Thirty players tested their spelling and strategy mettle in the first Rotary Westchester/ Playa del Rey Scrabble Challenge at the Westchester Family YMCA Friday, February 15th.

Contestants played three rounds of one-on-one matches, with the highest cumulative total point scorer taking home the title.

The evening’s winner was Jim Laris, who won all three games with a tournament-high cumulative score of 1,184 points. In second place was Peggy Lunden with 1,092 points. Kathy Saenz was third.

The youngest player was just two years old.

Players were treated to a buffet-style dinner and dessert, and a number of door prizes were also awarded.

Laris will have his name engraved on the rather substantial Players’ Cup, a Stanley Cup-style perpetual trophy that will tour various public venues in the coming year.

Edgar Saenz of the Rotary Club of Westchester and Gisele Rebeiro of the Venice-Marina Rotary Club organized the event.

“The players had a relaxed and enjoyable time,” Saenz said. “I know I had a good time directing. For three hours, a roomful of people entertained themselves with their minds in friendly competition, a regrettably rare event these days.”

Among the challenges during play were the words “ZOB” and “KA.” The former is not a real word; but the latter is. “KA” is an ancient Egyptian religion.

GUILDED CAGE “THANK YOU” SALE — Shoppers at The Guilded Cage will be treated to a one-day-only Thank You sale offering them a storewide 20 percent discount on everything they purchase between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday, February 23rd.

The sale is a great opportunity to find special-occasion gifts for family and friends from amongst an elegant selection of personal and home items, jewelry, toys, greeting cards and much more while supporting a good cause at the same time.

In business for 33 years, The Guilded Cage has donated more than $400,000 to Airport Marina Counseling Service, a nonprofit community mental health clinic that has provided excellent and affordable services since 1961.

The Guilded Cage is a division of the Westchester Mental Health Guild and is run solely by volunteers. The store is at 8917-B S. Sepulveda Blvd. in Westchester (across the parking lot from Longs Drugs). It has recently been redecorated and continues to offer unique merchandise, including many one-of-a-kind items.

Information, (310) 641-7850.

FARMERS MARKET GOING STRONG — Though the Westchester Vitalization Corporation made a business decision in late December to close the Saturday Farmers Market at the Promenade at Howard Hughes Center, the organization’s Wednesday market, now in its 15th year, is very much alive.

Though it moved from its longtime spot in the Westchester Triangle to a new location at Westchester Park, across from Otis College of Art and Design, the market is doing as well as it ever has.

Open Wednesdays from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., with plenty of free parking, the Farmers Market boasts a wide variety of vendors of fresh fruits, vegetables and prepared foods as well as its newest vendor ñ a knife sharpener.

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