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11-year-old Major Baseball All Stars win the 2017 District 16 Championship

The District 16 All-Star Tournament kicked off at South Pasadena’s own Nelson field.  South Pasadena Little League (SPLL) hosted this year’s tournament where Los Angeles, Alhambra, Temple City National, El Monte National, and two SPLL teams battled for the District Title.

Game 1 SPLL defeats Temple City National 10-1

South Pasadena’s Major All-Stars began the tournament with a win against Temple City National. Devin Robinson and Phillip Ocon both hit home runs in the first inning for an early lead. Temple City National was sure-handed in the field and didn’t commit a single error, but they couldn’t compete with the South Pasadena offense. The game ended early after the fourth inning because of Little League International’s 10 run “mercy” rule.  SPLL’s biggest inning was driven by a fielder’s choice by Jason Yipp, and singles by Luke Riffle, Henry McDonald and Baron Lutz.  Nolan Adams led the team in RBI’s, doubling home runs in both the third and fourth innings. Adams also earned the win for SPLL on the mound. He went two innings, giving up zero runs, one hit, striking out two, and walking zero. Both Ivan Beccera and Jonathan Bracamonte also contributed to the win, each collecting multiple hits.

GAME 2 SPLL defeats El Monte National 10-0

South Pasadena again jumped out to an early lead over El Monte National. Baron Lutz drove in two when he singled in the first inning. In the second, Riffle contributed with a home run and Calhoun Lutz hit a solid double.  The game broke open in the third when South Pasadena scored five runs. Beccera started the rally with a solid single, Yipp homered and McDonald doubled. Adams earned the win. He threw three innings, allowing zero runs, one hit, striking out two, and walking one.  South Pas didn’t commit a single error in the field.

GAME 3 SPLL defeats Temple City National 38-0

Under Little League International rules, games are required to play 3 and ½ innings before the “mercy rule” can end the game.  SPLL All-Stars showcased their hitting in the final game with a crushing win over Temple City National. Adams led the effort by driving in 11 runs and dominating on the mound. He tossed two innings, allowing zero runs, zero hits, striking out four, and walking zero. In addition to his incredible performance on the mound, Adams homered 3 times in the first inning, including two grand slams.  South Pasadena’s bats were unstoppable.  Devin Robinson contributed with a home run in the first inning and McDonald homered in the first and third.  Overall, South Pasadena had 25 hits in the game.  Baron Lutz, Becerra, Joshua (Finny) Ho, Bracamonte, and Yipp each collected multiple hits. SPLL’s defense was sure-handed and didn’t commit a single error. After the third inning, the game was finally called and SPLL captured the District 18 Championship for the first time since 2012.

SPLL Now Heads to Section Tournament 

SPLL’s Major All-Stars will continue playing. The team now represents District 18 in the Section Tournament.

Mayor Michael Cacciotti Delivers State of the City at WISPPA

Mayor Michael Cacciotti updated members of Women in South Pasadena Political Action (WISPPA) Saturday morning on the state of the city. The meeting was held in the basement of Calvary Presbyterian Church on Fremont Avenue.

Cacciotti began by noting that when he joined the City Council in 2001, the General Fund Budget was between $13 and $14 million. It has almost doubled in the last 16 years, with the 2017-18 budget projected to be around $26.7 million. The projected net income may fluctuate, but was approved at $649,335.

The Police and Fire Department receive the highest percentages of the General Fund budget, $13.3 million, or 48%, but Cacciotti noted that that is one of the lowest percentage-wise in the San Gabriel Valley. The next largest recipients of the budget are City Council/management services ($2.7 million), public works ($2.1 million), and the public library ($1.7 million).

Total expenses are projected to dip in 2018-19, but begin to rise after that, as the CalPERS (California Public Employees’ Retirement System) employer’s cost rises by 18.5% from ’18-19 to ’19-20 and 32.4% from ’19-20 to ’20-21.

State employees are promised compensation and benefits according to a formula. It is thus the responsibility of the city and the state to make sure the fund is adequate.

City Treasurer Gary Pia explained that the errors made by CalPERS (California Public Employees’ Retirement System) that have caused South Pasadena to dramatically increase its contributions to the state employee retirement fund resulted from grossly overestimating earnings.

“One of the critical assumptions that is made,” said Pia, “is how much, what rate of return, what interest rate, will the plan be able to generate and earn in order to fund the benefit, and based on that assumption, how much does the city have to contribute so that the fund has enough with that interest rate to fund the benefit.

“And now [CalPERS is] saying, ‘We can’t make that happen on these estimates,’ and so they are asking for more money from the cities,” he continued. “We’re responsible for bridging that gap, and every city in the state is facing this situation.”

Cacciotti assured WISPPA that South Pasadena has kept strong emergency reserves. “When I got on the City Council, the reserves were about $3 million, now [the fund has] jumped a lot,” he said. These are undesignated reserves, money set aside for unforeseen emergencies. “If insurance rates double in the next few years or a reservoir collapses and we can’t get a loan, we can use [those monies],” said the mayor.

In addition, the city has a designated reserve. “Over the years we’ve established 13 separate funds that we’ve put about $6.75 million in, things like library expansion and the community center, ” continued Cacciotti.

Cacciotti also discussed upcoming street improvement projects, reminding his audience that the budget for fixing roads —now $1.3 million— was zero for several years about a decade ago. Road resurfacing, sidewalk improvements and fixes to gutters will soon be underway on Monterey Road from Via del Rey to Pasadena Ave. On Bushnell, between Oak and Huntington Dr., water runoff has caused pooling bringing live mosquito larvae to the area. Other streets that will receive improvements are Diamond Ave. from Monterey Rd. to Lyndon St.; Camino Del Sol, from Saint Albans Ave. to Santa Teresa, and Alpha Avenue, from La Fremontia to Valley View Rd.

In the course of his address, Cacciotti also informed WISPPA that the Eddy Park House will undergo interior remodeling and lead and asbestos abatement, as well as that the city is pushing to require all leaf blowers to be green, and that two properties–one at 1107 Grevalia St. and the other at 2006 Berkshire Ave.–have been purchased by the city for park projects.

“I want to thank councilmember [City Councilwoman Marina] Khubesrian, who pushes one of our designated reserve funds and set aside money to purchase these vacant properties for our residents, because some of areas are very park poor, especially that Berkshire area,” said Cacciotti.

The city is also working to recruit a new city manager, as well as to update its General Plan.

Cacciotti was introduced by WISPPA president Bianca Richards, who began the meeting by reminding members of the organization: “We pride ourselves on wanting to know the facts, know the information, so that when we overhear something we can clear it up.”

Divergent Crossfit Opens in South Pas

Watch below to see if Mayor Michael Cacciotti could hold his own in a pull-up contest against Divergent Crossfit Co-owner James Do. Video by Harry Yadav 

4th of July Photos

Body of Missing South Pasadena Boy Found

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has confirmed that the body of a 5-year-old South Pasadena boy has been found.

The remains of Aramazd Andressian Jr. were found Friday after homicide detectives returned to the Lake Cachuma area of Santa Barbara County on Friday to continue the investigation.

The exact location of the boy’s body was found was not disclosed by officials.

Aramazd Andressian Jr. has been missing since April.

The boy’s father, Aramazd Andressian Sr., 35, was flown into Los Angeles from Las Vegas on Friday afternoon facing murder charges and is being held at the Los Angeles County Jail, according to authorities and is awaiting an arraignment on Monday.

Andressian Sr. was arrested on June 23 on suspicion of killing his son and was held in custody in Nevada since Tuesday in lieu of $10 million bail.

Sheriff’s Homicide Lt. Joe Mendoza said Andressian Sr. spent nearly 50 days prior to his arrest “socializing” in Las Vegas.

At extradition hearing in Las Vegas last Tuesday, Andressian Sr., was seen with dyed, light-colored hair and told the judge he could be taken back to Los Angeles for further court action.

The boy was seen on camera on April 20 as he was leaving Disneyland. Two days later the father of the youth was found passed out next to his car in Arroyo Seco Park in South Pasadena. Police later revealed the car had been doused on the inside with gasoline.

Aramazd Andressian Sr. reportedly had taken some pills not prescribed to him.

At one point early on in the investigation, Aramazd Andressian Sr. was arrested, but later released due to lack of evidence.

The case had taken detectives to Lake Cachuma in Santa Barbara County and back to Arroyo Seco Park, where members of the Sheriff’s Dept. combed the area a month ago looking for clues.

Two weeks ago, Sheriff’s deputies served a search warrant at the Montebello home of Andressian Sr.’s mother. The deputies were seen taking computer equipment from the home.

Festival of Balloons Schedule

•7-11 a.m. – Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast at South Pasadena Fire Department.
•10:30 a.m. – Opening Ceremonies on the outside steps of the South Pasadena Library Community Room.
•11 a.m. – 4th of July Festival of Balloons Parade down Mission Street.
•Noon – 3 p.m. – Games and activities in Garfield Park.
•5:30 p.m. – Opening of Stadium at South Pasadena High for bleacher seating (Blast of Horn). Food service, music, moon bounce for kids.
•5:30 p.m. – Opening of stadium for field seating.
•6 – 8:45 p.m. – Music, announcement of parade entry winners, acknowledgement of poster contest winners, performance by the drum line.
•8:50 p.m. – Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts Color Guard. Flag Salute.
•8:55 p.m. – Star Spangled Banner with fireworks bursting in air.
•9 p.m. – Fireworks Show.

Deadly Confrontation in Burbank

An investigation continues Thursday concerning an officer involved in a shooting in Burbank on the 400 block of Broadway.

South Pasadena police have confirmed that one of their officers was involved in the shooting.

Details are still coming in, but South Pasadena police were reportedly serving a warrant at the home.

The shooting between the South Pasadena officer and a man inside the Burbank home occurred at about 8:45 a.m. Two SPPD officers were said to be serving a warrant to a female. It is unclear why the warrant was being served.

On entering the home, the officers apparently came in contact with a male occupant who was said to be a renter.

It’s also unclear if both officers discharged their weapons.

Little details are available about the warrant served the woman. One news outlet said it may have something to do with fraud.

Immigrant Status Discussion to Involve Safety Commission

South Pasadena City Council members, reaffirming their commitment to diversity and to safeguarding the civil rights for all residents, asked the city’s Public Safety Commission to weigh in on the national discussion about immigrant status and federal enforcement during last week’s regularly scheduled meeting at City Hall.

Council members listened to lengthy testimony during the June 21 meeting in response to concerns expressed by some residents regarding treatment of minorities and immigrants throughout the nation.

“The council wants the Public Safety Commission to look at the matter and dig a little deeper and examine some of our policies and procedures to make sure we have them memorialized in a fashion so that everyone knows the city’s position,” explained Interim City Manager Elaine Aguilar.

In addition, the council decided to have a subcommittee, comprised of council members Diana Mahmud and Dr. Richard Schneider, work with the Public Safety Commission in addressing the issue.

“The council would like to maintain a dialogue with the community,” said Aguilar. “They will schedule meetings in the council chambers during the evening hours, allowing many in the community to attend and offer input.”

In December 2016, the City Council unanimously adopted a resolution reaffirming the City of South Pasadena’s “commitment to diversity and to safeguarding the civil rights, safety and dignity of all our city residents.”

In early May, Councilmember Dr. Marina Khubesrian made a request to put on last week’s City Council agenda a discussion of the city’s existing public policies regarding cooperation with federal enforcement of immigration status.

The City Council chamber was packed as members of the public expressed their concern that the city “has a true commitment to safeguarding the civil rights of all our residents, regardless of where they were born,” explained Interim South Pasadena City Manager Elaine Aguilar. “This is a nationwide concern and the City Council has been proactive in safeguarding the dignity of everyone who lives, visits and does business in the city.”

Since the resolution was adopted, a growing number of cities in California, including South Pasadena, have taken steps to withdraw from any cooperative agreements with the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) and identify themselves as “sanctuary” cities when it comes to immigration status enforcement.

Thirteen speakers addressed the council on the matter, but, as Aguilar pointed out, for every one that spoke there were three in the audience.

Council members received a report from South Pasadena Police Chief Art Miller regarding the city’s current policies, stating, “the police department is not paid to investigate and enforce federal law violations regarding the [ICE], nor do federal officers have the authority to demand this, absent the existence of a cooperative agreement with ICE. The City of South Pasadena has never had a cooperative agreement with ICE. Accordingly, our police department does not participate in any ICE operations which may take place in South Pasadena, nor does any South Pasadena police officer play any role in any arrest or detention of an ICE arrestee.”

Miller added that the City of South Pasadena does not operate a detention facility. “Arrests made by South Pasadena police officers for violation of local or state laws are booked at jails in Alhambra and Pasadena,” he said. “As a result, the City of South Pasadena would not be a recipient of any ICE hold request regarding anyone detained in jail, nor has the City of South Pasadena ever received such a request. Because the City of South Pasadena has never had a cooperative agreement with ICE, and does not participate in any ICE operations or play any role in any ICE arrests or detentions and is not subject to any ICE hold request, South Pasadena does not participate in any of the conduct regarding enforcement of immigration status.”

Further, Miller stressed that the designated sanctuary city is not applicable to South Pasadena or any city which does not assist ICE, and “which is not subject to any ICE hold request due to the absence of a functioning detention facility… in our city,” he said. “For all these reasons, the City Council’s December 21, 2016 resolution reaffirming this city’s commitment to diversity and safeguarding of civil rights for all of our residents is an appropriate and existing policy which extends to all persons living within, doing business within, visiting or passing through South Pasadena.”

South Pasadena Police Chief Art Miller Speaks About Missing Boy

A press conference regarding the Friday arrest of Aramazd Andressian Sr., whose only son has been missing since April 22, was held Monday at the Los Angeles County Hall of Justice. South Pasadena Police Chief Art Miller spoke at the press conference, and had this to say about the present situation: “Today the LA County Sheriffs, the lead investigators on this, made statements about the arrest of the father… they filed murder charges on him. They are waiting until tomorrow, Tuesday, for an extradition hearing. Because [Andressian Sr.] is in another state, they cannot just bring him out [to Los Angeles]. He has to go through an extradition hearing. He has the right to object to that. We’re not anticipating that he will, then once he’s here, [the District Attorney’s office will] proceed with the case.”

As to what led to the Friday arrest, Chief Miller said, “They investigated all leads possible, and it got to the point where nothing he was saying matched up to the investigation, so they decided they have a strong enough case to file a ‘no body’ murder case. A ‘no body’ murder case obviously means that they have not found the body. It is not unusual for [those cases] to be filed, and they are very successful.”

The boy’s mother was not present at the press conference, instead choosing to make a statement through one of the lead investigators, “to express her concern and appreciation [for the investigators],” said Chief Miller. “The next step is for [Andressian Sr.] to have an extradition hearing in Las Vegas and it will be determined whether he wants to voluntarily come back or have to go to the next level. We are anticipating that he will wave his extradition and come back tomorrow.”

“At this point everything will be handled by the DA’s office,” concluded Miller, “Once the case is filed, the public responsibility goes from the Sheriff’s office to the DA’s office, and they’ll be making all the statements.”

Father of Missing Boy Arrested in Las Vegas

The father of a missing South Pasadena boy has been arrested on suspicion of murder in the disappearance of his 5-year-old son Aramzd Andressian, Jr.

During a Monday news conference at the Los Angeles County Hall of Justice in downtown, authorities said Aramazd Andressian Sr., 35, was taken into custody in Las Vegas last Friday on suspicion of killing his son, Aramazd Andressian Jr.

Andressian Sr. remains in custody in Las Vegas pending an extradition hearing. Last week, prosecutors filed one count of murder against Andressian Sr., who faces a maximum penalty of 25 years to life in state prison if convicted. He is scheduled for an arraignment in Los Angeles later this week.

Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau Lt. Joe Mendoza said the investigation included surveillance in which Andressian Sr. changed his “appearance and acted in a manner inconsistent with the behavior of a grieving parent.”

The boy has been missing since April 22, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. On that day, he failed to turn over the child to his mother as part of a scheduled custody exchange.

Aramzd Andressian Sr., 35, was arrested for suspicion of murder in a case filed by the Los Angeles County district attorney.

“After reviewing all of the evidence in this case, homicide investigators presented the facts to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and obtained a murder filing against the suspect,” Deputy Grace Medrano, a sheriff’s department spokesperson, wrote in a statement. “The suspect was booked at Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department with a bail of $10 million and will return to Los Angeles County pending the extradition process.”

The boy was seen on camera on April 20 as he was leaving Disneyland. Two days later the father of the youth was found passed out next to his car in Arroyo Seco Park in South Pasadena. Police later revealed the car had been doused on the inside with gasoline.

Aramazd Andressian Sr. reportedly had taken some pills not prescribed to him.

At one point early on in the case, Aramazd Andressian Sr. was arrested, but later released due to lack of evidence.

The case has taken investigators to Lake Cachuma in Santa Barbara County and back to Arroyo Seco Park, where members of the Sheriff’s Dept. combed the area looking for clues.

Miller said he’s been talking to members of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Dept, who “have followed up on every possible lead,” he said. “They are actually going to retrace some parts of the investigation.”

Sheriff’s deputies served a search warrant at the Montebello home of Andressian Sr.’s mother. The deputies were seen taking computer equipment from the home.

In searching Arroyo Park for a second time, Miller said authorities “made sure they uncovered everything to get a possible handle on it.”

A $30,000 reward has been issued leading to information and the whereabouts of the boy.