Boy Scout Brandon Loder from Troop 390, a senior at CVHS, created an outdoor classroom at the Rosemont Preserve for his Eagle Project. The Arroyos & Foothills Conservancy established the preserve located at the far north end of Rosemont Avenue in 2012 with help from L.A. County Board Supervisor Michael Antonovich. The outdoor classroom benefits the many school and outreach projects at the preserve.
One of the first acts of the La Cañada Unified School District governing board in the new year was to readopt a resolution supporting the Sagebrush territory transfer. The western portion of La Cañada Flintridge is known as Sagebrush and is under the jurisdiction of the Glendale Unified School District. The transfer would affect students living in the Sagebrush area and those attending Mountain Avenue and Monte Vista elementary schools.
Gov. Jerry Brown officially declared California in a drought. The Governor called upon Californians to conserve water, which was echoed by Glendale Water and Power and CV Water District. The normal rainfall for downtown L.A. in January is 3.12 inches; in January 2014, rainfall was zero.
The L.A. County Board of Supervisors approved a ban that prohibited commercial vehicles weighing in excess of five tons from parking along the streets and alleys of unincorporated L.A. County/La Crescenta and Montrose.
Astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson and Congressman Adam Schiff visited La Crescenta Elementary School and talked about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers. Dyson has been an astronaut since 1998 and experienced space travel on both the American Endeavor space shuttle and a Russian Soyuz rocket in her two trips to the International Space Station.
A group of neighbors quickly organized to stop an AT&T cellphone tower from being raised in their neighborhood. The proposed tower at 5041 Cloud Ave. in La Crescenta had nearby residents becoming unlikely activists as they worked to stop the 70-foot tower from being placed near their home. They met with the CV Water District, which owned the property where the tower was to be placed, and shared their opposition. In the end, AT&T withdrew its proposed tower at that location.
The last of three meetings regarding the proposed skate park at Crescenta Valley Park was held. The meetings were an outreach by L.A. Parks and Rec to accept comments and deal with concerns by local residents. The idea for a local skate park began with teen skaters at the Fire House youth center. The skaters were allowed to be part of the design and creation of the skate park.
At a plot of land off of West Salem Street near downtown Glendale, New Directions for Veterans and the City of Glendale took a stand to help homeless veterans. They joined for a groundbreaking ceremony for Veteran’s Village, a 44-unit affordable housing complex for veterans. It is not just an affordable housing unit but has a social component that will also help veterans.
After about five years of watching traffic, talking to law enforcement and undergoing traffic studies, the plea by the community for a permanent crossing guard for Rosemont Middle School was answered. The L.A. County Board of Supervisors approved the crossing guard not only for Rosemont, but also for all middle schools that show a need. Until the ruling crossing guards were sponsored by the county only for elementary schools.
A car accident that appeared to be minor turned into a major situation with the two drivers running literally for their lives. The accident occurred after two vehicles collided at the intersection of La Forest Drive and Los Amigos Street. One of the vehicles had hit the trunk of a tree releasing hundreds of angry bees that began to swarm and chase the two drivers. One driver was able to run and jump into a nearby neighbor’s pool; the other was stung several times and covered with bees when sheriff deputies arrived.
The debate over the territory transfer of Sagebrush, the westernmost region of the city of La Cañada Flintridge that falls within Glendale Unified School District boundaries, reached its highest point of civility at a forum at CVHS MacDonald auditorium. About 350 residents and representatives attended the forum hosted by the LCUSD, GUSD and Crescenta Valley Town Council.
Glendale City Council agreed to execute an agreement with an L.A. based firm that would help Glendale move forward with the second and third phases of its Glendale Narrows Riverwalk Project. Funding for phase two of the plan, $1.53 million, was secured from Measure R and a state grant.
Local resident Hannah Sheklow, whose daughter Elannah Rose died in 2012 after she lost her struggle with heroin addiction, founded The Village with her friend Mariam Barnes. The Village is a round table discussion held regularly for parents and community members. Various topics are considered as law enforcement, counselors, parents and community members discuss how to keep children safe and what trends to be aware of. The Village meets the first Monday of the month at St. Luke’s of the Mountains, Sadler Hall, 2563 Foothill Blvd. at 7 p.m.
The body of a man, later identified as Manuel Moreno, 21, of San Pedro, was found stuffed into a suitcase that had been dumped into a flood control channel in Glendale near Glorietta Avenue Bridge, near Glorietta Park.
John Drayman, former city of Glendale councilmember, was sentenced to 365 days in L.A. County jail and five years’ probation in addition to paying restitution after pleading guilty on March 12 to embezzlement, giving false statements to the California State Franchise Tax Board and perjury.
With the help of a grant from Home Depot, volunteers and Assemblymember Mike Gatto’s office, the hall of the local American Legion Post 288 received a much-needed facelift. The organization received a $20,000 grant from Home Depot that provided material including kitchen and bathroom appliances.
The Backdoor Bakery and Café in Sunland was gutted in an early morning fire on Mother’s Day. The bakery can trace its origins to 1989 in Silver Lake. In 2011, the bakery settled in Sunland and had recently moved to a new, bigger location at 8658 Foothill Blvd. Fundraising plans had already been made and the owners said they would rebuild.
Glendale Unified School District hired a professional survey company to poll 1,604 registered voters within the proposed Sagebrush territory transfer area. Out of the 695 voters that responded, 90% would support a boundary change, placing the voter’s household within the La Cañada Unified School District.
Former Glendale councilmember John Drayman was released from custody of the L.A. County jail system after being incarcerated for eight days. He was released from jail with an ankle monitor, restricting him to home confinement.
The Crescenta Valley Town Council celebrated its 25th anniversary. The CVTC has become one of the cornerstones of the community, spearheading various projects to help residents and the community including establishing a community standards district to create a uniform look along Foothill Boulevard in the unincorporated area of the foothills in La Crescenta.
The debate continued to swirl around Rockhaven Sanitarium in Montrose as the property’s fate continued to hang in limbo since the city of Glendale purchased it for $8.25 million in 2008. The city reached out to developers to hear their proposals for potential affordable housing developments, along with other ideas for the property.
Glendale City Council approved a contract to begin repairs necessary to ensure the integrity of the city’s Park Manor Reservoir. The structure located along the Glendale (2) Freeway behind the Glendale Sports Complex had suffered a partial collapse of its roof structure.
By June 6 the Brand Fire was 90% contained. The fire began on a Sunday afternoon in the Brand Park area. Firefighters were able to contain the fire from spreading to the Verdugo Mountains.
The family of Kimberly Blum asked for the public’s help with any information concerning their missing loved one. Kimberly’s mother, Rosalie, said her daughter had visited her sister’s home in La Crescenta on June 5. She left that home a few minutes after arriving and was not seen again by her family or friends. Kimberly is still missing as of Dec. 31. She is described as a white female, 44, 144 lbs., 5’2: tall with brown hair and blue eyes. She was last seen wearing a black tank top and wears prescription glasses. She was last seen driving a 2004 Honda CRV, license plate number 5JVU774. Anyone with information is asked to contact Det. Carlton (213) 996-1805 or (877) 527-3247.
Math teacher Paula Jackson spent her summer at the Honeywell Space Academy. The La Crescenta resident joined about 100 of her colleagues and learned what it would be like to an engineer, scientist or space explorer. She brought her experiences back to her classroom.
During June the discussions between La Cañada Unified School District and Glendale Unified School District continued concerning the Sagebrush transfer. The far western area of La Cañada Flintridge known as Sagebrush has been part of the GUSD for years; however, a community committee in La Cañada began a grassroots effort to transfer the students to the LCUSD. The districts have been in negotiation. The issue of the Ocean View Park, a small area across a pedestrian bridge from Mountain Avenue Elementary School, was discussed. The park is used by the elementary school as an additional drop off/pick up area, as well as a place for small school events. The GUSD wanted the park’s ownership off the negotiation table.
Celebrating Flag Week is a special occasion in Montrose thanks to the man who spent most of his life reminding people to fly their American flags with pride. Flag Week is an extension of Flag Day, which commemorates the adoption of the U.S. flag in 1777. In 1965, local residents Vito Cannella, Bill Bailey, Don Carpenter, Congressman H. Allen Smith and Crescenta Cañada Rotary Club members gathered thousands of signatures to petition Congress to implement Flag Week. Cannella is one of the last members left of that team and for the last 50 years he has tirelessly reminded people of the importance of Flag Week.
Flintridge Preparatory School mourned the loss of one of their own when word came of the death of Scott Studenmund who was among the five military personnel killed during a U.S. military engagement while serving in Afghanistan. Studenmund was a 2008 Flintridge Prep graduate and was 24 years old.
A broken water main on Verdugo Road snarled traffic as a river of water rushed down the street. It took four days for repairs to be completed.
Privately-owned Sport Chalet was sold to Vestis Retail Group, which also owns Eastern Mountain Sports and Bob’s Stores. Said Craig L. Levra, Sport Chalet CEO, “We believe Vestis is the ideal partner given its base of stores in the Eastern U.S. …”
After more than a dozen years of service, GUSD board of education member Mary Boger announced her resignation from the school board citing health issues.
The Montrose Shopping Park Assn. held its annual car show over the 4th of July holiday. Blistering hot temperatures did not deter crowds that turned out for the vintage, classic and hot rod cars. Among those who attended was former talk show host and car aficionado Jay Leno.
Thousands turned out for the annual 4th of July fireworks display at La Crescenta Elementary School. Organized by the CV Fireworks Assn., the annual event included a carnival and fireworks and a special appearance by the Golden Star Skydiving Team.
The State Water Resources Control Board approved emergency regulations intended to reduce outdoor urban water waste through fines of up to $500. CVWD and GWP both reviewed their company policies to see if their regulations were in line with the new requirements.
A proposed new development in the 6300 block of Sister Elsie Drive in Tujunga would allow homes to be built that are bigger than the hillsides can support, say opponents of the development. Zoning variances were filed to overturn limits set forth by the Baseline Hillside Ordinance – BHO – that opponents believe would compromise the stability of the hillside, cause a traffic nightmare on the narrow street and set a precedent for developers to “skirt the rules” and go against regulations set by the city of Los Angeles, residents said.
The silent movie era was celebrated at Two Strike Park when the Historical Society of the Crescenta Valley hosted projectionist Joe Rinaudo who showed silent movie shorts through an original hand-cranked projector.
Donations and volunteers were needed to help complete the Crescenta Commons, a project proposed for the northwest corner of Orange and Rosemont avenues in La Crescenta. The beautification project was started by a local Boy Scout and completed by members of the community.
Miscalculations in GWP rates by Willdan Financial Services in 2011 resulted in lost revenue for the utility and an increate in water and power rates over the span of the next four years. “[Willdan] got it extraordinarily wrong, to the tune of $8 million plus,” said Glendale City Manager Scott Ochoa. Mayor Zareh Sinanyan said that though he understood that infrastructure costs have gone up, the rate increases were unfair to residents.
National Night Out celebrated its 31st year with members of the CV Sheriff’s Station and Glendale Police Dept. joining neighbors throughout the foothills in raising awareness of crime within the community. Nearly 40 million people across the nation participate in NNO.
The inaugural Food and Brewfest, hosted by the Montrose-Verdugo City Chamber of Commerce, was a success with hundreds of tasters coming onto Honolulu Avenue to try craft beers, cider and food. The cold beer was especially welcome since temperatures were in the 90s with 68% humidity.
Members of the Montrose Search & Rescue team participated in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – the extraction of the fossil of a baleen whale discovered in a canyon in a residential area of Palos Verdes. The approximately 14 million-year-old fossil weighed about 996 pounds and was lifted using a tripod called an Arizona Vortex. Once lifted, the fossil had to be transported from the canyon through a neighboring yard and to a truck waiting on the street.
A request for qualifications – RFQ – regarding development of the Rockhaven site did not meet the vision the Rockhaven committee had for the landmark property. The property will sit untouched for another year while Friends of Rockhaven reach out to the community for help in saving the site. “We want time to be able to see what we can do to make [Rockhaven] a public park,” said Joanna Linkchorst of the Friends of Rockhaven.
GUSD students were welcomed back to school with smiles, fist bumps and Common Core. The Common Core State Standards program has been rolled out in stages since 2012 and is a different approach to curriculum teaching. According to Lynn Marso, assistant superintendent of Educational Services, part of the shift is working together more, not just gathering information from a wide variety of texts and sources but also from a wider variety of people. “There’s going to be a significant amount of collaboration,” she said.
Residents in the 4400 block of Pennsylvania Avenue were evacuated after an explosion in one of the units of an apartment complex. The cause was attributed to someone doing fumigation work in one of the units. No one was injured.
Local residents were warned – again – to keep their distance from wildlife after bear sightings in the area increased. Wildlife experts advised residents not to put trashcans outside until the morning on pickup day to help deter bears that are attracted to the “keen scent of garbage.”
The CV Youth Town Council elected its new board. The board members are Jennielyn Bazan, Lisa Chik, Lauren Harvey, Elektra Mirzakhanian, Sena Lin, Abigail Sheklow and Jessy Shelton.
CV Ready hosted the Rand Corporation, holding an exercise to determine how prepared the foothills community is in the case of an emergency. The exercise was attended by members of the town council, CERT, CV DOGS and L.A. County Public Health Dept. Previous disasters the community experienced may have helped in the preparation for future situations. “The Station Fire and subsequent floods helped us identify our strengths,” said CV Chamber of Commerce president Steve Pierce.
Desolation of parts of the Angeles National Forest is apparent five years after the historic Station Fire. The fire burned 161,189 acres since starting on Aug. 26, 2009 until its containment on Oct. 16, 2009. “The heat, humidity and fuel temperatures were at the highest extreme. The position of the fire in the forest was in the most ridged terrain,” said Deputy Chief John Tripp of the Los Angeles County Fire Dept.
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that swept the nation hit the Crescenta Valley High School campus when Principal Linda Junge took up the challenge and had a bucket of ice water dumped on her by members of the varsity football team.
An earthquake early warning system – ShakeAlert – supplied 10 seconds of warning for the Berkeley Seismological Laboratory just before a 6.0 magnitude earthquake struck in Napa. Margaret Vinci of Caltech said that the few seconds of warning from a statewide or nationwide warning system “would provide people with the ability to get to a safe place before damage hits their location.”
An information meeting on the proposed territory transfer of the area known as Sagebrush was held at Mountain Avenue Elementary School. GUSD superintendent Dr Richard Sheehan gave a presentation to the estimated 110 people in attendance. During the meeting Sheehan presented a timeline of the proposed transfer that began on June 3, 2013 when GUSD first spoke to its legal council. The issue has still not been resolved.
Prom Plus, the local organization that hosts a post-prom party for CV High School seniors and their guests, celebrated its 20th anniversary with a picnic held at CV Park. The community event featured a variety of local entities including youth organizations, safety personnel and nonprofits.
A motor parade honoring the fallen of 9/11 was held on Sept. 11 – Patriot Day – and was sponsored by the CV Chamber of Commerce and the Early Rodders Car Club. The route extended from La Crescenta to La Cañada and passed by several schools, some of which allowed students to stand curbside to greet the automobiles.
La Crescentans had the chance to celebrate all things 91214 on Sept. 12, 2014 – 9/12/14 – when many area landmarks were highlighted. These included the flood monument on Rosemont and Fairway, the historic St. Luke’s of the Mountains Episcopal Church and the Rockhaven property. The community was invited to the La Crescenta Woman’s Club whose members hosted a reception.
A surveillance video showing a man stealing a bench from the front of Montrose Pet Hospital on Honolulu Avenue made the social media rounds. “I realize this is just a bench, but it was a ‘local’ bench stolen from a local small business,” said Montrose resident Cindi Anderson.
Joe Sebergandio hosted the third annual Joe’s Minibike Reunion Tour at Crescenta Valley Park. The event celebrates all things minibike and an estimated one thousand people turned out for the event.
The plaque bearing the name of Vietnam War Memorial caretaker Bill Dodson was unveiled on a pedestal near the memorial. Dodson, a WWII veteran, had taken care of the Vietnam War Memorial for about 30 years. The memorial was erected in 1968 and initially cared for by Frank “Mr. Montrose” Roberts. In the ‘70s its care was turned over to Dodson. “These gentlemen here, on the wall, never got a chance to come home and get any kind of respect or award for their service,” he said. “The least we could do is keep this memorial in respect and dedication for what they did for us and our country.”
Hundreds of athletes (and wannabe athletes) showed up for the annual Running of the Foothills sponsored by the CV Chamber of Commerce. The race began and ended at Two Strike Park. The run was a fundraiser that offered participants the chance to designate part of their paid entrance fee to a school or organization of their choice.
The Glendale City Council approved $332,600 for the Pennsylvania Avenue Rehabilitation Project, part of a series of projects by Glendale Public Works to improve the city’s streets. Among the proposed improvements are the selective removal, reconstruction or surface grinding of deteriorated pavement and placement of asphalt concrete pavement; modification of traffic signals; selective removal and repair of broken and damaged sidewalks, curbs, gutters, and alley aprons. Other improvements will include the construction of curb ramps that are compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).
One October weekend offered a plethora of activities that residents could engage in. The dog park located in CV Park celebrated its second anniversary with a festival that included dog-related vendors. The Third Annual Armenian Korean Cultural Festival, held at Crescenta Valley High School, gathered people from different cultures in a celebration of diversity. This year welcomed the inclusion of the Latino culture. The 10th annual Kiwanis Incredible Duck Splash, produced by the Kiwanis Club of Glendale, brought the family together as rubber ducks raced against each other for the grand prize at Verdugo Park. The event again partnered with the Glendale Police Dept. K-9 Unit. Homenetmen Glendale Ararat Chapter hosted the 9th Annual Friendship Games for the Glendale community. Over 250 athletes ages 10 and older signed up to participate in tournaments that included basketball, soccer and table tennis making these games one of the largest multi-ethnic youth and adult athletic events ever hosted in Glendale.
The Glendale Unified School District board of education appointed Sandy Russell to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Mary Boger, completing the remainder of her term that ends April 7, 2015.
Voting kicked off for the Army of Pink. Teaming up to help Glendale Adventist Medical Center, six important male figures in the community offered to wear pink to show their support and to remind the community to get checked regularly for breast cancer.
President Obama signed an executive order deeming 350,000 acres of the San Gabriel Mountains a national monument, a move which supporters say will create greater access to the area and allow for greater protections of the land. The mood was not entirely celebratory, though, as protestors filled both sides of the 57 Freeway overpass just outside of the designated national monument area, with handmade signs visible to those passing by on the street and the highway.
Glendale Water & Power celebrated 100 years of service to the community.
After a nine-year hiatus, the Haunted Jail returned to the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station. CERT (Community Emergency Response Training) organizers Paul and Lisa Dutton along with members of the Prom Plus Club and the Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation joined the Haunted Jail Committee with the LASD. Mark Shelton and Mark Fenlason from the film and special effects industries helped with the design that included mazes and scares. Hundreds went through the Haunted Jail over the three days it was open. Other haunts in the CV area included the popular Spooktacular along Honolulu Avenue in Montrose and displays by local homeowners.
Six months after local artists adorned 26 of Glendale’s utility boxes with murals as part of Big Draw L.A., the same work can now be found at 11 of Montrose’s street corners. The month-long, worldwide campaign to spread a love and appreciation of art and drawing came to Montrose transforming public spaces into works of art. Eighty artists applied to be a part of the event, a number that was eventually narrowed down to 11, including some artists who participated in the event in Glendale six months prior.
The Glendale Unified School District board of education voted to approve a proposal for a territory transfer for students living in the Sagebrush area, which, if agreed upon by the La Cañada Unified School District governing board, would begin a six-year transition period for a number of GUSD students into La Canada’s system. A letter from LCUSD Superintendent Wendy Sinnette described a negotiated agreement between the two school districts as “not presently achievable,” stating that the total cost to LCUSD would rise from approximately $7 million to nearly $17 million. This dramatic increase in the price of the transfer has led LCUSD to the conclusion that it needs to step aside with regard to any future financial settlement discussions. GUSD Superintendent Richard Sheehan said he was “disappointed” by the news.
A ribbon cutting was held for Crescenta Commons, a pocket park on the corner of Rosemont and Orange avenues, just east of Monte Vista Elementary School. The ribbon cutting ceremony was a celebration of the community’s efforts to change a dried, vacant lot into a park with a tower sundial, benches, picnic table and even a time capsule.
The Glendale Unified School District board of education approved a number of Measure S funded projects at various school sites. Projects slated to be completed by January 2015 include voice amplification systems at Clark Magnet High School, which would allow teachers to be better heard in the classroom through a speaker system, an electrical system for new portable classrooms at Jefferson Elementary, a painting project at Dunsmore Elementary and a gutter and pavement replacement project at Mountain Avenue to resolve flooding issues at the school’s main building.
Downtown Glendale Association board has given a holiday hiatus to the Farmers’ Market. Organizers say that the DGA plans to assess all options and suggestions during the winter season to reopen a new and improved market in spring 2015. Among the DGA’s many activities are the hiring and supervision of the Downtown Glendale ambassadors who clean the streets, and decorating the downtown corners for the fall and holiday seasons.
Straw Hat Pizza closed its doors after just a year and a half of being in business. Owned by Chris and Stephanie McReynolds, the restaurant was generous to local organizations and teams, which held fundraisers and parties throughout the year. In the end, Chris said they simply couldn’t maintain the rent, and when negotiations with the landlord broke down, that was it. “We are so grateful for the number of folks that became regulars … We are grateful for their friendship and in a [way] we feel like we are letting them down,” Chris said.
Many local organizations, including Kobeissi Properties, KABC7 Spark of Love, the Community Center of La Cañada Flintridge and the CV Sheriff’s Station kicked off the holiday season by launching their annual food and toy drives. The toys and food collected would be distributed in December to those in need in the foothills community.
The Montrose Shopping Park Assn. hosted hundreds who took part in the annual tree and park lighting along Honolulu Avenue. The evening event capped off the kickoff to the holiday shopping season, named White Friday by the MSPA, which included songs by Christmas carolers and snow falling from the trees.
CV Alliance, which strives to increase community awareness about drug abuse, hosted a parents only meeting at the Crescenta Valley High School library titled “Current Trends and What to Look For.” Deputy Eric Matejka of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Dept. spoke to parents about what the most popular and typically used drugs are, bringing both his expertise and visual aids, such as drug paraphernalia, to the event. Though Matejka ran through the gamut of drugs, both legal and illegal, he said that marijuana and alcohol use was what he most frequently saw locally.
The Salvation Army of Glendale sought donations of cash and food throughout the holiday season. “Donations are down this year – worse than we’ve ever seen,” said Rick White, director of Social Services and volunteer coordinator with the Salvation Army Glendale. “There are several annual food drives that have traditionally helped carry us into the New Year. This year, we received 20% or 25% less food from each [drive].” The Salvation Army accepts donations all year.
On Dec. 5, the judge presiding over the Ferraro v. Glendale Unified School District court case ruled in favor of the District, dismissing the entire lawsuit. The judge’s decision was based on no causation that linked the tragedy to anything associated with the school personnel or any actions taken by anybody from the District. On Feb. 10, 2012, Crescenta Valley High School student Drew Ferraro, 15, jumped to his death from one of the buildings on the campus.
The auditorium at the City of Hope in Duarte was transformed into a pajama party with over 450 guests in attendance. The annual pajama party is hosted by the Desi Geestman Foundation with help from Assisteens. The foundation is named after, and inspired by, Desi who was 12 years old when she lost her fight with neuroblastoma in 1999. She was a young girl who wanted to help other kids struggling with cancer. The foundation supports kids and their families in many ways, including financially and by hosting events, but it is the pajama party that is the highlight of the year.
Local families received a visit from Santa and his helpers at various sites around the Crescenta Valley. At the La Crescenta Woman’s Club, the junior section hosted its annual Breakfast With Santa. L.A. County Parks and Rec opened the doors to the CV Park community room where Santa and lots of presents were waiting for local families to stop by and the Early Rodders Car Club piled presents into their classic cars and headed to Fire Station 82 in La Cañada to deliver toys and food for the annual Spark of Love drive.
Photos by Michael ARVIZU, Jason BALLARD, Leonard COUTIN, Dan HOLM, Mary O’KEEFE, Charly SHELTON and Samantha SLAYBACK