Don't Touch That Dial! Topanga Radio is Online
By Tony Morris
Topanga has its own radio station! Topanga Radio.com began webcasting on the Internet on March 17 and is the creation of Topangans Thomas and Ananda Breiter and Daryl Vance Jones.
Topanga Radio originates from a mini-studio in Topanga and features recordings from Topanga musicians, whose performances around town are creating dedicated local followers. In addition to being a hub for the Topanga music scene, plans for Topanga Radio include adding poetry, video, performance art, commentary and live coverage of events to the webcast.
Thomas Breiter is a native of Frankfurt, Germany, and was master mechanic for a major Volkswagen and Porsche dealer before coming to Topanga. He is also a computer whiz.
Breiter met Ananda, a graphic artist, outside the Topanga Market in 1992 and they have been designing websites together now for seven years including www.internebula.com and www.eyecandywebdesign.com.
A few months ago they decided to create Topanga Radio with Ananda's father, Topanga poet and musician Daryl Vance Jones.
"There is a special aura of the '60s living here in Topanga," said Thomas Breiter. "The Chumash must have had drum circles here. You can feel it."
Jones is also a multi-systems fabricator who has been producing on-location digital recordings for musicians performing in the canyon.
Among the local artists and bands currently on Topanga Radio or scheduled to be added soon to the playlist are Tim O'Gara and The Dapple Gray; Djam Karet; Zdotzone with Daryl Vance Jones and "Drummer;" Madra; Neptune Blew with David Lichten and Sarah Vaughan; ABBa Roland; Eve Terran; Kim Carrol; Wendy Smith; Eric Lynn; David Hess; Peter Alsop; Rick Ellis; Brendan O'Halloran; ; STAR; Jamie Papish; Todd Montgomery; and Randy Chance.
In addition to links to musicians' web pages and an online music store, it will also be possible to create custom CDs through various services linked to Topanga Radio. Because users are not able to burn the music onto CDs, there is less likely to be a copyright problem for artists providing music for the Topanga Radio playlist.
The site will provide photographs, biographies, e-mail addresses and other information on Topanga musicians as well as upcoming concert listings in the Canyon. Also, it will link, through internebula.com, to world music that plays radio stations from more than a hundred countries.
"The Internet dissolves all the shields and the curtains about what is real, about people coming together....Everything is O.K. It's O.K. to believe in the artists in your community," says Jones.
He described Topanga Radio's mission as an outlet for musicians and artists with this mantra:
Grand Work Will Win The Day
We Are The Ones
To Part The Waves
Towards The Great Golden Rings
Participate in High Evolutionary Space
Do Not Hesitate
For Thomas Breiter the Internet has provided a liberating ability to create with others.
"People can brainstorm together all over the world. They don't have to be together," said Breiter.
Composer-arranger Randy Chance said radio is becoming a completely different medium now with options like Topanga Radio. Somebody was always in charge before, he said, but now anybody can do what they want.
"You don't have to spend thousands of dollars. Anybody who wants can release a CD," said Chance. " It's another feather in the cap for Topanga's identity."
Chance said that, in Galileo's time, Galileo's thesis was published in Florence in February and by May two copies had reached the Vatican.
"Today CDs can be created and on the Internet within days."
Kim Carroll, a guitarist, pianist and session musician who co-founded and plays guitar for Topanga's Madra, said Topanga Radio is an exciting new outlet for a thriving Topanga music scene.
"It can only serve to benefit the artistic community within the Canyon," said Carroll. "I hope this is just the beginning....I'm hoping it's just going to blossom from here."
A Topanga resident for 10 years, Carroll said he has never seen anything like the excitement around the music that's going on now, with every possible venue being used by musicians anxious to play.
The record industry is starting to recognize what's going on here," said Carroll. "Artists are having more fun playing here than in a stuffy club in Hollywood....Topanga is going to play a pivotal role in what's going on in L.A."
Ned Landin, a Topanga singer-songwriter and web designer who has traveled throughout the country as a street performer, said Topanga Radio will fulfill an important role by playing the music of local artists which commercial radio rarely does.
Landin said his experience with local radio stations in Boston showed that a community music scene can be covered. Stations like WUMB and WHRB, at the University of Massachusetts and Harvard University respectively, broadcast music with a strong local flavor.
"When local musicians announced concerts in the paper, they filled up because their work had been played and they had a following. Careers were made," said Landin.
Initial costs for Topanga Radio have been covered by its creators. In the future the plan is to offer subscriptions so that the station can provide additional features and coverage of community events. Artists interested in having their music accessible to the community, and those interested in providing ideas for program content should contact email@example.com or should call (310) 403-1336.
Topanga Elementary Gets Grant for Eco-Ed
By Dan Mazur
Topanga Elementary School will be given a grant of $3,500 for environmental education from the Santa Maria Trails and Parks Association.
The grant comes as a result of a presentation made to SMTPA president Deborah Stern last fall by Elementary School teacher Marianne Bordier and parents Rick Oginz and Tricia Watts. Watts is also education coordinator for the Topanga Creek Watershed Committee.
That proposal, however, was for a $10,000 program, so the school's environmental education plans will now have to be adapted to fit the lower grant amount. At this point, specific plans for how the money will be used have yet to be finalized.
Oginz envisions an environmental science program that takes advantage of Topanga's natural resources.
"My hope is that the school's whole science effort could have an environmental focus, and a focus on the Topanga watershed....I think it's a unique opportunity to develop a science program to study the environment where the kids are. No other school that I know of in Southern California is doing that.... Topanga Elementary could become a magnet for environmental science."
The SMTPA was founded in 1994 on a $500,000 endowment from the Canyon Oaks Estates developers who planned to build 97 homes and a golf course in Summit Valley but ultimately sold the property for parkland instead. The SMTPA has since provided grants to support a number of environmental programs at private and public schools, though most are outside of Topanga.
Until last year, none of that money had found its way to Topanga Elementary, although SMTPA president Deborah Stern says she had tried contacting the school previously without results.
After an article about the SMTPA appeared in the Messenger last spring, Oginz and other parents contacted Stern. Though the deadline for a formal application had passed, Stern made a $2,500 grant to the school. The money was used to pay for field trips related to environmental science. In addition, the SMTPA gave a grant to the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council in exchange for the Council providing volunteer clearing of the school's nature trail and cleanup of its amphitheater.
The original $10,000 proposal made by Watts, Bordier and Oginz included funds for field projects at Topanga lagoon for each grade; equipment for a program called "Trout in the Classroom" in which fourth graders raise trout in tanks; an art project representing migration patterns; map-making projects for the younger students, and library resources. Some of the grant money would have gone to pay Watts for her work in developing the school's environmental curriculum, supplementing her Watershed committee salary.
Of the $3,500 grant, Watts suggested that $2,500 could be used as an environmental science discretionary fund, paying for science equipment, guest speakers and field trips. The remaining $1,000 could be used for library resources.
The process for making the specific decisions for spending the money has yet to be worked out, but Watts and Oginz agree it should be open to input from faculty and parents.
"It would be good to have a meeting with the teachers to show them our proposals and take a survey of how they'd like to spend the money," says Watts. "I think it should be up to the teachers."
Watts says she is also considering writing another grant proposal through the Santa Monica Mountains Resource Conservation District, which sponsors the Watershed Committee, to continue creating environmental curriculum materials for use in schools.
Despite the $1,000 increase over last year, Oginz was disappointed by the grant amount.
"For what we presented, and the stated goals of the foundation," said Oginz, "you'd think they'd be especially responsive to the children here in the Canyon. It was disappointing....But I think we can do something with $3,500. I think we'll have a principal in place soon to figure out how best to use it."
The elementary school has been without a principal since September, relying on four temporary appointees to handle school administration until a new principal is hired. Several candidates have been interviewed by a teacher-parent committee and a new principal is expected to be announced any day.
Stern said this year's grants were limited because of the weak year in the stock market. She agrees with Oginz that the Association can do more for Topanga Elementary in the years to come.
"I hope to accomplish a lot more in the future," she said. "We have a couple of large grants that are five-year commitments that are winding down in the next couple of years. And then we hope to increase our giving to Topanga Elementary substantially."
In addition to the grant to Topanga Elementary, the SMTPA is giving $10,000 grants to UCLA's Stunt Ranch Santa Monica Mountains Reserve and to the Viewpoint School's environmental education program. There is also a $2,500 grant to the Children's Nature Institute (formerly Nursery Nature Walks), and $500 to Arson Watch. The Stunt Ranch and Viewpoint grants are each part of five-year, $50,000 commitments.
Three Accidents on March 23 Weekend
PHOTO BY TONY MORRIS
No injuries were reported after this Honda Accord overturned and rolled off Topanga Canyon Boulevard and under the fence into Camp Wildwood on March 23. One 18-year-old man was in the car.
By Tony Morris
Topanga was the scene of three automobile accidents during the weekend of March 23 and 24. An 18-year-old male driving a 1984 Honda Accord went off Topanga Canyon Boulevard at Fernwood Pacific Drive at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 23. The California Highway Patrol reports that the driver failed to negotiate a curve on wet pavement and lost control of the vehicle which rolled over and crashed through the fence at Camp Wildwood. The driver was not injured.
On March 24 at 3 p.m. there was a single vehicle accident at Topanga Canyon Boulevard and Castletop Trail. On the same day at 7 p.m. two vehicles collided on Entrado. Both accidents remain under investigation by the CHP and details are not yet available.
Topanga Primary Election Results
In the March 5 California primary election, 1,286 Topangans voted out of 4,953 registered Topanga voters, a turnout of just over 25 percent.
In the governor's race, 515 Democrats voted for the incumbent Gray Davis. The other three Democratic candidates received 126 votes combined, led by Anselmo Chavez with 53.
In Topanga, Richard Riordan would have won the Republican nomination with 225 votes, beating out the statewide winner Bill Simon who received 148. Bill Jones received 19 votes. Each of the other four received less than 5 votes.
In the governor's race Democratic voters outnumbered Republicans in Topanga 641 to 390. Also, the undervote among Republicans was much lower, with only 11 primary voters not casting a vote in the race compared to 112 in the Democratic race.
The Green Party's candidate for governor Peter Camejo received 38 votes.
Congressman Henry Waxman, the 28-year Democratic incumbent running in the newly redrawn 30th congressional district, received 628 votes to challenger Kevin Feldman's 58.
In the Republican congressional race, R. Tony Gross received 285 votes.
Incumbent State Assemblymember Fran Pavley ran unopposed and received 635 votes with an undervote of 115. The Republican candidate Michael Wissot received 279 with an undervote of 134.
County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky also ran unopposed. He received 1,018 votes with an undervote of 268.
If Topangans had had their way, Proposition 45, allowing four-year exemptions from term limits for state legislators, would have passed, winning here 736 to 453.
Proposition 40, the $2.6 billion bond measure for parks and environmental projects, passed 906 to 322.
Proposition 41, the $200 million bond measure for voting modernization passed 719 to 379.
The other six state and county measures also passed.
Cityride Promises Transportation for Topanga Senior Citizens
PHOTO BY CAROLE MERRITT
Supervisor Yaroslavsky's field deputy Susan Nissman discusses transportation options with seniors at Community House luncheon.
By Carole Merritt
What began as a call from one of Topanga's senior citizens requesting a ride to visit her dentist turned into an informative event at the March Senior Luncheon held at the Topanga Community House--the subject: transportation.
Vivian Goodwin, a 16-year resident of Top O' Topanga, couldn't get Dial-a-Ride clerks to understand that the Calabasas Dental Group was in Los Angeles County. Because of this, Goodwin, who has post-polio syndrome and uses a walker, was denied transportation by Dial-a-Ride, a transportation service for senior citizens and disabled persons subsidized by a half-cent sales tax.
Susan Nissman, a 25-year Topanga resident and field deputy for Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, stepped in and cleared the way for Goodwin to get her ride. Turns out the dental office is actually in Agoura, in the same building as Supervisor Yaroslavsky's office which is, of course, in Los Angeles County and well within the 20-mile range of the transportation program.
The county contracts with the City of Los Angeles for transportation for senior citizens and disabled people in Topanga but many may not be aware of the service. So Nissman brought Chuck Hammerstein from the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, along with Ann Meiners and Renato P. Reyes from the county's transit programs to meet Topanga's seniors at their monthly luncheon sponsored by the Topanga Community Club.
Meiners used a map of the county to illustrate where Topanga fits in. She explained that most of the county has fixed public transportation, but that Topanga's only fixed transportation is the summer beach bus.
Hammerstein, with the help of brochures and handouts, took on the job of explaining the Cityride programs, including Dial-a-Ride and taxi services.
Basically, those who are over 65 or are disabled can apply to receive the service and buy scrip to pay for each trip.
Travel to medical appointments must be booked two business days ahead to guarantee on-time arrivals. For example, a ride should be scheduled between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. on a Thursday before a Monday appointment. It is a good idea to plan to arrive a little early to appointments, just in case, according to Hammerstein.
Other transportation needs can generally be scheduled one day in advance between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Top O' Topanga residents Willow Ross and Betty Allen complained about drivers not being able to find their houses. When Hammerstein explained that people from Midas PT, the mapping service that Dial-a-Ride uses, would be in town that week, Ross volunteered to get a map of Top O' Topanga to them.
Questions arose as to why supermarkets in the valley couldn't provide shuttles up to the Canyon. Hammerstein suggested interested individuals get together and take advantage of group trip rates to create their own shuttle.
Topangan Gerry Haigh is working with RenŽe Gander to get individuals in different neighborhoods to coordinate emergency services for seniors and disabled neighbors. He estimates more than 20 individuals need assistance, but it hasn't been easy finding them.
"Every time we talk to somebody, nobody claims they need help," said Haigh.
According to Community House Improvement Committee chairperson Chryssa Lightheart, a preliminary survey indicates services for seniors is a high priority for many Topangans.
Transportation is only one issue, according to Elizabeth Wilson, who is a project director at the Wise Senior Center in Santa Monica. Wilson coordinates other services available to Topangans including case management, in-home care, adult daycare and meals. The degree of needed assistance depends on the degree of frailty, she said.
"One in five," said Wilson, "will have Alzheimer's."
According to the 2000 census, 11.8 percent of Topanga residents are between 65 and 99 years old and almost 3 percent are over 75. As the baby boom generation matures, those percentages are expected to rise dramatically.
Laura Medina, a county senior services program manager, said the issues are complex for the county's 88 cities and unincorporated areas. Monthly meetings are held, she said, to implement programs and strategies outlined in the 1999 study titled "Preparing for the Future: A Report on the Expected Needs of Los Angeles County's Older Adult Population."
Even if one can continue to negotiate Topanga's winding roads, automobiles don't last forever.
"My car is getting older than me," said Top O' Topanga's Ross. "I won't be able to afford to fix it much longer. It didn't pass smog check. I got a two-year extension because I'm a low-income older person. "
Said Wilson, "When people moved up to Topanga they were young and bonnie, and they've just aged there. They never thought in terms of having to be dependent."
Bette Davis once said: "Growing old isn't for sissies." Without family and friends, seniors can be isolated in any community--especially in Topanga.
Cityride's Dial-a-Ride and taxi service program is a county contracted transportation service using scrip for senior citizens, 65-years-old and up, and disabled residents.
Fees: $15.34 for a book of 72 transit scrip or $6.34 for Medi-Cal and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients. Only one scrip book may be purchased each quarter and the scrip is valid according to a schedule of three-month periods beginning in January. The scrip may be used for discounts on the Dial-a-Ride lift van, taxis and bus pass stamps.
Rates for service: Dial-a-Ride lift vans provide transportation within a 20-mile radius.
10 miles or less requires 4 scrip
11 to 20 miles requires 6 scrip
Group trips require 2 scrip per person
Taxis accept up to 12 scrip coupons to equal $12 at a rate of $2 per mile and $2 to start the meter. Additional charges are the rider's responsibility.
To apply: Call (310) 808-7433 (808-RIDE) or (818) 808-7433 (808-RIDE) for an application. Proof of age or disability are required. For the low-income discount, proof of Medi-Cal or SSI is required.
To schedule service: Call Dial-a-Ride at (818) 908-1901.
For medical appointments, call from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. two business days ahead. For other trips, call the day before from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Taxi services: City Cab at (818) 780-1000; Independent Taxi at (800) 521-8294; and United Independent of San Fernando Valley at (800) 290-5600.
If you are a senior citizen and would like to be added to the mailing list for senior luncheons sponsored by the Topanga Community Club on the first Friday of every month except July and August, call Sue Warner at (310) 455-0805.
Mermaid Hosts University Fundraiser
PHOTO COURTESY OF UNIVERSITY OF SANTA MONICA
Topangans Ron and Mary Hulnick, president and vice president of the University of Santa Monica, with guest of honor David Whyte, poet and corporate consultant.
By Carolyn Freyer-Jones
The University of Santa Monica recently held a special fundraising event for its Living Legacy Endowment Fund at the Topanga Mermaid. This fund was established to ensure that the soul-centered education USM provides is available well into the future and reaches other countries.
Topangans Ron and Mary Hulnick, both licensed marriage and family therapists, are president and vice president of the university which is located in our own backyard at 21st Street and Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica.
The USM, a private graduate school founded 22 years ago, has enrollment of more than 500 students and offers master's degree programs in Spiritual Psychology, Counseling Psychology and Consciousness, Health and Healing.
The featured guest at The Mermaid fundraiser was David Whyte, a world-renowned poet and a corporate consultant. Mary Hulnick met Whyte at The Mermaid about five years ago at an event sponsored by the Mountain Aids Foundation. When USM was exploring locations for their upcoming event, Hulnick thought again of The Mermaid.
"The evening was a huge success," said Ron Hulnick. "The funds that we raised assist USM in continuing to develop additional programs as well as support our expansion into other parts of the world."
The night was truly magical as 50 guests joined together for dinner and an evening with Whyte. He captivated the guests with his own poetry and the works of Wordsworth and other great poets. He also shared his appreciation for USM as a pioneering institution creating a new future through soul-centered education.
Whyte's clients include Kodak, AT&T, Procter & Gamble, Stanford University and many more. His ability to explore the nuances of language as well as the silence between words is profoundly inspiring and transformational. He offers a unique understanding of the nature of individual and organizational change.
For more information on the University of Santa Monica please call (310) 829-7402 or visit the USM website at www.gousm.edu. USM holds Open House Evenings for their master's degree programs once a month.
The next event is Sunday April 14 at 7:30 p.m. If you would like to attend an Open House, please call the University and ask for Norm Frye, director of admissions. For more information on David Whyte, you can visit his website at www.davidwhyte.com.