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First published in the Sept. 16 print issue of the San Marino Tribune. A proposal to create a Starbucks superstore at 2424 Huntington Drive is apparently dead after the local city council refused to make concessions that would allow for a drive-thru lane, which is currently against codes in San Marino.According to City Manager Marcela Marlow, Starbucks has walked away from the project following last Wednesday’s council meeting, when the panel failed to make a motion for a draft ordinance that would allow for an exception to the prohibition of drive-thrus.In introducing the agenda item, Aldo Cervantes, the city’s director of planning and building, told the council that it needed to author a code amendment that was narrow enough to allow for the Starbucks drive-thru exemption while refusing all other iterations. Cervantes said the council could allow for the amendment to sunset immediately after its implementation.

The 2021 California Gubernatorial Recall Election ends Tuesday, Sept. 14, but there is still time to vote. For vote-by-mail, voters can return their ballots in the mail using the prepaid postage as long as it is postmarked by Sept. 14. Ballots may also be dropped off at designated drop-off boxes now until 8 p.m. on Sept. 14. In-person voting locations will offer voter registration, replacement ballots, accessible voting machines and language assistance to those who need it (address and hours are listed below). For any additional information on the election or voting locations, please visit the link: California Gubernational Recall Election. San Marino Vote Center Valentine Elementary School (Early Voting, Same Day Voter Registration & Ballot Drop-Off Location) 1650 Huntington Dr. San Marino, CA 91108 Hours: Sept. 13: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Sept. 14: 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.

First published in the Sept. 2 print issue of the San Marino Tribune. It’s a subject that has reverberated throughout the nation, and it made for a detailed presentation during a recent meeting of the Rotary Club of San Marino.It has several names — Operation Varsity Blues, the college admissions cheating scandal — but many people might be just as familiar with the name Rick Singer and his ploy to gain college admissions for applicants through illegal methods.Nicole LaPorte, a Los Angeles-based writer whose book “Guilty Admissions” chronicles the scandal, told Rotarians how Singer preyed on the desperation of some of the country’s wealthiest families. She depicted such people as living in a world defined by fierce competition and facing constant pressure to get their children into the “right” schools — starting with preschool — and nonstop fundraising and donation demands in the form of multimillion-dollar galas and private parties. She spoke of “deeply insecure” parents who would do anything to get their kids into name-brand colleges to maintain their A-list status.

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.”

Photo courtesy Chloe Liversidge – Camp director and Club Moai founder Luke Aloe smiles with campers Pei Lin S. And Patrick N. during a lunch break. A few years ago, San Marino resident Luke Aloe noticed that many teenagers with special needs within his community felt isolated.Inspired by Dominic, his older brother who has autism, Luke created a social group which meets monthly for teenagers with disabilities in the Pasadena area.“The name Moai comes from the moai social groups in Okinawa, Japan, where residents have some of the longest lifespans in the world,” explained Aloe, a junior at Loyola High in Los Angeles. “Their long lives have been credited to these social groups, where they keep in touch with their friends throughout their lifetimes.” Although initially launched in his backyard with only a few volunteers and participants, Club Moai has grown into a soon-to-be non-profit organization with over thirty participants who attended their most recent event, Camp Moai.

Photo courtesy San Marino Fire Department – A vehicle burns at the intersection of Granada Avenue and Huntington Drive during the early morning of Dec. 1, 2020. Thanks to the work of the SMFD arson investigators, a suspect was arrested and is currently in state prison. At the time, it seemed like just another car fire — not that such an occurrence is commonplace in town.San Marino’s Engine 91 had been dispatched to a report of a vehicle fire at the intersection of Granada Avenue and Huntington Drive on Dec. 1, 2020, at 4:41 a.m. Firefighters arrived on the scene to find a Chevy Silverado pick-up truck “fully involved,” as the firefighting lexicon goes, with flames encroaching on several Granada Avenue homes. After several minutes, they were able to extinguish the blaze.

A total of four students from both of the local elementary schools tested positive on Monday for COVID-19, school officials said in a statement. All parents of elementary school students received a general notice from the school principals informing them of the positive cases on campus. The cases were also reported on the district’s COVID dashboard. Students who were identified as having been in close contact with the individuals testing positive, as defined by the Los Angeles County Department of Health (LACDPH), received a separate notification from the school informing families that their child is required to quarantine for 7-10 days. 

Community members have been shaken by the presence of a man who is experiencing homelessness and has been living near Huntington Middle School and the Crowell Public Library, city officials said this week.The San Marino Police Department and San Marino Unified School District both told the Tribune that the departments have received a substantial amount of outreach from the general public expressing concerns over the matter.John Incontro, San Marino’s Chief of Police, said that he has been aware of the situation for “three or four weeks” and that he is looking into finding a solution.