Congressional earmarks may have received a lot of negative attention lately, but there are at least two Westchester groups that are all for them.

As part of a nearly $7 million package of earmarks (money allocated for a specific thing) for her district, Congresswoman Maxine Waters announced on February 22nd a $1 million award to Loyola Marymount University and another $1 million award to the Westchester Streetscape Improvement Association (WSIA).

Funding for both projects was included in the fiscal year 2008 appropriations legislation passed by Congress and recently signed into law by President George W. Bush.

“I worked with leaders in Congress to make sure that the highest level of scrutiny was given to each project funded this year and am confident that this money will be put to good use in our community,” Waters said. “I am pleased with the progress we are making in improving the lives of our residents, and I will continue to work to ensure that we have all possible resources available to continue this progress.”

Waters announced the awards during a ceremony at the Flight Path Learning Center.

LMU will use the funds to renovate and equip existing lab and classroom space, expand its innovative Rapid Prototyping and Nanotechnology research programs and construct the new Frank R. Seaver Science and Engineering Complex on the Westchester campus.

Fr. Robert Lawton, the university’s president, was on hand to accept the award and said the funds will help the university meet current and future employment needs in the science and engineering industries.

Waters said the $1 million earmark for the Westchester Streetscape Improvement Association will help fund beautification efforts along Sepulveda Boulevard from the airport to Howard Hughes Parkway.

The organization, which began seven years ago, has developed a vision for beautifying that stretch of boulevard that has included a wide array of input from the community at several design workshops.

Westchester Streetscape Improvement Association president John Ruhlen accepted the award and said he hopes the funds will enable the association to create a vibrant and welcoming introduction to Los Angeles for visitors from around the globe and to improve the day-to-day feel of the street for local residents and business owners.

PASEO STUDENTS TO UNVEIL MURAL — With the artistic support of Otis College of Art and Design, fourth-grade students at Paseo del Rey Natural Science Magnet in Playa del Rey have recently completed a mural at the school.

The mural, created as part of an Otis outreach program called ACT (Artists, Community & Teaching), will be officially unveiled during the school’s weekly assembly at 8:20 a.m. Monday, March 3rd, at the school, 7751 Paseo del Rey.

“We are extremely excited with the mural that our students were able to create through a lesson plan that was developed by Otis and executed with two of their fine arts students,” said parent Louise Wallace. “The hope is that this can be a lesson plan that could be adopted by other schools so that they too could have murals that are created by their students to help beautify their campuses.”

E-WASTE ROUNDUP —Household hazardous waste and e-waste can be disposed of the right way from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 1st, at Los Angeles County Sanitation District’s upcoming roundup.

Old brake fluid, paint, batteries, light bulbs, computer monitors, televisions and much more can be brought to the Dock 52 Parking Lot on Fiji Way in Marina del Rey.

Business waste will not be accepted.

For a complete listing of what can and cannot be brought or information on other hazardous waste events, (800) 238-0172 or http://www.lacsd.org/.

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