Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Local News Briefs

SM Fire Department Deployed to San Diego Wildfires

On Tuesday, May 15, at 6:54am, The Santa Monica Fire Department was deployed as part of a mutual aid request to assist with the Cocos Fire in San Diego. Two SMFD Engine Companies were dispatched as part of Strike Team XLA-1075A with other resources from Beverly Hills, Culver City, and Los Angeles City Fire Departments. The Strike Teams arrived at the staging location at Cal State San Marcos at 10:24 a.m., and were immediately placed into an active Division providing structure defense.

There is no interruption in emergency services to the Santa Monica community while the Strike Team is deployed as backfill crews were immediately called in to staff reserve apparatus.

SMMUSD Welcomes New Administrator

At its May 15, 2014, meeting, the Board of Education approved the appointment of Dr. Susan Yakich as the new Principal of McKinley Elementary School.

Dr. Yakich comes to SMMUSD from the Rescue Union School District, where she has been serving as the Principal at Rescue Elementary School for the past four years. Thanks to her leadership as principal, the API scores at Rescue E.S. for the socioeconomically disadvantaged subgroup increased by 84 points, 72 points for the students with disabilities subgroup, and the English learners subgroup scored 70 points above the state average. Dr. Yakich has also served served as Principal and Assistant Principal with the Temecula Valley Unified School District; summer School Principal with the Temecula Valley and Baldwin Park Unified School Districts; Title I Resource Teacher / Reading Recovery Teacher, summer School Lead Teacher, first grade teacher and Reading Recovery Teacher with the Baldwin Park Unified School District; and third grade teacher in Cleveland, Ohio. Her peers describe her as a "hard-working professional educator," who "consistently places the needs of students as her highest priority."

PCB Check for SM Schools

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District will check every school in the district for potentially cancer-causing contaminants following reports of health problems at the Malibu High School campus.

The district has hired an environmental consultant, Environ. Environ and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control were on hand at a special Board of Education meeting last Wednesday night in Malibu to discuss the plan.

Last year, three Malibu High School teachers were diagnosed with thyroid cancer. A group of 20 teachers wrote a letter to the district complaining of different health problems.

In November, the district had several rooms on the Malibu campus tested for a range of toxins, including PCBs, a carcinogenic contaminant.

PCB levels in several caulk and dust samples were high enough to trigger Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) involvement.

New Website Gathers Support for Airport

A new website launched May 8 is making it easier for those who want to preserve Santa Monica Municipal Airport to show their support for a proposed charter amendment that would put any decisions to redevelop airport land in the hands of the voters.

The Santa Monica Voters Decide website answers common questions about the amendment, provides the text of the proposal, and allows visitors to register their support and make financial contributions to the amendment campaign.

"SMO is a valuable community asset and Santa Monica residents deserve to have a voice in its future. We fully support this proposed charter amendment because it would let voters, not developers or politicians, make the decisions about any plans to redevelop airport property," said Bill Dunn, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) vice president of airports.

Santa Monica residents are encouraged to sign the petition now being circulated at public locations citywide.

AOPA has been heavily engaged in efforts to preserve the airport, which delivers some $250 million in annual economic impact, hosts 175 businesses, and is responsible for 1,500 jobs in the city. The field also serves as a vital general aviation reliever airport in the congested L.A. Basin. The fate of the airport has broader significance as well. More than 200 airports nationwide operate under similar agreements with the federal government. If Santa Monica is allowed to disregard its obligations and close the airport, other fields could suffer a similar fate.


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