Briefly Speaking… May 22, 2008

All you need in one paragraph.

In August of 2007, Long Beach entrepreneurs Keith Lewis and Peter Dopulos saw a need for local writers wishing to publish their stories and poetry. Out of that need Flask and Pen was created. is an online literary magazine that accepts submissions of stories, poetry and the occassional editorial from aspiring writers to accomplished authors. “It’s amazing how we have grown,” says Dopulos. “We started out with a few friends that are aspiring writers and the only people visiting the site were friends and relatives.” Recently, the site surpassed 25,000 visits. Each month a phrase or word is selected as the topic of the month to inspire writers. Flask and Pen has also produced The Flask and Pen Project, whereby the editors select an inspiration for a story and each week a randomly selected author contributes a chapter. The first Project was completed in January and the current Project is approximately half complete. Both can be viewed on the site at For more info, email

Operation Jump Start (OJS) is a nonprofit mentoring organization with the mission to help underprivileged Long Beach high school students go on to college. OJS matches each of its students with an adult mentor for a period of five years; from the eighth grade all the way through high school. While in OJS, the student and mentor teams participate in several activities together, such as college tours, educational workshops, culture activities and community service activities. Outside of the OJS activities, mentors and students are able to spend time together on their own doing activities of their own choosing such as going for walks, visits to the beach, cafes, museums, etc. All of the students served by OJS are economically disadvantaged and the first generation of their families to go to college. One-hundred percent of OJS students graduate from high school, and 97 percent attend college. To find out more, contact Samantha Lang at or (562) 988-2131, or visit

briefly-speaking.jpgPicture This Gallery & Custom Framing is calling for artists of all media to submit art work with an obvious image of Frida Kahlo for a show that will run July 29 through September 13. An artist reception, poetry reading and music performance will take place Saturday, August 2 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The submission deadline is Friday, July 18 at 6 p.m. For more information about the show, call (562) 425-4861 or email PictureThis
El Dorado Nature Center is seeking volunteers for its trail steward program. After completion of the two-session training program, trail stewards walk the trails and are the eyes and ears of the center, helping the public stay safe. Also, they share with visitors information about the wonderful history and wildlife that make El Dorado Nature Center a treasure in Long Beach. Trail steward volunteer training classes meet on Saturdays, June 7 and 14, from 9 a.m. until noon at the nature center, located at 7550 East Spring Street. Call Susan Ettinger at (562) 570-1749 for more information or to register. For stewards to gain all the benefits of the program, attendance at both training session is required.

One Signal Hill resident and two Long Beach residents graduated from Azusa Pacific University in the San Gabriel Valley in the school’s spring commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 3. Signal Hill resident Craigston P. Robbins graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in communication studies, Long Beach resident Whitney Leigh Patterson received a Bachelor of Arts in business administration, and Long Beach resident Alicia Michele Story graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies. They were joined by more than 1,200 graduates at the ceremony. Featured in Time magazine and ranked as one of the nation’s best by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review, Azusa Pacific is a comprehensive, Christian, evangelical university known for excellence in higher education. For more information, call (800) 825-5278 or visit

Researchers at UCLA and the Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System are seeking adults, ages 18 to 55, who have been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), for a new study testing the impact of psychological interventions on the treatment for IBS. Researchers will explore whether psychological approaches can help with factors that aggravate IBS symptoms, which may lead to more effective treatment. IBS affects 15 to 20 percent of Americans and causes discomfort in the abdomen, along with diarrhea and/or constipation. Stress may aggravate symptoms. During the six-month study, volunteers will be randomly selected to participate in one of three interventions: IBS stress management, designed to reduce stress and learn relaxation skills; IBS symptom management, targeted at helping patients identify thought patterns that may induce IBS symptoms; and IBS educational training, arming volunteers with educational materials and background on the physiology of IBS. The interventions will consist of 10 weekly individual one-hour meetings with a psychologist. A physical exam will take place during the initial visit, as well as a psychological evaluation. The study is funded by the National Institutes of Health. For more information, call (310) 478-3711, extension 43470.

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