Little Free Library brings neighbors together through books: A nationwide movement, Little Free Library prompts bibliophiles to put up small shelved structures outside their homes where people can take books and leave some too. The result can be conversation, friendship and a sense of community.
In the half a year that Beggs’ Little Free Library has perched on a post in front of his Sherman Oaks home, it has evolved into much more than a book exchange. … When a 9-year-old boy knocked on his door one morning to say how much he liked the little library, Beggs knew he was on to something.
Photo: Fiona Sassoon, 10, gets some neighborly advice from David Dworski, left, on book selections at Dworski’s diminutive outdoor library in Venice. Credit: Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times
Got an interview with Joel McHale, a.k.a. Jeff Winger from “Community,” up in the Entertainment section.
Photo: Joel McHale. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times
Rolling with LACMA’s rock: A Times reporter bundles up for the all-nighters tracking the boulder’s journey and along the way discovers a moving town square.
The first night, we advanced just one mile between our 10 p.m. start until we docked at the side of the road around 4 a.m. Another night, we headed as far south as Long Beach to find an appropriate place to cross the L.A. River. The block party there attracted well over 20,000 gawkers.
Photo: Crowds greet the “Levitated Mass” boulder at LACMA. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times
In a San Francisco neighborhood, another way to pay: Insular Bernal Heights — “this weird little borderline utopia,” as one resident calls it — has updated “complementary currency” in the form of a debit card.
This sounds like a fascinating experiment!
Designed by two neighborhood loyalists versed in technology and banking, the Bernal Bucks card allows residents to pay for their purchases while earning credits every time they swipe it at any of the two dozen area businesses that have signed on since June.
Accrued as frequent-flier miles are, the bucks can be printed as coupons and used toward future purchases. Cardholders also can donate their accrued “wealth” to neighborhood nonprofits.
… Branded with a cheerful image of Bernal’s iconic hill, their Visa debit card is issued by the local Community Trust Credit Union and aims to make patronizing neighborhood stores simpler: Residents can earn rewards or make charitable donations without having to keep track of stickers on their bills or carry a passel of buy-nine-and-get-the-10th-free punch cards.
Photo: The Bernal Bucks card allows residents to pay for their purchases while earning credits every time they swipe it at any of the two dozen area businesses that have signed on since June. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times
Despite weak economy, crime in Los Angeles County still declines: There were thousands fewer crimes reported in 2011 than 2010 in areas the LAPD and Sheriff’s Department patrol. The trend puzzles some but reinforces a common police view that other factors are at play.
"The driving forces on crime," Beck said, are " ‘What is the likelihood the police will catch you?’ and, ‘What would your mother or neighbor think if they knew what you were doing?’"
A spokesman for Sheriff Lee Baca took a similar stand. “Communities seem to be banding together to fight crime,” Steve Whitmore said. “We can’t take the complete credit.”
Photo: LAPD officers arrest an Occupy L.A. protester near the encampment at City Hall in November. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times
Turkey Jon, the rumpled mascot of Hermosa Beach: Jon Burt, who suffered brain damage at birth, is a holdover from an earlier time, when his mother was a political force and residents were more tolerant.
Nice story on how a community takes care of its own.
Photo: Jon Burt rides down the Hermosa Beach pier on his way home. Credit: Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times
A scenic win-win in the hills above Studio City: Neighbors pitch in to pay a homeless man to clear away the trash along Coldwater Canyon roads.
Photo: Jackie Hunsicker leaves a large message for the person who dumped a mattress in her No Litter Zone. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times
Many American Muslims have hunkered down since Sept. 11, fearful of the anti-Islamic backlash. But some have found that reaching out to non-Muslim neighbors in small ways can have big results.
When Khani walked out of her house that day in a well-to-do Huntington Beach neighborhood, on a block of large houses and palm-shaded driveways, neighbors approached with no hint of rancor or suspicion. Their message: “We know who you are, we know about your faith, and we support you and we will take care of your kids.”
Good long read on getting involved with your community, whether you’re Muslim or not.
Photo: Ani Zonneveld, a co-founder of Muslims for Progressive Values, participates in a drum circle with Father Wilfredo Benitez at the St. Mark Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach. The event was an interfaith gathering to kick off gay pride events in Orange County. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times
What a first lady, a chain store and others are doing to try to make fresh fruits and vegetables more available in poor communities.
Someone was nearly killed outside my West Adams house. Who else noticed?… That night, with my kids asleep, my husband out of town and my dogs quiet, I watched that shotgun and the man carrying it as he walked past all my neighbors’ homes. I realized I couldn’t warn them. I didn’t have everyone’s number anymore.
Related: "Do I live in a community or just in a house on a street surrounded by people whose lives are entirely separate from my own?”
"Do I live in a community or just in a house on a street surrounded by people whose lives are entirely separate from my own?" asks Peter Lovenheim. "What if I could deliberately get to know these strangers on my street — know them in a meaningful way — what would I learn and how might it change the neighborhood?"
His methodology? Sleeping over at his neighbors’ houses.