2019 in Review: March

    The 2018 Dolphin Award winners are celebrated for their acts of kindness, charity and community spirit. Pictured (l-r), back row: Pepperdine Graphic Media staff, Hans Laetz (certificate), Paul Grisanti, Sebastian Soderqvist, Andrew K. Benton, Kasey Earnest, Trevor Neilson, Lt. James “Jim” Royal and Jimmy Chavez; front row: Council Member Mikke Pierson, Johanna Spinks, Isabella Soderqvist, Mayor Jefferson “Zuma Jay” Wagner, Rory Kennedy, Nina Hungerland and Evelin Weber

     March brought fleet week to Malibu, when a US Navy guided missile cruiser, the USS Lake Champlain (CG-57), dropped anchor just off the Malibu Pier for a weekend visit, courtesy of the Department of the Navy and the Malibu Navy League, led by its president, retired Navy captain John Payne. The Cruiser, a deep draft combatant highly sought after in the US Navy as a stepping assignment to an Admiral’s rank, was captained by a female officer, Navy Captain Jen Ellinger, and had an officer and enlisted compliment of highly educated men and woman needed to operate in the new, high tech Navy.

    • The 48-year-old New York city man behind some 2017 email death threats to members of the Malibu City Council was extradited to California and pleaded “No contest” to the charges. He was sentenced to 180 days in the county jail. He had written to the council members as follows: “Do you want to get shot in the back of the head or between the eyes?” 

    • The issue he was agitated about related to stopping feeding the homeless at a local church. The city action produced a number of threatening emails and phone calls from across the nation.

    The 29th Annual Dolphin Awards event was held at the Malibu Swim Club and this year’s honorees are:

    Woolsey Fire heroes

    The 200-plus Woolsey Fire heroes, Malibu locals and friends, who stayed behind and individually and collectively saved so many Malibu homes from burning, presented by Malibu Mayor Jefferson “Zuma Jay” Wagner who also lost his home in the fire.

    • Youth Dolphin award to Nina Hungerland who saved a neighbor’s horses, rode them down to Zuma Beach, cared for them and later brought them back and watched over their home. 

    • Youth Dolphins Sebastian, 18,  and Isabella Soderqvist, 11, working tirelessly getting clothes, raising money, constantly volunteering practically 24/7 for those burned out

    • Winners of the Dolphin Business Awards to all the local businesses that stayed open, gave away food, produce and goods without recompense to all those victims of the fire, accepted on behalf of all the businesses by Jimmy Chavez, general manager of Duke’s Malibu Restaurant.

    • Johanna Spinks, a nationally known artist who has been painting the “Faces of Malibu” running in The Malibu Times and also began a new post fire series called “The Face of Malibu Rebuilds,” featuring those who were burned out.

    • Youth Dolphin Award to the Pepperdine Graphic Media for their spectacular magazine publication of the Woolsey Fire and their earlier coverage of the Borderline Bar shooting in Thousand Oaks, where one of their students was killed.

    • Andrew K. Benton, outgoing president of Pepperdine University, serving 19 years as president, for his many accomplishments both as a university president and also as a member of the Malibu community, where he has been deeply engaged these many years.

    • LA County Sheriff’s Dept. Lt. James “Jim” Royal, always the go-to guy for Malibu for many years, a man who was always “can do” whenever needed.

    • The Malibu Foundation, also known as Malibu Strong, which sprang into action, raised large amounts of money for those in need and, on the spot, created an organization to distribute those funds to the needy.

    • Kasey Earnest, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Malibu, a safe space for kids in need, providing support and wellness and mental health services and also teaming up with the Malibu Foundation to help staff and provide help to 530 individuals.