Tuesday, November 23, 2010

9th annual People for Parks Awards
Hollywood - Hundreds of park supporters attended the 9th annual People for Parks Awards Ceremony at the Hollywood Bowl on Tuesday, November 9, 2010. The ceremony saluted 6 individuals from the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks for going above and beyond their call of duty.
Here's a list of the City's 2010 Park Heroes:
Andrew Fuerte is a volunteer at East Wilmington Greenbelt Community Center. Andrew is only 12, but has already proven that he is wise and compassionate beyond his years. He once gave his lunch to a younger child who didn't have one, without thinking twice or asking anyone what to do. In 2009, the coaches and parents of the Greenbelt Community Center saluted his dedication by presenting Andrew the basketball league's Sportsmanship Award. Everyone who comes in contact with this Teen Park Hero admires him!
Kenneth Gibbs, Sr. has been a volunteer at Panorama Recreation Center for 10 years. Kenneth led the Park Advisory Board for three years, is an energetic coach, and often fills in as DJ and emcee for special events. When the center recently experienced a shortage of coaches, Kenneth - "Powerman" to his friends - volunteered to coach four basketball teams so participants would not be disappointed. He has also used his cinematic abilities to train teens on the basics of film-making, and has produced two films featuring members of the Panorama Teen Club. Kenneth is a multi-talented and tireless Park Hero!
Martin Cruz is a Recreation Assistant at Normandale Recreation Center. Martin has served in many capacities during 11 years with the Department. He has coached and officiated sports, created programs, and worked with officials and residents to address gang activity, homelessness and other local problems. Martin had even paid registration fees for young people who otherwise would not have been able to participate. This Park Hero is also - literally - a lifesaver! He recently came across a young man who had doused himself in gasoline and was holding a lighter, but was able to convince him that suicide was not the answer!
Ron Dugar has been a Recreation Assistant for the Municipal Sports Section for more than 26 years. Although Ron played softball, he never coordinated a league or umpired a game. As soon as he joined Municipal Sports, though, he saw how his experience as a player could help. Ron learned how to coordinate the league, which now has about 1,000 teams per year, and to officiate, becoming a college official. He eventually became the lead instructor of the section's Umpire Certification Program. Ron also teaches and lectures part-time and full-time employees all over Southern California. Tragically, a few years ago, he suffered a stroke and had to re-learn how to walk and talk. This Park Hero could have retired, but insisted on coming back to what he considers the greatest job on Earth!
Kim Welden & Elaine Piha have worked for Recreation and Parks for more than six years, first as Recreation Assistants, then as Recreation Coordinators, and now as Facility Directors. As part-time employees for the Youth Employment Internship Program, they re-wrote the entire curriculum, retained all the staff and supervised sites. As CLASS Parks Coordinators and as Directors of CLASS sites, Kim and Elaine brought many innovative ideas to their communities, including the hugely successful Princess and Knight Parties. With the help of a dedicated staff and teen volunteers, they transformed their Recreation Center gyms into fantasylands for girls and boys at separate events. They convinced teenagers to dress up and pose for pictures as princesses and knights, and were even able to convince construction employees to build thrones. Kim and Elaine also truly care about their neighbors. A few years ago, they and a small group of co-workers "adopted" a family from each of their Recreation Centers, collected money, and went shopping for the two families. They bought gifts for each member, as well as gifts that could be enjoyed together. These Park Heroines wrapped and delivered all the gifts in time for Christmas - on their own time and with their own money!
CONGRATULATIONS to these inspiring Park Heroes!!!!
Andrea Epstein: (213) 202-2690
Amy A. Garcia: (213) 202-2689

Groundbreaking Ceremony for North Atwater Park

Los Angeles - The Department of Recreation and Parks in collaboration with the Department of Public Works Bureaus of Engineering and Sanitation broke ground on the North Atwater Park Expansion and Creek Restoration Project on Thursday, October 28, 2010. Councilmembers Tom LaBonge (Fourth District), Ed P. Reyes (First District) and Council President Eric Garcetti were on hand to celebrate the plans for the improved parkland.

When complete, the North Atwater Park Project will provide 3-acres of additional parkland featuring a picnic area, demonstration garden, outdoor classroom, concrete play tunnel and sand play area. The project will also restore a creek that connects to the Los Angeles River. Native plant landscaping on the creek banks and along the streambed to prevent erosion and naturally clean stormwater before going out to the river. This project will help the City improve water quality for the L.A. River and is the first City of Los Angeles project in the re-greening of the Los Angeles River.

The North Atwater Park Project was undertaken in connection with the settlement of two Clean Water Act enforcement actions, Santa Monica Baykeeper v. City of Los Angeles and United States, and State of California ex. Rel. California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Los Angeles Region v. City of Los Angeles. This project is also being funded by Proposition 50 through the California Resources Agency to improve River Parkways.

The improvement project is expected to be complete in late 2011.

Andrea Epstein: (213) 202-2690
Amy A. Garcia: (213) 202-2689

Monday, November 01, 2010

Dedication Ceremony for the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust

Los Angeles - In 1961 a group of Holocaust survivors were brought together by fate at Hollywood High School while learning to speak English. They shared their stories and discovered that each of them had different artifacts from the Holocaust era. They decided that the special relics needed a permanent home where they could be safely displayed and preserved. Together they founded the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust.

Now, after fifty years and four different locations, the Los Angeles Holocaust Museum has found a permanent home at Pan Pacific Park, a City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks facility. The new building is located next to the Martyrs Memorial and is partially built underground to preserve the green parkland.

The Department of Recreation and Parks General Manager Jon Kirk Mukri along with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Councilmembers Tom LaBonge, Eric Garcetti and Paul Koretz, Supervisor Zev Yaroslovsky, Assemblymember Mike Feuer and a group of Holocaust survivors proudly dedicated and opened the new Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust on Thursday, October 14, 2010.

The $18 million structure was created by award-winning architect, Hagy Belzberg. The new museum building has one of the largest green roofs in California and mixes technology advanced exhibits and authentic artifacts. The high-tech design has already received the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Commission Design Honor Award and the Green Building Design Award.

The museum presents the history of the Holocaust as objectively as possible by displaying original artifacts. The museum's architecture and layout play significant roles in visitors' experiences. The rooms descend and decrease in light as they progress towards the darkest part of history. A powerful and affecting interactive Memory Pool in The World That Was will help build understanding of Jewish life throughout Europe prior to World War II. Other displays include a touch-screen computer table with 25,000 floating photographs and a testimonial wall with 85 video screens that allow visitors to hear survivor stories.

The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust is the only Los Angeles institution with a sole focus on the events of the Holocaust and FREE admission. Museum attendance is expected to increase to 50,000 visitors per year from the 13,000 average of previous years.

The new museum is located at 100 South The Grove Drive in Los Angeles 90036. For more information visit http://www.lamoth.org/ or call (323) 651-3704.

Andrea Epstein: (213) 202-2690
Amy A. Garcia: (213) 202-2689