Friends in Deed Food Pantry Feeds Hungry, Gives Dignity

Photo by Camila Castellanos
Photo by Camila Castellanos

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” so read the iconic words etched at the base of the Statue of Liberty.
But during the past week of patriotic parties, one wonders if American poet Emma Lazarus, who penned the sonnet for the country’s beacon of freedom, could have imagined that 134 years later, the nation that is considered the world’s wealthiest also would be home to some 42 million people struggling with hunger, including 13 million children and 5.4 million seniors don’t have enough to eat, according to Feeding America.
Perhaps Lazarus might take heart, however, that in communities across America, nonprofits such as Friends in Deed in Pasadena strive to combat that hunger and give dignity back to the working poor through food pantries.
Located at the corner of Washington Boulevard and Los Robles Avenue, the interfaith collaborative Friends in Deed food pantry serves as a little market, allowing clients to shop for the food they like and need, especially fresh produce and proteins such as meat and chicken.
“This place is a real life-saver — I’m super appreciative of these guys,” said Ife Sangode, who was shopping at one of the food pantry’s new Thursday openings. The pantry just expanded its hours to open three times per week from the longstanding two days.
Continue reading “Friends in Deed Food Pantry Feeds Hungry, Gives Dignity”

Bank’s Leader Bridges Culture, Finance Across Pacific

Photo courtesy East West Bank Dominic Ng has served as East West Bank’s chairman and CEO for 25 years, helping it expand to more than 130 locations across the U.S. and China and ranking among the 30 largest banks in the nation.
Photo courtesy East West Bank
Dominic Ng has served as East West Bank’s chairman and CEO for 25 years, helping it expand to more than 130 locations across the U.S. and China and ranking among the 30 largest banks in the nation.

In another life, East West Bank Chairman and CEO Dominic Ng, an avid fan of rock ‘n’ roll, might have made a living by strumming his guitar in a quaint Pasadena coffee shop.

But thankfully for the city, he instead became a financial guru for East West Bank, transforming the institution from a small savings and loan association with $600 million in assets in 1991 into a full-service commercial bank today with $35.3 billion in assets. He’s been named by Forbes as one of the 25 most notable Chinese Americans and one of the 100 most influential people in Los Angeles by the Los Angeles Times.
But the arts have never been far from his heart, and as part of encouraging business ties between the U.S. and China, Ng has also made it his mission to bridge the cultural divide between the two countries, shepherding the bank to become a patron of Chinese art, music and culture throughout the region and the United States.
Continue reading “Bank’s Leader Bridges Culture, Finance Across Pacific”

Pasadena Duo Teaches Retirement Challenges, Joys

Mitchell Kauffman and Joanne Moran
Mitchell Kauffman and Joanne Moran

Life after retirement may seem a distant future filled with leisurely walks, sunsets and golf rounds, but the realization of the golden years also can be a rocky path of uncertain economic stability and feelings of futility, say those who have forged the path previously.
What should be years of joy and tranquility — oftentimes for married couples, in particular — also can morph into depression that comes with loss of purpose, changing roles and fear of change.
Those fears are what brought financial planner Mitchell Kauffman and his wife and partner, Joanne Moran, a clinical psychologist, to work together, creating workshops to help others manage the financial and emotional challenges for a successful retirement. Continue reading “Pasadena Duo Teaches Retirement Challenges, Joys”

Polytechnic Football Scores Big With Hillsides

Photo courtesy Jennifer Godwin-Minto Poly Head of School John Bracker said football coach Chris Schmoke, pictured above talking to senior John Genske, is a good mentor to all of his athletes and students.
Photo courtesy Jennifer Godwin-Minto
Poly Head of School John Bracker said football coach Chris Schmoke, pictured above talking to senior John Genske, is a good mentor to all of his athletes and students.

Hillsides has partnerships with various schools in the Pasadena area, most notably Polytechnic. The union between the foster care organization and Poly began nearly 40 years ago and remains strong to this day.
Hillsides Tutor Coordinator Ian Lee praised Poly students for taking the time to tutor their clients, but working with an agency “dedicated to healing children and young adults, strengthening families and transforming communities through quality comprehensive services and advocacy,” he felt more could be done.
“I’m pretty sure I was the first one brave enough to ask, ‘Would you be open to hosting athletic clinics?’” Lee said. “We never really made a strong connection with an athletic student body group.”
Continue reading “Polytechnic Football Scores Big With Hillsides”

Enduring Heroes Statue Unveiled on Memorial Day

Hundreds of supporters joined families and dignitaries at a moving Memorial Day ceremony to commemorate the unveiling of the Enduring Heroes statue in Pasadena.

Photo by Carin Yates / OUTLOOK Unveiled on Monday, the 8-foot bronze Enduring Heroes sculpture, by artist Christopher Slatoff, depicts a combat soldier triumphantly holding the American flag. It was inspired by each of the 11 local soldiers who gave their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Photo by Carin Yates / OUTLOOK
Unveiled on Monday, the 8-foot bronze Enduring Heroes sculpture, by artist Christopher Slatoff, depicts a combat soldier triumphantly holding the American flag. It was inspired by each of the 11 local soldiers who gave their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The 8-foot bronze sculpture, stationed prominently in Defenders Park, on the corner of Colorado and Orange Grove boulevards, will serve as a tribute to the 11 area soldiers — including San Marino’s J.P. Blecksmith — who gave their lives over the past 15 years in Afghanistan and Iraq.
J.P.’s father, Ed Blecksmith, spoke as a representative for all 11 local Gold Star Families who lost a son or daughter in the War on Terror: “This was a title, Gold Star Family, that none of us sought,” he said. “Losing a child, especially one who has volunteered to serve his or her country during a time of conflict, is a prospect very few families have had to face.”
Continue reading “Enduring Heroes Statue Unveiled on Memorial Day”

Local Bank Helping to Bring Rose Bowl History in Focus

Photo by Zane Hill / OUTLOOK Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation Executive Director Dedan Brozino (from left), Community Bank CEO David Misch and Rose Bowl CEO Darryl Dunn wrap up filming a commercial on behalf of the Legacy Foundation.
Photo by Zane Hill / OUTLOOK
Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation Executive Director Dedan Brozino (from left), Community Bank CEO David Misch and Rose Bowl CEO Darryl Dunn wrap up filming a commercial on behalf of the Legacy Foundation.

David Misch had watched his share of Rose Bowl games on TV, but his first one as a fan inside the stadium this year was one for the books.
Misch hopes to make sure people hear about this and every other game that’s been played at America’s stadium since the inaugural kickoff in 1922. And every concert. And every rally. And everything, really.
Misch, a member of the Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation Advisory Board and the CEO of Pasadena-based Community Bank, is a Cleveland native who earned both of his degrees from Penn State. He had settled in Pittsburgh and, quite naturally, became a Steelers fan. In 2006, he relocated to Southern California for work and was hired at Community Bank four years ago. Continue reading “Local Bank Helping to Bring Rose Bowl History in Focus”

NCL Mothers, Daughters Bond Through Community Service

Photo courtesy Jennifer Godwin-Minto National Charity League’s Pasadena Area Chapter Ticktockers were honored at the group’s 20th annual Installation and Recognition Tea recently, including the Hourglass Award recipients — girls who volunteered a minimum of 100 hours at multiple local nonprofits — including (front row, from left) Mia Pippert, Sarah Smith, Greta Coontz, Rebecca Daley, Sarah Montgomery, Emily Gray, Maya Barajas-Tavera, Meghan Sullivan and Lauren Tapert. Back: Claire Villegas, Harrisan Smyser, Margaret Hornberger, Caroline Nowak, Camille Burton, Emma Dillion, Emeline Tolleson, Catherine Sanchez, Yumi Balthazar, Kristen McCann, Emily Hornberger, Sarah Ryan, Alexandra Lewis, Taryn Kim, Eva Rodriguez and Mary-Katherine Seley. (Not pictured: Elise Desjarlais, Caroline Diehl, Juliana Fong, Riley Frey, Lauren Goedde, Emma Guevara, Eleanor Holdsworth, Madison Jaffrey, Sarah Johnson, Kyla Kikkawa, Kaley Penichet-Khaw, Katie Pieschala, Cameron Smith and Katrina Torrealba.)
Photo courtesy Jennifer Godwin-Minto
National Charity League’s Pasadena Area Chapter Ticktockers were honored at the group’s 20th annual Installation and Recognition Tea recently, including the Hourglass Award recipients — girls who volunteered a minimum of 100 hours at multiple local nonprofits — including (front row, from left) Mia Pippert, Sarah Smith, Greta Coontz, Rebecca Daley, Sarah Montgomery, Emily Gray, Maya Barajas-Tavera, Meghan Sullivan and Lauren Tapert. Back: Claire Villegas, Harrisan Smyser, Margaret Hornberger, Caroline Nowak, Camille Burton, Emma Dillion, Emeline Tolleson, Catherine Sanchez, Yumi Balthazar, Kristen McCann, Emily Hornberger, Sarah Ryan, Alexandra Lewis, Taryn Kim, Eva Rodriguez and Mary-Katherine Seley. (Not pictured: Elise Desjarlais, Caroline Diehl, Juliana Fong, Riley Frey, Lauren Goedde, Emma Guevara, Eleanor Holdsworth, Madison Jaffrey, Sarah Johnson, Kyla Kikkawa, Kaley Penichet-Khaw, Katie Pieschala, Cameron Smith and Katrina Torrealba.)

They say a daughter is a little girl who grows up to be your best friend.
But before that happens, little girls pass through, as moms know best, what might be called some “trying moments.” Continue reading “NCL Mothers, Daughters Bond Through Community Service”

El Portal Clients, Staff Are All in the Family

Photo by Camila Castellanos / OUTLOOK Abel Ramirez (right) and his son Armando, who have 22 years of experience providing specialty Yucatan dishes as El Portal restaurant’s co-owners, will celebrate Abel’s 75th birthday on Friday with appetizers, tequila and rum tasting.
Photo by Camila Castellanos / OUTLOOK
Abel Ramirez (right) and his son Armando, who have 22 years of experience providing specialty Yucatan dishes as El Portal restaurant’s co-owners, will celebrate Abel’s 75th birthday on Friday with appetizers, tequila and rum tasting.

Retirement agrees with El Portal owner and Pasadena mainstay Abel Ramirez. Well, kind of.

The restauranteur has been “practicing retirement” for two years now, but most days, you’ll still find him at the Mexican and Yucatan specialty restaurant.

“I’m still having fun with the businesses,” said Abel who turns 75 this week. “There are still a lot of risks and stresses, but what keeps me sane is that I have fun with it. Everybody should do what they love.” Continue reading “El Portal Clients, Staff Are All in the Family”

‘Originalist’ Still Relevant After Scalia’s Death

Photo courtesy Gerlie Collado Actress Jade Wheeler (from left) and criminal defense attorney Mia Yamamoto participate in a post-show conversation after a performance of “The Originalist” at the Pasadena Playhouse on May 4. The conversation was moderated by Pasadena City College history professor Christopher West. 
Photo courtesy Gerlie Collado
Actress Jade Wheeler (from left) and criminal defense attorney Mia Yamamoto participate in a post-show conversation after a performance of “The Originalist” at the Pasadena Playhouse on May 4. The conversation was moderated by Pasadena City College history professor Christopher West.

John Strand’s “The Originalist” has finished its run at Pasadena Playhouse, but the show will go on when it returns to Washington, D.C., this summer.
The three-person act spotlights Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and his judicial philosophy of ardent originalism. The play debuted before Scalia’s death last year — lead actor Edward Gero even met with Scalia while preparing for the role — and remains as relevant as ever even after President Donald Trump replaced Scalia in his first 100 days. Continue reading “‘Originalist’ Still Relevant After Scalia’s Death”