Diamond Bar OKs moratorium on massage parlors

Diamond Bar City Council wasted no time in approving a 45-day moratorium on new massage parlors in the city. The interim ordinance will prohibit the establishment, expansion and relocation of massage parlors for 45 days.

In September, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 1147, which restores local land use authority over massage businesses. Effective Jan. 1, the new law removes the former law’s broad preemption of local massage ordinances.

AB 1147 gives local government the authority to enact regulations to manage massage parlors. The moratorium would maintain the status quo until the city has had time to complete the necessary studies and adopt new regulations.

“A friend at the Rotary Club came up to me and said the last thing we need is for another massage parlor to pop up,” said Mayor Steve Tye. “This is the kind of thing where we have to stay on top of the situation.”

“I’m concerned with the growing number of massage parlors in Diamond Bar,” agreed Councilman Jack Tanaka, who joined his fellow councilmembers in unanimously approving the moratorium.

Tanaka pointed out the number of massage parlors has grown from four to more than 15. Under the old law, the city had to permit seven new massage businesses simply because the owner or the masseuse were certified by the California Massage Therapy Council.

Cities have also seen an increase of illicit massage parlors which engage in prostitution and human trafficking.

“I haven’t heard of any prostitution in our massage establishments, but it has been a problem elsewhere,” Tye noted.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lt. Anthony Tachias said “There haven’t been any reports of prostitution or human trafficking at massage parlors in Diamond Bar. It’s been pretty quiet.”

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story MASSAGE.

13 hurt in freeway crash in Hacienda Heights

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By Ruby Gonzales, San Gabriel Valley Tribune and Sandra Molina, Whittier Daily News

Thirteen people suffered minor injuries when a tour bus and two big rigs collided Wednesday morning on the eastbound 60 Freeway at 7th Avenue, fire officials said.

Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Thomas Richards said there were 30 passengers on the bus along with the driver and tour guide. There were two people in one of the rig, he added.

“This incident consisted of two big rigs and a charter bus, with one of the big rigs striking another big rig,” said Public Information Officer Al Perez of the Santa Fe Springs California Highway Patrol office. “The second big rig was pushed toward the median and struck the charter bus, which was traveling in the HOV (carpool) lane or the number one lane.”

How the collision happened will be determined once the bus driver has been interviewed by authorities, he said.

The bus picked up passengers in Monterey Park and were headed to Pala Casino Spa And Resort south of Temecula, according to Perez.

The bus company, ETA Enterprise, Perez said, was in good standing with all its permits in order.

Fire Inspector Randall Wright described the collision between the big rig and the tour bus as a “glancing type of blow.”

None of the vehicles rolled over or flipped, he added. Response by the L.A. County Fire included engines, trucks, paramedics and a hazardous materials unit. There was no fire or gasoline spill, Wright said.

Jimmy Lin joins Diamond Bar City Council

Diamond Bar’s new councilman Jimmy Lin attended his first council meeting Tuesday night. After interviewing 11 candidates, the City Council chose Lin to fill the vacancy left by Ling-Ling Chang, who was elected to the state assembly.

Lin was selected over other candidates, including past 0107_NWS_SGT-L-DBVACANCYcouncilman and mayor Ron Everett and Andrew Wong, president of Pomona Unified School Board. Other candidates were Robert Nishimura, Tulsi Savani, Joyce Young, Shawn Dhand, Peter Pirritano, Ali Jakvani, Kim Hsieh and David Liu.

“I was really impressed with the quality of the candidates … many of you who are very qualified,” said Mayor Pro Tem Nancy Lyons.

“It seems like it should be an easy decision, and it’s not, you (the candidates) made it difficult, that’s a good thing,” Mayor Steve Tye said.

Still, council reached its decision quickly after interviewing the candidates. Lin will serve through November 2017.

“I’m evaluating by what the city needs, the city has some specific needs in the very near future. Things that we are working on, and a couple of candidates fill that need more than other candidates do,” explained Councilwoman Carol Herrera.

“Considering that traffic is one of the greatest problems and challenges that the city faces, I would like to nominate Jimmy Lin,” Herrera said. Lyons seconded the nomination. Lin was approved by a 3 to 1 margin, with Councilman Jack Tanaka voting no.

“I’m not against Jimmy, I just thought there should have been an open discussion. It was unfair to the other candidates to not discuss the reasons for our selection,” Tanaka said later.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story LIN

Chang responds to Gov. Brown’s address

Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang (R-Diamond Bar) attended the fourth inauguration of Governor Jerry Brown.  In his inauguration speech, Governor Brown included his State of the State Address, informing all members of the legislature of California’s status as well as his vision for its future.  Assemblywoman Chang offered the following comments in response:

“I appreciated hearing the governor’s vision for California,” said Chang.  “I look forward to working with him and my colleagues in the legislature to ensure taxpayer dollars are spent as carefully as we all spend our own hard-earned money.

“But let’s not stop there.  By working together we can make government better and more transparent by applying creative tools like technology-focused solutions. I’m excited to get to work to ensure California is growing jobs and providing the best schools in the nation,” Chang said.

Chang is the first Taiwanese-American Republican woman to be elected to the State Assembly and was recently appointed as Vice-Chair of the Assembly Rules Committee as well as Republican Whip.

She comes to Sacramento after serving several years on the Diamond Bar City Council as well as President & CEO of the Youth Science Center, a non-profit science education organization that focuses on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education.

Walnut power outage reported

More than a dozen customers woke up to a power outage in San Gabriel on New Year’s Day, while 138 customers in Walnut were still waiting for service to be restored.

An animal in electrical equipment caused an outage for 16 customers at 7:32 a.m. Thursday in San Gabriel, according to the SoCal Edison website.

Officials planned to have power restored by 3:30 p.m.

In Walnut, equipment problems caused a power outage at 6:04 a.m., the website listed. Service was expected to be restored by 6 p.m.

Man fatally shot in Hacienda Heights identified

An investigator identified the man fatally shot over the weekend as a Baldwin Park resident.

Sheriff’s Homicide Lt. John Corina said 34-year-old Gerardo Garcia was found in a lot in the 14400 block of Clark Avenue on Sunday.

Garcia is known to visit Hacienda Heights, he said.

The lieutenant said the lot is located behind a home but there is no structure on the property. The owner rents it out so people can park vehicles there, according to Corina. He said someone who came to work on a vehicle discovered Garcia lying there.

The Sheriff’s Industry Station received a call at 1:44 p.m. Sunday about a person who was lying bleeding and unconscious to the rear of the location.

Corina said Garcia had been shot in the body. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.

People heard a gunshot on Saturday night, the lieutenant said. But no suspects or vehicles were seen.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Tournament of Roses bandfest draws elite bands

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The Tournament of Roses Bandfest began its second day of performances under cold, gray skies. The all-girl band from Denmark loved it.

“You have such nice weather here, in Denmark it’s freezing and we have snow,” said 19-year-old Louise Hansen. The drummer was lining up to perform with the Helsingor Pigegarde. That’s the Elsinore Girls Marching Band to you and me.

The band of 56 young women, dressed in sailor uniforms, last appearing in Los Angeles during the 1984 Olympics.

They had also been invited to play in the French New Years parade along the famous Champs Elysee in Paris. They declined the invitation to come to Pasadena.

So did they regret their decision?

“The people here are so kind, everybody is friendly and says hello,” Hansen said.

It might have been a little overwhelming for little 12-year-old Melisa Olsen. The flutist has only been with the band for a year, but she said she was enjoying the trip.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story BANDS

$4,700 taken in Hacienda Heights home robbery

Three men wearing bandanas over their faces tied up a couple, assaulted them and stole about $4,700 in cash and jewelry during a home invasion robbery in Hacienda Heights on Sunday.

One of the robbers was armed with a knife, said Lt. Arthur Scott of the sheriff’s Industry Station. The woman suffered a small laceration to the lip but wasn’t taken to a hospital, he said. He described the two victims as being in their 60s.

The robbery in the 2000 block of Nadula Drive started at around 7 p.m. The resident arrived home and got accosted by three men in her garage.

Scott said the woman’s husband heard the garage door open, went to help his wife and encountered the suspects. He said the suspects forced the couple into the home then used garments and a belt to tie them up. The robbers put a pillow case over the man’s head, according to the lieutenant.

“(The husband) was sprayed with a window cleaner. He was also kicked and punched,” Scott said.

Scott said the woman sustained the cut to her lip when the suspects slammed her to the floor. After the robbers left, he said the woman wriggled free of her binds and called police.

Scott couldn’t verify media reports that the victims owned or worked in the jewelry business. The suspects were only described as three black men, 25 to 30 and 6 feet tall. They may have used an older model black BMW.

Investigators haven’t yet found a link to other home invasion robberies.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Sheriff’s Industry station at 626-330-3322. Anonymous tipsters can call LA Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, text “TIPLA” plus the tip to 274637, or use the website http://lacrimestoppers.org

Man fatally shot in Hacienda Heights

Homicide detectives are investigating the death of a man found fatally shot in a Hacienda Heights backyard Sunday afternoon.

Coroner’s officials didn’t release the man’s name on Monday because his next of kin hasn’t been notified.

A neighbor called deputies about 1:45 p.m. to report seeing someone lying in the large backyard of a home in the 14400 block of Clark Avenue, Sheriff’s Sgt. Rick Thurlo said.

Deputies and paramedics discovered the victim, a 34-year-old Latino, suffering from an apparent gunshot wound, according to department spokeswoman, Deputy Crystal Hernandez.

Paramedics pronounced the man dead at the scene.

Hernandez said according to witnesses, a single gunshot was heard in the area but no suspects or vehicles were seen.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

Hacienda Heights rallies behind family

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By Brian Day, Staff Writer

For the second time in recent years, a Hacienda Heights family has been devastated by a fatal tragedy. And for the second time, the community is rallying around the family to offer compassion and support.

Bertha Rosales, 42, died in a car crash while driving two of her four sons home from school in their hometown of Hacienda Heights, according to California Highway Patrol officials and friends.

Her sons Isaac, 13, and Ramon Jr., 10, suffered serious injuries in the crash, officials said. Isaac remained unconscious at a hospital with severe head injuries Wednesday, family friend Ernie Maldonado said. Ramon Jr. was making good progress in his recovery after undergoing surgery for injuries to his shoulder and elbow.

“This past Sunday was actually Bertha’s birthday,” Maldonado said.

The same family was affected by another deadly tragedy in August of 2011, when Rosales’ sister, 49-year-old Virginia Gonzales, and Gonzales’ 3-year-old son, Johnny Crowger, died in a house fire at their home in the 1700 block of Piermont Drive in Hacienda Heights.

Gonzales died while trying to rescue her son from the burning home, officials said.

In last week’s car crash, Rosales was driving a BMW sedan north on Durazno Drive, heading from a stop sign at a T-intersection, about 2:35 p.m. when the BMW collided with a Chevrolet Camaro heading west on Halliburton Road, CHP Sgt. Charles Quijada said.

For more, read Brian Day’s story ROSALES.