Before I begin to write my column each month, I make a list of all the fun and interesting events that have just happened or are scheduled for the near future.

This month, as the list was approaching 20 items, it hit me that we are so very fortunate to live in an environment that sponsors so many exciting alternatives for entertainment as well as a community comprised of very caring people.

TRIATHLON COMING — The 2004 LA Triathlon will be run Sunday, September 12th, and will begin with the swim segment at Venice Beach at 6:30 a.m.

The most significant traffic disruption in Venice will be from 6:20 to 9:50 a.m.

The bike course starts at Venice Boulevard and Pacific Avenue and proceeds east on Venice Boulevard to Fairfax Avenue.

This will be a fun event but you need to be aware of the street closures and crossing points to ensure as little disruption as possible to your Sunday morning plans.

Information is available from the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation information line, (323) 224-6534.

The course map is on www.LATriathlon.com

PLAYA VISTA EVENT — Once again, Playa Vista has hosted a very “happening” event at Concert Park. “Eight Days a Week” had everyone up dancing and singing to the tunes of the Beatles.

When you add a beautiful location, picnic dinners, and friends, what better place could you be on the last Sunday of the month?

On Sunday, August 29th, Tropical Wave Band will be combining steel drums and exciting vocals to create music that will get you dancing — and, if the crowds of the past two events are any indicators, everyone will be up in front shaking everything they have to the beat of the music.

It will be sad to see the end of these concerts, but next summer will be here soon and Playa Vista may be adding other types of performances to entertain all of us.

MARINA CONCERTS — The Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors also sponsors free outdoor concerts at Burton Chace Park on alternating Thursdays and Saturdays throughout the summer.

Last week, Judy Collins gave a terrific performance that was made even better, I am sure, by all of us singing along.

As we were sitting in front of the stage with the full moon, the harbor surrounding us, our picnic dinners, and friends — I know, it sounds a lot like Concert Park — we were all marveling at how lucky we are to live in such a wonderful community and being able to enjoy all of this in our own backyards.

MARINA SPORTSFISHING — One of the great things to do all year long in Marina del Rey is sportfishing.

Once a year, for the past five years, the crew at Sievers/Burnett Press has put together an office party that includes fishing.

Diane Barretti organized the trip this year and included Westchester Rotarians, West-chester/LAX-Marina del Rey Chamber members and friends.

On Thursday, July 29th, our group of 40 people left on the twilight cruise at 6 p.m. and returned at 10 p.m. with bags loaded with sea bass.

Larry Derleth was the big winner that night and was awarded $125 for catching the biggest fish.

I think that Gary Frey caught the most fish and everyone had a terrific time.

Since this was my very first fishing experience, I must admit that someone took pity on me and tossed me a bag of the best-tasting fish I have ever cooked. You see by tossing it, I was able to claim that I also caught a fish.

If you are interested in putting together your own tour, contact Captain Rick Oefinger, owner of Marina del Rey Sportfishing and tell him his star galley mate sent you.

LAPD BOOSTERS GOLF — The Pacific Area Boosters group hosts its annual golf tournament at Robinson Ranch Wednesday, September 15th.

This year, each Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) division is being challenged to sponsor a four-golfer team in the Kelly Shea Divisional Golf Cup.

The annual golf tournament is the largest fundraiser for the Boosters. All golfers are welcome. All of the proceeds are used to help support the two youth programs that are offered at the Pacific Community Police Station — the Deputy Auxiliary Police Services (DAPS) for youths nine to 13 years old, and the Law Enforcement Explorers, for those 14 to 21 years old.

Donations provide scholarships for young men and women from local high schools who have worked very hard to be able to continue their post-high school education and just need a helping hand to take that next step.

Information, Officer Michelle Eskridge at the LAPD Pacific Area Community Relations office, (310) 202-4524.

CITY ATTORNEY COMING — City attorney Rocky Delgadillo and LAPD Pacific Area commanding officer Captain Bill Williams will be guest speakers at the Venice Chamber Breakfast Forum 8 to 9:30 a.m. Thursday, August 19th, at the Venice Abbot Kinney Memorial Library, 501 S. Venice Blvd. A continental breakfast will be provided and the entire community is invited.

POLICE ACADEMY — Starting Thursday, September 9th, the LAPD will conduct a ten-week Community Police Academy for community members, culminating with a graduation ceremony Thursday, November 18th,.

The course encourages a lasting partnership between the community and the police department and has an ultimate goal of reducing crime and improving the quality of life in our neighborhoods. Information, LAPD officer Michelle Eskridge, (310) 202-4524.

SPIRIT OF VENICE — During the past year, the Venice Gang Coalition of various community leaders and government representatives has been meeting to develop a Venice Youth Event Security Protocol and study how to coordinate with area youths.

One of the products of these meetings is the formulation of the Spirit of Venice, a group of young people who will be working on Venice Beach to provide directions, answer questions, and sell T-shirts and caps as a first step to being an entrepreneur.

This project is still in the planning stages but, hopefully, will be up and running within the next month or so.

Another organization that helps at-risk young adults find and keep jobs is PV-JOBS.

On Saturday, August 14th, graduates, who have completed 3,000 hours of work at the Playa Vista site, will celebrate their accomplishments with families.

This is an important event and these men and women deserve to be recognized because they have worked very hard to turn their lives around. With the help of PV-JOBS, they have succeeded.

SCHOLARSHIP EVENT — Adiba Shaby, Adiba Shaby Scholarship Foundation president, hosts an annual fundraiser at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, August 21st, at the LAX Sheraton Gateway Hotel, 6101 Century Blvd.

Shaby has been raising funds for more than eight years for scholarships for area at-risk youths to continue their education. Sports celebrities and entertainment are promised at this event. More importantly, you will be given the opportunity to assist our young people pursue higher education and make a better life for themselves and their families.

Interested persons can contact Adiba Shaby, (310) 397-1717.

OAKWOOD PLAY AREA —For many years, people have been concerned about the location of the play area at Oakwood Recreation Center, operated by the City of Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Department.

Since the play area was located adjacent to a busy street, a decision was recently made to move the play area to a safer spot near the building, where park personnel can provide supervision and children cannot run out into the street to chase a ball.

After a number of community meetings, it was decided that the tennis court would have to be relocated to make way for the play area.

There was then some disagreement by some community members about moving the tennis court to the north end of the park. After a few more meetings, it was decided that the tennis court would be relocated to the north end of the park and that three trees would be planted for each tree removed.

The park director agreed to provide tennis lessons for area youths and this project is under way by the Department of Recreation and Parks.

This is a good example of the community and government working together to come up with a project that benefits everyone.

YELLOW WRIST BANDS —During the past few months, I’m sure you’ve noticed a lot of people walking around with Lance Armstrong yellow wrist bands.

I am also sure that if you tried to purchase one of the wrist bands to benefit the Lance Armstrong Foundation you might have found them difficult to find.

Nike, Inc. — represented in our community by Celeste Alleyne, a Venice Chamber board member — donated the first $1 million toward programs for young people with cancer.

To date, close to six million wrist bands have been purchased, but still many places have them on back order. Not to fear. The Venice Chamber has two boxes of these bands and will be selling them at our future events, or you can contact me at (310) 664-7920 or mrichert@ucla.edu

SALES TAX MEASURE — I can’t spend so much time discussing law enforcement without a mention of the “Baca Initiative,” the proposed additional half-cent increase in the sales tax measure on the November 2nd county ballot and what it would mean to you on a personal level.

This small increase would enable LAPD to hire between 1,200 and 1,500 new officers.

When I asked LAPD Captain Bill Williams what he would do with the additional 100 or so officers he would receive for Pacific Division if the initiative passed, he said that he would add foot beats and bicycle patrols to Westchester and Palms, continue the foot beats in Oakwood, increase the bicycle officers at Venice Beach, and add more response units throughout Pacific Division, which would result in a reduction in response time.

LAPD NIGHT OUT — During the past few years, the Pacific Community Police Station has participated in National Night Out, an event designed to promote anti-violence in neighborhoods, especially violence against children.

This year’s event, held Tuesday, August 3rd, was a tremendous success. More than 600 community participants walked from Stoner Elementary School to the Mar Vista Gardens Community Center.

Along with information tables on ways people can help themselves to be safe. There was face painting, balloon making, music, lots of food, guest speakers, and the giveaway of six bicycles.

Everyone had a great time interacting with neighbors, police officers, firefighters, social service agencies, Los Angeles Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski and her staff, and members of the city attorney’s office.

One of the biggest hits of the evening was the most elaborate bouncer that I have ever seen, with a sliding board from one side to the other — and a lot of very happy children, some of whom tried to get into the bouncer as the air was being pumped in.

This was a great annual event and we hope that the community spirit can continue throughout the year.

SGT. SHEA BENEFIT — On Thursday, July 29th, the LAPD Pacific Community Police Station hosted a benefit barbecue for one of its own, LAPD Sgt. Kelly Shea, who is struggling with a devastating illness.

The turnout of support was overwhelming, with many, including LAPD Chief Bill Bratton, attending.

Shea was the senior lead officer for the Venice Beach area for a number of years and most recently was in charge of the Pacific Area Community Relations office.

Cards may be sent to Sgt. Shea, c/o Pacific Area Boosters, 12312 Culver Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90066.

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