La Cañada Edges Claremont, Reaches Semifinals

Photo courtesy LCHS Athletics The La Cañada High School varsity girls’ tennis team is one win away from playing its first CIF Southern Section championship match since 1978. The squad, accompanied by head coach Will Moravec, includes Sonia Bhaskaran, Ashley Chun, Tsehay Driscoll, Eliana Hanna, Marlene Hess, Annabelle Kevakian, Kristy Kim, Stacey Kim, Anabel Massabki, Solenn Matuska, Sophia McKenzie, Artis Phillips, Sarah Pyne-Jaeger, Sophia Razavi, Natalie Son, Lisa Sun, Maya Urata, Maya Vasisht, Sydney Wang and Elise Wu.
Photo courtesy LCHS Athletics
The La Cañada High School varsity girls’ tennis team is one win away from playing its first CIF Southern Section championship match since 1978. The squad, accompanied by head coach Will Moravec, includes Sonia Bhaskaran, Ashley Chun, Tsehay Driscoll, Eliana Hanna, Marlene Hess, Annabelle Kevakian, Kristy Kim, Stacey Kim, Anabel Massabki, Solenn Matuska, Sophia McKenzie, Artis Phillips, Sarah Pyne-Jaeger, Sophia Razavi, Natalie Son, Lisa Sun, Maya Urata, Maya Vasisht, Sydney Wang and Elise Wu.

Longtime La Cañada High School varsity girls’ tennis coach Will Moravec finally had his wish granted this season, and it has certainly benefitted his program.
“The last couple of years, I’ve been hoping we’d be in Division 2,” Moravec said. “A lot of times, CIF puts us in Division 1 and that’s super tough for us. The timing was right, and we’re in Division 2 with two hotshot freshman girls who really gave us depth this year.”
The added depth and placement in Division 2 allowed the Spartans to make an impressive postseason run, reaching the CIF Southern Section Division 2 semifinals following a 10-8 victory over Claremont on Monday.
La Cañada traveled to Long Beach on Wednesday to take on Poly in a semifinal match. Should the Spartans come away with a victory, they would advance to the final match against the winner of the other semifinal match between Aliso Niguel of Aliso Viejo and Chino Hills Ayala.
The Spartans have not played a CIF-SS championship match in 40 years. They finished as runners-up against Corona del Mar in 1978 and won the Division 3A crown in 1977 by defeating San Marino.
“The margins are getting smaller,” Moravec said. “The matches are going to be a lot closer and it’s going to be tight. There were a ton of 9-9 and 10-8 matches in first few rounds. That shows that CIF is doing a good job of making parity. You have to be on the top of your game. There’s no time for a bad day. Hopefully our girls will be ready and play great. They played great on Monday.”
The Spartans opened the playoff tournament with a 14-4 victory over Los Angeles Brentwood and followed that with an upset win over No. 2-seeded Redlands, which finished the regular season unbeaten.
The Division 2 championship match will be played at the Claremont Club this Friday, Nov. 9, at 11 a.m.

Faith Comes Easily to Explorer of Heavens

Photo by Wes Woods II / OUTLOOK Dave Gallagher of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory was the keynote speaker for this year’s YMCA of the Foothills’ prayer breakfast.
Photo by Wes Woods II / OUTLOOK
Dave Gallagher of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory was the keynote speaker for this year’s YMCA of the Foothills’ prayer breakfast.

He may be engaged in the hunt for cold, hard facts about the universe in his expansive work for Jet Propulsion Laboratory, but Dave Gallagher is also a seeker of spirituality.
Gallagher, associate director for strategic integration overseeing strategy, technology and formulation at the NASA facility, shared his search for a greater good at the YMCA of the Foothills’ annual prayer breakfast, where food, faith and positive outreach are served up simultaneously. Continue reading “Faith Comes Easily to Explorer of Heavens”

Girl Cub Scouts Show They’re Up for Adventures

Photos by Wes Woods II / OUTLOOK Chance Szebelledy, Aditi Iyer, Jessica Seo, Bella Castano and Maggie Cripps are the first girl Cub Scouts in Pack 515.
Photos by Wes Woods II / OUTLOOK
Chance Szebelledy, Aditi Iyer, Jessica Seo, Bella Castano and Maggie Cripps are the first girl Cub Scouts in Pack 515.

Maggie Cripps, in her first year as an official Cub Scout, did a bit of trailblazing recently when she was awarded a couple of belt loops — steps toward earning a Wolf patch — by her Scout pack based in La Cañada Flintridge.
To celebrate her completion of the Call of the Wild and Running With the Pack adventures, Maggie, 7, was called upon during the pack meeting at Palm Crest Elementary School. Continue reading “Girl Cub Scouts Show They’re Up for Adventures”

Mayor’s Hike Offers Path to Discovery of LCF Trails

Irene Christensen, who has lived in La Cañada Flintridge for 41 years, recently discovered parts of the city she had never seen before.
“I’m just awed,” Christensen said during a break in the third annual mayor’s hike near Woodleigh Lane. “If I didn’t have to watch my feet every step of the way I would see more of the landscape. But I think I’d better keep my attention down. It makes me want to investigate the rest of the trails.” Continue reading “Mayor’s Hike Offers Path to Discovery of LCF Trails”

City Council Sets Lower Bar for Financial Reserves Despite Objections

The La Cañada Flintridge City Council revised its general fund policy on Tuesday by agreeing, in a 3-2 vote, to set the goal of keeping reserves at 50% of operational revenues.
Councilmen Leonard Pieroni and Greg Brown were the dissenting voices, opposing any amount less than a previous 100% to 150% goal.
“I thought we should keep the reserve goal and target the same as it has been,” Pieroni said after the meeting. “It’s served the city well for a long time and helped us weather some tough times.” Continue reading “City Council Sets Lower Bar for Financial Reserves Despite Objections”

LCUSD Listens to Parents’ Concerns on Devil’s Gate Project

The La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board on Tuesday took time to hear from concerned parents over the initial process of sediment removal from Hahamongna Watershed Park behind the Devil’s Gate Dam to increase flood protection and to restore habitat within the Arroyo Seco Watershed.
During the discussion, board members said that they were writing down questions and suggestions of attendees and that they plan to measure the air quality surrounding the schools during the sediment removal project, known as the “Big Dig,” with an air-quality monitor. Continue reading “LCUSD Listens to Parents’ Concerns on Devil’s Gate Project”

Local YMCA to Pay Tribute to Former CEO Croxen, Wife

Photo courtesy Dennis Croxen Dennis and Peggy Croxen will be honored at the invitation-only George Williams Society Dinner on Wednesday, Nov. 7, in La Cañada Flintridge.
Photo courtesy Dennis Croxen
Dennis and Peggy Croxen will be honored at the invitation-only George Williams Society Dinner on Wednesday, Nov. 7, in La Cañada Flintridge.

Dennis and Peggy Croxen have left quite an imprint on the YMCA of the Foothills.
Dennis Croxen, who once was the institution’s chief executive, advocated that a successful YMCA leads by its mission, said current CEO and President Tyler Wright.
“He has been the greatest inspiration and an impactful individual on my career,” Wright said in a phone interview. “He’s been a mentor and a friend throughout my entire career and was someone I could call up if I didn’t have an answer to a question.” Continue reading “Local YMCA to Pay Tribute to Former CEO Croxen, Wife”

Spacecraft’s ‘Grand Finale’ Launches LCF Residents to an Emmy

Photo by Wes Woods II / OUTLOOK Holding the Emmy statuette, producer, host and writer Gay Yee Hill is flanked by Cassini project manager Earl Maize and navigation team chief Duane Roth.
Photo by Wes Woods II / OUTLOOK
Holding the Emmy statuette, producer, host and writer Gay Yee Hill is flanked by Cassini project manager Earl Maize and navigation team chief Duane Roth.

It was called the “Grand Finale.” After exploring Saturn for 13 years, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft ran out of fuel and was intentionally crashed, amid live coverage.
But no fewer than three La Cañada Flintridge residents who worked on the project were among Jet Propulsion Laboratory workers who experienced yet another big finish — sharing in an Emmy Award for original interactive program for coverage of Cassini’s spectacular dive, in which the spacecraft sent data back to Earth even in its final seconds, more than a year ago. Continue reading “Spacecraft’s ‘Grand Finale’ Launches LCF Residents to an Emmy”

LCPC Parent Ed, a Guide for Grown-Ups, Reaches Milestone

Photo courtesy Hannah Walsh LCPC Parent Ed’s current team, which is celebrating the organization’s 40th anniversary with a picnic in Memorial Park this Sunday, includes Betsy Farhat (front row, from left) Ashley Barrett, Maggie Mason, Meg Wade, Tracy Tobias, Anne Bierling, Nanette Brown, Sarah Montes, Vicki Rekedal, Theresa Dilbeck, Sloan Walsh, Jan Roberts, Rebekah Garcia, Paula Giboney, Jina Khachik and Jana Van Dyck. Second row: Lynne Graves. Third row: Heather Ehrhart, Charlotte Miller, Paige Dunbar and Dorothy Chen. Fourth row: Barbara Stratte, Debbie Barsom and Amanda Baughman. Fifth row: Stephanie Ferguson and Dede Cook. Sixth row: Mary Emily Myers and Kathy Kovalcik. Seventh row: Katrina Harbers and Darby Pearson. Back: Daniela Kim, Katie Enney and Carol Van Citters.
Photo courtesy Hannah Walsh
LCPC Parent Ed’s current team, which is celebrating the organization’s 40th anniversary with a picnic in Memorial Park this Sunday, includes Betsy Farhat (front row, from left) Ashley Barrett, Maggie Mason, Meg Wade, Tracy Tobias, Anne Bierling, Nanette Brown, Sarah Montes, Vicki Rekedal, Theresa Dilbeck, Sloan Walsh, Jan Roberts, Rebekah Garcia, Paula Giboney, Jina Khachik and Jana Van Dyck. Second row: Lynne Graves. Third row: Heather Ehrhart, Charlotte Miller, Paige Dunbar and Dorothy Chen. Fourth row: Barbara Stratte, Debbie Barsom and Amanda Baughman. Fifth row: Stephanie Ferguson and Dede Cook. Sixth row: Mary Emily Myers and Kathy Kovalcik. Seventh row: Katrina Harbers and Darby Pearson. Back: Daniela Kim, Katie Enney and Carol Van Citters.

Mildraide Lazarre describes the parent education program at La Cañada Presbyterian Church as a game changer, for herself and her son.
“Being from the islands — I’m from Haiti — I moved out to California and I don’t have any family,” said Lazarre. “So it’s just nice to be part of a community and for my son for developmental purposes. He’s grown so much just from being in this class.”
Lazarre said Logan, who is 14 months old, has been coming to the LCPC Parent Education program for seven months and is in the toddler class. But his mom is learning, too, because the program also advises grown-ups on how to confidently parent their kids, at all stages of their youth. Continue reading “LCPC Parent Ed, a Guide for Grown-Ups, Reaches Milestone”

Sound Wall Project Clinches Crucial Funding Approval

Some La Cañada Flintridge residents’ prospects for getting a bit of solace from the roaring freeway noise appeared greatly improved after funding for four additional sound walls was approved last week at a Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors meeting.
The board on Thursday approved the advance of $3.712 million in Measure M funds — derived from a half-cent sales tax — and an additional $3.288 million from the Call for Projects reserve fund for construction of 210 Freeway sound walls. Metro allocates discretionary federal, state and local funds through the Call for Projects program. Continue reading “Sound Wall Project Clinches Crucial Funding Approval”