Archive | March, 2017

LH opens new civic center

LH opens new civic center

Posted on 10 March 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

The doors are open to the new La Habra Civic Center.
The $22.5 million project, which includes the remodel and relocation of the city hall, addition to the community center, enhancements to the Legion Hall and upgrades to the police station,  is nearly complete, but the doors are open for operation.

New LH City Hall

City staff spent the last weekend moving equipment and setting up computer systems in the new two-story facility.
City Council held its meeting Monday in the new council chambers prior to the civic center opening.
The landscaping, outdoor lighting and water fixtures still need to be finished for the hall to be complete, but City Manager Jim Sadro said it was time to move in.
Sadro and Roy Ramsland, city planning manager, said that while it  was created for city operations, like other city halls, this one had designs that made it more distinctly La Habra.
The vaulted, exposed wood-beam ceilings in the main civic center help make the building more inviting, according to Sadro.
The size of the civic center will allow for more use aside from city business.

New LH City Hall

The Chamber of Commerce will host the annual State of the Community event inside the new civic center.
“The space will allow this building to truly be a public building,” said Rob Ferrier, assistant to the city manager.
While the city departments are operational, the US Post Office will be operational at the new location on the southeast corner of the civic center by late March.
A formal ribbon cutting is set for the first week of April.  For some photos of the new center see Page 4.

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LH family deals with tragic loss

LH family deals with tragic loss

Posted on 10 March 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

Support came in for a local family who suffered a second loss last weekend.
Siblings Oscar Diaz, 23, and Valeria Tinoco, 17 were killed when their car crashed into a tree on Rosecrans Avenue near Euclid in Fullerton last Tuesday.

A community morning: Oscar Diaz and Valeria Tinoco were killed in a car accident last week in Fullerton.

Diaz was driving his sister, Tinoco, a senior at La Habra High School, home after soccer practice.
Diaz’ 2006 Lexus struck the tree about 8:40 p.m. after he apparently lost control according to Fullerton Police.
Both died at the scene, according to FPD officials.
The deaths mark another loss for their parents La Habra residents Maria and Fidencio Tinoco.
Their oldest son, Hugo Lopez, 20, was killed by a roadside bomb while serving in the Marines in Rawah, Iraq in 2006.
With the loss of Hugo, Oscar stepped up to help his parents.  He would often take his sister to events and activities she was involved in.
He had a full-time job at a  warehouse in Fullerton but was always available to for his family and for his sister.
Valeria was a senior at LHHS and played club soccer.
The community has come out to support the family after their loss.
A GoFundMe account was established to help the family pay for the services.
Within five days the site has raised more than $24,000 and getting closer to the set goal of $30,000.
The community is invited to the viewing for Oscar and Valeria, to be held at Calvary Chapel La Habra Friday from 5-9 p.m.
Mass will be celebrated at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church on Saturday at 10 a.m.
For more information or for a way to help the family, go to; www.gofundme.com/valeria-oscar-funeral

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Rotary recognizes student leaders

Rotary recognizes student leaders

Posted on 10 March 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Jane Williams
La Habra Journal

The last Rotary Luncheon honored an outstanding student in special programs at each of the local high school.
Rotarians first met Nathan  Casida when he was introduced by Commander Trotter, who is in the midst of his 15 year in charge of the NROTC program. With financial help from the school’s PTA group toured the Museum of Tolerance and met a 93-year-old survivor of Auschwitz whose tattoo on his arm is still obvious.
Nathan Casida was the cadet singled out to represent the La Habra Corps. Soon to be an Eagle Scout, Casida just completed building Navy Gray lockers for the students to store books and other possessions while taking part in drills and physical fitness exercises.
Casida is also a docent on the USS Iowa which is docked at the Port of Los Angeles.  When Casida and others from the Corps toured the battleship, he politely corrected the docent leading the tour.
Trotter pointed out a former member of La Habra’s NROTC went to the Naval Academy and recently shot down a missile in the air.
Sonora’ Battalion Commander, Kelly Cruz may be small in stature, but has no difficulty getting those under her command to follow her orders. It took a while for her to get over her natural shyness, but once she did there was no holding  her back.
With a 3.36 G.P.A. she has already been accepted and plans to attend Hawaii University.
A person of many talents Andres Zazueta composes songs, many of them on iTunes, plays for other professional musicians when they play for Whittier Christian High’s chapel. He is an integral part of the Chapel Team.
He has won the school’s  Louis Armstrong Award the last two year. He secured his scuba license while in Costa Rico.
Zazueta takes the honors’ track in math and science and plans to major in civil engineering.

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LH teen singer makes it on NBC's The Voice

LH teen singer makes it on NBC’s The Voice

Posted on 10 March 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

La Habra’s Aliyah Moulden showed off her vocal skills when she had three judges fighting for her to join their team when she sang “Hound Dog” by​ Big Mama Thornton on the NBC talent show, “The Voice.”


Photos courtesy of NBC
La Habra’s Aliyah Moulden, 15, chose to be on Blake Shelton’s team in the singing competition, The Voice.

The 15-year-old songstress chose the team coached by country singer Blake Shelton.
Moulden has been raised solely by her mother after her father passed away from lung cancer when she was only a month old.
She has been an active part of the La Habra Boys and Girls club for the last 10 years.
Executive Director Mark Chavez and Program Director Patrick Favela both shared that Aliyah has been a great member of the LH Boys and Girls Clubs family.
When she was younger, her mother signed her up for vocal lessons. Aliyah explained that music has helped her find herself  growing up and while at La Habra High School.
Her singing has allowed her a great deal of opportunities at her young age.
She has opened for Caroline Sunshine, Todrick Hall and Jesse McCartney. Further, this past summer, she sang in the BET Experience at the LA Convention Center.

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American Legion Honors Firefighter And Police Officer Of The Year

American Legion Honors Firefighter And Police Officer Of The Year

Posted on 10 March 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Leonardo Romero
La Habra Journal

The American Legion Post 267 hosted its 52nd annual Police and Fire Luncheon last Tuesday at the Elk Lodge to commemorate the American Legion firefighter and police officer of the year.
The local legion’s post commander, Leona Lance, began the ceremony with an introduction followed by an invocation by La Habra Police Department Chaplain Mike Murphy.

Photos by Leonardo Romero
La Habra Police officer Michael Costanzo (center) is surrounded by fellow officers after he was presented with police Officer of the Year by the American Legion Post 267 at its annual ceremony.

“We don’t choose the police officer or firefighter of the year. The departments do,” said Lance. “All we do is supply the place, food, and the plaques.”
The Firefighter of the Year award was presented to Los Angeles County Fire Department Captain Rob Cendejas, but he wasn’t present at the luncheon due to a recent on-the-job incident that left him injured.  According to Battalion 21 Chief Scott Falhaus, Cendejas tore his shoulder when he fell on a rainy day while assisting a citizen entering an ambulance. Falhaus and four firefighters that work with Cendejas accepted the award on his behalf.
“We’ll hang this award proudly at the station in his office, so that when he returns from recovering he’ll see this on the wall,” said Falhaus.
During Falhaus’ speech he expressed his condolences to the law enforcement community over the recent passing of Whittier Police Officer Keith Boyer.
He also added that he had spoken to Cendejas earlier that day. According to Falhaus, Cendejas was disappointed he couldn’t attend the ceremony, but was very pleased that he had been chosen.
LHPD Officer Michael Costanzo was recognized as the American Legion police officer of the year, which was presented to him by La Habra Police Chief Jerry Price.

Fireman of the Year award was presented to Captain Rob Cendejas of the LA County Fire Department. Cendejas was unable to attend due to an injury, but battalion members accepted the award for him.

Costanzo’s father, Steve Costanzo, was the recipient of the same award in 2004. After his father retired from the LHPD in 2005, Costanzo began his career as an LHPD officer in February 2006.
“Michael Costanzo’s work as a field training officer, experience in identifying suspects, and developing investigations make him a deserving recipient,” said Price. “He’s doing outstanding work.”
Costanzo recalled during his speech how sometimes as a child he would see his father come home from work with scrapes on his face. He’s always admired his father’s bravery, and he knew at a young age that he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps once he grew up.
His parents weren’t able to attend the luncheon, but they left a note with Chief Price that he read during his speech.
“I’m constantly trying to learn from the veterans and also from the new people,” said Costanzo. “This is a job that’s constantly changing, and I think we can all learn something from each other.”
Costanzo is in charge of training new officers, and through his guidance he instills the idea that they should always behave like the police officer they would want responding to their own family’s home.
According to Lance, the organization began planning for this luncheon one month ago.
In order to become a member of the American Legion you must have served or be currently serving in the US Armed Forces during a declared war.
Lance served as a physical therapist during World War II. For more information on how to become a member or how to donate to the American Legion visit their official website at www.legion.org.

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LH Artista Latino aspira inspirar con su música

LH Artista Latino aspira inspirar con su música

Posted on 10 March 2017 by La Habra Journal

Por Genesis Miranda
La Habra Journal

Tal vez la ciudad de La Habra parezca pequeña. Pero grandes cosas pueden surgir de una comunidad tan unida. Para Juan Pablo Castillo, mejor conocido por su nombre artístico JP Castillo, La Habra fue un gran paso para su carrera como cantante.

Photo courtesy JP Castillo
Talento local: La Habra Nativo JP Castillo lanza su primer sencillo mientras se prepara para su album EP.

Castillo llegó a los Estados Unidos cuando tenia solo 8 años. Vivió en varias ciudades como South Gate, Norwalk, Paramount y por fin La Habra.
No fue sorpresa que a Castillo le interesara la música, pues viene de una familia artística. Su madre es cantante y su padre baterista.
Viniendo de una familia religiosa, Castillo dice que estaba buscando su propio camino. Dice que en la escuela siempre fue muy tímido porque intentaba “desarrollar mi relación con Dios”.
Fue hasta su tercer año de preparatoria en La Habra High School cuando Castillo conoció al maestro David Montoya, quien empezó el grupo del coro y se convirtió en un gran apoyo para Castillo.
Antes de la llegada del maestro Montoya, Castillo dice que el coro no existía. El verano de su segundo año de preparatoria solamente ofrecían clases de voz. El coro no comenzó casa que llegó el señor Montoya.
Cuando se formo el coro, el señor Montoya quizo tener un grupo de líderes estudiantiles, del cual Castillo formo parte. “[Montoya] es una persona muy alegre, nos trataba como individuales”, dijo Castillo.
Durante su tiempo en La Habra High School, Castillo participo en varias competencias y eventos de canto. En una ocasión fue el único vocalista masculino y se llevo la sorpresa de ganar el premio de “mejor vocalista masculino” de esa competencia.
En La Habra High School, Castillo from relaciones, gano mucha experience y aprendió habilidades que recuerda hasta el día de hoy.
“Estoy muy agradecido por eso, [Montoya] me trajo a un mundo nuevo”, dijo Castillo.
Despise de graduarse, Castillo asistir a el colegio comunitario Fullerton College por un tiempo. Primero su area de estudio fue música instrumental y luego cambio a voz.
En Fullerton College formo parte del grupo de los “Cabana Boys”. Castillo dice que le encantaba la energía que recibía de las audiencias.
Fue después que dejó el colegio cuando las oportunidades para lograr su meta de ser cantante le llegaron a Castillo.
Después de acompañar a un amigo a una audición en Disneylandia, Castillo se animo para audiciones también y eso le gano una oferta de trabajo en Disney. Era su primera oferta de trabajo profesional y sabia que no la podia dejar ir.
Desafortunadamente, Castillo era indocumentado y estaba esperando sus papeles desde hace mas de un año. Le explico su situación a Disney y pienso que la oportunidad la había perdido.
Pero justo un día antes de cuando tuviera el que ir a firmar los papeles del trabajo, le llegaron todos sus documentos necesarios para trabajar en este país.
“Yo soy muy aventado”, dijo Castillo, “Me costo mucho pero fue una muy buena experiencia para mi. La pasión se tiene que convertir en disciplina”.
Ya pasando esa experiencia, Castillo se fue a Osaka, Japón para trabajar en Universal Studios. Se quedó ahi un año mientras practicaba su música en un tipo de estudio personal que construyo en su casa.
También viajó a Europa para formar parte de un show de tributo a Michael Jackson llamado “Thriller Live” en Londres.
“Nunca perdí mi enfoque”, dijo Castillo.
Un día Castillo recibió una llamada de un amigo que le platico de que los hermanos Jackson pensaban reunirse y había recomendado a Castillo como cantante.
Minutos después, Castillo recibió una llamada de Jackie Jackson, hermano de Michael Jackson, quien le ofreció formar parte del equipo.
Tuvieron una gira por Japón, Canada, los Estados Unidos y partes de Europa.
“Fue una experiencia que nunca olvidare”, dijo Castillo. “Ni siquiera se podría decir que fue un sueño hecho realidad porque uno no lo sueña”.
Otras experiencias que ha tenido Castillo fueron ser parte de una gira de artistas Latinos como Prince Royce y Jennifer Lopez.
Castillo ahora es artista bajo la compañía Crossover y ya tiene su primer sencillo llamado “Tu Ausencia” con la presentación del cantante Gotay.
Ahora está trabajando en su segundo sencillo que piensa sacar en los próximos meses y su album EP que quisiera sacar mas tarde en este año.
“Yo soy un artista que quiere inspirar a la gente”, dijo Castillo, “Inspirar a los jóvenes para llegar a sus metas. Todos tenemos propósito”.
La música de JP Castillo se encuentra en sus redes sociales en Facebook, Instagram y Twitter como @JPCastilloMusic

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Community theater roundup

Posted on 10 March 2017 by La Habra Journal

By John Francis
La Habra Journal

Local theaters are continuing their productions for the spring season.
Mysterium Theater is conducting auditions for its upcoming production of “Marriage Of Figaro.”
Auditions for  the 1920’s Downton Abbey themed Figaro will take place, Wednesday, March 8 beginning at 6 p.m. and Wednesday, March 15 beginning at 6 p.m..
You may arrive at those times for a first come first serve appointment or send an email to director, Ray Buffer at ray.buffer@gmail.com to request an appointment.
The production consists of 12 performances beginning May 11 through May 28 – Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, and Sundays at 5pm.
The Depot Theater is located at 311 Euclid Ave. in La Habra and reservations can be had by phoning (562) 697-3311.

Whittier Community Theater will continue its run of Robert Harling’s wonderful comedy Steel Magnolias March 3 through the 11th with 8 p.m. performances on Friday and Saturday nights and a lone matinee March 5 at 2:30 p.m.
The production is directed by Phillip Brickey and produced by Karen Jacobson.
Tickets for the play are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, students and military and reservations are easy to get at (562) 696-0600.  The theater is located at 7630 S. Washington Ave., Whittier.
Whittier’s last production of their 95th season will be “A Flea In Her Ear” and auditions will be announced in this column next month.

Westminster Community Playhouse will open its latest production, Moises Kaufman’s moving drama, “The Laramie Project”, March 24 for a three week run that will end April 9.
Directed by Lenore Stjerne, the play deals with the kidnapping and death of a Wyoming University student that was beaten and tied up just outside Laramie because he was gay.  It is not recommended for children, so be warned.  But is a powerful account of the incidents and trial that resulted in the writing of this play.
Tickets for the production are $22 for adults and $20 for seniors and reservations are recommended at (714) 993-8626 and the theater is located at 7272 Maple St., Westminster.

On a lighter note, Westminster will be holding auditions for the musical, “The Wedding Singer,” a play version of the popular Adam Sandler-Drew Barrymore movie that was a hit several years ago.
The auditions will be held April 10-12 at 7:30 p.m. in the theater and those auditioning should bring a headshot and resume and be prepared to sing an upbeat song and to move for the dance portion of the audition.  A cold reading of the script will also be used in the audition.
“The Wedding Singer” will open June 2 and play through June 18.  For further information call me at (6267) 533-4591.

The Stage Door Repertory Theater in Anaheim will be opening the famous Frederick Knott thriller “Wait Until Dark” March 4 for a four weekend run at the theater located at 1045 N. Armando St., suite B, Anaheim.
The productions, directed by Nick Charles, will be performed at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights with a matinee scheduled for March 12 at 2 p.m.  Tickets for the play will range from $18 to $22 and reservations can be made by calling (714) 630-7378.

The La Habra Theater Guild presents “Peter Pan” at Plummer Auditorium, March 17 – 26.
The show is directed by Brian Johnson and choreographed by Annie Lavin.
Peter and his mischievous fairy sidekick Tinkerbell visit the nursery of the Darling children late one night and with a sprinkle of pixie dust begin a magical journey across the stars that none of them will ever forget.
In the adventure of a lifetime the travelers come face to face with a ticking crocodile, a fierce Indian tribe, a band of bungling pirates, and of course the villainous Captain Hook.
A rousing book full of magic, warmth, and adventure, Peter Pan is the perfect show for the child in all of us who dreamed of soaring high and never growing up.
For more information go to: lhhsguild.com

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Lady Highlanders look for redemption

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Lady Highlanders look for redemption

Posted on 10 March 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal

Unfinished business. That’s exactly what the Lady Highlanders softball team has collectively had on their minds since a crushing loss in the 2016 CIF semifinals derailed La Habra’s championship bid and snapped their school record 26-game winning streak.

Photo courtesy Paula Luna
Ready for the season: The Lady Highlander softball team looks to continue where they finished last year by recapturing the league title and competing for a CIF title. With a number of seniors and returning players, La Habra looks to improve on its 29-2 record from last year.

Despite ending on a sour note, the Lady Highlanders finished with a 29-2 record and have plenty to be optimistic about in 2017. The girls finished a perfect 10-0 in league and will be returning all but three starting position players.
First and foremost, they return a pair of aces in the circle. Seniors Hannah Johnson and Janelle Rodriguez might be the best pitching tandem in the county. Both girls are coming off back-to-back dominant seasons. According to head coach Steve Harrington, Rodriguez is back at full strength after suffering through a shoulder injury late last season.
La Habra will also have All-CIF outfielder Kira Cauley back to spark the offense again. Cauley is a legitimate five-tool talent. In addition, seniors Billie Jean Wells, Alyssa Palacios and Alyssa Rios are all returning starters and major contributors from last season.
La Habra will have some big shoes to fill at a couple key positions though.
Shortstop Frankie Mendoza and catcher Nikki Butler both moved on to play collegiately. Last year’s captains were heart of the order batters and equally valuable on the defensive end. That said, replacing their leadership could prove to be the most difficult hurdle this year.
Although the Lady Highlanders lost a few key starters from a year ago, they are still far and away the favorite to win another Freeway League title.

Photo courtesy Paula Luna Sparking the offense: All-CIF Outfielder Kira Cauley is one of the many seniors that look to help lead the Lady Highlanders this season. La Habra is looking to recapture the league title and run for CIF title.

Sonora (13-11, 6-4) finished in second, while Sunny Hills (16-10, 5-5) and Fullerton (18-12, 5-5) were right behind.
The Raiders are lead by senior captain Claudia Kim, who pitches and plays middle-infield for Sonora.
Harrington is excited about having a lot of returning players and believes a couple girls stepping up from the junior varsity team, as well as a couple freshman will make significant contributions right away.
“A beautiful surprise this year, has been Alexis Riley,” Harrington said.
Riley is a senior, but played junior varsity last season. Harrington admitted her talent has always been there, but praised her on her maturity during the offseason.
La Habra’s success during Harrington’s first season at the helm didn’t go unnoticed. The Lady Highlanders were bumped up to a Division 1 team this year for the first time in school history.
“I don’t care what division we’re in, I’ve been in that division,” Harrington said. “I’ve been down that road many times, heck last year’s team beat the Division 1 champion.”
Harrington added a gauntlet of tough out of league games to the schedule this year to better prepare the girls for the rigors of CIF. After getting his first full offseason with his team, Harrington believes they have what it takes to beat anybody regardless of division.
“This is a tight knit group,” he concluded, “and in my experience, the tighter the group the better the team.

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A new civic center provides a new look for LH

Posted on 08 March 2017 by La Habra Journal

As many of you are now realizing, the new La Habra City Hall is open and operational.  And if you haven’t seen it, you should definitely have a look.
There was much concern and discussion when the plan to invest in a new city hall was initiated. However, it was time. La Habra had one of the oldest city halls and civic centers in the region.  Buena Park, Fullerton, Anaheim and La Habra Heights had created new city halls over the last eight years. It was time for La Habra to upgrade.
Like when La Habra Heights remodeled its city hall, some residents in La Habra were concerned if investing in a remodel and relocation was money well spent. In my opinion I can say it was.
La Habra’s new civic center is something that residents can be proud of.  The location of the finance department, where you pay your water bill and the planning department, where you can pull permits,  has easy access and looks to be an expedited process.
The walls upstairs, where the engineering department is located, are adorned with historic photos of La Habra.  As the city nears its centennial, this is a nice touch.
The stone on the interior, along with the wood beams and vaulted ceilings make the civic center more inviting than it had been in its older location. It just needs a large fireplace, hot chocolate and I’ll feel like I’ll  want to hang out there before I hit the slopes.
The council chambers are modern but intimate.  Residents sit closer to council members and thus council members are sitting closer to their constitutes.  To me this makes for a greater possibility for a  better connection between elected officials and the people they represent.
The fact that there are already plans to hold events inside the civic center shows that it will be used as a public building and not just for city government alone.
An interesting tidbit that I was reminded of as I walked around the outside of the council chambers. The location is adjacent to the monument  with the bell that symbolizes the “birthplace of La Habra.” The civic center has moved full circle and is now located on the location where the city was founded.
I looked around the facility and pictured a variety of civic events and how this new center could fit in them. The annual Christmas Tree lighting has the potential to be great. The Citrus Fair is rumored to be using the location to house the student STEM program. The Tamale Festival will be right along the side of the building and can provide resources.  The patio outside will be great for city awards and recognition like local high school athletic titles and other large group events.
I admit, I was one of those who had reservations about the new city hall. I agreed they needed to upgrade, but was concerned how it would turn out.  I can enthusiastically say that from what I have seen, it is indeed money well spent and something that will provide much for the community for years to come.
—The Editor

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