News Briefs


Fire suspects to appear in court Thursday

The two Culver City residents accused of being part of a group that caused the Nov. 24 Corral Fire will appear in Van Nuys Superior Court on Thursday for their arraignment hearing.

Eric Matthew Ullman, 18, and Dean Allen Lavorante, 19, turned themselves into authorities in December after being charged with two felonies. They each posted $240,000 bail and were released. They have made no public comment about the charges.

Ullman and Lavorante, as well as three city of Los Angeles residents, have been charged with recklessly causing a fire with great bodily injury and recklessly causing a fire to an inhabited structure. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office claims the blaze was started “during and within an area of a state of emergency,” which would require a mandatory state prison sentence if they were convicted.

The other three suspects-Brian Alan Anderson, 22, William Thomas Coppock, 23, and Brian David Franks-entered pleas of not guilty in the Van Nuys Court on Dec. 21. Coppock and Anderson were released on bail. Franks, whose public defender said he could not afford any amount of bail, was released on his own recognizance on Jan. 7.

The three men are scheduled to reappear in court March 3, at which time a date will be set for a preliminary hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to put them on trial.

The Corral Fire burned 4,900 acres and destroyed 86 structures, including 53 homes. Thirty-seven vehicles and a mobile home were also destroyed. Another 45 structures, including 33 homes, were damaged. Six firefighters were injured, including one who received second-degree burns to the face.

Emergency response training to be offered in March

The city of Malibu next month will offer its Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT, training. The free course headed by Emergency Services Coordinator Brad Davis teaches a variety of skills, with graduates becoming certified to be part of the official CERT effort during an emergency. The course will take place on four consecutive Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. beginning on March 15.

The course will take place at Malibu City Hall, located at 23815 Stuart Ranch Road. To sign up, contact Davis at 310.456.2489 ext. 260 or by e-mail at

Memorial on Saturday for Malibu League president

A memorial service for Gordon Arford, a Malibu Navy League president for more than four years, will take place on Saturday in Pacific Palisades. Arford died on Jan. 31 at age 77 after a yearlong struggle with kidney failure following heart bypass surgery.

The service will take place at 10 a.m. at Calvary Church, located at 701 Palisades Drive. For more information, call 310.457.7250.

Yard sale to benefit fire victims

Point Dume Marine Science Elementary School’s Student Council will hold a yard sale and sell lemonade on Saturday to benefit the victims of the recent fires. The sale will take place from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at 6636 Portshead Road. More information can be obtained by calling Heidi Amundson at 310.457.6906.

Juan Cabrillo to host new parents

All prospective Juan Cabrillo Elementary School parents with school-age children (age 5 by Dec. 2) are invited to attend the school’s Kindergarten Round-Up on Feb. 27 from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. The Round-Up is the first step in the enrollment process for the family. Parents must RSVP for the event by Feb. 22.

Those needing to enroll children in all other grades for the fall can call for pre-registration information at 310.457.0360 ext. 130 or 131.

City Hall closed Monday

City Hall will be closed on Monday in observance of Presidents’ Day. This is an official city holiday and construction is prohibited in Malibu, according to the city’s Web site. The Malibu Times Building will be open on Monday.

Pepperdine head named chair of education council

Andrew K. Benton, president of Pepperdine University, has been named chair of the Board of Directors at the American Council on Education, the major coordinating body for all the nation’s higher education institutions. Benton assumed his role on Monday during ACE’s 90th annual Meeting in San Diego. Benton will serve a one-year term as ACE board chair. He succeeds Ricardo R. Fern├índez, president of Lehman College, The City University of New York.

Before becoming ACE board chair, Benton served as the board’s vice chair for one year. Most recently, he chaired the search committee that selected Molly Corbett Broad as ACE’s next president. Benton has served in higher education for nearly 30 years. He came to Pepperdine in 1984, and has worked in several key leadership roles during his tenure, including vice president for administration and vice president for university affairs. In addition, he has taught both undergraduate and graduate classes at Pepperdine. He was named president of the university in June 2000. Prior to becoming president, Benton served as Pepperdine’s executive vice president and chief operational officer for nine years.

“It is an honor to serve as chair of the American Council on Education Board of Directors,” said Benton. “Maintaining an informed and educated citizenry is one of the foundational characteristics of a free and democratic society. Now in its 90th year, the Council has made significant contributions to higher education positively impacting students for nearly a century. I look forward to working with Molly Broad, the new president of ACE, and the organization’s leadership team to advance the Council’s important agenda.”

-Jonathan Friedman