As summer ends and fall begins, mid-August puts us on multi-tracks when summer activities and late-summer vacations wind down and school revs up. Heat waves tell us itâ€™s still high summer but the sun sets earlier as the unchanging, ever-changing cosmos prompts us, one shorter day at a time, to accept that weâ€™re on the cusp of autumn days and nights.
I like to think that producing a newspaper is like piecing a puzzle together; you have the picture in your mind, spread out the jumble of pieces, colors here, edges there, clear the space and hope this isnâ€™t the one with a missing piece (usually this editorial) that is miraculously found at the last minute. So we begin, one piece at a time, one story at a time and are grateful when it all comes together,
We start with Pete Samson, the new president of Topanga Enrichment Programs (TEP), Topanga Elementaryâ€™s fundraising arm. He came up with an idea to celebrate TEPâ€™s 40th year by tracking down and interviewing Lynne Haigh, one of the original directors to establish TEP as a nonprofit in 1983. Pete had another surprise for us, however. A design for the cover using art work by the students for a cover designed by Chad Hogan. Yes! This was far more exciting that â€śI got a piece in!â€ť It completed a whole section of the puzzle! (Page 6)
There is nothing more delightful than bragging about our kids and the talented people who guide them along the way. From there we start with a news story about a girlsâ€™ fastpitch softball team qualifying for the Nationals, a really big deal. (Page 4)
Also in that newsy section of pages 4-6, the Community Center announces the first square dance of the year; Topanga Actors Company announces three staged reading performances at Topanga Library through November; The Resource Conservation District has expanded its outreach and its staff and is moving out of its â€śquaint buildingâ€ť in Topanga, where it has lived for eight years, to bigger digs in Calabasas; and Dorothy Reik, president of Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains (PDSMM) is getting a jump on 2024 politics with their annual awards luncheon.
Rabbi Mendy Piekarski of Chabad of Topanga prepares for the High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah, on Sept. 15 and Yom Kippur on Sept. 24, with a moving remembrance of a 13-year-old boy in a Siberian labor camp who made it possible to â€śblow the Shofarâ€ť for Rosh Hashanah. (Page 7)
On pages 8-9, we continue our remembrance of Greg Humphries, the beloved lawyer who passed on June 19, and whose memorial on Aug. 6 at the Community House was standing room only. Family photos and tributes from long-time friends complete that part of the picture and keep him in our collective memory.
Our columnists continue to expand our horizons. Sarah Spitz writes about the Heirloom Expo at the Ventura County Fairgrounds in September that includes a three-day heirloom seed exchange. (Page 10) Joel Bellman further questions the wisdom of misguided third parties and the Republican slate in next yearâ€™s ongoing soap opera...uh, I mean critical presidential election. (Page 11) Paula LaBrot enlightens us about Def Con, an annual conference (named for the movie, War Games) where dedicated hackers and cybersecurity experts are challenged to test new systems. (Page 12)
We welcome back two contributors who have something to say: Sprint triathlete Kim Pierpoint and her blog about exercise and longevity. The upshot? Move more, live longer! (Page 13); and adventure travel writer Linda Ballou returns with a suggestion to add Kauai to your travel plans. While tourism in Hawaiâ€™i was recovering nicely from the pandemic, the recent firestorm on Maui is a severe setback. Since Hawaiiâ€™s economy depends on tourism, visiting the islands is something we can do to help and have fun doing it. (Page 14)
So much for this weekâ€™s puzzle. On to the next.
On a personal note, the day you receive this issue, I will be in my new tiny home, still in Topanga Canyon, so grateful to everyone who cared. Most likely Iâ€™ll be spending the weekend refereeing the space among Birdie the Border Collie and three cats while trying to claim the bed for my own. Iâ€™m puzzling about how all that is going to work out!