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Fire Officials Respond to Fire in Arroyo Park

Fire officials are working to extinguish a fire in Arroyo Park in South Pasadena which started at about 5:30 p.m on Saturday afternoon.

Reports are that trees are on fire in the area.

South Pasadena Hands Rosemead High School 20-7 Loss in the Tigers’ Season Opener

South Pasadena High rolled to a 20-7 victory in its season opener against Rosemead Friday night behind a three touchdown performance by Jackson Totleben.

After a scoreless first quarter, Totleben scored from 17 yards out at the 5:50 mark of the second period to put the Tigers in front 7-0.

Sam Hernandez put Rosemead’s only points on the board on a 5-yard run with 55 seconds left before halftime.

A fumble recovery led to the Tigers next score as Totleben finished off the 22 yard drive with a quick 5-yard burst up the middle at the 5:03 mark of the third quarter.

Totleben scored his final TD on the first play of the 4th period when he hurdled over the top from 3-yards out, making it 20-7 after a missed extra point.

Helping to set up the TD was a huge 54-yard run by Glen Levstik.

“We have to give the Line credit for opening up some big holes for our running game,” said Tigers’ Coach Jeff Chi, who picked up his first win in returning as the Tigers’ head coach. He was South Pasadena’s varsity coach in 1991, but has spent most of his time in an assistant role since those days. “It feels good. I’m glad we won, but I know we can play much better. We’ll start working on that tomorrow.”

Look for more updates later.

Tigers Football Faces Rosemead Friday Night at 7 p.m. in Home Opener

For first-year varsity coach Jeff Chi it comes down to “taking care of business, doing what we need to do” as South Pasadena High prepares for its season opener at home tonight against Rosemead.

Chi, who takes over for C.B. Richards, the  Tigers’ coach the past two seasons, is confident his club can have a solid offensive and defensive showing in its 2017 debut.

Taking care of business means South Pas quarterback Sydney Luna-Long must be smart on offense, controlling both the ball and clock.

And on defense? “We have to hustle, swarm after the ball, and take care of every opportunity that might come our way,” said Chi.

“If we do what we’re suppose to do, we’ll be fine,” he continued. “We just have to play our game.”

That’s all that matters to Chi and his 35-man roster as South Pasadena goes up against a big, physical, and talented Panthers’ unit.

Lining up at one of the wide receiver spots for the Tigers will be senior Danny Rios, 17, who is expecting a lot of games to go into South Pasadena’s win column this season. “I think we’re ready to go,” he said. “Rosemead lost a lot of seniors, and hopefully we can put up a good fight to them.”

South Pasadena came out on top in its meeting with Rosemead a year ago during its 7-4 season, which included a forfeit victory over Blair.

Rios wants nothing  more than to win a Rio Hondo League championship this season. “We have the potential this year to actually follow through with it,” he said. “The league looks wide open, so I think we have a good chance.”

Fernando Sornoso, 17, a senior linebacker and fullback, knows the Tigers lost 22 seniors to graduation last season, but likes how this year’s class has stepped up during the spring and summer drills as it prepared for the fall. “We lost a lot of our offensive line, we’re small in numbers, small in size, but make it up with heart,” said Sornoso. “We’re giving it 100 percent everyday. We all have high hopes this year.”

Noah Millholland, 17, a senior, plays safety and hopes to play some cornerback during the year. “I think we have a good chance against every team,” he said. “I see us fighting until the last quarter. We’re a hard-working and determined team.”

Luna-Long, 17, takes over the quarterbacking role this season and appears to have full command of the Tigers’ offense. “Rosemead is a good team and going to come out playing hard,” he said. Agreeing with Chi, he added, “It’s just going to come down to executing (on offense). We just need to work hard, play hard.”

He’s looking forward to building a “new tradition, new mentality” of winning under a new coach. “We’ve had success over the past two years and we just want to keep it going,” he said.

Justin Huff, 16, a junior, is the backup quarterback and a standout  kicker with a strong leg. “We’re young team,” he said. “It’s definitely going to be a rebuilding year. We have a young line.”   

Among a crop of new varsity players is transfer tight end and linebacker Wynn Starratt, 17, who comes over from Mananatha, a private school in Pasadena.

“I like this team,” said Starratt, “I think we’re going to be good. In a lot of ways it’s better than playing for Maranatha. It’s more of a family. Coming to South Pas I feel like everyone is bonded, which I think is really good for the team.”

The good-natured Starratt seems to always be smiling, having fun with his fellow players in practice. “I’m having a great time,” he enthused. “Every day is a blast.”

As a tune-up for tonight’s game, the Tigers were tested during a scrimmage last Friday night against Pioneer of Whittier, Pasadena and Baldwin Park. “We tried to treat it as a game situation to get the kids ready for the season,” explained Chi. “It was good to get some live action against other teams.”

Coverage and Photos from Dodgers Photographer Jon Soohoo’s Visit to SP Library

Jon Soohoo, Los Angeles Dodgers photographer since 1985 and former South Pasadena resident, presented a selection of photographs handpicked from his entire career last week in a room at the public library overflowing with blue.

A line of people hoping to squeeze into the South Pasadena Library Community Room extended from its steps all the way to the sidewalk along El Centro Street even after the event began, prompting Soohoo to apologize for not being able to accommodate everyone.

“I really didn’t expect this kind of turnout,” he said. “It is really an honor to do this in South Pasadena, the place where I raised my kids.”

Soohoo organized his work into four separately-themed slide shows: Dodgers photographs from 1985 to the start of this season, pictures from his career outside of Dodgers baseball, a collection of Vin Scully shots, and photos from the Dodgers’ historic ongoing season. After each section, Soohoo answered questions from the evening’s moderator, longtime Dodgers historian Mark Langill, as well as from audience members.

Jon Soohoo, left, Councilman Bob Joe, center, and Mark Langill, Dodgers historian, right at last week’s presentation at the South Pasadena Public Library Community Room. Photo by Bill Glazier

Before introducing Soohoo, Langill reflected on South Pasadena’s influence on his own journey with the Dodgers. “How cool to be able to do a program at your home town library, because I can look at that front lawn of the library and think back 45 years ago when I bought my very first book about the Dodgers,” he recalled. “It was for 10 cents. Later that summer I went to my first game, and I can still remember my exact seat.”

Such Dodgers nostalgia characterized the first half of the event, which featured photos of Kirk Gibson’s homer in game one of the 1988 World Series and shots from Soohoo’s early years with the team. However, an energy emanating from the team’s current success became palpable as the presentation of this year’s photos approached.

When asked to name his favorite shot from this year, Soohoo said that every night seems to bring another miraculous comeback or moment, but that he would have to go with the most recent. “That’s hard to say, but I’d probably go with Yasiel Puig hitting that walk off,” said Soohoo, referring to the right fielder’s game-winning two-run double a day earlier.

One of the topics Soohoo addressed was his process for capturing aerial shots on the field, where he attaches a camera to a fishing rod and uses his exclusive field access to position the camera perfectly. Another amusing topic was his experience shooting celebratory scenes in crowded locker rooms where champagne is spraying every which way. The most difficult part, he maintains, is protecting himself, not his equipment (he has a separate set of waterproof cameras).

Soohoo also spoke about the challenge of gathering 37 years of work, some of which is stored in the Dodgers’ archives in Atlanta, and about his initial inspiration to become a sports photographer.

“The young Jon Soohoo,” said the lifelong USC Trojan fan, “was going to the Coliseum with his mom and dad, and saw the seats near the field and said, ‘Mom, how do we get down there?’”

The banter between Langill and the understated Soohoo made the question and answer interludes entertaining as well as informative. In introducing his second slide show, Soohoo nonchalantly said, “Here is the other stuff I shoot,” causing Langill to cut in.

“I have to interject,” said the celebrated Dodgers historian, chuckling, “‘The other stuff I shoot’—that would be the Rose Bowl, Super Bowls, the Stanley Cup, a NASA launching, stuff like that.”

Some of the photos from Soohoo’s presentation below:

Los Angeles Dodgers Clayton Kershaw vs San Diego Padres Monday April 3, 2017 in Los Angeles,California. Photo by Jon SooHoo/©Los Angeles Dodgers,LLC 2017
Vin Scully Ring of Honor-Los Angeles Dodgers vs San Francisco Giants Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at Dodger Stadium. Photo by Jon SooHoo/ ©Los Angeles Dodgers,LLC 2017
Los Angeles Dodgers Adrian Gonzalez and Cody Bellinger vs San Diego Padres at Petco Park in San Diego,California. Photo by Jon SooHoo/ ©Los Angeles Dodgers,LLC 2017
Los Angeles Dodgers Chase Utley vs Chicago Cubs Saturday, May 27, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Jon SooHoo/ ©Los Angeles Dodgers,LLC 2017
Justin Turner, on this week’s cover of Sports Illustrated
Los Angeles Dodgers Cody Bellinger and Lonzo Ball prior to game vs Colorado Rockies Friday, June 23, 2017 at Dodger Stadium. Photo by Jon SooHoo/©Los Angeles Dodgers,LLC 2017
Los Angeles Dodgers Yasiel Puig and Adrian Gonzalez vs San Diego Padres Saturday, July 1, 2017 at Petco Park in San Diego,California. Photo by Jon SooHoo/©Los Angeles Dodgers,LLC 2017
Los Angeles Dodgers vs Atlanta Braves Saturday, July 22, 2017 at Dodger Stadium. Photo by Jon SooHoo/ ©Los Angeles Dodgers,LLC 2017
Los Angeles Dodgers Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig vs Atlanta Braves Saturday, July 22, 2017 at Dodger Stadium. Photo by Jon SooHoo/ ©Los Angeles Dodgers,LLC 2017
Jackie Robinson Statue on Fireworks Night after the Los Angeles Dodgers vs San Francisco Giants Friday, July 28, 2017 at Dodger Stadium. Photo by Jon SooHoo/ ©Los Angeles Dodgers,LLC 2017
Los Angeles Dodgers Yasiel Puig vs Chicago White Sox Wednesday, August 16, 2017 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles,California. Photo by Jon SooHoo/©Los Angeles Dodgers,LLC 2017

Second Interviews Conducted With Applicants to Operate San Pascual Stables

Second round interviews for the top two applicants to operate the San Pasqual Stables in  Arroyo Park were conducted last week.

Learning the current operator of the facility is neither ranked first nor second prompted many boarders, trainers and supporters of the stables to pack last week’s City Council meeting to express their discontent.

A subcommittee of the San Pascual Committee learned more about the operations of the frontrunners – Paddock Riding Club in Atwater Village and All Equestrian Services – on Wednesday, Aug. 16, during a lengthy question and answer period in an effort to take its recommendation to City Council in September.

The bidding process opened when the City of South Pasadena sent out a request for proposals to firms interested in running the stables. A handful were returned and, following initial interviews, all five were ranked. San Pascual Stables seeded third ahead of Dark Horse White Knight in fourth and Double Crown in fifth.

“We are reviewing the results of those two interviews,” said South Pasadena Community Services Director Pautsch. “We wanted to dive deeper and find out more about how they plan to operate the facility and what capital improvements they will make,” said Pautsch. “We also wanted to learn about barn management and plans for riding school.”

On the subcommittee of the San Pascual Committee are Kay Findley, Ron Rosen, consultant Bob Rose – highly knowledgeable in stable operations – and Pautsch.

Trainers, boarders and even a group of young gold medal champions were among those who filled the council chambers to provide testimony, all backing the current operator. Much of the support was directed at managers Caroline and David Sterckx.

“Technically, all five (of the interested parties) are still in the running,” said Pautsch. “One might fall out because it’s not strong in one area or the other. If we need to bring one in for another interview we will do that in the next couple of weeks.”

Pautsch said she hopes to open up negotiations with the top pick following the City Council’s approval on September 20.

The community services director was inside the council chambers when many favored the Corbell Partnership, under Renato Corzo and Alex Bellehumeur, as their first choice. 

“I saw a strong group of boarders and supporters of the stables who have a love of horses,” she said. “We are very unique to have our own horse stables and provide that amenity to our residents. It was very touching how passionate riders are and those at the stables. It’s a community, just like Little League and AYSO. Everyone knows each other. It’s a close-knit group. You could really see the community sense of pride.”

Aramazd Andressian Sr. Sentenced to 25 Years to Life in Prison

Aramazd Andressian Sr., the South Pasadena man who pleaded guilty last month to murdering his 5-year-old son, was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison Wednesday morning in an Alhambra courtroom. According to the Los Angeles Times, Ana Estevez, Aramazd Andressian Jr’s mother, addressed her ex-husband during the sentencing, telling him, “I hope you relive the image of you murdering my baby in your mind for the rest of your life…I pity you. You are a failure as a father. You are a failure as a man. You are a failure as a human being.” Officials later released the details of Piqui’s murder at an afternoon press conference. It was determined that Andressian Sr. smothered his son to death after taking him to Disneyland on April 20. Reports said that the South Pasadena resident had premeditated the murder for three months and had planned to frame it on Estevez.

Free Screening of “Buffalo Bill” Aug. 31 in Community Room

A free screening of “Buffalo Bill,” a 1944 Technicolor western starring South Pasadena’s Joel McCrea (1905-1990), will be presented on Thursday, Aug. 31, at 7 p.m. at the local library community room.

The classic western features an all-star cast that also includes Anthony Quinn, Maureen O’Hara, Linda Darnell and Edgar Buchanan. The compelling, well-acted film is set against the backdrop of the bloody battles between white settlers and Native Americans.

Directed by the legendary William A. Wellman (1896-1975), known for directing more that 80 feature films, including “Wings,” the winner of the first Academy Award for Best Picture in 1927. Wellman also directed “The Public Enemy” with James Cagney and Jean Harlow (1931), the first version of “A Star is Born” (1937), “Beau Geste” starring Gary Cooper (1939), and “The High and the Mighty” with John Wayne (1954).

“Buffalo Bill” tells the exciting, fictionalized story of the famous scout turned showman, William F. Cody. Outspoken and greatly skilled in guns and hunting, Cody also faces deep personal struggles, including his troubled marriage to a senator’s daughter, played by the fiery O’Hara. Buffalo Bill is accused of fraud and faces the cost of balancing his friendships with both the settlers and the Natives.

Master of Ceremonies for the Library Film Night will be the illustrious cowboy poet, Larry Maurice. The event will also feature a panel discussion with Wyatt McCrea, one of Joel’s grandsons and the Executive Director of the Joel and Frances McCrea Ranch Foundation in Thousand Oaks. Bill Wellman, Jr., the son of the director and a celebrated actor in his own right, will also serve on the panel, along with Petrine Day Mitchum, an award-winning filmmaker whose short films have appeared on “Saturday Night Live!” Petrine is the lead author of “Hollywood Hoofbeats, The Fascinating Story of Horses in Movies and Television.”

Actor William Wellman Jr. started off in featured parts in films directed by his father. Bill’s television career kicked in as the 1930s approached with a number of rugged guest roles on the established westerns “Have Gun, Will Travel,” “Rawhide,” “Laramie” and “Gunsmoke.” Bill’s career has enjoyed longevity and is credited with nearly 200 movies and television shows, as well as writing and producing efforts. He is the author of “William Wellman: Hollywood Rebel.”

McCrea was born in South Pasadena on November 5, 1905, the son of Lou Whipple and Thomas P. McCrea. Both of Joel’s parents were of pioneer stock: Lou’s father, Major Albert Whipple, had journeyed westward in a covered wagon in 1849 and Thomas’s father, Major John McCrea, escorted a stagecoach, fighting the Apaches along the way. Joel had a brother, John, and a sister, Lois. As a boy in South Pasadena, Joel enjoyed a normal childhood, playing with his brother, sister, and cousins and “doing family stuff.” He moved with his family to Hollywood when he was 9.

Joel McCrea eventually went on to blaze a remarkable trail, appearing in 90 feature films over a 50-year period. By the time Joel retired after 80 starring roles during Hollywood’s Golden Age, he was declared “The Last of the Great Cowboy Film Heroes.”

As an actor McCrea was known for his strength, realism, and dependability. Although he appeared in comedies, thrillers, adventures, and romances, westerns became his forte. McCrea was one of the very few actors who started as a lowly extra in the film business and rose to leading roles.

The South Pasadena Library Community Room is at 1115 El Centro St. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and refreshments will be served.

The Great American Eclipse a Hit in Library Community Room

A special total eclipse event was presented in the South Pasadena Library Community Room on Monday.

Dr. Bonnie Buratti, a senior research scientist from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and author of the new book, “Worlds Fantastic, Worlds Familiar: A Guided Tour of the Solar System,” offered illuminating perspective on the total solar eclipse. She also answered audience questions before authoritative coverage of the eclipse from NASA and the Exploratorium in San Francisco was projected onto a giant screen.


Solar eclipses occur when the moon passes between the earth and the sun to cast a shadow on the earth’s surface.

“I’m really gratified that astronomy holds the public’s interest so much,” said Buratti, scanning the crowded room.

Dr. Bonnie Buratti

She called the eclipse “awesome” while talking about America’s fascination with it. “Anyone who has ever witnessed a solar eclipse, the movement of the moon in front of the sun, will never forget it,” she said.

Special NASA cameras and telescopes were on the path of totality in Oregon and Wyoming with a live broadcast, along with enlightening commentary.

After her presentation, Dr. Buratti led audience members outside into Library Park where they took turns sharing eclipse glasses.

Dr. Buratti is a principal scientist and technical manager at JPL with expertise on the structure and evolution of icy moons and other small bodies. She holds degrees in astronomy from MIT and Cornell.

Additionally, Buratti is currently serving on the science teams for both the Cassini and New Horizons missions, and is also the NASA project scientist for the Rosetta Mission to a comet.

The author or co-author of more than 200 scientific papers, Dr. Buratti was awarded the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, and the International Astronomical Union recognized her work by naming an asteroid after her.

As a special treat, “Moon Pies” were provided by the Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library. They have been part of American culture since 1917 and consist of two round graham cracker cookies, with marshmallow filling in the center, dipped in a flavored coating. Moon Pies are made by the Chattanooga Bakery in Chattanooga, TN.

“La La Land” Screening in the Library Community Room on August 24

A screening of the 2016 musical romantic comedy drama “La La Land’ will be presented on Thursday, August 24 at 7 p.m. in the Library Community Room. The free event is presented by the South Pasadena Public Library, the Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library, and the Friends of the Rialto Theatre, with special thanks to 210eastsound and Movie Licensing USA. The beloved film grossed over $445 million worldwide after it was made with a relatively small budget of $30 million. It will be shown using professional equipment and projected onto a giant film festival-type screen.

The Library event will also feature a discussion by Escott Norton, the Executive Director of the Friends of the Rialto Theatre with David Wasco and Sandy Reynolds-Wasco, a husband and wife duo who are production designers and art directors. The couple is best known for their frequent collaborations with director Quentin Tarantino as a production designer such as “Reservoir Dogs” (1992), “Pulp Fiction” (1994), “Kill Bill: Volume 1” (2003), and “La La Land” (2016) for which they won the Academy Award for Best Production Design at the 89th Academy Awards.

Upon its release,”La La Land,” was dubbed “a love letter to Hollywood” and became an American cultural phenomenon and an instant classic. Written and directed by Damien Chaziel, the charming tour de force stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, with John Legend in a key supporting role. Besides a popular success, the film was also a critical blockbuster that was showered with 14 Academy Award nominations, tying the record. It eventually won 7 Oscars, including Best Director for Chaziel, Best Actress for Stone, and Best Score for the compositions and orchestrations of Jason Hurvitz, a Harvard University classmate of Chaziel. The film also won hundreds of other awards, and was tabbed as Best Picture of the Year in many polls.

As so many millions already know, “La La Land” follows the lives of two young LA dreamers, an aspiring and inspired actress in Stone as Mia, and a talented and stubborn jazz pianist in Gosling as Sebastian. They meet and fall in love while trying to succeed on their own terms in their chosen professions which are not always complementary. Filmed on location in various recognizable spots in Los Angeles, the movie also prominently features South Pasadena’s historic Rialto Theatre where Mia and Sebastian attend a showing of “Rebel Without a Cause.” The film’s opening scene is a vibrant musical dance scene featuring a cast of dozens, caught up in a traffic jam on the ramp to the 110 Freeway. It sets the stage for many more unforgettable scenes to come.

The Library Community Room is located at 1115 El Centro St.. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and no tickets or reservations are needed, but “first come, first seated”. Refreshments will be served. The Community Room is only about a block away from the South Pasadena Thursday Farmers Market, considered one of Southern California’s best, and only about 2 blocks from the Gold Line Station. Free parking is available at the Mission-Meridian Parking Garage, located at 805 Meridian Avenue next to the Metro Gold Line Station.