February 11, 2016
Volume 46, Issue 28
End art Arctic light Cottage below
Considering A Major Remodeling Project in 2016?
Architectural Design & Remodeling Seminar
This informative seminar will help you learn:
• Functioning designs to make the best of your living space.
• Choosing a contractor: What to look for and how to hire.
• Exploration of materials, from granite to quartz to more!
Join us on
February 27 th
at 10:00 am
Michael Burstein is a probate and estate planning
attorney. A graduate of the University of California,
Hastings College of the Law in 1987, he is admitted
to the California, Kansas and Oklahoma Bars and
is a member of the Order of Distinguished Attorneys
of the Beverly Hills Bar Association.
As an estate and probate lawyer, Michael has prepared
approximately 3,000 living trusts and more
than 4,000 wills.
An Estate Planning,
and Probate Attorney
l Living Trusts
l Powers of Attorney
l Asset Protection
l Veterans Benefits
l Pet Trusts
l Advance Health
l Insurance Trusts
l And Much More!
Call us to schedule an appointment or for our
Selecting the Best Estate Planning Strategies
111 North Sepulveda Boulevard, Suite 250
Manhattan Beach, California 90266
February 11, 2016
Volume 46, Issue 28
14 Four-legged Addition by Roger Repohl
Architect Michael Lee finds a way to preserve a traditional beach cottage
while giving its owners more room for their young family.
20 Dive tribe by Ryan McDonald
Manhattan Beach Middle School friends discover the wildlife refuge just
beyond the beach they grew up on.
26 Until the sword falls by Bondo Wyszpolski
El Segundo artist Karen Yee documents life under the Sword of
30 Brewing over food by Richard Foss
Brewpub and restaurant Hop Saint takes both its brews and food
seriously, with impressive results.
26 The North Pull by Paul Isley
Manhattan Beach businessman and photographer Paul Isley joins an
expedition to the Arctic to document its beauty and importance to the
26 Hustling forward by Randy Angel
Senior forward Cameron Williams helps the Sea Hawks move up from a
losing season in division 2A to a winning team in division 1AA.
PUBLISHER Kevin Cody, ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Richard Budman, EDITORS Mark McDermott, Randy Angel, David Mendez,
Caroline Anderson and Ryan McDonald, ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT Bondo Wyszpolski, DINING EDITOR Richard Foss, STAFF
PHOTOGRAPHERS Ray Vidal, Brad Jacobson and Gloria Plascencia, CALENDAR Judy Rae, DISPLAY SALES Adrienne Slaughter,
Tamar Gillotti, Amy Berg, and Shelley Crawford, CLASSIFIEDS Teri Marin, DIRECTOR OF DIGITAL MEDIA Jared Thompson,
GRAPHIC DESIGNER Tim Teebken, DESIGN CONSULTANT Bob Staake, BobStaake.com, FRONT DESK Judy Rae, INTERNS Sean
EASY READER (ISSN 0194-6412) is published weekly by EASY READER, 2200 Pacific Cst. Hwy., #101, P.O. Box 427, Hermosa
Beach, CA 90254-0427. Yearly domestic mail subscription $100.00; foreign, $200.00 payable in advance. POSTMASTER: Send
address changes to EASY READER, P.O. Box 427, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. The entire contents of the EASY READER newspaper
is Copyright 2016 by EASY READER, Inc. www.easyreadernews.com. The Easy Reader/Redondo Beach Hometown News
is a legally adjudicated newspaper and the official newspaper for the city of Hermosa Beach. Easy Reader / Redondo Beach
Hometown News is also distributed to homes and on newsstands in Manhattan Beach, El Segundo, Torrance, and Palos Verdes.
ON THE COVER
Manhattan Beach Middle School
freedivers Tanner Batcheller, Billy
Atkinson, Sam Roskin, Teddy
Stavropoulous and Hudson
Fredrikzs at one of their favorite
Palos Verdes dive sites.
Photo by Pete Henze
Editor’s note: Beach readers with vacation stories and photos they think
would be of interest to other readers are invited to email them to
8 Beach calendar
16 Attorney profiles
10 Neptunian Chili Cook-off 24 Leadership Hermosa Beach
38 Home Services
n Mailing Address P.O. Box 427, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254 Phone (310) 372-4611 Fax (424) 212-6780
n Website www.easyreadernews.com Email firstname.lastname@example.org
n Classified Advertising see the Classified Ad Section. Phone 310.372.4611 x107. Email email@example.com
n Fictitious Name Statements (DBA's) can be filed at the office during regular business hours. Phone 310.372.4611 x101.
6 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • February 11, 2016
S O U T H B AY
SURF HISTORY HAPPY HOUR
HERMOSA HISTORICAL MUSEUM
Thursday, Feb. 11. • 6 p.m.
The Hermosa Beach Historical Society
launches its beer and wine “Happy
Hour with History” talks with a book
signing by “Southern California Surf
Music 1960-66” author John Blair.
RSVP at (310) 318-9421 or HermosaBeachMuseumRSVP@gmail.com
710 Pier Ave., Hermosa Beach.
INTERNATIONAL PEN SHOW
Sunday, Feb. 14. • 10:30 a.m.
Vintage as well as contemporary fountain
pens, ball point pens and other
writing instruments will be exhibited
at the 28th annual Los Angeles International
Pen Show. Guests are invited
to bring in old pens to have their history
and value determined. Rosecrans
& Parkview, Manhattan Beach. (310)
RUNNING IN THE STREETS
AMERICAN MARTYRS SCHOOL
Saturday, Feb. 20 • 8 a.m.
Costume contest and stroller divisions
are included in this fast and challenging
3.1 mile run. $100 in gift certificates
are given to the top male and
female finishers. A healthy, continental
breakfast in the school parking lot
is offered after the race. 1701 Laurel
Ave., Manhattan Beach.To register call
(310) 243-6332 or visit RaceWire.com.
BEAT THE DRUM FRIENDLY
Sunday, Feb. 21 • Noon
Bring own instrument or use one of
the Free To Be Me Drum Circle’s. 12 -
3 p.m. Hermosa Beach Pier. For more
information call Sabina at (310) 318-
7191 or visit
OCEANS OF FRESH WATER
WHITE POINT NATURE PRESERVE
Sunday, Feb. 28 • 11 a.m.
A “Drought, El Nino and Water Reliability”
workshop, addressing conservation,
recycling and desalination will
be led by Ron Wildermuth of the West
Basin Metro Water District. 11 a.m.
White Point Nature Preserve, 1600
Paseo Del Mar, San Pedro. RSVP at
A FUNNY VALENTINE
Saturday, Feb. 13. • 2 p.m.
The April’s Fools Comedy Improv
Troupe takes off on the Valentine Day
weekend. Free. 550 Pier Ave, Hermosa
REDONDO STATE OF THE CITY
Tuesday, Feb. 16. • 7:30 a.m.
Redondo Beach Mayor Steve Aspel
will have plenty on his plate as he
eflects on his city’s past and future.
Registration 7 a.m. 300 North Harbor
Drive, Redondo Beach. Register at
(310) 376-6911 or Redondo
READY TO RESUSCITATE
Saturday, Feb. 20 • 8 a.m.
First Aid, CPR/AED training, with 2
year certificate is offered at no charge
to residents and employees of Manhattan
Beach, Hermosa Beach and Redondo
Beach. $55 for non residents,
Pre-enroll to be assured a seat. Email
with your full name, phone, email and
home address. 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. Joslyn
Center, 1601 North Valley Drive, Manhattan
Beach, just north of Fire Station
HERMOSA COMMUNITY THEATER
Saturday, Mar. 5 • 7:30 p.m.
Fiddlers and Gaelic singers and
dancers return to Hermosa for the
35th Annual Spring Concert. 710 Pier
Ave., Hermosa Beach. For more information
ScottishFiddlers.org. Tickets at
“THE WAR IN HEAVEN”
HERMOSA 2ND STORY THEATER
Friday, Feb. 12 • 8 p.m.
Hermosa playwright Angelo Masino’s
past plays have seemed to loom too
large for the 85-seat 2nd Story Theatre.
His latest work of New Testament
figures offering color
commentary on the Apocalypse also
promises to knock the audience back
in its seats. Continuing on Feb. 19, 20,
27, Mar. 4, 11, 18 and 19. 710 Pier
Ave., Hermosa Beach. (310) 374-9767
or email AngelVisionP@gmail.com.
A SINATRA VALENTINE
LIVE AT THE LOUNGE
Thursday, Feb. 17 • 6:30 p.m.
Dennis McNeil and keyboard accompanist
Ed Martel perform the songs
and invoke the spirit of Frank Sinatra
on Ol’ Blue Eyes’s 100th Valentine anniversary.
Doors and dinner at 6:30.
Show at 7:30. The Lounge (next to
Comedy and Magic Club), 1018 Hermosa
Ave., Hermosa Beach. For reservations
call (310) 372-1193 or visit
TASMANIAN DEVIL PADDLERS
Saturday, Feb. 20 • 7 p.m.
“A Date with the Strait” and “The
Story of Ocean of Hope” have their
South Bay premiers at the Hermosa
Beach Playhouse Theater. “Strait”
chronicles Palos Verdes’ Jack Bark and
Australians Zeb Walsh and Brad Gaul
on the first ever paddleboard crossing
of the nearly 200 mile wide Bass
Strait, separating Australia and Tasmania.
“Hope” tells the story of paddlers
who support the Sarcoma Alliance.
Doors open at 6 p.m. for craft beers
and raffle. Screening at 7 p.m. Tickets
SEARCH FOR A CURE
HERMOSA KIWANIS HALL
Saturday, Mar. 5 • 5 p.m.
Adrienne Slaughter (pictured with last
year’s Search for a Cure co-host Jack
Witherspoon) host the 10 anniversary
Search for A Cure For Children’s Cancer.
2515 Valley Dr., Hermosa Beach
Tickets at WomensClubOfHermosaBeach.org.
8 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • February 11, 2016
February 11, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 9
NEPTUNIAN CLUB CHILI-COOKOFF
ver 400 people sampled chili from 16 local restaurants
at the Manhattan Beach Fire station on Saturday, January
30 during the Neptunian Woman’s Club’s Second
Annual South Bay Chili Cook-Off. Sausal chef Anne Conness
captured the Crowd Favorite title with her El Segundo restaurant’s
pork chili verde with sweet corn elote. Conness described
her chili as “a slow-simmered pork stew, flavored with tomatillos,
chilis, spices and cilantro. We top the stew with charred
corn, chipotle crema and pico de gallo.”
FishBar received the Fireman’s Favorite award and MB Post
received the Committee’s Favorite Award. The chili contest was
followed by an after party on the rooftop deck of title sponsor
Chevron, Strand Brewing Company and zinc@Shade were
the VIP sponsors. Other sponsors included Uncorked, Grow,
Corner Bakery, Lemonade and musicians Aragorn & Olivia. Almost
$24,000 was raised for the Manhattan Beach Firefighters
Association Burn Foundation, according to Neptunian vice president
of fundraising Suzanne Sharer. For more information
about the philanthropic group visit Neptunians.org.
Shopping, dining and entertainment, we’ve got it all!
APPAREL & ACCESSORIES
Friar Tux Shop . . . . . . . . . . (310) 534-4700
Styles of Hawaii . . . . . . . . . (310) 326-2151
Tilly’s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (310) 534-1642
European Wax Center . . . . (310) 325-2929
Fancy Nails . . . . . . . . . . . . (310) 326-7980
Pia Hair Salon . . . . . . . . . . (310) 326-0815
Rolling Hills Beauty Bar. . . (310) 530-3844
Strands Design Lab, LLC . . (310) 539-8434
Hair Studio. . . . . . . . . . . . . (310) 326-2338
Vogue Beauty Studio . . . . . (310) 530-5900
Waterside Beauty. . . . . . . . (310) 534-4242
The Gift Korner . . . . . . . . . (310) 539-5011
The Tutoring Center . . . . . . (310) 530-5377
Budding Artists. . . . . . . . . . . (310) 326-9764
Color Me Mine . . . . . . . . . . (310) 325-9968
Modern Jewelry Mart. . . . . . (310) 517-0308
Dr. Mylena Jl, D.D.S, Inc. . . (310) 326-4691
Dr. M.G. Monzon, D.D.S. . . (310) 891-3303
Dr. Nolan Ng, Optometrist . (310) 326-2881
Olive Chiropractic. . . . . . . . (310) 539-2285
South Bay Pain Docs . . . . . . (310) 626-8037
Torrance Family Urgent
Care Center of South Bay . . (310) 997-1796
1. Nick’s Corey Klass.
2. Mayor Mark Burton and Sandra and Kyle King.
3. Love & Salt’s Stephane Negarrec.
4. Standard Station’s Ethan Draper (center) and Eryn
and Ashley Richmond.
5. Charlie Cracknell, 2, in his firefighter turnout-gear
and grandma Maria.
6. Manny Serrano of sponsor Plaza Bank, Sylvia
Gayed, Mayor Mark Burton, Joanne Galin and
7. Doma owner Angie Corente with chef Kristina
Miksyte and Kristina’s mom Natalie Miksiene.
8. The Shade’s Edgar Reyes.
9. MB Post’s chef David LeFevre with Evelyn
Cazares and chef Robert Lee.
10. OB’s Steve Delk with son Andrew and wife
11. Simmzy’s Derin Walsh and chef Mike Rubino.
12. 2014 Chili Cookoff champs John Atkinson and
13. Sausal’s Lea Koch and Anne Conness.
14. Judges Mary Sue Brubaker, JoAnn Shaw and
Beltone Cleaners . . . . . . . . (310) 325-2511
Rolling Hills 20 . . . . . . . . . (888) 262-4386
Chase Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . (310) 257-1997
The Postal Mart . . . . . . . . . (310) 325-6777
South Bay Credit Union. . . (310) 374-3436
Baskin Robbins . . . . . . . . . (310) 530-6812
BevMo! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (310) 257-0034
Cups’s Frozen Yogurt . . . . . (310) 534-2625
Nijiya Japanese Market . . . (310) 534-3000
Omaha Steaks . . . . . . . . . . (310) 539-3831
Peet’s Coffee & Tea. . . . . . . (310) 626-8008
Starbucks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (310) 534-4835
Trader Joe’s. . . . . . . . . . . . . (310) 326-9520
Treat Tea & Ice . . . . . . . . . . (310) 326 9888
Whole Foods Market . . . . . (310) 257-8700
Yogurt Lounge . . . . . . . . . . (310) 230-5505
HEALTH & FITNESS
Dance Studio. . . . . . . . . . . (310) 977-0987
Great Earth Vitamins . . . . . (310) 534-8494
My Fit Foods . . . . . . . . . . . (310) 257-9175
PV Massage . . . . . . . . . . . . (310) 530-9093
24 Hour Fitness Center . . . (310) 534-5100
Weight Watchers . . . . . . . . (800) 651-6000
Bed, Bath & Beyond . . . . . (310) 325-0432
Hitachiya . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (310) 534-3136
PET & GROOMING
Grooming Wonders. . . . . . . (310) 534-1130
Pet’s Plus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (310) 539-5700
Wild Birds Unlimited . . . . . (310) 326-2473
J A Realty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (310) 539-2430
Person Realty. . . . . . . . . . . . (310) 325-8700
Blaze Pizza . . . . . . . . . . . . . (310) 325-9500
California Pizza Kitchen . . . (310) 539-5410
Daphne’s Greek Café . . . . . (310) 257-1861
Fanoos Persian Restaurant . . (310) 530-4316
Fish Bonz Grill. . . . . . . . . . . (310) 325-2669
Hakata Yamaya . . . . . . . . . . (310) 257-1800
IcCho Japanese Restaurant . (310) 325-7273
Ichimi An . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (310) 784-0551
Islands Restaurant . . . . . . . . (310) 530-5383
Joey’s Smokin’ B.B.Q. . . . . . (310) 257-1324
Kabab Curry of India . . . . . . (310) 539-0171
Mongolian Hot Pot . . . . . . . (310) 517-9605
Mashawi Lebanese Grill . . . (310) 325-3545
Mrs. A Vietnamese Pho . . . . (310) 541-1227
Nice Cafe. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (310) 539-0323
Rubio’s. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (310) 891-1811
Ryo Zan Paku. . . . . . . . . . . . (310) 530-8720
Sushi Boy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (310) 534-4013
Veggie Grill . . . . . . . . . . . . . (310) 325-6689
Northeast Corner of Crenshaw & Pacific Coast Highway in Torrance
For Information Call (310) 534-0411
A LA CAZE DEVELOPMENT COMPANY PROJECT
10 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • February 11, 2016
February 11, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 11
Except for the steel column, the cottage’s
original entry and dining areas are unchanged.
new old house.
The translucent acrylic panel admits bountiful light while protecting privacy.
When architect Michael Lee first laid eyes on Ivo Skorin and Paula
Mendoza’s beach cottage at 132 El Porto Street in Manhattan
Beach, he thought, “This is a beautiful little old house and I don’t
want to wreck it.”
The couple had asked Lee over for suggestions on a renovation that
would substantially increase the living space for them and their little
daughter Mila. But how to do it? For Lee, 57, who grew up in a similar
house a few blocks away, a tear-down was unthinkable.
The place had many charms: the stone-and-shingle exterior, the gentle
slope of the roof, the garage doors with their original seahorse carvings,
the secluded courtyard; inside, the rustic exposed beams and rafters, the
old fir-wood flooring, the tiled bathroom.
Lee told the owners, “Let’s try to have as light a hand as possible and
leave all this cool stuff with as small an intervention as we can.” They readily
But how could he expand this tiny, 958-square-foot building on a 1,530-
square-foot half lot without doing major damage to its identity?
“In the first 10 minutes I was there, the idea came,” says Lee: “Four legs.”
What Lee saw in his mind’s eye was four steel columns bearing the entire
weight of a new second story. In effect, though not in appearance, it would
be an entirely separate building. Structural modifications to the cottage
would be unnecessary. Not even its roof would have to be removed. Two
of the columns would go right through the roof and floor of the cottage.
The other two would stand outside, over the existing courtyard. The addition
would increase the living space by two-thirds.
Skorin and Mendoza were enthusiastic about the design and construction
by John Dwyer and the Dave Baldwin Co. was amazingly short, less than
six months. The family moved back in in early 2012.
In this renovation, Lee had achieved his goal of preserving the old house
“As you can see in these photos of the living room and dining area,” says
Lee, “all of the old roof is still there — you can see the old rafters.”
The steel columns, exposed and unpainted, come unobtrusively down
along the cottage wall. “They fit nicely with the old windows,” Lee re-
Photos by Ken Pagliaro (KenPagliaro.com)
marks, “none of which had to be removed to accommodate them.”
Inside the old cottage, the only major change was removing one of the two
bathrooms to expand the kitchen area. The original fir floors remain, including
the patching done to them over the years. “That’s part of the atmosphere,”
Lee says. The tiled bathroom retains the period look.
The exterior was also preserved. Most of the shingles on the walls are original.
Seahorses continue to cavort on the garage door and the tiny window
on the old level above the garage — thought by some to be incongruous —
still draws the viewer’s eye.
Lee drew inspiration for the addition from his visits to Europe, where, he
mentions, “you see these beautiful glass-and-steel structures sitting on top of
ancient stone ruins.”
The sleek lines and surface of the addition stylize the rumpled boxiness of
the cottage and complement the original second story.
For Lee, maximizing sunlight was essential. “The light coming through the
old house was beautiful,” he recalls. “The windows had a gorgeous morning
light.” The huge translucent acrylic panel in the front of the new addition
brings abundant, mellow light inside while protecting privacy and the two
small windows below it gently imitate the three clerestory windows of the
The addition was built right up to the city’s height limit, allowing for two
levels inside. The master bedroom loft overlooks a spacious family room and
a picture window looking over the old second story (which contains a second
bedroom and a bath) affords a magnificent view of the ocean. All the furnishings
in the upper story are modern.
“I believe we have achieved what we saw for this house from the start,”
Lee remarks. “It’s a beautiful dialogue between old and new.”
The owners are equally pleased. “We love the design,” says Paula Mendoza.
“We wanted to keep the feeling of our old house,” which they’ve owned since
2009, “and we love the contrast with the upstairs, which is so entirely different
— modern, more open, tall ceilings, full of light — and especially the
Their daughter Mila, now five, is also enthusiastic. “She’s very attached to
her new old house,” says her mom. B
The steel stairway and
nearby steel column signal
a transition to the
February 11, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 15
long time member of the South Bay, the full-service law firm Baker,
Burton & Lundy P.C. is proudly celebrating their 40th anniversary
this coming May. The entire firm believes it is a tremendous honor
to have continuously served the legal needs of the South Bay for so long.
In November of 1980, founding partners Brad N. Baker and Kent Burton
purchased the building on 515 Pier Avenue in Hermosa Beach. With two
expansions, the firm has continually grown to meet the needs of the
Commitment to the South Bay
The members of the Baker, Burton & Lundy law firm are involved in the
South Bay beyond their legal work through coaching, volunteering and
serving on boards of charitable organizations. Veteran estate planning
attorney Brad Baker serves as the Vice Chair of H.E.L.P. (Healthcare and
Elder Law Programs Corporation) that provides legal guidance to the
ever-growing senior community in our area.
Meeting the Needs of South Bay’s Growing Elderly Community
Baker, Burton & Lundy
South Bay Locals Celebrating 40 Years
BB&L has also added a new attorney, Christine Daniels, to work with
Brad in meeting the needs of people creating estate plans for their future
and protecting the rights of the elderly. Raised in the South Bay,
Christine is a fluent Spanish speaker and understands the value of creating
individualized estate plans for her clients. BB&L places great importance
on the interviewing and drafting process to make sure plans
will meet each client’s unique needs. With the firm’s experience in litigating
will and trust contests as well as trust and estate mismanagement
cases, they focus on designing documents that effectively minimize the
risk of future litigation.
Business and Litigation Powerhouse
Partner Kent Burton leads the business and real estate arm of the firm.
With associate Clint Wilson and Teresa Klinkner, of counsel, they are well
known for their transactional expertise and have clients ranging from individuals
and small businesses to Fortune 500 corporations. Kent has also
assisted several South Bay non-profits with their 501(c)(3) incorporation
documents and served on the board of the Didi Hirsch Mental Health
Center for over a decade.
The firm has built a reputation far beyond the South Bay as fierce litigators.
In addition to recovering over $4 Billion for California energy
consumers, it won a recent decision before the California Supreme
Court that has reduced litigation. BB&L’s trial and personal injury practice
is headed by Albro Lundy III, Trial Lawyer of the Year for Consumer
Attorneys of California, and Evan Koch, named a Rising Star by Super-
Lawyers two years in a row. Lundy and Koch collaborate with Baker and
Daniels in the firm’s Probate Litigation practice combining probate and
estate expertise with accomplished trial skills.
BAKER, BURTON & LUNDY | 515 Pier Avenue, Hermosa Beach | (310) 376-9893 | www.bakerburtonlundy.com
16 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • February 11, 2016
Rombro & Associates
Human touch on the scales of justice.
Attorney Roger Rombro holds the
highest possible rating from the
Hubbell Law Directory for a 40-year
practice, which now focuses principally
upon family law.
Along the way, he retained a human
touch that makes him the best lawyer
he can be.
“Spouses tend to be hurt in the initial
stages of their separation. They tend to
feel that they have failed, irrespective
of whether they’re the spouse that initiates
the separation. Each spouse has
a huge sense of disappointment with
their partner which slowly evolves into
resentment and anger.
Not surprisingly, each of them goes
through a morning period recognizing
that they have suffered a death in
their family,”he said.
“And there can be lots of reactive
things going on. One side does something,
to which the
other side wants to react,” Rombro
“Part of my job is to help people to understand
their own feelings. I become
both their advocate and their counselor.
The counselor part of me wants
to help them to see that they are
going in a direction that is not in their
best interest,”he said.
“To a large extent, the lawyer must
often do what a therapist would be
“I try to keep the conflicts down as
much as possible. Otherwise, people
tend to spend huge amounts of
money, draining themselves both financially
and emotionally; and this is
particularly true in custody disputes
where people become so angry, that
they fail to realize that they are hurting
their children, rather than just their
Rombro is certified by the State Bar as
a specialist in family law, and he has
appointed to the State Bar Family Law
Before he went into civil practice, he
served in the Los Angeles County District
Attorney’s office, prosecuting
everything from DUI to homicide in
thousands of cases before state and
“I think our criminal justice system is the
fairest in the history of mankind,” he
said. “We go out of our way to protect
the rights of the accused, and we also
try prevent the suffering of victims, and
to protect society.”
Rombro and wife Joanna have three
children and two grandchildren.
ROMBRO & ASSOCIATES |3405 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Manhattan Beach | (310) 545-1900 | rombrolaw.com
February 11, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 17
Excellence in Defense
igel Villanueva’s extensive legal experience – more than 50 jury trials
and arbitration hearings – ranges from violent crimes, sex crimes, domestic
violence, drugs and DUI to wide varieties of
misdemeanors. He helps to expunge clients’ criminal records, and guide them
through the thickets of DMV hearings, temporary and permanent restraining
orders and school hearings.
“I have a great belief in criminal defense, not just what it stands for with my
clients, but what it stands for our republic as a whole,” the
former public prosecutor said.
Villanueva’s skills were on demonstrated recently during an eight-day domestic
violence jury trial.
“Those cases are vigorously prosecuted. In our society we are not standing
for domestic violence, so when we can show to a jury or judge that our client
is not involved in domestic violence, that is really
rewarding,” Villanueva said.
“The jury acquitted our client in under an hour,” Villanueva said.
“Our client regained his full employment. His children had been removed
from him. But for him being exonerated, he would not have his children and
he would not be employed,” Villanueva said.
“People place their life in your hands. He could have lost his children, lost
his job, been stigmatized in the community, maybe forever, and his children
would have believed their father was a wife beater. This was a man with no
criminal record,” Villanueva said.
“You simply have to love what you do. I love being in court, I love arguing
cases before juries,” he said.
Villanueva has represented a National Basketball Association team owner,
in a case that did not result in charges. He has represented pro basketball
and baseball players in
But the year Villanueva
spent in the Fresno
County Public Defender’s
Office, conducting 12 trial
defenses and handling
cases from trespass to
manslaughter, taught him
early on that each client
m u s t r e c e i v e h i s f u l l
wealthy NBA owner is somewhat glamorous. But at the other end of the spectrum,
meeting a child who is locked up in
juvenile detention, a 14- or 15-year-old, who is physically separated from his
parents, that has been a far greater experience for me,” Villanueva said. “Reassuring
that child that this is not the end of the world, that they will see their
parents again, that is very rewarding.”
Villanueva and his wife Zara, a fellow South Torrance High School alumnus,
live in Redondo Beach with their son Nathan and daughter Sophia. When not
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18 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • February 11, 2016
February 11, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 19
True progress in spearfishing comes
when you are able to get past the
physical and mental barriers
by Ryan McDonald
Photos by Paul Batcheller
Teddy Stavropoulous had lain in wait. He had stretched his lungs and bided his time.
The 13-year-old Manhattan Beach resident was learning the ropes of freediving and
spearfishing. A reward for his patience arrived in the form of a sheephead, a carnivorous
fish native to California that can live up to 20 years. Stavropoulous speared the
fish and made it to the surface. Pleased with himself, he thought the hard part was over.
Stavropoulous hadn’t counted on the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
“We got a nice talking-to from the game warden,” he said. “I found out that sheephead
have to be 12 inches, and this one was like 11. Luckily he didn’t give me a ticket.”
It’s all part of the learning process for Billy Atkinson, Tanner Batcheller, Hudson Fredericksz,
Alex Iantuano, Sam Roskin, Luke Snyder, and Stavropoulous, a crew of friends
from Manhattan Beach Middle School who scour South Bay waters in search of the exotic
and the tasty.
The ocean was already a second home for the surf-obsessed teens. All are members of
the MBMS surf team and compete in the South Bay Boardriders contests.
“During the summertime, we go to the beach all day,” Roskin said.
But even the most stalwart ocean-goers can occasionally become numbed to its charm.
Until, that is, something forces them to reconsider all the gifts the sea provides.
“It’s just right there, but if you go away from it you get so sad,” Atkinson said. “You don’t
realize how nice it is to have the beach nearby, and you kind of realize how lucky you
Batcheller was the first of the group to channel the nervous energy of a teenager underwater,
exploring the waters off Maui while on vacation two summers ago. The trip was
not necessarily the best preparation for diving in the cold, murky waters off California.
Hawaii also has fewer limits on what freedivers can catch.
“Tanner spent a week in Maui with a cheap mask, fins, and a spear,” said his father Paul
Batcheller. “He found out pretty quickly that Hawaii is a very cool place to fish.”
Returning to Southern California, Batcheller was excited to try out his new hobby in his
old stomping grounds and tried to convert some of his friends.
The extent of their collective experience came from line fishing in lakes. They tried
doing the same from beach, with mixed results.
“It never really worked out. All we learned was, don’t get the orange one, because it’s
the state fish,” Roskin said of Garibaldi.
The boys were going to need help. Batcheller’s father had some experience in ocean
fishing, but it wasn’t the right kind.
“I’ve been lobster diving before,” Paul said. “But spearfishing, that’s all new to me.”
Luke Snyder at the Redondo Breakwater.
20 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • February 11, 2016
Alex Iantuano admires his freshly speared catch.
your breath, slow down your heartbeat. When you are calm, then you can
The boys’ weapon of choice is a tension-loaded speargun, which relies
on rubber tubing to fire a spear, with a line for retrieval. It resembles a
crossbow and requires a lot of force to prepare.
“Loading these things is not easy, even for me,” Paul said.
The kids began diving in their surf wetsuits. That Kwak said, is a common
“It’s not good enough,” Kwak said, noting that surf wetsuits are not designed
for prolonged submersion and that water can easily seep into them.
“If you lose 10 percent of your body heat, that’s serious hypothermia.”
Taste of something new
As the boys got better at spearfishing, they began to learn more about the
underwater world they encountered.
“I honestly didn’t know anything when I started,” Snyder said. “There
are different kinds of fish, different kinds of seaweed, different kinds of
conditions to think about.”
Diving has also made the kids more aware of environmental issues. Trash
and debris in the ocean become especially grating, they say, when encountered
while coming up for air. And following the encounter with the game
warden, the kids are starting to see the wisdom in regulations governing
“Under 10 inches, you’re going to want to let it go,” Roskin said. “It’s not
worth shooting those. You can barely get any meat off of them.”
As their skills developed, each plunge became less of a struggle and they
became more selective in their kills. They can identify a wide range of fish
on sight and know which ones taste best.
“At first, you want to catch anything that moves,” said Stavropoulous. “But
eventually, you narrow it down to the fish you like to eat.”
The crew’s catches have included white sea bass, ling cod and wahoo.
They have gotten to the point where not just taste, but the difficulty in capturing
a fish motivates their hunt.
Some fish, like calico, are known for their craftiness. Others not so much.
“Rockfish are good eating, but they’re kind of stupid,” Batcheller said.
In a rare moment of agreement for middle-schoolers, all thought yellowtail
represented the pinnacle.
“We’ve got a little card from Dive N’ Surf with all different kinds of fish,”
Atkinson said. “Yellowtail, that’s the Holy Grail.”
A lifestyle not a sport
Getting involved in spearfishing has been relatively frictionless for the
crew of friends. They don’t even need to apply for a state fishing license
until they turn 16. And it has begun to shape the part of their lives without
a spear in hand.
During school, the kids will hold their breath and look at the classroom
clock, seeing how long they can last.
“You get better at holding your breath,” Roskin said. “And it helps with
surfing, because you get more comfortable with holddowns.”
Hawaii, Mexico and exotic coral reefs beckon. There is also the challenge
of spearing fish that have eluded them so far.
“I shot at a pack of barracudas once,” Batcheller said. “I barely missed,
but they’re hard to hit.”
Spearfishing and freediving have become more popular in the South Bay
in recent years, Kwak said. Although the Internet has made equipment
widely available, people still come by his store for advice that can only
come from a lifetime of dedication.
Kwak thinks of spearfishing as more of a lifestyle than a sport. He has
arranged his life in such a way that he can frequently close up shop and
head out to Palos Verdes to dive.
“It’s a very small community,” he said. “It might be growing, but it’s still
not a very good business.”
In that sense, Kwak may have taught the kids more than he realized. The
true draw of spearfishing, both said, is the sense of escape from the ordinary.
“You don’t have to worry about school or anything,” Snyder said. “It’s just
being in a different environment, a different world.” B
Harry Kwak is the manager of Freedive and
Spear on Aviation Boulevard in Hermosa Beach.
He hails from a South Korean island, where custom
dictates that women are the ones who dive.
Kwak fell in love with spearfishing, anyway. He
learned the sport from his brother, and began diving
for Opal Eye and black perch when he was
the same age as the MBMS kids who came to him
But Kwak was reluctant to take on the young
students when their parents brought them in his
“It’s a killing sport. You are carrying a killing
machine,” Kwak said. “If the kids aren’t fully
grown, I will turn them away. You have to be mature
enough to kill something.”
The eager youth were initially turned off by
“The kids called him ‘Grumpy,’” Paul said.
“He’s just very passionate about spearfishing, and
he wants everyone to take it seriously.”
Kwak said he is more likely to take on kids with
ocean-going backgrounds and that surfing is good
preparation. But his reluctance to take just anyone
out diving goes beyond concern about physical
Kicking strength and lung stamina are essential
to becoming a competent free diver. But it also requires
the maturity to be aware of everything occurring
down below. Impulsive behavior
common in teenagers, Kwak said, can make them
unable to assess the difficulty of what they’re
Tanner Batcheller displays fresh-caught Half Moons
and Opal Eye.
“You can get tangled in kelp in deep water and
you can get in very deep trouble,” he said. “You’re
more interested in getting a fish, and your ego ignores
But Kwak eventually relented to the kids’ requests
The waiting game
The boys began with dives near the Redondo
Breakwall before heading out to the deeper waters
off Palos Verdes.
Acclimating to deep water is a critical part of
spearfishing, Kwak said.
“If you’re inexperienced and you go out diving
with me, you’re going to throw up,” he said.
Kwak’s message of patience and gradual
progress was tough to take at first, but the kids
gradually came to recognize the wisdom he offered.
“He’s a zen-master,” Atkinson said. “You’ll go
into his shop and he’ll tell you something like,
‘Nature is the greatest teacher.’”
The crew also took lessons from Al Schneppershoff,
a professional diver at Dive N’ Surf in Redondo
Beach. Schneppershoff’s father was killed
years ago by a great white shark during a dive off
True progress in spearfishing comes when you
are able to get past the physical and mental barriers,
Kwak said. Only then are you able to think
strategically, as you would while hunting on land,
using rocks and kelp to hide yourself from your
“You have to be in a calm state,” he said. “Hold
The crew emerges from the deep onto the Bear Flag, owned by Jamie Meistrell of Dive N’ Surf.
22 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • February 11, 2016
LEADERSHIP HERMOSA BEACH
Brings Together Local Leaders
hird Annual Leadership Hermosa BEACH BALL 2015
honored leaders in the Hermosa Beach community on
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PHOTOS BY ADRIENNE SLAUGHTER
1. Waitress Jenna Baran, Rob Devers, Leadership Hermosa
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2. Ann and Trent Larson, City Councilman Jeff Duclos,
Hermosa Beach Chamber of Commerce CEO Kim Mac-
Mullan and Patrick Mejia.
3. Mick and Cheryl Gaheen, Jason Rice and Kathy Evans
enjoy the hospitality!
4. LH Board members Adam Wald, Event Chair Laura
Misel, Kerri Krusinski, Andrea Giancoli and Jack Levy.
5. Hermosa Beach Kiwanis Club members Don and Deborah
DeMaderios, Ann and Cedric "Mickey" McRae,
Leslie and Howie Seeb
6. Melinda Curtis entertains Rick Learned and Siva
7. Eric Riley with son Max, winner of Emerging Youth
Leader Award, and friends Jackson Baker, Michael Hendrex
and Josh Hendrex.
8. Active Hermosa Beach residents Bob Jones and Ken
9. 66th District California Assemblyman David Hadley
congratulates the three Emerging Leader Award recipients:
Local Business: Saint Rocke, Youth: Max Riley and Adult:
10. LH's Andrea Giancoli and Dorothy Forba present
Local Business Award to Saint Rocke's Katie Henley and
Josh Paul, with Laura Misel, Mayor Carolyn Petty and Assemblyman
11. LH's Laura Misel and Andrea Giancoli present the
Adult award to Stacey Armato, next to 2014 recipient Lori
Ford, Mayor Petty, Assemblyman Hadley and Lauren
Mains, Consultant to Senator Allen.
9 10 11
24 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • February 11, 2016
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February 11, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 25
“Fight like a Girl,” by Karen Yee.
“Wish Fulfilled,” by Karen Yee.
Until the shoe
Karen Yee has documented her struggles with cancer
through self portraits
by Bondo Wyszpolski
Karen Yee has been on Death Row for 13 years. The executioner
is always on-call, and lingers close by. You could
say, in fact, that’s he’s gotten under her skin. Under her
skin, and in her very bones.
“In 2003, I was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer,”
Yee says, “which is a pretty rare, aggressive type of cancer. I
went through two years of treatment, very arduous, chemo, then
surgery, then chemo again, and radiation, then reconstructive
surgeries. I’ve been through the ringer.”
The El Segundo resident had always been “artsy.” She liked to
draw and make things and had toyed with the idea of trying to
paint in oil. What actually pushed her into doing so was her sudden
brush with mortality. It was, she felt, now or never.
“When I started painting I found it was tremendous therapy,”
Yee says. “I would sit at the kitchen table using a tabletop easel
and when my daughters would come home from school I’d have
to move everything so they could do their homework. That went
on for a few years. Then I took over a structure in the backyard
as my studio. I found that when I was in my studio and when I
was painting it was really the only time that I was living in the
moment. I wasn’t thinking about if I was hungry or if there were
bills I had to pay. It was the only time I just didn’t think about
anything else but what I was doing.”
Yee didn’t let up on her painting once she felt better, but she
began to wonder if oil was the medium best suited to her subject
“I like to paint traditionally and realistically,” she says, “and I
found that I could do that better with acrylics. That’s what I
paint with now. And as soon as I just accepted the fact that this
is my style, I kind of found my voice and I got a lot more recognition
and more compliments on my work.”
The amount of painting that Yee manages to accomplish has
depended on her fluctuating health and energy.
“This past year my cancer has been active,” she says. “A year
ago October I started chemo and I was on chemo for a year and
this is like the third or fourth time that I had to do chemo because
my cancer would become active again. So, from October
2014 to 2015 I was on one chemo after another and I wasn’t responding
to anything. It just kept progressing and progressing.
“In October 2015, my doctor told me, ‘This is it. You need to
get your things in order. Your liver is more than 50 percent affected.’”
She explains: “It started in my breast, and then spread
to my bones, my liver and my lungs. So that’s what I’m fighting
It was back to more chemotherapy, in which Yee’s doctor didn’t
place a great deal of faith, but he did think it would buy his
patient more time.
“So I tried it,” Yee continues, “and I responded. My tumor
markers started coming down.” However, “the chemo really
knocked me for a loop. It was really strong chemo and I had no
energy, so for this past year I’ve pulled back. I’ve pulled all my paintings
out of shows and tried to get them all back because I didn’t know
what was happening, and I haven’t had a lot of will or energy to paint.
I am working on a few pieces, but it’s not like I used to.”
Mirror, mirror, on the wall...
When we see Yee’s paintings of herself we realize that pictures are
indeed worth a thousand words.
“The self-portraits that I did about my experience living with cancer
was definitely therapy as well and definitely a voice that I needed to
express for my own benefit. The first of them was a nude torso because
I think I was just so freaked out about my scarred body and what it
had been through. I felt like an empty shell, Frankenstein, with all these
scars. It was kind of coming to terms with who I was, but I was still
embarrassed about it so I didn’t include my face, just my torso.
“In 2009, the cancer came back to my bones,” Yee says, and at the
time she didn’t want to go through chemo again. “It was a horrible experience.
My doctor knew that, but he also knew that I had to do it.
‘I’m really sorry, but you have to go back to chemo.’ I was like, whatever,
let’s kick this sucker to the curb. I don’t care, I’ll do whatever’s
necessary. So, I wanted to do a self-portrait that portrayed that resolve
and determination, which is why I painted myself in the armor with
wings, like I was a fighter. My doctor loves (that work) so much he has
a copy of it in his office.
“Every few years I would do another (self-portrait),” Yee says, “depending
on where I was at. I was talking with other metastatic breast
cancer patients about what it’s like to live with cancer, and I said it’s
like living under the sword of Damocles. I have a very good life, I love
my husband, I love my children, we travel, we do things, but always,
always, the cancer is hanging over my head, and I know that one day
the dagger’s going to fall. So that was the reason for that painting.”
Regarding her latest self-portrait (“The Waiting Game”), Yee says, “my
husband didn’t want me to do it because he thought it was too dark,
but I think it’s actually more hopeful than it looks. I’m behind bars,
like I’m on Death Row, because I felt like 12-1/2 years ago I was given
a death sentence. You know, when you have cancer it’s like getting a
death sentence. But people live for years on Death Row, so you learn
to live with it, kind of. You have this thing hanging over your head, but
what’re you going to do? You’ve got to keep on living, right? You got to
“So I painted my infusion line,” Yee continues, “and instead of going
to the bag of chemo it ended up going to a telephone like it was a line
to the governor’s. Because I feel like every time I have chemo it’s like
a reprieve or a stay of execution. Also, I’m holding a shoe like I’m waiting
for the shoe to drop, because I know eventually my time’s going to
be up when I exhaust all my appeals.”
And when the time comes...
Having a life-threatening health condition makes one appreciate the
time that remains, except of course when the pain is unbearable.
“It has taught me to do the things I want to do now,” Yee says. “I had
always wanted to go to Europe, so I went. I was like, Okay, I’m going.
That’s it, I’m not waiting.” As with her desire to make art, her disease
motivated her not to put things off.
Some people, however, prefer to keep their medical condition to
themselves, or to share it only within the family.
“I understand,” Yee says. “A lot of people don’t like to talk about it. I
know from this support group I was in there were a lot of women who
said they never told their co-workers. They didn’t want anyone to know.
I’m much more of an open book. To me, it’s almost like a secret is a
burden. It helps me just to talk to people about it, to let people know
what’s going on with me.” She laughs. “I don’t know if I’m burdening
people with my troubles, but…”
How did Yee find out that she had breast cancer?
“I was 43,” she replies (she’s 56 now), “and I had not had a mammogram.
You’re supposed to start when you’re 40, and I just noticed that
something was wrong with my breast. I asked my husband, Does this
one look different than that one? and he’s like, No, no, but I knew. So
I looked in the phonebook, and I lucked into one of the best oncologists
in the business. Inflammatory breast cancer has been misdiagnosed by
“Penelope’s Robe,” by Karen Yee.
Karen Yee. Photo by Bondo Wyszpolski
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done, I want to stop -- and my husband and my doctor encourage me to
keep going. So, I know I’m not in this alone. When it’s time, it’s time. It’s
not going to be in my hands.”
Wanting to be there for her daughters is also what motivates Yee when
the pain seems overbearing. The girls were nine and six when she was first
diagnosed, and now they’re 22 and 20. Undoubtedly it’s had a tremendous
effect on their lives growing up. “I always try and keep the girls in the loop
and tell them what’s going on with me,” Yee says, “just so they know and
Down, but not out
In the past, Karen Yee was involved with various local art groups, the
Torrance Artists Guild and the El Segundo Art Association, for instance,
participated in the “Power of Art” shows and volunteered at ESMoA. But
because she’s often on heavy medication she doesn’t drive or else stays
close to home. “It’s hard for me,” she confesses. “I get depressed, I get
lonely, I get weepy.
“I know a lot of it is psychological,” she continues. “When my doctor
told me last October, Get your things in order, I sat down and I said, Okay,
I got my things in order, Now what? I was kind of waiting. And that’s also
why my latest self-portrait is called ‘The Waiting Game.’”
For the moment, because Yee’s body has responded positively to the recent
round of chemotherapy, she has received her reprieve, her stay of execution.
The shoe will probably not drop anytime soon. “So I’m trying to
rally, I’m trying to have hope,” she says, and it’s true, we’ve all heard cases
of people surpassing their projected life expectancies.
“When I first got my diagnosis,” Yee says, “I think my odds were 50-50.
I wasn’t even sure I was going to live past that first year. When my second
daughter graduated from high school my doctor asked me, How did the
ceremony go? And I said, It was outside, it was in the football field, it was
hot, it was long, it was boring; but 10 years ago I didn’t know if I was going
to be here to see this day, so I was very happy.
“And I try to remember that. Every day I get is a gift.” She pauses. “This
May will be 13 years for me, and I find that incredible, just incredible.” B
“Self Portrait” (with dagger), by Karen Yee.
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for the result, and on Monday I was on chemo. That’s how fast it happened.
But he saved my life, more times than I can count.”
Some of us, if handed a very serious verdict from our physician, would
inevitably think, Why me? Yee says she didn’t spend much time thinking
about that, and actually feels that her husband agonized over it more than
She circles back to her painting where she’s holding her shoe.
“An artist friend of mine asked me if it meant because I was holding the
shoe that I had control over it, that I could let go and say when the end is
up. And I said, I never thought of it that way. When I started thinking
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28 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • February 11, 2016
February 11, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 29
Every once in awhile a business opens that shapes
a neighborhood. It’s often a cultural institution,
a theater or cabaret that creates a space for a previously
invisible arts scene, but sometimes it’s a restaurant,
bar, or coffeehouse. These have an impact not
only because of the traffic they bring to neighboring
businesses, but for the sense of vitality and creativity
they bring to the area. In the best of circumstances, an
area that was previously anonymous suddenly starts to
feel like a neighborhood.
Not all eateries are created equal when it comes to
creating this sense of community. Consider the stretch
of 190th Street where a downscale coffee shop called
Billy’s Deli anchored the west end of a shopping mall.
It had been there for decades, but if you mentioned the
name to most South Bay residents they’d be hard
pressed to say where it was. It was well back from the
street, and the food was so dull, the environment so
characterless, that it was easy to forget even if you had
The building is still right where it used to be, but
Brewpub and restaurant
takes both food and beer
seriously and succeeds,
among them. The sprout and parsnip mix is particularly
good, the sweet root vegetable with
chunks of apple a nice contrast to the cabbage-y
sprouts. There are small chunks of homemade
flavor to enhance the smoky infusion from the
oven, but vegetarians could probably enjoy the
dish without them.
When it comes to entrees, don’t make any
choices until you hear what is coming off the
smoker that day. Or what came off yesterday,
since in one case that was duck, which was put
into a smoke-scented, intense gumbo the next
morning. I was lucky enough to have a taste of
this and the mix of duck and mushrooms in
thick, gently spicy broth was fantastic. They always
offer a chicken and sausage gumbo and I
fully intend to try that soon.
But I was talking about the smoker before I was
distracted by gumbo. On two visits they offered
ribs made with a traditional dry rub and finished
with a caramelized fennel sauce. I had never had
anything quite like them. The flavor is exotic and
has a suggestion of Asia, sweet and a little spicy.
Pulled pork from that smoker had a delicious
crisped crust and I have also seen brisket but not
been allowed to order it. I was told it was going
into the next day’s chili.
Another particularly good item at Hop Saint is
the jambalaya, a stew of meat and seafood with
the mix Cajuns call the holy trinity: onion, celery,
and bell pepper. The version here uses smoked
chicken and shrimp, and is unusual in substituting
Anson Mills grits for the rice. The result is
more moist and rich – the rice is usually filler
without flavor but the heirloom
grits add a subtle
richness to the mix.
I somehow have gotten
this far through this review
without mentioning the
beer, which is brewed in
big steel tanks next to the
kitchen. The aptly named
Brian Brewer is lord of this
area and crafts some excellent
beers in a wide range
of styles. Most breweries in
LA are IPA-crazed, but
though there were two
hoppy brews on this list,
there were also a German
pils and lager, a delightful
British pub mild and a rich,
full Belgian-style stout. If
none of those float your
boat there are also a dozen drafts from other
breweries, a list of interesting arcane bottles, and
a delicious cherry cider. You can also get soft
drinks without anybody looking at you funny.
Three desserts are offered: a dark chocolate
chess pie, key lime pie, and the best pecan pie I
can remember tasting. They all are less sweet and
more flavorful than the typical restaurant dessert
and make the finish of the meal here as much of
a class act as the rest of the experience.
Meals at Hop Saint are modestly priced for the
quality. All but one of the entrees are fifteen
bucks or less, with the lone outlier a steak dinner.
Co-owner Christina Oliva is holding deviled eggs, autumn salad and
smoked pork back ribs. Photos by Brad Jacobson (CivicCouch.com)
The public reception to Hop Saint has been enthusiastic
and the parking lot that used to be
sparsely populated now fills with cars. A space
that was all but derelict has turned into a hotspot,
and who can tell what that will do for the other
businesses in the area? It’s all due to a visionary
restaurateur who has assembled a great team and
is dedicated to providing superb food, drink, and
Hop Saint is at 5160 West 190th Street in Torrance.
Opens 1 p.m., closing time varies. Parking lot,
wheelchair access good, children OK, some vegetarian
items. Wine, beer, and cider served. Partial menu
at hopsaint.com, phone 310-214-4677. B
There goes the
by Richard Foss
Hop Saint brewmaster Brian Brewer.
everything else has changed when it became Hop
Saint. Owner Steve Roberts was the genius behind Café
Boogaloo in its glory days. He took on the challenge of
turning the neglected coffee shop into a brewpub and
restaurant that takes both the food and beer seriously
and he has done a magnificent job.
The formerly bland and dim room is bright and colorful
now, the long bar facing rows of tables with intricate
inlay designs. It’s sleek, stylish and modern; a
room designed for socializing. The menu is short but
interesting and pays homage to Roberts’s Southern
roots with items like chicken and Andouille gumbo and
braised greens with hot sauce. These are only occasionally
traditional in form and flavor, but the innovations
are always for flavor, not novelty.
Consider the grilled cornbread, for instance. The texture
is slightly coarse rather than smooth and cakelike
and it’s topped with chives and persimmon butter.
Honey butter is traditional, but the persimmon has a
more interesting, fruity sweetness that complements
the sweetness of corn. Fruit and vegetable interplay
shows up in the autumn salad too, where sweet grilled
squash and pomegranate both feature along with aged
white cheddar and lightly pickled red beans.
Some menu items change slightly from day to day,
depending on what ingredients the chef is experimenting
with. On one visit, the deviled eggs that are usually
topped with a bit of smoked pork had crisped duck
skin instead. It was a brilliant substitution, smoky and
fatty like bacon but paper thin and crunchy. Thanks to
Hop Saint I have thought of all sorts of uses for things
I had previously discarded.
Hop Saint opened with a focus on the items from
their wood burning oven – flatbreads, roasted mushrooms
or brussels sprouts with parsnips and tri-tip
30 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • February 11, 2016
February 11, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 31
Icebergs trapped in an “iceberg graveyard” resembled modern sculptures.
Last August, I met up with some 68 photographers, videographers and artists from 21 countries
at Longyearbyen, Svalbard, an island group belonging to Norway. Longyearbyen is a twohour
flight north from Oslo and far above the Arctic Circle. The day after my arrival we
headed out to sea aboard the 451-foot Russian ice reinforced ship, Polar Pioneer for a 19 day expedition
to make a film on the flora and fauna of the High Arctic. The purpose of the movie, book
and artwork to be produced was to increase international awareness of the beauty, fragility and
peril of this precious international resource.
Ocean Geographic publisher Michael Aw organized the expedition. Others on board included marine
biologist Sylvia Earle, whose extraordinary life is recounted in the documentary “Ocean Blue;”
Ernie Brooks, a former president of the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, which
his father founded; National Geographic husband and wife photographers David Doubilet and
Jennifer Hayes; 1993 BBC Documentary Filmmaker of the Year Leandro Blanco; and Australian
underwater videographer and drone pilot Stuart Ireland, whose is known for his groundbreaking
underwater Arctic footage. I was signed on as a principal photographer.
Waterproof, a Swedish wetsuit manufacturer and expedition guide company, was hired to lead
the day-to-day activities. The company provided half a dozen guides, all experts in Arctic birds,
mammals and flora. Anyone trekkin on land or out on an ice flow was accompanied by a guide
with a rifle as protection against polar bears.
At the end of our first day at sea we anchored in a fjord for check-out dives. Because I didn’t
have 20 certified polar dives under my belt I couldn’t scuba dive in the frigid waters. However, I
was dry suit certified and cleared to snorkel. I had brought along a 0 degree celsius rated, fleece
undergarment. Though I had heard horror stories about how cold it gets, except for one dive when
my fingers went numb and another time when my dry suit zipper wasn’t completely sealed and
ice water started coursing down my leg, I had no trouble with the cold water.
We anchored off a number of incredibly large and beautiful glaciers where we saw different
species of seals, walruses and jellies. Although it was late in the season, we saw a surprising number
of Arctic skuas, terns, kittiwakes, glaucous gulls, fulmars and guillemots from the Zodiacs we ventured
out in. I wouldn’t say I was surprised to see so much wildlife life but experiencing it made
me realize how important this remote part of the world is to our world’s ecosystem.
After several days exploring the Svalbard fjords we headed out into the Arctic Sea toward the
North Pole. The Polar Pioneer glided effortlessly through much the ice, getting stuck and having to
back up only once. We never tired of looking at sundrenched, brilliantly white ice while spending
continued on page 34
Story and photos Paul T. Isley III
32 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • February 11, 2016 February 11, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 33
AMERICAN EXPRESS ®
The Polar Pioneer was built in 1982 in Finland as an ice-strengthened research ship.
hours on the bridge and at the bow searching for polar bears through
binoculars. One of the Waterproof guides finally spotted one dragging a
seal carcass, leaving behind a blood red trail. We approached to within 300
meters of the bear and spent half an hour photographing it, before the ship
Late one afternoon, we reached our northernmost approach to the North
Pole, at 81.33 degrees latitude, about 500 miles from the actual pole. That
sounds far but when you plot that on a globe it looks close compared to
the nearest landmass. The special quality of the air, the positions of the
sun, the silence punctuated by the cracking sound of the ice under the advancing
Polar Pioneer were unlike anything I had ever previously experienced
in my travels.
One morning I was on the Zodiac that included Sylvia Earle, who was
being photographed and filmed by Doubilet and Ireland and being directed
by Hayes. Earle paddled, dove and posed along the edge of an ice flow.
She was the epitome of grace and sweetness in and out of the water. We
had helped her celebrate her 80th birthday one night shortly after leaving
port. Not many souls could have done what she has done.
After lunch members of the Explorers Club went on a Zodiac and gathered
on an ice flow for a team photograph. Being on an ice flow that far
north with the ship in the background was a special experience that will
be cherished for years to come.
The three internationally renowned artists hailed from France, Iceland
and Southern California. After the EC photos were taken, Laguna Beach
artist Wyland took a shovel and drew the outline of a polar bear on an ice
Later that afternoon another polar bear was spotted by a Waterproof
guide and this time we were able to come to a stop just a few feet from it.
The bear strutted back and forth, evidently smelling the food on the ship.
It showed no nervousness or fear. Polar bears can smell a seal 20 miles
away. The entire ship’s complement photographed and filmed like there
was no tomorrow. And, no, we didn’t throw out any milk bones, puppy
chow, or ham hocks to keep our subject close by.
After nearly three days exploring the Arctic we returned to the port of
Longyearbyen to bid au revoir to some of our fellow adventurers and to
pick up replacements with a hearty Bienvenue, comment allez vous? After
pulling up anchor we headed out for the famous Scoresbysund Fjord in
Greenland. We steamed some 210 miles up the fjord, the largest in the
world. It’s on the southeastern part of Greenland and you can see it on
any map because its size. Ten miles short of the glacier at the end of the
fjord, which supplies many of the Atlantic’s large icebergs, we were forced
to turn around due to the number and size of the icebergs.
That evening we took photos of the spectacular sunset. The next morning
we climbed into Zodiacs and went snorkeling in a cove filled with incredible
rock formations and an abundance of seaweed and colorful jellyfish.
In the afternoon we took the Zodiacs out again, motoring our
way around many spectacular icebergs, some small and jewellike,
others mammoth blocks of ice sculpted by the weather into
stunningly beautiful works of art. We also motored along rock
cliffs of the most intricate metamorphic (volcanic) blending of
multiple molten colors.
On our second to final day, we hiked into an area with beautiful
white rabbits and shy, odd-looking musk oxen. I was lucky
enough to come around a bend and encounter three of them, just
20 yards away.
On our final full day, we continued our journey back toward
the Scoresbysund Fjord entrance. In the morning we trekked inland
to a place called Harefjord and walked through a dense,
beech tree forest. Because it was mid September, the leaves of
the trees were in their full autumn red. But even the mature trees
were only five to six inches tall. We had climbed a couple hundred
feet for spectacular views of the fjord and icebergs.
After returning to the ship, we traveled on sheet glass water to
Red Island, where we split up into teams of divers, snorkelers
and Zodiac crews. I was glad I chose to go in a Zodiac because
we came upon a graveyard of icebergs trapped in a narrow bend
in the fjord. There were hundreds of them. Miniaturized, they
would win design awards. Each one more spellbinding than the
While videoing with my camera, a large berg started to roll –
first to one side and then to the other, over and over again, like a giant pendulum.
Then, came a huge cracking sound as the iceberg calved, producing
a wave that was thrilling to behold. The animated Australian gal (is there
any other kind?) seated next to me provided a running commentary with
Aussie humor and her endearing accent. There were divers not far away
who got the stuffing scared out of them when the iceberg broke apart.
They said the sound was deafening and they had no idea what it was.
Later, we climbed to the top of Red Island for a view of the iceberg graveyard.
It reminded me of the Rose Parade floats the day after the parade.
Then it was back to the ship for a final evening barbeque in the most magnificent
setting anyone could imagine.
The next morning we anchored off the Ittoqqortoormiit Inuit Village for
a couple hours of exploring and souvenir shopping. Then we sailed out for
another day and a half at sea to the Icelandic town of Keflavik, where we
reluctantly came to the end of our 19 day odyssey.
Manhattan Beach resident Paul Isley is co-owner of Rainforest Flora in Torrance
and a member of the Adventurers Club of Los Angeles, past president of
the Adventurers Club of Chicago and a member of the New York Explorers Club.
He may be reached at PTI@RainForestFlora.com.
Editor’s note: Beach readers with vacation stories and photos they think
would be of interest to other readers are invited to email them to
National Geographic’s Explorer in Residence Dr. Sylvia Earle.
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Hard-working senior forward Cameron Williams has played a vital role for Redondo’s boys
basketball program. Photo by Ray Vidal
Blue Collar Worker
Senior forward Cameron Williams has
become a silent leader for Redondo’s
elite boys basketball program
by Randy Angel
When Reggie Morris, Jr. took over as head boys basketball
coach at Redondo Union High School prior to the 2012-
13 season, his main objective was to turn a struggling
team around and make it one of California’s elite programs.
It didn’t take long for his philosophy to pay dividends, taking a
team that finished the previous season with a 10-17 record to a
CIF-Southern Section Division 2A title and State Division 2 championship
in his first season.
Redondo’s rise continued. It competed in Division 2AA in 2013-
14 and jumped two divisions into Division 1AA for the 2014-15
Beginning in the 2013-14 season, the CIF-Southern Section created
a new Open Division. At the end of the season, the top
teams, regardless of which division they were ranked in, would
be selected to compete in a tournament that would decide a true
champion of the section.
Redondo has been among the teams in the Open Division each
year since its inception and will undoubtedly be selected again
The Sea Hawks’ rapid rise can be attributed to Morris’s practice
methods and team concept. Often outsized against other elite
teams and lacking a “superstar” player, Redondo remains competitive
with a strong defense and teamwork, with each player
assigned a specific role.
Senior Cameron Williams fits Morris’s system to a tee. Although
soft spoken, the 6-foot-5, 175-pound forward has become
a leader and a vital cog in the Redondo basketball machine.
“Cameron is an irreplaceable piece to our team,” Morris said.
“He does the dirty work and is invaluable to our success. Without
Cameron we would have no chance at being an elite-level team.”
Williams feels the biggest strength to his game is his hustle.
“I do the little things to help our team win like taking charges
from opposing players and rebounding on both ends of the court,”
Williams said. “I don’t care much about stats as long as we win.”
Insider.espn assesses Williams as “a sinewy wing forward type
that possesses great basketball instincts. He is a quick athlete who
always appears to be around the ball via rebounding or finishing
in the paint area. He has very good length, soft hands, and a nice
touch out to the elbow.”
Redondo is vying for its fourth consecutive Bay League title and
hopes to improve on last year’s postseason when the Sea Hawks
dropped their opening round game in the Open Division tournament
before losing to Long Beach 48-40 in the Consolation Finals.
Williams expects Redondo to advance further than the CIF State
Southern California Regional semifinals, where it has been eliminated
the last two seasons.
“I want to end this season with no more losses,” Williams said.
“I think our chances are very good. We just have to stay together
as a team and continue to improve every game.”
At press time, Redondo had an 18-4 record but was stunned by
a 59-55 home loss to Bay League rival Inglewood on Jan. 29.
“Everything comes for a reason,” Williams said in reference to
the Inglewood game. “It was a wake-up call reminding us that we
can’t take anything for granted. We need to play every team like
they’re an Open Division opponent.”
Williams realizes that not being selected to play in the Open
Division would give Redondo a much better shot at winning a
CIF title but the team doesn’t consider that an option.
“We want to play among the very best. We wouldn’t want it
any other way,” Williams said. “Winning a CIF title against lesser
opponents wouldn’t mean a thing to us.”
Williams’s confidence in his team is supported by its performance
this season but he knows the road to a CIF title will not
come easy. Seven of the top 20-ranked teams in the state are in
CIF-SS Division 1 AA.
Redondo is ranked No. 10 in the state and No. 4 in Division
1AA. In December, the Sea Hawks dropped back-to-back games
to Bishop Gorman (ranked No. 2 in
Nevada) and Prestonwood Christian
(Plano, Tex.) in the Tarkanian
Classic in Las Vegas, Nev.
At the end of the year in the
MaxPreps Holiday Classic, Redondo
avenged its earlier loss to
Bishop Gorman with a 77-69 win
before giving Chino Hills, the topranked
team in the nation and CIF-
SS Division 1AA, all it could
handle in a 96-80 defeat.
Despite the setbacks, Redondo
has enjoyed quality wins including
victories over three of the state’s
top 25 teams. The Sea Hawks
handed No. 4 Folsom one of its
only two losses on the season,
knocked off No.12 Westchester
and beat No. 24 Sheldon of Sacramento.
Redondo has also defeated
Florida’s fifth-ranked team Dillard
of Fort Lauderdale and Arizona’s
sixth-ranked team Bentonville.
Williams scored 16 points,
grabbed seven rebounds and had
three assists against Chino Hills
and led Redondo to the Pacific
Shores championship, where he
earned Tournament MVP honors.
Williams said his two most
memorable moments as a Sea
Hawk also came during the Pacific
Shores competition. As a junior, he
scored 22 points in a 77-69 win
against Serra and as a sophomore
he grabbed 16 rebounds in a 66-60
victory over Campbell Hall.
Winning the highly-competitive
Tarkanian Classic last season and
playing in the CIF State tournament
are tops on Williams’s prep
career highlight list.
Williams was introduced to basketball
when he was five years old
and began playing at the YMCA in
Westchester. Although his two
older brothers were not athleticminded,
both parents played high
Dad Gregory played basketball
and football and mother, Yvette,
competed in girls volleyball.
“My parents have been the
biggest influence on my life and
athletic career,” Williams said. “My
dad was the first one to teach me
basketball and my mom learned to
love the game along with me.”
Williams also credits his coaches
and teammates for his success as a
player and a person.
“Coach Morris pushes us,”
Williams explained. “He holds high
energy, competitive practices that
help us in the long run. He’s
helped me with my discipline by
setting rules and I’ve learned to
keep my head in the game for four
Last summer, Williams played
for the Hometown Favorites, a
travel team coached by Morris.
“Cameron is a man of few
words, but when he does voice his
opinion he is always heard,” Morris
said. “He is a hard worker and
is a great young man that comes
from a great family.”
Maintaining a 3.6 GPA – in addition
to practices and games on the
hardwood – allows little free time
for Williams so he takes advantage
of every opportunity to relax.
“Our team has great chemistry
and hangs out a lot at each other’s
homes,” Williams said. “My teammates
always pick me up when
I’m a little down.”
Like many teenagers, playing
video games is a part of socializing
and it's no surprise that one of the
favorites among the Sea Hawks is
Williams hopes a deep run in the
playoffs will help him achieve his
goal of receiving a scholarship and
playing basketball in college.
“I used to think I would like to
go into engineering but math is my
least favorite class,” Williams said.
“I would like to remain in athletics,
though, possibly going into sports
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