News Briefs


SMMUSD fundraising campaign enters final stretch

The Save Our Schools campaign has earned more than $750,000, according to a recent press release from the campaign. Led by the Santa Monica-Maibu Education Foundation, the SOS goal is to raise as much money as possible to bring back of some of the teachers and other SMMUSD staff who were laid-off due to budget cuts. Money must be raised by Aug. 15 to restore positions for this fall.

“Save Our Schools” campaign volunteers have developed key community partnerships and turned traditional summer activities into wonderful ways to celebrate summer and support our Santa Monica-Malibu schools at the same time,” wrote campaign member Rebecca Kennerly, who also heads Community for Excellent Public Schools, or CEPS.

Several more events and other fundraising opportunities are planned. For details, go to

The final SOS event will take place on Aug. 15 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Santa Monica High School. It will include a celebration of the campaign and acknowledgment of the donors.

The event will feature food, music, raffle prizes and an announcement of the final SOS contribution totals.

MRCA receives donation for communication equipment

MIB Insurance Services partnered with Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company to present the Mountains Recreation & Conservation Authority (MRCA) with a $13,129 donation to fund the purchase of hand-held radios for its personnel.

MRCA will use these radios to communicate between the authority and other agencies during a fire or emergency. MRCA will use this donation to purchase a total of 15 radios.

“Communication is always the number one safety concern in any wildland fire incident,” said Walt Young, MRCA’s chief ranger. “Radios allow firefighters to communicate with other agencies and remain in contact with the incident communications. We are thankful for this generous donation so that we may do our best to protect and conserve our mountains and communities.”

The grant is part of a nationwide philanthropic program funded by Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company.

The program is designed to provided needed equipment, training and educational tools to local fire departments. Since 2004, Fireman’s Fund has issued grants to more than 1,500 different departments totaling more than $25 million. Independent insurance agencies that sell Fireman’s Fund products, like MIB Insurance, are able to direct these grants to support the fire service.

“Budget restraints make it difficult for local fire departments and joint agencies to purchase all of the needed equipment and tools they need to most effectively do their jobs,” said Gabriela Padilla with MIB Insurance Services. “We’re proud to help in such a tangible way knowing so many communities will benefit from this donation.”

Donations needed for troop Care Package Project

Malibu resident Genevieve Ball will have a booth at this weekend’s Malibu Arts Festival to collect items and sponsors for care packages that will be sent to U.S. Marines serving overseas. She will also use the opportunity to create further awareness of what our troops serving overseas are enduring.

For more information, send an e-mail to

Topanga film fest to honor Hopper, Lynch

The sixth annual Topanga Film Festival will honor Dennis Hopper and David Lynch at this year’s festival. In honor of Hopper, the festival will screen the 1969 classic “Easy Rider” at Abuelita’s Mexican Restaurant on Aug. 19. Lynch will be honored for innovation in filmmaking the next day at The Mountain Mermaid, where his short film, “Lady Blue Shanghai” will screen.

Prior to the festival kick-off party at Abuelita’s, Topanga resident Jim Chressanthis’ award-winning documentary, “No Subtitles Necessary: Laszlo & Vilmos,” will screen on an oversized screening tent at Pine Tree Circle, where a bulk of this year’s screenings will take place during the four-day festival.

This year’s selection will focus on shorts and features dedicated to addressing issues related to the environment, socio-political/humanitarian matters, creative/narrative/perspective and family.

Screenings are scheduled to begin at 12 p.m. on Aug. 19, 2 p.m. on Aug. 20 following the farmers’ market and 11 a.m. on Aug. 21 and 22.

Children under 12 will be admitted free of charge at all screenings. Tickets range from $10 to $15 per show or $100 for an all-tent, all-access pass for the duration of the festival.

A new addition to the festival is International Networking Day. It will take place on Aug. 20 at the Mountain Mermaid and will run parallel to the screenings at Pine Tree Circle.

Slated for the event is a speed networking facility where content creators can pitch their project to mainstream and new media decision-makers as well as four panels, and a separate slate of internationally curated short films. A special screening will be the evening’s finale.

For more information about other events and features at the festival as well as how to purchase tickets, go to

By Jonathan Friedman