Author: betsygoldman

Teaching children to teach themselves, ‘an investment in society’

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “If we are to reach real peace in this world, we shall have to begin with our children.” World-wide peace may be an unattainable goal in our lifetime, but Gandhi was right about children holding the future in their hands. In keeping with this thought, Dr. Andrew Mitchell, who earned a Ph.D. in economic history from the London School of Economics, says he has always had a keen fascination with what determines the development of countries, which in turn, determines the development of its people. Born in Australia and a traveler during his school days, Mitchell completed his Ph.D. thesis comparing the economics of Australia and Argentina and analyzing issues such as: Why did one country become wealthy and the other stay poor? Why did a country blessed with a vast amount of natural resources have so much suffering among its people? What were they doing in society that prevented them from doing well? Both countries had the same kind of ideas, but he found that it was leadership and institutions that sent them down different paths. Mitchell refers to what is currently happening in the State of California regarding the development of young children. “California spends more money on prisons than education,” he says. “If the prisoners had been educated when they were younger, they probably wouldn’t be where they are today. It’s an...

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The ‘real’ Baywatch protects swimmers and boaters

The word “Baywatch” probably evokes memories of the television series from 1989 to 1999 that idealized Southern California lifeguards. There is a real Baywatch that started with rescue boats to protect the entire South Bay in the early 1900s. Lifeguarding has evolved through time to include the beach and, as recent as a couple of years ago, electric beach vehicles. Today, Baywatch del Rey patrols from the El Segundo border to Venice, but according to Ocean Rescue Boat Captain Rob Pelkey, the agency will go beyond if needed. A typical day starts out with a routine daily boat check. Each boat is run by a different crew each day. The lifeguards on patrol check weather conditions and surf to get a feel for waves and swell size because there are swimmers and surfers year round. There are mooring buoys at designated areas where patrol boats are tied up and the lifeguards do continuing boat maintenance while waiting to respond to a call. Patrolling is two-fold. The main patrol is along the shoreline where the lifeguards perform ocean rescues with the beach lifeguards. Offshore distress calls include incidences with the occasional surfer or swimmer and boats. In the winter, waves can reach ten to 15 feet high and rip currents form in certain areas like the breakwater and pier, causing people in the water to be pulled out further. The...

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Female gymnast once flew through the air

Joe Wheatley Productions will present a show Saturday, July 4th to celebrate 75 years of a fitness phenomenon that started in Santa Monica in the mid 1930s and moved to Venice in the 1960s. There will be a contest for Mr. and Mrs. Muscle Beach and an induction of two new members to the Hall of Fame — Bernie Ernst, who was the star of the television show “Body Buddies,” and Relna Brewer McCrea, one of the first female bodybuilders who was known for her ability to single-handedly toss brawny men. Throughout history, there has been a quest for fitness. While, in prehistoric times it may have been a necessity for successful hunting, from the beginning, good physical condition has been the basis for health and well-being. Ancient Greeks are thought to be the first to believe that development of the body was equally as important as development of the mind. Gymnastics was a popular sport to produce a strong, healthy body and, in turn, to maintain a sound mind. Although bodybuilding put both Santa Monica and Venice on the map as physical fitness landmarks, unbeknownst to most, the birth of this remarkable cultural development actually began with gymnastics at the spot that became known as Muscle Beach (in Santa Monica, not to be confused with Muscle Beach Venice). Santa Monica resident Paula Unger Boelsems was nine years old...

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Courts named after early African American residents

At one time in Venice there were streets named West Washington Boulevard, Washington Way, Washington Boulevard and Washington Street — not too confusing! In 1991, West Washington Boulevard was renamed Abbot Kinney Boulevard and later Washington Street, which was west of then W. Washington Boulevard, became an extension of Washington Boulevard. The following year it was suggested that the new Venice library also be named after community founder Abbot Kinney. Former City Councilwoman Ruth Galanter remembers that it was then suggested to acknowledge Oakwood’s history as well. “We were anxious to recognize that Venice had African American residents from the time of its founding,” she said. As it turned out, there were two courts (alleys) without names. Two people who were recognized with the courts named after them were Arthur Reese and Irving Tabor. Arthur Reese, born in 1885, was the first African American to live and work in Venice. He came to Los Angeles in about 1902 when he had a job as a railroad Pullman porter. There was a lot of work in Southern California so he stayed to earn money to send back to his widowed mother and three siblings in Louisiana. He heard that Abbot Kinney was in the process of building a unique town in 1904, so he rode a streetcar out to what would become Venice-of-America to see if he could get a...

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Venice Media District gives back to the communi

Two years ago the Los Angeles City Council designated Venice as an official “media district.” From Digital Domain to one-person enterprises, Venice has long attracted artistic occupations and endeavors. The problem has been the lack of a cohesive community. The Venice Media District has changed that by bringing these dynamic forces together. The third annual fall mixer was held in November to provide networking opportunities and business-to-business consciousness for the many media oriented services in and around Venice and to showcase a short documentary for nonprofit Venice Arts created by several of these industry companies that donated their services. One of the missions of the Venice Media District is to enable nonprofit organizations to benefit from the local wealth of resources for media projects. After the film was shown to the audience at the mixer, Joanne Kim, director of photography and new media at Venice Arts, acknowledged how invaluable it is for a nonprofit such as Venice Arts to have people in the industry produce pieces like the documentary to use for fundraising purposes, since a nonprofit doesn’t necessarily have the availability of skills to create this type of media to show the work it does and how it benefits the children it works with, as in the case of Venice Arts. The film was created by ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi/LA with post production services provided by Spotwelders,...

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