GCC Hoops Star Named State’s Top Female Scholar-Athlete

By Alex Leon
Special to the News-Press

Photo courtesy Sam Lee
Tess Oakley-Stilson, who was a two-year basketball standout at Glendale Community College after being the Rio Hondo League MVP at La Cañada High School, was recently selected as the statewide winner of the California Community College Female Scholar Athlete of the Year award.

Tess Oakley-Stilson remembers the exact day, hour and minute her life changed forever.
It was 11:59 p.m. on May 1, 2018, and she was either going to make the computer keystroke to commit to UC San Diego — or take another path after graduating from La Cañada High School. Her basketball career would be over, months after earning Rio Hondo League MVP honors, if she moved on to San Diego or she could take a gap year to figure out her options.
But Glendale Community College head women’s basketball coach Joel Weiss kept calling with a reminder that playing at the community college level was an option. After visiting the college shortly after, she decided to become a Lady Vaquero and her life would never be the same.

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PTA Founders’ Day Recipients Recognized

Lindsay Staley, Jamie and Tobias Lewsadder

PTA Founders’ Day honorees for La Cañada Unified School District campuses were recognized with a special drive-thru ceremony where they received a commemorative pin and congratulatory certificates from the California PTA and state Sen. Anthony Portantino.
The Founders Day celebration was created in 1910 by Mrs. David O. Mears to honor the founders of the PTA – Alice McLellan Birney and Phoebe Apperson Hearst – who established the organization in Washington, D.C., in 1897.
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Huntington Hospital Sues on Conditions Imposed on Affiliation

A lawsuit filed by Huntington Hospital and Cedars-Sinai Health System on Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court against the California Department of Justice and the office of the attorney general will challenge the “unprecedented conditions” imposed on them as a result of their proposed affiliation.
The conditions imposed by the attorney general would jeopardize Huntington’s and Cedars-Sinai’s ability to meet the community’s need for access to coordinated, specialized healthcare; lower costs; and provide resources needed for Huntington Hospital to continue critical clinical programs and services for its patients, the two entities said in a joint statement.
The proposed affiliation was announced in March 2020.
“We are shocked at the unprecedented over-reach of the conditions being imposed,” said Huntington Hospital President/CEO Dr. Lori Morgan. “Rather than benefitting our community, the conditions primarily benefit health insurance companies.”
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LCF Residents Rally Against Anti-Asian Discrimination

Outlook photo
Taking a stand against a recent surge in xenophobia, hate and violent acts against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, about 100 local parents and children walked in solidarity last Friday. The group, holding signs reading “Love Not Hate” and “Hate Is the Virus,” hoped to promote awareness and show support for the nationwide “Asian American Day of Action.” Demonstrators walked around Memorial Park and then marched to the intersection of Angeles Crest Highway and Foothill Boulevard.

Vaccines Help County Move to Orange Tier

Los Angeles County residents will soon see more of the normality they were used to before the COVID-19 pandemic hit last year.
The L.A. Department of Public Health announced on Tuesday that the county has met the threshold for the orange tier — indicating moderate infection of the coronavirus — of the state’s blueprint for a safer economy. The next-to-lowest tier loosens restrictions on businesses and allows theme parks to open. The new health order will go into effect this coming Monday, April 5.
“After a year of fear, anxiety and tragic loss, we’re seeing glimmers of hope once more,” County Supervisor Hilda Solis said in a virtual update on Tuesday. “But this didn’t happen just by accident. This was because of our collective hard work.”
According to data from the state, the adjusted case rate in L.A. County went down from 3.7 per 100,000 to 3.3 per 100,000 and the seven-day positivity rate dropped to 1.5% and 2.1% in underserved communities. The positivity rates are good enough to qualify for the yellow tier — the least restrictive in the state’s reopening plan — but the county would have to maintain those numbers as well as record less than one new daily case per 100,000 for three consecutive weeks to move into the minimal infection tier.
Unlike Orange County, which also qualified for the orange tier and updated its health order on Wednesday, L.A. County officials elected to wait for the full three weeks before transitioning into a less restrictive tier.
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City Planning Commission Suggests More ADU Restrictions

The La Cañada Flintridge Planning Commission held a special meeting last week to discuss updates and possible changes to the city’s zoning code.
The city has been working with consultants from CityPlanning to organize part 11.4 of the zoning code, which pertains to special regulations.
The consultants — organized the section by making each use — whether it’s permitted or requires discretionary review — into its own chapter to keep it consistent with the formatting of other chapters.
One of the biggest topics of discussion was the first chapter dealing with accessory dwelling units. One issue was the possibility of a homeowner reconverting an ADU to their home to add square footage and later adding another ADU.
“What I don’t want is people utilizing this to just increase the size of their home,” said Commissioner Jeffrey McConnell. “It’s just a way to get around our FAR [floor-area ratio] by 800 sq. feet. … I’m not against somebody who’s adding an ADU that is within their FAR.”
Commissioner Mark Kindhouse agreed and reminded the public of the purpose of ADUs.
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LCHS Seniors Celebrate Return to Campus; Rose Bowl Graduation

Photo by Mary Emily Myers / Outlook Valley Sun
La Cañada High School’s student government members, who were among the seniors on campus yesterday in preparation for their official return to school, include (front row, from left) Senior Class President Seema Kayali, JT Salcido, ASB President Andrew Han, Colin Melillo, Andrew Chi, Ben Lee and Emaan Qazi. Back: Gordon Cucullu, Alison Flynn, Keaton Comstock and Cari James.

After more than a year of isolation and cancelled activities, it felt like a triumphant return to La Cañada High School for seniors on Wednesday with more promising days ahead: a return to limited on-campus learning, a slew of scheduled fun activities and an in-person graduation ceremony to be held at the Rose Bowl for the senior class of 2021.
During the “Seniors Return to School” event held outdoors at Spartan Stadium, about 150 seniors excitedly gathered to learn details about the remaining end-of-year activities, procedures for graduation and, above all, to absorb some inspiration to fight off what’s become known as Zoom gloom.

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School Board Discusses Students’ Return to LCHS

The La Cañada Unified School District is one of the few districts in Los Angeles County to have brought young learners back for limited in-person learning last November and remained open during an alarming pandemic surge. It has since welcomed the remainder of its elementary school students and is in the process of having students in grades 7-12.
However, that good news, which was presented during an LCUSD governing board meeting on Tuesday, quickly soured when a number of La Cañada Flintridge parents voiced their frustrations over the district’s approach to reopening and asked the governing board to consider a full reopening with five days of in-person instruction.
Superintendent Wendy Sinnette assured community members that the district is committed to fully reopening with a regular bell schedule for the 2021-22 school year and will continue to find a way to expand in-person instruction for the final few months of the current semester. However, she added that such a task cannot be accomplished if parents continue to harass her and staff with messages.
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3 Arrested After Burbank Couple’s Death

Law enforcement said they arrested three people this week on suspicion of being connected with the death of a Burbank couple whose bodies were found in November.
A snowplow driver found local residents William and Yesenia Larsen, ages 35 and 30, respectively, dead on the shoulder of Highway 395 about 10 miles north of Bridgeport, California, on Nov. 9. Because they had no known connection to Mono County, according to the Sheriff’s Office there, the deaths were investigated as a double homicide.
Mono County Sherriff’s Office investigators said that “several former business associates” of the couple were connected to their deaths, with three Montana residents arrested this week. Bradley Kohorst, 35, was arrested in Phoenix, Arizona, on Monday, while Cory Spurlock, 33, and Orit Oged, 32, were arrested in Missoula, Montana, on Thursday. All three suspects remained in custody this week, law enforcement said, awaiting extradition to Mono County.
“Every member of the Mono County Sheriff’s Office played a part in solving this crime,” a spokesperson said in a news release announcing the arrests. “Our investigators worked tirelessly to find justice for the families of William and Yesenia Larsen. This investigation proved to be complex and required the assistance of local, state and federal partners.”

Thefts, Other Crime Fell in February

Reports for major crimes in Burbank dropped about 22.4% from January to February, according to recently released data from the Burbank Police Department.
The overall drop in Part 1 “index crimes” — which include an aggregate of incident types tracked to gauge a city’s crime statistics — from 277 in January to 215 in February reflected a less dramatic decrease in theft reports between the two months, from 189 to 164. The number of reports for auto thefts, burglaries and violent crimes also fell.
February’s report total was the lowest for the month since February 2018, when there were 198 incident reports.
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