Baffert’s Kentucky Derby Win Could Be in Jeopardy

Photo courtesy Chris Aplin
Bob Baffert has been defending his Kentucky Derby victory after his winning horse Medina Spirit failed a postrace drug test. The horse, pictured with Baffert and jockey John Velazquez, has been permitted to race in the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown, this Saturday.

Bob Baffert’s historic Kentucky Derby victory earlier this month is in jeopardy after winning horse Medina Spirit failed a drug test.
Churchill Downs issued a statement on Sunday saying a postrace blood sample indicated a violation of Kentucky’s equine medication protocols and results of a split sample test are pending. A second positive test would disqualify Medina Spirit from the Derby and make runner-up Mandaloun the official winner.
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Saint Finbar Church’s ‘Fiesta’ Aided by Firefighters’ Support

Former Mayor Michael Hastings and volunteer Alyssa Ziegler flank Erik Johnson, Paul Konzen and Jen Hoffman of the Burbank Fire Department, who came out for a barbecue lunch to benefit Saint Finbar Parish School.

As traditional as the celebrations of Cinco de Mayo and the honoring of our moms, the month of May in Burbank has also been the time the Catholic community of Saint Finbar Church has staged their annual fiesta.
In what has become a local harbinger that summer is just around the corner, the Saint Finbar Fiesta is a three-day event which raises funds for the parish’s school by offering an array of games, entertainment, dancing, American barbecue, street tacos, sausage and pepper sandwiches, specialty dishes from the church’s Vietnamese community, and treats of all kinds to satisfy those with a sweet tooth.
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BUSD High Schools Ranked Among Top 500 in State

Matt Hill
BUSD Superintendent

The U.S. News and World Report published its annual best high schools rankings on Tuesday and the Burbank Unified School District made the grade with both of its high schools among the top 500 in the state.
Out of 2,598 qualifying California high schools rated by the publication, John Burroughs High ranked No. 320 with a scorecard of 87.69. Burbank High was No. 417 with a score of 84.9.
“Our students, our teachers and our employees are doing amazing work in each of our schools,” BUSD Superintendent Matt Hill told the Leader on Thursday. “It is great to get that recognition, but we don’t focus on the awards. We focus on delivering amazing instruction, and awards come from that.”
Burroughs, which was ranked No. 142 out of 659 qualifying schools in Los Angeles, boasts a high graduation rate of 97% and the students’ performances on state-required exams are well above the state average. Sixty-seven percent of students were proficient in reading but only 44% showed competency in math. The state average for proficiency in math is 30% and 50% in reading.
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Burbank Arts & Education Foundation Announces Funding, Scholarship Recipients

The Burbank Arts & Education Foundation co-chairs Ana Connell and Bob Mohler announced full funding for all submitted applications during its first cycle of grant giving with investments made in mathematics, music, literacy and art to Burbank Unified Schools at the Board of Education meeting on Thursday. Funding supported a variety of programs with a direct impact on thousands of students in grades TK-12.
In alignment with the Burbank Unified School District, the Foundation said it a statement that it has made diversity, equity and inclusion a part of its core mission. They encouraged teachers to think about classroom grants through a diversity and equity lens.
“We are proud to fund several grants this year that foster inclusivity in the classroom,” Foundation co-chairs Connell and Mohler said in a joint statement. “From reading about different cultures and religions to playing with diverse toys, the projects we’ve funded will allow all children to see themselves in their learning.”
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College Access Plan Pushes for Equity, One Student at a Time

Photo courtesy Dipti Vaidya
College Access Plan founder and Executive Director Mo Hyman has fought passionately for students in Pasadena to have fair access to a four-year college education — and all that it represents.

After more than a year of living under a pandemic cloud, College Access Plan founder and Executive Director Mo Hyman has found a way to celebrate silver linings.
And with reason, since CAP — a nonprofit advocate for four-year degree college access and attainment for underserved, underrepresented students — has achieved a lot recently to celebrate in 2021, its 15-year anniversary.
For one, CAP helped defeat the use in California of the SAT/ACT, that formidable and much-dreaded test that has long determined a college-bound student’s fate. CAP was one of six organizations that joined in bringing civil rights action against the University of California and its use of standardized exams in admissions decisions. The plaintiffs won a preliminary injunction, later upheld by a California First District Court of Appeals, barring the UCs from using the scores to determine acceptance.
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City Sends Off Prized Local Deputy

Deputy Eric Matejka

At its regular meeting on Tuesday, La Cañada Flintridge City Council honored Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station’s dedicated resource officer Deputy Eric Matejka, who is retiring, with a commemorative plaque and kind words for all his work over the years.
Matejka spent about 20 years at the CV Sheriff’s Station post, investing a lot of hours at La Cañada High School, other local schools and community-wide functions.
“We’re super happy for you but we’re a little bummed out that you’re leaving us,” said Mayor Mike Davitt. “But you’ve done such a great job in our city and you’re such a key member of our community and part of the fabric of everything that goes on here.”
Matejka did an especially fine job when it came to educating the community and local youth about the dangers of drug and alcohol use, said Mayor Pro Tem Jonathan Curtis, as well as consistently helping out at community events such as the LCF Chamber of Commerce mixers. The deputy also helped support and grow the local neighborhood watch groups, he added.
“You’ve taken them from about three groups to upward of about 40 neighborhood watches; it’s not just about crime, it’s about safety,” Curtis said.
For his part, Matejka gave an emotional farewell: “I came to work every day, happy, and not a lot of people can say that. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”


City Council approved the plans and construction contract for the Foothill Boulevard Link Bikeway and Pedestrian Greenbelt Project to Sequel Contractors Inc. for about $2.58 million.
The project, first approved by City Council in October of 2018, includes new bikeways on the north and south side of Foothill Boulevard, a new, raised center median, “Greenbelt” landscaping and new sidewalks. The project extends from 2111 Foothill Blvd. to the 2 Freeway on- and off-ramps at Hillard Avenue.
Construction of the project is tentatively scheduled to begin in September and will finish about 100 working days thereafter.
According to a traffic mitigation plan, Director of Public Works Pat DeChellis said that Foothill Boulevard will be open at all times during construction with a minimum of one lane of travel in each direction. There will be no parking on either side of Foothill between Hillard Avenue and the Ross Dress for Less parking lot and turning restrictions along the route, with right turns only, and no U-turns permitted.
“This traffic control plan will ensure that there is no congestion on Foothill during construction but it also will slightly inconvenience those who live and get access off of Foothill,” DeChellis said.
Councilmembers expressed excitement to finally kick off the project, which has been in the works for nearly a decade.

LCHS Among Best in U.S. News Annual Rankings

The U.S. News and World Report published its annual best high schools rankings last week and La Cañada High School made the grade with an exemplary scorecard of 98.74, placing it 10th out of 659 qualifying schools in Los Angeles and 27th out of 2,598 in the state.
Superintendent Wendy Sinnette was “thrilled” to congratulate LCHS for its “exceptional performance” and credited the students, LCUSD employees and families for the honor of being recognized by a high profile publication, which ranked La Cañada No. 225 in the nation out of 17,857 schools.
“LCUSD always looks to research-based indicators to assess our performance, and we recognize that this is just one measure, but we are proud of our high school’s achievement here and wish to recognize the performances of our students, teachers, staff and administration,” Sinnette said in a statement. “We are also grateful to our families for their support, which continually allows all of our schools to thrive.”
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LCF Hits 70% Vaccine Rate as Reopening Broadens

La Cañada Flintridge has one of the highest vaccination rates in the county with 70% of residents 16 and older having received at least one dose of the vaccine as of April 30.
As of Monday, L.A. County has administered more than 8 million doses of the vaccine and 37% of residents are fully inoculated, according to the the Department of Public Health.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles County, what was once the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic with alarmingly high numbers of new cases, hospitalizations and deaths, will officially enter the least restrictive tier of the state’s reopening system called the blueprint for a safer economy. The yellow tier, indicating minimal spread of the coronavirus, will allow bars that do not serve food to provide indoor service at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer, and other businesses to increase capacity with health modifications.
Restaurants, gyms, breweries, wineries and movie theaters can expand capacity to 50% and amusement parks can increase capacity to 35%. Restrictions will be eased for events and large gatherings such as conferences, meetings and receptions.
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Baffert Wins 7th Kentucky Derby

Photo courtesy Anne M. Eberhardt
La Cañada Flintridge resident Bob Baffert, with his son Bode and wife Jill, celebrates his seventh Kentucky Derby win. The legendary trainer broke the tie with Ben Jones for most derby victories.

Legendary horse trainer Bob Baffert entered last Saturday’s Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs with somewhat tempered expectations and for good reason. Oddsmakers didn’t have his thoroughbred racehorse, Medina Spirit, in the top five with 12-to-1 odds.
“This year, I really enjoyed myself,” he said. “I came in here under the radar. I thought, well, maybe he’ll get a piece of it or something.”
The horse ended up giving Baffert, a La Cañada Flintridge resident, one of the biggest victories of his storied career. Medina Spirit managed to recapture a lead that was relinquished at midstretch and held off Mandaloun to win the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby.
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NCL Class of 2022 Ticktockers in Annual Fashion Show

The National Charity League’s Glendale Chapter Ticktockers recently participated in their annual Tea and Fashion Show, modified with COVID protocols. Pictured are (bottom row, from left) Sarah Arcaris, Catherine Arcaris, Kyra Aitelli, Katharine Franklin, Clare Martinez and Alison Landa. Top row: Maddie Rajewski, Gabby Young, Sophia Ordubegian, Lily Snow, Caitlin Cruz, Emily Baker, Ashley Sibbrel, Ariana Dalie, Nichole Huang and Charlotte Ford.

Nineteen young women from La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Glendale and the surrounding area recently participated in the National Charity League Glendale Chapter’s Annual Tea and Fashion Show. The event, modified with COVID protocols, was shown virtually to NCL Glendale members and their families.
The young women, or Ticktockers as they are known, began their NCL journey in seventh grade, working with their mothers, called Patronesses, to support the chapter’s philanthropic partners. National Charity League provides experience in community service, leadership development and cultural experiences, which are the pillars of the program.
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