Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Two San Pedro High students consult each other om making pasta.

San Pedro High Italian Teacher Takes On The Flour And Teaches Students How to Make Pasta From Scratch
Scores of San Pedro High students learned to make  fresh egg pasta from scratch last week and promised the Italian teacher running the program they would go home and make it for their parents.
Mixing up flour and eggs, students blended, cut, pasted and chopped during an after school cooking club and throughout the day, said Ida Lanza, the teacher who taught it.
“It’s wonderful,” Lanza said. “The kids absolutely love it. They are so enthusiastic. It’s a simple dish. It’s not that complicated.”
Want to try it? Here is the recipe.

Pasta Recipe

2 cups of flour
3 eggs
Pinch of salt
½ egg shell of water if necessary

1.     Place the flour in a bowl or on a clean surface
2.     Make a hole in the center
3.     Put in the eggs and salt
4.     Beat the eggs and incorporate the flour a little at a time until all the flour has been added
5.     Take the dough out of the bowl and put on floured surface.
6.     Knead for 15 minutes
7.     Cover with Plastic wrap
8.     Cut a small piece and work it through the pasta machine
9.     Start on the widest setting and pass the pasta dough through until smooth
10.            Reduce the width of the rollers one number at a time until you reach the lowest or highest number
11.            Cut the pasta in half and then pass it through the tagliatelle cutter
12.            Make a small nest with plenty of flour so it does not stick to itself

Marinara Sauce

3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 onion chopped
3 cloves of garlic minced
3 sprigs of parsley chopped
5 leaves of basil chopped
2 cups of tomato puree or diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
Salt and pepper
Chopped red pepper (if desired)
½ cup of water to clean out the tomato cups


1.     Heat the oil in a skillet over medium hear
2.     Add the chopped onions
3.     Stir and cook for 5 minutes
4.     Add the garlic and cook for 3 minutes
5.     Add the parsley and basil
6.     (If you are adding meat do it at this point and brown the meat completely – no pink showing)
7.     Add two cups of tomato puree or diced tomato
8.     Add the tomato paste and ½ cup water
9.     Salt and Pepper
10.                        Stir continuously and make sure all the paste has dissolved
11.                        Cook for 15 minutes (1/2 hour at least if you added meat)
12.                        Set aside and wait for pasta to cook

Pre-heat large pot of water well salted
When it come to a boil, add pasta and cook for 1-2 minutes NO MORE.
Drain well in a colander over the sink and add to marinara sauce
Stir well to cover all the pasta with the sauce and serve.
Sprinkle parmigiano cheese on the pasta if desired

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bonnie Sheehan, with one of the thousands of small dogs she's rescued over the years.

Widely-Respected Long Beach Rescuer Was Released From a Tennessee Jail on Bail After Arrest For Carrying Some 140 Canines in a U-haul; She Began to Travel Home Wednesday
By Diana L. Chapman
Hearts For Hounds dog rescuer Bonnie Sheehan – arrested on 128 counts of animal cruelty charges for hauling some 140 dogs in a U-haul -- was released from a Tennessee jail Tuesday evening after her supporters pulled together $10,000 to bail her out.
She’s on her way home to Long Beach via car, having left Tennessee Wednesday, said Jay Williams, a spokeswoman for Hearts for Hounds.
The rescuer – who is widely respected in Long Beach community for saving thousands of dogs over the past 15 years – cried  when she got on the phone for the first time with Williams.
“All she could do is cry and say thank you, “ said Williams, a long-time friend and volunteer who hadn’t been able to talk to Sheehan, 55, since she was jailed Jan. 19. “It’s one of the best feelings I’ve ever had  since last week. I was so excited just to hear her voice. It’s such a relief.”
It is such a relief – even for me whose family has adopted three of Sheehan’s  dogs. I have written several stories about the rescuer’s heroic efforts to save small dogs and even agreed with her move from Long Beach to Virgina due to a souring economy that led to zero adoptions over the past several months.
Instead of paying $7,000-a-month to run her Long Beach kennel, Bonnie purchased an 11-acre farm with a house, barn and log cabin in Huddleston, Va., where she planned to continue her rescue operations.
Instead, she was arrested along with her long-time volunteer, Pamela King-McCracken, 59,  for hauling about 140 dogs allegedly in cramped and crowded U-haul and a mini-van. Animal officials called the conditions filthy, cramped and deplorable.
The group of Sheehan supporters are working with a “solid non-profit “that deals directly with dogs being retained as evidence to care for the animals, Williams said.
The arrests set off a nation-wide debate between the supporters who knew Sheehan and the many critics who did not. The comments became so derogatory at times, Williams said, that the group had to shut down the Hearts for Hounds face book page. Only basic information remains.
The real truth as I see it along with many of her supporters, is that most of those dogs she was traveling with would already be dead if it hadn’t been for Sheehan.
 “Nine thousand five hundred dogs were killed in Los Angeles County last year,” Williams said. “If it wasn’t for these two women’s devotion those dogs (in Tennessee) would already be dead. Bonnie made them healthy. She made them pretty and she loved them.”
Both women face  128 counts of animal cruelty. Their hearing  will be held in March. King-McCracken was able to bail herself out earlier.
While the story burned across the internet about the rescuers with often derogatory and threatening remarks, Sheehan’s supporters – including myself – were devastated and stunned to learn that the woman who has touched thousands of lives – both dogs and humans – had been arrested and jailed.
In fact, so many respected Sheehan that when the news broke, the veterinarian, Dr. Sam Shenouda in Long Beach, was swamped with phone calls about the rescuer’s fate. Shenouda and Sheehan had worked together for years saving dogs she rescued from the pound the day they were to be euthanized.
The office began taking funds from supporters to help pay the $100,000 bond and  attorney fees.
In the meantime, Sheehan’s followers  were horrified by the vitriolic, seething comments on the internet.
 “What they did is as bad as running “slaves,” one person wrote in a comment section of one news article while. Others accused them of being con-artists, running a “puppy mill’ and stealing other people’s dogs to sell them for profit.
 One person emailed me directly to say “unfortunately”  I had “been conned.”
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Those of us who know Sheehan have marveled for years at her remarkable achievements, finding homes for dogs more than many rescue groups combined. But as the economic downturn continued, instead of people adopting  “they called to ask if she’d take their dogs,” said Williams.
Ceci Giacoma, who works with a specific breed rescue and has worked for years on-and-off with Sheehan, said she’s pained by the brutal comments she read on face book and news media accounts. She said she’s convinced Sheehan’s outstanding dedication to her dogs will come out in court.
 “We never came close to saving as many dogs as Bonnie did,” Giacoma said. “I was always in awe of her because she rescued all dogs  and did so from one of the largest and most desperate shelters. Because she was utterly dedicated and pure-hearted in her mission she has been able to unflaggingly re-home so many dogs that the sheer numbers are profound.
“Were it not for Bonnie, none of those dogs would have survived long enough to have been in that truck and that is the real perspective.”
There are many questions that need to be answered before judging the two women:
--Why did Sheehan have so many dogs in the U-haul and minivan? 
She had personally told me she was only going to take about 65 dogs to the new property with King-McCracken’s help.  Virginia volunteers there, Williams said, had prepared the barn for the dogs arrival and were ready and waiting.
Her initial plans to only take half the dogs, Williams said, changed when Long Beach animal control appeared.
--Why did  Long Beach Animal Control officers show up the day of Sheehan’s departure along with Long Beach police and watch her and several volunteers steadily pack up the animals? 
They were there supposedly there because of a complaint that Sheehan was loading dead animals, but all the canines were alive and well. Many had been groomed before Sheehan left and given new blankets, Williams said. Watching all of this, animal control officer(s) allowed her to leave without saying the conditions in the U-haul were too crammed. Volunteers loading that day said animal control told Sheehan she had to take all 140 plus dogs with her and would not be allowed to leave any behind, Williams said. The rescuer then had to buy additional crates in order to do so. Why did they let her leave at all? An investigation into Long Beach animal control is ongoing.
--Why were more than sixty dogs of those found micro-chipped? Were they stolen? 
Sheehan micro-chipped every animal before she adopted them out and gave the paper work over to new owners. Some people were accusing the two women of stealing animals and believe that’s why they were micro-chipped. The truth is no dog leaves Sheehan’s hands without current vaccines, and a microchip.
--Was Sheehan running a puppy mill? 
I can answer that one. No. The breeds that some people consider so cute that they will pay big money for them, such as Chihuahuas – have flooded local shelters. If anything, Sheehan tried to save dogs that backyard breeders dumped or she was able to gather up from puppy mills. She refused to breed dogs. In fact, she would not save “unhealthy”dogs, because hundreds of healthy dogs are euthanized every day in this country.
--Why did Tennessee animal control officials call the animals filthy and then later turn around and say they weren’t in that bad of condition? 
The Tennessee animal officials accused the women of not watering or feeding the canines even though the women said they stopped and gave both to the dogs. Williams said the women, in information that he gathered from volunteers helping to load that  day, had left space in the trailer so they could provide  food and water. Crates were securely tied down so they wouldn’t topple, he added.
Nina Wingfield, the president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty for Animals in Memphis, told the media that the crates were locked tight with cable ties, so the dogs were unlikely to receive food or water. But she added “Overall, they are healthy,” she said in a statement, according to the Press-Telegram.
It’s hard for some to reconcile Sheehan’s reputation with the conditions of travel.
But here in Long Beach and elsewhere, Sheehan supporters all have dog tales to tell that came about because of Sheehan.
In Williams case, he adopted four of Sheehan’s dogs, Yorkshire terriers, including several from a puppy mill in Riverside.  Animal control turned the pups over to Hearts for Hounds, he said, to care for and to find them homes.
Even though the Yorkie puppies were four-months old, Williams said, they had never been out of their cages or given a place to grow and play. Therefore, several of them weighed only one or two pounds, when they should have weighed eight to ten pounds.
One reason Sheehan was considered a saint by some was her knack for matching dogs  well with prospective owners. They, in turn, recommended her services to friends and family. That caused a ripple effect in the Belmont Shore community where hundreds of residents either knew her personally or about her work.
Not only did people like what she was doing, they often returned to show off the dogs they adopted when Sheehan would set up nearly every Sunday at the Marina Village farmer’s market in southeastern Long Beach. She displayed a variety of small canines from cocker spaniels, to terrier mixes, bichon poodles to Chihuahuas
In my case, I came to know Sheehan about three years ago looking for a dog for my 83-year-old mom. Three-year-old Dara, a Havanese-Schnauzer mix snatched up by Hearts for Hounds the day she was supposed to be euthanized --. is now my mother’s closest companion. She is such a love bug that my sister wanted her.
Instead, my sister visited Sheehan’s kennel and fell for Lily, a Havenese who was rescued from a trailer park breeder. By the time she was 8-months-old , Lily, had given birth to three puppies at the trailer park,  all of which died, according to Sheehan.
Endless stories abound about what this woman did with King-McCracken routinely helping her. I’ve heard many, but I like this one written by Darel Talbot:
“I met Bonnie years ago, when I found an ugly mutt that no one wanted and it was going to be put to sleep. I tried everyone but no one would help me. Then someone suggested I call Hearts for Hounds. Bonnie took my ugly rescue, she paid for the surgery and I met the wonderful woman who adopted her. I have been loyal to (Bonnie) ever since..”
The only person who hasn’t had a chance to speak out in her defense is Sheehan who found herself jailed, a place she probably never thought she’d be.
Those who want to help Sheehan and her friend with donations for attorney fees can contact Jay Williams at jwilliams@dvisions.com. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

LAUSD board member contends this is not the right time to begin early start district wide.
By Diana L. Chapman
So let me get this straight:
Los Angeles Unified School District allowed so many charters that now it has to woo students back to its own campuses, overhauled its entire lunch menu to make healthy food for kids who won’t eat it and now contemplates allowing parents to pick the schools their children attend.
Talk about change.
With more pink slips looming on the horizon – and plenty of LAUSD employees already gone  -- one wonders how in these rough times of economic turmoil – it makes any sense to adopt  “early start,”  which means Los Angeles schools will start school this summer --  Aug. 14 district wide. That's three weeks earlier in blazing Los Angeles summer days – an action School Board Member Richard Vladovic is still shaking his head about.
No, the early start does not mean students will pick up more learning hours; they will just get out earlier –June 4 – in 2013.
No, this does not mean test scores will go up, which was one of kickers that triggered this “early start” calendar. The district’s own report reflects that test scores barely improved and that early start failed to bring up grades or increase attendance.
Even Los Angeles schools superintendent John Desay recommended to the board that due to uncertainty with the state and federal budgets, it made more sense   to indefinitely postpone the calendar change.
So all I can ask is why are we doing this, something that will wind up probably costing the district more than it expects and in which Vladovic, reminds the board each meeting that “this is not the time” to do this?
He was so concerned in fact, he filed a resolution to postpone the move – an action he lost in a 4-3 vote in October. Board president Monica Garcia voted no to the postponement along with Board Members Tamara Gatzalan, Nury Martinez and Steve Zimmer.
Voting with Vladovic were the two board members who co-sponsored his resolution:  Bennett Kayasar and Marguerite LaMotte.
Vladovic, who serves the entire Harbor Area along with Carson, Gardena, Lomita and parts of south Los Angeles, bemoans the district wide action after 19 schools in the valley piloted the early start to see how it works.
According to Vladovic, it didn’t. It did improve the California Exit High School Exam, but did little else.
“It did not improve scoring,” complains Vladovic. “It did not improve AP testing or attendance. It didn’t raise the scores of schools. It  will cause havoc for after school programs. Sometimes, change is good. In this case, the timing is wrong.”
Because pink slips lawfully have to inform teachers of layoffs by March 15 -- and the state budget may not pass until the end of August -- Vladovic has decided to raise the issue at every board meeting imploring other members to reconsider.
“We can’t rescind layoff notices until Sacramento passes their budget,” Vladovic wrote on his blog. “If Sacramento passes their budget after July, we will be hard pressed for a smooth opening.  It now looks like the budget might not pass until late August.”

I too am concerned even though it won’t impact me personally since my son is graduating this year. But as a parent, I’ve been overwhelmed by the erratic changes the district has undertaken, including putting my son’s high school in the “public choice” category which meant outsiders such as non-profits could bid on running the schools.

This quickly turned  problematic  – as I expected – when the non-profits or charters went primarily after newly constructed schools and ignored larger, cumbersome  LAUSD schools, such as San Pedro, Gardena and Carson high schools.

As fast as the “public school choice came,” it was quickly erased as rugged  competition emerged and the district began losing thousands of students – meaning huge losses of money since it receives average daily attendance (ADA) -- or $28 a day per student from the state.

Longtime San Pedro High School teacher Richard Wagoner said he’s still trying to figure out what the entire purpose  of the calendar change is. The schools already on early-start would have been allowed to continue to do so even if it wasn’t approved district wide.  
It seems pointless, Wagoner argued.
“There is something very fishy about this initiative,” said Wagoner, a vocal proponent against the early-start calendar. “The valley was going to be allowed to keep their calendar. Yet principals from the valley took time away from their duties…to ensure that all schools are forced into early start in spite of the almost 100 percent opinion of those against it by the few that actually knew the vote was coming.
“I want to know what the early start board members stand to gain from this because it otherwise makes no sense.”
Truly, Wagoner is right. Some argue that it helps align high school aged students to the August college calendar system.
But is that enough reason to undergo anymore upheaval?
To use early start, LAUSD will have to use $20 million to punch it through, but it’s expected to recoup most – not all – of the money when the state pays the district ADA, said Jacob Haik, Vladovic’s chief of staff.
An LAUSD report says it will only cost $870,000 – but that probably means if it goes without a hitch. And if we know one thing about LAUSD, few things go without a hitch.
While I’ve talked to many teachers who aren’t troubled by it and a handful of parents also who said it wasn’t an issue for them, I still think there’s a key ingredient missing.
That is the why? Why, for heaven’s sake, would we do this?
Vladovic – please keep asking.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Wolf Bradley, lead singer of 20 Eyes, will perform this Saturday.

New Seven Golden Secrets to Writing Class Starts, The Band 20 Eyes Has Gig Saturday And a Wine Tasting To Help Seals
Writing Workshop
   A new Seven Golden Secrets to Writing session begins Wednesday at the Corner Store in San Pedro.
     The workshop focuses on teaching children ages 6 to 14 to enjoy the skill while  improving.
    Each session is Wednesday from 4:30 to 5:45 and runs for six weeks. The cost is $60 per session or $10 per class. There are no refunds.
     To attend, either show up at the class or email Diana Chapman, a longtime writer who teaches the workshop at hartchap@cox.net. The Corner Store is located at 1118 West 37th Street.
20 Eyes
   The band 20 Eyes – once called Last Day Off – will play at 7 p.m. this Saturday 
at the San Pedro  Ballet School.
    Wolf Bradley and his group have been breaking into the record business and
 have produced new songs, said Cindy Bradley, who helps manage her son’s band. 
Also performing: The Dayleys.
    The cost will be $8 and includes a free 20 Eyes T-shirt and CD. 
    The address is 1231 Pacific Avenue, San Pedro.    
    Visit the 20 Eyes website at: www.facebook.com/20eyesmusic. 
Wine Tasting
     Come join in a festive, Valentine’s wine tasting fundraiser for the Marine Mammal Care Center Feb. 12 at the Corner Store.
      The cost is $20 a person. There are three tasting times: 1 to 2 pm; 2:30 to 3:30; and 4 to 5 p.m. The tastings will be paired with gourmet cheeses and chocolate.
      The mammal care center rescues injured seals and sea lions and all proceeds will go toward that cause.
    To register, call the Marine Mammal Care Center at (310) 548-5677 or the Corner Store at (310) 832-2424. The Corner Store is at  1118 West 37th Street.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Now That Joe Buscaino Took The Los Angeles Council Seat By Storm, What’s Next For the Average Joe?
By Diana L. Chapman
In a win that plunged some long-time politicians in disbelief, former Los Angeles Police Officer Joe Buscaino – a political novice -- easily snapped up former Councilwoman Janice Hahn’s seat on the Los Angeles City Council during Tuesday’s special election.
“It’s unbelievable. Not only did we win, but we won big,” Buscaino, 37, told me Wednesday morning. “I am so proud of the people who voted and I am so grateful that they have the faith, the trust and the confidence for me to serve them.
“The people who got me to this position are the people I won’t forget.”
Buscaino, 37, and a father of an 8-year-old boy and 5-year-old girl, beat out Assemblyman Warren Furutani garnering 60 percent of the vote. He was also the top vote getter in the November primary where he vied against 10 other candidates.
In Tuesday’s election, Buscaino raced past his opponent, grabbing 9,734 votes. Furutani received 6,304 or about 39 percent.
Fresh-faced, ready for action and a leadership role, Buscaino’s first issues will be who he hires to surround and guide him through the Los Angeles City Hall's political quagmire. Few people go in the political chewing machine without being  swallowed, turning into a different persona then they started out.
Buscaino, however, promises to remain grounded and he has scores of family members  who live in the area, more than 500, to help him do so.
 Meanwhile, his wife, Geralyn, a school teacher at White Point Elementary School, said she was proud and happy for him.
“It was just amazing,” said the teacher of the party held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Tuesday evening. “I was so excited to see all the help in that room and was really touched when Joe asked his family to come on the stage, then asked us to leave and brought all his volunteers up there. It was really touching.”
Buscaino said he will take an oath for office in 21 days or less while the City Clerk's office certifies the win.
“My opponent said I didn’t have experience,” he said. “He was wrong. I had my boots on the ground.”
In an important move, Buscaino announced Wednesday that he will hire Doane Liu as his chief-of staff. Liu held the post for Hahn since last January and has managed the council office since she left to take a seat in congress.
“It doesn’t make sense to hire my best friend,” Buscaino added, saying he needed a chief-of-staff who could help him navigate the choppy waves in Los Angeles politics.

Liu said he grew to know Buscaino over the last several months.

"I have been really inspired by his passion and energy on the campaign trail," Liu e-mailed. "I can't wait to help him implement his vision for the district. I'm a newcomer to San Pedro -- only lived here for 24 years. So I can't say I was "born and raised in Pedro." But my kids can." 

Coming with an extensive political background, Liu does seem an appropriate choice.

From 1995-1999, he served as a district director for then Congresswoman Jane Harman. From there, he worked as director of community services for former City Attorney Jim Hahn from 1999 to 2001 and acted as Deputy mayor when Jim Hahn (Janice's brother)  became mayor between 2001 to 2005.

Liu will aid Buscaino's transition from officer to councilman and guide him through the scores of applications that doused the former cop's candidate office.

Overall, Buscaino's Tuesday win -- is telling that the public is frustrated with a system that continues to fail us.

 I’ve backed Buscaino from the beginning because he was a guy – just like most of us – not rich and has a family he wants to raise in San Pedro. In addition, he had an  understanding of the streets of Council District 15, which includes Watts, Wilmington, Harbor Gateway, Harbor City and San Pedro.
For six years, he was a senior lead officer in the Harbor area, coming to know residents throughout the region, and was an LAPD cop 15 years.
Born in San Pedro to parents who immigrated from Italy, Buscaino said “the people who got me here are moms and dads, police officers, teachers, firefighters” and many others.

Of his victorious campaign, the incoming councilman said: 

"This is just a testament that we were fed up with insider politicians. This was not supposed to happen to beat out a veteran politician. It shows it’s possible for someone off the streets, the average Joe, to get elected. We want to inspire others to run and it was a positive, honorable campaign.
"We stuck to the issues. Maybe this can rub off on Sacramento and Washington, D.C.”