Southern California breaking news and trends

Season's Givings: Pasadena Humane Society seeks helpers to work with animals, outreach

Season's Givings, Pasadena Humane Society Marilyn Hoyt

Amy Lieu/KPCC

Marilyn Hoyt, a volunteer at the Pasadena Humane Society, tells KPCC about what it's like working with dogs and what keeps her coming back.

This post is part of KPCC's "Season's Givings" series, chronicling volunteer experiences  and opportunities during the holiday season. View a full listing of volunteer opportunities and let us know your holiday volunteer story!

Each year the Pasadena Humane Society provides shelter and care for a number of abandoned or homeless animals. In 2011, the organization took in nearly 12,000 animals found in La Canada Flintridge, San Marino, Sierra Madre, Arcadia, Glendale, Pasadena and South Pasadena.

And each year, the PHS reunites over 1,600 lost pets with their owners. One of those owners includes KPCC’s own Patt Morrison, who found her lost dog, Edgar, at the local shelter.

Volunteers are an essential part of  the humane society.  Currently, the organization relies on more than 400 volunteers to help keep the pets active, assist in adoption outreach, work with the organization's veterinarians, and help out with clerical work.


Flamin' Hot Cheetos banned: Snack attack in Pasadena schools

flamin hot cheetos

Screenshot via

Flamin' Hot Cheetos are being chased off campuses in Pasadena with some schools issuing a red finger ban on the "Dangerously cheesy" foodstuffs. 

CBS News reports that the snack attack waged in California, Illinois and New Mexico is being fought on a number of health-related fronts including addiction concerns, a question of nutritional value, reports of gastrointestinal unrest, and the illusion of bloody stool brought on by food dye consumption. 

ABC News reports that a bag of the fiery food weighs in at "26 grams of fat and a quarter of the amount of salt that's recommended for the entire day." Several Pasadena schools banned the cartoon cheetah's treats on the grounds of nutritional value, reports KTLA. At Andrew Jackson Elementary, the snack will be confiscated if found on campus, reports the L.A. Times.


If 5,500 trees fall in Pasadena: The 'Tree Failure' windstorm report

Los Angeles Area Hit With Powerful Santa Ana Winds

David McNew/Getty Images

A boy whose school was closed climbs fallen trees on Green Street after strong Santa Ana Winds that are cauing the worst local wind damage in decades on Dec. 1, 2011 in Pasadena.

Hold on to your hats, a 27-page report called the "Pasadena Windstorm Tree Failure Analysis" has been made public by the city's Urban Forestry Advisory Committee.

Prepared for the city's Department of Public Works, the study examines data on nearly 5,500 trees that were damaged in the historic windstorms  -- with wind speeds reaching 100 miles per hour within the City of Pasadena -- on November 30 and December 1, 2011.

An analysis of tree failures by the Davey Resource Group showed the city’s urban forest suffered "severe losses" with approximately 9% of the trees damaged in the high winds. Costs to the city are projected to be in the tens of millions of dollars with hundreds of light poles and buildings also damaged in the storm.

The City of Pasadena maintains that it maintains about 57,500 trees in over 64,500 city locations. The report asserts that the "unpreventable wide variety of damage to the urban forest structure" was primarily caused by wind intensity and direction, and that the existing tree maintainence program prevented more damage from occuring.


Pasadena green-lights the end of red light cameras

red light camera sign

Photo by Purple Wyrm via Flickr Creative Commons

The latest city to close its red eye in the sky is Pasadena, where, as of last Sunday, drivers no longer have to worry about posing for posterity as they push their luck with yellow lights.

Pasadena Sun reports that the city has officially terminated the red-light camera program and ended its contract with with vendor/operator American Traffic Systems. The program had been running at a deficit.

The city's seven red-light cameras switched on in 2003 under a contract that ended in June 2011. The program, deemed a drain on law enforcement resources, was extended for one year by the City Council to study traffic safety effectiveness.

All equipment will be taken down.



Gone in a flash: The end of the red-light camera era

Now that the red light cameras are gone, should yellow traffic lights be longer?


NASA's newest X-ray telescope hops a Pegasus to space

Image Credit: Orbital Sciences Corporation/JPL

NASA's NuSTAR and its rocket drop from the carrier "Stargazer" plane.

NASA's new black hole-hunting, X-ray telescope was launched into orbit Wednesday from a remote island in the Pacific. This is real life.

Managed by SoCal's JPL, the Pasadena-controlled peeper begins a two-year mission to seek out celestial objects in the Milky Way, and other galaxies, that are difficult to see. 

The NuSTAR telescope, short for Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, is designed to cut through interstellar dust and gas to capture light that's gone undetected by other orbiting telescopes.

Paul Hertz, director of NASA's Astrophysics Division, says the telescope will focus on the "poorly explored hard X-ray region of the electromagnetic spectrum" and could open up "a new window on the universe."

The space agency opted for the less expensive air-launch option (instead of rocketing from a launch pad) and sent its $170 million mission into the sky via a Pegasus rocket dropped by an aircraft that took off from the Pacific's Kwajalein Atoll.