Expressing disappointment, sadness and anger, members of Glendale’s Armenian community gathered downtown Monday after news of an accord in the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, with the local demonstration eventually shutting down part of Central Avenue. The effusive mood typically shown by Glendale members of the Armenian diaspora at events outside the Armenian Consulate was replaced by somberness as the crowd processed information that had begun trickling out hours earlier. The throng had learned that the peace agreement signed by Armenia largely ceded land in the Nagorno-Karabakh region to Azerbaijan that the latter’s army had retaken in the six-week war. The agreement, brokered by Russia, is largely seen as a victory for Azerbaijan, which aimed to reassert control of the region — home of Armenian-populated Artsakh — that has mostly functioned autonomously since 1994.
The well-known Mexican observance of Día de los Muertos proved this year to be a community-building medium in Glendale. The Glendale Latino Association typically sets up an altar for the Day of the Dead every year, tipping its cap to its members of Mexican heritage. However, the coronavirus pandemic this year means that access to the organization’s center is closed, so not many people could have seen the piece. Instead, current events — the war involving Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Armenian-populated Artsakh region that resumed in September — opened a door for the local organization to build bridges with Glendale’s prominent Armenian community. What resulted was a Día de los Muertos altar paying homage to Armenia and Artsakh, for all to see on Glendale’s Artsakh Avenue promenade. Jennie Quinonez-Skinner, president of the GLA, said the idea came from one of the group’s recent meetings.
By Zand Hill and Christian Leonard Glendale News-Press
Glendale reached a dubious milestone this week as health officials sounded the alarm again on the apparently uncontrolled spread of the coronavirus that has left the nation reeling. The number of city residents who have tested positive for the disease since March rose to 5,068, one of the highest totals among suburban Los Angeles municipalities. As of Friday, at least 186 Glendale residents have succumbed to the disease. Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials reported this week that since Oct. 3, the test positivity rate for COVID-19 has risen from 3.6% to 5.9% countywide. This week there were around 103 intensive care unit beds available countywide, as hospitalizations for the disease again are rising. This week there were 953 hospitalized patients — 28% of whom were in ICUs — after the county reached a low of 682 hospitalized patients on Oct. 3.
It all started with the recollection of a quote. When Dr. Armand Dorian, chief medical officer at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital in Glendale, saw news reports in September that war involving his ancestral home of Armenia had resumed, he was drawn back to a famous statement by cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has,” Dorian said in an interview, reciting Mead’s words. His recall of the remark prompted him to get on the phone, and a few calls later, Dorian said, he knew what he had to do. Armenia’s ministry of health reported that chief among the nation’s needs was a CT scanner, largely for use in surgeries on people with shrapnel wounds as a result of the fighting between Armenian forces in the breakaway state Artsakh against Azerbaijani forces aiming to reassert control of the region. So he got to work.
Voters returned a number of local incumbents to their state and federal seats Tuesday at a comfortable margin, while Los Angeles County will see changeover at the district attorney’s office. Statewide, voters also defeated Proposition 15 — a measure supported by both the City Council and the Glendale Unified School District that would have increased property tax funding at a local level — while approving Proposition 17, which restores voting rights for convicted felons after their prison terms end. As of press deadline on Friday, Democratic nominee Joe Biden looked poised to unseat President Donald Trump after taking or maintaining vote leads in key electoral states Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania.
Steve Zurn announced this week he will retire as general manager of Glendale Water and Power on Dec. 31, marking the second retirement of a prominent city administrator this fall. The departure of Zurn, who has been with the city for more than 34 years, follows longtime City Manager Yasmin Beers’ October exit. The city’s plan for possibly appointing an interim GWP leader and searching for Zurn’s successor was not immediately clear. The city named Zurn as the head of the utility in 2012, after he’d served as the interim general manager for around five months. At that time, he also was the city’s public works director, a job he started in 2003 and held through 2014. His prior roles with the Public Works Department included budget officer, project manager, special project liaison and assistant director/chief administrative officer.
Now, especially, is the time to make sure you get your flu shot, according to local experts. It’s not likely that you’ll find a doctor who won’t urge a patient to get an annual flu shot in a normal year, mind you. However, the world has even more reason to keep hospital beds open at the moment because of the coronavirus pandemic. “Any way that we can prevent any kind of respiratory illness is important,” said Patricia Sung, manager of infection prevention at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital. “Even under normal circumstances, it’s pretty important to get the flu shot.” The flu, much like COVID-19, is a respiratory illness that can become incapacitating and fatal if not treated and when exacerbated by other conditions. Although some studies have indicated that individuals infected with both illnesses have twice the mortality rate, Sung said the actual data isn’t there yet.
The City Council approved an ordinance this week formally creating a sustainability commission for the city, without much hitch since it was introduced last week. The timetable of seating that commission is fairly aggressive, with David Jones, the city’s sustainability officer, aiming to advertise for applicants before the December holidays and have the council select members in January. Under that schedule, the commission would have its first meeting in February. The council directed the city to develop plans for this commission in August. Jones explained last week that he studied similar commissions in Pasadena, Long Beach, Chula Vista, Burbank and Palm Springs as part of his research.
Under ordinary circumstances, the Crescenta Valley High School football team would have been either celebrating or lamenting the end of the regular season, which originally was to have concluded on Oct. 30. But in a world with COVID-19, everyday life is anything but ordinary. “It’s just so bizarre, and I just can’t believe we’re in November,” said Falcons head coach Hudson Gossard. “Is there a chance of a football season? Who knows?” The California Interscholastic Federation, the state’s governing body for high school athletics, has a schedule in place for fall sports to resume competition in December and January, should public health officials allow it. And if it does, teams in the Glendale Unified School District will certainly be ready.
Bob Lemke passed away on Saturday, October 31st, at Glen Terra Assisted Living, where he has resided for the past 15 months. He was 90 years old, just missing his goal of 91 by four days. Bob was born November 4th, 1929, in West Bend, Wisconsin, to Harvey Lemke and Viola (Alberts) Lemke. He attended McLane Elementary School and graduated from West Bend High School. He went on to attend the University of Wisconsin. He married his childhood sweetheart, Marion Herman, on January 12, 1948. She preceded him in death on December 23, 2001. While living in West Bend, he worked as a dispatcher for the West Bend Sheriff’s Office and was City Assessor prior to his move to California in 1962.