Archive | November, 2017

La Habra annexes county islands

La Habra annexes county islands

Posted on 09 November 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

In front of a packed council chambers that flowed over into the City Hall atrium, the La Habra City Council voted 4-1 to annex the last remaining six county islands that fall within the city limits.
After two hours of public comments where those in attendance spoke against the annexation and shared their concerns about the impact of becoming part of the city, the council members discussed the issues and worked to address some of the concerns.
Councilman Tom Beamish made a motion, that the council approved, to direct the city staff to schedule town hall meetings and to ensure the city is getting input from the new residents about the direction they want to go regarding being assimilated into the city.
Of the concerns expressed by the residents, many voiced their concern over promises the city was making. City staff shared that all legal county permitted construction on properties will be grandfathered in to the city, and will be listed as a legal non-conforming status.
However, that didn’t comfort all residents.
“I’m concerned about the permits,said Scott Wilson, a resident of the Macy-Randall island on the northwest side of La Habra. “Some construction on my house did not need permits in the county, and I’m concerned about it not being grandfathered.”
Further, many residents shared their worries of future city councils and what changes they might implement.
Beamish and Councilman Michael Blazey both expressed that they wanted to put in writing the plans as they go forward with the island annexation, so future council members will be unable to change or implement changes on the residents.
Mayor Pro-Tem Tim Shaw added that with the influx of the new residents, perhaps its time to get their input on making some changes to the way the city does things. Perhaps they should look at La Habra’s permit requirements and maybe adopt some policies like the county.
“Just because we’ve always done something a certain way doesn’t mean we have to always do it that way,” Shaw said.
Another major concern expressed by many residents is the possible change of addresses as the county numbering system is different to the city system.
Sue Schmidt, a resident of Sharon Way, which is an island area, tried to appeal to the council members about the impact the address change could have.
“What if they changed your address,” Schmidt asked the councilmembers. “Would it be OK with you? What if they did it to your parents? It’s a really big thing to me. The people that are being affected by it, It’s a big deal to them, and I hope you think of it as it is a big thing for you.”
Beamish and Blazey shared that the town hall meetings would allow the La Habra Police chief and Los Angeles County Fire assistant chief to share their views on the addresses for those gathered. After that, they said they were in favor of the residents deciding if they need to change their addresses.
Beamish said that some may have to change because they are the same number, but one has been county and the other La Habra.
Councilman Jim Gomez cast the only vote against annexation. He said that it was the number of people who shared their concerns and opposition of annexation convinced him not to do it.
“An overwhelming amount of people testified that they clearly did not want to be annexed into our City,” Gomez said. “Although I would have loved to have them be part of our community I am not going to force the issue down their throats.”
Another concern addressed by the residents is the cost of moving from septic tanks to connecting with the city sewer systems. Some of the residents are already connected to the sewer system, but the majority are still on a county or septic system.
City Manager Jim Sadro explained that if the residents on a street don’t want a sewer built, they don’t have to have one. The city will allocate that money to other repairs. However, if they want it, the city will install the sewer and run lateral lines to the property lines. The residents will need to pay for the connection, which was estimated to be approximately $23,000-$85,000. However, costs can be reduced due to different contractors or by the homeowners doing some work themselves.
However, California law states that if a residence is 200 feet or less from a sewer they must connect.
Annexed neighborhoods can petition to have the city declare their neighborhoods rural and not needing sidewalks or sewers. The petition is signed by the residents in the area and will come before the council for approval for the designation.
The city began the discussion about annexing the remaining Orange County islands Macy/Randall, Citrus/Idaho, Citrus/Entrada, Cypress/Terry, Hensel/Magda and Palm/Shadycrest in 2016 when the city of La Habra was looking to run a new larger water line across the city north of Whittier Boulevard. At the time of planning it was determined that the line will cross five county islands within the city limits. At the same time, the organization providing water service to those islands, California Domestic Water Company, decided to change its operating model and change to a wholesale water company instead of retail customer services.
Elias Saykali, La Habra Public Works Director, explained that there are “major deficiencies” in the water lines in the northern part of the city. He explained that there is some water that flows at 300 gallons per minute with reduced water pressure in smaller 4-inch pipes. In an effort to meet the city’s water master plan, Saykali said they want to move to 6-10-inch pipes in an effort to 1,500 gallons per minute.
If the city did not annex the islands previously serviced by Cal Domestic, it was estimated that an additional $2 million would need to have been spent to route the water around the county islands.
Prior to the meeting, residents of the islands raised concerns over a possible conflict of interest as La Habra City Attorney Dick Jones is a current California Domestic Water Company board member. Jones understood the concern and said that he checked with Cal Domestic legal council and said he was told that is wasn’t a conflict. However, he recused himself and the city retained an outside law firm to represent and advise the city for this issue.
The largest island neighborhood, Macy/Randall island, will remain being serviced by Suburban Water while the rest will come under the city’s water service. .
The city started to discuss the annexation of these properties when in order to run a larger water line across the northern part of the city the cost to move round the islands would be very expensive. This was at the same time Cal Domestic was geting out of retail service. OC and the LAFCO officials informed La Habra city staff that the county would approve the property tax transfer if the city annexed the sixth final island, Macy/Randall, removing all of the county controlled territories within the city limits, which they did on Monday.
The next step to complete the annexation is the agreement will be presented to the Orange County Board of Supervisors within 30-45 days and they will vote to approve the annexation and transfer of the county assets to the city of La Habra.
Then comes the ongoing task of assimilating the new residents into the city.

Comments Off on La Habra annexes county islands

LH Rotary recognizes outstanding students

LH Rotary recognizes outstanding students

Posted on 09 November 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Jane Williams
La Habra Journal

La Habra Rotary members were able to meet the top student of the senior class at each high school, not the one with the highest grade point but the one who distinguished herself in contributing to activities and who took on tasks that made possible the accomplishments of other students. And yes, you read it correctly, herself. It just so happens all of them this year are female.

Karl Zener/La Habra Journal
Leaders’ recognition: The La Habra Rotary Club awarded student leaders, Whittier Christian High School’s Ashlynn Hernandez (left) La Habra High School’s Justine Sombilon and Sonora High School’s Hanna Suh show their certificates at the club’s awards luncheon that took place last month.

Justine Sombilon was born in the Philippines. When she was two her parents decided to emigrate to the United States, settling first in Washington, D.C., then to Texas, and by the time she was eight they were living in Fullerton.
She attended Rolling Hills Elementary where she decided to audition for the lead female role in “Tom Sawyer.”
Her parents only heard about it when she had won the role. It was there she met Vickie Schindele who later became the musical director at Fullerton Children’s Repertory Theater which her principal encouraged her to join after seeing her performance as Becky Thatcher.
She went onto to appear in two musicals a year throughout junior high. After deciding to attend La Habra High, she entered the AP Heritage program, participated in three Main Stage productions, and joined the Cappies team, writing reviews of productions put on by Orange County high schools. As a freshman, three of her reviews were published and she was named Top Freshman Critic by the Cappies, and still compiled a straight-A record for that year. By Junior year she was a lead critic and guided her team through 13 published reviews, three of them hers.
That was the year she was named editor of The Scotch Tape, the school newspaper. She and the staff decided to redesign the paper as a magazine.
The same year her theater director, Brian Johnson, asked her to try out for “Blamed: An Established Fiction,” a dance and music-infused play about women throughout history wrongly accused for the ills of the world, at the Hollywood Fringe Festival.
Her audition was a success and she performed this summer with very talented women. When the show closed in Hollywood, Justine received news it was going to off-Broadway at the Soho Playhouse. This past September she flew to New York to recreate her part for a week.
Through high school, Justine has discovered her real joy comes from telling stories, whether in the Scotch Tape, or in bringing a character to life on the stage. It comes as no surprise that she is applying to schools in New York City known for their drama programs as well as UCLA.
Whittier Christian selected Ashlynn Hernandez, an outstanding student who has been in the top 10 of her class every year, passed two AP tests, completed the Cal State Fullerton US History course, and is carrying a 4.42 GPA. Ashlynn is also a great athlete having first been captain of the Girls’ JV soccer team for two years and then captain of the varsity team her junior and senior years.
She is an accomplished vocalist, singing with the choir for three years and appearing as Glinda The Good Witch in the “Wizard of Oz” as a freshman and Queen Constantina in “Cinderella” in 10th grade. This year she will perform as Jo March in the “Little Women” musical.
She also found time to be head of the link crew in this, its first year, serve on ASB as its representative, the Chapel team for three years, and this year as a member of the worship team, as well as three years on the Theatre Council. She would like to become an elementary school teacher and has applied to Liberty University and Wheaton College.
Sonora had no trouble selecting Hanna Suh as their outstanding senior. How could they resist an IB student with a 4.67 GPA, a National Merit Semifinalist and the captain of the Academic Decathlon.
Who also teaches violin to elementary students and is a member of the South Coast Symphony. And to top it all off this year at Sonora she makes time to be Commander of the Sonora JROTC unit.
She has spent 400 hours on community service and is a reliable participant in Sonora’s annual Christmas food drive.
She plans on attending Johns Hopkins University in the fall.

Comments Off on LH Rotary recognizes outstanding students

OLG celebrates lives of those who passed

OLG celebrates lives of those who passed

Posted on 09 November 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Génesis Miranda Miramontes
La Habra Journal

October has come to an end and November begins, which means Dia de Los Muertos is approaching.
Dia de Los Muertos is a holiday observed in the Hispanic community on November 2 where families come together to remember the life and honor the memory of their loved ones who have died. The day is filled with altars, music, food and prayer.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Church was filled with bright colors, music and the smell of food for their annual Dia de Los Muertos event last Saturday night.
Northgate Market was present selling “pan de muerto,” a popular style of bread eaten on this holiday.
From the front of the church extending towards the parking lot, families gathered around the altars they had built in memory of their loved ones.
Many guests had gathered inside the church for mass while others sat outside and enjoyed the music and food.
Pastor Edward Becker was walking around the church grounds greeting guests and friends.
“We’ve had a steady stream of people since 3p.m. and lots of families coming to look at the altars,” said Becker. “I’m very happy with the turnout and happy we’ve had such a nice enjoyable day.”
Families sat by their altars while visitors stopped by to admire the colorful decorations and photos of deceased loved ones.
“The altars have to be considered the favorite part for everybody,” said Becker. “There’s a certain degree of fun associated with putting up the altars and also a sense of reverence and remembrance.”
Pastor Becker says that Dia de Los Muertos plays an important role in prayer. That is because families not only set up altars in memory of loved ones but they usually gather to pray as well.
“This is one of the many ways Catholics pray for their loved ones. It takes on a whole significance,” said Becker.
Dia de Los Muertos is not all about death, it is a way to celebrate the life of those who were once part of our lives and how we honor their memory.
“In so many cultures children are kept away from death but in Mexican culture children are included in the celebration,” said Becker.
Scott Miller, business manager at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church assisted in coordinating the event, along with the help of the Hispanic Committee.
Miller explained that this year’s event included the new addition of two classic cars, which belonged to family members who had passed. This was a change from the usual altars displayed on Dia de Los Muertos.
Miller said his favorite part of the event is “just seeing the community come together.” He hopes that during next year’s event “we have more altars to educate, so that people understand more.”
The Hispanic Committee assisted in the organization and setup of the event. “The central theme is uniting the community,” said committee member Gregorio Morales. “The most important thing for me is to remember our loved ones.”

Comments Off on OLG celebrates lives of those who passed

Advertise Here

Photos from our Flickr stream

See all photos

Advertise Here

Current Issue: