete

William Gilmor Costin III, known to all as Gil, died December 21 at the age of 59. He was born September 13, 1944, the oldest of four sons of William Gilmor Costin, Jr. and Phyllis Huhn Costin. He graduated from Tabor Academy in Marion, Massachusetts in 1963, the University of Pennsylvania in 1967, and received a Master’s of Business Administration from New York University in 1981. Costin grew up in New York City and had lived with his wife and children in Pacific Palisades for the past 19 years. At the time of his death, he was employed by the Fraser Financial Group of Los Angeles. He was an active member of The Parish of St. Matthew, where he taught Sunday school for many years and served on the Stewardship and Planned Giving committees. He had a life-long interest in sports, excelling in lacrosse, ice hockey, football and tennis during his school years. He coached AYSO soccer in the Palisades for many years. He was very active in fundraising and in running golf tournaments for his children’s schools, John Thomas Dye, St. Matthew’s, Palisades High, and Marlborough. Costin is survived by his wife of 28 years, Anne King Costin; his four children, William Gilmor Costin IV, Wendy Costin Wolcott, Kingsley Blackridge Costin, and Whitney McKelvy Costin; his grandchildren, McKelvy Brackenridge Costin, Catherine Reed Costin, William Blackburne Costin and Oliver Whitney Wolcott; brothers, Blackburne Costin and Brackenridge Costin; and his stepmother, Jean Whitney Gold. He was predeceased by his brother, McKelvy. A memorial service will be held at St. Matthew’s, 1031 Bienveneda, on Saturday, January 3, at 11 a.m. A reception will be held at the parish immediately following the service. Burial will follow at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, January 6 at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Middleburg, Virginia. Memorials can be made to The American Liver Foundation, Greater Los Angeles Chapter, Funds for the Cure-Hepatitis C (liverfoundation.org) or to a charity of one’s choice.

Dick St. John, 63; Singer & Song Writer

Dick St. John, better known as a singer in the Dick and Dee Dee duo, died on December 27 at UCLA Medical Center from injuries he sustained from a fall from a ladder outside his home in Pacific Palisades Friday. He was 63. St. John was best known for Dick and Dee Dee’s biggest hit, “The Mountain’s High,” which made No. 2 on the Billboard pop singles chart in 1963. Born Richard Gosting in Santa Monica, he began performing with his friend Mary Sperling in junior high. The group soon attracted the attention of Liberty Records, who renamed Sperling Dee Dee. Dick and Dee Dee produced a mixture of music which was influenced by early ’60’s, with bits of doowop, soul and R&B in their sound. Besides “The Mountain’s High,” the duo found success with “Young and In Love” (1963) and “Thou Shalt Not Steal” (1965). They were also semi-regulars on such musical shows as “Shindig” and “American Bandstand.” St. John wrote songs that were recorded by Leslie Gore, Jan and Dean, and Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. He continued to record and perform regularly until his death. He is survived by his wife, Sandy, who joined him as the “new” Dee Dee in his touring act when Sperling retired in the early 1970s.

Jean Parmelee, 86; Lived in Palisades Since 1948

Jean Parmelee, who moved to Pacific Palisades with her husband in 1948, passed away on December 24 at the age of 86. She is survived by her husband of 64 years, Arthur, and four children: Ellen, Tim, Art and Ann. Services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, January 3, at the Palisades Presbyterian Church, corner of Sunset and El Medio. In lieu of flowers, donations in Jean Parmelee’s memory can be made to one’s favorite charity.

Audrey Hepburn: A Son Remembers

Audrey Hepburn's last trip for UNICEF was to Somalia in 1992. Here, she tends to Somali children in a refugee camp in northeastern Kenya.  Her notoriety brought attention to the catastrophic results of the war and the thousands who were starving to death in the camps. Photo: Robert Wolders
Audrey Hepburn’s last trip for UNICEF was to Somalia in 1992. Here, she tends to Somali children in a refugee camp in northeastern Kenya. Her notoriety brought attention to the catastrophic results of the war and the thousands who were starving to death in the camps. Photo: Robert Wolders

When Audrey Hepburn passed away 11 years ago this month at the age of 63, she left behind a formidable legacy. While people remember her Broadway debut (“Gigi,” for which she won a Tony) and her many Hollywood movies (including “The Nun’s Story,” “My Fair Lady,” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “Roman Holiday,” for which she won an Oscar in 1956) her greatest achievement was as a humanitarian. To continue her work, millions of dollars have been raised since her death in 1993 by both the Audrey Hepburn Memorial Fund at UNICEF and the Audrey Hepburn Children’s Fund, to provide basic care and education to children both in the U.S. and abroad. “I speak for those children who cannot speak for themselves,” Hepburn said in an address to the United Nations in 1989. “Forty thousand still die every day from preventable diseases like polio, tetanus, tuberculosis, measles, and the worst killer of all, dehydration from diarrhea caused by unclean drinking water and malnutrition. No natural calamity, be it flood or earthquake, has ever claimed so many children’s lives.” In the five years Hepburn worked as an ambassador for UNICEF (1988-92), she was the consummate volunteer. She never expected, or received, any perks. No private jets, Beluga caviar or Rolex watches for her. In fact, in the trenches, she would often eat the same relief portions (a bowl of porridge) as the children she came to serve. She did it in the hope that the world would pay attention to the plight of these children. “This is why I wanted to come to Somalia,” explained Hepburn in the fall of 1992, “not because I can do very much, but because there cannot be enough witnesses. If I can be one more and speak up for one child, it is worthwhile.” Hepburn’s work with UNICEF was a far cry from the glamorous life she led in the 1950s, when she was photographed by Cecil Beaton, dressed by Hubert de Givenchy and directed by William Wyler, Billy Wilder and Stanley Donen. Hepburn, who had studied to be a dancer before World War II intervened, worked with such stars as Fred Astaire (“Funny Face”), Humphrey Bogart (“Sabrina”), and Mel Ferrer (“War and Peace”), whom she married in 1954. What is not known about Hepburn is that she gave up her movie career after her second marriage to Italian psychiatrist Andrea Dotti in 1969 to live in Rome and be a full-time mother to her two young sons, Sean Ferrer and Luca Dotti. Ferrer, who grew up in Europe and speaks five languages, heads his mother’s foundation and works hard to preserve her memory with dignity. You will never find Audrey Hepburn’s Oscar or diamond earrings being sold on EBay, for example. Sean Ferrer, who lives in Santa Monica with his family, will sign copies of his book (“Audrey Hepburn, An Elegant Spirit”) on Tuesday, January 6 at Village Books at 7:30 p.m Personally, I was looking forward to the book, as Sean, 43, and I have been friends for some time. In it, he answers many of the questions I had about their life together. LR: How would you describe your mother? SF: She was very loving towards us, her own family. To the rest of the world she was, as some liked to describe her, a steel hand in a velvet glove. She was strong-willed and sure of what she wanted. She worked hard, whether it was for UNICEF, or on a film or in her garden at our home in Switzerland, which she loved. I remember her soft hands, her long hair, her bare feet. She loved pasta, which she ate at least once a day. Her recipe for spaghetti al pomodoro is in the book. LR: How long did it take to write? SF: I started writing it the day after my mother passed away. Although the actual writing took maybe a few months in all, it was spread over a couple of years. My mother was a very private person so I did not want to violate that. But I did want people to know what a fine person she was. She died in 1993, and still, she’s everywhere: on television all the time, in every conversation I have with anyone. People ask me what it was like to be the son of a famous movie star. Well, I don’t know, because she tried to keep our life as normal as possible. She did what any other mom does: picked us up from school, helped with homework, made our dinner. LR: There have been at least half a dozen biographies written about your mother. Why did she never write her own? SF: Because she was not interested in putting together what she felt were a collection of meaningless vignettes. That’s how humble she was. While my mother was revered both for her film performances and her real-life crusade, how do you market a “Hollywood” biography without the public scandals and lurid secrets? My mother had none. She was considering toward the end of her life writing something for my brother and me about the family, a kind of record of all the extraordinary people she had met and events she witnessed. But she couldn’t find the time away from her work for UNICEF. And then it was too late. LR: How did your mother become a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF? SF: My mother first came into contact with UNICEF in Holland, where she lived as a child. She was one of the tens of thousands of starving children in war-ravaged Europe to receive aid from UNICEF immediately after the liberation. They brought relief in the form of food, medication and clothes. Then in 1987, after she delivered a moving speech at a benefit concert for UNICEF, she was asked to be a goodwill ambassador. She left on her first trip in 1988, to Ethiopia. People kept telling her how harrowing and dreadful it would be. But then came Somalia. Nothing could prepare her for that. Nothing. Somalia was my mother’s last UNICEF trip, and probably the most important. The situation there, politically at the time, was at its worst. My mother and Robby [Robert Wolders, her companion the last 12 years of her life] had waited for a long time, maybe close to a year, for clearance to travel and for funds to be gathered. But when she had asked who would be issuing the visas, the reply came: “There are no visas, because there is no government. You just fly in and hope you won’t get shot down.” Upon her return from Somalia she started complaining about stomach pains. Four months later she passed away. LR: What did you do with all of your mother’s things-her clothes, her jewels, her furnishings? SF: After we sold the farmhouse in Switzerland, where she lived for 30 years, my brother, who lives in Rome, and I split most of the furnishings. A few pieces of her jewelry have been donated to raise funds for charity and many of her things, including her Givenchy gowns, signed scripts and original photographs, will be on exhibit in Japan for two years starting in May. A portion of the money raised will be donated to her foundation. The exhibit is starting in Japan because she is still a very big star there. The Japanese love her elegance and style. LR: What do you see as your mother’s greatest achievement? SF: Looking back at my mother’s life, I am most proud of her work for children, both here and abroad. After my mother’s passing, one of the first things we did was to set up the Audrey Hepburn Memorial Fund. My mother believed that the only way to change was through education, so the Memorial Fund implements educational programs in the five countries of Africa she felt were the most badly in need of infrastructure: Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Rwanda. And, in fact, we have just entered into a new 10-year commitment to UNICEF’s “All Children In School” campaign, which seeks to bring a basic quality of education to 120 million children around the world, two-thirds of them girls. And through the Audrey Hepburn Children’s Fund we have also helped set up child abuse centers in New Orleans, New Jersey and Childrens Hospital in L.A.. All this would please my mother, to see her work with children continued. For more information about the Audrey Hepburn Children’s Fund and its activities, contact: www.audreyhepburn.com