Our Readers Write

Is extra 4.1 years worth a move?

I have lived in the same house in La Crescenta for 47 years, and I've never seriously considered moving. But, based on the article ("La Cañada residents are living long lives," July 29) about the extraordinary longevity of La Cañada Flintridge residents, I must reconsider.

Since LCF residents live an average of 4.1 years longer than those of us in my town, I must pay attention. At my age, 4.1 years would mean that I would live approximately 50 % longer. That statistic is not to be ignored, but I figure that the price differential of similar homes in the two areas would amount to about $125,000 per year. Now THAT is a serious dilemma.

Daryal Gant

La Crescenta


'Y' helps La Cañadans keep healthy

As a resident of La Cañada, I was most happy to learn La Cañada Flintridge topped the list of average life expectancy in the Los Angeles County. However, I felt one important organization was missing when describing the attributing factors to the longer life span — the Y. The Crescenta-Cañada Family YMCA has been an impactful organization that has influenced healthy lifestyles to thousands of locals since the doors first opened in 1958.

For the past 43 years, the Y has used the slogan "We build strong kids, strong families, and strong communities," and that is exactly what has happened in the Foothills. The Y has positively influenced healthier lifestyles to the community by providing programs for people of all ages. Whether you are a toddler or a senior citizen, many programs can help change your life for the better.

In 2009, more than 14,000 members of this great community participated in programs or used our facilities at the Crescenta-Cañada Family YMCA. This type of participation shows how many people in are committing themselves to living a healthy life. Each time someone comes through the door at the Y you are increasing your chance of living a longer life.

The Y offers an abundance of programs beyond the workout facility and swimming pool that many people may not know about. Recently, the Y has partnered with Huntington Hospital in Pasadena to put on a lecture series regarding heart health. These lectures are free to the community and help educate people on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle to keep your heart strong. In addition to lectures, the Y offers youth and adult sport programs, advice from nutrition and healthy lifestyle counselors, group exercise classes, senior counseling and several other programs that contribute to a longer lifespan.

I have lived in La Cañada since 1991 and my family joined the Y that same year. I know that just moving to this community will not guarantee us a longer lifespan. However, working out at the Y and participating in the wide variety of programs offered, will definitely help anyone's chances — and that is great news!

Kim Beattie

La Cañada

Editor's note: The writer is director of communications for the YMCA of the Foothills, which includes the Crescenta-Cañada facility.


Beautify area along Berkshire near LCHS

I am wondering if there is anyone else in our town who thinks the entrance into Flintridge from the Berkshire offramp of the 210 to just before the Berkshire bridge is in major need of beautification. The K-rails that were placed there last year could not be uglier. I feel they are a safety hazard as well as they are on the edge of the roadway, leaving no shoulder area for escape if someone drifts over the oncoming lane as cars come streaming that way after school lets out.

Calls to the city have gotten nowhere.

It seems the rails are there to stay to prevent parking there. If that is the goal there are much more aesthetically pleasing ways to accomplish it. Strategically placed boulders for one, some nice plantings also.

We need La Cañada Valley Beautiful to become aware of the need here. I hope this letter starts the ball rolling to beautify the entrance to La Cañada Flintridge.

Lynn Gillins

La Cañada


In defense of city in tree saga 

I can't help but comment and come to the belated defense of your public works staff regarding the recent oak tree removal article I saw in a local paper when I snuck into Ichiban to grab a lunch with my wife.

Believe me, as the former director of public works for the city of La Cañada Flintridge I have "been there, done that" and I can tell you that as a real tree-lover myself, ordering the removal of a tree like an oak is something that we would lose sleep over.

I could tell you stories about being the one who would give the fire chief at the time a simple "no" regarding his need to have various trees in the Flintridge area removed for fire safety. It is for that reason we implemented a process where we would bring in an arborist, who although he was paid by the city, had no loyalties to anything other than the tree itself.

I would like to offer an observation, however, in that when a person rises to the level of control of an asset as valuable to a city as are its trees, he or she does so because they have acquired not only a vast amount of knowledge regarding trees, but because they have learned to have that "gut" feeling that only experience can provide.

Yes, I am aware that because many of the residents of LCF are so technical in nature they want to see a standard or "set-in-stone" criteria that spells out exactly when a tree qualifies for removal. The trouble is that such a criteria, no matter how well written, will have exceptions and in my humble opinion will never be able to take the place of the gut feeling that someone who has seen hundreds of trees topple and fall through the course of their career gets when they happen upon a tree that in their experience is resulting in an "unsafe" condition.

The Public Works Dept. is responsible for protecting the trees from often well-meaning residents who would trim or remove a city-owned (public) tree as much as it is their job to alleviate or remove an unsafe condition, thereby protecting "The City" (that's actually you folks) from liability against property damage, injury or even death.

I have seen trees that were cabled to support them only to witness the tree snap and fail, with the darn cable resulting in a trunk that swung in a manner resulting in damage more than it would have caused without the cable.

I will say that one thing to consider when the city looks again at perfecting the tree ordinance, might be a clause where the property-owner who is making the appeal would agree to hold the city (again, that's you folks) harmless against any potential for claims against the city should the tree fail. (But, of course that will never happen.)

Steve Castellanos


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