La Cañada Patch Editor to Transfer to SoPas

The editor says goodbye to the town and the "competition'' between she and her La Cañada Valley Sun editor husband -- sort of...

Dear La Cañada:

It all started with the Foothill Leader. 

You folks who've been around a while might remember the twice-weekly publication that actually had its own office on Verdugo Road in 1996 (back when papers were a tad more flush). I covered La Cañada, La Crescenta and Montrose and Sunland and Tujunga. So when I interviewed with Patch in August 2010, I happily applied to be the LCF editor.

It was a good choice.

Since that time I've delighted in meeting hundreds of warm and caring residents who love the idea of a community platform where anyone can log on to the site and upload a blog or an announcement about something going on in town. It seemed almost a radical concept at first - my posting a story or a Pasadena Star News story on the Patch site. But that's what makes Patch community oriented - we want you to get all the news in your town, even the items we don't get to you first. 

And now it's time for a change. I very much love digging into a community and finding out who's doing what, and what folks might not know is happening - and that opportunity has come my way in South Pasadena. To a veteran journalist, SouthPas is an offer I can't refuse. I look forward to reaching out to my new Patch community with every ounce of verve and vigor that I used to report on La Cañada. Of course, I'll still be contributing to La Cañada Patch. () 

I'm excited to get to know the folks who make SoPas the vibrant community that has shone a light on for more than a year. I'm stoked to check out the art scene, attend city council meetings and cover school board issues. My start date in South Pasadena is Sept. 3.

As for La Cañada Patch, we really hope community members will upload to the site events and announcements of import to residents. The site will no longer be editor-run, but, rather, a cooperative site with local blogs, shared content from other Patches and occasional freelance pieces. 

And we really, really want you to blog for us! Tell us about something bugging you, or something awesome you spotted at . 

If you happen to spot breaking news, or have concerns about something, please email co-assistant regional editors Redmond Carolipio, Redmond.Carolipio@patch.com or Dan Abendschein, Dan.Abendschein@patch.com.

Looking Back

A lot has happened in La Cañada during the past two years. The stories that spring to mind first are Wild Bill, Marcos Costa and Gabrielle Leko. And of course, Spartaca.

Wild Bill

One of the stories that I will carry with me forever is that of a homeless man, . Known around town as "Wild Bill,'' Barrios was , where he lived. When a member of the community saw the story, she immediately organized a for him - one that was attended by dozens of people.

Out-of-Control Big Rig

Another La Cañada story that will forever stir my soul is that of Marcos Costa, a Brazilian pastor who took up truck driving as a means to make more money. But instead of taking the freeway, he drove his 18-wheeler big rig through the Angeles National Forest on mountainous grades that were never meant for trucks - signs forbidding such vehicles are now posted prominently. His brakes failed on Angeles Crest Highway on Apr. 1, 2009 and his , killing them instantly, before coming to rest inside the space of what is now . A Los Angeles Superior Court jury sentenced Costa last September to 7 years and four months in prison. 

Ethnic Slur Teacher

The story that stirred the most controversy was that of , a veteran math teacher at who called a student "Jew Boy,'' as well as made other inappropriate racial and gender discriminating comments, the school board's investigation found. last March. She retired in June and the District paid her $215,000, plus medical benefits until the age of 65.


Two stories and an accompanying video that elicited 37 comments earlier month was that of , the of La Cañada High School for nearly a decade. The new principal said she had to go, and the story compelled a reader to adopt the meowing [unofficial] mascot. 

And to My Husband and Valley Sun Editor

In closing, I'd like to reiterate how wonderful it's been getting to meet so many of you. To love and protect your community the way you do is a fabulous thing.

In full disclosure, I must admit, I told my husband - editor of the Valley Sun, Dan Evans - that I'm a bit relieved to have this competition thing behind us. I work from home some days, and if Dan hasn't left yet and my scanner is squawking and I'm trying to surreptitiously ask the watch commander what the happs are, it can be well, grating.

"I'm not going to be your 'competition' any more!'' I beamed with news of the transfer.

"The Pasadena Sun covers SoPas, love,'' he quipped. 

Oh well. Here we go again! 


Most Sincerely,

Donna (donna.evans@patch.com)

Elizabeth Nazarian August 23, 2012 at 04:13 PM
Spartaca and her mother are so happy and honored to read that Spartaca made your list of stories that had an impact!!! I hope the whole community learned something about Spartaca leaving LCHS and moving to her new home. She is thriving and she brings joy to me at a time when I need it most. Thanks, Donna, for without your column I would not be blessed. Good luck and skill on your new adventures!!!
Zoiderella August 23, 2012 at 05:24 PM
I am a newcomer to Patch and have enjoyed reading it every morning. I will miss the coverage of the happenings in La Canada that I rarely take time to read in the Valley Sun. Best to you at your new position.
Donna Evans August 23, 2012 at 05:28 PM
Thanks, folks- but Patch isn't going away! We're not abandoning La Cañada, we're just going to use a different model :-) I really appreciate the kind words, though!
Nicole Charky August 24, 2012 at 04:52 AM
@Donna - Congratulations on your new post! I look forward to continue working with you while you rock So Pas!
Ron Rosen August 25, 2012 at 03:06 AM
Sorry I couldn't make it to Charlie's today. A "different model"?


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