Los Encinos State Historic Park in the San Fernando Valley is on a closure list due to budget cuts. The Encino Lawyers Association is stepping into the breach to help keep the park open for local children.
This park is important, not only because of its historical value to the area, but because it’s a safe place for children to play and families to gather to celebrate special events.
To raise community awareness, the Encino Lawyers asked local children to draw and name a “spokesduck,” since one of the park’s key features is a guitar-shaped duck pond. A young local artist then took a cue from the children’s art and created an official spokesduck figure, named “Ranger Dave” Duck.
Now, Ranger Dave is slated as an official park symbol as the Encino Lawyers organize a string of future events.
These are hard economic times. We didn’t think lawyers should be sitting on the sidelines just watching the community struggle. Our members are rolling up their sleeves and making things happen.
Future plans include organizing local artists to support the park, connecting with local businesses and community leaders and finding a role for youth rally around the effort. A major event is planned to run in conjunction with the annual “Taste of Encino” street fair on October 14. Some 25,000 people are expected at the street fair, which creates an opportunity to show off Los Encinos to a wider audience.
We want to be a creative spark. But it’s really up to the Encino community. If they want to save their duck pond, there’s no way the State can close it.
To learn more about the Encino Lawyers Association and upcoming Spokesduck events visit their website: www.Encinolawyers.org
On Sunday, June 24th, the semi-finalists and their parents came to the park to receive their prizes.
All the drawings received during the contest were on display on the duck pond fence so everyone could see the creativity of the children in the community.
The children excitedly jumped at the opportunity to paint alongside internationally renowned artist Rassouli and the Fusionart painters.
The children were excited about their awards.
The SpokesDuck awards day was fun for the children and the parents. Red, white & blue buttons advertised the slogan Flock Together.
We are getting emails and Facebook posts about how much fun people had at the SpokesDuck event that was held at the Los Encinos State Historic Park yesterday.
All the entered drawings were on display on the duck pond fence so everyone could see the creativity of the children in the community. While they were waiting for the announcements, the children excitedly jumped at the opportunity to paint alongside Rassouli and the Fusionart painters. Many of them stayed longer, obviously enjoying the painting experience.
The day was one of connecting with the children and their families. Each child received a goody bag with rubber duckies, I love Ducks stickers, crayons, coloring books and more. These goodies were donated by the sponsors, and our elected friends.
It seemed as though many of these families were being reintroduced to the park in a new light, as a place to gather on a beautiful summer day to share fun times.
The Living History troupe was also in the park adding to the full flavor of the day. These folks come every month to help people see what it might be like at the time these historic buildings were actually lived in.
Tours were offered through the Adobes and people comments indicated they had previously been unaware of the depth of history of this beautiful park. The more people learn and are reminded of this park, the importance spreads to a larger group who want to save this park from closure.
Overall, it was a fun day for all.
Encino Residents, businesses and local elected officials are working together to prevent the closure of Los Encinos State Historic Park, lovingly known as the Duck Pond to Encino’s youngest residents. Heeding the cry of a small child, “Don’t let them take away our duck pond” Encino Lawyers Association, Bill Daniels Law Offices and Assemblymember Bob Blumenfield (D-San Fernando Valley) are co-sponsoring a contest for children called “Draw & Name the Los Encinos Park SpokesDuck”.
“This park is important, not only because of its historical value to the area, but because it’s a safe place for children to play and families to gather to celebrate special events”, says Association President, Bill Daniels. “My own children played in the park when they were little. We need to keep the park open for their children.”
With their parent’s permission, children can enter the contest every day by downloading an entry form from: wwwSaveOurDuckPond.com.
Entries need to be signed by the parent/guardian before depositing them in a special entry box in the visitor center at the Los Encinos State Historic Park, 16756 Moorpark St., Encino. From the entries, a panel of prominent judges will select the semi-finalists, after which the community will vote for their favorites. The contest runs through June 17th, and the winners will be announced with awards and prizes on June 24th on the grounds of Los Encinos State Historic Park.
“Los Encinos State Park is a gem in our community,” said Assemblymember Bob Blumenfield (D-San Fernando Valley). “By rallying together, we can keep this wonderful park open for families to enjoy. Hats off to Encino Lawyers for helping lead the charge to save this park.”
Researching the status and needs of the park, a Facebook post led an Association member to a task force meeting which had been organized by Senator Fran Pavley. After returning with the information she obtained about the parks ongoing requirements, the Association took action in calling friends, neighbors, business associates and local elected officials, and the idea of the “Name & Draw the Los Encinos SpokesDuck” contest was hatched.
This idea is similar to what the Forest Service created with Smokey the Bear; Smokey is about Forest Fires. SpokesDuck is about keeping our State Park open to the animals and kids.
“Los Encinos State Historic Park is an important and precious place in our community. The SpokesDuck drawing contest is an exciting grass roots movement involving children and families to help keep Los Encinos open.” said Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills).” The ducks in the pond bring children joy and now children can make sure the ducks are saved and cared for. I’m thrilled to be a part of it and thank you to the Encino Lawyers Association for this fun contest. We are all working hard to help the Los Encinos Docents Association raise the necessary funds to keep our historic state park open.”
For more information visit: www.SaveOurDuckPond.com
CHP statistics showed a declining number of traffic-related deaths this past holiday weekend. Even though it was predicted that our freeways would have record number of drivers, and some roads were jammed for hours, drivers appear to have been driving more safely.
May through September has a higher rate of fatal motorcycle crashes than other months, with midsummer generally accounting for twice as many crashes as midwinter simply because more people are riding, according to the CHP safety office. Child bicycle fatalities also go up by as much as 45 percent during the summer.
April was Distracted Driving Awareness Month and May is Motorcycle and Bicycle Safety Awareness month. The consistent message here is to be aware of the distractions that take your mind and eye off the road, even for that nano second. Drive safe and keep your family and friends safe this summer.
California is blessed with great weather and many places to enjoy it. Three days off work jammed roads and driving distracted can be a deadly combination this weekend.
Memorial Day Weekend brings increased traffic and a sad history of a high number of highway tragedies and the needless loss of life.
“When everything comes together just right like on Memorial Day weekend, we hit the road and unfortunately some of us hit each other,” reports Chris Cochran of the state Office of Traffic Safety.
Law enforcement throughout California will be looking for drivers and passengers who don’t buckle up during the “Click-it or Ticket” seat belt enforcement campaign. They will be on the lookout for drivers and passengers – including passengers in the back seat, day and night.
So when you load up the family in the car this weekend please do so safely.
Eliminate those distractions you can control. (cell phone, texting, eating, grooming, etc.)
Share the road. Watch out for other drivers, riders and pedestrians on the road.
Don’t put your own life at risk, or the life of your family or friends. One needless car wreck can wreck it all.
With that warm and beautiful weather, comes an even greater responsibility for adults and children be aware of your surroundings as you head out to share and enjoy the roads on your bicycle.
According to the NHTSA, 630 pedalcyclists were killed and an additional 51,000 were injured in 2009 in motor vehicle traffic crashes. Pedalcyclist deaths accounted for 2 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities, and made up 2 percent of all the people injured in traffic crashes during the year.
The best guideline is: Be Alert. Be Wary. Be Seen.
Be Alert: Scan ahead, center, left and right.
Although drivers of motor vehicles need to share the road with bicyclists, many times the cyclist is not seen. All drivers and riders should be courteous.
>allow at least three feet clearance when passing a bicyclist on the road,
> look for cyclists before opening a car door or pulling out from a parking space,
> and yield to cyclists at intersections and as directed by signs and signals.
> Be especially watchful for cyclists when making turns, either left or right.
Cyclists need to
> keep your head up and look ahead, not at the ground. You need to see what is coming up so you have time to react and maneuver.
> ride one person per bike. Riding with unsecured passengers puts you at risk for injury to yourself and others.
> ride in single file with space between bikes.
> ride on the right side of the road, never against traffic. Otherwise, you are at risk for an accident – or a ticket.
Be Wary: Pay attention to vehicles, pedestrians and others on the road.
Bicyclists are considered vehicle operators; they are required to obey the same rules of the road as other vehicle operators, including obeying traffic signs, signals, and lane markings. When cycling in the street, cyclists must ride in the same direction as traffic.
Be Seen: Use your horn, hand signals and light to be seen by others on the road.
Bicyclists should increase their visibility to drivers by wearing fluorescent or brightly colored clothing during the day, dawn,
and dusk. To be noticed when riding at night, use a front light and a red reflector or flashing rear light, and use retro-reflective tape or markings on equipment or clothing.
Important Safety Reminder:
All bicyclists should wear properly fitted bicycle helmets every time they ride. A helmet is the single most effective way
to prevent head injury resulting from a bicycle crash. California state law requires helmets for all bicyclists under age 18.
Between the California Highway Patrol and local law enforcement agencies throughout the state, 57,000 tickets were issued during Distracted Driving Awareness month, for driving while using a handheld cell phone or texting, and another 3,800 for additional distracted driving violations which could include eating, grooming, programming a GPS, and other functions.
“Unfortunately, we’re seeing that the problem of cell phone use for talking and texting while driving is not going away anytime soon,” said California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) Director Christopher J. Murphy. “There are those who understand the dangers and have curtailed their use, while others think the hazards apply to everyone else but them.”
The ability to safely multi-task while driving is myth. While many people know texting while driving increases crash risk, the lack of understanding about the risks of phone conversation, even hands-free, while driving remains a challenge. Talking on hands-free or handheld cell phones requires the brain to multitask – a process it cannot do safely while driving.
To explain the limitations of the human brain when multitasking the National Safety Council (NSC) released a white paper, “Understanding the Distracted Brain: Why driving while using hands-free devices is risky behavior.“
It only takes a second to swerve a few feet.
Swerving out of your lane to the left could put you in line of another vehicle coming in the opposite direction. Swerving to the right could cause you to hit a pedestrian or another car slowing down to turn right. Big trucks do not have the ability to stop or swerve to miss a car that unexpectedly swerves into their lane.
Looking away for only a second, you could miss seeing the motorcycle in front of you or one that is splitting lanes next to you.
Looking away for only a second is all it takes to potentially cause serious injuries to yourself or another person – or worse – even death. One teenage driver currently under arrest said the distraction of a hand-held cell phone caused her to fatally hit a 44-year-old jogger.
April was Distracted Driving Awareness Month and May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness month. The consistent message here is to be aware of the distractions that take your mind and eye off the road, even for that nano second.
Common sense tips to protecting yourself from distracted driving:
> Put your cell phone out of reach when you get in the car so you won’t be tempted to use it.
> Mention on your outgoing voicemail message that you won’t answer when you are driving.
> Don’t call or text anyone when there is a good chance that they may be driving.
> When you must call or text, pull into a parking space.
> Never eat, groom, program a GPS, check Facebook, run an app, read or otherwise allow your full attention to leave the task of safely driving.
Share the road. Drive safe.
Motorcycles are vehicles with the same rights and privileges as any motor vehicle on the roadway. Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month is a national initiative aimed at getting motorists and motorcyclists to “share the road” with each other.
“NHTSA estimates that helmets saved 1,829 motorcyclists’ lives in 2008, and that 823 more could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets.”
Motorcycle helmets provide the best protection from head injury for motorcyclists involved in traffic crashes.
Protect your brain! It’s the only one you’ll ever have! Learn more.
May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.
Every year around prom and graduation, a number of high schools around the country host elaborate mock crashes to drive home the dangers of distracted driving. Police officers, firefighters and emergency medical personnel stage a mock motor vehicle collision on the grounds of the schools in an effort to remind students how driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or driving while districted by texting or talking on a cell phone can have deadly consequences. The practice dates back to the early 1990s. The scenes are meant to shock and startle.
But they may not pack the punch organizers are going for even as emergency responders, fire-rescue trucks, helicopters and other community resources are deployed to show what happens after a major crash. Research shows that a few days after the mock crash the gripping display of twisted bodies and metal fades from teen’s minds, and their sense of invincibility returns, said Penny Wells, executive director, Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD).
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Adolescent health (HHS), motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, accounting for more than one in three deaths of high school students.
Parents need to encourage your young driver to drive responsibly by following speed limits and avoiding distractions while driving such as talking on a cell phone, focusing on the radio or even looking at fellow passengers instead of the road. When parents set the example, it is more likely the teens will do the same.