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Man posed as CHP officer’s relative at memorial ceremony

Man posed as CHP officer's relative at memorial MEMORIAL: Slain highway patrolman's 'nephew' says he's sorry. Family is angry. John Guenther Staff Writer Daily Breeze Originally published in Daily Breeze. Date: November 3, 2010 A man who claimed to be the nephew of a fallen California Highway Patrol officer at a ceremony dedicating a new freeway sign in his honor last week said Tuesday that he meant no harm. The false assertion by Peter Beaver angered the family of Officer Merle L. Andrews, who died during a shootout in Palos Verdes Estates in 1967. But Beaver said he looked up to Andrews as an uncle figure. "I had nothing to gain," said Beaver, a Long Beach resident. "It was not about me. It was about Merle. I look at him as my uncle. To me, he was my uncle. He called me his nephew. Even though, if you want to say by blood, OK, I wasn't. To me, he was." Read more...

Do Good Bus drives passengers toward altruistic adventurism

Saturday afternoon, thirty-five people looking to volunteer their time will climb on board a bus and take their seats. They don’t know where the bus is going or what they’ll be doing when they get there, but they know it will be good. And co-founder of the Do Good Bus, Rebecca Pontius, is not giving…

Beer Pressure: How alcohol influences politics

A project of the Carnegie-Knight News21 Fellowship USC's "Under the Influence: Money and Power in Politics" by John Guenther Republicans and Democrats disagree on many things but not on alcohol. The industry lobby fuels policy, political campaigns and government coffers. The big players in the industry fight to protect their share of the market through…

There will be blood…to be cleaned up

Death rides a pale horse and these guys ride in a pale van, cleaning up after him By John Guenther It's getting late on Michael Nicholson's driveway, when Nicholson's friend and employee Johnny Grant asks if he'd seen the show "1,000 Ways To Die." Nicholson responds that he doesn't watch TV. They're standing next to the Clean…

Silver Lake Chorus brings strangers together in harmony

Silver Lake resident Samantha Rader has long enjoyed singing. The clinical psychologist was hoping to find a local chorus to join. But when online searches for an Eastside glee club proved fruitless, she decided to start her own version: The Silver Lake Chorus. Read more...

Smart cities, you’d better shop around for solutions

If someone needs to fix a computer or find the best deal on a plane ticket, it only takes a quick Google search. But where can cities go to find the best deal on fixing their traffic problems? An international organization called Living Labs Global created CityMart, an online showcase where cities from around the world spotlight a…

Food Not Bombs takes alternative approach to feeding homeless

On the Sunday after Thanksgiving, the temperatures downtown dipped into low 40′s. In Pershing Square, Angelinos glided around a skating rink which is ringed by trees decorated with Christmas lights. Nearby, a small line of L.A.’s down-and-out population formed up for a free dinner. The smell of greens and beans was in the air along with holiday music as a band of volunteers dished out the food. The volunteers brought with them large vats of food, along with hot sauce, plates and water, but one thing they didn’t bring with them is bombs. The group serving dinner that night is the L.A. chapter of Food Not Bombs, an organization that cooks up vegetarian cuisine free of charge to create social change. “We consider it a form of political protest, as our name implies, Food Not Bombs, against military spending, wasteful spending,” said long-time member Josh Haglund. “But what we actually do is collect food that would go to waste all across the world.” The organization also takes an alternative view of what should be on the menu for the estimated 48,000 homeless in Los Angeles County. Their meals consist of vegan dishes with a variety of vegetables gathered from local farmers markets which they say are the antithesis to most charity meals. “There’s a lot of people out there who are on medications and things like that and who have addiction issues and just trying to have them have a choice an option for a free, healthy meal is really important, I think, to people’s survival,” said member Alexandra Hong. Read more...

Creepy infographics using open data

I was poking around an open dataset site for my latest blog post for California Forward. Of course, when I saw this set, I had to click on it: "Foreign objects left in the body." It's practically a requirement. And, of course, what does a data person do but think to make an infographic out…