News Briefs

Impending delays from traffic upgrades

Commuters should anticipate delays beginning June 1, when Pepperdine University is scheduled to begin work to upgrade road and traffic signals at Civic Center Way and Malibu Canyon Road, as stated in a press release issued by the City of Malibu last week. The project will continue through July 24, and traffic controls will be present from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on various days during the construction.

City to install recycle, trash bins at Zuma Beach

The City of Malibu last week installed new recycle and trash receptacles along Pacific Coast Highway near Zuma Beach to curb pollution and encourage recycling by the millions of beachgoers expected to visit this summer, according to the city’s May 18 press release.

It is expected dual bins on the ocean side of the highway will be provided later this year.

“There is an excess of litter in the free parking area of PCH, with no place for beachgoers to properly dispose of trash and recyclables,” Mayor Andy Stern said in the press release. “Having these combination containers available will reduce litter on the highway, which will lead to improved water quality since the trash will not be blown into the ocean and creek.”

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Jennifer Voccola, the city’s environmental programs coordinator, said in the press release that the city aims to eventually have combination bins at all Malibu beaches, parks, bus stops and other properties.

“With bans on polystyrene containers, plastic bags and smoking on the beach, Malibu is making a definite statement that we expect our community and visitors to leave the beaches as clean or cleaner than when they arrived,” Voccola said.

The city allocated funds in the FY 2008-09 budget for installation of the new bins near the popular beach after receiving a recommendation from the Public Works Commission in November 2007.

Harris, Madigan host Theatricum fundraiser

Malibu actors Ed Harris and Amy Madigan will host a fundraiser for the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum Theatre at their home on Saturday. The event is a called a “Spring Friendraiser.”

“Friends banded together with Will Geer in the 1950s and rose above the Blacklist to perform Shakespeare for free,” states a press release from the theater. “Friends hauled parts of the Santa Monica pier to Topanga, after the 1983 hurricane, and built a new stage over Topanga Creek. Friends have gardened, hammered, dry walled, cooked, performed, played music, sang, come together for memorial services, weddings and births. Friends have created a community that is passionate about literature and plays, performance and nature, teaching and passing on the gifts of creative expression.”

The fundraiser will take place Saturday at the Malibu home of Amy Madigan and Ed Harris on Saturday, from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Food and wine will be served, and classical music and the Theatricum season previews including selections from Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and “Cymbeline,” Molière’s “The Miser” and Anton Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard” will be performed.

Madigan is an ardent fan of Theatricum and said, “All of us are experiencing the effects of the economy in one way or another. Most of this, we cannot control. So we have to move forward and be fearless in this time of crisis. My way of doing that is to invest in the things that I value most in my community. I want to bring together new friends with old friends to support Theatricum because it is an extraordinary place, and because there is no dollar value that you can attach to the history, the people or the heart that has kept it going for thirty years. It’s our watch now. We have to be active.”

Tickets are $125 and proceeds directly support Theatricum’s repertory company and education programs, which are core to the theatre’s mission to provide high quality, accessible programming to the broadest possible audience. For more information or to purchase tickets visit www.theatricum.com or call 310.455.2322.

State Supreme Court upholds Prop. 8

The California Supreme Court on Tuesday voted 6-1 to uphold Proposition 8’s ban on same-sex marriage, but also ruled to maintain the validity of approximately 18,000 same-sex marriages that occurred prior to the election in May 2008.

Justice Carlos R. Moreno, the dissenting vote, said the ruling “places at risk the state constitutional rights of all disfavored minorities” and “weakens the status of our state Constitution as a bulwark of fundamental rights for minorities protected from the will of the majority.”

The court declined to conclude whether same-sex marriages performed outside of California (and not formally acknowledged by the state prior to the election) would be legal in California. The court said it did not hear arguments on that question and “it would be inappropriate to address” it today.

Before last fall, California was one of only two states-the other was Massachusetts-to allow same-sex marriage. Iowa, Connecticut, Vermont and Maine have since legalized it, and lawmakers in New York, New Jersey and New Hampshire are considering bills of their own.

California has more than 100,000 households headed by gay couples, about a quarter with children, according to 2000 census data.

New tool predicts potential desert tortoise habitat

In light of World Turtle Day on May 23, a new tool has been designed to provide land managers with a predictive model for mapping the potential distribution of desert tortoise habitat and to evaluate different land-use issues the tortoises face at a landscape scale, according to a report issued last week by the U.S. Geological Survey Office of Communications.

The entire listed range of the federally threatened Mojave population of desert tortoise is covered by the habitat model, including parts of California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona, an area that comprises 129,959 square miles of basin-and-range topography.

Habitat modeling simulates the potential distribution of the desert tortoise to answer a variety of management and biological questions. The USGS habitat model can highlight areas that have the potential to be tortoise habitat but which are relatively unknown to previous monitoring efforts, the report states. By predicting potential distribution of desert tortoise habitat, land managers will be better able to plan conservation efforts, guide monitoring activities, monitor changes in the amount and quality of habitat available, minimize and mitigate disturbances, and ultimately assess the status of the tortoise and its habitat toward recovery of the species.

The habitat model provides a base distribution model for desert tortoises that can be used to look at habitat potential in light of other resource information on land-use issues such as habitat connectivity, conservation genetics, future energy development, human population growth, and the urban-wildland interface.

-Olivia Damavandi

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