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Los Angeles County

LA County’s lawyer asked California Attorney General to investigate Sheriff

“The Sheriff used these investigations to discourage legitimate oversight & retaliate against any public official who criticizes him”

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Sheriff Alex Villanueva (Screenshot via YouTube)

LOS ANGELES – California Attorney General Rob Bonta has agreed to step in and review cases of investigations that were conducted by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Last month, Los Angeles County top lawyer, Rodrigo Castro-Silva, sent a letter urging Bonta to take control of investigations initiated by the LASD, several at the behest of Sheriff Alex Villanueva.

“Sheriff Villanueva has used these investigations to discourage legitimate oversight of himself and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and to retaliate against any public official who criticizes him or the Sheriff’s Department,” Castro-Silva said in the Dec. 6 letter.

The Sheriff’s Department should not target public officials for criminal investigation as a means of chilling the performance of oversight functions over the Sheriff. The Sheriff’s Department should not make baseless, uncorrected allegations against public officials for taking positions that influential LASD investigators disagree with,” the letter also stated.

Citing the Los Angeles Times, Castro-Silva noted:

On September 23, 2021 , the Los Angeles Times reported details about a special unit that Sheriff Villanueva created to investigate his critics.39 Called the Civil Rights and Public Integrity Detail, this team of about nine investigators reports to one of Sheriff Villanueva’s top aides, Undersheriff Murakami.
Although, on paper, the members of this unit are scattered throughout the Sheriffs Department, in reality, it has been determined that they work as a team to handle criminal investigations into those who criticize Sheriff Villanueva or the Sheriffs Department
.”

Villanueva on Facebook Live Tuesday sharply criticized Bonta’s response. A substantial part of the calls to have the LASD independently scrutinized by the AG stems from the nearly two-year old investigation into Inspector General Max Huntsman and four others by the LASD.

Villanueva has accused Huntsman of unlawfully obtaining and distributing confidential personnel records from the sheriff’s department. During the Facebook Live session the sheriff claimed that his investigators concluded the Huntsman investigation this past November and had already handed it over to the Attorney General’s office.

“You have our complete cooperation in these matters,” Villanueva said. “All we’re asking from you is to pick up the pace here.”

Villanueva, responding to Castro-Silva’s accusations that the LASD investigations constitute an abuse of power, said, “People say, ‘Oh, they have secret police and they target their critics.’ We don’t.”

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Los Angeles County

New on the LA County Channel

You can watch on Channel 92 or 94 on most cable systems, or anytime here. Catch up on LA County Close-Up here

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

New on the County Channel

A Food Equity Grant Program funded by LA County and the American Rescue Plan helps community organizations like Alma Backyard Farms create a new food system for County residents.

You can watch more stories like this on Channel 92 or 94 on most cable systems, or anytime here. Catch up on LA County Close-Up here.

Celebrating Juneteenth

LA County Celebrates Juneteenth

In celebration of Juneteenth 2024 and as a representation of the County’s commitment to the hard but necessary work of reparations, the County will provide free admission and access on or around June 19, 2024, to participating museums and beaches in Los Angeles County for eligible LA County residents who are lineal descendants of an African-American Chattel enslaved person (descendants of enslaved people who were abducted from their African homelands by force to be enslaved in North America) or of a free African-American person living in the United States prior to the end of the 19th Century (“Community of Eligibility Residents”).

To receive free museum admission and beach parking on or around June 19, 2024, as described above, and be considered for eligibility in any future reparations or benefits under the County’s Reparations Initiative or any other applicable local or state program, please click here.

Join LA County in celebrating Juneteeth at Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell’s 4th Annual Juneteeth Celebration and Resource Fair on Friday, June 21, from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. This event features music, food trucks, live performances, access to County services, resources, fun activities, and more! All residents are welcome to attend this FREE event. We encourage you to register and forward this email to your friends and neighbors! Register here

In Case You Missed It

The Works App

From reporting potholes to finding critical services, it’s LA County at your fingertips.

The Works App empowers you to report:

  • Issues like potholes, graffiti, overgrown trees, and blocked storm drains
  • Property-related concerns and suspected violations
  • Illegal dumping activities affecting our streets and environment
  • Maintenance needs of trails and facilities in County parks

Keep up to date with the County’s latest news on upcoming events. Locate the nearest LA County offices, libraries, shuttle buses, and other services.

Download The Works for iPhone or Android today and transform how you connect with LA County!

At Your Service

Boost Your Business and Elevate a Career

Partner with the LA County Department of Economic Opportunity through Youth at Work Elevate to get your business matched with a highly motivated youth intern.

Potential youth participants between the ages of 17-24 in will receive paid work experience, training, and mentorship to prepare youth for in-demand and diverse career pathways. 100% of the youths’ wages will be covered for up to 400 hours.

Businesses in high-growth or post pandemic emerging sectors including healthcare, infrastructure, trade and logistics, e-commerce, transportation and warehousing, advanced manufacturing, entertainment and creative arts, informational technology, and hospitality are encouraged to apply.

A dedicated representative will be assigned to help eligible businesses through the entire process. Youth eligibility requirements include: Current or former foster youth, justice-impacted, current or previous experience with housing instability/homelessness, and LGBTQ+ youth.

Learn more here

Out and About

Parks After Dark Returns

Parks After Dark is Back for the 2024 Summer Season! Enjoy FREE Activities at 34 LA county parks! Join us for concerts, movie nights, fitness and wellness activities, food, games and more! F Also returning this year is our “Resource Fair Thursday’s”. To learn more, click here.

Photo Finish

Destination Crenshaw – an American Rescue Plan Creative Recovery Grantee.
(Photo: Los Angeles County/Mayra Beltran Vasquez)

Click here to access more photos of LA County in action.

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LA County Public Health: Mpox cases rise & data privacy breach

Ten new Mpox cases reported in Los Angeles County in past two weeks cause concern as agency reels from a successful phishing attack

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Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Public Health Director, L.A. County (Screenshot/LA County Channel)

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is alerting residents and health care providers about a concerning increase in mpox cases, with 10 new cases reported in Los Angeles County in the past two weeks up from an average of less than two cases per week during the preceding several weeks.

Mpox (previously referred to as Monkeypox) is mainly spread through close contact with body fluids, sores, shared bedding or clothing or respiratory droplets (kissing, coughing, sneezing). Symptoms include rash or unusual sores that look like pimples or blisters on the face, body and genitals, fever, chills, headache, muscle aches or swelling of lymph nodes. Early detection, testing and vaccination are vital to controlling the spread of this disease and protecting the health of Los Angeles County residents.

Given the recent increase in cases, Public Health strongly recommends the following actions:

Testing: Anyone who develops symptoms consistent with mpox, such as rash, fever or swollen lymph nodes should seek medical attention and get tested. Health care providers should be aware of the possibility of mpox and promptly report suspected cases to Public Health for appropriate testing and interventions.

Prevention: Vaccination is a safe way to prevent one from getting mpox and may also reduce symptoms. The following can help reduce the risk of getting and spreading mpox:

  • Ask partners if they have mpox symptoms or feel sick. Individuals should not have sex or other intimate contact if they or their partners have a new or unexplained rash or sores or feel sick until they see a health care provider.
  • Reduce the number of partners, especially those whose recent sexual history is unknown.
  • Make a habit of exchanging contact information with any new partner to allow for sexual health follow-up, if needed.
  • Limit going to sex parties, circuit parties and other spaces where people are having sex or other intimate contact with multiple people.
  • Use condoms and gloves:
    • Condoms (latex or polyurethane) may protect the mouth, penis anus or vagina from exposure to mpox; however, condoms alone may not prevent all exposures to mpox since the rash can occur on other parts of the body.
    • Gloves (latex, polyurethane or nitrile) may reduce exposure if inserting fingers or hands into the anus or the vagina. The gloves must cover all exposed skin and be removed carefully to avoid touching the outer surface.
  • Do not share towels, clothing, bedding, fetish gear, sex toys or toothbrushes.
  • Wash hands, fetish gear, towels and bedding. Sex toys should be washed after each use or sex act.

Vaccination: Vaccination is an important tool in preventing the spread of mpox. Jynneos is a two-dose vaccine developed to protect against mpox, and getting both doses provides the best protection against mpox. The vaccine is available to anyone, and individuals who identify with any of the following subgroups are highly encouraged to get vaccinated:

  • Any man or transgender person who has sex with men or transgender persons
  • Persons of any gender or sexual orientation who have sex or intimate physical contact with others in association with a large public event or engage in commercial and/or transactional sex
  • Persons living with HIV, especially persons with uncontrolled or advanced HIV disease
  • Sexual partners of people in any of the above groups

People in high-risk groups are urged to get fully vaccinated with two doses for the best protection. Second doses can be given no matter how long it’s been since the first dose. Residents can choose to receive the mpox vaccine subcutaneously (in the upper arm) or intradermally (under the skin on their arm or back). Vaccine boosters are not recommended at this time.

Public Health is collaborating closely with health care providers, community organizations and other stakeholders to address the mpox resurgence as swiftly and effectively as possible. Enhanced surveillance, contact tracing and outbreak investigations are underway to identify potential sources of the infection and prevent further transmission. Public Health’s mobile vaccination units are providing free vaccination at numerous Pride events this season, Public Health’s sexual health clinics found at http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/chs/sexualhealthclinics/ and other walk-up vaccine clinics can be found at https://myturn.ca.gov/.

A collective response is crucial in mitigating the impact of this outbreak. By increasing vaccination rates, the spread of mpox can be minimized within Los Angeles County to protect the health and well-being of its diverse communities.

For the most up-to-date information and resources, please visit ph.lacounty.gov/mpox or contact the Public Health Call Center at 1-833-540-0473.

Public Health Responds to Privacy Breach

Between February 19, 2024, and February 20, 2024, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health experienced a phishing attack in which a hacker was able to gain log-in credentials of 53 Public Health employees through a phishing email, compromising the personal information of more than 200,000 individuals.

Upon discovery of the phishing attack, Public Health disabled the impacted e-mail accounts, reset and re-imaged the user’s device(s), blocked websites that were identified as part of the phishing campaign and quarantined all suspicious incoming e-mails. Additionally, awareness notifications were distributed to all workforce members to remind them to be vigilant when reviewing e-mails, especially those including links or attachments. Law enforcement was notified upon discovery of the phishing attack, and they investigated the incident.

The information identified in the potentially compromised e-mail accounts may have included DPH clients/employees/other individuals’ first and last name, date of birth, diagnosis, prescription, medical record number/patient ID, Medicare/Med-Cal number, health insurance information, Social Security Number, and other financial information.

Affected individuals may have been impacted differently and not all of the elements listed were present for each individual.

Public Health is notifying impacted individuals by mail. For individuals where a mailing address is not available, Public Health is also posting a notice on its website to provide information and resources. Public Health is also notifying the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights and other agencies as required by law and/or contract.

In response, Public Health has implemented numerous enhancements to reduce exposure to similar e-mail attacks in the future.

While Public Health cannot confirm whether information has been accessed or misused, individuals are encouraged to review the content and accuracy of the information in their medical record with their medical provider. To help relieve concerns and restore confidence following this incident, we have secured the services of Kroll, a global leader in risk mitigation and response, to provide identity monitoring for one year at no cost to affected clients.

Additionally, affected individuals should review “Steps You Can Take to Protect Against Identity Theft and Fraud,” to help protect their information.

Individuals that would like to inquire if their information was impacted can contact the following established dedicated call center available toll free in the U.S. at 1-866-898-4312, from 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time (excluding weekends and major U.S. holidays).

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New on the LA County Channel

You can watch on Channel 92 or 94 on most cable systems, or anytime here. Catch up on LA County Close-Up here

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

New on the County Channel

The Veteran Peer Access Network (VPAN) is the first community-driven support network serving veterans and their families in the U.S. Led by veterans for veterans, VPAN connects L.A. County Departments, nonprofits, the V.A., and L.A. City Programs to help veterans navigate often complicated systems to connect to resources. VPAN prioritizes hiring veterans as “battle buddies” and systems navigators to connect assist their fellow veterans.

You can watch more stories like this on Channel 92 or 94 on most cable systems, or anytime here. Catch up on LA County Close-Up here.

In Case You Missed It

Arts Internship Program – Apply Today!

LA County Arts and Culture Internships - Positions now open!

Positions for the 2024 Arts Internship Program are now available! This program will provide 228 university and community college students with paid on-the-job experience in the arts at over 160 nonprofit organizations across the LA region. What’s more, all Arts Internship Program internships provide 400 hours of work experience at $17.28 an hour.

Positions will continue to be posted on a rolling basis through July 2024. Visit the LA County Arts & Culture website to learn more!

At Your Service

The Works App

From reporting potholes to finding critical services, it’s LA County at your fingertips.

The Works App empowers you to report:

  • Issues like potholes, graffiti, overgrown trees, and blocked storm drains
  • Property-related concerns and suspected violations
  • Illegal dumping activities affecting our streets and environment
  • Maintenance needs of trails and facilities in County parks

Keep up to date with the County’s latest news on upcoming events. Locate the nearest LA County offices, libraries, shuttle buses, and other services.

Download The Works for iPhone or Android today and transform how you connect with LA County!

Out and About

Celebrating Juneteenth

Join LA County in celebrating Juneteeth at Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell’s 4th Annual Juneteeth Celebration and Resource Fair on Friday, June 21, from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. This event features music, food trucks, live performances, access to County services, resources, fun activities, and more! All residents are welcome to attend this FREE event. We encourage you to register and forward this email to your friends and neighbors! Register here

To learn more about Juneteeth and find events and programming in your community, click here.

Photo Finish

Levitated Mass at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. (Photo: Los Angeles County)

Click here to access more photos of LA County in action.

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Los Angeles County

Parks make life better month- Culver City’s movies in the park

California’s “Parks Make Life Better!” recognizes the importance of equitable access to parks, recreation, trails, open space, & facilities

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Los Angeles Blade graphic

CULVER CITY, Calif. – July is “Parks Make Life Better!” month and the Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department is celebrating with Movies in The Park every Saturday night, all month long! 

Bring your blankets, picnic baskets, and lawn chairs to see:

Gates will open at 7 PM and movies will begin at dusk. Admission is free. 

The California “Parks Make Life Better!” campaign recognizes the importance of equitable access to parks, recreation, trails, open space, and facilities for the positive development of all. Culver City PRCS invites you and your family to celebrate with us. 

PARKS MAKE LIFE BETTER MONTH

MOVIE SCREENINGS

WHEN

Saturday July 6, 13, 20, and 27

7 PM gates open, movie starts at dusk

WHERE

  • Veterans Memorial Park on 7/6
  • Syd Kronenthal Park on 7/13
  • Fox Hills Park on 7/20
  • Culver West Alexander Park on 7/27
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Los Angeles County

LA Metro: More frequent and reliable bus service

Bus ridership in the San Fernando Valley is growing faster than in any other Metro bus service area & improvements reflect ridership growth

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles/Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro)

LOS ANGELES – Effective Sunday, June 23, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) announced that the agency will offer more frequent and reliable bus service and an improved travel experience on multiple routes based on direct feedback from customers and bus operators, and review of ridership and travel time data. 

Bus service improvements will update travel times so riders will wait less at stops. Added trips at peak travel times will provide extra capacity to move additional riders more efficiently during busy travel periods and some lines will be extended so riders can more easily reach major destinations. Several bus lines will operate more frequently on weekdays as outlined in the NextGen Bus Plan.

Metro is also improving peak hour frequencies weekdays on two San Fernando Valley bus lines as part of the North San Fernando Valley Corridor Transit Improvements project.

Route changes by region are as follows:

San Fernando Valley

Bus ridership in the San Fernando Valley is growing faster than in any other Metro bus service area. Metro is adding capacity on many lines to accommodate this growth in ridership.

As a first step in implementing the Measure M funded North San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor Improvements Project, Line 152 on Roscoe Boulevard and Line 166 on Nordhoff Street will begin operating service every 10 minutes during the busiest weekday peak periods both eastbound and westbound. On Line 152, 10-minute service will operate eastbound in the 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. hours and westbound during the 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. hours in the evening. Line 166 will operate 10-minute service westbound in the 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. hours and eastbound in the 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. hours. Each will add new weekday trips to the schedule. Seven new trips on Line 152 and eight on Line 166.

Line 158 will add 25 extra trips between the Southern terminal at Moorpark/Van Nuys and Van Nuys/Woodman to increase weekday frequency from 60 minutes to 30 minutes on the segment of Line 158 along Woodman Avenue.

Line 165 on Vanowen Street will add two additional eastbound trips during the 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. hours of weekday evening peak.

Line 169 on Saticoy Street will add one additional weekday trip during the 6:00 a.m. hour westbound and an additional eastbound trip during the 4:00 p.m. hour between Hollywood Burbank Airport and West Hills Medical Center for service every 30 minutes.

San Gabriel Valley

Line 76 routing will be modified to achieve faster access to and from Downtown LA and provide new direct connectivity via Alameda Street to the Little Tokyo/Arts District Station (A & E Lines). Line 76 will have new stops along Alameda Street for Union Station and will discontinue stops at Vignes Street at Cesar Chavez behind Union Station. Riders from Union Station will now board the bus on the Alameda Street side of the station.

Line 267 will be extended from Pasadena to Altadena, replacing Line 686 on Colorado Boulevard and Allen Avenue. Operating hours will be extended by an extra hour until 9 p.m. for Line 267 to maintain the same hours of service that Line 686 offers. Frequency will increase for the former Line 686 segment between Pasadena and Altadena on weekdays to every 30 minutes from every 60 minutes. Weekend service will remain at every 60 minutes.

Line 268 will improve bus service to the City of Sierra Madre in response to resident requests, by extending the route to Sierra Madre Boulevard via Baldwin Avenue, Sierra Madre Boulevard, and Sierra Madre Villa Avenue instead of Foothill Boulevard to and from Sierra Madre Villa Station. Metro Micro rideshare service will continue to be available in Sierra Madre. A second route change for Line 268 will improve access to the El Monte Metrolink Station with buses rerouted via Tyler Avenue, Valley Boulevard, and Santa Anita Avenue.

Gateway Cities

Line 265 on Paramount Boulevard will increase service from 60 minutes to 40-45 minutes on weekdays. Service will remain at 60 minutes on the weekends.

South Bay

Line 108 in the City of Commerce on Eastern Avenue will move its terminus location slightly north to Harbor Street due to Eastern Avenue being restored to two traffic lanes in each direction, preventing buses from safely parking at the existing terminus.

Westside/Central LA

Line 81 will relocate the northbound terminal at Eagle Rock Plaza from eastbound on Colorado Boulevard at Eagle Dale Avenue to westbound Colorado Boulevard at Eagle Dale Avenue to accommodate the Line 217 extension to Eagle Rock Plaza at the Colorado and Eagle Dale Terminal. This change will require that two stops relocate near Eagle Rock Plaza. Line 81 will also see two southbound trips added to the afternoon peak schedule weekdays in the 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. hours to accommodate increasing ridership.

Line 217 will extend from Vermont/Hollywood to Eagle Rock via Glendale to allow easier access for riders between Mid-City, Hollywood and Glendale. Lines 180 and 217 will each be scheduled to operate every 12 minutes daytime on weekdays and every 15 minutes daytime on weekends with coordinated schedules to maximize frequency on duplicated segments.

At Westwood, Metro Line 20, 602, and 720 buses will no longer be able to travel through the federal GSA building parking lot between Veteran Avenue and Sepulveda Boulevard. As a result, Line 602 will move from the existing terminus on Veteran Avenue to a new terminus location at Kinross Avenue west of Gayley Avenue and will discontinue use of the stop at Wilshire Boulevard and Veteran Avenue. Eastbound Line 20 and 720 buses starting trips from Veteran Avenue will instead travel via Veteran Avenue, Santa Monica Boulevard and Sepulveda Boulevard to reach Wilshire Boulevard.  

Metro will also adjust service levels slightly on many bus lines to better match ridership   levels and to accommodate the above improvements. This includes some changes to the first and last trips on some lines. Also, 49 weekday, 42 Saturday, and 41 Sunday bus lines will have revised schedules to improve their reliability. A complete list of the changes and links to new schedules can be found at metro.net/mybus.

Stay informed by following Metro on The Source and El Pasajero at metro.netfacebook.com/losangelesmetrotwitter.com/metrolosangeles,  twitter.com/metroLAalerts and instagram.com/metrolosangeles.

Bus & Rail Transit information
323.GO.METRO (323.466.3876)
6:30am – 7pm (Monday – Friday)
8:00am – 4:30pm (Saturday/Sunday)

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Los Angeles County

Culver City Pride Ride & Rally

You’re invited to Culver City’s 4th annual Pride celebration. The party will place on Saturday, June 29th, 2024

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Photo Credit: Culver City Government

CULVER CITY, Calif. – The Culver City PRIDE RIDE will start at 4PM on Saturday, June 29th, 2024, from Syd Kronenthal Park and make its way over six miles through the neighborhood streets of Culver City. RSVPs are required for attendees of the PRIDE RIDE. Metro Bikes will be available for those who want to ride and do not have a bicycle.

The Culver City PRIDE RALLY, which is an evening street block party with Drag Performers, local speakers, Live DJs, dancing, a Family Art Experience, and so much more! Located on Main Street in Downtown Culver City from 6PM to 9PM.

In a press release a spokesperson noted: “You’re invited to Culver City’s 4th annual Pride celebration. The party will place on Saturday, June 29th, 2024. This event is known throughout for bringing our community together to celebrate what makes us unique and the values that unite us.”

Consider taking the bus or using other mobility options to attend the event including the City’s Circulator that connects Downtown to the Culver City ELine (Expo) Station! Plan your trip by calling 310-253-6500, visiting the Culver CityBus website, or using the Next CCBus app that provides real time bus locations, trip planning and bus occupancy levels. Learn more about the parking in downtown Culver City and please avoid parking in residential neighborhoods. To take the circulator, look out for “Board Here” signs!

For exact times, use the NextCCBus app or visit CulverCityBus.com.

For more information about the events and to RSVP for the PRIDE RIDE, please visit the Culver City Pride website.

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Los Angeles County

Dive into Summer with LA County Parks & Recreation!

Enjoy free recreational swim, exciting games, fun giveaways, music, delicious food, and so much more! Visit LA County Parks & Recreation today

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Castaic Sports Complex Aquatic Center offers a splash pad, recreational swimming pool, and swim lanes. (Mayra Vasquez/Los Angeles County)

LOS ANGELES – Join us for an epic series of pool parties happening at all our pools to kick-off our summer aquatics programs!  Enjoy free recreational swim, exciting games, fun giveaways, music, delicious food, and so much more!

Check out our website: parks.lacounty.gov/aquatics and find a pool party happening near you!
Don’t miss out on the fun! Bring your friends and family and let’s make this summer unforgettable! 

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Los Angeles County

Boys & Girls Club of Malibu is raising mental health awareness

The Boys & Girls Club of Malibu (BGCM) members are taking a steps towards addressing youth suicide with the “1 in 5” campaign

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(Photo courtesy of The Boys & Girls Club of Malibu)

MALIBU, Calif. – The Boys & Girls Club of Malibu (BGCM) are taking a steps towards addressing youth suicide with the “1 in 5” campaign, a youth-led initiative to raise awareness about mental health.

In light of research indicating that 20% (one in five) of teens seriously contemplate committing suicide and 9% have attempted it, BGCM members are determined to combat this pressing issue through their new thought-provoking clothing line.

“1 in 5” Campaign

Diego Alvarez, a BGCM member for ten years, along with two friends from the club, started the “1 in 5” clothing line to spread the word and remove the taboo surrounding youth suicide and mental health. Alvares and Violet Way, the Director of Education at BGCM and an alumna of the club, gave The Blade an exclusive interview about their recent efforts. 

The “1 in 5” apparel line, is a series of crewneck sweaters featuring thought-provoking statements like “Tomorrow Needs You.” 

“We want to spread awareness and end the taboo surrounding the topic of suicide,” Alvarez told The Blade. “We wanted it to be something for everyone. We created something that was timeless and that could capture the message,” said Alvarez.

The unique apparel line was unveiled at BGCM’s Third Space storefront last month on May 14, coinciding with National Mental Health Awareness Month. Proceeds from the apparel sales support the BGCM Wellness Center, allowing it to continue to offer no-cost mental health counseling and social support services. 

Alvarez emphasized the importance of the campaign’s message: “We definitely want people to reach out.”

Irina C., a BGCM member and mental health advocate, emphasized the importance of addressing suicide openly: “After everything we have been through, I refuse to let suicide be a taboo topic any longer. The more hidden it is, the more stigma there is around it. I want to help people be comfortable enough to talk about it in order to be able to reach for help without fearing judgment, and ‘1 in 5’ will do exactly that.”

The Boys & Girls Club of Malibu

The BGCM Wellness Center serves as a vital resource for youth, families, and the aging population, providing comprehensive mental health services with a commitment to “no barriers to access.” This means that all students, from kindergarten to 12th grade, can access licensed clinical therapists and social workers every school day, free of charge. The clinical team also collaborates with educators to implement a social-emotional wellness curriculum, empowering students to understand and manage their mental health and recognize when peers may need support.

(Photo courtesy of The Boys & Girls Club of Malibu)

Alvarez, reflecting on his long-term involvement with BGCM, said, “It’s really a place I see as a safe space. You can be yourself.” The club, a nonprofit organization, offers a variety of services, including a completely free wellness center. Although there is a $90 fee for the school year, waivers are available, ensuring that everyone has access to its resources, regardless of whether they attend public school in Malibu.

As a child of immigrant parents, Alvarez acknowledges the gap in understanding the benefits of mental health wellness, particularly regarding suicide. “Parents don’t always know how to communicate with their kids and talk about this stuff,” he said. “I want people to know that even though it is hard to talk about, it is still possible to talk about.”

Way noted the club’s efforts to bridge this gap by providing services and workshops for parents, helping them better understand and support their children’s mental health. She also said she encourages open communication about mental health struggles. “It’s better to have a friend that is mad at you and alive,” she stated, emphasizing the importance of supporting friends who may be contemplating suicide and ensuring they feel safe to share their feelings.

BGCM encouraged community members to participate in National Mental Health Awareness Month by purchasing a “1 in 5” crewneck or making a direct donation to the Boys & Girls Club of Malibu Wellness Center.

The Wellness Center, a trauma-informed facility, offers no-cost mental health and wellness services to youth, families, and the aging population. Services include mental health counseling, crisis intervention, trauma-informed case management, social and emotional learning, healthcare assistance, parenting support groups, and student workshops. For more information or to request support services, visit BGCM Wellness Center.

(Photo courtesy of The Boys & Girls Club of Malibu)

For 24 years, the Boys & Girls Club of Malibu has enabled young people to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. With four sites, including a Wellness Center and three Clubhouses, BGCM serves a membership of 700 K-12th graders and 1,700 youth through outreach programs.

The Wellness Center provides free mental health, wellness, and social support services to all Malibu Public Schools and is available to the community at large. Currently, the club services over 200 individuals from over 100 zip codes. BGCM’s programs emphasize academic success, good character and citizenship, healthy lifestyles, and social and emotional wellness.

To learn more about the “1 in 5” initiative and purchase the apparel online, visit Third Space Malibu at link: (Here).

Shop In-Store or Online

Third Space
23357 Pacific Coast Hwy
Malibu, CA 90265

[email protected]
Phone: 310-359-3224

Store Hours:
Tuesday-Friday 11am to 6pm
Saturday 10am to 6pm
Sunday 11am to 5pm

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Los Angeles County

New on the LA County Channel

You can watch on Channel 92 or 94 on most cable systems, or anytime here. Catch up on LA County Close-Up here

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

New on the County Channel

The Los Angeles County Channel has been nominated for two LA Area Emmy® Awards. Hoop Dreams on a Roll was nominated in the Feature Segment category and Pathway Home was nominated in the Informational Series category. Check out the nominated segments here

The awards will be presented in July at a ceremony in Beverly Hills.

You can watch more stories like this on Channel 92 or 94 on most cable systems, or anytime here. Catch up on LA County Close-Up here.

In Case You Missed It

Celebrating Advocacy, Resiliency, and Empathy

The Los Angeles County Justice, Care and Opportunities Department is hosting a Father’s Day event on Sunday June 9 from 12:00 P.M. to 4 P.M. at Earvin Magic Johnson Community Center. There will be entertainment, Games, resources booths, food and more!

To RSVP click here.

At Your Service

Free Gun Safety Locks

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s Office of Violence Prevention, in collaboration with LA County Library, is distributing 1,000 gun safety locks to the public at five library locations across the County; free, no questions asked. An LA County Library card is not required to obtain a free gun safety lock.

To obtain a free gun safety lock online – please visit lockedandunloaded.org.

For more information about LA County Library’s gun safety lock distribution as well as other Library resources, visit LACountyLibrary.org/gun-violence-awareness.

Out and About

Beach Movie Nights Return!

Beach Movie Nights is returning to Dockweiler Youth Center on Fridays, starting June 7th!

Enjoy FREE family-friendly movie screenings on the sand, by the waves, and under the stars at the Dockweiler Youth Center, Friday nights this summer! Be sure to bring blankets and bundle up.

Click here to learn more.

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The Pride Lifeguard Tower in Hermosa Beach. (Photo: Los Angeles County/Mayra Beltran Vasquez)

Click here to access more photos of LA County in action.

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Los Angeles County

LA County Dept. of Public Social Services raises Pride flag

The Pride flag raising and display is part of the agency’s “continued focus on improving the delivery of services to LGBTQ+ customers

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Photo Credit: James Bolden/County of Los Angeles

CITY OF INDUSTRY, Calif. – The Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) joined seven local advocate organizations in affirming its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, with the raising of the Progress Pride Flag at its City of Industry Headquarters.

According to L.A. County Dept. of Public Social Services spokesperson James Bolden, the Pride flag raising and display is part of the agency’s “continued focus on improving the delivery of services to customers who identify as LGBTQ+.”

Photo Credit: James Bolden/County of Los Angeles

L.A. County is home to the second largest LGBTQ+ youth and adult population in the nation. Pride Month, which began locally with the Christopher Street West Pride Festival in West Hollywood, has since grown to include many spirited community celebrations established countywide.

DPSS offices will join other County of L.A. facilities that will fly the Pride Flag throughout the month of June.

Sharing this year’s event theme, “Pride Begins with Us,” DPSS Director Dr. Jackie Contreras welcomed the advocate organizations and more than a hundred department employees who enthusiastically waved mini-Pride flags to demonstrate their support.

“Pride Month is more important than ever, and highly relevant to our important work,” said Contreras. She added that members of the LGBTQ+ community are often hesitant to apply for public benefits out of fear that they may face discrimination. “DPSS wants to make it clear that all are welcome, and no one should delay or forego services from us due to a fear of experiencing discrimination or intolerance.”

Photo Credit: James Bolden/County of Los Angeles

In 2022, as part of a cultural shift to help better engage and serve diverse communities across the County, DPSS implemented an internal Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and (Gender) Expression policy. The policy was a breath of fresh to many like DPSS manager Gladys Pulido who explained how living a life where you are public and proud of your queer identity, is an act of courage.

“My bisexuality is an integral part of who I am, and I didn’t want to hide that anymore,” Pulido said. “I wanted to bridge the incongruence I was experiencing and bring my whole self to work.”

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DPSS manager Maria Gorman described how her coming out as an adult caused chaos within her home and community life.  She emotionally described the experience of raising a son with her long-time partner. She hopes her story will make it easier for others to open up about their own unique families.

“Our child is lucky to grow up in a community where kids, teachers, and other parents don’t treat him differently for having two moms,” Gorman said. “We’re not the quote unquote ‘gay family,’ we’re just a family. Our journey may not fit the traditional mold, but what truly matters is the love, joy, and acceptance we share every day.”

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