News Briefs

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Soldiers come home

Malibu’s adopted Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion of the 327th infantry of the 101st Air Assault, also known as the No Slack Gators during Desert Storm in 1991, have come home. The company commander, Capt. Michael Avey, and 1st Sgt Erett Oden arrived with two-thirds of the company soldiers at Ft. Campbell in Kentucky. After a brief welcome-home ceremony with family and friends at the Campbell Army Airfield, the soldiers went to the unit area while the families and friends went to an on-post club to await their soldiers. This was done in order to expedite the turn-in of equipment and weapons at the unit area. The men will enjoy a three-day pass, return to work on Friday to begin post-deployment recovery.

Capt. Stephen Thomas and 1st Sgt. Brent Holman, the commander and first sergeant who took the company into Iraq, were there to welcome the Gators home. Those who did not come home with the company remain in Iraq and Kuwait, escorting equipment and vehicles to the port for return to the United States. They are expected to return early February.

National Parks seeks volunteers

The National Park Service is currently seeking volunteers to serve in the Mountain Bicycle Unit (MBU) to patrol the open space encompassed in the Santa Monica National Recreation Area. Due to the vast area, approximately 70,000 acres, the National Park Service relies solely on its volunteers to support park rangers and patrol the public parkland.

The MBU is currently staffed by 100 volunteers trained through a preliminary 40-hour program directed by the National Park Service and California State Parks.

Interested persons that wish to be involved in the MBU can attend an introductory meeting followed by a fun ride at Diamond-X Ranch in

Tick Alert

During the winter season, individuals generally do not worry about ticks as much as they would during the summer months. However, the California Department of Health Services (CDHS) urges people to remain vigilant year round.

“Although most people associate ticks with outdoor activities during the summer, adult western black-legged ticks are more likely to be encountered in the late fall and winter,” said Dr. Gilberto F. Chaves, chief medical officer for CDHS.

No matter what time of year, the small creatures have a potential risk of carrying the bacteria that causes Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases. The western-blacklegged tick, which appears reddish brown and measures less than a quarter inch, is the only tick in California that transmits Lyme disease.

Accident report released

An accident report recently released provides details of the crash that killed Malibu High School coach Frank Page. The report reveals that the collision occurred when Ronald Poling, the driver of a Chevrolet Camaro, over-corrected an attempt to maneuver back onto Pacific Coast Highway after swerving into the emergency lane. In the over-correction, the Camaro traveled over the centerline striking Page’s Dodge Dakota, totaling both cars and inflicting fatal injuries to Page.

Poling, a soldier stationed at Point Mugu, accepted responsibility for the accident resulting in a settlement with his insurance company. Poling also made a significant donation to the Frank Page Scholarship fund at Malibu High and is said to be very remorseful.

The death of Page came as a shock to Malibu High students and an estimated 500 people attended his memorial at the high school. Page is survived by his sister Barbara Ward. Jay Devitt, an attorney hired by Ward and a friend of Page, still has the case open and may pursue local action against the State of California for defective road design.

Calabasas on Feb. 7 at 9 a.m.

Deasy on gov.’s proposed budget

Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy wrote that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposed state budget would create a $3.5 million shortfall for the district in an analysis that was placed on district’s Web site. He wrote that the governor’s budget puts at least 23 programs on the chopping block, including Advanced Placement support and bilingual teacher raining.

Deasy further wrote that if the cities of Malibu and Santa Monica reduce their contributions to the district next year from their 2003-04 totals, it would place the SMMUSD in an even greater hole. This year, the city of Malibu gave $385,000 to the district, while the city of Santa Monica gave $5.25 million. A group of Malibu and Santa Monica parents are attempting to put a measure on the November ballot in Santa Monica that would require the city to set aside $6 million in its budget for the district.

Special planning meeting

The Planning Commission will conduct a special meeting on Thursday, the first since the commission gained three new members to replace the three who were fired and resigned last month.

At the meeting, new members Pete Anthony, Les Moss and Joel Walker will be sworn in. A discussion will also take place on the rules of the Brown Act.

Last month, Deirdre Roney and Robert Adler were fired from their positions on the commission for allegedly violating the act. Richard Carrigan, who resigned from the commission in protest, said Mayor Pro Tem Sharon Barovsky and Councilmember Andy Stern, who committed the firings, had ulterior motives. Barovsky and Stern have denied that accusation.

Affinity card kickoff

The city of Malibu will host a kickoff party for its affinity credit card on Monday at Duke’s Malibu on 21150 PCH at 4 p.m. Applications for the card will be available at the event. For each card issued, the city will receive $20 and a percentage of purchases will also go to the city.

This money will be used for youth programs, with 50 percent going to the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District and the other half going to other programs. City Manager Katie Lichtig said they hope some local merchants will provide discounts or other incentives for card use. She said the first business that will do so might be announced at Monday’s event. Applications for the card can also be obtained through the city and the Chamber of Commerce.