Westside Women’s Clubs Celebrate the Centennial of Suffrage with Back-to-School Community Events

This weekend, Silicon Beach Social and the Woman’s Club of Playa del Rey celebrate back-to-school season and a century of women’s suffrage with back-to-back community events.

On Aug. 14, Silicon Beach Social, a recently founded chapter of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC), hosts a back-to-school backpack drive, benefiting the Mar Vista Family Center. From 9 a.m. to noon, the group will be giving out 192 pre-packed backpacks filled with school supplies, including COVID-19 essentials such as hand sanitizer and face masks. Members of José Radio will play music for the families waiting to pick up their backpacks for a fun back-to-school “shopping” experience.

“We’re just trying to help relieve some of the pain of back-to-school shopping for parents,” says Alexis Rowley, President of Silicon Beach Social. “We know it’s really stressful right now.”

The women’s clubs’ efforts don’t stop there. On Saturday, Aug. 15, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. the Woman’s Club of Playa del Rey and Silicon Beach Social team up for a drive-by canned food drive and voter information community event in the lot behind the Woman’s Club of Playa del Rey (8039 W. Manchester Ave., Playa del Rey). Food and monetary donations raised during the event will benefit Food Pantry LAX, a volunteer-based community program that provides groceries to local low- and no-income families and individuals. To keep the event as contact-free as possible, they ask donors to place all canned goods in the car’s trunk, so volunteers can collect goods safely upon arrival.

In honor of the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage and to educate voters about the 2020 election, the two women’s clubs will also be giving out voter registration forms and fact-sheets with important voter information. For those who arrive hungry, The Good Pizza will be making custom pizza pies on-site in a portable pizza oven. Visit siliconbeachsocial.org or wcpdr.org to learn more.

— Julia Escobar

Groove with the Grunion on Area Beaches Next Week…

Traditional Westside nightlife may have halted during this pandemic, but beachgoers who live by the phases of the moon have something novel to look forward to — a silvery dance upon the sand performed by oodles of grunion fish!

From Aug. 18 to 21, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) expects nighttime “grunion runs” to take place between 9:30 p.m. and the wee hours of the morning, depending on the day. The sardine-sized critters are expected to wriggle ashore for their moonlit mating dance at Dockweiler and Venice beaches, according to reporting from Patch.com. During this time, anyone age 16 or above with a California sport fishing license can interact with and catch the fish, which are found exclusively on the coasts of Southern California and Northern Baja.

Keep an eye out for fish that are slender, slippery and small, with blue-green backs and silver stomachs. After swimming up the beach slope, the females bury themselves tails-down into the sand while up to eight males simultaneously deposit milt (or sperm) onto the female to fertilize her eggs. A male grunion can fertilize the eggs of several females during a single run.

Most grunion eggs incubate for ten days in the sand, until the next high tide comes to hatch and carry the baby grunions out to sea. Few grunion live for more than three years, according to CDFW. Flies, sandworms, beetles, birds, larger fish, beach erosion and humans are all threats to the species, but current regulations have kept the grunion population relatively stable.

Per a California state law against fish waste, CDFW asks that grunion catchers take only what they can use, and that mates and their eggs are not unnecessarily disturbed. Observers are welcome to watch without a license but encouraged to maintain social distance.

Visit wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Grunion to learn more.

— Dev Jaiswal