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‘PastaThon’ Underway to Support Job Training for Disadvantaged Youth



LOS ANGELES — Smart & Final has launched its annual in-store donation program aimed to raise money and collect pasta-related items for the 9th annual PastaThon, a fundraising event organized by KFI AM640 for Caterina’s Club.

A 501(c)(3) non-profit, Caterina’s Club provides warm meals, affordable housing assistance and hospitality job training for homeless youth and low-income families throughout Southern California.

To participate in the food fundraiser, shoppers at any Smart & Final store can make a donation at the register during checkout. Now until December 6, for every $10 donated, Smart & Final and Barilla will in turn provide pasta, pasta sauce, forks, bowls and napkins to Caterina’s Club. Each $10 donation will provide 24 meals to kids in need.

In California, an estimated one in five children go to bed hungry each night. Having served over 3 million meals to date, Caterina’s Club founder and the owner of the Anaheim White House restaurant, Chef Bruno Serato stated, “It’s time to stop talking about it; it’s time to do something about it.”

Customers donating $10 will receive a code on their receipt to enter for a chance to win a 13-day, exclusive trip for two to Italy, courtesy of Trafalgar, the world’s leading guided vacation company. Visit for full details and official rules.

Smart & Final and the Smart & Final Charitable Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the company, also will donate pallets of food and provide volunteer staff at the PastaThon fundraising event hosted by KFI AM640, happening on December 6 at Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove, Calif. In 2018, the total raised from Smart & Final and its customers was $62,000, which was turned into 72,000 pounds of pasta and sauce, plus $17,000 in cash donations.

“Caterina’s Club and Chef Bruno Serato inspire the Smart & Final family to give our time, money and hearts to such a worthy cause every year,” said Deb Bell-Versluis, Director, Corporate Communications & Charitable Foundation, Smart & Final. “In the spirit of ‘food is love,’ we’re honored to have the opportunity to turn monetary donations into the ingredients Caterina’s Club uses to feed 25,000 kids a week in 30 cities.”

Throughout the year, the Smart & Final Charitable Foundation is committed to improving the quality of life and nourishing the communities Smart & Final stores serve. The Foundation aids nonprofit organizations that impact issues including hunger relief, health & wellness, education, youth development & sports, and disaster relief. Last year, the Charitable Foundation hit a fundraising milestone, raising $2 million for more than 2,300 causes with the help of Smart & Final customers and store associates.

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LA County DA Lacey Honors Four Heroes for Courageous Acts



LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey presented Courageous Citizen Awards to four individuals who intervened to stop violent crimes against others. They assisted prosecutors by agreeing to provide crucial eyewitness testimony in court. The awards were granted on February 12.

The honorees included a West Hollywood woman who came to the aid of a man who was stabbed outside her home. There were two motorists who helped a bicyclist knocked to the ground and threatened by a man wielding two long sticks in South Los Angeles, and a limousine driver who stopped a man from kidnapping a 19-year-old in Pasadena. 

The four individuals being honored had cast aside fear and risked their own personal safety to help victims of violent crime,” said District Attorney Lacey. “Justice prevailed because they stood up for victims who were vulnerable and then agreed to provide essential eyewitness testimony in court.” 

The honorees were recognized at a Courageous Citizen Awards ceremony in Los Angeles hosted by the Rotary Club of Westchester. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office presents these awards several times a year to people who have performed extraordinary acts of valor and selflessness in assisting in criminal prosecutions, aiding victims, preventing crimes or even capturing suspects. 

An award was presented to Sabrina O’Hara of West Hollywood. Ms. Sabrina O’Hara heard a man screaming outside her West Hollywood home on Nov. 7, 2018, and went to help him. She was aiding the man, who had a large gash on his palm and blood on his arm, when she saw the assailant across the street threatening to stab the man again.

Ms. O’Hara told the man to go away and called 911. While she was on the phone, the man threatened to kill her and then fled. Despite the threat, Ms. O’Hara continued to help the man. Authorities located the assailant nearby, and Ms. O’Hara identified him.

She later testified in court, and the defendant was convicted. On June 17, 2019, the defendant was convicted of one felony count each of criminal threats and carrying a dirk or dagger. He was sentenced on June 24, 2019, to six years in state prison.

Maria Nunez, 27, of Los Angeles, and Selestino Penaloza, 38, of Huntington Park also received awards. Ms. Maria Nunez and Mr. Selestino Penaloza came to the aid of a bicyclist knocked to the ground and threatened by a man wielding two long sticks. The duo saw the November 1, 2018, attack from separate vehicles in South Los Angeles.

Mr. Penaloza checked on the bicyclist and followed the assailant, stopping two police officers along the way, who arrested the man. Meanwhile, Ms. Nunez assisted the bicyclist until first responders arrived. Ms. Nunez and Mr. Penaloza identified the defendant for police.

Through their testimony at trial, they helped deputy district attorneys secure a conviction. On May 20, 2019, the defendant was convicted by a jury on one felony count of assault with a deadly weapon. He was sentenced on Nov. 4, 2019, to 18 years in state prison.

Brandy Mayes, 50, of Riverside was also among the honorees. On July 29, 2017, Ms. Mayes was driving a limousine in Pasadena, when she saw a man dragging a woman by the hair toward his vehicle. She parked her limousine in order to intervene, causing the man to release the 19-year-old woman and flee.

She walked with the victim to a nearby market, called police and stayed at the scene until authorities arrived. Police later located the man and arrested him. Ms. Mayes cooperated with prosecutors and was willing to testify in court, prompting the man to plead no contest to the charges. On Sept. 20, 2018, the defendant, plead no contest to one felony count of kidnapping. He was sentenced on Oct. 24, 2018, to five years in state prison.

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Civic Meetings

LA Neighborhood Council to Host Primary Election Candidate Forum – Feb 16



LOS ANGELES — On Sunday, February 16th, the Neighborhood Councils of LA City Council District 4 will host a candidate forum in advance of the upcoming March 3 primary election. KPCC Senior Political Correspondent Libby Denkmann will moderate.

Sunday, February 16, 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
John Marshall High School
3939 Tracy Street, Los Angeles 90027

Make your voice heard by asking “20 Questions for 2020”: Submit your questions here

This event is from the Los Feliz, Hollywood United, Bel Air – Beverly Crest, Central Hollywood, Greater Toluca Lake, Greater Wilshire, and Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Councils.

Additional support provided by John Marshall High School, the League of Women Voters Los Angeles, and the Los Feliz Improvement Association.

The event is free to attend, but registration is recommended. To register for the event, go to Eventbrite.

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Civic Meetings

City of WeHo Hosts Community Conversation on Housing – Feb 19



WEST HOLLYWOOD — The City of West Hollywood cares deeply about the housing needs of its residents.

Since 2012, the City has been hosting “Community Conversations on Housing” to engage with residents, renters, property owners, and others about the City’s housing policies and programs.

The last event was on Wednesday, February 5 at the West Hollywood Library Community Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard

The next will be Wednesday, February 19 at 7 p.m. at the West Hollywood Community Center at Plummer Park, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard.

There will be an opportunity to attend this conversation to learn about the City’s housing policies and programs.

A summary of market trends and review of activities and special studies undertaken in the last year will be presented. Participants have an opportunity to provide input, which will inform activities in the coming year.

The City of West Hollywood’s Rent Stabilization and Housing Division is dedicated to programs that promote “the quality of residential life” — a core value of the City. The City provides a breadth of information and services to tenants, owners, and property managers of residential rental properties, which includes information services and written materials.

For additional information, please visit more information and to RSVP, please contact Tom Trevor, Administrative Specialist at (323) 848-6472 or at For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

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