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”

‘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”

LCF’s Baffert Delivers a 5th Kentucky Derby Win

Bob Baffert has done it again.

Photo courtesy Churchill Downs / Coady Photography
La Cañada Flintridge resident and renowned trainer Bob Baffert (left) celebrates alongside jockey Mike Smith and the rest of the Justify team after their horse won the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday in Louisville.

The world-renowned horse trainer claimed his fifth Kentucky Derby victory Saturday when Justify raced to a convincing 2½-length triumph on a rain-soaked track in Louisville.
The victory was Baffert’s fifth at the Kentucky Derby and moved the La Cañada Flintridge resident into second place all time, just one win behind Ben Jones, who set the record in the 1940s. Continue reading “LCF’s Baffert Delivers a 5th Kentucky Derby Win”

Local Author Takes on Trump

OUTLOOK photo
Don Sheppard, a longtime La Cañada Flintridge resident, said he did not write his recently released book “The Dividends of Decency: How Values-Based Leadership Will Help Business Flourish in Trump’s America” to make money, but to “be part of the resistance.”

La Cañada Flintridge resident Don Sheppard offers a stinging businessman’s critique of President Donald Trump in his new book, “The Dividends of Decency: How Values-Based Leadership Will Help Business Flourish in Trump’s America.”
The book is different from the many other recent releases about the president, Sheppard said, because it’s written from the perspective of a 70-year-old white male Republican.
In the book’s prologue, Sheppard states: “As stunning as it may seem to those who accept Donald Trump’s actions and values as appropriate business practices, there is more to be gained in the long run by behaving decently than there is to be gained from assuming the business world is some Wild West fantasy.”
Sheppard — a native Canadian who built and sold an employee communications consulting firm, Sheppard Associates — said he’s been stunned by some of the responses he’s received, both to the book and to recent opinion pieces published on various political news websites. Continue reading “Local Author Takes on Trump”

Leininger Honored for Service to City

Photo by Mirjam Swanson / OUTLOOK
Longtime La Cañada Flintridge resident and educator Mike Leininger encouraged his audience to find ways to give back as he was recognized by the Noon Kiwanis Club as La Cañadan of the Year on Wednesday at Descanso Gardens’ Van de Kamp Hall.

Mike Leininger challenged the 110 people who came to lunch Wednesday, including grandsons Jeff and Johnny, to get involved in their community, citing a saying he learned as a coach at Bellflower High School: “What you do will speak so loudly,” he said, “I can’t hear a word you’re saying.”
Leininger’s actions since moving to La Cañada Flintridge 30 years ago this month with his family have spoken volumes. Several accounts were shared by fellow community leaders during the Noon Kiwanis Club of La Cañada’s annual La Cañadan of the Year recognition luncheon at Descanso Gardens’ Van de Kamp Hall.
For 26 years, Leininger was a member of the La Cañada Unified School District, moving up the ranks as a La Cañada High School assistant principal, principal and then as LCUSD assistant superintendent. He earned his doctorate of education from the University of La Verne during that span and was known for hosting homecoming float building sessions in his front yard.
Continue reading “Leininger Honored for Service to City”

Michael Gross Charms On and Off Screen

Photo courtesy Universal Pictures La Cañada Flintridge resident Michael Gross stars in “Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell,” the sixth film in the franchise, due for release May 1. He has embraced his fan-favorite character, who is a supporting or lead character in every film in the franchise as well as the TV series.
Photo courtesy Universal Pictures
La Cañada Flintridge resident Michael Gross stars in “Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell,” the sixth film in the franchise, due for release May 1. He has embraced his fan-favorite character, who is a supporting or lead character in every film in the franchise as well as the TV series.

Depending on the time of year, you can find him in the bleachers at La Cañada High School volleyball matches or on set in a South African desert.
In between, you might happen to see Michael Gross ordering his decaf cappuccino from Constellation Coffee on Foothill Boulevard, or possibly at a local Planning Commission meeting regarding a development in his neighborhood. In his round glasses and absent facial hair, you may have to double-take to recognize him as the actor behind Steven Keaton from the sitcom “Family Ties” and Burt Gummer from the cult-favorite “Tremors” franchise. Continue reading “Michael Gross Charms On and Off Screen”

Council Approves New City Hall Design

Photos by Mirjam Swanson / OUTLOOK
A rendering illustrates what visitors to La Cañada Flintridge’s new City Hall can expect to see when the renovations on the building are finished in late 2018 or early 2019.

The City Council voted 4-1 last week in favor of the “original design” concept recommended by the New City Hall Renovation Subcommittee that is estimated to cost $6.45 million.
Concerned about the cost, Councilman Greg Brown voted against approving the final design plan and authorizing the preparation of bid specifications, but the other four council members embraced the proposal at a special meeting on Thursday, April 12.
“This is a 50-year decision, and if we’re going to make a 50-year decision, we have to make the right decision, and I think that’s the first plan,” Councilman Michael Davitt said. Continue reading “Council Approves New City Hall Design”

Lund Dies at 77; Leaves Lasting Legacy

Allen Lund

Allen Lund’s death Saturday reverberated throughout the business community, near and far, with hundreds of letters and notes of support and admiration pouring in from employees, customers, even competitors.
“It’s overwhelming,” son Kenny Lund said. “I knew a lot of what he was doing and involved with, but I don’t think anybody really knew how much of an effect he had on people — I don’t think he realized it.”
Allen Lund, founder of the La Cañada Flintridge-based truck brokerage firm Allen Lund Company, died Saturday after a brief battle with cancer. He was at his Pasadena home, surrounded by some 30 family members and serenaded by a small choir of Carmelite Nuns. He was 77. Continue reading “Lund Dies at 77; Leaves Lasting Legacy”

New Mayor Talks Goals, Shows Off New City Hall

Photo by Mirjam Swanson / OUTLOOK
During Tuesday’s City Council meeting new Mayor Terry Walker (right) told outgoing Mayor Michael Davitt that she has “big shoes to fill” in the coming year, using footwear as props to illustrate that point.

Terry Walker has substantial goals that she’d like to accomplish — and big shoes to fill, she said — in the next year, her first as mayor of La Cañada Flintridge.
She demonstrated Tuesday by holding aloft a loafer belonging to Michael Davitt, LCF’s outgoing mayor, and then inserting one of her high-heeled shoes within it: “This your shoe, and this is my shoe,” she said, as Davitt sat beside her, chuckling. “I will try to live up to your shoe size.”
After Walker’s first meeting as mayor adjourned, show-and-tell continued at the “changeover” reception as community members filled the hallways and lobby of the former Sport Chalet corporate office building that soon will contain City Hall. Continue reading “New Mayor Talks Goals, Shows Off New City Hall”

Lanterman House Gets New Director

Laura Verlaque

When Laura Verlaque takes over as the executive director of the Lanterman House museum on Monday, April 9, it will be with a real appreciation for the history of the place — including the famous family who built it as well as those who, over the past quarter-century, have labored to turn the home into a community “jewel.”
“The past 25 years, they’ve had the enormous task of preserving and restoring this house and I think they did it beautifully,” Verlaque said. “The heavy lifting is all done, now my role is to maybe dig a little deeper with some of the details.”
Verlaque spent the past 12 years at the Pasadena Museum of History — from which Melissa Patton, the Lanterman House’s only other permanent executive director, also came. Continue reading “Lanterman House Gets New Director”