67 F
South Pasadena, CA
Home Blog

Dodgers’ Historian Recalls an Eventful Spring Training Alongside Legendary Manager

By Mark Langill
Special to the Review

Photo courtesy Los Angeles Dodgers
Tommy Lasorda (right), who died at age 93, is pictured at 1988 spring training with newly acquired Kirk Gibson, who would provide the most iconic homerun in Dodgers’ history seven months later. Lasorda’s career included two World Series championships, an Olympic gold medal victory, and more celebrity speaking engagements and free meals than could be counted.

My Master’s Class at Tommy Lasorda University began in spring training 2007 with one day’s notice and a late-night phone call that sounded like the opening of an action movie. The unlikely supporting actor was a somewhat mild-mannered team historian who wasn’t scheduled to appear at the team’s Vero Beach training facility until a few weeks later for his publicity department assignments.
“Can you be in Florida tomorrow morning?” asked a Dodgers executive. “Tommy’s assistant has taken a leave of absence and you’re the only one who can do his job.”

Documentary Hopes to Illuminate Glassmaking Process

Photo courtesy Judson Studios
South Pasadena’s Judson Studios created the world’s largest stained glass window for the Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas. A new documentary film by South Pasadena filmmaker Justin Monroe tells the story of the groundbreaking effort.

It was a landmark event when South Pasadena’s Judson Studios was selected to create the largest stained glass window in the world. Now, a local filmmaker — also from South Pasadena — is looking to match or exceed that notoriety with the release of a feature-length documentary film commemorating the groundbreaking process.
‘Holy Frit,’ which Justin Monroe filmed over a period of six years, tells the compelling story of the bidding process, design, construction, transportation and installation of the approximately 100 feet by 40 feet artwork — roughly the same dimensions of a full-sized basketball court — that was set in place on Easter Sunday 2017 in the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas.

Public Health Commends SPUSD’s Reopening Preparations

By Haley Sawyer
South Pasadena Review

The South Pasadena Unified School District Board of Education this week reviewed a site visit by the county public health department, highlighting the glowing reviews that emerged from the Jan. 7 evaluation.
The visit — which included two people from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s Acute Communicable Disease Control group — was held in preparation for SPUSD’s partial reopening scheduled for February.
“They thought that we did really well,” district nurse Abby Silver told the school board on Tuesday. “They had a lot of good things to say about everything we had in place and thought we did a really thorough job.”
As decided at a previous special board meeting, transitional kindergarten, kindergarten and special education students in preschool to 2nd grade will return to campus on Feb. 8, while 1st- and 2nd-graders will begin in-person instruction on Feb. 16.

Portantino Links Art of Conversation to Political Science

Photo courtesy office of Anthony Portantino
State Sen. Anthony Portantino joined the decades-long battle opposing the 710-freeway tunnel, fighting alongside South Pasadena activists who helped lead the grassroots effort. After some 20 years of supporting the activists, nonprofits and tenants opposing the 710 tunnel, Portantino negotiated the demise of the freeway with the Brown and Newsom administrations.

Among the 120 California state legislators, Sen. Anthony Portantino may be the only one who lists his home telephone number on the state contact website.
That’s led to a few odd conversations with his colleagues at the capitol, he mused recently.
“I’ve been asked before, ‘What do you say when someone calls you at home?’” he chuckled. “I tell them, ‘Well, I go, “Hello?” How do you answer the phone at home?’”

Fighting COVID-19 Is This Couple’s Life

Photo courtesy Justin and Katie Levy
Katie and Justin Levy — a nurse and a doctor, respectively, from South Pasadena — have both been working with COVID-19 patients at Huntington Hospital. He has been working that role since last March, while the surge late last year resulted in her duties being reassigned.

As I write this column at the start of the week, 3,000 Americans are dying every day of COVID-19.
The ripple effects such a tragedy implies — on patients, families and health care workers — is beyond words, but perhaps shining a light on one local couple can help exemplify some of the resilient, compassionate and heroic efforts of those on the front lines.
Dr. Justin Levy and Katie Holleran Levy of South Pasadena are literally living and fighting the battle against COVID in the hospital and at home.
The Levys are married — he’s an internal medicine hospitalist and she is a registered nurse. Both are now caring for COVID patients at nearby Huntington Hospital, where Justin has been in the fight since March. Since the caseload has exploded in November, Katie has been reassigned from her regular job as a stroke coordinator at the hospital to also caring for those infected with the virus.

Bradbury’s Legacy Illuminated at Library

Photo by Mitch Lehman / The Review
Ray Bradbury has been memorialized through an installation of fused glass, designed by artist Tim Carey, at the South Pasadena Public Library. The display is located in the Ray Bradbury Conference Room on the west side of the library.

Ray Bradbury’s longtime affinity for South Pasadena was recently acknowledged with the installation of a series of fused glass windows on the western side of the South Pasadena Public Library.
Located, appropriately, in the Ray Bradbury Conference Room, the three windows are illuminated from the inside and provide a narrative of the prolific, beloved author’s life and work.
“Ray Bradbury loved libraries and even provided a quote for one of our local fundraising campaigns,” said Steve Fjeldsted, former director of the local library. “South Pasadena reminded him of his hometown of Waukegan, Illinois, and he taught himself to read in their local library. It is really fitting that a community which he loved would have a library that he loved and now depicts some of the most famous images from his literary works.”

SPUSD Takes Steps Toward Partial School Reopenings

By Haley Sawyer
The Review

Months into an academic year that has relied on a virtual learning format due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the South Pasadena Unified School District Board of Education decided this week on provisional dates for the first phase of campus reopening.
Transitional kindergarten, kindergarten and special education students in preschool to second grade would begin in-person instruction on Feb. 8, while first and second grade would begin on Feb. 16. The board approved the motion 4-1 but emphasized the conditional nature of the decision.

Local Man’s ‘Jeopardy!’ Experience Still Resonates

Dr. Daniel Lee, an orthopedic surgeon from South Pasadena, appeared on an episode of “Jeopardy!” that was taped in August and aired in October.

He’s that friend who always wins at Trivial Pursuit, and not long ago, South Pasadena’s Dr. Daniel Lee displayed his wide range of knowledge on a much larger stage.
Lee, an orthopedic surgeon, achieved one of the milestones that might show up on bucket lists when he competed on an episode of “Jeopardy!” that was filmed in August.
“I was a fan of the show, but it wasn’t something I watched religiously,” said Lee. “I wasn’t the kid who did quiz bowls in school or anything like that, but I did find myself knowing a little about a wide range of subjects. Then James went on his run, and I got interested.”

Cancer Survivor Appears on New Year’s Special

Photo courtesy City of Hope
South Pasadena’s Jeff Carpenter is pictured with his doctor, Ravi Salgia, chair of the department of medical oncology and therapeutics research at City of Hope.

Four cancer survivors who have ridden on City of Hope National Medical Center’s Rose Parade float in years past shared what the experience meant to them in a short video that aired on Jan. 1 during a two-hour television special that served as a substitute for this year’s parade, canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jeff Carpenter of South Pasadena was 56 when he was given a grim diagnosis: lung cancer that had spread to his brain. He was astonished because he had never smoked a day in his life, but the condition explained his uncharacteristic panic attacks, erratic behavior, blurred vision and bouts of nonsensical speech. In the emergency room, he was told he had three to six months to live.

Shadow of Pandemic Darkens Year

Photos by Zane Hill / The Review
Protesters began to gather at Fair Oaks Avenue and Mission Street in June to demand a national reckoning with what they say is the systemic racism that plagues the nation’s institutions and criminal justice culture.

For many, today represents a long-overdue turn of the page from a year that lived up to no one’s expectations.
From the beginning of 2020, news trickled into American airwaves and newsprint that a mysterious virus had secretly wreaked havoc throughout much of China and had begun spreading at uncontrolled levels through South Korea, Iran, Italy and Spain. Reports of overwhelmed hospitals, mass graves and widespread lockdowns also spread.
And then the accounts started coming out of New York City. And Seattle. And a well-known pork processing plant in South Dakota.