News Briefs

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Dolphins wash ashore in Malibu

Dolphins washed up on shore at both Carbon Beach and Escondido Beach last week Wednesday and Thursday. The dolphins died as a result of a recent algae bloom, which produces a naturally occurring toxin called domoic acid. Fish consume the algae, and then dolphins eat the fish, resulting in their deaths.

“We’re having an algae bloom,” Cindy Reyes, executive director of the California Wildlife Center said. “It’s a pretty typical domoic acid event.”

The toxin, which is produced by marine algae called pseudo nitzschia, is harmless in small quantities, but large amounts cause harm to marine life.

“When there’s a large bloom, a large quantity, it builds up in the fish and that’s when the mammals get it,” Reyes said.

Reyes explained that there have been a number of animals, mainly dolphins and sea lions, that have beached in the Santa Monica Bay area recently. Some come ashore dead, while others are alive, dying shortly after.

Samples have been sent to the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Southern California for testing.

The Wildlife Center reminds the public not to handle any animals, alive or dead, encountered on shore. People who come across beached marine mammals should remain at a safe distance, keeping children and pets away. Animals may look disoriented, but can become alert at any time and may be dangerous.

Beachgoers who come across stranded marine animals should notify the nearest lifeguard or call the California Wildlife Center hotline at 310.485.9453.

Former Malibu resident sentenced to nine years

Former Malibu resident Peter Jerald Frommer was sentenced to 108 months, or nine years, in federal prison Monday by United States District Judge George H. Wu for his involvement in a $9 million Ponzi scheme.

Frommer, 35, pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud, money laundering and three counts of failing to file federal income tax returns in November.

The Santa Barbara resident, who obtained millions through a fake investment scheme, was ordered to pay $8.1 million in restitution.

Frommer will begin serving his sentence May 31.

Pre-trial conference for Khankhanian postponed again

A pre-trial conference was postponed to May 31 for Sina Khankhanian, the 27-year-old man charged with murder for fatally striking 13-year-old Emily Shane with his car on Pacific Coast Highway in April last year.

This is the third time the conference has been postponed

Shane died on April 3 last year, when Khankhanian drove his car off Pacific Coast Highway, hitting her as she was walking home from a friend’s house. Khankhanian is charged with one count of murder and for use of a deadly weapon, the car that struck Shane.

Authorities, in a Sheriff’s report on the incident, indicated they believed Khankhanian did not intentionally hit Shane, but was trying to kill himself by driving his car off the road and into a power pole. If convicted, he faces a possible maximum penalty of life with the possibility of parole. He is being held on $3 million bail. Prosecutors have said they expect a trial to begin sometime in the summer or fall.

Measure R exemption forms mailed

The senior exemption forms are being mailed for the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Measure R Parcel Tax for 2011-2012, and must be returned by July 31, according to a press release from the SMMUSD.

To qualify for the Measure R senior exemption, senior citizens must be 65 years old as of June 30 and must own and occupy their properties as their primary residences. Senior citizens who have previously received the exemption are being sent renewal forms, which also must be returned by July 31.

If you are a senior citizen and do not receive a form by the end of May, call 310.450.8338 x70-263.

Blood drive April 22

Mailboxes Business & Shipping Center, Health Solutions Inc. hosts a blood drive April 22 in support of the Red Cross. Additionally, goods and donations for the Japan relief effort are still being accepted at the location. The blood drive takes place at MBSC Malibu, 22627 Pacific Coast Highway.

Coastal to hear two Malibu permit applications

The California Coastal Commission will hear two coastal permit applications from Malibu applicants at its meeting this week.

The first application was filed by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, requesting permission to replace five damaged metal pipes along a one-third-mile stretch of Newton Canyon Road in the Santa Monica Mountains. The pipes, which range in diameter from 18 to 48 inches, would require the removal of one sycamore tree and three willow trees.

Robert E. Bailey, requesting permission to combine three lots into one in order to construct a 2,425 single-family home, filed the second application.

The application filed by Malibu Valley Farms requesting approval to create an equestrian facility, which would be used for raising, training and stabling horses, has been postponed.

Cal Fire warns against contracting scams

California homeowners should be aware of individuals posing as arborists or contractors going door to door, particularly after a storm, according to a press release from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. After a large storm, when homes are damaged, scam artists pretending to be contractors qualified to help homeowners with repairs try to take advantage of the situation.

In order to avoid becoming a victim, homeowners can take precautions. Make sure any arborist or contractor you hire is part of an established business in the community. Additionally, ask for a California Contractor’s License or a Timber’s Operator’s License, including certificates of insurance proving the person or company is insured for property damage, personal liability and worker compensation.

“Make sure you are dealing with a reputable individual or tree care firm when you contemplate repairs or removal of any trees on your property,” John Rosenow, president of the Arbor Day Foundation, said. “Legitimate arborists rarely go door to door to solicit business.”