Friday, November 27, 2009

Looking for Something to Do?

All events are free and sponsored by the City of Pasadena.

Tuesday, Dec. 1, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Receive free one-on-one personal job training assistance from a Women at Work counselor at La Pintoresca Branch Library, 1355 N. Raymond Ave. This is open to men, too! Call 744-7268 for your appointment.

Tuesday, Dec. 1, from 1 to 4 p.m. – Calling all doodlers, squigglers and scribblers ages 5 to 12: Tap into your inner creativity learning the fundamentals of sketching and painting at Hastings Branch Library, 3325 E. Orange Grove Blvd. Teachers from the Art Studio in Pasadena will help you create your own masterpiece! Call (626) 744-7262 to sign up.

Tuesday, Dec. 1, at 2:30 p.m. – If you work for a local non-profit organization and are interested in applying for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and other funding, learn more about the RFP process and evaluation criteria during a meeting at Jackie Robinson Center, 1020 N. Fair Oaks Ave. (626) 744-8318.

Wednesday, Dec. 2, at 7:30 a.m. – Join Mayor Bill Bogaard, Tournament of Roses Acting President Jeff Throop, and 2010 Rose Queen Natalie Innocenzi and her Royal Court for a 3.3-mile walk around the Rose Bowl Loop. Meet at Gate A at the stadium. (626) 797-7238.

Wednesday, Dec. 2, at 1 p.m. – This week’s film in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Pasadena Central Library, 285 E. Walnut St., is “The Ultimate Gift” (2006) starring James Garner, Drew Fuller and Abigail Breslin in the story of a recently deceased man who wills to his grandson the “gifts” of work, money, friends and learning – each challenging the young man in improbable ways. (626) 744-4066.

Wednesday, Dec. 2, at 6:30 p.m. – Book Chit Chat at Hastings Branch Library, 3325 E. Orange Grove Blvd., will feature “Don Benito Wilson” by Nat Read. (626) 744-7262.

Tuesday, Dec. 8, at 5:30 p.m. – The annual tree-lighting ceremony at Pasadena City Hall is always a community favorite! (626) 744-4755.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Mystery History -- Solved

Happy Thanksgiving!

JM comes closest with his/her guess "The field of the Rose Bowl or at Tournament House and this is part of the Rose Queen selection. Sorry, don't know the year." (JM, please email me at and I'll tell you about your fabulous prize.)

In the photo above, contestants for Rose Queen of 1930 pose in late 1929 inside a giant question mark.

The winner was Holly Halstead, below (and third from the bottom in the question mark).

She passed away in July 2004 at 95. From an article the following week:

When Holly Halstead Balthis reigned as the queen of the Tournament of Roses in 1930, the Rose Bowl was only 7 years old, and, as she once noted, Old Town Pasadena was new.

Mrs. Balthis, the oldest living Rose Queen, died at age 95 of natural causes Friday at her home in Laguna Beach, said her son and sole survivor, Frank Balthis Jr.

Mrs. Balthis never dreamed her stint as Rose Queen would mean much once it ended.

"I thought it was a short deal, New Year's Day, and that'd be it," she said in a 1986 interview. "But it's something that stays with you all your life."

Indeed, in recent decades Mrs. Balthis was considered "the grand dame" of the Tournament of Roses. She remained active in tournament functions up until her death and each year welcomed the new queen.

Mrs. Balthis was born in Pasadena in 1908 and graduated from Pasadena High School in 1925.

"At first I felt overwhelmed and honored, but I think I really did it because of my dad," she said. "He was so proud of the fact he had been an early comer to Pasadena."

Her escort was her future husband, Frank S. Balthis, a Harvard law student who would later become a Superior Court judge and an appellate court justice.
Halstead Street in Pasadena was named after her father, Richard Halstead, who was a prominent businessman.

The grand marshal of the 1930 Rose Parade was James "Sunny Jim" Rolph, mayor of San Francisco.

Every week my Mystery History posts have something to do with City of Pasadena operations. So how does this post apply?

The City of Pasadena and the Tournament of Roses Association have a long-term contract. As we get a little closer to the end of the year, I'll go into more detail about that.

Suffice it to say that we're going into high gear here at City Hall. Every year, as the T of R maneuvers the monumental task of planning the parade and the game, the City of Pasadena is behind the scenes inspecting grandstands, barricading streets, planning traffic control, managing public safety, cleaning streets afterwards, you name it.

The New Year's Day operations manuals for the Public Works Department, Police Department, etc., are voluminous.

And do you know the City of Pasadena owns the Wrigley Mansion (Tournament House)?

Here's 2010 Rose Queen Natalie Innocenzi at her coronation earlier this month.

Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger will serve as grand marshal.

New Year's Day is just over a month away. We're off and running!

Many thanks to Pasadena Public Library, Los Angeles Public Library and Tournament of Roses Association.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Darryl Dunn

Darryl Dunn is general manager of the Rose Bowl Stadium and that's no small job.

He oversees everything from facilities to finances, maintains relationships with biggies in the worlds of sports and entertainment, reports to the Rose Bowl Operating Company Board, and is a dedicated family man to boot.

Every year Darryl, Assistant General Manager Jess Waiters and I work on a top-secret, goofball presentation that is made at the annual dinner for key officials of the Tournament of Roses Association, City of Pasadena and Rose Bowl Operating Company. I'd show you but then I'd have to kill you.

Tuesday of last week we were in Darryl's office at the stadium, busily putting the finishing touches on our wacky ideas the day before the big event, and I took the liberty of snapping these photos of him during a casual moment. He's holding a commemorative football that was given to guests at the dinner (including yours truly).

Dang camera strap!

A couple of years after I left the City of Palm Springs to come to Pasadena, Darryl was working with a minor league baseball team there. I'm sorry our paths never crossed in the desert but I'm grateful we've worked together so well here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mystery History

Where are we? And what's happening?

The first person to guess correctly will win a fabulous prize!

I'll have the full scoop on Thursday.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Shop Locally, Pasadena!

The "Grow Your Community. Shop Pasadena" campaign is geared to residents, workers and visitors.

Now in its second year, the intention is to help everyone understand that local dollars spent locally keep people employed, pour money back into the local economy, and fund programs and services that improve the quality of life in this community.

The City of Pasadena and the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce partnered with The Agency at Art Center College of Design about a year ago to develop the campaign.

You may have seen some of the ads in magazines, at bus shelters and on websites.

Sales tax, business license fees and property taxes paid by businesses help pay for essential services such as police and fire protection, park maintenance, library services and much more, as well as supporting our public schools.

So this holiday season, whether you're shopping for a book or a BMW, think about the positive impact you'll have on your own community if you make that purchase locally!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Looking for Something to Do?

There's plenty to do in Pasadena the next few days for people of all ages! All events are free and sponsored by the City of Pasadena.

Saturday, Nov. 21, from 8 to 11 a.m. -- Help our garden grow at Hastings Branch Library, 3325 E. Orange Grove Blvd.

Saturday, Nov. 21, from 9 to 11 a.m. -- Help City Manager Michael J. Beck understand the ideal qualities of Pasadena’s next police chief and voice your opinion about the greatest challenges the new chief will face during a community meeting at Victory Park Center, 2575 Paloma St.

Saturday, Nov. 21, at 10 a.m. -- Children ages 3 to 8 will enjoy Turkey Tales in the Children’s Room at Pasadena Central Library, 285 E. Walnut St. (626) 744-4066.

Saturday, Nov. 21, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. -– Bring your own totes to the Buck-A-Bag book sale at Lamanda Park Branch Library, 140 S. Altadena Dr., featuring stacks of gently used titles for children, teens and adults. (626) 744-7266.

Monday, Nov. 21, at 3 p.m. -- This weeks’ film in the Children’s Room at Pasadena Central Library, 285 E. Walnut St., is “Enchanted” (2007) starring Amy Adams and Patrick Dempsey as classic fairy tale characters who collide with modern-day life in New York City. (626) 744-4066.

Tuesday, Nov. 24, from 11 a.m. to noon -- If you’re looking for work, plan on attending Job Prep 101 at La Pintoresca Branch Library, 1355 N. Raymond Ave. (626) 744-7268.

Tuesday, Nov. 24, from 3 to 5 p.m. – Children 5 to 12 will use their imaginations while making fun-filled autumn crafts at Hastings Branch Library. (626) 744-7262.

Tuesday, Nov. 24, at 4 p.m. – Calling all teens: Test your skills and take part in some fun “Twilight,” “New Moon,” “Eclipse” and “Breaking Down” trivia at La Pintoresca Branch Library. You could win some great prizes! (626) 744-7268.

Wednesday, Nov. 25, at 1 p.m. – This week’s film in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Pasadena Central Library is “Chariots of Fire” (1981) starring Ben Cross, Ian Charleson and John Gielgud in the true of story of two British athletes – one Christian and one Jewish – who compete for fame in the 1924 Olympics. (626) 744-4066.

Thursday, Nov. 26 -- Happy Thanksgiving! City of Pasadena administrative offices will be closed.

Friday, Nov. 27 -- City of Pasadena administrative offices will be closed.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mystery History -- Solved

A lot of great guesses but I stumped everyone this time!

In the photo above, people flock to a helicopter that has landed in front of Pasadena City Hall on July 8, 1946.

This was during the first week of an experimental program by which airmail flown by plane from all over the world to the Los Angeles Municipal Airport would be delivered by helicopter to several cities throughout L.A. County, including Pasadena, Pomona, Santa Monica and Long Beach.

Intended to save time, the L.A. County program was the first of its kind in the nation.

Pasadena Star-News -- July 4, 1946:
Owing to the holiday and final adjustments to the required equipment, the inauguration of helicopter mail service in and out of Pasadena has been postponed from Saturday to Monday, when service is expected to go into effect sometime in the early afternoon.

Particulars regarding address and rates may be obtained by calling the information clerk at the main post office.
Here's an envelope from 1948, flown by helicopter to Los Angeles Municipal Airport and then on to Cleveland.

Many thanks to Pasadena Museum of History and Pasadena Public Library.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Mystery History

Where are we? And what's happening?

The first person to guess correctly will win a fabulous prize!

I'll have the full scoop on Thursday.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mystery History -- Solved

Mike wins with his 7:37 a.m. Tuesday guess "Looks like an event in preparation to build the new & improved Colorado St bridge in 1951."

In the photo above, a ground-breaking ceremony is taking place in May 1951 for the "new" Colorado Street Bridge, which by the time it opened would be renamed Pioneers Bridge.

Caltrans had called for the Colorado Street Bridge to be demolished because a more sturdy bridge with a larger number of lanes was going to be built. It would be called the New Colorado Street Bridge.

But the people of Pasadena protested vehemently, Caltrans backed off and the beloved bridge was saved.

Caltrans then decided to build a completely separate bridge, parallel to the historic landmark.

By the way, I'm not sure that if this photo were taken today we'd see a little tot playing directly underneath that gigantic earth mover!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day at Memorial Park

Today is Veterans Day. There was a very nice ceremony at Pasadena's Memorial Park.

A color guard was comprised of Junior ROTC members from high schools in Pasadena.

Other PUSD JROTC members representing three military branches stood by.

The John Muir High School choir performed.

Congressman Adam Schiff was among the speakers.

I didn't want to disturb this veteran who was having a private moment at the park's Pasadena Vietnam Memorial.

The Civil War Memorial is just north of the Vietnam Memorial.

At exactly 11:11 a.m. there was a flyover by the Condor Squadron of World War II vintage aircraft.

Unfortunately I couldn't stay for the echoing "Taps" by two buglers at opposite ends of the park. This is an extremely moving moment every year but I had to get back to City Hall. If anyone else took a photo of one or both of the buglers, please let me know and I'll post it here with a credit.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mystery History

Where are we? And what's happening?

The first person to guess correctly will win a fabulous prize!

I'll have the full scoop on Thursday.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Looking for Something to Do?

All events are free.

Tuesday, Nov. 10, at 9:30 a.m. – What is the future direction of Northwest Pasadena? If you are a business or commercial property owner in that area, participate in a focus group at Pasadena Enterprise Center, 1015 N. Lake Ave. (That's NATHA headquarters in the photo above.)

Tuesday, Nov. 10, at 6:30 p.m. – Now that Police Chief Bernard Melekian is headed to the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. (sob), what should be the ideal characteristics of Pasadena’s next police chief and what challenges will that person need to meet? Give your opinion during a meeting in the Council Chamber (S249) at Pasadena City Hall, 100 N. Garfield Ave.

Tuesday, Nov. 10, at 6:30 p.m. – What’s the plan for Pasadena’s water future? Learn more and provide your input at a workshop sponsored by Pasadena Water and Power at Jackie Robinson Center, 1020 N. Fair Oaks Ave.

Wednesday, Nov. 11, at 10:30 a.m. – Veterans Day will be commemorated at Memorial Park (Raymond Avenue between Holly and Walnut), including PUSD’s combined Junior ROTC color guard, low-altitude flyover by the Condor Squadron of World War II vintage aircraft, music by John Muir High School band and choir, and echoing "Taps" by buglers from Boy Scouts Venturing Crew 560.

Wednesday, Nov. 11, at 1 p.m. – This week’s film in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Pasadena Central Library, 285 E. Walnut St., is “October Sky” starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Chris Cooper and Laura Dern in the true story of a coal miner’s son who was inspired by the first Sputnik launch to take up rocketry, against his father’s wishes.

CDC Video Player.  Flash Player 9 is required.
CDC Video Player.
Flash Player 9 is required.
Thursday, Nov. 12, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. – If you’re uninsured and fit the profile for a high-risk group, get a free H1N1 vaccine at Victory Park Center, 2575 Paloma St.

Saturday, Nov. 14, from 1 to 4 p.m. – Has your voice been heard? Don’t miss the open house extravaganza the marks the final event of the first phase (community engagement) of Pasadena’s General Plan update!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Mystery History -- Solved

Susan wins with her 7:30 a.m. Tuesday guess "Is it Canto Robledo, the blind Latino boxing sensation, who will be honored by the City?"

In these photos, shot in July 1978, boxing trainer and coach Canto Robledo is very animated as he gives advice (above) and shouts instructions to his fighter in the ring.

Canto Robledo was born in 1913 in Tyron, New Mexico, and moved to Pasadena with his family 10 years later.

By the time he was 19, he won the Pacific Bantamweight Championship and was ranked as a world contender.

Just two years later his boxing career was over. Detached retinas in both eyes left him completely blind after several operations proved unsuccessful.

Years of depression followed, but he was able to lift himself up eventually and in 1940 began training local Pasadena boys in the art of pugilism.

He made history in 1949 when he was the first totally blind person to receive his professional trainer's license in the sport of boxing. He established Crown City Boxing Stables that same year, serving as a mentor to young boys, and the Pasadena Police Department referred many wayward youngsters to his gym for guidance, discipline and structure. He also sponsored amateur boxing shows at John Muir High School, Pasadena High School and Pasadena City College.

Shortly before he passed away in 1999 at age 86 from complications of a stroke, the World Boxing Organization awarded him a replica of the Pacific Bantamweight Championship belt that he had won but never received for his win over Speedy Dado.

There's an interesting 1985 Los Angeles Times feature about Canto Robledo here.

Just over a week ago the Pasadena City Council approved a memorial to honor Canto Robledo at Villa-Parke Community Center.

The memorial will feature a 37- by 25-inch bronze wall relief, and and an adjoining 10- by 16-inch plaque will explain Robledo’s accomplishments and contributions in detail.

Many thanks to Los Angeles Public Library.