Heat wave eases its grip on the San Gabriel Valley

Giovanni Rodriguez and his sister Penelope, play in spray  at Morgan Park in Baldwin Park

Giovanni Rodriguez and his sister Penelope, play in spray at Morgan Park in Baldwin Park

Southland residents can breathe a sigh of relief as record high temperatures plummet nearly 20 degrees by Wednesday.

A cold front will roll through the Los Angeles basin, bringing cloudy skies and patchy fog overnight.

“The Santa Ana event ended on Sunday, returning us slowly to highs in the 70s,” reported National Weather Service Meteorologist Kathy Hoxsie in Oxnard. “There will even be a slight chance of precipitation on Wednesday, with a 20 percent chance of a few sprinkles in the mountains.”

Weather stations in Santa Fe Springs and La Puente reported a high of 94 on Sunday and temperatures dipped only a couple degrees on Monday before dropping another 10 degrees today, with an expected high of 80. By Wednesday afternoon, SoCal should register a very comfortable 73 degrees.

A similar trend will sooth Pasadena residents, who experienced a high of 90 Monday. That will be followed by 80 today and 73 on Wednesday.

While no records were broken in the San Gabriel Valley/Whittier area over the weekend, Sunday saw a number of them fall throughout Southern California. The National Weather Service recorded a high of 92 in downtown Los Angeles, crushing the record of 85 set in 1978.

“Burbank also set a record at Bob Hope Airport at 90 degrees, breaking the 86 mark set in 1994,” Hoxsie said.

Los Angeles International Airport reported a new high of 88, breaking the 1959 record of 83.

A record high of 89 degrees was set at UCLA Monday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service, surpassing the previous high of 87, set in 2010.

The NWS forecast calls for a much more pleasant weekend ahead, with highs around 75 under mostly sunny skies. Overnight lows will hover near 57 under partly cloudy skies.

Hoxsie said the marine layer should return, cooling coastal areas that have baked in the record heat. It was 92 at Long Beach Airport on Sunday, breaking the record of 86 from 1978. Highs in Long Beach will drop from 82 on Monday to 66 on Wednesday.

Feds target 3 alleged Chinese ‘maternity tourism’ in Rowland, Walnut

Federal agents search apartments

Federal agents search apartments

By Kevin Smith, Staff Writer

Federal agents searched several Southern California locations on Tuesday in a crackdown on so-called maternity tourism operators who arrange for pregnant Chinese women to give birth in the U.S., where their babies automatically become American citizens.

The crackdown on three alleged maternity tourism rings may be the biggest yet by federal homeland security agents who say that, while pregnant women may travel to the United States, they cannot lie about the purpose of their trip when applying for a visa.

Birth tourism has been reported from a range of countries, but authorities say the most recent cases in California have catered to wealthy Chinese amid a boom in tourism from mainland China. It is unclear how many women travel to the United States for maternity tourism.

Searches were done in Rancho Cucamonga, Rowland Heights, Walnut and Irvine.

About two dozen investigators from the Department of Homeland Security, the Internal Revenue Service criminal division, the Irvine Police Department and sheriff’s deputies from San Bernardino County blanketed the west end of the neatly landscaped apartment complex, located at 17800 E. Colima Road in Rowland Heights.

Some brought out boxes of papers and other evidence and locked them in black, unmarked vans. Others, mostly women, stood inside doorways of the apartments talking on their cell phones.

Asian women investigators were seen interviewing women in the complex. Some who apparently lived there were chaperoned by law enforcement from the carport up the winding pathways, disappearing into apartments.

Read more in Kevin Smith’s story MATERNITY

Car hits Rowland Heights garage

A car slammed into a garage in Rowland Heights  on Thursday and broke a gas line, and the driver was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, the California Highway Patrol reported.

The crash at 17950 Sunrise Drive was reported at 2:23 a.m., CHP Officer Francisco Villalobos said.

“The vehicle cut off the gas inlets when it crashed into the garage,” Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Kyle Sanford said. “We went to the scene, notified the gas company and they sent a repair crew that shut off the gas.”

The man driving the car was tested at the scene and taken into custody on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, Villalobos said.

No injuries were reported, Villalobos said. The investigation is continuing, he said.

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.

Rowland Unified opens new Family Resource Center

The Family Resource Center staff used to warn visitors about holes in the floor of its old building in La Puente. Today, both the holes and the old center are gone and Rowland Unified is ready to open a new $800,000 building.

The dental clinic has certainly come a long way since opening in an old World War II Army trailer. “We don’t miss the old World War II dental chairs,” said Coordinator Jennifer Kottke.

Kottke showed off the new family center opening next Wednesday. Residents are invited to the opening from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. at 17800 E. Renault St., next to Northam Elementary School.

In March, the school district broke ground for the 3,200-square-foot building. The prefabricated building was delivered in sections, then a crane assembled the center.

• VIDEO: Coordinator Jennifer Kottke — We’ll be able to take better care of families

• VIDEO: The dental clinic has one new chair and hopes to get another

• VIDEO: Nurse practitioner Llona Mearig says staff is thrilled with new facility

Staff members have dreamed about getting a new building for 35 years. Kottke and Nurse Practitioner Llona Mearig worked tirelessly to obtain federal and state grants totalling more than $750,000.

For more detail, read Rich Irwin’s story RESOURCE

workers rupture gas line near Rowland Heights

Construction workers today ruptured a deep high- pressure gas line in unincorporated Otterbein just north of Rowland Heights, authorities said.

The breach of the 1-inch line near the intersection of South Nogales Street and Walnut Drive occurred around 2:50 a.m., said Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Kyle Sandford.

The main was buried about 12-15 feet deep, and an urban search and rescue team was dispatched to shore up the excavation before an attempt was made to repair the line, Sanford said.

No evacuations from the area were reported, he said.

Rowland Heights man hurt in home-invasion robbery

Three masked robbers forced their way into a home in Rowland Heights and pepper sprayed one of two brothers inside before fleeing with valuables late Friday, authorities said.

The three robbers smashed a rear sliding-glass door about 7:40 p.m. to get into the home in the 17800 block of Calle Barcelona, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Steven Tousey said.

The home-invasion robbers encountered a 21-year-old man and his teenage brother, who were upstairs when the intruders broke in, the sergeant said.

A robber pepper-sprayed one of the brothers before the three bandits fled with cash, jewelry and an iPhone, Tousey said. No other injuries were reported.

A detailed description of the robbers was not available, Tousey said. All three wore ski-masks during the crime.

Tousey said the robbers were last seen running from the home. It was unclear if a getaway car was involved.

Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Walnut-Diamond Bar Station at 909-595-2264.

Archer surrenders at standoff in Rowland Heights

Deputies surrounded a home Sunday, after a man armed with a crossbow holed-up inside for more than four hours before ultimately surrendering, officials said.

The incident began just before 10 a.m. Sunday with a report of a fight between a father and son in the 18000 block of Mescal Street, Sgt. Pauline Panis of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Information Bureau said.

When deputies arrived, the son — initially described only as a man — retreated into the home and displayed a crossbow to deputies, Panis said.

It was not believed that he had fired the weapon at anyone. In a written statement, sheriff’s officials described the holed-up man as a suspect involved in an assault with a deadly weapon involving a crossbow, though further details of the alleged assault were not available.

Deputies summoned a sheriff’s SWAT team to the home to take over the standoff, officials said.

“The suspect is believed to be the sole occupant in the residence,” sheriff’s officials said in a written statement. “For the safety of the public, surrounding homes in the area have been evacuated.”

After slightly more than four hours, officials persuaded the suspect to exit the home and surrender about 2:05 p.m., deputy Amber Smith of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau said. The crossbow was recovered.

His identity was not immediately available, nor were the charges he was expected to be booked for. Officials at the sheriff’s Walnut-Diamond Bar Station declined to comment, referring all inquiries to the Sheriff’s Information Bureau. No further details were released.

Seven hurt in Rowland Heights fire

Seven people, including three who jumped from a second floor, were injured when fire broke out at an apartment building late Tuesday night.

Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Rick Flores said the cause of the fire was someone cooking in a first-floor unit of the apartment in the 1700 block of South Otterbein Avenue. He said three units were affected and estimated damages to the structure at $300,000 and $70,000 to the contents.

The fire department got a call about the blaze at 11:25 p.m. Twenty three firefighters put out the first alarm fire at 12:02 a.m.

Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Roland Sprewell said the three people who jumped from the second floor were a woman in her late 40s, who suffered hip and leg injuries; a woman in her early 20s, who suffered a shoulder injury; and a man in his 20s, who suffered an arm injury.

Four people from the first floor also were injured, Sprewell said. A 9- year-old girl suffered second-degree burns; a man in his 40s, possibly the girl’s father, suffered first-degree burns; a man described as a grandfather suffered first-degree burns; and a woman described as a grandmother suffered smoke inhalation.

All seven were taken to hospital for treatment, Sprewell said.

Rep. Ed Royce to chair House Foreign Affairs Committee

Today, the House Republican Conference selected U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-Rowland Heights) to continue serving as Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.  Royce has served on the Committee since entering the House of Representatives in 1993, serving as Chairman since 2013.
 
Chairman Royce said:  “I am honored that my colleagues have selected me to continue serving as Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in the 114th Congress.  Over the last two years, our nation has faced continuous, serious threats from across the globe, including ISIL, Russia and North Korea. 

“Unfortunately, many of these threats have been met with a confused and often passive Obama Administration foreign policy.  From combating the long-term threat posed by ISIL and other terrorists, to countering the influence of false news and destructive ideas, to conducting rigorous oversight of this Administration, the Committee has been working diligently to make our nation more secure and prosperous. 

“But much work remains.  The Committee will continue its efforts to stop Iran’s march toward nuclear weapons, which threatens to undermine fundamentally the security of us and our critical allies.  The Committee will also continue to promote U.S. economic engagement worldwide, particularly in Asia, where economies are continually growing. 

“I look forward to working with all members of the Committee to meet the many challenges and seize the many opportunities in front of our great nation.”