A Time of Pandemic, Protest, Change

Photo by Zane Hill / Glendale News-Press
A large crowd marches down Central Avenue en route to Artsakh Avenue in support of Armenia and the Artsakh Republic in their conflict with Azerbaijan. The local Armenian diaspora’s efforts have included activism and donation drives.

For many, Friday, Jan. 1, represented a long-overdue turn of the page from a year that lived up to no one’s expectations.
From the beginning of 2020, news trickled into American airwaves and newsprint that a mysterious virus had secretly wreaked havoc throughout much of China and had begun spreading at uncontrolled levels through South Korea, Iran, Italy and Spain. Reports of overwhelmed hospitals, mass graves and widespread lockdowns also spread.
And then the accounts started coming out of New York City. And Seattle. And a well-known pork processing plant in South Dakota.
By March 11, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 was declared to be a global pandemic. Locally, by March 13 — auspicious, indeed, as a Friday the 13th — school districts were closing, cities were declaring states of emergency and officials were openly discussing what would become the Safer at Home orders. Restaurants were limited to takeout or delivery. Personal care services, entertainment venues and bars closed. Nonessential retailers had to close. The NBA suspended its season.

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City Pays Tribute to Woman Slain in Tajikistan

Photo courtesy Simply Cycling
The City Council this week approved a Brand Park memorial for Lauren Geoghegan, a Glendale native killed in 2018 in Tajikistan while on an international bicycling journey. Geoghegan, pictured here in Malawi, spent much of her childhood at the park.

An eastern redbud tree will soon grow in a peaceful corner of Brand Park, alongside a bench for park-goers to rest and reflect on the woman whom the two amenities commemorate.
The City Council this week approved placement of the memorial items that will honor the life of Glendale native Lauren Geoghegan, who with her boyfriend, Jay Austin, and two others were killed in 2018 by militants in Tajikistan who later pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. Geoghegan’s parents, Elvira Muñoz and Robert Geoghegan, approached the city earlier this year about the idea.

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City Takes Steps to Liven Up Artsakh Avenue

The city will continue exploring specifically how to revitalize the arts and entertainment district along Artsakh Avenue that includes Glendale-owned storefronts, and will likely identify locally based “destination” businesses to populate the pedestrian-friendly pathway.
In the meantime, economic development officials will put together a plan to bring in pop-up businesses to either take up a storefront for up to six months or set up an outdoor venue in which to operate. The experiences and successes of these short-term pop-ups would inform the city’s long-range decisions on the area once additions and updates to the plan for the avenue are completed as soon as 2022.
All that is the upshot of a special City Council meeting on Tuesday, when the panel engaged the services of consultants to help guide Artsakh’s evolution.

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