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Culture

Munear Ashton Kouzbari: Helping Bring Early Childhood Education to Those Who Need It Most

August 28, 2019 by Dan Kazan in Culture

Munear Ashton Kouzbari understands that the hope for the future lies with our children. That is why he and so many others support the work of the ChildCareGroup, a Dallas-based organization that has been educating children and their parents for over 100 years.

Taking Care of Children for 120 Years:ChildCareGroup. Photo courtesy of University of the Fraser Valley

With its roots stretching back to its foundation in 1901, many consider the precursor to the ChildCareGroup, the Clara Chaison Free Kindergarten and Training School, to be the very first Settlement House in Texas. The singular purpose of this enterprise back then was to educate the offspring of women who toiled in the cotton industry in Dallas.

In addition to providing a loving atmosphere and pre-school education, the group provides nutritional and medical services, a reflection of the holistic approach the organization takes when it comes to earl childhood education.
The main mission of the ChildCareGroup is to end the evil cycle of inter-generational poverty often found in some communities through a two-generation approach to education which is supported by scientific research to be the most effective way to fight poverty.

Now that the group is about to celebrate 120 years since its founding, it has re-dedicated itself to its original goals of helping families raise happy and healthy children. With the support of people like Munear Ashton Kouzbari, the ChildCareGroup is looking forward to another 120 years and beyond, helping families gain independence and strength.

Rick Garcia: Where Life Intersects Art

July 20, 2018 by Dan Kazan in Culture

In the political world today there are so many questions about what is real and what is fake. But sometimes, what may look fake isn’t actually so. Take news anchor Rick Garcia. Garcia, a Los Angeles native, began his broadcasting career in 1979 at KAVL-AM in the Antelope Valley. Eventually, he became an anchor with the Los Angeles KCOP News 13 and with Fox 11’s 10 o’clock news sports segment.

Rick Garcia

Rick Garcia

It might, therefore, be confusing if you happen to be watching one of many movies where you see Rick Garcia as a news anchor. But you could, indeed, have this experience if you were to watch the movies Nightcrawler, Collateral Damage or Shadow of Doubt or if you were to tune in to television shows such as Code Black, Scorpion, Rock Me Baby, Buffy the Vampire Slayer or even 24. Rick Garcia’s real world news reporting intersects here with Hollywood, as he reports the news in these many shows.

Certainly, these intersections are true for many others as well. NBA star Kyrie Irving has made a second career for himself as the well-known character Uncle Drew. Kids flock to see his movies and appreciate the multifaceted ability of the basketball champ to also make them laugh.

 

 

Google Building Internet City in Toronto

July 16, 2018 by Gail Nussbaum in Culture

A historic ship ‘Caledonia’ berthed at the Toronto waterfront. Photo courtesy shankar s.

Last October a group representing the governments of Toronto and Canada, drew up a contract with Sidewalk Labs, a division of Google, to create a design for about 12 acres along Toronto’s waterfront. The commission is worth $50 million and will cover the now derelict area at the far eastern end of the waterfront.

The goals of the Toronto and Canadian officials are to re-imagine what the dilapidated waterfront can look like as “the world’s first neighborhood built from the internet up,” according to Sidewalk Labs.

The process of development of this area, known as Quayside, will be unique: instead of the slow evolution of the neighborhood as gentrification redefines the area, Sidewalk plans to build the entire area in one fell swoop. And it will be a truly Google-style design, as the first “smart” city, as sensor-enabled and highly wired—an inner city that can run itself.

Urban planners came to attention when they heard Google was involved in designing the city. Planners and city officials took to magazine stories with titles like “Google’s Guinea-Pig City” and “A Smarter Smart City.” Since this is just the beginning of this project observers are interested in how it will all turn out, but they are suspicious that it can turn out well.

“Google? What does a tech company know about running a real live city?”

So, what does Sidewalk have planned for this Toronto neighborhood? How about “pay-as-you-throw” garbage chutes that automatically separate recyclables and charge households according to how much garbage they throw away. Or highly local weather sensors that can report a rain storm on its way and heat up a snow-melting sidewalk. And apps that tell the neighborhood residents when the comfy chairs along the water are free; or crowdsource approval from the neighbors for permission to throw a block-party, based on the level of noise the party is expected to produce. Auto-calibrate traffic signals to reduce pedestrian traffic during public events, or to help enable a smooth rush hour. All the information from the city’s functioning would flow into a database that would constantly learn how to improve the city’s functioning. Sidewalk says it will deliver “the most measurable community in the world.”

Lunar New Year Celebrations and What An Earth Dog Year Means for 2018

February 4, 2018 by Dan Kazan in Culture

Chinese New Year decorations along New Bridge Road, Singapore. Photo courtesy of C1815.

According to Chinese astrology, 2018 is an Earth Dog year. This horoscope predicts a year of acceleration and financial gain, among other things, giving many individuals and businesses something to look forward to. A two-month-long event currently being held at the Museum of Chinese in America provides just the opportunity to celebrate the Chinese New Year and get to know a bit more about the country’s culture and traditions. The museum, also called MOCA, boasts a dedicated staff and board of trustees, including Columbus Hill Capital Management CEO and CIO Kevin D. Eng, many of whom are participating in the 2-month MOCA Fest 2018. Held in support of the museum’s education programs, the project will feature a range of Lunar New Year events including special exhibits, children’s activities and the Night Market cuisine fair.

Kevin D. Eng and other finance managers might take a personal interest in the Chinese New Year this year. MOCA’s event hopes to offer some context and significance to Chinese traditions, including astrology.

MOCA president Nancy Yao Maasbach said: “For anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the historical and cultural foundations behind Lunar New Year, MOCA is the natural destination to find these answers. We created MOCA Fest 2018 so that visitors of all ages can better appreciate the Lunar New Year holiday and what it means to New York City’s Chinatown, the Chinese American community and the Chinese diaspora as a whole.

“The funds raised by MOCA Fest 2018 are critically important to sustaining the museum and its continued efforts to educate the public about the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, its aftermath and its effect on contemporary American society today.”

MOCA’s Lunar New Year Ball will mark the end of the museum’s festivities on February 28th. Held at China Blue in Tribeca the event will host a select party of guests, such as Kevin Eng and other board members, as well as many others, at an authentic Shanghainese banquet in a 1930s Shanghai setting.