Boulevard Sentinel


News and Views

for Northeast Los Angeles

March 2011




Centennial Kickoff Event a Success-

Happy Birthday Eagle Rock! - Eagle Rock Center for the Arts, February 26, 2011 - Assemblymember Anthony Portantino and State Senator Carol Liu present certificates of recognition to Eagle Rock Centennial Committee Chair Valerie Dawson at the Eagle Rock Centennial kickoff event.

A word from Committee Chair Valerie Dawson...

    "This afternoon we pulled off a very successful event. We had Eagle Rock High School's Jazz Band perform, we had two classrooms from Dahlia Heights elementary perform a historical play, and we also had Rockdale do some performances as well. In addition to that, Eric Warren, with the Eagle Rock Valley Historical Society did an hour presentation. We had all our sponsors and elected officials come up and give all their special thanks and offerings. We're just really overwhelmed with all the participation.
    "For the upcoming year, we have a series of events slated throughout the entire year. Our next major event will be the 4th of July opening of the Concerts in the Park. It's going to be a collaboration with our committee, the Council office and the Chamber of Commerce, and dedicated to the Eagle Rock Centennial year. In addition to this we have a formal gala toward the end of the year in October, a formal dining event hosted by the Women's 20th Century Club. We are also working on a centennial theme activity for the music festival and plan to participate in the Veterans Day parade as well.
    "We just learned today that the Los Angeles City council will designate this Friday, March 4th, as "Eagle Rock Day" throughout the City of Los Angeles. Everyone is invited to attend at the City Council Chambers at 10 a.m. this Friday morning in downtown L.A. and are asked to wear green, Eagle Rock's traditional color."

Huizar and Martinez,

Round 3 -

The Media Frenzy

by Tony Butka

Photographers jockey for position as round 3 of the Martinez/Huizar candidate forums get underway in Eagle Rock.

    Boy what a difference one weekend and an email makes! Lights, camera, action and a standing room only crowd greeted folks at the Eagle Rock Center for the Arts on February 8th, to hear the third debate between incumbent José Huizar and challenger Rudy Martinez for LA City Council District 14.
    Co-hosted by The Eagle Rock Association (TERA) and the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council (and a special thanks to them both for providing this service to the community), the debate was moderated by attorney Brian Heckman, who is currently the Treasurer for the Neighborhood Council, and is also a former candidate for this very Council seat.
    Both candidates started out strong on the Quality of Life issues, with Mr. Huizar emphasizing a "30% decrease" in crime under his watch, the revitalization of Colorado Blvd and Eagle Rock Blvd, along with a strong commitment to education, not to mention his outstanding constituent services. Mr. Martinez keyed in on job 

creation, public safety, and eliminating blight in the community. I think the answers to this first question were indicative of the balance of the debate — Mr Huizar was polished and plausible in his explanations of 'what he has done', and Mr. Martinez was passionate
and engaged in really wanting to 'fix things'.
    Underneath the answers, a slightly different reality emerges for those of us who actually live in these communities. For example, I suspect that Caroline Aguirre of our own Carolines Corner, is going to have a major dispute with the proposition that crime in CD14 is down. Just read her blog posts, and note the Councilman's total avoidance of the fact that the Gang Unit in Northeast LA is gone, gone gone. And if the current state of affairs on Eagle Rock Blvd and Colorado Blvd constitute 'revitalization', then the Councilman is not driving on the same streets that I do every day. But the biggest whopper Mr. Huizar tried out for size here was the one about outstanding constituent services. If the Councilman was referring to the fact that he gives Eagle Rock (the Music Festival, Center for the Arts etc.) a nice chunk of money each year, probably a lot more than the other parts of his Council District, and that qualifies as constituent services, then he may have a case. But if he is referring to staff, give me a break. He DID have well respected staff here but it was years ago. Paul Habib, who he trotted out as an example, has been off doing the downtown Broadway project for years, and perhaps the best staff person we had in CD14 was Jim Omahen, who quit a long time ago for a better job. But if you don't live here, he sounded good.
    And as for Mr. Martinez, he of course has never been an elected official,. On the other hand, in today's climate this should not be a negative, and he at least seems to genuinely listen to people. It is very clear that he is a business person who truly believes that improving the business climate in LA City and the District will create local jobs. And it is also true that the business climate in LA City if you are a small business is deplorable. I actually believe that Mr. Martinez will do everything in his power to help small business and that is a good thing. How exactly this will play out in the mind-numbing City Council which defines 'small business' as Eli Broad and AEG, I have no idea. And there of course the devil is in the details. His answer that eliminating 'blight' is his third goal, may have been an unfortunate choice of words, since his discussion then turned to things such as the proliferation of street vendors and swap meets which detract from the look, feel, and business friendliness of the area. But these days, the word 'blight' immediately conjures up images of the Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles. It recently received have a 2 1/2 million dollar HUD grant to explore the idea of gobbling up large portions of Northeast LA. After all the CRA/LA can only make us a "Project" by declaring blight and thus allowing them to give us the blessings of eminent domain. Just ask Atwater Village, and the folks at the Adelante Eastside Project of the CRA in Boyle Heights.
    I could go into similar detail about the rest of the set questions, but this article would be way too long. So let me cut to the final question, about what specifically each candidate would cut to balance the City budget. And here again, we see the same differences between the candidates that were revealed on the opening question. Mr. Huizar started out by talking about the current budget shortfall and the $350 million deficit that will start next years budget cycle, and how we are indeed in tough times. He then indicated that there are no real exact numbers at the start of the budget cycle to answer the question posed, that he's a member of the City's Budget & Finance Committee, and how he's going to make the 'tough decisions'. For his part, Mr. Martinez pointed out that unlike Mr. Huizar he is not on the City Budget & Finance Committee, but as a businessman he is his own budget & finance committee, and he makes a profit. His other two key points were that (a) he is funding his own campaign and therefor is not beholden to any special interests come budget time, and (b) reiterated his core proposition that the big issue is to generate jobs through businesses which will result in increased income, increased revenues, and a bigger pie.
    I will not go into Mr. Huizar's proposition that the City balances its budget each year — see my earlier post regarding the last debate. As to the assertion that the City doesn't have good numbers, I have to wonder if Mr. Huizar is in fact really on the Budget & Finance Committee. Maybe he didn't attend the meeting recently where the CAO gave the Committee a 27 page report about exactly what cuts (by department) have to be made if the great Parking Lot Sale (which he voted for) doesn't go through in time, and perhaps he really didn't vote to take additional Furlough days recommended by the CAO off the table as his own Budget Committee recommended. Maybe he doesn't know that the 2011/12 budget is going to start off with more like a $400 million plus deficit, and that doesn't even count how you count the now annual rollover of about $1.2 billion (as in BILLION) dollars in short term notes the City is addicted to. Maybe he should read Jack Humphreville's excellent article in CityWatch.
    But I digress. Mr. Martinez' difficulty is that he does not have the technical knowledge of the City Budget and its byzantine process, and it's easy to promise that you will honestly balance the behemoth. On the plus side, his point about funding his own campaign so that he doesn't owe the big special interests is a valid point. I assume that this is a reference to Mr. Huizar's special relationship with the Mayor, the Unions, and the democratic campaign machine of Parke Skelton & crew, now minus the services of Mr. Trujillo,. There's also a question about his use of his taxpayer paid for City staff (who were all copied on the Trujillo email).
    So all in all, a very interesting debate, well-moderated, and it seems clear that this race is the most exciting cliffhanger of the City Council elections. The career politician vs the challenger, slick & technical vs enthusiasm and a genuine regard for people.
    Michael Larsen, Chair of the Neighborhood Council, and Bob Gotham from TERA started events by making a plea that the candidates henceforth pledge to concentrate on community issues and solutions, rather than personal attacks — referring, one assumes, to the recent meltdown by Huizar campaign consultant Michael Trujillo first reported by latinopoliticsblog. Everyone in town has jumped all over this story, from the LA Weekly's Jill Stewart, to our own Ron Kaye. Scott Johnson of Mayor Sam's Sister City blog has been all over this story (not to mention Mr. Trujillo) for some time, and is clearly enjoying his vindication and Mr. Trujillo's downfall..
    OK, back to the debate itself. After both candidates 'took the pledge' to play nice, Councilman Huizar made his obligatory apology for Mr. Trujillo's actions, and that was about it for the fireworks, one presumes much to the dismay of the television cameras present. As explained by TERA's Bob Gotham, the format was to have a 3 minute opening, then 6 prepared questions, followed by audience questions handed in on 3×5 cards and selected by the moderator until 8:30 pm.
    In an interesting twist, the six set questions asked both candidates were as Eagle Rock specific as the moderator could make them, which makes sense when want to tone down a debate. My notes on the questions are:
- top 3 goals for eagle rock and how you will accomplish them,
- in these hard economic times, how will you improve the business climate in eagle rock,
- What are your strategies to encourage all modes of transportation in our area,
- The 3 major quality of life issues and how to address them,
- About those massage parlors,
and my personal favorite (of course):
 -What specific department, employees, and programs would you cut to balance the City Budget?
    That's all for now.


New Glassell Park High School Update

    Construction of the new Central Region High School #13 is nearing completion. The school, built to relieve overcrowding at Eagle Rock, Franklin and Marshal High Schools will eventually house about 2300 students. Of interest to students and parents, especially is that the new school will not be a single large high school but will consist of five smaller learning communities that include classrooms, science labs, and academy administration. School facilities shared by the small learning communities will include performing arts classrooms, a library, multi-purpose room, two gymnasiums, food service and lunch shelter, central administration, playfields, and surface parking.
    There are six submitted school plan proposals, in which 3 to 5 will be selected by the Board of Education, to run the independent schools within the campus. The applicants are 4 teacher groups and 2 Charter schools. The parents, faculty, staff, high school students, and community members have cast their recommendation votes on which schools should be selected.
The attendance boundaries of the new High School have been drawn- but the school does not yet have a name.

Artist rendering of completed high school.
    Of the six school proposals that have been submitted, only 3 to 5 will be accepted, which may include an arts oriented school, a business and technology centered school, and a school with a focus on ecology and social justice called the Los Angeles River School.
    At a construction update and meet the Principal meeting held February 9th at the Franklin High School Auditorium, Phillip Naimo, the interim-Principal presented the attendance boundary map of the school. All students living within that area who will be entering 9th and 10th grade 2011-2012 school year will be required to attend the new High School. Some 11th graders will attend, but because the district has decided that seniors should be allowed to complete 12th grade and graduate with their current class, no seniors will be attending the new school in the first year.
    Basically, the boundaries include most of Glassell Park, most of Cypress Park, about one third of Atwater, the Elysian Valley and all of what we used to call "Frogtown." There is concern about how students will get across the river from the Elysian valley, and at the meeting tonight, we were informed that there will be no busing to help this.
Some other Facts:
Parking? 200-250 spaces
Teaching positions? 50 to 70
Football? Not until second year
Open enrollment slots? 450
Shared facilities? Performing arts classrooms, library, 2 gyms, food service, lunch area, playing fields, administration offices
Opening? August 2011

Alfred R. "Dick" Sale 1930-2011

    Alfred R. "Dick" Sale of Eagle Rock, a long time mountain rescue and civic volunteer, died February 14 at Huntington Memorial Hospital. He was 80. Memorial services will be held in the local mountains in the late spring.
    Dick was born on September 15, 1930 in Altadena and spent part of his boyhood at Switzer's Camp in the San Gabriel Mountains, where his mother was the camp cook. He worked at Rockwell Aviation as an instrumentation photographer. A specialist in high speed photography, he took great pride in having "helped put man on the moon" as part of the NASA space program in the 1960s and '70s.
    Dick served as a leader of the Sierra Club Angeles Chapter's Basic Mountain Travel Course (BMTC) from 1971 to 1976. He joined the oldest California mountain rescue team --Sierra Madre Search and Rescue Team (SMSR) -- at the age of 46. Dick also served at a national level in various board capacities of the Mountain Rescue Association (MRA). He took great joy in teaching children and adults about wilderness safety and was scout master of Temple City Boy Scout troop 157 from 1962 to 1971.
    Two days after 9/11, Sale made the first of more than a dozen trips to Taiwan. As the result of an e-mail inquiry by a Taiwanese mountaineer, Dick eventually helped establish and train Taiwan Mountain Rescue teams versed in the latest Search And Rescue techniques. He is regarded by the Taiwanese as the "Father of Taiwan Mountain Rescue". Dick's Taiwan work will continue under the guidance of mountaineer Steve Reese who co-taught with Dick beginning in the mid-2000s.
    Dick, easily recognized by his full beard, huge Australian hat and red suspenders, was a HAM radio operator and an avid electronics hobbyist. In recent years he developed enhanced mapping techniques, often printing updated maps on-site during searches. Sale continued as a Sierra Madre operations leader, organizing wilderness searches and rescues locally and regionally, until his death. His motto was "Mountains and wilderness don't care, you take care, be safe".
    Dick will be best remembered locally for his affiliation with the Eagle Rock Valley Historical Society. He served briefly as secretary and was instrumental in production of the newsletter during the Society's re-organization in the late 1990s and early 2000s. With wife Melody, he began the tradition of ERVHS Ice Cream Socials to which he brought the entertainment of his friend Peter Breede, "The Organ Grinder Man".
    Sale married his first wife Barbara in 1950 and raised three sons after her death in 1973. He is survived by his wife of 28 years, Melody Peterson of Eagle Rock, his two surviving sons, Terry Sale of Denver, and Jeffrey Sale of Orange County, and six grandchildren. He is pre-deceased by his son Donald.
    Those wishing to make donations in Dick's honor may direct them to any non-profit conservation organization, animal rescue group, or to the Sierra Madre Search And Rescue Team (SMSR) with designation to the "The Dick Sale Navigation and Tracking Fund".

Fresco Market’s Grand Opening

    At the Grand Opening of Fresco market in Hermon, Councilman José Huizar congratulated owner John Murga and his wife Elena with a visit and a certificate of appreciation. He said, "I kept hearing from the local community, we need another supermarket in the area, we need another supermarket in the area. I couldn't think of a better store than Fresco markets, opening up here, and with this foundation they've opened up, they give back to the community. That is something I haven't seen in a local business and it is something that needs to be modeled for others to follow. So, John and Elena, we are thrilled to be here, we support you and everything you've done here, we wanted to present you with this recognition from the City of Los Angeles."
    The market was awash with sample tables that day, giving a taste of everything from pork chops to fudge pastries, from fruits to fresh salsas, and I was impressed by the stocking selection of 4 different brands of balsamic vinaigrette dressing. John and Elena Murga are Mt. Washington residents and have created 72 jobs with this new market.

Community Festival at Franklin

    Franklin High School is once again hosting the third Annual Highland Park Community Festival. With help from the Principal, clubs, and programs of Franklin as well as outside organizations, this event became possible.
    On April 9th, they are having their third Community Festival where the neighborhood can enjoy free fun. There are going to be various shows and games throughout the day, and from 11:00am to 5:00pm, they will have food venders selling sandwiches, funnel cakes, smoothies and fruits. On top of this, Franklin's clubs are making games for kids of all ages as well as some games for parents to enjoy with their kids.
    There will be live talent performing on the main stage so you can enjoy local dancers, bands, and some MCs. Fun for the whole family and friends the entire day on Franklin High School's football field. They even have a second stage for poetry, spoken word, rap, and a capella.
    However, the day doesn't end there! They also have the Spring Comedy Night, taking place from 6:30pm to 9:00pm so everyone can sit down and end their day with some laughs. This addition to the festival will happen in Franklin High School's beautiful auditorium so everyone can be nice and comfortable while they listen to jokes for the rest of the night. The Community Festival is for everyone to take part in, and all are invited to attend from 11:00am to 5:00pm on the football field. Comedy night is from 6:30pm to 9:00pm in the auditorium, but both events are extremely enjoyable no matter which you choose to attend.
    Franklin High School is located at 820 North Avenue 54, Los Angeles California 90042. Please call (323) 550-2000 for more information.

Looking Back

35 years ago

A Franklin High School student whose brother had been killed by rival gang members brought a .22 caliber revolver to school on March 18, 1976. He spotted whom he believed to be responsible for the earlier death and shot him in the back. The Los Angeles Times did not report the names of the attackers or the victims.
    Tragedy struck the Kostoglou home at 6433 Repton, Highland Park, on March 11, 1976, when four year old Nick and his five year old cousin discovered a .22 caliber rifle under a mattress. The boys began playing with the firearm when it went off, critically injuring young Nick. He died two weeks later of his injuries.
    The elegant interior of Thorn Hall at Occidental College has had thousands of distinguished speakers and as many spirited debates and talks over the years. On March 6, 1976, two highly qualified representatives of the left and right squared off on a topic as relevant then as now..the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and whether it was a necessary ammendment to the U.S. Constitution.
    Arguing gainst the ERA was Willian A Rusher. A publisher of the conservative magazine, National Review, he was active in the Barry Goldwater for president campaign, which pulled the Republican party to the right and kept it there for 50 years.
    Arguing for the ERA was Dr. Jane Jaquette, a political science professor who advocated for women's equality issues for many years prior to her time at Oxy. Patt Morrison, who's red hats and commentary on Los Angeles politics still are a major part of the local political discourse, was in the audience and wrote a lengthy piece on the debate for the L.A. Times. Dr. Jaquette was five months pregnant at the time of the debate, and got laughs as she tried to reach the microphone.
Rusher charmed the audience with his occasional agreements with her. He also commented that, "Statutes-often with the best intent0don't do what we want them to do. They have to be revised, amended but you simply cannot and should not do that to the Constitution." She responded with, "We have to have a ommitment to the absence of institutional sexism, whether it is benign and paternalistic or nasty of discriminatory intent".
    35 years later, Rusher is a Distinguished Fellow of the Claremont Institute and the author of many books. Jaquette is still a Professor of Politics at Occidental College and Chair of the Diplomacy and World Affairs Department. She recently recalled the debate, and how she was quite close to delivering her daughter. She said, "the thing I most remember about this is that I was very pregnant--hard for him to cast me as a wild eyed, man hating feminist," Her daughter recently lectured at Oxy herself on "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime" a book all Occidental College freshmen are reading from the standpoint of disability theory."

40 years ago, 1971

    Councilman Arthur K. Snyder, who had draw flak several weeks earlier for taking at least 24 flights on LAPD helicopters during a six month period from July, 1970-February, 1971, announced his financial worth. He listed his net worth in March, 1971, as $8600. This included interest in his Eagle Rock home comprising $15,179. The full value of the home was $39,800, which loans totaling $23,38. His only income was his $17,000 per year as a city councilman.

45 year ago

    Jack F. Topping, the honorary mayor of Eagle Rock, was named the chairman of the Northeast LA area campaign to pass the L.A. City School District bond issue in the June 7, 1966 city election.
    On March 13, 1966, Arroyo Volkswagen at 5944 N. Figueroa, Highland Park, received a zone change allowing it to build two parking lots in a residential area. The change was protested by local neighbors. A CVS store is now on the site.

50 years ago

    Mrs Irene Branham of 1580 Yosemite Dr, Eagle Rock, a technical illustrator for an airplane company, was driving home from jury duty when her breaks went out and her car hit an embankment, causing her head and eye injuries. Instead of calling in sick the next day, she reported for jury duty with an eye patch and still very sore from the accident. She remained on the trial until the two defendants, arrested for being drunk in public, were acquitted. To show their thanks that she stuck with it and avoided a mistrial, all 11 remaining jurors and the judge, Parks Stillwell of the L.A. Municipal Court, signed a scroll commending her for her dedication.
    Wendy Stone, an 18 year old Oxy student, lost control of her car on March 11, 1961, plunging over and embankment in the hills between Yosemite Drive and Coringa Dr, crashing into a garage at 1918 N. Ave 52, Highland Park. She suffered scrapes and bruises.
    On March 18, 1961, the State Department of Natural Resources named the Lummis Home as an offical historical landmark.
    Over the weekend of March 17, 1961, Gregg Landers of 639 Dimmick Dr, Mt Washington, got into a dispute with two local juvenilles who threatened him. Later, while walking through his home, he was shot in the back.

60 years ago-1951

    The Gittins family at 5152 Rangeview Drive, Highland Park, got heartbreaking news when they heard that their father, . Lamont Gittins, had been killed in a plane crash in Hong Kong. A distinguished Navy veteran from World War II, he later became a pilot for Siamese Pacific Overseas Air Service. On March 22, 1951, the plane which Gittins was navigating crashed on take-off, killing all 26 aboard. He left a wife, Peggy, and two son, Larry, 4, and Ronald, 4 months.
    Private First Class Joseph Kennedy of 215 Hamlet St, Highland Park, was in the 40th National Guard Unit and about to be sent to Japan in March, 1951. Only 21 years old, he had served three years after he married 15 year old Margot Kennedy. They had two daughters in their short marriage, Linda Marie, 2, and Wendie Jean, 2 months old. Kennedy had been making $260 per month as a truck driver and providing for his children and wife, but his rank in the National Guard paid on $105. Unable to buy food, local neighbors began feeding his wife, who was bedridden and unable to care for her children. The head of the National Guard Division, Col John McFayden, promised to grant Kennedy a compassionate release. Historical records show that the 40th Division was indeed sent to Japan in mid-1951, but later went to Korea where, according to Wikipedia, "Total division casualties in Korea included 376 Killed in Action, 1,457 Wounded in Action, and 47 Died of Wounds." Kennedy could easily have been one of those casualties.

"Still Cruisin" with The Eagle Rockin' Rodders

This fine 1956 Ford F-100 belongs to Carey Delzell of the Trompers. After many years in construction, it is finally on the road.

    Hello there hot rod fans!
    Can you believe how cold it was this February? We were just itching to get back into the swing of things on the 26th but the weather had something else in mind. Not only rain but around 5 pm we even had snow for a whole three minutes. Too bad it melted right away. There were only seven people that braved the cold so we decided to hold off on the raffle till next month and instead we shared a meal and had a nice visit. Thanks Al, Sandy, Rex, and Rene you guys are so cool.
    This month our pick belongs' to one of our own, and past club president, Kirk Munday. When Kirk bought his 1970 Chevy Nova in 2002 it needed lots of work and he began restoring it right away. He built its 327 small block engine himself and added a turbo 350 with a three stage shift kit. With 272 gears in the rear end and a "Pete Jackson Gear Drive", it sounded pretty good.
    In June of '08 the unthinkable happened. Kirk had just finished adding a carpet kit, gauges, and brand new interior, making his car almost ready for paint. He was attending his daughter's high school graduation when they received a phone call that their garage was on fire. The family rushed home to find the garage engulfed in flames and the fire department there. Thankfully they saved the house but the garage was destroyed as well as the whole front end of the Nova which was parked on the carport right behind it.
    With no garage till the new one was built, he was discouraged. Kirk says "he is so grateful to his buddy Kenny Lee, who let him keep the car in his garage so he could begin to rebuild his baby". He had to completely reconstruct the front clip. Even the headlights, blinkers, and the tires were melted. This time he would make it even better with a "Summit Center Line" and 4 in. rims on the front and 7 ˝ in. rims on the back. He chromed the original front and back bumpers and completely refurbished the front end by hand. He also dropped the suspension, front and rear. About all that's left now is a little work on the rear quarter panel and she is ready again for paint. Looking good Kirk! Can't wait to see the finished product!
    Well that's it for now and we are going to hold the cruise-in again on the 26th of March at "Tommy's Burgers". We will bring along some hot coffee and donuts. Hope to see you there! Mark your calendars as well for April 2nd when the "Trompers of Eagle Rock" start their cruise's again at Coco's Restaurant in Highland Park. Also, April 9th the Trompers will be holding their "hot rod swap meet" at Eagle Rock Recreation Center. Take care all and happy cruising!

The New-Fresh Capri Italian

Chef Gordon Ramsey Brings an Aging Eagle Rock Eatery into the Twenty-first Century

by Tom Topping

Chef Gordon Ramsey poses for a photo with the Theil twins and the entire Capri crew.

    Business people, and restaurants especially, must occasionally update, rebuild or redecorate their product and decor to keep up with the times, tastes and trends. This fact is often lost on many a mom and pop style business, as once they have discovered what works, they have a hard time seeing any need to change. We've all seen a favorite eating place get a little stale over time, and watched helplessly as they slowly go obsolete and finally go out of business altogether.
    Others msy recognize the need for change but may not have a clue of what to do, and those that do are faced with having to figure out how to pay for it all.
    Enter the Capri.
    Established in 1963, and not really in decline, despite the aging decor and menu, the Capri has been open with hardly a change for almost 50 years except for ownership. They boast a strong clientele of repeat customers who all know their favorite dishes they want to order before they even come in, and those customers have enjoyed a level of service and a continuity of cuisine that has served them well.
    Enter Jim and Jeff Theil.
    The well-known twin brothers of the Capri took over the restaurant completely a few years ago when their parents retired. They've done pretty well, winning a Jacmar signature dish award for the "most Creative" new dish they came up with. Never ones to shun the spotlight, they've really become part of the business community, participating in and supporting almost all Eagle Rock events and organizations.
    Though doing OK, they knew they could always do better, and have continued their part-time entertainment careers by auditioning for the Biggest Loser, and participating in the National Body challenge TV show, when they lost 180 pounds between the two of them.
    When they heard that the "Kitchen Nightmares" TV show was looking for local restaurants to makeover, they got right on it, e-mailing the producers right away.
    Jeff said, "They called us and said , "Send us a brief history of the restaurant, where it's at, what it's done," and from there they came out to interview all the employees - and videotape them."
    After submitting the paperwork, producers were uncommitted, but hinted the Capri probably had been selected. The twins were warned however, that if anything came out in any media or newspaper, their application would get trashed before it got started.
    The Theils waited, tight-lipped, until finally the phone call came. Filming would start the second week of January.
    The time arrived, and it turned into a real whirlwind of a week. First, they had to shut down on Saturday so the TV lighting could go up. Then the entire dining room was ripped out. New chairs, new tables, new lighting and even benches salvaged from a local church went in. The carpets were removed to uncover a vintage linoleum tile floor, with pleasing patina to meet the current style.
    Everything was in place except their long-time chef, John, who didn't want to do the show, and despite extensive cajoling, would not give in. The twins had to let him go, and turned to a friend, Marcus Vargas, an experienced restaurateur, to fill in.
    And Chef Ramsey? If you've seen Chef Gordon Ramsey and like his shtick and like his style, well, let's just say you won't be disappointed when the show airs later this month. (Should be on March 18 or 25, both Friday nights)
    Jeff said, "It was a rough ride at first, getting beaten up by Chef Ramsey." In typical Chef Gordon Ramsey fashion, he screamed and yelled at them... all of it caught on film, of course, for the show. Was he a real ball-buster? "Yes he was," the brothers said in unison.
    However, since then, the brothers added, "It's been working out very well. Our dishes have changed, but they're still Italian."
    Then, there was the work on the menu. "Chef Ramsey said, (after looking at their menu) "Your kitchen's too small to make all these entrees. The area you really should be working on is your Pizza area."
    Yes, the Capri had numerous entrees on their old menu. Many dishes had been added over the years, but none had been removed. This necessitated a lot of supplies, a lot of preparation, a lot of spoilage and a lot of extra cost. Chef Ramsey pared down the menu to focus on Pizzas, but retained a good variety of pasta dishes, while adding herb chicken and Mac and cheese as well.
    How did he do?
    "The overhead and the preparation is less," said Jim.
    Jeff continued, "The pizzas are now more natural flavors, all new to us, and all freshly made. We make almost everything ourselves fresh now. We now make our own homemade meatballs. The lasagna changed a little but it's great. We have garlic knots instead of garlic bread. We have short-flat bread appetizers with a pepperoni and cheese dip. Potato wedges, a half chicken. And try the desserts. Apple calzone, brownies ala mode, chocolate banana marshmallow pitas. All made right here."
    Speaking for myself, I always liked the Capri, but I love that they now offer a selection of "table salads" made for sharing. Italian chopped, pasta, caesar and a parmesan salad that is just great. The selection of pizzas is out of this world. The choices include Pesto; white clam; garlic rosemary; Cuban; Hawaiian; BBQ pork; mushroom; Mexican; spicy; and the variety of flavors of pizza is stunning and pleasing to the eye no matter what you pick. And the topping you didn't order is what begs you to came back to try the next one.
    Even better, I got out of there, fully satisfied, in well under an hour for under $25, something I never had done there before either.
    I always liked the Capri. But now I love it.
    Jeff continued, "It's been very good for us so far and we're getting new clientele and most of the old clientele is happy. A few of them lost their favorite entree, but we plan to bring everything back occasionally as specials.
    If you like Italian food and trying new eateries in the local area, you have got to get back in the Capri and try it again. They are open Wednesday through Sunday from 4 pm to 10 pm, and now they're even open for Sunday brunch from 10 am to 2 pm.
    It just goes to show you that where there's a will there's a way and The Capri Italian Restaurant and the Theil twins are just another example of the fantastic businesses and business people we have here in our little corner of Southern California called Northeast Los Angeles.

Bike Corrals over Burned out Houses?

Dear Editor,

    So much for quality of life issues.
    Today at 9AM, at Avenue 50 and York, Councilman Huizar had his Ribbon Cutting ceremony for the newly installed "bike corral". But located just 2 blocks away, the burned out house that I've called to Huizar's attention again and again remains in place.  

   I went to the Cafe de Leche and talked to the owner and he acknowledged that living next door to a burned out structure which emits fumes is of concern as he resides in the neighborhood and has small children, but getting more business is far more important.
    Last night I took the time and showed the photographs to Councilman Huizar's wife, as the councilman made a point that he had minor children and therefore quality of life issues for families are very important to him.
    We are in a mess. Of interest was the fact last night that Huizar for the first time acknowledged that he used those CLARTs Funds to offset his staff salary (remember their LA. City Work furlough days?) Was this legal? Yes, because Huizar had received LA City Council approval. However, at the Eagle Rock political forum, Huizar thanked his staff for their dedication to continue to work even after receiving less money due to the work furlough days. So did they get furloughed- or were they paid with the CLART funds to offset the furloughs? Or both? Now we know what Huizar acknowledged last night was all BS.
    I wish you would write something on the burned out house or at the very least go to the location and walk past it yourself and talk to the neighbors. - Carolyn Aguirre

Bungalow Backlash

Dear Editor,

    The same month that Eagle Rock is poised to celebrate its Centenniel, one of its remaining historic bungalow complexes is scheduled for destruction. Just last October, Huizar's Northeast Community newsletter noted the significance of these "wooden bungalow-style homes" when ER was first incorporated. Yet likewise that same month, the ER Neighborhood Council approved razing the seven 90-year old cottages and trees in favor of a 19-unit housing complex with no greater concern than the amount of guest parking that would be needed (by law, none). When the producers of True Blood learned they'd be losing one of their most vital story locations, they were resigned to alter their storyline and burn the cottages to justify the loss. Thus the first nail in the coffin is set when they ignite the structures during shooting Feb. 11th.
    Is Eagle Rock so bereft of vacant lots that housing can only be built by wiping away the vestiges of its charming past? Eagle Rock likes to boast of its traditional small town qualities, but clearly the powers that be in the Councilman's office and the ERNC care more for L.A.'s darker tradition of burying its history under the shovel of developers. - David Helfand

Working to Increase Pet Adoptions

    Working with the Friends of Hermon Dog Park, Councilmember Huizar was one of the major sponsors for the 2nd Annual Adopt-A-Valentine Pet Adoption at the North Central Animal Shelter this Saturday. Dozens of dogs and cats found new homes through the adoption and Councilmember Huizar congratulates the Friends of Hermon Dog Park, the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council, Atwater Village Neighborhood Council and the Los Angeles Animal Services Department for all their efforts.
FAST Animal Group at 400th Cat
    Friendly Arroyo Seco Trappers (FAST), an grass-roots animal group based in Hermon, hit a milestone today with the Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) of their 400th cat!! This comes after the fixing of 9 local neighborhood cats captured in Northeast LA on Thursday evening. Surprisingly, kitten season (normally reserved for springtime) has arrived early this year -- 2 of the 9 captured on Thursday were expecting.
    TNR is the method FAST has used for the past two years to help reduce the homeless cat population in LA, estimated at approximately one million. TNR involves humanely trapping unaltered neighborhood cats, neutering them, and releasing them back to the same environment where they were collected.
    In addition to getting spayed, FixNation ( provided free ear tip, flea control, rabies vaccination, and distemper (3-in-1) vaccine. With the generous services provided for free by FixNation, FAST could not provide this service.
    On another note, today FAST helped an elderly lady in Sycamore Grove by covering the $220 in medical bills for the treatment of a sick, homeless cat she is feeding. The vet diagnosed feline stomatitis, a painful dental disease which makes it difficult to eat.
    To find out more about FAST and their associated non-profit organization, Friends of Hermon Dog Park, go to

CRA/LA NELA Postponed til Further Notice

Dear NELA Community Stakeholder,

    The CRA/LA NELA Staff would like to inform you that that we are postponing further activities in the NELA River Corridor Study Area until further notice. Currently the State Legislator is reviewing a budget proposed by Governor Brown which includes the elimination of redevelopment agencies statewide (see 2011-2012 Governor's Budget Summary, pages 28 and 168-172). Our agency will have a better understanding on the future of redevelopment activities and how this may affect the CRA/LA NELA River Corridor Study Area once budget discussions are finalized.
    We will include more details about CRA/LA NELA efforts in our next newsletter. Please stay tuned as budget discussions evolve. We thank you for your continued interest.

Santa Cecilia Orchestra shines spotlights on its musicians

by Ted Ayala
    One of the conventions of classical music concerts that I'll never understand is certain orchestras' reliance on "star" soloists to bring feet tramping into their concert venues. This isn't to say that certain musicians of renown aren't deserving of their fame--but so are very many rank-and-file musicians in many orchestras. Though they may not have the name recognition of someone "famous", they often offer musical pleasures that are equal or even greater than their "brand name" competitors. Yet many orchestras ignore the excellent musicians whom without they would be lost. Fortunately, some music directors know better.
    Last Sunday evening at Occidental College's Thorne Hall, the Santa Cecilia Orchestra (SCO) performed a mixed program of baroque music and 20th century music from Argentina. Enjoying pride of place on this program were a clutch of the SCO's own musicians, now enjoying their star turn before the audience. Pianist Natasha Marin, whose impressive pianism had the audience at the edge of their seats at an SCO chamber concert last month, was guest soloist in Johann Sebastian Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No.5.
    The Concerto in G minor for 2 Violins and Cello by Antonio Vivaldi from his L'Estro Armonico collection of concertos started off the program. Those expecting an anemic interpretation that tips its hat to period performance practice probably found themselves disappointed. Sonia Marie de Leon de Vega and the SCO played this baroque music with luscious phrasing and warm vibrato that was unabashedly romantic in conception. Not that the SCO didn't keep Vivaldi's rhythmic creases crisply starched--far from it. Rhythmic vigor pulsated from the exquisite mantle of string sound that enfolded violinists Alexander Kalman and Anna Kostyuchek. Against the backdrop of the SCO's strings, Kalman's and Kostyuchek's violins soared with rich and sweet tone.
    The music of Johann Sebastian Bach fittingly followed Vivaldi. Bach deeply admired the work of Vivaldi; his musical language was deeply enriched through the study of his Italian contemporary's works. Bach even transcribed several of Vivaldi's orchestral works for keyboard as a display of admiration for the Italian's music.
    Again, the SCO played a warm and red-blooded interpretation of this beloved work. Sonia Marie de Leon de Vega and the SCO eschewed the embalmed sonorities favored by adherents of period performance and played the Air with supple grace.
    Violinist Melissa Phelps and oboist Sarah Beck steeped onto the stage as soloists in Bach's Concerto for Violin and Oboe. Phelps and Beck's playing was perfectly poised; a seamless fusion of musical personalities. The elegant playing of both Phelps and Beck were a wonder here.
    The combined artistry of flautist Salpy Kerkonian, violinist Yi-Huan Zhao, and guest pianist Natasha Marin had no problems bringing the red-blooded Bach to life. Marin's muscular, golden tone and her handling of the first movement's cadenza was breathtaking. Managing to balance pianistic flair with musical intelligence, Marin's playing of the cadenza was at once a dazzling show-stopper, but also integrated firmly into the texture of her partners' voices. Yi-Huan Zhao's creamy tone was, as always, a delight. The winsome playing of Salpy Kerkonian's flute was a joy. Kerkonian was able to spin web after web of gossamer webs of music. After the work came to its close, the audience leaped to its feet in a much deserved standing ovation. Rushing to the stage with a bouquet for Natasha Marin was her husband: actor and comedian Cheech Marin.
    From the heart of Prussia, the SCO took the audience to the plains of Argentina's Gran Chaco via Argentinean composer Alberto Williams' First Suite for String Orchestra. Milonga and tango rhythms could be heard churning, but without the acidic bite that later Argentinean composers would bring to their native dance idioms. Indeed, the entire work seemed blissfully unaware of the chaos and upheavals of the 20th century. The vast expanse of the pampas unfolded before the listener in this charming and attractive work that sounded like it could have been the work of a South American Dvorak. Why is this music so little played? Sonia Marie de Leon de Vega and the SCO deserve praise for bringing this work to light. Doubly so when they played it as exquisitely as they did.
    The turmoil and stress missing in the Williams work was brilliantly sublimated into the dazzling work that closed the program: Astor Piazzolla's Libertango. A truly eclectic and original composer, Piazzolla was one of those rare musicians that refused to be pigeon-holed. He effortlessly strode the worlds of tango and classical music, informing each with the style of the other. Piazzolla's Libertango fused the 20th century of Bartok and Stravinsky and channeled it through the greasy sound of his bandoneon (a type of concertina popular in Argentina and Uruguay). Here the uneasy dissonances and rhythmic complexities of modernity were heard. Sonia Marie de Leon de Vega and the SCO strings played the work with an almost visceral thrill. What a way to end the concert.
    The SCO's final concert of the season, entitled Mexico Sinfonico, will be held on May 22nd at Occidental College's Thorne Hall. More information on the SCO can be had by visiting their website at or by calling (323) 259-3011.

Community Garden Coming to Glassell Park

    After years of work to abate the nuisance property at 3304 Drew Street, the City of Los Angeles has acquired it and will be transforming this neighborhood problem into a community garden specifically for neighborhood residents.
    The new community garden will be a place where local residents can work along side their friends and neighbors and grow fruits and vegetables for themselves and their families. The City is partnering with the Los Angeles Community Garden Council to manage the garden.
    An informational meeting was held on Thursday, February 17, 6:00 p.m. at the Glassell Park Senior Center.
    Please call the Glassell Park satellite office at 323-478-9002 with any questions.


Pomanders and Small Pleasures
Ingrid Lilligren
Future Studio Gallery, March 12 –
April 2, 2011
    Ingrid Lilligren teaches at Iowa State University in Ames and is a Southern California ex-patriot. Forty of her "Small Pleasures," created one a day over the course of one year with dry pastels and eggshells, will be installed in the gallery. When Lilligren began the project that resulted in 243 "Small Pleasures," she settled on a strict format: a 7" x 7" square with a centered circle of 4˝". By working with limited materials (dry pastel surrounding the circle where the eggshells are contained), she was able to "explore what it would feel like to do the same thing over and over." In addition, the artist explained, "You get very creative when you limit yourself."
    Pomanders: Made after a recent residency in France and a trip to the Fragonard Perfume Museum, these small forms contain a perforated tube that holds herbs and spices. These pieces allow people to experience the scented air contained in the body of the ceramic piece.
    The exhibit runs from March 12 – April 2, 2011. Opening reception will be during's Second Saturday Gallery Night, March 12 from 7 to 10 p.m. After the opening, please make an appointment to see the exhibit 323 254-4565.
Future Studio Gallery
5558 N. Figueroa St. Los Angeles CA 90042

The Arroyo Arts Collective presents:

For the Birds

A site-specific installation project on the parkland of the Audubon Center at Debs Park, featuring works by artists inspired by local birds, bird habitat and migration, urban ecology and the works of James John Audubon. This event is co-sponsored by the Audubon Center at Debs Park.
April 9 through May 7, 2011.
    The Arroyo Arts Collective presents For the Birds, a month long installation project on the grounds of the Audubon Center at Debs Park. For the Birds will treat visitors to a rare glimpse of an urban wildlife sanctuary, set in a Northeast Los Angeles neighborhood that has long been a haven for artists. This collaboration between two sets of "rare birds" allows a time for quiet reflection on the fragile ecosystems that surround both.
    Exploring a wide range of themes related to local birds, artists will construct temporary installations in the parkland of the Center, a haven for nearly 140 bird species. Visitors will enjoy a unique blend of art and nature as they follow trail maps to the installation sites. A gallery show of bird related artwork by Arroyo Arts Collective members will be exhibited inside the Center and auctioned to benefit the Audubon Center at the closing reception on May 7, from 2 to 5 p.m., with music by the band, Artichoke.
    In addition to the Opening and Closing Receptions, For the Birds features three Saturday activities for families: Paper Bag Puppet Making, on April 16, from 2 to 4 p.m., a bilingual Bird walk on April 23, at 9 a.m. and Conservation and Conversations, featuring conversations with the artists and an opportunity to help with habitat restoration in the park, on April 30 at 10 a.m. The Audubon Center is located at 4700 North Griffin Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90031. Information at or by voice mail at 323-850-8566. This event is free and open to the public.
    The Arroyo Arts Collective was established in 1989, as a community organization of artists, writers and performers who live and work in Northeast Los Angeles. The mission of the Arroyo Arts Collective is to develop and present creative events that educate while fostering an awareness of the creative vitality of Northeast Los Angeles.
    The mission of the Audubon Center at Debs Park is to inspire people to experience, understand and care for the local natural world. Located in a wildlife corridor for migratory birds, Debs Park is a haven for nearly 140 species of birds. Its nature-based education and community programs are designed to engage children and their families in the outdoor world, and to give them a personal stake in its protection by making environmental issues relevant to their lives. The Center, which is surrounded by predominately Latino neighborhoods, is a unique gathering place and dynamic focal point for outdoor recreation, environmental education and conservation.



Five for $5 – Finding Great Lunch Deals On the Cheap in the Eagle Rock Area!

by Brenda Rees
    Both my husband Jim and I work out of our home offices in Eagle Rock, and while that sounds awfully romantic and desirable, freelance contract workers often get the short of the stick when it comes to Oscar pools, office politics and griping about the boss. Still, there's something nice about working in your pajamas at 2 p.m.
    When we have to escape the grind for a moment, Jim and I will often venture into downtown Eagle Rock and Highland Park to see how we can stretch our ever-precious dollars into a lunch that is more than just a burger or a slice of pizza ("not that there's anything wrong with that," as Jim continually points out to me).
    We have our favorite locally-owned places in town where we enjoy a delicious and economically-friendly lunch for five dollars (not counting the tax). We know there are more places out there – we've specifically avoided national chains, burger/fries combos, and the many mom and pop Mexican food restaurants that offer cheap, but ginormous burritos (that's a story on it's own) – but maybe we've missed a few, so we'd love to hear where our fellow Eagle Rockers and Highland Park-ians dine on a dime!
In the meantime, here's where you can usually find us at lunchtime around town, savoring great meals on the cheap:

1/2 Chicken Special-Pollos A LA Brasa

    Pollos A La Brasa, (2161 Colorado Blvd, 323-255-6322) has one of our favorite lunch specials offered between noon and 3 p.m. consisting of a quarter of chicken along with two sides for a mere $4.50. Sweet and garlicky, the chicken comes with Peruvian sauces that you can smear across the meat (we actually prefer it
au natural). For sides, Jim loves the beans, while I'm hot on the onion/tomato salad. Word of caution: the food can take a while to prepare, so we always come expecting to wait. We like to browse among the many Peruvian food products – including ice cream – that are stocked on shelves and in coolers.
    OK Chinese Food (6320 N Figueroa St, 323-259-2414) has a meager décor, but makes up for its lack of swankiness with incredible lunchtime deals. Choose between combo deals that range from a mere $2.95 to a whopping $4.60. Some come with rice, egg roll or chow mein, but you get to pick your tasty (and yes, I admit, infused with a delicious greasiness) item including: spicy chicken, shrimp chow mein, beef broccoli, deep-fried chicken wings and pork in a black bean sauce. It's a cash-only counter, so come with a paper Lincoln and leave with some copper Lincolns.

2 item combo from OK Chinese Food

    Classic Thai Restaurant (1708 Colorado Blvd., 323-478-0530) has lovely lunchtime specials, but alas, most fall out of our pre-determined price range (but not by that much!!). Never fear, the folks offer a super Thai Salad for $4.95 that satisfies my hungry stomach – but not so much my meat-lover hubby. Yes, this delightful salad is sans flesh, so consider this your vegetarian meal of the deal and save up for big hunk of juicy prime rib later for dinner. Crisp lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, hard-boiled eggs and crunchy bits are drizzled with a thick sweet yet savory peanut sauce that adds the right touch of zest to this meal.
    Buff Wings (4411 Eagle Rock Blvd, 323-256-4870) is a relatively new joint tucked away in the corner of a strip mall that can fulfill Jim's desire for deep-fried wings served alongside deep-fried potatoes, aka French fries. (OK, I admit it…I sometimes get such a hankering for some wings! Twist my arm!) Mr. Buff offer a $5 special of six hefty wings with fries that's lip-smacking, napkin-wiping good. The wings come in a variety of sauces, like lemon pepper, spicy oriental, along with a series of hot and ridiculously hot. We've never tried the Ludacris – the hottest of the bunch -- but have heard tales of blanched red-faces and smoke erupting from ears and nostrils.
    Pete's Blue Chip Burger (1701 Colorado Blvd., 323-478-9022) proves that you can certainly do breakfast for lunch with their giant breakfast burrito that Jim says is a meal for the Hobbit in all of us who yearns for a "Second Breakfast." The $4.65 bacon and egg burrito brings a meal in a tortilla, served all day. This massive treat gives other legendary breakfast burritos a run for their money (Did I say Lucky Boy? Oh yes I did), and it's crammed full of bacon, eggs, potatoes, cheese and salsa. Not for dieters, I asked once about calories and got a maniacal laugh. All I know is that one of these will keep your stomach satisfied through dinner and possibly beyond. Also available in ham and egg, sausage and egg, and a straight egg and cheese versions that all hit our target budget of under five dollars.
    Of course, in our travels we thought we needed to include some old tried and true lunch standards that fit the lunchtime bill and the budget. The Italian Bakery (1726 Colorado Blvd., 323-255-8224) has a small Italian combo sandwich that when you add chips hovers around $4.40 before tax; while down the street, Pizza Man (1578 Colorado Blvd # 5, 323-254-2581) offers a medium cheese pizza for the astonishingly low price of $3.99 if you stop in personally and pick it up. And that, boys and girls, is a meal unto itself!
    So where do you find the best under $5 deals around town? Drop a letter to the editor to the Boulevard Sentinel to let us know about any hidden treasures that exist... I've got a fiver burning a hole in pocket!

Eagle Rock Recreation Center Failed?

Dear Editor,
    The Department of Recreation and Parks puts forth a code of conduct that all volunteer coaches should adhere too. They must sign this every season and agree to be suspended from their volunteer position.
    Eagle Rock Recreation Center has failed to follow the City of Los Angeles own own set of rules by allowing a volunteer coach to continue after he became physical with a player. The coach was suspended for one game, a mere slap on the wrist.
    This particular coach grabbed a player and threw him after the altercation was already over. After he threw the player he then proceeded to yell obscenities at him. Regardless of the reason no parent or coach is allowed to become physical with anyone which is why we have officials and recreation personnel. If we allowed all parents or coaches to interfere order would not be maintained and chaos would arise.
    We must protect our children and ensure their safety and well being from coaches that can loose their temper, show poor lack of self control, poor judgement, and extreme poor sportsmanship. These types of coaches are not the examples our children need.
Maria Briseno
Community Volunteer & CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate)
Eagle Rock Resident, 25 years

Armed Robbery Warning

Dear Editor,
    I just wanted to send an email to let people know that there was an armed robbery on Monday night at Dominos on Colorado Blvd. and folks should be careful and watch out for one another. Sounds like the robbers are preying on establishments that close late at night. Please be aware of your surroundings.
    On Monday night, just before midnight, 2 black males with bandanna's covering their face approx 6' tall 20-25 years of age, with guns tried to rob Dominoes 3 shots were fired but nobody was hurt. The police came right away but the robbers got away on foot. No vehicle description
    We are trying to upgrade our security measures and everyone should should try and be more careful at night.
    Hoping everyone is safe,
Michael Nogueira, President
Eagle Rock Chamber of Commerce

Regarding a  Slimmer Slower Colorado Boulevard

Dear Editor (and Damien Newton):
    Do you even know why there is a median down Colorado Blvd? Have you not seen the pictures of the electric cars that used to travel there? I have lived in Eagle Rock for 52 years. I remember. City money is slim right now and the city has a deficit of $53 million dollars. Changes are a long way off.
    But let's talk about the "slimming" of Colorado Blvd- you implicate that the drivers going over the speed limit are people going back and forth from or to Glendale or Pasadena and simply use Colorado Blvd as a thru-way to bypass bad traffic on the 134 freeway.
    The truth is, the people that are speeding on Colorado Blvd are your relatives, your friends, your neighbors.
    If you REALLY want to make the streets safer in Eagle Rock to travel, try passing around a petition in your own neighborhood, on your own street asking every licensed driver to sign a pledge obeying the speed law on Colorado Blvd and elsewhere.
    And while you are at it ask them to stop double and triple parking in front of elementary schools or after school programs because they are late dropping off/picking up their children; ask them to NOT make illegal left-hand turns from and to Trader Joe's; ask them to NOT run stop signs in quiet neighborhoods like mine just because they think no one is watching, or they are late to work or getting home.
    If you really want to make a safer Eagle Rock, start in your own neighborhood. And let me know how that works out for you.
Maggie Garson-Ray
Eagle Rock

News in Brief

Del Toro Trial Underway

    As many will know from television and daily newspaper reports, the murder trial has been well underway all the month of February for David Del Toro, the LA fire captain who stands accused of killing Jennifer Flores in August of 2006. Police arrested him after finding Flores' half naked body on Loleta Avenue, with a trail of blood and flesh leading back to Del Toro's house on Vincent Avenue.
    Prosecutors allege that he beat Flores and then strangled her to death before dragging her behind his vehicle leaving the trail of blood and flesh to where she was found later on Loleta.
    Defense lawyers claim that an unknown man by the name of Nick or Rick was with Flores that evening, who they say is responsible for Flores' death.
    Excitingly, jurors heard parts of audio-tapes of Del Toro, who, during the breaks in interrogation said some pretty self-incriminating statements when he didn't realize he was being taped. Most of those were not allowed by Judge lance Ito, the famous O.J. Simpson Judge.
    Del Toro claimed to be sleep deprived from doing long shifts as a fireman, and drinking heavily the night before. (I swear I remember reports of him being seen in Colombos that night with Flores, but apparently there are no witnesses to testify to that.) He also claimed to have woken up and had tried to clean up a mess on the floor of his living room that was determined to be Flores' blood by police.
    A former girlfriend earlier testified that he beat her years ago when he was drunk.
    On Monday February 28, the case went to the jury and as of Tuesday March 1st, no verdict has yet been reached.

Police Car Crashes While Chasing Burglary Suspect

    An alert officer witnessed someone trying to break into a parked car on Avenue 52 at about 2:00 am Sunday February 6. the suspect ran and was chased by the oficer in the patrol car. The officer lost control and crashed into a fence near Avenue 52 and Buchanan Street.
    The officer was able to track down the suspect and arrested him for BTFV, (burglary theft from motor vehicle). No one was hurt.

Jogger Attacked at Yosemite Park

    A jogger was seriously beaten and robbed last month at Yosemite Playground on February 3, 2011. He was jogging in the park when 4 skateboarders attacked him, beating him over the head and taking his cell-phone with built-in music player.
    He went to a neighbor's house who immediately called 911 and paramedics arrived within minutes.
    Police said that the skateboarders were incorrectly described as gang members, and arrested 2 of the 4, and know who the others are.
    The park has long been a problem spot with taggers, drug users and gang members known to hang out there.

Oxy Master Plan Resurrected

Reconstruction of Swan Hall to begin as soon as L.A. Permits arrive.

    After assuring community members that the Occidental master plan was scrapped, Oxy President Johnathan Veitch revived about 90% of construction plans. The first anticipated work is set to begin on the reconstruction of Swan Hall this month, as soon as the permits arrive from City of L.A.
    The work that included asbestos removal and interior changes will also add 22,000 square feet to the existing 16.000 square foot building. The building additions require it also to be ADA compliant and will double the faculty office space used by six departments it will house, (History, Sociology, Politics, ECLS, American Studies and Psychology).
    They say that the design and engineering to expand and seismically upgrade the building will retain as much of the buildings original historic fabric as possible.
    When completed it will again house about a third of the faculty departments. The project was approved by the L.A. Citywide Planning Commission last month, February.

Man Tries to Fight Police, is Shot with Bean Bag

    A group of patrons leaving the York bar on York Boulevard at closing time started a fight with each other, then tried to fight an L.A.P.D. patrolman. Officer Dan Gaglione was alone in his Patrol car when he saw the fight at Avenue 50 and Figueroa, and stopped to break it up.
    The men turned on the officer who was forced to use the prescribed non-deadly force to control the situation, which in this case was a bean bag from a shotgun.
    Northeast Captain Bill Murphy said that the bean bag weapons automatically fire two shots, the first one hitting the man in the torso and the second hitting his head as he doubled over.
    A use of force investigation was opened which is standard procedure for incidents such as this.
    The injured man was taken to the hospital and is expected to recover, according to Captain Murphy. The other men were released from custody and will likely face various charges.

Bus Shooting on Eagle Rock Blvd.

    A man was shot on the line 84 MTA bus while traveling up Eagle Rock Boulevard in Glassell Park on Wednesday February 23, at about 10:30 am. Witnesses say 18 year old Mark Martinez, arrested later for the shooting, was about to shoot the victims son, when the father stepped in to protect him. The victim was transported to Huntington Hospital in stable condition and is expected to recover. Eagle Rock Boulevard was blocked for hours just south of York, where the bus came to a stop. The shooter was found about 30 minutes later and was booked for attempted murder.

Youth Leadership Programs in Action in Highland Park

    Local Boys State Alumnus put what he learned into action locally. Erick Duarte a graduate of Franklin High School attended Boys State while a Junior in 2009 sponsored by the Los Angeles Police Post # 381 of The American Legion. He is now attending College at Cal-State Northridge majoring in Electrical Engineering.
    Erik Duarte is the youngest member sitting on the Board as a Director at large. After Graduating from Franklin H.S. in June 2010 he ran for the Highland Park Neighborhood Council. He now sits along side of long time Community Leaders on the Board of Directors. He is an inspiration to all youth in the Community and his youth is welcomed on the Board of Directors.
    The young Director recently submitted a proposal to the board to fund a local Highland Park Girl & Boy to attend the 2011 Boys State & Girl State Session so that others can reap what he learned and share the inspiration of community service to other young members of the Community. The motion was carried and has moved over the first hurdle to reach the funding process.
    Erik Duarte is a perfect example of what the Boys & Girls State program strives for. For further info on Children & Youth Programs of the American Legion contact: Richard Ledesma (323) 392-6799 or L. Michael Black (323) 982-1477 Co-Chairmen of District 17 Boys State & Girls State programs.
Photo by Richard Ledesma
Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council members
Lt. to Rt.: Board members Dr. Stan Moore, Erik Duarte (Boys State Alumnus), Council President Chris Smith and Terry Bonsell.

Audubon 4-Mile Hill Challenge 3/12

    Join us for the 2nd Annual 4 Mile Hill Challenge at the Audubon Center at Debs Park in the heart of Los Angeles. This is a fundraising run/walk event to bring awareness to the unique programs and services offered at the Audubon Center. Proceeds from your $3 adult registration go towards helping the people at Debs Park continue to support the community by providing conservation activities and habitat protection programs.
    The race course runs through Debs Park on rolling dirt fire roads and single track trails (see local images). When participants cross the finish line, they will be treated to a post-race party with music, free snacks (bananas and power bars), a diverse vendor fair, children's activities and an award ceremony. In addition, every walker/runner will receive a goody bag filled with fun items and a 4 Mile Hill Challenge commemorative t-shirt! This event has something for everyone—from the serious athlete trying to beat their personal best to moms and dads looking for something fun the whole family can enjoy. Children under the age of 12 can register for $15 throughout the registration period. We will have FREE childcare for kids over the age of 4. The registration fee includes a snack, a goody bag and a commemorative t-shirt. The first race begins at 8:45am and the post-race celebration runs from 9:00am-12:00 pm. All are welcome to participate in our hopes of staying fit and enjoying the great outdoors.
    Str8Up Aztlan Athletics supports the good work at Debs Park and their goal of connecting people of all ages with the wonders of nature.

Youth, Crime, Hope: Challenges for Today and Tomorrow

A program on juvenile justice at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, 2109 Chickasaw Blvd., Eagle Rock (Los Angeles), March 13, 2011, 1-2:30 p.m.
    While overall crime in Los Angeles has declined in recent years, problems with youth crime still present major challenges for our community. How can we keep our teens engaged in school, off drugs and alcohol, and out of gangs? What is the connection between educational problems, mental health problems and involvement in the juvenile justice system? How does the juvenile justice system work? What happens when are youth tried as adults? These will be among the questions for discussion. The program is open to all. No RSVP is needed.
    Participants will be: the Rt. Rev. Mary Glasspool, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles; Michael Smith, director of the education clinic, Center for Juvenile Law and Policy at Loyola Law School; Doron Lion, JD candidate, Loyola Law School; Elizabeth Mateo, CDAA, substance abuse counselor at Camp Gonzales, LA Co. Probation Dept.; Lisa Twombly, MSW, mental health therapist at Optimist Youth Homes and Family Services; and Sam Pillsbury, deacon at St. Barnabas and professor of criminal law.
    This event is part of a statewide Juvenile Justice Week of Faith. For more information, contact St Barnabas Episcopal Church at 323-254-7569 or Sam Pillsbury at or 213-736-1093.

Saving Myself. A Los Angeles Childhood

a memoir by Jeanne Simonoff
Reading March 13, 2-4 pm at Temple Beth Israel of Highland Park and Eagle Rock, 5711 Monte Vista Street, Los Angeles
    I would like to introduce you to a young Jewish girl and her experiences in the 1940s and 1950s. Her story is an amazing journey, likely to stimulate many discussions and serve as an inspirational teaching tool. You will soon discover that young Jeanne is your old friend.
    Daily, our country goes from one crisis to another, and this story shows how phenomena from other times, long ago, still have influence - from anti-Semitism to childhood loss to discrimination.
    Imagine being told that, "your mother is in Chicago," when actually she just died. Being the lone Jewish family in her 1940s Los Angeles neighborhood living with anti-Semitism everyday. Being refused membership in the Girl Scouts because she was Jewish. Being bullied during her early school years. Being refused Bat Mitzvah in her own synagogue. The stories go on and on.
    Most children today have stories of pain and suffering. Especially now, when a bullying epidemic is emerging across the country. Saving Myself. A Los Angeles Childhood, Jeanne Simonoff's new memoir, is special. It presents the author's enormous talent as a writer. While the story takes place in the 40's and 50's, the issues are universal and timeless.
    Saving Myself. A Los Angeles Childhood offers not only a testament to the tenacity of the human spirit, but does so as a genuinely glorious piece of literature.
    You will be fascinated by Saving Myself. A Los Angeles Childhood and by Jeanne's journey. Her living it and her of writing it!

Maude Fedorchuk, 91, of Highland Park pictured with her 26 year old cat Millie which is 121 in human years. Maude claims that every senior citizen should own a cat, they make a great companion.

Send Some Love To The Avenue 50 Studio

    The Avenue 50 Studio is embarking on an exciting new year's worth of programming because of your generous support. In 2011, we will continue our efforts to be a space for the exhibition and advancement of Latino art.
    With your support, in 2010, we produced a number of powerful events.
    In February, we brought you "Body Language", which included, among others, the current work of Judith Hernandez, one of the most important Chicana artists of our times, and the Annex presented a fun and affordable art auction, "Here is My Heart". 50 artists generously offered delicious little works of "hearts" for our visitors' pleasure.
    With the hosting of La Palabra by Don Newton and Laura Longoria, our literary programming increased, not only in attendance, but scope, as the Avenue 50 Studio brought powerful poetry readings such as "Spinter Generation", "Kerotakis", "Poetic Arte – A Poetry Circle for Shifra Goldman", and "Luvina with Suzanne Lummis" to our community.
    Weighing in on issues that concern our community, we presented "A Prayer for Juarez/A Curse on the Killers" speaking to the hundreds of unsolved murders of young women of Juarez, Mexico; "No Human Being is Illegal", an exhibition about immigration; "Existance/Resistance", reflecting the anger and frustration of young Chicanos; and "Day of the Dead Planet", our response to an unbalanced planet Earth.
    As a non-profit, we continue to need your support in order to bring you the quality of exhibitions you expect from us.
    In 2011 Linda Vallejo will exhibit her biting "Make Them All Mexican"; the Women's Caucus For Art will present "Does Democracy Need Art"; and we will bring you a new and exciting series of La Palabra with our new host, Luivette Resto.
    Please consider Sending Some Love to the Avenue 50 Studio as we partner with Network for Good, a non-profit agency, to help us manage donations and to ensure that donors receive yearly receipts for their tax deductible donations. Your support is important to us. Please consider a suggested donation of just $10 per month. This is a painless way for you to support our work.
    Please visit www.avenue50 and sign up for a monthly, quarterly or yearly donation.
    We look forward to your partnership in the next 10 years.
Kathy Gallegos and the Board of the Avenue 50 Studio:
  Raoul De la Sota
  Lara Medina
  J. Michael Walker
  Vanessa Acosta
  David Stowe
  Sybil Venegas
  Ulises Diaz
Avenue 50 Studio, Inc.
131 North Avenue 50
Highland Park, CA 90042

Become an L.A. History Expert

Join the El Pueblo Docent Volunteers

    All are invited to come and join a great group of history buffs to learn about the history of Los Angeles and to teach it to others. The group is Las Angelitas del Pueblo, docents who give historically accurate tours about the founding and settlement of Los Angeles.
    When you attend docent training classes at El Pueblo de Los Angeles, you will learn about the significance of Spain, New World exploration, missions, presidios, Native Americans, early Pueblo days, Mexican control, competition for California (do you know how close we were to being Russian?), the Gold Rush, land boom, ethnic diversity and other topics.
    The new docent training class is from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. starting March 22 and running for six Tuesdays, ending April 26. The classes are held in the office of Las Angelitas, located next to the historic Firehouse on La Plaza of El Pueblo de Los Angeles.
    When you attend docent classes, you agree to give two weekday morning tours per month or one Saturday tour. Tours last about 50 minutes, begin at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and noon, and are usually given to groups of about 20 schoolchildren, accompanied by a teacher or parent. Visiting adults may join a school tour or come on Saturday.
    After completing the classes, you will be a provisional docent for six months and then become permanent. There is a non-refundable fee for $25 payable on the first day of class.
    Docents will receive a broad base education on the settling of Southern California and will continue to learn since there are four general meetings a year with guest speakers lecturing on California history.
    It is important for the volunteer to be people-oriented, friendly, and flexible since no two tours are exactly alike. There are about sixty active docents as well as fourteen provisional docents who just completed the fall docent training course. A few of the docents are bilingual, speaking Spanish, German, and Italian.
    For further information about the specifics of the classes, go onto the website, and hit "Be a Docent." If you are interested in becoming a docent at El Pueblo, please call the organization's president at 818-790-2604 or the teaching coordinator at 818-761-6480. If you can't reach either person by phone, then please email the coordinator at KateMProbs
Las Angelitas del Pueblo
130 Paseo de la Plaza
(near Olvera Street)
Los Angeles

Kiwanis Club looking for boys 12-14 for 2011 summer camp

    Since 1949, R.M. Pyles Boys Camp has been providing a quality summer camp experience for boys. Hathaway-Sycamores Child & Family Services in collaboration with the Kiwanis Club of Greater Highland Park in concert with Highland Park American Legion members are looking to provide up to 40 summer camp scholarships for qualifying families and boys 12-14 years of age. The Kiwanis Club will be scheduling several workshops for parents of 12-14 year old boys to be able to learn how to complete the required application. For more information on the Summer Camp go to, for information on the workshop call 323-385-4935 or visit