Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Emergency Preparedness Fair Poster Contest

All students in grades 6 through 12 are invited to submit a poster design for the 18th Annual Emergency Preparedness Fair. This year's theme is Prepare for Disasters: Join the Movement. Yes You Can 2009.

Posters should be submitted to the Department of Recreation and Parks by May 21. The top three winners will receive special recognition at the September 11, 2009 City Council meeting, and their designs may be used to promote the Emergency Preparedness Fair.

Detailed guidelines for the poster contest can be found here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Garcetti Mortgage Modification Fraud ordinance passes Council

Jose Gomez (pictured at right) was concerned about falling into foreclosure on his home. He got approached by people -- including some in his grocery store parking lot -- who offered to help him reduce his mortgage payment for a fee.

Fortunately, Jose sought help from ONE LA, which helped him free of charge, but too many people like Jose are persuaded to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to "consultants" who take an upfront payment and are never heard from again.

Today, the City Council passed an ordinance I authored to regulate "mortgage consultants" working with homeowners to reduce their payments before they fall into foreclosure. Previously, state law only regulated consultants working with homeowners who had already defaulted on their loans. Now, the City of Los Angeles will protect homeowners who are seeking help before they lose their homes.

Under the new law:

  • Consultants are required to provide a contract, which includes language notifying the homeowner that these services are also available free of charge through

  • Consultants are prohibited from charging an upfront fee

  • Homeowners may sue for treble damages (which gives private attorneys more incentive to represent homeowners in these cases)

Fountain Community Garden Work Day this Saturday

Come and help us build the newest garden in the Hollywood community!

On Saturday, May 2 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. we invite you to join us and continue the work we have started at the Fountain Community Garden located at 5620 Fountain Ave (at St. Andrews).

Volunteers will fill garden beds, weed, spread mulch, and plant fruit trees.
For more information, contact Helen Leung of my office at 323-957-4500.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Faith 2 Green's Environmentalists of the Year

This morning in Council, I honored the recipients of Faith 2 Green's Environmentalists of the Year awards.

Faith 2 Green, formerly known as Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL), connects commitment to environmental protection with moral values of Judaism.

The organization operates a Green Sanctuaries Program, among others, that is working to reduce the carbon footprint of faith institutions throughout the nation. It is currently developing a Green Bulk Purchasing Program to help member institutions purchase environmentally-friendly products at reduced costs.

The recipients of this year's awards are:
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Governor Gray and Sharon Davis
  • Environmental Advocate of the Year: U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (WA)
  • Environmental Businesses of the Year: Steve Glenn, Founder and CEO, LivingHomes
    Ellen Strickland, Co-Owner, Livingreen
    Gay Browne, Founder and CEO, Greenopia

Clifford Street School tree planting

On Thursday morning, 5th grade students from Clifford Street School participated in a tree planting project along Duane Street in Echo Park.

The project was organized by the Wildwoods Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides innovative outdoor and nature-based programs to the communities of Los Angeles. This particular project was the culmination of an eight-week program in which Wildwoods members were working with the students on how to care for the environment, build character, and support their local communities.

Armenian Genocide Remembrance

Every year the City Council remembers the Armenian Genocide with a presentation in City Council Chambers. This morning I was pleased to welcome dignitaries from Los Angeles's active Armenian community to City Hall for this somber, but important occasion.

The attempt to exterminate a people and their culture became a model for all subsequent genocides in the 20th Century, including the Holocaust. During the Armenian Genocide, nearly 2 million Armenians were expelled from their homes. Only 500,000 survived and those who did were exiled from their historic homeland. Remembering this horrific time in world history will help us to ensure that it never happens again.

Los Angeles Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month

Today in Council Chambers, we kicked off this year's Los Angeles Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month with a special presentation by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who recognized Administrative Operations Deputy Chief of the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) Emile Mack, East West Bank President Dominic Ng, and renowned artist Tyrus Wong, whose achievements embody this year’s theme of Hope, Spirit, and Dreams Flow to the Future.

During the next few weeks, there will be many more events to celebrate the Asian heritage of L.A., ranging from art exhibits to tai chi classes. Find out dates and locations by visiting the Los Angeles Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month website.

A little solar power and a little star power at Camino Nuevo Charter Academy

This morning I helped to unveil a new 1.36-kilowatt solar-electric system on the roof of Camino Nuevo Charter Academy. The project is part of Bonneville Environmental Foundation's Solar 4R Schools program, which teaches students and communities nationwide about renewable energy.

Bonneville donated solar panels and data monitoring for the system as well as classroom materials to teach students about photovoltaic technology. E-Village Solar donated the inverter and installation.

Last year, the Bonneville Environmental Foundation partnered American Idol to green its finale with a solar-electric system on the red carpet. This morning, Idol contestants Anoop Desai and Lil Rounds (in the center of this photo) were on hand to help announce the new system at Camino Nuevo.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

LA County Solar Map

What is your property’s solar power potential? The LA County Solar Map gives every resident or business a simple and fast way to find out whether you can save money and the environment by installing solar panels on your building.

Visit the County’s Solar Map website, type in your address and receive an estimate on how much you can save on your electricity bill with solar power.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Silver Lake businesses celebrate Earth Day, pledge to eliminate plastic bag use

In celebration of Earth Day, business owners in Silver Lake announced that they would be setting a new green standard by discontinuing the use of single-use plastic shopping bags. The Silver Lake Chamber of Commerce held an "Earth Day Ball" where local residents and workers brought their plastic bags which were used to make one giant plastic ball.

Local businesses that have committed to no longer using plastic bags from Earth Day 2009 onwards and to encourage customers to bring their own re-useable shopping bags include:

Medicus Graphics, Leela Thai, Monkeyhouse Toys and Art Gallery, lawson-fenning, Yolk, Lark Cake Shop, Sumi's, gingergrass restaurant, Silver Lake Wine, Panty Raid, Mexican Village Restaurant, Materials and Applications, Dr. Cheryl Revkin, D.C., Silver Lake Neighborhood Council, Bleu Sage Restaurant, Modem Salon, Dr. Theresa Fitzgerald, D.C., Juvie, Large Marge Sustainables Catering, Sustain LA Restaurant Consulting, All Shades of Green, Rubbish, Solar Now, Studio 1617, Grace Ellay Botique, Dog Camp LA, Andiamo, Pet Express, Local, Matrushka Construction, Precision Motors, Shag Hair Salon, Silver Lake Yoga, SiLa Restaurant, Pet Express, The Living Room, Rambutan, LAMILL, Citibank, P.E.A.C.E. Organizing, Free Range Thinking, Earthlite, Silver Lake Farms, Leonardo Chalupowitz LEED certified architect,, Tsunami Café, Hollywood Sunset Free Clinic, Catts & Doggs, Say Cheese, Happen Essence Event Planning, Mornings Nights Café, Fresh Pressed, Bittersweet Butterfly, Zachary's Smile, Replay, Kelly Green, Kicks Sole Provider, Reform School, Casbah Café, Naturewell, Ragg Mopp Vintage, Secret Headquarters, Wee Soles, Pazzo Gelato, Come to Mama, Cru Café, Video Hut, and Hard Times Pizza.

Suspect arrested in Escalante murder, another still at large

Today, the LAPD and L.A. County Sheriff's Department announced an arrest in the homicide of Sheriff's Deputy Juan Abel Escalante. Escalante was a dedicated public servant who was a Deputy Sheriff and U.S. Army Reservist when he was brutally killed in front of his parent's home in Cypress Park.

The arrest of 18 year-old Jose Renteria was the third in this case; two other suspects were charged with murder in December 2008.

One suspect is still at large: 26 year-old Armando Albarran. The LAPD is asking for the public's help in finding Albarran. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Detective Daniel Jenks or Detective David Holmes at 213-485-2531. Anonymous tips are also welcomed by calling 877-LAPD-24-7 or texting CRIMES (274637) and beginning the message with the letters LAPD (your text will be sent to a center that will anonymously forward the information to LAPD).

GO GREEN on Earth Day

The City of Los Angeles has many resources to help Angelenos live and work in a more environmentally-sustainable manner. The Department of Public Works, Department of Water and Power, and other city agencies operate programs to help residents and businesses go green and save money.

I have created a series of GO GREEN pamphlets to provide a one-stop source of information for multiple city programs administered by multiple agencies.

Copies of the GO GREEN series can be found in English and Spanish on my website:
I hope you will find them useful!

Monday, April 20, 2009

New signalized crosswalk at Sunset and Portia

This morning we dedicated a new signalized crosswalk in Echo Park. The crosswalk now features a flashing yellow light overhead to provide additional safety to pedestrians crossing Sunset Boulevard at Portia.

The Los Angeles Department of Transportation and the Pedestrian Advisory Group comprised of Los Angeles residents had both identified the need for improved visibility of pedestrian crossing at this intersection. A study commissioned by the Department of Transportation found a higher than average number of accidents involving pedestrians at this intersection.

SpokesQuote bike rack design selected for East Hollywood

I am pleased to announce that Forester Rudolph’s SpokesQuotes design has been selected as the winner of the East Hollywood bicycle rack design competition. The winning design (shown at right) is a simple, modern “speech bubble” shape that will be engraved with proverbs from the diverse cultural communities where they will be located.

The winning design was selected from among more than two dozen entries that were reviewed by a selection committee that included representatives from the Bike Writers Collective, Community Redevelopment Agency, L.A. Bicycle Coalition, East Hollywood Neighborhood Council, Barrio Planners (the architects for the East Hollywood Streetscape Plan), the L.A. Department of Transportation, the Little Armenia Chamber of Commerce, and my office.

Forester is a resident of the Melrose Hill neighborhood. When the approval process is completed (it still needs to be approved by the East Hollywood Neighborhood Council and the Cultural Affairs Commission), approximately two dozen bicycle racks will be constructed and installed on Hollywood Boulevard between Western and Vermont as part of the comprehensive East Hollywood Streetscape Plan scheduled to begin later this year.

We asked the community to assist us with designing new bicycle racks that would serve their purpose as a safe place to lock bikes while also beautifying the community. The SpokesQuote design not only meets these goals, it also incorporates the rich cultural heritage of the East Hollywood community.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Congratulations, Mercedes!

Congratulations to Mercedes Marquez, the General Manager of the Los Angeles Housing Department, on her nomination by President Obama to be the Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Working with Mercedes has been one of the best experiences of my time in public office. She combines a razor-sharp mind with a forward-looking vision and the ability to get things done. Mercedes and I have worked very closely in my former capacity as Chair of the City Council Housing, Community, and Economic Development Committee and as President of the Council on promoting an agenda for better housing for all Angelenos. (In the photo at right, we are speaking on a panel regarding housing and homelessness.)

We were able to tackle issues from foreclosure prevention to building up one of the largest affordable housing trust funds in the nation to build more workforce housing for hard-working Angelenos. I also enjoyed working with her to launch new programs to preserve existing affordable housing, prevent abuses, and build permanent supportive housing to help homeless Angelenos get permanently off the street. She also focused our housing policy to promote green building in the affordable housing sector and to help residents of Los Angeles become first-time homebuyers.

Mercedes has already distinguished herself locally and nationally and she will be joining one of the most talented and committed housing leaders in the country in Secretary Shaun Donovan.

Los Angeles and America are the better for this superb nomination.

Federal funds available to help non-profits serving people in need

Funding through the national American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) is now available to non-profit organizations serving people in need. Los Angeles County received $3.9 million to help programs that have seen an increase in demand for services because of the economic downturn.

Organizations with 501(c)3 status that are currently providing services to clients may apply for funds to help with costs associated with operating:
  • Food programs
  • Motel voucher programs
  • Rental and utility assistance programs
The funding is being administered through the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program, and more information is available on the Board's Los Angeles website which you can visit by clicking here.

The deadline to apply is May 5 at 12 p.m.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

State of the City

State of The City
Originally uploaded by CD-13
Today, Mayor Villaraigosa delivered his annual State of the City address, with the nation facing its worst recession in 70 years -- the effects of which we are certainly feeling here in Los Angeles.

Mayor Villaraigosa spoke of the need for shared sacrifices, and the City Council is ready to help meet our shared goal of protecting crucial services for our constituents while saving as many jobs as possible. We want to be fiscally responsible to protect our solvency and our excellent bond rating. As we have in previous years, the Council is prepared to help lead the way with cuts to our own office budgets, which include our own salaries and staff salaries.

Our top priority is keeping communities safe, and even as we work to close a large budget gap we will strategically focus our resources so that we don’t lose momentum on the dramatic decrease in crime Los Angeles has experienced in recent years.

Treasures of Los Angeles

Each year, the Central City Association honors outstanding individuals and organizations as part of its Treasures of Los Angeles luncheon. I had the pleasure of emceeing this event and was proud that one of this year's treasures was the Los Angeles Derby Dolls, who train and compete in Historic Filipinotown.

The Derby Dolls are revitalizing the sport of roller derby. The all-women league sells out every game (or "bout") as people come from all over the Southland to see these athletes skate.

But the Dolls have done more than just bring this exciting sport to HiFi -- they have become active community partners, participating in numerous community clean-ups and volunteer efforts to improve the quality of life in the neighborhood and in Los Angeles. They worked with the city's Commission on the Status of Women to organize a wellness clinic for women, taught girls in the After School All Stars youth program how to skate, joined St. Vincent Hospital in coordinating a Health Day for women that provided free mammograms, and held a skate-a-thon to raise funds for AIDS Project Los Angeles. They are partnering again with the Commission on the Status of Women to hold a job fair in the fall.

You can see the Derby Dolls in action on the track this Saturday or you can look for them in the community helping to make our city stronger and healthier for everyone.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Pilates and yoga class at Glassell Park Recreation Center

The City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks offers a pilates and yoga class on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Classes take place at the Glassell Park Senior and Community Center (3750 Verdugo Road; this is the same building where my Glassell Park field office is located). You must be 18 years old to enroll, and the monthly fee is $35.

For more information, call the Glassell Park Recreation Center at 323-257-1863.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

LAPD asking for community's help finding suspect in attempted kidnapping

The Los Angeles Police Department is asking for the public's help with finding a suspect in an attempted kidnapping.

Yesterday, a 14 year-old girl was walking to King Middle School when a male between 30 and 40 years-old grabbed her from behind and covered her mouth. The student fought back by
kicking the suspect's legs and the suspect ran away. Today police released a composite and description of the suspect's vehicle which is a 2008 or 2009 two-door, dark gray Honda Accord with dark tinted windows.
If you have any information that could help police find this suspect, please contact LAPD at 213-847-4270 (Northeast Robbery Detectives) or 1-877-LAWFULL (24-hour anonymous tipline).

Neighborhood Stabilization Program will help prevent foreclosures from creating blight in neighborhoods

Yesterday Los Angeles welcomed the new Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan (second from left), who visited South L.A. neighborhoods on a tour of foreclosed homes. His visit underscores President Obama's commitment to keeping Californians in their home, where more than 25% of all foreclosures nationally have occurred, and the innovative approach that the City of Los Angeles is taking to address this crisis.

Secretary Donovan emphasized the need for the federal and city governments to work together to stem the tide of foreclosures. The homes we visited will be purchased with funding from the federal government's Neighborhood Stabilization Program, designed to combat blight and prevent community destabilization by helping low- to moderate-income families purchase homes that have been foreclosed.

In many ways, Los Angeles is a model for the nation. We discussed our mutual efforts to help refinance and modify mortgages for families facing foreclosure, to keep renters from being evicted from foreclosed properties, and to stop communities from becoming blighted. He specifically noted the need to prevent fraud against homeowners looking for help with their mortgages. (If you are facing foreclosure and need help, be sure to use a qualified loan mortgage consultant. You can check for help.)

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Community Beautification Grant now has its own blog!

The Los Angeles Department of Public Works has provided grants to local neighborhood projects through its Community Beautification Grant program for more than a decade.

More than 900 projects have been completed with funds from this program and now it is easier than ever to learn about these grants through a new blog.

This blog has information for grant seekers and photos of completed projects. You can also view projects by category (e.g. community gardens, murals, landscaping) and geographic area.

Spay/neuter preliminary report now online

Last year, the City Council created the Spay/Neuter Advisory Committee to review and make recommendations for revising the city's spay/neuter policies. Making spaying and neutering services available for all pets is important to reducing the number of unwanted pets on our streets or in our shelters.

The Committee's final report is due this fall, but it has released a preliminary report of its findings, which is available by clicking here.

Applications for Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute scholarships due next week

The average college graduate will make $1 million more in his or her lifetime than the average high school graduate, and we want to make sure that a college education is accessible and affordable to everyone who wants one. Our Cash for College project has helped thousands of students learn more about their financial aid options.

As I hear about them, I will also post information about available scholarships.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute offers scholarships to Latino students who have a history of public service and community involvement. Applications are due next Thursday, April 16.

Scholarships are available to full-time students who will be enrolled at an accredited community college, four-year university, or graduate/professional program during the period for which scholarship is requested. Applicants must have U.S. citizenship or legal permanent residency. There is no GPA requirement.

Click here for more information and the application.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

New book chronicles history of Historic Filipinotown

In 2002, we officially designated Historic Filipinotown, making the area in my City Council District just west of Downtown the first Filipino community in the U.S. to have distinct geographic boundaries.

Earlier this month, the community celebrated the launch of a new book, Los Angeles's Historic Filipinotown by Carina Monica Montoya, which chronicles the rich history of this vibrant community.

Adopt a pet in Hollywood

On Saturday, April 18, come to the Hollywood Recreation Center to check out Pets in the Park from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sponsored by the Central Hollywood Neighborhood Council, with support from the Hollywood United Neighborhood Council, the 2nd annual Pets in the Park is a free event to raise awareness about pet responsibility, place pets with new owners, and provide valuable resources to residents.

This event will include an animal showcase with pets ready to be adopted as well as information and resources, including a veterinarian, canine coach, and entertainment for pet lovers of all ages. Representatives from organizations, animal rescue groups, humane societies, and local businesses will also be present to provide information and materials to pet owners and animal lovers of all kind.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Neighborhood Stabilization Program is Open for Business!

Last year the city received $33 million from the federal government to help mitigate the impacts of foreclosure – such as blight and other problems that come with vacant buildings - on our communities. The Los Angeles Housing Department has launched its “Walk-In Program” to use these funds to help low- and moderate-income buyers purchase a foreclosed home in designated priority areas. These areas have been hit hardest by foreclosure, and are places where having a family in a home can help an entire neighborhood from destabilizing. You can contact a pre-qualified lending partner to get started today!

Free citizenship classes in Hollywood

Free citizenship classes are now offered at the Bronson Court Apartments (1229 N. Bronson Ave) for those in the community considering American citizenship.

Sponsored by the Hollywood Community Adult School, classes will be held every Monday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

For details, please contact the Hollywood Community Adult School at (323) 993 -1800.

Neighborhood improvements make East Hollywood safer for pedestrians and drivers

This morning I joined community members in dedicating new pedestrian and traffic improvements in East Hollywood.

The streetscape project includes new landscaping, street trees, street lights, sidewalks, wheelchair access ramps, and a new median to make it safer for local drivers and pedestrians. The traffic and pedestrian improvements are located on Heliotrope Drive between Clinton Street and Oakwood Avenue (near the Rosewood Community Garden).

This project not only beautifies the neighborhood, it makes it safer for pedestrians and drivers. Every week, thousands of people walk this neighborhood – seniors going to doctor’s appointments, students going to school, parents with strollers, and people in wheelchairs. These improvements will make their journeys safer and more pleasant.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Free services for family caregivers

The City of Los Angeles Department of Aging links older adults and their family caregivers to supportive services throughout the city. Family caregivers are defined as those who provide unpaid assistance to a spouse, relative, neighbor, or friend who is alone or unable to take care of themselves.

Unfortunately, many caregivers are so focused on the needs of their loved ones that they often do not realize there are services available to assist them. To assist family caregivers, the Department of Aging provides Family Caregiver Support Group and Caregiver Trainings free of charge.

Caregiver Training topics include:
1) Fall and injury prevention
2) How to handle hoarding
3) Medication management
4) Reducing caregiver stress
5) Legal issues related to caregiving

Please contact the Department of Aging's Staff to schedule a free Family Caregiver Support Group meeting or free Caregiver Trainings today:

Anat Louis: 213-252-4007 or
Susi Shapiro: 213-252-4004 or

You can also visit the City of Los Angeles Department of Aging website to learn more about services for Family Caregivers.

Get fit for free!

Free fitness classes are now available at the Bronson Court Apartments (1229 N. Bronson Ave). Sponsored by the Hollywood Community Adult School, classes are held every Tuesday and Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. and include basic aerobics and stretching exercises.

Classes are open to everyone, and are a great way to get healthy and have fun!
For details, please contact Matthew at (213) 629-9172, ext 109.

Historic LA survey launches Saturday

Do you know of a special place worthy of historic recognition by the City of Los Angeles? If so, be sure to attend "MYhistoricLA," an event hosted by the Office of Historic Resources on Saturday, April 4, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Los Angeles Central Library.

Our city has a rich and diverse cultural heritage as well as a remarkable architectural legacy, but only 15 percent of Los Angeles has ever been surveyed to identify these historic places. Historic preservation professionals conducting the survey cannot know all of the potential historic resources throughout the city - and that's why they need your help. They want to hear your special story about a local building, landmark, or other special location in your neighborhood.

The event is part of a special citywide kickoff celebration of SurveyLA, Los Angeles's first-ever comprehensive survey of its historic resources. Be sure to come and learn how survey teams will identify historic sites in your neighborhood. To learn more about how you can help spread the word, click here.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Latino Business Chamber of Greater Los Angeles launches today

Today I attended the launch of the Latino Business Chamber of Greater Los Angeles. This new organization is comprised of business professionals from a diverse range of industries from those who lead large corporations to small business owners. The Chamber will coordinate efforts to provide technical assistance, networking opportunities, and other resources to its members and the L.A. business community at large. I'm excited about this new organization that will help bring more jobs and economic opportunity to our communities at a time when they are desperately needed.

Songkran Festival celebrating Thai New Year - this Sunday!

Why go to Thailand to celebrate New Year's Day when you can celebrate it right here in Los Angeles? Our city is home to the largest Thai community outside of Thailand and on Sunday, April 5, you can join the 6th annual Songkran festivities on Hollywood Boulevard between Western and Vermont. The fun begins at 10 a.m. and goes until 7 p.m., and will include traditional folk dances, costume competitions, water ceremonies, and live music.

Come hungry! The 2nd Annual International Curry Festival runs concurrently with the Songkran Festival and will feature delicious Thai dishes as well as dishes from Kenya, Jamaica, Japan, India, and Indonesia.

For more information, click here.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Census 2010

This morning we kicked off Los Angeles's year-long campaign to raise awareness about the upcoming census count. Our city departments are developing comprehensive plans to reach out to every resident in collaboration with the county and other neighboring cities.

Why is the census so important? The data from the census helps inform important decisions such as how much federal and state funding we will get for education, senior programs, new roads, emergency food and shelter programs, and much more.

Los Angeles's population is usually undercounted. According to the Mayor's Office,
Los Angeles lost an estimated $206 million in state and federal funding for public and community services in the last 10 years.

So talk to your friends and neighbors about the census and help us make sure everyone gets counted!

Food distribution for families in need - Friday at 4 p.m. in Hollywood

On Friday, April 3, families in need can come to the new Los Angeles Food Bank distribution site in Hollywood at 4 p.m. to pick up free canned goods, beans, rice, and other items.

The distribution center is coordinated by the Los Angeles Housing Partnership and located at the Bronson Family Apartments (1229 N. Bronson Avenue). It is part of a new partnership between the Food Bank and LA Housing Partnership that will distribute food on the first Friday of every month.

LA Housing Partnership needs volunteers to help pack food and would appreciate donations of food items - particularly fresh fruits and vegetables.

For more information about receiving or donating food or volunteering, please contact Matthew Valdez at Los Angeles Housing Partnership.

Applications for A+ for Energy education grants due Monday, April 6

Applications are now being accepted for BP's A+ for Energy grant program, which provides grants of $5,000 and $10,000 to fund innovative classroom, after-school, extra-curricular, or summer programs focused on energy and/or energy conservation.

Teachers of grades pre-K through 12 can apply and the grants are awarded directly to teachers. Applications are due by April 6, 2009.

You can learn more about the A+ for Energy program by clicking here.