Pages

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Free Mulch 'til Eternity

Our street is still lined on both sides with piles of tree branches, although we can see the clean-up approach and it looks like the crews will get to us this weekend if the weather holds. It's been fun, but I guess it'll be nice to have street parking again.

Few members of the relevant Pasadena city staff have had much sleep these last two weeks.  I've spoken with sanitation workers on garbage pick-up rounds, streets workers repairing damaged street lights and electrical workers doing that stuff they do with the wires. Everybody's been working long shifts, trying to put the city back together again. They're tired but still going, still keeping their spirits up as far as I can tell. At least nobody's snapped at me. Honestly, I'd be so nasty by now if I'd been working 12 hour shifts for 16 days straight. They are amazing and they're not finished yet.

Because, you know, GAME. PARADE.

If you're a regular here at PDP you know of at least one tireless city staff member who's been keeping us informed since the early morning hours of December 1st: Ann Erdman, Pasadena's Public Information Officer. Thank you, Ann. You're the best.

I've received more information from Ann's office--four more press releases over the last few days. I'm going to edit them down here to the most pertinent stuff.

The first one is in the "better late than never" category. Ann was on time, just--I wasn't. Fortunately the weather wasn't too bad yesterday. Today we may not be so lucky.

Topics of the press releases include, in this order:
more storm warnings
a fund to replace our lost trees
debris pick-up and dumping
free mulch! dude!

Questions answered. Contact information. Scroll through and find what you need.


#######

CITY OF PASADENA PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE
NEWS FOR RELEASE:
December 15, 2011
5:34 PM
MEDIA CONTACT: Ann Erdman, (626) 744-4755

COMMUNITY ADVISED TO PREPARE FOR SECOND WINDSTORM

Following a ferocious thunderstorm that swept through Pasadena this afternoon, a second windstorm with predicted gusts of up to 60 miles an hour is expected to hit Dec. 16 and 17.

Pasadena Public Works Department crews will be working all weekend to continue the process of debris removal.

“The city of Pasadena has extra crews on call to respond to emergencies should that be necessary,” said Pasadena City Manager Michael J. Beck. “This is a good time for residents to make sure they are prepared in case of an emergency.”        

A page on the city website – www.cityofpasadena.net/windstorm_2011 – includes comprehensive information about windstorms, including instructions for emergency preparedness, important phone numbers, answers to frequently asked questions and more.

To report power-related issues, call (626) 744-4673;
to report fallen or compromised trees in the public right of way, call (626) 744-4321;
to report fallen or compromised trees on private property, call (626) 744-4009;
to report building damage, call (626) 744-4200.

To report a life-threatening emergency, call 9-1-1.


###

December 15, 2011
5:03 PM

LOCAL FOUNDATIONS WORKING TOGETHER TO HELP RENEW PASADENA’S URBAN FOREST FOLLOWING WINDSTORM

The city of Pasadena lost close to 1,100 trees of all sizes and species during the recent hurricane-force windstorm and at least 70 more park trees have been damaged and are being assessed for their chances of survival.

Now two local foundations are working together to help renew the public portion of Pasadena’s urban forest by replacing those lost trees.  

The Pasadena Community Foundation has teamed up with Pasadena Beautiful Foundation to establish the Windstorm Tree Fund for Pasadena to raise money for the purchase and planting of replacement trees on city property.

Pasadena Community Foundation, a non-profit, tax-exempt public charity created by and for the people of Pasadena, will match up to $10,000 in donations to the fund. All donations to the Windstorm Tree Fund for Pasadena are tax deductible and organizers stress that every penny donated will be used for the sole purpose of planting new trees.

“Without us having to ask, these two organizations saw the need, came to the city and offered their help," said City Manager Michael J. Beck. "In a time of very tight budgets, this kind of support from our residents is especially welcome and we’re very grateful.”

“Our urban forest is what makes our community livable,” said Emina Darakjy, past president of Pasadena Beautiful Foundation, a non-profit community organization that has worked with the city of Pasadena for 50 years to plant and protect trees. “Besides adding a natural beauty, trees provide quantifiable economic, ecosystem and health benefits.”

Donations to the fund may be made at www.pasadenabeautiful.org (click on Make a Donation) or mailed to Pasadena Beautiful Foundation, 140 S. Lake Ave., Suite 268, Pasadena CA 91101.

For more information about the Windstorm Tree Fund for Pasadena and to follow its progress, visit www.pasadenabeautiful.org and www.pasadenacf.org.  Facebook users can “Like” the Windstorm Tree Fund for Pasadena page.

# # #

December 13, 2011
5:11 pm

CREWS COLLECT YEAR’S WORTH OF GREEN DEBRIS IN ONE WEEK

The enormity of the windstorm recovery effort is becoming clearer every day.

Pasadena Public Works Department crews have been working tirelessly to clear the city’s 325 miles of roadways of storm debris and so far have collected a year’s worth – 18,000 tons – in just one week.

“It’s an incredible amount of material,” said Public Works Director Siobhan Foster.  “We’re going to be devoting the next several weeks to picking up all the green windstorm debris that residents have put out at the curb.”

A small contingent from L.A. County Department of Public Works continues to assist Pasadena Public Works with the massive project. Primary and secondary arterial roads have been cleared and now crews are concentrating on residential streets, moving east to west across the community while responding to day-to-day issues.

Foster reiterated that the Dec. 12 deadline for putting green storm debris at the curb for pickup has now passed and urged residents not to keep adding more, especially if crews have already cleared their streets.  

“Once we finish a street, we’re finished,” she added.  “We won’t be making a second pass to pick up more debris put out at the curb after the deadline. Our crews have to get to every part of the city.”

Residents with additional storm debris not placed at the street are advised to break it up to fit in yard-waste bins or take it to drop-off sites at the parking lots of Robinson Park, 1081 N. Fair Oaks Avenue, or Eaton Blanche Park, 3100 E. Del Mar Boulevard, by Friday, Dec. 16. All green debris, whether already at the curb or taken to a site, should be unbagged.

For more information call (626) 744-4087.

# # #

December 13, 2011
5:30 pm

WINDSTORM DEBRIS RETURNED TO COMMUNITY AS FREE MULCH

The recent hurricane-force windstorm that rocked Pasadena has finally yielded one benefit: free mulch for gardens.

Green debris taken by residents to two drop-off points has been ground up and will be returned to those locations starting this week as free mulch available to any Pasadenan with a shovel and something with which to carry the mulch.

Mulch will be available daily from Dec. 16 to 29, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Eaton Blanche Park, 3100 E. Del Mar Blvd., in the parking lot on Millicent Way; and Robinson Park, 1081 N. Fair Oaks Ave., in the parking lot on Morton Street.

Mulch is an important organic protective cover placed over soil to help retain moisture, return nutrients, discourage weed growth and encourage seed germination and healthy plant growth. 

To prevent contamination of mulch, residents are reminded that yard waste must never contain any non-green items such as mattresses, fence material, roof shingles or other debris.

In addition to a great deal of free mulch, the unprecedented amount of storm debris has led to an increase in illegal dumping on streets, in parks and public rights of way. Pasadena Police are on the lookout for illegal dumping and will issue citations.

For more information about green debris collection and free mulch, contact Environmental Programs Manager Gabriel Silva at (626) 744-4721.

# # #

Ann Erdman
Public Information Officer
City of Pasadena
Public Affairs Office
100 N. Garfield Ave., Room S228
Pasadena CA  91109
(626) 744-4755
Cell: (626) 375-2742
www.cityofpasadena.net/publicaffairs
Facebook:  Pasadena PIO
Twitter:  pasadenapio

Friday, December 16, 2011

Guest Author: Gail Herndon and Brenda Goldstein, and the Spa Less Traveled

We're doubling up on guest authors this week! It's like it's Christmas or something! Which is convenient, because this book is a good idea for a holiday gift and next week you'll already have your shopping done, right?
Two friends, Brenda Goldstein and Gail Herndon, take us along on their journey to The Spa Less Traveled, published by Pasadena's own Prospect Park Media.

We didn’t intend to write anything – it was just about getting together, hanging out, exploring the city and seeing where that took us. Our first outing in 2007 was Chinatown. We went to a lecture at the LA Library on the history of Chinese food in Los Angeles. There was a small panel of diverse perspectives, including author Lisa See and former LA politician Michael Woo. We did a fascinating walking tour which, in hindsight, really set the stage for our book. We ate, we shopped (found some amazing deals on beaded shoes!) and we knew we’d be back. There was much left to see and discover.

Our second trip was to Thai Town. The boundaries for Thai Town are much smaller than Chinatown, and as such one could actually “do the town” in one day. It was here that the idea for a massage appeared. It was at the end of our visit, and though we’re not ones to wear heels on a field trip, our feet were duly tired from all the walking. The only knowledge we had about Thai massage was that it was “different.” Hmmmm. Sure, why not try it?

We were first given a loose top and large pair of pants with a long, attached fabric tie. Later we learned these are called “Fisherman” pants, and there are specific instructions about getting them on correctly. I don’t know if either of us did it correctly that first time. One difference of Thai massage is that the massage is performed on the floor, on a padded mat. The massage starts with you face down. There is a cushion for your face and a bolster for your feet. Another difference is that the massage both starts and ends at your feet. Traditional Thai massage is also performed dry – that is, without oil. If there is an area, typically on your back or neck, that has more knots to be worked out, they may ask if they might use Tiger Balm, a salve made with a unique blend of essential oils. This helps facilitate the massage, and allows the therapist to more easily manipulate the sen lines, similar to meridians used in Chinese massage.

And so it began. We’d go to a new city and have another new massage experience. After a while, we realized we’d gathered some pretty good information – the parking tips alone are valuable, for those challenged to find parking in population-dense Los Angeles. We loved learning about Korean, Russian, Japanese, Thai and Chinese massage modalities. Chapters are dedicated to each in The Spa Less Traveled, and we provide a review for the over 200 places listed. It’s one of the great things about living in Pasadena – we’re close to so many interesting places worthy of exploration. And getting a massage is a great way to get to know a neighborhood!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Honor, At Last

Tomorrow, Friday evening at 6pm, there's going to be a ceremony at All Saints Church to honor the homeless dead. This piece by yesterday's guest author Kat Ward gives more details (ignore the typo, the ceremony will indeed be held Friday night).

Los Angeles County holds an annual ritual to bury the unnamed and unclaimed. Just the thought of it is eerie and sad, over-full of stories not told.

It's too little, too late, of course. But it's something.



5:42PM this just in:

COMMUNITY ADVISED TO PREPARE FOR SECOND WINDSTORM

CITY OF PASADENA PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE
NEWS FOR RELEASE: December 15, 2011
MEDIA CONTACT: Ann Erdman, (626) 744-4755

Following a ferocious thunderstorm that swept through Pasadena this afternoon, a second windstorm with predicted gusts of up to 60 miles an hour is expected to hit Dec. 16 and 17.

Pasadena Public Works Department crews will be working all weekend to continue the process of debris removal.

“The city of Pasadena has extra crews on call to respond to emergencies should that be necessary,” said Pasadena City Manager Michael J. Beck. “This is a good time for residents to make sure they are prepared in case of an emergency.”        

A page on the city website – www.cityofpasadena.net/windstorm_2011 – includes comprehensive information about windstorms, including instructions for emergency preparedness, important phone numbers, answers to frequently asked questions and more.

To report power-related issues, call (626) 744-4673; to report fallen or compromised trees in the public right of way, call (626) 744-4321; to report fallen or compromised trees on private property, call (626) 744-4009; to report building damage, call (626) 744-4200. To report a life-threatening emergency, call 9-1-1.


# # #

Ann Erdman
Public Information Officer
City of Pasadena
Public Affairs Office
100 N. Garfield Ave., Room S228
Pasadena CA  91109
(626) 744-4755
Cell: (626) 375-2742
www.cityofpasadena.net/publicaffairs
Facebook:  Pasadena PIO
Twitter:  pasadenapio

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Guest Author: Kat Ward

When I first read Kat Ward's articles on Hometown Pasadena I recognized her enthusiasm for discovering the treasures of her new hometown. I know the feeling! No wonder the Dena embraces her; Kat is easy to like. Please welcome today's guest author, Kat Ward.

Saugatuck River, Westport, CT by Kat Ward

What a difference 24 minutes make (and 15.46 miles). From procrastination to proliferation; from unfocused to driven; from stuck to inspired—thank you, South Pasadena.

After eleven years of living in the Hollywood flats, I felt claustrophobic in the mishmash of my neighborhood. Initially, this world spurred my writing. Late at night as I looked out my window, the city lights reflecting yellow-green off the low clouds, I wrote diligently. But years of sirens, car horns, loud drunks and party-goers wrung out my last nerve—my hand constantly held the t.v. clicker so I could raise or lower the volume depending on how expressive the neighborhood was feeling. I began to feel uncreative. I ached for something else.

Artist Jennifer Frank introduced me to a woman who had raised her kids in South Pas. The very day I met her while walking in the Arroyo, she called and told me of an apartment for rent across from her house. I wheedled and charmed the landlords and got what I needed—a bigger apartment that doesn't share a single wall—finally a quiet night's sleep—versus neighbors washing dishes at midnight, dumpster divers outside my window or helicopters with search lights. Best of all, a tub-length shower versus an upright, coffin-sized stall shower and a 10 minute drive to my daughter's school! I suddenly had an extra two hours on my hands five days a week. Divine.

With my time, I have edited my friend Lori Bertazzon's self-help workbook Where Are You Stuck?; have a local professional copyediting my novel Amy's Own and have started a blog loosely based on my current novel Keeping Sane, and Other Aspirations.

The biggest boost was meeting (again through Jennifer Frank) and being hired by Colleen Bates of Prospect Park Media, a small publishing company in Pasadena. Colleen authored the outstanding guidebook Hometown Pasadena and created a website of the same name. After doing a few freebie posts, I was hired to write about local events, kid-focused fun, new shops and charity fundraisers, and to do monthly interviews. I get to go to businesses, use my photography skills and write stories. I am having the time of my life.

 Dubrovnik, Croatia (formerly Yugoslavia) 1988, by Kat Ward

I stay up until two in the morning and awaken with the alarm to get my girl ready for school and I don't miss a beat. One day when she was off on a Sequoyah School camping trip, I stayed up all night, not going to bed until 1 p.m. the next day—I was so amped with ideas, I couldn't wait to put them all down on paper. I was walking on air. Well actually, I was walking on Oxley Street. My new street lined with California Craftsman bungalows and endless trees—where I can walk and walk in the quiet (even at midnight), letting ideas germinate, words gush and adrenaline pump.

Thank you, Hollywood; you did me well, but I have to let you go.

Now my spirit is excited, my mind humming, my writing hand aching, and my composition books filling up. Hello, San Gabriel Valley.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Accolades

Just ten short months ago, Des Zamorano pioneered the Guest Author post here on the old blog with her novel, Human Cargo. Here's the book cover, to spark your memory:

In this mystery, Des' smart heroine, Inez Leon, is the private eye who tracks down some dangerous types and foils a heinous crime right here on San Gabriel Valley turf. It's an exciting read and now it's official: Human Cargo made the Latinidad List, Best Books of 2011. The list was created by Marcela Landres, former editor at Simon & Schuster and author of How Editors Think: The Real Reason They Rejected You.

In Landres' words, Human Cargo is: "A page-turner featuring a protagonist who could be your BFF—one who happens to be a PI with a black belt in Krav Maga."

You can download the ebook here and read it on just about any device, including a plain old laptop or desktop computer. You'll find more about Des and her work here.

It's exciting when our friends achieve. It's a thrill when they hit the heights. Congratulations, Desiree!

So, why the picture of the contemplative guy hanging out on the Caltech campus? Well, Inez has a boyfriend...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Zen Monday: #174


Zen Monday's the day you experience the photo and give us your thoughts rather than me telling you what I think the picture's about. There's no competition, no right or wrong. We're here to have fun. (Some Zen Mondays are more fun than others.)

I look for something worth contemplating or, failing that, something odd or silly. All of the above, if I'm lucky.




From the PIO:

A compilation of all information about last week’s windstorm and subsequent recovery can be found at this new page on the city of Pasadena website:

www.cityofpasadena.net/Windstorm_2011


Ann Erdman
Public Information Officer
City of Pasadena
Public Affairs Office
100 N. Garfield Ave., Room S228
Pasadena CA  91109
(626) 744-4755
Cell: (626) 375-2742
www.cityofpasadena.net/publicaffairs
Facebook:  Pasadena PIO
Twitter:  pasadenapio
 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Charisma

Your local Christmas curmudgeon got her veneer cracked the other day. Donna Chaney invited me to a Women's City Club luncheon, and I don't like to miss a chance to spend time with a good friend like Donna. Nor do I like to miss a chance to visit the historic Blinn House, the Club's home at the edge of the Fuller Theological Seminary campus.

So I expect and receive a nice meal, a cup of coffee and the company of smart, entrepreneurial women. We're munching away and having a proper chat when in come these adorable kids in their charming costumes and I think, "Ah, well, there goes the conversation."

Pitch pipe gives a quiet note and BAM! These junior musical geniuses sing out Christmas carols old and new in such glorious, four-part harmonies that I actually put down my fork and shut up to listen.

I agreed with the woman next to me that they had to be college kids because they were too good to be any younger. Wrong. They're the Crescenta Valley High School Charismatics Chamber Choir, and they are super.

Of course even talented high school kids are not going to sing with that kind of precision without a lot (a lot!) of rehearsal. Wrangling that is their conductor, Mr. Shannon W. Mack. If you want to talk to him about having these charismatic cherubs serenade your Christmas soiree, contact him at smack@gusd.net.