2014 in Review: February

-Malibu’s Congressman Henry Waxman, a power in the House of Representatives, announced he was stepping down after 40 years. Waxman was a Democratic stalwart who helped spearhead historic legislation on tobacco, healthcare, the environment and the prescription drug industry.

-Contributions to the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation, which wanted to raise $4 million for the district, fell about 20 percent ($800,000) short of its goal. Malibu families in particular had balked at raising money because it was to be distributed all over the district and could no longer be designated to specific schools and programs.

-After a long battle with major utility and communication companies, the California Public Utilities Commission approved a new set of rules governing the construction and weight-bearing of power poles. Overloaded poles caused the disastrous 2007 Malibu Canyon Fire that burned many structures, including the recently rebuilt Malibu Presbyterian Church.

-The 2013 Malibu Times Dolphin Awardees were announced: 

Michael & Kim Bonewitz, local parents of three who began caring for Marie Jordanou’s five children after she succumbed to lung cancer in February 2013. The Bonewitzes have endured tremendous financial hardship but persevered in order to provide a better life for their eight children and carry on the legacy of their close friend Marie. They remain deeply involved in the local school community and Kim is a co-president of the Juan Cabrillo PTA. 

Dick & Elsa Gary, organizers of the annual Artworks for the Cure benefit who have helped raise millions of dollars for cancer, AIDS and leukemia research as part of the TJ Martell Foundation. Since 1975, the Martell Foundation has raised $250 million. Recipients of the foundation’s earnings rank among the top US hospitals for cancer. 

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Dr. Steven Grahek, a beloved community organizer and “mayor of Point Dume.” Dr. Grahek co-founded the Point Dume Fourth of July Parade, which has grown from 70 participants to 800 in the span of 14 years. He became involved early on in the Father-Daughter Valentine’s Day Dance at Malibu Presbyterian Church, serves as a deacon at the church, volunteers at the annual Kiwanis Chili Cook-Off and helps out at the Malibu Ballet’s annual Nutcracker production. 

Gabriella Grahek, Malibu’s Youth Dolphin Award winner and senior at Malibu High, spends countless hours raising awareness for international issues like human trafficking and youth exploitation abroad. Grahek has motivated fellow students to give back as well, founding Malibu High’s International Awareness Club and organizing the Annual Sister School Fair to benefit students in Chad, Africa. 

Hans Laetz, who embarked on a solo endeavor to toughen utility pole standards throughout California after Malibu was left ravaged by the 2007 Malibu Canyon fire. Laetz’s efforts paid off enormously as the CPUC recently approved stringent safety guidelines for utility poles statewide. His push also resulted in a $37 million state settlement with Southern California Edison, including $17 million for a pole safety inspection program in Malibu. 

John Paola, Kiwanis Club president and one of Malibu’s most active volunteers. He is the driving force behind the club’s successful Chili Cook-Off, runs the annual Christmas Tree lot at Pacific Coast Highway and Heathercliff Road, and volunteers for Malibu Little League and soccer teams. 

Michel & Ellen Shane, founders of the Emily Shane Foundation, lost their 13-year-old daughter Emily in 2010 when she was struck and killed on Pacific Coast Highway as she walked on the side of the road. Emily’s memory has lived on through her parents, who created the foundation to provide tutoring and mentoring for students with learning disabilities while promoting the compassion and eagerness Emily exuded every day. 

Zev Yaroslavsky, Third District representative with L.A. County Board of Supervisors, ends a storied 20-year run on the board this year after representing two million westside residents. As an influential environmental advocate, his work on the passage of Prop A has helped obtain nearly 17,000 acres of publicly owned open space in the Santa Monica Mountains. 

Susan Nissman, Yaroslavsky’s senior field deputy who has aided in serving Malibu for nearly 20 years. Nissman leads the office’s efforts on watershed management and emergency preparedness, along with traffic safety on Pacific Coast Highway. She worked with the Malibu Library Design Team and served on the Art Selection Committee for the project. 

Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp., recipient of the Harvey Baskin Malibu Business Award, donated $180,000 to the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation last year to fund scholarships and an internship program for the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. The credit-building company’s EdAhead Initiative matches its employees’ contribution to an education savings plan and then donates the money to local school districts where its offices are located. 

13StarsManager
13StarsManagerhttps://malibutimes.com
The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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