Archive | December, 2012

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Pioneers beat Heralds to take Leon Davis Championship

Posted on 29 December 2012 by La Habra Journal

By Nathan Percy
La Habra Journallogo-heralds

Second half foul trouble, coupled with missed layups and free throws, were key factors as Whittier Christian’s boys basketball team fell to Western, 55-48, in the championship game of the 7th Annual Leon Davis Classic, Saturday night at Whittier Christian.

An aggressive Pioneers squad took it to the Heralds in the third quarter, drawing several fouls and attempts at the free throw line to take control.

In the fourth quarter, Whittier Christian couldn’t convert on its free throw opportunities, which aided Western in keeping its slim advantage.

“We knew they were going to bring more pressure in the second half, that rattled us,” said Sherwin Durham, Whittier Christian head coach. “They got back in the game quicker than we anticipated. We couldn’t really get anything going on the offensive end, but I like the fact that our guys battled until the end.”

In total, the Heralds were whistled for 24 fouls during the course of the game and had three players with four each.

Western didn’t fare much better with 19 fouls, but the Pioneers were more controlled in the second half with just seven fouls and at one point, had one foul opposed to the Heralds’ nine.

All-Tournament selection Tyler Chacon led the Heralds with 18 points, but missed two minutes late in the third quarter after re-aggravating an ankle injury suffered Dec. 10.

“He’s still a little bothered by that ankle, any quick stopping motion will aggravate it a bit,” Durham said.

He would return toward the end of the third quarter and finish the game.

Noah Evans provided nine points and 10 rebounds off the bench and Blake Coleman scored eight points for the Heralds.

“With our squad, if you play well you stay,” Durham said. “If we have a guy in foul trouble, we have another guy who can go in and give us some minutes. It’s good to have some depth and we’re just trying to juggle those guys and keep them happy.”

Coleman scored six points in the first quarter and Chacon scored seven in the second quarter as the Heralds gained a 21-14 advantage at the half.

However, Western came out blazing to start the third quarter with drives that resulted in free throw attempts.

Luckily for Whittier Christian, the Pioneers made just 3-of-9 attempts in the quarter, but Western’s quick defense limited the Heralds to six third-quarter points.

Western regained the lead midway through the quarter and never relinquished.

Jason Walker, selected as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, scored five of his 12 points in the third quarter and Ricardo Lopez added six more as the Pioneers outscored the Heralds 17-6.

Foul trouble took over in the fourth quarter, where Western connected on 10-of-14 free throw attempts.

Western’s Humberto Monroy scored all eight of his points in the final quarter to push the Pioneers while the Heralds struggled at the line, making just 5-of-12 free throws down the stretch.

Chacon matched Monroy’s eight fourth-quarter points, but it wasn’t enough as Whittier Christian fell in the Leon Davis Classic Championship game for the second time in three seasons.

“I like the fact that we battled back from a seven-point deficit to cut it to a one-possession game in that fourth quarter,” Durham said. “Ultimately, we just missed easy shots, we had four or five missed uncontested layups, then you have the free throws, those two things have been killing us all season, hopefully we can correct it.”

Both losses, coincidentally, were against Empire League teams as the Heralds lost by one point to Pacifica in the 2010-11 championship.

However, Durham still believes that despite the loss, this year’s tournament provided much help for his team.

“I think every league game is going to be tough, so the more close games we play will help us become a better team down the stretch,” Durham said. “We’ve talked about seeing different styles and one of those will equate to a team we see in league play.”

Ryan Esslinger was also selected to the all-tournament team for Whittier Christian, while Lopez and DeAndre Harris (nine rebounds) were selected for Western.

The Heralds will have one more nonleague game against La Serna at home before Olympic League play starts up on Jan. 8.

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Whittier Christian beats Ontario, advances to championship

Posted on 28 December 2012 by La Habra Journal

By Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

The Whittier Christianlogo-heralds boys basketball team is heading back to the Leon Davis Classic championship game after a 69-52 victory over Ontario in pool play at Whittier Christian High.

The Heralds last made the championship game of their own tournament two years ago, falling by one point to Pacifica.

This opportunity didn’t come easy for the Heralds, who immediately found themselves in a hole after the Jaguars started the game on a 13-2 run, which included scoring the game’s first nine points.

Christian Beltran led the charge with six of those points and four others contributed with one basket each in the run.

After a timeout, the Heralds went on a 13-2 run of their own as the defense forced bad shots and fought for rebounds to tie the score at 15-15.

“There was an effort to make body contact, we want to be more physical,” said Sherwin Durham, Whittier Christian head coach. “We have 20 fouls to give and so we look at all the big guys and see how aggressive they are. We were pleased with that adjustment tonight.”

The momentum was short-lived though, as Ontario regained a slight advantage in the second quarter thanks to 13 first-half points from Beltran.

Blake Coleman and Tyler Chacon both hit 3-pointers to keep the Heralds close behind, but the Jaguars’ Albert Gomez hit a runner at the buzzer to put Ontario on top 34-29 at the break.

In the third quarter, the Heralds focused their game plan on a different aspect, quick and aggressive defense.

Chacon began connecting on the offensive side with help from Noah Evans and the team held the Jaguars to five third-quarter points in turning a five-point halftime deficit into a seven-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.

“We were a little disappointed in the way the first half ended and so we got on them a little bit in the locker room,” Durham said. “The kids just came out with energy, they responded in a positive way.”

Led by Chacon, the Heralds ran away in the fourth quarter.

The senior scored 13 of his game-high 27 points in the final frame, most of which came off turnovers on the fast break.

“We’re glad to have him back, when he wasn’t there we were missing those points,” Durham said. “He seems to be healthy, he’s a big plus for what we’re trying to do, his point production is huge and he’s our leading scorer.”

Evans played an important role early, with four first quarter points off the bench after Shawn Stolt, who started at center, found himself in foul trouble.

Evans, a sophomore, finished with 10 points and Ryan Esslinger added nine more to go with nine rebounds for the Heralds.

Beltran led Ontario with 18 points and 11 rebounds to become the second player in as many nights to record a double-double against the Heralds.

Gomez provided help with 13 points, including two 3-pointers.

Ontario will play in the third-place game tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. at Whittier Christian.

The Heralds will follow at 6 p.m. in the Leon Davis Classic championship game for the second time in the last three seasons.

“We’re glad to be back, it was a battle to get to this point,” Durham said. “The kids wanted to represent this school in the championship and I think that was key tonight.”

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Raider girls soccer comes up short against Dos Pueblos

Posted on 28 December 2012 by La Habra Journal

By Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

LA MIRADA––soccer1The Sonora girls soccer team made adjustments defensively to hold Dos Pueblos after an early goal, but couldn’t get an equalizer in a 1-0 loss at La Mirada High, Thursday night.

Chargers forward Jamie Benedetto scored the game’s lone goal in the fourth minute off a free kick by Emma Trumbull in a set piece.

However, the Lady Raiders keyed on Benedetto throughout the remainder of the game and Dos Pueblos’ offensive opportunities were limited for the remainder of the game.

“We have a hard time finding that initial goal and in soccer, once you get that goal, the rest will come,” said Alex Bengard, Sonora head coach. “Defensively, once we figured out their key player, the girls stepped up. I thought we could grab a tie or even a win.”

The pressure on Benedetto meant more time in the offensive zone for Sonora, however, the Chargers’ defense was up to the challenge, disrupting almost all attempts at goal.

Junior forward Amalia Serna had two big opportunities, one in each half, but could not find the net.

In the 9th minute, a throw in found Serna in front of the goal, but her shot rose above the cross bar and out of bounds.

“She’s a girl with an extreme amount of pace,” Bengard said. “It’s just a matter of her having the confidence to do it, when she does, she creates problems for teams. We stress to our forwards that if they don’t score, create positive opportunities and I thought she did that tonight.”

Later in the half, Sonora had two opportunities taken away by offside calls and a corner kick failed to land inbounds.

At the start of the second half, another offside call took away a one-on-one opportunity, while Dos Pueblos missed a chance to extend the lead when Malia Morales led too far with a cross.

Sonora goalkeeper Cortney Coyle punched away two corner kicks in the second half.

The Lady Raiders spent most of the second half pressing on offense.

Serna had another opportunity in the 46th minute after getting past the goalkeeper, but a Dos Pueblos defender knocked the ball away at the last moment, denying a shot.

Eight minutes later, Tatsiana Loscutoff’s header sailed over the net after a long throw-in from Kristy Wickham.

That miss would be the last opportunity for either team as Dos Pueblos hung on for the win.

“I just want to see the girls continue to play with energy,” Bengard said. “We feel the goals will come and if that means we get hot when league comes, that’s better, but we don’t want them to put their heads down. If they play like we know they can, everything will fall into place.”

Sonora will continue action in the North Orange County Classic tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. at La Mirada High.

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La Habra boys lose close one to Wilson in Whittier Tourney

Posted on 28 December 2012 by La Habra Journal

By Nathan Percy
La Habra JournalLHHS+SHS boys_basketball__371_4cLHHS+SHS boys_basketball__371_4c

The La Habra boys basketball team spent the entire second half trying to erase a small deficit, but ultimately lost 47-46 against Wilson of Hacienda Heights, in the second round of the Whittier Holiday Invitational, Thursday afternoon at Whittier High.

The Highlanders erased the deficit with four minutes to spare in the fourth quarter, but hit just one shot, a corner 3-pointer by David Desatoff with 7.2 seconds left, from that point on.

“We lost a close game today, but we’re in them now,” said David Ploog, La Habra head coach. “We have to learn to play with fatigue and make the right play and this experience helps with that. We slacked off for a quarter or two and it cost us and we talk about playing the whole time. We’re getting there.”

The second quarter put La Habra in a hole. Wilson outscored the Highlanders 17-7 to turn a four point deficit into a six point halftime lead.

In the second half, the Wildcats stretched the lead as high as nine points, but La Habra slowly started to reel itself back with stingy defense.

Desatoff provided the points for La Habra, putting in 17 with help from Justin Jaimez, who scored nine points.

However, Desatoff was charged with his fourth foul with the teams tied and four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

But the defense remained solid and the two teams traded trips down the court and missed shots until Wilson’s Justin Diaz knocked down a jump shot in the lane.

“At halftime, only three guys scored and we talked about other guys stepping up,” Ploog said. “They have to be ready for the opportunity and hopefully this will help give those guys a little more confidence.”

After another unsuccessful La Habra trip, Eli Mercado made two free throws following a foul to extend the Wildcats’ lead to four points.

Desatoff then hit his 3-pointer from the corner and La Habra fouled Mercado again.

However, Mercado missed the free throw and Adam Cooley bobbled the rebound, leaving only a desperation attempt for Zach Gray from just inside half-court.

The shot missed and Wilson escaped with a one-point victory.

Diaz led Wilson with 14 points and Mercado helped with 11 points, including three 3-pointers.

Kenny Lopez and Brandon Miramontes controlled the boards, with nine and seven rebounds respectively for Wilson.

“We’re trying to fine tune what we’re doing and add a couple things defensively,” Ploog said. “We’re trying to add or refine some things and I don’t want to wait for league play to do it, so we’re getting there.”

La Habra continues in the Whittier Holiday Invitational tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. at Whittier High.

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Local Basketball Roundup (Wednesday)

Posted on 26 December 2012 by La Habra Journal

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BOYS

Sonora 68, Fallbrook 46

The Raiders raced to a 28-14 lead after the first quarter and cruised to a first round victory in the Mt. Carmel Holiday Classic.

Four Sonora players scored in double-digits, led by sophomore guard Josh Rodriguez with 16 points. Jimmy Golden added 12 points.

La Habra

It was reported that the Highlanders won their first round game against Santa Fe in the Whittier Holiday Invitational, but no score has been reported.

The Highlanders will play tomorrow at 3 p.m. at Whittier High in the second round.

GIRLS

Sonora 38, Poway 37

The Lady Raiders dug themselves an early 11-point deficit after the first quarter, but steadily erased it through the final three quarters, squeaking out a one-point victory in pool play of the So Cal Holiday Prep Classic at Westview High.

Kylie Rodriguez led all scorers with 12 points for Sonora and Lauren Nakahara added 11 in the come-from-behind victory.

La Habra 38, Orange 26

The Lady Highlanders played without Allyson O’Brien, who suffered an injury in the team’s league-opening loss to Sonora last Thursday.

However, Amy Wilbourn kept up her scoring pace with 17 points and the Lady Highlanders rolled to a first round victory in the Garden Grove Tournament. La Habra plays Wilson of Hacienda Heights tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. at Garden Grove High.

Whittier Christian 41, Jurupa Hills 33

Sydney Lopez was dominant for the Lady Heralds with 21 points and 15 rebounds in a pool play win over Jurupa Hills in the Ontario Christian Tournament.

Whittier Christian used a strong first half to give it enough cushion for the victory. The Lady Heralds will play Covina tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m. at Ontario Christian High.

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Herald boys take out Norwalk to advance in Leon Davis Classic

Posted on 26 December 2012 by La Habra Journal

By Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

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After a sluggish first quarter, the Whittier Christian boys basketball team increased its intensity around the basket, leading to a 48-39 home win over Norwalk in pool play of the Leon Davis Classic at Whittier Christian High.

The Heralds struggles produced just four first quarter points in what Head Coach Sherwin Durham believed was nerves in front of a good-sized home crowd.

“It’s tough to play at home when you expect a nice crowd and you have early game jitters,” Durham said. “I think the kids tried to play too hard, sometimes you get over-pumped for a game and I think that effected us.”

Tyler Chacon scored 11 points in his first start since suffering an ankle injury, Dec. 11. Ryan Esslinger matched that total and the duo got help from Blake Coleman and Noah Evans with seven points each.

However, the team struggled to establish themselves early as Norwalk jumped to a 9-4 first-quarter lead and out-rebounded the Heralds 12-6 in the opening quarter.

Whittier Christian would soon put the pieces together and midway through the second quarter, a 12-2 run aided the Heralds in taking the lead at the 4:02 mark of the second quarter.

The Heralds would not give the lead back from that point and further separated itself from the Lancers when Chacon hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give his team a 20-13 halftime advantage.

Defensive pressure helped the Heralds force nine Norwalk turnovers in the third quarter, but the Lancers maintained the seven-point deficit until Jason Hoogsteen hit a 3-pointer and followed it with a buzzer-beating jumper to push Whittier Christian’s lead to 12 points.

Despite being outscored in the fourth quarter, Whittier Christian got five points from Evans and four from Esslinger down the stretch to seal the nine-point victory.

“That’s what we want to do [attack the basket],” Durham said. “Our perimeter shots are not falling for us right now, but if we play inside out, we should get a lot of easier looks and start knocking down those shots. It worked out for us tonight.”

Hoogsteen and Esslinger led the team with five rebounds apiece, while Coleman and Chacon blocked two shots each.

In the loss, Rashaad Perry recorded a double-double for Norwalk with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Alex Vidana added 11 points and six rebounds.

Both teams struggled from the floor throughout the game, with Norwalk shooting 30.6 percent from the floor, while Whittier Christian shot just 25.3 percent.

The Heralds made 4-of-17 attempts from 3-point range.

Durham also made three changes to the starting lineup, adding that he wanted to put some of his kids in different roles and see encouragement from the bench.

Whittier Christian will take on Amino South Los Angeles Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at Whittier Christian High.

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LHPD, schools work for safety

Posted on 24 December 2012 by La Habra Journal

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

The tragic events that took place last Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Connecticut, have had some residents in the La Habra and La Habra Heights communities looking at the local school districts.

Since Friday there has been an increased presence in all of the local schools, according to Interim Police Chief Jerry Price.
Price added that the police department is there and doing everything it can to ensure safety.

“We have protocols in place and teachers have been trained in procedures,” said Susan Belenardo, superintendent of the La Habra City School District. “ We will do everything that we can to keep the children safe.”

The protocols on campuses call for visitors to check in at the office and have an identification badge or sticker displayed to show they have been cleared through the office.

“We work closely with the local law enforcement agencies and our teachers and staff members watch over their students throughout the school day,” explained Patricia Howell, superintendent of the Lowell Joint Union School District. “We encourage parents to continue to work with the school staff to ensure that we are maintaining the safest learning environment possible.”

For the police department, Price added that the officers continue to prepare for emergencies of all types. School emergencies continue to be one scenario that they train for.

“We have participated in training at schools a number of times,” Price said.

He added that one of the officers has already been working on and updating the department’s emergency response plan for all the schools in the area. This will help them better plan and prepare for any emergencies that might happen at the campuses.

He explained that the police department is ready to respond to any emergency when they are needed. He added that the SWAT team “is a great resources for us that can be activated at any time of the day or night.”

However, he said that a large part of the department’s efforts are focused on the prevention side of such emergencies.

There will continue to be an increased police presence around the schools and in the surrounding areas throughout the return from winter break. This is both an effort of prevention and reassurance.

Price explained that “the police department is looking at its part and the schools are looking at their part, and we are all doing the best job that we can.”

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Candidates look to fill open LHH council seats

Posted on 24 December 2012 by La Habra Journal

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

There will be some new faces on the La Habra Heights city council after residents elect three members on March 5, 2013.
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Only one incumbent, Brian Bergman, will be on the ballot. Mayor Stan Carroll and Carl Westerhoff will not seek reelection.
The candidates vying for the open seats are: George Edwards, a small business owner, Michael Higgins, a retired executive of a manufacturing company and also the editor of Heights Life, Chester Jeng, a dentist, businessman, and attorney and Kyle Miller, a commercial real estate agent.

The candidates will join Roy Francis and newly appointed Jane Williams currently on the council.

In addition to the candidates, Heights residents will also be voting on two ballot measures that will be focused on funding and taxes.
Measure A is a proposal to raise the the city’s “Gann limit.” The limit was set as part of a statewide initiative in 1979 that helped control government spending.

“Establishes and defines annual appropriation limits on state and local government entities based on annual appropriations for prior fiscal year,” according to the official proposal in 1979.

The March ballot measure looks to increase the limit to allow the city to have more flexibility when it comes to operation spending.
Critics are concerned with the fiscal responsibility while supporters argue that the increased spending limits will help pay for city services like fire and police.

Measure B, which is the second measure on the March ballot is a proposal to raise the oil tax.

The increase would raise the per barrel tax from 25 cents to 60 cents. It would also raise the natural gas tax from 5 cents per 1,000 cubic feet of volume to 10 cents and the storage of gas removal tax from 3 cents per 1,000 cubic feet to 6 cents.

Supporters say the increase is needed to fund programs like fire and law enforcement, and has not been raised since 1996. Critics again are concerned with proper fiscal oversight and there are no safeguards that ensure the money will be spent for emergency services.

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This is a community of compassion and caring during a time of need

Posted on 24 December 2012 by La Habra Journal

When all is dark and when we are searching for answers, it is good to know that there are people out there that provide support and help. The horrific tragedy that took place in Connecticut on Friday left many with a feeling of loss and deep sorrow. It will take many of us a long time to come to terms with what happened at that elementary school. The irony is that this is the most joyous time of year where many are celebrating holidays and preparing for the new year. It is the time of year that we think about others rather than ourselves. So, it is benefiting that there is such an outpouring of support and love for those who have suffered.
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It is the outpouring of love in our community that was witnessed this past weekend that has reinvigorated my love for La Habra. As you will see in this issue, the events that took place this past weekend show how much this community cares.

I personally was in awe at the hundreds of students that filled Sonora High School’s commons Saturday. They were there, not because they were supposed to for an assignment or to get extra credit for a class. They were there to give back to the community in a huge way.
The annual food drive, which is much more than food, allowed the students to provide food, blankets, toys and love to families in the community who are struggling this time of year. They spend three weeks working on this and the tireless effort put on by the students and the teachers are admirable.

Albertson’s in La Habra (on Whittier and Beach) stepped up and helped with discounts and more inventory.

The La Habra Host Lions and other community partners put on the second annual Operation Santa Toy Drive. The Classic Car show last week in the parking lot of the CVS Distribution Center brought in hundreds of toys and donations that the organizers were able to give out Saturday to children in the community. Rides, food, games and even a visit by Santa brought smiles and spread much needed holiday cheer to those who attended.

The city of La Habra Heights and the La Habra Heights Improvement Association brought a winter wonderland to the Park at Hacienda. The snow brought in allowed local children to see the snow and participate in a three-hour long snowball fight. The energy given off by the children’s laughter and happiness were so much that it could power our community for years to come.

In addition to these outreach programs, there are a number of efforts put on by the many churches throughout our community. There are the random acts by neighbors who cook food and leave it on the doorsteps of neighbors who might be in need this time of year.

These acts of kindness and love are examples for us to see just how great this community truly is. It bands together and cares about its members. It makes us feel proud of who we are and provides light in time of darkness.

At this time, we at the La Habra Journal are grateful to be able to provide the newspaper to this great community and are looking forward to all the wonderful things in 2013.

So, from the entire staff at the La Habra Journal, Happy Holidays and here is to a great new year!

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A star that means more to La Habra families

Posted on 24 December 2012 by La Habra Journal

bluestar__18For two women, helping local military families cope with uncertainty and find support is what matters most.

By Christina Ledesma
La Habra Journal

For families with loved ones who are serving overseas, the uncertainty and longing can be challenging. One La Habra organization makes helping these families a priority.

Blue Star Support for La Habra families have identified about 75 families in La Habra and La Habra Heights that have a family member who are active in the military.

The majority of these families have purchased military banners through the Blue Star Support program that hang on La Habra Boulevard, to honor and recognize the sacrifice and service that their family member has given for our country.

According to Cheryl Cooley, who started the La Habra program with Ernestine Zapien, said that unfortunately not all the families can afford a banner for their loved one, so they look for support from the community and business donations to help families offset the cost.

“It’s really cool to drive down the street and see all the different branches of military and recognized names and families.”

Cooley and Zapien have both experienced having family members in the military and became interested in Michelle Obama’s Joining Forces campaign, which is a national organization that supports service members and military families.

“I want to stress this is not a political group, and that’s one of the biggest things that you run into with the military. The support for the military is not support for any specific political party; it’s not support for war or support against it. It’s strictly support for families who have someone deployed.”

With Michelle Obama’s focus on military families through her campaign, in 2008 a group of military spouses came together to start the non-profit organization Blue Star Families to bring awareness of the challenges that military families face. Cooley and Zapien started the Blue Star Support for La Habra Families about a year ago, and it is just one out of 70 chapter-based communities across the country.

“We noticed that we had a lot of friends, we notice there were classmates of our children who had someone in the military that was deployed. Whether if it was an older sibling, a parent, an uncle that they were very close to. And so we decided we wanted to do something more and bring awareness to the fact that La Habra does have a large active military family.”

Cooley mentioned that her goals for the program focus around the 2012 Blue Star Families Military Family Lifestyle Survey, which states that “95 percent of military family members feel the general public does not truly understand or appreciate the sacrifices made by them and their families.” So they want to focus on coming up with small ways to support the local families in La Habra by helping them connect with resources, getting banners for public recognition, having local businesses host a family dinner when their loved one comes home and providing tips for the schools by including that deployed family member in the child’s life, whether if it’s hanging a picture of the child’s deployed family member in the classroom or Skyping with them during a parent/teacher conference. The Blue Star Support program also works closely with The Gary Center to provide support groups for military families who need counseling services.
Though this program is fairly new to La Habra, in the future Cooley would like to see every military family with a banner up on La Habra Blvd., and would also like to implement a banner retiring ceremony with the city to acknowledge the military members who our returning home.

“Just a public acknowledgement I think that just speaks volumes for our community and it’s a welcome home. And I know our city feels that way and our government feels that way. It’s just a very small way to acknowledge the family who served.”
Check out Blue Star Support for La Habra Families on Facebook.

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