The Valley Line: Celebrating with the elephants

Happy 2011, everyone! In spite of my advanced years, I was able to stay awake and greet the new year with a sparkling flute of bubbly and great expectations.

At 8 a.m. on New Year's Day, I was quite cozy in bed with my eiderdown over me and dog Lola snuggled up against me to watch the Rose Parade.

Our very own Rose Queen Evanne Friedman, a La Cañada High School senior, was looking beautiful as she waved from her flowered perch to the multitude of cheering parade enthusiasts. Other local students who were on Friedman's Royal Court float were Jessica Montoya, who attends Flintridge Prep, and Kathryn Thomson who is a student at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy.

Congratulations go to all the float builders and volunteer "petal pushers" who worked long and hard in very nippy weather to ready our float "3-2-1- DIG!" for its historic ride down Colorado Boulevard.

Our float, with its cute animation, was a crowd pleaser even though it did not win a prize from the judges. Since our first float in 1979, LCF floats have garnered 21 prizes. Entries are now being accepted for LCF float ideas for the 2012 Rose Parade.

Before I start babbling about other things, I wish you and yours a very happy and healthy new year.


Exciting things have been afoot recently at the Los Angeles Zoo. Valleyites John Lewis, director of the zoo, and Connie Morgan, president of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA) were on hand to greet guests at a red-carpet opening and cultural celebration of the state-of-the-art "Elephants of Asia habitat."

The party, themed "Elephants of Asia Under the Stars," was as exciting as it was informative. There was a definite winter nip to the air as several hundred guests came to greet Billy, the zoo's patriarch elephant, and his new female companions, Jewel and Tina. Of course the elephant ladies were winking their long eyelashes at the ruggedly handsome Billy.

This new 6-acre compound provides plenty of room for the pachyderms to roam.

The evening provided a "kid-friendly" event and many families brought along the offspring to enjoy seeing these mighty animals.

Rock musician "Slash" (Saul Hudson), who rocked out with "Guns N' Roses" and "Velvet Revolver," was there for the festivities, along with his good looking sons London and Cash. Slash is a GLAZA trustee and a lifelong lover of animals.

Another favorite celeb attending the opening was Pauley Perrette of the TV show "NCIS." Young Nolan Gould, who is in the TV show "Modern Family," was also there to see the new exhibit.

This event that honored and celebrated the elephants of Asia featured live performances by Asian musicians and dancers. Exotic and well-prepared foods from Thailand, Cambodia, China and India were served throughout the evening.

Lewis said, "Seeing the elephants explore and engage their new habitat is an amazing and rewarding sight. The Los Angeles Zoo is excited to share this incredible exhibit and these stunning animals.

GLAZA played a key role in the development of the exhibit and according to Morgan, who noted, "our elephants receive exceptional care, which enhances the Los Angeles Zoo's role as a global leader in educating children and adults about the crucial need for conservation of the species."

The Elephants of Asia habitat is designed to increase appreciation, amazement and wonder for this endangered animal. Scientists estimate that there are only 35,000 wild elephants left in Asia.

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