Archive | November, 2013

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Lady Heralds playoff run ends at Santiago

Posted on 30 November 2013 by La Habra Journal

Whittier Christian's Jennifer Washle gets a hand on an attack by Santiago's Cheyenne Richards during a 3-0 Santiago win, Saturday night. Richards led all hitters with 16 kills.

Whittier Christian’s Jennifer Washle gets a hand on an attack by Santiago’s Cheyenne Richards during a 3-0 Santiago win, Saturday night. Richards led all hitters with 16 kills.

by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

CORONA – The Whittier Christian girls’ volleyball team saw its storied season come to an end, falling to Santiago of Corona 3-0, Saturday night in the second round of the CIF State playoffs at Santiago High.

The Lady Heralds overcame a slow start and competed with the Sharks throughout, but couldn’t figure out outside hitter Cheyenne Richards, who recorded 16 kills in Santiago’s 25-19, 25-21, 26-24 victory.

Santiago moves on to face Westview of San Diego in the Southern Regional finals.

“They have two very good outside hitters and so do we,” said Shawn Hunter, Whittier Christian head coach. “It was a battle of outsides tonight, but I think their ball control was a little cleaner than ours and that gave them an edge. We were out of system a lot tonight and it’s tough to run an offense from 10-to-12 feet off the net.”

Senior outside hitter Chanel Hoffman added 13 kills for the Sharks (39-0), while setter Jessie Prichard totaled 35 assists.

While the outside hitters were scoring points for Santiago, Whittier Christian’s outside hitters were mirroring for the Lady Heralds.

Deanna Blaine led with 15 kills, Kylee Wolfe added 10 and Stephanie Stevenson finished with eight from the middle.

Jennifer Washle finished with 35 assists and Nicole Santos led the back line with 17 digs.

Down 2-0, the Lady Heralds got off to a quick start in the third set and built an 8-3 lead. That advantage would hold up in large part to the outside hitters, with six kills from Wolfe and five from Blaine, until Whittier Christian made it 23-17.

However, realizing they were in danger of dropping their first set at home all season, the Sharks went on a 7-0 run to take the lead, 24-23.

Whittier Christian's Deanna Blaine fires a kill shot past Santiago's Cheyenne Richards in the third set, Saturday night. Santiago knocked the Lady Heralds out of the state playoffs with a 3-0 win.

Whittier Christian’s Deanna Blaine fires a kill shot past Santiago’s Cheyenne Richards in the third set, Saturday night. Santiago knocked the Lady Heralds out of the state playoffs with a 3-0 win.

In the run, Richards came up with two kills and middle blocker Alexandra Kloehn scored with two blocks and a kill.

After trading points, Richards gave the Sharks the advantage with the kill. Santiago won the final point when an attack by Wolfe sailed long.

“It was very nice to see the way our girls didn’t want to quit, that should have been Whittier Christian’s set,” said Arlen Elvik, Santiago head coach. “We did not have an answer for [Blaine], but they just don’t quit, it’s been that way all year.”

With the score tied 5-5 in the first set, Richards’ serving put the Lady Heralds out of system, leading to a 6-0 run. Later, Hoffman added three kills and two aces to help Santiago stretch the lead to 19-10.

But two aces from Delaney Harris, along with a block and three kills by Blaine made the set more competitive before Hoffman finished it with a kill.

“We just started slow tonight and it’s tough to do that against a good team like Santiago, they just went on a couple runs in the first two sets that took us out of it,” Hunter said. “They’re a great volleyball team, I’m excited with how my girls competed against them.”

Stevenson made a difference for Whittier Christian to start the second set, scoring her team’s first four points with kills from the middle.

But late in the set, Santiago gained separation with strong play on the front line. Richards blocked a shot, while middle blocker Makayla Wolfe came away with two kills in a crucial stretch that helped put the Sharks up 2-0.

Natalie Betancourt led Santiago with 20 digs and Hoffman added 10.

Whittier Christian’s season ends with an overall record of 33-7. The Lady Heralds will lose eight seniors to graduation.

“This group of eight kids has played together since junior high and they came in here and exceeded expectations, exceeded potential,” Hunter said. “Being in Division 2, a little school like ours, it’s great to see them compete in that way, I’m extremely proud of them.”

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Lady Heralds storm past La Costa Canyon into CIF State second round

Posted on 26 November 2013 by La Habra Journal

Outside hitter Kylee Wolfe attacks during the third set of Whittier Christian's 3-1 win over La Costa Canyon, Tuesday night at Whittier Christian High.

Outside hitter Kylee Wolfe attacks during the third set of Whittier Christian’s 3-1 win over La Costa Canyon, Tuesday night at Whittier Christian High. Photos by Shane Morines, La Habra Journal

by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

Last year in a first-round CIF State Southern Regional playoff match, the Whittier Christian volleyball team struggled against a 6-foot-2 middle blocker in a 3-1 loss at Martin Luther King High in Riverside.

The Lady Heralds were faced with the same test against La Costa Canyon’s 6-foot-3 outside hitter Brittany Abercrombie, but overcame the challenge in a 3-1 (25-22, 21-25, 25-16, 25-15) victory at Whittier Christian High, Tuesday night.

Whittier Christian (33-6) will face undefeated Corona Santiago, Saturday in the second round of the CIF State Southern Regional bracket.

“We knew that their opposite is a great blocker and we tried to stay away from her and spread our offense,” said Shawn Hunter, Whittier Christian head coach. “We wanted to put pressure on them and keep them guessing.”

With the Lady Heralds leading 1-0 and the second set remaining close, Abercrombie’s hitting overpowered Whittier Christian late as La Costa Canyon tied the match.

However, the Lady Heralds continued to put pressure on the Mavericks (25-10) in the final two sets, taking La Costa Canyon out of system and making Abercrombie less of a threat.

Deanna Blaine, who led the Lady Heralds with 20 kills, was asked to help guard Abercrombie’s side and finished the third set by blocking the senior outside hitter.

“After winning the first set, we knew that beating them was doable,” Blaine said. “We just refocused and tried to recall what worked when we beat them in the first set and tried to go back to that.”

Kylee Wolfe added 15 kills and 14 digs, while Stephanie Stevenson finished with 10 kills for the second consecutive match.

Jennifer Washle tallied 47 assists and 12 digs.

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La Costa Canyon’s Cady Francis scores after her shot is deflected by Whittier Christian’s Stephanie Stevenson in the second set of Whittier Christian’s 3-1 win, Tuesday night.

The Lady Heralds against suffered from slow starts in the first three sets, but La Costa Canyon was never able to take complete control.

In the first game, Whittier Christian took control on a 4-0 run that included two aces by Blaine, leading to a 16-13 lead, which the Lady Heralds wouldn’t relinquish.

La Costa Canyon struggled on serve early, totaling six service errors in the set.

But the Mavericks wouldn’t go quietly. With the second set tied 18-18, Abercrombie notched three kills to give La Costa Canyon the edge. The Mavericks won the set when a Whittier Christian serve sailed long.

“I wanted to continue to put pressure on them, I felt like we had a Game 2 lull,” Hunter said. “I thought they came back and fought better, we knew they weren’t going to miss those serves in the second set, they didn’t and they put some more pressure on us.”

With the score tied 10-10 in the third set, Blaine put together four kills to give Whittier Christian control. Later, Wolfe added a pair of kills and an ace before Blaine ended the set by blocking Abercrombie.

The Whittier Christian bench rushes to meet the starters and celebrate a 3-1 win over La Costa Canyon, Tuesday night.

The Whittier Christian bench rushes to meet the starters and celebrate a 3-1 win over La Costa Canyon, Tuesday night.

Behind an early 6-0 run, the Lady Heralds took control of the fourth set. Blaine scored six kills and Wolfe added five in a dominant set that sent the Lady Heralds to the second round of the Southern Regionals for the first time since 2009.

Abercrombie finished with 17 kills for the Mavericks, while fellow outside hitter Cady Francis added seven. Setter Emma Anderson tallied 37 assists.

The Lady Heralds now turn their attention to CIF-SS Division 2AA champion Corona Santiago. The two will face off Saturday night at Santiago High.

“Win or lose, coming off of [CIF-SS playoffs], it’s such a long toll and you feel like you’re at the end of the season and it can be tough to continue to focus,” Hunter said. “I’m proud of what they did tonight…. Now we get to play the No. 1 team. It’s going to be fun to see what we can do.”

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Shorthanded Heralds drop season opener

Posted on 26 November 2013 by La Habra Journal

WClogoby Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

Playing without two senior starters, the Whittier Christian girls’ soccer team fell to Hacienda Heights Wilson 4-0 in its season opener, Thursday afternoon at Whittier Christian High.

Due to injuries and ineligible players, the Lady Heralds played the entire match without the luxury of substitutions.

Two crucial members out were midfielder Sophie Basalone due to injury and sweeper Meghan Buchanan, who is still playing with the volleyball team in the CIF State Regional playoffs.

While Whittier Christian’s mindset was frenzied in the first half, fatigue played a factor late as the Ladycats scored three of their four goals in the second half.

“They scored their first goal early on and that frazzled us,” said Nicole Nicolaides, Whittier Christian head coach. “We came out really scattered and we couldn’t settle down. I don’t think we found our rhythm in this game.”

Wilson jumped ahead immediately, scoring in the 2nd minute when Cristina Flores scored on a cross pass by Caitlin Greenup.

Both teams had opportunities in the first half, but neither converted and the Ladycats took a 1-0 lead into halftime.

“We got into a kicking game with them because we panicked, they played a little quicker than us,” Nicolaides said. “I know we’re better than that, we just had some players moving around in different spots, playing positions they aren’t necessarily used to playing.”

Replicating the first half, Wilson doubled the lead two minutes into the second half as Anitza Jimenez put the ball in net, which was also set up by Greenup.

Whittier Christian had a scoring opportunity in the 60th minute, but a shot from the right side sailed wide. Greenup scored two minutes later for the Ladycats.

In the 71st minute, Wilson’s Jasmine Alvarado took possession on a breakaway and lofted a shot over goalkeeper Klarissa Flores, who came out to contend the shot.

Flores finished with seven saves.

The Lady Heralds had one final shot with a free kick in the 78th minute, but the ball narrowly cleared the crossbar.

“We had to move some players around because of some others that we were missing today,” Nicolaides said. “But they didn’t complain about it, they stepped up and did what they needed to do, but it was tough for them to be in that position.”

 

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Christie Wan’s freshman tennis season ends in record fashion

Posted on 25 November 2013 by La Habra Journal

Christie Wan set a WCHS record by reaching the 3rd Round of the CIF-SS Tennis Individuals, Monday at Whittier Narrows Tennis Center.

Christie Wan set a WCHS record by reaching the 3rd Round of the CIF-SS Tennis Individuals, Monday at Whittier Narrows Tennis Center.

by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

SOUTH EL MONTE – Whittier Christian freshman Christie Wan’s sensational tennis season came to an end in the 3rd Round of the CIF-SS Tennis Individuals, Monday afternoon at the Whittier Narrows Tennis Center.

After feeling little resistance in the first two rounds, Wan was paired with Peninsula High sophomore Ena Shibahara, who helped her team win the Division 1 team championship earlier this month.

Shibahara is also ranked No. 3 in the 16s grouping of the United States Tennis Association rankings.

Despite struggling on serve at times, Wan held her own against Shibahara, but Wan’s woes on the serve allowed for some sharp returns from her opposition.

“I need to work on my serve more and just hitting bigger,” Wan said. “Ena’s a great competitor, she didn’t let me breathe during the match, she kept jamming the ball and it was tough.”

After falling behind 2-0 in the first set, Wan battled back to tie before Shibahara took the final four points.

Shibahara took control of the second set early, with Wan scoring her point to make it 5-1.

It was the first and only loss for Wan in a season that saw her break a school record when she reached the 3rd Round of the tournament. No player in Whittier Christian history had made it that far until today.

In the first two rounds, Wan swept Gladstone’s Jessica Rosas 6-0, 6-0 followed by a sound victory over Hacienda Heights Wilson’s Vicky Limayo 6-2, 6-2.

“I felt like the first two matches were a bit easier, I was able to control them,” Wan said. “My serve was much better in the first two matches. I’m really happy with my run, I feel like next year I’ll know more about high school tennis and how to get better.”

Wan finished her freshman season with an overall record of 38-1.

Whittier Christian Head Coach Nicole Nicolaides said that Wan’s experience in making it this far in the CIF-SS Tennis Individuals will pay dividends for her going forward.

“We saw a kid who is very competitive, she’s very talented,” Nicolaides said. “I think she was a little intimidated at first, especially in her match against Ena, but she looks at it as a way to grow in her game too. Playing experienced players will only make her better.”

The Lady Heralds also sent the doubles team of Abby Burdick and Klarissa Flores to the CIF-SS Tennis Regionals and the duo made the most of the experience.

After falling in the first set of their first round matchup 1-6, Burdick and Flores stayed alive by winning a tiebreaker to take the second set 7-5.

In the third set, they were outdone 7-10 by Long Beach Poly’s Daniela Gochuico and Rylie Borje.

“They impressed me this season because they only started playing last year,” Nicolaides said. “They played some really good tennis today and fought until the end. I’m proud of them.”

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Whittier Christian repeats as Division 2A Champions

Posted on 23 November 2013 by La Habra Journal

The Whittier Christian girls volleyball team celebrates after defeating Mayfield 3-0 to clinch it's second consecutive CIF-SS Division 2A title. Photos by Jay Seidel, La Habra Journal

The Whittier Christian girls volleyball team celebrates after defeating Mayfield 3-0 to clinch it’s second consecutive CIF-SS Division 2A title. Photos by Jay Seidel, La Habra Journal

by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

ORANGE – The Whittier Christian girls’ volleyball team relied on previous playoff experience and strong finishes to secure its second consecutive CIF-SS Division 2A Championship after sweeping Mayfield High of Pasadena, Saturday morning at Santiago Canyon College.

Though Mayfield took early leads in all three sets, the Lady Heralds kept their composure and eventually broke away late in each set of the 25-19, 25-19, 25-19 win.

“I think [the keys] were our experience and trust,” said Shawn Hunter, Whittier Christian head coach. “Mayfield put us out of rhythm quite a bit, but once we got into a rhythm late in games, I really feel like we had the experience and trust to cover each other, get after it and put pressure on them.”

Outside hitters Kylee Wolfe and Deanna Blaine continually pounded the Mayfield defense, finishing with 15 and 11 kills respectively, while Stephanie Stevenson played a big role in the middle with 10 kills.

Jennifer Washle orchestrated the offense with 40 assists and Nicole Santos anchored the defense with 16 digs.

“Stephanie was hitting at a really high percentage and it was working,” Hunter said. “She just happened to be on fire today, everyone did a really great job.”

Kylee Wolfe tips the ball over Mayfield's Faith Doney during the second set of the Lady Heralds' 3-0 sweep of the Cubs, Saturday morning.

Kylee Wolfe tips the ball over Mayfield’s Faith Doney during the second set of the Lady Heralds’ 3-0 sweep of the Cubs, Saturday morning.

The Cubs (24-2) jumped ahead by five points early in the first set and four points early in each of the second and third sets.

But each time Mayfield jumped ahead, Whittier Christian (32-6) reeled it in, tying each set at the midway point.

“It’s neat to see our girls really get after it and fight with teams, knowing that we are going to get pushed at every point, that we’re the bulls eye, it’s a lot of fun” Hunter said.

The Lady Heralds ended sets with runs of 10-2, 8-2 and 6-2 to claim a second consecutive championship.

After Mayfield took a 9-4 lead in the first set, the Lady Heralds went to Blaine and Wolfe outside, eventually tying at 12-12 on a block by Wolfe.

With Delaney Harris serving, the Lady Heralds went on a 6-0 run, with a Stevenson kill putting Whittier Christian up 21-17. Kylie Cooke closed the set with the team’s fourth block.

The second set ended in similar fashion, with Harris serving to a 7-0 run which put the Lady Heralds up 24-17 on a big kill by Blaine. After two points by Mayfield, the senior outside hitter would connect once more to close the set.

Whittier Christian's Deanna Blaine eyes the ball before hitting it through Mayfield's Faith Doney and Cailin Beadles in the second set of Whittier Christian's 3-0 sweep, Saturday morning.

Whittier Christian’s Deanna Blaine eyes the ball before hitting it through Mayfield’s Faith Doney and Cailin Beadles in the second set of Whittier Christian’s 3-0 sweep, Saturday morning.

“She’s a very smart hitter,” Mayfield Head Coach Jon Basilio said about Blaine. “We played outside of our system and we went based off of leap. When you deal with a big, physical hitter, all you can think about is how high she jumps, which is like jumping into the sea, you lose that depth perception. In that situation, I think we needed to keep the court a lot smaller, instead of opening it up.”

With the Lady Heralds leading the third set 21-19, Washle recorded two aces, including the match-winner before Whittier Christian stormed the court to celebrate.

Natalie Johnson led the Cubs with eight kills, while Madison Forrest, Lauren Baxter and Alexandra Tulleners provided five kills each.

Cailin Beadles recorded 18 assists for Mayfield and libero Sarah Johnson led the back line with 21 digs.

“Our core group of players are sophomores and you can’t replicate this type of environment, how big it is,” Basilio said. “I don’t think we played our game today, but if we’re going to lose, we’re going to lose to the best team in 2A and that was Whittier Christian today.”

Both teams move on to the CIF State Championships, which start Tuesday. The CIF will release the bracket for the State playoffs on Sunday.

“I would love to host a home game, last season we won a title and we were the No. 7 seed,” Hunter said. “We’ll see what State says. I’d love to make a run and enjoy it this year, but I’m just happy that we can keep competing.”

[UPDATE] Whittier Christian was given the No. 4 seed in the CIF Division 2 State Championship Southern bracket and will host La Costa Canyon of the San Diego Section, Tuesday night at Whittier Christian.

The CIF-SS Division 2A Champion Lady Heralds pose for a photo after receiving their patches and championship plaque.

The CIF-SS Division 2A Champion Lady Heralds pose for a photo after receiving their patches and championship plaque.

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Highlanders stunned by Newport Harbor in Southwest quarterfinals

Posted on 23 November 2013 by La Habra Journal

La Habra quarterback Eric Barriere scrambles for yards while fighting Newport Harbor's Riley Gaddis in the Sailor's 49-48 playoff win, Friday night.

La Habra quarterback Eric Barriere scrambles for yards while fighting Newport Harbor’s Riley Gaddis in the Sailor’s 49-48 playoff win, Friday night. Photos by Jay Seidel, La Habra Journal

by Jeremiah Girard
La Habra Journal

The top-ranked La Habra Highlanders were upset, 49-48, by the Newport Harbor Sailors in the second round of the CIF-SS Southwest Division playoffs, Friday night at Newport Harbor High School.

The Highlanders defense couldn’t contain the Sailors’ aerial attack on offense. Junior quarterback Cole Norris completed 38-of-62 passes for 486 yards and five touchdowns.

“No matter who you are, you cannot go out there, give up 49 points and expect to win,” said La Habra coach Frank Mazzotta.

Right from the beginning, Norris established senior Quest Truxton as his go-to target. The Sailors jumped out to an early 21-0 lead, on three touchdowns connections by the pair. The early connections were for 14, 11 and 14 yards.

Truxton finished the game with 16 catches for 248 yards and four touchdowns.

The fourth touchdown between the two was the game-winning score.

With 50 seconds left Norris dropped back and lobbed a pass over the hands of La Habra defensive back, Elijah Carter’s hands. Truxton jumped up, caught the ball and kept both feet in bounds from 16 yards out.

La Habra managed to wake up and finish the first half on a 21-7 run. Eric Barriere overcame a slow start and began to settle into his groove. He opened the scoring for La Habra with a two-yard touchdown run.

Norris hit Cory Stowell on the next drive for a 15-yard score. Stowell had 11 catches for 110 yards and a touchdown on the night.

Before the half ended, Sebastian Salinas scored on a 34-yard run and Carlos Martin scored from 10 yards out.

On their first drive of the second half, La Habra tied the game at 28-28 on a 67-yard scramble by Barriere. It appeared that all the momentum was in the Highlanders’ favor.

Carlos Martin breaks a big run against Newport Harbor in the Highlanders' 49-48 playoff loss. Martin rushed for 156 yards and two touchdowns.

Carlos Martin breaks a big run against Newport Harbor in the Highlanders’ 49-48 playoff loss. Martin rushed for 156 yards and two touchdowns.

The Sailors answered with a 1-yard run by Trevor Shaw, to regain the lead at 35-28. The lead did not last long and the Highlanders were able to answer on their next possession.

Barriere hit Elijah Carter deep down the sideline for a 53-yard score. Just over two minutes into the fourth, La Habra took their first lead of the game, 42-35, on a 62-yard run by Martin.

Once again, Newport Harbor answered right back and scored on a two yard run by Chance Siemonsma.

With 2:07 left, the Highlanders scored to regain the lead on a 48-yard pass from Barriere to Martin. The two both had great offensive games for the Highlanders. Barriere threw for 253 yards and two touchdown passes, while running for 152 and two more touchdowns.

Martin ran the ball 18 times for 156 yards and two touchdowns and also had 48 yards receiving and a touchdown.

Newport Harbor (7-5) will take on Fullerton next week in the CIF semi-finals.

It’s the second consecutive year that La Habra has been knocked out in the quarterfinals. The Highlanders finished with a record of 10-2.

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Nonprofits face new city leases

Posted on 21 November 2013 by La Habra Journal

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

Four non-profit organizations will have to approve a new lease deal for their facilities after a split decision by the La Habra City Council Monday.
The Gary Center, Help for Brain Injured Children, The Community Resource Care Center and the Historical Museum are housed in city-owned buildings and will now be offered a five-year lease, with an additional five year lease with mutual agreement for the facilities.
The organizations have been operating on a one-year lease for the last 20-30 years according to Kent Roberts, president of the La Habra Old Settlers Historical Society, which oversees the museum, and presenting a case for the nonprofits to the council. Roberts had been asking the city for 19-year leases for each of the nonprofit groups.
“They just want to have more time so they can do what they do in the community,” Roberts said.
However, the city did not want that long of term.
Mayor Pro-Tem Tom Beamish said that he didn’t want to make the decisions for future city councils.
Council members seemed in agreement that they don’t foresee a time where the city council would ever evict the nonprofits from the properties, which fueled Roberts’ argument for the longer term.
Councilman Tim Shaw cast the dissenting vote against the five-year lease. Councilman Jim Gomez abstained from the voting and left the council chamber because he felt more open discussion with the nonprofits needed to take place before a lease offer was made.
The city council also agreed that the nonprofits in the city-owned buildings will have to be fully responsible for paying their utilities (something they had not done in the past). This is projected to allow the city to save approximately $21,500 per year.
A point that Shaw agreed was right.
“If you are paying the bills yourself, you will naturally be more responsible and shut off lights when not in use and not blast the AC during the summer and so on,” he explained.

The nonprofit tenants will continue to pay the annual $1 fee for the use of the facilities. The non-profit organizations have helped pay a large percentage of the capital improvements for each of the facilities, the most being HBIC with approximately $1.4 million spent over the years on upkeep and the Gary Center with just under $1 million.
Roberts cited a long-term lease is beneficial for non-profit organizations as they seek grants and endowments to help with their operational funding.  He agreed that the five-plus-five year lease helps, but reiterated that a 19-year lease would even be better for this cause.
All have a 90-day termination clause and the council established that termination by either party had to be approved by a four-fifths vote of the council, in an effort to ensure greater stability.
The Museum had an additional stipulation in the lease that if the council were to terminate the lease, a new, suitable location for the museum would need to be found.
The leases will now be formally presented to the organizations for their approval and signatures.

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Heights adjusts city’s public hours

Posted on 21 November 2013 by La Habra Journal

By Daniel Hernandez
La Habra Journal

Attempting to stabilize the backlog of public record requests, La Habra Heights officials at the Seal_La Habra HeightsNovember council meeting implemented a new approach to controlling the demand for such documents.
Council members agreed to change city office hours in order to create enough time for staff to do city work and to further place certain public records online.
“We don’t have the capacity,” City Manager Shauna Clark explained at the meeting about her staff attempting to utilize a new computer program while catering to the public.
The city has spent money on an electronic system, Laserfiche, which stores records and makes them available on the Internet.
As of now the program remains unimplemented because of what the city manager deems a lack of working hours and manpower to implement the new program.
“We came forward with this with the best of intentions, to satisfy the needs of the community … for records that they needed to access,” Councilman Michael Higgins said about the Laserfiche program. “We have obligated and spent money on this and have been stymied for the last three months by all these records requests.”
The city hired an additional deputy city clerk to index and upload the records, Clark explained. But she has spent 90 percent of her time responding to a recent increase in public record requests.
Laserfiche, a private document managing and imaging company, explains on its website that it can manage documents with its company because of the public’s ongoing demand for government transparency and access.
Heights officials have struggled to meet the demand of a large amount of record requests that come in daily, and the city council members answered the staff’s plea for help by allowing them to adjust the hours available to the public.
“The level of records demands in La Habra Heights far exceeds levels experienced by other cities,” Clark said about discussions staff has had with officials from other communities.
Although officials left the opening and closing times up to the city manager to decide, at the meeting an agreement was made to keep the office available for public record requests for a minimum of five hours a day.
Critics of the implementation at the council meeting contend that certain California law does not allow for the city to set particular hours for requesting public documents.
But the California Public Requests Act states: “Records may be inspected at an agency during its regular office hours.”
Heights officials seem to be setting the office hours for the records inspections in this case.
The Public Records Act essentially permits the public the right to scrutinize and analyze requested city documents and allows public officials a period of 10 days to respond to such requests. However, certain exemptions are allowed under the law.
“If immediate disclosure is not possible, the agency must provide the records within a reasonable period of time, along with an estimate of the date that the records will be available,” the law states.
If no record can be produced, Clark explained at the council meeting, city staff is bound by state law to explain the absence of a record and assist in finding a record that may satisfy the request.
Clark sent a memo to her staff earlier this month cautioning them not to hand immediate available documents to the public if a backlog exists, careful not to demonstrate preferential treatment, no matter the case.
Clark explained the city received more than 2,000 public record requests in the last five years.
She explained that the staff was fairly current with responding to requests until mid September when 91 requests were made. The previous monthly average was 60 per month, Clark said.
Clark also explained that other factors that contribute to the current backlog is the ongoing appeal process in the city hall renovation process which has caused a strain on staff resources.

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LH needs a plan for future businesses

Posted on 21 November 2013 by La Habra Journal

If you have a chance, you should head to the La Habra Historical Museum and take a look at the current exhibit on the businesses of La Habra.  There are artifacts from former iconic places like Trapper’s Inn and Burch Ford as well as historic photos that show La Habra streets lined with businesses that are no longer there.
While it’s good to reminisce about all the great times and great businesses that have been in the city, it’s also a little disheartening. As you drive through La Habra you can see a number of closed businesses, empty buildings and vacant lots. Times have indeed changed.
If you drive down Imperial Highway you might not see what I’m talking about.  Yes, there are some spots like the old Contractor’s Warehouse property and the lot that used to be home to the gentleman’s club that was closed and leveled. But there is a great deal of growth at the southern entry points to the city including the Imperial Promenade to the west and the new CVS to the east. However, as you move north, things change.
Empty buildings and lots dot the landscape along Harbor Boulevard.  Former gas stations, Burch Ford, the former Big Lots are some examples of the need for new development. Try to drive north on Harbor any day from 3-6 p.m. and you’ll find it packed with commuters cutting over the hill to get to the 60 Freeway.  What an impression they must have of La Habra as they see the shuttered properties. (Fullerton doesn’t help by letting the old Beckman property stay undeveloped and having Albertsons leave.)
Drive down Whittier Boulevard and you’ll see a similar empty landscape. From the empty lot that used to be Graham’s Chevron to the old Hughes Market shopping center and the land that used to be home to Big Deal Car Wash.
The city is ripe for greater economic development. Both Whittier and Harbor Boulevards are high traffic points for the city and with the right type of businesses will allow for more people to stop and shop in our community.
As I said, the right type of business is needed. Commercial developers and city officials in our community need to take heed and encourage new businesses to come to our city.  We don’t need another discount store or a second or third version of a current business. We need businesses that are unique.  Maybe businesses that La Habra residents currently travel to other cities to visit (like a Trader Joes).  Let’s look to attract new stores and businesses and develop some of these empty or abandoned properties.
The city, the Chamber of Commerce and the commercial real estate and developers should work together to develop a strategy on helping grow La Habra’s economic development through greater incentives for these businesses.  They also should work with the current businesses to see how they might be able to grow or remodel.
Current residents and visitors should see a thriving La Habra and not fenced up properties with “For Lease” signs.
Otherwise, when residents visit the La Habra Museum’s exhibit on the history of local businesses in 50 years, they will see more photos of empty lots and empty buildings.

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Gary Center offers free legal services

Posted on 21 November 2013 by La Habra Journal

By Lauren Davis
La Habra Journal

It’s time for some “law and order” in La Habra. The Gary Center can now add legal services to its wide range of free community programs offered to the public.
Diana Lopez, the owner of the Law Offices of Diana Lopez in Orange, is currently offering free legal clinics at the Gary Center on the first and third Friday of every month, from 10 a.m. until noon.
Lopez began the clinics last month, with a majority of services surrounding family law, landlord and tenant issues, small businesses, labor and employment issues, and personal injury. The legal clinics are meant to offer advice and information about how to deal with any legal issues a person may be having. The clinics are one-on-one, and approximately six people are seen during the two-hour period.
Jorge Montoya, the assistant executive director at the Gary Center, said that before Lopez volunteered her time, there was a large need for legal services at the Gary Center.
“We would get paperwork from the county for child support [and] welfare, and we would help them a lot,” Montoya said. “Within that crowd, people would also ask for lawyers for things like being sued by their landlord and other related issues.”
He added that since a majority of the Gary Center visitors are Spanish speaking, they needed to find an attorney who was bilingual. Lopez fit that need.
Lopez said that she began the legal clinics after a staff member from the Gary Center contacted her office for advice on a woman’s case.
“It was a labor and employment situation where she (the woman) was being mistreated at work,” Lopez said. “I was just inspired by her (staff member), and how she was going out of her way to that extent to really try and get this woman some help.”
She added that the goal behind the legal clinics is to give the community an opportunity to understand how to deal with any and all types of legal issues.
“This access to information is paramount, since a lot of people will either ignore legal issues or hope they go away on their own,” Lopez said. “Being able to get that information or have that question answered is a huge relief for many people.”
Diana Lopez has been a practicing attorney since 2009, and specializes primarily in the areas of labor and employment, and personal injury. She also serves on the Board of the Orange County Hispanic Bar Association as its president-elect.
For more information, please visit: garycenter.org.

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