Pen Pal Party

By Edna EthingtonMembers of Da’ Hawaii Seniors Club have been corresponding with letters as pen pals with sophomore Arts Technology Academy (ATA) students at Gahr High School in Cerritos annually since 2010. Many residents of La Palma are in the Da’Hawaii Seniors Club. Each year, the students were asked to write letters to the DA’ Hawaii Seniors Club members to find out what their lives were like as teenagers. They were asked to compare their own lives to the Seniors Club Pen Pals to determine who had the more difficult life and write a reflective essay. The students and club members had a celebration when they met each other for the first time. When they first met in person, they gathered at Gahr’s multipurpose room/auditorium at what they called, the “Senior Senior Prom.” The students, teachers and seniors from Da’ Hawaii Seniors Club brought food to share and entertained each other with singing and dancing. Later, the annual gathering of Pen Pals was called the “Pen Pal Picnic” and this year, the name of the celebration was simply called “Pen Pal Party” with many changes regarding refreshments and entertainment.At about 1:45 p.m., the club members lined up alphabetically to welcome their Pen Pals. Approximately 40 sophomore and junior ATA students from Gahr High School were bussed to Cerritos Senior Center to enjoy the first “Pen Pal Party” that was held at the Cerritos Senior Center. A few Juniors from Gahr also came later to help with taking pictures of the Pen Pals and join in the activities of the day.Hedy Anduha, Chairperson of the Pen Pal Party, welcomed everyone to the Pen Pal Party and presented ATA teacher, Rachael Edson with a gift bag of varieties of teas, coffee and chocolate for the ATA staff to enjoy. Since SPAM is a popular favorite food of people from Hawaii and members of the Da’ Hawaii Seniors Club, SPAM was the focus of both the entertainment and the refreshments for the day. The Lunch Bunch female cheerleaders, led by Ruth Goo, enthusiastically gave a cheer for SPAM with pompoms raised in salute. They were joined by four brave male cheer leaders who held up their letters spelling SPAM and joined the cheering.Jan Kaneshiro and Hedy Anduha taught the students the “SPAM Musubi” song accompanied by Willie Kaneshiro on guitar. The students and members had song sheets with the words of song, so they all could join in singing the Spam Musubi songMary Jane Fujimura then explained how Spam Musubi is made while Glenda Ujiie demonstrated the actual making of a role of Spam Musubi. Glenda Ujiie also created the center pieces using empty cans of SPAM filled with artificial flowers. For Spam Musubi, a sheet of seaweed, called nori, is first placed under an oblong shaped piece made of plastic that is specifically designed for making spam musubi. Rice is put over the nori and pressed in place in the plastic piece, followed by a slice of spam that may have been fried or flavored with teriyaki sauce, then covered with another layer of rice and pressed down to hold the rice and spam together. The plastic piece is then removed and the spam and rice is covered completely with the sheet of nori. There can be two, four or eight pieces of spam musubi depending on how large you want to cut the pieces.After the Spam Musubi demonstration, the student students and club members were all treated to a sample of Spam Musubi, little orange Cuties, chips, sodas and cookies decorated for St. Patrick’s Day. The refreshments were prepared by Marion Tesoro and her committee so each person could try one ortwo pieces of Spam Musubi. Some students came prepared with Polaroid cameras and took pictures of the ATA students with their pen pals. Da’ Hawaii Seniors Club pen pals received framed pictures of themselves with their pen pals. The students decorated and wrote their names on the frames of the pictures to make the pictures extra special.The remainder of the afternoon was spent playing Bingo with Danny Chang, John Yanagihara and Ed McCormick in charge of calling the games and awarding prizes to the winners. Students and club members enjoyed winning the different prizes donated by Da’ Hawaii Seniors Club.The Pen Pal Party came to an end with everyone forming a circle while holding hands and singing “Hawaii Aloha” and “Aloha O’e.” All the Pen Pals and the students’ teachers posed for a group picture to remember the fun time they had learning all about Spam Musubi and playing Bingo at the first ever Pen Pal Party at the Cerritos Senior Center.

LAMC looking for pastoral care

By Susan MoralesLos Alamitos Medical Center recently announced the formation of a Pastoral Care program. The purpose of the group will be to enhance the spiritual services currently offered and to add a community component. The program will include volunteers representing a broad array of religious faiths and cultural backgrounds. They will function as an integral part of the interdisciplinary healthcare team and will offer spiritual and emotional support in times of stress.“If a patient requests a Pastoral Care volunteer, we will try to match patients with a person of their own religion or belief system,” said Karen Games, RN, Senior Director of Process Improvement. “Volunteers may read, pray, or talk with patients and their families. We are working with local clergy and are building a diverse network of volunteers.”Training is provided as program volunteers will offer support with end of life issues, help with events such as memorial services and blessings, and participate in ethics consultations. More information is available on the hospital website at www.losalamitosmedctr.com or you may contact Karen Games at 562-799-3284.About Los Alamitos Medical CenterOpened in 1968, Los Alamitos Medical Center is a 167-bed acute care hospital located at 3751 Katella Ave. in Los Alamitos. The medical center offers a wide range of programs for families – from birthing suites to senior programs. Medical services include a 24-hour emergency department; Birthing Center; cardiology, including a cardiac catheterization/angiography suite; neurointerventional suite; comprehensive cancer services and much more.

Forest Lawn fountain flows again

By Colleen JanssenThe iconic fountain at Forest Lawn has been turned back on. In an effort to conserve water during the drought, the Cypress location shut the fountain off and worked on ways to further conserve water on the 145-acre site.The beautiful birds in the center sculpture propel water high in the air, while side jets shoot water in multiple configurations with dramatic effect. The result is a peaceful and picturesque attraction.In addition to the work done to re-open the fountain, the entire property is now using recycled water. “In August of 2016,” said Ben Sussman, Vice President Community Relations & Media Management. “We were thrilled to complete the project of bringing recycled water into our Cypress park.”“In partnership with the City of Cerritos, who provides the water, we are proud to continue our commitment to water conservation.”“Although the park itself is now using 100% recycled water,” Sussman continued. “This fountain uses some fresh water to help maintain the pipes and other parts of the system.”California and Florida are the leaders in the use of reclaimed water in the United States. A committee of independent experts produced a U.S. National Research Council report released in 2012, finding that the expansion of wastewater use for irrigation, industrial uses and drinking water augmentation could significantly increase water availability.During the drought, many companies, including Forest Lawn, and municipalities, found the lower cost of reclaimed water to be an attractive alternative to losing expensive turf and other landscaping. The additional cost for special piping and infrastructure will be mitigated over time with cost savings from recycled water usage. Large properties such as cemeteries, parks, golf courses and more have converted to recycled systems.The next project at the site is a new chapel. “The Patriot’s Chapel is currently being constructed and should be completed in early 2018,” Sussman said. “This new 150-seat chapel is topped by a stunning dome that is 12-feet high and more than 36-feet in diameter.”“The Cypress location is one Forest Lawn’s six memorial-parks located throughout Southern California and has been proudly serving families for more than six decades,” said Sussman.Although Forest Lawn is a long-time company, they are forward-thinking in their solutions to challenges such as the drought, evidenced by developments such as the reclaimed water project.The flower shop at this location was busy on Valentine’s Day, with some visitors seen stopping to view the newly re-started fountain in action. The shop offers flowers for all occasions and events, and is open to the public year-round.Residents and visitors are welcomed to stop by and view the fountain, along with meeting Forest Lawn staff for all their mortuary and cemetery needs. The property, located at 4471 Lincoln Avenue, is open daily from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, 6:00 pm during Daylight Saving Time.

Soroptimist honors young women

Soroptimist of Cypress recently hosted their 34thAnnual Scholarship and Service Award Reception honoring young women and service organizations.The mission of Soroptimist is to improve the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment.In honor of a former Cypress Soroptimist, four Kay Moyer Memorial Scholarships were awarded to young women who excel academically, are leaders in their school, and are dedicated to community service.This year’s recipients are Denise Chacanaca and Heewon Kim from Los Alamitos High School, Stephanie Peralta from Cypress High School, and Francesca Zaffino from Pacifica High School.In addition to our Quartermania fundraiser, we are proud to have dedicated funders of our scholarship programs Ron Moyer and Carole Fujishiro.Soroptimist International of America’s “Live Your Dream” program assists women who, as head of their households, must enter or return to the workforce or upgrade their employment status.This financial award program enables these women to gain the additional education and skills training they need to provide adequately for themselves and their families.Soroptimist of Cypress is pleased to honor six Cypress College young women with this award aided in funding by a grant from Bandai America Corporation.This year’s Soroptimist of Cypress “Live Your Dream” recipients are Danielle M. Redd, Esmeralda Soto, Nicole A. Kaiwi, Roxanne Marie Dockery, Liezel Lauguico, Jessica Valdez.Several community agencies also received checks from Cypress Soroptimist recognizing their ongoing work to benefit women and children.Cypress Boys and Girls Club, Cypress Children’s Advocacy Council, H.O.P.E. (Helping Other People Everyday), and the Hotline of Southern California.Soroptimist of Cypress welcomes new members. Two of our signature programs empowering young women are the SMART Girls, a 10 week program in conjunction with the Cypress Boys and Girls Club, and the Dream It Be It vision and goal setting program for 8thgraders.If you are interested in making new friends, helping your community, advancing the status of women, and sharing fun and goals, we would love to hear from you.For more information about joining Cypress Soroptimist contact Stacy Berry at(714) 679-4606orStacyBerry2014@sbcglobal.net

Bussiness community provides mentorship for local teens

By Colleen JanssenTeens from local high schools joined with members of the Cypress Chamber of Commerce to discuss career goals and get answers to questions from experts. The 31st Annual Student & Business Breakfast was presented by Southern California Edison.Michael Gomez and Ashley Han, both seniors at Cypress High School sat at the table where the topic was authors and journalists. Han works on the school newspaper and is interested in a job in public relations or news. Gomez is an aspiring author, already working on his first book.Both were typical of the students who gathered at tables with topics including: engineering, computers, mortuary science, and more. At most tables, mentors offered some insight to their career, then opened the discussion for student questions.Breakfast was provided by McDonalds, and the beverage sponsor was Crystal Geyser Water Company.The guest speaker, Sir Chef Bruno Serato, inspired those in attendance with his positivity in the face of recent adversity. A video was played with news footage of the traumatic recent day when his restaurant, the Anaheim White House, was destroyed in an early morning fire. Serato told his success story.“On April 18, 2005, I was touring the Boys & Girls Club and learned there were kids who lived in motels and their only meal was a school lunch,” said Serato. “Their mother could not cook because there is no kitchen in a motel.”“I told my Mama and she said ‘feed pasta,’ so I now serve 2,000 pastas a day. We have served 1.5 million pastas so far through our Catarina’s Club. The Club feeds people in Anaheim, while there are similar programs in Texas, New York, Italy, Brazil, Africa, and two more are coming to South Orange County.”“I met a girl whose family has lived in a motel room with six people. She does her homework sitting on a toilet because it is the quietest place to work. She is my hero.”Serato says that he came to the U.S. with only $200 in his pocket and worked as a dishwasher. He feels that too many kids who live in motels see the darker side of society and he helps to get them moved out.“We have moved 125 families out of motel rooms which equals 1,000 people. I help the teenagers find jobs. They need a mentor so I advise them. We talk and teach them how to do a job through our Chef Bruno’s Hospitality Academy.”“We teach how to be a dishwasher, busboy, waiter, chef, hostess, manager. They can now bring home money for their family. I recently had a girl tell me she got a job in a bakery. It’s amazing to see their face when they get a job.”Lest one think Bruno bought his way to success, remember he started with $200. He found a restaurant location to buy, and, the owner, impressed by Serato’s honesty, and decided to help him.“The picture of my Mama in the restaurant is gone. It was an electrical fire. I cried and thought ‘How am I going to feed pasta to the children?’ It was devastating.”Serato went home and found 1,000 online messages from people who wanted to help him. Caterers and restaurants provided kitchen space. People donated money.“It’s not easy. I happened only six weeks ago at 4:30 in the morning. They called and said the restaurant is on fire. I thought it was a joke. There were 40 to 50 firemen and 80% of the building was burned. The Anaheim Fire Chief hugged me. It was the best moment and worst moment of my life.”“We had reservations for 500 people that weekend and I had 2,000 kids to feed. In two hours we had a kitchen and 72 hours later we were serving the kids. Some people would start drinking or taking depression pills. I serve pasta to the children.”Serato says he cried for two days and nights thinking about the children and the 60 people who were working for him. He called restaurants and hotels and found jobs for all 60 employees.“I saw a man in a wheelchair and realized, when things are bad, look around you. Some people have it worse.”His motto is love will always prevail against evil. He shared with the mentors and students that being honest and loving will never fail.“It takes zero money to do something good.”He hopes to reopen his restaurant by Christmas this year. “With help from the City of Anaheim, I hope this will happen.”Asked about his favorite menu item at his restaurant, he did not hesitate, “Lobster Ravioli.” Here’s hoping he will be serving it in his restaurant again, soon.Those wishing to assist as mentors or be sponsors for next year’s event should contact the Cypress Chamber of Commerce at 714-827-2430.

Get your brain in tip top shape

By Amiya Moretta“It is so rewarding to see families gain help and hope in a tragic situation,” said Susan Rueb, founder and president of Brain Rehabilitation And Injury Network (B.R.A.I.N.) in Cypress, California.Unfortunately, because brain injuries are often hard to solve and require very individualized treatment plans, those suffering often spend years struggling to find treatment that is effective, spending a great deal of time suffering with very little treatment success. Or in the words of Rueb, “Once you’ve seen one brain injury, you’ve seen one brain injury. Every injury is different.”Inspired by their own struggle with their oldest daughter to find adequate help, the Ruebs felt called to create a one-stop shop for brain injuries. At B.R.A.I.N, patients can come for rehabilitation and receive treatment that extends beyond traditional measures- but reaches deep into the core of each person by creating a space centered in love and belonging. B.R.A.I.N provides all-day programs, support groups, individualized therapies for traumatic and acquired brain injury survivors, and a community of love and empathy that is focused on guiding people towards healing and hope.“ A brain injury occurs every 21 seconds and one brain injury affects approximately 40 people,” noted Rueb. According to Rueb, there is a lot our culture has done to keep us away from the basics of taking care of our brain. That is why this year’s Think Tank 2017 is on ‘Retraining the Brain: Back to Basics.’ This conference will be bringing people back to the basics of taking care of the brain including recognizing a healthy brain from an unhealthy brain and the necessary steps to get your brain in tip top shape.The seminar will feature Dr. John Medina, a developmental molecular biologist focused on the genes involved in human brain development and the genetics of disorders. Dr. Medina is the author of the New York Times bestseller, “Brain Rules” and will focus on the aspects of keeping a brain healthy.Other speakers will include Dr. Andrew Doan is a recognized expert in digital media applications in clinical medicine and addictions related to problematic use, Dr. Mary Kennedy, Ph.D., Professor of Communicative Sciences & Disorders at Chapman University, Orange, CA, Dr. Dee Gaines, Ph.D., who serves as a forensic expert, a VA Principle Investigator, a UCLA vol. clinical faculty, and as FGU faculty, and John Kelley, CEO of CereScan, a functional brain diagnostics company.Admission for the event is $160 for licensed professionals (Continuing Education Credit available), $150 for the general public, and $100 for students with a valid student ID. Lower admission prices are available with the B.R.A.I.N. partnership card rate Corporate sponsorships are also available, ranging from $500 to $5,000. The 2017 Think Tank will take place on Saturday, April 8, from 9 a.m to 4p.m at the Cornerstone Building on 1000 N. Studebaker Road in Long Beach, CA.Everyone is welcome to join the conference or come to the weekly meetings on Tuesday called F.B.I (Friends of Brain Injury) and learn about how they can keep a healthy brain. When asked how B.R.A.I.N has impacted Rueb over the years she responded by saying, “I think honestly, I’ve learned more empathy and patience to deal with people because just by looking at people, we can’t understand them.” Everyone is deserving of a place to feel loved and understood. If you are suffering from brain injury, know someone who is, or are simply interested in getting connected with B.R.A.I.N through volunteering or donating, visit www.thebrainsite.org or call 714-828-1760 for more information.

Kennedy wins CIF-SS Division 4 championship

By Ted ApodacaKennedy High’s boys volleyball team had been in this situation three times already. Fifth sets had become the norm for the Fighting Irish. That experience seemed to kick in after Downey had defeated Kennedy 25-16 in the fourth set.The Fighting Irish came out fast in the fifth set, taking a 4-1 lead en route to a 15-9 set win and a 25-18, 22-25, 25-18, 16-25, 15-9 match win to capture the CIF-SS Division 4 Championship on Saturday at Cerritos College.It was the first CIF-SS title for the Kennedy boys volleyball program. It was also the first time the team had advanced past the second round, despite making the playoffs in nine of the past 12 years under the leadership of coach Travis Warner.Warner said that they have felt like they were given tough draws in a few past years, including having to open at Morro Bay last year as a second place team. This year, the Fighting Irish were slotted into the wildcard round, despite being ranked third in the final section polls, and that put just enough of a chip on their shoulders.“We needed to win seven games in a row,” Warner said. “That’s what we preached and we did it.”The championship game followed a pattern that saw the Fighting Irish win sets one and three, but lose sets two and four. In the losses, Kennedy found itself down early and could not seem to gain enough momentum to rally, though they did keep the second set close.In the fourth set, the Fighting Irish trailed early, but did take a 4-3 lead before Downey gained control. When junior opposite hitter Jeremy Choi put down a kill from the right side, Downey led just 12-10, but it would get away from the Irish from there. Downey ran off seven consecutive points and took a 19-10 lead before cruising to the 25-16 win.But having taken two prior matches to five sets, Kennedy settled in and came out fast in the deciding set. The Fighting Irish had a kill from junior middle blocker Daniel Song and back-to-back kills from Choi to take a 3-0 lead. Kennedy led 4-1 and 7-4 before Downey rallied to tie the set at 7-7.But Kennedy would regain control from there. They led 9-8 when they went on a 5-0 run to take control of the set. Sophomore outside hitter Coby Prowse started the run with a kill off a blocker. After Downey was called for palming the ball on a hit, Song had back-to-back kills that fired up the gymnasium and put the Fighting Irish on the verge of the title.Downey hit a shot long to give the Irish a 14-8 lead and one point later, Song ended the match with another kill down the middle. Song, Choi, and Prowse led the Irish with 11 kills, while Ryan Kim added 10. Warner said he thought his team’s defense was steady although he admitted Downey served well enough to keep their serve receive scrambling a little bit. He felt his team won the match up front.“I think our front row just dominated their offense,” Warner said.Junior setter Spencer Hirai had 42 assists. Senior Libero Logan Dyckes had 22 digs and Hirai had 18 digs. Senior defensive specialist Lorenzo Bahena added 13 digs. Warner said that on the court, the team benefitted from getting contributions from across the roster. Off the court, he said the team formed a bond that extended from the court to school to their homes.“It’s like a big family,” Warner said. “Nobody is an individual on this team. Everybody does it for each other and that’s the best part about it.”The grit and determination that led the Fighting Irish to the eventual CIF-SS title was never more on display than in the semifinals. The Fighting Irish dropped the first two sets to the No. 2 seeded St. Margaret’s of San Juan Capistrano in tight sets. But Kennedy rebounded to win the next three, by the eventual final of 23-25, 21-25, 25-22, 25-23, 15-9.With the fifth set tied at 6-6, the Fighting Irish went on a 6-1 run to take control 12-7. Two points later, Jeremy Choi and Ryan Kim teamed up on a block to give the Fighting Irish a match point lead of 14-8. After another St. Margaret’s point, Kim ended the match with a kill off a block.“I think once we did that, we felt like we could do anything,” Dyckes said.On Saturday, that came to fruition. The Fighting Irish fulfilled what felt like destiny to them when the playoffs began with a wildcard round home game, and it meant possibly even more than they had imagined.“It means everything,” Dyckes said. “I can’t even describe it.”The Fighting Irish advanced to the Division 3 State Tournament. They opened with a home match against Classical Academy of Escondido on Tuesday (past our deadline). A win would put them in the second round on Thursday.Fighting Irish RosterName Year Pos.Ryan Kim Jr. MBDerek Aguilar Sr. DSAsheesh Mheta Sr. DSDillon Choi Jr. OHEvan Barrientos Sr. DSLorenzo Bahena Sr. DSJustin Vong Sr. OHLogan Dyckes Sr. DSTravis Tran Sr. DSAdam Rivera Sr. MBDevyn Claure Sr. DSDaniel Song Jr. MBEli Sala So. OHSpencer Hirai Jr. SJeremy Choi Jr. OPPChristopher Piazza Sr. DSCoby Prowse So. OH

Why red-light camera tickets?

By Joel BlockOn March 23 the Florida House voted 91-22 to end red-light camera tickets. Like here in California, the use of cameras/computers to give red-light tickets has been a controversial policy across the country.Locally, the City of Los Alamitos claims it implemented red-light cameras for safety purposes.Yet, there is another factor at work: money.These days, a Los Alamitos red-light camera ticket costs the driver approximately $500. That hefty fine creates a lot of income for a lot of people.On its “Red Light Camera” website, Los Alamitos states it costs the City approximately $215,200 to run its red light camera system. The same website doesn’t report the city’s revenues from camera tickets, or how much ‘profit’ the tickets generate for the city. However, per the OC Register, the city claims the extra money goes for ‘core’ police services.Illegal Camera TicketsLast July, the Register reported Los Alamitos admitted the system was illegally generating faulty red-light camera-generated tickets over a 10-month period in 2015 and 2016. The city estimated at least 1,000 such tickets were issued to victimized drivers. That is half a million dollars in camera tickets.The city had to give up the ticket fines if and when the individual drivers challenged them in court. Did the city voluntarily return fines paid by victimized drivers who didn’t challenge their tickets in court? You can take a guess.Red-light cameras are used in 426 communities nationwide, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Only two Orange County cities still use them, down from nine.It’s a big money business and an international one. Los Alamitos supplier is Redflex Traffic Systems, which is one of the largest, based in Australia. It is also possibly the most problematic.Fraud and BriberyLast month Redflex settled a fraud/bribery lawsuit by the City of Chicago for $20 million. One Chicago city official received a 10-year federal prison sentence for bribery.The Redflex CEO at the time and a Redflex consultant involved, also received federal prison sentences for their roles in the scam. The case was initiated after an expose by the Chicago Tribune newspaper. The case ended up involving the FBI, the U.S. Attorney and the IRS.The case was a big one, as Redflex had received hundreds of millions of dollars in red-light camera contracts from the City of Chicago over many years.During the investigation, Chicago Tribune reported in 2014 that Redflex’s former top salesman asserted that Redflex provided bribes to dozens of local officials in 13 states.Redflex also agreed last year with the Justice Department to settle a pending criminal prosecution concerning Columbus, Ohio by paying $100,000 in restitution to the city.Closer to home and on a smaller scale, the Sacramento Bee reported Redflex provided thousands of dollars in free meals to Sheriff’s deputies and Highway Patrol officers. The officers were on a panel, which recommended Redflex for the Sacramento red light camera contract over several other vendors.The officer who received the greatest amount of free meals, worth $1,789, had been supervising the day-to-day camera ticket program. He has since been reassigned to patrol duties.So, why do we have red-light camera tickets?Safety?Money?

All district band and orchestra festival

By Laurie HansonWith a wide-range of ages and talents, The Youth Center Music Program students participated in the AllDistrict Band and Orchestra Festival at Los Alamitos High School on Feb. 11. Kids as young as kindergarteners through high school performed for parents, relatives and on-lookers.“I love this event because it gives our families an opportunity to see our [music] program from pre‑school to high school,” said Los Alamitos Unified School District Superintendent Sherry Kropp. “It gives us an opportunity to celebrate music.”Youth Center Music Program student Carlos Barcelo, 14, and his brother Daniel Barcelo, 10, performed before a crowd of about 900 in the high school gym. According to their mother, Maria Barcelo, they take after their father, Rey, who plays several musical instruments. Both boys play the saxophone just like him, but have played other instruments including piano and violin. She said their teachers say they are musically inclined.Carlos, an 8th grader at Oak Middle School, has been playing tenor saxophone for three years and says that playing a musical instrument is “riveting and filled with excitement.” With plans of eventually playing in the Los Alamitos High School band and jazz bands, he especially likes playing solo pieces as it has taught him how to be more creative and confident.His younger brother Daniel, a 4th grader at Lee Elementary School, has been playing alto saxophone for two years and intends to keep playing although he’s not too certain about playing in high school because he’s only in elementary school. However, he enjoys being in performances, and loves listening to the cheers of the audience. “Playing alto sax has allowed me to become less nervous in front of an audience,” he said. “I love playing and it makes me happy!”“Both boys like being creative composing music and have a lot of fun playing,” said their mother. “It’s helped them with other subjects such as reading and writing. It’s taught them how to be disciplined, motivated to work hard and achieve. It’s broadened their horizons and they feel accomplished.” Ultimately she hopes that in now gaining a love and appreciation for music, that they will use it later in life. “The fact that they understand music is beneficial,” she said. “They can take it up later or use it for employment such as being a music teacher.”Other parents like Kierth and Jamie Hislop, watched and listened to their children perform at the festival as well. They believe learning a musical instrument is important for their son’s sense of achievement. Ritchie, 10, attends Rossmoor Elementary School and is a first year trumpet student with interests in learning the saxophone. Although he loves sports, he hopes to continue with music in high school.“Playing a musical instrument makes him feel proud of himself,” said his mother. “He feels like he has achieved a goal since he has always [wanted] to learn.” “I think he took after me as I’m more into music than my wife,” said Kierth who plays the piano and guitar. “Playing a musical instrument has benefitted him just in the fact that he enjoys the challenge of learning to how to play. It helps him with confidence and not to be too nervous about performing before a large audience although this is his first all-district music concert.”According to Cara Guggino, her 10-year-old son Jason gained confidence by performing at the music festival. The Rossmoor Elementary School 5th grader has played the trumpet for two years, and has gained a different perspective on life, she said.“It’s going to help him in the future with public speaking,” said Guggino who plays the piano and clarinet. Her daughter, Joanna, is also musically inclined and sings in the choir at McAuliffe Middle School. “I hope they learn continued confidence by building step-by-step growth to see the rewards of their hard work.”

Edmunds Drive-Thru: March 3, 2017

Edmunds Drive-Thru: March 3, 2017 Every week the Edmunds Drive-Thru serves up the best car reviews, long-term vehicle updates, and industry insights from Edmunds and around the web. Edmunds Latest Car ReviewsThe latest expert car reviews from the Edmunds editors, designed to help you find your perfect car.The 2017 Nissan Titan XD fills the gap between typical light-duty and heavy-duty trucks. For 2017, the range expands to include a regular-cab version with an 8-foot bed, while the volume-selling crew cab can be dressed up with new Texas Edition and Chrome package options.The 2017 Mini Countryman’s compelling blend of sportiness and character aims to shake up the staid subcompact crossover segment. The all-new 2017 Land Rovery Discovery has a friendlier appearance yet retains its all-terrain capabilities.With style, performance and drama, the 2017 Maserati Ghibli is the Italian take on the traditional midsize luxury sedan. Car NewsOur editors zero in on topics that car shoppers care about and write news stories that help them make smart buying choices. We also provide insights on industry events and shifts that affect shoppers.Ford says its new driverless electric concept van could launch a fleet of drones to deliver packages right to your door. Look for it in your neighborhood around 2021. Here is our list of the safest 2017 SUVs for your family, saving you tons of research time.� Research, Tips & AdviceOur research articles, written by editors who really know their way around the car-shopping process, help you with every aspect of finding and buying the car, truck or SUV that’s perfect for you. Here are this week’s picks, bringing you great tips for less fuss — and maybe even some fun — in car shopping. Does it make sense to buy the car you’ve been leasing? Some tips for making that decision. Edmunds UpdatesEdmunds is a unique company that’s always doing something innovative and interesting. Our company culture consistently wins accolades, too. Here’s the latest on Edmunds as an organization, including our analysts’ industry insights.New vehicles sat on dealer lots an average of 74 days in February, the longest "days to turn" period since 2009, according to Edmunds’ monthly sales analysis. Edmunds in the NewsEdmunds is an authority on everything automotive, so some of the biggest names in the news business often call on us to offer helpful tips for car shoppers and share insights on emerging trends. Here are just a few of the latest examples:Honda Clarity Experiences Oscars Bump (MediaPost) GM, Nissan Beating U.S. Sales Estimates Tempers Inventory Angst (Bloomberg) Buyers and Dealers Squeezed By a Lack of Older Used Cars (Forbes) Auto News From Around the WebThere’s a lot going on in the car business, so it pays to stay on top of things. Here are just a few of the top stories that caught our eye this week:Waze is coming to your car’s dashboard soon, and it will likely give Google plenty of data about your driving habits. (Wired) Takata pleads guilty to fraud charges for a coverup over its airbags. Meanwhile, a lawsuit alleges that five carmakers knew of Takata airbags’ deadly defects but went on using them because they were cheaper. (Washington Post)SUVs are outselling sedans in the U.S. Here’s why they’re so popular and how they’re debunking old SUV assumptions. (Consumer Reports)Where are ’60s American cars and "greaser" culture revered? It’s Sweden, home to what’s reputed to be the world’s biggest annual gathering and slow parade of vintage American cars. A fun photo essay. (National Geographic)