April 17, 2014
The L.A. Watts Times would like to apologize to actress/philanthropist Halle Berry for our cover last week that mistakenly indicated her as a breast cancer survivor. We understand that Berry does not, nor did she ever have breast cancer and it was simply a graphic error. We would like to thank our readers as well as Berry’s camp for their understanding and patience.
April 17, 2014
LAWT News Service
Legend has it that the Fountain of Youth restores the youth of anyone who bathes in its waters. For centuries, we have been captivated by the question of how we age. Local high school junior Caleb Smith is tackling that question.
Smith, 16, conducts scientific research that sheds light on how fruit flies --and ultimately, humans – age. Smith was among 1,200 participants in the LA County Science Fair on March 27-29. He won First Place in his category and was one of 7 students who qualified for the prestigious Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF).
Every year, approximately 7 million high school students strive to reach Intel ISEF, the world’s largest pre-college science competition. Intel ISEF showcases top young scientific minds on a global stage where doctoral-level scientists judge their work. Only the best and brightest – 1,600 winners of local, regional, state, and national competitions spanning over 70 countries -- are invited to present their independent research and compete for over $4 million in awards.
Smith’s research project, “Quantitative Analysis of the Role of Mitochondria in Drosophila melanogaster Lifespan” was entered in the Animal Physiology category. “Drosophila melanogaster” is a species of fruit fly.
Scientists knew that as flies age, their mitochondria – the cell’s energy-producing “power plants” — do not function at the same level as they did before. However, scientists did not know how the quantity of mitochondria affects lifespan – until Smith’s research.
Smith nurtured 88 flies, carefully tracking each fly’s mitochondria and lifespan. His analysis showed that flies with more mitochondria tend to live longer. This finding may one day enable scientists to predict lifespan based upon the amount of mitochondria in one’s cells. Scientists may also develop drugs to increase mitochondria in specific tissues, ultimately increasing lifespan.
Smith, an aspiring neurosurgeon, has been conducting research since early sophomore year. His interest was sparked by hearing Dr. Keith Black, neurosurgeon and research scientist, share his passion for both treating patients and conducting research. When asked what he enjoys most about research, Smith responded, “It’s fun to discover something new and be the only person in the world who knows it.”
To find his research opportunity, Smith scoured university websites for professors with intriguing research topics. He sent scores of emails describing his coursework and areas of interest. Smith sought out genetics-related projects because he had enjoyed a summer genetics course in the Johns Hopkins University Center Scholars Program (Center for Talented Youth.)
After weeks of anxiously checking emails – and receiving a host of rejections, Smith finally received a positive response from Dr. John Tower, an expert in the molecular genetics of aging at USC. “I will never forget that day …I still have the email!” said Smith. Smith interviewed, joined the lab, and is now mentored by Professor Tower and Research Assistant Gary Landis. With their guidance, and the support of his Palos Verdes Peninsula High School Science Research teacher Peter Starodub, Smith designed his own research question and experiment.
“If you don’t know where to start,” said Smith, “start by asking a question about everyday life.
A question can become a research project. Or read a professor’s papers and come up with an idea that takes the research in a new direction. Find a problem that has not been solved, and be the one to solve it.”
Smith will represent LA County at the 2014 California State Science Fair at California Science Center on April 28-29. He will compete at Intel ISEF at the LA Convention Center on May 11-16.
April 10, 2014
By Thandisizwe Chimurenga
The words “battle” and “education” seemingly should not go together and yet, for most of African American history in the U.S., seeking an education that would develop the whole person as well as prepare one for future responsibilities has been exactly that. The battle continues today with efforts to secure representation on the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education. The District 1 seat which had been held by longtime educator Marguerite Lamotte prior to her death last year will be filled in a Special Election called for June 3rd.
District 1 consists of a sprawling section of Los Angeles that extends along the 110 freeway on the east, partially north just beyond Wilshire Blvd., west through portions of West and South Los Angeles, and ends just past El Segundo Blvd. to the South, cutting through the areas of Cheviot Hills, HancockPark, Windsor Hills, parts of South Los Angeles and Gardena.
The predominantly Black and Latino area is hotly contested. For starters, there are millions of dollars in per pupil monies that must be allocated fairly throughout
Los Angeles' districts.
These monies are not only for teacher salaries but they go beyond that in terms of facilities, professional staff such as mental health counselors/therapists, additional tutoring, other kinds of health staff/support, as well as additional curriculum resources such as desktop and laptop computers. Here’s a brief look at the candidates and the top contenders.
2-other candidates captions BUT no photos…
Hattie McFrazier is a retired employee of the LAUSD who spent 31 years in a variety of positions including teacher, counselor, School Attendance Review Board chair and Health and Human Services director. She has held positions with education organizations such as the National Education Association, the California Teachers Association, and the Board of Directors of United Teachers of Los Angeles. She is endorsed by the UTLA House of Representatives.
Omarosa Manigault is currently a special education substitute teacher in Los Angeles Unified School District. She also maintains a teaching appointment at Howard University in Washington, DC and she is an ordained pastor, and a former participant on the television show “The Apprentice.”
April 03, 2014
LAWT News Service
“Fundraising is important, but in the end I will win this race based on my reputation, track record, and the rapport with parents, teachers, students, and the community,” said Dr. George McKenna, who is said to be the front runner in the race for LAUSD’s District 1 seat, to replace the late Marguerite Lamotte.
Recently, the City Ethics Commission released the first round of public disclosure statements detailing contributions and expenditures for each candidate running in the District 1 special election. The financial disclosures showed McKenna raising $57,825.98.
“I am pleased with the amount of contributions that I’ve received so far,” he said. “Since declaring my candidacy, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time reuniting and meeting with teachers, parents, and former students that I’ve been involved with throughout my career. The response has been overwhelming with many of them excited about reaching out to their network of colleagues, friends, and family to discuss their support of me for the school board.”
McKenna’s experience places him head and shoulders above his competition, said his campaign supporters.
“Because of his track record within LAUSD and his reputation among students, teachers, and parents, he is confident he will raise the funds necessary to win a competitive campaign,” they said.
“None of the other candidates can match my experience,” McKenna added.
“I don’t need to spend $113,000 to get people to know my name. People already know my name and my experience is unmatched. I’m raising money to let people know I’m in the race. Once they know I’m in the race, the community will vote for me.”
LAUSD Board District 1 spans from Windsor Hills to the southwest, Cheviot Hills to the northwest, Hancock Park to the north, University Park to the northeast and parts of Gardena to the southeast. The special election will be held during the June 3 state primary ballot, with a runoff if no candidate reaches fifty percent plus one vote scheduled for August 12.
For more information on the campaign, visit www.electmckenna.com and follow @ElectMcKenna on Twitter and on Facebook at facebook.com/ElectMcKenna. Trending on Twitter at #ElectMcKenna.