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A longtime art auctioneer held his last auction at Bergamot Station. Robert Berman, owner of Santa Monica Auctions, announced plans to downsize and move his gallery.

A three-story building was announced to replace Coogie’s Cafe in Mid-City and a four-story building was announced for a property at 5th and Wilshire. The mixed-use building with 46 units and 12,080 square feet of ground floor commercial space will supplant Coogie’s. The other development will contain 15 units and 1,933 square feet of ground floor commercial space.

City Council discussed how to make parks and beaches safer and cleaner, directing city staff to research the cost of stationing ambassadors and installing lighting, cameras or other security features at Reed and other parks and funding community-organized park events and activities like the Meet Me at Reed family fun day series to deter criminal activity.

The Third Street Promenade began adding new features designed to attract visitors and encourage them to linger including new outdoor seating and games. Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. and the city moved forward with their Promenade 3.0 plan based on data gathered in a survey, which found that two-thirds of visitors to the Promenade come from Santa Monica or Los Angeles.

SMMUSD lost about $8.8 million in state funding last year due to a switch in its funding model. The Los Angeles County Office of Education told the district that the district was not entitled to the funds because it had become a basic aid school district during the 2017- 2018 school year and withdrew $8.86 million from SMMUSD’s financial accounts without prior written notice.

Three Lincoln Middle School students won first, second and third place in an essay contest that asked Los Angeles-area students how they would engineer the city of Los Angeles to be completely powered by renewable energy. Eighth grader Simona Trentchev, 7th grader Emma Howard and 6th grader Bella Brito won the American Society of Civil Engineers contest with essays that proposed harnessing thermal, human and solar energy to wean Los Angeles off fossil fuels.

A 47-foot high building with apartments, commercial space and creative offices will be built near Bergamot Station. The building will join several other mixed-use developments planned near the Expo Line station, replacing a small office building and parking lot at 1618 Stanford St. with 47 apartments, 4,004 square feet of ground floor commercial space, 11,733 square feet of subterranean office space and a parking garage with 102 parking spaces for cars and 75 for bicycles.

Astro Doughnuts and Fried Chicken opened its second local location on Main Street. The doughnut shop famed for its unique doughnuts replaced Books and Cookies.

The Cayton Children’s Museum announced an opening date. The museum almost doubled its size when moving to Santa Monica Place.

SMMUSD launched a project-based learning program for high schoolers in a renovated space at Olympic High School for students entering ninth grade. The four-year program allows students to pursue their own interests, form relationships with real-world experts in those topics and demonstrate their knowledge with a project or presentation at the end of each semester.

A man broke into a home on Pacific Coast Highway and set it on fire before fleeing to the roof of an adjacent house. All southbound lanes on PCH were closed from the California Incline as police officers and firefighters put out the fire and talked the man down from the roof, eventually arresting him for burglary and arson.

Santa Monica will experience more frequent droughts and coastal flooding, hotter temperatures and poorer air quality as the world’s climate changes throughout the next century, according to documents released by City Hall. However, officials said the city’s geography and the city of Santa Monica’s Climate Action & Adaptation Plan (CAAP) will shield residents from some of the impacts of climate change.

The city of Santa Monica distributed 2,000 lawn signs to households to encourage safe driving in school zones and residential areas as part of its Vision Zero efforts that involve infrastructure improvements aimed at making specific intersections and corridors safer.

Emergency service personnel searched the Santa Monica coast for a swimmer who went missing after signaling for help. A body was ultimately found 10 days after the individual disappeared.

Six victims of Eric Uller filed claims against the City of Santa Monica and the Santa Monica Police Activities League (PAL) for failing to protect them from sexual abuse inflicted by Uller. Los Angeles-based law firm Taylor & Ring filed the claims on behalf of the six anonymous men who allege Uller sexually abused them while he was a volunteer in the PAL youth program during the 1990s. Three additional victims filed a separate but similar suit.

The air quality in Santa Monica, while generally good, gets worse on the weekends and varies across the city. The Pardee RAND Graduate School conducted a research project in Santa Monica that provided insights into air quality at the neighborhood level.

A new tenant in one of Santa Monica’s rent-controlled apartments would need to earn $91,200 per year to afford a studio, according to an annual report on the city’s rent control system. The city is also showing modest gains in its rent controlled housing supply. 70 apartments and houses in Santa Monica became subject to rent control in 2018, a little more than the number of rent-controlled units that were taken off the market through the Ellis Act.

The Santa Monica Quilt Guild, a charitable quiltmaking nonprofit, produced more than 25 quilts for families in Malibu affected by the Woolsey fire. The guild handed blankets to a SMMUSD representative to distribute to families. Quilt blankets made ranged from sofa quilts to bed quilts, with sizes for babies, toddlers, teens and adults.

Organization guru Marie Kondo’s Netflix show aired in January and Santa Monica’s thrift and consignment stores were still awash in items the show’s viewers decluttered.

The annual Stairway to the Stars series of concerts hit its 70th year anniversary and brought SMMUSD’s most talented musicians together to perform with prestigious guest conductors. Nearly 1,000 elementary, middle, and high school students participated.

Two people were hit by vehicles in a single weekend, with one collision resulting in a fatality.

A man fell off an electric scooter and died after being struck by a vehicle in Ocean Park. Two days later, a teenage girl riding a bicycle was hit by a Metro bus in front of the Santa Monica main library.

After rolling out a new utility that provides electricity from renewable sources such as wind and solar to residents, local officials expanded the program to businesses.

A police chase down Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) resulted in an arrest of a man suspected of breaking into multiple cars and pretending to be a parking attendant at a beach parking lot.

The City opened applications for another round of microgrants that focused on creating more economic opportunities in the Pico neighborhood.

Local police seized almost $50,000 worth of fentanyl and cocaine from a Mid-City home. The Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) served a search warrant for a residence near the intersection of 11th Street and Santa Monica Boulevard and recovered nine ounces of fentanyl, about 2.5 ounces of cocaine and more than $12,000 in cash. Officers arrested Shane Michael Spring, 36, and Sasha Carillo, 33, both from Santa Monica, for possessing and selling narcotics.

After a century of acting as an educational and social hub for the Santa Monica community, the Ocean Park Library celebrated its 100th anniversary this year.

City Council temporarily prevented developers from including affordable housing intended for extremely low income households to increase the number of affordable units in the city overall.

The Los Angeles Marathon ended in Santa Monica. Elisha Barno (Kenya) and Askale Merachi (Ethiopia) won their divisions and beat more than 20,000 runners to the finish line.

A trio of new hirings was approved at SMMUSD. Principals for Malibu High, Malibu Middle School and a new director of special education were named. Patrick Miller, Melissa Andino and Deanna Sinfield were named to their respective positions.

A woman filed a lawsuit against the Police Activities League alleging sexual assault by an employee. The suit followed a pair of lawsuits against the organization and the city over abuse by Eric Uller.

A fast-growing artificial intelligence company expanded from the fjords of Norway to Silicon Beach., which makes software that automates customer service, announced last week that it is opening a North American headquarters in downtown Santa Monica.

Following the exit of Busy Bee Hardware in late 2017, Fisher Hardware and Lumber said it would close in 2020 due to pending increases in rental costs.

The man accused of trying to rob a Montana Ave. Jewelry store with a bomb was sentenced to two years in state prison. Robert Abalov (dubbed the “Bomber Robber” by authorities) was sentenced after pleading no contest to one count of attempted second-degree robbery.

Katie Richards, a 17-year-old Samohi senior, won a $40,000 scholarship from Edison International. Richards was one of 30 students to receive a $40k scholarship from Edison International, who doles out $1.2 million in scholarships annually to students prepared to embark on a STEM-related career.

Charging drivers $4 to enter parts of Santa Monica and West Los Angeles could reduce traffic by 19% during peak hours, according to a study from the Southern California Association of Governments. No official proposal exists to establish a congestion fee, but officials said a fee could reduce pollution and traffic.

Apartments smaller than 375 square feet were temporarily banned while City Hall crafted new laws to regulate micro-apartments. City Council voted to prohibit market-rate micro-apartments in response to developer WS Communities’ plans to build six buildings entirely comprised of units smaller than 375 square feet within a four-block radius downtown. Developers were also temporarily unable to build housing for extremely low income households as City Hall refined its housing rules to encourage more units for median income residents.

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Matthew Hall

Matthew Hall has a Masters Degree in International Journalism from City University in London and has been Editor-in-Chief of SMDP since 2014. Prior to working at SMDP he managed a chain of weekly papers...

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