Celebrating Chinese New Year in Hacienda Heights

People hand money to Lion dancers at Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple in Hacienda Heights. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda

People hand money to Lion dancers at Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple in Hacienda Heights. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda

Thousands turned out to celebrate Chinese New Year at the Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple on Thursday as families clambered up Hacienda Boulevard to reach the mountain monastery nestled in the Puente Hills.

The Year of the Ram began under picture postcard blue skies framed by the brilliant red temple arches.

“We had more than 400 people lined up to get when we opened the gates at 5 a.m.,” reported Miao Hsi, the temple director.

The faithful arrived before dawn for their annual pilgrimage up the hill. Participants took three steps, then bowed and prayed to show their devotion to Buddha.

Long lines formed at the shrines — everyone waiting their turn to pray for health and a prosperous new year. Sweet incense awakened the senses as families prayed to their ancestors.

Most wore bright red clothing that matched hundreds of Chinese lanterns hung around the temple. Walnut Councilwoman Mary Su came wearing an embroidered crimson gown.

“I only wear this outfit once a year, you’re supposed to wear something new so you have prosperity the whole year long,” Su said.

Su, who is not a Buddhist, said Chinese New Year represents family and culture for her.

“It’s an opportunity for our family to get together and celebrate,” Su said. “The whole family stayed up until midnight, so we could start the new year together.”

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story RAM.

Los Altos High holds opening day for baseball

Los Altos High School will celebrate the opening day for baseball on Saturday. It has planned a full day of fun activities, including an alumni vs. varsity game at 9:30 a.m. and JV game at 11 a.m.
The biggest event, the annual COW POOP DEEED BINGO begins at noon. Cows will roam a large painted coordinate grid out on the field. The three first poops made where people have purchased those deed spots, win cash prizes.
There will also be food booths, games and a dunk tank

Chinese New Year celebrated in Los Angeles

Dressed in traditional Vietnamese clothing Anh Phan, of Garden Grove, visits the Hsi Lai Temple in Hacienda Heights on Tuesday, February 17, 2015 which is decorated for the upcoming Lunar New Year's celebration. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz)

Dressed in traditional Vietnamese clothing Anh Phan, of Garden Grove, visits the Hsi Lai Temple in Hacienda Heights. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz)

Billions of people will celebrate Chinese New Year Thursday, including the 1.5 million of Asian descent living in Southern California.

Families have spent recent days cleaning their homes to prepare for the Year of the Ram. Most will hold held their annual reunion banquet, gathering generations together for a communal meal.

“The Lunar New Year is the biggest holiday in the Chinese culture,” said Sonya Lee, professor of Chinese culture at USC. “Chinese families always get together for big family reunions.”

The San Gabriel Valley started celebrating Feb. 7 when Monterey Park held its Lunar New Year Festival. Seven city blocks were devoted to food, entertainment and family activities. Thousands cheered on the traditional lion and dragon dancers.

Chinatown Los Angeles welcomed the new year Wednesday night with a late-night ceremony at Thien Hau Temple on Yale Street. Families offered gifts and burned incense to seek good fortune in the new year. They were joined by monks, as well as leaders of Chinese-family associations.

The New Year’s celebrations also began before dawn this morning with a pilgrimage up the Puente Hills to the Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Temple in Hacienda Heights. Pilgrims walk three steps, then bow in prayer to show their devotion and humility at one of the largest temples in the Western Hemisphere.

The day for reverence and reflection includes the Thousand Buddha Dharma, a solemn ceremony in which Buddhists pray for good fortune in the Year of the Ram.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story RAM.

Hacienda Heights man serves on USS New York

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Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuel) Airman Junyao Hou of Hacienda Heights, stationed aboard amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21), refuels a Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB). 

New York is a part of the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and, with the embarked 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan B. Trejo/Released)

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

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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.