• In an unfortunate way to usher in 2012, a New Year’s Eve fire devastated a home in the 4900 block of Pennsylvania Avenue. The home belonged to a Dean and Lucy Witkop. Lucy is a Crescenta Valley High School teacher. The fire caused $150,000 in damage and $120,000 in loss of contents. No one was home when the fire occurred. Officials determined the cause of the fire to be from a fallen electrical line.
• Suzy Jacobs was announced as the new executive director of the CV Drug and Alcohol Prevention Coalition on Jan. 3. She replaced David Marquez. Jacobs is from Miami Beach and earned her master’s in Political Science from USC.
• Debate was sparked when it was made known coffee giant Starbucks planned to take over the space at 2289 Honolulu Ave in Montrose. The building was previously occupied by Color Me Mine, which has since moved next door. The space sits across from the Coffee Bean on the south side of the street. Some said the need for another coffee place was unnecessary. CEO for Alta Reality Randy Gonzalez said he would welcome a Starbucks. “Their customer base and foot traffic will be a huge plus for the community,” he said.
• Glendale welcomed new city manager Scott Ochoa, who took over for Jim Starbird. Ochoa had experience in working with the city of Monrovia, and said he wasn’t concerned with taking over Glendale in an economic downturn. “I saw it before during the recession of the early 1990s,” he said.
• Rosemont Middle School’s boys’ basketball team went undefeated and won the league championship. Organized sports had been absent at the school until recently, but along with girls basketball and flag football, the Spartans have something to play for now.
• Family, friends and the community said goodbye to Drew Ferraro, the Crescenta Valley High sophomore who jumped to his death at school on Feb. 10. That night, several churches and the Fire House youth center opened their doors to help students grieve and talk. Many students wore black when returning to school the following Tuesday, and were welcomed by notes on each locker that read, “You Are Loved,” in addition to cards from the community.
• The Arroyos and Foothills Conservancy continued its intent to purchase the land at the top of Rosemont Avenue. The land was selling for $450,000, and the AFC had raised $350,000 at the time, much of it through a large grant by county supervisor Mike Antonovich. The conservancy’s desire was to preserve the land indefinitely, and not develop it.
• The play “22% Fear” debuted at CV High School. Led by drama teacher Brent Beerman, the play incorporated stories of bullying after a school survey found that 22% of students wrote they had experienced some form of bullying, either inside or outside the campus.
• The Crescenta Valley boys’ basketball team had one heck of a season. The Falcons won 26 games, beat rival Pasadena for the first time in eight seasons, and made it within one game of the CIF Southern Section Division 1A championship game. The Mission Viejo Diablos were a tad better in the semifinal game though, and eliminated CV in the Southern Section. The Falcons also qualified for the state playoffs for the first time since 1994, where they lost to Mater Dei.
• CV Soccer picked up where the basketball team left off. For the first time in school history, the Falcons boys’ soccer team won the CIF Southern Section Division IV championship, beating El Rancho 3-0 in the title match. The win was especially sweet considering El Rancho had ousted them in the playoffs the previous year. But CV wasn’t done: It made its way through the state playoffs, culminating in a championship match with Paramount High School. Paramount won, 2-1, leaving the Falcons as the second best team in the state.
• More than 250 people flooded the parking lot of Leo’s All-Star Sports Grill in early March to raise money for Drew’s Voice, a nonprofit organization founded in the wake of the death of 15-year-old high school student Drew Ferraro. Drew’s family raised concerns that bullying may have played a part in his taking his life, and T-shirts were sold that read, “Drew’s Voice, Our Voice.”
• Verdugo Hills Hospital entered talks of a possible merger with other hospitals, including Glendale Adventist and USC. “It makes sense to partner locally so that we can build a strong regional health system,” said Glendale Adventist CEO Kevin Roberts.
• Gov. Jerry Brown once again denied parole for Paul Crowder, who was sentenced in November 1991 to 15 years to life in state prison for the second-degree murder of CV High School student Berlyn Cosman on prom night that year. It was Cosman’s murder that inspired the creation of Prom Plus, an organization that holds a post prom event in an effort to prevent similar tragedies.
• Frank Quintero was named mayor of Glendale on April 10. He succeeded Laura Freidman, and won by a vote of 3-2.
• The Tri-Valley Special Olympics were held on the field at Crescenta Valley High School. Over 300 athletes competed. It was the third games the school has hosted, sponsored by CV CAN, a group committed to improving local athletic facilities. The games acted as a qualifier for the Long Beach games to be held in the summer. An estimated 500 volunteers were on hand, including those from the CV boys’ baseball team and many from Montrose Church.
• Pete Loporchio, the CV girls’ water polo and swim coach, announced he would be accepting the head coach position at L.A. Valley College for women’s water polo. Loporchio intended to stay on at CV as well, but ended up leaving the school, and Coach Brent Danna stepped in to fill his spot.
• Glendale Community College was left without a superintendent/president when Dr. Dawn Lindsay accepted the position of college president at Anne Arundel Community College in her native Maryland. Lindsay served as president intern in 2009 and was named to the position full time in 2010. Jim Riggs was named as interim president at GCC in June.
• The annual Foothills Relay for Life took place at Clark Magnet High School. The 24-hour event raised over $83,000 for the American Cancer Society.
• Camille Levee announced her resignation as executive director of Glendale Healthy Kids. She held that title for five and half years, but accepted a position in Arizona as head of a domestic violence shelter. Sharon Townsend Roth was selected to replace Levee.
• The CV baseball team defeated Arcadia High School on May 11 to capture the Pacific League championship, its first since 2009. It had also lost seven straight to Arcadia going into the game. The Falcons lost to Tustin High School in the first round of the playoffs.
• The CV softball team lost its wild card playoff game to the Notre Dame Knights 9-4, ending their first season with head coach Mark Samford. Under Samford, the Lady Falcons went 20-8. It was a season of big change for CV in 2012, with the program’s longtime coach, Dan Berry, passing away in October of 2011. Samford has since decided to stay on as coach for the 2013 campaign.
• The first ever Crescenta Valley Prayer Breakfast was held at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church May 22. The breakfast was an interfaith community event dedicated to the youth, as well as a effort to bring the community together. CV Town councilmembers Danette Erickson and Harry Leon helped with the idea. “Harry and I have been going to the Glendale and La Cañada breakfasts,” said Erickson. “Harry keeps asking, ‘Why can’t we do this?’ And I say, ‘We can.’”
• Funding for the Rosemont Preserve, the land at the top of Rosemont Avenue, was completed by the Arroyos & Foothills Conservancy. With help from community members and a donation from L.A. County, the $450,000 needed to buy the land was finally raised. “This is a property purchased by a conservancy but really for the benefit of this community,” said AFC board member Paul Rabinov.
• Students from all over the district celebrated their graduations, be it from elementary, middle or high school. Crescenta Valley High School students had a different experience than their past peers: the class of 2012 had its ceremony at Glendale College’s football field instead of the regular Stengel Field at Verdugo Park because of structural worries.
• It had been a long time coming for many, and in the summer it finally happened: L.A. County removed the K-rails that had frustrated residents since they were installed after the Station Fire in 2009 to prevent subsequent flooding and mud flow in the upper foothills. Pinecrest Avenue resident Deb Wheaton tried to have fun with the rails over the past two and half years. “We’ve painted them, strung them with holiday lights and stuffed them with fake flowers,” she said.
• L.A. County said its dog park, to be located at Crescenta Valley Park, was on schedule to open in August. The park had been under construction since November 2011. But for dog-lovers, the August prediction would turn out to be generous.
• Residents were unhappy when they found out about Glendale Unified School District’s plan to implement solar panels at several schools. People were concerned over aesthetic issues and whether the heat reflected off the panels would affect homes in the panel’s sight lines, not to mention complaints over a lack of communication GUSD had with residents about implementation.
• The flags of Mexico, Korea, Armenia and those representing gay rights were stolen in May from in front of St. Luke’s Church but were replaced in the early summer, thanks in part to Congressman Adam Schiff who reached out to members of the community with varied heritage to replace said flags.
• Through tireless fundraising, the CV Crush Little League team traveled to Cooperstown, NY to play in eight tournament games. The best part? A visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The cost for each player on the team to fly east was $800.
• The Fire House, a youth center located on the property of St. Luke’s of the Mountains Episcopal Church, dedicated its main room to Christopher McCulloch who was murdered in July of 2000 outside Valley View Elementary School. He was 13. “The Fire House … is something every community requires to help keep our young people safe during their teenage years,” said Chris’ mother Aileen.
• The CV Youth Council, which started in February, held its first elections with CV High senior Cooper Iven elected president. The council offers a voice for the youth of the foothills, concerning itself with issues like bullying and the creation of a skate park.
• You may have heard of a not-so-av-er-age bear this past summer. Meatball the bear, named after his favorite meal, made his way down from Angeles National Forest many times and into residents’ yards, looking for food or maybe some company. What he got instead was tranquilizers, and was sent back into the forest. But he just wouldn’t stay put in the forest, and ended up being sent to Lions, Tigers and Bears Sanctuary outside of San Diego.
• The Two Strike Park War Memorial is still trying to get built, and it received big donations in July from Assemblymember Mike Gatto and the Home Depot Foundation. The American Legion and VFW have almost reached their $75,000 goal.
• Curiosity, the Mars Science Laboratory rover, landed on Mars on Aug. 5. Engineers at Jet Propulsion Laboratory rejoiced for the rover, which is about the size of a Mini-Cooper. “We are doing mighty things,” said director of JPL Dr. Charles Elachi.
• Students district-wide went back to school especially early this year. Aug. 20, to be exact. New safety measures for kids in town included a lighted crosswalk at Glenwood Avenue and Foothill Boulevard.
• The board of education rejected a $2 million claim filed by the parents of Drew Ferraro against Glendale Unified School District. The claim had asked for $1 million for Ferraro’s wrongful death and $1 million for emotional distress.
• Neil Armstrong, the first man to ever walk on the Moon, passed away from problems resulting from cardiovascular procedures. He was 82.
• Capital improvement to Glendale’s Alex Theatre were saved after the city’s Oversight Board for the Redevelopment Successor Agency voted during its meeting Aug. 22.
• Senior running back William Wang had his best game in the first contest of the Falcons’ football season, rushing for 260 yards in a 26-21 road victory against Santa Paula.
• The Coffee Bean officially got a new neighbor as Starbucks opened on Sept. 7 in the Montrose Shopping Park. “I know that corner spot is expensive,” said resident Cara Davis. “I have seen a lot of things in and out of there and it seems [like a good thing if] someone can afford to stay there.”
• Former Glendale city councilman John Drayman was granted an extension of his trial date in Los Angeles Superior Court. The extension was granted until Nov. 15. Drayman was charged with 28 felony charges including embezzlement, filing false tax returns, money laundering, forgery, falsifying a financial statement and perjury by declaration.
• A two-day Korean Armenian Festival was held at Crescenta Valley Park in mid-September. It was the first ever festival of its kind, bringing together two prominent cultures that inhabit the foothills.
• The space shuttle Endeavour made its final flight and wowed SoCal residents, making a flyover on a Boeing 747 as it came into LAX. The shuttle orbited Earth 4.671 times and logged 122,883,151 miles. Its permanent home is now the Science Center.
• Meatball had a new partner in town in September when Rosie the bear came down from Angeles National Forest and took a stroll through La Crescenta. She was named Rosie by California Dept. of Fish and Game officers because she spent so much time on Rosemont Avenue.
• Actor Andy Garcia paid a visit to St. Francis High School in La Cañada, along with friend and fellow actor Joe Mantegna. Garcia answered questions posed by students about his career, culture and overcoming Hollywood stereotypes.
• Helen McDonagh, owner of Glendale’s Massage Envy, ran a faux mayoral campaign against Kim Kardashian in the name of raising $10,000 for Glendale Healthy Kids. She accomplished her goal in September.
• It was early fall, but it felt like the middle of summer. Southern California continued to experience a heat wave, coupled with the Santa Ana winds gusting from 20 to 30 mph. Burbank reached 102 degrees on Oct. 2.
• Thousands poured into the Montrose Shopping Park for the 35th annual Oktoberfest for beer, brats and fun. Montrose-Verdugo City Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Melinda Clarke said it was the most successful in the chamber’s history. “In 2011 we made $34,000,” she said, “and in 2012 we made $16,000 more than 2011.”
• Parents who had their kids in CV Park’s Tiny Tots program were notified of shortened hours in lieu of the park realizing it was in violation of a state law, which set specific requirements for a program becoming a certified daycare. In October, Tiny Tots said it had no intention of taking those steps to become a day care, leaving parents upset and looking for other places to care for their children during the workday.
• For dog lovers, it was the day when they could finally rejoice. The dog park at Crescenta Valley Park opened Oct. 19 with a “leash-cutting” ceremony. The 1.5-acre park features dog-washing stations and granite and woodchip surfacing. It cost $646,000 to build and is now open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
• Christian Life Church celebrated its 90th anniversary, proving you don’t need a building to be a church. A fire in 2006 ruined the sanctuary, which was built in 1951. But the church still holds services today on the corner of Ramsdell and Montrose avenues.
• Parents of CV High students were warned: If their child left the school during lunch without their ID card and the appropriate sticker, they would receive ATS (alternate to suspension). CVHS Principal Michele Doll said 101 ATS citations were handed out in late October.
• Election Day came and went. Barack Obama was re-elected as President and in California Assemblyman Mike Gatto returned to office, as did state Senator Carol Liu and Senator Diane Feinstein, and Congressman Adam Schiff. Locally, new CV Town Council members Leslie Dickson, Daniel Cheung and Marti Marshall were elected.
• The Falcons’ football team ended its season in fine fashion, beating rival Arcadia 23-7, behind the play of sophomore quarterback Brian Gadsby, who was called up the last two games. CV finished 5-5 and out of the playoffs, though. Their nadir came in October when they lost to Glendale for the first time in nine seasons.
• Lions, Tigers & Bears announced it has broken ground for Meatball the bear’s temporary bedroom. They have raised $80,000 toward the $250,000 needed for his new habitat.
To donate to Meatball’s habitat fund, visit lionstigersandbears.org or call (619) 659-8078.
• The Glendale Police Dept. asked the community for help in locating Megan Dipiazza, a 33-year-old woman from Tujunga who was not seen since Nov. 11. Police said a goodbye note to her family was found in her apartment.
• Trevor Bell, a 2005 CVHS grad and major league pitcher, signed a minor league contract with the Detroit Tigers. He will be invited to compete for a spot on the team’s big league roster during spring training. Bell previously pitched for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
• Glendale Police took over the Glendale Galleria after hours on Nov. 9 for a training session. About 12 other agencies participated in the training, designed to prepare them for multiple scenarios, including shooters in the mall or bombs in the parking lot.
• Montrose Shopping Park celebrated White Friday, its annual after-Thanksgiving event that included music, kids playing in snow and the lighting of the trees up and down Honolulu Avenue. Businesses in the park also “whited out” the sales tax on products bought.
• Daniel Kaplan, 17, died on La Tuna Canyon Road Dec. 1 when he was the passenger in vehicle driven by 19-year-old Arash Sanei that lost control and slammed into a guardrail. A second passenger, Steven Alonso, 20, suffered moderate injuries.
• Parade Committee President Cheryl Davis said it best: “It did not rain on our parade – it drizzled.” And so, despite some wetness, the 36th annual Montrose Christmas Parade went off without a hitch. The grand marshal this year was the team of the Mars Science Laboratory, and the bevy of volunteers and large turnout once again made it a fun time.
• Fast food or full-service? Chris and Stephanie McReynolds want to bring Straw Hat Pizza to the vacant property on the 3400 block of Foothill Boulevard that once housed Shakey’s Pizza. But the family is tangled in red tape because the city of Glendale is calling the franchise “fast food” instead of “full-service,” which would deny them setting up business. The matter is ongoing.
• The president of the Historical Society of the Crescenta Valley finally called it quits. Mike Lawler was honored at the La Crescenta Woman’s Club for his decade of service to the society. The 55-year-old said physical ailments, including a recent knee replacement, contributed to his decision. “I’m tired, man,” he said. “I’m just really ready to be done.”
• The family of missing woman Megan (Ganajian) Dipiazza, 33, continues to search anywhere they think this mother, wife and daughter may be. Megan went missing on Nov. 11 after an argument with her husband Sal. The couple was having marital issues and had recently separated. Megan grew up in the area. She is a Crescenta Valley High School graduate.
• Candlelight vigils were held throughout the Crescenta Valley in remembrance of the tragic multiple shootings in Newtown, Conn. Among the sites where vigils were held were the northeast corner of Honolulu Avenue and Oceanview Boulevard in Montrose and the campus of St. George’s Preschool in La Cañada.