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Taking Turns

Saint Joseph’s University freshmen Ireland (left) and Sophia Amato talk strategy with volunteer assistant coach Tim Stierle before a doubles match. They partnered to win 7-5 at the No. 3 spot to help the Hawks defeat Lafayette on February 22.
Photo courtesy of Saint Joseph’s Athletics

Twins Ireland and Sophia Amato Got their First Taste of College Tennis at Saint Joseph’s University

By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor

Despite their freshman  season being cut short because of the coronavirus, Ireland and Sophia Amato got a taste of what college tennis is like and they want more.

The identical twin sisters weren’t merely teammates on the women’s squad at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, they were also roommates… and they discovered the true meaning of cooperation and compromise.

“The biggest transition from high school to college was living alone without your family and having to make new friends and connections that’ll make you feel at home,” Ireland says.

Adds Sophia: “For me it was realizing the amount of independence you’re gaining and learning how to manage your life without parents always by your side.”

Saint Joseph’s was 1-6 when the season was canceled in mid-March. The Amatos were two of four freshmen on a team with only one senior—rare for a Division I program playing in the Atlantic 10 Conference.    

“Life [at St. Joe’s] is exciting and new,” Ireland says. “I didn’t mind the dorms because it allowed me to meet new people. Living in a dorm is very different from living at home because things aren’t as private and you have to get used to swiping into every door and dealing with people and how different they may act from you.”

Sophia adds that rooming with her sister made things easier: “The people are extremely nice, which made it easy to make friends! I loved my dorm, it was in the center of campus around most of the action . The girls on my floor were very friendly, making it an easy transition. Living with my sister the first year made it a comforting environment.”

The Amatos played for three years at Palisades High and went through a somewhat similar experience upon moving to Southern California from the East Coast. They helped the Dolphins win the City Section title as ninth graders, then spent their sophomore year  back in their hometown in Pennsylvania, leading the Easton High tennis team to its first District title and third in the state tournament.

Returning to Pali High as juniors and living in the Highlands, they were part of two more City championship teams before signing with Saint Joseph’s in February of last year. Since then, they have never looked back.   

“It took a few weeks to adjust to the new environment at SJU,” says Ireland, who is three minutes older than her sibling. “It was difficult at first because the only person I knew at SJU was my sister but the team quickly made me feel welcomed and straight at home. My practice and routine schedule was pretty packed during the season. We had to end all classes no later than 12 and mostly practiced inside which was definitely different from playing outside in sunny California. We even had very late matches and had to wake up the next day extremely early to take a bus to our next destination to play another match.”

Adds Sophia: “Honestly it didn’t take much time for me. It felt so natural and welcoming, like I was meant to be there and I’m very happy with my decision. We had practice Monday-Friday and occasionally Saturdays for about two hours. On Tuesdays and Thursdays straight after practice we had cardio and weight training, which really impacted my game in a positive way. Because practice was in the afternoon I took all my classes in the morning which meant long days, but well worth it!”

Sophia’s biggest thrill came when she came from a set down in singles to notch the decisive point in the Hawks’ 4-3 triumph over Lafayette on February 22—their only victory of the season.   

“We started off the match strong with my sister and I clinching the doubles point in a tight set,” Sophia recalls. “From there we went to singles and I was the last to go on. The overall score was tied at 3-3, which meant I was the deciding point. I lost the first set and came back to win the next two and clinch the match! My coach was on the sidelines giving me advice and something memorable he said to me after I lost the first set was ‘Sophia, do you want to be a chicken or a hawk?’ My teammates were very supportive and it was a great moment. I definitely say college tennis is harder than high school because you’re up against more experienced players, many of them older than you, at a step higher than high school. It takes time to adjust to college.”

Ireland adds: “The experience that stood out to me the most was clinching the doubles point against Lafayette because the whole team was watching and it was an exciting moment. It’s much harder than high school in the sense that every match is competitive.”

Sophia remembers the empty feeling after hearing the season was done: “We were on our spring break trip with both the men’s and women’s teams. It started off in Pittsburgh and then we went to North Carolina for a match against Davidson where we heard our season could possibly be canceled. We were forced to have our Senior Day for our captain which was very emotional and our coach told us to play as if our season wasn’t going to be canceled. Sadly, after the match we were back on the bus when we got the news.”

Ireland also took it hard: “The entire team was devastated because of all the hard work we put in during the fall to prepare us for the season. We had a 9-10 hour bus ride back to Philadelphia to process what had happened.”

Ireland Amato played No. 3 or No. 4 singles as a freshman at Saint Joseph’s University, an NCAA Division I program in Philadelphia.
Courtesy of Saint Joseph’s Athletics
Sophia Amato won at the No. 6 singles spot to earn the decisive point in Saint Joseph’s University’s nonconference victory over Lafayette.
Courtesy of Saint Joseph’s Athletics

Both Amatos enjoy the Division I college format comprised of three doubles matches (each one set with no-ad scoring) followed by six singles matches. Ireland switched between No. 3 and No. 4 singles; Sophia between No. 5 and No. 6. The pair switched between No. 2 and No. 3 in doubles.

“The no-ad has helped me and hurt me,” Sophia says. “College doubles goes so quick. With only one set you don’t have much room for error or a slow start. I’ve learned to deal with my nerves on the court. Something I especially like with college tennis is the on-court coaching. It can really make a difference, calming your mind and knowing someone’s there.”

Ireland agrees: “Starting the match with doubles is a great way to shake the nerves and get focused. It’s a confidence booster heading into singles with the doubles point on your side. The level of play is very tough and pushes you to play harder because everyone’s just as consistent as you.”

Sophia believes the college experience has strengthened their  relationship even more.

“Since we play doubles with each other at such a high level we’ve gone through the highs and lows together,” she says.   

Ireland can remember all too well dropping her last match in a Dolphins uniform in the City Individual singles final after rallying to beat her sister the round before in their first meeting since 10th grade when they faced each other in the District semifinals in Pennsylvania, That time, Ireland prevailing in a third-set tiebreaker.

Twin sisters Ireland (left) and Sophia Amato with their medals at the City Individual Finals in 2019, their last tournament as Dolphins.
Photo: Steve Galluzzo

As for Sophia, she won the Sportsmanship Award for her exemplary behavior on and off the court in the 2018 City Individual tournament. The sisters played No. 1 and No. 2 singles as seniors and have fond memories of their days in the blue and white.

“I miss the Palisades a lot,” says Ireland, who like her sister is majoring in undecided business. “California will always feel like home to me. The last time I was back was during Winter Break. I’ve kept in touch with some of my teammates here and there but I’ll definitely reach out to them when I return.”

Adds Sophia: “I too miss the Palisades and its small town atmosphere! I got to train there before my actual season started, which helped prepare me for some tough matches I had in the spring.”

Both sisters are grateful for their time at Palisades and think it prepared them well for college academically and athletically.

“The first semester was challenging at first juggling academics and athletics, although SJU really goes out of its way to help student athletes succeed,” Sophia says. “We had athletic study hall hours with tutors for any subjects we were struggling with. You really learn how to manage your time as a student -athlete and I didn’t take my free time for granted.”

Ireland and Sophia also both liked playing for SJU head coach Ian Crookenden.

“He’s a very knowledgeable and wise man because of his past experiences as Arthur Ash’s doubles partner at UCLA and making it to the semifinals in doubles at Wimbledon,” Ireland says. “Coach [Bud] Kling at Palisades and Coach Crookenden are very similar in that they both understand the game insanely well and give great advice whether it’s on strategy, court position, technique or mentality. They’re both intelligent and caring coaches that are a pleasure to work with.”

Sophia eagerly chimes in: “Coach Crookenden has played tennis at the highest level and just like Coach Kling he’s extremely knowledgeable in doubles.”

Both sisters are optimistic that the team will be even better next season.

“SJU has good chances to improve and play even better next year because as a younger team we four freshmen have gotten a little taste of competing as a team and are looking to improve our results,” Ireland says. “We’re all preparing our skills individually based upon what Coach Crookenden believes we can improve on during this time. We’re working on and off the court every day.”

Asked to give advice for girls transitioning from prep to college tennis, both had practical tips.

Ireland (left) and Sophia Amato with Pali High coach Bud Kling after they signed with Saint Joseph’s University.
Photo: Steve Galluzzo

“You may feel out of your comfort zone at first but you’ll meet plenty of new friends,” Ireland says. “You have a lot on your plate and lots of places to be. I’d recommend a lighter course schedule your first semester to get used to college work because the first semester is always hardest.”

Adds Sophia: “Don’t worry what spot you play in the lineup. Most important, practice hard and develop a team rather than an individual mindset. Even if you lose your match make sure to root on your teammates because you can still win the match overall!”

Runners with a Cause

Photos by Steve Galluzzo

Palisadian Moms and Girls Leg Virtual Marathon Relay in Huntington to Raise Money for Charity 

By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor

Sydney Suh

A little ingenuity goes a long way. Last Sunday, Palisades High cross country/track coach Gwendolen Twist, who is also a member of Janes Elite Racing Club, formed a team she cleverly named “Quaranteen and Some Pali Moms” to participate in a women’s virtual marathon relay  called “Together We Distance.”

“As far as our team we all live here in the Palisades and got matching bibs,” Twist said. “We ran up and down Pampas Ricas, then down Sunset to Brooktree to Rustic Canyon Park and back. In all there were 50 teams from all over the world, so just shy of 300 women. There were 10 teams from Russia, one from Germany and one from the United Kingdom. It had to be from 6 a.m. to 12 p.m. anywhere around the globe. We raised over $2,000 for women’s charities.”  

Erin Karish

Twist, a 45-year-old living in the Alphabet Streets, was joined by fellow moms Fati Adeli and Erin Karish, Pali High freshman Sydney Suh and Adeli’s daughters Layla (a freshman at Pali High) and Leena (a 7th-grader at Paul Revere Middle School).

Twist ran seven miles, Karish ran 6.2 miles, Layla Adeli ran five miles, Suh ran four, Fati Adeli ran three and Leena Adeli added one for a total of 26.2.

Other “funny” team names included “We Run Faster than TP off a Target Shelf,” “Bioluminescence,” “Masked Millennials,” “Quaranqueens,” “Quaranteam” and “The Janes Who Ran Away from Home.” 

Leena Adeli

“Gwen sent me the info and I gathered a group of moms and kids… it was something to look forward to,” said Fati Adeli, who is 51 now and has been running since she was in 7th grade. “Erin and I like to run around here so I recruited her.  I love that my girls are runners. We start together but we never finish together. They leave me in the dust.”

Like Twist, the Adelis live in the Alphabets and Fati described herself as a “casual” runner who used to do half marathons. She ran the Los Angeles Marathon on her 40th birthday (May 25, 2009), the one year it was held on Memorial Day.

Karish, who just turned 47,  has lived in the Palisades for 15 years—the last nine in the Huntington—and has three boys: the oldest Finn went to kindergarten with Layla, the middle son Sawyer is Leena’s classmate and her youngest Dashiel is friends with Twist’s twin boys. 

Fati Adeli

“We thought Sawyer would be the first baby of the year, Post photographer Rich Schmitt had already taken a picture,” she said. “As it turned out, another family had a baby nine hours earlier, so we were the runner-up.”     

Layla, who ran cross country and track at Paul Revere and ran cross country at Pali High in the fall, was excited to be part of Sunday’s relay even wearing masks and social distancing.

“I was going to be a miler in track, in fact I was for two meets  before the season got canceled,” she said. “I like cross country because you all score together.  In track, the races are shorter.”

Suh attended Canyon Charter Elementary and lives on West Channel Road. She suffered shin splints during the cross country season yet still ran for the Dolphins at City finals. According to her, Twist and fellow coach Rob Hockley, are very supportive.

Gwendolen Twist

“I got a message from Fati that we have this marathon relay to do and I was all in,” said Suh, who was a gymnast until the age of 10 and started running in 6th grade at Revere. “Online school is a change for me and we’re sent workouts to do on our own.”

Leena Adeli runs cross country and track at Revere and runs with her sister on Saturdays. She ran the Palisades Turkey Trot 5K on Thanksgiving.

Twist joined The Janes in the spring of 2017, hired “Run with the Lab” founder Blue Benadum  as her private coach and competed in numerous races for three years. She won the Mountains to Beaches Marathon last May, won the local Turkey Trot 5K for the first time on Nov. 28 and took sixth in the Masters Division to help The Janes take first place in the 40s and 50s division in January at the XC National Championships in San Diego.

Layla Adeli

“I figured we’d start at 7 a.m.  to beat the heat and the crowds,” Twist said of Sunday morning’s virtual event. “This was my first race back from taking some much needed time off to rest my body and it’s a fun way to kick off my new ‘quara-season.’”

The team had so much fun that Fati is already considering something similar on Fourth of July morning: “Maybe we’ll run the 5K course, since it’s all in the Huntington neighborhood.”

Palisadian Businesses Ease into Reopening

KEETAN storefront
Photos by Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

Beaches, Trails Also Open With Restrictions

By LILY TINOCO | Reporter

Governor Gavin Newsom announced last week that California would be easing its way into Phase 2, offering businesses like bookstores, music stores, florists and more the chance to reopen for curbside pickup beginning Friday, May 8.

The state continues to encourage physical distancing practices and asks that retail employers implement a plan before reopening “to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workspace,” according to the California Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 General Checklist for Retail Employers.

In-restaurant dining, car washes, shopping malls and some office buildings may also be allowed to reopen in coming weeks if public health officials are able to demonstrate that the spread of the coronavirus has stabilized in their county.

The Palisadian-Post spoke with a couple of recently reopened retailers, checking in about how they have adapted to the changes.

Temescal Gateway Park

Petit Ami, a baby and children’s clothing store previously located at 15301 Antioch Street, has rebranded and relocated. The new business, KEETAN, named after store-owner Pamela Hayer’s 10-year-old son, can now be found at 1015 Swarthmore Avenue.

“Our lease was up with Petit Ami on Antioch Street, and management informed us that the landlord was not renewing or signing new leases,” Hayer said in an email to the Post. “We have wanted to remodel for some time … We expanded our supply when we started traveling to Paris and New York, to curate a collection of new brands, and felt like we had outgrown our old location.”

Hayer added that when the store had the opportunity to relocate its business with a fresh and bright new aesthetic, it felt like they needed a new name, and Keetan felt right.

KEETAN currently offers curbside pick-up and free delivery.

PaliSkates has also set up a temporary online store, and recently began offering curbside pickup.

And a familiar all-black taqueria recently made its return on Saturday, May 9.

Gracias Señor is back on Sunset Boulevard, with a reduced menu. The taco hot-spot is no longer offering burgers or carne asada fries “to maximize efficiency,” according to a social media post.

“Food trucks were never really mandated to close,” Gracias Señor’s Rodolfo Barrientos said. “Gracias Señor chose to close to protect the Pali community, we knew it would be a difficult decision, but we thought it was the most responsible decision to make.”

Barrientos said the team will be wearing protective gear at all times, including gloves and masks. He said they are also working on taking orders over the phone to minimize crowds and wait time.

He said there will also be signage in place reminding individuals to keep their distance, wear their face masks and be kind to one another.

Gracias Señor will be operating Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

At Palisades Village, retailers like Amazon Books and Sephora Studio remain temporarily closed.

LA County officials reopened trails and golf courses with restrictions beginning Saturday morning, May 9. Face coverings are required in parking lots, trailheads and other areas that are crowded, with hikers required to wear face coverings on trails if they’re unable to keep six feet apart from others.

According to a county website, Will Rogers State Historic Park has reduced capacity parking and all lawns, including the polo field, remain closed.

LA County is also slated to begin reopening beaches, including Will Rogers State Beach, as early as Wednesday, May 13.

Beach parking lots will remain closed during the first phase of reopening. Permitted activities include surfing, swimming, walking and running. Gathering, sitting, sunbathing, biking and volleyball will still not be allowed.

Those who visit the beach will be required to keep six feet of distance, as well as wear face coverings out of the water and around others.

As the Post went to print Tuesday evening, Public Health had identified 33,180 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of the county and a total of 1,613 deaths.

The number of cases in the Palisades was 40, with three cases reported in Palisades Highlands.

Fourth of July Race, Parade, Fireworks Canceled

2019 parade
Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer


When the Fourth of July rolls around, there will be no chairs lining Sunset Boulevard, no race to kick the day off, no concert and fireworks to end the night.

Beloved Pacific Palisades festivities, including the Palisades Will Rogers 5 & 10K, the 72nd annual Palisades Parade, and Palisades Rocks the Fourth concert and fireworks, have been canceled due to COVID-19, Race President Brian Shea and Parade (PAPA) President Matthew Rodman confirmed in a letter addressed to the community.

“The health and safety of our community is paramount, and the limits on large social gatherings necessitates this difficult decision,” the letter explained. “While we’ll have many more Independence Days to celebrate, today we must all do our part to safeguard the health of our community.”

The organizers added the Patriotic Home Decorating Contest will still take place.

“This Fourth of July we’ll welcome a squadron of WWII fighter planes for a community-wide flyover at 2 p.m., which you can and should view from your home,” Rodman and Shea explained. “We’re hoping that you’ll celebrate, albeit in a different way in 2020.”

When asked why the fireworks show was canceled, event organizer Susan Montgomery explained the city of Los Angeles would not issue a permit because of crowding, but that the committee is working on other ideas.

“Reverse the parade,” Terry Lewis Lyman suggested. “Decorate floats and yards and let people drive by safe in their own cars.”

Arwen Hernandez, former band director at Palisades Charter High School, shared that she has fond memories of the parade, but supports PAPA’s decision.

“I’m sorry to hear this,” Hernandez wrote, “but thank you for making a carefully considered choice for the good of the community.”

Shea said there is some thought being given to a “virtual race” for area high school teams to compete for the Dick Lemen Memorial Trophy (a competition that debuted last year) and will be discussed with Greg Sack of Spectrum Timing Services, the event’s race timing company in past years. Race T-shirts and Kids Fun Run T-shirts for 2020 are available for a donation.

The first race committee meeting was scheduled for April 1 in the Palisades Village, but ultimately it and all subsequent meetings were tabled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Over the next month, Shea and his dedicated team held out hope that the 43rd edition of the local Fourth of July race might still take place.

The race, which starts and finishes at Palisades Recreation Center, has been run every year since 1978. Shea, along with fellow Palisades Ridge Runners Chris Carlson and Bill Klein, mapped out a course and got the necessary permits to hold the inaugural 10K and the event has grown in popularity ever since. A 5K was added in 1986. The 10K is regarded as one of the toughest in California and the race attracts between 2,500 and 3,000 runners annually.

“On behalf of the Palisades Americanism Parade Association and the Palisades-Will Rogers 5K/10K Run Foundation, we wish you and your family the very best,” the letter concludes. “Palisadians have a history of sticking together, helping our neighbors and always persevering. This year, let us redouble our efforts to support each other.”

The Palisades Fourth of July website, available at palisades4th.com, will have information and updates as they become available.

Doug McCormick to Step Down as PPTFH President

Doug McCormick
Photo courtesy of Doug McCormick


In a farewell letter, Doug McCormick announced he is stepping down as president of the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness, effective June 1.

“I’m deeply humbled to have been part of a group that has been so effective,” McCormick wrote to the Palisadian-Post.

Sharon Browning and Sharon Kilbride will serve as co-presidents of PPTFH for the first time in the organization’s history. The two president-elects are already underway functioning as co-presidents and will officially take office on June 1.

“Sharon and I work well together and we’re excited about serving the Palisades community and we want to take the task force to the next level,” Browning said. “We hope COVID-19 will not curtail our ability to continue to service the community.”

The two are sharing the position to give the job the attention it needs, Browning explained to the Post.

McCormick shared in the farewell letter that he and his wife are moving to Ventura to support their young granddaughter and her parents.

“We lived in the Palisades for 40 years and loved every minute of it,” he said. “But I’m especially proud of the work we’ve done together as a community to help homeless individuals off the streets and into housing.”

PPTFH saw a humanitarian problem for our community, McCormick explained to the Post, “and developed an approach to solving it, instead of complaining that others weren’t doing enough, and created a public-private partnership that has been a model which other neighborhoods have asked to copy.”

McCormick noted in the letter that other areas, including the city of Malibu, have looked to PPTFH as a model.

During COVID-19, McCormick stated that the idea of “Safer at Home” has a new meaning for those who don’t have a home to go to, referring to the 44 homeless individuals on the streets of the Palisades.

PPTFH continues to reach out and make contacts, serve lunches and perform wellness checks, including looking for signs of COVID-19. The task force made 108 on-street contacts, and 46 were unduplicated, according to the progress report.

The letter also commented on the subject of using Palisades Recreation Center as a homeless shelter.

“Many of you are aware of the issues surrounding the mayor and city council’s decision to use the recreation centers as homeless shelters,” McCormick wrote. “PPCC wrote thoughtful letters to them asking how they proposed to address various practical issues about the idea, not the least of which was the need to test individuals each time they came and went.”

The PPTFH board reported advocating for transparency and community involvement.

McCormick told the Post that he is honored to have worked with The People Concern, Los Angeles Police Department and more than 40 volunteers who “continue to be so intelligently committed to this issue” during his time with PPTFH.

“I will miss them all,” he concluded.

Although the PPTFH meeting that was scheduled for May is postponed, the committee plans to meet in July, if orders in place at the time allow them to do so.

Palisadian Families Participate in First Great Backyard Campout

The Pendergraft family
Photos by Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

By LILY TINOCO | Reporter

At the wake of the cancellation of Scout Troop 223’s camping trips due to COVID-19, the Scouts announced plans for their First Great Backyard Campout, which took place on Saturday night, May 2.

The campout was organized to raise funds for Westside Food Bank’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund.

Funds were raised by asking campers to “reserve a spot” in their own backyards (or living rooms), with donation levels ranging from “Sleeping Bag” to “Full-On Glamping.”

“Every dollar raised allows Westside Food Bank to provide enough food for four nutritious meals,” according to a press release. “The food is distributed via the Westside Food Bank’s 55-plus member agencies.”

The Scouts suggested that kids make dinner, families camp out all night and parents make breakfast the following morning—and encouraged everybody to howl at 9 p.m.

The Cudzil family

The initiative garnered widespread support, from Calvary Christian Church and St. Matthew’s Parish to global adventurer and first Chief Ambassador of World Scouting Bear Grylls, who sent a personal video in response to the Scouts’ efforts to help people in need.

“Amazing … doing your Backyard Campout 2020,” he said in the video. “This is what scouting is about—being kind, helping other people, having adventure and never giving up.”

“We hope this is something that can be carried through the summer,” said Jamie Carmichael, organizer of the event, as he hopes to continue this initiative.

Carmichael said the initiative sparked from wanting to help, and with Safer at Home orders in place, what better way to contribute than from the comfort of your own home—or backyard?

As the Post went to print Tuesday evening, the First Backyard Campout had raised nearly $46,000, exceeding its goal of $25,000 and prompting an updated goal of $60,000.

Donations can still be made; for more information, visit my.wsfb.org/event/the-first-great-backyard-campout-2020/e282434.

Your Two Cents’ Worth

A Letter of Thanks

On Sunday, April 19, I stumbled while jogging on Palisades Drive and took a bad fall. To the woman who heard my call for help and called 911—thank you! To the gentleman who came to my aid and had the presence of mind to ask if the problem was mechanical in nature or something else—thank you! To the woman who drove up Palisades Drive to get my wife—thank you! To the gentleman who offered me cold water—thank you! (Did you get your Yeti bottle back?) And to the firefighters from Station 23 who so quickly, ably and professionally took care of me—thank you! Please know much I appreciate your help that day. Your kindnesses and selflessness have come to my thoughts often as I continue to heal. You made a difference in my life. Thank you all. (Oh, you’ll be comforted to know that I’ve since tested negative for COVID.) Be well.


How can the public restrooms at the CVS pharmacy be out of order for weeks? As a public health resource for Palisadians, especially seniors, it is necessary for patients on diuretics to have available bathrooms. What do employees do or where do they wash their hands during the pandemic with everything else closed? With the astronomical prices of drugs, there surely must be money for a plumber or new plumbing system.


Looks like we’re getting our wish of reopening the beach. All I ask is that we, as a community, make good decisions about visiting beaches (and trails!) so that they do not have to be reclosed. It will be nice to have more places to spend time outdoors, especially if orders keep getting extended!

Happy Anniversary

Happy Anniversary to Cinque Terre! Love to support Marlo and Gianba, and the food continues to be delicious.


Super bummed about Fourth of July. I respect the decision to cancel it, but what a reality check for what the rest of 2020 is going to look like. Stay safe.

Got something to say? Call (310) 454-1321 or email 2cents@palipost.com and get those kudos or concerns off your chest. Names will not be used.

Neighborhood News

PPCC Cancels Meetings | Pacific Palisades

Due to coronavirus orders and conditions, the Pacific Palisades Community Council Executive Committee has canceled its May and June meetings, scheduled to take place May 14 and 28, as well as June 11 and 25.

“The Executive Committee will continue to act as authorized by PPCC’s Bylaws when necessary,” according to a statement shared by PPCC. “Please continue to alert us to issues, questions and concerns about matters of interested to the community.”

Those who wish to reach PPCC can do so via info@pacpalicc.org.


Cans, Coffee & Community | The Village

Palisadian sisters Sophie and Natalia Johnson, and Sydney and Jacqui Diaz have partnered with Estate Coffee’s Jacob Spooner and Jon Chun for a Cans, Coffee & Community food drive.

Photo courtesy of Monica Christie

Non-perishable items can be dropped off at Estate Coffee, located at 847 Via De La Paz, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. every day.

The sister-sets will be collecting the donations and donating then to St. Joseph’s Center in Venice.

“We’ve had some great success with the program so far, Palisadians are very generous,” Johnson said. “Please stop buy for a cup of coffee and leave a can.”                        


Palisades Mask Design Contest Continues to Accept Entries | Pacific Palisades

Junior Reporter Vanessa Masterson is hosting a Palisades Mask Design Contest, with entries being accepted through May 15.

“I was thinking, because we are social distancing and always wearing masks, people must have amazing mask designs!” Masterson wrote. “I have seen so many cute and creative masks on Pinterest and TikTok, so we are having a Palisadian-Post Mask Design Contest.”

Entries can be emailed to mypost@palipost.com.


National Kindness Challenge to Benefit Frontline Heroes | Pacific Palisades

Crayon Collection, an international charity based in Pacific Palisades dedicated to repurposing crayons for vulnerable children, recently launched a national kindness challenge to benefit frontline heroes in memory of the late Dr. Lorna M. Breen.

“We were devastated to hear the news about Dr. Breen and we wanted to do something to help,” Sheila Morovati, founder and president of Crayon Collection, wrote in a statement. “Our Color Kindness Challenge allows people to write or draw an uplifting message and provides a hospital locator so individuals can send their creation to local hospitals.”

Breen was an emergency room doctor at a New York hospital who died by suicide following frontline trauma she suffered due to the onslaught of patients who were dying from COVID-19.

“Frontline healthcare professionals and first responders are not immune to the mental or physical effects of the current pandemic,” the statement continued. “On a daily basis, these professionals operate under the most stressful of circumstances, and the coronavirus has introduced additional stressors.”

The challenge is available for free download at crayoncollection.org.                



Support for PPRA

Dear Neighbor:

Like you, I’m a Palisades resident living in the Highlands; I have been a homeowner here since 1998. The more I learn about the proposed construction of the 96-bed assisted living facility at the corner of Palisades Drive and Vereda de la Montura, the more concerned I become. Here are just a few of the issues I find most disconcerting:

Should the project come to fruition, there will be more traffic and less parking on Palisades Drive. This could negatively impact our property values, not to mention inconvenience those who park on the street already.

The proposed project is slated to be four stories, blocking views for many homeowners; plus it fails to comply with local, state and coastal zoning laws.

The constant flow of construction and drilling vehicles will add significant chaos to a very calm and quiet community. In addition, the noise from the construction will be heard in every home and business for blocks. Lastly, there is no way to control the dirt, debris and mess caused by the construction.

We live in a high-fire risk area, evidenced most recently by the Palisades fire (October, 2019). The flames came dangerously close to causing an evacuation. If the proposed property were built, fire resources would likely be diverted to evacuate the residents first—leaving families with small children and elderly members of the community at greater risk.

Finally, and most important, is the time it would take to transport an elderly resident to the hospital should a medical emergency occur. (The nearest one is 18 to 20 minutes away, and that’s by ambulance/paramedic.) It’s impractical and unfair to the residents and the community.

Please join me in contributing to the Pacific Palisades Residents Association so they can continue their tireless efforts to stop construction on this proposed project.

Renee Miller

Palisades Drive

It does not take the recent fatality to remind us of the perils of driving on Palisades Drive. The steepness of the road resulting in excessive downhill speeds is an obvious cause, but I would also like to address additional reasons that make this drive as dangerous as it. The major one being the insufficient lane widths given the curvature of the road and the speed at which vehicles are traveling.

Palisades Drive starts close to the Summit at the Highlands community there, but for the purposes of this article, I would like to address that part of the road that goes downhill, starting at the intersection with Palisades Circle, close to the Casa Nostra restaurant, and finishing at the intersection at Sunset Boulevard, a distance of 2.33 miles.

The traffic lights at Palisades Circle, besides protecting vehicles that need to turn on to Palisades Drive, also act as a traffic-calmer in that they always default to a red light against the Palisades Drive traffic, always bringing those vehicles to a halt at that point.

There are three particularly dangerous spots as a vehicle continues downhill. These are where the road angle changes by more than 20 degrees. The most dangerous is the double bend, just past the speed indicator (which is why it is there), where the road angle changes 50 degrees for the first bend going right, and then, immediately afterward, a change of 35 degrees to the left.

The number 1 lane (closer to the center of the road) is particularly tight at that point, measuring just 108 inches across. SUVs have a width of 70 inches, larger vans measure 80 inches across and, of course, the larger working trucks (trash, utilities etc.) are wider still. This means larger vehicles have just a few inches of leeway either side, which accounts for the number of times vehicles encroach either the white lane divider or the double-yellow line road divider.

A very small sample I know, but out of curiosity, I recorded the number of vehicles that passed downhill between for about 20 minutes at this particular point in the road and observed 50 driving in the downhill direction. Of those 50 vehicles, 22 used lane 1 and 28 used lane 2. Of the 22, 16 (73%) encroached on the white lane divider or touched the double yellow lines on this section of the road.

Regarding speed, although it is only evidence again based on a small sample, I watched for several minutes standing by the speed indicator and recorded a sample of 22 vehicles. Twelve (55%) of them exceeded the speed limit.

It can be seen from this that the safety margins within the lane widths are very small as vehicles speed and change direction. This situation is exacerbated by the bicyclists that also legally occupy the road, but effectively block one lane because of the narrowness of the lanes.

This article has attempted to highlight the issues that exist on this road, and it also comes with two suggestions:

1) That the city commit to a lane-widening (and thus a road widening) project, if not for the whole stretch of road at least for those stretches where the problems exist.

2) If a road-widening project is not feasible because of the geography, Palisades Drive should be reduced to one lane in either direction, each with a bike lane, and that a central divider is added.

Robert Ratcliffe
Resident of Palisades Highlands

The Palisadian-Post accepts letters to the editor via email at mypost@palipost.com or mail/hand-delivered at 881 Alma Real Drive, Suite 213, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272. To be considered for publication, letters must be signed, and are subject to editing for length and clarity. Opinions expressed in letters do not necessarily reflect the views of opinions of the Palisadian-Post.

Alphabet Streets Photographer Raises Money for Westside Food Bank Through Porch Photo Project

Aronson captures a shot of the Longo household.
Photo courtesy of Robin Aronson

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

Robin Aronson—a professional photographer and resident of the Alphabet Streets—is using her skills and extra free time during Safer at Home orders to capture Palisadians in a series of front porch photos, and in lieu of payment, Aronson asks those she photographs to consider making a donation to the Westside Food Bank.

Her inspiration came from Facebook, where she saw a cousin post a front porch photo that was captured on the East Coast. Aronson shared that she thought to herself, “Geez, I should do something like that to help and to give back.”

A professional photographer who typically covers events, family photography, product shots and real estate, Aronson explained that she typically does a bit of everything and that due to COVID-19, she can’t work right now anyway. She wanted to do something she was good at and give back.

She started by calling her neighbors and asking if she could take a picture of them—and has since received emails from all over the place.

Each photo takes about five minutes. They are later posted across social media with #PacificPalisadesFrontPorch.

“It’s nice because it gets me to see people I know and to see my friends from a distance,” Aronson shared.

Aronson takes into account all social distancing rules when snapping her shots—she only takes photos outside and from at least 10 feet away. She also encourages the families she is shooting to bring something into the picture to make it their own, which has ranged from toilet paper to masks, dogs, cats and guinea pigs.

After 20 days in a row of capturing porch photos, Aronson took a day off and got her family members to agree to their own front porch photo on Mother’s Day. Her photo featured her daughter, Riley, who is home and “making the best of college online;” Ross, finishing his second year of nursing school online while preparing to leave for a summer job in New York where he will work as a nurse in the ER at Southampton Hospital; and Daniel, a landlord who is “working to keep us afloat during this trying time.”

And Cooper the dog is living his best life, enjoying a full house and four times the number of treats.

Aronson shared that though the $50 donation is just suggested, each person she has shot has contributed, ranging from $50 to $500 and averaging about $100 to $150. She added that a representative from Westside Food Bank explained that every dollar raised provides four meals.

With six to seven shoots scheduled each day this week, Aronson will have shot more than 100 families and raised $10,000. Aronson shared that she does not have a timeline for when the project will wrap, so she encourages anyone interested in their own porch photo to fill out a form, available at her website.

For more of Aronson’s work, visit instagram.com/robinaronsonphotography or robinaronsonphotography.com/FRONT-PORCH.