Saturday, July 6
8:45am—DWP Advocacy Community Meeting at the Hollywood Community Center: 6501 Fountain Ave., LA 90028. The meeting is open to neighborhood councils, other organizations, and individuals as members. For more information, visit www.ladwpneighborhoodnews.com.
9am-6pm—Opening of Another Trip in Baseball’s Time Machine: Photography at the Field of Dreams Exhibit at the Pasadena Central Library, 285 E. Walnut St. The exhibit highlights the dynamic relationship between photography and baseball from the game’s formative years to the modern era. Featuring “Baseball’s Best in Black & White: A Portfolio of Favorite Historical Baseball Photographs from The Rucker Archive.” Exhibit open through Aug. 31 during reguklar library hours. For more information, call (626) 791-7647; for directions, phone (626) 744-4066 during library hours.
6pm— 100th Anniversary Celebration of Our Lady Mt. Carmel Church in Montebello. A mass will be held at St. Benedict’s Church to honor Mt. Carmel Church for 100 years of service. The Church was one of the first churches established for the Mexican population. St. Benedict’s is located at 1022 W. Cleveland Ave., Montebello 90640. For information contact Raymond Ramirez at (562) 693-3102.
Tuesday, July 9
4pm—Arts & Crafts for Kids at the Robert L. Stevenson Branch Library: 803 Spence St., LA 90023. Enjoy fun and creative activities to beat the summer boredom. For more information, call (323) 268-4710.
Air Resource Board, ARB, Public Workshop on July 11 to discuss preliminary recommendations for awarding $150 million in Proposition 1B: Goods Movement Emission Reduction Program funds. The workshop will be held from 1 to 3pm at Southern California Association of Governments, Board Rm, 818 West 7th St, 12th Floor, LA 90017. For more information, go to http://www.arb.ca.gov/gmbond or call the Goods Movement Information Line at: (916) 44-GOODS (444-6637).
Mark Your Calendar for the Summer SR 710 North Study All Communities Convening Information Sessions being hosted by Metro and Caltrans in July. Learn about five transit options being explored that aim to reduce congestion and improve mobility in the San Gabriel Valley, East/Northeast Los Angeles, and the region. The first of three meeting will take place in E Sereno on July 18, from 6 to 8pm at the Los Angeles Presbyterian Church, 2241 N Eastern Ave. Additional meetings will be held July 20 and July 23.
New East Los Angeles College President Marvin Martinez spent part of his first day on the job Monday meeting faculty, staff and students. The Los Angeles Community College Board of Trustees, after an extensive search, voted Jan. 31 to appoint Martinez the eighth President of the 68-year-old college. Martinez was serving as President of Los Angeles Harbor College at the time of the appointment. His official first day of service at ELAC was July 1. Martinez served previously as Vice Chancellor for Economic and Workforce Development for the LACCD. His resume includes administrative positions at Santa Monica and Cerritos colleges. Martinez succeeds Ernest Moreno, who resigned in 2011 after serving as head of the college for 18 years, and who was elected to the Board of Trustees in March.
A Los Angeles federal judge has ruled that the Los Angeles housing authority gave proper advance notice to tens of thousands of Section 8 housing beneficiaries that their rents would effectively be going up, according to court papers release June 20.
U.S. District Judge George Wu, ruling in a class-action lawsuit brought on behalf of the beneficiaries, said the housing authority was not negligent, did not breach any mandatory duties to the beneficiaries and did not violate the beneficiaries’ state and federal due process rights.
A call for comment to a HACLA representative was not immediately returned.
The plaintiffs alleged the housing authority failed to properly notify the beneficiaries a year in advance that the reduction in the voucher payment standard amount would effectively raise the rent for many of them. They did not challenge the reduction itself, a second 30-day notice, or any change in their rents, but only the written notice.
The original lawsuit was filed in 2007 in Los Angeles federal court by two Section 8 housing beneficiaries and a non-profit advocacy organization.
In his ruling, Wu noted that the authority not only properly served each participant written notice a year ahead of time of the change to the voucher payment standard, but also held that the participants were all subject to required training about the voucher payment standard.
The housing authority conducted 20 outreach meetings at public housing sites and seven regional Section 8 meetings to help inform the recipients about the change, defense attorneys said.
In addition, the judge noted the authority issued second written notices 30 days prior to the effective date of the change to each participant, which advised the beneficiaries if and by how much the change in the voucher payment standard affected their rent.
“The court … would find that the notice provided by defendants was sufficiently effective to protect Section 8 recipients from an abrupt and unexpected reduction in their benefits,” Wu wrote in his 17-page ruling, issued on June 6.
The ruling stemmed from a renewed motion for summary judgment submitted by attorneys representing the housing authority.
“This is a victory not only for the housing authority but for similar public housing authorities across the country, and also for the taxpayers who subsidize these programs,” attorney Brant Dveirin said.
OAKLAND, Calif. – California is showing no improvement for overall children’s well-being. For the second consecutive year, the Golden State ranks 41st in the nation in the annual KIDS COUNT report.
According to Ted Lempert, president of Children Now, California leaders aren’t giving enough attention to the fundamental issues undermining our children’s – and our state’s – success.
“Essentially, we are not prioritizing kids,” he charged. “So, even though we are one of the top states in revenue, we’re well in the bottom half in terms of investing in education. And that also is true in terms of children’s health and other issues.”
Lempert said the state’s poor ranking doesn’t make sense when you consider that California ranks 11th in tax revenues and second in spending for prisons and corrections.
He said he believes the reason kids aren’t getting the level of attention they need and deserve is largely a function of their lack of power and influence relative to other interest groups.
“It’s really not that folks don’t care about kids: I think our elected leaders do,” he said. “I think that what we’re not doing is putting the pressure on them to do what they know is right.”
Children Now is spearheading The Children’s Movement of California, an effort to push for changes they say kids clearly need. More than 600 Pro-Kid organizations have joined the movement, which is the first of its kind in the state.
The Data Book ranks each state and the District of Columbia on 16 key indicators of how children are faring in the four categories of economic well-being, education, health, and family and community.
See the KIDS COUNT Data Book at AECF.org. More information is at ChildrenNow.org.
Business was brisk at Los Angeles County Clerk’s offices on July 1, as same-sex couples scrambled to get married, with the blessing of the federal court system.
According to Dean Logan, the county registrar-recorder/county clerk, more than 500 couples completed online marriage license applications since 4 p.m. Friday, when a federal appeals court lifted a stay and allowed same-sex weddings to resume in California.
The decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals came two days after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that proponents of Proposition 8 – which banned same-sex weddings in California – did not have legal standing to appeal a federal judge’s ruling that the measure was unconstitutional.
A group of conservative legal experts filed an emergency request last week asking the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the same-sex weddings because its decision to not uphold voter-approved Proposition 8, is not legally final during the 25-day period when parties to the case can ask for reconsideration.
At a Los Angeles ceremony, Gov. Jerry Brown Monday signed into law a school-funding measure aimed at directing additional funds to low-income schools across the state.
Brown, who signed the legislation at Cahuenga Elementary School, called the Local Control Funding Formula legislation “truly revolutionary.”
“We are bringing government closer to the people, to the classroom where real decisions are made and directing the money where the need and the challenge is the greatest,” he said. “This is a good day for California, it’s a good day for school kids and it’s a good day for our future.”
According to Brown’s office, the legislation will adjust the funding
formula for K-12 schools to provide them with more money based on the number of students who are English-learners, foster youth or from low-income families.
The legislation has an initial budget of $2.1 billion.
Brown also signed into law an Assembly bill that will cut tuition at California State University and University of California schools by 40 percent for students whose families earn less than $100,000 a year, and 10 percent for families earning less than $150,000 a year.
Over the last decade, tuition rates have increased by over 190 percent at UCs and about 145 percent at CSUs, according to Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles, who sponsored the Middle Class Scholarship legislation, Assembly Bill 94, which received bipartisan support in the Senate and the Assembly. General Fund revenues, the amount increasing each year until the fund is fully implemented in 2017-18, will be used to pay for the Middle Class Scholarship.
“While today’s deadline for Congress to pass legislation preventing federal student loan rates from doubling has passed, they still have the ability to take action so they don’t compound the already harmful situation where student loan debt now exceeds credit card debt in our country,” according to Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles, who sponsored the legislation. “They should follow California’s lead and take that action to help keep college affordable.”
Newswise — WASHINGTON-In the first successful experiment with humans using a treatment known as sensory-motor or environmental enrichment, researchers documented marked improvement in young autistic boys when compared to boys treated with traditional behavioral therapies, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.
The rationale for the new treatment is rooted in the fact that autistic children typically have sensory problems, the most common involving smell and touch sensitivity. Building on decades of work in animals documenting the profound effects of environmental enrichment on behavioral and neurological outcomes, the authors of the study predicted that similar enrichment in autistic children would have beneficial effects.
“Because parents can give their child sensory enrichment using items typically available in their home, this therapy provides a low-cost option for enhancing their child’s progress,” said study co-author Cynthia C. Woo, PhD, a project scientist at the University of California Irvine.
The study, which was published online in the APA journal Behavioral Neuroscience, involved 28 autistic boys, ages 3 to 12. Researchers placed the boys in two groups based on their age and autism severity. For six months, both groups participated in standard behavioral therapy but boys in one of the groups also underwent daily environmental enrichment exercises.
Parents of each of the 13 boys in the enrichment group received a kit that contained essential oil fragrances such as apple, lavender, lemon and vanilla to stimulate sense of smell. For touch, the kit contained squares of plastic doormat, smooth foam, a rubber sink mat, aluminum, fine sandpaper, felt and sponges. The kit also included pieces of carpet, hard flooring, pillows, cardboard and bubble wrap that parents laid on the floor to create a multi-textured walking path. Items for the children to manipulate included a piggy bank with plastic coins, miniature plastic fruits and a small fishing pole with a magnetic hook. Many household items were also used, such as bowls for holding water at different temperatures for the child to dip in a hand or foot and metal spoons that parents would warm or cool and touch to the child’s skin.
Researchers instructed the parents of children in the enrichment group to conduct two sessions a day of four to seven exercises involving different combinations of sensory stimuli for touch, temperature, sight and movement. Each session took 15 to 30 minutes to complete. The children also listened to classical music once a day.
Following six months of therapy, 42 percent of the children in the enrichment group significantly improved in behaviors such as relating to people and responding to sights and sounds, compared to 7 percent of the standard care group, according to the study. The children in the enrichment group also improved on scores for cognitive function, which covers aspects of perception and reasoning, whereas the average scores for the children in the standard care group decreased. In addition, 69 percent of parents in the enrichment group reported improvement in their child’s overall autism symptoms, compared to 31 percent of parents of the standard care group, the authors wrote.
“Sensory enrichment may well be an effective therapy for the treatment of autism, particularly in children much past the toddler stage,” said study co-author Michael Leon, PhD, a professor of neurobiology and behavior with the University of California Irvine.
“This is an exciting study for several reasons,” said Mark Blumberg, PhD, editor of Behavioral Neuroscience. “It is well designed, it builds on established findings from numerous experiments using non-human animals and it addresses the critical need to find effective treatments for autism. The obvious next step has to be replication of these results in a larger-scale study.”
Before the experiment, most of the children in both groups were undergoing the standard treatment for autism, applied behavior analysis, which typically involves 25 to 40 hours a week with a trained professional for a number of years, the study said. Some children in both groups were also undergoing speech therapy, social skills therapy, physical therapy for fine motor skills or occupational therapy with different types of exercises. Most current therapies for autism must be started at a very young age to be effective, whereas environmental enrichment worked for boys at least to age 12, the study said.
The researchers are now conducting a larger randomized clinical trial that includes girls. Another important next step will be to test environmental enrichment therapy when a child is not also receiving other standard treatments, the authors noted.
Responding in part to the fatal mauling of a jogger in the Littlerock area, the Board of Supervisors last week approved funding to hire more animal control officers and purchase equipment so the county can better respond to reports of potentially dangerous animals.
The board approved $365,000 to hire five animal control officers, along with $408,000 to purchase protective equipment for the officers and six trucks.
According to a report presented to the board, the county Department of Animal Care and Control responded to 97,000 calls for service in 2012, and more than 10,000 of those calls for were aggressive or biting animals. The agency handled about 17,000 calls assisting law enforcement or rescuing injured animals.
The issue of vicious animals was highlighted on May 9, when 63-year-old Pamela Devitt was fatally attacked by a pack of pit bulls while jogging in the Littlerock area.
Littlerock resident Alex Donald Jackson, 29, was charged with murder and other counts, with sheriff’s deputies and prosecutors contending that DNA tests show his dogs were the ones that attacked the woman. He remains jailed while awaiting arraignment next month.
Marcia Mayeda, director of the animal control department, said the problem with vicious animals can often be traced to the owner.
“There’ve been all these situations where we see the failure is where there’s been a lack of socialization of the animal, a lack of awareness of the owner as far as the potential that that animal can cause for harm, and lack of spaying and neutering, lack of proper fencing and control,” she said. “And then also having too many animals, because then they form a pack. And an animal individually that might be OK, when there’s three or four of them it’s a real problem, and that’s what we saw in the Antelope Valley.”
Eight dogs were confiscated from Jackson’s property shortly after the attack on Devitt.
The county is also considering other steps to bolster its animal control efforts, including the creation of critical- and major-case units to investigate cases of vicious animals, and to expand the department’s communications center, which can receive as many as 700,000 calls annually, according to the county.
Those efforts would cost more than $2.4 million