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  • Read On: We are living through interesting times

    Read On: We are living through interesting times

    All right, so let me just say that I'm feeling unusually positive about everything at the moment, a genuine departure from my typical default position that mass catastrophe is imminent and we're all going to die, like, tomorrow. I've decided that this — right now — is kind of the greatest time...

  • A Word, Please: Common errors with commas

    A Word, Please: Common errors with commas

    Liz in Newport Beach posed a good question about commas. Consider the following two sentences. "Days are usually great, but, when they aren't great, they still pass in 24 hours." "Every word should bring something to the table and, if it doesn't, it should be chopped out." MORE: Read more of June's...

  • The Whiteboard Jungle: Washington's birthday should be moved to February's fourth Monday

    The Whiteboard Jungle: Washington's birthday should be moved to February's fourth Monday

    Today is the 207th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth. If you already knew that, congratulations, you are in a select minority who do. See, while schools close for two days in February, the reason for these closures remain vague for most. All it means is a three-day weekend. If you are as old...

  • Verdugo Views: Irish Sweepstakes money didn't bring happiness

    Verdugo Views: Irish Sweepstakes money didn't bring happiness

    A lot of people used to live in Glendale. Or their parents or grandparents did. And sometimes, when they want to find their family history, they contact the Glendale Historical Society. Sean Bersell, executive director of the society, usually suggests they contact Mike Shea and the Special Collections...

  • A Word, Please: More tips on how to write bullet-proof prose

    A Word, Please: More tips on how to write bullet-proof prose

    Last week, we looked at words and phrases that, while fine in general usage, are considered no-nos in professional editing. But there are more — lots more — than we could fit into a single column. So here are more terms that, though fine in casual usage, you might want to skip if you're writing...

  • Intersections: Different dateline, same feeling of home

    Intersections: Different dateline, same feeling of home

    I was a year out of journalism school when I plucked up the courage to submit my resume to an opening for a reporting position at the Glendale News-Press. The journalism industry was rapidly changing for the worse at the time and nothing ever came of my efforts to secure a full-time position, but...

  • Read on: Questions to stump Web hackers

    Read on: Questions to stump Web hackers

    It seems to me that with each passing year, life gets increasingly more absurd. Donald Trump is a serious candidate for president of the United States. A woman in Norway claimed this week to be a cat trapped in a human body, potentially giving rise to the trans-species movement. Perhaps craziest...

  • A Word, Please: One objective of copy editing is precision

    They say if it ain't broke, don't fix it. And though I don't know who "they" are, I can guarantee that they're not copy editors. A big part of my job is fixing errors that aren't really errors. NEWSLETTER: Get the latest headlines from the 818 straight to your inbox >> Imagine, for example, I have...

  • The Whiteboard Jungle: Reckless driving around schools is more than a troubling concern

    The Whiteboard Jungle: Reckless driving around schools is more than a troubling concern

    Against my better judgment, I recently watched "Mad Max: Fury Road," curious how a high-octane action film could earn 10 Academy Award nominations including Best Picture. The only thing I got out of the film was recognizing a connection between its subtitle and a line from Shakespeare's "Macbeth":...

  • Verdugo Views: Mom influenced Glendale resident's entertainment career

    Verdugo Views: Mom influenced Glendale resident's entertainment career

    Nami Ota-Donals credits her mother for her rewarding career as an entertainer. Her mother, Miyo Takeguchi Ota, studied flower arranging, tea ceremonies, music and other classical arts in her native Japan before coming here as a young adult. "She was a beautiful lady," Ota-Donals, a Glendale resident...

  • A Word, Please: He or she may be happier with 'they'

    A Word, Please: He or she may be happier with 'they'

    Changes in language can come as unwelcome news. I get that. You spend years carefully following some usage rule you were taught is important — perhaps by using "literally" only in its strictest sense or never using "they" to mean "he or she" or, in my case, always putting the period before the...

  • Glendale PTA: Dad's Club to host pancake fundraiser

    Dads are usually known for being skilled on the grill, which is probably what makes the annual pancake breakfast fundraiser sponsored by the Dad's Club among the best-loved around town. The event will start at 7 a.m. on Saturday in the group's clubhouse, 1728 Cañada Blvd. The griddle will stay...

  • Learning Matters: The reality of having hope tempered by experience

    Learning Matters: The reality of having hope tempered by experience

    In the early morning and premidnight hours on Wednesday next week, local volunteers will join with city staff, outreach workers from the city's homeless shelter and officers of the Glendale Police Department to conduct the annual count of our homeless population. It's an exercise that will be occurring...

  • Intersections: Recalling a journalist on the anniversary of his death

    Intersections: Recalling a journalist on the anniversary of his death

    It could have been the concrete pavement of any other street in any other city in the world. Men walked on it with their worn leather shoes, the sound of the boxy heels of elderly women going out for their daily food shopping hit the ground with force, an occasionally well-behaved street dog strutted...

  • A Word, Please: The persistent, unabated collapse of grammar

    A Word, Please: The persistent, unabated collapse of grammar

    I received an email recently from a reader named Fred who’s unhappy about the way that language and writing standards have gone down the tubes since his school days in 1950s and ‘60s. Here’s an excerpt: “Teachers have told me that punctuation is no longer being taught (considered by students ‘who...

  • Read On: You're a winner every day you lose

    Read On: You're a winner every day you lose

    If you’re reading this, I’m assuming that you didn’t win a share of this week’s $1.58 billion Powerball jackpot. It’s too bad, because you had the money practically spent in your head, didn’t you? Between buying the little Ferrari you’d had your eye on, snapping up that small Caribbean island and...

  • The Whiteboard Jungle: The CAHSEE has turned out to be a wasted endeavor

    The Whiteboard Jungle: The CAHSEE has turned out to be a wasted endeavor

    This year’s 10th-graders have reason to celebrate because they no longer have to take the California High School Exit Exam, known as CAHSEE. Last October, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law SB 172, suspending the test for three years through the 2017-18 school year. Since 2004, the CAHSEE was administered...

  • Verdugo Views: Participants get on board for Glendale float's journey

    Verdugo Views: Participants get on board for Glendale float's journey

    It was 5:15 a.m. on New Year’s Day and a chilly 42 degrees as my husband, Glenn, and I met other float riders at Glendale City Hall. Our city’s float was back after missing the previous year. Patty Betancourt, with the Community Services and Parks Department, welcomed us, and we climbed into a...

  • Learning Matters: When it comes to publicly desired subjects, some hurdles are meant to be jumped

    Learning Matters: When it comes to publicly desired subjects, some hurdles are meant to be jumped

    Public education exists to provide what the public believes necessary to secure the constitutional “blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity.” In other words, we want our children to know how to assume responsibility for the world and for themselves, and we want them to be safe. But...

  • On Campus at GCC: Priority registration for spring semester under way

    On Campus at GCC: Priority registration for spring semester under way

    Priority registration for the spring 2016 semester at Glendale Community College began this week. Those not eligible for priority registration may start open registration beginning Feb. 1. The spring semester starts Feb. 16. Spring class listings can be found at glendale.edu/schedules. A flipbook...

  • A Word, Please: Don't let state codes rob you of speech

    A Word, Please: Don't let state codes rob you of speech

    Imagine a world where women aren’t women. They’re females. There are no children, only juveniles. A place where there is no “about” or “near,” only “approximately” and “in the vicinity of.” Where no one gets or uses or learns anything but instead acquires, utilizes and ascertains everything. Here,...

  • Intersections: Seeking real connections in a modern world

    Intersections: Seeking real connections in a modern world

    A few months ago, I was in Mongolia working on a reporting project when I found myself in the home of my Mongolian hosts in the late hours of the evening, as they crouched around the television to watch a reality show. This scene wouldn’t have been out of the ordinary, except that I knew this family...

  • Glendale PTA: Black and White Affair slated for Feb. 6

    The 2016 Black and White Affair, a dinner, dance and auction hosted by the Verdugo Woodlands Elementary's PTA, will be held on Feb. 6 at the La Cañada Flintridge Country Club, 5500 Godbey Drive, La Cañada Flintridge. The event will start at 6 p.m. for VIP ticket holders and 6:45 p.m. for general...

  • A Word, Please: A look at the visual component of writing

    A Word, Please: A look at the visual component of writing

    If you want people to take your writing seriously, grammar is important. So are punctuation and usage. But there’s another ingredient that lots of people overlook: aesthetics. In writing, looks count. In fact, many of the style rules followed so religiously by publishers exist exclusively to make...

  • Read On: Here are some predictions for the new year

    Read On: Here are some predictions for the new year

    Guaranteed to happen in 2016: Donald Trump will say something so utterly outrageous and offensive that pundits predict it will do irreparable damage to his presidential campaign. And then it won’t. Trump will lose interest in the presidential race and ultimately drop out sometime in the spring,...

  • The Whiteboard Jungle: GUSD would be wise to follow BUSD's example on calendar issue

    The Whiteboard Jungle: GUSD would be wise to follow BUSD's example on calendar issue

    January will be a busy time for Glendale Unified School Board members as they tackle two of the most significant issues left over from 2015: the search for a new superintendent and a new starting date for school. While the public has a minor say in choosing a superintendent, parents can have a...

  • Learning Matters: GUSD encountered its share of issues in 2015

    Learning Matters: GUSD encountered its share of issues in 2015

    We tell our children to look both ways before crossing the street. School boards do best when they follow the same advice in their decision-making, looking thoughtfully to their history before stepping off the curb into the future. The Glendale Unified School District faced some big issues in 2015,...

  • A Word, Please: Unwrap vast grammar knowledge this holiday

    A Word, Please: Unwrap vast grammar knowledge this holiday

    You’ve had a lot of opportunities to make New Year’s resolutions. By now, no doubt, you have six-pack abs, you speak eight languages and your cuticles are the envy of hand models everywhere. Good Housekeeping will be at your place any day now for a photo spread titled “America’s Most Spotless Garage.”...

  • Intersections: A realization and reaffirmation of journalism

    Intersections: A realization and reaffirmation of journalism

    Just before a recent trip, I found that I would be traveling near an area where refugees were being taken in, thanks to the generosity of local government officials. I thought it would be an amazing reporting opportunity to meet and profile not just those who were settling into their new homes...

  • Read On: 'Wonderful Life' star's familiar straits

    Read On: 'Wonderful Life' star's familiar straits

    Gather ‘round the newspaper campfire, ladies and gentlemen, and I'll tell you a classic Christmastime tale of goodness, cluelessness and the common man (or in this case, woman) getting kicked in the teeth by Corporate America. Our story begins in a little town called Los Angeles, where a guy named...

  • A Word, Please: Why is it so difficult to catch our own errors?

    A Word, Please: Why is it so difficult to catch our own errors?

    When Santa makes a list, he checks it twice. I think I know why. Any guy whose name transposes to Satan has surely been burned by typos before. To catch all the mistakes in a piece of writing, a single read just won't do. That's one of the first things we teach in copy editing class: Two passes...

  • The Whiteboard Jungle: Reading books is not a regular hobby among today's students

    The Whiteboard Jungle: Reading books is not a regular hobby among today's students

    For years, I required my advanced 10th-graders to read 2,000 pages a semester, averaging 100 pages a week, based on books that they chose. That way if a book we studied in class didn't catch their fancy, they had the freedom to find books that appealed to them as long as the selections were appropriate...

  • Glendale PTA: GUSD to host workshop focusing on cyberbullying

    With the holidays currently on everyone's minds, it's easy to forget how quickly classes will resume in January. Planning ahead, parents and family adults can take note of the next free event hosted by Glendale Unified School District's Student Support Services Department. A workshop about "Cyberbullying"...

  • A Word, Please: A guide to using Latin abbreviations, e.g. and i.e.

    A Word, Please: A guide to using Latin abbreviations, e.g. and i.e.

    My friend Antonio recently asked me about i.e. and e.g. These Latin abbreviations, which are pretty popular in English, get confused quite a bit. It’s easy to see why. Even people who use the abbreviations aren’t likely to know what they stand for. They’re just letters, not closely associated with...

  • The presses stop: That's all, folks!

    The presses stop: That's all, folks!

    One of the longest running traditions in journalism is that you work — and work hard — on your first day and on your last. A few slack off in the middle, but not many, and certainly not me. I sat in on nearly 20 hours of grueling endorsement interviews in 2009 a week before I officially became...

  • Intersections: A gravestone belies candidate Trump's call

    Intersections: A gravestone belies candidate Trump's call

    It was last year around this time when I walked alone across all of Arlington National Cemetery, taking in the autumn colors and the final resting places of those who have been buried here beginning with the Civil War. It was then that I came across the headstone of someone among the so many young...

  • Read On: Fashionable, wearable SoCal moments

    Read On: Fashionable, wearable SoCal moments

    I heard the other day that Amazon took in more than 500 orders per second — per second — and nearly 50 million orders in total on Cyber Monday this past week. It's impossible to even conceive of just how massively e-commerce has altered the holiday-shopping equation. But it's important to note...

  • A Word, Please: The not-so-subtle indicators of advertorials

    A Word, Please: The not-so-subtle indicators of advertorials

    A sea change has taken place in your reading material in recent years. A decade ago, most of the feature articles you read — light pieces on everything from travel to fashion to personal finance — were created with two main considerations in mind: Is this something you, the reader, need to know...

  • The Whiteboard Jungle: Using the 'Chairman of the Board' as a teaching example

    The Whiteboard Jungle: Using the 'Chairman of the Board' as a teaching example

    New Year’s Day. 1994. Las Vegas. Frank Sinatra. A moment when my life changed for the better. That was the only time I saw Sinatra perform live. And because of it, I have learned why Sinatra is considered by so many as the greatest popular singer of all time. What amazed me about the show was that...

  • Verdugo Views: Glendale resident recalls the hardship of Japanese internment camps

    Nami Ota-Donals was a student at John Adams Junior High when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and the United States was suddenly at war. The Ota family had been invited to a wedding that Sunday night, Dec. 7, 1941. They joined hundreds of other guests in Japantown in Los Angeles. Her father, Henry...

  • Start the Presses: A retrospective and the long goodbye

    After nearly seven years, more than 15,000 editions, and more fun than a man should be allowed to have in his work, I am stepping down as editor of the Glendale News-Press, Burbank Leader and La Cañada Valley Sun. My last day will be Dec. 11. Tribune Publishing, the parent of our parent The Los...

  • A Word, Please: And the fight against misinformation goes on

    Reader Rick emailed me recently with this thought: “As an idea for a future article, I wondered if you would address the use of ‘and’ to start a sentence? I know back in my younger days in school (1950s and ’60s) it was a ‘forbidden rule’ to use an ‘and’ to begin a sentence. Now, I see it quite...

  • Intersections: Move to reject refugees betrays U.S. history

    I am a child of refugees. Hidden among the happy childhood memories I have are the stories spent hiding out in a basement as bomb sirens went off in Iran, stories my parents casually tell over bowls of tangerines and pomegranates during family dinners. It is safe to discuss these details out loud...

  • Glendale PTA: GHS PTSA cluster meeting scheduled

    A PTSA cluster meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Dec. 7 in the cafeteria at Glendale High School, 1440 E. Broadway. This joint association meeting is for the Glendale High cluster, which includes Roosevelt and Wilson middle schools as well as and Glendale High. All parents, students, teachers and...

  • Read On: Political moves deny the helpless

    I am not proud today of the way my country is behaving. This isn’t the America I know. The nation I grew up adoring was the last great, benevolent hope of the world. The last refuge for the beaten down and disenfranchised. The only place where all things remained possible. But now I’m told more...

  • The Whiteboard Jungle: Explaining the unexplainable can be a tricky thing

    When my 12-year-old son asked me why the French flag appeared on Google last Friday, I knew I had to muster the best of my parenting skills to carefully answer his question. This led me to thinking: With the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, just how much awareness should children have of what...

  • A Word, Please: Legitimate synonym gives rise to hate mail

    A friend emailed recently to ask me to weigh in on a language issue she finds particularly odious. The subject line of the email was “Question.” The text of the message wasted no time getting to the point: “Historic versus historical. I HATE how they’re misused.” Most of my conversations about...

  • A Word, Please: Use a strategic 'and' to fix structural flaws

    Feel like putting your word smarts to the test? See if you can spot a problem in the following sentence: “Jones has been featured on ‘Today,’ ‘60 Minutes’ and in such publications as People and the Los Angeles Times.” No, it has nothing to do with the punctuation. It’s the words. Want to try another?...

  • Learning Matters: Doubts about the proposed K-8 charter school in Glendale

    The Glendale Unified School Board recently received a petition asking it to authorize the establishment of a charter school within its boundaries. The proposal is for a new K-8 dual-language-immersion program at a site yet to be determined, but likely somewhere south of the Ventura (134) Freeway....

  • Start the Presses: Property and social justice

    Today's online and print editions mark our fourth special, single-issue focused issue of 2015. You asked for more in-depth, enterprise work and we delivered. Literally. Our pieces look at the nexus between property, poverty and community. The high quality of our schools drive up home and rental...

  • Intersections: Glendale needs to put the brakes on bad driving

    Time and time again, polls and surveys have ranked Glendale near the bottom for traffic collisions, pedestrian safety and just all around bad driving. But you don’t need an annual poll to figure this out. If you live here, you could just take a look at the headlines in this paper on any given week,...

  • The Whiteboard Jungle: From 'why can't Johnny read' to 'why won't he?'

    Kids don't read that much today, whether the material is e-books, online magazine articles or student newspapers; in fact, some don't read at all. This is not a scientific fact. I have no Gallup poll or think-tank report to prove my point. This conclusion is based on my firsthand observations,...

  • Read On: Beware of shady peddlers while shopping

    The next time you’re bopping through the mall this holiday season and see one of those people holding a jar of anti-aging face moisturizer dreck and promising to make you look like a million bucks (or at least $100,000) in 10 seconds, don’t walk but sprint as fast as you can in the opposite direction....

  • A Word, Please: Looking at a comma's role in a direct address

    The Internet has taught us many things, most of them involving cats and robotic vacuum cleaners. But there’s some valuable information floating around in cyberspace, too. And none more valuable than a meme conveying this shocking lesson: A poor grasp of commas can make you a cannibal. The meme...

  • Glendale PTA: Parenting workshops to focus on bullying

    Free parenting workshops, made possible by Glendale Unified's Student Support Services, are being held monthly at the Library Connection @ Adams Square, 1100 E. Chevy Chase Drive. They will be led by Ilin Magran, school psychologist and coordinator in the school district's Healthy Start office ...

  • Intersections: WHO report excites the told-you-so in me

    Bacon lovers, sausage aficionados, cold-cut obsessives, I know you got some bad news this week. The World Health Organization confirmed this week that processed meat causes cancer, with the report going on to say that even just two slices of bacon a day can increase the risk of bowel cancer by...

  • The Whiteboard Jungle: Hallmark seems to have forgotten its long-standing slogan

    Last weekend, I went shopping at a Hallmark store to buy a birthday card for my youngest son. I had a hard time finding one appropriate. The "son" cards fell into two categories: for little boys and for grown men. Hardly anything fitting a child between 8 and 20 years old. What I had no trouble...

  • A Word, Please: Proposed 'ze' pronoun isn't a singular idea

    Have you heard the news? A number of colleges, including Harvard, are getting creative with the pronouns on their student application forms, offering the option of sidestepping old standards “he” and “she” in favor of a newly minted gender-neutral alternative like “ze.” It’s creating quite a buzz...

  • Verdugo Views: Return of Rose float supports a long tradition

    It was a blow to many residents when they realized the Glendale City Council had not funded a float for Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses parade this last New Year’s Day. After all, the city had entered a float for more than 100 years. The day after the parade, this message appeared on nextdoor.com,...

  • Editor's Note: Welcome to the new website

    Today marks the beginning of a new web world for readers of the Burbank Leader, Glendale News-Press and La Cañada Valley Sun. As many readers have requested, our sites are now easily viewable on whatever device you have handy. Life in Los Angeles moves quickly, and our readers need to be able to...

  • Start the Presses: A starman reaches for infinity

    On a recent Tuesday, I pulled open the sliding wrought-iron gate securing the driveway of a tidy home in a Riverside subdivision. The barking started immediately. The bark belonged to Gus, a four-legged creature that turned from watchdog to wiggling licker the moment I crossed the threshold into...

  • A Word, Please: Comma rules that may give you pause

    A few weeks ago, I mentioned in this space that serial commas, also called Oxford commas, are a matter of style. So either “red, white and blue” or “red, white, and blue” can be correct depending on whether you’re following, say, Associated Press or Chicago style. If you’re not bound by either...

  • Learning Matters: Student and parent attendance is important

    In the fairy tale, “Briar Rose,” better known as Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty,” a king and queen are granted their long-expressed wish for a child. According to Philip Pullman’s 2012 (Viking) version of the Brothers Grimm story, the king, unable to contain his joy, ordered a great celebration of their...

  • Intersections: Glendale's diversity is just under the surface

    One of the most fulfilling assignments I had in the beginnings of my freelance journalism career came from this very newspaper you’re reading. It was November 2009, and I was at Moonlight Rollerway to report on a night they had had going on for over 20 years called “Rainbow Skate,” L.A.’s original...

  • Glendale PTA: College and Career Day slated for Oct. 28

    Attending higher education after high school graduation can be a daunting task for students. Thankfully, with some planning and guidance, the road to higher education can be made a bit easier which is why the annual College and Career Day has been such a popular activity. This year’s event is from...

  • A Word, Please: Grammar-curious readers look for answers

    Some interesting questions have been piling up in my inbox recently, including one from a reader named Lorraine who asked about the expression “exact same.” This word pairing is a popular target for nitpickers. “Exact same” is nonsensical, they say. Redundant. So it’s wrong. Not exactly. Yes, it’s...

  • Read On: Recalling an interview with Dodgers legend Vin Scully

    I’ve been interviewing people as a journalist for nearly 40 years — I am, indeed, older than dirt — and have thrillingly managed to chat up some true American icons. Not to drop names, but they include Liz Taylor, Shirley MacLaine, Martin Scorsese, Jerry Lewis, Lucille Ball, George Burns, Roseanne...

  • The Whiteboard Jungle: Schools should be a safe place for students

    The website Everytown for Gun Safety reports that, on average, a school shooting occurs every week in the United States. It is difficult to wrap one’s mind around such a statistic. A school should be a haven for children, a safe place for parents to have their kids while at work. When students...

  • Start the Presses: Notes on our part of the world

    I want to remind everyone that the Burbank Community Advisory Board will be having its meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 13 at 6 p.m. This meeting will be held at the Burbank Bar and Grille on San Fernando Boulevard downtown and is open to all. However, please email me — dan.evans@latimes.com — if you're...

  • Learning Matters: Recent trip to Sacramento brings back memories

    I attended an adult education summit in Sacramento last week, my first trip there since I left the school board two and a half years ago. Walking around Capitol Park, shaded by trees whose magnificence I’d previously failed to appreciate, I began thinking about the issues that have come and gone...

  • A Word, Please: Six words that may invite contradiction

    Because I’m a grammar columnist, anything I write can become a lightning rod for the Gotcha Squad. If an error appears in this column — no matter if it’s real or perceived — rest assured that I hear about it. I know that sounds like a pain, but there’s an upside. Unlike most people, I get a chance...

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