Emergency preparedness fair set Saturday in Schabarum Park in Rowland Heights

Understanding that emergencies and disasters can happen at any moment, Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe is inviting residents to learn valuable life-saving skills at a free community emergency preparedness fair on Saturday May 2 from 9:00am to 1:00pm at Schabarum Regional Park in Rowland Heights.

“We live in a region that is susceptible to fires and earthquakes, and residents must be prudent in ensuring they are ready in case of an emergency,” said Supervisor Knabe. “Given the tragedy that has unfolded this week in Nepal, I encourage all residents to attend this free event. In the event of a disaster, it’s critical to have a plan to get themselves and their families out of harm’s way.”

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles County Fire Department, CHP, Office of Emergency Management, Animal Care & Control, Public Works, Public Health, Red Cross and many more organizations will be available to demonstrate life-saving techniques, like CPR, and provide informational handouts. A representative from Cal Tech will deliver a keynote address on earthquake preparation in southern California. Fair attendees will also have the opportunity to purchase emergency equipment and supplies, including first aid kits, water, food, and generators.

Mount San Antonio College plans to cut water use in half in Walnut


By Richard Irwin, Staff Writer

Mount San Antonio College plans to cut its water usage in half over the next decade, saving 32.5 million gallons a year. With Gov. Jerry Brown’s mandatory water cuts, Mt. SAC is moving forward with conservation plans to cut its $350,000 a year water bill.

The campus plans to increase the amount of recycled water it uses by drilling two new wells. It will also begin to replace grass and other water intensive plants with drought-resistant species.

“We have to ask ourselves, ‘Do we have too much green space?’” said Michael Gregoryk, vice president of administrative services.

Artificial surfaces are already scheduled for the athletic practice fields, which cover almost four football fields. Work begins in December.

“I was down in Orange County this morning looking at artificial turf,” explained Gary Nellesen, Mt. SAC’s facilities director. “We want to use a high end grass, something that will last 15 years.”

Nellesen pointed to the plants native to California used around the new Design Technology Building as a good example of future landscaping.

“We’re not ripping out lawns where students gather, but grassy areas like the corner of Temple and Grand. That’s just there for appearances,” Nellesen said.

“They have a great opportunity to dramatically cut their water use,” agreed Rick Hansen, general manager of Three Rivers Municipal Water District. “If you take a look at the landscaping that they’re built up over the years, it certainly could be redone to more California drought tolerant landscaping.”

Read more in DROUGHT.

Wine soiree and benefit auction to help Diamond Bar Library on Sunday

By Friends of Diamond Bar Library

Many exciting surprises await on Sunday at the 22nd annual Wine Soirée and Benefit Auctions in the Diamond Bar Center at 1600 Grand Ave. New addition to the Soirée this year will be Martell Cognac so you can enjoy a delicious taste of this outstanding cognac along with the many other tastings of delicious foods, premium wine and other beverages.

By participating in the 22nd annual Wine Soirée, you will have a great afternoon with friends and know that all of the proceeds go directly to your local Diamond Bar Library and literacy in our community.

Tickets are $60 in advance, $65 at the door or until sold-out.  A unique souvenir wine glass and Soiree program and included with you admission.

Tickets are available at the following Diamond Bar locations:  Diamond Bar Library and Basically BOOKS, 21800 Copley Drive; U.S. Bank, 1175 Grand Avenue; and Basically BOOKS at 23447 Golden Springs Drive.  You can also purchase online atwww.dblibraryfriends.org or by calling 909 861-2002.  (No one under 21 is admitted)

Chairs Nancy Lyons, Rick Rogers and Tony Torng promise a festive and exciting afternoon with delicious food from local restaurants, great wine, music, raffles and exciting book, silent and live auctions.

Come and bring you friends and family to sample the great restaurant food hosts this year including Albertson’s Market, Aljibani Halal Market, Buca di Beppo, Chili’s Grill and Bar, Claro’s Italian Restaurant, Coco’s Bakery, Diamond Bar Golf Course, Diamond Palace, Got Taco Party?, Graber Olive House, It’s A Grind, Jinza Teriyaki, Julie’s Café, Mandarin Taste Restaurant, NiNi Bakery, and The Whole Enchilada, Yojie Japanese Fondue.

With your help the Friends have given over $40,000 in 2014 for much-needed materials, programs, books, magazines, etc. that would not have been possible without the Wine Soirée and our non-profit bookstore, Basically BOOKS.  The Friends also sponsored Read Together Diamond Bar 2014 that brought Librarian of Congress David S. Mao to Diamond Bar last October.


Rowland Heights man sentenced to more than 40 years in state prison

By Stephanie Baer, Staff Writer

A 27-year-old Rowland Heights man was sentenced Tuesday to more than 40 years in state prison after breaking into a woman’s apartment and raping her, officials said.

Pablo Reyes Bautista pleaded no contest to six counts, including forcible rape, sexual penetration by foreign object and false imprisonment, and admitted he committed a kidnapping and great bodily injury during the sex offense, the District Attorney’s Office said Wednesday.

He was sentenced to 41 years and 8 months in state prison and ordered to register as a lifetime sex offender, the office said.

The charges stemmed from the Oct. 27, 2012 rape of a 29-year-old woman in an apartment in the 1500 block of Jellick Avenue in Rowland Heights. Sheriff’s detectives said the woman was awakened around 6 a.m. by a Hispanic man who beat and raped her.

Following the attack, sheriff’s officials investigated and eventually linked DNA from the case to that of a man arrested on an unrelated attempted murder.

The man turned out to be Bautista’s twin brother. Investigators interviewed him, ruled him out as a suspect and zoomed in on Bautista. He was arrested in January 2014.

Superior Court judge shuts down Mt. SAC construction

Backed by residents of United Walnut Taxpayers plaintiff Layla Abou-Taleb, center, asks a judge at Los Angeles Superior Court  for a temporary restraining order to halt construction of Mt. SAC's proposed parking garage. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz/Pasadena Star-News)

Backed by residents of United Walnut Taxpayers plaintiff Layla Abou-Taleb, center, asks a judge at Los Angeles Superior Court for a temporary restraining order to halt construction of Mt. SAC’s proposed parking garage. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz/Pasadena Star-News)

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ordered Mount San Antonio College on Wednesday to immediately halt construction on a planned $48 million parking structure which would have provided spaces for 2,300 vehicles.

The ruling is a victory for a Walnut taxpayers group who believe that “construction is having a serious environmental impact on the community,” said attorney Craig Sherman, who is representing the homeowners.

Judge Luis Lavin granted the restraining order after hearing arguments Wednesday.

“It appears to the satisfaction of the court that this is a proper case for granting a temporary restraining order as the court finds the applicant United Walnut has established a reasonable probability that it will prevail in its claim that the college district cannot exempt itself from zoning laws,” Lavin wrote.

In granting the injunction, he noted that unless the temporary restraining order was granted, “irreparable injury will result to United Walnut and the general public before the matter can be heard.”

“They’re in a hurry to do as much as they can before our case can be heard,” Sherman complained.

For more, read Rich Irwin’s story RESTRAINING

Four Walnut Valley students get Tech Trek scholarships

Four local girls have been chosen by the Diamond Bar/Walnut AAUW to receive Tech Trek scholarships.

They are Yen-nhi Nguyen, 7th grader from South Pointe Middle School; and Kari Huang, Kelly Jensen and Nicole Chiang, all 7th graders from Suzanne Middle School.

TechTrek is an annual science/math camp for seventh grade girls held at selected college campuses, and sponsored by AAUW, the American Association of University Women.

These four will go to UC Irvine for a week and live and learn on and off campus in innovative ways.

Phyllis Soto and Marian Welch are Co-Chairs of this event.

Marty Shields to talk at Hacienda Heights Library

The Friends of the Hacienda Heights Library invite the community to join them on Sunday, April 19, 2015 from 2:00 – 3:00 PM  to learn about the Sky Ranch Airport that was located in La Puente in the 1950’s.

Former host of local TV show “Marly’s Corner,” Marly Shields, will present a documentary episode of the popular web/TV history program on the airport and answer questions.

This program is recommended for adults. The library is at 1601 La Monde St. in Hacienda Heights.  For more information call 626-968-9356.

Walnut, residents sue Mt. SAC over parking garage

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The city and concerned residents filed separate lawsuits against Mount San Antonio College this week, claiming the community college is violating the city’s zoning ordinance and breaking environmental laws. It is the latest attempt by the City Council and residents to stop construction of a controversial $48.5-million parking structure off Mountaineer Road.

“We have to hold their feet to the fire, they’re not complying with the law,” said Councilman Bob Pacheco after the City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to sue Mt. SAC. “We have to challenge their actions because the college has not been straight with us.”

Mt. SAC began construction March 18, one week after receiving approval from the Division of the State Architect. On Wednesday, work continued, as workers cut down campus trees facing Mountaineer Road to make way for the parking garage.

“They want to play hardball and be obnoxious about it. They are marching ahead and shoving it in the public’s face. But they know this is going to get overturned,” said Craig Sherman, San Diego-based attorney for United Walnut Taxpayers.

The residents’ lawsuit claims the college violated the California Environmental Quality Act by not crafting a separate environmental impact report on the 2,300-space garage project. It also argues the city did not present voters of Measure RR, a $353-million bond issue adopted in 2008 with a full description of the project, a violation of Proposition 39. The third cause of action mimics the city’s lawsuit and claims Mt. SAC should not be exempt from city zoning laws.

“I think we got them dead to rights,” Sherman said.

In an interview Thursday, Mt. SAC President William Scroggins said the college received the residents’ lawsuit and its attorneys are preparing a response to present to the Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday. “We feel we have a good basis in both statute and case laws that support our position,” he said.

As an educational institution, Mt. SAC contends it is exempt from city zoning laws and therefore, only needs approval from the state architect.

“We’ve done each of the required steps in terms of environmental impact, traffic studies, the construction design and approval by the state,” he wrote in a news release.

Scroggins said the college does not plan on stopping construction. Sherman said his group, made up mostly of Timberline residents whose homes would be as close as 120 feet from the structure, may ask for an injunction if construction doesn’t stop immediately.

For more, read Rich Irwin’s and Steve Scauzillo’s story LAWSUIT.

Police: Diamond Bar woman killed, remains may be inside plastic bags


By Brian Day and Stephanie Baer, Staff Writers

A 77-year-old woman is presumed dead following an early-morning fire Wednesday at her Diamond Bar home, and her daughter-in-law was being questioned as a “person of interest” after she was found driving a car in Tustin believed to contain the woman’s remains, homicide detectives said.

Though investigators had yet to confirm whether the elderly woman’s body was inside the SUV, they were treating the case as a homicide.

The names of the suspected victim and her daughter-in-law were not released.

Neighbors and officials said they believed the victim lived alone, though her daughter-in-law may have previously stayed with her.

Neighbor Yolanda Delgado, who was at home during the fire, said she was awakened by firefighters working to extinguish the blaze. But she said she heard no signs of a struggle beforehand and nothing else unusual.

“It’s very sad,” said Delgado, 66.

She and her husband have lived in the area for about a year and didn’t know the woman very well, but described her as a quiet neighbor who kept to herself.

Firefighters responded just after 1 a.m. to a report of a fire at a house in the 1200 block of North Diamond Bar Boulevard, according to Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Station.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze about 1:45 a.m. and found no one inside the home during their initial searches, Los Angeles County Fire Department Inspector Rick Flores said.

Shortly after the fire, Tustin police received an alarming tip, Lt. Eddie Hernandez of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.

“Investigators received information that the resident of the location, a female adult, was possibly killed by another female, who may have also started the fire,” Navarro Suarez said. “The person suspected of committing these acts was also believed to be driving to the Tustin area.”

Tustin police found the SUV just after 6 a.m., parked on the street at Tustin Ranch Road and Greenway Drive in Tustin, investigators said. The elderly woman’s daughter-in-law was inside.

“She was cooperative,” Hernandez said of the detained woman.