Tuesday, November 27, 2007

10th Annual L.A. Kings outdoor ice rink at Pershing Square

Los Angeles - The Department of Recreation and Parks, in partnership with the L.A. Kings and Councilwoman Jan Perry, held opening festivities at Pershing Square for the "LA Kings Downtown on Ice" outdoor skating rink on Thursday, November 15, 2007.

The celebration included special appearances by Hockey Legend Luc Robitaille, Hall of Fame Broadcaster and TV voice of the L.A. Kings Bob Miller and the L.A. Kings' mascot, Bailey. Skating performances by Jenni Meno and Todd Sand (three-time National Pair Champions and World Bronze and Silver Medalists), Michelle Hanabusa (three-time National Showcase Champion) and the L.A. Theater International Showcase Champion Ensemble broke in the ice.

The holiday rink will offer a new military twist this year by spreading holiday cheer to those serving our country. Free skating will be available for active military and their immediate families. Rink patrons will also have the chance to directly send personalized holiday greetings to those serving in the armed forces through the National Guard's "Operation Ready Families" Program.

The popular outdoor attraction will be open daily through January 21, 2008 and will be open on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Hours are Monday through Thursday, 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. A special vacation schedule will run from December 14 through January 6, 2008.

An hour skating session is $6 and skate rentals are $2 a pair. Convenient underground parking offered at Pershing Square and discount rates are available with ice skating validation. Pershing Square is located at 532 South Olive Street in Downtown Los Angeles.

For more information visit the Department website at http://www.laparks.org/ or call Pershing Square directly at (213) 847-4970.

Jane Kolb: (213) 928-9294, or cell, (323) 816-6712

Friday, November 16, 2007

Recognition as the Best Urban Forestry Program
Los Angeles - The City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks (RAP) Forestry Division received the Best Urban Forestry Program award from the California Urban Forests Council.
The award, presented at the 2007 California Urban Forest Conference, was presented to the City for exceptional leadership, innovation, growth and community involvement in creating a consistent and well-managed urban forest.
Nominated by environmental non-profit TreePeople, the award addressed the Department's leadership role in Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa's Million Trees L.A. Program. The Department embarked on a plan to plant 300,000 of the million trees on public parkland, in alliance with local youth and family volunteers. Over the last year RAP partnered with the non-profit TreePeople in order to engage local residents in these tree planting and care projects. Together they focused in two regions of L.A. which traditionally have been economically disenfranchised and environmentally underserved - the Harbor and the northeast San Fernando Valley.
On the learning of the award, Jon Kirk Mukri, General Manager of the Department said, "The Department has an urban forest of over 1 million trees and our role in the Million Trees Initiative will play a major role in helping shape Los Angeles' future and we're delighted to be recognized for this program."
According to TreePeople's founder and president Andy Lipkis, in undertaking this project RAP has adopted an approach which is ground-breaking to the field of urban forestry: RAP's strategy is to work alongside TreePeople to create volunteer-led tree planting and care projects in parks, by providing needed resources in the form of tools, staffing, expertise, facilities, land and trees; also, use these events as a launching point for citizen reforestation, by involving volunteers to lead planting and care events on City streets, school campuses and in heavily urbanized areas across L.A.
Lipkis added, "The Department's approach is both innovative and unique in that it realigns their resources to support community engagement and leadership in the longterm stewardship of L.A.'s trees - instead of just planting the trees themselves - and thus ensures greater success and viability of the entire urban forest for generations to come."
Jane Kolb: (213) 928-9294, or cell, (323)816-6712

Renaming of Jackie Tatum Recreation Center
Pool and Bathhouse Groundbreaking

Los Angeles - The Department of Recreation and Parks renamed the Harvard Recreation Center in honor of former General Manager Jackie Tatum on Saturday, November 3, 2007. The festivities also included a Groundbreaking Ceremony for a new pool and bathhouse at the South Los Angeles facility.

Jackie Tatum is a former City of Los Angeles employee with 43 years of service. Ms. Tatum was appointed in 1992 as the first woman and African-American General Manager of the Department of Recreation and Parks. She started her career as a Recreation Assistant, worked as a Director at Harvard and other Recreation Centers. Prior to serving as General Manager, she was Assistant General Manager for the Valley Region.

The new pool and bathhouse project will include a 3,400 square-foot traditional swimming pool and a 2,600 square-foot activity pool with zero depth entry. The family aquatic center will also feature play equipment and water slide, a life guard station, first aid room, ADA accessible restrooms, storage, mechanical and filter rooms (a 210 square- foot changing room and outdoor basketball and volleyball courts). The $5.635 million project is funded by Prop. 40 and Kaiser Foundation (Kaiser provided the funding for the water slide as part of Operation Splash.

Jane Kolb: (213) 928-9294, or cell, (323) 816-6712

More than 1,200 kids performing community service

Los Angeles - On October 27, 2007 more than 1,200 youth participated in Youth Make A Difference Day by performing community service throughout the City of Los Angeles.

From 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., a multitude of projects and programs were held at nearly 80 Department sites. Each project was planned and carried out by local youth at Recreation Centers citywide.

Among the planned activities were clean-ups and/or beautifications of parks and other neighborhood locations, collections of non-perishable food items for holiday baskets and clothing for the needy. In addition to making a difference for others, participants enhanced their self-esteem, leadership and cooperation skills.

The Department's involvement was coordinated through the CLASS Parks program, which partnered with Connect L.A.'s Teenager Make A Difference Day to implement a national event on a local basis.

Jane Kolb: (213) 928-9294, or cell, (323) 816-6712

A special event for youth and their families

Los Angeles - KTLA Kids Day L.A., a free family festival dedicated to the children of Los Angeles, was held on October 20, 2007 at the Expo Center. The event mixed fun activities for kids - including basketball, flag football, gymnastics, soccer and volleyball clinics - with practical advice and resources for parents and caregivers.

Over 100 Los Angeles City and County service providers specializing in arts, education, recreation, safety, health and social services were in attendance. Free swimming, tours of the facility grounds and live entertainment was available for all participants.

There was also a wall climbing attraction, an activity center for teenagers, a make-and-take craft area, food booths and more. The festival was produced by the Department of Recreation and Parks, which partnered with the California Science Center and the California African-Amercian Museum.

Jane Kolb: (213) 928-9294, or cell, (323) 816-6712