Gardena, CA
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Articles by Gary Luster

Gardena’s newest resident, a small beetle, has been causing big problems for the city’s Willows Preserve. Tens of thousands of the bugs, called Ambrosia Beetles, have invaded the Gardena Willows Wetland Preserve, leaving a path of damaged and destroyed trees in its wake.

Kelley Dawdy, a certified arborist and Gardena Willows Wetland Preserve board member, estimated that swarms of the beetles have infected and destroyed between 200 and 300 trees in the preserve.

For years, the Gardena Police Department’s motto has been, “Service with Pride and Professionalism.” That normally meant providing face-to-face assistance to those in need with honor and integrity.

However, the GPD now offers the ability to provide information and assistance virtually through the introduction of a new and improved GPD website.

The department’s previous attempt at establishing a web presence was reminiscent of older websites from the 1990s that provided only basic information with no interactivity.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas will preside over the ribbon cutting of the new Walking Path for the Gardena Willows Wetland Preserve.

The ceremony will take place Sunday, Sept. 13 at 10 a.m.

Ridley-Thomas calls the Gardena Wetlands an important and welcome part of a city that is quickly becoming a bustling urban center.

A luncheon was recently held to honor three Gardena school students who for earning high grades and for their involvement in improving their community.

At the July 23 event, held in the Gardena City Hall council chambers, Isabel Guerrero, Audrey Lyu, and Robert Alexander were each awarded $4,000 to be applied toward their college expenses when they start school in the fall.

Gardena Bowl claims G-BAC Outstanding Business Award

Gardena Bowl was awarded the Outstanding Business Award for the period beginning in January and ending in June by the Gardena Business Advisory Council (G-BAC).

Gardena Bowl has been owned and operated by the Amenta family since 1960 when Joe Amenta and a partner bought the building they helped construct in 1948. When Amenta’s partner retired in 1983, two of Amenta’s sons, Sam and Phil, bought his share of the Gardena Bowl and have been operating it ever since.

Musician Richard Ihara is a man who has found it quite easy to slide between the old and the new.

For some, not only singing, but conducting, producing, and arranging music that varies from big band to today’s rock would be too big of a stretch. But for the Ihara, 62, it’s just another day at the office.

As Independence Day draws nearer, Gardena is getting ready for the annual fireworks displays and the problems that they have caused the city over the years.

During a special assembly held June 10 at the Nakaoka Center, Gardena police outlined several measures it will take to curb the use of illegal fireworks this Fourth of July.

Gardena’s youthful offenders and at-risk kids have just been put on notice: Violate the law and face justice through the city’s new Juvenile Justice and Intervention Program (GJJIP).

The program was the brainchild of Gardena Police Chief Ed Medrano, who began monitoring the high number of kids being cited for misdemeanor and status offenses and realized that the situation needed addressing.

For the past 23 years, the Health, Safety and Family Wellness Fair has been a staple of the Gardena community by offering free immunizations to children ranging in age from infants to 18 years old.

It’s this stability that has kept the fair busy with an average of 60 kids per year who show up to get immunized for TB, Hepatitis B, polio, influenza, measles, and mumps. Children can also receive DTP and rubella vaccines as well as booster shots.

Chris Payne is a master at getting a lot of people together to have a good time. As a party promoter he hosted the now legendary Asian Saturday Night Fever parties at Gardena’s Gung Hay Restaurant, where a few hundred people would gather to party and dance the night away.

But Payne has a new mission that will take all of his considerable skills at party planning and fundraising. That mission is a young girl named Lori Strauss.