News Briefs

A Malibu sunset is reddened with smoke-filled skies from this past weekend's Sylmar fire, setting the backdrop Sunday evening for surfers waiting for a swell at Zuma Beach. Photo by Frank Lavac

Wisnicki’s final school board meeting this week

Malibu resident Kathy Wisnicki will receive a commendation this week Thursday as she participates in her final Board of Education meeting. Wisnicki chose not to run for reelection this term, leaving the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District without a Malibu resident on its board for the first time in nearly 30 years.

Wisnicki told The Malibu Times earlier this month she plans to stay involved in the school district after her term ends. She said she would like to remain on the committee that advises the board on the use of Measure BB construction money. She currently participates on the committee as a school board member liaison. Also, she said she is contemplating applying for a seat on the Financial Oversight Committee.

The board meeting will take place at the district headquarters, located at 1651 16 St. in Santa Monica.

Man arrested on suspicion of arson

A man who allegedly tried to start a fire near Malibu Creek State Park on Saturday was arrested on suspicion of arson. According to the Malibu Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station, a local resident spotted 39-year-old Suren Sahakyan starting a fire using paper and leaves on the shoulder of Stokes Canyon Road near Mulholland Highway at about 5:20 p.m. The resident stomped out the fire. Sahakyan ran from the scene, but was soon caught by Sheriff’s deputies.

Sahakyan is being held in lieu of $75,000 bail.

PCH lane closure

The California Department of Transportation this week on Wednesday is closing one westbound lane of Pacific Coast Highway between Big Rock and Las Flores Canyon Road from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

County approves library deal with Malibu

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors last week approved the Memorandum of Understanding between the city and county that will bring $2.6 million to Malibu for interior and exterior library improvements. The deal, passed by the City Council during the summer, will allow Malibu to be the lead agency in deciding what changes will be made to the county-owned library.

The money being given to the city comes from an account to which the county has been contributing since 2004. The amount contributed is based on the annual difference in the amount of property tax received by the county for library services from Malibu property owners and the amount of money used by the county to provide “basic level services” at the library. Then-newly elected Councilmember Pamela Conley Ulich first brought to the attention of the city in 2004 that Malibu taxpayers had been paying far more into the county system than they were receiving in services. The county and city governments have been in discussions on this issue since that time.

She said in a statement, “We are grateful that the city of Malibu and Los Angeles County Library were able to collaborate and begin an exciting new chapter-the Library Renewal Project. The Library Renewal Project will be a perfect complement to our new Legacy Park. We believe the Library Renewal Project will result in a sanctuary in the heart of Malibu where people can gather to learn, meet old friends and make new ones.”

Malibu can use the money as a one-time expenditure for major projects or for ongoing enhancements. Although the city will be the lead agency, the agreement requires Malibu and the county to work together on determining what projects should be done, and the proposals would require approval from both governments. County library and city officials will meet in November to discuss how the money would be used for the next fiscal year beginning in July. The memorandum of understanding will last until June 2019, with funds being added every year.

Method film fest seeks strong acting pictures

The 11th annual Method Fest independent film festival, scheduled for March 26 to April 2 in Calabasas, is looking for character and story-driven films featuring strong acting performances.

The Method Fest features American and foreign feature films and short films. Its names come from “The Method” school of acting, which revolutionized the approach in acting, particularly in film.

To take advantage of reduced entry fees, filmmakers must submit their films before the early deadline, which is Dec. 1 (postmarked). The late entry deadline is Jan. 31 (postmarked). For film submission information, call 310.535.9230 or go to Filmmakers are encouraged to register through

-Jonathan Friedman