Centenarian Celebrates Joyful Dawn of Post-Pandemic Life

Photos courtesy Keck Medicine of USC
For her 101st birthday in March, longtime Pasadena resident Dorothy Rusch got a visit from Dr. Laura Mosqueda — who gifted the centenarian with the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine against COVID-19. Mosqueda, a geriatrician with Keck Medicine of USC, said she believes the coronavirus pandemic will force society to rethink how it treats its elderly.

For her 101st birthday, Dorothy Rusch took a shot.
No, it wasn’t a shot of her favorite beverage, and it certainly wasn’t a Jell-O shot. Instead, the longtime Pasadena resident proudly received a shot of Johnson & Johnson vaccine on her birthday, the perfect gift after more than a year of upheaval and anxiety from the coronavirus pandemic and the isolation it entailed.
“That was a really special present,” Rusch said in a recent interview, just days after her birthday via Zoom. “I’m here, and I’m glad I’m here.”
The vaccine was not the only gift Rusch received that weekend. Outside of her home on Euclid Avenue — where she has lived since 1964 — her children had something of a party set up for the family matriarch, while friends drove by to wish her the happy birthday they had been unable to for her centennial the prior year.
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Women’s City Club Transfers Blinn House to Pasadena Heritage

Photo courtesy Pasadena Heritage
The Blinn House (above), which was designed in 1905, is having its ownership transferred from the Women’s City Club to Pasadena Heritage.

After more than 75 years of service to its members and the Pasadena community, the Women’s City Club of Pasadena has decided to dissolve and transfer ownership of the Edmund Blinn House to Pasadena Heritage. The decision by the Women’s City Club means that the Blinn House — one of Pasadena’s best recognized and historically important structures — will continue to be owned and occupied by a nonprofit organization committed to its preservation and protection.
Founded in 1945 as a social club for women and a center for women’s organizations and other civic groups, the Women’s City Club has been headquartered in the Blinn House since its inception. The structure was acquired by the club, with support from philanthropist Gloria Crane Gartz, to provide a comfortable, elegant place for women to meet, socialize and work together on various community projects. Over its many years, the Women’s City Club has welcomed thousands of members, guests, and visitors.
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Hathaway-Sycamores, PUSD Partner to Help Students’ Mental Health

Photo courtesy Hathaway-Sycamores
Hathaway-Sycamores Assistant Vice President of School-Based Services Shefali D’Sa and School-Based Services Director Shannon San Pedro.

After a year of social distancing and remote learning, the mental health issues that children and teenagers are experiencing are soaring.
“Not only do students miss their friends and struggle with virtual learning, but many also have experienced deaths and job losses in their families, loss of housing (or fear of eviction) and food insecurity,” according to a Hathaway-Sycamores statement. “The stress, depression, and anxiety our youth are suffering is unprecedented and can lead to serious consequences. In fact, according to the CDC, attempted suicide and suicide are on the rise and are currently the second leading cause of death for teens.”
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Local Habitat for Humanity Welcomes New Executive Director

Photo courtesy SGV Habitat for Humanity
This San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity family — Jocabed, Kathryn, Caleb, Harold, Idalia, Paula and Miriam — owns one of the homes in the Manzanita project in Pasadena.

The San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity is experiencing an entire month of transformative events.
With a new executive director, the opening of pre-applications for its highly-anticipated affordable homeownership program and a month-long donation match, April is set to become a transformative month for the nonprofit and affordable homeownership in San Gabriel Valley.
Bryan Wong, the chapter’s newest executive director, takes the helm after significant capacity growth over the last three years under Mark Van Lue’s leadership.
“During my time at Habitat, we have grown from serving an average of five families per year to a new average of 27 families per year! This is indeed something to celebrate — and I couldn’t be more proud of what we have built with our donors, elected officials, corporate partners and supporters,” said former executive director, Mark Van Lue.
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Pet Store Donates $26K to PAWS/LA

Centinela Feed and Pet Supplies, which has a store in Pasadena, donated $26,429 to Los Angeles-based nonprofit agency PAWS/LA (Pets Are Wonderful Support/Los Angeles) in support of the agency’s efforts to assist people and pets in need. Pictured at their Pasadena store are owners Chris Nakagawa and Dwight Nakagawa, along with Dr. Debra Philips and Doug King, presenting the donation check to Jonathan Weedman and Steve Wayland of PAWS/LA. The contribution was a result of Centinela’s annual holiday fundraising campaign, and will help PAWS/LA continue to serve over 150 seniors and their beloved pets in the Pasadena area.

Local Woman Receives ‘Unsung Hero’ Honor

Juanita De Vaughn

Local resident Juanita De Vaughn was recognized by Assemblymember Chris Holden and the California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC) in a virtual ceremony as the 41st Assembly District’s 2021 Unsung Hero for her positive impact in the community.
“Juanita De Vaughn’s contributions to our community will have a powerful impact for years to come,” said Assemblymember Chris Holden. “Through her dedication and hard work, she carries on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy and is an inspiration for future generations. I have known Juanita for many years and it is an honor and a privilege to recognize her.”
De Vaughn was born in Boligee, Alabama, where she began her career as a lifelong educator and civil rights activist. She taught at the Industrial School for Girls and Boys in Alabama, and worked as a dietician at Talladega College and as a nutritionist for the Head Start program in Birmingham.
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ArtCenter College’s President To Retire

Photo courtesy ArtCenter
Lorne Buchman, president of the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, announced that he will retire next year.

ArtCenter College of Design President Lorne M. Buchman announced his plans to retire on June 30, 2022, in a letter he has sent to the college community.
“My time at the college has represented, without question, the peak of my professional life, and I will be forever grateful to this remarkable community for the opportunity to serve as its president,” Buchman said. “It has been most energizing to witness how this college has evolved over the years… I am inspired by our transformation and quite dazzled by how far we have come in our commitment to create excellence in art and design education.”
While retiring from higher education, Buchman hinted at other projects he’d like to pursue, including writing another book — he recently completed “Make to Know: From Spaces of Uncertainty to Creative Discovery” (Thames & Hudson, August 2021) — and producing a documentary about the creative process, in addition to other innovative pursuits.
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PUSD Moves To Safely Reopen Middle and High Schools

Brian McDonald

The Pasadena Unified School District and United Teachers of Pasadena (UTP) reached an agreement on reopening middle and high schools for in-person instruction, setting the date for student cohorts to begin returning to campus on April 20.
“We’re very pleased to come to this agreement with UTP,” said Superintendent Brian McDonald. “Teachers and other employees represented by UTP are a vital link to student learning. Our goal has always been to work collaboratively with our labor partners in coming to a solution that benefits our entire PUSD community.”
As previously announced, PUSD student cohorts in preschool through second grade will begin returning April 13. Student cohorts in grades 3-5 return April 20.
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Maranatha, La Salle Victorious

Photo courtesy David Thomas
Isiah Johnson scored four touchdowns to help Maranatha defeat Sun Valley Village Christian, 42-35, in the Pasadena team’s final game of the season last week. The Minutemen, guided by former NFL star LaVar Arrington, finished with an overall record of 3-0.

Isaiah Johnson showed he can do it all and led the Maranatha High School football team to a 42-35 victory over visiting Sun Valley Village Christian last Thursday.
The sophomore tallied four touchdowns, including a 4-yard run into the end zone that allowed the Minutemen to recapture the lead with 5:32 remaining in the final quarter. On the ensuing play, Johnson faked a run to the left and threw a short pass to Cardell Mayfield for a two-point conversion to give Maranatha a seven-point lead late in the game.
Last week’s contest was the final one this season for Maranatha. Head coach LaVar Arrington guided his squad to a perfect 3-0 record with victories over Northridge Heritage Christian and La Habra Whittier Christian in the first two weeks.
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Poly Narrowly Falls, 8-7, in Rose Bowl

Photo courtesy Raymond Quan
Poly running back Sam Howell evades Rio Hondo Prep defensive back Jonathan Guerrero during Poly’s 8-7 loss. Howell finished with Poly’s lone touchdown of the game.

By Austin Green
The Outlook

There is leaving it all out on the field, and then there is what the Polytechnic and Arcadia Rio Hondo Prep football teams did at the Rose Bowl last Friday evening. The grand old mecca of college football has hosted countless games of all types in its century of existence, but none quite like what the two longtime Prep League rivals had in store in both schools’ first time playing at the historic stadium.
In their lone game of the 2020-21 academic year, Poly fell to Rio Hondo by a score of 8-7 when the Panthers’ field goal attempt with time running out was blocked.
Poly led for nearly the entire second half before Rio Hondo scored on its final drive of the game with just over two minutes left in the fourth quarter. Kares head coach Mark Carson opted to go for a two-point conversion, and his gamble paid off when fullback Ryan McCulloch bulldozed his way into the end zone to give Rio Hondo the lead and, eventually, the win.
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