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Corn-eating is a family business for the Moleskys

Corn-eating is a family business for the Moleskys

Posted on 16 August 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Alondra Uziar
La Habra Journal

Lions park has held the festival ever since it began in 1948 and is hosted by the La Habra Lions. What originally began as a simple dance and cookout has evol

Jay Seidel/ La Habra Journal
Corn family: Lawrence Molesky stands with daughters Kaitlyn, 14, and Isabella, 4, after they competed in the annual La Habra Corn Festival Corn Eating Contest.

ved to be La Habra’s greatest fundraising event.

With the 69th annual La Habra Corn Festival, it comes as no surprise that one of the main events that attracts the most attention of residents of La Habra and surrounding communities is the annual corn eating contests.
Anaheim resident Lawrence Molesky has attended the Corn Festival and has competed for the past three years. Since day one, he has gone toe-to-toe with corn-eating champion Charles Bill Jr. Since then, he has been in fierce competition with Bill Jr.
But how did Molesky find out about the La Habra event?
“We actually saw it on Channel 5 news three years ago and said ‘Oh, this is a corn festival.’ So we said, ‘Let’s go.’ Because that’s what we do — we up and go,” he explained.
But his enthusiasm for the corn eating contest has spread, and it has become a Molesky family event.
The competition is divided into three categories separated by age. One for children under 10, one for teens ages 11 to 17 and the final category for those 18 and up.
Two of Molesky’s three daughters are now competing in the contest. Kaitlyn, 14, and Isabella, 4, are now veteran corn-eating competitors.
This year, Lawrence shared second place with another contestant, eating 10 cobs while Bill retained his crown with 12 cobs.
Lawrence Molesky said that the event is already noted into his calendar for next year.

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A commitment to help the homeless

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A commitment to help the homeless

Posted on 02 August 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Taylor Engle
La Habra Journal

It’s difficult to feel down on your luck, hopeless, or all alone—this is a truth that Alice Linton and husband Donald Kettlewell recognize. This ability to empathize spurned their idea for Back to the Future, a nonprofit organization centered in La Habra and Fullerton to help homeless people in any way possible.

Photo courtesy Alice Linton
Donald Kettlewell hands out supplies on Skid Row in Los Angeles.

The name Back to the Future was inspired by the fact that all of the homeless had a normal life at one point. Linton and Kettlewell want to take them back to that starting point and give them an even better future.
“We began volunteering about two years ago with local nonprofits in Fullerton,” Linton said. “We met a bulk of the homeless community and we got to know them really well.”
Soon after volunteering for the nonprofits, Linton and Kettlewell  decided to start their own: Back to the Future, a two-man operation, in December 2016.
After going with some homeless people to the local shelters and seeing the conditions they were in, Linton and Kettlewell were shocked at the way the homeless are subjected to living.
“We go to areas with the homeless population and bring them toiletries, food, and clothing,” Linton said.
They got to know the La Habra homeless as well because of their business The Keeper of Books, a tax preparation service.

Some of the essential supplies that Back to the Future collects and distributes to the homeless.

“All the homeless are welcome to come into the business at any time to use our facilities,” Linton said.
In addition to the open invitation, Linton always keeps extra toiletries in her car. “Toothbrushes, tooth paste, shampoo, flip flops, running shoes,” Linton said. “Whatever you’d need to get by.”
Linton and Kettlewell don’t exclusively help the local homeless. Although this is the focus of their organization, they frequently travel to Skid Row with clothing, food and toiletries to hand out.
“You learn a lot about the homeless when you work with them and bring food to them,” Linton said. “At first we were bringing them apples and nutrition bars, but most homeless have issues with teeth. You have to bring something they can chew and that won’t give anyone an allergic reaction.”
The couple also teams up with local nonprofit organizations to assist in finding housing for the homeless.
“There’s an organization that does event planning,” Linton said. “After their events, we take the leftovers to the Fullerton train station, which is where most of the homeless congregate.”
Back to the Future also goes to Downtown Fullerton once a month along with two hairdressers to give free haircuts and shaves to the homeless.
As if Linton and Kettlewell weren’t busy enough either shopping for the homeless or delivering goods to them, they even open their home once a month. Homeless friends of theirs are welcome to come over to shower, do laundry, and sit down to a home-cooked meal.
“The homemade meal is probably the biggest attraction because it’s the only one they get all month,” Linton said.
Going forward, Linton and Kettlewell want to expand the awareness of Back to the Future. They’ve recently started a Facebook page and are hoping to increase donations.
“We take no salary from this,” Linton said. “We want the money to come in and go out, all for the homeless.”
Furthermore, Linton hopes to reach out to local middle schools and high schools to speak to students about the homeless.
“The label ‘homeless’ is almost as bad as a criminal record. It makes it very difficult for them to find a job or get off the street. These are people who no one looks at or pretends they’re not there when they could actually be helping,” Linton said.
As far as further collaborations or different forms of outreach, Linton and Kettlewell are in no rush.
“It’s not that we sit there and brainstorm what we could do next. We wait to see what areas are lacking and how we can fill them. If someone isn’t doing something in a particular area, we will think of a way to,” Linton said. “We want this to evolve organically.”

For more information or to find out how you might help to to their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/backtothefutureoc.org/

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Families come out to enjoy National Night Out

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Families come out to enjoy National Night Out

Posted on 02 August 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Alondra Uziar
La Habra Journal

On the first Tuesday of August, La Habra joined the rest of the United States for National Night Out.
Though the event was set to start at 5:30 p.m., the community of La Habra was ready to meet and hang out with the La Habra Police Department much earlier.
Families gathered in Portola Park by the Children’s Museum at La Habra for K9, Swat and fire department displays, information on how to prevent crime, games and activities, free dinner, a Polynesian performance and to cap it all off, a movie in the park with Disney’s “Moana” as the featured film.
There were plenty of activities for the community to enjoy such as meeting the three police dogs, Emerson, Rita and Bobby, a craft table, a small tennis court courtesy of iTennis La Habra, a free farmers market provided by Our Lady Guadalupe Church and the La Habra Collaborative, and a dunk tank.
The Children’s Museum was also open past its usual hours and free to the public.

Grill masters: Officer Time Shay, Sgt. Jose Quirarte and Chaplain Chris Fowler grill food for the annual National Night Out event at Portola Park Tuesday evening.

According to national organizers, the goal of National Night Out is as an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live.
Attendance has doubled as compared to last year, according to Sgt. Daniel Barnes. He has cooperated with assistant recreation manager Katie Elmore to help bring the event to the community. Though they prepared for approximately 800 individuals, Barnes finds that the craft table, the police dogs and the motorbikes are the biggest draw in.
“So I worked alongside the team and specifically K

Dog Days: Children were able to meet the police dogs like Emerson at the National Night Out event.

atie Elmore from community services,” Barnes said. “Her and I have been working together to put this whole event together, connecting with our different business in the community, several nonprofits that are in our community.”
Ultimately, Barnes only desires to create a better and stronger relationship with the community he loves and serves.
“I feel like when you have a personal connection with someone, there’s more of a

responsibility and it really strengthens the bonds and a relationship is built there,” Barnes said. “When you have a stronger relationship, you become a little more projected in your goal and obviously our goal as a community, as a police department in the city, is to make this city a safer place to live and just to have a great working relationship,”

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Water Guardians efforts lead to new bill

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Water Guardians efforts lead to new bill

Posted on 25 July 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Taylor Engle
La Habra Journal

Laws are normally initiated as bills by government officials. So, it is truly unique when a law is passed because of the hard work of four teenage girls from La Habra. But that’s exactly what happened.

The Water Guardians with Assemblyman Phillip Chen at Washington Middle School.

Assembly Bill AB 1343 was signed by Governor Jerry Brown on July 21, and it encourages a water conservation collaboration between local K-12 schools and water suppliers.

Assemblyman Phillip Chen introduced the bill. It aims to reduce water usage in schools, storm water and dry weather runoff, school pollution, and educate students about water conservation.

However, Chen wasn’t the originator of the bill. The bill was first proposed to Chen by the “La Habra Water Guardians,” Four girls, Angelique Dequit, Jessica Gallegos, Fiona Paredes, and Skye Lim.

The group of ambitious young teens raised enough money through a school dance and by the help of sponsors to travel to the state Capitol and propose the bill.

The group created a conservation plan as a school project at Washington Middle School in 2015, which won statewide praise and national recognition.

The girls are currently attending Sonora High School, but are still committed to their environmental efforts and are excited to see the water saving measures being implemented statewide.

“AB 1343 helps make water conservation an important part of our education,” Dequit said.

The project allowed for drought-tolerant gardens at the school location. The group also replaced old toilets with more conservative, newer models.

“Water is vital to California. From the water we use to drink, shower, grow our crops, to water used to generate electricity at our dams, our future success is dependent on it. Many cities and utilities are providing rebates for residents that install drought-tolerant plants or water efficient fixtures like toilets and washing machines,” Chen said.

Chen’s office had to work a lot with the Assembly’s Education Committee to ensure the language of the bill was approved of. The bill had to go through Assembly Education, Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxics Material Committee the Senate Education and Senate Environmental Quality Committees before it could be passed.

Through meeting with water districts to help foster their relationships with school districts, Chen learned about a lot of incentive programs that aren’t being utilized enough by the schools.

“We need to make sure that the community and the school districts are educated on water conservation and the programs that are available,” Chen said.

Although there is still much more to be done to help with the state’s drought, this bill is a good beginning to a more conscious future when it comes to water conservation.

“I think that this bill is a great start in helping get the conversation going with school districts and water districts,” Chen said. “I do believe that this bill is just a start and there is more that can be done on water conservation efforts and I look forward to working on this issue in the future.”

When asked whether or not a water conservation bill would have been considered without the help of the Guardians, Chen responded, “Water conservation is an important topic that definitely needs to be addressed, I am glad that the Water Guardians brought their idea to my attention so I could help them achieve their goal.”

“We want to create a future for our community and state where we have a plentiful water supply and all citizens are better prepared with water conservation skills for life,” Lim said.

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West Nile risk high in La Habra

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West Nile risk high in La Habra

Posted on 19 July 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

The third mosquito that tested positive for West Nile Virus was discovered in La Habra last week
Orange County Vector Control noted the mosquitoes were collected from La Bonita Park.
The previous mosquitoes were discovered last month in the same park.
Vector Control routinely monitors populations of adult mosquitoes and test groups of adult female mosquitoes for the presence of WNV and other mosquito-borne viruses.
The San Gabriel Valley Vector Control urges La Habra Heights residents to do the same. While none have been discovered in the Heights, there is still a need for precaution, said Jason Farned, Public Information Officer for the SGV Vector Control.
WNV is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes are WNV carriers (“vectors”) that become infected when they feed on infected birds. Infected mosquitoes can then spread WNV to humans and other animals when they bite.
Approximately 80 percent of people who are infected with WNV will not show any symptoms.
Up to 20 percent of the people who become infected will display symptoms which can include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Symptoms generally last for just a few days.
Less than one percent of individuals infected with WNV will develop severe illness or possibly death.
A person can reduce their risk of WNV infection by:

  • Stay indoors at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Use repellent containing the active ingredients DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535.
  • Dump or drain standing water
  • Repair broken or torn screens on windows and doors.

For more information and updates contact: www.ocvector.org

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LH Collaborative encourages a Soda-Free Summer

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LH Collaborative encourages a Soda-Free Summer

Posted on 19 July 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Taylor Engle
La Habra Journal

Two years ago, the La Habra Collaborative launched its first ever Move More Eat Healthy Movement, an initiative aimed to help reduce obesity in children and adults. The movement saw such positive response that the Collaborative was led to begin its Soda Free Summer 2017.
The Collaborative sat down with St. Jude’s Hospital to come up with the idea of having children and adults sign a pledge stating that they would try their best to not drink soda the entire summer. Participants were rewarded with a baby blue wristband to signify their allegiance.
Participants are taking the initiative seriously, but so is the entire city. The City of La Habra wrote and signed a proclamation dedicated to a Soda Free Summer.
“The dates are from June 20 to September 23—basically from when kids got out of school until they go back,” said Executive Director of the La Habra Collaborative Sandi Baltes.
La Habra’s schools are already soda free, so it made sense to begin the initiative. Additionally, any meeting held by the city of La Habra is requested to be soda free.
“We have collected well above 1500 signatures so far of people promising they will not have soda over the summer,” Baltes said.
A few years ago, St. Jude’s Hospital conducted a study revealing La Habra as the third worst city when it comes to child obesity. Sugar is a big cause, and soda is a big source of sugar.
“A can of soda has seven and a half teaspoons of sugar and the American Heart Association recommends you have no more than six teaspoons a day, and here we are with one soft drink exceeding that,” Baltes said. “So that’s a big source of sugar.”
The aim of the initiative is not only to fight obesity but to bring awareness about health to the community.
“I think soft drinks are very bad for your teeth and your health, but mostly I’m concerned about obesity,” Baltes said. “Every year fifth and sixth graders have to do the Fitness Gram. La Habra has not done well in the past, but recently we’re starting to see improvement.”
Although the focus is on children, the Soda Free Summer is well supported by adults throughout the city. Amidst the 1500 pledges are Baltes, owner of Lady Bug Pest Control Diego Hernandez and wife Tambi, city councilmen Tom Beamish and Michael Blazey, business manager of Our Lady of Guadalupe Scott Miller, Recreation Manager David DeLeon, LHCSD superintendent Dr. Joan Culverhouse, realtor Carrie Surich, and even La Habra Journal Editor Jay Seidel and his wife Jennifer.
All of these citizens have pledged to be soda-free for the summer and many of them are reporting weight loss and feelings of overall health. Blazey is proud to say he hasn’t had his favorite soda in over two weeks.
For the future, the Collaborative plans to continue their efforts to promote health in the community.
The goal for fall 2017 is to get into fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s or Carl’s Jr. and ask that the default drink on the kids’ menu not be soda. While they don’t have an agreement confirmed, the fast food chains have been responsive so far.
For more information about the challenge or about the La Habra Collaborative, go to the organization’s website at lahaboracollaborative.org.

 

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Sonora alum seeks to highlight human spirit in award-winning film

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Sonora alum seeks to highlight human spirit in award-winning film

Posted on 19 July 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

The actress sat by the window on the set and looked out, just as she was supposed to do. Everything was set to shoot the first scene. The director shouted his commands and then said the magic line, “Action.” That’s when the actress, Gitane Neil, stopped, looked at the director and said to him in a serious “Cory, come here.” The director, Cory Reeder, got up and went to the young actress. She looked at him and asked, “can I have a hug?”
The two hugged and the actress smiled and said, “I’m ready.” Reeder went back to his chair and shooting of the film “Best Friend” began.

Filmmaker and Sonora alumni Cory Reeder (center) directs actress Gitane Neil (right) while producing the short film “Best Friend,”which won the Best Film award for the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge.

Reeder, a filmmaker and Sonora High School graduate, and his crew shot “Best Friend” in one day as part of the 2017 Easterseals Disability Film Challenge. The short film, which chronicles the light-hearted story of a family relocating from New York to Los Angeles and the concerns of a young girl with Down Syndrome to find a friend.
This marked the fourth year Reeder entered the contest, but the first year that he swept the awards by netting Best Film and Best Awareness Campaign.
While he enjoyed winning the top award, Reeder acknowledged that it was something else that motivated him to make the film.
“Currency of the heart,” he said. “There were just moments like that hug, that the audience doesn’t get to see that makes it worth it. “
Reeder has been making films since before he started attending Sonora. He explained that his interest in film was fueled by his father.
“My parents divorced when I was young,” he explained. “When my dad would come visit, we would always see a movie, sometimes two or three a weekend. It was a bonding time.”
That bonding time fueled Reeder’s creative nature. He already had a passion for music and in particular the drums, but film was something different. It was art, it was storytelling, it was an escape.

Sonora alum and filmmaker Cory Reeder

Reeder had to deal with challenges early on. His mother battled cancer. Then when he was finishing junior high his older sister was killed, which sent his family into a depression. His mother’s cancer came back, this time she wasn’t able to fight it off.
Reeder, a Sonora swimmer and water polo player at this time, hit, what he called a rough time. He credits some of his teachers at Sonora as helping out.
“My coach, Jack Hawkins, was pretty in tune with what was going on and helped me,” he said. “He kept an eye out.”
He also credits his art teacher, Doug Stanton, as a guy that helped him through the loss of his mother and sister. Reeder explained he was always into drawing, but Stanton showed him his collection of VHS tapes.
“He told me if you’re ever having a bad day, you can come here and watch movies,” Reeder explained. He said Stanton was the first to show him the “non-blockbuster” films.
“He had me watch this movie ‘Eraserhead’ and wanted me to write a report on it,” he said. “I watched it three or four times to find a point and I finally realized there wasn’t a point…it was avant garde and could provoke thought.”
It was then Reeder said he realized the art of films.
He went to Fullerton College then Cal State Fullerton where he studied film and also continued to pursue his other passion of music by playing in local bands.
He started shooting short films in and around La Habra and music videos of his friends. But he scored big when he got a gig working for Ridley Scott’s production company.
Reeder went on to create his own film company, Renaissance Man Productions. He was also playing in a band, which was a house band at The Roxy in Hollywood.
He explained that he finally committed fully to filmmaking when he was hired to shoot a music video and he destroyed his drums as part of the video.
Reeder got connected to the Disability Film Challenge when he had to cast a little person in a film he was doing. The actor, Nic Novicki, was working to develop the challenge. Reeder said once he started shooting, he was hooked.
Reeder said he tries to do what he can to hire skilled individuals with disabilities. He also looks to hire women and said he loves to have them work in roles that have traditionally been for men in Hollywood.
Reeder said the film challenge is just part of his production process now. He will continue working with the challenge and being somewhat of an advocate to help Hollywood to become more inclusive.
He’s looking to make Best Friend into a feature length film and continuing writing and making more films.
For Reeder, the 50 hugs a day from Neil during production, makes everything he does worth it.

Watch the award winning “Best Friend” short film by clicking  HERE

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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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Suavé provides evening full of smooth music

Suavé provides evening full of smooth music

Posted on 06 July 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Alondra Urizar
La Habra Journal

The event was not set to start until 7 p.m. but by 6:30 p.m., nearly half the attendees had already filled half the grassy area El Centro-Lions Park provided for La Habra’s Summer Concert Series on Thursday, June 29.

People filled the field and the stage was set for the 10-piece Latin band, Suavé to play at El Centro-Lions Park for La Habra’s Summer Concert Series last Thursday.

The band formed in 1998 by Rene Burguan, who plays the trumpet and congas, and includes members from Los Angeles area. Even though lead singer Veronica Carrillos only just joined the band six months ago, they all gelled and played well because of their deep history and connection in music.

“I used to play with another band at Santa Fe Springs Swap Meet and that’s kind of like a hub for all of the local bands. Just networking, I went and saw them one Sunday and liked their style. So here I am,” Carrillos said.

Carrillos has performed at other Concerts in the Park for approximately eight years and finds music is a way to talk to the crowd in a different way.

“This is actually my first time here in La Habra but I’ve done concerts in the park before for other places like Norwalk or Whittier,” Carrillos said. “Music is healing. It also a language that unites people so I think it’s very important… It’s awesome. Music reaches people [in the way] that nothing else can. And that’s what we love about playing music. That we can reach people that otherwise could not be reached.”

Attendees were well fed from Calvary Chapel, La Habra High School Cheer and El Governador who gave different options such as nachos, popcorn, cookies, cupcakes, tacos and burritos.

Attendees, both young and old, moved, danced and enjoyed Latin favorites and oldies music.

The Miss La Habra queen and princesses went around asking the audience to participate in the La Habra Host Lions Club raffle for a 1965 Ford Mustang with proceeds going to several programs within La Habra such as the La Habra Boys and Girls Club, Help for Brain Injured Children, the youth center, senior citizen programs and many more.

Suavé entertained the crowd all the way to 10 p.m.

The Summer concert series is taking this week off due to the city’s Fourth of July celebration, but will return next week at the La Habra Marketplace at 7 p.m. with The Answer as the featured band.

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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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