Annenberg suspends Ballona involvement

Controversial plans to build a 46,000-square-foot environ-mental education center in the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve have apparently been shelved, with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife announcing late Tuesday that the Annenberg Foundation has removed itself from the wetlands restoration process.

The Annenberg Foundation was prepared to spend some $50 million on the state-of-the-art center, which for the past two years was assailed by some local environmental groups opposed to any construction in the wetlands and the center’s inclusion of
a domestic animal care component.

“After considerable thought and reflection, the Annenberg Foundation’s leadership has made a decision to suspend its continuing involvement in the restoration planning for the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve. The Foundation informed us of this decision after a comprehensive evaluation of all the community-development projects it is involved in that resulted in
a reprioritization of resources and focus,” reads the statement by state Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Jordan Traverso.

The Annenberg Foundation, which had proposed building the center east of Lincoln Boulevard near the Culver – Marina Little League baseball fields, did not return calls.

The Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission and the Coastal Conservancy remain involved in restoration plans.

“The other partners will continue to move the restoration project forward,” Traverso’s statement reads.

Crash kills wrong-way cyclist

A 39-year-old bicyclist who was killed after colliding with a car at Speedway and South Venice Boulevard in Venice at about 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day had put herself in harm’s way by traveling against the flow of traffic, according to police.

“It was an unintentional occurrence,” LAPD West Traffic Bureau officer Brian Millan said. “There was no alcohol or any other impairment involved. The primary reason for the collision is the bicyclist was going the wrong way on a one-way street.”

The vehicle in the crash was making a left turn onto South Venice Boulevard during the collision, Millan said. The driver has not been criminally charged.

Brandon Cramer, 1973 – 2014

Santa Monica activist Jerry Rubin is hosting a memorial on Sunday for Brandon Cramer, a fixture of the Third Street Promenade who died in his sleep on Nov. 24 at age 41.

Cramer, who had Asperger Syndrome and battled epilepsy, was the subject of “Raising Brandon,” a 2009 book written by his mother, motivational speaker Amalia Starr.

The memorial starts at 10 a.m. outside Barney’s Beanery, 1351 Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica.

Venice sign lighting is Friday
The Venice Chamber of Commerce hosts its third annual Venice Holiday Sign Lighting and block party from 6:15 to 8 p.m. Friday at Windward Circle. At precisely
8 p.m., L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin and a surprise celebrity guest will throw
a switch to re-light the iconic Venice sign after its white
bulbs have been switched to red and green.

Call (310) 822-5425 or visit for information.

Rotary drive benefits homeless youth

The Rotary Club of Westchester’s newly formed young professionals group is hosting a donation drive on Saturday for Safe Place for Youth, a Venice-based resource center for homeless adolescents and teens.

The nonprofit lost its inventory of supplies in the Oct. 25 fire at the Extra Space Storage facility in Venice, which took 365 firefighters 14 hours to extinguish and remains under investigation.

The donation drive for winter clothing, sleeping bags, undergarments, hygiene products and monetary contributions happens from
11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Sifted: LA, 6259 W. 87th St., Westchester. Email for additional information.