News Briefs

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Top row, from left, summit moderator Stepanie Hoops of the Ventura County Star, Josh Addison of Bell Arts Factory, Ron Conlin, Pepperdine University professor of business, Jonathan Fraser Light of the Employment Law Group, Rebekah Evans, CEO of the Malibu Chamber of Commerce, Ed Hogan, of Hogan Family Foundation, and Navy Captain Brad "Brick" Conners at the Malibu Economic Summit Feb. 25 at Pepperdine University. Photo by Dana Fineman / TMT

Corral Fire suspects plead not guilty

Two of the four remaining suspects accused of starting the November 2007 Corral Canyon Fire issued formal not guilty pleas at the Van Nuys Courthouse on Monday.

Brian Alan Anderson and William Thomas Coppock pled not guilty at their arraignment hearing.

Jane Robinson, press secretary for the District Attorney’s office of Los Angeles County, said on Monday that Anderson and Coppock are scheduled to appear in court on April 3 to set a date for a pretrial conference to determine when a trial date will be set.

The preliminary setting on Feb. 26 of Eric Matthew Ullman and Dean Allen Lavorante has been continued to April 30, Robinson said.

Ben W. Pesta II, Lavorante’s attorney, said Monday, “We are going to be looking at the preliminary hearing transcripts of the two other defendants [Coppock and Anderson]. The preliminary hearing transcripts contain matter which I believe reflects favorably on Mr. Lavorante and Mr. Ullman.”

The fifth suspect in the fire, Brian David Franks, was sentenced Feb. 19 to 300 hours of community service and five years probation. His sentencing also requires him to testify at the trials of Anderson, Coppock, Lavorante and Ullman.

Construction on Saddle Peak, Schueren roads

Officials of the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works have announced the start of a storm damage repair project on Schueren Road going 850 feet south of Stunt Road, and on Saddle Peak Road going 1,400 feet east of Stunt Road.

The project consists of grading and installing an erosion control blanket on the south side of Saddle Peak and Schueren roads, reconstructing pavement, installing culverts and drains, and planting on the slopes.

The estimated construction cost for this project is $1,306,820. It will be funded through State Proposition 1B funds and Federal Emergency Management Agency and Governor’s Office of Emergency Services Funds.

Although the construction areas will be closed to through traffic during construction, Saddle Peak Road and Schueren Road will not be closed at the same time. Information signage will be installed prior to the start of construction to advise motorists of roadway closures and detour routes.

Construction is expected to begin this month and be completed in four months. More information can be obtained by calling 626.458.3155.

State of the City address to highlight economic strategies

Mayor Andy Stern will speak at a State of the City luncheon March 12, outlining the city’s objectives and goals for this year, and on how local businesses, elected officials and the community can work together toward economic vitality. The luncheon will take place next Thursday from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the Malibu Performing Arts Center, 23825 Stuart Ranch Rd. Tickets are available for $35 for Malibu Chamber Members and $40 for nonmembers.

More information can be obtained by calling 310.456.9025.

-Olivia Damavandi