A Roundup of Eastside News & Info
Former President Barack Obama will be delivering a virtual commencement message for high school seniors across the country - after a teenager in Eagle Rock requested it on Twitter, the L.A. Times reported. Eagle Rock High senior Lincoln Debenham, 17, tweeted to Obama three weeks ago, saying, "...In an unprecedented time, it would give us great comfort to hear your voice." Lincoln told the Times he didn’t know if the Obamas’ decision to hold commencement events resulted directly from his post, but the spokeswoman for Barack and Michelle Obama told CNN the couple was aware of the request. Obama's speech will be part of "Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020." Obama is familiar with Eagle Rock -- he attended Occidental College in the early 1980s.
Cal State L.A. shut down its El Sereno campus in March, but where were the dorm residents supposed to go? LAist reported on the quandary for students who suddenly had to move in the midst of a lockdown - while still keeping up their studies. The university said it would make exceptions for those who could have no other form of housing - international students, foster youth. But that doesn’t cover someone such as Adam Sanchez, a freshman who may not be able to finish the year, LAist reported. Though his family lives in El Sereno, their home is a one-bedroom apartment with five other family members - and no Internet access through which Sanchez could attend classes.
A couple in Silver Lake got married in their front yard after the pandemic preempted their wedding plans, ABC7 reported. Ashley and Matt Sharack had originally set their wedding date for April 25. Instead, they took their vows while friends watched from a distance, and more than 100 other watched on Zoom. "Everything that could go wrong just kept going wrong but we just kept going with it and it was really lovely," Matt Sharack told ABC.
Two sisters have donated more than 2,000 medical-grade masks to hospitals in Southern California, including USC's Keck Medical Center in Boyle Heights, ABC7 reported. The sisters - Taylor Jackson, 16, and Jordyn Jackson, 10 - run a six-year-old charity called Soaring Samaritans Youth Movement. "We're in desperate need for every kind of mask so we can protect our patients and our staff," Tamara Murphy of Keck told ABC. "Donations like this are very important to us."
For the first time in it 123-year history, the Judson stained glass studio of Highland Park has had lay off the entire staff, the L.A. Times reported. Judson Studios, said to be the oldest family-run stained-glass maker in the U.S., has temporarily let go of 23 designers, fabricators, installers, artists and painters, in the wake of the coronavirus stay-at-home orders, so they could apply for unemployment. David Judson, the current head of the company, told the Times that he hopes to get his people back to work as soon as it’s safe.
If you’re wondering whatever happened to Val Kilmer, he’s got a work space in East Hollywood, not far from City College. The New York Times catches up with the actor, who largely disappeared from the screen after treatment for throat cancer. The former Batman/Jim Morrison/Maverick now runs an office/art gallery/artists’ studio/personal museum on the 4300 block of Melrose, about half a block from the Ukrainian Culture Center. The space - called HelMel - started holding events last February. And who knows, maybe someday it will again.