Travelin' Local From Los Angeles to San Diego and everything in between Tue, 26 Apr 2011 15:04:07 +0000 en hourly 1 Windansea – California’s World Famous Beach Tue, 26 Apr 2011 14:21:35 +0000 Lisa Newton Over the last two years, we’ve featured many historical landmarks, including buildings, a trailer park, a cemetery, and monuments; but this is the first shack to make the list.

Originally constructed in 1946 by Woody Ekstrom, Fred Kenyon and Don Okey, this palm covered shack aka "The Surf Shack at Windansea Beach" was designated as a historical landmark by the San Diego Historical Resources Board (PDF) on May 27, 1998.

Extending north of Palomar Avenue and south of Westbourne Street, Windansea Beach is a surfer’s paradise with winter waves as high as six to eight feet, if not frequently larger. Indeed, this Point Break, is one of the few beaches in the world where the waves resemble the larger Hawaiian North Shore surf.

To just walk the beach, hearing its waves crashing and feeling the cool ocean breeze makes for a fabulous day.

Within the vicinity of Windansea Beach there are various sections of reefs including Middles, Turtles, and Simmons, named after Bob Simmons (who died at the northern break in 1954), and Big Rock.

The Surf Shack at Windansea Beach

Windansea’s Beach contribution to the development of modern surfing as we know it, is stranger than fiction:

It’s where Bob Simmons, who tragically died at the northern reef named after him posthumously, was the first person to develop resin and polyurethane in lieu of the extremely heavy balsa wood surfboards, changed the nature of surfboards forever.

It was home to the notorious Butch Van Artsdalen (January 31, 1941 – July 18, 1979), a legendary surfer, a pioneer of surfing 25-foot waves at such North Shore locations as Waimea Bay and Sunset Beach; and tube riding in Hawaii during the early 1960-1970s. He was a member of the Duke Kahanamoku Surf Team.

But, beyond all these accomplishments, he was the first surfer to ride Pipeline on the North Shore of Oahu, thought unsurfable. The challenging waves of Oahu’s North Shore soon became Van Artsdalen’s home. He was among the first to master the powerful, hollow waves at Ehukai Beach known as the Banzai Pipeline. This, along with his reputation for riding switchfoot in the large surf at Waimea Bay, earned him the nickname “Mr. Pipeline.”

The Pump House Gang” a book by author, Tom Wolfe, chronicled the wild anti-establishment surfers, and its legendary surfers along with their wild antics.

Windansea served as home break to Pat Curren, Mike Diffenderfer, Chris O’Rourke, Joey Cabell, Mickey Munoz and Butch Van Artsdalen. Steve Pezman, former publisher of Surfer magazine and current publisher of The Surfer’s Journal, called Windansea locals in the early 1960s–”the heaviest surf crew ever.”

The Windansea Surf Club was founded by Chuck Hasley in 1962, and included members such as The Endless Summer star and first Vice President Mike Hynson, Skip Frye, Joey Cabell, Del Cannon, Mike Purpus and Rusty Miller, Andy Tyler, Tom Ortner, Brew Briggs, Chris O’Rourke, Richard Kenvin, Miko Fleming, Debbie Beacham, Peter King, Saxon Boucher, Karl Engstrom, Randy Lind, “Big Steve” Jones, Ian Rotgans, “Big George” Felactu & Longboard Larry.

Many of these surfers were later to appear in the seminal surf movie of all time, Bruce Brown’s, “The Endless Summer.”

Isn’t it time for a visit?

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The Acclaimed Original Fish Company Restaurant Mon, 25 Apr 2011 14:06:53 +0000 Sandy Schroeder From the moment the Rothman Family in 1981 first opened the doors of The Original Fish Company, in Los Alamitos, its acclaim has always been outstanding, and ever since celebs and locals have happily rubbed shoulders inside.

The cast of Glee, The Anaheim Ducks and Angels teams, Michel Jordan, Arno Schwarzenegger, Madonna, Robin Williams, Pierce Brosnan, and numerous other political leaders, actors and athletes have all dined here.

Zagat best summed up the restaurant:

Fantastic fresh fish and some of the best chowder in Orange County are hallmarks of this big barn of a seafood restaurant in Los Alamitos – tabs are affordable – service is friendly – although it is always bustling, so long waits are a regular occurrence. P.S. An onsite market vends the daily catch.

[Ed. Note] – The outside patio is a natural for a mellow lunch and the mango martinis are memorable. Put this way, it’s better to experience them rather than to trying to describe their subtle blend of heavenly mix of mangoes and vodka.

One of the Original Fish Company’s Seafood Recipes and Fish Market goals is to help make you the chef due to its myriad of daily catches savory smells and tasters–my favorite dishes are the rich Cheese Crab Quesadilla and the Sea Bass with Strawberry and Orange Salsa.

If you’re in the vicinity of North Orange County, where the 405 and 605 freeway meet, you’re minutes from a Original Fish Company dining experience, When there, take the Katella exit off the 605 freeway and head toward the second light. From there, turn right on Los Alamitos Blvd., and into the parking lot.

For 30 years this amazing restaurant has anchored this busy corner in Los Alamitos, making excellence a byword. I live nearby, and it’s always a treat to have this delectable, first class restaurant a heartbeat away.

The Original Fish Company - 11061 Los Alamitos Blvd., Los Alamitos. Hours: Monday thru Saturday, 11 am to 10 pm. Sunday, 10 am to 10 pm.

Phone Number: (562)594-4553

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Architecture and West 7th Street in Downtown Los Angeles – Part 1 Wed, 20 Apr 2011 00:17:37 +0000 Lisa Newton If you’ve ever visited or work in downtown Los Angeles, I’m sure you’ve noticed the difference in many of the buildings. It’s a mixture of new high rises and old architectural wonders.

Although over the years, many of LA’s historic buildings have been destroyed, many are still here to be wondered at and marveled over.

Last week, I had the opportunity to take a look at a few of these historical buildings, all located on West 7th Street.

Let’s start at the corner of West 7th Street and Figueroa Avenue in Downtown LA:

It’s impossible to not notice 811 West 7th Street. In fact, the Fine Arts Building already caught my eye on one of my previous visits downtown for a story–you can read more about it here.

Across the street is 818 West 7th Street which is the former Barker Brothers Building. Built in 1925, this Beaux Arts Renaissance Revival style building was the main store for one of the largest home furnishings companies in the country.

In fact, according to Time Magazine, in 1945, Barker Brothers was the poster child for “The Los Angeles Spirit” which consisted of two things:

  1. A gaudy, glittery Hollywood veneer
  2. A loud, high-pressure sales technique

Although Barker Brothers is closed, the building remains. Originally designed by Curlett & Beelman, the building went through a total rejuvenation in 1989, when it was purchased by Harry Macklowe.

Now, the Barker Brothers building is a premiere office building and #356 on the Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Landmarks list.

At the next block, stands the 727 West 7th Street where the Roosevelt Building is located. It’s a twelve-story Beaux Arts Renaissance Revival structure, built in 1923, and again designed by Curlett & Beelman. While there, make sure to take a look at its grandiose archway.

In the 600 block of West 7th Street, is the former location of the original JW Robinson Department store. It was first built in 1915 and then subsequently remodeled in 1934 by Allison & Allison, two brothers who had designed many buildings around the Los Angeles area. Listed as Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Landmark #357, this building is an important component of Los Angeles’ legacy.

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Los Angeles’ Crenshaw Metro Station Mon, 18 Apr 2011 14:14:35 +0000 Lisa Newton On Friday, I took LA’s Crenshaw/I-105 Metro Station, aka as the “Green Line,” going west.

The last time I took the Green Line, I was traveling to Long Beach. But today, I’m heading to downtown Los Angeles via the “Silverline.” If you’re ever in Inglewood, the Green Line and its connection is one of the best ways to get there.

The Crenshaw/I-105 Metro Station includes a 500 space parking lot, which on this particular weekday was half full. During my foray, I took advantage of their services and parked my car there and headed to the platform. BTW, there’s no charge for parking.

Entitled, “Crenshaw Stories,” the artwork gracing the walls of the station are the brain child of Buzz Spector, who until recently lived in the Mt. Washington area of Los Angeles County.

When he thought about public transit Spector said:

Transportation systems are not just means of moving people—they are metaphors of the cultural and spiritual links between peoples. Crenshaw Stories has been designed to stress the connections between us that may be found in the stories we tell about our lives. If we can better understand each others stories, we’ll be better able to appreciate the connections between us all.

The station’s patrons include a diverse ethnic and cultural population and corroborate Crenshaw’s Stories.

The neighborhood’s stories include Spanish, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Arabic, Russian and Tagalog, among others. In total, 72 stories are hand-painted onto tile and interspersed with color squares at the entrance to this Metro Stop.

Be sure to see it in person and read a few of the stories. That way, our differences are lessened and our community becomes a beloved glimpse into other people’s lives which comprise the great melting pot called Los Angeles.

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Sing-a-Long Saturday – The Rise and Rise of LBC’s Snoop Dog Sat, 16 Apr 2011 15:22:50 +0000 D. J. Schwartz Chances are even if you’ve never seen him, heard his music, watched him on television or film– you’ve heard his name.

That’s what we’re talking about: Snoop Doggie Dog aka Snoop Dog!

Snoop, who got his nickname from his mother, is really Calvin Broadus; and he hails from Long Beach, California. As a teenager growing up in a poor neighborhood, Snoop, who hung around gang members, was always in trouble with the law. In fact, six months after he graduated from high school, Snoop landed in Wayside County jail for cocaine possession.

These experiences helped to shape his music:

My raps are incidents where either I saw it happen to one of my close homies or I know about it from just being in the ghetto," he says. "I can’t rap about something I don’t know. You’ll never hear me rapping about no bachelor’s degree. It’s only what I know and that’s that street life. It’s all everyday life, reality. Source: New York Times

After being “discovered” by Dr. Dre, a well-known and influential producer, Snoop’s music began to get some attention. Their first collaboration, the theme song of the 1992 film Deep Cover, and then on Dr. Dre’s extremely successful debut solo album The Chronic, were one of the main reasons for Snoop Dogg’s debut Doggystyle.

Doggystyle singles Who Am I (What’s My Name) and Gin and Juice reached the top ten most-played songs in the United States, and the album stayed on the Billboard charts for several months.

Over the course of time, “Gangsta Rap” became the center of arguments for censorship and labeling, with Snoop Dogg often used as an example of violent and misogynistic musicians.

Then again, the controversial rapper Ice-T and his record label were held up for scorched earth policy due to one of Ice-T’s songs referencing cop killing. Now Ice-T acts as a cop on the famous Law and Order television hit series. Isn’t life funny?

Nonetheless, Snoop was able to maintain his status as one of the top Hip-Hop artists in the world; and through the years of his many recordings, he began withdrawing from the “Gangsta Rap,” genre, and into Hip-Hop that’s more mellow and possess’ additional harmonies, content, and tone.

Along the way, Snoop Dogg recorded with many of the top Rap, G-funk, Hip-Hop artists and collaborated with many other musicians also.

Snoop Dog, like few other rappers, proved to be a savvy businessman, and has created a personal business empire of movie and television labels, starred in many films and TV shows, and has an empire that’s large, diverse, and shows that this Rapper knows the street as well as the boardroom.

Snoop has his own website, facebook page, with over 8,000,000 fans and twitter accounts, and as well, owns and is in charge of a myriad of business interests, that are involved directly or indirectly, through the use of his namesake and fame.

So for this Saturday morning, let’s get down with the Dog and Dre, and listen to one of his most famous and infamous songs, Nuthin’ But A G Thang:

Peace Out, Los Angeles!

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Stix – The Rapper from Watts Fri, 15 Apr 2011 14:25:09 +0000 Miles Villalon Turntables sit in a row on empty barrels; the building is stripped down with gritty brick walls–creating the new and hip urban environment consisting of Graffiti in many parts of our nation.

On one of its walls “LA” is sprawled across it as graffiti art; and on the other side, painted vinyl records are on display.

Here at Scratch DJ Academy, in Los Angeles, is where I meet Watts-the hipster native rapper. Here, Stix and DJ Hapa–director of Scratch LA–were hard at work to present a performance event that they were hosting for the following Saturday.

“Right here 16 bars,” Hapa says to Stix.

They were producing one of Stix’s singles “Champagne,” during a DJ set by Hapa. Stix finally settles on a a verse to play from his single after doing a verse as his homage and respect to the gone but never forgotten, the famed, Notorious BIG’s classic “Juicy.”

“I don’t want to overdose our creative energy,” Stix remaked.

As he continued to practice, at one point he turned toward me to remind me that what he does is hard work–and he works a lot.

“This is my life, a hundred things at once,” he said.

Born and raised in Watts, Stix (his real name is Brandon Salaam), grew up in a rough neighborhood and early on made the decision that unlike many young people in that area; but he was going to pursue a different path rather than to become a gang-banger–at first he thought that route would be sports.

“I had older friends who were gang members, who saw I was different and told me to stick to sports, you couldn’t tell me I wasn’t going to be professional,” Stix said.

Music came later for him. In 2003, Stix said he got into music first as a dancer, helping to create the Krumping dance scene.

“My goal was to make a whole movement in dance history.”

A friend of his from Watts known as Bad Lucc, who wrote some songs for Snoop Dogg, took notice of him and started to teach Stix how to create and craft songs–thus his future was subsequently set into motion.

“I make songs that appeal to a diverse crowd and which are relevant to what’s happening now,” Stix said.

One song Stix suggests that people listen to is Let’s Go, which is about politics and how people are getting robbed by a higher power.

“I made it in vein you digest it and think about it,” he exhorted.

Stix also makes it a point that while he is from the West Coast, his music isn’t the typical West Coast rap music one would expect.

“My sound isn’t ‘West Coast’ like gangster rap, but I’m a rapper from the West Coast. I like to have fun and see people happy..”

Much of the music Stix told me is is inspired by woman–adding that they talk about things that people assume men wouldn’t normally talk about. He also makes it clear that in his music he doesn’t denigrate women, and also he doesn’t curse because he feels it limits artists who do that. This was his inspiration from Will Smith.

He added, “I look at Will Smith and a lot of people think he’s a cornball (rapper), but he’s definitely an inspiration, but I’m just a bit more edgier.

He has an mixtape available for free download called Better Late Than Never as well as his first solo album, Late for Sound Check and he worked on an album with musician Bobby Valentino, called Next of Both Worlds, a play off of the Jay-Z, R. Kelly collaboration album Best of Both Worlds.

According to him, “We take their whole concept and said if they are the best, we are the next,” Stix said.

Watts plays a big part of his music as he always represents the city whee he’s from. Los Angeles, he says, has a competitive spirit, which is apparent in his music video, I’m Fly, which is currently available to the public.

“I always shout out to Watts (in my music), and if your home and don’t embrace it, how will anyone else embrace you,” he said.

I asked him about the support from his community and if he’s faced any criticism, it’s for not being hardcore enough in his music.

“I get more support for being something different, even the rawest of gang members see me ask what’s going on,” he added.

Stix also gives back to his community by hosting charity events that gave away backpacks, school supplies and clothes– something he hopes to do annually for his community.

Recently Stix decided to go back to school, since he said he can’t still be rapping at 40, hoping one day to enter politics:

“I want to enhance my intellect by going back to college, it only does yourself a service, you always have to have a plan b, c, d and e,”

From his music and charity events, many others acknowledge the hard work that Stix puts in. I’m probably one of the hardest working artists.

In my opinion, I think he’s very diverse and is constantly evolving. It is usually a hard thing to find an artist who genuinely is a good person,” DJ Hapa his partner added.

In August, he will be touring around bases around California. and he’s working on an EP to be released in May. Stix is not one to forget that his beliefs is what got him to where he now is.

“I am a firm believer in God, and God always reveals something to let you know, don’t stop and if I stay persistent I’ll definitely make it to the top,” Stix said.

With the word-wide phenomenon of the mixtures of Graffiti, Rap, Dance, Multi-Culturism, Film and Freshness, and Art–among other arts–is what Stix embraces and it’s here to say–it’s urban, its hip, and it’s our future.
]]> 0 Bike Week LA 2011 will be here May 16th-20th Thu, 14 Apr 2011 15:22:26 +0000 Lisa Newton Now celebrating its 17th year, Bike Week LA (formally Bike to Work Week). is the place and chance for everyone who commutes by car to become familiar with using bicycles to get work–or anywhere else–to start thinking about becoming more eco-friendly.

Indeed, even if your commute happens to be too far, for using a bicycle, Metro is very bike friendly and you can use a combination of both. And with Gasoline prices approaching $5:00 per gallon, keeping more money in your pocket while doing good and well, isn’t a bad idea!

This year Metro wants to help you feel more comfortable–and safe–while using a bike, so they’re started a new program entitled Bike Buddies. Essentially, you get to join forces with many veteran riders to learn various safety trips, means and methods if there is a safety tip you’d like to know. Bike Buddies “offers inexperienced bike riders the opportunity to learn some on-road safety tips and techniques with experienced cyclists.”

Besides the obvious health benefits of riding your bike to work, there’s also the environmental benefit of riding a non-polluting vehicle to get where you want to go.

To help you navigate the various Bike to Work Week activities, here’s a short list:

  • Monday, May 16th – Bike Week LA Kick-off Event
  • Tuesday, May 17th Blessing of the Bicycles at the Good Samaritan Hospital starting at 8:00am where you can Get Blessed! Get Breakfast! and Get a Free Bike Check!
  • Wednesday, May 18th - Meet at Union Station on Alameda Street and ride through Downtown with other bike enthusiasts and supporters. Congregate at 8:00am and the ride will leave at 8:30am.
  • Thursday, May 19th - Bike to Work Day: Be one of thousands of LA county residents participating. Visit pit stops, get a free ride on transit, and get entered to win prizes.
  • Friday, May 20th - Bike to School Day

After participating in Bike Week 2011, you’ll learn new ways to feel comfortable not using a car and feeling like you’ve made a difference, as “Green Energy” and “Sustainability” issues will continue to be at the forefront of our national energy debate and way of life.

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Clean Energy, Earth Day and Los Angeles’ KCET Wed, 13 Apr 2011 18:40:05 +0000 Lisa Newton it’s that time of year again, when around the world, dedicate and pay homage to Mother Earth.

Earth Day is the start of a new paradigm shift from using oil, coal and nuclear energy (to wit: the recent disaster in Japan’s horrific nuclear reactors meltdowns) for our generation’s dedication to green and environmentally friendly goals, the development to reach that objective and the translation of how to get there from here. It’s our generation’s “Manhattan Project.”

To be sure, it will take time, research, and a dedication to change the current status-quo. The process will be long, trying, and have many failures and successes along the way, but in the long run our quality of life and for future generations will continue to grow and prosper. (After all, oil has only a fixed amount left, we buy it from people who don’t like us very much, and it carbon based elements are quickly destroying our environment.)

And it’s a day to celebrate, to be inspired, become motivated and gain new appreciation for the Earth’s fragility and our need to use this day to work with each other.

Nonetheless, although Earth Day has grown larger and larger over its over 40 years, there’s still much work to be done–by everyone.

To help bring some of these a few of theses current environmental issues to the forefront KCET is honoring Earth Day by presenting several programs in April–all of demonstrating our current vulnerability of our planet and the growing urgency for everyone to take action now (yesterday!)

On Thursday, April 14th at 10:00pm, you can watch the film Desert Oasis: Creating A Wetlands Park In Las Vegas

Be sure to check your calendar on April 21st, at 9:30pm for a viewing America’s Grasslands: A Threatened National Resource:

Turn in for Bloom: The Plight Of Lake Champlain on April 21st, at 10:00pm:

Also, don’t forget Scarred Lands and Wounded Lives: The Environmental Footprint of War on April 26th, at 10:00pm:

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Bikes are the Most Popular Vehicle in the World Mon, 11 Apr 2011 17:20:49 +0000 Lisa Newton That’s right – It’s the bike.

With 1.2 billion currently in use, bicycles out-number cars around the world by 800,000.

The above information came via an info-graph entitled Getting Around:

Although bikes might are world’s most popular mode of transportation; in the US, it’s the automobile:

Be that as it may the US doesn’t have the fastest train–that honor goes to France:

Click the following link to see the larger picture in order to know more.

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Sing-a-Long Saturday – Sheryl Crow’s – “All I Wanna Do” Sat, 09 Apr 2011 15:09:07 +0000 Lisa Newton Hit it!

This ain’t no disco

It ain’t no country club either

This is LA!

Sheryl Crow’s breakthrough hit from her 1993 debut album Tuesday Night Music Club, All I Wanna Do was the winner of the 1995 Grammy Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and was nominated for Song of the Year.

Crow, who grew up influenced in her musical family in Missouri, she started her musical career singing commercial jingles but later on to win a total of nine Grammys.

In total, Crow has sold 16 million albums in the United States and 35 million albums worldwide, and her newest album, 100 Miles from Memphis, was released on July 20, 2010.

All I Wanna Do is based on what was a little known poem entitled “Fun,” by Wyn Cooper, and became an unexpected hit in the spring of 1994, which immediately brought her overnight fame.

In 2006, Crow was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent both "minimally invasive" surgery and radiation treatment "as a precaution".

Today, when she isn’t on tour, she’s home in Nashville with her two adopted sons, Wyatt Steven and Levi James.

Of course, everybody knows that she was briefly married to the best cyclist of all time, Lance Armstrong. Alas, as most “celebrity” marriages, this one was also destined for failure and the two went their separate way.

Now, let’s kick back, listen and enjoy Sheryl Crow’s “All I Wanna Do:”

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Today’s “Man on the Street” Interview Wed, 06 Apr 2011 15:28:07 +0000 Miles Villalon As diverse as Los Angeles’ population and demographics are, not surprisingly our views on topics as varied as relationships, politics and favorite activities, are equally as opinionated.

At Travelin’ Local, we started this new series of interviews, so you can read about topical issues that are relevant.

Today’s “Man in the Street” interview question is:

Has the Economic Recession affected your Social Life?

“For me, I am a full-time student and I am only living off financial aid, I don’t spend anything. If I do, I split the cost, I eat at home. I also love movies but haven’t bought any in a long time or haven’t seen one. I barely have time to go out. I use a lot of Groupons and shop at Costco (to save money).”

-Hayden Albright, 25, Southbay area, full-time student, film major

“It’s not as bad as everyone makes it out to be for some things. I still have a bad job, no one wants to hire anybody but my social life is fine.”

Bebe Le, 25, Southbay area, Restaurant server

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The Mile Square Park – A Surprise Package in Fountain Valley Tue, 05 Apr 2011 14:16:45 +0000 Sandy Schroeder At first glance, the Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley, looks just like a typical neighborhood park.

However, that perception changes into reality as you explore the park, and discover its long list of unique features.

The Mile Square Park is a four mile square regional park and urban playground, totaling a massive 640 acres–and it’s fully equipped with facilities for soccer, tennis, baseball, softball, archery, basketball, cross country meets and volleyball.

It also has a twenty acre nature center, two fishing lakes, an 18 hole golf course, a coffee shop, bar and a driving range and banquet room as well.

Historically, this regional park was only agricultural land that later became a base for World War II military airfields–included were three landing strips that were situated right in the middle of the then park.

In the sixties, Orange County subsequently developed its master plan for its regional parks, and negotiated the Mile Square Park space with the Navy. During the seventies, the park took shape and had its final completion in 1999.

The story today is a bustling regional park.

I went there recently, on a weekday afternoon, and the park was humming. Grand-kids and their grandparents were headed for the lake, clutching loaves of bread to feed the ducks.

Indeed, one dad was biking with his young son, who was just starting riding his new training wheel bike. Also, joggers and walkers were making the loop around the park, and sports buffs were making use of all of the areas in-between, particularly the golf courses, where the links were full.

For family or group outings, check their website for their fishing derby program, overnight camping programs for juniors, bike and pedal boat rentals and barbecue and fire rings for picnics or birthdays.

The park has a busy urban population on all of its four sides, perfectly positioned for early morning jogs or late afternoon walks.

For true fitness buffs, it really is a four mile track around the perimeter facing the streets of Euclid, Brookhurst, Warner and Edinger.

The park is located at 16801 Euclid in Fountain Valley.

Its Fall and Winter hours are from 7 am to 6 pm, and the Spring and Summer hours are 7 am to 9 pm.

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A Guide for California Wildflower Lovers Mon, 04 Apr 2011 14:16:39 +0000 Lisa Newton Every year, many of California’s State Parks become a land of beauty and wonder.

With over 6,000 native plants and wildflower species, Springtime is the time they bloom in full blown color.

Not sure where to find these beauties?

No worries!

The California State Parks (PDF) have helped you find the place that’s right for you:

  • Anza-Borrego Desert State Park: Located East of San Diego–via Highways 78 and 79, in Imperial, San Diego, and Riverside Counties–the Anza Borrego Foundation, will be having upcoming wildflower events.  Wildflowers are currently being reported in many areas of the park, which can be seen on a map (PDF).
  • Andrew Molera State Park: Located 21 miles south of Carmel on Highway 1, in Monterey County, features a variety of springtime flowers. The park’s phone number is (831) 667-2315.
  • Antelope Valley is California’s Poppy ReserveLocated 15 miles west of Lancaster, in Los Angeles County, it’s a reserve which features its best blooming period in April–depending on the weather and rain.

    For more information, call the poppy reserve’s hotline at (661) 724-1180 or the Theodore Payne Foundation Wildflower Hotline.

  • Azalea State ReserveLocated five miles north of Arcata in Humboldt County, preserves outstanding examples of azaleas, which generally bloom annually during April and May. This reserve has both a parking lot and trails. 
  • Big Basin Redwoods State ParkLocated in Santa Cruz and San Mateo Counties also features Wildflowers. For more information, call (831) 338-8860 or (831) 427-2288.
  • Garrapata State ParkLocated 6.7 miles south of Rio Road, in Carmel, Monterey County, features the Soberanes canyon/ridge trail that winds through meadows, a riparian zone, a lovely redwood grove and an exposed coastal ridge.

    On certain sections of this trail, visitors can feel that they’re swimming through flowers, which ncludes Shooting Stars, Johnny Jump Ups, Blue Dicks, Golden Buttercup, Elegant Clarkia, Goldfields, Douglas Iris, Checkerbloom, Star Zygadine, Fushia-flowered Gooseberry, Trillium, Tidy Tips, Footsteps of Spring and a fantastic variety of Bush Lupine.

    Visitors can also encounter the more common Monkey Flower, Seaside Painted Cups, Coyote Brush, Lizard Tail Yarrow, Mock Heather and regular Poppies.

  • Humboldt Redwoods State ParkLocated 20 miles north of Garberville in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, provides excellent displays of wallflowers along the Avenue of the Giants.

    Visitors will find Humboldt Lilies and orchids from late March to April, and Dogwood into April to early May, depending on the spring weather. For more information call the park’s visitor center at (707) 946-2263.

  • Calaveras Big Trees State ParkLocated four miles north east of Arnold, on Highway 4, in Calaveras and Tuolomne Counties, this big Tree State Park is known for its wildflowers during June–especially along the Lava Bluffs Trail. Their park phone number is (209) 795-2334.
  • Carmel River State BeachThis park can be reached from Highway 1 in Carmel. Wildflowers abound along the bluff’s trail. The park’s phone number is (831) 624-4909.
  • Castle Crags State ParkCastle Crags State Park has a variety of wildflowers in the spring. Their park phone number is (530) 235-2684.
  • Del Norte Coast Redwoods State ParkDel Norte Coast Redwoods State Park has magnificent displays of rhododendrons, that can be seen from the highway as well as the numerous roadside turnouts throughout April and May; depending on the spring weather. For more information call the Redwood National and State Park information center at (707) 464-6101, extension 5064.
  • The Henry W. Coe State ParkLocated in the mountains–south and east of San Jose in Santa Clara and Stanislaus Counties–is a wonderful place to see spring wildflowers.

    Early in the year, visitors will be able to see white milkmaids, blue hounds tongue, or yellow buttercups. As spring progresses, the flowers become more numerous with goldfields, owls clover, butter and eggs, columbine, delphinium, and many other species.

    Visitors might even get lucky and see the charming tiny purple mouse ears. The park’s phone number is (408) 779-2728.

  • McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State ParkLocated 11 miles northeast off Burney, on Highway 89 in Shasta County, features a variety of wildflowers in the Spring. Their park phone number is (530) 335-2777.
  • Millerton Lake State Recreation AreaLocated 20 miles northeast of Fresno and Madera Counties, features spring flowers on its Blue Oak Trails.

    Visitors who enjoy a strenuous hike on the Buzzards Roost Trail, can also find spring flowers here as well. The park’s phone number is (559) 822-2332.

  • Montaña de Oro State ParkLocated seven miles south of Los Osos on Pecho Valley Road, in San Luis Obispo County, features hills covered with poppies, lupines, sticky monkey flowers, wild radishes and mustard.The best time to visit is during April and May. For more information call (805) 528-0513.
  • Mount Tamalpais State Parklocated North of San Francisco’s Golden Gate in Marin County, features spectacular and easily-accessed wildflowers every spring.

    Visitors can get to the park from Highway 101, and then take Highway 1 to the Stinson Beach exit, and then follow the signs to the mountain. The park’s phone number is (415) 388-2070.

  • Olompali State Historic ParkLocated three miles north of Novato,is located on U.S. 101 in Marin County, features spectacular and easily-accessed wildflowers each spring. Its entrance is accessible only to southbound traffic from Highway 101. The park’s phone number is (415) 892-3383.

Now all you have to do is plan the time and visit the parks and go. And, don’t forget your camera!

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The Length to which Los Angeles receives its Water Fri, 01 Apr 2011 14:14:00 +0000 D. J. Schwartz Los Angeles, due to the fact that we don’t get much rain, we have to import the majority of our water. In fact, LA only receives about 15 inches of rain each year.

For 9,000,000 people who live in Los Angeles Country it’s hardly enough to sustain us.

Part of our history includes, the iconoclastic individual William Mulholland, who enabled us via construction of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, whose fierce dedication to permanently solve our water shortages would not have been possible.

The LA Aqueduct, completed in 1913, transports water here from Owens Valley. To build it required over 5,000 workers and by and because of that, it totally destroyed the ecosystem of Owens Lake.

But, as a result, LA now obtains enough water for our sustanance, which according to Circle of Blue, an organization that issues reports on the “Global Water Crisis,” Los Angeles’ water travels over 338 miles to get here.

To see our starting point, here’s the map:

The fight over Los Angeles’ land and water rights resulted in the infamous California Water Wars, which has been going on for over 100 years:

In the early 20th century, the valley became the scene of a struggle between local residents and the city of Los Angeles over water rights. William Mulholland, superintendent of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) planned the 223 miles (359 km) Los Angeles Aqueduct, completed in 1913, diverted water from the Owens River.

Much of the water rights were acquired through subterfuge, with purchases resulting in splitting water cooperatives and pitting neighbor against neighbor. Also, the transfer of water resulted in anger among local farmers that erupted in violence in 1924, when parts of the water system were sabotaged by local farmers. Memorandum of Understanding, which specified the terms in which the lower Owens River agreed to be re-watered by June 2003.

LADWP missed this deadline and was sued again. Under another settlement, with the State of California, a new party to the litigation, Los Angeles promised to re-water the lower Owens River by September 2005.

As of February 2005, LADWP announced it was unlikely to meet this extended deadline. In 2008, Los Angeles re-watered the lower Owens River.

In July 2004, Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn, proposed barring all future development on its Owens Valley holdings, by proposing a conservation easement for all LADWP land.

In October 2004, Inyo County officials were reluctant to accept the offer of the easement, likely due to the prior history of mistrust over LADWP’s actions, or lack thereof. Source: Wikipedia

So the next time you turn on your faucet for a glass of water, hose down your lawn, or wash your car, think twice about the long and winding journey that it took to bring water to reach our Southland.

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What Day of the Week is the Most Dangerous to Drive in Los Angeles? Thu, 31 Mar 2011 14:13:09 +0000 Lisa Newton When it comes to driving, we often don’t have a choice–or know–which day we’ll be driving. And if we drive to work, we definitely know which days we’ll be in the car.

But, knowing which day of the week is the most dangerous can put you on guard to be more watchful and prepared.

Using the same 2008 data from the Safe Transportation Research and Education Center, at the University of California, Berkeley, as I did for my other story, Bike Collisions are on the Rise in Los Angeles County, I entered in each day of the week to see if there was a difference in the number of collisions–and not surprisingly there was.

What I didn’t expect to find was the wide differences between the days.

Out of the total 3139 motor vehicle collisions in 2008, this is the daily breakdown:

  • 360 – Wednesday
  • 385 – Monday
  • 403 – Thursday
  • 409 – Tuesday
  • 489 – Friday
  • 505 – Sunday
  • 588 – Saturday

Now, I assumed the weekends would be more dangerous, but I didn’t think the difference between Saturday and Wednesday would be quite so large. Statically, it’s 61% more deadly to drive on Saturday than on Wednesday.

For additional data about your area of the county, below is a map of all car accidents in 2008:

View Larger Map

I don’t know about you, but I think I’ll go for a nice walk on Saturday.

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Manhattan Beach and the Metlox Dog Wed, 30 Mar 2011 14:05:33 +0000 Lisa Newton Oh, how times have changed. What used to be a factory is now an outdoor food pavilion.

If you walk down Manhattan Beach Boulevard within blocks of the Manhattan Pier, you can’t help but notice the big red dog public art sculpture entitled, Metlox Dog. From the looks of it, this artwork is a favorite for young children. In fact, just passing by it would entice kids to climb onto it.

Named after the company that used to occupy the factory space, Metlox–which is a combination of “metal” and “oxide”–was the brainchild of T.C. Prouty, a Michigan born inventor, engineer and scientist.

In 1927, Metlox opened and initially produced outdoor ceramic signs, but the Depression and the death of Prouty in 1931, caused a total reorganization.

A year later, Prouty’s son reopened the doors with the new specialty of vibrant and unique dinnerware production. The first limited line of Metlox dinnerware, “California Pottery,” was produced in 1932 and manufactured in bright colored glazes.

Another of their China patterns was “Poppytrail,” which was introduced in 1934. Besides the fact the poppy and California are often synonymous, Metlox used locally mined talc–and most of the metallic oxides used in production were mined in California.

Sears used to also sell the Metlox exclusive design entitled “Mission Bell,” which was a pastel-colored line of tableware and kitchen essentials.

In the late 1930s, seeking artistic talent, Prouty retained artist, Carl Romanelli, who designed and still holds the patents for various glassware and pottery. He was the first Metlox designer who created the “Metlox Miniatures,” which is the model for the public artwork seen above.

Over the next few decades, Metlox continued to create and design dinnerware, but in 1989, they closed up shop permanently.

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Bike Collisions are on the Rise in Los Angeles County -UPDATE Tue, 29 Mar 2011 14:19:37 +0000 Lisa Newton From 2000 to 2008, in Los Angeles County, there were 1,982 bike collisions, which resulted in 229 biker deaths. This information is from the TIMS, a Transportation Injury Mapping System, which was established by researchers at the Safe Transportation Research and Education Center, at the University of California, Berkeley.

Using their mapping technology, of the 1,982 collisions, 1,856 are represented in the screenshot below:

The red icons represent over 100+ collisions in that particular area, the yellow represent those below 100 collisions, the green about 50 collisions with the aqua symbolizing about 10 collisions and the blue is one collision.

For an even closer look, I was able to export the data to a Google Map. Although it looks a bit overwhelming, any specific intersection can be zoomed in on to see the particulars. If you click on one of these icons, you’re able to see detailed information about each accident:

View Larger Map

The bad news is that bike collisions are on the rise:

In 2000, there were 232 accidents involving a bike, with 28 resulting in the death of the rider; but in 2008, bike collisions rose to 252, with 33 ending in a fatality.

I don’t know why we haven’t figured out that bikes are part of our road culture here, and deserve the same rights and privileges of the road. Even though most of California is car centric, there’s room for everyone.

After researching the policies of “Right of Way” and the “Road;” and according to the American Safety Council:

The law gives the right of way to no one, but it does state who must yield (give up) the right of way. Every driver, motorcyclist, moped rider, bicyclist, and pedestrian must do everything possible to avoid a crash.

Now, it would seem to me that the greatest responsibility to “avoid a crash” goes to the biggest vehicle, aka the one that can do the most damage–which is the motor vehicle.

I realize accidents will happen. That’s just part of being human, but many accidents can be avoided if drivers took more responsibility for their driving, really looked at where they were going instead of texting, talking on their phones, putting on their make-up, etc.

Just the other day, I saw the driver of a street cleaning machine talking on his phone while doing his job. Does that sound like a driver who is concerned for the other people he shares the road with?

It’s not rocket science.

It’s about saving a life, which could be yours.

[UPDATE] Thanks to Alex Thompson, from BikesideLA, who questioned the collision numbers above, with a little more research at SWITRS, I discovered that the total number of “bike collisions” from TIMS is based on “fatal or severe injury collisions.”

Based on this, the number of the total bike collisions annually in the City of Los Angeles per year is listed below:

2000 – 1433
2001 – 1368
2002 – 1378
2003 – 1467
2004 – 1372
2005 – 1222
2006 – 1343
2007 – 1343
2008 – 1591

Note, the numbers above for “fatal or severe injury collisions” are for Los Angeles County, where as the numbers above are only for the City of Los Angeles.

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Come to Surf City to Catch a few Waves and Soak up some history at the International Surfing Museum Mon, 28 Mar 2011 14:19:57 +0000 Sandy Schroeder If the sound of the Beach Boys’ songs “Good Vibrations,” or “Surfin USA,” bring back a lot of good memories, it might be time to treat yourself to the surf world of Huntington Beach.

Just head down Pacific Coast Highway to Huntington and turn left on Main Street. Then take a left on Olive to make your first stop, the International Surfing Museum is now right in front of you.

Countless treasures and memories fill every square inch of the museum. Photos, postcards, letters, plaques, posters, trophies, books, guitars, and surfboards catalog all the good times.

There is even a mini-theatre with flat screen for viewing Bruce Brown’s classic surfing movie, Endless Summer, and the camera that was used to shoot this ultimate classic surfing film. As the site indicates, “Endless Summer was the first serious cinematic link to the sport that clicked with a mass audience.”

For me, the mellow lifestyle of surfers and the glorious sounds of the Beach Boys spelled perfection–but whatever your take on the world of surfing, if you surf, or just enjoy its vibe, the bottom line is that it’s just fun to prowl through the surf shops and stroll on the pier.

You can check out the Surfers’ Hall of Fame with hand and footprints preserved on the sidewalk in front of Huntington Surf and Sport, and enjoy a fish taco or giant burrito in one of the many restaurants lining Main Street. Or cross the street to Dukes, and pick up a little more history on the Father of the surf movement, Duke Kahanamoku.

All around the area there are older, well preserved homes, replete with the numerous surfer digs with wetsuits hung out to dry and beach bikes nearby.

On the afternoon that I was there, the sidewalks were busy, but the mood was mellow as usual. A special time to visit would be March 26th and 27th, when the Woodies come to town.

If you love the classic surfing car, the Woodies, then check out their calender .

And if you want to delve further into the surf culture, the University of California Irvine’s new Surf Collection at the Langson Library is an excellent choice.

The International Surfing Museum is open from 11 am – 6 pm, Saturday and Sunday; Noon – 5 pm, Monday through Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; and Noon – 9 p.m on Tuesday’s.

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Sing-a-Long Saturday – The Go-Go’s Sat, 26 Mar 2011 15:10:34 +0000 Lisa Newton We previously wrote that all girl Rock N Roll bands are rare, and rarer are those that become international sensations.

Around 1980, an all girl music group from L.A., named the Go-Go’s was formed consisting of Belinda Carlisle (lead singer), Jane Wiedlin (rhythm guitar and vocals), Charlotte Caffey (lead guitar, keyboards), Kathy Valentine (bass player) and Gina Schock on drums.

The two founding members of the Go-Go’s, Carlisle and Wiedlin, were originally an off-shoot of the Punk Rock movement, but soon with the rest of the group, they carved out their own musical niche and wrote and recorded all of their own music.

The Go-Go’s rose to fame during the early 1980s. Their debut album, Beauty and the Beat, is considered one of the "cornerstone albums of new wave,” breaking all previous musical barriers which paved the way for a host of other new American acts.

The L.P. sold in excess of three million copies and reached double platinum status, making it one of the most successful debut albums ever. Considered by some to be the most successful all-female band of all time, the Go-Go’s have sold more than seven million albums.

Their debut album, Beauty and the Beat, was a surprise hit.

It topped the U.S. charts for six weeks in 1982 and eventually received a double platinum certification.

The album was ranked number 413 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Their songs, "Our Lips Are Sealed" and "We Got the Beat" were extremely popular singles in North America during early 1982, and during this time, the Go-Go’s became America’s sweethearts which included their dedicated, enthusiastic and loyal fan base.

Indeed, in 1982 the group was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best New Album. As 1983 turned out to be their peak commercial year, they did subsequently release a couple more albums while occasionally touring and getting together for reunions.

To keep up to date on their touring and other activities, their website, the GoGos, is useful to follow for the group’s activities and recordings.

After their commercial and musical apogee circa 1983 success, the Go-Go’s released a couple more albums; individual members released several solo albums; and along the way they played alongside other musicians including Billie Joe Armstrong, Elton John, Billy Joel, David Crosby and Paul Simon.

The Go-Gos have toured sporadically ever since their original success. During an interview with Stuck in the 80’s, Wiedlin said:

We have no set plans at the moment, and every year it seems to get a little more complicated trying to get together to do stuff. We are now living in FIVE different places, which makes it a real challenge to get together. Still, we love to make music, so anything could happen.

So this morning, kick back and enjoy 2 cool and original songs from the Go-Go’s:

“Our Lips are Sealed”

“We got the Beat”

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Today’s Man in the Street Interview Fri, 25 Mar 2011 14:15:26 +0000 Miles Villalon As diverse as Los Angeles’ population and demographics are, not surprisingly our views on topics as varied as relationships, politics and favorite activities, are equally as opinionated.

At Travelin’ Local, we started this new series of interviews, so you can read about topical issues that are relevant.

Today’s “Man in the Street” interview question is the highly explosive phenomena of using texting in ways thought unimaginable just a short time ago:

How would you react to a break-up over text message?

Leslie Stone, 31, El Segundo, Secretary

“Only a coward would break-up over text message, he should have the decency to say it to your face. It’s like your seeing this person then all of sudden you get a message like that and it’s over.”

Brian Engel, 20, Torrance, Window Tinter

I would feel like there is another guy there (while she is texting me), and she’s probably there with him and probably feels like she is going to hook up with that guy because he might be better, so she just goes ahead and breaks up with me using text.”

What’s your opinion about using texting and relationships?

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