Weekend links and yodeling dummies

Did anyone watch the Miss America pageant this weekend? I would be ashamed to admit to it normally, but when someone’s talent is a yodeling ventriloquist act (you heard that right) or describes their biggest asset as being “racially ambiguous” (same person) how can you not be entertained?

Also, the quote of the night (besides racially ambiguous girl Ms. Arkansas, unfortunately I can’t find a video or transcript) goes to either Ms. Iowa with this line from her intro “Leading the state in ethanol production, my state gives you gas,” or Ms. Utah with “Tonight 53 women share a dream, not a husband.”

Anyway, if your attention was taken away by Miss America, or the Jets beating the Patriots, or the Golden Globes, then here is the news you missed.

“My sixth grandfather, Pedro, is buried here along with some of his family. I don’t want them dug up.” Gabrieleno Indians fight to preserve a burial ground where a Mexican cultural center is planned.

A Walnut veteran gives an update on the troop drawdown in Iraq. “As the drawdown happens, it becomes harder to get the supplies and support to the people, but it’s a mission that is very crucial and has to get done.”

The teen birth rate has seen a major decline, but the cause is something left to be determined.

Email: daniel.tedford@sgvn.com | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune

A new year means a new round of weekend recap

Another long weekend has passed us by and in its wake we are left with a new year, the knowledge that we are back to those grueling five day schedules, and that you probably spent most of the weekend hungover and therefore didn’t want to stare at a computer screen reading stores.

With that knowledge, I offer you a recap of what you missed.

While war rages for U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan and plagues them after their return home, the men and women who served feel the rest of the country has lost interest.

On a recent Saturday night, while cruising the city in his patrol car, El Monte police Lt. Chuck Carlson said he hasn’t noticed an increase in crime or gang activity because of the decrease in proactive policing. Nor has the recession – which is largely to blame for El Monte’s city budget woes – sparked an increase in crime, as hard economic times often do.

While it’s not uncommon for a Little League team or a service club to partner with a restaurant to raise money, politicians in Azusa are pioneering a new use for the practice.

Email: daniel.tedford@sgvn.com | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune

Council pay, a WWII vet is honored, bedbugs and the final piece in our doctor series = weekend roundup

I’m convinced bed bugs are trying to take over the world.

OK, my general fear of bugs mixed with the paranoia I have had about bedbugs for the last four years probably contributes to my earlier exaggeration. They aren’t out for world domination. Just our blood. That’s not so bad, blood is only MY LIFE FORCE!

Seriously though, the bedbug problem seems to be getting out of hand. Ben Baeder’s story today say calls about bedbugs have ballooned and that the bugs have become immune to certain pesticides.

One expert went as far as to say it is an “epidemic” of bugs. I won’t sleep for a week.

Let’s switch to a happy hero story. Remember Carl Harstine, the WWII veteran who had his American Flag stolen twice? Well, following that initial story, the community rallied behind Harstine.

An event at his home turned into a community block party. Seriously, it was like something out of a Disney film. People walked out of their homes, children rode their skateboards, people generally flocked to see Harstine presented with new flags and a pole for an overall tribute to the man. It was awe-inspiring.

Also over the weekend, we continued to look at how cities pay their executives, this time at city councils.

No councils are making outlandish pay, generally speaking. But many do receive benefits that are more common with executives: $600 car allowance, executive health benefits, reimbursement stipends.

Finally, everyone should take the time to read Rebecca Kimitch’s two-part series about how a doctor shortage could cause a health care crisis. Read the first part here and the second part here.

Email: daniel.tedford@sgvn.com | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune

I don’t think Carl Harstine will have a problem replacing those flags

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Since my story ran today about WWII veteran Carl Harstine’s flags being stolen – twice – I have probably received at least seven e-mails and phone calls from people eager to replace the lost flags. And that was probably in my first hour of work today.

Pretty soon, Carl may have more flags than he knows what to do with.

As for the story, it has some people really fired up, including one person’s comment that flag thieves should get a 10-year prison sentence.

While the justice system usually bases the severity of a theft on its monetary value (flags about $40 each, poles about $60 in this circumstance) it is unlikely the perpetrators would face much more than your basic burglary charges.

But the “feeling” that something more has been stolen stems from our intrinsic sentiment that adds emotional value to the American Flag.

Where does that value come from? What does the flag mean to you? Can you trace those feelings to a specific moment, meaning, person or ideal? Tell me about it in the comments below or via twitter @dgtedford.

Also, don’t forget about another veterans related story in the Tribune today about a financial firm offering a special consulting program.

Email: daniel.tedford@sgvn.com | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune