Featured items on homepage for top stories…

Endangered Arts Internship Program Restored

A ten week endangered Arts Internship Program that has given more than 1,400 undergraduate college students the opportunity to work with a non profit organization has been restored through the action taken by the Board of Supervisors at the County Budget meeting.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas spoke to the 75 undergraduate student who received paid summer internships in the arts at the 2011 Arts Summit at City Hall in Pasadena.

“I commend the Board for designating $250,000 to the Los Angeles County Arts Internship Program and making the internship program part of the County’s annual budget,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. ”Today the Board secured an investment in our youth and our economy by supporting a program which promotes innovation, leadership, and management skills.”

Since the expiration of federal stimulus funds in 2010, the Arts Internship Program has been in jeopardy of being eliminated from the County budget. Supervisor Ridley-Thomas has championed the effort to restore funds for the program. Last year the Board of Supervisors voted in favor of the Ridley-Thomas motion which financially supported the arts program for one additional year.

The action by the Board of Supervisors today assures that the arts internship program will automatically be considered as part of the county budget each year.

“It often seems as though arts programs are considered a luxury but in reality these programs are essential to our youth and their development,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. “Art is the gateway that allows many students to unlock their potential.”

The Arts Internship Program was created in 1999, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to provide internships for nonprofit performing and literary arts organizations. Undergraduate students receive on the job training and experience working in nonprofit organizations. As part of the program students are paid to serve as staff members, board members and volunteers in non profit arts organizations. Students take on leadership roles and develop business skills in order to work on seasonal and special projects in various non profit organizations.

I-405 Closure

Plan Ahead, Avoid The Area, Or Stay Home. That’s the message public safety officials are sending to the public in anticipation of a planned 10-mile, 53-hour closure of the I-405 freeway between the U.S. 101 and I-10 on the weekend of July 16-17, 2011 for planned demolition work on the Mulholland Bridge, part of a major I-405 improvement project.

The Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles Fire Department, California Highway Patrol, Los Angeles Department of Transportation, Metro and Caltrans are informing the public in advance that if they do not have a critical need to be in or near the vicinity of the closure, they are being asked to avoid the area.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) has produced a new I-405 closure Public Service Announcement featuring actor Erik Estrada that is available for public use.

Available in English and Spanish, the video PSA reminds the public to Plan Ahead, Avoid the Area or Stay Home during the closure weekend July 16-17, 2011.

Estrada, who played “Poncherello, a California Highway Patrol officer in the popular 1970s-1980s TV show CHiP’s, volunteered to do the PSA to Metro for free in recognition of the importance this freeway improvement project will have in adding carpool lane capacity to the I-405 between the I-10 and U.S. 101 freeways.

PSA in English:

PSA in Spanish:

The specific freeway closure boundaries are as follows:

Northbound I-405: 10-mile closure between I-10 and U.S. 101
Southbound I-405: 4-mile closure between U.S. 101 and Getty Center Drive Ramps
Motorists who must travel through the Los Angeles metropolitan area are advised to use alternate freeways within the region, including the 5, 15, 23, 55, 57, 101, 118, 126, 210, 605 and 710 freeways to bypass the impacted area. In addition, public transportation options are available such as the Metro Rail service within L.A. County and Metrolink servicing the five county Southern California region. Additional alternate route information will be made available on the project web site at www.metro.net/405.

On Friday, July 15, ramps along the 10 mile closure will begin to be shut down as early as 7 p.m., and closure of freeway lanes will begin at 10 p.m. to ensure full freeway closure by midnight. The closure will continue until 5 a.m. Monday morning, July 18. Ramps and connectors will be reopened by 6 a.m. During this closure, the Mulholland Bridge, I-405 freeway and access ramps will be closed.

Sepulveda Boulevard is intended as an alternate route for local resident access only. Sepulveda Boulevard will not have the capacity to accommodate both local and diverted freeway traffic. Those using Sepulveda Boulevard should expect extreme congestion and lengthy delays. Motorists should instead use alternate regional freeway routes to completely bypass the Sepulveda Pass.

Traffic conditions on local streets and freeways within the region of Los Angeles County and beyond are expected to be severe, with significant, multi-hour delays. Motorists who must travel during this weekend are advised to plan ahead, monitor real-time traffic conditions prior to beginning their trips, and follow alternate routes that are provided. Motorists will be informed of the closure in advance by Caltrans-operated freeway message signs with coverage extending into neighboring counties and other metropolitan regions in the state.
Construction crews for the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project plan to demolish half the Mulholland Bridge in the Sepulveda Pass of Los Angeles in order to build a new, widened bridge, and a major carpool lane. The construction activity is part of a $1 billion capacity improvement project for the I-405 freeway.

To reduce the work’s effects on local traffic flow, the Mulholland Bridge demolition and reconstruction will be conducted in two phases. The southern side of the bridge will be demolished first, followed by approximately 11 months of south-side bridge reconstruction. Upon completion of the south side, the northern side of the bridge will be demolished and rebuilt in the same manner. Another extended freeway closure period will be required for the second phase of work approximately one year later.

The Mulholland Bridge, like the Sunset and Skirball Center bridges, must be removed and rebuilt to accommodate the widening of the I-405 freeway as part of the 10-mile northbound carpool lane construction project. The project will officially complete the northbound carpool lane network between Orange County and the San Fernando Valley. Additional project benefits include improved freeway safety through standardized lane and shoulder widths, greater ramp capacities at key locations, new sound and retaining walls, widened overpasses, widened and seismically updated bridges and new landscaping within the project corridor.

The $1 billion project is a joint effort between Metro and Caltrans, and is being constructed by Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. It is scheduled for completion in 2013. For latest updates visit the project web site at www.metro.net/405 or follow the project on twitter: twitter.com/I_405 and Facebook at facebook.com/405project.

 

Pillar of Empowerment – USC Alumnus

Mark Ridley-Thomas is a foremost advocate of neighborhood participation in government decision-making. Lucky for us his neighborhood includes USC.

By Pamela J. Johnson

Mark Ridley-Thomas (Ph.D., religion, '89) is a Los Angeles County Supervisor, 2nd District. Photo by Carlos Puma.

Mark Ridley-Thomas (Ph.D., religion, '89) is a Los Angeles County Supervisor, 2nd District. Photo by Carlos Puma.

In 1968, Mark Ridley-Thomas was a seventh grader at George Washington Carver Middle School in southeast Los Angeles. At Victory Baptist Church near his school campus, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. often preached and organized.

When asked if he remembers April 4, 1968, the Los Angeles County supervisor is visibly astonished, rightfully so, that such a question could be pondered.

Continue the Article at USC’s Website…

 

 

Leimert Park Village Book Festival

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas spoke to thousands of book lovers, families, authors, and fans  of all ages gathered in Leimert Park on Saturday, June 25, 2011 for the Fifth Annual Leimert Park Village Book Fair.

2011 Photo Slide Show…

This year’s fair featured 150 celebrity readings, book signings, writing workshops, panel discussions, poetry readings, stage performances, and musical acts. Leimert Park Village Book Fair has hosted some of the national’s top authors and artists including Nikki Govanni, Ishmael Reed, Pulizer Prize Winner Douglass A. Blackmon, California Poet Laureate Emeritus Al Young, Antwone Fisher, Hill Harper, and Synthia Saint James, just to name a few. LPVBF also annually distributes more than 1,500 free books to fair attendees, including over 300 books to local foster care children.

This year featured former editor-in-chief of Essence magazine Susan L. Taylor, economist Dr. Julianne Malveaux, and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist-turned-author Isabel Wilkerson. Among the notable authors present was Sugar Ray Leonard promoting his recently published autobiography.

The Leimert Park Village Book Fair was founded in 2006 by Cynthia Ethusian Exum with the goal of promoting literacy and education in Los Angeles. The Leimert Park Village Book Fair was inspired by a project in February 1999 when Ms. Exum partnered with Our Authors Study Club, Inc. to present a ‘Festival of African American Authors’ at Los Angeles Southwest College. Its success in drawing 10 authors participating for an audience of 40 inspired the idea of creating an annual literary event. The concept of establishing a book fair in the community was further encouraged when Ms. Exum partnered with organizations Helping One Another Progress, Inc., Eso Won Books, the Leimert Park Merchant’s Association, and the 8th District Task Force Committee, and the office of Los Angeles Councilmember Bernard C. Parks, 8th District. Leimert Park was chosen as the host venue site because of its importance as the cultural/artistic center of the African American Community in Los Angeles.

The Inaugural Leimert Park Book was organized by a Planning Committee of over 30 persons including representatives from local schools, corporate/businesses, libraries, literary non-profit organizations, community organizations, and local authors, poets, and spoken word performers.

Today, the Annual Leimert Park Village Book fair attracts over 200 authors, poets, spoken word artists, storytellers, performers, and literary/educational exhibitor participants – and boasts an audience of over 5,000. Since its inception the Leimert Park Village book fair has grown in popularity and prestige becoming a cultural tradition and premier summer literary event. This year’s Book Fair will take place on Saturday, June 25, 2011, and everyone is invited this day of celebrating the written word.

More information is available at www.leimertparkbookfair.com

Relay For Life of Baldwin Hills

 

300 participants from the Second District came out to the Baldwin Hills Relay For Life on Saturday, June 25 to raise awareness for cancer research.

 

http://relayforlife.org/baldwinhillsca

More Info (PDF Flyer)…

P2011 Photos…

What is Relay For Life?

Relay For Life of Baldwin Hills is a fun and unique 24-hour walkathon to increase cancer awareness while raising much-needed funds for the American Cancer Society’s patient service programs, cancer research, advocacy and community education. Teams composed of 8 to 24 people formed by local businesses, community groups and friends & families will be raising funds before the event. At Relay, team members take turns walking around the track, Relay-style and enjoy games, food, fun, activities and entertainment throughout the day and night.

We Celebrate Cancer Survivors

Wearing their purple t-shirts and medals presented to them by Relay volunteers at the event, survivors took the first lap together, and then were treated to breakfast. Cancer Survivors’ strength and courage help the community see that cancer survivorship is real – that we are making progress in the battle against cancer.

We Remember those we have lost to cancer

At 9 pm, the light of Luminaria bags glow in the darkness, lighting our way through the night. Each Luminaria has written on it the name of a loved one lost to cancer or one who is a cancer survivor as well as a personal heartfelt message. These Luminaria remind us that we walk for the lives that cancer has touched.

Back!
We Fight Back!

No one should have to hear the words “You have cancer,” so we do everything we can to make sure that participants are educated not only about prevention and detection of cancer, but also about the American Cancer Society’s free programs and services for patients and their families.

Teaming Up for the Fight…How you can help

Teams came from friends, family, businesses, clubs, families, hospitals, faith-based groups, schools, and service organizations.