AQMD debates ban on beach fires on South Coast

The smoke from beach bonfires drifts into Charles Farrell’s Balboa Peninsula home and crashes on his bed like a drunk partygoer.

“The soot lingers inside my home for days. It’s everywhere, including your bedsheets. When I go to work, people think I’ve been smoking,” he told a panel of managers from the South Coast Air Quality Management District Thursday. While Farrell spoke in favor, a majority spoke against the air district’s proposed ban on beach fires along the Orange and Los Angeles county coastlines during a spirited informational hearing held at its headquarters.

The four-county air pollution agency officially will take up the ban May 3 as part of an amendment to an existing rule curtailing particulate pollution. The AQMD is also tightening a rule regulating wood-burning fireplaces from inside people’s homes that could result in between 10 and 20 “no burn” days each winter – more than double the number declared this past winter.

Though no decision was made Thursday, the AQMD top staff got an earful from both sides. Read more in Steve Scauzillo’s story BEACH.

Congressman Ed Royce welcomes residents to Rowland Heights office

East San Gabriel Valley residents Tuesday welcomed their new congressman, Rep. Ed Royce, R-Rowland Heights. Royce, who represents the newly drawn 39th Congressional District, greeted local officials at the grand opening of his new district office at Diamond Plaza overlooking the 60 Freeway.

Among those in attendance were: Walnut Mayor Mary Su and Councilman Tony Cartagena; Diamond Bar Council members Ling-Ling Chang and Carol Herrera; Hacienda Heights Improvement Association board member Sandy Keat and Rowland Heights Community Coordinating Council members Lynne and Ted Ebenkamp.

“If you have any problems in any way with the federal government, we’re here to help you with those challenges,” Royce told the group. “It’s fantastic to offer services to six new cities in my district.”

The office address is 1380 S. Fullerton Road, Suite 205. Royce also opened a new office in Brea. “This will be a big benefit to the community,” said Lynne Ebenkamp.

Diamond Bar man gets 3 years for molesting girl

A Diamond Bar man was sentenced to three years in prison for molesting a 16-year-old girl in 2006, officials said Monday.

Albert Anthony Morales, 33, pleaded no contest to one count of oral copulation of an unconscious person at a Thursday hearing in Pomona Superior Court, according to Sandi Gibbons, spokeswoman for the District Attorney’s Office.

Read more in Morales. 

Royce holds grand opening for Rowland Heights office on Tuesday


Rep. Ed Royce sits in his new office inside Diamond Plaza in Rowland Heights,

Orange County Rep.EdRoyce celebrated Chinese New Year by opening the first-ever congressional office in Rowland Heights, in what some refer to as the heart of “Little Taipei.”

Royce did it by invitation only, sending out mailings at taxpayers’ expense only to constituents with Chinese surnames living in Rowland Heights, Hacienda Heights, Chino Hills, Walnut and Diamond Bar.

Now the Republican from Brea will throw the grand opening of his new Los Angeles County office for all constituents of the 39th District from 4 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday. The office is in the popular Diamond Plaza shopping center at 1380 S. Fullerton Road, overlooking the 60 Freeway.

Californians save $485 million with Affordable Care Act

The cost of prescription drugs for people on Medicare is actually going down as a result of discounts from pharmaceutical companies mandated by the Affordable Care Act, combined with increased use of less costly generic drugs, the federal government announced Thursday.

In California, people purchasing prescriptions through the Medicare Part D coverage program saved $485 million during the three years the law has been in effect, said Kathleen Sebelius, Health and Human Services secretary.

Across the country, 6.3 million people on Medicare saved about $6.1 billion on prescription drugs since the healthcare law, also known as ObamaCare, was enacted, said John Blum, acting principal deputy administrator and director of the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services, a division of HHS.

Read more in Steve Scauzillo’s story HEALTH

Safe Communities Festival set Saturday in Rowland Heights

The community is invited to attend the 20th Annual Safe Communities Festival on Saturday, March 23, 2013 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Rowland Heights Community Park at 1500 Banida in Rowland Heights.

The festival celebrates the role all facets of the community play in promoting a safe, secure and peaceful environment for all to enjoy. The Safe Communities Festival will feature more than 20 health and information booths, entertainment provided by Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation, food and game booths, a bounce house, and demonstrations by community groups and Rowland Unified schools.

Public safety displays include “Shakey Quakey” and a “flyover” from the Los Angeles Fire Department and a “JAWS of Life” demonstration from the California Highway Patrol.

Easter egg hunt set for March 30 in Walnut

The city of Walnut and the Diamond Bar Lions Club will hold the annual spring Easter egg hunt on Saturday, March 30, in Walnut Ranch Park at 20101 Amar Road.

The fun begins with an pancake breakfast at 9 a.m. The cost is only $5 per person.

The egg hunt is divided up into age groups: Preschool at 10 a.m., 5 and 6 years – 10:10, 7 and 8 years – 10:20, 9 and 10 years – 10:30, and 11 to 12 years – 10:40.

Easter egg hunt set March 30 in Diamond Bar

Diamond Bar and the Diamond Bar Breakfast Lions Club will hold its annual Easter egg hunt on Saturday, March 30. The fun begins at 8:30 a.m. with a pancake breakfast provided by the Fire Explorers Post 19 for a nominal fee, followed by the free egg hunt at 10 a.m. featuring 11,000 treat-filled plastic eggs.

Hunting areas will be divided into six areas based on age groups, with parental assistance allowed for the youngest attendees. Photo packages with the Easter Bunny will be available for a cost starting at $10.

Children need to bring their own baskets for the egg collection. Pantera Park is at 738 Pantera Drive in Diamond Bar. For more information, call the city’s Recreation Services Division at 909-839-7070.

County coming to Walnut to check dog licenses

Department of Animal Care and Control officers will be in the city of Walnut beginning March 20 for three weeks, checking for current rabies vaccinations and ensuring residents are in compliance with licensing requirements.

The licensing fees for city residents are: unaltered dog, $72; altered dog, $27; altered dog belonging to a senior citizen age 65 and older, $9.50; unaltered cat, $10; altered cat, $5. Penalty fees are equal to the license fees.

Residents not in compliance will be subject to license fees and delinquency charges, including a $40 field enforcement fee, to offset the cost of the Department’s field services. Print animal license applications online, or by visiting a local County animal care center. Valid licenses can be renewed online.

Walnut needs help with fall family festival

Walnut needs help with this year’s family festival on Oct. 12. Anyone interested in being involved with the planning should attend the meeting on Tuesday, April 2 at 5 p.m. at the Maintenance and Recreation Services Department, 21701 Valley Blvd.

Help is needed for the parade, entertainment and theme development. For more information, call Festival Liaison Cheryl Linnborn at 909-598-5605.