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AROUND THE VALLEYS

DeVry University claims to provide everything for students, from training for jobs in the “real world” to a very successful job placement service for its graduates. But the school has also decided to fill in what may be the one missing link in its formula: providing a makeover for students who may not be quite ready for career prime time appearance-wise. This year the school partnered with the Sherman Oaks Galleria, where it has recently relocated its San Fernando Valley campus for its Geek to Chic makeover. “Career advice columnists always say, ‘Dress for the job you want,’ “DeVry pointed out in announcing its “Geek to Chic” contest. “So, DeVry University has adopted five of the biggest self-proclaimed geeks from its Sherman Oaks Galleria school location to give them a transformation makeover and help to ensure our graduate employment success rates remain impressive. DeVry boasts that last year, 91 percent of the students it graduated system-wide were employed in their fields within six months of graduating at companies that include Accenture Technology Solutions, Boeing Co., GE Medical Systems, Intel and others. Five contestants vied for $500 worth of prizes that included hair styling from Paul Mitchell the School, clothing from Tuso or Faith Remi and eyewear from Les Yeux Eyewear, all located at the Sherman Oaks Galleria. Each made their best pitch in a video that was aired on the DeVry Website, www.DeVry Geekto Chic.com, and on the Sherman Oaks Galleria Web site. Among them was Sam Chavez, a 19-year-old in the school’s business administration program who confided that her idea of style is to make certain she is wearing everything: shirt, shoes and pants. And Grant Gardner, also 19, a game and simulation programming student whose friends think he throws on whatever he finds on the floor before walking out the door. DeVry invited the public to vote for their favorite geek. The winner of the favorite geek contest along with the winner of the makeover were announced at the KIIS-FM Wango Tango concert on May 12. SAN FERNANDO VALLEY Canoga Park Fashion: The long-awaited opening of Swedish retail sensation H & M; has been scheduled for June 21 at Westfield Topanga. The retailer, whose entry into the San Fernando Valley was announced earlier during Westfield’s Topanga renovation, will open a full concept store including men’s, women’s and teen fashions on two floors. As H & M; has done in its other Southern California store openings, it is planning to give away gift cards worth up to $200 to the first 100 customers and offer special discounts on opening day. The retailer has drawn lines of customers who waited through the night at many of its other Southern California openings. Pacoima Homey: Among the celebrations for Cinco de Mayo was a grand opening for Laurel Village, a gated community of 69 homes in Pacoima. The builder, Montage Development, celebrated the opening of the development with a grand opening event on May 5. The homes, at Laurel Canyon Boulevard between Branford and Sheldon streets, feature four and five bedrooms and a community pool. Prices start in the $500,000 range. Woodland Hills Sweat: Equinox Fitness Club, a posh health club based in New York that offers classes like “Totally Hip Yoga” and “Beautiful Booty,” is opening its first San Fernando Valley facility in Woodland Hills. The gym will be located at 21530 Oxnard St. in Warner Center. If all goes as planned, the new gym will open in October. Northridge Kudos: KCSN-FM 88.5, California State University Northridge’s public radio station, was recognized by the Radio and Television News Directors Association for excellence in news reporting with three Edward R. Murrow Awards. Student Angelle Tymon received an award for best feature reporting in 2006 for her story on Dimples Karaoke Bar. Student Natascha Crouch was honored for best news writing in 2006 for her report on autism. The station’s Evening Update received an award for best newscast in 2006. The news station is run by the university’s journalism students. The station has received 22 Murrow awards. Valley Glen Workshop: The Regional Black Chamber of Commerce will hold its 3rd Annual Professional Workshop Series luncheon, “Meet the Media Moguls,” from noon to 2 p.m. May 29 at Los Angeles Valley College, 5800 Fulton Ave., Valley Glen. Professionals in a variety of media venues, including print journalism, television and the Internet, will discuss how small business owners can market and grow their businesses using the media. For more information, contact the chamber at (818) 464-3484. The chamber is located at 16161 Ventura Blvd., Dept. 661, Encino. SANTA CLARITA VALLEY Santa Clarita Kudos: The city’s film office received the grand prize in the economic development program from the California Association for Local Economic Development. Santa Clarita competed with cities from across the state for the award, which recognizes economic programs that benefit California cities. City Manager Ken Striplin and Film Associate Jason Crawford accepted the awards in Monterey. Growth: Santa Clarita is the fastest growing large city in California, according to a study by the state Department of Finance. The city grew 5.7 percent to 177,158 residents. The study also found that Los Angeles proper for the first time had a population of more than 4 million. The fastest growing city of any size in the state was Beaumont in Riverside County, which increased by 21.2 percent to 28,250 residents. Valencia Naming: The new College of the Canyons University Center will be named after the school’s superintendent-president. The college’s board of trustees and foundation board on May 2 passed the resolution naming the 110,000-square-foot structure under construction after Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook, who has run the school since 1988. SIMI VALLEY Simi Valley Fitness: Gold’s Gym will host its grand opening and Family Carnival fitness extravaganza from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, May 19. With 50,000 square feet of space, the gym is the largest in the Gold’s chain in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. The grand opening event and carnival features live music, free food and drinks, dance troupes, jugglers, clowns and puppet shows. The gym includes a 25-meter swimming pool; a full-sized outdoor basketball court; 120 innovative group exercise classes; 120 pieces of cardio equipment with personalized flat screen televisions; and a supervised indoor/outdoor children’s fitness area. Gold’s Gym is located at 1317 E. Los Angeles. Presidential: The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Library on May 2 played host to the first GOP presidential debate. The event in the library’s Air Force One Pavilion brought in about 500 attendees and was broadcast on MSNBC. The debate featured executive office hopefuls Sam Brownback, Jim Gilmore, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, Duncan Hunter, John McCain, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Tom Tancredo and Tommy Thompson. It was the first presidential debate at the library since it opened 15 years ago. ANTELOPE VALLEY Lancaster Plan: The city has released the first major document of its new general plan. The master environmental assessment is an overview of current conditions upon which the general plan and environmental impact report will be built. The plan will provide a 25-year blueprint for the city and addresses land use, traffic, pollution, housing, urban design, public health and safety and open space. An electronic copy of the draft master environmental assessment is available at lancaster2030.info. Educate: The Lancaster University Center has opened a new mechanical engineering laboratory. The lab at 45356 Division Street is operated by California State University Fresno and will offer mechanical and electrical engineering programs. The Lancaster Redevelopment Agency invested $706,000 for the project, which was also funded by the Air Force Research Lab and Fresno State. The project was prompted by a need in the Antelope Valley for local engineering training. Palmdale Eats: A new BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse has opened at Antelope Valley Mall. The 8,500-square-foot restaurant, which opened May 2, seats 265. It is the 59th restaurant for the Huntington Beach-based chain, which also has locations in Burbank, Woodland Hills, Westlake Village and Burbank.

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