Leininger Honored for Service to City

Photo by Mirjam Swanson / OUTLOOK
Longtime La Cañada Flintridge resident and educator Mike Leininger encouraged his audience to find ways to give back as he was recognized by the Noon Kiwanis Club as La Cañadan of the Year on Wednesday at Descanso Gardens’ Van de Kamp Hall.

Mike Leininger challenged the 110 people who came to lunch Wednesday, including grandsons Jeff and Johnny, to get involved in their community, citing a saying he learned as a coach at Bellflower High School: “What you do will speak so loudly,” he said, “I can’t hear a word you’re saying.”
Leininger’s actions since moving to La Cañada Flintridge 30 years ago this month with his family have spoken volumes. Several accounts were shared by fellow community leaders during the Noon Kiwanis Club of La Cañada’s annual La Cañadan of the Year recognition luncheon at Descanso Gardens’ Van de Kamp Hall.
For 26 years, Leininger was a member of the La Cañada Unified School District, moving up the ranks as a La Cañada High School assistant principal, principal and then as LCUSD assistant superintendent. He earned his doctorate of education from the University of La Verne during that span and was known for hosting homecoming float building sessions in his front yard.
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Sheriff: Fairview Fire Ruled Accidental

The fire that claimed a woman’s life on March 8 in the 1000 block of Fairview Avenue was ruled accidental, Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Capt. Chris Blasnek said.
“Our arson explosive detail handled the incident,” Blasnek said. “And it was ruled accidental, there was no suspicious activity surrounding it at all.”
According to Blasnek, investigators determined that the fire started in a bedroom and burned “for quite a while,” destroying a lot of evidence in the process. The cause of death was ruled respiratory failure as a result of smoke inhalation.
“They were not able to determine the exact cause,” Blasnek said. “It was a very unfortunate case.” Continue reading “Sheriff: Fairview Fire Ruled Accidental”

Fire Guts Empty Home on Milmada Drive

Photo by Mirjam Swanson / OUTLOOK
A home burned Wednesday morning in the 900 block of Milmada Drive.

Investigators with the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department will seek to identify the cause of a fire that gutted an empty house Wednesday morning in the 900 block of Milmada Drive. No one was injured in the blaze, which appeared to have started in the attic area and proceeded to burn through the home’s floor and ceiling, said Capt. Robert Bauer, of L.A. County Fire Department’s Station 82.
Architect Jay Lee said remodeling had begun within the past two weeks on the home, which was purchased on March 30 for $1.14 million, according to Zillow.
“I don’t know what caused the fire, but it caught fire,” said Lee, of JL Construction Service. Continue reading “Fire Guts Empty Home on Milmada Drive”

LCUSD Injury Lawsuit Settled Before Trial

The lawsuit by the family of a La Cañada High School student injured as a result of a fall from the La Cañada High School bleachers during a 2016 assembly was settled April 11, according to documents filed with the Superior Court of California.
The trial, which was continued three times, had been scheduled to begin April 17. Instead, La Cañada School District and attorneys representing student Ethan Kalnins reached a settlement. Continue reading “LCUSD Injury Lawsuit Settled Before Trial”

Council Approves New City Hall Design

Photos by Mirjam Swanson / OUTLOOK
A rendering illustrates what visitors to La Cañada Flintridge’s new City Hall can expect to see when the renovations on the building are finished in late 2018 or early 2019.

The City Council voted 4-1 last week in favor of the “original design” concept recommended by the New City Hall Renovation Subcommittee that is estimated to cost $6.45 million.
Concerned about the cost, Councilman Greg Brown voted against approving the final design plan and authorizing the preparation of bid specifications, but the other four council members embraced the proposal at a special meeting on Thursday, April 12.
“This is a 50-year decision, and if we’re going to make a 50-year decision, we have to make the right decision, and I think that’s the first plan,” Councilman Michael Davitt said. Continue reading “Council Approves New City Hall Design”

PCR’s ‘Panthercast’ Broadcast Delights Audience

The hardest part of putting together the Weekly Panthercast isn’t writing the scripts or interviewing students and teachers, or even producing the show — it’s trying not to laugh.
“It’s always fun and it’s never hard, it just sometimes gets somewhat out of hand,” said Finn Valderhaug, who with Jaidon Gupta, recently anchored one of Palm Crest Elementary’s increasingly popular video bulletins.

Photos by Mirjam Swanson / OUTLOOK
Student council advisor Mariana Valderhaug discusses a script with Panthercast anchors Finn Valderhaug and Jaidon Gupta before they record an episode of the popular student bulletin videocast in her classroom.

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City Lauds Residential Burglary Stymie in March

“Zero,” Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Captain Chris Blasnek said. “Zero, zero.”
He was, at Council Jonathan Curtis’ request, repeating the March tally of residential burglaries in La Cañada Flintridge.
City Council members wished to highlight the drop following an uptick late last year and early this year. In January, 14 residential burglaries were recorded in the city, followed by four in February. So far, two residential burglaries have been reported in April.
“It was a lot of hard work,” Blasnek said. “You saw the extra units, we had our burglary-robbery suppression team, and I think it worked. And it wasn’t just us; it was all the neighboring cities, as far as Agoura Hills.” Continue reading “City Lauds Residential Burglary Stymie in March”

Outlook Earns 11 Journalism Honors in Statewide Contest


The La Cañada Flintridge Outlook newspaper was recognized four times and the Outlook Newspaper group a total of 11 times in the statewide California Journalism Awards contest, which is conducted annually by the California Newspaper Publishers Association. The awards were announced at a luncheon Saturday, April 14, in Sonoma.
Deputy editor Mirjam Swanson’s story about La Cañada High School’s later start time (Sept. 21) took third place in the Coverage of Youth & Education category, as did her sports feature about Walker Cup golfer Collin Morikawa (Sept. 7).
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LCUSD Outlines Wide Range of Security Measures

The crowd was smaller than at the past few meetings, but the main topic remained the same — safety and security at school.
La Cañada Unified School District officials spent much of Tuesday’s Governing Board meeting, which had a large number of discussion topics, focused on security measures, from fencing to the formation of a task force.
Safety concerns were front of mind recently following the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, and also some drug-related incidents at La Cañada High School that resulted in arrests or hospitalization.
LCUSD detailed plans to dedicate funds from the $149 million Measure LCF bond — the first $30 million issuance of which could be approved by the County Board of Supervisors on May 9 — to begin the process of installing perimeter fencing at its three elementary school sites.
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PCR’s Golfing Gnome a Real Ace

Photo courtesy Brian Parker

The Dads’ Committee is hosting the Palm Crest Golf and Tennis Open on Monday, April 23, to raise money for the school’s PTA STEAM projects — and 6th-grader Troy Parker is helping out.
To promote the tournament, Parker is up early every morning wearing his golf outfit, waving to drivers and passengers in the car line. His dad, Brian Parker, made four cutouts of Troy to put in front of Palm Crest families’ houses with an invitation to donate — and then move — to another family’s front yard.
“We are calling them the ‘Roaming Gnomes’ and if you get one you have been ‘gnomed’!” wrote Brian Parker in an email.
The “gnoming” will continue until April 21. The tournament, at La Cañada Country Club, is a daytime adult golf and tennis event, followed by a social hour, dinner and awards ceremony. For kids, dinner and a movie will be available at the club starting at 4 p.m.
For more information, visit birdeasepro.com/palmcrest.