Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, August 17, 2013

MVNews this week:  Page 5



Mountain Views-News Saturday, August 17, 2013 


By Christopher Nyerges


[Nyerges is the author of several books, including “Enter the Forest” and 
“How to Survive Anywhere.” Information about his books and classes is 
available from School of Self-reliance, Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041, 

“What’s Going On?” 

News and Views from Joan Schmidt


The goal of the Duarte Unified School District is fourfold: To prepare 
students for success, To provide high quality service to all students, To create 
a 21st century learning environment, and To create a culture of parent and 
community support and involvement.

 This past Monday, the DUSD certainly surpassed its goals with its amazing 
summer mentor camp, “Yes, We Can!” Once again, the California Gas Company 
provided funding to assist the district in this endeavor.

 Twenty-two excited students assembled at Northview Intermediate 
School, checked in, were given T-shirts, and then took a bus up to the beautiful 
camp grounds at Monrovia Canyon Park. They were greeted by School Board 
President Ken Bell who had his son, Ken Jr. and daughters Tiffany Johnson, 
Kim Garcia and her husband, Victor, Char Wilson, Heidi Quiric and Rodney 
Jefferson on hand as counselors and teachers. (Rodney is well-known in the community for his A 
Game Fundamentals Basketball Clinic, and coaching skills.) 

 After the warm welcome by Mr. Bell, Superintendent Dr. Terry Nichols spoke to the students, 
advising them of three key words, wow, now, and how. “Write down wow on your notes when 
something grabs your attention, now-learn it today, and how will I learn more.” I always perceived 
Dr. Nichols as learned and articulate, but he was so warm and really reached the students.

 Dr. Michael Chavez, Principal at Northview was next, advising the students to “listen and you 
will get a lot out of today.”

 Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey was the keynote speaker and what an inspiration 
she was! She spoke of growing up in South Los Angeles and having one sister and very strict parents. 
They were very hardworking people and there wasn’t a lot of money. Jackie’s mom was the eldest of 
fourteen children and came from a poor family. Throughout her childhood, Jackie’s parents stressed 
education. She first wanted to be a teacher. During the summer, after sophomore year, her dad advised 
her to observe an elementary class. Although she loved children, Mrs. Lacey realized teaching was 
not her forte. While choosing courses for junior year, she added a law course which involved time in 
a court room and writing about what transpired. It was so interesting that Mrs. Lacey was hooked! 

 Mrs. Lacey asked the students, “What is your purpose?” She advised them to “embrace your 
true friends…those who aren’t in your corner to help you, let them go…minimize your time with 

FormerMAssemblyman Anthony Portantino attended with his daughter Bella. He reminded the 
students they were “part of history…Jackie Lacey was the first African American woman elected as 
District Attorney…and look inside yourself, it starts here.”

 Also speaking was Mrs. Fields, Assistant Principal at Northview. She attended Duarte Schools 
and went on to college. Her career began as a substitute teacher, but a year later, Mrs. Field was in 
a classroom fulltime. She advanced to her current position and is a fine example of Duarte School 

 The Camp consisted of two sessions. The first included a video, “Why are we here?” This was 
followed by fun activities. A worksheet, “Getting to Know My Classmate” was filled out as students 
interviewed each other, and later introduced the person they interviewed to the large group. A 
worksheet, “10 Character Traits” was passed out and discussed. (Be Honest, Demonstrate Integrity, 
Keep Promises, Be Loyal, Be Responsible, Pursue Excellence, Be Kind and Caring, Treat all people 
with respect, Be Courteous and Polite, Be Fair and Be a Good Citizen.) The last activity was to fill out 
a worksheet, 5 Critical Problems You Face Today, followed by group discussion.

 After lunch, the second session began by breaking into small groups. The students did the pre- 
and post-tests regarding bullying. After reading the worksheet, “What is bullying”, they performed 
skits. The students discussed how to deal with insults, how to stand alone and dare to be different. 

 What a great learning experience for these student leaders who will share all they learned and 
experienced with others!

I hadn’t been able to 
sleep much the night 
before having been 
involved in a deep 
introspection of my 
life. It was one of 
those introspections 
where I concluded my life was all chaos and disorder. 
Still, Phoenix-like, I arose very early the 
next day.

 It was Saturday, and the sun had not begun to 
rise over the hills to the east. It was very quiet, 
and I could actually feel the collective heave and 
sigh of relief as the city took a break from the 
madness of racing around day after day so you 
can afford to do whatever it is that you believe 
you’d rather be doing than racing around every 
day making money.

The streets were still dark, and cool, and devoid 
of people. I began to bicycle through the city 
streets, first working my way through the downtown 
apartment areas, and then gradually north 
where there were more trees and bigger yards. 
The mountains were glowing with the rising 
sun, and by now the sky was light and birds were 
chirping everywhere. A few cars were now on 
the road, and an occasional jogger whished by on 
the sidewalk. 

The city was magical when everyone slept. Oh, 
I knew that there was some chance of encountering 
no-good criminals who would try to accost 
or rob me -- that’s part of the tightness of the 
city. But everyone seemed to be asleep, even the 
muggers. I didn’t even see homeless, for they too 
were tucked away in whatever spots they’d found 
for staying warm. 

The sun took its time in rising and the sky was 
overcast and cloudy on this early Saturday morning. 
A cool breeze blew down the city streets as 
a mountain breeze might blow down a canyon. 
Where you’d expect to see hawks perched high in 
the tallest mountain trees, I saw pigeons perched 
on the edges of the tall buildings. No matter 
what man does, nature usually adapts, and ultimately 

I began to bicycle to the north, towards the 
mountains. What had been a truly casual and 
leisurely ride was now becoming a bit of work as 
I went uphill closer to the foothills of the San Gabriel 
range. I slowly rode to the very base of the 
mountains and watched a group of Boy Scouts 
unloading from the family vans and station wagons 
and loading on their backpacks for a day or 
weekend of adventure. I could see the excitement 
in their faces and hear it in their voices. For 
most of them, this would be a first adventure in 


I turned my bicycle around and began to coast 
back down the hill, and after a few miles, I turned 
down a street where a family I knew lived. I 
slowly bicycled by and saw that only Jim, the 
young six-year-old, was out in the yard playing. 
I said hello, and he recognized me and said hello. 
He asked me if I wanted to see the dirt people. I 
got off my bike, and got down on my hands and 
knees, and he showed me the little tunnels and 
trails of the dirt people, and he showed me where 
they lived, and how they drove around on little 
pebbles. He pushed a pebble with a long stick, 
and made a sound like an automobile engine. 

“See how they go?” he said, excited. “Make yours 
go,” he commanded, and so I began to push a 
little pebble around with a stick. I had to make 
sounds like a car when the dirt people wanted to 
turn quick or stop suddenly, and I had to keep 
the pebble on the roads that Jim had built. Jim 
told me about the monsters that come out sometimes 
and the dirt people have to run and hide, 
because the monsters are so powerful. 

He pointed to a little ant that had come out of 
a hole, and Jim gave voice to the monster-ant: 
a slow, deep growl as it walked along the dirt 
people’s road. I was informed that the monster 
always takes the easy path along the dirt people’s 
road, because the monster was lazy. That was its 
weakness, and the dirt people could use that fact 
to their advantage when they wage a war against 
the monsters. 

Each pebble, each leaf, each stick, each undulation 
of the ground had a name and a meaning in 
Jim’s world into which I had entered. I was lying 
there in the dirt with him, pushing a pebble, 
making sounds, and truly enjoying myself when 
his mother came out.

“What are you guys doing?” she asked.

“The dirt people are all getting together because 
the monsters are getting ready to invade. We 
watched the monsters begin the war, and the 
dirt people are now all trying to defend themself, 
right?” he looks at me.

His mother looks at me sideways, noting that 
I am covered in dirt as is Jim. She smiles, and 
says only “Oh.” She just stands there and looks, 
and I know that it means nothing to Jim, but I 
feel the censure of an adult in the adult world, 
and I realize that I should feel embarrassment. 
When I think about it, I realize that I did feel a 
little embarrassed, but mainly because somehow 
I’ve been taught that some things are for children 
and some things are for adults. Adults are not allowed 
entry into the make-believe world of children, 
at least not by other adults.

So after a while, I got up, and shook off the dust. 
I told Jim’s mother that I was just passing by, and 
I said goodbye to Jim. I rode on, and eventually 
headed back home.

I had truly enjoyed myself lying there in the dirt, 
without video games or electronic entertainers. 
We were enjoying a simple pleasure of life that required 
nothing but an active imagination and the 
ability to believe. And that’s what’s wrong with 
adults. Our bodies got older and we allowed our 
minds to ossify. We put aside imagination for 
pragmatism, and we gave up the ability to believe 
for hard-earned cynicism. 


That morning, I realized that childhood ends 
when you can no longer lie in the dirt and 

Duarte School Board President Ken Bell, Anthony Portantino and School 
Board Member Reyna Diaz.


Foothill Unity Center’s annual Back to 
School Distribution has always been a 
communitywide effort. On August 13, after 
months of planning and work by the 
Center and its friends, some 1,300 preregistered 
local K-12 children of very low 
income families got the backpacks, school 
supplies and clothing they needed to start 
the school year with confidence.

 “77% of our clients have incomes at or 
below the National Poverty Level,” said 
Center Executive Director Betty McWilliams. 
“Many are employed, but with today’s 
economic cutbacks, they don't get 
the hours they need to survive without 
help. This event helps struggling parents 
send their children back to class with the 
new items they can’t afford to provide — 
and helps these kids start the school year 
on a level playing field. ”

 Throughout the day-long event at Santa 
Anita Park racetrack in Arcadia, a circle 
of support surrounded the excited youngsters 
every step of the way. Smiles were 
everywhere, and JD Party Pros kept kids, 
parents and volunteers dancing. Some 
800 volunteers worked the event, staffing 
distribution tables for everything from 
uniforms and Payless Shoes vouchers to 
notebooks and calculators. Each child 
wore a “passport” lanyard with check-offs 
to make sure no one missed a single table.

 Citrus College cosmetology students and 
a group of professional stylists contributed 
a full day of haircutting and manicure services. 
Monrovia Reads and A Foundation for Kids gave 
new grade-appropriate books to every child. Simply 
Help Foundation handed out pens, markers 
and stamps.

 Health connections were a major feature. The 
Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC offered free 
dental screenings. Western University College of 
Optometry conducted vision screenings. SafetyBeltSafe 
U.S.A. showed families hands-on demonstrations 
of how to use seat belts and install 
car seats and booster seats, and gave free booster 
seats to qualified families.

 Attendees also got access to information direct 
from an array of health resources. CHAPCare 
- Community Health Alliance of Pasadena featured 
an Ask the Doctor table. There was information 
on health, nutrition, vaccinations, first 
aid, and more from the American Red Cross, Options 
Child Care Services, Children’s Hospital Los 
Angeles, the Department of Public Social Services, 
Methodist Hospital, Monrovia Health Center, 
Network for a Healthy California, Pacific Clinics, 
the Pasadena Public Health Department, PHFE 
WIC Program and URDC/Bill Moore Community 
Health Center.

 Fun was the order of the day, as kids lined up to 
learn about and see a model Mars rover from Jet 
Propulsion Laboratories (JPL), visited the Exelis 
3-D Deep Space Exploration exhibit and created 
a ceramic art project with Paint N Play. Other 
popular destinations included the Southern California 
Edison Big Truck display plus fire engines 
and crew members from the Arcadia and Monrovia 
Fire Departments. A snack center offered 
apple slices courtesy of McDonald’s Restaurants 
Monrovia and Duarte, egg rolls from Panda Restaurant 
Group and popcorn from LA Partyworks.

 The cost of the massive event was covered by 
donations from hundreds of local individuals, 
companies and organizations. Major sponsors 
were Georgina Frederick Children Foundation, 
Simplicity Bank and Vons Company Charitable 
Foundation. Other key sponsors included Capital 
Source Bank, Carmax Foundation, Marshalls/TJX 
Companies, Ronald McDonald House Charities, 
Santa Anita Park, and Wells Fargo Foundation.

 Generous support also came from Fred and 
Diane Bowden, Duarte’s Promise, Duarte Transit, 
Foothill Unity Center Auxiliary, Monrovia 
Transit, Monrovia League, The Monrovian Family 
Restaurant, Pacific Clinics, Peach Café, Betty 
Sandford, Starbucks Coffee, 3M Company and 
Donna and Jim White.


About Foothill Unity Center 

 Founded in 1980, Foothill Unity Center is the primary provider 
of food, case management/crisis help, and access to health care 
resources across eleven cities: Pasadena, Altadena, South Pasadena, 
Sierra Madre, Arcadia, Monrovia, Bradbury, Duarte, 
Azusa, Baldwin Park and Irwindale. 77% of the Center’s clients 
are at or below the National Poverty Level. The number of 
people served by the organization has more than tripled over the 
last five years. The Center is the federally designated California 
Action Agency and has locations in Monrovia and Pasadena.

Go “Back-To-School With Hello Kitty” On Friday, August 23!

“Hello Kitty” is guaranteed to brighten up the school year! 

On Friday, August 23 from 3-7pm, Hello Kitty fans can 
shop for back-to-school gear and enter fun contests for 
a chance to win “Kitty Gift Baskets” and other purr-fect 

In addition, “Miss Kitty” herself will be on hand for feline 
face-painting and other surprises. 

Shop “Hello Kitty-Style” 

School’s back in session and what better way to start the 
year than with a new Hello Kitty backpack, lunch box 
or messenger bag? Hello Kitty-philes will get a complimentary 
recyclable tote bag with every purchase of $20 
or more. In addition, sign up to win a Glamor Puss Basket 
filled with what every smart cat needs for the new 

Miss Kitty” Makes Exclusive Appearance At Webster’s RX! 

Between 4-6pm, bring the kids over for special face-painting, balloon art and other surprises fit for a 
feline! Study up because “Miss Kitty” has created a pop-quiz guaranteed to be the cat’s pajamas - good 
grades earn good rewards! 

Hello Kitty Treats 

Our refreshment table will be filled with all things pink! Lemonade, cookies, and other nibbles fit for 
everyone’s favorite Kitty! 

Fast Facts: 

Special shopping event featuring Hello Kitty school supplies and accessories. Complimentary Hello 
Kitty tote bag with $20 purchase. Gift Basket Drawing, Giveaways and Special Appearance by “Miss 
Kitty” - face painting and balloon art.

When: Friday, August 23 from 3-7pm. 

Where: Webster’s Community Pharmacy, 2450 N. Lake Ave, Altadena, CA 91206 

For More Information: 626-797-1163 or 

Webster's Community Pharmacy in Altadena, CA 

Webster’s RX is a full service prescription pharmacy and medical supply store. Hard-to-find greeting 
cards, gifts, jewelry, and fashion accessories are also available for purchase. We have been serving Altadena 
and Pasadena since 1926. Owners Meredith and Michael Miller (formerly of Fair Oaks Pharmacy 
and Soda Fountain, South Pasadena) are dedicated to revitalizing and restoring this Altadena 
gem to its original landmark status. 

Each child wore a “passport” that was checked 
off at each table to ensure no items were missed. 
Photo: MoCee Photography