Despite the upheaval, service to the community was not interrupted, Salinas said. “Staff worked diligently to ensure that the programs out of the department ran smoothly,” she said. “This building and department, even more so than City Hall, is the city’s true connection to the people,” said Lopez-Reid. “And we are so glad to have it open for business once again.” The building houses a multipurpose room, two conference rooms, offices and work stations for the 11-member staff. The landscaping in front of the building includes palms trees and two “early tradition” style lightposts. “It’s a beautiful building,” Lopez-Reid said. email@example.com (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3028 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! • Photo Gallery: Montebello Parks & Recreation MONTEBELLO – City officials reopened what they called “the face of the city” when they rededicated the Parks and Recreation Building on Wednesday. The 6,000-square-foot building was closed for nearly a year after a fire destroyed one of its storage rooms last December. “I am extremely glad to welcome our staff back home,” said Mayor Norma Lopez-Reid at a ribbon-cutting ceremony. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPettersson scores another winner, Canucks beat KingsThe fire prompted the city to close down the facility not only to repair the fire-damaged storage room, but to make other renovations already scheduled. The improvements, which cost $280,000 and were completed by Macco Construction, included painting the building’s interior and exterior, replacing water pipes, installing carpet to replace old tile and making the restrooms comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The building is also fire protected and was made energy efficient, said Tom Castillo, building official. “It feels good being home,” said Municipal Services Director Norma Salinas. “We are just trying to acclimate ourselves back into working in this building.” The parks and recreation staff was displaced and dispersed at City Hall, the Cathy Hensel Youth Center and a trailer adjacent to the Parks and Recreation Building.
The ceremony was scheduled in conjunction with the 30th anniversary of Di Bona’s return to Southern California from Boston. Di Bona received a master’s degree from UCLA in 1968, which led to a job producing and directing documentary specials and public affairs programming with WBZ-TV, then the NBC affiliate in Boston. “When I drove from UCLA back to Boston from my first job, when I crossed the state line I said, `I’ll be back.”‘ Di Bona said. “I really meant it. I wanted to make that promise true to myself.” Di Bona fulfilled the promise in 1977, when he was hired by KNXT-TV Channel 2 (now KCBS) to produce and direct public affairs programming. He received Emmys for “Zoot Suit: The Play and the Promise”; “Streets of Anger, Streets of Hope”; “Project Parenting” and “Down at the Dunbar,” which also won a Peabody Award. Di Bona turned to national television in 1981 as a producer of a then- new syndicated entertainment news magazine “Entertainment Tonight.” Di Bona recalled attending a corporate retreat at the La Costa resort during “Entertainment Tonight’s” first season, run by Barry Diller, then the chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Paramount Pictures Corp., whose television syndication arm distributed the program. “I remember Barry Diller saying at that retreat, “Entertainment Tonight’ will run for as long as people want to watch news. If we keep a news bent on the show, albeit entertainment, it’s something people are going to want. This program is going to run forever.’ “He was about as right as right can be.” Di Bona moved to primetime television in 1984 as a producer during the first season of “MacGyver.” Other projects in the 1980s included “Papal Spacebridge `87,” documenting Pope John Paul II’s visit to the United States and his two-way satellite discussions with young adults, and the ABC Saturday morning series “Animal Crack-Ups.” Di Bona’s greatest triumph “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” premiered Jan. 14, 1990, and has remained on the air ever since. It is ABC’s longest running primetime entertainment series. “No matter what the age group or the socioeconomic structure of the group, it appeals to people’s base humor in wanting to laugh and moreover wanting to belly laugh,” Di Bona said when asked for the reason behind its longevity. “Little kids like to watch it because they know they fall down all day long and when they see their parents fall down or slip or slide or get a crotch hit, its makes them laugh. It makes it even more connectable to life.” Di Bona also recalled two letters from viewers “that were most important” to him. “Early on, a fellow wrote, `My wife and I were watching your show, she was nine months pregnant. We laughed so hard, her water broke,”‘ Di Bona said. “That was one benchmark. “Another benchmark was a family telling me they were in a hospital with their dad who was about to pass and they all watched the show on Sunday night. They had their laughs together and he passed that night. They remember that their last laughs together were watching `America’s Funniest Home Videos.’ It doesn’t get any better than that.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! HOLLYWOOD – Vin Di Bona will be honored with the 2,346th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame today, honoring an eclectic career that has included producing local television documentaries, a papal special and “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” “America’s Funniest Home Videos” host Tom Bergeron and ABC Entertainment President Stephen McPherson will join Di Bona in speaking at the late-morning ceremony in front of the former TAV Studios where Di Bona began his national producing career with “Entertainment Tonight” in 1981. Di Bona anticipates today to be “very calming for me.” “It’s a day where I’m just going to sit back, relax, enjoy myself and not have to worry about ratings and not to have to worry where I’m going to pitch a show or what’s next on the agenda,” Di Bona told City News Service. “It’s kind of just a time to sit back and say, `This is a fun day.”‘