We love our community and enjoy celebrating its people, places and events each month in the pages of the Westchester/Playa HomeTown News.
Our Best Of Readers’ Poll is our super-sized way to highlight all the best things about living and working in Westchester, Playa del Rey, Playa Vista and Marina del Rey. With so many excellent restaurants, businesses and organizations in the area, we love giving you—our readers—an annual opportunity to vote for your favorites. You are the real experts and you’ve been helping us honor these outstanding individuals and businesses since 2012. Thank you for being a part of recognizing those who make our community a special place to live, work and visit.
Congratulations to the Westchester Del Rey Little League (WDRLL) Girls 12U team for taking home the Southern California State Championship title and making it to the Western Regionals!
The girls of the WDRLL 12U Team, many of them playing with the league since their T-ball days, made the community proud with skillful playing and teamwork this season. The coaching staff, Lucio Raygosa, Mike Grimm, and Westchester native and team Manager, Tizoc Campos, share a unique bond of all being past WDRLL parents; it’s a rarity in little league to have volunteers willing to coach a team that doesn’t include their own kids on the roster. When this team won the Southern California State Championship in mid-July, they expanded their representation to include all of SoCal, but here in Westchester, we were rooting for our home team!
On the field, the team relied on each other to get through three levels of local tournament play to make it to the Western Regional Little League Tournament in San Bernardino on July 20-26 to compete for a spot at the 12U Little League World Series. While many teams may ride the coattails of one or two superstar players, the WDRLL Southern California State team was a solid roster of 12 girls who each contributed to advancing their team to the next level of play. During the week-long tournament where the team stayed onsite in Little League barracks and ate three meals a day in the mess hall, the team was victorious over competitors from Idaho, Wyoming and Utah, but lost twice to the team from Washington. The second loss was a heartbreaker for the players and the fans who watched the team lead 2-0 until Washington’s final time at bat where they came back to win by one run.
Moms and their sons had a blast at the sold-out inaugural Mother Son Dance held at the Westchester Family YMCA Annex on Saturday, July 27. The event, which doubled as a fundraiser for the Y’s camp program, featured a DJ, photo booth, raffle prizes, snacks, an ice cream sundae bar and a lot of dance moves! Thanks to ticket sales, enough funds were raised to send six underprivileged kids to Y summer camp.
On the surface, Mary and Stephen De La Rosa don’t appear to be that similar. They have different backgrounds and were raised in different Christian faiths. But where it matters most, the high school sweethearts agree completely. They are working together to make the world a better place through education, starting with their family and jobs.
They both grew up locally and their families are still in the area; hers in Westchester and his in Marina del Rey. They met at Venice High School in Spanish class.
“He was a junior and I was a sophomore and the teacher sat him next to me,” Mary said. “I thank his mom for not teaching him Spanish at home, because if she did, then we never would have met!”
Nearly 1,200 miles northeast of Westchester lies Missoula, Montana, a river valley town burrowed deep in the Northern Rockies. While it’s often recognized for its lush forests and thriving parks and recreation, Missoula also boasts an impressive cultural hub, housing a vital literary and art scene. Arising from this landscape comes Ballet Beyond Borders (BBB), a global festival that fuses education, diplomacy and creativity amongst artists across cultural and geographic lines through diverse genres of dance. Originally launched at the Rocky Mountain Ballet Theatre headquartered there, Ballet Beyond Borders aims to help youth not only sharpen their artistic craft, but also foster a better understanding of social justice issues faced by groups of people worldwide.
The HomeTown News is proud to present its 8th Annual Best Of Readers’ Poll! Our Readers’ Poll is all about celebrating local small businesses and recognizing some of the best Westchester, Playa del Rey, Playa Vista, Del Rey, Marina del Rey and the surrounding areas have to offer!
This survey contains more than 90 categories and should take about ten minutes to complete. While you don’t have to vote for everything on this list, you must vote in at least 10 categories for your vote to count.
Feel free to encourage your fans, friends and family to vote, but you may only vote once.
The top three vote-getters in each category–The “Best Of” and two runner-up “Favorites”– will be revealed in the Thursday, August 1 Best Of edition of the HomeTown News. Thank you for voting!
Westchester resident, Justin Sather, is proving that no matter what your age, you can give back to your community and make a positive impact on the planet. What started off as a love of frogs and helping raise money to save amphibians has led 8-year-old Justin on his next environmental quest. He is turning plastic trash into treasure, while encouraging others to cut down on their waste consumption. Over the last few years, Justin has been able to raise more than $20,000 by selling toy frogs and through GoFundMe.com to enable him to work on eco-friendly projects like purchasing reusable snack bags and pencils made of recycled newspaper for his school.
It might not be a super bloom, but if you love flowers, make sure to check out Playa Vista’s Ballona Discovery Park this month! The two-acre habitat is home to a plethora of native plants and wild flowers now in bloom, creating a colorful display that is uniquely Southern California. Follow the park’s walking trail to view the pollinator, native and medicinal plant gardens, while you learn about the Ballona Wetlands ecosystem and the history of the area in this “outdoor museum.”
As you admire the colorful flowers, smell the different varieties of sage or do a little birdwatching, take time to read the interpretive signs and stop at the interactive stations located throughout. No visit to the park is complete without traveling through the “Willow Walk,” which leads visitors to the entrance of a Kiiy, a replica of a native Gabrielino/Tongva gathering house where you can listen to audio recordings of stories about the first people of the area.
Next time you stop by Noodle World on Sepulveda or drop off your dry cleaning at Spring Cleaners, make sure to check out the alleyway connecting the building at 8636 Sepulveda Blvd. to the parking lot.
What were once gray stucco walls have been transformed into four colorful panels, depicting some of Westchester’s most recognizable landmarks. Otis students in the Creative Action Program, led by instructor and muralist David Russell, researched, designed and painted the murals to help beautify the thoroughfare. Otis lecturer, Maura Condrick, also contributed to the design. This is the latest local public art piece for Russell, the artist behind the five-story “Welcome to Westchester” painting on the building at Westchester Pkwy. and Sepulveda Blvd., made possible through a partnership with the Drollinger Family Charitable Foundation.
If you’re looking for what’s on tap this summer, we’ve got you covered! Our favorite season officially kicks off this month on June 21, and there’s no shortage of events happening in the community that the whole family can enjoy.
Mark your calendars for these fun, free (or low-cost) local events, so when someone asks you “What’s happening this weekend?” you’ll be in the know. Below are our picks for the best summer events to keep your schedule packed through September!