Start the Presses: A community working together

This is beginning to sound a bit like a broken record, I realize, but today's paper marks yet another round of changes.

In concert with the changes with the Life & Leisure section, the addition of Marquee, we've decided to make a few design changes. We've changed the look and feel of the skybox (the text above our front-page logo), making it easier to read.

We've changed the headline font, giving news stories a traditional serif font, while more feature-type stories receive a san-serif treatment. We also added an index bar on the bottom of the Sports section, similar to what you see on A1.

We made these changes in response to specific requests by readers. Together, I feel they make the paper more attractive visually, make it easier to find specific stories and sections, and, importantly, make it easier to read.

Hopefully you agree. If you do, I hope you'll tell me. If you don't, I hope you'll let me know what isn't working. As I have said many times, my goal is to be accessible, accurate and, ultimately, accountable to you as readers.


Last Sunday, hundreds of people showed up to donate blood as part of a drive for 5-year-old Matthew Fernandez. Matthew, a preschooler at St. Finbar's Catholic Church, has leukemia. The drive, held on the school grounds of the Burbank church, was organized by family friend Michele Ramos.

As we hear so often, blood is a scarce resource. Matthew's mother, Ana, told reporter Maria Hsin of waiting late into the night at Children's Hospital for a transfusion.

“I was told there was not enough blood,” Fernandez said. “That was a sign for me. That maybe God wants me to help out. You can't just buy this at the market. You have to come and donate.”

Amen to that.

The incredible response to the blood drive shows the power of people working together, the importance of community, and the good we can all do by simply rolling up an arm. It made me proud to live here.

The story had received a considerable amount of media attention, not only by this and other newspapers, but by Spanish-language radio superstar Eddie “Piolín” Sotelo of 101.9 La Nueva FM. I'm sure all that coverage helped, but in the end, it was the people that donated that made it a success.

One thing that didn't happen, unfortunately, was me doing my part. I wanted to give, but was turned back at the gate. Here's what happened:

I had never donated blood before — shame on me, truly — and wanted to make things right. When I got to St. Finbar, I told the woman doing intake that I had recently been out of the country. Friends of ours were married in the Dominican Republic in May, and I couldn't remember if this would preclude me from giving blood.

She searched through a huge binder, detailing the world's malaria hotspots. The page for the Dominican Republic was completely in red, save for areas around Santiago and Santo Domingo. Since I was not in either of those places, I was bounced, unable to give until spring of next year.

I'll get my chance soon enough. I hope Matthew won't need it then, but I know someone else will.

DAN EVANS is the editor. When he's not running from needles, he can be found at or (818) 637-3234.

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