Eastside News Roundup

An alley mural project gets a lift, Mayor Garcetti delivers the State of the City speech at Lincoln High and Occidental researchers find replacing asphalt playgrounds with greenery reduces fights at schools. News & Notes for Monday:

Echo Park mural project going strong

Gabba gallery owner Jason Ostro’s has attracted attention for beautifying graffiti-ridden alleys with art. Now, he recently commissioned 28 artists to repaint murals in Historic Filipinotown, reported ABC7. Ostro began the project in 2014 and it’s still going strong. With the permission of homeowners and businesses, he and dozens of artists have painted more than 100 murals. The work can be found in three alleys in Historic Filipinotown and one in Echo Park.

Lincoln H.S. is Garcetti’s backdrop as he pushes LAUSD parcel tax 

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti used Lincoln High School to deliver his annual state of the city address last Wednesday, when he pitched hard a new tax for public schools and talked about his initiatives on homelessness and the environment, among other things.

For years, the mayor steered clear of LAUSD’s messy school politics, but as Los Angeles Times notes, he’s been wading deep into it recently by backing his former aide, Heather Repenning, in the Eastside school board race against Jackie Goldberg. And he is pushing Measure EE, a parcel tax that would help fund a new teacher contract he helped mediate during the strike.

LAUSD is beset with financial problems and many of the schools are struggling with academic achievement. At Lincoln, the dropout rate is over 30 percent and nearly all the students qualify for free or reduced lunch.

Less fights at greener schools, study finds

Speaking of schools, more green space and less asphalt cuts conflicts and improves children’s physical activity and creative play, according to a recent study of two Northeast Los Angeles schools.

Occidental College associate professor of Kinesiology Marcella Raney, who led the study, found the concrete playground was especially bad for girls who tended to be more sedentary on them.

That’s significant in L.A. where about a third of children living in low-income, urban neighborhoods are obese.

When 355 first through fifth graders in the study got to play on a new grass playground, they went from playing handball, kickball, tether ball or just sitting around to tag, gymnastics, jumping, making up games and yes, handstands. They increased their “vigorous activity” 33%. More surprisingly, after four months, verbal and physical conflicts fell in half.

Raney hopes the findings will motivate districts to find more funding for greener play yards. The study was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Rachel Uranga is a Los Angeles-based writer

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