Letters to the editor


The Crescenta Valley High School Falcon Marching Band capped off a season of record-breaking scores with a “personal best” in its final competition. At the prestigious Moorpark “Battle of the Bands” field show tournament on Saturday, Nov. 21, the band earned its highest-ever overall score in a field tournament. The color guard auxiliary unit also earned its highest score ever in that same competition. The preceding weekend’s performance at the La Palma parade and band review was also exemplary: the band achieved its highest overall score ever in a band review, and its music score was its best ever (besting the music scores of all the other bands in its division as well). The color guard, which earned one of its highest scores ever, took fourth place honors. During this season, the band also earned its highest scores for marching and showmanship in a band review, and for general effect (includes showmanship) and visuals (includes marching) in a field tournament. Music director Mathew Schick, color guard instructor Liz Weaver, and every band and color guard member can be very proud indeed of this landmark season.

For the band, these triumphs, except for a first place win at the West-El Camino Field Tournament, came without trophies. The reasons have everything to do with how successfully Schick has been growing the marching band – not to mention the rest of the CVHS Instrumental Music program – since he started at CVHS 11 years ago. Mr. Schick’s stated goal is to keep improving the band and its scores every season – a goal he is obviously reaching. Because of the band’s winning scores in parade competitions in Division 2A during 2008, this year the band was moved up one division and competed in Division 3A. (The band spent only two years in Division 2A, having advanced from Division 1A in 2007, again because of its winning scores.) In fact, the band’s scores this year would have earned it first place on more than one occasion, had it still been competing in Division 2A.

Moving up one division profoundly affects the character of the band’s (and the color guard’s) competition. As the band continues to improve, it increasingly faces schools whose bands often put in more rehearsal time (some of the other Division 3A bands rehearse as many as 12 hours a week) and/or have much better funding: paid full-time staffs of from five to 11 instructors, coaches, and assistant directors, in addition to the band director, are not uncommon. What the Falcon marching band and color guard are able to achieve with only one full-time director, one part-time color guard instructor (Ms. Weaver is a full-time English teacher at CVHS), and four hours of rehearsal per week outside of class time is thus extraordinary. As they work toward their goal of improving their scores and their ranking every season, we may expect more trophies in the band’s future.

Although the Falcon marching band finished its competition season with the Moorpark field tournament, it’s not quite time to stow away the uniforms. At the CV varsity football team’s second (and final) CIF Final game on Friday, November 27th, the band performed its field show one last time. On Dec. 5, the band once again represented the Crescenta Valley as its “hometown band,” marching in the Montrose Christmas parade. The band’s final marching performance is on Wednesday, Dec. 16 when the band has been invited (for the first time in its history) to march down Disneyland’s Main Street while performing music from around the world. Finally, on Friday, Dec. 11, the marching band performed, along with the four other CVHS instrumental music groups and the Charismatics choral ensemble, at the annual CV instrumental music Winter Concert.

Susan Cross Stanley

La Crescenta


My wife Brenda and I came to La Crescenta looking for our first and only home in December 1962. It was a run down wreck of a place, but it was home.

I came from Pasadena via bus to attend St. Francis High at (then) the end of Michigan Avenue. The year was 1947. I was in the second graduating class from St. Francis as a senior in 1951. I joined the Naval Reserve February 1951, only to be activated for Korea in December 1951 – you know, “The Police Action.”

The Crescenta Valley was a great family community, quiet, friendly, good schools, nice people…then the freeway. A God send?…W r o n g! Our serene little valley was never to be the same.

Jim Chase’s article of Dec. 3 is a perfect example of today’s folly. I remember when we all dressed to fly or ride the train, as if we were going to an Emperor’s coronation, now some of the attire borders on indecent.

My mom would have boxed my ears if I ever treated a stranger the way everyone seems to treat each other now days. I have always greeted a stranger on the sidewalk with a “Good morning” or whatever was appropriate, and now I am looked at as weird. Little kids are still a pleasure [as] they wave or hide behind mom’s dress, pretending that you don’t see them.

What happened to good old common sense and plain old courtesy? Does everyone have to be told how to respect someone else. What about “treat others as you wish to be treated”? Maybe – just maybe – all our young men and women should be required to spend some time is the military. My dad used to say, “You can’t dictate respect; you have to earn it.”

Enough of my rambling, keep up the good work, Jim. We (all of us ancient folks over 40) love and look forward to your columns.

Dick Davy

La Crescenta


I was home visiting the folks recently and I was pleased to see that Charly Shelton is still writing! He was a great contributor when I was back at the Valley Sun in 2002-2003 and I thought he had a lot of potential. He must be all grown up now!

Good for him to still be writing, and I wish him the best of luck. Hopefully one day I’ll see an editorial of his in the New York Times.

Tiffney Mortensen

Silicon Valley

Editor’s note: Ms. Mortensen is a former editor of the Valley Sun newspaper.


I know everyone has been telling you and lecturing you and warning you to be prepared, but are you?

If you physically moved out of your house during the Station Fire or during our last rain storm/flood watch you know it takes some time to get ready, packed and leave. Many of you packed up your vehicles twice or more to evacuate. Could you evacuate your home within one hour or 10 minutes?

You should have a “Grab and Go” bag ready for each person living in your home. It should have a change of clothes, extra shoes, any prescriptions you need, toiletries, flashlight, water, whistle and some money…anything you may need for three days. You will also need one for your family pet. Next, you need your important papers, insurance, mortgages, birth certificates – just to name a few – all in a separate safe or suitcase. You should also have pictures of your home, inside and out. You’ll also need pictures of all of the contents in and around your home as well. You should have water, food or energy bars and snacks to keep you going for at least 24 hours.

Once you have gotten this all in place, sitting in one place, where you can find it in a heartbeat – maybe a front closet – you might be able to evacuate in an hour. Do you know where your glasses, car keys, phone, purse or wallet are? We haven’t even begun to talk about photos, computer data, etc. Now see if you can pack up the family in one hour, load the cars and physically leave in case of flood (fire, earthquake). Believe me, when I had to do it with my own family for the actual event I was surprised at just how long it actually took. To leave in minutes you need to be prepared ahead of time. So get prepared now, when things are calm.

The other possibility is that you may be stranded on your own block due to mudflow. A virtual island but with luck you will have already prepared your home. Is your family ready to shelter in place for three to five days while the county workers do their best to clear a path that is safe to travel? If the mudflows are serious enough, they could break power lines, gas lines and even water mains. Are you prepared to stay in your house without heat, light or running water? For those of us in the burn area, that is a real possibility. Have you stockpiled extra food, bottled water, medicines, propane and flashlights with batteries, etc.? So let me ask you again: Do you Think You’re Ready?

CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) training can help you get ready to help your family and your neighbors. We are looking to have another CERT training class in January. Contact Crescenta Valley CERT team head coordinators Paul or Lisa Dutton at (818) 249-8378.

Paul Dutton

La Crescenta