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Former TCHS Teacher Martin Leska is Apparent Murder Victim
Pasadena Star-News reports: Authorities on Sunday released the identity of an elderly man who was found stabbed to death inside his Temple City early Saturday, Dec. 16.

Martin Leska, 83, was pronounced dead at the scene once he was discovered by deputies suffering from at least one stab wound just after 6 a.m. Saturday inside his home in the 500 block of Alessandro Avenue, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials and coroner’s records.

(UPDATE: January 10, 2018 — Members of a related Temple City site on have reported that a suspect in the crime was apprehended and to be charged with the crime. According to the Pasadena Star News, "Homicide detectives have identified a man already in jail in Orange County as a suspect in the fatal stabbing of an 83-year-old man inside his Temple City home last month, officials announced Thursday. Jose Rosales Casas, 28, is suspected of murder for the slaying of Martin Leska, whose body was discovered on the morning of Dec. 16 at his home in the 500 block of Alessandro Avenue, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officials and Orange County booking records. He has been behind bars in Orange County since Dec. 15 due to an unrelated criminal case, records show." See also This report.

(Leska was a former science teacher at Temple City High School. Many former students have commented on a related page at

No motive or suspect description was known in the attack, according to Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau.

“Detectives have learned that at approximately 5:50 A.M., Temple Station deputies responded to the location regarding a ‘check the welfare’ call,” she said in a written statement.

Deputies discovered the elderly victim had suffered, “at least one stab wound to the upper torso,’ Navarro-Suarez said. An autopsy was yet to be completed, coroner’s Investigator Rudy Molano said.

Public records indicated Leska had owned the home for more than a decade.

(The accompanying photograph is from the 1959-60 Temple City High School yearbook.)

Anyone with information is urged to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

From the Pasadena Star-News 17 Dec 2017: 83-year-old man found stabbed to death inside his Temple City home identified By BRIAN DAY,San Gabriel Valley Tribune
PUBLISHED: December 17, 2017 at 1:07 pm | UPDATED: December 17, 2017 at 3:28 pm
Support TCHS Football this Fall
TCHS football will benefit from a series of fund-raising activities this fall. Please review the linked events and consider participating, whether or not you live in the area. We will display posters for the next event as they occur.

October 29: Flapjack and Fun
November 11: Deadline for contributing items for Football Yard Sale.
November 12: Football Yard Sale.

(Larger view of posters)
Music Lineup Set for Camellia Festival
See the adjacent poster for a partial list of musical events during the Camellia Festival. Be prepared for surprises.
The Santa Ana Wind that Ate TC
No doubt in theaters soon. The LA Times reported this week...

"Cities across the suburban San Gabriel Valley remained crippled Thursday night, with city officials warning that fallen trees and branches may not be cleared for up to four days.

Along Live Oak Avenue in Temple City, Brian Haworth, assistant to the city manager, said there were 14 downed power lines and split poles between Primrose and Baldwin avenues.

"We have power lines hanging in the middle of the street," Haworth said. Fallen trees still blocked access to roads.

The cities of Alhambra, South Pasadena, Pasadena, San Marino, San Gabriel, Temple City, Sierra Madre, Monrovia, Glendora and Arcadia have all declared states of emergency, along with Los Angeles County.

The problem with putting the power back on in Temple City is that Southern California Edison crews haven't yet been able to scour every single area to find downed lines, Haworth said. If the electric grid is turned on without a thorough search, it could risk someone getting electrocuted from a live wire.

Temple City's business district on Las Tunas was also without power, and Edison was preparing to erect portable lights on streets for illumination A Ralphs supermarket was hurriedly trying to sell ice and eggs early Thursday. About 30 homes were damaged in Temple City, and up to 200 trees toppled.

With so much tree debris, Haworth said, he hopes that roads and driveways would be cleared by Monday. The city is also asking for increased patrol by sheriff's deputies.

And with a section of the city without running water – possibly because water pumps require electricity -- Los Angeles County fire crews brought in mobile water tanks, just in case. Much of Los Angeles County is a red flag warning, conditions that could easily cause a wildfire."

LA Times Article

UPDATE: Is this your class ring?
The editor has received notice of the finding of a ladies ring, Temple City HS, Class of 1964. Engraved on the inside of the band are 3 initials, the last name begins with a "G." The finder writes "I understand how some these items may be wonderful keepsakes of milestones in our lives. Would like to return it to the rightful owner." If this information plus a bit more can connect you to the ring, contact the editor for more information.

UPDATE 5/4 - An intrepid Class of '64 detective team is on the case. We'll leave this item active for progress reports.
High dudgeon over TC f'ball coach departure
After a single season, head football coach Anthony White is on his way to greener fields (didn't he notice the TC colors?). A running conversation - a bit circular to be sure - continues on various blogs. Here's an example.

Daily News Blog/Forum

TC 'Piazza' saga continues
The TC "Piazza" continues its controversial ways. Namely, no progress. Several recent reports indicate the proponents have not come to grips with community and city demands regarding design, parking and other issues.

Jerry Gillette '61 recently sent the attached photo (click for full size) showing the current reality. If you like dusty fields, you'll love TC Piazza.

Older alumni remember, of course, the original Temple Theater with its western motif - including wagon-wheel fences. That structure was demolished in the 1970s to make room for a small multiplex, now also gone.

The project has not been free of political and legal controversy, with civic officials and project developers accused of bad design and legal malfeasance.

This dominant location at Rosemead and Las Tunas deserves quality redevelopment by people who care. The corner helps to define the town, and in our opinion should not be given free rein do do less.


Design as seen by the architects.


Temple City Voice (report) (news digest linking to several articles)
Details emerge in TC corruption probe
Temple City Councilwoman Judy Wong received six bribes from a local developer totaling $13,000 - taking half of some payments in cash and half in checks she gave to politicians she favored, according to newly released grand jury transcripts, according to a recent SGV Tribune article.

At Wong's suggestion, developer Randy Wang wrote checks to the election campaigns of state Board of Equalization President Judy Chu, now a congressional representative, as well as state Assemblymen Anthony Portantino and Mike Eng and state Sen. Carol Liu, Wang told the grand jury.

The proceedings led to the grand jury's 21-count indictment against Councilwoman Wong, former mayor Cathe Wilson, and former City Council candidate Scott Carwile. The three were charged with bribery, perjury and other crimes after the indictment was unsealed June 10.

SGV Tribune article

Temple City officials indicted in corruption case
Rocky Curtiss ('62) has sent us the following news flash:
3 Temple City figures indicted in corruption case

Mayor Judy Wong, former Mayor Cathe Wilson and Wilson's campaign treasurer, Scott Carwile, have pleaded not guilty to charges that include perjury and bribery.

The three were indicted Wednesday on charges of perjury and soliciting and receiving bribes from a developer in exchange for supporting his $75-million mall project.

Read the article by Victoria Kim of the LA Times, June 11 2009

TC Piazza future undetermined
Temple City's Piazza mall project "could become a barometer for the local economy, a symbol that it may not accept willingly. There are signs, however, that Temple City could pull this off and maybe kick the Valley's retail economy in the behind," according to a report in the Pasadena Star-News.

The project has been stalled amid several restarts and redesigns.

(Ed. note: Are you in or near TC? If you would care to send us an original photo of the project we would appreciate it. Please indicate the date. All materials are attributed to the contributor.)
US Jobs Package Could Benefit TC Schools
Temple City Unified School District would get about 2.8 million in stimulus funding under one version of the current economic recovery stimulus package now making its way through Congress, according to US Rep. Adam Schiff (D). California is projected to receive more than $32 billion under the proposal. Of that, 5.45 billion is slated for public schools, Schiff said.

Source: Pasadena Star News

A Dr. Bill Schmidt Moment from Ray Watters
After many years teaching in Temple City, Dr. Bill Schmidt moved to Lone Pine, CA, where he became Superintendent of Schools. In the 1950s and 60s, being a blind teacher made one an instant celebrity, but most students came away understanding Schmidt's star qualities transcended his disability.

Ray Watters '62 notes: "Bill Schmidt was my 8th grade teacher at Oak Avenue School from '57 to '58.

"The accompanying photo of (us) was taken in 1995 when I roasted him at his retirement in Lone Pine, CA. At that time, he was Superintendent of Schools in Lone Pine and I lived in Ridgecrest, which is just a bit south.

"I had the speech all planned, but had to intervene when I said, ' haven't changed a bit!' There was going to be some reference to Grecian Formula, but he spoke up and said, "Geez Ray, I thought I was blind!" That brought the biggest laugh of the evening."

(The editors invite registered users to submit their Bill Schmidt stories. While you are signed in a comment form appears below this article. We suggest you write your story off line and paste it to the form, lest all those good grammar teachers from TC schools arise and castigate you for your spelling.)

Where is Lone Pine?

Mama Petrillo, Community Icon
Jean Petrillo has passed away at the age of 82. Jean was the founder of Mama Petrillo's restaurant in Temple City.

She and her husband Angelo also operated Petrillo's on Valley Blvd. in San Gabriel They were married for 63 years.

(Reported by Janice Helmer '68.)
Elections Deliver New School Board Members
Abridged commentary from Pasadena Star-News: In Tuesday's local elections, many incumbents were returned as usual. Though we're always glad to see long-timers challenged - it's never good for democracy to have to cancel an election - on balance we often agreed with the voters' decision. Change for change's sake is not a pure good unless one candidate or slate has simply been there too long...

When it came to the contested three seats on the Temple City Unified School District board, a slate of populist challengers swept the election.

Bob Ridley - who ran alongside candidates Rachel LaSota and Janet Rhee - was the frontrunner with 1,332 votes, or 22 percent of the votes cast. Rhee came in next with 1,221 votes, or 20 percent. LaSota was next, with 1,057 votes or 18 percent. School board incumbent Robert McKendrick was not re-elected.

According to a commentary in the Pasadena Star-News, voters clearly said that they were looking for some fresh faces. It was by no means a matter of expressing overall dissatisfaction with the schools - Temple City remains a school district to which homebuyers specifically move in order to enroll their children.

It was more a separate list of issues. These three talked about a superintendent whose authoritative style rubbed staff the wrong way. They also spoke of bringing together the district with City Hall and trying to get more parents involved. Ridley in particular spoke out against the long delays in addressing the repairs to Emperor School from an arson fire two years ago. All three said a proposed facilities bond should be aired out more thoroughly in the community before placed on the ballot.

Ed.: We've posted this in part as a stimulus to action by alumni, whose numbers include many who continue to be interested in local affairs. Amazingly, the Emperor School fire escaped our attention, as have many other community events.

Your Alumni News only works if you participate. It needn't be fancy; just sign in and post a note in the Forums; or comment on something in the News or a forum topic. It's easy, and we need you.
Yet another TCHS!
This time it's Trego County HS in Wakeeney, KS. No, we don't know where that is, but we're sure they do. Curious? Follow the link.

Trego Co. HS

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