Baffert’s Kentucky Derby Win Could Be in Jeopardy

Photo courtesy Chris Aplin
Bob Baffert has been defending his Kentucky Derby victory after his winning horse Medina Spirit failed a postrace drug test. The horse, pictured with Baffert and jockey John Velazquez, has been permitted to race in the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown, this Saturday.

Bob Baffert’s historic Kentucky Derby victory earlier this month is in jeopardy after winning horse Medina Spirit failed a drug test.
Churchill Downs issued a statement on Sunday saying a postrace blood sample indicated a violation of Kentucky’s equine medication protocols and results of a split sample test are pending. A second positive test would disqualify Medina Spirit from the Derby and make runner-up Mandaloun the official winner.
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City Sends Off Prized Local Deputy

Deputy Eric Matejka

At its regular meeting on Tuesday, La Cañada Flintridge City Council honored Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station’s dedicated resource officer Deputy Eric Matejka, who is retiring, with a commemorative plaque and kind words for all his work over the years.
Matejka spent about 20 years at the CV Sheriff’s Station post, investing a lot of hours at La Cañada High School, other local schools and community-wide functions.
“We’re super happy for you but we’re a little bummed out that you’re leaving us,” said Mayor Mike Davitt. “But you’ve done such a great job in our city and you’re such a key member of our community and part of the fabric of everything that goes on here.”
Matejka did an especially fine job when it came to educating the community and local youth about the dangers of drug and alcohol use, said Mayor Pro Tem Jonathan Curtis, as well as consistently helping out at community events such as the LCF Chamber of Commerce mixers. The deputy also helped support and grow the local neighborhood watch groups, he added.
“You’ve taken them from about three groups to upward of about 40 neighborhood watches; it’s not just about crime, it’s about safety,” Curtis said.
For his part, Matejka gave an emotional farewell: “I came to work every day, happy, and not a lot of people can say that. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

COUNCIL AWARDS FOOTHILL BIKEWAY PROJECT

City Council approved the plans and construction contract for the Foothill Boulevard Link Bikeway and Pedestrian Greenbelt Project to Sequel Contractors Inc. for about $2.58 million.
The project, first approved by City Council in October of 2018, includes new bikeways on the north and south side of Foothill Boulevard, a new, raised center median, “Greenbelt” landscaping and new sidewalks. The project extends from 2111 Foothill Blvd. to the 2 Freeway on- and off-ramps at Hillard Avenue.
Construction of the project is tentatively scheduled to begin in September and will finish about 100 working days thereafter.
According to a traffic mitigation plan, Director of Public Works Pat DeChellis said that Foothill Boulevard will be open at all times during construction with a minimum of one lane of travel in each direction. There will be no parking on either side of Foothill between Hillard Avenue and the Ross Dress for Less parking lot and turning restrictions along the route, with right turns only, and no U-turns permitted.
“This traffic control plan will ensure that there is no congestion on Foothill during construction but it also will slightly inconvenience those who live and get access off of Foothill,” DeChellis said.
Councilmembers expressed excitement to finally kick off the project, which has been in the works for nearly a decade.

LCF Hits 70% Vaccine Rate as Reopening Broadens

La Cañada Flintridge has one of the highest vaccination rates in the county with 70% of residents 16 and older having received at least one dose of the vaccine as of April 30.
As of Monday, L.A. County has administered more than 8 million doses of the vaccine and 37% of residents are fully inoculated, according to the the Department of Public Health.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles County, what was once the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic with alarmingly high numbers of new cases, hospitalizations and deaths, will officially enter the least restrictive tier of the state’s reopening system called the blueprint for a safer economy. The yellow tier, indicating minimal spread of the coronavirus, will allow bars that do not serve food to provide indoor service at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer, and other businesses to increase capacity with health modifications.
Restaurants, gyms, breweries, wineries and movie theaters can expand capacity to 50% and amusement parks can increase capacity to 35%. Restrictions will be eased for events and large gatherings such as conferences, meetings and receptions.
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Fiesta Days Canceled Amid Hopes July 5 Parade Will Fly

Outlook Valley Sun file photo
La Cañada Flintridge Chamber of Commerce President Pat Anderson and City Manager Mark Alexander attend a former Fiesta Days celebration. This year’s annual event has once again been canceled, but a July 5 parade is being planned in its place.

For the second year straight, the La Cañada Flintridge Chamber of Commerce will cancel its annual Fiesta Days celebration held over Memorial Day weekend due to the coronavirus pandemic and resulting restrictions set by the L.A. County Department of Public Health.
However, in lieu of the time-honored festival — a tradition since 1974 — the Chamber will plan a parade for Monday, July 5, pending improving coronavirus case numbers throughout the County.
“The decision to cancel Fiesta Days last year, and now, this year, was really taken out of our hands by the Department of County Health — all we could do was try to adhere to the orders,” said LCF Chamber of Commerce President Pat Anderson. “However, with the improving metrics, it seemed possible that we could at least hold a parade, and that seemed like something positive and hopeful to shoot for.”
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City Council Advances Pickleball Pilot Program at Glenhaven Park

Photo by Keira Wight/Outlook Valley Sun
A tennis player volleys against the backboard at Glenhaven Park, which has been earmarked for a temporary, mixed-use pickleball and tennis pilot program. City Council denied an appeal of the program on Tuesday.

Following a lengthy public hearing and discussion, the La Cañada Flintridge City Council on Tuesday voted to uphold an earlier decision by the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission to implement a pilot program allowing for a mixed-use pickleball and tennis court at Glenhaven Park.
The city received 83 public comments via email voicing support for and opposing the matter, as well as submitted, signed petitions opposing pickleball use at the park. Residents living in close proximity to the court in question spoke publicly, some giving emotional addresses in a bid to dissuade council from forging ahead with the pilot program at Glenhaven, known as the city’s smallest and most remote park.
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City Council Upholds Committee Term Limits, With Exception

La Cañada Flintridge City Council voted to reaffirm its practice of maintaining a two-consecutive term limit for commission and committee members, who apply for the volunteer positions and are vetted through an interview process.
At its special meeting on Tuesday, the council discussed the possibility of extending eligibility for commissioners, especially for those who have been appointed to complete the vacancy of a partially served term. For those members, a partially served term counts as a full term when the individual is appointed to fill a vacant position with more than two years remaining on the unexpired term.
Ultimately, however, the council unanimously upheld its current practice, and made a singular exception for the consideration of an application from Jeffrey McConnell that would allow him to be eligible for the appointment to one additional four-year term on the Planning Commission. McConnell has been instrumental on the Planning Commission, council members noted, and its current, arduous undertaking of updating the city’s zoning code.
“We are in the midst of rezoning which is a very important process — the last time we did it was 2011,” said Councilwoman Terry Walker. “It has great impact on the future look of our community and the expertise of the current commissioners is very valuable.”
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Flock Cameras Praised at Community Meeting

Capt. Todd Deeds

The captain of the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station recently lauded the license plate-reading cameras installed throughout La Cañada Flintridge, with Mayor Mike Davitt indicating support for additional devices in the future.
The Flock Safety cameras, which the city installed in August, quickly became a topic of discussion during a public meeting between local officials and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, including Sheriff Alex Villanueva. In response to a question from an LCF resident about the cameras at the April 6 virtual forum, Capt. Todd Deeds credited them for helping the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station solve recent crimes.
Dozens of the devices are planted throughout LCF, automatically reading license plates and sending the data to law enforcement. The data can also be shared between county departments, allowing a wider net to be cast when it comes to tracking stolen or suspicious vehicles.
“They have been a great asset to us here at the station as far as crime prevention and being able to solve crimes. Just a tremendous help,” Deeds said.
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Nearly 53% of LCF Residents Have Received COVID Vaccine

More than half of La Cañada Flintridge residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and the number will continue to climb with California expanding eligibility to all residents 16 and older today.
According to the L.A. Department of Public Health, La Cañada Flintridge has one of the highest vaccination rates in the county with 52.7% of residents having at least one shot of the vaccine. Nearby cities San Marino (53.3%), South Pasadena (52.4%) and Pasadena (47.6%) have similar numbers, but Glendale’s rate is only 34.4%.
All Los Angeles County residents 16 and older, regardless of medical conditions, were allowed to begin scheduling appointments as early as Wednesday. Residents under 18 can only receive the Pfizer vaccine.
L.A. County — the most populous in the state with 10 million residents — has administered more than 5 million doses of the vaccine and 37.1% of California residents 16 and older have received at least one dose.
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City Hall is Now Open

As Los Angeles County moved into the less restrictive orange tier on Monday, La Cañada Flintridge City Manager Mark Alexander announced that City Hall is officially open one year after closing its doors to walk-in business due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Though it is only a partial re-opening, Alexander said hours will be extended when the county moves into the least restrictive yellow tier. Meanwhile, the public can visit without an appointment Tuesday-Thursday between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m., but staff recommends making appointments online. Mayor Mike Davitt is hopeful that the City Council will soon be able to hold a meeting in council’s chambers.

Starbucks’ Traffic Causing Some Headaches

Outlook Valley Sun photo
A Starbucks on Foothill Boulevard (near Ocean View) does not allow left turns in or out of the location, but drivers still attempted to make the turns. Bollards have now been added to prevent cars from making illegal turns.

A Starbucks in western La Cañada Flintridge is causing quite a stir among residents, who have complained about the traffic near the coffee shop located on 2230 Foothill Blvd.
The location, which was formerly an El Pollo Loco, is one of the newer Starbucks that features a drive-thru but that convenience and service has brought more headaches for locals. The backup of vehicles traveling eastbound on Foothill Boulevard is notable and has raised several safety concerns.
Patrick DeChellis, the city’s director of Public Works, addressed the issue during a virtual city council meeting on Tuesday.
“A traffic engineer looked at the situation and there’s a lot going on,” he said.
The city re-striped the area to not allow left turns in and out of the location but drivers still attempted to make the turns. Bollards have now been added to prevent cars from making illegal turns.
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