The Friends of Hollywood Central Park and the Los Angeles Beautification Team recently got together and began planning a tree planting initiative. They dubbed it the 10 Street Strategy Project and committed to putting huge number of trees into the Hollywood community over a 10-street expanse. The initiative would help bring more nature to the area and serve as a nice accent for the Hollywood Central Park project by running adjacent to it.
The trees run along the roads listed below. The project is split into several clusters that border a variety of different environments. Busy streets, restaurants, and a park will all benefit from the improved appearance that the trees provide.
- Virginia Ave
- Fountain Ave
- Western Ave
- Van Ness Ave
- De LongPre Ave
- Fernwood Ave
- NHorth Bronson Ave
- Carlton Way
- Hafold Way
- La Mirada Ave
Improved Looks and Secluded Feel
By adding all these new trees to the area the city will take on a more secluded and natural look. It will seem less crowded and will give people more greenery to look at as they travel throughout the day. Also by putting the trees in a position that borders the Hollywood Central Park project the companies can help draw more attention to the park project and accent the project nicely letting people know they are approaching the site.
The project will be a major undertaking, but with help from a local grant it shouldn’t cost the two organizations much money, just lots of manpower. The overall project hopes to add a total of 540 trees to the Hollywood area, and all the benefits that come along with the equivalent of a small forest. When successful the plans will show that large-scale improvements are possible in the Hollywood area and will provide hope that the Hollywood Central Park project can also be successful.
A total of 24 different schools went up against one another in the 2015 Grades of Green Trash Free Lunch Challenge. Each school around the country was battling to see who could divert the most trash from their lunchrooms and who could make the biggest environmental change overall. Out of all the schools Oak Street Elementary School in Inglewood California managed to come out on top.
The Spoils of Victory
For coming out on top of the competition the children at Oaks elementary received a $1,000 prize and also got a chance to meet former Lakers player Steve Nash! He came out to their school to meet them all and spend the day there letting the children feel what it’s really like to work hard and come in first place.
Giving the Students the Tools for Success
At the beginning of the Contest Grades of Green provided the school with an educational assembly explaining sustainability and the goal of the competition. They also provided an eco-starter kit a personalized waste reduction plan and finally one-on-one mentoring to make sure that the students understood what they were doing.
Each of the children in the school was encouraged to bring in reusable lunch containers and slowly even the youngest among the school were taught how to recycle and properly take care of all their lunchtime waste.
The school won because it adopted the program so completely, and because it was taking other initiatives to improve the environment outside of lunch time. Second Grade teacher Claire Darsa is taking an opportunity to travel out to the edge of the Arctic in Northern Canada to study climate change and plans to bring back her discoveries and improved knowledge to the children of Oaks.
The most important part of the trash challenge isn’t teaching children about sustainability or the importance of saving the environment, it’s about teaching children the power that they have to make changes. Empowering all the children of the future generation is what Grades of Green is really offering and it will make some exciting changes possible in the future.
If you’re looking for a fast and sporty car do not buy the Lexus LS 460L. It’s not that this car is slow, it does have close to 400 HP under its hood, it’s just that that’s not what the 460L is all about. It’s big and bulky and adapted for the highest level of comfort possible. If you want to travel around town like a king, with the feeling of floating on air and noise isolation that will keep out any distractions the 460L may be more your speed. The steering has a lightweight feeling to it while still offering a precise feel. The car comes with rear-wheel drive, but all-wheel comes as an added option. The car is expected to get somewhere around 19 MPG combined which certainly won’t make it a cheap driver with the premium fuel that it runs on.
Selectable Driving Modes
The 460L comes with three standard driving modes, Eco, Normal and Sport. The different modes adjust the vehicle’s shifting points as well as steering and throttle response. Eco mode has slightly more sluggish performance but boosts efficiency figures while sport mode stiffens up the ride a bit at the expense of efficiency. If you opt for the Adaptive Air Suspension option you’ll also get a Comfort mode and a Sport+ mode giving a greater level of flexibility to the ride.
Climbing inside the Lexus LS 460L is like climbing into another more comfortable world. It’s whisper quiet inside thanks to the high level of soundproofing.
The best way to describe the handling of the LS 460L is silky smooth and subdued. There’s enough power to keep the vehicle from feeling sluggish and the V8 engine and eight-speed automatic transmission work together to slide through the power range effortlessly.
The Lexus 460L isn’t flashy like a typical sports car. It’s all about subdued luxury and low-key class. You can tell it’s an expensive car by looking at it. You’ll know that the ride is comfortable before you even climb in, but it won’t stand out driving down the road.
The Highly Comfortable Rear
One of the highlights of the Lexus LS 460 is the incredibly comfortable rear seats. With the expanded frame passengers get a full five inches of added legroom. The seats offer enough room for two full-sized adults to sit comfortably with enough space for a child or smaller adult in the center if the armrest is raised up. If the standard back seat setup isn’t comfortable enough for you there are two different upgrade packages that you can choose instead. The first and more affordable option comes in at $5,240 and adds in power adjustable seating with a massage feature. The back also comes equipped with four zone climate control and a small refrigerator as well as some other comfort enhancements.
If you’re the type of executive who enjoys being driven around there is a very tempting backseat package known as Executive Class Seating. It isn’t for the faint of heart or the light of wallet coming in at $16,400 but for the price you get a lot of nice perks. The seats are upgraded to power recliners with an included ottoman. Those seats have built in multifunction Shiatsu massage as well to relax between those stressful meetings. The back also comes with a Blueray entertainment system to catch up on your favorite movies. The rest of the cabin also benefits from comfort improvements with this package and it’s a nice overall improvement with emphasis on rear comfort.
Overall the LS 460 is a smooth rider that’s fit for an executive. If this describes you well then you should consider getting the vehicle. If you’re a thrill seeker looking for something flashy, fast, fun and sporty above all else then there are other options you should consider.
Full-sized truck manufacturers are always competing to see who can create the most powerful tower, the most capable hauler or the truck with the most luxurious interior, but there’s another category that they are always going after as well, and that’s best off-roader. That last category is exactly what the 2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro is directed at, and it makes quite the impression. The oversized truck is a capable driver during standard road conditions, but it becomes more impressive when you bring it on less travelled trails and back roads. The truck manages to hold its grip in most situations and has emits a loud throaty growl as it races up hills and overtop other present obstacles. It’s relatively affordable for such a capable machine with an MSRP of $46,259 and it’s got enough features to remain competitive with most other models in its sector, which is why it should be considered by anyone who’s serious about going off road, but doesn’t want to own a bunch of separate vehicles.
This Tundra isn’t packed with a massive engine, but it comes with sufficient power for towing and handling most off-road conditions capably. The 5.7 liter V8 offers 381 horses. It’s easy to manipulate and features a six speed automatic with a sequential shift mode for added control. The truck also has tow and haul modes depending on what you are using it for. It’s quick to speed up, glides effortlessly over most roadways and maintains its grip capably even when you’re in loose dirt or sand.
The Tundra TRD Pro is modified to take on the elements more effectively. It comes with 2.5 inch Bilstein shocks to dampen any major bumps in the road. The truck also makes use of three-stage compression dampening and is equipped with a ¼ inch aluminum front skid plate to absorb the blow of any rocks that come its way. Overall the truck offers a very smooth ride, even when you’re going over not so smooth roads, or out-of-the-way paths.
Since the 2015 Tundra TRD Pro is at the top of the lineup it comes with most of the enhanced tech features available on a Toyota. The truck as an HD radio with satellite as well. It features both AM and FM channels and comes with a seven-inch touchscreen unit. Easily connect devices through the included USB port and use the Aux in jack to play audio from your devices over the radio. The truck comes with Bluetooth for streaming music or phone calls wirelessly. It also has a full suite of apps that let you tap into the Internet while sitting in the front of a truck. It relies on the Internet connection of your phone to look up information so that you don’t have to purchase a separate data plan just for the vehicle.
The interior of the TRD Pro is a mash up of custom features that will let everyone know they are riding in an upper-level model of the Tundra. The front bucket seats have red stitching and accents. The floor mat shows off a custom TRD pro logo and the seats are embroidered with that same logo.
That Distinct Look
On the outside of the Tundra there are clear enhancements that make it stand out. The 18 inch TRD black alloy wheels are nice, but it’s the 32 inch tires that really put off the off-roading image that gives this truck so much allure. It also comes with a nicely oversized grille and black bezel headlights that go well with the rest of the black accents.
The nice thing about the 2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro is that it manages to be highly capable while off-roading, but that’s not all the truck is. It retains a bed long enough for useful hauling, and it has enough interior space for comfort making it a very capable regular driver as well. You won’t have to go out and buy a second vehicle for the moments when you want to do a bit of standard driving and that’s the real strength of the 2015 Toyota TRD Pro.
For Toyota, every day is Earth Day and the little things add up, especially when almost 43,000 team members across 14 North America manufacturing plants do them. Such efforts have saved nearly $600 million since benchmarking began in 2002.
They’ve also resulted in Toyota’s 11th consecutive ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award from the U.S. EPA for continued leadership in protecting the environment through superior energy efficiency.
Eleven consecutive ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Awards are the most by any automaker.
Examples of achieving energy efficiency at Toyota’s 14 North American manufacturing plants include:
- Reduced total energy use by 35 percent per vehicle produced or 14 billion kilowatt hours of energy.* That’s enough power to keep the city of Chicago up and running for nearly an entire year.
- Reduced CO2 emissions by 40 percent per vehicle produced by eliminating the use of electricity and natural gas when avoidable.**Since benchmarking began in 2002 “While there’s always room for improvement, achieving energy efficiency demonstrates that good ideas have helped us become environmentally responsible while making a significant impact to our bottom line,” said Robin Haugen general manager of Toyota’s plant and environmental group. “Through our team members’ efforts and outstanding collaboration, we
have minimized our environmental footprint in communities where we assemble vehicles, engines and parts. We’re so proud to receive our 11th consecutive ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award from the U.S. EPA and we’ll strive to do better.”
Recent environmental improvement activities across some of Toyota’s 14 manufacturing plants include:
Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Alabama (Huntsville)
- Saved 300,000 gallons of water a year – enough to fill half of an Olympic-size swimming pool – by reusing compressor condensate water in the cooling tower. The tower accounts for nearly 50 percent of the facility’s water use.
- Switched to higher-efficiency motors and used compressed air more efficiently.
- Installed LED lighting, solar lights and daylighting to reduce purchased electricity.
- All environmental projects – part of a $1 million investment to make the plant more sustainable – result in annual saving of more than 3.3 million kilowatts hours, equal to 125 average U.S. homes and reducing more than 2,000 metric tons of CO2.Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana (Princeton)
Reduced the volume of air that has to be conditioned in the paint booths, a process that’s necessary for the paint to adhere to vehicles. The project reduced energy use by 125,000 MMBtus, enough to power 1,450 average U.S. homes for a year and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 8,900 metric tons.
In addition to the energy and greenhouse gas savings, the improved paint process reduced the amount of paint and emissions.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky (Georgetown)
The plant has teamed up with Waste Services of the Bluegrass to generate power from local landfill waste that naturally creates methane gas, marking the region’s first business-to-business landfill gas to energy initiative. Toyota estimates the locally generated landfill gas will supply enough power each year for the production of 10,000 vehicles. Once operational later this spring, the system will generate one megawatt of electricity each hour the system is operating, or about what it takes to power nearly 800 average U.S. homes annually.
Plus landfill greenhouse gas emissions will be cut by as much as 90 percent, resulting in better air quality for the local community.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Mississippi (Blue Springs)
- Installed a geothermal heat exchanger that supplies chilled water to a compressed airdryer to eliminate the chiller load in the winter months when the plant’s HVAC systems are not using chilled water. This reduces electricity usage by 1.5 million kilowatt hours per year, equal to 56 average U.S. homes.
- Installed a single axis solar cell array in spring 2013, with a maximum output of 50 kilowatts. The power generated by the array is redirected back to New Albany Light,
Gas & Water, the local utility company, and ultimately is transferred back onto the grid for public use.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas (San Antonio)
The plant uses about 1 million gallons of recycled water per production day, or about 250 million gallons each year. Since its opening in 2007, the plant has used nearly 2 billion gallons of recycled water. That’s nearly 2 billion gallons that wasn’t drawn from the local Edwards Aquifer.
Toyota’s accomplishments will be recognized in Washington, D.C. on April 20.
Deciding whether you want to buy that shiny new Toyota or lease it isn’t always easy to do, and it’s tough to figure out which option is the more financially savvy one for your particular situation. Unfortunately there is no one-size-fits-all answer to whether leasing or buying is the better option and they both have their downsides and upsides depending on what type of car owner you are. Take a moment to learn more about both buying and leasing vehicles and you should be able to make a decision for yourself.
Assessing Your Commitment
Think about how long you plan on keeping the vehicle you have sitting in your driveway currently, and be realistic about it. If you are the type of person who wants to switch to a new model every couple of years vehicle ownership may not be the right option for you. If you regularly trade in for the newest model you are paying much more than you have to be for your vehicles. Owning your vehicles is the more affordable option if you stick with your car for as long as you can, but if you are itching for a new vehicle just a couple years after making your purchase a lease could be more affordable for you.
When you lease a vehicle there is a limit to the number of miles you can put on it throughout the term of your agreement. If you drive a high number of miles on a yearly basis you will have to agree on a higher number of miles in your lease agreement, which ultimately means that you will pay a higher monthly rate. If you don’t add enough miles to the agreement you risk running out and having to pay overage fees for each individual mile over the total limit which can be very expensive if you’re thousands of miles over where you should be. If you are the type of driver who travels more than 12,000 to 15,000 miles a year you might have a hard time relying on a lease.
Lease payments are normally cheaper than loan payments because you aren’t paying for the value of the vehicle, only the depreciation that it is going to experience over the term. So if you lease a $20,000 car you might pay around $12,000for depreciation over the term while you would be paying the full $20,000 on the loan. That means that the lease payment is close to half of what the loan payment is going to be. If you need access to more money each month it makes sense to lease rather than buy.
Paying for Wear and Tear
Buyers enjoy leasing cars because they have access to new shiny vehicles every three to five years. The only downside to a lease is all of the wear and tear fees that you have ot dela with. When you lease a vehicle you will have to pay wear and tear fees for a vehicle that takes any damage. If you have issues with keeping cars in good shape you could end up being stuck with a stiff fee at the end of your lease for problems you may not have to have corrected on a vehicle you own.
Now that you know a bit more about buying and leasing you can decide if it makes more sense to purchase that new Corolla or simply lease it and look out for a newer model in a few years from now.
LAcarGUY and Toyota of Hollywood formed a connection with Lori Goldman of Friends of Hollywood Central Park to help aid the effort and bring this beautiful dream to fruition. Lori Goldman was interested in forming a relationship with Toyota of Hollywood because it’s been a mainstay in the local community for more than 50 years. If there’s any business interested in helping the local community one with such a long-standing history is it.
All of the added space provides room for countless playgrounds, baseball fields and even an amphitheater. It gives people an area they can go to connect with nature, and get outdoors a bit more. The local park would encourage active fitness and provide a place to run or walk dogs. It’s a cool project that helps bring nature to those who are in serious need of it. The community in this section of Hollywood currently have the lowest ratio of open space to population of any area in California, and if there’s anyone who could benefit from such a project, it’s them. Overall the project will bring 38 acres of lush green park land to the community.
There are countless benefits that come along with this massive one-mile length of proposed park. It would help provide clean air to the rest of the city while providing more than 40,000 jobs to the local community. The project offers a fun and natural place for more than 80,000 local kids to play. It also helps connect both sides of the community that were normally split in two because of the highway.
As the project develops it’s easy to see how beneficial the new park would be for the community. There are still some problems that need to be overcome before the project can actually begin, but with each passing meeting the project comes a little closer to being reality and that’s an exciting thing for the Hollywood community.
The 2015 Subaru Outback is a more popular SUV than even Subaru could predict. The Outback has so many optimizations that buyers simply can’t get enough of it. It’s designed to handle everyday driving conditions, but is built to switch from standard road to off-road conditions comfortably. The highly awarded SUV has been given titles like the Best Wagon for the Money, and is known in both Canada and the US for being an excellent value overall. Unfortunately this means that there simply aren’t enough to go around. That’s right, if you decide to go out and buy a 2015 Outback Wagon you’ll likely be in for a wait.
The Waiting Game
If you decide that you want an Outback you could be in for a wait of several months depending on where you go looking for one. Some dealerships will have one in, and others will have a waiting list that you have to be put on. Trying to get a new Outback will require a bit more work than typical car shopping, but if you ask the long list of buyers if it was worth it, they’ll all give a loud resounding YES.
Picking up New Customers
Around 60 percent of the buyers going for the new Outback are new to the brand. These buyers were attracted by the feature-set of the vehicle, or all the publicity surrounding it. Subaru has to be loving all the extra customers its brand is picking up, but car dealerships around the country are experiencing a shortage. Even Hueberger Motors in Colorado, the largest dealership in the country, can’t keep the Outbacks in stock.
The 2014 Subaru was a highly celebrated vehicle as it is, but the 2015 model makes some key safety improvements and offer a couple nice features that you won’t see on the older year model. For starters they added in a Blind Spot Detection system. It offers Rear Cross Traffic and Lane Change Assist features that all make it quite a bit safer to weave in and out of lanes while out on the highway. The car also comes with an enhanced EyeSight system that takes advantage of the standard rear camera to improve system notifications and overall safety. The infotainment system also comes with a touchscreen as standard now. The roof rails are equipped with crossbars to adjust the front and back of any cargo you happen to be carrying around. Finally the 2015 Outback has a few added options like the power tailgate and the 18 inch wheels, that you couldn’t get in 2014.
The Outback is one of the most highly celebrated Wagons of the year, and that’s why you’ll have to be patient or persistent if you want to get your hands on one. You can either canvas all the Suby dealerships in the area, or you can stick with one and wait it out. Either way the Outback is worth the wait, and builds on what it was already famed for to begin with making it the best Outback to date.
While Porsche had plenty of new vehicles and features to show off at the NY International Auto Show their biggest debut was the 2016 Porsche Boxster Spyder. The updated model comes with a lot of changes and quite a few improvements. It’s designed to deliver that pure sports car experience without any of the distractions, and you can see Porsche worked hard to obtain that.
The Pure Image
Porsche went all out designing a very pure sports car when they built the 2016 Boxster Spyder. The car doesn’t come with a radio or an AC unit to save on weight and to give a more utilitarian look. You can add both of these back in as a free option if you like, but without them you’ll enjoy improved driving mechanics. The steering wheel was reduced to 360mm from 370mm for a more agile and direct feel. The car comes with a six speed manual transmission as the only option. The car is also more lightweight and powerful than before. All these slight changes and improvements take advantage of the mid-mounted engine to really bring out those excellent driving mechanics.
More Power with Less Weight
The 2016 Boxster Spyder has more power and less weight than any of the Boxster models to date. I comes with 375 HP and actually weighs less than the GT4 does. It races from 0 to 60 MPH in just 4.3 seconds and manages a top speed of 180MPH, a top speed that isn’t limited with the top up I might add.
To add to the performance of the vehicle, it also has a lower ride height by 20mm to cut down on body roll a bit more, and it has a stiffer more beefy suspension system for better ride characteristics. The car also comes with more effective brakes taken from the 911 Carrera S to help it handle the improved power.
A New Look
Not only is the Boxster changed underneath, but it has some new styling cues as well. The car comes with a set of streamliners behind the headrests as a stylish homage to the 718 Spyder from the 60′s. It has an enlarged grille and unique front and rear fascia as well as a unique wheel set.
The new Spyder comes with a single-piece top rather than a two-piece unit that’s more solid and provides a greater level of protection. It means that you can now bring the car through a car wash without worry, and that you can drive without a limited speed with the top up. The top now goes up manually and the only electric portion of the transition is the hook at the end. The Spyder has a set of tinted lights at the rear and a dual-chrome-tipped sports exhaust system.
It’s set for release in October and has an MSRP of $82,100 excluding the $995 delivery fee. If you’ve been hoping for a more powerful Boxster convertible the new model offers a lot to love. It maintains the sporty purity that the Spyder line is supposed to represent, and should offer some of the best roadster driving mechanics out there.
Grades of Green Youth Corps members have begun working on their environmental projects for the year, and one project that really stands out was put together by Rylee, a 4th grader from Redondo Beach. She put together a full-on green fair with games and everything and managed to spread some environmental awareness at the same time. Not only is this an impressive feat for anyone, but it’s downright amazing for a girl of such a young age.
One 4th Grader Creates a Green Fair
While most fourth graders are worrying about getting their homework done on time, Rylee, a 4th grader from Madison Elementary in Redondo Beach Ca. was planning an entire Green themed carnival. This Grades of Green Youth Corps student helped put on her third annual Green Festival with fun eco games, recycled goods crafts and a host of informational booths and even a few snack foods.
There were booths set up for many of the local environmental organizations such as Grades of Green, Health the Bay, the Roundhouse Aquarium and the UCLA Astronomy club. The crafts at the fair included mugs, reusable bags, bird feeders and upcycled vases. By building on the recycling theme, Rylee (with a bit of outside help I’m sure) was able to create a variety of fun games like tin can bean bag toss, recycled ski ball and water bottle bowling and there were even prizes for the kids. The fair is an excellent of how the enthusiasm of a single child can unite a community and create impressive, fun and impactful activities.
Grades of Green is an environmental organization that helps get children across the country involved in creating personal projects that are aimed at sustainability or improving the environment. The projects should help inform children and adults while making some sort of green improvement. Every year new projects are tackled and with them countless people are educated.
If you would like to learn more about Grades of Green and what they have going on, or you’d like to make a contribution you can do so by visiting GradesofGreen.org. While on the website you can also sign up your school to participate and become an active member of the Grades of Green organization if you want to help out.