Columns

A Word, Please: Taking a deeper look at the passive voice

A Word, Please: Taking a deeper look at the passive voice

Does the passive voice lend itself to biased, manipulative writing? A reader named Richard wanted to know after witnessing a discussion about a news article.

Learning Matters: Today's GUSD student body features more diverse mix

Learning Matters: Today's GUSD student body features more diverse mix

A few years ago, a French-Armenian graduate student came to Glendale to gather research for her dissertation on Armenian communities in Glendale and Hollywood. I had the pleasure of spending several hours with her at the invitation of my City...

News-Press: Parking issues

News-Press: Parking issues

Will parking become a blood sport in Glendale soon? Bert Ring thinks so.

A Word, Please: It's better to avoid writing upside down

A Word, Please: It's better to avoid writing upside down

London is a place that gets a lot of rain.

The Whiteboard Jungle: Taking son to school is enjoyable experience

The Whiteboard Jungle: Taking son to school is enjoyable experience

A couple of days ago was the annual Walk to School Day. Knowing such a day exists may raise eyebrows as to its need until you realize, as my fellow Friday columnist Joylene Wagner pointed out, kids just don’t walk to school anymore.

Verdugo Views: The mysterious residency of a radio preacher

Verdugo Views: The mysterious residency of a radio preacher

One of the most famous radio preachers of all time, Aimee Semple McPherson, once rented an apartment in Glendale and tried to enroll her two children in our high school.

Learning Matters: Students seem to have less independence

Learning Matters: Students seem to have less independence

Over the last few years, thanks to the work of parent and traffic-safety advocate Kara Sergile, I've had experience as both a valet drop-off lane attendant and a "walking school bus" volunteer with R.D. White Elementary.

A Word, Please: Some confusion over jobs that pay well

A Word, Please: Some confusion over jobs that pay well

Tom in Glendale, Calif., wrote with an interesting question about a newspaper headline that mentioned "well-paying jobs."

Around Town: Answers to Glendale's bad optics

Last week, our sister paper, the Glendale News-Press reported that our neighbor Glendale has some of the worst drivers in the nation.

Intersections: Armenian wool's international tale weaves itself

Intersections: Armenian wool's international tale weaves itself

When you tell people that you've got a bag of sheep's wool in your possession, the first thing you get asked is, "Can I touch it?"

News-Press Cartoon: People driving badly

News-Press Cartoon: People driving badly

Bert Ring gives his take on Glendale, again, being tagged with some of the nation's worst drivers.

Read On: Taking a trip to Ferguson, Mo.

Read On: Taking a trip to Ferguson, Mo.

I have to admit that when Barack Obama was elected president of the United States back in 2008, it seemed not only historic but incredibly exciting to everyone in my liberal-minded circle. A black president, in our lifetime. It was glorious. I felt...

 A Word, Please: Don't forget to send punctuation a card

A Word, Please: Don't forget to send punctuation a card

National Punctuation Day, which took place on Wednesday, turned 10 this year. The brainchild of Northern California education booster Jeff Rubin, the annual event aims to help kids learn about periods, commas, quotation marks and the rest.

The Whiteboard Jungle: Teachers could use help outside the classroom

The Whiteboard Jungle: Teachers could use help outside the classroom

Years ago, doctors took blood pressure, drew blood and administered medicine. Today, medical assistants perform these duties.

 A Word, Please: A notion writers should be disabused of

A Word, Please: A notion writers should be disabused of

If I had a nickel for every time I've written about ending sentences with prepositions, I'd be about 5 cents shy of that Frappucino I've had my eye on. (I'd probably also be one of the top earners in what remains of the newspaper industry, but that's...

Learning Matters: GUSD features share of homegrown employees

Learning Matters: GUSD features share of homegrown employees

A few weeks ago, a colleague and I went to Daily High School to meet with the new principal Rene Valdes, about a school-to-career grant we're working on. Deb Rinder, whose responsibilities include the high schools, joined us for the conversation.

Intersections: Impulse buy spins into a yarn of its own

Intersections: Impulse buy spins into a yarn of its own

Last month while in Armenia, I ventured to the suburbs of the capital, beyond the bus station where Soviet-era vehicles can take you across the country for as little as $6, down toward the road that will eventually lead you to what is regarded by...

News-Press Cartoon: The Eagle Weeps

News-Press Cartoon: The Eagle Weeps

Bert Ring trains his keen eye on the Scholl Canyon landfill controversy. Many Eagle Rock residents have made it clear they are against any potential expansion of the dump.

 A Word, Please: The No. 1 reason for numeral inconsistency

A Word, Please: The No. 1 reason for numeral inconsistency

A reader named Loretta recently wrote to me after making a very astute observation.

The Whiteboard Jungle: Decision-making process should also include teachers' input

The Whiteboard Jungle: Decision-making process should also include teachers' input

In the game of education, there are many players: students, parents, teachers, administrators, district officials, state and federal politicians. Too often, the group that has the most contact with the students — the teachers — is not...

Verdugo Views: The mystery of L.C. Brand's hunting lodge

Verdugo Views: The mystery of L.C. Brand's hunting lodge

We know a lot about L.C. Brand, who is often called the father of our city. A park, a library and our main street all bear his name. But the location of his summer getaway, a remote hunting lodge in the eastern Sierra Nevadas, has remained a mystery.

Leader & News-Press Cartoon: Dry spell on the campaign trail

Leader & News-Press Cartoon: Dry spell on the campaign trail

Cartoonist Bert Ring looks at a mash-up between California's drought problems and Gov. Jerry Brown's reelection campaign.

A Word, Please: There's nothing truly good about superfluity

A Word, Please: There's nothing truly good about superfluity

In a recent New York Times piece, novelist Zoe Heller wrote about helping her daughter with an English essay. "Try excising the words 'extremely,' 'totally' and 'incredibly,'" Heller suggested. Her daughter did and was "surprised to discover that not...

Learning Matters: CliffsNotes for the school board candidates

Learning Matters: CliffsNotes for the school board candidates

This is the second part of a column on tips for school board candidates.

Intersections: Strangers don't stay strangers in Armenia

Intersections: Strangers don't stay strangers in Armenia

It's incredibly easy to meet people in Armenia. I suspect the same goes for a lot of countries in the world, where one minute you're a stranger and the next you're part of the extended family, being force-fed homemade goods and liquored up before...

News-Press Cartoon: Geo Listening

News-Press Cartoon: Geo Listening

Bert Ring gives his thoughts on the continued use of Geo Listening by Glendale Unified. The company watches the public social media posts of students, keeping an eye out for instances of bullying, depression, or thoughts of suicide.

Read On: The news can be hard to bear

Read On: The news can be hard to bear

So this is the headline I woke up to read on my Facebook news feed on Friday morning: "Ice Bucket Fraud! ALS Foundation Admits 73% of Donations Not Used For ALS Research."

A Word, Please: Punctuation isn't a business for kids

A Word, Please: Punctuation isn't a business for kids

According to the Internet, there's a car dealer whose service department has a "kid's play area," but a competitor offers a "childrens play area."

The Whiteboard Jungle: Teaching 'Mockingbird' to today's students

The Whiteboard Jungle: Teaching 'Mockingbird' to today's students

One of the charges of the high school English teacher is to help teenagers see the relevancy of literature to their lives. I'm always on the lookout on how to win over the students to read, in their minds, very old books from long, long ago.

Verdugo Views: The true story of Iron Eyes Cody

Verdugo Views: The true story of Iron Eyes Cody

Iron Eyes Cody, who lived most of his life as an Indian, was very active in the Scouting program here in Glendale and often shared his knowledge of Indian lore with local groups. So, it was a surprise to many when a 1996 newspaper article said that...

 Start the Presses: Seeking an involved readership

Start the Presses: Seeking an involved readership

Newspapers — community newspapers especially — have a duty to inform, entertain and engage. How well we do these three things is directly related to our value, our impact, and our stature.

Learning Matters: Some ideas for the school board appointee to consider

Learning Matters: Some ideas for the school board appointee to consider

Some friends have asked about my intentions for next April's election. As I've told them, I'm not seeking another term on the Board of Education. And I don't plan to submit my name for the interim appointment to the seat being vacated by my good...

A Word, Please: The rule says you should 'ignore' this headline

A Word, Please: The rule says you should 'ignore' this headline

Much has been said about misused quotation marks. Photos of signs boasting about "fresh" seafood and "free" refills abound on the Internet, offering a good laugh at the expense of business owners who don't realize that quotation marks around "fresh"...

Glendale PTA: Schools seek members as PTAs get started

With classes into their second week, PTAs are gearing up for activities.

Intersections: The heat rearranges priorities in Armenia

Intersections: The heat rearranges priorities in Armenia

Something about the summer in Armenia this year is different. Even the locals feel it. Something feels a little strange, a little odd and quite different. It's hot. Not just "normal" hot, but unbearably dry, you-can't-even-move hot.

Read On: Robin Williams' end spotlights depression

Read On: Robin Williams' end spotlights depression

I don't think I've seen the kind of shock and national mourning — and outpouring of love — for an entertainment figure that's been generated by the suicide this week of Robin Williams since Michael Jackson's death in 2009.

A Word, Please: There's a difference between me and I

A Word, Please: There's a difference between me and I

In casual conversation, most people I know don't worry too much about sounding proper. They don't bother with "whom." They say, "There's a lot of people here" instead of "There are a lot of people here." They opt for forms like "Joe is taller than...

The Whiteboard Jungle: Meeting amplifies divergent ideas on education

The Whiteboard Jungle: Meeting amplifies divergent ideas on education

This summer has not been kind to California educators with increased deductions from their paychecks to pay for the pension fund, and tenure and job protection ruled illegal by a Superior Court judge.

Verdugo Views: Church's history coincides with city's expansion

Verdugo Views: Church's history coincides with city's expansion

Dick Holway dropped by one day to give me some old photographs that had belonged to his parents, Cyril and Alice Holway. They were photos from First Methodist Church of Glendale, that huge sanctuary at the corner of Wilson Avenue and Kenwood Street.

Start the Presses: The squeeze of modern poverty

Start the Presses: The squeeze of modern poverty

On Wednesday morning, I had the opportunity to take part in an informal poverty caucus at the Glendale Adult Recreation...

 A Word, Please: Their thinking on gerunds is a bit off

A Word, Please: Their thinking on gerunds is a bit off

A few weeks ago, I mentioned here a CNN article "about the president making an unannounced stop."

 Intersections: The desire to roam feeds a human need

Intersections: The desire to roam feeds a human need

When residents in Armenia ask me where I'm from, I usually expect them to tell me they have a brother or aunt or nephew who now lives in Glendale or Hollywood after I give my whole spiel about being born one place, brought up in another and explain...

Read On: The U.S. needs to do right thing on immigration

Read On: The U.S. needs to do right thing on immigration

I can remember while growing up that I always thought America was the good guys. Not the ones who locked our borders and tossed away the key — "Sorry, you're too late, country's closed. Try again next century." Not the ones who justified...

A Word, Please: Laying out the difference between two verbs

A Word, Please: Laying out the difference between two verbs

Summertime is here, and with it come endless hours of sitting in the shade regretting all the years we spent baking in the sun.

The Whiteboard Jungle: Make real life education's driving force

The Whiteboard Jungle: Make real life education's driving force

Knowing that the leading cause of death among teenagers is fatal car crashes, one would think that teaching adolescents how to safely drive would be a national priority — or at least a high school graduation requirement.

Verdugo Views: Growing up on the flats near L.C. Brand

Verdugo Views: Growing up on the flats near L.C. Brand

Two large, white houses stood close together on the slopes above northwest Glendale in the early 1920s. One was El Miradero, home of L.C. and Mary Louise Brand. Another was Ard Eevin, home of Dan and Margaret Campbell. A young girl named Sumi was...

Start the Presses: The Internet is written in ink

Start the Presses: The Internet is written in ink

For the last two years, I have taught a journalism class at USC. Most of my students are undergraduate sophomores, too young to drink, but not too young to seriously damage their reputation online.

A Word, Please: Taking a look at Yankovic's 'Word Crimes'

A Word, Please: Taking a look at Yankovic's 'Word Crimes'

When I was a kid, I fancied myself a musical-parody artist. Most of the spoof lyrics I created for popular songs are lost to the ages, and the stuff I remember I’ll spare you due to its heavy emphasis on flatulence (“Heart of Glass,&...

Learning Matters: Taking a look back at Boger's achievements

Learning Matters: Taking a look back at Boger's achievements

I met Mary Boger, president of the Glendale Unified Board of Education, in 1990, in Oakland at my first PTA convention. I had the...

Intersections: Life in the time of grief and the kindness of strangers

Intersections: Life in the time of grief and the kindness of strangers

A few months ago, my grandmother passed away. It was a slow, agonizing end, one of those things that began with a trip to the hospital and only became progressively worse as the months wore on. In some ways, she knew that once she went in, she...

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