Tarzana, Woodland Hills The new year brings a new organization serving businesses and professionals in the Woodland Hills and Tarzana communities. Officials with the newly-named Woodland Hills-Tarzana Chamber of Commerce look to an expanded influence in the San Fernando Valley following the merger of the two separate organizations. “We technically have a larger geographic reach and we have a lot of energized people interested in improving the services to the members,” said Gordon Luster, the chairman of the board. Former Woodland Hills Chamber Chairwoman Sherry Keowen called the new organization the best, biggest and strongest chamber in the Valley. “That gives a lot more clout with the politicians and the (city’s) government affairs committee,” Keowen said. “We’ll certainly be the largest chamber in the United Chambers of Commerce forces.” The Tarzana Chamber was founded in 1925 and has about 150 members. The Woodland Hills Chamber was founded in 1942 and has about 500 members. The Woodland Hills Chamber membership approved the merger in October with the Tarzana membership giving its approval in November. Woodland Hills Chamber Executive Director Tinalyn Firestone will remain in that position for the new organization. Firestone is also a former executive director of the Tarzana Chamber. Former Tarzana Chamber board members Steve Hornstein and Paul Lawler will serve on the board of the expanded chamber. Attempts to reach Lawler, an insurance agent, and Hornstein, a lawyer, were not successful. The Tarzana chamber office will remain at its location at the Tarzana Community and Cultural Center. Having space at the center is one of the wonderful things about the merger because of the greater visibility as well as having access to space for workshops and cultural and educational and social events, Luster said. “As a chamber your purpose in life is to be an advocate for your members in both the business and the political environment but also to return to the community at large and that location is fabulous for that,” Luster said.– Mark Madler CONEJO VALLEY Thousand Oaks Expand: The Planning Commission has approved a plan to expand and remodel the Hyatt Westlake Plaza. Plans call for a new 10,680-square-foot ballroom and five-floor addition with 68 rooms. The project will also include two new parking structures and renovations of the health spa and swimming pool. The facility opened in 1980. Construction is expected to take about a year, although no start date has been set. Opening: Technology industry veteran Diamond Lauffin has launched The Lauffin Group, a consulting and business expansion firm. The Lauffin Group provides advice and guidance, training for outbound marketing requirements, on-site seminars, and production and writing of sales and training videos. “This enterprise is one that I’ve been mulling over for a number of years and I firmly believe now is the perfect time to launch this group,” Lauffin said. “My years of experience building successful companies and their sales and marketing teams, combined with a unique vision of the IT industry makes The Lauffin Group a perfect partner for companies who need highly-qualified direction.” Prior to forming the firm, Lauffin served for six years as executive vice president for Nexsan Technologies. Camarillo Award: The National Religious Broadcasters recognized The Frank Pastore Show as the Radio Talk Show of the Year at its December awards celebration. A former major league pitcher, Pastore has hosted his show for nearly three years, engaging Los Angeles area listeners at the intersection of faith and reason with candid talk that grapples with news and issues of the day. The Frank Pastore Show is broadcast by Salem Communications Corp., a Camarillo-based radio broadcaster, Internet content provider, magazine and book publisher focused on Christian and family-themed content. “Frank Pastore is the quintessential Salem talk show host but he’s also the best, as evidenced by this industry’s recognition,” said Salem COO and Executive Vice President Joe Davis. “”He’s a great combination of intelligence, life experience and heart. He’s equally comfortable with theology and sports, but he knows what’s most important and that’s what he communicates to his listeners with charm and with grace.” Pastore receives the award at the 2007 NRB convention in February. SANTA CLARITA VALLEY Santa Clarita Nurses: The California Board of Registered Nursing has reaccredited the College of the Canyons Nursing Program. Such accreditation is required for nursing programs and occurs every eight years. The College of the Canyons program was started in 1980. Signs: The city has purchased 152 new street name signs that will adorn 42 key intersections. The new signs, which will cost around $115,000, will feature a new design created by city officials. A prototype was completed in May and was installed at Valencia Boulevard and McBean Parkway. Valencia Moved: The television and camera supply company VITEK Industrial Video Products Inc. has moved into a new space. The company, founded in 1996, relocated from Sun Valley to 28492 Constellation Road in Valencia. A grand opening was held Dec. 15. SAN FERNANDO VALLEY Burbank Move: Boutique public relations firm The Honig Company, Inc. has moved to Burbank from its long-time Century City location. The company has taken offices at 3500 W. Olive Ave. “Burbank is known as the media capital of the world, so we feel right at home here,” said Steve Honig, the firm’s president. “Burbank offers a favorable environment for businesses seeking to capitalize on the ever-evolving media landscape, and has become a hub for thought leaders and companies that are on the frontline of the media business.” The Honig Company is a full-service public relations agency representing companies and individuals in the areas of entertainment and media, fashion and beauty, lifestyle and luxury goods, consumer products, technology and consumer electronics, and non-profit. Among the company’s clients are The Motion Picture & Television Fund, Big Dog Holdings/The Walking Co., Hansen’s Natural Beverages, BriteSmile, the LASIK Vision Institute, and The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation. Calabasas Plan: The city has formed a 20-person advisory committee to begin updating the city’s general plan and development code. The committee was formed through appointments from City Council members, mayor and city commissions. The update is expected to take about 18 months. Start: Construction is slated to start Monday, Jan. 8 on the new civic center at Park Sorrento and Park Centre streets. The Mediterranean- and Spanish Mission-inspired complex will include a two-story city hall, 25,000-square-foot library and public plaza with fountains, monuments and an outdoor amphitheater. A groundbreaking was held Jan. 6. The project is set to open in summer 2008. Canoga Park Station: The new Canoga Park station of the Orange Line busway officially opened on Dec. 27. The station features 611 free park and ride spaces, artwork, and pedestrian and bicycle paths. Canoga Station is the fourteenth stop on the cross-valley transitway, which connects the Metro Red Line in North Hollywood with Warner Center in Woodland Hills. “The opening of this new station is our holiday gift for Valley commuters,” said Zev Yaroslavsky, chairman of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and Metro Board member. “Canoga Station now provides more West Valley commuters with a viable alternative to the congested Ventura Freeway. This station will be the launch point for future extensions that will make this transit line even better.” In September, the Metro Board approved commencement of environmental clearances and preliminary engineering for a 6-mile extension of the service from the Canoga Station north to the Metrolink station in Chatsworth. Glendale Learn: The Glendale Unified School District has been awarded $233,900 from the California Department of Education to boost English programs for elementary and middle school students. Sylmar Teach: Los Angeles Mission College has been awarded a five-year, $3.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to boost the number of Latino teachers in California. The funds, which will be shared with Loyola Marymount University School of Education, will help fund strategies and activities to draw more students into the teaching profession. Currently, only 15 percent of California teachers are Latino, while 50 percent of students are Latino. To submit items for Around the Valleys, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org .
AROUND THE VALLEYS