Rowland students warned about tracks


Rowland Community Day School tries to get students back on track. But when it comes to safety, the school wants students to stay away from nearby railroad tracks.

The steel rails run right through the middle of Rowland and Hacienda Heights. These busy mainlines carry vital freight, as well as passenger trains.

Traffic halts when the long freight trains rumble alongside Valley Boulevard. Motorists are often tempted to rush through these intersections before the warning arms have completely lowered.

“What does the average motorist do when they see the crossing guard coming down?” asked Ron Garcia, a safety spokesman for Operation Lifesaver. “They speed up to sneak through before the train comes!”

Garcia was one of the speakers who spoke to the Rowland students on April 1.

As a locomotive engineer with more than a decade of experience with BNSF Railroad, Garcia knows firsthand what happens when the train beats the car through the intersection.

“By the time an engineer sees your car on the track, it’s already too late to stop the train. I hit a work van once and had a near-miss another time,” said Garcia, who used to drive trains between Los Angeles and Barstow.

The safety spokesman noted that a freight train traveling at 55 mph will take a mile or more to stop. And an eight-car passenger train traveling at 79 mph will also take more than a mile to come to a complete halt.

See the whole story in the Rowland Heights Highlander.

Rowland cuts more than 100 positions

The Rowland Unified School Board voted last night to layoff more than 100 classified positions to help the district balance its budget next year.

Eliminated positions include 32 RSP aides, 16 instructional assistants, 11 campus aides, 10 speech assistants,10 office assistants, five psych clerks, three library assistants, two health assistants, one piano accompanist, school bus driver, administrative secretary, personnel technician, grounds worker, painter, purchasing assistant, custodian and police officer.

The district is struggling with a $9 million deficit next year. It has already given pink slips to 88 teachers.

Parents attend health fair


Child abuse, substance abuse, domestic violence — these were just some of the topics covered at a health and resource fair sponsored by the Hacienda Heights La Puente Unified School District on April 4.

Workshops were offered on these and other weighty subjects, including nutrition, lead poisoning and asthma.

“We wanted it to be a one-stop fair, where families can find resources to deal with any problems they may have,” explained Gabriela Chavarria, director of child development and early primary programs for the district.

The department brought in speakers from many organizations to discuss these vital matters with parents and students.

Read the complete story in the Hacienda Heights Highlander.

Sheriffs trade gifts for guns in Rowland Heights

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will hold a “Gifts for Guns” event at the Albertson’s Supermarket in Rowland Heights from 2 to 8 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday.

Sheriff’s from the Walnut/Diamond Bar station organized the event in conjunction with Supervisor Don Knabe.

Residents can exchange firearms for gift cards from local retailers and grocery stores. “No questions asked, no strings attached, you remain anonymous,” according to organizers.

Firearms should be brought unloaded and in the trunk to the supermarket parking lot at 19725 Colima Road, Rowland Heights.

For more information call (909) 595-2264.

Celebrating Safe Communities Week


Rowland Heights is celebrating Safe Communities Week. Schools offered many activities and speakers.

Above, firemen from Los Angeles County Fire Station 145 visit the students at the Rowland Community Day School.

The week ends with a festival from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 4, at Rowland Heights County Park, 1500 Banida Ave.

The festival features many booths that will provide food, entertainment and safety information. There will also be somespeakers.

The Safe Communities Festival is chaired by Nancy Ballantyne and Heidi Gallegos with support from Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe, Sheriff’s Department, Fire Department, Parks and Recreation Department.

Youth Rally at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church

The Youth and Young Adult Ministry of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church of Rowland Heights will hold its 14th annual Youth Rally from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 18.

Tickets must be purchased by March 31. They will not be sold at the door.

Hundreds from across Southern California will take part in a day of inspiring talks, dance performances, live music, skit presentations and worship. The suggested donation of $12 includes lunch and admission.

Gretchen Valiente is the Youth Rally 2009 Coordinator. She is assisted by Myron Villanueva.
For tickets and reservations, call (909) 263-6747 or visit