Sky-watcher Eklund reads from his new book; Westchester High School Art Walk

BY GEOFF MALEMAN

While the firefighters at new Los Angeles Fire Department Station No. 67 have a gorgeous facility built with dollars from Playa Vista, it seems that although the City of Los Angeles budgeted $1.7 million for the next fiscal year for staffing, firefighting equipment and a fire engine, it hasn’t contributed much more than beds to the living facilities for the firefighters who will spend a lot of their lives living at the new facility.

The station, at 5451 Playa Vista Drive, will serve a large area — from LAX to the Del Rey community and from the ocean to the Culver City border.

Still, the firefighters there were given little more than beds to sleep in when they arrived for duty.

“We need kitchen supplies, small appliances, a couch, a TV,” said Los Angeles City Fire Department Capt. Vince Nixon, who rattled off scores of things the firefighters need to make the new station inhabitable.

To assist the firefighters in raising funds, a pancake breakfast will be held from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, December 8th, at the station. Included in the event will be a silent auction featuring gift certificates from a wide array of local restaurants, golf equipment, gift baskets and much more. There will also be a raffle, and for the children, a jumper and plenty of kids’ activities.

Firefighters will be giving tours of the new station and letting people take photos alongside the fire engines.

A donation of $5 per adult and $2 for children ages three to ten years old is suggested for the pancake breakfast. To purchase tickets, call (310) 437-6070.

Nixon said he and his fellow firefighters have been overwhelmed by the support they have received.

“The community has been so amazingly supportive, it’s incredible,” said Nixon, who added that he intends to open the station’s community room to as many local groups as possible for their meetings and events. “We want people to come in and be part of our family.”

The two-story fire station provides 15,000 square feet of space for firefighters. It has a drive-through apparatus bay, crew and captain dormitories, a wellness room for fitness training, and a community room for small public meetings.

The facility is designed for 12 staff members, including a fire engine captain, an engineer, one firefighter, and a paramedic/firefighter, serving in rotating shifts of four officers at a time. The facility operates 24 hours a day.

In May 2005, The Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Commission honored Fire Station No. 67 with an Excellence in Architectural Design Award. The station’s bold, contemporary design as well as its plan to integrate public art drew the attention of the commission. Local architect Rebecca Binder is responsible for the building’s design.

“STAR PARTIER” UNVEILS NEW BOOK — Local sky-watcher Bob Eklund, who is well-known for his annual “star party” events for Westchester residents, will give the first reading from his new book, First Star I See Tonight: An Exploration of Wonder, at 2 p.m. Sunday, December 2nd, at Sam Johnson’s Bookshop, 12310 Venice Blvd. (just east of Centinela Avenue) in Mar Vista.

“First Star,” said Eklund, “is a unique combination of science and personal exploration. It invites the reader to discover the riches of a starry night through poetry, prose essays and art.”

WESTCHESTER HIGH HOLDS ART WALK — On Friday, December 7th, Westchester High School will hold its first Westchester Art Walk, featuring artwork from the school’s students as well as from local professional artists. The event, themed “Creating Art for Young Minds” will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the school, 7400 Manchester Ave. in Westchester, and admission is free.

The Westchester Art Walk project is a fundraiser which will benefit the “Extreme Makeover” of the Westchester High School Library, whose shelf collection is over 20 years old. Highlighting the art show will be master carver and faculty member Floyd Bell’s showcase of his world-renowned collection of art dolls.

The project is sponsored by the Westchester High School Academic Booster Club, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization with a commitment to raise funds for projects not sponsored by the Los Angeles Unified School District.

The event will include displays and sales of artworks from students and faculty of Westchester High School and other nearby schools, professional artists and local Westchester merchants. The walk project will begin outside the entrance of the school’s library and continue to the social hall, with a total length equivalent to one city block.

Also featured in the walk are two 40-foot existing murals — one outside the library and the other outside the social hall.

Information, (310) 338-2400, ext. 547.

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