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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.

Dr. Samuel Kaplan, Pioneer In Congenital Heart Disease

Dr. Samuel Kaplan, a pioneer in congenital heart disease research and emeritus professor of pediatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, died of cancer on January 21 at UCLA Medical Center. The Palisades Highlands resident was 81. Kaplan graduated from the University of Witswatersrand School of Medicine in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1944 and completed his residency training before continuing his postgraduate training in cardiology at Hammersmith Hospital in London in 1949. He moved to the United States in 1950 to join the cardiology department at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, where he began his pioneering studies in congenital heart disease. As chief of the division of pediatric cardiology, he was among the first in the world to establish the specialty and is considered among the founders of this discipline. Under his direction, the hospital became a national and international referral center for infants and children born with heart defects. In addition to his clinical expertise, Kaplan made many experimental contributions to the field; his laboratory studies were instrumental in developing the membrane oxygenator that is still an essential part of the surgical procedure for open-heart surgery on both children and adults. Kaplan directed a superb clinical and laboratory training program in which each cardiology fellow was encouraged, nurtured and mentored to enter a career as an academician. Generations of his trainees are currently leaders of pediatric cardiology and occupy important positions in medical centers throughout the U.S. and other countries. When he retired from his position in Cincinnati in 1987, Kaplan was widely recognized as among the top five most constructive and productive academic cardiology leaders in America. At the invitation of the U.S. State Department, he lectured in several countries to share his expertise in pediatric cardiology. Joining UCLA in 1987, one of Kaplan’s most impressive contributions was his success in strengthening the postdoctoral training program. The respect and gratitude of several dozen fellows attest to his success. At UCLA, he also became the leader of a multi-institutional research program funded by a $9-million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the effects on the heart and lungs of HIV transmitted from mother to infant. This work alone has contributed more than 30 scientific reports, has identified important heart and lung complications associated with HIV, and has identified appropriate treatment and follow-up for these infants and children. Kaplan, revered in both pediatrics and pediatric cardiology, was the recipient of numerous honors and awards throughout his career. He is survived by his wife, Molly; his brother, Solomon; his sister-in-law, Marie; and his nephew and wife, Tony and Louise McKenzie. The David Geffen School of Medicine is planning a memorial service and UCLA’s department of pediatrics will issue notices of memorial services. The family has requested that donations be sent to the UC Regents/UCLA Division of Pediatric Cardiology, Medical Sciences Development, 10945 Le Conte Ave., Suite 3132, Los Angeles, CA 90095.

Calvary Dedicates New Playing Field

Jim Wadsworth, who led the effort to build a new athletic field at Calvary Christian School, overlooks the $2.5 million product.
Jim Wadsworth, who led the effort to build a new athletic field at Calvary Christian School, overlooks the $2.5 million product.

Six and a half years ago, Palisadian Jim Wadsworth said he felt called by God to spearhead a movement to install an athletic playing field at Calvary Christian School. Since then, his faith was tested numerous times, yet he never stopped believing. Last Thursday morning his prayers were answered. Calvary Christian held a dedication ceremony to inaugurate its $2.5 million synthetic turf field (located at 701 Palisades Drive at the foot of the Highlands), which will serve not only the parish school but the entire Palisades community. “I’m so excited to reach this milestone,” Wadsworth, who owns a real estate development and asset management firm in Santa Monica, said in a speech before the school’s students and faculty. “This has been a collective effort of so many people and we wouldn’t be here today without their contributions.” After opening remarks by Head of School Teresa Roberson, Wadsworth thanked Community Council member Kurt Toppel, AYSO Region 69 Commissioner Debbie Held, local attorney Marty Trupiano and Amgen construction engineer Dave Callahan, among others, for their contributions to his effort. “Kurt saw the merits of the field early on and staunchly supported us at council meetings, Debbie wrote letters of support and attended hearings downtown, Marty volunteered countless hours reviewing and redrafting legal documents required for city and state approvals, and Dave offered excellent advice throughout the design and construction process.” Wadsworth, a 25-year parishioner at Calvary Church, also thanked land-use attorney Mark Allen, Coastal Commission member Susan McCabe, civil engineers Lloyd Poindexter and Pat Montelana and construction management team members Frank Gamwell (principal), Gavin Miller (vice president), Ed Lloyd (senior project manager), Marc Dublin (business development) and superintendents Peter Gregory and Will Foraker. On hand to celebrate with Wadsworth were his wife Kay, assistant head at Calvary School, and two of their three kids, Jill, 29, and Jordan, 23. Then the school mascot, Casey Cougar, led a cheer and a flock of white doves was released. Letters from U.S. Representative Henry Waxman, Senator Barbara Boxer and City Councilman Antonio Villaraigosa were presented in recognition of Wadsworth’s commitment to the project. “There was a point when the field proposal seemed destined to be defeated,” Wadsworth continued. “It was then that two people stepped forward from the city attorney’s office, having the foresight to see the mutual benefits this field would have. These two women, Cecilia Estolano and Cynthia McClain Hill, worked tirelessly with me to arrive at a compromise solution for public usage.” Finally, Wadsworth thanked City Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski and her staff, chief deputy Lisa Gritzner, district director Debbie Dyner-Harris, field deputy Monique Ford and former deputy Kristen Montet. Public usage of the new field will consist of 18 Saturdays a year as well as six discretionary days to be determined by Palisades Recreation Center Director Cheryl Gray, who was also present. Mondays through Thursdays, the field will be used for Calvary’s after-school sports programs-flag football and cross country in the fall, soccer in the winter and track in the spring. “There’s such a need for the field and it’s such a beautiful facility, we want others to use it too,” said Marti Willens, Calvary’s middle school director. “It’ll be used every day for recess and P.E. The 7th- and 8th-graders play flag football and soccer in the Delphic League and the 5th- and 6th-graders play in the Coastal Canyon League. We’ll also play intramurals up here at lunch. There are so many great uses for the field.” Miscikowski attended the ceremony along with Jenny Toder (representing Assemblymember Fran Pavley), Viet Tran (representing Mayor James Hahn) and Ben Saltsman (representing Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky). She stepped to the podium after Wadsworth and praised him for his perseverance: “I can’t say enough about this man. In 1972, when I started to work on this canyon and this land, we had a big battle and we ultimately settled on a land-use plan for Santa Ynez Canyon. We agreed that we would carve out an Institutional Site for a church and school (we didn’t know who would own it) and we carved out an open space behind the school. “Then in 1997, Jim came up with his concept. He said ‘I think of playing fields as open space too, and we should make it for the students and children of the Palisades, too.’ He made that promise-and kept it. He had a shared vision for all the children-it really was his vision to push the envelope and build something for the children of the future.” PCM, the management firm that served as general contractor for the project, began work April 12, just over two months after the California Coastal Commission issued the long-sought permit. The project consisted of excavating 10,000 yards of dirt at the north end of the site, building retaining walls along the back against the hillside and installing synthetic turf measuring 90 yards long by 40 yards wide and covering 32,400 square feet. White and yellow lines are marked into the turf, which is called SmartGrass, and the school’s Cougar logo is painted at midfield. “This is truly a celebration day for Jim Wadsworth,” Roberson said. “When he began this process in July 1997, some of our students were not even born yet. Over six years, he sacrificed literally thousands of hours of personal time. Jim knew the children at Calvary and in the Palisades needed more athletic space and we thank him for his commitment.” One of the beneficiaries of the field will be Held and her local AYSO program. “It’s awesome,” she told Wadsworth afterwards. “You had a vision. I’m so glad you hung in there and I know the hoops you had to go through.” Held said AYSO will lease the field for $12 an hour, and its younger age groups will play games there 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays from August to November. The YMCA will also have practices and games there starting in April. “I was elected in July 1997,” Miscikowski said in her speech. “In August I had my first meeting with Jim. He already had a plan in mind. That shows his commitment. He set a goal, engaged other allies like Community Council and AYSO, and the result here is that everybody’s a winner.” Highlands resident and Calvary student Lauren Kohli was as excited as the adults: “I play intramural soccer at lunch. We play two 10-minute halves, seven or eight girls on a team. It’s exciting to be on the new field. It’s real cushioning, it definitely feels like real grass.” The California Coastal Commission approved Wadsworth’s proposal by a 7-1 vote in December 2001 but findings of fact procedures and general backlog delayed the issuing of the permit for 14 months. “I’ve seen it through all the different phases, from the time it was dirt,” said Dallas Price-VanBreda, whose Price Family Foundation earlier donated $250,000 to the new gym campaign at the Palisades Recreation Center. “We were one of the initial donors and it’s very exciting to see the project come to fruition. We got involved financially because five of my grandkids went through the school. If we had given in to the ‘nos,’ this would have never happened so our thanks to Jim for hanging in there. He knew it was the right thing to do.”

Residents Fight PCH Dog Park Site

Although this hiking path from Via de las Olas down to PCH looks inviting, it is steep at the top, and there is overgrown brush on the path. There are many forks along the way, and no signage. Also, near PCH, the trail is lined with trash and the personal items of the homeless people who live in the brush nearby. (See adjoining news story.)	Photo: Laura Witsenhausen
Although this hiking path from Via de las Olas down to PCH looks inviting, it is steep at the top, and there is overgrown brush on the path. There are many forks along the way, and no signage. Also, near PCH, the trail is lined with trash and the personal items of the homeless people who live in the brush nearby. (See adjoining news story.) Photo: Laura Witsenhausen

Residents of the Via de las Olas neighborhood are outraged by the proposed off-leash dog park proposed for the infamous “Oxy site” along Pacific Coast Highway, just west of Potrero Canyon-and directly below the Via bluffs. “While we are not against the idea of a dog park, we are adamantly against the idea of using the Oxy site, which we believe is reckless and irresponsible,” said Thomas and Elisabeth Giovine of BRAD (Bluff Residents Against Danger) in a letter to Norm Kulla, acting chair of PaliDog, the dog park search committee. “We urge you to seek an alternate site that is not so close to a residential neighborhood, such as Temescal Canyon. We have never understood why dogs are not allowed [there] anyway,” the Giovines wrote. “Please understand, before PaliDog expends resources on studies using the Oxy site, we want to be very clear: my wife and I will fight this movement with every fiber of our beings.” Kulla (and the Palisadian-Post) received similar protest letters from other Via bluffs neighbors who fear that a dog park on the flat, 2-acre site (once proposed for oil drilling) would entice droves of dog owners to park along Via de las Olas-between Mt. Holyoke and Friends-and hike 10 minutes or so down an unimproved path to the dog park. PaliDog’s goal is to build a parking lot adjacent to a fenced-in park (accessed from PCH) and discourage people from using the hillside trail. Eventually, the dog park would also be accessible to people hiking a one-mile fire road from the Palisades Recreation Center down through a “landscaped” Potrero Canyon. BRAD letter writers requested a meeting with PaliDog, and Kulla encouraged them to make a presentation to his committee on Monday, February 9 at 6:30 in Mort’s Oak Room. “PaliDog is attempting to proceed on a consensus basis,” Kulla said. “I believe we should make the Oxy site and concerns of the residents of Via de las Olas a principle focus of our next meeting. Monique Ford of Cindy Miscikowski’s office is also involved in this process.” Kulla said his committee has focused on the Oxy site “after studying and rejecting more than a half-dozen other possible locations” in the Palisades. “Land ownership is complex” along PCH at Potrero Canyon, he said, and “Monique has indicated that a land and/or easement swap is pending between Caltrans and the City. We anticipate a fluid and extended process to attain our goal.” In a two page e-mail to Via de las Olas neighborhood friends last week, Tom and Elisabeth Giovine argued that the proposed dog park would “jeopardize the bluff’s stability, invite crime, risk fire danger, risk our children’s safety, slow traffic and endanger the environment.” More specifically, they objected that: Since the Via de las Olas bluff is geologically unstable, the City deemed the street Withdrawn from Public Use “because it is worried about vehicle weight on the bluff. A dog park might cause users (not just from the Palisades) to park on Olas and risk the bluff’s stability.” In addition, there’s concern about “bluff erosion from increased human and canine foot traffic” down to the dog park. A dog park “would increase the likelihood of a fire that would threaten homes in the Palisades bluffs and in the Huntington.” Crime will increase because “the dog park will attract visitors from all over Los Angeles and Ventura counties-not just Palisades residents. The dog park will invite wayward and unseemly people to roam the bluff streets from PCH to the Village and throughout the Huntington.” “Children playing at the Palisades Recreation Center will be at risk from dog park users, who can easily walk directly up the canyon from PCH.” In addition, “unleashed dogs, so dangerously close to a densely populated residential neighborhood, will create serious risk to our children playing in their yards as well as around the bluff.” Environmental dangers will include the prospect that “dog urine and fecal matter will run off into the ocean, into an area that already has dubious water cleanliness,” and “the nightly on-shore winds will disperse remnants of dog feces throughout the bluff streets and the Huntington-posing a threat to human health.” * “We all know that PCH can be very slow, particularly during summer beach days. A dog park [at the foot of Potrero Canyon] will further exacerbate traffic issues as dog park users will be darting in and out of traffic.” In a letter to Councilwoman Miscikowski, Via de las Olas resident Bill Moran said he owned a golden retriever and he would enjoy taking his dog to a dog park-but not at the Oxy site. He argued that “having a dog park adjacent to PCH, where dogs may get loose (inadvertently) and be running around on PCH will be a dangerous situation.” In addition, since “innumerable people” will access the site from Via de las Olas, “the impact on the neighborhood could be enormous. A dog park could draw from a population of 30,000-50,000. Imagine the number of dogs, cars, and non-neighborhood people who will be using this facility.” In summary, Moran charged, building a dog park at the Oxy site “would be a complete disaster” and “ranks right up there with putting in a Minimum Security Prison and telling people to not worry because they’re non-violent people.”

3 Early Candidates in City Council Race

Amidst all the noise of national election primaries, three citizens have quietly begun the process of running for Council District 11 in March 2005, when two-term Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski will be termed out. This will be the first election in the district since it became a coastal district exclusively, as a result of last year’s redistricting, and candidates are already staking out their territory on the issues. Flora Gil Krisiloff, a Brentwood resident since 1985, is running on her record as a community advocate. “When I moved to Brentwood from Mar Vista 19 years ago, I immediately got involved in preserving the Brentwood Country Mart on the corner of 26th and San Vicente,” Krisiloff told the Palisadian-Post. “Then Marvin Braude appointed me to the San Vicente Design Review Board, where I continue to serve.” In more recent times, Krisiloff co-founded and remains the only chairman of the Brentwood Community Council, which was established six years ago. She has also served as vice president of the West L.A. Planning Commission for two years and is currently the president. While not obligated to step down from her position on the commission, she will do so voluntarily “in order to avoid any perception of a conflict of interest.” “Because the West L. A. Planning Commission encompasses all of Council District 11, I have become familiar with planning issues throughout the entire district, which runs from the 405 freeway to the east, the ocean to the west, Pacific Palisades to the north and Westchester to the south.” Krisiloff has assembled a campaign team that includes Rich Taylor, who ran both of Cindy Miscikowski’s campaigns, Charley Dobbs to raise money and Mary Ellen Padilla as treasurer. She expects to begin her fundraising after March 8, when matching funds become available. Krisiloff, 52, earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from UCLA, where she taught in the nursing school. She also holds an MBA from UCLA. She and her husband, Milton, who is a urologist with a Santa Monica practice, have three sons. Bill Rosendahl, who has 22 years experience in cable television specializing in public affairs programs, most recently on Adelphia, is hoping to build consensus on the City Council. Since 1987, he has produced 3,000 shows on state and local issues. In addition, he has given voice to all candidates, big and small, who have run for local and statewide office and offered a forum to debate state and municipal propositions. “I think of myself as being accessible and open, and believe if we all sit at the table we can come up with solutions,” he said. A Mar Vista resident, Rosendahl plans to use the next six months to raise money and familiarize himself with specific issues. He will hold his first fundraiser on March 8. He has hired a team of consultants including Parke Skelton to run the campaign, Brian and Pat Bradford to raise money and Steve Kauffman to “keep my books straight.” A native of New Jersey, Rosendahl, who is single, has spent his career in and out of politics, working for a number of Democratic candidates, including Bobby Kennedy’s 1968 bid for president, which brought him to Los Angeles for the first time on that fateful evening. Rosendahl, who turns 60 in 2005, thinks of himself as a citizen politician, whose “experience, awareness and maturity” will serve him well. Los Angeles native Sheila Bernard’s foray into politics was prompted by her own personal commitment to affordable housing. A resident of Lincoln Place Apartments since 1988, Bernard, 54, has led the fight to protect and preserve the 800 units of housing in the middle of Venice. She is the single mother of three grown children. “This major activity got me interested in politics as I began to see that the biggest problems in Los Angeles include affordable housing, transportation and, of course water,” Bernard told the Post. A graduate of UCLA, where she studied public service, Bernard has been teaching adults and at-risk youth in the Division of Adult and Career Education of LAUSD since 1981. “During these years I have met several thousand at-risk youth of high school age and helped many of them to prepare for the GED and earn their high school diploma,” she says. “I have concluded that schools need more support and participation from government and from local communities if schools are to play all the roles that are expected of them in the lives of students and their families.” Bernard not only serves as president of the Lincoln Place Tenants Association, but also was co-founder and current president of the Grass Roots Venice Neighborhood Council, which was certified two years ago. She says that she expects to run a “nontraditional” campaign. “The neighborhood council and tenants are my work in the community. The campaign has to accommodate my work in the community, not the other way around.”

Cooking Up New Business in the Palisades

Imagine a store in the Palisades dedicated to the home chef, a place for children and adults that would offer cooking classes, feature celebrity chefs and sell quality kitchen ware. “I thought the idea was great,” said Palisadian Richard Klein, a CPA consultant who has had many corporate clients. “I was surprised there wasn’t already a store like that in the village. I wondered why.” The concept first came to Klein, himself a home chef, last Memorial Day weekend when he was celebrating his eighth wedding anniversary with his wife Barbara and their two young children, Jacquelyn, 6, and Joseph, 2. Not sure if he had come up with the greatest kitchen idea since sliced bread, he spent a month trying to talk himself out of the possibilities. The demographics of the area, as well as some informal polling he did with his wife, convinced him otherwise. “This area is all about families,” Klein, who lives in the Marquez area, told the Palisadian-Post this week. “I believe the village is ready for this, a place where children can come and learn to cook, along with their parents. This is not a professional trade school. It is designed for the community to enjoy. Just look at the success of cooking shows in the last 10 years. Even my young son knows who Emeril is!” After looking at several possible village locations, including the former Kids’ Universe on Sunset (which ended up being leased to Jiva Yoga Studio) and the former Emerson-LeMay Cleaners site on Swarthmore, Klein settled on a storefront on Via de la Paz. And just last week he received tentative approval of his plans from the Palisades Design Review Board. “It’s been a whirlwind of planning and raising funds,” said Klein, who is not exactly sure when his multi-use kitchen store will open. His priority now is to renovate the former site of Sheila May Permanent Makeup Studio at 872 Via de la Paz. Plans call for a complete overhaul of the 1,650-sq.-ft. space, to be called Chefmakers. Klein is in the process of registering the trademark. “Chefmakers is a new retailing concept offering a wide variety of what I call edu-tainment activities,” Klein explained in his presentation to the DRB. “Products and services are oriented to the home chef, both adults and children, and is designed to meet the family-oriented needs of the Palisades community.” Exterior improvements include installing floor-to-ceiling windows, new front doors and awnings, and re-stuccoing the facade. A parapet wall will be built on the roof to give the signage, which is red, some depth. Although the Chefmakers store represents only two-thirds of the building frontage (the adjacent space, at 874, is occupied by Carpets West), the landlord is allowing an upgrading of the entire building, which will provide a “new unified look.” “I am very pleased with what they have proposed, and particularly with the quality of the project,” said Don Hecker, who owns the building. The DRB felt the same way. “I think it’s a tremendous improvement over what exists now,” said member Murray Levy. “I agree,” said chairman Rick Mills. While no formal vote was taken (as there was not a quorum at the meeting) the DRB gave conditional approval to the project. Plans also call for new signage for Carpets West as well as the Chefmakers logo (a chef’s cap) to be placed on the side of the existing tower so it is visible from Sunset. Colors for the design range from light to dark gray. Awnings will be soft green and act as a sun shield. Exterior concrete planters will be filled with seasonal flowers. “My intention was to simplify the building,” said architect Stanley Felderman, who has been involved in the design of several restaurants (Il Forno, La Vecchia Cucina) as well as the design of the MTV headquarters in Santa Monica. He and Klein met at a Daddy and Me class at the Village Arts and Enrichment Center on Sunset. They became friends, and Felderman is now an investor in the project. “Richard is so compelling, so passionate about this idea that I could not help but become involved,” said Felderman, who lives in the El Medio bluffs area with his wife Nancy Keating and their 3-year-old twin daughters, Kate and Sara. “This project is all about bringing families together, and giving something back to this wonderful community we live in.” Klein, 48, has also leased two smaller storefronts from Hecker to use as office space and storage. Both are located next to Amazing Music, behind the Via de la Paz location. He is pleased that several of the investors in the project, as well as some of his advisors, are Palisadians. “We hope to create a renewed interest in Via de la Paz with this project,” said Klein, who taught himself how to cook when he went off to study business at USC. He wrote about his first disastrous attempt for the student newspaper, the Daily Trojan. “My mother sent me off with a pot and some Hamburger Helper. I soon found out that the pot wasn’t big enough for what I was making!” So what does the home chef cook when he has guests? “Homemade fettuccine with Roquefort cheese sauce, paired with a French Sauterne,” Klein said. Possibility a recipe for a Chefmakers food demonstration? “Maybe.” To follow the progress of Chefmakers, go to: www. chefmakers. com.

Up Close with The Bay

Under the guidance of Santa Monica Pier Aquarium educator Nick Fash, Village School students get a special opportunity to touch the juvenile horn shark, whose skin is made of tiny teeth. From left to right are kindergartners Lizzie Howard, Emily Maron, Travis Rase and Ryan Starling.
Under the guidance of Santa Monica Pier Aquarium educator Nick Fash, Village School students get a special opportunity to touch the juvenile horn shark, whose skin is made of tiny teeth. From left to right are kindergartners Lizzie Howard, Emily Maron, Travis Rase and Ryan Starling.
Photo by Rich Schmitt, Staff Photographer

Last week, Village School kindergartners became scientists for the day when they visited the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium. Educators encouraged the youngsters to use their senses to learn about the ocean life in neighboring Santa Monica Bay. Formerly the UCLA Ocean Discovery Center, the aquarium was taken over by the nonprofit organization Heal the Bay last year, after budget cuts meant UCLA could no longer run it. Heal the Bay reopened the aquarium in June and it is now booked through the summer with elementary education programs. The aquarium complements Heal the Bay’s mission of ocean conservation and stewardship. Fortified with a snack after the short bus ride to the aquarium, located just underneath the carousel at the pier, the 45 kindergartners excitedly descend on the aquarium. Education manager Vicki Wawerchak and educator Nick Fash are ready for them. “When we go inside we’re going to be scientists,” Wawerchak tells the students. Once inside, the “treasure hunt for animals” begins, and they’re told to look for the soft and squishy orange sea cucumber or the red spiny lobster. Students are taught to take out their scientific “touching tool”-two of their fingers-to gently feel the “jello-like” sea cucumber and the “sticky” jellyfish, among others in the waist-high touch tank. The 2,000-sq.-ft. aquarium is filled with sea life, all of which is found in Santa Monica Bay. The viewing tanks have different themes-one is filled with crustaceans, the pier tank reflects the sea life right under the pier, and a rocky reef tank contains eels. The large touch tank contains invertebrates such as sea urchins, sea stars and snails. “The kids love it,” says teacher Stephanie Don Vito of the aquarium. “They can see the animals and touch them. It’s not too big and the presenters are great.” Up to 60 students can visit at a time, divided into two groups. Wawerchak leads them in a program where they learn about sea stars, sea urchins and sea cucumbers. Lucky young volunteers get to hold the animals, as Wawerchak explains through words and funny physical demonstrations how sea stars dine on mussels. “They barf their stomach up outside their body and into the mussel, make a soup [with their digestive juices and enzymes] and suck it in.” “Gross!” yell the kindergartners. “Scientists don’t say ‘gross,’ they say ‘Wow, cool!'” explains Wawerchak, a native Palisadian who has been a marine biology educator for 10 years, and who gains her young audience’s rapt attention. Soon she has the children demonstrating the sea star digestion along with her. Later, small groups of children gather around a sea star in a plastic container. When the sea stars are placed on their backs as an experiment, they start to turn over. “Flip over sea star,” the kids chant. “Ours is flipping,” another group says excitedly. And with arms raised high in the air, a third group shouts: “It flipped!” The children touch the sea stars’ tube feet, and back at the touch tanks, see one with its stomach partially out. For the second half of the trip, the groups switch, and Nick Fash leads them out onto the beach. Kids continue their scientific exploration right next to the pier, looking for bird footprints, feathers and guano (“What scientists call sea bird poop,” Fash says). Then, given plastic colanders to use as sieves, the kids pair up and see what they can find in the sand-shells, rocks and tiny sand crabs. “They learn there’s more to the beach than just laying a towel down and playing in the waves,” Wawerchak says. “There are animals and a food chain.” Palisadian Vicki Warren is one of several Heal the Bay volunteers assisting this morning. The small staff relies on many volunteers-to help with education programs, greet the public and answer questions, or assist senior aquarist Jose Bacllao in feeding and taking care of the animals and tanks. The volunteers and educators say it’s particularly rewarding to work with students who have never been to an aquarium or put their toes in the sand. “It’s fun to get them to not be afraid,” Warren says. The aquarium, 1600 Ocean Front Walk, is open to the public from 2 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 12:30 to 5 p.m. on weekends. Heal the Bay runs the aquarium with the help of a grant and assistance from the City of Santa Monica, but they are looking for donations to help in continuing the aquarium’s work. The entry fee is $1 per person, with a suggested donation of $5. Children 12 and under are free. The aquarium is also available weekend mornings for birthday parties. Sundays are shark days, with a talk and feeding at 3:30 and shark movies, crafts, discussions and stories the rest of the day. A “microbiologist” program for 3- to 5-year-olds will take place on Monday afternoons in March. For more information or to make donations, call 393-6149.

Author Jamison Brings Dual Perspective to Mental Illness

Although her illness first became apparent in the early 1960s when she was a 17-year-old student at Palisades High School, Kay Redfield Jamison didn’t seek treatment for her manic depression until a decade later, when she had completed her doctorate and was a professor of psychiatry at UCLA. In 1995, she bravely told the story of her own affliction in “An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness,” a book that went on to became a New York Times bestseller. Jamison will share her personal and professional reflections on mental illness in a lecture at the Palisades Branch Library, 861 Alma Real, at 2 p.m. on Saturday, February 7. Manic depression, also known as bipolar disorder, is characterized by extreme emotional highs and lows. It is a disabling disease that often becomes progressively worse if left untreated. In Jamison’s case-made all the more ironic by her education and training in psychology-the author initially felt that her depressions were a passing phase. “There’s a certain amount of denial involved to keep on going,” says Jamison, who now is Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore. “I assumed I could handle anything that came my way.” In fact, like so many other sufferers, Jamison reveled in the highs, which brought periods of intense creativity and feelings of accomplishment. Although these episodes were inevitably followed by crushing, debilitating lows, Jamison was slow to accept the need for medication, fearing it would deaden her spirit. Her harrowing journey-and ultimate recognition of the need for both medication and psychotherapy in order to heal-is chronicled with candor and wisdom in her memoir. Jamison explored the link between mental illness and creativity in an earlier book entitled “Touched with Fire: Manic Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament” (1993). While her book outlines biographical and scientific evidence for a relationship between manic- depressive illness and artistic creativity, it does not romanticize the connection. “Nobody can be creative if they are hospitalized or dead,” says Jamison, who has spent her entire career advocating taking medication to treat depression and warning about the dangers of suicide. Her most recent book, “Night Falls Fast,” is a treatise on understanding suicide, something the author is increasingly optimistic about the possibilities of preventing, but deeply frustrated by the lack of public and professional awareness of the terrible toll it takes. However, Jamison is encouraged by a public that is increasingly better educated about depression. “People know the symptoms and how common it is,” says Jamison, a 2001 recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship. “They’re much more aware that there are medications out there. It makes a huge difference.”