News Briefs

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Crowds hit the beach, DUI arrests made during Labor Day weekend

The Labor Day holiday weekend, commonly considered the final weekend of summer activities, brought nearly 560,000 beachgoers to Malibu. Additionally, five people were arrested during a DUI checkpoint Friday night.

On Saturday, Sunday and Monday, a grand total of 559,300 people visited Malibu’s beaches, Los Angeles County lifeguard officials said. The busiest day was Sunday, which saw 214,500 beachgoers, while there were 198,900 on Monday and 145,900 on Saturday. Malibu’s most-visited beach was Zuma, with 100,000 people coming out on both Saturday and Sunday.

Local lifeguards made 298 rescues over the holiday weekend. The number was average considering the size of the waves and the number of visitors, officials said.

“The surf was up, and rip currents were pulling really strong at low tide,” lifeguard Captain Merrill Riley said.

On Friday, the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station conducted a DUI and driver’s license checkpoint on Pacific Coast Highway at John Tyler Drive. A total of 1,484 cars passed through the checkpoint, which took place between 8:30 p.m. and 3:30 a.m., according to a release from Traffic Sgt. Philip Brooks. Out of the cars passing through the checkpoint, five were given sobriety tests and two were arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. Additionally, eight were given driver’s license citations, three were arrested on other infractions, and four vehicles were impounded.

PCH safety meetings scheduled

The City of Malibu and the Southern California Association of Governments are conducting a study of safety along Pacific Coast Highway through Malibu, and will be hosting a series of meetings every Thursday night at Malibu City Hall starting next week. On Sept. 13, 20, 27 and Oct. 4, meetings will be held to get the public’s opinion of safety issues along the highway.

The safety study is broken up into three sections: Study Area 1 covers Topanga Canyon Road to Cross Creek Road, Study Area 2 includes Cross Creek Road to Busch Drive, and Study Area 3 is from Busch Drive to the western city limits.

A public meeting will take place for each of the three study areas, with a fourth meeting to review the material presented at the first three and give the community another opportunity to provide feedback.

The public meeting for the first study area will be Thurs., Sept. 13, the meeting for the second area will be Thurs., Sept. 20 and the meeting for the third area will be Thurs., Sept. 27, while a comprehensive public meeting for all three study areas will take place Thurs., Oct. 4. All meetings will be held at Malibu City Hall, 23825 Stuart Ranch Rd., at 6 p.m.

Local residents are encouraged to attend the public meetings to discuss existing conditions, personal perspectives and concerns about safety on the highway.

If unable to attend the meetings, residents can also provide comments about the PCH safety study by visiting the city’s website at malibucity.org.

City wins court battle on overnight camping

The California Supreme Court denied a hearing last Thursday to review a decision in favor of the City of Malibu in its dispute with the Santa Monica Conservancy and California Coastal Commission regarding overnight camping at Malibu Bluffs Park.

The denial of the petition upholds last year’s California Appellate Court decision, which said the Coastal Commission overstepped its power in 2009 by approving a plan by the conservancy to allow overnight camping at Bluffs Park over the objection of the City of Malibu.

“We are pleased that the Court has held the Coastal Commission to limits of its authority. This case was always about local control and Malibu will never stop defending its right to local control,” Mayor Lou La Monte said in a press release.

Team rescues man suffering from psychotic episode

The Malibu Search and Rescue Team rescued an injured man suffering from a psychotic episode last Thursday at 9:15 p.m. near the 5900 block of Trancas Canyon Road.

After arriving on the scene, the rescue team used night vision goggles and forward-looking infrared devices to assist in the search efforts, according to a release from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The team soon found the 33-year-old Chicago man several hundred feet into the canyon. He was helped up the hillside to awaiting deputies and paramedics, where he was transported to a local hospital.

The Malibu Search and Rescue team is comprised of reserve sheriff’s deputies and civilian volunteers.

School district test scores show improvement

Students in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District scored higher in most subject areas in 2012 than they did in 2011, particularly math, on their standardized tests, results released by the California Department of Education indicate. Additionally, two Malibu schools, Point Dume Marine Science School (PDMSS) and Malibu High School (MHS), showed significant increases, according to a school district press release.

PDMSS posted an eight-point gain in science proficiency, with 96 percent of students achieving at least a proficient score, the district’s release states.

“We were really excited and proud to see that big bump in scores,” PDMSS principal Rebecca Johnson said. “Our teachers’ depth of knowledge in science and their commitment to sharing their passion for the subject with our students is paying off big time.”

In keeping with the district average, MHS posted a six-point gain in math.

“In speaking with the math department and our leadership team, it’s clear that the teachers have worked hard to focus on key mathematics standards, going deeper to ensure students understand those critical math concepts,” first-year MHS principal Jerry Block said. “In addition, we want to congratulate Malibu High students who have committed to doing their best on these exams.”

Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) results reflect student academic achievement on the California Standardized Test in English language arts, math, science and history. Student test scores fall into one of five levels: far below basic, below basic, basic, proficient or advanced.

Investigators find marijuana growing operation in Hidden Hills

Narcotics investigators from the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station recently arrested two men involved in a Hidden Hills indoor marijuana growing operation, according to a statement issued by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

A served search warrant resulted in the recovery of approximately 1,000 marijuana plants, 40 pounds of processed marijuana product, 47 ballasts, 37 high intensity lights, a .40 caliber Beretta semi-automatic handgun and other evidence. The estimated street value of the recovered marijuana was between $900,000 and $1,000,000, as reported by the Sheriff’s Department.

Authorities arrested two suspects, 54-year-old Robert Larue of Lawndale and 50-year-old Mauricio Lara of Los Angeles at the location. They were booked at Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station for Transport/Sell/Furnish Marijuana, Cultivation of Marijuana, and Theft of Utilities. Each suspect had their bail set at $100,000.

Larue has posted bail; however, Lara remains in custody with an additional hold by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, as stated by the Sheriff’s Department.

In addition to the drugs, authorities found an illegal installation of an electrical bypass at the location. Southern California Edison investigators were informed and have begun investigating what appeared to be an on-going theft of electricity in order to power the illegal operation.

City hosting ‘Coastweeks’ events

The City of Malibu is hosting a beach cleanup, a movie screening and a beach ecology workshop in observance of “Coastweeks,” an annual national event celebrating coastal and water resources.

On Sept. 15, the city, the Malibu Surfing Association and Heal the Bay will host a beach cleanup at Surfrider Beach, 23200 PCH, from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. The cleanup coincides with Coastal Cleanup Day, an event that brings thousands of Californians together to clean up their local beaches. Last year, more than 67,000 volunteers across the state removed 676,768 pounds of trash and 115,773 pounds of recyclable materials from California’s beaches.

During the evening of Sept. 15, the city and the Malibu Film Society will host an outdoor screening of the documentary “Last Call at the Oasis” at Legacy Park, 23500 Civic Center Way, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. According to a release from the city, the film focuses on the role water plays in people’s lives and presents an argument for why the “global water crisis will be the central issue facing our world this century.” Director Jessica Yu will be present to answer questions after the film.

Finally, on Sept. 19, the city will host a Beach Ecology Workshop at City Hall, 23825 Stuart Ranch Rd., from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The event will feature presentations by Karen Martin of Pepperdine University and Jennifer E. Dugan of the University of California Santa Barbara.

For more information about the city’s “Coastweeks” events, call 310.456.2489 ext. 275.