The year 2010 was one of watchful anticipation in La Cañada Flintridge: City officials were on alert during periods of rainfall, keenly aware of the threat of debris flows in the wake of the 2009 Station fire that charred the Angeles National Forest, while school officials braced for ever-worsening news on the state budget front.
The preparations taken immediately after the disastrous forest fire spared some, but not all, of the homes in the path of mudslides that hit the area in early February; it was a disaster of proportions that brought the governor to town to declare a state of emergency. But when thunderous storms arrived again in December, the hillsides held.
While many were occupied in clean-up activities throughout the year, the La Cañada school board was buffeted by bad news out of Sacramento, where the state's financial woes impacted education spending. Some La Cañada teaching positions and district staff jobs were eliminated. The La Cañada Educational Foundation agreed to run the high-school summer-school program to save the district other funds. And in recent weeks the call went out for annual donations of $2500 from public-education stakeholders.
Still, the city and organizations such as the Crescenta-Cañada Y, Descanso Gardens, the Community Center and the LCF Chamber of Commerce saw their share of positive events throughout the year, including the launch of the La Cañada Flintridge Shakespeare Festival and word that one of our own, Evanne Friedmann, would reign as Rose Queen in Pasadena this weekend. Continue reading for a month-by-month review of 2010 in La Cañada Flintridge.
•On the first day of January, "Scissored Wizard," the float created by the La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Association, captured the Fantasy Award for Most Outstanding Display of Fantasy and Dramatic Imagination in the 2010 Rose Parade. Also representing this city that day were Rose Queen Natalie Innocenzi and Princess Katherine Margarita Hernandez, both Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy students, and Princess Michelle Van Wyk, a student at La Cañada High School.
•The Crescenta Valley Sheriff's Station installed three boxes to receive old prescription drugs, illegal narcotics and used syringes for proper disposal. "It's a great way to keep drugs out of our sewers and [illegal drugs] off the streets," said Sheriff's Capt. David Silversparre.
•When a third rainstorm in four days pounded the foothills during the third week of January, officials ordered the evacuation of 251 La Cañada homes. Although mud poured into local debris basins, there was little serious damage. Subsequent storms led to evacuation orders being issued at least six different times.
•Malia Mailes was crowned Miss La Cañada Flintridge 2010 during the LCF Chamber of Commerce annual installation dinner, while Joel Peterson was seated as president of the chamber's board of directors.
•The YMCA of the Foothills named Tyler Wright, who was then the relatively new chief executive of the Glendale YMCA, as its chief executive and president. Wright was among 75 candidates considered for the job overseeing the CC-YMCA and the Verdugo Hills Y.
•The City Council voted to allocate $4.5 million in Measure R funding for the design of 27 segments of sound wall that might be constructed along the Foothill Freeway in LCF.
•The Mullally Debris Basin at the end of Manistee Drive in the Paradise Valley section of La Cañada Flintridge crested in the early hours of Feb. 6, with disastrous results for the upper Ocean View area, during one of a series of rainstorms that pounded the foothills. Other La Cañada neighborhoods that also border the 2009 Station fire burn areas were impacted as well, with many households across town experiencing debris flows on their streets and being placed under evacuation orders as a result. It was later reported that the state would reimburse up to 75% of the $1.1 million spent by the city on debris-flow preparation and clean-up since Jan. 21.
•The city made preliminary inquiries into the First Church of Christ, Scientist property, on the market for $4.95 million since November 2009. A closed session of the City Council was held, but nothing reported by City Manager Mark Alexander.
•State Assemblyman Anthony Portantino named Pat Anderson, president and chief executive of the LCF Chamber of Commerce, as the 44th Assembly District Woman of the Year. Almost two weeks earlier, Anderson's home was among those heavily damaged when the Mullally Debris Basin overflowed.
•Los Angeles County officials opened a disaster-assistance center in La Crescenta to connect foothill residents with government resources to help with the debris flows. Disaster declarations freed up low-interest federal loans for property owners, renters and business owners impacted by the incidents.
•Early in the month, the La Cañada school board approved the elimination of 2.5 permanent and 2.2 temporary teaching positions in a series of cost-cutting measures as it tried to manage a multimillion-dollar shortfall. A couple of weeks later, the board also voted to lay off 11 district staff employees. The positions involved included kindergarten aides, a Foothills School special-education assistant, an LCHS counseling and guidance assistant and a district human-resources official.
•Responding to increased demand, the city placed a second shuttle bus in service along Foothill during the boulevard's most heavily trafficked periods.