Santa Monica Observer issue 48 : Page 1

Page 7 Volume XI Number 48 Community, Diversity, and other Overused Words™ November 17 - 23 2008 U.S. of Love United States of Love at Bergamot Station 500 elementary, middle, and high school students in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District were given the chance to attend their own art opening, enti- tled "The United States of Love," on November 12 at the Santa Monica Museum of Art. Local artist Martin Kersels created an instructional video, and the museum provided the students with materials to make felt flags guided by the theme of love. Now spread over the wall of Bergamot Station's G gallery, the flags display pic- tures of hockey sticks, moth- ers, and pets. "The United States of Love" is part of the Wall Works program, offering free- of-charge opportunities for students to participate in the making of large-scale public artworks designed by a promi- nent artist. Martin Kersels' ret- rospective, "Heavyweight Champion," is on display through December 13. State says: Rebuild, Forget the Fire Risk LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Twice in the span of a month, wildfires have ravaged the same northeast corner of greater Los Angeles, destroying hundreds of homes and the good life offered by California's scenic beauty at the city's edge. Visiting a mobile home park in the chaparral-covered foothills where 500 dwellings were lev- eled in the latest firestorm, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said on Sunday: "Every single time there is a fire like that we learn new things." This time, he said, the state learned it should apply stricter building codes to mobile homes. But at no point did the popular governor say Californians shouldn't be living in these high- risk fire areas. Quite the contrary. "We want to let the people know that the state is with you, we're going to help to get your homes back and your structures back, to get your lives back," Schwarzenegger said. Over 1,000 homes have been destroyed since last Thursday in a swarm of wind-driven brush fires that struck a luxury coastal enclave of Montecito, the north- eastern Los Angeles suburb of Sylmar and several communities in Orange County. Some of the same Sylmar res- idents chased from their homes this past weekend were forced to evacuate last month by two other fires that burned about 100 struc- tures in nearby areas. Many displaced residents, whether they inhabited humble mobile homes or opulent man- sions, are bent on rebuilding. Brittney Fowler, 23, who lost the Yorba Linda home she had lived in her whole life, said her family would "definitely" rebuild their large house overlooking a wooded canyon. Many homeowners are drawn to neighborhoods on the fringes of urban areas in search of a greater connection to nature. Others find more affordable housing there than what is avail- FIRE, Page 3 Sharing the Green with the Garden School Foundation By Kat Thomas Observer Life & Style Editor & Worm Keeper Last week I had the privi- lege of attending this year’s Harvest Moon Party, a benefit soiree for the Garden School Foundation and the 24th Street School Garden. “Did you got alone?” my mom asked when I was recounting my eye opening time there later, “because if you did you could have taken the worms as a date.” For those who weren’t around for my article on the Santa Monica Festival, but I have discovered and since become an avid worm com- poster, much to the disbelief of my non-Santa Monica living parents. But I am not alone. Here in Santa Monica we live in the garden Shangri La of LA. We are spoiled rotten with three farmers markets, wonderful cookbooks written by dedicated food writers such as Amelia Saltsman, and more farmers market fresh restaurants than we know what to do with. Here in Santa Monica many of us fully embrace the slow food movement, choosing a lifestyle of eating fresh and local. But this is not how the rest of the world lives. There are many places right outside our door where fast food is not an unhealthy indulgence, but the only available food choice. These are places where asphalt and concrete are the norm. Where kids have never had the option of growing something fresh. They are the places where it seems nothing can grow, well almost nothing. Sometimes the people who live in the world of heirloom tomatoes, pluots, and spring mixes with ten types of lettuces in them get together, pitch in, and help out. The select Westsiders chose to inspire those who weren’t born with the option of growing up in a green GARDEN, Page 2

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