Enjoy the Summer; Big Changes Ahead

by John Hawkins,
President and CEO, The Club

“This is the City of LA?” I said as I looked around and met Club Director of Marketing Summy Lam and Alive! editor John Burnes in the parking lot of Orcutt Ranch in West Hills. I live in the Valley and know it pretty well, and I’ve been to pretty much every corner of the City, meeting with Club Members. But I had never been to Orcutt Ranch.

As you’ll see in this month’s cover story, that was my loss.

Robert Baker, Park Maintenance Supervisor (right), shows an old hand-tinted image of Orcutt Ranch to Alive! editor John Burnes (left) and Club CEO John Hawkins.

Orcutt is beautiful, lush, quiet, awesome and of course well maintained. And I noticed immediately after pulling off Roscoe Boulevard that I didn’t feel like I was in a crowded urban area. I could exhale, relax, walk around and enjoy.

That’s the point of this month’s cover story, on Rec and Parks’ horticultural section. All Rec and Parks facilities are solid, but these five specialize in lush flowers, trees and community gardens. I highly recommend you pay a visit. And when you see Robert Baker, Park Maintenance Supervisor, tell ’em I said hi.

This marks the last printed installment of our August series, “Summer in the City.” Previously we’ve highlighted Cabrillo Beach, the swimming and golf programs, the crew that repairs the playground equipment, and several others. We’ll still have a summer focus when Alive! becomes its own Website (see below; it’s exciting), but I hope you enjoy this printed edition for all that it is.

Greg Park, Traffic Officer killed in the line of duty.

Moving on to sad news: A little more than a year ago, we ran a story on the 20th anniversary of the death of the first and only Transportation Traffic Officer to be killed in the line of duty – Henry Medina. But now, at press time, I heard about a second case, very sadly – Traffic Officer Gregory Park. According to a report from Transportation, Gregory was outside his vehicle when two cars crashed and then collided into him.

Officer Park was a military veteran who served his country and then returned home to serve his community for 12 years. As Transportation says, his death is a reminder that our 546 traffic officers faithfully serve Angelenos while putting their own lives on the line every day. Rest in peace, Gregory.

I want to wish a very happy retirement – and lots of great movie-watching – to Lou Loomis, Rec and Parks, who retired after 46 years of City service. When Alive! ran movie reviews, Lou was our most faithful correspondent. I always enjoyed his candid, direct and fun movie reviews. Thanks, Lou, and save us the aisle seat!

And finally, you’ve probably noticed that this issue covers two months – August and September. We’re doing that to adjust our production while we prepare for the very exciting future of Alive! – the award-winning paper that everyone loves is going to be changing in a major way. It’s becoming its own Website! Everything that you know and love will be moving over to the Web; we’ll be introducing new features and activities; and the paper edition will be retired. It’s about our core mission — we are all about serving our Club Members, and this reflects the way you live your lives now. Frankly we’re really looking to interact with you in better, more dynamic and more immediate ways. But we’ll talk more about that over the next few issues. For now, feel free to drop me a line and let me know your thoughts. It’s going to be awesome.

Enjoy the rest of your summer; spend time with your family before everything gets impossibly busy again. Time marches on! Let’s grab it while we can.

— John