Glendale Armenians “Inspired by Other People’s Sacrifices”

When local members of the Armenian diaspora woke up on Thursday and began to scour the internet and social media for on-the-ground updates — any news, really — from the front lines of the reignited war between Azerbaijan and the Armenia-backed breakaway state Artsakh, they found pictures of the Holy Savior Cathedral.
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Remembering Van Halen’s 1970s Performances in La Cañada

Van Halen was an up-and-coming band in the mid-1970s, a musical journey that included performing on the steps in front of the La Cañada High School gymnasium during the 1975-76 school year.

The death this week of legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen conjured up memories from La Cañada High School graduates and teachers of the band Van Halen, which had memorable 1970s performances in La Cañada Flintridge before attaining superstardom.
Eddie Van Halen, who died of throat cancer on Tuesday at age 65, was the master guitarist who teamed with his drummer-brother Alex to create Van Halen, one of the era’s most influential and memorable “hair bands.” Lead singer David Lee Roth and bass player Michael Anthony were other members of the band’s 1970s lineup, all of whom attended Pasadena City College. (Sammy Hagar replaced Roth as lead singer in the 1980s.)
They went on to become one of the biggest rock bands in the world, particularly following the release of their chart-topping album, “1984.” The band pumped out hits such as “Panama,” “Jump,” “Jamie’s Cryin’” and “Hot for Teacher.”
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School Leaders Caution Against ‘Falsehoods’ About DEI

The La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board said this week that the diversity, equity and inclusion report given by a consultant at an August board meeting is being translated into Korean and Chinese, and that edition will be shared with the LCUSD community once completed.
In a joint statement, district Superintendent Wendy Sinnette and board President Joe Radabaugh also addressed questions the board has received regarding DEI and some of the rumors or falsehoods allegedly circulating ahead of the election for two board seats on Nov. 3. They recommended that residents who need clarification on the meaning of DEI or the district’s intentions reach out directly to a board member or staff.
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Divided Commission OKs Proposal on Short-Term Rentals

Under the urging of the City Council, the La Cañada Flintridge Planning Commission reluctantly approved a proposed ordinance regulating short-term rentals during last Thursday’s virtual meeting.
Susan Koleda, director of community development, presented an amended ordinance that included 15 operational requirements. The commission tweaked some of the language before a 3-2 vote in favor of the new regulations, which will be presented to the City Council in the near future.
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City Wants Local Polling Place for Nov. 3 Election

Photo by Keira Wight / Outlook Valley Sun
A drop-off box for mail-in ballots has been placed outside the La Cañada Flintridge Library, but city officials also are asking the county to place a voting center in the city. The nearest locations for in-person voting for the Nov. 3 election are in La Crescenta and Altadena.

 

In an effort to provide La Cañada Flintridge residents with more voting locations for the Nov. 3 election, City Manager Mark Alexander assured the community on Tuesday that municipal staff members are working with the Los Angeles County registrar-recorder office to possibly open a voting center here.
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Where Candidates Stand on DEI

As the local school board election on Nov. 3 approaches, readers have reached out to the Outlook Valley Sun as they try to understand the topic of diversity, equity and inclusion within the La Cañada Unified School District and each candidate’s stance on the issue. We asked the candidates to respond in about 350 words to the questions “How do you agree or disagree with the recent findings and recommendations from the DEI consultant hired by the district?” and “Do you have alternative solutions to any of her recommendations, and what are they?”
Here are their statements on the matter. Continue reading “Where Candidates Stand on DEI”

Learning New Tricks: Kids Train Shelter Dogs During Pandemic

Photo courtesy Boys & Girls Club of Pasadena
A Boys & Girls Club of Pasadena member displays his dog-training skills at an obstacle course with a shelter dog named Dodger at a previous K9 Youth Alliance program. Since the pandemic began, the nonprofit K9YA has created a virtual dog-training program for 6th-graders at the club that is seen as a great success.

As it turns out, teaching old dogs new tricks is possible: A beloved program for local youth at the Boys & Girls Club of Pasadena recently found a way to break through the COVID-19 pandemic’s barriers to virtually teach kids to help shelter dogs and foster their love for animals.
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Lawler Being Honored at Foothill Family Fundraiser

Anita Lawler

Local resident Anita Lawler, former chairwoman of Foothill Family’s board of directors, is being honored by the organization at its annual “Tip Your Cap & Pass the Hat” fundraiser on Thursday, Oct. 22, at noon.
Foothill Family was founded in 1926 in Pasadena by trailblazing community volunteer Josephine Marsh, who “passed the hat” to help neighbors in need, according to a spokesperson.
“To honor this humble origin, we continue Josephine’s legacy by ‘passing the hat’ to raise critical funds to serve our clients through a friendly competition between teams,” a Foothill statement said. “We also continue the tradition of honoring our most gracious community leaders by tipping our caps and thanking them for their service to Foothill Family.
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Local Man Helps Lead Clinical Lab Program for COVID-19 Testing

Erik Bogaard

BGI and MGI recently announced a clinical lab partnership program designed to accelerate population-level testing to help fight the ongoing pandemic. The companies are leading global suppliers of COVID-19 RT-PCR test kits and automated sample preparation systems, including sample transfer and viral RNA extraction.
The program empowers accredited labs with high-quality, readily available technology so they can focus on maximizing productivity.
“In addition to delivering a world-class technology solution for COVID-19 testing programs like Task Force Lab’s, we are pleased to assure our partners that they have access to near limitless testing supplies, both extraction and detection, at a crucial time during this pandemic,” said Jeremy Nickolenko, head of global commercial partnerships for BGI-MGI. “Lack of testing reagents in this country is a myth. Having high-accuracy technology available in local warehouses now has helped TFL and other lab partners offer 24- to 48-hour turnaround times so their customers can get back to normal activity safely.”
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Meet the State, Federal Candidates

Burbank voters will elect representatives to a variety of positions on Nov. 3, with candidates vying for local, state and federal seats. Congressman Adam Schiff, a Democrat, is aiming to represent California’s 28th District in the U.S. House of Representatives for another two years, with Republican and attorney Eric Early challenging his incumbency.
For the California Assembly, Democrat Laura Friedman is set on continuing to represent the 43rd Assembly District for another two years. The assemblywoman is facing Republican Mike Graves in the race. The candidates, with the exception of Graves, who did not respond to emails from the Leader, have provided statements explaining why they believe they should receive residents’ votes.

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Remembering Van Halen’s 1975 Performance at GCC

Photo courtesy Mary Garson
Eddie Van Halen, pictured performing at age 20 in Glendale Community College’s quad during a free midday concert for students in the fall of 1975, was regarded as one of the greatest guitarists ever before his death last week at 65. David Lee Roth, Van Halen’s lead singer, has his back to the guitarist.

The death last week of legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen conjured up memories from former Glendale Community College students of the band Van Halen, which had a memorable 1975 performance in the school’s quad before attaining superstardom.
Eddie Van Halen, who died of throat cancer at age 65, was the master guitarist who teamed with his drummer-brother Alex to create Van Halen, one of the era’s most influential and memorable “hair bands.” Lead singer David Lee Roth and bass player Michael Anthony were other members of the band’s 1970s lineup. (Sammy Hagar replaced Roth as lead singer in the 1980s.)
They went on to become one of the biggest rock bands in the world, particularly after the release of their chart-topping album “1984.” The band pumped out hits such as “Panama,” “Jump,” “Jamie’s Cryin’” and “Hot for Teacher.”

Continue reading “Remembering Van Halen’s 1975 Performance at GCC”

In Revising Policies, BUSD Explicitly Rejects Racism

Photo by Charles Hirsch / Burbank Leader
The Burbank Unified School District Board of Education is asking for recommendations in the renaming of David Starr Jordan Middle School as it advances in the name change process. Jordan is widely considered a controversial academic who espoused eugenics, a racist genetic theory based on selective breeding.

With the blessing from several community members who spoke during a virtual meeting on Thursday, the Burbank Unified School District Board of Education unanimously approved the proposed revision of BUSD policies and administrative regulations that now include language rejecting “all forms of racism as destructive to the district’s mission, vision, values and goals.”
The majority of public comments — lasting one hour, 49 minutes — at the meeting supported the district for its first steps in addressing issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. Teachers, parents and community members shared personal stories involving racism, and board members appeared moved by what they heard.
“For us to be able to have that opportunity to listen and learn and create that dialogue so many people talk about, that is the start of this work,” said BUSD Superintendent Matt Hill. “Some of this work has been happening in individual classrooms, with individuals at the district level and board level.
“But for us as the Burbank Unified School District to come out with a statement saying we are unified, we acknowledge our past, we acknowledge we aren’t perfect, we acknowledge that we need to move forward, that’s powerful. And it creates a space so we can have these conversations, that we can open our hearts and open our minds and continue the work.”
That work involved understanding the system, structures and policies that hold the district back “from ensuring that all of our students thrive in our school district,” Hill added.
Prior to the meeting, the district announced the launching of a website — at burbankusd.org/dei — that details BUSD’s journey to becoming more diverse and inclusive. There’s an introductory video in which Hill shared how he, coming from a working-class family, learned that the “American dream is not the same for everyone.”
“It took my journey into education and my doctoral studies of social justice to really look at my life [and learn] my life is not the same as others’,” he said in the video. “There are barriers, systems, rules, regulations, processes that prevent many of our students of color and families of color to be successful. We must hear these stories; we must share our own stories and see how they’re different.”

RENAMING JORDAN MIDDLE SCHOOL

The district’s work during the past year to create a more diverse and inclusive environment for stakeholders has included an effort to rename David Starr Jordan Middle School.
Assistant Superintendent John Paramo updated the board on the process, which was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He said a committee tasked with renaming the school is “actually a very hard-working group” that is prepared to move forward.
Jordan — the founding president of Stanford University — was a controversial academic who advocated in favor of eugenics, a movement that set out to improve the genetic composition of humankind by way of selective breeding and is now widely viewed as racist.
The district sent out a survey in the form of a Google document on Friday that asks stakeholders to suggest a name and explain their choice. Suggestions will be taken through Nov. 13, and then the committee will bring three to five names to the board in February 2021.
Board member Steve Ferguson recommended that the committee name the school after a woman.
“I think that’s important, and while I don’t want to tie the committee’s hands extensively on searching for this, I think one school is a bare minimum and frankly should be a factor of consideration,” Ferguson said.

City Council Votes to Condemn Azerbaijani Aggression

Photo courtesy Armenian National Committee of America Burbank
Advocacy group Burbank for Armenia held a fundraiser to raise money for Armenia on Monday. Attendees included Burbank Unified School District Board President Armond Aghakhanian, Armenian National Committee of America’s Burbank chapter chairman Sarkis Simonian, city Councilman Timothy Murphy and other supporters.

The Burbank City Council voted this week to condemn Azerbaijani aggression in the mostly Armenian region of Artsakh, a disputed area over which Armenian and Azerbaijani forces have clashed.
Artsakh, also known as Nagorno-Karabakh, includes the Hadrut province, with which Burbank declared a friendship in 2014.
Reported violence by Azerbaijani forces in Artsakh has been the focus of widespread protests and rallies recently, with the Armenian flag becoming a not-uncommon sight in the Los Angeles metropolitan area.
The panel’s unanimous vote also directed city staff members to send a letter of support from the council for a potential U.S. House of Representatives resolution, House Resolution 1165, that would condemn Azerbaijan’s military’s actions in Artsakh. The resolution’s authors include Reps. Adam Schiff and Brad Sherman, who represent Burbank.

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It Can Be Feast or Famine for Entertainment Industry Workers

In mid- and late-March, the entertainment industry — like many — shut down in the face of a growing coronavirus pandemic.
Productions shuddered to a halt. Award shows went virtual. Planned summer blockbusters had their releases postponed, or were pushed online.
And amid it all, many of the people working on the movies, television shows and events found themselves joining millions of Americans filing for unemployment.
“Work literally … with some exceptions, ended,” said Bob Beitcher, president and CEO of the Motion Picture & Television Fund.
The Calabasas-based charity has given aid to workers in the entertainment industry for nearly a century. But the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic has caused need to skyrocket. Some MPTF members, Beitcher explained recently by phone, haven’t worked for six or seven months.

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Family Service Agency Gala Set for Oct. 24

The Family Service Agency of Burbank’s annual “Imagine a City” gala, which will honor City Manager Justin Hess and state Sen. Anthony Portantino, will be held on Saturday, Oct. 24, at the Olive Ball Fields at Izay Park.
The mission of Family Service Agency is to offer quality mental health counseling, care, education and advocacy at low or no cost. FSA has dramatically changed and saved the lives of local individuals, couples and families as well as active and veteran members of the armed forces by providing housing, crisis intervention, legal guidance, safety in the face of domestic violence and hope for those in the grip of mental illness and substance addiction.
Former City Manager Mary Alvord, who is serving as co-chair of the event along with Terry Stein, said the gala had to be “reimagined to adhere to county safety protocols.”

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Rash of Arrests Reported for Alleged Unemployment Fraud

Photo courtesy Burbank Police Department
The Burbank Police Department reported arresting six people for alleged unemployment benefits fraud in one day in September, retrieving 40 unemployment benefit cards, more than $40,000 in cash and a loaded gun. The department made 20 arrests over the course of the month.

Officers from the Burbank Police Department arrested 20 people on suspicion of unemployment benefits fraud in September, making several of the arrests at a local Bank of America branch.
Unemployment fraud has become more frequent since the COVID-19 pandemic began, according to BPD spokesman Sgt. Derek Green. Cards from the California Employment Development Department are sent to people receiving unemployment benefits, but the BPD has reported that some are getting the cards through fraudulent means, using them to withdraw cash.
In some cases, the department made multiple arrests related to alleged EDD fraud in one day.

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Distance Learning Expected to Continue Through Semester

Though daily numbers of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are better than those of the summer, they are not good enough for Los Angeles County to consider reopening nonessential businesses and schools.
So Superintendent Matt Hill recommended Thursday to the local board of education that Burbank Unified School District campuses continue exclusively with distance learning for the wide majority of students through the fall semester.
The move will give the district staff more time to work on protocols to be better prepared to reintroduce students and teachers to campus when the time comes.

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Face Covering Enforcement Begins

Photo by Christian Leonard / Burbank Leader
Burbank is now issuing citations for people who refuse to adhere to face covering
requirements, with enforcement carried out by a contractor and enforced in areas with high numbers of complaints such as downtown Burbank.

Following a recent decision by the Burbank City Council, face covering requirements are now enforced with a fine.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has released guidance for the use of cloth face coverings to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also affirmed that cloth face coverings are a critical tool in the fight against COVID-19, and that face coverings could reduce the spread of the disease, particularly when used universally within communities.
Since the emergence of COVID-19, according to the city, Burbank and its police department have sought to gain compliance with face covering requirements with an emphasis on education.

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Advice for Future Mayors From Those Who’ve Done the Job

In the east wing of Burbank City Hall, just off the rotunda, you’ll find a portrait gallery. The gallery isn’t exactly a big draw for tourists visiting Southern California. In fact, it’s probably fair to assume that most Burbankers don’t even know it exists.
If you are ever in City Hall, you may want to check out the gallery, which will give you a gander at the official portraits of the 62 men and women who have served as the city’s mayor.

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