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Life and Arts

La Cañada History: Artist Taro Yashima a Paradise Canyon Elementary guest in July 1959

Taro Yashima
Artist Taro Yashima in July 1959 visits a summer school class at Paradise Canyon Elementary. With him are, from left, students Pamela Moore, Beverlee Ziesman and Andy Stevens. Teacher Sara Brant looks on.
(File/La Cañada Valley Sun)

Ten Years Ago

Theresa Kalnins, a single mother and one-time Miss Indiana who was working as a teaching assistant at La Cañada Elementary School, was one of three finalists in the TV Land reality modeling series “She’s Got the Look.” She was vying for the top prize: $100,000 in cash, a contract with Wilhelmina Models and a photo spread in Self magazine. The season finale revealed contestant Cindy Cohen of Calabasas the winner and Kalnins the runner-up. Lee Anne Locken of Texas came in third.

Twenty Years Ago

Twenty-two young La Cañadans were appointed to the charter Teen Advisory Committee to help develop a teen center in town under the auspices of the local community center.


Thirty Years Ago

Two boxed handguns were reported stolen from a shelf in the warehouse building at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The missing firearms belonged to members of the JPL gun club, according to an employee.

Forty Years Ago

A succession of burglaries, petty thefts and acts of vandalism plagued La Cañada in July 1979, with La Cañada High and a professional building among the sites targeted. In one case, a suspect was caught in the act during one of two burglaries in the Meadow Grove neighborhood.


Fifty Years Ago

Under the category of news that almost happened: La Cañada High was prepared to serve as the landing spot for a helicopter expected to deliver U.S. Vice President Spiro T. Agnew, who had been scheduled to arrive on July 29, 1969. Agnew was expected in town that day to see pictures of Mars at JPL that had been taken by the Mariner 6 spacecraft. The vice president’s visit was said to have been canceled due to a surtax bill debate taking place on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

Sixty Years Ago

Artist, author and children’s book illustrator Taro Yashima, who with his wife Mitsu had once been jailed in their native Japan for objecting to their country’s militaristic government, paid a visit to Paradise Canyon Elementary School in La Cañada where he shared samples of his work to students in the two literature courses being taught in the summer of 1959 by teacher Sara Brant. The couple immigrated to the U.S. in 1939 and Taro Yashima during World War II aided the United States’ war effort. In 1953 he established the Yashima Art Institute in Los Angeles. (Yashima passed away at Glendale Memorial Hospital in the summer of 1994 at the age of 85.)

Compiled from the Valley Sun archives.