Walnut students chat with Nobel Peace Prize winner about Martin Luther King Jr.

Students ask Nobel Peace Prize winner a question. (Photo by Kelli Gile, courtesy of Walnut Valley Unified)

Students ask Nobel Peace Prize winner a question. (Photo by Kelli Gile, courtesy of Walnut Valley Unified)

Walnut Valley students chatted with Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee on Jan. 15. Suzanne Middle School joined a Connected Classroom Hangout with the inspiring peace activist.

The Walnut school was one of three invited to participate in the conversation. The chat took place in Alice Chen’s eighth-grade language arts class. The event commemorates Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.

Google moderator Dawn Engle introduced Gbowee as an incredible woman who exemplifies the peace movement. The Liberian peace activist was responsible for leading a women’s peace movement that helped put an end to the second Liberian Civil War.

“I’m so delighted to be here and looking forward to your questions and hope we can engage,” the Nobel Prize winner told the assembled students.

Starting off, Engle asked why it was so important to honor the life and philosophy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. this time every year?

“First, I think Dr. King was in a class all by himself. When I sit and think of Dr. King, I think about the incredible work that he did,” Gbowee began.

She noted King started something at a time when everyone else thought the change wasn’t “doable.” As an agent of change, he was focused and disciplined, but wouldn’t be distracted by the negativity.

“In other situations in the world, people look at it and say ‘if King could do it, I, too, can do it’,” Gbowee said.

That’s why she says the Civil Rights leader was in a class by himself. King was a true trailblazer. That’s why it’s important to celebrate his life.

What’s the most important thing he taught us?

“I think the most important thing that Dr. King taught us was that we are the change that we wish to see or that we hope to see,” Gbowee explained.

“That it is in each and every individual, that no one is built without a certain degree of power, that each and every one of us has it in us to create change,” she added.

Gbowee said a second thing was change is only possible if you refuse to hate, because hate is so toxic. When you embark on a nonviolent struggle, you can’t afford to hold onto hate because it’s a deadly poison that propels you to violence.

“People who use guns and knives to solve problems are cowards,” she told the Suzanne students.

The Nobel laureate then took questions from the students.

“What do you see as the pressing issues that youth today need to be aware of?” asked 13-year-old Kaitlin Garrett of Walnut.

Gbowee replied that there are many issues, including rights of women, their peace and security. She noted it was easier in America for young men and women to take their liberty for granted.

“There are places in this world where people cannot sleep at night, where young people like yourself cannot find a meal and being a girl your age is the most dangerous thing, because there are so many abuses happening to young women,” Gbowee said.

They should appreciate what they have. Privileged teens would rather complain about little things like not getting the Xbox 360 they wanted for Christmas.

“It’s important that you get to that place where you begin to see your world, appreciate your world and decide how can I make a difference in some of the places where things are tough, beginning with my community,” Gbowee said.

Afterward, the Suzanne eighth-grader talked about how special the Google Hangout with the Nobel Prize winner had been for her.

“It was really cool listening in and having her answer our questions,” Kaitlin agreed. “It really makes me consider how I can become an agent of change in my community.”

Diamond Bar holds Winter Snow Fest from 10 to 4 in Pantera Park

Diamond Bar will begin a year-long celebration for its 25th anniversary with its popular Winter Snow Fest on Jan. 18.

This family-friendly event takes place in Pantera Park at 738 Pantera Drive, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The fun event features a large snow play area, four sledding hills, winter-themed games and crafts, food and live entertainment.
Admission to the snow play areas is free, but there’s a small fee for sledding, games and crafts. Unlimited sledding costs $5, while four games or crafts cost $1.

Free shuttle service to Pantera Park and the surrounding neighborhood will be available. Sleds will also be provided. Please wear waterproof gloves and closed-toed shoes.

For more information, call the Recreation Services Division at 909-839-7070.

Hacienda Heights Little League tryouts on Jan. 18

The Hacienda Heights Little League will hold its 2014 baseball sign up on Jan. 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Highlander Baseball Complex at 16949 E. Wedgeworth Dr. in Hacienda Heights.

Tryouts will also be held on Jan. 18.

For more information, call Robert Hernandez at 626-336-5460
or visit their Web site at www.eteamz.com/hhlittleleague.

Diamond Bar Library holds E-device demonstration

Do you have a Kindle or iPad and want to learn how to access Los Angeles County Library’s digital books and audio books?

Come to the E-Device Demonstration on Jan. 17 at the Diamond Bar Library. Learn how to access the Overdrive service available with your library card.

If you have a Kindle, please come to the program at 10 a.m. If you have an iPad please come at 10:45 a.m.

Electronic equipment not required. Participants will receive an exclusive stylus pen.

The library is at 21800 Copley Dr. in Diamond Bar. For more information, call 909-861-4978.

Hacienda Heights Improvement Association holds anniversary dinner on Jan. 24

Hacienda Heights Improvement Association invites residents to attend the 66th Anniversary Dinner on Friday, Jan. 24, in the William Steinmetz Senior Center in Hacienda Heights.

The event begins at 7 pm and concludes at 8 pm. The association will thank outgoing and welcome incoming board members.  There will be door prizes.

The dinner is free to for association members and $10 for non-members. For reservations, call Lucy Pedregon at (626) 675-1701 or Sandy Keat(626) 968-4861.

LA Opera presents ‘Billy Budd’ at Rowland Heights on Jan. 25

Residents will enjoy this compelling presentation by the L.A. Opera of the prominent composer Benjamin Britten’s Billy Budd on Saturday, Jan. 25, from 2 to 3 p.m. in the Rowland Heights Library.

Based on Herman Melville’s American novella, it tells the story of Billy,a young sailor aboard the ship on the eve of a high sea’s battle. It’s a powerful tale of innocence and betrayal.

 The library is at 1850 Nogales St., Rowland Heights. For more information, call
 (626) 912-5348 .

Class space cartoons shown at Hacienda Heights Library on Feb. 1

The Hacienda Heights Library will hold a cartoon presentation called Classic space cartoons  on Feb. 1 at 2 p.m.

Classic animation enthusiast Thomas Safer will present some classic space cartoons shown on TV and film from the years 1937-1980.

There will also be a discussion about the cartoons. This FREE program is for adults and families, and should last two hours.

Construction continues on Pomona Freeway in Rowland Heights

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close portions of SR-60 from the San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605) to the Orange Freeway (SR-57) separation, as part of a pavement rehabilitation project.  Closures are as follows and subject to change.

 Tuesday, January 14, through Friday, January 17

Eastbound SR-60

  • ·         10 p.m. to 5 a.m. – Up to three lanes between I-605 & Azusa Avenue
  • ·         11 p.m. to 5 a.m. – High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane CLOSED between I-605 & Azusa Avenue

Westbound SR-60

  • ·         11 p.m. to 5 a.m. – Up to three lanes between southbound SR-57 & Azusa Avenue
  • ·         10 p.m. to 4 a.m. – HOV lane CLOSED between southbound SR-57 & Azusa Avenue

Friday, January 17, through Sunday, January 19

Eastbound SR-60

  • ·         10 p.m. to 8 a.m.   – Up to three lanes between I-605 & Azusa Avenue
  • ·         7 p.m. to 9 a.m.     – Seventh Avenue on-ramp CLOSED
  • ·         12 a.m. to 8 a.m.   – HOV lane CLOSED between Seventh Avenue & Hacienda Boulevard
  • ·         11 p.m. to 11 a.m. – Connector from north- and southbound I-605 to eastbound SR-60 CLOSED

Westbound SR-60

  • ·         12 a.m. to 4 a.m.   – Up to three lanes between southbound SR-57 & Azusa Avenue
  • ·         10 p.m. to 11 a.m. – Fairway Drive and Old Brea Canyon Road on-ramps CLOSED
  • ·         12 a.m. to 8 a.m.   – HOV lane CLOSED between southbound SR-57 & Nogales Street
  • ·         11 p.m. to 10 a.m. – Connector from north- and southbound SR-57 to westbound SR-60 CLOSED
  • ·          Friday 11:59 p.m. to Saturday 5 a.m.  –FULL FREEWAY CLOSURE between southbound SR-57 & Azusa Avenue

Detours will be posted. New pavement will improve mobility and enhance safety for motorists.  Flatiron West Inc. is the contractor on this $121.5 million project which is expected to complete fall 2014.


Rowland High Principal Mitch Brunyer to discuss Common Core

Rowland Heights Community Coordinating Council meets at 7 pm tonight in Pathfinder Park

New RUSD School Board members Angelena Pride and Lynne Ebenkamp will be introduced. Common Core will be the topic for this month’s community meeting.

The Common Core State Standards Initiative, the latest wrinkle in K-12 education, is being implemented this year in the Rowland Unified School District.

What are these standards and how will they impact our childrens’ education are questions many are asking. Mitch Brunyer, Rowland High School principal, will shed some light on this topic.