Heat wave eases its grip on the San Gabriel Valley

Giovanni Rodriguez and his sister Penelope, play in spray  at Morgan Park in Baldwin Park

Giovanni Rodriguez and his sister Penelope, play in spray at Morgan Park in Baldwin Park

Southland residents can breathe a sigh of relief as record high temperatures plummet nearly 20 degrees by Wednesday.

A cold front will roll through the Los Angeles basin, bringing cloudy skies and patchy fog overnight.

“The Santa Ana event ended on Sunday, returning us slowly to highs in the 70s,” reported National Weather Service Meteorologist Kathy Hoxsie in Oxnard. “There will even be a slight chance of precipitation on Wednesday, with a 20 percent chance of a few sprinkles in the mountains.”

Weather stations in Santa Fe Springs and La Puente reported a high of 94 on Sunday and temperatures dipped only a couple degrees on Monday before dropping another 10 degrees today, with an expected high of 80. By Wednesday afternoon, SoCal should register a very comfortable 73 degrees.

A similar trend will sooth Pasadena residents, who experienced a high of 90 Monday. That will be followed by 80 today and 73 on Wednesday.

While no records were broken in the San Gabriel Valley/Whittier area over the weekend, Sunday saw a number of them fall throughout Southern California. The National Weather Service recorded a high of 92 in downtown Los Angeles, crushing the record of 85 set in 1978.

“Burbank also set a record at Bob Hope Airport at 90 degrees, breaking the 86 mark set in 1994,” Hoxsie said.

Los Angeles International Airport reported a new high of 88, breaking the 1959 record of 83.

A record high of 89 degrees was set at UCLA Monday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service, surpassing the previous high of 87, set in 2010.

The NWS forecast calls for a much more pleasant weekend ahead, with highs around 75 under mostly sunny skies. Overnight lows will hover near 57 under partly cloudy skies.

Hoxsie said the marine layer should return, cooling coastal areas that have baked in the record heat. It was 92 at Long Beach Airport on Sunday, breaking the record of 86 from 1978. Highs in Long Beach will drop from 82 on Monday to 66 on Wednesday.

Mt SAC artist presents show in the art gallery in Walnut

The Mt. San Antonio College Art Gallery will feature the work of Mt. SAC professor and ceramic artist Susie Rubenstein in its “Landmarks: Memories of Places” exhibit, which runs March 19 through April 16, at the Art Gallery. This exhibit is free and open to the public.   

“Landmarks: Memories of Places” is a collection of Rubenstein’s work, consisting of ceramics, textiles, and charcoal drawings with a ceramic vessel oriented focus. Her work has been noted for its “renewed expression of the ethereal experience” and her “constant re-examination of line, of form and of their execution.” 

A special opening reception will be held Thursday, March 19, 4 to 6 p.m., in the Art Gallery, building 1B. Gallery hours are Tuesdays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Tuesday nights, 5 to 7:30 p.m. 

For more information, call the Art Gallery at (909) 274-4328. 

$1 million Rosemead Powerball winner has until 5 pm today to claim prize

By Brian Day, Staff Writer

The winner of a Powerball drawing who purchased the winning ticket in September at the Rosemead Supermarket has until 5 p.m. Thursday to claim a $1 million prize, California Lottery officials said.

Lottery officials have released store surveillance footage of the winner in hopes of tracking him down before the 180-day deadline to collect the prize.

The ticket, purchased at the market, 8815 E. Valley Blvd., matched five numbers on the Sept. 13, 2014, Powerball drawing, officials said. The ticket bore the numbers 37, 6, 1, 53, and 16, missing only the Powerball number of 27. It won $1,098,624.

If the winner does not claim the prize by the deadline, “every penny of the unclaimed prize money is transferred to California public schools,” Lottery officials said in a written statement.

The Rosemead Supermarket received a bonus of $5,493, which amounts to one-half of one-percent of the prize, for selling the winning ticket, Lottery officials said.

The winner is advised to sign the back of the ticket in ink and keep it in a safe place and visit a local Lottery District Office as quickly as possible.


LASD curbs deputy in-car computer use after tragedy

CHP officer Leland Tang shows how the CHP uses heads up technology to help officers keep their eyes on the road at all times.

CHP officer Leland Tang shows how the CHP uses heads up technology to help officers keep their eyes on the road at all times.

By Brenda Gazzar, Staff Writer

In an effort to reduce distracted driving, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials have implemented a new policy that significantly curbs the use of in-car computers, authorities said.

The policy, which was formalized late last month, contains the department’s first explicit restrictions on such devices and comes a little more than a year after sheriff’s Deputy Andrew Wood fatally struck cyclist Milton Olin Jr. on Mulholland Highway in Calabasas while typing on his in-car computer.

While stopping short of banning all in-car computer use, the new policy of the country’s largest sheriff’s agency requires that radios be used as “the primary tool of communication” while vehicles are moving and eliminates the use of in-car computers for administrative tasks.

“The significance is to reduce the danger to the public, predominantly, and the danger to our own deputies that are posed by distracted driving and distracting devices,” said Sgt. Albert Schauberger, corrective actions sergeant at the department’s risk management bureau.

Employees cannot use their computer while driving a county vehicle unless the communication is urgent or necessary for officer safety and radio traffic prevents its timely transmission or unless it’s to hit one button to send status updates such as “en-route” or “acknowledge,” according to the new policy.

The in-car computer should be used as a last resort, such as when a deputy is facing an emergency and there’s another serious incident already being broadcast on the radio channel, and not out of convenience since it’s more distracting than a radio, Schauberger said.

“If there’s no other means to communicate and in case of emergency, then (the in-car computer) should be used because it’s all you have left,” he said.

In addition, personnel cannot use their mobile digital computers for administrative tasks, such as clearing calls, updating logs, typing, sending or reading administrative or nonurgent messages while driving, the policy states.

However, a union leader argues that the new policy leaves deputies who are trying to carry out their duties unduly vulnerable to discipline.

Read more in Brenda Gazzar’s story DISTRACTED.

Daylight Savings great time to check smoke detectors

Daylight Savings Time is this weekend and when everyone turns their clocks ahead, the American Red Cross reminds them to also take these steps to make sure their household is prepared for emergencies.

It’s important for everyone to make sure their household is ready,” said Jarrett Barrios, CEO. American Red Cross Los Angeles Region. “A disaster like a home fire can happen anywhere, at any time, and with the cold snap we have been experiencing in Southern California, people need to be extra cautious especially if they are using space heaters. We urge people to take these steps now and know what they should do if an emergency occurs.”

  • Check smoke detector batteries. When turning the clocks ahead, take a few minutes to replace the smoke alarm batteries and push the test button to make sure the alarms are working. It’s also a great time to check carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Install smoke detectors.If someone doesn’t have smoke alarms, install them. At a minimum, put one on every level of the home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Check local building codes for additional requirements.
  • Practice an escape plan. Make sure everyone in the family knows how to get out of every room and how to get out of the home in less than two minutes.
  • Follow the three feet rule.
  • Get a kit. Keep disaster supplies in an easy-to-carry bag to use at home or carry in case ordered to evacuate.
  • Make a plan. Have all household members plan what steps they should take if an emergency occurs.
  • Be informed. Learn what emergencies can occur in the area and how officials notify residents should a disaster occur.


Home Fire Preparedness Campaign:In the Los Angeles Region, the Red Cross responded to 442 home fires last year. Tragically, some people lose their lives in these fires, and countless others are injured.

The Red Cross has launched the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign to reduce the number of deaths and injuries due to home fires by 25 percent over the next five years and involves Red Cross workers joining with local fire departments and community groups to visit neighborhoods at high risk for fires.

Those visits includeeducating people about fire safety through door-to-door visits and installation of smoke alarms in some of these neighborhoods.

Visit us on www.PrepareSoCal.org to take our Home Fire Preparedness Quiz and enter to win a Galaxy Tablet.

Haggen taking over Vons in Diamond Bar

A shopper loads his trunk with groceries at parking lot of Vons supermarket in Diamond Bar

A shopper loads his trunk with groceries at parking lot of Vons supermarket in Diamond Bar

By Kevin Smith, Staff Writer

The name Haggen might not ring a bell with Southland consumers now. But it soon will because the Bellingham, Wash. -based supermarket chain is about to open 83 California locations in stores that have been operating as either Albertsons or Vons.

Haggen Inc.’s entry into the California grocery industry came about through the merger of Albertsons and Safeway. Cerberus Capital Management, the private investment company that owns Albertsons, received approval from the Federal Trade Commission in January to buy Safeway (Vons’ parent company) for about $9.2 billion.

In order to comply with antitrust laws that seek to preserve a competitive marketplace, Albertsons and Safeway had to shed a total of 168 stores. Haggen is one of four buyers approved by the FTC to purchase the stores and it’s getting the lion’s share — 146 of them.

The 83 California supermarkets to be converted include 55 Albertsons stores and 28 Vons locations. An Albertsons at 5038 W. Avenue North in Palmdale and a Vons at 240 S. Diamond Bar Blvd. in Diamond Bar are among the first Southern California stores to be converted this month.

For more, read Kevin Smith’s story HAGGEN

Red Cross CEO talks to Industry Manufacturers Council


More than 225 members and guests of the Industry Manufacturers Council (IMC)were treated to a history lesson about the origins of the Red Cross by Jarrett Barrios, CEO of the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region, when he gave the keynote address at the quarterly meeting of the IMC.

In honor of March is Red Cross Month, Barrios was invited to talk the group about the history, mission, lines of service and presence of the American Red Cross in the Los Angeles region.

At the event, held at the Pacific Palms in the City of Industry, Mr. Barrios also accepted a proclamation from Angie Valenzuela, Field Deputy from Supervisor Don Knabe’s, who serves the Fourth District of Los Angeles County.

For more information on American Red Cross Los Angeles Region, please visit www.redcross.org/losangeles.

Man accused of posing as Amazon recruiter lures woman to interview, tries to kidnap her

After San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Chino Hills detectives arrested Aaron Misael Viteri Vera, 22, for allegedly kidnapping the young woman late last month, investigators reportedly found documents with the names of other women on them, officials said in a statement.

Viteri Vera met the 19-year-old woman through a social media application last month. The 22-year-old man used the screen name “Jay Delgado” and began messaging the woman regarding a job at the Amazon warehouse.

On February 26, the two were to meet at the Subway to eat lunch and discuss her possible employment with Amazon, officials said. When Viteri Vera arrived, he told the woman he did not want Subway and offered to drive them both to Wendy’s instead.

The woman got in the car and Viteri Vera got on the freeway, according to a sheriff’s statement. He allegedly took the victim’s phone and refused to return it to her.

When the woman realized they were not going to Wendy’s and she became alarmed and began to struggle with Viteri Vera in the car.

The victim, fearing for her life, opened the door to jump out of the car.

Viteri Vera grabbed her by the waist of her pants and tried to keep her in the car, officials said. Viteri Vera slowed the car and that’s when the victim jumped from the car and ran. She then reported the incident to law enforcement.

On Wednesday morning, detectives and deputies from the Multiple Enforcement Team at the Chino Hills station served a search warrant at Viteri Vera’s house in Riverside Wednesday morning and arrested.

He is currently behind bars at West Valley Detention Center.

Because of the evidence found at his home, including his various profiles on social media sites, detectives believe he may have victimized other women.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Chino Hills station at 909-364-2000.

Chinese New Year celebrated at Cal Poly Pomona

By Effie Chen, Cal Poly Pomona

In recent years, Chinese New Year has become a festival that not only interests Chinese or Asians, but more and more people in the mainstream of American society have also grown interested in.

In Feb. 2015, the California State Senate just passed a resolution presented by Senator Bob Huff, the senate republican leader of California, to make Chinese New Year an official festival in California to honor the state’s rich cultural diversity.

Tai Ji Men Qigong Academy in Los Angeles has been established for over 14 years, and it has dedicated itself to the promotion of the essence of traditional Chinese culture.

In the beginning of the Year of the Ram, it has teamed up with the English Language Institute at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona to host the “2015 Chinese New Year Gathering,” to introduce to the local communities the culture and customs about Chinese New Year, the most important Chinese festival of the year.

The event will be energetically kicked off by a series of festive New Year songs presented by the Happy Band, composed of Tai Ji Men members. Following that will be an amazing feast of traditional Chinese culture, including “Heavenly Official Bestowing Blessings to All,” “Auspicious Lions Bringing Good Fortune to All,” “Lantern Dance,” “Martial Arts Formation,” etc. to showcase an excellent culture.

Additionally, as an ancient menpai (similar to school) of qigong, martial arts, and self-cultivation, Tai Ji Men will also offer “Kung Fu Tea,” which will invite the participants to follow an ancient tea ritual and travel back in time to experience the spirit of martial arts and self-cultivation.

Of course, no Chinese New Year celebration will be complete without the “red envelops!” Tai Ji Men will also give each participant a red envelop and a unique necklace of Chinese knot with the words: “Good fortune is coming to you” on it to wish them to have the best of luck throughout the Year of the Ram!

The young Tai Ji Men members participating in the cultural performances are all American born Chinese, the youngest of whom is only 3 years old. They get to understand and appreciate the profound meanings behind the traditional cultural presentations through practicing and performing the lion dance, martial arts demonstration, lantern dance, etc.

Not only young Chinese Americans are actively involved in the event, a Caucasian will also play the role of “heavenly official” to spread good fortune to all participants of the event. In addition to Chinese cultural presentations, the cultural exchanges will also include performances by representatives from India, Costa Rica, Japan, etc. to enhance mutual understanding among people of different ethnic backgrounds.

For the past ten plus years, Tai Ji Men members, motivated by love, have traveled around the five continents of the world to spread the ideas of love and peace and unite people’s hearts through cultural exchanges.

Since recently the world has seen escalating geopolitical tensions among ethnic groups and nations, creating opportunities to foster interactions and understanding among people of different backgrounds has become especially important.  

Diamond Bar warns drivers about traffic delays

City of Diamond Bar

Motorists, be advised that if your morning or afternoon commute includes crossing the Grand Avenue Bridge above the 60 freeway, you can expect heavy traffic delays  as a result of a City of Industry road resurfacing project.

The project, which involves grinding and repaving the stretch of road between the freeway on and off-ramps, will result in a single traffic lane open to traffic on both the southbound and northbound sides. The lane reductions coupled with the vehicles exiting and entering the freeways will create significant delays for through traffic.

It is anticipated that the project will continue into the middle of next week; the lane closures by the City of Industry are scheduled as follows:

  • southbound (coming from City of Industry) lane closure from 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • northbound (going out of City of Diamond Bar) lane closure to start from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

In an effort to help alleviate traffic in the area, City of Diamond Bar has:

  • set up a message board on Grand Avenue between Montefino Avenue and Lavender Drive to inform passing motorists of the road work and encourage alternate routes;
  • worked with Caltrans to increase the timing cycle length at the traffic signals near the freeway on and off-ramps during the morning rush hour; and
  • will schedule Sheriff’s deputies to assist with traffic control as needed.

Questions related to the road resurfacing project should be directed to the City of Industry at 626.333.2211.