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Candidates-forum-3Alhambra’s future voters took their role seriously as part of the 420 residents and students who attended the Kids and Candidates – A Community Engagement Forum on October 11 at Alhambra High School.

More than 100 Alhambra High School students gained inspiration to become more civically involved as they staffed the event, asked issue-based questions and engaged in one-on-one discussions with the three attending City Council candidates.

“This is not your usual candidates’ forum,” said Alhambra Unified School District Superintendent Denise R. Jaramillo, in her opening remarks preceding the candidates’ round-table discussion. “One of the things that makes it unique is that it’s being hosted by students and sponsored by so many community groups.” Forum sponsors included the Alhambra Teachers Association, Alhambra Preservation Group, Alhambra Latino Association, Grassroots Alhambra and Alhambra Source.

The format was also unique. The free event kicked off with a Community Engagement Fair in the Alhambra High School quad, where students and residents interacted one-on-one with the three City Council candidates, enjoyed a lively performance by the Alhambra High School Jazz Band, and visited information tables staffed by school and community groups.

Then the kids and candidates got down to business. Alhambra City Council candidates Katherine Lee and Andrea Lofthouse-Quesada, both running for the First District City Council seat, and Adele Andrade-Stadler, running for the Fifth District, engaged in a robust, politically neutral roundtable discussion, moderated by Tom Hollihan, professor and director of doctoral studies at USC Annenberg School of Communications. Candidates Suzi Dunkel-Soto, Laura Tellez-Gagliano, Ross Maza and Julian Reyes were invited but declined to attend.

Alhambra High School students’ and residents’ questions included the hot-button issues of affordable housing, traffic congestion, bike lanes, need for more green space, historic preservation and a historic preservation ordinance, how to encourage civic engagement in a diverse community, and how to market Alhambra’s cultural assets to visitors. The goal of the Kids and Candidates Forum was to provide students and residents with an opportunity to hear the candidates’ positions on these issues, according to the organizing coalition members.

Mission accomplished, according to the students. “This impacts my perspective on American politics because by hearing what these candidates have to say, it gives not only me but all of us a view into political matters so that when we will be of voting age, it will help shape who we feel can make the best contribution to our world,” said Amanda Tang,  16, a junior at Alhambra High School.

According to feedback from the survey handed out at the end of the event, a majority of the attendees found the forum helpful in their voting decisions, but were disappointed not to hear from all the City Council candidates and felt it was disrespectful of the four candidates not participating.

“Through my participation in this forum I have learned that you can make your voice heard no matter if you are under the age of 18. You just have to find the right places,” said Jonathan Reynosa, 16, a junior at Alhambra High. “I believe my role in civic matters in the future will be to inspire others in my generation and in other generations to go out and make their voices heard. I want to inspire people to create change in our community. Being able to ask questions directly to the candidates has affected my view on politics. This forum has made me confident in my own opinions and encouraged me to make my voice heard not only in political affairs just in California, but all over America.”

Weren’t able to attend? No worries. Here’s your chance to watch the forum.

Photo courtesy of Oscar Amaro.

 

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tournament-of-roses-houseJoin Alhambra Preservation Group on February 23, 2017 for a free tour of the historic Wrigley mansion in Pasadena that now serves as the headquarters, or Tournament House, for the Tournament of Roses. This tour will be co-led by APG’s very own vice president, Barbara Beckley, who is celebrating her 50th anniversary of being a Rose Princess. Here’s all you need to know about the tour:

Date: Thursday, February 23, 2017

Time: 3:00 p.m. (please meet at 2:45 on the home’s front porch)

Cost: Free! The tour is offered at no charge by the Tournament of Roses.

Location: 391 South Orange Grove Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91184

RSVP by February 21, 2017 at (626) 755-3467 or info@alhambrapreservation.org

Parking is available in a small lot on the Tournament of Roses property or on adjacent streets. Please note that the tour will include stairs.

After the tour, we’ll stop by Twoheys restaurant in Alhambra for a no-host dinner.

Built in 1914 by chewing gum magnate William Wrigley, Jr, this Italian Renaissance-style mansion was considered one of the more modest homes on Pasadena’s “Millionaire’s Row.” The three-story mansion was built for $170,000 and has 22 rooms totaling 18,500 square feet of living space. Of the Wrigley’s six residences throughout the United States, Ada Wrigley considered this home her favorite.

Photo courtesy of the Tournament of Roses.

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santa-reading-lettersWe’re pretty sure that Santa’s office looks a lot like APG’s new office at The Alhambra! Santa’s office probably features warm Mahogany walls, beautiful interior staircases and Mid-Century furniture…OK, maybe not the Mid-Century furniture…

As you may remember, Alhambra Preservation Group moved into its new office located at The Alhambra this past summer. Now is your opportunity to come by, take a peek at APG’s new location and enjoy The Alhambra’s Santa Night on Thursday, December 8. Here’s all you need to know:

Event: APG’s Open House and The Alhambra’s Santa Night

Location: The Alhambra, 1000 S. Fremont Avenue, Alhambra, CA  91803

Date: Thursday, December 8, 2016

Hours: 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

We hope you’ll put this event on your calendar and visit us at our new office! We’d appreciate it if you could RSVP at (626) 755-3467 or info@alhambrapreservation.org. We’ll have cookies and coffee to share, you’ll get to explore The Alhambra’s historic campus and you may even get to meet St. Nick himself!

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IMG_2294Amid a colorful array of waitresses serving period favorites, vintage cars from the 1940s and 1950s, a Doo Wop Band – Woodie And The Long Boards and a larger than life bitter sweet hot fudge sundae, Twohey’s of Alhambra celebrated 70 years in business and the re-dedication of its new Huntington Banquet Room. The birthday bash, celebrated on May 15, kicks off a year-long celebration of the landmark restaurant located at 1224 N. Atlantic Boulevard in Alhambra, CA.

Alhambra, South Pasadena, San Marino and Pasadena dignitaries, as well as Alhambra Preservation Group board members, Christine Olson, Joyce Amaro and Barbara Beckley were in attendance to commemorate the day. Other dignitaries attending included LA County Supervisor Michael Antonovich and Peter Dills, host of Dining with Dills and son of legendary food critic Elmer Dills. APG’s very own Barbara Beckley is a 1967 Tournament of Roses Princess and attended with two other members of the 1967 court.

The award-winning Twohey’s Restaurant is a local landmark. The restaurant, pronounced “2ee’s” opened in 1943 when owner Jack Twohey began his first restaurant on Arroyo Blvd. in Pasadena. Upon its opening, the restaurant had only 37 seats but quickly became known as the premier place for the finest hamburgers, onion rings and hand-dipped fountain specialties. Little Stink-O, the clothes-pin wearing, teary-eyed logo IMG_4352was trademarked by Mr. Twohey in 1943 and originated when he overheard a woman patron exclaim, “Oh, Stink-O!” when a gentleman next to her was served a hamburger generously garnished with onions and pickles. The present location featured memorable drive-up carhop service from the 1950s through the mid 1970s. At the celebration today, more than a dozen vintage cars took patrons back in a time when a drive-up restaurant was a popular hangout.

Today, the 180-seat Twohey’s, named 2012 Pasadena Weekly “Best of Pasadena” Winner for the “Best Family Restaurant,” “Best Burger” and “Best Breakfast” boasts 300 menu items and continues to serve up IMG_4355sumptuous sundaes and Little Stinko onion rings to guests from throughout Southern California. “We are truly honored to have been a part of the community for so many years and are delighted to have the family of the original owners Jean and Jerry Twohey here for this milestone event,” stated Jim Christos, present owner of Twohey’s Alhambra. “We hope to continue making memories and continue the tradition of serving quality food for generations to come.”

Photos courtesy of Alhambra Preservation Group

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The Pasadena YWCA building, left vacant and neglected since the non-profit organization sold it to a Hong Kong investor in 1996, will soon have a new lease on life.  After years of conflict between the owner and the City of Pasadena over the deteriorating condition of the National Register-listed building, the City acquired the property at 78 North Marengo in 2010 by invoking the law of eminent domain.  Last week, the City issued a Request for Proposals from qualified developers for rehabilitation of this important landmark structure in the heart of Pasadena’s civic center.

Built in 1921 as a YWCA center and residence for working women, the facility was designed by the famed Julia Morgan, California’s first licensed female architect.  Renowned for her work on Hearst Castle in San Simeon, Morgan designed more than 700 buildings throughout the state, including the former Herald-Examiner building in downtown Los Angeles, the Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove, and Mills College in Oakland.

Two free tours of the iconic Pasadena YWCA building will be offered this week, on Thursday evening, July 19 and Saturday morning, July 21, marking the first time the property will have been open to the public in several years.  Among the volunteer tour guides will be APG’s own Board President, Chris Olson, who had an office in the building during the 1980s.  Each event will consist of two parts:  an on-site tour of the facility (78 North Marengo Avenue, at Holly Street); and a subsequent presentation and comment session in the Pasadena City Council Chambers, at 100 North Garfield Avenue.  Thursday’s tour goes from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.; Saturday’s goes from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

Alhambra Preservation Group members and friends are invited to attend — and to witness firsthand — what a difference can be made by the inclusion of a preservation element as a vital part of a city’s general plan.  This is historic preservation in action!

Photos courtesy of J. Allen Hawkins and the Pasadena Star News.

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April is right around the corner and, with it, the centennial of the tragic sinking of the RMS Titanic on April 15, 1912. There are a few events taking place here in Southern California to mark the 100th anniversary of this historic event. You may want to consider attending one of them.

> The Steamship Historical Society of America will host a commemorative event on April 14 at the Queen Mary in Long Beach. The event includes a luncheon aboard the Sapphire Princess, a Titanic film festival and late-night candlelight vigil.

> On April 12, the Pasadena Museum of History will feature an illustrated lecture by Kevin Jones, curator of the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising Museum, entitled Ad-dressing the Titanic: Appearance and Identity in 1912. The lecture will explore the four categories of travelers on the ill-fated ship: First Class, Second Class, Steerage, and Crew.

> If you don’t mind the drive, then you may want to consider attending the San Diego Natural History Museum’s Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, taking place now until September. The exhibition showcases 200 artifacts retrieved from the wreckage site, Titanic-themed films, and magnificent re-creations of the ship’s interior. Special events are planned for the centennial week of April 9 – 15.

> Interested in viewing homes that were being built when the Titanic took her maiden voyage? Then plan on attending Bungalow Heaven’s 23rd Annual Home Tour on April 29. Eight Pasadena homes will be included on this self-guided tour.

> Grab some popcorn and Junior Mints! On April 14, the Los Angeles Conservancy presents a special screening of the 1974 classic film Chinatown in partnership with the American Planning Association’s 2012 National Planning Conference in Los Angeles.

> Spring is a great time of year for a stroll, and the Los Angeles Conservancy’s monthly walking tours is the perfect way to simultaneously enjoy the warmer weather and discover some amazing architecture.  Eight regularly scheduled tours range from Angelino Heights to Union Station to Downtown Modern Skyline.

Will you be attending any events in April? We’d love to hear how you’ll be spending this first full month of Spring.

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This Sunday, March 18, between 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., the Los Angeles Conservancy will explore the work of renowned artist and native son, Millard Sheets, with a tour of some of his most important examples of work in the Pomona – Claremont area. As a highly influential artist during the mid-20th century, many of Millard Sheets’ best-known murals can still be seen throughout Southern California. But did you know that you can view three of Millard Sheets’ earliest murals here in Alhambra at Mark Keppel High School?

In the late 1930s, as Alhambra’s Mark Keppel High School was being built, Millard Sheets created three exterior enamel and steel murals, which remain today. The three murals depict the history and culture of early California. One mural showcases the entire state of California – a lumberjack cuts down a redwood tree, a cowboy gallops in on a white horse from the east, two miners pan for gold, a large ship sails and a farmer harvests oranges. The second mural features Los Angeles County and includes the San Gabriel Mountains, the San Gabriel mission, a cattle ranch and vaquero and Long Beach and San Pedro harbors. A third, the largest, crowns the entrance to the schools auditorium and shows three of the groups that colonized and populated early California: the Spanish conquistadors, the Catholic missionaries and the American pioneers.

Millard Sheets was a native California artist who grew up in the Pomona Valley. He attended the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles and showed remarkable early promise. While still a teenager, he was elected into membership in the California Water Color Society. He received national and international recognition for his painting and was recognized in Southern California as the leading figure and driving force behind the California Style watercolor movement.

Painting was only one aspect of Sheets’ long and varied art career. Through his teaching at Chouinard Art Institute, Otis Art Institute, Scripps College and other institutions, he taught hundreds of artists how to paint and guided them into careers in art. During the Great Depression, he helped to select and hire artists for the Public Works of Art Project, the first art project of Roosevelt’s New Deal. In later years he worked as an architect, illustrator, muralist, and printmaker. His career as architect and muralist reached its zenith in the 1950’s, when he was employed by Howard F. Ahmanson, Sr. to design dozens of branch offices of Home Savings of America throughout Southern California.

This Los Angeles Conservancy event provides a unique opportunity to visit some historic sites, including Sheets’ former studio. But, don’t forget to make a stop at Mark Keppel High School before heading out to Pomona-Claremont on March 18. It’s a great opportunity to see some of Sheets’ work up close and personal here in Alhambra.

Note: Mark Keppel High School is located at 501 East Hellman Avenue, Alhambra, CA 91801. 

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