Westchester is the gateway to Los Angeles but, unfortunately, the first impression many visitors get of our city when they arrive at LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) and drive along Sepulveda Boulevard is one filled with dying trees, broken sidewalks and a struggling downtown.

Westchester Streetscape Improvement Association is trying to change all of that.

The association will hold an open house from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 30th, in the Westchester Municipal Building Community Room, 7166 Manchester Ave., Westchester.

The purpose of this event is to bring the Westchester community up to date on the association’s progress with the Sepulveda Boulevard project.

The association has made great strides in the past three years and is very proud of the results.

Working closely with the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation, the association has finalized the design for Phase I of a boulevard improvement, which incorporates the vision of the community as defined in three interactive workshops held by the improvement association.

During the open house, displays will illustrate how far the project has progressed.

It will also include details of future plans and schedules of commencement of work, an update on the formation of a business improvement district and plans for proceeding to Phase II to meet the desires of the community.

The event is free, and the public is invited to attend.

HISTORICAL SOCIETY OPEN HOUSE — The West-chester/Playa del Rey Historical Society will have David Asper Johnson, founder, editor and publisher of The Argonaut, as guest speaker at the historical society’s annual open house Thursday, May 5th,

The open house will be between 4 and 8 p.m., with the presentation beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the American Celebration Room of the Furama Hotel, 8601 Lincoln Blvd., Westchester.

The event is free and open to the public.

Every community has a local newspaper, which chronicles its progress throughout its history.

Founded November 25, 1971, The Argonaut is a weekly newspaper with a circulation of over 42,000 that is distributed every Thursday in the area including Santa Monica on the north and Westchester and Playa del Rey on the south.

David also was co-founder, founding co-editor and co-publisher of The Beach Reporter, a weekly newspaper published in Manhattan Beach.

He has been a director of the California Newspaper Publishers Association, the Suburban Newspapers of America and the National Newspaper Association, the largest association of newspapers in the United States.

The Historical Society’s annual open house will feature displays of past Argonaut front pages as well as a collection of the Historical Society’s very own chronicles.

SUNRISE ON THE HORIZON — Good news for many senior citizens who need assisted care but can’t find a facility on the Westside.

Major construction of the Sunrise Assisted Living complex in Playa Vista will soon be highlighted by the ceremonial hoisting of the final steel beam atop the six-story structure Friday, April 29th, at Playa Vista Drive and Jefferson Boulevard.

Officials from Playa Vista, Sunrise Assisted Living and Bernards, the general contractor, will mark the completion of the steel structure with a topping out ceremony at noon.

The final steel beam will be hoisted by crane more than 80 feet into the air and secured to the top floor of the structure.

The steel topping out ceremony marks completion of the building’s steel skeleton and clears the way for work on the exterior and interior of the Sunrise facility.

The facility is scheduled for occupancy in March. The $16 million project includes more than 65,000 square feet of construction and will house 80 units.

The facility will provide personalized assistance, supportive services and senior care and will include two floors dedicated to seniors with memory impairments, including Alzheimer’s disease.

VIETNAM MEMORIAL — A ceremony was held Tuesday, April 26th, at the new site of the Vietnam Memorial that has been on the corner of Lincoln Boulevard and Manchester Avenue, Westchester.

At its corner site, the monument was routinely sprayed with graffiti and damaged by vandals.

For several years, veterans have painted out graffiti on a daily basis and organized surveillance teams in an attempt to catch vandals who regularly desecrated the monument.

Despite efforts of the monument monitors, the Los Angeles Police Department Pacific Community Police Station and Neighborhood Watch groups, the monument continued to be damaged.

The monument will be restored and relocated 100 yards east to a city-owned location near the entrance of the office of Los Angeles Councilmember Cindy Miscikowski and near the new Westchester Library.

It is hoped that the new location will provide greater protection for the monument because the new site has more people walking by than at the earlier corner site.

The monument was erected in 1970 to honor those from Westchester and Playa del Rey who died in the Vietnam War.

The monument has a beautiful granite slab with the names of Vietnam War participants inscribed and two granite meditation benches where friends and family would often sit and remember their fallen soldiers.

Thanks to the efforts of D.A. “Curt” Curtiss and many others, the monument will be repaired.

DONATE THOSE BOOKS —

Ever wonder what to do with all the books that you have already read?

There’s a great answer. The Westchester Rotary Club is getting ready to have its Annual Book Sale and is now collecting and sorting books to prepare for the book sale scheduled for late May.

For further information on your book donations you can call Rotary president Rich Musella (310) 649-0374 or event chair Rod Tyler at (310) 670-4522.

Funds from the sale of the books are used in the Westchester community for youth groups, local teacher mini-grants and more.

ANTONIO FUNDRAISER —

The H.B. Drollinger Co. and the Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion are sponsoring a fundraiser for Los Angeles mayoral candidate Antonio Villaraigosa from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, May 4th, at Hometown Buffet, 8629 Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester.

The suggested donation is $100 per person and will include breakfast. Participants are asked to reserve by Monday, May 2nd, to (213) 687-7777.

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