Letters to the editor

RE: Larger Class Sizes
There is concern by public school parents over larger class sizes coming this fall in the Glendale schools. While public schools are tuition free, parents do have alternatives.
Right here in La Crescenta, two new approaches to private, Catholic schools will start in the fall, located on two sites, K– 4th and 5th–8th grade campuses. They offer small class sizes, a loving, dedicated staff and a safe Christian atmosphere, no bullying or drug worries for students or parents. They offer after school homework clubs so parents don’t have to tackle that battle every evening plus AM/PM day care on both sites.
St. James Elementary will have kindergarten through 4th grade including Spanish with classes averaging 16 students per teacher. Holy Redeemer Middle School will have 5th [grade] at 25 students, 6th at 28 students with two 7th and 8th grade middle school classes with each teacher teaching a different subject including Art & Music with a string orchestra and church choirs. These schools are WASC accredited with high test scores. They will be one school on two campuses with good sports programs including track, volleyball, softball and football.
It’s a novel, new idea for education which may appeal to some who are dissatisfied with class sizes in the public schools and seek a new approach to their child’s education.
Just wanted you to know there are choices. For more information call principal Susan Romero (818) 248-7778.
Danette Erickson
La Crescenta

Loves Her Local Paper
I have only written to a newspaper once previously, but this thought keeps running through my mind and I want to act on it. Once again I have read my local newspaper and been provided with far more information that is important to me than my big city paper (and yes, Glendale counts as a big city). I enjoy reading about what affects my community. It is nice to hear about events before they happen, not later, after the fact.  (For example, when a major TV station recently reported on the drug situation here, I already knew that information because of Mary O’Keefe’s articles.) I like to see the advertisers and know what businesses are out there supporting their community.  Although I don’t personally know the majority of contributors and columnists, I feel that I do know them through their columns and articles and look forward to them each week.
Thank you for taking a financial risk to serve this valley.
Winkee W. Melton
La Crescenta

Stuck in the Middle
I am writing in response to comments made by Eleanor Wacker and Mike Lawler on the North Glendale Community Plan. I have been a Foothill resident all but one of my 49 years and have enjoyed growing up in Sunland-Tujunga and now raising a family in La Crescenta for the last 14 years. My dad was a Glendale teacher and I remember life as it was before the 210 freeway was built, when we traveled the local streets to get down to Glendale. We didn’t mind. We went to Hober’s, Edwards Drive-in, Hess, the Hilltop, Copper Penny, Builders Emporium, Kinney’s Shoes and the Bear Pit. There are so many parts of my community that I really appreciate, the best part being the gorgeous mountain views and the small town atmosphere we all share. I have always viewed every neighborhood along the Foothill Corridor to be one community, even though it is technically divided into several legal jurisdictions.
When the opportunity came up to participate in the North Glendale Plan Advisory Committee, I was probably the first one in line to volunteer. I too, am frustrated in the appearance of Foothill [Boulevard] and sad that many businesses have not been able to succeed here. There are empty buildings, sidewalks/surfaces in disrepair, inadequate landscaping and miscellaneous debris. Residents don’t always shop here. I looked forward to helping make it better.
The process of creating the North Glendale Community Plan has been a long one and is still continuing to this day. I have to say that the Planning Department staff was professional, involved, knowledgeable and especially yielding. They made it clear from the beginning that they were there to guide us in the process, to create a plan that was good for the entire region. The group of participants varied greatly. Many of the names you would recognize, people who are involved and care about this community, like you and me. We talked extensively, toured Foothill [Boulevard], Honolulu [Avenue] and Oceanview [Boulevard] and tried to be fair in our assessments. We didn’t always agree but tried to keep in mind the best recommendations for the whole Crescenta Valley.
In the beginning, I too wanted center medians for beautification and greening. I soon realized that “bump outs” like the ones on Honolulu might be a better option for our section. While the street is wide, the business lots are small. There are many curb cuts and driveways. Where would you put the medians exactly? Bump outs would allow additional features like decorative seating areas, with newspaper stands, artwork, and landscape niches. The street trees could be moved to the bump outs, which would be more visually appealing while keeping them from blocking the business signs. Thus, there might be more room to widen the sidewalk and possibly do underground cabling.
If medians are present, it may be difficult to start and end left turns. Residents or delivery trucks may be inclined to go around the block to turn around, causing them to spill onto residential streets more often. Due to their design, bump outs may cause a natural slowing of traffic or even better, walking opportunities. Businesses in North Glendale and La Crescenta may actually thrive with this type of beautification rather than just survive as a pass-through.
The Advisory Committee Recommendations part of the Plan addresses many of the community’s concerns like sidewalks, fences, lighting, buffering and more. The group collectively made recommendations for improvements, if funds should ever become available. I encourage everyone to view the draft plan at http://www.ci.glendale.ca.us/planning/default.asp and give us your feedback.
Susan Bolan
La Crescenta

Thankful for her community
On May 16 I lost my best friend Janet. Her death was sudden and happened at her home. We won’t know for certain what happened for a while but whatever the cause the fact still remains she is gone and will be missed. I am writing this letter because in the midst of the shock and grief I found incredible kindness and support through a very special army of friends and through the strength of community bonds.
I am rarely taken aback or at a loss for purpose, but when this happened I was lost. I am usually the one who is strong and organized and takes care of all the planning and paperwork. I knew my main focus needed to be Janet’s family and to relieve some of the burden, but for a while I stumbled.
The first thing I needed to do was to find a place to hold the memorial and reception.  Janet and her family were not affiliated with a church so I went to my son’s church, St. Luke’s of the Mountains Episcopal on Foothill Boulevard. I told Rev. Bryan Jones of our need and he opened the church. He didn’t ask about Janet’s religious affiliation, he just opened the doors. This touched my heart because this is what a church should be.  A place where you go and say, “I need help,” and they are there for you. And then he asked if I wanted to pray. He didn’t tell me I should but asked if I wanted to. We prayed and it gave me strength.
Then these moms that volunteer for so many things took over the reception. Robin Goldsworthy, Debbie Taylor and Lisa Yeghiayan organized and filled the hall with food. We decorated Sadler Hall, next to the chapel, and had a potluck-style reception.  Janet’s neighbors all brought a dish or two, this is in addition to bringing food to the family every night. There were constant calls of checking to see if we had enough, if there was anything anyone could do and how they could help. Even now after the memorial as the family struggles to get used to life without their loved one, the neighbors continue to bring dinner and support.
Then there were these amazing kids from the high school. They were friends of Janet’s daughter and friends of Janet, too. Don’t believe anyone who says that kids are insensitive or they don’t really understand reality. These kids rallied around Janet’s daughter and gave her love and support at the memorial and especially at school. I saw this type of support this week with Tyler Sikora’s brother Devin. His friends never left his side. There were hugs and pats on the shoulder and you could tell that they were not just there to support but to protect. This is the same feeling I got from Janet’s daughter’s friends. And these kids did the clean up after the reception. They rolled up their sleeves and did the dishes and organized the leftovers.
Chris Waldheim came to Janet’s service representing Relay for Life. She had walked the relay on Saturday. There were so many community members that came to show their support that the church was filled. Her family, her husband and kids, were so touched by everyone and so appreciated the support. It was comforting to all of us to know how many lives Janet had touched.
All of this proves what an amazing community we live in.
California has this self-centered, elitist reputation but that is not the reality. The real California can be seen in Crescenta Valley where neighbors help neighbors and the loss of one is felt by us all.
Mary O’Keefe
La Crescenta