Longtime Camaraderie Springs From Neighborhood Clean-Up

Photos by Natalie Miranda / Glendale News-Press
Marilyn Heidecker holds a trash bag open for her 4-year-old son, Charles, as he puts in a piece of garbage found during the Pride of Buckingham clean-up on Saturday.

By Natalie Miranda
Glendale News-Press

When Robin Rose and Paul McKernan moved into their Buckingham Road home in 1988, the couple took it upon themselves to keep their neighborhood clean. They started out by carrying plastic kitchen bags during their morning walks through the canyon to pick up and dispose of stray pieces of trash they would find along their path.

Their example led others to join the effort, as neighbors took to the street to keep Buckingham clean.

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Pandemic Fosters Useful Practice: Telehealth

Although medical centers are well into resuming typical operations and activities, the coronavirus pandemic seems to have opened a door that can’t be shut — telehealth.

A practice necessary to maintain the distancing necessitated by the coronavirus, telehealth — or telemedicine — was also lauded as the pandemic raged for its efficiency in getting patients to their doctor visits. Its remote nature means, provided there is a good internet or mobile data connection, that patients can communicate with doctors at appointment time, instead of hurrying up and waiting in the lobby for ages.

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Tech Firm Honors Local ‘Heroes’

Freshly into the time of being able to, once again, host luncheons and soirees — and indoors, at that — a local company this week invited first responders and others for a ceremony thanking them for guiding Glendale through the coronavirus pandemic.
Tech firm Phonexa, through its Phonexa Cares program, hosted Glendale’s police officers and firefighters, city leaders and school district officials at Phoenicia restaurant on Thursday, where they were treated to a lunch and awards were handed out. In hosting the event, Phonexa’s leadership hoped to pave the way for emerging from the crisis that has gripped the world since March 2020 and, in California, seems to be nearing its end.
“It’s been a very difficult, trying year,” said Armen Karaoghlanian, chief marketing officer for Phonexa, “but everyone we’re recognizing has played a very significant role in how we’ve come together this past year, how we’ve stayed strong and persevered and all the fantastic work that we’ve done to bring the community together.”

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Love in Pandemic Times: Tying the Knot Takes a Toll

Photo by Natalie Miranda / Glendale News-Press
Ayana Pendergrass, Ellis Beamon and their dog Jewel enjoy a moment at their Glendale home. After having to downsize their wedding last summer on account of the pandemic, the couple is a finalist for a contest to fund their “dream wedding.”

By Natalie Miranda
Glendale News-Press

When Ellis Beamon got down on one knee  for Ayana Pendergrass, his marriage proposal was cheered so loudly by family, friends and bystanders that the new bride-to-be’s response was inaudible.

This reaction was one that Beamon had hoped for on his wedding day, but his dream of hearing the resounding celebratory exclamation from a crowd that could fill an arena was left unrealized due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on their wedding plans.

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Healing Arts for Hospital Patients

Photo courtesy USC-VHH
As part of the Healing Arts Initiative at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital, patients can take advantage of the “art cart” — they can pick a painting by a local artist to display in their hospital room and take home with them when they leave.

When inpatients leave USC Verdugo Hills Hospital and return home, sometimes they take a print of a painting with them.

They get them from the so-called “art cart,” and they’re free for the patients. Elsewhere throughout the community hospital, the patients, doctors, nurses and other staffers are also treated to a variety of locally produced artwork, framed and embellishing upon the walls of hallways, patient rooms and gathering areas. While staying there, inpatients can also tune into video presentations of past art exhibits on iPads brought to their rooms.

It’s all part of the Healing Arts Initiative at USC-VHH.

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Local Craft Beer Scene Is Fermenting Nicely

Photo courtesy Chris Cesnek
Paperback Brewing founders Chris Cesnek and Brandon Monroe said such ventures allow craft brewers like themselves to share a little bit of their personalities with their customers. The venue, which opened in July, is Glendale’s second craft brewery.

Arising from a hobby practiced in basements or garages, the craft beer industry continues to thrive nationwide and in California, and Glendale seems to be putting its own stamp on the heavily localized trade.
The city’s second brewery opened its doors this past summer, years after the first showed up. More craft-themed taprooms are cropping up, too, after aficionados gathered under one or two roofs for years. And those local fans seem to have rallied this year, despite the pandemic, to send one of the bars close to the top of an annual “best of” ranking, bringing the Glendale name to the readers of a national magazine for enthusiasts.

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Alex Theatre: City’s Jewel Still Shines, Even While Dark

Photo courtesy Glendale Arts
The Alex Theatre, which is celebrating its 95th year, is the home to multiple resident companies. Above is a performance by the Los Angeles Ballet at the Alex in 2016.

It was with a different sort of fanfare that the Alex Theatre celebrated its 95th birthday this year.
There was no party, per se, no gala or soiree complete with the latest in ballroom fashion, trays of wine or special performances in the historic theater. In fact, since March, there’s been little-to-no action in one of the Jewel City’s greatest, well, jewels in its collection.
Save, of course, for the virtual telethon that served as the marathon birthday party for the venue, where its operating body served up $100,000 in donations to help the landmark soldier through the trials and tribulations of the coronavirus pandemic. While historic theaters throughout the nation, including elsewhere in Los Angeles County, face an uncertain future, the venerable Alex is already planning its centennial birthday five years ahead of schedule.
“Since COVID,” explained Elissa Glickman, executive director of Glendale Arts and, therefore, the Alex Theatre, “obviously we haven’t been able to do live performances and our effort has been focused on, how do we maintain our staff, maintain our 95-year-old building and how do we remain relevant?”
On top of the six-figure fundraiser from the birthday telethon, Glendale Arts has continued to otherwise seek prominent donations and funding. Federal coronavirus assistance and the Small Business Administration provided early loans and grants to help keep staff paid. In terms of relevance, the organization has endeavored to support its artists by launching an artist assistance program.
“We significantly ramped up our fundraising efforts,” Glickman said.
These efforts position Glendale Arts with the tools that will be necessary if they want to successfully pivot the Alex Theatre’s operations in the post-COVID era.

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Ascencia Keeps Finding Ways to House the Homeless

Photo courtesy Ascencia
Though the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way Ascencia operates, “We still are and we have been housing people this whole time,” said Executive Director Laura Duncan.

By Haley Sawyer
Glendale News-Press

Ascencia, a homelessness outreach nonprofit with locations in Glendale and Burbank, never gives up.
“We have a client that originally was in our shelter and she hit the length of stay,” said Ascencia program director Kiara Payne, citing a case that displayed the agency’s doggedness. “In our shelter we have a 60-day stay, and once they are in the shelter we kind of have to exit them to the street if we’re not able to get them housing.”
Although the client was homeless, living on the street, Ascencia continued to explore housing options for her. The efforts were ramped up when the woman was identified as susceptible to COVID-19.
With the nonprofit’s help, she was placed in a hotel in March through Project Roomkey — which is run by the state, county and Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority — and in August, Ascencia secured housing for the client. By November, she was homeless no more.
Although restrictions due to the pandemic have changed the way Ascencia operates, its goal has remained the same.

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Esteemed Coach Takes on New Challenge: Cancer Diagnosis

Photo courtesy Jeff Julian
Rose Bowl swimming coach and Glendale redsident Jeff Julian, kneeling, has received support from his swimmers after being diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer. Julian guided a Rose Bowl team that included Ronald Dalmacio (from left), Rafael Gu, Danny Syrkin, Chris O’Grady, Braden Beagle and Keane Alejandro.

For years, Jeff Julian has been one of the best swimming coaches in Southern California. The head swimming coach at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center has devoted his life to the sport, guiding and mentoring countless athletes and coaching Olympian Jason Lezak prior to his remarkable, multiple-medal-winning performance in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Julian, 45, has become even more influential after surviving a bout with stage 4 lung cancer in 2015. He became a motivational speaker and has served as a beacon of hope and optimism for athletes and families who know him. His sister, Jaimi Julian Thompson, said he seems to be more of a teacher than a coach, providing “lessons that help people be successful in life.”

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Remembering Van Halen’s 1975 Performance at GCC

Photo courtesy Mary Garson
Eddie Van Halen, pictured performing at age 20 in Glendale Community College’s quad during a free midday concert for students in the fall of 1975, was regarded as one of the greatest guitarists ever before his death last week at 65. David Lee Roth, Van Halen’s lead singer, has his back to the guitarist.

The death last week of legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen conjured up memories from former Glendale Community College students of the band Van Halen, which had a memorable 1975 performance in the school’s quad before attaining superstardom.
Eddie Van Halen, who died of throat cancer at age 65, was the master guitarist who teamed with his drummer-brother Alex to create Van Halen, one of the era’s most influential and memorable “hair bands.” Lead singer David Lee Roth and bass player Michael Anthony were other members of the band’s 1970s lineup. (Sammy Hagar replaced Roth as lead singer in the 1980s.)
They went on to become one of the biggest rock bands in the world, particularly after the release of their chart-topping album “1984.” The band pumped out hits such as “Panama,” “Jump,” “Jamie’s Cryin’” and “Hot for Teacher.”

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