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Flying high with Gallo + Hen

Shima 0 comments 11.05.2016


Every Wednesday, I will share a resident of the South Bay contributing to making our community a better place. Today’s WCW title belongs to South Bay native, Vanessa Scouton who on top of being a flight attendant for Virgin America, is the owner and creator behind Etsy’s GALLO+HEN products.

Scouton, 30, grew up in Redondo Beach and is currently residing in Oakland. She moved to RB in the 2nd grade and went to Beryl Heights and went to high school at Redondo Union High School.  During her time at RUHS, she was in the Health and Fitness Academy and was on the Surf Team.

She says that she practically lived at the beach as a kid and could always be found surfing at Topaz or hanging with her friends at Ave A. Upon graduating high school, she went to El Camino for two years and studied Fashion Design before transferring to San Francisco State.


During her last year at state, she was enrolled in just a few classes and was seeking a new part-time job. She says, “I never panned on becoming a flight attendant, it sort of just happened.” Her friend was working at SFO (San Francisco Airport) as a gate agent for an international carrier and helped her get a job there to.

Her training consisted of 6 weeks and says that service was the shortest lesson and probably what most people think they go to training for.  They learned to evacuate an aircraft in 90 seconds, how to fight a fire at 35,000 feet, what to do with a bomb, how to handle crazy people, how to help a pregnant women give birth, and more!


She even says that there's a day that they just show you plane crashes, one after the next. After watching, they talk about each one, why did it happen, what new procedures were put into place because of it, what would one have done, etc. “In a way, it teaches you to separate your emotions from your actions,” she says.

Her favorite day of training was when she got to jump down the emergency exit slide.  She says that a lot of people don't make it through the training and that the instructors are very strict. She says that being on time is considered late, they must receive 90% on all tests, 1 redo for evacuation drills and emergency equipment preflight and procedure verbatim.

 Vanessa personally loves red eyes and does 7-8 two day redeyes.  A typical day for her is report to SFO at 10:05pm and a flies sfo-bos at 11:05pm.  She lands at bos around 7:30 a.m., goes to a hotel and sleeps. A van picks up the flight attendants at 5:30pm and the flight from sfo-bos is 7pm.  She arrives at sfo around 10:30pm and goes home.


Although technically only gone 24 hrs, they are still called a 2-day trip.  She prefers this schedule because it allows her to have enough time with her husband, Carlos, and stepson, Vigo , and also allows for her to work on her Etsy shop.

Overall Scouton feels blessed to have had safe, easy flights with an occasional demanding client on board.

When asked what she’d tell someone who is afraid of flying, she said: “I think the fear of flying really comes from the fear of being in a new space that you don't feel comfortable with and feel out of control.  I have massive control issues!  Before I became a flight attendant, I was super afraid of flying.  My dad and step mom thought I was crazy when I applied.  But, I know I'm in control if something were to happen, I'd be the first to know, and I'm trained to deal with it.  I also go into the flight deck and see the pilots at work and know how professional and serious they are about safety.  Obviously, all flyers won't go through my training.  So, I think the next best thing is to introduce yourself to the gate agent working your flight.  Ask them if they would introduce you to the captain.  My pilots will let you go in the flight deck and show you around a little, help you feel comfortable and give you a little knowledge.  The flight attendants should be your best friend.  Let us know if you'd love an update on weather or turbulence. Getting to know everyone working the flight you are on helps make you feel part of the team and in turn a little bit more in control.”


She says the best part of her job would have to be all the days she gets off and when she does go to work, she feels like she is just hanging out with her friends ...on a plane.  “It’s so nice to not take work home with me.  I might have a bad day, dealt with a crazy person, or bad turbulence... but when I get home, it’s all over!” she says. Scouton also enjoys the time away from home as it helps her not feel caged up.

On top of comforting flyers and being an all-star flight attendant, Scouton is very passionate about her Etsy business.  About four years ago, Vanessa and her then boyfriend moved into their Oakland apartment and had very minimal furniture that did not match.  She says, “We were dead broke and can't afford new stuff.  So, I started refinishing and painting all our things to match.”


Carlos, her husband, loves what she is doing and wants to join.  So, together, they began finding dumped furniture and as a team make them new.  Soon after, people would come over and ask to buy the furniture they were making.  In result, they began creating chests, coffee tables, bars, and a bench.

Scouton says she would paint them bright with fun patterns and would sell them at flea markets or custom orders.  During this time, she also started making pillows and upcycling vintage goods that needed TLC.


What made the beginning of the business so special was that it developed at a time when she was feeling lost and unhappy. “I was starting to be a real bitch to people at work and a total jack ass all around.  Once we started our creative business, my whole attitude changed and a felt a weight lifted off me.  I needed so badly to have something creative for me to enjoy. As much as I enjoy my "day job,” flying wears you out and can feel endless,” she says.

Scouton and her husband named the business GALLO+HEN because she says he walks around like a “giant Mexican Rooster.” (Gallo is Spanish for rooster.  And she is nicknamed Hen, since many years ago she DJed at a few bars as Mama Hen.) You can purchase her products from her website here.


Currently due to their landlord’s request, they put furniture building on hold, however, they have continued selling serape pillow covers.  The pillow colors come in all the different colors and she says they brighten up n living space and add an adventurous vibe.

 Scouton genuinely enjoys waking up on days off and sewing for a few hours.  She also enjoys the process of taking trips to SD to get more blankets and even getting orders packaged and sending emails back and forth with customers.

When Scouton is not flying or sewing pillow covers, she pays it forward by donating clothes her family no longer wears or her step-son Vigo grows out of, all his toys or movies that he becomes to "old" for are donated and never resold.  In addition, her friend Jenette and her are trying to lessen the amount of street cats in their neighborhoods and in the meantime, care and nurture them.


In 5 years, she hopes to continue doing things that make her happy. She sees herself flying, in a home, and doing what she loves.  When Scouton visits the South Bay, she enjoys spending time with many of her life-long friends, going to the beach and enjoying a drink at Old Tony’s.

Thank you, Vanessa, for reminding us that it’s important to chase our passions and make time for those and what matters most.


“The fun, annoying, stressful thing about life is you can plan all day long but it doesn't mean shit.  Maybe that's not the mindset of a powerful super successful businessperson, but I'd never envision being that type in a 1,000,000 years.”

-Vanessa Scouton

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Shima 0 comments 09.05.2016


Every Monday, I will share a resident of the South Bay contributing to making our community a better place. Today’s MCM title belongs to Sam Itani who made a bold decision early this year to follow his passion of pursuing music.

Itani, 26, grew up in Beirut, Lebanon for the first 10 years of his life and then moved to Los Angeles, CA. Upon graduating from North High School in 2007, he went to El Camino College for two years and got an AA in Arts. Soon after, he went to National University to get his undergrad in Psychology.

For four years, he worked as a behavior therapist before realizing he was not following his true passion. He says, “I then decided to quit my job and pursue a career in music” When Itani told his boss he was going to quit, he says, “It was surreal. I thought about it for a long time before actually going through with my decision to quit my job and pursue my dream of playing music.” He found that it felt strange at first, but he loved his decision in the end.

“It's my passion and I would never go back to working as a behavior therapist,” he says.  He told his boss that he found something that he enjoyed doing for the rest of his life and that the job wasn't for him. He says they highly respected him for his decision

He describes his music style as Acoustic-pop. He wants people to feel motivated and happy when listening to his music. “I just want to spread positivity and display a clean image. I don't want to be a rock star. I want to be that musician that moms take their kids to see and will feel safe doing so,” he says.


Itani uses the acoustic guitar, piano, bass, vocals and electric guitar when creating music. He says that his feelings are the inspiration behind his lyrics. “Music is my way of telling people about my feelings, since I don't like talking about them,” he says.

He says a typical day for him is very busy as he is constantly recording, meeting with videographers and photographers, networking and doing photo shoots.

You can learn more about Itani on all forms of social media.



Instagram: www.instagram.com/samitanimusic or @samitanimusic










Email: For Buisness Inquiry


\When Itani is not playing music, he enjoys helping people in need whenever he can. He donates money overseas at least once a year and also expresses his hopes for humanity and such things in his music. “My music is medicine for those that are suffering. It gives them a sense of hope,” he says.  He also enjoys spending time with his family and friends.

Thank you, Sam, for reminding our youth that it’s ok to follow your passions. Check out Itani's latest song dedicated to mother's on his YouTube page.


“If you don't follow your dream, you will feel as if you haven't lived.”

– Sam Itani

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Touching others through the essence of nature.

Shima 0 comments 04.05.2016


Every Wednesday, I will share a resident of the South Bay contributing to making our community a better place.

Today’s WCW title belongs to Ferial Itani who at 54 years old bravely decided that it was time to pursue her heart’s greatest passion and begin a fragrance and soap line after styling hair for over 18 years.

Ferial, 54, moved to the U.S. when she was just 12 years old from Beruit. Her family moved with hopes of building a better life in the “Land of opportunity.” For her early life, she grew up in the South Bay and later graduated from Hawthorne high school.


After marrying her husband, Ferial owned several businesses including owning Aladin Café restaurant. She was the cook and says that she enjoyed creating dishes with passion. Upon closing the restaurant, she cut, dyed and styled hair for 18 years at her brother’s hair salon in Redondo Beach, Zouhair Salon.

No matter what business, hobby or passion she followed, she took her heart fully in it and she says, “It showed.”

For many years, Ferial began mixing her favorite perfumes with natural essences such as orange blossom. She says that wherever she went, whether the grocery store, airplane, or just walking past a stranger, she was stopped and asked, “What perfume is that?” After informing them that she made the perfume herself, she found it comical that many would beg to buy the already used bottles from her.


She says that she would freely give them away just because it brought her so much joy to see others happy with her products. Often times while at her brother’s salon, her clients would complement her as well and ask her where they could purchase the perfume.

She was constantly asked, “Why don’t you sell them?” At the time, she felt she was too busy to pursue a business in creating the perfumes so she dismissed the idea for a long time. That all changed three years ago when she became severely ill from headaches and was rushed to the hospital.


After being released, her brother insisted that maybe she was exhausting herself from the salon and that it may be time for her to follow a new passion or just simply take a break. Ferial says that she loves to embark on new journeys, such as one day hoping to move to Tuscany. Yet, she says that no matter what new phase she enters in her life, she remains herself…honest and true to her most authentic self.

While home recovering, she found that she wanted to reach more people. She says that so many people have helped her throughout her life and she has helped so many as well, yet knew there was more for her. She was entering a phase in her life where she wanted to be able to “touch” others. So over the course of three years, she quit her job as a stylist and began creating soap products.


Growing up, she would store and save hand soaps she’d receive from Lebanon. She says they were very precious to her for they looked rigid and smelt good. She wanted to use the soaps as a way to connect with others and share the same love and passion she had in her heart through them.

She began mixing ingredients such as peppermint oil with other natural essential oils. After making only one batch and distributing them amongst her five children and their friends, she was surprised to find them so pleased with the products.


“My kids and their friends would beg me to make more and so I did,” she says. She says that although physically she created the products, she finds that the emotional support of her loved ones was what made it possible to create the products. “A smile on a loved one’s face alone was my inspiration,” Ferial says.

Soon after, she decided to begin creating the products for others to also purchase and designed Ferial Essence. The perfumes and soaps can be bought directly from her Etsy website here.


On her website she says, "I began making perfumes and soaps wanting a product that doesn’t exist these days, because of the impurities and toxins added into them. Ferial Essence products are kept in their original state, starting from the ingredients used to the way they are crafted. Each product is unique, different than the rest, blossoming into its own character. Like a jewel in the rough, they are not buffed and do not contain any chemicals or fillers. When you close your eyes, you will be transported to a different time, where the fields were free and pure. You can smell the essence of nature that soothes your body, mind and soul. An honest, good product – that’s what I wanted to make."


. She says her personal favorite product is the orange blossom scents as it takes her back to a place in time where things felt innocent. “I like how it reminds me orange fields where what you see is what you get. Not many things are organic anymore, but orange fields are real,” she says.


When Ferial is not spending time with her family or creating perfumes, she enjoys gardening and spending as much time with nature as possible. She enjoys calligraphy and often draws beautiful symbolic letters, images and creations with them. She pays it forward by knitting beanies for premature babies and children in Lebanon. In her room, she has a wide range of beanies in different sizes and colors in a storage container waiting to ship.

Ferial is enjoying creating perfume and soaps for her clients and says that she can’t wait to see where the next phase of her life takes her. Thank you, Ferial, for reminding us that it is never too late to follow our dreams and reach our destiny and as you say, “Tomorrow is not promised, so do it today.”


“I don’t believe I have talent, I have passion…everything I do is from the heart and it shows.”

-Ferial Itani

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Parks make life better.

Shima 0 comments 30.04.2016


Every Monday I will share a resident of the South Bay contributing to making our community a better place. Today’s MCM title belongs to David Ibarra who has worked for the City of Manhattan Beach as the Youth Program’s Supervisor for the past 17 years.

Ibarra was born and raised in Manhattan Beach and currently resides only a block away in Redondo Beach. When Ibarra was only six years old, he used to attend the afterschool program and camps.  At 12, he decided he loved it so much that he wanted to be a volunteer and help the staff.  Finally, at 18, he knew that he wanted to work there and the age of 22 I became the supervisor of the program.


His main responsibility is to offer residents of the community a place where their children can go, that is safe, clean and green. In addition, he hosts several events throughout the year within the city.  He says that his favorite part of his job is that it is very easy!  He says the difficult part is having to be more enticing to the youth, whom are so in love with their electronics and gadgets.

David oversees many special events in the city. Below are several events:

Family Camp out.

“We have 250 participants sleep in the field, have some family activities such as arts and crafts, ice block bowling, inflatable hamster balls, BBQ dinner then a movie.  In the morning we have a fishing derby and breakfast.”

Sand Castle Design contest:

“On the Sunday of the international surf festival my staff come down and make way for the sand castle contest, we offer prizes for the winner of the best sculpture, dribble and castle.”

Halloween carnival:

“This is my favorite event, we have homemade booths from the children of the REC program and staff and we charge 25 cents to play.  We have a costume contest, haunted house and a jumpy.  Best off all, win or lose, everyone gets a prize.  This is a good old fashion family fun event and easy on the wallet.”


The Pumpkin Race:

“This event is silly and good clean family fun.  We race over 1000 pumpkin on MB blvd.  I am the head official and anyone caught cheating, such as racing a watermen and not a pumpkin- they get smashed by the mallet of justice.  This event is a MB tradition and trophies are given out to the 1-2-3-4 place winners.”

Pier lighting ceremony:

“During the Holidays, the City lights up the pier and downtown MB.  There is live music, a small ceremony with city officials and singing for the local middle and high school.”


The REC program is full of activities.  David says, “When the kids arrive, staff assist them with homework, then after that is done we offer recreation games like foosball, soccer, Jedi master, knock the blocks, pony express.  We also offer arts and crafts, lanyards, friendship beads and fuse beads.”

When is he not working, he enjoys spending time with his family.  He has a large family and 2 children of his own.  He says, “There is never enough time, so we make it quality time.”


David pays it forward to the community by mentoring young recreation leaders.  He says that they will become the new professionals one day.  He teaches what they will one day be able to do. “It’s rewarding to see them grow up before my eyes,” he says.

He enjoys living in the South Bay mostly for the community, the schools and the local feel.  “This is the one stop shop for all of my family’s needs,” he says.

David says that the City of Manhattan Beach is always looking for great new individuals looking to make differences.  “We are always hiring,” he says.  In the next five years, he would love to be the manager of Parks and Recreation.

To learn more how you can work for the city, please contact David here: dibarra@citymb.info or visit the City of Manhattan beach website at www.citymb.info and click the jobs link.


“Our Branding statement for Parks and Recreation is: “Parks Make Life Better!” I can personally say, it made mine so much better.”

– David Ibarra

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The Patriots’ Angel.

Shima 0 comments 27.04.2016


Every Wednesday, I will share a resident of the South Bay contributing to making our community a better place.

Today’s WCW title belongs to Patty Williams who created a non-profit organization five years ago and has sent over 3,000 packages for our troops overseas since.


Patty was born in Mexico and later moved to the South Bay where she was raised when she was just seven years old. In 2010, Patty’s daughter inspired her to create a non-profit organization called Patriot Angels. She says at the time, her daughter was dating a Marine and remembers hearing stories of the need of support the young men needed. “My daughter ended up marrying the Marine and having my first granddaughter a few years after,” she says.

Patriot Angels is a non-profit organization that works with those in the committee who volunteer their time to raise money for items and shipping of care packages for our military overseas. Their mission is to demonstrate gratitude to deployed service personnel for their personal sacrifice by extending to them the comforts of home through care packages.


Below are some of their objectives:

To create and maintain a care package acquisition and delivery system for deployed service personnel throughout the world.

To demonstrate the Judeo-Christian value of giving and generate good will to deployed service personnel.

To cultivate personal value and increase morale within deployed service personnel that provides for a less stressful posture while away from home.

To express personal gratitude from citizens to deployed service personnel for their personal sacrifice and service to country.

To enhance the quality of life in America’s deployed service personnel while in faraway lands.

To reduce stress levels and stimulate moral effectiveness in the performance of duty to the United States of America and its citizens.


Since beginning, Patriots Angels have sent out over 3,000 care packages in the last five years and are hoping to send out 1,500 this year alone. ​Patty says people can help out by donating and logging into their website at patriotangels.org for any monetary donation or item donation drop off location.

In addition, each year they host an event at USS IOWA in the City of San Pedro, in effort to package the items and raise awareness of the need for our support by writing letters that are included in the care packages.

Patty hopes not to only raise awareness of the need for items, but also the raising of moral for our military. “They need our encouragement, they feel lonely and forgotten, letters and something from home makes them feel that what they do is worth it.  They are as young as 18 years old, and need our love and encouragement,” she says.


When she is not creating packages for those overseas or raising awareness, she enjoys spending her free time with family and loves nature walks.


Thank you, Patty, for being an advocate for our troops overseas and reminding others the importance of giving back and being their angel on earth.

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Dust off your shoulders.

Shima 0 comments 25.04.2016


Every Monday, I will share a resident of the South Bay contributing to making our community a better place.

Today’s MCM title belongs to Jacob Weintraub who uses his love for shot-put and discus as a way to coach the youth and help them find their place in a world they may feel uncomfortable in.

Jacob was born in Torrance at Little company of Mary and later raised in Torrance and Redondo Beach. Today, he resides in Lomita, CA. During his high school years, Jacob played basketball, football, wrestling, and track. He decided to tackle three sports during one year and asked his coach for guidance on choosing the sports.

His football coach asked him to throw a discus as far as he could. He stood, feet mounted into the ground and threw a shotput nearly 40 feet across the field. Instantly, his coach realized that Jacob, standing at 6’4 and 275 pounds, was a natural.


He spent all four years in high school as a track and field athlete, gaining a 56-01 school record in shot-pit. Jacob later continued shot-put at El Camino college, gaining title as team captain twice, runner up in the 2008 and 2009 college state meet and placing fifth best discus mark all-time.

Discus allowed Jacob to relieve tension and any stress he felt, was transformed into a throw. Despite any injuries he faced, such as tendonitis, Jacob continued to practice and stay around with teammates even if he couldn’t perform.

It is clear that he values a Team mentality and it is probably why he was approached by his alma mater high school to help coach several years later.


Today, Jacob runs the entire throws program teaching shot-put and discus at RUHS. He says he was always interested in coaching and when he graduated college, he couldn't find a job. His old track coach at Redondo called him and explained that they needed someone to help coach the throws program. Without hesitation, Jacob signed on.


He says the most exciting part of coaching is seeing the kids succeed and the most challenging is keeping them focused and learning how to effectively communicate his coaching strategies to them.” A lot of times coaches will say something but the athlete won't get it so you have to try and find other ways to communicate the message,” he says.

Jacob’s goals for the next five years are to be the top throw program in the South Bay and send at least 3 athletes to CIF. He seeks to teach the kids the sport and see if he can help them progress to the next level and attain a scholarship. He says that when he was at RUHS, they had no formal training or coach. “I had to learn everything on my own and had to figure out what worked and what didn't. I think if I would've had a coach like myself I would've been way better,” he says.


A typical schedule for Jacob begins in the middle of the day and starts off with stretching followed by throwing then weight training and lasts about 2 1/2 hours. He says it's a very difficult sport that throwers make look easy. He also wishes there was more funding for the sport as well.

 “This sport doesn't pay the big bucks. It's not very popular,” he says. Jacob has found that 5/10 people know what it is but the one major component that drives him to keep coaching is being able to change someone’s life for the good.

 “It's for the kid who goes down to the track for try-outs and isn't fast enough and gets sent to the field events. I had a girl where this happened. All she wanted to do was be a sprinter but she was too slow and the coach sent her to me. She came to me sad with her confidence torn and felt like she failed but I was given the privilege to help change her view,” he says.


Jacob knows that women in throws are fragile individuals because they feel very insecure about themselves since throws tends to get stereotyped for being a manly sport. He says it is perceived as where they send all the "big girls" and boys.

He says that for the men it's no big deal but for women it can be hard because they ask themselves, “Where do I fit in?" In order to bring out the best out of her situation, he trained her and pushed her to her limits. Jacob says, “That’s what a good coach does.”

Within 3 years, the young girl went from a shy, insecure girl who thought she failed to being one of the best discus throwers in the South Bay. She now is a leader and took the qualities that she is good at and used them to excel. “She now embraces her sport and loves being a thrower and kids from other events actually look up to her for being successful in her respective event,” he says.

Jacob says, it’s like the saying, "When one thing doesn't work out, or it fails, another one will open."

Thank you Jacob for using your passion for sports to keep our youth out of trouble and empowering them to continue their talent as well.


“You just got to get the dust off your shoulder and get back up and keep going. “

- Jacob Weintraub

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Keeping calm, and CARRIER on.

Shima 0 comments 20.04.2016


Every Wednesday, I will share a resident of the South Bay contributing to making our community a better place.

Today’s WCW title belongs to Trisha Herd who is working as a mail carrier for the city of North Hollywood after wanting to give something new a try and is loving it so far.

Herd, 27, grew up in Torrance and currently resides in Gardena. Herd graduated from North High school in 2006 and says some of her best memories from school would have to be the assembly's, football and basketball games, her ceramics class and being able to see her friends everyday.

Upon graduating from North, Herd went to CSUN and studied Child Development. While in college, she worked at LA Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness, & after school programs working with the youth. After leaving the education field and obtaining permits in the security field, she worked as an armed officer for ADT, Hustler Casino & hotels in Orange County.


In this past year, Herd decided to pursue the United States Postal Business and is working today on a business route meaning that Monday’s are her heaviest days. “Even though I know what to expect, I still have the worst anxiety when it comes to Monday. Other than that, the week goes by pretty nice,” she says. Despite the chaos, she says that she loves that she gets to be by herself and learn a new city.

Herd has found that being a mail carrier is really like what you see in the movies. “Getting chased by dogs is real life. It sucks that my second day I was chased by two dogs and luckily they were little,” she says.

Each morning, she clocks in at 7 a.m. and first thing she does is checks the vehicle to make sure everything is working correctly. After, she goes inside to case the lose mail such as magazines and newspapers, which she says is called, "pulling down" in the order of your route.


She says she is usually out of the office by 9:30 am and her route starts at about 10 a.m. on Coldwater canyon and usually ends by 2:10-2:20 p.m. She says the neighborhood that she is in is very friendly and she laughs and jokes with the neighbors often. “On hot days, they offer me cold water,” she says.

When she is not working, which is rarely, she likes to relax. Herd works seven days a week so she tries to spend any free time at the beach or going out to eat and or spending time with her family & the babies in it.

She pays it forward by being there for her family and friends by being a good listener and giving the best advice she can. Herd loves the South Bay mostly for its beaches. She says,“I was born in the summer so I'm just a water baby in general, so every chance I get I'm always at the Manhattan Beach strand."

 In five years, Herd hopes to be a home owner and traveling the world.

Thank you, Trisha, for being a positive, responsible and efficient member of the South Bay community and providing residents their mail with a smile.

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Let it BEE.

Shima 0 comments 18.04.2016


Every Monday, I will share a resident of the South Bay contributing to making our community a better place. Today’s MCM title belongs to Lee Williams who rescues suffering bees in hopes of providing organic honey to the community.

Lee Williams spent his early years in Seattle and adult years in San Francisco. After a few years, he moved to San Pedro and today, he rescues bee swarms from yards and places them in safer environments. Williams explains that sometimes bees make bad choices of homes, such as BBQ grills, water meters, attics. “I safely remove them from the places they might have bad interactions with people. I then try to find a place where they can still live locally, just in a spot where they are less likely to bother people or become a problem,” he says.


 Williams says that often bee hives can be housed in back yards and the neighbors will never know. “I have two hives and my neighbors didn't know until I brought them bottles of honey,” he says.

In addition, people may be surprised to find that there are typically 8 to 10 wild hives per square mile here in southern California. When asked what makes bees so important for our community, Lee simply says, “The fact that every third bite of food we eat is produced with the help of honey bees is one of the reasons why saving bees is so important. Bees not only pollinate the flowers in our yards but they also make it possible for our backyard gardens to produce so much fruit and veggies.”


However, since there are only enough flowers, plants and gardens to support 8 to 10 hives per square mile, beekeepers help make sure the bees that are here are healthy and non-aggressive.
“Both of my hives are tame enough to sit next to them in shorts and a t-shirt to watch the sunrise. This is actually one of my favorite things to do. The bees come back to the hive with their back legs packed with pollen and it is fun to try and figure out what plants they had visited,” he says.


According to statistics, 76% of honey sold in stores is poor quality and illegally imported from China. William says that local honey is good for folks with allergies because it contains local pollens and helps with immune systems. “I harvest about 10 gallons of honey in the spring and again in the fall. This is just enough to provide friends and family with a little local honey. As more and more people ask me to manage hives in their backyards, I may start harvesting enough honey to sell at farmer’s markets,” he says.

Williams was inspired to pursue rescuing bees after finding bees at one of the homes he leases to tenants. “I knew the bees were in danger, so I did some research to see if there was a safe way to keep the bees on our property without putting anyone in danger,” he says. He also has a friend who keeps bees and he encouraged Williams to house a hive at his own house.


“I joined a number of beekeeper groups including HoneyLove.org and the Long Beach Beekeepers Club. It took me 6 months to learn enough to feel safe about keeping bees myself,” he says. In addition, he had mentors who helped guide him through the process and kept things safe.

Three years later, Williams is a beekeeper and although still considered a new beak, his passion has helped him learn quickly and help other beekeepers provide safe, treatment free hive management.


Williams says one fun fact is that honey never goes bad. “They have found honey in Egyptian burial sites that is still edible 3,000 years later,” he says. However, he’d like others to know that bees die when they sting so they only sting to defend themselves or their home.

“Most people get stung when they either step on a bee or when they panic and start swatting at a passing bee. I teach people to let them bee,” he says. By letting them bee, he means to never approach a hive unless you know what you're doing and watch where you step when you're splashing around in a pool. He says that bees will leave you alone, especially when they are buzzing from flower to flower and it is so much fun to just sit and watch them.


Williams is an advocate for bees and one of his greatest movements has been speaking to the city council to help legalize backyard beekeeping in LA. In addition, he speaks to community groups and garden clubs to separate fact from fiction when it comes to bees. For example, one of the biggest concerns for folks is bee allergies.

Williams says, “If you think you may be allergic to bee-stings, it is important to talk to your doctor about the simple test and to get an Epi-pen just in case. However, you are almost twice as likely to die from a lightning strike (90 deaths per year) than from a bee sting (54 per year).”

He says that typically, folks who die from bee stings are disturbing a hive and are stung hundreds of times. So, if you see bees flying in and out of a hole in a wall or a tree, don't try poking them with a stick or spraying them with water. Call an expert to have them safely removed.
It is clear that Williams is passionate and knowledgeable about bees. When he is not saving bees, he enjoys living in the South Bay for its weather. “Being so close to the water gives us so much to do and enjoy. We spend a lot of time outdoors, taking pictures and being grateful we get to live here,” he says.


When he is not working, Williams spends a lot of time working to guide the growth and development of his town. He enjoys having an opportunity to create Green jobs with the introduction of Altasea as well as putting San Pedro on the map as a tourist destination with the development of the San Pedro Public Market. “I want to see San Pedro grow in a responsible way to create local jobs while maintaining the close community. We have a lot cool things happening in San Pedro and it is fun to be a part of it,” he says.

To purchase local honey, Williams says to visit a farmer's market near you. “You will taste the difference and the health benefits for folks who have allergies is pretty amazing. I don't currently sell my honey, but I may start as I add hives,” he says.


Thank you, Lee, for providing our community with insight and knowledge for the safety of our bees!

“Bees are our friends. When you spray gardens and lawns with pesticides, bees sometimes carry it home with them and it kills the entire hive. Pesticides are the leading killer of honey bees of please be mindful about the poisons you spread in our environment.”

-Lee Williams

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The other side of the “pitbull” story.

Shima 0 comments 13.04.2016


Every Wednesday, I will share a resident of the South Bay contributing to making our community a better place.

Today’s WCW title belongs to Jennifer Rosen who’s love for her beloved Pitbull inspired the creation of a non-profit organization dedicated to helping the bully breed find their forever home.

Rosen grew up in Rolling Hills Estates and currently lives in Redondo Beach, CA. After her first Pit Bull, Lady, passed away, she had a strong desire to help other bullies in need. She says it also inspired her to advocate for the breed and for responsible Pit Bull owners everywhere.


In result, she created Bullies and Buddies Rescue, an official non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating and re-homing Bullies and their other Buddy breeds in Southern California. Through training, love and patience, B&B has come to know and love every dog they have rescued as if they were their own. “They are all angels and we want them to succeed. For this reason, we pledge to never take on more dogs than we can properly care for, exercise, train and re-home,” she says.


Below, Jennifer shares some ways one can help:

Become a foster. Fostering saves lives. We can only save dogs if we have a place for them to crash. At Bullies and Buddies, we rely on fosters to help transition these dogs into their forever home. Our first priority is to place new rescues in foster homes (rather than to board them). Fostering saves the expense of boarding and provides a safe and loving home until they find their forever home!


Become a monthly donor. Even if you can only commit to $5/month that makes a huge difference because it allows us to plan ahead and save more dogs. It costs hundreds of dollars to spay/neuter, vaccinate, and chip just one dog not to mention housing, food, training and additional medical needs. If we have more consistent monthly commitments, we can say "yes" to more dogs who need us most.

She says the best part of rescuing is truly the dogs. “Being able to make a difference in even one life is so rewarding. We are so proud that we have saved over 900 dogs and counting. We just saved 3 more on Monday and the week isn't over yet,” she says.


When asked what she’d like others to know about dogs or adopting, she says, “First, if you have a fear of Pitt Bulls, please reach out or stop by our next adoption event. We'd like to introduce you to some amazing dogs.” Jennifer says that regardless of the type of dog you are looking for, please, please adopt instead of going to a breeder. Also, she says to finally please consider adopting a Pit Bull.


Studies estimate that up to 1 million Pit Bulls are euthanized per year which is 2,800 per day. Some estimates are up to double that number. In the Los Angeles area alone, 200 per day are put to sleep. “They need our help,” she says.

When Jennifer is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family. She says they are her rock and share her love for rescuing dogs. In the next five years, they’d like to continue to focus on the following three areas.



  • save the dogs who need us most
  • find loving homes for every rescue
  • provide medical needs to ensure each dog has a happy, healthy life


  • advocate for the Pit Bull breed to dispel the myths
  • provide opportunities for people to interact with Pit Bulls
  • share rescue stories to provide positive news for the breed


  • recruit more fosters so we can save more dogs
  • develop strategic partnerships so we can reach more people and save more dogs


To learn more about Bullies and Buddies, please follow them on Facebook and Instagram and share the rescued dogs. They post daily updates so you can follow and learn their mission to save lives. So often one of their dogs finds a forever home because someone shared their picture and story.

You can also consider becoming a monthly angel donor and contributing to their cause at www.bulliesandbuddies.com to learn more.


Thank you Jennifer for being a passionate advocate and speaking on behalf of bullies who need our help!


“I am driven to bring awareness to the other side of the "Pit Bull" story - the one most people don't see on the news. I hope to get people to look deeper beyond the "Pit Bull" hype and see how loving and gentle these dogs can be.”

-Jennifer Rosen

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Unleashing the power within.

Shima 0 comments 11.04.2016


Every Monday, I will share a resident of the South Bay contributing to making our community a better place.

Today’s MCM title belongs to Jacob Yowell who is North High School’s Cross Country & Track and Field Coach who has used his love of sports to changes people’s lives by being the source that helps his athletes unleash the power within them.

Jacob, 27, was born in Gardena and later raised in Torrance, CA. Upon graduating in 2006 graduated from North Torrance High School, he studied Sociology at UCI. Today, along with being a substitute teacher for Torrance Unified School District, he is the head coach for the Cross Country & Track and Field programs at North High.

His main duty is to oversee all administrative, financial, and training duties for both programs. A typical day for Jacob looks like this: he gets a call from the Torrance Unified School District, giving him the details of the subbing assignment that he will be working. Upon completing subbing, he heads into his office out at the football stadium.


Each day, Jacob oversees a team meeting at 2:00 pm where he addresses the team on any important items or events coming up in the next couple of days and weeks. After that, the team warm ups with his assistant coaches and he heads back to his office to handle any athletic and administrative work.

Finally, he heads out to the track to put his athletes through their work out and once practice is over, he heads back to the office to prepare for the next day. Despite his long day, he commits to completing his own workout in the school’s weight room before heading home to relax.

When asked what being a Coach means to Jacob, he says, “I could tell you that it means everything to me, but even then, the answer wouldn’t do the question any justice. To be a coach means I have the platform and power to be so much more than that to so many athletes. With that great power comes great responsibility.  A responsibility I’ve been blessed and a responsibility in which I cherish.”


Remarkably, Jacob says that he did not choose the career and instead, it chose him. “The last thing I pictured myself doing coming out of college was coaching Cross Country/Track & Field. I felt that my love, drive and passion for the sport was one that only an elite level athlete would possess,” he says.

However, he believed that this mentality wouldn’t lead to success for high school athletes who didn’t share those same feeling and in turn bring frustration to him as a coach. He was then approached by an old coach to oversee the sprints and hurdles for the track team in the fall of the 2012-2013 school year.


He thought back on how dominate the teams at North where when he was attending and knew how bad the teams had gotten with the departure of former coaches. With that in mind, he felt that maybe he could lend a hand in helping rebuild the program. He is happy to say that in his 4th season as a coach, second as the head coach, the success of the programs is back where it once was and is continuing to grow year by year.

Undoubtedly, he owes his success as a coach to the same love, desire, and passion he had as an athlete which he says is now the same for him as a coach.


When Jacob is not working, he enjoys spending time with his family or exploring Southern California. “I love my family and nothing comes before them so I like to just spend time with them when I can,” he says. He also feels lucky enough to live five minutes from the beach and 2 hours from the snow.

He is inspired by the quote, “Success isn’t measured by the amount of money you make but the amount of lives you impact.” He says that the quote sums up the relationship that is created between athletes and their coach which he says is irreplaceable.

Jacob says that as a Coach, athletes grow on you and you on them.  He has found that they challenge you and you challenge them, they change you and you change them. He enjoys witnessing their growth based on the impact he has had on them and in vice versa.


He’d like others to know how much it all really means to coaches. “In the great seasons, you’re on cloud nine right there with the athletes and in the bad seasons you hurt sometimes more than they do. It truly is an emotional roller coaster. You give them your all and you see them sweat, cry and bleed for you,” he says. Jacob would like parents and athletes to understand how much the coach’s want for each and every one of their athletes to be successful and how they’d exhaust all their means to ensure it happens.

Thank you, Jacob, for being a positive influence in the South Bay community and using your position as a Coach to reach a multitude of young men and women.


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