News Briefs

Plastic bags be gone - Pictured from left: City Manager Jim Thorsen, Councilmember John Sibert, Ralphs VP of PR Kendra Doyel, Ralphs VP of Grocery John Piersma, Mayor Pro Tem Andy Stern and Councilmember Sharon Barovsky at Ralphs Tuesday for the kickoff of Day Without a Bag, encouraging people to use reusable bags. Photo by Devon Meyers / TMT

Local stores have day without a bag

Heal the Bay’s second annual A Day Without a Bag event is scheduled to take place this week Thursday, with local stores, including Ralphs grocery store, participating.

“Our event is a countywide day of education and grassroots action on December 18th about the benefits of opting to use reusable shopping bags over plastic and paper disposable ones,” Jessica Belsky, communications manager of Heal the Bay, said, adding that Los Angeles County residents use 6 billion plastic grocery bags each year.

“We’ve teamed up with the county and City of L.A., various community groups, environmental organizations and retailers to provide more than 20,000 free reusable bags to holiday shoppers at more than 50 giveaway sites,” Belsky said.

Malibu passed an ordinance in May banning plastic bags, which will take effect this month for grocery stores, food vendors, restaurants, pharmacies and city facilities. After one year, all other retailers and vendors in Malibu must comply.

Local environmental groups and organizations will be at the following local sites to distribute free, reusable bags: Malibu Kiwanis Club at Colony Plaza/CVS, Santa Monica Baykeeper at How’s Market, Boy’s and Girl’s Club Green Team at PC Greens and the Surfrider Foundation at the Malibu Country Mart. The Malibu Surfing Association will be at Ralphs, which began its free bag program Tuesday and which will continue through Dec. 26th.

Juan Cabrillo Special Ed class reopens

The Special Education Intensive Services classroom at Juan Cabrillo Elementary School has reopened, the school announced in a press release last week.

The classroom is dedicated to serving children with special needs from kindergarten to third grade, and has not been offered in Malibu for three years. For the past three years, students in need of specialized classroom therapy, had to travel to Santa Monica or find other alternatives.

“It was a goal of Juan Cabrillo to bring the class back and a natural progression as the class was previously held at our school,” said Barry Yates, principal at Juan Cabrillo Elementary School. “We also just opened an occupational therapy clinic on campus. We pride ourselves on opening our doors to all students and are so fortunate to have these wonderful children added to our Cabrillo family.”

Linda Ellrod, board member of Malibu Special Education Foundation, which helps to raise funds for special needs programs, said, “I am especially pleased to see the classroom re-opened at Juan Cabrillo because my daughter has special needs and she attended the intensive day class at Cabrillo four years ago. Now my son, who also has special needs, is learning in this classroom again. It really has come full-circle.”

SMMUSD board appoints new president, VP

At its annual reorganization meeting last week on Thursday, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education elected Ralph Mechur to serve as board president and Barry Snell to serve as board vice president.

The board also welcomed Ben Allen, who was elected to the board in the November 2008 election. Allen, who has served on the district’s Financial Oversight Committee for the past year and a half, is a former Santa Monica High School Student.

“Our district is fortunate to have such dedicated elected officials,” Superintendent Tim Cuneo said in a press release from the SMMUSD. “I look forward to working with both Mr. Mechur and Mr. Snell as they take on their new leadership roles. I also welcome Mr. Allen to the district. His previous involvement with SMMUSD will be an asset to our district.”

Mechur, who was elected to the Board of Education in the November 2008 election, was first appointed to the board in August of 2007, following the departure of Emily Bloomfield. Prior to joining the Board of Education, Mechur served as president of SMMUSD’s Education Foundation for 18 years, on the Facilities Master Plan Committee for three years, on the Measure “BB” Advisory Committee, on the Santa Monica Planning Commission for eight years, on the SMMUSD Capital Improvements Oversight Committee, and on the Santa Monica Architectural Review Board for five years.

Snell, who was elected to the board in the November 2006 election, has been an active member of the community for more than 10 years. As a board member, he has served as liaison to the Community Health and Safety District Advisory Committee and has championed district efforts to close the achievement gap.

Timothy Busfield puts home on market

Actor Timothy Busfield, know for such popular shows as “thirtysomething” and “West Wing,” has listed his three-bedroom, three-bathroom house in Malibu at $1,995,000, according to the Los Angeles Times .The 2,396 square foot modern, multilevel wood-and-glass home has ocean and mountain views and sits on more than an acre of land.

Busfield won an Emmy for his role on “thirtysomething” (1987-1991) and was an executive producer of “Lipstick Jungle” and “Without a Trace.”