Recent News

Long-time Sierra Madrean Joe Ramsey Passes Away

Posted 1/10/15 – (Editor’s Note: I’ll be doing a more comprehensive and personal look back at Joe Ramsey’s life in the near future, but wanted to post this in the interim…)

Joseph Jack Ramsey, 11/1/67 - 12/29/14

Joseph Jack Ramsey, 11/1/56 – 12/29/14

Joseph “Joe” Jack Ramsey passed away Dec. 29th, 2014 at Arcadia Methodist Hospital.  Joe Ramsey, son of Jack S. Ramsey and Helen L. Ramsey, was a father, a husband, and a friend, loved and respected by many.  He was also a musician, a record producer, and a small business owner.

Joe was born at City of Angels Medical Center in Los Angeles.   He spent his first three years living in Altadena, then moved to Arcadia, where he attended Dana Middle School, Arcadia High School and Pasadena City College.  In the mid-1970s, Joe moved to Sierra Madre where he (mostly) lived until he moved to Monrovia in 2011.

Joe’s early jobs were at Licorice Pizza and the Wherehouse, record stores where he could indulge himself with his first great love, music.  These jobs were a natural progression following his entry into performing, appearing with bands as early as middle school.  Joe went on to perform with numerous bands, including HiFi, Chance, Foul Play, The Item, The Cyclones and many others.  His greatest musical success came with The Prime Movers from 1983 to 1988, which was signed to Island Records and toured the UK, opening for Big Country, as well as domestically, and Dread Zeppelin, with whom he performed more than 900 gigs during several world tours.  Dread Zeppelin’s first album, Un-Led-Ed, sold a million copies, and the band appeared on television and portrayed themselves in the motion picture National Lampoon’s Last Resort.  Ramsey performed under the stage name Severs Ramsey with The Prime Movers and Jah Paul Joh in Dread Zeppelin.

In his later years, Joe’s life went full circle, as he went back into the work force selling vinyl records during its recent resurgence in popularity, first at Berdan Records in Monrovia and then partnering with Sean Sprinkel to open Resistor Records, also in Monrovia. But he hadn’t given up performing, organizing a concert at Matt Denny’s in Arcadia that featured many of his old bandmates from both his school days and throughout his career.

In the late 70s, Joe partnered with several friends to open Marquee West, a rock and roll club in Arcadia. In 1983, he opened his own independent record label, Birdcage Records, home to such acts as not only his own Prime Movers and Dread Zeppelin, but artists such as Stan Ridgway, Ron Asheton, and Pietra Wexstun, In Vivo, The Mystery Band and others.

In 2002, Joe met and began dating Allison Koester-Martinez.  The two were married, and had two daughters, Mika, 6 and Kaiya Jo, 4.  And Joe loved being their daddy…according to Allison: “Joe’s sole passion in life was creating music. He lived and breathed it. After we had our babies, his focus shifted and he only had eyes for them. He still had that musical fire burning in him, but all he wanted was to make sure these little girls were happy, secure, and loved like crazy.”

Joe is survived by his wife, Allison, his two daughters, Mika and Kaiya Jo, and a sister, Elizabeth Brierty.  Members of the family gathered on Jan. 2nd to say goodbye prior to Joe’s cremation at Forest Lawn in Glendale.  Plans are in the works for a memorial gathering/concert  possibly in February or early March with several bands that Joe had discussed bringing together for a concert.  An announcement will be made when the details are worked out, you will be able to find the information on line at the website referenced below.

Joe’s passing was the result of a decade long battle with medical problems consisting of a heart attack, cancer, and a recent stroke.  Some of Joe’s legion of friends and fans have created a website to help the family with the bills incurred by these issues, and if you’d like to donate you can do so by visiting www.JoeRamseyFamilyFund.com.  From the website: This fundraiser is initiated and supported by the many people who have known and loved Joe Ramsey and his family over the years. Donations to this fund will go to help defray medical costs as well as funeral expenses, costs of living for Allison and the children, and future needs of the little ones.

 

Thursday January 01 2015

“I Think I Can” – Forever Young

 

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Thursday January 01 2015

SMRFA Wins Mayor’s Trophy, Ninth Award in Ten Years!

SMRFA Wins Mayor's Trophy, Ninth Award in Ten Years!

Posted 1/1/15- “I Think I Can”, Sierra Madre Rose Float Association’s 2015 entry in the Tournament of Roses Parade, was the town’s 83rd entry, going back to 1917.  And for the ninth time in ten years, SMRFA’s entry has won an award, The Mayor’s Trophy, described by the Tournament as “Most Outstanding City Entry, National [...]

Wednesday December 31 2014

2015 Rose Float Dedication, Kersting Court Stopover – Photo Gallery and Video

2015 Rose Float Dedication, Kersting Court Stopover - Photo Gallery and Video

Posted 12/31/14 – The Board of Directors of the Sierra Madre Rose Float Association (SMRFA) dedicated this year’s float to Bob Young in a brief ceremony at the barn this evening, before heading down to the parade.  On the way they stopped over at Kersting Court to allow local residents a chance to get up [...]

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Wednesday December 31 2014

SMRFA Undergoes Final Judging of 2015 Float – Photo Gallery, Video

SMRFA Undergoes Final Judging of 2015 Float - Photo Gallery, Video

Posted 12/313/2014 – Judges for the Tournament of Roses Parade stopped by Sierra Vista Park today to see the 2015 edition of the Sierra Madre Rose Float Association’s float, “I Think I Can”.  While that’s the official name, many in town are calling the float “Forever Young”, a phrase which adorns the tail end of [...]

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Tuesday December 23 2014

Frosty’s Back – 2014, Dedicated to Oggie – Photo gallery

Frosty's Back - 2014, Dedicated to Oggie - Photo gallery

Posted 12/23/14 – Every year since 1988, except 2010,  a snowman has been built in Kersting Court.  Originally, he was on Sierra Madre Blvd. up near the west end of the park by the crosswalk, and for some time now he’s been on Baldwin Ave.. He has arrived on different days – on Christmas Eve, [...]

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Monday December 15 2014

Letter to the Editor re: Help Save Sturtevant Camp

Posted 12/15/14 – Hello fellow hikers and canyon-lovers! The Friends of the San Gabriels is pleased to announce that it has entered into an agreement with the United Methodist Church to purchase Sturtevant Camp. We are now starting a fundraiser and hope that you will participate. Many of you are familiar with Sturtevant Camp and [...]

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Thursday December 11 2014

Services for Brian “Oggie” Eck to be Saturday, Dec. 13th, at St. Rita

Services for Brian

Posted 12/11/14 – Brian Keith Eck, aka “Auggie, Oggie, Og,” born on Sept. 5th 1963 to Sheila Joan Eck Pierce and James Clarence Eck, Sr., succumbed to a blood infection on Dec. 2nd, 2014.  He is survived by his mother, father, brother James C. Eck, Jr., sister Melissa Stute, half brothers James Eck and Scott [...]

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Friday December 05 2014

SMVFA Annual Firefighter’s Ball Saturday, Dec. 6th

SMVFA Annual Firefighter's Ball Saturday, Dec. 6th

Posted 12/5/14 - The Sierra Madre Volunteer Firefighters’ Association will be throwing their Annual Christmas Ball on Saturday, December 6, 2014.  There will be dancing to a live band, a no-host bar, and as always,guests are asked to bring a new unwrapped toy for th Marine Corps Toys for Tots program.  The ball will be held [...]

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Sunday November 30 2014

15th Holiday Party Fundraiser for Foothill Unity Center This Saturday, 12/6

Press Release posted 11/30/14 - Foothill Unity Center Auxiliary  invites you to join us for our 15th Annual Holiday Season Party to benefit Foothill Unity Center, Saturday December 6, 2014, 5 to 9 p.m. at THE LODGE in Sierra Madre, 33 East Sierra Madre Boulevard featuring: live music ★ dancing ★ festive food ★ silent auction [...]

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Sunday November 30 2014

Annual UMC Christmas Alternative Gift Fair & Boutique This Sunday, 12/7

Press Release posted 11/30/14 – Sierra Madre United Methodist Church is holding its annual Christmas Alternative Gift Fair & Boutique on Sunday, December 7, 2014 from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Celebrate the spirit of the holiday season with a gift that truly “gives back.”  Your donations help support the relief efforts of local organizations [...]

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Sunday November 30 2014

Sierra Madre Winter Village Festival, 2014 – Photo Gallery and Video

Sierra Madre Winter Village Festival, 2014 - Photo Gallery and Video

Posted 11/30/14 – Sierra Madre Chamber of Commerce sponsored the Winter Village Festival for 2014 yesterday on Small Business Saturday.  Formerly known as the Holiday Open House, Dickens Village and Whoville, Winter Village Festival was the 2014 iteration of the day long event, featuring live entertainment, non-profit fund raising booths, small town local shopping, horse [...]

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Saturday November 29 2014

SMArt Walk and Winter Village Festival Today

Posted 11/29/14 – The 2014 Sierra Madre SMArt Walk takes place today, from Noon  – 4 pm and the Sierra Madre Winter Village Festival will take place from 3 to 8pm. During the Art Walk, Sierra Madre will bustle with creativity as artists and musicians join with almost all our local businesses to celebrate art [...]

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Monday November 24 2014

Old School Eatery To Feed Those In Need, Alone On Thanksgiving

Posted 11/23/14 – I recently was made aware that Old School Eatery, technically not in Sierra Madre, but about as close as you can be at 975 N. Michillinda, intends to offer free turkey dinner with the trimmings to those who are alone and those who are in need on Thanksgiving Day, from 1 to [...]

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Saturday November 22 2014

What’s SMRFA Up To, And How Can You Help?

What's SMRFA Up To, And How Can You Help?

Press Release and FB posts, posted 11/22/14 – As the Sierra Madre Rose Float Association (SMRFA) heads into the home stretch for the 2015 Tournament of Roses parade, please read the following information which shares info about SMRFA, some ways that you can help, and updates on the organization pulled from their FB page and [...]

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Saturday November 22 2014

Classic LA Detective Yarn Tapped As The Next One Book, One City Selection

Classic LA Detective Yarn Tapped As The Next One Book, One City Selection

Press Release posted 11/22/14 – Raymond Chandler’s classic, The Long Goodbye, has been chosen as Sierra Madre’s One Book, One City selection for 2015.  Published in 1953 and featuring his famous detective, Philip Marlow, Chandler called the novel “my best book”.  Set in Los Angeles in 1949, The Long Goodbye is notable for using hard-boiled [...]

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