YMCA Plan Receives Encouragement — and Resistance

At 65,000 square feet, a proposed expansion sought by the YMCA of the Foothills for its location in La Cañada Flintridge is a big undertaking — too big to be resolved in just one city Planning Commission session.
The commission met Tuesday night to discuss a planned expansion that would have two phases, including construction of a three-story building. The main phase of discussion Tuesday concerned construction of a parking deck above the front parking lot, and commissioners approved an adjustment in the line dividing the YMCA lot from private property next door. But eventually, they voted for a continuance of the hearing because of neighborhood disgruntlement.
There were rumblings from commissioners about technical variances, from neighbors concerning traffic congestion and residential driveways, and even from Earth itself as a 4.4-magnitude earthquake shook the room at City Hall.
“I am moved by your speech,” Commissioner Jeffrey McConnell said jokingly to John Pride, landscape architect for the Y, after the earthquake was felt during Pride’s statement to the commission.
Continue reading “YMCA Plan Receives Encouragement — and Resistance”

Space Academy Launches Partnership With School in Spain

Artur Chmielewski
Artur Chmielewski

Jet Propulsion Laboratory has been running its Space Academy for five years, but starting this year the program will be coordinated with a school in La Cañada Flintridge’s sister city, SEK International School in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.
The communities are sister cities because they share similarities beyond the name. The European Space Astronomy Center is located in Villanueva de La Cañada, just as JPL is located here, prompting the two cities to coordinate on a science program.
Continue reading “Space Academy Launches Partnership With School in Spain”

YMCA Shows Big Plans to Grow, Seeks City OK

Image courtesy YMCA of the Foothills YMCA of the Foothills’ expansion proposal envisions a new central community space that will include an amphitheater, tables, benches, grassy areas and trees. It could be used for children’s concerts, performances and other events.
Image courtesy YMCA of the Foothills
YMCA of the Foothills’ expansion proposal envisions a new central community space that will include an amphitheater, tables, benches, grassy areas and trees. It could be used for children’s concerts, performances and other events.

YMCA of the Foothills is forging ahead with its $7 million expansion proposal to improve and expand its interior by more than 4,000 square feet, build a new two-deck parking lot and create more accessibility to the community.
The YMCA will present its plan to the La Cañada Flintridge Planning Commission on Tuesday, Aug. 28, detailing the parking lot increase and access easement from the lot to YMCA facilities, as well as its longer-term vision of creating more holistic health and social spaces for members of all ages. Continue reading “YMCA Shows Big Plans to Grow, Seeks City OK”

LCHS Grads’ Restaurant Partnership Is Cooking

Photo by Sahale Greenwood / OUTLOOK Kobunga founder and CEO John Kim and chef and COO Stephen Cho
Photo by Sahale Greenwood / OUTLOOK
Kobunga founder and CEO John Kim and chef and COO Stephen Cho

John Kim and Stephen Cho are the well-matched business partners who together are making Korean barbecue accessible through a chef-driven, health-oriented approach at their restaurant, Kobunga, which opened at the USC Village five months ago.
Though the two went to Paradise Canyon Elementary, La Cañada High School 7/8 and LCHS only two years apart — Kim graduated from LCHS in 2007, Cho in 2011 — and both started vtheir careers in New York City, the partners did not meet until years later, when a mutual friend introduced them because of a shared dream: to open a restaurant. Continue reading “LCHS Grads’ Restaurant Partnership Is Cooking”

Campers With Challenges Get Skills to Handle Them

Photo by Sahale Greenwood / OUTLOOK Juliana Frias, head of the creative art department, and camper Mili happily make slime.
Photo by Sahale Greenwood / OUTLOOK
Juliana Frias, head of the creative art department, and camper Mili happily make slime.

For children deemed on the autism spectrum, with learning disabilities, developmental and behavioral difficulties or other vexing challenges, traditional summer camps may often not be an option.
But Professional Child Development Associates’ summer camp provides a fun and supportive environment for these children by ensuring that they have professional supervision and surroundings in which they can start building relationships and personal coping habits for some of the hurdles they face. PCDA, a nonprofit organization based in Pasadena, is a comprehensive group of child development specialists providing year-round services for children and families. Continue reading “Campers With Challenges Get Skills to Handle Them”

Cancer Society Honoree Can Tell Tale of Survival

Liz Rusnak Arizmendi (right), who has battled Stage 4 ovarian cancer, will be honored at the American Cancer Society’s San Gabriel Valley Hope Gala on Aug. 25. She is pictured with event chair Sindee Riboli.
Liz Rusnak Arizmendi (right), who has battled Stage 4 ovarian cancer, will be honored at the American Cancer Society’s San Gabriel Valley Hope Gala on Aug. 25. She is pictured with event chair Sindee Riboli.

Liz Rusnak Arizmendi is a force that not even cancer could overpower.
During her battle against Stage 4 ovarian cancer, Rusnak Arizmendi recalled, trying to trudge 100 feet to the dunes outside her family’s beach house in Ventura County “took everything out of me … to the point where I would have to collapse and sit there crying because I could barely walk.” Now, just 18 months later, she has recovered energetically, regularly jogging five miles along those dunes and working full time again as vice president of public relations at the family business, Rusnak Auto Group.
“I love having a smile on my face. I don’t know how to frown, I really don’t,” Rusnak Arizmendi said. Her positive attitude was a key factor in her vigorous fight against cancer and is now spurring her return to a healthy, cancer-free life. Continue reading “Cancer Society Honoree Can Tell Tale of Survival”

La Cañada Valley Beautiful Busy With Re-Landscaping

Image courtesy La Cañada Valley Beautiful This sketch shows La Cañada Valley Beautiful landscaping plans around the deodar tree at the headquarters of LCUSD.
Image courtesy La Cañada Valley Beautiful
This sketch shows La Cañada Valley Beautiful landscaping plans around the deodar tree at the headquarters of LCUSD.

La Cañada Valley Beautiful has taken on the project of re-landscaping the grounds of Lanterman Auditorium and the La Cañada Unified School District’s headquarters using a low-water, low-maintenance approach.
“We are not using any new water, just amending the current irrigation system,” said Carolyn Hanna, project manager for La Cañada Valley Beautiful, the nonprofit organization that has been encouraging a beautiful, clean community since 1964. Continue reading “La Cañada Valley Beautiful Busy With Re-Landscaping”

Work Reveals Lanterman House’s Original Look

The strikingly well-preserved Lanterman House provides a vivid snapshot of life in La Cañada Flintridge in 1915.
With help from investments by the city of La Cañada Flintridge, the staff has kept the house in pristine condition, maintaining the integrity of the structure and decor of one of the few surviving pre-1920 residences in LCF.
Now Executive Director Laura Verlaque has turned her attention to updating the inventory of all the original artifacts inside the house for the first time since 1993, when the onetime home opened as a public museum.
About 95% of the artifacts inside belonged to the Lanterman family and “you cannot replace the authenticity of that,” said Verlaque, who took over as executive director in April. Continue reading “Work Reveals Lanterman House’s Original Look”