Category Archives: Venice Beach Organizations

A Marathon Run: The LAPD Officer Testing Limits for Charity VIDEO

by Melanie Camp

(video below)

Officer Kristina Tudor with Badge of Heart Founder Officer Ken Lew
Tudor will run the LA Marathon this year in full tactical gear

It is cold and dark. A cliche winter morning that even the sun seems reluctant to rise and meet. However nothing, it seems, stops Los Angeles Police Officer Kristina Tudor from rising to meet anything. She is preparing to run the LA Marathon in full tactical uniform and all in the name of charity.

After graduating from UC Riverside, Tudor served as a  commissioned officer in the Army. In 2010 she joined the LAPD, first being part of the Hollywood Prostitution Enforcement Detail, where she worked alongside VICE policing prostitution related crime, and them moving into LAPD’s elite Metro Division. In her spare time she enjoys serving in the National Guard, work- ing in the Army part-time as a hazardous material technician, and running marathons.

Officer Kristina Tudor Ran the LA Marathon Last Year in Her Police UniformLast year Tudor ran the LA Marathon in her police uniform. The heavy wool in the hot sun almost unbearable towards the end of the 26.219 mile race, her feet weighed down by the pools of sweet that had gathered in her boots. This year she is running again but this time upping her game, running in a full tactical uniform that includes a bullet proof plate, and a helmet that weighs so much she admits she may have to carry it at times. Otherwise, by the end she will have trouble holding her head up. All in all Tudor will carry an extra 35 pounds while she runs, refusing to make any allowances, even her rifle magazines will be full of bullets.

Tudor enjoys a challenge. She is on a quest to find her limits, “there’s discomfort and pain involved with any physical activity, especially running. I think that’s the beautiful thing about life is you gotta find the limit,” and until she does find that limit Tudor says she will keep searching.

“I mean, why are we motivated to do things? It’s one of those spiritual secrets we just don’t know. To be honest I don’t know if it’s filling a hole or what, but there’s something about it that just keeps me pushing. No words can really explain why, you just want to do it,” she says.

Tudor says she is not an adrenaline junkie as much as she is curious to see where her limits lie, both physically and mentally in any human endeavor, especially endurance.

“It is a good parallel for life in that you need patience, discipline, determination; because even the preparation, it’s almost like a full-time job – nutrition, training, preparing yourself mentally. It mirrors life almost perfectly because you need those qualities in life to be successful. Especially to be a good police officer and leader, you do need a lot of patience and determination to do your job well and to serve others,” she says.

Officer Kristina Tudor with Badge of Heart Founder Officer Ken Lew 2
Tudor with Badge of Heart Founder Officer Ken Lew

On Valentine’s Day Tudor will bring a bit of extra heart to her marathon run, choosing to use it as an opportunity to raise money, and aware- ness, for Venice Charity Badge of Heart. Founded by Officer Ken Lew of LAPD Pacific Division, the non-profit organization provides relief to victims of crime and families who face hardship. “If you’re going to put yourself through hell it may as well be for a good cause,” says Tudor.

“To be honest? I’m ecstatic. I’m happy, I’m honored to have a a runner like her run a 26 mile marathon on behalf of Badge of Heart,” says Lew.

Throughout LAPD Tudor has earned a fierce reputation and the respect of many. Lew says his fellow officers at Pacific Division couldn’t believe Badge of Heart had scored such an impressive ambassador. However it was in fact, Tudor who had reached out to Lew.

“She came into the station one day on another matter and we talked a little bit, I briefed her on Badge of Heart. A couple of months later she gave me a call and said she wanted to talk to me about running the LA Marathon on behalf of Badge of Heart,” says Lew.

Tudor says she was drawn to the charity because of the service it does helping those facing hardship. She feels there are parallels to be drawn with the work Badge of Heart does and running a marathon.

“Badge of Heart is all about giving yourself and resources to others, others who are less fortunate, and in a marathon you’re pretty much laying it out there, you’re giving your all and at the end you’ve got nothing left. I think that’s the way it should be in public service and with Badge of Heart, which it is, you’re giving yourself to help others. I think it’s a beautiful thing,” she says.

For Tudor the run is about something bigger than herself and running on behalf of Badge of Heart makes sense, because the charity is also about something bigger.

“You know if you’re going to be out there for a few hours with this stuff on, you’re doing it for something bigger than yourself, and Badge of Heart, that organization is doing something way bigger than itself. It’s helping so many people. I think it’s important to pay it forward. Definitely.”

Tudor says endurance running has become an important part of her life and has taught her important values.

“I’d say running, it really puts a mirror up to your face and a marathon will definitely do that to you. It holds you accountable; for your training, your lifestyle, your mindset. So as far as an important life lesson? It holds you accountable, for everything you do and that goes right back to day to day life. It’s important to hold yourself accountable,” she says.

She says she has taken what she learns through the challenge of a marathon and applied it to her attitude on life, especially life as a police officer.

“It’s humbling. Humility pays an important role in life, especially in a civil service field such as being a police officer. Humility and compassion. You know they shouldn’t be regarded as weak because you do need a certain amount of those characteristics to serve the community. Like Badge of Heart does.”

As part of her training she likes to run the hills up behind the police academy, following the loop Angels Point and Solano Canyon Roads make, high above the Los Angeles City skyline.

“I do enjoy running I do enjoy endurance and endurance competitions. The marathon is a perfect testament of human endurance and human will. I think I will continue to train and compete. I do enjoy the longer distances, fifteen hundred milers, it’s a different ball game and it really tests you, to the deepest core, but I like to run the Marathon, keep running marathons. I think I will continue to run marathons until I can’t move my knees anymore, until my cartilage wears out,” she says. Even then it is hard to imagine that Tudor would ever view a couple of bung knees as a hinderance to anything she attacks in life.

As she stands looking out across Los Angeles during a break in her training run, the marathon route sprawled below, one can’t help but wonder, in her quest to find the limit could it be that Officer Kristina Tudor proves she is, in fact, limitless.

The LA Marathon takes place February 14th, 2016. Show your support for Officer Tudor by donating to Badge of Heart via their Go Fund Me page at:

Venice High School Celebrates Top Seniors – VIDEO


Venice High Jackets of Excellence 1
Top students are recognized at the 31st Annual Academic Jackets of Excellence Awards and Luncheon

Venice High School celebrated their top seniors at a luncheon last Friday presenting each of the students with a special Jacket of Excellence at the 31st Annual Academic Jackets of Excellence Awards and Luncheon.

“Today is an exciting day for us, we’re here to honor our seniors who have outstanding academic accomplishments,” said Venice High School Principal Dr Oryla Wiedoeft.

Senior Class President and Jacket of Excellence recipient Simon Greiner said the 35 students were being honored for their “high GPA’s and class involvement throughout the school.”

Venice High Jackets of Excellence 5
Venice High School celebrates top seniors

Sponsored by the Venice Chamber of Commerce and Rotary, the luncheon first took place in 1965. Over the years 1,200 jackets have been awarded to graduating seniors who have achieved high levels of excellence.

Venice Chamber of Commerce Executive Director  Donna Lasman says the Chamber proud to be able to support schools in the Venice community through work done by Joelle Dumas and the Education Committee.

“The Jacket of Excellence awards at Venice High School recognizes students who excel academically, and who are active in sports, clubs and the community. These students are on their way to becoming college graduates and future leaders. We are honored to be a part of this amazing event,” says Lasman.

Yo! Venice congratulates this year’s honorees…

Joshua Alaie

Hagar Hassan Ali

Mariam Aly

Daniel Anderson

Tanapat Apornprapha

Wendy Arce

Sara Smith Babakhyi 

Jeny Bannon

Catherine Barrie

Ashley Briones

Maina Cioni

John Covarrubias

Corynn Craig

Alexander de la Cruz

Ugyen Dorji

Simon Greiner

Iris Jacobs

Laura Johnson

Mellia Kanani 

Emily Kang

Emily Lui 

Benjamin Melechin

Merlyn Miano

Jocelyn Morales

Lauren Moy

Karina Orozco

Ine Richards

Miranda Robinson

Andrew j. Selvo

Anika Troeger

Graciela Trujillo

Blake Wakasa

Yesenia Vargas

Jennifer Vazquez

William Yi

VSA Shaping the Future of Venice Trees


Fallen Tree Venice Amber Feld
A fallen tree branch blocks a street in Venice Picture Courtesy: Amber Feld Twitter

Gales force winds have toppled trees across Los Angeles over the past couple of days and now there is a calm after the storm the Venice Stakeholders Association have got to work trimming 21 Italian Stone Pines around the Venice Post Office.

Yesterday a professional crew, from Campos Greenview Tree Service began thinning and trimming the trees that had been at risk of failure, blown by strong El Niño driven storms.

VSA Tree Trimming 1
Overgrown canopies put the trees at risk of toppling during blustery El Niño driven winds

“These pines are in dire need of care,” says Darin Morris, a Grand Boulevard resident and landscape architect,  “all the canopies are quite dense and severely top heavy, which puts them at extreme risk of blowing over in El Niño storms.”

The trees had originally been planted by a group of Venice residents.

Mark Ryavec, the president of the VSA, says, “Jim Murez, Ed Barger and I led about 200 volunteers to plant these trees about 20 years ago.  I remember that we named all the trees and that the one I helped plant is named after my great-aunt Lucy.  I feel a personal sense of stewardship.”

The project is being funded by donations paid to the VSA. Ryavec, Morris, and Erin Sullivan  raised $4,400 of the $5,000 needed to pay for the licensed landscaping firm to perform the trimming.

VSA Tree Trimming 3
Campos Greenview Tree Service have been thinning and trimming the trees paid for by the VSA

“Many have asked why the Post Office or the City is not paying for the trimming. We’ve checked with both and neither have the funds for the trimming now, while there is urgency so we don’t lose any of these trees in the coming storms,” says Ryavec.

Sullivan, Morris and Ryavec initially proposed to the Postal Service and the City to widen all the tree wells to better accommodate the tree roots and  install decomposed granite in the wider tree wells to allow more water to reach the roots. They also proposed cracked sidewalk sections be replaced.

The Venice Neighborhood Council’s Neighborhood Committee had reviewed and approved the VSA application for the $5,000  to fund the project, but  ultimately the money was not made available.

VSA Tree Trimming 2
The thinned out canopies will make the tress less of a hazard for the community

Morris felt the VNC had elected to fund projects based on favoritism.

“It was sad, as they missed the long-term value of the trees as a community asset.  If they receive proper care these trees have the potential to outlive all of us,” he says.

“Italian Stone Pines need proper pruning to grow to the majestic beauties that they can become, which will create a grand, inspiring streetscape,” says Morris.

Donors to the trimming project include Erin Sullivan, Russ Cletta, Darin Morris, Janne and Jack Kindberg, David Hertz, Scott Spector and Ralph Ziman.

“We want to keep improving Venice,” says Ryavec.

Young Venice Professionals Mixer Tonight


Join the Venice Beach Young Professionals for the first mixer of the year tonight from 7:30pm-9:30pm, at the Bank of Venice. There will be specialty priced appetizers and drinks and the event is open to members and non-members alike.  The Venice Chamber says, “the more the merrier!”

“This is a monthly mixer event for members to network within the community, introduce new people to the Venice Chamber, and showcase our members – all the fabulous bars, restaurants and businesses in and around the Venice area,” says the Chamber.

Venice Beach Young Professionals’ mission is to cultivate young, vibrant entrepreneurs and professionals to become better engaged in community life, expand professional and social networking opportunities, and become ambassadors for the Venice Chamber of Commerce.

Contact 310.822.5425 or to find out more about joining this group of business professionals.

Venice Art Crawl Mixer on Thursday


The Venice Art Crawl is a 100% volunteer run organization that puts together regular art events in the Venice Beach Community.

Find out more here…

The next VAC mixer is happening on Thursday, January 14th at James Beach, 60 N Venice Blvd., Venice. Running from 6pm-9pm the event is a great way to get involved with the Venice Art Community.

Entry is a $5 donation which supports the Venice Art Crawl.

Venice Art Crawl Mixer 2106