Buoyed by a surge in positive staff feedback and a new nurses contract, USC Verdugo Hills Hospital CEO Keith Hobbs last week shared a bold goal.
“The No. 1 reason people move to La Cañada Flintridge is for the schools, right?” Hobbs asked. “I would like to change the paradigm so that, over the period of the next couple years, the second reason why they look to move to La Cañada is their community hospital.”
That only happens, Hobbs said, with the help of nurses.
In contrast to a contentious, drawn-out negotiation two years ago, USC Verdugo Hills Hospital and the California Nurses Association needed only about two months — “record time,” Hobbs called it — to come to terms on the current contract, which will take them through 2020. The deal was announced by the CNA on Dec. 29. Continue reading “USC-VHH, Nurses Feel Good About Contract Deal”
Dan Jeffries is shy by nature, he says. But he was so inspired by the exceptional effort he witnessed from his children’s teachers that he found himself knocking on strangers’ doors in almost every LCF block during his 2013 campaign for a seat on the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board.
“Even those families who no longer have kids in the schools know a lot and care a lot about the schools,” said Jeffries, a prosecutor for the city of Los Angeles and the board’s current president. Continue reading “LCUSD Board President Upbeat on School Upgrades”
Former La Cañada Elementary School principal Christine Castillo has retained high-profile attorney Mark Geragos and is suing La Cañada Unified School District, alleging sex discrimination as well as intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
In a complaint filed Wednesday, Dec. 28, the former principal alleged she was discriminated against, demoted and put on indefinite leave because Superintendent Wendy Sinnette was unhappy that Castillo informed her she was pregnant a month after accepting the principal position in July 2012. Continue reading “Former Principal Sues LCUSD for Discrimination”
As the wait staff at Hill Street Cafe dutifully refilled coffee cups during a recent breakfast, La Cañada Flintridge Mayor Jonathan Curtis discussed the value of quality customer service.
To him, it’s a priority. That’s why he’s helping to usher in more modern efforts to streamline planning-related activities. He’s also a proponent of moving City Hall — if all checks out in the ongoing 90-day due diligence process — from its current cramped facility to the former Sport Chalet headquarters, where he’s confident staff will be able to operate more efficiently.
“It’s about taking our city to the next level as far as customer service,” Curtis said.
He discussed those initiatives and much more about what’s brewing in LCF in 2017 during an interview with the Outlook’s Mirjam Swanson. Highlights of the conversation are below. Continue reading “LCF Mayor Looks to Streamline Services in 2017”
La Cañada Flintridge’s long-established relationship with the Tournament of Roses Parade was further bolstered by its participation Monday, Jan. 2, in the 128th rendition of the rosy procession through Pasadena.
As LCF residents Brad Ratliff and Natalie Petrosian enacted their roles with enthusiasm and grace, the community’s self-built float tickled the parade’s judges, who sent it home with another piece of hardware.
With this year’s “Backyard Rocketeer,” a colorfully playful tribute to the inspiring work of Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses’ Association won its sixth consecutive trophy and claimed the Bob Hope Humor trophy for the fourth time in that span.
In its 39 years of participation, LCF’s entries have floated off with an award 28 times — a testament to the devotion of residents who come together and contribute more than 45,000 hours to creating the float and more than $100,000 to pay for construction, materials, insurance and more.
“It’s one of the definers of La Cañada Flintridge,” said Chuck Terhune, LCFTRA’s president. “It’s one of the things that La Cañada Flintridge does every year that goes out to the world and says, ‘Hey, we’re here.’ It’s sort of a world advertisement. And it’s the holiday and Christmas season tradition around here.”
Weather permitting, the Backyard Rocketeer will be available for viewing Saturday morning at Memorial Park.
Ratliff strove to soak up every note of enjoyment during his year serving as president of the Tournament of Roses Association, and he did it with his father, Dick Ratliff, nearby. The elder Ratliff was the Tournament president in 1999, when his chosen theme was “Echoes of the Century.”
That family history inspired Brad Ratliff to give this year’s festivities the theme, “Echoes of Success.”
“Initially, when you come up with a theme, you wonder how it’s all going to play,” Brad Ratliff said. “And it takes on an evolution of its own. It was different when we thought of it than it is today; the concept was there, but it became more special when we started hearing stories from people about how other folks affected them and made their lives better.”
Over the course of the year, Ratliff — a self-described “band geek” — sat in and played trumpet, trombone or French horn with each of the bands selected to perform in the parade. He even traveled to Japan and Mexico to meet and make music with the Gifusho Green Band and the Escuela Secundaria Tencica Industrial band, even speaking to both groups in their native languages.
“In my opinion, that’s what I needed to do,” Ratliff said. “I needed to show the respect for these kids who come out and make these sacrifices because it was important that they knew we really, really value what they do.”
The same goes for some of the young participants from closer to home, including the members of the Royal Court, on which La Cañada High School senior Natalie Petrosian was a princess.
“Natalie’s awesome,” Ratliff said. “She is so articulate, so bright, so charming, you can’t help but want to stand next to her and just feel the goodness that comes from her.”
Told that Petrosian has designs on joining the Tournament of Roses organization after college, Ratliff wondered if she might not be the first to go from princess to president.
On Wednesday, Petrosian was focused on preparing her final college application for submittal, after which she planned to enjoy the final week of her holiday break.
She was already missing life as a princess, she said, but she planned to stay in touch with her “sisters” on the court. The seven young women bonded during the past three months, when together they attended more than 100 functions and met thousands of people before taking their place on the float that transported them the five magical miles down Colorado Boulevard.
“Let me tell you,” Petrosian said, “when you see someone you know, or hear someone calling your name, or see faces light up when you wave at them, any numbness [from the cold] totally goes away and all your energy and focus is on those people.
“It was unbelievable. I’m never going to forget it.”
As it celebrated its 40th anniversary of cityhood, La Cañada Flintridge saw some significant eras end in 2016. Sporting goods retail giant Sport Chalet closed up shop after getting its start in LCF 57 years ago, and, with membership waning, the Crescenta-Cañada Rotary Club disbanded after 76 years.
Local schools continued to be a focal point: La Cañada Unified School District students retained their impressive academic statewide standing; play got under way on a new football field; the girls’ basketball team made history and an accord was reached over teacher salaries after tense negotiations.
La Cañada Flintridge, your “Backyard Rocketeer” is almost ready for lift-off, revved up and ready to blast forth from “under the bridge” en route to the 5.5-mile Jan. 2 trek down Colorado Boulevard. (Per the “Never on Sunday” rule harkening back to the 19th century, the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl will be staged Monday because Jan. 1 falls on Sunday.)
For the 39th consecutive year, the LCF Tournament of Roses Association will enter a float in the Rose Parade. The submission is a result of volunteers and community members donating about 45,000 hours and more than $100,000 to make it a reality.
Back in office, Anthony Portantino clocked in for the first time and put forth a trio of bills in his first few hours as state Senator for California’s 25th District.
“It’s an honor to serve the communities that have been wonderful to me,” said Portantino, a former state Assemblyman who won a seat in the state Senate for the first time by defeating L.A. County Supervisor Mike Antonovich in November.
“You get to work on issues you care about, you get to continue to learn more about the community you represent and I’m honored to be in a position where I can affect what is positive change,” added Portantino, a La Cañada Flintridge resident who previously served as the city’s mayor.
City officials hope a new right-turn pocket will at least slightly ease congestion at La Cañada Flintridge’s busiest intersection of Angeles Crest Highway and Foothill Boulevard.
On Tuesday night, after the update was discussed at the City Council meeting, crews finished painting the new lane, which will allow vehicles headed eastbound to turn directly onto the 210 Freeway without having to queue up behind cars lined up to drive straight on ACH.
A La Cañada Flintridge resident was arrested on Dec. 9 on charges that he initiated a cyberattack on a San Francisco-based tech company.
Sean Sharma, a 26-year-old La Cañada High School graduate, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on Dec. 16 in Northern District of California court.
Sharma was arrested in LCF, after which he was released on a $100,000 bond, according to a statement by the FBI. Sharma, a graduate student studying computer science at USC, is being accused of purchasing a tool to carry out a distributed denial-of-service attack on web servers belonging to Chatango, a company that provides chat services to third-party websites.