Pasadena NOW: An Online Pasadena Living Magazine
2007 archived pages


Pasadena Now has been published daily since April, 2004 and is among the very oldest continously operated community news websites in the U.S.
This was its website for several years.
Content is from the site's 2006 - 2007 archived pages. Take a nostalgic look back...

Pasadena Now continues to strive to publish a full spectrum of news and information articles in service to the entire community.
The current website for Pasadena NOW with its slick look is found at:


Local US news website hires Indian reporters

Roy Greenslade Thu 17 May 2007 /

Evidence of the shrinking world. A community website in California, Pasadena Now, has hired two Indian reporters - one in Mumbai and the other in Bangalore - to cover the Pasadena city council, which broadcasts its meetings on the web. "A lot of the routine stuff we do can be done by really talented people in another time zone at much lower wages," explains the site's editor and co-founder, James Macpherson. He says he will help add "local flavour" to the articles written by his new Indian journalists by conducting local interviews himself. (Via Los Angeles Times)





UPCOMING EVENTS PREVIEWS is published by Pasadena Now, LLC.   |  Office:  (626) 737-8486   |  Fax:  (888) 650-9712  |  Email:

James Macpherson, Publisher  |  Candice Merrill, Director of Photography & Calendar Editor   |  Colleen Beatty, Advertising  |  Steven Cischke & Danielle Gillespie, Staff Writers  |  Brad Haugaard, Technical Advisor

The best Pasadena blogs, all in one place.


  We do not necessarily support or endorse the opinions expressed in these blogs. We attempt to present as many local blogs as possible, without restriction (except for objectionable content).  These blog links are presented as a community service to further community interaction and engagement and to enhance public debate. Pasadena Now is not responsible for the contents of these independent websites and cannot vouch for the accuracy of their contents.

Taiko Drum Performance: Hide Thunder: Skin Whispers

The Shumei Arts Council of America will present a special musical performance titled "Hide Thunder: Skin Whispers" featuring world-renowned Shakuhachi player and Taiko drummer, Marco Lienhard, together with Japanese Taiko Master, Koji Nakamura 



CITIZENS OF THE CITY OF PASADENA - Please Help China Keep its Olympic Promise 

The author alone is responsible for opinions and information presented in this essay. Pasadena Now does not take editorial positions; rather, we serve the community by offering this forum for opinion and debate, open to all. We encourage your comments!

It is important that we first have a clear understanding of this controversy.

People in China deserve an Olympic Games

As the most populous nation, the Chinese people deserve to host an Olympics Games.  Nonetheless, although China desperately sought the hosting of the millennial Olympic Games of 2000, those Games were not awarded to China.  We know that it was the People’s Republic of China (PRC) regime’s horrific human rights violations that denied it the millennial Olympics Games. It is clear that China was only granted the 2008 Olympics Games because it promised to improve its repugnant human rights record.

Olympic Games are sports with ethical principles

The Olympics Charter states, “Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.”

Accordingly, the Olympic Games are sports with ethical principles.

IOC relied upon the PRC pledge to improve human rights in China

Following China's successful bid for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, International Olympic Committee officials stated they relied upon the PRC authorities’ pledged that the Beijing Olympic Games would be a catalyst for the improvement of human rights in China.

• "By allowing Beijing to host the Games you will help the development of human rights." Liu Jingmin, Vice President of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Bid Committee, April 2001.
• "It will help promote all economic and social projects and will also benefit the further development of our human rights cause." Liu Qi, the former Beijing Mayor & the current president of Organizing Committee for the Beijing Olympic Games, 13 July 2001. 
• "We are convinced that the Olympic Games will improve the human rights record in China", Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, April 2002. 
• The Bid Committee’s statement was an acknowledgement of the link between human rights and the Olympic Games.  The promise of human rights improvement was therefore the expressed goal of both the Beijing Olympic Committee as well as the IOC.

The City of Pasadena should therefore look at any Olympics float in the Rose Parade as a reflection of progress made toward improved human rights. 

The PRC government’s attack on lawyers

Sadly, the PRC’s attack on journalists, internet writers, political dissidents are not news anymore.  A new breed of people are now under attack and they are the lawyers who defend them.

Let us take a look at Chen Guangcheng, who was named by Time magazine in 2005 as one of the world's 100 most influential people.  That year, Chen heard reports that local authorities in Linyi City in Shandong Province had allegedly forced thousands of women to undergo abortions and sterilizations in an illegal effort to compel adherence to China’s restrictive population control policies. Mr. Chen helped the villagers launch a lawsuit against the Linyi authorities. Authorities retaliated by subjecting Mr. Chen to arbitrary detention, beatings and intimidation. In 2006, they charged Chen Guangcheng, who is blind, with “damaging public property and gathering people to block traffic,” and detained him incommunicado. In August 2006, he was convicted following a trial that lasted less than two hours.  He was denied access to his lawyers.  The human rights activist was sentenced to four years and three months in prison.  
The case of Chen Guangcheng is but one of the many cases of attacks on lawyers and human rights defenders in China. 
The PRC government’s efforts at controlling information

In the waning months before the 2008 Olympics, China has redoubled its efforts at suppressing any unflattering information from being disseminated outside.  From social issues to natural disasters, from poetry to food problems, no issue can avoid the censors and the public security police.

Some of the repressive actions China had taken in just July, 2007 alone are: 
July 4, 2007 - China Development Brief, a newsletter based in Beijing and published by Nick Young, was ordered shut down.  The newsletter tracked issues such as AIDS and the environment and provided information for non-government non-profit groups in China to seek foreign funding for those issues.  Why the shutdown?  Those issues make the government look bad.  
July 11, 2007 - Even a website that clearly has no political agenda was shut down. The Forum of Contemporary Chinese Poetry was ordered closed.  Why?  Because the regime feared that poets can send subliminal messages through their poetry.  
July 13, 2007 - Eight members of the staff of Democracy and Legal Times, a weekly newspaper, were fired.  Among those who were fired included the publisher, the deputy editor, and a member of the editorial staff.  Why?  Among the stories recently covered by the newspaper was a report of the case of Lan Chengzhang, a journalist who was beaten to death on the orders of a mine owner. 
July 16, 2007 - Cyber-dissident and pro-democracy activist Zhu Yufu was sentenced to 2 years for allegedly pushing a police officer. 
July 19, 2007 - Beijing TV reporter Zi Beijia was arrested and accused of fabricating a filmed report of workers making fake buns.  According to Reporters Without Borders, “even the official news agency Xinhua acknowledged that many Beijing residents were skeptical about the findings of the police. The district where the report was filmed is known for having factories that produce imitation alcohol and food products. A journalist with the Hong Kong-based daily "Ming Pao" was threatened while trying to investigate the existence of these factories.” 
July 23, 2007 - Li Xing, an internet writer was arrested and charged with "disseminating false information and helping to create an atmosphere of panic" about the flooding in the northeast.
As we can clearly see, as the 2008 Olympics approaches, the government of the PRC has intensified its efforts at making sure that the world sees only the sanitized version of China acceptable to the government – what the government calls, a harmonious society. 
PRC’s efforts in religious persecution

August 31, 2007 -  House Church leader Zhou Heng was formally arrested for receiving 3 tons of bibles.  A fellow inmate reported that Zhou has been severely beaten by prison guards and other inmates. 

September 9, 2007 -  Msgr. Giovanni Han Dingxian, underground bishop of Yongnian died in prison.  A few hours later, his body was cremated.  Why? Perhaps to hide evidence of torture.  In 1992, Msgr. Giuseppe Fan Xueyan, underground bishop of Baoding died in prison; his body was dumped on the doorstep of his home.  There were signs of torture on his chest and face and the mark of a wire string around his neck.  Similarly, in 1992, when Msgr Liu Difen, underground bishop of Hebei, died in prison, he had holes in his back, the depth of a finger.

The persecution of Tibetan Buddhists and the Falun Gong practitioners are well documented. 

PRC’s executions and organ trade

The PRC has executed more people each year than the entire world combined.  This has been fueled by the organ trade.  The wealthy nation also contributed to this problem.
In his blog, ( Eric De Leon recounted his experience in having a transplant in China, his wife wrote on March 15, 2006 at 11:30 p.m. "Tony shared with us that they were doing 4 liver transplants tonight and 8 kidney transplants.” 

The short time that it took to find DeLeon an organ match suggested that executions in China are carried out as organs become needed.

For the Olympics, sports and politics do mix

Some may say that we should not mix sports and politics.  However, in the Olympics, sports and politics often converge.   Jesse Owens in the 1936 Olympics crushed Hitler's racial superiority theory.  It was a personal triumph for Owens and a political triumph for those who supported racial equality.

The Olympics opening ceremony at Berlin was a fascist fantasy came true for Hitler.  The Rose Parade float would be a similar propaganda coup for the PRC government. 
Does the City of Pasadena have influence over the Tournament of Roses Association?

It was reported in the Pasadena Star News that "Bill Flinn, Chief Operating Officer of the Tournament of Roses, said earlier this month the City of Pasadena, which holds a Sister City relationship with Beijing's Xicheng District, played a significant role in bringing China into the parade."

It is clear from the report that the City of Pasadena does have influence over the Tournament of Roses Association. 
Does the City of Pasadena have influence over the PRC government?

The City of Pasadena has a sister city relationship with Xicheng, a district of Beijing.  It was reported that "Bill Bogaard, mayor of Pasadena, and Yunsheng Bai, Executive Deputy Governor of Xicheng (on behalf of Governor Lin Duo) have just signed a Memo of Understanding regarding the sister city relationship on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of their sister city relationship."

The Executive Board of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG) is made up of top officials in the Communist Party of China and top officials in Beijing and other cities. 

Liu Qi, President of BOCOG is a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee.

Wang Qishan, an Executive President of BOCOG  is the current Mayor of Beijing and a member of the 16th CPC Central Committee.

Liu Jingmin, an Executive Vice President of BOCOG is the Vice Mayor of Beijing.

Engaging China

We often talk about engaging China.  This should not be at the cost of ignoring China's violations of human rights.  Our engagement with China should be mutually beneficial to both peoples.  Such engagement should go beyond trade to include the rights of the citizens in their respective countries. 

Engaging China means expressing our concern for China's struggle for human rights and helping them keep their Olympics promise. 

Does pressure work?

Visual Artists Guild is a non-profit organization which champions the right of freedom of speech and expression.  Our experience in working on many cases of prisoners of conscience shows that international pressure is effective in helping China change its behavior. 

For instance, we, together with many other organizations, were successful in securing the release of human rights activist Harry Wu, the release of AIDS activist Wan Yan Hai and in securing a relatively light sentence for Singapore Strait Times journalist Ching Cheong.  We continue to work for the release of Ching Cheong.

When Mia Farrow, a Hollywood actress and a United Nations Good Will Ambassador denounced China for its support of the Sudan’s government, she called the Beijing Olympics the “Genocide Olympics”.   She warned director Steven Spielberg that he could “go down in history as the Leni Riefenstahl of the Beijing Games,” a reference to the German filmmaker who made Nazi propaganda films.  Steven Spielberg responded by writing a letter to China’s President Hu.  As a result, China sent a team to Darfur. 
John Kamm, Chairman of the Dui Hua Foundation, a human rights organization, was at one time the President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong.  He was able to secure early release of prisoners of conscience through his numerous trade missions to China.  

These cases show that international pressure does work.

Appeal to the residents of Pasadena

The citizens of the City of Pasadena now have a rare opportunity to influence the behavior of China. 

We appeal to the residents of Pasadena to demonstrate to the world the core values of the City of Pasadena. 

Any association with the Beijing Olympics float of shame in the current situation will besmirch the reputation of the City.

We appeal to the residents of Pasadena to re-affirm the basic tenet of our American values in supporting those who are oppressed. 

Let the world knows that the City of Pasadena is willing to stand up for the people in China.

Let the world knows that the City of Pasadena is willing to speak for the people in China who cannot speak for themselves. 

Let the world knows that the City of Pasadena wants to help China keep its Olympic promise. 

Ann Lau,
Chair, Visual Artists Guild


Joe Brown is President of the Pasadena Branch of the NAACP.

The author alone is responsible for opinions and information presented in this essay. Pasadena Now does not take editorial positions; rather, we serve the community by offering this forum for opinion and debate, open to all. We encourage your comments!

As it currently stands, on January 1, 2008, a Beijing-authorized float is to be paraded down Colorado Boulevard in the internationally famous Rose Parade, glorifying the Chinese communist regime in the name of the Olympics to an estimated 400 million television audience.
It is against what I believe the founding principles of our nation are, what I stand for as President of the Pasadena NAACP and what I served my country for — as a US ARMY sergeant.

Some have defended the Beijing float citing previous floats celebrating Olympic Games in Athens, Mexico City and Los Angeles in the Rose Parade.  It has been said by one elected official that he supported the Beijing Olympic float because “values represented by this long-standing, global tradition of athletic competition. The Olympics Games represent the finest value of human nature.”

I believe by allowing this communist country a float in the Rose Parade, Pasadena is also giving China an opportunity to exploit the Olympics for its politics.  Some people may argue differently, our Tournament of Roses president (Mr. Keedy)  has stated that, “The Olympics is the issue, not the politics, that sports are merely sports and we should stay clear of other concerns.”

In my opinion, The “Float” and Beijing games, however, represents just the opposite of humanity, and is only comparable to the 1936 Nazi Olympics in Berlin. The Beijing Olympics owns the conspicuous mark of being the only Olympics given to a host country based on a promise of improving “ human rights” conditions. Since that promise in 2001, I have yet to read, hear about or see the human rights condition in China improved.
A Rose Parade float cynically used as a propaganda tool for the Republic of China would become a float of shame that would forever taint not only the image of the Rose Parade but the image of the City of Pasadena as well.

Some have embellished the float as a cultural exchange. Mr. Alan Lamson, chair of the China Subcommittee of the Pasadena Sister Cities Committee, has said, “Our position is that it's much better to get to know someone, even if you disagree with them.”
Elected Pasadena and Tournament officials, are we simply following the money and forgetting how this will gravely weaken our moral stand and principles? I hope this doesn’t allow us to sell our principles, just to receive another cheap product, lead-coated toys, and toxic food.
Many continue to inform me that the U.S. is not perfect when it comes to human and civil right. This, I agree with. But there is a vast difference between imperfections in a democracy and deliberate crimes in a dictatorship. Others have tried to find a good thing or two to say about the Beijing Olympics. They have argued that the 1936 Olympics are best remembered for the heroics of Jesse Owens instead of Hitler’s exploitation of the Olympics. That is the same as finding a bright spot in the Holocaust in the heroics of Schindler. It is unconscionable to use the heroics of others to excuse our own inaction. Some have also tried to justify their support of the Beijing float by citing their good intention toward China. Just remember, support to oppressors, in any form, is a cruelty to the victims.
For Pasadena’s honor, for the Olympics spirit, for the men and women who have served in this country, and most importantly, for our own conscience, there is a choice: Revisit our position on this communist country and its propaganda float. I thought (and many other veterans agree) I was serving my country to defend against this type tyranny.

As late as the hour is, there can be no excuse to not act, it is time to add our voice to the international outcry. Many people have already taken actions. Congressional representatives Rohrabacher and Waters have independently introduced resolutions calling for boycott of Beijing Olympics. Mia Farrow’s letter opposing a “Genocide Olympics” has already slowed the Chinese regime’s aggression in Darfur. Steven Spielberg is reconsidering his role as artistic adviser to the Beijing Olympics. Nobel Peace Prize winner Tutu is considering boycotting the Beijing Olympics over China’s support of Burmese despots.
The words of Dr. King still rings loudly in my ear, “We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.”

Joe Brown, 
Pasadena NAACP



by Ricardo Veliz
I'm outraged. The Rose Bowl Parade Commission should politely tell the Beijing 2008 Olympics float people that they are not welcome because their country is violating human rights, and to look away from that issue is hypocritical, and downright disgusting.






Pasadena Expert on Back-to-School Backpack Safety

As many as 55 percent of today’s students are carrying loads far in excess of the recommended 15 percent of body weight, with potentially serious health side effects

Going back to school is an exciting time for parents and students.  Through the hustle and bustle of new teachers, classes, schedules, and friends, an often overlooked aspect of going back to school is backpack safety.

As a doctor of chiropractic who has practiced in Pasadena for 13 years, I have seen firsthand how the failure to choose the right backpack can have negative effects on a child’s health.  Children who wear backpacks that are too heavy, or improperly fitted, can develop serious back trouble that will plague them for years. 

As many as 55 percent of today’s students are carrying loads far in excess of the recommended 15% of body weight, with some students’ packs topping the scales at an alarming 40 pounds.  According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there has been nearly a 300 percent increase in backpack-related injuries among school children in America since 1996. 

When 200 New England school nurses were surveyed, 66% reported seeing students with pain or injury that could be attributed to carrying backpacks that were too heavy. In October of 1999 the American Academy of Orthopedics stated that “of more than 100 physicians surveyed”:

• 71% felt that backpacks are a clinical problem for children
• 58% have seen patients complaining of back or shoulder pain related to backpacks
• 65% recommended that a patient modify use of a backpack to improve or correct a back problem
• 52% feel that backpack injury is a significant problem

An Auburn University study reported that heavy backpacks might be a threat to spinal development. In their survey sample, the average backpack was 17% of the child’s weight. 67.2% of the children studied suffered muscle soreness, 50.8% back pain, 24.5% numbness and 14.7% shoulder pain.

Studies at John Hopkins Children Center show overloaded backpacks as the cause of shoulder or lower-back pain and poor posture. University of Michigan researchers estimate that up to 60% of children will experience back pain by the time they reach 18. National Public Radio reported that 65% of adolescents’ visits to the doctor are for backpack related injuries.

The current student backpacks do not provide the ergonomic support necessary to prevent back injury for students carrying the average 30 lbs. of books. The fashion industry has ignored the many consumer and professional concerns regarding the ergonomics of packs. The backpack manufacturers are sidestepping the issue and blaming this problem on schools and the increased academics that require students to lug around more than 10% (as much as 40%) of their body weight.

As a doctor of chiropractic, my goal is to improve the health of the members of my community and my patients, maintain their wellbeing and prevent further injury.  Given the weight of textbooks and the elimination of lockers at some schools for safety reasons, I and my colleagues at the California Chiropractic Association, believe raising awareness about backpack safety is more important than ever. 

Parents and students need to know that often harm is occurring without obvious symptoms.  Students may be experiencing mild symptoms now, such as mild headaches and lower back pain.  Unfortunately, this could be a preview of coming ailments like chronic back pain and spine degeneration later in life.

One solution to heavy backpacks would be to reduce the weight of textbooks.  Another solution is to have one set of textbooks in the classroom and a separate set at home.  But, until changes are made, here are a few simple tips to keep in mind to help prevent backpack injuries.

Tips On Wearing Your Backpack Properly

• Distribute the weight evenly. Put heavier items on the bottom to keep the weight off your shoulders and maintain better posture.
• Wear both shoulder straps unless your pack is designed for use on one shoulder. Carrying a heavy backpack using one shoulder strap can shift weight to one side, which can lead to neck and muscle spasms, low back pain and walking improperly
• Choose backpacks that have heavily padded shoulder straps and a lumbar support. Non-padded straps dig into the shoulders causing pain due to compressed loading of the A/C joint and stress on the trapezius muscles.
• Choose a backpack that has a lumbar cushion. The lumbar cushion will redistribute weight to the lower extremities, creating a fulcrum that facilitates and upright position.
• Lift it right. Bend your knees when picking up a heavy backpack.
• Carry only what is needed. Extra items add extra weight!

I recommend AirPack System Backpacks which are distinguished by an ergonomic design, with wider shoulder straps and a lumbar air cushion that transfers the weight of the pack’s content to the top of the hips. This allows the weight to be carried partially by the body’s structure. The AirPacks come in three sizes –small, medium, and large – so that they may be individually fit to the child.

Of course proper use of any backpack must be observed and good health practices are necessary for overall health. I urge all parents to teach their children how to pack and carry a backpack correctly.  Children deserve a painless ‘back’-to-school, and with a little help, they can have one. 



Dennis R. Buckley is a Doctor of Chiropractic who has practiced in the Pasadena area for 13 years. He is the past president of the California Chiropractic Association. He is an Executive Board Member of the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce. He serves as team physician for four San Gabriel Valley High Schools, provides physicals for the San Gabriel Valley Junior All-America Football Association and game medical supervision for The La Cañada Gladiators of the San Gabriel Junior All-America Association. His practice includes a focus on wellness and body transformation programs along with his sports medicine practice. He is on the faculty at Southern California University of Health Sciences in the pre-clinical sciences division and also as a supervising clinician. He lives in Pasadena, and has a 19 year old daughter who is an accomplished artist. He can be contacted at:

University Health Center
1450 N. Lake Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91104




How to Irrigate Your Gardens, Save Money and Conserve Water, Too!

One way to make a significant impact on your use of water to irrigate your garden and lawns is to install a programmed, automatic irrigation system. These systems can save you time and money and just as important, they help conserve water.

Water Conservation
Tuesday, March 20, 2007

While water resources vary over time (as from drought, or, an abundant snowpack, for example), sustainable use of water requires a reserve that can be maintained and managed so as to ensure the supply for future generations. Sustainable activities do not reduce options or otherwise impoverish future generations.

One way to make a significant impact on your use of water to irrigate your garden and lawns is to install a programmed, automatic irrigation system. These systems can save you time and money and just as important, they help conserve water.

Choose a system that can be reprogrammed easily to adjust to changing seasonal requirements.

Most systems use a system of underground pipes, sprinklers, and emitters to water specific areas of a garden or turf, and divide the property into specific areas so that plants with similar root depths and watering needs can be watered by the same irrigation valve and cycle. An irrigation controller includes a timer that activates the valves for each watering zone. The timer allows you to water at the most efficient time of the day - usually the very early morning hours - when evaporation losses are minimal.

Systems provide two categories of irrigation: overhead and low volume/drip.

Overhead systems use sprinkler heads to spray water over an area. In arid and semi-arid areas, these are recommended primarily for turf irrigation. Overhead systems may use up to five gallons of water per minute, and apply up to 1½ inches of water per hour. System efficiency is dependent on water pressure and availability, as well as environmental factors such as watering when winds are minimal, and on maintenance factors, such as seeing that sprinkler heads are correctly aligned and unclogged.

Drip irrigation emits a slow and steady application of water at the roots of plants and shrubs, directly where it is needed rather than through the air where it evaporates. The rate of flow is determined by the size of the aperture of the emitter and by the number of emitters programmed on a single valve or cycle. Care should be taken to not overload the system and exceed the household's water pressure capacity. It is generally preferable to program several areas with separate watering cycles than try to water a large area on a single cycle.




Ultra Rich and Almost Famous 

The Soap Kitchen in Old Pasadena adds a fresh new flavor, the Ultra Rich Mint Verbena, in response to their almost famous lip balms — just in time for Spring.

Finding the perfect lip balm can be as challenging as finding the perfect pair of jeans.  It’s not so simple when more and more discerning consumers are gravitating toward personal care products that provide a perfect, all-natural fit. 

Let’s face it, deciphering personal care labels is just as difficult as reading food labels.  As consumers try to avoid preservatives in food, they also try to avoid it in beauty products.  The health conscious shoppers of The Soap Kitchen in Pasadena are not just addicted to the look, feel and benefits of natural soaps for the body, but now many have found a proper fitting moisturizer to complement the lips.

The Ultra Rich Mint Verbena lip balm is fresh, ultra rich and certain to become the favorite among all five of their "almost famous" lip balms. 

While most commercial lip moisturizers contain synthetics and toxic ingredients such as petrolatum, sodium borate, and various types of parabens, the Ultra Rich Mint Verbena consists only of natural ingredients.  It is a superior blend of olive oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, mango butter, vitamin E, natural essential oils and beeswax. 

The tropical verbena essential oil provides a sweet citrus scent while the peppermint offers a refreshing cooling sensation.  The entire line of lip balms offer the ultimate, all natural moisturizing lip care.   They are so popular with shoppers that The Soap Kitchen management says 12% of annual revenue is generated by the sales of these lip moisturizers alone.  And now with the addition of The Ultra Rich Mint Verbena, sales are expected to reach stardom.  It’s fresh, ultra rich and certain to become the must have item for this Spring.

The Soap Kitchen is committed to servicing consumers who want to live well in all aspects of their lives.  “We are dedicated to providing all natural and eco-friendly products that are not only wonderfully indulgent, but better for your body,” proudly boasts storeowner Dali Yu.

About the Soap Kitchen

Pasadena's The Soap Kitchen is a traditional and online retailer dedicated to offering healthy alternatives to commercially mass-produced soaps, shampoos and shower gels to health conscious consumers.  With the commitment to preserving the earth, the animals and the environment, all products are 100% natural and free from harmful toxins and chemicals such as parabens, synthetic fragrances, colors and preservatives.  The Soap Kitchen products are all hand-made from scratch from an onsite kitchen using only the finest essential oils and herbs to create an all-natural multisensory experience.  Product offerings include: soap and shampoo bars, lip balms, bath salts, bath scrubs, bath teas and massage oils.  The Soap Kitchen was founded in 2004 by Dali Yu and is located at 43 North Fair Oaks Avenue in Old Pasadena.  For more information, call (626) 396-9996 or visit





Porta Via: Paradiso Italiano

A deli that even mie nonne will swear by!

Thursday, September 13 | 2:35 pm

Surrender to your inner gourmet and take the shortcut to meatball heaven at Porta Via Italian Foods, a stylish new deli that’s only about a month old and has already created a buzz, strictly word of mouth.

Co-owned and managed by foodies Victor Ciulla (former Twin Palms CEO) and ex-New Yorker John Weithas, this handsome shop oozes contemporary Italian flavor in every bite of each authentic recipe.

At Porta Via, you can have your pick of the most delectable in authentic Italian deli – choicest meats, sausages, cheeses, pastas, antipasti and ready-to-eat foods, all fresh and absolutely mouth watering

But the great thing about Porta Via is that deli items are just the beginning of the story: They have a variety of gorgeous and delicious prepared authentic Italian foods ready to be taken home for dinner with family or friends – part of their “gourmet to go” philosophy. Everything is prepared in their own kitchen, on the premises. 

Wander in and get ready for a hit of epicurean overload. There’s the sight and tantalizing smell of the enormous calamari platter, Luciana style. Then the stack of lovely Panini sandwiches packed with fresh mozzarella and all sorts of sinful cuts of meats, and the over-the-top sub sandwiches that prompted a patron to declare, in a moment of ecstasy, “I have waited 20 years for this!” 

It’s hard not to love their perfect Italian cold cut sandwich –  the “Autostrada” (Italian fast food?) – stuffed with mortadella, prosciutto, soppressatta, coppa, pepperoncinis, provolone, lettuce, and tomatoes – which by my phenomenal standards is a work of exemplary culinary expertise. (Three cheers to Octavio Beccera,  Patina Group's former corporate executive chef who engineered many items on Porta Via’s menu.)

The meatballs already seem to have acquired celebrity status (a bit early to say “legendary”); prepared from nine ingredients including three different meats and  steeped in a juicy marinara sauce loaded with San Marzano tomatoes.

There’s much more:  Osso Buco with toasted pine nut gremolata; grilled scampi with garlic, chiles and fennel; salmon with green olives and potatoes; lamb shank with bitter oranges and olives; and more!

Hard not to stand there putting that Pavlovian canine to shame. 

To complete this increasingly tasty picture, indulge in a light, luscious and lemony serving of cannolis – made with a secret recipe handed down through 3 generations of Ciullas . Those with simpler ambitions can treat themselves to fresh Italian cookies and the biscotti.

Soon, Porta Via will complement the food with an Italian wine collection, a larger variety of decadent deserts and more ready-to-eat wholesome food that will leave your palette absolutely content. It’s a little bit of paradiso Italiano you ought to visit.

Porta Via, One West California Boulevard, Pasadena. (626) 793-9000 |
 Monday through Friday 10:30 am - 7:00 pm | Saturday 10:30 am - 5:00 pm | Closed Sundays




Firefly Bistro: Modern American Bistro 

Named after the insect whose most notable feature is a greenish-yellow "tail light" capable of producing flashes of light, Firefly Bistro creates “flashes” of California-inspired cuisine. 

Wednesday, July 25
Named after the insect whose most notable feature is a greenish-yellow "tail light" capable of producing flashes of light, Firefly Bistro creates “flashes” of California-inspired cuisine. Housed in a large tent, made festive with twinkle lights and paper lanterns, Firefly Bistro recently celebrated its 5th anniversary with an inspired food and wine pairing.

As we entered the restaurant, we were greeted by partner, Carl Weintraub, and proud father of chef Monique King. King and her partner/husband chef Paul Rosenbluh create what they consider to be “modern American bistro”

To begin our journey we were served Muscat-inis, made with a Terre Rouge Muscat-a-Petits Grains which were delightfully light and dry, remarkably Martini-like without the bite of gin. Paired with our Muscat-inis were rock shrimp, lightly battered and fried and served with  a smoky-hot jalapeno honey and shooters of plum and heirloom tomato gazpacho, sweet and complex with notes of mint and lime.

The first course was a buttery grilled sea scallop served with a chive buerre blanc and accompanied by an oven roasted peach and braised leek tart. The scallop absolutely melted on the tongue and was accompanied by a Terre Rough Roussanne. The Roussanne is a white wine new to California which can be aged like red wine.

As the ruby glasses of the Vin Gris D’Amador went by on trays, we were served an Indian Spiced Foie Gras with sweet plum chutney, coriander syrup, mission figs, toasty pistachios and fennel crackers. Thrilled that it’s alright to drink Rosé again, I took a sip of the deep ruby brew and was delighted to find that it was not syrupy like many Rosé’s can be. It was a wonderful foil to the rich foie gras, with spicy notes and a slight acidic finish. 

Pepper and Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb was our next dish, served with crispy potatoes and olives and a creamy eggplant and feta flan. I found the lamb to be undercooked, it was rare and I have a hard time eating rare meat, especially lamb. However, the flan was a rare treat, silky with delicious bits of feta cheese. The combination of the crispy potatoes and salty olives was inspired. Served with this course was a Zinfandel, plumy not porty and full-bodied.

The next course was one that I was dreading-venison. I have had only unfortunate encounters with venison. Usually it is dry and gamey, so this is what I was expecting. Not so. The venison I was served on this occasion was served medium rare, lightly charred on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside. It was accompanied by a delightful fennel-celery root hash, oyster mushrooms, shallots and the most delicious spicy syrah reduction.  This was served with a Terre Rouge Syrah, complex, rich and spicy it tasted delightful with the venison.

We ended the meal with artisnal cheeses, fruit and nuts with a late Harvest Zinfandel, a bit sweet but not too much so. It paired with the cheese divinely.

Firefly Bistro is located at 1009 El Centro Street, South Pasadena. Their hours are dinner from 5:30 to 9 Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday, 5:30 to 10 Friday through Saturday, lunch from 11:30 to 2:30 Tuesday through Friday, brunch from 10 to 2:30 Saturday and Sunday. Prices are moderate, appetizers are $9.00 to $11.00, lunch is $7.00 to $15.00,  brunch $10.00 to 



Camerata Pacifica Opens Season at Huntington Library 

September's Camerata Pacifica concert will feature music by Mozart, Beethoven and Lizst with guest artist Barry Douglas on piano. 

Published on Monday, September 10

Camerata Pacifica is a chamber music ensemble based in Santa Barbara that performs a monthly series of concerts in Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Marino, and Zipper Hall in Downtown Los Angeles. Founded by Adrian Spence in 1990, the group is composed of the finest performers of chamber music from around the world. The ensemble is distinctive for artistic excellence, an innovative approach to classical music and a repertoire that ranges from baroque to brand new, from familiar masterworks to works that have yet to become favorites.

September's concert at the Huntington will feature;  Mozart, Concerto for Piano and String Quintet in A Major, K 414; Beethoven, Sonata Nş 21 in C Major, Op. 53, “Waldstein”; Lizst, Piano Sonata in B Minor. The concert will feature guest artist Barry Douglas on piano.

The concert takes place on Tuesday, September 18th at the Huntington, 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino. Tickets are $40.00. For tickets and more information call (800) 557-2224 or log onto





How to Get Rid of Your Unwanted Gadgets

Published on Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Get rid of electronics safely and free on Saturday, April 28, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Parking Lot I near Brookside Park.

You can drop off old computer monitors and parts, circuit
boards, disk drives, TVs, printers, keyboards, laptops, floppy disks,
cell phones, VCRs, DVD players, fax machines, answering machines,
satellite TV equipment, small household batteries and more. All
items will be recycled or disposed of in an Earth-friendly way.

For more information call 744-4721.



Pasadena Tree City USA

Sixty thousand street trees and 25,000 park trees strong, city of Pasadena announces it has won its sixth Tree City USA Growth Award.

Published on Apr 11, 2007

Sixty thousand street trees and 25,000 park trees strong, city of Pasadena announces it has won its sixth Tree City USA Growth Award, its seventh Tree City designation, and its fifth Tree Line City USA Utility Award from the National Arbor Day Foundation.

The Tree City award recognizes cities with proven commitments to effective, ongoing community forestry programs that emphasize renewal and improvement. The growth award is for programs that are expanding. The utility award honors Pasadena Water and Power for its tree care standards, for safely and aesthetically pruning trees away from utility lines, and for educating the public about safety when planting trees near utility lines.

With a population of 146,000 people, Pasadena replants about 600 trees annually through its Urban Forestry program in the Public Works Department. The new trees replace those that die due to age and urban effects.

“These awards provide additional incentive for our community to pursue its goals of using trees as a vital component of the character and ambience of the community,” said Mayor Bill Bogaard.

Highlights of Urban Forestry in 2006 included the addition of six acres of oak woodland to be protected as open space, a plan to relocate mature trees on the Ambassador Campus, and continuing education of its arborists in more efficient use of taxpayer resources and improved management of urban green space. 

Urban Forestry is responsible for administering proper tree care, planting and removal on city parkways and parks, a street tree database with maintenance information, the city's tree protection ordinance and public outreach.

Well-maintained trees are known to not only improve aesthetics, air quality, and climate, but also help reduce stormwater runoff and crime rates. For more information call (626) 744-4321.



City Government

Design Commission Seeks Details on Livingstone Hotel Project

Published on Tuesday, July 10

The Pasadena Design Commission last night asked the developer of a proposed mixed-use project that would renovate the historic Livingstone Hotel but demolish an old building next to it to come back with more details.

The developer wants to demolish the one-story office building at 123 S. Robles Avenue and build a six-story, 39 thousand square-foot, mixed-use building with 34 condominium units and 1,175 square feet of commercial space. 

 The project also calls for the renovation of the exterior of the Livingstone next door and adaptive use of the building for condos. Under the plan, the two lots would become one.

  The project would add much need parking space for the Livingstone, which currently has none.
The office building at 123 S. Robles was determined ineligible for historic designation in the 2004 Central District Plan. The Livingstone was determined eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Two signs on the property are listed in the Historic Sign Inventory.

Several commission members expressed disappointment that the office building could not be saved, but said they were willing to trade it in order to save the Livingstone, a 1920’s-era, red-brick building.

 In other action, the commission asked developers of a proposal to demolish the Pasadena Health Club building and construct a six-story complex with 200 hotel rooms and 110 condominium units at the corner of Fair Oaks Avenue and Raymond Street to come back with style changes.

 The architectural composition of the proposed building included a series of pylons and large expanses of glass offset by extended canopies and balconies, and had been described as a “contemporary interpretation of work by Frank Lloyd Wright.”   

 Commission member Julianna Delgado said she had “mixed feelings” about the proposed project. Standing alone, she said, it looks good. But, referring to the architectural style, she said she’s not sure it’s “our city.”