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La Cañada History: Team Axis of Assume win 2008 JPL Invention Challenge

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Tomas Kanholm, from left, his twin Alex Kanholm, Douglas Chen, Grant Scholler and Chris Omae, all La Cañada High students, celebrate their capture of the 2008 JPL Invention Challenge.
(File Photo)

Ten Years Ago

In what had become a tradition for them stretching back to 2003, five La Cañada High students — Tomas Kanholm, Alex Kanholm, Douglas Chen, Grant Scholler and Chris Omae — all engineering enthusiasts who worked under the team name Axis of Assume, won first place at the 2008 Invention Challenge hosted by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. That year’s challenge required middle and high school teams to build and race miniature aerial cars.

Twenty Years Ago

The La Cañada Flintridge City Council, following up on a Los Angeles County initiative, voted into law a requirement that all restaurants in the city post in the public’s view letter grades given them by inspectors from the county Health Department. The initial posting had to be completed by Jan. 14, 1999. All La Cañada eateries would also be required to have a certified food handler on staff by Jan. 1, 2000.


Thirty Years Ago

La Cañada orthopedic surgeon Vartkes Najarian returned home from an urgent medical mission to Soviet Armenia, which had been struck by a devastating earthquake on Dec. 7, 1988, that killed at least 55,000 people and left 300,000 homeless. Najarian was founder and chairman of Medical Outreach for Soviet Armenians, a nonprofit group that had been sending medical supplies and assistance to Soviet Armenia since 1984.

Forty Years Ago

The City Council authorized a bid on a $16,000 project to light the tennis courts on the La Cañada High School campus. Going forward, community members who played tennis there would pay an hourly fee of $1 through a metering system. Of that amount, 75 cents would go toward electrical costs and the balance would be used for court maintenance.


Fifty Years Ago

On Dec. 16, 1968, downed by the flu, about 23% of the La Cañada High School student body and 25% of the teaching staff were absent. Student absences at the elementary schools and Foothill Intermediate School (then serving grades 6 through 8) were pegged at 15% on the same date.

Sixty Years Ago

A burglar who apparently had an eye for horticultural treasures entered an unlocked glass hothouse on Highland Drive in Flintridge and stole a dozen experimental orchid plants valued at $3,600. (Adjusted for inflation, in 2018 dollars that would be a theft of more than $31,000 in orchids).