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AROUND THE VALLEYS – September 17, 2012

ANTELOPE VALLEY LANCASTER The Museum of Art and History in downtown Lancaster is displaying art created by participants in a local nonprofit arts program. The “Creatures of Clay” exhibit is the culmination of a nearly 15-week project by InSite Development and Housing Corporation of America, which partnered last year to launch the arts program. The program gives students in low-income communities exposure to art through sculpture classes. “These sculptures are gorgeous. They really are beautiful,” said Corey Heimlich, spokesman for the program. “And having them displayed in MOAH — getting them to come into this new cultural space is incredible.” The program is operated from The Arbor at Palmdale and Village Pointe apartment complexes, and is limited to residents of the locations. Another session of the program will begin in a few weeks, and according to Heimlich, previous participants are encouraged to attend again. “The goal is for them to repeat,” he said. “Typically, our participants are between the ages of 7 and 20, but this time, it went from 7 years old to the late 50s. It really turned into an intergenerational experience this time.” In addition to the arts component of the workshops, students are also taught a financial literacy component. They earn money during the class and are able to exchange part of that for gift cards at the end of the session. At the end of the program, the participants also donate a portion of their earnings to cover the program costs and to help an entrepreneur through crowd funding microfinance website Kiva. This year, students gave that portion of their funds to a Mongolian vegetable trader to help him expand his business. Heimlich noted that while InSite does have more properties in the Lancaster area, any expansion of the program would require more sponsors. The exhibition runs through Nov. 24. CONEJO VALLEY THOUSAND OAKS Denver-based Archstone, a national real estate investment company, has sold its 191-unit Thousand Oaks Crest apartment complex to Los Angeles-based IMT Capital in a deal valued at just over $51 million. Archstone has been selling off some of the older properties in its portfolio in anticipation of its IPO, according to Jim Fisher of Lee & Associates, who transacted the deal. “It’s not a secret that they’re about to go public,” Fisher said. “This is a mid-‘70s property. It just doesn’t look as great on Wall Street.” He noted that Archstone owns other property in the area, but that he thinks it will retain those newer properties. Archstone said that it is “in a quiet period” in advance of the IPO and declined to comment on the sale. The company purchased the property in July 2007 for $43 million. “The value of this asset belies its age due to a number of factors including the demographics of Thousand Oaks,” Fisher said in a statement. The property underwent extensive renovations to both the interior of the apartments and the exterior of the community in 2007. SAN FERNANDO VALLEY George and Vicki Flam, owners of Flam’s Lock and Key in Sherman Oaks, are celebrating the 60th anniversary of their business this year. Started in 1952 by George’s father, Sam, the business has expanded from a small locksmith shop to a full-service operation. “We say we’re security professionals, not locksmiths,” said Vicki Flam. “We are passionate about security.” The Flams say the loyalty of their clients has kept them in business for so long. There are local patrons who don’t think to call anyone else, Vicki Flam said. “We are often working for third generations now,” she said. “Our integrity is everything to us.” Through the years, the couple also has become experts of sorts on scams — taking on an advocacy role for their clients and the industry. George was featured on Fox 11 recently when he explained to host Carlos Amezcua how so-called ‘bump’ keys work and how they are being used by thieves. While the business was hit hard during the recession — since it’s largely rooted in the real estate market — the Flams’ blend of business sense and trade skill has kept them busy and stable, according to Vicki Flam. “We’ve had to learn and change with this business,” she said. “And we’ve done it.”

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