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Top Celebrities call for an end to gun violence in U.S. Featured

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Ricky Gervais doesn’t care if he’s ever asked back to host the Golden Awards Featured

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Benfica Striker Ola John has his mind on the clash with the Catalans Featured

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2012 Formula 1 season was one of the most exciting and eventful in history Featured

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Oscar Pistorius has never baulked at a hard challenge Featured

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Portuguese exports rose by 13.7 percent in August from a year ago Featured

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In Filing, News Corp. Says Publishing Business Showed $2.1 Billion Loss Featured

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U.S. economy grew faster in third quarter of 2012 Featured

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After losing to Obama, what should Mitt Romney do next? Featured

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EU’s new banking union will break the link between banks and public debt Featured

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Southland residents remember Sept. 11 terrorist attacks

LOS ANGELES — Solemn gatherings were held across the Southland Sept. 11 to mark the 17th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania, while many people engaged in acts of giving to mark the date as a day of service.

The city of Los Angeles held its annual remembrance ceremony at the fire department’s Frank Hotchkin Memorial Training Center in Elysian Park. The ceremony is held each year in a plaza that includes a large section of metal recovered from the World Trade Center, which was destroyed in the attack.

Fire Capt. Erik Scott told the crowd the 23-ton piece of metal is the largest remnant of the World Trade Center outside New York City.

“In the days after 9-11, one phrase was heard over and over again: never forget,” he said. “We gather here every year because we have not forgotten that simple phrase.”

Mayor Eric Garcetti was among those attending the ceremony, along with visiting Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, Los Angeles Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas and Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore. The event included a wreath-laying and a flyover of helicopters in a missing-man formation.

Garcetti said the attacks “shook the world, but they did not stop it.”

“And they did not stop us,” he said. “Why? Because of the selfless service of others. Because of those who met injustice with justice, because of courageous people who ran into danger, cleared the debris, refused to bend, refused to break in the face of adversity, who saved lives that are walking amongst us today. And because the world came together and for a moment said we are all Americans.”

A flag is draped on the outside of City Hall while flags hung at half-mast on the poles in the City Hall Concourse in remembrance of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. (Courtesy photo)

A flag is draped on the outside of City Hall while flags hung at half-mast on the poles in the City Hall Concourse in remembrance of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. (Courtesy photo)

After the ceremony, the municipal officials joined more than 1,000 volunteers to pack food boxes for the needy. The volunteers were expected to pack 250,000 meals by day’s end.

Cities across the area also held remembrance events.

In Beverly Hills, a ceremony was held at the city fire station on Rexford Drive, including a moment of silence and a bell-ringing. An evening service also was held, featuring a wreath-laying and a musical tribute.

Culver City also hosted ceremonies at three fire stations, featuring a moment of silence and lowering of flags. Santa Monica held early morning memorial events at four fire stations.

Montebello commemorated the date with an afternoon memorial walk that began at 10th Street and Whittier Boulevard and ended at the Memorial Wall at Montebello City Park three blocks away.

 

Council committee approves Hollywood bridge housing site

LOS ANGELES — A City Council committee approved a motion Sept. 5 that would complete the city’s formal review of a proposed temporary bridge housing facility in Hollywood, and also moved to evaluate a site in Westlake that would serve as an alternative to a proposed Koreatown temporary shelter which sparked protests.

The Hollywood site at 1533 Schrader Blvd. had a construction and development plan approved by the Homelessness and Poverty Committee, and City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell has said it could become the second temporary housing facility to open in the city as part of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s “Bridge Home” program.

Garcetti and the City Council have dedicated $20 million for the Bridge Home program in the current fiscal year, and Garcetti also said tens of millions more could be available now that the state is expected to provide the city with $85 million in budget surplus money for homeless programs. The goal is to have at least one temporary facility in each of the 15 council districts.

The Bridge Home program would install shelters in the form of trailers, large tents or empty buildings with 24-hour security and on-site support workers who would offer services and attempt to transition people into permanent supportive housing or drug treatment programs. The shelters would be designed to generally hold several dozen to 100 people.

The proposed facility in Hollywood would be open for up to three years and temporarily house up to 70 people at a time, and provide them with numerous support services.

The site would include a 7,200-square-foot tent structure, a hygiene trailer, an administrative trailer, an outdoor dining area and storage space.

“We need more immediate solutions to get homeless individuals off the street and into a safe, clean environment,” O’Farrell said last month. “We are moving forward together, and my office has been meeting with stakeholders adjacent to this parking lot, located at 1533 Schrader Blvd. The response has been positive — and the community understands we need to act.”

The city has completed one temporary shelter near the El Pueblo historical monument downtown as part of the effort to open temporary shelters to help control the massive growth of the city’s homeless population, which has spiked in recent years to more than 31,000.

Garcetti and other leaders celebrated its opening Sept. 5, with people expected to star moving in Sept. 10.

The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority is recommending that the proposed Hollywood facility be operated by two service providers with experience in Hollywood: PATH and The Center at Blessed Sacrament.

If approved by the full council, O’Farrell’s office said construction could begin as early as October and be completed in January.

Garcetti’s office said 10 temporary shelter sites are in the development stage, and the Schrader site will join a site in the Hollywood area at 1215 Lodi Place in the active construction phase if the full City Council approves the plan. The Lodi site is a YMCA that could provide 64 beds.

A city-owned Koreatown parking lot at 682 S. Vermont Ave. was the first identified to be part of the Bridge Home program, with Garcetti and City Council President Herb Wesson holding a news conference there on May 2 to officially launch the entire program.

However, following a series of protests and significant backlash in Koreatown, with some residents saying the proposed site was too close to schools and businesses, Wesson said in June he would hold more meetings and consider other sites, and the vote by the Homelessness and Poverty Committee specifically replaced the reports being asked for regarding the Vermont Avenue site to be transferred to a site at Wilshire Boulevard and Hoover Street in Westlake, where a pair of city-owned tennis courts are located.

The reports ask various departments to determine if the property is suitable for development as a crisis and bridge housing facility.

The Westlake site is about a half-mile from the Vermont Avenue parking lot. Vanessa Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for Wesson, said the Vermont Avenue site is now being considered for senior affordable housing.

The committee also voted to evaluate sites at 7621 Canoga Ave., 7915 Beverly Blvd., and 1018 Hilgard Ave.

 

LAUSD officials mark Attendance Matters Day

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Unified School District marked Attendance Matters Day Sept. 7, when the district tries to find students who have stopped attending classes and get them to return to school.

The annual event — now in its 10th year — used to be called Student Recovery Day, but has been rebranded.

LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner began the day at David Starr Jordan High School in Watts to discuss student recovery issues. Following his appearance at the school, Beutner made home visits in the vicinity.

Non-attendance is a particularly vexing issue among the district’s youngest students, with new data showing that 1 in 4 kindergartners miss 15 or more days of school each year, the Los Angeles Daily News reported.

“I couldn’t believe that when I heard that,” Diane Pappas, the superintendent’s senior adviser, said last month as she presented the district’s plan to decrease chronic absences.

Schools get paid by the state for every day a child in school. In 2016-17, L.A. Unified lost about $630 million in revenues as more than 80,000 students — or 14.3 percent of all students — were chronically absent, which is defined as missing 15 or more days, according to an LAUSD Advisory Task Force report, the Daily News reported.

This year’s message to parents and school staff is: Keep the number of days any student is absent to seven or less. And parents will start seeing that message at their schools, according to the Daily News.

When he was introduced as the new superintendent in May, Beutner said that if the district can turn 8,000 to 10,000 kids into better attenders, “they’ll learn, and absenteeism matters to the whole classroom because of corresponding revenues from the state.”

But even more important than the loss of revenue is the learning loss, according to the district. Fewer absences mean higher student achievement.

Children who are chronically absent in preschool, kindergarten, and first grade are much less likely to read at grade level by the third grade, according to a task force report last year. Students who cannot read at grade level by the end of third grade are four times more likely than proficient readers to drop out of high school. And irregular attendance can be a better predictor than test scores of whether students will drop out before graduation.

African-American students have the highest percentage of absences, the Daily News reported. And among all ethnicities except Asian, the rates of absences are higher among less affluent families.

This year, the district is making sure parents at LAUSD schools are educated about the importance of good attendance at orientation meetings held at each principal’s discretion. At the orientations, parents are told that research shows there is a strong correlation between attendance and student achievement.

According to the Daily News, the district’s plans to attack absences this year include a direct mail/postcard campaign; phone calls to parents throughout the year; attendance improvement incentives through rewards to students; counseling to students and families; and Student Attendance Matters events, including a Dawn Patrol program that will provide support to schools with higher chronic absence rates.

The district will mail 190,000 postcards during the school year to households that have students who have been or are on track to become chronically absent, the Daily News reported. Last year in a pilot program, it mailed 24,000 postcards.

This year’s mail campaign is expected to generate up to 270,000 days of additional attendance and $17 million in additional revenue, according to the newspaper.

 

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