Seven hurt in Rowland Heights fire

Seven people, including three who jumped from a second floor, were injured when fire broke out at an apartment building late Tuesday night.

Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Rick Flores said the cause of the fire was someone cooking in a first-floor unit of the apartment in the 1700 block of South Otterbein Avenue. He said three units were affected and estimated damages to the structure at $300,000 and $70,000 to the contents.

The fire department got a call about the blaze at 11:25 p.m. Twenty three firefighters put out the first alarm fire at 12:02 a.m.

Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Roland Sprewell said the three people who jumped from the second floor were a woman in her late 40s, who suffered hip and leg injuries; a woman in her early 20s, who suffered a shoulder injury; and a man in his 20s, who suffered an arm injury.

Four people from the first floor also were injured, Sprewell said. A 9- year-old girl suffered second-degree burns; a man in his 40s, possibly the girl’s father, suffered first-degree burns; a man described as a grandfather suffered first-degree burns; and a woman described as a grandmother suffered smoke inhalation.

All seven were taken to hospital for treatment, Sprewell said.

Diamond Bar residents protest cut in Diamond Ride

Diamond Bar residents are protesting cutbacks in the city’s popular Diamond Ride program. Seniors say the money-saving measures will hurt their health care.

Beginning Dec. 1, Diamond Ride will establish a new medical service area within a 5-mile radius of the city. The only exceptions will be trips to Pomona Valley Hospital and St. Jude Medical Centers in Fullerton. Leaving residents who need to go to the Kaiser Medical Center in Baldwin Park without a ride.

“My oncologist works in the Baldwin Park medical center,” explained 74-year-old Nancy Blum. “How am I supposed to get there?”

A resident of Diamond Bar for the past 43 years, Blum needs dialysis treatment three times a week just to stay alive. She has been going to the San Dimas Dialysis Center, but was told that was also outside the new Diamond Ride radius.

“It’s the only thing keeping me alive,” she noted. “Now I pay $50 to $60 a month for the Diamond Ride service. I figured it would cost me $300 to $400 a month beginning in December. I can’t afford that.”

The dialysis patient said she has been looking for another dialysis center, but all of them have waiting lists. Fortunately, Blum’s case worker may have found her a spot at a dialysis center Brea and is processing the paper work.

“Even then, I couldn’t get the same hours. I’d have to go in later and wouldn’t get home until 7 or 8 p.m.,” the angry senior said. “I didn’t know what I was going to do. The city is cutting us off at the knees.”

Other residents have been just as passionate over the pending cuts. Several have addressed city council about the pending problems.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story RIDE.

Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church packs gifts for kids

Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church and School in Diamond Bar will hold an Operation Christmas Child Packing Party on Saturday from 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. 

They are filling 1,000 shoe boxes with items we have been collecting all year from our school.  Operation Christmas Child sends filled shoe boxes around the world for Christmas, so children less fortunate can get a gift on Christmas. 

To become a part of our packing party, call Ann Lovell at 909-730-9057 to sign up and learn more. The church is located at 23300 Golden Springs Drive in Diamond Bar.

Homestead Museum offers holiday tours

Looking for a way to immerse yourself in the holiday season? Check out the Homestead Museum’s Holiday Tour Weekends on Saturdays and Sundays, December 6, 7, 13, and 14, from 1 to 5 p.m.

Learn about how the celebration of Christmas changed from the 1840s through the 1920s as you tour the museum’s decorated historic houses and meet some colorful characters along the way.

On Dec. 6, visitors can help Elizabeth and Rose Townsend trim a 1920s Christmas tree and play a festive party game. Be on the lookout for Frank Romero, an exhausted chauffeur, as he returns from some last-minute errands on Dec. 7.

Filled with the holiday spirit, Walter and Sheila Nelson will be on hand on Dec.13, for a yuletide sing-along, and Charlotte Bullock, a Victorian-era immigrant from England, will do her best to determine whether or not visitors have the stamina to celebrate the season the way she and her friends did back home on Dec. 14.

Sweet treats will be served in the Gallery after each hour-long tour. Admission is $6 for adults and $4 for students and seniors. Space is limited and reservations are recommended.

Santa Claus will make a special appearance on Dec. 6, 13 from 2 to 4 p.m., so don’t forget your list! Call (626) 968-8493 or visit homesteadmuseum.org for more information.

When William Workman, whose Workman House is part of the Homestead Museum, first arrived in the Los Angeles area in the 1840s, Christmas was regarded as a religious event celebrated with plays such as Las Pastorelas (The Shepherd’s Play) and Las Posadas (the story of Mary and Joseph’s search for lodging).

People attended the Misa del Gallo (Mass of the Rooster) at sunrise and would enjoy popular foods of the season including buñuelos and In 1870, Christmas became a national holiday and local celebrations reflected more traditions from around the world including Christmas trees, decorations, and Santa Claus.

By the time Workman’s grandson, Walter Temple Sr., came to build a home of his own next to the Workman House in the 1920s, Christmas was quite a commercial event.

Popular department stores like Broadway catered to every gift buying desire. Colorful lights adorned businesses and homes alike, and in Altadena one could drive through a forest of illuminated trees known as Christmas Tree Lane.

The holiday season is an amazing time of year to visit the Homestead Museum. Free tours of the decorated historic houses are offered Wednesday through Sunday at 1, 2,3 and 4 p.m., with the exception of the Holiday Tour Weekends.

The museum will be losed on December 24, 25, 31, and January 1, however the holiday exhibit will remain on display through Jan. 4, 2015.

The museum is located at 15415 East Don Julian Road in the City of Industry, just one mile north of SR 60 (Pomona Freeway) at the Hacienda Boulevard exit. Call (626) 968-8493 or visit homesteadmuseum.org for more information.

Diamond Bar dedicates historic windmill today

Diamond Bar is holding a special dedication ceremony from 10 to 11 a.m. today to officially recognize the Diamond Bar Windmill as a local historic landmark.

The windmill, located near the intersection of Diamond Bar Boulevard and Grand Avenue, has been part of Diamond Bar since the area was ranchland grazed by livestock. Accounts by several longtime residents credit Don Ury, then vice president of the Transamerica Corporation (the first and major developer of Diamond Bar), with preserving the windmill.

The windmill belongs to Retail Opportunities Investment Corporation (ROIC), the owners of the Diamond Bar Towne Center. However, as of August 2014, the City has perpetual access to both the structure and the immediate property where it stands for purposes of carrying out routine maintenance work to keep it structurally sound.

For more information about the windmill dedication event, contact the City’s Public Information Division at 909.839.7055 or info@diamondbarca.gov.

Diamond Bar golfers win state championship

DBHS Girls Golf

The Diamond Bar High Girls Golf team claimed the 2014 CIF state championship on November 18 with a score of 381.  Longtime rival Torrey Pines finished 20 shots behind the Brahmas, ending their four-year state title streak.

The championship was held at the Red Hill Country Club in Rancho Cucamonga. The Brahma team won their third consecutive CIF team title and clinched the spot at state with their 2nd Place finish at the state semifinals on November 13.

Congratulations to players Josephine Chang, Rachel Chung, Joan Park, Kaitleen Shee, Crystal Wang, and Bethany Wu and coach Tony McCabe.

Rep. Ed Royce to chair House Foreign Affairs Committee

Today, the House Republican Conference selected U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-Rowland Heights) to continue serving as Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.  Royce has served on the Committee since entering the House of Representatives in 1993, serving as Chairman since 2013.
 
Chairman Royce said:  “I am honored that my colleagues have selected me to continue serving as Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in the 114th Congress.  Over the last two years, our nation has faced continuous, serious threats from across the globe, including ISIL, Russia and North Korea. 

“Unfortunately, many of these threats have been met with a confused and often passive Obama Administration foreign policy.  From combating the long-term threat posed by ISIL and other terrorists, to countering the influence of false news and destructive ideas, to conducting rigorous oversight of this Administration, the Committee has been working diligently to make our nation more secure and prosperous. 

“But much work remains.  The Committee will continue its efforts to stop Iran’s march toward nuclear weapons, which threatens to undermine fundamentally the security of us and our critical allies.  The Committee will also continue to promote U.S. economic engagement worldwide, particularly in Asia, where economies are continually growing. 

“I look forward to working with all members of the Committee to meet the many challenges and seize the many opportunities in front of our great nation.”

Hearing delayed in case of Diamond Bar crash that killed six

A preliminary hearing for a Fontana woman who has been accused of causing a wrong-way crash that resulted in the death of six people has been rescheduled to Jan. 20, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County Superior Court system said Friday.

Olivia Carolee Culbreath, 22, was driving her Chevrolet Camaro at speeds approaching 100 mph on the 60 Freeway when she was involved in a wrong-way, head-on crash around 4:45 a.m. Feb. 9, the California Highway Parol said.

The car was traveling east in the westbound 60 lanes and crashed head-on into a Ford Explorer in Diamond Bar, the CHP said. After the initial crash, a Ford Freestyle crashed into the Explorer.

At a preliminary hearing, a judge will hear witness testimony – oftentimes from law enforcement officers – and review evidence to determine if sufficient probable cause exists to hold over the defendant for trial.

Two women who were passengers in Culbreath’s car died in the crash. One woman was Culbreath’s 24-year-old sister, Maya, and the other was Kristin Young, 21, of Chino.

Four people were thrown from the Explorer. The victims were Gregorio Mejia-Martinez, 47, Leticia Ibarra, 42, Jessica Mejia, 20, and Ester Delgado, 80, all of Huntington Park.

Culbreath, who is being held at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles on $6 million bail, faces a lifetime prison sentence if she is convicted of murder.

Pitfalls of turning Puente Hills Landfill into a park

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Building a park on top of 130 million tons of Los Angeles County’s trash can be tricky.

“There is a 3 percent settlement rate per year,” said Michael Hughes, a longtime Hacienda Heights resident and Puente Hills Landfill neighbor who has been waiting for this moment for more than 30 years. “So they can’t put much in terms of permanent infrastructure, which is unfortunate.”

Last week, the county Board of Supervisors made the first move toward turning the shuttered Puente Hills Landfill near the intersection of the 605 and 60 freeways into a regional park of about 600 acres by accepting $814,000 from the county Sanitation Districts, the former operators of the landfill.

The Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation will use the money to hire a parks designer who will gather public input and sketch several designs as part of an overall master plan for the new Puente Hills County Regional Park, said Russ Guiney, director of county Parks and Recreation.

Most likely, the planner will take “a practical approach,” Guiney said, staying away from ball fields and buildings and instead, as Hughes puts it, focus on “trails and trees.”

That’s because for the next 25 years, the top of the landfill overlooking Whittier in the south and Hacienda Heights to the east, where as much as 13,000 tons of trash were deposited per day for 57 years, can be unstable as household garbage decomposes and the surface shifts.

“On the top-fill area of about 200 acres the landfill is sinking slowly as it compacts. It will take some time for everything to settle,” Guiney said.

Read more in Steve Scauzillo’s story PARK.

Walnut Valley Women’s Club to light holiday tree

On Sunday, December 7, 2014, at 6:30 p.m., the Walnut Valley Women’s Club invites the community to attend the annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony which will be held at Fire Station 61, on the corner of La Puente Road and Lemon Avenue.

As we celebrate our 50 years in federation this year, we named Jeanne Burgh the honored tree lighter. She is the Club’s longest Walnut resident who is currently a member of the Walnut Valley Women’s Club.

Enjoy the holiday music of our little ones and teens and meet Santa who will arrive at 7:00 p.m.

At this 23rd year anniversary celebration, the Club is grateful to the community for its sponsorship of the Scholarship Tree of Lights.