Compiled by Joe Piasecki

Endangered Green Sea Turtle Spotted in Marina del Rey

This young green sea turtle made a surprise visit to Basin B
Photo courtesy of Craig Ford

Local medical equipment company owner Craig Ford counts himself lucky to be able to eat lunch on his boat in Marina del Rey Harbor most days, enjoying sunshine and ocean breezes from his slip in Basin B along Tahiti Way.

Ford was even luckier on Oct. 25, when, between bites of a ham sandwich, he had one of the rarest and most surprising sea life encounters possible in the marina: a tropical green sea turtle, far from its usual habitat in warmer waters around Mexico or Hawaii.

“I saw this little head peeking out of the water, and it was a turtle five feet off the stern of my boat, just hanging out,” recalls Ford. “His fins were intact; he wasn’t caught on anything. Looked fine. He swam around, came up a few times, and in 10 minutes he was gone.”

The other good news is that nobody’s seen the turtle since, meaning it’s probably made its way out of the harbor — away from the danger posed by boat propellers — and
back down to the warmer waters where it belongs.

Apryl Boyle, associate aquarium operations director for Heal the Bay’s Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, confirmed from Ford’s photo that he saw a juvenile green sea turtle, perhaps three to five years old, which truly is surprising because “green sea turtles shouldn’t be up this far,” she said.

Boyle said unseasonably warm water temperatures in Santa Monica Bay at the time — 68 degrees, when it should have been in the low 60s — likely played a role in the turtle coming this far north. While most adult turtles are herbivores, juveniles are omnivores — meaning this one could have been following food along an aberrant warm current.

Peter Wallerstein of Playa del Rey-based Marine Animal Rescue said he’s seen a few turtles in the marina over his 30 years in the area, usually near Burton Chace Park (and all making it out OK), and rescued one stranded in Venice a few years back.

The most important thing, both Wallerstein and Boyle said, is people leaving the turtle alone so it can find its way home, or calling animal rescue if it shows up again. Marine Animal Rescue can be reached at (800) 39-WHALE.

Parents of Hate Crime Victim Matthew Shepard to Speak at Rotary Forum

In October 1998, college student Matthew Shepard was beaten to death in Wyoming because he was gay, a vicious crime that shocked the world and spurred hate crime legislation nationwide.

On Dec. 1 — what would have been their son’s 42nd birthday — Judy and Dennis Shepard will discuss their son, his legacy and the work of the Matthew Shepard Foundation as keynote speakers of a Rotary District 5280 social awareness forum titled “Erase Hate, Foster Acceptance.” The forum takes place from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the Loyola Marymount University campus, with fewer than 200 tickets available for $30 each at

“As Rotarians, we are constantly working to erase hate and foster acceptance throughout the world,” said Rotary District 5280 Governor Joe Vasquez. “Now, more than ever, we are humbled to have Judy and Dennis Shepard joining us at this forum to share the unspeakable tragedy of their son’s death and to work with Rotarians from throughout Los Angeles and beyond to promote tolerance and acceptance of all people.”

Meet L.A. Pot Czar Cat Packer at Venice Neighborhood Council’s Cannabis Town Hall

How does the legal sale of recreational cannabis benefit Venice? Who’s operating aboveboard? How can residents complain about negative impacts? Can selling pot actually improve social equity? How can locals influence city policy?

The Venice Neighborhood Council’s Cannabis Committee, convened to study and report back on the rollout of the city’s new regulatory framework, is hosting a public Cannabis Town Hall on Tuesday (Nov. 13) to answer these questions and more. The event is from 7 to 9 p.m. at Animo High School (820 Broadway, Venice).

Scheduled speakers include: Cat Packer, executive director of the city’s Department of Cannabis Regulation; attorney Bruce Margolin, director of NORML’s regional L.A. chapter; Rose Collective owner Ann Lawrence; Alexander Freedman of the City Attorney’s Office’s Cannabis Law Section; Sherri Franklin, cofounder of the cannabis startup accelerator Think and Grow Lab; and Aaron Riley, president of the product testing lab CannaSafe.

For more information, email VNC Outreach Officer Hollie Stenson at