News Briefs


Charity sponsors sought

St. Aidan’s Church is seeking sponsors to support children at the Dorcas House in Tijuana, Mexico. The Dorcas House provides a safe place to sleep, enough food to stave off hunger and a nurturing environment for growth and learning for children of imprisoned parents.

Anybody who chooses to support the children of the Dorcas House will be given the opportunity to select a child by age, name and picture whom they would like to sponsor for the coming year. There are several levels of giving for sponsoring a child, from as low as $120 to sponsor a child’s housing for a year to up to $1,800 to support the entire cost of one child for a year. Individuals may group together to help sponsor a child.

In addition, St. Aidans’ is collecting gifts of pajamas and sweat suits for children for the cold winter months. Children’s ages and names are available upon request. The last day to donate gift-boxed thermals is Dec 21. For more information on both programs, send an e-mail to or call St. Aidan’s at 457.7966.

School board elects new leaders

At its last meeting, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education elected Jose Escarce as its new president and Emily Bloomfield as its new vice president. Escarce succeeds Maria Leon-Vazquez as president. Bloomfield fills the spot previously held by Escarce.

Escarce was elected to the board in 2000. He is currently a professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and a senior natural scientist at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica. Escarce earned his bachelor’s degree from Princeton, then later a master’s degree in physics from Harvard. He went on to obtain a medical degree and a doctorate in health economics from the University of Pennsylvania.

Bloomfield was elected to the board in 2002. Prior to that, she was a member of the district’s strategic planning design team, the PTA and the school site governance council. Bloomfield is an economist, earning her master’s degree from Oxford University in England. She also received a master’s degree in public administration from Syracuse University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago.

SMMUSD teachers excel

This year, 23 Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District teachers achieved the profession’s highest credential, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certification.

Gaining NBPTS certification requires following a voluntary process established by the board. It includes a rigorous performance-based assessment that takes between one and three years to complete, measuring what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do. The percentage of SMMUSD teachers passing certification on the first attempt was 66. That is nearly double the national rate.

Malibu teachers earning the certification were Julie Erb (MHS), Deborah Granof (Webster), Heather Hoekman (MHS), Christi Hovest (Point Dume), Katy Lanza (MHS), Bridgette Leonard (MHS), Monica Mora (MHS) and Amelia Zimmermann-Wolff (MHS).

Public fingerprinting regulations

Beginning on Jan. 1, the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station will change procedures for public fingerprinting. Currently, it is done on Fridays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. With the new procedure, all members of the public in need of fingerprinting, other than for immigration purposes, should contact the on-duty station jailer at 818.878.1808, ext. 3020 to schedule an appointment. The station cannot offer Livescan fingerprinting to the public, but it is attempting to acquire software that will allow it to do so.

New ground fish sports regulations

The California Department of Fish and Game has approved new rules regarding ground fish fishing regulations for 2004. The new rules will apply to all state waters, and are needed to conform for consistency with federal ground fish rules for 2004. Some of the new rules include the Southern Rockfish and Lingcod Management Area – Pt. Conception south to California to the Mexico border. The area will be closed January and February; March through December it will be open to water depths out to 360 feet (60 fathoms); California scorpionfish (sculpin) area will be closed January and February as well as May through October. The open seasons apply to California’s sport fisheries

for rockfish, cabezon, greenlings, scorpionfish (sculpin) and lingcod in nearshore waters statewide.

The rules should go into effect on Jan. 1. However, due to an executive order by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger that calls for the review of all proposed regulations, the new rules may be suspended. In that case, 2003’s ground fish regulations would remain in effect for the coming year. Fish and Game is seeking an exemption on its proposed regulations from the governor. The proposed rules include depth regulations and season dates for fishing of various species. For more information, go to