Armenian Community Exults Over Planned Museum

In a moment that reflected pride in an ancestral homeland, the yet-to-heal wounds of a genocidal campaign and the successful integration of a diaspora into American culture, dozens grasped gold shovels in Central Park on Sunday, July 11, and tossed some fresh soil onto the grass.

Photo courtesy Armenian American Museum
The board of trustees and other officials behind the Armenian American Museum and Cultural Center formally broke ground Sunday. The facility is set to be constructed atop Central Park by 2024.

As the dignitaries did so, dozens of white doves were released and flanked an audience of more than a thousand people who heartily cheered as ground was officially broken for what will become the Armenian American Museum and Cultural Center. The future landmark will begin construction at the site after the park is formally closed at the end of this month.

In crediting all involved in the ambitious project that has been planned since 2014, Executive Director Shant Sahakian recalled the proverb “If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together.”

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Planning Commission Seeks More Answers About Proposed Building

After nearly five hours of presentations, public comments and discussion regarding a proposed development at 600 Foothill Blvd., the La Cañada Flintridge Planning Commission decided last week to put off deliberation on the matter until July 29.
The panel asked questions for its staff and the applicants, Garret Weyand and Alexandra Hack of 600 Foothill Owner LP, to follow up on next month on issues ranging from parking spaces to subleases of units.
Emily Stadnicki, LCF’s principal planner, said it is standard practice for the commission to shelve an item and continue discussion at a later date. The presentation and lengthy public comment portion extended the June 24 virtual meeting late into the night.
“I think with a project this big, it’s anticipated,” Stadnicki told the Outlook Valley Sun on Wednesday. “A lot of people wanted to speak. This is normal procedure.”
She gave a presentation informing commissioners and stakeholders of the proposed three-story, mixed-use structure that would include 47 active senior housing units, 12 non-serviced hotel units, 7,600 square feet of office uses and one level of underground parking containing 107 spaces.
Such a structure could help the city accommodate the Regional Housing Needs Assessment, a process involving the California Department of Housing and Community Development that projects how many dwellings are needed in the state. LCF is expected to show that it can provide 612 units, and the city staff recommends that the Planning Commission approve a conditional use permit for the project, a tree removal permit and a vesting tentative tract map for subdividing the 77,310-square-foot mixed-use development into 49 parcels for condominium purposes on the 1.29-acre property on Foothill. The staff also recommends that the panel adopt a mitigated negative declaration.
It further urges that the panel move forward with recommending that the City Council approve an amendment to the General Plan that incorporates a new mixed-use 3 designation into the Downtown Village Specific Plan that would set a density range of 20-30 dwelling units per acre.
“The city has determined that the project does address a substantial public need and is generally consistent with the city’s housing element and wider planning goals,” the staff said. “It is staff’s opinion that adopting an MU-3 designation with a density of 20-30 units per acre on this property is supported by facts and permissible.”
A group of residents continued to voice concerns over the proposed development, such as the fact that the mitigation declaration’s traffic study is based on traffic counts from 2015. In response, Stadnicki said the city’s traffic engineer approved the methodology through which 2015 counts were increased by 1% every year, which is standard protocol. She also added that there is no data from Los Angeles County that indicates a high number of accidents at Woodleigh Lane and Foothill, near the proposed development. Only two accidents were reported there in the past five years and neither involved injuries.
Responding to another concern, the staff said the size of the proposed project is consistent with existing development in the vicinity. Noting that buildings with at least three stories already exist in LCF, Stadnicki listed the La Cañada Medical Building on 1370 Foothill Blvd., Descanso Medical Center on 1346 Foothill Blvd., Lund Building at 4529 Angeles Crest Highway and City Hall.
As for parking, Stadnicki said the 107 spaces are more than are currently required by the city.
Not all residents are against the project. Some wrote in support of it, including President and co-owner of La Cañada Flintridge Country Club Randy Dreyfuss, who said he has “witnessed firsthand the effect the lack of senior housing has on citizens of La Cañada. Many of our club members have reluctantly left the city (and the club) as they have been unable to find housing that would allow them to remain in the city if they desired to downsize their housing needs.”
Weyand and Hack, both of whom are LCF residents, said they were pleased with the staff’s presentation and report, which was 580 pages long, and were glad to “clear the air.”
“It was comprehensive and so well done, and facts there were understandable,” Hack said. “They did an incredible job to explain a complex project with moving pieces.”

In Remembrance of Melissa Kobe

It is with a heavy and broken heart that The Outlook shares the devastating news that our beloved photographer Melissa Kobe passed away Wednesday, June 16.

Melissa was part of our Outlook News Group family for a decade and had deep roots in our communities that we cover. She was more than an employee; she was a dear friend to all of us. Her exceptional talent and sparkling personality endeared her to all those she met. We join you in mourning this untimely, shocking loss to our family. Our thoughts and prayers are with her partner, Kevin, and the entire Kobe family during this most difficult time.

From the Publisher, Charlie Plowman

June Bloom Supports Music and the Arts

Photos by Erin Rodick / Outlook Valley Sun
Pasadena Showcase President Barbara Damerel, Benefit Chair Susie Aguirre
and Event Chair Marybeth Rehman-Dittu

Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts hosted June Bloom, a garden party fundraiser, which was located on the property of three La Cañada Flintridge estates.
The event offered attendees a day of shopping, live music, floral demonstrations, food and wine and docent-led garden tours — all of which were available at each of the three homes.
“Due to Covid we were not able to host our traditional showcase house event,” Benefit Chair Susie Aguirre said. “We got creative and crafted what we hope is a wonderful outdoor garden party allowing the exploration of three beautiful estates. Pasadena Showcase for the Arts is grateful to the three homeowners for their endless generosity.”
The garden party tickets sold out with every ticket sale going towards supporting music and the arts within the local community.
“Music and the arts are so important and will help reunite and strengthen communities after such a tough year,” Aguirre said.

BUSD Will Follow Rules on Wearing Masks at School

Amid a rise in coronavirus cases and a change in public health orders, the Burbank Unified School District this week assured stakeholders that all schools will reopen full time for in-person instruction next month, but that it must follow Los Angeles County health guidelines in carrying out the process.

The district reiterated its commitment to reopening under the guidance of the county as a response to two parents who expressed concern over requiring students, especially young children, to wear masks all day.

Aviva Williams came before the board during a virtual meeting on Thursday and asked that the district tell county Department of Public Health officials that students’ wearing masks in the classroom — a means of preventing COVID-19 transmission — does not make for a good learning environment.

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Glut of Applications Helps City Fill Board Vacancies

Back in City Hall for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, the Burbank City Council sifted through a record number of applications for municipal boards and commissions since at least the past decade.

Burbank community members filed 123 applications to serve on city commissions or boards since early May — the highest number for midyear appointments since at least 2011.

Because of the explosive interest in the positions, the Burbank City Council easily filled the 27 vacant volunteer roles during its meeting on Tuesday. The number of applications from which the council selected were more than twice the number received last year: 51. The closest the city has been to reaching this period’s number of submissions, according to an analysis by the Leader, was in 2013, when community members sent in 99 applications.

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3rd-Grader Excels in Braille Competition

Ethan Moore, a 3rd-grade Providencia Elementary School student, is almost completely blind due to a brain tumor discovered when he was 5 months old. He’s now one of his grade group’s top competitors in the Braille Challenge, having taken his final exam on the writing system early this month.

At the end of the month, Providencia Elementary School 3rd-grader Ethan Moore will find out how he did in the Braille Challenge, a series of tests taken by school-age children who have visual impairments. He made it to the final round, one of the 10 in his age group topping a list of about 200 competitors, and recently took his culminating exam.

He’s not nervous about the results.

“I felt confident,” he said in a Zoom interview with his mother, Burbank resident Katie Moore, and his Braille teacher Lupe Vigil.

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Council Approves New Utility Bill Relief Program

With utility rates scheduled to increase in the fall, the City Council authorized a new Burbank Water and Power program giving electricity bill credits to low-income residents.

The program is expected to go into effect at the beginning of October, when the utility will raise its electricity and water rates; further increases are planned for early next year. Residents who meet income eligibility thresholds and have been financially impacted by COVID-19 will receive a one-time bill credit of $50.

Eligible residents whose accounts are in arrears — 91 days or more past due as of the program start date — and have owed more than $500 in their electric bills for that time period will receive a $300 bill credit. Furthermore, residents in this category who are elderly or have a permanent disability and are also in the BWP’s Lifeline program can receive up to $1,000 in assistance.

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City Staff Peddles Ideas About Bike Lanes

As the city continues to improve alternative transportation methods in West Glendale, other large-scale projects are getting underway.

Glendale aims to collect public input on a pair of proposed protected bike lanes that would be installed along Glenoaks Boulevard, along with connecting paths on Western and Grandview avenues. Ideally, the city would like to complete the Glenoaks modification in conjunction with a dedicated bus rapid transit lane along the boulevard.

At present, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority plans to use the Glenoaks lanes abutting the center grass median as a dedicated BRT route that will ultimately bridge a North Hollywood-Pasadena City College route.

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Mask Mandate Returns as Virus Cases Increase

By Oscar Areliz and Zane Hill

Though the increase pales in comparison to last year’s Fourth of July surge, Los Angeles County is experiencing a concerning spike in COVID-19 infections after recording more than 1,000 new cases for a seventh consecutive day on Thursday.

The rapid rise in daily cases, increasing number of cases involving the Delta variant and a slowing vaccination rate prompted the county to reinstate its mandate that all residents, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask indoors in public spaces, just one month after the state celebrated its much-anticipated reopening. The new health order will be effective late Saturday evening.

“Wearing a mask when indoors with others reduces the risk of both getting and transmitting the virus,” County Health Officer Muntu Davis, a physician, said in a virtual conference on Thursday. “Masking indoors must again become a normal practice by all, regardless of vaccination status, so we can stop the trends and level of transmissions we are currently seeing.”

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Jewel City Beats Crescenta Valley for Title

By Nathan Cambridge

After this, there would be no more games to play in the Little League District 16 Major All-Star baseball tournament. Jewel City and then Crescenta Valley had previously beaten the other in this tournament, so this “if necessary” game became necessary to settle the district championship.

It was Glendale’s Jewel City Little League that took an early lead en route to a 13-2 victory over Crescenta Valley in a game shortened to five innings due to the mercy rule Sunday at Montrose Park.

The game featured young athletes who are mostly either 11 or 12 years old, with their teams’ ultimate goal being to reach youth baseball’s holy grail – the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

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Los Angeles Sues FAA Over Burbank Airport Frustrations

Photo by Christian Leonard / Burbank Leader
The Hollywood Burbank Airport’s replacement terminal project appears to have hit a roadblock, with the city of Los Angeles suing the Federal Aviation Administration in an attempt to force it to address potential noise and air traffic concerns related to the project.

The city of Los Angeles sued the Federal Aviation Administration this week, saying its concerns regarding the terminal replacement project at the Hollywood Burbank Airport were not considered when the FAA allowed the project to move forward.

If the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rules in favor of the city, which filed the lawsuit on Monday, it would present an obstacle for the controversial terminal project. L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer argued in a news release that the FAA failed to address the city’s concerns about potential noise, air quality and traffic impacts caused by the project.

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