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12 Days of Giving : Monrovia Association of Fine Arts

December 19, 2014 in Art, Education, Events, Holidays, People, Photography, San Gabriel Valley, Seasonal, Social issues

LogoThis is a group that I have devoted tons of energy and time to over the last 10 years.  Their mission statement sums it all up:
“Enhance the lives of those within our community through interaction with the arts. Increase the opportunities of our children through art education.”

Its something I completely believe in, live and breath it.  I got involved 10 years ago as a way to help promote my art, but after a few meetings I found its something that benefits the entire community in ways I never knew.

My kids were in the MUSD system and I was disappointed to learn that Art Education wasn’t part of the curriculum as a separate class at the elementary level.  Monrovia Association of Fine Arts, MAFA for short, was just getting ready to make its first donation to the schools the year I joined to help fund art educatoin at the elementary level.  Over the course of the next few years our cash donations totalled over $75.000.  But it didn’t stop there. Read the rest of this entry →

12 Days of Giving: Help A Mother Out

December 16, 2014 in FEATURED, Holidays, Social issues

This is the one of several posts by us outlining charities and non-profit causes near to our heart.  Its not always about monetary donations for these groups. Tight on funds?  They welcome your time and talents to help them as a volunteer as well.  When its all said and done you feel closer and connected to your community when you help it out.  And isn’t giving of yourself all that matters this time of year regardless if its Christmas, Hanukkah or Pagan rituals?

HAMOlogoNo matter their race, gender, or income level, all babies have one very basic thing in common: They Need Diapers. And lots of them. For YEARS. One in three families in the US struggle to afford diapers and 22% of children live in poverty. Diapers are not cheap and they are not covered in any public assistance programs – not even WIC (Women, Infants and Children). How much? Diapers can cost on average $75-$100/month. And most childcare facilities require parents to supply diapers every day for your child. If you are a poor working parent, childcare is critical for you to be able work. If you can’t afford diapers, you can’t use daycare and if you can’t use daycare, how can you work? Vicious cycle.

“Diapers are a must-have. You can’t skip them like you can breakfast. Getting donated diapers has helped me because I don’t have to have my child do without other things, such as food.” ~ Mom, Center for the Vulnerable Child

This is where Help A Mother Out comes in. Their sole mission is to provide diapers to families who need them. They do this by raising money, raising awareness and working to change laws specific to diaper needs in public assistance programs. And they need your help. Families and babies need your help. They are based in the Bay Area, but they have a small volunteer crew here in Los Angeles who run diaper drives and distribute diapers to various organizations in LA County.

Please click through to read more and to find out all the ways you can Help A Mother Out.

Who are these families in need? They can be anyone. Families hit hard by the recession. Families whose circumstances have changed unexpectedly due to a health crisis. A mom and her kids escaping domestic abuse with only the clothes on their backs. Homeless families trying to get on their feet. Working families barely getting by. It’s not just one type of family that needs help. And clean diapers mean much healthier and happy babies. Parents who can’t afford diapers often leave their kids in dirty diapers for ong periods of time. This can cause sever diaper rash and could even lead to infectious diarrhea, Hepatitis A and viral meningitis. Clean diapers help the whole family and the community.

“With the help of diapers, I am able to use the little money I have on food and other important necessities for my kids.” Mom of two, Women’s Daytime Drop in Center

How can you help? You can donate money online, you can host a Diaper Drive, you can also donate diapers, you can even buy diapers on Amazon to ship directly to a local organization. Do you have a child who has just potty-trained? Fist of all, congrats! Second – do you have a half opened pack of diapers in the closet? Help A Mother Out will take those too. You can find out how to help here. You can also make it really easy and contact me. I’ll come and get your leftover diapers personally to deliver to a local shelter or organization that needs them.

(You’ll notice these donated diapers are the disposable variety and many of you might have environmental concerns. Homeless and poor working families often have limited or even no access to laundry facilities on a regular basis and cloth diapers require much laundering as well as the soap to go with it. Just something to keep in mind.)

Click here to see specifically who Help A Mother Out serves in California.

Every baby deserves a clean diaper. Period.

 

 

 

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12 Days of Giving : Anteaus Theater Company

December 15, 2014 in Entertainment, LA, News, People, Seasonal, Social issues, Theatre/Stage

Live theater in Los Angeles is a tough gig. Anteaus in Noho is no different than the rest, to bring quality theater to the community they need help. Volunteers and tax deductible cash donations are welcomed.

To donate and learn about them visit Anteaus.org.

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Nixle alerts coming DUI Enforcement Road Blocks

December 15, 2014 in Driving, News, Social issues, Which Side?

DUI Enforcements 2014Its that time of year again.  A few of us will get tanked and get behind the wheel, a few will get caught, a few will pile up their car and maim themselves or others.  LAPD, L.A Sheriff, CHP and local police agencies get huge grants to fight DUI and hopefully stave off the worst of the consequences of drunk drivers.

Here are two alerts by LA Sheriff on the for this coming weekend addressing the DUI/CDL Checkpoints for this weekend in Norwalk and Paramount.

I suppose we can thank the ACLU, but in CA when the DUI Enforcement zones are announced and road blocks are going to be included in the program they have to announce date and time.  Nixle is a great way to make sure you get alerts of when these DUI check points are going to in place and what times.  Make sure your designated driver has been a tea totaller and you’ll be fine.

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12 Days of Giving : Foothill Unity Center

December 12, 2014 in Entertainment, Events, FEATURED, San Gabriel Valley, Seasonal, Shopping, Social issues

wrapped GiftThis is the first of several posts by us outlining charities and non-profit  causes near to our heart.  Its not always about monetary donations for these groups.  Tight on funds?  They welcome your time and talents to help them as a volunteer as well.  When its all said and done you feel closer and connected to your community when you help it out.  And isn’t giving of yourself all that matters this time of year regardless if its Christmas, Hanukkah or Pagan rituals?

One of the charities that I help when I can is the Foothill Unity Center.  This group is headquartered here in Monrovia with a satellite office in Pasadena.  Year round they service the hungry, newly homeless, newly jobless or whatever other suddent tragedy that hits their home leaving them in need of help.  They need volunteers for several upcoming events, money to support their programs, food donations, clothing…whatever you can help them with. Visit their web site linked in here for more information on what you can do to help them.  After the jump you can learn more of their immediate needs. Read the rest of this entry →

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Selfie Stick the abomination for the self absorbed

November 30, 2014 in Photography, Rants, Shopping, Social issues

The selfiestick, click to embiggen

They started showing up in recent weeks. A stick you attach your phone to for big picture selfies.

At the Auto Show this week they were all over.  They’re obnoxious. The users are screaming and yelling at folks behind them and in front of them to move. I got whacked on the shoulder with one trying to get a better picture.  Really?  Is this not the most obnoxious invention for the self absorbed yet?

Pic by me and it embiggens with a click

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Food Drives highlight the season

November 15, 2014 in News, San Gabriel Valley, Seasonal, Social issues

fork in it
Thanksgiving this year is a bigger challenge than ever according to my friends at the Foothill Unity Center. They feed literally hundreds of families every month, but this Holiday will be their toughest for a variety of reasons. Last year they fed 1,000 families. I won’t dwell on the “why’s” but will give you some ways to help.

First up is the “Put The Fork in Hunger” food drive in Pasadena to benefit the food banks at the Foothill Unity Center.  This food drive is going on NOW and all the details are in the link to their FB Page.  In short bring your non-perishable food items to 200 Bellafontaine Plaza and they will get it to the Foothill Unity Center to include in their packages for needy families.

The Foothill Unity Center needs a ton of help, not just food, but toys for the Christmas party they will hold as well.  This takes thousands of volunteer hours to get ‘er done.  They hneed help sorting food, making family packages and distribution to the families itself.  Sign up to volunteer HERE.

For more info on how you can help the Foothill Unity Center visit their web or call them:MONROVIA: 626- 358-3486 | PASADENA: 626-358-3486

Of course there are worthy food drives all over the city…chime in on the comments with your favorite charity in need of help.

 

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Protesters Marching around Hollywood and Highland

November 5, 2014 in Driving, Hollywood, Law, News, Social issues

A crowd estimated at 75-200 folks is marching along Hollywood and Highland area.  Twitter @Hollywood311 has been giving out info as far as where they are and what they’re doing.

What is unclear is what they are protesting.  Appears to be disorganized.  One person commented that its in protest of some sort of alleged police brutality in the area recently.  The consistent theme I’m seeing is that LAPD is trying to keep them off the streets to minimize traffic disruptions.

Anyone have details on the beef?  On why they insist on inconveniencing others?  If so sound off in the comments.

If Hal & Kermit Voted Back In 1968, So Can You This Tuesday!

November 2, 2014 in Events, News, Politics, Seasonal, Social issues

Hall & Kermit Go VoteHal Wescomb and Kermit Higgins lived at the Belmont, and had two other things in common. Both were divorced and both had taken bullets during the war — Hal to his right leg and Kerm to his left hip– necessitating the occasional use of canes, particularly on frosty mornings such as this one in early November of 1968 when they headed together out of the hotel south on Hill to catch the Angel’s Flight up to their polling place on what little now remained of Bunker Hill.

The two were great friends, but stood staunchly on opposite sides of Proposition 9, which sought to limit the property tax rate. In fact, if it wasn’t for their desire to cancel out the other’s vote, they might not have bothered to cast ballots that day.

Proposition 9 was defeated.

TRUTH IS: While the downtown location in the accompanying photo is real, I have no idea who those two fellows are and totally made up what they were doing after finding this photo (from the William Reagh Collection, California History Section, California State Library) in a wonderfully detailed post about the Hotel Belmont here at the On Bunker Hill blog. The year, 1968, is also legit, because I researched when Proposition 9 (shown second from the bottom of the campaign posters stacked on the left side of the image) was on the ballot. And yes it was voted down. The poster above Prop 9’s for Alex P. Garcia, who ran successfully for the 40th District seat in the State Assembly, is also worth mentioning. According to a feature on Latino political representation in state legislatures at the Latino LA Website:

In the 1966 elections, fifteen Chicanos ran for positions on the Assembly and all of them lost. Even, the one Latino incumbent Philip Soto lost his bid for re-election. Another nine Latinos ran for State Senate seats, and all of them lost as well. The result was that the California Legislature – once again – did not have a single Mexican-American in the Assembly or the Senate. Only the election of Alex Garcia to the 40th Assembly District in 1968 brought Latinos back to the California Legislature.

‪#‎TuesdayIsElectionDay‬ ‪#‎GoCancelOutAVote‬

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Better than Gettypede…Running of the Clowns on 10/26

October 6, 2014 in Entertainment, Events, Mass Transit, San Gabriel Valley, Social issues, Transportation

Sunday I met with the agents at GuerilLA Improv for what has the makings of an epic mission.  Its “La Carrera de los Payasos”, literally “Running of the Clowns” a parody of the annual Running of the Bulls in Spain. Cool.

The mission dossier isn’t out yet. They do have a basic FB Page up now. I did walk the route and can tell you it took us less than 30 minutes with a lot of stops to discuss what would happen at each juncture. It will be short stints of running…something even my feeble old knees can handle.

There is a dress code. If you are a clown…you dress in happy clown attire, not scarey attire like “it”. If you are a runner you wear all white like the bull runners with a red bandana, sash or kerchief.  Personally I’d love to see one of the runners in a white wedding dress being chased by the clowns down the street, but do I wish for too much?

If you want in message me so I can get you a full dossier when its ready. Join me for the first running of the clowns.

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Pizza Rev opening in K-Town October 9 donates proceeds to LA Animal Shelter

October 1, 2014 in Downtown, Food & Drink, Shopping, Social issues, Which Side?

Pizza Rev logo Pizza Rev is coming to K-town and its grand opening all proceeds go to helping the Los Angeles Animal Shelter, North Central Animal Shelter.  The LA Animal Shelter serves local homeless and abandoned pets.  The pizza deal is pretty sweet, you get a personal sized pizza and you pay what you want a the end for it (Suggested donation is $8).  I absolutely love a local business that branches out and gives back to the community with each new location.

Adding to the fun is Social Media Sunday on October 12.  All you have to do is “like” or “follow” them on facebook, instagram or twitter and show them your phone with the info and they will give you a free pizza!  Such a deal. (Sorry they aren’t on ello).

I’ve written about Pizza Rev a few times already.  Love the stuff…thin crispy Roman style pie you build yourself along an assembly line of friendly helpful Pizza Rev staff.  They even have gluten free and vegan options!  Do yourself a favor and pay them a visit if you are in the K-town area, you will be hard pressed to vind a better pizza for the money.  Anywhere.

Deets: Pizza Rev grand opening 109/14, 11AM-10PM, 3150 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles CA 90010

Press release if you are interested is after the jump. Read the rest of this entry →

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Solar powered cars – what will they think of next?

May 30, 2014 in Driving, environment, Social issues, Technology, Transportation, Utilities

While the rest of the city was chasing #hiddencash I was doing something a lot more entertaining yesterday. I learned about solar powered cars.  Then again, I nerd out on technology and cars so this was a double win for me.

I spent a nice chunk of yesterday listening to Mike Tinskey at Fords Los Angeles Regional office talk about the future of electric cars.  Mike is the Global Director of Vehicle Electrification and Infrastructure so he knows a few things on the topic.   Read the rest of this entry →

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Amy Alkon’s new book signing Tuesday June 3

May 24, 2014 in Books, Entertainment, Food & Drink, News, People, Shopping, Social issues, West Side

Los Angeles book launch party/reading! Amy Alkon’s “Good Manners For Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck”.  Tuesday, June 3, 6:30p-8pm at Diesel Books at the Brentwood Country Mart (address/map below).  Wine and snacks will be served.

This book has already gathered more than a few good reviews.  250 Words.com called it a must read for this summer.

And Wharton School’s Adam Grant called the book “outstanding work” and wrote this:

This book is a gem, hysterically funny and grounded in science. Amy Alkon explains why so many people are rude and how it’s possible to be courteous, even if you’re foul-mouthed and clueless about etiquette. If anything will convince my wife that my manners are better than she thought, this is it.
~Adam Grant, Wharton professor and bestselling author of Give and Take

Amy Alkon aka The Advice Goddess is syndicated columnist in about 100 newspapers.  She is also all over the web at blogging daily: http://advicegoddess.com.  She also has a weekly radio show: http://blogtalkradio.com/amyalkon (Nerd your way to a better life! with the best brains in science) 7-8pm Pacific Time, or available at the link and on iTunes or Stitcher
If you can’t make the reception but really want the book NOW, you can get it on Amazon HERE.

Details. Diesel Books, Brentwood Country Mart, 225 26th Street, Suite #33, Santa Monica CA 90402 (310) 576-9960  MAP HERE

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Taste of Haiti fund raiser to rebuild schools

May 20, 2014 in Entertainment, Events, Food & Drink, Music, Shopping, Social issues

Nearly 4 years ago the island country of Haiti was devastated with an earthquake. International aid helped, but they have a long way towards rebuilding. Their education system took a huge hit and is in need of contnued help.  Taste of Haiti comes to Los Angeles as a fund raiser to continue rebuilding their schools and stuff.

Taste of Haiti is a celebration of all things Haitian and will take place on a rooftop in DTLA on Wilshire.  Food, Dance, and Music to celebrate their culture and share with those of us who can help with the cause.  High light of the event is food by Chef Jacques Laventure.

This isn’t free, tickets range in price from $20 to $100 with perks commensurate with your tax deductible donation.  Ticket purchase and more about the L.A. Event here.  More on the total Taste of Haiti Here.

Details: May 28, 2014 7:30PM, 3100 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles 90005

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L.A County Sheriff sends out scam alert.

April 10, 2014 in Crime, Law, Law Enforcement

This alert was sent via nixle and bears forwarding and repeating.  Scammers are out there.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has been advised that citizens are receiving phone calls from individuals who are representing themselves as Department employees. The caller usually tells the citizen that there has been a warrant issued for their arrest for failure to appear for Jury Duty. The caller will tell the victim that they have to pay a sum of money or deputies will come and arrest them. The caller will instruct the victim to either get a Money Order, conduct a wire transfer, or buy a Gift Card (usually Green Dot) and send it to “pay the fine.”

BE ALERT, BE ADVISED, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department or any Government Agency will NEVER call and solicit money for fines. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department does not solicit warrant information by phone. The Sheriff’s Department or any Government Agency will NEVER ask you to get a Money Order, Gift Card, or wire transfer. Sheriff Department personnel will never go to your home to collect a fee for a warrant.

BE AWARE, NEVER give your personal information to anyone over the phone. DO NOT give callers information about your bank account, pin numbers, Social Security number or any type of identifying information.

Phone Scam Thieves are just that “Thieves” they will try and trick you into giving them money and information. If you receive a call protect yourself, your information and DO NOT SEND MONEY!

If you receive a phone call, always verify who the caller truly is, DO NOT use a phone number they provide you as verification. Usually numbers provided by the thief will go to a voice recording/message. Call your local Sheriff Station to verify any solicitation.

If you have sent money or believe that you are a victim of a crime, please call your local Sheriff’s Station or Police Department and report the incident.

If you receive a suspicious phone call/solicitation that you believe is not from a real government agency, please contact The Department of Consumer Affairs at (800) 593-8222. You can also file a complaint on the DCA website at dca.lacounty.gov.