Archive | August, 2017

Council set to  decide on islands

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Council set to decide on islands

Posted on 16 August 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

The sounds of traffic are barely heard behind the wall that surrounds Scott Wilson’s back yard along Macy Street. Wilson and his wife Amy, sit on comfortable patio furniture and enjoy the shade of their back yard. The long-time resident of

Map courtesy OC LAFCO
The map shows the locations of the six remaining county islands within La Habra. The City Council will discuss annexation of these areas at its meeting in September.

what is classified as the Macy/Randall Island is one of the residents of the county territories that has voiced concern over the proposed annexation of the county property by the City of La Habra.
The La Habra City Council is set to make a decision on the proposed annexation of the six remaining county islands that fall within the city’s borders this September. The move to annex the territories was brought up by the city council on May 1, but faced quite a bit of outcry at the meeting from some residents of the islands.
At its heart, according to Wilson, is the argument as to why annex homeowners who don’t want to be annexed. Why not leave well enough alone?
Wilson and Bob Hatcher, another resident of the island territory designated as Macy/Randall, expressed the concerns of many residents in the islands of the increased costs to homeowners associated with a “forced” annexation.
Many of the 1,267 residents of the county islands are concerned with an increase in sales tax, trash rates, utility bills, taxes, business license fees, and the addition of overnight parking permit fees. Further, many county residents are on septic tank systems, and are concerned with having to be required to change and then pay to be connected to the city sewer system.
However, according to La Habra City Manager Jim Sadro, costs will be minimal to the residents. Taxes and utility rate increases are nominal and the timeframe for switching from septic to sewer will be up to the residents.
Regarding the increased expense for the city to take on the 1,267 residents, Sadro said that the estimated $7.2 million will not be all at once. The installation of sidewalks and street lights will come over a period of time and will be up to the residents on those streets.
Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson, who represents La Habra, said that it is a matter of “good government and management” that La Habra annex the islands.
The Citrus/Entrada and Cypress/Terry islands are the smallest areas and have a combined total of 11 homes. Nelson raised the question of how efficient it is for residents on the extreme northern border of Orange County to be serviced by Santa Ana, when they can be serviced more effectively by the city of La Habra. “What do they have against being a part of La Habra? It’s a great city,” he said.
For Wilson and other residents, it’s not that they have anything against La Habra, but rather enjoy their “island life.”
While some residents of the islands enjoy the separated lifestyle, others weren’t aware that it wasn’t part of La Habra, since they have a La Habra mailing address.
Street addresses are another concern for the residents in the islands. The numbers are out of sync with the city’s address system. Changing addresses can cost homeowners an expense, depending on how much they have connected to the address. Home-based business operators would have an additional increased expense with the change.
The numbering system for the city is to better provide police and fire services. However, La Habra Police Chief Jerry Price said that with increased technology, such as GPS, they will have no trouble finding a location when needed.
Sadro added that there might not be a need to change the address numbers right away, if at all. It is something the city needs to look into.
Wilson and other residents are concerned about the vague references to what they “might not have to do” or what might be “grandfathered” in that they have received from the city. “They haven’t put anything in writing,” Wilson said.
Along with the “grandfathering” uncertainty, many homeowners of the islands expressed further concerns over switching from county to La Habra building codes. What has existed for years under county ordinances could now be out of compliance under La Habra ordinances.
Many residents of the islands have expressed their lack of trust in what city officials have stated and said they prefer to see things in writing. In the May 1 council meeting that lasted nearly three hours primarily to accommodate as many resident comments as possible. Hatcher said that he felt that the residents of the Macy/Randall island were not given enough notification.
Councilman Michael Blazey called for a website to be set up to provide residents more detailed information on annexation and what will happen. The city staff agreed, but to date the site has not been established.
The push for annexation this year is fueled by the City of La Habra wanting to increase water flow and pressure north of Whittier Boulevard. However, five of the islands are located in that area and have been serviced by Cal Domestic Water.
Cal Domestic is changing its organization and it is becoming a water wholesaler. This would move those islands into La Habra’s water district. With this happening Orange County Supervisors and the Orange County Local Agency Formation Commission, which represents the state in discouraging urban sprawl and encouraging orderly and efficient provision of municipal services, encouraged La Habra to annex the islands.
However, LAFCO and Orange County officials said that the sixth and final island of Macy/Randall and its 305 parcels will have to be included in the annexation.
Annexation of county islands in La Habra has come up over the years. In the past island residents have been given a vote to approve or reject annexation. Some islands in La Habra have approved annexation in the past. It is just down to the remaining six islands within the city.
However, since 2004, California changed the law regarding annexation. It allows for annexation of unincorporated areas of up to 150 acres to be annexed with the local agency formation commission’s approval. The remaining islands total just under 131 acres.
Caroline Emery, Executive Officer with the Orange County LAFCO, informed city officials that both LAFCO and the State Board of Equalization are waiving all of the normal annexation fees required for the City.
With all other requirements in place, the last remaining step before annexation of the islands is the approval of the La Habra City Council.
Wilson and a group of other residents hope that they decide to just let them be.

 

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Corn-eating is a family business for the Moleskys

Corn-eating is a family business for the Moleskys

Posted on 16 August 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Alondra Uziar
La Habra Journal

Lions park has held the festival ever since it began in 1948 and is hosted by the La Habra Lions. What originally began as a simple dance and cookout has evol

Jay Seidel/ La Habra Journal
Corn family: Lawrence Molesky stands with daughters Kaitlyn, 14, and Isabella, 4, after they competed in the annual La Habra Corn Festival Corn Eating Contest.

ved to be La Habra’s greatest fundraising event.

With the 69th annual La Habra Corn Festival, it comes as no surprise that one of the main events that attracts the most attention of residents of La Habra and surrounding communities is the annual corn eating contests.
Anaheim resident Lawrence Molesky has attended the Corn Festival and has competed for the past three years. Since day one, he has gone toe-to-toe with corn-eating champion Charles Bill Jr. Since then, he has been in fierce competition with Bill Jr.
But how did Molesky find out about the La Habra event?
“We actually saw it on Channel 5 news three years ago and said ‘Oh, this is a corn festival.’ So we said, ‘Let’s go.’ Because that’s what we do — we up and go,” he explained.
But his enthusiasm for the corn eating contest has spread, and it has become a Molesky family event.
The competition is divided into three categories separated by age. One for children under 10, one for teens ages 11 to 17 and the final category for those 18 and up.
Two of Molesky’s three daughters are now competing in the contest. Kaitlyn, 14, and Isabella, 4, are now veteran corn-eating competitors.
This year, Lawrence shared second place with another contestant, eating 10 cobs while Bill retained his crown with 12 cobs.
Lawrence Molesky said that the event is already noted into his calendar for next year.

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Lowell terminates lease in order to move forward

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Lowell terminates lease in order to move forward

Posted on 16 August 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

Jay Seidel/La Habra Journal Maybrook campus: The Lowell Joint School District is working on plans to find a new school to provide education at its Maybrook campus.

The Lowell Joint School District was forced to take drastic action in an effort to help students at a local Christian school. The district submitted a legal order to terminate its lease agreement with Whittier Christian Elementary School’s Maybrook campus, which is owned by the Lowell District.
The emotional move to end the 23-year-old agreement with Calvary Baptist Church, which operates the Whittier Christian School, was due to questionable practices and breaches of the lease by a school management company, Carnegie Schools, that was brought in to help run the schools.
Dr. John Ploog, pastor and head of schools for Calvary Baptist, explained Monday at the district meeting that the operation of the schools, the campus at Maybrook and the church’s main campus in Whittier, were becoming more challenging financially for the church. They were looking at various options, and that’s when he said Carnegie approached them.
Ploog explained that Carnegie said they wanted to help Christian schools maintain and operate successfully. The offer was the help that Ploog felt they were looking for. So, last year, Carnegie took operational control of the Whittier Christian Schools.
Since then, according to Terry Tao, attorney for Lowell Joint School District, several breaches of the lease agreement and questionable practices prompted them to terminate the lease agreement.
Tao explained that the arrangement Calvary Baptist entered in with Carnegie violated the terms of the original lease because it doesn’t allow for subleasing. Further, according to Tao, Carnegie’s plan to expand the Maybrook campus to include seventh and eighth grade students was in violation of the preschool-6 grade only agreement.
Also, Carnegie’s business operations caused concern for the Lowell District landlords. Carnegie fell behind on its rental payments to the district.
Darin Barber, board president of the Lowell Joint School District, explained that in order to remove Carnegie, the district must terminate the lease with Calvary Baptist.
Tao echoed this sentiment, explaining that the original contract was between Lowell and Calvary Baptist and that lease had to be terminated before anything else could occur. The school board approved termination of the lease on July 31. The notice of termination letter was sent to Calvary Baptist on August 1.
Ploog and the church leaders had been in communication with the district, as these issues were becoming apparent. He explained they understood the violations, including their arrangement with Carnegie, and agreed that the lease should be terminated.
The church informed Carnegie on August 2, about the termination of the lease. In an August 4th letter to Calvary Baptist, Carnegie stated that it sees the Lowell District as a “third party” and will not allow a third party to “run a school at the Maybrook campus.” Further, they took a defiant stance stating Carnegie “intends to remain at the Maybrook campus for the foreseeable future.”
According to the terms of the termination letter, the district was to have its property turned back over to them by 5 p.m. Monday.
According to Ploog, Barber and Tao, some main concerns are about the students and the families who have paid tuition.
Tao explained that he requested enrollment information, including paid tuition, from Carnegie, but said he didn’t think he was going to get it.
Lowell Board member Staci Shackelford had to pause to hold back some emotion as she shared her children went to Whittier Christian Schools and credits their educational success to what they learned at the school.
“This whole situation is so hard,” she said thinking about how the children and families could be impacted by proceedings.
Claud Lamar, president and CEO of Heights Christian Schools, said that they would like to come in and operate a Christian school at the Maybrook campus to help ensure the approximately 288 students will continue with their education. He said that they are willing to waive registration fees and credit those who have paid tuition in an effort to get things set up this year. He encouraged parents to call the Heights Christian office. Heights Christian schools start on August 29 and they would hope to start classes at Maybrook then as well.
Lowell District Superintendent Jim Coombs said he was grateful to see Heights step in and want to operate a school on the campus. However, he explained that they are open to entertain any proposal.
However, the timeframe is short. Carnegie had classes set to begin August 24.
According to Tao, the district will now take steps to regain its property, the Maybrook campus, and move forward. He said they are working to minimize the disruption for the students, parents and staff for the coming school year.

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A commitment to help the homeless

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A commitment to help the homeless

Posted on 02 August 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Taylor Engle
La Habra Journal

It’s difficult to feel down on your luck, hopeless, or all alone—this is a truth that Alice Linton and husband Donald Kettlewell recognize. This ability to empathize spurned their idea for Back to the Future, a nonprofit organization centered in La Habra and Fullerton to help homeless people in any way possible.

Photo courtesy Alice Linton
Donald Kettlewell hands out supplies on Skid Row in Los Angeles.

The name Back to the Future was inspired by the fact that all of the homeless had a normal life at one point. Linton and Kettlewell want to take them back to that starting point and give them an even better future.
“We began volunteering about two years ago with local nonprofits in Fullerton,” Linton said. “We met a bulk of the homeless community and we got to know them really well.”
Soon after volunteering for the nonprofits, Linton and Kettlewell  decided to start their own: Back to the Future, a two-man operation, in December 2016.
After going with some homeless people to the local shelters and seeing the conditions they were in, Linton and Kettlewell were shocked at the way the homeless are subjected to living.
“We go to areas with the homeless population and bring them toiletries, food, and clothing,” Linton said.
They got to know the La Habra homeless as well because of their business The Keeper of Books, a tax preparation service.

Some of the essential supplies that Back to the Future collects and distributes to the homeless.

“All the homeless are welcome to come into the business at any time to use our facilities,” Linton said.
In addition to the open invitation, Linton always keeps extra toiletries in her car. “Toothbrushes, tooth paste, shampoo, flip flops, running shoes,” Linton said. “Whatever you’d need to get by.”
Linton and Kettlewell don’t exclusively help the local homeless. Although this is the focus of their organization, they frequently travel to Skid Row with clothing, food and toiletries to hand out.
“You learn a lot about the homeless when you work with them and bring food to them,” Linton said. “At first we were bringing them apples and nutrition bars, but most homeless have issues with teeth. You have to bring something they can chew and that won’t give anyone an allergic reaction.”
The couple also teams up with local nonprofit organizations to assist in finding housing for the homeless.
“There’s an organization that does event planning,” Linton said. “After their events, we take the leftovers to the Fullerton train station, which is where most of the homeless congregate.”
Back to the Future also goes to Downtown Fullerton once a month along with two hairdressers to give free haircuts and shaves to the homeless.
As if Linton and Kettlewell weren’t busy enough either shopping for the homeless or delivering goods to them, they even open their home once a month. Homeless friends of theirs are welcome to come over to shower, do laundry, and sit down to a home-cooked meal.
“The homemade meal is probably the biggest attraction because it’s the only one they get all month,” Linton said.
Going forward, Linton and Kettlewell want to expand the awareness of Back to the Future. They’ve recently started a Facebook page and are hoping to increase donations.
“We take no salary from this,” Linton said. “We want the money to come in and go out, all for the homeless.”
Furthermore, Linton hopes to reach out to local middle schools and high schools to speak to students about the homeless.
“The label ‘homeless’ is almost as bad as a criminal record. It makes it very difficult for them to find a job or get off the street. These are people who no one looks at or pretends they’re not there when they could actually be helping,” Linton said.
As far as further collaborations or different forms of outreach, Linton and Kettlewell are in no rush.
“It’s not that we sit there and brainstorm what we could do next. We wait to see what areas are lacking and how we can fill them. If someone isn’t doing something in a particular area, we will think of a way to,” Linton said. “We want this to evolve organically.”

For more information or to find out how you might help to to their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/backtothefutureoc.org/

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Families come out to enjoy National Night Out

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Families come out to enjoy National Night Out

Posted on 02 August 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Alondra Uziar
La Habra Journal

On the first Tuesday of August, La Habra joined the rest of the United States for National Night Out.
Though the event was set to start at 5:30 p.m., the community of La Habra was ready to meet and hang out with the La Habra Police Department much earlier.
Families gathered in Portola Park by the Children’s Museum at La Habra for K9, Swat and fire department displays, information on how to prevent crime, games and activities, free dinner, a Polynesian performance and to cap it all off, a movie in the park with Disney’s “Moana” as the featured film.
There were plenty of activities for the community to enjoy such as meeting the three police dogs, Emerson, Rita and Bobby, a craft table, a small tennis court courtesy of iTennis La Habra, a free farmers market provided by Our Lady Guadalupe Church and the La Habra Collaborative, and a dunk tank.
The Children’s Museum was also open past its usual hours and free to the public.

Grill masters: Officer Time Shay, Sgt. Jose Quirarte and Chaplain Chris Fowler grill food for the annual National Night Out event at Portola Park Tuesday evening.

According to national organizers, the goal of National Night Out is as an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live.
Attendance has doubled as compared to last year, according to Sgt. Daniel Barnes. He has cooperated with assistant recreation manager Katie Elmore to help bring the event to the community. Though they prepared for approximately 800 individuals, Barnes finds that the craft table, the police dogs and the motorbikes are the biggest draw in.
“So I worked alongside the team and specifically K

Dog Days: Children were able to meet the police dogs like Emerson at the National Night Out event.

atie Elmore from community services,” Barnes said. “Her and I have been working together to put this whole event together, connecting with our different business in the community, several nonprofits that are in our community.”
Ultimately, Barnes only desires to create a better and stronger relationship with the community he loves and serves.
“I feel like when you have a personal connection with someone, there’s more of a

responsibility and it really strengthens the bonds and a relationship is built there,” Barnes said. “When you have a stronger relationship, you become a little more projected in your goal and obviously our goal as a community, as a police department in the city, is to make this city a safer place to live and just to have a great working relationship,”

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Rebuilt Raiders look to reap their redemption

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Rebuilt Raiders look to reap their redemption

Posted on 02 August 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

To say last season was rough for the Sonora Raiders might be an understatement. It was a new coach with a new system working with a team that lost the majority of its veteran and skilled players.
However, second year Head Coach Daniel Morales is optimistic for this season.
“This season, we have a lot to prove,” Morales said. “We’re still a young team and staff, but I’m happy with how hard the guys have worked. We are a lot stronger and bigger this year.”
Morales noted that he has some veterans coming back, but likes what he sees in the younger players that are continuing to build their skills.
Senior Ryan Martinez will be the Raider starter at quarterback.
He will have a host of Raiders to throw to, including senior tight end Troy McDonald and receivers Josh Gonzalez and Derek Cole. He will also have Cal-committed Chigozie Anusiem who will spend time on both sides of the ball as receiver and corner.
Running back Chandler Thompson will head up the Raider ground attack, along with sophomore Ryan Loudon.
On defense, Morales said senior Tommy Mendrin should have a big year at safety. Edward Medina, Alan Huerta and Anusiem will help round out the Raider secondary.
Morales said he likes what he is seeing in his linebacking corps. Thompson and Trent Rodriguez are set to start, with others rotating in.
Morales said the Raider line is shaping up well on both sides of the ball. Anchored by Calvin Chuayiuso, Jose Lopez and all league lineman Sebastian Perez, Sonora should have an imposing front.
The Raiders will be hungry for their first win since their first-round CIF victory over Tustin in 2015.
Morales noted the Freeway League is on a different spot this year with new coaching staffs at Troy and Buena Park and a second-year coach at Sunny Hills. He said Sonora will play hard and, as long as they stay healthy, they will battle for a playoff spot.
The Raiders open up at home against Whittier High School on August 25.
Sonora looks to avenge last year’s opening-day 16-0 loss against the Cardinals (5-5,2-3). Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

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