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Sierra Madre Rotarians Honor Humanitarian Innovators at RH STAR Awards – Photo Gallery

Sierra Madrean Dr. William Patzert, Lifetime Achievement Award Photo: Milla Cochran www.millaagaiphotography.com

Posted 11/5/17 (photo gallery below) - The Sierra Madre Rotary Club hosted its 2nd Annual Rotary Humanitarian STAR Awards Banquet on Saturday, with more than 130 scientists and friends honoring outstanding humanitarian achievements in science and technology, while enjoying live entertainment, cocktails and dinner at the Pasadena Masonic Temple. The goal of the STAR (Science, Technology, Aerospace and Robotics) awards is to recognize, celebrate and raise awareness of scientific achievements that significantly improve lives and positively impact humanity.

The evening began with a cocktail reception featuring music by Almer Imamovic and Dr. Jessica Pierce.  The guests were welcomed by Joan Riback, and following presentation of the colors by the 2nd Battalion 23rd Marines of Pasadena, the National Anthem was sung by Valerie Geason, and a few words of inspiration were offered by Rotarian Douglas Kerns, Ph.D.

Following dinner, immediate past president Alan Unell, Ph.D. gave a brief overview of the awards, including introduction of the distinguished Advisory Board, consisting of David A. Bearden, Ph.D. of the Aerospace Corporation; Joel W. Burdick Ph.D., JPL Research Scientist; Marie  Csete M.D., Ph.D., Huntington Medical Research Institutes; The Honorable Lance A. Ito, (Ret) Judge Superior Court of the State of California, in and for the County of Los Angeles; William Patzert, Ph.D., Scientist at CalTech’s NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory; John F.  Raffensperger, Ph.D., of Pardee RAND Graduate School, Philip R. Troyk, Ph.D., of the Armour College of Engineering, and Sylvia Whitlock Ph.D., District Governor, (2012-2013) Rotary International District 5300.  To learn more about the advisors, visit the website, www.RHStar.org.

Executive Governor of Rotary District 5300 Marilyn Diaz gave some background about Rotary, and its mission of serving humanity.

Emcees Dave Ruprecht and Marie Csete, M.D., Ph.D. then got down to the business of the evening, presenting the awards. The first award of the evening went to Sierra Madre resident and JPL Climatologist William Patzert, Ph.D., who was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Patzert began his career at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography before moving onto NASA and revolutionizing oceanographic and climate science.  Dr. Patzert has worked with JPL for 35 years. In accepting the award, Dr. Patzert noted that we are living in a time where science is under attack, adding that climate change is scientific fact, not fake news.

In the Health and Medical category, nominees had helped children and families by eliminating cleft lips and palates and scarring, engineered nanoparticles for human cancer therapeutics, developed a method to measure oxygen in blood which changed the way anesthesia and critical care are administered, integrated functional genomic, epigenetic and genetic data  to help understand how genomes are involved with various diseases and disorders, developed a wireless remote temperature monitoring solution for vaccine refrigerators in rural areas, and discovered a pacing method that enables diagnosis and termination of arrhythmia.  The winner in the category, Kimberly Shriner, M.D., F.A.C.P., of Huntington Hospital created a global outreach project that brings Pasadena medical teams to Tanzania where they save lives by educating the people through lectures, workshops and clinics to sustainably relieve diseases such as HIV, parasites and more.  “ I think that the Rotary Club, their merging of innovation and humanity and engineering and technology is just what we need at this time in the world…” said Dr. Shriner.

The Knowledge Sharing category included people or organizations that coordinated the growth of 50 early stage companies working to translate scientific ideas into products for the improvement of health, quality of life and the environment, communicated the power of NASA’s exploration story, did a preliminary design of a human Mars lander, encouraged and influenced students in elementary school through high school to pursue an interest in STEM through use of robotics, and worked with a Fijian community to develop a clean water infrastructure.  The winner in this category, Denise McCain-Tharnstrom, Ph.D., worked with a team of volunteers to develop the What I Need (WIN) app, which is a resource directory for homeless and vulnerable youth.

Nominees in the Environmental Improvement category interpreted satellite data to further our understanding of climate and environmental problems and developed a solar-powered bio-machine designed to remove CO2 from the air and convert it to fuel or other products, closing the carbon cycle.  The winner of Environmental Improvement, Frances Arnold, Ph.D, breeds molecules as part of a process to transform biomass into fuels and chemicals, with the potential of relieving our dependency on fossil fuels.

Nominees in Disaster Relief and Recovery invented solar powered inflatable light for distribution in disaster and undeveloped areas, and directed efforts to protect NASA’s manufacturing hub for future space exploration initiatives. This category had two awardees, Jim Lux, telecommunications specialist at JPL who developed a portable device using radar technology to find victims trapped beneath rubble. “How often do you get to work on technology that directly saves lives…it’s just, there’s nothing cooler,” said Lux, noting that this project was the most personally gratifying project in his two decades at JPL.

Also receiving the STAR award in this category was Sam Bloch, founder of Communitere International, which is pioneering an innovative approach to humanitarian aid, working with the people in the affected area as stakeholders, not beneficiaries, and changing the scope of disaster response and community development.  Sierra Madre Rotary has agreed to support Bloch’s company’s efforts as they assist the people of Puerto Rico in rebuilding after the recent hurricane.

Said Rotarian Joan Riback “These are the only awards honoring the humanitarian application of scientific and technological achievements.  They literally go to people who are saving lives.  This year’s awards recognized some amazing people who are revolutionizing some of the greatest problems of our time, including climate change, AIDS, homelessness, a breakthrough in alternatives to fossil fuels, and life saving devices for disaster relief and recovery.  The depth of gratitude that we feel for these people and their achievements is inexpressible.”

Added Dr. Michael Budincich, current president of the Sierra Madre Rotary Club “I am proud of what our RH STAR committee, and our small Rotary Club collectively, was able to accomplish, with so few active members and limited resources.  We call ourselves ‘small but mighty’.

For a complete list of the nominees and information on the projects for which they were nominated, go to www.RHStar.org.  You will also soon be able to view video of the banquet, as well as purchase tickets to next year’s event, at the website.

Tuesday October 31 2017

Halloween Happenings

Halloween Happenings
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Sunday July 30 2017

Services for Gordon Caldwell Monday, Tuesday

Services for Gordon Caldwell Monday, Tuesday

Posted 7-30/17 – Funeral services for Gordon Caldwell will take place at Sierra Madre Congregational Church on Tuesday, August 1st  at noon.  The church is located at 170 W. Sierra Madre Blvd. Viewing will be on the Monday preceding, July 31st, from 5 to 9pm at Douglass and Zook Mortuary, 600 E. Foothill Blvd. in [...]

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Tuesday May 30 2017

Scene Around the Mt. Wilson Trail Race – Non-race Photo Gallery

Scene Around the Mt. Wilson Trail Race - Non-race Photo Gallery

Posted 5/30/17 – Hope you enjoy these photos.  Click to enlarge.

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Tuesday May 30 2017

VFW Memorial Day Ceremony, Photo Gallery

VFW Memorial Day Ceremony, Photo Gallery

Posted 5/30/17 – The Lt. Kenneth Bell VFW Post 3208 held its annual Memorial Day Ceremony yesterday featuring speakers Congresswoman Judy Chu, Assemblyman Chris Holden and keynote speaker Lt. Col. Dick Rutan, a Vietnam era fighter jet pilot.  Unfortunately it appears all the pictures I took of Lt. Col. Rutan are on my other camera, [...]

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Sunday May 28 2017

VFW Post 3208 to Host Memorial Day Ceremony

VFW Post 3208 to Host Memorial Day Ceremony

Press Release posted 5/28/17 – Lt. Kenneth Bell, VFW Post 3208, invites patriotic Veterans, families and friends to attend our special Memorial Day Ceremonies honoring our deceased War Veterans at Sierra Madre Pioneer Cemetery, Monday, May 29 at 11:00 A.M. Please arrive early to get a seat. In recent years, the ceremony has attracted standing-room only [...]

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Sunday May 28 2017

Timphony, Tracy Lead the Way at Mt. Wilson Trail Race

Timphony, Tracy Lead the Way at Mt. Wilson Trail Race

Posted 5/28/17 – James Timphony, winner of the 2008, 2009 and 2014 Mt. Wilson Trail Races, found his way back to the top yesterday with a time of 1:01:38, followed by Jon Clark, who has locked down second place every year since he won the race in 2012, with a time this year of 1:03:52. [...]

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Friday February 03 2017

Chamber Celebrates Rod and Joan Spears, Citizens of the Year 2016 – Photo Gallery

Chamber Celebrates Rod and Joan Spears, Citizens of the Year 2016 - Photo Gallery

Posted 2/3/17 – The Sierra Madre Chamber of Commerce and approximately  friends and family turned out to Nano Cafe to celebrate the recognition of Rod and Joan Spears as Citizens of the Year for 2016.  A buffet dinner and entertainment by JJ Jukebox kept the crowd happy as the Spears’ were lauded for their contributions [...]

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Thursday February 02 2017

One Book, One City Starts With a Journey Through Science and Art

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Press Release posted 2/2/17 – JPL: Powered by STEAM!, a program by Dr. Steve Cornford, started February’s One Book, One City events with a tour of the universe and its splendor at the Sierra Madre Public Library on February 1. Dr. Cornford, shared gorgeous images of planets, stars, and solar systems that are the “Art” [...]

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Thursday February 02 2017

SMPD Makes Weapons Violation Arrest

SMPD Makes Weapons Violation Arrest

Press Release posted 2/2/17 – On January 31, 2017 a Sierra Madre resident in the 2000 block of Liliano Dr., contacted the Sierra Madre Police Department regarding a suspicious occupied vehicle. The resident stated she was inside her home when she heard a sound coming from her “Ring Home Security” doorbell. When viewing the live [...]

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Thursday February 02 2017

Sierra Madre Police Blotter, Jan. 8 – Jan. 29, 2017

Sierra Madre Police Blotter, Jan. 8 - Jan. 29, 2017

Posted 2/2/17   Sierra Madre Police Department Police Blotter Report   January 8 to January 15, 2017 During this time period, the Sierra Madre Police Department responded to approximately 215 day and night time calls for service. Wednesday, January 11 A resident in the 00 block of E. Sierra Madre Bl. came to the station’s lobby [...]

Tuesday January 24 2017

Sierra Madre Announces New City Manager, Gabriel Engeland

Press Release posted 1/24/17- After an extensive recruitment and interviewing many candidates, the City of Sierra Madre has selected its top candidate—Gabriel (“Gabe”) Engeland–to serve the community as its new City Manager. Mr. Engeland’s appointment and employment agreement are scheduled for approval at the regular City Council meeting of January 24, 2017. The City Council [...]

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Tuesday January 24 2017

Alverno Heights Senior Cassidy Castillo To Receive LA Archdiocese Christian Service Medal

Press Release posted 1/24/17 – Alverno Heights Academy senior Cassidy Castillo has been selected as Alverno’s recipient of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles Christian Service Medal for 2017. Cassidy will receive her award on Tuesday, March 14 during a special Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles. Cassidy, a [...]

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Wednesday January 11 2017

Senator Portantino Reacts to Governor’s Budget Proposal

Press Release posted 1/11/17  - (1/10/17) This morning, Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D – La Cañada Flintridge), Chair of Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee No. 1 on Education, issued the following statement: “I was pleased to see that the Governor’s proposed budget reflects our State’s continued commitment to K–12 and Higher Education. The Governor’s 2017–2018 [...]

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Tuesday January 10 2017

SMPD Blotter 1/1/17 to 1/8/17

Posted 1/10/17 Sierra Madre Police Department Police Blotter Report January 1, to January 8, 2017 During this time period, the Sierra Madre Police Department responded to approximately 214 day and night time calls for service. Tuesday, January 3 A report of a stolen vehicle from the driveway of a home in the 400 block of [...]

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Saturday January 07 2017

Benches to Memorialize Former SMEAC President Laurie Cooper at Bailey Canyon

Benches to Memorialize Former SMEAC President Laurie Cooper at Bailey Canyon

Press Release posted 1/7/17 - The Sierra Madre Environmental Action Council mourned the loss of their beloved member, Laurie Cooper in 2016.  Laurie’s long involvement with SMEAC began just after the formation of the organization in 1971.  She managed Southern California’s first community recycling center, located in Sierra Vista Park.  She also spear-headed SMEAC’s stewardship of [...]

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