National Night Out in Toluca Lake

T36-Community News LaBongeCouncilmember Tom LaBonge salutes Jay Goldberg for his dedicated commitment and service as Public Safety Committee Chair of the Greater Toluca Lake Neighborhood Council, Community Police Advisory Board Member and Neighborhood Watch Leader at National Night Out event in Toluca Lake.

City Council Recognizes Alvaro A. Cortés

Alvaro A. Cortés, a former Los Angeles Unified School District student, teacher and principal, and the Executive Director of Beyond the Bell, was honored in City Council this week. The Los Angeles Unified School District’s Beyond the Bell Branch provides after school programs to an average of 160,000 students each day, operating under the paradigm “stay late and graduate.” Under Mr. Cortes’ leadership, Beyond the Bell innovated its Take Action Leadership Campaign whereby students who expressed interest in leadership at their schools participated in after school programs created by and for the students. By participating in Denim Day and Kick Butts Day, Take Action students took an active role in anti-rape and anti-smoking campaigns. Take Action students are graduating at a rate 30% higher than the general student population. Councilmember LaBonge thanks Alvaro A. Cortes’ for his leadership in positively impacting the lives of students and the community at large.


Armenian Grape-Blessing Ceremony Held at Glendale Adventist Chapel

T36-Community News GlendaleArpy Bedrossian has attended the long-cherished Blessing of the Grapes ceremony, one of five major feasts of the Armenian church, since childhood.

And for the past 19 years, she also makes time for the ceremony in the small chapel where she works — Glendale Adventist Medical Center. Bedrossian is the financial adviser for the medical center’s healthcare foundation.

Roughly 40 visitors and hospital staff joined Bedrossian for the annual ceremony Wednesday. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate of the Armenian Apostolic Church of the Western United States, led the blessing as he’s done for many years.

The ceremony included hymns and prayers recited in Armenian, coinciding with St. Mary’s Armenian Apostolic Church’s celebrations later this week.


Burbank Label, Alive Naturalsound, Keeps the Record Alive

T36-Community News BurbankAlive, whose artists include everyone from psych-funk cult hero Swamp Dogg to ’50s-era R&B wild man Andre Williams, along with a host of deliciously primitive contemporary rockers, also issued the earliest recordings by the now internationally acclaimed Black Keys.

Today, Alive seems more and more to be bearing down on the traditional American idiom of the blues, a fact underscored by their recent designation by Blues magazine as “the hottest label in the blues.”

With more than 70 artists in their catalog, Alive’s emphasis on offbeat, underground and extremely intense, original music seems as if it would be a tough sell in the digital download era, but Boissel keeps the faith.


Pasadena Magnet School Celebrates First Day Back

"0818_NWS_PSN-L-FIRSTDAY01"Washington STEAM Magnet Academy Monday opened its doors to a new school year for the second time.

Although the future once looked bleak for this once under-performing school, Washington has enjoyed a second chance at academic excellence after last year’s switch to a science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) focus. The transition wasn’t without challenges, however, officials acknowledged.

An important step in solving the hiccups of last year’s launch was adding a new class period, which would be devoted to the design project around which the STEAM curriculum is built. Meant to touch on every part of their education, the project is the focal point of the year at Washington.

Washington’s program takes advantage of projects done throughout the year for the purpose of teaching kids how to work with the concepts they’ve picked up. There’s a clear emphasis on curiosity and creativity over hard knowledge, however.


Southland Residents Giving Up Lawns to Save Water, Get Rebates

T36-Community News Sherman OaksThe number of Southern Californians willing to give up their lawn in exchange for water-saving rebates has nearly doubled so far this year compared to the past five years, thanks in part to the Metropolitan Water District doubling its rebate, the water agency announced Monday.

In July, requests for residential turf removal rebates increased to 2.5 million square feet — equivalent to removing 1,665 typical Southland front yards — from 99,000 square feet in January, according to the MWD.

Lawn removal rebates increased from 22,000 square feet in January to 4.7 million square feet of turf — about 82 football fields — in July alone.

Demands for imported water from the MWD have dropped 15 percent compared to the last dry cycle in 2006-07, despite the population of the MWD’s coverage area growing by more than 500,000 people.


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