Law to require bicycle helmets for adults

A San Gabriel Valley legislator has introduced a bill that would make riding a bicycle without a helmet against the law. State Sen. Carol Liu, D-San Dimas, whose foothills-dominated district stretches from Burbank to Upland, said her bill would require adult bike riders wear helmets.

Citations would be handed out by law enforcement officers just like traffic tickets, with fines costing up to $25, she said. Senate Bill 192 is patterned after current law in 21 states — including California — requiring anyone under 18 riding a bicycle to wear a helmet. But a helmet mandate for adult bike riders would be the first of its kind in any state.

“Any responsible bicycle rider should wear a helmet,” Liu said. “Most people do. It is a no-brainer.”

Liu said she has had two tragedies involving family members riding bicycles. “One died and the other is a paraplegic,” she said. “I see this as a health and safety issue.”

Injuries from bicycle traffic accidents are increasing, she said. In 2012, about 14,000 bicyclists were injured in crashes, more than the 11,760 hurt in 2008, according to California Highway Patrol statistics provided by Liu.

Statistics support wearing helmets while bike riding, she said. Of those bicyclists killed in 2009, 91  percent were not wearing helmets, according to the National Conference of State Legislature, Liu’s office reported.

“If I weren’t wearing a helmet, I’d be dead,” said Claremont City Councilman Sam Pedroza, an avid bicycle rider who often rides his bike to and from work. Pedroza crashed into a parked utility truck on Arrow Highway on Aug.  31, 2011.

He sustained injuries to his face, suffered a hair fracture of his C4 vertebrae in his neck and underwent several surgeries in the months that followed. He did not have neurological damage and is fully recovered.

Read more in Steve Scauzillo’s story HELMET. 

Man accused of Rowland, Hacienda Heights arson

By Brian Day, Staff Writer

A man is accused of lighting a series of seven fires inside the restrooms of open businesses in an unusually brazen arson spree in recent weeks in Rowland Heights, Hacienda Heights and Walnut, authorities said.

Deputies arrested David Lin, 42, Tuesday, Sgt. John Hanson of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Arson-Explosives Detail said. He had been sought in connection with a string of fires that began in December, the sergeant said. Three of the alleged fires occurred Tuesday alone.

Though the fires remained confined to the restrooms they were lit in, the suspect’s reckless and bold behavior was deeply concerning, arsonist profiler Detective Ed Nordskog of the Sheriff’s Arson-Explosives Detail said.

“For somebody to go into an open business during business hours and light a fire, it’s really rare, even for serial arsonists,” Nordskog said. “What he does is so high-risk. He’s a rare breed. That makes him dangerous.”

No injuries were reported in the fires, Hanson said.

Detectives first became aware of an arsonist operating in the area when they were called to investigate a fire lit Jan. 29 in the bathroom of L & L Hawaiian Barbecue, 515 S. Grand Ave. in Walnut, Hanson said. Someone set fire to paper items such as toilet paper and toilet seat covers, inside the bathroom.

The following day, another similar fire erupted in a bathroom at Office Depot, 17450 Colima Road in Rowland Heights, Hanson said. The flames caused at least $2,000 in damage before fire sprinklers and firefighters extinguished it.

Detectives learned that another similar fire had taken place in December at the Rolling Wok restaurant, 18382 Colima Road in Rowland Heights, as well as at the Guppy House restaurant, 17188 Colima Road in Hacienda Heights, on Jan. 27, the sergeant said.

A break in the case Tuesday, as the suspect accelerated his arson spree, Hanson said. Three similar bathroom fires were reported Tuesday at McDonalds, 19775 Colima Road in Rowland Heights; Del Taco, 21060 Golden Springs Drive in Rowland Heights; and finally at Ten Ren’s Tea Time, 515 S. Grand Ave. in Rowland Heights.

But as the fires were igniting Tuesday, detectives managed to identify a suspect through surveillance images, witness statements and booking photos from previous arrests. A bulletin was sent out to patrol deputies, who spotted Lin driving Tuesday afternoon.

Lin led deputies on a brief chase before pulling over and surrendering in the parking lot of a Rowland Heights supermarket, Hanson said. During the pursuit, he allegedly threw methamphetamine from the car.

He was booked on suspicion of one count of arson for the tea house fire, felony evading of police and drug possession, Hanson said. Addition charges for the other six arson fires were expected to come later.

Lin, described as a former West Covina resident who has been living out of his car in recent months, was being held in lieu of $35,000 bail pending a scheduled arraignment Thursday in Pomona Superior Court, records show. But Lin’s bail is likely to increase as additional charges are added later.

‘American Idol’ singer visits Walnut Teen Center

0203_NWS_SGT-L-WAIDOL04

By Richard Irwin, Staff Writer

Walnut teens made it very clear that they have their own “American Idol.” The middle-schoolers packed the Teen Center on Tuesday to talk to contestant Adanna Duru.

The 18-year-old Diamond Bar resident wowed the celebrity judges with her rendition of “You And I” by Lady Gaga. The trio said “yes” to the young woman, who is in the advanced cutthroat competition, which aired Wednesday. She also will be in next week’s show.

“Good job, baby. You’re what we call the full package,” cooed judge Jennifer Lopez.

“I thought you sounded great … you hit every great part of your voice, which sounds like all of it,” agreed judge Keith Urban.

Duru said she even got a Tweet from Lady Gaga saying, “You killed it!”

The 2014 Walnut High grad took time out of her busy schedule to talk to the local teens. Duru is studying at UC Riverside.

Many remembered Duru competing in season three of “The Voice.” She was a sophomore at the time.

“I just wanted to be a singer. I didn’t know what type of music I wanted to make,” Duru recalled. “Since then, I’ve learned so much and being on the show now I know everything I want to do. It’s been so fun so far.”

The rising star reminisced about going to Suzanne Middle School just down the road in Walnut. There she joined the casts of “Willy Wonka” and “Alice in Wonderland.”

168 Market’s grand opening offers grand prizes in Hacienda Heights

To celebrate 168 Market’s grand opening in Hacienda Heights, 168 Market held a grand opening sweepstakes that ran from Nov. 22 to Jan. 31.

The sweepstakes garnered great interest among residents of the community, who were happy to have a 168 Market open in the neighborhood. With the sweepstakes’ raffle box full of entry forms, the time has finally come to draw the lucky winners for the sweepstakes.

On Saturday, Feb. 7, at 11 a.m., 168 Market in Hacienda Heights will hold a prize drawing event, where prize winners will be drawn on-site. The grand prize is a 50” LCD HD TV from Top Sponsor Sceptre.

Top prizes include Sceptre’s TV Sound Bars, SoundEP Zipper Earphones, and SoundPal Bluetooth Speakers. Other exciting prizes include a 16GB Kindle Fire HDX, 16GB Tegra Note 7, and more than  $1000 in gift cards to 168 Market. Don’t miss out!

168 Market features a wide variety of  Chinese specialty grocery items, the market prides itself on freshly caught seafood, superior quality meat, and flavorful produce, all at low prices.

The Hacienda Heights location also offers a large volume of Korean products such as snacks, candy, frozen foods, and specialty dishes.

The store boasts a specialty Korean deli which sells authentic and mouth-watering Korean banchan. The variety of spice and flavor is unbeatable and makes 168 Market a one of a kind supermarket in the Hacienda Heights area.

168 Market  is located at 17120 Colima Road in Hacienda Heights.  Business Hour are 8 AM to 10 PM daily.

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.