Category: Area

Reminder of a Forgotten War

Afghanistan-born activist marks 17th anniversary of fighting in her homeland By Audrey Cleo Yap When she lived in her hometown of Kabul, Afghanistan, Samira Abrar got used to not making plans with friends. And when they did, they would punctuate their would-be lunch dates and shopping excursions with the expression, “Inshallah” — “God willing” in Arabic. “You would plan things, sure, but you’re like, ‘I don’t know if it’s going to happen, so I better not be so excited about it,’” said Abrar, 24, referring to the daily anxiety she said she felt whenever she left her home to...

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One Man Army

Todd the Volunteer is cleaning up local streets to blaze a trail out of homelessness Story and photographs by Kyle Knoll When people see Todd Olin picking up trash on the side of the road, their instinct is often that something doesn’t add up. There’s the white T-shirt and a Dayglow orange vest, but he’s not part of a city work crew — it’s just him out there, and a single handcart bursting with well-worn tools. But three words emblazoned in thick black marker on handwritten signs and the back of his vest identify this man as someone who...

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Real Love

How 5 Local Couples Made It Happen The Argonaut asked our Facebook and Instagram followers to nominate local couples whose stories show that true love is still possible in our chaotic, challenging and often heartbreaking world. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, don’t be afraid to take that leap! SPARKS FLY AT THE SANTA MONICA DMV “It was 2006. It was Fourth of July weekend and Damien was sitting right next to me. We were there for probably two hours and we didn’t say a word to each other, until this little girl came up and stopped right...

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Year in Review

  It’s difficult to pin down a single theme that accurately defines 2014. In many ways, this was a pretty confusing year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shot up from 16,441 in January to a record high of more than 18,000 before Christmas, but wages remain flat for most as the cost of living climbs — except at the pump, with gas prices plummeting well under $3 per gallon. A rainy and cold December has capped off months of intense concern about the still very troubling drought. And how will we ever explain the Ice Bucket Challenge to our...

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Four Things You Can Do Right Now to Help the Planet

Compiled by Jennifer Boucher 1. Grow Native Plants Most drinking water consumed by Westside residents ends up on their lawns. Replacing thirsty grasses with aesthetically pleasing native plants can save thousands of gallons of water each year, which is all the more important considering the current drought. California buckwheat, Cleveland sage and Manzanita shrubs are among the plants best suited for the region’s naturally dry climate, according to Brooke Christopher, spokesperson for the nonprofit environmental group Tree People. 2. Use Rain Barrels Another way to save water is to capture rainfall when it happens and use that water for irrigation for weeks to come. Rain barrels collect water from rooftop gutters and storm drains and are becoming increasingly popular among Westside homeowners. Santa Monica has issued rebates to 153 homeowners who have installed 381 rain barrels since 2008. “Rain barrels help a person tune into the value and quantity of water that lands on one’s roof when it rains,” said city watershed supervisor Neal Shapiro. “A rain barrel user can appreciate how much water is available for harvesting and it is rewarding.” 3. Secure Trash Fast-food wrappers, plastic bags, cigarette butts — if left to blow around Westside streets, chances are they’ll wind up on the beach or in the ocean, which is bad for the environment and just plain gross. “If you were asking me the number one...

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