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AROUND THE VALLEYS

Burbank During the week, Mike Zugsmith works in the commercial real estate brokerage sector as the chairman of NAI Capital. But during his free time, he trades his suit and tie for a baseball cap and sports shirt and assumes his alter ego, “Iron Mike.” Along with his wife, Rachel, and two pro baseball players, Zugsmith started On Deck, a baseball training entity that has been attracting sports enthusiasts from all over the region who are interested in building up their strength and improving their sports game. At the Burbank facility, sports enthusiasts have access to the San Fernando Valley’s only “fast twitch” gym as well as indoor public batting cages, Iron Mike and softball pitching machines, a 60-foot pitching lane, a community room with Internet access and instruction from professional baseball players. The idea for On Deck was born after Zugsmith befriended Glen Raasch, a former player with the Chicago Cubs and Seattle Mariners, and Daris Toussaint, a former player with the San Francisco Giants. Zugsmith met the men after his son, now 18, expressed interest in playing Little League baseball when he was in elementary school. “When he became very interested in baseball, we decided to get him professional coaching to see how good he could be,” Zugsmith said. Subsequently, Zugsmith took him to West Coast Baseball School in the northeast San Fernando Valley, owned by Raasch and Toussaint, to help him improve his catching and hitting skills. After forming the venture with Zugsmith, Raasch and Toussaint moved their school to an existing 14,000-square-foot building in Burbank in late October. They now provide instruction through On Deck. The pro-athletes, Zugsmith said, expressed interest in offering services to clients that other sports facilities don’t offer. “They really felt, ‘We know how to do this better,'” said Zugsmith. “Better” includes computerized fast twitch gym equipment that custom tailors an athlete’s workout regimen, adjusting 16,000 times a second, and analyzes a user’s musculature for strengths and weaknesses. According to Zugsmith, the equipment helps athletes who require explosive power to maximize their ability to throw and is used at rehabilitative centers. Professional and top athletes, such as runner Carl Lewis and 19 World Record holders, have been trained using the machines. The facility’s Iron Mike pitching machines use real balls instead of plastic ones and contain arms that throw fast balls to emulate real-world experience. “We’re really trying to create a real game experience for people at On Deck,” Zugsmith said. SAN FERNANDO VALLEY Canoga Park Parade: Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will serve as the grand marshal of the 19th Annual Canoga Park Memorial Day “Hometown Heroes” Parade on May 28. The parade, which is being held to honor local men and women serving in the Armed Forces, is hosted by the Canoga Park/West Hills Chamber of Commerce. The parade route will start at Owensmouth Avenue and Sherman Way and will move east to De Soto. The parade will then make a right turn on De Soto, turn right on Vanowen and will end at the corner of Owensmouth and Vanowen. The Canoga Park Memorial Day Parade has been held since the 1940s. Event chairman Jack Dawson predicts this year’s event will draw more than 50,000 spectators. Glendale Health: Glendale Adventist Medical Center has received the American Stroke Association’s Get With the Guidelines Stroke Initial Performance Achievement Award. The American Stroke Association commended the hospital’s commitment to providing a higher standard of stroke care according to national standards and recommendations. GAMC has developed a comprehensive system for rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients who are admitted to its emergency room. The system includes 24-hour access to brain imaging scans, staffing of neurologists to conduct patient evaluations and the use of clot-busting medication. Northridge Culture: Antonia Garcia-Orozco, a Chicano studies professor at California State University, Northridge, received a prestigious internship to study at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., this summer. Garcia-Orozco will be working with the Latin Music Initiative, which is part of the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, in conjunction with the Latino Center. “I am reconstructing how Mexican women and Chicanas have created agency for themselves through a musical genre that historically has been male dominated,” said Garcia-Orozco. The Smithsonian program grants 40-45 internships each year. Pacoima New Neighbors: Grand opening ceremonies for the Pacoima Federal Development Credit Union, the first of its kind in the area, took place during the week of May 14. Among the officials who attended the May 17 ribbon cutting were Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon, whose district includes the Pacoima area. Over the weekend of May 19 the credit union held a block party complete with mariachi and other performances, food and events for children. The festivities marked the opening of the credit union headquarters. The credit union had been operating out of its Lakeview Terrace branch since it launched in February, 2006, and will continue to service customers from that branch as well. “To date we have 460 members and $2.4 million in assets,” said Roberto Barragan, Pacoima Federal Development Credit Union chairman and CEO and president of the Valley Economic Development Center, which spearheaded the credit union. “And NCUA just approved us to begin making SBA small business loans. Not only are we the only credit union in the Northeast San Fernando Valley, we are now the first SBA lender to operate in this community.” Panorama City School Days: The fruits of some of WWCOT’s recent labors can be seen in Panorama City with the opening of Panorama High School, the newest of Los Angeles Unified School District’s facilities. Architectural firm WWCOT designed the $71.8 million facility including a portion of the school which will also be open to the public. The school offers public use of its community room, library auditorium and gymnasium as well as the swimming pool during after-school and summer hours. To be certain that the school met the needs of the community, WWCOT and LAUSD held bilingual meetings with the community during the planning stages. Sylmar Veins: QPC Laser Inc. shipped its 2,000th high-brightness semiconductor laser used for varicose vein treatment. The lasers are custom designed to deliver a highly-focused beam into the vein through a narrow optical fiber. QPC has shipped the lasers since 2005. Universal City Named: Vivid Entertainment Co-Chairman Steven Hirsch was named to Time magazine’s “Alt-100” list. Hirsch was No. 58 on the list that also included former Vice President Al Gore in the top spot; Paris Hilton; and Jesus Christ. The “Alt 100” appeared in the magazine’s May 1 in conjunction with the “Time 100” listing men and women whose power, talent and moral example is transforming the world. Woodland Hills Signs: Last week the installation of some 20 signs to designate the neighborhood of Woodland Hills began going up around town. City officials gathered to unveil the first sign, at Ventura Boulevard and Don Pio Street. The signage will be placed from Valley Circle Boulevard to Corbin Avenue in the first phase. CONEJO VALLEY Camarillo Batteries: Zinc Matrix Power, Inc. President and CEO Ross Dueber will speak on the benefits of silver-zinc rechargeable battery technology at the 2007 Battery Power Conference in Denver. Dueber’s presentation focuses on how rechargeable batteries from Zinc Matrix have a longer runtime over lithium-ion batteries; are safer because they do not use chemistry that is flammable or toxic; and key components making up the batteries can be recycled and reused. “It’s never been more important to provide safe and reliable portable energy solutions that pose no threat to consumers or the environment,” Dueber said. Westlake Village Sporty: Sports Authority opened its newest store at The Promenade at Westlake on May 19. The store carries gear, apparel and other products for football, softball, basketball, baseball, hockey lacrosse, running, cycling, skating, golf and tennis. Sports Authority operates 424 stores in 45 states. The Promenade at Westlake was developed in 1996 by Caruso Affiliated. Finalists: Loi Nguyen, founder and vice president of technology for Inphi Corp., an electronic components manufacturer, was among the finalists for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Also named as a finalist is Philip Asherian, CEO of ESI Enterprises in Woodland Hills, a firm providing consulting, information technology outsourcing and network design, installation and support. The finalists were chosen from over 100 nominations received by an independent judging panel composed of area business, academic and civic leaders. The winners will be announced June 26. SIMI VALLEY Kudos: Simi Valley Hospital received a 2007 Gold Achievement Award from the American Heart Association’s Start! Fit-Friendly Companies recognition program for its commitment to providing a healthy work environment. Simi Valley Hospital was one of only three companies to receive the award. during the current award period. To qualify for the honor, the hospital had to demonstrate it is meeting a number of criteria, such as offering physical activity support for employees, increasing healthy eating options at work and promoting a culture of wellness. AHA representatives will present the Gold Achievement Award to SVH at the Ventura County Heart Walk on Sept 8. SVH is sponsoring the walk. SVH’s implementation of the new Walk This Weigh employee fitness program was the main reason the hospital received the honor. The program promotes employee wellness through walking and smart diet choices. ANTELOPE VALLEY Lancaster Information: The City of Lancaster won two top honors for public information from the California Association of Public Information Officials. Lancaster Communications Manager Anne Aldrich was presented with the honors to the city for its monthly newsletter and for its new website, cityoflancaster.org. The Outlook, published quarterly and distributed to all Lancaster residents, keeps the public informed about city news. In 2007, the publication was expanded with a smaller Outlook Lite newsletter sent to residents in the months the Outlook is not published. The new city website was launched in October and was designed with multiple elements to encourage two-way communications with residents. Excellence: Antelope Valley Hospital’s Women, Infants and Children program won the Best Practice Recognition Award and an Excellence in Program Evaluation Award at the California WIC Association Conference on May 7. The Women, Infants and Children Program is a federally funded, nationwide program that helps ensure good nutrition for pregnant and breastfeeding women, infants and children under 5. AVH sponsors the program for the Antelope Valley region. To receive the award, AVH underwent a four-day evaluation process, which takes place every two years. The AVH WIC program was also commended for keeping participants in the program from pregnancy through postpartum care. Scholarships: The Antelope Valley Hospital Auxiliary and Antelope Valley Hospital have awarded $15,000 in scholarships to high school students in the Antelope Valley who are pursuing health care careers Fifteen students have been selected to receive $1,000 each. The recipients were chosen from among hundreds of applicants and were awarded the scholarships based on panel interviews and scholastic achievement. To qualify, applicants were required to have a 3.5 grade-point average or higher and have plans to pursue a career in a health-related field. The scholarship program is a partnership between AVH, which contributed $5,000, and the AVH auxiliary, which contributed $10,000. (PHOTO) SANTA CLARITA VALLEY Santa Clarita Honors: The city of Santa Clarita received two honors from the Los Angeles section of the American Planning Association and will be recognized at a ceremony at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Cathedral Plaza on June 12. The city’s Downtown Newhall Specific Plan won first place in this year’s Los Angeles area APA awards, and the Sign Compliance Program received a merit award. The Downtown Newhall Specific Plan was awarded a first-place Planning Excellence Award for best practice. Because the Downtown Newhall Specific Plan took first place, the city will now be competing at the state level. The plan is a form-based code that is designed to invigorate downtown Newhall. It calls for mixed-use development that allows commercial and residential developments to co-exist on the same parcel of land. The city’s Sign Compliance Program received a merit award for planning excellence in implementation for a large jurisdiction in the final phase of the sign compliance program. The program was started to improve the appearance of the community and reduce competitive streetscape signage clutter along the city’s roadway corridors. Excellence: The city of Santa Clarita’s transit maintenance facility received the 2007 Excellence in Transportation Award by Caltrans in the Transportation Related Facilities category. Caltrans received approximately 90 entries from across the state from various entities. The transit maintenance facility, which received a gold rating from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System in 2006, is a “green” building that allows the city to house, maintain and clean its bus fleet. It saves the city more than $1 million each year. The facility includes a bus maintenance building, an automated bus wash, diesel and compressed natural gas stations and parking to accommodate 110 buses and 163 cars. Recognition: The city of Santa Clarita recently received three awards during the California Association for Public Information Officer’s annual Excellence in Communications Awards Ceremony in Yosemite. The “Film Santa Clarita” spring and fall 2006 newsletters were awarded second place in the Community or Special Audience Newsletter category, and the city’s employee newsletter, “City Call,” received an honorable mention. The city’s 2006 DUI Awareness Campaign was awarded second place in the Public Safety Program or Campaign category. The campaign utilized a multi-media approach to demonstrate the perils of drinking and driving. Biking: Dozens of workers in Santa Clarita biked to work on May 17 during the city’s 4th Annual Bike to Work Day Challenge. The event coincided with a weeklong state awareness campaign calling for residents to cut down on pollution by biking to work. Santa Clarita businesses vie to get the most number of employees to bike to work during the competition. Small, medium and large businesses who won in their respective categories received free frozen yogurt from Golden Spoon-Valencia. The city teamed up with Metro, L.A. County Bicycle Coalition and Newhall Bicycle to host public pit stops for cyclists to catch their breath during their commutes. “By riding your bike to work, residents are helping to reduce traffic and pollution, improving your health by increasing cardiovascular activity and saving money on gas,” said Santa Clarita Mayor Marsha McLean.

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