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LH opens new civic center

LH opens new civic center

Posted on 10 March 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

The doors are open to the new La Habra Civic Center.
The $22.5 million project, which includes the remodel and relocation of the city hall, addition to the community center, enhancements to the Legion Hall and upgrades to the police station,  is nearly complete, but the doors are open for operation.

New LH City Hall

City staff spent the last weekend moving equipment and setting up computer systems in the new two-story facility.
City Council held its meeting Monday in the new council chambers prior to the civic center opening.
The landscaping, outdoor lighting and water fixtures still need to be finished for the hall to be complete, but City Manager Jim Sadro said it was time to move in.
Sadro and Roy Ramsland, city planning manager, said that while it  was created for city operations, like other city halls, this one had designs that made it more distinctly La Habra.
The vaulted, exposed wood-beam ceilings in the main civic center help make the building more inviting, according to Sadro.
The size of the civic center will allow for more use aside from city business.

New LH City Hall

The Chamber of Commerce will host the annual State of the Community event inside the new civic center.
“The space will allow this building to truly be a public building,” said Rob Ferrier, assistant to the city manager.
While the city departments are operational, the US Post Office will be operational at the new location on the southeast corner of the civic center by late March.
A formal ribbon cutting is set for the first week of April.  For some photos of the new center see Page 4.

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LH family deals with tragic loss

LH family deals with tragic loss

Posted on 10 March 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

Support came in for a local family who suffered a second loss last weekend.
Siblings Oscar Diaz, 23, and Valeria Tinoco, 17 were killed when their car crashed into a tree on Rosecrans Avenue near Euclid in Fullerton last Tuesday.

A community morning: Oscar Diaz and Valeria Tinoco were killed in a car accident last week in Fullerton.

Diaz was driving his sister, Tinoco, a senior at La Habra High School, home after soccer practice.
Diaz’ 2006 Lexus struck the tree about 8:40 p.m. after he apparently lost control according to Fullerton Police.
Both died at the scene, according to FPD officials.
The deaths mark another loss for their parents La Habra residents Maria and Fidencio Tinoco.
Their oldest son, Hugo Lopez, 20, was killed by a roadside bomb while serving in the Marines in Rawah, Iraq in 2006.
With the loss of Hugo, Oscar stepped up to help his parents.  He would often take his sister to events and activities she was involved in.
He had a full-time job at a  warehouse in Fullerton but was always available to for his family and for his sister.
Valeria was a senior at LHHS and played club soccer.
The community has come out to support the family after their loss.
A GoFundMe account was established to help the family pay for the services.
Within five days the site has raised more than $24,000 and getting closer to the set goal of $30,000.
The community is invited to the viewing for Oscar and Valeria, to be held at Calvary Chapel La Habra Friday from 5-9 p.m.
Mass will be celebrated at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church on Saturday at 10 a.m.
For more information or for a way to help the family, go to; www.gofundme.com/valeria-oscar-funeral

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Rotary recognizes student leaders

Rotary recognizes student leaders

Posted on 10 March 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Jane Williams
La Habra Journal

The last Rotary Luncheon honored an outstanding student in special programs at each of the local high school.
Rotarians first met Nathan  Casida when he was introduced by Commander Trotter, who is in the midst of his 15 year in charge of the NROTC program. With financial help from the school’s PTA group toured the Museum of Tolerance and met a 93-year-old survivor of Auschwitz whose tattoo on his arm is still obvious.
Nathan Casida was the cadet singled out to represent the La Habra Corps. Soon to be an Eagle Scout, Casida just completed building Navy Gray lockers for the students to store books and other possessions while taking part in drills and physical fitness exercises.
Casida is also a docent on the USS Iowa which is docked at the Port of Los Angeles.  When Casida and others from the Corps toured the battleship, he politely corrected the docent leading the tour.
Trotter pointed out a former member of La Habra’s NROTC went to the Naval Academy and recently shot down a missile in the air.
Sonora’ Battalion Commander, Kelly Cruz may be small in stature, but has no difficulty getting those under her command to follow her orders. It took a while for her to get over her natural shyness, but once she did there was no holding  her back.
With a 3.36 G.P.A. she has already been accepted and plans to attend Hawaii University.
A person of many talents Andres Zazueta composes songs, many of them on iTunes, plays for other professional musicians when they play for Whittier Christian High’s chapel. He is an integral part of the Chapel Team.
He has won the school’s  Louis Armstrong Award the last two year. He secured his scuba license while in Costa Rico.
Zazueta takes the honors’ track in math and science and plans to major in civil engineering.

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LH teen singer makes it on NBC's The Voice

LH teen singer makes it on NBC’s The Voice

Posted on 10 March 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

La Habra’s Aliyah Moulden showed off her vocal skills when she had three judges fighting for her to join their team when she sang “Hound Dog” by​ Big Mama Thornton on the NBC talent show, “The Voice.”


Photos courtesy of NBC
La Habra’s Aliyah Moulden, 15, chose to be on Blake Shelton’s team in the singing competition, The Voice.

The 15-year-old songstress chose the team coached by country singer Blake Shelton.
Moulden has been raised solely by her mother after her father passed away from lung cancer when she was only a month old.
She has been an active part of the La Habra Boys and Girls club for the last 10 years.
Executive Director Mark Chavez and Program Director Patrick Favela both shared that Aliyah has been a great member of the LH Boys and Girls Clubs family.
When she was younger, her mother signed her up for vocal lessons. Aliyah explained that music has helped her find herself  growing up and while at La Habra High School.
Her singing has allowed her a great deal of opportunities at her young age.
She has opened for Caroline Sunshine, Todrick Hall and Jesse McCartney. Further, this past summer, she sang in the BET Experience at the LA Convention Center.

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Powder Canyon restoration on track

Powder Canyon restoration on track

Posted on 24 February 2017 by La Habra Journal

Jay Seidel/La Habra Journal A friendly walk: The restoration project going on at Powder Canyon continues. The project, managed by the Habitat Authority and funded by Southern California Edison is now in the seeding and planting phase where nearly 40 native plant species will be planted in the 53 acres of trails along the canyon.

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

Powder Canyon in La Habra Heights is in the middle of an environmental restoration project.
The project, run by Habitat Authority and started in October, is in collaboration with Southern California Edison. It was brought on due to SCE’s Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project, which is a series of new and upgraded high-voltage electric transmission lines and substations that will be stretching through the Angeles National Forrest and down into the San Gabriel Valley area.
SCE agreed to consolidate most of its habitat mitigation requirements from Project segments 7 and 8 of the TRTP onto the Habitat Authority’s Preserve, which includes Powder Canyon.
According to Andrea Gullo, Executive Director of the Puente Hills Habitat Preservation Authority, 60 acres total will be restored to native habitat consisting of 53 acres of coastal sage scrub and seven acres of oak and walnut woodlands.
Gullo added that coastal sage scrub is a plant community made up of several different plant species and supports the coastal California gnatcatcher, a bird protected by the Endangered Species Act.
The habitat restoration in Powder Canyon started in October and  included weed clearance by goat grazing. This has been  followed by the  killing of standing weeds and reducing the weed stored in the soil.
This needs to be done before seeding and planting.
According to Gullo, locally collected seeds will be used as much as possible for seeding and plant propagation followed by five years of maintenance.
Locally collected seeds have a greater chance of survival, ensure that the right subspecies are used, and ensures that hybridization will not be introduced into the area.
She added that temporary irrigation will be used for two-three years during maintenance to help establish the plants. The end result will be a self-sustaining native habitat.
There are several benefits of this project. The area will be restored back to its native habitat increasing the native habitat available for dependent animals.
Converting weeds to native habitat will increase the enjoyment of recreational users of the Puente Hills Preserve, and in particular Powder Canyon.
Also, the community will be safer from wildfires. Flashy fuels, estimated to make up the majority of the 60-acre site, will be removed. The restoration site will continue to be managed in perpetuity with funding by SCE used to establish a long-term management endowment.
Fall/Winter 2017/18 – Seeding and planting
2018-2023 – Plant maintenance and establishment
In addition, nearly 40 native plant species will be used.
The day to day coordination of the project is done by Habitat Authority Ecologist, Lizette Longacre. The project is regulated by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and funded by SCE.
The Puente Hills Habitat Preservation Authority  is a local government joint powers authority which manages 3,870 acres of hillsides in Whittier, Hacienda Heights and La Habra Heights.

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New LH City Hall set to open

New LH City Hall set to open

Posted on 23 February 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

After a slight delay due to the recent rains,  the new La Habra Civic Center is nearly open for business.
The rains caused the start of the move to the new city hall to be delayed from February 17 to March 2.  The new civic center is set to be open and operating on March 7.
While most of the construction was complete, some of the exterior work, including concrete and paving in the parking lot, had to be delayed to allow for proper draining.
The move in the middle of the week will be a bit of a challenge. The city will try to keep basic city departments open while others move.  This will not cause a delay in permits or water bills, etc.
Beginning March 7, the former city hall will remain open for regular business while the administration and personnel departments pack and move.
City hall will close March 3 to allow other city departments the opportunity to pack and move.
Saturday and Sunday, March 4 and 5, the moving company will continue to move items to the new City Hall.
Both city hall buildings will be closed Monday, March 6 to allow for staff to unpack and set up the operations in the new building. The former city hall will remain permanently closed.
The US Post Office will move to its new location in the city hall complex during the weekend as well. The current post office will be closed and not reopen.  The new post office is set to open Tuesday, March 7.
The city council will hold its meeting on March 6 in the new Council Chamber (the one-story building on the southeast corner of Euclid Street and La Habra Boulevard.
The city hall will stay closed Tuesday, March 7 to allow staff to finalize setting up. The new civic center complex will be open to the public on March 8.

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LH native looking to make it big in music

LH native looking to make it big in music

Posted on 23 February 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Genesis Miranda
La Habra Journal

La Habra may seem like a small city, but great things can come out of a close community. For Juan Pablo Castillo, known by his artist name JP Castillo, La Habra was a major stepping stone and a great memory for his singing career.

Photo courtesy JP Castillo
Local talent: LHHS graduate JP Castillo releases his first single while preparing for his EP album.

Castillo came to the United States from Costa Rica when he was only 8 years old. He and his family moved around quite a bit through cities like Southgate, Norwalk, Paramount and finally La Habra.
Coming from a musical family, it’s no wonder why Castillo has a love for music and the stage. His mother was a singer and his father was a drummer.
Growing up in a religious family, Castillo was trying to figure out his own path. In school he tended to be timid and shy. “I was trying to develop my relationship with God,” Castillo said.
It wasn’t until Junior year of high school, at La Habra High School, where Castillo met David Montoya. Montoya became the choir teacher and one of Castillo’s most memorable encounters.
Prior to Montoya, Castillo said there was no established choir class or program. The summer of his sophomore year the school offered vocal classes. But it wasn’t until Montoya came to the school that a choir program began.
When the choir was formed, Montoya wanted to create a group of student leaders, which Castillo formed part of.  “[Montoya] is a very happy person, he treated us all as individuals,” said Castillo.
During one of the many competitions Castillo attended with the La Habra High School choir, he ended up being the only male vocal. And much to his surprise he won the award for “best male solo.”
It was there at La Habra High School where Castillo developed relationships with Montoya and his classmates; and he learned vocal skills that would stay with him until this day.
“I am very grateful for that and [Montoya] opened up a whole new world for me,” said Castillo.
After high school Castillo attended Fullerton College for a couple of years, first as an instrumental major and then as a vocal major.
He formed part of the “Cabana Boys” as their drummer and later as a vocalist.
Performing with the “Cabana Boys” Castillo said he loved the energy he received from the audiences.
Although he ended up dropping out of college, Castillo’s opportunities as a singer soon followed.
After accompanying a friend to an audition at Disneyland, Castillo ended up auditioning himself and landed a job offer from Disney. It was his first professional job offer and he knew he could not let this go.
Unfortunately at that moment, Castillo was undocumented and waiting on his paperwork to arrive. He explained his situation to his potential employers and thought he would have to let it go.
Luckily all of his documentation and paperwork arrived a day before he would have had to sign paperwork for the job offer and he landed the job with Disneyland. He formed part of the High School Musical cast as the main singer and as Aladdin.
“I’m a bold person. It took a lot but it was a great experience for me,” said Castillo. “Passion must be converted into discipline.”
After that experience, Castillo went on to Osaka, Japan to work for Universal Studios and stayed there for about a year in a home studio he created for himself.
He also traveled to Europe to participate in a Michael Jackson tribute show called “Thriller Live” in London.
“I never lost my focus,” Castillo said.
Soon after, Castillo received a call from a friend who said he would be forming part of a Jackson reunion tour and that he had recommended Castillo as a vocalist.
He later received a call from Jackie Jackson himself who then invited Castillo to form part of the team.
They toured Japan, Canada, the United States and parts of Europe.
“It was an experience I will never forget,” said Castillo. “I can’t even say it was a dream come true because I never even dreamt this would happen.”
Other experiences Castillo has had are touring with artists like Prince Royce and Jennifer Lopez.
Castillo has since then landed a record deal with the label Crossover and has released a single titled “Tu Ausencia” featuring fellow artist Gotay.
He is currently working on his second single to be released sometime in the next few months and his EP album which he hopes to release later this year.
“I am an artist that wants to inspire people,” Castillo said. “Inspire all the young people to reach their goals. We all have a purpose.”
JP Castillo’s music can be found on social media like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as @JPCastilloMusic.

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Heights recognizes six lost firefighters

Heights recognizes six lost firefighters

Posted on 12 January 2017 by La Habra Journal

With honor: Members of the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Honor Guard fold the flag that flew over the memorial for the fallen firefighters Saturday.

By Naomi Osuna
La Habra Journal

Family and friends of La Habra Heights Fire Department gathered together on January 7 for a Memorial Dedication Ceremony to honor the lost lives of six firefighters.
On September 2, 1955, in the area that would later become La Habra Heights, six brave firefighters paid the ultimate price to protect the safety of others during the “Hacienda Fire”. The La Habra Heights and Los Angeles County Fire Departments dedicated a monument and plaque to these six firefighters.
La Habra Heights Mayor Kyle Miller, explained that what prompted him, and many other people to hold this memorial originally started with LHH Fire Chief Graft.
The Fire Chief, through some wild fire training programs, learned of this incident and brought it to the attention of the council and the mayor.
“We were all in it from the beginning,” Miller explained.  “Our rule was to really support what he wanted to do.”
Miller went on to explain, “you always want to support public safety officers, particularly La Habra Heights because it is such a fire danger.”

Remembrance: La Habra Heights Councilman Roy Francis stands with Anita Morgan, by the new memorial that honors her father, Captain Glenn Rockey, who was killed fighting the Hacienda Fire in what is now La Habra Heights in1955.

The granite monument was donated, with an engraving describing the details of the fire and named Captain Glenn Rockey, and his five young crew members: Franklyn Fay, Terry Kelly, La Verne Pendergast, Gregory Sambrano and William Strack, all of whom were 16 or 17 years old.
Miller said that it took a lot of people, including many from the fire department, who donated their time, to bring the memorial to life. The foundation for the monument was dug up by firefighters who volunteered their time.
“When you’re doing the right thing, for the right reason, a lot of people are happy to help,” he said.
Miller added that he thought that it will serve as a constant reminder that fires can happen at any time, and you can never be over prepared.
“I hope it will affect the community in knowing that they will have an example of something tragic happening and do all that they can to prevent it,” he said.
Graft explained he wanted the community to be aware of the sacrifices that were made by the firemen and to use it as a teaching tool for the young firefighters.
Graft expressed his gratitude that the community is aware of this tragic event and grateful that their young firefighters have been able to reflect on what transpired years ago.
Retired fireman and current La Habra Heights Council Member Roy Francis explained that the community has changed over the 60 years since the Hacienda Fire. But feels that the residents should know about the events that took place to help maintain their community as it is.
“I’m hoping that when this gets out people will realize that this really did happen, and this happens all the time,” he said. “This will make everyone aware that these are some things that shouldn’t be taken lightly, any kind of fire, and we all learn from these things.”

A Hacienda Fire History

The Hacienda Fire that claimed the lives of six firefighters in what is now La Habra Heights, caused many changes in the way firefighting is done.
The 1,150-acre fire on September 2, 1955, caused a back blast fire.
Captain Glenn Rockey of  Los Angeles County Fire Department  Engine 4 went in to  rescue the five juvenile members of Los Angeles County Probation Forestry Camp Crew 5-1.
Rockey and the five teens succumbed to burn injuries.
Seven others were severely injured in the fire.
As a result of the deaths and the deaths on the Canyon Fire or Canyon Inn Fire in 1968, the Los Angeles County Fire Department discontinued the practice of using juveniles to fight fire.
The Hacienda Fire, which burned in an unincorporated part of Los Angeles County, ranks as the thirteenth deadliest fire by Cal Fire.
The fire has been studied and new fire fighting methods were put in place for better containment methods and to help ensure greater safety to fire fighters.

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LH council approves more money for construction

LH council approves more money for construction

Posted on 12 January 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

With the construction projects of the La Habra Civic Center underway, city staff found that some areas needed additional funding.  The City Council approved an additional $1.7 million on enhancements to the various buildings in the projects.
The additional funding will include $685,000 at the new city hall. The improvements will include significant parking enhancements.
According to city staff, the existing parking lot lights will be replaced with new energy efficient lighting. In addition, a drive-through lane for customers to drop off USPS mail and city water bills will be constructed. Other improvements include the placement of two electric vehicle-charging stations in the parking lot and the installation of sufficient power conduits and outlets to allow for the use of the parking lot area for future civic events.
The La Habra Police Department will receive $475,000 in enhancements with the installation of bullet resistant glass along the exposed part of Euclid Street and an increase to the perimeter wall height from six feet to eight feet.  There will be further improvements to the parking lot to increase capacity and functionality and replacement of the existing outdated and underpowered emergency generator.
With the planned closure of Orange Street adjacent to El Centro/Lions Park, the city will apply $400,000 to widen Orange Street to accommodate straight in parking, expanding parking along the existing park parking lot, and creating a new parking lot on the south side of the Library, adjacent to La Habra Boulevard.
The source of the additional money will come from various sources.
• $1,301,000 from the General Capital Projects Fund
• $200,000 from the Gas Tax Fund (Since much of the enhancements have to do with parking and road fixes)
• $125,000 from Traffic Impact Fund
• $125,000 from the Water Fund

The $20.7 million La Habra Civic Center improvement project consists of improvements and construction related to six municipal buildings, including:
Relocation of La Habra City Hall and US Post Office, rehabilitation of the Veterans Hall Building, rehabilitation of the La Habra Historical Museum, rehabilitation roof repairs of the police department.
And construction of a 4,250 square foot addition to the Community Center to house the Women’s Club, the La Habra Art Association, and the Boy Scouts; and Rehabilitation and improvements to the Police Department.

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LH council approves more road repair

LH council approves more road repair

Posted on 02 December 2016 by La Habra Journal

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

The La Habra City Council approved a Contract Change Order for additional work to rehabilitate La Habra Boulevard in the eastbound lanes from Beach Boulevard to just east of Dexford Drive. La-Habra-logo-low-rez
The approval came at the November 21 meeting and awarded Sully-Miller Contracting Company with the cost  of that extra work, which is about $336,000.
Sully-Miller has been doing roadwork in LH as part of the Residential Street Rehabilitation  and the annual citywide slurry seal program. So, according to Assistant to the city manager Rob Ferrier, “it made sense for the city engineering to change order to do the additional work on La Habra Boulevard.”
The increase, approved by the council, extended the existing purchase order with Sully–Miller Contracting Company and brought their total paid amount by the city to $2,256,665.26.
The city continues to work on the roads and finished a comprehensive citywide re-pavement plan.
Despite the investment and pavement plan, some residents have questioned the status of  Imperial Highway (east of Beach Blvd), Whittier Boulevard (west of Harbor Boulevard) and all of Beach Boulevard.
Ferrier explained that those roads are maintained by Caltrans. These roadways were overlayed with asphalt about five years ago.
He added that Harbor Boulevard between just south of Las Palmas Drive  to south of Imperial Highway will be resurfaced early next year.
The city of Fullerton is participating in the cost to repair Harbor Boulevard.
Major repairs of the roadway in this area have been delayed by Fullerton, and some extent La Habra, until the Beckman development has been completed due to the construction wear and tear as well as the utility cuts into both Harbor Boulevard and Lambert Road.

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