Brief: Moms get free pics on Mother’s Day

Moms at Pacific Park on Mother’s Day from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. will have the opportunity to get a free family photo and Ferris wheel ride.

The park will give a free picture and ride coupon to the first 1,000 mothers who go to the ticket booth adjacent to the Pacific Wheel entrance and notify park employees.

“A free ride on the Ferris wheel for moms is a picture perfect way to experience the beautiful 360-degree views of the Santa Monica coastline and Pacific Ocean,” said Jeff Klocke, vice president of marketing and administration at Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier. “Pacific Park is set to provide an exciting photo finish to a great ride for mom on her special day.”

This year’s Mother’s Day is on Sunday, May 12.

Brief: President Obama coming to Santa Monica

President Barack Obama will hold a fundraiser for the Democratic Party in Santa Monica on June 7, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The event is said to be held in the home of Peter Chernin, chairman and CEO of The Chernin Group, a film and television production company.

“We need the resources to continue to move our country forward,” according to the invitation to the event. “Since we do not take money from special interests, corporate lobbyists and political action committees, we must rely on dedicated Democrats like you.”

During a similar trip to San Francisco in early April, Obama headlined events for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee that raised $3.25 million, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Sgt. Richard Lewis, spokesperson for the Santa Monica Police Department, didn’t have much information about how the president’s arrival would impact the city.

“We are aware, but since it is far out, we have not received any additional information,” Lewis said. “We will know more when we meet with the United States Secret Service, who sends out an advance team.”

Lewis said information about street closures or other impacts would be released shortly before the president’s arrival so as not to compromise his safety.

Tickets for the event range from $10,000 to $32,400. Those who purchase the higher-priced ticket gain entrance to a special discussion and can have their photo taken with the president.

Obama has committed to doing at least eight fundraisers for the 2014 cycle.

Brief: Santa Monica folds its hands in prayer

Santa Monica will observe the 23rd annual National Day of Prayer on Thursday, May 2, at 7 a.m. This year’s event will be held in the east patio next to the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium.

Religious leaders from across the community will offer prayers for the president, governor and other governmental leaders, the armed services, peace officers, legislators, judges, the community and the nation. Topics such as personal renewal and moral awakening, youth, the family, business, education, the sick, the imprisoned and persecuted, churches, missionaries and ministry organizations will also be covered.

Several important Santa Monicans are expected to participate in the day of prayer, including Santa Monica Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks and Santa Monica Fire Department Chief Scott Ferguson, as well as multiple members of the clergy in the city by the sea.

The theme of this year’s prayer day is “Pray for America,” inspired by the bible passage Matthew 12:21, which says, “In His Name the nations will put their hope.”

The Santa Monica Civic Auditorium is located at 1855 Main St. Coffee will be provided at the event. For more information, call Kari Czer, co-chairman of the Santa Monica National Day of Prayer Committee, at (310) 365-8219.

Barnum Hall is alive with the sound of music

SAMOHI — The revving of an engine, gunshots and booming explosions are all common sounds used in modern movies.

But a unique event at Santa Monica High School’s Barnum Hall will remind viewers of a time when orchestral music filled the theater.

Samohi’s revamped Barnum Hall will show “Sherlock, Jr.” and “The Cook,” silent films starring comedic actor Buster Keaton, accompanied by a live performance from theater organist and composer Robert Israel.

“We thought it would be a really fun thing for the kids to get excited about,” Samohi band director Terry Sakow said of the event.

Hunt believes Saturday’s film screening can shed light on an old tradition that has seemingly been long forgotten in today’s society.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to present to the young kids today what it was their great-grandparents and grandparents experienced when they were young,” said Henry Hunt, board member of the Los Angeles Theatre Organ Society.

Jean Sedillos, chair of the Restore Barnum Hall committee, which raised funds to bring the historic venue back to life, also feels that the live organ playing will bring viewers back to a simpler time.

“This is how movies were before people could talk,” Sedillos said. “It’s just a fun time back into history.”

After all the renovations that Barnum Hall has been through over the years, Hunt said that it has become “a great auditorium.”

“It really is the best-kept secret that Santa Monica has,” Hunt said.

Israel will be performing on a Wurlitzer organ that replaced the hall’s original, which was fatally damaged in the Northridge earthquake of 1994. Hunt calls the new organ “a mechanical monster” and “a rebuilt classic.”

The new organ was donated by Gordon Belt and installed in the hall in 2009.

Originally named The Auditorium when it was built in 1937, Barnum Hall was renamed after the late William F. Barnum, a former Samohi principal.

The hall, Sakow said, is “a center of culture for the community,” and he feels its impact is still being felt after almost 80 years of being a part of Santa Monica.

“It’s still employing people many, many years after Roosevelt’s administration,” Sakow said. “It’s a great investment.”

The restoration of the hall took approximately 10 years and was aided by several donations from the community, a $1 million grant from the city of Santa Monica, and the passing of Proposition X, a bond measure which used state money to fund several projects in Santa Monica and surrounding cities.

The evening of silent films and live organ music will culminate with the animated short “Sense and Nonsense,” one of the few surviving silent films featuring George Herriman’s comic strip character Krazy Kat.

The April 27 event will also serve as a fundraiser for the Samohi Band program.

General admission to the film screening is $10; $5 for students and seniors. Barnum Hall is located at 600 Olympic Blvd. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

SMC police share new facts on bomb threat

The Santa Monica Police Department continues to investigate the bomb threat that caused the evacuation of the quad Tuesday afternoon, said Santa Monica College Police Sgt. Jere Romano.

Romano said the note was left out in the open of a women’s bathroom on the first floor of the library, near the computer lab. The note was written on an 8.5 by 11 sheet of notebook paper that was possibly ripped out of a three-ring binder.

Found by two female students, the note said that a bomb was planned for detonation within an hour. Romano said there was no way to tell exactly when that would be, causing the immediate evacuation of the quad.

“We just can’t take that chance,” Romano said of the threat.

Romano said that the suspect is a female based on where the note was found.

Since the incident, the note has been passed on to SMPD for fingerprint analysis. Police will have to shift through other individuals’ prints, as several people handled it before reaching police hands, Romano said.

“We’re gonna take it as far as we can,” Romano said.

Due to increased sensitivity and reports of bomb threats in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing just over a week ago, Romano thought Tuesday’s scare could have been a hoax.

“I wonder if somebody was just testing us,” Romano said.

Romano was worried that the upcoming Club Row event on the campus could be a potential target for threat.

Bomb scare at college fair

A bomb threat at Santa Monica College Tuesday afternoon forced more than a thousand students gathered for the College Fair to evacuate the quad.

After a bomb-sniffing dog, provided by the Santa Monica Police Department, canvassed the area, officials re-opened the quad and informed students that the threat was clear.

The source of the threat is still unknown and under investigation.

“In light of the recent events, we had to take precautionary measures and make sure we had cleared out the quad,” said Sgt. Jere Romano of the Santa Monica College Police Department. “That’s where the target was; it was a bomb in the quad.

A note, which was found in the women’s bathroom in the library, was specific to the time and place of the threat, said Albert Vasquez, SMCPD chief. There will be an ongoing investigation going forward.

Romano said the note was discovered by a student.

Some students were under the impression that the entire campus was being evacuated when word started to spread about the bomb threat. However, that was not the case.

“People are going to spread their own message, but it was an isolated incident to the quad, which is why we cleared the quad out,” said Mike Tuitasi, vice president for student affairs.

Students were informed by SMC through email, phone call and text message, and they were evacuated from the area after campus police were called on scene. As the threat was being investigated, students were directed to the left or right of the quad and not allowed straight through.

In addition to the clearing of the quad, nearby portions of the Humanities and Social Sciences building were also evacuated, Vasquez said.

“The fact that we had the university College Fair going on made us an ideal target,” Romano said.

Daniel Nannini, transfer center faculty leader for SMC, was involved with organizing the College Fair on campus Tuesday, which was interrupted by the threat.

“This is one time I’m glad to say the College Fair did not end with a bang,” Nannini said.

Nannini said that classes were not cancelled, but students were allowed to leave their classes by their instructors in droves.

This threat came just over a week after the tragic bombing during the Boston Marathon that left three dead and over 180 injured.

“It’s a little bit scary as well, because last week we experienced that awful bomb in Boston where lots of people got injured and three people died,” said Mahsa Sadreameli, SMC student and employee at the Cayton Center.

Romano said he does not want students testing the police now that there is a heightened alert for bomb threats.

“Just because we’re sensitive to this issue right now, I don’t want people leaving backpacks unattended going, ‘let’s see what they do next,’” Romano said.

Amber Antonopoulos, Elizabeth Moss, Henry Crumblish, Amy Gaskin and Rona Navales contributed to this report.

Brief: Local vet wins award

Santa Monica native Dr. Jennifer Conrad has been awarded the Veterinary Advocate of the Year award by the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association for her work to educate legislators and the public about the practice of declawing felines.

Conrad was an activist who scrutinized the Santa Monica Police Department for shooting and killing a wild mountain lion who wandered into the streets of Santa Monica last year.

In 2000, Conrad founded The Paw Project, an organization which rehabilitates lions, tigers and cougars who have been victims of declawing.

In addition to her efforts against declawing, Conrad has more than 20 years of experience caring for wildlife on six continents.