Author: robwasserman

World Grilled-Cheese Eating Championship at Venice Beach featured Virgin Mary on toast

Hundreds of passersby along Ocean Front Walk in Venice Beach gathered behind Muscle Beach at the outdoor stage Saturday, February 12th, to witness an appalling event — the World Grilled-Cheese Eating Championship. The event was hosted by the International Federation of Competitive Eaters (IFOCE) and sponsored by GoldenPalace.com — an online casino and sports betting Web site. GoldenPalace.com owner Steve Baker had recently purchased the slice of toast with the alleged face of the Virgin Mary burned into the bread. Barker said that he paid $28,000 for the slice of toast on eBay, where he says the bidding was “relentless” for the famous slice of toast. Barker says he does not have an opinion on whether the Virgin Mary image on the toast is authentic. He says that his reason for buying the toast was to promote his GoldenPalace.com internationally. “People can think whatever they want, the bottom line is that people are interested in this toast,” he said. The grilled cheese eating contest itself, was just as disgusting as spending $28,000 for a slice of toast. Fifteen nationally-known competitive eaters were in the hunt for a bite of the $10,000 in cash prizes put up by GoldenPalace.com The first-place winner would be the eater who could eat the most grilled cheese sandwiches in ten minutes. Contestants, when introduced before the contest, made their way to the front of...

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Marina del Rey Middle School students help paint large blimp

About 30 students of Marina del Rey Middle School in the Del Rey area participated in painting panels that will be affixed to the largest passenger blimp in the world. The Marina del Rey Middle School students are among more than 6,000 children who have contributed to the exterior design of the Ameriquest Soaring Dreams Airship, which will make its open-air debut at a Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Anaheim Angels baseball game this spring. The student participation is part of a program called “Soaring Dreams,” a partnership between Portraits of Hope and Ameri-quest, a mortgage company. Portraits of Hope is a nonprofit organization that focuses on inspiring children and adults through involvement in and exposure to creative, high-profile one-of-a-kind projects, says Ed Massey of Portraits of Hope. The goal is “to think outside of the box,” he said. “I have found that all kids need is a little encouragement and hope and anything is possible,” said Massey. The Marina del Rey Middle School students painted a few of the thousands of panels that will comprise the Soaring Dreams Airship canvas. The complete canvas will cover more than 40,000 square feet, five times the size of the Sistine Chapel ceiling and more than seven basketball courts. “Children should dream big, bold dreams,” said Massey. “This is an opportunity for the unimaginable to become real.” Beginning in the spring, the Ameriquest...

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Lottery drawing for vendor program on Ocean Front Walk now to be Sat., Feb. 26th

A Venice Boardwalk “public expression permit” lottery drawing under a system designed to allocate spaces on a month-by-month basis where vendors and performers will be allowed to set up on the west side of Ocean Front Walk — has been delayed until Saturday, February 26th, according to Sandy Kievman, deputy to Los Angeles Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski for the Venice area. The lottery had been scheduled to take place Wednesday, January 26th. When the ordinance was first approved by Los Angeles City Council September 27th, the date for the first lottery was to have been in October last year. Some concerns arose pertaining to the rules of the lottery and Kievman said that they have been changed and have been sent back to the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks for approval. Two community meetings were scheduled to inform the public about the lottery system and to solicit “applications for public expression” on the west side of Ocean Front Walk. The lottery rules, as released prior to the originally planned October lottery, were: – an applicant must be physically present at the time of the drawing; – an applicant may not select a space and give it to or trade it to any other vendor, including members of the applicant’s family; – an applicant may not sell or offer an exchange with any other vendor; and –...

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Fire breaks out in Washington Blvd. strip mall; takes 80 firefighters to extinguish flames

A fire that broke out in the 13300 block of Washington Boulevard at Glencoe Avenue around 11:40 p.m. Thursday, January 20th, destroyed at least one business on the second story of a two-story shopping mall, and damaged several others. The City of Los Angeles Fire Department and Culver City Fire Department responded to the scene shortly after the fire broke out. Eighty fire fighters from both fire departments helped to extinguish the flames. No injuries were reported due to the fire. The total damage due to the fire is estimated at $800,000, according to Jim Wells, spokesman for the City of Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD). The fire may have originated in Camp Technique, a fitness center on the second story in the mall, which was destroyed in the blaze, according to Los Angeles Fire Department officials. Fire department arson detectives were on the scene Friday. The mall and all businesses are “red tagged,” meaning that no one, including tenants, would be permitted on the site until a building and safety engineer cleared the businesses of any potential hazard, according to the LAFD. Batiste Gremaud, owner of Marina Dance Center on the ground floor of the mall, was at her business Friday, January 21st. “The fire department is allowing the tenants 25 minutes to enter our businesses and retrieve important items,” Gremaud said. Gremaud said that Los Angeles Fire...

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‘Toes Beach’ project EIR recommended by NCWPDR

The Neighborhood Council of Westchester/Playa del Rey (NCWPDR) voted Tuesday, January 11th, to recommend that the City of Los Angeles Planning Department require Sea Glass Holdings to conduct an environmental impact report (EIR) for a proposed beach development at 6719-6823 Pacific Ave., Playa del Rey. Sea Glass Holdings wants to construct 35 townhomes and 4,000 square feet of retail space at the foot of Culver Boulevard in Playa del Rey — commonly referred to as “Toes Beach.” Before voting on the EIR motion, the Neighborhood Council board heard from several audience members during a public comment session. Playa del Rey resident and Save Our Dunes founder John Hughes supported an EIR for the project, but also suggested a land swap and public acquisition of the Toes Beach property. “It’s important to understand that this is not hostile to the owner’s interests,” said Hughes. “They are businessmen looking to make a profit. If they can get a reasonable return on their investment, they’ll take it. “Public acquisition and restoration also fulfills the vision of the local neighbors and provides an important benefit for the beach-going public. “In short, public acquisition is the “win/win” solution. “A resolution of support from this body would simply help the community in their search for funding. It’s not binding in any way and not in the interest of one group over another. If the community...

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