Pitfalls of turning Puente Hills Landfill into a park

1029_NWS_WDN-L-PHLANDFILL03

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.

Caltrans lists closings for 60 Freeway paving project

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, November 10, through Friday, November 14

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, November 14, through Saturday, November 15

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

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 late 2014.

Newton Knights show Goodwill in Hacienda Heights

From Newton Middle School

“Newton Middle School Knights DO GOOD for the Hacienda Heights community!  NMS students have a long history of high academic achievement but also of demonstrating a sense of pride and responsibility to their local community.

It’s not uncommon to see middle school kids donning Newton Knights spirit shirts marching up and down the major boulevards picking up trash on weekends, combing through nearby beaches clearing litter, and hosting canned food and toy drives near the holidays to support underprivileged families and kids.

This month, Newton has partnered with Goodwill Southern California to support the great work that the organization does to enhance the quality of life for individual with disabilities, U.S. Veterans, and local troubled youth by assisting them to become productive and self-sufficient through education, training, and job opportunities.

To promote this important purpose, students have set the goal of filling 20 large bins with donated goods to be given to the Goodwill!  Students will collect all kinds of items including artwork, bedspreads, CDs and DVDs, clothing, shoes, accessories, computers, cookware, small appliances, holiday decorations, sporting goods, and much more.

The Hacienda Heights community can help by bringing donations to Newton Middle School between November 12th-November 15th.  The last chance to make donations is Saturday, November 15th by 2:00 pm.

Come by, and turn your discards into someone’s treasure!  For more information, contact Principal Angela Lin at 626-933-2401.”

 

Hacienda Heights Community Center offers weeklong party

Hacienda Heights residents will celebrate the grand opening of the new $21 million community center with a week of special events and performances.

The fun begins 11 a.m. Saturday with the dedication by Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe and civic leaders. Residents will be able to tour the amazing center at 1234 Valencia Ave., just off Turnbull Canyon Road.

Then Hacienda Height’s own Grammy Award winning Mariachi Divas will perform on the outdoor stage from noon to 2 p.m. Founder Cindy Shea lives just down the street.

Residents will enjoy a free lunch from local Mexican, Hawaiian and pizza restaurants. Children will be entertained with many games and face painting.

“It’ll be a great day for the community to come out and celebrate with us,” said the center’s new director Susan Brown with the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation.

On Saturday night, a dinner dance will serve as the inaugural ball. The cost is $10 for an Italian dinner of pasta and salad. Couples 21 and older can then dance to a live band.

On Sunday, everyone can kick up their heels at the big country Western barbecue and dance from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“We’ll have activities for cowboys of all ages. Live entertainment by Del Rio, a mechanical bull, games and face painting,” Brown bragged.

For $7, residents can enjoy a Western BBQ of chicken and ribs. Then they can work off the extra pounds by learning how to square dance and line dance in the center.

On Monday, a community showcase will take to the new stage from 6 to 8 p.m. Brown said the center has scheduled the Ballet Folklorico and hula dancers, as well as a guitar class to perform.

Trio Ellas will perform from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday. The three women combine traditional mariachi, romantic boleros, bluegrass and rock. Their Latin Pop album “Noches Angelinas” was nominated for a Grammy Award. The concert is free, but seating is limited in the 500-seat auditorium.

Thank you, thank you very much. Elvis takes the stage in a tribute concert on Wednesday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tickets are only $5.

“We looked months to find some great acts,” Brown explained. “And David Hoover puts on a great Elvis show.”

Kids rule the night on Halloween. A free Halloween carnival will take over the lush grounds with lots of games and entertainment.

But beware, maties! Pirates will battle on the outdoor stage at 6 p.m. The award winning pirate troupe specializes in action and comedy with sword fighting, pistols and breakaway bottles.

“I’m friends with Ted Shred, an actor and stunt coordinator who started the group with nine other pirate enthusiasts,” Brown said. “They put on a great show.”

Then families will move inside the auditorium to see Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” until 9 p.m.

On Nov. 1, the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District moves into the community center for a district wide open house from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The local school district provided the land for the new community center.

“The district is excited about the ongoing partnership we have with the county,” said School Superintendent Cindy Parulan-Colfer.

She said the open house will feature performances by musical groups from many of the local schools. Each school will also have a booth.

The weeklong celebration concludes that evening with a production by the STC Foundation and Dance Impressions.

“They’ll perform a colorful variety of Chinese dances, including the lion and dragon dance,” Brown said. “I’m not sure how much they will be charging at the door, but it will be worth it.”

 

 

New Hacienda Heights Community Center blends beauty, utility

New Hacienda Heights Community Center blends beauty with utility.

New Hacienda Heights Community Center blends beauty with utility.

By Richard Irwin, Staff Writer

The new Hacienda Heights Community Center is an amazing place. And its beauty isn’t just skin deep. The $21 million edifice has been designed to serve multiple uses.

“That’s what I like best about the new community center, it can do so many things for so many different groups,” agreed Joe Mendoza, Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation deputy director.

The center sits on Turnbull Canyon Road. Hacienda La Puente Unified provided seven acres at the old Hillgrove Elementary School.

“The district is excited about the ongoing partnership we have with the county,” said School Superintendent Cindy Parulan-Colfer.

She said the new community center will showcase many school events and performances, including the district’s big open house on Nov. 1.

Next week, the spotlight will shine on what Mendoza calls “the granddaddy” of community centers. The 21,000 square-foot-center has its grand opening 11 a.m. Oct. 25.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe has been a longtime supporter of the project.

“This is one of the rare times that the actual building is even more impressive than the architect’s renderings,” Knabe said. “I love the flexibility in the design. At the community input meetings, everyone wanted the center to be as flexible as possible, and I’ve think we’ve done that with the new center.”

Visitors will discover a visually stunning structure rising from lush landscaping. The three-story high auditorium pulls the eye up to the cantilevered roof front.

Theater patrons will be impressed with the 6,400 square foot auditorium. Center Director Susan Brown demonstrated how the plush stadium seating automatically retracts into the back wall.

“This allows us to use the space for banquets and conferences,” Mendoza pointed out. “We can even divide the auditorium into three separate rooms with folding partitions.”

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story CENTER.

Puente Hills Habitat leads hikes in Sycamore Canyon this week

Puente Hills Habitat will host several hikes this month in these locations:

 Saturday, October 18th - Sunset Bat Hike, 5pm to 7pm

The Preserve is often a great place to watch for emerging bats in the early evening. Let’s take in a 2 mile hike in the late afternoon light, as long shadows stretch across the landscape. We’ll show you some of our bat houses, discuss bat feeding habits and benefits, and search the skies for some of the bats living on the Preserve. FAMILY-FRIENDLY: a good choice for those with children who like to hike. No dogs.

Thursday, October 16th & 23rd- 10,000 Steps Hike, 5pm to Sunset

Join Docent Maria in a 4.7 mile strenuous fitness hike that amounts to about 10,000 steps! The hike begins Black Walnut Trail   curbside.  It leads you through the Schabarum Trail and back again. Be ready for this fitness hike, bring water and wear hiking boots and long pants. Snakes are a factor on these less visited trails. Pedometers optional.

Caltrans closing portions of 60 Freeway for construction

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, October 13, through Friday, October 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 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, October 17, through Saturday, October 18

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.

Hacienda Heights woman’s a big winner at Los Angeles County Fair

Francine Rippy of Hacienda Heights figures she has won more than 1,000 ribbons at the Los Angeles County Fair. And this year is no different for the 75-year-old, who won 24 blue ribbons.

“I’ve been doing this a long time, more than 60 years,” Rippy said.

Of course, she has had decades of experience canning and preserving food. She learned as a teenager, growing up on a farm in Santa Fe Springs, now the Hathaway Museum.

“We had fruit orchards, so I learned how to can preserves, jams and jellies,” Rippy said. “We also raised horses, chickens and the calves from our milk cows.”

This early experience has served the Hacienda Heights woman well over the years. Her jellies, jams and preserves consistently win blue ribbons at the Los Angeles County Fair. She says she has won sweepstakes award 13 times.

“She is dedicated to the craft of preserved foods and we are honored that she continues to share that talent and passion with everyone here at the Los Angeles County Fair,” said Shanell Fuquay, Community Relations Coordinator.

Fuquay said the fair’s records don’t go back very far, but Rippy has won the sweepstakes for easily the past 5 years or more. That would have to be a record, Fuquay said.

Today, Rippy receives fresh fruit from friends and neighbors. She keeps her canning utensils ready because you never know when berries will ripen. The avid canner just finished making some blackberry jam.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story RIPPY

Puente Hills Habitat celebrates 20th anniversary in Hacienda Heights

Puente Hills Habitat will celebrate its 20th anniversary at the Hacienda Heights trail head on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will be fun crafts, face painting, displays and prizes. Winners of the photo and essay contests will be announced.

“We want to thank Hacienda Heights, Rowland Heights and Whittier for their support over the past two decades,” said Executive Director Andrea Gullo.

The agency manages 3,800 acres in the Puente Hills Preserve. The park runs from the intersection of the 605 and 60 Freeways east to Harbor Boulevard.

Over the past two decades, the authority has purchased 1,888 acres of land for $30 million and manages land owned by Whittier and the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County. The money came from fees charged by the now closed Puente Hills Landfill.

The 20th anniversary begins at 9 a.m. with an easy 1/2 mile family hike led by a naturalist. Others can take a two-mile hike to learn about native herbs.

Habitat ecologist Lizette Longacre says hikers will explore the coastal sage scrub threatened with extinction in Southern California. The rare plant can be found in Hellman Park and the Arroyo San Miguel, as well as Sycamore and Powder Canyons.

“The preserve also has one of the largest stands of Walnut trees,” Gullo noted. “The California Black Walnut is the most common and can be found in Powder Canyon.”

Tall coast live oaks also grow on the park’s slopes and grasslands. The walnut and oak trees are important sources of food for the local wildlife.

“Several sightings of mountain lions have been confirmed,” said Gullo. “One of our rangers saw one in Sycamore Canyon.”

The big cats are drawn by many deer living in the preserve.

“We have a healthy ecology here, with lots of rabbits and deer,” Longacre agreed.

Bobcats, raccoons, skunks and coyotes roam the sprawling habitat..

“We put in Los Angeles’ first wildlife underpass,” Gullo boasted. “And it has really cut back on the road kill.”

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story HABITAT.

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.