Veterans Day Comes Early in Manhattan Beach

Come this  Sunday to Manhattan Beach to Salute to the Troops. It is a free event at Polliwog Park starting at 4p.m.

“We pride ourselves on being a family-friendly community, and we provide numerous events throughout the year to unite our residents,” Mayor Wayne Powell said. “The ‘Salute to the Troops’ event is particularly special, as we celebrate the men and women who put their lives on the line to protect our everyday freedom by coming together to showcase just how much their service means to our city.”

At 5 p.m., the community will join renowned singer Dennis McNeil, who serenaded five U.S. presidents, countless dignitaries and foreign heads of state, for the singing of the national anthem.

The 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Band from the base in Miramar will then take over the musical entertainment for the rest of the evening. military by donating bottles of water and Costco gift cards to the United Service Organization (USO). In turn, the city will deliver donations from the event to the USO at Los Angeles International Airport.


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Money for the Schools


Whole Foods Market

Whole Foods Market (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whole Foods Market’s Torrance Store Community Day:Supporting the Torrance Unified Gifted And Talented Education Program

Torrance, CA – To demonstrate Whole Foods Market’s commitment to the community, the company’s Torrance store will donate five percent of the day’s net sales on Wednesday, June 23, 2015 to Torrance Unified. The donation will support the District’s Gifted and Talented Education Program (GATE).

The GATE Program provides students with opportunities to receive differentiated learning experiences within the classroom as well as enrichment opportunities outside the classroom. Teachers consider the diverse backgrounds, interests, experiences, and learning preferences of their students, and then create multiple learning options based on the objectives being addressed. Students also participate in after school enrichment activities and projects. This school year the GATE Department offered the first ever Parent GATE Conference, which was attended by nearly 500 parents. The conference provided parents with resources to help them support their gifted child’s educational journey and brought together experts and educators to provide parents with a better understanding of how to meet their student’s academic needs.

In January, Whole Foods Market in Torrance partnered with TUSD by providing healthy and nutritious lunches for parents who attended the GATE Parent Conference. In an effort to continue to support the functions of the GATE program, the Whole Foods Market in Torrance is giving back in an even bigger way with their Community Support Day. As an additional bonus, the first 100 shoppers on June 23rd will be given a free Whole Foods Market limited edition ETSY reusable shopping bag.

Whole Foods Market stores recognize the value of investing in local causes in the communities in which it works. The Whole Foods Market in Torrance is very excited to continue to partner with TUSD and provide invaluable donation dollars to support District programs. To learn more about events and activities offered by the Whole Foods Market in Torrance, please visit the store website at,

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The Hollywood Riviera

Hollywood Riviera is a charming neighborhood made up of primarily one story original houses, some offering ocean views. This hillside community sits both in Torrance and Redondo Beach and is about one mile square, or about 600 acres. Hollywood Riviera has winding streets that take you through the north hillside of the Palos Verdes Peninsula which overlooks the southern part of Torrance and Redondo Beach. The homeowners are particular about others building up, or obstructing the views of their homes.

The area lies in a “hillside overlay” district meaning approval from the city and neighbors must be granted to build up and obstruct the views, thus the Hollywood Riviera has been able to keep its original overall flavor and remains relatively unchanged since the homes here were built in the 1920s and 30s. Most of the homes are of Mediterranean style. There are many floorplans, layouts, sizes and amenities to choose from in the community, with most of the homes having been upgraded, remodeled and renovated in recent years. Some neighborhoods sit on the bluffs overlooking the ocean on the west side of the development and have cool ocean breezes and a beachy feel. Most of the development offers a sense of privacy and seclusion with the homes sitting on shady tree lined streets.

Riviera Village, on the ocean, in the western part of Hollywood Riviera, has many unique shops and great dining options. There are business offices, medical offices and plenty of wonderful restaurants also. The famous Redondo Beach Pier is just to the north of Riviera Village offering unique shops and restaurants, as is King Harbor and other prime attractions.

Hollywood Riviera has a unique feel that sets it apart from other neighboring communities. Both Torrance and Redondo Beach have award winning schools for the children to attend. Several large shopping centers are close by in the city of Torrance, along with all the shops, stores and business offices that line Hawthorne Blvd.

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UCLA Young Scholars Program in Torrance

Adams Elementary School, July 27-31

Torrance, CA – UCLA Young Scholars and the Torrance Unified School District have partnered together to bring South Bay students an enriching summer learning experience. The Young Scholars Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) program will engage students in problem-solving processes by working in teams to engineer a solution to a problem. Students will learn math and science, engage in critical thinking, and most importantly, have fun! We can’t wait to see you there!

FOR:Students entering grades 1 – 6

WHEN: July 27-31, Monday – Friday, 9:00AM – 12:00PM

COST:Registration is $195 per student.
(All Young Scholars will receive a UCLA t-shirt and a notebook)

LOCATION: Adams Elementary School, 2121 238th Street, Torrance, 90501

PARENT INFORMATION NIGHT: June 16, 2015 from 6-7 pm

REGISTRATION: Click link below. Registration is by grade level, please make sure to register your child for the correct grade level.

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Los Angeles From the Air 1961

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El Segundo

El Segundo is a small, secluded, intimate community close to everything, but separated by the Los Angeles International Airport and major industries, many of which are Fortune 500 companies. El Segundo is located on the coast just south of LAX and has the big city amenities, but retains its small town atmosphere. The quaint city center has a library, a seniors’ center, a swimming pool, a driving range, a golf course and a half dozen parks. The city’s recreational department offers many community activities for all ages year-round. Downtown Los Angeles is about 20 miles away.

El Segundo started out as an empty piece of land with a stand of willow trees on it. It was part of a mass of land of nearly 25,000 acres which extended from the areas as far west of what is now Playa del Rey, as far east as Inglewood, and as far south as Redondo Beach. The land consisted of wheat and barley fields on which cattle and sheep grazed. It was part of the then “Rancho Sausal Redondo”. In May of 1911, a group of men representing Standard Oil Company arrived looking for a potential site for a new refinery. They specifically were looking for land adjacent to the seashore so their tankers could have appropriate access. The liked the undeveloped nature of the site and they were also tying to keep costs to a minimum.

Standard Oil bought 840 acres of the land  and opened the new refinery just 6 months later.

On January 18, 1917, the City of El Segundo was incorporated. The city remained a one industry town until the 1920s, when Mines Field, a landing strip was chosen as the site for the new Los Angeles Municipal Airport. During the 1950s, Southern California Edison purchased a 43 acre site for a major electrical generating station.

The theme restaurant and control tower at Los ...

The theme restaurant and control tower at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Los Angeles International Airport opened in 1930, and this had a major role in El Segundo becoming an aerospace center. Douglas Aircraft, Northrop, North American Aviation, Hughes Aircraft and Rockwell all located in El Segundo during the 40s, and 50s. Most of these aircraft-related companies would eventually transition into the aerospace/defense industry. In 1960, the creation of The Aerospace Corporation and Los Angeles Air Force Base gave El Segundo the esteemed title of “The Aerospace Capital of the World.” Today, the city encompasses over five square miles, spanning from the Los Angeles International Airport on the north, to the Chevron Refinery on the south, to the Pacific Ocean on the west and Aviation Boulevard on the east. The name “El Segundo” came about because this was Standard Oil Company’s second refinery on the West Coast. Today, many large aerospace companies have facilities in El Segundo, including Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin  and Northrop Grumman. Toy manufacturer Mattel also has its headquarters in El Segundo. The citizens of El Segundo like to say that their town is “second to none.”

El Segundo has its own school district where scores generally run from the 80th to 90th percentile, and is considered one of the state’s outstanding school districts. The city operates its own K-12 schools and has close by El Camino Community College, University of Southern California, Loyola Marymount and U.C.L.A.

About 25 percent of the town’s housing was built before 1950. About 40 percent was built between 1950 and 1970 and the rest over the last 30 years. The great majority of the single homes have two and three bedrooms, and are located in beautiful tree lined streets that are quiet and peaceful. About two-dozen homes are positioned along the beach bluffs facing west and command ocean views. The rest of the town is built along gently sloping land away from the beach. You can find many single family homes located in traditional all American neighborhoods, duplexes, cottages, condos and town homes and apartment complexes in El Segundo.

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Lowball appraisals can kill deals. There are ways to keep your home’s look, feel and condition as updated and cared for as possible. When an appraisal of your property is scheduled, don’t wait until the last minute to get everything in order for the appraiser. Here are some important tips to help you and the appraiser be able to come in with the highest appraisal on the property.

  1.   Spruce up the house. Most appraisers will tell you that you don’t need to deep clean under the couches and that a few dirty dishes wont hurt your home’s value. But cleaning up the place is your responsibility and your duty too. Rats, mice, cockroaches and the broken down car you have been trying to overhaul might. Overgrown lawns and plants, soiled and dirty carpeting, marks on the walls all do affect value and are part of the property’s overall condition rating.
  2.  Curb appeal matters too. The lawns , front and back should be green and mowed. Get rid of the weeds in the planters and trim hedges and overgrown trees and shrubs. Lenders are looking at the conditions of properties more than ever. Dont forget the appraiser is going to photograph your property and also the comps in the neighborhood that he decides to use. You want your property to look it’s very best.
  3.  Make a list of all improvements and updates you have made. Also, make a sketch plan of your house indicating the square footage, for the appraiser. The list of updates should cover the past 15 years. Itemize each update or improvement with the approximate date and approximate cost. Highlight any notable features of the property. Make sure the appraiser is aware of any improvement that has been done like a new roof or insulation, etc. Don’t forget the little items. Sinks, water heaters, tub sealing, etc.
  4. Have some reasonable comps on hand for the appraiser. This is his job, but if you have updated comps it save him time. If a property has recently sold in the neighborhood without the help of a real estate agent, it may not have been on the MLS listings and the appraiser may never know about it, or will get the info too late to use.
  5. Take care of any peeling paint. Loans insured by the government agencies like the Federal Housing Administration, or the VA, will require peeling paint to be removed in houses built before 1978.
  6.  Focus, Focus, Focus. Don’t spend money that wont yield a return on the investment. The best expenditures for most markets are paint, carpet, electric and plumbing fixtures. If you are a homeowner who has always upgraded and fixed items as they broke, you will be fine.
  7. Location still matters. If there has been some good changes in the neighborhood, let the appraiser know it. Maybe a new playground has gone in, or a new Whole Foods Market or?If the area has been declared a historic or landmark district, let the appraiser know it.
  8. Appraisers often value houses in $500 increments, so if there is a repair costing more than $500 that can or should be made, it will count against the property. Fix leaky faucets, any busted screens, cracked windows, missing handrails and any structural damage.
  9.  Remember the concept of “effective age,” the age the appraiser can assign to the home after taking into consideration all updating and the condition. Lets say you have a cracked window, worn carpeting, tiles falling off in the shower stall, vinyl torn in the laundry room and the dog ate the corner of the fireplace hearth. These items could still add up to an overall average condition rating as the home is still habitable. However, your effective age will be higher, resulting in com parables being utilized which will have the same effective age and resulting lower value.
  10. Lock up Fido. Appraisers get annoyed by homeowners following them around during the appraisal process, and more annoyed by a growling dog. Along the same lines, make the appraiser comfortable as possible. If it is hot outside, turn on the A/C. If it is cold outside, turn on the heater.  It is good to turn both on anyway so he knows they both work.

    Let the appraiser do his job. Don’t ask questions or bother the appraiser with jibber jabber. He might miss something that would help make the appraisal better. Save your comments and questions until after the appraiser is finished.



FHA mortgages are back. An FHA mortgage loan is insured by the Federal Housing Administration, an agency within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Borrowers who have FHA mortgage loans pay for mortgage insurance, which protects the lender from a loss if the borrower defaults on the loan. Because of this mortgage insurance, lenders offer FHA mortgage loans at very attractive interest rates and are less stringent and much more flexible about qualifications and other requirements.

As of September 2010, minimum credit scores for FHA mortgage loans depend on the type of loan the borrower needs, according to the FHA, but scores should be 580 or better. Borrowers with credit scores between 500 and 579 are limited to borrowing 90 % loan to value.
The FHA requires a down payment of just 3.5% of the purchase price of the home.

The FHA will allow home sellers, builders and lenders to pay for some of the borrowers closing costs, such as an appraisal, credit report, title expenses, etc.


United States Department of Housing and Urban ...

United States Department of Housing and Urban Development Seal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The FHA is an insurance fund, not a lender, so borrowers need to get their mortgage loan through an FHA approved lender, and not directly from the FHA.   Not all FHA approved lenders offer the same interest rate and costs, even on the same mortgage loan.

There are two mortgage insurance premiums required on all FHA mortgage loans. The upfront premium is 1.75% of the loan amount and is paid when the borrower gets the loan. This portion can be financed as part of the loan amount. The second premium is an annual premium, which varies based on the length of the mortgage loan, the amount borrowed and the initial loan to value ratio (LTV).

The FHA has special mortgage loan products for borrowers who will need extra cash to make necessary repairs to their homes. Talk to an FHA lender of this.

Mortgage loan servicers can offer some relief to borrowers who have an FHA mortgage loan, have suffered a serious financial hardship and are struggling to make their payments.

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Hawthorne Birthplace to Surfin’ USA

It was the early 1960s and Brian Wilson wrote a tune for his music class at Hawthorne High School His teacher did not think highly of it as he gave Wilson a D. Later that song, “Surfin’ USA” would sell millions of albums.

The Wilson brothers grew up on the border of Hawthorne and Inglewood. Near Hawthorne Airport off 120th and Kornblum Ave. Today, the Wilson home would be where the 105 freeway runs through town. But back in the early 60’s the area was awakened late at night by the Beach Boys practicing in their garage.

The band was made up of the three Wilson brothers. Brian, Carl and Dennis. Dennis funny enough was the only one who surfed. Mike Love and youngster David Marks were the other members. However Marks was later replaced with Hawthorne High School footballer Al Jardine  because of a disagreement with his father and the Wilson’s father. They lived within a few homes of each other.

The bands harmonies were unmistakable however very much influenced by the popular Four Freshmen.

Today all that is left of the homes as depicted in the video above is a monument to the Beach Boy’s humble beginnings.

1962, California, USA --- L-R: Dennis Wilson, David Marks, Brian Wilson, Mike Love and Carl Wilson. --- Image by © Michael Ochs Archives/Corbis

1962, California, USA — L-R: Dennis Wilson, David Marks, Brian Wilson, Mike Love and Carl Wilson. — Image by ¬© Michael Ochs Archives/Corbis


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El Segundo’s Past Where Towers Now Stand

Patmar's drive In

Norman C. Marsh did not count on creating a motel/drive-in on the corner of what is today Imperial and Sepulveda. Marsh was a successful local musician and later would work with partner Howard Patrick booking local talent. Later the two decided to try opening a drive-in restaurant in 1939. They called it Patmar’s from a play on their two names.

One year later they added a 14-unit motel on the hill directly behind the restaurant.

Longtime resident Lora Bell told the El Segundo Herald in 1989, “It was the place to go back then. It’s where all the kids hung out and it was the last stop to get something to eat on your way home.”

The round building was purchased to be used for the  clubhouse for the  The Lakes at El Segundo. But there was way too many problems with the structure after years or ware and tear.

The El Segundo skyline, as seen from Sepulveda...

The El Segundo skyline, as seen from Sepulveda Boulevard (CA/SR-1) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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