Archive | April, 2016

Highlanders bounce back against Indians

Highlanders bounce back against Indians

Posted on 30 April 2016 by La Habra Journal

By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal

The recently sputtering La Habra offense finally put it all together against Fullerton on Friday, splitting the series with a 9-2 win over the Indians.                    LHHS vs Fullerton_1

After dropping six straight league games, the La Habra baseball team knew it was now or never if they were going to have any chance at reaching the postseason. The Highlanders responded with an offensive outburst that was too much for Fullerton to handle.

After getting out to an early 2-0 lead, the Indians scratched their way back into the game, tying it up by the fifth inning.

La Habra pulled away for good with four runs in the sixth inning, highlighted by a pair of doubles off the center field wall from Zack Stack and Michael Borg.

Head coach John Sothern said the key to the offensive success today was staying in the middle of the field, which is something he has been preaching to his team for four years now.

“Stack doubled to left-center field and Borg hit the homerun and a double to center, we had a lot of balls hit to the middle of the field today,” Sothern said.

The Highlanders opened the game with a bang. Borg launched a two-run shot over the centerfield fence in the first inning.

La Habra's Brad Hoftrichter makes contact during the Highlanders' win Friday against Fullerton.

La Habra’s Brad Hoftrichter makes contact during the Highlanders’ win Friday against Fullerton.

The Indians got runners in scoring position in three of the first four innings, but starting pitcher Andrew Martinez almost seemed more comfortable with his back against the wall. Martinez got the Indians to hit into double plays in each of the first two innings.

Fullerton finally got a run across in the fourth inning on Andrew Ortiz’s sacrifice fly. Adam Castillo came into the game in relief with the bases loaded, but got the first batter he faced to end the inning.

After a dropped third strike gave the Indians an extra out to work with, Daniel Weatrowski singled in the tying run. Brad Hoffrichter made a perfect throw from center field on the play, stopping what would have been the go ahead run to end the inning.

Borg and Stack both finished with three hits and three RBI, including two extra base hits a piece.

Castillo picked up the win for the Highlanders, going 3 ⅓ innings allowing one earned.

Sothern admitted that his team has their back against the wall and work cutout for them, after their recent losing streak. But he is confident if they play like they did today it will work out.

“When we play like this, it’s going to be really, really tough to beat us,” Sothern said. “It would take a really good team on a really good day to beat us, but unfortunately we have painted ourselves into a corner.”

La Habra (11-14-1, 4-6) needs to win its four remaining Freeway League games to have a chance at CIF. The Highlanders will try to continue what they started Friday when they take on Sunny Hills (9-16-1, 2-9) next week. They will be at home on Tuesday, then away on Thursday.

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Lady Highlanders post another shutout against Lady Raiders

Lady Highlanders post another shutout against Lady Raiders

Posted on 29 April 2016 by La Habra Journal

By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal

La Habra topped Sonora 10-0 for the second time this season on Thursday afternoon. Although this time around the Lady Highlanders forced an early stoppage, after they extended a double digit lead in the fifth inning.LHHS vs Sonora Softball

The Lady Highlanders scored one in the first inning, but really opened up a lead with a big second inning.

Elena Valenzuela gave her team a boost with a three-run home run. Then Kira Cauley doubled to the base of the left field fence to put runners at second and third. Frankie Mendoza stepped up with a bases clearing triple.

Before the inning was over, Nikki Butler added an RBI single to bring home Mendoza and give the Lady Highlanders a touchdown lead.

La Habra coach Steve Harrington was pleased with the way his team responded to yesterday’s practice.

“We worked on a lot of things, yesterday was a long practice,” Harrington said. “They all had to run quite a bit because we weren’t getting the job done, so they could either get frustrated or get through it, and they got through it.

Offensively, several Lady Highlanders collected a multi-hit game. Cauley had a pair of singles to go with her double. She finished the game 3-3, with a stolen base and two runs scored.LHJ LHHS vs Sonora_ Cauley

The Lady Raiders had baserunners in three of the five innings, but Janelle Rodriguez made key pitches when she needed to. Rodriguez finished with four strikeouts and the complete game shutout in five innings of work.

Following the game, Sonora coach Michelle Rodriguez admitted that her team’s youth coupled with Rodriguez’s ability to deliver tough pitches with runners on base kept the Lady Raiders from converting their scoring opportunities.

Sonora (9-9-1, 3-3) will try to get back above .500 at home against Sunny Hills (14-8, 3-3) on Tuesday.

With two weeks to go in Freeway League play, the Lady Highlanders (22-1, 6-0) will play at Buena Park (0-14, 0-4) on Tuesday and then home against Fullerton (14-8-1, 3-2) on Thursday.

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Raiders sweep Lancers

Raiders sweep Lancers

Posted on 23 April 2016 by La Habra Journal

By Erik Markus
La Habra Journal

Sonora’s Dylan Villalobos had 13 strikeouts and drove in the game wining run against the Lancers Friday.

The Raiders take two straight against the Sunny Hills Lancers, winning their season series 2-1 over Lancers. The Raiders completed the two game sweep with a 6-3 victory on Friday and a 3-2 victory on Wednesday.

The Sonora coaching staff was disappointed by the enthusiasm and execution on Wednesday, and made it  a point of emphasis in their practice on Thursday.

“We got to hit, we just have to hit, we didn’t hit today,” Dylan Villalobos said after their game on Wednesday.

With the team focused on squaring balls up and going the other way, they were able to pound the Lancers for doubles as they tallied six runs.

Villalobos put the team on his back during this two game series, batting 5-8 with three runs scored, two RBIs, two stolen bases.

“He’s seeing good pitches, he’s getting his foot down, and he’s starting to drive the ball like he can,” head coach Pat Tellers said.

Villalobos drove home the winning run on Wednesday, in addition to a stellar day  on the mound, throwing 7 innings with 13 strikeouts.

“He did what he needed to do, got the game winning RBI,” Tellers said, after Wednesday, “it was pretty much a one man show today.”

That game winning RBI was a product of a double by Wilem Drozdowski which led off the sixth inning.

Drozdowski has also been swinging a hot stick lately, dating back to the series against La Habra. His double on Wednesday was followed by two singles and a stolen base on Friday.

The Raiders led off their game on Friday with a bunt single by Villalobos, he went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Matt Schmidt, stole third, then came home on a sacrifice fly by Mehial Nazaroff.

Nazaroff drove home the Raiders second run on a double, scoring Villalobos in the third.

The Raiders added two in the fifth, then two more on a double by Max Wilkinson in the sixth.

This game on Friday was a stark contrast from the one on Wednesday, where besides Villalobos, the Raiders struggled to have productive at bats.

“Our guys just aren’t going up there ready to hit,” Tellers said.

Tellers has focused on having productive at bats, which even includes outs.

“All we can do is preach productive outs,” Tellers said.

Their productive and efficient approach has allowed them to stay close in games where they haven’t had their best stuff, and take steady leads.

The Raiders have won every league game since their game home game against Troy before their spring break tournament.

“League is what matters, we need to take care of business then,” Tellers said.

With that in mind, the Raiders are bracing for a showdown for league with the Warriors by focusing on hitting, energy in the dugout, and fine tuning their pitching rotation.

Matt Schmidt started for the Raiders pitching into the fifth, then Steven Perez continued to be reliable from the mound finishing the game.

“We’re trying to set the stage for next week,” Tellers said, as they prepare for Troy next week.

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Highlanders swept by Coyotes

Highlanders swept by Coyotes

Posted on 23 April 2016 by La Habra Journal

By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal

Buena Park took advantage of defensive miscues to break scoreless game and pull ahead in final two innings, putting a damper on the Highlanders Senior Day celebration.

Starting pitcher Andrew Martinez went six innings and was credited with 3 unearned runs in the loss to Buena Park on Senior Day at La Habra.

Starting pitcher Andrew Martinez went six innings and was credited with 3 unearned runs in the loss to Buena Park on Senior Day at La Habra.

Both sides were knotted in a pitcher’s duel, until defensive mistakes began piling up behind La Habra starting pitcher Andrew Martinez in the fifth.

The Highlander infield misplayed a couple ground balls and Martinez walked a batter to load the bases. With two outs, Louie Crow stepped to the plate and broke the tie with a line drive single to center field. Crow picked up a couple RBI, but the bases cleared on a failed rundown play between third and home to spot the Coyotes a 3-0 lead.

Martinez bounced back to pitch a solid sixth, keeping La Habra within striking distance.

Head Coach John Sothern praised Martinez’s resilience after the game. He wound up going 6 innings and only allowed the 3 unearned runs.

“Today [Martinez] came out and pitched really well,” Sothern said. “We were one play away from getting out of that inning, and it might have been a big, big thing for our guys to get out of that inning.”

Buena Park put the game out of reach going station-to-station in the seventh. Reliever Brad Hoffrichter gave up five singles and hit a couple batters in the inning. Hoffrichter was not hit hard, the ball just kept finding a hole.

Buena Park Head Coach Alvin Graham said that they intentionally played small ball on Friday.

“That is our game plan when we come here because the ball doesn’t carry very well, so we have to go station to station,” Graham said. “We took advantage of a couple mistakes and busted the game open in the last couple innings.”

Sothern said that despite the big inning, it was encouraging to see Hoffrichter throwing strikes after shoulder trouble kept him off the hill most of the season.

The Highlanders got leadoff batters on base in several innings, but couldn’t convert. Rene Palacios one hopped the fence in left field to leadoff the fifth and Zack Stack singled to begin the sixth, but both wound up stranded at third base.

Senior Michael Borg puts the ball in play during the Highlanders 8-0 loss to Buena Park on Friday.

Senior Michael Borg puts the ball in play during the Highlanders 8-0 loss to Buena Park on Friday.

Former Highlander Bryant Durflinger started on the mound for the Coyotes, picking up a complete game shutout with 6 strikeouts. Now a junior, Durflinger transferred to Buena Park after his freshman year.

Durflinger said that the defense played well behind him, giving him the confidence to hit his spots.

“Just knowing that they have my back [and] me having that trust gives me so much more on all of my pitches,” Durflinger said.

Buena Park swept the series this week with two shutouts, outscoring La Habra a combined 17-0.

The Highlanders (8-12-1, 3-5) have a non-conference game on Saturday at 10 a.m. against Whittier (9-12, 6-3). Next week’s Freeway League series will be against Fullerton (11-11, 5-4). The Highlanders will be at home on Wednesday and then at Fullerton on Friday.

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Northgate moving north

Northgate moving north

Posted on 22 April 2016 by La Habra Journal

By Christie Garcia
La Habra Journal

En espanol: Aqui

The Northgate González Market in the heart of La Habra, located off La Habra Boulevard, is moving to another location in town, the corner of Idaho Street and Whittier Boulevard.LHTC_South Elevation - Rendered-Opt A-1_Page_1
Though there are currently no exact estimates as to when the move will be complete, the extensive plans for the remodeling of the shopping plaza where Northgate will move to are underway.
Northgate will move into what used to be a Ralphs supermarket. For Northgate, this store is bigger than their current one and allows the company to expand its offerings and have room for items they couldn’t have had before.
Some additions planned to be inside this new store include a café, a taqueria, a seafood shop, a bakery, a creamery and a place that makes and sells tortillas.
Outside there will be a seating area and separate patio, intended for customers to enjoy their food bought from the café or taqueria.
The store, along with the other businesses in that plaza, will be redesigned to have a traditional  Mexican style of white with red Spanish roof tiles.
Since 1980 when the first store was opened, Northgate González Markets has then opened more than 40 stores throughout the Orange, Los Angeles and San Diego counties, including one in La Habra in 1986.
The current La Habra Northgate was the third one that was opened and was the first to open somewhere other than Anaheim.
Northgate serves the Latino population of La Habra by selling familiar Mexican products such as chili peppers, tamales, meat and imported cookies and drinks native to Mexico.
The store has found success from second and third generation Latinos as well as other non-Latinos who love Mexican food and are looking for that authentic taste.
This popularity is part of what has helped Northgate become what it is today in La Habra. Its current location for the past 30 years now has also been an integral part.
Northgate’s La Habra Boulevard location is situated in the biggest Latino area of La Habra. Many of Northgate’s current regular customers walk to and from the market. The move north of Whittier Boulevard have some concerned about the distance and possible loss of connection with its regulars. Northgate officials insists that they will maintain that connection with its surrounding businesses in the new plaza.
Further, Northgate officials have confirmed that its shuttle  service will continue and they are looking for ways  to expand it or have a pickup and drop off location near the current store.
This, according to officials, will help ensure that the market will still cater to those who have shopped it for so many years.  They will now have a larger selection of goods and fresh produce.
One more thing that will be expanded will be the grab-and-go products.  This will help busy families have fresh and healthy meals.  It will also cater to the high school audience with quick products that they can grab and head back to La Habra High.
Wider aisles, greater selection, faster checkouts and an expanded shuttle service will be a change from the current store, but officials belive that customers will be pleased with the new store and shopping center.
Officials promised to continue to make this a shopping destination and hinted at new services and shops in the center.
Construction on the new  location will start later this year. Northgate will continue in its current location until construction on the new store is complete.

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Council fills empty commission seats

Council fills empty commission seats

Posted on 22 April 2016 by La Habra Journal

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

The La Habra City Council filled the many vacant positions on city commissions at Monday’s meeting. Many of the positions went to first time commissioners, replacing some members who have been on the commission for a decade. La-Habra-logo-low-rez
“I’m excited about this group of commissioners. They are a very energetic group. They are already on the go exchanging ideas with each other and meeting with staff,” said La Habra Mayor Jim Gomez.
Ray O. Fernandez and Michelle Bernier were appointed to four-year terms on the Planning Commission.  The two replace Paul Janoian and  Jerry Callaghan, who have served on the commission for a number of years.
Fernanadez’ appointment is following in the family’s commitment to service in the community.  His father, Ray Fernandez is a planning commissioner for La Habra Heights.
“I am super excited to be serving and to be able to help our great community thrive,” the younger Fernandez said. “I come from a building background and now being a realtor, I thought I would make a good fit.”
Bernier is also looking forward to her first time on the commission.
“We’re in a state of growth,” she said, “and it’s going to be exciting to see how this is all going to change and mold La Habra in the near future. I will work very hard to help make a difference in the years to come.”
Kathy Felix was reappointed to the Community Services Commission, along with Jonathan Hughes and  Kim Praster, who will replace Deborah Musser and Jess Badillo with a three-year term. Victoria Casanas was appointed to the comisison on a one-year term.
“I am honored to be appointed by the City Council” Praster said. “I’m excited to give back to the community in this capacity.”
Lavenia Wilson was appointed to the Beautification Committee.

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Clark resigns as LHH city manager

Clark resigns as LHH city manager

Posted on 22 April 2016 by La Habra Journal

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

La Habra Heights City Manager Shauna Clark submitted her resignation to the city council last week. The resignation will be effective in July.  Seal_La Habra Heights
Clark has been the city manager for the Heights since November 2007 and has overseen a great deal of work in the city.
“We are a much better city today thanks to Shauna Clark being here,” said LHH Councilman Brian Bergman, who was on the council when Clark was hired. “We had some difficult times and she helped guide us through them.”
One of the things she is most proud of overseeing while she was city manager was the revamping of the city staff.  The staff and city operations have become more efficient and customer-service oriented.
“We have a much better staff now then when I came here,” Clark said. “There’s better customer service than in the past.”
Clark cited the reason for her resignation is the strain of her commute.  While she said coming to work is not a problem, her commute home to Pasadena in the evening is nearing two hours.
In addition to overseeing the changes of the city staff, Clark and her staff oversaw the redevelopment of the city hall and moving into the new offices.  The American Institute of Architects’ San Fernando Valley Chapter recently recognized the city hall with a Design Excellence award.
Her time as LHH city manager has included more than just building and staffing improvements.
“Shauna has worked very hard for the city of La Habra Heights and we have benefited greatly during her nine years with the city,” said La Habra Heights Mayor Kyle Miller. “To highlight just one example, by following her innovative recommendations regarding state storm water compliance issues the city likely saved millions of dollars than had we done what 85 of the other cities in the county elected to do.”
As one of only two positions that the city council hires, all five members, along with Clark will be fully engaged in the recruitment process, according to Miller.
“I gave the council more than 90 days notice because I wanted to give them time to find my replacement,” Clark explained.  “I wanted to make sure the city has a smooth transition.  I think I owe them that.”
Clark added that she will miss the residents most of all.
“I’ve gotten to know a lot of people who I became friends with,” she said.  “There’s a lot of people in this community who I have really enjoyed working with.”
Clark will continue with her consulting business and teaching opportunities.  She explained that she is open to potentially working again as a city manager, but some place closer to home.
She is truly dedicated to the community,” Bergman said. “I don’t know any other city manager who has done as well as her. I’m going to miss her.”
The council will begin implementing the steps to find the next city manager.

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Quilt Guild raises money for local vet

Quilt Guild raises money for local vet

Posted on 22 April 2016 by La Habra Journal

By Ashley Pellegrini
La Habra Journal

After spending two tours in Afghanistan, local soldier SPC Ryan Hardy is now in the fight of his life.
Hardy was diagnosed with cancer in January. ryan and his family
“The Army taught me to take care of my own family first and then to save others,” he said.   Hardy was a local resident who attended Heights Christian Junior High School, and Whittier Christian High School.
Ryan currently resides in San Antonio, Texas where he is receiving treatment. He was diagnosed with stage-4 cancer, which includes: Germinal center B-cell-like diffuse, large B-cell lymphoma, which aroused from Diffuse Follicular Lymphoma.
The treatment process will include: R-CHOP Chemotherapy with the possibility of a stronger R-EPOCH Chemotherapy; radiation and banking his own bone marrow for a future bone marrow transplant.
Ryan is the father of four children, and husband to his wife Elizabeth.
Hardy’s mother Pam, left her home in Whittier and moved to Louisiana to assist in taking care of the children.
Hardy has already received 5 chemotherapy treatments, regular treatment is said to go through January 2017.
Ryan is set to receive a PET scan to evaluate his prognosis.
Friendship Quilt Guild member, Shelly Stowell, met Ryan 17 years ago when he attended Heights Christian Junior High school with her son.
When she heard about Ryan and his fight she wanted to do something for him and his family.
“It’s neat to have a reason to do something for someone, and it’s even better when you’re doing something and it’s going towards a cause,” she stated.
A fundraiser will be held by the local La Habra Friendship Quilt Guild to assist with the family’s expenses and needs.
The fundraiser will be held at the upcoming La Habra Citrus Fair on Saturday, April 30th & Sunday, May 1st in the Veteran’s Hall located at 209 North Orange St., La Habra between the hours of 12-5.
A special quilt is being made for Ryan, and those who donate will be encouraged to sign a block of the quilt that will be sewn on the back side of the quilt and given to him as a gift once completed.
Stowell mentioned that four specialized pillowcases would also be presented to his four children.
A Gofundme page is available for those who want to contribute to Hardy and his family, if you are not able to attend the Citrus Fair.
For the website, go to: and search for Ryan Hardy.

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Conference helps LH teens grow

Conference helps LH teens grow

Posted on 22 April 2016 by La Habra Journal

By Naomi Osuna
La Habra Journal

La Habra’s Boys and Girls Club, Keystone Club recently attended the National Keystone Conference in Dallas, Texas.
The three-day event, held March 17-19 in Dallas, allowed participants to learn leadership and life skills from various speakers and workshops. Keystone
The teens learn skills in their  four focus areas of community service, academic success, career preparation, and teen outreach.
Among the La Habra attendees were Ismenen Rodriguez, Jazmine Troncoso,  Cameron Wilson, Jeffrey Perez and Jonathan Flores. They were acompanyed by Teen Director Crystal Cisneros  and Recreation Leader Gregory Wallace
According to Rodriguez, each day the National Keystone Conference had motivational speakers and opportunities to meet with other teens.
Cisneros explained that attending this conference benefits the teens in many ways.
She explained that the conference motivates and encourages the teens, many of which have never left the La Habra area before.
Further, the teens have to raise money  all year to pay for their expenses, so Cisneros added that it helps them take ownership of their experience.
The five teens agreed that it was an amazing experience that will not soon be forgotten. They are even more motivated and inspired after the national conference to make a difference in the world.

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Community prepares to Love La Habra

Community prepares to Love La Habra

Posted on 22 April 2016 by La Habra Journal

By Rachel Rohm
La Habra Journal

The community of La Habra will be filled with residents  volunteering their time and energy to help make the city a better place.
That is the goal of the Love La Habra service day on April 30.

LHJ Love La Habra

LHJ Love La Habra

This year’s Love La Habra serve day will start with breakfast at 8 a.m. in Portola Park.
This year’s projects include planting flowers at local schools, making blankets for the homeless, painting dugouts and cleaning parks. One project, which already has enough volunteers, will have special needs students making hand tiles to be displayed in the city’s parks.
There are also three residences benefiting this year, which the city has recognized as needing help.
With 45 projects lined up for this year, organizers are wanting 1,400 volunteers to show up. Last year’s serve day, held on September 30, had 700 volunteers working on 22 projects. Many churches, clubs and students are expected to contribute.
After working for three hours, volunteers will return to the park for a party with lunch provided by Chick-fil-A.
La Habra Police Chief Jerry Price and Pastor Kurt Fuller of The Warehouse Church, are co-chairs of Love La Habra, part of the Love Our Cities movement that started in 2009 in Modesto.
”That’s a whole lot of people working for the pride of their city,” he added.
The goal of Love La Habra is serving the city. The event provides a space for churches, government, nonprofits, fire and police departments and regular citizens to come together and work for a common goal.
Because the city knows what the needs are, they can tell the churches and the rest of the community what most needs to be done.
“It’s really just a great event to bring everyone together at one time,” Fuller said.
As a community organization, Love La Habra brings needs, resources and volunteers under a single umbrella, as Fuller puts it. If someone has a need, they can present it to Love La Habra so that they can look for resources and volunteers. If someone can supply resources – such as Home Depot, Habitat for Humanity, Grocery Outlet and Chick-fil-A are doing for this year’s serve day- Love La Habra will put those supplies to good use.
If someone has time and energy to give, Love La Habra lets them know how they can help.
“Eventually, the goal of Love La Habra is that it will be an ongoing thing, a project that people can see,” Fuller said.
While willing volunteers are welcome to show up the morning of the event, Fuller advises them to sign up online for the project they want to contribute to. The list of projects can be viewed on the website, and volunteers can sign up there based on what they want to do and whether they are able to do heavy manual labor. Because the projects range from tying blanket ends to painting house exteriors, there is something for all ages and skill levels.
Many other Love Our Cities events are happening this spring, including serve days in Fullerton, La Mirada, Brea, Anaheim, Beuna Park and Placentia all on the same day as Love La Habra, Saturday, April 30.
For information and to sign up for a project, visit

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