First published in the Sept. 16 print issue of the San Marino Tribune. San Marino resident David Lozano was in good spirits on Tuesday morning as he made the short drive to Valentine Elementary School.His purpose on this day was different than most as Lozano, his wife Dawn and eldest son Christopher eagerly paid a visit to the local campus to cast their votes in Tuesday’s 2021 California gubernatorial recall election. But what further crested Lozano’s enthusiasm was the fact that his own name appeared on the ballot. A six-year resident of San Marino, Lozano was among the 46 people who made the list of official candidates that California Secretary of State Shirley N. Weber initially released in July.
First published in the Sept. 9 print issue of the San Marino Tribune. As was his routine on that day each year, Se-Yao Hsu was at a local restaurant as Sept. 11, 2001, dawned in San Marino. In 1996, the Chinese Club of San Marino had instituted a day on which it acknowledged the city’s police officers and firefighters, choosing Sept. 11 as a reminder of the emergency telephone number 911.Little did Hsu, like many, know at the time that he would never again view those three seemingly innocent digits in the same light.The 1999 president of the Chinese Club, Hsu in 2001 was the principal of the organization’s Chinese School.“As usual, I went to pick up the breakfast for the police officers and firefighters at around 7 a.m.,” Hsu recalled last week. “While I was waiting for the food, I saw on a television that the twin towers [of New York City’s World Trade Center] had been attacked by planes. At first, I thought it might be a television program or movie. Later, I realized that it was a real thing.”All too real, as it would turn out.
First published in the Sept. 2 print issue of the San Marino Tribune. Though it took place more than 7,000 miles away, last week’s bomb attack outside the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, struck all too close to home.Marine Lance Cpl. Kareem Grant Nikoui, one of the 13 U.S. service members who were killed in the Aug. 26 attack, had strong ties to San Marino and frequently spent time with his family here.Yvette Nikoui-Smith, Kareem’s aunt, said she and her family are “devastated” by the tragedy.“We lost a part of our world,” said Nikoui-Smith. “There are no words to describe how we are feeling besides heartbreak and sadness. But we are also so proud of Kareem. He was doing something incredible. He was helping adults and children during a difficult time.“He always put others before himself and he was such a selfless human being. All he wanted to do was be a Marine and help others in need.”
Buoyed by the solid support of Measure E in the June 29 special election, the San Marino Unified School District board on Wednesday night was expected to take the first step toward finding a new superintendent to replace Jeff Wilson, who took a job elsewhere. The board was to meet in a special session with Joel Shawn of USC’s Rossier School of Education, ask questions and gain insight into the process of “selecting the best path forward to identify, select and retain the next superintendent to lead the district,” according to board President Shelley Ryan. The meeting was due to begin after the Tribune’s press deadline.
Photo by Larissa Althouse / TRIBUNEAlex Poiset, Jen Martinez, Bri Cossu and Justine Huang were among members of the San Marino High School class of 2020 who last week were finally able to celebrate their “Grad Night” — essentially a reunion 13 months after they’d earned their SMHS diplomas. Their originally scheduled Grad Night, a cherished school tradition, was postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They didn’t have a prom, and their graduation ceremony, though certainly well-intentioned, consisted of a short car ride up West Drive and a couple of staged photos.But last Friday night, San Marino High School’s class of 2020 received one indisputable jewel in its comparatively empty crown — its long-awaited Grad Night.Retaining its original theme of “Finding Nemo” — though the words “Swimming Home” were added to the title — the event was marketed as a combination Grad Night/one-year reunion. The result was deemed by revelers to be an unqualified success, and anyone would seemingly have been hard-pressed to tell the difference between the event Friday and what was slated to take place on May 29, 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic put it on hold.Kurtis Tsai returned home for the event and might be the first SMHS grad to have spent an entire year in the U.S. Army before attending his Grad Night.“As a former member of the San Marino Tsunami swim team, we always got a chance to peek at the Grad Night construction after swim practice,” said Tsai, who is studying life…
Don’t be surprised if San Marino’s sky seems a bit more crowded for a while: Over the next two weeks, Southern California Edison will conduct aerial inspections that involve the use of drones, helicopters or both.Such aircraft help SCE inspect areas that are hard to reach or must be viewed from a difficult angle, according to the utility.“The focus of these operations is and always will be our own electrical assets, structures and [rights of way] that support our assets,” an SCE statement said. “These inspections are just one part of our broader wildfire prevention and mitigation program focusing on keeping our communities safe. The amount of time it takes to conduct aerial inspections varies.”Areas targeted for inspection include the intersections and areas surrounding Huntington Drive and Del Mar Avenue; Monterey Road and Los Robles Avenue; Huntington and St. Albans Road; Los Robles and Mission Street; Robles Avenue and Sierra Madre Boulevard; and Shenandoah and Virginia roads.Those who have concerns regarding equipment or personnel in their neighborhood are encouraged to ask the utility worker for identification or call the San Marino Police Department at (626) 300-0720.
Photo by Mitch Lehman / TRIBUNESan Marino’s Wendy Bradley was back in action Sunday, playing an iconic flourish in a patriotic tune at Lacy Park. It’s a thrilling moment in one of the more recognizable melodies in all of American music: Midway through John Philip Sousa’s ‘The Stars and Stripes Forever,” a special arrangement for the piccolo pierces the trumpets and trombones, adding elan to the national march of the United States.It lasts only about a half a minute, depending on the speed at which it is played, and can define musical careers.San Marino has its own practitioner of the iconic flourish and, to the enjoyment of the throng at the city’s July 4 celebration, it once again wafted from the bandstand in Lacy Park this past Sunday afternoon. So, how many times has veteran piccolo player Wendy Bradley performed the song?“Uncountable,” said Bradley, a longtime city resident and member of the San Marino Community Band, before settling on “more than a thousand.”“Sometimes, with rehearsals, I will play it a half dozen times a day,” she said.
Photos by Mitch Lehman / TRIBUNEMaj. Phil Hanf was the keynote speaker at Monday’s Memorial Day ceremony. Following a year off as a result of the pandemic, San Marino residents were genuinely enthused to gather in Lacy Park on Monday morning for the city’s annual acknowledgement of Memorial Day.Well over 100 people assembled just west of the War Memorial in socially distanced fashion, but the extra space and mask requirements didn’t dim the passion as attendees paid their respects to the 53 San Marinans who gave their lives on the world’s battlefields.Among those elected officials accepting invitations to speak were Congresswoman Judy Chu, state Sen. Anthony Portantino and Assemblymember Ed Chau. Chu and Chau presented proclamations honoring the city’s consistent efforts to recognize the holiday and Portantino reenacted a presentation he had previously made virtually to Maggie Lee, president of the Chinese Club of San Marino, and San Marino city manager Marcella Marlowe. Portantino recently honored Lee and Marlowe as the two women from San Marino who have played an integral role in supporting their community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Julie Chan Lin Julie Chan Lin, who was elected to the San Marino Unified School District Board of Education in November and took the oath of office in December, abruptly resigned less than 20 minutes into the panel’s meeting on May 25 — the second sudden departure of a member in two weeks.“I’d like to thank the community for entrusting me to represent you here on this board,” Chan Lin said when it was her turn to speak during the meeting’s section entitled “Communications From the Board of Education.” “With a heavy heart, I am letting you and my fellow board members know that I cannot continue to serve on this board. Tonight, I resign from the SMUSD Board of Education.”When contacted by the Tribune on Wednesday, Chan Lin declined further comment but shared a statement she posted to the San Marino schools’ participation forum.
The abrupt resignation of San Marino school board member Julie Chan Lin on May 25 means the beleaguered panel now must search for not one but two replacements.On Tuesday, May 11, Corey Barberie resigned his position on the board in anticipation of a family move to another state. On May 18, the panel opened a 17-day application period to commence efforts to fill the vacancy created by Barberie’s exit. That period ends Friday, June 4, at noon.