Author: betsygoldman

Elizabeth ‘Betty’ Jolley retires after 32 years as Venice school crossing guard

When Elizabeth “Betty” Jolley was ten years old her mother saw where her daughter wrote in a word book that she wanted to live in California when she grew up. “I was always star struck,” she says of her desire to live in California. After school, Betty worked in a mill in her home town of Leeds in West Yorkshire, England. She then spent several years in New Zealand doing the same type of work. “It was a nice way of seeing somewhere else for free because they paid my way,” she recalled. In 1961, family friends sponsored Betty to come to California. She found a job as a nanny to six children in Brentwood, but she was homesick at first. When she went to the British Consulate to get her passport renewed, a person there suggested that she try one of the English clubs. “In those days there used to be clubs from the part of England you come from,” she says. Betty and her husband first lived in a house near Hamilton High School. Her daughter, Gloria, had asthma and a doctor suggested that they move closer to the ocean, but her father-in-law questioned their move to Venice. “No one wanted to live here in those days,” she says. “It didn’t have a very good reputation.” Betty has lived in the same home since 1966. At first,...

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Venice architect Angela Brooks honored with ‘Character Approved’ award by USA Network

Have you ever watched a television show on cable channel USA and heard the slogan “Characters Welcome?” Inspired by this branding, USA Network has gone one step further with a “Character Approved” multimedia campaign honoring individuals who are changing the face of American culture. For the second year, USA Network has selected ten honorees for its Character Approved Awards, an initiative dedicated to celebrating the true cultural influences and trailblazers across a variety of disciplines such as architecture, philanthropy, new media and film. “Character Approved is a celebration of the real characters making an impact on our culture today,” says Chris McCumber, USA executive vice president of marketing, digital and brand strategy. “Our honorees are all at the top of their game, and we’re thrilled to shine a light on their unique accomplishments.” Character Approved honorees are considered innovators in their field who are influencing the public’s opinions, style and view of the world. They surprise us and inspire us with fresh ideas, according to the network. They are celebrated by their peers and have an authentic style. USA recognizes these individuals for their cultural impact, legacy and persona with the USA Network “seal of approval.” One of this year’s honorees is Venice resident Angela Brooks, a principal with the architectural firm Pugh + Scarpa. Angela is known as a leader and pioneer in the field of sustainable architecture....

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Vera Davis McClendon center director discusses center’s work in community

The following column is a continuation of a February 4th story profiling the early career of Vera Davis McClendon Youth and Family Center Director Cliff McClain. Ramona Davis, daughter of Vera Davis McClendon, has offered thanks to Cliff McClain for his steadfast service and help in guiding others toward a positive direction at the youth and family center. “Cliff brings a heart of service to the Vera Davis McClendon Youth and Family Center and his success depends on the commitment of the community and the City of Los Angeles to volunteer and provide financial support for the needs of our community here in Venice,” Davis says. “There have been and are many challenges to face but he is there with open arms to assist and to serve.” Cliff has had the opportunity to work in many cities throughout the County of Los Angeles and says he has found one aspect in Venice he never found anywhere else. “The resources to solve the problems are right in Venice,” he says. “Here, next-door neighbors can help.” When Cliff first started at the center in 2001, Mary Richert, operations director at the Venice Family Clinic, was his “go-to” person. “If I didn’t know how to find it or how to get it, I called Mary and she could hook me up,” he says. “I don’t know if I would have had the...

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Venice Skate Park — Teaching a Sense of Responsibility

It’s been three months since the 16,000-square foot Venice Beach Skate Park opened to rave reviews. Ger-I Lewis, leader of the Venice Surf and Skate Association (VSA) and one of the skateboarders who lobbied for decades to have a skate park built in Venice, reports that there have been over 6,000 visitors and the park now averages 250 users on a weekend. Have you been there recently? The skate park looks as pristine as it did immediately after the end of construction. Magic fairies don’t appear during the night nor do City of Los Angeles maintenance workers work there during the day. It’s the VSA volunteers who take their mission seriously to keep the area free of debris and graffiti. “We set an example by leadership for the kids,” says Ger-I. “We show them what they are supposed to be doing — this is how we keep our park clean.” The breakdown in teaching right from wrong is all too evident to him and the other volunteers. “This is a place that needs to be kept clean,” he says. “We need to teach the kids — ‘this is for you, you have to do it.’” The skate park is self-regulated, meaning that there is no paid staff. It is the volunteers who keep an eye on what is happening. “If one of the VSA guys sees a kid doing...

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Rajwinder Kaur — thankful for community support

Rajwinder “Raji” Kaur, who was born in India, came to the United States in 1992 with her parents. When she was a senior at a Bakersfield high school, her father was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Influenced by what she saw her father going through while ill, she was determined to become a nurse and took CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) classes while still in high school. Deciding not to attend a university or community college, Raji enrolled in Job Corps, a no-cost education and career technical training program administered by the U. S. Department of Labor that helps young...

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