Diamond Bar veteran honored for work on 9/11

By Richard Irwin, Staff Writer

Diamond Bar is honoring it’s own 9/11 hero today at the Los Angeles County Fair. The fair committee thought it was fitting since Diamond Bar Day fell on the anniversary of this tragic event.

“We wanted to find someone who had responded to the 9/11 attack as a tribute to those who died that day,” said committee member Pamela Robinson.

The committee had a hard time locating a local person, until they talked to a resident during a Concert in the Park this summer.

“Khai Luu said he had been a platoon leader assigned to protect the Pentagon and the Capitol after the 9/11 attack,” Robinson recalled. “He agreed to help us pay tribute to our 9/11 responders.”

The Diamond Bar resident had been serving as a young lieutenant with the 274th Military Police Company in Washington, D.C.

“I was working for the District of Columbia’s National Guard,” Luu explained. “Before attending officer candidate school, I had served four years as an enlisted man.”

Unfortunately, Luu was participating in an exercise at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri when the attack occurred.

“It was an ‘aw shucks’ moment, I felt profound guilt and loss when I found out about the attack,” he remembered. “But they let us graduate early so we could help out in Washington.”

He was hoping to be one of the first to make it back, but Luu said it took a week to return to the D.C. barracks.

“I was given command of a reinforced platoon of 60 soldiers to help guard the Pentagon and Capitol buildings,” Luu said. “The Capitol Police were happy to have the help, because we didn’t know what would happen next.”

Luu was stunned to see a section of the Pentagon destroyed after being struck by an airliner. Another had targeted the Capitol, but crashed in western Pennsylvania when the passengers rushed the cockpit.

For more, read Rich Irwin’s story 9/11.

Walnut woman gets 20 years to life for killing husband, pet

Deputy District Attorney Taraneh Saba said Socorro Mora got 16 years to life in prison for fatally stabbing George Mora, 47, on Oct. 19, 2011 at his home in the 21600 block of Brookside Court.

In addition, the 46-year-old Mora also received four years and eight months for stabbing to death the family pet, Snowflake, and for attacking her husband on Sept. 13, 2011.

Saba said Mora was ordered to pay over $17,000 in restitution to the victims for counseling and for funeral expenses. She must also pay over $20,000 in restitution fines, the prosecution added.

A Pomona Superior Court jury on May 12 convicted Mora of second degree murder, cruelty to an animal and corporal injury to a spouse.

The last charge stems from an incident that happened a month before the murder.

Authorities said Mora attacked her husband on Sept. 13, 2011, scratched herself and claimed he did it. George Mora ended up with scratched and bleeding arms, according to the prosecution.

He later filed for and received a restraining order.

A judge ordered Mora to move out of the family home. On the day she was supposed to leave, Sept. 24, 2011, family members discovered the place ransacked and Snowflake the dog dead.

Mora allegedly broke into the Walnut house on Oct. 19, 2011. Her attorney said she knew George Mora wasn’t at the house and wanted to get some of her things.

George Mora arrived home and found his estranged wife.

The defense said an argument between the couple escalated into a knife fight. The defense claimed it was self defense.

Gunman robs Hacienda Heights cell phone store

A masked man with a handgun robbed a cell phone store Saturday afternoon, officials said.

The heist was reported just before 6 p.m. at Bell Star Wireless, in the 16400 block of Colima Road, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Bob Boese said.

The robber entered the store and demanded money at gunpoint, Boese said. He fled with an undisclosed amount of cash, and was last seen running north on Punta Del Este Drive.

A man and woman working at the store were not injured, he added.

Deputies described the robber as a white or Latino man in his 20s, about 5 feet 5 inches tall and 130 pounds. He wore all-dark clothing and a mask.

The robbery was being investigated by detectives from the sheriff’s Industry Station.

Walnut opposes new Mt. Sac parking garage

By Steve Scauzillo, Staff Writer

Opponents of a proposed 2,200-space, five-level parking garage at Mount San Antonio College have gained a powerful ally: City Hall.

What started with one member of the City Council having some concerns in July grew into full-fledged opposition last week by the entire council to the construction of a concrete garage directly across from the Timberline neighborhood at Mountaineer Road and Edinger Way.

In a letter addressed to Mt. SAC Board President Fred Chyr and in a three-page resolution both passed on 5-0 votes, the City Council objected to the location, saying it would lower property values, bring congestion, air pollution and result in public safety hazards to Walnut residents.

Both documents are “urging the relocation of the proposed parking structure” and are asking the college board to find alternative locations for a parking garage within the sprawling, 420-acre Walnut campus.

In addition, the City Council demanded the Mt. SAC Board of Trustees hold a joint meeting on the topic. So far, Mt. SAC President William Scroggins has agreed to allow two trustees to meet with the Walnut City Council, a gesture that was rejected during the Aug. 28 Walnut City council meeting.

“It is imperative for us to meet with all of them,” said City Councilman Tony Cartagena. Councilwoman Mary Su said she wanted at least a majority of the seven-member Mt. SAC board to sit down with the City Council. “Two won’t represent the full board,” she said.

Walnut City Manager Rob Wishner and his staff are reportedly in discussions with Scroggins regarding some kind of joint meeting.

Scroggins said Thursday he was talking with Wishner about a meeting of three Mt. SAC board members with two Walnut city council members. “It is in the discussion stages,” Scroggins said. No dates have been announced.

Read more in Steve’s story GARAGE.

L.A. County Fair salutes Diamond Bar, Walnut

 By Monica Rodriguez, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

High school marching bands, parades and a chance to honor outstanding residents from communities across the Inland Valley and beyond are some of the features of the Los Angeles County Fair’s Community Days.

A total of 16 cities plus Los Angeles County will have a day dedicated to them. Diamond Bar will march in on  Sept. 11, followed by Walnut on Sept. 26.

As part of the Community Days program, residents are able to purchase tickets for $5 when they present their city’s Community Day coupon at the ticket booth on the day their city is being honored. Tickets can also be purchased online.

 

 

“That’s a great value,” said Fair spokeswoman Renee Hernandez.

Each city’s celebration is organized with the involvement of its Community Committee, she said.

At each city’s celebration residents are recognized for their contributions during Community Heroes ceremonies.

The cities’ high school marching bands participate in Community Day parades as do service organizations, nonprofit groups and other members of the community.

Local businesses also participate through Business Expos organized on a city’s day of recognition.

 

 

Community Days are part of nurturing community spirit, Hernandez said.

Nine of the cities that are part of the Fair’s Community Day program also participate in the Big Yellow Bus Partnership Program.

With the help of this program, school districts in the nine cities receive assistance to pay for transportation to take their students to the Fair, Hernandez said.

Once at the Fair students can take part in the FairKids Field Trip Program, which is open to all schools free of cost as well as to students who are home-schooled.

Rep. Ed Royce “disgusted” by killing of American journalist

 Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued this statement following the purported killing of American journalist Steven Sotloff:
 
“I am disgusted by what appears to be another horrendous killing of an American journalist at the hands of ISIS.  My thoughts and prayers are with Steven Sotloff’s family.  Sadly, ISIS is bringing this barbarity across the region – beheading and crucifying those who don’t share their dark ideology.  The threat from this group seems to grow by the day.  Working with key allies, the United States needs to be acting urgently to arm the Kurds on the ground who are fighting them, and targeting ISIS from the air with drone strikes.”

Former Diamond Bar teacher gets 15 years in prison for molestation

 By Brian Day, Staff Writer

A judge sentenced a former Diamond Bar middle school teacher to more than 15 years in prison Thursday for carrying on a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old student, officials said.

Ex-Carl Lorbeer Middle School teacher Steven Shane Andrews, 43, of Anaheim, received the maximum sentence of 15 years and 18 months in state prison from Pomona Superior Court Judge Mike Camacho, according to Sarah Ardalani of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

A jury convicted Andrews in March of 17 felony counts related to the a sexual relationship he had with a student between May 2011 and his his Sept. 20, 2011, arrest, authorities said.

Camacho additionally ordered Andrews to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, Ardalani said.

Andrews first met his victim at school when she was 13 years old, investigators said. “The defendant taught the victim for about a year before the sexual misconduct began,” Ardalani said in a written statement. “Initially, the incidents transpired at the school, but later also occurred off-campus.”

The crimes came to light when another teacher at the school became suspicious of Andrews’ interactions with the girl and notified the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, she added.

Andrews was placed on leave from the Pomona Unified School District a day before his arrest when school officials learned of the allegations, district officials said. He was fired in December of 2012.

The investigation was handled by the Sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau.

Man convicted of fatal stabbing in Rowland Heights

By Rudy Gonzales, Staff Writer

A jury convicted an Ontario man of the Aug. 17, 2013 fatal stabbing of his girlfriend’s brother in Rowland Heights, officials said Wednesday.

Sarah Ardalani, spokeswoman for the District Attorney’s Office, said jurors on Tuesday found 31-year-old Albert Camacho guilty of voluntary manslaughter and of assault. They acquitted him of four counts of dissuading a witness, she added.

Camacho will be sentenced Oct. 3 at Pomona Superior Court.

Sheriff’s detectives said Camacho and Benjamin Cervantes were arguing on Aug. 17, 2013 at Cervantes’ home in the 1400 block of Gloriosa Avenue in Rowland Heights.

The dispute escalated. Deputies said Camacho stabbed Cervantes several times with a foot-long Asian ornamental knife. Cervantes later died at a hospital.

According to detectives, Camacho allegedly threatened to harm neighbors who witnessed the stabbing if they called authorities. He left the scene. Camacho later turned himself in to the sheriff’s Walnut/Diamond Bar station.