Diamond Bar High Robotics ready for FIRST Las Vegas Regionals

Team Sprocket 3473 in action during the FIRST Inland Empire Regional Competition. (Photo courtesy of Sherrie Huo, team student )photographer.

Team Sprocket 3473 in action during the FIRST Inland Empire Regional Competition. (Photo courtesy of Sherrie Huo, team student )photographer.

By Walnut Valley Unified

Diamond Bar High School Robotics Team is gearing up for the Las Vegas FIRST Regional Competition scheduled April 2-5.  Team Sprocket vied in the 2014 Season FRC Robotics “Aerial Assist” Inland Empire Regionals held at Grand Terrace High School on February 28-March 2.

The robot was programmed to score points in either high or low goals at the opposing sides of the arena. The team ranked  #2 early in the competition with a score of 140 points – the highest in the entire competition! Team Sprocket finished in 16th place after incurring then fixing some mechanical issues. The team fund-raised, built and programmed their robot to perform FRC described tasks against a field of competitors under the strict FRC competition rules. Volunteer professional mentors lend their expertise to guide the team.

“Not only are the students building a championship-winning robot, they are learning about science, technology, computer programming, managing finances and budgets, and learning to motivate others. These lessons are the real things that students get from FRC competitions and these are the things they will be able to retain and use for the rest of their lives,” said mentor Boeing engineer Clark Rucker.

Team Sprocket is now ready to for their final competition of the season and looking forward to bringing home a trophy to the Walnut Valley Unified School District!

“Since the last competition, our team has made some mechanical and programming adjustments and have been practicing every day for at least three hours to get ready for the Las Vegas tournament,” said Spirit Captain Alice Chen.


Caltrans plans pavement work on 60 freeway next week

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.

Monday, March 31, through Friday, April 4

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, April 4, through Sunday, April 6

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-rampsCLOSED
  • ·         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 CLOSUREbetween 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.

Tai Ji Men Qigong Academy holds citizens forum in Walnut on Saturday

Tai Ji Men Qigong Academy will hold a World Citizens Forum for “An Era of Conscience” on March 29 at 10 a.m. in Suite G at 385 S. Lemon Ave. 

Speakers will include Dr. Chung-Ming Liu, Dr. James Tsai, president of the Chinese American Association of Walnut and  Nelson Huang, chair and president of the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association.

Dr. Liu, a member of Tai Ji Men, a retired professor of atmospheric sciences at National Taiwan University, is a well-known meteorologist  Dr. Liu will talk about the impact of climate and climate change on humans.

Additional topics at this Forum will be “Community Service, an exercise of Conscience,” by Dr. James Tsai, a dentist in Pasadena. He will share how he contributes his time to community service and inspires the youngsters to exercise of conscience and care more about the community we live.

Nelson Huang will encourage people to get involved in public affairs by exercising the right of voting, and how government policies relate to our daily life in his speech entitled as “Leadership and social responsibility”.

Hacienda Heights Army Captain recalls overseas deployment

By Staff Writer Sandra Molina

Army Capt. Diana Arnold of Hacienda Heights never thought she was going to be deployed overseas. She was 46 at the time of her enlistment and was told repeatedly that “reservists don’t get deployed,”

Not so.

Arnold, of Hacienda Heights, was not on the roster for her company’s first deployment in 2011, six years after enlisting. The second time around, she explained to a packed room Thursday at the Whittier Central Library’s kickoff of the annual Whittier Reads program, Arnold was told, “Ma’am, you’re on the roster.”

Her story — deployment to the Middle East as a dietician for 30,000 American civilians and military personnel — fit in with the armed services theme of this year’s reading.

The monthlong programming is based around the book “Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Dog Who Saved Him,” by Luis Carlos Montalvan.

Although no canines showed up in her story, Arnold, now 54, called her experience “the most rewarding chapter in my life.” After a “whole lot of training,” she “took off a dress and put on the combat boots.”

Arnold talked of her deployment from July 2012 to May 2013 along with a slide presentation of photos of her time in Kuwait, Qatar, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Germany and France as a soldier with the 349th Combat Support Hospital.

She was stationed at Camp Arifjan, known as AJ, as one of a 160-member staff, which was designated a combat zone, and where the hot water was cooler than the cold water.

Although Arnold didn’t have much space in her 6-foot-by-8-foot living quarters, she made room for a voodoo doll given to her by her daughter.

“A voodoo doll could be for bad or good,” she explained.

“My daughter went to the famous Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo in New Orleans and got a doll specially for the protection from combat.”

Another prized possession she carried was a star cut from an American flag, which was given to her by a student.

The audience followed her tales of 130-plus degree weather, having to always travel with a “battle buddy”, strict dress codes on and off base, as well as the fun activities including dancing, yoga, karaoke, bowling and others.

Arnold’s duties included patient education, teaching up to 10 nutritional classes a month, fitness and nutrition training for those with post traumatic stress disorder and being one of only five people who decide what personnel eat.

“My soldiers got what they wanted,” she confidently said.

Failed robbery at Hacienda Heights Rite Aid

By Staff Writer Brian Day

A gunman wearing a business suit fled empty-handed late Thursday following a failed robbery at a Rite Aid Pharmacy in Hacienda Heights, authorities said.

The would-be robber entered the pharmacy, 2060 S. Hacienda Boulevard, and began walking around the business, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Raymond Enriquez said.

He then made his way to the pharmacy counter, where he pulled out a small, silver semi-automatic handgun and pointed it at a female employee.

He told the woman to stand in front of him, but she instead fled from him, grabbed a telephone and notified fellow employees to lock the front doors, the lieutenant said.



The gunman unsuccessfully tried to hop the pharmacy counter before making his way back to the store’s main entrance, Enriquez said.

The armed man escaped after ordering an employee to open the locked front door, Enriquez added.

Officials described the failed robber as a Latino man in his 40s or 50s, with salt and pepper hair, wearing a gray suit with a tie and round-framed glasses.

He was last seen getting into a white, 2000s-model Toyota sedan with a waiting driver. The car headed north on Hacienda Boulevard.

Adopt an engineer from Los Altos Academy

The Los Altos Academy of Engineering is preparing for an electric vehicle contest in Florida on April 26. The young engineers plan to race three vehicles in the Emerald Coast Electrathon.
The Los Altos High School team needs $11,000 to cover expenses to Pensacola. They hope the community will adopt a high school engineer by contributing $10 or more.
For more information, call 626-330-1096.

Arraignment delayed for woman accused of killing 6 people in 60 Freeway DUI crash in Diamond Bar

By Staff Writer Lori Fowler

The arraignment for a woman accused of killing six people during a drunken-driving crash in Diamond Bar was delayed Tuesday in Pomona Superior Court so defense attorneys can go over more than 800 pages of discovery.

Olivia Culbreath, 21, of Fontana was present and in custody for what was scheduled to be her arraignment. But Judge Thomas C. Falls continued the hearing until May 21 to allow the defense to look over the large number of documents. Bail remains set at $6 million, Falls said.

Los Angeles County Deputy Public Defender Ramiro Cisneros said they have already received a lot of discovery but he expects to get even more.

“We’re going to need to read all those documents to properly prepare for this case,” Cisneros said explaining the delay. Cisneros said he is not the attorney in this case but someone will be assigned to it soon.

Culbreath has been charged with six counts of murder in the deaths of Gregorio Mejia-Martinez, 47; Leticia Ibarra, 42; Jessica Jasmine Mejia, 20; and Ester Delgado, all of Huntington Park; Kristin Melissa Young, 21, of Chino; and her sister, Maya Louise Culbreath, 24, of Rialto.

California Highway Patrol officers said Culbreath was driving her red Chevrolet Camaro the wrong way on the westbound 60 Freeway on Feb. 9 when she slammed into a Ford Explorer. All occupants of the Explorer died, as did Culbreath’s two passengers.

Culbreath has been in custody since the crash, first in the hospital and then in Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles. At the court hearing Tuesday, Culbreath was once again wheeled in on a gurney. She was wearing a hospital gown and handcuffed to the rails of the gurney.

When asked how Culbreath is doing, Cisneros said she is scared and grieving.

“Miss Culbreath is very scared given the situation she is in,” he said, adding that she knows she is charged with multiple counts of murder.

“At the same time, she is also grieving for the people who died as a result of this incident.”

Hacienda Heights woman faces charges for fatal La Habra crash

A driver from Hacienda Heights accused of killing a pedestrian and injuring another in La Habra will be arraigned today in an Orange County courtroom.

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office has charged Caroline Sujin Kim with vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, leaving the scene of an accident, evading police while driving recklessly and hit-and-run causing serious injury or death. All are felonies.

If convicted of all the charges, she faces a maximum sentence of 13 years and eight months in prison.

The charges stem from an incident on Oct. 25. Authorities said Kim was speeding in a Cadillac sedan on Whittier Boulevard at around 8:50 p.m.

She allegedly ran a red light at Rigsby Street and hit two pedestrians walking in the marked crosswalk, 38-year-old Sandra Ceballos of La Habra and a 43-year-old woman. The Cadillac drove away.

Ceballos was taken to UC Irvine Medical Center where she later died of her injuries.

Whittier police got a call from a motorist who was following the sedan involved in the hit-and-run. Officers picked up the sedan on Colima Road but the driver refused to pull over. The sedan reached a top speed of 90 mph.

The pursuit ended when the sedan hit a parked car on Countrywood Avenue and Pepper Brook Way in Hacienda Heights. Kim, was taken into custody. She is currently out on bond.

Rowland teachers declare impasse in contract talks with Rowland Unified

Rowland teachers have declared an impasse in the stalled contract negotiations with the Rowland Unified School District.

The Association of Rowland Educators is asking the state to send in a mediator to handle further negotiations. The state steps in when regular negotiations break down.

“We’re filing the paperwork now to declare an impasse with the state,” said ARE President John Petersen.

Union officials say the contract talks broke down during the eighth bargaining session last Thursday. In an email to the teachers, Nadine Loza, bargaining chair, explained what happened.

“The ARE bargaining team was disappointed (but not surprised) when the district presented their counterproposal after lunch. The district’s proposal was not significantly different from their last proposal. Overall, the district has not moved significantly from their initial proposal especially on critical issues like salary, benefits, planning time, adjunct duties and combo classes.”

The teachers’ representatives say they declared a impasse and cancelled the next bargaining session set for Thursday.

“There’s a backlog for mediators, so we don’t expect the state to assign one for at least six weeks,” Petersen said.

This mediator will meet with both sides to try and work out the differences. Petersen insists the bargaining teams will not meet until the state assigns a mediator.

When asked if this breakdown could lead to a teachers’ strike, Petersen was reticent to say what can happen if negotiations worsen.

“There’s no trust there. It took six months to agree that seventh- and eighth-grade teachers belong in the secondary classification,” Petersen said.

But in its newsletter, the association was more candid about whether there would be a strike.

“That is really up to the district at this point. The process of mediation is designed to help avoid a strike by bringing both teams under a mediator to try to reach an agreement. The association is committed to parity and will pursue all channels available to achieve this.

“It is the sincere wish of ARE to avoid the damage to RUSD caused by a strike. Having said that, our commitment to justice is stronger than our commitment to peace and we will move forward towards the inevitable outcome of parity.”

District officials said the teachers’ union moved from 12.5 percent raise over two years to 10 percent over one year. The district moved its offer from 3.5 percent to a 4.5 percent salary increase over two years.

“I won’t get into specific figures because that makes negotiations very difficult,” Petersen said. “But I have all the facts and figures that prove our teachers are paid much less than other school districts.”

Beginning teachers with a bachelor’s degree and no experience earn an annual salary of $45,180 at RUSD and is ranked 18th out of 47 school districts, according to a salary survey from the Los Angeles County Office of Education dated June 2013. Arcadia Unified was No. 1 with starting salaries at $49,874; Bassett Unified was near the bottom at $38,776. Charter Oak was last at $38,495.

Teachers with a master’s degree and listed as the maximum salary step for RUSD earn $69,216, for a ranking of 21 out of 34 districts for which there was comparable data, according to the LACOE report.

The district also proposed increasing its maximum health benefits contribution for teachers by $850 over two years.

“We’re still paying much more for health insurance than other districts,” Petersen countered. “I’m paying $1,200 a month to cover my family.”

Steve Scauzillo contributed to this story.

Candidates’ forum for judges at Steinmetz Park on May 3

Come out to meet our judicial candidates at a forum on May 3 at 10 a.m. in Steinmetz Park Community Center at 1545 S. Stimson Ave. in Hacienda Heights.

Twenty-four candidates are running for 11 judicial offices of Los Angeles County Superior Court will discuss their views on criminal and legal justice issues, the courts, jury duty and many more topics.  The election is June 3.

The forum, which will run from 10 a.m. to noon, includes candidates for offices No. 22, 48, 61, 76, 87, 97, 107, 113, 117, 138 and 157. It will be moderated by Robert Bonner, former U.S. District judge and the former chair of the California Commission for Judicial Performance.

Civic leaders Martha and Charles House of Hacienda Heights are sponsoring the event. Admission is free and open to the public.

For more information email charleshouse35@gmail.com