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Lighting Up Town for the Holidays

Photos courtesy Todd Schroeder South Pasadena resident Todd Schroeder poses with his decorative Santa Claus, which he uses every year when adorning his home with Christmas lights and other festive props.

First published in the Dec. 10 print issue of the South Pasadena Review

I’m sure Todd Schroeder’s then- preschool-aged children didn’t think they were asking too much when they asked dad for a pre-Christmas favor.
“They wanted me to put lights all over the roof so Santa Claus could see our house from space,” explained Schroeder, chuckling as he recalled the 2006 conversation.

South Pasadena Eyes First CIF Championship

Photo courtesy Cody Masden The South Pasadena High School varsity girls’ basketball team poses for a photo after defeating Hacienda Heights Wilson, 74-39, in the 26th annual Gary Houston Classic at Arroyo High in El Monte. Tigers pictured are Yuzu Harada (front, from left), Isabella Alfonso, Olivia Alfonso and Jamie Rain Kim. Back: Lotis Shoun, Allysan Tse, Alyssa Chan, Peyton Washington and Dylan Tse.

First published in the Dec. 10 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

South Pasadena High School’s varsity girls’ basketball team has been nearly perfect to open the season, jumping out to a stellar 10-1 overall record.
The hot start comes on the heels of last season’s first-place Rio Hondo League finish, as the Tigers had an immaculate 8-0 league record (16-7 overall). With the recent success, fifth-year head coach Cody Masden is seeking the Tigers’ first CIF championship in school history.

Tigers Seek to Topple La Cañada in League

Photo by Sebastian Moore / The Review South Pasadena High School’s varsity boys’ basketball team includes Nathan Kawasaki (front, from left), Miles Nowe, Isiah Hyun, William Esnault, Jaequon Santos, Dillon Akers, Oni Balogun and Nick Chabot. Back: Micah Matsuoka, Landyn Douglas, James Dowd, Sage Wayans, Ezekiel Pannell, Jonathan Guy, Niko Lawrence, Sebastian Martinez, Mark Zhang, Joshua Ho and head coach Ernest Baskerville.

First published in the Dec. 10 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

After South Pasadena High School’s varsity boys’ basketball team finished as runner-up to La Cañada last season, Tigers’ third-year head coach Ernest Baskerville has his eyes on the Rio Hondo League title.
Granted, it will be no easy task in a tough league featuring La Cañada, San Marino and Temple City. However, Baskerville’s aspirations for this group go beyond league and he truly believes the Tigers can bring home the program’s first CIF title since 1967.

Eclectic Festival Set to Rock the City in ’22

Photo courtesy Chris Glaeser The South Pasadena Transit Authority performs on stage at the 2019 Eclectic Music Festival in South Pasadena. The popular event is returning in 2022 after the coronavirus pandemic canceled the 2020 and 2021 events.

First published in the Dec. 10 print issue of the South Pasadena Review

It’s time to get your 2022 calendar set for the return of live events post-pandemic — including the Eclectic Music Festival and Arts Crawl.
The South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce has set the date of Saturday, April 30, for the return of the multi-faceted live music event set on several stages throughout the town’s business district. The eclectic mix of music offers something for everyone from jazz and rock to Americana and more.

Schools, Nonprofits Help Feed Children

Photo courtesy Children’s Hunger Fund

First published in the Dec. 10 print issue of the South Pasadena Review

The South Pasadena Kiwanis Club, South Pasadena Middle School Builders Club, South Pasadena Key Club, students from Ramona Convent and All Souls World Language School in Alhambra and the Institute for the Redesign of Learning recently teamed up with the Children’s Hunger Fund to deliver food to children that need it most. The community’s effort helped provide 500 packages of food. The Children’s Hunger Fund is a worldwide faith-based organization that works with local community groups to help gather and package food for those in need

Deadline Nears for Public Input on Districting Plan

Images courtesy SPUSD These are the three maps being considered by the South Pasadena Unified School District as it moves toward adopting political districts for its Board of Education members for the first time. There will be two more public hearings, on Dec. 14 and Jan. 11, before the board adopts one.

First published in the Dec. 10 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

The South Pasadena Unified School District invites the public to weigh in on its proposed districting maps for Board of Education members next week, the second to last chance to do so before it adopts the districts.
The board will have the public hearing on the maps during its meeting that begins at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 14. The hearings are part of the districting process, which will now occur every 10 years following the release of the U.S. Census. Stakeholders may attend in-person to give input on the decision or they may submit written comment by emailing cvra@spusd.net.

SPHS Girls Place 10th in State Meet

Photo courtesy Bill Leung Senior Sydney Morrow led the South Pasadena High School girls’ cross-country team to a 10th-place finish for Division 4 in the state meet last weekend. She finished 21st overall in the race.

First published in the Dec. 3 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

Sydney Morrow finished 21st in her race at Saturday’s cross-country state meet, paving the way for South Pasadena High School to take 10th place in the statewide girls’ Division 4 finale at Woodward Park in Fresno.
In the girls’ team’s first appearance at the state meet, the Tigers were among seven CIF-Southern Section teams to finish in the top 10, totaling 244 points on the 5-kilometer course. Meanwhile, the SPHS boys’ team, in its fourth state appearance, finished 22nd in the Division 4 race.

Vienna Holiday Concerts to Begin Dec. 17

First published in the Nov. 26 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

The New Hollywood String Quartet — the quartet in residence at the Restoration Concert Series — is featuring the music of Vienna with three concerts at the Huntington Library, Dec. 17-19.
The performances, part of the Vienna Holiday Concerts, will be in Rothenberg Hall at 8 p.m.

Church Provides Comfort During Holidays

First published in the Nov. 26 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

For many churchgoers in South Pasadena, one of the best holiday gifts they are getting this year is just being inside their church this Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas season.
“We chose to return together in the sanctuary on Easter Sunday,” recalled Rev. Lincoln Skinner, senior minister of Oneonta Congregational Church. “Many of our members wept tears of joy, not realizing how much they missed hearing the organ play and enjoying the familiarity of our beloved house of worship. Some of our more seasoned members shared that it had been the longest stretch of time they had ever been away from the sanctuary in the past six months.”

SPHS Boys, Girls Running in State Meet on Saturday

Photo courtesy Mike Parkinson The Tigers are sending both the boys’ and girls’ cross-country teams to the state championship together for the first time this weekend. Earning the berth at the CIF-Southern Section Finals last weekend were Amelie Geoffron (front, from left), Saidbh Byrne, Sydney Morrow, Abby Errington, Gigi Rodriguez, Mai Koyama and Kerrigan Riley, with Jack Ishibashi (back), Noah Kuhn, Keeran Murray, Liam de Villa, Brady Nakamura, Jason Baek and Kaden Chai.

First published in the Nov. 26 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

The South Pasadena High School cross-country program will wrap up its 2021 season tomorrow, as both varsity boys and girls teams travel to Fresno for the California State Finals.
It is not only the first time both halves of the squad have earned state berths together, but it’s also the first time the girls’ team has ever been invited to the Woodward Park race. The girls’ team finished fifth in the CIF-Southern Section Division 4 finals last weekend at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, while the boys placed in seventh.

Tigers’ Historic Season Ends in Semifinals

Photo courtesy Jon Takasugi Sophomore Luke Riffle wraps up a Montclair receiver during last week’s heartbreaking 28-21 loss on the road. The Tigers conclude the 2021 season with a 7-6 record and reached the CIF playoff semifinals.

First published in the Nov. 26 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

The South Pasadena High School varsity football team’s fine season came to an end as the No. 1-seeded Tigers fell to Montclair High, 28-21, in the CIF-SS Division XIII semifinals last Friday.
With the score tied at 21-21 late in the fourth quarter, the host Cavaliers scored a rushing touchdown with four seconds remaining for the victory.

Fourth Grade Learns Nitty-Gritty of Giving

Photo courtesy SPUSD Laurie Thackery and her 4th-grade class at Monterey Hills Elementary School recently helped raise $9,000 to help with Afghan refugee relief. The school’s 4th-graders have contributed more than $45,000 to various efforts and nonprofits since 2015.

First published in the Nov. 26 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

By Jonathan Williams / The Review

“Doing something good might not change the world, but it can change someone’s world.”
That is the motto that drives Monterey Hills Elementary School’s 4th-grade students and their teachers in their years-long quest to raise money for humanitarian causes. After six years and close to $45,000 later, the project continues, most recently sending $9,010 to the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service to assist with Afghanistan’s refugees fleeing the Taliban takeover of their nation.

Home Values Continue to Climb

Data: Zillow

First published in the Nov. 26 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

Despite a recent market slowdown, South Pasadena’s home values continue to increase rapidly, nearing an estimated $1.5 million for single-family units.
The midmarket South Pasadena home value — including single-family houses, condos and co-ops — was roughly $1.25 million in October 2020, according to the Zillow Home Value Index. In October 2021, that figure was about $1.46 million, reflecting a one-year increase of 17%. October’s number also reflects a jump of nearly 43% from 2016, when the typical home value was an estimated $1.02 million.

Beloved Vet’s Death Touches Community

Photo courtesy Linda Allison The popular local veterinarian Dr. M.S. Chaudhry (left, with wife Linda Allison) died in October, prompting an outpouring of love and support from local residents and clients outside of his Fremont Avenue clinic.

First published in the Nov. 26 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

Bird lover. PEZ collector. Beloved veterinarian.
These are just a few choice descriptors for Dr. M.S. Chaudhry, who spent decades as one of South Pasadena’s mainstay vets until he died on Oct. 25. He was 76.

City Seeks Input on Council Districts

First published in the Nov. 26 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

The City Council continues to promote community involvement as it proceeds through its election redistricting planning, with draft maps due in February and the final decision required in April.
The redistricting process, spurred by the 2020 census results, began in September. The council’s meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 17, was the first of four public hearings required by law. The goal of such meetings is to identify communities of interest with the help of public input, in an effort to avoid incidentally dividing those communities when determining new district boundaries.

Chabad Jewish Center Celebrates Chanukah

Chabad Jewish Center Celebrates Chanu

First published in the Nov. 26 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

Sunday night was the beginning of the Festival of Lights — or Chanukah — and it also means new highlights for the Jewish community in South Pasadena.
There is a new temple in town — the Chabad Jewish Center of South Pasadena — which is hosting a Chanukah celebration on Monday, Nov. 29 at 5 p.m., at 1017 Mission St.

Following the Journey of a South Pasadena Veteran

Al Kinser

First published in the Nov. 5 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

Veterans Day is Thursday, meaning it is a day of commemorating all Americans who have served in the armed forces.
I talked to Al Kinser the other day and “honor” was a word he used at least six times to describe how he felt to serve in the U.S. Air Force from 1964-94, when he retired as a “full bird” colonel. Kinser is someone who piloted World War II-era Douglas DC-3s behind enemy lines during the Vietnam War to help his crew gather intelligence.
He flew F-14 jets and was prepared to be one of America’s first responders in F-15 jets — flying 900 hours in the plane and being on constant alert in case he was needed. He trained pilots and later he trained the aircraft’s future instructors.

Unemployment Rate Lowest Since Pandemic’s Start

Data: California Employment Development Department.

First published in the Nov. 5 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

South Pasadena’s unemployment rate dropped to 6% in September, according to preliminary state data, the lowest mark for the statistic since March 2020.
The decline in the city’s unemployment rate from August to September, according to recently released information from the California Employment Development Department, also currently seems to be the steepest one-month decrease in the statistic by percentage points since August 2020. The decline appears partially a result of the ongoing hiring of school staff as the academic year began; much of the job gains in Los Angeles County last month were in the educational sector, the EDD reported.

Council Opts for SGV Redistricting Plan

First published in the Nov. 5 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

With the deadline to complete redistricting roughly a month and a half away, the City Council decided last week to support having South Pasadena in a demographic grouping with the rest of the San Gabriel Valley.
The council opted for valley continuity among the three different community of interest, or COI, models. The San Gabriel Valley model spans east to Pomona and includes the bulk of the valley suburbs with which South Pasadena shares ample socioeconomic and political interests, the council determined.

Kohorst to Be Honored at Boy Scouts Gala

Photo courtesy BSA Bob Kohorst with his wife, Shelley Allen, and their family.

First published in the Nov. 5 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

Robert Kohorst, a longtime area resident, will be honored with the top award at the Boy Scouts Greater Los Angeles Area Council’s Good Character Gala this coming Wednesday evening, Nov. 10.
The virtual fundraiser preshow begins at 6:30 p.m.; the hourlong gala starts at 7 p.m.

Tigers Unable to Claw Back in Postseason Opener

Photo by Sebastian Moore / The Review Senior Lucas Abrahamian scored two goals in the Tigers’ 14-9 playoff loss against visiting Santa Barbara San Marcos on Tuesday. The Tigers, who captured the Rio Hondo League championship, finished their season with a 13-6 record.

First published in the Nov. 5 print issue of the South Pasadena Review. By Nathan Cambridge

The South Pasadena High boys’ water polo team captured the Rio Hondo League championship and their reward was a berth in the playoffs, starting with a match hosting San Marcos High of Santa Barbara.
The Tigers fell behind and could never quite catch up against the Royals, leading to a 14-9 defeat in the CIF Southern Section Division II first-round game on Tuesday evening at SPHS.

Council Adopts Water Plans

First published in the Nov. 5 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

After previewing South Pasadena’s potential future water usage, the City Council recently adopted a pair of plans that show that homes and businesses will continue to be able to tap into water service for at least the next five years.
The council unanimously approved both the Urban Water Management Plan and Water Shortage Contingency Plan for the municipality in October after a discussion concerning the state’s continuing drought conditions and the city’s current appetite for water. The bottom line is that residents and business owners need not worry about the immediate future.

City Studies How to Spend Rescue Plan Funds

First published in the Nov. 5 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

Although no decisions were reached, the City Council used a study session last week to gain a better understanding of how it can spend millions of dollars received through the American Rescue Plan Act.
South Pasadena will receive more than $6 million, which needs to be spent by 2026. The council did not make any official decisions on how to spend funding received through ARPA at the Oct. 27 study session.

South Pasadena Police Department Crime Report

First published in the Nov. 5 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

A Honda Accord sedan was reported stolen from where it was parked in the 1100 block of Windsor Place sometime from 7:28-7:49 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 28.

Touchdown! Tigers Bring Playoffs Home for First Time in Decades

Photo by Raymond Quan / The Review Playing both sides of the ball, Alexander Gonzalez has accumulated 234 rush yards and 55 tackles.

First published in the Nov. 5 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

After South Pasadena High School’s varsity football team finished third in the Rio Hondo League with a 3-2 record (5-5 overall), the Tigers earned the No. 1 seed in CIF-SS Division 13 and will host Anaheim Magnolia High at 7:30 p.m. today.
According to SPHS athletic director Anthony Chan, this will be the Tigers’ first home playoff game since the early 1990s.

City Encourages Use of Electric Lawn Equipment

First published in the Oct. 29 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

The city of South Pasadena invites residents to observe an electric lawn equipment demonstration from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Nov. 6, at Garfield Park, as part of a promotion campaign for the city’s ban on gas-powered leaf blowers.
Concurrent with this demonstration, there will be a community bike ride led by Councilman Michael Cacciotti and state Sen. Anthony Portantino starting at 10 a.m. at Garfield Park and following a loop through town. Bike riders are asked to meet at Stratford Avenue and Grevelia Street.

SPHS Class of ’61 Reminisces During Reunion

Photos courtesy Félix Gutiérrez As part of the South Pasadena High School class of 1961’s reunion, alumni dined at Mamma’s Brick Oven Pizza and Pasta ahead of the Tigers’ homecoming football game.

First published in the Oct. 29 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

Happy Days were here again.
That’s the feeling I got last Friday when I joined about 30 class of 1961 graduates from South Pasadena High School, along with 14 of their spouses, for the start of their homecoming reunion.

South Pasadena Falls in CIF Playoff Opener

Photo by Sebastian Moore / The Review Senior Abby Garner (18), pictured in a match earlier this year, had a team-high six kills in the Tigers’ loss to Temecula Great Oak in the first round of the CIF volleyball playoffs. Garner recorded 315 kills in her final season with the Tigers.

First published in the Oct. 29 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

The South Pasadena High School varsity girls’ volleyball team’s season came to an end after losing its CIF-SS Division 2 first-round playoff match at Temecula Great Oak, 25-16, 25-17, 25-15 last Thursday.
In her final match, senior Abby Garner recorded a team-high six kills and 11 digs for the Tigers. Senior teammate Kennedy Taylor and junior Ava Dorny both added four kills. Sophomores Jenna Garner and Helena Foord recorded three and two kills, respectively, while sophomore Ingrid Zahn added one. Zahn also had one block and one dig.
Sophomore Kendall Taylor recorded a team-high 12 assists, while senior Samantha Molina and Foord added five and one assists, respectively.
The Tigers finished second in Rio Hondo League play with a 6-2 record (33-8 overall).

Friends of the Library Continues Restoration Concerts Series

Photo courtesy Henk Friezer Performers at the Harp & String Quartet concert in the Library Community Room on Saturday, Oct. 24, were (standing, left to right) Madalyn Parnas Möller, Jonah Sirota, Juliette Herlin and Christina Montes Mateo. Friends of the Library Restoration Concerts Series Committee members attending are (seated, left to right) Fely Dela Cruz, Janet Ervin, Laurie Astle, Ann Erler, Rachel Civen and Betty Emirhanian.

First published in the Oct. 29 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

The Friends of the Library’s Restoration Concerts Series recently held its second concert of the season in the Library Community Room.
The room capacity was capped due to pandemic restrictions.

Woman’s Club Aims to Encourage Support for Veterans

First published in the Oct. 29 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

The South Pasadena Woman’s Club will welcome the president of the Vietnam Veterans of America – San Gabriel Valley chapter, Allan Stezler, and representatives of the Foundation for Women Warriors, as featured speakers at the Nov. 3 club meeting and luncheon at 10:30 a.m.
The presenters will describe how the organizations serve and support veterans.

Tigers Top San Marino to Clinch Playoff Berth

Photo by Mitch Lehman / The Review The Tigers celebrate last Friday’s come-from-behind 24-21 win over San Marino in the 66th renewal of the rivalry between the two schools, which were once housed together on the same campus.

First published in the Oct. 29 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

South Pasadena High School varsity football coach Jeff Chi stood near the midfield logo at Ray Solari Stadium, his players and their admirers toting trophies here and there as a seemingly endless stream of photos ensued.
Just a few minutes earlier, Chi’s Tigers had defeated San Marino, 24-21, in one of the more thrilling contests in the rivalry’s 67-game history, scoring the game-winning touchdown with less than a minute remaining.

For These Students, Halloween Is a Favorite Subject

Photo courtesy SPUSD With Halloween looming, students in Joline Zelenski’s 1st-grade class at Monterey Hills Elementary School discussed their hopes and plans for the beloved holiday.

First published in the Oct. 29 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

Everyone in Joline Zelenski’s 1st-grade class at Monterey Hills Elementary School got an A on Tuesday when they were quizzed on the topic of Halloween.
There were not enough A-pluses for some of the students who spent a discussion enthusiastically waving their hands when asked about treats, tricks, streets and houses that gave out the best candy, costumes and what Halloween was all about. Chihiro Haraguchi impressed everyone, including Zelenski, when he traced the custom of Halloween back to England.

Student Takes Her Place as Rose Court Princess

Photo by Keira Wight / The Review Royal Court Princess Ava Feldman, pictured with parents Bradley and Christine Feldman and sister Sophia, credited the support system of the South Pasadena community for her ability to handle her new role as an ambassador for the Pasadena Tournament of Roses.

First published in the Oct. 29 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

The Pasadena Tournament of Roses made a most welcome return to tradition on Tuesday night, crowning 103rd Rose Queen Nadia Chung and revealing an elated court of young women — including a city resident — full of grace and camaraderie.
Taking the stage with the 2022 Royal Court at the coronation ceremony, Ava Feldman of South Pasadena beamed in the spotlight and showed off the public speaking skills she has further honed in the three weeks since being named a princess on the court.

City to Host Community Forum About Senate Bill 381

First published in the Oct. 29 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

The city of South Pasadena, in partnership with state Sen. Anthony Portantino, will host a community discussion of Senate Bill 381 at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 2.
The community forum is an opportunity for the public to learn more about the legislation and next steps in the process.

Pediatrician Offers Halloween Safety Tips

First published in the Oct. 29 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

Dr. John Rodarte is a pediatrician at Huntington Hospital.

We can all agree that Halloween 2021 is shaping up to be a much better one than Halloween 2020!
With COVID-19 cases trending downward in Southern California and many people already vaccinated against the disease, families are looking forward to doing some good old-fashioned trick-or-treating. However, with our youngest children still ineligible for vaccination, some precautions are still warranted.

‘Sundays With Coleman’ Concert Series Returns Jan. 16

The Coleman Chamber Music Association will resume the “Sundays with Coleman” concert series on Jan. 16, 2022, with a diverse variety of chamber music.
We look forward to welcoming music lovers, emerging from months of COVID confinement, to our 2021-22 season titled, “The Joy of Live Performance.” Highlights of the “Sundays with Coleman” concerts include Quicksilver — the baroque ensemble explores the rich chamber music repertoire from the late Renaissance to the High Baroque.
Returning to Coleman is the internationally-renowned Quatuor Ébène, which will perform Mozart and Brahms, and to close the season in late May will be a special collaboration of the Miró Quartet with violinist Martin Beaver and cellist Clive Greensmith with their performance of Brahms Sextets.
Performances are on Sunday afternoons at 3:30 p.m. in Caltech’s Beckman Auditorium.
For additional information and to purchase subscriptions and individual concert tickets, contact the Coleman office at (626) 793-4191 or krfccma@aol.com.

Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Kickoff Breakfast Nov. 19

The Salvation Army Pasadena will hold its eighth annual Red Kettle Kickoff Breakfast on Friday, Nov. 19, at 8 a.m.
The in-person event and virtual fundraiser will have Fritz Coleman returning as the emcee and Janelle Wellons as the keynote speaker. Wellons is a JPL Instrument Operations Systems engineer.
Registration is free. Sponsorship levels including delivered or donated breakfasts are available. To donate or register for this hybrid event, visit tinyurl.com/PasadenaKKO.
In 2020 the Salvation Army Pasadena Tabernacle provided:
• 16,893 meals/food boxes
• 73,000 nights of housing to men and women in recovery and low-income seniors
• 755 Thanksgiving dinners
• 722 Christmas food boxes
• 176 clothing vouchers
• 1,785 children with Christ-mas toys or bicycles
• 50 kids with back-to-school clothing and school supplies
• 96 high school students with gift cards during Senior Appreciation Day
• 80 weekly students with after-school youth and music programs
To support the Salvation Army at this event, there are various sponsorship opportunities. For more information, call Jody Davis at (626) 773-4432 or email Jody.Davis@USW.SalvationArmy.org.

South Pasadena Police Department Crime Report

Two unidentified men were seen stealing bicycles after cutting through locks in a carport in the 1800 block of Foothill Street at 12:14 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 23. Both men were described as 20-30-year-old white men wearing masks and hats.

Gooden Center’s Run for Recovery Is Oct. 30

Photo by Staci Moraza Alex Winter, Kevin and Carol Bourland, Neal Tricarico, Theresa Mahoney, and Matthew and Henry Dupon were among those who participated in a previous Run for Recovery fundraiser to benefit the Gooden Center.

The Gooden Center’s annual Run for Recovery fundraiser will be held on Saturday, Oct. 30, at Lacy Park in San Marino. Registration is now open for the 5K race, which begins at 7:30 a.m., and the Fun Run, which begins at 9 a.m.
The event will feature celebrity master of ceremonies Alex Winter.
Awards will be presented to the first, second and third place finishers in the men’s and women’s 5K divisions. Children of all ages are eligible to participate in the Fun Run; the 5K is open to ages 6 and older.
With the event being held the day before Halloween, prizes will be awarded for adult best costume for both adults and children.
All participants will receive a Run For Recovery T-shirt, tote bag, runner’s bib, finisher’s medal, swag bag and access to the Vendor Village.
“The Gooden Center looks to raise awareness for two of the most tragic — and preventable — issues facing the country today: substance use and mental health disorders,” according to a statement from the Gooden Center.
For more information, contact event chair George Ricciardella at gricciardella@goodencenter.org.

Tigers Lead Rio Hondo League

First published in the Oct. 22 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

South Pasadena High School’s varsity boys’ water polo team may have had its seven-game win streak snapped but still sits swimmingly in first place with a 7-1 Rio Hondo League record (14-10 overall).
The Tigers splashed into action in a league match at Temple City, winning 16-6 recently. SPHS outscored Temple City in each quarter and decided the game with nine goals in the first half.

South Pas Falls to Pasadena Poly, 28-8

Photo by Sebastian Moore / The Review South Pasadena’s varsity football team storms the field before a recent game, led by Vincent Ortega (51), Harrison Farley (20), James Dowd (81), Jorge Campos (24), Nick Eshom (9) and Matthew Takasugi (54).

First published in the Oct. 22 print issue of the South Pasadena Review. By Nathan Cambridge

Two games into Rio Hondo League play, the South Pasadena High School football team was tied atop the standings and up next was Pasadena Poly. Poly is new to the league and, judging by the results against the Tigers, the Panthers have not bitten off more than they can chew.
“We wanted to come out and beat [South Pasadena] so we can make CIF and show ourselves as a competitor in this new league,” Panther Jason Mayo said.

Young Legislators Program Opens for Applications

First published in the Oct. 22 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

Assemblyman Chris Holden recently announced that he is accepting applications for the 2022 Young Legislators Program.
Now in its seventh year, the Young Legislators Program offers high school seniors in the 41st Assembly District a front row seat to the public policy and political arena. Holden’s district includes South Pasadena.

Tigers Edged by La Cañada for League Championship

Photo by Sebastian Moore / The Review SPHS seniors Evelyn Dowd, Samantha Molina, Alyssa Sokolow, Kennedy Taylor and Abby Garner (18) played their final regular season match against visiting La Cañada High. The Tigers lost to the league champion Spartans in five sets.

First published in the Oct. 22 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

Even behind senior Abby Garner’s career-high 25 kills, South Pasadena High School’s varsity girls’ volleyball team was edged by visiting La Cañada in five sets, 25-19, 19-25, 20-25, 25-13, 15-7 in a match between the Rio Hondo League’s two top teams.
“With the experience that [Abby] had for the past four years with me, she definitely really helped carry this team today,” said Ivy Chew, South Pasadena’s head coach. “She helped carry the energy and led by example on the court.”
With the loss against the Rio Hondo League champion Spartans, the Tigers finished second with a 6-2 record (33-7 overall). Their only two league losses were at the hands of La Cañada.

Mental Health Forum Focuses on Pandemic Recovery

First published in the Oct. 22 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

The primary focus of the recent Community School Mental Health Forum hosted by Hathaway Center for Excellence, Sycamores’ highly esteemed research and training program, was to address the effect the pandemic had on students.
Led by keynote speakers Debra Duardo, Los Angeles County superintendent of schools, and Daniel Lee, state deputy superintendent of equity, thought leaders, school staff, caregivers, parents, school administrators, community activists and mental health professionals from across the country created a virtual “National Think Tank” and shared how professionals can help each other meet the challenges facing students and schools.

Is Halloween Trick-or-Treating Going to the Dogs?

First published in the Oct. 22 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

OK, so you are concerned about how, and if, you are going to dress the children up for Halloween.
But wait: there’s another thing to think about — besides the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s how you are going to dress your pet up for trick-or-treating.

Tigers Grow in Numbers and Talent

First published in the Oct. 22 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

The South Pasadena High School girls’ golf program is growing.
Last season, 13 girls came out for the team. This season, there were 22. It was enough for the Tigers to field a varsity team as well as a JV team.

Four Suspected of Home Burglary Attempt

First published in the Oct. 22 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

The South Pasadena Police Department arrested three men and a woman last week in connection with an alleged attempted residential burglary.
According to the department, two male suspects were seen by a resident as they climbed to a balcony at a neighboring home in the 1000 block of Highland Street at 8:56 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 13. Police said one of the suspects damaged a window on the balcony in an attempt to break into the home, prompting the neighbor to contact police.

City Seeks Consultant to Evaluate Police Department

First published in the Oct. 22 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

The city hopes to begin conducting an organizational assessment of the South Pasadena Police Department early next year, with an eye toward optimizing the operations of the department and outlining contemporary standards of conduct for its personnel.
After identifying a number of consulting firms with experience and qualifications, the city will kick off a formal bidding process through which candidates can compete for the task. Officials expect to award the contract early in 2022 as part of a wider series of assessments of city departments.

SPHS Pair Honored as Outstanding Educators

First published in the Oct. 22 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

The University of Chicago recently announced the 2021 recipients for its Outstanding Educator Awards, which included South Pasadena High School counselor Tracy Ishimaru and art teacher Aimee Levie-Hultman.
According to Chicago, an outstanding educator “thoughtfully approaches instruction, shares an infectious love for learning, and cares for students both inside and outside of the classroom.” Each year, newly admitted Chicago students may nominate an educator who played a significant role in their education, made a positive impact in their lives and whose influence has brought them to where they are today. Thousands of students nominated educators who have positively impacted their lives this year.
“We are honored to recognize excellence in teaching and congratulate this year’s Outstanding Educator Award winners, who are exceptional in their fields and are role models for all students,” the South Pasadena Unified School District said in a statement. “Thank you for going above and beyond the call of duty every day and leaving an impression that will last a lifetime.”
All award winners receive a commemorative award, certificate and letter that includes details from the student who nominated them. The public is invited to join a virtual event celebrating this year’s winners on at 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 25. Visit bit.ly/3BX76fn to register for the Zoom event.

‘Ultimate Tournament of Roses Experience’ Raises Funds for City’s Rose Parade Float

First published in the Oct. 15 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

New Year’s Day is expected to be extra special for three lucky winners taking part in this year’s Ultimate Tournament of Roses Experience drawing, which helps fund South Pasadena’s float in the annual Rose Parade.
The South Pasadena Tournament of Roses Committee (SPTOR) is selling raffle tickets to help fund its 2022 entry that will roll down Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena on New Year’s Day.

Walk to Defeat ALS Being Held Saturday

First published in the Oct. 22 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

For the first time ever, the Golden West Chapter of the ALS Association is hosting a chapter-wide virtual Walk to Defeat ALS. On Saturday, Oct. 23, people throughout the chapter’s service area in California and Hawaii (and beyond) will join together virtually to raise ALS awareness and funds in support of over 1,800 families facing ALS served by the Golden West Chapter.
The public is invited to join this community gathering for a family-friendly day in celebration of people living with ALS and their loved ones and in memory of those lost to this devastating disease.

New Health Campaign Highlights ‘Patient Heroes’

First published in the Oct. 15 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

Los Angeles County’s largest nonprofit health systems with hospitals, clinics and facilities region wide recently announced the newest campaign for their “BetterTogether” coalition.
The mission is to convince Angelenos to put health first and access care when needed. The new public service educational campaign features everyday “patient heroes” with the theme: “Get back to your doctor. Your health. Your joy. Because we love a healthy L.A.”

Kiwanis Club to Aid With Children’s Hunger Fund

First published in the Oct. 15 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

The South Pasadena Kiwanis Club and the Institute for the Redesign of Learning have partnered to host the Children’s Hunger Fund: Project Food Pak on Saturday, Nov. 13.
The fundraiser will provide 500 food packages to children in need in surrounding communities. The boxes will reach church pastors and volunteers, who will deliver them to the homes of families in need with each child receiving their own package.
Today, there are an estimated 17 million children struggling with hunger in America — six million more than before the pandemic, according to a statement about the project.
The Children’s Hunger Fund: Project Food Pak is accepting specific donation items:
• Package of dry spaghetti noodles (16 oz)
• Can of tomato sauce (15 oz)
• Can of vegetables (15 oz)
• Can of black or pinto beans (15 oz)
• Can of tuna (5 oz)
• Gummy fruit snacks (1.5 oz)
• Box of raisins (1 oz)
• Fruit/applesauce squeeze pouch (3.2 oz)
• Breakfast/cereal bars (1.3 oz)
• Peanut Butter to-go cups (1 oz)
• Pouch of cookies or crackers (1 oz)
The project will be accepting grocery items and monetary donations until Nov. 8. The donations can be dropped off at the Institute for the Redesign of Learning office (625 Fair Oaks Ave., suite 300) during regular business hours.
To donate to cover the $12 cost of each box, visit paypal.com/donate?hosted_button_id=HD37YVZM2SU3G.
To learn more about the program, visit foodpak.childrenshungerfund.org/.

South Pasadena Police Department Crime Report

First published in the Oct. 22 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

An unidentified man was reported to have threatened to kill a motorist while purportedly concealing a weapon in his jacket pocket following a road rage incident at around 4:10 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 13. The man was described as a 30-40-year-old Black man standing 6 feet-5 inches tall, weighing 200 pounds, wearing a dark sweater and black leggings and driving a white Lexus SUV.

Unruly Winds Prompt Safety Concerns

First published in the Oct. 15 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

Strong winds through Southern California this week brought toppled trees and power outages to South Pasadena, as the falling trees took down power lines, blocked roadways and sidewalks and caused other property damage.
The South Pasadena Police Department said it urges people to be mindful that strong winds can turn unsecured objects into dangerous projectiles.

SPHS Class of ’61 Set for Homecoming

First published in the Oct. 15 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

Members, spouses and friends of the South Pasadena High School class of ’61 will reconnect with each other and their hometown on their 60-year reunion Oct. 22-23, during homecoming weekend.
More than 40 members of the class and 18 spouses have preregistered for Saturday’s dinner, memorabilia display and program at 5 p.m. at Mijares Mexican Restaurant in Pasadena.
South Pasadena gatherings include a no-host dinner Friday at Mamma’s Brick Oven Pizza and Pasta on Friday at 6 p.m., before the homecoming game against San Marino.
An informal lunch will be held at Twohey’s restaurant Saturday at 11:45 a.m.
“This is going to turn out real well. It’s good to be doing things together once again. We’ll have some fun,” said Rob Feder, who is working with former classmates to plan the reunion. “We’ll think about the things in our 60-year journeys that classmates should know about as we also remember our times in South Pasadena in the 1950s and early 1960s.”
Members and friends of the SPHS class of ’61 who would like to be part of the festivities can call Rob Feder at (805) 305-1007 or email rob@robfeder.com.

General Plan Housing Element Draft Is Available to Public

First published in the Oct. 15 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

The city’s Community Development Department has released the public review draft of the 2021-2029 General Plan Housing Element.
The housing element is an eight-year plan that will serve as the city’s roadmap to provide its fair share of housing for the community, as required in the city’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation, or RHNA.

Tigers Sweep Monrovia, Battle La Cañada

First published in the Oct. 15 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

South Pasadena High School’s varsity girls’ volleyball team continued its fine season by sweeping host Monrovia, 25-11, 25-19, 25-20, on Tuesday.
Sophomore Ingrid Zahn’s team-high seven aces and eight kills, and senior Abby Garner’s team-high 10 kills and eight digs helped the Tigers move their record to 6-1 in league (33-6 overall).

A Memory Is Only a Dodger Game Away

First published in the Oct. 15 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

I didn’t have a crystal ball to tell me the Dodgers-Giants playoff series would end the day after the Review goes to press, but I did not need any help finding two people whose memories of the Dodgers — in Brooklyn or Los Angeles — are always winners.
“I didn’t know the Dodgers came from Brooklyn or, for that matter, where Brooklyn was,” admitted Steve Fjeldsted, former head librarian at South Pasadena Public Library, who remains a Dodger fan to this day.

Tigers Sink La Cañada for 3rd Straight Win

Photo by Sebastian Moore / The Review South Pasadena’s Egan Hadsell-Florin (white cap) gets ready to shoot a goal with La Cañada’s Lucas Quion attempting to block a clean shot. The Tigers defeated the Spartans, 19-11, and improved to 3-0 in Rio Hondo League play.

First published in the Oct. 15 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

Senior Owen Imasaki scored a game-high seven goals to help lead South Pasadena High School’s varsity water polo team over host La Cañada, 19-11, in a Rio Hondo League match last Thursday.
The league-leading Tigers remained undefeated in league play (3-0 record) and moved to 10-8 overall. Meanwhile, the Spartans’ record dipped to 1-2 in league (8-8 overall).

Council Considers Goals, How to Achieve Them

First published in the Oct. 15 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

Two nights in a row, the City Council held candid conversations about the past, present and future of the city and, with help from a facilitator, worked toward shaping the latest strategic plan.
“Many local governments adopt strategic plans,” facilitator Patrick Ibarra of the Mejorando Group said. “It’s sort of like a fitness plan. The less you go to the gym and work out, progress is not made or sustained.”

Abajian’s Advocacy Praised as She Exits School Board

First published in the Oct. 15 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

This week’s school board meeting kicked off with a bittersweet farewell to Suzie Abajian, who officially resigned from the panel Wednesday because she is moving out of town.
Abajian, a former educator for the South Pasadena Unified School District, announced the decision last month. She was first elected to the Board of Education in 2015 and was handily re-elected a year ago to serve through 2024; however, Abajian said the enduring coronavirus pandemic has prompted her to want to move to spend more time with her family.

SPHS Wins Nail-Biter Over La Cañada, 23-22

Photo by Sebastian Moore / The Review South Pasadena High School’s varsity football team and cheerleaders sing the alma mater after the Tigers’ thrilling 23-22 victory last week against visiting La Cañada. The come-from-behind victory lifts SPHS to 2-0 in league play and 4-3 overall.

First published in the Oct. 15 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

South Pasadena High School junior Aidan Kinney’s kicked an 18-yard field goal with 1:33 to play in the fourth quarter to lift the Tigers’ varsity football team to a thrilling come-from-behind victory against visiting La Cañada, 23-22, last Thursday evening.
The win lifted the Tigers’ record to 2-0 in Rio Hondo League play (4-3 overall). Meanwhile, the Spartans fell to 0-2 in league (4-3 overall).

City Adopts Methodical Approach on Caltrans Homes

First published in the Oct. 15 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

In the wake of Senate Bill 381, the fate of properties owned by the California Department of Transportation is still undecided, as the City Council last week deferred any potential action on the properties until at least November.
After Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the bill last month, the council was slated to establish an ad hoc committee, authorize a request for proposals to be issued and allow evaluation of funding options to fix up the Caltrans properties — per the municipal staff’s recommendation. SB 381 is the latest political step to help cities dispose of the properties, which have languished since the transportation agency began buying them up to facilitate construction of the now-defunct 710 Freeway tunnel project.

Library, Garden Team Up, Discussion Blooms

Photo by Haley Sawyer / The Review South Pasadena librarian Cathy Billings examines a plant during a tour of the South Pasadena Community Garden on Sunday.

First published in the Oct. 15 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

Gardening is magic — at least that’s the way Keith Novak sees it.
He’s been involved with the South Pasadena Community Garden for six years, and the sensation has always been the same.
“Growing something from a seed that you pull out of a packet and put in the ground, and all of a sudden it comes up and you end up eating vegetables or fruit or whatever from that thing you put in the ground,” Novak said, “that’s pretty magic to me.”

South Pasadena Police Department Crime Report

A 42-year-old South Pasadena woman was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence after being pulled over at 1:55 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 9, near the intersection of Grand Avenue and Magnolia Street.

Unemployment Rate Shows Slight Improvement

Data: California Employment Development Department

First published in the Oct. 8 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

South Pasadena’s unemployment rate changed a little for the better from July to August, according to recently released data, and reflected a dip in Los Angeles County’s percentage.
The local rate fell from 8.1% to 7.9% in August, preliminary California Employment Development Department data shows. The drop reflected a decrease in the estimated number of unemployed South Pasadena residents from 1,200 in July to 1,100 in August. However, the labor force — representing residents who are either employed or unemployed but searching for a job — similarly fell by 100 people, as did the number of employed citizens.

Recall Flops With City’s Voters

First published in the Oct. 8 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

South Pasadena voters largely joined the state in rejecting the recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom in last month’s special election, and likewise preferred Republican talk show host Larry Elder as the replacement were the recall successful.
There were 2,049 voters who favored Newsom’s recall, while 8,258 rejected it, giving South Pasadena a 4-to-1 ratio of residents who actively wanted to keep the Democrat in office for the remainder of his term. The turnout was fairly high for a special election, with 57.88% of the 17,843 registered South Pasadena voters submitting ballots.
With 80% of those who cast a ballot choosing to keep Newsom, South Pasadena voted no on the recall at a greater margin than Los Angeles County by nearly 10 percentage points.

Tigers Roll Past Temple City in League Opener

Photos courtesy Eric Danielson Jack Riffle (pictured in a game earlier this season) ran for 181 yards and three touchdowns in South Pasadena’s 41-12 victory over host Temple City last Friday. The senior has crossed the century mark in rushing yards the past three games, including a 205-yard performance against Alhambra.

First published in the Oct. 8 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

The South Pasadena High School varsity football team continued its winning ways last Friday with a resounding 41-12 victory at Temple City in the teams’ Rio Hondo League opener.
Senior running back Jack Riffle followed up his 205-yard performance against Alhambra with another stellar effort, totaling 181 yards on the ground and three touchdowns on only 10 carries to help the Tigers (3-3 overall record, 1-0 in league) to their third win in the last four games.

Local Royalty: Tournament of Roses Picks Court

Photo by Keira Wight / The Review Ava Feldman (second from right) of South Pasadena High School was among those named this week to the 2022 Tournament of Roses Royal Court. The other princesses are (from left) Jeannine Briggs of John Marshall Fundamental High School, Abigail Griffith of Pasadena High School, Nadia Chung and Jaeda Walden of La Cañada High School, Swetha Somasundaram of Arcadia High School and McKenzie Street of Flintridge Sacred Heart.

First published in the Oct. 8 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

After a yearlong pandemic hiatus, the Pasadena Tournament of Roses returned to an iconic tradition to announce the seven members of the 2022 Royal Court this week, including a South Pasadenan among the princesses.
Amid much fanfare from a masked crowd, Stephen Perry, chair of the Tournament’s Queen and Court Committee, welcomed parents and supporters as he called the 29 court finalists to the stage. Noting “what a two years it has been,” Perry gave a nod to the slew of previous cancellations, including those of the 2021 Royal Court, local Rose Bowl Game and Rose Parade that were caused by the coronavirus and resulting public health measures.

South Pas Cruises to Easy Win Over Temple City

Photo by Sebastian Moore / The Review Kendall Taylor (2) serves during a recent match as teammate Abby Garner looks on. Taylor recorded six digs against the Rams and Garner contributed eight kills.

First published in the Oct. 8 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

The South Pasadena High School girls’ varsity volleyball team got back on the winning track with a convincing sweep over Temple City on Tuesday by the scores of 25-17, 25-18, 25-20.
The Tigers, who are ranked No. 3 in the San Gabriel Valley after a loss to La Cañada in their previous match, improved their Rio Hondo League record to 4-1 (30-6 overall).

SPUSD Seeks Temporary Board Member

First published in the Oct. 8 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

The South Pasadena Unified School District Board of Education plans to appoint someone to hold Suzie Abajian’s soon-to-be-vacant position on the panel through at least 2022, when that seat and three others will be up for election.
The election for Abajian’s post will effectively be for a two-year stint, keeping it on schedule for a 2024 contest that will be for the typical four years. Whoever is appointed as the interim board member may indeed retain the seat should he or she seek and win election in 2022.
The school board made the decision at a special meeting Tuesday. Abajian, who was first elected to the board in 2015 and was re-elected handily a year ago, is vacating her position next week because she is moving out of South Pasadena, necessitating the replacement planning.

‘Parable of the Sower’ Wins One City One Story Contest

First published in the Oct. 1 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

In early September, members of the public voted to choose this year’s One City One Story Citywide reading program title.
Voters were asked to choose between five environmentally themed books that were selected by staff because they reflected this year’s OCOS theme, “Navigating Nature.”

Suter Holds Out Hope for Kate

First published in the Oct. 1 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

Lady Luck did not shine on Bill Suter last weekend.
The 99-year-old South Pasadena resident failed to see the woman named Kate he wanted to meet again, despite waiting six hours last Saturday in front of the Pavilions grocery store on Fair Oaks Avenue and another several hours on Sunday.
But Suter, living up to the adage that “faint heart never won fair lady,” is not giving up. He said he will be back in front of the grocery this Saturday in hopes of meeting the woman he knows only from a single conversation they shared in the grocery aisles.

St. Ignacious Kicks Off Yearlong Celebration

Photo courtesy of St. Ignatius of Loyola Elementary School
Janet Herrera, Vice Principal Ileana Wade, and Principal and Father Edwin Duyshart.

First published in the Oct. 1 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

Bells of joy rang throughout the St. Ignatius of Loyola Elementary School church last Saturday as parishioners, Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose, teachers, staff, alumni and students gathered at Mass to begin a year of celebration.
This yearlong celebration will culminate on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, marking the 100th anniversary of the opening day of classes.
“This ‘jewel of a school’ has been one of the constants in the Highland Park community,” a statement from the school said. “We are honored and excited to plan this monumental day in the school’s history. Please mark your calendars and come help us celebrate all those who have helped contribute to the success of St. Ignatius of Loyola Elementary School.”
For more information, call the school at (323) 255-6456 or visit our website at stignatiusla.org.

SPHS Teacher’s Life Experience Helps to Guide Pupils

First published in the Oct. 1 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

Annalee Pearson is a social studies teacher at South Pasadena High School and her students might do well to listen to her life story.
Her father is from the Philippines and was in the U.S. Navy. Her mother is from Durango, Mexico, and worked for hotels in San Diego. Her older brother did not graduate high school and neither did her sister.
Pearson is the only child in the family who graduated college — going to UC Santa Barbara and then getting her master’s degree from Azusa Pacific University.

Dumpster Day Held This Month

First published in the Oct. 1 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

With the return of Dumpster Day, residents ages 60 and older can have large furniture or appliances picked up from their homes for free the week of Oct. 11-15. Items will be picked up on the same day as regular trash pickup.
“Please note that hazardous waste such as televisions, computers and other electronics will not be included in the pickup,” a spokesperson said. “Reservations are required and space is limited.”
To make a reservation, contact the South Pasadena Senior Center at (626) 403-7360, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The deadline for all reservations is noon Friday, Oct. 8. All other residents can participate in the drive-thru services on Arroyo Drive just south of Mission Street on Saturday, Oct. 16, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For questions or concerns with the pickup, call Leaonna DeWitt at (626) 403-7240 or email at LDeWitt@southpasadenaca.gov.

Local Educators Are Named Teachers of the Year

First published in the Oct. 1 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

Photo courtesy SPUSD Superintendent Geoff Yantz, honoree and Monterey Hills Elementary School kindergarten teacher Christina Torres and Monterey Hills Principal Laurie Narro celebrate at the 40th annual Los Angeles County Office of Education Teachers of the Year Awards banquet.

Christina Torres, a kindergarten teacher at Monterey Hills Elementary School, was recently recognized as the South Pasadena Unified School District’s Teacher of the Year at an awards ceremony on Sept. 24. The event honored all awardees from Los Angeles County school districts.
The ceremony was held at the Universal City Hilton, which brought together each of the 56 Teachers of the Year honorees from 52 of the county’s public school districts and ultimately named the Teachers of the Year to represent L.A. County in the statewide competition.
In addition to Torres, SPUSD had named Arroyo Vista Elementary School’s 4th-grade teacher Sharon Reed, Marengo Elementary School’s 2nd-grade teacher Kristen Kato, South Pasadena Middle School’s English teacher Julie Ryu and South Pasadena High School’s English teacher Katy Jaroch as the district’s teachers of the year.
“This year, SPUSD recognized outstanding school site teachers of the year for their care, compassion, and ingenuity in both their virtual and in-person classrooms,” the district said in a statement. “This competition is designed to focus public attention on teaching excellence and to honor exemplary dedication and professional commitment.”

City Invites Public to Help Redraw District Lines

First published in the Oct. 1 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

The city of South Pasadena has officially launched its redistricting process with an updated website that contains all the information and resources the community needs to get involved, located at s southpasadenaca.gov/redistricting2021.
Every 10 years, local governments use new data from the United States Census to redraw their district lines to reflect how local populations have changed. Members of the South Pasadena community are encouraged to participate in the redistricting process to help make certain district lines respect neighborhoods, history and geographical elements.

SPHS Defeated By La Cañada, 14-4

Photo by Sebastian Moore / The Review Claire Chen defeated La Cañada’s Nicole Sorensen to contribute a singles set victory.

First published in the Oct. 1 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

La Cañada High School’s varsity girls’ tennis team cruised to a 14-4 Rio Hondo League victory against visiting South Pasadena (4-1 overall record, 2-0 in league) on Tuesday afternoon. Six Spartans earned sweeps en route to their second league victory of the season.
LCHS’ No. 1 singles player, Maya Urata, was immaculate, winning each of her sets, 6-0, against Tigers Talia Yoo, Kyra Campbell and Claire Chen. La Cañada’s No. 2 singles player, Maren Urata, won sets against the same opponents by scores of 6-0, 6-1 and 6-0, respectively. South Pasadena’s Campbell and Chen earned 6-1 and 6-3 wins, respectively, over La Cañada’s Nicole Sorensen.

Newsom Signs 710 Housing Bill Aby Portantino

First published in the Oct. 1 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

Caltrans will officially hand over the South Pasadena properties it acquired in its failed bid to build the 710 Freeway extension in accordance with the new Senate Bill 381 signed this week by Gov. Gavin Newsom and drafted by state Sen. Anthony Portantino.
SB 381 provides protections for existing tenants, includes a strategy to protect historic homes and gives flexibility to the city of South Pasadena to create more affordable housing. The bill accelerates the transition of the Caltrans-owned homes and follows the successful negotiation to end the threat of the 710 Freeway, enacting protections for nonprofits operating in the corridor.

Tigers Fall to League-Leading La Cañada in 5 Sets

Photo by Sebastian Moore / The Review South Pasadena High School’s Abby Garner (18) elevates for one of her team-high 15 kills during the Tigers’ five-set loss at LCHS on Tuesday. Also pictured are Kennedy Taylor (22), Alyssa Sokolow (5) and Ava Dorny (14).

First published in the Oct. 1 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

It was a challenging but exciting league match between South Pasadena High School (29-6 overall, 3-1 in league) and host La Cañada’s varsity girls’ volleyball teams.
A powerhouse matchup between two of the premier teams in the area — and the CIF division — ended with the Tigers losing narrowly in five sets, 21-25, 30-28, 26-24, 21-25, 15-10.

Rose Float Builders Overcoming Parade of Challenges

Photo by Haley Sawyer / The Review Joss Rogers welds steel pieces together for the South Pasadena Rose Parade float. Some steel parts have skyrocketed in price during the pandemic, necessitating some creative sourcing or scavenging.

First published in the Oct. 1 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

On a Saturday morning, the conversation between South Pasadena Tournament of Roses volunteers revolves around pampas grass for the float. Specifically, where to find it.
One volunteer points out that some is growing outside a Wells Fargo bank. Another says it’s growing near the train station. Can they take that? Is it city property?

Abajian to Leave SPUSD Board This Month

First published in the Oct. 1 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

School board member Suzie Abajian, who less than a year ago was handily re-elected for a second term, will resign this month because she is moving out of the South Pasadena Unified School District.
Abajian said in a letter to the community that she will leave the SPUSD Board of Education on Wednesday, Oct. 13, after her final meeting with the board the previous night. She noted in the letter that she made the announcement with regret and that serving the community had been “a great honor,” but added that the pandemic has highlighted the importance of family and “it has become clear to me that I need to devote more time and attention to my own family at this time.”

John August Swanson | Obituary

John August Swanson

World-renown local artist John August Swanson died last Thursday, Sept. 23, at age 83.
Swanson had been in hospice care at St. John of God Care Center in L.A. with final stage heart failure, according to his assistant, Andrew Shimmin.
His paintings, which touched on topics ranging from social justice and biblical recreations to circus themes, have been shown in the Vatican, the Smithsonian, the Tate as well as the Victoria and Albert museums in London, the Museum of Modern Art and at Emory College, where most of his paintings serigraphs and giclee are on display.
Swanson in 2005 was one of 33 inaugural recipients — including Pope John Paul II, Desmond Tutu and Jimmy Carter — of the Mother Teresa Award for achievement in beautifying the world.
Some of his artworks have even been transformed into stained glass windows and mosaics.
The Hill Avenue Grace Lutheran Church in Pasadena commissioned Swanson to create an altar piece based on his Nativity triptych works. He teamed with the South Pasadena-based Judson Studios to create a stained-glass reproduction of one of his works, “The River,” now on display as a mosaic at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in Glendale.
Some of the scenes in his oil paintings, serigraphs, giclee and posters reflect the culture of his Mexican mother and of his Swedish father.
Swanson was born in L.A., where he had maintained his studio. He was the subject of an “Around Town” profile Aug. 25 in the Review, which recalled how his serigraph “Tales of Hoffman” was celebrated after its donation to the South Pasadena Public Library. Several of his serigraphs also remain on display at Holy Family Church here in South Pasadena, where his work is on sale at the church bookstore.
“John was a cherished friend of many years,” said Monsignor Clement Connolly, pastor emeritus at Holy Family. “The joys and insights of his soul found expression in the inspiring eloquence of his art, which was always a living prayer. His pensive, insightful smile and the patience of his peaceful spirit carried the gospel. Of great consequence was his passion for social justice. He was, at all times, my teacher.”
It was his desire to express his beliefs in social justice which led to his seeking formal art training when he was 30 years old. He became skilled in creating serigraphs, which call for each color to be individually layered by applying ink through a silkscreen onto paper. Some of the creations, from Swanson and the printing team of Jim and Sandy Butterfield, were so detailed they had more than 50 individual colors displayed on a serigraph.
The serigraph “Procession,” which is on display in the Vatican, required 89 stencils and took a year to complete.
Swanson was still working on his art until his final hospitalization earlier this year.
“His art doesn’t fit like anyone else’s,” said Ann Yee, bookstore manager at Holy Family. “He’s unique. He had a heritage in faith with strong feelings about what he believed. He was passionate and he expressed that passion through his art.”
Swanson’s gentle and unassuming way won him as many admirers as his artwork.
“John was a wonderful man and gave so much to the world he has left,” said Cambria Tortorelli, formerly of Holy Family who is currently president of the International Institute of Los Angeles and who owns several of Swanson’s works. “We are the lesser for his physical absence.”
Funeral services are pending, according to Shimmin.

SPHS Has 8 National Merit Semifinalists

Eight South Pasadena High School students qualified as semifinalists in the 67th annual National Merit Scholarship program, it was announced last week. Miranda Liu (front row, from left), Xiangbo Qi, Ethan Xie and Alyssandra Lachica, along with Mason Whang (back), Connor Wang, Jason Liu and Joseph Broderick join 16,000 qualifying students nationwide who represent less than 1% of U.S. high school seniors competing for about 7,500 scholarships. Semifinalists qualify by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test and earning scores that are among the highest in the state. These talented SPHS seniors now have the opportunity to compete for National Merit scholarships, which will be announced in the spring of 2022.

Ho Saves the Day in Tigers’ 14-12 Victory

Photo by Sebastian Moore / The Review SPHS senior Owen Imasaki (3, dark cap) attempts to score a goal as two Newbury Park players converge to guard him in the pool. The Tigers defeated visiting Newbury Park, 14-12.

First published in the Sept. 24 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

South Pasadena’s boys’ varsity water polo team showed their claws and roared as they edged visiting Newbury Park of Ventura County, 14-12. It was an excellent bounce-back performance for the Tigers against a formidable opponent after a loss to Whittier La Serna the previous week.
“I think we did a good job communicating as a team,” said Lindsey Garcia, the Tigers’ head coach. “We moved the ball well, we shared the goals, everyone was kind of doing their part, and it looked good and it paid off.”
The first quarter was the highest-scoring of the entire contest. Newbury Park opened the scoring in the first minute, but with 5:07 left to play, SPHS senior Owen Imasaki tied the game with a goal.
Senior Blix Hadsell-Florin and Imasaki traded goals with Newbury Park to keep the game tied at three until consecutive scores by Newbury gave it a 5-3 advantage. With 28 seconds left to play, senior Will Michels landed a goal. An additional score gave Newbury a 6-4 advantage at the end of the first period.
SPHS seniors Caleb Hunt and Lucas Abrahamian each scored in the second period to trim Newbury Park’s lead to 7-6 at halftime.

City Strives to Finish Mandated Housing Document

First published in the Sept. 24 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

The City Council last week reviewed staff progress on the municipality’s updated housing element, with the discussion providing a glimpse of what South Pasadena’s housing planning may look like for the next eight years.
The state wants the housing element to be adopted by Oct. 15, although there is a grace period that extends the deadline to Feb. 11. South Pasadena must adopt the housing element by the latter date if it wants to remain on the eight-year cycle. If it doesn’t, the cycle switches to four years.
“As I’ve watched the development of the housing element, I’ve realized it’s not a housing element; it’s elements,” Councilman Jon Primuth said last week, emphasizing the plural. “There’s so many pieces of policy that go into this.”
With the city allocated 2,067 new housing units through the Regional Housing Needs Assessment, the city’s planning staff conducted an inventory that examined existing, vacant and underutilized sites. Staff members also looked at possible density and zoning changes and the number of accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, that could be built.

South Pas Cruises Past Alhambra, 18-0

Photo by Sebastian Moore The Review South Pasadena High School’s varsity girls’ tennis team includes (front row, from left) Sarah Uwabo, Ava Feldman, Stephanie Li, Sarah Chung and Annette Woo. Back: Kyra Campbell, Claire Chen, Serin Hwang, Charlie Kami-Duffin, Elizabeth Petty and Isha Zafra.

First published in the Sept. 24 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

For the first time since 2018, Pasadena’s varsity girls’ tennis team earned a seventh consecutive victory by besting Alhambra, 18-0, in a nonleague match on Tuesday.
“I’ve been really impressed with our girls just generally these past couple of weeks. We have really good team leadership,” said Krista Gale, South Pasadena’s head coach.

To Save a Date With Kate

Photos courtesy Marsha Tylke Bill Suter dances with his late wife, Shirley, at their 2015 wedding. Suter is a known ballroom dancer and calls himself the “designated dancer” for an upcoming cruise for his bridge club.

First published in the Sept. 24 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

I’ve done the same thing.
I met a woman, struck up a great conversation, and then said goodbye without asking her full name or any way through which I could pursue a possible future relationship.
Bill Suter, of South Pasadena, also fell prey to that single man’s snare, but he’s much more determined and cleverer than I ever was in marching down the path of a future relationship. In his pursuit, Suter has twice taken out a half-page color ad in the South Pasadena Review.
Our hero is 99 years old but age knows no bounds when it comes to striking up a new friendship.
The ad reads “66-year-old Kate. Please Call 99-year-old Bill. Subject: Dinner. 323-254-6143.”
“I made a living using the English language, so I think I know how to express myself,” Suter said. “Besides, I’ve always thought it pays to advertise.”

SPHS Sweeps San Marino for 5th Straight Win

Photo by Sebastian Moore / The Review SPHS sophomore Helena Foord (21) taps the volleyball over the net as two San Marino players jump to block her attack. Foord earned a team-high 12 kills en route to the Tigers’ 3-0 sweep over visiting San Marino.

First published in the Sept. 24 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

It was a lopsided sweep for South Pasadena High School’s varsity girls’ volleyball team, which earned a Rio Hondo League victory over visiting San Marino by scores of 25-17, 25-12 and 25-10 during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The Tigers dawned unique pink uniforms in honor of the occasion en route to their fifth consecutive victory.
“They were very disciplined, had high energy and they were just taking care of business on the court,” said Ivy Chew, the Tigers’ head coach. “Everyone did what they needed to do, and they are all standout players. They were serving [San Marino] off the court.”
Three aces by SPHS sophomore Jenna Garner gave the Tigers an early 5-1 advantage. The set remained close until SPHS sophomore Helena Foord broke the tie for an 11-10 lead, one the Tigers wouldn’t relinquish for the remainder of the set. A couple of kills from SPHS senior Kennedy Taylor and a couple of aces from teammate sophomore Kendall Taylor saw the Tigers jump out to a 21-13 lead en route to a 25-17 win.

Turning a Pandemic Page, In-Person Story Time Returns

Photo by Natalie Miranda / The Review Hyejung Kim and her son Isaac, 3, sit on the Library Park lawn during the first in-person story time in 18 months at the South Pasadena Public Library.

First published in the Sept. 24 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

Once upon a time, a scary virus banned library story time for little children everywhere.
That chapter seems to have closed for now, however, with the South Pasadena Public Library ushering back the decades-long tradition of in-person storytelling this week. Library Park was filled with families of children ages 3-5 for the preschool story time, gleeful chatter and wiggling youngsters collecting on the lawn’s expanse.
Although the library hosted 64 online story times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the in-person activity brought a joy and energy that just couldn’t be replicated with the virtual stories, parents noted.

South Pasadena Picks Up 2nd Victory

Jack Riffle (5) led South Pasadena’s offensive barrage in a 45-27 victory over Alhambra last week with 205 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Thomas Carter (61), Aidan Marrujo (75), Ivan Becerra (72) and Dylan Feak (74) paved the way for the senior runner.

First published in the Sept. 24 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

In its final non-league matchup, the South Pasadena High School varsity football team dominated visiting Alhambra with an impressive 45-27 victory last week.
It was the second time in three games the Tigers (2-3 record) managed to produce 40 or more points on the board, leading to a victory.
The South Pas offense accumulated 575 total yards on the Alhambra (1-3 record) defense, with the rushing attack accounting for 413 of those total yards.

South Pas Hopes to Sweep Boys, Girls Championships

Photo by Zane Hill / The Review This year’s cross-country team, bolstered by a trove of young new runners, aims to make a mark this season.

First published in the Sept. 17 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

Year three into his tenure as cross-country head coach looks as promising as ever for Mike Parkinson and his squad of South Pasadena High School runners.
This season kicked off months after the 2020-21 season wrapped up in the spring, when it was lumped into essentially one big high school sports season thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. After Parkinson coached that squad to a Rio Hondo League sweep, he said he’s aiming for the real deal after an admittedly “asterisk” season.

Bill to Push Caltrans Home Sales Awaits Signing

Photo courtesy Anthony Portantino’s office State Sen. Anthony Portantino, shown here at a prior rally against the 710 Freeway tunnel, authored recently passed legislation regarding the sale of Caltrans-owned properties in South Pasadena along the formerly proposed dig site.

First published in the Sept. 17 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

Senate Bill 381, a measure authored by state Sen. Anthony Portantino to move along Caltrans’ sale of its properties linked the now-defunct 710 Freeway tunnel project, was approved by the Legislature last week and now awaits Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature.
According to Portantino’s office, SB 381 provides protections for existing tenants, includes a strategy to protect historic homes and gives flexibility to the city of South Pasadena to create more affordable housing.
“SB 381 is an innovative way to protect tenants and maintains historic properties while giving the city and the local community a stake in developing a viable and sustainable affordable housing program,” Portantino said in a statement.

SPUSD to Require Vaccines for Employees

First published in the Sept. 17 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

The South Pasadena Unified School District Board of Education voted unanimously in favor of a vaccine requirement for employees, bringing its mitigation strategies against COVID-19 to a more stringent level.
The mandate requires all SPUSD employees to be vaccinated by Nov. 14. Employees may request an accommodation and district administrators will have to determine whether the accommodation is valid and can be met.
“As I think about the employees that we are responsible to and the students to whom we are also responsible,” board member Patricia Martinez-Miller said, “not having people employed by us vaccinated to keep them safe would really violate our purpose.”
Superintendent Geoff Yantz said at Tuesday’s meeting that the district was going to email out correspondence on Wednesday with details on the mandate and information on accommodation.

South Pasadena Falls to Heritage Christian, 28-20

First published in the Sept. 17 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

The South Pasadena High School football team looked to have turned a new leaf with their dominating performance over Marshall High in Los Angeles.
But the Tigers were dealt a 28-20 loss at Heritage Christian in Northridge last week.
South Pas (1-3 record) had a chance to tie the game late with the ball near the Warriors’ 15-yard line but could not convert on fourth down, essentially ending the contest.

Police to Kick Off Citizen Academy

First published in the Sept. 17 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

The South Pasadena Police Department is taking applications for its annual Citizen Police Academy, which will begin meetings on Oct. 11 and continue every Monday evening through Nov. 22.
The program is designed to educate interested residents on the role police officers have within the community and help officers learn more about the people of South Pasadena. Detective Tyler Borello, a co-coordinator of the program, said the academy serves as a great bridge between the department and the community it serves.

Talented Tigers Have Lofty Goals

Photos by Eric Danielson / The Review Senior captains Abby Garner (18), attempting a spike against La Salle, along with Kennedy Taylor (10) and Ally Sokolow (5) are four-year varsity players who have led the Tigers to dominating girls’ volleyball in the Rio Hondo League.

First published in the Sept. 17 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

The change first started four years ago. Ivy Chew took over the South Pasadena High School girls’ volleyball program and inherited a group of players whose skills would grow exponentially.
This season, with Chew’s original freshmen now seniors, the Tigers have developed a winning culture and set a new standard. In her first season as head coach, Chew and South Pas were Rio Hondo League runners-up. The following year, they went undefeated en route to the league championship.

City’s Population Grew 5% Over 10 Years, Census Shows

First published in the Sept. 17 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

South Pasadena’s population grew by more than 5% from 2010-2020, a rate nearly one percentage point higher than Los Angeles County as a whole.
According to the U.S. Census results from data collected last year, the city’s population rose from a reported 25,619 residents in 2010 to 26,943 in 2020, representing a gain of 5.17%. The city’s population density posted a fairly similar gain, rising 5.06% from having 7,523 people per square mile in 2010 to 7,904 people per square mile as of last year.
The U.S. Census Bureau has not made its full results widely available yet, but has released the raw data to certain firms and outlets. The Associated Press has compiled this data and released it to media outlets through its Big Local News platform. Data was collected in April 2020, meaning it does not reflect that more than 660,000 Americans have died due to complications from the coronavirus.

Riffle, Aragon Help Tigers to 42-0 Victory

Photo by Eric Danielson / The Review Senior quarterback Noah Aragon (3), aided by the blocking of Thomas Carter (61) and Matthew Takasugi (54), completed seven of nine passes to help South Pasadena High School to its first victory of the season, 42-0, over Marshall High of Los Angeles on Sept. 2.

It was a memorable night for South Pasadena High School’s varsity football team, which earned its first shutout victory since the 2019 season by throttling host Marshall High in Los Angeles, 42-0, on Sept. 2.
Marshall couldn’t contain the South Pasadena’s offense, as the Tigers (1-2 record) scored at least one touchdown during each quarter en route to their first win of the season.

Her Talent for Baking Cobblers Bears Fruit

Photo by Haley Sawyer / The Review Elizabeth Walker hand-delivers cobblers made from scratch in flavors that include peach, peach mango, blackberry and strawberry.

First published in the Sept. 10 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

When Elizabeth Walker inhales the warm sweetness of a freshly baked peach cobbler, her unborn baby stirs. When she turns on the mixer, the baby’s legs get moving.
“She starts kicking like she’s interested already,” Walker said. “So, we’ll see. Maybe she’ll be a little baker.”
Since Walker often bakes peach cobblers, the baby is very active. Walker plans to slow down for a few months after the birth of her daughter in October, but after that, the baked good that has consumed her life will be a part of the child’s, too.

Columnist Reflects on Jewish High Holidays

Photo courtesy Los Angeles Dodgers Legendary Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax, who is Jewish, skipped a game during the 1965 World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur.

First published in the Sept. 10 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

I spent the Jewish High Holidays last year in Dearborn, Michigan.
I don’t have family in Michigan nor do I know anyone in Dearborn. I don’t even remember the name of the synagogue.
I remember going to YouTube and finding a service that felt comfortable.
Many people last year Zoomed their services — and some are doing so again this year. What I remember and liked most about last year’s service was that the melodies brought back memories of the way they were sung in the synagogue I attended while I was growing up. That — in turn — brought back memories of family and friends I have shared the Jewish High Holidays with in the past.

Recalling Threat of Shooting, Group Prays for Schools

Photo by Natalie Miranda / The Review Lydia Banales (left) prays for the South Pasadena schools community with her husband Joseph in the prayer circle.

First published in the Sept. 10 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

The prayer circle that forms each year at the steps of South Pasadena High School carries on a tradition steeped in love, faith and resilience — a response to a near-tragic incident eight years earlier.
The “Pray for Schools” event, which returned last week, was originally set in motion after SPHS faced a mass shooting threat in 2014. The news jolted the school’s sense of security and sent shock waves through the whole community. Although tragedy was ultimately prevented, the scare was interpreted by some residents as a wake-up call to stay connected through support and prayer.
Karen Kano, who coordinated the Sept. 1 prayer gathering of about 40 people, recalls feeling the danger of the situation sink in; two teenagers were arrested after police learned of what they called a “very viable” plan to kill school staff members and other students. The suspects later admitted to a felony count of making criminal threats and were sentenced to probation by a Juvenile Court judge.

City Aims to Slow Traffic for Walkers’ Sake

First published in the Sept. 10 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

South Pasadena will be moving forward quickly with plans that officials hope will make streets safer for foot traffic after the City Council voted last week to appropriate grant money to the Slow Streets Program.
Grant money originally received through L.A. Metro’s Open Street Grant Program will go toward the project.
The goal of the Slow Streets program is to decrease speeding by motorists and increase safety for pedestrians and cyclists on select streets in South Pasadena. Various demonstration projects will be conducted to determine the best way to make busy streets safer.

What 9/11 Survivor Saw: ‘Incredible Heroism and Kindness’

Photo courtesy Danni family Kevin Danni, a South Pasadena native, visits the national 9/11 Memorial & Museum in 2017. He was paying tribute to former Morgan Stanley head of security Rick Rescorla, who evacuated about 2,700 employees that day and died when the South Tower collapsed.

First published in the Sept. 10 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

Two decades on, South Pasadena native Kevin Danni is still helping to make good on the collective promise to “never forget.”
Danni will be speaking this week, as he does every year, about having survived the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, when he was a fledgling financial adviser at Morgan Stanley. He recounts his memories of the tragic events to students who weren’t even born yet. He’ll visit his alma mater, St. Francis High School, and a group in Glendale, translating the fateful day into a lived history, not just a historical event, to help younger people grasp its meaning.

SPUSD Reports Few Cases of Virus

First published in the Sept. 3 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

A handful of coronavirus cases have been identified at local public school campuses since the start of the academic year, the South Pasadena Unified School District said earlier this week.
Two cases were identified at both Marengo Elementary School and South Pasadena High in August, and a case at Arroyo Vista Elementary School was reported on Wednesday. All five people were quarantined.
The district is logging and publishing data on positive coronavirus cases among students and staff that have been detected since the start of the school year on Aug. 12, though it does not disclose whether a case involves a student or staff member. This year, 4,660 students are enrolled at SPUSD schools and there are 425 employees.

Carjacking Leads to Two Arrests, Police Say

First published in the Sept. 3 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

Two suspects were arrested hours after a woman’s car was stolen at knifepoint in South Pasadena last week and she was left stranded in town, local police said.
A 73-year-old Alhambra woman told South Pasadena officers that two men accosted her and stole her car at 1:11 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 26, while she was parked in the 1900 block of Huntington Drive and using her cellphone. One of the men opened her unlocked driver side door and, brandishing a knife, forced her out of the Lexus IS250 sedan, police said. They added that the second man entered the vehicle on the passenger side and both men drove off with the victim’s cellphone and purse in the car.

Teen Creates Camp to Honor Brother

Photo courtesy Luke Nelson Camper Darren T., counselor Alexis K. and camper Patrick N. share a group hug in Garfield Park.

First published in the Sept. 3 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

A few years ago, local teenage volunteer Luke Aloe noticed that many youth with special needs within his community felt isolated.
Inspired by Dominic, his older brother who has autism, Luke created a social group which meets monthly for teenagers with disabilities in the South Pasadena area.
“The name Moai comes from the moai social groups in Okinawa, Japan, where residents have some of the longest lifespans in the world,” explained Aloe, a junior at Loyola High in Los Angeles. “Their long lives have been credited to these social groups, where they keep in touch with their friends throughout their lifetimes.”

Tigers Beaten by Boron, 33-14, in Home Opener

Photo by Eric Danielson / The Review South Pasadena High sophomore Lionelle Limqueco (11) tries to maneuver past Boron High players while returning a kickoff in last week’s Tigers home opener. Despite a staunch effort, South Pasadena (0-2) fell 33-14 to the Bobcats and lost one of its team captains to injury for several weeks.

First published in the Sept. 3 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

The South Pasadena High School varsity football team dropped its home opener, a 33-14 loss to visiting Boron of the High Desert Friday night.
Tigers head coach Jeff Chi emphasized his team’s mental mistakes early on this season and knows there is still plenty of time to improve mentally and physically moving forward.
“It’s a process and we have to keep working toward it,” Chi said. “Our ultimate goal is to get better each week and get ready for league, so we’re going to use this time to gear up for that. Even if we go 0-5 in [non-league] but do well in league, we’ll be pleased with the season there.”

Indicators Suggest Coronavirus Slowdown

First published in the Sept. 3 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

Before July, the coronavirus appeared to have all but stalled in South Pasadena.
That relief did not last, however, as daily new case rates took off again that month throughout all of Los Angeles County, driven primarily by the spread of the Delta variant of the virus and concentrated largely among the unvaccinated. In South Pasadena, nearly 1% of the population was reported to have contracted the disease between July 1 and Aug. 31, according to testing data from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

Local Unemployment Declines as County Rate Remains Flat

Data: California Employment Development Department

South Pasadena’s unemployment rate saw a slight decrease from June to July, according to state data, though the rates in Los Angeles County and California stayed obstinate.
The local rate fell from a revised 8.2% in June to 7.6% in July, the California Employment Development Department reported in a preliminary estimate. The drop represented a decrease in the number of the city’s unemployed residents from about 1,200 to 1,100; the estimate for employed residents increased from 13,300 to 13,400.
South Pasadena’s unemployment rate, which historically has been lower than the county’s, has improved sharply since its pandemic-era high of 16.5% in May 2020. It has fluctuated somewhat this year, however, usually hovering between 7% and 8%. The city’s pre-pandemic joblessness rate was 3.7%.

Testing Finds 3 SPUSD Virus Cases

After a little more than a week of screening for COVID-19, the local school system said that three of its students have tested positive for the coronavirus since the beginning of the academic year.
All three cases were listed this week on the dashboard maintained by the South Pasadena Unified School District. One of the students is enrolled at Marengo Elementary School, the other two at South Pasadena High School.

Tigers’ Loss Features Strong Performances

Photo courtesy Jon Takasugi Senior Grant Huntley sprints downfield during South Pasadena High’s season-opening game Aug. 20 at Los Angeles Lincoln. Huntley caught six passes for 121 yards and a 65-yard touchdown, but it wasn’t enough as Lincoln prevailed, 37-20.

The South Pasadena High School varsity football team showed last week that there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the 2021 season, despite the outcome of its season-opening contest.
The Tigers dropped a 37-20 decision on Aug. 20 to Los Angeles’ Lincoln High School — which also was playing its first game, and is also called the Tigers. Fans at the game would be excused if they did a double-take upon arriving at the field, as both squads sported a black-and orange color scheme. The similarity of uniforms notwithstanding, Lincoln had a little more bite than its counterpart.

Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers to Be Banned

After weeks of soliciting feedback from the community and information from municipal commissions, the South Pasadena City Council voted unanimously last week to prohibit the use of gasoline-powered leaf blowers in town.
“We’re going to be a model for the nation,” said Mayor Pro Tem Michael Cacciotti, a longtime supporter of banning gas-powered leaf blowers and of electrification in general. “This council, the commissioners, the community, I’m just so impressed.”

Recalling Actress’ Death, Group Calls for Police Reform

Photo by Mitch Lehman / The Review Albert Corado, an activist who is running for a Los Angeles City Council seat, speaks Sunday at the third “angelversary” for Vanessa Marquez in South Pasadena.

A group coalesced outside of the Metro Gold Line Station on Sunday to observe the third anniversary of the fatal shooting of actress Vanessa Marquez by South Pasadena police officers who were responding to a mental health crisis at her apartment in 2018.
Thirty to 40 observers gathered at the so-called “angelversary” on Sunday at the downtown location, where speakers and friends of Marquez memorialized the actress and called on supporters to push for law enforcement reform and stronger accountability practices. The group also recognized others who have been killed during police responses, evoking a feature of protests that followed the murder of George Floyd by an officer in Minneapolis last year.
Participating organizations included the National Lawyers Guild of Los Angeles, Say Their Names L.A., Centro CSO, American Indian Movement and Black Lives Matter Los Angeles.

SPHS Students Help Kids Become Rooted in STEM

Photo courtesy Xiyu Wang Kids raise their hands to answer a question as Aaron Quan and Xiyu Wang (top right) give a presentation on the biology of bacteria.

Xiyu Wang and Aaron Quan were introduced to science early in life — if they hadn’t, they might have missed out on the experiences that helped spark their passion for that branch of knowledge.

For Wang, her childhood bedtime stories were tales from her cardiothoracic surgeon father’s operations. He would explain and share the procedures he performed, giving her a glimpse into the world of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Quan also developed a tradition with his father involving nature, through fishing, that ignited his interest in life sciences and plants.

These moments of discovery spurred Wang and Quan’s gravitation to STEM, and ultimately set them on the path that led them to form the nonprofit STEMspiration L.A. through the chemistry club at South Pasadena High School, where they are rising juniors.

Back to School: Students’ Resocialization and Psychology

Annette Ermshar, CEO of Dr. Ermshar & Associates

While we find ourselves grappling with the new norms of our changing world, a return to a regular school year for our students is imminent. Youth are transitioning back to a traditional classroom-based academic year with regular school-based and extra-curricular activities. This transition is certain to have implications for resocialization and for the ever-shifting identity development that naturally occurs in childhood and adolescence.
School provides important opportunities for critical development, not only for academic advancement, but also for socializing, peer support, experiencing memorable events and moments, and self-expression. Certainly the increased isolation and removal from typical socialization that has resulted from the pandemic may have short- and long-term consequences that we still cannot fully know.

Museum of Free Art Inspires Creations

Photos by Haley Sawyer / The Review South Pasadena artist Jessika Fairbanks, pictured here with her daughter Dahlia, and her husband created the Museum of Free Art after being inspired by the similar Little Free Library concept.

Every morning, Rilla Alexander goes on a run through South Pasadena that takes her down Mission Street. One day, a wooden box with a glass pane broke up the usual scenery.
The display, roughly the size of a breadbox, housed miniature artwork. Looking at the artwork were figurines of people, scattered about. Alexander was looking at the Museum of Free Art, a miniature museum conceived by South Pasadena resident Jessika Fairbanks.
Since then, Alexander has contributed countless drawings — all of frogs — and taken a few pieces of art from the miniature museum, as well.
“It’s something I want to do for fun, but I also just love the idea of putting that there and somebody discovering it,” Alexander said. “I think that’s quite magical.”

Large Crowds Must Mask Up

In an effort to mitigate the spread of the highly-infectious Delta variant of COVID-19, Los Angeles County announced it will update its health order and will require anyone attending a large outdoor event with more than 10,000 people to wear a face covering.
The order goes into effect late Thursday evening and arrives just before the football season, affecting UCLA’s home games at the Rose Bowl, USC’s at the Coliseum and upcoming concerts, including those at the Hollywood Bowl.
“As the highly infectious Delta variant continues to spread, wearing masks — regardless of vaccination status — indoors and in crowded settings, including at outdoor mega events, reduces the risk of being infected with and transmitting COVID-19,” the L.A. County Department of Public Health said in a statement on Tuesday.

Revered Artist Celebrated for Life’s Work, Kindness

Photos courtesy Studio of John August Swanson Painter John August Swanson, whose works grace venues ranging from the South Pasadena Public Library to the Vatican, entered hospice care this past week.

This column is a tribute to a humble man whose art and spirit has touched people like me and many of his friends and admirers in South Pasadena and around the world.
John August Swanson is 83 and is getting hospice care for final stage heart failure at St. John of God Care Center in Los Angeles, according to his assistant, Andrew Shimmin.
His paintings are on display in the Vatican, the Smithsonian, the Victoria and Albert and Tate museums in London, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, Emory College, the Art Museum in Chicago — and at the South Pasadena Public Library.

Schools Celebrate Return Amid COVID-19 Caution

Photos courtesy SPUSD After experiencing both distance learning and modified in-person classes in the past 17 months, students and teachers across the South Pasadena Unified School District celebrated a return to school last week. Masks are required and COVID-19 testing is highly encouraged, even for the vaccinated.

As planned heading into the new school year, the South Pasadena Unified School District began offering surveillance COVID-19 testing to employees and students on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, athletes are required to be tested weekly while they are in their sports season. Optional weekly testing for employees and students will be conducted at a drive-thru site at South Pasadena High School, while PCR testing kits will be available at each school’s health office in the event of a potential exposure at the school.

Officials Dedicate Renovation at Senior Center

Photo by Mitch Lehman / The Review The city of South Pasadena held a ribbon-cutting Monday to dedicate a renovated, expanded classroom at the Senior Center, which included Alexandra Levitt (front row, from left), Mayor Pro Tem Michael Cacciotti, Councilman John Donovan, Mayor Diana Mahmud, Melissa Snyder, Cindi Knight, Bill Cullinane, Liz Giffen-Glad, Mark Langill and Dave Kerr. Back row: Community Services Director Sheila Pautsch, Patrick Kirchen and Arminé Chaparyan.

Chalk up another entry into the hall of “positive things that came about as a result of COVID.”
This latest came to fruition on Monday morning and was acknowledged by several dozen members of the community at a noontime celebration for a newly renovated classroom unveiled at the South Pasadena Senior Center. Technically, it was the renovation of two classrooms, which were adjoined and enlarged to form one large space at the southeast corner of the facility.

Assemblyman Introduces Resolution With Armenian Province

Assemblyman Chris Holden, who represents South Pasadena, on Tuesday introduced a resolution that establishes a sister state relationship between California and the Armenian province of Syunik — the southernmost province in Armenia.
The measure, Assembly Concurrent Resolution 105, declares California’s solidarity with Syunik and will encourage and facilitate mutually beneficial educational, economic and cultural exchanges, according to a statement from Holden’s office. The resolution is joint authored by Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian, and coauthored by assemblymembers Lisa Calderon, Laura Friedman, Jesse Gabriel, Christina Garcia, Mike Gipson, Tom Lackey and Kevin Mullin, and state senators Bob Archuleta, Andreas Borgeas, Maria Elena Durazo and Anthony Portantino.

SPHS Senior Competes in Modern Pentathlon Junior World Championships

Photo courtesy St. Clair family Jake St. Clair, a South Pasadena High School senior, is pictured atop a horse during a modern pentathlon competition. He is one of the best in the nation and competed in this summer’s Junior World Championships in Egypt.

South Pasadena resident Jake St. Clair took a trip to Egypt this summer, complete with a visit to the pyramids. However, the teenager was no common tourist.
St. Clair made the journey as one of the United States’ representatives at the 2021 Modern Pentathlon Junior World Championships.
“It was pretty intense. There were a lot of different competitors from a lot of different countries,” St. Clair said. “It was definitely a lot of fun just to go and give it my best. I think outside of the competition, just seeing another part of the world was also really, really cool.”

2021 Back to School Special Edition

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School District Reveals Anti-COVID Strategy

The 2021-22 school year got underway this week, and in preparation, the South Pasadena Unified School District Board of Education on Tuesday unveiled the district’s COVID-19 plan for the year.
“During this time, I can’t express how proud I am of our employees,” said Superintendent Geoff Yantz. “Our community and how everyone has responded and fully committed themselves to maintaining a quality education that we all strive to achieve and provide is really why people move here in South Pas.”

Chaparyan Traveled a Long Way to Serve the City

Photo courtesy Arminé Chaparyan South Pasadena City Manager Arminé Chaparyan and her brother Aram, in Torrance, form California’s first city manager sister-brother pair, according to the City Management Foundation.

Arminé Chaparyan’s story is an immigrant’s tale that many people likely would conclude is proof that the American dream of succeeding through education, a supportive family and hard work is still alive.
Chaparyan achieved her dream of becoming a city manager in May when she was named to that position in South Pasadena.
Parents Panos and Endza brought 9-year-old Chaparyan, her 11-year-old brother Aram and 4-year-old brother Arman to the United States from Armenia in 1987 — a time of political unrest in that country, which was a republic under the Moscow-centric Soviet Union. Travel during the communist era was very restrictive, so all they could take were a few suitcases.

Chamber of Commerce Returns to In-Person Meetings

Mayor Diana Mahmud and South Pasadena City Manager Arminé Chaparyan

The South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce held its first in-person meeting in 16 months on Wednesday, July 28, at a luncheon hosted by Mamma’s Brick Oven Pizza and Pasta. The chamber welcomed special guest Arminé Chaparyan, the new South Pasadena city manager. Chaparyan expressed her readiness to be available to address the concerns of South Pasadena residents and businesses. In addition, she commented on plans to tackle the planning backlog as well as the desire to develop strategies for the city to partner with the Chamber of Commerce to support local commerce in a digital age.

Hundreds of Homes Lose Power After Crash

Photos courtesy city of South Pasadena A Volkswagen Jetta is towed early Friday morning last week after colliding with and dislodging a power pole on Fremont Avenue.

Almost 400 homes near Fremont Avenue lost power for more than 12 hours last week after a Southern California Edison pole was dislodged by a vehicle in an early morning collision.
South Pasadena police officers responded to the crash at 2:13 a.m. Friday, July 30, after a motorist collided so forcefully with the pole in the 400 block of Fremont that it snapped at the base and was held up only by power lines. The motorist, a 27-year-old Glendora man, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, and his vehicle, a white Volkswagen Jetta, was towed after sustaining significant damage to the passenger-side front end.

Little League Concludes All-Star Competition

The Junior All-Star squad that recently claimed the District 18 title includes Harley Arrieta, Daniel Byun, Gavin Dwyer, coach Sean Dwyer, Charles Esnault, Phil Malatesta, manager Sean Malatesta, Ben Lee, Alex Michels, Nico Mostert, Konrad Neu, Silvestre Quiroz, coach Hector Rodriguez, Sam Rodriguez, Charlie Vogel, Gabe Vogel and Brandon Woo.

The South Pasadena Little League summer All-Star season was a successful one as its Juniors softball team captured the Section 3 championship and three baseball teams won district tournaments.
After claiming District 18 and Section 3 titles, the SPLL Juniors All-Star softball team competed in the California Little League Southern California Tournament. South Pasadena rallied with four runs in the sixth inning but fell short in a 10-9 loss.

Police Dog Is Off Patrol After Biting Child

One of the South Pasadena Police Department’s crime-fighting dogs has been removed from patrol rotation this week after it bit a young boy during the city’s National Night Out event on Tuesday evening at Orange Grove Park.
The child, Sebastian Forbes, 5, received several stitches at Huntington Hospital that night and was in good spirits, said his father, Josh, on Wednesday evening as the family enjoyed a stroll at the park. Besides the stitches near Sebastian’s left eye, the boy also had additional cuts and bite marks near his left ear and shoulder, the father said.
Police Chief Brian Solinsky said in an interview Wednesday that the dog would be reevaluated in the coming weeks. Solinsky also extended sympathies to the child and his family.

Tournament of Roses Golf Tournament Raises $10,000

Review photo John Vandercook and Alan Vlacich served as co-chairs of the South Pasadena Tournament of Roses Golf Tournament, which was held at Arroyo Seco Golf Course last Saturday.

The South Pasadena Tournament of Roses Golf Tournament had its participation jump by nearly 20% from its previous, pre-pandemic tournament and raised approximately $10,000 at last Saturday’s event. Alan Vlacich and John Vandercook co-chaired the tournament, which was held at Arroyo Seco Golf Course’s 18-hole, 3-par layout.
Proceeds will support building and flower costs to construct the South Pasadena float that will take part in the 2022 Rose Parade on New Year’s Day. There was also an online auction which helped generate funds for SPTOR.

Preservation Group Plans Gala at Historic Home

Photo by Larissa Althouse / The Review South Pasadena Preservation Foundation executive board members, including Secretary Dan Evans, President Mark Gallatin, Treasurer Odom Stamps, Vice President of Museum Operations Tom Field and Vice President of Communication Jim Tavares, gathered last weekend for the group’s first in-person meeting since the pandemic began.

After a setback caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the South Pasadena Preservation Foundation has begun its buildup to a gala that will pay homage to the architect of a local treasure, the Miltimore House.
Hosting its first in-person meeting since the pandemic took hold, the foundation on Saturday showed a preview of a video tour of the residence designed by Irving J. Gill, considered a pioneer of the modern movement of architecture. The full version of the video, which features foundation members who help tell the history of the home, will premiere on Sunday, Sept. 19, at a location to be determined.

Drum Circle Gives Heartbeat to Community

Photos courtesy Stephanie Buffington South Pasadena resident Stephanie Buffington hosts drum circles at her home, which she describes as being a “sacred rhythm lodge.”

I’ve always wondered what that drumming was that comes from the house up the hill from my home. Someone told me it was a group of drummers, and I assumed that it might be a jazz get-together. Well, now I know. Stephanie Buffington, for the last 22 years, has been holding a drum circle at her Greene and Greene home on the corner of Buena Vista Street and Meridian Avenue. Drum circle devotees have known about it for years, and for them, Buffington’s home has become a mecca for their passion.

South Pasadena Little League’s Outstanding Postseason Ends In Sectionals

The South Pasadena Little League Major All-Stars, fresh off winning the District 18 baseball championship, earned the right to play in the Section 3 tournament.
“It was a great experience for [my] guys who worked so hard to get there,” South Pasadena coach Chris Cortinez said of playing in the sectional tournament. “I knew from the start this was a special group of young players and we just needed to put it together at the right time, and sure enough we did to get there.”
South Pasadena, comprised mostly of boys ages 11-12, played three games at sectional in Claremont, whose Little League hosted the tournament. Although South Pasadena did not advance to the next tournament, they did their best in the rare opportunity presented them by their successes this season.

SPHS Student on Target at Disc Golf Event

Photo by Haley Sawyer / The Review South Pasadena High School senior Violet Main, who recently placed third in the world championships, is considered among the best amateur disc golf players out there.

Although the world’s first disc golf course is nestled in the Pasadena area, it was Emporia, Kansas, that offered Violet Main an eye-opening experience when it came to the sport.
While competing in the Professional Disc Golf Association’s Junior World Championships in early July, she was surrounded by stunning courses and some of the best disc golf talent that the world has to offer.
“It was almost too over the top,” said Main, a South Pasadena resident. “Most of these girls that I played with have been home-schooled their entire lives. They have stations in their backyards where they putt for 20 minutes, drive for 20 minutes for like two hours every single day. And I realized that disc golf is their life.”
Main’s training is less regimented but proved just as effective. She took third place in the competition, showing that she’s one of the premier amateur disc golf athletes worldwide.

Panel Denies Yet Encourages Brewery Idea

The South Pasadena Planning Commission this week denied a local resident’s application to launch a microbrewery at his home, but essentially invited him to modify his business plan to assuage the concerns of neighbors and try again.
The commission agreed with most of the staff findings that would have bolstered his application for a conditional use permit, but voiced disagreement with the staff claim that the business would not have been “detrimental to the health, safety or general welfare” of the neighborhood. Additionally, panel members were split on whether an 8-foot wall dividing the proposed establishment from a neighboring property would have been an appropriate mitigation.

Virus’ New Rise Worries Officials

Though the increase pales in comparison to last year’s Fourth of July surge, Los Angeles County is experiencing a concerning spike in COVID-19 infections after recording more than 1,000 new cases for a sixth consecutive day on Wednesday.
The county Department of Public Health reported 1,315 such cases on Wednesday, and more than 99% of the recent cases have involved unvaccinated individuals. The county averaged 1,090 new cases per day from July 8-14, compared with only 496 from July 1-7.

South Pas Athletes Earn All-League Recognition

With five of its seven sports programs clinching a CIF Southern Section playoff berth and two claiming league titles, South Pasadena High School was well represented in the first All-Rio Hondo League honors list in over a year.
Dozens of SPHS’ student-athletes were saluted for their efforts in an abbreviated campaign that some have called the “COVID-19 season.”

Photo courtesy Sally Takeda
SPHS baseball standouts Noah Takeda-Teer (left in uniform), Pablo Guerrero and Nick Schroeder received All-Rio Hondo honors. They are joined by head coach Jaime Garcia and assistant coach Paul Hugasian.

Extend or End ‘Hero Pay’? Council Debates Issue

By Haley Sawyer

Local grocery and drug retail workers could see a change in pay again, depending on what decision the City Council eventually makes.
After discussing the topic at its meeting last week, the council failed to move on whether to extend or retire its “hero pay” ordinance, which mandates hourly pay raises for employees at grocery stores and drugstores as a form of restitution for working throughout the coronavirus pandemic. The council expects to arrive at a decision at a meeting next week.

School District Hires New Human Resources Leader

Linda Junge

The South Pasadena Unified School District hired a local resident to take on the role of assistant superintendent of human resources, replacing the retiring Karen Reed.
Linda Junge, a 24-year educator, will join the SPUSD. She arrives by way of the Glendale Unified School District, where she was principal of Crescenta Valley High School for the past eight years.
Superintendent Geoff Yantz said he was excited to bring Junge on board as a cabinet member.
“Dr. Junge’s extensive experience as an equity-driven leader will bring creativity and innovation to SPUSD’s Human Resources Department,” Yantz said in a statement. “With responsibility for all personnel functions including negotiations, and strategic faculty and staff recruitment and retention, Dr. Junge’s overarching goal is relevant and responsive education for our students.”

Woodland Park Has a Welcoming Nature

Photo by Haley Sawyer / The Review
Barbara Eisenstein, a native plants enthusiast, recently organized a volunteer cleanup at the Arroyo Seco Woodland and Wildlife Park, better known as the South Pasadena Nature Park.

By Haley Sawyer

Prior to the first volunteer day at the South Pasadena Arroyo Seco Woodland and Wildlife Park since before the COVID-19 pandemic, organizer Barbara Eisenstein had some doubts.
“I was nervous about it, that nobody would show up” to help at the oasis commonly known as the South Pasadena Nature Park, she said.
On the morning of May 15, Eisenstein’s uncertainty dissolved as roughly 10 outdoor enthusiasts appeared, gardening tools in hand. Together, the group hacked away at weeds that had grown on the walking paths and other unwanted plants intermingling with the native plants that inhabit the nature park.
When many parks and playgrounds were closed during the pandemic, the nature park, located on Pasadena Avenue, remained open for use.

Retirement of Physics Teacher, Colleagues a Quantum Loss

Photo courtesy SPUSD
Beloved physics teacher Konstantine “Dean” Papadakis is retiring after 37 years at South Pasadena High School.

No two school years are really ever alike, not least because there is always a swath of teachers leaving for other jobs or retirement and a wave of new instructors as well.
When South Pasadena High School’s students return to their classrooms this fall, those in science courses may feel a particularly notable void. After 37 years at the school, Konstantine “Dean” Papadakis is joining at least a half-dozen of his colleagues in retirement. He and other retirees — some of whom also have put in 30-plus years with the South Pasadena Unified School District — were honored in a video ceremony on May 19, in lieu of the usual in-person farewell.

Arroyo Vista Parents Create Colorful Ending to School Year

This week, as Arroyo Vista Elementary School students wrapped up a strange school year, some of their parents banded together to create a fun send-off for them as they kick off summer vacation.
As the students approached the school on Tuesday and Wednesday, they were treated to a facade of surfboards, beach accessories and other related props. In recent weeks, parents volunteered to put together the art installation to give their students an enjoyable last day of school after the COVID-19 pandemic prevented them from coming back to classrooms until March.

Photos courtesy Anna Festa
Arroyo Vista Elementary School students this week enjoy a beach-themed send-off into summer vacation, thanks to the creative work of the school’s PTA volunteers.

Middle School Arts Building Unveiled, Receives Praise

Photo by Christian Leonard / The Review
Among those who introduced the new South Pasadena Middle School arts building on Tuesday were Dave Lubs, the school district’s assistant superintendent of business services; Board of Education members Zahir Robb and Patricia Martinez-Miller; board President Ruby Kalra; SPMS Principal Cheryl Busick; board members Michelle Kipke and Suzie Abajian; Superintendent Geoff Yantz; and Robert Simons, president of SVA Architects.

With students graduating on the field just feet away, school administrators presented South Pasadena Middle School’s new Arts Building to a small crowd of staff members and families on Tuesday.
The building, which used to host SPMS’ gymnasium, has undergone renovation for more than two years, school representatives said. It now sports a theater for drama and dance lessons, a visual arts classroom and a flex lab for science and engineering activities. The theater also boasts an accompanying control booth and dressing room.

Long the Top Tiger, SPHS Principal to Retire

Review photo
Janet Anderson, the veteran principal at South Pasadena High School, greets students during a previous school year. She announced this week that she is retiring after 41 years with South Pasadena Unified School District, the past 21 at SPHS.

After guiding decades of students, South Pasadena High School Principal Janet Anderson announced this week she is wrapping up her career and bidding a bittersweet farewell to the local school system.
Anderson plans to retire in August, capping a 41-year education career that took place entirely in her hometown. She has spent the last 21 years of that journey as the principal of SPHS, from which she graduated in the 1970s. She also served as principal of Marengo Elementary School for three years, earning that position after working as a teacher and assistant administrator at every other school in SPUSD.
“It’s not the average length of tenure for a high school principal,” Anderson quipped in a phone interview on Tuesday.

City to Use Grant to Bolster Traffic Safety

By Haley Sawyer

The South Pasadena City Council took a step last week in deciding how to repurpose the grant that was to have paid for the Arroyo Fest, voting to issue three requests for traffic-related proposals.
Proposals are being sought for development of a Slow Streets program, for a traffic study to analyze travel lane closure options and for the design and installation of removable bollards — posts used as a traffic-safety measure — on Meridian Avenue.

Track Competitors Leave Pandemic in the Dust

By Nathan Cambridge

Photo by Susan Bradforth / The Review
Jane Kistner, Monty Bonz, Taelyn Adams, Brooke Zeisler, Lucia Mahler and Addison Jara with Lexi Mayne (front) joined in the All City Track Meet this past weekend.

It was time for the 5th-graders of South Pasadena to get things back on track, and in this case that literally meant getting back on the track.
After the 2020 version was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 All City Track Meet was back up and running at South Pasadena High School’s Ray Solari Stadium on Sunday morning.
“I’m thrilled that these 5th-graders get to have an event to kind of mark their end-of-elementary-school experience,” co-chair Eryn Kalavsky of Arroyo Vista Elementary School said. “It’s a rite of passage for them to get to have this opportunity.”
To maintain protocols aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19, the organizers altered the format. This included limiting the number of attendees to the event, which in years past has attracted upward of about 700 students and their family members, resulting in an event just for the 5th-graders.
The All City Track Meet included competitors from four elementary schools: Arroyo Vista, Marengo, Monterey Hills and Holy Family. Throughout the day, participants arrived in three separate shifts with about 40 kids in each wave; they would finish their competition and exit with their supporters just as the next group rolled in. Participants ran the 100-meter run, then the long jump and high jump. The next event included the 400-meter run. Finally, the four fastest kids in the 100 meters from each school raced in a 4×100 relay race, co-chair Gina Loyonnet of Monterey Hills explained.
“Just to make sure we were able to keep distance and we’re able to monitor the kids, we split it into sessions,” co-chair Noel Garcia of Marengo said.
South Pasadena’s three public elementary schools had students in each session, while Holy Family Catholic School joined them exclusively in the second group.
“I’m pretty excited,” Holy Family 5th-grader Ella Igtanloc said in the stands awaiting her turn. “I haven’t run for a tournament in track in a really long time because of the pandemic, so, yeah, I’m pretty excited.”
After a group warmup and jog, boys’ and girls’ 100-meter dashes kicked things off.
“The most fun one in my opinion was the 100-meter,” Arroyo Vista Wildcat Yannick Colin said, “because I can go fast and I still won’t be tired at the end.”
The relay, which was coed for the first time, finished each session.
“I think I liked the relay the most,” Monterey Hills Roadrunner Ramona Nichols said. “We exchanged batons and there were lots of kinds of people, girls and boys.”
Each of the top three finishers in every heat in all three sessions was awarded a medal, got their names read over the loudspeaker and stood atop a podium.
“I was so proud [seeing her on the podium],” Monica Munoz, an alumna of South Pasadena High School, said of her daughter, Juliana Hernandez. “It’s been a couple years she has been running for Arroyo Vista and she always does a great job and we’re always very proud of her.”
Although the live event was limited to the 5th-graders, the rest of the elementary school grades were able to take part in a virtual manner in the days leading up to the meet.
“We were just so excited to do this for the 5th-graders who missed out last year and were probably looking at missing out this year on all of the best in-person events of the year,” co-chair Megan Gardner of Arroyo Vista said. “We wanted to offer an in-person event as it became more obvious that we were going to be allowed to do outside events.”

Tigers Edged in CIF Semifinals


By Haley Sawyer

When San Marcos High School of Santa Barbara netted a goal in double-overtime to win the CIF Southern Section semifinals, the South Pasadena girls’ soccer team was sad, but only momentarily.
The negative emotions were quickly overshadowed by pride.

Little Change in Local Unemployment

Data Source: California Employment Development Department

Though Los Angeles County reduced coronavirus restrictions last month, South Pasadena’s unemployment rate moved little, increasing slightly to 7.6%.
About 1,100 city residents remained unemployed in April, according to preliminary data from the California Employment Development Department. Though the local joblessness rate rose from 7.4% in March, the number of unemployed residents was essentially unchanged in April compared with the month prior; a more specific count was not immediately available.
South Pasadena’s estimated labor force and number of working residents also remained steady in the two months, at 14,400 and 13,300, respectively.

We Help Your Student Attend the ‘Right’ College

Michele Doll

First published in the Jan. 14 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

Content provided by Steele Street

Recognizing the ongoing need for direction in the college admission process, Steele Street College Consulting was started to educate students and families about the college admission process.
Steele Street works individually with each student while providing an encouraging and stress-free college application process.
Over the past seven years, Steele Street has successfully assisted students in their application to and acceptance from a variety of colleges that have best suited the students’ academic pursuits, extracurricular interests and long-term goals. Ultimately, Steele Street believes that helping every student find their right fit is the most important factor for student success in finding and completing college.
Steele Street offers a variety of assistance to meet the needs of every student and family. Steele Street will create an individualized student action plan with an organizational timeline to develop an overall strategy for each student.
We provide all of our students access to a private protected student college portal and we assist with resume building, personal and supplemental essay ideas and editing along with a step by step review of all applications,” a company spokesperson said. We provide guidance on college tours, practicing for college interviews and scholarship and financial aid advice.
While we believe starting early is key to success, we will work with any high school student at any grade. We love starting with freshmen to provide guidance on high school courses, volunteering, and getting involved in athletics and clubs and we also love working with seniors and keeping them on target to have everything completed and submitted by the first of November. Trust us — we will assist with getting everything completed, submitted and take the pressure off of you, the parent. We will help your son or daughter find their “right fit!”
For information, visit the website steelestreet.org or email michele@steelestreet.org.

Normal Forgetfulness Versus Concerning Cognitive Decline

Elizabeth Whittington Senior Executive Director Sage Glendale Senior Living

First published in the Jan. 14 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

Content provided by Sage Glendale Senior Living

Have you forgotten where you placed your car keys? Your checkbook? How about forgetting where you parked your car at the shopping mall? These are all considered normal forgetfulness.
Forgetting what the car keys are for, how to write a check or whether or not you drove to the mall, could be signs of a more serious cognitive decline. Forgetfulness that impairs our judgement and decisions, or interferes with our ability to perform routine daily tasks, may indicate a need to seek your physician’s involvement, diagnosis and next steps.
If your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease or another dementia related disease, please know that we are here to help with our ‘In The Moment’ program and compassionate care. I have over 25 years of experience helping families and folks with dementia related diseases find the right resources and next steps for their loved ones.
Please call to set up a personalized visit. Sage Glendale is located at 525 W. Elk Ave., Glendale 91204. For more information, call (626) 714-0610. License # 198603413.

Tigers Open League Play by Hosting Temple City

Photo by Sebastian Moore / The Review South Pasadena freshman point guard Miles Nowe has helped the Tigers to a 9-3 overall record entering their Rio Hondo League opener.

First published in the Jan. 14 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

South Pasadena High School’s varsity girls’ basketball team has been idle for over a month since defeating Redondo Union of Redondo Beach, 53-49, in the 26th annual Gary Houston Classic championship game at El Monte Arroyo on Dec. 11.
The Tigers opened Rio Hondo League play by hosting Temple City on Wednesday, Jan. 12; the result was unavailable by the Review’s press deadline.
South Pasadena is scheduled to visit Pasadena Blair for its second league game on Friday, Jan. 14, at 5:15 p.m.


The Tigers boys’ team has been idle since defeating Granada Hills Kennedy in the second round of their SoCal Christmas Classic on Dec. 28.
South Pasadena returned to action and hosted Temple City to open Rio Hondo League play on Wednesday, Jan. 12; the result was unavailable by the Review’s press deadline.
The Tigers are scheduled to visit Pasadena Blair for their second league game on Friday, Jan. 14, at 7 p.m.

Pearson Scores as South Pas Ties League Opener

Photo by Sebastian Moore / The Review South Pasadena defender Sabrina Bluml (left) battles for possession during Rio Hondo League match at La Cañada.

First published in the Jan. 14 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

South Pasadena High School’s varsity girls’ soccer team traveled to La Canada and clashed in a competitive Rio Hondo League matchup that ended in a 1-1 tie last Friday.
South Pasadena defender Leah Pearson opened the scoring in the 32nd minute on a 6-yard floater past La Cañada goalie Montana La Barge. Tigers midfielder Sabrina Bluml earned the assist on a beautiful cross.
“I usually play center back, so it was really surprising; I haven’t scored in a long time, so it was nice,” Pearson said. “I just kind of kicked it and hoped it went in, and it did.”
The Spartans were held in check for the entire match. It was only thanks to an own-goal on South Pasadena (1-3-2 overall record, 0-1-1 in league) in the 73rd that saved La Cañada (5-1-2 overall, 0-0-1 in league) from opening league action with a loss.
“It comes with the pressure up top from our girls — that’s how you create an own goal,” LCHS head coach Kevin Neumeier said. “South Pas was under pressure and we forced them to get the turnover like that. I was proud of them for making that happen.”
The Spartans had their best offensive opportunity in the 51st on midfielder Shania Clorefine’s penalty shot, but Tigers goalie Amaris Franco deflected it.
“Amaris is a phenomenal keeper,” SPHS head coach Danielle Jones said. “I really expected that [penalty shot] to go out because I have that much confidence in her. She has such experience and a wealth of knowledge of how to play that position, so we definitely expected her to save that.”
It was a solid defensive game that saw limited opportunities by both teams as the ball remained in midfield for most of the match, except when La Cañada made a push to break the tie in the final minutes of regulation. Spartan fullbacks Samantha Neumeier (75th minute) and Atziri Fernandez (78th) took shots at the goal, but South Pasadena goalie Ava Hartstein blocked them.
Despite both teams’ limited attacking opportunities in the first half, the Tigers opened the second half strong and put pressure on La Cañada’s defense. South Pasadena fullback Brynn Dubester (47th) and Endo (48th) each had an opportunity to score but La Barge blocked the former while the latter missed above the post.
In the 65th and the 66th minutes, Tigers fullback Iris Pollard took two shots but missed right on both attempts.
“It’s not what you want,” Kevin Neumeier said about the draw. “I give them their winter break off so that’s two and a half weeks of not even playing, not even being together, so it’s kind of what I expected against a tough opponent like South Pas.”
La Cañada is scheduled to play at Temple City on Wednesday, Jan. 19, at 3:30 p.m.
Meanwhile, South Pasadena is scheduled to host Pasadena Blair on Friday, Jan. 14, at 3:30 p.m.

Fox Helps Tigers Rally to Tie La Cañada

Photo by Nathan Cambridge / The Review Keeran Murray (left) battles a La Cañada player for possession during a 3-3 tie.

First published in the Jan. 14 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

By Nathan Cambridge
The Review

With the nonleague schedule over, it was time for Rio Hondo League boys’ soccer action to start in earnest as three-time defending champion La Cañada opened its league slate at South Pasadena High School.
It came down to the last touch of the ball as the Spartans salvaged a 3-3 draw to thwart what had been a resilient comeback by the host Tigers Friday afternoon.
La Cañada’s Tyler Na-Nakornpanom was at the penalty spot, his team trailing by one five minutes into stoppage time. The senior fired a high shot that hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced violently down, landing across the goal line for the equalizer.
Directly afterward, the referee blew the whistle, ending the game in a tie and netting each squad a point in the league standings.
The Spartans (3-6-4 overall record, 0-0-1 in league) had been awarded the penalty kick as a result of a foul being called on South Pasadena as the Tigers tried to defend an incoming La Cañada corner kick.
The Tigers, who were playing their league home opener after defeating Monrovia 3-0 on the road to start their league season two days earlier, had scored just a minute into extra time to take their first lead. A Spartan was issued a yellow card for a hard tackle in the middle of the field, giving the hosts a free kick some 25 yards out from goal. South Pasadena’s Shota Maekawa blasted a hard shot over the wall that dropped directly at the feet of La Cañada’s backup goalie, who went down to make the initial save. However, he spilled the rebound back into play, allowing Sawyer Fox to collect it and score. It was Fox’s second goal of the half.
“I’m the team’s backup goalie and they put me in there just for some fun, so it feels good to score two goals and tie up the game,” Fox said.
La Cañada had jumped out early against South Pasadena (4-2-3 overall, 1-0-1 league) with two goals in the opening 11 minutes.
But in the 30th minute, South Pasadena got on the board and the momentum started to change. The Tigers were awarded a penalty kick after a foul called on the Spartans. Maekawa did the honors. He casually approached the ball straight on before zinging a shot on the ground into the right side of the net.
La Cañada was forced to play the second half with a freshman junior varsity player in goal after starter Nick Boghossian went out with a knock to the head.
“It was a mostly different second half with most [of the action] happening on our side of the field with South Pasadena style prevailing,” Spartan coach Bruno Costa said. “They have a more direct style of play and we are a more possession style of play. We didn’t possess as much as we should have in the second half.”
In the 62nd minute, Fox netted his first goal. Tiger Andrew Kowal unleashed a monstrous throw in landing in the mixer in the center of the box. Amid a flurry of legs, Fox got a foot on the ball and scored to knot the game at 2-2.
“I told the boys we need to step it up from the beginning,” South Pasadena coach Juan Zurita said. “We were too slow at the beginning of the game and we can’t allow those goals, especially playing at home.”

South Pasadena Falls to La Cañada, 16-6

Photo by Sebastian Moore / The Review South Pasadena’s Grace Markus loads up for a penalty shot attempt during the Tigers’ Rio Hondo League loss to visiting La Cañada. Markus scored a team-high three goals.

First published in the Jan. 14 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

The South Pasadena High School varsity girls’ water polo team had its first home game but fell to visiting La Cañada, 16-6, in a Rio Hondo League match on Tuesday.
Tigers star Grace Markus scored the game’s opening goal on a half-court lob that passed the fingertips of La Cañada goalie Didi Reifsnyder-Smith.
“Grace is definitely our leader offensively,” SPHS head coach Lindsey Garcia said. “She is a very experienced water polo player and she makes a lot happen for us. She shoots the ball well and understands the flow of the game really well.”
It was an uphill battle for South Pasadena (1-2 league and 1-2 overall record) from then on as La Cañada (1-0 league, 3-4 overall) scored seven consecutive times to take a 7-1 lead after the first quarter.
SP’s Luna Encinas tried to spark a rally in the second quarter by scoring back-to-back goals from the 5-yard mark in the first minute to make it 7-3. But South Pasadena was held scoreless for the rest of the half as La Cañada ended on a 4-0 run to make it 11-3 at halftime.
“Luna has grown a lot and she shoots the ball really well,” Garcia said. “She does a really good job communicating with the team offensively and defensively. She finds herself in good spots and she can put the ball away when we need her to.”
South Pasadena tacked on three more goals — two from Markus and one from Lana Encinas — before La Cañada swam away with its first league win of the season.
“We’re still growing and, generally, we’re a new team,” Markus said. “A lot of players didn’t get the time last year to practice because of COVID.”
The Tigers are scheduled to resume league action by hosting Monrovia (0-9 overall) on Tuesday, Jan. 18, at 3:30 p.m.

South Pasadena Police Department Crime Report

Tools were stolen from a vehicle parked in the 1300 block of Spruce Street sometime between 9 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 12, and 10 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 13. The car’s door lock was drilled to allow entry.

Catalytic converters were reported stolen from the following vehicles:
• A 2004 Toyota Prius parked in the 1700 block of State Street at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 12. A group of three men reportedly cut and stole the catalytic converter.
• A 2004 Honda Accord parked in the 1700 block of State Street sometime between 2:53 p.m. and 3:31 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 12. A group of three men reportedly cut and stole the catalytic converter.
• A 2006 Honda Element parked in the 700 block of Orange Grove Avenue sometime between 3 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday, Jan. 10.
• A 2007 Toyota Prius parked in the 2000 block of Empress Avenue at 7 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 15. Three men in a black Kia Sedona minivan reportedly cut and stolen the catalytic converter.

A coin box was stolen from an apartment laundry room in the 1800 block of State Street at 5:09 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 5. The first thief was described as a roughly 30-year-old white man with dark, curly hair, standing between 5 feet 8 inches and 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighing about 180 pounds and wearing black clothing. The second thief was described as a roughly 40-year-old white man standing between 5 feet, 8 inches and 5 feet, 10 inches tall, weighing abound 180 pounds, and wearing light-colored jeans, a gray jacket and white or gray T-shirt. The two men were driving a dark gray, mid- to late-2000s four-door B6 Audi A4 Avant.

An unidentified man damaged a mailbox and took its contents in the 600 block of Indiana Avenue sometime between 1 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 11, and 11 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 12.

A 43-year-old Los Angeles man was arrested for allegedly driving under the influence near Mission Street and Garfield Avenue sometime between 5:28 and 5:44 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15.

These alleged crimes and incidents were reported to the South Pasadena Police Department between Tuesday, Jan. 11, and Monday, Jan. 17. Information was gathered from a weekly crime summary published by SPPD’s Crime Prevention Unit.

COVID Surge Pauses Restoration Concerts

Photo courtesy Rafael Najarian The January and February Restoration Concert dates have been canceled out of concern over the rapidly spreading COVID-19 Omicron variant.

First published in the Jan. 14 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

Due to the rapidly spreading omicron variant of the coronavirus, the January and February 2022 performances sponsored by the Restoration Concerts Series in South Pasadena have been canceled.
The Jan. 16 concert was to feature a performance by Tien-Shin Cindy Wu on violin and Ines Rawat on piano. On Feb. 6, a trio featuring Rafael Rishik on violin, Giovanna Moraga Clayton on cello and Robert Thies on piano was scheduled.
Ticketholders are being contacted. According to the organizers, concertgoers can receive a refund for the two concerts or consider the price of the performances a donation. They can also have their funds held, so if the performances are rescheduled this spring, their seats will be reserved for the new concert dates.
Following the January and February concerts, three spring performances remain in the 2021-22 series. All are sponsored by the Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library through its Restoration Concerts Series Committee. Concerts are scheduled for 4 p.m. on Sundays on March 6, April 10 and May 22, in the Library Community Room at 1115 El Centro St. in South Pasadena. Programs for those dates can be viewed by visiting www.friendsofsopaslibrary.org/restoration-concerts.
For more information, email the committee chairpersons at restorationconcerts@gmail.com.

Tournament Seeks Float Ideas for 2023 Rose Parade

First published in the Jan. 14 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

Individuals from around the world now have an opportunity to lend a hand to what the city of South Pasadena’s float will look like for the 2023 Rose Parade.
Float design concepts can be submitted through direct message on social media. It has only been days since South Pasadena earned the Founder Award for its most recent float — “Sky’s the Limit” — in the 2022 New Year’s Day spectacle, and it is already gearing up for next year’s parade in Pasadena.
“While we are thoroughly enjoying our prize with our latest entry in the Rose Parade, it’s time to pick our next entry,” said Chris Metcalf, who handles social media for the South Pasadena Tournament of Roses Committee.
Metcalf says the theme for the 2023 parade will be “Turning the Corner” and entry forms can be found on both Facebook and Instagram at SPRosefloat. The deadline for submissions is Jan. 21 by 5 p.m.
“Whether that corner is actual — like the one at the famous turn, signaling the parade’s start, or figurative like the unlimited potential that each new year brings — we all enjoy the opportunity of a fresh start,” reads the application form. “Turning a corner means rising above — alone, or with friends, family and community — it means realizing dreams and pursuing possibility. This year, as we turn the corner together, we share in the hope, beauty and joy of what 2023 will bring.”
Metcalf stressed, “You must print and fill out the release completely. All entries will become the property of the SPTOR organization. Just remember, even if your entry isn’t accepted for the next float we build, it could be in the future.”
He noted that the “Sky’s the Limit” float, honored for being the most outstanding float built and decorated by volunteers from a community or organization, was submitted in 2011.
The design sketch must be black and white, in pencil or pen and on paper no larger than 8.5 by 11 inches.
Participants can mail or deliver entries and a signed release form addressed to the South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, 1121 Mission St., South Pasadena, CA 91030, or mail to the SPTOR Design Committee, P.O. Box 3662, South Pasadena, CA 91031.

Little Acknowledgement of Mexican American Historical Site

Photo courtesy Maria Elena Gutierrez Félix Gutierrez stands outside of El Adobe Flores in South Pasadena. The historic site bears some little-known history relating to the end of the Mexican-American War, and Gutierrez is returning to his hometown to teach people about it.

First published in the Jan. 14 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

Félix Gutierrez is returning to live in the South Pasadena home where he spent his teenage years — still carrying the story he has shouldered since those days.
And he wanted to share that story with me — and those of us who may not know about El Adobe Flores and South Pasadena’s brush with destiny on Jan. 11, 1847.
It has been 175 years since leaders of the Californio forces — which is what Mexicans in California called themselves — gathered at what was then called the Manuel Garfias Adobe to consider next moves and a possible peace offering from U.S. forces during the Conquest of California in the Mexican-American War.
Two days later, the two sides signed the Treaty of Cahuenga near what today is Universal Studios. The treaty marked the official end of military operations between Mexico and the United States within California. The Californios agreed to hand over their artillery and arms and return home. In exchange, they were promised “equal rights and privileges as every citizen in California” and every U.S. citizen. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, in 1848, officially ended warfare between the two nations.
On Sunday, some friends and I visited this historic place — sandwiched between two apartment buildings on Foothill Street on a hill overlooking the northern edge of Garfield Park. There are three historical markers on the front of the home. One, placed by the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1920, reads, “Headquarters of Gen. Jose Maria Flores before the capitulation to Gen. John C. Fremont, Jan. 13, 1847.”

Photos courtesy South Pasadena Preservation Foundation
El Adobe Flores, the oldest home in South Pasadena, is listed as a historic place. Its story doesn’t seem widely known, however.

Remember, while all this was happening, California was considered what was called a department, which had its own sense of identity and some degree of autonomy. So, when America declared war on Mexico, that country pulled most of its troops back into Mexico to defend the country.
Flores was assigned to command the resistance using local militia, volunteers and without most of the guns, which went south with the regular army.
Despite a series of early victories, the Californios faced increasing pressure — Flores lost two nearby battles and was forced to stop at the adobe in what eventually became South Pasadena.
It was a headquarters of necessity. The Californios needed a place to consider their next move. A diplomatic option came from John Fremont — then a lieutenant general and later a general — by way of Californio John Pico. Flores decided to continue fighting closer to Mexico City. The next day, an armistice was called and on Jan. 13, the Treaty of Cahuenga was signed at a site near Universal City by the Californian forces under the Mexican flag.
So, the adobe’s fame came and went.
We talked to a man who rents the home directly behind the adobe, and he said that there were some people who recently stopped by looking for the home, which he knew had historical significance. If he hadn’t told me where to look, I would have missed it.
But the silence later made my imagination wonder to what it was like in those last frantic days and what it must have been like on Jan. 11 that year when they gathered to figure out just what to do and how that decision — made in an adobe in our city — helped to change the course of California.
“Wow, you’re educating me. You are telling me about something that I knew nothing about,” said Janna Philpot, president of the Latino cultural nonprofit Vecinos de South Pasadena.
Philpot said she asked her son, who was home from college, about the adobe, and he knew nothing about the place either. Annalee Pearson, a teacher at South Pasadena High School and adviser to the Latinx Student Union, said it was news to her, too.

Photos courtesy South Pasadena Preservation Foundation
A plaque from the Daughters of the American Revolution showcases the significance of the El Adobe Flores home in South Pasadena.

“Not only do the students not know that — I did not know that part of local history,” she said.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was an elevated sign on Garfield, where it turns onto Foothill, explaining what happened at that white adobe building on the hill 175 years ago? Or if there was some city monument in the park? Or maybe if it was part of some city guide?
That’s one reason Gutierrez was so passionate about having me think about my doing a story.
The adobe is also part of his family’s journey. Remember the treaty of Jan. 13, 1847, which provided for those Californios who gave up their arms to have the same rights as other American citizens? Gutierrez’s family goes back into the 18th century, and his family has had to deal with prejudice for being Latino.
“A single-story adobe home framed by red roof files and a cactus garden, El Adobe Flores seemed just an out-of-place curiosity near the modern apartment houses to which I delivered newspapers in the 1950s,” Gutierrez wrote in an essay titled “The Manifestations of Destiny.” (The essay was included in a book edited by David Halberstam, called “Defining a Nation.”)
Today, it is a private residence and the oldest home in the city, according to Jane Apostol, in her history of the city.
Gutierrez spent his teenage years in South Pasadena, where his mother purchased a home in order to get him a better education. He went on to earn a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University, became an assistant dean at Stanford, earned his doctorate and was a dean at USC. He was most recently an executive at both the Freedom Forum, an organization dedicated to freedom of the press, and also at the Newseum, which was dedicated to showcasing artifacts and items of interest in the area of news coverage.
Both of Gutierrez’s parents were teachers.
“My father would tell me: ‘Be proud and show what a Mexican can do,” he said.
Gutierrez recalls the South Pasadena of his youth as very friendly and very white, while he now finds it more racially diverse and less isolated. He said that he recalled that South Pasadena used to have everything a person might need within the boundary of the city. He was among a handful of minority students in his SPHS graduation class, in 1961.
“They would make fun of you — some of it was physical, and some was said by someone in jest — but it hurt. You had to overcome it,” he said. “There was no positive reinforcement and being Latinx was never presented as a plus.”
No one makes fun of Gutierrez now. He and his family are a success story. He and his two sisters have gone on to earn 10 undergraduate and graduate degrees from six universities: Cal State Los Angeles, Stanford, Northwestern, UC Berkeley, the University of Chicago and the University of Michigan.
And now Gutierrez is moving back into the home his mother bought in 1955, with a desire to use the Adobe Flores to promote discussion of Latino history and culture in our community.
“This is important to know and recognize because of what happened, and perhaps more importantly,” he said, “it factually counters the common belief that Los Angeles was a sleepy pueblo that was taken by the U.S. forces from Mexicans characterized by sexy senoritas, handsome Vaqueros and lazy peons taking siestas instead of working to improve themselves and their land.”