Author: betsygoldman

An inside look at Los Angeles Fire Station #63 — Part II

The Los Angeles Fire Department doesn’t just wait for disaster to happen. They are proactive in preventing both fires and safety hazards. While Venice may not be on a densely vegetated hillside or prone to heavy flooding, the firefighters at LAFD Station #63 inspect between 900 and 1,000 buildings annually to check for fire regulation violations and any source of potential danger. “We document the inspections,” says Capt. Rex Vilaubi. “Fire prevention is not just for us. It’s for the occupants to make sure they are safe.” Upon request, the firefighters will go out into the community, whether to a personal residence or neighborhood function, to provide information on fire prevention systems. Station #63 is a task force station with a truck, engine and pump. The captain II is in charge of an operation, while the AO (apparatus operator) drives the fire truck, which carries the ladders and other equipment. The front engine, driven by the captain I, carries the water and the rear engine, driven by an engineer, is known as the “pump” and it provides additional water. “Our whole emphasis when we are in or outside of quarters is to respond within one minute,” says Vilaubi. Precision teamwork is demonstrated in the fire department, where firefighters say they learn to train as if their lives depend on it. Firefighters have specific jobs depending on where they sit....

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Life at Los Angeles Fire Department Station No. 63 – Part I

There are many things in life that people may take for granted but perhaps nothing more than emergency help when it is needed. “Whenever the situation is beyond the control of the people they call 911,” says Capt. II Rex Vilaubi, C Shift supervisor at Los Angeles Fire Department Station No. 63 in Venice. The station receives a myriad of calls — homicides, drug overdoses, shootings, stabbings, domestic violence, births, automobile accidents, accidental fires, arson, stalled elevators and the proverbial cat in a tree. Though some situations are not in training books. “We put our heads together to come up with a solution and it usually works for us,” Vilaubi says. I was fortunate to spend almost 22 hours over two days with the C Shift firefighters in order to convey an appreciation of the men and women who save lives in the local community. This will be a two part column to give a sense of the firefighters’ life in quarters and out on runs. The day starts at 6:30 a.m. when one shift relieves the other. There are discussions and updates on what went on during the previous work period. The firefighters ready their turnout (the jacket alone weighs 25 pounds and has attachments for tools, a face piece and breathing apparatus; the matching pants are rolled onto and over the boots so a firefighter can quickly...

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Esquire Jauchem — Venice’s modern-day town decorator

There hasn’t been an official “town decorator” since Arthur Reese in the early days of Venice. Esquire Jauchem, known to some residents and partygoers as the producer of Carnevale! Venice Beach, is putting on a new community hat. Residents may have noticed that there was no Carnevale in the streets this year. However, there was a Carnevale masquerade party to keep the tradition alive. “We don’t want it to die,” Esquire says. The economic downturn, coupled with inadequate space for the vendors last year, resulted in a lack of funds to produce a full blown event for 2010. Organizers say it has been a labor of love fraught with logistical problems since starting in 2002. Esquire is determined to have the festivities on the beach like carnivals at other beach cities such as Rio de Janeiro and Kuta Karnival in Bali. He envisions community-wide participation so everyone can benefit and have fun. Now, Esquire is calling on a talent previously featured in lighting effects for Phantom of the Opera, the first version of The Glory of Easter at the Crystal Cathedral and for the Dalai Lama on the night he won the Nobel Peace Prize. Before the Santa Monica Third Street Promenade was completed in 1989, Esquire was asked to decorate Main Street, and he designed and built more than 100 starfish with lights that were prominent on storefronts...

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Venice Art Walk artist debut challenges the norms of perception

Since opening in 1970, the Venice Family Clinic has become the largest free clinic in the country. Today, comprehensive primary health care and supportive services at seven locations in Los Angeles County are provided to over 24,400 low-income, uninsured and homeless individuals. More than ever, clinic officials say it is necessary to treat additional patients and they are always looking for ways to expand services, reach more people in need and stretch resources even further. The Venice Art Walk & Auctions is the clinic’s largest annual fundraiser, attracting more than 4,000 art lovers each year. The event is a celebration of art, architecture, music and fine cuisine. The net proceeds go towards providing medical visits for individuals with no other access to health care. The public can support the clinic by participating in the tour of more than 50 artists’ studios and bidding on more than 400 original works of art, including paintings, sculpture, graphics, photography, cartoons and furniture provided by Los Angeles area and Venice Art Walk artists. Celebrations of art, architecture, music and fine cuisine are planned throughout the event, scheduled Saturday and Sunday, May 22nd and 23rd. A new artist on the Venice Art Walk May 23rd is Jay Mark Johnson, who grew up in an artistic household in which there was no television. “We were encouraged to make things,” he says. In the early 1980s...

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17th Annual Venice Garden & Home Tour celebrates community

In 1994, Venice landscape architect Jay Griffith along with Venice residents Linda Lucks and Jan Brilliot founded the Secret Gardens of Venice Tour to give financial support to the Neighborhood Youth Association’s Las Doradas Children’s Center, a licensed care facility in Oakwood that provides full-time, education-based childcare to low-income working families. In operation since 1991, the center offers “at-risk” children an opportunity for the care and additional guidance that prepares them to be effective learners, and to instill in them the values to become productive community members in the future. By 2001, due to the gracious involvement of homeowners and participation of the community, Venice’s gardens were no longer a secret and the name was changed to Venice Garden Tour. In 2006, another dimension was added to highlight the new architecture that was transforming Venice streetscapes. This annual event became the Venice Garden & Home Tour. This year’s tour will be in two neighborhoods — Palms/Milwood and Oakwood. In a sense, some of what will be shown goes back to the original secret gardens. Co-chair Brilliot was determined to find gardens in Oakwood and she started knocking on doors, talking to people and discovering what was going on behind gates on the street and in the alley. “I know people come to Venice for the big fancy houses and the eye candy, but, I think people are also drawn...

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