by Winston Chua
ARCADIA – Cities in the West San Gabriel Valley, including
Arcadia and Alhambra, along with local churches, are weighing in on the crisis
that lies in Haiti. Around 200,000 people have died and hundreds of thousands
of people are now homeless. Though the methods of people willing to help may be
different, they are united in intention.
Arcadia City Councilman Gary Kovacic said of the positive
response to the crisis, “It truly demonstrates what a family we have in the entire
world. It’s good toknow that we are available and motivated to help out in a
time like this.”
Tuesday night Kovacic urged Arcadia to give by texting the
word “Haiti” to 90999. Every text contributes $10 to the relief effort through
the Red Cross. As of Sunday the organization had collected pledges of $103
million, $22 million of which came through the text-messaging program. A Red
Cross spokesman said that $500,000 was coming in per hour during promotions by
the National Football League.
Although there may be nothing but goodwill in these gifts,
Mandarin Baptist Church of Pasadena pastor Ray Petzholt said people should
exercise caution in terms of how they give.
Working with victims of Hurricane Fifi in the 1970s, he saw
resources squandered by people who mismanaged charitable contributions. He also
experienced this in other missions to El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico during
that same decade, where lives were shattered.
“When we went through Latin America after the hurricanes,”
Petzholt said, “the Guatemalan government aid was put in big bodegas. After
some time had passed, we found all this rotten stuff in those same places.”
In his Honduras experience, Petzholt said that much of the
aid designed for the less affluent goes to the people that do not need it, some
through powerful connections. Sometimes those resources get wasted.
To fight that corruption, his church teams up with the
Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board to pool their resources specifically for
5,000 missionaries internationally, where they know more directly how food and
essentials are distributed. World Vision and other religious organizations, he
said, “get aid there to people that really need it.”
Petzholt is optimistic about Haitian recovery. The island is
more receptive to aid than China was, and former Presidents Clinton and George
W. Bush are lending their support.
The non-denominational Alhambra Church of Christ said it
would take up a donation this coming Sunday and are open to contributing more
than a one-time offering.
ALHAMBRA – The Alhambra Police Department is urging the
public to help them stop the rising theft of copper wires, two recent thefts in
a four-day span alone. Alhambra Police Sergeant Brandon Black said that thieves
target streetlamps, possibly in broad daylight.
“If anyone sees someone tinkering with a lamppost or
electrical facility, call us,” said Black. “If you don’t see the city of
Alhambra seal on a white truck, they are not genuine. There is no need to
confront these guys.” The APD has in its possession a picture of a red truck
which they believe is a truck the thieves have been using.
It appears that the thieves are cutting from under
streetlamps, not in major intersections but along smaller streets. In two days
the city lost about 4,000 feet of copper wire, which the thieves typically take
to recycling centers. Legislation is in the works for recycling centers to
mandate identification before exchanging metals in bulk for cash. The price of
copper currently hovers at around $3 per pound. Six years ago copper was just
75 cents a pound.
Black said that it is important to catch these people sooner
than later, because it costs the city between $8,000 to $10,000 to replace the
wire. This week alone 20 streetlights went out on Westmont Drive and another 10
lamps went out on Ramona Road.
More important than the financial impact is that safety is
being compromised. City lights could increase the chance of crime, as criminals
typically work in the dark. Copper wire thefts are nothing new to Alhambra or
other parts of Los Angeles County. By the winter of 2008 alone more than 4,000
lights had been affected in L.A., causing more than $1 million in damages.
ALHAMBRA – On two separate occasions, thieves have removed
copper wire from City street
lamp poles. The first of these thefts occurred on Wednesday, December 16, 2009 during
the daylight hours of 1 pm to 2 pm in the 100 block of south Westmont Drive in the City of Alhambra.
The suspects wore orange vests to give the
appearance that they were City Utility workers or otherwise authorized to work
on the street lamps. Both suspects are described
as male, Hispanics in their 30’s with brown hair. They were seen using a red Chevrolet crew cab
pick up (see attached photograph). Thus
far the thieves have stolen over 4000 feet of electrical copper wire from City street
The second incident took place between
Friday, December 18, 2009 and Monday, December 21, 2009 and was discovered by
City workers who were checking a street lamp that was reported not working by a
The Alhambra Police Department is seeking the
public’s assistance in identifying the suspects and / or the red pick up. We are also asking local residents to contact
the police department if they see anyone, not clearly identifiable as a bona
fide City of Alhambra
worker, working on or tampering with City
street lamps or poles. Anyone with information about either of these
thefts is asked to contact the Alhambra Police Department immediately at (626)
by Winston Chua
ARCADIA – Bringing with him a wealth of experience, Arcadia
City Councilman Bob Harbicht is seeking
a fifth term for a seat on the City Council. Harbicht, who has the distinction
of becoming the youngest serving mayor of the City of Duarte, at 31, has served
in Arcadia city politics over a span that encompasses 24 years. Elections are
in the spring of 2010.
Harbicht stumbled into politics after a friend of his asked
him to be his campaign chair in Duarte. He liked it so much that he said he was
“bitten with the political bug” and ran for City Council two years later. “Before
that I hadn’t quite considered the idea of running or serving,” Harbicht said.
Despite his years of work and service to Arcadia and Duarte,
he said he is most proud of his family. They include his wife Patsy, whom he
met at Citrus College; his son Rob; his daughter Jill; and what he calls “the
four smartest and cutest grandkids in the world.”
The 69-year-old councilman, husband, father and grandfather
arguably has more in his tank than men half his age. He recently came back from
a trip to New Zealand, where he and Patsy rode 250 miles over the course of a
week. An average week of cycling with Harbicht ranges anywhere from 250 to 500
miles. On top of that, he has been playing racquetball every day for the past
The councilman moved from Duarte to Arcadia because of the
city’s reputation for good education. Harbicht himself went to Citrus College
before transferring to Cal State University, Northridge. He started a marketing
and research consulting firm from scratch, working on product development and
has since retired.
Regarding Arcadia, Harbicht said, “Arcadia is an ideal city
and I’m just trying to stay the course.”
He points to the low crime rate, excellent library and said
he does not want to overdo the unnecessary development in the City. If
development does happen, he wants to make sure the development is compatible
with the City.
One definite point of Arcadia that he would like to develop
is the Caruso project, which was passed unanimously during the initial Council
vote before Westfield slapped a lawsuit to Caruso’s Environmental Impact
Report. Harbicht chided, “If Westfield is really concerned about the EIR, I
have a bridge I’d like to sell you.”
“I am committed to making the Caruso project a reality. Some
of my peers feel the same way,” said Harbicht. “The Caruso project is far and
away the best alternative for the land [that would take over the current
racetrack parking lot].” He said it would become the new Downtown for Arcadia.
Harbicht credits his parents’ community service as a
motivating factor for his involvement in city politics. On a less physically
intensive level, he is very much into crossword puzzles.
by Winston Chua
ARCADIA – A
total of seven candidates have pulled out paperwork they must complete if they
wish to be considered for a City Council seat this spring.
Arcadia Mayor John
Wuo is terming out in the spring of 2010 and incumbents Bob Harbicht and Peter
Amundson are running for reelection. Tammy Woloski, Sho C. Tay, 33-year-old
Paul Cheng, George Young and Jason Lee round out the list of potential
candidates. Some of the seven may choose not to run. In the 2008 Municipal
Election, eight people pulled papers and only three filed.
Kovacic and Roger Chanlder led the way in 2008, with nearly 3,000 votes a
piece. As of Nov. 29, there were exactly 28,667 registered voters in Arcadia.
Elections in Arcadia are held the second week of April every two years, according
to the City charter, with each year being an even numbered year. Those who are
able to pass the 3,000 vote threshold may not necessarily win a seat, according
to Lisa Mussenden, the chief deputy city clerk of the City of Arcadia.
Mussenden has been serving the community for more than 26 years. The top three
most certainly vote getters certainly will.
candidates can officially consider themselves as potentials, they must finish
paperwork that contains between 20-30 signatures and submit it to the City by
Jan. 18. Candidates must be over 18, an Arcadia registered voter and a resident
of the City. The top three candidates earn a spot on the City Council and may
serve two consecutive terms in a row before they term out. After two years they
can run once again.
December 10-11, over 100Maranatha students
performed a “Madrigal Christmas Dinner Theater”,a
wonderful holiday dinner theatre experience for the whole family. Tickets
included a full, sit down dinner, as well as performances by the Concert Choir,
Mixed Ensemble, four Dance classes and the Drama 2 students performing the
Summoning of Everyman,”.
Guests enjoyed the dinner and entertainment and it got everyone in the holiday
CAPTIONS (Photos by Diane
5846 Imani Simone, Adrienne
Williams, Selena Ma from the Advanced Dance class
5845 Lauren Turner (front) and
Laurel Cipolla from the Advanced Dance class
5880 RJ Schines (as the jester),
Gianna Pilato (as Deeds) in the”The Summoning of
5854 Emma Fischer (front) Deandre Suarez
(left), Monica Estacio (back) from Intermediate Dance
The Concert Choir and the Mixed Ensemble signing “We Wish you a Merry
Alhambra Chamber of Commerce will once again bring the Lunar
New Year celebration to our community. The Lunar New Year is a time to cast
away the bad blood of the previous year and wish for good fortune in the coming
year. Now in its 19th year,
the celebration is recognized as one of the most prominent ethnic events in the
To kick-off the celebration, a three-week long art exhibit
will be held at AlhambraCity Hall from January 7th-29th.
Sponsored by Wells Fargo and
co-sponsored by Around Alhambra, Phoenix TV, and The China Press, the exhibit
will present twenty-four paintings from two prominent local artists as well as three
from the People’s of Republic of China to welcome the year of the tiger. Sculptures of this mighty cat made of jade
and crystal will also be on display.
Under the global economy slowdown, this year the parade has
been cancelled. However, the festival will be enlarged with an additional stage
and more activities to be held on Saturday, February 6, 2010. The one-day street festival will be held on
Valley Blvd., between Garfield Ave. and Almansor St., an area known as the
heart of the largest Asian-American commercial district in the Southland. With
250 booths, it offers the community a glimpse of Asian customs and traditions.
A variety of activities will be available including: examine
the latest models of cars at Toyota
Auto Square; taste the gourmet coffee at McDonald; enjoy a floral exhibit accompanied
by the music of piano and violin at the HSBC
Court; enter the drawings to win New Year calligraphy greetings and Chinese
knots from Chaseand personalized
name art at the Wells Fargo booth.
Children can dress up and taking picture in traditional
Asian costumes on the AllstatePhoto
stage. Alhambra Hospital Medial Center
will provide raffle prizes and health information. Visit the booths of JCPenney and Cathay Bank
to play fun games and win prizes. Ethnic
foods will be offered at Maggi Food Court.
At Macy’s Almansor stage,attendees
will have the photo opportunities with the Tournament of Roses Queen and Court.
Cultural and modern performances as well as Silhouette Puppet Shows can be seen
at the Chapel stage throughout the day. Our
appreciation goes to Time Warner, Charter Communications and Pacific Square on Valley for the
There’s nothing more precious than spending a day with
family and friends to experience the colorful, festive celebration of the New
Year. Admission is free. There will be
abundant parking on the streets and at the adjacent shopping centers. For more event information or to join as a
vendor, please contact Pinki Chen at K & K Communications, (626) 395-9995
or visit www.lunarnewyearparade.com.
by Winston Chua
ALHAMBRA – Nearly 2,300 Boy Scouts come form the Mission
Amigos District, an area that includes Alhambra, Rosemead, San Gabriel and
Monterey Park. Though diverse, the values they share are similar. But one thing
that is unique is this year’s centennial float in the Rose Parade.
“We don’t have a float in the Parade every year, so this is
special. People are not aware that Boy Scouts are still around. Some are even
surprised we exist,” said Wendy Chien, Mission Amigos District executive
This year’s float will feature activities common in
scouting, like mountain biking, kayaking, tents and the wilderness. The
activities portrayed are meant to convey a taste of what scouts do when they
are out. During the parade, scouts will carry magnified merit badges as the
float moves along and some will ride the float itself, complete with a zip line
that scouts will use to transport themselves. The construction of the float is
finished and the flowers will be put on the 30th of December.
“We are here to show everyone that we’re alive and well and
this is a great program for the boys,” said Chien, who has been with the scouts
since 2007. Cub Scouts range in age from 6 to 11. Boy Scouts range in age from
11 to 18.
by Winston Chua
ARCADIA – The Arcadia Unified School District Tuesday night
received two unqualified audits reports for the fiscal year ending in 2009,
meaning an independent auditing company found no errors or misrepresentations
in their budget, programs and financial records. The reports centered on both
general and Measure I funding.
“We’re proud that
we’ve been able to continue to achieve despite the budget problem,” Arcadia
school board member Joann Steinmeier said. Still she says the district will
likely get “whacked” when the governor’s budget projections come out next year.
The second unqualified audit focused on the $218 million Measure
I bond to pay for school construction on all 10 of its campuses. As far as the
high school is concerned, there will be a new student services building on
Campus Drive in late summer of 2010 and a new science center along Duarte Road also
by the end of summer, 2010. Construction for a new performing arts building along
Campus Drive should begin in the fall of 2010.
Arcadia is also in the midst of ushering in a new student
data system that promises to revamp the old one. Called Power School,
Steinmeier said the new system will have
greater capacity for integrating test results, attendance, pulling reports from
disparate places, record keeping and grade books, to name a few. The project
has been in the making for a year and a half. The project should be complete in
The Arcadia district is hoping there will be no mid year
cuts for staff and faculty. If cuts are deep, they could start to layoff
workers by March 15.
by Winston Chua
ARCADIA – The Girl Scouts of Arcadia Saturday helped to
raise more than 31,000 pounds of food for local foodbanks as they set up in
front of participating Vons and Pavilions locations for Girl Scouts of Los
Angeles’ Feed Your Neighbor Food Drive and Service Day.
The Arcadia and Pasadena scouts were part of 3,000 Girl
Scouts in the Los Angeles and San Bernardino and Kern counties whose original
goal had been simply to raise 4,000 pounds of food. The actual amount the
scouts did collect will provide roughly 23,466 meals.
Some Girl Scouts also volunteered at the Foothill Unity
Center in Monrovia, while all of them sorted and packaged food to be
distributed to those in need and brought donations. The day of service was a
culmination of activities and opportunities the girls have participated in over
the last six weeks as part of a patch program that taught the girls about
hunger in real-life situations.
They also learned about nutrition, budgeting and learned
about the staggering number of children at risk for hunger in California alone.
The scouts who helped collect food are part of the 45,000 girls that make up
the scouts from the greater Los Angeles area.