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The Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District unveiled their vision for the future of local education with revamped classrooms that can be used to create more flexible education spaces. The spaces have easily movable and mobile furniture in order to integrate several interdisciplinary 21st-century learning models.

Broad Fest returned. The open-to-all outdoor event, celebrated its eleventh year and brought a few small changes that organizers hope will have a big impact. New this year (aside from a myriad of musicians) were performances held at the Broad Stage’s Music Hall, a venue that will provide sound and sight for all attendees, regardless of where they sit. A dance floor in the plaza, a KCRW DJ, programming of short films, and double the amount of art making stations round out new additions to the festival.

After running an Ultimate Frisbee league on the Santa Monica Beach for years, the local club received an invitation to expand their program to the newly renovated fields at Lincoln Middle School.

The Big Blue Bus announced plans to alter several routes in the face of declining ridership. The changes include discounting weekend bus service along three routes and instead offer riders discounted prices on Lyft’s rideshare service.

The City Council approved a proposed settlement that revoked the landmark status of the Home Savings building at 2600 Wilshire and required City Hall to pay $250,000 to the property owners. The settlement was the latest chapter in an ongoing saga over the historic importance of the building. The discussions reached City Council in 2017 after a protracted debate. Council officially landmarked the property and overruled a technical denial by the Landmarks Commission. However a court ruling undermined the ability of the city to stand by that designation.

A pair of incidents occupied emergency responders with one resulting in a gruesome death. In the lesser incident a man climbed a tree on 5th Street and stayed there for several hours until he was coaxed back to the ground. In the second a man was decapitated after hanging himself from the seventh-floor of Parking Structure 4 in Downtown Santa Monica

The first concert of the revamped Twilight on the Pier series got off to a slow start with smaller attendance compared to previous years. New security measures scanned attendees as they entered the venue and musical acts performed on three stages.

Two men faced misdemeanor charges after unrelated and random, violent attacks. In both cases, the victims were minding their own business when they were suddenly punched or hit. David De La Torre was arrested after hitting a victim in the face with a thrown rock. Peter Terrones was also arrested after he punched a woman in the face. Both were already on parole at the time of their arrests.

Los Angeles prosecutors charged more than 500 people with misdemeanors for illegal marijuana operations at 105 locations across the city. Officials continued to target the hundreds of businesses that aren’t complying with local and state rules since recreational pot sales became legal.

The City Council voted to recruit a team of experts to advise the city on how to adapt to economic headwinds brought on by rapidly evolving technologies like artificial intelligence, autonomous cars and online shopping.

A group of local high school girls created a social networking app valued at $1 million with more investment on the horizon. While the company rapidly achieved a seven figure valuation, it didn’t start as a money-making venture. The Trill Project was originally created as a vehicle for members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies to freely express themselves.

Officials and homeless advocates came to a compromise to end free meals on the Promenade. Under the agreement the free meal will move to the Salvation Army’s Fourth Street location. International nonprofit Food Not Bombs started the weekly meal service over a decade ago.

The Main Street Business Improvement Association (MSBIA) launched the city’s first neighborhood loyalty program with a card that offers holders discounts and specials at more than 50 Main Street businesses. The cards were given to all Ocean Park Association members and can be purchased by the general public for $25 on the Main Street website and at the Main Street booth during the Sunday Farmers Market in Santa Monica.

The City of Santa Monica joined a nationwide coalition of climate-focused cities to help participating municipalities purchase reduced price electric vehicles. Santa Monica is one of 19 founding cities and two counties that have committed to purchasing 376 electric vehicles worth about $11 million in the first year of the Climate Mayors Electric Vehicle Purchasing Collaborative.

An 82-year-old man was attacked by a stranger at Santa Monica Place. Abraham Yomtob was leaving a movie when he was suddenly struck on the first floor of the mall. He fell to the ground and briefly lost consciousness but did not break any bones. Leon Johnson, 34, was arrested and charged with elder abuse.

Construction began for the former Sears building in Downtown to convert the property into a new site for office, retail and food businesses. While some internal demolition had occurred in recent months, fencing went up around the project and parts of the parking lot were closed in anticipation of significant construction. The rehabilitated building, under the new name Mark 302, will convert the existing 94,186 sq. ft. historic Sears Main Building into a mixed-use commercial development.

The Conqur Endurance Group successfully kicked-off the first event of their race season – The Santa Monica Classic – with over 5,500 enthusiastic runners. The race raised over $5,000 for the YMCA of Santa Monica and Los Angeles, this year’s local charity partner. Santa Monica High School won the friendly competition between Santa Monica and Malibu schools.

The North Beach Playground opened. The ribbon cutting at 810 Pacific Coast Highway marked the end of a 3-year-long revitalization, as Santa Monica’s youngest community members gave the $2 million project its official review. The North Beach Playground is Santa Monica’s third universally accessible park, removing traditional barriers that may hold children with physical, cognitive, vision or hearing disabilities back from the rest of the group.

The Pico Promise Program, a joint venture between SMC and the City of Santa Monica continued to fill a void of guidance for underserved, nearby neighborhood students. The promise this program keeps is helping these students with textbook vouchers, trips to potential transfer schools, course advisement and mental wellness assistance.

The California Supreme Court declined to review a 2nd District Court of Appeals decision that upheld a significant judgment against Santa Monica’s most prolific developer, Neil Shekhter of NMS Properties. With the denial of NMS’ petition for review, the court allowed the terminating sanctions that permitted hedge fund AEW to sell an estimated half a billion dollars worth of NMS property on the Westside.

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., in partnership with the Gary Sinise Foundation and Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, hosted the Gold Star Wives for lunch. Twenty-four Gold Star Wives were greeted by Shrimp Louie with goody bags and treated to a selection of appetizers, entrées and desserts while paying tribute to family members lost in combat. The Gold Star Wives are a group of widows, widowers and children who spouses or parents died while serving in the Armed Forces of the United States. The Gold Star Wives honor the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of our country as well as promote activities, provide benefits and aid families.

In a ribbon cutting ceremony Samohi students and faculty members broke ground on the high school’s student-run tree and plant learning nursery, dubbed Branching Out. This nursery will plant 89 trees at the school, part of Samohi’s 25-year Campus Plan. Trees will range from cosmetic (such as Sycamore) to functional (Lemon, guava and fig trees were mentioned).

The District followed up with a progress report on a districtwide sustainability plan. The plan will unite many preexisting sustainability initiatives and incorporate those into education services and all aspects of student learning, integrating sustainability practices such as climate protection, resource efficiency and waste management into day-today operations in schools throughout the district.

Los Angeles’ two football teams, the Chargers and the Rams, met on the Coliseum field for the first time since their relocations.

After closing the hardware store, the owners of Busy Bee crossed paths with the Museum of Neon Art, a museum filled with glowing relics of a bygone era. The store’s sign will now be a featured piece for the museum’s collection of neon signs.

DTSM launched a new concept to attract families to the northern edge of the Promenade. The project included painted Adirondack chairs, AstroTurf “lily pads,” selfwatering planters and spinning top chairs. The 1200 block is the least popular end of the walking district, generating less than half as many annual impressions than the 1400 block, which is adjacent to Santa Monica Place.

Santa Monica College broke ground on their new Malibu Campus at 23525 Civic Center Way in Malibu.

The Planning Commission reviewed development agreements for a new mixed-use apartment complexes near the beach. A 22-unit apartment complex with ground floor retail and restaurant space is planned for the current vacant lot south of Casa del Mar at 1921 Ocean Front Walk.

The Santa Monica Police Department arrested a man for the murder of several individuals who were sleeping outside. Ramon Escobar, 47, killed and robbed his victims while they slept on the street by hitting them in the head with a baseball bat. One of his victims was not homeless but was sleeping under the Pier after a night of fishing.

Changes in school security protocols caused some controversy. The district developed site-specific plans that work within an overarching framework, however some parents were upset about a lack of input into the process and changes to pickup/dropoff procedures.

Four new officers have joined the Santa Monica Police Department. Officers Kobayashi, Han, Nichols and Allen are lateral transfers from other departments and officials said new recruits are expected to join SMPD in the coming months.

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