Understanding that emergencies and disasters can happen at any moment, Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe is inviting residents to learn valuable life-saving skills at a free community emergency preparedness fair on Saturday June 21 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Schabarum Regional Park in Rowland Heights.
“We live in a region that is susceptible to fires and earthquakes, and residents must be prudent in ensuring they are ready in case of an emergency,” said Supervisor Knabe. “I encourage all residents to attend this free event, because in the event of a disaster, it’s critical to have a plan to get themselves and their families out of harm’s way.”
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles County Fire Department, CHP, Office of Emergency Management, Animal Care & Control, Public Works, Public Health, Red Cross and many more organizations will be available to demonstrate life-saving techniques, like CPR, and provide informational handouts.
A representative from Cal Tech will deliver a keynote address on earthquake preparation in southern California. Fair attendees will also have the opportunity to purchase emergency equipment and supplies, including first aid kits, water, food, and generators.
For the past 19 years, the sixth grade students in Mrs. Buck’s class at Jellick Elementary School in Rowland Heights have kept a very special tradition going to support their local community.
Every May, her students sell colorful, plastic Rexlace strings (bracelets, key chains) after school to all the students on campus. At the end of each May, the sixth graders walk to the Rowland Heights County Library, in order to bring their profits as a donation for the purchase of new books.
(The students take other trips during the year to learn research and study skills in the library.)
Students are eager to see how their sales stack up against previous years, where donations have ranged anywhere from $150 – $448.
Over the last 19 years, Jellick sixth graders have donated more than $7,200.00. With those funds, the library has purchased more than 600 books.
After receiving the donation, the Children’s Librarian, Jeff Jarrett, asks the students for suggestions on how to spend the funds; such as their favorite series of books, authors or future releases.
Once the books are purchased, the library places a bookplate sticker inside the front cover, acknowledging the books as donations from Jellick Elementary students.
The most rewarding thing for the Jellick staff is seeing the 6th graders making a difference in their community and that they are helping to enrich the library’s collection of books for all ages to enjoy.
Just in time for the Fourth of July celebration, Athens Services will roll out the barrels, 33,000 worth. The Industry company will begin trash service in Rowland Heights on July 1.
To do so, Athens plans to deliver 33,000 new trash bins, offering three to each residence. The containers will be the large 95-gallon roll-out cans used by automated garbage trucks.
Athens Vice President Dan Edwards attended the recent meeting of the Rowland Heights Community Coordinating Council to explain the new service. He noted the family-owned business has collected waste for more than 50 years in Los Angeles.
“For the last two decades, we’ve been the fastest-growing trash company in Southern California, and there’s some very good reasons for that,” Edwards said.
He said the core of the business is 19 exclusive contracts with area cities, where it provides all waste and recycling services. The Los Angeles County Supervisors awarded Athens a seven-year contract in the unincorporated area of Rowland Heights.
“We responded to a large request for proposals on a competitive basis,” Edwards said. “They break it down basically into different elements you can score points on. Price is weighted very heavily.”
But he said the county also looked at other factors such as experience, record and financial capability.
“The benefit to the residents of this community is you’ll be experiencing a savings of almost 20 percent off your rates,” Edwards said. “The county has done a good job of negotiating on your behalf.”
There’s also a 25 percent discount rate for seniors that Edward said is a “below cost” rate of $13.17 a month.
Residential customers will pay $17.26 a month for weekly pickup, receiving a bill for $52.68 every quarter. Residents may request an extra green waste and recyclable barrel at no extra cost.
“That’s the same price we paid when we started with United Pacific Waste seven years ago,” said Ted Ebenkamp, president of the community council. “It’s a good deal for our community.”
When skeptical residents asked if Athens had turned in a low bid only to raise rates later, Edwards assured the audience that wasn’t the case.
For more, read Rich Irwin’s story TRASH.
Rowland Unified has lost the feeling of being a family, of collegial cooperation, according to early results from Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates. The executive search firm has been hired to help the school district find a new superintendent.
HYA & Associates talked to more than two dozen people on Monday to find out what they were looking for in a new executive. The firm is the nation’s largest executive search firm serving public school districts.
Residents and staff made appointments to talk to HYA representatives, who also held a town hall meeting Monday night. Parents may also make appointments from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, or attend another town hall meeting at Alvarado Intermediate School at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.
“We heard from a lot that it used to be a like a family and many would like it to go back to that,” explained HYA consultant Pedro Garcia. A professor of clinical education at USC, Garcia is an expert in the area of educational leadership and accountability.
Read more in Rich Irwin’s story SUPERINTENDENT
The County of Los Angeles recently solicited bids from qualified companies to provide trash hauling services for the residents of Rowland Heights. Athens Services was the low bidder and has been awarded the contract.
James Breitling, the Government Affairs Manager for Athens, will give a presentation 8 p.m. tonight on the provisions of the new contract, including the services to be performed, the fees to be charged, and how and when the switch over to his firm will occur. The meeting will be held by the Rowland Heights Community Coordinating Council in the upper building at Pathfinder Park.
The change in firms handling trash hauling services will affect all homes in Rowland Heights. There will be time for questions and answers following Breitling’s presentation.
The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close portions of SR-60 from the San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605) to the Orange Freeway (SR-57) separation, as part of a pavement rehabilitation project. Closures are as follows and subject to change.
Monday, May 5, through Friday, May 9
- · 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. – Up to three lanes between I-605 & Azusa Avenue
- · 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. – High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane CLOSEDbetween I-605 & Azusa Avenue
- · 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. – Up to three lanes between southbound SR-57 & Azusa Avenue
- · 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. – HOV lane CLOSED between southbound SR-57 & Azusa Avenue
Friday, May 9, through Sunday, May 11
- · 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. – Up to three lanes between I-605 & Azusa Avenue
- · 7 p.m. to 9 a.m. – Seventh Avenue on-ramp CLOSED
- · 12 a.m. to 8 a.m. – HOV lane CLOSED between Seventh Avenue & Hacienda Boulevard
- · 11 p.m. to 11 a.m. – Connector from north- and southbound I-605 to eastbound SR-60 CLOSED
- · 12 a.m. to 4 a.m. – Up to three lanes between southbound SR-57 & Azusa Avenue
- · 10 p.m. to 11 a.m. – Fairway Drive and Old Brea Canyon Road on-ramps CLOSED
- · 12 a.m. to 8 a.m. – HOV lane CLOSED between southbound SR-57 & Nogales Street
- · 11 p.m. to 10 a.m. – Connector from north- and southbound SR-57 to westbound SR-60 CLOSED
- · Friday 11:59 p.m. to Saturday 5 a.m. –FULL FREEWAY CLOSUREbetween southbound SR-57 & Azusa Avenue
Detours will be posted. New pavement will improve mobility and enhance safety for motorists. Flatiron West Inc. is the contractor on this $121.5 million project which is expected to complete fall 2014.
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
Rowland teachers have declared an impasse in the stalled contract negotiations with the Rowland Unified School District.
The Association of Rowland Educators is asking the state to send in a mediator to handle further negotiations. The state steps in when regular negotiations break down.
“We’re filing the paperwork now to declare an impasse with the state,” said ARE President John Petersen.
Union officials say the contract talks broke down during the eighth bargaining session last Thursday. In an email to the teachers, Nadine Loza, bargaining chair, explained what happened.
“The ARE bargaining team was disappointed (but not surprised) when the district presented their counterproposal after lunch. The district’s proposal was not significantly different from their last proposal. Overall, the district has not moved significantly from their initial proposal especially on critical issues like salary, benefits, planning time, adjunct duties and combo classes.”
The teachers’ representatives say they declared a impasse and cancelled the next bargaining session set for Thursday.
“There’s a backlog for mediators, so we don’t expect the state to assign one for at least six weeks,” Petersen said.
This mediator will meet with both sides to try and work out the differences. Petersen insists the bargaining teams will not meet until the state assigns a mediator.
When asked if this breakdown could lead to a teachers’ strike, Petersen was reticent to say what can happen if negotiations worsen.
“There’s no trust there. It took six months to agree that seventh- and eighth-grade teachers belong in the secondary classification,” Petersen said.
But in its newsletter, the association was more candid about whether there would be a strike.
“That is really up to the district at this point. The process of mediation is designed to help avoid a strike by bringing both teams under a mediator to try to reach an agreement. The association is committed to parity and will pursue all channels available to achieve this.
“It is the sincere wish of ARE to avoid the damage to RUSD caused by a strike. Having said that, our commitment to justice is stronger than our commitment to peace and we will move forward towards the inevitable outcome of parity.”
District officials said the teachers’ union moved from 12.5 percent raise over two years to 10 percent over one year. The district moved its offer from 3.5 percent to a 4.5 percent salary increase over two years.
“I won’t get into specific figures because that makes negotiations very difficult,” Petersen said. “But I have all the facts and figures that prove our teachers are paid much less than other school districts.”
Beginning teachers with a bachelor’s degree and no experience earn an annual salary of $45,180 at RUSD and is ranked 18th out of 47 school districts, according to a salary survey from the Los Angeles County Office of Education dated June 2013. Arcadia Unified was No. 1 with starting salaries at $49,874; Bassett Unified was near the bottom at $38,776. Charter Oak was last at $38,495.
Teachers with a master’s degree and listed as the maximum salary step for RUSD earn $69,216, for a ranking of 21 out of 34 districts for which there was comparable data, according to the LACOE report.
The district also proposed increasing its maximum health benefits contribution for teachers by $850 over two years.
“We’re still paying much more for health insurance than other districts,” Petersen countered. “I’m paying $1,200 a month to cover my family.”
Steve Scauzillo contributed to this story.