On Dec. 30 we highlighted some important Altadena stories that might have been overlooked in 2012. Here's a review of the top stories that affected Altadena residents last year.
Altadena’s 125th Birthday: A small group of activists noticed that Altadena turned 125 in 2012. Going from conception to execution in just six weeks, they enlisted local organizations, businesses, and individuals and threw a hella party on Nov. 3. The Farnsworth Park gathering featured music, food, history and Altadena-themed art, as well as a separate gathering for children -- a testimony to the power of a diverse community coming together.
West side shootings: Gunfire on the west side of Altadena and Pasadena was much in the news the latter part of the year, including the death of Victor McClinton in Pasadena on Christmas Day. Several people were wounded from gunfire that police connected to local gangs, but Altadena saw no shooting deaths in 2012.
2012 brought two undisputed feel-good stories. One was the Sept. 21 flyover by the space shuttle Endeavour, a heckuva show.
The other was the recovery of Owen Brown’s grave marker. It’s a story of sons: Owen Brown, the son of abolitionist John Brown, was buried on Altadena's Little Round Top in 1889, but his gravestone was removed mysteriously 10 years ago. While hiking in the hills on Aug. 23, Ian White, the son of African-American artist Charles White, found it lying in a field of debris. Where the marker was in the meantime, nobody knows or is saying. Putting it back in place and keeping it there may prove to be a legal battle, but at least this significant historical artifact has been found.
The big story of the year was the Walmart Neighborhood Market. The giant retailer confirmed that it is putting in a smaller format grocery store on Lincoln Avenue this spring, and no issue burned more pixels on our website than this. Two groups formed to oppose it, but 600 people showed up for the market's job fair.
The market is going into a derelict building and store officials say it will create 65 full- and part-time jobs, which normally would be a plus. But opponents point to stories of Walmart’s allegedly shabby treatment of employees and suppliers, and tales of how it shoves out small businesses. Local retailers are worried, especially since the store will allow shoppers to get delivery of anything available at a full-size Walmart. Rumors also are swirling about Walmart looking at a vacant lot on Lake Avenue as a second market location.
What’s ahead in 2013? Well, Walmart, of course. The ongoing Community Standards District revision process, which will update and remake the rules that govern residences and businesses, will generate controversy for certain. We’re crossing our fingers that Altadena’s food culture will get a boost with at least one good restaurant opening. The Pasadena Unified School District is talking about closing more campuses, and Altadena always seems to be a favorite target for that.
We look forward to chronicling it all for our Altadenablog and Pasadena Sun readers. We love this work. We love Altadena.
TIMOTHY RUTT is the publisher and editor of Altadenablog.com.