Malibu’s Top 10 Stories of 2014

PCH Fire

As we prepare to welcome a new year, here’s a look back at the top 10 stories from in 2014.

10. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu motorcade to cause rolling PCH closures

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Southern California in early March, causing rolling closures along PCH in Malibu and causing traffic headaches for both commuters and locals. Two eastbound lanes were closed near Carbon Canyon Road, diverting cars into a median. Secret Service agents were at the scene.

9. Malibu film archive gives light to Anne Frank documentary

A private Malibu film archive donated rare footage of Nazi Germany for “No Asylum,” a documentary produced by local Leslie Schwarz about the family of Anne Frank. The film covered their vain search for asylum and includes footage of Nazis bicycling into Holland the driving the people out of Amsterdam. The donation came nearly 70 years after Frank died of typhus in a German-run concentration camp.

8. Fireworks shows set for Fourth of July in Malibu

The L.A. County Fire Department’s Fire Prevention office issued permits for three professional fireworks displays to be launched from barges off the Malibu coast at 9 p.m. on July 4. The displays were in the vicinity of Malibu Colony Road, Paradise Cove and Broad Beach. Each year, The Malibu Times publishes a list of places to view the fireworks displays for readers’ convenience.

7. Live updates: small brush fire extinguished in Topanga

Malibu Times offered live coverage of a small brush fire that broke out in Topanga near the intersection of Old Topanga Road and Topanga Canyon Boulevard at 12:40 on Jan. 14. Three spot fires broke out as a result of the original fire around 3 p.m. All visible flames were extinguished around that time, but authorities monitored the burn area until 8 p.m.

6. A local psychic makes her 2014 predictions

Readers of The Malibu Times seemed very interested to get a glimpse at what was in store for 2014. One of the most popular stories of the year was local psychic Averi Torres’ predictions, which included a stock market jump by the end of the year and an announcement from Hillary Clinton about her candidacy for a 2016 Presidential run. Torres predicted a serious earthquake early in the year, as well as an increase in seismic activity around the globe.

5. Updates, photos: PCH fire

At the beginning of 2014 on Jan. 14, a small brush fire was reported near Chautauqua Boulevard, threatening structures in the area and causing major traffic delays after PCH was shut down in both directions. The fire was reported shortly after 3 p.m. and was out by 5 p.m. Fire crews battled hot spots later into the evening, and one lane of traffic was reopened around 10 p.m. that night.

4. Malibu resident catches tuna with bare hands

Also gracing the ranks of Malibu Times most read stories of 2014 was the tale of Malibu resident Diana Armstrong catching a 37-pound bluefin tuna with her bare hands on a Saturday night during summer. Armstrong heard a fish flapping on the beach outside her house and was able to catch it, with help from her husband, Alan, and clean it up to share with friends.

3. Surfer drowns near Malibu Pier

Lifeguards responded to an unconscious person floating in the water near Malibu Pier during the high-surf and rough ocean conditions caused by Hurricane Marie in late August. The victim, 54-year-old Silverio Laconsay, remained unresponsive after lifeguards and other emergency responders attempted to resuscitate him. The dangerous ocean conditions caused an increase in Malibu lifeguard rescues to more than 250 the weekend of Aug. 24-25 from an average of about 80 per weekend.

2. PCH construction to bring long-term traffic troubles

Two long-term construction projects on PCH were scheduled to begin in early April and September, affecting traffic for months. The first project was the closure of one southbound lane of PCH for one year along a 900-foot stretch south of Chautauqua Boulevard in order to expand sewer capacity to handle polluted urban runoff during dry weather. The second project was supposed to begin in September in Santa Monica when the California Incline was closed to undergo stabilization work, but the project has since been delayed until spring 2015.

1. Leslie Gilliams: Malibu’s MasterChef

He may not have won MasterChef, but he did win Malibu Times most popular story of 2014. Local chef Leslie Gilliams was a contestant on FOX Network’s cooking competition show “MasterChef.” Gilliams is a self-proclaimed stay-at-home dad with seven children and a TV/film producer wife, Paula Heart. Gilliams was selected along with 21 other finalists for the opportunity to appear on Chef Gordon Ramsey’s “MasterChef” show.