Nov News We Said Go Travel: The Future is BRIGHT

November 2017 NEWS: The Future is BRIGHT!

Thank you for your ongoing support of both We Said Go Travel and me! I was so honored to share about Napa Valley for KTLA TV in Los Angeles. Did you see my segment? CLICK HERE to watch it now!

Where to Wander? Watch Lisa Niver on KTLA 5

Want to know more about my Napa Segment? I wrote two articles about it:

November News Travel Classics The Future is BrightIn November, I went to my third Travel Classics Journalism conference. Thank you to Maren, Cathy, Visit Tucson and everyone who created this a fantastic experience. Thank you to all the editors and writers who were there to share their experiences and wisdom!

Lisa is a Cowgirl at Tanque Verde Dude Ranch Nov News

After Travel Classics Tucson, I learned to be a CowGirl at my very first DUDE RANCH! I absolutely loved my time at Tanque Verde Dude Ranch. I cannot wait to share the video with you when it is ready. I took several lessons and I rode up to Cowboy Lookout twice! WOW!




Here are links to my video channels on YouTubeAmazon Fire Tv, and Roku Player. I hope you enjoy my “This is What it is Like” Episodes! I now have 759 videos, 659,587 views, 1497 subscribers on YouTube AND my total video views across all platforms is now over 1,450,000+ (1.4M)! ! Thank you for your support and I cannot wait to get to 1.5 Million views!

Recent videos:

Will you Love Kia Stinger? Lisa in KIA StingerVideo #755: Sky Diving for my birthday with GoJump Oceanside!

Video #759: Will You Love the Kia Stinger?

Watch me in SPANISH! My first video interview in another language! Learn about the new Kia Singer in Jose Carlos’ video: Kia Stinger 2018 – los periodistas opinan




Thank you to everyone who has participated in our We Said Go Travel Competitions! Find the winners for the 2017 Inspiration Award here. The entries from the 2017 Summer Independence Award have been published and the winners have been announced.  We hope you will participate in our 2018 Writing Awards.


Our first ever Travel Photo Award is now closed! Thank you to our judges, Gary Arndt from Everything Everywhere and Jeana from Surf and Sunshine. We hope you will submit a photo in our next award. We will begin sharing the entries soon.

Want to make your own video? Use code WESAIDGO10 for 10% on your project. Lisa loves working with EpicMakers and they were a sponsor for our first Travel Photo Award.

My fortune cookies said “Good Fortune Lies Ahead.” and “You know what you want–Get to work to make it materialize.  I hope that this time with family for Thanksgiving brought you rest, relaxation and renewed perspective to know the steps to make your dreams come true!

Thank you for your support. Lisa

Discover more on my social media accounts:  InstagramFacebookTwitterPinterestYouTube.

What do you think of my new site?

Lisa Niver on KTLA 5 Money Smart

Are you ready to watch Lisa Niver on KTLA TV?

update from We Said Go Travel:

NEWS: Watch Lisa Niver on KTLA TV Channel 5 in Los Angeles, California on November 17, 2017 during the 11pm News and on November 22nd at 3pm. Click here to watch now!

Watch Lisa Niver on KTLA TV

Watch me on KTLA Friday Nov 17 during the 11pm news and on November 22nd at 3pm. Click here to watch now!

I will be talking about Holiday Travel and there is a giveaway where you can win a terrific trip! Watch my segment on KTLA and text the code word to enter by Nov 22, 2017 12am.

Watch Lisa Niver on KTLA TV

I am grateful to everyone who has shared this journey with me especially PR wizard, Steve Valentine.

Watch Lisa on KTLA Steve Valentine

Steve Valentine & Lisa Niver at KTLA

Thank you for all the words of wisdom, suggestions and help.

Watch Lisa Niver on KTLA TVTo get camera ready, who are you gonna call?
I called GLAM SQUAD! Thank you to my marvelous hair and make-up team of Milo and Michael.

Watch Lisa Niver on KTLA TV



Watch Lisa Niver on KTLA TV

Here are links to my video channels on YouTubeAmazon Fire Tv, and Roku Player. I hope you enjoy my “This is What it is Like” Episodes! I now have 755 videos, 654,689 views, 1484 subscribers on YouTube AND my total video views across all platforms is now over 1,445,000+ (1.4M)! ! Thank you for your support!

Recent videos:  Monaco  #97, IrelandScotland #98 and San Marino  #99 Video #750 = My 1st mountain biking lesson at Northstar California Resort with Specialized Bike Academy!! (read about it in POPSUGAR!)

Video #755: Sky Diving for my birthday with GoJump Oceanside!

VIDEO: How was my 1st Sky Dive with GoJump Oceanside?


Thank you to everyone who has participated in our We Said Go Travel Competitions! Find the winners for the 2017 Inspiration Award here. The entries from the 2017 Summer Independence Award have been published and the finalists will be announced next week.  There is no Fall Gratitude award this year as we are working on a redesign for the website right now. Look for more writing awards in 2018.

What Picture will you share in WSGT Travel Photo Award 2017TRAVEL PHOTO AWARD:

Our first ever Travel Photo Award is now closed! Thank you to our judges, Gary Arndt from Everything Everywhere and Jeana from Surf and Sunshine. We hope you will submit a photo in our next award. We will begin sharing the entries soon.

Check out our Travel Photo Award SPONSORS

Want to make your own video? Use code WESAIDGO10 for 10% on your project. Lisa loves working with EpicMakers and they are a sponsor for our first Travel Photo Award.

My fortune cookies said “Your personality is great. Use it wisely–don’t debate.” and last month: “Sail into the land of opportunity — Treasures await!  Thank you for your support. Lisa

Discover more on my social media accounts:  InstagramFacebookTwitterPinterestYouTube.

What do you think of my new site?

What would you do? Operation Jericho

Jonathan Ball Operation JerichoWho is Jonathan Ball?

“He skipped the senior prom for boot camp and took his first plane ride to report in San Diego. The environment was challenging and purposely disorienting, but he loved it. He volunteered for all tasks and immersed himself in the training to gain experience and expertise over eight years of service, four on active duty (non combat) and four in the inactive reserve. At an early age as well as throughout his life, he watched as friends and family succumbed to death, and in training, he learned further how to desensitize. Yet Ball feels blessed he never had to carry the burden of killing someone in the line of duty.”

Read Operation Jericho

VIDEOOn the KTLA 5 News at 3, Marine veteran Jonathan Ball discusses his new novel, Operation Jericho, soon to be made into a film.

Who is a hero?

“Heroes, as seen through the innocent and admiring eyes of a child:
If you boil everything away, all the nonsense, the bureaucracy, the politics, then you are left with the total purpose of Operation: Jericho. Americans, no matter their color or creed, are still Americans. Iman and Hasim, as Arab-Americans, are out of place in and out of uniform. Imagine life as an outsider, always on the edge of trust but never gaining it completely. Imagine living on the cusp of society, in a world of anger and hate and death. Imagine the self-doubt in purpose for any mission and what the ultimate outcome could mean for you on any given day.
I think of that, and the excerpt that stands out for me the most right now (the one where I am the little boy, looking upon the faces of heroes and only seeing them as such- no color, no race, no religion- just American bad a**es going to do American bad a** things.” — Jonathan Ball

An excerpt from Chapter Two:

Exhausted from travel and shrouded in uncomfortable uniforms,
the men ached to get to their destination. Their trek
through terminals and corridors was unabated by the light foot
traffic inside the airport. However, the ends of their toes and the
bottoms of their feet burned at the confines of patent leather footwear.
Hasim was still a little groggy from his nap aboard the plane.
He rubbed at his eyes until he caught sight of a small boy.
The boy was visibly tired and less than thrilled to be in an
airport during hours that would otherwise be deep into his
bedtime. His small left hand clutched tightly to the comforts of his
mother’s right. Hasim smiled at the mother and child as their paths
crossed. The little boy, suddenly excited and apparently raised as a
patriot, rendered a salute to the Marines. Each of the men smiled
back and broke uniform protocol. They returned a playful salute
to the boy, and the child lit up. He was elated to have received the
military courtesy as he yelled, “Mommy, Mommy! Did you see?”
Iman and Hasim forgot about the pains in their feet. They dismissed
the itch of form-fitting collars and heavy ties. They discontinued
their silent complaints against the heavy wool of their uniforms.
Rather, they smiled with the slight bump of charging energy
that the child passed to them. Hasim said, “There’s a future Jarhead
right there.” Each laughed lightly as they arrived at baggage claim.
About Jonathan Michael Ball:
He was born in Dallas, Texas and spent his youth in the balance between a country boy loving the wide open space of a cattle ranch and a city kid finding his way through the roller coaster of fast living.At 17 years old, he joined the United States Marine Corps where he served as an Intelligence Analyst in the 1st Marine Division. He deployed with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment; and his experiences abroad inspire his wide-reaching takes into character development and the realities faced outside of any bubble of comfort.Beyond experiences in the Marine Corps, Jonathan Michael Ball has climbed mountains, scaled cliffs, ascended frozen waterfalls, and explored various wild areas around the world. He is an accomplished professional, a devoted family man, and an observer of the human experience. He sets out in the great exploration of life’s adventures with the earnest effort of learning and driving forward in the knowledge that experience creates a great writer.

UCLA shooter had ‘kill list,’ woman on list found dead

The man accused of fatally shooting a University of California, Los Angeles, professor in a murder-suicide had written a “kill list” that included a woman who has been found dead in Minnesota, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said on Thursday.

Investigators found the list while searching the suspect's home in Minnesota, Beck told Los Angeles television station KTLA, adding that the investigation extended to Minnesota after finding a note at the crime scene. The list also contained the name of another, unidentified UCLA professor, who was unharmed, and the woman, he said.

“In the residence in Minnesota, we found multiple items, including extra ammunition and also a note with names on it indicating a kill list,” Beck told KTLA.

Police investigated the woman's home in a nearby town in Minnesota and found she had been shot to death, Beck said.

“Professor Klug's name was on that list, as was another UCLA professor who was alright,” Beck told the station.

Mainak Sarkar, 38, shot dead engineering professor William Klug, then killed himself, authorities said, in an attack that prompted a two-hour lockdown of UCLA's sprawling urban campus.

The attack appeared to be provoked by Sarkar's belief that Klug had stolen computer code from him, according to a March blog post by a person of the same name.

“Your enemy is my enemy. But your friend can do a lot more harm,” Sarkar wrote in the post. “Be careful about whom you trust.”

Reuters was not immediately able to confirm the authenticity of the post. The Los Angeles Times quoted an unnamed university source as saying the claims made in the blog were “untrue” and “absolutely psychotic.”

University officials did not respond to requests for comment on Thursday.

The anger reflected in the March blog contrasted with earlier online records indicating Sarkar had gotten along with Klug. In a copy of his 2013 dissertation posted online, Sarkar thanked Klug.

“I would like to thank my advisor, Dr. William Klug, for all his help and support. Thank you for being my mentor,” Sarkar wrote.

Klug, 39, was a married father of two children, UCLA said in a statement on Thursday.

“Our entire UCLA family is mourning the loss of Professor Klug, a respected, dedicated and caring faculty member,” Gene Block, the university's chancellor, said in a statement.

Reports of shots fired, or even sightings of possible gunman, have sparked heavy police responses and lockdowns at U.S. schools because of the nation's history of mass shootings. Last October nine people were shot and killed at Umpqua Community College in southwest Oregon. The 2007 attack at Virginia Tech where a gunman shot dead 32 people was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

University officials said classes would resume on Thursday and counselors will be available for students, faculty and staff.


Students took to social media to ask the university to reschedule final exams, saying they were rattled by the incident and needed more time to prepare.

Students said on social media on Wednesday that they had hidden behind doors that could not be locked while police searched the campus to make sure there were no other gunmen.

“How the hell am I going to study for finals when this just happened? I can't think straight,” Bahjat Alirani, a UCLA bioengineering student said on Twitter.

“Students need time to process today. Hope my colleagues seriously consider postponing finals this week. Let's help everyone heal,” Tyrone Howard, a UCLA associate dean and professor of education, said on Twitter.

UCLA, with more than 43,000 students, is one of the more well-regarded schools in the University of California system.

New Year’s Eve: Grand Avenue was great

Note to Los Angeles officials: We do like to party in public.

Sure, we’re three hours behind the East Coast, but what’s wrong with that? Finally, Los Angeles turned up the heat on New Year’s Eve this year, after being forever the stepsister to New York. Some 25,000 people – mostly very youthful – poured into the downtown 12-acre Civic Center’s Grand Park between the hours of 6 p.m. and midnight on Dec. 31, keeping-on-coming until police shut down the security gates to overflow crowds.

My husband and I arrived at 8, via the Red Line subway from Hollywood, and it was an easy ride, packed with expectant people wearing party hats. The train took us right to the Temple Street sidewalk entrance to the festivities. The security line at that hour was quick and efficient (no bags allowed), but once inside the gate we were immediately confronted by extremely long lines filling the sidewalks for – no surprise – the food trucks. We later counted about a dozen or more trucks lined up at various locations throughout the grounds — and every one of them had lines with scores of people waiting patiently, if hungrily. We’d wisely dined before, so opted out.

Note to food truckers: This is a great opportunity – next year.

A few balloon installations decorated the venue, and you could line up (yes, again) to get your picture taken and have it projected two-stories high onto a wall of the Los Angeles County Hall of Records building. The line for the portraits was as much as a couple of hours long, we were told, so we skipped that, too.

But even so, everywhere the feeling of the event was festive, not restive, and all that you’d want from a New Year’s Eve – minus the ultra-fancy clothes or the liquor (another huge line for a smallish beer garden – not for us),  and it was way warmer here than in the below-freezing N.Y.C. L.A.’s NYE was, in fact, a balmy evening, with crystal clear air and a surrounding, lit-up downtown that made the scene really, well, romantic. And urban, of course, and refreshingly communal — for L.A.

A gorgeous light show lit up the City Hall tower – with scenes of palm trees (well-suited for the L.A. winter) and various flickering, colorful abstractions. Lots to look at and quite pretty. And there were bands, all of them local, ranging from rock to rap and R and B.  There is even a small dog park at the northeast end of the park, and a surprising number of people had brought their pets.

Finally, a place to really gather.

This inaugural event was sponsored by the Music Center and Los Angeles County, and kudos to them for getting it done. At 9 p.m., in a nod to tradition, the New York Times Square ball drop was projected onto the same Hall’s wall, but then the L.A. scene quickly resumed. No need to pretend we were back East.

Crowds continued to fill up the grounds, and by 10 p.m. some of the trucks were running out of food. Clearly, this kind of success was not expected – and there were few places to sit down. Even so, it was not the kind of sardine-packed, pocket-picking, risky scene of Times Square. The crowd was young, some families, very diverse and congenial.

We left long before midnight (sorry!), and as we entered the subway saw more and more people taking advantage of the free after-9 p.m. rides offered for New Years Eve by the Metro system. I’d assumed we’d see the final momentus light show on KTLA-TV or another news station once we got home.

But no. Repeats of New York were playing on even the local stations as the clock chimed 12, leaving fellow Angelenos unaware of the region's newest tradition.

Maybe the TV stations will catch on next year, because this party must go on. It was great.

May this good start to 2014 be just the beginning of many new traditions.

Happy New Year.

Kosher consumers reeling after Doheny scandal

[UPDATE, MARCH 29] The Rabbinical Council of California (RCC) responds to the Doheny Meats scandal.

[MARCH 28] Trust lies at the center of the business of kosher food, and earlier this week, in what is certainly the biggest kosher scandal to hit Los Angeles in 20 years, the trust many kosher consumers placed in Doheny Glatt Kosher Meats, a market on Pico Boulevard in the heart of L.A.’s most prominent Orthodox neighborhood, was shattered.

“I used to go to Doheny because I like their meat better; I’m so mad that I can’t shop there anymore,” said Shahnaz Benjy of Beverly Hills on Thursday, March 28.

Benjy had just finished buying groceries at Pico Glatt Mart, a kosher-certified market located a few blocks west of the disgraced shop. “I pay too much for meat as it is, and to know I can’t trust [Doheny] anymore is really sad,” she said.

[EXCLUSIVE: Surveillance video of Doheny Meat scandal]

After 28 years doing business in that location, Doheny’s owner, Mike Engelman, was videotaped on March 12 instructing his employees to bring boxes into his shop at a time when the kosher overseer, or mashgiach, who had been overseeing a delivery, had walked away. The video, which was shot by Eric Agaki, an independent private investigator, led the Rabbinical Council of California (RCC) to revoke its certification from Doheny on March 24, the day before Passover.

That decision has not been taken lightly.

On Sunday, just hours before a portion of the footage from the investigator’s tape was shown on the KTLA 10 p.m. news show, staff members from the RCC as well as a handful of other rabbis and lay leaders from the Orthodox community gathered in the office of Rabbi Kalman Topp, the spiritual leader of Beth Jacob, the largest Orthodox synagogue in Pico-Robertson. Also present were Rabbi Elazar Muskin of Young Israel of Century City and Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky of B’nai David-Judea.

Together they watched the video.

“You see him [Engelman] talking to the mashgiach; you see him waiting until the mashgiach leaves,” said Muskin of the 30-minute segment of video shown at the meeting. “And the damaging evidence is that once the mashgiach leaves, that’s when he has his helpers empty out his SUV, bringing the boxes into his establishment.”

After the group finished watching the video, the meeting continued, and Engelman himself was brought into the room. The shopkeeper – believed to be one of the largest distributors of kosher meat products on the West Coast — initially denied the allegations. But eventually, according to two people present at the meeting, Engelman admitted that he had brought boxes of unsupervised food into the store.

“He did claim that it was kosher – I think that the way he put it was that he ‘never brought non-kosher meat into the store,’ and that he ‘never sold something not kosher,’” an individual who attended the meeting told the Journal on March 28. “But he did acknowledge bringing in boxes – he claimed it was poultry — into the store.”

Before the meeting ended, the assembled rabbis composed an email stating that the RCC had “removed its kosher supervision, for cause, from Doheny Kosher Meats,” adding that all meat purchased before 3 p.m. that day was still considered kosher.

(The local rabbis, who consulted with another rabbinic authority, relied on a concept known as “rov” which allows rabbis — in cases when a majority of a set of items are known to be kosher – to declare the entire set to be kosher.)

Each of the synagogues and the RCC sent that message out to their mailing lists that night.

Agaki, who said he did the investigation over the course of several months after hearing rumors of problems with the market, did the  surveillance without the cooperation of the RCC. He said he had also obtained on Sunday from a relative of Engleman 5,000 fraudulent stickers that could be used to label the contents of any bag or container as “glatt kosher.”

For the rabbis in that meeting, however, Engelman’s actions captured in the video were enough to justify revoking his store’s certification.

“He lost the trust of the community,” Muskin said in an interview. The rabbi also spoke about the Doheny scandal from his pulpit on the first day of Passover. “If you’re a kosher butcher, then you’ve got to be a kosher butcher, and you’ve got to play by the rules. You don’t bring boxes of unidentified items into your establishment behind the back of your mashgiach.”

Engelman said that on the advice of his attorney he could not comment on the allegations or the actions taken by the RCC, and, according to Engelman, his attorney would not take calls from the press either.

Despite the situation, Doheny Market was open for business on Thursday and its front window displayed a new kosher certificate  — valid only until April 1.

The name and signature of Rabbi Meshulom Dov Weiss appear on the certificate, and the rabbi’s son, Rabbi Menachem Weiss, told the Journal that he and his father are working with Engelman to ensure that everything sold by Doheny is certified kosher. Weiss said that any opened meat packages had been removed from the store, and that two mashgiachs will now be on site at all times, and seven video cameras were to be installed throughout the premises, allowing the father to monitor the store via the web from his home in North Hollywood.

“We’re not going into it naïve,” Menachem Weiss told the Journal on Thursday. “These are the precautions that we’re putting into place to allow him to stay in business from now until April 1. What happens after that, we’ll have to see.”

The Weisses have acted as supervisors for Doheny before, for about 18 months starting in 2007 or 2008. Menachem Weiss did not remember the exact years, but said that Engelman brought them in after the RCC informed him – along with the rest of the shops they certified – that from then on, all meat sold under RCC kosher supervision had to be not just kosher, but glatt kosher.

For meat to be considered kosher, it must be from the right kind of animal and must be slaughtered and prepared properly. For large animals – not poultry – the animal’s innards must be checked to ensure that there are no signs of disease. If, for instance, a cow has a hole in its lung, the animal is not considered kosher by any standard.

But to be kosher under the higher “glatt” standard – the word means “smooth” in Yiddish – the animal’s lungs must have no signs of ever having had any ulcers. If the ulcers have healed, the meat is considered kosher – but not glatt kosher.

When the RCC began to insist upon the higher standard, it brought with it higher prices. Engelman, Weiss said, initially decided to drop the RCC’s certification and to continue selling kosher meat that did not meet the glatt standard under the Weisses’ supervision.

However without the RCC certification, Weiss said, Doheny’s business suffered, and Engelman decided to adhere to the glatt standard and return to the RCC.

“Our intent is not to replace the RCC,” Menachem Weiss said. “Our hope is that the RCC will take Mike back; we’re trying to help Mike earn back the trust of the community.”

Whether that’s possible remains to be seen, but it may not only be Doheny that needs to win back the trust of kosher consumers in Los Angeles. The RCC’s reputation may have sustained some damage as well.

“I have no clue who to trust anymore,” said another woman shopping at Pico Glatt Mart on Thursday said, asking to be identified only as Friede. “I don’t trust RCC.”

Suspicions about Doheny Meats practices were brought to the RCC's attention repeatedly over the last three years, according to Daryl Schwarz, the owner of the now-closed Kosher Club.

Schwartz also said that, as early as 2010, he reported seeing the empty boxes, fraudulent labels and fraudulent tape to Rabbi Nissim Davidi, the RCC’s kashrut administrator.

“It was numerous times over the years,” Schwartz said.

[See story on RCC's prior warning]

The RCC did not respond to requests for comment on this story; the agency said Thursday that it would release a statement on Friday, March 29.

Told that some customers were worried that the certification of other markets might also come into question, Muskin, who served as president of the RCC from 1992 to 1997, said that such broad skepticism is not appropriate.

“The rabbis have to review the entire process of the supervision, and what fell apart, and how this happened, that’s clear,” Muskin said. “But we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that a man did something that he should not have done. He still tried to beat the system.”

“If there’s anger and disgust,” Muskin added, “it has to be at the owner of Doheny Kosher.”

Doheny Kosher scandal: What took RCC so long? [UPDATED]

[UPDATE, MARCH 28] Rabbi Yakov Vann, the RCC's director of Kashrut Services, said in an email to The Journal on Thursday that the RCC is reviewing “all aspects of its protocols” and considering “all information relating to what took place at Doheny Meats.” Vann said the RCC will release a full statement on Friday.

[MARCH 27] The Rabbinical Council of California (RCC) abruptly revoked its certification from Doheny Glatt Kosher Meats on March 24, but the RCC, Los Angeles’s leading kosher oversight agency, had first heard about the distributor’s suspicious practices years earlier.

Eric Agaki, an investigator who had been independently monitoring Doheny’s warehouse on Pico Boulevard and another location in the San Fernando Valley for the past six months, told KTLA on Sunday that he had discovered the company was selling meat as Glatt Kosher that had not been certified as such.

In an interview with The Jewish Journal on Wednesday, Agaki said that so far, he could only prove the 53-year-old company had been selling its customers meat that was kosher, but not “glatt kosher,” a higher standard.

But Agaki said that he doubted the meat allegedly repackaged and sold by Doheny was kosher by any standard.

“We think that they were packed with treyf, just regular meat,” Agaki said.

Agaki captured video and physical evidence that he said showed Doheny’s owner was reusing boxes from Agri Star Meat and Poultry, a glatt kosher meat processor, packing them with non-glatt kosher-certified meat, and then resealing them with fraudulent tape and labels that said “Aaron’s Best,” an Agri Star brand.

The investigator’s findings were first reported by KTLA on March 24, the day the RCC revoked Doheny’s certification. But Daryl Schwartz, the owner of Kosher Club, a retailer and distributor of kosher meats that closed its doors on Pico in 2011 after more than 20 years in business, told The Journal that he had known years earlier about everything Agaki later found.

Schwartz also said that, as early as 2010, he reported seeing the empty boxes, fraudulent labels and fraudulent tape to Rabbi Nissim Davidi, the RCC’s kashrut administrator.

“It was numerous times over the years,” Schwartz said.

Schwartz said he got the same response each time.

“He [Davidi] said, ‘I’ll look into it,’” Schwartz said.

Whether Davidi or anyone in the RCC investigated the suspicious practices Doheny is not yet known.

The RCC’s office is closed until April 4, when Passover ends; attempts to reach multiple RCC staff members by phone and email on Wednesday evening after sundown were unsuccessful.

Doheny’s owner, Michael Engelman, has owned and operated a retail shop in the neighborhood of Pico-Robertson “for over 30 years,” according to the company’s Web site. Everything about that store, from its white enamel refrigerated display case to the white butcher paper in which cuts of meat came wrapped, lent Doheny an upscale ambience absent from other glatt kosher butchers in the neighborhood.

That feeling, coupled with the belief that the meat sold by Doheny was both kosher and organic, may have helped retail customers justify paying Engelman’s premium prices, and helped Doheny become the premier retailer to kosher consumers in this densely populated Jewish neighborhood.

All of that changed on the evening of Sunday March 24 when the RCC, and many Orthodox synagogues in the neighborhood, sent out emails announcing that the RCC had, as of 3 p.m. that day, “removed its kosher supervision, for cause, from Doheny Kosher Meats.”

“The community Rabbis,” the email continued, “upon consultation with a nationally recognized halachic authority, have determined that any meat and poultry purchased at Doheny Kosher Meats through today (until 3pm), is permitted to be eaten and can be enjoyed on Yom Tov.”

Doheny’s retail sales were only part of Engelman’s business. As one of just a handful of distributors of kosher meat in Los Angeles, Doheny’s list of commercial clients stretched from the city to the Valley and reportedly included caterers who worked in the area’s finest hotels, high-end long-term residential facilities as well as other kosher-certified retailers.

“When I shut down the Kosher Club,” Schwartz said, “Doheny started selling to the Beverly Hilton.”

“From me, they [the Beverly Hilton] were buying Rubashkin,” Schwartz continued, referring to the former owners of the glatt kosher meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa, which was shut down following an immigration raid in 2008. “From Doheny,” Schwartz said, “your guess is as good as mine.”

Hershey Friedman, the CEO of Agri Star, which now owns and operates the Postville plant, told YeshivaWorldNews in a statement on Monday that the allegations against Doheny were “very disturbing and inexcusable.”

“Agristar had no knowledge of this alleged misuse of its labels, and should these allegations prove to be true, Agristar will discontinue any further relationship with this customer,” Friedman’s statement continued.

“Agristar prides itself in its relentless pursuit of the highest standards of kashrus,” Friedman’s statement continued, “and will use all means at its disposal to prevent a reoccurrence of this unfortunate and illegal behavior.”

Among his findings, Agaki said, are about “5,000 stickers,” labeling the contents as produced and packed by Agri Star. Agaki said he obtained those stickers on Sunday from a relative of Engelman’s outside a non-RCC certified meat distributor located in Reseda.

Agaki also said he obtained the printing plates used to make those fraudulent labels from that same individual.

Whether Engelman and Doheny in fact did anything illegal remains to be seen. An employee at Doheny’s retail shop told The Journal on Monday that Engelman would speak to the allegations after the Passover holiday. Agaki, meanwhile, said that he had conveyed his findings to the United States Department of Agriculture.

The evidence uncovered by Agaki’s investigation appears to have led the RCC to revoke Doheny’s certification, but according to the 41-year-old, Israeli-born private investigator, it was conducted without the knowledge or cooperation of the kosher certification agency.

“It’s a mitzvah,” Agaki said, explaining that while he usually charges $125-per-hour for his services, he had spent about 150 hours since August 2012, working on this investigation on an unpaid basis.

“My client,” he added, “is upstairs.”

Waking Up With Giselle

Even a casual viewer of KTLA’s “Morning News” knows this much about co-anchor Giselle Fernandez: she’s informed, attractive and very proud of her Latina and Jewish culture.

Since she joined the breezy, ratings-leading Channel 5 newscast in October to replace founding co-anchor Barbara Beck, Fernandez — who helms the 7 and 8 a.m. editions with Carlos Amezcua — has felt at home on the multiethnic program. She has found a place on television where her ethnic beauty and her dual heritage are actually an asset.

“I just kibitzed naturally,” Fernandez told The Journal of the trial shows that snagged her the job over five other candidates. “They’re very talented, goofy, real,” she said of the other members of the “Morning News” team.

For Fernandez, the program heralds a return to broadcast news after having left for a few years to create Latina-empowering Internet ventures and seminars.

“I hadn’t done live TV in a while,” Fernandez said, but added that she had no problem getting her news groove back.

If the high-profile program is a major comeback for Fernandez, it is perhaps a bigger coup for KTLA. The Emmy-winning newswoman — a seasoned veteran at just 40 — brought with her two decades of on-air experience as an anchor, host and correspondent. Her career highlights include work on NBC (“Today,” “Nightly News”), CBS (“Face the Nation,” “CBS Evening News,” “48 Hours”), “Access Hollywood,” The History Channel (“This Week in History”) and anchoring and stringing gigs for local news stations in Miami, Chicago and Santa Barbara. Fernandez has gleaned valuable experience covering the Gulf and Bosnian wars, the 1993 World Trade Center and Oklahoma City bombings, and a rare English-broadcast interview with Fidel Castro. Not that she ever anticipated any of this.

“You know the old adage, ‘Life is what happens after you’ve made your plans,'” Fernandez asked rhetorically. “Nothing has turned out how I planned.”

Fernandez grew up in both Los Angeles and Mexico City. Her father was a flamenco dancer from Mexico when he met her mother, an Ashkenazi Jewish Angeleno.

Fernandez, who was born part-Catholic, practices Judaism.

“I’ve always felt so at home with Jews,” she says. “I felt comfortable with their commitment to family, food.”

A turning point in Fernandez’s life came in 1991, during a month-long assignment in Israel. From her taxi drive from Ben Gurion Airport, it was Judaism by fire. As Iraqi Scud missiles rained down on Tel Aviv, Fernandez watched her Yemenite driver abandon their cab. A citizen gave her a gas mask, and she hid under a bench during the attack.

The assignment not only won Fernandez an Emmy, it developed her connection with her Jewish side. Upon her return to the States, she began studying intensely with Rabbi Howard Bald. Fernandez found the experience “active and cerebral and engaging and exciting. It taught me how to think in a different way. I consider it some of the greatest study I’ve undertaken, in the greatest way. It was not just memorizing. I know more about halachic law than most Orthodox Jewry.”

Fernandez, who spent Passover with Moroccan Jews from Spain reading the haggadah in Hebrew and Ladino, said that she prizes her Jewish Latino friends of Mexican and Argentine descent, as well as the good friends she made while in Israel.

“I can discuss a tomato with them and it will be fascinating conversation,” Fernandez said. “I feel way at home culturally with my friends in Tel Aviv.”

The laid-back style of “Morning News” may not be for everyone, but it is original. In the 1950s, before video, when television still relied on kinescope, KTLA, with Hal Fishman and Stan Chambers, pioneered serious television news. In 1991, KTLA pioneered once again with the light-hearted “Morning News,” introducing a ratings-grabbing format that has since been replicated nationwide.

Producer Rich Goldner observed that the format could only have emerged from Los Angeles’ early 1990s tumult — the riots, the Northridge earthquake, the Malibu fires, the floods, the O.J. Simpson trial. “The anchors had an opportunity to ad-lib so much,” Goldner said.

There are viewers who might find the tone of the broadcast — where entertainment fluff is often sandwiched between sobering, tragic stories — too glib or flip. Fernandez doesn’t mind the contrast, which she adds reflects life itself.

“It’s been a family of characters for 11 years,” Fernandez said. “While it has weekly irreverence and deviations, it also has a strong commitment to news.”

Executive Producer Marcia Brandwynne, who calls the show “a breakfast club,” believes that deeper, analytical coverage should be reserved for outlets such as The New York Times and The Jim Lehrer Report. She doesn’t make any apologies for the airy program, especially with capable professionals such as Fernandez behind the desk.

“It’s light at heart,” Brandwynne said, “but when it takes the news turn, she’s smart. She asks the right questions. She brings a great presence to every interview. She does a lot of homework.”

Goldner noted that Fernandez comes to KTLA with more than just an impressive resume.

“We weren’t looking for just a news reader,” Goldner said of Fernandez, who is at home doing one-on-ones with Sting or Kobe Bryant as she is conversing with heads of state.

“She’s really raised the bar with that type of breadth of experience,” says KTLA News Director Jeff Wald. “She has been to most of the places she’s talked about, and brings with her that insider knowledge. She’s also brought more male viewers into the tent. They find her appealing.”

So which type of male does Fernandez find most appealing? The vivacious Latina, who has alluded to her single status on the air, told The Journal that she is still looking for Mr. Right. But the majority of guys out there who would love to wake up next to Fernandez every morning can turn on their bedroom TV sets — she will not settle for anything less than her ideal.

“I want a man who can add to my experience,” she said, “and has a sense of life and adventure, an intellect. Someone who can spice up my life. I know I can spice up his.”

If KTLA’s “Morning News” has brought any spice to its medium, it is news mixed with personality, spontaneity, honesty, self-deprecating humor and ethnic diversity — all of which Fernandez’s colleagues say describe the newswoman herself.

“She’s an informed anchor, and totally unafraid to be Jewish on the air,” Brandwynne said. “There was a time when it wasn’t such a hot idea to admit that you were Jewish. We’ve come to another place.”

“I love our history, our perseverance, our individuality and devotion to family,” Fernandez said. “I’m very proud of the Jewish people and [their] contributions to society and world culture.”