Westchester/Playa Hometown News July 2022 edition

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C O M M U N I T Y

p l a ya v i s ta • m a r i n a d e l rey p l a y a v i s t a • m a r i n a d e l re y

N E W S PA P E R

July 2022

June 2021

CELEBRATE THE 4th at the

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This Month Brings You

help you prom help you prom nization or even ! y l u J f o h t r u o F y p p a H nization or even A look inside your HTN

Westchester family helps parade route stay chill July events & activities calendar The Gillis says goodbye to PdR after 50 years 22nd Annual Fourth of July Parade Program YMCA leadership makes big plans for the future

04 08 10 11 38

HOMETOWN STAFF/CONTRIBUTORS Stephanie Davis, Publisher

Lydia Smith, Contributing Writer Shanee Edwards, Contributing Writer

Jeff Blair, Contributing Writer Fay Craton, Contributing Writer

Front page: A collage of photos from last year’s LAX Coastal Fourth of July Parade. Photos by Zsuzsi Steiner.

About The HomeTown News (HTN)

The HomeTown News is a monthly community newspaper dedicated to providing information about the people, events and happenings of Westchester, Playa del Rey, Marina del Rey and Playa Vista. Look for the HomeTown News the first Thursday of the month at your home or at one of our drop-off locations.

Connect with the HTN:

Mailing Address: 8939 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Ste. 110 #745 Westchester, CA 90045 • Email: westchesterhometown@yahoo.com • Website: thehtn.com • Facebook: facebook.com/thehtn • Instagram: instagram.com/thehometownnews The deadline for submissions is the 22nd of each month.

act us for rates and act us for rates and hesterhometo From the Westchester Town Center Business

Improvement District and all of our members, we wish you and yours a happy and safe Fourth of July!

We hope you enjoy the annual Westchester Fourth

hesterhometo of July Parade – one of the greatest hometown events in Los Angeles because it brings our entire community together to celebrate.

us on Faceboo to-date with news and us on Faceboo Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

July 2022 • Page 3


At left: The Widmer family poses in front of their Loyola Blvd. home. Photo Marianne Pellin Photography. At right: 1. A customer eagerly waits for a snow cone. 2. A family enjoys the icy treats at last year’s parade. Photos by Zsuzsi Steiner.

Westchester family helps the parade route stay chill

By Lydia Smith

raised their family—3 sons, Wade age 23, Wes age 18 and Will age 17–in the The Fourth of July in Westchester is a same home she grew up in. Cyndi’s dad passed away in 2020, but perfect example of how the community he always said that the parade was the maintains its small-town feel in a big best thing about owning their home. city. The community celebrates with He had been there for every parade block parties, BBQs and of course, the since its inception in 2000. Their home LAX Coastal Fourth of July Parade. continues to be a central part of the This year is no different, and the event. They provide electricity for the 22nd annual parade will take place PA system, they help with parking, and on Monday, July 4 at 11 a.m. down the parade committee knows that if Loyola Blvd. from Westchester Park they need anything at all, they can ask to Loyola Marymount University. The the Widmers. 2022 parade theme is “Yours for a In 2008, the Widmer’s oldest son, Better Community: Celebrating the Wade, came up with the idea to sell Best of America,” in honor of Howard snow cones on the parade route to Drollinger’s 100th birthday. Howard was an entrepreneur and philanthropist, make some extra summer pocket money. And with their great location, who would sign all of his letters with right behind the parade’s center “Yours for a Better Westchester.” One family that could easily sign their stage and central hub, a Westchester tradition was born! letters the same is the Widmers. Wade and his brothers have always Cyndi and Tony Widmer have lived in Westchester their whole lives. Cyndi run the stand on their own, and for attended Loyola Village School, Orville the last 14 years, they’ve enjoyed the Wright Middle School and Westchester whole experience. They look forward to saying “hi” to people that they haven’t High. Tony attended Westchester seen all year and seeing each child’s Lutheran School, St. Bernard High face light up when they hand them School, and then Westchester High. They truly are locals by every definition the colorful and refreshing treat. They offer six flavors and are happy to make of the word. When it comes to work, everyone’s favorite: the rainbow with Cyndi doesn’t even have to travel far, all of them in one! because she works as a teacher at the The Widmers share that they usually preschool next door to her house, sell between 600-900 snow cones on Westchester Wonder Kids! She has parade day, but not surprisingly, the worked there for years and all three of sales are dependent on the weather: the her sons attended the preschool with hotter the day, the bigger the demand. her. Tony worked in the film industry They have always charged $1 for the for 30 years and is now an operating snow cones and have no plans to raise engineer of heavy equipment for large the price, even as inflation soars. projects. “When it is sunny and warm, we Cyndi has lived in the same home can sell up to 900 cones but when it is on Loyola Blvd. since 1968 when her cloudy, sales will dip to 400-500,” said parents bought a corner house down Tony. “Money was never a big part of the street from Loyola Marymount it, it was about having the stand for University. Now she and Tony have

Page 4 • July 2022

our community. It is about seeing the little kids run up with their crinkled-up dollar bill to get a snow cone.” The line for the icy treats sometimes extends two full house lengths. When their middle son, Wes, got involved with the snow cone stand six years ago, he worked out a collaboration with the Stephanie Younger Group (SYG) where they supply storage for SYG’s water bottles, and in exchange, the company provides all the ice for the snow cone stand. The ice is the largest expense for the Widmers, who can go through up to 600 pounds of the stuff, so this is a winwin for everyone. “Stephanie plays such a big part in the parade,” said Cyndi. “We are so happy to have this collaboration.” Wes also used his networking skills and natural business savvy for landing the family a commercial-grade snow cone machine, which has made a world of difference when it comes to serving up the frozen sweets quickly and keeping up with the line of excited patrons looking for a way to cool off. When Wes was in 8th grade, he helped Schoeppner Carnivals set up the rides for the Westchester Lutheran School’s annual carnival. He asked the Schoeppner representative if he could borrow their snow cone machine for the parade, and he said that Wes could have it as a thank you for helping at the event. While vending is not allowed on the parade route, the Widmers say they are considered an unofficial part of the event. “We are a tradition and an institution of the parade,” Tony explained. “We have an exemption from the chamber of commerce. We are considered an ‘unofficial float’.”

Tony has marched in every parade for as long as he can remember, but last year was the first time that he was able to watch the festivities from start to finish. He has driven his Harley down Loyola Blvd., marched with AYSO and DRALL, and even drove his race car one year in the parade. Tony raced professionally for almost a decade as the owner and driver of a NASCAR team sponsored by The Shack restaurants. As a Westchester Lutheran School alum, he was also very involved with helping build the school’s award-winning floats when his sons were students there. The Widmer family is looking forward to this year’s event, and hosting the snow cone stand once again for this year’s Fourth of July. They plan to continue keeping this tradition going as long as their kids will come back to make it happen. The “kids,” now young adults, still use the money for extra summer cash, but it is the experience of running the stand that keeps them involved. Cyndi and Tony are glad that this parade pop-up has taught their children the basics of business and allowed them to share important lessons with their sons, like the importance of community. Aside from the snow cone stand, Cyndi’s favorite part of the parade is the feeling of neighborhood spirit. “On parade day, everyone comes out and sits on their lawns,” Cyndi said. “Suddenly, Westchester feels very tiny. That is what I love about our community.” Tony’s favorite part of the parade each year is the singing of the National Anthem and the police flyover. His only complaint? The parade is not long enough!

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TheHTN.com Photo by Lek Pollard.

Business & Nonprofit News

Westchester Rotary recently celebrated the end of their fiscal year by awarding scholarships to local high school students and announcing funding for community projects. Pictured: Outgoing President, Erin Cueto, poses with scholarship recipients and fellow Rotarian Eric Medrano.

Plant-based restaurant coming soon to Westchester. Westchester will soon have more plant-based dining options when Hart House opens this summer. On June 16, it was announced that the vegan casual dining restaurant founded by actor and comedian Kevin Hart, would be opening at the former location of Boston Market on the corner of Sepulveda Blvd. and Drollinger Way in Westchester. With a goal to impress carnivores, as well as those who prefer a meatfree diet, the menu will feature burg’rs, chick’n sandwiches, salads, fries, milkshakes and tots. The eatery is also committed to selling food with no preservatives, no artificial flavors and no corn syrup. Hart House joins the list of other restaurants coming soon to Westchester/Playa including Tomat, which will be located next to The Book Jewel and is expected to open early next year; and I Heart Mac & Cheese, planned to open later this summer in the Playa del Oro development on the corner of Lincoln Blvd. and Manchester Ave. Learn more about Hart House at myharthouse.com. Westchester Rotary celebrates last meeting for president with scholarships and donations. For the last year, Westchester resident, Erin Cueto, has served as president of the Westchester Rotary Club. On June 22, Cueto presided over the last meeting of her term, and celebrated the end of her year by announcing scholarships and donations of more than $25,000 to local causes. Page 6 • July 2022

Hart House will open in Westchester later this summer with a menu full of plant-based favorites, including burgr’s and tots.

At the meeting, Cueto shared that the club would be donating $15,000 to the Westchester Family YMCA. The funds will go towards creating a large-scale exterior mural on the Y’s building and supporting family programming events. Scholarships were also presented to the following students: • WESM grad Fred Dzoyem • WESM grad Danielle Burnside • WESM grad Fairren Harris • St. Bernard grad Alexis Majors • St. Bernard grad Malachi Roach • St. Bernard grad Amara GaudelliMcGee Grants were awarded to Wright Middle School STEAM Magnet teachers Roxanne Schultz, Chineye Teems and LaDeirdre Wilson, as well. To round out the donations, Cueto

announced a $1,500 gift to Venice High School’s Marching Band for equipment. Learn more about how this service organization supports the community at rotary-westchester.com. Flight Path Museum welcomes visitors on weekends. From the runway to the moon, a visit to the Flight Path Museum is an exciting journey through the history of aviation and aerospace located on the LAX tarmac. Flight Path is a community-based nonprofit organization that was founded to honor aviation pioneers and preserve the history of LAX and Southern California aviation/ aerospace. Its other goal is to encourage youth to pursue careers in these fields. Several scholarships are

awarded annually. The museum is now open on Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m., and guests can experience aviation glamour, adventure, excitement and romance of the past, present and future in multiple galleries. Plane spotting is available through the large picture windows facing the runways and control tower. Its location makes it one-of-a-kind. Take a tour to view a real DC3 aircraft, explore the space gallery and view airline crew uniforms from around the world. Flight Path also offers meeting spaces for lunches and events in various galleries. Interested in volunteering? The nonprofit has multiple opportunities open to those 18 and up. Admission is $5, or free for members. Parking is free. To learn more, visit flightpathlax.com. The museum is located at 6661 Imperial Highway in Westchester. Westchester Mental Health Guild celebrates 60th anniversary. Airport Marina Counseling Service (AMCS) board members and the Westchester Mental Health Guild (WMHG) celebrated the anniversary of their 60-year partnership to provide mental health services to the community on June 21. More than 50 supporters attended an outdoor reception in the Westchester backyard of Myra and Rick Kriwanek to recognize the history and impact the organizations have made since 1962. (continued on next page)

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News


Photo by Anna Cody WMHG supporters pose for a photo at their 60th anniversary event. From left to right: Janie Guthrie, WMHG President; Eden Garcia-Balis, AMCS CEO; John Theuer, AMCS Board member and Candy Yip, WMHG Board member.

(continued from previous page) At the gathering, AMCS founder Mary Ellen Cassman, now 99-years-old, was honored for her vision and dedication to creating these organizations at a time when mental health counseling was controversial. The WMHG also presented a $5,000 check to AMCS, and noted that although precise records are unavailable, the nonprofit has calculated that it has raised more than a million dollars for AMCS since it was founded as a fundraising arm for the Westchester clinic. To learn more about the mental health services available at AMCS, please call (310) 670-1410, or visit amcshelps.com. $100 million “Lulu’s Place” proposed for the LAX Northside Project. At a June 14 Neighborhood Council of Westchester/Playa (NCWP) special board meeting, representatives from Los Angeles World Airports and The Kimmelman Family Foundation, shared an update on the Northside Open Space Development located along Westchester Parkway in Westchester and Playa del Rey. During the meeting, representatives announced that the

foundation has proposed a plan to spend $100 million to develop, build and oversee the green space and amenities as part of Area 1 and Area 2A of the LAX Northside Project. While final details of the project are still being worked out, reps shared the following highlights: • The area would be called “Lulu’s Place” • A state-of-the-art learning center would be created on the St. Bernard High School campus • There are plans for sports facilities for baseball, volleyball, basketball and pickleball • A top-tier tennis center would be built • There is a playground component • Plans also include recreation, open space, soccer fields, a community garden, running paths, dog parks and picnic areas • The Tiger Woods Foundation is one of the project partners • The timeline is estimated to be 12-18 months once approved. Interested in learning more? Visit our new website at thehtn.com for an online exclusive article about the project.

Robert Milligan, Partner Business, Intellectual Property and Employment Counseling & Litigation (310) 201-1579 rmilligan@seyfarth.com

Have info to share about your business or nonprofit? Email us at westchesterhometown@yahoo.com.

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

July 2022 • Page 7


Check out this month's picks for

Summer Events & Activities Photo courtesy LMU

Shakespeare on the Bluff at LMU Friday, July 22 and Saturday, July 23 @ 8 p.m.

LMU’s fifth annual Shakespeare on the Bluff festival is back this month with two performances of “The Tempest” on Friday, July 22 and Saturday, July 23. Grab your lawn chairs and blankets and head to the campus’ new Drollinger Family Stage in Lawton Plaza for a memorable performance of one of The Bard’s final plays featuring Ronnie Clark as Prospero and directed by Jane McEneaney. Plays start at 8 p.m. and are 90-minutes long. Shakespeare on the Bluff is family-friendly and free. The performances are presented by the LMU College of Communication and Fine Arts. RSVPs are requested at cfa.lmu.edu/Shakespeare.

Fourth of July Fireworks Show Monday, July 4 | 9 p.m.

Round out your Fourth of July festivities by enjoying a spectacular 20-minute fireworks show over the Marina. Synchronized music will be played at Burton Chace Park (13650 Mindanao Way) and Fisherman’s Village (13755 Fiji Way). The fireworks should also be able to be seen in your favorite spot in Marina del Rey, Playa Vista and Dockweiler Beach. Visit beaches.lacounty.gov for more info.

Beach & Marina Movie Nights Various dates

Marina del Rey Summer Concert Series

The Department of Beaches and Harbors has a great summer schedule of movies planned! Enjoy outdoor family-friendly screenings on Fridays this summer at Beach Movie Nights at Dockweiler Youth Center. On Saturdays, check out Marina Movie Nights at Burton Chace Park for a mix of PG-13 classics and recent blockbusters.

Various dates One of the best things about summer is enjoying outdoor concerts in the park, and the music is back this year at Marina del Rey’s Burton Chace Park (13650 Mindanao Way)! Mark your calendars for the Marina del Rey Summer Concert Series and get ready to enjoy the sounds of classical and pop groups! This year’s music schedule includes these concerts starting at 7 p.m.: – Thursday, July 14 | Opera at the Shore – Saturday, July 30 | Las Cafeteras – Thursday, August 4 | A Night Celebrating Music in Film – Saturday, August 27 | Blind Boys of Alabama Visit beaches.lacounty.gov for more info.

Westchester Team Challenge Saturday, August 6 | 9 a.m. to noon

The Beach Movie Nights schedule at Dockweiler Youth Center (12505 Vista Del Mar in Playa del Rey,) is: July 8-Encanto July 15-Sing 2 July 22-The Mitchells vs. the Machines August 5-The Addams Family 2 August 12-A League of Their Own The Marina Movie Nights schedule at Burton Chace Park (13650 Mindanao Way, Marina del Rey) is: July 9-Sister Act (30th Anniversary) July 16-Back to the Future July 23-Clueless August 6-Dirty Dancing Visit beaches.lacounty.gov for more info. *With the changing nature of events, dates and details are subject to change.

Page 8 • July 2022

Gather a team of 10 of your friends, neighbors or colleagues for a morning of friendly competition at the Second Annual Westchester Team Challenge! Participating teams will have the chance to face off against each other in games like the three-legged race, football toss, bocce ball and more. The games will be held at LMU’s Drollinger Field and proceeds will benefit the Westchester Streetscape Improvement Association, which funds local beautification projects. The cost to participate is $30 per person ($300 per team). Register at westchestercateamchallenge.com. Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News


2022

LOVE

SUMMER CROPS

Happy Summer y'all! We have so much in season and to choose from, please follow us on social media for updates & be sure to sign up for our parade float (link through our website)!

Happy 4th of July! We will be open over 4th of July weekend (Sunday July 3rd), swing by for all your picnic and bbq fixins and be sure to join us for Westchester's 4th of July parade on the 4th - you'll see us with our kids train float, choo choo!

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July 2022 • Page 9


Photos courtesy The Gillis and Denny Smith.

Some classic Gillis photos from over the years. At bottom left: Denny Smith (left) and The Gillis founders, Dave and Steve Cressman pose for a photo.

The final Gillis caps 50 years of memories for PdR

By Courtenay Edelhart

The (sort of) golden anniversary of The Gillis Invitational Volleyball Tournament marks the end of an era. The tournament and beach party July 23-24 at Toes Beach in Playa del Rey will be the 50th, and final, Gillis. Brothers Dave and Steve Cressman, who co-founded the beloved hallmark of California beach culture in 1971, are retiring the event. “It was just time,” said Dave Cressman. “It’s a lot of work. My brother and I are a bit older. We thought the 50th year would be a good time to say goodbye.” Except that the 50th year landed smack in the middle of a global pandemic, so the swan song for The Gillis, as the tournament is affectionately known, had to be postponed until this year. Tim Bradford, of Hawthorne, said he’s “very bummed” to see The Gillis go. He played in the tournament for 37 years until he was too old to compete anymore. Then he switched to running the boards, which he did for the last 10 years. The event’s legacy is that “huge volumes of people are into volleyball now who otherwise would never have gotten into the sport,” Bradford said. The Gillis even produced a few stars. USA Volleyball’s Tim Hovland, a California Beach Volleyball Association Hall of Famer, is among those who got their start at the tournament. Yet The Gillis intentionally was not restricted to elite athletes. It was designed to be fun and inclusive, welcoming all levels of play from beginners to AAA/Open. Over the course of 49 years, The Gillis drew an estimated 25,000 Page 10 • July 2022

players, some from two or three generations of the same families. In 2019—the last time The Gillis was played—there were about 600 players from 120 teams. The Gillis’ origin story is that Steve Cressman, then 18-years-old and with a crush, wanted to organize a friendly competition to dazzle his high school sweetheart. “I didn’t impress her, and she ended up marrying one of my friends from high school,” he quipped. Seventeen teams competed the first year. All were from St. Bernard and Westchester High School wearing handmade matching team trunks, a tradition that eventually morphed into spectators and players donning extravagant costumes and performing side shows of skits and dance routines. The showmanship of Pat Turley and Dik Johnson, in particular, is the stuff of legend. In 1980, they drove up in a 1932 Cadillac dressed in Laurel and Hardy costumes that they ripped off to reveal old-fashioned one-piece swimsuits underneath. Another year, the pair arrived on horseback dressed as the Lone Ranger and Tonto. But the pièce de resistance was when they showed up in LAPD uniforms driving a rented police cruiser. They pretended to “bust” the tournament, then pulled a tarp off a “jail” to uncover a live band that played “Jailhouse Rock.” For Westchester resident Carla Brown, dressing up for The Gillis every year is a cherished family tradition that has spanned two decades. “It was bigger than Christmas,” she said. “It runs deep. Really, really deep. If someone has the audacity to plan a wedding around that time of year, we are like, ‘How could you?’”

Adult children in Brown’s blended family fly in from other cities every year to participate, and their annual costume theme is a closely guarded secret until the tournament debut. Highlights have included dressing up as Star Wars and Brady Bunch characters and transforming into Barbie and Ken dolls in life-sized Barbie boxes. “It’s so much fun,” Brown said. “The actual volleyball is almost secondary.” What the tournament has never had, however, is food trucks, a conscious effort to encourage the patronizing of local bars and restaurants. “The whole town is busy with it every year,” said Mo Krant owner of the Playa del Rey’s Mo’s Place and a longtime sponsor of The Gillis. “People who don’t even live here anymore come back for it.” Stephen Mayer, who owns the Prince O’ Whales on Culver Blvd. said The Gillis is more than just a boon for business. “It’s part of the culture,” he said. “It’s like a tree that’s always growing. It sheds its leaves in the winter, but it always comes back in the summer.” In 2019, the Neighborhood Council of Westchester/Playa honored the Cressman brothers by naming them Stars of the Neighborhood, an annual award that recognizes people who quietly give back to the community. In 2012, the city of Los Angeles officially designated August 10 “Day of The Gillis.” The event didn’t always have the warmest of welcomes, however. Over the years, The Gillis relocated several times, first after Gillis Beach succumbed to the expansion of LAX. For a bit, the tournament had to move

to Dockweiler Beach after local leaders said it had become too big and was causing traffic and parking woes. The Cressman brothers negotiated a return to their original location after promising to downsize. Dave said he won’t miss the massive amount of work that goes into organizing The Gillis every year, but he’s proud of what he and his brother created. “The amazing friendships made for life over these past 5 decades, in a fantastic community and by the beautiful Pacific Ocean is beyond special,” said Dave. “Seeing multiple generations of families and friends spending this weekend together and sharing memories year after year makes The Gillis different from any other tradition.” Dave, who now lives in Highlands Ranch, Colo., said he’s heard residents say wistfully that it would be nice if someone took over and kept The Gillis going, but he’d rather the tournament go out on top.

It’s always sad to see something this special come to an end. “I don’t want anybody messing up the legacy of The Gillis,” he said. Krant, of Mo’s Place, is resigned to The Gillis ending. “It’s always sad to see something this special come to an end,” he said. “But that’s everything in life. Everything has its time. We all just have to be happy for the memories.”

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News


OFFICIAL PARADE PROGRAM

LAX COASTAL 4TH OF JULY PARADE

MONDAY JULY 4, 2022 11 AM LOYOLA BLVD LAXCOASTALONPARADE.COM

LAX KIWANIS CLUB SOCALGAS

WESTCHESTER ELKS LODGE

COVERED WITH MORE

CAROUSEL SCHOOL

LADIES OF THE ELKS

DEL REY AMERICAN LITTLE LEAGUE

CANTALINI’S SALERNO BEACH

KVG INSURANCE

SMITH FAMILY

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

4th of July Parade Program

July 2022 • Page 11


22 YEARS AND COUNTING

A Continued Celebration of our Community The history of the parade starts more than 22 years ago. Westchester had already begun to celebrate the millennium, thanks to a series of events dubbed “The Gathering” that were hosted by the Westchester/Playa del Rey Historical Society, but something larger was needed to commemorate such a momentous occasion. Historical Society President and longtime Westchester resident, Mary Lou Crockett, spearheaded the idea of a Westchester parade. Needing a community partner to help bring this idea to life, the LAX Coastal Chamber jumped on board to help.

Then chamber president, Gwen Vuchsas, worked with the inaugural parade committee to rally participants, volunteers, and sponsors that first year to celebrate America’s birthday under the theme, “A Community with a Kindred Spirit.” The committee worked tirelessly to produce an event worthy of this amazing community; they ensured streets were closed, signage was placed, announcer booths were set up, golf carts were rented, posters were printed, and more. On the morning of July 4th, each committee member was nervous, wondering if anyone would show up to what they believed to be Westchester’s

first—and only—community parade. When thousands appeared, it was clear this was more than just a celebration of the year 2000; it was the start of a brand new tradition. Every year, the event shows the strength of our community and demonstrates that the LAX Coastal area is unlike any other neighborhood in Los Angeles. Westchester is truly a small town in a big city! The Chamber loves celebrating America’s birthday, and we look forward to seeing you all along the parade route!

LAX Coastal Chamber of Commerce – More Than Just a Busine Organization You find local Chambers of Commerce in towns and cities across America—some are big, some are small, and some downtown chambers are huge. Most of these organizations focus on promoting the business interests of their members, as well as their own growth and priorities. The LAX Coastal Chamber, however, has always had another special “lens” in which it sees its work in the community. While we look at issues from the standpoint of, “Is this good for business?”, we also analyze how issues impact how our neighbors live, work and play in our community. Our annual Fourth of July Parade is just one of the many events and programs that we host each year to enhance the vitality of our community. Besides the parade, the chamber is a champion of local education and regularly brings the principals and lead

educators from our K-12 schools together at the monthly Education Committee. Each May, the chamber presents the Teacher Eddy Awards to recognize the top educators in our local community. Next year will mark the 40th anniversary of the Eddy Awards. In February, we partnered with our members to say “thank you” to local heroes during “Protectors’ Week.” With the support of our sponsors, we were able to drop off goodie baskets, serve meals and share handmade cards with area firefighters, police officers and healthcare workers. In April, more than 70 volunteers from our Network for Change group spent the morning at the Ballona Wetlands clearing invasive vegetation so that native plants can thrive. As you can see, the chamber is truly at the intersection of connecting businesses with organizations and important community needs!

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the LAX Coastal Chamber continued to remain open to provide resources and support to all businesses and organizations. The chamber worked to be a one-stop shop to share information on EIDL loans and other resources, while managing to provide networking and connection at a time when people needed it the most. The chamber has emerged stronger than ever without really skipping a beat through the pandemic. Businesses remained involved and partnerships grew because our members saw value in what we provide, even in the toughest of days. Join us and our more than 500 members in strengthening our local business community and building connections!

New leadership starts nex t chapter in the history of the Chamber Last year, the LAX Coastal Chamber took an in-depth look at our organization by interviewing staff, board members, current and past members and community leaders and used our findings to create our recently launched Strategic Plan. The person at the helm driving this work was our newly installed Board Chair and Strategic Planning Chair, Joe Coleman, Chief Operating Officer at Decron Properties. Joe’s leadership was instrumental in assisting the chamber to identify its culture by establishing the chamber’s five core values: Trust and Respect, Welcoming, Collaborative, Continuous Learning and Supportive. These values are at the foundation of our organization and will drive our behaviors, as well as how we “show up” as an organization. The chamber will also be furthering its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion by providing stronger access to the business community

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for diverse, small, and minority-owned businesses, in addition to incorporating DEI into the fabric of its existing programs. Coleman believes that “our people” (staff, volunteers, and members) along with these core values and key initiatives will drive the chamber’s value and relevancy in the community. Joining Joe’s volunteer leadership team as the chamber’s Honorary Mayor, will be Jerry Jen. Jerry is the owner of Jen Law Firm, a boutique certified small business that specializes in commercial collections, judgment enforcement and creditor’s rights. Jerry has deep roots in the community, and recently served as President of the Playa Venice Sunrise Rotary Club and currently serves on the Board of Directors at the Mar Vista Family Center. He is a member of the chamber’s Executive Board as well.

4th of July Parade Program

Joe Coleman

Jerry Jen

Both Joe and Jerry know that through the strength of collaboration, partnerships and innovation our chamber will continue to thrive, and they’re committed to leading the way for our business community. -Chad Maender, LAX Coastal Chamber President/CEO

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Happy Fourth of July! The LAX Coastal Chamber of Commerce and its many community partners work hard every year to put on the Fourth Of July Parade. The chamber is honored to present the 22nd annual event on Monday, July 4 with the theme, “Yours for a Better Community: Celebrating the Best of America!” to observe the holiday, as well as pay tribute to a man who has had a major impact on the chamber and the Westchester community. Referred to by many as “Mr. Westchester,” the late Howard B. Drollinger, was one of the founding members of our chamber and would sign all of his letters with “Yours for a better Westchester.” June 16 marked what would have been Howard’s 100th birthday. We are excited to welcome

1. LAPD Pacific Area Junior Cadets 2. Salute to Our Sponsors with U.S. Air Force Auxiliary, Squadron 51 3. L.A. #1 Hog 4. Congresswoman Maxine Waters 5. Redondo Union High School Band and Color Guard 6. Westchester Del Rey Little League (WDRLL) 7. Great Pyrenees Alliance of the West 8. Grand Marshal, Karen Dial and Family 9. The Book Jewel 10. St. Anastasia School 11. Nick Melvoin, LAUSD Board Member 12. 501st Legion, Rebel Legion and Mandalorian Mercs 13. LAPD Leaders with LAPD West Traffic and Booster Club Representatives 14. Venice High School’s Mighty Gondolier

his daughter, and Drollinger Properties President, Karen Dial, as our 2022 Grand Marshal. We look forward to seeing you all along Loyola Blvd., hearing your collective cheers and feeling the energy that you all bring on parade day. -The Fourth of July Parade Committee Never been to the parade? Here is the scoop on this year’s event: • The parade runs from 11 a.m. to approximately 12:30 p.m. and takes place along Loyola Blvd. in Westchester from Westchester Park to LMU. • Seating is available along the parade route on a first-come, first-served basis. Plan to get there early

Marching Band 15. Ladies of the Westchester Elks 16. Westchester Scouts BSA 17. Emerson Avenue Community Garden 18. Sheriff of Los Angeles County, Alex Villanueva 19. AYSO Region 7 20. WISH Charter Schools 21. Westchester/Playa Historical Society 22. Woman’s Club of Playa del Rey 23. Los Angeles World Airports with Flight Path 24. Visitation Catholic School 25. Trash Can Band 26. Westchester Family YMCA 27. Loyola Marymount University 28. NCWP Star of the Neighborhood 29. Saint Monica Preparatory 30. Westchester Certified Farmers’ Market

We want to s YOUR

if you have a particular area where you’d like to sit. The route is especially crowded near the announcer booths at Loyola at Manchester Ave., Loyola at 83rd St. and Loyola at 80th St. • Limited bleacher sitting is available at center stage. • Parking is available at Loyola Marymount University, but cars must enter the university via Lincoln Blvd. • An EMT will be stationed on Loyola at 83rd Street for any emergencies. • Hand sanitizer; dog water bowls; and water bottles are available at announcer booths. Water is also distributed along the parade route by the Stephanie Younger Group.

31. Notre Dame Academy 32. Mar Vista Family Center Folklorico 33. Southern California Masonic Lodge #529 34. Otis College of Art & Design 35. Wright Middle School STEAM Drumline Band 36. Del Rey American Little League (DRALL) 37. Rotary Clubs on Fire Trucks & Salute to Grads 38. Kentwood Players 39. Westchester Lariats 40. Maywood Academy Senior High School’s Marching Nighthawks Band 41. LAX Coastal Chamber Chair & Honorary Mayor 42. Westchester Arts & Music Festival (WAM) 43. Charro Horses 44. Uncle Sam 45. Sky & The Dream Team Family Brass Band 46. Chamber Staff & Parade Committee * Final line of march as of press time. Changes may occur.

PARADE PHOTOS

We’re excited to celebrate with you at this year’s parade, and we want to see your photos for a chance to participate in a fun giveaway! While the event will be full of entries highlighting “The Best of America” we want to focus on a local treasure— our Westchester/Playa community! Here’s how to participate in our Fourth of July Photo Contest: 1. Follow the HomeTown News and LAX Coastal Chamber on Instagram at @thehometownnews and @laxcoastal 2. Post your photos from the Fourth of July Parade and tag the HomeTown News and the LAX Coastal Chamber. Use the hashtag #laxcoastalparade 3. You can also email your photo to westchesterhometown@yahoo.com Our favorite photos will have the opportunity to be featured on our social media sites and in the parade recap in the August edition of the HTN. One lucky photographer will also be selected to receive a $25 gift card to a local restaurant. Photos must be submitted by Monday, July 11th. Scan QR code for @thehometownnews on IG Page 14 • July 2022

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Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News


Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

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band program, and they are really happy to be participating in this year’s parade! If you would like to support this highly successful program, please visit redondobandandguard.org! Their program is mostly funded by the community, the band and guard families. It is always a challenge to fully fund the needs of such a large music and dance program.

LAPD Pacific Area Junior Cadets Continuing our annual tradition, the LAPD Pacific Area Junior Cadets lead off our parade and proudly carry the American flag. The Cadets range from ages 14 to 20 and work in close partnership with LAPD Community Relations. They will be marching all the way to 80th Street to give everyone in attendance the chance to salute our nation’s flag.

Del Rey American Little League (DRALL)

“Yours for a Better Community: Celebrating the Best of America” Salute to our Sponsors with U.S. Air Force Auxiliary Cadets This parade would not be possible without the generosity of our sponsors. Carrying our great flag are representatives of the organizations that have stepped up to the plate to ensure the success of this event. Let’s make sure to give them a big round of applause! Admiral Sponsor:

Jane St. John, Zacha Homes, Decron Properties, Stephanie Younger Group, Drollinger Family Charitable Foundation and HomeTown News Flagship Sponsors:

Cedars-Sinai, Rotary Club of Westchester, Otis College of Art and Design and Sunset Studios Patriot Sponsors:

HHLA, Kaiser Permanente, Los Angeles Airport Marriott, Los Angeles World Airports, Loyola Marymount University, Neighborhood Council of Westchester/ Playa, Playa Venice Sunrise Rotary Club and Westchester Elks/Ladies of the Elks Friends of the Parade:

LAX Kiwanis Club, SoCalGas, Covered with More, Del Rey American Little League, Carousel School, Cantalini’s Salerno Beach and KVG Insurance

Thank you to our sponsors and friends for carrying the flag down the parade route! Firecracker Sponsor:

The Smith Family

L.A. #1 HOG Chapter

Let’s hear it for the Harley Owners Group (or “HOG” for short), the Los Angeles Area’s #1 Chapter is sponsored by Bartel’s HarleyDavidson in Marina del Rey. With more than 150 members, these riders are active contributors to our community, serving various charities and giving back to our veterans. L.A. #1 HOG has been a proud participant in the Westchester Fourth of July Parade since the beginning and is glad to be back here for the 22nd year of the celebration!

Congresswoman Maxine Waters Congresswoman Maxine Waters is proud to represent Westchester, Playa del Rey, Playa Vista, Inglewood and the rest of the 43rd District in the US Congress. She is once again pleased to participate in LAX Coastal Chamber’s parade. In November of 2020, Congresswoman Waters was elected to her sixteenth term in the U.S. House of Representatives. She is the first woman to chair the Financial Services Com-

mittee in the history of the United States and is working hard to ensure the fairness of our lending institutions. She serves a member of the Steering & Policy Committee and is the co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease. Congresswoman Waters has been in public office for more than 40 years always working hard for youth, families and our communities on the most pressing issues.

The Del Rey American Little League (DRALL) is celebrating America’s favorite pastime one pitch at a time! Let’s cheer on the baseball players from DRALL, a youth sports staple in our community for more than 65 years! The league welcomes boys and girls ages 4-12 from Westchester and Playa del Rey, and this season they had more than 280 players across 25 teams in all divisions. Marching today are players and families from DRALL’s teams, including their new All-Stars and division champions. The DRALL Board of Directors is led by President Dan Thomason. GO DRALL! For more info, visit DRALL.org.

Redondo Union High School Band & Guard

The Redondo Union Band and Guard is under the direction of band director Ray Vizcarra. Recently, the band and guard received the gold medal in division 4A at the California State Band Championships. The dance guard won the gold medal at the WGASC championships and had many first-place wins in SHARP dance competitions. The drumline also made the finals in the inaugural season of the California State Band Championships’ indoor season. The school’s two jazz bands received six first-place wins at festivals this season. Redondo Union’s Marching Band and Dance Guard is the flagship ensemble of the entire

Happy Birthday, America! Thank you for 41 years of community support and voting us #1 Juice Bar & Natural Food Store on the Westside for the last 7 years! Family owned and operated since 1980. We’ll be riding this custom bike with the Rotary Fire Truck entry!

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Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News


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Great Pyrenees Alliance of the West (GPAW)

Back for their 21st appearance in the parade, the Great Pyrenees dogs aren’t just famous and beloved in the Westchester/Playa community! You may have seen them on TV at the Westminster Dog Show or in the movies Santa Paws, Finding Neverland or The Biggest Little Farm, guarding livestock. They also make great therapy and service dogs, not to mention wonderful family pets. GPAW Rescue places Great Pyrenees in “forever” homes. Ask us about a Pyr rescue! Our Big White Fluffy Dogs are easy to spot, and we absolutely love to talk about them!

Grand Marshal: Karen Dial & Family

Ladies and gentlemen let’s hear it for our “Admiral” parade sponsor Drollinger Properties and today’s Grand Marshal, Karen Dial! Drollinger Properties is Westchester’s largest property management firm and has roots all the way back to the first commercial building built in Westchester in 1944. This year, the company is celebrating what would have been the 100th birthday of philanthropist, businessman, Rotarian, chamber founding member and company founder Howard B. Drollinger. Known affectionately as “Mr. Westchester,” Howard helped build much of Westchester’s Central Business District. He also donated to scores of local nonprofits and organizations, including the LAX Coastal Chamber, and his philanthropy continues today through the Drollinger Family Charitable Foundation. Riding in a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air are: Howard’s daughter, Karen Dial; his son, Jim Drollinger; and Jim’s wife, Andi Drollinger. Thank you to Drollinger Properties for your support, and happy 100th birthday, Howard!

The Book Jewel

Marching in our parade for the first time, it’s your community bookstore, The Book Jewel! Located in the heart of Westchester, The Book Jewel is celebrating the classics of American literature and honoring the legacy of Howard Drollinger as they march behind the banner of “We Love Westchester!” Let’s hear it for our independent bookstore— with more cowbell! Shop online and check out all the great author and community events at thebookjewel.com.

St. Anastasia Catholic School

Here comes St. Anastasia Catholic School, which has marched in this parade for more than 10 years! This year’s float contains over 1,000 paper flowers and is a wonderful reminder for us to join hands and love our neighbor. You

Page 18 • July 2022

won’t find a better school community than St. A’s, which welcomes students from Junior Kindergarten through eighth grade. Come get to know your St. A’s neighbors by joining them to cheer for their sports teams, watching their school musical or participating in a community service project. Let’s go, Panthers! Grounded in the Catholic tradition, St. Anastasia Catholic School has been helping shape young lives in the Westchester/Playa del Rey area for more than 50 years. This neighborhood school offers an excellent Junior Kindergarten– eighth grade academic and spiritual program enhanced by a wide variety of extracurricular offerings that support the spiritual, physical, creative and social-emotional growth of each child. For more information, or to schedule a tour, please visit school.st-anastasia.org.

Nick Melvoin, LAUSD Board Member

Nick Melvoin is proud to serve the dynamic communities of District 4 as the Vice President of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education. Nick’s work is focused on increasing parent and community engagement, transparency and accountability; directing more resources to schools; protecting our most vulnerable students; and bringing a new spirit of partnership and collaboration to L.A.’s public schools. Prior to his election, Nick worked as a teacher, public interest attorney, nonprofit director, and an active board member of a number of community and political organizations. Nick has also worked in the Obama White House and the U.S. Attorney’s office. He is a graduate of Harvard College, NYU School of Law and Loyola Marymount University’s School of Education.

501st Legion, Rebel Legion and the Mandalorian Mercs

The 501st Legion, Rebel Legion and Mandalorian Mercs are volunteer groups composed of members that build screen accurate and meticulously crafted Star Wars universe costumes! The group wears these costumes while supporting local community charity events, including the Relay for Life, Alzheimer’s Walks, library literacy events and more. The local chapters appearing today are Sunrider Base of the Rebel Legion, Southern California Garrison of the 501st Legion and Manda’galaar Clan of the Mandalorian Mercs with galactic vehicles! These groups have had the pleasure of marching in the parade for many years, and we’re so glad to have them joining us again this year! May the force be with you!

4th of July Parade Program

LAPD Leaders with LAPD West Traffic & Booster Club

It is the mission of the Los Angeles Police Department to safeguard lives and property in the communities it serves; to reduce the incidence and fear of crime and to enhance public safety. The mandate of the men and women of the LAPD is to perform these services with honor, integrity and the highest ethical standards. Riding in the parade today are Commanding Officer of Pacific Area Police Station Captain Steven Embrick and Pacific Area Booster Association Board Member John Connor. They are joined by the LAPD West Traffic Division on motorcycles. Have a safe and Happy Fourth of July from the LAPD to you!

Venice High’s Mighty Gondolier Marching Band

Next up is the Mighty Gondolier Marching Band, under the direction of David W. Lee. They are excited to return after a two-year pandemic hiatus and have been marching in the parade since 2016. They are also joined today by the Venice High School Cheer team. The Mighty Gondolier Marching Band has the unique

distinction of being the only competitive marching band in LAUSD’s Local District West, and is one of the top 20 marching bands of their size in SoCal! Colleges their recent graduates are attending include Cal State Long Beach, Cal State Northridge, West LA, Santa Monica College, UCLA, USC, UC Berkeley, Syracuse and Brown. Tag them in your photos on Instagram @veniceHSband! The VHS Music Department is one of the leading music programs representing LAUSD in All State and National Honor Ensembles. They consistently have students participate in California State Summer School of the Arts and other prestigious programs. With a range of various musical ensembles, from choir, to orchestra, to band, students have a plethora of musical opportunities in addition to the full high school experience. For more information, please reach out to Mr. Lee at david.w.lee@lausd.net. The Mighty Gondolier’s wish you a safe and restful Independence Day! Thank you to Kaiser Permanente for sponsoring Venice High School’s participation in today’s parade!

WELCOME OUR NATIONAL ANTHEM SINGER Thank you to Lailah Young for singing

the National Anthem at the start of today’s parade!

Lailah attends WISH Academy High

School, where she will be a sophomore in the fall.

She has been singing since she was

two years old, and grew up listening to a

wide variety of great music. Over the past two years, Lailah has decided to pursue her musical dreams and goals! After

high school, she plans to pursue a career in music. Some of the artists that she

is inspired by include Jasmine Sullivan, Brandy, Whitney Houston and BTS!

Her other hobbies include writing

music, photography, playing video games and watching YouTube.

“I am very thankful for the opportunity

to sing in the annual Westchester

parade,” said Lailah. “I am so grateful to my teacher and mentor Ms. Janet Landon for helping throughout this journey!”

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News


HAPPY

4

th

of

JULY WE’LL SEE YOU AT THE PARADE!

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WISHING YOU A SAFE AND HAPPY 4TH OF JULY 6081 CENTER DRIVE, LOS ANGELES, CA 90045 • 310.641.8073 Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

4th of July Parade Program

July 2022 • Page 19


National Guard. He is married to his wife, Vivian, and has an adult son who is a veteran of the United States Army. He also has two beautiful granddaughters.

Ladies of the Westchester Elks

The Ladies of the Westchester Elks is a community service organization that supports the Westchester Elks Lodge 2050 and its charities. They are more than just a social club! They fund scholarships, support veterans and help children with disabilities. Members in good standing can participate in leadership roles, volunteer for events and enjoy social outings. They are always looking to grow their membership with hopes that new members mean new projects and ideas for their fundraising efforts! The Lady Elks are a great way to be part of your neighborhood, meet new people and make lifelong friends while contributing to your community! This year’s president is Juanita D’Andrea who is riding in the parade today! The ladies meet the first Monday of the month at the Elks Lodge in Westchester.

Westchester Scouts BSA

Westchester Scouts BSA has participated in this parade since its inception. Scouting develops character through outdoor experiences, leadership opportunities, and service to one’s community. Scouting’s most recognizable contributions to Westchester are the numerous Eagle Scout Projects around the city, demonstrating the teamwork, leadership and service skills that Scouting promotes. Westchester BSA Scouts represent a network of responsible, hard-working, dedicated, and physically active young men and women who consider leadership and service to the community their primary objective. Scouting BSA programs are designed to give kids and young adults the skills they need to unlock their full potential. Scouts BSA provides youth membership for boys and girls starting at kindergarten through the age of 17, with explorers going through the age of 20. Find a local scouting program near you by visiting beascout.scouting.org.

AYSO Region 7

Emerson Avenue Community Garden

Emerson Avenue Community Garden Club (EACG) is proud to participate in the 22nd anniversary of the LAX Coastal Chamber’s July 4th celebrations, and they extend well wishes to their Westchester neighbors with “Yours for a Better Community: Celebrating the Best of America!” This is their 11th year of involvement in this community tradition! On display today is their famous gardener Wheelbarrow Drill Team dancing to Aaron Copeland’s Fanfare for the Common Man/Appalachian Spring. EACG is a collaborative project of the community and the LAUSD campus at Wright STEAM Magnet Middle School and WISH Charter. EACG celebrates its organic gardens as the community space continues to grow for the enjoyment of neighbors, friends and family. EACG is led by volunteers, who are all committed to sharing lessons from nature, working the ground together sustainably to demonstrate best horticultural methods and to grow food, as well as to nurture our community. The all-volunteer EACG offers many other things for all to enjoy, including gardening classes and workshops with master

gardeners. They invite you to “get dirty” with them on the first Saturday of every month for their Community Volunteer Days. This year, they also introduced senior activities in the garden due to the newly improved walkways that were unveiled. They hope to begin offering other intergenerational activities such as movie nights and fundraising events. They offer field trips for schools and scout troops to fulfill their mission to “Build a Garden, Grow a Community.” Get more information at eacgc.org.

AYSO Region 7 is here to share their love of soccer with our community! AYSO provides a positive, fair and fun soccer experience for all players. Region 7 just celebrated their 50th anniversary and will begin this fall season with a newly refreshed home-field using the same turfgrass as the 2022 FIFA World Cup! Representing Region 7 today, we have the Westchester Waves, who just completed an undefeated spring season, led by Coaches Nick Pisca and Carrie LaPonza. Region 7 encourages all kids, ages 4 -18, to come out and play this fall! No prior experience is necessary. Visit ayso7.org for more info.

L.A. County Sheriff Villanueva

Arriving in a classic 1964 Corvette Convertible is the Sheriff of Los Angeles County, Alex Villanueva. Sheriff Villanueva commands the largest Sheriff’s Department in the United States, consisting of nearly 18,000 budgeted sworn and professional staff. As sheriff, he has initiated reform efforts that are improving morale within the department, as well as rebuilding trust within the communities in which the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department serves. Sheriff Villanueva proudly served in the United States Air Force, California Air National Guard and the California Army

Rotary Club of Westchester Making a Difference Since 1950!

Join us to make Westchester a better place!

www.rotary-westchester.com

Makeover Project | Book Sale | Scholarships | WAM | Fourth of July Parade | Supporting YMCA Programs...and so much more!

Page 20 • July 2022

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Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News


HAPPY 4 OF JULY!

TH

Say Hello at the Parade! Monday, July 4th, 2022 Loyola Boulevard from Westchester Park to LMU Parade starts at 11 AM

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WISH Charter Schools

WISH Community School & WISH Academy High School are excited to again be part of the beloved Westchester Fourth of July Parade! To honor this year’s theme of “Yours For A Better Community,” we have chosen to celebrate the “Splendor of Southern California’s Great Outdoors!” In this wonderful and diverse nation, Southern California offers the most varied and exciting opportunities for outdoor adventure! Where else can you start your day watching the sun rise while riding the waves of the Pacific, and end your day slaloming the slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range? And the landscape in between offers a multitude of parks and alternative recreation areas for hiking, skating, picnicking, exploring, fishing and so much more. From Kenneth Hahn Park to the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, Abalone Cove to Leo Carrillo State Park, Southern California’s great outdoors beckons one and all to get outside and enjoy! Established in 2010, WISH Community School & WISH Academy High School are free public schools serving all students in an inclusive and supportive environment. The WISH mission is to maximize every scholar’s learning potential within an atmosphere of caring and belonging. For more information about WISH Community School and WISH Charter Schools, please visit wishcharter.org.

Westchester/Playa Historical Society

Next up is the Westchester/Playa Historical Society! Riding in the classic 1962 Ford Thunderbird are board members Cozette Vergari, Art Wexler and David Russell. Board member Grant Francis is this year’s “Star of the Neighborhood,” and Mike Heffernan is riding with the LA Hogs. Marcelo Cruz is volunteering at the staging area today! The historical society’s mission is to gather, study, preserve and share the history of the Westchester, Playa del Rey and Playa Vista communities while providing access to all in the Discovery Center. They are located in the historic Westchester Triangle on the same side of the street as The Book Jewel and are open every Sunday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in conjunction with the farmers’ market. They’d like to thank their sponsors for their support, which is vital to their mission. Learn more at wphistoricalsociety.org.

Woman’s Club of Playa del Rey

Marching in the parade for the second time is the Woman’s Club of Playa del Rey, a nonprofit organization founded in 1938! Club President Julie Lansing and 1st Vice President Margarita Diosomito are seated in this pristine 1957 Ford convertible generously on loan by the Automobile Driving Museum in El Segundo! All participants are club members,

and they enthusiastically celebrate Rosie the Riveter, an American icon associated with female defense workers during World War II. Since the 1940s, Rosie the Riveter has stood as a symbol for women in the workforce and for women’s independence. The club meets every second Tuesday of the month in their own clubhouse at 8039 W. Manchester Ave. in Playa del Rey. For more information, please visit their website at wcpdr.org or contact Membership Chair, Vicki Ohliger at vohliger@msn.com.

Los Angeles World Airports & Flight Path

What’s better than the return to travel? Seeing LAX transform before our very eyes! Everywhere you look, a new LAX landscape is visible and, we are so excited to share that the first two train cars for the Automated People Mover train system have arrived at LAX! Later this week, LAX will officially unveil the trains that will create a much-improved airport experience! Join the Los Angeles World Airports team on July 7 as they stream the unveiling on their Facebook page! Marching in today’s parade are members of the Airport Affairs team, LAX Airport Police Division officers and command staff, and the famous PUPs from the airport’s pet therapy program! In partnership with LAWA, they also have the Flight Path Museum & Learning Center volunteers dressed in vintage flight

attendant and pilot uniforms representing various airlines from the airport’s past. The museum is planning its reopening in early August and is ready for guests and private events at one of the most unique locations in L.A.! The LAWA team would like to celebrate the valuable contributions made by the airlines, concessionaires, airport partners and sister agencies including the Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Federal Aviation Administration. Together, they provide exceptional guest experiences to travelers from around the globe! Let’s give a big cheer to Team LAWA! Thank you, LAX, for supporting local communities as a first-class neighbor and a world-class airport!

JOIN THE TEAM AYSO Region 7 Registration is Open! Register and volunteer to join our community soccer league for ages 4 to 18. Registration closes July 31, but divisions are filling up fast! Practices begin in the middle of August. Games begin Sept 10. Come out and Play! Fun Fact: Our U10 and U16/19 field has been refreshed with the same turfgrass being used in the 2022 FIFA World Cup!

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happy

4 th OF JULY

The Playa Venice Sunrise Rotary is a proud supporter of the parade and loves to volunteer! Learn about all our volunteer opportunities at playavenice.org! We meet Wednesdays at 7:15 am at MdR's Whiskey Reds.

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News


Serving students with special needs 3-22 years We offer Designated Instructional Services (DIS) which includes: • Speech & Language Therapy

• Occupational Therapy • Physical Therapy • Counseling • Individualized Programs • Case management

• Art Programs, Field Trips & Special Events • Afterschool program for students 5-18 with additional activities

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

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Visitation Catholic School

Visitation Bulldogs are thrilled to be marching in the 22nd Annual LAX Coastal Parade! This year marks the 75th anniversary of Visitation School and they could not be more excited to share their Visitation spirit and pride with the community! Leading the march today is the 2022 Teacher of the Year, Ms. Lorick. Ms. Lorick ignites wonder in Visitation’s littlest Bulldogs, teaching them with excitement, creativity and love. She is joined by many students and families, and of course the fun-loving Bulldog mascot! You can learn more about Visitation’s academic excellence, supportive community, and stellar athletics on their school website or by following them on social media. Happy 75th Bulldogs! And Happy Fourth of July to the 90045!

Trash Can Band

Did you know you could turn a regular household garbage can into a musical instrument? Well, that’s exactly what the Trash Can Band has done! Led by John Melville, here’s the one and only band that makes great music with the help of a trash can! Sit back and cover your ears, because it’s going to get loud!

Westchester Family YMCA

Your Westchester Family YMCA is proud to be a part of this year’s parade! Heading down Loyola Blvd. is the Y Community dancing to the classic song “America” from “West Side Story.” This group is led by YMCA Cardio Dance teacher Sheri Weitz and her son Devin, who have choreographed dances in three previous Fourth of July parades. They are waving flags from around the world, celebrating the diversity of America as they bring to life a song that

illustrates the obstacles and opportunities of the immigrant experience. The Y is a proud supporter of our Westchester community and welcomes all of its citizens to join in on the community fun! The Westchester Family YMCA leaned in during the pandemic to help provide essential services to kids, teens, families, and seniors in Westchester and surrounding communities. The Y provided food to those in need, helped kids achieve more through educational programming, gave teens a voice through the Youth & Government program, supported seniors in isolation with resources and so much more. And now, as we continue to work our way out of the pandemic, the needs in the community are stronger than ever. The Westchester Family YMCA is committed to continuing to provide the programming and services that are going to help meet those needs, to ensure members of the community continue to grow and thrive. For more information about the YMCA and all the programs they offer, visit ymcaLA.org/westchester or email JasonRamos@ymcaLA.org.

Loyola Marymount University

For the past 22 years, Loyola Marymount University has been a proud participant and sponsor of the LAX Coastal Fourth of July Parade! Their float celebrates the best of our community and our country. This year, they celebrate Howard Drollinger, who was dedicated to serving Westchester, and his family who have continued in that legacy! Joining the LMU float today are members of the university’s Men’s and Women’s basketball teams, and of course, Iggy the Lion! LMU is a private Jesuit university with 6,000 undergraduates, 2,200 graduate students and 1,100 law students from diverse backgrounds. Its seven colleges and schools on three campuses

boast best-in-the-nation programs in film and television, business, education and more. Their mission is grounded in a centuries-old Jesuit educational tradition that produces extraordinary persons with and for others. Visit lmu.edu for more information, and visit the campus for their upcoming movie night and performances of “The Tempest” on July 22 and 23. Go Lions!

will continue to serve students in Westchester and beyond as the HomeTown News’ reigning Best Private High School. This year, the graduates will attend the University of Notre Dame, University of Pennsylvania, UCLA, New York University, UC Berkeley and more! Visit stmonicachs.org or contact Roxanna Vega-Warmington ‘97, director of admissions, at (310) 394-3701 x1305 to learn more.

NCWP Star of the Neighborhood

Westchester Farmers’ Market

A Star of the Neighborhood is someone who quietly makes a difference in our community. They are the unsung heroes, but are wellknown by the lives they touch. Each Star of the Neighborhood, proudly picked by the Neighborhood Council of Westchester/Playa (NCWP) every year, helps to better the lives of so many in our neighborhood. This year, the NCWP is proud to recognize Grant Francis as the Star of the Neighborhood! Today Grant is riding in the parade with his wife, Judy, and is joined by some members of his wonderful Clean UP Westchester crew. The group meets monthly to help beautify Westchester by picking up trash and debris along popular intersections. Read more about Grant and your local Neighborhood Council on page 34 of the Hometown News.

Here comes the Westchester Farmers’ market and friends on their signature train filled with little farmers and fruits and veggies! The Westchester Farmers’ Market brings together farmers, neighbors and the community each and every week in the Westchester Downtown Triangle on 87th! Visit every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and save the date for the market’s Sixth Anniversary Celebration on August 21st! All your favorite farmers and vendors will be there, plus live music and plenty of family fun! The Westchester Farmers’ Market would like to thank the community and its sponsors, the Westchester Town Center BID District, Drollinger Family Charitable Foundation, Stephanie Younger Group, and HHLA, for their support! Follow them on social media and visit westchesterfarmersmkt.com for updates.

Saint Monica Preparatory

Marching in our parade since 2017, is Saint Monica Preparatory. Today, Principal James Spellman leads a group of students and families celebrating the next chapter for St. Monica Catholic High School as it merges with St. Monica Catholic Elementary to form one TK through 12th grade day school located in the heart of Santa Monica. Saint Monica Preparatory

While we hope you are having fun and enjoying the parade with all the music, floats and marching groups, SAFETY IS OUR NUMBER ONE PRIORITY! A FIRST-AID STATION is located at the east corner of 83rd and Loyola. Need a band aid? We have basic first-aid kits at each announcer booth, on our golf carts and at the VIP tent at the starting line. Just ask a volunteer in a turquoise parade shirt for assistance. LUXURY PORT-A-POTTIES courtesy of Sunset Studios are located at 85th & Loyola, 83rd & Loyola and 80th & Loyola. Bathrooms are also available at LMU and Westchester Park. Please walk your bike or scooter if you need to cross the parade route. Riders that are not with any entry in the parade will be asked to walk their bikes/ scooters to ensure the safety of the parade entries and to keep the parade running smoothly. Please remember to wash your hands and bring your own supplies. HAND SANITIZER will be available at the announcer booths. NEED WATER? Water is available for free at each announcer booth, at the VIP tent and will be passed out along the route by the Stephanie Younger Group.

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Notre Dame Academy

Joining the parade for the first time this year is Notre Dame Academy (NDA)! This all-girls high school is celebrating American women who have made a difference in fields such as science, technology, human rights and athletics. Members of its award-winning rocketry team, along with student leaders and athletes accompany the float. Riding in the classic Ford Thunderbird is Westchester resident and alumna Lilliam Paetzold, NDA’s President and Head of School. Since 1949, NDA has been educating young women to make a difference by living Gospel values. Generations of Westchester girls have been prepared for lives of purpose and passion at Notre Dame Academy. For more information, visit ndasla.org.

Mar Vista Family Center Folklorico

Marching in the parade for the second time is Mar Vista Family Center’s Folklorico Group led by dancers from Culver City Middle School, ICEF Mar Vista, Animo Venice and more. Today, they are showcasing various outfits from the regions of Mexico. Join them in celebrating the richness of culture and dance of Mexico! The group is taught by instructor Victor Herrera.

Masonic Lodge #529

The Southern California Lodge is saluting its first 100 years of service! This year, they are celebrating their centennial and the formation of Southern California Lodge in 1922 when numerous lodges merged. Today, they are “rowing together” with their custom ship float to help build a better community and nation. They are led this year by Worshipful Trista Surreda. The Southern California Masonic Lodge has been a part of this community for more than 60 years, beginning as Westchester Lodge here, and then were joined by Westgate, Menorah, Loyalty and several other lodges over the years. Their core mission remains the same: to be a place for men to meet and do their best to become better men. They have many events in and out of the lodge every year, and they are always looking for men to join them. If you are interested in joining, just ask; and don’t believe all the conspiracy theories! They meet the first Thursday of every month, and can be reached at (310) 354-4064. They also have an open house the third Thursday of each month.

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Otis College of Art & Design

Now in their seventh parade is Otis College of Art & Design’s “Moving Art” Creative Action class! As they celebrate the best of America, they invite the community to explore: “Water: The Essence of Life.” Ninety-nine percent of the materials used in creating their parade entry are recycled and biodegradable. The class, led by Robin Murez, works collaboratively in interdisciplinary teams. This year, the class is comprised of majors in digital media, fine arts, fashion and environmental design. Otis College is ranked in the top one percent in diversity and is number four in Money Magazine’s “50 colleges that add the most value.” Please join them in celebrating water and addressing solutions for water preservation, reclamation, consumption and the essential importance of water to our community and the world.

Wright Middle School STEAM Drumline Band

Let’s listen to the sounds of the Sea Hawk Drum Line! This marching musical group proudly represents the pride of Wright Middle School STEAM and Gifted Magnet under the direction of Eleni Maureas. Wright Middle School STEAM and Gifted Magnets are now accepting applications for students in grades six through eight for the 20222023 school year. Wright offers scholars rigorous academic courses rooted in project-based learning, and students can enjoy a variety of award-winning extracurricular programs from music to robotics. Students can also participate in the arts with sequential programing in band, orchestra and theater. There are many introductory arts classes that include bucket drumming, intro to theater, crafts, visual art and a DJ music production lab, as well. Students can explore science and language electives that include Spanish, robotics, flight and space. Come be a part of Wright where everyone belongs! Learn more at wrightms.org.

Westchester Del Rey Little League (WDRLL)

Westchester Del Rey Little League (WDRLL) was founded by Mary Ann and Kent Mace in

4th of July Parade Program

1974 and had approximately 50 girls playing the first season. Today, the league celebrates its 48th year in the community and has grown to more than 300 players ranging from ages 4 to 14 on 27 teams. Marching today are players from a variety of divisions! WDRLL’s spring season runs from the beginning of March through July. The fall season starts in September and runs through December. Learn more and sign up for softball and T-ball at wdrll.org.

Rotary Clubs on Fire Trucks & Salute to 2022 Graduates

Please welcome the Playa Venice Sunrise and Westchester Rotarians, friends of the LAX Coastal Chamber, recent graduates and the Los Angeles City Fire Department! Rotary is a service group made up of dedicated people who use their “time, talent and treasure” to give back to our community, supporting such projects as scholarships, service projects and today’s parade. Longtime Westchester resident, Joe Chehade, is the newly installed President of the Playa Venice Sunrise Rotary Club and is riding on the firetruck today with his family. They are joined by Westchester Rotary Immediate Past President, Erin Cueto and her daughter, Camela. Rotarian Howard Pollack will be escorting the fire trucks riding his 3-wheel motorcycle. Happy Fourth of July from Rotary to you!

Kentwood Players

Kentwood Players, Westchester’s only nonprofit community theatre for more than 70 years, is proud to be one of the original and consistent participants of this parade! Join them for their July 22 opening of the Neil Simon comedy “Laughter on the 23rd Floor,” followed by the thriller “Night Watch,” then the musical “9 to 5!” All of these performances are being showcased today as the actors and volunteers march and ride down the parade route! Purchase your tickets online and enjoy “L.A.’s most professional amateur theater group!” Membership meetings are open to the public and held monthly every third Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Westchester Playhouse, located at 8301 Hindry Ave. in Westchester. For more info, please visit kentwoodplayers.org.

Westchester Lariats

Celebrating its 72nd year in Westchester, the Westchester Lariats is a nonprofit that teaches kids in Westchester and surrounding communities international folk dance as a way of learning about world cultures. Founded in 1950 as an after-school square dancing club, the Lariats offer classes on Monday afternoons in the spring and fall for girls and boys in kindergarten through 12th grade. Focused on friendship and fun, the Lariats also have the opportunity to participate in local performances and travel on an annual summer tour. Fall classes will begin in September. For more information, please visit westchesterlariats.org or email them at westchesterlariats@gmail.com. Follow them on social media at facebook.com/ thewestchesterlariats.

Maywood Academy Senior High School’s Marching Nighthawks Band

Let’s hear it for the Maywood Academy High School Marching Nighthawks and Color Guard and the Chester W. Nimitz Middle School Band from Maywood! Under the direction of Reggie Smith and Sara Martin, as well as the leadership of drum major Jasmine Rivera, the 2021-22 school year has been a successful one! These two award-winning bands and color guards are performing today as the supergroup “The Maywood City Marching Band and Color Guard!” They would like to thank Ricardo Lara, the Mayor of Maywood, Maywood City Council and the LAX Kiwanis Club for providing bus funding so the group can be music ambassadors representing the beautiful city of Maywood! They would like to extend their hands in friendship to the wonderful neighbors of Westchester! The Nighthawks would also like to thank the principal of Maywood Academy High School, Mrs. Maricella Garcia, the principal of Nimitz Middle School, Lupe Simpson, and the wonderful band and color guard students and parents for their sacrifice to make today a reality! You represent the best from the city of Maywood!

Enjoy the photos in this program from the 2021 parade by Zsuzsi Steiner!

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News


Happy Fourth of July!

Our Dad loved 4th of July, and he loved Westchester. This year would have been his 100th birthday, so it is an extra-special celebration for us. Happy Fourth of July from Team Drollinger!

From Karen Dial, Jim Drollinger and all your friends at

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

PMS

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LAX Coastal Chamber Board Chair & Honorary Mayor

Please give a warm welcome to the chamber’s new board chair, Joe Coleman and his team from Decron! Joe is the Chief Operating Officer at Decron Properties and is responsible for directing their residential and commercial platforms, as well as the construction and marketing efforts for the company. In his role as Board Chair, Joe looks forward to continuing to support both the business and local community, and helping the chamber reach new heights with membership, leadership and growth. Thanks to his leadership, the chamber recently unveiled its strategic plan and is looking forward to growing its DEI initiatives. Joe has selected Jerry Jen as his Honorary Mayor. Jerry is the principal attorney and owner of Jen Law, a Westchester-based law firm focused on assisting entrepreneurs, small businesses, and professional service firms throughout the state. In his free time, Jerry enjoys volunteering with the Playa Venice Sunrise Rotary Club, the chamber’s Network for Change group and the Mar Vista Family Center.

Westchester Arts & Music Block Party (WAM) The Westchester Arts & Music Block Party (WAM) is making its seventh appearance in the Fourth of July Parade! As one of L.A.’s

premier block parties, WAM celebrates building community by bringing people together to connect through music, art, food and fun. This year’s float highlights the work of American artists Georgia O’Keefe, Roy Lichtenstein, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, and Edward Ruscha, and features the musical stylings of local band, Sanford Street! Come join in the party on Saturday, September 24 and get a taste of one of the best block parties in America! The WAM Block Party is an annual, free day-long community event benefiting local nonprofit organizations, with live music and dance, art, vendors, community booths, kids’ activities, food trucks and socializing–plus a beer and wine garden! This year, all WAM proceeds will benefit the Westchester Family YMCA to support their teen mental health and wellness programming. For more info, to sponsor or to volunteer for this amazing community event, visit wamblockparty.org.

Charro Horses

The chamber is pleased to welcome the Charro Internacional de Compton to today’s parade. A charro is a skilled Mexican horseman, part of a tradition with origins in the 17th century. The charros are seen today in traditional costumes and riding their famous dancing horses. On horse patrol is Steve and Jacob Rhodes! We couldn’t do this without you being on duty!

Uncle Sam

Here comes Uncle Sam wishing everyone in the audience a Happy Fourth of July! Uncle Sam is played here today by longtime Playa del Rey resident and San Francisco State University student, Jaren Rhodes! Jaren is an accomplished singer, dancer and actor, and has performed in numerous plays and musicals at his school and in community theater. Thanks, Uncle Sam for joining us again this year!

Sky & the Dream Team Family Brass Band

Chamber Staff & the Fourth of July Parade Committee

Closing down the parade is the Fourth of July Parade Committee and friends! We thank you for joining us again this year and supporting this neighborhood tradition! The LAX Coastal Chamber and Parade Committee would like to say a special thank you to our participants, volunteers, sponsors, residents of Loyola Blvd. and elected officials that make this event possible. We’ll see you next year! Happy Fourth of July!

The Dream Team Family Brass Band is a New Orleans-style “second line” band with an L.A. twist. From weddings, Mardi Gras parties, and events of all kinds, the Dream Team brings big horn energy and an authentic New Orleans sound to Southern California. Band leader and saxophonist Sky Funk started the project in late 2021, contacting some of his favorite players from a decade of experience in live music in L.A. Cherry-picking talent from Top Shelf Brass, Karmic, Trapdoor Social, and the Quinn Carson Band, among others, Funk didn’t think there was much chance they’d all say yes, but if they did, the band would certainly be a “dream team” of sorts. Luckily, they did, and now they’re also like a musical family. Get in touch with Sky and the band via Instagram @ dreamteamfamilybrassband.

Thanks, Westchester/Playa. I love being here to help in a community where people are making a difference every day. Thank you for all you do. Tatiana Ruiz More, Agent 8705 Truxton Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90045 310-450-8833 tatiana@coveredwithmore.com 2007005

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State Farm, Bloomington, IL

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News


WESTCHESTER ARTS & MUSIC BLOCK PARTY

ARTS MUSIC DANCE FOOD DRINKS FUN

SAVE THE DATE! September 24, 2022 12pm–7pm

Emerson Ave. at W. 80th St.

wamblockparty.org

2022 proceeds will support the Westchester Family YMCA

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

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Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News


Spotlight on Playa Vista

Bull & Butterfly

Bull & Butterfly is a California Steakhouse, reimagined and represents our favorite dining experience in Playa Vista. Popular LA restaurateurs, Alan and Heidi Jackson have created the perfect addition to

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the destination spot for the high quality California-inspired food, creative cocktail menu, and beautifulLA decor. Now openAlan for Lunch Wednesday - Sunday, Bullthe & Butterfly offers a relaxed Popular restaurateurs, and Heidi Jackson have created perfect addition to RUNWAY Playa Vista arealready drawn to the amazing menu, while and others are drawn to day time option to gowhere alonglocals with the community craved brunch evening menus. the destination spotfavorites for the high quality creative cocktail menu, andand the Scallops! A few of our menu include theCalifornia-inspired Ahi Tuna Tartare,food, the Ribeye, Wagyu Sirloin Cap, beautiful decor. Now open for Lunch Wednesday - Sunday, Bull & Butterfly offers a relaxed day time option to go along with the already community craved brunch and evening menus. Stop visit next time include you’re at RUNWAY Playa Vistathe ! Ribeye, Wagyu Sirloin Cap, and the Scallops! A fewby of for ouramenu favorites the Ahi Tuna Tartare, Stop by for a visit next time you’re at RUNWAY Playa Vista !

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Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

July 2022 • Page 31


Historical Society readies for holiday season By Cozette Vergari

While everyone may be thinking about their Fourth of July festivities, the historical society is busy planning for another holiday! By popular demand, the Westchester/Playa Historical Society (WPHS) will be leading the resurrection of the nearly seventy-year-old tradition of the giant holiday candle display that was prevalent in the neighborhoods of our local communities. While a few of these candles are still displayed in Westchester and Playa del Rey, the WPHS hopes this December to see dozens more of these decorations up around town! The giant red candles stood approximately six-feet tall and were lit as if their candle wicks were burning with white wax flowing over the edge. At one time in Westchester, there were blocks and blocks, where nearly every home displayed one of these during the holiday season. Legend holds, that in the 1950s, two men on Chase Avenue created these candles for their neighbors, and the street became known as Candle Lane. The candles became so popular, they

The Westchester/Playa Historical Society will be participating in the parade, and then will be preparing for their holiday candle making workshop.

spread far and beyond just Chase Avenue, drawing holiday tourists to Westchester to share in the wonder of the season. To plan for its fall and winter programming, the Westchester/Playa Historical Discovery Center, located at 6207 W. 87th St. in Westchester, will be closed for renovation from July 3 through September 4. During this time, the WPHS will be taking reservations for our Candle Making Workshops, which will be held during October. The workshops will be led by board member and lifetime resident

of Westchester, Grant Francis, who has personally carried on the holiday candle tradition for many decades. If you are interested in making your own red or blue giant holiday candle to display in your front yard, please RSVP at info.wphistorical@gmail. com. The workshops will include a materials kit and instructions for assembly. Next month, the Discovery Center will celebrate its one year anniversary. In its first year, we’ve been able to successfully present three special exhibits: in February we hosted the “Aviation Exhibit”

sponsored by IHOP; in March and April the “Celebrating Women Exhibit” sponsored by the Woman’s Club of Playa del Rey, and in May and June we held our “Commemorating our Hometown Veterans” exhibit sponsored by Richard Moon & Associates Accounting Firm. The exhibit closed on June 26 with an Air Force ROTC of LMU Color Guard presentation. We thank our sponsors for their financial support and making these exhibits possible. The Discovery Center will reopen to the public on Sunday, September 11, and is available to visit Sundays, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and otherwise by appointment for research purposes or special events. Learn more about our nonprofit and exhibits at wphistoricalsociety.org. Cozette is a lifelong resident of Westchester and is leading the charge to reinvigorate the Westchester/Playa Historical Society’s nonprofit status. Together with a group of dedicated volunteers, the organization is working on creating new programming and events to celebrate the history of the area and engage the community in preserving it for future generations.

Mike, Elise and our entire team of trial attorneys are here to help you. Contact us if you need help!

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NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL OF WESTCHESTER / PLAYA Working together to improve our communities!

“If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools.” CWP~ Plato

Grant Francis Named Star of the Neighborhood

Congratulations to community volunteer Grant Francis, who has been named the 2022 NCWP Star of the Neighborhood and will be honored during the annual Fourth of July Parade. The purpose of the award is to identify and honor those unsung heroes of our community who quietly, persistently and without fanfare voluntarily perform good deeds that serve the needs of their neighbors and/or the community. Grant has been very involved with his community for a very long time. He was involved with the YMCA for many years, helping with the fundraising campaign, sponsoring a Hi-Y group, managing a summer camp, working on the Christmas tree lot for the Y’s men, and starting the Westchester Hot Line in conjunction with Airport Marina Counseling Center. He has been the block captain of his block for many years and has worked with Cyndi Hench in starting many of the neighborhood watch groups in the community. He has hung most of the Neighborhood Watch signs in Westchester. Most recently, he started the Westchester Team Challenge and the Clean Up Westchester group, that goes out every month to beautify a major street in Westchester. The group has grown to about 50+ people that come out on any given month. In 2019, Grant, along with Amy Frelinger, founded the Westchester Team Challenge. The day of field games for adults is held at LMU and creates friendly competition between neighbors, businesses and community groups. The event is back this year on August 6, and the money raised will go to the Westchester Streetscape Improvement Association.

Next Neighborhood Council of Westchester/Playa Monthly Board Meeting:

6:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 5, 2022 via Zoom

www.ncwpdr.org • 213.473.7023 Page 34 • July 2022

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News


Congratulations to the Winners of the LAX Fly Quieter Program

CATEGORY 1 WINNERS 100+ Operations Daily

American Airlines

United Airlines

Southwest

Spirit

Volaris

Air Canada

Volaris Costa Rica

Asia Pacific Airlines

Avianca

CATEGORY 2 WINNERS 5 to 99 Operations Daily

CATEGORY 3 WINNERS 1 to 4 Operations Daily

The LAX Fly Quieter Program recognizes efforts to reduce aircraft noise through voluntary operational and technical measures, as well as community engagement. Scan the QR code or visit www.lawa.org/laxfqp to learn more. Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

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Random Notes/Opinion

TheHTN.com

By Jeff Blair

Opinion: I experienced heat illness as a young boy after attending a large family gathering. It was an unseasonably warm spring day. I was exerting myself during the hottest part of the day. I began to experience heat illness and I became overheated and disoriented. I was running around a local park having fun one minute, and the next minute I felt dizzy, nauseous and confused. I can remember sitting in a chair and my mom giving me cold water as I tried to understand what was happening to me. I eventually cooled down and luckily did not experience any long-term problems from the incident. Each year around this time, I try to write an article educating people about the risks of heat-related illness. My personal experience as a kid is part of my motivation for writing the article. Quite a bit of medical and healthrelated literature also emphasizes how relatively easy it can be for heat illness to sneak up on us. I want to encourage everyone to stay active during these summer months, but it is very important to understand the power of the heat while exercising. Here are a few tips to minimize your risk and maximize your enjoyment during these beautiful summer months:

1. Be aware of the importance of acclimation. One of the likely reasons I experienced heat illness as a kid was because I was not acclimated to the heat as the day was unseasonably warm. Unseasonably warm days and heat waves can dramatically increase temperatures overnight. Here in Los Angeles, we can experience similar effects by simply driving a few miles. While we usually enjoy a relatively cool, coastal environment here in Westchester, simply driving to the San Fernando Valley or other inland locations can easily produce a 10 to 15 degree temperature jump. As July usually brings warmer temperatures to Southern California, try a slow and steady exposure to increasing temperatures rather than starting with a long day hiking in the sun. July could even be considered acclimation month. Exercising before or after the 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. heat window is one way to begin to acclimate to the weather. If possible, exercising before 10 or after 5 is a good rule of thumb even after acclimating to the heat. 2. Hydrate throughout the week. The biggest challenge with the “hydrate” recommendation is we hear it so often it practically becomes background noise. Your first thought when you hear “hydrate” might be, “Yeah, I know that

one.” I even experience that at times. In spite of that, I am going to say it again because of its importance. Hydration is absolutely critical to exercising at any time and especially when it’s hot. Our bodies are mostly water and dehydration can be dangerous to your health. In some cases, it can be lifethreatening. The first step to hydration is understanding it should not just happen on the days you exercise. It is easy to skip a few days of adequate fluid intake and then think you will “catch up” on the days you exercise. Hydration should be an everyday habit. A simple way to assess your hydration level is by observing the color of your urine. Urine should generally be light yellow and darker colors tend to indicate lower hydration levels. When exercising during the summer, I try to carry plenty of water in a backpack. It is way too easy to underestimate the amount of water you will need. I have found this to be especially true while hiking. My rule of thumb is to err on the side of having a little more than I need rather than not enough. This one is very easy to say but actually doing it is not so easy. Consider adding a “water check” to your to-do list on the days you exercise outdoors. 3. Special note to athletes. As sports

Photo by Zsuzsi Steiner

When staying active this summer, don’t forget the heat

teams begin to practice for fall seasons, special attention should be given to their heat-related risks from exercising in the heat. Teams should have detailed emergency plans and consult with medical professionals prior to beginning conditioning or practice. From 19952020, tragically more than 50 high school football players died from heat stroke, according to data from the University of North Carolina. The risk of heat stroke should always be taken seriously and this is especially true when dealing with young athletes. Jeff Blair is celebrating 20 years as a Certified Personal Trainer throughout 2022. He founded the SoCalSport Personal Training Studio in 2011. Reach out to him at jeff@socalsport.com.

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Freedom to choose your attitude and accept your value

By Fay Craton

he knew in his life was taken away from him. He had no independence, no democracy, and very little food or other resources to sustain life. Survival was almost impossible. The leader of his country made the stance that he was insignificant and did not matter. Yet, that man, Viktor Frankl, made a positive impact on his world and on others. During his time of confinement, he realized, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” He later wrote this well-known quote in his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning.” What is your attitude? What are you choosing for yourself: being of value or not being of value? What is your personal outlook on life? Do you seek what is working well in life or do you dwell on everything that is wrong? Our moods and our feelings are closely tied to how we think. Often, our worst critic is our own internal voice. For me, this can appear when I am working on a project and my internal voice tells me I am not doing it well enough. Does this happen to you? I learned I can engage with my internal bully to quiet it. You can also learn how to transform the impact of mean-spirited inner beliefs. I encourage you to engage in an effort to challenge your internal negative voices undermining your own sense of well-being. I want you to be able to share an attitude reflective of your value as a human being. Making this effort is the first step on a journey of having a positive impact in your life and in the lives of others. Ultimately, I want you to learn to be authentically present for yourself and for significant others in your life; to have the ability to validate the truth that you matter and so do the people around you. I want you to be able to navigate the world’s turmoil, from an understanding that you have internal resources to soothe you when life appears to be in upheaval. My wish is for you to celebrate Independence Day as a new beginning in which you appreciate your worth– not because someone else determines it, but because it naturally belongs to you. I wish you opportunities during July to relax and replenish your emotional reserves to keep you moving forward. Fay Craton, M.A. is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (mfc40011), which is the psychology license specializing in relationships (with ourselves or with others) and she has an office in Westchester. If you have any questions, please contact Fay at (310) 645-6762.

Opinion: July is here and the month traditionally opens with a celebration of our country’s democracy, our freedom and independence. It is a time to relax, take vacations, have BBQs and enjoy being outdoors. Yet, a quick look at the news indicates celebrations and relaxation are not what people are talking about this year. War, mass shootings, profound changes in legal interpretations and legislation, outspoken abrasive viewpoints, food shortages, sky-rocketing costs to live, and continued pandemic concerns all combine to disrupt the guiding framework used to make sense of the world. It could seem as if you no longer matter. The continuous turmoil is shaking both our internal and external fundamental understandings about truth, lies, right, wrong, acceptability, worthiness and how to survive. It is hard to understand and endure the numerous challenges to our life-guiding standards. The result is many of us are left frustrated, depressed and anxious. Some people may be attempting to numb themselves by turning to addictions, while others are expressing their discomfort though irritability, badtemper, and general misbehaving. You do matter. “How?” you may be asking yourself. One day, one hour, one minute, one moment at a time you can have a positive impact on everyone around you–including your own life. Chaos can happen; however, it is the experience of how one person relates within one’s self and to another person that will be remembered at the end of each day. What you think and how you feel is important. Understanding your value is an inside job. If I tell you, “You matter,” yet you have an internal voice saying, “You are worthless,” chances are you will believe your internal voice. That is why it is important for you to understand your value is not something that is necessarily reflected back to you by everyone and everything around you. A personal sense of value begins at the most basic level–as a human being, you matter. The first person you must care about is “you.” This does not mean you do not care about others. However, in the longterm, you cannot help someone else if you do not first have the capacity to personally keep moving forward. Your energy reserves and your sense of selfesteem are depleted without self-care. This is when people become numb, depressed, overly stressed and ill. During World War II, a man was in a concentration camp where all that Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

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Photos by Marianne Pellin Photography

Outgoing Y Board Chair Gregg Goldfarb, Y Executive Director John Loussararian and incoming Chair John Ramey pose with summer camp attendees in front of the YMCA Annex. Below: Goldfarb and Ramey look forward to the ongoing goal of building a strong YMCA for the community.

YMCA leadership makes big plans for the future

By Shanee Edwards

The Westchester Family YMCA stands as a red brick beacon of physical and mental health, with an inspirational mission to strengthen the community, provide youth programs and support our most vulnerable residents. The pandemic has brought extraordinary challenges to the Y, however, including a 50 percent loss of membership and the pausing of valuable programs. But John Ramey, the fearless new board chair, is taking his turn at leadership and has big plans to rebuild our neighborhood Y, one brick at a time. John Ramey runs a highly successful law firm with his wife Christa in Playa del Rey. But when he’s not fighting for the rights of his clients, he’s serving his community as a volunteer in a myriad of ways. But it’s the YMCA that he holds most near and dear to his heart. Originally from Dallas, Texas, Ramey spent his youth at his local YMCA playing sports like basketball and football and being active with his father in the Adventure Guides program. After moving to Westchester in 1997 (he now lives in Playa del Rey), he wasted no time creating new memories with his own kids at the local Y that was just a half-mile from his house. “At the time, my son was 5-yearsold. I got him involved in the Junior Lakers Program, now it’s the Junior Clippers Program in partnership with the Clippers. It was the same with my daughter in the daycare program and then the Adventure Guides program. It’s a time I’ll always cherish,” he says. As they grew, his kids went through the teen programs that included the exciting Teens & Government Program. Page 38 • July 2022

Considering the Y has been a big part our own horn, so it’s better for people to just see what we do when the need of his family’s life, Ramey’s firsthand experience, along with 11-years on the arises,” said Goldfarb. As Ramey takes over for Goldfarb, he Westchester YMCA Board of Managers, admits he has big shoes to fill. uniquely qualifies him to step into the “I can’t emphasize enough what has leadership role on July 1. been accomplished under Gregg, who The outgoing board chair, Gregg came in at a very difficult time,” says Goldfarb, agrees. Ramey. “So I want to give a special “Knowing how valuable programs like Adventure Guides were to his own shoutout to everybody on the board and staff who put in countless hours, family, he doesn’t want anyone else but outgoing chair Gregg and executive to miss out on that opportunity. That director John Loussararian, have both is the kind of person who should be a been spectacular in terms of their board chair. Someone with heart and dedication and commitment.” empathy for others,” he says. Part of that dedication and For his own demanding time as chair, commitment was finding ways to pivot Goldfarb says he’s incredibly proud so the Westchester Y could best serve of all the Y accomplished, especially the community during COVID. One of since the public was able to see the the first priorities became helping the Y active in serving the community beyond offering gym memberships and unhoused population. “We provided a program where they swimming lessons. could come in, get a shower and also get “During the pandemic, people were personal hygiene kits,” said Goldfarb. able to see us in action in a much more “We serviced over 7,000 individuals visible way. We’re not good at blowing Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del

in that program in 2020 while it was active.” Another priority was looking in on all the senior citizens stuck at home, and they performed over 800 wellness checks over the last two years. Feeding the hungry was equally important. “We did food distribution where people could come to the Y, and we distributed over 17,500 pounds of food in 2020 alone to over 350 families,” said Ramey. When schools shifted to online learning, not all families had equal access to Wi-Fi, so the Y provided remote learning connectivity to more than 83 families. And then there were the blood drives that resulted in more than 1,300 donors giving much-needed blood in a time of medical crisis. It’s hard to believe that our neighbors had so much need for food and services, but that’s the humbling reality in our current social and economic climate, says Ramey. Graciously, the YMCA and the community at large generously stepped in to help, and they’re continuing to show up to be of service and be part of positive solutions. But now Ramey says it’s time to look ahead to the future of the Westchester Y which is going back to expanded operational hours as of July 5. “We’re getting back to having day camps and summer camps again for the kids that we had to mothball for a while,” says Ramey. “The ‘Get Summer’ program for teenagers is running now through August 15. This program, which offers a free two-month Y (continued on next page) Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News


YMCA (continued) (continued from previous page) membership to teens, is a whole series of programs put on during the course of the week to keep teens who are on summer break active and give them a place to go to do really fun activities.” Check out facebook.com/ westchesterfamilyymca for a full list. Ramey will also rebuild programs that have struggled during the last two years, including the Adventure Guides program for K-third graders. “This is one of my top priorities as the incoming board chair,” says Ramey. For middle school kids, he’s going to continue to grow the Model UN Program. For high school kids, there’s the Teens & Government program. “Both programs,” says Ramey, “sponsor and debate legislation and they pass bills. There’s a justice program. To me as a trial lawyer, teaching kids how the civil and criminal justice system works is significant.” He says the Teens & Government program recently got some exciting news. “Every year they elect a statewide Youth Governor. This year it’s Ava Castro-DeVarona from the Westchester program, which is a really big deal,” said Ramey. “I’m told we haven’t had a Youth Governor from Westchester since the early 1980s, so we’re really proud of her.”

While the teen delegates of the Youth & Government program were unable to make their annual trip to Sacramento for the last two years, some 33 members of the delegation created the “Finding Common Ground” webinar series to conduct virtual panel discussions on important issues like community policing, working to provide assistance to the unhoused community, mental health challenges and immigration. The series, which reached over 43,000 viewers, was cited by philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, as one of the reasons she made a “historic” donation to the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles. It was one of the largest grants the Y has ever received and was a truly humbling experience for the organization. Things are looking up and as John Ramey takes charge, it’s clear the Westchester Family YMCA won’t be slowing down anytime soon. “My goal is to build these programs back even bigger and better than they were before,” says Ramey, whose experience, fortitude and big heart won’t let anything stand in his way. “The past couple of years have underscored the importance of partnerships, volunteers, and the generosity of our donors in delivering on our promise. We invite our community to join us. Together we can accomplish so much more!”

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