The Year In Review 2013

Posted by on Jan 2nd, 2014 and filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Photos by Michael ARVIZU, Dan HOLM, Jason KUROSU, Mary O’KEEFE, Charly SHELTON  The closure of Twelve Oaks and the displacement of its residents sparked protest in front of the offices of that managed the facility.

Photos by Michael ARVIZU, Dan HOLM, Jason KUROSU, Mary O’KEEFE, Charly SHELTON
The closure of Twelve Oaks and the displacement of its residents sparked protest in front of the offices of that managed the facility.

Before bidding farewell to 2013, the Crescenta Valley Weekly would like to revisit the many events that defined the year.

Assembled by Brandon HENSLEY and Molly SHELTON


This was a difficult holiday season for the family of missing mother and daughter Megan (Ganajian) Dipiazza, 33. They continue to scour Facebook, call friends and have the Glendale Police Dept. on speed dial in their effort to find Megan. Megan went missing on Nov. 11 after an argument with her husband Sal and is still missing.

Anyone who has any information can contact Sgt. Jeff Newton at (818) 548-3987 or (818) 548-4840. Megan’s vehicle is a 2013 gray Toyota Scion, the plate number is 6XJR885, but it may not have any plates on it. She is described as 33 years old with blonde hair and green eyes, is 5’6” tall and weighs about 122 pounds.

The Glendale City Council followed the lead of cities including Los Angeles, Pasadena and the unincorporated areas of L.A. County to ban plastic grocery bags.

Assemblymember Mike Gatto established a small business commission to discuss with those in the small business trenches the obstacles they face. One of the first concerns from the commission was predatory lawsuits that target small, and large, businesses. While many larger companies are able to pay off the lawsuits, smaller businesses are threatened with closure because they cannot pay.

Crescenta Valley High School participated in a lockdown drill as a proactive way of facing an unthinkable scenario of an active shooter on campus. Rooms were locked and teachers followed procedures to help students to stay safe.

In 2012, the Montrose Search and Rescue responded to a record number of call-outs. In 2013, the team continued to respond to every call for assistance and continued to train … and sometimes training sessions became rescue missions. While training near Little Jimmy Trail Camp, they received a call concerning a camper who had injured herself and needed help. A fellow camper walked out of the snowy area to call for assistance when he found MSR team members training. They put the injured camper on a sled and hiked out to a waiting vehicle.
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Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Explorers attend several competitions throughout the year and are typically successful in their exercises. In 2013, the Explorers won their annual competition in Chandler, Ariz.

The future of gun shows at the Glendale Civic Auditorium looked shakier after the Glendale City Council voted to direct city staff to explore a possible ban on gun shows on city property. The ban, which would end the long-running Glendale Gun Show held since its inception at the civic auditorium, was pushed by Councilmember Rafi Manoukian in reaction to the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Newtown, Conn.


The former location of the Tuna Canyon Detention Station, currently the Verdugo Hills Golf Course, was approved for preparation of an application to include the site on a list of historic and cultural monuments.

Students at Lincoln Elementary School enjoyed a unique American artifact on Wednesday when a local family shared a piece of President Lincoln’s tomb.

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Montrose celebrated 100 years and the party lasted all weekend. The three-day event was a celebration of all things Montrose, from its 1913 beginnings to its respect of tradition.

Crescenta Valley High School JROTC celebrated 25 years at the school. The program was founded in 1988 by aerospace science instructor and Air Force veteran Sgt. Earl Hintz. The program was the second established in California. Throughout its 25 years the JROTC has inspired and created leadership in teens; some of these teens want to join the military but the majority do not.

La Cañada Trails proposed the creation of an ultimate destination point on the Cherry Canyon hiking trail. The “oasis” includes a water fountain for hikers and a water bubbler for horses.
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Crescenta Valley Water District announced it would be replacing outdated water lines along the 3000 to 3100 blocks of Santa Carlotta Street.

A man attacked a suspected burglar after he surprised the intruder at his home. The resident in the 2900 block of Frances Avenue entered his home and found two men burglarizing the residence. The homeowner confronted them and a fight ensued. The homeowner was transported to the hospital with a broken jaw; the burglary suspects fled the scene.

Officers with the California Highway Patrol stopped by the Fire House youth center to help kids with their driving skills. Officers brought CHP’s Start Smart program, a driver’s education class designed for new and future teen drivers.

Members of the non-profit organization the Downtown Glendale Association (formerly the Downtown Glendale Merchants’ Association) helped launch the Community Benefit District and were present at a ribbon cutting. DGA President Rick Lemmo led the proceedings.


The Los Angeles County coroner determined the on-campus death of a La Cañada High School student was a suicide. Shocked students and friends spoke of the student as a “visionary” who was “smart.”

After five years as the captain of the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station, Dave Silversparre took on a new challenge at the Communications and Fleet Management Bureau at Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. “I have been honored to serve the community which I love and grew up in,” Silversparre said.


Ara Najarian and Laura Friedman both incumbents, maintained their Glendale City Council seats after April’s election. Zareh Sinanyan won the third seat available on the council.

Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation officials brought plans to the Crescenta Valley Town Council for a proposed CV skate park. Teens who attended the Fire House youth center first proposed the skate park to parks and rec about two years earlier. Since then they had worked with department officials as well as the community in promoting and designing the park.

CV DOGS (Community Volunteers for Dogs Off-leash Gathering and Socializing) were honored as Volunteers of the Year by the County of Los Angeles Fifth District. John Klose, president of the organization, and members Carol Fodera and Cheryl Davis accepted the award on behalf of CV DOGS.

Special Olympics qualifying track events were held at Crescenta Valley High School and sponsored by CV CAN (Crescenta Valley Committed to Athletic Needs).
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Dignitaries including Congressman Adam Schiff spoke at the Glendale Unified School District’s 12th Annual Genocide Commemoration held at Glendale High School. Youth from across Glendale and Crescenta Valley, Armenians and non-Armenians, gathered to pay tribute to the fallen, to seek recognition for the genocide and to ensure that future generations “never forget.”

Despite passionate pleas by Sunland-Tujunga residents and individuals who identified themselves as having familial connections to the World War II Japanese concentration camp, the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission unanimously recommended against declaring the former Tuna Canyon Detention Station in Tujunga a historical monument.

CERT – Community Emergency Response Team – became the new American Red Cross liaison. During the Station Fire, the Red Cross established a shelter for evacuated community members in the Crescenta Valley High School cafeteria. CERT members were working with fire and sheriff personnel at the time.

Montrose Centennial
Frank Quintero said good-bye to his life in public service and the city was there to give him a warm sendoff. Over 100 dignitaries were at a ceremony to wish him well and to thank him for his service as a Glendale city councilmember.

The first Welcome Home, Vietnam Veterans ceremony was held at the corner of Honolulu Avenue and Ocean View Boulevard. The location was significant because it was at the first city-sponsored Vietnam memorial in the nation, dedicated in 1968.

The Glendale City Council recognized the passing of respected community leader John Krikorian. Krikorian was the publisher of Business Life magazine and was an active member of the Glendale community.

The Dept. of Fish and Wildlife with Glendale police responded to a home in the 3300 block of Thelma Street after the sighting of a mountain lion. Neighbors and onlookers watched as officials finally captured the mountain lion, tranquilizing him under the wooden patio of a home.

Everyone celebrated at the annual Hometown Country Fair, which include a pie-eating contest, sponsored by the Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce.

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Monte Vista Elementary and Crescenta Valley High schools were searching for new principals. After eight years, Dr. Susan Hoge left Monte Vista and after three years, Michele Doll left CVHS. Both are moving to jobs at the Glendale Unified School District’s administration.

Glendale City Council tightened restrictions on smoking within city limits. The ordinances, voted in unanimously, added further penalities for scofflaws as well as banning any smoking in all future newly built apartment and condominium units.

Bill Song was named the new captain of the CV Sheriff’s Station replacing Dave Silversparre.  Like Silversparre, Song was raised in Crescenta Valley.

After five years of monitoring traffic, standing on corners with cops, teachers and the Dept. of Public Works, and answering endless emails, Crescenta Valley Town Council member Robbyn Battles finally got word she had been waiting for – a crossing guard had been approved for Rosemont Middle School.

From Crescenta Valley High School, over 640 seniors traveled to downtown Los Angeles for a night filled with fun, food and dance. The highlight of the evening was the crowning of the prom court: King Harrison Thai and Queen Anna Carter Hernandez. The Royal Court included Cole Currie and Kerry Merrill, Drew Lockwood and Katie Bayard, Russ Carpenter and Grace Taylor and Minsoo Kim and Sarah Koonse.  After prom, nearly 400 CV seniors and their dates headed to the Crescenta-Canada YMCA for the 19th annual Prom Plus. Prom Plus began at midnight and offered guests plenty to do including the chance to ride a mechanical bull or zip line, try their luck in a casino or get strapped into a gyroscope.

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On April 28, five students from Clark Magnet High School launched a near-space balloon, labeled the Panther 2, from Acton. The project was the collaboration between two 12th grade students, Guy Burstein and Alex Deravanessian, for the Clark senior project.

FIRST Robotics Team 589 from Crescenta Valley High School attended the multiple-day regional competition held at the Long Beach Convention Center. The object of the 2013 game was to collect points by having robots shoot discs into three different cages, as well as climbing several levels up a pyramid structure. There was also the option of playing defense against other bots.  The Falkons placed sixth out of 59 teams at the San Diego competition and 32nd out of 65 teams in Long Beach.


Seniors at Clark Magnet and Crescenta Valley high schools walked across the stage, received their diplomas and took the first step toward their future. David Khachatrian was named Clark’s valedictorian, one of 254 graduates who ended their four-year academic career at the high-performing magnet school. Richard Cho was selected as the CVHS valedictorian and was part of history that started with the Class of 2013 commencement ceremony taking place on the school’s Osborne field rather than Stengel field.

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Crescenta Valley High School softball coach Mark Samford stepped down from that position citing personal reasons.

Crescenta Valley Weekly publisher/editor Robin Goldsworthy attended a luncheon at the Sacramento Convention Center where Assemblymember Mike Gatto honored her, and the Crescenta Valley Weekly, with the California Small Business of the Year Award for the 43rd District.

Linda Gubler Junge took the helm as the new principal at Crescenta Valley High School. Junge has been a teacher, a school administrator and a district administrator. “It is good timing and I think a good match,” Junge said.

The Los Angeles City Council approved a motion that would allow no less than one acre be set aside for a memorial located in an old oak grove near the site of the former Tuna Canyon Detention Station.  The site will be placed on the list of the city’s Historic-Cultural Monuments.
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Crescenta Valley High School’s first graduating class, the class of 1963, reunited 50 years after bidding farewell to the high school.


In preparation for a potential major disaster, 41 Glendale Unified School District principals and administrators received a three-day course in Community Emergency Response Training (CERT), a program intended to aid the public in the midst of a crisis. CV CERT coordinators Paul and Lisa Dutton headed the training. “It was the chance to impact the lives of thousands of our area’s kids,” Paul said.

La Crescenta resident and Vietnam veteran Steve Pierce received Veteran of the Year honors at a Veterans Recognition luncheon in Sacramento and was honored by Assemblyman Mike Gatto. Pierce was honorably discharged in 1968 as a full lieutenant and was awarded the Vietnam Service Medal and Vietnam Campaign Medal.

Big Rigs made for big headaches in 2013. Those 18-wheel trucks frustrated residents all over town by taking up parking spaces for days at a time. Despite signs that limit the amount of time a truck could stay parked at a place, it didn’t seem to matter. The Crescenta Valley Town Council had several discussions about it in its meetings during as the year went on, and L.A. County is currently mulling over a vote that would ban all parking at all times for the trucks.


An estimated 3,000 people viewed the Crescenta Valley fireworks show from La Crescenta Elementary School with thousands more watching the celebration from around town. The event was sponsored by the non-profit group CV Fireworks Association.

Hundreds of fans turned out to meet TV star and author John Barrowman with his sister Carole at the Once Upon a Time bookstore. The siblings were promoting the newest book in their “Hollow Earth” series.
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Glendale’s Alex Theatre kicked off its long-awaited expansion project with a groundbreaking in the summer. The event was hosted by the non-profit Glendale Arts. The renovations would mainly occur backstage and would expand the theatre’s ability to present bigger and more modern productions, host larger casts and otherwise make Alex a more inviting venue.

The foothills took part in the annual National Night Out, which turns back the clock to an era when law enforcement and firefighters knew local businesses and neighbors. NNO, which began 30 years ago, concentrates on crime prevention and tries to bring back the philosophy of neighbors helping neighbors.

Students in the Glendale Unified School District strapped on their backpacks and headed to school a little earlier this year, as classes began on Aug. 12 under a still hot summer sun. Kindergartners all had one thing in common as school started: excited, nervous and sometimes tearful parents. “I asked who was having a harder time,” said Dr. Adriana Pestonji, Valley View Elementary Principal. “It was the parents.”

Because of multiple attractions and vendors and limited space, the 52nd annual Sunland-Tujunga Lions Club Watermelon festival was held at the Rose Bowl this year instead of its regular home, Sunland Park. “When it was at Sunland Park,” said Selena Gonzalez, who worked the watermelon booth, “it felt like a small hometown event. This feels bigger. It’s kind of nice to get people from different places.”
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The Glendale City Council passed a resolution to oppose the proposed shuttering of the historic U.S. Post Office at 313 E. Broadway in Glendale. Built during the Great Depression, the Neo-Renaissance style building has become one of the city’s most recognizable.


Residents at Twelve Oaks Lodge assisted living facility received unfortunate news in the late summer when the non-profit organization announced it would sell the property, giving seniors until the end of October to vacate. “Our objective has been to bring Twelve Oaks up to standards,” explained Dan Huston, VP of Communications and Marketing for the group. “But after exhaustive review, the cost of renovation would simply be too much to properly meet our safety standards.”

Despite protests from residents and families of Twelve Oaks, officials with the City of Glendale said it would be unable to stop the property’s sale.

Scores of the Academic Performance Index were released, and Valley View Elementary found itself 12 points higher than last year, the biggest gain in local-area schools. The API measures academic performance and growth on a scale of 200 to 1,000. The state’s goal is for schools to be above 800.

The Glendale Police Dept. appointed two individuals to new positions at the police station in downtown Glendale. Chief Ronald De Pompa swore in Carl Povilaitis as the city’s newest deputy chief as well as Theresa Goldman as civilian commander.

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The L.A. County board of supervisors approved a plan to build a skate park at CV Park, a long-awaited project that has a construction budget of $800,000 and an operating budget of $79,000 for maintenance and staffing. At the forefront of the project was CVHS student Cooper Iven. “Basically, I was complaining that everyone thought skaters were hoodlums and I was pretty sick of it,” he said. “[Someone] told me to do something about it.”

September was National Guide Dog Month, and the community participated in the third annual Mutt Strut, a 2K/5K walk/run event held at Crescenta Valley Park. This is the California Council for the Blind’s major fundraiser for the year. Last year it raised $10,000 to help the blind and visually- impaired in California.


The renovation of the Two Strike War Memorial Wall was completed, and a ceremony was held at the park. The wall cost $75,000. Veteran Warren Spayth gave most of the credit to fellow veteran Roy Allman. “I guess you could call him the father of this memorial,” he said. “When the county said we could not alter the older wall, he was the one that put things together.”

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Crowds converged on Honolulu Avenue for the annual Oktoberfest to participate in music, games and alcohol – and people were reminded to drink responsibly, of course. It was another successful outing. “We’ve cranked up revenue 3% from last year,” said Melinda Clarke, executive director of the Montrose-Verdugo Chamber of Commerce, which hosts the annual event. “Since 2010, Oktoberfest revenues have increased by over $70,000.”

Kids across the foothills braved the drizzle and participated in Walk to School Day, which encourages students and their parents nationwide to walk to school as a way to promote good health as well as community.

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The community turned out for the 2nd Annual Korean Armenian Festival that was held at Crescenta Valley High School. The event promotes harmony and understanding, not just between the two cultures, but among all cultures. Last year’s event was spread over two days and held at Crescenta Valley Park. Although the park was a beautiful setting, organizers said they wanted something more intimate and moved it to the CVHS campus, while also shortening the event from two days to one.

Katherine Diane Lipp and Elizabeth Katie Woolf, both 17, were chosen to represent the 2014 Tournament of Roses as members of the Royal Court. Both students are members of the La Cañada High School pep squad, and already have a significant amount of volunteer hours under their belts. “I think this will be the greatest opportunity to give back to my entire community,” Woolf said.

Community members brought their unused and/or unwanted drugs to various areas throughout Crescenta Valley as part of the Drug Take Back, sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration in partnership with the Crescenta Valley Drug and Alcohol Prevention Coalition/Alliance and law enforcement.

Authors Mike Lawler and Gary Keyes spoke to a packed house at the La Crescenta Library about their latest book, “Murder and Mayhem in the Crescenta Valley.” Although CV is a bedroom community with a “Mayberry” personality, it also has a dark side – so dark in fact that the authors are now working on a second book in their murder series. An audience member asked Lawler what it was like living with these gruesome tales as he worked on the book. “I can tell you that I was really happy when it was over,” he said.


The Crescenta Valley Town Council held its annual elections, and from a total of 431 ballots cast, incumbents Harry Leon, Cheryl Davis and Dr. Young Suh were retained. Each will serve a three-year term. The alternates are Kyle Studebaker, incumbent Leslie Dickson and Krista Smiley. Davis ended her four-year run as council president, and will serve as the corresponding secretary for the upcoming year. Robbyn Battles takes over as president.

Since his appearance in 2012 and subsequent forays into Glendale, Meatball the bear became a popular figure, embraced by locals and animal advocates alike. Not only was Meatball the centerpiece for Glendale’s float in the 2014 Tournament of Roses Parade, but Lions, Tigers & Bears, a non-profit animal sanctuary which Meatball calls home, is raising money to construct a second bear habitat in order to house the six bears currently residing there, plus four more bears expected sometime in 2014.

The groundbreaking for the Museum of Neon Art (MONA) brought Glendale city officials and members of the art community out for what will be Glendale’s first art museum, located in the heart of the city on Brand Boulevard. Kim Koga, executive director of MONA, described the vision for the museum as “a receptacle for all things neon both contemporary and vintage, a place to teach this unique and very Americana art form and a place to reveal the science behind the neon.”


President Barack Obama was in the Southland to help raise money for future democratic campaigns. He also visited DreamWorks Animation in Glendale. “This is one of America’s economic industries,” he said of the film studios in Southern California.

Actor Paul Walker, star of “The Fast and the Furious” movies, died in a fiery car crash in Valencia after attending a charity event to benefit his organization Reach Out Worldwide, which sends first responders to the scenes of natural disasters. His friend, Roger Rodas, the driver of the car, died as well. Walker attended Village Christian High School in Sun Valley and spent much of his childhood in Sunland-Tujunga.


Donations may have been lighter this year, but many still benefitted from the generosity from the community at the annual toy and food drive at the CV Sheriff’s Station. The Early Rodders also held a toy drive, and loaded up two trucks full of toys. The drive benefits the L.A. County Fire Dept. Spark of Love, which is in its 21st year. The American Legion also participated in a food drive.

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Crescenta Valley High School senior Isabel Martos-Repath was given a silver award from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation in engineering and mathematics. The award was sponsored by Exxon Mobil and included a $2,000 scholarship.

On Dec. 9, 30 interim principals walked the halls of GUSD schools as part of the district’s Principal for a Day program. Lincoln Elementary’s principal for a day? Mike Antonovich, L.A. County supervisor, who helped line up classes outside, and answered questions from students inside. What is the hardest part of his job? “Bureaucracy, and a lack of time,” he answered.

A wildlife forum was held at the Center for Spiritual Living to inform residents about wild animals that share local neighborhoods, specifically how to deter animals from residents’ property and what to do in case of an encounter. The Mattersteig family’s dog was killed by a mountain lion over Thanksgiving in the family’s backyard.

The town turned out for the 37th annual Montrose Glendale Christmas Parade. It was rainy early in the day, but fortunately it tapered off once the evening began, allowing the people to enjoy the appearance of Santa Claus, as well as 140 entries.


Robert Castro was sworn in as the 12th police chief for the City of Glendale. Castro was the chief of police for the City of Glendora, a position he held for the past three years. Chief Castro began his law enforcement career working for the City of Glendora as a police cadet in 1985. He was hired as police officer in 1986 and worked his way up through the ranks.

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