TNT contributor Saori Wall baked and photographed this beautiful bay leaf flavored yogurt cake with the help of food stylist Amanda Weir—a perfect Valentine’s Day treat! The easy-to-make recipe is adapted from Helene Hendersen’s Malibu Farm Cookbook and is available on TNT’s website www.topanganewtimes.com. To order the cookbook, or learn more about Malibu Farm restaurants, visit www.malibu-farm.com. 

Topanga recently lost two of its own: Mary Colvig, one of the founders of the original Topanga Messenger, who served as  the newspaper publisher for much of its 40-year run; and actress, comedian and longtime community member Cloris Leachman.

Mary was a pillar of strength in the community, volunteering her time for numerous organizations and causes, including the Topanga Community Center, the Topanga Historical Society and the Canyon Sages. She was kind, gallant, and passionate about all of the things that make Topanga what it is. Cloris Leechman was as genuine, funny, and generous in person as she was on stage and screen, always willing to pitch in and support community activities. She was a great talent and a good neighbor. Topanga won’t be the same without these two amazing and trailblazing women.

It’s rare that we get to report any good news on the Covid-19 front, but this week cases finally appear to be trending down in Los Angeles County, after weeks of record high numbers. On January 25, California ended its Regional Stay At Home Order, and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health relaxed several restrictions. Changes include once again allowing private gatherings outdoors for as many as three households, with a total of 15 people. Museums, zoos, and aquariums are permitted to resume outdoor operations at 50 percent occupancy. Fitness facilities can open for outdoor operations and personal care services and retail stores can reopen at 25 percent capacity. Masks and social distancing remain essential, despite the relaxing of some coronavirus restrictions. 

Residents 65 and older in Los Angeles County can, at least theoretically, make an appointment to get the COVID-19 vaccine online at http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/coronavirus/vaccine/, or by phone at: 833-540-0473. Space is limited and there were absolutely no appointments available anywhere for at least the next week when we checked before publishing this editorial. However, availability is expected to increase as the county obtains more vaccine doses, with the ultimate goal of eventually getting a vaccine to every person who wants one. Look for the pharmacy chain CVS to begin offering the vaccines soon. Local locations are expected to include Agoura Hills, according to recent news reports.

Today is Lunar New Year and the official start of the Year of the Golden Ox. We wrote about Lunar New Year’s traditions in the January 31 issue of TNT, available online at www.topanganewtimes.com, continuing on the theme in this issue, TNT historian Jimmy Morgan explores the Chinese American experience in his column on page 13.

TNT is celebrating Valentine’s Day on February 14 with an amazing music event hosted and MC’ed by our own Brian Chapman on TNTV: Learn more on page 17 and don’t miss the fun on February 14, at 7 p.m. streaming live on our Facebook page @topanganewtimes.

February is Black History month, and the Los Angeles County Library is celebrating with a wide range of online activities: https://www.lapl.org/african-american.

The Santa Monica Mountains Fund is encouraging all residents of the area to join the push to eliminate toxic rodenticides. The non profit organization is currently offering yard signs to raise awareness about this crisis. The signs are free but donations that help fund education, research, and projects throughout the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area are always welcome. Email contact@samofund.org to request a yard sign or for more information.

In the something-you-don’t-see-every-day department, members of Malibu Divers recently encountered a four-foot-long lancetfish, a deepwater fish sometimes described as a living fossil for its primitive looking needle-like teeth and sail-like dorsal fin. This is a species that almost never turns up on the Pacific Coast and hasn’t been seen in Malibu in living memory. Check it out at https://malibudivers.com/blogs/news

Rain is back in the forecast for the next week. Sandbags are still available at most local Los Angeles County fire stations. All of the recent fires may mean more mud and rocks in the road when the rain finally arrives. Don’t forget to slow down and turn on the headlights! 

Stay safe, be well!