Rowland Unified wants local reserve cap repealed

The Rowland Unified School Board wants the state legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown to repeal the local reserves cap, saying SB 858 could force the 1,000 districts in the state to spend their $5 billion to $14 billion in reserves and that schools can’t survive another downturn without these savings.

“Personal finance experts recommend having enough cash in savings to cover six months of living expenses for a rainy day,” said Josephine Lucy, president of the California School Board Association. “Under the reserve cap, most districts will not even be able to cover one full week’s worth of payroll when cash flow is stressed,”

When voters approved Prop. 2, the Rainy Day Fund, it was tied to SB 858, which limits school reserves to two times the minimum allowed for economic uncertainties. Rowland officials say 3 percent is their minimum, but it currently maintains a reserve of $15 million — about 10 percent of its $155 million unrestricted budget.

“This really ties ours hands. It’s a significant reduction in our reserves, and it would only take another recession or emergency to get us into trouble,” said board member Heidi Gallegos. “How would we make our payroll or pay for the lights and water in our schools?”

Lucy said school districts will have to spend the money they saved for school repairs, as well as retiree and employee benefits.

Rowland officials note it could take many years for California to build up the Public School System Stabilization Account.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story RESERVES.

Rowland Unified opens new Family Resource Center

The Family Resource Center staff used to warn visitors about holes in the floor of its old building in La Puente. Today, both the holes and the old center are gone and Rowland Unified is ready to open a new $800,000 building.

The dental clinic has certainly come a long way since opening in an old World War II Army trailer. “We don’t miss the old World War II dental chairs,” said Coordinator Jennifer Kottke.

Kottke showed off the new family center opening next Wednesday. Residents are invited to the opening from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. at 17800 E. Renault St., next to Northam Elementary School.

In March, the school district broke ground for the 3,200-square-foot building. The prefabricated building was delivered in sections, then a crane assembled the center.

• VIDEO: Coordinator Jennifer Kottke — We’ll be able to take better care of families

• VIDEO: The dental clinic has one new chair and hopes to get another

• VIDEO: Nurse practitioner Llona Mearig says staff is thrilled with new facility

Staff members have dreamed about getting a new building for 35 years. Kottke and Nurse Practitioner Llona Mearig worked tirelessly to obtain federal and state grants totalling more than $750,000.

For more detail, read Rich Irwin’s story RESOURCE

workers rupture gas line near Rowland Heights

Construction workers today ruptured a deep high- pressure gas line in unincorporated Otterbein just north of Rowland Heights, authorities said.

The breach of the 1-inch line near the intersection of South Nogales Street and Walnut Drive occurred around 2:50 a.m., said Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Kyle Sandford.

The main was buried about 12-15 feet deep, and an urban search and rescue team was dispatched to shore up the excavation before an attempt was made to repair the line, Sanford said.

No evacuations from the area were reported, he said.

Rowland Heights man hurt in home-invasion robbery

Three masked robbers forced their way into a home in Rowland Heights and pepper sprayed one of two brothers inside before fleeing with valuables late Friday, authorities said.

The three robbers smashed a rear sliding-glass door about 7:40 p.m. to get into the home in the 17800 block of Calle Barcelona, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Steven Tousey said.

The home-invasion robbers encountered a 21-year-old man and his teenage brother, who were upstairs when the intruders broke in, the sergeant said.

A robber pepper-sprayed one of the brothers before the three bandits fled with cash, jewelry and an iPhone, Tousey said. No other injuries were reported.

A detailed description of the robbers was not available, Tousey said. All three wore ski-masks during the crime.

Tousey said the robbers were last seen running from the home. It was unclear if a getaway car was involved.

Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Walnut-Diamond Bar Station at 909-595-2264.

Archer surrenders at standoff in Rowland Heights

Deputies surrounded a home Sunday, after a man armed with a crossbow holed-up inside for more than four hours before ultimately surrendering, officials said.

The incident began just before 10 a.m. Sunday with a report of a fight between a father and son in the 18000 block of Mescal Street, Sgt. Pauline Panis of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Information Bureau said.

When deputies arrived, the son — initially described only as a man — retreated into the home and displayed a crossbow to deputies, Panis said.

It was not believed that he had fired the weapon at anyone. In a written statement, sheriff’s officials described the holed-up man as a suspect involved in an assault with a deadly weapon involving a crossbow, though further details of the alleged assault were not available.

Deputies summoned a sheriff’s SWAT team to the home to take over the standoff, officials said.

“The suspect is believed to be the sole occupant in the residence,” sheriff’s officials said in a written statement. “For the safety of the public, surrounding homes in the area have been evacuated.”

After slightly more than four hours, officials persuaded the suspect to exit the home and surrender about 2:05 p.m., deputy Amber Smith of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau said. The crossbow was recovered.

His identity was not immediately available, nor were the charges he was expected to be booked for. Officials at the sheriff’s Walnut-Diamond Bar Station declined to comment, referring all inquiries to the Sheriff’s Information Bureau. No further details were released.

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.

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.”

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.

Business leaders help students connect to future

Business and community leaders will help high school senior students learn how to “network” and practice their presentations skills tomorrow at the unique “Connections to the Future” luncheon event.

Organized and facilitated by senior students in the Career Certification Program at both Nogales and Rowland High Schools, the event teaches students professional networking and employment skills as they interact with business leaders.

Community participants enjoy a complimentary luncheon and will hear from keynote speaker Henry DiCarlo, Meteorologist for the KTLA-TV Morning News.

The theme of the event will be “It’s All About Communication.”  The event is tomorrowNovember 6 from 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at Rowland High School. The Connections to the Future event highlights the award-winningCareer Certification Program of the Rowland Unified School District.

The program prepares high school students for college and the workforce with real-world experience in six different industry pathways: Arts & Communications, Business, Family & Consumer Sciences, Health & Medical Services, Public & Human Services, and Technology. Students complete courses and an internship in their field of interest. For more information, visit http://careerpathways.rowland.k12.ca.us

For more information about Rowland Unified, the community can download the free Mobile App for iOS and Android phones/devices that has news, school calendars, a safety Tip Line, high school sports news for Nogales and Rowland High Schools, and helpful parent and District resources. Visitwww.RowlandSchools.org or call (626) 965-2541.

 

Nogales Street railroad underpass half way done

Construction on Nogales Street railroad underpass nears 50 percent done

Construction on Nogales Street railroad underpass nears 50 percent done

With construction nearing the halfway point on the Nogales Street railroad underpass, the Alameda Corridor East Construction Authority awarded a new construction contract this week for another underpass on nearby Fairway Avenue.

But CEO Mark Christoffels was quick to note that Fairway won’t be closed until Nogales Street opens next spring.

“We don’t want to cause any more traffic congestion than we have too,” Christoffels said. “But this way we can start preliminary work on the utilities along Fairway Avenue.”

The head of ACE led a tour of the work on the Nogales Project. The $117 million project began in May of 2013.

“We’ve done 45 percent of the work so far, right on schedule,” said senior project engineer Charles Tsang.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story NOGALES