On the cover CTLST founder Urs Baur created this poster art to encourage Topanga residents to get out and vote. Look for his message around the Canyon as voting gets underway, or cut out and post the poster to help share the message. You can also go to https://www.ctlst.co/areyouin to find out more about the work CTLST is doing to get out the vote.

The Santa Monica Mountains finally received a break from hot weather, as the coastal eddy—everyone’s favorite local weather phenomenon—returned this week, bringing cooler temperatures and coastal fog. The persistent hot weather and extreme fire risk have added an extra element of anxiety to an already stressful season. 

Although the cooler weather is welcome, fire risk continues to remain elevated, as a  seemingly unending series of fire incidents continue to remind us. On October 17, fire crews rapidly extinguished a three-acre blaze near Chesebro Road and the 101 in Agoura Hills, followed by a two-acre fire in lower Tuna Canyon. On October 14, a fire broke out in the Oakwood Cemetery at the Chatsworth end of Topanga Canyon Blvd. and burned an estimated 10 acres. On October 10, a two-to-three-acre blaze erupted in Malibu at Bluffs Park. Fire crews were able to rapidly control all of the recent fires, but it is a reminder that the risk remains high.

State Senator Henry Stern is looking at ways residents in the WUI—Wildland Urban Interface—can make their homes more resilient and fire proof. He recently joined Beth Burnam, co-president of the North Topanga Canyon Fire Safe Council, at the Malibu Lake home of Debbie Larson—which survived the Woolsey Fire—to talk about home hardening. The talk is available on Senator Stern’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HenrySternCA. Look for full feature coverage in the November 6 issue of TNT.

Many Topanga residents got a taste of another autumn emergency situation on Sunday, October 18, when the power went down. T-CEP tweeted that the power outage illustrates why we all need some basic backup power solutions at our homes. We couldn’t agree more! 

Fire fears may have eclipsed coronavirus, but the pandemic is still a major concern. California continues to hold relatively steady, but other states are experiencing a major spike, and Los Angeles County is still in the red zone. Face coverings and social distance are still essential.

It’s almost Halloween, and we are taking the opportunity to celebrate local authors, books, and storytellers, during the time of year that Ray Bradbury described as October Country, “that country where it is always turning late in the year. That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger, and midnights stay…” Don’t miss our showcase of local authors (page 9) and new books (page 11), and get ready for NaNoRiMo—National Novel Writing Month in November.

Also in this issue of TNT, we meet Peruvian-born musician and storyteller Cecilia Noël (page 8), take a look at the topsy-turvy story of the right to vote in America (page 17), and meet the bats of the Santa Monica Mountains.

Trick-or-Treating and Halloween block parties may be out this year thanks to the coronavirus crisis, but pumpkins and Halloween decorations are showing up all over the canyon. Families are using ingenuity to find alternative activities this year. We know one canyon family who is having a costumed Halloween treasure hunt, and another planning to tell ghost stories by candlelight with friends via Zoom. 

Community Halloween activities are scarce this year, despite the holiday falling on a Saturday, but there are some good options, including Halloween-themed drive-in movie nights in Malibu on October 30 and 31. Check our calendar section on page 19 to learn more.  

There’s one thing everyone can enjoy this Halloween: a rare full Halloween hunter’s moon, that happens to also be a blue moon—the second full moon to occur this month, and the only blue moon of the year. Let’s hope it’s a good omen for the rest of 2020!

Be safe, stay well, and please, don’t forget to VOTE!

The Malibu Feed Bin’s pumpkin patch is a Halloween tradition for generations of Topangans and Malibuites. The only hard part is deciding which pumpkin to pick! Photo by Janek Dombrowa