They Valley Line: Chamber of Commerce annual gala; Flintridge Sacred Heart open house

This past long weekend I decided to gather up my dog Lola and get out of town. We headed along El Camino Real to beautiful Santa Barbara to visit the "Queen of the Missions" and my twin sister, Elaine, along with her husband, Larry.

The warm Santa Ana winds that had been blowing in our valley followed me to this picturesque coastal city.

A special treat for us was our daily walk along the breakwater by the harbor. Each day we were warmed by hotter than usual breezes. Oh, how I love the smell of the sea. I often wonder why I live so far away from the ocean.

This outing was just the perfect recipe to chase away the post holiday blues — I had a great time and so did Lola, always enthusiastically hoping to catch a sand piper.


Now, that I'm refreshed I can tell you all about what is going on in our own community. Just a week ago the La Cañada Flintridge Chamber of Commerce and Community Association held its 102nd Installation of officers and Awards Gala.

PHOTOS: La Cañada Flintridge Chamber of Commerce and Community Association Installation

Those Santa Ana winds were gently blowing as nearly 200 people gathered at the LCF Country Club for this annual event. It was an extremely clear evening and the lights of Los Angeles were sparkling like jewels in a black velvet box from our hilltop perch.

The evening began with cocktails and fellowship as people gathered to chat about community news and memories of holiday activities. Tom Burrows was the "piano man" as he played familiar American Song Book tunes.

Laura Olhasso, mayor of LCF, acted as emcee for the evening. Wes Seastrom, outgoing chairman of the board, stepped to the podium to welcome those in attendance and to introduce special guests. Pastor Mark Yeager, who oversees the chaplain services for the YMCA of the Foothills, offered the invocation before the dinner was served.

Highlight of the evening came when Kaitlin Powers, daughter of Michael and Jodi Powers and a junior at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, was named the 2014 Miss La Cañada Flintridge. She and her court were crowned with Swarovski tiaras designed by Jack Malian of Cañada Jewelry and Gifts.

Her court includes four young women who are all juniors at La Cañada High School: Jenna Gray, daughter of Jim and Susan Gray; Camille Keh, daughter of Steve and Sarah Keh; Caroline Kenney, the daughter of Rob and Melinda Kenney; and Sabine Puglia, daughter of Joe and Kaitzer Puglia.

All of the court members were looking beautiful in their gorgeous blue strapless gowns provided by Wiley Bartine of Bloomingdale's Sherman Oaks store.

Ernesto Delgado of Nuovo Studio styled the tresses of the court; Kimberly Kelly and Kris Kline of Merle Norman Cosmetics did the court's makeup, Eiji's Florist provided each girl with a lovely bouquet of white roses.

Taking part in the presentation of the 2014 Court were 2013 Miss La Cañada Flintridge Courtney Perry and her court, Stephanie Beck, Chelsea Johnson, Maddie Jonson and Nora Sagal. The royal court program chairman was Suzie Johnson, who was a bit under the weather the night of the event. Standing in for her at the podium presenting the court were Paige Dunbar and Danielle Gay, with Johnson standing at the back of the packed house, looking on.

The evening was all about recognition of many community members.

Receiving community service awards that evening were Jeanne Wallace, ambassador of the year, with recognition also to Mary Gant and Harriet Hammons. Honor was also given to Erik Ovanespour, businessman of the year; Jennifer Seastrom, volunteer of the year; Sally Spangler, community service; Ian McFeat, educator of the year; Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Deputy Eric Matejka, Law Enforcement; YMCA of the Foothills, organization of the year; and Joel Peterson, community spirit.

Another major honor came to Daniel Cohen, who was named "Top Intern for 2013." Daniel worked with Verdugo Hills Hospital. Other 2013 summer interns introduced that evening were Justin Cohen, identical twin to Daniel, who worked at the YMCA of the Foothills; Ben Blanco, who did his internship with the city of La Cañada Flintridge; Brian Kim, who worked with the Allen Lund Co., Marne Fairhurst, who worked with Student Planning Services, and Jonathan Connelly, whose internship was with Citizens Business Bank.

Kim Beattie, who is taking the reins as the new chairman of the board for the Chamber was introduced. In part, Kim said, "I am honored to serve you as your 2014 Chairman of the La Cañada Flintridge Board of Directors. I can't say enough about the excellent board, our dedicated Ambassadors, Chamber Staff and Volunteers who work effortlessly to enhance the quality of lives for everyone in our city."

Officers and directors installed that evening were Suzanne Hart, Niki Sarkisian, Caroline Craven, Patrick Liddell, Gary Stibal, Katherine Markgraf, Tammy Smith, Wes Seastrom, Brady Caverly, Dan Edwards, Rob Fuelling, Kyle Hara, Charlie Kamar, Uma Shrivastava, Sue Stranger, Pam Stumbaugh, Dr. Rion Zimmerman, Sister Carolyn McCormack, Erik Ovanespour, Celine Petrossian, Terry Sneed, Brandon Tak and Anthony Portantino.

Kudos go to Pat Anderson, president and CEO of the chamber, and her staff, June Beemer, Starr Frazier and Olivia Brown, for putting together such a well-organized event.


Hundreds of people attended Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy's annual open house for prospective students and their families on Sunday, Jan. 12. It was an exciting day as there were guided campus tours, an activity and athletics fair and a performing arts presentation.

Of great interest was a new exhibit that was unveiled during this open house. The new exhibit showcased items from the school's first incarnation as the opulent and romantic Flintridge Hotel designed and built in 1927 by the famed architect Myron Hunt in a Mediterranean/Spanish Colonial Revival style. In 1931, the Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose took over the property and opened it as a Catholic girls boarding school.

On display for the first time were hotel objects such as silver tea sets, embroidered linen napkins, old room keys, registers, original advertisements, and even a formal luncheon setting for two with the hotel's original fine china and dining chairs.

Visitors were then treated to a glimpse of FSHA's past. Old yearbooks, school newspapers, photographs, and even the original "wake up" bell (an actual bell used to wake boarding students) were displayed.

However, the highlight of the exhibit had to be the sampling of graduation gowns and uniforms. Since the very first graduation in 1935, graduating seniors have always worn white dresses at commencement.

Though the styles have changed with the times. Gowns from 1954, 1979, 2000 and a school uniform from the 1940s were all on display, along with accompanying photographs of students in these outfits in action.

It was a great open house and the new exhibit of historical items from days gone by were a huge hit!


JANE NAPIER NEELY covers the La Cañada social scene. Email her at with news of your special event.

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