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Obituary | Thomas Don Nott

Tomas Don Nott was born in 1940 in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles. He graduated from the USC School of Architecture in 1965.
Tom designed projects as varied as work for the Los Angeles Olympics, L.A. subway, numerous business parks and countless residential projects.
Tom designed and built his first home in South Pasadena in 1969. He lived continuously in this house for 51 years, constantly improving it.

Thomas Don Nott

Tom and his son Jeff started Nott & Associates design/build firm on Mission Street in South Pasadena in 1997. Tom and Jeff Nott have completed 250 projects in South Pasadena and 450 in Southern California in the last 40 years. Nott & Associates has won numerous awards for design and historic preservation.
Taking tremendous pride in his work, Tom restored and added to the historic fabric of South Pasadena his entire time here. Tom was a seasoned jazz musician who played with the Trojan Marching Band at USC and many musical groups including the Maestros of Pasadena.
Tom is survived by three children — Kathy, Jeffrey and Brian Nott — and eight grandchildren. Tom’s son Jeffrey continues to run Nott & Associates with the same standards and pride as they did together for the last 24 years.
We miss you, Tom. You will be forever in our memories and prayers.

Houses of Worship Adapt Amid Pandemic

Holy Family.

The Rev. Canon Anne Tumilty, rector of St. James’ Episcopal Church in South Pasadena, may have sounded the perfect note when discussing how prayer is being conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While the doors have been closed, the church has remained active,” she wrote in a recent note.
But active isn’t always what it used to be, and many church- and synagogue-goers in South Pasadena and the surrounding area can hardly wait to return to the “old days” and the “old ways.”
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors announced that churches in the county could begin holding services, under specific guidelines, beginning this past Sunday.
Grace Brethren Church was among the first of the churches along South Pasadena’s Fremont Avenue to take advantage of the ruling. Most other churches in town, and Temple Beth Israel in Highland Park, have delayed starting dates while they consider how to safely reopen and comply with county guidelines.
Grace Brethren, at 920 Fremont Ave., had what its senior pastor, the Rev. Terry Daniels, called a “learning experience” in its first attempt at reopening. Most people did not show up at the scheduled time, so the church proceeded with an online service, and will try again next week.

Students’ Self-Portraits Reveal Their Distance-Learning Experiences

Emiko Essmiller.

It wasn’t her idea, but visual arts teacher Denise Tanaka was happy to dictate to her South Pasadena Middle School students a different kind of self-portrait to round out what has been a different kind of school year.
Students in the five classes Tanaka teaches — about 120 6th-, 7th- and 8th-graders — created photo portraits in which they’re shown lying on the ground, surrounded by the belongings and devices that were essential to their experiences with distance learning at home after the COVID-19 pandemic forced school closures. Self-portraits are meant to be personally informative about their artists, and these students’ isolation resulting from the society effectively hitting the pause button adds a twist to that.
“I threw it out there to my students as one of their last projects for distance learning, and they knocked it out of the park,” Tanaka said. “They did some really cool stuff.”
Recurring pieces of the portraits included, for obvious reasons, computers, iPads and cellphones. Some kids included headsets or earbuds. In tribute to more outdoor recreation time, there were baseballs and skateboards. Dogs and sometimes cats would make appearances.
“A lot of Harry Potter books came up,” Tanaka added with a laugh.
Since the South Pasadena Unified School District shuttered school sites at the onset of the pandemic and later implemented its distance-learning program, Tanaka said she had to get creative — well, more creative than usual — for virtual art lessons. In the ensuing “media exploration,” this sometimes meant using food dyes or condiments as materials for paintings.

‘Injustice Anywhere Is a Threat to Justice Everywhere’

It’s been a dark and emotionally draining week. It has been much longer than a week for people of color; a few centuries, perhaps.
It goes without saying that this is a brutal time for our nation. How often are we under two emergency orders simultaneously?
Last week’s death of George Floyd was horrifying. We’ve all seen the video multiple times: Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. As a TV reporter astutely pointed out, the video appears to show the officer shifting his weight after a few minutes to seemingly apply even more pressure while already in a dominating position. And as we saw, in the final three minutes the 46-year-old Floyd lay motionless.
Pastor Albert Tate from Fellowship Church used the terms “execution” and “evil” in describing the death during the streaming of his Sunday sermon. It was the first time that I’d heard those two words mentioned in this context.
And Tate is not alone in looking for words that fit the enormity and gravity of what we saw. People from all walks of life, regardless of their skin color, are outraged by the senseless death of George Floyd.
Many of the protests that I watched on television featured ethnic diversity. In fact, the news showed a protest march in Santa Ana on Sunday that seemed to be mostly Latino. This is obviously not simply a black issue; this is a human rights issue.
We often hear explanations when these deaths occur during a conflict with law enforcement: for example, perhaps the officer needed to make a split-second decision, or the subject might have been resisting arrest. Were either of those conjectures the case here? It certainly doesn’t appear so.
I particularly liked hearing what Adam Silver, commissioner of the National Basketball Association, had to say in a balanced statement. “Racism, police brutality and racial injustice remain part of everyday life in America and cannot be ignored. At the same time, those who serve and protect our communities honorably and heroically are again left to answer for those who don’t.”

Assemblyman Holden Addresses Economic Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic

In a virtual South Pasadena City Council meeting Wednesday, May 27, Assemblyman Chris Holden gave a legislative update on local, state and national efforts to ameliorate the economic havoc wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Via Zoom, Holden told the group that as a result of the pandemic, in four months the state has gone from a “continued healthy” budget reserve to a $54.3 billion “budget problem.” The good news, he said, “is that we don’t have to solve the deficit in one year.”
But Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed cuts in the May revision budget include a $3.5 billion annual decrease in Proposition 98 funding for K-12 education, $11 billion less for schools and community colleges, and suspension of the 2.3% statutory cost of living adjustment.
The governor has also proposed $4.4 billion in discretionary, one-time federal funds for COVID-19 impacts on schools and student learning. Holden added there’s a “payback schedule” for the Prop 98 funding. The governor has also built $14 billion in federal funds into the budget that Holden admitted is “subject to some challenges” from the legislature.
Holden added that the state has allocated $8.6 billion in direct COVID-19 response to education, public health and homelessness. The state obtained a disaster declaration making it eligible for federal reimbursement of up to 75% of upfront costs, meaning the net cost to the state would be $2.1 billion. A more accurate assessment of the state’s financial situation will come on July 15, when figures for personal and corporate income taxes are due.
The governor’s revised budget also proposes $750 million in federal funds to Project Room Key to purchase hotels and motels to be owned and operated by local governments and nonprofits. This provision allows the state’s portion of CARES Act funding for local governments, including $450 million to cities that didn’t receive a direct allocation and $1.3 billion for counties to address mental and physical health.
“But that’s not enough,” Holden said.

Dozens Join Local Protests of Floyd’s Death

Several dozen locals have peacefully protested at the intersection of Fair Oaks Avenue and Mission Street this week, joining countless others across the nation decrying police brutality and institutional racism.
Photo by Zane Hill / The Review

London Lang said he and a sister were protesting at Melrose and Fairfax avenues in Los Angeles on Saturday night when police began firing rubber bullets and tear gas.
Lang, a 21-year-old who has lived in South Pasadena since he was 5, said his sister was struck at nearly point-blank range by several rubber bullets, requiring hospital attention. Given that the protesters had taken to the streets to decry outsize police responses — particularly toward black Americans and other minority groups — Lang said the authorities were only reinforcing his cause.
Lang, who is black, admitted to having joined in subsequent rioting and looting, but by Sunday had experienced a complete change of heart on the matter.
“I was in the wrong headspace,” said Lang as he hosted a peaceful protest Tuesday at Fair Oaks Avenue and Mission Street that dozens of others had joined. “When I woke up in the morning, I said I wasn’t doing correctly what I came here to do, which was to protest against police brutality and not hurt humans.”
Lang said he returned the items he stole the next day to their stores, but that he “didn’t think that was enough for a sorry” afterward. By Monday, he had decided to place himself at the busy intersection with a sign, which he began sharing on social media like Snapchat. Friends and passersby began to join him, and the protest ballooned to several dozen people at all four corners, and they brought signs, bottled water and snacks.

Pearl Marie Riedel

Pearl Marie Riedel

Pearl Marie Riedel, 93, of Selma, California, passed away on May 13 after complications from pneumonia. Jack, 96, her husband was by her side.
She was born in Minneapolis, on May 16, 1926, and raised by her parents, George and Doris Rooney. At age 20, they moved to Pasadena, near extended family. She worked as a telephone operator during World War II, when she was introduced to Air Force pilot Jack Riedel. They were married in 1946 in Pasadena and raised their family in South Pasadena until moving to Selma in 1974.
Pearl and Jack raised six boys, Bob, Rich, Tom, Will, Ron and John. She is survived by her husband, Jack, of 74 years of marriage; her six sons; 16 grandchildren; 22 great-grandchildren with more on the way; and her sister, Pat Nagel of Huntington Beach.
Pearl was immensely proud of her family and loved all the daughters-in-law and all the children and leaves behind nothing but beautiful memories. Being involved with the boys’ schools, Cub Scouts, church functions and being with all her friends she had made over the many years were some of her most cherished memories. With her kindness and devotion to her family and friends, she touched each one of us and will be sorely missed by all who knew and loved her.
An intimate funeral took place on May 26 in Selma.
A celebration of her life will be scheduled after the current COVID-19 issues subside.

South Pasadena Basketball Players Recognized

It was a season to remember for the South Pasadena High School boys’ and La Salle College Preparatory girls’ basketball programs, and one member from each team earned all-state honors from Cal-Hi Sports, an online publication that covers major high school athletics in the state.

Service Group Signs Up for Meaningful Project

Photo by Mitch Lehman / The Review
Marlowe Arrieta installs a yard sign acknowledging South Pasadena Middle School’s class of 2020.

When it became painfully apparent that South Pasadena Middle School 8th-graders were going to miss their beloved promotion ceremony and all of its accompanying events, several young people from Lion’s Heart sensed an opportunity to ease a little of the sting.

Though it’s impossible to reconstruct one of the more joyous occasions of adolescence, several 6th-grade girls and freshmen boys spent a recent weekend delivering yard signs to the 8th-graders whose ceremony was the latest in a long line of events that fell prey to the coronavirus.
“Congratulations South Pasadena Middle School Class of 2020,” declare the orange and black signs. “We are so proud of you!”

City Council Considers Widening Opinion Poll

The South Pasadena City Council will discuss whether to expand the range of topics in a public opinion survey aimed at getting voters’ ideas on renewing the user utility tax later this year.
The decision emerged from a second “consent item” discussion on the matter last week that initially was meant for council members to commit some of the panel’s discretionary funds to the contract for the survey. Councilman Richard Schneider said it would be more proper if the public had a formal chance to add topics to the survey, as it initially concerned only the tax renewal.
Schneider’s peers agreed.