Boulevard Sentinel


News and Views

for Northeast Los Angeles

November 2010



Von's Expansion Unveiled

new vons

Gas station gone, alley will go, too.

by Tom Toppingcurrent vons

    Northeast residents have been asking for years about what's happening with the vacant lot near Von's Eagle Rock. The wait is over as Von's representatives unveiled their plans just last month at the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council Land Use Committee meeting.
    The empty lots that abutted La Loma Road formerly held a motel, a small apartment complex and an old Helm's bakery building. These lots were purchased by Von's before 2003, when Nick Pacheco was Councilman. At that time, a plan to add retail spaces, restaurants and a route 66 theme gas station was shelved as city rules forced Von's to delay building plans for a minimum of five years. The development was put on hold because they took rent controlled housing units off the market without providing for the replacement of it.
new vons    Now, as the five years have elapsed and the economy is picking up, the development is on the front burner again. The new plans do not include a gas station, but do provide at least two restaurant spaces and up to eight other retail spaces. Parking is increased by an estimated 30% and upgraded landscaping is also included.
    Interestingly, the current building will be extended on the north side, continuing to La Loma Road. The alley that currently runs west to Genevieve will be teed off, with a new driveway being added right at the La Loma - Colorado triangle.
    The closing off of the alley was the only change that wasn't allowed by right for Von's developers, who came to the ERNC Land Use Committee for their approval. Von's representatives said that "no one uses it," but it is used regularly by locals trying to avoid rush hour congestion or long traffic light waits when entering or leaving the store.
    No word yet on whether any prospective tenants have either expressed interest or are being solicited.

Relighting Figueroa's Historic Signs

Organizers need your help

by Amy Inouye and Nicole Possert
    Under the auspices of the North Figueroa Association (the Figueroa corridor's business improvement district), a grassroots campaign has taken root to bring back Figueroa's historic lights and give new appeal to this alignment of Route 66.
    The project has just received a grant from the National Park Service's Route 66 Corridor Preser-vation Program. Now, a totally community-driven fundraising campaign is being launched to provide the required matching funds for the project itself and maintenance. Here's where your help is needed.
    The first and most obvious target—the HIGHLAND THEATRE sign. Not only is it a landmark of the neighborhood, it is an important example of a rooftop electric sign, one of the biggest ones still in existence in the city.

highland theater sign

     A second sign, perhaps not so obvious is the "Manning's Coffee Store" sign atop Las Cazuelas restaurant in the 5700 block of Figueroa. The Museum of Neon Art has deemed this sign a rare example of "transitional electric signage"—as it combines neon with an older form of signage called "opal glass"—white sheets of glass with letters formed in relief, placed in the sign and lit from inside the sign. If you look at the skeleton that remains in place today, you can see where the opal glass letters used to sit, with the Manning's and some arrows outlined in neon.

The original opal glass letters have been tracked down, and a neon restoration team

will replace the neon.

    You can sponsor a lightbulb for the theatre for an affordable $19.24 (it's a 1924 building), or you can sponsor an opal glass letter, a neon letter, a neon arrow, or make a general donation. We encourage groups to think about sponsoring a specific letter (the Highland Park Heritage Trust is sponsoring the first H and the I).
    Send your check, made payable to "North Figueroa Association" (it's tax deductible) to: c/o Future Studio, 5558 N. Figueroa St., Los Angeles CA 90042. Or use paypal to the email Make sure we get your name, address, and email so we can keep you informed of progress. If you want to sponsor a specific letter, please note that with your check or in your email.
    The project is expected to get underway early next year so we need to raise these funds in the next couple months!
 mannings coffee sign
Sponsorship levels:

Highland Theatre

Single bulb: $19.24
H (reserved)

I (reserved)
G     ($700.)
    H ($750.)
L (reserved)
A     ($750.)
N     ($1,000.)
D     ($850.)
T     ($500.)
H     ($750.)
E     ($850.)
A     ($750.)
T     ($500.)
R     ($850.)
E     ($850.)

Manning's Coffee Store
Opal Glass Letters: (2 sets: COFFEE STORE, total 22 letters): $66. each
Neon Letters: (2 sets: MANNING'S, total 18 characters): $99. each
Neon Arrows (2 arrows): $660. each
    Questions can be emailed to or leave a message at 323-255-5030 and someone will get back to you.
For more info on the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program, go to
    For more information on the North Figueroa Association, go to

Help Beautify Eagle Rock with the CERBA CERB volunteer works the medians on Eagle Rock Bl.

    The Collaborative Eagle Rock Beautiful (CERB) invites all to garden in Alatorre Park and help maintain the Eagle Rock Canyon Trail on the first Saturday of each month (excluding December) from 9 am to noon, beginning on November 6. The Girl Scouts of Altadena will assist on November 6. The Eagle Rock Canyon Trail is located on a unique 4.5 acre nature preserve adjacent to the Eagle Rock. This massive project encompasses the last remaining open space between Eagle Rock and Pasadena and features a native and drought-resistant botanical garden in a magnificent setting with vistas to the sea for painters, hikers and sightseers.
    CERB also invites the community to join in its monthly street plantings on the third Saturday of each month (excluding December). The next meeting is on November 20 from 9 am to noon. Volunteers will meet at Yosemite and Eagle Rock Boulevards.
    Basic tools will be provided for all volunteers. However, volunteers are invited to bring their own work gloves and trowels, if they have them.
    The Collaborative Eagle Rock Beautiful is a non-profit organization, founded in 2001, to bring local volunteers and agencies together to enrich and beautify Eagle Rock. The mission of the Collaborative is to create low- to no-cost, drought-tolerant landscaping for area medians and parkways which alleviates dependence on uncertain City funding. Tax-deductible contributions to support median landscaping and the purchase of the Eagle Rock Canyon Trail property are always appreciated. For further information, see or call 323-255-9400 or 323-254-6540.

Colorado Terrace to Expand-coloraDO TERRACE phase ii

Phase II Coming  

by Tom Topping
    Developers of the big orange senior apartment complex on the corner of Colorado and College View, long the subject of ridicule and called by some "the ugliest building in L.A.," unveiled their plans to expand their building last month at the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council Land Use Committee meeting.
    This building was originally done with the approval and support of the Eagle Rock Association, (TERA) and was one of the few developments built in full compliance with the much heralded Colorado Boulevard Specific Plan. Developer Kurken Alyanakian said that he would have included the addition in the original plans, but the property owners would not decide to sell at that time.
    Alyanakian stated that Caltrans was requiring him to exit all traffic from the parking lot onto Colorado Boulevard. This took the committee by surprise, as that section of Colorado usually has a steady stream of traffic coming through that mostly blind curve at relatively high speed. (Observers believe that Alyanakian mis-spoke as Caltrans has no jurisdiction over traffic on Colorado Boulevard, and instead is under the purview of the L.A. City department of transportation.)
    As is always the case with those having to appear before the land use committee, developers are there to ask for permission to do something that is not already allowed by right. Tonight was no exception, as a zoning change was the real reason they were here. They were asking that the current C-4 zoning be changed to C-2. This was caught by former TERA president Michael Tharp, who is a professional planner.
    "Why is this not 'spot' zoning?" he asked. The developer's team member said it was a MORE restrictive zoning, which Tharp countered immediately.
    "It's less restrictive," Tharp said.
    "More restrictive," they replied.
    They went back and forth two more times, before Tharp prevailed. He explained that the difference between C-4 and C-2 refers to allowable uses. C-4 is almost all of the Colorado Specific Plan area, and the C-2 zoning change would allow, among others, retail with limited manufacturing, service stations and garages, churches, schools, auto sales, childcare centers, homeless shelters, theaters and broadcast studios.
    The committee adjourned without making a decision, and instead decided to put off the issue and take up the friendly sounding invitation from Alyanakian to tour the building at their leisure.


Water Main Progresses

    Water mail replacement along Colorado Boulevard is moving along on schedule. The initial laying of the main under the street went quickly and without a hitch, but the consequent hook-ups to feed each street and fire hydrant has been a long slow grind. This latest work has been the bumpiest for drivers as well, as weeks of driving over trench plates followed by roughly filled in crosscut trenches, added up to a bone jarring ride along the eastern section of Colorado from Loleta to Genevieve Streets.
    All work is scheduled to come to a halt, however, with the completion of this eastern section, as Colorado Boulevard merchants had earlier asked for a reprieve from the dust and noise, and traffic and parking interruptions throughout the holiday season. With the completion of final details along this eastern section of water main, work won't continue until the end of February, when it will start again at the corner of Eagle Rock and Colorado, and travel east until it is finished, hopefully by the end of June. 


Paramedic Of The Year 2010

Luncheon & Awards Ceremony

    Battalion 2 Commanders are very proud to announce the recipient of the 2010 Paramedic of the Year Award. This year's award goes to Firefighter/ Paramedic Ruben Terrazas of Fire Station 42, in the Eagle Rock/ Glassell Park area.
    There will be a luncheon celebrating Firefighter Paramedic Terrazas achievements at Fire Station 42 with the local community on Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 11:00am. ("A" Platoon on duty) The luncheon will be hosted by The Eagle Rock Chamber of Commerce. We have invited Mayor Villaraigosa, City Council Members Jose Huizar, Tom LaBonge, Eric Garcetti and Ed Reyes, along with the Fire Chief of the Los Angeles Fire Department, Millage Peaks. Rescue 42 serves neighborhoods in Council Districts 1, 4, 13 and 14.
    This is a great time to celebrate with Ruben and his family, and honor his commitment to the Fire Department, and the citizens of Los Angeles.
    Please Join the Chiefs in Battalion 2 at our luncheon to honor Ruben Terrazas, this year's Paramedic of the Year. There will be an awards ceremony starting at 11:00. Immediately following the presentation, a great lunch will be served courtesy of the Eagle Rock Chamber of Commerce.
    If you can join us, please call (213) 485-6272 and leave your name and how many will be coming with you so we can make sure to have plenty of food for everyone.
DATE: Thursday, November 18, 2010
PLACE: Fire Station 42, 2021 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock, CA 90041. 
TIME: 11 :00 am




Oktoberfest in Eagle RockOKTOBERFEST AT SOLHEIM

Solheim Lutheran Home

By Nina Zvaleko
    Solheim Lutheran Home, a not for profit retirement community in Eagle Rock, is known to be a place of peace, serenity, security, and abundance. On Saturday evening, October 23, the emphasis was on abundance, an abundance of JOY! In the finest Bavarian tradition, the stage was set for a good time, food, music and fun, Ja!
    Nearly 175 local folks, Solheim residents, volunteers, and neighbors, including council member José Huizar and entourage, devoured the traditional meal of bratwurst, sauerkraut, potatoes and, of course, apple strudel. And the not so traditional, but very thoughtful, vegetarian options.
    Men don't like to dress up? HA! There was "hosen" everywhere, Lederhosen, Plattlerhosen, Bundhosen. They were all there, held up by hosentraeger (suspenders) and sporting a myriad of fancy socks beneath. There were plain and embroidered shirts, topped by hats; trilbies, alpines and fedoras. Many of the women also suited up in colorful flouncy skirts and vests, with hair in traditional Bavarian braids. Many of the staff and volunteers were also smartly costumed thanks to the handiwork of Mary Casaburi.
    Thanks to the generosity of the Solheim Board of Directors, we were rockin' to the tunes and humor of the great Bavarian band Stewedsheidzel (that's "Bavarian Stew"), folks danced and sang along to traditional tunes, especially enjoying the Beer Barrel Polka, In Heaven There is no Beer, and The Chicken Dance. We also toasted life, laughter and drink! But drinking is not taken lightly at Oktoberfest, hails of "Eins, zwei, drei... G'SUFFA!!!" and cheers of "Prost!" accompanied the traditional swigging from beautiful complimentary steins.
    The band also led us in some traditional games. Yodeling, "stein holding" and the men's pretty knees were happily contested. Good natured participants were cheered on with boisterous support from the crowd. The winners Brad Steed in yodeling, David Russell and Kimberly Knab in stein holding and David Casaburi and Edwin Hernandez in the men's pretty knees contest, look forward to being challenged next year.
    Kudos to Council member José Huizar and staff for sharing the festivities. While the councilman wished us all a good time, and hopes for a bright tomorrow, he was also a great sport, dancing in the final round of the chicken dance.
    But you can count on the younger crowd to steal the show! Angelina and Talula, both age 3, had just met, but it was instant friendship. They took the crowd by storm with their dancing. Not to be outdone, David, a strapping youth, gave the men, and Kimberly, a run for their money in the stein holding contest. How long can you hold a full, large stein, in one hand, arm straight out in front of you?
    This year's festival, a fundraising event to benefit Solheim Lutheran Home, was born of the playful creativity of Tina Antypas, Development Director, and the Development Committee, headed by Sue Clauss. The generous time and energy of volunteers, including Daniel, Gretchen, Denise and other nursing students of Pasadena City College, made the evening possible.
    One question got the same response all around, from local families, Solheim residents, and volunteers. "Should Eagle Rock Oktoberfest become an annual tradition?" "JA!" A feather in the trilby of Solheim Lutheran Home for bringing a festive Bavarian folk tradition to Eagle Rock.


Lost to Stucco

Eagle Rock Valley Historical Society

    The remodel of a craftsman style house on Mount Royal Drive reminds us of the need to protect our historic neighborhood. This sad destruction of the exterior woodwork, windows, and doors and their replacement with stucco and new imitation details is an ongoing problem in our area. The developer seems oblivious to the fact that restorable period style houses bring a premium price in our beautiful neighborhoods. These tasteless modifications also lower the value of the surrounding properties. A sign on the property reads Another Project Done by Universal Home Design 800-520-4555.
    A sad way to remember Eagle rock's centennial. Historic Preservation Overlay Zones, Historic Cultural Monument status and Mills Act property tax relief will be discussed at the Eagle Rock Valley Historical Society meeting Tuesday January 18, 2011.

El Mio Home Tour

    The L.A City Cultural Monument Victorian residence of " El Mio" will be open for a Home tour and craft fair November 28, 2010. El Mio is perched on a hilltop overlooking historic Highland Park. Completed in 1887, the home was built in the Eastlake Queen Anne-style by the occults writer Judge David Patterson Hatch. In 1890 the residence was acquired by Charles William Smith and remained in the Smith family until the 1960s. In 1900 Smith was appointed by Henry E. Huntington to run the Los Angeles Railway's Yellow Car trolley system. From his hilltop home he could see the Arroyo Seco Valley being developed with rail lines running from downtown to Pasadena. It is due to the Smith's long residence that the house is listed as "The Smith Estate" on the National Register of Historic Places.
    In the late 1980s ardent preservationists Michael and Lacy Gage purchased the house and were responsible for various restorations. The current owners Tim and Mari Parker acquired the home in 1997, and after a devastating fire in 2001, have been working to restore the home to its original luster. It has a rebuilt attic, the exterior color scheme is based on the original, and the interior has been largely decorated to reflect the original period. The home has Victorian furnishings and hand painted stenciling in the entrance hall, dining room, and many of the other rooms. The Parkers have graciously offered to open their home for a tour and craft fair.
    Proceeds from ticket and craft sales are tax deductible and support the Milford Archaeological Research Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing public awareness and the understanding of archaeology in the Desert Southwest.

Update on the Eagle Rock Housing Market

What is Your Property Worth?

by John Barry
    The days are getting shorter and the nights are getting cooler! I hope everyone is having a wonderful autumn so far, and are looking forward to the upcoming holiday season as much as I am - one of my favorite times of year! With all the doom and gloom about the housing market in the media these days, and so much negative press everywhere you turn, many of you may be wondering just what is going on with the housing market here in Eagle Rock, and how properties are selling these days.
    The first thing to keep in mind is that real estate markets are extremely localized. What is happening in the market in one neighborhood is often completely different from what is happening in another - home sales may be sluggish and values may be declining in one area, and nearby the market may be thriving. The driving force behind home sales is buyer demand, and a home will ultimately be worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it – some areas are more desirable than others, reflected accordingly in the prices.
    Here in Eagle Rock, the 3rd quarter of 2010 (June 1 – September 30) saw a total of 57 new listings of single family homes in the 90041 zip code, according to the Southern California Multiple Listing Service (MLS). During that same period, a total of 31 properties closed escrow, with an average sale price of $454,396.00, and at an average of 60 days on the market. Comparing those statistics to those for the 3rd quarter of 2009, there were a total of 52 properties listed for sale, 38 properties which closed escrow, at an average sale price of $472,588.00 and an average of 59 days on the market.
    So what do these numbers mean? First of all, the average sales price is exactly that – it is simply an average of the final sales prices of all the homes that sold during that period, it is NOT an indication of value. A change in the average sales price does not indicate a change in the property values of a given market – if more high priced properties sell it will produce a higher average, and vice-versa, regardless of the actual direction the property values are going. A better indication of the change in value, and a way to roughly estimate property values in a given area, is by looking at the average price per square foot (calculated by dividing the total purchase price by the total number of square feet of the home). Of the sold homes in each period above, the average price per square foot increased by slightly over 9% from 2009 to 2010, going from $327.73 in 2009 to $357.38 in 2010. Although the properties sold in a given period may have been in better overall condition and thus the difference in the amounts, but it can also be argued that properties here in Eagle Rock, while not at the value they were at the height of the market in 2006, are certainly holding steady in price over the last 12 to 16 months, and seem to be slightly on the increase. Eagle Rock is a certainly desirable place to live, as most residents including myself will attest to, and when properties come on the market that are priced right in a desirable area, they usually sell very quickly.
    Although the average price per square foot is a good way to roughly estimate market value, there are many other factors besides this taken into account when determining a property's worth. Items such as location, property condition, size of the lot, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and the presence of upgrades and special features such as remodeled kitchens and swimming pools all contribute to the value of a home. Sow how exactly is the fair market value determined, and how do buyers get assurance that the home they are buying is worth what they are paying for it? This is where the appraisal comes in. An appraisal is strongly recommended for all buyers, and when they are obtaining a loan for the purchase, the lender will insist upon it. An independent appraiser will be hired to conduct a review and visual inspection of the property (called the "subject property"), and will present their findings in an appraisal report, which is basically a written statement of the appraiser's opinion of value. Most appraisals done on single family homes are done using the "sales comparison approach", where the value is determined by examining other recent home sales in the area, and comparing them to the subject property. In preparing the report, the appraiser will take into consideration the various features of the property, including the size, condition, age, scope and amount of upgrades, etc., and then compare that property to several other properties in the immediate area that have sold within a specified time period, usually no more than 6 months prior, and also look at some current active listings and pending sales. The appraiser will try to include properties most similar to the subject property as possible, and will make calculated adjustments to the value based on the differences, ultimately arriving at the fair market value. Buyers should always have an appraisal contingency written into their offer by their agent to protect them, which means that as a condition of the contract, the appraisal value must be equal to or greater than the agreed upon contract purchase price. If the appraisal does end up appraising for a lower price, the buyer will still have the option to either cancel the contract with no penalty, or re-negotiate the contract terms with the seller.
    So when is a good time to buy? Most experts agree that when you find the property you love and are comfortable with the monthly mortgage payment, don't wait and try to "play the market". Prices appear to be holding steady and it does not look like there will be any further significant drop in values. 30 year fixed interest rates are at there lowest amount in nearly FIFTY YEARS, and a small increase in the rate could dramatically increase your monthly payment for the same priced home. Remember, you are buying a home first and an investment second, and each home is unique – if you pass up your chance on a home you love, that chance may be gone forever!
    For questions or comments, you can reach John at

Looking Back

by Joe Walker
30 years ago:
Highland Park, 1980
    Councilwoman Peggy Stevenson held a meeting at the Ebell Club with "The Arroyo Group" a planning and architectural firm, over their plans to revitalize the the area of Figueroa St between Ave 50 and Ave 61.

Montecito Heights
Nov 12, 1980
    Martin "Meb" Brantley, a 53 year old resident of 4500 Mosher St, Montecito Heights, had a history of mental problems when two L.A. County mental health workers came to take him into protective care. When he was uncooperative, they called the LAPD. Four officers arrived and he became more and more enraged, saying he was not breaking any laws and that he wanted to be left alone. Neighbors along Mosher Street gathered to watch the drama unfold, and finally the officers shot him with taser darts and sprayed him with tear gas. That made him even more angry, and he grabbed a typewriter and held it above his head, as if to toss it at the officials. LAPD Officer Scott Burkhart, 28, shot Brantley in the chest, killing him.
    Brantley was well known in the neighborhood, driving an old van with a sign reading "Mebs TV Repairs" on it. The day before he was killed, he had accosted the local mailman, knocking him to the ground. While many neighbors felt that the officers overreacted, they also knew that "Meb" was volatile and often violent to others. His last words were: "Charge me with can't just take me away..Let me have no reason to be here!"

November, 1980 Northeast Los Angeles
    Four term State Assemblyman Richard Alatorre easily won re-election to his fifth term, beating Republican challenger Dale Reed with 67% of the vote to Reeds 28%.

35 years ago:
Eagle Rock-1975
    In November, 1975, the Trader Joe's at 1566 E Colorado Blvd offered a 1968 Parducci Petite Syrah for $2.69.

40 Years Ago:
Highland Park-1970
    Kathleen Denise Arnett, a 19 year old Pasadena City College Student and resident of 703 N. Ave 66, Highland Park, was named to the 1971 Rose Parade Court. She stated she was "nervous and excited..and just so happy to be on the court!" She was even more amazed when she was named the actual Rose Queen a few days later.

45 years ago:
Northeast Los Angeles-1965
    Men from the ages of 19-26 in the neighborhood knew very well the address of 2091 E. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena. While it is now a "Di-No Computer" store, back then it was the Selective Service Office where all men were required to register and bring their draft notices in for processing. President Lyndon B. Johnson had recently rescinded President John F. Kennedy's policy of not drafting married men, so thousands more fell under the threat of being called up and sent to Vietnam. All inductions were for the Army, Navy, and Marines, with the Air Force not asking for draftees.

45 years ago:
Eagle Rock-1965
    Heavy rains in the area contributed to minor mud slides and flooding, particularly in Eagle Rock when a 20 foot section of earth slipped at the rear of 2031 Las Colinas Drive in November, 1965.

Highland Park-1965
    Supervisor Ernest Debs made a motion to turn the 350 acres that would eventually bear his name into a County/city park. Councilman John Holland, who represented the area, supported the plan as long as only clean dirt was used, and no sanitation fill soil was used for the grading. At the time, the area was very undeveloped and the only roads through were one's constructed by the depression era Works Progress Administration, (WPA) in the 1930's.

Mount Washington-1965
    Violence erupted at the home of Ronald and Mary Colin of 640 Rome Drive, Mt. Washington, on November 25, 1965. A family fight, fueled by drinking and the threat by Ronald to shoot his wife and six kids lead to Mary Collin calling the police. After a short standoff, Colin laid his rifle on the front porch and announced to officers, "If you want it, come and get it". As Officer R.J. Code went to retrieve the weapon, Collin lunged for the weapon, attempting to retrieve it and possibly continue his rampage. A shotgun blast from another LAPD officer killed Colin, and the 29 year old father of six was killed.

50 years ago:
Highland Park-1960
    Nancy Ann Mellen, 17, of 859 Cresthaven Dr, Highland Park, was named to the Tournament of Roses Court fr the 1961 Rose Parade. Two weeks after the parade, the Pasadena Star News reported her engagement to a Mr. Ronald Kendall.

50 Years ago:
Monteceito Heights-1960
    Now known as the Montecito Heights Senior Center at 4545 Homer Dr, in 1960 it was called the Arroyo Seco Park Recreation Center. On November 27, 1960, the first of four "Christmas Charm"classes were announced. The classes for young ladies would include tips on grooming, excercise, all of which would be preceded by 30 minutes of aerobic exercise. No word on whether Ms. Mellon, the new Rose Princess, attended.
On November 20, 1960, Diana Jensen, a Franklin High School student, won a speech contest competing against 43 other high school orators. The contest was sponsored by the "Community Chest", a nationwide charitiable organization that was eventually replaced by what is now known as the United Way.

55 years ago:
El Sereno-1955
    While Romeo and Juliet was a tragic Shakespearean tome about forbidden love, a modern day story with equally tragic results hit the same and quiet hillside street of O Neill Street in foothills off Huntington, above the Ascot Resevoir. George Inada, 30, a Japanese-American man who's family owned strawberry ranches in Oceanside, and Virginia Parschall, 25, were in love. Inada's traditional parents did not approve of Virginia, who was divorced. So, they took a tragic way out. They locked her German Shepherd in the house, ran a garden hose from the exhaust pipe into the car, and committed suicide. 10 days later they were discovered at her quiet home at 4337 O Neill St by a neighbor. The dog, malnourished and neglected after 10 days, survived.

"Still Cruisin" with The Eagle Rockin' Rodders
by Terrey Munday
    Greetings friends and neighbors,
    We would like to thank everyone who attended our Halloween cruise-in despite the cold weather. A few even came in costume and the cars were all decked out in the spirit of evening. The raffle went well with two cash winners taking home $33.00 each.
    Next month we will be giving away the money we have raised all year to our charities. All of you who participate deserve a huge hand because, without your generous purchases of tickets and various donations, none of this would be possible.
    This year we're focusing on the children of Eagle Rock and hopefully you will be pleased with what we have decided to do with the money. However, you have to wait till next month to find out! Also, we are very delighted to welcome Terry May, our newest member to the Eagle Rockin' Rodders.
    It's always awesome to see some new faces at our cruise-ins' but equally grand to see the familiar faces of past members and members of other clubs. Your support means more to us than you know. Once again there were over 20 cars in attendance so we have two cars for our "pick of the month".
    First pick is owned by Roger Perez. It's a 1931 Ford Sedan with a 4 inch chopped top. It rocks a 350 engine, 350 transmission, shift kit, and Stewart Warner gauges he says he "snagged from his buddy Rex". He got the car in 2006 after finding it in pieces with a tree limb growing out the rear window. Since then it has been a work in progress with Roger, giving her the nickname of "La Chona". She proudly bears four bullet holes and rumor has it she ran moonshine back in the days of prohibition. Keep a look out for her driving around Eagle Rock since Roger and his lady Olga, are local residents.
    The second pick is a 1967 Chevy Chevelle that belongs to Eric and Regina Padilla. It got a lot of attention with its "hugger orange" paint job and felt cut outs of a jack-o-lantern on the hood. It was the perfect addition for Halloween. Eric got the car 20 years ago and at that time it needed everything. He started working on it right away and within the first year he entered it in a car show. That day he won the trophy for "best under construction" and that's all it took. He was inspired to go all the way to pristine and finally completed the project in 2005. It now has a 383 Stroker Engine, 400 Turbo Trans, Posi Rear-end, and is simply gorgeous inside and out. Thank you Eric and Regina for sharing it with us and we hope to see you and the family again next month.
    We will be back at Tommy's on November 27th from 6-8 PM. As well as presenting our charitable donations we will be hosting a toy drive in conjunction with "Fire Station 42". Please bring an unwrapped toy to share if you can. This year the Eagle Rockin' Rodders have much to be thankful for. We wish you all a blessed and Happy Thanksgiving!

CRA in NELA? Open House Nov. 6

    The Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles (CRA/LA) is exploring the possibility of adopting a new redevelopment project area that overlaps with portions of four communities: Atwater Village, Cypress Park, Elysian Valley and Glassell Park in an effort to enhance existing commercial corridors and residential areas by using a portion of funds you may already pay to the Local City, State, or Federal Government.
    Join us at a Community Open house to learn more about the work we do and how redevelopment could benefit your community.
CRA/LA Community Open House: Glassell Park
Saturday, November 6, 2010 | 10 am – 12 pm
Glassell Park Community and Senior Center
3750 Verdugo Road, Los Angeles, 90065
    We are very pleased to inform you that yesterday, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced its list of grant awards for the first notice of funding availability under the Sustainable Communities Program. The Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles (CRA/LA) was awarded a $2.25million grant that will be used to significantly enhance the studies that the CRA/LA is conducting related to the proposed redevelopment project area in Northeast Los Angeles. We are one of two planning projects that received awards in the state of California for this very competitive grant opportunity!
    This grant does not pre-determine the adoption of a redevelopment project area or the final proposed boundaries. There is a process that must be followed to ensure that the community is informed, engaged and heard. It will help us conduct a needs assessment for workforce development and training that is customized to our local employers, support planning for enhanced walking and cycling facilities that connect our neighborhoods with each other and the Los Angeles River and support a detailed review of areas where industrial businesses create nuisances for neighboring residential areas. Please visit our website to download a copy of the grant application that was submitted for the award.
    Please sign-up on our interested parties list for more information or contact Michael Cortez, Community Affairs: or 323-960-2664. CRA/LA Hollywood Office / 323-960-2660 Follow us on Facebook: The Northeast Los Angeles (NELA) River Corridor Study For more information on the grant please visit or contact myself or Alison Becker at 323-960-2660

"Truly An Evening of Hope"

by Linda Allen
    The recent event of an "Evening of Hope", a partnership of the Women's Twentieth Century Club of Eagle Rock and Glendale Adventist Medical Center, was a wonderful, festive and thoroughly "Pink" evening at the Clubhouse! Attendees were feted with fun, camaraderie, good food, wonderful vendors giving and selling their specialized creations, and an "Army of Pink" cardboard supporters of the cancer awareness cause.
    But more importantly, what came from the evening was a "true" sense of hope. The doctors and staff of GAMC, with all their expertise, information, caring and love, gave women who attended, a warm sense that they, and their health, are deeply "cared" about. They would help any woman who needs medical attention and support in this important area, with the latest digital imaging and most recent medical data. One lovely lady doctor was even moved to near tears by the story of one of her patients. Hopefully, this nurturing atmosphere helped a number of women who were afraid of seeking help, or needed to hear warm words of encouragement, decide to seek treatment. This event would not have been possible without GAMC and their staff, in particular Denise Miller and coordinator, Teryl McDougall who gave so much time to this event, organizing, gathering vendors, donating food and wondrous cake, and additionally providing speakers, survivors, and inviting legislators and supporters. The WTCC event committee, especially Co-chair Karen Warren, Anne Wolf, Lois Lowrey, Martha Hidalgo and helpers, Roe Muzingo and Lani Stapp worked hard with GMAC to insure a wonderful evening. It was truly, "An Evening of Hope"!

Heritage Square 3rd-5th Grade Program

Free living history program for 3rd – 5th grade classrooms receives grants from Verizon and the Crail-Johnson Foundation
    Thanks to recent grants from Verizon and the Crail-Johnson Foundation, Heritage Square Museum's free education program for 3rd-5th grade classrooms will continue to provide a great way for students to learn Southern California history in a fun, interactive way. Called A Golden Vision: The Growth of Southern California, the program's distinct components have proven to be an effective way of teaching history without neglecting other subjects. Results don't lie – students have improved by as much as 30% on recent evaluations after participating in the program.
    A Golden Vision is an opportunity to immerse your students in the history, culture, and lifestyle of Los Angeles from the 1850s to the 1950s.
    The program is unique in that it offers:
    A curriculum for teachers that complies with the content standards for the respective grade level and subject; a classroom visit from a costumed museum educator; participation in period activities during your site visit, such as learning how blacksmiths bent metal or how Victorian society washed clothes.
New components added
    This year, the museum has added new components designed to keep students involved in local history and find ways to keep them interested and engaged in learning. New this year to A Golden Vision is our website and book reading contest. The website ( features living history activities you can do at home, online games, historic photographs and documents and links to additional educational websites. The book reading contest is open to any child currently in 2nd through 5th grade. Any child who reads three books on California set in 1850-1950 and writes a synopsis of each will win their family free admission to the museum and an additional prize. The rules and a list of suggested books can be found on the website.
    Participation in this program is free and will give your students the opportunity to truly engage history and learn about the growth of Southern California. For more information on A Golden Vision: The Growth of Southern California or to sign up, please contact Jessica Rivas at 323-225-2700 ext.224. Sample materials can be provided upon request.
    Heritage Square is a living history museum dedicated to telling the story of the development of Los Angeles. The museum houses eight structures of historic and architectural importance, saved from demolition and moved to the current site. These buildings provide the perfect backdrop to produce quality events, exhibits and programs that inspire the public about the history of Southern California.
     Heritage Square is located at 3800 Homer Street, off the 110 Arroyo Seco Parkway (110/Pasadena Freeway) at Avenue 43, just North of downtown Los Angeles. For further information, the public may call 323-225-2700 or visit our website at
    The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, supports the advancement of literacy and K-12 education through its free educational website, Verizon Thinkfinity (, and fosters awareness and prevention of domestic violence. In 2009, the Verizon Foundation awarded $67.9 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the U.S. and abroad. It also matched the charitable donations of Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in $26.1 million in combined contributions to nonprofits. Through Verizon Volunteers, one of the nation's largest employee volunteer programs, Verizon employees and retirees have volunteered more than 5 million hours of community service since 2000. For more information on the foundation, visit
CicLAvia Attracts 100,000, Transforms L.A. to a Bicyclist's Paradise
Bicyclists pedal through MacArthur Park.
    Councilmember Reyes thanks the nearly 100,000 bicyclists, pedestrians, dog walkers, skate boarders, roller bladers and others who turned out for the City's first CicLAvia on Sunday, Oct. 10, 2010. Participants passed over bridges, through parks, past City Hall and along the Los Angeles River in a 7.5-mile car-free route from East Hollywood to Boyle Heights.
Reyes Helps Bring Bike Racks to Westlake Reyes speaks to bicyclists and reporters about the importance of bike racks.
    Councilmember Reyes, jack hammer in hands, pounded bolts into concrete to install a bike rack in front of the CARECEN Day Labor Center. It is one of dozens of new bike racks popping up in the Westlake neighborhood this month intended for immigrant bicyclists, an important and often overlooked demographic of the bicycle community. The bike rack installations are the latest in Councilmember Reyes' efforts to make Los Angeles a more bicycle-friendly city. The project is a joint effort of Reyes, Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and the Los Angeles Department of Transportation.

“North by Northeast"Cutting-edge art meets artistic heritage at the 18th Annual Arroyo Arts Collective Discovery Tours

    For 18 years, Northeast LA had played host to the Arroyo Arts Collective Discovery Tour. On Sunday, November 21, from 9:30 AM to 5 p.m., the tour returns under the title "North by Northeast" and will showcase more than 100 artists who work in an array of mediums, from the traditional to the exotic to the offbeat.
    The self-guided auto tour features a unique glimpse into artists' homes and studios in Highland Park, Mount Washington, Glassell Park, Montecito Heights and Eagle Rock. It also offers a great opportunity to pick up one-of-a-kind art works and artistic treasures at great prices.
    For those who don't wish to drive, shuttle buses will be available with stops at select locations.
    Northeast Los Angeles—or NELA, as residents call it—has a rich creative history that dates back to the late 19th century, when poet and writer Charles Lummis built his home "El Alisal" at Avenue 43. The hand-hewn residence quickly became a gathering place for writers and other luminaries. At around the same time, landscape painter William Lee Judson founded the Los Angeles College of Fine Arts and Architecture a few miles north. The school became USC's first School of Fine Arts in the 1920s.
    Today, Northeast Los Angeles offers a vibrant art walk the second Saturday of each month that includes several neighborhood galleries and attracts hundreds of enthusiasts. While the focus is local, the growing attention NELA is getting is turning international: the New York Times and the Financial Times of London have taken note of the NELA scene, as have many other respected art critics and publications.
    Find out what the buzz is about and support Los Angeles artists. Purchase tickets in advance for $10 or the day of the tour for $15. The tour begins at the Lummis Home, where participants will receive a map and tour badge. Maps will be available beginning at 9:30 a.m., and studios will open at 10 a.m.
    A preview party featuring tour artists' work will be held Nov. 13 in conjunction with the second Saturday art walk. The party, which is free, will be at Future Studio Gallery, 5558 North Figueroa Street, Los Angeles.
    The tour begins at the Lummis Home (200 E. Ave. 43, Highland Park, 90031 )Tickets are only $10 in advance and $15 on the day of the tour and can be purchased online or at Galco's Old World Grocery, 5702 York Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90031. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit or call (323) 850-8566.
    Images from artists and previous Discovery Tours are available upon request.

crash on Townsend


ER Music Fest

music fest 2010

At top left, the American Tire building undergoes renovations as it is converted into medical offices.
Top right, a young musician returniong home on a Sunday morning fell asleep and crashed into the pickup shoving it on top of the honda car.
At bottom left and right, the 2010 Eagle Rock Music Festival ROCKS!!




Groundbreaking Ceremony for Improvements to Hermon Park in the Arroyo Seco

by Wendi Riser

September 18, 2010
    The historic community of Hermon recently held a Groundbreaking Ceremony with Councilman Huizar in Hermon Park for a $750,000 Prop K improvement project. The Improvements will include an Americans with Disabilities compliant children's playground to replace and add to the present playground. Increased and more efficient security lighting throughout the park (but not the dog park) and the installation of a new irrigation system and those used the remaining budget.
    There were several meetings with 3 Hermon community members, two people from the Council Office and two people from the Bureau of Engineering to discuss the project. Councilman Jose Huizar enlisted the help of the City's General Services Department to take on the project when the contractor who originally won the bid defaulted. The project has now begun.
    Here's some history on this project. In 2005, Hermon leaders were approached by Mark Mariscal, then Superintendent of Regional Operations for the Department of Recreation and Parks for our area. He told us that Prop K funds would be coming down the pipeline for Hermon Park. (Rec and Parks must use those funds for improvements to the parks) He recommended that we gather community input about the kinds of future new/additional facilities we'd like to see happen at our park.
    So as recommended, at Hermon Local Issues meetings in January of 2006, and again in September of 2006, ideas were discussed. Community ideas included a jogging path and exercise equipment circuit, a fountain and landscaping, a gazebo for outside events, turning the first tennis court into a basketball court with community volunteer coaches, an outdoor amphitheater with wood beams built into the southern slopes that border Via Marisol for live theater, concerts and movies, and lastly was the request for use of a public building for indoor community meetings.
    A short time later Rec and Parks supervisor Bill Lopez suggested the last lot next to the back tennis courts be used as a community garden. His suggestion was taken to the Arroyo Seco Chair of the Community Garden Committee and plans have been in the works to make that happen.
    Arthur (AJ) Jaramillo, Mark Legassie and I were the three Hermon community members invited to be on the committee. So we were quite surprised after taking the many suggestions we'd been asked to glean from the community, to find out from Field Deputy Erick Martell that the funds were already pretty much spent.
    Evidently, before any improvements can be made to the park, the present playground has to be removed to be made ADA compliant. With mats replacing sand so that wheelchair-bound children can attempt to use the swings, slides and monkey bars. Further they felt that what used to be the regularly budgeted maintenance, lighting and irrigation could now be updated with Prop K Funds instead. Those three things took all the money and the decision was made before we ever met. Our time was spent looking over approved drawings of the playground and blueprints of where the lighting and irrigation will be placed. So sadly for us none of the community's wishes were even considered.
    The playground, lighting and irrigation are scheduled to be completed by June 2011

Garvanza History Revealed in New Bookgarvanza book

Local author Charlie Fisher releases new book featuring stunning collection of vintage photographs- Book signing Nov. 6

    New from Arcadia Publishing's Images of America series is Garvanza. In over 200 vintage photographs, local author Charles J. Fisher and the Highland Park Heritage Trust share the history of the area.
    Named for the garbanzo bean that Julio Verdugo raised on his Rancho San Rafael, the town of Garvanza was laid out by Ralph Rogers in 1886. The community soon became a haven for artists and others seeking a refuge from the growing urban life of Los Angeles. Early institutions included the Church of the Angels and the Judson Studios, founded by painter William Lees Judson to create art through stained glass.
    The town's identity was eventually overtaken by neighboring Highland Park but the community name was reestablished in the 1990s by today's residents, who are as in love with its beauty as those 110 years earlier.
    The photographs used in this book are mostly from the collection of Virginia Neely, one of the original founders of the HPHT, as well as the author's personal collection and other sources. Many have never before been published.
    Join us for a book signing event!
Saturday, November 6, 2010
6:30 to 8:30 PM
Figueroa Produce Market
6312 N. Figueroa S/York Blvd
Highland Park, CA (in the shopping plaza)
    Available at area bookstores, independent retailers, and online retailers, or through Arcadia Publishing at (888)-313-2665 or
    Arcadia Publishing is the leading publisher of local and regional history in the United States. Our mission is to make history accessible and meaningful through the publication of books on the heritage of America's people and places. Have we done a book on your town? Visit
    Author Charles J. Fisher is a professional historian specializing in local history. A native of Los Angeles, he grew up on Mount Washington, a stone's throw from Garvanza, and has lived in adjacent Highland Park for almost 30 years. Fisher has successfully researched, written, and/or advocated more than 110 successful monument applications in the City of Los Angeles and is a past president and current board member of the Highland Park Heritage Trust (HPHT).
by Charles J. Fisher, Highland Park Heritage Trust
Images of America series
Price: $21.99
128 pages/ softcover
Available: September 27, 2010

Dear Swork,

    I regret to inform you, and truly apologize, that our brief relationship must come to an end. No, no, please don't get me wrong, it's not you. 'love your place, I really do. I've been looking for a place just like yours to spend my Saturday mornings. The two weekends I spent with you were perfect. Your employees were super (sorry about that spill guys), the Wi-Fi was up to speed, the music was unobtrusive and relaxing, and there was a nice mix of clientele. No, it's not you.
    The reason our brief relationship must end is the parking ticket' received from the City of Los Angeles. Now, I admit, it was entirely my fault. I parked on a deserted side street, and it just didn't occur to me that I would need to put quarters in the meter on a Saturday morning; but I really should have double checked. No, it was definitely my fault. But I'll tell you, nothing spoils one's Saturday morning more quickly than receiving a parking ticket; and nothing sours that experience even more than being slammed with a fifty-five dollor fine.
    Now, in these difficult economic times-heck, in good economic times-fifty-five dollars just comes across as an insult and an abuse. Oh, I will pay the fine like a good citizen, and' will complain about it, as is my first amendment right; but, sadly, I will also take my business elsewhere-which I regret.
    Through no fault of your own, you are losing a client because the City wants to charge an outrageous fine. True, they rightly won $55 of my hard-earned money; but you unfortunately lost that $55, and more, which I would have happily spent in the coming weeks in your establishment. Not only your establishment, but The Corner Pizzeria, The Taco Spot, The Coffee Table, and other businesses in the area that caught my eye, will all be losing my patronage. And, I, of course, will be losing some great little places to hang out at, in a great little neighborhood.
    I am truly am sorry, it's just that I'm not going to take the chance of getting a heavy-handed fine simply for my inattention, forgetfulness, or the fact that I might stay one minute too long in a !larking spot on a Saturday morn. No, there are other places I can go where I don't have to worry about that. Normally I wouldn't have said anything, just quietly disappeared; I just thought you should know because I do love your little place. But, for now I regret to say that I will continue to remain on my side of town-at least until I can find another establishment where I don't have to worry about the City ransacking my wallet.
    I will miss you, and regret that I have lost you before we even really got to know each other.
Regretfully yours,
Thomas Gebe
Pasadena, CA

Forum on Identity Theft and Fraud

    The Eagle Rock Chamber of Commerce, Councilmember, Jose Huizar, and the Women's 20th Century Club of Eagle Rock invite you to attend a Forum on Identity Theft and Fraud on Monday November 8, 2010 from 7:00pm – 8:00pm at the Women's 20th Century Club located at 5105 Hermosa Ave (at Colorado Blvd.) Los Angeles, CA 90041.
    Come and learn how to protect yourself from
· Internet Scams
· Credit Card Fraud
· Counterfeit Currency
    Featured Panelists will speak and answer your questions. Representatives from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security-U.S. Secret Service, the Los Angeles Police Department and Citibank have been invited. Refreshments will be served. Please RSVP. For more information or to RSVP, please contact the Council District 14- Northeast District at (323) 254-5295. Please help spread the word. Thanks!

HP Students Boost Leadership Skills

Highland Park Students Strengthen Leadership Skills at Annual Seminar

Hathaway-Sycamores' Youth Leadership Council members serve as role models

(HIGHLAND PARK, Calif., Oct. 25, 2010)—
    Members of the Hathaway-Sycamores Child and Family Services' Highland Park Family Resource Center's Youth Leadership Council recently attended a three-day seminar set in the scenic mountains of Blue Jay, Calif. The annual seminar is designed to strengthen the students' leadership and interpersonal skills—skills that they can then employ as they model positive behaviors t school and in the community.
    The Youth Leadership Council is a co-ed, youth-service organization membered by Highland Park middle-school and high-school students who are committed to bettering the community through: engaging in volunteerism; enhancing self-character; and serving as role models for area youth. The Leadership Council meets every Friday afternoon at the Hathaway-Sycamores' Highland Park Family Resource Center (840 N. Avenue 66) where they discuss upcoming events and projects.
    Subjects covered during the weekend seminar included: characteristics of a leader; team confidence building; leadership styles; and self-positive thinking versus group-negative thinking. One particularly engaging session was led by L. Michael Black, Junior Part Commander of the American Legion's District 17. Black presented a lesson focusing on the "Johari Window," a cognitive tool created to facilitate a better understanding of interpersonal communication and relationships.
    Other informative sessions, which were led by Family Resource Center staff members Richard Ledesma and Yvonne Sarceda, covered a wide range of topics, including rumor control as well as personal health and hygiene. For the latter discussion, hygiene products were donated by local Legionnaire Keith Curdy of City Hall Post 387. Leadership Council members also participated in a cooking class led by Mrs. Elvia Ledesma whereby they made crab meat enchiladas in green tomato sauce. Many of these activities were made possible, in part, through funding provided by the Los Angeles Police Post 381.
    Commenting on the event, Hathaway-Sycamores' President and CEO William Martone said, "Our Family Resource Center is dedicated to helping youngsters expand their horizons and make positive life choices. This recent seminar certainly contributes to that goal, and we are very proud of the students who participated."
    Area middle-school or high-school students interested in joining the Youth Leadership Council can contact Janet Lester at (323) 257-9600, ext. 7111 or Richard Ledesma at (323) 257-9600, ext. 7120.
About Hathaway-Sycamores' Highland Park Family Resource Center
    The Hathaway-Sycamores' Highland Park Family Resource Center, which is located at 840 N. Avenue 66, provides: after-school enrichment programs for children and adolescents; individual and family counseling; adult education classes; access to community technology centers; and other prevention programs that are designed to enrich and empower families and their communities.
    Hathaway-Sycamores Child and Family Services, the largest provider of children's mental-health services in Los Angeles County, provides a comprehensive continuum of services to more than 8,500 children and families annually through a network of facilities stretching across the greater Los Angeles area including the San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Valley, and the Antelope Valley. To learn more about the organization go to


Thoughts on Giving Thanks

By Christopher Nyerges
[Nyerges is the author of "Self-Sufficient Home" and other books. He leads courses in the native uses of plants. He can be reached at Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041, or]
    Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday of the year. Even moreso than Christmas. It is our uniquely American holiday where the family gathers, where we remember our roots, we share a meal, and we give thanks.
But look how quickly such simple and profound holidays get perverted. Today, we hardly know what "giving thanks" even means, and so the act of giving thanks is lost on most of us. Newscasters talk about "turkey day," as if all there was to the day was eating turkey. Interestingly, most folks would not know whether or not they were eating turkey, or eating crow, and most of the time we're doing the latter, figuratively speaking. Then, when we have barely taken the time to consider the notion of "giving thanks," we get up early on the following "black Friday" to rush around with the mobs "looking for a good deal" to help us celebrate the consumer-driven commercial craze into which we've morphed "Christmas."
    Wow! How did we get here? What can we do about it? Let's take a moment to look at the roots of Thanksgiving.
    In the history of North America, we are told that the first historic Thanksgiving Day was in October of 1621. After a successful harvest that year at the Plymouth colony, there was about a week of celebrations. The local Indians and the colonists joined together, with the Indians generally showing the colonists (mostly city folks) how to hunt for the meal which consisted of fowl, deer, duck, goose, and fish. Corn bread, wild greens, plums, leeks, and many other vegetables (wild and domestic) were shared in this celebration. Interestingly, there is no evidence that wild turkey or wild cranberries (totally unpalatable without cooking and adding sweeteners) were part of the menu.
    In fact, some historians question whether or not there were any religious overtones at all on this "first Thanksgiving," citing such evidence as the archery and firearms games, and the running and jumping competitions, which they say would never be done at religious ceremonies by the Puritans.
    Some say that the "first Thanksgiving" was just another Harvest Festival.
    What then is it, if anything, that sets the American (and the Canadian) Thanksgiving celebration apart from any of the other myriad of Harvest Festivals?
    The pilgrims experienced a severe drought in the summer of 1623. That season, they were totally dependent on wild game and wild plants, and owed their survival largely to the English-speaking Indian Squanto. In their lack, they refocussed upon their real purpose for coming to this new land. They sought to establish a time to give thanks for their spiritual bounty, in spite of the fact that they had no material bounty that year.
A harvest festival implies revelry and fun because of the material bounty; by contrast, a day of thanks is intended to remind us that there is more to life than the physical bodies and material food. The day of thanks is set apart so that we do not lose sight of our spiritual heritage, which is the real bounty.
    Both Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July are the times that Americans have traditionally set aside to reflect upon the concepts of "freedom" and "giving thanks." The purpose of such special times of reflection is to see how well we have done during the past year, and determine what corrections we should make if we find that we are veering away from our chosen path. It should not be a time of merely "having fun."
    Most of us have made the choice to abandon using the Thanksgiving day as a time of reflection, either personally or publicly. And thus, the Day of Thanksgiving continues to degenerate and we veer further and further from fulfilling any special destiny that may have been fulfilled by the people of the United States.
    As long as we confuse "giving thanks" with "eating a lot of really good food," the practical effect is that Thanksgiving today is little more than a Harvest Festival. "Giving Thanks" is a particular attitude which accompanies specific actions. Perhaps sharing our bounty with the needy would be a better Thanksgiving activity than eating large volumes of food. More to the point, perhaps we should use Thanksgiving to give thanks where it is due -- to the American Indians who have become the "forgotten minorities." Rather than "eat a lot," perhaps we could send blankets, food, or money to any of the American Indian families or nations who today live in Third World conditions.
    To me, the essence of Thanksgiving was the coming together of two cultures, trying to work together under trying circumstances. Yes, they shared a meal. Food sustains us. But it was not about food, per se. They practiced with their bows and guns, a sign of mutual preparedness. And in their own ways, they "prayed to God," in the ways that were appropriate to each culture.
    If atheists do not like the notion of "God" in Thanksgiving, I say too bad! No one is forcing an atheist to celebrate this American custom. They can go watch a movie, if they choose, but no one imposes these traditions on anyone! The notion of a Supreme Intelligence was common to the Indians and the new settlers to the Northeastern coasts. That this was so is well-documented in William Stolzman awesome book, "The Pipe and Christ: A Christian-Sioux Dialogue." He shows many of the similarities, and differences, between the native religion and the mostly Christian Europeans who began to occupy what became the United States and Canada. Similarly, these distinctions are well laid out in Vine Deloria's classic work, "God is Red," which Wilma Mankiller once declared to the be closest thing to an Indian Bible that's ever been written.
    By the way, much has been said about the term "Indian," supposedly because Columbus thought he was in India when in fact he never got beyond the Caribbean islands. But not everyone agrees with that linguistic conclusion. For one, India was not called "Indian" in the late 1400s. Some have suggested that it was the phrase "en Dios" (with God) that Columbus used to describe how the native, who lived simply and were perceived to be "close to God," was the actual root of the term "Indians." It is still debated.
    Anyway, once we get to Halloween every year, we're in the end-of-year Holiday mode that include Thanksgiving, and then Hannukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Years. These could be special events that lead to our spiritual enlightenment, and evolution, but we have to fight to make them so.
    There is much to be thankful for on Thanksgiving, whether we give thanks to friends and family, thanks to God, and thanks for our relative bounty.
    But we really should not forget our national roots. Don't just give lip-service thanks to the Native Americans whose land was taken. Rather, find those organizations that are actually providing real assistance to Native Americans in poverty, such as many of those living in the third world conditions so prevalent on today's reservations. (IF you have trouble locating such organizations, contact me and I will make some suggestions).

First Annual Northeast Carnival November 12-14

    The First Annual Northeast Carnival is coming to the Northeast Community on Friday November 12 from 5pm – 11:00pm, Saturday November 13 from 1pm – 11:00pm, and Sunday November 14 from 1pm – 11:00pm. The First Annual Northeast Carnival is a collaboration of the NOE LAPD, LAPD Cadets (formerly the NOE Explorers), and local groups and organizations and is to take place along Eagle Rock Boulevard (between Avenue 33 and Verdugo Road) in the Community of Glassell Park.
    Pre-sale discounted TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE ON A "FIRST-TO-CALL, FIRST-TO HAVE-FUN" basis with those not acting quickly enough paying full price of the ticket! For a measly $20 (pre-sale discounted price), you get (1) sheet of TEN (10) tickets. This special ticket price will allow the ticket holder to ONE RIDE PER TICKET. After the PRE-SALE DISCOUNTED TICKETS are gone, regular price tickets will be available at a ONE (1) DOLLAR PER TICKET, with tickets per ride going from TWO (2) PER RIDE up to SIX (6) PER RIDE, a substantial increase from the PRE-SALE DISCOUNTED TICKET PRICING!!
    Act NOW!! All Pre-order Discounted Tickets will be sold from 2pm - 8pm Monday - Friday by stopping in to the NOE LAPD Station located at 3353 San Fernando Road (Front Desk) to purchase your tickets, send your request to purchase tickets to Officer Olga Lowe, send an e-mail to Officer Lowe at, or by calling the NOE CRO Office at 213.485.2548. If ordering by phone or e-mail, you must pay for and pick-up your tickets before Thursday November 11, 2010 – NO EXCEPTIONS.
    PRE-SALE DISCOUNTED TICKET will not be available at the Carnival/ You may also buy your PRE-SALE DISCOUNTED TICKET at this weekend's Annual LAPD Open House & Resource Fair from 10am – 3pm. We hope to see you there for a weekend of fun, festivities, and family frolicking with the Clowns, Games, Rides, and Entertainment! Buy your tickets now!!!

Van de Kamp Innovation Center Opens

    Reyes recently joined nearly 300 people to celebrate the reopening of the iconic Van de Kamp bakery as the Los Angles Community College District Van de Kamp Innovation Center. The Glassell Park center, which includes the Environmental Science and Technology High School, offers students general education, job training, education and career counseling. The $67 million project is funded by Proposition A/AA, Measure J, and State funds. For more information, click here.
Open Dialogue Over New Cultural District
    Come weigh in on a discussion about recognizing some First District neighborhoods as a Cultural District at the Central American Cultural District Community meeting. The meeting takes place tomorrow, Saturday, Oct. 16 from 4:15-6:30 p.m. at MacArthur Park Recreation Center, 2230 W. 6th Street. Residents said declaring MacArthur Park, Westlake, and Pico-Union as a Cultural District will help them tap into much-needed funding for cultural, art, and music programs. Since parking is limited, attendees are encouraged to take public transportation. For more information, call Maria Lam at (323) 468-2555.