Author: The Argonaut

Community Pantry

Volunteers in Westchester are providing food to those in need By Haley Beyer After seeing a newspaper article about the Fridge Project, a series of community-run fridges across the city that provided free food to the public, Westchester resident and YMCA board member John Sharpe knew he had to follow suit. To help combat the growing food insecurity problem in his community, he founded the Painted Pantry Project. He decided against a fridge program because he did not want to include perishable food during his first go-around.  The community pantry officially opened on Feb. 8 and will remain open 24 hours a day, seven days a week at the Westchester Family YMCA. Sharpe began by collecting donations from his friends and community members at his house in January so the pantry would be fully stocked when it opened. Donations are accepted at the YMCA from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Friday. The team is hoping to partner with other organizations around the community to create more donation sites. At the opening ceremony, the team celebrated the pantry while following COVID-19 regulations. Instead of cutting a big ribbon, each person in attendance was given a miniature ribbon. They were asked to write messages of unity and hope on the ribbons before tying them on the fence surrounding the pantry. The only way for the Painted Pantry Project to...

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Corona by the numbers & local updates

Compiled by Kamala Kirk Cases and deaths by neighborhood as of Feb. 28: Culver City: 2,081 (deaths 88); Del Rey: 1,897 (deaths 25); El Segundo: 643 (deaths five); Marina del Rey: 336 (deaths two); Mar Vista: 1,899 (deaths 33); Palms: 2,472 (deaths 58); Playa Vista: 554 (deaths seven); Playa del Rey: 101 (deaths one); Santa Monica: 4,323 (deaths 147); Venice: 1,475 (deaths 14); Westchester: 2,317 (deaths 46) Total Westside cases: 18,098 total Westside deaths: 426 total confirmed cases in LA County: 1,190,894 total deaths in LA County: 21,328 total new cases as of Feb. 28: 1,730 total new deaths: 94 hospitalizations: 1,733 positivity rate (seven-day daily average): 3.6% total number of people tested: 5,820,973  (Source: Los Angeles County Department of Public Health)  ...

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Let’s fix Main Street Editor: I think it will better to modify Main Street now so it can survive the present and thrive in the future. That would be better than to let it fail altogether, then afterward try to resurrect the “Good Old Main Street” from the ashes after a complete crash. We could make it easier to decide what must be done if we focused on accurately modeling the details of the various plans and projecting their futures.  Imagine if before the present alfresco was laid out, the designers had polled the individual restaurant bars to ask what would be the minimum number of outside seats they each would need to continue service without losing money. Easily noticed, the parklet areas arranged with conforming social distancing could not come close to serving that number. (The city is mum on how many seats they think their plan will provide. I’ve looked everywhere for a seating layout chart as evidence they did this calculation.) One potential model for what we want is what we have: pedestrians and folks waiting in lines on the sidewalks during busy periods, with waiters shuttling back and forth through the sidewalk passersby while scurrying from the parklets to the kitchens and bars inside. Traffic lanes run through the center, bifurcating the piazza and spoiling the gentle outdoor ambience. A different model would barricade all...

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Putting Out Fires

Santa Monica Fire Department uses revolutionary software for emergency incidents By Kamala Kirk After witnessing two tragic line-of-duty deaths in their own department, Bay Area firefighters Andy Bozzo and Will Pigeon came up with the idea to create Tablet Command (TC), a game-changing incident management and response software that is now being used by hundreds of fire departments and tens of thousands of first responders in the U.S. and Canada, including the Santa Monica Fire Department (SMFD). “We purchased Tablet Command after using it in a demonstration mode for a few months,” said Tom Clemo, SMFD chief. “We were looking for a more accurate and timely system for the tracking of resources and personnel on incident scenes. After using a few products and speaking with the developers, it was clear that Tablet Command would work well for us now, and their development path was headed in a direction we were very excited about.” The previous tragedy highlighted a problem that emergency services around the globe experience on a daily basis: during the chaos and confusion of the first moments of an emergency, it’s very difficult to track the tasks and whereabouts of arriving responders — much of this is still being done by pencil and paper. “The app on the phone is a real-time display of incident activity and units assigned, this gives all of our personnel an idea...

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News in Brief

Compiled by Kamala Kirk Arson and grand theft auto suspect arrested On Feb. 23 at approximately 2:15 p.m., officers from the Santa Monica Police Department responded to the area of 23rd and Dewey regarding a report of a man trying to set a vehicle on fire. Details of the call indicate the male was attempting to light an item stuffed in the gas tank of the reporting party’s vehicle. Officers arrived on the scene and were directed to the subject, who was later identified as Alex Omar Aguirre, a 28-year-old Hispanic male from Los Angeles. Officers saw Aguirre leaning into the car window of a separate vehicle, rummaging through the contents of the car. They noticed the vehicle had smoke emitting from the inside compartment and immediately summoned for the Santa Monica Fire Department. Aguirre was detained by officers who spoke with him to ascertain the details of this incident, while fire personnel extinguished the burning vehicle. The reporting party told officers that he saw Aguirre trying to pick the lock of his vehicle before he confronted him. He also noticed a burning rag had been stuffed into the filler of the gas tank, and he was able to extinguish the fire before calling 911. The victim watched as the suspect attempted to flee in the vehicle, which he eventually ignited. Aguirre appeared to have trouble starting the car,...

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