Archive | April, 2014

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Big third inning leads to lopsided win for Raiders over Fullerton

Posted on 28 April 2014 by La Habra Journal

Gavin Blodgett helped to get things going for the Raiders in the third inning by hitting a double to put runners on second and third base. The Raiders defeated Fullerton 11-0 at home, Friday.

Gavin Blodgett helped to get things going for the Raiders in the third inning by hitting a double to put runners on second and third base. The Raiders defeated Fullerton 11-0 at home, Friday.

by Jeremiah Girard
La Habra Journal

The Sonora baseball team is now 9-0 in Freeway League play, after an 11-0 win over Fullerton High School, Friday, at home.

The game was scoreless through the first two innings, but the Raiders’ bats erupted for six runs in the third inning. Evan Sonny started off the inning with a single. Gavin Blodgett doubled and Andrew Piraino walked to load the bases with no outs.

Jake Rosander, Jose Lopez, Justin Mellano and Gabe Armstrong followed that up with four consecutive RBI singles.

After a Henry Bustamante strikeout, Mauricio Guadaramma laid down an RBI-squeeze bunt with the bases loaded. Sonny capped off the third-inning scoring with an RBI single, his second hit of the inning.

“You’ve got to be happy with the way we swung the bats today,” said Pat Tellers, Sonora head coach. “If we keep hitting like we have the past couple games, with our pitching and defense, we will be pretty tough to beat.”

Fullerton’s (9-9-1, 3-6) starting pitcher, Randall Ortiz, only lasted three-plus innings. He gave up eight runs on nine hits, with two walks and two strikeouts.

Armstrong was also the Raiders’ pitcher for the day and continued his recent dominance. He went five shutout innings while only giving up three hits, walking one and striking out three.

“I felt good today,” Armstrong said. “I got ahead of a lot of guys and made some pitches when I needed to.”

It seemed as if he could have gone longer than five innings, but he was pulled to allow JonPaul Sarro and Corey Latvala a chance to pitch.

“His pitches looked like they were getting a little flat,” Tellers said. “At this point in the season, it doesn’t hurt to rest some guys and get other guys on the mound either.”

Jose Lopez was the offensive star for the Raiders. He went 3-for-4 with four RBI and a run scored.

“I have been really happy with my at-bats of late,” Lopez said. “I have tightened up my approach and have been putting better swings on the ball.”

Sonora will now take on Buena Park, Wednesday, at home. The Coyotes sit at the bottom of the Freeway League standings at 2-7.

Evan Sonny is scheduled to take the mound on Wednesday and will likely only pitch five innings.

“We’re going to start taking the starters out after five innings,” Tellers said. “That will give guys a bit of a chance to get some rest and get ready for the playoffs. It also gives us a chance to get some guys ready to come out of the pen for us.”

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Key runs vault Heritage Christian past Heralds at home

Posted on 25 April 2014 by La Habra Journal

Whittier Christian's Jimmy West hits around a block attempt by Heritage Christian's Caleb Walden and Mike Otazu during the fourth set of the Heralds' 3-1 loss at home, Thursday night.

Whittier Christian’s Jimmy West hits around a block attempt by Heritage Christian’s Caleb Walden and Mike Otazu during the fourth set of the Heralds’ 3-1 loss at home, Thursday night.

by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

With an opportunity to force a tie atop the Olympic League standings, the Whittier Christian boys’ volleyball team stumbled in the third and fourth sets, falling to Heritage Christian 3-1 at home, Thursday night.

After falling in a close first set, the Heralds battled back to tie up the match with a convincing second set. However, the Warriors came up with key runs toward the end of the final two sets, leading to a 21-25, 25-17, 20-25, 18-25 final for Whittier Christian.

The loss also marks the Heralds’ first at home this season.

“This win is huge, they’re a quality team and we know we’re going to get everyone’s best shot in league,” said Sheldon Sheehy, Heritage Christian head coach. “You have to come prepared each and every night in order to take that and come out on top.”

The difference was in the swings, as the Heralds second set victory produced 15 kills and no service errors, while the other three sets were hindered by hitting errors.

Whittier Christian (17-7, 4-2) had its offense running smoothly in the second set, as Jimmy West tallied five kills, while Ron Bellamy added four more from the middle blocker position.

Setter Austin Tafoya tallied 14 assists in the set and added a serving ace as the Heralds’ lone deficit was at 1-0.

Whittier Chrisitan's Austin Tafoya blocks an attack by Heritage Christian during the fourth set of the Heralds' 3-1 loss at home to Heritage Christian, Thursday night.

Whittier Chrisitan’s Austin Tafoya blocks an attack by Heritage Christian during the fourth set of the Heralds’ 3-1 loss at home to Heritage Christian, Thursday night.

“In the first game, we had only five kills and 10 hitting errors and we’re a team that needs to find a rhythm early,” said Chris Duran, Heralds head coach. “In the second set, we executed at a higher level and maintained the momentum throughout that entire game. It’s something that we can’t lose, we just couldn’t get over the hill in the later games, but we’re more than capable of doing that.”

But as quickly as the Heralds gained momentum, the Warriors took it back late in the third set. After battling back to a one-point deficit at 16-15, four consecutive errors by the Heralds gave Heritage Christian the separation it needed to close out the set.

The fourth set remained tight, as both teams battled to a 16-16 tie midway through.

However, the front-line presence by Heritage Christian made it difficult for Whittier Christian’s hitters to get solid shots.

“We just couldn’t hit around the block, which led to a lot of errors, they’re a great defensive team,” Duran said. “They’re a great serving team too, they put the ball where it needs to go, which takes us out of rhythm offensively. There were plays that seemed too good to be true for us not to put the ball down. We missed those moments tonight.”

The Warriors (19-0-1, 5-0) ended the match on a 9-2 run, with the final three points coming by way of consecutive serving aces by junior Caleb Walden.

Whittier Christian's Danny Mueller records a kill through the block by Heritage Christian's Luke Irving during the third set of the Heralds' 3-1 loss, Thursday night at home.

Whittier Christian’s Danny Mueller records a kill through the block by Heritage Christian’s Luke Irving during the third set of the Heralds’ 3-1 loss, Thursday night at home.

“Our front line presence was big, we scouted and kind of knew what they were going to try to do at the net,” Sheehy said. “We wanted to take away their primary option and make them try to hit their secondary shot and put diggers there. It didn’t really pay dividends until the third and fourth sets, but we finally got there.”

Jimmy West and Shawn Stolt led the team offensively, while senior libero Kevin Hoskins kept plays alive with some spectacular work on the back line.

Outside hitters Stephen Doerbecker and Walden led the way for Heritage Christian, with Mike Otazu providing the assists.

Whittier Christian will attempt to bounce back with a tough road match against rival Valley Christian, Tuesday night at Valley Christian High.

“We’re hoping to finish out with a second place finish, which will set us in a good spot for playoffs,” Duran said. “We’re hoping for 20-7, which would be a great season for us, but we’re taking it one game at a time. Valley is going to be tough, they took us to five games the first time around and it’s always tough playing in their place.”

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Lady Highlanders best rival Sonora behind Rodriguez’ pitching, team defense

Posted on 25 April 2014 by La Habra Journal

La Habra freshman pitcher Janelle Rodriguez pitched a complete game shutout, allowing four hits while striking out nine batters in a 2-0 win over Sonora, Thursday afternoon at Sonora High.

La Habra freshman pitcher Janelle Rodriguez pitched a complete game shutout, allowing four hits while striking out nine batters in a 2-0 win over Sonora, Thursday afternoon at Sonora High.

by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

La Habra head coach Frank McCarroll admitted that he felt like he took a bit of a gamble in sending a freshman to the circle to pitch against his team’s biggest rival.

Lady Highlanders’ freshman pitcher Janelle Rodriguez made sure that gamble paid off by pitching a complete game shutout and striking out nine batters as the La Habra softball team defeated Sonora 2-0, Thursday afternoon at Sonora High.

Rodriguez allowed four hits, two walks and a hit-by-pitch, but battled out of three jams with two baserunners.

“I couldn’t have done this without my team, they were behind me throughout the entire game,” Rodriguez said. “The early runs made me feel a little comfortable, but I knew with the girls behind me, I can trust them with anything.”

Both defenses took care of the rest, both coming up with big plays to keep the scoring at a minimum.

The Lady Highlanders put up single runs in the second and third innings, using sacrifice bunts and deep fly balls to manufacture both.

After Nikki Butler was hit by a pitch to open the second inning, pinch-runner Tatyana Peko reached second base on a sacrifice bunt, reached third base on a single by Rodriguez and came home to score when Anela Lopez’ fly ball to center popped out of the glove of Sonora’s Leandra Jew.

The Lady Highlanders (14-8, 3-1) got back-to-back singles to open the third inning, followed by a sacrifice bunt by Racquel Manzo and a sacrifice fly by Amanda Akles, which brought home Jayanna Perez from third base.

“We’ve been struggling at the plate over the last couple games, we haven’t been able to get that timely hit,” McCarroll said. “We stress it in practice, the importance of small ball and sacrifice bunts. If we have a runner on second base with less than two outs, we should be able to get them in.”

Sonora shortstop Chelsea Purcell makes a stop and throws over to first base to record an out during Sonora's 2-0 loss to La Habra, Thursday afternoon at home.

Sonora shortstop Chelsea Purcell makes a stop and throws over to first base to record an out during Sonora’s 2-0 loss to La Habra, Thursday afternoon at home.

Sonora starting pitcher Sam Casanas kept the Lady Highlanders in check for the last four innings. Casanas pitched a complete game, allowing two runs on four hits while striking out four batters, walking two and hitting four batters.

“I feel like it wasn’t her best games, she had the four hit batters, but I don’t think we could have asked anything more from her when you add the pressure of facing your biggest rival,” said Michelle Rodriguez, Sonora head coach. “We couldn’t have asked more from her. I thought the defense played really well.”

Janelle Rodriguez had to battle out of a shaky first inning before settling in and trusting in her defense. With one out, Taylor Clark and Katie Amaral hit back-to-back singles to put runners on first and second base.

However, Chelsea Purcell grounded into a fielders’ choice at third base, but Manzo’s throw to first for the double play sailed over the glove of Akles. The Lady Highlanders recovered and threw out Amaral, who attempted to retreat back to third base.

“We had our opportunities early on, it just didn’t seem like we had the timely hitting and they did,” Michelle Rodriguez said. “We thought we had a shot from Katie [Amaral], but their center fielder made a great play. We struck out too much, we took too many swings at balls out of the strike zone, but she kept us off-balance.”

Amaral led off the fourth inning with a single and reached third base on a passed ball, but was stranded there when Ashley Diaz flied out to right field to end the inning.

La Habra's Jayanna Perez went 2-for-3 at the plate with a run scored and made an over-the-shoulder catch in center field to save a run from scoring in the sixth inning.

La Habra’s Jayanna Perez went 2-for-3 at the plate with a run scored and made an over-the-shoulder catch in center field to save a run from scoring in the sixth inning.

But the big play came with two outs in the fifth inning. With runners on first and second base, Amaral hit a line drive to deep center field, but center-fielder Perez made an over-the-shoulder catch in front of the fence to end the threat.

“[Rodriguez] was in control, the only ball we were worried about was the line drive to center field,” McCarroll said. “We didn’t think it was going out, but Perez made a great play.”

Amaral led the Lady Raiders with two hits. The top three batters in Sonora’s lineup reached base a combined six times.

Perez, La Habra’s leadoff hitter, went 2-for-3 with a run scored and also reached on a walk.

La Habra will move on to play Buena Park at home next Tuesday, while Sonora (10-9, 2-2) has a crucial matchup on the road against Sunny Hills.

“We just need a win,” Michelle Rodriguez said. “That’s it. No excuses, we have goals that we have set for ourselves and if we want to accomplish those, we’re going to have to beat Sunny Hills.”

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Heralds squeeze out a league win over Heritage Christian

Posted on 22 April 2014 by La Habra Journal

Whittier Christian's Mike Rafter (shown against Crean Lutheran) scored the Heralds' first run in the first inning during Whittier Christian's 3-2 walk-off win over Heritage Christian, Tuesday afternoon.

Whittier Christian’s Mike Rafter (shown against Crean Lutheran) scored the Heralds’ first run in the first inning during Whittier Christian’s 3-2 walk-off win over Heritage Christian, Tuesday afternoon.

by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

Despite falling from his job as a starter at first base, Whittier Christian senior Dakota Veltkamp knew that he needed to stay ready in case his number was called for a pinch hit late in a ball game.

The senior’s preparedness paid off for the Heralds as he executed a squeeze bunt to give his team a much-needed 3-2 walk-off win over Heritage Christian, Tuesday afternoon at Whittier Christian High.

“I was waiting for my chance to get a hit, I was in a bit of a slump,” Veltkamp said. “Coach gave me the squeeze play and I couldn’t say no to him, I had to sell out…. I needed a boost, I was back in the bullpen taking dry hacks waiting for an at-bat and Coach told me to be ready. It worked out in our favor.”

Veltkamp’s bunt was pushed back to the pitcher as Cooper Hughes came home from third base to cap a two-run seventh inning for the Heralds.

The Warriors (8-13, 1-4) had no shot at beating Hughes to the plate.

“We had a bunch of opportunities, but couldn’t get it in,” said Brent Lavoie, Whittier Christian head coach. “Offensively we got a little stagnant and left a bunch of runners on base. We needed multiple runs in the first inning, we got one but then we lined into a double play. We left a few opportunities out there.”

Joseph Cobian also played a factor late, plating the game-tying run with a double to right-center field.

The big hit was preceded by two fielding errors by Heritage Christian, which put runners on first and second base with one out.

Cobian earned the win, pitching in relief of Jake Rivera, who gave up two runs on two hits in five-and-two-thirds innings. Rivera struck out three batters, walked three and hit one batter.

“Jake pitched really well for us today,” Lavoie said. “I feel bad that he didn’t get the win, he certainly deserved it.”

Equally as effective was Heritage Christian’s freshman pitcher Benji Foyle, who gave up three runs, only one of which was earned, despite giving up eight hits. The freshman allowed a first-inning run, but held the Heralds in check until the final frame.

“Three weeks ago, we made the decision that we needed to rebuild, so we called up a couple freshmen pitchers,” said Bobby Bell, Heritage Christian head coach. “Benji’s thrown really welly for us, I’m extremely proud of the kid.”

Foyle was given the lead in the sixth inning after the Warriors brought home two runs on a squeeze bunt by Anthony Aragon and a double steal attempt in which Aragon was caught between first and second base.

In the seventh inning, the Warriors threatened for more with runners on second and third base and nobody out.

The Warriors attempted another squeeze play, but Cobian’s pitch went behind the batter, which started a long series of throws that ended with tags of both baserunners.

“We had to go that route, their pitcher was doing a great job of keeping us off balance and we weren’t hitting the ball well,” Bell said of the small-ball approach. “When you’re not doing that you have to somehow apply pressure and we got it done. It didn’t work with the double play they executed in the seventh inning.”

With one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, Mike Rubio and Hughes both reached on bad throws, which set the stage for Cobian and Veltkamp’s heroics.

Earlier in the ball game, Cobian popped out to end the fifth inning with the bases loaded.

“In the previous at bat, after popping up, my mentality was that I needed to make an adjustment and get on top of something,” Cobian said. “It was a little nerve-wrecking to see the ball falling and two outfielders closing in on it, but when it fell, it was a big relief.”

Whittier Christian (11-9, 3-4) scored its first run before it recorded an out in the first inning. Mike Rafter and Brian Rafter started the inning with back-to-back doubles.

The Heralds threatened later with runners at first and second base, but Hughes lined into a double play and Cobian struck out to end the threat.

Whittier Christian hit into three double plays on the day, one of which prevented a run from scoring in the fourth inning.

On the other side, the Heralds were good defensively, only allowing one runner to reach via throwing error after making a few switches in recent weeks.

“We’ve had some good pitching, but we’ve had some defensive miscues,” Lavoie said. “Moving Rubio to third and Cobian to first base really cleaned us up. When you pitch well you have to take care of the ball defensively.”

The Heralds will close out their three-game set with Heritage Christian with a road game at the Mission Hills Senior League field in North Hills, Friday at 3:15 p.m.

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Heralds early onslaught leads to lopsided win over Santa Ana

Posted on 19 April 2014 by La Habra Journal

Jake Rivera rounds second base during his late-inning triple during Whittier Christian's 10-2 win over Santa Ana, Saturday afternoon at Whittier Christian High.

Jake Rivera rounds second base during his late-inning triple during Whittier Christian’s 10-2 win over Santa Ana, Saturday afternoon at Whittier Christian High.

Story and photos by Erik Markus
La Habra Journal

The Whittier Christian baseball team took control early putting up four runs in the first inning to cruise to a 10-2 victory over the Santa Ana Saints, Saturday at Whittier Christian High.

The Heralds were active on the base paths and took advantage immediately. Mike Rafter reached first base on a walk but swiped second and third without any trouble. Cooper Hughes drove him in with an RBI single with two outs in the inning.

Hughes swiped second and came home on a single to left from Joseph Cobian, who also stole second on a delayed steal attempt. Logan Veloff drew a walk.

With Brian Rafter at the plate, Veloff and Cobian moved up another base on a passed ball. Brian Rafter took care of the rest with a single to center which scored both runners.

Up four runs however, the Heralds kept the pressure on. Mike Rafter singled to lead off the second inning and went to third on an overthrow from Billy Scolinos’ single. Scolinos was thrown out trying for third. Mike Rubio doubled to bring in Rafter, and went to third base on a wild pitch.

“Rubio’s been swinging the bat very well,” head coach Brent Lavoie said, “He’s just getting into a rhythm, he’s still getting better every game.”

Hughes picked up his second of three hits on an RBI single to bring in Rubio. With the Heralds up six runs, Hughes was stranded at second after he stole his second base.

“Today was a big day offensively for Cooper, and we’re hoping that’s the spark that gets his bat going,” Lavoie said.

Chris Thompson struggled with his command, but escaped through two innings without any runs. However in the third, the Saints (3-14) put their first run on the board with a single to left with runners on the corners. Hughes showcased his arm gunning down two runners in the inning to keep the Herald’s margin to just five runs through three innings.

Thompson controlled the fourth inning to finish his day on the mound. After the Heralds added two more in the fourth inning, they began putting players in new spots.

“I like the fact that he still made big pitches and got big outs when he needed them, but he’ll tell you he did not have his best stuff,” Lavoie said of his starting pitcher.

Trevor McGee came in to relieve Thompson. McGee gave up one run through three innings and was able to locate his pitches efficiently. McGee showed surprisingly good command with his curveball, which will be helpful down the stretch.

“It’s sharp, it’s good we know he’s got good stuff, he’s just been having a little trouble controlling his stuff,” Lavoie said. “Now that he’s proven that he can keep it in the strike zone that’s a huge addition coming out of the bullpen.”

Logan Veloff came in to catch for McGee, and Hughes moved into centerfield. Dakota Veltkamp took over for Cobian and Jake Rivera got his first hit of the season with a pinch hit triple which scored Hughes.

The Heralds (11-9) are currently in third place in the Olympic League with a record of 2-4. They meet Heritage Christian on Tuesday and visit them on Friday. These two games will be pivotal for playoff positioning.

“We still steer our own vessel,” Lavoie said, “but we realize we’ve got to take care of business this week.”

 

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El Segundo’s quick start, strong finish is too much for Lady Heralds

Posted on 18 April 2014 by La Habra Journal

Whittier Christian pitcher Hannah Gabriel was asked to make a relief appearance in an 8-1 loss to El Segundo, Friday afternoon at Whittier Christian High.

Whittier Christian pitcher Hannah Gabriel was asked to make a relief appearance in an 8-1 loss to El Segundo, Friday afternoon at Whittier Christian High.

CHECK BACK FOR UPDATED PHOTOS FROM THIS GAME!

by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

After Thursday’s big win, the Whittier Christian softball team saw its momentum fall quickly in an 8-1 defeat at the hands of El Segundo, Friday afternoon at home in the second game of the Whittier Christian Tournament.

The Eagles turned two key hits into a 3-0 lead after the top of the first inning, while the defense behind pitcher McCall James did the rest.

“We just weren’t here today,” said Dale Van Duyn, Whittier Christian head coach. “We had 15 pop ups, which made it easy for them. We tell the kids every day that we need to make the defense work. If anything, at least this wasn’t league play.”

Katelyn Wagner was given the start for the Lady Heralds, but struggled with her command in the circle and found herself behind in counts.

To battle back, Wagner needed to throw strikes and the Eagles waited for their opportunities. Shannon Brooker drove home leadoff hitter Rhianna Rich from second base with an RBI single to open the scoring.

Three batters later, Julie Roach brought home two more with a line-drive single.

In the second inning, the Eagles extended the lead to 4-0 on an RBI groundout by Allison Tatnal. After another pair of singles, Van Duyn turned to Hannah Gabriel to slow down El Segundo’s offense.

The switch worked as Gabriel retired the first nine batters she faced, however with two outs in the fifth inning, the Eagles struck again with a two-run home run by Roach, who finished with four RBI on the day.

“They made the adjustments,” Van Duyn said. “I give them credit, they made the adjustments. We weren’t all there and momentum is a lot in this game, it made a big difference.”

The Eagles added two runs in the sixth inning with an RBI single by Brooker and a fielding error.

The Lady Heralds’ lone bright spot offensively was Morgan Ryan, who went 2-for-3 with a single and a solo home run in the fourth inning.

Whittier Christian finished with seven hits, but couldn’t string them together like it did on Thursday in a win over Long Beach Wilson.

“Morgan was on today, she played great defense and she gave us something at the plate,” Van Duyn said. “I wish everyone else was at that spot too.”

The Lady Heralds will be back in action tomorrow with two games, starting in the morning with a 10 a.m. game against Bloomfield Christian. The second game time will be determined by the result of the contest.

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LH looks to help fix quake damage

Posted on 18 April 2014 by La Habra Journal

By Jesse Ghawaly
La Habra Journal

Though the ground has settled in the aftermath of the 5.1 magnitude earthquake that stirred the city of La Habra a few weeks ago, many property owners are still working to repair the damages done to their properties.

The La Habra City Council has initiated a 90 day waiver of building permit fees for the structures that were affected by the quakes. After fielding over a 100 calls to the Building and Safety Division, the city enacted this waiver temporarily to assist towards and initiate the repairing process for those buildings.

The waiver was approved on April 7 by the council, just a day before the Orange County Board of Directors declared the earthquake a local emergency. The board of directors estimate the damage done to private and public properties in La Habra at approximately $576,000.

The cost related to physical damage to city facilities, public infrastructure and response efforts is estimated at $73,500, including damage to the roof of the La Habra Children’s Museum and two broken water mains.

Damage to residential properties is estimated to be $425,000. The largest portion of this cost is damage sustained to approximately 100 chimneys and 1,000 lineal feet of brick walls around the city, as well as general cosmetic building repairs (stucco and replacement of broken windows) and water system repairs on private property.

The cost of damage to commercial properties is estimated to be $78,000 and is largely damage to approximately 200 lineal feet of brick walls, 50 glass windows and ruptured water lines.

According to Assistant to the City Manager Robert Ferrier these damage estimates do not include costs related to loss of personal property or merchandise within homes or businesses.

Ferrier added that the city doesn’t expect the cost of damage will have much of an impact on the city’s General Fund revenue.” The per capita cost of the earthquake is approximately $9.30 per person.

In what seems like a win-win situation for the city and its businesses, this 90 day period will alleviate some extra burden on all parties involved.

Though the community was rattled from the waves of that late March earthquake, this waiver of permit fees should put public safety to the top of everyone’s agenda. For more information about this waiver contact the Building and Safety Division of La Habra at (562) 383-4116.

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Bergman voted new LH Heights mayor

Posted on 18 April 2014 by La Habra Journal

By Daniel Hernandez
La Habra Journal

Outgoing La Habra Heights Mayor Roy Francis sat on the middle chair in the council chambers April 10 for the last time during his first run as mayor, ending what some officials described as an eventful and productive era.
And before moving his seat at the table one over to the left, Heights councilmembers all voted in the first springtime meeting to accept the nomination of Councilman Brian Bergman as the next mayor of the city, continuing a tradition of promoting the mayor pro tem as the next agenda setter.Mayor Brian Bergman
“I want to thank Roy for all the hard work that he’s done over the last year,” said Bergman, who was elected mayor for the third time. “We did have a lot of issues, but Roy didn’t falter in any of those.”
In his stead, Francis oversaw the start of the city hall renovation, a change in decorum rules at the chamber podium and the hiring of a new trash hauler. And he witnessed community backlash against almost every decision made, including a lawsuit filed by community activist George Edwards.
But when asked about his accomplishments, Francis, an ex-firefighter, chose to look forward instead.
“I don’t dwell too much on that stuff. I just move on and try to do what’s best for the whole community,” Francis said.
Francis did not make any commitments on whether or not he will run next election, instead opting to weigh his options. Roy Francis- 2012
La Habra Heights council members elected Bergman as mayor for 2014-15. Bergman’s council term ends in March 2017. Although not required, tradition has dictated that the mayor pro tem become the next one in charge.
As mayor, Bergman, an operating manager of aircraft flight maintenance at a major airline, will oversee such issues as the Matrix oil drilling, state-mandated storm water management and pollution control, street repairs and the completion of the construction of city hall.
His first run at the helm was in 2007 when taking over the position from Tela Millsap. This was just before the nation’s great recession that devastated the economy, proving to be a difficult beginning for a first-time mayor. Yet Bergman seemed poised and experienced.
Councilman Kyle Miller, who was on the roads committee, asked the new mayor towards the end of his first meeting to place the city’s dilapidated roads on the agenda, “I would like to start the conversation on our roads,” Miller said. “The roads are deteriorating. It’s something we have to think about.”
Council members, in a unanimous vote, agreed to Miller’s assertions, and the topic will be discussed at a future council meeting.
Along with electing a new mayor, La Habra Heights council members defeated the outgoing mayor’s nomination of Jane Williams as the next mayor pro tem, instead electing Michael Higgins for the position.
Bergman, Higgins and Miller voted against Fancis’ nomination of Willliams’ for the position.

Michael Higgins

Michael Higgins

Bergman explained that he could not vote for Williams because he did not know if she would run for city council next election, attempting to avert the possibility of an inexperienced newcouncil member becoming mayor. Williams is the only woman on the La Habra Heights council.
“She’s been there a year and a half. She’s paid her dues,” Francis . “She deserves to be at the spot. She knows a lot of people and she gets a lot of information.”
Francis added that Higgins will do fine as mayor pro tem, stating that there is not much to the job, except for carrying the title and being another vote out of five.
Even though it seems — with four male council members and one female — men dominate the Heights council, the city has a history of female mayors, slight as it may be.
There have been a total of six different women and 17 different men holding the title of mayor. Men held the post 25 different times, while women did so 10 times. The first mayor of La Habra Heights, Jean Good, was female and held the post four times from 1979 to 1990.
Williams told the Whittier Daily News that she planned on running in the next election.

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State looks to continue local citrus quarantine

Posted on 18 April 2014 by La Habra Journal

By Heather Pape
La Habra Journal

The citrus quarantine affecting Los Angeles and Orange counties that was originally declared the last two years may continue for double the amount of time some had originally expected.
Two years ago, the Huanglongbing Disease (HLB), a disease that kills citrus trees, was discovered at a Hacienda Heights’ residence, and since then, a large amount of the surrounding area has been under quarantine. Ninety miles of Los Angeles County and three miles of Orange County have been contained so the bacterium does not spread further.
HLB is also commonly known as the citrus greening disease because it attacks the tree’s vascular system, causing deformed, bitter fruit before killing the tree. There is no cure for HLB. The bacterial blight is commonly transmitted by an insect known as the Asian citrus psyllids. They are gnat-sized, flying pests that first appeared on domestic fruit trees in California in 2008. They have been known carriers of the disease.

Because of an HLB epidemic that descended on Florida over the last few years, the $2 billion California citrus industry appeared to be in danger after finding the case in Hacienda Heights. According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), since the quarantine began in April 2012, no other cases of contaminated trees have been reported since the initial find.
According to Victoria Hornbaker, the citrus program manager for the CDFA, the CDFA is taking proactive measures to make sure any traces of the disease are identified so the virus can be contained within the quarantine boundaries.
“Within a mile and a half, every tree is getting sampled for the disease,” Hornbaker said. “We are doing a zone defense around that initial find. The initial find tree was removed and destroyed. Every host plant within 400 meters of that original find is getting tested six times a year.”
The CDFA is being thorough and cautious with how it tests trees, in order to continue the two-year-long disease-free streak. Hornnbaker states that the reason for the continued quarantine is that the disease may remain inactive for two to five years before a tree begins to show symptoms of HLB.
“Biologically, it would not be a sound decision to remove the quarantine in Hacienda Heights at this time,” said Hornbaker. “We are going to continue with the quarantine. We need to be out there…surveying and looking for plants that are showing symptoms. We are going to be sampling plants and we are also going to be collecting psyllids and testing psyllids to determine whether or not if they are positive for the bacteria.”
For those who live within the quarantine zone, the CDFA prohibits the movement of all nursery stock out of the quarantined zone, with the exception of commercially cleaned and packed citrus fruit. Fruit that is not commercially cleaned and packed, including residential citrus, is not allowed to be removed from the property on which it is grown. The CDFA also asks that residents look for symptoms of the HLB disease their trees might be experiencing. They will drop the quarantine as soon as they feel California’s citrus is safe.

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Annual Citrus Fair takes us back to the farm

Posted on 18 April 2014 by La Habra Journal

By Chu-Ling Yee
La Habra Journal

Thousands of children could not contain their excitement as they anxiously waited to go on the merry-go-round at the 5th annual Citrus Fair. Print_LHJ_CitrusFair2014Sun__294
Over 35,000 people attended the Citrus Fair to celebrate La Habra’s agricultural heritage on La Habra Blvd.
The La Habra Chamber of Commerce hosted the three-day event, which ran from Friday to Sunday. The event temporarily closed down parts of La Habra Boulevard located between Euclid Street and Cypress Street.
This year’s theme, “Back to the Farm” focused on the origins of La Habra’s economic growth- the walnuts, lemons and oranges- and how because of dedicated farmers, the city was born.
“We celebrate the history and what we’re learning from the history is how we can grow urban gardens right in our backyards, ” stated Mark Sturdevant, president of La Habra’s Chamber of Commerce.
The fair featured over 30 rides from Helm’s & Sons Amusement, a petting zoo and over 20 performances. All entertainers, including singers and musicians, had volunteered to perform.  Local businesses set up booths to educate and promote their businesses. Sturdevant stated that the community has always helped one another.

Alcoholic beverages were served for the first time this year. Before patrons could enter the Beer and Wine

Beermeisters: Kwan Lee, Dennis Edwards and Tim McAdam were serving beer and wine to the many guests at the inaugural beer garden at this year’s Citrus Fair.

Beermeisters: Kwan Lee, Dennis Edwards and Tim McAdam were serving beer and wine to the many guests at the inaugural beer garden at this year’s Citrus Fair.

Garden, they were asked to show identification, proving they were old enough to drink. Each person was allowed two drinks at a time.
Dennis Edwards, a chamber of commerce board member, stated that due to the popularity of alcoholic beverages at this past Oktoberfest, they decided to host the Beer and Wine Garden at the fair.
Many of the fair’s attractions welcomed fans of all ages. Royce Johnson, 17, a student at La Habra High won first in the Lemon and Orange Eating contest. As part of his strategy, he ate two lemons and four oranges by biting directly into them instead of peeling the skin off first.
“I made sure I ate all the oranges first and then the lemons. My mouth started burning,” Johnson said. He won $100.

Chu-Ling Yee/La Habra Journal Having some OJ: La Habra High student Royce Johnson eats an orange as he went on to win the citrus eating contest.

Chu-Ling Yee/La Habra Journal
Having some OJ: La Habra High student Royce Johnson eats an orange as he went on to win the citrus eating contest.

Families came out to enjoy a fun-filled day with their children, creating memories.
Madison Gomez, 6, attended the fair with her grandparents and said the Sliver Streak was her favorite ride, a ride that goes forwards and backwards, because it was “so fast.” When asked if she was scared of going on the Ferris wheel, she jokingly replied,” No, grandma was. I was hanging out with her. Scaredy-cat.”
“She loves the crazy stuff for a 6-years-old,” Charline Gomez, Madison’s grandmother stated.
The fair first started in 2011 after Sturdevant had a conversation with Recreational Manger David DeLeon in 2010 about planning an upcoming concert in Brio Park. Sturdevant suggested expanding the event into a fair. The chamber of commerce has been planning this event for the past six months.
This year’s fair celebrates over a hundred years of history. Before there was a city, local farmers gathered and lobbied to legislators, advocating the laws to be more favorable to farmers. The farmers’ club became the foundation for La Habra’s Chamber of Commerce and played a vital role in establishing the city, according to Sturdevant. La Habra became a city in January 1925.
Walnuts were the first cash crop in La Habra, causing a huge economic boom. Walnuts do not need to be Print_LHJ_CitrusFair2014__281watered continuously, which made it easier for farmers to grow. At the turn of the 20th century, walnuts became infested with the larvae of a moth, Dorothy Knox, docent coordinator at the history museum said.
Her family arrived in 1935 to help her uncle manage 26 farms. Knox recalls that citrus started to thrive in the area due to piped irrigation after the walnuts were destroyed. Willits J. Hole, developer of La Habra, brought water into La Habra from reservoirs in Murphy Ranch in Whittier. Employees at the Murphy Ranch brought in the water from the San Gabriel Valley.
Hole also bought the land and sold five acres to each family, giving others a chance to become financially stable. The citrus industry reached economic and prosperity in the 1940s.
Many were part of a co-op where they would take turns using the water.
“I can remember our foreman did all the irrigating on our ranch and he had a little piece of paper. He charted all these furloughs of water, how far they were going, how long it took them to get to the end,” she said.
The city no longer sells citrus commercially, but continues to grow.

Photos by Jay Seidel/La Habra Journal Arts & crafts: Community members had the chance to create and color a square that will be sewn onto the La Habra community quilt.  The quilt will encompass various aspects of La Habra and will be raffled off later this year.  The proceeds will go to a local charity.

Photos by Jay Seidel/La Habra Journal
Arts & crafts: Community members had the chance to create and color a square that will be sewn onto the La Habra community quilt. The quilt will encompass various aspects of La Habra and will be raffled off later this year. The proceeds will go to a local charity.

“La Habra has always been very homey and very much a community that you hear a lot of stories and people cooperating and making things happen.”

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