Author: robwasserman

Cleaning neighbor’s garage reveals rare Civil War-era cannonballs

While she was cleaning out the garage of a recently deceased neighbor around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 30th, in the 6900 block of Trolley Way in Playa del Rey, Karen Nelson stumbled upon some unique objects — Civil War-era cannonballs. Eight rusted antique cannonballs were inside a cardboard box. Some were two inches in diameter, others six inches, according to Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Detective Jim Joy of the Los Angeles Police Department Bomb Squad, which was called to the scene. Joy said that some of the cannonballs contained a fuse and were sealed at the top, indicating that there might be an explosive material inside the cannonball. Not aware if the cannonballs were still hazardous or how to dispose of them, Nelson called the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). Two officers responded and identified some of the cannonballs as “unsafe” and called the LAPD Bomb Squad. Nelson said that the cannonballs, which rattled when shaken, were deemed unsafe by the LAPD officers. The rattling was most likely gunpowder and pellets inside the cannonballs, LAPD Bomb Squad officers said. The officers then evacuated surrounding neighbors from the area and cordoned off the street. The bomb squad took the unsafe cannonballs onto the adjacent beach and detonated them. Nelson does not know why her neighbor had the cannonballs or where she acquired them. She believes that her neighbor found...

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Grass Roots Venice Neighborhood Council funds frozen by city because of election

Payment of a quarterly installment of city funds for the Grass Roots Venice Neighborhood Council has been suspended by the city. The City of Los Angeles Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE) said it was freezing the city funds for the local group because the Grass Roots Venice Neighborhood Council held a candidate and bylaws election Sunday, June 27th, after the department recommended that the election be postponed. Neighborhood Councils in the city that have been certified are eligible to receive up to $50,000 annually from the city. In an e-mail from the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment general manager, Greg Nelson, to Grass Roots Venice Neighborhood Council board members, Nelson states: “Regrettably, we have to temporarily suspend the ability of the Grass Roots Neighborhood Council to spend the money that it has been provided through the Neighborhood Council Funding Program. “The terms of most of the Board members expired on June 30, 2004; the most recent election has not been finalized because the challenges have not been resolved — in fact, we don’t even know who the arbiter is; and there is a significant question surrounding the legitimacy of the entire election. “The Commercial Prepaid Card — a debit card provided by the city to access Neighborhood Council funds — has been disabled, and we will not process any check requests for expenditures made hereafter until further notice. “Shortly, you...

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Labrador retriever and owner invited to Wisconsin Frisbee tossing competition

A Santa Monica resident and his blond Labrador retriever, Bailey, have discovered a hobby that brings them both great satisfaction — competing in Frisbee events. Joel Zucker and Bailey are in their first year of competing in dog and handler Frisbee events. In the four competitions in which they have participated, they have placed either first or second. “Bailey just loves it,” Zucker says. “He loves chasing down the Frisbee and bringing it back to me.” Zucker is a technology professional who has had ample time to compete this year due to difficulty securing a job in the technology field. Two-year-old Bailey, who weighs 72 pounds, is usually one of, if not the, heaviest dog in the Frisbee competitions. “Lighter dogs, like Border collies and Australian sheep dogs are usually the dogs we’re competing against,” says Zucker. These dogs are typically 25 to 35 pounds, about 40 pounds lighter than Bailey. According to his handler, Bailey is just as fast as many of the lighter dogs, if not faster in a straight line. If not running straight, and required to make sharp turns, Bailey is at a disadvantage with the other dogs. This is where Zucker comes into play. He has to throw a fairly straight Frisbee in order to capitalize on Bailey’s speed. Zucker and Bailey have qualified to compete in Madison, Wisconsin for the ESPN Great Outdoor...

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Grass Roots Venice election held as scheduled

The Grass Roots Venice Neighborhood Council went ahead and held a candidate and bylaws election Sunday, June 27th, despite requests from the City of Los Angeles Department of Neighborhood Empowerment. The election was held as announced at Westminster Elementary School in Venice, although up to a day before the election, it appeared as though the school could not be used for the election because of a scheduling conflict. Because of the scheduling conflict, Election Committee chair Paul Ryan resigned from the Neighborhood Council the day before the election. The following are initial results of the candidate election, including the number of votes each candidate received: n President, Suzanne Thompson 357, Jennifer Carson 44, write-ins 5; n vice president, Alice Stek 359, write-ins 6; n second vice president, DeDe McCrary 363, write-ins 6; n government relations officer, Sheila Bernard 335, write-ins 6; n secretary, John Davis 359, write-ins 7; n at-large member, Francisco Letelier 346, Richard Myers 25, Larry Smoot 7, write-ins 4; n District 1 representative, Deborah Krall 90, Rick Selan 2; n District 2 representative, Bonnie Cheeseman 25, write-ins not announced; n District 3 representative, Bridget Graham 63, write-ins 2; n District 4 representative, Dennis Hathaway 30, Will Yeager 2; n District 5 representative, Emily Winters 115, Howard Saxe 3, Kelley Willis 8; n District 6 representative, Michael McGuffin 27, John Raphling 20; n District 7 representative, Zoe...

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LA DONE urges delay in Sunday vote of Grass Roots Venice

Despite a recommendation from the City of Los Angeles Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE) to postpone an upcoming election, a majority of Grass Roots Venice Neighborhood Council (GRVNC) board members have elected to proceed with a planned Sunday, June 27th, election. In a letter sent from the department to Grass Roots Venice board members Friday, June 11th, DONE general manager Greg Nelson stated the following: “At this time, the Department cannot support an election of the GRVNC on June 27th, 2004, for the following reasons: “In the absence of a citywide election policy, admittedly the Department has no legal authority to force a Neighborhood Council to postpone an election, however DONE does have the right to withhold financial support and its ‘sanction’ to an election that we feel is not in the best interest of the stakeholders. “By ‘approving’ election procedures, the Department announces to stakeholders that we are reasonably certain that the election will be conducted fairly and in accordance with the laws that govern all Neighborhood Councils, the bylaws of the Neighborhood Council, and that participation will be open to all stakeholders. “In this situation, the uncertainties surrounding the election, and the fact that the timelines for outreach, candidate notification, stakeholder registration and notification, etc, have passed, we cannot make that claim.” Grass Roots Venice president Sheila Bernard broke a tie vote Monday, June 14th, when she...

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