Thursday, December 29, 2016

Topanga Canyon Water Main Break Has Devastating Consequences For Canoga Park

By Charlotte Rudnick, Quilt staff.


Cast Iron Water Main Burstage Floods Topanga Canyon at Gault Street
Topanga Canyon Boulevard Closed at Site of Pipe Enbreaktion
Section of Rte 27 Also Closed Due To Broken Pipe
Wait, Wait — Turns Out Topanga Canyon Boulevard & Rte 27 Are The Same Thing
Nearby Canoga Park High School Closed During Pipe Repairment
Water Main #CP-4268-32: Just One Of Many Legendary Water
   Mains We've Said Goodbye To In 2016 [Slideshow]
Celebrities React To Loss of Canoga Park Water Main on Twitter

The closed section of Topanga Canyon Boulevard on Wednesday.  While DWP crews worked
tirelessly to repair the broken pipe and replace the road, many citizens questioned their own faith,
wondering how such a tragedy could occur in the shadow of a church at Christmastime. Staff photo.
A WATER MAIN BREAK below a busy thoroughfare in Canoga Park forced the closure of a northbound section of Topanga Canyon Boulevard on Tuesday, likely resulting in devastating long-term economic, cultural and psychological consequences for the area and its residents.

Staff photo.
Local boot business leader Boot Barn, located along the now-closed section of Topanga Canyon, has reported a marked decrease in sales of Kiwi brand 36” brown & yellow round nylon work boot laces. “We sold two pair last week. This week — well, since Tuesday — we haven’t moved any,” says Carl Zapatos-Botas, a sales representative with the store. “Of course we sell mostly non-lacing boots to begin with, and people can still get to us from the back alley, so, eh, maybe take all that with a grain of salt.”

Further up the street — yet still affected by the closure — a popular storefront was shuttered. “Back In 10 Minutes,” reads the sign on the door of ABC Party Rental & Sales, “Went to Boot Barn to buy new laces for my workboots.” It’s unclear when — if ever —  the business will open again, since there was no way to tell when the announcement had been posted. Two, five, six, seven minutes before? The terse, impassive hand-written note yielded no clue.

Another 'sign' of the devastation the broken pipe wrought. Staff photo.
The failure of the ancient 6-inch cast iron pipe and resulting road closure has taken an emotional toll on the people of Canoga Park, as well.

“Christ almighty! You know, I usually avoid Topanga altogether,” says Téodor Pasternak, who had to traverse a circuitous detour to get to his home on Vassar Avenue. “But the one time of the year — the one goddamn week — between Christmas and New Year’s — when it’s not wall-to-wall goddamn traffic out here, when things lessen a teeny-tiny bit because so many people are out of town, and this shit happens. And this is after I just spent six minutes negotiating the clusterf_ck of traffic cones, rent-a-cops, and slow, stupid, stupid drivers, none of whom ever heard of a turn signal, all the way from Erwin, up past Victory, along the frickin’ gridlocked entrance to Westfield Topanga — who even goes to that mall anymore? — and up to Vanowen.
The scene facing Canoga Park resident Téodor Pasternak and others as they reached the closed
section of Topanga Canyon Blvd and had to take alternate routes to their destinations. Staff photo.
“And I get through all that, go one more block and the goddamn road’s blocked off,” Pasternak continues. “I could really use a Mint Chocolate Swirl Shake to calm the f_ck down, but I’m damned if I know how I can even get to Arby’s now. And those things are only available for a limited time!”

Other area residents have been similarly bothered by the closure.  “Shit, man, that’s not cool, you know?” says Davtak ‘Davvy’ Barsamian, one of the most popular up-and-coming stars of Canoga Park’s fast-growing sport of illegal street racing. “Two, three a.m., I’m usually tearing up and down Topanga, you know? I guess I can just go against traffic for the north run, but they better fix that shit soon, you know?”
Illegal street racing is increasingly popular in the West Valley.  Road closures such as the one
caused by the broken water main could have a negative effect on the growing sport. Staff photo.
The pipe breakage is “typical for this time of year,” says Dr. Morris Detzer, Professor of Hydraulic Pipery at Pierce College Winnetka's Municipal Engineering Department.  “When you take LA’s horrendously crumbling infrastructuve and couple that with the fact that we’ve recently had rain, giving all of Southern California an enormous surplus of water, you’ve already got a problem. Then factor in the DWP’s decrepit waterworks and add the fact that everyone’s out of town and therefore not using water: the pressure builds up and the water’s got to go somewhere. These pipes are 98 percent rust at this point.” he says. “Most of them have the consistency of a deep-fried tortilla from a soft, flaky José Olé Microwave Chimichanga. Pardon, I haven’t had lunch yet.”

Dr. Morris Detzer, left, likened the LA DWP's system of disintegrating pipes to the outside of
a delicious chimichanga, right. Photos: Morris Detzer: Mimi Detzer. Chimichanga: José Olé.
Detzer went on to note that he wouldn’t be surprised to see many more pipe failures over the next few days “with water mains popping, perhaps somewhat suitably, like corks from champagne bottles on New Year’s Eve. This being Canoga Park, André champagne bottles.” 

With the broken pipe occurring at Topanga at Gault Street — the location of Canoga Park’s Firestone franchise — the well-liked tire retailer & automotive garage, now completely cut off from its customer base, has permanently closed. “Such is the catastrophic impact of an incident such as this,” notes Mariel Coleman of the Canoga Park Chamber of Commerce. “And look next door. What used to be a bustling BMW dealership is now nothing more than an empty lot. This road closure is sure to have enormous effects on the Canoga Park economy and beyond. Will the West Valley recover? Will we ever be able to return to our way of life? It’s much too early to tell.”

Canoga Park's former Firestone Complete Auto Care Shop had the misfortune of being located
on the very corner where the water main burst.  It is now permanently closed.  Staff photo.
While officials with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power claim to have the repairs completed by Thursday, many are less optimistic. No one knows exactly when the three-tenths of a mile stretch of Topanga Canyon Boulevard between Hart Street and Sherman Way will reopen, with some predictions putting it as late as June 2018 and—

Update: Well, it’s all fixed and Topanga Canyon Boulevard’s open again. Thanks to the hard-working DWP employees who fixed the problem in record time.Turns out Firestone had already closed before the pipe burst, Bob Smith’s dealership relocated to Calabasas years ago, those shakes at Arby’s are still available, Boot Barn is the place for Western wear, boots of all kinds plus hard-to-find laces; and we challenge you to find a better $3.99 bottle of champagne than André. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Canoga Park Quilt's 2016 Holiday Gift Guide

'Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the 'Park
Not a creature was tagging
(Except on Lanark)

Christmas in Canoga Park is a festive time for all and once again, we've sent our merry band of elves into the finest local businesses to seek out only the best in gift-giving ideas for the holiday season. You'll find unique items from old favorites as well as from shops making their debut appearance in the CPQ Gift Guide. We hope you'll like what we've found — and we think friends and loved ones receiving any of the marvelous gifts listed below will have their own Christmas wish come true!

All items are available as listed as we went to press, and all of our local merchants included are good folks, no foolin', so shop locally and tell 'em you saw it in the Quilt!

Oh — and be sure to click on the photos to see each gift in exquisite enlarged detail!

SPICE UP CHRISTMAS this year with a Hot Jalapeño Flavored Snack Stick from your friendly neighborhood 7-Eleven. Three and a half inches of beef and mechanically-separated chicken never tasted so good — and they're still a holiday bargain at just 39¢ each. • Coconut Lime After Sun Aloe Gel helps moisturize dry, sun-damaged skin and it's the soothing secret of those who’ve enjoyed a few too many Hot Jalapeño Flavored Snack Sticks — apply liberally to outer anal tissue as necessary. $1.99 on the 7-Select endcap. 22215 Sherman Way, Canoga Park.

TAKE THE STRESS OUT of a hectic holiday season with nature’s relaxer, marihuana-weed. In fact — not a “weed” at all, but a cultivated plant known for its therapeutish, relaxious and encalmatative properties—and very popular with Canoga Park’s “teen-age” crowd. Choose from such varieties as Sherman Way Sherbet, CPA Topshelf,  Valerio Amnesia, EBT Kush, Saticoy Gold, many others. From $15 to $250. Must suffer from “extreme anxiety" as attested by scrawled note from Medi-Cal-licensed physician's receptionist to purchase. High AF Collective, 420 Deering Avenue, Canoga Park, CA

POINSETTIAS ARE WONDERFUL, but a bit monochromatic. And they tend to lose their impact after December. This spring, plant colorful, climbing Sweet Pea flowering vines. Burpee’s Galaxy® mix yields large blooms in a rainbow of colors. What’s more, their robust fragrance is a gift indeed — helps mask the pungent odor of that rank skunkweed constantly wafting over the fence from your  extreme anxiety-ridden neighbor. Just $2.29 on the seed packet carousel at Green Thumb Nursery, 21812 Sherman Way, C.P., Calif. 

VAPING MAY BE ‘IN’ THIS YEAR but clothing decimated by pesky moth larvae is never in style! Keep your colorful Christmas sweater in tip-top condition and be part of the fashionable vaping revolution with the Apex Moth Vaporizer. Kills destructive moths by continuous penetrating poisonous vapors of toxic paradichlorobenzene; keeps garments hole-free and ready for jolly holiday entertaining. $5.50 at the Salvation Army Family Store, Boutique Section, 21375 Roscoe Boulevard, Canoga Pk., Calif.

IMAGINE THE LOOK OF DELIGHT on the faces of your hosts as you drop by their annual holiday party with the thoughtful gift of sauerkraut. A Christmas favorite well-known for its laxative properties, all-natural Lowell sauerkraut — made from only the highest quality cabbages — is best served hot or cold and pairs well with most anything. Versatile, too — looks magnificent draped on the tree as a fragrant tinsel or placed on the buffet table to be enjoyed as a finger food right from the jar! Imported. $2.50 at Big Lots, 21910 Sherman Way, Canoga Pk., California.   

GIVE YOUR PERRY COMO CHRISTMAS ALBUM A REST during this joyful season and why not give another beloved Italian singer a spin? ‘Connie Francis Sings Jewish Favorites,’ from High Fidelity MGM Records, offers a dozen peppy songs to be sung during “Hannukah” — the Yiddish word for Christmas. Lovely shikse Connie throatily warbles, burbles and caterwauls her way through the most requested tunes, from “Mein Shtetele Belz” (Carol of the Bells) and “Oiren Prepetchik” (O Christmas Tree) to even “Havah Negilah” (Holly Jolly Christmas), guaranteed to have you up off your tuches and dancing a good old-fashioned Christmas Horah under the mazeltoe $3. National Council of Jewish Women Thrift Shop, 21716 Sherman Way in Canoga Park’s bustling thrift district.   

WHETHER YOU'RE HEADING to an all-night blowout at Canoga Park's beloved Women's Club, or you're lucky enough to live in its vicinity, one thing's for sure — it's not going to be a "Silent Night!" For the Women's Club partygoer, she'll want to douse herself with plenty of this classy sailor tattoo-inspired value-priced perfume (an  "impostor" brand — but we won't tell!) all but guaranteeing a late-night drunken parking lot assignation with her cousin in the back of an unlocked 2005 Ford Expedition. • Women's Club neighbors will appreciate this bottle of sleeping pills to help get some much-needed shut-eye despite the never-ending blaring music. 3-oz. bottle of perfume / 30 caplet bottle of sleeping pills are enough for almost an entire weekend of typical residential area revelry. $1, your choice, at 99¢ Only Store (north), 20914 Sherman Way, Canoga Park.

IT’S JUST NOT THE HOLIDAYS without the great taste of Master brand Fish N’ Nuts, a modern tradition that traces its origins to the very first Christmas, with some Gospel translations describing the three wise men presenting the Christ-child with gold, frankincense and fried sardines with peanuts. $1.19 for the convenient 155 gram can. Island Pacific Supermarket, 20922 Roscoe Boulevard, Canoga Park 12. 

CHRISTMAS AND MUSIC GO TOGETHER like fish n' nuts. And to make your holiday merrier, twenty of the most popular songs of the season are available in one definitive collection on Compact Disc. From the holy Vivas Equivacado to joyful Canchis Canchis; from the traditional carol Linda y Mentirosa to the jolly La Fronterita, all of your holiday favorites are on "Radio-Papi.Com: Cumbia Sonidera - 20 Hits" to be enjoyed year after year. Just 50¢ at Pay 99¢ + Or Less, 21828 Sherman Way in the heart of Canoga Park.

IT’S A SAFE BET NAT KING COLE would have given chestnuts the ol’ heave-ho and ‘The Christmas Song’ would open a bit differently had he tasted the hot & spicy goodness of El Sabroso Pork Cracklins. Fried-out pork fat with attached skin is a must for every holiday dinner table, but why not start a new tradition this year? Gather the gang together and, with needle & thread, string a gay garland of the delicious crispy wads in place of humdrum popcorn! $1.39 at TIP Mini Mart, 7300 Topanga Cyn. Blvd #1. “Next to Subway.”

GIFT CARDS ARE TOO IMPERSONAL. And cash always just seems so crass. Good thing there’s one thing everyone likes getting: the gift of cheese. Tasty 1 oz. Cracker Barrel Cheese Stick wrapped in shiny Christmas red — perfect for the holidays. Convenient, too. Just slip one into your Christmas cards this season: The mailman, the gardener, the fellow who comes by twice a week to paint over the gang tags on your back fence will think it’s an idea as sharp as the tangy cheddar inside! $1.19 at AM/PM Minimart, 22375 Sherman Way at Shoup.

NO ONE LIKES BEING SICK during Christmastime — or any time! And if illness strikes late at night or on the weekend when Canoga Park’s many storefront urgent care clinics are closed, it’s good to be prepared! Here’s Walgreens to the rescue with the latest in technology: A new-fangled electronic thermometer. Simply insert into rectum, clench and wait 30 seconds for an accurate reading. May also be used orally. $6.79. Walgreens — “at the corner of happy & healthy & Topanga Canyon & Saticoy.™”

TODAY’S HUSTLE-BUSTLE HOLIDAY SEASON simply doesn’t allow for such time-consuming traditions as baking delicious treats as Grandmother did in her day. But Christmas cookies with that personal touch are still within reach thanks to 99¢ Only stores. Sprinkle festive, red Cielito brand Extra Hot Chili Powder atop Lil‘ Dutch Maid sugar cookies for that homemade, Canoga Park taste that’ll fool even ol’ Saint Nick himself! 99¢ each at 99¢ Only Store (south), 6420 Desoto Avenue. "On the Winnetka border." 

SHE MAY NEVER KNOW who left it on her desk, but she’ll appreciate the thoughtfulness of the “Secret Santa” who gives her the gift of self-assurance with Personal Care Feminine Hygiene Spray. Hypo-allergenic and offers all-day freshness control, too! Generous 2 oz. aerosol can packed with enough spritzes to neutralize more odor than even eight maids-a-milking can emit.  •  There’s nothing fishy about the good taste of Beach Cliff Sardines in mustard sauce — the savory snack chock-full of protein in the handsome keepsake tin. Have a gift-wrapped supply by the front door as last-minute gifts for the postman, carolers and Canoga Park's ubiquitous Mormon missionaries, or to throw at package thieves. $1 each at Dollar Tree, 20936 Roscoe Blvd, C.P., Calif.

WHETHER YOU GIVE OR RECEIVE these spirited holidays gifts, you’re sure to get a warm glow! Classier than chugging off-brand Nyquil, this 50ml ‘mini’ of UV Cherry Flavored Vodka looks and tastes just like cough syrup. $1.50  •  Pound this trendy “Fireball” Cinnamon Whisky and the bridge you’re squalidly living under along the LA River is transformed — if just for a little while — into something a little less squalid out of a Florida Georgia Line song. $4.00. Find both & more at Papa Mac’s Liquor, 8219 Canoga Ave., C.P., California.

CHRISTMASTIME BOOTY CALLS are much easier when your holiday hook-up has his own key!  And starting at just $3 each, you’ll want to get plenty of spares to hand off as thoughtful remembrances to friends new and old — from that handsome security guard patrolling the parking lot behind the laundromat, to that sketchy guy who smells of Red Hots candy and unwashed hair and keeps singing shitty bro-country music but appears to be hung like a pony, to the entire hot, sweaty fútbol team practicing on the field at Lanark Park. Jay-Jay Lock & Security, 7138 Owensmouth, Canoga Park.

WITH TIES TO CHRISTMAS going back as far as the timeless poem “A Visit from Saint Nicholas,” is there any ‘Moore’ appropriate gift than the versatile kerchief? Whether used as a decorative accent in the breast pocket (or even as a tiny reindeer blanket!), displayed in the back pocket to subtly indicate homosexual availability and preference, wrapped around the head for a handsome ‘old-school’ gangsta look, or even as a receptacle for nasally-propelled mucus during cold and allergy seasons, this handy handkerchief fits the bill. Available in a rainbow of colors, and with prices ranging from $1 to just $2.50, you’ll want to pick one up for everyone on your list, from the well-dressed watersports enthusiast to the CPA member afflicted with hay fever. T-Mart, 20924 Sherman Way in Canoga Park.

THINGS CAN GET LONELY for Mrs. Claus this time of year, with overworked Santa spending more time filling stockings than his wife’s ...needs. Her solution? A delicious, fat lollipop that stands proudly at the ready to satisfy her sweet tooth ‘til the Christmas rush is over. Hard candy sucker is a sweet substitute in festive holiday colors — a thick, sticky mouthful of fun she’ll enjoy for hours and hours! And no worries, St. Nick — at 4” it’ll never replace the real thing. $3.95 at Private Moments, 8223 Canoga Ave., Canoga Pk. California.

SHE’LL ENJOY TRANSFORMING herself from an abominable hair monster into a vision of yuletide loveliness with the Xtra Care Cream Hair Remover Kit. Slather onto legs, upper lip or groin, wait, then scrrrape off with spatula (included). Voila — hair’s gone and her tips at the club will rise like the Christmas star.  •  From Bokados, the first name in tortillas de maíz sazonadas, come Enre-2 — mini rolled corn tortillas with the Extreme flavor folks love. Enjoy at home, on the go, while working the catwalk at the club. Enre-2 tortilla snack or Xtra Care Hair Remover, your choice, $1 each at Super Dollar, 7025 Topanga Cyn Blvd in Canoga Park.

YOU'LL FIND A FANCIFUL WONDERLAND 'neath most every tree and leading the toy parade at better homes will be this year's hottest plaything: Item 11-982 PLUSH FROG (PURPLE). Lovable, huggable and surface washable, this funny amphibian is resplendently decked out in royal purple with yellow stars — and will fill a lucky tots' eyes with Christmas wonder. From the good folks at Peek-A-Boo Toys (maker of fine, polyester fiber-filled playthings since 1995) and available for just 50¢ and a steady hand from the 'Hot Stuff' steel claw game in Lavaderia El Gringo, 21720 Sherman Way in Canoga Park's bustling shopping district.

Merry Christmas
From The Canoga Park Quilt!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Canoga Park Library Gets New Bookmobile

By Blythe Moorcroft


The Canoga Park branch of the Los Angeles Public Library, located at 20939 Sherman Way, is pleased to announce the acquisition of a bookmobile designed to help bring the library’s materials and resources to the neighborhood a few yards outside of the actual library building.
Staff photo.
“With the addition of the new bookmobile, we’re excited to further offer library services, learning opportunities, support and of course books to areas we were previously unable to reach,” says Bob Harland, Canoga Park library’s head of community outreach services and free bookmarks.

The spacious vehicle, designed as a perambulating addition to the brick-and-mortar structure, will be parked alongside the library on Sherman Way as a means for those who might otherwise not have the means to access the library entrance another twenty-five feet or so down the sidewalk.  

The Canoga Park Bookmobile is not a static ‘annex’ permanently fixed to one location. As its name implies, it is of course mobile, and will be moved around the corner onto Independence Avenue on Wednesdays, from 8 am to 10 am, to avoid street sweeping ticketing. (If no spots are available, special permission has been arranged allowing the vehicle to be stationed temporarily in the CVS / Fallas Paredes / Rent-A-Center parking lot.)

It will also occasionally be driven over a storm drain to facilitate the emptying of its waste tank and to dispose of discarded books.
Staff photo.
“The addition of our new bookmobile is an enormous boon to the Canoga Park community that can’t be overstated,” says Harland. “It’s almost as important as the time when we got a new box of pre-sharpened golf pencils for people to jot down call numbers when looking something up in the online card catalog.”

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Local Possum Believed Responsible For Destroying Alpaca Sweater

By Marlin Gault, staff writer


A Canoga Park possum, suspected to be P-4589 — one of roughly 4,800 possums tracked by the Canoga Park Department of Wildlife & Vermin — is the prime suspect in the rending of an alpaca sweater accidentally left outside overnight by a Glade Avenue resident.

Devastated by loss of sweater, Berta
Dorchek demands justice. Staff photo.
“I was carrying in groceries the other night and I had to juggle those stupid reusable bags from one arm to the other [while] trying to get my house key out of my purse and that's when I must have put it down on the patio table outside the back door,” says Berta Dorchek of the garment. “The next morning when I was going to work, there it was, all chewed to hell. It’s ruined.”

Known as nature's garbage disposals, possums are generally peaceful creatures and are revered in Canoga Park for their habit of eating the area's abundant feral cat feces. They are not known for destroying clothing.

“The described behavior [of tearing apart fabric] is more along the lines of what we’d see with a squirrel or a rat gathering material for a nest,” says Pierce College Winnetka professor of possumology and possumography, Dr. Morris Detzer. “I probably wouldn’t blame a possum for this.”

But Dorchek, a traffic violations proof-of-completions clerk at the Chatsworth Municipal Building, insists it was a possum, and adds that she may have inadvertently laid the sweater over a street taco that she’d just purchased “but was going to throw out because it smelled funny.” 

A familiar sight to locals who benefit from his feline coprophagia, P-4589 finds himself at the
center of a controversy due to a shredded alpaca fleece sweater like the one shown. File photos.
“Oh, food was involved? That changes everything,” concedes Detzer when notified of the additional information. “Yep, that was a possum then, trying to get to that taco. Probably ol’ P-4589, too — that little dickens just loves rancid meat.”

Dr. Morris Detzer.
Photo: Mimi Detzer.
Biologists believe P-4589 is one of just 2,467 breeding-age male possums in the area and that Canoga Park’s fragile ecosystem depend on the nocturnal, creepy-looking mammals. “If we want to continue to enjoy the privilege of littering and throwing trash on the street, and not constantly stepping in cat shit, we do need these creatures,” Detzer says.

Dorchek, however, has other concerns.

“I’m really pissed. I got that sweater in that Peruvian imports store in the Stratosphere in Vegas this summer,” she says. “It cost me $85 and I was excited to finally be able to wear it now that it’s chilly at night. That possum needs to pay — with its life.”

According to experts, it would be days before the local possum population, or possulation, would recover from the culling of the creature, but as hunting is not allowed within Canoga Park — with gunfire strictly limited to approved gang violence and celebratory discharging of firearms into the air on holidays — P-4589’s future seems safe for the time being.

Note: This is a developing story and the Canoga Park Quilt will update as more information and/or feral cat feces becomes available.