Monthly Archives: February, 2019

Plight of the Homeless Is Addressed by Barger

The incongruity couldn’t be overlooked last Thursday afternoon as Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger addressed the Rotary Club of San Marino on a subject near to her heart: Homelessness. That Barger was raised in this community—traditionally gauged as being one of the wealthiest in the nation—hasn’t dimmed her passion for the often uncomfortable subject. In fact, her comparative good fortune might have fueled it. “I realize how lucky I am to have grown up in this community,” Barger said in front of an audience of almost 100 that included many she has known her entire life. “I have never forgotten that.” Barger referred to a stabbing that had occurred on a Gold Line train earlier that day and was reportedly perpetrated by a homeless individual. She later mentioned that many homeless are sleeping in the trains, which she seemed to connect to a drop in ridership. A graduate of San Marino High School, Barger said that it is her goal to find a way to create more hospitals for those...

Reitnouer Gifts Life-Saving Equipment to the SMFD

In Council chambers on February 13, former San Marino resident Winner Reitnouer presented the San Marino City Council with a donation to cover the San Marino Fire Department (SMFD)’s acquisition of a lifesaving device in honor of her late husband Lynn Reitnouer and the quality of care the SMFD provided him. Also in supportive attendance were Winnie’s son John Reitnouer, his wife Susan Reitnouer and her granddaughter Katherine Reitnouer. Along with several other civic positions, Lynn Reitnouer served on the San Marino City Council from 1976-1986 and as Mayor from 1980-84. The donation of $17,665 will be used to purchase a Zoll AutoPulse resuscitation system, a lifesaving piece of equipment that resembles a vest and provides automatic and consistent CPR for those suffering cardiac arrest. The AutoPulse also allows the firefighters who double as paramedics to fight a fire or transport the patient without sacrificing manpower. “When it came to my attention that there was a piece of equipment that would be very beneficial to the city of San Marino,...

Golden Apple Award Is Parting Gift for Nam Jack

Last year, Nam Jack announced that she would not seek a third consecutive term on the San Marino School Board. And on Wednesday morning, the SMUSD bestowed upon Jack one of the highest honors that can be given to volunteers in the field of education as she received the Golden Apple Award during a ceremony at Santa Anita Race Track. “It was a wonderful morning spent acknowledging so many deserving volunteers across numerous school districts,” Jack told The Tribune. “I was inspired by their volunteerism and achievements. I accept this award on behalf of all the volunteers who spend countless hours to to benefit the community, our schools and our students.” Jack was first elected to the San Marino School Board in 2009 and re-elected four years later. Due to a request by the State of California to standardize election dates, Jack was one of three board members who received an extra year of service. She has served three one-year terms as board president. Jack has chaired two successful parcel tax elections and is currently leading the effort for Measure R, which goes before voters next Tuesday. The Golden Apple Award is sponsored by the Association of California School Administrators, or ACSA, and Wednesday’s ceremony was hosted by the Northwest San Gabriel Valley Administrators Association, which encompasses ten local school districts. The award is presented to volunteers for their service to the school districts. San Marino School Board Member C. Joseph Chang received the honor last year. Jack has received the Honorary Service Award from the San Marino PTA at the Annual Founders Day ceremony. Next month, she will be honored with the San Marino PTA Council Golden Oak Award at the 2019 Founders Day event, which is slated for Wednesday, March 13, at 7:00 p.m. in the Kenneth F. White Auditorium at Huntington Middle School. Jack and her husband, Mike, reside in San Marino. The couple has two children, both of whom graduated from San Marino High School. Drew graduated from Occidental College in 2018 and Devon is currently a junior at Brown University, her mother’s alma mater.

It’s Now In the Bag For SMHS Robotics

This past week, Titanium Robotics crossed the finish line, completing week 6 of grueling build season. However, the team’s work is far from over because the first competition, the Orange County Regional, is from February 28 to March 2 at the OC Fair & Event Center. Every single division of the team - mechanical, electrical, CAD, strategy, and programming - collaborated beautifully to complete two stunning robots: one practice and...

Three Titans Advance to CIF State Mat Meet

San Marino High School will send three wrestlers to the CIF State Championship match this weekend at the Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield after ten grapplers qualified for the last weekend’s Masters Meet, which was held at Cerritos College in Norwalk. Koa Ruiz (9th place, 113 lbs.), Beau Perez (3rd place, 138 lbs.) and Luka Wick (2nd place, 145 lbs.) all advanced and have a shot at a state championship after finishing in the requisite final nine of each weight class. 160 pounder Josh Trumbull was defeated by 11th ranked Collin Nicholson of Trabuco Hills by a final score of 6-5, dropping Trumbull into tenth place and out of the State competition. Wick, who is ranked #3 in the state, suffered his only loss to 2nd ranked Cael Valencia of St. John Bosco by a final score of 5-3 in what could have been a preview of this weekend’s championship match. In the CIF Southern Section Girls individual finals, Ally Arrington and Tilly Garcia fought hard but were unable to advance to this weekend’s State Championships. Ten Titans qualified for Masters on the strength of their performances in the CIF Southern Section North Region individual finals at Brea Olinda High School. Champions included Ally Arrington (girls’), Koa Ruiz, Luka Wick, and brothers Caleb and Kurt Trumbull. Beau Perez finished second, Raul Jimenez placed third, Tilly Garcia (girls’) and Josh Trumbull each claimed 4th place and Devyn Che came in fifth, all qualifying for the next level of competition. In the boys’ team competition, the Titans garnered 212 points to finished second in the region behind Villa Park, who won the title with...

Full Circle

He calls it sacred ground, high praise for an oft-trodden patch of land that has served countless different purposes over the decades, but to Dan Giddings, the it’s a declaration of respect, not a punch line. “When I look around, I can remember the exact moments when I met people who are still among my best friends to this very day.” Giddings is walking across the Major’s baseball field behind Huntington Middle School that served the same purpose forty years ago, when he was a player in San Marino’s beloved National Little League. He now joins a select few who have made the jump from San Marino Little Leaguer to San Marino Little League President. It’s a privilege he isn’t taking lightly. “Having played here I believe gives me a unique perspective about what that it means to the experience of being a kid in San Marino,” said Giddings. “To ride your bike to the fields to play a game. Then ride your bike to watch your friend’s game. Spending the day with all your friends. Eating at the snack shack.” Giddings then drifts off into nostalgia, a condition he hopes to reproduce for each of the more than 445 young people under his watch. Giddings moved to San Marino in 1973 with an older brother, John, and his parents, Dr. John and Marilyn Giddings. At one time or...

Timeline Established for Superintendent Search

The consulting firm charged with bringing forth top candidates for the position of superintendent of the San Marino Unified School District laid out its projected time line at Tuesday evening’s school board meeting that will hopefully meet the board’s intention of having someone under contract by the middle of May. “Generally speaking, that is our goal,” School Board President Lisa Link told The Tribune on Wednesday morning. “That could, however, be delayed by several factors.” Link explained that the board might want to schedule a visit to see one or some of the finalists in their current place of business, which could slightly alter the timeline. On Tuesday evening, James Guerra and Mike Escalante of JG Consulting/Escalante & Associates revealed a plan that would meet the board’s deadline. Speaking in open session, Guerra said community based meetings would be held by the end of February to determine a profile for candidates. From those meetings and other input, a job description will be generated as well as questions which could later be posed to candidates, according to Link. Guerra said that the application will be completed and the job will be officially posted by March 4, with applications due back on April 4. Candidates will receive an initial screening by the middle of April. Guerra said he expected final interviews to begin around April 27, putting the board in a position to hire by mid-May. The board is seeking a replacement for former Superintendent Dr. Alex Cherniss, who resigned in August, 2018 to take a similar position at the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District. The delay in determining Cherniss’s successor was necessitated by the November, 2018 school board election, where seven candidates vied for three spots. Incumbents Joseph Chang and Shelley Ryan were re-elected and Corey Barberie outdistanced four other candidates to claim the third seat, which was vacated by Nam Jack. Given the board could have undergone a substantial makeover with an instant majority of new board members at that election, the board agreed to suspend the search for Cherniss’s successor until the results were final. Longtime district employee Loren Kleinrock, who is currently serving as interim superintendent, is under contract through June 30, 2019, but there is an option to extend, if necessary. Escalante expressed a belief that his firm should hold a “closed” search, meaning that the identities of potential candidates remains confidential. “This is incredibly important,” Escalante said. “The best candidates are those who are doing well at the job they are currently doing.” Letitia Aranda, president of the San Marino Teachers Association, spoke during the public comment section and expressed regret that none of the data suggested interaction with the teachers union. Aranda mentioned that she hoped the next superintendent would have classroom experience and someone who was “not given authority, but someone who has earned authority.” “Please talk to us,” Aranda said. “We have a lot to offer. We are in the trenches.” Link later told The Tribune that the SMTA has been included on a list of stakeholders that will be invited to meet with candidates. Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Julie Boucher then presented an agenda item that would call for a special election on May 14 to renew the parcel tax that is currently on the February 26 ballot as Measure R if it does not meet the 2/3rds majority vote on that date. The parcel tax brings $1.6 million annually to the San Marino Unified School District and directly supports 13.4 instructional and instructional support positions, according to the district. Measure R was first passed in 1991. The current annual assessment per parcel is $366.40 and residents age 65 or older can file for an exemption, as can homeowners of contiguous parcels and those homeowners with disabilities. By a unanimous 5-0 vote, the board approved the May 14 date, if Measure R is rejected on February 26. Dr. Stephen Choi, the district’s chief technology officer, then presented strategies to enhance communications through social media, websites and the possible taping of board meetings. “I want to make sure we are doing the best job we can to provide information to the community and to be responsive to the needs of the community,” Link said on Wednesday. Link also proposed a change to the public comment section that will allow more opportunities for community members to express their opinions on official matters. “This is to encourage people to come to the meetings and talk to their school board members,” Link said. “We want to make it a rewarding experience for them.” She also encouraged the public to communicate with board members outside of the meetings. “School board meetings are meant for the board to conduct its business,” Link said. “That is the only place we can conduct our business. But the structure of the meeting and Brown Act restrictions do not encourage discussion with the public at school board meetings.”

From Cookies to Computers

Many young Girl Scouts may wonder why they are encouraged to sell cookies to complete strangers, outside the obvious goal of raising money for the program. Well, San Marino resident Roberta Gunderson might have another answer. “I loved selling them,” said Gunderson, who said she frequently sold the highest number of boxes in her troop. “I had to be willing to go to doors where I didn’t know who was behind them. I figured out that going to the many large apartment buildings that had many individual apartments inside got me to more potential sales.” Gunderson grew up in Glendale and her troop was associated with R.D. White Elementary School. She can’t quite recall the troop number but said the accompanying photo was taken around 1950-51. “Selling Girl Scout cookies helped me present myself in many ways and I believe that experience led me to a variety of activities up to and including the San Marino Schools Foundation.” Gunderson was on the ground floor of the Schools Foundation, which supports the San Marino Unified School District to the tune of about $2 million per year. “We have two sons who attended school in San Marino,” Gunderson said. “Our eldest graduated in 1988 and our younger in 1992. I was very involved with volunteering in the district and my friendship with Barbara Bice goes way back to those days.” A computer whiz, Gunderson was asked by then-Superintendent Dr. Dave Brown to assist with computer education. She taught parents the fledgling skill and donated her earnings back to the district to help with…purchasing new computers! Brown so admired Gunderson’s work that he put her in charge of entertainment for a first-day program for teachers. “Paulette Chapman, Diana Jehue and I wrote and performed a rap song, which was new at the time,” Gunderson recalls. “We performed in the Webb Theatre at the high school and it was very well received. I don’t remember all the words, but it started out ‘Dr. David E. Brown top man in town, Is renown for putting down best schools around, Boom, chicha, boom, chicka, boom chicka boom!’” Another memory left a different impression. “I was asked to go to a fellow volunteer’s house to update the Schools Foundation’s computer for donation receipts,” Gunderson recalled. “I was to walk in to side door, her husband would have left the door unlocked. I was to simply open the door and go in. In short, her husband forgot to leave the door unlocked. I innocently opened the door, planning to go in and complete my work. Instead, the house alarm blasted and I was frozen as to what to do. The police showed up. One of them had his gun trained on me. It all worked out after a bit, but I will say this was not a pleasant event.” But aside form that little glitch, Gunderson—who these days volunteers for the Rotary Club of San Marino—fondly recalls her days with the Schools Foundation. “I got involved with the Schools Foundation when it was being set up because I was asked to,” she said. And because the SMUSD needed the money.” Sadly, it still does.

Titans End Hoop Season With CIF Victory, Defeat

If you had told San Marino High School head basketball Coach Mihail Papadopulos at the beginning of the season that his team would get to play two playoff games at the end of the year, he probably would have agreed right then and there. Hampered by the graduation of three of his top players from a year ago and the transfer of another, Papadopulos entered the campaign with his typical positive attitude, tempered though it was by the harsh reality of an inexperienced roster. A third place finish in the Rio Hondo League earned the Titans a wild card game against Poly last Wednesday night, and earned the many fans who traveled across the border a solid evening’s entertainment as San Marino prevailed by a final score of 43-40. Ethan Deng led the way with 18 points, followed by Sean O’Brien (nine), Lemuel Li (seven) and Eric Fu, who scored six important points as the Titans came back to cage the Panthers. Though he didn’t score, senior Michael Baldocchi contributed with ten rebounds as the Titans advanced. “I am just super proud of our boys and our Titan supporters,” said Papadopulos. “It was like a home game for us, it was awesome! That’s what playoff basketball is all about, it’s exciting and intense and somehow you just have to survive and advance.” Poly led 22-19 at the half, but Deng finally loosened up and hit three 3-pointers that inspired the visitors. The Titans were able to nurse a four-point lead, and made key free throes down the stretch to preserve the win and improve to 15-12 overall. “I thought our young group prepared well,” said Papadopulos, who brought up three extra sophomores for the post season in Quintin Hollomand, Trond Grizzell and Joey Fuerst. “We defended hard and sacrificed individuality for the benefit of our team. This was just a great team win and a great program experience. There is nothing like the intensity of a playoff game.” But the Titans met their match two nights later, dropping a 73-58 decision in Hacienda Heights to Wilson High School, who entered the CIF Division 4AA playoffs with the #5 ranking and a 21-7 record. The Wildcats jumped out to an 18-2 advantage midway through the first quarter and it took a Herculean effort by San Marino to keep it interesting. In fact, the Titans whittled the Wilson lead down to just 14 points before the hosts went on another of what seemed like an endless string of scoring runs. O’Brien was able to stave off the constant pressure applied by the Wildcats to lead the team with 17 points. Lemuel Li added 11 with Deng (nine), Fu (seven points and six rebounds), Christian Mata (four) and Baldocchi (two points and nine rebounds) also contributing to the effort. But the lingering memory of the contest might have been provided by Fuerst, who nailed two three-pointers and another hoop to finish with eight points in less than two minutes of action at the end of the contest. “That was definitely not the start we were looking for,” said Papadopulos, with an extra helping of understatement. “They were hot and we unfortunately just started the game too timid. When you play a team like Wilson which just plays really hard, execution, taking care of the ball and shot selections are so crucial to staying connected. We tried to give them different looks but they are very good and they just kept playing hard.” Surprisingly, San Marino outscored Wilson in the second half, but it wasn’t enough and the Titans closed up shop with a 15-13 mark. “I am proud of our boys and the grit they showed all season long,” Papadopuklos concluded. “This season, our boys showed that they could accomplish a tremendous amount together, despite being young in varsity experience, and found success through their toughness and relentless efforts. Their togetherness was fun and I am thankful to our seniors who reinforced our culture and the importance of chemistry. I am proud that our boys accomplished another 15-win season, finished as a top-three team in league and won another playoff game. The future is bright and I am excited to see what happens to this next generation.”

Robotics Races Towards Rollout With Busy Week

This past week, Titanium Robotics completed week 5 of Build Season, which was used to complete a practice robot and begin the final competition...
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