Columns

Around Town: Pepper Fryman is not forgotten

You can’t go to a Force Reconnaissance reunion without hearing about La Cañadan Roy "Pepper" Fryman.

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: A bold idea forms over sandwiches

The culmination of great ideas is often serendipitous. Sometimes creation occurs in quiet ways, such as ideas written on a paper napkin in a café. Such was the case for Ted and Betsy Merchant, Ashley Kim, Denise Longo and Rob Tribken.

Piece of Mind: Customers help rewrite video store's ending

Here's some great news for supporters of Hamlet Shahbazian, the beleaguered operator of La Cañada Video: He will be allowed to remain in place through October, after all. It seems his landlord, who had affixed a 30-day eviction notice to the store's front door in early August, has changed his...

Around Town: Examining the local trash collection debate

Valley Sun readers have pointed out that the city’s trash collection agreements will expire in 2015.

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: Learning the importance of etiquette

I was graduating from officers’ infantry school preparing to deploy to Vietnam. In the previous six months I learned every conceivable way to obliterate the enemy and how to deploy every weapons system from piano wire to the battleship New Jersey.

A Word, Please: There's nothing truly good about superfluity

A Word, Please: There's nothing truly good about superfluity

In a recent New York Times piece, novelist Zoe Heller wrote about helping her daughter with an English essay. "Try excising the words 'extremely,' 'totally' and 'incredibly,'" Heller suggested. Her daughter did and was "surprised to discover that not only were the intensifiers superfluous, but...

Piece of Mind: Video store's sad ending is full of twists

Piece of Mind: Video store's sad ending is full of twists

The soft-spoken man behind the counter at La Cañada Video seems only slightly aware of the public outcry that is taking place on his behalf. Hamlet Shahbazian offers a modest smile when he's told that it's obvious from comments posted online this week that he is very much appreciated by all...

Around Town: It's time for a Sagebrush solution

Now that September is here, it's beginning to feel like Back to School has actually begun. The La Cañada Unified School District kids returned to school in August, and this week, the doors of local private schools are finally open.

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: Volunteering for Challenge Day at LCHS

Before I left for the Marines, my Uncle Joe, a veteran of the Pacific, said, “Never volunteer!” After disregarding his warning, I found myself in precarious situations.

A Word, Please: Punctuation isn't a business for kids

A Word, Please: Punctuation isn't a business for kids

According to the Internet, there's a car dealer whose service department has a "kid's play area," but a competitor offers a "childrens play area."

Around Town: Chihauhuas and pit bulls can fly

We were at the Huntington Medical Research Institutes open house in Pasadena when one of the board members mentioned her support for a special project at the Pasadena Humane Society.

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: Reverence for the flag and its hymn

Each morning at 7 o'clock, John Giacchio and I would unfurl the colors, then attach the clips of the rope to the eyelets embroidered into the blue field of stars. While humming “To the Colors,” we'd raise the flag and salute. At 5 p.m. we'd lower the flag, hum “Retreat,” then...

 Start the Presses: Seeking an involved readership

Start the Presses: Seeking an involved readership

Newspapers — community newspapers especially — have a duty to inform, entertain and engage. How well we do these three things is directly related to our value, our impact, and our stature.

News-Press pet: Bobo

News-Press pet: Bobo

Bobo is an adult, fawn rabbit. He enjoys being petted and sitting in laps. A rabbit’s teeth never stop growing so special wooden blocks can be used for them to chew on to prevent damage to furniture.

A Word, Please: The rule says you should 'ignore' this headline

A Word, Please: The rule says you should 'ignore' this headline

Much has been said about misused quotation marks. Photos of signs boasting about "fresh" seafood and "free" refills abound on the Internet, offering a good laugh at the expense of business owners who don't realize that quotation marks around "fresh" and "free" could suggest quite the opposite.

Piece of Mind: LCF holds a special-effects place in his heart

Piece of Mind: LCF holds a special-effects place in his heart

Flipping through vintage Valley Suns in late July to assemble items for the August “10-20-30” history articles, my eyes fell on a story published Aug. 20, 1964 that featured a local 17-year-old filmmaker who had directed and produced four 10- to 12-minute movies that summer.

Around Town: Anti-Semitism rears its head in Europe

Here's a confession to our readers. For the past 45 days, I've written about fluff, forth and anything but the subjects which truly concern me.

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: Philosophy with Sister Audrey

Sister Audrey was many things, but one thing for certain, she was my favorite teacher at the University of Dayton. Because of her, I became a student of philosophy.

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: Getting a charge out of changing cars... and times

It was zero-dark-hundred, a typical La Cañada Saturday morning. I was lost in the fifth edit of the Great American Novel when I happened to glance toward Gould Avenue.

Around Town: Seeing an early end to summer

Summer ended early in the Foothills. In order to accommodate lengthy “winter breaks” and teacher in-service days, public schools across the nation have moved their start date up to mid-August.

 A Word, Please: Their thinking on gerunds is a bit off

A Word, Please: Their thinking on gerunds is a bit off

A few weeks ago, I mentioned here a CNN article "about the president making an unannounced stop."

Piece of Mind: Catching up with the revolution

Ah, City Hall is at last poised to tiptoe into the 21st century, communications-wise, as the City Council adopted this week a social-media...

Around Town: Dealing with homeowner-builders

A fellow in our neighborhood fancies himself a builder. The only problem is that he skips the permit process. Over the years, he's received stop orders, then pulled a belated permit and been allowed to continue.

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: A company works against America's image

A painted glass sign inscribed “The Buck Stops Here” sat on Harry Truman's desk during his presidency. The expression originated from poker in which a buckhorn-handled knife was used to indicate the person whose turn it was to deal. If the individual did not wish to deal, he could pass...

A Word, Please: Laying out the difference between two verbs

A Word, Please: Laying out the difference between two verbs

Summertime is here, and with it come endless hours of sitting in the shade regretting all the years we spent baking in the sun.

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: Analyzing on a 'Fizzio Friday'

It hadn’t been a good week. I was poised to spend another five hours at Starbucks editing the Great American Novel. After 14 months I was stuck in a mire attempting to bring synthesis to 66 chapters of action. Was Ofa Hawkins, the heroine, believable in her consuming love for Seamus O’...

Around Town: Proper boosts community feeling

Another Monday night at the Proper. I was hanging out with Skippy, the bartender, sipping a non-alcoholic better-than-Shirley-Temple concoction with muddled berries, sprigs of mint and other stuff.

Piece of Mind: Educational foundations provide valuable service

Education inequality — such as undeniably exists between schools in affluent communities and those in poor areas — is of concern to anyone who has compassion for others and who understands the value of good schooling to the future of our civilization. If all children, from the most...

A Word, Please: Taking a look at Yankovic's 'Word Crimes'

A Word, Please: Taking a look at Yankovic's 'Word Crimes'

When I was a kid, I fancied myself a musical-parody artist. Most of the spoof lyrics I created for popular songs are lost to the ages, and the stuff I remember I’ll spare you due to its heavy emphasis on flatulence (“Heart of Glass,” indeed). But the lessons from that exercise live...

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: Sharing the story of two travelers

Cecilia Del Valle Navarro is from the picturesque town of Alcazar de San Juan, located in the Castile-La Mancha region of Central Spain. The plains of La Mancha entice one into the world of Don Quixote de La Mancha created by Miguel de Cervantes. Alcazar de San Juan is a town of windmills, castles,...

Around Town: Continuing tales from the Proper

The summers are long in La Cañada Flintridge.

A Word, Please: Some words have a certain kind of class

A Word, Please: Some words have a certain kind of class

Recently, I mentioned in a column that adverbs aren’t just those “ly” words that modify verbs. They’re a much larger group, including words that answer the questions “when,” “where” and “in what manner?” So in “I’ll see you...

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: Value Card can lead to big savings

I must have had a ghastly look on my face. Goulash! Like a deer in the headlights! Local school boosters Tanya Pereira and Analily Park were perplexed by my reaction. Since I was in the company of two prominent and eloquent La Cañada ladies, I had to watch my manners. I refrained from my...

Around Town: Enjoying the real 'Aviation' cocktail

Another hot Monday night at the Flintridge Proper. The Happy Hour had come and gone. Now was the time for a real cocktail. On the table before me there was a small stemmed glass.

Around Town: Checking out mysteries of mixology

It was 4:45 p.m. on a hot Monday night in La Cañada Flintridge. I was at a pub decorated with local historical memorabilia and riding equipment, waiting for some friends.

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: Experience is a great teacher

I would not say Capt. Mulcahy was a fair man. However, for some reason he indulged my eccentric fantasies. I’m sure being a golden gloves contender had something to do with his benevolent and tolerant attitude. Mulcahy commanded the 41st police precinct, known as Fort Apache, the Bronx. I...

Start the Presses: Crafted morality at Hobby Lobby

Start the Presses: Crafted morality at Hobby Lobby

The old Orchard Supply Hardware in Burbank sits half a mile from my former home on Reese Place. Despite its convenient location, it never failed to have more than half of what I needed for any project, forcing me to trudge another couple miles to the Home Depot down the road.

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: Adventures at the Missouri River

The wind was blowing southeast, from the high plains in northwestern Montana. In the distance the weather front approached, tracing the channel cut by the Missouri River thousands of years prior. According to my recollection, we had 30 minutes of dry weather before the inevitable storm. I grabbed my...

Around Town: Some summer viewing choices

Just in time for summer, the Supreme Court put the kibosh on Internet retransmission of television signals in American Broadcasting Cos., Inc. vs. Aereo, Inc. Despite Aereo’s absence from the La Cañada market, it’s time to reconsider live stream offerings from vendors who have...

Piece of Mind: Farmhouse may not be long for this world

Piece of Mind: Farmhouse may not be long for this world

For more than a century the modest white farmhouse has stood on the northeast corner where the equally narrow but well-traveled Craig and Commonwealth avenues meet. It has withstood the occasional battering of the elements and all the major earthquakes that have struck the region since its...

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: Remembering the legacy of John Davitt

In June 1975 I was discharged from the Marines, heading back home to New York after a four-week stint at the Naval Amphibious Warfare School in Coronado, Calif. En route I visited one of my former Marines then enrolled at Glendale Community College. There, he introduced me to his college mentor, Dr....

Around Town: Area's water report dates back to 19th century

Summer is here, along with the La Cañada Irrigation District’s water report. Not that any of us, other than the oceanographers, can understand the report.

Around Town: Survey focuses on readers' coffee habits

Since our inception, Around Town has conducted surveys to determine local values, perspectives and culture. This week, Around Town takes a look at what many consider to be the start of their day: coffee.

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: Examining the fog of war

Trinh Thi Ngo was like Dr. Pepper. Rain or shine she broadcast three times a day from Radio Hanoi, attempting to persuade us that American involvement in Vietnam was immoral. Trying to incite feelings of homesickness and fear, she played popular U.S. anti-war songs, told us of our girlfriends’...

A Word, Please: It's easy to waste time on false grammar rules

A Word, Please: It's easy to waste time on false grammar rules

I graduated from college not knowing what money is, how a computer works or the meaning of the word "adverb."

Guest Column: Memories of a noble gift that was taken for granted

"Doc, it's Pete Davis. My brother, Jim, shot himself straight through his right shoe. We've been deer hunting. He's bleeding bad."

Thoughts from Dr. Joe: The story of Catherine Gangly

Catherine Gangly lived in apartment 1C directly across from ours. She was 80, arthritic and meek, but possessed a well-defined mind. Each day she made cookies for all the children who came to her door. Catherine was a numismatist, a coin collector and owned a mint 1909 S VBD penny, valued in the...

Around Town: Younger generation will soon take charge

A baby is born. A teen graduates from high school. A parent retires. A grandparent dies. There are generational shifts that occur every day.

A Word, Please: There are people who have a problem with that

A Word, Please: There are people who have a problem with that

People. People who need people. They’re the luckiest people in the world, according to some people. But according to other people, it’s not the people who need people, but the people “that” need people who win.

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