by Winston Chua
A new Volkswagon dealership is slated to arrive across the
street from where the Fossilman’s ice cream parlor is located, on the north
side of Main Street,
according to Alhambra Chamber of Commerce executive director Owen Guenthard.
The property and sale have been approved through the city. Volkswagon is not as
troubled as General Motors or Ford and is in the midst of expansion.
have been impacted by the economic slowdown, although Guenthard said there have
been no major closings. Target, Costco and the Home Depot appear to be doing
fairly well and able to avoid massive layoffs, even though those companies have
slowed down nationally. Guenthard said that for companies with extra money, now
is the best time to start a new business.
restaurants continue to offer package deals, where children’s menus have a
variety of options for under two dollars. Several restaurants have cut costs by
eliminating extra shifts or abandoning the chamber’s membership altogether. Businesses
who wish to promote or share what is new in their development are encouraged to
meet with the chamber each Friday morning of the month at 8 a.m. for just $5.
These meetings are used to introduce themselves to the chamber and also build
networking bridges between existing businesses. They meet in Alhambra’s Almansor Court.
– NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has imaged a wild creature of
the dark — a coiled galaxy with an eye-like object at its center.
The galaxy, called NGC 1097, is located 50 million light-years away. It is
like our Milky Way, with long, spindly arms of stars. The “eye” at
the center of the galaxy
is actually a monstrous black hole surrounded by a ring of stars. In this
infrared view from Spitzer, the area around the invisible black hole is blue
and the ring of
The black hole is huge, about 100 million times the mass of our sun, and is
feeding off gas
and dust along with the occasional unlucky star. Our Milky Way’s central black
tame by comparison, with a mass of a few million suns.
“The fate of this black hole and others like it is an active area of
research,” said George
Helou, deputy director of NASA’s Spitzer
at the California Institute of
Technology in Pasadena.
“Some theories hold that the black hole might quiet down and
eventually enter a more dormant state like our Milky Way black hole.”
The ring around the black hole is bursting with new star formation. An inflow
toward the central bar of the galaxy is causing the ring to light up with new
“The ring itself is a fascinating object worthy of study because it is
forming stars at a very
high rate,” said Kartik Sheth, an astronomer at NASA’s Spitzer Science
Center. Sheth and
Helou are part of a team that made the observations.
In the Spitzer image, infrared light with shorter wavelengths is blue, while
wavelength light is red. The galaxy’s red spiral arms and the swirling spokes
the arms show dust heated by newborn stars. Older populations of stars
the galaxy are blue. The fuzzy blue dot to the left, which appears to fit
the arms, is a companion galaxy.
“The companion galaxy that looks as if it’s playing peek-a-boo through the
could have plunged through, poking a hole,” said Helou. “But we don’t
know this for
sure. It could also just happen to be aligned with a gap in the arms.”
Other dots in the picture are either nearby stars in our galaxy, or distant
This image was taken during Spitzer’s “cold mission,” which lasted
more than five-and-a-
half years. The telescope ran out of coolant needed to chill its infrared
May 15, 2009. Two of its infrared channels will still work perfectly during the
“warm mission,” which is expected to begin in a week or so, once the
been recalibrated and warms to its new temperature of around 30 Kelvin (about
406 degrees Fahrenheit).
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena,
Calif., manages the Spitzer Space
Telescope mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Science
operations are conducted at the Spitzer
at the California Institute of
Technology, also in Pasadena.
Caltech manages JPL for NASA. Spitzer’s infrared array
camera, which made the observations, was built by NASA’s Goddard
Center, Greenbelt, Md.
The instrument’s principal investigator is Giovanni Fazio of the
Center for Astrophysics.
By Winston Chua
The Alhambra Beauty College is busy with activity.
Blow-dryers, combs, salon chairs an scissors all fill the air as customers and
stylists do their best to make the world a more attractive place.
As San Gabriel Valley residents brace for the worst
in these trying economic times, there is a bright spot: the $3 haircut.
“I love it,” said Alhambra Beauty College director
Jennifer Hong. “I want to see people look good.”
Jennifer and her husband Peter are owners of the
haircut salon that boasts the cheapest price in Alhambra, if not the entire San
Gabriel Valley. They can afford to offer haircuts this low because many of the
people who will cut your hair are students.
The Hongs said they are not in it for the money, but
more to give students the opportunities to succeed in cosmetology.
Students from such cities as San Gabriel, Pasadena,
Montebello and Monterey Park study such subjects as cosmetology, or commit
their lives to become estheticians (skin care) or manicurists.
“My wife has always been interested in education,”
said Peter, of how his wife became involved with the college. “She has passion,
patience and loves to train people.” Jennifer spent the vast majority of her
life in Taiwan, studying business management and accounting before coming to
the States in the mid 80s. Her husband Peter came in 1982 before he studied law
in Loyola Law School.
Founded in 1927, the hair cut place is one of the
first accredited institutions to teach cosmetology, which is technically
defined is the study and application of beauty treatment.
There are three main programs offered by the beauty
college. One can choose to study cosmetology, become an esthetician or a
manicurist, although the competition to become a manicurist has increased
because of competition from Vietnamese vendors.
The cosmetology program is 1600 hours, to become an esthetician requires
600 hours and to become a manicurist takes 400 hours of training.
And for the bulk of those 80 years, there has been by
far no better place to get a good haircut for less money.
“I love it,” said Enas Almamani, 21, a student who is
thankful for the program. “For me, it’s about putting smiles on people’s
Peter and Jennifer are also trying to put smiles on
their students’ faces as well. They not only teach beauty, but the business
behind the beauty.
“In this economy, it’s a tough environment to
survive,” said Peter. “We must teach the students how to cope with it.”
That means encouraging students to improve their
English skills and giving them lessons on management and sales. Financial
scholarships and grants are also available to qualifying students.
There is reasonable concern for those who do not want
a bad haircut, but Jennifer said that students spend up to 450 hours practicing
on dolls and wigs until a teacher deems them competent enough to cut real hair.
And if a customer still isn’t satisfied, a more experienced instructor will
gladly straighten out the loose ends. If there is one thing that is different,
said Peter, it is that sometimes students will cut the hair a little slower and
more carefully than surrounding salons.
Still, the service has attracted faithful customers,
who have kept coming back to the college for more than 20 years.
Looking good is of the utmost importance to the
college. And being presentable in today’s job market is as important as ever.
ARCADIA – There’s the good news and the bad news to the preliminary
budget report released by Gov. Schwarzenegger last Friday, according to school
Arcadia board member Joann Steinmeier and Superintendent Joel Shawn.
First, the bad news for the City, according to School
Services, is that the State has recommended slashing administration staff so
that there are merely four to five percent of district positions in the
“We can’t run the district without administrators. It makes
no sense,” said Steinmeier. “There are only so many hours in the day.” The
administrators shoulder the responsibility of pursuing high academic standards,
as well as helping teachers better do their jobs and in dealing with the
public. She said the district must have people moving the school forward.
Arcadia Superintendent Joel Shawn reported on his blog that
there will be $1.5 billion cuts in 2010-11, with $1.2 billion aimed at “school
district administrative costs.” There are no details as to how the state would
achieve these savings. He said, “For Arcadia this is projected to be an
additional loss of about $2 million.”
Despite the bad news, Shawn said one positive aspect of the
budget report was the avoidance of midyear district-level cuts to K-12
education. The State has not given indication so far that there will be mid
year cuts, something the District has had to deal with in the past. The
governor has had to make reductions in payments to schools during the winter.
Preliminarily, there will be little change to Prop. 98
funding, which provides most of the general funding for schools. The Cost of
Living Adjustment (COLA) is being reduced by .38 percent. The State is expected
to take $23 per student, totaling $230,000 from Arcadia.
For now, in both San Gabriel and Arcadia, these factors are
just an indicator of where things might head. Board members emphasized that
these are preliminary reports; May is when the rubber meets the roads. In that
time, the legislature gives the “real working document.”
If things progress the way they seem to be moving, Arcadia
may choose not to fill any of the 15 teaching positions that will be vacated at
the end of the school year. That is the number of teachers retiring, and
classroom sizes look to rise.
by Winston Chua
Gabriel – Happy birthday dear….Los Angeles? It is that time of the year, when
since 1982, people have begun the march to Los Angeles from San Gabriel, the
birthplace of Los Angeles, largely because of the late T. Willard Hunter.
It is called Los Pobladores, or
“Walk to Los Angeles.” Last year around 500 people made the historic nine mile
journey from the San Gabriel Mission to El Pueblo Monument, home to the world
famous Olivera Street, where throngs of gatherers warmly greet those who are
willing to make the three hour journey. This year people will celebrate the
mission’s 238th birthday, and Los Angeles’ 228th, which
was founded on Sept. 4, 1781 and at the time called El Pueblo de la Reina de
“It’s the birthplace of Los
Angeles. The best part about the walk is retracing the steps. You realize this
road was not paved, there were no Reeboks to walk in. It is an important sense
of history and the community,” said Cynthia Smith, historian and San Gabriel’s
administrative services manager.
1981, as a member of Los Angeles’ bicentennial
celebration committee, Hunter, who passed away in June, conceived the idea of
reenacting the September 1781 nine-walk of Los Angeles’ original settlers from
San Gabriel Mission to found El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles. This
year’s walk is dedicated to Hunter, a renown author, minister, orator and
The original settlers to what is
now Los Angeles were made up of a group of 44 racially diverse people,
including families, who descended from Native American, African, European and
Filipino descent. They were known as the Pobladores, and like Angelinos today,
made up a racially diverse group. Unlike Angelinos today, their life was made
up of work on vineyards, orchards, spiritual centers or places to facilitate
They were mostly poor farmers
and soldiers who were recruited from northwest Mexico by Felipe de Neve,
Governor of the Californias. They rested after the walk and were outfitted and
oriented by Governor de Neve for their new homes along what is now known as the
Los Angeles River.
Joining the modern day version
of the group will be San Gabriel’s city leaders, both city and district wide.
The San Gabriel City Council will walk, and walkers in the past have included
the mayor of Los Angeles and Mike Antonovich.
While the history of San Gabriel
is unlike any other, Smith acknowledges that it has not always been positive,
especially in relations with the native Tongva.
When she said, “There is no need
to shut the door on the past,” she meant that history’s lessons are always
September’s mostly downhill walk
will begin at 6:00 a.m. sharp from the San Gabriel Mission and move west along
Mission Drive. Taking place on a Saturday, the event is sandwiched between the
days of La Fiesta de San Gabriel, typically celebrated by thousands at the
Mission. Will you have to walk a full nine miles back to celebrate the
Mission’s birthday. Thankfully, there will be public bus transportation on the
hour every hour for under $2.
The birthday walk was revived in
1981 when Willard Hunter gathered crowds to celebrate the city’s 200th
birthday. Since then, Smith said that the crowds who come to walk have been
very strong in number. The Second World War curtailed the walk until that
Smith said that there are three
major events in the history of San Gabriel. Most recent is the birth several
years back of the Los Angeles Archdiocese, whose mother church is the San
Gabriel Mission. The other two are the walk to birth Los Angeles and the
founding of the mission itself.
by Winston Chua
SAN GABRIEL – Let’s cut
to the chase. San Gabriel is not the only city facing tough choices when it
comes to education. But it is facing difficult choices.
It is seriously considering increasing class sizes,
from a 20:1 ratio to a 23:1 ratio. School board member Steve Svorkin vows to do
everything in his power to stop that from happening. Svorkin is the city clerk of the San Gabriel board who wants
to maintain the high level of education that San Gabriel students are
accustomed to seeing. But he said that that is not going to happen by laying
“Like all school districts the state budget crisis is
hurting us. We struggle with balancing kids’ needs and reducing expenses,” said
Svorkin. San Gabriel has had to layoff 20 teachers already, and possibly more
on the way.
In response, Svorkin, who is actively involved in
policy making and uniting members of nearby schools, proposed some creative
ideas to offset those expenses and shared them with the Tribune.
One idea is to erect a marquee on high school
property that can both announce upcoming school functions like homecoming or
football games and also generate revenue from advertisers who wish to promote
their companies on the marquee itself.
Another idea is to request that all school board
members stop nonessential travels to events like conferences or meetings that
sometimes take place as far as Washington D.C. Another idea is allowing film
companies access to school facilities.
Svorkin is also open to reducing school
administration in San Gabriel’s central district office to preserve the jobs of
teachers. He also proposes furloughs, unpaid days off for teachers when they
normally would be paid, like holidays as a means of “sharing the pain.”
Finally, there is the idea of a parcel tax, like the
one approved of by the cities of San Marino, La Canada and South Pasadena.
In San Marino, voters passed a $795 per parcel tax
that was used to offset the $5 million cut in state funding for the upcoming
school year. In San Marino, around 70 percent of voters assented to the
measure. The move in San Marino is said to generate $4 million, according to an
article by Mitch Lehman.
Svorkin is the secretary treasurer to a coalition
that involved 91 school districts called the Los Angeles County School Trustees
Association, which even includes community colleges.
If nothing is done, the state will likely cut countless
dollars in education spending and the consensus to stop the bleeding is to
increase class sizes and reduce the staff. Staff pay, according to Svorkin,
makes up 85 percent of the budget. Svorkin hopes he can have some influence in protecting
jobs and maintain the standard of education in classrooms.
“The San Gabriel community should be actively
involved to shrink class size, to step up and offer help, whether by
volunteering or donating,” said Svorkin. Increasing class size, he said, would
make a negative significant impact.