On Sunday, June 10th, Marina Aquatic Center Junior Rowing won the national championship in the men’s lightweight four at the USRowing Youth National Championship Regatta on Harsha Lake outside of Cincinnati.

The crew consisted of Santa Monica High School seniors Carl Nunziato and Gregory Masatani, Redondo Union High senior Jesus Tavarez, Culver City High junior Aki Edgerton and cox’n Hannah Shaw, an independent student in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Posting a winning time of 7:02:11, the Marina Aquatic Center crew pulled away from the eventual silver medalist Wayland Weston Crew of Boston in the final 500 meters of the two-kilometer race to win by just over six seconds.

The win culminated an undefeated season for the Marina Aquatic Center’s most successful crew ever.

The Marina Aquatic Center women had a successful outing at the national championships as well, finishing seventh in the overall standings in the quadruple sculls.

The all-senior crew of Danielle Detloff of the Chadwick School, Megan Berry of Santa Monica High School, Mimi Newman of the Marlborough School and Samantha Richens of Notre Dame Academy won the second level, or “petite,” final in a stirring come-from-behind victory that saw them come off the line in third, but walk through the crews from Saugatuck Rowing Club of Westport, Connecticut, and the Springside School of Philadelphia, on their way to a three-second victory margin at the finish.

“It was a tremendous performance by the rowers and a historic day in the history of the team and youth rowing in Marina del Rey,” said head coach Zohar Abramovitz.

TOWN HALL ON LAX — Following a town hall meeting regarding plans that would move Los Angeles International Airport’s (LAX) northernmost runways as much as 340 feet north and decimate a large portion of the Westchester Central Business District, City Councilman Bill Rosendahl has introduced a City Council motion to hire an independent firm to conduct a safety study focusing strictly on the north runway complex.

Hundreds of community residents turned out to the Westchester Senior Center Tuesday, June 5th, to hear the airport’s proposals for moving the northern runway closer to Westchester, which the airport claims is required for safety reasons.

Rosendahl, who has repeatedly said he would oppose the runway move until he sees verified information that indicates not moving the runway would result in a real safety concern, was scheduled to introduce his motion Wednesday, June 13th. Results were unavailable at press time.

In his motion, Rosendahl says “While remaining open to evidence of genuine safety concerns, most objective observers consider LAWA’s [the city airport agency, Los Angeles World Airports] safety claims to be a smokescreen for LAWA’s true objective — expanding LAX.

“Such an effort would be a clear violation of the 2005 Stipulated Settlement Agreement between LAWA and its neighbors. LAWA has fed into this suspicion by commissioning highly suspect peer review studies. The studies, conducted in a cursory manner by airline insiders, came to no clear conclusions, and strayed from safety issues to focus on “operational efficiency,” which many consider to be code for ‘expansion.’

“LAWA’s efforts have convinced practically none of the airport neighbors, who consider the studies to be biased, skewed, focused on the wrong issues, and therefore inconclusive.”

Instead of relying on the city airport agency’s word that safety is an issue, Rosendahl is requesting that the City Council urge the Board of Airport Commissioners to hire an independent firm to discuss safety issues and furthermore that the study quantify all north airfield safety issues and their causes, and specifically examine and recommend a range of alternative solutions for any identified safety problems.

Rosendahl is also requesting that the study include exploration of an “end-around” taxiway that would take planes to the end of the outboard runway upon landing and have them taxi around the inboard runway before heading to the terminal area. Such a system, already in place at numerous airports, including Atlanta, would eliminate the need for a plane to cross an active runway after landing.

Finally, Rosendahl’s motion would establish a North Runway Safety Advisory Committee, consisting of representatives from the Eighth and 11th Council Districts; Los Angeles County; the City of Inglewood; the Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion; the Neighborhood Council of Westchester/ Playa del Rey; airport-area congressional representatives; the greater Los Angeles business community; and the Airline Airport Affairs Committee.

“Clearly, objective and thorough analysis, conducted by an independent agency that has credibility with airport neighbors and their elected officials, is imperative,” Rosendahl said.

MUSIC AND ART FESTIVAL — The Mar Vista Family Center’s flagship leadership program recently held its first-ever Sights and Sounds Dusk Art and Musical festival. By Youth For Youth (BYFY) hosted the event. By Youth For Youth is a youth leadership program whose members are committed to learning and practicing skills to become leaders by focusing on personal growth, education and community leadership.

More than 300 individuals of all ages gathered at the center to celebrate the life of musical mentor Tarek Captan a.k.a. DJ Dusk, who was tragically killed by a drunk driver last year.

Captan believed in using art and music to create positive social change and as a testament to his legacy, friends and protÈgÈs at the Mar Vista Family Center, as well as his comrades from the Los Angeles underground music scene, came together to recognize youth artists and expose them to veteran performers and activists who have devoted their lives to using music and art for personal and community advancement.

Friends of the late DJ Dusk hosted the evening’s musical performances, which featured DJs Nu-Mark, Music Man Miles, vocalists Ray Ricky Rivera and DiegoDiego, and Spanish Rock band, Cuarto Negro.

The evening also included an instructional DJ workshop by DJ Daz, live art and an exhibit of art and photography by local youth artists.

Heartened by the festival’s success, performers, youth organizers, family members and supporters agreed to make the festival an annual event to help cultivate local activist artists.