In praise of real-world experiences

In response to “The Dangers of Petting Zoos,” Our Readers Write, Feb. 17: St. George's Preschool follows the practices of the National Association for the Education of Young Children believing children learn best by real-world experiences.

Books and videos are wonderful tools for teaching, but nothing can take the place of seeing, experiencing and interacting with the real thing. Most young children do not realize milk comes from a cow or a goat and rarely are able to milk one.

We took every precaution with regard to health and safety when arranging for this learning opportunity. We did not have a traditional petting zoo where children are in a caged area chasing animals around. Instead we invited a farmer who takes pride in the care of her animals. She came and talked with the children about respect for farm animals, the products they produce and the use of them in our daily lives. We feel the knowledge gained was something the children will not soon forget.

Cherie McSweeney

Director of St. George's Preschool

La Cañada Flintridge


Celebrating a memorable teacher

Mrs. Patricia Glaser was a teacher in the La Cañada schools for many years. She passed away last year before her official retirement. Instead of getting to travel the world and visit with her children, she died of cancer, definitely a shocker for all of us.

I have known lots of teachers in this district. For me, Mrs. Glaser was different. She was sharp, intelligent and efficient. And she seemed to have an innate understanding of children. Oh, and she liked the kids, too.

My daughter Emily was relatively new to La Cañada schools, so when she found out her 5th-grade teacher was Mrs. Glaser, she was neither happy nor sad. Mrs. Glaser was just a name to us. Just another teacher, or so we thought.

Emily was lucky enough to have Mrs. Glaser for two years and she excelled under her watchful eye and care. Mrs. Glaser taught English, was particularly adept at it, and she helped my daughter overcome her shyness and realize she was smart and capable.

When Mrs. Glaser asked for help in the classroom, I jumped at it. I considered myself lucky. We did art, field trips and my husband even found himself in the middle of Virginia on a trip with 60 5th graders. I don’t remember Mrs. Glaser ever yelling, but I do remember several glares at some of the unruly kids who might be testing her. It only took a few glances. After that, the troublemakers knew it was probably smart to stop aggravating Mrs. Glaser in the classroom.

Though she passed away last year, I kept looking at a photo I’ve had of my daughter with Mrs. Glaser that was taken seven years ago. It seemed to be speaking to me. It seemed that Mrs. Glaser deserved more of a sendoff at least from this parent in the La Cañada school system.

Mrs. Glaser was particularly fond of Jelly Belly jelly beans, so every time I went by the school, even years after she taught my daughter, I would find her cubby in the office and leave some Jelly Belly candies. She often laughed and thanked me for thinking of her.

I am still thinking of her and every time I see some jelly beans, I want to get them for her, but I remember she is no longer with us. However, she is [with us] in spirit and she will be remembered as a great teacher and someone who cared. Her impact on children’s lives will live on and I‘m thankful for that.

Jennifer Killam

La Cañada Flintridge


Desecrating Descanso Drive

Descanso Drive would have to be considered one of the most scenic and beautiful streets in all of L.A. County. It has always been a pleasant experience just to drive it. And now our city, in an example of bureaucratic overreach, has painted obscenely large bike lanes on both sides of Descanso.

In the past 40 years I have driven on Descanso thousands of times, and biked on it and Berkshire hundreds of times. I have never seen a conflict between cars and bikes in that time, nor am I aware of any resultant injury. They have always deferred to each other as required. The only incidents I can think of is that early some Sunday mornings a large group of speeding bikes may hog a bit more than an appropriate amount of space. They are quickly gone, but the ugly large bike lanes are in our face continuously and in perpetuity. These lanes are overly large and confusing to some drivers. I predict that any large group of bikes will not stay in the lanes anyway.

Why not lanes on Berkshire Avenue? It is narrower and much more hazardous. Why didn’t the LCF council consult with Pasadena Public Works? On Arroyo Drive and Linda Vista Street there is only one white line about 4 feet from the curb. These streets have just as much bike traffic as Descanso. Pasadena is ahead of the curve on this issue and maybe something could be learned from them.

Mayor Voss states the issue has been publicized many times and was included in the general plan. Was a letter sent out ahead of time to the residents of Descanso, with a meeting date set, for the public to know just how large and obtrusive these bike lanes would be? I have to wonder if homeowners on Descanso Drive were included in all the particulars. If I paid $2 million to experience the privilege and beauty of living there, I would not be pleased.

Roger Johnson

La Cañada Flintridge


Wondering about fluoride

Recently I read two different articles about the Environmental Protection Agency’s re-thinking its position on adding sodium fluoride to the water. Apparently the new thinking is that the bad outweighs the good.

The EPA announced that it now recommends the maximum amount of sodium fluoride added to the water be reduced from 4.0 to .07-1.2. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services proposes that the water utilities sharply reduce the amount of fluoride added to the community drinking water. I wonder how the Metropolitan Water District and the local water districts are dealing with the EPA/HSS recommendation.

Carolee Kirkeby

La Cañada Flintridge


Support for Olhasso

We write to add our names to the chorus of supporters of Laura Olhasso for City Council. We have lived in La Cañada for 20 years and have had the pleasure of knowing Laura for all of that time. She is a true treasure.

Laura is an outstanding public servant. She saw our city through a very difficult year when she was mayor two years ago and did so with grace. She brings dedication, hard work and common sense to the City Council. We are luck to have her.

Plus she is a lot of fun.

Lucia and Ben Logan

La Cañada Flintridge


Support for Voss

We strongly support Don Voss for City Council. As a council-member currently serving as Mayor of La Cañada Flintridge, Don has been a very effective representative for all the residents in the city. He stands for fiscal responsibility, and for sustaining and improving the overall high quality of life in our community.

Most importantly, his character is exemplary. We have known Don for 12 years and have come to trust and respect Don for what he says and what he accomplishes. He is a man with no pretentions and high integrity. His past service as city treasurer and current service as council member and mayor show clearly that Don’s only agenda is the best interests of our city.

Gene and Mindy Stein

La Cañada Flintridge


Support for Kamar

We have lived in La Cañada Flintridge for 13 years, but this is the first time we have been inspired to write an editorial letter.

Most of us have never been to City Hall, much less attended a City Council meeting. We lead busy lives and trust others will see to it that things run smoothly in our town. If you're like us, you have been focused on raising your families, on making a living, and on our public-school system. But several issues, including the eyesore that is the entirely disappointing and un-user-friendly Town Center, freeway noise, and empty store fronts up and down Foothill Boulevard should be of concern to all of us.

Over the past 10 years, I have met, come to know, and developed great respect for Charlie Kamar. Charlie owns the Union 76 station at Foothill and Alta Canyada. He has helped numerous families in time of need, always with his trademark smile. Charlie is busy trying to make a living in this difficult economy and raising a son with his wife Taleen.

So what would make him run for City Council? You will not find anyone who loves this town more than Charlie. We always feel guilty after talking to Charlie, that we should do and care more about La Cañada like Charlie. He takes nothing for granted, and appreciates everything his town has to offer. But Charlie, like many of us, is concerned about problems not being solved, about a City Council that does not listen to its constituents.

Charlie donates business profits to our schools every month. Charlie is a member of the La Cañada Flintridge Chamber of Commerce. Charlie has a son in our public schools. Charlie embodies what anyone would want in a neighbor. Others running may be more glib, but there is no one — incumbent or hopeful — who will work harder to be the best and most involved City Councilman.

Want to know more about Charlie? He's right there at the corner of Foothill and Alta Canyada, accessible every day to all of us.

Please join us in voting for Charlie Kamar on March 8.

Dana and Rose Fox

La Cañada Flintridge


Fighting the freeway extension

We believe the proposed 710 Freeway extension is by far the most important issue our community faces. Various government agencies seem quick to sacrifice La Cañada for this “quick-fix” to SoCal’s mass-transit problems. The projected numbers of diesel big-rigs and cars that would be added to the 210 Freeway are staggering. The projected pollution and associated health risks are also staggering.

Incumbents Don Voss and Laura Olhasso are the two City Council candidates best equipped to fight for La Cañada and protect it from the 710 Freeway extension. Voss and Olhasso have the proven capacity for issues ranging from the extremely complex to the ones needing plain common sense. They’ve done a great job serving our community and we need them back.

David and Julie Battaglia

La Cañada Flintridge


Support for Davitt

We have known Mike Davitt for more than 20 years. So we speak from firsthand knowledge when we tell you that Mike will do an excellent job on the City Council. He is what our city needs. He will bring change to make things better.

Our city has very few employees. A great deal of the work is actually done with the use of commissions appointed by the city council. It is a great avenue for individuals to step up and gain experience and knowledge of how the city operates. Mike Davitt has done just that by volunteering to be on the Planning Commission for the last eight years. It is experience that will prove very valuable if he is elected to the City Council.

Mike understands the history of this wonderful community and what makes it so great. He and his wife Alison are raising their four children and showing them what it means to get involved in a community. They volunteer at their church, school and all the youth sports groups here in town. It’s easy to run into Mike somewhere in the city. He has served this community in many ways. That makes him very prepared to help run our city for its residents.

When choosing who to vote for, we would ask you to vote for someone with experience. Vote for Mike Davitt, a leader. On March 8, please vote — and vote for Mike.

Barb and Craig Bittner

La Cañada Flintridge

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