Writer For Hire® Pat Kramer to Share Life Journey with Los Angeles’ Inner – City High Schoolers

Media Inquiries:  For more information, please contact: Pat Kramer

818 353-5699

Los Angeles, CA (March 23, 2016) – Writer For Hire Pat Kramer, a veteran business copywriter and ghostwriter, today announced that she will share highlights of her 30 year career journey with inner city high school students at Oscar de la Hoya High School on Wednesday, April 20 and at Animo Inglewood High School on May 18th.  The two, one hour presentations are in partnership with the Youth Business Alliance (YBA), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that focuses on bringing critical 21st century business skills and perspectives into the classroom. Pat will be presenting tips on how she went from a “wanna-be writer” in high school to a professional journalist and corporate copywriter in Los Angeles.

The Youth Business Alliance invited Ms. Kramer to share her experiences and achievements over the time she has built her career in an effort to provide high school students with a broader perspective of what it takes to be successful. The YBA was formed in 2012 with one disadvantaged school and has since grown to include 14 high schools serving roughly 350 disadvantaged students each year through its year-long after school course “Introduction to Business & Careers.”

Pat started her career as a radio news broadcaster and journalist working for radio stations in New England. To get her foot in the door of this incredibly limited and competitive industry, Pat had to work every shift around the clock, including all-night at one radio station in Newport, Rhode Island and then a split-shift at the next where she covered both “morning drive time” and “afternoon drive time.”

“I have never worked as hard in my life as I did at the start of my career,” says Pat, who notes that hard work and determination are the winning formula for anyone starting out in the job market. “Most people in their early ‘20s opt out when the going gets tough, but I stuck with it and advanced in my career to the point where I eventually got to call the shots.”

Looking back on her career of 30+ years as a news writer, ghostwriter, and marketing and public relations consultant, Pat believes the challenges she faced led to a tenacity that has helped her succeed in business when other writers have closed down their shops. “I believe all the challenges I have had to face ultimately gave me a wealth of experience in life and now, I’m giving back by helping the youth of today get started on their own career path.”

Speaking before the public is not new to Pat. Over the years, she has presented workshops and seminars for business leaders in a wide variety of industries on how to better communicate their branding messages by using news-oriented press releases, professionally-written articles for trade publications, and blogs on the social media. Pat is a recognized business leader and an active member of her business community in Sunland-Tujunga. She is also an advocate for humane treatment of animals and the ghostwriter of several books and memoirs.

For more information, please visit:

About Writer For Hire 

Writer For Hire® Pat Kramer specializes in developing informational, editorial, promotional and ghostwritten content for companies and individuals all over the world. Her press releases have helped first-time authors reach “best seller” status on, while her media outreach campaigns have elevated formerly unknown business professionals to “thought leaders” in their industries. Known as Writer For Hire® since 1990, Pat has written more than 1,000 articles for local, national and well respected industry publications.




Drug-fueled crimes and fear-inducing encounters with methamphetamine users in the Sunland-Tujunga community will be the focus of the next Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Watch meeting, taking place on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at 6 p.m. at North Valley City Hall, 7747 Foothill Boulevard, Tujunga. This meeting brings together residents who have experienced run-ins with those on drugs and families who need resources to deal with their meth-afflicted family members, with the Los Angeles Police Department Senior Lead Officers, and their SMART and PET Teams which provide services to those with mental health issues and drug addictions in Los Angeles and L.A. County.

Whether or not a resident has reported a crime, this information can be very valuable as it will provide direction on what to say and what “not” to say to amped-up individuals whom they may encounter on their street or property. “Knowing what to do to protect one’s property and to ensure one’s peace of mind is the utmost concern of our community,” states Jon von Gunten, Neighborhood Watch representative to the Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council. “Of course it’s always best to document individuals who may be committing a crime, but if that puts you in harm’s way, then it’s best to protect your safety first.”

This meeting was organized along with Region 1 (Sunland) representative Pat Kramer, who has received numerous calls from stakeholders in north Sunland, as well as in other parts of the Sunland-Tujunga community regarding this growing issue. “Residents are angry and they have a right to be,” says Kramer. “In some cases, their property has been damaged or stolen or they have personally been threatened by individuals who we suspect were trying to generate money for their drug habit. We can’t turn our backs on this issue any longer. There has to be a course of action that makes people feel safe and if it isn’t being addressed by the LAPD, then it needs to be by some other agency.”

The Sunland Tujunga Neighborhood Council holds regular board meetings on the second Wednesday of every month at 6:30 p.m. at North Valley City Hall. Additionally, the Neighborhood Watch, which is a division of STNC, holds three monthly meetings to address crime issues:

The Tujunga – specific Neighborhood Watch meeting takes place on the first Tuesday of every month at McDonald’s restaurant, 6510 Foothill Boulevard, in the children’s play room, at 8:30 a.m. with Senior Lead Officer Gloria Caloca.

The Sunland – specific Neighborhood Watch meeting takes place on the first Wednesday of every month at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices training room, 8307 Foothill Boulevard, in Sunland at 8:30 a.m. with Senior Lead Officer Cesar Contreras.

The combined Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Watch meeting takes place on the 3rd Tuesday of every month at North Valley City Hall, 7747 Foothill Boulevard, Tujunga at 6 p.m. Parking is in the rear parking lot on Wyngate.

For more information on what STNC can help you with, contact Jon Von Gunten, STNC Neighborhood Watch Rep at:, Pat Kramer, STNC Region 1 Rep at: or Ana Orudyan, Region 1 Rep at:

To report a crime, call: 911 for any emergency or a crime in progress. Otherwise, call the LAPD FOOTHILL STATION: 818-756-8861, for guidance, admin & follow-up. Additionally, you can contact 877-ASK-LAPD (877-275-5273) for other non-emergencies.

Additionally, here are some helpful phone numbers and emails to have on hand:

Call Senior Lead Officers for non-emergencies like suspicious or dicey people, excess noise, illegal parking, and speeders: 818-756-8866.

GANGS, DRUGS: Lt. Solano: 818-897-6081 or email:

NARCOTICS: Det. Coyle, 818-834-3136,

TRAFFIC: Officer Flores, (818) 644-8142,

Remember to report every crime factually to LAPD: Accurate reports help with getting more police cars and officers!



Southern California has had a higher than average rainfall this winter and with the rain comes trouble:

While heavy rain and flash flooding is uncommon for our local region, when those storms do come – as we have seen during February’s rains – the consequences can range from heavy traffic with accidents to property damage from flooding. With the fires many areas experienced in 2016, hillsides are now unstable and this promotes the possibility of landslides, mud flows and boulders in the road.

While state and local officials from the weather service and other agencies continue to warn people of dangers from moving water, there is a curiousity factor that brings certain people during major storms – while still others just continue to ignore the warnings.

Why it is NEVER safe to drive or walk into flood waters
Most people underestimate the force and power of moving water. According to the National Weather Service, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other thunderstorm related hazard. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 50% of all flood-related drownings occur from a vehicle being driven into hazardous flood water. The next highest percentage of flood-related deaths comes from people walking into or near flood waters.
Did you know that a mere 6 inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult?
Twelve inches of rushing water can carry away a small car while 24 inches of rushing water will carry away almost any type of vehicle.

Many of the deaths from drowning occur in automobiles as they are swept downstream. Of these drownings, many are preventable, but too many people continue to drive around the barriers that warn you the road is flooded.

When a major storm with rainfall has occurred, motorists and hikers should be extra vigilant. Here are some safety tips from the Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management that will help keep you safe through the winter’s rains:

• Listen to the local radio stations or watch television for warnings about storm and/or heavy rainfall in your area regarding emergency public information and instructions.

• Be aware of any sudden increase or decrease in water level on a stream or creek that might indicate debris mudflow upstream. A trickle of flowing mud may precede a larger flow.

• Look for tilted trees, telephone poles, fences or walls, and for new holes or bare spots on hillsides.

• Listen for rumbling sounds that might indicate an approaching landslide or mudflow.

• Be alert when driving. Roads may become blocked or closed due to collapsed pavement or debris.

• If a landslide and/or debris flow occurs, danger is imminent, quickly move away from the path of the slide. Getting out of the path of the slide and/or debris mudflow is your best protection. Move to the nearest high ground in a direction away from the path. If rocks and debris are approaching, run to the nearest shelter and take cover.

• If your property is damaged or compromised, consult a professional geotechnical expert for advice on the landslide and or corrective actions you and your loved ones can take.

By using caution and staying off the roads during heavy rains, you can avoid the increased risk of being involved in an accident this winter.

Pat Kramer, aka “Writer For Hire,” writes marketing, public relations and communications materials, helping businesses gain more visibility. Pat is a business consultant, ghostwriter, and a contributing writer to the Crescenta Valley Weekly. For more info, go to:

Why We Celebrate Presidents’ Day

Presidents’ Day is a state and federal holiday celebrated this year on Monday, February 20th to honor the birthday of our nation’s founder, George Washington. The holiday goes all the way back to 1885 and is still referred to as “Washington’s Birthday.” Although his birthday was actually February 22nd, it is always celebrated on the 3rd Monday of February after the Uniform Monday Holiday Act was passed in 1971 to allow for 3-day weekends for the nation’s workers.

While many people think of Presidents’ Day as a commercial holiday, deluged with commercial advertising to create more commerce, it’s important that we remember from where we came. George Washington was one of the most important figures in the founding of this country and President’s Day is a way to pay homage to his life and where we are today, because of the role he played.

Born in 1732, George Washington served as the Chief of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, which lasted from 1775 to 1783. In that role, he was victorious in establishing the colonial forces as the victors over the well-trained British Army. Prior to that role, he served in the French and Indian War (1754 – 1763). In 1787, he was elected president of the convention that wrote the U.S. Constitution and two years later, became the first president of the United States, serving two terms: (1789 – 1797). He died at the age of 67 at his Virginia plantation, Mt. Vernon three years after ending his second term. His legacy included his attributes of strength, integrity and national purpose.

Some interesting facts about George Washington:

  • His only trip outside the borders of America was in 1751 when he accompanied his half-brother, Lawrence, to Barbados. Although his brother’s tuberculosis improved from the warm climate, George contracted small pox which permanently scarred his face. This is apparent in portraits of Washington that we see today.
  • One of Washington’s first roles in the military was taking on the role of Commander of the Virginia militia in 1752, even though he had no previous military experience. He rapidly gained experience by leading troops in the French and Indian War and eventually was put in charge of all of Virginia’s militia forces. In 1759, he was elected to Virginia’s House of Burgesses, serving until 1774.
  • Washington married Martha Dandridge Custis, who was a widow at the time with two children. The couple never had any children of their own.
  • The war against the British lasted for 8 years but there were few military wins for the Americans during that time.
  • Washington’s troops were poorly trained and had scant supplies – often lacking food, ammunition and it is said, shoes, during the winter.
  • Washington’s ability to motivate them led to the ultimate victory in the Revolutionary War when, with the aid of the French, the Continental Forces captured the British troops fighting under British General Cornwallis in Yorktown, Virginia, ending the war for independence and making General Washington a national hero.
  • George Washington was inaugurated as President at the age of 57 on April 30, 1789 in New York City and lived in both New York and Philadelphia during his presidency, as the White House was not yet built in Washington, D.C.
  • In his farewell address, Washington urged the new nation to maintain the highest standards, domestically, and to keep involvement with foreign powers to a minimum. That address is still read each February in the U.S. Senate to commemorate Washington’s birthday.
  • Today, his face is seen on the dollar bill and the quarter, more than 200 years after his death.
  • At the time of his death in 1799, George Washington owned 300 slaves. However, during his years in office, he became opposed to slavery and – long before President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, willed that his slaves been freed at the time of his wife’s passing.

Pat Kramer, aka “Writer For Hire,” is a business writer, ghostwriter and contributing writer to Crescenta Valley Weekly. Read more at:



lonely-childBack when I was in second grade, I found myself in an awkward position when a Special Needs girl in my class observed me handing out invitations to “selected friends” for my seventh birthday party. Her name was Mary and I’ll never forget her. Mary approached me and asked if she could come to my birthday party too.  I told her that I would have to check with my mother first. Upon hearing this, Mary began to cry. Without thinking about it further, I handed her an invitation and told her that she was welcome.

When I got home from school that day, I told my mother what I had done. I knew that I might lose some friends – some of the more “popular girls” – by asking Mary to join us. At that time, Special Needs children were mixed in with the rest of the kids in elementary school and they generally were seated way in the back of the classroom to minimize any possible disruption.

My Mom listened to me recount how bad I felt for Mary but that I was also fearful that I had possibly made a mistake by extending the invitation to her. Then she hugged me and told me that she was very proud of me for being so kind and pointed out that Mary probably never got invited to anyone’s birthday party before. In doing so, she helped me realize that compassion was more important than popularity and that what the rest of the kids thought was really not very important.

My seventh birthday party turned out to be a great success. Mary’s mother delivered her to my home and thanked me for including her, telling me with tears in her eyes that she was grateful that I “let” Mary join me. I’ll never forget the gift she presented to me – I actually still have it after all these years. It was a beautiful charm bracelet that reflected the light through a series of sparkling polished crystals. It was certainly the best gift I received that day, but the real lesson was transmitted by Mary, herself, in her happiness in just being present. She taught me how important it was to her to be treated with kindness and respect.

So when conversing with a young child, never underestimate how much they understand or the value they will place on that experience. I will never forget Mary Soulas, the classmate of mine who thanked me through her tears for inviting her to her first birthday party, ever!

Sunland-Tujunga Branch Library to Celebrate 90th Anniversary

Libraries should serve as not only an educational resource, but also as a cultural resource for the community, says Ardem Ardashes Tajerian, manager of the Sunland-Tujunga Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library. And on Saturday, Decemtujunga-station-1ber 10th the S-T Library will host a celebration with music and art to celebrate its 90 year history. At 12:30 p.m., there will be a marionette show, and at 1:30, a ceremony attended by dignitaries to mark 90 years of library services. At 2:30, the 3-piece jazz band “Soul Purpose” will entertain the public and at 3 p.m., there will be a crafts event on weaving. Tajerian sums up the celebration by saying, “We are celebrating the past and looking forward to the future.”

Mr. Tajerian joined the S-T branch in June after a long history in the Van Nuys branch. His idea, in creating this event, was to embrace the history of the Sunland-Tujunga community. “The Los Angeles Public Library has been in the communities of Sunland and Tujunga for 90 years,” he says. “Originally, there were two little stations in both communities. The Sunland station was a storefront at 8412 Foothill Boulevard in Sunland while the Tujunga station was located at 7212 Valmont. In 1952, they were merged into the current location at 7771 Foothill Boulevard in Sunland. This building is the second one on the current site, built when the first needed to expand.”

For those who enjoy reading, a library card is a valuable investment. Not only can you borrow books, music, and movies but you can also access many of the L.A. Public Library’s data bases (there are 183 of them) to peruse newspapers and archives, science encyclopedias, art encyclopedias, biography encyclopedias, and databases for business and economics, careers, and even auto repair manuals. Access to the online resources is via the website:

The S-T Library now hosts a collection of 52,000 volumes of books. Over the past three years, about 104,000 visitors have enjoyed its resources each year. In addition to serving as a lending library with books, magazines and newspapers, DVDs and e-books, the branch has many online research data bases available for library patrons, including a free version of (accessible at the library, itself). Additionally, there are educational aids for all age groups from grade show to college, including online tutoring (available in English and Spanish for a variety of subjects), resume preparation services, computer classes, job search databases, and one to one adult literacy classes.

second-sunland-tujunga-branch“The libraries of today have changed,” notes Tajerian. “What I want to do with this celebration is let the community know that we have not only traditional library services but also many other new and exciting services.”

One of the ways the library supports itself is through book donations and purchases at its onsite book store, manned by volunteers of The Friends of S-T Branch Library. The bookstore is open most days starting at 10 a.m. and offers quality used books at bargain prices.

Tajerian hopes this outreach event helps lay the groundwork to bring in new library patrons – people who may not be aware of the resources available. “I’d really like to emphasize that this is a hub for education and culture for our community. I want people to know that the library is here for whatever educational or leisure needs they have.”

Pat Kramer, aka “Writer For Hire,” is an award-winning business, PR, marketing and ghostwriter who has had more than 1,000 articles, news stories, feature pieces and entertainment write-ups published in major business, news, medical, entertainment and trade journals. She currently focuses on writing persuasive and informational content for companies and business professionals to help them achieve specific goals.

McGroarty Chili Bowl Fest Returns for the Holidays

Every year, hundreds of people flock to McGroarty Arts Center in Tujunga to buy a new handmade chili bowl and try a variety of tasty chili recipes while getting an chili-bowlsearly start on holiday shopping. This year, the 14th Annual Chili Bowl Fest (held Saturday, Dec. 3) and the Holiday Art & Craft Faire
(Dec. 3 and Dec. 4) will be offering several new features: The weekend event will be expanding to the upper parking lot of McGroarty where there will be outdoor seating and a live band performing, and on Sunday, the Faire will be devoted to the spirit of the holidays. Santa Claus will be present to take photos with children, holiday carolers will serenade everyone with good cheer and holiday cookies will be available for the kids to paint.

As a special attraction, there will be a comedy fundraiser on  Sunday fritz-coleman-headshotevening featuring NBC Channel 4 meteorologist Fritz Coleman in his one-man show “Defying Gravity,” described as a hilarious glimpse into one man’s journey from childhood to “old age.”

“The show presents an hour and a half of laughing hard and reflecting on what it’s like getting older,” said Coleman. “Getting old isn’t pretty but it sure is funny!”

The single performance of Defying Gravity will be held at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 4 at the Ice House, 24 Mentor Ave. in Pasadena with 100% of the proceeds going to the McGroarty Arts Center. Tickets are $15 and $22 for the 180-seat room. After Coleman’s show there will be an auction of services and prizes, donated by local artists, to raise money for McGroarty.

Coleman said his participation in the annual fundraiser for the McGroarty Arts Center comes from his interest in supporting the arts.

“I have three children and it has been sad to watch arts programs in schools diminish over the last 10 years, or so. I think the nurturing, creative programs at McGroarty have never been more necessary than they are right now. This event will be a chance for folks to help sustain this jewel of a facility. Plus… I promise… it’ll be the most fun you’ll ever have being philanthropic!”

Best known for his professional career as a weatherman, Coleman has been honing his standup comedy routine in clubs through the decades. He has also been named “Best Weatherman” in nearly every major paper in Southern California and has won numerous honors and awards for his dedication to his community.

Dawn Jenkins, Community Relations Committee chair at McGroarty Arts Center, added, “This year, in addition to the chili fest, bake sale, and Holiday Faire, we will be serving craft beer and featuring live music by an outstanding Los Angeles band. There will be ample seating under tents outside in the upper parking lot. There will be artists and vendors, inside and outside the building on both days, and we’ll have a golf cart transporting people from the street up to the top of the driveway.”

For those who have never attended the Annual Chili Bowl Fest, it’s a very popular event. (Parking is limited at McGroarty so plan on parking on the street  or – better still – carpooling with others to this event). Those who want to enjoy a bowl of chili can select the bowl of their choice for $15 from a dazzling selection of colorful ceramic bowls (bowls are also sold separately for $12) then fill up from an assortment of eight or 10 chili varieties, made by volunteers from the Sunland-Tujunga Rotary Club.

A slice of fresh corn bread comes with each bowl of chili as well as a variety of condiments. Also available for purchase are soft drinks or some of the scrumptious desserts baked by volunteers.

After eating, guests can stroll through McGroarty’s historic rooms to see local artisans’ crafts, such as creations in glass, woven pieces, unique jewelry, homemade soaps, candles, decorative artwork, handmade cards and beautiful pottery.

Whether guests come for the chili, the bowls, to shop for unique gifts or to experience some laughs at the Ice House, all will contribute to the ongoing operations of McGroarty where classes are held all year round in the arts, drama, yoga and other performing arts.

The McGroarty Arts Center is located at 7570 McGroarty Terrace in Tujunga. For more information, call (818) 352-5285 or visit

For advance tickets to the Ice House show, go to or purchase a ticket at the door.


“It’s been proven that animal cruelty can be an indication of domestic violence in the home,” said Nelson Picardo, legislative aide to 39th District Assembly member Patty Lopez at a workshop held on September 16th in Sunland-Tujunga. “While these are difficult subjects for most people to talk about and hear about, it’s very important that the community have this information so these issues can be addressed.”

The workshop, which was attended by 35 people, took place at Sunland Foursquare Church, 10602 Sherman Grove Ave. in Sunland and included information from representatives from the LAPD, the L.A. City Attorney’s Office, and the L.A. County Department of Public Health. In addition to Picardo, attending the meeting were Brenda Fortune and Olga Torrejon, who serve as legislative aides to Assemblywoman Lopez.

LAPD Officer Jean Lamas, who leads the domestic abuse response team (DART), started off the meeting by describing the different ways domestic abuse is perpetuated: on partners and spouses, the elderly, and children. Often, police arrive on the scene, only to be told that it was all a misunderstanding. He attributed this response to fear of the perpetrator, who may threaten to harm others in the family if a complaint is made. Knowing this, Officer Lamas said his team has special training to ask questions of those involved in an incident of domestic abuse. Unfortunately, companion animals are also targets for the abuser, both before and after assaulting an individual.

Knowing about animal abuse and not reporting it is a contributing factor to ongoing, repeated cases of domestic abuse. Officer Lamas encouraged those who suspect or have witnessed any form of animal abuse to call or text it in so that animals can be taken to a secure location while the alleged crime is being investigated. To report a case of animal abuse that is occurring, call “911” or after the fact, call: 818 756-8861.

The next speaker was Wendy Monge, a registered nurse from Nurse Family Partnership, who talked about the resources offered through the L.A. County Department of Public Health. Nurse Monge works primarily with first time mothers and pregnant teens or young women (aged 15 – late 20s) who are living in at-risk situations. By visiting them in their homes, she is able to provide nutritional information on what a baby will need and how to prepare for the arrival of a new baby. By helping at-risk mothers prepare for a new baby, sometimes situations that can otherwise cause frustration or anger can be alleviated. For more information, please visit: (

When to file a restraining order and what a restraining order can do was the next subject, which was addressed by Attorney Vanessa Martinez from the County of Los Angeles. A restraining order is a temporary or short-term legal document that can provide police protection at a moment’s notice whenever a person is being threatened by the abuser. In cases of domestic violence, restraining orders can be obtained for free from the Los Angeles Police Department if there is reasonable proof to support one’s case. Restraining orders are issued when an adult or child has injuries or is in imminent danger. Once the restraining order is filed, it must be served by a sheriff (or another party over the age of 18) to the defendant within 24 hours. For more information on retraining orders, contact LAPD.

Eugenia Pensel, a Certified Batterer Interventionist, then talked about her job which involves working with defendants in jail or prison who have been convicted of committing a battery. By providing assessments and behavioral coaching to these individuals, the chances of them committing a similar crime are lower.

Kassandra Perez, prosecutor for the City Attorney’s Office, ended the workshop by reviewing the link between domestic violence and cases of animal abuse and encouraged those who have witnessed such events to report them to LAPD. Being involved and coming forward – even by using the anonymous tip line – is critical to stopping the cycle of abuse.

Report a Crime to the Tip Line:

To report animal abuse or other crimes, call: 1-877-527-3247 (877-LAPD247).

You can also text a tip anonymously to the number: 2-7-4-6-3-7 (which spells out “Crimes”). In the body of the text, type the word “LAPD” then leave a space, then type your crime tip and send it. You will receive a confirmation from TipSoft after submitting a tip. For the purpose of one’s own protection, LAPD suggests deleting both the outgoing text and the incoming response from 274637.

To send an anonymous tip via email, go to: and follow the link for “Anonymous Web Tips.” You will be asked to fill in a form and submit it via the internet.

If anyone would like more information on any of these subjects, you can email Assembly Member Patty Lopez at: or call Brenda Fortune at her office: (818) 365-2464. The office of Assemblywoman Lopez is located at: 302 S. Brand Boulevard, San Fernando, CA.


“Story Map,” a Living History Event, Takes Place at Bolton Hall Museum

Bia portrait2By Pat KRAMER

A unique four-part workshop aimed at creating a “living history” for Sunland-Tujunga will be introduced by Bolton Hall Historical Society Artist-in-Residence Bia Gayotto on Thursday, Sept. 8 from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. There will be four interdisciplinary workshops combining performance, art, community participation and documentation in an effort to create a living archive and map of the Rancho Tujunga area and the surrounding areas of Shadow Hills, Sun Valley and Lakeview Terrace.

For the purpose of accuracy, the artists are seeking participants who can offer a variety of ethnic experiences, both past and present, for this multigenerational project. Additional workshops take place on Sept. 15, 22, and 29 with each running 90 minutes starting at 4:30 p.m. There will also be a wrap party on Oct. 16. Through word of mouth, the artist hopes to build a network of community members, artists and volunteers who contribute to the overall project.

Gayotto, a native of Brazil, was awarded the grant for this project by the City of Los Angeles Dept. of Cultural Affairs. Since 2003, she has created collaborative projects that have engaged residents all over the world. These include projects for AIR Taipei, Taiwan; Banff Centre, Canada; Montalvo Arts Center, Saratoga, California,  “Threewalls” in Chicago, Illinois; and a video series at Los Angeles International Airport called “Somewhere in Between” that was made possible with the support of DCA.

“Somewhere In Between” documents how people navigate between two or more places and cultures. To capture the diversity of Los Angeles, the artist conducted interviews with 14 residents who live along the iconic Route 66 connecting Pasadena to Santa Monica, and who identified as belonging to two or more places or cultures. The map documenting that event was made by designer Juju Yeo who will also be collaborating with Gayotto as part of the Story Map series at Bolton Hall Museum.

“My goal,” said Gayotto, “is to create a multi-layered portrait of the area using methodologies that involve engagement through stories and shared histories. It is part of my process to place ‘open calls’ inviting community members to participate in my projects. This promotes a multifaceted collective experience which often helps people feel connected to each other and, as a result, can be more accepting of cultures different from their own.

“Rather than being at the center, I see myself as a catalyst creating an environment in which people come together to participate in a shared activity.”

Anyone interested in participating in one or more of Gayotto’s living history workshops is asked to bring historical photographs or objects that they are willing to donate to the Bolton Hall archives to illustrate their contribution to the story. Bolton Hall Museum is located at 10110 Commerce Ave. in Tujunga. There is no cost to attend the workshop and everyone, ages 13 and up, is welcome. For more information, email or visit:

You can also read my feature story in the Crescenta Valley Weekly:



Categories: News




Crowds Turn Out for Sunland-Tujunga Parade and Family Fireworks Festival

Photos by Kresse ARMOUR LAPD cadets carried the S-T parade banner.

Photos by Kresse ARMOUR  LAPD cLAPD Motorcycle Corp entertained the crowd.adets carried the S-T parade banner.


Somewhere between 5,000 and 6,000 people staked out a viewing spot along Foothill Boulevard in Sunland on July 4th to witness one of the longest parades the community has seen. Temperatures in the 80s contributed to a very pleasant day for the 80-plus businesses, organizations, dignitaries and equestrians participating in the Independence Day parade hosted each year by the Sunland-Tujunga/Shadow Hills Rotary Club.

Rotary Club President Sabrina Swofford-Godinez called the parade a huge success.

“LAPD Sgt. Ojeda ensured that we had great police coverage and a very safe parade,” she said. “Our grand marshal Brian Schneider was the celebrity of the day and he deserved it. We were thrilled to have Congressman Adam Schiff, Assemblywoman Patty Lopez, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, and Kevin James, president of the State Assemblywoman Patty Lopez waved to the crowd. Los Angeles Board of Public Works, riding in the parade. It was a lot of fun and we really appreciate everyone coming out to celebrate this awesome day with us.”

State Assemblywoman Patty Lopez waved to the crowd.

Congressman Adam Schiff rode in the S-T Parade.

Congressman Adam Schiff rode in the S-T Parade.

The parade started promptly at 10 a.m. with a flyover by an LAPD helicopter and this year’s LAPD cadets carrying the ceremonial banner. A special LAPD Motorcycle Corps then impressed the crowd with its skilled maneuvers and flashing lights, providing the parade dignitaries with a thrilling escort.

The parade lasted two hours as each entry turned the corner from Summitrose onto Foothill Boulevard to begin the one-mile stretch. Among those riding in festively outfitted vehicles were entries from the Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council, Little Landers Historical Society, the American Legion, the Boy Scouts and Girl

Scouts, the Verdugo High School baseball team, Tujunga Little League, McGroarty Arts Center, Honorary Mayor Tom Smoker and New Heaven on Earth Ranch.

Other colorful entries included Maggie the Donkey, the Shamrocks Motorcycle Club, Tujunga’s Oldest Rock, several children’s dance groups, Berkshire Hathaway Realty and a wealth of colorful riders on horseback.

Many entities contributed to keeping the costs down for the Rotary, which amounted to about $1,500 for putting the parade into motion. The STNC paid for the Rotary’s rented golf carts, Burbank’s The Sign Studio provided free car signage, and many others donated their time and effort to help make this year’s parade a success.

As evening approached, the gates opened at Verdugo Hills High School, the site of the Family Fireworks Festival, put on by the Sunland-Tujunga Shadow Hills Community Fund and the S-T Chamber of Commerce.

Brenda Fortune, a community fund member and director of the Sunland-Tujunga Chamber of Commerce, spent months setting up the Family Fireworks Festival, which drew an estimated 2,100-2,300 people. Her role as coordinator involved bringing in the food trucks, signing up volunteers, getting donations from local businesses, making sure the power was “on” for the lighting and sound, getting the stage built, and then making sure Pyro Spectacular was ready to go when the lights went down.

“Everything went really smoothly,” said Fortune of her role with Community Fund President Dan McManus and S-T Chamber President Michael Moncreiff in putting the event together. “It was a mellow event and we made all of the money we expected to make to provide matching grants next year to Verdugo Hill High School clubs and organizations to pay for different projects. We were very pleased with the turnout.”

With tickets selling for $8 (children under a certain age got in free), the Family Fireworks Festival provides an affordable place each year for families to celebrate the holiday in a safe way. The cost of admission included games for the kids by community member Phillip Powell, and face painting by the Whittier Clowns. For the adults, music was provided by the bands Positive Source, Thunder Tap, Revolution Road, and Ceile Borman and Tropical Punch, with Borman singing the national anthem. Shane Coleman, of “Heroes of Life,” ran the soundboard to bring the entertainment and fireworks to life.

To cover the costs required for this event, several businesses stepped forward, including DIY (Do It Yourself Center) in Tujunga, which acted as a major sponsor, C&M Printing, Vons, Mark’s Lock and Key, Albertsons and Athens Services. Additionally, volunteers from the YMCA, STNC, and S-T Chamber, among other service organizations, helped with ticket sales, while VHHS girls’ softball coach Eddie Marquez and several other coaches provided gate security.

As the night set in, U.S. Congressman Adam Schiff and Assemblywoman Patty Lopez spoke to the families about the importance of honoring the nation’s history before fireworks lit up the night sky at 9 p.m. with a spectacular display of dazzle.

LAFD “Hot Shots” marched in the parade.

LAFD “Hot Shots” marched in the parade.