News Briefs

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School board to talk of separate Malibu district

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education will discuss the possibility of Malibu splitting off and forming its own district at a workshop Thursday during the board’s regular meeting. Board of Education representatives and the public will hear from officials from the Los Angeles County Office of Education about the possible Malibu “unification,” or the process of forming a new school district within the boundaries of another, at the meeting in Santa Monica.

Office of Education officials will give the board and the public a summary of the role and authority of the Los Angeles County Committee on School District Organization and the criteria considered for unification.

“We believe it’s time for the two cities and the school district-the board of education and the superintendent-to work together and to get enough information to work on an agreement to see if this is going to be viable,” Malibu Mayor Laura Rosenthal said at a recent City Council meeting.

The “unification” workshop is scheduled to begin March 1 at 7:10 p.m. during the Board of Education meeting, which begins at 6 p.m., at the District Administrative Offices, 1651 16th St., in Santa Monica. For more information, visit smmusd.org.

County law allows dogs at restaurants

Dogs will now be allowed to accompany their owners while dining on restaurant patios, Los Angeles County officials announced Monday. The policy change was announced by Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials at the Lazy Dog Cafe in Torrance, a Southern California restaurant chain that celebrates man’s best friend.

Old county regulations banned dogs from outdoor restaurant patios enclosed by a fence, dogs were only allowed to sit near sidewalk tables.

The new county rules permit each restaurant to decide whether to now allow dogs on their patios, or to continue to uphold the previous ban. Officials also said dog owners should ask permission from the restaurant before bringing their dog onto the patio.

Under the new rules, pets must enter through a separate entrance where pets do not have to pass through the food establishment to reach the outdoor dining area. Additionally, dogs are not allowed on chairs, seats, benches and tables. There are further guidelines to ensure health and food safety for restaurant patrons.

“Though it will be up to the restaurant’s discretion whether to allow dogs in its outdoor eating area, this new policy is a benefit to both small businesses and the community,” Supervisor Don Knabe said in a statement. “This policy will give restaurant owners an opportunity to attract new business and to better serve their two-legged and four-legged patrons.”

The new rules went into effect immediately around the county, except in Long Beach, Pasadena and Vernon, which have separate public health agencies. For more information, including the full list of regulations, visit publichealth.lacounty.gov.

MVP Braun doping charge overturned

Milwaukee Brewers star Ryan Braun had a 50-game suspension for failing a drug test overturned last Thursday, marking the first time in the history of Major League Baseball that a drug-related penalty has been successfully challenged. Braun, who lives in Malibu and was featured on the cover of the January/February issue of The Malibu Times Magazine, tested positive in October for elevated levels of testosterone.

“I am very pleased and relieved by today’s decision,” Braun said in a statement. “It is the first step in restoring my good name and reputation. We were able to get through this because I am innocent and the truth is on our side.”

Major League Baseball and the players’ union announced the decision last week. MLB sources were reportedly incensed at the decision.

“While we have always respected that process, Major League Baseball vehemently disagrees with the decision rendered today,” Rob Manfred, MLB’s vice president for labor relations, said.

Braun, 28, won the National League Most Valuable Player Award last season after batting .312 with 33 home runs and 111 RBIs to lead the Brewers to the National League championship series.

City hosting battle of the bands

The City of Malibu’s Harry Barovsky Memorial Youth Commission is hosting the “Battle of the Bands” Friday night at City Hall. The event will feature performances by local middle and high school bands.

Cash prizes will be awarded to  the first, second and third place winners and a “Viewer’s Choice” prize will also be given out based on the attendees’ votes. Additionally, there will be a food truck and raffle prizes at the event.

The “Battle of the Bands” takes place March 2 at Malibu City Hall, 23825 Stuart Ranch Rd., at 6 p.m. Tickets cost $5. For more information, contact the Parks and Recreation department at 310.456.2489.

Wildlife Center asks for help with seal pups

From February through April, seal pups may be found on Malibu beaches, and while some may be simply warming up and resting, others may be suffering from malnutrition and in need of medical assistance, according to a release from the California Wildlife Center. The center’s Marine Mammal Response Team assists distressed marine mammals and marine birds along the Malibu coast for many reasons, such as malnourishment, separation from mothers, entanglements and diseases. However, nearly 10 percent of the animals the team rescues have been impacted by human interaction and hazards such as net and fishing line entanglements, gun shots and boat strikes.

The center has released a series of tips to remind the public what to do if you see a marine mammal or bird in distress or injured on the beach.

Residents encountering injured animals are asked to call the California Wildlife Center’s Emergency Hotline at 310.458.WILD (9453). For more information, visit cawildlife.org.

City calls for PCH safety study proposals

Last year, the City of Malibu was awarded a Caltrans Transportation Planning Grant to conduct a study of safety along Pacific Coast Highway, which will be done in partnership with the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), according to a press release from the city.

SCAG has now made the Request for Proposals available on the City of Malibu’s website (malibucity.org).

“The highly anticipated study will produce a comprehensive evaluation of safety along the PCH corridor between the eastern and western Malibu city limits,” the release states. “The study will incorporate public participation and analyze and identify potential strategies, including engineering, education and enforcement, to promote improved safety along PCH for all modes of travel, including bicycles and pedestrians.”

Proposals are due to SCAG by March 20, at 10 a.m. The contract is anticipated to be awarded by May 2012. The release also notes that proposals will not be accepted by the city and all questions about the proposal should be directed to SCAG. For more information, contact SCAG contracts administrator Lori Tapp at 213.236.1957.

Local toymaker and actor partner up

Malibu toymaker Jakks Pacific, local actor and producer Roma Downey and writer Phil Lollar have joined forces to manufacture, market and distribute a line of toys for infants and toddlers based on the “Little Angels,” a press release from the toy company states. The educational toys will be distributed through the company’s infant and preschool Tollytots division. “Little Angels” is a faith-based educational DVD series.

“We are thrilled to partner with Tollytots, and trust their expertise to create a line of toys that further the educational and spiritual teachings of the ‘Little Angels’ series and continue our commitment to creating faith-based, quality products for families,” Downey said. The Malibu local is creator and executive producer of “Little Angels.”