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Issue 11

April - May

2010

REVEREND ELLIOT MASON PASSES. INTERVIEW WITH WONDERLAND COLLECTIVE.

RON HUTCHINSON International Playwright Local Resident.

4 Keys To Secure Protection Washington Market Square Out With the Old, In With the New

Interview with

Felton Newell, City Attorney Running for Diane Watson’s Seat

www.theneighborhoodnewsonline.net

The Original Mid-City News Source


Publisher/Executive Editor Dianne V. Lawrence Associate Editor/Proofreader

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’m very excited about this issue. 28 pages are going out to 16,000 residents thanks to one of our advertisers and a supporter of community projects, Chuck Landfried from Secure Protection. An unfortunate consequence of financial downturn is a rise in crime. There have been a rash of breakins throughout our community and they go something like this...a thief knocks on the door and if no one answers, he goes around the back to break in through a window or door, while a lookout keeps watch. This happened in our neighborhood. I discovered a neighbor’s dogs roaming the street and put them back in their yard. I later discovered they had been let out by thieves who proceeded to clean the house out of jewelery and electronics, loading a truck up in broad daylight. I might have walked in on it if I had noticed the dogs earlier! Secure Protections has a helpful advertorial telling you everything you need to do to make sure something like this won’t happen to you. We also have two GREAT interviews. We were given an opportunity to interview Felton Newell, a prosecutor in the City Attorney’s Office who is running against Karen Bass for Diane Watson’s seat this April. I thought “why not let the community interview him?” so I asked various readers to submit questions which Felton took the time to answer thoughtfully and fully. We have part of the interview here and the rest on our website. There’s been a lot of controversy and discontent on both sides of the medical marijuana issue. I’ve often wondered what these collectives were all about so we interview Daniel Sung, one of our advertisers and a director of a local medical marijuana collective. The interview is smart, articulate and knowledgeable. For our Featured Resident we also snagged an interview with Ron Hutchinson, world class playwright and screenwriter. Neighbor Deborah Charles told us about her extraordinary neighbor Agnes Verdun who has developed alternative options for ailments. I invited her to write the article. Do you have ideas for us? Don’t hesitate to contact us. WE ARE HAVING A WRITING CONTEST. Please notice the ad on the next page. Oh yes, and a shout out to SK8, our local skateboard shop on Washington for hooking us up to some young local adults who were anxious and willing to earn money by distributing the News. Keeping it in the community! So get a cup of coffee, put your feet up, open TNN and ‘take a walk’ around our Mid-City community.

Get Your Very Own PDF Desktop copy!!

NO WAITING, direct to you. and/or Get Weekend Community News Web Updates Email us and state your preference

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Renee Montgomery

Staff Writers

Carla Weber, Renee Montgomery, Dianne V. Lawrence

Contributing Writers

Peter L. Brotsis, Deborah Charles

Layout & Design/ Executive Ad Sales Dianne V. Lawrence

Contact us at:

323.871.8580 theneighborhoodnews@yahoo.com

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The New Localism - Renee Montgomery

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Four Keys to Home Security Peter L. Brotsis

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Felton Newell Interview

Running for Diane Watson’s Seat - Dianne V. Lawrence Wellington Square Farmers Market - A Big Hit!

The Helen & Fredrick Booker Residence

- Renee Montgomery

11 Playwright Ron Hutchinson - Renee Montgomery

12 Daniel Sung Interview, Director of LA Wonderland Collective - Dianne V. Lawrence 14 Restaurant Review, - Renee Montgomery

The Original Chulada Grill

16 Intentional Living - Renee Montgomery NTBA Neighborhood Gallery Opens - Carla Weber

17 Painter Fredrick Booker - Carla Weber Eye On Wesson Dianne V Lawrence 18 Pitbull Princess, Claudia Batiuk - Carla Weber 19 Playwright Ron Hutchinson - Renee Montgomery

21 In Memory Of - Carmen Padilla, Charmette Bonpua, Reverend Elliot Mason. 23 Health, Agnes Verdun - Deborah Charles 24 Community Reports, Washington Square. 25 Community FREE Activities Back Page - Retailers Locator Map

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The New Localism And why The Neighborhood News has become an important member of the mid-city community

Renee Montgomery

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riving home every night after a hard day’s work, I breathe a sigh of relief upon seeing this fellow. He’s standing there every evening at La Brea and San Vicente Blvd.’s on top of the VIP Automotive Repair Building, welcoming me back to my MidCity neighborhood with his outstretched arm. He defines the entrance to my ‘hood, as Photo: Renee Montgomery if gesturing “Here you are again, Renee, your community,” and I think “Thank you Mr. Mid-City VIP Automotive Man. It’s good to be home.” In the 1970s a number of sociological studies were initiated concerning the psychological effects of “community.” Psychologist Seymour B. Sarason’s 1974 book is regarded as the seminal study in establishing the idea that a sense of community “is one of the major basis for self-definition.” Several further academic investigations ensued, confirming that a healthy sense of community translates into not only greater social bonding and

participation, but also in a feeling of physical safety, self-control, self-purpose and self-confidence. Thirty years later, in reaction to the growing fragmentation and alienation of urban society, especially in megatropoles like Los Angeles, we have a new social movement dubbed “The New Localism.” The New Localism encourages us to shop farmers’ markets, patronize mainstreet, walk, ride bikes, and know our neighbors, in order to derive those same health and social benefits defined in the 1970s and 80s by Dr. Sarason and researchers. The Neighborhood News is distinctive from other newspapers by being produced and written by residents who have not only lived in the community for many years but who have chosen to actively engage with that community. The editor has lived in the mid-city community for 30 years. As President of her Association she found ways to put money they had accumulated from filming, back into immediate neighborhood projects. TNN covers not only local news events, places and people in the 90018 and 90019 but encourages accountability from those in service to the community. We also relentlessly encourage our readers to support our shopkeepers, restaurants, arts organizations, libraries, each other and to date, 98% of the ads are from local businesses. TNN shouts “Go Local” and the way to Renee Montgomery go local is by staying put like the iconic Mr. Mid-City VIP Automotive Man who’s been staying put for years...and he just keeps looking better.

THE NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS WRITING CONTEST!!!

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Advertorial

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Interview with Felton Newell Running Against Karen Bass for Diane Watson’s Seat Questions from Residents in the 10th District What is your experience with Neighborhood Councils? In a city as large as Los Angeles, neighborhood councils are an essential vehicle to ensuring that citizens have an important role in the governing of their local neighborhoods. As a neighborhood prosecutor, I have had the opportunity to address NC’s in the district about issues ranging from homeless clinics to drug locations and I have uniformly been impressed by the passion and commitment of my fellow citizens who serve on councils. Just this past weekend, I voted in a neighborhood counsel election and I was very pleased to see so many of my neighbors giving up time on a sunny Saturday afternoon to have their voice heard. Elected officials need to find a way to better harness the energy and enthusiasm in the councils in their own efforts. What will you do to help to either develop or make a serious honest effort to improve Washington Bvld in the Mid City Neighborhood Council and United Neighborhood Council area from Normandy to La Cienega. Will you direct monies our way and have a dedicated staff to help us? These specific locations, like many locations in our district, are ones that should be very appealing to developers and it is the job of our member of Congress to advocate for projects that will help enhance our community. When I am in Congress, I will work to make sure that locations like this are brought to the attention of developers who are committed to building structures that will provide the middle class housing and services badly needed by so many of our residents. I have spoken to many developers over the past year who have expressed frustration about the lack of coordination from the offices of elected officials. When I am elected, I personally will work with local elected officials and leaders of neighborhood councils to figure out ways we can work together to ensure that our residents have the housing and services they deserve. One member of my Los Angeles staff will be responsible for assisting developers and neighborhood councils in securing federal funding for projects within the district.

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Working together, we can create a Los Angeles that provides more of our neighbors the opportunity to live out their dreams. What did Diane Watson do that you wouldn’t do and what did she not do that you would do? In her 10 year tenure in Congress, Representative Diane Watson usually voted in line with my views and the views of the vast majority of our neighbors. However, in 2008, our district ranked 402 out of 435 in terms of federal contract dollars in the district. When I am in Congress, I will work to ensure that we get our fair sure of federal resources. Also, I will be an active leader on the issues that matter most to our district. I will take a lead role in Congress on job creation, fixing our broken schools and building a subway and rail system for Southern California in the next 50 years that will rival the systems in New York and Chicago. Where do you stand on gay marriage with Yes On 8 passing predominately in our district? I believe that we are all endowed with certain rights and that no level of government should discriminate against citizens based on sexual orientation. I was opposed to Proposition 8 and support efforts to overturn it. Moreover, when I am in Congress, I will work to end the “don’t ask, don’t tell policy” of the United States armed forces, fight for marriage equality in California and around the nation and push for the repeal of the “Defense of Marriage Act.”

the purposes for which they have been appropriated. I will push to make sure that increased federal funding is matched by increased federal monitoring efforts to ensure that our dollars are properly spent. What is the one of the most important issues for Californians, and how specifically are you going to solve it? The most important issues for Californians are the jobs crisis, our broken schools and the need for more comprehensive public transportation. We have an acute need for more public transportation because it negatively affects all of us in ways great and small. To the infants suffering from asthma because of pollution to mothers who spend hours in cars taking children to and from school and various activities, the lack of public transportation has drastically decreased our quality of life and stands as yet another failure of generations of leaders who came before us. The problem is likely to become substantially worse in the coming years since the population of Los Angeles County is projected to increase from 10 million to 12 million in the next 20 years -- and we all know our roads can’t absorb 2 million more cars. The only solution to this problem is to develop our subway and rail system and this will take help from the federal government. Southern California has received well below our fair share of federal transportation dollars for years, and when I am in Congress, I will work to change that and coordinate state and local government efforts to build a comprehensive system.

w w w. fe l to n n ewe l l . c o m To continue reading Felton Newells answers to the following questions and more go to our website and click on “City Politics” on the left menu. - How will you improve our public schools and deal with teachers unions who fight change? -What are three major differences between you and Karen Bass? - The Federal mandate for freeway wall is 12 ft and yet walls in our district are only 8 feet. Will you address this with the Federal Transportation Act and have the walls upgraded?

Will you investigate schools not using their federal funding on intended projects like computer centers, Special Ed services etc.. Since I am a strong believer that the federal government should take a larger role www.theneighborhoodnewsonline.net in the public schools, it is important to REGISTER FOR WEEKEND UPDATES make sure that federal dollars are used for

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Wellington Square Certified Farmers Market.... BIG HIT! Dianne V. Lawrence

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Photo: Dianne V Lawrence

was so excited about the opening of the Wellington Square Certified Farmers Market, I put on my Sunday best and my finest jewlery! I wasn’t disappointed. The atmosphere was festive and exciting Organizers Lora Davis and Kathy Lewis as neighbors from communities throughout the 10th district converged, meeted, greeted, gossiped, laughed, smiled and most importantly, bought. The produce was excellent, inexpensive, fresh, the baked goods utterly heavenly, the prepared foods delicious and people strolled around with bouquets of fresh flowers. There was a wonderful potter with beautiful and inexpensive jugs and vases, Mid City Neighborhood Council (MINC) had a table set up to educate people about their activites. The Neighborhood News handed out copies and gathered compliments right and left. There is no meat or coffee (Smyrna Church does not allow) but no worries. The market is exactly half way between The Atomic and Eureka Cafes for lunch or breakfast before or after shopping, and they are offering free coffee with meals for Smyrna shoppers.

Organizer Lora Davis reports: “Our opening day was a complete success. The farmers and other vendors did a great job and are happy to be part of our market. One of the farmers said to me, “I like the energy here. It’s not hectic and rushed like at other markets. I enjoy talking to the customers.” The volunteers went above and beyond to make sure every detail was taken care of from dog watching, to parking cars, to playing music and even sitting down on the ground to play with the children that attended the market with their parents. And best of all, every volunteer reported how each attendee they met, whether coming or leaving with bags full of fresh produce, thanked them profusely for helping to bring this wonderful farmers market to their community. Their appreciation and joy in participating in the market made all the hard work worthwhile.” Gratitude to Smyrna Seventh-day Adventist Church for providing the space and kudo’s to Lora Davis and Kathy Lewis for organizing this wonderful, well run, community service. SUNDAYS 9-1 Smyrna lot Washington Bvld. w. of Crenshaw

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The Helen & Frederick Booker residence

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Renee Montgomery

he work of designer James Cuzner, a partner in the Cuzner-Kerkhoff lumber firm, is manifest in this spectacular home’s detailed woodwork in oak, Douglas fir and redwood. Edelman was a prominent architect at the turn of the century, designing many homes along Figueroa and Flower. At more than 8,000 square feet, this huge home includes six bedrooms, six baths, parlor, spacious foyer, library, formal dining room, full kitchen with butler’s pantry, dormer room, basement, walkin safe, commodious porches, original fireplaces, doors, windows and other fixtures. Exterior detail consists of a second floor arcade Photo: Renee Montgomery with Moorish arches, Sugar Hill Date: 1903 parapets, quatrefoil Style: Mission Revival Mediterranean windows. One of only Architect: A.M. Edelman a few homes remaining in this style it sits majestically on a corner lot in Sugar Hill. Most impressive though is how the Booker’s have virtually brought this house ‘back from the dead’ since purchasing it after a 1998 fire, reconstructing the roof structure and repairing original wood moulding and flooring throughout. Eating graciously every evening in the formal dining room despite being surrounded by ongoing work all during ten years of renovation, the Booker’s represent the tencious spirit that is restoring West Adams to its former glory.

INTERESTED IN BUYING AN HISTORIC HOME? GO TO OUR WEBSITE

www.theneighborhoodnewsonline.net click on Historic Homes for Sale on the left menu.

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Ron Hutchinson, Playwright Out of all the neighborhoods in all the Towns in all the world...he chose ours Renee Montgomery

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hen acclaimed screenwriter/playwright Ron Hutchinson describes his block in Kinney Heights in West Adams, he uses descriptions like “a web of relationships” and “a little family”. If teenage daughter Isabella is dressed up for a party, she goes next door to model for the neighbors. When one of Ron’s plays ran in San Diego recently, the whole neighborPhoto: Dianne V Lawrence hood turned out in a bus. If a neighbor moves, it’s to a different house on the block. Even the piano relocated within the neighborhood. And a stray cat seems to have miraculously found a home here out of the back of a van. No amusing or profound detail of his tightly-knit community, past or present, is lost on Ron, widely considered to be one of our most important contemporary dramatists. Best known for the screenplays for John Frankenheimer’s Against the Wall and The Island of Doctor Moreau and Robert M. Young’s Slave of Dreams, other credits include Emmy Award-winning Murders Among Us: The Simon Wiesenthal Story, The Burning Season, The Josephine Baker Story, Fatherland, The Tuskegee Airman, Traffic (nominated for three Emmys in 2004), The Ten Commandments, and Marco Polo. Equally renown are Ron’s nearly two dozen plays, such as Moonlight and Magnolias (2004), Topless Mum in Dead Hero Shocker!! (2007) and Durand’s Line (2009). Now in his early sixties, Hutchinson continues to write prolifically with a musical in workshop soon in New York, and teaching screenwriting at AFI. He is a popular “script doctor” too. Ron’s plays are produced all over the world and he and his wife, former dancer, Alisa Taylor, could have chosen to live anywhere but they selected West Adams for its live-able urbanity. After doing a stint in Santa Monica and Venice Beach, the couple moved to Kinney Heights in 1990 so their family could be exposed to a greater diversity of people. Ron was born in Northern Ireland but lived in Coventry as a child and spent several years in the London theatre world before falling in love with Los Angeles at the time one of his plays was in production at the Mark Taper Center. “Pumpkin” the adopted cat abandoned on Halloween, the neighborhood racoon, the joy of the sun sending its last rays of light down the street-- spend some time with the wry, creative Ron and his neighbor’s Porch Sitting Club and you’ll soon be immersed in engaging stories that reassure the spirit and confirm the uniqueness of our community. READ MORE ABOUT FASCINATING LOCALS WWW.THENEIGHBORHOODNEWSONLINE.NET CLICK ON FEATURED RESIDENT

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Interview with Daniel Sung Director of

L.A Wonderland Caregivers,

a Local Medical Marijuana Collective Dianne V. Lawrence

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Little Background: In November of 1996, California voters passed the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 or Proposition 215 with 55.6% of the vote. It allowed patients to use marijuana to alleviate the symptoms of a variety of ailments from cancer and Aids to sleeplessness and chronic pain. With a doctor’s recommendation these patients could cultivate their own marijuana for personal use. But many of them did not have the wherewithal, strength or knowledge to grow pot so they had to turn to the street to get their supplies. Little old ladies suffering from Cancer, forced to turn to the street to score, was not what the bill intended. So Senate Bill 420 amended 215 and gave people permission to share what they grew in Medical Marijuana Collectives. But these were insufficiently regulated and City Hall put a moratorium on any new Collectives until they could come up with an ordinance clarifying requirements and guidelines. Lawyers finding loopholes in the moratorium, began advertising and advising interested parties on how to get through the loopholes with a resulting sudden proliferation of Collectives throughout the city, much to the dismay of the communities they were mushrooming in. The community noise sent City Hall scrambling to come up with an ordinance which passed this January and was signed into law by the Mayor Feb. 3. TNN decided to interview Daniel Sung, Director of L.A. Wonderland Caregivers one of our advertisers. Daniel defies the imagined picture of a grower and supplier of marijuana. Articulate, educated, knowledgable, Daniel is sincerely passionate about the true benefits of medical marijuana. TNN: How did you get involved in running a clinic? Daniel: I was a patient myself. I had a very hard time sleeping and because I snowboarded a lot, I had fallen hard on my knees during the winter and they hurt badly. So I did get a prescription to help me with

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these issues, but I was having difficulty finding the kind of medicine I needed. There were collectives that lacked a lot of information about their product. How it was grown and which medicine worked for which ailments. The collectives I was going to had a lot of money for big advertising so they got a crowd coming in but the people who were more responsible and conscientious kept it low key, conservative, interacting with the community around them.

hiring security guards and having educated budtenders. There is no school for learning how to grow effective medical pot. You learn by being conscientious and having experience. I was drawn to this. TNN: Are they politically active? Daniel: Yes. Yami, a director at Pure Life Alternative, (another collective and one of the originators of GLACA) worked with Councilmen Ed Reyes and Dennis Zine who visited their collective and met with their members. Pure Life made suggestions for the ordinance. GLCA realized they had to work with the City and take the necessary steps to make marijuana, used as a medicine, acceptable in the public eye. I was fortunate to have jumped into this boat. It was comforting to see there were people who were as conscientious as I wanted to be.

TNN: What is your understanding of the concerns people in the community have about collectives? Daniel: They seem to be mainly concerned about their kids being exposed to marijuana TNN: So you wanted to create a more re- and crime. But I do think that many of the sponsible business? concerns come from a lack of information. Daniel: I felt I owed it to the community. There were no standards back then. Each TNN: But you have talked about Colleccollective would do their own thing. You tives that are not responsible, sloppy. So in would have ones that might not even call the those cases the concerns seem legitimate. doctors to verify that the client was really a Daniel: Absolutely and I respect those conpatient or check paperwork. I was always cerns. But I would say those collectives are impressed by the collectives that would op- not the rule and that the majority of the colerate professionally and had “budtenders” lectives are not irresponsible and shouldn’t that were educated. They were helpful to be punished because of the bad apples. their patients. They would ask about their People need to be educated about how the ailments and knew what strains to present collectives are run. For instance we operto help alleviate pain, nausea, insomnia, ate about 500 feet from a preschool. I have etc. There was a clear difference between a letter here from the Director stating they professionally run collectives and amateurs. have never received a complaint about us since we’ve been here. The parents are TNN: What kind of improvements did you walking in front of our business with their bring to the business? kids all the time. There’s a junior high Daniel: I modeled our business after cer- school a couple of thousand feet away and tain collectives that I felt safe and secure at. they use a bus stop that is close by. They The one’s that held themselves to a higher are so engrossed in their own world that standard, like GLACA, the Greater Los they don’t even notice us. They also know Angeles Collective Alliance. They are they couldn’t get past the front door beself-regulators that came up with their own cause we have a security guard present. We procedures. We became a member. also operate in a low key fashion and don’t have a neon marijuana leaf in our window. TNN: What do members of GLACA do that others don’t? TNN: What about crime? Daniel: Verify that the patient is really Daniel: Well the new Los Angeles Police a legitimate patient by calling the doc- Department Chief Charlie Beck recently tor, having sign in and release forms, stated on the Daily News that medical can-

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nabis collectives do not attract crime and were not a haven for crime. He said that banks were more likely to get robbed than medical marijuana dispensaries. He had the department prepare a report and they discovered that the idea that clinics were magnets for crime just wasn’t the case. TNN: So how are these Collectives run? Where do you get your medicine? Daniel: We get it from our patients. A patient will designate us as their collective. Now, some of our patients can grow their own and some cannot. They are too ill or don’t have the means or the knowledge. Growing quality, effective marijuana takes about two years of hands on training. Then there are patients who do have the time and willingness including some of the people who run our collective. We do it because its an education for us and it allows us to ask the right questions of our members who are growing it and bringing it to the collective. One of the problems with the current ordinance is that it requires all members to be involved in growing but this is unreasonable and physically impossible for some of our members.

so draconian most legal collectives will go under or become so difficult to get to, that patients will probably go back to buying from the street. In effect City Council has succeeded in cutting off the feet of legal access for medicinal use and given the street drug trade reason to celebrate. Daniel: Your taxpaying dollars hard at work. As of this writing Mayor Villaraigosa has signed the ordinance while Americans for Safe Access, the nation’s main medical marijuana advocacy nonprofit along with the Venice Beach Care Center and the PureLife Alternative Wellness Center, have filed a lawsuit against the city saying the ordinance violates state law, They seek a court injunction and restraining order to stop the measure from being enforced.

Find out more about your great community and the people in it.

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TNN: What are some of the other problems in the ordinance? Daniel: There are a lot of problems. Members of City Council approached the collectives asking for suggestions but then ignored them and cut us all out of the negotiations. GLACA has been reading it from front to back everyday discovering inconsistencies. One of the big problems is that once it becomes effective, (when the Mayor has signed it and PLUM -Planning and Land Use Management- determine their pre inspection fees) collectives have 7 days to tell Plum (who have to inspect and approve of the place) where they are going to move to. If they opened legally, before the moratorium, they have 6 months to move to the a new place. So we have 7 days to find a place, who knows how long before PLUM inspects, and if they don’t approve we have a few months or maybe weeks to find another new place depending on when they make their determination in that six month period. On top of that Councilman Wesson introduced a requirement that makes it all but certain that most collectives will have to close. TNN: Do tell Daniel: No collective can share a property line with a residence. TNN: What if there is an alley between them and the residents? Daniel: He also included prohibiting us from being up against an alley. All the businesses on the main streets are up against either an alley or a property line so this basically forces us into industrial areas. Now we have seven days to find a place out in the middle of nowhere miles away from our clients, six months to have PLUM come and approve and what if they don’t approve. Do we shut down or do we still have time to find another place? But what is worse is that our clients, many of whom have aids, cancer, debilitating diseases, now have to find a way to get to these outlying industrial areas. TNN: To sum up...the voters said that those who are suffering from certain illnesses should be allowed to use marijuana to alleviate the symptoms, the city then allowed collectives to facilitate legal access. But they were unregulated and in response the city has gone to the opposite extreme by creating restrictions that are

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The Original Chulada Grill A neighborhood Staple

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Renee Montgomery

n oft-heard comment about The Original Chulada Grill is “Why didn’t I try this place before?”. You know the place, with the green striped awning on San Vicente at Hauser across from Baskin-Robbins. The Chulada Grill has everything required of a good Mexican restaurant with almost 100 tasty and reasonably priced items on the menu and good parking for fast in and out take-away. For dining in, it’s a comfortable, inviting environment – casual but clean and attractive without all the kitschy Mexican decorations of so many local places. The serene environment with trim white tablecloths makes me want to hang out regularly or have a warm, intimate dining experience with a large group of friends. Plus it’s one of the few authentically Oaxacan (southern Mexico) places west of Western Avenue, with several excellent mole dishes. Hard and soft shell tacos, burritos, tortas, quesadillas, salads, enchiladas, soups, combination plates, wraps, even hamburgers. Beer, wine, margaritas. I took a friend who’s sick of heavy Mexican food and he was delighted with the light, healthy food choices, like fish tacos. Truly something for all tastes. Why look any further when everything you need is right there under your nose on San Vicente? Terrific food, wide choice and a comfortable tone. For more info see the ad below

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For more local restaurant reviews go to www.theneighborhoodnewsonline.net

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Community Living in West Adams Synchronicity L.A. An Intentional Living Community

NTBA Gallery Artists join forces with their landlord to create Neighborhood gallery Carla Weber

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West Adams’ large affordable homes naturally lend themselves to cooperative living units

Renee Montgomery

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ehind the Tibetan banners of a Harvard Heights craftsman house, live the members of a growing movement called “intentional communities” – groups living communally under a unified mission. By pooling resources, such collectives provide a haven for photo; Renee Montgomery creative individuals to nurture their talent and draw inspiration from each another The eight-bedroom house on Westmoreland Blvd. dubbed Synchronicity L.A., is home to 12 artists, musicians, writers, educators and social workers sharing the common goal of reducing harm to others. In commune style, the group divides the rent, chores, meals, and studio spaces. At a bi-weekly salon, feedback is offered for creative projects. Residents collaborate in joint projects too. House-mate Marla Sabicer, a nurse at Children’s Hospital, writes on the group’s website about treating swine flu with illustrations by artist Lisa Solomon. Explains Sabicer, the Synchronicity house was established in October 2008 to address “the need for closer human interaction than one achieves living alone and to counteract the waste that comes with individual living.” Also posted online are several model DIY projects using natural products for recipes. One room in the house is set aside solely for “hospitality” – as temporary housing for short term guests, such as art interns. The front yard was developed as part of the Westside Permiculture “100 Gardens of Gratitude” program. Meanwhile a few doors down, writer Fletcher Kauffman is establishing another communal household. Drawing certain elements from Synchronicity, Kauffman hopes to attract a more mainstream audience, in particular, individuals more advanced in their careers or contributing some business or management job experience. Communal areas of the house will be used by freelancers for office purpose. West Adams’ large affordable homes naturally lend themselves to cooperative artist units.

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Taidgh O’Neill

idden on West 25th Street, in the West Adams district, lay a dilapidated garage that had been fallow for over two decades. Recently, artist Taidgh O’Neill, wondered “why wait for the galleries to come to us?” and joined forces with his landlord, West Adams realtor David Raposa, to transform this unassuming garage into an artist’s run space.

Raposa helped finance the rebuild and Taigh organizes the shows.

David Raposa

NTBA Gallery (Name To Be Announced) runs without funding but a lot of bravado. It is still in it’s Photo’s by Dianne Lawrence infancy, morphing into whatever the demands and needs are of the artists involved. Shows will rotate on a bi-monthly basis depending on the topic. The program will include opening receptions, artist talks, performances, lectures and anything else that comes up. This artist run project space speaks to the many artists and curators who have been squeezed into non-existence while trying to garner a foothold in the art world. It’s imperative for artists to be able to have access to a space to show their work. With so many museum cutbacks, galleries shutting down and the art world turned upside down by the financial downturn, the birth of NTBA Gallery is a creative community response to these challenging times. Coming up in April, O’Neil and artist Josh Atlas will be co-curating a show, still in development. No exact date has yet been determined for the opening.For more info check it out on the web at http://www.ntbagallery.com/ You can contact Taidgh O’Neill at (310) 379-9142 or 3511w25thst@gmail.com

check us out online and register for weekend community updates www.theneighborhoodnewsonline.net

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Art in Historic Places – Saturday, June 5, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. West Adams Heritage Association (WAHA) presents its annual June Historic Homes & Architecture Tour with a new twist: Art! Historic West Adams and nearby environs are becoming a new hotbed for fine art. Along with a few galleries and artist-run spaces, a growing number of emerging and established artists now live and/or work in the community. WAHA’s drive-yourself (or bike-yourself) tour brochure will guide you to a series of historic venues. It’s art in architecture – toured in any order and at your own pace. Tickets will be $25 in advance, $30 at the door. More details will be posted in April at www.WestAdamsHeritage.org. or call

Painter, Fredrick Booker Carla Weber

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rederic Booker, an architect by trade and owner/restorer of our Featured Residence, has become an accomplished full time painter. Using an investigators approach, each painting is well researched and meticulously constructed and he’ll often spend months on a single painting. Collected by luminaries such as Nelson Mandela, Michael Wayne (John Wayne’s son), Ruby Photo: Carla Weber and Ossie Davis and Flo Joe, he has also won best of show at the large art festivals in Boulder City, Thousand Oaks and Hanover, New Jersey and shown at the Ronald Regan Library. He has work currently on display in the Los Angeles Mayors office. Booker refuses to be pigeonholed into telling one kind of story and his paintings are imbued with multiple meanings that include politics, social rights and art. His images include a baseball series that evoke a bucolic 1950’s, a little African-American girl named Phillis Wheatley who met George Washington, women at a beauty salon and a 19th century African-American woman suckling a blonde baby in front of her own children. View his work at http://www.kenden.com/ Contact at 323-733-3021

Eye on Wesson paycuts for our Councilman?

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Dianne V. Lawrence

ouncilman Wesson, along with other councilmembers, enjoys one of the highest government salary’s in the nation, $178,789. Yet while thousands of city employees are losing their jobs, taking pay cuts or are going on furloughs, he is among 7 Councilmembers who has, so far, refused to take a pay cut. Mayor Villaraigosa took a 16% cut, with most of the other Councilmembers taking a 5% cut. Herb says “at the appropriate time I will take one. I’m so caught up in other things, I’ve just had a death on my staff. I will get to it in a timely fashion.” The other councilmembers who have refused the cuts are Bernard Parks, Bill Rosendahl, Greig Smith, Richard Alarcon, Paul Krekorian and Tony Cardenas.

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PITBULL PRINCESS, CLAUDIA BATIUK BRINGING LOVE AND UNDERSTANDING TO A MISUNDERSTOOD DOG Carla Weber

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nside an anonymous warehouse on Washington Blvd. lies a brilliant rose hued haven for disadvantaged pit bulls. Be they rescued or abandoned, these temporary kennel guests will be loved, adored, re-educated, and hopefully, one day, adopted. One such “pit bull princess” is Claudia Batiuk, proud owner of Pit Bull Peninsula, a kennel Photo: Carla Weber committed to retraining rescued pit bulls. Batiuk points out that a pit bull is not a breed but the name has become a generic term used to refer to various breeds which include American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers. Batiuk is one vigilant woman and possesses the ability to read canine body language like any good dog whisperer. She asserts that these dogs are loyal and loving; they are people lovers and want nothing more than to please their owners. They only become violent when worn down from abusive mistreatment, neglect, malnutrition or have been trained to be so. As Batiuk observed, they manifest “the beauty and the beast” . Depending on how long it takes to reeducate the animal, Batiuk will have them at her kennel for an undetermined time, anywhere between 3 months to 4 years. These dogs eventually become available for adoption through Karma Rescue and Animals Advocate Alliances. Once the dog is ready for adoption Batiuk finds it mandatory to also educate the prospective owner: “Responsible dog ownership is a challenge because assuming responsibility for another living being is not as easy as it looks.” Socializing the animal is important and cannot be downplayed; obedience school is essential and their response to training is always good. Adopting a pit bull, loving it, and training it as a breed ambassador is one of the most important things any of us civilians can do to combat the unreasonable fear that permeates our culture regarding this inherently friendly and loving animal, once used as the dog of choice to protect children. www.hugsandkissespetcare.com http://www.karmarescue.org/ http:// animaladvocatesalliance.org/

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Charmette Bonpua, 44, Chief of Staff to Councilman Herb Wesson, Dies

Carmen Padilla

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The Western Ave. Overpass Butterfly Memorial

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Renee Montgomery

hile idling on the Western Avenue overpass, you’ve probably noticed a pretty memorial on the fence. A flutter with colorful butterflies, flowers, and balloons it stands in stark contrast to the noisy, gritty, gray transience of the 10 free- Photo: Dianne V. Lawrence way below. The site marks the death of 22 year-old Carmen Padilla, a native Angeleno who resided a few blocks away in West Adams. Carmen was killed nearly one year ago while exiting the freeway at Western going east. Returning home from work one night, she swerved to miss a stalled van without lights, hitting her accelerator rather than the brakes, and ramming into an electrical box to her death. What’s remarkable about this memorial is its persistence, maintained weekly by Carmen’s family and friends. When asked what drives her to keep up this memorial for nearly a year, sister Heidi Padilla Hermosillo of Northridge replies, “There’s nothing left of her. It’s all we have to hold onto.” Padilla’s parents travel from Texas once a month to help. The memorial was first set into motion the day after Carmen’s accident, when her distraught dad tromped out onto the freeway to find two sticks to form a make-shift cross for the death site. The family’s tireless efforts have attracted the participation of countless strangers. “I’d say they really voice their love,” Heidi describes. Scores of passersbys leave their own mementos, including another mother of an accident victim reaching out in a personal note to Carmen’s mom. Even the homeless man who begs at the offramp, helps by sweeping up around the memorial and instructing city cleanup crews to keep their hands-off it. Despite the traffic cones left by the city to discourage drivers from pausing to gawk on the busy overpass, in February a passerby halted long enough to explain to Heidi that his brother had written a song commemorating Carmen’s death. Rutledge Brewer, former Motown keyboardist for Barry White, Jennifer Hudson and others, has recorded special music as tribute to the devoted Padilla family. Brewer is active in a non-profit organization “documenting how many beautiful people have died on the street.” The memorial has also captured the attention of the National Association of Hispanic Advancement who have honored the Padilla’s. A part-time student and medical professional who graduated from Culver City High, Carmen Padilla is remembered fondly on what has become known as “The Butterfly Bridge.” Like butterflies, life is evanescent but love is immortal.

Dianne V. Lawrence

n February, Charmette Bonpua, chief of Staff to CD10’s Councilman Wesson passed away while visiting Las Vegas, a week after suffering an aneurysm while on vacation with her family. She had held several prestigious positions in state politics, after working for State Treasurer Kathleen Brown and Assemblywoman Valerie Brown she went on to work for the Legislative Analyst’s Office and the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee. When Councilman Wesson was the Assembly Speaker she served as his Chief of Staff and agreed to come to Los Angeles with him when he was appointed to take over Councilman Ludlows district CD10. “This is a terrible loss, not only for me, but for the people of our council district and in the state Capitol as well,” Wesson said. “ Charmette was a brilliant, loyal and trusted advisor. From very humble beginnings, she rose to become one of the most powerful staffers in California. When I asked her to come to Los Angeles, she didn’t hesitate. She relished the challenge. We worked together for eleven years, and her leadership made a tremendous difference. She will be greatly missed.”

Reverend Elliot Mason Pillar In Our Community

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Dianne V. Lawrence

he Wilton Place Family of Neighbors and Country Club Park send their condolences to the family of Rev. Elliott James Mason Sr. who quietly passed away in his home after an extended illness. He was 88 years old and has lived on S. Wilton Place in the Country Club community for over 30 years. Rev. Mason Sr. was a pillar in his community and highly accomplished. As the influential pastor of the Trinity Baptist Church from 1962 to 1985 he oversaw the completion of it’s sanctuary. During that period the LA Times named the Reverend one of the areas best clergymen and his weekly sermons were broadcast over KJLH-FM radio. In addition to Geraldine, his wife of 65 years, Mason is survived by three sons, Elliott, Wayne and Reginald; a daughter, Wanda Aguola; and seven grandchildren.

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Agnes Verdun

Nature’s Health Guru Deborah Charles

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gnes Verdun has been a Mid-City resident for over 40 years. Realizing long ago that good health and its restoration is not always found in a prescription drug bottle she started a journey that led her to find the best and most effective herbal remedies for many chronic and serious diseases. Motivated by her many friends who suffered from cancers that weren’t being effectively treated by prescription drugs, she propelled herself into action, invested time and money, and enrolled in numerous seminars and classes in herbal remedies conducted by experts such as Richard Schultz and Dr. John Christopher. Agnes researched, collected and read books on her subject and began to experiment with her own formulas focusing on ailments she heard the most complaints about and of course her number one concern - cancer. Agnes used herself to test her formulas before recommending the herbal treatments to her family, friends and neighbors. Now after 20 years of knowledge she is definitely known as the trusted resident expert. Agnes, our resident neighborhood treasure, is doing her part in helping to keep America healthy – one community at a time. For more info email: theneighborhoodnews@yahoo.com

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Development On Washington Headed Our Way! Dianne V. Lawrence

Washington Market Square is a nearly 8-acre site at Washington and Tenth Avenue (just east of Crenshaw) and currently home to a swap meet, post office, grocery store, Payless Shoe store and assorted other small businesses. It is now headed for a makeover that will be a major step toward changing the face of Washington Boulevard in the UNNC district. The current owner and prospective re-developer, Root 3, has begun the process to tear down and redevelop the property and has recently submitted a 2,000-page Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for a proposed Washington Square mixed-use project. Root 3 is asking for “entitlements” (meaning the project will need a variety of city approvals for land use changes) for two project options as a hedge against “changing market forces.” Both options offer three buildings and are evaluated in the DEIR. Option A is bigger and taller, blocking views to St. Paul’s Catholic Church and its rectory. Option B is shorter, with a lot more commercial space and less residential space. Option A’s buildings will range from 3 to 18 stories, with heights of 68 to 205 feet. Included are: - 547 residential units (328 apartments and 219 condos) - 106,869 square feet commercial space (82,539 sq ft of retail, 24,330 sq ft of restaurant) - 145,000 square feet of open space - 1,061 parking spaces Option B eliminates the tower, but still has buildings ranging in height from 4 to 7 stories, and 50 to 85 foot heights. The key difference is less housing and more than

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double the amount of commercial/retail space: - 342 residential units (125 apartments and 217 condos) - 237,125 square feet of commercial space (includes 176,125 sq ft of retail, 25,100 sq ft of restaurant, and 35,900 sq ft of office space) - 100,000 square feet of open space - 1,368 parking spaces Community Reaction In February, with the assistance of UNNC (United Neighborhoods Neighborhood Council) many Arlington Heights residents and other nearby community stakeholders had a chance to review the DEIR and submit their comments and concerns. By the time the public comment period ended, on February 23, the Los Angeles City Planning Department had received at least two dozen “detailed and thoughtful” comment letters, according to one of the project’s consultants, Mee Semcken. Community members expressed strong concerns about the cut-through “neighborhood intrusion” traffic expected to be generated by the project, as well as the further impacts at the intersection of Washington and 10th Avenue, already a problem on mornings when school children and other pedestrians crowd the intersection. Root 3 is planning to start building in late 2011 and open in late 2013. Before that can happen, the project must be approved by the Planning Commission and the City Council. An initial public hearing will be scheduled sometime this Spring, possibly in late April or in May, according to Semcken.

block west of La Brea on Washington has become a concern for local businesses and residents.Complaints allege shopping carts and trash left in the back alley, graffiti on the walls, weeds that are 12” high inside and outside the fence, people loitering, drinking and urinating outside, liquor bottles on the sidewalks, gutters and the landscaping of local businesses, as well as arrests that occur regularly outside the store. An effort to get the owner of the establishment to address these concerns seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Stay tuned on our website for news regarding a special joint UNNC/MINC community meeting to be held at Councilman Wesson's office about a proposed convenience store selling liquor. Residents are urged to report problems at current liquor stores. Potential problems can be sales to minors, the sale of drug paraphenalia, loitering, operating during unapproved hours, or drug dealing, public urination, or prostitution on or radiating from the property. Contact your lead LAPD officer at the Wilshire or Olympic division with the date and time and nature of problem. Letters and petitions are always helpful.

Liquor Stores

On Saturday, Nov. 27. 2009, MINC played host to 250 people who gathered together to walk 17.4 miles from downtown L.A. to Venice Beach. The Great Walk was started in 2005 by a blogger who thought it would be great to experience L.A. as a pedestrian. Bruce Durbin from MINC organized a community welcome wagon and MINC sponsored a Water and Supply station at the local Atomic Café.

A Local Convenience or a Local Problem? Dianne V. Lawrence & Renee Montgomery

711, looking to open a new location, has been nosing around the MINC and UNNC community. Residents turned up to a MINC meeting to speak with a 711 repesentative who cancelled at the last minute. There was strong response from many in the MINC community against any additional liquor selling establishments but there was support from those who claimed 711’s lower prices would drain sales from surrounding liquor stores who can often be a source of problems for the local community. Liquorama, one

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Old News but Good News

Notice Anything Missing? MINC’s Metal signs are to be replaced! Problems on 90 metal signs hung on lightpoles along Washington from Fairfax to Crenshaw Blvd., denoting Mid City, are being corrected by the vendor and scheduled to return sometime in April 2010.


Memorial Branch Library

4625 W. Olympic Boulevard 90019 (323) 938-2732 Mah Jongg - Mar 31 - Apr 07 12:00 pm First Fridays Book Group Apr. 02,1:30 Knitting Circle Apr 03,Apr 10 10:00 am Used Book Sale Apr 03-Apr 10 10:00 am For information, please call 323-938-2732. YOGA for all every Sat. 12:00 PM Free 45-minute basic Hatha Yoga Class.

South Seas House Calendar Tae Kwon Do classes For kids age 5-12 begin March 20, only $30, Sign ups are ongoing. Uniforms not required wear comfortable clothing

Washington Irving Library

4117 W. Washington Blvd 90018 (323) 734-6303 New Hours effective April 11 MON. WED. SAT - 10am - 6pm TUES. & THURS. 12pm - 8pm FRI. 1:30pm - 5:30pm

LA Kids After School Activities Program Book Club Sat. April 24, 10 am Begin Monday April 19 New Readers Welcome. FREE: Adults Monday Drama Class 4pm-5pm Creative Journal Saturdays, Tuesday Hip Hop Dance 4pm-5pm 11am-12:30pm April 3, 10, 17, 24 Teen Wednesday Basketball 4pm-5pm Expressive Arts
Saturdays, Fun & Gaming Mar 31, Apr 07,14, 21, 28 Thurs. Spoken Word/Poetry 4pm-5pm 1:pm-3pm April 3, 10, 17, 24 Join us for chess. Friday Football Clinic 4pm-5pm Beginning Creative Arts Quilting. Teen Volunteer Orientation Apr 01, 3:30 Days and times subject to change, call Men and Women welcome. (Memorial Library continued) Tuesdays, 10am-2pm This is where you fulfill your community FREE: After school snack program for Friends of the Library meeting service requirements for classes, graduakids between the ages of 3-18, 3pm-3:15pm Tuesday, 7pm April 6, tion, and college applications. Begins April 5, 2010 No food may be We welcome new attendees. Teen Crafts Apr 17 - 11:30 AM Create taken from the food program, No one over Job Training and Recruiting Workshop unique items. 18 (including parents) allowed inside food Saturdays 11am-4pm May 1, 8, 22 INQ, Award Winning Poet Apr 21 - 4:00 area with few exceptions. Call Library for further information. PM In honor of National Poetry month For more information regarding our proChildren Children grams please contact Preschool Storytime Mondays 11am Toddler Storytime 10:00 South Seas House Crafts and Family Storytime Thurs. 4 pm Mar 29 -Apr 05, 12, 19, 26 2301 W. 24th St Spring Festival Apr 03, 11:00 am Los Angeles, CA 90018 Tom Bradley Family Egg hunt, face painting and fun activities! 323.373.9483 Origami Apr 24 - 1:00 Source Center Monday - Friday 10am-6pm Paper folding for all ages. 5213 W. Pico Blvd. 90019 (323)-692-0669 Computer Class for Adults PEACE AWARENESS 2:00 PM Mar 30 , Apr 06, 13, 20, 27 LABYRINTH & GARDENS All levels of computer experience are welADULT come to join the class at any point. Students FREE Workshops, donations welcome Financial Literacy - Bank of Los Angeles can follow self-guided class lessons any 3500 W. Adams Blvd. W. of Arlington assists individuals of the community by astime by logging onto the Internet at: www.peacelabyrinth.org sessing their banking needs while providhttp://www.laplcomputerclass.blogspot. registrar@peacelabyrinth.org ing information regarding low-cost or free contact Judy 323-737-4055 ext 1137 checking. MIDCITY NEIGHBORHOOD MONDAY’S 7:30-8:30 pm FREE Income Tax Preparation (VITA) COUNCIL ELECTIONS SACRED TONES MEDITATION EVENING Parenting Classes WEDNESDAY’S 7:30-9:30pm Adult Education (ESL) May/June CLASSES CONDUCTED IN SPANISH One E-app assists low-income families MAY 13 THURSDAY Apr 1 & May 6, 7:30-9pm access to public benefits and low cost serOPNC Olympic Park Neighborhood SOUL DANCE EVENING vices Council May 13, 2010 2pm to 8pm at the EVERY FRIDAY 7:30-9pm Open Computer/ Resource Lab Queen Ann Recreation Center Conference Video Presentations w/Dr. John-Roger, Pre-Employment/ Employment Support PNC Pico Neighborhood Council founder, and Dr. John Morton, director of Work-Source time and location to be announced the Movement of Spiritual Inner Aware- GED Prep JUNE 26 ness, sharing teachings of the spiritual heart. YOUTH MINC Mid City Neighborhood Council EVERY SUNDAY 12-4pm tutoring, mentoring, leadership training, Nate Holden Performing Arts Center LABYRINTH & GARDEN TOURS recreational and cultural activities, home2pm to 8pm on Saturday, Come and relax in our exquisite gardens work assistance, Cash for College, Child UNNC United Neighborhoods Neighbor- and take a meditative walk on our famous Care assistance, youth mentoring, Algebra hood Council CD10 Western Ave. office labyrinth. tutoring and college readiness. 11 pm – 3 pm

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Our next issue will be our 2nd year Anniversary!

TNN ISSUE #11 April2010  

The Neighborhood News covers the Mid-City and West Adams communities in Los Angeles's Council District 10. IN THIS ISSUE: Washington Square...

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