School Board to Begin Hunt for New Superintendent

Buoyed by the solid support of Measure E in the June special 29 election, the San Marino Unified School District board on Tuesday night was scheduled to take the first step toward finding a new superintendent to replace Jeff Wilson, who took a job elsewhere.

The board was to meet in a special session with Joel Shawn of USC’s Rossier School of Education, ask questions and gain insight into the process of “selecting the best path forward to identify, select and retain the next superintendent to lead the district,” according to board President Shelley Ryan. The meeting was due to begin after the Tribune’s press deadline.

Board members had agreed to delay the search until they had replaced former colleagues Corey Barberie and Julie Chan Lin, who both resigned earlier in the year. With the recent appointments of Nam Jack and Mike Killackey, the five-member board has reached full strength and will move forward in finding a successor to Wilson, who announced in April that he would become superintendent of the Claremont Unified School District.

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Billie Youngblood-Knolle

October 25, 1923-December 13, 2020

Billie Youngblood-Knolle

Often described as a force of nature, Billie Youngblood-Knolle, a trailblazing woman of her era, who achieved success in many arenas, died peacefully in her sleep on December 13, 2020. She was 97. A San Marino resident for 60 years, she was born to William and Lucille Kolb, on October 25, 1923 in Ontario, Canada while they were there on extended business. Billie moved to her childhood home, Appleton, Wisconsin while still an infant.

A life-long learner, Billie graduated from Appleton High School in 1941. She first attended Lawrence University, pledging Kappa Alpha Theta. Transferring to the University of Minnesota her sophomore year, Billie majored in English and Fine Arts with a minor in Journalism. She graduated Cum Laude in December 1944 and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in which she remained active, serving for many years on the PBK Southern California Counselor Board.

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Season Hasn’t Begun, but CIF-SS Cancels Playoffs

The California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section announced on Tuesday the cancellation of fall playoffs and championships for football, cross-country, girls’ volleyball and water polo due to restrictions from the California Department of Public Health brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The reason we had to do so is we just have not made enough progress for our fall sports to even begin,” Commissioner Rob Wigod said in a teleconference on Tuesday. “That’s so disappointing and, I know, very, very, very hard for student-athletes and all those involved.”
The decision allows member schools to schedule more regular-season contests through the end date for each sport, if and when public health conditions permit competition. Football can play through April 17, cross-country runs until March 27, and the final day of competition for girls’ volleyball and water polo is March 20.

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Portantino Links Art of Conversation to Political Science

Photo courtesy office of Anthony Portantino
State Sen. Anthony Portantino is shown speaking at a press conference concerning the 2009 Station Fire with former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Congressman David Dreier and Congressman Adam Schiff. Portantino was a state assemblyman during the fire, still considered the largest in L.A. County.

Among the 120 California state legislators, Sen. Anthony Portantino may be the only one who lists his home telephone number on the state contact website.
That’s led to a few odd conversations with his colleagues at the capitol, he mused recently.
“I’ve been asked before, ‘What do you say when someone calls you at home?’” he chuckled. “I tell them, ‘Well, I go, “Hello?” How do you answer the phone at home?’”
Portantino’s been answering those phone calls since he launched his political career in 1999, starting as a city councilman in his hometown of La Cañada Flintridge, where he still resides. From the beginning, he grew accustomed to local residents calling at all hours or even paying him unannounced visits. He still vividly recalls some of those encounters, 20 years on: One elderly woman phoned late at night, upset, and loudly laid out a bitter complaint. After finally taking a breath, she told him, “I know you think I’m yelling at you, but I’m not really yelling at you, it’s just, who else am I gonna call about this at 10:30 at night?”
Now serving his second Senate term in the 25th District after being reelected in the Nov. 3 election, the legislator — who prefers Anthony as his nomenclature — has maintained that open-door policy over the years. In fact, he said some of the signature legislation he has crafted arose from open conversations with residents at the post office, supermarket or the sidelines of his daughters’ AYSO games.

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Bertha Amelia Hernandez

obit-Bertha-Amelia-Hernandez
Bertha Amelia Hernandez

Bertha Amelia Barboa Hernandez, loving wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend, died Saturday evening, December 12, of cancer at her home in San Marino. Bertha was born June 17, 1932, in Tucson, Arizona, the youngest of four sisters, to Amalia Lujan Barboa and Federico Barboa. Upon her father’s death while in military service during World War II, Bertha moved with her family to be near relatives in Los Angeles. Bertha attended Roosevelt High School, where, at age 15, she met the love of her life, Enrique “Hank” Hernandez, a schoolmate.

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Kathleen Lee O’Neill – Obituary

Kathleen Lee O’Neill

Kathleen Lee O’Neill, much loved sister of Taryn O’Neill Petterson, James O’Neill III, and aunt of Riley Petterson, died peacefully at home November 20, 2020. She was preceded in death by parents J. Norman O’Neill Jr. and Rebecca Lee O’Neill. She attended San Marino schools and graduated Class of 2002.
Katie was full of love, which she shared with everyone she met. She had a unique sense of humor and an infectious laugh. She loved to tease, especially godmother and best friend Tina Johansing. Katie left a lasting impression on everyone she met. She will be greatly missed. In lieu of flowers, Katie’s family asks that a donation be made to the Nephrology Department of Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.

‘Injustice Anywhere Is a Threat to Justice Everywhere’

By Charlie Plowman
The Outlook

Charlie Plowman
Charlie Plowman

It’s been a dark and emotionally draining week. It has been much longer than a week for people of color; a few centuries, perhaps.
It goes without saying that this is a brutal time for our nation. How often are we under two emergency orders simultaneously?
Last week’s death of George Floyd was horrifying. We’ve all seen the video multiple times: Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. As a TV reporter astutely pointed out, the video appears to show the officer shifting his weight after a few minutes to seemingly apply even more pressure while already in a dominating position. And as we saw, in the final three minutes the 46-year-old Floyd lay motionless.
Pastor Albert Tate from Fellowship Church used the terms “execution” and “evil” in describing the death during the streaming of his Sunday sermon. It was the first time that I’d heard those two words mentioned in this context.
And Tate is not alone in looking for words that fit the enormity and gravity of what we saw. People from all walks of life, regardless of their skin color, are outraged by the senseless death of George Floyd.
Many of the protests that I watched on television featured ethnic diversity. In fact, the news showed a protest march in Santa Ana on Sunday that seemed to be mostly Latino. This is obviously not simply a black issue; this is a human rights issue.
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Harold James Hunter, Jr.

Harold James Hunter, Jr.
Feb. 14, 1933-April 24, 2020

Harold James Hunter, Jr., born Feb. 14, 1933, loving husband, father, grandfather and friend, passed away peacefully on April 24, 2020.
Harold, known to those close to him as “Hal,” was raised in San Marino-South Pasadena. Hal enjoyed school and participated modestly in football and track, graduating high school in 1951. He attended Stanford and was affiliated with Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity, graduating in 1955. He was commissioned in the Naval service for two years and returned to study law at Stanford in 1957. Hal married his high school sweetheart, Sally Logan, in July 1957. Sally taught primary school while Hal attended law school. Continue reading “Harold James Hunter, Jr.”

Fighting Pandemic ‘What We Signed Up For’

San Marino resident Dr. Madhu Anvekar, second from right, leads Huntington Hospital’s medical and administrative response to the COVID pandemic. Dhilan Anvekar (from left), Dr. Alexis Anvekar, Jayan Anvekar, Dr. Madhu Anvekar and Leela Anvekar.

These days, Dr. Madhu Anvekar spends about as much time at Huntington Hospital as he does in his San Marino home.
Even when he is able to get a few hours away from the hospital, that doesn’t mean he can spend substantial time with his family.
“Actually, this last week is the first time in quite a while that I have been able to see them,” said Anvekar, as he prepared for another in an endless line of shifts.
Trained in internal medicine, Anvekar is director of the hospital medicine program at Huntington, where he and his team of 12 are charged with caring for every COVID-19 patient in the hospital, excepting those in the intensive care unit. Concurrently, he serves on the COVID-19 response team, assisting in devising strategies to implement the massive administrative changes and planning necessary to address the pandemic. Continue reading “Fighting Pandemic ‘What We Signed Up For’”

Outlook Newspaper Group Purchases Glendale News-Press, Burbank Leader and La Cañada Valley Sun

Charlie Plowman

LOS ANGELES – Outlook Newspapers, owned by Charlie Plowman, has agreed to purchase three community news titles, the Glendale News-Press, Burbank Leader and La Cañada Valley Sun. California Times, the previous owner of the titles, recently announced that the three papers were being closed due to the challenging business environment and unforeseen economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Now, the publications are part of the Outlook Newspapers group, with the La Cañada publications being combined and renamed the La Cañada Outlook Valley Sun. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We are thrilled to have acquired three iconic newspapers with deep roots and historic legacies in their respective communities,” Plowman said. “I heard the outpouring from local residents, as to how much they love these publications, and want to support them.

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