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.
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.
There is talk of soon putting a cap on the COVID-19 pandemic. That would be wonderful news if true. There is also talk about pulling the last troops out of Afghanistan by this September. That would put a cap on America’s longest war, which has been going on since 2001.
The arduous journey of selling its historic but outgrown central office may finally be arriving at an end for the South Pasadena Unified School District. Per an agreement ratified by the Board of Education this week, the district is expected to turn over custody of the property at 1020 El Centro St. to a developer for more than $12.25 million. The developer is listed under the name FSM SOPAS LLC in public documents. The tentative sale caps years of consideration and attempts by the district to move its main offices and sell the longtime location, which remains in strong need of renovations and is no longer considered appropriate to handle operations at the district’s current scale. Those attempts to sell have magnified in the past year, with multiple purchase agreements falling through and ultimately forcing the district to use a loan to pull the trigger on its new location. “Let this be the last time that we vote on an agreement like this,” Superintendent Geoff Yantz quipped on Tuesday night.
After rescinding its offer to the previous candidate, the City Council last week voted unanimously to approve South Pasadena’s newest city manager. Armine Chaparyan will take the reins as city manager officially on Monday, May 31, taking over the duties of interim City Manager Sean Joyce. Formally, Chaparyan will replace Stephanie DeWolfe, whom the council parted ways with in September. “We look forward to working with [Armine] and are very grateful to our interim city manager, who had anticipated that he would be gone by now and returning to a lovely life in retirement,” said Mayor Diana Mahmud, “but we are so very grateful that you have decided to stay with us until Ms. Chaparyan is ready to start her work year.” Her appointment comes after the council rescinded its offer to Christopher Jordan in late April, in response to backlash from some residents whose public comments criticized the council for its then-decision. Those residents questioned the timing of Jordan’s resignation as city manager of Los Altos in November and also expressed concern about his time with a city in Oregon, which included the hiring of a police chief later embroiled in a false arrest scandal that resulted in one of the state’s largest settlements.
South Pasadena High School boys’ basketball coach Ernest Baskerville thinks about one particular three-pointer all too much. Last season, the Tigers were less than two seconds away from upsetting perennial Rio Hondo League powerhouse La Cañada when an opposing player received a long pass, took a few steps and banked it in from beyond the arc. Baskerville has thought about that play so much that even his three young sons have developed a dislike for La Cañada. It’s memories of three-pointers like that that drive South Pasadena. This season, they want to beat their rivals and push for an outright league title, then make some noise in the playoffs.
The South Pasadena High School varsity baseball team suffered a second consecutive Rio Hondo League loss, falling to host La Cañada, 2-1, in eight innings last Friday. The Tigers (5-5 overall record, 2-3 in league) got on the board in the top of the third inning to take the lead but the Spartans responded with their first run in the bottom half of the frame. Adam Geller of LCHS opened the eighth with a double and later scored the game-winning run on a single from Evan Umland. SPHS senior Nico Schroeder was stellar on the mound, surrendering one unearned run on two hits and four walks in six innings and recording eight strikeouts. Noah Takeda Teer was dealt the loss by giving up one run on two hits in two innings of work. He also tallied three strikeouts. DJ Pearson was 1-for-2 and scored the Tigers’ lone run of the game. Landon Ackerman, Schroeder and Teer each singled, and Dillon Hugasian drove in a run. South Pasadena will travel to San Marino for a league contest this today at 3:30 p.m.
Less than a week after they finally got approval from Los Angeles County to do so, and following a hectic few days of planning, South Pasadena High School and head track coach C.B. Richards hosted the 75th Pasadena Games on Saturday at SPHS. Richards, the meet master, presided over a festive, normal-like atmosphere — complete with a socially distanced DJ — that welcomed athletes, coaches and fans from more than 20 schools to the South Pas campus with safety protocols in place. As the cherry on top of a successful competition on Saturday, Richards’ Tigers easily topped the boys’ and girls’ team leaderboards at the end of the meet.
The South Pasadena community this week has rallied its support around the family of a local man who was killed in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles this week while working as an Uber driver. MingZhi Zhu, 42, was killed in his vehicle while waiting at a red light at Figueroa and 7th Street in L.A. at around 1:45 a.m. Tuesday. The gunman, who had earlier killed another motorist and fired rounds at other vehicles, was later killed in a stand-off with police who had barricaded him on the 91 Freeway, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. “He was a hard-working, gentle, kind, deeply-loving father and very dedicated husband,” said Yuki Cutcheon, president of the South Pasadena Chinese American Club, in a statement to media on behalf of Zhu’s family Tuesday. “The family is really at a total loss without him.” In South Pasadena, Zhu’s family contacted the South Pasadena Police Department Tuesday morning after Zhu, an Uber driver, did not return home. Interim Police Chief Brian Solinsky said the department quickly determined that Zhu was among the rampage gunman’s victims. The department quickly pivoted to provide support. Solinsky said he contacted the Chinese American Club to assist with Mandarin translation, while the South Pasadena Police Officers Association sprang into action to provide food and other resources for the family.
For the members of the Tiger Newspaper staff at South Pasadena High School, the past year-plus of a pandemic that has forced them to do their schooling at home has made their journalism class and project all the more interesting, if not frustrating. Now back in the classroom on a limited basis, the dedicated crew of students aims to crank out an actual printed edition of their monthly publication, which would serve as a hopeful send-off for the seniors whose work for this year has been all-PDF and all-online. They are also hoping to continue the momentum from the Silver Crown award the publication just earned for its 2019-20 run from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association as they prepare for the competition for the current academic year. “It was definitely really cool to receive this award,” said senior Catherine “Cat” Flores, who is editor-in-chief of Tiger. “We were able to reflect on our past work and it reminded us what a great newspaper we are.”