Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Former Corner Store Owner Takes Over the Dixie's with Wonderful Promises of Fresh and Fascinating Foods at a Mid-Range Price;
Food is An Art for this Owner
Susan McKenna prepares to open Nosh in July.
Diana L. Chapman

After building a business on sweat, blood and the “kids” – two Australian gals who made the Corner Store a booming non-alcoholic watering hole for the surrounding community and helped scores of friendships bloom are at it again – at least one of them.
One will own a new downtown eatery; The other will help.
If all goes well in the month of July, Susan McKenna will open the doors of the former Dixie Diner on Mesa Street as a new eatery called “Nosh,” which will be filled with delicious treats starting off with light breakfasts and lunches – and of course, something different – a line of toast.
Sound tempting?
Not yet?
Imagine this: Toasted artisan breads. Choice of toppings: Avocado and bacon spread. Salmon with cream cheese. Roasted tomatoes. English baked beans. And that’s not for the sandwiches and salads that will be served. That’s just for the morning toast.
Having been a frequent visitor of Corner Store over the years, I was surprised that Susan had embarked on another business venture. Last time I talked with her, she had decided against it just for the much needed break after running the popular Corner Store business for nearly eight years with her good friend, Marisa Giuffre.
But when Dixie’s closed down, Susan couldn’t resist taking a look at the space and jumped in with both feet flying – and Marisa – while not a financial partner has opted to help.
The former site, which has failed at least seven times in the past and probably hung on the longest as ironically, the Australian restaurant, Wallaby Darn’s, closed recently and perked Susan’s enthusiasm to trust her instincts, go with “fresh and the slow food movement,” that burst out of Italy -- instead of embracing corporate food. Fresher products spark Susan’s cooking spunk and imagination, she said, “because in the corporate food world, everything tastes the same.”
Thus, the toast line.
“What is so great about Southern California is that it’s a great incubator for food chains,” Susan explained to me as we sat in the new shop with workers nosily sawing away to build new countertops. “But I had just come back from San Francisco and from Chicago where there’s still a lot of Mom and Pops and independents.
“It was inspiring to go there and just have such good food and eyeing all the spaces,” for fresh food such in San Francisco’s Ferry Building where the inspirations are tempting but remarkably expensive, she reflected.
“I just thought: “Let’s just pitch a little higher, a little bit better and not be the lowest of the common denominator.”
Serving eggs, a question that Susan has been repeatedly asked by former patrons? No. A half-dozen restaurants already do that in town. She just wants to provide other choices for diners – where they can either dine and or take out, snacking on the usual suspects of cappuccinos, pastries, and muffins –with a lot of added flair, such as her toast line – and designer salads and sandwiches, yet to be revealed. She’s still creating them. For her, food is an art. She will serve hot chocolate, Italian sodas, fresh lemonade, ice tea made from scratch – and what else – is still unfolding.
While I was interviewing Susan, my doubts that she would open the July 4th weekend were growing. Her phone rang constantly and construction crews interrupted every few minutes to ask questions. It reminded me so much of my home life, where we are currently undergoing a remodel that I couldn’t believe she could possibly open the doors by then.
Every month, we think our remodel is about done. But then we go into yet another month.
But then miracles do happen – and perhaps that will be true for Nosh.
My biggest thought, however, is I just can’t wait for this place. I like something different. I like something fresh. I like choices. I like that she will provide a lighter fare of food – sandwiches and salads – not full, heavy meals here. While the rest of us eat food, Susan’s designing it like an artist toiling away on a canvas. That’s truly how she sees it.
So I suspect we will be eating some most interesting tastes at her place.
While we both suspect their won’t be too many children in the beginning – but mostly downtown San Pedro employees – she most certainly has learned not to ignore the thoughts and desires of children – because local kids are what saved the Corner Store. They were the springboard to its success. Once an old, dumpy liquor store, most adults would not walk in. But the kids kept coming to buy candy and they awed by what the new owners were doing
The kids, she said, begged their parents to come and look at the store and that prompted the Corner Store to flourish.
Keeping that success in mind, she will serve peanut butter and jelly and cinnamon toast – and treat them just like she did at her former business.
“It’s sort of like how you treat kids is how you should treat people in general,” she said. “You just treat them nicely and respectfully.”
As children watched the redesign of the store take shape – with its unusual twists of offering English pork pies alongside lattes, the parents finally began to come and started to discuss local politics, friendship and introduce neighbors who had never met one another before.
Friendships formed fast and furiously.
` Constantly, their patrons asked Marisa and Susan to make sandwiches at the Corner Store, which due to a variety of holdups, they couldn’t legally do – even though they wanted too.
Now, Susan said she’s thrilled by the prospect of finally being able to make sandwiches, but people are dropping by and asking her now: “’ Will you make eggs?”

Friday, June 22, 2007

Bandindi Street Teacher, Who Touched Thousands of Lives across the Harbor Area with Her Pre-kindergarten Program Retires
Diana L. Chapman

Having guided hundreds of children on the pathway to their upcoming school years – and embracing children at the age of four, a long time educator decided to hang the school bell up this week and retire.
Her teaching style touched generations of families across the Harbor Area.
Jackie Terry, the pre-kindergarten teacher at the school, served hundreds students, giving four-year-olds their first glances at public education and systematically reminding parents that they are their child’s first and most important teachers.
Jackie, who prepped scores of youngsters for kindergarten for nearly three decades, was touted for her educational abilities to teach and prepare children both socially and academically through a federally funded program called the “Speech, Readiness Language Development Program,” or SRLDP. Each session included a parent component and the children who went through it often returned when they had their own kids.
Under Jackie’s tutelage, the program grew and always had a waiting list.
“We just had so many families loyal to her program,” said the school’s Principal Bob Fenton. “They have their kids and they bring them back. And then they bring their grand kids. She just does not age. The program always remains fresh and pertinent. It’s the old adage. You can’t replace her.”
He added that once her retirement was made public, scores of students came up to him in shock to ask if “Ms. Terry,” as they called her, was really leaving.
Starting out nearly thirty years ago when the program was first launched with the concept of breaking down the racial divide in the educational system, Jackie took over the curriculum, after teaching other grade levels at the school.
She never left – until announcing her retirement recent late in the school year.
The program, she said, helped encourage families whose children could not afford to enter nursery schools to enroll. Later, the state of California wanted the program to be opened to all students, despite their financial backgrounds. There was never a residency requirement like other public schools, which meant children could live anywhere, the principal said..
Over the years, Jackie’s program became increasingly popular – especially due to the many learning concepts she embraced. Students went on field trips to the beach, the zoo, aquariums, did plays, had speakers come in, learned art, reading, writing and how to learn in ways other than the usual setting. She didn’t want her classes to be just “pen and paper.”
Toward the end of the year, she typically had a graduation day where children would line up on the stage and announce their future careers. Four-years-olds, now well prepared for kindergarten, would tell the audiences how they wanted to become firefighters, nurses, doctors, lawyers, astronauts --- and most surprising one year to Jackie was the student who announced he wanted to become a reverend.
As a humble and private person, the teacher didn’t want to discuss much of her accomplishments, but did say her most memorable days were the moments where the kids thanked her in special ways. One of her favorites, she said, was when she was working with a boy on a project and he patted her hand and said: “’Ms. Terry. I love you so much.’” That happened often. She also helped to keep the school’s PTA together and fashioned many Career Day events for the entire school. The basic theme that ran through her success, the principal said, was her relentless ability to draw parents back into the school and get them thinking about all the things they could do with their children.
She often inspired parents to put on programs, make art work, help their children with their homework – efforts that got their own creative juices going.
“I just saw them (parents) develop and discover skills they didn’t even know they had,” Jackie explained, “and they were spending time with their kids.”
In recent years, the program expanded to other elementary schools, including Cabrillo Avenue Elementary. Each enrollment includes a commitment from parents that they will take a six week parenting class – provided with the package – and volunteer a couple of times a month.
Parents were always welcome in the classroom to help – whether the children were learning to make toast, doing paintings, or learning their ABC's.
Because the whole school campus will be impacted by her departure, the principal said they already have asked Jackie to return part time to perhaps run the parent education part of the program.
They will hold a big farewell event on Sept. 21, he added, due to the teachers’ late decision to announce her plans to leave.
Jackie will be replaced by kindergarten teacher Kathleen Ocampo, who has a passion for early education, the principal said.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Spaghetti Fundraiser:

Dinner for Christian's family will be held Saturday from 5 p.m. to 8 at the San Pedro United Methodist Church, 580 6th Street, San Pedro. Adult tickets are $10; children from ages four to six are $6. Children under three are free. Each ticket is accompanied with a raffle ticket. Winners do not need to be present. Tickets will be sold at the door. Additional raffle tickets will be sold as well.

Christian, 14, fighting neuroblastoma
Another San Pedro Child Has Cancer; How Can You Help? Let Me Count the Ways

Diana L. Chapman

The skies dazzled a brilliant blue. The clouds lingered in a hazy mist atop the towering, sheer-faced cliffs. And six students were sick with the flu – and staying behind from the grandiose adventures other middle school students were about to undertake -- to scour the glacially carved walls of Yosemite.

One of the stay-behinds was Christian Shelik, 14, a curly, long haired boy who had captured my heart on this February journey. As his science teacher, Alyssa Widmark, pointed out to me repeatedly: “He’s an old soul in a young body,” she said. “I bet you will connect.”

Never could anyone be so right. Having been a writer for as long as I can remember, when I met Christian the first thing I asked him to do for me was write. I didn’t know it at the time, but he had a disability when it came to writing. His page would pour out a purity of words and then suddenly take a nose-dive where it looked like bird scribble – scratching out a different scrawl that made no sense. We didn’t know it at the time, but that disability would be the least of Christian’s problems. His teachers said they were concerned he was losing weight, but to me, he looked fine.

When I got done reading his prose, I knew this kid could write.

The day we left him behind in his cabin when his stomach hurt confirmed that for me. I asked if he could detail on paper whatever came to mind while he sat in his cabin mending. When I came back, he politely handed me several pages of beautiful gems. I could kick myself now, as somewhere along our travel destiny, I lost his pages to the wind and never found them. But I do remember how he wrote these beautiful words as he lingered in his cabin, peering out at the thick forests and the ground floor spotted with emerald moss. Squirrels skittered by and then there were the most seemingly interesting and poignant conversations taking place among the crows. How he wished, he wrote, that he could be privy to those discussions, because he believed the crows might have something profound to teach him.

When I sat down later to read what he wrote, my interest in his potential writing abilities was ignited even more. How beautiful this child could write if we could just take him beyond and away from the disability -- an arena that appeared to be holding him back despite his extreme intelligence and maturity. Meeting Christian and his friend, Felipe, were one of the highlights of my great adventure to Yosemite with Dana Middle School’s Ecology Club – and one I knew I’d never forget. Christian had a profound way of figuring things out; and Felipe – when several us were crawling through a blackened cave and he knew I was panicking –said: “Ms. Chapman. Ms. Chapman. Don’t worry. I’m right here.”

I was flooded with relief.

My husband and I left Yosemite (we were support chaperones) and agreed we had a fantastic journey with some incredible kids (including our own); Some of those kids I would never forget – especially Christian.

A few weeks after arriving home, I was shaking. Christian, I learned through an email from his teacher, has just been diagnosed with neouroblastoma, a rare cancer that often forms as a tumor in the stomach along the spinal cord and typically strikes children at much younger ages. It’s, without a doubt, an extremely grim illness that rarely attacks children over the age of 10 and in two-thirds of the cases starts in the stomach area. It heavily impacts the autonomic nervous system.

Having some familiarity with this disease, I immediately told his teacher my family would help the family in anyway we could. His father, Pete, basically raised his son and daughter, Rhea, 11, in San Pedro and I knew that the family would need as much help as possible – especially because Pete wanted to stay overnight with Christian at Millers Children Hospital in Long Beach as his son underwent went long bouts of chemotherapy.

Money, in all these cases, becomes an issue. And that’s why I believe its important for all of San Pedro to help out in some way or another – even when you don’t know the child. Fundraising for cancer research, joining the Cancer Relay For Life, helping family members, whatever it takes -- whatever you are able to give or do. In this case, two of Christian’s teacher, Alyssa and Michelle DeBilzan and an Ecology Club parent, Sandy Sampson, arranged for a large spaghetti fundraiser for the family. It will be held this Saturday June 23 at the San Pedro United Methodist Church at 580 Sixth Street. (Christian will not be able to attend due to his weakened immune system.).

I will be there. And I hope so will you.

But there are other ways people have stepped up to the plate. Sometimes these are small things, but often they mean more than money. For example, one mother, Megan McElRoy, took Christian’s sister shopping for her fifth grade culmination outfit, which I’m sure helped her Dad out quite a bit and helped take her to school.

Rhea stayed with us for two days when Pete and Christian were in the hospital over night. And because of Christian’s intensive therapy, his immune system is out so out of whack, and he can’t be near any crowds – it looked like he would entirely miss his 8th grade culmination.

Sadly, that was Christian’s biggest wish. He didn’t care if he was in it. He just wanted to watch it. For that reason alone, science teacher Ash Rahmonou has been scrambling to set up a direct video feed so he can watch it from a private room at the school.

When it became clear that both should celebrate their culminations (Rhea’s graduating from fifth grade) I called the owners at the Omelette and Waffle Shop and they’ve allowed us the entire back patio for this family on Monday morning – again because Christian can’t be with crowds.

In all these cases, it makes you just feel better if you can do something --anything -- even if its small – and it helps a precious soul feel that much more loved and wanted. And if we do it right, maybe we will get lucky, and Christian will once again be able to write those beautiful prose.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Don't Forget to Visit the Warner; Many movies for Kids All Summer Long

Remember the days you could walk around town, buy pretzels, baseball caps, fresh flowers, tie-dye dresses and other knicks knacks, all without leaving town and with the extra pleasure of running into friends? Those
days are here again, in downtown San Pedro! The Warner Grand Theatre is
partnering film presentations to Sunday Grower's Market and street fairs, so bring the family, neighbors and friends for a stroll down pedestrian-only 6th Street and use the [Sunday-only] free parking meters. Here are a few of the days you can enjoy family films in our downtown:

Sun Jul 1 Shrek 11 a.m. and Shrek 2 1 p.m. $5/$2
Sun Jul 8 Grease - 2 p.m. $5/$2 [come in costume!]
Sun Jul 22 Little Rascals (1994) 11:30 a.m. and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
(1965) at 1 p.m. $5/$2
Sun Jul 29 Edward Scissorhands - 2 p.m. $5/$2
Sun Aug 5 The Outsiders (1983) 2 p.m. $5/$2
Sun Aug 12 Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) 2 p.m. $5/$2
Sun Aug 19 The Beatles at Shea Stadium (1965) and LIVE performance by The
Backbeats 2 p.m. $20 ($10 for those in period costume!) Sun Aug 26 Stand And Deliver (1988)

To add yourself to the mailingn list, visit http://warnergrand.org and click on "mailing list" or buy tickets online by clicking "tickets."

Saturday, June 16, 2007

San Pedro High School Culinary Teacher, Sandy Wood, Trying to Decide Whether She will Stay at San Pedro High School After the District Ordered the Student-Run Pirate's Cafe to Close Its Doors Because it Competes With District Cafeteria Food....OH Isn't That TOO BAD???
Closing the Student-Run Pirate's Cafe where Nutritious Is Delicious...
Does that make any sense to anyone except for a bureaucrat?

By Diana L. Chapman

A food fight was inevitable when the Los Angeles Unified School District opted to battle this one.
Some things border on stupidity. Others are just simply ridiculous. But this -- in the case of the district’s recent decision to close down San Pedro High School’s student run Pirate’s Café – made the food fly. I’m ready to throw a few tomatoes myself at the arrogance of it all.
Here’s how it all started.
After an entrepreneurial group of students brainstormed a brilliant effort to offer students healthy food by opening the café doors -- and won an award for their efforts -- a school board official showed up at the school declaring the café was in direct competition with the school cafeteria. He forced the small eatery on May 30 – which only planned to serve food three times a week – to close its doors. The student run operation only made it in business for a total of five days.
The move has infuriated long time culinary teacher, Sandy Wood, who oversaw the cafe.
This punitive action – and to me its punitive – has left her contemplating quitting because it was “unconscionable and only hurting the students. Students who ate at the café and were running it were miserably disappointed.
And School Board Member Mike Lansing, who leaves the board at the end of June, received a call on his way to Palm Springs, fumed over by what appears to be another frivolous action by some mid level manager. It’s hard to believe that a café, which only sold about 40 sandwiches a day, was ever in a true completion with the school’s cafeteria food that serves hundreds.
“Believe me,” Mike told me on the phone line, “if there aren’t health issues it will be reinstated. He immediately directed his staff to investigate and a meeting is scheduled for Monday. He added he told his staff: “I do not want to hear why this “won’t” work, but rather how we “will” reinstate this positive program by September – nothing less.”
It’s the same old story ever since I can remember, forever and a day, about bureaucrats getting too arrogant who begin going around flexing their muscles like bullies – picking on small delicacies rather than seeing the bigger fruit on the tree. All four of the students who planned the café are looking at future food services careers and this experience only enhances what the schools are supposed to do – teach. Now we will have to watch the outcome as higher ups spend a lot of time discussing the issue and wasting precious time. And the school year is almost over!
What started out as a fantastic idea now sits spoiling like rotting food on a shelf. The way it began was like this. A group of students decided to run for a contest, called Echo Project, which is connected to a UCLA mentor program.
Students were asked to design a new business, write a business plan, determine how they would act that plan out and -- if they won – would be provided $500 for start up costs.
The four students were awarded the first place winners on Feb. 24 for an inspiring “new business category” to feed students healthy, notorious food. Their motto: “Pirate’s Café; Delicious and Nutritious.” For three days a week and less than a month, they got off to a resounding start, selling turkey and veggie sandwiches during lunch hours for $3 and fruit salad for $2. Only 100 percent juice was sold and everything prepared was sold out immediately.
It was impossible to compete with the cafeteria, the teacher said, because they café only prepared 40 sandwiches a day and thousands of students eat in the cafeteria. They opened in late April and were shut down by the end of June.
“It was such a big hit,” Sandy told me during a cooking class where students bustled around making salads, paring vegetables, boiling pasta and whipping up lunch for themselves like Fettuccine Alfredo (which I tasted and its was scrumptious.)
Her regular class of students were having so much fun – and actually learning to cook and take care of themselves – I wondered just how ludicrous it would be to lose obviously such a special teacher who students seemed to adore. But why continue with a district, she argued he “hurts its own students.”
When the four students won, she said, she was so proud of them “because we didn’t know anything about a business plan and we just decided we’re going to learn. They went to UCLA for the competition and they won. They were really thrilled.”
The students – Ainsley Sanchez, Lidia Pedroza, Anthony Hernandez, all 17, and Dennis Veliz, 18, immediately used the money to buy supplies and opened up the café under Sandy’s guidance. With the small amount of profits, the students decided they would invest back into the business and then perhaps give one student a scholarship to culinary school.
“I was really bummed and sad,” when the doors closed, explained Ainsley while cooking hamburgers in class. “We had been working on this project since October and we barely lasted a month.”
Even students who enjoyed Pirate’s Café said they cannot understand food service’s decision.
“They did a good job and the sandwiches were really good,” said 10th grader Monique Maestro, 16. “I was just so mad, because that was my lunch. The cafeteria food isn’t healthy at all.”
“It was really good and they were so organized,” said Jeanine Vargas, 16, an 11th grader. “I feel so bad because they worked so hard to put this together. It was like why?”
Why is a good question Jeanine.
The way it all went down, the teacher explained, was she received a call to come to the principal’s office on the afternoon where she met David Copleland, a food supervisor for the district. He was holding an article about the Café in the More San Pedro newspaper and demanded café be closed, Wood said. The reasons, he told her, were that the district did not allow direct competition with school cafeterias and that she didn’t have the proper permits.
. The teacher was stunned. No one had ever told her she had to have permits. She didn’t need any for a cooking class and the café was running out of the same classroom.
The doors were closed that day and remain that way.
Monday’s meeting should reveal the outcome, but this all sounds like the big bully came to town to me. Maybe perhaps the real fear Mr. Copleland has – and he should fear it – is that the student café will become so successful and popular that these students will have successful cafés pop at schools all over Los Angeles.
Now that’s now such a bad idea, Mr. Copeland, is it? If the district can’t provide healthy food – what’s so wrong with a bit of competition? In America, last I heard, that’s a good thing.

Friday, June 15, 2007


By Diana L. Chapman

This is one of those wonderful stories where you wished all tagging incidents ended up this way.
Take the two teenagers, around 17, who decided on a Saturday night this month to start penning their street jargon on electrical boxes around 13th Street and Pacific Avenue.
Unfortunately for them, but fortunately for us, a local Superior Court Judge Peter Mirich, who serves both the San Pedro and Catalina court houses, was ambling along the road in a car on his way to get something to eat.
When he spotted the teens with their pens marking the boxes, stop signs and park benches, he followed them watching diligently as they continued tagging one spot after another. That’s when the judge began calling the police.
If you think the judge has much more pull then we do, he still found himself going through the frustrating web of black hole phone calls. He started out first calling Los Angeles Police Department’s main line and asking to be connected to the Harbor Division.
The staff person on the line refused to connect him, he said, calling a tagging incident, a “low priority, and that if I contacted (the taggers) it was at my own risk.” But if you know the judge – nothing like this could be a low priority. Having been born and raised around San Pedro, he – like most of us – find tagging and graffiti a major drain on our urban lives as a constant, needling reminder of needless destruction continuously injected into our psyches.
As all of us have sadly and angrily watched the bombardment of graffiti over the years, the judge, decided despite the rebuff on the phone, he would not give up.
“I was then placed on hold and followed the taggers to 9th Street,” the judge e-mailed me. “Finally, (while still on hold), I spotted a patrol car and flagged it down.”
The judge never stopped his quest to nab the taggers. The officers agreed to follow him and together they looked for the taggers – which later led to both of their arrests. Once the police were on hand, he said, he was extremely impressed with their professionalism.
This lesson taught me that even a judge can run into problems with the law cooperating! And the judge’s advice to all of us is to think about carrying the Harbor Division phone number so witnesses can call directly to the area, instead of the regional lines, to get much more likely action on those so low, priority calls.
And to all those taggers out there, all I can say is: “Here come the judge!” AWESOME.
Another lost treasure
By Ron Galosic, Eastview Little League Board Member

As we approach our last day of Eastview Little League at it’s current location on the corner of Gaffey and Capitol in San Pedro, I look back and reflect upon another mistake our city has made that has let this wonderful complex for kids, that has been open 24 hours a days, seven days per week, for the entire community to enjoy for over forty years, just disappear.

I recently watched the tryouts take place for the next incoming class for the San Pedro High School baseball team freshman class., and after watching the two days with the kids from Dodson Junior High tryout, and then the two days with the kids from Dana Junior High tryout, I along with others there, were amazed with what we saw. Fourteen kids from Dodson, who all come from Eastview, are fully prepared to play high school baseball, and will make the team, while maybe 2-3 from Dana, none of whom even play currently in San Pedro, are prepared to play. What conclusion can you draw from this? There are simply no quality fields left on the south side of our town for the kids that go to Dana to learn this game of baseball and stay out of trouble, and that the one great place that this town does have, and has had for over forty years, Eastview, we all are watching disappear.

Since 1970, the South side of our town has lost the South Shores fields, the Upper reservation fields, the original Bogdonovich fields, Trona fields, Dillon Fields the Boys Club fields, and the fields at Liberty Hill. I ask you a question that I believe is also a responsibility of our elected officials, where do the kids on the south side of town go to play ball and stay out of trouble, and why did we not act fast enough to save the best fields this town has ever seen on the north side of town, Eastview, any sooner?

Did our elected officials ever have a chance to save the fields at Eastview you ask? Well the answer is yes they did. When this whole process began three years ago, one of the first things we suggested to our Councilwoman was to take the property for community park space, a thing this town needs, via eminent domain. The mistake we made was that we trusted Councilwoman Hahn, when she told us that it could not be done. Well, I sat in on a meeting a little over a month ago, and Janice invited a City Attorney to sit in on our meeting. At this meeting, the city attorney was grilled as to the possibilities of eminent domain, which in the end, she also agreed that yes eminent domain can be done now, and that it could have easily been done three years ago, and that the fields could have been saved.

Along with the sadness of the loss of the fields, special thanks does need to go out to The Port Of Los Angeles, and their wonderful leadership, as they did what needed to be done to help temporarily save us from extinction. With the Port’s engineers on site and working daily, it does look like a temporary home on Knoll Hill has began, and should be ready for the first pitch in 2008.

In conclusion, the people of our city need to take a stand and save the places that serve our youth and keep them out of trouble. We need to understand the distinction between the new phrase, “Open Space”, which is a fancy word for space for a place for adults go to sit and enjoy a view, and “Park Space Facilities” which is a place that the kids can go and exercise, run around, kick or throw a ball, and stay out of trouble. This past season I helped coach 8-9 year olds, and one of the coach’s I coach with has a great phrase he uses with the kids to help them to understand that every at bat you only get to see one or two great pitches, and you have to swing the bat and hit those pitches. Those pitches he calls “Treasures”, and tells them that when one comes, you need to swing at them, and you can't let them go. Well, coach, as we close the book on the final season here for Eastview and the corner of Capitol and Gaffey, unfortunately, our city let another good one go by, and we have lost another treasure, Eastview Little League.

ONLY $55.00
JULY 3rd - AUGUST 24th
CONTACT: YVONNE 310-619-5305

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Dear Readers: I support the efforts you'll read below. We need everything we can get our hands on for kids in this town.

Sincerely, Diana

To all,

This is my Final effort asking for your donation to
help win the 2007 Honorary Mayors race and continue
our advocacy for a San Pedro Sports Complex!

Whether it is $5, $10, $25, $50, $100, or any other
amount, every dollar puts us one step closer to

Why do I want to win you may ask yourself and why
should you send in a donation? Winning opens the
door to those who can help our Mission of building a San
Pedro Sports Complex. It provides opportunities to
speak at events continuing this advocacy and much

San Pedro is a Sports Town and we owe it to our kids
to provide them a Permanent, not Temporary, location
to participate in Sports.

All donations are due by June 21st. The 2007
Honorary Mayor will be announced June 27th at the Crowne
Plaza in San Pedro at 5:30pm!

Please send your tax deductible donation TODAY to
Box 78, San Pedro, Ca 90733. Please make checks payable to: SPYC-Pirozzi for Honorary Mayor.
Please forward this to your email distribution list.
Thank You So Much!!!

Anthony Pirozzi
Candidate for Honorary Mayor of San Pedro 2007


Attention Supporters of San Pedro Youth: If you have work with middle school age girls or have a daughter of this age feel free and call me with questions. This is great opportunity for girls to get information, support and prizes. The workshop is FREE and the schedule does not interfere with Summer School!

YWCA of the Harbor Area and South Bay Presents:

“GIRL POWER” A 3-Day workshop for girls ages 11-14
June 26-28
@ 437 W. 9th Street
San Pedro

Over the course of three days we’ll talk, play games, and learn about…

· Changes your body is going through and what they mean

· Peer Pressure

· Getting along with others

· Communication Skills

· What is abstinence

· Feeling Good about Yourself

· Making Healthy Decisions

· Body Image

· And much more!


Breakfast and Lunch will be provided each day

Prizes for attendance!!!
Day 1: Registration Goodie bag!
Day 2: Movie Ticket!
Attend ALL 3 Days:
Gift Card to Old Navy
***If you would like to attend this workshop, bring the attached consent form to Gaby Medina at the YWCA on or before June 26th. ****

Contact: Gaby Medina @
(310) 547-0831 or
Mena Hughes @
(310) 780-0477

Mena Hughes

Friday, June 08, 2007


By Diana L.Chapman
Parents, teachers, administrators and particularly San Pedro High School students this week applauded a heavily festooned groundbreaking ceremony for a brand new 1,000 seat, state-of-the-art,22,000 square foot building.
The tab for the new gym is $12.9 million because of increases in construction cost, district officials said.
Hawaiian Dancers, the Pirate Dancers and the school band charmed the audience with peppy performances and traditional band songs while many students beamed proudly that they would at last have a new gym -- to expand upon an existing, much smaller antiquated facility – even if they won’t be around when the project is completed in August 2008.
Most performing arts students said they were squished. Cramped. And competing for space in the old gym, which will remain on site to make way for a new weight room and to expand the school’s dance center.
Charisma Jones, 18, the school’s drill team captain and a Pirate dancer, said she doesn’t even care if she never has a chance to use the new facility.
“I’m just so excited for the future pep squads and know they are going to experience a new gym,” she said beaming. “That’s just going to help everybody. We can hold pep rallies. More people can come. Nobody could really fit into it before. It was just too small.”
Mike Lansing, a Los Angeles Unified School Board member who will step down from his post at the end of June, said the public should begin looking at schools as the new “oasis” in urban areas – as the city of Los Angeles has heavily “ratcheted back” their after school programs and other recreational activities for more than the past decade. Schools across the city, he said, have become the answer to care for children after school -- and for communities recreational options on the weekend.
Having grown up in the area and using the gym as a teenager, Lansing, said he knew from his own experiences how badly a new gym was needed. The gym will be opened for public use on the weekends and for organizations that require permits, he explained.
The board member repeatedly thanked voters for passing bond measures that passed to improve schools.
“The sad truth ,my friends, is that we continue to build more and more housing and watch our population continue to grow, but the city of Los Angeles does not match that growth with the adequate infrastructures we need and deserved including ball fields, gymnasiums and other facilities in which both the school and greater community can exercise.
Under a revolutionary modernization plan – and according to the district one of the “most comprehensive in the country,” the school district began upgrading and modernizing dozens of schools throughout Los Angeles with air conditioning, facility repair and improvements. The funds came from a variety of funds, but mostly from the 1997 passage of Proposition BB and scores of other voters measures that brought the district more than $2 billion to fix dozens of schools.
In the Harbor area recently, Banning High School received a new football stadium with manufactured grass and Narbonne High School received a night lighting system.
XX, in charge of the modernization, said he's proud to be part of such a revitalization program and the said the schools were "indebted" to the voters.
"These things change lives," he said. "These types of things, athletic facilities, are part of building a well rounded person."
Most students that day were delighted by the prospect of a new gymnasium, especially Pirate Dancers who never had mirrors or bars to help them improve their technical dancing skills and overcrowding could dampen even the best school spirits.
Said 15-year-old 10th grader, Lanice Renfroe: "I'm so happy about it. I think it will better our students. ..and help our school spirit."
Tiffany Lytle, 16, and the school's Miss Dance San Pedro, said: "It's going to soar our spirits so high. Our sports are going to excel. Right now, in dance we have to look at ourselves because we don't have mirrors to improve. We have to depend on each other. This is going to be really beneficial."
Only one student said he didn't believe a new gym was the near necessity that a high swim pool was. The high school's swim team, he complained, has to leave campus to compete and has no where to practice.
"I personally would have preferred a swimming pool," said Chase Gallarza, a 15-year-0ld 9th grader. "I didn't 'think we really needed it."

Monday, June 04, 2007


Dana Middle School students join for the first time in years. Some have never seen a sea lion in the wild.
Capt. Mike McLauglin, and his first mate, Elaine (above)

Other students had never been on a vessel before and are out on the ocean for the first time in their lives.

Dana students (above) enjoy the experience. The consistent thread in their comments is that they can't wait to go again.


TopSail is Tops for Kids – Poor, Rich or in the Middle
It’s the best Team Teacher that every school in the Los Angeles Harbor Area Should Join – including San Pedro High School

“I felt free like a bird when it flies,”-- Jazmine Galindo, a sixth grader, about her adventure aboard the tall ship Exy Johnson

By Diana L. Chapman

I listened to the kids grilling Capt. Mike McLaughlin as he steered the Exy Johnson toward open seas with a bunch of Dana Middle School students aboard.

The students--mind you, between the ages of 12 to 14--wanted to know: What kind of job in the harbor can they get that pays well? How did Mike become a captain? Which jobs are not only lucrative but prestigious? What are the best jobs to take care of their families? Do they have to go to college? What was that yellow boat over there – a taxi? Why is that black vessel have people getting ready to board that freighter?
My thought: When was the last time you were in a school where students sharply question their teacher with pointed interest?

The captain answered patiently, explaining they could spend years gaining the experience to become a captain, as he did, or they could take a shortcut and go to school at a maritime academy.
Ironically, these students, who live in and around Los Angeles Harbor, the second largest port in existence, hugged by the giant Pacific Ocean, had never seen marine mammals in the wild before. That was just some of the experiences unfolding before my eyes aboard the Exy -- and one that impressed upon me more than how our children in San Pedro and throughout the harbor area should be studying and exploring the endless number of career possibilities for them in their own backyard.
The students gathered around Exy's rail excitedlby spotting sea lions roll and glide around the ship, waiting for cannery employees to throw out handfuls of fish. Later they were treated to seeing a school of dolphin!

This is exactly what the founder of TopSail, Capt. Jim Gladson, had in mind when he created the program– an adventure aboard sailing vessels that would teach students alternative ways to learn ranging from geography, science, math, teamwork, resourcefulness to one overarching lesson – how to sail.

That’s how we came aboard for two seperate days with students who are considered potential candidates and may join the school’s after school sailing club once it takes form this fall at Dana. But it's sad that had it not been for Rachel Fischer Gladson, Gladson’s daughter-in-law, these junior high students would never boarded for a single lesson.

Because she knew of my advocacy for children, she called to ask if I could help connect Dana with the program. Thousands of dollars provided through LA Bridges has been wasted by our local schools. Essentially, the story is this: Both Dodson and Dana middle schools could use Top Sail virtually for free with grants through LA Bridges, a prevention-based program for Los Angeles middle schools.

I cringed when I learned this and so did Dana's principal, Terry Ball. While both schools had dabbled some time or another to take advantage of this program, it also needs the right people in the right place at the right time -- meaning a top administrator who believes in it and teachers who want to run the program.

In our case, we were blessed that two teachers volunteered -- English teacher Michelle DeBilzan and science teacher Greg Bartleson. For the first time in years, Dana set sail last week on two different journeys aboard the 90-foot brigantine where kids learned everything from “belaying” or winding lines to how deep the water is just beyond the Angel's Gate Lighthouse.

I loved listening to the kids grill the captain – and believe me, they did -- as well as climb out on the pulpit, head up the mast, raise and later fold the sails and become a big part of the detail running the Exy, one of the twin ships used in TopSail.

So many students begged to come back that the teachers realized how difficult it would be to select students who will be able to join. Each junior high school in Los Angeles that falls under the LA Bridges program – which means most of them – qualifies for this adventure, which includes five different day sails and one final five-day adventure to Catalina Island.

When we returned after a day that began with morning under a misty pearl -gray sky but was transformed into a bright, sunny afternoon, I asked the students to write about their adventures becoming part of the crew and learning a multitude of tasks, including how to use the “head”--the bathroom--and learn lingo they’d never heard before.

“The experience on the ocean is a whole different way to listen and learn,” wrote 13-year-old Bradley Washington. “Smelling the ocean and what smells came out were wet and damp. I would love to go back and relive the experience.”

Wrote 7th grader Bradley Fernandez: “This trip left me speechless. I liked the climbing the best because I got to use my courage and I let go of my fear. This was the best trip of my whole life!”

The teaching experience started when founder Gladson discovered taking his students at an alternative school in Eagle Rock aboard a vessel taught them much more than they could learn in a classroom. They learned how to steer, chart, read maps, understand ocean tides and currents; it was an educational maverick that worked.

He began TopSail under the Los Angeles Maritime Institute at Ports of Call and has four ships in the program, including Exy’s twin, Irving Johnson and the 70-foot Swift of Ipswich.

I can go on and on, but nothing can tell you more than going out on the adventure yourself as a volunteer and watching the kids learn in ways none of us could have imagined. Students coiled lines, hoisted sails, quizzed the captain on how deep it was right outside the harbor (not quite enough to swallow the boat, which is 87 feet high and we were at a depth of 82 feet, the captain explained) and most of all watching the kids become a team.

No one can tell you better than the kids themselves.

“Today, we went sailing and it was crazy. I learned about how you go through winds,” wrote Richard Q., a 13-year-old sixth grader. I really, really, really, 5X really, want to go on a five-day trip. Please pick me. Please pick me. Please pick me. I will behave and learn stuff. New stuff.”

That you will Richard Q. That you will.


Visit June celebrations to honor the Farewell's

Diana L. Chapman

Extending peace offerings to the community – and a thank you to many residents for rallying to their support –Eastview Little League officials launched a series of community events to say goodbye to its historic ball fields that have operated in San Pedro for more than four decades.
As a good bye and thank you, the league – which will be moved temporarily to Knoll Hill while a permanent spot becomes established – will host several events in June for residents including a movie “under the stars.” Each will be free.
“It is just our way to say thank you to San Pedro, and thank you for every family that has been involved with Eastview in the past 45 years.” said Ron Galosic, an East View board member. “We would love for everyone to attend, because it is going to be a whole lot of fun!”
This Saturday (June 9th), Sand Lot III – Heading Home – will be aired under the stars at the ballfields which hosted thousands of games for the little league since 1964.
Beginning at 8 p.m., the movie will air on a 14 X 25 screen. Popcorn will be free. Those attending will need to bring their own chairs and some funds for other refreshments that will be available for a short time at the league’s Snack Bar.
Located at the corner of North Gaffey and Westmont Avenue at the former DiCarlo Bakery site, the league was told they would be evicted by the end of July to make way for an incoming Target store to the area. While league officials fought hard to remain at the site, it became clear that neither Target officials or Councilwoman Janice Hahn would support that effort.
While many other sites were explored as temporary possibilities, including 22 Street’s vacant lot, Hahn’s office settled on Knoll Hill and told East View there would be no other negotiations, East view officials said.
Instead, the league will be moved to Knoll Hill for next baseball season, which will force the Peninsula Dog Park, Inc. to move down the hill to a flatter location at the bottom on Harbor Boulevard. Los Angeles Port executives have promised to make both the fields and the dog park beatific locations -- and pay some funds for each, including the grading.
League officials will hold a “closing day ceremony” to “the end of an era.” Visitors should plan to bring their own barbeques, tarps, tables and chairs.
Double “AA” Division finals will also be held at 8 p.m. Thursday, June 15, and two finals will be played out on Friday, June 16. The Single “A” Division final will be held at 5:30 and the major division finals at 8:30.
Goodbye to Eastview’s old site and good luck to finding a future and permanent location.
Seventh Street Elementary Mural to be Unveiled this Friday...

7th Street Elementary School Unveils A Masterpiece of Literary Art Friday:
It's a Must-See-Creation-of-an-Only Kind; The public is invited to Attend

Where the Seuss of Things Can Be Found in a Wall
By Diana L. Chapman

Using scores of students and dozens of volunteers to painstakingly piece together a snaking 100 feet long mosaic wall, a masterpiece – at least in my book especially because its all about children’s books – will be officially unveiled Friday – ending a project that nearly two years long in the making.
With 12 children’s books depicted in the mosaic mural – pieces done through a combination of children’s work and parent volunteers – stories like Dr. Seuss' Cat and the Hat, Charlotte’s Web and Harry Potter seem to come to life along the curving wall doused in a myriad of colors, from whites to rosy pinks and blues.
The ceremony will be held Friday at 1:15 and is open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. And all the photographs in the world can’t speak for seeing this artistic work: it’s a-must- see-in-person creation.
Megan McElroy, who spent most of her time the past two years working on the wall for generations of school children to come, said the school is happy to complete the giant venture that was done through a $10,000 Neighborhood grant from the city of Los Angeles. Another grant helped pay for beautifully wispy landscape – that accents the beds of the mosaic wall – which includes plants such as Australian willows and the flowering plants alstromeria, salvia, penstemmon and mustard colored yarrow.
Landscape architect Rick Dykzeul, designed the garden and in particular picked that vegetation to attract butterflies and hummingbirds and “we have many,” Megan said.
Artist Melinda Moore created the wall, but the project could not have been completed without parents like Megan and the hundreds of students who participated as well.
“I love creating ceramic pieces with the kids,” Megan said. “It is a
magical process for them because you are transforming
such a raw substance into a beautiful object. But my
favorite part of doing a mural of any kind at a school
is that the kids live with the creative process every
day. They understand that art can be done by anyone,
and they take such pride in our school's accomplishment.”
What makes me so happy, however, is when such projects are completed, it tends to bring the community back to the campus and spark a dying interest in our schools. The beautification is just one piece of this puzzle as it takes over the typical drab ugly colors that douse the creative spirit at most schools.
A mosaic mural like this not only makes the kids want to come to school – it makes the teachers want to come. They frequently sit and have their lunches next to the mosaic mural. And for the kids, every day it gives them something to talk about since the mural is positioned strategically right across from the library – like reading.

For more information, call the school at: (310) 832-1538. The campus is located at 1570 W. 7th Street, San Pedro.