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JUNE 2015

PLUS: SAN PEDRO'S FATHER & SON BUSINESSES | 'LES MISÉRABLES' COMES TO THE WARNER GRAND | MOSAIC TILE ARTIST JULIE BENDER

With a big warehouse to fill with even bigger plans, Brouwerij West's Dave Holop and Brian Mercer are getting ready to open their doors and tap their kegs in San Pedro.


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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

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I love graduation season. It’s an exciting time for those embarking on a new journey, free from the chains of class schedules, hideous fluorescent lighting and bad cafeteria food. It’s also the season where incredibly important, usually famous, people give commencement addresses to graduating college students across the country. One of my all-time favorite commencement addresses – actually, one of my all-time favorite speeches ever – was by the late Steve Jobs in his address to the graduating class of Stanford University in 2005. In the speech, which is easily accessible online, Jobs talks about how he dropped out of Reed College because he felt he was wasting his parents’ money on tuition for required classes he wasn’t interested in. (After quitting, he would go back to Reed and voluntarily drop-in on classes that interested him, some of which directly influenced the development of the first Macintosh computer.) Jobs also speaks at length about his tumultuous early years at Apple, about how, at 30, he was kicked out of the company he co-founded with Steve Wozniak, and how it was “the best thing that could’ve happened” to him. He ends the speech talking about his own mortality, about overcoming pancreatic cancer, which would later come back to take his life in October 2011. It’s a truly inspiring speech and its personal influence on me has seeped into these pages too many times to count. This column isn’t about Steve Jobs, though. It’s about the inspiration of the commencement address, and while I never attended Stanford, or graduated from college for that matter, that speech has resonated with me for years. I used to have a printed copy of it hanging on my office wall. I find myself referring back to it every few months. There’s a lot of wisdom to be had. If I had my way, I would invite every graduating college and high school student to the Warner Grand Theatre and play Jobs’ speech on their big screen for all to see. I feel it’s that important. I’ve never given a commencement speech myself, nor do I ever plan on doing so, but I do have this half page of real estate in a publication I own where I can use the power of the written word to pass on some knowledge I’ve gained in my meager 40 years on this planet. That said, here are a few nuggets of wisdom I’d like to share with San Pedro’s Class of 2015: Always ask. It’s taken me many years to learn this lesson, but when I finally did, my life changed for the better. Growing up, I never wanted to ask for help. I felt like I was a burden to someone whenever I needed another person’s assistance. So instead, I would learn to do everything on my own, which was fine for a while, but ended up causing unhealthy amounts of stress, less than stellar work and unnecessary anxiety in the long run. When I finally developed the courage to start asking for help and delegate tasks in my work and personal life, life became much more enjoyable. I still fight this battle every day, but I’ve learned to ease my control over some things and be more assertive towards others when needed. The worst anyone can say is no. Sometimes what's bad at first is great in the end. I wouldn't be writing this and you wouldn't be reading this if I hadn't been laid off. San Pedro Magazine, the publication that preceded San Pedro Today, was cancelled by the Press-Telegram in December 2008, and with that I lost my job. Not knowing what to do and feeling both depressed and determined, I took a gamble and in January 2009, I invested every cent from my severance check into the first printer bill of San Pedro Today. Like Jobs, getting fired was the best thing that could've happened to me. It may also be the best thing that could happen to you. Leave San Pedro. Seriously, leave. Explore the world, the country, the state, or even just another city. Experience how other people live. Be a part of another place’s culture for a while. You’ll be amazed at how different a city just 45 minutes away from us can be. Identify what works and what doesn’t and learn to adjust accordingly. Travel somewhere that takes you out of your comfort zone, because only then will you discover what limits and what liberates you. Come back to San Pedro. This town will still be here if you ever decide to come back, and I hope you do. San Pedro needs the next generation to bring new perspectives, new energies and new ways of solving problems that can only be learned by stepping away from it for a while. And at the rate this town embraces change, you won’t miss out on much while you’re gone. Maybe, just maybe, the redevelopment of Ports O’ Call and the L.A. Waterfront might be finished… maybe. spt Joshua Stecker is publisher/editor-in-chief of San Pedro Today. He can be reached at contact@sanpedrotoday.com. CORRECTIONS: In the May 2015 issue, published April 30, we misstated on the cover how many terms Congresswoman Janice Hahn has served. She has served two full terms, not one. Also, in the article "Hahn Comes Home" (pg. 23), the phrase "bridge to the breakwater" should be attributed to Hahn's brother, former L.A. Mayor James Hahn. They are corrected in the online digital version at www.sanpedrotoday.com. We regret the errors.


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JUNE 2015 I SAN PEDRO TODAY I 5

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JUNE 2015

ON THE COVER: Brouwerij West's Dave Holop and Brian Mercer (photo: John Mattera)

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Joshua J. Stecker

ADVERTISING: General Inquiries: ads@sanpedrotoday.com

ART DIRECTOR/PRODUCTION Joseph A. Casta単eda

Patricia Roberts - San Pedro (562) 964-8166 | patricia@sanpedrotoday.com

AT-LARGE CONTRIBUTORS Councilman Joe Buscaino, Lori Garrett, Mike Lansing, Roseanney Liu, Ricky Magana, Steve Marconi, Jennifer Marquez, Anthony Pirozzi, Debbie Rouser, Monica Simpson, Jamaal K. Street, Liana Whitehead

Shana Ghekiere - San Pedro (and outer regions) (310) 753-5176 | shana@sanpedrotoday.com

PHOTOGRAPHER John Mattera Photography

San Pedro Today publishes the last Thursday of every month and is produced monthly by Empire22 Media LLC. No portion of this publication can be reproduced without written permission by Empire22 Media. 25,000 copies are delivered to San Pedro and portions of Rancho Palos Verdes. San Pedro Today is a product of Empire22 Media LLC. Empire22 Media LLC, their subsidiaries and affiliates are released from all liability that may involve the publication of San Pedro Today. Copyright 2009-2015, Empire22 Media LLC.

CONTACT INFO: PHONE: (424) 224-9063 EMAIL: contact@sanpedrotoday.com San Pedro Today P.O. Box 1168, San Pedro, CA 90733

6 I SAN PEDRO TODAY I JUNE 2015

VOLUME 7 | NUMBER 5

Empire22 Media LLC OWNER/PUBLISHER Joshua J. Stecker


JUNE 2015 I SAN PEDRO TODAY I 7


JUNE EVERY SUNDAY IN JUNE & JULY – MUSIC BY THE SEA – Sundays in June at the Downtown Harbor Plaza and Sundays in July at Point Fermin Park. All shows start at 12 noon. FREE admission.

Every Sun – Tour the MULLER HOUSE MUSEUM (1542 Beacon St.) 1-4p. Built in 1899, the Muller House is the headquarters of the San Pedro Bay Historical Society. Admission is free, but a donation of $3 is encouraged.

Tour the historic PT. FERMIN LIGHTHOUSE, built in 1874 to light the entrance to the Los Angeles Harbor, located in the Pt. Fermin Park (807 Paseo del Mar). Guided tours offered 1-3p Tues thru Sun. Closed Mon and major holidays. Admission is free; donations accepted.

4 (Thurs) – FIRST THURSDAY ARTWALK in Downtown 13 (Sat) – GUIDED NATURE WALK by Palos Verdes San Pedro. 6-10p Peninsula Land Conservancy at Abalone Cove Shoreline Park (5970 Palos Verdes Dr. South, across from Wayfarer’s 4 (Thurs) – HEALTH & WELLNESS FESTIVAL at Natural Chapel). 2p. Visit the newly landscaped trails lined with Health Chiropractic (29050 South Western Ave. Suite drought tolerant plants and interpretive signage. Enjoy a #153). 11a-6p. For more info. call (310) 519-8877 or email walk down to the tide pools. This is a moderate walk. Park in naturalhealthchiro@yahoo.com Reservations required. the lot at Abalone Cove Shoreline Park, parking fee will be waived. Free and open to the public. For more info, contact 5 (Fri) – ‘TRAFFIC’ FILM SCREENING at Angels Gate (310) 541-7613 ext. 201 or visit www.pvplc.org. Cultural Center, Building H (3601 S. Gaffey St.) 7:30-9p. A contemporary thriller set in the world of drug trafficking. 13 (Sat) – BEAUTY OF NATURE FILM SERIES: ‘RENOIR’ Traffic evokes the high stakes and high risks of the drug at the Warner Grand Theatre (478 W. 6th St.). 7:30p. An trade, as seen through a series of interrelated stories. elegant portrait of the elderly plein-air painter Pierre Auguste A conversation about human trafficking to follow the Renoir, a master of color, light and natural landscapes. screening. FREE. Filmed on-site at his home in France and visually stunning. Tickets $10. Reception prior to the film for an art exhibit and 5 (Fri) – CATS ONLY LOW COST SPAY/NEUTER CLINIC sale provided by local artists. To buy tickets and for more at The Home Depot (2115 N. Gaffey St.) All day. The cost to info, visit www.pvplc.org/_activities/events.asp residents of 90744 and 90731 is only $10 and includes exam, surgery, pain meds, FVRCP and rabies vaccinations. There 20 (Sat) – BUTTERFLY WORKSHOP at White Point Nature is no income requirement for this special. For non-residents Education Center (1600 W. Paseo del Mar) 10a. Learn about of these zip codes, the cost is $75. local butterflies from expert, Jess Morton, before the annual butterfly count. Free workshop. RSVP to info@pvplc.org. 11 (Thurs) – NEEDLE ARTISTS BY THE SEA at Ports O’ Call Restaurant (1198 Nagoya Way) 10a-12p. Anyone 27 (Sat) – ARRL FIELD DAY by United Amateur Radio interested in needlework and learning new techniques is Club at Angels Gate Park (3601 S. Gaffey St.). 12-6p. Come welcome. For more info on projects and events, visit www. and see ham radio’s new capabilities and learn how to get needleartistsbythesea.org. Visitors always welcome for two your own FCC radio license before the next disaster strikes. free meetings. For more info, contact Doug Dowds at k6aa@arrl.net or w6hb@arrl.net. 12 thru July 18 – ‘PRIVATE LIVES’ at Little Fish Theatre (777 Centre St., downtown). Noel Coward’s best-known 27 (Sat) – COASTAL SAGE SCRUB 101 at White Point comedy – as effervescent as freshly poured champagne on Nature Education Center (1600 W. Paseo del Mar). 11am. a hot summer’s night. Follow divorced couple Elyot and Join Naturalist Neil Uelman to learn about our local habitat Amanda who, while honeymooning with their new spouses, and rare biodiversity. Free workshop. RSVP to info@pvplc. discover that they are staying in adjacent rooms at the same org. hotel. Their honeymoon rapture comes to a grinding halt. Runs Fri & Sat at 8p; Sun 6/28*, 7/5 & 7/12 at 2p; Thu 7/2, Email event info to events@sanpedrotoday.com. 7/9 & 7/16 at 8p (*Talkback nights). Tickets $25/27/45. For Deadline for the July issue is Friday, June 12. All tickets, call (310) 512-6030 or visit www.littlefishtheatre.org. locations in San Pedro unless otherwise noted.

Every Mon – PENINSULA TOASTMASTERS at Coco’s Restaurant (28300 Western Ave, RPV) 7-9p. For those seeking to master public speaking and leadership skills. For info, contact Shelly Lipanovich lipanovichshelly@yahoo. com. Every Wed – CHILDREN’S WRITING CLASSES at the Corner Store (1118 37th St). Seven Golden Secrets of Writing with Diana Chapman, Wed 4:30-5:45p. For info, call (310) 626-7906. Every Wed – THE MIKE GUERRERO TRIO at Ports O' Call Restaurant (1199 Nagoya Way, Berth 76). 7-10p. Smooth, sophisticated jazz featuring vocalist, Jerry Romano. Every Wed – OPEN MIC NIGHT at Red Men Wigwam (543 Shepard St.) 6:30-9:30p. All are welcome. Chilidogs, snacks and beverages available. Dress warmly. Every Thurs (except holidays) – ADULT WRITING GROUP in Library room of St. Peter's Episcopal Church (1648 W. 9th St.). 1-3p. Everyone welcome! For more info, call (310) 8312186. Every Fri – SAN PEDRO FARMERS MARKET (6th St. between Pacific and Mesa Streets) 9a-2p. Every Sat – LAFD HARBOR MUSEUM (639 Harbor Blvd) 10a-3p. Experience San Pedro and Wilmington's Fire Protection and Rescue service history with vintage fire apparatus and various displays. The museum is located in Old Fire Station 36 in the San Pedro City Hall. Admission is free, donations are accepted.

8 I SAN PEDRO TODAY I JUNE 2015

65’ Sail Yacht S I R E N Available for Charter

13 (Sat) – CORNER STORE FARMERS MARKET at The Corner Store (1118 W. 37th St.) 10a-12p. Open every second Saturday of the month. Grab some coffee and homegrown produce and don’t forget to bring your reusable bags!

Learn Irish Dance this Summer! Summer Dance Camp!

Catalina Island Vacations

August 3rd-7th

Afternoon & Sunset Cruises

Beginner/Intro Camp 9am-12pm

Burials at Sea Captain John “Rags” Wolczanski

(310) 901-2518

rags@sirensailingcharters.com

Located in Ports O’ Call Village in San Pedro » » » www.sirensailingcharterscom

Open to *New* & Currently Enrolled Dancers!

Cost: $190

We also offer regular session classes, sign up anytime!

St. Peter’s Church (Hall) 1648 W. 9th Street San Pedro, CA 90732

For more information on how to register: email: MLirishdance@yahoo.com or call Meredith (562) 650-2523

www.lyonsirishdance.com


Sunday, June 7 10am - 4pm at the Gaffey St. Lookout near the Korean Bell

This annual summer event features a halfpipe, a street course and the Freeride Hill. If an all-day skateboard festival overlooking the harbor isn’t enough, the event comes with live music, food trucks and vendors! Admission is FREE!

99 $ 99 $ 99 $ 99 99 $ 99 $ 99 $ 99 $ 144 144 159 119 79 94 94 94 Reg. $185 Reg. $180 Reg. $200 Reg. $155 Reg. $100 Reg. $120 Reg. $120 Reg. $120

$

SKATEBOARD SALE 129 Reg. $220

$

99 69 Reg. $95

$

99 $ 99 $ 99 $ 99 $ 99 $ 99 69 79 139 139 139 139 Reg. $170 Reg. $95 Reg. $105 Reg. $175 Reg. $175 Reg. $175

$

Many other boards on sale.(limited supplies)

In store sale dates: May 28 thru June 14. M-F: 10am-7pm Sat: 10am-5:30pm Sun: 11am-4pm

329 W. 6th Street | San Pedro | (310) 832-9364


‘Les Misérables’ Storms the Warner Grand in June by Liana Whitehead If you’ve ever “dreamed a dream” to see a full-scale, professional production of the Broadway classic, Les Misérables, at the Warner Grand Theatre, your dream will come true this month. Encore Entertainers is bringing Claude-Michel Schönberg’s and Alain Boublil’s legendary musical to the Warner Grand Theatre on June 19, 20 and 21. Not only is this a rare treat for the Warner Grand and the South Bay, it is one of Encore Entertainers' highest caliber productions, according to director, Summer Cacciagioni. “For people who have never seen Les Mis in a theater, it’s incredible to watch,” says Cacciagioni. “We are one of the only amateur companies in Los Angeles granted the rights to do the show.” Before I tell you why everyone should be talking about Encore’s version of the world renowned production, let’s catch up: The musical is based on Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, the 1862 novel detailing the struggle of fictitious 19th century French peasant Jean Valjean, a man searching for redemption after imprisonment. Though the story follows various subplots, it focuses mainly of the former convict who cannot seem to escape his past. “Les Mis is a show filled with so many universal themes,” says Dana Shaw, who plays Fantine (a new mother tragically abandoned) in the upcoming production. “I am over the moon excited to be in a dream show of mine. I can’t wait to tell this important story that so deeply touches and affects the people who watch it… themes of courage, self-sacrifice, love, acceptance, broken dreams and forgiveness are embedded in this story.” This is the exact message director Cacciagioni wants to instill in the hearts of audience members on opening night – and every night after. Because Les Mis is internationally acclaimed as one of the greatest productions of all time, and because of the message it sends, Cacciagioni and her team of talented actors and production staff are going above and beyond for audiences with their fifth production of Les Mis. When I asked Cacciagioni why she was particularly excited about the show this time around, her face brightened and her smile widened. This time, Encore is bringing professional performers to the San Pedro stage, including two male leads who have experienced the thrill of Les Mis on a grand scale. Nationally known actors J. Michael Bailey (playing Jean Valjean) and Christopher Carothers (as Javert, the police-inspector antagonist) are two more reasons why Cacciagioni’s vision of Les Mis is a grand one. In 2012, Bailey played Jean Valjean at the Utah Shakespearian Festival and Carothers was an actor in Les Mis’ first national tour –

The cast of Encore Entertainers' 2012 production of 'Les Misérables'

(photo: Kelli Lundin)

two professional actors who also carry in their hearts the message of the show. “I love the theater,” says Bailey. “I love to be taught, and I love to feel something. If you don't feel changed when you leave Les Misérables, then we have done something seriously wrong and a disservice to the material and the audience.” Cacciagioni believes in and supports her versed production team, deservingly so. This time around, her cast consists of 35 educational students under age 21, two paid professionals and 15 community theater actors. “We have some others – even a backup singer who toured with Jennifer Hudson,” says Cacciagioni. “Nobody has heard of a hybrid of educational community theater and professionals together. We’ve never done a hybrid.” Encore also set aside money for enhanced sets, quality costumes and a professional orchestra. It is the small (and some not-so-small) things like this that add to the originality and character of Encore shows. This production of Les Misérables has all the ingredients to blow audiences away. “We've all been working so hard to make this production as enthralling as possible,” says Mackenzie Hamilton, who plays Cosette. “Personally, I can't wait to hear a settling hush come over our audience when the overture begins to play.” The director’s biggest hope? “I really want, more than anything, for the audience to be touched by the story,” expresses Cacciagioni. “In my opinion, Les Mis is the best musical of all time. It’s such a beautiful story. The last line of the show is, ‘To love another person is to see the face of God.’ For me, whether a person believes in God or not, they understand what that represents.” spt Les Misérables runs June 19 at 7:30p, June 20 at 2p & 7:30p, and June 21 at 1p at the Warner Grand Theatre (478 W 6th St., San Pedro). Tickets: $35-$55 reserved seating only, available at www.encoreentertainers.org.

10 I SAN PEDRO TODAY I JUNE 2015

From Planes to Trains — We have it at J.D. Hobbies! Wishing everyone a Happy Father’s Day! Haven’t Been In LateLy?

Please stop by with a friend for a free cup of coffee and a little chat. We are retiring and looking for someone to purchase our little Café and continue serving the wonderful community of San Pedro, as we have since 2006. Interested? Please email mishisstrudel@gmail.com or call (650) 224-5218.

10,000 square feet of hobby collectibles Come see it to believe it! 471 W. 6th Street • San Pedro (310) 514-3702 jdhobbies.yolasite.com

Open tues - tHurs 9am - 4pm FrI & sat 9am - 5pm sunday 9am - 3pm (cLOsed mOndays)

All Strudels available in 12 and 16 inch sizes, baked or frozen - Always a hit at your next party!


Looking for some fun things to do this June? Sponsored By The San Pedro Historic Waterfront District

DISCOVER

JUNE 13

DOWNTOWN! A VARIETY OF EXCITING

GRAND ANNEX CONCERT www.grandvision.org

HOLLYWOOD STONES

ENTERTAINMENT AWAITS YOU

1st THURSDAY ARTWALK

You don’t want to miss this full-tilt classic rock, dance-able tribute to Mick, Keith and the boys.

JUNE 4

“The premier Rolling Stones Tribute Band. They really have the devil by the tail” – NBC News

DOWNTOWN ARTWALK

www.1stthursday.com

Experience San Pedro’s tight-knit artists’ community. Food trucks, restaurants, plus live music!

JUNE 18

3RD THURSDAY ENTERTAINMENT WALK

JUNE 5 - JULY 19

TE SAN PEDRO REP THEATRE www.sanpedrorep.org

THE VANEK TRILOGY

www.sanpedrobid.com

3rd THURSDAY

This story follows the character of Vanek as he emerges from prison in late 1970’s Czechoslovakia. Three scenes take Vanek from his job in a beer factory, to a dinner party with the bourgeois elite, and finally to the top of the political infrastructure itself.

JUNE 19, 20 &21 WARNER GRAND THEATRE www.grandvision.org

LES MISERABLES Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical telling of pre-revolutionary France. In 19th-century France, Jean Valjean, hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert, agrees to care for a factory worker’s daughter. The decision changes their lives forever.

JUNE 12 - JUL 18 LITTLE FISH THEATRE

www.littlefishtheatre.org

PRIVATE LIVES Follow divorced couple Elyot and Amanda who, while honeymooning with their new spouses, discover that they are staying in adjacent rooms at the same hotel. Their honeymoon rapture comes to a grinding halt.

Live music at the corner of 6th St. & Mesa St. 6:00 PM. – 9:00 PM.

www.SanPedroBid.com

SCAN HERE FOR YOUR LOCAL DINING GUIDE & COUPONS

Get our monthly E-NEWSLETTER sent to your inbox for dining deals, fun events & entertainment news happening in the San Pedro Historic Waterfront District! Sign up at www.sanpedrobid.com/email-signup


VOICES

Time to Deck the Halls of Athletic Stardom by Steve Marconi The San Pedro High School and Harbor College Athletic Hall of Fame committees have announced the inductees for 2015, and the good news is the banquets are a month apart, so you can make both. The overwhelming response to last year’s inaugural San Pedro High event forced the committee to seek a venue that could accommodate what is expected to be an even larger crowd this time around, with plenty of parking. So the November 7 salute to sports excellence will be at Crafted warehouse on Harbor Boulevard at 5 p.m. The $50 tax-deductible ticket includes dinner catered by the San

Pedro Brewing Co. The committee promises to keep the introductions short, but, as with last year’s class, this year’s inductees hardly need an introduction. The 10 individual selections are Herb Johnson (graduated 1950), baseball and football; Ashley Esparza (2004), softball; Valerie Flores-Chavez (2000), cross country; Pat Yelovich (`65), swimming; Raul Haro (`88), soccer; Morris Cigar (`55), baseball; Zlatco Josic (`86), basketball; Kim Parker (`83), basketball/softball; Eddie Jurak (`75), baseball; and John Christensen (`59), gymnastics. The siblings to be honored are the eight Gravett brothers who competed in a variety of sports in the `50s and `60s; the Harper brothers, Glenn (`72) and Brian (`77), baseball/ football; and Whitsitt brothers, Novian (`83) and Damon (`86), basketball. The three families to be inducted will be the Stevenses, Charlie Castanedas and Whitts. Lifetime achievement honors will go to Tim Ursich (`68), Alan Ashby (`69), Garry 1 5/14/15 3:25 PM Maddox POLA_MusicByTheSea_AD.pdf (`68) and gym coach John Balen. The three teams being honored are girls basketball (`72-73), girls cross country (`99) and boys soccer (`87).

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Finally, the long and always poignant posthumous list: Vincent Thomas, Randall Hoxie, John Gligo, Ryder Wynn, Vern Williams, Ray Martinez, Bob Bell, Mickey Panovich, Joe Garnichard, Jim Trani, Jack Bloomingdale, Bill Seixas, Sam Domancich, Nick Trani, and Ante Perkov. You’ll have to come to hear more about each honoree. The committee stills needs to contact some inductees. Anyone who can help should contact either Lefty Olguin (707-972-1777, albert_olguin@yahoo.com) or Steve Schiazzano (steveschiazzano@gmail.com). Tickets are available at www.sanpedropirateboosters.com. Harbor College Smaller in scale, the Seahawks’ annual induction banquets have been no less successful, and the ninth annual event on October 9 figures to be another impressive affair. Leading the list of nine inductees is Jack Hawley, probably the school’s last great two-sport star. A 1998 All-American quarterback, he was 10-1 as a pitcher on the 1997 baseball team. Two other football players, both from the `60s, quarterback Rich Olson and two-way lineman Mike Ferragamo (brother of Chris and Vince), will be honored along with a trio of baseball players from the `90s, Chad Qualls (current reliever for the Houston Astros), Josh Bendick and Bud Smith, who threw a no-hitter as a rookie with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2001; Bill Barlow, the school’s successful soccer coach who was All-State in volleyball; and Sal Diaz, two-time conference player of the year in soccer. The ceremony will begin at 5 p.m. at Ports O’ Call Restaurant. To make reservations or obtain tickets ($75 tax-deductible), call the college at (310) 233-4122 or (310) 233-4359. Speaking of Sports… Don Lechman, who I worked for and with at the Daily Breeze for many years and is now an English teacher at Harbor College, isn’t afraid of taking on big writing projects. His first two books for The History Press were a history of Los Angeles Dodgers pitchers and the USC-Notre Dame football rivalry, and he has now published his third sports book, Football in the South Bay. Don’t let the title throw you. The Harbor Area is included in this book, which has separate chapters on the gridiron history of every high school covered by the Daily Breeze and the area’s two community colleges, El Camino and Harbor. The chapters on San Pedro High, Mary Star and Harbor are fairly thorough. Most unfortunate is the single page on Fermin Lasuen, which had a storied 10-year existence and deserved much more. At the end of each chapter, however, there is a list of the school’s record and who was coach year-by-year and a compilation of coaching records. I only wish Don had included notations on league, CIF or City championships. There is a shortage of individual statistics, and many of the schools’ top names are left out, but there is only so much you can include in a 233-page paperback. Ignoring minor gaffes such as one reference to the San Pedro Pilots, forgetting that the most famous Gardena teams were the Mohicans (not Panthers) and calling the Mary Star coach John Radisich instead of Joe, the book is a worthy addition to any sports library as a handy reference guide. Plus, there are profiles on the most notable coaches, including the Pirates’ Mike Walsh, Harbor’s Scrappy Rhea and George Swade and Banning/Harbor’s Chris Ferragamo. Football in the South Bay is available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com. In Memoriam With only 12 columns a year, I have quite a backlog of people and things I’d like to write about. One person on that list was John Farrell, an old classmate from San Pedro High and Harbor College days who is familiar to Daily Breeze readers for his longtime tenure as theatre critic. So I was particularly pained to read of his unexpected passing earlier this month at the age of 63. Our common interests in journalism and sports meant we spent a lot of time around each other, first as co-workers on the venerable Fore ‘n’ Aft and later at the Harbor Hawk. We lost touch after school when I began my newspaper career in earnest; it was many years later when I noticed a familiar byline on a play review in the Breeze. While not much of a theatergoer myself, I enjoyed his work; he had left his hometown years ago, but you could tell where his heart was. He was the best friend the burgeoning San Pedro theatre scene had. He will be missed. spt Steve Marconi can be reached at spmarconi@yahoo.com.


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JUNE 2015 I SAN PEDRO TODAY I 13


SAN PEDRO & PENINSULA YMCA and WILIMINGTON YMCA Board Member Receives Association’s Top Recognition 2015 Lucia Moreno-Linares Receives Distinguished Golden Book of Service Award

As visionary, advocate, champion, leader, and friend, Lucia Moreno-Linares has been instrumental

in the success of the Wilmington YMCA. Devoted to improving life for children and families in Wilmington,

Lucia is one of those rare individuals whose volunteer effort for

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the Y has been constant for two decades. Lucia’s relationship with the Wilmington Y began even before there was a Y at its current location. As part of a community task force that called for a center to bring together youth, adults and families in a safe environment, Lucia successfully advocated for the creation of the Wilmington YMCA as we know it today. Lucia currently leads the Wilmington YMCA Council of Managers as Chair and is a member of the Board of Managers of the San Pedro & Peninsula YMCA. Over the years, she has served on countless committees that have been crucial to the Y’s evolution. One particularly key role was as a member of the Aquatic Center Construction Task Force and it is, in large part, thanks to Lucia’s tireless work that the community now has a magnificent new aquatic center at the Wilmington YMCA. Lucia and her husband Heriberto have two children, Alejandra and Eduardo, who grew up and

flourished in camp and other programs at the Y. Because of their experiences, Lucia speaks from her heart and, as CEO of the Family Federal Credit Union, she is a powerful and highly respected voice in the community. Lucia is also ever vigilant for opportunities to secure funding to help the Y meet the needs of the community. In 1998, she recruited her sister Cecilia Moreno, who works for the Port of Los Angeles, to the Wilmington YMCA Council. And, in 2005, the Port made the largest gift to the Aquatic Center’s construction. For her ongoing service to strengthening Wilmington by nurturing the potential of children and teens and helping families live healthier lives, the name of Lucia Moreno-Linares is forever inscribed in the Golden Book of Distinguished Service.

VOICES

Class of 2015 One Kid’s Journey by Anthony Pirozzi Growing up in San Pedro and attending Cabrillo Avenue Elementary, Dana Junior High and San Pedro High School, I always thought that one day I would send my kids to the same schools that I attended. I was the first generation to attend public schools. My mom attended Mary Star and my dad was 19 when he came to San Pedro from Ischia, Italy. I had a great experience and made lifelong friends that even today when attending a Pirate football game I hang out with friends I met in school. As a San Pedro Pirate, I felt proud representing my town on the soccer or track team. I enjoyed participating in as many extracurricular activities as possible and was honored to be chosen for Homecoming and Prom Court and Student Body President. Although my grades were average, I made lifelong memories and friends. So, when my wife Carolyn (SPHS Class of ’87) and I were married and had our first son Antonio 18 years ago, we always wanted him to go to the schools we attended. When it came to elementary and middle school, there was no doubt it would be Taper Ave Elementary and Dodson Middle School, not only because Carolyn went there, but because they were close to where we lived. When it came to high school, parents our age were focused on getting their kids into the Palos Verdes school district. For many, this is still the case today. When we would tell some of our friends that we were set on sending our kids to San Pedro High, some couldn’t believe it. After all, we had heard about good and bad experiences from some, but for us, there was no doubt that our kids would become Pirates. It was not for lack of resources to be able to attend a PV school, but more about our San Pedro pride, being committed to making our town better and not looking for it somewhere else. We wanted a diverse learning experience for them and being able to share with them a common bond in our alma mater was icing on the cake. To date, we have never looked back. We have both Antonio and Vincent at SPHS and in two years Luca will be a Pirate, as well. Antonio’s educational journey has been a growth and learning experience for us as a family. For example, while in elementary school he struggled in second and third grade and getting homework done was a daily battle. Carolyn and I agreed that he needed to repeat the third grade, otherwise we felt his future could unravel if he continued down a path where he struggled in school. We let him finish third grade the first time and repeat it the next school year. I asked Antonio if he was okay with me writing about this and he said, “Yes, because it was the best decision you and mom made for me.” Since then, he not only began to get better grades, but he also began to develop better study habits. While at Dodson, his grades improved and his confidence grew as he participated in the Dodson Drama program all three years. While at San Pedro High School, he not only attended classes at the main campus but also at the John M. and Muriel Olguin Campus as part of the magnet program. He played JV and Varsity soccer and is preparing to run in the Marine League Track Finals in the 100 and 300 meter hurdles and the 4x400 relay race. He joined the Boys and Girls Club College Bound program, and in the fall he will attend the University of California, Irvine and will study to become an Aerospace Engineer. San Pedro has invested millions in new schools, whether at the new Mary Star High School, Port of Los Angeles Charter High School, SPHS John M. and Muriel Olguin Campus, and established Magnet and SAS programs at Dana and Dodson and various elementary schools all across town. I want to congratulate all of the students of the Class of 2015 and say thank you to all of the parents for staying committed to being part of the solution of improving our San Pedro schools. spt Anthony Pirozzi is a Los Angeles Harbor Commissioner. He can be contacted at apirozzi@yahoo.com.


Cars & Stripes — San Pedro Today AD.pdf

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5/13/15

8:51 AM

VOICES

Old School Vs. New Skool by Debbie Rouser As the saying goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same. I am finding that this is true, from the insignificant little details to the worthiest of causes. There is something to value about the tried and true, the test of time, history, culture and all that. However, at some point, you just have to realize that with inaction, you stagnate. Without growth and learning you sit in the same space like a ghost repeating the same action over and over with no knowledge of what is really taking place around you. In these situations, it is helpful to take a step back and take stock. It helps you see a clearer picture of what it is that lays before you. All things come full circle in time. The once rebellious youngsters become the walls, barricading others from the very things that they stood for in years past. The key is, or at least should be, to look at things with an open mind. Not bring all of your old preconceived thoughts and notions. Ultimately, the baggage should be checked at the door. The same goes for our L.A. Waterfront and Brouwerij West (broo-wer-ee, and yes, I needed the word spelled phonetically for myself), the latest addition located nextdoor to Crafted. What a grand idea it is! Hopefully they’ll be open sooner rather than later, but you just never know, this is the City of Los Angeles, after all. As you will read in depth in this month’s cover story, Brouwerij West has been brewing beer in rented out spaces here and there for its production needs. Not long ago, they were looking at the old Yankee Doodles location in Long Beach. When Racheal Waugh, Executive Director of Crafted, learned of the potential microbrew, she called Brian Mercer, co-owner of Brouwerij West, to see if the warehouse next to Crafted would be of any interest to the three-year-old company. They were, in fact, very interested. They loved the open space in the old Warehouse 9 and decided to take a risk. The space has endless potential, including use as a beautiful event space. The soon to be renovated Warehouse 9 sits next to Crafted’s unique banquet space, with high, open beam ceilings, keeping the old while making the open new and beautiful. The brewery will use 30% less water to brew and the rooftop will be covered with solar panels, which brings me full circle to the idea of change. San Pedro has been an isthmus for too long. We have had so many opportunities like this in the past (expansion to bring new businesses to San Pedro), but too many shortsighted people have stood up and argued, screamed, and moaned against it. Of course, the opportunities fade away and things stay the same. We get nothing but meagerness and peanuts… no progress. I had a gentleman come into my office off of a cruise ship and he didn't know we were part of Los Angeles. He thought we were a part of Long Beach. He said he was on his eighth cruise out of the same spot in what turned out to be San Pedro. He said we were a hidden gem. I was still stuck on his comment about this being his eighth cruise and he thought he was in Long Beach. I still believe that it will all come together somehow and we will make our little hidden gem bright enough for everyone to see. The more the merrier, right? spt C

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Debbie Rouser is vice president of the Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council. She can be reached at debbiedphoto@gmail.com.


No June Gloom At The WARNER GRAND THEATRE!! “ART, CULTURE & ENTERTAINMENT AT THE WATER’S EDGE”

JUNE 2015 SAT June 6 – 2pm | “ALICE IN WONDERLAND” ~ San Pedro City Ballet presents their annual spring recital students will interpret Lewis Carroll’s classic story through ballet, tap, jazz, modern, and contemporary dance. $15 & $20 at brownpapertickets.com/event/1428890. Sanpedrocityballet.org.

SAT June 13 – 7:30pm | “RENOIR (2012)” ~ PV Peninsula Land Conservancy’s film series, The Beauty of Nature. Jean Renoir returns home in 1915 from WW I to convalesce with his very famous father and a young woman who rejuvenates and enchants them both. $10 at pvplc.org

SUN June 14 – 5pm | “A NIGHT IN NEW YORK” ~ PV’S Elite Dance Studio presents their annual Spring show featuring EDS students from all levels celebrating the distinctive neighborhoods of the Big Apple in dance. Adults $18 / Children 12 and under $12 at Tix.com – keyword ‘Elite’. EliteDance-Studio.com

FRI July 3 – 8pm | THE SURF CITY ALLSTARS ~ Kick off the 4th of July weekend with one of the most acclaimed tribute bands working today! Featuring hits by The Beach Boys, Jan & Dean and more. $5 PER TICKET DISCOUNT ONLINE ONLY, NOW UNTIL 6/18 at Tix.com – discount code ImAnAllstar at checkout.

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Shows, dates, times and performers are subject to change without notice. The Warner Grand Theatre is a facility of the City of Los Angeles

Office 310.548.2493 For more shows and info visit www.grandvision.org

ENJOY!!!

PLEASE PRESENT THIS COUPON AT CONCESSIONS FOR ONE FREE REGULAR SIZE SOFT DRINK OR ONE BOTTLED WATER. SPT0615

VOICES

Point Fermin Elementary Grieves Loss of Beloved Principal by Jennifer Marquez Bonnie Taft, principal of Point Fermin Marine Science Magnet Elementary School, lost her battle to breast cancer. She was the principal of the small close-knit school for the last 12 years; her death left the parents, staff and children grieving. She passed away in the hospital and LAUSD grief counselors informed the students of her death. Students made art and poems for the principal’s family to help them deal with the loss. During her time at Point Fermin, many improvements had been made under Principal Taft’s leadership. The school became a marine science magnet and also saw an increase in state test scores. The library was important to Principal Taft and it was refurbished and designated a Wonder of Reading Library. Top-notch writing and reading programs were added to the curriculum. The exterior of the school was recently painted a Cape Cod Blue color that Principal Taft selected. Point Fermin, the smallest public elementary school in San Pedro with 300 students, is 103 years old. The education style is experiential with the students going on many field trips, including walking to Cabrillo Marine Aquarium on a frequent basis to participate in on site programs. The school recently was awarded a $25,000 grant to study Plankton and the fourth grade class studied with USC scientists and on a ship called the Sea Lab. The Bonnie Taft school was constantly improving and growing. “Mrs. Taft took ten years off from teaching to raise her own two children, Sasha and Dallas,” said Karen Cass, a second grade teacher at Point Fermin. “When I took some time off after having my first son and then more time off after having my second son, she was very understanding and supportive and she told me ‘baby trumps work.’ She assured me that family comes before anything and encouraged me to take as much time with my babies as I needed.” Principal Taft would refer to Point Fermin as the little lighthouse on the hill because you can see Angels Gate Lighthouse from the library. “How many schools have a view of a lighthouse?” she would ask. The school library will be renamed the Bonnie K. Taft Lighthouse Library. Thanks to LAUSD School Board Member Richard Vladovic, Principal Taft’s vision of a marine life mural on a building at Point Fermin is becoming a reality. A committee of parents and staff will be on a selection committee for a new principal and the school has been fortunate to have an amazing interim principal throughout this difficult time. Even though a new principal will be welcomed into the school, Bonnie Taft has left a legacy that will not be forgotten. Her slogan was, “This place mattered,” and some on campus might say they lost a principal but gained an angel who is looking over the little school by the sea. spt Jennifer Marquez can be reached at jennifertmarquez@yahoo.com.

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VOICES

“Where Friends Come to Meet!”

CELEBRATING 20TH ANNIVERSARY THIS YEAR

Higher Expectations by Mike Lansing

Mike Lansing is Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Los Angeles Harbor.

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JUNE 2015 I SAN PEDRO TODAY I 17

I start out this column by making the obvious statement that in no way do I feel that the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Los Angeles Harbor is perfect, or anywhere close to that elusive goal. We are constantly challenged by concerns over child safety in this often times abusive world they grow up in. We struggle to secure the resources necessary to best serve a growing and highly at-risk membership. We strive to hire and train the best child development professionals possible as we compete for talent with our for-profit neighbors, and we realize that our team is made up of human beings and that our staff are not always correct, let alone perfect, as they deal with the daily needs and issues that many of our children and parents bring along. That being said, we made a commitment more than 20 years ago to have much higher expectations than our previous leadership had and even the communities we serve. We have continually pushed to serve more youth with always better daily opportunities for them to learn and grow. Therefore, during this time we have undertaken numerous strategic initiatives to challenge our board, staff and those we serve with higher expectations. Just a few of these initiatives are as follows: Serving Teens: In our effort to serve more at-risk youth, we decided we must first prioritize our teen population, which has been underserved for decades. We now have three fully dedicated Teen Centers and staff, and we now serve approximately 500 high school youth daily with the dedicated space and impact programming they deserve. Remember, this is daily support of 500 high school youth. No other non-profit comes close. College Bound: We developed the strategies, expanded the staff and dedicated the space to sponsor a daily and year-round academic support pathway for children too often underrepresented in higher education. By implementing this academic case management model, which prioritizes one-on-one counseling and daily support services, we have increased the participants each year from the 30 we originally served in 2002. Our 2014 class had 348 College Bound members go on to college and we helped them secure $4.7 million in federal aid and scholarships so they could afford to attend. This year’s class is even larger – 450 seniors and 1,663 total participants are enrolled in College Bound. Arts Academy: We began by providing hands-on arts experiences for our membership who could not afford private lessons and whose schools no longer provided these opportunities. This beginners level programming soon grew as members developed intermediate skills and eventually advanced capacities in Fine Arts, Music, Dance, Videography, Audio Production, 3-D modeling, Game Design and more. Any child can participate in our Monday – Friday program, and on Saturdays we sponsor an expanded opportunity for those with higher level skills and desire. We now serve more than 1,400 youth annually in this beginning – advanced arts programming. Dinner Program: Simply put, our country has the highest poverty rate (22%) since President Johnson’s “War on Poverty” and nearly half of the youth we serve meet the lowincome threshold. So our initiative is quite simple – we serve approximately 600 hot meals each evening at our three main sites. Too often this meal is the last food our children will eat that day – hence the great need. We have made the commitment to higher expectations and need additional help to continue this quest. If interested, please go to our website at www.bgclaharbor.org as we currently have a “matching grant” opportunity. Your investment will be doubled – allowing us to serve even more youth with better opportunities. Higher expectations require higher levels of support – thanks in advance for your consideration. spt


VOICES

Let’s Swarm by Councilman Joe Buscaino

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Two years ago, my office launched three Neighborhood Watch Facebook groups in San Pedro: Coastal San Pedro, Central San Pedro and Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Watch groups. These groups are designed to keep our neighbors vigilant and aware of potential threats and illegal activities while offering a reporting mechanism, keeping us connected to each other and our police resources. The groups are a virtual town square where everyone has a voice. While it takes time to establish a culture of using this technology efficiently, I was happy to see the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Watch Facebook group effectively work with the LAPD to capture burglary suspects last month. On May 8, San Pedro resident Victor Posod informed his neighbors in the group that his home was burglarized: The thieves took three guitars, two laptops, a Wii U, a large coin collection, jewelry cameras, and more. "The situation is getting out of control, and it feels like there is not much done...what can we do as a community to deal with this?” asked Georgina Perez-Huesca. While Perez-Huesca’s frustration is legitimate, something was being done. Neighbors launched their own Facebook investigation, posting photos of the possible vehicle involved in the burglary and sharing other relevant information in the group. "I live next door to the house in South Shores that was burglarized. I saw the two young Hispanic males run to their car when the house alarm went off – Honda, an older 4-door model, in good condition, gray with heavy tinted back and side windows. Driver in white t-shirt, black pants. Other is skinny with a hoodie,” wrote Mike Logan.

"So I see everyone is getting the reason for Neighborhood watch page, please, please, please keep your eyes open, don't hesitate to call 911. Even if you don't like your neighbor, it doesn't mean you can't look out for them,” wrote James Dimon. Soon after, the LAPD found and arrested the suspects. "Thanks to our awesome neighborhood! For all intents and purposes they have been caught red-handed! They match the description perfectly, and had stolen items in the trunk from the area. Three suspects arrested!” announced Posed. The car was recognized by a vigilant neighbor because of the description on the Facebook group. "Thank you to the person (we know) who saw the guys sitting there this morning in their car and decided to call the cops,” wrote Bobby Rollins. "This is so great! This one is for the doubters… Like I said before, if we all start working together we can be helpful. The LAPD could not have done this without cooperation from the neighborhood! So happy for you, Victor, and hope your family sleeps more peacefully tonight,” wrote Deanna Battaglia. My office launched the Facebook Neighborhood Watch Group as a crime fighting tool for neighbors. The tool was used ideally in this incident and proved that neighbors can make a difference. "Criminals wouldn't be criminals anymore if they got caught every time,” wrote Battaglia. Battaglia is correct. This is why we must continue to stay vigilant and share relevant information and remain engaged in these Facebook groups. I understand that it's a shame that we have to deal with these issues and I know that we often have a frustration with the availability of our police department. However, with this incident, we are utilizing and proving the value of the Swarm Theory: collective behavior of decentralized, self-organizing systems like an ant colony or bee hive. In an ant colony, organization happens organically, through millions of interactions between individual ants. We are replicating this theory by using the Neighborhood Watch Group - and it’s working. None of us can predict exactly where the next burglary or crime will take place, but all of us have the ability to take notes and share. I am proud of the great work of our Coastal San Pedro neighbors and encourage everyone in San Pedro to participate in the Neighborhood Watch Groups. Let’s swarm! spt


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With a big warehouse to fill with even bigger plans, Brouwerij West’s Dave Holop and Brian Mercer are getting ready to open their doors and tap their kegs in San Pedro. by Monica Simpson “If you build it, they will come” The most famous line from the 1989 classic American baseball film, Field of Dreams, is often misquoted. The prophetic whisper that Kevin Costner actually hears in the Iowan cornfields says, “If you build it, he will come,” a reference to the main character’s father, not “If you build it, they will come.” However, the popular philosophy behind the reference is still an idea often touted during the pursuit of one’s dreams. In the case of Brian Mercer and Dave Holop, partners in Brouwerij West (pronounced “brewery”), it was a philosophy they embraced during their relentless efforts to transform Warehouse No. 9 into the permanent address for their craft brewery. Meet Mercer, a former photographer and a long-time local of San Pedro (he attended Leland St. Elementary School with Councilman Joe Buscaino and is married to John Olguin’s niece) and you’ll meet a man who first became inspired by syrup. Yes, syrup not beer. Well, at first anyway. With a vision of repurposing the World War II-era warehouse located at 22nd St. and Miner, Mercer’s dream was brewing. While visiting breweries on a trip to Belgium in 2006, Mercer discovered the secret of Belgium Dark Candi Syrup, the same secret

responsible for the complexity of Belgian-style beers. “The syrup was void of molasses yet dark with caramelization,” says Mercer. “I was desperate to get this flavor.” This dark syrup that was used by Trapist monks to create smooth, rich, and malty beers was the first taste of Mercer’s success. After procuring the secret ingredient, Mercer began marketing and distributing his product to American craft brewers. The syrup hit big among brewers, allowing them to create rich and authentic flavor profiles. The grocery store titan, Whole Foods Market, was even interested in carrying the product as an alternative sweetener. Inspired by fellow beer enthusiasts and craft brewers, Mercer started home brewing in his free time. Deciding to shelve a sweet deal with Whole Foods to focus on his own perfect pour, Mercer’s pastime of making Belgian-style ales soon became his profession. Nearly three years later in 2009 and without his own brewery, the stalwart home brewer launched his own brand, Brouwerij West. As a gypsy brewer, Mercer was forced to bottle his beers at different production facilities around Northern California. Driving back and forth from San Jose, Mercer would lose time and money in the expensive pilgrimage for more pints. Mercer continued to create classic Belgian beers using base malts and imported noble hops, but brewing time constraints made production difficult and limited his ability to experiment with different flavor profiles. However, with Mercer’s high-quality brew and the craft beer market’s popularity rising, the small-scale production was still largely profitable. With bottles as unique on the outside as the contents inside, names like Dog Ate My Homework, an ale made famous for its blackberry flavors, or Brilliant but Lazy, the soured saison (a semi-dry farmhouse style ale), Brouwerij West was gaining respect and popularity among beer influencers and other brewmasters. Mastering the art of craft beer, Mercer also worked with 30 different artists to design bold and colorful labels avoiding the mass-marketed look and feel of other brands. With an inimitable lineup of acclaimed beers and an art-driven label, Brouwerij West was now being poured in 30 different states and six countries. Then in 2012, Mercer met Dave Holop at a Brouwerij West tasting event on the Westside of Los Angeles and the two quickly became friends. Holop, a UCLA Law graduate and former attorney, first became interested in beer while holding on to a friend’s home brew kit during a semester abroad and was excited to meet Mercer, the man behind the brew. As their friendship grew, Mercer brought on Holop as the second employee and partner as Director of Finance and Operation. Responsible for budgeting, financial planning, and overseeing legal issues, Holop was eager to lend his expertise to the growing operation.

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Brouwerij West’s Brian Mercer and Dave Holop (photo: John Mattera)

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WAREHOUSE OF DREAMS

With bottle productions increasing, Mercer and Holop knew the brewery needed a home with sufficient space for local and national distribution. Ready to lease a space with Holop in Belmont Shore, Mercer received a fortuitous phone call from Rachel Sindelar Waugh, Executive Director of Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles. Waugh heard through the grapevine (in this case, a real wine bar) from Michael Koth, owner of Off the Vine Wines on Sixth St., that some local brewers were looking for space. Spearheading the efforts of Crafted co-founders and the visionaries behind a large art gallery facility known as Bergamot Station in Santa Monica, Wayne Blank and Howard Robinson, Waugh was seeking a new anchor tenant for their warehouse neighbor. Despite previous failed plans to expand the arts mecca of Crafted to both warehouses in the complex, Waugh was confident that a brewery would be the right addition to activate the abandoned space. “I called him up and said, ‘I hear you’re thinking of building in Long Beach but I have this great warehouse for a brewery,’ ” recalls Waugh regarding the coincidence. Less than an hour later, Mercer arrived with a bottle of his famous brew and his black and white spotted Great Dane, Cloudy, to check out the space. Mercer fell in love with the building and the rest was San Pedro history. Well, sort of. Mercer and Holop loved the idea of having a headquarters near the harbor, but Holop had legitimate concerns about moving into the port town. “San Pedro has its challenges. If you go into an area where people have been successful there’s less risk, compared to an area that maybe isn’t as successful. You have to be committed,” admits Holop, who was responsible for finding willing investors. Holop had a point. The United States has more craft breweries than ever before totaling more than 3,000 representing a $6.5 billion dollar industry, with California boasting 554 craft breweries alone (more than any other state in the nation) and with the explosion of formidable craft breweries in El Segundo and Torrance, Mercer and Holop could have chosen anywhere else. “I believe in the site and I believe in the area and we want to be a part of the community,” smiles Holop. Two years later, Mercer and Holop remain committed to the project. Bringing on the award-winning Los Angeles based architect firm, Oonagh Ryan & Associates (ORA), led by Irish-born architect, Oonagh Ryan, Mercer and Holop wanted to keep the space functional and preserve the building’s historic appeal. Wanting to celebrate the building’s original design, Ryan and Mercer shared the same vision for the neglected 27,000 sq. foot space. However, with no original plans and limited utilities, the project quickly became more challenging than anticipated.

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

“No gas and limited amperage changed the plans from what we wanted to do vs. what we are able to do,” explains Holop while motioning to the blue prints, which include a tasting room, event space, a restaurant, café, and market space. Although initial plans for Brouwerij West involved the culinary talent of Michelin-trained Chef Brendan Collins,

Mercer and Holop have decided to postpone full-scale restaurant operations until Phase II, or until the taproom is open and thriving. With the flexible plans created by Ryan, Mercer and Holop can easily expand in the future. “We took our time designing it because we looked at a lot of different options and optimized the space for their operations and future growth,” explains Ryan about the opening delays. “We had to laser the whole building and then start from scratch.” says Ryan, admitting some of the warehouse’s obstacles since breaking ground. “With a building like that, with those structural codes, we’ve treated it like a circus tent, so we can’t hang or attach anything. However, it’s been worth it to preserve the building.” Keeping the building design clean, Ryan uses what she calls a “light design approach” focusing on three elements: wood, glass, and concrete. “We wanted to keep the building natural. It’s a wood temple,” says Mercer while admiring the exposed rows of tresses in the sprawling warehouse. Standing around mounds of dirt from trenches while directing the construction crew, Mercer points out the most crucial part of the almost completed project, the plumbing. Since any brewery is essentially a complicated plumbing project designed to move large volumes of liquid, Mercer and Ryan had to be meticulous during the planning and development. Now, with concrete ready to be poured and their brewing system arriving next month, Brouwerij West is finally in the home stretch.

BREWING ENERGY EFFICIENCY

In addition to preserving San Pedro’s past, Mercer and Holop look to the future with sustainable plans for the brewery by going 100% solar powered. The entire roof of the warehouse will be covered in solar panels generating enough power for the brewery, roughly the equivalent to power 160 homes for one year. Combining technology to reduce water waste and minimize energy consumption, Mercer wants his 15,000-barrel facility to be green. “The beer industry wastes a lot of water,” explains Mercer, describing the brewing system plans which use 120-year-old mashing methods to extract more flavor. The brewing equipment is designed around the Meura micro-mash filter that increases flavor stability while balancing malt sweetness with the hop bitterness. This unique technology engineered by the Belgians uses 30% less water than a traditional brew house. Mindful of the seriousness of California’s drought, Mercer explains that it only takes 4 liters of water to make 1 liter of their beer, compared to the usual 7 to 1 ratio. “It’s not as bad as almonds or cows,” laughs Mercer. Closely located to the breakwater in the harbor, Mercer and Holop have even looked into desalination as a water source. Becoming the “greenest” craft brewery in Southern California, Mercer and Holop are hopeful that more breweries will adapt more environmentally conscious techniques.

ECONOMIC IMPACT ON SAN PEDRO

Brouwerij West will also be the largest brewery in Los Angeles, attracting thirsty tourists from all over the area. Acting as an economic catalyst for San Pedro, nearby businesses eagerly await the opening. “The west basin area should be one of the premier spots for


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Bella D’Alfonso 7th Street Elementary

Gavin Tsujimura

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Robert Bin

7th Street Elementary

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Taper Avenue Elementary

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Camila Campos 15th Street Elementary

Cole Bruhnke

White Point Elementary School

Tyler Askari

Dodson Middle School

Kathy Mendoza Bandini St. Elementary

Joshua Patapoff

White Point Elementary School

Kayla Gomez

Dodson Middle School

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Anthony Sardisco

Kelsey Kavanaugh

Megan Kavanaugh

Enrique Oviedo

Ernesto Hernandez

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Yasmeen Prado

Samuel Hoff

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Bandini St. Elementary

Christ Lutheran School (Elementary)

Dodson Middle School

Barton Hill Elementary

Mary Star Middle School

Dodson Middle School

Barton Hill Elementary

Mary Star Middle School

San Pedro High School

Cabrillo Ave. Elementary

Mary Star Middle School

Alexa Ponce

San Pedro High School


Memorial Park

an Pedro

Pedro Youth Coalition

Ja’Mion Duncan

Kylee DeLaPena

Jackson Linscomb

Annaliese Rupp

Danielle NuĂąez

Michelle Leccese

Cabrillo Ave. Elementary

Holy Trinity Middle School

San Pedro High School

Crestwood St. Elementary

Holy Trinity Middle School

San Pedro High School

Cassandra Quezada Leland Street Elementary

Jena Denardo

Holy Trinity Middle School

Alexis Geich

Mary Star High School

Emily Nelson

Leland Street Elementary

Madeline Wright

Christ Lutheran Middle School

Kyle Ybanez

Mary Star High School

Daniel Torok

Melissa Murillo

Victor Estrada

Park Western/Harbor Magnet

Park Western/Harbor Magnet

Point Fermin Elementary

Cy Welle

Angelina Mejia

Luke Scognamillo

Christ Lutheran Middle School

Riley Beres

Port of Los Angeles High School

Dana Middle School

Ronnie Oloimooja

Port of Los Angeles High School

Dana Middle School

Valerie Paredes

Maria Seiple

Point Fermin Elementary

South Shores Magnet School

Junior Gafa

Jasmine Rayos

Dana Middle School

Dana Middle School


A sampling of Brouwerij West’s unique beer labels (photos: Brouwerij West)

people to get away to,” says Mark Pisano, partner at 22nd St. Landing and long-time resident of San Pedro. “You have a beautiful marina and the addition of a brewery is going to be good. Nothing has happened in three years, so it’s exciting!” Official community support has also been widespread with Councilman Joe Buscaino stating, “The opening of Brouwerij West at Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles later this summer is another positive step in the revitalization of the L.A. Waterfront… It has tremendous potential to draw hundreds of thousands visitors to the Waterfront and spur more restaurants and other businesses to invest in San Pedro.” Although there are many united efforts fighting for the economic revival of San Pedro, some skeptics still ask, “If we build it, will they come?” San Pedro’s struggling retail corridors in downtown or the long-awaited redevelopment of Ports O’ Call are no secret. However, in the case of Brouwerij West, everyone wants to open the brewery’s doors. So, the real question should be: “When it’s built, are we ready for all who will come?” The San Pedro Chamber of Commerce is ready for the ribbon-cutting ceremony and firmly believes in the project. “Brouwerij West will enhance the overall synergy and redevelopment of our community and supports economic revitalization of downtown San Pedro as well as the waterfront, says Elise Swanson, president and CEO of the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce. Acting on their promise to drive tourism, the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce is teaming up with Brouwerij West and Crafted to host the new and reinvented Taste of San Pedro festival on August 1. To ensure continued growth, Waugh from Crafted has also filed a Master Conditional

Use Permit (MCUP) intended to provide zoning approval for Brouwerij West, outdoor entertainment, and other alcohol-related uses on the property. These plans would allow for a future wine shop or numerous eateries in one shared space, similar to the successful Grand Central Market in Downtown Los Angeles. Mercer, Holop and Waugh would also like to host more events, including a summer concert series attracting more people from the area. Despite nearby resident concerns about noise issues with a follow-up zoning hearing scheduled in June, the MCUP would limit live outdoor entertainment to avoid disturbances. “Brouwerij West is the next finish line for L.A. Waterfront development and is important to the port,” adds Waugh, who is excited about increasing overall visibility for San Pedro. “We really want to build a community here providing great food and beer in a beautiful location,” says Mercer. Despite unforeseen setbacks delaying their opening several times (they were originally planning a July opening, but it now looks like a soft opening in August/September), Mercer and Holop are committed to the cause and here to stay in San Pedro. A 33-year signed lease is proof enough. With neighborhood-focused opening events, Mercer and Holop look forward to meeting locals while tapping their beers for the first time in their new harbor home. “We want people to enjoy the space as much as we do when we open,” smiles Holop. spt Brouwerij West is scheduled to open in late summer. For more information, visit www.brouwerijwest.com or follow them on Instagram @brouwerijwest.

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26 I SAN PEDRO TODAY I JUNE 2015

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Jim Trani Jr. and Dustin Trani. Inset: Jim and Dustin in the same kitchen more than 25 years ago.

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JIM JR. AND DUSTIN TRANI J. TRANI’S Think restaurateurs and family legacy in San Pedro and only one name comes to mind: Trani. The Trani family, with patriarch Filippo at the helm, presided over Majestic Café in 1925 and kept locals fed and happy for four generations. Since 1989, Jim Jr. and son Dustin Trani have continued the tradition of serving up good food and great service at its W. Ninth Street location. To say that running a restaurant is in their blood is an understatement. As a child watching his father run the kitchen of J. Trani’s, now at its third family location in San Pedro, Dustin has grown to instinctively know what to do with the back of restaurant operations. “People might think running a restaurant is just all about serving up good food and good customer service, but it’s so much more than that,” says the 31-year-old executive chef. “It’s about watching the bottom line too, knowing the costs that go into everything. It’s about working at something as if you own it (even if you don’t).” Knowing that Dustin has a passion for food, Jim Jr., 62, has given him not only all the tools and knowledge of the trade so that Dustin can run his own restaurant, Doma in Beverly Hills, but he also supports him in other ways. “When he came back from a Thailand trip, wanting to give new menu items a shot, I was all for it. To me, it’s good to change things every now and then, to evolve,” says the elder Trani, noting that formulaic and traditional ways of making food may work for some, but it’s not (entirely) the J. Trani’s way. While running a business in a tough industry together, father and son have come to learn with and rely on each other day in and day out in ways that do not always happen with a strictly employer-employee relationship. “There were mornings when we had emergencies here [at J. Trani’s] like a backed-up sink and Dad and I would be here, taking are of it. It’s not normally the sort of thing you can call up an employee in the middle of the night and count on them to be here with you,” says Dustin, sharing that the business relationship with his father has also been a tremendous bonding experience. While Jim Jr. opens up J. Trani’s and manages the day to day backhouse operations, Dustin splits his time between J. Trani’s and Doma (now in its third year). This summer, however, J. Trani’s will be garnering more attention with its 90th family restaurant anniversary in August and a huge celebratory picnic that will be a throwback to the good ol’ Majestic Café days. The event will surely will be the talk of the town. -- J. Trani’s Ristorante, 584 W. 9th Street, (310) 832-1220, www.jtrani.com

JOHNNY DEGIROLAMO SR. AND JR. JOHNNY’S AUTO CLINIC Working summers at Uncle Pat’s garage led Johnny DeGirolamo Sr. to find his passion in automotive repairs. “Each repair was like a different puzzle to me,” he says. The 47-year-old Johnny Sr. has now owned his own shop for 24 years and his eldest son, 18-year-old Johnny Jr., has been working alongside him for three years as the service and Internet marketing manager at their repair shop servicing foreign and domestic cars for all automotive needs. Johnny Jr. has been learning from his father lessons on customer service and making personal sacrifices to achieve greater goals. “I hardly see my friends anymore [at Palos Verdes High School] but I know, from watching my dad first-hand, that cutting social time is just one of the sacrifices we have to make to help the business thrive,” he admits. Johnny DeGirolamo Sr. and Johnny Jr. But there are upsides to making personal sacrifices. “I get to see my son everyday and we get to have an adult relationship [rather than a dad-kid relationship]… he’s really stepped up his game,” says Johnny Sr. To develop Johnny Jr. and help him learn the ropes from the bottom rung, Sr. had chosen not to mentor him directly to avoid friction in the father-son relationship. “I told my mangers to be as hard on him during the training as they possibly can,” says Sr. “We graded him rigorously, with no favoritism… to develop him with a solid foundation.” Like any family business, the goal is to one day pass the baton completely to the next generation. But in the transition, feathers get ruffled as arguments inevitably emerge for even little things. “My dad and I have fought over something as small as a pencil sharpener,” laughs Jr. “I like things neat and clutter-free in the office and didn’t think a pencil sharpener needs to take up space whereas dad felt differently.” Johnny Sr. adds, “It’s stupid but it shows that while I do want my son to be proactive and make decisions without having to check with me, occasionally small things do run counter to that.” Today, Johnny Sr. credits his son for the business’ increased online presence via Jr.’s helm with social media marketing and for instilling a more organized system of parts inventory. “I’m molding him to be much more than just Johnny’s Auto Clinic… I want him to know what has put food on the table all his life, but at the same time to develop [the work ethics for] whatever venture he wants on his own,” says Sr., hoping one day his 10-year-old son Santino, who collects and sells scrap metals from the garage on Saturdays, will learn from the ground up from big brother, Johnny Jr. -- Johnny’s Auto Clinic – 717 W. Capitol Drive, (310) 521-0330, www.JohnnysAutoClinic.com (photos: John Mattera/Trani Family)

28 I SAN PEDRO TODAY I JUNE 2015

In a time where “mom and pops” are constantly being put out of business by big corporations, it’s good to know that the San Pedro small business scene is still strong, and much of that has to do with our many multigenerational families. As proven through the stories of the following father and son business owners in honor of Father’s Day, the passing of the torch to the next generation, which includes values, experience and business acumen, is one of the many things that makes San Pedro so special. It’s rare in Southern California to see a town with multiple businesses 40, 50, even 90 years old and still going strong. Thankfully, San Pedro can claim a number of them. Here are a few of their stories…


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Andy, Ciro and Ricky Coppa

CIRO, ANDY AND RICKY COPPA COPPA WOODWORKING Google “wood screen doors” and Coppa Woodworking comes up as one of the top three manufacturers. In the industrial part of San Pedro with 14,000 sq. feet of warehouse space, Ciro Coppa and sons Andy and Ricky’s business have been in operation since 1980. While helping general contractors build and remodel homes in the 70s, the elder Coppa discovered his talent for making custom screen doors to put the finishing touch on the new properties. For the past 35 years, his family business has been furnishing beautiful doors to Building Emporium, Lowes, as well as countless individual residential customers. An east coast clientele has also been trusting Coppa Woodworking for custom storm doors to bear against inclement weather. Although eldest son Andy has been working alongside his father for almost the entire duration of the business being in operation, it is clear that dad still calls the shots as both Andy and Ricky chuckled out loud when asked how they work with the patriarch to get him to see their ways of doing things. “We each have our own responsibilities in the shop, we pretty much just stay out of each other’s way,” says Ricky, who’s been with the business for 22 years and is in charge of the machinery equipment. To this extent, Ciro agrees, “If we are too close, like any other family, we’d step on each other and interfere. So we each have our own lives, our own positions and responsibilities. But we trust each other in getting the job done.” Ciro as the figurehead runs the shop at large, orders the lumber, and gets the staff whatever they need, and the whole family and staff know that it’s an open door policy 24-7. It being a family business, Andy, who installs the doors, noted that everyone working in the back office is a family member and has a “vested interest” in seeing the business flourish. It was after much resistance that their sister Stephanie, in charge of the catalog and other office administrative tasks, was able to get their father to see that there was a demand for different types of hardware and newer designs for the doors and that the shop should carry them. Mom Carol Anne is also in the office handling accounting duties and keeping the boys in line. Work ethics, superior workmanship knowledge, and customer service are what Ciro is passing on to his children as they take over more operations at the shop. “Some customers have asked for some wild stuff, but we are as accommodating as we can be,” says Ciro, and such is the mentality that Andy, Ricky and Stephanie have learned to carry on. “We aren’t going to make the production doors that are sold in Home Depot for $75-$100. We do the hard stuff, the custom stuff, that withstands the test of time.” -- Coppa Woodworking, 1231 Paraiso Street, (310) 548-4142, www.CoppaWoodworking.com

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PETE FER SR. AND JR. PETE FER & SON PLUMBING Not many businesses can say they have been around for 50+ years, but Pete Fer & Son Plumbing can. After finishing his service in the Marine Corps, Pete Sr. worked around the trades, first doing trash disposal/hauling work for construction sites, followed by an apprenticeship in plumbing, which then promptly landed him a stable job with George Brazil Plumbing/ Heating/AC Services. It wasn’t long before he knew he wanted to run his own business, which includes 60% commercial/industrial work. “Being a business owner has its challenges. Not only Pete Fer Sr. and Pete Jr. do we have to deal with many government regulations and permit requirements, but we also need to really educate some of the customers who don’t understand the mechanics involved in their project,” says Pete Sr. If the senior principal is gruff and direct in his style, Pete Jr. balances him out nicely with his more patient and laid-back demeanor. Having been around the shop on the weekends since he was 10-years-old, and working in the summers since age 15, Pete Jr. joined the family business full time in 1985. Working with his hands and learning the trade was like second nature to him, and he has become a solid glue and sounding board between his father and the staff of eight. “Dad can be a little rough around the edges, and I’m real laid-back. Since each of our guys has a different personality, they find it easier to talk to me about work issues,” says Pete Jr. The respect is mutual between father and son. “We start the day together and we end the day together,” says Pete Sr. “And there’s no one I could count on more than Jr. He takes the good with the bad and never complains.” On days off, sometimes the duo visit the Santa Anita Race Park and see Sr.’s thoroughbred horses race. Understanding and working with his father’s stubborn personality, Pete Jr. has had a few successes in helping him see the benefit of more modernized equipment that saves time. “[Dad is] in the old school of cutting and threading. But I was able to help him see the benefit of fused weld gas-piping, which lasts forever. So the transition from that to getting the right equipment took some growing pains [for him], but he did come around.” Some weeks are hectic while others don’t have enough work to keep all the plumbers busy, but the two Petes’ familial ties, love of working together and for the business will continue to see them through good and challenging times. -- Pete Fer & Son Plumbing – 2020 Mesa Street, (310) 831-0737, www.PeteFerandSonPlumbing.com


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32 I SAN PEDRO TODAY I JUNE 2015

Lou (III), Lou Jr. and Josh Roupoli

LOU JR., LOU (III) AND JOSH ROUPOLI LOU’S FLOOR COVERING Thirty-five years ago, Lou Roupoli Jr., 60, couldn’t have foreseen that today his business, which he runs with sons Josh and Lou (III), would have grown the way it has, not only specializing in providing beautiful carpets, hardwood and tiled floors for homes, but that remodeling as a general contracting license would take up half of its expanding business. Hard to believe that this all resulted from feeling bored from his 10-days a month job as a firefighter in 1975, which prompted Roupoli to join a friend in earning extra cash installing floors, and then earning his flooring and general contracting license doing bath and kitchen remodels. Josh, 30, emphasizes how seamlessly the family works together, “My dad, my brother and I do a lot of different things together; we are best friends at home and at work. So having that camaraderie and flexibility in working with family has been really great.” The younger Lou, 26, noted that it’s seeing something from inception to installation that makes him interested in coming to work everyday. “Every project is different and creative in its own way,” he says. And because of that, Roupoli and sons take great care in educating customers on the products and getting to know their needs. “We often become friends with our customers who know that they could trust us to do a great job and deliver quality products, and it’s common that we get repeat customers,” says the elder Roupoli, who notes that recently Josh gave an estimate to a customer whose floor was done by Roupoli 30 years prior. The younger Roupolis agree that while the flexibility in working with their father gives them a lot of leeway on certain things, he can also be very hard on them, “getting on their case” faster than he would anyone else, but that passionate discussions subside as quickly as they arise. Today, they pride themselves on Lou (III) having full control of technology at the shop with digitized paperwork, mobile payment via iPads, and social media to promote the business; and Josh continuing the core value of delivering excellent personalized customer service, which he’s been taking from dad’s cue for the past 13 years. “We realize how important family is… not just my sons (and daughters), we see our staff and customers as family too and we strive to have great relationships with them,” says Roupoli. “It seems only yesterday that the boys were just little toddlers running around the shop. But now they are running the business, which brings me great pride.” -- Lou’s Floor Covering, 1427 W. 8th Street (Weymouth Corners), (310) 548-5557, www.lousfloor.com

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JOE AND JOEY UTOVAC UTRO’S CAFÉ Quietude was awash at Utro’s Café at 3 p.m. on a Thursday afternoon, but according to Joey Utovac, the lunch hour was pretty quiet at this isolated eatery at the southern-most end of Ports O’ Call. “Our location is pretty tucked away… one of the challenges is to let everyone know that this is where we are,” says Joey, 34, son of Joe Utovac, 69, who’s been the principal owner since 1976. It’s quite the departure from the Crest Café that the senior Utovac took over from the “little Irish lady” Leah Blackeman in 1976. That café was a gastropub – emphasis on the pub part – that was similar to Cheers. Many blue-collared Joey and Joe Utovac longshoremen (Sr. worked as an operator of the Evergreen terminal crane) and mechanics, as well as businessmen, gathered at the Crest Café to shoot the breeze, throw back a few and get into rowdy good spirits into the late-night hours. Both father and son echoed that everyone knew what the original café was like: a gathering place where people had fun drinking and catching up. “When people talk [about the old place], they say, ‘Oh yeah, I remember Utro’s – I went there all the time,’ ” says Joey. Locals hold fond memories of the original bar that was located at 22nd and Mesa. The only reminders inside the café of the boisterous Cheers-like days are many framed caricaturized illustrations of the Utovac family and many of its local patrons at the old location, and the many tools of the longshoresmen trade. While Joe does not take his son’s dependability and trustworthiness for granted (he’s “never disagreed with anything [Joey’s] done”), there is no question that Joe and his wife Cheryl remain staunch about maintaining the calm status quo for the café, which rarely sees its 50-capacity establishment full during its daytime-only hours, unless it’s rented out for a private event. Part of it is they want to maintain only what they can handle, it’s not a rowdy bar crowd getting off work at 6 p.m. like it used to be in the 1970s and ‘80s. Joey respects his parents’ adverse nature to risk and does his best to oblige their wishes, but that’s not to say he doesn’t have ideas of his own. “There are so many ideas and things I would do differently [to the current café] to drum up more business,” says the younger Utovac. He’s frank about not completely having his own voice about the operations of the eatery, even as his parents get on in years, but maybe some youthful energy is what Utro’s Café needs to bring it back to its glory days. -- Utro’s Café, Berth 73 (at the Ghost Fish metallic art installation), (310) 547-5022


JUNE 2015 I SAN PEDRO TODAY I 33


Artist Julie Bender's tile mosaic outside Rainbow Services in San Pedro. Inset: Students at Dana Middle School help put tile pieces together for the school's tile mural. (Note: Bender politely declined to be photographed for the article in order to feature her work.) (photos: Joshua Stecker)

Putting the Pieces Together Artist Julie Bender continues to beautify San Pedro, one mosaic tile at a time.

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by Roseanney Liu Firefighter turned mosaic tile artist. Not a typical career transition by any means, but local artist Julie Bender, 57, has done it, as the beautiful output of her passion in tiling can be seen in several public spots in San Pedro. As a 26-year-old with a fine arts degree from Long Beach State, Bender did not know quite what to do. After substitute-teaching and coaching a swim team, she followed in the footsteps of several family members and became a first responder in firefighting, but she knew it wasn’t her calling. Coupling that with raising her first child who was going through a highly colic stage and having to take so much time off work, Bender knew something had to give. “I’ve always painted… mainly with water colors, but I never tried to sell it to anyone,” recalls Bender, “but someone knew that I could paint and they mentioned my name for a mural project at Portuguese Bend Nursery,” which was her first commissioned public piece. However, the search for her passion did not end there. “When I was figuring out what art medium I wanted to settle into, I was drawn to something people don’t do as much anymore… media that take a lot of patience, that’s considered tedious. And I just fell in love with tiling,” explains Bender. “People see the process of tiling as therapy as they need to slow themselves down and people really like it.” Bender’s first large-scaled mosaic tiling project came when two of her children were in third and fourth grades at White Point Elementary School, which was getting ready to open a new library that needed a mural as the focal art. “I knew I didn’t want to paint another mural – something that would fade over the years. Another parent – Chris Fisch – suggested that we do that tiling art project and it just took off from there.” She recalls the afternoon when she drew a large whale on the wall on which eventually all the tiles would be adhered. The whale led to turtles, fish, seaweeds and numerous other types of marine

life, as well as more than 100 volunteers’ hands on deck in helping with the tile adherence. “Everyone’s all calm and putting on the pieces together while chatting… I just loved the vibe and the community involvement,” says Bender about the project at White Point that involved students, parents and staff all volunteering to make their library’s focal art a beautiful piece of work. “Although it’s lot more work for me – doing the color coding, cutting all the pieces, etc. – I like it when everyone takes ownership of a project.” This sense of art through community was repeated successfully multiple times around San Pedro. Drive by the Eighth Street office location of Rainbow Services, which aids victims of domestic abuse in transitional shelter, one can see the gorgeous mermaidthemed tiling art on the exterior brick wall. “We knew Julie has had an excellent reputation as a mosaic tile artist before we commissioned her to do the piece on our building and it’s just turned out so beautifully,” says Eileen Mosler, Director of Development at Rainbow Services. “It’s really brightened the whole neighborhood and we’ve received so much positive feedback from the neighbors and passers-by. It’s not unusual for drivers on Eighth Street to slow down as they drive by our building upon seeing Julie’s tile work. Some even back up their cars to take a better, closer look.” Stop by Peck Park’s pool and you will see panels of various sizes of colorful marine life dressing up the pool deck. Completed in July 2012, the project took much community involvement, especially that of many Girl Scout troops under Bender’s vision and leadership. A member of Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council and a Girl Scout troop leader at the time, Laurie Jacobs recounts the confidence and inclusivity of Bender towards the young girls. “I asked her if she was sure that little 6- and 7-year-old Girl Scouts could handle the tiling work that she had planned and make it come out beautifully, and she said, ‘Absolutely’,” remembers Jacobs. As a result, the community has been enjoying the bursts of color in the tiled depictions of a mermaid, sea lion, dolphin, sea shells and many other marine life. Always searching for different themes she hasn’t yet tackled, Bender continues to work with Sirens Java & Tea owner Yolanda Regalado, whose café dedicated to law enforcement and first responders is in the original News-Pilot building on Seventh Street in downtown. When the café opens in June, you can expect to see a whimsical large-scaled coffee mug with Van Gogh’s Starry Night theme that Bender will have tiled. At the end of May, Bender finished the first (of 13) 8’ x 4’ tiled art – consisting of 2,000 tile pieces – with the help of 540 eighth graders at Dana Middle School. The piece, featuring a tall-ship coming out of stormy waters adjacent to the Angels Gate Lighthouse, will be hung in the hallway next to the school office. The dedication ceremony will be June. “This is something the students can really appreciate. Not only have they – and their parents – put in the work in the glazing and tiling in the past three weeks, [everyone] gets to enjoy it for years to come,” says Bender. spt


JUNE 2015 I SAN PEDRO TODAY I 35


Downtown Hobby Store Inherits Massive Model Rocket Collection by Roseanney Liu If you haven’t stopped by JD Hobbies on W. Sixth Street in downtown, there’s no better time than the present. Not only will the floor to ceiling stacks of collectibles and model kits of many iconic themes amaze you, the acquisition of 2,000+ model airplanes and rockets in the upstairs area of this 10,000 sq. ft. store space is nothing short of astounding. From some one-off rocket models that are nearly priceless to countless WWII plane models such as a mahogany-wooded China clipper, aficionados of war planes and space rockets are bound to find some things enticing to a collector’s dream. The personal collection of Robert L. Sackheim, retired chief advisor of the Marshall Center for Propulsion Activities (NASA), was a surprising gift to the collectibles shop owner, Louis Lee, whose friendship with Sackheim spanned 13 years. Sackheim passed away at age 76 in December 2013 due to complications from a respiratory illness. Lee delivered the eulogy at his funeral recounting a true story about Sackheim’s consulting experience with the Japanese space program that attested to his incomparable expertise in rocket propulsion mechanics. “He wasn’t a people person… he might have even come across as grumpy sometimes, but we just struck up this sort-of weird friendship,” reminisced Lee, who recounted that Sackheim would come into the shop about every month and load up his car with new purchases. Lee and his staff would call him NASA Bob.

JD Hobbies owner, Louis Lee, stands with the model rocket collection of Robert Sackheim.

36 I SAN PEDRO TODAY I JUNE 2015

(photo: Joshua Stecker)

“There was one time when he was having a bad day and was being particularly ornery, and I was having a bad day too, and at one point I just said to him, ‘You can just take that attitude outside,’ ” said Lee, “ ‘And if you do, I’ll pour you a glass of wine.’ So he went out, and I came out shortly with a bottle of merlot, poured both of us a glass and he huffed, ‘I need ice.’ To which I replied, ‘Gosh, there’s no pleasing you, is there?’ and at that, we both laughed and, no pun intended, it broke the ice.” Before long, friendly lunches later led to Sackheim showing Lee his own incredible collection of planes and rockets: the life-sized versions and the design, development and the test of propulsion that was his expertise for his entire career that began with TRW Space & Electronics and ended with NASA. The 1,000+ sq. ft. room with a 20-foot ceiling inside Sackheim’s Rolling Hills Estates home housed 3,000 items that took Lee’s breath away. With a hug and a handshake in May 2014, Sackheim’s widow, Babette, knew it was his wish to gift this private collection to Lee, who took three months to wrap, pack and load the fragile collectibles that took 26 truck loads full to be taken to his shop. “We’ve sold about 30 percent of the planes and two-thirds of the rockets so far,” Lee said. But you wouldn’t know it looking at the expansive collection that still remains on the second floor of his shop. White rockets and space shuttles of various model sizes on tables, as well as miniatures of jets and bombers based on German, Japanese, British and American originals hang from the ceiling. With both a huge potpourri of collectible items, JD Hobbies also specializes in restoration and repair of models. Although only restricted to Southern California since shipping fragile models for a repair job is risky, restoration via fabrication and airbrushing account for as much as 15% of Lee’s business. spt JD Hobbies is located at 471 W. 6th Street (across from the Warner Grand Theatre), (310) 514-3702.


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San Pedro Prep Signing Day 2015 San Pedro, POLA & Mary Star all host a ceremony for five of the best senior student-athletes story & photos by Jamaal K. Street

38 I SAN PEDRO TODAY I JUNE 2015

November 12, 2014, started a truly remarkable chain of events in the world of San Pedro prep sports. In the 2014-15 school year alone, six hard working, well-deserving student athletes were able to sign national letters of intent to further their education and play collegiate sports, five of which hosted their signing day ceremonies on their respective campuses. The winningest sport in town was softball, when Mary Star High senior pitcher Marina Vitalich, Port of Los Angeles High senior pitcher Nicolle Miranda and San Pedro High senior infielder Johnie Cortez made their selections known. Miranda, a three-time CIF-Los Angeles City Section Pitcher of the Year, is bound for Eastern Michigan University. So far with the Polar Bears, Miranda has won two City Section Division III championships in 2012 and 2013, and guided the Polar Bears to the Division I semifinals in 2014. I'm excited for next year and for what EMU has to offer to me," says Miranda, who piled up a 73-21 record with 794 strikeouts, and hit 23 career home runs. "I can't wait to play with four amazing coaches and the girls that are soon to become my family." Miranda, who helped POLA capture four straight undefeated league titles (three Crosstown, and the Coliseum League this season), is the first student-athlete in the history of the San Pedro-based charter school to host a signing day ceremony. Over at Mary Star, Vitalich, who signed with George Mason University, became only the second student-athlete at the school to sign a letter of intent to play collegiate sports, but the first to have a signing day ceremony on campus. In her three-plus years at Mary Star, Vitalich has been named All CIF-Southern Section three times and has posted a record of 75-24 with a school record 1,114 strikeouts, which is good for 10th all time in the CIF-Southern Section. Vitalich recently led the Stars to a third Camino Real League title in four years. "I was just really excited that after twelve years of playing I could finally sign," says Vitalich, who is also a two-time Camino Real League Most Valuable Player who led the Stars to the CIF-SS Division VI finals in 2013. "I have always dreamed of playing softball on the collegiate level and now my dream is finally coming true." Cortez has the most unique opportunity of them all, as she will play for Marymount California University, a private college in Rancho Palos Verdes that will be starting a new softball program in 2016. Cortez, who made All-Marine League first team in 2014, will

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Clockwise from top left: Marina Vitalich, Nicolle Miranda, Danielle Nunez, Dominic O'Brien, Johnie Cortez

also play under San Pedro's greatest softball product in MCU coach Ashley Esparza, a former four-time CIF-LACS champion with the Pirates from 2001-2004. "I really like coach Ashley, so that was a big factor," says Cortez, a slick infielder who has been involved in a school-record 11 double plays, and has hit five career home runs. "The location and the academics was also a plus. MCU is great for people who are looking for great academia and a great opportunity to meet new people." San Pedro football senior offensive lineman Dominic O'Brien was one of many on Wednesday, February 4, who got to host an official national signing day for all high school football seniors. O'Brien, a three-time All-Marine League and two-time All-CIF LACS selection, would sign on to play football at Southern Utah University, an NCAA Division I-AA (Football Championship Subdivision) team that competes in the Big Sky Conference. "Playing Division I football and getting a great education has always been my goal ever since I was little," says O'Brien, who helped San Pedro football pile up a 27-10 record in his three years. "Southern Utah offered all of that." In the 2014 season at San Pedro, O'Brien had 32 pancake blocks, leading an experienced offensive line that helped the Pirates finish 11-2 overall, reach the CIF-LACS D-I semifinals, and set a school record for rushing yards in a season with 3,299 with a total of 205 first downs, 4,779 total yards of offense (second all-time in school history) and 61 touchdowns. San Pedro High girls cross-country and track distance runner Danielle Nunez is one of the most decorated student-athletes in the history of the school, and she signed her national letter of intent to run at Loyola Marymount University on Wednesday, April 12, 2015. Nunez will join a Lions cross-country team where she will reunite with two fellow San Pedro High alumni, Evelyn Gonzalez and Lorena Garcia. "I really wanted to find a school that would be conducive for both academics and athletics, and luckily for me, I found an awesome match," says Nunez, who has won two CIF-LACS cross-country team championships (2011 and 2012), and an individual City title in track in 2012. Finally, in a small family gathering along with his fellow San Pedro baseball brethren, senior infielder Louie Canjura signed his letter of intent to play at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn. spt


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42 I SAN PEDRO TODAY I JUNE 2015

ON THE TOWN

Di Leva Family Reunion – On April 12, 2015, the Di Leva family, a surname synonymous with San Pedro, held a historic family reunion at the newlyrefurbished Dalmatian-American Club. The event was attended by more than 200 family members spanning multiple generations. San Pedro Today congratulates the Di Leva family for such a momentous occasion. Here’s to many more generations to come. (photos: courtesy Di Leva family/John Mattera Photography)


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Can I Afford Organic? by Lori Garrett

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891 W. 9th Street (corner of 9th & Meyler) San Pedro 90731

HEALTH & WELLNESS

www.cooverpharmacy.com Tel. (310) 833-2400 Fax (310) 832-2531

There is a growing interest in buying organic. Savvy consumers are concerned about avoiding synthetic pesticides, GMOs, hormones, and antibiotics in our food. Unfortunately, consumers are also concerned about the higher price tags that come along with organic purchases. It seems that the most common consumer objection to buying organic is, “I simply can’t afford it.” As someone who became ill and was forced to leave the workforce, I had no choice but to change my food habits and find a way to afford it. The first thing I learned is that food should represent an investment in our health, not just a means to filling our bellies and satisfying our cravings, because take it from me: if you don't have your health, you don’t have anything. So I believe that there are ways to incorporate organic eating into your lifestyle and not go broke. Here are a few: Shift our priorities: According to CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, in 1930, Americans spent an average of 25% of their income on food. Today, it’s less than 10%. While there may be many reasons for this trend, two interpretations seem undeniable: 1.) Food has become a cheap(er) commodity, and 2.) We are less willing to budget as much for food. We are eager to pay top dollar for the latest “gadget du jour,” but we complain about the price of healthier foods. (Um, perhaps our priorities are a bit skewed?) Shifting our mindset and our priorities is the first step towards making healthier food choices. Redirect: Even though processed and fast foods may seem cheaper, they actually add up to more than we realize, especially when considering that they’re made with ingredients that lead to overeating and food addiction. (You know that potato chip tagline, “You can’t eat just one!”? Well, there’s a physiological reason why that’s true.) Personally, when I shifted away from eating junk foods and redirected that money into purchasing organic, whole foods, my grocery bill didn’t change much. It just meant that my money was redirected to better quality nourishment rather than indulgent junk food. Dine in more often: For the first time in history, Americans are spending more on dining out than they do on home groceries. I get it: life is busy and dining (or ordering) out is convenient. But we are paying a high price for that convenience. Making the choice to dine out a little less made a huge difference in my wallet. (And I’ll guess that making a cup of organic coffee at home is far more affordable than that $4 coffee house version.) Be selective: If completely switching over to all organic produce seems unrealistic or overwhelming, focus on the “Dirty Dozen” list. The Environmental Working Group (http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/) releases an annual list of produce items that are the most heavily exposed to synthetic pesticides (they also publish the annual “Clean Fifteen,” the list of produce that is safest to buy conventional). So you might splurge on organic apples, but save on conventional asparagus. Seems like a fair compromise, doesn’t it? Avoid GMOs: The most common genetically engineered foods include corn, soy, canola and sugar… I personally avoid these altogether for inflammatory reasons, but if you’re going to purchase any of these, look for either “organic” or “nonGMO” certified labels. And don’t forget that many animals are raised on GE feed (along with hormones and antibiotics), so consider buying organic meats, poultry, dairy, and eggs. Even if you can only afford to do it occasionally, every little bit counts. Be aware: Focus on buying organic within those crops that are the most heavily sprayed with synthetic pesticides, such as coffee, tea, and cocoa/chocolate. Be creative: Some other ways to make organic more affordable: purchase vegetable and fruits that are in season; buy in bulk and freeze, when possible; check out our local farmers markets; or if you are able to, plant your own vegetable garden. Ultimately, we all want to make wise investments, but in my opinion, there is no greater investment than that of our health.. spt You can follow Lori Garrett on her healthy lifestyle blog: www.adventuresofasickchick.com.


HEALTH & FITNESS

A Challenge for the Man of the House by Ricky Magana “He saw me doing pushups and now every time I workout he does them with me” This was part of a conversation I had recently with a guy I train. He’s a dad and when the new year rolled around, he decided that 2015 was his year to take back his health. It was hard to believe this was the same guy I met a month and a half prior who was doubtful he could ever get in fighting shape again. Feeling weak and sluggish, he wondered if he had let himself slip too far. Now he’s cranking AC/DC as he throws on the weights, having rekindled this competitive fire he had lost long ago. It was a very visible transformation, not only in how he looked but how he carried himself. It was like someone turned up the dimmer switch to full intensity. He was brighter, more energetic. His presence exuded his newfound confidence from feeling blood pulsate through the veins of all his dormant muscles. So he’s telling me that he was doing pushups at home and said that his son is now copying him, trying to do pushups with him. His son said, in typical childlike cheekiness, “I can do more than you, Dad!” This is when “Ol’ Papa” had to put his son in his place. Dad showed him how to properly do a pushup and then promptly breezed past his son in their impromptu pushup contest. The life of a father these days is no easy task. Men have less time for their health, and given that history shows we have a shorter life expectancy than the women in our lives, they need to make the time to stay fit. I meet lots of fathers who want to get in shape but they simply don’t know where to start. To them I say, start with the basics. There are certain things every man should be able to do, and if you can’t, then maybe something needs to be done before it gets worse. If you’re a guy who wants to know whether he needs to get himself active again, here are five things every guy should be able to do:

For a video demonstration of these movements and some sample workouts to help you get better at them, email ricky@heydaytraining.com.

JUNE 2015 I SAN PEDRO TODAY I 45

20 Unbroken Pushups – Most people do these wrong. Arms locked out. Rigid body. Elbows tight to the ribcage. Chest to deck. You should be able to do at least 20 of these (without sagging hips) to demonstrate a foundational level of upper body pushing strength, which involve the pectoral major, triceps and postural stability. 10 Lunges on each leg – We train men to squat well beyond their bodyweight (known as relative strength), but one of the first steps towards building a powerful lower body is performing a proper lunge 10 times without resembling Bambi as she walks for the very first time. 5 Dead-hang Pull-ups – This movement used to give me nightmares in high school P.E., and for good reason. There are few exercises that compare to the pull-up in terms of building a muscular V-taper upper body. It works some of the largest muscle groups in your body, and while simple, is very difficult. 90-second side plank – One of the most deceivingly difficult exercises around and one of the quickest indicators of core stability (or lack thereof). The obliques, erector spinae, and abdominals all have to work really hard on this one. Run a mile in under 9 minutes – This is a very bare-bones endurance test and shows you that, at the very least, you can run a good distance without stopping. An essential life skill. So there you have it, dads, a quick and dirty test to see how fit you are and where your weaknesses are hiding. From there it’s just a matter of practicing these movements each week to get better. This month, as we celebrate Father’s Day, I hope that the man in your life feels as good as the father in this article now does. And if not, maybe this little test can spur some positive changes in your life. spt


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DID YOU KNOW...? In over a half century since we started, here’s a short list of the accomplishments we are proud to share with our hometown: •

We are the largest fish market/restaurant in Southern California and of one of the largest in the entire country with seating for nearly 3,000 and more than ONE MILLION served in the last 12 months.

We draw seafood lovers from all over the country, from every walk of life and every demographic. We have fans in at least 38 states!

We co-host the World’s Largest Lobster Festival drawing tens of thousands of visitors to San Pedro every year since 1999 AND we’ve been awarded four Guinness World Records for our work on the Lobster Festival.

We employ over 100 local residents with starting pay well above minimum wage while also offering healthcare, 401k and paid vacations.

For hundreds of local kids, San Pedro Fish Market was their first job. Many have come back to thank us for the invaluable lessons of hard work and responsibility that carried them into successful careers as doctors, teachers, nurses, attorneys, accountants, longshoremen, police officers, POLA workers and even as an L.A. City Councilman.

We support many local organizations in San Pedro, including the YWCA, Boys and Girls Club, Mary Star, Holy Trinity, San Pedro High School, POLA High School and dozens of other non-profits.

We are moving to make San Pedro nationally synonymous with fine seafood by launching our World Famous Shrimp Trays into retail stores. San Pedro Fish can be found in more than 800 grocery stores across six states and we’re growing! These include Safeway, Food4Less, Sam’s Club as well as others.

1190 Nagoya Way, San Pedro, CA 90731 | (310) 832-4251 | www.SanPedroFish.com


48 I SAN PEDRO TODAY I JUNE 2015

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6/30/15

Lowest Fees & Highest Quality

Because Dr. Palani and his staff have perfected the protocols, has a full-service Dental Lab & Milling Center, and performs the entire procedure himself, he can offer a higher quality product at the best price.

Profile for San Pedro Today

San Pedro Today - June 2015  

Brouwerij West | San Pedro's Father & Son Businesses | Artist Julie Bender | 'Les Misérables' Storms the Warner Grand | Di Leva Family Reuni...

San Pedro Today - June 2015  

Brouwerij West | San Pedro's Father & Son Businesses | Artist Julie Bender | 'Les Misérables' Storms the Warner Grand | Di Leva Family Reuni...