I wrote about Joan Whitenack a few weeks ago who heads the Foothill Unity Center for our nice list. Now on to the Foothill Unity Center itself.
The center takes care of folks in the foothill communities of the San Gabriel Valley. Aside from feeding and clothing those families in immediate distress, they also provide other service such as dentist check ups and free haircuts by working with other groups in the SGV. Events such as the Thanksgiving and Holiday Distribution Parties as well as the Back to School reach into the thousands the number of families they help.
Aside from donations of food, cash and other emergency type supplies they are in need of labor to help in the Monrovia and Pasadena Centers. That would include not only sorting donations as they arrive, but labor in the warehouses to package the stuff for distribution to those in need. Even those with social working talents are needed to help with preparing files to track what help is best needed for their clients to ensure they get it.
All year long they are in need of food donations, toiletries, packing material and stuff for distribution to their clients. They need cash too to help fund their activities such as transportation and clothing vouchers. This time of year they need help with their Holiday Distribution Event. This year it is to be held on December 19 and 20 at the Ayers Hall in the LA Arboretum with the preparations for the event taking place on the 18th. Volunteers are needed prior to the event to help with wrapping, sorting and decorating. On the days of the event they need adult volunteers to help with the distribution. Finally they need help with tear down on the 21st. For more information on the specifics of where they need help for this event visit their web site HERE.
Help them fulfill their mission statement however you can.
Foothill Unity Center, Inc. envisions a community where. . .
All have their basic needs met, including the need to give
All get the necessary support to become self-sufficient
All are treated with love and dignity … all the time
We provide critical support, in the form of food, clothing, motel vouchers, and referrals/advocacy to our neighbors in crisis. As the need for food brings people to us, we listen to their problems and help them find solutions. We work with other agencies to provide long-term shelter, counseling, medical, educational, employment and spiritual assistance depending on the person’s needs.
In this way, Foothill Unity Center helps people return self-sufficiency. All services are provided with love and dignity, regardless of race, color, sex, age, religion, national origin, citizenship, sexual orientation, physical or emotional disabilities or veteran’s status.
If you have someone on your list that has everything, consider making a gift to the Foothill Unity Center in their name this Holiday Season.
For more complete information on the Foothill Unity Center visit their web site.
The Glendale News-Press ran an article today about a 20 year old woman was has been arrested for causing the death of an older man while she was texting and driving. Police state that she ran a stop sign while texting. The article reports that her arrest was 3 months after the accident and will be charged with felony gross vehicular manslauter.
This is the first such case in LA where an arrest has been made since the law was changed a couple of summers ago. People still aggressively drive and use their cells for calls and texting. Is this charge enough? Should there be additional penalties such as time to serve for using a cell phone while driving? What say you?
Image by WatchCaddy via a creative commons licence on flickr.
Get ready for another series. In time for the Holidays we at blogging.la are putting together the “Sweet Charity:Bloggingl.LA’s Guide to Giving”. All of us here have been somehow touched but the need to give back to the community. We each have our own favorite charity, non-profit or other organization that we feel gives back to the community. There we devote our energy, time and money to help them meet their goals.
The series will profile those groups that we at Blogging.LA contribute to. You, the readers can chime in with those that you give time too as well. If its one you are particularly passionate about send me a couple of paragraphs as to why you believe in them and I’ll post it as part of the series giving you credit for identifying them. Send it to me at frazgo(at) mail (dot)com.
Helen Keller summed it up best: “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart”.
Join us this Holiday Season by celebrating those groups that have touched our hearts.
Image used under a creative commons license by IronRodArt from flickr.
Westboro Baptist Church arrives in LA to Spread Hate for the Holidays
If you were planning on attending “The Laramie Project” a play memorializing the tragic hate killing of Matthew Shepard several years ago be prepared to meet protesters from the Westboro church. ABC7 has a news clip HERE. The production company, Mechanicals Theatre Group, is prepared and has a plan in place to counter the group.
They ask that you wear a Yellow Ribbon, such as worn at Matthew Shepard’s murder trial all those years ago, in peaceful response to the protesters from this so called church. Full official statement here from their web site HERE.
Don’t you just “love” them abusing their freedoms of religion and speech to spread a message of hate during the holidays?
Matt Mason first reported something amiss over the skies of LA back on November 10 here. Then on the 23rd of November Tammara reported seeing something in the night skies as well. Since then two YouTube videos have surfaced claiming UFO’s over Santa Monica, first on 12/1 and again last night (12/2).
Bill Nye (the Science Guy) claims that last nights video is a fake. He suggests its sea monkey’s out of focus and super-imposed. A fake UFO? Or is it?
You view them both and decide. Comments on the YouTube vids border on the fanatical delusionist and can be at least entertaining to read before you head off for the weekend.
And now for the December 1 sighting dubbed “The Silver Surfer”
With the proliferation of HD DSLR’s and the ability to post on YouTube its bound to happen again. Just in case you live under a rock and missed it 2 men were knifed during a brawl at the Rose Bowl that took place during the tailgate parties prior to the USC/UCLA game on Saturday (first story HERE). “hcineceros” was there and caught it all on video. The video lead to an additional 3 arrests today according to the Pasadena Star News just a bit ago. All this because a football hit a mercedes.
Hat Tip to the Crime Scene blog for finding this and another video of the incident.
Doesn’t it make you wonder how many other videos exist of the event and what if any additional evidence will be gathered in the process?
Lisa Barrio’s owner of Paint “n” Play Studio and Gallery in Monrovia is just the kind of small business typified by the article done this morning by Julia. “PnP” as it is affectionately referred to here in Monrovia, is a small business centered on art you create yourself. It is much more than a small business, it is also a gathering point for many in the community for a variety of reasons, chief which is the personal touch you get from Lisa when you do business with her.
Small Business Saturday is a big deal here in Old Town Monrovia and for Lisa as well. She has a special deal in place for Saturday only, $5 of any Holiday item you purchase, or make including the treasured by many “legacy prints”. (Get a coupon HERE).
According to Barrios she is happy to see Small Business Saturday getting attention for many reasons.
“It is the small business that gives most back to the community it serves. They are the first ones asked to help by non-profits and charities for donations as they know a small business has a heart and doesn’t have the red tape and ‘rig-a-ma-role hoops’ to jump through that a large corporation does”.
A legacy print is a hand print in clay done of a loved ones hand (or foot in the case of infants) into unfired clay then it is fired, painted and decorated with the help of the PnP staff. These treasures are permanent and can be passed down for generations to come.
Details: Paint “n”Play 2 Art Studio and Gallery, 418 S Myrtle Avenue, Monrovia CA 91016 626/256-4848 Web Site HERE
The day started off with the announcement of the Green Car of the Year award. It went to the plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt. Mayor Antonio V gave a speech, in short LA is poised to be the electric car capital of the world. Not a bad goal as it will help us clean up our air more than simple emissions control has already done. Of course, its just shifting the emissions and CO2 out to the desert where the fossil fuel plants are that generate our juice that recharges them, but that’s another issue for another time.
Day 2 of the Auto Show is a tough one. The premiere car press conferences and unveiling continue non-stop and a dozen green cars, mostly Electrical cars (EV) are available to the press to test drive. Its tough to do both and involves a lot of running between the various events one chooses and their scheduled drives.
I suppose this is the part where I should apologize to LA for the added traffic along the route caused by the press. If you were on the loop that was Venice to Hoover, to Alvarado, to Pico, then Figueroa back into a parking garage, I’m sorry if you got stuck in the mess. Half the press there wasn’t used to driving on our side of the road, or on the left and side of a car, and most importantly realize that pedestrians have the ultimate right of way in LA. I don’t know who was more scared the manufacturer chaperones or the motoring public in general as some of the press were just that bad. Sorry.
I opted to drive a mix of cars as the immediate future include just that a mix of traditional gas, hybrid, EV’s and in the near future more fuel cells. After driving them all I can see where the hybrid will have its place, particularly in the mid-size to large car categories. EV’s are in their infancy and have limitations that currently will keep them in the urban commuter category with their limited range and depending on the model, long recharging times.
Fuel Cell’s vehicles too are in their infancy with only a few cars coming to market in very limited production and even more limited infrastructure to support them. Currently the only fuel cell available to us is a leased Honda FCX Clarity. There are a total of 4 hydrogen fueling stations in So CA, with the one in Santa Monica the only one providing clean hydrogen via water and solar energy to remove the hydrogen. (Others are cracking natural gas which leaves nasty CO2 to be dealt with). Seriously, the fuel cell coupled with a hybrid drive is what in my not so humble opinion be the major player in our future. You give up nothing in terms of range, fueling time to a gas engined car and literally your exhaust is water vapor. With the help of CARB grants the infrastructure is going to improve to a dozen fuel stations in the LA Area by 2015 according to the Daimler rep I spoke with.
I started with what is the current state of the art offerings and worked my way into the future. As I had kid duty in the AM I missed getting into the line to sign up for the driving portion and many cars were booked solid by the time I got to the sign in station, cars like the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf that I was very curious to test were gone.
Absent from the list was the Wheego LiFE that is going on sale soon here but has been in Europe for a few years. From the rumblings in the line I was able to gather that Wheego hand picked which press would be given access to the car in advance of the LA Auto Show. Could be sour grapes but I overheard an interesting exchange with some of the world press regarding this car. It went along these lines “I drove the car in London and there it was limited to 25 and it scared me. I understand its been reprogrammed to have a top speed of 65 and wonder how scary it will be now”. I wonder too. Seriously, though most of our freeway driving is during the commute hours you won’t see much more than a crawl so the top speed shouldn’t be an issue.
On to the driving impressions which are just my opinion and observations. They aren’t reflective of blogging.la as a whole, just my own not so humble opinions and snarks.
Traditional Gas powered clean cars included the only nominee on the Green Car of the Year for this year. The Ford Fiesta. It is a nice little subcompact. It has electronic toys like Sync that others in its class don’t have yet. Compared to the European spec model I drove a year ago I can say nothing was lost in the translation to the US Market. Actually there was a gain, they 1.6L engine standard in our cars lent a noticeable difference in quickness compared to the 1.4L powered European prototype. With EPA ratings of up to 40 mpg on the highway it makes a good representation of the class for now and into the future.
Hybrids, specifically the Green Car of the Year nominee the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid was what I drove. Nice, very nice car with the luxury goodies one expects in the class. Good performance, not as stellar as the large v6 models in the class, but an acceptable trade off for the gains in fuel economy (epa city rated 41). With no increase in base price to get into the hybrid version of the MKZ your return on investment from fuel savings is immediate.
EV’s and there was a boat load of them, some manufacture built others aftermarket conversions. I focused on the manufacturer built as, well those are the ones that will have the dealer network in place to support them. They also were the ones that had ample cars that I was able to get on the drive list. The one common theme that they all had a way of addressing was a) home charging and b)range anxiety.
Cooper Mini-E. This is the slot car of the bunch. In many ways it actually drove like one too. The usual Cooper Mini ride was softened a bit with the weight of the battery pack but still handled like you expect a Mini to handle. It did have a short learning curve to get used to driving it as it has a very sharp cut off to regenerative braking, like down shiftin’ more than a gear if you abruptly remove your foot from the brake. Once you get the hang of driving with the electronic drive, it is very much like driving a regular car, IE you give up nothing to the experience. Currently the car is available only for lease as a test with a few large corporations and power company’s. We’ll see a refined EV using the technology developed for this car in future BMW EV’s.
Mitsubishi MiEV is another EV that I drove. This one was more like your typical compact car, except it had really useable room in the back for two real passengers. Nice leg room and driving it you gave up nothing to a gas car. (It was right hand drive so that was an experience getting used to as even the turn signal stalk was in reversed position and every time I went to signal I hit the wipers instead…apologies to anyone behind me that got short notice of intent to turn). Mitsubishi has a novel approach to the range anxiety.
Mitsubishi teamed up with Eaton and Best Buy to set up “quick charge stations” that are either at the Best Buy stores or mobile to assist should you run low on charge. The system is capable of bring the battery pack to 85% of charge in 15 minutes. They will even have 20 mobile “quick Charge” trucks set up near key freeway interchanges or be able to move to large concert/sporing events to take care of their customers to help relieve their “range anxiety”. They will even have an iPhone app that will show on a map where you are and where the nearest Quick Charge station is located. This sort of infrastructure change is moving fastest for the EV’s and will make it possible to get a larger fleet of them on our streets than any other alternative fuel technology we have coming at us at the moment.
Volvo C30 DRIVe. This car I have to be fair with is just a prototype, chassis #2 to be precise so it wasn’t as refined as the others I drove. Refined as in battery capacity, not fit and finish. The drive itself was very much like that of the regular C30. It is indicative of the direction Volvo intends to take in the future, rather than purpose built EV’s it will be conversions of existing models. Its programming was more like a typical hybrid with a good “sail mode” or coasting without abrupt regenerative braking like the Mini-E. An impressive car in terms of what Volvo will give us in terms of a safe luxury EV in the future. One common comment made by the press was in regards to the position of the charge in the front grill. What happens if you break it when you bump someone and can’t get repaired right away. Interesting design feature or flaw, you decide.
The last and final car was the Mercedes. F-Cell. It’s a hydrogen fuel cell that when filled with hydrogen from a solar conversion plant produces zero emissions at point of use as well as zero emissions at energy conversion source. It is based on the “B” class Mercedes that is not sold in this country. Size wise think of it has a half scale minivan with some nice luxury toys tossed in by Mercedes. It gives nothing up to a traditional gas car in terms of the driving experience and has a refueling time as fast as filling your tank now. I was impressed with the amount of immediate torque and the silence of the car. Giving up nothing to driving experience and no need to learn a new way of driving and thinking will make the fuel cell the easiest conversion for the US market.
There you go…what the final day of the Press Days at the LA Auto Show entailed for me. Fun driving cars (I am a car guy after all) and getting a first hand glimpse into what the future holds in store for us. This is just a sampling of the nearly 30 alternative fuel and EV’s at the LA Auto Show. Definitely change coming, for the better and it will be easy to adapt as well.
This post also includes the last set of tickets I have to give away for the LA Auto Show. I have just 4 tickets to give left to 4 lucky winners, that is one ticket each. Make sure you have a legit email address so I can contact you for the info to pass on to the LA Auto Show folks so they can have your tickets waiting for you at will call.
Chevrolet premiered its new Camaro Convertible at the show yesterday. Among the things set up is this cool photo booth, but not just any photo booth, but one with something like 4 dozen cameras lined up in an arc that increases in height. You jump, the flashes go off and you are captured frozen in flight. The entire set of images is strung together with a 3d”ish” video of you frozen in flight with the Camaro. Very cool and very fun. I predict that this will be hands down the most used interactive display at the show this year. Its that cool. When done you can facebook it, twitter it or email it to yourself. How cool is that?
I have a ticket for 4 lucky winners with this post, but only 4 can win. Please be sure to include a legit email addy so I can write you for the particulars so your ticket will available for you at will call.
Press days at the LA Auto Show are something to experience. There are so many debuts that the press conferences for each manufacturer are limited literally to 20 minutes. The press folks develop a herd mentality and move en mass from exhibit to exhibit arriving just in time to catch the start of the new show. Except for me. I tend to meander about photographing the exhibits and attend only the few debuts that interest me the most. I absolutely love seeing the show this way.
Don’t get me wrong the debuts themselves are worthy of a Hollywood block buster, often with stunt men. To get the attention of the ever more jaded press as the day wears on you need to have some sparkle and wow in a debut or it gets lost in the shuffle. The best debuts in the past has been orchestrated by the folks at Scion, Honda, Mercedes Benz and Ford in my not so humble opinion. This year did not disappoint with Fiat and Ford giving the best shows today. I really, really wanted to get into look at the Porsche 911 Speedster reveal but alas that room was packed beyond standing room only. Tomorrow is another day for that car.
The first thing I did was make tracks to check out the Green Car of the Year Nominees. The final 5 are the 2011 Chevrolet Volt, Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, and the Nissan LEAF. This award from Green Car has become a fixture of the LA Auto Show and has gained importance for the manufacturers. Note of the 5 only 1 is a traditional gas engine, the rest are hybrids this year. If I were to hazard a guess as to which car will win I’d prolly put money down on the Chevy Volt because of inspite of all its marketing hype and expense, it is a remarkable piece of engineering and an indication of what our cars in the future will be like. (Snark alert…anyone else read the recent editorial that labeled hybrids as a novelty like “tail fins” that won’t be around much longer?)
Food. The press travel on their stomachs. And why “buy” lunch when its free? The best by far has been the Audi free lunch with wifi if you can bear the lines to get in. What you get is gourmet treats and a cozy “cafe” set up upstairs at their display. Want great coffee and a pissy bistro atmosphere for a quick recharge? Porsche always does that part up right, though Range Rover’s open bar gave them a run for their money this year. Of course neither are there for the public days, but imagine the mayhem if there was free food then too?
Premiers, whether “World” or “North American” are up significantly this year. In the World Premiere category there is the Acura TSX, Cadillac ULV (Who knows what it means), Chevy Camaro Convertible, Chrysler 200 (rehashed Sebring), Honda EV Concept, Kia Optima Hybrid, Mazda Shinari, Merc’s CLS63 AMG, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Nissan Murano Cross Cabriolet (fancy for convertible), Nissan Quest, Range Rover Evoque, SAAB 9-4X, Subaru Imprezza, Toyota Rav4 EV, Volkswagon Eos, and finally a Wheego LiFE. Not a single traditional monster SUV in the mix and 5 “green” cars that are either EV or hybrid which is a good sign of things to come. The sexy standout in this line up of debuts was the Evoque, even though I’m a car guy, that one is going to get the reech beeches in the city lining up for one.
The list for North American debuts is bigger but with a lot more large cars and crossover type vehicles in the list. The “green” vehicles in the mix is promising as it covers a nice variety of sizes as well as price points. Audi A7 Sportback,Audi A8L, BMW 6 Series Concept, BMW X3, Coda Sedan, Dodge Charger, Dodge Durango, Fiat 500 Cinquecento,Fisker Karma, Hyundai Elantra, Infiniti M35 Hybrid, Jaguar C-X75 Concept, KIA Pop Concept, Lotus Elan Concept,Lotus Elise Concept, Lotus Elite Concept, Lotus Esprit Concept, Lotus Eterne Concept, Lotus Evora S & IPS, Lotus Exige RGB Edition, Mazda 5,Nissan GT-R, Porsche 911 Carrera GTS and finally the Porsche 911 Speedster.
The Bad news…No Lambo Maserati OR Ferrari at this years show. There are however some tricked out models down in Kenetia hall that are interesting. It is just plain weird not seeing them in the center concourse putting on a dog and pony show for us as we walked through. I miss not being able to sit in those dream cars and imagine what it would be like to own and drive one.
I have some more tickets to give away for the LA Auto Show. I have 4 tickets to give away, one ticket each to the first 4 commenters. Bear with me if you don’t get an immediate response as I won’t be near a ‘puter all day tomorrow but I will get back to you.
All Pics and vid by me. Pics do get bigger with a click. More pics are in my flickr 2010 LA Auto Show set.
The Art Walk lives. The gallery’s open their doors and host opening night receptions in conjunction with the Downtown LA Art Walks. One of the do not miss openings is the “Snap to Grid” at the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art (LACDA).
What makes this show different is that it is not a “juried” show, rather it takes all submissions and gives you a wonderful snapshot of the depth and breadth of digital art and digital photography as it stands today. I love the unstructured format. I absolutely am amazed at how some images can just stop you in your tracks and keep you there mesmerized. From the LACDA press release”
Every year for 50 years the L.A. Municipal Gallery has held its “Open Call” exhibit where any artist can show up with their art and an entry fee (to benefit gallery programs) and the piece is shown. The Los Angeles Center For Digital Art decided to launch an international experiment of the same nature where the artists upload images that are printed and hung by the gallery. The hundreds of works are displayed in a grid like installation (reminiscent of postcard art shows of the 1980’s) where every work submitted is exhibited.
The usual (less than democratic) selection process where only the precious few are chosen is turned on its head in a curatorial anarchy where everyone gets to participate and the viewer is literally left to be the judge. The show represents a snapshot of a current moment in art history when digital imaging has reached the hands of the many, an age where culture belongs to the “mobblogers” around the globe. From Thailand to Texas, amateur to academic, beautiful to banal and beyond the monumental quantity and variety of “Snap to Grid” becomes an aesthetic experience where each individual piece adds to an agglomerate effect that has a life of its own.
Based on the crowds at last months Art Walk I’d suggest you arrive early as parking is at a premium and pretty much disappeared by 7PM. If you are mass transit enabled that is likely your better option for getting downtown for the Art Walk and the LACDA Snap to Grid reception.
Details: November 11-December 4, 2010. Opening Reception Thursday November 11 , 7-9pm (in conjunction with the Downtown Art Walk)
Los Angeles Center for Digital Art 107 West Fifth Street Los Angeles, CA 90013
Its official. Read it on the Arcadia Police Officers Association blog HERE. Law enforcement around LA is going to be enforcing “distracted driving” IE using your cell phone for calls or texting today in an effort to clamp down on the accidents caused by this dangerous habit of some.
One interesting note came from the blog:
Remember that holding your phone and using the speaker during a call while driving is still a violation. Using a speaker equipped phone is not the same as using a blue-tooth device. Please put the phone down and leave the texting and calling for when you have arrived safely at your destination.
I see that one all the time and figured it didn’t count as “hands free” and I was right. If you do it you may want to stop as it won’t get you out of a ticket.
Across LA businesses, schools and even those at home are planning to “drop, cover and hold on” in the biggest Earthquake Drill yet planned for CA. Just in case you are unsure what to do here are a few video’s on what to do should the big one hit. There’s even a good video talking with those that remember the Northridge Quake and what not to do when a big quake starts with a little redundancy of the message “Drop, cover and hold on”.
There is still time to register as a participant at The Great California Shake Out, do so HERE.
Hat tip to commenter “bentien” over at USC for the most current videos on the topic.
Ready for the big one? Practice with me and another nearly 7 Million Californians on 10/21 at 10:21AM. Its easy, sign up with The Great California Shake Out and follow the simple instructions to participate HERE.
Looking for more than participating in the drill? They have the resources available to help you organize a drill in your home or office. Their website HERE.
Still looking for more. The Los Angeles Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is looking for some regular folks to step up and be ready to help out in a catastrophe. You can visit their web site for information on how to sign up, take FREE classes and be ready to help the community out when the big one hits.
Check out LA Moves web site for more quake information that is Los Angeles Specific. Their site is being constantly updated with local information and activities. They have a big event planned to coincide with next years Shake Out.
Got your earthquake kit for your home completed? I check mine twice yearly and toss out the old stuff and put in new. That includes both food stuff and batteries for the flashlights. Do you have your own personal quake kit for your cars (water, snack bars, blanket, flashlight and first aid kit)? What about for at work? If you work in an office environment where dress shoes or pumps are de rigueur do you have some tenny runners to swap out to for the long walk to a shelter or home?
For you newbies to LA who haven’t been in a real quake yet do you know what to do? This short vid from the ’08 Shake out still applies. Youtube HERE.
And just for a reminder as to what to expect when the big one hits this Youtube video from last years simulates the shaking intensity from epicenter in the desert to LA just to prepare you for what to expect when a large quake strikes. Youtube HERE.