Vector Control finds West Nile virus in Diamond Bar and Hacienda Heights

As summer heats up, the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District  advises residents to protect themselves from mosquitoes and West Nile virus. It has confirmed additional West Nile virus positive activity in the communities of Diamond Bar and Hacienda Heights (zip codes 91789 and 91745, respectively).

Vector control confirmed a WNV positive mosquito sample in Diamond Bar and a WNV positive dead bird in Hacienda Heights. This is the first sign of virus activity this year in both communities. View District statistics here. Statewide this year, there have been more than 100 positive mosquito samples and more than 250 positive dead birds. View more at westnile.ca.gov.

“This is a reminder that West Nile virus continues to be a problem here in Los Angeles County,” says Levy Sun, the public information officer. “We can anticipate more activity as the season progresses.”

West Nile virus is transmitted to people and animals through the bite of an infected mosquito.  There is no cure for West Nile virus.  One in five persons infected with West Nile virus will exhibit symptoms.  Symptoms usually occur between 5 and 15 days and can include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, or a skin rash.  These symptoms can last for several days to months.  One in 150 people infected with the virus will require hospitalization.  Severe symptoms include high fever, muscle weakness, neck stiffness, coma, paralysis, and possibly death.

Any water left standing for more than one week in containers such as flower pots, fountains and pet dishes provides the perfect breeding habitat for mosquitoes.  GLACVCD would like to remind residents that even the smallest of breeding sources can contribute to a large public health problem within the Greater Los Angeles County area.

Residents can take an active role in reducing the threat of WNV in their neighborhoods by taking the following steps:

  1. Eliminate stagnant, dirty water in clogged rain gutters, rain barrels, pet dishes, discarded tires, or anything that holds water for more than a week
  2. Ensure that swimming pools, spas, and ponds are properly maintained
  3. Request FREE mosquitofish from your local vector control district for placement in ornamental ponds
  4. Go online to ReportMosquitoes.org or call 562-944-9656 to report the following:
    • Mosquito problems near your home or neighborhood
    • Neglected (green) swimming pools in your neighborhood (including vacant homes)

For more information, residents can contact Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District at562-944-9656 or online at www.glacvcd.org.

Fire officials warn of an intense fire season at Diamond Bar Center

The Los Angeles County Fire Department met with other local and federal agencies in Diamond Bar to discuss and warn the public that the upcoming fire season will be “intense,” due to ongoing drought conditions in the state.

“The last fire season never really ended,” said Shawna Legarza, director of Fire and Aviation Management for the U.S. Forest Service. “We fought fires in mid-December and the middle of January. We’ve never had that before.”

The Forest Service director noted that California hasn’t had significant rainfall since 2010. Legarza said the ongoing drought means fire conditions are running two months ahead of what you would normally find.

Which means Southern California is dry as you would expect to find it in September. To cope, fire officials are preparing for wild fires much earlier than usual.

“We could have fires start all over the state in these conditions. So we started adding staff in January, that’s unprecedented,” explained Ken Pimlott, Director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Cal Fire has spent $242 million in the fiscal year ending last night on wildland fires.

The conference was held one year to the day from when 19 firefighters were killed in the Yarnell Hills fire in Arizona. The firemen were remembered in several ceremonies Monday as well as by fire officials in Diamond Bar.

“I was a hotshot for 20 years and many of Granite Mountain Hotshots were my friends,” Legarza said. “I think about these people, as well as another 14 firefighters who died almost 20 years.”

That group of firefighters died July 6, 1994, on Storm King Mountain in Colorado’s South Canyon Fire. Though the investigations continue, shifting winds, steep canyons and a lack of situational awareness were all factors in the deaths.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story WILDFIRE.

Fire officials will discuss the 2014 fire season in Diamond Bar Center on Monday

Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby will join Forest Service, CAL FIRE, and other agencies to discuss the upcoming fire season on Monday at the Diamond Bar Center.

Fire officials will discuss the outlook for the 2014 season, as well as the impact the drought is having on firefighting. A display of regional firefighting resources will be on hand, including specialty wildland equipment.

We’ll share what we learn online Monday and in Tuesday’s San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

Diamond Bar teens enjoy Teen Night Out on July 18

Diamond Bar teens are invited to the city’s annual Teen Night Out event from 7 to 10 p.m. July 18.

Planned by the teen group “DB4Youth In Action,” the event will be held in Sycamore Canyon Park at 22930 Golden Springs Drive.

Teens can dance to Top 40 dance and pop hits. A variety of activities will include air tag, a human sphere ball and other inflatable games.

Admission is free for youth ages 13 to 19. Snacks, beverages, keepsake photographs and glow-in-the-dark items may be bought, with proceeds benefiting future activities by DB4Youth In Action.

For more information, call Alison Meyers at 909-839-7062.

Diamond Bar Council discusses new city park

What’s in a name? Obviously, a lot. The Diamond Bar Council deferred naming the city’s newest park planned for the Willow Heights section under development by Lennar Homes.

The big developer plans to build nearly 200 homes on 30 acres of land purchased from the Walnut Valley Unified School District for $40 million. The project is at the corner of Brea Canyon Road and Diamond Bar Boulevard.

As part of the plan, Lennar agreed to build a new community park. The City Council considered the park plans at Tuesday night’s meeting.

“One of the many conditions of approval that the City council attached to the project approval was that the developer create a minimum 2.5-acre public park,” noted City Manager James DeStefano.

The proposed park will have almost 5 acres, including almost an acre of land on the west side of the Brea Canyon Flood Control Channel, and 3.8 acres on the east side. They would be connected by a pedestrian bridge.

Residents and the parks and recreation commission suggested naming the new park Diamond Canyon. But Mayor Carol Herrera expressed concern that a local church already shared the same name.

Other suggestions included Willow Heights Park, Brea Canyon Park, Gateway and Peaceful Garden Park. It also could be called Crooked Creek Park because it serves as the trail head for Crooked Creek Trail.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story PARK.

Recycled water fights drought in Walnut Valley and Rowland

Drought resistant garden graces roof of recycled water reservoir in Walnut Valley Water District

Drought resistant garden graces roof of recycled water reservoir in Walnut Valley Water District

You can’t drink it and you can’t bathe in it, but recycled water is a vital part of the solution to our ongoing drought.

Walnut Valley and Rowland Water Districts are adding it to their arsenal as they strive to ensure water service at reasonable rates.

“More than 60 percent of our customers’ water usage is outside the home,” explained Mike Holmes, Walnut’s general manager. “Most of that is used for landscaping, and you don’t need potable water for that.”

So the two local water districts have banded together to build recycled water systems to serve large commercial users such as golf courses and cemeteries. It is also used in our city and county parks.

Walnut water officials say they deliver 537 million gallons of this “drought-proof” water every year. That’s a half-billion gallons of water that don’t have to be imported from Northern California.

The two water districts receive recycled water from the County Sanitation Districts’ Pomona Water Reclamation Plant. Recycled water is the name given wastewater that has been treated extensively. After being tested and certified by the Department of Health Services, the recycled water is safe for irrigation purposes.

One of Walnut’s last projects was a new 1 million gallon reservoir for recycled water at the district’s Parker Canyon facility. Even the roof of the semi-submerged reservoir was recycled, holding a garden that helps it blend into the Puente Hills.

And the Rowland Water District installed a new recycled water line along Fullerton Road, running from Industry under the 60 Freeway to the Queen of Heaven cemetery.

“In addition to buying water from the La Habra Heights Water District, recycled water will help us guarantee service to our customers at a reasonable rate,” said Rowland’s General Manager Ken Deck.

Read more in my story RECYCLED

Grammy gala honors Diamond Bar High musicians

Diamond Bar High musicians perform at Grammy Gala. (Photo by Kelli Gile)

Diamond Bar High musicians perform at Grammy Gala. (Photo by Kelli Gile)

And the Grammy goes to Diamond Bar High School.

Diamond Bar celebrated its selection as one of only a dozen high schools picked as a Grammy signature school with a gala Monday night in the Diamond Bar Center.

In fact, the local high school was named the best, earning the title of National Grammy Signature School in addition to receiving $6,000.

Diamond Bar High musicians perform at Grammy Gala. (Photo by Kelli Gile)

Diamond Bar High musicians perform at Grammy Gala. (Photo by Kelli Gile)

“Through this Grammy in the Schools initiative, the Grammy Foundation is able to provide critical financial resources and bring attention to the excellence of music programs in schools across the United States,” said Neil Portnow, President and CEO of The Recording Academy and the Grammy Foundation.

The foundation will recognize Diamond Bar during a special concert on Saturday in the Mt. San Antonio College theater. The community added its support by throwing the semiformal ball.

The Brahmas and their supporters gathered Monday to honor the musical program under teachers Steve Acciani and Marie Sato, directors of instrumental music, and choir director Patty Breitag.

“We are incredibly proud of Patty, Marie, and Steve for this amazing accomplishment,” said Principal Catherine Real.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story GRAMMY

Walnut Military Support Group plans event at Diamond Bar Center

The new Walnut Military Support Group will honor our military men, women and their families on April 25 from 6:30 p.m. to midnight in the Diamond Bar Center at 1600 Grand Ave. in Diamond Bar.

The event will feature a buffet dinner, entertainment and dancing. A silent auction will offer items like the use of a vacation house in Arizona.

Proceeds will be used to provide personal support to help make a difference in the lives of our military and their families. The new committee is partnering with the City of Walnut.

In the future, the support group hopes to extend its services to neighboring cities. Tickets are $30. Call Kris Aguilar at 909-519-6465.

Paso Robles wine trip added to library’s wine soiree auction in Diamond Bar

The 21st Annual Wine Soiree auction chair announced that a Wine Vacation in Paso Robles will be offered in its live auction on April 27 for the Diamond Bar Library fundraiser.

The vacation package includes a 2-night stay at the exclusive Cass Winery Guest House and use of their limousine while tasting wines all day in Paso Robles Wine Country.

Call 909-861-2002 or visit the Diamond Bar Library, or visit  www.dblibraryfriends.org for tickets.