News Briefs

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Point Dume rape suspect to appear in court

The man who attempted to rape a woman who was jogging at Point Dume Preserve State Park last month is scheduled to appear in Van Nuys Superior Court this week Friday.

Christian Marcus Verdin, 31, on April 6 at Van Nuys Superior Court was charged with assault to commit rape, robbery, grand theft auto and assault with a deadly weapon, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office.

Verdin was arrested April 2 in an area within the City of San Bernardino and taken into custody without incident. He is being held on a total bail amount of $321,000.

The 35-year-old victim had been jogging in Point Dume Preserve State Park on March 12. At the conclusion of her run she walked to the edge of a cliff and was then grabbed from behind by the suspect, who, she told authorities, attempted to sexually assault her. The victim struggled and was able to break free; she jumped and slid approximately 150 feet down the cliff.

A local resident who lives in the area said he talked to several witnesses who heard the woman’s cries and went to her aid.

The victim was taken to a local hospital for treatment. She sustained abrasions and bruises predominantly from the fall down the face of the cliff.

On March 30, Malibu/Lost Hills Station detectives received notification that the Los Angeles County Crime Lab had identified a suspect in the attack. Crime Lab technicians obtained DNA samples from items of evidence recovered from the crime scene on the day of the attack. A check through a DNA databank revealed a match to Verdin, who was on parole for burglary committed in 2008.

Mother’s Day contest kicks off

The Malibu Times is celebrating Mothers Day, May 10, with the fourth annual “Mother of the Year, Rosie Award.” To choose a mother of the year, we are asking readers to submit a short essay of 250 words or less telling us why their mother (or step-mom, foster mom or similar person in their life) should receive the Mother of the Year Rosie Award.

The winner will receive several treats from local businesses.

For those who would like to nominate their mother for the Rosie Award, submit a 250-word essay before May 3, by e-mail to barbara@malibutimes.com, or by mail to 3864 Las Flores Canyon Rd., Malibu 90265. The winner will be announced May 6.

Malibu valet struck, woman held on suspicion of DUI

A 20-year-old woman suspected of accidentally striking a parking valet with her vehicle outside Moonshadows restaurant was in custody Monday on suspicion of DUI, according to a report issued by dailybreeze.com.

Meghan Fair allegedly hit the male parking valet while driving a Honda CRV shortly after 8 p.m. Sunday, Sgt. Vivian May of the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station said in the report.

She allegedly fled but was caught a short time later on Pacific Coast Highway, May said.

The man was taken to a hospital in serious condition with neck and possibly back injuries but is expected to live, May said.

Malibu Farmer’s Market returns

After a long hiatus, The Cornucopia Foundation will present the Malibu Farmer’s Market, open every Sunday starting April 25 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Malibu Library parking lot located at 23519 West Civic Center Way.

The farmer’s market will feature a food court with freshly prepared meals, in addition to fruit, vegetables, nuts, fish, chicken, eggs and baked goods. All proceeds from the farmer’s market will benefit the Environmental Learning Center located behind Malibu High School.

City begins ‘wet weather’ water study

The City of Malibu partnered with the U.S. Geological Survey this week on a $406,400 “wet weather” study to obtain the additional data needed to improve water quality in Lower Malibu Creek, Malibu Lagoon and at Surfrider Beach, the city announced in a press release.

The USGS studied water quality in those areas last summer during dry weather conditions. The Malibu City Council wanted to include wet weather testing and voted to invest another $362,000 to supplement the dry weather study. The USGS, which is dedicating up to $44,400 to the study, is collecting water samples from the creek, the lagoon and the near-shore waters at Surfrider Beach this week. It expects to complete its collections by Friday.

Malibu Canyon to receive new water pipeline

The Las Virgenes-Triunfo Joint Powers Authority recently announced that it will install a new 24-inch recycled water pipeline in Malibu Canyon Road, between the Tapia Water Reclamation Facility near Piuma Road to Mulholland Highway.

The JPA, comprised of the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District and Triunfo Sanitation District, stated the project began April 19 and will be completed by October of this year.

Work will be conducted beginning at 7 a.m. weekdays, but lane closures will be limited to the hours between 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.

School on Wheels announces new board president, member

School on Wheels recently announced that Jon Tomlin has been elected president of the organization’s Executive Board.

Tomlin has been a tutor at the Union Rescue Mission in the past and a board member since 2005. He is a principal with LECG, Inc., a global expert services and consulting firm. He also co-founded “Reading to Kids,” a grassroots organization dedicated to inspiring underserved children with a love of reading.

School on Wheels also announced new board member Mickey McKinney, who was in and out of homelessness as a child and in a shelter later in life as a mother of two. She is now a successful consultant working on children’s causes (in particular, foster care in South Los Angeles) and working toward her Master’s Degree in Social Work at USC.

School on Wheels is a nonprofit organization that provides educational assistance and support to homeless students in kindergarten through twelfth grade throughout Southern California.

More information can be obtained online at www.schoolonwheels.org.

Ban on single-use carryout bags clears its first legislative hurdle

The Assembly Natural Resources Committee on April 12 voted its approval of Assembly Bill 1998 by Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, D-Santa Monica, which would require stores to offer reusable bags instead of single-use carryout bags for their customers.

“California is foolish to risk its fisheries and its tourism industry, which relies on pristine beaches and parks, for an unnecessary convenience,” Assemblywoman Brownley said in a press release. “This state must stop lagging behind other communities in the nation and the world and quickly enact an environmentally sound, fiscally responsible ban on single-use bags.”

Despite efforts to expand recycling programs, less than 5 percent of single-use plastic bags are recycled. Californians use an estimated 19 billion single-use plastic bags annually, and the state spends $25 million annually to collect and transport the bags to landfills.

Plastic bags blow into sewers and streams that carry them into the ocean. Marine animals often get entangled in the plastic or mistake the small particles disintegrated from the bags for food. More than 267 species worldwide have been adversely impacted by plastic litter, including plastic bags.

Paper bags are not a viable alternative because their production contributes to deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions and waste from the pulping and paper making process.

Many cities in California and other states have banned plastic bags at their stores, including San Francisco, Malibu and Palo Alto, while more than 20 communities are considering bans.

AB 1998 was approved on an initial 6-3 vote and next will be scheduled for a hearing in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

BY Olivia Damavandi