News Briefs

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Former MHS head returns to school district

After a little less than a year away from the school district, former Malibu High School principal Mike Matthews returned last Thursday when the Board of Education approved his hiring as the assistant superintendent for human resources.

“They say you can’t come home, but obviously that’s not true,” Matthews said at the meeting.

Last summer, Matthews left the district he had been a part of since 1993 to take a job with a private education firm. At the time of his departure he was serving as the interim-superintendent. The month before Matthews left the district, he withdrew his name as a candidate for the permanent superintendant position, saying he did not believe he had a chance to be a finalist.

The Santa Monica City Council’s demand that the district put a moratorium on confidentiality agreements with special education parents if it wants to receive increased funding from the city was not discussed at last week’s meeting. Following the City Council’s decision earlier last month, Superintendant Dianne Talarico said the school board would consider the demand at the next meeting (which was last Thursday’s meeting). However, a lack of a quorum delayed discussion until the July 12 meeting instead.

Additionally, the meeting was the final one for Board member Emily Bloomfield who is moving to Washington D.C. with her family because of her husband’s job transfer there. The district has begun the process to find a new member who will be selected by the current board members. Applications for the position are available at the district Web site, www.smmusd.org.

Skate competition to have environmental theme

The first annual Malibu Mother Nature Fest will take place at Papa Jack’s Skate Park on Saturday beginning at 9 a.m. The event will include a skateboarding contest, booths and vendors promoting environmental awareness and a fashion show.

The event, which has been endorsed by the City Council, became somewhat controversial when it was first proposed to have live music and begin at 6 a.m., and event sponsor Fleur de Lis X Productions had taken longer than expected to get its conditional-use permit for the event. Some City Council members suggested last week that the event organizer might have run out of time to get the permit, with city staff members saying it was the sponsor’s fault the permitting process was taking so long. Also, a neighborhood leader complained at a City Council meeting about the potential noise the event could create.

Malibu Permit Services Director Gail Sumpter said this week the permit was nearly finalized, and should be signed by the applicant later this week. Set-up for the event can begin at 7 a.m., and the festivities must conclude at 8 p.m., with clean-up lasting until 10 p.m. A proposed cooking contest will not be allowed, nor will any amplified music be permitted.

Also on Saturday in front of the skate park, the city will be hosting a mural-making project of recycled products. Malibu artist David Legaspi will lead the project. Those interested in participating should bring items, including egg cartons, paper bags, bottle caps and tabs, soda cans, beer/root beer bottles, plastic straws, plastic netting from fruit and vegetables old inner tubes and anything else “that is colorful and interestingly shaped,” according to a city press release. The mural project begins at 8 a.m.

Hungry for a Change

It’s out with the old and in with the new as Lino Bar – Ristorante says goodbye. The eatery, located at 21337 Pacific Coast Highway, closed its doors last week. Husband and wife team Chris and Kristine Bocchino are busy transforming the place into a new restaurant called Terra. The Bocchinos have both worked at various dining establishments in Southern California as well as in the Napa Valley. They most recently hailed from The Whisper Lounge at the Grove.

Kristine Bocchino, a Malibu native, says the pair will maintain the space’s much-loved, old-world charm with its Malibu tiles, fountain and fireplace. They also say they will offer creative California-Mediterranean cuisine that’s not often found in these parts.

“Malibu is hungry for change,” Kristine Bocchino said. “We’re not going to be another Italian restaurant.”

Terra is expected to open at the end of the month.

Horse farm prepares for Coastal Commission battle

Malibu Valley Farms officials have sent an e-mail to supporters encouraging them to attend Monday’s California Coastal Commission meeting. The Calabasas farm, located at the northeast corner of Mulholland Highway and Stokes Canyon Road, is seeking an-after-the-fact permit for a large portion its equestrian facility. The commission staff has recommended the permit be rejected, citing various environmental concerns including the facility’s close proximity to Stokes Canyon Creek.

A fire ravaged a portion of the farm in 1996, and a rebuilding process was begun two years later after the farm initially received an exemption from the Coastal Commission. But soon, the Coastal Commission revoked the exemption, saying that some of the structures could not be rebuilt without the full permitting process because they were constructed after the Coastal Act was approved.

Monday’s meeting begins at 1 p.m. at the Embassy Suites Hotel in San Luis Obispo.

-Jonathan Friedman and Kim Devore