The Year In Review 2011

The installation of a memorial honoring those sheriff personnel who lost their lives in service to their community was dedicated and was just one of the events that was covered in the Crescenta Valley Weekly in 2011.
The installation of a memorial honoring those sheriff personnel who lost their lives in service to their community was dedicated and was just one of the events that was covered in the Crescenta Valley Weekly in 2011.


• A Pasadena man, 55, was struck by a vehicle in the 3600 block on Foothill Boulevard. The man was leaving his parked vehicle and was struck by a pick-up truck driven by an elderly man. The victim was conscious as he was transported to Huntington Hospital.

• The Supreme Court upheld NASA/JPL’s background checks. JPL employees contended that background checks were unconstitutional. The checks included questionnaires could be given to friends, acquaintances or people the employees didn’t know. The questions included drug use, money problems and sexual orientation.

• The Crescenta Valley Sheriff Explorers brought home two first place awards
from a competition in Chandler, Ariz. About 900 Explorers from 50 law enforcement posts participated in the competition. CV Sheriff Explorers won trophies in the Sniper Challenge and the Laser Quest.


• The La Crescenta Woman’s Club turned 100 years old. Eight women founded the club that is known for community service and philanthropy. Their charitable contributions include the American Red Cross as well as local charities. They fund scholarships at Crescenta Valley High School and Glendale Community College.

• A body found of a missing Rancho Palos Verdes man was found at Scholl Canyon. Yoshiya Watanabe, 57, had been reported missing by his family. His vehicle was found by a hiker, his body discovered under a bush at the bottom of a hill. The police did not suspect foul play.

• Glendale police found a World War II grenade in a garage in the 3700 block of Glenwood Avenue. The grenade was inert. The homeowners were evacuated.

• The Falcon boys’ basketball team lost to Quartz Hill in the Division 1A first-round playoff game. This ended the hope of winning the CIF championship. The Rebels beat the Falcons 49-46.

• The Falcons’ boys soccer team beat Arcadia 3-0, which set them up to become the Pacific League champions. This was their second consecutive league title.

• Three Crescenta-Cañada Family YMCA swim team members had swim times so fast that they earned spots in the national top 10 rankings. The three boys had their names included in the USA Swimming National Magazine. Their names were Samuel Jo, Harrison Thai and Fred Abramyan.



• It snowed in Crescenta Valley as temperatures were below freezing. Some people snowboarded down La Crescenta streets.

• A dump truck lost its brakes and landed on its side in Pickens Canyon Park. The driver hit an electric pole, knocking out power to more than 2,000 Southern California Edison customers. The driver was not hurt.

• Jet Propulsion Laboratory laid off about 200 employees due to budget cuts. JPL employs about 5,200 people.

• The Rose Bowl Water Polo Club won the triple gold medal at the Florida International Tournament. The tournament featured teams from around the country and around the globe. The three teams – boys U14, 16 and 18 – all went undefeated in their age group.

• The CV Soccer Club Girls Under 13 won the California Cup. They won the trophy after defeating the Corona Eagles in their fourth game 1-0.

•  The CV boys’ soccer team lost to El Rancho in the CIF Quarterfinals, 3-1. While that may have been a down moment, the strides the program made were undeniable. The soccer program, only six years old, went 15-2-5, won the Pacific League, and had never made it to the quarterfinals before.


• Measure S passed in the April elections, pleasing many of its organizers. The measure called for extended funding into Glendale Unified District schools from Measure K, which was passed in 1997. Measure S supporters believed it would allow schools like Crescenta Valley High School to keep up with technological advancements in the classroom.

• Laura Friedman became the second woman in history to be sworn in as mayor of Glendale, succeeding Ara Najarian. “I sincerely hope that having a woman serve as mayor … will show women and girls that they do have a place in leadership roles,” Friedman said.


• The Glendale Police Department began investigating former city councilmember John Drayman on allegations he embezzled funds from the Montrose Shopping Park Assn., of which he was a board member. The investigation is still ongoing.

• Numbers for the performance of students at local school were released, and the news was positive. Scores for 2010’s Academic Performance Index (API) showed that all schools in the CV area were well above the state goal of 800, with the majority of elementary schools above 900, Rosemont Middle School at 923, Clark Magnet High School at 889 and CVHS at 884. API is an annual measure of test score performance of schools and districts.

• Crescenta Valley remembered veterans and fallen soldiers on Memorial Day. There was a flag ceremony at Two Strike Park. In Montrose, there was another ceremony at the Vietnam Memorial. In La Cañada, residents held their 38th Fiesta Days, complete with a memorial ceremony and a parade.

• A man shoved a woman’s body out of a vehicle on the La Crescenta Avenue off ramp on the westbound Foothill (210) freeway. The suspect continued on the off ramp and went back onto the freeway traveling eastbound. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene of multiple gunshots. The suspect continued onto the Glendale (2) freeway south where Glendale police noticed the suspect’s vehicle stopped on the freeway near the Mountain Street exit.  The man had shot himself and was transported to the hospital. The victim Adriane Arzumanyan, 33, and the suspect Aram Sarukhanyan, 27, were cousins.  The preliminary hearing for the suspect is scheduled for January.



• The California Dept. of Transportation opened Angeles Crest Highway from La Cañada to Wrightwood and State Route 138. The highway was closed initially due to the Station Fire and the following heavy rains in December 2009 and January 2010.


• Ralphs Market, along with other chain markets and pharmacies in La Crescenta, no longer offered plastic bags after the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to ban plastic bags in all unincorporated areas of L.A. County. Consumers must bring their own reusable bags, buy a paper bag from the store for 10 cents per bag or carry items without a bag. The ban was first set in place for larger chain stores but as of January 2012 smaller stores will do the same. The goal of the ban is to help the environment.

• Glendale City Manager Jim Starbird announced he was retiring. He held the position of manager for 14 years. Mayor Laura Friedman said Starbird was one of the finest city managers in the state.

• The California Attorney General issued indictments of a Montrose Nursing Home. The charges were felony abuse and neglect after a 34-year-old patient died. A Los Angeles County criminal grand jury’s indictments alleged that the Verdugo Valley Skilled Nursing and Wellness Centre and the actions of the center’s former administrator Phyllis Paver resulted in Charles Morrill’s death.

• The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection cancelled a contract with a company that provides water dropping planes in case of fire. Each aircraft provided by 10 Tanker Air Carrier holds 12,000 gallons of fire retardant. The contract was $21 million for three years. The planes will be on call as needed basis, but instead of planes arriving in 20 minutes, it would be more like 24 hours.

• The L.A. County Board of Supervisors approved a $645,000 appropriation to fund a dog park at Crescenta Valley Park. Supporters had been advocating for the project for years. A total of 2,500 signatures were obtained in support.

• The County of Los Angeles and Public Works completed the retrofit on the Big Tujunga Dam. The retrofit cost $100 million and three years to complete. A new dam was built in front of the old dam and the two were fused together.



• Neighborhoods participated in National Night Out, an event when community members meet members of local law enforcement agencies as a way to fight crime.

• The Montrose Pet Hospital was featured in an AT&T commercial. The 30-second commercial was filmed in one day and was featured nationwide.

• A documentary about Montrose’s Rockhaven Sanitarium won an Emmy at the 63rd Los Angeles Area Emmy Awards. The documentary featured the serenity and eerie loneliness of the now vacant buildings. The sanitarium was one of the few of its era dedicated to women.

• Bears were seen on at least two occasions in Crescenta Valley. A bear was seen in the early morning hours of Aug. 12 and Aug. 13 on Cedarbend Road in Glenwood Oaks. The bear was going through garbage cans that were ready to be picked-up by waste management.


• Where will the CV High School class of 2012 graduate? That was the question posed when news broke that Stengel Field – the Glendale baseball field that for years has served as the graduation site – might not be reliable anymore due to bleacher and building structure concerns. Glendale Unified School District is looking for a possible replacement site.

• Too close or not to close – that has been the hot topic of discussion this year at CV High School when, in September, GUSD officials brought to the table a discussion to close the campus during lunch. Officials cited drug problems, truancies and traffic collisions as reason to do so, and students and parents against the idea say the majority shouldn’t be punished for the deeds of the few. The issue is currently still not decided.



• The dedication of the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s memorial was held. The memorial honored two men who gave their lives serving their community. L.A. County Sheriff’s Deputy David Horr and Montrose Search and Rescue Reserve Team member Deputy Chuck Rea were remembered. Horr responded to a La Crescenta home on a disturbance call. He was shot by the suspect and ultimately died from his wounds. Rea lost his life while responding with his team while attempting to rescue Tujunga residents who were stranded due to flooding.

• Walgreens was granted a Conditional Use Permit to sell alcohol despite community protest and a lengthy discussion at a meeting in October. Walgreens representative Matt Dezurick said the application for the CUP was because of consumer demand. CV resident Kim Mattersteig protested, “We’ve done data collection and there are over 110 dispensaries in [the valley] that provide alcohol.”

• Longtime CV softball coach Dan Berry passed away Oct. 26 after suffering multiple seizures two weeks prior. Under Berry, the Falcons captured the 1986 CIF Championship and won 20 Pacific League titles. In November, the Falcon community gathered at the school to celebrate his life. He was 65.

• It was officially moving day for Trader Joe’s on Oct. 28 as it held its grand opening on Honolulu Avenue. Plans to bring the store to the Montrose Shopping Park began back in 2007. Glendale City Manager Jim Starbird said the store will bring $200,000 annually and “preserves the Montrose [Shopping Park feel].”


• Charles Beatty lost out to Kenneth Putnam for a spot on the CV Water District’s board of directors. Beatty returned to the CV Town Council though when he, along with Danette Erickson, Frank Byet, Robert Thomas, Odalis Suarez and newcomer Mike Claessens were elected to council.

• On Homecoming week, the Falcons’ varsity football team defeated Glendale High 49-3 to claim its sixth victory of the season, two more than last year. CVHS advanced to the CIF playoffs, but lost to La Mirada 35-30 in the first round.

• Gov. Jerry Brown reversed convicted murderer Paul Crowder’s June 2010 grant of parole. Crowder was convicted of second-degree murder for the shooting death of CV High senior Berlyn Cosman in 1991 at an after prom party in Anaheim.


• Winds came fast and furious in early December as residents in the unincorporated area of La Crescenta went several days without power after gusts of up to 80 mph ripped through the region.  L.A. County Supervisor Mike Antonovich and customers of Southern California Edison were left frustrated by the company’s lagging response to the emergency.

• The Government Accountability Office released reports on 2009’s Station Fire. What they found seemed to substantiate criticism from residents and government officials that the US Forest Service was disorganized and did not have clear policies and procedures in place.

• The Falcons boys’ varsity basketball team kicked off its season in style, winning the annual Falcon Classic Tournament.  Senior forward Davis Dragovich nabbed tournament MVP honors. Now CV heads into league play in January with great expectations.