Police are currently investigating the circumstances surrounding the discovery of an improvised shotgun and ammunition, which were found on Friday at a shack at Mango Landing in Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice).Reports are the gun and ammo were found at about 08:15h after officers from E Division (Linden-Kwakwani) acted upon information. A search was conducted and the improvised 12-gauge shotgun and 10 live cartridges were subsequently unearthed.
SHERMAN OAKS – Twenty-two years old, confident and charming, Rafael Vega took his mom’s recipes and a small business loan and opened a restaurant that bore his name. This was 50 years ago today, back when Mexican food didn’t show up on every corner, before the average American knew words like enchilada and margarita. His dad had run a nightclub and he had some formal schooling, but Vega was basically a gutsy kid who lived in Burbank, gambling that people would enjoy the food he ate at home. “My father was behind the bar, my mother was waiting tables and I was at the door,” Vega, now 72, remembered. “We just wanted a little family Mexican restaurant.” And, as it turned out, a lot of people wanted to come to that little family Mexican restaurant called Casa Vega. In 1956, Vega worked as many as 16 hours a day, never really giving it a thought. He learned to work the room, to shake hands and laugh deeply in that way that makes people feel like they’re at home, even in the company of strangers. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2He worked hard, but he was lucky, too. Luck always ran in the family. His uncle Alejandro went to sea as a cook in 1939 out of San Pedro and bought two tickets in the Irish Sweepstakes while on leave in Gibraltar. When he reached port back home, he was a millionaire, and fronted the money to Vega’s dad to start Casa Caliente on Olvera Street. After 18 years, the family closed the joint and went to work for Rafael, a dapper dresser everyone called Ray. He kept working, introducing people to an Americanized version of the food he’d grown up with. Within five years, he’d paid off his loan and made a lot of friends. And important friends, at that. “You know, Cary Grant, back when Dyan Cannon was pregnant, I was working the door,” Vega said. “I said to him, `Mr. Grant, I really appreciate your business, but this is the fifth time this week you’ve been in here.’ He tells me, `I don’t really care for Mexican food, but when she’s eating the food here, Dyan isn’t such a pain in the … neck.”‘ Vega’s got a lot of stories like that, like the time he got drunk with Marlon Brando, or the quiet, polite way Dean Martin would come in to hang out. “Brando got very possessive,” Vega said. “One time, this guy was giving my aunt a hard time at the door. So Brando got up and he told that guy, `You’d better get out of here’ – and he did.” That’s always the way it has been at Casa Vega, where the lights are so low and the drinks so strong, you never really know what famous person is shrouded off in the corner booth. Was that Tom Cruise and Patricia Arquette? Maybe. Brad Pitt? Perhaps. Jessica Simpson? Possibly. More likely, it was someone like Tamara Ortiz. She’s not a celebrity; she’s a title insurer. She and her friend Gayle Slade come so often, they don’t even have to say the restaurant’s whole name anymore – a simple `CV?’ text message from one is enough to bring the other in a hurry. “There’s certain things in life that you can count on and Casa Vega’s one of them,” Ortiz, 41, of Studio City, said. “It’s truly like a vacation in your own hometown. You can be here all day, all afternoon, all night.” “Not that we’ve ever done that!” laughed Slade, a Sherman Oaks Realtor. “It’s like coming home to family here – Tony the bartender, Rosie the waiter, Ray the owner.” To the restaurant’s fans, of which there are plenty, no superlative seems too great. The chicken enchiladas aren’t just good, they’re the best in the Valley. Antonio Navarro doesn’t just make a mean margarita, he’s the best bartender in the world. The food isn’t just tasty, it’s better than you’d find even in Mexico. Vega privately disputes that, but he’d never tell his patrons. “From time to time, we’ve tried things like pozole or menudo, but our clientele doesn’t buy that,” he said. “It isn’t what I like, it’s what the customer likes. We go through 100 cases of tequila a month to make the margaritas. They’re not the way I’d make them, but the customers sure like them that way.” And that’s what has kept him in business all these years – that, and the way he works the crowd. Waggling his lush eyebrows, slapping backs, purring hello in his rich, velvet voice, he hits every table in the room. Even when the wait for a table is stretched out past an hour and everyone’s packed in, Vega makes sure they don’t really mind. When the tequila is flowing and the chips come basket by basket, reality loses its hard edge and everyone seems to laugh. “It doesn’t matter what time of day it is, it’s always the same time in Casa Vega,” said Leslie Gerard, a 42-year-old personal manager who grew up eating at the place and still drives from Manhattan Beach at least once a month. “As soon as someone says Casa Vega, I’m there.” All this has made Vega a wealthy, respected man. He’s sat on corporate boards, gotten his picture taken with President Nixon, served as the honorary consul general of Mexico. And he has given back, employing workers for decades and establishing leadership programs to encourage young Latinos to work and go to college. He’s at an age and comfort level where many people would retire and relax, but Vega still checks in five days a week and plays an active role in the business. When his daughter Christina returns from maternity leave, he’ll hand some things over to her. But he never plans to stop working the room, just like he did when he was 22 and dreaming. “People come up and say, `Thanks for being here,”‘ he said. “But it’s the other way around. I should be thanking them.” email@example.com (818) 713-3738160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!Read More