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JUNE APRIL 2016 2017




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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR If a quality farmers market is a good barometer of a successful city, then Torrance is doing just fine. When I lived in New York City, one of my normal stops every week was at the Union Square Farmers Market, one of the most notable farmers markets in the country. I was in my 20s and it was my first famers market experience. My suburban naiveté was quickly squashed after realizing one could purchase fresh milk, eggs, vegetables, breads, even pastas and desserts, outside of a regular grocery store. For a guy in his early 20s, this was one of those “adult moments” that quickly expanded my horizons when it came to city culture and everyday living. Before this moment, I thought it was illegal to sell dairy outside of a grocery store. What can I say? I was a sheltered kid. Now, as a middle-aged adult who’s traveled quite a bit, I use what I call “the farmers market barometer” when it comes to judging the quality of a city. Quality cities tend to have quality farmers markets, while cities that can use some help tend to have small farmers markets or have no market at all. This is my own personal barometer and is based solely on my travel experiences, but it seems to hold some

weight in truth. The last half of February into early March, I was traveling across Europe, making stops in Amsterdam, Freiburg (Germany), and Paris. This was my first trip to Amsterdam and on my second to last day there, I stumbled upon a typical European farmers/flea market that Europe is famous for. Amsterdam is known for its cheese, and this particular market had more barrels of cheese than I’ve ever seen before in my entire life. For a visitor like me, it was impressive, but it was also a view into the amazing culture of the city. By learning about the types of food that are important to its people, you gain a better understanding of its culture. Your world view gets a bit broader, which is always a good thing. It should come as no surprise then that our excellent Torrance Certified Farmers Market is a great barometer and representative of the city. I’m happy we get to feature it this month, along with the amazing gym, Vault PK. Both serve Torrance well. If you haven’t been to the local farmers market, I highly suggest you visit. You may learn something about your city you might have never known before, and, again, that’s always a good thing. tt

Joshua Stecker is publisher/editorin-chief of Torrance Today. Letters to the Editor can be emailed to



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APRIL 2017









FEATURES COMMUNITY WITHIN A COMMUNITY: 7 Torrance Certified Farmers Market, where fresh produce and friendly smiles, never go out of season COVER STORY: INSPIRING FREEDOM THROUGH MOVEMENT 10 Vault PK encourages young athletes to spring into action WELLNESS: THE CHALLENGE DIET BLUES


ON THE COVER: Jessica Funke Ho, owner of Vault PK (photo: John Mattera) EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Joshua J. Stecker ASSOCIATE EDITOR/ SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER Caitlyn Trudnich ART DIRECTOR/PRODUCTION Joseph A. Castañeda

VOLUME 1 | NUMBER 11 ADVERTISING: General Inquiries: Shana Ghekiere - Torrance & San Pedro (310) 753-5176 |

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AT-LARGE CONTRIBUTORS Ricky Magana, Adam Serrao


PHOTOGRAPHER John Mattera Photography

Torrance 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. 30,000 copies are delivered throughout the City of Torrance. Torrance 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 Torrance Today. Copyright 2017, Empire22 Media LLC.

CONTACT INFO: PHONE: (424) 224-9063 EMAIL: Torrance Today c/o Empire22 Media P.O. Box 1168, San Pedro, CA 90733

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APRIL CITY OF TORRANCE YOUTH VOLLEYBALL REGISTRATION is now open for young residents and nonresidents, fourth through eighth grades and a Volleyball clinic for boys and girls in grades second through fourth. Games are tentatively set to begin April 22, 2017. This is an eight-week league, and all games and the Clinic will be played in the Dee Hardison Sports Center, Wilson Park (2400 Jefferson Street). $69 per participant. Volunteer coaches also needed! For more information, call the Youth Sports office at (310) 781-7515.

10 – 14 (Mon – Fri) – SPRING BREAK CAMP at Fusion Dance Studios (22236 Palos Verdes Blvd.), 9a – 3p. Dance and play all day! This day for kids, ages 4 through 10, includes crafts, jazz, ballet, hip hop and musical theater activities, and healthy snacks served daily. For more information, call (310) 540-6401.


10 – 14 (Mon – Fri) – SPRING BREAK CAMP at Greenwood Park (1520 Greenwood Ave.), 8:30a – 4:30p. The City of Torrance Community Services Department invites kids and teens to participate in indoor crafts, outdoor games, walking field trips and 1 (Sat) – TIFFANY at Saint Rocke (142 excursions. For kids ages 6-11, there Pacific Coast Hwy.), 8p. Get ready for will be Spring Fun Camp. Fees are $130 some ‘80s nostalgia with a performance for residents, $145 for non-residents. by pop princess and “I Think We’re For teens ages 12-14, there will be Alone Now” singer, Tiffany. Tickets Spring Teen Camp. Fees are $140 for start at $25. For more information, visit residents and $155 for non-residents. For more information, please call (310) 618-2930. 5 (Wed) – BEATRICE RANA at El Camino College, Marsee Auditorium 15 (Sat) – BREAKFAST AND A VISIT (16007 Crenshaw Blvd.), 8 – 11p. BY THE EASTER BUNNY at the 22-year-old Italian piano virtuoso Torrance Cultural Arts Center, Toyota Beatrice Rana has notably rose to fame Meeting Hall (3330 Civic Center Dr.), in the international classical music 9a – Noon. The City of Torrance scene, receiving worldwide acclaim. Community Services Department is its The evening’s program will include her annual Easter event, which includes performance of J.S. Bach’s Goldberg a pancake breakfast, balloon show, Variations. Tickets are $26. For more cookie decorating, crafts and a photo information, call (310) 329-5345 or opportunity with the Easter Bunny. email Tickets are $20. For more information, call (310) 618-2930. 8 (Sat) – LOUIE CRUZ BELTRAN at The George Nakano Theatre (3330 15 (Sat) – EGG HUNT AND TRAIN Civic Center Dr.), 7:30 – 9:40p. RIDE at Southern California Live Combining Afro Cuban rhythms Steamers (2290 Washington Ave.), with Jazz, Latin Jazz, Pop and 10a – Noon. All aboard! Take a ride R&B influences, Beltran provides on the Eggspress! The miniature and evening of live music and train will welcome passengers for a entertainment with his talented vocals morning of Easter celebration. Tickets and accompaniment. Dinner and show are $5. For more information, visit tickets available. For more information, visit

21 (Fri) – RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN’S OKLAHOMA! at Mira Costa High School Auditorium (1401 Artesia Blvd.), 7:30p. Mira Costa High School Drama/Tech Department presents their spring production, featuring the beloved musical classic, Oklahoma! Program runs until April 29th. For show times and more information, visit www. 27 - 30 (Thurs - Sun) – WINGS OF FREEDOM at the Torrance Municipal Airport (3301 Airport Dr.), 9a – 5p. The Collings Foundation presents this exciting opportunity to discover reallife pierces of history, including B-25, B-24, B-17, and TF-51D aircrafts. The planes will be on display daily, and flight opportunities are also available for purchase. For more information and tickets, visit www.collingsfoundation. org. 28 (Fri) – “RAVE ON” TRIBUTE TO BUDDY HOLLY at the James R. Armstrong Theatre (3330 Civic Center Dr.), 8p. Experience this unique tribute to rock ‘n’ roll legend, Buddy Holly, with performer Billy McGuigan singing all of Holly’s greatest hits. Tickets start at $20. For more information, visit 28 – 30 (Fri – Sun) – BELLAMOXI DANCE COMPETITION at Torrance Marriott Redondo Beach (3635 Fashion Wy.), 5p. Wanna dance? Take classes with professionals in the industry, become a versatile dancer, compete against the best, and showcase your choreography at the most innovative convention around. Registration deadline is April 14th. For tickets and information, visit 29 (Sun) – 3RD ANNUAL DR. AMY

RADOVCIC MEMORIAL RAD RUN/WALK 5K at Narbonne High School (24300 S. Western Ave.), 8a. Get in some steps for a good cause! This annual run/walk around the Narbonne High School Campus honors the memory of Dr. Amy Radovcic, beloved Narbonne counselor, who passed away in 2014. All proceeds from race registrations will benefit Dr. Rad’s Scholarship Fund. Registration is $45 for adults, $10 for children/ students. Donations are also accepted. To register, visit CA/HarborCity/RadRun5K. For more information, email mrsrado@hotmail. com. 29 (Sat) – PACIFIC COAST INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL at the James R. Armstrong Theatre (3330 Civic Center Dr.), 8p. The Torrance Cultural Arts Foundation presents this third annual celebration of local filmmakers and their cinematic works. Join the audience in selecting the “Best of the Fest.” Tickets are $20. For more information, visit festhome. com. 29 (Sat) - TEATIME TOGETHER at the Toyota Auto Museum (196 Van Ness Ave.), 1:30-4p. Torrance AAUW's annual fundraiser for education projects present an afternoon of high tea with guest speaker Elise Benavidez, owner of Elise's Tea Room. The event will include teas, great food, raffles, and fun. Tickets are $25. For tickets and information, call (310) 530-1337 or email Email event info to events@ Deadline for the May issue is Friday, April 14. All locations in Torrance unless otherwise noted.


The Torrance Certified Farmers Market stands apart from other local markets. While the size is large in scale, visitors still can easily receive a personal experience with the vendors and farmers. “This is one of the few markets where the actual farmer comes to sell,” TCFM Manager Joyce Chan says. “Here, you can talk to the farmer, find out what he’s growing, how his plants are doing this season, and more.” This rare one-on-one experience is the product of Chan’s organization of the market and finding vendors that fit perfectly into the market’s aesthetic. “I try to promote local, small, start-up businesses in the area. Here, you can talk to the owner of the business, and really ask questions that are important to you, such as ingredients.” Many of the vendors included within the TCFM are long-time sellers,

making their appearance weekly for a number of years. Thys Ranch was one of the original farms to take part in the market, as well as one of the first to sell organic produce. Family-run and hailing from Fallbrook, Thys Ranch chose the TCFM as the only farmers market they sell from, and their produce is equally as special. Chan exclaims, “Their citrus and avocados are out of this world!” The importance of farm to table is revered at the TCFM, as Chan explains, “Small farms do not get the big subsidies that large, mono-crop farmers get. They also are too small to sell to big chain, grocery stores. Therefore, small farmers really need a place like the TCFM, where they can sell directly to the customer.” Not only does this market create a healthy community for local farmers, but also for the Torrance consumers as

well. Being able to find hand-picked, fresh, and locally grown ingredients to bring home encourages the many benefits to a balanced diet and lifestyle. Chan expresses the positive contributions the market has provided locally, saying, “The TCFM has greatly improved the health and community spirit of its residents. The produce found at the TCFM is more nutritious than what you can purchase at a big chain grocery store. You are buying freshly picked, as opposed to produce that may have been stored in a warehouse for up to six months.” In addition to fresh produce, TCFM is proud to be home to a variety of food and prepared food vendors. Chan has cultivated a unique and interesting blend of vendors, who offer everything – from sweet treats to culturally inspired dishes, and more. Craigers Fudge shares their passion for making


Whether you’ve seen your favorite blogger on social media loading up their chic, eco-friendly tote with fresh produce, or watched movie scenes like Belle in Beauty and the Beast singing and greeting her friendly village vendors, “Good morning, Monsieur!” There’s this distinct feeling that visiting a farmers market is a special experience, filled with friendly faces and products that you just can’t find anywhere else. It’s a place where farmers and sellers are proud to display their accomplishments – from their fresh crops to their handmade goods – and network with other locals of the surrounding area. Visiting the Torrance Certified Farmers Market ignites all your senses – seeing the vibrant colors, smelling the delicious food, hearing sounds of musicians, and most notably, feeling that tangible quality of community.

people happy through their family’s prized recipe, while the Rice Man serves traditional Japanese fare, using his family’s legacy of rice from Koda Farms. Communication is equally important between neighboring vendors as well, and you instantly notice the kinship each seller has with their neighboring stand. Red’s Cheesecakes is a new and exciting addition to the market. Owner and baker, Amanda Zuanich, describes the special comradery with other vendors, saying, “The fellow vendors have been so welcoming and helpful. Melanie with Munch Bakery has been more than helpful from day one, and still answers my weekly questions. Matt, my neighboring vendor, with Blacklight Coffee Merchants is always there to lend a helping hand, even if that means giving me a cup of his amazing coffee to help me jump start my morning. So many fellow vendors have shared information and really have helped me better understand this new business adventure I am on.” The TCFM is more than just a

farmers’ market, it is a community within a community. Its longevity (the Tuesday market celebrates 32 years, the Saturday market celebrates 25 years) is a testament to not only its popularity, but its long-standing relationship with the Torrance community. “Torrance is a unique and wonderful city, with loyal and passionate residents,” Chan says. “We are fortunate to have wonderful volunteers, who donate their time of 10 to 14 hours per week. I am unaware of other markets fortunate enough to have this type of volunteer base. Because Torrance is such a well-run, community-based city, the TCFM seems to be a direct extension of that, where customers and vendors all feel like family, and watch out for one another.” tt The Torrance Certified Farmers Market is located at Charles H. Wilson Park (2200 Crenshaw Blvd., between Sepulveda Blvd. and Carson Blvd.) Tuesdays, 8a – 1p and Saturdays, 8a – 1p.


Everything from fresh vegetables, flowers, dairy, breads and amazing desserts can be found at the Torrance Certified Farmers Market.

Local Kitchen - The American Tavern (photo: Facebook)

SEEN & HEARD NEWS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED LAST MONTH… Local Kitchen – The American Tavern, is opening soon in the heart of Old Torrance! They are currently hiring positions of all kinds, including bartenders, servers, line cooks, and more. Job applications available daily at their 1321 Sartori Ave. location or at www.

Architect Frank Gehry has created plans for a beautiful, $50 million business workspace building in El Segundo.

The Torrance Antique Faire always has unique and interesting finds – check it out every fourth Sunday of each month! More info: www. The Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce proudly celebrated the official grand opening of South Bay Village, a volunteer-based organization that helps local senior citizens with a range of services that helps make daily life both easier and more accessible.


The 23rd Annual Hermosa Beach St. Patrick’s Day Parade featured over 100 local businesses, civic organizations and school marching bands in the seven-block parade down Pier Avenue.

Story Pirates invaded the James R. Armstrong Theatre for a swashbuckling and humorous performance, promoting creative writing by local students.

Kids enjoy jumping, scaling walls, flipping and other random acts of physical prowess at Vault PK.



by Adam Serrao | photos by John Mattera Photography

Some say the fastest way to get from point A to point B is a straight line, but at Vault PK, that rule has been all but abandoned. Located in the heart of Old Torrance, Vault PK is a place of adventure, created by Jessica Funke Ho, where athletes both old and young can learn the art of parkour. For the unfamiliar, parkour is best described as the act of moving from one point to another using the barriers in your path to escalate your efficiency. Whether you’re jumping, flipping, diving, twisting or just shaking your groove thing across the padded course, you’re doing it right. The mission of Vault PK is to inspire individuals to express themselves freely through movement. Most people who have heard of parkour tend to think of athletes performing death defying stunts hundreds of feet in the air with no safety net available. That may be how the sport initially went viral and received much of its original fame, but for Jessica Funke Ho, parkour is something very different. “Parkour is an art and a sport that uses good landing and good technique,”

Funke Ho explains. “It’s using your body in the most efficient way possible to go from point A to point B, while adding in your own elements of style.” Those different elements of style could include anything from free-running, to doing flips and tricks, to overall general movement over obstacles that will get the heart pumping. What’s special about Vault PK, however, is that the studio provides a completely safe and fun atmosphere where the sport and your very own creativity can be explored. Funke Ho has always had a passion for the world of parkour, gymnastics and overall fitness. A certified ninja on the mat and in the classroom, she studied exercise and sports science in school, taught it as a personal trainer and boot camp instructor, and has been a gymnast all her life. An extensive background with the sport of parkour is what eventually led her to opening Vault PK in May of 2015. “As a mom, I have three boys and one girl. My boys weren’t interested in gymnastics, but they had a natural talent for it,” she explains. “I kept pushing

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them and they kept saying, ‘No, mom, I don’t want to do it.’ When we came across parkour, though, they took to it like fish to water.” Funke Ho’s children aren’t the only ones who have fallen in love with parkour. At Vault PK, classes are geared toward kids ages 3-14 who are training to become their favorite super hero by leaping over obstacles in a single bound. In addition to the youngsters, Vault PK challenges the skills and endurance of teenagers and adults, too. No matter your age, there are classes for you, whether you’re a beginner or have honed the skills necessary to call yourself more advanced. Athletes can learn to scale walls, spring over obstacles, flip in the air and do plenty more. What may be best about Vault PK is that whether you’re already a pro or simply just starting out, the studio offers a safe and accepting environment with certified coaches on hand to guide you through the entire way. “In a lot of sports, you have to be the best player on the team to get recognized,” Funke Ho says. “In parkour and at Vault PK, you are who you are and you do the best that you can. Everyone is very accepting. Everyone is involved. No one person is better than the other. Everyone encourages each other to improve.” As soon as you take one step inside, you’ll immediately want to start running around to jump on top of everything in sight. You can leap up and down on a trampoline and pretend that you’re Superman or climb up walls, ropes, and cargo nets like Spider-Man, instead. Swing across bars like a stealth ninja warrior traveling through the night on a mission, or tumble across the padded mat like your favorite American gymnast. Vault PK offers everything that you need to improve your awareness, strength, balance, body control and endurance. What’s best is that you’ll have so much fun that you won’t even realize how much you’re learning or how much your heart has been pumping from the non-stop action. For Funke Ho, Vault PK is a place that represents something much more than just parkour. The gym has become a place of growth and personal improvement where kids can go to simply be themselves.

“Kids get to find a place that they love coming to,” she explains. “They love coming to learn. It’s a place where they are accepted for who they are. It really is exciting to see someone accomplish their goals and grow within themselves.” As a mother of four, it’s easy to see why Funke Ho, as well as anyone else, could easily be influenced by the well-being of their children. “Finding a place for them to grow and improve and do the things that they love is my motivation,” she continues. “My oldest is 11, turning 12. He just needed a place to learn the things that he wanted to learn.” Thus, Vault PK was created. Whether you’re celebrating your birthday party by transforming yourself into a skilled ninja warrior or you’re just in the mood for a delicious slice of pizza on a Friday night, you can do it all at Vault PK. With a Kid’s Night Out every week, the little ones can practice their slick new parkour and free-running moves and get rewarded with a slice of pizza after working up their appetites. Vault PK also offers spring and summer camps, a Christmas Showcase for kids to show off their newly acquired skills and classes for those who are home schooled, as well. Funke Ho is even working on Vault PK’s second location in San Diego, which should be open to the public this May. There is so much more to parkour than what has been depicted on television or on the Internet. Funke Ho has created a place of growth and inspiration that promotes everything that is good about the sport. Sure, you will get a full body workout and improve upon your speed, mobility and overall body strength, but most importantly, you and your children can improve upon yourself and grow in ways you never thought possible. “Vault PK is here to be a part of our community,” Funke Ho says. “It’s here to be a place where kids can come to grow and have fun and express themselves. Kids need a fun and encouraging place in their lives. That’s what our gym is here for.” tt Vault PK is located at 1275 Sartori Ave., Ste. A, in Torrance. For more info, call (310) 977-4478 or visit

Vault PK staff: Nick Crisp, Sebastian White, Jessica Funke Ho, Dalton Wilson, Simon DeLeon

“In parkour... everyone is very accepting. Everyone is involved. No one person is better than the other. Everyone encourages each other to improve.”

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Have you done a weight-loss challenge lately? Did you work your butt off (literally) for several weeks, doing cardio, following a strict diet, meal prepping, and using every ounce of discipline to meet your ambitious goal? If you did, I give you huge kudos. It wasn’t easy. It took sacrifice and a lot of hard work. If you met your goal, you know how empowering it is to take control of your health and see the reflection you see in the mirror change into something you’re proud of. Depending on how long it’s been since you finished your challenge, you may still be in the glow of your success. But if you’re like most people I’ve seen do a challenge in my gym or otherwise, you’re wondering… now what? The restrictions you placed on yourself have suddenly been lifted. Part of you is elated by the accomplishment of being done and the liberty to “splurge” on whatever you’d like to eat.

But part of you is a little afraid. Afraid that you no longer have accountability and you’re not exactly sure you trust yourself with all the freedom. You’re afraid everything you’ve worked for will be gone if you’re not careful. You take a weekend to order a nice, huge burger, you go on that planned vacation and rock the swimsuit in pride, eating whatever you want. “When I get back, it’s right back on the plan!” you say to yourself. But when you try to get back on track it just isn’t the same. When it’s on your own, it’s much harder to keep yourself honest. I’ve seen many at this juncture before and without a clear plan, lots of those people lost their way and gained all the weight back (and then some). Tips to prevent yourself from gaining the weight back after a challenge Don’t fall for the lottery curse. You may have heard that an alarming percentage of lottery winners end up broke and worse off than before they won. This can be boiled down to a simple idea; getting what you want

and keeping what you want are two entirely different things. Your results can be yours long-term if you have a few solid habits to base your daily life on. Otherwise, you’ll constantly yo-yo diet. Challenges are a GREAT way to get results fast, but they are a lousy way to maintain them. The number one piece of advice they give to lottery winners? Talk to a professional who knows how to manage the long-term. The same goes for you. Don’t try to outwork your diet. Most of your weight-loss results came from your diet, so it’s the most important element to learn how to manage if you’re going to have lasting results and not just try to “calorieburn” your way to skinny.

Move beyond cardio. Cardio is a great introductory to your weight-loss journey. But the sustainable method to a trim physique is resistance training. It is the only thing that quite literally will keep your physique young for as long as possible. Finally, understand that the carrot ALWAYS moves. You may have thought that losing those stubborn pounds would make you content. Then you got there and realized, you’re still not quite where you want to be. You think, just five more pounds, or just this area under my arms and I’ll be happy. You won’t be. Changing your body is tremendously fulfilling but happy, it will not make you. Celebrate your wins and know that even the fittest people still get frustrated about being stuck. tt


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Profile for Torrance Today

Torrance Today - April 2017  

Vault PK | Torrance Certified Farmers Market | Challenge Diet Blues | April Events Calendar

Torrance Today - April 2017  

Vault PK | Torrance Certified Farmers Market | Challenge Diet Blues | April Events Calendar