Sierra Madre Wine & Jazz Walk — Saturday, October 8, 2011

Nameplate:  Mountain Views News

Inside this Week:

SM Calendar of Events

Sierra Madre:
Sierra Madre Police Blotter

Pasadena – Altadena:
Pet of the Week

Around the SGV / Nature:
Christopher Nyerges
What's Going On
Pet of the Week

Arcadia Police Blotter

Monrovia – Duarte:
Monrovia Police Blotter

Education & Youth:
Hall Pass

Good Food & Drink:
Chef Peter Dills
Table for Two

Arts & Entertainment:
Jeff's Pics
Sean's Shameless Reviews

Left Turn / Right Turn:
Susan Stamper Brown
Rich Johnson
As I See It
Gregory J. Wellborn
The Funnies

Curbing Bad Behavior
My Turn
Out to Pastor
Stuart Tolchin On …
The Funnies

Legal Notices (1):

Legal Notices (2):
Newspaper Fun!

The World Around Us:
Looking Up
Ask jai …
Happy Tails
… This and That
The Funnies

The Good Life:
Your Health Matters
Senior Happenings

Homes & Property:
One of a Kind

F. Y. I. :

Meaghan Allen
Chris Bertrand
Jeff Brown
Ron Carter
Peter Dills
Bob Eklund
Hail Hamilton
Howard W. Hays
Jai Johnson
Rich Johnson
Sean Kayden
Chris LeClerc
Christopher Nyerges
Joan Schmidt
John M. Talevich
Stuart Tolchin
Katie Tse
Gregory J. Wellborn

Recent Issues:
Issue 39
Issue 38
Issue 37
Issue 36
Issue 35
Issue 34
Issue 33
Issue 32
Issue 31
Issue 30
Issue 29

MVNews Archive:  Page 1

MVNews this week:  Page 1

Sierra Madre Wine & Jazz Walk

Saturday, October 8, 2011




After 34 years of dedicated service, Sierra 
Madre Librarian Toni Buckner retires


A Look Back and a Look Forward

Story and Photos by Chris Bertrand


On Friday, September 16, a standing-
room-only crowd of over 200 
people gathered in the Sierra 
Madre Room of the Community 
Center to thank Toni Buckner for 
her 34 years of service to the Sierra 
Madre Library. City officials, 
city department heads, the library 
staff, the library board of trustees, 
board members of the Friends of 
the Sierra Madre Library, friends 
and neighbors were represented 
at the gathering. Guests enjoyed 
a lovely selection of refreshments 
including hors d’oeuvres, mini 
sandwiches, wraps, and fruit and 
vegetable trays provided by Bean 
Town as well as wine, water, and 
iced tea.

The formal part of the evening 
began when Mistress of Ceremonies, 
Patricia Hall, introduced 
the dignitaries who were there 
to honor Toni and wish her well. 
Present at the reception were former 
mayors Clem Bartolai, Bart 
Doyle, and Rob Stockly, former 
city treasurer Richard May, current 
mayor John Buchanan, and 
city council members Josh Moran, 
Nancy Walsh, and Mary Ann 
MacGillivray. Following a speech 
by city manager, Elaine Aguilar, 
Toni received a standing ovation 
when Mayor Buchanan presented 
her with a tile containing the Sierra 
Madre city emblem, her name, and 
the dates of her years of service and 
read a proclamation from the city 
that listed all of her accomplishments 
during those 34 years.

Library Board of Trustees president, 
Catherine Adde praised Toni’s 
ability to deal with all types of 
people and to select staff members 
each of whom brings a unique set 
of skills to the library. Friends of 
the Sierra Madre Library president, 
Darlene Traxler, thanked Toni for 
her help during the design and 
planting of the Library gardens and 
for all the support she has given the 
Friends over the years. Polly Bonnett 
called all the library staff to 
join her as they wished Toni well. 

Each staff member presented her 
with a gift representing a contribution 
Toni has made to the library 
and to the city. (cont. on page 3)

With the first month of school 
under her belt, Esther Salinas, 
the new principal at Sierra Madre 
Elementary School (SME) sat 
down with the Mountain Views 
News for an in depth interview. 
Reporter, Chris Bertrand was 
joined by Fred Thomas, an SME 
parent and representative from 
one of the school’s many active, 
parent-facilitated organizations. 
In an informal poll of SME parents, 
reaction has been very positive 
and favorable to Salinas’ selection 
to fill the shoes of Principal Gayle 
Bluemel, who just retired. 

Wealth of Experience

Said Thomas of the selection 
experience, “When I had a chance 
to share my thoughts about who 
should be chosen for our new 
principal, I said (to the selection 
committee), ‘When you’ve found 
the best of the applicants, go one step 
even higher. That’s what we want at 
Sierra Madre.’ And that’s what we 
got. She’s exactly what we needed. 
It’s allowing the great machine, the 
momentum that we built here to 
continue. At the same time, she brings 
a wealth of experience and knows how 
to listen.”

That ‘wealth of experience’ Thomas 
spoke of is broad. After a Bachelor of 
Science, she was a researcher in a civil 
engineering firm for almost a decade, 
calculating boundaries drafting 
parcel and tract maps, and working 
through the entitlement process with 
municipalities on the firm’s projects.

With a lifelong love of learning, she 
decided to go back to school for a 
teaching credential, falling in love 
with the profession of teaching and 
her students in the process. Salinas 
followed up with a Master’s degree in 
educational technology, both from 
Azusa Pacific University.

She taught kindergarten through third 
grade, including a student teaching 
stint in a multi-age classroom, which 
came into use later as an administrator 
of a school with both traditional and 
multi-age open classrooms. 

From teaching in the classroom and 
serving as a curriculum specialist and 
interim positions as principal at two 
schools in La Canada, Salinas moved 
to an administrative position at a Title 
One school in Thousand Oaks, part of 
a team that made it a high achieving 
school within that designation, 
then on to Burbank Unified, as an 
opportunity to work closer to home. 
In Burbank, she served as a principal 
as well as director of human resources, 
a position that was eliminated due to 
budget cuts. 

“When I read about the Sierra Madre 
position,” reflected Salinas, “I saw an 
opportunity to match my skills with 
the mission of the school. It seemed 
a natural fit to come and be involved 
in a school with such a passion for 
academic achievement and arts and 

Changes in Process to Separate 
Elementary and Middle School

Regarding her job description and the 
school’s designation in the district, 
both are in the process of a change 
over the next two years. The school 
has been listed as a pre-K through 
8th grade school with two campuses 
about a half mile apart within Sierra 
Madre. In the past, Salinas’ position 
has overseen both campuses. 

Recently, Garrett Newsom, formerly 
assistant principal in charge of the 
“upper” middle school campus, was 
named as Planning Principal for what 
will become a separate middle school 
entity after the construction of the new 
school building is completed about two 
years from now. Newsom is planning 
and overseeing the development of 
the middle school as if it were a new 

Though the two schools still technically 
share a name, their top academic 
achievement spot in the PUSD, with 
908 API test scores for 2011 (Currently, 
the API scores measuring student 
performance and other student data 
are compiled into one), some faculty 
meetings, their Spotlight Assemblies 
highlighting musical and artistic 
performances by a particular grade 
level plus other collaborations, Salinas’ 
focus is on the “lower” campus of 716 
students, which includes four classes at 
every grade level from k-5.


A Neighborhood School in a Tight 
Knit Community

“SME is an amazing place in so many 
ways, with such a rich tradition 
of pursuing excellence, and a 
commitment to positive relationships 
with parents and the community,” 
said Salinas. “It has the benefit of 
being the only neighborhood school 
woven into the fabric of (a tight knit) 

Salinas and former principal Bluemel 
had several opportunities to meet 
before she took over the reins at 
SME, to effect as smooth a transition 
as possible. “The more time we 
spent together, the more we saw a 
like mindedness. I’ve kept a poster 
she had on the wall behind the desk, 
quoting Sir Isaac Newton. It reads, ‘If 
I have seen further than others, it is by 
standing on the shoulders of giants.’ “

“It’s important to honor and appreciate 
the generations of teachers, students 
and parents that came before. It’s never 
just one person. It’s easy to embrace 
what’s wonderful here, the legacy, the 
history and the great team we have 
in place. We also have to continue to 
move forward.”

Parental Concerns about School 

Regarding concerns raised by parents 
since she started, the biggest one is 
the transition and construction at 
both campuses. (continued on page 3)

Before the ink has dried on preliminary 
plans for an Assisted Living 
facility on W. Sierra Madre Blvd., 
residents are asking that the project 
be subject to approval via a citywide 
vote. And, although the matter was 
not on the council agenda several 
people addressed the council during 
community communications on the 

The primary concern, expressed 
initially by David Hinton, is that the 
project exceeds the density limits for 
the downtown area and therefore 
must be approved via a vote of the 
people as mandated in Measure V.

Measure V, passed in 2008 does 
state that any building that exceeds 
3 stories, 30 feet in height and/or 13 
units per acre must be approved via a 
city wide vote. However, according 
to the developer of the project, Fountain 
Square and its representative, 
Billy Shields, The Kensington (the 
name of the proposed facility), does 
not exceed those requirements.

The issue boils down to the definition 
of a ‘dwelling unit’. 

As proposed, the facility will accomodate, 
“75 single or spouse/sibling/
friend-shared suites with a private 
bath and communal meals, social programs 
and transportation assistance.” 
(Mountain Views News Sept. 17, 

Shields believes that because the 
‘suites’ do not constitute invidual 
dwelling units and therefore do meet 
the requirements. 

 Those calling for a vote did not oppose 
the project, but wanted ratification 
by a public vote as called for in 
Measure V. S. Henderson/MVNews

SMES Principal Esther Salinas

Inside This Edition...


Sierra Madre News Page 3

Pasadena/Altadena Page 4

Around San Gabriel Valley Page 5

Arcadia Page 6

Monrovia/Duarte Page 7

Education & Youth Page 8

Nature & Environment Page 9

Arts & Entertainment Page 11

Left/Right Page 12

Opinion Page 13

Legals Page 14/15 The World 
Around Us Page 16

 The Good Life Page 17

Homes & Property Page 18

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Mountain Views News 80 W. Sierra Madre Blvd. #327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.604.4548