Conflict in Artsakh Spurs Growing Local Response

Hundreds marched through downtown Glendale last Saturday night, from the Armenian Consulate to Artsakh Avenue, in support of Armenians fighting in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to repel Azerbaijani forces from the breakaway Artsakh republic

Artsakh Avenue was filled to the brim last Saturday night — a boisterous gathering that included countless flags waving about, repeated choruses of Armenian mantras and a man dragging around a Turkish flag tied to his ankle.
And yet when Vaché Thomassian — a well-known member of the many Armenian advocacy organizations in the Glendale area — roared into the microphone that night, his simultaneously angry and hopeful words hushed the rapt audience. Hundreds had marched from the Armenian Consulate to Artsakh Avenue in support of the Artsakh republic, which with assistance from Armenia has fought to repel an Azerbaijani military onslaught since Sept. 27.

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City Strives to Attract Landlords to Section 8 Program

City housing officials plan to roll out a series of incentive grants meant to draw more residential landlords into the federal Section 8 program as it affects Glendale, with help from a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Additionally, the Glendale Housing Division will employ a portion of the funds to design and implement an online portal for those in the program to use, with the goal of improving service rendered to the landlords and their tenants. The initiatives were prepared after the city received $384,357 in a second round of HUD funding stemming from the CARES Act.
The Glendale City Council approved the measures during a meeting with the city’s Housing Authority on Tuesday. The four grants are designed to either spur new landlords to enter into Section 8 contracts, return to the program — aimed at serving lower-income renters — after past participation or reward their continuing participation.

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Council Approves Modified Mylar Balloon Ban

In a unanimous decision Tuesday, the City Council formally adopted a modified version of its metallic balloon ban that it first introduced for review weeks ago.
Starting on Nov. 30, Glendale businesses are barred from selling the balloons — colloquially called Mylar balloons — if they are inflated with helium or any gas “lighter than air.” Further, such balloons inflated with air may only be sold when affixed to some sort of decorative structure, like a post or balloon arch; otherwise, they are to be sold uninflated.
The council adopted the ban at the urging of Glendale Water and Power as well as residents frustrated with power outages and damages to electrical systems as a result of wayward Mylar balloons entangling themselves in lines or equipment.
“There is a really good reason why we’re looking at this kind of a ban,” Councilwoman Paula Devine said, highlighting the importance of some residents to have medical equipment or air conditioning powered consistently.

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World Mission Society Church of God Hosts Food Drive

The World Mission Society Church of God recently hosted a food drive at 1817 W. Olive Ave. to support those effected by the coronavirus.
Volunteers collected dozens of donations, including canned and dry food, hygiene products, cleaning supplies, and paper products such as toilet paper and paper towels. The donations were packed up and delivered to the Burbank Temporary Aid Center for distribution to those suffering from financial hardships, especially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Burbank City Council member Timothy Murphy showed appreciation to the volunteers during the event.
“Thanks a lot to the World Mission Society Church of God for helping the people who are hungry and hurting during this time. This is absolutely awesome. We had a great day out here. We collected a whole bunch of food, and it’s going to go to people who need it. Thank you,” said Murphy.
The organization has hosted more than 15,866 volunteer services in 120 countries worldwide to give courage and hope to neighbors in need. In addition, WMSCOG’s social services correspond to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. According to the United Nations Development Programme, the Sustainable Development Goals, also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.
For more information, visit english.watv.org.

YWCA Director Engages Community for Nonprofit of the Year

Photo courtesy YWCA Glendale Tara Peterson, chief executive of the YWCA Glendale, said she aims to preserve the legacy of the institution while guiding it further into the 21st century.

Since joining the local YWCA four years ago, CEO Tara Peterson has emphasized the “community” in community organization.
The institution’s bread and butter has long been its domestic violence emergency shelter and services, but Peterson said she knew upon joining that there were other areas to target in that unsavory but too-real issue. In asking herself “What else?” Peterson said she was motivated to bridge the relationships with faith leaders, civic groups and educational institutions, relationships that helped propel the YWCA Glendale to the forefront of the city’s varied looks-in-the-mirror this year with regard to racism.
When she left a Sacramento-based domestic violence organization to journey south and take over this YWCA, Peterson said she strove to “keep the legacy but also move us forward into the 21st century.” The sum of those efforts since then recently arrived at the landmark of being named Assemblywoman Laura Friedman’s Nonprofit of the Year for the Assembly district.

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Council Endorses Proposition 15 on Split Vote

The City Council splintered on a largely symbolic vote to weigh in on Proposition 15, a statewide ballot initiative asking voters to decide whether the state should bump up property tax collections from certain commercial entities.
The proposition would require commercial and industrial properties to be taxed based on market values, as opposed to the value of the most recent sale price. (This excludes properties zoned as commercial agriculture.) Advocates of the proposition see it as a way of circumventing Proposition 13, which made all property taxes based on sale price when it was approved by voters in 1978.

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Local Officials Voice Support for Artsakh Amid Conflict

Local officials this week, bolstered by overwhelming public support, joined the cacophony of the world’s Armenian diaspora in excoriating Azerbaijan and Turkey for their amplified military action in the Republic of Artsakh.
The City Council on Tuesday adopted a resolution harshly condemning the violence, and the Glendale Unified School District also issued a statement of solidarity with the diaspora and offering support for students with direct ties to Armenia and Artsakh. After some skirmishes between the Azerbaijani military and Armenian-bolstered defense units in Artsakh in July, the former began directing heavy artillery fire into the breakaway republic last weekend, reportedly including civilian targets.

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City Upholds Statewide Eviction Moratorium

The City Council on Tuesday aligned with Assembly Bill No. 3088, the Tenant, Homeowner, and Small Landlord Relief and Stabilization Act of 2020, which took effect on Aug. 31.
This act imposes a statewide eviction moratorium regarding residential tenants who are unable to pay their rents on account of the coronavirus pandemic. It also supersedes any existing measures by city governments imposing their own eviction protections, and also outlines a rent repayment plan for those tenants. The council is expected to consider adoption of these repayment guidelines soon.

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Glendale Moves to End Sale of Mylar Balloons

Photo courtesy Glendale Water and Power
Local crews worked to remove several metallic Mylar balloons entangled in Glendale power lines in September. The City Council this week introduced an ordinance banning the sale of the balloons in Glendale in an effort to stymie the havoc they can wreak on electrical systems.

Retailers within city limits are soon expected to have to cut off their sales of Mylar balloons, assuming that a second reading of an ordinance goes without a hitch before the City Council.
The proposal to ban their commercial sale gained unanimous approval this week by the council, which hopes to curb the frequency with which the decorative pieces float into power lines and transformers and send portions of the city into darkness. The ordinance permits latex balloons to continue to be made available to Glendale shoppers.
“There are so many negative impacts from Mylar balloons that I really think it’s time for us to take the first step in a proactive leadership role,” Councilwoman Paula Devine said Tuesday.

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How Music Teacher Works in Concert With Distanced Students

Photo courtesy GUSD
Roosevelt Middle School instrumental music director Ashley Suhr addresses her students during a recent class presented via Zoom. Suhr has the unenviable task of creating a musical ensemble with students who are socially distanced.

As much as any of the nation’s institutions, education has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Where classrooms once buzzed with activity, computer screens now hum from muffled isolation, as students and teachers adapt to the almost oxymoronic concept of “distance learning.”
Once the most active part of the educational process, teachers, counselors and aides have been relegated to the familiar role in an adolescent’s life of just another in a long line of images on a screen. But facing the expectation of providing an opportunity for learning in an unfamiliar setting, teachers have homed in on ways to strike the match of inspiration.
Ashley Suhr, instrumental music director at Roosevelt Middle School, has found that the best way to thrive in this environment is to keep things consistent. Rather than settling down in some corner of her home and open her virtual lesson plan, Suhr faithfully executes her daily routine and drives the mostly abandoned streets to teach from her classroom. She said recently that the key to successful distance learning is to develop that sense of sameness.

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