Congresswoman hosts veterans forum in Azusa on Saturday

Congresswoman Grace F. Napolitano will present the third annual Veterans Forum from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the U.S. Army National Guard Armory, 1351 W. Sierra Madre Ave., Azusa.

Representatives from the Department of Veterans Affairs will be available as well as members of other veterans organizations.

There will be workshops on mental health, women warriors, financial planning and more. Veterans also can receive information on individual claims.

For more information, call Hector Elizaide at 626-350-0150 or email

Paola Mendoza sworn in as student trustee at Mt SAC in Walnut

Mt. San Antonio College student Paola Mendoza was sworn in as the new student trustee for the 2014-15 academic year during the Mt. SAC Board of Trustees’ July 23 meeting. 

As student trustee, Mendoza, 19, will present the student perspective on policy issues before Mt. SAC’s governing board.

She will have only an advisory vote, which does not count toward the passage or failure of a motion. The advisory vote helps the board know how the student trustee stands on issues and strengthens the student role in the college’s shared governance process.

Mendoza, a resident of Ontario, is a psychology major and carries a 3.6 GPA. She has served as a senator with the Mt. SAC Associated Students (student government) and holds memberships in the campus Psychology Club and IDEAS Club, which serves as an advocate for undocumented students.

After she graduates from Mt. SAC, she plans to transfer to UCLA as a psychology major.

Rep. Ed Royce of Rowland Heights convenes hearing on ISIS threat in Iraq

Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, will convene a hearing to examine the terrorist advance in Iraq, led by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and the U.S. response:.  The hearing, entitled “Terrorist March in Iraq: The U.S. Response” will begin at 10 a.m.

Live webcast of the hearing, as well as witness testimony, will be available HERE.

Below is Chairman Royce’s opening statement as prepared for delivery at the hearing:

This hearing will come to order.  This morning we consider the U.S. response to the terrorist take-over in Iraq.

Nearly six months ago, this Committee held a hearing “Al-Qaeda’s Resurgence in Iraq: A Threat to U.S. Interests.”  Then, the Administration testified that ISIS had begun to shift resources from Syria to Iraq in early 2013, that it had tripled its suicide attacks that year, and that it planned to challenge the Iraqi government for control of western Iraq and Baghdad.  The Administration testified that it had become aware that ISIS had established armed camps, staging areas and training grounds in Iraq’s western desert in the summer of 2013 and that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had again threatened to attack the United States.

The Administration told us that ISIS must be “constantly pressured, and their safe havens destroyed” and that its objective was “to ensure that ISIS can never again gain safe haven in western Iraq.”  However, what the Administration did not say was that the Iraqi government had been urgently requesting drone strikes against ISIS camps since August 2013.  These repeated requests, unfortunately, were turned down.  I added my voice for drone strikes as ISIS convoys raced across the desert.

Since that last hearing, ISIS has done precisely what the Administration predicted it would: it has taken over most of western Iraq, it has turned its sights on Baghdad, and it may be preparing to launch attacks against the U.S.  Never has a terrorist organization itself controlled such a large, resource-rich safe haven as ISIS does today.  Never has a terrorist organization possessed the heavy weaponry, cash and personnel that ISIS does today – which includes thousands of western passport holders.

The Iraqi population is terrorized; they have suffered mass executions and harsh sharia law.  Last week, the remaining members of the ancient Christian community in Mosul fled on foot in face of ISIS demands that they convert or face death.

To be clear, ISIS’s take-over has been aided by Prime Minister Maliki’s malfeasance and incompetence.  Maliki has disastrously failed to reconcile with key Sunni groups.  Many – including myself and Ranking Member Engel –urged him to form a more inclusive government so that ISIS could not exploit legitimate Sunni grievances.  Maliki has only proven himself to be a committed sectarian; certainly no statesman.  It is time for Iraqis to move forward in forming a government that serves the interests of all Iraqis.

What started as a crisis in Syria has become a regional disaster with serious global implications – including credible threats of international terrorism, humanitarian disaster, and upward pressure on energy prices in a fragile global economy.  Meanwhile, terrorist forces and the Iranian government are gaining power at the expense of regional security and friendly governments.

Of course, only Iraqis can control their future.  And the performance on the battle field of certain Iraqi units was abysmal.  Americans have spent enough blood and treasure in Iraq.  And that is exactly why the Administration should have taken the opportunity to inflict decisive damage on ISIS from the air through drone strikes while its fighters were encamped in the desert months ago.

This morning we are joined by a senior State Department official who has been in Baghdad for several weeks and an official from the Department of Defense involved in the current assessment of Iraqi security forces to learn of the path forward in dealing with this national security emergency.

I’ll now turn to the Ranking Member, Mr. Engel, for any opening comments.

West Nile Virus found in Creekside Park in Walnut

Two samples of mosquitoes found in traps at Creekside Park tested positive for West Nile virus, the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District reported Friday.

This is the second time mosquitoes carrying the West Nile Virus have been discovered in the San Gabriel Valley in the past few weeks. The discovery in Walnut follows one in San Marino’s Lacy Park earlier this month, according to mosquito abatement officials.

In Walnut, two of the four samples taken on July 11 tested positive for the virus, said Jason Farned, SGVMVCD spokesman. The San Marino discovery was found during the first week of July, according to the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District.

“We expect it every year so it is not a surprise that they are here in the San Gabriel Valley,” Farned said. “It is not a matter of if, but when, every summer.”

Creekside Park is the site of Walnut’s summer concert and movie series, a Tuesday night weekly event which usually attracts 1,000 people, said City Councilwoman Mary Su.

She said the city will hold a press briefing at 10:30 a.m. Monday at Creekside Park, 780 Creekside Drive, to inform residents and advise them on how to take precautions.

Read more in Steve Scauzillo’s story VIRUS.

Four Diamond Bar students earn rank of Eagle Scout

Four members of Diamond Bar High School’s Class of 2014 earned the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America organization. Congratulations! The new Eagle Scouts are Matthew KimNathaniel RodriguezDarren Wijaya and Samuel Hwang.  All of them are members of Troop 730 that meet at Calvary Chapel in Diamond Bar.
Eagle Scout is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting program of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). A Scout who attains this rank is called an Eagle Scout or Eagle. Since its introduction in 1911, the Eagle Scout rank has been earned by more than 2 million young men. The title of Eagle Scout is held for life, thus giving rise to the phrase “Once an Eagle, always an Eagle”.
Requirements include earning at least 21 merit badges and demonstrating Scout Spirit, service, and leadership. This includes an extensive service project that the Scout plans, organizes, leads, and manages. Eagle Scouts are presented with a medal and a badge that visibly recognizes the accomplishments of the Scout. Additional recognition can be earned through Eagle Palms, awarded for completing additional tenure, leadership, and merit badge requirements.


Rowland Adult Ed begins fall classes on Aug. 18 in Rowland Heights

Rowland Adult and Community Education, 2100 Lerona Avenue, Rowland Heights fall session begins August 18, 2014. Registration for the community education fee-based classes begins August 4, 2014.

Some new classes offered this summer are Cupcake 2D/3D Decoration, Asian Cooking Classes, Basic Fondant Technique, Intermediate Fondant Cake Decorating. Also returning Creating a Free Website or Blog, Introduction to the Cloud, Conquering Your Computer Phobia, Notary Public, Traffic Violator School, First Aid/CPR, Scrapbooking, Card Making, Zumba, Yoga, Tai Chi, Meditation and Health, Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning and much more.

 Rowland Adult & Community Education also offers Online Career Training Programs and Courses. Many of online career training programs courses include medical training classes, event management & design, security certification, bookkeeping and much more. To enroll please visit

 Online courses include Basic Computer, Accounting, Test Prep, Healthcare, Nutrition or Fitness plus much more. These classes start at six weeks and are instructor facilitated, 24 hour access with online discussion. New courses begin monthly. To enroll please visit

 For more information about classes and schedules please visit our website at or call (626) 965-5975. Our office is located at 2100 Lerona Avenue, Rowland Heights, and CA 91748.

Ed Royce Applauds House Vote to Support Israel

Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, applauded House passage of H. Res. 657, which expresses support for Israel as it defends itself against unprovoked rocket attacks from the Hamas terrorist organization.

The adopted measure includes a Royce amendment that calls attention to the destabilizing role that Iran continues to play and recognizes the close cooperation between the United States and Israel.  Following the resolution’s unanimous passage, the Chairman issued the following statement:

“Today, the House reaffirmed its support for Israel to take all necessary and appropriate action to defend its citizens. Hamas and their supporters remain committed to armed struggle against Israel’s right to exist–as they deliberately target Israeli population centers using many weapons provided by Iran. With these threats arrayed against Israel, we will continue stand with the Israeli people.”

Walnut High’s Garrett Lim named All-Star Teacher

Walnut High teacher Garrett Lim waves from All-Star Teachers trolley in All-Star parade.

Walnut High teacher Garrett Lim waves from All-Star Teachers trolley in All-Star parade.

Walnut’s very own Garrett Lim took to the field Tuesday for Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game in Minneapolis. Kim doesn’t play for the Dodgers, the Angels or even the Pittsburgh Pirates.

But still, the 34-year-old marched onto the field to the cheers of thousands of fans. Lim was one of 30 All-Star Teachers selected by Target, People magazine and MLB.

The campaign honors outstanding teachers who make a real impact in the lives of their students.

“This is an awesome tribute to Garrett as he represents all educators at the Midsummer Classic,” said Walnut High Principal Jeff Jordan. “Garrett is truly one of Walnut’s finest.”

Lim was treated as a VIP during the All-Star activities. He and his wife enjoyed a four-day trip to Minnesota, with all expenses paid.

“We were part of the pre-game parade, too,” Lim said. “It was overwhelming to see so many people lining the streets and cheering.”

They even stayed at the same hotel housing the baseball players. Lim met several in the elevators and lobby.

“I got to meet Cal Ripken at a special reception held for the teachers,” Lim said. The Walnut resident even had his photo taken with the Baltimore Orioles legend. He also met Baseball Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith.

All of which was great for a big baseball fan like Lim. A passion that he shares with his students at Walnut High.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story ALL-STAR.

Diamond Bar couple engaged where it all began, Quail Summit

Sometimes, you know from the first dance, the first kiss, that she is the one you want to spend the rest of your life with. Sometimes, it takes 17 years.

Michael Siacunco and Sarah Lin of Diamond Bar became engaged Friday night at Quail Summit Elementary. Not something you see every day in a public school.

Siacunco, an airman who works in systems engineering at Buckley Air Force Base outside of Denver, recently returned home for leave. He thought it was time for the next step in their relationship. His younger brother, Cody, pushed Michael to ask Sarah, now a cardiac unit nurse at UCLA Medical Center, to marry him.

“I thought it was time for all or nothing, the title of our first dance,” Michael said.

So the young man began his campaign to win over Sarah’s heart. Gathering his friends, Michael planned a special night that would remind her of their time together.

He recruited her friend to “hang out” with Sarah last Friday. The friend took her on some “errands.” They stopped at Chaparral, where friends held up a sign reminding her of the first kiss.

They stopped at Diamond Bar High, where other friends reminded them of their shared past, then the Diamond Bar Center, where the couple had spent so many hours talking about life.

Arriving at Quail Summit, Sarah started crying when she saw rose petals on the sidewalks lit by candlelight, with strings of lights on the railings. A movie screen showed a special video made by Michael.

Friends led her to the amphitheater, where Sarah had chased a little boy 17 years ago. “It was kind of blurred because I was crying so hard,” she said.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story ENGAGED.