Author: robwasserman

Mary Ottina turns 101; still ‘doing things in moderation’

Mary Ottina, who turned 101 in her Westchester home Monday, May 2nd, says the secret to her longevity is “doing things in moderation.” Born in the United States in 1904, Ottina at the age of five moved to Italy, where her parents originated, and did not return to the U.S. until she was 19. Ottina’s daughter, Irene Newton, recalls a childhood story her mother has told her many times. “My mother’s uncle in Italy gave her the responsibility of taking care of two pigs that would ultimately end up on the dinner table,” said Newton. “It turns out that my mom was afraid of the pigs and would run from them. “She really struggled with taking care of those pigs because she was so afraid of them, but in the end she did care for them.” Ottina has two children and four grandchildren. She enjoys baby-sitting, gambling, and watching CNN Headline News, according to her daughter. Ottina does not have a special diet or regimented eating plan. In fact, she eats a lot of everything, her daughter says. “She eats a lot of pasta, she loves her bread, and enjoys a glass of vino or a beer,” Newton says. “She still drinks caffeinated coffee to this day.” Ottina moved to Westchester with her husband in 1951 into the house where she lives to this day. Ottina’s husband passed away...

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Driver on SM Freeway places his van under woman attempting suicide from top of overhead sign; woman ‘saved’

A woman was not harmed after she fell from an exit signboard on the Santa Monica Freeway Tuesday, April 19th. Santa Monica Police were called to a Lincoln Boulevard off-ramp sign on the westbound Santa Monica Freeway at 9:21 a.m. Tuesday, April 19th, on a call of an attempted suicide. Officers on the scene spoke to several witnesses who said that they saw a woman climb over a fence on the side of the freeway and climb onto the Lincoln Boulevard exit signboard. A witness estimated that the distance from the freeway surface to the top of the exit signboard is 25 to 30 feet. Witnesses told police that the woman — 30 years old, of Santa Monica — was hanging from the top of the signboard, when a man driving a van west on the freeway saw the woman hanging from the sign and positioned his van directly under her. The witnesses told police the woman dropped from the sign, fell onto the roof of the van and fell to the freeway surface. Police placed the woman, who had not suffered any injuries, in custody and took her to a local hospital where she was placed on a 72-hour psychological hold. Police called the van driver, Sean Kehoe, “a Good Samaritan” for possibly saving the woman’s life. “I did what I think most people would do in that...

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L.A. Neighborhood Council commission supports new election for Grass Roots Venice council members

The Grass Roots Venice Neighborhood Council will be assisted by The City of Los Angeles Board of Neighborhood Commissioners in organizing a new election for the council. A motion approved by the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners at its meeting Tuesday, April 5th, was the first action taken by the city concerning Grass Roots Venice since the city Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE) ruled last year that the Venice Neighborhood Council had no quorum for its last election. The department oversees the city’s Neighborhood Councils, which were established in 1999 under a new city charter and which are advisory in nature. At a Board of Neighborhood Commissioners meeting in March, Department of Neighborhood Empowerment staff suggested decertifying the Grass Roots Venice Neighborhood Council. Since their inception in 1999, no Neighborhood Councils have been decertified by the city. The Board of Neighborhood Commissioners motion — which was approved unanimously — calls for public hearings to be overseen by the commission to approve election procedures for a new Grass Roots Venice Neighborhood Council election. All 21 Venice council board seats will be open for the election. The commission will next meet on Tuesday, April 19th, at which time the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment is expected to supply the commissioners with an election timetable for the Venice Neighborhood...

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12-year-old boy wins Halibut Derby

A 12-year-old boy from Mar Vista has won the annual Marina del Rey Halibut Derby. Ryan Lambert of Mar Vista was the first angler to bring his catch to the weigh-in station at the 2005 Marina del Rey Halibut Derby, Saturday, April 2nd. Lambert’s name and the weight of his catch were immediately at the top of a lonely leader board, but as more catches were weighed throughout the day, Lambert’s name remained on top, and at the end of the day, the 12-year-old had won the derby with his 36-pound halibut. Ryan’s father, Keith, expressed the joy he had for his son. “It was a day of excitement, joy, happiness; what else can I say,” said Keith Lambert. “It was a perfect day. “Ryan fought that fish hard for six or eight minutes. “He started to complain that his arm was hurting, but he hung in there.” The father said his son did a great job of reeling in the 36-pound fish. “When we brought it on board, it hit the deck and slime flew everywhere,” the father said. “Ryan blew me away; he did everything so well,” he said. Although Ryan Lambert was honored as the “Overall Winner” of the derby, the prize he received was $450, the first place prize for the youth division. The father said his son caught the fish around 11 a.m., but...

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Blair Witch co-creator, film risktaker Myrick’s new series based on Venice

Dan Myrick — director and co-creator of the independent film hit The Blair Witch Project — has launched a new experimental series based on and filmed exclusively in Venice. The Strand is a show that takes an uncensored look at the lives of several offbeat characters who inhabit Venice. The first of three filmed episodes was aired Tuesday, March 15th. But the premiere was not on Fox, NBC, or MTV; it was Webcast — aired only on the World Wide Web. Before the first episode — or as Myrick calls it, “webisode” — aired, he says The Strand Web site was receiving about 1,000 hits a day. “After the first webisode, we’re getting 15,000 hits a day,” Myrick said. Myrick says that The Strand is a cross between a reality show and a documentary. With a low production budget and small crew, Myrick says that The Strand “maintains a sense of authenticity that cannot be found in large-scale productions.” Actors apply their own makeup on the set, “We don’t have a makeup artist,” said Myrick. The script “is loosely based on some real characters in Venice,” says Myrick. Other characters in The Strand are completely fictional, not based on real characters of Venice. The webisodes feature Method film techniques, where actors remain in character for extended periods of time, even between and after scenes. Myrick says that this is...

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