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Residents fill parking lot to hear The Answer

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Residents fill parking lot to hear The Answer

Posted on 17 July 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Naomi Osuna
La Habra Journal

Families and friends gathered together in the parking lot at the La Habra Marketplace July 13 to enjoy The Answer as they performed their rock and classic oldies.
Melissa Rivera, recreation specialist with the city of La Habra said that this is the first concert here this season and that they work closely with the La Habra Marketplace.
“It’s a way for people to come out and shop in La Habra and eat at one of the great eateries around here,” said Rivera.
She further added that it’s great to have a night in La Habra like this.
“It brings the community together, it brings families together, it promotes a pride in the community,” she said. “I’m happy that a lot of people came out from the community to have a fun time tonight”.
People filled the parking lot outside of the LA Fitness on Imperial Highway. Many sang along with and danced to the classic rock hits
Marissa Leon, a La Habra native, was enjoying the music.
“It’s a great event to come out and bring your family to and listen to some music,” she said.
She added that she would recommend this event for anyone who wants to have a good time with their family and stay local.
“The Summer Concerts bring the community together with some great local food”.
She added that she likes the parking lot location.
“I love it, I feel like you are able to have your pick of different restaurants and food that you can just walk to, it’s really convenient,” she said.
The Summer Concert Series is a free family event Thursdays from 7-9 p.m. The event also includes raffles, a Kids Zone with coloring, activities, an art walk booth, and more.
The next concert in the series is July 20, “DSB: Journey Tribute Band” will also be held at the La Habra Marketplace but will then change locations to Portola Park on July 27 with “‘Let’s Move’ Concert Soto: Oldies, Pop, R & B”.

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LH sets balanced budget, warning

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LH sets balanced budget, warning

Posted on 05 July 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

The La Habra City Council approved the annual general fund budget of just under $42.3 million at its June 19 meeting.
The balanced budget is 3.5 percent, or $1,432,833 more than last year’s budget and reflects a slight increase in revenue from property tax and a consistent sales tax.
The increased budget covers an increased fire contract costs, revenue funded labor costs, increased ambulance contract services costs; and the new body-worn camera equipment and annual maintenance costs for the La Habra Police Department.
While balanced, the city staff warned the council on some financial challenges that are on the way. The popularity of online shopping can have an increasing negative impact on sales tax revenue as the tax is assessed at the location of the distribution center.
Mark Sturdevant, president of the La Habra Area Chamber of Commerce said that’s where programs like Shop La Habra comes in to help in encouraging consumers to shop at La Habra retailers.
City staff warned of something even larger that will negatively impact the city’s budget. It’s based on the changes to the state pension program known as CalPERS. The state pension program revised its policies regarding the amortization of unfunded pension liabilities, which transfers the greater burden of funding to the cities.
City staff reported that it is anticipating that the city’s pension obligation costs will continue to increase each year for at least the next decade, growing from approximately $5.5 million per year 2016-17 to almost $13.9 million per year by FY 2026-27. This represents a 153 percent increase.

The city prepared somewhat for something like this. Several years ago the council authorized the negotiation of a lower pension formula for newly hired employees, as well as having city employees pay either seven or nine percent towards their own pension costs, depending on the plan they were in.
However, according to Mel Shannon, La Habra’s director of finance, that adjustment is not enough to cover the pending increased pension costs on the city budget.
In an effort to begin addressing these growing costs, the council has designated $500,000 of unappropriated funds to a Pension Rate Stabilization Fund, with the intent on setting aside available resources to address future pension cost increase.
Shannon said the city’s goal to maintain a prudent and fiscally responsible budget in future fiscal years will be challenging, but not impossible.
He noted that new residential and commercial infill projects have the potential to revitalize areas of the city and spur additional growth and investments. This will help increase tax revenue.
Shannon shared some of the more notable goals that are already factored into the budget. They include:

  • Completion of the major residential, commercial and development projects under construction,
  • Continued maintenance of the city’s streets, sidewalks, medians, parks, water, storm drains, and sewer infrastructure;
  • Beginning and completion of the Lambert Road Improvement Project;
  • The final landfill cover and complete designs for park and recreational uses at Vista Grande Park;
  • Completion of the La Habra Bikeway Master Plan;
  • Continuation of the city’s Water Main, Sewer Lining and Manhole Replacement Program.

All council members acknowledged the staff’s work to prepare a balanced budget without making any large cuts to city services. However, they stressed to the city staff that they should start planning for the fiscal impact in coming years.

 

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Heights creates outreach newsletter

Heights creates outreach newsletter

Posted on 05 July 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

The city of La Habra Heights recently launched a new website in an effort to provide the community with more information.
In addition, the city launched a newsletter called Guac Talk.
Officially launched in April, the newsletter is now fully up and running.
According to Councilman Kyle Miller the idea behind Quac Talk is that it is an effort from the city council and staff to keep residents updated on the goings on of city hall and of the events in the community.
“Like other cities, we’re trying to strengthen our relationship with our residents through our new website and social media,” Miller said.
In May, the city of La Habra Heights’ staff has launched launch a more user-friendly and modern website according to Christopher Yoo in the city manager’s office.
“Everything from applying for jobs, watching council meeting videos and locating information about Dial-a-Ride will be at one’s fingertips,” Yoo added.
According to Miller, Guac Talk, the new website, and an increased social media presence will make it easier for residents and visitors to stay connected and informed of city information, whether on their home computer, tablet or mobile phone.
To subscribe to Guac Talk, you can do so from the city’s website. If you have comments or ideas for the e-newsletters, call 562-694-6302 or email info@lhhcity.org.

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New principal hired at Macy Elementary School

New principal hired at Macy Elementary School

Posted on 05 July 2017 by La Habra Journal

David Shun was hired as the new principal of Macy Elementary School after being approved by the Lowell Joint School District on June 26.

David Shun

“David is an excellent candidate for Macy Elementary School, as he brings an outstanding background in educational technology, a passion for students, and a heart for the Macy family,” said Jim Coombs, superintendent of LJSD.
Shun has 19 years of experience in education and most recently served as the Assistant Principal at Lampson Elementary School for the past two years in Orange Unified School District. He began his career as an elementary school teacher at San Marino Elementary School in Centralia School District in 1998.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in English from the University of California at Irvine and a master’s in educational technology leadership from UCI.
“I am committed to developing, supporting, and inspiring an expert team who will cultivate student academic achievement,” Shun said. “As an effective leader, I will be committed to our school’s success in order to translate our instructional practice to meet the needs of students to have 21st century college and career skills because education provides opportunity and career mobility.”
Shun lives in Anaheim with his wife and 3-year-old daughter. He will begin as principal on July 31.

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LH looking for new location for annual fireworks show

LH looking for new location for annual fireworks show

Posted on 03 July 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Taylor Engle
La Habra Journal

One of the many annual La Habra traditions is the Fourth of July firework show, which occurred Tuesday. However, for the first time in years, 2018 is up in the air when it comes to location.

While the event typically takes place at the La Habra High School football stadium, the school’s plans to completely reconstruct the area disrupts that possibility.
“We’re still in the planning stages. The stadium is just one element of the community event,” said Recreation Manager David De Leon.
The Measure I Bond, passed in 2014, approved reconstruction projects at all Fullerton Joint Union High School District campuses.
New developments at LHHS include a new performing arts center, updates to science classrooms and kitchen facilities and the redesign of the football stadium. There are plans for a new concession stand, bathrooms, and team rooms underneath the stands.
The city is toying with the idea of hosting the event at La Bonita Park. The event would take up fields 2 and 3 and would actually be more square feet than the stadium is.
2018 hopes to have room for the usual Fourth of July events. There would still be music, a stage and room for children to play games. However, the additional space would open up more options for the food vendors.
“If anyone in the community has any suggestions for where to have the event, we’d love to hear,” De Leon said.
The main concern with the event location is the need for a fallout zone. De Leon said there isn’t a lot of space in La Habra that can host fireworks.
“When you combine the rockets with the wind, there’s a certain amount of debris,” De Leon said. “There aren’t many other locations where fireworks can be launched. If we did it at La Bonita, we would be able to use the same launch area.”
The city also plans for the firework show to be different and more exciting than usual. “We really just want to have a fun event for the city,” De Leon said.

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La Habra Relay walks to blast cancer away

La Habra Relay walks to blast cancer away

Posted on 26 June 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Alondra Urizar
La Habra Journal

In an effort to help fight cancer, celebrate survivors and offer support, 19 volunteers and 26 teams from La Habra hosted the 24-hour long Relay for Life at La Habra High School.

Ernie Gonzalez/La Habra Journal
Walking for Remembrance: Members of Team JoeAnn were on hand at La Habra’s Relay for Life event last month at La Habra High School.

The event, which lasted from June 24 to 25, helped raise money and awareness. Together, the community of La Habra raised $20,675.79 donated to the American Cancer Society.
Members of La Habra and surrounding cities came out to participate and show support under the theme “Blast Cancer Out Of This World!”
Sponsors and volunteers joined in to help support and set up the event, which moved from Imperial Middle School to La Habra High School this year.
The different teams were placed on the inside of the track field at La Habra High School with tents set up to escape the summer heat.
Each team offered different ways for attendees to show their support by buying food, drink, raffle tickets and items promoting increased cancer awareness.
According to a study done by the National Cancer Institute, an estimated 1,685,210 new cases of cancer were diagnosed in 2016 alone. According to the study, some of the most common cases i

Ernie Gonzalez/La Habra Journal
Survivor story: Andrea Trujillo, seated, captained Andrea’s Angels at the Relay for Life in La Habra. Trujillo has battled five different cancers.

n 2016 were breast cancer, lung and bronchus cancer and prostate cancer with the number expected to reach almost 19 million by 2024.
The relay gave many the opportunity to remember the loved ones they lost in the battle against cancer.
Lisa Quintero captain of Team JoeAnn and Luminaria co-lead has attended the Relay for Life for the past six years to support her best friend who lost her daughter, JoeAnn. It was in memory of her that they created Team JoeAnn.
“Until you really see it, you don’t understand what [cancer] really is. So, after seeing [JoeAnn] go through all of that, that made us want to get more involved and help and give back,” Quintero said.

La Habra’s Andrea Trujillo, captain of Andrea’s Angels, as well as the event co-lead, is a survivor.
Trujillo survived not one but five different cancers. For three years, she was diagnosed with some type of cancer. Breast cancer in 1998, a brain tumor in 1999 and breast cancer again in 2000. She was diagnosed with a rare form of uterine cancer in 2007 and even most recently, skin cancer.
She has battled them all and has survived.
Because of this, she believes she has guardians watching over her.
“I know I have angels with me all the time because of stuff I’ve been through – they’re there for me,” Trujillo said. “That’s why Andrea’s Angels is the name of my booth.”
Planning for next year’s event is already under way.

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LHPD to install body cameras

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LHPD to install body cameras

Posted on 22 June 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Alondra Urizar
La Habra Journal

The La Habra Police Department’s efforts finally paid off.
After actively pursuing wearable body cameras since early 2016, the department acquired a five-year $375,000 agreement with Axon, and LHPD officers are starting to be equipped with them, with a complete implementation of the department by late July or early August.
The idea came after seeing how well Rialto did with their body cameras, the LHPD began watching and considering body cameras.
“We heard about Rialto and how they had some success with the body worn cameras and things have gone well,” Price said. “We just started the process of looking at the cameras, looking at what the pros and cons are, whether or not it’s going to work for us here [in La Habra] or not.”
The La Habra Police Department now joins other law enforcement agencies in Orange County in embracing body cameras such as Anaheim, Fullerton, Huntington Beach, Tustin and Cal State Fullerton.
After testing several body cameras, Price approached the La Habra City Council with their agreement with Axon.
The Council unanimously approved the agreement back in early February 2017.
In early June, the department equipped one smaller patrol team to begin working with the cameras, having the team implementing them in their daily routines. Through the first team, the police department aims to work out any imperfections and make improvements before having the team train the other members of the police department.

The LHPD will also have an Axon representative come the following week and show them how to use the device properly.
Captain Dean Capelletti of the La Habra Police Department knows how important it is to be transparent with the community.
He wants his officers to feel comfortable using the body cameras and realize the benefit they are to both the department and the community of La Habra.
Capelletti said Axiom is going to train them and answer any questions the officers may have.
“We’ll continue with the implementation,” Capelletti said. “It’s totally something new for the officers and we want to make sure that they know how to operate it and feel comfortable with it.”
The agreement for the LHPD comes with three camera improvements, body cameras and storage of digital memory and a warranty, should any accidents happen to the equipment.
In the past, law enforcement agencies have relied on audio recordings and dashboard cameras in patrol cars.
However, with recent calls for accountability of law enforcement agencies, many have chosen to provide their departments with body cameras to provide transparency to the public.
The LHPD has expressed great excitement in implementing the body cameras.
“I’m very excited about putting them out there,” Capelletti said. “I believe we have a nice relationship with our community and I think this is just another area that we can show them we truly are a transparent police department and we have nothing to hide.”

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Heights kicks off summer festival series

Heights kicks off summer festival series

Posted on 22 June 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Alondra Urizar
La Habra Journal

The skies of La Habra Height filled with music from the Journey tribute band, DSB, as they kicked off the 30th annual Music in the Park at Hacienda Park last week.

Alondra Urizar/La Habra Journal
Rockin’: DSB, a Journey tribute band, performs at The Park on Hacienda Boulevard, opening the La Habra Heights summer concert series.

Approximately 300 community members attended the first summer concert event with a smorgasbord of food and snacks like ice cream, coffee, shaved ice, popcorn, kettle corn, tacos, burritos and aguas frescas from vendors such as Kermit’s Ice Cream Express, Simply Irresistible Cakes & Catering and the Highland Riders.
Each week, the park will be serenaded by a different local band such as Cold Duck, Wiseguys Big Band Machine, Woodie & The Long Boards, The Silverados, The Answer to Classic Rock, Smooth Sounds of Santana and Stones vs Stewarts every Wednesday until Aug. 2 and is sponsored by the Ray Fernandez Team.
“I’ve been doing this for four years and it’s a lot of fun to be out here and meet everybody,” said Ray Fernandez, realtor and associate broker of the Ray Fernandez Team.“I know it takes a lot of money to get these bands here and just like we’re giving back to charity here for the sales, this is another way of giving back [to the community].”
During the concert, Fernandez announced that a portion of the profits would be donated to charity for every house sold by their team this year. Their goal is to donate a total of $50,000 by the end of this year. Money earned would be donated to local charities.
The importance of community events is not lost on residents or vendors alike.
Vendor Alex Main of Simply Irresistible Cakes & Catering has personally attended Music in the Park for the past five years, enjoying how the community will gather together during the summer for an evening of enjoyment and relaxation.
“I think any event – concerts in this park especially, provide people with a place to get together, hear some good music,” he said. “Thanks to our great sponsorships, they’ve been able to keep it free and I think it brings the community together and it gives them an opportunity to kind of relax and enjoy and it’s one of the few cities that still does it [host free events].”
Concerts continue in the park every Wednesday night through August 2.

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LH Collaborative creates 'Soda Free Summer' pledge

LH Collaborative creates ‘Soda Free Summer’ pledge

Posted on 22 June 2017 by La Habra Journal

The La Habra Collaborative, a nonprofit organization, is building on its Move More, Eat Healthy program by creating pledge drive to help people shed their soft drink intake by having a “Soda Free Summer.”
Individuals can sign the pledge and promise to avoid soft drinks from June 25 to September 15.
People of all ages are encouraged to take the pledge, according to Sandi Baltes, director of the La Habra Collaborative.
Parents are encouraged to help children avoid the sugary drinks.
A typical 20-ounce soda contains 15 to 18 teaspoons of sugar and upwards of 240 calories. A 64-ounce fountain cola drink could have up to 700 calories according to US Agricultural Department data.
Studies, including a 2006 study by the National Institutes of Health, said that children and adults have found that reducing sugary drink consumption can lead to better weight control among those who are initially overweight.
A study that followed 40,000 men for two decades found that those who averaged one can of a sugary beverage per day had a 20% higher risk of having a heart attack or dying from a heart attack than men who rarely consumed sugary drinks. A related study in women found a similar sugary beverage–heart disease link.
The city of La Habra recently supported the Collaborative’s movement and many city officials signed the pledge.
For more information, or to sign the pledge, contact the Collaborative at lahabracollaborative.com.

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Rodriguez named new  principal of Ladera Palma

Rodriguez named new principal of Ladera Palma

Posted on 22 June 2017 by La Habra Journal

Courtesy La Habra City School District
New Dragon: Jennifer Rodriguez was named new principal at Ladera Palma Elementary School

The La Habra City School District hired Jennifer Rodriguez to be the new principal of Ladera Palma Elementary School.
Rodriguez replaces Dr. George Lopez who became the principal at Washington Middle School.
Rodriguez began her career with La Habra City School District as a primary teacher at Ladera Palma.
She went on to Hacienda La Puente School District where she served as a first grade teacher, an assistant principal, and school site administrator.
For the past four years, Jennifer has been the principal of California Elementary School and taught reading instruction courses at the college level.
She was named the Association of California School Administrator’s “State Elementary Co-Administrator of the Year.”
She will start with the coming school year.

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