Classes to Teach Residents About Police Operations

The San Marino Police Department invites residents interested in learning more about law enforcement to sign up for its new Community Police Academy that begins in November.
The academy, also called the CPA, is a six-week program of classes designed to give insight into SMPD operations and background in general law enforcement, in a relatively casual environment. Classes will cover broad topics such as investigative procedures and address contemporary issues such as police officers’ use of force while responding to incidents. Continue reading “Classes to Teach Residents About Police Operations”

First Responders Singled Out for Community Outreach

Photo by Larissa Althouse / OUTLOOK Sgt. Naved Qureshi (left) and firefighter-paramedic Sam Benites were honored as police officer and firefighter of the year by the San Marino Chamber of Commerce.
Photo by Larissa Althouse / OUTLOOK
Sgt. Naved Qureshi (left) and firefighter-paramedic Sam Benites were honored as police officer and firefighter of the year by the San Marino Chamber of Commerce.

For going the extra mile in reaching out to their community, Sgt. Naved Qureshi and firefighter-paramedic Sam Benites were recognized by the San Marino Chamber of Commerce as the police officer and firefighter of the year.
The two were honored at the chamber’s 11th annual Police and Fire Appreciation Luncheon last week at the San Marino Center. Other local elected officials also were there to dole out their own recognition of the two men. Continue reading “First Responders Singled Out for Community Outreach”

City to Study Costs of Storm Water Drainage Project

The City Council has tasked Parks and Public Works Director Michael Throne to meet with representatives from a host of other San Gabriel Valley cities collaborating on a Rio Honda River storm water drainage project to discuss San Marino’s expected fiscal contribution to the endeavor.
Throne is expected to report on the results of those meetings to the City Council at its November meeting. Information the City Council seeks includes a specific breakdown on the funding formula for the collaboration, an explanation of costs and whether the other cities are open to adjusting apportionments. Continue reading “City to Study Costs of Storm Water Drainage Project”

Building’s Condition Adds to Debate Over Recreation Dept.

A recent inspection of the Stoneman Building pointed to deficiencies in fire detection, so a blue-ribbon committee evaluation of the future of the Recreation Department later this month will be particularly timely.
The aged building, which the city bought from the San Marino Unified School District years ago for $6 million, has never left the local spotlight because its condition requires numerous health and safety advances whose potential cost keeps rising.
Now that the city is taking a hard look at its recreation programming, the building — site of the department’s preschool and other programs — is falling under still more scrutiny.
The blue-ribbon committee — composed of Mayor Steve Talt and Councilman Ken Ude along with five other “citizen advisers” — planned to take up the fire-safety findings this week.
Continue reading “Building’s Condition Adds to Debate Over Recreation Dept.”

Board of Education Hopeful Cites Budgeting Skills

John Gabriel
John Gabriel

Wanting to bring what he said is his “good, strong track record of conservative but effective spending techniques” to the table, John Gabriel is vying for a seat on the San Marino Unified School District Board of Education in November’s election.
A business turnaround consultant for a firm that works internationally, Gabriel said he believes his skills there, as well as those earned as a noncommissioned officer and paramedic in the U.S. Army, would translate effectively on the board and add to the diverse skill set already there.
Continue reading “Board of Education Hopeful Cites Budgeting Skills”

Schools, City Discuss Whether to Hire Campus Officers

School safety dominated discussion at a joint meeting last week of the City Council and the San Marino Unified School District Board of Education, specifically on the viability of sharing the employment of one or more school resource officers to provide security at local campuses.
Outgoing district Super-intendent Alex Cherniss told the council that the school system was analyzing safety and security issues as part of a wider facilities assessment and was awaiting input on that report from local first responders.
“That report looked at the physical plan of all the schools and also looked at other options for securing our schools,” he said. “We’ve given the report to your police chief and fire chief for comment. Once we get those back, we’ll get that ready for presentation at the board.
“There are examples of cities funding resource officers for the schools, so we are compiling that information as well,” Cherniss continued. “Before we come to the city for a request, we’re going to want to have a lot of information.”

Continue reading “Schools, City Discuss Whether to Hire Campus Officers”

School Board Hears Ideas for Safer Student Drop-Off, Pickup

Changes in drop-off and pickup traffic at San Marino Unified School District campuses might be considered after the Board of Education reviewed a professional traffic study at its meeting last week.
Transportation engineers representing the firm Albert Grover & Associates told the board that, according to their assessments, three schools could benefit from modifications in parking lots and other aspects of how and where students are dropped off. The board accepted the study but did not take any action on it.
Recommendations for San Marino High School addressed three separate locations: the half-circle lot along Huntington Drive, the alleyway behind a series of commercial storefronts at the corner of Winston Avenue, and signs at Winston and Cumberland Road.
Continue reading “School Board Hears Ideas for Safer Student Drop-Off, Pickup”

Norgaard, SMUSD Reach Settlement in Civil Suit

One month after the parties agreed on a framework to resolve their dispute, the San Marino Unified School District and one of its Board of Education members, Chris Norgaard, have signed a formal settlement to his lawsuit against the school system and several of its officials.
In the agreement, Norgaard agreed to drop his lawsuit with prejudice — meaning he cannot later try to litigate the issue again — and there is no monetary award to him or the former defendants. Nor is there an admission of liability from either party.
The agreement, reached Monday, also introduces a new code of conduct that significantly restricts board members’ ability to interact with school faculty and staff members during school hours. In a joint statement, all parties affirmed that the issue that began in January was resolved.
Continue reading “Norgaard, SMUSD Reach Settlement in Civil Suit”

School Board Candidate Thinks Long Term

Steven Sommers
Steven Sommers

Seeking to help usher San Marino Unified School District into “a new era,” educator and philanthropist Steven Sommers aims to join the district’s Board of Education by way of November’s election.
Sommers, a vice president and senior philanthropic specialist for Wells Fargo’s Private Bank, said a variety of issues motivated him to join the pool of candidates, including enhancing school safety, continuing educational excellence, improving financial sustainability and repairing what he views as the eroded trust between the district and its stakeholders. He and his wife have three — soon, four — children at Carver Elementary School.
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Library Efficiency: There’s a Scanner for That

Photo by Zane Hill / OUTLOOK Longtime Crowell Public Library employee Lora Smith demonstrates the ease by which library patrons can scan their library card and check out materials using the library’s new radio frequency identification system.
Photo by Zane Hill / OUTLOOK
Longtime Crowell Public Library employee Lora Smith demonstrates the ease by which library patrons can scan their library card and check out materials using the library’s new radio frequency identification system.

It seems like a simple addition to the facility, but it is a welcome one for the staff at Crowell Public Library.
The new RFID — radio frequency identification — hardware was recently installed at the library’s checkout desks and at the entryways, and the staff is now well into the Herculean task of placing the system’s corresponding tags
into the nearly 90,000 books and other items circulated from the library. Those tags, which are essentially square stickers on the insides of covers, contain a chip that transmits the book’s information to the system to check it out to a patron.
Continue reading “Library Efficiency: There’s a Scanner for That”