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Talented Tigers Have Lofty Goals

Photos by Eric Danielson / The Review Senior captains Abby Garner (18), attempting a spike against La Salle, along with Kennedy Taylor (10) and Ally Sokolow (5) are four-year varsity players who have led the Tigers to dominating girls’ volleyball in the Rio Hondo League.

First published in the Sept. 17 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

The change first started four years ago. Ivy Chew took over the South Pasadena High School girls’ volleyball program and inherited a group of players whose skills would grow exponentially.
This season, with Chew’s original freshmen now seniors, the Tigers have developed a winning culture and set a new standard. In her first season as head coach, Chew and South Pas were Rio Hondo League runners-up. The following year, they went undefeated en route to the league championship.

City’s Population Grew 5% Over 10 Years, Census Shows

First published in the Sept. 17 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

South Pasadena’s population grew by more than 5% from 2010-2020, a rate nearly one percentage point higher than Los Angeles County as a whole.
According to the U.S. Census results from data collected last year, the city’s population rose from a reported 25,619 residents in 2010 to 26,943 in 2020, representing a gain of 5.17%. The city’s population density posted a fairly similar gain, rising 5.06% from having 7,523 people per square mile in 2010 to 7,904 people per square mile as of last year.
The U.S. Census Bureau has not made its full results widely available yet, but has released the raw data to certain firms and outlets. The Associated Press has compiled this data and released it to media outlets through its Big Local News platform. Data was collected in April 2020, meaning it does not reflect that more than 660,000 Americans have died due to complications from the coronavirus.

Riffle, Aragon Help Tigers to 42-0 Victory

Photo by Eric Danielson / The Review Senior quarterback Noah Aragon (3), aided by the blocking of Thomas Carter (61) and Matthew Takasugi (54), completed seven of nine passes to help South Pasadena High School to its first victory of the season, 42-0, over Marshall High of Los Angeles on Sept. 2.

It was a memorable night for South Pasadena High School’s varsity football team, which earned its first shutout victory since the 2019 season by throttling host Marshall High in Los Angeles, 42-0, on Sept. 2.
Marshall couldn’t contain the South Pasadena’s offense, as the Tigers (1-2 record) scored at least one touchdown during each quarter en route to their first win of the season.

Her Talent for Baking Cobblers Bears Fruit

Photo by Haley Sawyer / The Review Elizabeth Walker hand-delivers cobblers made from scratch in flavors that include peach, peach mango, blackberry and strawberry.

First published in the Sept. 10 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

When Elizabeth Walker inhales the warm sweetness of a freshly baked peach cobbler, her unborn baby stirs. When she turns on the mixer, the baby’s legs get moving.
“She starts kicking like she’s interested already,” Walker said. “So, we’ll see. Maybe she’ll be a little baker.”
Since Walker often bakes peach cobblers, the baby is very active. Walker plans to slow down for a few months after the birth of her daughter in October, but after that, the baked good that has consumed her life will be a part of the child’s, too.

Columnist Reflects on Jewish High Holidays

Photo courtesy Los Angeles Dodgers Legendary Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax, who is Jewish, skipped a game during the 1965 World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur.

First published in the Sept. 10 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

I spent the Jewish High Holidays last year in Dearborn, Michigan.
I don’t have family in Michigan nor do I know anyone in Dearborn. I don’t even remember the name of the synagogue.
I remember going to YouTube and finding a service that felt comfortable.
Many people last year Zoomed their services — and some are doing so again this year. What I remember and liked most about last year’s service was that the melodies brought back memories of the way they were sung in the synagogue I attended while I was growing up. That — in turn — brought back memories of family and friends I have shared the Jewish High Holidays with in the past.

Recalling Threat of Shooting, Group Prays for Schools

Photo by Natalie Miranda / The Review Lydia Banales (left) prays for the South Pasadena schools community with her husband Joseph in the prayer circle.

First published in the Sept. 10 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

The prayer circle that forms each year at the steps of South Pasadena High School carries on a tradition steeped in love, faith and resilience — a response to a near-tragic incident eight years earlier.
The “Pray for Schools” event, which returned last week, was originally set in motion after SPHS faced a mass shooting threat in 2014. The news jolted the school’s sense of security and sent shock waves through the whole community. Although tragedy was ultimately prevented, the scare was interpreted by some residents as a wake-up call to stay connected through support and prayer.
Karen Kano, who coordinated the Sept. 1 prayer gathering of about 40 people, recalls feeling the danger of the situation sink in; two teenagers were arrested after police learned of what they called a “very viable” plan to kill school staff members and other students. The suspects later admitted to a felony count of making criminal threats and were sentenced to probation by a Juvenile Court judge.

City Aims to Slow Traffic for Walkers’ Sake

First published in the Sept. 10 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

South Pasadena will be moving forward quickly with plans that officials hope will make streets safer for foot traffic after the City Council voted last week to appropriate grant money to the Slow Streets Program.
Grant money originally received through L.A. Metro’s Open Street Grant Program will go toward the project.
The goal of the Slow Streets program is to decrease speeding by motorists and increase safety for pedestrians and cyclists on select streets in South Pasadena. Various demonstration projects will be conducted to determine the best way to make busy streets safer.

What 9/11 Survivor Saw: ‘Incredible Heroism and Kindness’

Photo courtesy Danni family Kevin Danni, a South Pasadena native, visits the national 9/11 Memorial & Museum in 2017. He was paying tribute to former Morgan Stanley head of security Rick Rescorla, who evacuated about 2,700 employees that day and died when the South Tower collapsed.

First published in the Sept. 10 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

Two decades on, South Pasadena native Kevin Danni is still helping to make good on the collective promise to “never forget.”
Danni will be speaking this week, as he does every year, about having survived the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, when he was a fledgling financial adviser at Morgan Stanley. He recounts his memories of the tragic events to students who weren’t even born yet. He’ll visit his alma mater, St. Francis High School, and a group in Glendale, translating the fateful day into a lived history, not just a historical event, to help younger people grasp its meaning.

SPUSD Reports Few Cases of Virus

First published in the Sept. 3 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

A handful of coronavirus cases have been identified at local public school campuses since the start of the academic year, the South Pasadena Unified School District said earlier this week.
Two cases were identified at both Marengo Elementary School and South Pasadena High in August, and a case at Arroyo Vista Elementary School was reported on Wednesday. All five people were quarantined.
The district is logging and publishing data on positive coronavirus cases among students and staff that have been detected since the start of the school year on Aug. 12, though it does not disclose whether a case involves a student or staff member. This year, 4,660 students are enrolled at SPUSD schools and there are 425 employees.

Carjacking Leads to Two Arrests, Police Say

First published in the Sept. 3 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

Two suspects were arrested hours after a woman’s car was stolen at knifepoint in South Pasadena last week and she was left stranded in town, local police said.
A 73-year-old Alhambra woman told South Pasadena officers that two men accosted her and stole her car at 1:11 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 26, while she was parked in the 1900 block of Huntington Drive and using her cellphone. One of the men opened her unlocked driver side door and, brandishing a knife, forced her out of the Lexus IS250 sedan, police said. They added that the second man entered the vehicle on the passenger side and both men drove off with the victim’s cellphone and purse in the car.

Teen Creates Camp to Honor Brother

Photo courtesy Luke Nelson Camper Darren T., counselor Alexis K. and camper Patrick N. share a group hug in Garfield Park.

First published in the Sept. 3 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

A few years ago, local teenage volunteer Luke Aloe noticed that many youth with special needs within his community felt isolated.
Inspired by Dominic, his older brother who has autism, Luke created a social group which meets monthly for teenagers with disabilities in the South Pasadena area.
“The name Moai comes from the moai social groups in Okinawa, Japan, where residents have some of the longest lifespans in the world,” explained Aloe, a junior at Loyola High in Los Angeles. “Their long lives have been credited to these social groups, where they keep in touch with their friends throughout their lifetimes.”

Tigers Beaten by Boron, 33-14, in Home Opener

Photo by Eric Danielson / The Review South Pasadena High sophomore Lionelle Limqueco (11) tries to maneuver past Boron High players while returning a kickoff in last week’s Tigers home opener. Despite a staunch effort, South Pasadena (0-2) fell 33-14 to the Bobcats and lost one of its team captains to injury for several weeks.

First published in the Sept. 3 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

The South Pasadena High School varsity football team dropped its home opener, a 33-14 loss to visiting Boron of the High Desert Friday night.
Tigers head coach Jeff Chi emphasized his team’s mental mistakes early on this season and knows there is still plenty of time to improve mentally and physically moving forward.
“It’s a process and we have to keep working toward it,” Chi said. “Our ultimate goal is to get better each week and get ready for league, so we’re going to use this time to gear up for that. Even if we go 0-5 in [non-league] but do well in league, we’ll be pleased with the season there.”

Indicators Suggest Coronavirus Slowdown

First published in the Sept. 3 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

Before July, the coronavirus appeared to have all but stalled in South Pasadena.
That relief did not last, however, as daily new case rates took off again that month throughout all of Los Angeles County, driven primarily by the spread of the Delta variant of the virus and concentrated largely among the unvaccinated. In South Pasadena, nearly 1% of the population was reported to have contracted the disease between July 1 and Aug. 31, according to testing data from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

Local Unemployment Declines as County Rate Remains Flat

Data: California Employment Development Department

South Pasadena’s unemployment rate saw a slight decrease from June to July, according to state data, though the rates in Los Angeles County and California stayed obstinate.
The local rate fell from a revised 8.2% in June to 7.6% in July, the California Employment Development Department reported in a preliminary estimate. The drop represented a decrease in the number of the city’s unemployed residents from about 1,200 to 1,100; the estimate for employed residents increased from 13,300 to 13,400.
South Pasadena’s unemployment rate, which historically has been lower than the county’s, has improved sharply since its pandemic-era high of 16.5% in May 2020. It has fluctuated somewhat this year, however, usually hovering between 7% and 8%. The city’s pre-pandemic joblessness rate was 3.7%.

Testing Finds 3 SPUSD Virus Cases

After a little more than a week of screening for COVID-19, the local school system said that three of its students have tested positive for the coronavirus since the beginning of the academic year.
All three cases were listed this week on the dashboard maintained by the South Pasadena Unified School District. One of the students is enrolled at Marengo Elementary School, the other two at South Pasadena High School.

Tigers’ Loss Features Strong Performances

Photo courtesy Jon Takasugi Senior Grant Huntley sprints downfield during South Pasadena High’s season-opening game Aug. 20 at Los Angeles Lincoln. Huntley caught six passes for 121 yards and a 65-yard touchdown, but it wasn’t enough as Lincoln prevailed, 37-20.

The South Pasadena High School varsity football team showed last week that there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the 2021 season, despite the outcome of its season-opening contest.
The Tigers dropped a 37-20 decision on Aug. 20 to Los Angeles’ Lincoln High School — which also was playing its first game, and is also called the Tigers. Fans at the game would be excused if they did a double-take upon arriving at the field, as both squads sported a black-and orange color scheme. The similarity of uniforms notwithstanding, Lincoln had a little more bite than its counterpart.

Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers to Be Banned

After weeks of soliciting feedback from the community and information from municipal commissions, the South Pasadena City Council voted unanimously last week to prohibit the use of gasoline-powered leaf blowers in town.
“We’re going to be a model for the nation,” said Mayor Pro Tem Michael Cacciotti, a longtime supporter of banning gas-powered leaf blowers and of electrification in general. “This council, the commissioners, the community, I’m just so impressed.”

Recalling Actress’ Death, Group Calls for Police Reform

Photo by Mitch Lehman / The Review Albert Corado, an activist who is running for a Los Angeles City Council seat, speaks Sunday at the third “angelversary” for Vanessa Marquez in South Pasadena.

A group coalesced outside of the Metro Gold Line Station on Sunday to observe the third anniversary of the fatal shooting of actress Vanessa Marquez by South Pasadena police officers who were responding to a mental health crisis at her apartment in 2018.
Thirty to 40 observers gathered at the so-called “angelversary” on Sunday at the downtown location, where speakers and friends of Marquez memorialized the actress and called on supporters to push for law enforcement reform and stronger accountability practices. The group also recognized others who have been killed during police responses, evoking a feature of protests that followed the murder of George Floyd by an officer in Minneapolis last year.
Participating organizations included the National Lawyers Guild of Los Angeles, Say Their Names L.A., Centro CSO, American Indian Movement and Black Lives Matter Los Angeles.

SPHS Students Help Kids Become Rooted in STEM

Photo courtesy Xiyu Wang Kids raise their hands to answer a question as Aaron Quan and Xiyu Wang (top right) give a presentation on the biology of bacteria.

Xiyu Wang and Aaron Quan were introduced to science early in life — if they hadn’t, they might have missed out on the experiences that helped spark their passion for that branch of knowledge.

For Wang, her childhood bedtime stories were tales from her cardiothoracic surgeon father’s operations. He would explain and share the procedures he performed, giving her a glimpse into the world of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Quan also developed a tradition with his father involving nature, through fishing, that ignited his interest in life sciences and plants.

These moments of discovery spurred Wang and Quan’s gravitation to STEM, and ultimately set them on the path that led them to form the nonprofit STEMspiration L.A. through the chemistry club at South Pasadena High School, where they are rising juniors.

Back to School: Students’ Resocialization and Psychology

Annette Ermshar, CEO of Dr. Ermshar & Associates

While we find ourselves grappling with the new norms of our changing world, a return to a regular school year for our students is imminent. Youth are transitioning back to a traditional classroom-based academic year with regular school-based and extra-curricular activities. This transition is certain to have implications for resocialization and for the ever-shifting identity development that naturally occurs in childhood and adolescence.
School provides important opportunities for critical development, not only for academic advancement, but also for socializing, peer support, experiencing memorable events and moments, and self-expression. Certainly the increased isolation and removal from typical socialization that has resulted from the pandemic may have short- and long-term consequences that we still cannot fully know.

Chinese-American Club Gives Back During Pandemic

Photos courtesy South Pasadena Chinese-American Club The Chinese Banquet Dinner in 2018 brought more than 300 guests for the annual South Pasadena Chinese-American Club event. The organization continues to distinguish itself in town even after the pandemic shuttered its usual events.

First published in the Jan. 28 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

I’ve got an idea.
Let’s ban and bury those phrases “Chinese flu” or “Wuhan virus” and think instead about the phrase “Chinese American Charity.”
The first two phrases have done nothing but fuel discrimination against Asian Americans. The third phrase really captures the essence of the South Pasadena Chinese-American Club. In learning about the group, I was surprised by how charitable the club has been not only over the years but especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I’ll wish the club and its members — all are welcome, whether Chinese or not — a happy Lunar New Year, which begins Tuesday, Feb. 1, as the Year of the Tiger, with a salute for its charitable work.
Let’s also take a glance at the damage caused by that “Chinese flu” expression. There were 9,135 residents of South Pasadena identified as Asian in the 2020 census. That represents nearly 34% of the city’s 26,943 residents.
President Yuki Cutcheon said that the Chinese-American Club partnered with local businesses from March through June of 2021 and bought $15,000 worth of gift certificates, meals from local restaurants and other gifts to use as prizes in its bingo game. College students also made videos to highlight businesses and remind residents to shop locally.
“It was a way to show some love to local businesses,” Cutcheon said.
Laurie Wheeler, president of the South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, was effusive in her praise of the club’s project.
“It was an idea that evolved into something so fantastic. The businesses loved it and the project came at such a critical time during the pandemic,” Wheeler said. “They came to us with the idea and really did all of the heavy lifting.
“The Chinese-American Club really does amazing things in this community,” she added, “not just for businesses, but for the schools, too.”

A student from the Los Angeles Huacui Peking Opera Academy performs at a prior event for the South Pasadena Chinese-American Club.

The club also makes $15,000 in grants to people and projects within the school district and it also provides three $3,000 scholarships each year.
Now, let’s talk about those ugly slurs against Asian Americans. Cutcheon said club members already are.
“Within South Pasadena, I haven’t heard of more cases of hate crime against Asians, but I do think it is a larger issue in other areas of the San Gabriel Valley,” Cutcheon said. “There is more of an awareness now. People are talking more about hate crimes, and they are able to vocalize their concerns.
“When you get into the outside world,” she continued, “it becomes more exposed because [former President Donald] Trump made it more OK to say these sorts of things.”
Irene Chang, who has lived in South Pasadena for 30 years, said she hasn’t personally experienced any additional racial hatred, but she said some of her friends had encountered the problem.
“My son and I like to take a walk after dinner and for a while we decided to stay on better lighted streets just to be safe,” she said. “And where, years ago, I might go out after dark, now I think about it and say, ‘maybe not.’”
The result of a survey, conducted by Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles and the Asian Youth Center between July and September of 2021 said that about a third of the 284 adults interviewed in the San Gabriel Valley reported experiencing a hate incident based on their ethnicity since the beginning of the pandemic. A majority of these incidents involved insults or verbal abuse.
Los Angeles County saw a 76% increase in reported anti-Asian hate crime in 2020 compared to 2019, according to a report released by the county’s human relations commission. This was the biggest jump since 2001, and 23% of the reports indicated victims were targeted to be blamed for COVID-19.
The South Pasadena Police Department has been more proactive in this area, Cutcheon said, with the new police chief and his staff reaching out to the club to make sure it knew that concerns would be taken seriously. Cutcheon also gave credit to Congresswoman Judy Chu and state Sen. Anthony Portantino, who both represent South Pasadena, along with former Councilman Bob Joe and other council members for their support. The new City Manager Arminé Chaparyan met with the 33-year-old club in one of her introductory visits.
“The plague of anti-Asian violence has terrorized Asian American communities across the country,” Chu wrote in a statement to me. “But I’ve been heartened by the tireless work of organizations like the South Pasadena Chinese-American Club that have helped to help raise awareness of this problem and combat it. Thanks to efforts like these, we saw unprecedented support for the Asian American community.”
COVID-19 has disrupted many of the club’s traditional gatherings and its annual gala dinner-dance, its biggest fundraiser of the year. But it hasn’t halted the ingenuity to keep the Chinese American culture front and center in the city.
Instead of a New Year luncheon at the War Memorial Building, this year there will be a drive-thru carryout luncheon, which invites patrons to pick up their meals at the South Pasadena Senior Center on Feb. 3. (Pre-registration is required.) On March 6, there will be a walk-through event at Orange Grove Park for Marengo Elementary School students, co-sponsored by the school PTA. Still up in the air is the gala, which had to be canceled last year due to the pandemic.

Children enjoy the Kids Corner, which offers free arts and crafts and games and activities, at a prior Moon Festival by the South Pasadena Chinese-American Club. South Pasadena High School students volunteer to run the Kids Corner activities.

Cutcheon said that the reason why the club is open to everyone — and now has a no-dues category — is that it wants to make the community aware of the diversity within its midst.
“The Asian community has definitely grown since my husband and I moved here from Canada in 1999,” Cutcheon said. “It’s great to see the city becoming more diverse.”
Part of that effort to reflect South Pasadena’s diversity has come from both the Chinese-American Club and the Vecinos de South Pasadena — the city’s Hispanic and Latino club — successful efforts to promote dual-language immersion programs in Spanish and Mandarin in elementary schools. Now, both clubs would love to see the program move along to middle school, or at least have a greater emphasis on the languages in higher grades. The Chinese-American Club now has tutoring classes after school in Mandarin and a Zoom session each week for interested adults.
Some of you may remember that last year I wrote that many Asian families in the San Gabriel Valley were unable to reunite with family during the Lunar New Year, even if family was only a county away.
This year, with families checking vaccination cards, that may not be as big a problem for a holiday which rejoices in family and family gatherings. Trips back and forth to visit family in Asia may have to wait for a while, however.
There is a Chinese tradition for Lunar New Year — which is observed by many East and Southeast Asian cultures — that young people get little red envelopes containing money.
Let’s hope that everyone in the Chinese-American Club gets a red envelope filled with health, happiness and freedom from the hate which has plagued the community throughout the past two years.

Columnist’s Note: You need to register by Jan. 31 to take advantage of the free lunch offered by the Chinese-American Club. Adults 55 and older can call (626) 403-7360. Lunch is served beginning at 11:30 a.m. in front of the South Pasadena Senior Center on Oxley Street. The event at Orange Grove Park is from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. March 6. The event is sponsored by the Chinese-American Club and the city and run by the Marengo PTA. I’ll have a reminder in a later column.

Committee Campaigns for Library Special Tax

Photo courtesy Sally Kilby

First published in the Jan. 28 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

A committee to campaign for the renewal of the Library Special Tax has kicked off its efforts by opening an account at Priority One Credit Union in South Pasadena.
The tax, which is expected to appear for renewal on the Nov. 8 general election ballot, provides funding for about 20% of the South Pasadena Public Library’s budget.
Committee members include co-chair Ed Donnelly, Treasurer Margaret Lee and former Mayor Robert Joe, with President/CEO Charles Wiggington Sr. (second, from right) of Priority One Credit Union.

AbilityFirst Announces New Board Chair

David Saeta

First published in the Jan. 28 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

Local resident David Saeta has been elected as the new board chair at AbilityFirst, the Pasadena-based nonprofit organization has announced.
Saeta, executive vice president with IDS Real Estate Group, takes over the position formerly held by Wendy Lees.
AbilityFirst’s new executive committee includes Saeta as chair, Kathryn Sanders Platnick as vice chair, Randy Repp as treasurer, Will Craig as secretary and Willan Johnson as member-at-large. The board’s other directors are Steve Brockmeyer, Joseph Brumfield, Mike Dokmanovich, Richard R. Frank, Lauren Hom, John Kelly, Joanne Kim, Anita Lawler, Wendy Lees, Dr. Francisco Navarro, Mary Spellman, Louis Teran, Harlan Thompson and Patricia Vick.
Saeta is a third-generation South Pasadena resident who studied human biology at Stanford University and went on to receive his MBA at UCLA. He is a former South Pasadena mayor, councilmember and planning commissioner, “an avid golfer and is passionate about volleyball,” according to an AbilityFirst spokesperson. He began his professional career as a national director for the NCAA Volunteers for Youth program and has spent the last 30 years with IDS Real Estate Group.
“My support for AbilityFirst started when I organized a high school all-star volleyball match that included a public service experience for the athletes. The all-stars conducted a skills clinic for the AbilityFirst participants and it touched my heart to see these two groups working together,” Saeta said. “Today I am excited to continue to support AbilityFirst CEO Lori Gangemi and the entire team, supporting individuals with developmental disabilities.”
AbilityFirst provides a variety of programs that help people with disabilities realize their full potential throughout their lives. As the organization celebrates more than 96 years of service, it is focusing its efforts on programs that “are proven to have the greatest impact on a person’s success: basic life-skills enhancement through our children’s and adult programs; higher education and employment readiness; and independent living and social and recreational programming,” a spokesperson said. “AbilityFirst looks beyond disabilities, focuses on the capabilities of each individual and breaks through any preconceived limitations, opening up a world of possibilities.”
To learn more, visit abilityfirst.org.

Families’ Resilience Tested in Pandemic

Annette Ermshar, CEO, Dr. Ermshar & Associates

First published in the Jan. 28 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

By Annette Ermshar
Special to The Review

The circumstances in our world over the past two years have brought a myriad of changes, stressors and uncertainty that our society could not have anticipated or adequately planned for.
The COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine terms have certainly impacted everyone both nationally and globally. While the pandemic has contributed to many strains and struggles in everyday functioning for all of us, there are also challenges that are unique to individuals in provider roles.
With the onset of changes in job status, roles, availability and even job locations, workers have been forced to adjust their expectations and be flexible in order to create a new work norm.
For parents who work outside the home, they had a routine of leaving the house and going to a workplace, functioning within a delineated work environment and providing for their family. Amid shifts due to social distancing and evolving work demands, many have adapted their work schedule by working from home. Although this has some positives, including more time spent with family members and less commute time, there are also inherent difficulties.
For instance, those who are forced to work from home can experience less focus and more distractions, especially if they have a spouse, children, and/or pets around their immediate work space. They do not readily have access to in-person interactions with colleagues and clients.
Many parents have faced being laid off, furloughed, or have been forced to take a reduction in work hours, all of which can affect their ability to provide for their family and sense of fulfillment and purpose.
For those in a provider role, their identity, in part, includes being the breadwinner and ensuring a sense of safety and stability within their family. During the pandemic, this sense of safety and stability has been compromised and many providers feel responsible for the struggles they see within their family. These changes may have created more financial strain and burden as a result of less income and/or more unforeseen costs elsewhere. As such, many individuals have been experiencing added stressors, strain or distance in their family relationships, which has contributed to increased stress and anxiety, depression and even desperation.
In addition to work changes, working mothers and fathers have experienced significant changes in their social life and interpersonal functioning that can negatively impact their well-being. For example, quarantine terms and subsequent closures have more limited accessibility to various outlets including sporting events, recreational group sports, gyms and other interests they share with their peer group.
Full-time parents have also experienced significant changes in their lives. They may have utilized schools, daycare centers, play dates and other family members to assist them with caring for their children or to provide mental health breaks for their own mental wellbeing. In turn, with the onset of quarantine and social distancing orders, stay-at-home parents have had fewer resources in order to maintain the daily responsibilities and needs for their children, such as a reduced social support system.
Additionally, retired persons have been presented with a different set of challenges and issues resulting from COVID. Specifically, they have had to take extra safety precautions and have been told to significantly limit going out or spending time with others, even immediate family.
Likewise, retirees have had to postpone vacation plans due to travel restrictions. Consequently, retirees are forced to isolate. This pattern of reduced social interaction, less physical activity, reduced time outdoors, and diminished access to resources and forms of entertainment can all weigh heavily on individuals, particularly older individuals.
COVID messaging has highlighted that older individuals are at increased risk for contracting the virus, which has contributed to increased fears and concerns about personal and family physical health, and has contributed to feeling helpless about their well-being and their future.
Likewise, according to the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging, the pandemic has created financial constraints for retirees with families. Specifically, one-fourth of all parents with adult children in the United States (24 million people) have provided financial support to their adult children. This shift in financial responsibilities can have implications on retirement planning and savings.
In spite of the harsh realities and effects of COVID in our lives, it is important to acknowledge the resilience and strength of the human spirit. Even amid these added stressors, our community has found motivation from family members, peers and coworkers.
Parents have also taken on their role as providers and protectors to a new level by supporting and working even harder than before, advocating for loved ones in need, and managing their own expectations so they can live each day with purpose and a new norm.

Annette Ermshar, CEO of Dr. Ermshar & Associates, is a clinical neuropsychologist who holds a doctorate degree. Her Pasadena-based private practice focuses on psychological assessment and treatment, neuropsychology and forensic psychology. She has served as an expert consultant for television and media.

Elementary School Construction Is Nearing an End

Photos courtesy SPUSD Marengo Elementary School

First published in the Jan. 28 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

Construction at Arroyo Vista Elementary School was recently finished over the winter break.
Despite the inclement weather setbacks, the re-paving of the playground and installation of the required fire lane were completed. At a later date, the newly surfaced playground will be sealed and new permanent game lines will be installed. These same renovations were completed at Marengo Elementary School, which is readying its classroom occupancy.
Exterior plaster has been completed and installation of the sheet metal coping for the roof and parapets are progressing at the new Monterey Hills Elementary School building, while the interior electrical and low voltage are underway. Site work will resume after the retaining wall on the east elevation is installed. Permanent power installation is expected in February 2022. In March, the hardscape and landscape will be installed. Final electrical connections and building interior finishes will be completed simultaneously.

Woman of the Year Nominations Close Feb. 4

First published in the Jan. 28 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

Assemblyman Chris Holden seeks nominations for his annual 41st Assembly District’s Woman of the Year and Women of Distinction celebration.
“For 30 years, in recognition of Women’s History Month, the legislature has honored the achievements of women throughout California during the annual Woman of the Year celebration,” Holden said. “It is your chance to acknowledge the superwoman in your life and in our community.”
The nomination deadline is Feb. 4 at 5 p.m.
For more information or to submit a nomination form, visit a41.asmdc.org/woman-year-nominations.

Tigers Fall to Temple City, Defeat San Marino

Photo by Sebastian Moore / The Review The South Pasadena High School varsity girls’ water polo team won one of its two most recent home Rio Hondo League matchups. Team members pictured are Lana Encinas (front, from left), Reese Buckley, Cleopatra Walker, Ellen Leung and Nadia Cho. Back: Jaeda Reed, Luna Encinas, Lorelei Rahm, Allison Lee, Grace Markus, Monet Cajayon and Jaela Reed.

First published in the Jan. 28 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

The South Pasadena High School varsity girls’ water polo team split two of its most recent Rio Hondo League home games.
The Tigers (2-3 overall and 2-3 league record) fell to visiting Temple City, 16-3, on Tuesday. SPHS previously defeated San Marino, 12-6, last Thursday. No individual statistics were reported to the Review for either game.
South Pasadena is scheduled to visit La Cañada for a league rematch on Thursday, Jan. 27, at 3:30 p.m. The Tigers previously fell to the Spartans, 16-6, and will attempt to reverse the tide on the road this time.

South Pasadena Competes in League Contests

Photos by Sebastian Moore / The Review South Pasadena High School’s varsity boys’ soccer team recently moved to a 2-2-1 league mark (5-4-3 overall). Pictured are Nathan Rodak (front, from left), Rafael Shahnazaryan, Boden Harlowe, Will Michels, Charles Betts, Shota Maekawa, Oscar Cassidy, Lucien St. Vaughn, Aidan Ogawa and Christopher Rosales. Back: head coach Juan Zurita, Grant Huntley, Jason Liu, Keeran Murray, Henry Fogel, Sawyer Fox, Aidan Kinney, Tilo Andac, Roddy Foley, Aidan Villasenor, Declan Swift, Gus Eddy, Andrew Kowal and assistant coach Mathewos Ghebrekrsistos.

First published in the Jan. 28 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

The South Pasadena High School varsity boys’ soccer team split its two most recent Rio Hondo League games to move to a 2-2-1 league mark (5-4-3 overall).
Last week, the Tigers crushed San Marino, 7-0, on Wednesday as junior Shota Maekawa scored a game-high two goals. Juniors Tilo Andac and Oscar Cassidy, and sophomores Roman Ogawa, Joe Hwang and Victor Zarazua each had one goal. Junior Aidan Kinney and Sawyer Fox had two and one saves, respectively, while splitting time as goalkeepers.
The Tigers ended the week by falling at La Cañada, 2-1, last Friday in a league rematch after previously tying the Spartans, 3-3, in earlier this month. Maekawa scored South Pas’ lone goal while Kinney registered five saves.
The Tigers are scheduled to host Blair High of Pasadena in a league matchup on Friday, Jan. 28, at 3:30 p.m.

Photos by Sebastian Moore / The Review
The South Pasadena High School varsity girls’ soccer team’s record recently moved to 2-3-4 overall after tying visiting La Cañada, 1-1. Pictured are Iris Pollard (front, from left), Ellie Yamada, Sabrina Bluml, Amaris Franco, Ava Dunville, Emily Monterroso and Brynn Dubester. Back: Leah Pearson, Kaoruko Endo, Tyra Williams, Daniella Lat, Saidbh Byrne, Julie Frias, Ava Hartstein and Zoe Kim.


The Tigers hosted La Cañada this past week in a rematch and tied 1-1 for the second time this season. No individual statistics were reported to the Review.
South Pasadena (2-3-4 overall record, 1-1-3 in league) is scheduled to visit Blair High in Pasadena for a league contest on Friday, Jan. 28, at 3:15 p.m.

South Pasadena Earns Three Consecutive Wins

Photos by Sebastian Moore / The Review South Pasadena sophomore point guard Dylan Tse (left) is pictured with her older sister, senior power forward Allysan Tse. Dylan averaged 20.6 points per game over her last three outings while Allysan has averaged 21.6 points during that same span.

First published in the Jan. 28 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

It has been more than two months since the South Pasadena High School varsity girls’ basketball team has lost, and the Tigers extended their winning streak to 11 games after adding three more victories, including two in Rio Hondo League competition.
South Pasadena (4-0 Rio Hondo League record, 18-1 overall), ranked No. 4 in this week’s CIF Southern Section Division 2A poll, has enjoyed a phenomenal year, averaging 64.9 points per game while limiting opponents to 37.9 points.
The Tigers are scheduled to host Blair High of Pasadena in a league game on Friday, Jan. 28, at 5:15 p.m. South Pasadena crushed Blair, 80-17, in their previous matchup.


Photos by Sebastian Moore / The Review
South Pasadena sophomore shooting guard Jamie Rain Kim has helped the Tigers win 11 straight games while moving their record to 18-1 overall (4-0 in league).

The Tigers opened the week by recording a 61-point victory — their second largest of the season — at Monrovia during a league game on Monday. Sophomore point guard Dylan Tse and senior power forward Allysan Tse registered 22 and 19 points, respectively. Senior small forward Alyssa Chan added nine points and senior point guard Isabella Alfonso scored six points.


South Pasadena picked up a nonleague victory over visiting Gardena Serra last Saturday. Allysan Tse racked up 28 points, Dylan Tse posted 21 points, while Jamie Rain Kim and junior Peyton Washington each added eight points.


To kick off last week’s action, South Pas hosted San Marino in a rivalry matchup on Wednesday, Jan. 19. Allysan Tse and Dylan Tse finished with 20 and 19 points, respectively, and sophomore Yuzu Harada had six points.

Tigers Lose Heartbreaker to La Cañada at Buzzer, 50-49

Photos by Sebastian Moore / The Review Tigers senior point guard Dillon Akers (right) scored a game-high 19 points but South Pasadena fell at La Cañada, 50-49.

First published in the Jan. 28 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

The South Pasadena High School varsity boys’ basketball team lost a showdown between the Rio Hondo League’s top two teams as host La Cañada scored at the final buzzer to edge the Tigers, 50-49, last Friday evening.
South Pasadena (13-7 overall record, 4-1 in league), ranked No. 9 in this week’s CIF Southern Section Division 3A poll, suffered its first league loss and fell into second place. Meanwhile, nine-time defending league champion La Cañada, ranked No. 3 in CIF, has a 3-0 league record (13-5 overall).
The Tigers opened the fourth quarter on a 10-2 scoring run to claim a 39-37 lead as senior Dillon Akers scored 10 points on two 3-pointers and a four-point play. Akers led the Tigers with a game-high 19 points, including three baskets behind the arc.
“He had a good game; he played well,” SPHS head coach Ernest Baskerville said. “But it’s not about the individual; it’s about the team. And as a team, we lost. [Akers] kept us in the game, though. When others were shooting poorly, he did a good job.”
After La Cañada tied it 39-39 in the final quarter, the following six baskets combined from both teams resulted in a tie or a lead change, highlighting the intense back-and-forth battle.
Freshman Sebastian Martinez, who finished with four points, made two free throws to give the Tigers a 49-46 lead with just over 30 seconds remaining.
However, the Spartans scored two baskets in the final minute, including the game-winner at the buzzer.
The Tigers held a 16-10 lead after one quarter as Akers and senior Sage Wayans highlighted a 9-0 scoring run. Wayans finished with 14 points.
Rounding out the scoring for South Pas were senior Jonathan Guy with seven points, senior Ezekiel Pannell scored three points and senior Niko Lawrence had two points.
The Tigers and La Cañada will have their highly anticipated rematch at SPHS on Monday, Jan. 31, at 7 p.m. South Pas is also scheduled to host Blair High of Pasadena in a league game on Friday, Jan. 28, at 7 p.m.


Photo by Sebastian Moore / The Review
South Pasadena High School head coach Ernest Baskerville notched his 300th career win against visiting San Marino during a Rio Hondo League game last Wednesday.

Before the La Cañada game, the Tigers matched up with visiting Rio Hondo League rival San Marino and Baskerville notched his 300th career coaching victory.
“I really like this group of kids [and] it was great to get it against a rival team,” Baskerville said. “It felt really good because I know [San Marino] wanted to stop our winning streak in league and we wanted to stop theirs.”
Baskerville’s first head coaching position came in 1997 at his alma mater, Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies, where he compiled 179 wins between 1997 and 2009. He recorded 35 wins at Burbank Providence between 2011-13 before adding 24 wins at Pasadena’s La Salle College Preparatory from 2013-15.
After a three-year hiatus, Baskerville returned to coaching at Burbank High and added 17 wins during his one-year stint. Currently the head coach at South Pasadena High since 2019, Baskerville added 45 wins to reach the 300 plateau (and counting).
“It’s great. I don’t know if it means I’ve been around a long time or I’ve had some success,” Baskerville said. “I look at it like this: wins are about players. I definitely want to thank all the players I’ve had over the years and all the coaches that have assisted me in getting wins. I got tons of calls, emails and text messages, and it’s just really great to see that you still touch these lives.”