Deputy, driver hurt in Diamond Bar crash

(Photo by Leo Jarzomb/San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

(Photo by Leo Jarzomb/San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

A deputy and a motorist were injured after a patrol car collided with a sedan Tuesday afternoon. The crash happened just before 12:30 p.m.

Lt. John Saleeby of the sheriff’s Walnut/Diamond Bar station said the deputy was responding to a rescue call in Diamond Bar when the patrol car became involved in a traffic collision at Grand Avenue and South Diamond Bar Boulevard.

• Photos: Diamond Bar sheriff’s crash

He didn’t have details about how the crash occurred. The deputy was shaken up and complained of neck pain, Saleeby said. He said the man driving the sedan also complained of pain.

Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Randall Wright said the crash was reported to the fire department as a traffic collision with persons trapped. He said no one was trapped.

Both the deputy and the driver were transported to a hospital. Lt. Edward Wells said the deputy was treated and released. He didn’t know if the driver is still in the hospital.

The deputy has been with the sheriff’s department for 15 years.

Collision closes two lanes of 60 Freeway Monday

A collision involving a big rig led to the closure of two lanes on the westbound 60 Freeway on Monday. California Highway Patrol Officer Jennifer Cassidy said the carpool and No. 1 lanes were closed for about an hour.

The collision on the westbound 60, west of Azusa Avenue, was reported to the CHP at 11:13 a.m. A SigAlert was issued at 11:21 a.m.

No one was injured in the crash involving a U-Haul truck and two vehicles, according to the CHP traffic log. There were no further details.

Utility upgrade projects under way in Diamond Bar

Two major utility upgrade projects aimed at improving service delivery reliability and are slated to get underway at or near the intersections of Diamond Bar Boulevard and Grand Avenue and Golden Springs Drive and Grand Avenue.

The projects began Jan. 28 with Southern California Edison (SCE) installing new electrical circuits in the vicinity of Grand Avenue and Quail Summit along Diamond Bar Boulevard, and replacing a deteriorated vault at the southwest corner of the Diamond Bar Boulevard and Grand Avenue intersection.

Sometime in early February, the Southern California Gas Company (The Gas Company) will commence its project to replace an existing 3” gas main with a 4” line to accommodate the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s compressed natural gas operations.

Construction will be carried out in phases and include nighttime work hours to minimize inconveniences to businesses, residents and motorists. Traffic lane closures will be required as follows:

  • The eastbound right-turn lane along Grand Avenue will be closed for approximately three weeks beginning February 17.
  • The number 2 eastbound through lane along Grand Avenue will be intermittently closed on weeknights 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and fully closed on weekends from February 17 to March 2.
  • One through lane along Golden Springs Drive will be closed from Copley Drive to Lavender Drive for one week beginning early February.
  • One through lane along Golden Springs Drive will be closed from Copley Drive to Grand Avenue for one week beginning mid-February.
  • One through lane along Golden Springs Drive as well as two right-turn lanes near Grand Avenue will be closed for two weeks beginning late February.

The SCE project is scheduled for completion on or before March 2, 2015 and The Gas Company project is set to begin early February 2015 and will take approximately four weeks to complete.

Traffic control measures will be in place to aid motorists traveling through project areas; temporary delays can be expected. More details on what each phase of the projects entails can be found online at www.diamondbarca.gov/utilityprojects.

Walnut questions Mt. SAC costs to move parking structure

Walnut Council members Mary Su and Tony Cartagena listen to Mt. SAC president Bill Scroggins

Walnut Council members Mary Su and Tony Cartagena listen to Mt. SAC president Bill Scroggins

By Richard Irwin, Staff Writer

Walnut City Council questioned Mt. SAC’s $14.5 million cost projection to move a controversial 2,200 spot parking structure during a study session Wednesday.

The session was well attended by residents of Timberline, who live across the street from the sprawling campus in Walnut. Homeowners have fought the structure for the past year, saying it will damage the quality of their lives.

The City Council has supported the residents and asked Mt. SAC to come to city hall to explain the other options studied for the parking structure. Mt. SAC President Bill Scroggins sat down to answer their questions.

“Our board asked staff to look at two general alternatives. One would be to move the parking structure to another location, another would be to downsize the parking at the present location,” Scroggins explained.

His staff estimated it would cost $14.5 to move the garage or $6 million to downsize it.

Councilman Tony Cartagena asked for more information than the three page handouts brought by Mt. SAC.

“Without that information, we cannot say whether this is accurate or not. Because the next step, we would like our city engineer check the other information you might have and figure out if the estimate could be cut,” Cartagena said.

Mayor Pro Tem Eric Ching asked how much time had been spent on the analysis. Scroggins said his staff began working on it in mid-December and took a month of preparation.

“One of the major factors is that we’re toward the end of the process of the development of the site — the architectural plans, state approval and site preparation,” said Scroggins.

To move the structure, he said the community college would have to start from scratch, delaying it by three years.

The Mt. SAC CEO added any delay would add 4 percent a year to construction costs due to inflation. Councilman Bob Pacheco questioned this inflation rate, feeling it should be closer to 3 percent.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story PARKING

LA Homeless Services Authority gets $92 million

The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority on Tuesday announced it will receive $91.9 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to help the homeless.

The federal funding includes the largest new grant in the nation — $10.1 million for 550 units of permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless individuals.

The balance of the money will go to 231 other projects in Los Angeles and other portions of Los Angeles County.

The grant was awarded to the Los Angeles Continuum of Care, of which LAHSA is the lead agency, through a national competition for bonus funding. The amount awarded was the maximum possible.

“This $10 million in new homeless assistance funding is a strong vote of confidence by our federal partners in the work Los Angeles has undertaken to end homelessness,” said LAHSA Director Peter Lynn.

“These new projects will help more than 1,100 men, women and children move into permanent housing over the next year.”

The grant comes at a critical time, said LAHSA Commission Chair Kerry Morrison.

“On the eve of the homeless count, where we so clearly see the need for more resources in L.A. County … (the award) presents a significant and much needed boost,” Morrison said.

LAHSA is a joint powers authority of the city and county of Los Angeles, created in 1993 to address homelessness.

Culbreath facing murder charges for 60 Freeway crash

By Monica Rodriguez, Staff Writer

A Fontana woman accused of killing six people in a wrong-way wreck last year on the 60 Freeway in Diamond Bar will face the charges at trial.

A judge ruled today that sufficient probable cause existed to support the charges against 22-year-old Olivia Carolee Culbreath at the conclusion of a preliminary hearing in Pomona Superior Court. Culbreath has been charged with six counts of murder.

She returns to court on Feb. 25 for arraignment on the charges. If convicted she faces a sentence of life in prison. Culbreath is being held at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles on $6 million bail.

The defendant was driving a Chevrolet Camaro on the 60 Freeway when she was involved in a wrong-way, head-on crash, the California Highway Parol said. Culbreath drove at speeds close to 100 mph.

The car was headed east on the westbound 60 Freeway when it crashed head-on a sport utility vehicle, the CHP said. After the crash another vehicle crashed into the SUV.

Two women in Culbreath’s car died as a result of the crash. One victim was Culbreath’s sister, Maya, 24, and Kristin Young, 21, of Chino.

 

 

Four people in the SUV were thrown from the vehicle.

The four victims, all from Huntington Park, were Gregorio Mejia-Martinez, 47, Leticia Ibarra, 42, Jessica Mejia, 20, and Ester Delgado, 80.

More details to come.

Redinger named president of Walnut Valley board

Outgoing Board President Cindy Ruiz was honored for her outstanding service during the December 11 re-organization meeting. Shown with newly elected Board President Larry Redinger.

Outgoing Board President Cindy Ruiz was honored for her outstanding service during the December 11 re-organization meeting. Shown with newly elected Board President Larry Redinger.

The Walnut Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees elected Larry Redinger as President, Helen Hall as Vice President, and Dr. Tony Torng as Clerk during the annual reorganization meeting on December 10.

The new officers will serve one-year terms through December 2015. Trustee Cindy Ruiz was honored with an engraved gavel plaque for her service as the 2014 Board President.

“Cindy has done an amazing job this past year. Thank you for your dedication to the District and especially for keeping things moving in a positive direction,” Redinger said.

 

Walnut City Council approves Walnut Esplanade

Despite opposition from neighbors, Walnut City Council has approved the construction of 13 new homes on 1.13 acres land at 650 Camino de Rosa.

Council members gave the greenlight to the Walnut Esplanade project proposed by The Olson Company of Seal Beach.

The five existing lots are zoned light commercial with a Montessori School and vacant property. Olson will build 13 single-family detached homes. The three- and four-bedroom homes will range from 1,733 square feet to 2,193 square feet plus two-car garages.

In February, council approved the general plan to amend the city’s housing element to comply with state law. The update included three areas along Valley Boulevard that were rezoned to including a mixed use housing opportunity overlay to the existing zoning.

Walnut’s Community Development Director Tom Weiner said the city had to identify space for 1,000 new homes for its “fair share” of regional housing needs. Instead of using open space or city parks for the homes, the city choose to designate the three Valley areas for high density housing projects.

Walnut Esplanade will be built on land now zoned for 12-36 dwellings per acre. Originally, The Olson Company had plans for 14 homes on the site, but the planning commission had concerns about on-site parking.

Original plans provided 3.5 spaces per home, but the developer agreed to eliminate one home to provide four parking spots for each residence.

In addition to more parking, Olson added more landscaping and decorative pavers. In December, the planning commission recommended approval of the project to city council.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story ESPLANADE

In deadly Diamond Bar crash, hearing for Olivia Carolee Culbreath postponed

By Monica Rodriguez, Staff Writer

A preliminary hearing for a Fontana woman accused of crashing her vehicle while driving the wrong way on the 60 Freeway and killing six people has been continued to Wednesday.

The hearing for Olivia Carolee Culbreath, 22, which was to be in its third day Thursday, has been taking place at the Pomona courthouse of Los Angeles Superior Court to determine if there’s enough evidence to send the case to trial.

Culbreath is accused of driving a Chevrolet Camaro east on westbound 60 Freeway in Diamond Bar on Feb. 9. About 4:45 a.m. the car crashed head-on into a Ford Explorer, the California Highway Patrol said. Following the initial crash another vehicle crashed into the Explorer.

Two passengers in Culbreath’s car died as did four occupants in the Explorer who were thrown from the vehicle.

Culbreath is charged with six counts of murder for allegedly causing the crash.

Culbreath faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if she’s convicted of the murder charges.

Culbreath, who is being held at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles in lieu of $6 million bail, has been arriving in court in a wheelchair.

At this point she is disabled and requires regular medical care, Culbreath’s lawyers said.

“We don’t know if she’ll ever walk again,” said Daniel R. Perlman, one of Culbreath’s attorneys.

Public invited to see Rowland’s Family Resource Center

The community is invited to the grand opening celebration of the Rowland Unified School District’s new Family Resource Center and Children’s Medical and Dental Clinic today from 2:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

The new 3,200 square foot wellness center was built with more than $750,000 in grants from state and federal agencies to replace the prior aging portable building.

The center is located next to Northam Elementary School in La Puente (17800 E. Renault Street, La Puente 91744). The celebration will feature a ribbon cutting and presentations by dignitaries, tours of the new building, children’s activities, student entertainment by the District’s Elementary Mariachi Group, and resource booths.

(Booths include information on all of the services provided by the Family Resource Center and Children’s Clinic and its history, the American Red Cross, fingerprinting for children from the California Highway Patrol, eye vision services from Ideal Vision, East Valley Health Clinic, and Costco.)

Elected Officials in Attendance Include: Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, City of La Puente Mayor Viola Lewis and Mayor Pro Tem Dan Holloway, City of Walnut Council Member Mary Su, along with field representatives from the offices of Congresswoman Grace Napolitano, Congressman Ed Royce, Assemblyman Roger Hernandez, Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang, and the entire RUSD Board of Education and Superintendent Dr. Julie Mitchell. Also in attendance will be key founders and community partners of the Family Resource Center and Children’s Dental and Medical Clinic.

BACKGROUND: The Family Resource Center offers a variety of no-cost, low-cost programs and services to children, youth and families who reside in the communities served by the Rowland Unified School District (Rowland Heights, La Puente, Walnut, West Covina and Industry). It first opened in the Rowland Unified School District (RUSD) in 1995.

Families receive health-related information, referrals, health-insurance and local resources in a variety of basic need areas. All work is done in collaboration with numerous agencies. The Family Resource Center is open from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday – Friday.www.familyresroucecenter-rowlandusd.org

The Children’s Medical Clinic provides free medical care on a walk-in basis for uninsured, low-income children 3 to 18 years old. It also provides free immunizations and Tdap Shots for qualifying students entering 7th Grade. It opened in RUSD in 1978.

The hours are Mondays and Thursdays from 8:30 – 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. The SSG Children’s Dental and Outreach Project started in RUSD in a WWII trailer in 1974! It is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays by appointment only from 8 to 11:30 a.m. and dental treatment is free or low-cost for uninsured, low-income RUSD children 5 to 18 years old. To contact the Children’s Clinic & Dental Services the community can call (626)964-4798.