Postal workers protest plant closure in Industry

Here’s some news from the American Postal Workers Union:

“Members of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) will protest outside a Southern California postal plant scheduled for closure during a visit by the Postmaster General today.

The Postmaster General has announced a plan to close 82 mail sorting plants, which will end to overnight delivery of First Class Mail and cause the loss of thousands of jobs in communities across the country.

The City of Industry location is scheduled for closure on January 15.  Under Postmaster General Patrick J. Donahoe’s plan, California will lose more postal sorting plants than any other state.

California already has lost a dozen postal sorting facilities and USPS has announced five more closings scheduled for early 2015. The San Gabriel Valley plant employs 450 workers.

The closure of the City of Industry sorting plant will slow mail to more than 70,000 area businesses in 31 cities. Among those whose mail will be delayed are the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the City of Hope.

“Our members will be out in the sun on Friday to put some heat on the Post Office,” said Omar Gonzalez, APWU’s Western Regional Coordinator.  “The Postmaster General and his underlings have been lying to the American people. They like to use words like ‘overnight delivery of First Class Mail will no longer be guaranteed,’ when they really mean, ‘not a snowball’s chance in Hell.”

Added Gonzalez, “This is a terrible loss for this community. Because of the growth of e-commerce, cities and towns that keep sorting facilities will have a valuable asset in years to come and cities that lose facilities will be left in the dust. Local political and business leaders along with consumers should be up in arms over what Washington is trying to do.”

The American Postal Workers Union represents 200,000 employees of the United States Postal Service. The union is affiliated with the AFL-CIO.

Cecilio gives 10 electric string instruments to Walnut High

Walnut High instrumental music director Buddy Clements thanks Cecilio Instruments for the electric string instrument donation on Sept. 16.

Walnut High instrumental music director Buddy Clements thanks Cecilio Instruments for the electric string instrument donation on Sept. 16.

The Walnut High School Instrumental Music Program received a donation of ten electric string instruments on Sept. 16.  Cecilio Musical Instruments presented the school with four cellos, five violins, and one bass valued at $10,000.

A group of students eagerly watched, as bags of streamlined instruments were carefully unpacked in the orchestra room. The new strings seem futuristic with hollow-shaped frames equipped with an electric outpost for sound and option to be played silent with headphones.

“We want to thank the wonderful people at Cecilio for making this incredible donation, said Instrumental Music Director Buddy Clements.

The school already has big plans for the instruments. An electric string group will be added in front of the marching band’s Pirates of the Caribbean-themed field shows. The group will make their debut performance at a football game in about a month.

“We’ve never seen anybody do this before, so we think it’s pretty innovative,” Clements said.

The specialized strings will also be used with the jazz band and a new western-swing ensemble. Clements said the he kids have been really excited about the new strings.

“They’ve been talking about it and dreaming about it. We couldn’t make it happen, but Cecilio made it happen for us,” he added.

Senior violist Julie Banagale was the first to hold one of the new red mahogany finished electric cellos.

“I’d like to play this!” she said.

Two community members, Betty Tang, president of the World Youth Education and Jennifer Pak, WHS parent and president of the Diamond Youth Symphony Orchestra, stepped forward to coordinate the donation for the school music program.

“We were inspired by the leadership of Principal Jeff Jordan and tireless efforts of directors Dr. Buddy Clements and Corey Wicks,” Tang said.

This is the second year Cecilio has donated to Walnut High.  Last year, they boosted the string program by adding 14 cellos, 10 violas, two basses, saxophones, trombones and more.

“We’re glad to help out.  When we learned there was going to be electric strings with the marching band on the field – it’s going to be great! I can’t wait to come by and see it,” said Cecilio spokesman Derek Zimmerman.

Caffe Bene opening new store in Industry

Caffe Bene City of Industry will hold its grand opening on Saturday from 2 to 8 p.m.

The store will open at 7 a.m., and the first 200 customers to spend $10 will get a free Caffe Bene mug!

The afternoon event will feature a live DJ and a photo booth for customers to  take pictures. Caffe Bene is located at 18508-A E Gale Ave., Industry.

Hacienda La Puente Unified OKs design work on high school football fields

Los Altos High players scrambles for a first down.

Los Altos High players scrambles for a first down.

The Hacienda La Puente Unified School Board has taken the first step toward getting new artificial turf at three high schools, as well as a new swimming pool at La Puente High. The board voted to add the projects to its priority list and begin design work on the $23 million proposals.

“It was a great day because this is long overdue,” said Board President Gino Kwok after the meeting. “It’s a watershed moment because its important to our students.”

Members of the boosters club from all four high schools packed the board meeting.

“We had 26 speakers comment about the poor shape of our fields and the La Puente pool,” noted board member Penny Fraumeni. “They complained about strained and broken ankles suffered from gopher holes on the football fields.”

La Puente High already has artificial turf on its football field and track. But the original swimming pool is full of cracks, which leaks up to six inches of water every day, according to Fraumeni.

“We keep wasting taxpayers’ money trying to fix that old pool,” Fraumeni explained. “We could have put that money toward a new swimming pool.”

The new board member ran on a platform calling for a new football stadium at Wilson High School. After the election, she said she realized the district couldn’t afford a new stadium.

“So I worked with board member Kwok, who thought we can could afford to replace the football fields and tracks,” Fraumeni said.

Kwok said they fought to get the projects added to the priority list. He said board member Anthony Duarte expressed serious concerns about paying for the projects.

“I’m for replacing the fields and the swimming pool,” agreed Duarte. “But I also want to know how we’re going to pay for it.”

Caltrans sets closures on 60 freeway this 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, September 15, through Friday, September 19

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 CLOSEDbetween 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, September 19, through Sunday, September 21

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 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.

Caltrans advises motorists to “Slow For The Cone Zone.”

Kids Cook-off

On Food Network’s “Rachel vs. Guy: Kids Cook-Off,” Walnut youngster Sean leads the pack with six stars going into the final challenge next week.

He won his sixth star in the Seafood Challenge by cooking octopus “perfectly,” according to judge Melissa D’Arabian, using a mixer and a pressure cooker to tenderize it.

See whether our local boy can win next week — 8 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 21, on Food Network.

Andy Shin named Community Hero by Diamond Bar

Andy Shin has been named one of Diamond Bar’s community heroes. The teen at Diamond Bar High was nominated by Wanda Tanaka, adviser with the Leo Club.

“Andy has been a wonderful community volunteer in our city of Diamond Bar. Whenever there are activities to help out anyone, Andy is the first one to sign up.”

“Andy has not missed any club meetings the whole year, and will be our Leo Club vice president next year…. The Leo Club is sponsored by Lions Club International and the Diamond Bar Breakfast Club.”

“You can count on Andy for helping our people and our community. This year, Andy has been awarded the Lions Young Leader Gold Service Award from Lions Club International for his community service.”

Andy is also a member of the Make A Wish, French Club and Go Club at the local high school.

 

Diamond Bar veteran honored for work on 9/11

By Richard Irwin, Staff Writer

Diamond Bar is honoring it’s own 9/11 hero today at the Los Angeles County Fair. The fair committee thought it was fitting since Diamond Bar Day fell on the anniversary of this tragic event.

“We wanted to find someone who had responded to the 9/11 attack as a tribute to those who died that day,” said committee member Pamela Robinson.

The committee had a hard time locating a local person, until they talked to a resident during a Concert in the Park this summer.

“Khai Luu said he had been a platoon leader assigned to protect the Pentagon and the Capitol after the 9/11 attack,” Robinson recalled. “He agreed to help us pay tribute to our 9/11 responders.”

The Diamond Bar resident had been serving as a young lieutenant with the 274th Military Police Company in Washington, D.C.

“I was working for the District of Columbia’s National Guard,” Luu explained. “Before attending officer candidate school, I had served four years as an enlisted man.”

Unfortunately, Luu was participating in an exercise at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri when the attack occurred.

“It was an ‘aw shucks’ moment, I felt profound guilt and loss when I found out about the attack,” he remembered. “But they let us graduate early so we could help out in Washington.”

He was hoping to be one of the first to make it back, but Luu said it took a week to return to the D.C. barracks.

“I was given command of a reinforced platoon of 60 soldiers to help guard the Pentagon and Capitol buildings,” Luu said. “The Capitol Police were happy to have the help, because we didn’t know what would happen next.”

Luu was stunned to see a section of the Pentagon destroyed after being struck by an airliner. Another had targeted the Capitol, but crashed in western Pennsylvania when the passengers rushed the cockpit.

For more, read Rich Irwin’s story 9/11.

Walnut woman gets 20 years to life for killing husband, pet

Deputy District Attorney Taraneh Saba said Socorro Mora got 16 years to life in prison for fatally stabbing George Mora, 47, on Oct. 19, 2011 at his home in the 21600 block of Brookside Court.

In addition, the 46-year-old Mora also received four years and eight months for stabbing to death the family pet, Snowflake, and for attacking her husband on Sept. 13, 2011.

Saba said Mora was ordered to pay over $17,000 in restitution to the victims for counseling and for funeral expenses. She must also pay over $20,000 in restitution fines, the prosecution added.

A Pomona Superior Court jury on May 12 convicted Mora of second degree murder, cruelty to an animal and corporal injury to a spouse.

The last charge stems from an incident that happened a month before the murder.

Authorities said Mora attacked her husband on Sept. 13, 2011, scratched herself and claimed he did it. George Mora ended up with scratched and bleeding arms, according to the prosecution.

He later filed for and received a restraining order.

A judge ordered Mora to move out of the family home. On the day she was supposed to leave, Sept. 24, 2011, family members discovered the place ransacked and Snowflake the dog dead.

Mora allegedly broke into the Walnut house on Oct. 19, 2011. Her attorney said she knew George Mora wasn’t at the house and wanted to get some of her things.

George Mora arrived home and found his estranged wife.

The defense said an argument between the couple escalated into a knife fight. The defense claimed it was self defense.