Feds target 3 alleged Chinese ‘maternity tourism’ in Rowland, Walnut

Federal agents search apartments

Federal agents search apartments

By Kevin Smith, Staff Writer

Federal agents searched several Southern California locations on Tuesday in a crackdown on so-called maternity tourism operators who arrange for pregnant Chinese women to give birth in the U.S., where their babies automatically become American citizens.

The crackdown on three alleged maternity tourism rings may be the biggest yet by federal homeland security agents who say that, while pregnant women may travel to the United States, they cannot lie about the purpose of their trip when applying for a visa.

Birth tourism has been reported from a range of countries, but authorities say the most recent cases in California have catered to wealthy Chinese amid a boom in tourism from mainland China. It is unclear how many women travel to the United States for maternity tourism.

Searches were done in Rancho Cucamonga, Rowland Heights, Walnut and Irvine.

About two dozen investigators from the Department of Homeland Security, the Internal Revenue Service criminal division, the Irvine Police Department and sheriff’s deputies from San Bernardino County blanketed the west end of the neatly landscaped apartment complex, located at 17800 E. Colima Road in Rowland Heights.

Some brought out boxes of papers and other evidence and locked them in black, unmarked vans. Others, mostly women, stood inside doorways of the apartments talking on their cell phones.

Asian women investigators were seen interviewing women in the complex. Some who apparently lived there were chaperoned by law enforcement from the carport up the winding pathways, disappearing into apartments.

Read more in Kevin Smith’s story MATERNITY

34 spellers advance to finals of Inland Valley Regional Spelling Bee

bee2

By Inland Valley Regional Spelling Bee

Facing the possibility of heavy rain on the day of the preliminaries, the volunteers of the Inland Valley Regional Spelling Bee planned for the worst. But as luck would have it, partly cloudy skies and bright sunshine  prevailed.

Excited spellers and their families, friends and teachers piled into the Design Technology Center at Mt. SAC early Saturday morning.

After the throngs of school champions were registered and given their T-shirts, they lined up and marched into the auditorium to the strains of their favorite music.

Marsha Hawkins, Spelling Bee Director introduced the announcer Ken Mok, who explained what was going to happen that day. The spellers were separated into their red, blue and yellow color groups and escorted to their venues – written spelling, written vocabulary or oral spelling.

After three tense hours the tests were corrected and the points were tallied. The excited spellers were asked to come up to the stage where they were presented with medallions signifying their successful advancement to the final rounds.

These lucky spellers will spend this week studying hard and fast to be ready to face their competitors early Saturday morning, March 7.

Among those advancing to the finals are Rebecca Norden-Bright of Pioneer Jr. High in Upland, who has participated for the last six years, Hannah Sylvestro of St. Margaret Mary School in Chino, our champion in 2013 and Thordar Han of South Point Middle School in Diamond Bar who is making her second appearance at the Bee.

The finals will take place at 8 a.m. in the auditorium at the DTC. All 35 finalists will be seated on stage, where they will be called up one at a time to spell their word.

If they are correct, they will sit back down. If they fail to spell correctly, they will join their parents in the audience. This will go on until one student is able to out-spell all the others.

The finals of the IVRSB have always been exciting and the children are the show. They are funny, bright, excited and above all dedicated.

Teens arrested on suspicion of breaking into Diamond Bar home

Deputies arrested three teenage burglary suspects Sunday afternoon after they broke into a Diamond Bar home occupied by another teenager, officials said.

The break-in occurred about 12:10 p.m. in the 800 block of Leyland Drive, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. David Buckner said.

A teenage boy was home alone when the burglars knocked at the door, then forced their way into the house after receiving no response, the lieutenant said.

The victim called 9-1-1 to report the burglary while the teenage suspects were still inside the home, Buckner said. They fled in a blue Honda Civic before deputies arrived, however.

A neighbor managed to take down the license plate number, and deputies soon found it nearby and pulled it over, Buckner said.

Deputies arrested the three teens, who are all about 17 years old, and recovered several hundred dollars believed to have been stolen in the break-in, he said

Industry NFL stadium overshadowed by Inglewood, Carson

Artist's rendering of proposed "Los Angeles Stadium."  Developer, Edward P. Roski, Jr.,

Artist’s rendering of proposed “Los Angeles Stadium.” Developer, Edward P. Roski, Jr.,

By Jason Henry, Staff Writer

Diamond Bar Mayor Steve Tye said Wednesday if he ranked the proposed Los Angeles’ stadiums by their chance of getting build that he would put the one he wants the most at the bottom of the list.

A NFL stadium in Industry, proposed by billionaire Ed Roski Jr.’s Majestic Realty Co., seems more and more unlikely as team owners jockey for properties in Carson and Inglewood, he said. Roski, who wanted a share of the team if one came to the city, never found the support from owners that the newer projects have.

“There was a time when you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing about it,” Tye said of Roski’s proposal. “Then all of a sudden, nothing.”

With the Raiders, the Rams and the Chargers linked closely to Carson and Inglewood, Tye said he isn’t sure if that leaves a team for Industry.

Walnut Councilmen Tony Cartagena and Bob Pachecho also said Wednesday they have heard nothing about Roski’s plan recently and neither believe it is likely.

Walnut and Diamond Bar settled with Majestic Realty in 2009 over concerns that the stadium would negatively impact their communities. However, the NFL has not written Roski’s proposal off.

“It remains one of the sites we continue to monitor,” stated Brian McCarthy, the NFL’s spokesperson, in an email.

Roski announced his plans to bring the NFL back to Los Angeles with a state-of-the-art, $800 million stadium in Industry in 2008. The website for the Los Angeles Stadium at Grand Crossing still exists, but the site has not been updated in years.

Read more in Jason Henry’s story STADIUM.

Los Altos High teacher charged with sex with student

By Ruby Gonzales, Staff Writer

A Los Altos High School chemistry teacher was charged Wednesday for allegedly having sex with a 15-year-old student.

District Attorney spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said three felony counts of lewd acts upon a child were filed against David Park, 37, of Chino Hills.B-pSaNkVEAEnYPl

Investigators alleged he molested the girl after school in a classroom and at his home from September to November 2014.

Wearing a gray T-shirt and with his hands handcuffed behind his back, Park appeared Tuesday afternoon at Pomona Superior Court for an arraignment which was continued to March 9.

Park’s bail was $1 million after deputies arrested him Monday night. The bail for the charges filed is $75,000.

“I think it requires a deviation from $75,000 just for protection of the community,” Commissioner Wade Olson said.

He set bail at $150,000. Olson said if Park is released on bail, he must have no contact with the victim. He reminded Park that there is a protective order.

Park’s father and another relative attended the arraignment. They declined comment.

Read more in Ruby Gonzales story BAIL.

Champions compete at Inland Valley Regional Spelling Bee

bee

On Feb. 28,  106 school champions will gather at the Design Technology Center on the campus of Mount San Antonio College to compete in the eighth annual Inland Valley Regional Spelling Bee.

Spellers represent cities from all over the Inland area: Baldwin Park to Fontana and the foothill cities to Ontario and Chino,  south of Hwy 60. 

We are pleased to announce that Manuel Baca, Professor and Member of the Board at Mt. San Antonio College and Carolyn Anderson, Community Relations Director for Waste Management will join Chief Judge, Steve Lambert as judges for the finals to be held at the DTC on March 7.

Our champion will go on to Washington DC to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in May. There, our winner will face close to 300 of the best spellers from all over the English speaking world. It’s an exciting time for all these spellers and the experience they gain will help them grow into knowledgable adults.

The atmosphere at the IVRSB is always electric and this year will be no exception. Hannah Sylvestro, our winner from 2013 is returning along with several others who have competed before and are back with a new commitment to win.

We will be hosting spellers ranging in age from a seven-year-old first-grader  to 14-year-old Rebeccah Norden-Bright, who will be returning for her 6th competition.

When the competitors arrive at 7:30 a.m. they will be divided into three groups. Over the next four and a half hours they will compete in three venues: Oral spelling, written spelling and written vocabulary.

At the end of the morning spellers with the top 30 scores will go on the finals on March 7. At that event they will participate in a traditional spell-off, competing head to head until one speller is left.

The top speller will be presented with the traveling trophy, a copy of Mirriam Webster’s Third Edition and an all expense paid trip to Washington DC provided by Quest Literacy Consortium.

Walnut to consider legal action against Mt. SAC for parking structure

By Steve Scauzillo, Staff Writer

Walnut City Council will meet in closed session tonight to consider whether to sue Mount San Antonio College for going ahead with construction of a five-story, $45 million parking garage directly across the street from homes.

The consideration of “possible litigation — status report on proposed parking structure, Mt. SAC” by the council may have been precipitated by two actions taken by the school’s governing board on Feb. 11.

First, the board passed a resolution saying the college does not have to abide by City of Walnut zoning laws because the parking structure will be an educational facility owned and operated by the district.

And second, the college board approved an $8.4 million contract with Tilden-Coil Constructors, Inc. for work on the first phase of the new parking structure, including relocation of utility lines, demolition, grading and soil movement.

The college, located in Walnut, has put up numerous new buildings that didn’t require approval from the city. Colleges and university projects are approved by the state architect. Also, the college’s resolution notes it doesn’t have to meet Walnut zoning codes because they do not address the location of schools.

If the facility is not considered educational, it is possible a city would have a say, but the resolution states the parking structure will also be used “for student instruction in subjects such as astronomy, administration of justice and fire technology.”

The City Council voted in August to oppose building a parking structure at the location, finding it would cause air pollution, traffic and potential ingress and egress problems for emergency vehicles, as cars would be using Mountaineer Road to access the structure — the same street used by hundreds of residents of Timberline, a neighborhood in north Walnut.

Read more in Steve Scauzillo’s story PARKING.

Los Altos teacher accused of having sex with 15-year-old student

Deputies arrested a Los Altos High School biology and chemistry teacher Monday night for allegedly having sex with a 15-year-old student on campus after school hours and at his Chino Hills home.

David Park, 37, was booked on suspicion of oral copulation, lewd acts with a child 15 years old and sexual battery. He is expected to be arraigned today at Pomona Superior Court and is being held on $1 million bail.

Hacienda La Puente Unified Superintendent Cindy Parulan-Colfer said a faculty member noticed that the teen seemed very upset Monday afternoon.

The sophomore said she’d been molested by Park since September, according to Lt. Andrew Meyer of the sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau.

Los Altos Principal Cheli McReynolds called the Sheriff’s Industry station.B-pSaNkVEAEnYPl

Sgt. Al Fraijo said detectives discovered written evidence that substantiated the allegations. He didn’t give details on where evidence was found or what kind.

Read more in ARREST.

Kiwanis Club gives socks, shoes to Rowland kids

Katherine Rodriguez helps Edgar Hernandez  put on his new shoes.  (Photo Correspondent by Shilah Montiel/

Katherine Rodriguez helps Edgar Hernandez put on his new shoes. (Photo Correspondent by Shilah Montiel/

The Kiwanis Club showed a lot of Heart and Sole on Friday during its fourth annual shoe giveway. The Hacienda Heights club gave more than 100 pairs of new shoes to students in the Rowland Unified School District.

The Kiwanis set up camp at the new Family Resource Center in La Puente. There, they greeted the families as they arrived for their special treats.

“This year, we’ve helping 106 students who have been preselected by the school district,” said Kiwanian Dave Malkin. “Much of the money was raised by the Rowland Heights Senior Pathfinders group. Ashika Shoes also helped a lot.”

After registering, children moved over to a large book case, where they got to pick out a free book.

Little 4-year-old Brianna Cazun chose a colorful children’s book, while her mom picked out another for older daughter, Janeli, who attends Telesis Academy.

Another 4-year-old, Edgar Fernandez, finally decided on an alphabet book. The colorful pages were full of everyday items that began with a letter in the alphabet.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story SHOES.

Car hits Rowland Heights garage

A car slammed into a garage in Rowland Heights  on Thursday and broke a gas line, and the driver was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, the California Highway Patrol reported.

The crash at 17950 Sunrise Drive was reported at 2:23 a.m., CHP Officer Francisco Villalobos said.

“The vehicle cut off the gas inlets when it crashed into the garage,” Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Kyle Sanford said. “We went to the scene, notified the gas company and they sent a repair crew that shut off the gas.”

The man driving the car was tested at the scene and taken into custody on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, Villalobos said.

No injuries were reported, Villalobos said. The investigation is continuing, he said.