July 4, 2008

Shore Patrol: Containers May Offer an Outlet

By Joe Segura, Press-Telegram, Long Beach, Calif.

Jul. 4--If you haven't seen Ryan Smolar making the rounds at Long Beach City Hall or the Arts Village, it's most likely you don't frequent those spots.

Smolar is the dynamo behind last autumn's University by the Sea -- the program that turned downtown Long Beach into a campus with an assortment of unique one-day classes, including a Roman history session by Mayor Bob Foster. He's well on his way to another round of classes, but a funny thing happened on the way to the drawing board.

ISM, a nonprofit arts magazine and gallery, approached University by the Sea planners about filling a void at the Shoreline Gateway project site, at the northwest corner of Ocean Boulevard and Alamitos Avenue.

Although he's no longshoreman, Smolar began tinkering with the concept of cargo containers.

"We're looking forward to pursuing this idea further," Smolar said this week.

Smolar has been drumming up support for the proposal among his City Hall and arts community contacts, but there are a few essential hurdles he'll need to clear, including access and safety issues and getting the containers on the site. It's in the shadow of the nearby historic landmark Villa Riviera and the distinctive International Tower. Once in place, the cargo containers would be transformed into a theatrical stage and a movie theater. Other containers could also surface around town, Smolar predicted Thursday.

"We've recently become aware of several other exciting ideas about

the use of cargo containers around the city -- and even for the Shoreline Gateway site.

Vets open house

This will be an especially hectic day at the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos.

There will be a fireworks show at the base this evening and from 4 to 7 p.m. the base personnel are having an Open House for the Veteran Services Center.

The program, in Bldg. 244, will include the American Veterans, Family Readiness, One Stop/Employment Development Department, Long Beach VA Healthcare and JFTB Volunteer Corps. A formal presentation is at 5 p.m.

For more information about the project, e-mail Capt. Aaron Tom, project officer at [email protected] or call 562-795-2746. The base is located at 11200 Lexington Drive.

Saving Trestles

The Department of Commerce has scheduled a July 25 hearing on the proposed 241 Toll Road extension in San Clemente -- a popular surfing and camping area for folks in this area.

The hearing is set for the Bren Center on the UC Irvine campus.

Transportation officials contend the highway extension is needed to accommodate growing populations in the area.

Opponents say the Transportation Corridor Authority road plans would lead to the closure of the popular campgrounds at San Onofre State Park, spoil San Mateo Creek, damage sacred Native American sites and the 9,000-year-old Village of Panhe and impair the waves at Trestles.

In February, the California Coastal Commission struck down the proposed six-lane highway on grounds that it violates the Coastal Act. The Surfrider Foundation, along with its coalition partners, have buses to transport supporters to and from the hearing. For further information, e-mail save [email protected]

[email protected], 562-499-1274


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