2015 in Review: September

The 34th annual Malibu Kiwanis Chili Cook-Off took place over Labor Day weekend and featured 22 carnival rides as well as food vendors, games and musical performances.

• The campaign for Malibu to separate from the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District and form our own school district appeared one step closer as local organization Advocates for Malibu Public Schools (AMPS) officially launched a petition to put school separation on a Malibu ballot. There are still a lot of questions, although early reports indicate that both districts would benefit from separation.

• The 34th annual Malibu Kiwanis Chili Cook-Off — now a four-day event — continued to raise big money for many Malibu charities with food, rides, live music, prizes and a raffle for a 2015 Jeep, which was won by a fellow from Long Island who bought five tickets while he was here on vacation.

• Experts say that the warm El Niño waters brought in some unusual sea life, seldom seen in Malibu waters. A 29-year-old man was bitten by a 10-foot hammerhead shark while fishing from a kayak with one foot dangling over the side. He was taken to a local hospital a full recovery was expected.

• The struggle for the long-sought-after, roughly 146-room Rancho Malibu Hotel, which was originally planned for a flat bluff at the intersection of Malibu Canyon Road and PCH, ended when the developer finally said “enough already” and changed directions. They are now proposing a visitor serving, low traffic volume memorial park, which the Malibu Planning Commission unanimously decided is an allowed use under the city’s commercial visitor serving zone guidelines.

• In the ongoing controversy about PCBs in some Malibu schools, the district hired an environmental testing firm to conduct air and wipe tests to make sure no PCBs are loose in the school environment. Malibu High and Juan Cabrillo Elementary schools were reported to be at safe levels and during summer, the district took steps toward remediation, but a number of parents and safety advocates are still anxious that the standards are too low and there remains an irreducible risk at the schools that can only be solved by removing the PCBs altogether.

• The five-home, gated subdivision — formerly the Malibu Tow Yard on Malibu Road, which had been known as the former Crummer property — finally got a 5-0 OK from the city council, and grading and construction began soon after.