June 07, 2012

By Brian W. Carter,

Sentinel Staff Writer


Marlton Square — the story is a long and twisting tale going all the way back to a time when it didn’t exist. As former Congresswoman Diane Watson mentioned at the Marlton Square Conference on Thurs., May 31, this area wasn’t even as diversified as it is now. The 20-acre site is now in the process of sprouting new wings and taking flight after its long and arduous journey.


Starting in the early ‘80s, the one-time Santa Barbara Plaza had begun its early trek into dilapidation. At the time, then Mayor Tom Bradley had started the ball rolling with a call for renovations of the area. The ball would slow down over time and roll into the hands of former Lakers and present businessman/entrepreneur, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, in the mid 90’s. Johnson would miss the shot in ’02 with the development group Capital Vision Equities (CVE).


The development group would eventually lose the vision to bring Marlton Square back to fruition when they defaulted on the project in 2004. Further complications ensued when CVE went bankrupt in 2006. In December 2010, the dust began to clear and one owner was left standing: Commercial Mortgage Managers (CMM).


Together with Councilmember Bernard Parks and the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles (CRA/LA), CMM is moving forward with the awaited redevelopment. The official demolition process began in late summer of 2011.


Last Thursday, CMM, CRA/LA and Parks announced a new tenant to Marlton Square — Kaiser Permanente as they welcomed them on the proposed site.  Kaiser has closed escrow on 8.65 acres of land at 4033-4081 Marlton Avenue with the intention of opening an outpatient medical office building.


“This is the real deal,” said Parks.” This is going to happen.”


Parks continued, “We are so pleased to be here today and to bring to this community what [it] deserves.”


Parks took a moment to acknowledge all the labor, patience, love and time it took to give Marlton Square its wings. There were remarks given by Watson; Richard Benbow, general manager CDD; Commissioner Valerie Shaw; David Rentz, CMM; and other guests, staff members and community members.


“This has been a journey since 2003 for us,” said Parks on behalf of his staff and himself. From scrambling with developers, going through default and bankruptcy, Parks spoke about how their hands were tied when it came to moving forward in the past with Marlton Square’s redevelopment — but that’s not the case anymore.


“When we talked to Kaiser, they said the reason this site was so important for them is because — it’s in the heart of their membership pool and it’s also in the heart of [a] community, which needs medical insurance,” said Parks.


Many thanks went to Parks, his staff members, the late Tom Bradley who started the project of redeveloping Marlton Square, regional administrator of the CRA/LA, Carolyn Hull and CEO, Chris Essel, and CB Richard Ellis real estate broker, Jamie Brooks, who was pivotal in securing Kaiser as a tenant.


“The Kaiser development is going to be the linchpin and the anchor that draws a phenomenal development that’s going to stimulate economic growth in this area that is well deserved,” said Brooks. “We’re humbled and excited to be apart of the project.”


“This is a great day for all of us,” said Hull. “Because this is the one project I really needed to get done.”


Marlton Square has taken flight and is in the air!

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

June 07, 2012


Actor, director Mykelti Williamson is internationally known for his critically acclaimed role of “Bubba” in the Oscar-winning movie “Forrest Gump” as well as other high-profile movies like “Heat,” “Con Air,” “Lucky Number Slevin,” “August Rush” and ATL. He’s also been on hard-hitting television roles in “Boomtown,” “24” and “CSI:NY.” He’s currently in the role of Limehouse in the hit FX television series “Justified.”


Whether it’s feature films, television or Broadway (where Williamson recently teamed up with Denzel Washington and Viola Davis for the multiple Tony award-winning revival of August Wilson’s “Fences”), all agree the versatile actor's passion and credibility is undeniable. 


And now, the multitalented actor is putting the spotlight on another passion: Bubba Style Season­ings. William­son’s hand-blended spices and his cooking have long been an insider secret,” enjoyed on movie sets and private backyard barbecues with those close to the actor — until now.  Always the perfectionist, Williamson wanted to bring the finest cooking spices he could to the market. 


See what everyone’s talking about.  The all-natural, gluten-free, no fillers, no additives, no-nut seasonings are now available.  With the launch of BubbaStyle.net, you too can spice up your food, Bubba-style.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

 June 07, 2012

BOSTON (AP) — Herb Reed, the last surviving original member of 1950s vocal group the Platters who sang on hits like “Only You” and “The Great Pretender,” has died. He was 83.


Reed died on Monday in a Boston area hospice after a period of declining health that included chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, manager Fred Balboni said.


Reed was a Kansas City, Mo., native who founded the Platters in Los Angeles in 1953. Then a quartet, the group won amateur talent shows, and performed nights and weekends up and down the California coast while the members worked days at a car wash and at other odd jobs.


Reed came up with the group’s name, inspired by ’50s disc jockeys who called their records “platters.”


The group underwent several lineup changes, even adding a woman singer to become a quintet, before signing their first major recording contract in 1955.


Reed sang bass on the group’s four No. 1 hits, including “The Great Pretender,” “My Prayer,” “Twilight Time” and “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.”


The Platters were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1998. Their recordings are in the Grammy Hall of Fame.


The group’s popularity reached across racial lines and genres, “achieving success in a crooning, middle-of-the-road style that put a soulful coat of uptown polish on pop-oriented, harmony-rich material,” according to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s website.


Reed credited his survival in the music industry to the poverty he experienced as a child in Kansas City. While other members of the group spent frivolously, he used his first big royalty check to buy a house.


“I never thought that it would keep going, and I never wanted to assume we’d keep getting checks,” he said earlier this year.


Reed also waged long legal battles with other artists who performed and recorded under the name the Platters. He finally won a court decision in Nevada last year giving him rights to the name. He called the court victory every bit as big as the gold and platinum records he had earned, Balboni said.


Reed had homes in Atlanta and Miami but had called the Boston area home since the 1970s “because the people were always so nice to me,” he told a biographer. He had most recently living in Arlington.


Reed was the only member of the group to appear on all of their nearly 400 recordings. He continued touring, performing up to 200 shows per year, until last year, often performing with younger singers under the name Herb Reed and the Platters or Herb Reed's Platters.


Reed is survived by a son and three grandsons.


Funeral arrangements are pending.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

June 07, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) — Michelle Obama took a turn on David Letterman’s “Late Show” on Tuesday to give us a few Top 10 “fun facts” about gardening.

A sampling, according to a CBS preview of the program:

“No. 7: In his lifetime, the average American will eat half a radish.”

“No. 6: The largest zucchini ever grown contained a Starbucks.”

“No. 5: Later this year the Supreme Court will finally rule on ‘tomato’ vs. ‘tomahto.’ ”

The network said Mrs. Obama’s list was related to her new book, “American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America.”

The first lady last appeared on the Letterman show in March. She has been making the rounds of other talk shows in recent weeks to promote her book.

Mrs. Obama’s turn in the spotlight comes as President Barack Obama’s campaign seeks to use his wife’s popularity to help him get re-elected.


Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

 June 07, 2012

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Michael Jackson's daughter, Paris, talks about her late father in an interview with Oprah Winfrey airing Sunday.


Paris Jackson, 14, will be featured on “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” the channel said Tuesday. She and Winfrey discuss how the teenager is faring three years after the 2009 death of her pop star father.


“It never gets easier,” Paris says in a promotional spot aired by OWN, which also shows Winfrey asking if Michael Jackson wanted her to have “a quote ‘normal’ life.”


Paris and her brothers, Prince and Blanket, were closely sheltered during Jackson’s life but have been in the public eye since, appearing onstage at Grammy Awards and on other TV shows.


“Oprah’s Next Chapter,” which also will include an interview with Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, will air at 9 p.m. EDT Sunday on OWN.


Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

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