first_img SUBJECT TO APPROVAL Ahead of Jamaica’s 55th Independence celebrations next year, Minister of Culture, Gender Affairs, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, has revealed that statues of decorated Olympians Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce will be commissioned as part of the National Stadium Statue Park’s development plans. According to Grange, a total of four statues will be commissioned. The others are for former men’s 100m record holder Asafa Powell and multiple Olympic medallist, Veronica Campbell-Brown. “The ministry will commission four statues over the next two years for the following athletes – Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce, Veronica Campbell-Brown and Asafa Powell,” said Grange. “The first two statues of Usain and Shelly-Ann will be completed in time for the Jamaica 55 Independence celebrations next year and the other two statues of Veronica Cambell-Brown and Asafa Powell for the following year,” she continued. Grange was speaking during a programme of celebration for Rio Olympians and Paralympians, at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston, yesterday, adding the statues will be of the athletes’ liking. “Of course, the images will be subject to the approval of each athlete and the sculptor who is commissioned to do the work is the same sculptor who did the work for the Herb McKenley statue,” she pointed out of Basil Watson. The development plan for Independence Stadium Complex, which will include the national sports museum, according to Grange, will be done on a phased basis over a period of two years. “There are other plans that are in the works, but at this time I will hold those announcements for the future,” informed Grange. “I will emphasise that what we are doing is not just about celebrating the achievements of our athletes by having a big party, but we also will ensure that we have legacy projects that will be a lasting tribute to their achievements,” Grange stressed. She was speaking in reference to the Heroes weekend celebrations (October 14-16) for Olympians and Paralympians from the Rio Games, recently .last_img read more

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WHITTIER – It was where young newlyweds first settled in Whittier in the 1950s. Over the years, as friendships formed and grew, it became the site of neighborhood dinner parties, where cocktails might be served at one home, appetizers at another, the main course across the street. For six Whittier couples, the 11100 block of El Arco Drive was even more than that: It was the nurturing ground of relationships that have lasted more than 50 years. Even today, decades after most of the group has moved away, memories of life on El Arco still draw them together. They meet several times a year to reminisce. “It was an unusual neighborhood, because we all were good friends,” said Anna Cook, 76, who along with her husband, Stanley, are the last remaining couple from the original group still living on El Arco. “We were all of different faiths, but we all got along,” she said. Bob Whittier remembers his years living on El Arco Drive as “good times” for a group of people who “all kind of grew up together.” The neighborhood was close-knit, the 78-year-old said, and the group of friends met often for parties, picnics and holiday events. “At one time, there were a few poker parties,” Whittier recalled. “The guys would start getting together to play poker, until someone started losing too much money. “But that broke up when the wives decided we shouldn’t play anymore,” he added. On Sunday, the group of friends carried on the tradition, meeting at a Marie Callender’s Restaurant in Whittier to catch up on life and talk about their expanding families. “Most of us were veterans just starting out families,” said Karl “Chuck” Freeman, who with his wife, Therese, moved to the block in 1953. “We watched our kids grow up and get married. Then the grandkids came,” he said. The Cooks moved to El Arco around the same time as the Freemans. So did Bob Whittier and his late wife Bonnie, and Donna and Al Broward, who now live in Newport Beach. Carol and Glenn Romine, who decades later moved to Temecula, and Jimmie and Chuck Hauser, now of Hemet, also moved to El Arco in the 1950s. Together, the group of friends have shared the good times and have supported each other through the bad times. Freeman recalled how the network of friends came together when his son died in 1956. “When my son died, I still had four kids at home, and I asked a couple of the gals if they could watch the kids while I went to pick up my wife,” Freeman said. “As we walked in the house, (we noticed) they put flowers in all the rooms, put fresh linens on all the beds, and where there weren’t fresh linens, they brought them from home,” he said. “And there was fried chicken and apple pie and more flowers on the dining room table.” As families grew, the El Arco neighbors began relocating to new places. Between the six original couples, there are 21 now-adult children. But their friendships, loyalty and regular reunions have continued. “When my wife of 50 years passed away, it was those people that were really there for you,” Bob Whittier said of his wife’s death in 1998. Whittier later remarried, and his new wife, Marci, has “come into the group just fine,” said Freeman. “I’ve learned that true friends are with you through thick and through thin,” said Whittier. “And you keep in touch.” araceli.esparza@sgvn.com (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3024last_img read more