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Silent, Sleeky, Salamanders 

“What kind of beast is your salamander?” asked the Prince.  “It is hard to tell their kind, your Honor,” said Golg. “For they are too…


The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is turning 45 on November 10, 2023.  Almost all of the big western national parks were created from…

Parrots in Paradise 

Almost every spring for the last eight years, mitered parakeets have nested in the old windbreak of eucalyptus trees that borders our garden. By the…

La Costa Beach 

La Costa Beach is almost entirely hidden behind the houses that locals have nicknamed “the Great Wall of Malibu.” Also hidden here, among the homes…


Earth is Home 

April is Earth Month. While the Biden Administration and national environmental organizations continue the monumental effort to undo the damage the Trump Administration did to the laws and agencies that protect clean air, water, endangered species, migratory birds, national parks and more, there is good news.

Newly appointed Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland is heading to Utah, to discuss the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, the parks the Trump Administration disassembled. 

“I’ll meet with Tribes, elected federal, state and local leaders, and other stakeholders to discuss how we can be good stewards of these sacred landscapes,” she tweeted. 

The California State Legislature is currently considering SB 467, a bill that would ban fracking and help protect communities from the oil industry, limiting drilling near homes, schools, hospitals, and other vulnerable places. It also provides a pathway to transition oil workers to clean energy jobs. 

Gray wolf OR-93, who made news earlier this year as he traveled from Oregon into the Sierra Nevada Mountains to become the first wolf in Yosemite in 100 years, was spotted in San Benito County earlier this month, 50 miles east of the Monterey Peninsula. On April 6, news came that this remarkable long-distance traveler is now in San Luis Obispo County. 

It’s unlikely that we will ever have wolves in the Santa Monica Mountains again, but they could find a home in the San Gabriel Mountains, and they are making their way back to California on their own. Imagine how many species could potentially recover and return if we made room for them again on the land, with wildlife corridors, habitat connectivity, and no poisons or traps, but we also need to make room in our hearts, without fear or reservations. 

Our focus in this issue of TNT is on sustainability and stewardship. Join us for a look at the life of Rachel Carson nearly sixty years after the publication of Silent Spring, and learn how the movement to ban DDT that began on the East Coast saved some of the West Coast’s most loved birds (page 10 ). Find out how local activists are working to address rodenticide, described as the DDT crisis of the 21st century (page 12). Join TNT historian Jimmy Morgan for an indepth look at a promising program that provides money for low income families—social justice and environmental justice are connected (page 13). Meet Period Co., a company working to provide affordable, safe, reusable menstrual products, and to destigmatize a natural function that half the population has historically struggled with in a silence mandated by custom not biology (page 8).

Community-wide Earth Day celebrations are on hold again for a second year, but there are two local Earth Day events coming up: The Palisades Democratic Club is celebrating with a special Zoom event on April 20 featuring special guest Ed Begley Jr. (learn more on page 14). Overdue Cleanup Crew, The Well Refill Shop, La Chingona Tacos and the Topanga New Times crew will be hitting the beach for a clean up event at Topanga State Beach on Sunday, April 18, from 3:30-5:30 p.m. It’s a safe, fun and easy way to make a big difference close to home (page 17). We hope to see you there! 

Angelenos were awakened by a cluster of small Earthquakes in the early morning on April 5. The largest—4.0 at 4:44 a.m.—was centered near LAX, but strong enough to rattle windows and nerves in Topanga. It’s a reminder that we live in Earthquake country and that this is a good time to check emergency plans and supplies.

It’s nice to have good news to report on COVID-19 for a change: numbers continue to decline, allowing Los Angeles County to move into the Orange Tier. The younger Boomers and older Generation Xers are scrambling for vaccines ahead of the April 15 free-for-all, when eligibility opens up for everyone 16 and up. We take a look at the current vaccine stats in our Newsbeat section (page 14).

More museums are reopening as the coronavirus numbers decline, and the new Orange Tier designation means they can increase attendance to 50 percent of capacity. We have a list on page 15. Look for more updates in our next issue, as L.A.’s art and culture community continues to reopen and revive.  

There is sad news this week. Word reached us that Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Michael Treinen has died. Mike spent much of his career at the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station, serving in the communities of the Santa Monica Mountains, and was a familiar face in Topanga. He retired from service just last year, having spent his last few years at the station working as the city of Malibu’s homeless liaison and training reserve officers. He was kind and generous, and always a calm and comforting presence in times of crisis. He will be greatly missed.

We also learned that Topanga resident Paul Grzymkowski has passed away. Paul was a strong supporter of the arts in the Canyon, including the Topanga Film Institute and Festival. He was an open-hearted man who always stepped up to volunteer for the critical and the mundane, and anonymously supported many organizations in Topanga. His sudden death last week has devastated his family and his friends. He is remembered with love.

Stay safe, be well.

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