Local Man Launches Pic ‘N’ Save Bargains

By Nina Aghadjanian
Outlook Valley Sun

Outlook Valley Sun file photo
Mark Miller, a La Cañada Flintridge resident who is the chairman, CEO and president of Pic ‘N’ Save Bargains, is pictured with Sharon Mintie.

Savvy shoppers in Orange County will see a new bargain store emerge just in time for the holiday season, thanks to Mark Miller, a 20-year resident of La Cañada Flintridge and the former president of Pic ‘N’ Save.
Miller is opening the next generation of bargain and close-out retail, Pic ‘N’ Save Bargains, on Friday, Nov. 13, in Anaheim Town Square.
After working at Pic ‘N’ Save for 15 years and then parting ways, Miller is applying his vast knowledge of the Los Angeles market and years of discount retail expertise to create a store that combines elements of a Costco, a Trader Joe’s and a Dollar General — an idea he’s had for a very long time. After three years of planning, Pic ‘N’ Save Bargains has finally come to fruition.
During his years at the discount chain, Miller “fell in love with the business and has loved it ever since.

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Grateful for LCUSD Candidates and Right to Vote (Use It)

Charlie Plowman

It’s election season … and we are in the midst of competitive federal and state races and propositions. But this article is going to emphasize “local,” and that obviously means our La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board race.
For starters, we should all be thankful to have four candidates who want to give of their time and energy to help our students. Caroline Anderson, Jeremiah Arnold, Josh Epstein and Belinda Randolph should be commended for their willingness to donate hundreds (or is it thousands?) of hours over the next four years.
The two open school board seats aren’t salaried positions. These four individuals care about our community and youth so much that they are willing to endure the criticism that is inevitable during a four-year term so they can “give back.”
This race for the governing board positions is competitive, to say the least. Four candidates, two seats.

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Superintendent’s Goals Address ‘Turbulent Times’

Though uncertainty clouds the future of education and instruction because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the goals of the La Cañada Unified School District for the 2020-21 academic year were made very clear in a virtual governing board meeting on Tuesday.
Board members approved Superintendent Wendy Sinnette’s main objectives, which include overseeing Measure LCF-financed facility upgrades, distance learning and instruction, planning and executing campuses’ eventual reopening and expanding the district’s wellness initiative.
There have been as many as 18 goals in the past, according to Sinnette, but this year’s four each comprise several initiatives.

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Longtime St. Francis Coach Jim Bonds Dies of Cancer

Jim Bonds

Jim Bonds, a former UCLA quarterback and veteran St. Francis High School head football coach, died early Wednesday morning from complications of multiple myeloma, school officials reported. He was 51.
“Jimmy put up an amazing fight until his last breath,” Father Tony Marti, president of St. Francis, and Principal Tom Moran said in a joint statement. “He was a fighter and an inspiration to us all.”
Bonds, survived by his wife, Tricia, and their children, Katie and James, was diagnosed with cancer in spring 2018 but returned to the sidelines that fall after treatment. However, the cancer returned and he was recently admitted at UCLA Medical Center. In a Stand Up to Cancer segment during Game 3 of the recent World Series, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts held up a card with Bonds’ name, honoring his fellow Bruin’s battle with the disease.

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Local Political Sign Theft Seen as ‘Sad,’ ‘Unfortunate’

The removal of campaign signs also was experienced by campaigns in the 2017 City Council election, with supporters for then-candidate Keith Eich reporting a slew of missing placards from their yards. Later, it was discovered that storm debris collectors had taken at least some of those signs.

The race involving four candidates for two seats on the La Cañada Flintridge Unified School District Governing Board has been marred by the theft of political signs from residential yards, a trend mirrored — and widely discussed on social media — across nearby municipalities ahead of the national, state and local elections on Nov. 3.
All of the LCUSD board candidates have reportedly had signs stolen or defaced since campaigning began, and though Sgt. Ed Retamoza of the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station confirmed authorities have received multiple reports, he could not confirm a total. The crime is considered petty theft, he added.

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Obituary | Kimberly Gilmour Bowser

Kimberly Gilmour Bowser

Kimberly Gilmour Bowser was born December 27, 1984 to Debbie and Andy Gilmour. The youngest of three, she loved her older brother, Steve Gilmour, and older sister, Jenny Gilmour O’Neill. She is survived by her husband Isaac and sons Jacob (4) and Caleb (1).
Kim never fit perfectly into any category. Though easygoing, she was fiercely competitive in sports. She wore big bows in her hair (admittedly to please her mom) and came home with scrapes and bruises from taking falls while playing with the boys on La Cañada Elementary School’s black top.
Kim played on a number of teams coached by her parents and loved playing tennis with her family. As fruits of her talent and dedication, Kim played on the varsity tennis, basketball and softball teams all four years. She loved winning, but loved playing with her teammates and family much more.
She applied that same determination on the court to off-the-court activities too. She graduated La Cañada High School with a 4.5 GPA and fluent in Spanish, a skill that served her well in her missionary work later.
She defined herself by her everyday interactions with people rather than trophies or plaques. From an early age, Kim was an angel on earth. She led a small group at La Cañada Presbyterian Church and mentored other young women. Kim joined trips to Mexico with LCPC and would return with an empty suitcase because she left her extra clothes with those who had less.
She saw every gift as a gift from God and used the gifts and resources she had to help others. Her identity was rooted entirely in God and doing God’s work. She spent the first moments of every day with God in her closet, the quietest place she could find to talk and listen to God.
Kim attended USC on an academic scholarship, joining her sister and brother, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents in the long line of Gilmours who attended USC. She joined the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, and was actively engaged in church ministries. As just one example, she collected computers being replaced by the USC Business School in order to bring them to Nicaragua on a mission trip. In 2007 Kim graduated with high honors in Business and minors in Spanish and Religion.
Kim joined Arthur J. Gallagher Insurance after USC graduation. She felt that this career choice would ensure balance between profession, ministry work, and a future family. She very quickly progressed to a senior account manager with enormous responsibility as a highly regarded employee.
Her ministry remained active. In late 2012, she bought a large house and christened a new non-profit called the East Hollywood Community House (EHCH). The house became the center of life for her church community and neighborhood friends. In addition to community living, Kim and the residents of EHCH held countless birthday parties, engagement parties, quinceañeras, week-long summer kids camps and baptisms at EHCH over the years.
Her Christ-centered life led her to meet her husband, Isaac Bowser. Isaac was an active member of Reality LA Church where he led a community group and played worship music. They quickly fell in love and were married a year later.
Kim and Isaac were soon busy with their next ministry – helping start the East Hollywood Community Church, a hyperlocal neighborhood church. With no building and a modest budget, the Bowsers and church held their Sunday gatherings at an inner-city local park. Kim engaged the neighborhood through youth sports coaching, community clean-ups, young adult mentoring, and life skills coaching. She served as the church treasurer behind the scenes while the new church found its footing. That foundation has led to numerous baptisms and remains an active church.
Kim and Isaac welcomed their son, Jacob, into the world in 2016. The birth sadly led to Kim’s sudden bout of postpartum mania psychosis, a mental illness that affects 1-2 out of every 1000 women. Kim’s subsequent bipolar disorder diagnosis led to four years of managed care.
She later went back to work full time, juggling family, career, church and her community. In 2019, Kim and Isaac welcomed their second son, Caleb, into the world. Her bipolar disorder had ebbed until May 2020 when it manifested itself again, this time in the form of depression. She tragically died from her disease on October 14, 2020.
The Kim that we all knew and loved was taken too soon, but she is restored to peace and in the loving arms of her Heavenly Father. The Kimberly Gilmour Bowser who loved her family and focused on the good of her community made this world a better place.
Rest in peace, dear Kim, we will miss your smile.
Kim is survived by her husband Isaac Bowser, sons Jacob (4) and Caleb (1); her parents Debbie and Andy Gilmour; her brother Steven Gilmour and his wife Phoebe, and their children Archie and Molly; her sister Jennifer Gilmour O’Neill and husband William and their children Aubrey and Sean; and her grandfather J. Douglas Gilmour. She is also survived by many aunts, uncles and cousins all in Southern California.
Services will be held at Oakmont Country Club, Glendale, on Monday, November 9th at 1:45 PM. We will celebrate Kim’s life according to Covid-19 guidelines, outdoors on the golf course. People wishing to attend (or watch) the service on Live Stream, must RSVP to Rememberingkim2020@gmail.com by November 2nd. Walkups are regrettably not permitted.
We hope to continue Kim’s legacy of doing Christ’s work in the city. Donations in her memory can be made to the Kimberly Gilmour Bowser Memorial Foundation through East Hollywood Community House. https://easthollywoodcommunityhouse.wordpress.com/

Signs Depicting Hate Speech Spark Debate

Photo courtesy La Cañada BLM
Six signs displaying racist hate speech that were left at the Town Center recently were said to quote some of the hateful slurs current or former LCUSD students have heard.

A group of signs that recently were displayed at La Cañada Flintridge Town Center depict racist and hurtful slurs that La Cañada High School students say they have heard and that students have also anonymously posted to the Instagram page at racism_at_lchs, a local activist group said.
The signs were left near the corner of Foothill Boulevard and Angeles Crest Highway after a La Cañada BLM demonstration and were taken down the next morning by Town Center staff.
According to a statement by La Cañada BLM, which was formed as part of a local outcry after George Floyd died while in police custody in Minneapolis in May, the messages on cardboard were left by current or former LCUSD students.

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Eva Clara Higgins

Eva Clara Higgins

It’s been a year gone by since I lost the love of my life, Eva Clara Higgins, to breast cancer 1953-2019.
She was an immigrant from Budapest, Hungary, which at the time was Communist-controlled.
The Fabok family fled to Austria for two years, applying to the U.S with help of existing family members who were here who would sponsor them. The family settled in Montrose in 1967, where Eva attended Rosemont Jr. High, and graduated from Crescenta Valley High.
It was in 1969, when I met Eva. I was hitchhiking with a couple of friends, when on a dare, this car pulls over with three lovely girls — the rest is history. I was smitten with Eva from that moment on. Later, I learned she has the same identical birthday as mine. To top it off, so does the driver of the car whose name is also Eva.
We married in 1972, just babe’s lots of bets on it lasting. Our daughter Jennifer was born in 1973, a beautiful addition to our family. We remained in the Crescenta Valley where Eva took on part-time work at J.C. Penney’s in Montrose and then Shreiner’s German Deli. She became an American citizen in 1981; because of the new immigration law on marrying an American there was a wait (She was a proud American and a great one!). She eventually found professional employment as an insurance broker with two firms, Marsh Mclennan and Willis Towers. Eva volunteered help to our older friends because giving back was always an important part of her character. Fight tooth and nail for cause and belief; “this too shall pass” was her model.
Prior to retirement and after, we enjoyed traveling the U.S. as well as Europe and Hawaii. Eva loved to plan trips with our grandchildren, Kylie and Brodie, to New York, Chicago, Florida, New Orleans. Of course, no matter where Eva would go, you can assure there was walking involved — lots of walking. She enjoyed live theater and mountain hikes, bicycle rides along the coast, walks on the shoreline. With stage 4 cancer, our last hikes were Fern Lake, Parker Lake, and Walker Lake, finishing each one with a smile of confidence.
Eva always had a smile; her smile was so full of life it brought life to life and a laughter to match. I thank God for the blessing of knowing and having her in my life for 47.8 years of marriage to a woman whom I am so proud of, in love with, the mother of our daughter and grandmother to our grandchildren and friend to friend. E’des szi’vem szertlek! — Your Husband
Parents predeceased: George F. Fabok and Ilona Fabok. Survived by Terrance Higgins (husband), Jennifer VanderGeugten (daughter), Mark VanderGeugten (son-in-law), Kylie Rea VanderGeugten (granddaughter), Brodie Lee VanderGeugten (grandson), Klara Ruza (sister), Judith Solimar (sister) and Sarika Haklar (aunt).

LCUSD Leader Embraces Goals, Growth

Superintendent Wendy Sinnette

Earlier this week, La Cañada Unified School District Superintendent Wendy Sinnette had a small bounce in her step.
After steering the district through a historic pandemic and confronting barriers to a return to on-campus education, Sinnette applied on Monday for waivers from Los Angeles County to allow in-person instruction for TK-grade 2 at all three district elementary schools. LCUSD likely is one of the first public school districts, if not the first, in the county to apply for the waivers, which will help increase the potential of approval, she noted.
“It really is a huge accomplishment,” said Sinnette, beaming as she lightly waved the paperwork in her hand. “I have to give a shoutout to the California School Employees Association Chapter 122,” which gave a formal letter of support to the district, one of the requirements to file for a waiver.
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Esteemed Coach Takes on New Challenge: Cancer Diagnosis

Photo courtesy Jeff Julian
Rose Bowl swimming coach Jeff Julian, kneeling, has received support from his swimmers after being diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer. Julian guided a Rose Bowl team that included Ronald Dalmacio (from left), Rafael Gu, La Cañada Flintridge residents Danny Syrkin, Chris O’Grady and Braden Beagle, and Keane Alejandro.

For years, Jeff Julian has been one of the best swimming coaches in Southern California. The head swimming coach at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center has devoted his life to the sport, guiding and mentoring countless athletes and coaching Olympian Jason Lezak prior to his remarkable, multiple-medal-winning performance in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
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