Quick Hits: City council candidates to speak out

Coordinating Council calls for award nominations

The La Cañada Flintridge Coordinating Council is accepting nominations through March 15 for its annual Les Tupper Community Service Awards.

The council first started giving awards in 1965. In 1969, these awards were named in honor of Leslie (Les) Tupper, an attorney who served as council president and as a member of the school board.

Nominees for the Les Tupper Service Award are judged on the length and scope of volunteer service benefitting La Cañada Flintridge, including civic service, cultural pursuits and youth activities.

The Les Tupper Student Award recognizes students in 11th or 12th grade who have dedicated themselves to community service in an extraordinary way.

A Les Tupper Special Service Award occasionally is given to individuals, organizations or businesses with unique or remarkable accomplishments in a special area of interest.

Nomination forms and more detailed instructions are available at City Hall and the Chamber of Commerce or on the Coordinating Council's website, lcfcc.info.

For more information, e-mail group president Sheree Butts at sbutts@gmail.com.

Hear council candidates speak

Two upcoming events will provide residents the opportunity to hear from the seven candidates running for three La Cañada Flintridge City Council seats up for grabs in the March 8 election.

The La Cañada Flintridge Republican Committee will host a Meet the Candidates dinner and forum on Jan. 26 at the La Cañada Flintridge Country Club. The event will include a buffet-style dinner and will conclude with members voting on which three of the candidates the committee will endorse.

On Feb. 9, the La Cañada Flintridge Coordinating Council and both the AM and Noon Kiwanis Clubs will sponsor a special council candidates forum at Flintridge Preparatory School. Moderated by Flintridge Prep Headmaster Peter Bachmann, the forum will begin with five-minute opening statements from each of the candidates, continue into an audience question-and-answer session and wrap up with closing statements.

Council candidates are incumbent council members Donald Voss and Laura Olhasso, Planning Commissioner Michael Davitt, former Planning Commission member James K. Hill, retired scientist and anti-sewer activist Robert Richter, nurse Jacqueline Harris and business owner and community volunteer Charlie Kamar.

Tickets for the 6:30 p.m. LCF Republican Committee event are $24. For more information, call (818) 952-3252.

For more information about the Coordinating Council event, from 7 to 9 p.m., call (818) 249-8680.

Community colleges launch graduation task force

With the Gov. Jerry Brown's recent budget proposal calling for faster matriculation rates to help soften the effect of $400 million in expected cuts to the California Community Colleges system, Chancellor Jack Scott announced on Wednesday the formation of a statewide Student Success Task Force.

A major focus of the task force will be to increase the availability of courses that students need for graduation and transfers.

"California stands ready to lead the nation in developing innovative reforms to foster improved certificate and degree completion rates," Scott said in a press statement. "Ensuring access to higher education is only half the equation, equally important is granting students a legitimate opportunity to succeed upon entering the classroom."

Members of the task force include state Sen. Carol Liu (D- La Cañada Flintridge), who took over that seat from Scott, and Pasadena City College Trustee Jeannette Mann.

Calls to improve community-college graduation rates began before Brown took office with a bill authored by Liu and signed into law by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last year.

Currently, 52% of degree-seeking community college students complete a certificate, associate degree or transfer to a four-year university within six years, according to Scott.

Federal funds could help homeowners

La Cañada Flintridge City Council members voted Tuesday to earmark nearly $170,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant money for helping seniors on fixed incomes and low- and moderate-income homeowners fix up their houses or connect to sewer lines.

A family of four living on $66,250 or less, for example, could be eligible for some financial assistance in making roofing, electrical, structural and other home repairs.

The median income in 2010 for a family of four in La Cañada Flintridge is about $63,000, according to city officials.

Homeowners living in districts where sewer main lines have been installed may be able to tap assistance for connecting to the system if financial hardship has prevented them from doing so already.

To inquire about program eligibility, call City Hall at (818) 790-8880.

Council eyes project grants

Extended bicycle paths and downtown streetscape improvements top the list of proposed city projects for which La Cañada City Council members are seeking grant funding from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

The proposed bikeway greenbelt calls for installation of a bike path roughly one-half-mile long alongside Foothill Boulevard between Leata Lane and the Glendale (2) Freeway ramps near Hillard Avenue. This path would connect to existing and planned bike lanes leading from the city to La Crescenta and Montrose.

Streetscape improvements focus on improving pedestrian enjoyment and safety along the stretch of Foothill Boulevard between Beulah Drive and Gould Avenue. Plans call for three new signalized crossings, extending curb "bulb outs" to shorten crossing time and calm traffic at various intersections, and installing new street lights to improve visibility.

The bicycle path project calls for a roughly $1.4 million investment by the MTA that would be matched with $350,000 in city funds.

Improvements along Foothill would draw a $3.1 million for a city investment of about $800,000 if the grant is approved late this year.

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