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Floats of the 127th Annual Tournament of Roses Parade

Happy New Year everyone. It is New Year’s Eve 2015 and today I went back out to Fiesta Parade Floats in Irwindale with the hopes of being able to photograph some of the completed floats for the 2016 Rose Parade before they were moved to Pasadena. While I have been photographing the construction of the floats over the past week, I have focused a lot on the City of Torrance entry for obvious reasons, but New Year’s Eve is also the day that I meet up with the representatives of the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC). Usually I meet up with them at the Rose Bowl, but this year the Miracle-Gro float was also a certified California Grown float, so I went earlier to meet up at Fiesta; it was a good move.

As fate would have it, they were actually judging the floats so all the floats were pretty much completed. That was the thing, when we were last there I mentioned to Tanya that I thought some floats were running behind schedule. Today there were a couple floats that still had scaffolding up for decorating. This was true at the Rose Bowl as well, so maybe the number of volunteers to decorate was down. I do seem to recall seeing more groups in the past.

I was also lucky enough to run into our recently retired chief of the Torrance Fire Department, William Racowschi, so I was able to get a couple photos of him and his fire-fighting buddies by the Torrance float. The City of Torrance thanks him for his service. Continue reading

Louis Zamperini Celebration of Life Photos

Louis Zamperini

Louis Zamperini – Torrance 53rd Annual Armed Forces Day Parade

The following photos were taken Thursday evening at the Louis Zamperini Celebration of Life which was held at Torrance High School’s Zamperini Stadium. I should probably preface this by saying that I am not really in the habit of going to memorial services for people I do not know but over the past couple of years Mr. Zamperini’s name seemed to pop up more and more in conversations so much so that I felt like I did know him slightly. As I was walking the dogs last night I recalled how our family moved to Torrance [almost] 50 years ago and that even then my dad would mention the Zamperini name; even if I did not really appreciate who this man was. By the end of last night’s event I felt that I knew Louis much better and I wished I had made more of an effort to learn about him while he was alive.

The remembrance to honor Louis Zamperini’s life was a very moving and educational event. From local juvenile delinquent to hometown and national hero, we learned a lot about Zamperini. We were able to hear from people like former Torrance Mayor Ken Miller whose family moved next door to the Zamperini family 80 years ago when Miller was a freshman at Torrance High and Zamperini was a senior. Zamperini’s daughter Cynthia, his son Luke and his grandson Clay all spoke of their lives with a living hero that was, by all accounts, a very humble man. We then got to hear from people like Kyle Gauthier that had only recently met Zamperini who had donated several thousand dollars to help send this young man to Victory Boys Camp, a camp he established in 1952 for wayward youth, where he taught other juvenile delinquents the skills to succeed in life. Speaker after speaker pretty much had the same things to say; this was a man that endured a lot, but was made a better man for it. Continue reading

The City of Torrance has a new mayor and council

On Tuesday evening, the Torrance City Council went through a major changing of the guard, with Pat Furey being sworn in as our new mayor; and Kurt Weideman, Heidi Ashcraft, Tim Goodrich and Geoff Rizzo being sworn in as new council members. Weideman had been appointed to the council a year ago when Councilwoman Susan Rhilinger resigned due to health; and Ashcraft was appointed in December when Cliff Numark was elected to the El Camino College Board of Trustees. They have a combined year and a half of experience compared to the 30 years of experience between the departing Mayor Frank Scotto, and Councilmen Bill Sutherland and Tom Brewer. It is going to be an interesting time for Torrance; no doubt.

The evening began with a ceremony marking the departure of City Clerk Sue Herbers who retired after 20 years of service. In her farewell address she mentioned that she will still be around and be as active as ever; even if it is as an audience member. She did mention that if the council decided to accept applications for the vacant seat that we now have since Furey became Mayor, she would apply. More on that later, but personally, she would be outstanding.

Herbers last official duty was the swearing in of Council members Weideman, Ashcraft, Goodrich and Rizzo; Pat Furey as Mayor and Rebecca Poirier as the new City Clerk. And with that we lost 50 years of experience in one swoop. Continue reading

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