Look at it this way: Barbaro was a rarity

first_imgGender (three major possibilities): The most obvious thing. A horse can be a female, male or gelded male. Age (three): Another basic. A horse can be a 2-year-old, a 3-year-old or an “older” horse at any one moment. Track surface (three): A horse can be better on dirt, better on turf, or the same on each. Let’s wait and if there turns out to be “synthetic track” horses too. Off-track tendencies (three): A horse can be a mudder, a mud-hater, or the same in wet weather as dry. Distance preference (four): Sprinter, middle distances, long distances, or all of the above. Better to explain what makes every horse unique in the more objective terms associated with performance on the track. Off the top of my head, I wrote down a dozen characteristics that can define a thoroughbred’s career. Then I multiplied the number of variable traits and was stunned by the sheer volume of possible combinations. When you think about it this way, any racehorse is likely to be one rare individual – especially an undefeated Kentucky Derby winner. ARCADIA – Since Barbaro’s death, cynics have complained about all the tears shed for a mere horse, and racing fans have struggled to explain what made this horse special. I’ll tell you how not to convince people that a particular horse is unique. Do not talk about the funny way he likes his peppermints served, his preference for the music of Herman’s Hermits, or his arm-biting habit that’s really a sort of playfulness. The hard-hearted will not be swayed if you sound like one of those cat owners who insist Mittens is practically human. center_img Running style (three): Front-runner, stretch-runner or versatile. Training (two): Some work enthusiastically in the mornings, some less so. Career arc (three): Precocious, late-blooming, or steady. Consistency (two): Depending on physical or mental factors, some horses fire every time, some are in and out. Health (two): Possibly related to the factor above. A horse can be sound, or injury-prone. Breeding (two): A horse can have a recognized high-quality pedigree, or more modest bloodlines. The good ones tend to race better but not as long, because their breeding value means earlier retirements. Class (two): A horse either has or doesn’t have this ill-defined quality that we’ll use as a catch-all for competitiveness, physical bravery and other characteristics that allow some to pull out close races. Consider the possibilities. Multiply the variables: 3times 3 times 3 times 3times 4, etc. … and you see how many combinations of traits there are. It comes out to a grand total of 93,312 different combinations. Ninety-three thousand! According to The Jockey Club statistics, about 73,000thoroughbreds compete in the typical year. So, theoretically at least, every single one of them could have a unique set of strengths and weaknesses. And remember, we’re talking about characteristics that matter on the track, not silly things like a horse’s color and nickname around the barn. Barbaro? In almost all of our dozen variables, he had the preferable qualities, given the goals of the typical U.S. horse owner. He was male, a stakes winner on dirt and turf, a stakes winner on muddy and dry dirt, a dominant winner from 1 mile to 1 (he never tried sprints), able to press the pace or come from behind, a good enough worker to win the Kentucky Derby after one prep race in three months, and so on. The one thing Barbaro wasn’t was healthy, but that didn’t become a dramatic issue until after he won the Derby. Put it all together, and you see not only why Barbaro became an undefeated Derby champion, but why the loss of this rare specimen was widely mourned in the sport. Maybe the cynics will see it too. The weekend: The 23 horses available for Kentucky Derby parimutuel future-book wagering through Sunday include four who will be in action this weekend. Circular Quay, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile runner-up to Street Sense, and Notional, the Doug O’Neill-trained San Rafael Stakes winner, are among 14 3-year-olds in Saturday’s Risen Star at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans. Lawrence The Roman runs in Saturday’s Whirlaway Stakes at Aqueduct. Dreaming of Anna runs in Saturday’s Old Hat Stakes for fillies at Gulstream Park. At Santa Anita on Sunday, the field for the San Vicente Stakes is expected to include Half Famous, Law Breaker, Noble Court and Vaunt. The 7-furlong San Vicente’s winners include 1997 Kentucky Derby winner Silver Charm. The future wager’s morning line has Nobiz Like Shobiz as the 8-1 favorite. Kevin Modesti is Daily News columnist. His horse racing column appears on Fridays. heymodesti@aol.com (818) 713-3616 SANTA ANITA LEADERS JOCKEY, WINS Garrett Gomez 43 Victor Espinoza 34 David Flores 20 Corey Nakatani 17 Aaron Gryder 15 Richard Migliore 14 William Antongeorgi III 12 TRAINER, WINS Doug O’Neill 16 Bob Baffert 15 John Sadler 15 Bobby Frankel 9 Jack Carava 8 Paddy Gallagher 8 Steve Knapp 8 ON THE STAKES SCHEDULE SANTA ANITA Saturday $250,000 Las Virgenes Stakes, 3-year-old fillies, 1 mile. $250,000 Santa Maria Handicap, 4-year-old-and-up fillies and mares, 1 1/16 miles. Sunday $200,000 La Canada Stakes, 4-year-old fillies, 1 1/8 miles. $150,000 San Vicente Stakes, 3-year-olds, 7 furlongs. GOLDEN GATE FIELDS Saturday $100,000 California Oaks, 3-year-old fillies, 1 1/16 miles. FAIR GROUNDS Saturday $300,000 Risen Star Stakes, 3-year-olds, 1 1/16 miles. A WEEK AT THE RACES Jorge Ricardo, a Brazilian unknown to most U.S. fans, became the world’s winningest jockey on Monday in Buenos Aires when his 9,591st career victory put him one ahead of Russell Baze. This means Baze, who passed Laffit Pincay on Dec. 1 with No.9,531, can lay claim only to the North American record. That is, at least until Baze returns from a rib fracture at Golden Gate Fields, and tries to take the mark back from Ricardo. Baze is 48, Ricardo 45. Corinthian (Javier Castellano riding) thumped Jazil in an allowance-level race Thursday at Gulfstream, the Belmont Stakes winner’s second runner-up finish of 2007. Lava Man was named Cal-bred Horse of the Year for the second time at the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association dinner Monday in Pasadena. Brother Derek and Thor’s Echo had been finalists for the top honor. Also at the dinner, CTBA Hall of Fame inductions were held for breeders- owners John Mabee and his wife Betty Mabee; legislator and breeder Ken Maddy; the Mabees’ gelding Best Pal, and Free House. John Mabee died in 2002, Ken Maddy in 2000. Jockey Patrick Valenzuela, sidelined since Nov. 26, told the Daily Racing Form complications from December knee surgery will keep him from competing until March. Trainer Vladimir Cerin, whose wife Kellie Cerin died Feb. 1, asked that donations in her honor be made to the California Equine Retirement Foundation, 34033 Kooden Rd., Winchester, CA 92596. Kellie Cerin died when she fell at the home where the family was vacationing in Puerto Vallarta. Services were held Wednesday in Arcadia. Los Alamitos owner Dr. Ed Allred had a stroke last weekend but is expected to make a full recovery, the Orange County quarterhorse track said in a statement. The record 450 nominees to the Triple Crown at the Jan. 21 deadline (for a $600 early fee) include 32 from trainer Todd Pletcher, who will seek his first win in the classics with a group that includes Any Given Saturday, Circular Quay and Scat Daddy. Santa Anita jockey Garrett Gomez ($2.1 million) and trainer Doug O’Neill ($1.2 million) topped the respective national leader boards as the racing week began. – Kevin Modesti 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Another 20-loss season for Waves

first_imgTomas Pranciliauskas made five 3-pointers and scored 15points for Pepperdine (6-20, 2-8 WCC). The Waves, 7-20 a year ago under Paul Westphal before hiring Vance Walberg last April, have lost 20 games in consecutive seasons for the first time in school history. San Bernardino Valley 77, Antelope Valley 74: Lewis Leonard scored 28 points, including two 3-pointers in the last two minutes, as the Wolverines won at home in Foothill Conference play. Antonio Kellogg scored 16 of his 23 points in the secondhalf and had eight assists in San Francisco’s 82-70 win over visiting Pepperdine on Saturday night. Alan Wiggins also had 23points and added sevenrebounds for the Dons (10-15, 6-4 West Coast Conference), who beat the Waves for the fourth straight time. Henderson had 13 points and 10 rebounds for San Diego (19-5, 8-2). Cal State Fullerton 86, Cal State Northridge 79: Charlee Underwood scored 24points to lead the host Titans (12-12, 6-4 Big West), who rallied from a one-point halftime deficit. Krisztina Fuleki led the Matadors (11-13, 7-4) with 21points, and LaJoyce King added 16 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. CSUN fell to 0-12 when allowing more than 70 points. BASEBALL No. 23 Pepperdine 5, UC Davis 4: Danny Worth (Valencia) went 2 for 2 and scored twice and the Waves received some solid relief pitching at Eddy D. Field Stadium. Daniel Farris, Jordan Durrance, Nick Gaudi (Paraclete) and Jason Dominguez (Chatsworth) combined to pitch 42/3innings of relief, allowing one hit and an unearned run. Dominguez earned his second save in as many days for Pepperdine (3-2). No. 17 San Diego 12, USC 6: Justin Snyder went 5for6 as the Toreros evened the series at Dedeaux Field. San Diego had 20 hits, with everyone in the starting lineup getting at least one. A day after picking up his first save, Trojans freshman Robert Stock (Agoura) showed off his power with a pinch-hit, two-run homer. No. 5 Miami 9, No. 11 UCLA 8: Gus Menendez delivered the winning single in the bottom of the ninth, scoring first baseman Yonder Alonso, as the Hurricanes defeated the Bruins for the second straight game in Coral Gables, Fla. SOFTBALL Kajikawa Classic: UCLA (1-3) lost 5-4 to Texas A&M and 14-1 to New Mexico in Tempe, Ariz. Shortstop Jodie Legaspi homered and drove in two runs for the Bruins against Texas A&M. … CSUN (0-3-1) lost 3-2 to Oregon 9-3 against Ohio State. The Matadors’ Jaclyn Rymer, Micah Putname and Amanda Peek (Crescenta Valley) hit home runs. MEN’S TENNIS No. 8 Baylor 4, No. 3 UCLA 3: The host Bears’ Matija Zgaga outlasted Mathieu Dehaine, 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-4 as the Bruins suffered their first loss of the season. Ben Kohlloeffel won in both singles and doubles for UCLA (5-1). No. 15 USC 5, No. 18 Boise State 2: The host Trojans posted their seventh straight victory to open the season, despite a loss at No. 1 singles by Jamil Al-Agba. No. 10 Pepperdine 5, San Diego State 2: The host Waves picked up their fifth consecutive victory, sweeping the doubles and taking two singles matches when SDSU players retired. WOMEN’S TENNIS Long Beach State 7, CSUN 0: The Matadors (1-2) dropped their Big West opener. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!center_img San Bernardino Valley (23-6, 10-1) is ranked No.12 in the state JC poll, while the Marauders are No.7. Ade Dagunduro led AVC (26-4, 10-1) with 24 points and 13 rebounds. WOMEN’S BASKETBALL Pepperdine 51, San Diego 50: Morgan Henderson’s 3-point attempt at the buzzer rattled in and out as the visiting Toreros’ rally from 20points down came up short. Teiosha George (Palmdale) recorded her third career double-double and second of the season by scoring a team-high 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting and adding a team-best 10rebounds for the Waves (12-14, 5-6 West Coast Conference). Teammate Teena Wickett had 10 points on 4-for-5 shooting and added eightrebounds. last_img read more

Walker leads Fontana boys

first_imgWalker was 11-for-20 from the field, 7-of-18 from beyond the arc, and 5-of-6 from the line. He took eight rebounds and had four assists, a steal and a blocked shot. A.J. Moore scored 13 points for Fontana. Donte Godlock added 11. Troy Beverly was Los Altos’ No. 2 scorer with eight points. Griffin scored on three consecutive possessions to get Los Altos a tie at 48 with 2:24 left in the third quarter, but Walker scored on a short jumper, fed Godlock for a layup, and Moore made a steal and took it in for a layup to give the Steelers a six-point lead. Los Altos never got within five after that. FONTANA – Sophomore guard Demetrius Walker rained in 34 points, 21 from 3-point range, overcoming 25 points around the basket by senior forward A.J. Griffin as Fontana High School fended off Los Altos 68-62 in a CIF-Southern Section Division II-AA boys basketball wild-card game Wednesday. Fontana, 16-12 and the No. 4 team out of the Citrus Belt League, advances to a Friday road game with ninth-seeded Torrance (21-6), champion of the Freeway League. Los Altos, an at-large team out of the Miramonte League, finishes 13-14. Walker, the highly touted underclassman declared “the next LeBron James” by Sports Illustrated while in eighth grade, apparently was an unknown entity to the Conquerors, who failed to contest most of Walker’s early shots. He scored 18 points as Fontana took a 29-22 lead. “Demetrius has really worked on his shooting,” Fontana coach Ryan Smith said. “He may not have made five threes all last season.” center_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Saving his best for last

first_imgWEST COVINA – Good things are worth waiting for. With a 9-0 decision in the finals of the CIF-Southern Section Coastal Division wrestling championship, South Hills High School senior wrestler Jonathan Aguirre won his first title at 145 pounds last Saturday. South Hills coach Robb Froh said Aguirre’s latest success isn’t the least bit surprising to him. “Jonathan has always had the talent,” Froh said, “he’s just gotten a lot of bad draws. Even then, he took good wrestlers to the limit. He has become very focused lately and it couldn’t happen to a more fun-loving kid who tries to bring everyone together.” Aguirre is very popular among his teammates and is credited with bringing the best out of even the most talented wrestler on the team. Thomas Williams is ranked No. 1 in the state at 112 pounds and is 42-1, but feels Aguirre has had the biggest positive influence on the team’s chemistry. “Jon is the main reason we’re close as a unit,” Williams said. “He’s a great motivator and he has become a much more balanced wrestler of late.” The only thing Aguirre may treasure more than his recent title are the relationships he’s formed along the way. Aguirre is extremely close with just about everyone he’s come in contact with. “I think of him like he’s my son,” South Hills assistant coach Chris Taylor said. “Jonathan has been in the shadow in his family and has decided to break out of it.” Aguirre says he can’t emphasize enough the value of his father James’ support. “My dad is in the stands at every match and is proud of me whether I win or lose,” Aguirre said. “It wouldn’t be the same without him there and I can see how happy he is when I wrestle.” Aguirre and his brother, Randy, are close as well and he says he takes his grades a lot more seriously because his older brother has helped Jonathan learn from his past mistakes. “I didn’t take school as seriously as I do now (in college) and Jon’s realized how important grades are,” Randy said. Aguirre boasts a 3.5 grade-point average and would like a career as a firefighter when his wrestling days are over. His cousin, Eddie, played a large role in his maturity on the mat, but the wrestler that has made the biggest difference in his rise to the top is 140-pounder Sal Castillo. “Sal came from Oklahoma and we came in as freshmen together. He probably didn’t realize it, but he was kicking my butt every day that we wrestled until our junior year,” Aguirre said. “He’s made me so much better.” Perhaps Aguirre’s improvement on the mat and focus of late has played a large role in his recent success, but he credits his family, coaches and teammates for the acclaim he now enjoys. With a CIF ring now on its way, Aguirre is focused on the last two weeks of his prep wrestling career. His impact on the South Hills program will last long after his departure. “He’s the most likable kid I’ve ever coached and he just brings the best out of everyone,” Taylor said. “I am not prepared to say good-bye to him.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Aguirre comes from a wrestling family. His cousins, Eddie, 24, and Brian, 23, and his brother, Randy, 21, all wrestled for South Hills. Jonathan became the first of the four to win a CIF crown. Randy wrestles at San Francisco State and said Saturday he was sweating all day until he got the text message he was waiting for. “When I saw that he had won, I got the biggest smile on my face and it made the rest of my day so much better,” Randy said. Aguirre’s season record of 36-10 isn’t an accurate indication of his talent. The Huskies had what many feel is a murderer’s row schedule and the South Hills captain is peaking at just the right time. “I was hoping to wrestle this well all year, but I am glad I am doing it now,” Aguirre said. “I am really focused and am working really hard to get better each day.” center_img Aguirre, 17, is saving his best for last and his family, friends, teammates and coaches couldn’t be happier for someone they call a “great kid.” Aguirre will ride the hot hand he’s been dealt when the Masters Meet begins today in Rialto. The top eight wrestlers in each weight class advance to the state meet in Bakersfield. last_img read more

LBSU roundup: 49ers drop match to No. 18 Fresno State

first_imgEmmanuelle Tabatruong earned a 2-6, 7-5, 10-8 win over Danon Beatty at the No. 5 spot. At No. 6 singles, senior Rachael Porsz won 6-3, 7-5 over Jacqueline Haskett. At No. 1 singles, The Bulldogs’ Melanie Gloria, who is ranked No. 2 in the nation, won 7-5, 6-1 over Hannah Grady. Water PoloLBSU’s women’s water polo team split the final day of the UC Irvine Invitational, defeating Michigan 10-6, before dropping its third one-goal loss of the season, 11-10 to Santa Clara in double overtime. By losing three of four, LBSU (4-5) finished in 14th place. In the night cap, LBSU overcame a two-goal fourth quarter deficit to tie it at 8 with 4:23 left in regulation on one of three goals by Christina Wensman. The 49ers tied it again on the final of three goals by Cecilia Canetti with 1:16 left. The 49ers took a lead in the first overtime following the second of two scores from Megan Winchell, who finished with six goals on the day. But Santa Clara answered with two goals in the second overtime to win 11-10. In the opener, Kim Hayes allowed just three goals over the first three periods as the 49ers cruised to a 10-6 win over Michigan. Hayes became just the second LBSU player to record 15 saves, setting a career-high and falling two short of Bri Hawkins’ record, as Winchell tallied a career-best four goals. The No. 26 Long Beach State women’s tennis team concluded a tough weekend in Las Vegas, dropping its third consecutive match to a nationally ranked team, falling to No. 18 Fresno State 5-2 on Sunday afternoon. In doubles, Fresno State (5-2) won all three matches to pick up the point. The 49ers (5-4) won at No. 5 and No. 6 singles. center_img Men’s volleyballUC San Diego defeated No. 13 LBSU 3-2 late Saturday night in a Mountain Sports Federation Match to snap the 49ers’ 10-match win streak against the Tritons. Host UCSD won 25-30, 30-23, 20-30, 30-27, 15-9. Paul Lotman and Norm Hutton led the 49ers (6-8, 3-7) with 16 kills apiece, while Teddy Liles had 12 kills hitting for a .526 hitting percentage. Jason Spangler led the Tritons (5-10, 2-8) with 26 kills and a .391 hitting percentage. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Sports calendar

first_imgJC WOMEN’S TENNISEl Camino at LBCC, 2 p.m. Mt. Sac at Cerritos , 2 p.m. JC BASEBALLL.A. Harbor at LBCC, 2 p.m. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

Artest suspected of domestic violence

first_imgSACRAMENTO – Sacramento Kings forward Ron Artest was arrested Monday after a woman called 911 from his home saying she had been assaulted. Placer County sheriff’s deputies responded about 9:30 a.m. to Artest’s five-acre estate in the Sacramento suburb of Loomis, where they found a woman who had suffered injuries, officials said. She declined medical attention. Team spokesman Troy Hanson told The Associated Press Artest had not been suspended and still was being paid. Artest, who joined the Kings from the Indiana Pacers in January 2006, has had previous run-ins with police. He was at the center of the Nov. 19, 2004 brawl between Pacers players and Pistons fans at The Palace in Detroit. Just when a confrontation between players appeared over, Artest, lying on the scorer’s table, was hit with a cup filled with an icy beverage. He bolted into the stands in a rage, followed by teammate Stephen Jackson. Artest and teammate Jermaine O’Neal later slugged fans on the court. Two days later, Artest was suspended for the rest of the season – 73 games, plus the playoffs – in a move that cost him almost $5 million. Artest and Jackson were sentenced to one year of probation and 60 hours of community service after pleading no contest to misdemeanor assault charges. In January, Artest was released from that probation. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Artest, the central figure of the infamous 2004 brawl between Indiana Pacers players and Detroit Pistons fans, was booked into the Placer County Jail and later released on $50,000 bail. Erwin said she could not disclose the woman’s injuries or characterize her relationship with the player. She said Artest was cooperative when deputies arrived at his home. Sheriff’s officials obtained an emergency protective order that prevents Artest from returning to the house or contacting the woman until she can obtain a restraining order, sheriff’s Sgt. Andrew Scott said during an afternoon news conference. He said such action was normal procedure in domestic violence cases. Geoff Petrie, the Kings’ president of basketball operations, said the team was removing Artest from the team, pending a full investigation. “The Kings have excused Ron Artest indefinitely from any further participation with the team due to his arrest today for domestic violence,” Petrie said in a statement. center_img Deputies arrested Artest on suspicion of domestic violence and using force or violence to prevent the woman from reporting a crime, sheriff’s spokeswoman Dena Erwin said. “He and the female were in the house and separated,” Erwin said. “The deputies interviewed them and took Mr. Artest into custody.” last_img read more

No. 1 seed Mt. SAC gets by Foothill

first_imgSeeded No. 1 in the South, Mt. SAC used an 18-10 run at the beginning of the second half to turn a close game into a 71-61 win over the North No. 4-seeded Owls at Fresno’s Selland Arena on Friday. “We definitely didn’t play one of our best games,” said Mt. SAC coach Laura Beeman, who had guided the Mounties to an average winning margin of 43 points per game since their only loss of the season on Jan. 12, but only won by 10 against a team they beat 63-46 earlier in the year. For the entire first half of its State Championship quarterfinal game against Foothill College, the Mt. San Antonio College women’s basketball team struggled. The second was another story – well, kind of. “We were just anxious. It definitely wasn’t one of our better games.” After leading just 33-28 coming out of halftime, Mt. SAC (35-1) began to distance itself in the second half. Freshman guard Jazlyn Davis had a game-high 23 points – 12 of which came in the first half – three rebounds and four steals for the Mounties. “We just wanted to come out and execute and play hard,” Davis said. “We came out a little flat today. But we picked up our defensive intensity. We didn’t want to go home today.” Sophomore guard Tonicia Tademy added 10 points and five steals for the Mounties, who had 11 steals and forced Foothill (27-9) into 28 turnovers. center_img Mt. SAC pulled down an astounding 25 offensive rebounds on its way to 45 total rebounds for the game. “We always crash the boards hard,” Beeman said. “It’s what’s kept us in the big games. “We led them in every statistical category but shooting percentage. We took 24 (72-48) more shots than they did, it gave us our advantage.” Sophomore guard Tay Hester was 10 of 12 from the free-throw line as she scored 18 points and had six rebounds. The win sets up a semifinals matchup today at 5 p.m. against College of the Canyons (30-5), which beat North No. 2 San Joaquin Delta earlier in the day. The Mounties beat the Cougars 71-57 in the championship game of their season-opening Mt. SAC tournament. “They have an All-State point guard who is tremendous,” Beeman said. “They transition very well. We need to make them slow it down and run their half-court sets.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Vilma Ebsen, dancer and instructor, 96

first_imgTHOUSAND OAKS – Vilma Ebsen, who danced in the film “Broadway Melody of 1936” with her brother Buddy long before he became famous on “The Beverly Hillbillies,” has died. She was 96. Vilma Ebsen, a dance instructor and co-owner of the old Ebsen School of Dancing in Pacific Palisades, died March 12 at the Thousand Oaks Health Care Center, her son Robert Dolan said Tuesday. As she grew up, she taught at her father’s Orlando, Fla., dance school, then joined her brother in New York for the Broadway run of the musical “Whoopee.” They teamed up and Vilma and Buddy Ebsen were featured in the vaudeville revue “Broadway Stars of the Future.” The song and dance team also appeared in the Broadway musical revue “Flying Colors,” in which they introduced “A Shine on Your Shoes.” They were featured in the 1934 edition of “Ziegfeld Follies,” in which they sang “I Like the Likes of You.” Vilma Ebsen and sister Helga started the Ebsen School of Dancing in 1943, focusing on ballet and tap dancing for children. It operated until the mid-1990s. “It really became her life,” son Robert Dolan said. “She’s got adoring students that go back for decades.” Vilma’s brother Buddy died in 2003. “She absolutely adored Buddy,” her son said. Dolan said his mother had a fabulous sense of humor and “was telling jokes the week before she died. Could she tell stories. They got better over the years and the last 10 years were the best.” One of Dolan’s favorite jokes was one his mom made up and sold to a comic for $50, he said. “My mom said, `If I ever have an out-of-body experience, I’m not going back. I’m going into Shirley MacLaine’s because she’s never there.” Besides her two sons, Ebsen is survived by two granddaughters and four great-grandchildren. Her sons said a memorial celebration for family and friends will be held later. Instead of flowers, the family asked that donations in Ebsen’s name be made to the Music Center Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County, where money will go to fund children’s dance education.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! They came to Hollywood the following year to appear in the 1935 MGM movie musical “Broadway Melody of 1936,” in which the Ebsens introduced “Sing Before Breakfast” on a brownstone rooftop with Eleanor Powell. They also performed “On a Sunday Afternoon” and danced in the big “Broadway Rhythm” finale. It was her only movie appearance. Buddy Ebsen went on to appear in other movies and Vilma returned to New York where husband Robert Emmett Dolan was a Broadway conductor. She appeared in the musical comedy “Between the Devil,” which ran on Broadway from 1937 to 1938. Vilma and her husband moved to Pacific Palisades in 1941 with their toddler son Robert. Dolan, who became a seven-time Academy Award-nominated film composer, and Ebsen later divorced. In 1948, she married tennis player Stanley Briggs and the couple had a a son, Michael. last_img

Field lab finally on EPA radar

first_img“We definitely want it to be a Superfund site, because it is,” said state Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Los Angeles. “I’m very happy that the EPA is going to assess the site again, with an eye toward whether it can be declared a Superfund site.” Kuehl has pushed for the highest cleanup standards at the lab. She has legislation pending that would add the lab to the state’s Superfund list and prohibit Boeing from selling the property until the state director of Toxic Substances Control certifies that contamination has been completely remedied. Boeing spokeswoman Blythe Jameson said the company is working closely with all the regulatory agencies on site decontamination. “All the radiological and chemical cleanups that the company has undertaken throughout the site continue to follow standards that have been carefully set by scientists and engineers and are fully protective of public health and safety,” Jameson said. One of the big controversies surrounding the lab is decontamination of the former Energy Technology and Engineering Center, where the federal government developed nuclear reactors – and where one had a partial meltdown in 1959. Critics of the DOE said the agency’s proposed cleanup would leave 99 percent of the tainted soil on site, and Boeing could eventually sell the property for residential use. In 2003, the EPA said there hadn’t been enough analysis of the site and the cleanup would leave the site unsafe for anything but limited picnicking and camping. At the same time, however, EPA officials said the former nuclear-research portion of the lab did not qualify for Superfund status because nobody lived on site and few people were in immediate risk from the contamination. Similarly, in 1987, the EPA said the field lab didn’t score high enough on its hazard-ranking system to qualify for the National Priorities List. At that time, however, the EPA did not consider radiological contamination on site, only the toxic chemical pollution. This time, the EPA’s Curnow said, the agency will consider the entire lab and all chemical and radiological contamination. EPA officials will score the site based on contamination and how many people might have been exposed if pollutants moved off site. If the site scores high enough, it will be considered for inclusion on the National Priorities List. Rep. Elton Gallegly, R-Thousand Oaks, has long sought EPA involvement in the site cleanup and praised the EPA for its decision Thursday. “My goal has always been to have the site cleaned to the highest standard possible in a timely and complete manner,” Gallegly said in a written statement. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said the agency’s decision to reconsider the lab is long overdue. “Now the EPA should as quickly as possible ensure that public health is protected by using the best information to make its decisions, not old or inadequate data that could mask the dangers posed by radiation and chemicals at the site,” she said. Staff Writer Harrison Sheppard contributed to this report. kerry.cavanaugh@dailynews.com (213) 978-0390160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “Given all the community concerns about this site and the fact that it’s not being studied and cleaned up under Superfund, this would be appropriate to go back and look at the whole site.” Longtime field lab watchdogs hailed the EPA’s decision but remained wary Thursday, noting that the agency has twice previously rejected the lab site for Superfund status. “I’m hopeful and cautious at the same time,” said Dan Hirsch of the Committee to Bridge the Gap. “On the face of it, it’s positive. EPA has recognized, belatedly, that the site should be looked at as a whole. But twice before they’ve declined to list it, so there has to be some skepticism about why they’re doing it now.” Activists have pushed for EPA Superfund status so one agency would supervise and coordinate cleanup of the 290-acre lab, owned by Boeing Co. Currently, regulation of the field lab cleanup is divided among several agencies. The Department of Energy oversees its own cleanup of the former nuclear research section of the lab. The California Department of Toxic Substances Control is responsible for monitoring chemical cleanup on the site, and the state’s Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board monitors surface water flowing off the lab. Twenty years after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency first refused to designate the Santa Susana Field Lab as a high-priority cleanup site, the federal agency said Thursday that it is now reconsidering its decision. In a move long sought by community activists, the EPA said it will reassess testing data from recent years and, if necessary, conduct further analysis to determine whether the lab qualifies for the National Priorities List, also called the Superfund program. Reserved for the worst-contaminated sites, Superfund status would give the EPA authority to conduct a new investigation and oversee cleanup at the hilltop lab. “What we’ve heard from the community for many years is that they’re concerned that the site isn’t being addressed as a whole under Superfund,” said Betsy Curnow, chief of the EPA’s regional site assessment section. last_img read more