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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

LABJ Insider: Orange Is the New Goal

In Los Angeles, it usually doesn’t mean much to say spring is in the air.

Unlike in the rest of the country, the weather and the outlook don’t change all that much when the seasons shift in Southern California.

But that’s not the case this year.

Things definitely feel different heading into April, with Covid-19 numbers and vaccination rates finally trending in the right directions.

L.A. is poised to enter the orange tier on the state’s reopening roadmap as soon as this week.

It’s a sharp contrast to last spring, which was spent in various states of lockdown. And it’s a huge improvement following a fall and winter that brought unprecedented pain.
Reaching the orange tier marks another big step forward for the region’s economic recovery, of course, provided we continue taking proper precautions and the data continue to bear out the improving conditions.

It means potential revenue for plenty of businesses. Stores can allow more customers to enter. Bars can open for outdoor service. Places like theaters, amusement parks and museums can expand beyond their current capacity limits.

It also means real fans, not cardboard likenesses, in the stands at Dodger Stadium — and few things signal hope and renewal more than the annual return of baseball.

Need another reason that this spring feels special? Amoeba Music, that beloved Hollywood destination, reopens for business on April 1, in shiny new digs on Hollywood Boulevard.

While entries will be limited, access to vinyl, CDs and DVDs will not be. What better way to change your tune…

• • •
Apparently the season for giving isn’t just limited to the holidays.

A spate of recent donations speaks to the generosity of Angelenos of all stripes, regardless of the time of year.

At the high end, billionaires Eli and Edythe Broad matched a $150 million donation by former Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt and his wife, Wendy, to the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, Mass.

The funds will be used to launch and endow a biology and computer science research center at the institute. The Broads helped start the institute that bears their name in 2003. In all, they have given $1 billion to the institute.

Eric Schmidt and Eli Broad are longtime board members of the institute.

Over on the corporate side of giving, Cathay Bank has donated $1 million to the Cathay Bank Foundation to support a range of organizations battling anti-Asian hate crimes and xenophobia.

And at the individual level, Scott Kolbrenner, a managing director at Houlihan Lokey in Century City, recently won $145,000 as a contestant on an episode of “Wheel of Fortune.”

While that tally is impressive, it’s what he did with his winnings that’s even more remarkable.

Kolbrenner, who heads the engineering and construction practice at the investment bank’s Century City office, donated his entire payout to two local charities: downtown-based Los Angeles Regional Food Bank and Uplift Family Services at Hollygrove. The organizations will split Kolbrenner’s prize money evenly.

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