It may be the first week in June, but some folks in the Marina are already thinking about the Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade, scheduled for Saturday, December 11th.

“In fact, we already have five entries and a theme,” boat parade president Cindy Williams told the Westchester/LAX-Marina del Rey Chamber of Commerce Harbor Committee this week.

Theme for the holiday boat parade this year will be “Sights and Sounds of the Holidays.”

Boat parade organizers believe the theme will bring more music to the annual boat parade, always the largest event of the year in the Marina.

Also this year, boat parade planners have lowered the entry fee for boat owners, hoping the new $25 entry fee for individual boats and $50 for nonprofit organizations will stimulate more entries in those two categories.

Charter boats and corporate boats will pay $2 a foot to enter their boats.

In past years, the Marina boat parade has had ties to boat parades in Tokyo and Fort Lauderdale.

The folks who put on the boat parade in Fort Lauderdale — considered the largest in the country — have already signed up to participate in the December 11th Marina del Rey event, Cindy says.

And there is indication that the folks connected to the boat parade in Tokyo Bay also want to continue their relationship with the Marina boat parade.

Owners of the boat that won first place in last year’s Channel Islands boat parade up in Ventura County want to bring their boat down to the Marina for the December 11th event, Cindy told the chamber members.

Cindy is banging the drums to get more corporate and individual sponsors for the boat parade but she also is emphasizing the fun that volunteers will find when they participate in organizing and helping to run the boat parade.

To sign up as a sponsor or to participate in the boat parade as a volunteer, call Cindy Williams at (310) 670-7130.

Boat parade organizers promise to have information on this boat parade up soon on their Web site,

www.mdrboatparade.org

DREDGING AGAIN? — The County Department of Beaches and Harbors is looking again at a buildup of sediment on the north jetty of the Marina entrance channel.

“Maybe in a few years we can dredge that area to keep it open,” Dusty Crane, department spokesman, told the chamber committee Tuesday morning.

In the meantime, department officials are monitoring the area to ensure that the north entrance stays open for boats coming in and out of the Marina.

MORE BUDGET PROBLEMS — It seems that everybody these days has a budget problem.

Now comes the Marina del Rey Sheriff’s Station, announcing that the annual summer bicycle patrol in the Marina is being put on hold because of budget constraints.

At issue is the lack of funding for those who would ride around the Marina on the bikes.

In earlier years, the issue was equipment and many in the community pitched in to raise funds for bicycles for the Marina Sheriff’s Station and the Los Angeles Police Department Pacific Community Police Station.

We recall the fun “Bikes for Cops” effort, which proved to be very successful in raising funds for the bicycles.

Now the issue is not equipment, Sheriff’s Sgt. Gary Thornton told the chamber members Tuesday morning.

“We have the equipment but don’t have the personnel or the budget” for overtime, he said.

But Thornton hinted that the department’s budget problems seem to be in flux at the moment — sort of a “day to day thing.”

Hopefully, a little push of interest from the Marina community will help get the officers back on their summer bikes. We can only hope.

RALPHS UPGRADE — Ralphs Grocery Co. planned to have a grand opening this week for its new Fresh Faire market on Lincoln Boulevard at Marina Pointe Drive.

It didn’t take Ralphs much time to convert its big store into a Fresh Faire.

We were a bit stunned with that development because Marina officials had been telling us, and everybody else, that Ralphs planned to turn its Marina Waterside Center store into a Fresh Faire.

Could Ralphs possibly be planning two Fresh Fair stores within a block or two?

Apparently so, we were told this week by a Marina official, who still says that Ralphs plans to expand its Marina Waterside Center store from the present 25,000 square feet to 35,000 square feet and open a similar Fresh Faire store as part of a redevelopment of the Admiralty Way shopping center later this year.

MINDANAO ENTRY — And speaking of that area near the Waterside Center at Lincoln Boulevard and Maxella Avenue, the natives are getting restless again about the traffic mess at that corner.

Marina officials consider the intersection one of those “gateways” to the Marina, yet at the moment it’s nothing but a permanent traffic jam.

Much of the problem is on eastbound Mindanao Way, leaving the Marina at Lincoln Boulevard, where daily you can still see drivers trying to make an illegal left turn onto northbound Lincoln Boulevard.

Further east on Mindanao, it gets even messier when drivers try to make a left turn into the Chevron station and McDonald’s.

More to come on this issue.

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