Getting paid to lose weight

MID-CITY — It’s one of the most common excuses for why people don’t exercise: “I just don’t have the time.” For many of the nurses at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital, that excuse is legitimate. Working 12-hour shifts leaves little time for working out, especially after spending... Read more →


BBB welcomes eco-friendly wonderland

DOWNTOWN — This holiday season, two local art students are showing commuters just how compatible recycling and art can be. Anyone waiting at the Big Blue Bus stop on Broadway just west of the Third Street Promenade can expect a view of the heavy construction on the new mall across the street. But Brooks Leonard, one of the 21... Read more →


Shoppers turn out for deals

DOWNTOWN — With the holiday season winding down, shoppers were out for last minute deals this week. Yet, local retailers held out little hope for a substantial sales boost. Many shop managers were just thankful they’d survived the year. “Things have been slow, but people are still buying so I think we’ve had a decent... Read more →


Deal struck for solar power

One of California’s largest power companies, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), will buy energy from a 150 megawatt solar power plant built by a Santa Monica-based company under a long-term contract, officials with PG&E said Tuesday. California has a target to obtain a third of its electricity from renewable energy sources by... Read more →


City Council to consider SMO emission levels

SUNSET PARK — City Council in January could direct city staff to begin working with federal and state agencies to promote research on “ultrafine particles” — tiny pollutants generated by planes that some Santa Monica neighborhood groups have urged City Hall to deal with for years. The goal would be to play a role in... Read more →


Volunteers help deter crime

DOWNTOWN — As holiday shopping crowds have swarmed the Third Street Promenade in recent weeks, the Santa Monica Police Department has beefed up its Downtown presence, thanks in part to a handful of volunteers. Graduates of the department’s “citizens academy” have been staffing an information booth on the promenade... Read more →


Chess program loses home at Fairview library

FAIRVIEW LIBRARY — In many respects, the group’s members have little in common. They range in age from 3-and-a-half to 92 and speak a variety of different languages — Russian, Chinese, Spanish and Hindi, to name a few. Some are casual dabblers, others are master practitioners. But for the past five years, each Thursday... Read more →


‘Sesame Street’ star Alaina Reed-Amini dead at 63

MID-CITY — Alaina Reed-Amini, the Broadway star and TV actress best known for her long-running roles on “Sesame Street” and “227,” has died. She was 63. Publicist Billy Laurence says Reed-Amini died Thursday at St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica after a two-year battle with breast cancer. Previously... Read more →


Ups and downs for Christmas tree lots

CITYWIDE — Even for families that are cutting down on holiday expenses, oftentimes a Christmas tree is something they simply can’t do without. As a cherished symbol of the season — and an often expensive luxury item — the Christmas tree market is a unique economic bellwether that can provide a special insight into... Read more →


Stimulus bucks help businesses go green

Dear EarthTalk I’ve been following reports about President Obama’s stimulus package and what it may mean for creating green jobs. Beyond that, are there programs in place to help businesses switch to greener raw materials and/or to green up operations overall? Diane via e-mail Even though the push to create green jobs is... Read more →


Injured pedestrian dies in hospital

DOWNTOWN — An 82-year-old Santa Monica resident hit by a motorist earlier this week died Thursday as a result of his injuries, police said. The pedestrian was struck Dec. 15 at 11:50 a.m. while crossing 18th Street and California Avenue, police said. He was taken to a local hospital and listed in critical condition. The initial... Read more →


FirstFed latest bank to fail

DOWNTOWN — First Federal Bank of California, a fixture in Santa Monica for 80 years and one of the oldest and largest financial institutions in Los Angeles, has become the latest victim of the volatile real estate market, forced to close its doors Friday by the federal Office of Thrift Supervision. FirstFed Financial Corp. was unable... Read more →


Police foil murder-for-hire plot

PUBLIC SAFETY FACILITY — A Santa Monica man on Friday was charged with trying to hire someone to kill a former business partner, police said. Paul Harwood, 54, was charged with two counts of solicitation of murder and for possession of and manufacturing cocaine, said SMPD Sgt. Jay Trisler. The intended victim was not injured and there... Read more →


Garner’s accused stalker charged

A man accused of stalking actress Jennifer Garner and her husband, actor Ben Affleck, was charged Thursday with two counts of felony stalking and two misdemeanor counts of disobeying a court order. Steven Richard Burky, 37, was arrested at 9:05 a.m. Monday at a nursery school in the 1200 block of Alley One, at the rear of the First... Read more →


Delays won’t derail Expo project

DOWNTOWN — Despite delays and cost overruns during Phase One of the Expo Light Rail project, which is expected to link Santa Monica to Downtown Los Angeles by 2015, City Hall officials and mass transit supporters remain confident the project is on track. The environmental impact report for the rail line’s second phase — the... Read more →