As we open a new chapter in American history, Inaugural Poet Amanda Gorman said it best:

When day comes 

we step out of the shade,

Aflame and unafraid

The new dawn blooms as we free it

For there is always light,

If only we’re brave enough to see it

If only we’re brave enough to be it.

In a community that voted overwhelmingly for the new administration, that new day couldn’t come soon enough.

Here at TNT we are also celebrating another new beginning. The Lunar New Year on February 12 ushers in the Year of the Ox, an animal that symbolizes stability, hard work, fairness and determination. Join us for a look at this ancient and vibrant holiday, and easy ways to join the celebration. 

Lunar New Year is a positive reminder of the Asian American heritage in our community, but February also brings a reminder of a dark chapter in Asian American history. This year marks the 79th anniversary of the executive order that authorized imprisoning 120,000 Japanese Americans in concentration camps for the duration of World War II. TNT historian Jimmy Morgan takes a look at internment protester Fred Korematsu, who became the first Asian American to have a day named in his honor; Suzanne Guldimann shares the story of a Malibu family who were sent to Manzanar. 

Winter arrived in full force this week, with much needed rain and cooler temperatures. The series of winter storms has already brought big surf, and for the second time this year, snow fell on parts of the Santa Monica Mountains. The snow—technically a kind of hail called graupel—caused spin outs on Malibu Canyon Road, but also amazed and delighted those who were fortunate enough to see it. Parts of Topanga also received an ephemeral dusting of snow, but not enough to stick to the ground.

With more rain on the way, canyon and mountain residents need to watch for more than just slippery roads: the recent series of small wildfires increases the risk of rocks in the road and mudslidesThis is a good time to slow down and use extra caution.

Although the post holiday surge in COVID-19 that overwhelmed area hospitals appears to be leveling off, and Governor Gavin Newsom has lifted the statewide stay at home order, COVID-19 rates in Los Angeles County remain high and masks are still essential—Dr. Anthony Fauci recommends wearing two at a time—and social distancing continues to be an important part of slowing the spread.

The total number of cases in the unincorporated Santa Monica Mountains currently stands at 440, with two fatalities. In Malibu, the total is 295 cases, 6 deaths; Agoura Hills, 824 cases, 12 deaths; Calabasas, 970 cases, 16 deaths; Pacific Palisades, 623 cases, 15 deaths; and Woodland Hills, 4051 cases, 59 deaths. Vaccines are beginning to reach health care providers and some residents 65+, but the supply remains limited and availability is still not widespread. 

It’s hard to wait, and some of the recent increase in cases is being blamed on “covid fatigue”. Wearing masks, and staying six feet away from others and staying home as much as possible are still essential to prevent the spread. There really is light at the end of the tunnel, but it is up to us to make sure we all make it there together.

Stay safe, be well.