LCUSD Task Force Tackles Student Safety, Traffic, Wellness

Photo by Mirjam Swanson / OUTLOOK
Superintendent Wendy Sinnette addresses the newly formed community task force at its first meeting last week on Thursday, May 24. The task force was created to help the La Cañada Unified School District improve its safety, security and student wellness policies.

The especially sobering thing about discussing safety, security and student well-being is how deep those conversations go, La Cañada Unified School District Superintendent Wendy Sinnette said last week during the first meeting of the district’s task force to address those topics.
“Everything’s connected,” she said. “And as soon as you talk about one thing, it makes you think of another. The work will never be done, but it’s really empowering to have such wonderful people here committed to doing the work.”
Twenty-three members of the community — including parents, students, administrators, teachers and staff members — joined district administrators and Governing Board members in the district’s meeting room on Thursday, May 24. They signed up for subcommittees and got an overview of what they’re expected to accomplish in the next year. Continue reading “LCUSD Task Force Tackles Student Safety, Traffic, Wellness”

Local Veteran, 100, Enthralls With Adventure Tales

Photo by Mary Emily Myers / OUTLOOK
Joe Giocomarra (center), a World War II veteran of the Merchant Marine who turned 100 on Monday, rode in this year’s Fiesta Days parade after introducing himself at the Memorial Ceremony in the park beforehand.

For the past couple decades, over glasses of wine or the occasional margarita, Joe Giocomarra has regaled his pal Tom Caulfield with tales of his fascinating, improbable life.
Giocomarra, one of only about 558,000 World War II veterans still living, turned 100 on Memorial Day.
“I have the privilege of reaching 100,” Giocomarra said. “That’s a privilege a lot of people don’t [have]. And, I don’t know, I really shouldn’t be here.”
Giocomarra retains vivid memories of the war, when he served with the U.S. Merchant Marine, a collection of ships populated by civilian volunteers transporting materials, supplies, equipment and troops to help fight and win World War II. Continue reading “Local Veteran, 100, Enthralls With Adventure Tales”

LCF Commemorates Memorial Day With Fiesta, Tribute

Photos by Mary Emily Myers / OUTLOOK
Boy Scouts from Troops 502 and 507 raise the flag during the annual Memorial Ceremony in the park.

As has long been a cherished staple of life in La Cañada Flintridge, residents came together to celebrate their community with a multi-day party this past weekend for the 45th edition of Fiesta Days.
Together, neighbors enjoyed a host of activities, including fireworks, food, music and, on Memorial Day, thousands showed up to watch or participate in the colorful, patriotic parade.
But before that, as has been tradition since 1976, a couple hundred people took a pause from the festivities to pay tribute to sacrifices made by U.S. military personnel in the line of duty, including the 29 with LCF roots who died in combat and whose names adorn plaques in Memorial Park. Continue reading “LCF Commemorates Memorial Day With Fiesta, Tribute”

Portantino’s Push Helps Procure Sound Wall Funds

This May, the California Transportation Commission voted to appropriate
$5 million to the city of La Cañada Flintridge to fund the construction of a sound wall along the 210 Freeway. The vote matched a $5 million award from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, creating an awarded total of $10 million for additional sound wall construction in LCF.
“Today, I am thrilled we were able to obtain more funding for sound wall construction in La Cañada,” said state Sen. Anthony Portantino, a LCF resident, who included the city’s sound needs in SB 1. “I want to thank everyone who worked collaboratively to ensure this project was funded. The city of La Cañada Flintridge has been pushing for sound walls ever since the 210 Freeway was constructed and this is another significant step toward completing the project.”
Continue reading “Portantino’s Push Helps Procure Sound Wall Funds”

Local Starbucks Under Fire After Racial Slur on Cup

A Latino Los Gringos Locos employee
received beverages labeled with a derogatory term at the Starbucks on Foothill Boulevard.

Allegations of racism put Starbucks in the national spotlight again last week. The latest incident occurred in La Cañada Flintridge, following those in Philadelphia and Torrance.
On Tuesday, May 15, a Latino customer who ordered two drinks at the Starbucks location at 475 Foothill Blvd. received beverages labeled with a derogatory term used to refer to people of Latino descent.
“The mistake is unacceptable and we’re absolutely taking additional steps,” said a Starbucks spokeswoman, who identified herself only as Ann, by phone last week. “Our leadership team did meet with the customer and he accepted our apology.”
Without offering specifics, she added: “We’re taking additional steps to make sure we understand exactly what happened and how our partners can be better.”
The popular coffee chain had previously publicized plans to close more than 8,000 of its company-owned stores for an afternoon of employee “racial-bias education” on Tuesday, May 29. Continue reading “Local Starbucks Under Fire After Racial Slur on Cup”

PCR Math Whizzes Earn Perfect Scores

Photo by Mirjam Swanson / OUTLOOK
Palm Crest Elementary’s Blake Chang, Neal Frankenberg and Thomas Sorensen all scored a perfect 25 on this year’s Math Olympiad for Elementary and Middle Schools testing.

A trio of math virtuosos at Palm Crest Elementary School recently pulled off a mind-boggling feat: They all achieved a perfect score of 25 on this year’s Math Olympiad for Elementary and Middle Schools testing, for which they will be recognized with the Lenchner Medal, the award named after the late founder of the program.
Of 90,000 4th-, 5th- and 6th-grade students who participated internationally in 2016-17, only 155 earned perfect scores, “a highly improbable 0.2%,” as parent Sugi Sorensen put it.
This year, PCR 6th-graders Blake Chang, Neal Frankenberg and Thomas Sorensen all did it — and then downplayed their accomplishment, which was achieved over the course of five individual five-question tests taken over the span of five months. Continue reading “PCR Math Whizzes Earn Perfect Scores”

LCUSD Ready for Phase I of Facilities Improvements

At a special meeting last Friday, the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board discussed Measure LCF projects and oversight as district administrators gear up to begin implementing the Facilities Master Plan.
Discussion touched mostly on cash flow and priority-setting for nearly $30 million that will initially become available from the $149 million bond passed by voters last year. Continue reading “LCUSD Ready for Phase I of Facilities Improvements”

Looking Through Lens of Tragedy Brings Closure

Photo courtesy Douglas R. Burrows
In a self-portrait, photographer Doug Burrows posed with the Los Angeles skyline in the background. A La Cañada High School graduate, Burrows had more than 300 photos run in major publications around the world before his death in 1993.

Last December, the Los Angeles Times ran a pair of photos of the iconic rap group N.W.A. with stories on a new book chronicling its cultural impact. In the photos, Ice Cube, Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, DJ Yella and MC Ren pose, fists raised, thick gold chains glinting, their expressions stern beneath their ball caps.
Those lasting images of the provocative group were captured in 1989 by La Cañada High School graduate Doug Burrows, a passionate photojournalist who was born with a life-threatening cleft lip and cleft palate that required 30 surgeries, and who emerged from those challenges with a can-do spirit that helped establish him as a top young talent in his field.
Twenty-five years ago this month, Burrows was killed when the Toyota Celica he was driving on a quiet side street in downtown L.A was broadsided by an 18-wheeler that ran a red light. He was 29. Continue reading “Looking Through Lens of Tragedy Brings Closure”

‘Jewel’ Mansion Sells for Record $11M

Photo courtesy Mike Kobeissi
The “Crown Jewel Estate” sold last week for $11 million, the highest recorded home sale in La Cañada Flintridge history, according to the Realtors involved.

Real estate history was made last week in La Cañada Flintridge.
The 100-year-old home at 700 Berkshire Avenue, believed to have been designed by noted architect Myron Hunt for U.S. Sen. Frank Putnam Flint, sold last week for $11 million, the highest valued real estate transaction recorded in the city, according to the Realtors involved.
Mike Kobeissi of Kobeissi Properties represented the sellers, and Julie Milbrodt of Keller Williams Realty represented the buyers.
The sale of the home known as the “Crown Jewel Estate of La Cañada Flintridge” was recorded Thursday, May 10, and eclipsed 2017’s $10.5 million purchase of an Irish country manor on Woodleigh Lane.
“It took months to put together and everybody is very happy,” Milbrodt said of last week’s transaction. “It’s wonderful news.” Continue reading “‘Jewel’ Mansion Sells for Record $11M”