Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast - Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018 Details on page 3

Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre edition

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Community Calendar:
SM Calendar of Events
Sierra Madre Police Blotter

Sierra Madre:
Walking SM … The Social Side
… This and That
Letter to the Editor

Shop Local:

Pasadena – Altadena:
Altadena Crime Blotter
Pet of the Week

Arcadia · Monrovia · Duarte:
Arcadia Police Blotter
Monrovia Police Blotter

Best Friends / The World:
Happy Tails
Christopher Nyerges
Out to Pastor
Katnip News!
SGV Humane Society

Food, Drink & More:
Chef Peter Dills
Table for Two
Looking Up

Education / Good Life:
Senior Happenings

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Section B:

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All Things
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The Joy of Yoga

Opinion … Left/Right:
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Tom Purcell
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Legal Notices (4):


Jeff Brown
Deanne Davis
Peter Dills
Bob Eklund
Marc Garlett
Katie Hopkins
Chris Leclerc
Christopher Nyerges
Rev. James Snyder
Keely Totten

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Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast - Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018 Details on page 3



VOLUME 12 NO. 37



Sierra Madre Congregational Church as a new Pastor and his 
name is Josh Swanson!

Four years ago, Josh Swanson was attending a class at Mater 
Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center and as he walked by 
Sierra Madre Congregational Church (SMCC) he thought 
to himself “I wonder how someone gets to be the pastor of a 
church like that,”. His question has no doubt been answered!

A Long Beach native, Josh Swanson served as both a Youth 
Pastor and as lead Pastor at churches in Orange County, Long 
Beach and Albuquerque, New Mexico. 

 Swanson said he has felt connected to God his whole life. 
Growing up, his grandmother was the “spiritual matriarch 
of the Swanson Clan.” He says that while there are some 
Christians who embody a “holier than thou” hypocritical 
attitude towards the world, his grandmother was the 
“antithesis of [that],”. She was a model of hope, love and joy. 

 The church is a huge part of Josh Swanson’s life. He met his 
wife Alicia through the church; while they were “aware of each 
other in high school,” as he puts it, they did not start dating 
until afterwards. The church is what drew them together, and 
they were married on September 11, 1999. He says that “she’s 
awesome,”. Together, they have had four beautiful daughters: 
Audrey (16), Mia (14), Lucy (12), and Eve (8). 

The family has already settled into Sierra Madre, and Swanson 
mentions that while he loves his office and the view, his other 
favorite place in Sierra Madre is Mother Moo’s Creamery. 

 Swanson sees SMCC’s location as perfect. Situated right 
next to Memorial Park, the church is in the heart of town and 
is a fixture of the community. He says that his goal is to help 
the church connect with the community and “encourage our 
people to be great neighbors and be a benefit…we don’t just 
want our physical buildings to add value, but also our people,”. 
The buildings are important, but so are the people. 

 As part of his goal to renovate the church facilities, Swanson 
also wants to grow the congregation and he is hoping to 
attract a diverse crowd. He quotes Psalms 127:1, which 
he says has been stuck in his head since he came to Sierra 
Madre, “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor 
in vain…”. He also emphasizes that “The real work of building 
is building human lives,”. 

 Speaking of buildings, though, the pastor has already 
done a lot of work in the few short months he’s been here. He 
officially started in February of this year and after only two 
or three weeks on the job he decided to pull all of the carpet 
our in the Old North Church building in order to freshen up 
the interior and take advantage of the beautiful hardwood 
floors underneath. He has moved the main offices next door 
to the Old North Church, in what used to be the youth room. 
Walking into that building is like walking into a catalogue. 
Everything is designed around the mid-century modern 
aesthetic, a deliberate choice as that particular aesthetic blends 
the old and the new in a way that is very much reflective of 
Christianity-an ancient religion that is relevant still today. 

 Swanson also described the mid-century modern aesthetic 
as a logical choice for the church because of its beauty. He says 
that God gave us the gift of a world filled with beauty, and 
Swanson wanted to reflect that inside the church. He quotes 
Genesis 2:9 “The Lord God made all kind of trees grow out 
of the ground, trees that were pleasing to the eye and good 
for food,”. That balance between physically nourishing and 
visually pleasing is important to Swanson and he wants his 
work to reflect that. 

 His current projects are redoing what will be the youth 
room and redoing the main sanctuary. Just like in the Old 
North Church, he has pulled out all the carpet and the 
beautiful pine wood brightens up the room. The walls are 
now painted white to make the stained-glass windows 
stand out better, and Swanson wants to change out the 
chandelier fixtures for something more streamlined to better 
complement the architecture of the church. Both of the 
buildings still have a way to go before they are complete, but it 
is easy to see that they will be beautiful once the work is done. 

 The church is also getting a new name. Officially, SMCC 
will now be called Christ Congregational Church Sierra 
Madre, but the abbreviated version will be Christ Church 
Sierra Madre, or simply Christ Church. The church will be 
hosting an open house for the community so that everyone 
can see the work that has been done and can connect 
directly with the church. That will take place on Sunday, 
October 21st. Do not miss it!!

Tuesday, September 11th was a day of Remembrance, Reflection and Gratitude. The day began with the 
SMPD/SMFD salute at 7:04 am in honor of those who died in the World Trade Center tragedy on 9/11/01. 
What followed was a day full of thanks - Breakfast for Sierra Madre First Responders by the Rotary Club 
and Lunch and a special presentation by the Sierra Madre Kiwanis Club. Pictured above l to r are Kiwanis 
President Judy Webb-Martin, SMPD Chief Joe Ortiz, Kiwanis Immediate Past President Susan Henderson, 
SMSR Member 'Ducky' Mallard, SMFD Captain Rich Snyder and CERT President Dennis Burton. 
A plaque with a perpetual note of thanks was given to each group. Photo by Mary Lou Caldwell


 After a reported upswing in traffic 
collisions in Sierra Madre in 2017, 
City Council directed staff to initiate 
a traffic mitigation plan and provide 
data on how many traffic collisions 
have occurred so far this year and why, 
when, and where they are happening. 

Chief of Police, Joe Ortiz, presented 
the results of the detailed study 
during the City Council meeting on 
September 11. The determination was 
that most traffic violations occurred in 
the areas of Baldwin Ave. from Suffolk 
Ave. to Northeast Highland Ave., and 
Sierra Madre Blvd. from Mountain 
Trail Ave., to South Hermosa Ave. 
This hotspot area had the highest 
amount of both injury and non-injury 
traffic collisions. As a result, this 
section of the city became designated 
for enhanced enforcement by Sierra 
Madre PD. 

 In order to raise awareness and 
provide the public with information 
about safe driving, SMPD met in-
person with residents and connected 
through social media outlets and press 
releases. Topics of discussion included 
the risks of speeding, texting and 
distracted driving, not stopping at stop 
signs, and making U-turns. 

 In 2017, a total of 400 tickets were 
issued to drivers who failed to comply 
with these traffic laws. The worst 
violation was failure to stop at stop 
signs, which resulted in 255 citations. 
In April 2018, a traffic officer was 
designated to the area with high 
collision rates. Citations rose as a 
result from May through August. “We 
made a lot of friends,” Chief Ortiz 
quipped. “The good news is that we 
have only had five traffic collisions 
since deploying the traffic officer in 
May of this year,” he added. 

 In 2017, traffic collisions with injuries 
jumped 24% over 2016 numbers, 
and non-injury collisions were up a 
whopping 46%. 

 However, as some areas are seeing 
reductions other sections are still 
hotspots for speeding, despite 
increases in citations. “There are 
still streets in the city that we’re still 
conducting daily/weekly enforcement 
on and people aren’t slowing down 
no matter how many citations are 
issued,” Ortiz acknowledged. One in 
particular, is southbound traffic on 
Hermosa Ave. in the morning and 
northbound in the evening; when 
people are anxious to get to work and 
back home again. 

 Ortiz is hoping that he will see more 
positive results on Hermosa as well. 
Council Member John Capoccia, 
reassured Ortiz that citations work 
after admitting that he received two 
speeding tickets on Hermosa Ave. 
years ago. “I would like to say that it 
does work,” Capoccia jested.

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website:

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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