Happy Labor Day, Topanga! We’ve almost made it through the strangest summer in recent history—one without many of the activities we love the most but also with an increased sense of community, as neighbors help each other through this difficult time.

In this issue of the Topanga New Times, we focus on digital life, with a trip down the internet rabbit hole (page 13), virtual field guides for 21st century naturalists (page 7) and a look at how two Topanga teachers are coping with online education (12). And just in time for our digital theme, TNT’s long-awaited website is now live, with all of the articles and features from our print addition and special digital content, including TNTV videos and podcasts. Please visit us at www.topanganewtimes.com, and be sure to sign up for our newsletter so you stay current on all things TNT!

Los Angeles County’s COVID-19 numbers finally appear to be dropping. In the first weeks of August, county health officials recorded 27,739 new cases, or around 270 per 100,000. The target number to reopen schools and businesses is less than 200 per 100,000. County health officials also released data that reveals hypertension and diabetes are the most common underlying health conditions associated with COVID-19 fatalities. Although numbers appear to be going down, the risk is still real and face coverings and social distancing remain essential.

Extreme high heat has contributed to massive wildfires throughout the state, and several small local fires, including a 15-acre blaze in Malibu Creek State Park. Topanga residents can look forward to slightly cooler temperatures over Labor Day weekend, but fire risk remains high.

Protestors took to the boulevard this week despite the heat to protest the Trump Administration’s changes to how the post office operates. 

Representative Ted Lieu addressed the issue at a recent virtual garden party hosted by the Pacific Palisades Democratic Club. 

Lieu described the changes as a deliberate attempt to slow down mail delivery ahead of the November 3 Presidential Election. He explained that the House passed a bill to fund the post office and restore its operation to pre-pandemic standards. “Took a look at the law,” Lieu added. “It’s pretty clear to me two federal crimes are implicated. It is illegal to willfully slow down mail, illegal to use official authority to interfere in an election. We’ve made a criminal referral to the FBI to investigate the postmaster and board of governors.”

Lieu reassured his audience that mail in ballots will be treated as first class mail, but he recommended mailing ballots as soon as possible, or dropping them off at a voting center. “The simple way to overcome sabotage is to mail in your ballot early,” he said.

In other political news, AB 1788, the assembly bill to protect wildlife like mountain lions by prohibiting the commercial use of second generation anticoagulant rodenticide was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee and will be heard by the state senate this week, after TNT goes to press. Activists say the bill won’t completely eliminate the problem of secondary poisoning, but that it is an excellent step.

Speaking of mountain lions, the fifth annual P-22 Day Festival is going virtual and international this year. The P-22 Day Festival is part of P-22 Day & International Urban Wildlife Week, October 17-24, a virtual and free series of online events and activities. Visit https://www.facebook.com/events/989286208175614/ for updates. 

While everything from school to garden parties remain online only, the Los Angeles Zoo was scheduled to reopen this week. Advance, timed-entry reservations will be required for all guests: www.lazoo.org/reopening