Former Principal Sues LCUSD for Discrimination

OUTLOOK file photo Christine Castillo, who served as La Cañada Elementary School’s principal from July 2012 until June 2015, is suing the La Cañada Unified School District for pregnancy discrimination.
OUTLOOK file photo
Christine Castillo, who served as La Cañada Elementary School’s principal from July 2012 until June 2015, is suing the La Cañada Unified School District for pregnancy discrimination.

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”

LCF Mayor Looks to Streamline Services in 2017

OUTLOOK photo Mayor Jonathan Curtis is happy to report the city is working on moving its planning-related processes online.
OUTLOOK photo
Mayor Jonathan Curtis is happy to report the city is working on moving its planning-related processes online.

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”

Waves of Excitement for LCF’s Rose Parade Float and Princess

Photos by Toni LeBel / OUTLOOK The La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Association float “Backyard Rocketeer” won the Bob Hope Trophy for the most amusing entry in Monday’s Rose Parade.
Photos by Toni LeBel / OUTLOOK
The La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Association float “Backyard Rocketeer” won the Bob Hope Trophy for the most amusing entry in Monday’s Rose Parade.

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.”

USC Trojan Marching Band
USC Trojan Marching Band

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.

La Cañada High School’s Natalie Petrosian waves to the thousands of people who lined up to watch the Rose Parade.
La Cañada High School’s Natalie Petrosian waves to the thousands of people who lined up to watch the Rose Parade.

“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.”

LCF Turns 40; Sees Gains, Losses in 2016

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.

Continue reading “LCF Turns 40; Sees Gains, Losses in 2016”

‘Backyard Rocketeer’ Destination: Rose Parade  

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.

Continue reading “‘Backyard Rocketeer’ Destination: Rose Parade  “

City Budget Remains in Spotlight Amid New Faces

The city will continue to have all eyes on its financial books as it approaches its annual mid-year review of the annual budget in January.
It is a theme that has persisted throughout 2016.
Perhaps the most visible example was cemented by the oft-contentious discussion and adoption of the fiscal year 2016-17 budget in June, which involved a continuing impasse with the Fire Department on overtime and included disagreements over a possible position upgrade within City Hall that, at a glance, appeared inconsequential in the context of the city’s $26.55 million budget. Continue reading “City Budget Remains in Spotlight Amid New Faces”

Barger Sees New Role as Her Calling

Photo courtesy Kathryn Barger San Marino resident Kathryn Barger speaks Dec. 5 after being inaugurated as Los Angeles County supervisor for the 5th District. Seated on the left is her brother, John Barger, alongside her husband, Eric Leibrich.
Photo courtesy Kathryn Barger
San Marino resident Kathryn Barger speaks Dec. 5 after being inaugurated as Los Angeles County supervisor for the 5th District. Seated on the left is her brother, John Barger, alongside her husband, Eric Leibrich.

In a telephone interview ahead of Christmas weekend, Kathryn Barger admitted she did not expect a series of meetings to fill her schedule on either side of the holiday.
That was fine, she conceded. She was, after all, sworn in earlier this month as the supervisor of Los Angeles County’s largest of five districts. She still had transition work to do, even after spending the better part of the last 28 years working for her now-predecessor, Mike Antonovich. Continue reading “Barger Sees New Role as Her Calling”

Pasadena Native Lining Up for College Football Playoff

When pressed to recall a moment that stands out regarding Pasadena native Coleman Shelton, University of Washington offensive line coach Chris Strausser wasn’t able to come up with one.

Photo courtesy Mason Kelley | University of Washington Athletics
Photo courtesy Mason Kelley | University of Washington Athletics
Pasadena native Coleman Shelton took over as center and is a leader of the University of Washington football team. He helped the Huskies capture their first Pac-12 Conference championship since 2000 and earn a berth in the College Football Playoff.

“I don’t really have a story like that to share,” said Strausser, who is also the associate head coach. “[Shelton is] focused and competitive. That’s just how he is on a day-to-day basis. I’ve never had one day where I wished Coleman would have gone harder.” Continue reading “Pasadena Native Lining Up for College Football Playoff”

Portantino Introduces Education, Transparency Bills

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.

Continue reading “Portantino Introduces Education, Transparency Bills”