Actor Edward Norton, donning a brown jacket and brown hat, speaks at a podium.
Hollywood actor Edward Norton gives a short speech to gathered AFW pilots and other dignitaries on Oct. 30. (Photo by Scott Snowden)

Get your skates on as Ice of Santa Monica opens:

The new and improved Ice at Santa Monica opened to the public last week after finishing touches were put into place, such as Netflix co-branded outer perimeter boards and a giant Netflix logo incorporated into the ice itself. The streaming service’s sponsorship made it possible for Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. to provide free skate nights for the community. The updated rink also features hangout areas, a firepit, food and merchandise stalls and a seasonal-themed projection on the side of the adjacent Bank of America building.

Rugged clothing and equipment maker Strauss opens first US store on Main St:

Popular European rugged clothing and equipment manufacturer Engelbert Strauss opened up its first retail outlet in the United States on Main Street. The new store sports a stylish interior with an industrial-themed decor, holding a selection of items in workwear, safetywear and personal protective equipment. The store is now open at 1320 Main St in Venice.

Volleyball tournament a scary good time:

On Oct. 25, Santa MoniCARES held its second-annual Volley-Ween fundraiser tournament, raising money for local Santa Monica nonprofits during the holiday season. Teams were able to play volleyball on the beach in their chosen costumes, and those in Halloween garb took part in a costume contest.

Angel Flight West celebrates its 100,000th mission:

Santa Monica-based Angel Flight West, a nonprofit organization that arranges no-cost non-emergency air travel service, celebrated its 100,000th mission last week. Made up of a network of 1,800-plus volunteer pilots, Angel Flight West provides access to medical care, transport veterans, rescue animals and aid in disaster relief; flying approximately 5,000 missions each year. Joining the organization at the celebration was actor and new Angel Flight West recruit Edward Norton, who flew a young man and his mother back to San Diego following a post liver transplant treatment.

Strides made in fight against breast cancer:

On Oct. 28, the Santa Monica Pier was the location of an American Cancer Society “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” walk; bringing together cancer survivors, thrivers and allies to spread awareness of the fight against the disease. The walk took travelers along Ocean Avenue, through Palisades Park and back to the Pier, where the finish line featured various musical performances. The American Cancer Society’s fundraising goal of $200,000 for the event was surpassed, with the organization raising $229,039 as of Oct. 30.

Santa Monica to get its own sphere (or two):

During an Oct. 26 meeting of the Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. board, members voted unanimously to move ahead with a 360-degree immersive entertainment activation on the former site of Parking Structure 3. The project will consist of two 360-degree entertainment domes similar to the newly-opened Sphere in Las Vegas, scaled down to 100 and 180-foot diameters, respectively. The activation will focus around a brand new animated universe aimed at children, centering around indigenous character Haibu that is gifted with the ability to speak to animals. Parking Structure 3’s site has remained empty since demolition of the structure was completed in November 2022.

Panel talks countering ‘truth decay’:

Santa Monica College played host to a community conversation entitled “Countering Truth Decay” on Oct. 30, with a panel speaking on how to create more robust discourse on societal issues, avoiding arguments where two parties disagree on facts and observations. The term “truth decay” was coined by RAND Corporation President Emeritus Michael D. Rich, who co-authored a book on the subject and spoke at the event, citing reasons like cognitive and media biases for heightened disagreement about “objective, verifiable, observable facts.” Speaking on the panel were Los Angeles-based Digital Media Wellness Educator Julia Storm, Provost Professor in the Dornsife Department of Psychology and the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California (USC) Norbert Schwarz, KCRW housing and homelessness reporter Anna Scott, and RAND Corporation Distinguished Chair for Countering Truth Decay Ray Block Jr. Santa Monica Mayor Gleam Davis was also present as a guest speaker on the topic.

Trick-or-treating brings ‘normalcy’ to young patients:

Halloween at UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center meant a chance for patients to take part in trick-or-treating, coordinated by the medical center’s Child Life department. The young patients were able to don various costumes, play games and pet therapy animals like dogs and the mini-horse “Blue Moon.” For patients unable to make it down to the hospital garden, medical center staff also organized “reverse trick-or-treating,” where rooms are decorated for the holiday and staff members bring goodies to the patients directly.

Roosevelt benches cultivate camaraderie:

The Kiwanis Club of Santa Monica dedicated three “Buddy Benches” on the campus of Roosevelt Elementary School on Oct. 30, continuing the installation of the benches at SMMUSD schools. The concept of the “Buddy Bench” is helping promote friendship and inclusion, as the benches are put at schools and playgrounds where kids feeling lonely or left out can signal that they need a friend.

Celebrating 10 Years of Culinary Excellent at Satdha Plant-Based Thai Kitchen:

Gourmet plant-based Thai restaurant Satdha, located on Lincoln Boulevard in Santa Monica, is celebrating a 10-year anniversary this month with an anniversary dinner on Nov. 9, featuring a unique 10-course tasting menu. The brand new dishes showcase Chef Gunn Pankum’s skill and the diversity of flavors found in Thai and plant-based cuisine.

Malibu group planting roots for a sustainable future:

On Sunday, The Malibu Foundation hosted its 2023 Replant Love event at Juan Bautista De Anza Park in Calabasas, bringing together volunteers to plant a native microforest using seeds collected and propagated in the foundation’s nursery. The microforest, a small grouping of native plants, combats increasing ground temperatures and cleans carbon-based greenhouse gasses from the air. The Malibu Foundation has planted over 21,000 plants since the devastating Woolsey Fire in 2018.

Big real estate ruling may be years away from trickling down to Santa Monica properties:

Last week, a multi-billion lawsuit shook up the real estate industry, though the impacts to the local market are still hard to predict. The National Association of Realtors was ordered to pay nearly $1.8 billion in damages last week over accusations that the organization’s policy of forcing home sellers to pay commission charged to home buyers is a violation of federal antitrust laws. Consensus among locals is that there will be changes to the way commissions are paid, but any impact is likely years away due to the prolonged nature of lawsuits. Websites like Zillow and Redfin, says Brian Maser of The Condo Experts, will attempt to grow their services and grab market share from Realtors in the aftermath of the suit.

Attempt by Mayor Davis to refine language regarding Council’s direction for a rotational mayor fails:

At an Oct. 24 meeting of Santa Monica City Council, a proposal made by Mayor Gleam Davis to amend Rule 9(b) of the Council Rules of Procedure concerning the selection of Mayor and Mayor Pro Tempore was rejected. After the 2022 election cycle, council changed its system from a nomination process to a rotation based on seniority, and current rules are not subject to suspension and can only be changed via a repeal or amendment. Mayor Davis proposed altering the rule by deleting the language that precludes suspension of the rule. The administrative item pushed to the forefront a bevy of criticism, who believed it was an attack on the upcoming Mayorship of current councilman Phil Brock. This was a notion Davis denied, stating she did not intend “in any way” to affect the mayoral rotation.

Inner scientists explore the universe at UCLA:

On Sunday, the Explore the Universe event at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) hosted science-related departments to provide activities and experiments for youths aged 8-18. Booths offered demonstrations on a variety of subjects including astronomy, biology, geology, chemistry, sustainability and psychology. “It’s all about exposing kids to all these different questions and it encourages them to be inquisitive, especially when it’s interactive,” said PhD student and Explore Your Universe Organizing Committee Publicity Chair David James.

Locals pay tribute with Dia de Los Muertos decor:

The start of November brought annual Dia de Los Muertos, or The Day of the Dead, celebrations to Santa Monica. At the carousel at the Santa Monica Pier, guests were able to honor loved ones who have passed on by contributing personal photographs in communal altars. The Santa Monica History Museum also had a pop-up exhibit with altars created by local high school students, with students from Santa Monica High School and Venice High School among those contributing. The exhibit at the museum will remain up for viewing through Nov. 17.

By SMDP Staff

Thomas Leffler has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcast Journalism from Penn State University and has been in the industry since 2015. Prior to working at SMDP, he was a writer for AccuWeather and managed...