School Friends on a Mission to Help People, Environment

Glendale High School graduates Felipe Arias and James Mizuki recently joined forces to give new clothes to women at the Los Angeles Mission Women’s Shelter.
Photo courtesy James Mizuki

Though they largely grew up together, two Glendale High School graduates led widely divergent paths after grade school but were recently drawn together by a mutual need to give back.
And so the two young men — James Mizuki and Felipe Arias — got together last Saturday and gave out hundreds of items of clothing to the ladies who stepped off of Skid Row for a moment and paid a visit to the Los Angeles Mission Women’s Shelter.
“We ended up giving out eight full boxes of clothes, which probably translates to 350-400 items. It was just really positive overall,” said Mizuki, a 2011 graduate of GHS. “This ‘word-of-mouth’ buzz started happening and we had a lot of people show up. People were really looking out for their friends that day.”
The clothes were manufactured by iToo Clothing, which was formed in large part by Mizuki’s childhood friend Arias, who graduated from GHS in 2012; the pair both attended Wilson Middle School and played football together at GHS. While Mizuki enrolled in Cal State Northridge to study communications, Arias traveled to Hong Kong in lieu of his original plan to join the U.S. Coast Guard, where he ultimately linked himself to clothing manufacturing in China.
As fate would have it, Arias’ company has a location near Skid Row, so right away he thought of donation opportunities when he discovered a backlog of clothing thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and recalled a conversation he had with Mizuki about a nonprofit endeavor he was building.
“I knew James was on this project for a while,” Arias said. “Before he started the whole thing, he came to me and told me about it and I thought it was a great idea.” Continue reading “School Friends on a Mission to Help People, Environment”

Al Fresco Eateries as Oases of Economic Hope

Photo by Zane Hill / Glendale News-Press
The city has begun implementing outdoor dining spaces, known popularly as al fresco, as a measure to help restaurants and eateries serve more customers as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Those concrete barriers popping up around downtown Glendale and Montrose? For the foreseeable future, they are part of the new normal for restaurants that are now reopening dine-in service to their patrons.
The city this week has been busy setting up K-rail barriers throughout public spaces, later adding tables with umbrellas, chairs and potted plants to make the setting a bit more picturesque. Along Honolulu Avenue in Montrose, the half-dozen al fresco parklets utilize sections of street parking to allow the eateries to spill outdoors to accommodate more customers and make those customers more comfortable as the COVID-19 pandemic persists.
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Reminder: Fireworks Are Illegal in Glendale

Ahead of the Fourth of July, city officials have reminded Glendale residents that it is illegal to discharge fireworks in city limits.
In an announcement, the city re-upped its “zero tolerance” policy for all personal fireworks, including the “safe and sane” varieties. Citing the personal danger that arises from fireworks use, and also their propensity to start home and wildfires, the Glendale Police Department may arrest those in violation of the municipal code; a conviction could result in up to a six-month jail sentence and/or fines of up to $1,000.
“Statistics show that fireworks are among the most dangerous of all consumer products,” the city wrote in its announcement. “Even hand-held sparklers, which many consider safe, are dangerous and can reach 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, causing serious burns and fires.”
City officials have kept consistent messaging on this issue. The Glendale Fire Department in particular has been utilizing social media to also promote ways of mitigating the risk of brush fires during the summer months, in addition to warning against the use of fireworks.
Residents are encouraged to report fireworks use to the Glendale Police Department by calling (818) 548-4911.

School District Panel Will Seek to Fight Bias on Many Fronts

Vivian Ekchian, is superintendent of the Glendale Unified School District.

The Glendale Unified School District has announced that it is convening a working group that will focus on providing a culturally relevant and responsive education for all students.
The group will be made up of students, teachers, school and district administrators, staff members, community members and parents and guardians. Some of the areas of focus will include eliminating bias in curriculums and educational materials; providing professional development to ensure culturally competent leadership; actively recruiting a more diverse workforce; monitoring student discipline data to ensure students of color are not disproportionately penalized; and continuing the use of practices to build community, strengthen school culture, and repair relationships.
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Homeless Count Trending Downward, but May Rise With Pandemic

The city’s recently published homeless count report indicated that, as of January, the city was continuing its generally downward 10-year trend.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic that shut down large portions of California’s economy starting in March leaves a large asterisk on this year’s report and may have undone the progress made since last year.
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Glendale Officials Address Message of Protests

In the coming months, the City Council expects to consider a report from City Manager Yasmin Beers that would outline potential new policies for the city to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in its staffing and operations.
This discussion may also include a dive into how to address, if at all, nationwide calls to “defund the police,” in which protesters speaking out against institutional racism and police brutality are demanding that funding for police departments be redistributed in part to other social and public health programs.
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Protest March Is Significant, Hopeful

Photo by Zane Hill / Glendale News-Press
Protesters march down Brand Boulevard, past the iconic Alex Theatre, on Sunday in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. More than 1,500 joined in Sunday’s demonstration, one of countless numbers that continue nationwide to call for police reform after the death of George Floyd while being arrested in Minneapolis.

The occasion was one part solemnity and another part rage, but the energy that resonated from the throngs of protesters who marched on Sunday and paid respect to lives lost seemed, in some ways, hopeful.
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