Virus Surge Grows More Urgent as Cases Flood Hospitals

Photo courtesy USC-VHH
USC Verdugo Hills Hospital CEO Keith Hobbs recently received the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine as part of the first wave of inoculations for health-care workers. Officials are anxiously awaiting additional doses of the Moderna vaccine as coronavirus cases soar in L.A. County and continue to rise locally.

Los Angeles County continues to reel from people’s lack of adherence to health guidelines during the Thanksgiving holiday, as hospitals have become inundated with COVID-19 patients.
On Wednesday, the county Department of Public Health reported a record 8,023 people with COVID-19 were hospitalized, and officials expect that number to climb over the next few weeks. Coronavirus cases in the county doubled in just one month, from 400,000 to 800,000, and Public Health officials said one in five residents currently tested is infected.
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Sinnette: Teachers Have Raised Their Game Amid Pandemic

Superintendent Wendy Sinnette

There are many words one could use to define the difficult year that was 2020, but one in particular quickly came to mind for La Cañada Unified School District Superintendent Wendy Sinnette.
“I guess you could say unprecedented,” she said recently. “It is overused, you know, because the challenges have been immense. But we’ve met them, and for the most part, have been successful. The amount of work is relentless because we care so much about our kids.”
Nearly 10 months in, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought incessant trials and tribulations to all, and the small city of La Cañada Flintridge hasn’t been immune to them.
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FSHA Breaks Barriers With Streamed Virtual Fall Play

Cast members (in alphabetical order) include Ava Baluyut Barraza, Maria Boutros, Ziling “Coco” Chen, Kayla Copping, Simone Crowder, Audrey de Groot, Ava DeFranco, Renee Deramerian, Brenna Derbish, Isabella Durand, Lauren Gmelich, Natalia Gonzalez, Corinne Gray, Sara Green, Sara Gutierrez, Abbie Hardy, Charlie Hardy, Jordyn Hart, Caitlin Hubbs, Cassie Huston, Maddie Jerman, Ava King, Ava Kitt, Carissa Klaus, Becket Knight, Jalen Lee, Macey Lillard, Farrah Mackenzie, Samantha Milat, Anya Millard, Emily Meadow Mota, Caitlin Norton, Olivia Ocon, Kana Park, Angelina Reddy, Samantha Savage, Sofia Sierra, Jin Yi “Linda” Sun, Claire Thomas, Graciela Tiu, Katie Wilson and Sophia Wilson.

Although every industry has been affected by this pandemic, one thing will always ring true: the human need to connect through art. Though in-person performances are not possible, creative minds have come together to find opportunities to tell stories that bring us purpose and hope, regardless of the circumstances.
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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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Food Bank Struggles to Fill Shelves as Hunger Spreads

By Nina Aghadjanian
Glendale News-Press

Photo courtesy Lisette Reyes
Lisette Reyes (right), a case manager at Loaves & Fishes Glendale food pantry, said her agency relies on the L.A. Regional Food Bank to feed its many clients and families.

After nine months of COVID-19 and a third wave underway, the need for food assistance has reached unprecedented levels, sending Los Angeles County into the throes of the one of the worst food crises in modern history.
Today, nearly 3 million Angelenos don’t know where their next meal is coming from. The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank is working to meet the heightened demand, having distributed 143 million pounds of food, or 118 million meals, since March — a 145% increase compared to the pre-pandemic period.
“You can just see the worry on people’s faces when they come by; they’re concerned and understandably so,” said Michael Flood, the food bank’s chief executive.
“Given all the uncertainty, they don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, next week or next month. So it’s been really rewarding to see the appreciation people have for our service.”
A report from the Urban Institute shows that food insecurity was the most commonly reported hardship in the early weeks of the pandemic. The situation has only worsened. To put things into perspective, Flood’s organization provided food to 300,000 people monthly before the pandemic. That number has since tripled.

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Bachmann Collaboration Building Completed at Flintridge Prep

Photos courtesy Rafael Najarian
Flintridge Preparatory School’s Bachmann Collaboration Building is three stories and 18,000 square feet.

The new Bachmann Collaboration Building at Flintridge Preparatory School was recently completed by C.W. Driver Companies, a premier builder serving California since 1919.
Serving grades 7-12, the new 18,000-square-foot, three-story building — named for former headmaster Peter Bachmann, who guided the school for four decades — includes laboratories, art studios, classrooms, meeting rooms and offices where students and faculty will come together to learn and grow.
The structure, which replaced an existing building at the northern end of the campus, is part of the school’s multi-phased campus improvement project intended to promote interactive work and interdisciplinary studies that will better prepare students for college and the workplace. Encompassing leadership, science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics as well as global studies programs, the new building will ensure the school’s regional and national competitiveness, Prep leaders believe.

Peter Bachmann

The board decided to name the new addition in honor of recently retired Bachmann. During his 40-year career at Prep, he developed an environment in which students were encouraged to dream big and collaborate often.
“The citizen of the future is going to need to work and learn in different ways than they have in the past,” said Bachmann. “This new space will facilitate a new kind of teaching and learning, providing students with the ability to collaborate, be creative and learn across departments.”
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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.

Local College Student’s Tech Company Addresses COVID Safety

Photo courtesy NextPace Ventures
Troy Bonde (right) and business partner Winston Alfieri, who have sold thousands of hand-sanitizer dispensers to businesses and schools, are planning to donate 500 gallons of sanitizer to groups and nonprofit organizations in the San Gabriel Valley.

Troy Bonde, an Altadena resident who is a junior at USC, is responding to the need for COVID-19 safety precautions by selling state-of-the-art hand sanitizer dispensers that also screen body temperatures.
He started his company, NextPace Ventures, this past July while working as an investment banking analyst at American Discovery Capital, a merchant bank in West Los Angeles.
Bonde, 21, recruited his longtime friend, Pasadena native Winston Alfieri, to become his business partner.
NextPace Ventures has already sold thousands of devices to local businesses, school districts and nonprofit organizations, including Santa Anita Park, the Glendale Unified School District and Cal State Los Angeles. The company was recently named an endorsed supplier for Best Western International, helping Best Western hotels throughout the United States and Canada provide a comfortable experience for guests.
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ALF Helping Behind the Scene During Pandemic Closures

Photos courtesy ALF
Leslie Dick, Charlotte Raulli, Cari James, Keaton Comstock, Seema Kayali, ASB adviser Sarah Beattie and LCHS Principal Jim Cartnal are participating in a partnership between local schools and the Assistance League of Flintridge.

Assistance League of Flintridge members are carrying on with the following activities:
• ALF Operation School Bell has been busy. The OSB committee purchased backpacks, face masks, hand sanitizer, hygiene kits and school supplies and delivered them to 400 students through Friends In Deed, an organization that provides supportive services for homeless and at-risk neighbors. Through collaboration, ALF provided school clothing and supplies to another 600 students. OSB donated 50 new Chromebooks for the La Cañada Unified School District to use as loaners.
• ALFies in Action purchased 200 pairs of Blue Screen Blocker Glasses for local students. La Cañada High School student government members and advisers distributed the glasses in their parking lot on Nov. 17, observing strict protective protocols via a drive-up/drive-thru system. There were warm, happy faces discernible, even though masked.
• ALF instrumental music is underway. The program has been revamped and is totally online, offering new and unique opportunities for young musicians. Specific details and links are on the ALF website.
• ALF drama is coming. There is a tentative start date of Jan. 19 for fun online workshops with director Tristan Waldron. Keep checking the ALF website.
• The ALF Assisteens are active, too, working together Zooming and distributing assembled donations to help children, adults and families in need. The teens are corresponding with our local senior population, too.
As time continues to pass, ALF members also miss Bargain Box shoppers, and the conversations — about life, knick knacks, clothing and jewelry — shared together in the store. The Bargain Box is expected to reopen in early 2021. Many changes are being made at the Bargain Box to protect customers and friends. Safety for all is paramount.
ALF is also look forward to accepting clean, gently used donations. The ALF website,, will provide information regarding when the Bargain Box is able to accept donations again.
Monetary donations are also appreciated while the shop is closed. Checks made out to Assistance League of Flintridge may be mailed to ALF at 4607 Oakwood Ave., La Cañada Flintridge 91011. These donations will help the ALF members carry on with their good work.

Local Woman Celebrates 100th Birthday

Sally Colella

Sally Colella, a resident of La Cañada Flintridge since 1959, celebrated her 100th birthday with a socially distanced party. The festivities included a drive-by parade with enthusiastic participants from three generations of her family, friends, neighbors, an antique car club and the Fire Department. Colella’s late husband, Frank Colella, previously served as JPL’s director of Public Affairs. Together, the two of them were actively involved in the community. The centenarian was an avid golfer for more than 50 years at Verdugo Hills Golf Club and still enjoys swimming year-round.