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‘Booster Club’ Grabs Spotlight for City’s Entry in Rose Parade

Zooming down the roadway, a car full of animals is off to a tailgate party as depicted in South Pasadena’s entry in the 2018 Tournament of Roses Parade.

Officials from the organization unveiled the new artwork this week as volunteers begin constructing what they hope will be another masterpiece in the long line of floats.

The theme of the New Year’s Day spectacle down Colorado Boulevard’s 5-1/2 mile route is “Making a Difference,” said Janet Benjamin, president of the South Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association.

Fittingly, “Booster Club,” the name of the city’s float, “fits the overall theme well,” she said.

“Who makes more of a difference in a kid’s life than the Booster Club?” Benjamin asked.

Inside the classic vehicle are a lion, tiger, ostrich and a giraffe. A trailer, containing all the ingredients for a tailgate party, is hitched to the car. “Of course, we had to put a tiger in there because we are the home of the tigers,” said a smiling Benjamin.

Always colorfully decorated, the body of the vehicle on the city’s newest float is going to be covered in roses, with kidney beans used on the fenders. Melaleuca bark, and eucalyptus, silver leaf and a variety of other flowers and natural products will be use to complete the task.

Not hiding her enthusiasm, Benjamin said, “The roses on the car are going to be spectacular!”

“Buddy Bench” Introduced at Monterey Hills Elementary

South Pasadena High School junior Ashton Carless unveiled his Eagle Scout project, a “Buddy Bench” on which students can sit when they are feeling lonely, during an assembly at Monterey Hills on Friday, May 19. Introduced by fifth grade teacher Ron Millar, Carless described the bench to the audience of kids and teachers as “the place on your playground where you can find a friend and be a friend, an opportunity to be kind to others and receive kindness from others.”

If a kid is sitting on the “Buddy Bench,” other students know to include that kid, or to join on the bench. Carless included the Monterey Hills students in the project by constructing the bench according to a design that the students voted on. The bench has Monterey Hills printed on it in alternating letters of green and yellow, the school colors.

Carless was assisted in the process of building the bench by half a dozen friends and community members.

New Head Coach Preparing for 2017 Football Season

New head coach of the South Pasadena High School Football Team, Jeff Chi, knows what it will take for his Tigers to improve on the past two seasons. “There are a few things we haven’t overcome,” Chi said this week, “beating San Marino and Monrovia and getting out of the first round of playoffs.”

South Pasadena accumulated an impressive 15-5 record over the past two seasons under C.B. Richards, but during that time they also suffered big losses to Monrovia and San Marino, the two most dominant teams in the Rio Hondo League. After a 7-1 start to the 2016 season, the Tigers dropped their final three games, falling to the Wildcats and the Titans before ending the season with a 35-10 loss to Aquinas High School in San Bernardino in the CIF playoffs.

Entering his first summer as head coach, Chi has made increasing his players’ athleticism his number one priority. “My main focus right now is to improve our skill level, strength and conditioning. We want to make these guys complete athletes,” he said.

Chi, who also teaches math at the high school, played for the Tigers in the mid 80’s as a linebacker, running back and receiver. He has worked with the South Pasadena athletic program for around twenty-five years, helping the football program as a defensive coach and last season as an offensive coordinator.

The Tigers have pressing needs at their skill positions, where they have lost playmaking seniors at quarterback and running back. Jalen Ross, offensive and defensive threat, and quarterback Adam Arellano graduated, and their replacements are still competing for their positions. This, says Athletic Director Gregorio Luna, will be the biggest challenge for the team. “We’re very young at the skill positions, and no matter who it is, we will have a first year varsity quarterback starting,” said Luna, “that being said, we’re confident we can win every game on our schedule.”

The football season kicks off on August 8 at home against Rosemead. The Tigers beat the Panthers in an away game to kick off last season, 35-20.

710 Freeway Fighters Celebrate Metro Board’s Tunnel Decision

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Board unanimously voted to end the 50-year debate last week over the 4.5-mile 710 gap in the San Gabriel Valley. Photo by Bill Glazier

Interim City Manager Elaine Aguilar called it an “historic day” for South Pasadena, trumpeting the efforts of many residents and lawmakers who have been at the forefront of the decades-old fight against the 710 Freeway extension.

One of those, state Assemblyman Chris Holden, once called it “a misguided and obsolete solution” to a regional transportation issue. He believes the region will benefit more by making use of mass transit options over closing the 4.5-mile gap, just outside the Alhambra border at Valley Blvd. to the 210/134 interchange in Pasadena, with a freeway tunnel.

Locally, a unanimous vote by the Metro Board last week finally “puts an end to the tunnel,” said South Pasadena City Manager Elaine Aguilar, new on the scene since taking over just two weeks ago for the departing Sergio Gonzalez, who now holds the same position in the City of Hermosa Beach. “The tunnel would have had a devastating impact on our community.”

Instead of a tunnel, Metro officials want to allocate funds set aside for a freeway to construct multi-model projects that will “enhance mobility for the region,” she said. “It’s a combination of more bike lanes, light rail, making cities more walkable instead of a tunnel or freeway.”

Here’s what others had to say:

“I love seeing the reactions of my constituents when I tell them the 710 freeway is dead for good – shock, disbelief, then relief and joy as the news sinks in! I’m ecstatic that we can now feel safe to free up all that time and money to focus on our General Plan Update and invest in making our city safer, healthier, more sustainable for the upcoming future. It’s been a true privilege and honor for me to lead this effort, work closely with so many wonderful allies and leaders in our County, and to see the resoundingly successful outcome of our team effort. I believe that with this vote to move forward with a safer, healthier, feasible, community enhancing alternative, everyone in LA County wins! And that’s what this doctor ordered!

South Pasadena City Councilperson Marina Khubesrian


“Finally, the decision makers have come to their senses. I would have liked it better if they had all realized that the extension was not a feasible transportation alternative, but at least they had the wherewithal to figure out the money.”

Former South Pas Mayor Harry Knapp


“The Lord gave South Pasadena the strength and tenacity to conquer 710 Freeway. The first South Pasadena City Resolution was in 1947. It died in 2017. It took a while. We got a win. Thanks everybody.”

Waynna Kato


“As a School Board member, I am thrilled about the LA Metro Board’s vote that puts the health of our community and our students first. I am glad that we can finally move #BeyondThe710 and pursue more environmentally sustainable transportation solutions for our community thanks to the efforts of many including the C3 Coalition, Beyond The 710 and the No 710 Action Committee. I want to give special thanks to our city council and particularly Councilmember Dr. Marina Khubesrian whose leadership was instrumental in bringing this to pass.”

School Board Member Suzie Abajian


“Metro’s vote to drop the 710 tunnel alternative was a historic moment for the western San Gabriel Valley. With this action, all stakeholders in the region will be able to move forward in developing plans that will relieve traffic, connect communities, protect neighborhoods, promote smart growth, reduce air pollution and GHG emissions, and truly help people get to their jobs, schools, shopping and recreation.”

Former Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard  


The first South Pasadena City Resolution opposing the 710 was passed in 1947 and so many have not stopped their efforts since that day. For those who are no longer with us–their efforts have ‘paved the way’ for this victory. We applaud your efforts!

Mary Urquhart

Search for the Missing Boy Returns to Arroyo Seco Park

Authorities, as of late Wednesday, have come up empty in the search for a 5-year-old South Pasadena boy who has been missing for more than a month.

Members of the LA County Sheriff’s Dept. were aided by a drone, canine and horseback units in conducting another massive search of Arroyo Seco Park in the city on May 18, a day after the mother of the boy pleaded for his safe return during an emotional press conference at the Hall of Justice in downtown Los Angeles.

Sherriff’s Dept. officials are looking for Aramazd Andressian Jr., last seen on April 20 when he was with his father at Disneyland. During last week’s search they combed through brush, and uncovered metal plates in the Arroyo Seco wash, trying to find any signs of the youth after receiving what detectives described as a “credible tip.”

Aramazd Andressian Sr., the father of the boy, was found unconscious outside his BMW in the park during the early morning hours of April 22. A widespread search of the park was conducted that day as detectives looked for initial clues in the case.

Following the exhaustive 8-hour search in the local park last week, Sheriff’s Lead Investigator Lt. Joe Mendoza said it was “somewhat of a relief” the boy was not found, presuming he likely would have not been discovered alive after so much time has passed.

“It creates relief in our investigation,” said Mendoza, giving hope the boy is still alive and will be located.

More than 80 deputies and officers conducted a massive search of Arroyo Seco Park in South Pasadena late last week for a missing 5-year-old boy. Officials have been looking for the boy for longer than a month and used canines, horseback units, a drone and members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and local police to scour the area as they continue to look for Aramazd Andressian Jr., not seen since April 20 when he was picked up on cameras with his father in Disneyland. Authorities began the search in Arroyo Seco Park just before daylight on May 18, looking through tall brush and under metal plates. There is a $20,000 reward for information leading to finding the boy. Bill Glazier Photo

Sheriff’s officials aren’t even sure the boy was with his father on the day he was discovered in Arroyo Seco park laying next to his car. It was disclosed by police last week that the interior of the vehicle had been doused with gasoline and a rag was pushed into the car’s fuel tank when the father was found. Detectives also said the man had taken prescription drugs not belonging to him when he was found passed out.

At one point in the investigation, Andressian Sr. was arrested on suspicion of child endangerment and held on $10 million bail. However, he was released due to lack of evidence, according to court documents.

The mother of the boy has been going to different communities to hand out fliers containing information about her missing son, hoping someone will recognize him.

There are fears from the mother that Andressian Jr. has been taken out of the state and, perhaps, even the country. Andressian Sr. reportedly has relatives in Iran, Canada and Europe.

The couple, said to be going through a divorce, was scheduled to make a custody exchange on April 22. When that didn’t take place, the mother called police.

Authorities say they questioned Andressian Sr. at length after the boy was reported missing. Detectives say the man continued to change his story.

Meanwhile, the mother of the boy remains hopeful her son is alive and will return home. During Thursday’s press conference she sent a message to him through the news media. “Be brave honey. Know that mama and a lot of people are working very hard to bring you home.”

She calls her son’s disappearance “my worst nightmare. There are no words to describe how devastated and heartbroken I am. Although I don’t know of his whereabouts, I do believe he is alive, misses his family and desperately wants to come home.”

The case has taken investigators not only to South Pasadena, but to Disneyland and to Cachuma Lake in Santa Barbara Country, where divers went into water with hopes of finding the boy.

“I know the Sheriff’s Department along with South Pasadena detectives have been working very hard on this case,” said South Pasadena Police Chief Art Miller. “What’s frustrating is the father has not come forward with any information, and the mother has. She has been very diligent with staying in touch with the Sheriff’s Department. The father has basically gone underground and not provided us with any information. That’s concerning. He needs to be out helping us find his boy if he doesn’t know where he’s at.”

Watching the mother make a plea for her son’s safe recovery last week left “a lump in my throat,” said Miller. “It is heart wrenching. I can’t even imagine what she’s going through.”

There was an initial $10,000 reward for information leading to the discovery of the youth, but last week it was increased to $20,000. Family members of the youth have launched a GoFundMe account as a means to increase the reward for the missing boy.