San Gabriel Valley

Photo courtesy MHSC
Dan Ausman
President and CEO,
Methodist Hospital
Photo courtesy Ricardo Carasco III
Rodney Hanners
Interim CEO,
Keck Medicine of USC

Officials with Keck Medicine of USC and Methodist Hospital of Southern California have announced that the organizations are exploring an affiliation to expand access to care and enhance the health of residents in the San Gabriel Valley, according to a statement. The affiliation would bring Methodist Hospital into the Keck Medicine clinical enterprise, creating new opportunities for service growth and investment in the Arcadia community and across the region.
“Methodist Hospital has a longstanding history of providing excellent care in the San Gabriel Valley and has the potential to be a strong partner as we work together to expand services and create easier access to primary and complex care for the people we serve,” said Rodney Hanners, interim CEO for Keck Medicine of USC. “This affiliation would not only complement our current satellite in Arcadia, but also provide opportunities to elevate our entire network that we are excited to explore further.”

A transient suspected of lighting three fires in San Marino this month, and several others in Pasadena, Arcadia and Monrovia over the past two months, has been arrested and charged with six counts of arson.

The suspect, identified as 44-year-old Nigel Letren, was arrested by San Marino Police officers on Saturday during the early morning hours following a brush fire that broke out just after 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 19. That fire was preceded by another small brush fire in San Marino reported the day before.

According to a press notification from the SMPD on Jan. 19, the Thursday, Jan. 18 brush fire broke out at about 7:30 p.m. on the north side of Huntington Drive just east of Kensington Road. San Marino police and fire responders arrived at the scene within minutes and firefighters extinguished the fire. The response shut down westbound lanes on Huntington at Wembley Road for a short time, and police urged San Marino residents to avoid the area. There were no structures damaged in the Thursday evening blaze, and the exact cause is under investigation.

On Jan. 3, a similar fire was reported on the west side of San Gabriel Boulevard, just north of Gainsborough Drive. Police Sgt. Tim Tebbetts said the cause of that fire appeared to be an unknown substance, and said earlier reports from “an unknown witness” who described seeing “burning coals being thrown from an unknown vehicle” may have been hearsay—those details were not included in notations on the case or in email conversations between SMPD investigators. No structures or people were affected by this fire, either.

All three fires are believed to be linked to Letren who is also suspected of “a spree” of fires in Pasadena and Arcadia on Jan. 13. According to a press release issued late Wednesday evening by the Pasadena Fire Department, “an ongoing investigation by members of the Verdugo Fire Investigation Task Force yielded a suspect and description and a ‘want flyer’ was disseminated to local law enforcement entities.”

The Verdugo Fire Investigation Task Force is a regional group of investigators from the cities of San Marino, Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena, South Pasadena, Sierra Madre, Arcadia, Monrovia, San Gabriel, Alhambra, Monterey Park, and Montebello.

“This arrest is a great example of exceptional cooperation between multiple agencies and proven results from our regional Verdugo Fire Investigations Task Force,” Pasadena Fire Chief Bertral Washington said in a statement. “The Regional Fire Chiefs and I are thankful for their relentless work on behalf of the communities we serve.”

Letren was arraigned at Pasadena Superior Court on Wednesday, Jan. 24 and was charged with five counts of arson related to the fires on Jan. 13, and one count of arson related to a Dec. 9 brush fire in Monrovia. Letren is currently being held on $425,000 bail and is scheduled to appear back in court on Feb. 15.

If unbridled enthusiasm is a prerequisite to be principal of San Marino High School, go ahead and check the box for Dr. Isaaic Gates, who on Tuesday night was approved by the board of education by a unanimous 5-0 vote to replace Mary Johnson, who will retire at the end of June.

Gates currently serves as assistant principal in charge of athletics and arts at Los Alamitos High School, a 3,300-student institution in Orange County.

“I have lived in the San Gabriel Valley for years and the whole time I have lived here, San Marino High School has been considered the standard of educational excellence,” said Gates, a resident of Duarte. “I just want to be a part of that and see what it looks like.

It’s a dream job, like a reach school to a senior in high school. It has always been my dream to work with that group of students. Whatever it looks like, whatever we need to do, it will happen in San Marino. That bar of excellence will happen here and I want to be a part of it.”

Gates said he responded to a job posting on EDJOIN, a national search website for educators and administrators.

“You see jobs there all the time and I thought ‘San Marino? Really? OK!,’” said Gates. “I guess I’ll apply. I was both pleasantly surprised and extremely excited to get a call.”

Gates sailed through the interview process and was recommended to the school board at a closed session meeting on Monday night. On Tuesday, he got the official nod.

The native of Panama City, Florida said he feels qualified for the position from several different perspectives, but said he feels most accomplished in curriculum.

“That is probably my strength,” he said. “From an instructional leadership point of view, that is probably my strength. I am also confident in my ability to form relationships and strike a political balance here as well. Dealing with parents and boosters, one has to be pretty savvy to stay afloat here. In that way, Los Alamitos is quite similar. I will do a lot of watching, looking and listening to get up to speed with the culture at San Marino.”

Gates said he read more than 200 articles from the San Marino Tribune in order to familiarize himself with the community during the application process.

“I wanted to be as informed as I possibly could be. I also did lot of basic research of previous API scores as well as the new measurement system. I am going through as much as I can to learn about the community, but at the end of the day, you gotta go to know. That’s a real statement and you have to be willing to learn. And I can learn and lead at the same time.”

Dr. Isaaic Gates – his first name is pronounced similar to ‘mosaic,’ he said – attended Mosley High School, where he played football and basketball and ran track. He attended the University of Central Florida where he played football alongside former NFL quarterback Duante Culpepper, received an academic scholarship and graduated in three years, receiving his diploma in 1999.

“I was adventurous, had $1,600 in my pocket and a full tank of gas,” he said, explaining his sudden relocation to Southern California.

Gates began teaching in the Pasadena Unified School District while earning a Masters Degree in 2010 in Education, Administration and Leadership. He took a Doctorate in Educational Leadership in 2013 from the University of Southern California, where he is still an adjunct professor.

“I really believe if people understand how to learn, it doesn’t matter what they are learning. They can be successful,” Gates said.

Gates also taught at McKinley School in Pasadena where he took a liking to robotics and coding. His voice swelled with pride when he mentioned winning Pasadena’s first robotics competition.

“That was a big passion of mine,” he explained.

He moved on to Los Alamitos in 2012, where he was an administrator in charge of attendance and later added the responsibilities of activities, facilities and ASB. Earlier this school year, Gates was put in charge of athletics and the visual and performing arts.

Gates, 39, is married to Dr. Rasheeda Gates, an educator in the Duarte Unified School District. The couple have three children; David, Grace and Emerson.

“I am incredibly excited and humbled at the same time,” Gates said. “I consider this an incredible honor. There is a lot of trust being placed in me to lead a fantastic school into the future and there are a lot of families who trust the leadership of this district to make a good choice. I feel fully prepared to do that work and am looking forward to meeting the community, the teachers and the students. I look forward to authentic relationships. To learning together, and moving forward together.”

Ivy Sun was named Congressional Woman of the Year representing the City of San Marino, at Congresswoman Judy Chu’s 8th annual Congressional Women of the Year Award Ceremony at the San Marino Center on Saturday, Apr. 8.

“I want to acknowledge the incredible mayor of San Marino once again for hosting us, Mayor Richard Sun!” Chu began. “And, by the way, he has another reason for being here today. His wife, Ivy Sun, is being honored,” Chu said enthusiastically.

Sun was one of 17 women honorees from California’s 27th Congressional District, which Chu represents.

“These are women who stood out in our community because of their drive and commitment to give back to the San Gabriel Valley,” Chu said of the 17 honorees.

She added, “So let me say to each of the honored woman that are here today, being chosen from amongst so many, you are truly deserving of this honor because of your commitment, dedication and hard work. It’s a testament to the admiration of your neighbors and your fellow citizens. You are a true role model for what you do.”

Woman of the Year Honoree Ivy Sun, Congresswoman Judy Chu and Mayor Richard Sun

Chu introduced Sun as “a lifetime educator with over 30 years of experience,” who “has dedicated her life to providing quality education to the youth in our communities.”

She highlighted Sun’s experience as the CEO of South Hills Academy in West Covina, noting that Sun “made sure its students would be critical thinkers and effective communicators in the global world.”

Chu also recognized Sun’s leadership within the Chinese of Club of San Marino, which Chu said has “one of the most prominent Chinese language schools in the San Gabriel Valley.”

Also noted was Sun’s leadership as a commissioner on the LA County Landmark and Record Commission and as a found member of the Los Angeles Chapter of the International Leadership Foundation.

Sun’s role in the creation of San Marino’s Centennial Book and as a co-author of the recent book, “Practice Happiness: 7 Habits of Joyful Living,” was also acknowledged.

After accepting her certificate from the Congresswoman before a packed hall inside the San Marino Center, Sun thanked Chu for the honor.

“Thank you so much, Congresswoman Judy Chu. It’s truly an honor for me to receive this award and it really means a lot to me,” Sun said.

“I’m especially blessed and honored to learn about all the fellow recipients today. You are all outstanding leaders in your communities and you will be a model for me as well,” she noted.

“I’m also happy to learn that once in a while I get to be nasty, right?” she said, the crowd bursting into laughter at the term that has been embraced by women since President Donald Trump’s derogatory use of the word. “That’s good to know.”

Sun praised Congresswoman Chu for her impact on the 27th Congressional District.

“Judy, as you all know, is a very strong leader. She believes in everything she does. And she’s dedicated and passionate about what she choose to do,” she said.

“Thank you all for coming today. And especially my friends and family thank you for your support. And of course, my husband, Dr. Richard Sun, who happens to be the mayor of this wonderful City of San Marino,” Sun concluding, thanking Chu for choosing San Marino to host this year’s ceremony.

The long-awaited 626 Golden Streets ciclavia paraded down the north side of Huntington Dr. in San Marino on Sunday, Mar. 5.

Thousands participated according to Wes Reutimann, a project organizer at BikeSGV, which planned the open streets event.

“An estimated 100,000 participants attended at least part of the 18+ mile long event, with thousands of people on foot, bike, and skate traversing the 3-mile segment within the City of San Marino,” said Reutimann, a San Marino High School grad.

He continued, “In light of the ominous forecast all week, the BikeSGV planning team was thrilled that thousands of local residents and visitors, big and small, young and old, came out to enjoy the historic ‘626 Golden Streets’ ciclavia through the heart of San Marino and the (626) area code.”

‘Hubs’ included informational booths, musical entertainment, chalk artists and food vendors dotted the 18-mile route—one in each of the eight participating jurisdictions and usually established near a Gold Line Metro station.

Stoneman School hosted the ‘San Marino Hub,’ which included the Chinese Club of San Marino, the San Marino Fire Department CERT and other organizations. Participants collected city-specific stickers at each of the hubs.

The San Marino sticker

San Marino’s sticker featured a red rail car flanked by palm trees—a throwback to the days when Los Angeles was home to the world’s best public transit system and the Red Car dominated the median of Huntington Dr.

Farther down the drive, Jones Bicycles provided free bike repairs to cyclists and the USC Alumni Association of the San Gabriel Valley greeted participants with the familiar Trojan victory sign and an enthusiastic ‘Fight On!’ cheer. The Tribune found SMHS and USC grad Bill Youngblood at the USC table.

“It’s exciting to see people look at their community at walking speed or a little bit faster, because you see much more. It’s much more social,” said Youngblood.

Excited by the discovery and sociability of 626 Golden Streets, he added, “Most of the people are zooming down the drive at 35 to 50 miles per hour. And they miss the context of community and interacting with people.”

“It’s a great community event to get out and spend time with your family,” said San Marinan Jennifer Rindone, who was wearing her cardinal and gold USC jacket.

San Marino Police officers maintained several soft closures at intersections along the drive.

“The San Mario Police Department was very pleased with the event,” said Police Chief John Incontro. “We found families young and old all enjoying this opportunity to participate in the event. With the assistance of 626 volunteers and California Conservation Corps members, the San Marino Police Department was able to handle the event. We had very few complaints about the traffic and lots of thanks from the participants.”

Reutimann concurred.

“Event organizers have yet to debrief with City staff and public safety officials, but there appear to have been no major safety issues during the event, which ran relatively smoothly for a first-time production,” he said, noting some logistical issues.

Reutimann added, “Delivery of lunch for the over 500 event-day volunteers was delayed to the San Marino activity hub. Additional route signage would have been helpful at certain junctions. Nevertheless, feedback from event participants was generally positive, in spite of the cool weather and wet and windy conditions.”

Sunday’s inaugural San Gabriel Valley ciclavia may have been a test case for a second open streets event in this area.

“Looking forward, the 626 planning team will be gathering economic impact data for businesses along the route, analyzing data from hundreds of surveys gathered from participants at each of the 8 event hubs, and soliciting feedback from participating agencies and jurisdictions,” Reutimann explained.

“In the meantime, we encourage everyone who enjoyed the event to be sure to check out the calendar of upcoming ciclavias across Southern California, including Mar. 26 in Venice and Apr. 29 in Long Beach,” he added.

For more information about future open streets events, visit 626goldenstreets.com.


San Gabriel Valley 2016 Las Madrinas Debutantes are, from left, Elizabeth Bayley Malloy, Mary Elena Harding, Sarah Ann Johnson, Perry Montgomery Hotchkis, Charlotte Grace Watkins, Erin Corinne McCloskey & Mary Shea Holt. Balfour Photography
San Gabriel Valley 2016 Las Madrinas Debutantes are, from left, Elizabeth Bayley Malloy, Mary Elena Harding, Sarah Ann Johnson, Perry Montgomery Hotchkis, Charlotte Grace Watkins, Erin Corinne McCloskey & Mary Shea Holt. Balfour Photography

Las Madrinas recently announced 32 young women, including three from San Marino, who will be honored for their service to the Southern California community and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles at the Las Madrinas Ball on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016.

The Las Madrinas Debutantes from the San Gabriel Valley include Mary Elena Harding, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. David Milo Harding (San Marino); Mary Shea Holt, daughter of Mrs. Steven Ernest High (San Marino) and Mr. Douglas Guthrie Holt, Junior (San Marino); Erin Corinne McCloskey, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Kevin John McCloskey (San Marino); Perry Montgomery Hotchkis, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Finlay Hotchkis, junior (Pasadena); Sarah Ann Johnson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Conrad Johnson (Pasadena); Elizabeth Bayley Malloy, daughter of Ms. Joan Bayley Griffith Malloy (Alhambra) and Dr. Brian James Malloy (Great Falls, MT); and Charlotte Grace Watkins, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Hughes Watkins (Pasadena).

The debutantes, their mothers and their grandmothers were recently guests of honor at a tea given by Las Madrinas at the home of Mrs. Michael Floyd Wright (Priscilla). The President of Las Madrinas, Mrs. Jon Warren Newby (Marcie), formally welcomed the families and thanked them for their contributions and commitment to the Southern California community. Among the Las Madrinas members greeting the tea guests were Debutante Chairman, Mrs. Henry Lea Hancock (Emily), and Ball Chairman, Mrs. Preston William Brooks (Seeley).

The debutantes and their families made a recent trip to The Saban Research Institute of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles for an introduction by Dr. D. Brent Polk, chairman of Pediatrics, and a presentation by Dr. Alyssa Rake, medical director of the Las Madrinas Pediatric Simulation Research Laboratory. Dr. Rake gave an overview of this important project that provides healthcare professionals with a controlled environment to recreate and respond to the real-life patient care scenarios that are so important in the research and training process. She explained that this project will result in more accurate medical assessments, improved hospital safety and enhanced patient care that will benefit countless patients. Following the presentation, the families toured the Las Madrinas Pediatric Simulation Research Laboratory.

Las Madrinas was established in 1933 as the first Affiliate Group of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and has been supporting pediatric medicine for 83 years. Since 1939, Las Madrinas has honored families who have demonstrated a commitment to the civic, cultural and philanthropic life of Southern California by presenting their daughters at the annual Las Madrinas Ball. Donations made in honor of the young women, together with the annual support of Las Madrinas members and friends, have enabled Las Madrinas to complete nine major endowments and capital projects at the hospital since 1988. This year Las Madrinas is continuing to honor a $5 dollar pledge for the Las Madrinas Pediatric Simulation Research Laboratory Endowment.

Extending the 710 Freeway from Alhambra to a proposed interchange with the 210 Freeway in Pasadena has been one of the more hotly contested issues in the San Gabriel Valley for almost half a century. The freeway extension, which many in communities such as Alhambra, South Pasadena and Pasadena argue will greatly increase local traffic and pollution, is now being studied by Metro, Los Angeles County’s governing transportation authority which is charged with considering several options to improve north-south traffic circulation, including a no-build option; a bus rapid transit (BRT) option; a light rail transit (LRT) option; and the controversial freeway tunnel alternative, which would connect the 710 and 210 with a $5.6 billion tunnel.

When the public comment period for the State Route 710 North Study’s Draft Environmental Impact Report and Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) closed last August, Metro had received more than 8,000 comments from various stakeholders.

The organization, in cooperation with Caltrans, is now preparing responses to the comments and believes this process will take the remainder of the year.

Once all the responses have been sent out, Metro’s 710 project team will identify a preferred option and finalize the EIR/EIS. Its preferred option will be recommended to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority Board of Directors and Executives, which will have the final say on how to move forward.

The 710 project team will continue to provide updates to stakeholders, allowing government jurisdictions and 710 activist groups plenty of time to discuss their stances with the many communities of the San Gabriel Valley.

City Council member Steve Talt recently restarted the 710 conversation in San Marino.

“My desire in opening up this Pandora’s box on the 710 was not necessarily to change our perspective, but to understand why we take the position we do,” he said.

The San Marino City Council passed a resolution in support of the completion of the 710 in 2012.

Talt and fellow City Councilman Steven Huang met with Alhambra Vice Mayor Stephen Placido on April 13 regarding the 710 extension project.

The meeting gave these elected officials an opportunity to look at alternative solutions to north-south traffic in Alhambra, like focusing density closer to the 10 freeway.

San Marino Vice Mayor Richard Sun and Los Angeles City Council member Paul Krekorian attended a meeting of the 710 Coalition on March 31.

The 710 Coalition, an organization of cities and other community groups in favor of the completion of the 710 freeway, has plans for a community engagement tour starting in the summer. Providing workshops to cities interested in talking about the tunnel alternative will be one component of the tour.

Rosemead City Council member Steven Lee said the 710 Coalition has been working with its consultants and traffic and engineering teams to prepare a presentation highlighting the positive impact of the extension.

“The data speaks for itself,” he said after listing some of the positive findings in the draft EIR/EIS.

Organizations opposed to the 710 tunnel alternative are making preparations, as well. Beyond the 710 (BT710), an assemblage of cities, organizations and individuals, has a new “multimodal great streets alternative” proposal.

Coby King, CEO of public affairs firm High Point Strategies, LLC, said the BT710 alternative “moves cars better than the current configuration.”

He added that the lack of an alternative of this kind in the draft EIR/EIS is a “significant and fatal flaw” in the document.

The proposal, which came together with the help of the transportation firm Nelson\Nygaard, provides an alternative to the no-build option that King suggests would mitigate traffic impacts without building the proposed freeway tunnel.

BT710 will continue to be talking with stakeholders and gathering reactions from them about the proposal until there is a recommendation made by Metro.

In an effort to further serve those in foster care, All Saints Foster Care Project is partnering with Five Acres and RaiseAChild to celebrate May as Foster Care Awareness Month.

The ministry and its partner agencies are hosting a reception on Sunday, May 22 from noon to 1 p.m. in All Saints Church’s Guildroom for anyone interested in learning more about the fostering or adoption process.

Five Acres and RaiseAChild staff will present a brief program and answer questions.

All Saints Foster Care Project helps foster children and their families through advocacy, services and community education.

San Marino resident Gail Bardin is one of the ministry’s founders in addition to Jeanette Mann, Sara Hoover and Joe Duggan. The four began All Saints Foster Care Project as a ministry of Pasadena’s All Saints Church in 2003.

“The four of us spent a year talking to various people in the community about kids in foster care, kids living on the street, kids in juvenile hall and just kids who weren’t living with their parents and what services were available in the area,” Bardin said, mentioning that Hillsides, Five Acres and Hathaway-Sycamores used to be orphanages. She continued, “There’s always been a lot of foster kids in the area.”

Bardin said the four founders wanted to ensure that they didn’t duplicate services already available in the region.

“Our thoughts were to fill in the gaps,” she said. “Because we were a volunteer group, we wouldn’t be restricted. We could see where there was a need and recruit volunteers.”

Bardin said Mann, Hoover, Duggan and herself came together because they wanted to take action and help local children, specifically those in foster care or on the streets.

“We have great parishioners at All Saints,” she said. “They were people who we felt would also care about the kids the way we did if they just knew about them. So our goal was to educate the parish and the community, and through that recruit people and refer them to the various agencies. We wanted to be involved in public policy also, by looking at laws and rules to see if they could be improved.”

Bardin said they originally thought they’d be able to just guide volunteers to agencies; however, organizers decided to do more projects themselves.

Foster Care Project partners with 22 San Gabriel Valley agencies plus My Friend’s Place in Hollywood.

The Steering Committee of All Saints Foster Care Project generally has 15-18 people on it. Last year, the ministry had more than 104 volunteers participating in various projects.

One of the first projects that the Foster Care Project did was begin a Birthday Club that provides gifts to Pasadena-area foster care children who may not otherwise receive them.

“We are finishing our 12th year with it,” Bardin said. “We have about 375 kids in the Birthday Club. They are all referred by DCFS (Department of Children and Family Services). We have 200 and some volunteers who give the gifts. Many volunteers give a gift a month.”

She said certain organizations have even adopted a number of children to provide gifts to annually.

“It’s a way that people who want to do something can do it without a lot of time,” Bardin said. “We have people who have been in this club since the beginning.”

In addition to the Birthday Club, programs include the ministry Adopt a Child Abuse Caseworker (ACAC), which, helmed by Beth Gertmenian and Anne Riffenburgh, provides emergency items, such as cribs, refrigerators and diapers, to a caseworker’s family, the Back-to-School Shopping Spree, which provides funds and a personal shopper for foster children, and holiday gifts.

Foster Care Project also provides holiday gifts and baskets to foster children through other programs.

The newest endeavor offered by Foster Care Project is a family visitation program called Family Connect.

“We work again with the Department of Children and Family Services,” Bardin said. “Children removed from the care of their parents go through a court process. The emphasis is on reuniting them. While they’re separated and it’s being decided, it’s very important that the parents and their children visit. It’s important to keep that tie. We are in our third year recruiting and training people to be monitors for that.”

This program has several sites in Pasadena and is branching out to other areas. Foster Care Project has 15 trained coach monitors now and is looking for 15 more as it expands its reach from three to seven family visitation sites.

For more information on Foster Care Project and its many programs or to become more involved, visit www.fostercareproject.org, 818-248-9343 or email inbox@fostercareproject.org. Donations can be mailed to All Saints Church Foster Care Project, 132 N. Euclid Ave., Pasadena, CA 91101.

By Krista Daly

People aren’t the only ones being affected by the drought in California. Coyotes are too.

With the mountains drying up, the coyotes are looking to other sources for food and water. That’s why they’re coming down to cities like San Marino more frequently, said Officer Johnson Tran, of the Pasadena Humane Society.

Though coyotes typically avoid interaction with people, there are some who have adapted to urban life and are not afraid of people anymore.

“They’re getting very brazen in town,” Tran said though he could not specify a number of coyotes coming into the area.

For the full story, see the print edition of the San Marino Tribune, or download the e-edition.

By Stacy Lee

San Marino Rotary hosted its 11th Annual Salute to the Academy Appointees Program on Thursday, June 4 at San Marino Community Church.

There were 10 local students from the 27th Congressional District who will be attending military academies honored at the luncheon.

Abigail d’Autremont, a 2005 West Point graduate, was the keynote speaker and shared some advice with the appointees.

“There are two things that are the most important at every single academy– being bigger than yourself and your integrity,”d’Autremont said.

For the full story, see the print edition of the San Marino Tribune, or download the e-edition.