Classes cancelled Monday at Valley View Elementary School in Duarte; K-rails continue to hold in Fish fire impact area

DUARTE >> Officials cancelled Monday classes at a Duarte elementary school at the center the Fish fire impact area, which was threatened by mudslides and flooding Sunday as a storm dropped inches of rain over the Southland on Sunday afternoon.
School will be cancelled Monday at Valley View Elementary School, 237 Melcanyon Road, according to city and Duarte Unified School District officials.
Mud piled up high alongside roadside K-rails guarding the surrounding neighborhoods, but continued to hold Sunday afternoon, despite a heavy downpour Sunday morning, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. James Long said.
“So far, everything is holding, and there’s been really very minor mudflow activity,” Duarte spokeswoman Karen Herrera said.
Mandatory evacuations remained in effect for the Fish fire impact area, affecting 180 homes.
•Map: Fish fire impact area
An evacuation center capable of taking in both people and pets has been set up by city and Red Cross officials at the Duarte Community Center, 1600 Huntington Drive. It is scheduled to remain open so long as the city’s Red Alert, and corresponding mandatory evacuation orders, remain in effect.
“Very few” people made us of shelter, Herrera said.
The majority of residents of the affected area chose not to heed evacuation orders, but to shelter in place instead, she said.
Voluntary evacuation orders were also issued for neighborhoods in the Colby fire impact area in Azusa, authorities said.
A Flash Flood Warning was to remain in effect in the area through 6 p.m. Monday, according to the National Weather Service.


PHOTO by Watchara Phomicinda

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Voluntary evacuations issued in Glendora’s Colby fire impact area

GLENDORA >> Anticipated heavy rain on Sunday prompted officials issued voluntary evacuation orders for neighborhoods near the Colby fire impact area in Glendora on Sunday.
Those choosing to evacuate may go to the Glendora Teen Center at 241 W. Dawson Ave., Glendora police officials said in an alert.
Rain-related parking restrictions are also in effect in the affected area, and residents were told to remove vehicles, trash bins or any other obstructions from the streets.
•Map of Colby fire impact area
Additional information regarding the Colby fire impact area is available online at

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UPDATED: Man killed, another wounded in Azusa shooting

AZUSA >> One man died and another was wounded after they were shot inside a car in Azusa early Sunday morning, authorities said.
Killed was Alexander Salazar, 21, of Azusa, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Investigator Rudy Molano said.
The shooting was reported at 1:22 a.m. in a residential neighborhood in the 600 block of North Alameda Avenue, according to Deputy Lisa Jansen of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Information Bureau.
Following reports of gunfire heard in the area, deputies found a four-door Lexus sedan had crashed into a parked car, Lt. John Corina of the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
Salazar, a documented member of the Azusa 13 street gang, was shot in the head, he said. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.
The passenger, a 20-year-old Fontana man, was treated for a gunshot wound to his hand.
Further details regarding the circumstances of the shooting, including a suspect description, remained unknown Sunday afternoon, according to the lieutenant. The surviving victim did not appear to be fully cooperating with investigators, and no other eyewitnesses had been found, he added.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau, which is assisting Azusa police in the investigation, at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Incoming storm prompts mandatory evacuations in Duarte’s Fish fire impact area


DUARTE >> Authorities issued mandatory evacuation orders for homes below the recent Fish fire burn area in Duarte Sunday morning as a powerful storm threatened to drop as much as 6 inches of rain in the area, prompting fears of mudslides and flooding.
The evacuation orders are to take effect at 7 a.m. as the city activated a Red Alert for the impacted neighborhoods, which surround Valley View Park and Valley View Elementary School, city officials said in a written statement.
The evacuation zone includes portions of Deerlane Drive, Melcanyon Road, Brookridge Road, Mountaincrest Road, Greenbank Avenue and Bettyhill Avenue. Police and Community Emergency Response Team volunteers went door-to-door Saturday night notifying residents of the evacuations.
•Fish fire burn area map
The storm is expected to reach the area around 9 a.m.
“Although the timing could fluctuate, the heaviest rainfall is expected between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., and between 4 to 6 inches in total rain is expected,” according to the city statement.
“Widespread, heavy downpours could cause mud and debris flows more extensive than Friday’s on Melcanyon Road and adjacent streets, which resulted in over 2,800 cubic yards of mud.”
Rates of up to an inch of rain per hour are predicted, which is well above the threshold authorities say can trigger mudslides. And the denuded hillsides are already saturated with water from the previous days’ rain.
The Duarte Community Center at 1600 Huntington Drive will open as an evacuation center at 7 a.m., officials said. It will remain open as long as mandatory evacuation orders are in place.
City officials urged evacuees to take with them any medicines or other items they will need for a minimum of 48 hours. Meals will be provided at the evacuation center, and county animal control officials will also be on-hand to tend to evacuees’ pets.
“Please note, residents under mandatory evacuation orders will not be allowed back into their homes until the orders are officially lifted by Duarte public safety officials,” the statement said. “Residents that refuse to evacuate must be prepared to shelter in place until evacuation orders are lifted.
Residents of the Fish fire impact area can pick up filled sandbags at the corner of Brookridge and Opal Canyon roads. Unfilled sandbags are also available at Los Angeles County Fire Station 44, 1105 Highland Avenue.
“If you feel conditions are unsafe to evacuate, move to the highest safe place in your residence and shelter in place,” according to the statement.
Residents of the affected neighborhoods were also directed to remove all vehicles, trash bins or other obstructions from the street before evacuating, or they will be removed by authorities.
Updated information will be posted the city’s website, Twitter account and Nixle page, officials said. The sheriff’s Temple Station can be reached at 626-285-7171.
The Fish fire ignited in June and scorched more than 2,500 acres of vegetation before being extinguished by firefighters.

Fish fire impact area map courtesy of the city of Duarte.


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Trees topple again at Penn Park in Whittier

0122_WDN-L-TREES - Copy

WHITTIER >> Heavy rains on Friday afternoon toppled two large trees at Penn Park in Whittier, just over a month after a massive tree toppled onto a wedding party at the same park, killing the mother of the bride and injuring seven other people, officials said.
A park bench was crushed at Penn Park, 13950 Penn Street, when a eucalyptus tree and an oak tree fell during the storm, but no injuries were reported, Whittier police Lt. Bryan Ellis said.
Another tree also fell at Murphy Ranch Park, 16200 Las Cumbres Drive, during the storm, Whittier City Manager Jeff Collier said. Both parks were closed until further notice. And other trees fell on private property throughout Whittier, as well as Los Angeles County, during the storm.
And with more heavy rain expected on Sunday, city officials also closed the picnic areas of Palm and Parnell parks, which are surrounded by tall trees, as a precaution, Collier said.
“We’ll have to be monitoring the soil conditions,” he said. “The ground is just so saturated.”
Another toppled tree fell onto Portada Drive on Friday.
Penn Park reopened earlier this month after it was closed following the fatal incident on Dec. 17, which claimed the life of 61-year-old Margarita Mojarro of San Pedro.
An arborist inspected the trees at Penn Park before it was reopened to the public, officials said.
All of the trees that fell on Friday appeared to have uprooted and tipped over, rather than snapped at their trunks, Collier said.
“The trees, we feel, are in good, stable condition,” he said. “We’ve just had so much water in such a short time.”
Officials were at Penn Park inspecting the fallen eucalyptus tree when the oak tree gave way, Collier said.
“While we were standing there, we could here a popping sound,” he said. “It just went over. The soil couldn’t hold the tree.”
With more rain on the way, Collier encouraged residents to take precautions to protect their homes and businesses from the deluge by making sure drains are open and taking any other necessary measures to mitigate potential damage.

PHOTO courtesy of Andrew Luera

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Alhambra karaoke club cited for serving alcohol without license


ALHAMBRA >> Police cited workers at an Alhambra karaoke club Friday night after undercover officers investigating complaints from the public found the business was serving alcohol without a liquor license, authorities said.
The bust took place at K100 Karaoke Box, 7 N. 3rd Street.
Police had received complaints from the community that the business was serving booze without a license from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, Alhambra police officials said in a written statement.
“The complaints also include that intoxicated patrons loiter on residential streets and cause disturbances to sleeping residents and are revving loud car engines and exhausts,” according to the statement.
Undercover officers visited the business Friday evening to investigate.
“The undercover officers were served liquor by staff at the business, even though the business did not have an ABC license,” the police statement said.
Police and code enforcement officials cited the employees and plan to conduct follow-up visits to ensure compliance with the law.

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Man and woman sought in Pasadena stereo shop robbery

PASADENA >> A man and woman used a screwdriver to rob electronic components from a car stereo shop in Pasadena on Thursday afternoon, police said.
The crime took place about 3:30 p.m. at Joys Sound, 849 N. Lake Ave., Psadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said.
A man and woman, both in their 20s and both wearing dark clothing, entered the store together, he said.
As the man distracted the clerk by asking him about merchandise, the woman reached over the counter and grabbed stereo installation kit, according to the lieutenant.
“The clerk contemplate giving chase to the suspects, however, (the man) blocked the door and brandished a screwdriver while (the woman) got into a dark-colored sedan,” he said.
The male robber then joined the woman inside the car, which sped out of sight.
Anyone with information can reach the Pasadena Police Department at 626-744-4241. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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El Monte man accused of trying to arrange sex with teen in South Whittier

SOUTH WHITTIER >> Deputies jailed an El Monte man this week after showed up in South Whittier to meet who he believed was a 15-year-old girl for sex, but was instead greeted by detectives, officials said.
Pedro Ivan Reyes-Peralta, 21, was booked on suspicion of arranging a meeting with a juvenile for a lewd act or purpose, and contacting a minor to commit a sex crime, following his arrest on Wednesday, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials and booking records.
(Reyes-Peralta) began communicating with an undercover detective on Tuesday, after he posted a Craigslist ad seeking sex,” Lt. Kent Wegener of the sheriff’s Human Trafficking Bureau said in a written statement. “The detective was posing as a 15 year-old girl and it was made clear that she was under age.”
After additional online communication, Reyes-Peralta arranged a meeting in South Whittier, Wegener said. He was arrested upon arrival.
“The suspect implicated himself during subsequent questioning,” the lieutenant added.
Sgt. Peter Hahn offered some words of caution for parents.
“Social media sites can be very hazardous places for minors. “Predators are actively seeing juveniles to exploit and victimize, since they believe they are hidden by the anonymous nature of the internet,” he said. “Parents are reminded to actively monitor the internet activity of their children, to prevent anyone from taking advantage of them.”
Reyes-Peralta was being held in lieu of $75,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, records show.

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Envelope filled with powder draws bomb squad to La Habra police station

LA HABRA >> A bomb squad responded to the La Habra Police Department on Thursday after a residents brought in an envelope containing an unknown white powder — ultimately determined to be baby powder — that they received in the mail.
The incident began about 2:45 p.m., when two people arrived at the front counter of the police station, 150 N. Euclid Street.
“They indicated they had picked up their mail from their post office box, which is located in the city of La Habra, and returned home,” La Habra police officials said in a written statement. “At approximately 11:30 a.m., they opened the envelope, from an unknown sender, and an unknown white powdery substance spilled out.”
The concerned residents contacted the post office, which, in turn, referred them to the La Habra Police Department.
“Due to the unknown nature of the substance, as a precautionary measure, a containment area encompassing the police department was established and Los Angeles County Fire Department contacted,” according to the statement.
An Orange County Fire Department bomb squad determined about 5 p.m. that the powder in question was, in fact, baby powder.

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GPS tracker hidden amid cash leads officer to Arcadia restaurant burglary suspects


ARCADIA >> Police arrested four suspects in an Arcadia restaurant burglary earlier this week after a GPS tracking device hidden amonf the stolen cash led officers straight to them, authorities said.
The burglary took place early Tuesday at a restaurant in the 1000 block of South Baldwin Avenue, Arcadia police spokesman Tom Le Veque said in a written statement.
“They smashed the glass on the front door, disabled a CCTV camera, and made off with the cash drawer,” he said. The four suspects then fled in a car.
Unknown to the burglars, however, a GPS tracking device was hidden amid the cash in the register.
“The GPS device led officers to the four suspects, parked in their getaway vehicle on Peck Road in El Monte,” according to Le Veque.
Arrested were Draynesha Lanette Williams, 19, Rahmiko Ahnaz Harris, 18, Jordan Eleese Hayes, 19, all of Long Beach, as well as 17-year-old boy, according to Arcadia police and Los Angeles County booking records.
All three adult suspects were released from jail pending the legal process after posting $20,000 bail each, records show.

PHOTO: [left to right] Draynesha Lanette Williams, 19, Rahmiko Ahnaz Harris, 18, Jordan Eleese Hayes, 19, all of Long Beach. (Courtesy, Arcadia Police Department)

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