Saturday, February 26, 2011

Looking for Something to Do?

Wednesday, March 2, at 1 p.m. -- This week’s film in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Pasadena Central Library is “To Kill a Mockingbird” (1962, NR) starring Gregory Peck, Brock Peters and Robert Duvall in the story of attorney Atticus Finch who defends an innocent black man against rape charges.

Wednesday, March 2, at 4 p.m. – Children and their families are invited to celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday with musical guest Billy Brockman at Hastings Branch Library.

Through March 3 -- If you or someone you know may qualify as a junior lifeguard for our summer aquatics program or a PWP electrical engineering aide, we're hiring!

Through March 8 -- If you don’t want to wait for City of Pasadena and/or PUSD Board of Education elections, come to room S208 at Pasadena City Hall during regular business hours. You can vote early here, even if you live in Altadena or Sierra Madre and are voting for board of education seats only.


This year’s One City, One Story novel in Pasadena is Mudbound by Hillary Jordan that takes place in Mississippi during World War II. Related events are planned through March 31.

Here are related events taking place next week:

Saturday, March 5, at 11 a.m. – Theatre Americana, formed as part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s WPA program, salutes our veterans with music of the ‘30s and ‘40s at Hastings Branch Library that will take you on a sentimental journey through a history of USO camp shows.

Saturday, March 5, at 11:30 a.m. – Old Town Cooking School’s Deb Swartz will demonstrate Southern cooking at Allendale Branch Library with traditional recipes that will make your mouth water (and you’ll get to sample everything!).

Saturday, March 5, at 2 p.m. – See a special screening of the film “The Tuskegee Airmen” (1995, PG) starring Laurence Fishburne, Allen Payne and Malcolm-Jamal Warner at San Rafael Branch Library. The film portrays the true story of the 332nd Air Force squadron during World War II that was honored for keeping casualties low and bombers safe. The squadron also made history because its members were the first African American pilots to take to the skies for the U.S., though few Americans knew of their accomplishments or how they managed to serve in the face of the rampant racism they endured. (626) 744-7270.

More information about Mudbound is here.

All events listed above are free and open to the public.

See a full listing of upcoming events (Feb. 28 to March 5) sponsored by the City of Pasadena here.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Mystery History -- Solved!

Nobody got it exactly right, but Bellis was the first person to name one person in the photo correctly with her 7:55 a.m. Tuesday guess "Mulholland and co. planning to buy up Hahamongna to bring water to LA? (after meeting fierce resistance from the Indiana colony, they headed up to Owens Valley)" so I'm giving her this week's fabulous prize.

Left to right in the 1931 photo above are Franklin E. Weymouth, William Mulholland and W.P Whitsett, and they're actually in the desert*. These three visionaries were responsible for bringing water from northern and central areas of the state to Southern California -- an intricate, expensive and bold move. They predicted that the future growth of Southern California -- Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura counties -- would be tied directly to the capacity to import water from somewhere else.

And they were absolutely right.

Weymouth had been the chief construction engineer with the U.S. Reclamation Service (now called the Bureau of Reclamation) when he joined the team that conceived of the California Aqueduct. He was the first general manager and chief engineer of Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) from 1929 to 1941.

Mulholland was a self-taught engineer who had been responsible for the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913, which brought water from the Owens Valley to L.A.

Whitsett served on the board of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and was MWD's first chairman of the board from 1930 to 1947.

Today the California Aqueduct, managed by the California Department of Water Resources, is a series of canals, tunnels and pipelines that transport water from Northern and Central California to Southern California.

What's the significance of this week's Mystery History?

MWD is preparing for a seismic upgrade of its F.E. Weymouth Water Treatment Plant in La Verne (below).

From March 18 to 27 (and possibly longer), Pasadena’s water supply will be cut by 40 percent due to the temporary shutdown of a major regional water pipeline served by the treatment plant.

That's where you come in.

You won't be allowed to do any outdoor watering (with some exceptions) during that 10-day period, so here are some answers to frequently asked questions.

There will be a 7:30 p.m. public hearing at the Pasadena City Council meeting this coming Monday to declare a Level 4 water shortage emergency. The agenda will be posted here by tonight and you'll be able to attend the meeting in person or watch it live on KPAS (channel 3 on Charter in Pasadena and 99 on U-Verse) or via streaming video here (click on the KPAS logo)

We're all in this together!

*First time ever a Mystery History photo was not shot in Pasadena, but this was for a good cause.

Many thanks to MWD and Pasadena Water and Power.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

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, February 18, 2011

Citizen Journalism

Larry Wilson, public editor of the Pasadena Star-News, was the guest speaker at the kickoff of the Citizen Journalism Speaker Series on Wednesday evening.

Bloggers and others gathered in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Pasadena Central Library to hear Larry discuss the changing face of professional journalism today and how the average joe can become a competent citizen reporter via blogs, Facebook, cell phones and other social media.

Larry's a blogger, too!

Dean Lee, city editor of Mountain Views News, spoke briefly at the event:

Dean teaches a free class for current and budding citizen reporters every Tuesday at 6 p.m. at 2057 N. Los Robles Ave., at the southwest corner of Los Robles and Woodbury. It's on the first floor of the two-story building (you can't miss it: It has "City of Pasadena" in great big letters). This is where our KPAS studio is!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mystery History -- Solved!

I stumped everybody this week.

In the photo above, golfers Wayne Griggs (left) and Gil Gentry play through despite a runaway car that had landed on the rim of a sand trap at Carmelita Park on Nov. 19, 1951.

Pasadena Star-News Nov. 20, 1951:
Golfers yelled "Fore!" for a runaway automobile at the Carmelita Park Pitch and Putt course yesterday.

The car belonged to Mrs. Jane Cheeseman, 77, of 150 South Oak Knoll Avenue who left it in the parking lot while she worked in the Red Cross building.

Somehow the car slipped its brakes and rolled 100 yards downhill into the eighth fairway where three golfers were carefully studying their approach shots. They scattered just in time and the car wound up in the sand trap, police reported.
Carmelita began as a huge private property owned by Dr. Ezra Carr and his wife Jeanne (more about that fascinating history here)

After the City of Pasadena took ownership of the land in 1941, the Carmelita Pitch and Putt course was established at the northeast corner of Colorado and Orange Grove boulevards.

Here are a couple of photos of the course, sans runaway cars:

Lofty plans originally calling for an extensive city park complete with a large, multifaceted cultural complex never came to fruition.

Today the property is owned by the City of Pasadena and leased by the Norton Simon Museum.

Many thanks to Pasadena Public Library and USC.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

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.

Monday, February 14, 2011

161 School

The 161 School in the Xicheng District of Beijing is in a set of ancient buildings in the Forbidden City. And we think Pasadena schools are historic!

Students from 161 School and Blair High School have been communicating with each other via the Internet for more than 10 years, and delegations of students have visited each other's communities.

This past Thursday, a large group of 161 School students came to Pasadena City Hall after visiting Blair.

I took a few moments to welcome them:

That's Cathy Wei next to me above in red, taking the interpreter role. She teaches Chinese language at PCC, serves on the Pasadena Sister Cities Committee and came with us on our trip to the Xicheng District last summer.

We all gathered on the front steps for a group photo:

On the right in this photo is Liu Wen Ming, director of academic studies for 161 School:

We exchanged gifts. I received a DVD about Beijing.

Many thanks to Darci, our Thursday afternoon volunteer in the information booth at City Hall, for shooting all the photos except the top one, which I snapped at 161 School last summer.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Looking for Something to Do?

Sunday, Feb. 13, from 1 to 6 p.m. – Black vintage films including “The Green Pastures” (1936) and “The Girl in Room 20” (1946) will be shown during a Black History film festival at Jackie Robinson Center.

Monday, Feb. 14, at 2:30 p.m. – Children are welcome to celebrate Valentine’s Day at San Rafael Branch Library with special stories, crafts and treats.

Wednesday, Feb. 16, at 1 p.m. – This week’s film in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Pasadena Central Library is “Ladies in Lavender” (2004, PG-13) starring Judi Dench and Maggie Smith in the story of two sisters who befriend a mysterious foreigner who washes up on the beach of their 1930s Cornish seaside village.

Saturday, Feb. 19, FROM 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – The 29th annual Black History Parade and Festival will begin at Charles White Park in Altadena and end with a family festival at Robinson Park in Pasadena.

All events listed above are free and open to the public. See a more comprehensive list of events here.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Stadium Expansion is Off and Running

I'm frightfully late in posting these photos from the groundbreaking at the Rose Bowl Stadium on Jan. 25. I served on the planning committee for the event, which marked the beginning of an extensive three-year, $152 million renovation and expansion project.

In the top photo, that's Mayor Bill Bogaard (center) on the 50 yard line, flanked by (left to right) RBOC President Victor Gordo, Tournament of Roses President Rick Jackson, UCLA Athletics Director Dan Guerrero and Legacy Campaign Director Andrea Van de Kamp.

Here's a closer look:

Later several other officials joined them on the field, including Pasadena City Council and RBOC members, and City Manager Michael Beck (second from left):

Darryl Dunn, general manager of the stadium, was the MC for the formal program, which preceded the photos above and featured several speakers:

As you can see from that shot, some preliminary stages of renovation had begun by the time this event took place, such as removal of seats.

The program was followed by a lovely luncheon on the field for about 150 people, which was capped off by a cake with very subtle symbolic decoration:

Emina Darakjy, one of the Rose Bowl neighbors, carried a rose-themed purse for the occasion. She happened to set it down next to one of the centerpieces. I couldn't resist the shot:

Perhaps the hardest worker of the day was Walt Mancini, Pasadena Star-News photographer extraordinaire whom I've worked with for 20 years:

I took all of the photos except the top one, which was shot by a photographer hired for the event. I don't do ladders.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

They Got Pinned

When there are promotions of sworn personnel in the Pasadena Fire Department, ceremonial badge-pinnings are part of the well-deserved pomp and circumstance.

In the photo above, Kevin Costa, a 14-year veteran of the department, receives his new badge from his wife and mother at Fire Station 34. He was promoted from battalion chief to deputy fire chief for operations.

You can see the badge in all its glory in this photo (that's Pasadena Fire Chief Dennis Downs behind him):

Robert Sepulveda, a seven-year veteran, was promoted from firefighter to fire engineer and pinned by his wife and daughter:

Also promoted was Seaton King, who rose from fire captain to battalion chief. Seaton has been with the department for 20 years.

Congratulations to all three!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Mystery History -- Solved!

Sorry for the long delay in posting the big reveal to my Jan. 25 Mystery History post. I'm back and (almost) fit as a fiddle.

Petrea wins with her 5:33 p.m. Jan. 25 guess "Owen Brown's funeral, Pasadena, 1889."

Click on the two images below to see even greater detail of the photo above, which shows the funeral procession through the streets of Pasadena:

The church was plenty large enough to hold the 2,000 people who attended the funeral:

Owen Brown was one of the sons of John Brown and was side-by-side with his father during the raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859 -- an important precursor to the American Civil War.

Although John Brown was captured, charged with inciting violent abolition and later hanged, Owen Brown (below) was one of only six men who escaped. He was the last survivor of the incident.

After the war, he settled in Ohio for several years before moving to this area in his later life with his brother Jason and some other family members.

They became celebrities in Pasadena, particularly among the African American community, once word got out that they were local residents. Owen and Jason also took on several civic and cultural responsibilities.

Here is Owen Brown (on left) with his brother Jason at their property north of Pasadena.

And here they are at Mt. Wilson (Owen is on the right):

For more than 100 years people have trekked up to Owen Brown's grave site. There was a court battle over whether hikers had the right to take the trail that goes partially through private property, but a judge found in favor of the public.

The grave marker, shown below in a 1914 photo, mysteriously disappeared in 2002.

See Owen Brown's obituary notice from the Jan. 12, 1889, issue of the Pasadena Standard, which includes plenty of historical information, here.

Many thanks to Pasadena Public Library, Pasadena Museum of History, Tim Rutt and