Author: juliekirst

Santa Monica uses rebates, grants to get residents to conserve water

The 363 water bottles stacked in a pyramid in Santa Monica City Hall represent the 144 gallons of water the average resident uses in Santa Monica each day. With a goal to cut water waste 20 percent by 2010, the City of Santa Monica Environmental Programs Division display helps people visualize how much water is used for such things as shaving, showering, washing clothes, doing dishes and irrigating gardens. The pyramid also helps people visualize how much water can be saved. Santa Monica’s total daily water use is approximately 13 million gallons a day, which is significantly higher than expected for a city of its size, according to the city Environmental Programs Division. To offset residential, business and tourism growth that will place further pressure on city water resources in the years ahead, Santa Monica is offering residents and businesses incentive plans to save water. “Water use has been fairly steady, considering that Santa Monica is growing at one percent a year,” says Kim O’Cain, Santa Monica water resources specialist. “Now with rebuilding, water use is going up and we want to bring it down.” Santa Monica receives the majority of its water from the Northern California Sierra, according to O’Cain. Even with record rains, snow pack in the areas relied upon for Santa Monica water is below normal. Some quick fixes for cutting water waste include checking for...

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May designated National Physical Fitness, Sports Month

Since 1983, the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports has designated May as National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. Designed to highlight the importance of daily exercise and encourage Americans to become more active, the council offers numerous ideas to help individuals and families find ways to improve their health through physical activity. The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, an advisory committee of volunteers, works through the U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services to advise the President about physical activity, fitness, and sports in America. The council promotes physical activity for health, fitness and enjoyment for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. Designating a month is a means to inform and inspire everyone to make a lifelong commitment to physical activity that is imperative for good health. With our local beaches, bike paths, parks and community programs, it’s easier than ever to get active without a large financial investment. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a sedentary lifestyle is a strong risk factor for many diseases. Studies show that physical inactivity, combined with poor eating habits, contributes to 300,000 preventable deaths a year in the U.S. Daily physical activity helps with weight loss and can dramatically reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. Regular activity also helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol, prevent or...

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Cultural Affairs Division meetings focus on local cultural desires of residents

Looking to redefine Santa Monica’s cultural vision, the city’s Cultural Affairs Division has turned to its residents to hear their cultural needs and desires through meetings, workshops and surveys. Since the existing Santa Monica Cultural Arts Master Plan was updated in 1996, Santa Monica has seen many changes and is now looking to the community for input on how to shape the city’s cultural future over the next ten years, according to the Cultural Affairs Division. “The meetings are about taking the pulse of the community,” says Jessica Cusick, City of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs Division manager. She adds that at this point the meetings are not about crafting solutions but rather are about gaining information about the issues in the hope that the city might fund a more in-depth study, including focus groups, from which to create an arts master plan. All members of the Santa Monica community were invited to attend meetings that were held on Saturday, May 7th, and Wednesday, May 18th. Prior to the meetings, residents were asked to think about a range of topics such as how the arts can further enhance the quality of life in Santa Monica, what government can do to make the cultural landscape of the city more vibrant, how arts and cultural programming can help address troubling social issues and how the city can support and invigorate its artistic...

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Chrysalis helps jobless find jobs, change lives

Chrysalis has been “Changing lives through jobs” in Santa Monica since 1994. The organization helps the jobless find jobs. The innovative nonprofit Chrysalis organization that has transformed itself through the years to more successfully fulfill its mission recently made a partial move into a new office at 1853 Lincoln Blvd. in Santa Monica. Chrysalis purchased the building through a generous $1.6 million gift from board member Alan Long, Southern California president of Sotheby’s International Realty. The gift, which covered the complete cost of the property, has allowed Chrysalis to create a permanent home and to further its presence in Santa Monica. “We wanted to stay in Santa Monica,” says Hillary Oberstein, Chrysalis vice president of development. “There’s a tremendous homeless population and we’re committed to staying and helping.” Until remodeling of the new facility is complete, its programs will continue to operate out of its old space at 1837 Lincoln Blvd. in Santa Monica. When John Dillon founded Chrysalis in 1984, his purpose was to provide food and blankets to the homeless on Skid Row, but he realized it was a temporary fix. He determined the real fix was in providing jobs so those without hope could earn money and transform their lives. Chrysalis helps over 2,000 economically disadvantaged people a year become self-sufficient through employment by offering free comprehensive programs that address the basics of a contemporary job...

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National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day Thursday, May 12

“Be Aware! Be Active!” is the theme for this year’s National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day Thursday, May 12th. Spearheaded by the National Fibromyalgia Association, the campaign seeks to raise public awareness and address the role activity plays in alleviating pain and other symptoms of the condition, according to Lynne Matallana, National Fibromyalgia Association president and co- founder. Affecting more than ten million Americans, fibromyalgia is characterized by fatigue and widespread aching and stiffness in muscles and soft tissues. Fibromyalgia has no known cause and there are no blood or x-ray tests to diagnose it, according to the American College of Rheumatology. Doctors rely on patient description of chronic pain and a manual examination of the tender points, such as the neck, elbows, lower back and hip area, associated with the syndrome. The American College of Rheumatology set the stage for credibility for fibromyalgia when it established diagnosis criteria for it in 1990. Earlier, doctors often misdiagnosed the condition or proclaimed it “psychosomatic,” according to Corine Walson, National Fibromyalgia Association director of public relations and marketing. She adds that it still takes an average of two to five years for a person to receive an accurate diagnosis. Matallana knows firsthand how disheartening that can be. She went to 37 doctors and was bedridden for two years before finally being diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 1995. Matallana and her co-founder Karen Lee Richards,...

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