Venice “Birthday Book Lady” retires with honors

Linda Neuhaus is willing to train whoever volunteers to continue with the program before she leaves town for her retirement. Photo by Peter Carpenter
Linda Neuhaus is willing to train whoever volunteers to continue with the program before she leaves town for her retirement. Photo by Peter Carpenter

Linda Neuhaus – a volunteer for the Birthday book program at Couer D’Alene Elementary school in Venice, was recognized for her 35 years of voluntary service at the school earlier this month.

Her love for the school, books, and literacy will long be remembered by the students and families at Coeur d’Alene.

On Monday, Dec. 8, Principal Andrew Jenkins honored her with a special tribute during the school’s morning assembly.

A reception in the library followed, hosted by the school’s librarian Mary Beth McCarthy.

Neuhaus has volunteered as the “Birthday Book Lady” at Coeur d’Alene, as part of the Birthday book program that was started in 1980 by former principal Jeanne Grunder.

During each visit to the school, Neuhaus gathered a group of excited birthday students in the school’s library, where they got to choose a brand new paperback book to keep as their own.

From preschool through 5th grade, all students were included and allowed to select any book at their reading level.

Even students with birthdays during school breaks were remembered as Neuhaus made extra visits before holiday breaks to ensure that all children received their birthday books.

Speaking fondly of her role as the Birthday Book Lady, Neuhaus relates that not only did she get to share her love of books and reading with the children, but she also got to share precious conversations with them on the best day of their lives.

Neuhaus has a long history with Coeur d’Alene, as she herself is an alumna of the school.

She graduated from 6th grade in 1958 when the school was known as Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School.

In 1979, when her daughter Jenny began kindergarten at CdA, Neuhaus started volunteering at the school.

In addition to becoming the Birthday Book Lady, Neuhaus also served on the school curriculum committee.

After her daughter graduated from CdA, she continued to be the Birthday Book Lady while also volunteering at her daughter Jenny’s middle school (Mark Twain Middle School) and high school (Venice High School).

Years later, Jenny worked as a teacher’s aide at Coeur d’Alene while she was in college.

As the parent of another daughter, Rebecca, with special needs, Neuhaus has also volunteered as an advocate in the court system for children with special needs.

Coeur d’Alene Elementary School is located at 810 Coeur d’Alene Avenue in Venice.

Venice Beach boardwalk.

Venice Neighborhood Council Board To Meet Monday, Dec. 15

The December Venice Neighborhood Council Board Meeting is scheduled for this Monday, Dec. 15 at 7 pm at the Westminster Elementary School Auditorium, 1010 Abbot Kinney Blvd.

Note the change from the standing third Tuesday of the month meeting date.

The agenda includes Board request of a Cumulative Impact Study to update environmental analysis last initiated for the 2004 Venice Coastal Zone Specific Plan, discussion on a City Short-Term Rental motion, several neighborhood improvement requests and residential Land Use permit applications.

Key Agenda Items:

–  Cumulative Impact Study (update environmental analysis last initiated for the 2004 Venice Coastal Zone Specific Plan)

–  City Short-Term Rental motion

–  Creation of an Ocean Front Walk Free Expression Advisory Board Ad Hoc Committee

–  Neighborhood Improvement Projects including:

*      Windward Plaza Pavilion

*      Pagoda Beautification

*      Traffic Signal Box Art Program “The Power of Art”

*      Venice Beach Ice Rink

There is no charge to attend this meeting. It is open to the public. Public comments are encouraged.

A detailed agenda is available online at and at the Abbot Kinney Library, 501 Venice Way, and Beyond Baroque, 681 Venice Blvd.

The VNC normally holds it regular meetings on the third Tuesday of each month and may also call any additional meetings in accordance with its By-Laws and the Brown Act. Snacks and coffee will be provided at the meeting.

Westminster Elementary School Auditorium is located at 1010 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice CA 90291 (enter from Westminster).

Venice rainbow

Venice rainbow brightens sky as rain record broken

Venice photographer Ray Rae Goldman snapped these photos of a rainbow on Friday after a drenching of rain.

Many daily maximum rain records were set across Los Angeles on Friday, including 1.47 inches of rain at LAX – breaking the old record of 0.65 inches set in 2011.

The rainbow seen from Venice Boulevard. Photos by Ray Rae Goldman/Venice Beach Photos
The rainbow seen from Venice Boulevard. Photos by Ray Rae Goldman/Venice Beach Photos

To see more of Goldman’s photos, visit

Venice Whaler Take Away -Exterior 3

Venice Whaler launches take away window for on-the-go dining

Since its re-launch this summer with an all-new menu, renovations and craft cocktail program, the Venice Whaler has been serving the finest food and drinks you can get within sight of the Pacific.

Guests can now take that food with them onto the beach, the Venice Pier or to enjoy in the comfort of their own home with the debut of the Venice Whaler Take Away, a new beachside window delivering all of your Venice Whaler favorites and more.

The actual window in question has been a part of the space ever since it opened as the Crab Shell Bar in 1944.

The original incarnation served swirls of ice cream to sweltering customers, while more recently offering up pizza by the slice.

“I did with Venice Whaler Take Away exactly what I did in the Venice Whaler kitchen: I made it a little more upscale and special, but kept the dive bar feeling,” says chef Nick Liberato.

For those who need a little added dose of something special to get them going in the morning, the Venice Whaler Take Away opens daily at 7 am for locals heading to work and surfers looking to refuel after an early start on the waves. The less ambitious can still get breakfast until 11 am.

The Organic Coffees & Teas boast an array of caffeinated perfection for those who refuse to eat before their morning cup of java. Here you will find organically sourced beans from local roaster Groundworks that are used to create several coffee drinks such as the Chai, Vanilla and Mocha Lattes, Macchiato, Cappuccino and Americano. Of course, hot Coffee and Espresso are available as well.

The more health-conscience can delight in exploring the long list of Fresh-Squeezed Juices – 10 to be exact.

Named for hit songs by Pink Floyd, the Beach Boys and the Beatles (who were all known to hang out at the Venice Whaler back in the ‘60s and ‘70s), the freshly squeezed combinations go way beyond plain orange or apple.

For chilly winter mornings, Liberato loves the Kashmir, a warming mix of fresh apple and coconut juices with toasty cinnamon spice.

When the weather starts to warm up again, switch gears and try the invigorating Start Me Up which blends lime, fennel, fresh mint, ginger and refreshing cucumber.

For year-round, ever-nourishing goodness, the Good Vibrations blends lemon, apple, cucumber, celery, spinach, carrot and beets into a raw, ruby red concoction that will make you forget you are sipping on veggies.

Get happy – because fresh-squeezed juices are available every day until 6 pm to satisfy early risers and couch potatoes alike.

We all love brunch on the weekends, but don’t you find yourself wishing that you could enjoy some of those brunch time staples in the middle of the week?

The Venice Whaler Take Away is making that dream a reality by offering four options from the Venice Whaler’s popular weekend brunch menu, seven days a week from 7 am to 11 am.

Good Morning Food choices include everyone’s favorite Breakfast Sandwich built with eggs, thick-cut bacon, creamy avocado, peppery arugula and a smear of mayo between fresh baked bread.

The Surfer’s Burrito stuffs a large tortilla with grilled corn, spicy chorizo, eggs, potatoes and pico de gallo for a hearty, handheld feast you can eat on the go.  Lighter options are also offered like the healthy Açaí Bowl with fresh sliced banana, local strawberries, house-made granola and a drizzle of honey.

After breakfast ends, the Venice Whaler Take Away switches to Day and Night Food, an assortment of portable lunch, dinner and snack-attack favorites that will keep you fueled until 2 am.

One example is the incredible Spicy Street Dog that you have enjoyed on the upper deck of the Venice Whaler, bacon-wrapped and topped with chilies and jalapeños.

Oh yeah, you definitely want to grab that to-go!  If you go for the Buffalo or Honey Glazed Wings (do it!), just be sure to snag a few wet-naps when picking up your order.

Sashimi-grade ahi tuna mixed with macadamia nuts and micro-greens comes through the window in the form of a Poke Bowl, while the iconic seaside classic Fish & Chips features thick pieces of Belgium beer-battered cod, homemade tartar sauce, fresh avocado, fries and malt vinegar.

There are also eight different artisan Pizzas to choose from including the new Grape & Gorgonzola with blistered grapes and fresh thyme, along with the Chef Nick Liberato’s stand-by, The “Calidephia,” a spicy pie topped with chopped clams, Serrano chile, tomato, mozzarella, and fresh oregano.

The Chorizo & Egg pizza with Castelvetrano olives, mozzarella, arugula and a farm-fresh egg makes for the ultimate 1:30 am Venice Beach stoner snack.

Even the Venice Whaler’s Clam & Corn Chowder is available. “Nothing’s better right now than getting a nice bowl of hot clam chowder studded with bacon and taking a walk to the pier to watch the waves,” Liberato says.

Honoring the original intent for the window, the Venice Whaler Take Away Window will once again be offering boardwalk-style ice cream for adults and children of all ages to enjoy.  When those warmer days come, you will definitely want a swirl of house-made Farmers Market Soft Serve Ice Cream.

Inspired by the freshest, locally sourced ingredients found at the neighborhood farmers market, seasonal ingredients will be carefully swirled into a rich, silky vanilla base, offering a rotating list of carefully curated flavors that will keep you coming back each week.

In fact, Liberato plans to take advantage of seasonal produce even further with a creative list of daily specials – stay tuned.

“There will be a constant rotation based on what is available at the market and what I want to play around with each day,” he says. Among his first specials will be a Meatball Sandwich and a plate of locally sourced Raw Oysters on the half shell.

Liberato is also thinking about offering Pizza by the Slice later in the evening.

“With the Venice Whaler Take Away being open nineteen hours a day, the vibe really changes as you go from breakfast to lunch to dinner, and then to late-night,” he says. “We wanted to be sure that there is always something to enjoy for everyone who comes up to the window at any given time.”

Venice Whaler Take Away is located at 10 West Washington Blvd., Venice. For more information, call  310.821.8737 or visit

Photo Credit:  Courtesy of the Venice Whaler Take Away


Heavy rainfall set to drench Venice Beach, L.A. County

A storm out of the Pacific Northwest bore down on the Southland today, threatening heavy rainfall, flash flooding, rivers of mud and debris in areas denuded by wildfire, high surf, perilous rip currents, and winds gusting at as much as 70 miles per hour.

Los Angeles County public works crews have been working to remove debris from catch-basins in the area in hopes of preventing flooding by giving rain runoff a clear path out of the area.

“A strong storm system will move across the area Thursday and Thursday night, bringing moderate to heavy rainfall,” said a National Weather Service statement. “Behind the front, on Friday and Friday evening an unstable air mass will generate numerous showers and possible thunderstorms.”

NWS forecasters said the storm could dump 1 to 2 inches of rain on coastal and valley locations, and 2 to 4 inches in foothills and mountains. At times, the rain may come down at a rate of between a half-inch and an inch per hour, said NWS forecasters.

“Due to the potential for intense rainfall along the cold front, and with the showers and thunderstorms behind the front, there is the possibility of dangerous flash flooding and mud and debris flows in the recent burn areas of Ventura and Los Angeles counties,” the statement said.

A flash flood watch will be in effect from late tonight through Friday evening in the San Gabriel Mountains and the San Gabriel and Antelope valleys.

A flood watch will also be in effect in Orange County, particularly in the Silverado Canyon burn area on Friday and Friday night.

Additionally, a high wind warning will be in effect starting tonight in parts of Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. In L.A. County, it will take effect at 7 p.m. in the San Gabriel Mountains and the Antelope Valley, and at 10 p.m. in the Santa Monica Mountains, expiring everywhere at 7 a.m. Friday.

Those areas will be swept by south winds blowing at sustained speeds of between 30 and 45 miles per hour, gusting to 60 mph in the Santa Monicas and 70 mph in the San Gabriels and the Antelope Valley, NWS forecasters said.

“Winds this strong may down trees and power lines and cause property damage,” warned an NWS statement. “Dangerous driving conditions are also expected.

The statement urged residents to “secure all loose outdoor furniture in advance of the onset of strong winds.”

Forecasters said the fast-moving storm, while shorter than last week’s rain event, could dump more of the wet stuff on the region. Snow levels, meanwhile, will initially be above the resort level, but dip to about 5,000 feet on Friday afternoon.

“There could be a brief mix of rain and snow at the summit of the Grapevine on Interstate 5. However, no accumulations are expected,” according to the Weather Service.

Snow accumulations in upper mountain elevations could reach up to 10 inches, forecasters said.

Also expected is pounding surf along the coast, with the second of two westerly swells reaching the outer waters this afternoon and spreading. A high surf advisory will take effect tonight and remain in force through Saturday.

NWS forecasters said the Central Coast will be especially vulnerable since it will experience “large and dangerous surf” from this afternoon through Saturday, a statement said.

Forecasters said the high surf is likely to cause significant beach erosion and flood piers and jetties, low-lying areas and beachside parking lots. They said waves of between 7 and 10 feet are expected, with local sets of up to 13 feet along some west-facing beaches.

“Avoid standing on jetties, piers and rocks near the edge of the water,” warned an NWS statement. “Remember to never turn your back to the ocean during large surf events.

Forecasters warned swimmers who may get caught up in strong rip currents to swim parallel to shore until they can free themselves.

“Always swim near a  lifeguard,” the high surf advisory statement said.

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