September 20 2012 Issue

September 21, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Endeavor Lands in L.A. Friday

September 20, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

After logging 25 missions and traveling nearly 123 million miles orbiting the Earth, the space shuttle Endeavour will take its final flight Friday as it heads to its retirement home at the California Science Center at Exposition Park.

Follow the Endeavor’s Journey Through Pictures at the NASA Headquarters Flickr Slideshow

Endeavour, which has spent 299 days in orbit circling the planet 4,671 times, took off from Kennedy Space Center at 4:22 PDT Wednesday atop a modified Boeing 747 and flew to Ellington Field near Johnson Space Center in Houston, where it landed at 8:40 a.m. PDT.

Look Up In The Sky! Endeavor Takes Its Final Flight: Space Shuttle Endeavour is ferried by NASA’s Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) over the Kennedy Space Center in the early morning hours of September 19, 2012 as it departs for California. NASA pilots Jeff Moultrie and Bill Rieke are at the controls of the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. Photo taken by NASA photographer Robert Markowitz in the backseat of a NASA T-38 chase plane with NASA pilot Greg C. Johnson at the controls.(Photo by NASA/ Robert Markowitz)

Following takeoff, the aircraft carrying the shuttle made one final low pass along Florida’s Space Coast, passing over Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Kennedy, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and Patrick Air Force Base. It is due to land at LAX on Friday, according to NASA officials.

After spending the night at Ellington Field, the shuttle was set to take off at sunrise today, make a refueling stop at Biggs Army Airfield in El Paso, Texas, then make low-level flyovers of White Sands Test Facility near Las Cruces in southern New Mexico and NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, near the border of Kern and Los Angeles counties, where it is due to land around noon, according to NASA.

Endeavour will take off from Dryden Friday morning and make low-level flyovers of San Francisco and Sacramento before circling back south toward Los Angeles International Airport. It is expected to make 1,500-foot flyovers of the Southland to give people a view of the historic aircraft before it arrives at LAX around 11 a.m.

Among the sites the shuttle is expected to fly over beginning around 10:30 a.m. Friday are the Getty Center, the Griffith Observatory, the Science Center, Los Angeles City Hall, Disneyland, the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, the Queen Mary, Venice Beach, Universal Studios, Malibu and Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.

Given the magnitude of the spectacle, local authorities warned that people who want to get a glimpse of the shuttle need to find a safe spot — and not try to watch while driving.

“Obviously we want people to take in this majestic show as these aircraft make sweeping low-level passes over Southern California’s iconic spots,” Los Angeles Police Department Cmdr. Scott Kroeber said. “But if you’re driving, please drive and don’t try and take in the show simultaneously.

We don’t want this to be the mother of all distracted driver incidents. We know that we’re better than that.”

California Highway Patrol Assistant Chief Calvin Aubrey said additional patrols will be working Friday morning, “especially along the 405 corridor where the shuttle will be passing over.”

Michael Feldman of Los Angeles World Airports noted that patrols will also be in place around LAX.

“There will be no loitering allowed on the perimeter of the airport,” Feldman said. “We’re doing our best to get that word out as well.”

The shuttle will remain at a United Airlines hangar at LAX until Oct. 12, when it will begin a two-day, 12-mile journey on city streets to the California Science Center at Exposition Park, where it will go on permanent display.

Endeavour’s overland route from LAX to the science center requires the removal of hundreds of trees and the reconfiguring of power lines and other obstacles to clear the way for the massive aircraft.

The California Science Center Foundation has agreed to replant around four times as many trees than will be removed in some neighborhoods along the route.

Endeavour, whose construction was completed in 1991 at a facility in Palmdale, was NASA’s fifth and final orbiter, built as a replacement for the destroyed Challenger. Its first mission was in May of 1992 and its last was in May of 2011. It is due to go on display at the museum on Oct. 30.

Public Gets Look At Street Bridge Design Finalists

September 20, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The City of Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering recently held a series of community meetings on the Sixth Street Viaduct Replacement Project. Three final designs were presented to the public at the meetings, of which one will be selected.

More commonly known as the 6th Street Bridge, the Sixth Street Viaduct was built in 1932 and is one of a set of fourteen historic bridges spanning the Los Angeles River. At over 3,500 feet in length, it is the longest of all the bridges, and considered one of the city’s most important engineering landmarks.

There are plans to demolish and replace the Sixth Stret Viaduct, commonly known as the 6th Street Bridge, pictured above. (Downtowngal via Wikipedia)

Located in a highly urbanized area just east of downtown Los Angeles, the bridge is a critical east-west transportation corridor. The four-lane roadway connects Boyle Heights and the downtown LA Arts District, crosses multiple railroad tracks, US 101, and several local streets.

A 1986 Caltrans bridge survey found it to be eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.

But the bridge began to experience deterioration problems within two decades of being built, causing repeated costly repairs, and according to city officials, the bridge could collapse in a major earthquake.

The decision was made to demolish the existing bridge and to build a $401 million replacement.

Earlier this year the Bureau of Engineering solicited design proposals for a new bridge. Nine firms submitted proposals, six were interviewed and three became finalists, according to the LA Department of Public Works. The firms are AECOM, HNTB and Parsons Brinckerhoff.

The firms’first presentations, held on Sept. 12 at the PUENTE Learning Center in Boyle Heights, were video tapped and are available online at sixthstreetviaductreplacement.org.

The project has an advisory group—the Sixth Street Viaduct Design Aesthetic Advisory Committee (DAAC)—appointed by the Mayor Villaraigosa and Councilmember Jose Huizar.

And while residents can weigh-in on their preferred design, there is no formal voting process for them to make the final selection, according to Tonya Durrell of the Los Angeles Public Affairs Office.

The design winner is expected to be decided early next month. The contracted team will prepare plans and specifications for the final design that could incorporate suggestions made by the public or address areas of concern. According to Councilman Jose Huizar, in whose district the bridge is located, the plans presented by the three firms are not final.

The final design plans should be completed in 2014, with construction getting underway in 2015. The project should be completed by 2018.

For more information regarding the project visit www.sixthstreetviaductreplacement.org or call (213) 978-0333. The presentations can also be viewed at the city’s Public Works building on Broadway until October 5.

Next week, EGPNews will provide a closer look at the three designs.

Paying For College: Start Saving Now

September 20, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The year your child applies for college is not the time to start saving for their education. To avoid feeling the brunt of skyrocketing college tuition costs and burdensome school loans, it is best to begin saving as early as when your child is born, if not earlier, according to experts in financial planning.

September is National College Savings Month and to mark the occasion, the state of California is reminding parents about its ScholarShare program, which offers college savings account plans to parents wanting to save for their child’s college education. ScholarShare offers 529 plans, which like retirement plans have unique benefits. The money will grow tax-deferred and any withdrawals made to pay for qualifying college education costs are tax-free.

Some tips to tackling your college savings:

—Setting goals is key to a successful savings plan. To identify your goal, begin researching current costs of college and factor in future increases so that you can set a total amount to save up.
—Make sure to save often, and little by little. It might mean sacrificing a few small things, like that $5 visit to the coffee shop, but the sacrifice will prove much more rewarding when you see your child succeed.
—As college gets closer, increase savings annually to stay on track of your plan.

ScholarShare recommends that you don’t do it alone. Make it a family affair. Tell family and friends that you’re saving up for your child and ask them to pitch in if they can. Many 529 plans have “Give a Gift” options that allow others to contributed directly to an account.

To learn more about California’s 529 college savings plans, visit www.ScholarShare.com

Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban To Be ‘American Idol’ Judges

September 20, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Top-selling rapper Nicki Minaj and Grammy-winning country singer Keith Urban will be judges on “American Idol,” while Randy Jackson will remain as judge when the Fox Broadcasting singing competition begins its 12th season in January, the network announced Monday.

Minaj received a best new artist Grammy Award in 2011 and her rapping technique has been praised by critics for its use of alter-egos, accents, notably British, and rapid-fire pace.

The Trinidad-born Minaj’s debut album, “Pink Friday,” released in November 2010, reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 and was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.

Minaj’s second studio album, “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded,” released in April topped the charts internationally with one million copies sold.

Urban has won four Grammy Awards and five Academy of County Music Awards and had 14 No. 1 hits.

Jackson is the only judge who has been with the series for its entire run.

“Nicki is someone who represents a different side of the music industry, who has now crossed into mainstream culture with her unique artistry, style and flair,” said Cecile Frot-Coutaz, CEO of FremantleMedia, which produces “American Idol.”

“Keith is one of country music’s true stars who brings with him charm, wit and knowledge about the industry.”

Fox announced on July 23 that five-time Grammy-winning singer Mariah Carey would be an “American Idol” judge and confirmed that Jennifer Lopez would not return as a judge after two seasons.

Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler announced July 12 that he was leaving as a judge after two seasons.

‘Business Tax Holiday’ Extension Moves Forward In L.A.

September 20, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The Los Angeles City Council Tuesday tentatively approved an extension of a program that exempts new companies from paying the city’s business tax during their first three years of operation, despite concerns there was no proof the exemption was actually luring any businesses to the city.

The Business Tax Holiday, an incentive program designed to attract businesses, was scheduled to expire at the end of the year. If the council gives it final approval next week, the program will be extended until 2015.

The extension was approved on a 10-2 vote, with Paul Krekorian and Jan Perry dissenting. Since the vote was not unanimous, the issue must return for a final council vote.

Councilman Eric Garcetti championed the extension, saying the city needs to do everything it can to attract business to Los Angeles.

“When we get business friendly, we actually make more money,” he said.

But the proposal was met with skepticism by Krekorian, the head of the council’s Budget and Finance Committee, who said the exemption amounts to a $30 million hit to the city budget — without any proof it is actually attracting businesses.

“This idea of giving away tax revenue to businesses, many of whom likely would be here with or without this, is in my view at best premature,” Krekorian said. “It’s a good concept but it’s premature until we have a proper economic analysis.

“… We have zero evidence that there’s been any increase in business activity because of this tax incentive,” he said.

Several council members noted that the city has long been criticized for being unfriendly to business, and more changes need to be made to make Los Angeles a place companies want to move.

Extending the business tax exemption is a step in that direction, Councilman Mitch Englander said.

“We’ve got to do these other incremental steps to make sure we’re competitive,” he said.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was among those urging the council to approve the extension. Although he did not attend the council meeting, he issued a statement saying the Business Tax Holiday “has proven that Los Angeles is open for business and has helped make Los Angeles competitive in attracting jobs.”

The mayor noted that the number of firms that gross $500,000 or more taking advantage of the tax exemption doubled between 2011 to 2012.

But Krekorian said the statistic was misleading and did not mean that the number of new businesses opening in Los Angeles had doubled. He noted that the city changed the eligibility requirements for the program, and some companies that didn’t take the exemption during their first year of operation began taking it in their second year.

He also said there was no proof that businesses taking advantage of the tax might have opened in Los Angeles anyway.

“Until we have some of that analysis it would

Monterey Park Tailoring Shop Burns Down

September 20, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

(CNS) – One person suffered minor injuries Wednesday in a fire that caused about $600,000 in damages to a tailoring business in a strip mall in Monterey Park, authorities said.

Firefighters sent to the 2000 block of South Atlantic Boulevard at 6:59 a.m. extinguished the flames in the one-story building in 31 minutes, said Monterey Park fire Capt. Matt Hallock.

Damage was estimated at $400,000 to the structure and $200,000 to the contents, Hallock said. The cause of the fire was under investigation.

Fire Damages Boyle Heights Church

September 20, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

(CNS) – A fire Tuesday damaged a two-story building housing a church, but no one was hurt.

About 50 firefighters were called to 2312 E. Whittier Blvd. in the Boyle Heights area at 2:40 p.m. and had the blaze knocked down in 36 minutes, said Erik Scott of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

He said the cost of damages is still being figured out as investigators work to find the cause of the fire.

The building was used as a theater before being converted into a storefront church, officials said.

Victim Identified In Highland Park Shooting

September 20, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

(CNS) – A man fatally shot in Mount Washington by a gunman on a bicycle was identified Tuesday.

Israel Cervantes, 26, of Los Angeles, was declared dead at a hospital after Monday’s 2 a.m. shooting at Marmion Way and Avenue 60, according to Los Angeles police and coroner’s Assistant Chief Ed Winter.

The shooter was described as a heavy-set, roughly 6-foot-tall man with a shaved head.

Cervantes was in a group, loitering and consuming alcohol at 2:05 a.m. when the suspect approached on the bicycle and confronted the group; the suspect then pulled out a handgun and fired twice hitting the victim, according to Lt. Solano of the Northeast LAPD Station.

Commerce Drive-By Shooting Victims Recovering

September 20, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

(EGPNews) – A man and a woman attacked while walking along a street in the City of Commerce late last Saturday evening are in stable condition, according to authorities.

Sheriff’s deputies have yet to track down the “three to five” assailants, described as males, possibly Hispanic, who drove by in the dark Honda Accord and allegedly shot at the two victims, said Sgt. Mike Duran of the East Los Angeles Sheriff’s Station.

The shooting occurred at around 11pm. A man in a car allegedly asked the two victims where they were from before producing a gun and shooting at them and fleeing the scene.

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