Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Keep on Truckin'! And save 107 acres of natural land

From Bob Barnes' slideshow
The story of the reclamation of the Cobb Estate at the end of Lake Avenue in Altadena is epic.  It's the stuff of movies.  A high school student and a social studies teacher bring an entire community together to save nature in that back-to-nature era referred to as "The Sixties".  A march to the top of the hill--a frenzied, last-minute bid--a realtor bowing to the will of the people.  Can't get much better than that.  Move over, George Bailey!

I was lucky enough to be assigned by altadenablog to cover the presentation given by Bob Barnes, the teacher.  It was a retelling of a familiar story in more detail--with a wonderful suprise at the end.  Read it here:

"This is the people's bid": the nail-biting drama of the Cobb Estate

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Athens Services will be Altadena's only waste collector

Los Angeles County is in the process of franchising waste services in unincorporated areas countywide. Right now, each residence in Altadena chooses its own trash collector--or none at all. I went to a community meeting on Saturday with the new contract holder, Athens Services, and the County and wrote it up for Altadena Patch:Your Questions Answered on the New Trash Contract .

It was a busy weekend for, because the same evening I covered the Brian Hughes Quintet at Farnsworth's Concerts in the Park.  You can read about it on altadenablog, under one of Tim Rutt's great headlines: No frets about great music with Brian Hughes.  A video of the group is posted there as well.

Friday, July 15, 2011

So what are kids doing this summer? About 1100 of them are in the Pasadena Educational Foundation's Summer Enrichment Program.

Altadena Patch sent me to Franklin Elementary School to get some shots of the first program in Altadena.  All the kids were cute and bright, but I think the chicks in "Science Comes Alive" take the cake.  Or the mash.  The one in the picture is trying out worms in an experiment to see which food the chicks prefer.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My first story for Gather.com!

I just published my first piece on Gather.com.  It's about Adam Schiff's stance on the issue of transnational arms trafficking. That's a fancy way of saying selling guns to drug cartels.

They like you to intersperse comments, which does against my journalism training, but it's they way they garner page views, I guess. 

I hope to write more...but I think I should quit staying up late at night to do it!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Planetary Society and PCC host Atlantis launch viewing party

For a wannabe space geek, this was a must-do event. Alessandro and I headed down to the Crawford Family Forum to join other Planetary Society members and guests for a live viewing party of the last shuttle launch.  Atlantis took off with four astronauts in a picture-perfect launch.

Bill Nye the Science Guy an executive director of the Planetary Society was on hand to talk about the launch and other science projects.  Bruce Betts of the PS and Mat Kaplan of Planetary Radio were there as well.

For pictures and a first-hand retelling, read "Being there with Atlantis".

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Have you ever seen a helicon?

This one's for all my brassed-off friends.

I was covering the annual Pepper Drive Fourth of July Parade for Altadena Patch yesterday (see the link in the post below) and ran into Stan Freese with his 1894 helicon. The helicon developed from the saxhorn or saxtuba according to Wikipedia.  Both of those were, of course, developed by Adolphe Sax, who created the saxophone family.  French horn players generally have an uneasy relationship with saxes, because as beautiful as they can be, they are usually assigned the horn parts in concert band transcriptions of orchestra music, but of course we love tuba players of all sorts.

The sousaphone, brainchild of John Philip Sousa, is a variant of the helicon with the bell pointing forward and a much larger flare, which of course is great for mounting icons and (if you go to Stanford) silly signs. Before yesterday, I had not realized that Sousa didn't come up with this all by himself.


The Londonderry Band at last year's Tournament of Roses Bandfest made good use of those huge flared bells Sousa designed.

So there you are.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Fourth of July!

I started the morning off with a neighborhood parade. It's been going on for around 40 years, and I covered this year's festivities for Altadena Patch. You can read the story here: "Pepper Drive Parade".

It was really a lot of fun, and I was happy to cover an event that I have never been to in my two decades as an Altadenan.

On the way home, I snapped some pictures of the flags that line Lake Avenue in Altadena on every patriotic holiday. The picture at left is of a small memorial park at the corner of Lake and Altadena.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Videos: Altadenans speak out on the plastic bag ban



Plastic bags are now banned for large retailers in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.  I videoed Altadenans at the Ralphs on North Lake Avenue for Altadena Patch on the first day of the ban.

Here's the link to the story on Patch: Altadenans Talk Bag Ban

I've added a couple videos here that editor Dan wasn't able to use, but be sure to check the link above for the rest! The top video is Karen Raub, and the bottom one is my fellow Crown City Symphony member Lita Neumann.


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