Former Sheriff’s Psychologist, LCF Resident, Found Guilty of Child Molestation

A La Cañada Flintridge man faces life in prison after he was convicted of sexually assaulting a young boy and girl between 2013-2015, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
After three days of deliberation last week, jurors found 45-year-old Michael Dane Ward, a former L.A. County Sheriff’s Department psychologist, guilty of four counts of lewd act on a child under 14, three counts of oral copulation of a child 10 years old or younger and one count of sodomy with a child younger than 10, the D.A. said. Continue reading “Former Sheriff’s Psychologist, LCF Resident, Found Guilty of Child Molestation”

LCUSD Assistant Superintendent Departs for Ventura

Jeff Davis

La Cañada Unified School District will lose its assistant superintendent of human resources when Jeff Davis starts a new job with the Ventura County School District next month.
Beginning Sept. 1, Davis will serve as the assistant superintendent of certificated human resources with the much larger district whose student population exceeds 17,000. Davis, who lives in Thousand Oaks, also will cut his current hourlong commute in half.
During his two years with LCSUD, Davis helped broker a hard-fought deal with the La Cañada Teachers Association. During the 2015-16 school year, Davis was at the table for 90-plus hours of negotiations before the district and LCTA reached an agreement that sufficiently closed the gap between the compensation earned by LCUSD’s teachers and those at similar high-performing districts.
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Solar Eclipse Dazes Young Gazers

Through freshman George Kamar’s pair of special safety glasses, Monday’s solar eclipse looked “a little like Pac-Man.”
It reminded senior Anthony Khalil of “a doughnut about to be eaten.”

Seventh-grader Irina Penanen described it as “the sun, with a slice out of it.”
In sync with campuses across the nation, students at La Cañada High School covered their eyes with “eclipse glasses” — 250 of which were donated by Jet Propulsion Laboratory — and peered skyward as the morning cooled slightly and its light gradually dimmed as the moon’s shadow grew on the Earth.

Freshman George Kamar said Monday’s solar eclipse looked “like Pac-Man.”

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Graffiti Scrawled on Cars and Fence Rattles Residents

The Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Department is investigating a potential hate crime related to graffiti spray-painted on two cars and a wooden fence last weekend on Lamour Drive.

Photo courtesy Joy Neilson
The Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Department is investigating a possible hate crime related to disparaging messages spray-painted on two cars and a fence last weekend at separate residences on Lamour Drive.

The graffiti, though difficult to decipher, seems to include the words: “kill women evil,” “evil women” and “honor.” It was left at three residences.
Joy Neilson, whose daughter drives one of the vandalized vehicles, said they’re dumbfounded about who did it.
“It was just ugliness: ‘Kill women?’ Ugliness,” Neilson said. “Was it random? Was it targeted? The lady up the street [whose car also was vandalized] is the same religion; could that be it? I could let my mind spin on for hours.”
Sgt. Alan Chu agreed that without more evidence, it’s difficult to determine motive or culprit.
“This is a new one to me,” Chu said. “It’s isolated in one [area], not all over town, so that’s usually one person angry at something. I’m not sure how, but it sounds to me like somebody is angry at somebody.
“Or it could be totally random.”
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Target’s Arrival Stoking Range of Reactions

Opening Day is almost a year away, but the community of La Cañada Flintridge is abuzz — cheering and worrying — about the Target that’s going to set up shop in the Town Center.
News broke last week that the nation’s second-largest general merchandise retailer signed to open in the former Sport Chalet space next July. When asked, local shoppers have had no problem identifying what it is they’d purchase: pajamas, pet supplies, toothpaste, clothes, books, DVDs, school supplies, makeup, underwear.
“I go to Target all the time in Eagle Rock or Pasadena,” said Darlene Underwood, who already visits the Town Center regularly to have coffee and a bite with her friends Marlene Rust and Mary Anderson. “This will be just more convenient.”
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Website Gives LCUSD Schools ‘A+’ in Academics; ‘C’ in Food

How successful are La Cañada Unified School District’s schools? Let Niche.com count the ways.

Source: niche.com/k12/search/best-public-elementary-schools/c/los-angeles-county-ca/

The website that publishes K-12 annual rankings again listed LCUSD among the top in many categories in its most recent survey data, which seeks to quantify academic and student life by using information from the U.S. Department of Education along with test scores, college data and ratings collected from Niche users.
As a district, LCUSD ranks 182nd out of 10,574 districts in America and is No. 3 of 59 districts in L.A. County, according to Niche.
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Five Candidates File to Run for School Board

Five candidates filed paperwork before Wednesday’s deadline to run for the three La Cañada Unified School District seats that will be open in the Nov. 7 election.
The candidates include newcomers Joshua Gottheim, Joe Radabaugh and Christopher Salvo, as well as incumbents Dan Jeffries and Kaitzer Puglia. Current board member David Sagal said he did not plan to run for a second term at a meeting last month.
Gottheim, a land use attorney, filed papers with the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk on Wednesday, as did Salvo, an aerospace engineering manager. Radabaugh, who is currently on the La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation’s board, filed Tuesday.
Jeffries, a prosecutor with the L.A. City Attorney’s office and the board’s current president, is finishing his first, four-year term, as is Puglia. A professor at Pasadena City College, she is currently the board’s vice president.

New Town Center Tenant Right on Target

La Cañada Flintridge is getting a Target.
The national retailer announced Wednesday that it has signed a lease to move into the former Sport Chalet space, with plans to open in July 2018.
The popular discount store will operate a 45,865-square foot “small-format” store in the La Cañada Flintridge Town Center. This Target will be the 10th of its kind in the Los Angeles area. It will operate next door to the new City Hall, which also is scheduled to open next year, occupying the former Sport Chalet corporate office space.
“I am delighted; it’s going to be great for our community,” said Pat Anderson, CEO of the LCF Chamber of Commerce.
Target began discussions with the IDS Real Estate Group, which owns the Town Center, last November, according to Rob Fuelling, IDS’ senior vice president.

OUTLOOK photo
The Town Center will have a new anchor retailer when a small-format Target opens in the former Sport Chalet store in July 2018.

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Local Drug Rehab House Unsettles Residents

Neighbors uneasy at the thought of a residential drug treatment program operating near their homes spent the past week swapping information before gathering en masse to share concerns at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
A house in the 900 block of Green Lane is being leased by Ridgeview Ranch, the state-licensed, for-profit treatment center that helps men and women struggling with alcoholism and drug addiction. According to Chief Operating Officer Larry Thornton, it has been used as a residential treatment facility for clergy who are dealing only with substance abuse. Continue reading “Local Drug Rehab House Unsettles Residents”

Kiwanis Continues to Support LCUSD

The Kiwanis Club of La Cañada hosted representatives of the La Cañada Unified School District last week at lunch, where 19 new teachers and three new administrators were introduced at the service club’s annual “Apple for the Teacher” event.
Keeping with the Kiwanis international motto, “serving the children of the world,” the club not only offered new hires a warm welcome but handed over a $1,500 check to help fund scholarships for the annual 5th-grade trip to Pennsylvania’s Valley Forge.

OUTLOOK photo
Kiwanis Club President Mike Leininger hands a check to Paradise Canyon Elementary School Principal Debra Cradduck, Paradise Canyon Elementary’s Karen Hurley and La Cañada Elementary’s Emily Blaney during last week’s “Apple for the Teacher” luncheon at Descanso Gardens. The club’s $1,500 donation will help support the district’s annual Valley Forge trip.

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